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A Question of Timing

Note: This is an explainer for Kevin's earlier piece on the UK "torture memos."

Remember back during the campaign every time the liberals got bad news they offered the same tired rebuttal, "We question the timing of...."

I wonder if they've asked themselves that same question over the UK "torture memos." As Kevin noted below, liberal bloggers across the globe are apparently teaming up in a corrordinated effort to sell books. He drew that conclusion - and I agree with it - because there is little other explaination of the timing.

I'll take a minute to explain.

Craig Murray was the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. He has accused UK of rendition and he says that they fired him for speaking out about it.

Rendition or as Wikipedia calls it in this case, Extraordinary Rendition is the practice of sending terrorist suspects to a third country to be interrogated where they have less laws about torture than we do in western countries.

This is nothing new. If the liberal bloggers had read the wikipedia link (or any of dozens of others) they would have found it was started by Bill Clinton. So we have another convenient case of liberal outrage ala the NSA spying. When Clinton does it -before 9/11- it is OK but when Bush does it after 9/11 it is unconscionable. Whatever.

The debate over the practice of rendition is a fair one.

Almost a year ago, Imperial Hubris author Michael Scheuer had an op-ed piece in the NYT defending the practice during the Clinton administration.

He started the Qaeda detainee/rendition program and it was spearheaded by National Security Director Samuel Berger and his counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke.

Blogging the above op-ed piece James Joyner said that if we are going to do this, "we should have the moral courage to do it openly and within the scope of the checks and balances of our political process" a point that is hard to disagree with.

Personally, I appreciate the cleverness of getting around existing laws and I more than appreciate that in limited cases it might be extraordinarily useful but still I believe in the rule of law and skirting it in such a manner just doesn't sit right with me.

But back to today's issue.

The liberal blogosphere got used. Big time.

The story goes that the British government is trying to block the sales Craig Murray's new book because it contains 2 documents they don't want published. Cries of censorship and cover-up are so sexy in the blogospehre. Murray skillfully lend the liberal bloggers down the garden path that they would be releasing these 2 documents that the British government did not want anyone to see.

As Kevin noted (but forgot to link) in October of 2004, well over a year ago, the BBC ran a story on his supposed firing and at the time they said the primary document the bloggers released today was printed in the Financial Times. (back in Oct 2004)

The second document was simply a legal opinion from a lawyer on whether the practice violated UN law. The lawyer quoted the relevant law and gave a legal opinion. Hardly a smoking gun.

So much for the liberal blogospehre "releasing" the documents.

For someone who claims he's being censored, Murray sure managed to get his story out. And thru some interesting channels.

In October 2004, The Telegraph ran a story about his getting canned as ambassador and even then they mentioned, "his friendly press relations."

In Nov of 2004, the BBC ran a glowing piece about him drawing attention to human rights abuses in Uzbekistan.

In April of 2005, he did an interview with Indymedia.

In November of 2004, The World Crisis Web ran a pice with the dramatic title, Craig Murray Speaks Out While He Can

In April of 2005 the Socialist Worker ran a piece with the same allegations.

MuslimUzbekistan.com has the text of a July 2005 speech where he makes the same charges at length.

Even Wikipedia has a piece on him that mentioned the term "extraordinary rendition" in June of 2005.

That's why I say the liberal blogosphere got had. Why the coordinated effort to run this story today?

He's been making these charges for over 2 years and they've gotten plenty of media play. (both mainstream and fringe lefty) The only thing "new" he offers is a document that was published by the Financial Times in October of 2004. They are only running this story because Mr. Murray manipulated them for his own interests. (sorry guys, next time you're offered such ground breaking scoop, use google first.)

The argument about rendition is a fair one. And one I stand behind Murray in wanting to have. Ironically, if that is what Murray is truly concerned about, that debate will get lost in the clamor to sell his upcoming book.

Update: Kevin updated his post below with even more times this information has been published in the past. As he ends his latest update "Nice Scoop..."


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Comments (17)

So now the left thinks it i... (Below threshold)
Jake:

So now the left thinks it is evil to work with our allies to solve world problems. Evidently, they want us to do everything alone.

I'll take a minute... (Below threshold)
I'll take a minute to explain.

Man, you can sure type fast! :)

Keep up the excellent analysis and news-forwarding, and humor. We crave it!

(Nice on, Jake)

Never ceases to amaze me ho... (Below threshold)
CorporateLeech:

Never ceases to amaze me how many times wingnuts will use the "but! but! Clinton" excuse for the current wacko administration.
I guess the only thing left is for Bush to get a blow from an intern and he will be a full fledge Democrat?

CoporateLeech,The ... (Below threshold)

CoporateLeech,

The point is that if the left has absolutely no problem with Clinton doing X, then they should have no problem with Bush doing X. If they do have a problem, then they are hypocrites deserving of our scorn, not our support. Whether or not X is morally right has nothing to do with it exactly; what matters is whether or not the left is consistant in its support of X.

"Never ceases to amaze me h... (Below threshold)

"Never ceases to amaze me how many times wingnuts will use the 'but! but! Clinton'" rebuttal (not excuse) as a launching point for their whine-fests.

Facts are facts. Had the Media blasted Clinton for doing X, as Silverbubble points out, we Conservatives would have no beef with the Media doing it again.

Oh, and as for Bush being just like Clinton.
I don't think the search for a legacy is as paramount to Bush as it was (is) for Clinton. History remembers people for the work they've done, not for talking points they've presented.

Whether your left or right ... (Below threshold)
Thor:

Whether your left or right wing in your political views surly for two so called civilized countries (UK/USA) torture is just plain WRONG in the year 2005-06. I mean if someone was torturing me it's more than lightly I'd tell them what they wanted to hear to get them to stop. So in the end the intelligence is just bollocks.

Thor,No, not necce... (Below threshold)
TheShadow:

Thor,

No, not neccessarily just bollocks. Torture actually works when you have an idea of the information you are searching for. Whether it is "right" is another matter. The fact remains that you can torture someone to obtain some narrow information and then subsequently verify the info.

Just because you may be against torture, it doesn't mean you can assert untruths.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200201/hoffman

You want to see torture and... (Below threshold)

You want to see torture and terror? Then, check this out from Hammorabi. Afterwards, go to some more MilBlogs and thank our soldiers for the great service they perform for us.

Check out The latest politi... (Below threshold)
HL:

Check out The latest political comics from The Hollywood Liberal

Who Leaked on Bush?
http://www.thehollywoodliberal.com

If you like those, there are lots more AT. http://www.thehollywoodliberal.com/comic_feature_links.htm


Thank You

That Hollywood Liberal woul... (Below threshold)

That Hollywood Liberal would be more humorous if he used spellcheck!

Kevin still hasn't replied ... (Below threshold)

Kevin still hasn't replied to my question:

"OK Kevin, it looks like they are self-publicising but I would like to know if you have a problem in people flagging up human rights violations in post-Soviet dictatorships?"

I had absolutely no interes... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I had absolutely no interest in checking out HL's efforts until I read Macker's comment. My intrigue aroused, I had to go see for myself.

Oh. My. God. It's worse than he describes.

I couldn't help myself. I had to simply list all the problems with his "cartoon," just to reassure myself that it was, indeed, as bad as it was.

I expect it'll get deleted over there, so I'll reproduce it here:

* * * * *

I came over here from Wizbang, because I couldn't believe that the spelling would be so bad as to single out attention.

I was wrong.

Missing punctuation in panel 1. Misspelled the German "Jawohl" in 2. Improper capitalization of medieval in 3. Missing punctuation in 4. Improper punction in 5. Misspelled "Jawohl" and improper capitalization in 6. Improper punctuation and capitalization in 7, along with misspelled "piranha." More punctuation and grammar errors in 8, 9. and 10. Capitalization errors in 11. "Jawohl" misspelled in 12, along with more capitalization errors. And finishing off with 13, we have a veritable cornucopia of illiteracy: misspellings, incorrect grammar, missing and incorrection punctuation, and improper capitalizing.

The best one of all HAS to be in panel 2, when you couldn't even get your own URL right. "www.thehollywoodlibreal.com"? WTF?

I was taught that if you don't use proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the like, you are showing that you don't care about your work. And if you don't care enough about your work to get it right, then readers shouldn't care, either.

Learn to write, you subliterate moron. I've known third-graders who can express themselves more clearly than you.

J.

* * * * *

What really stands out for ... (Below threshold)

What really stands out for me amongst this excusenik waffle is the continued use of the term 'left' and its linking with Bill Clinton.

Clinton neither is nor ever was 'left-wing'; indeed there is almost nothing that comes out of the US that is not to the right of anything the rest of the world would consider 'right-wing'.

When confronted with what you would characterise as 'right-wing': the rest of us resort to whatever coping strategy comes easiest to hand, to avoid crying with frustration and outraged indignation, at what we realise only too well is not a 'view-point' or 'stance' but in fact dangerous insanity.

Hmmm.Anybody remem... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Anybody remember when Howard Dean's govenor files become available?

Just curious.

Hmmmm.ind... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

indeed there is almost nothing that comes out of the US that is not to the right of anything the rest of the world would consider 'right-wing'.

Which is why America is so great and the rest of the world is viper pit of utter crap.

Aren't you glad we're around?

What really stands out f... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

What really stands out for me amongst this excusenik waffle is the continued use of the term 'left' and its linking with Bill Clinto

What really stands out for me is when Lefties fly into complaining about comparisons with Clinton when in reality the complaint is about media treatment of Clinton and his policies vs. how they treat similar policies now.

If your society needs to re... (Below threshold)
Antipholus Papps:

If your society needs to rely on inflicting calculated agony on other human beings in order to protect itself, it isn't worth saving. Period. Torture is abhorrant and has no place in a culture deemed 'democratic' or 'free'. What have we become? Your blog is terrifying. Nazi scum.




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