The Black Hole

My blog should not be your go-to place for the latest revelations on torture, but this bit did jump out at me. Spencer Ackerman observes that near the end of the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on torture, there’s a ton of redactions and this island of non-redacted material:

The number of detainees in CIA custody is relatively small by comparison with those in U.S. military custody. Nevertheless, the Agency, like the military, has an interest in the disposition of detainees and particular interest in those who, if not kept in isolation, would likely divulge information about the circumstances of their detention.

Spencer observes “Indeed, when such CIA detainees were allowed in 2007 to speak with the International Committee of the Red Cross, they spoke extensively about their torture. The Red Cross said their treatment was ‘inhuman.’

This illustrates well the general problem with the idea that we’re going to deviate from the rule of law “just a little” or something. Once you start breaking the rules, you find yourself with the further problem of how do you proceed without being held account for past rule-breaking. That tends to involve further rule-breaking. Information you obtained through torture can’t be used in trials, so you need to deal with more people off the books. You can’t have the people you tortured blabbing about it, so you need to keep them locked up. It all spirals out of control very quickly.