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"Ninety Percent of What We Got Was Crap"

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July 16, 2008

The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer released a new book yesterday: The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. In a fascinating interview with Harper’s Scott Horton, she says:

President Bush has argued that “enhanced” interrogation had led to numerous breakthroughs he has never publicly acknowledged the false and fabricated intelligence it has yielded, too. One former top CIA official told me, “Ninety percent of what we got was crap.”

Ninety percent…that about jibes with the other not-so-surprising figure revealed in a Seton Hall University study that finds as many as 55 percent of detainees at Guantánamo are there by mistake. In a fantastic piece drawing the abuse-of-power parallels between the recent FISA capitulation and the revelations on the so-called war on terror, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald puts it quite eloquently:

The “rule of law” isn’t some left-wing dogma that is the province of Leftist radicals and hysterics. It’s the cornerstone of every civilized and free society, and Jane Mayer’s new book is but the latest piece of evidence to prove that.

So while lawmakers continue to protect lawbreakers, hundreds of men many of whom have no connection to terror or Al Qaeda continue to languish in U.S. detention centers like Guantánamo and Bagram. And the tiny minority who have had charges brought against them under the “military commissions” system? They’re watching a sham legal system unfold before their eyes, a system so egregious that it continues to lurch forward only in fits and starts.

Just last night the government filed a brief begging a judge not to stop the trial for Hamdan that’s scheduled to begin next Monday. Because of the seriousness of the deficiencies in the system, it’s expected that Judge Robertson will do just that later this week.

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