The New York Times is finally calling it torture—when someone else has admitted to it.
"At least someone is owning up to the awful legacy of Mr. Bush’s illegal detention policies," their editorial concludes, after discussing the decision from the British government to compensate former detainees at Guantánamo Bay. The settlement payments could run over a million pounds in one case.
But the Times shouldn’t be so quick with the finger-pointing or the congratulations. The British settlement, for one thing, comes with "no concession of liability" for torture. Instead, Cameron’s government is paying taxpayer dollars out in order to avoid going to trial and facing liability. There’s video available of the treatment of UK prisoners, which the Guardian published and you can see on our Facebook page, but the US news? Not so much.
Our own torture tapes, erased in 2005, earned nary a peep from the big media outlets last week, when the statute of limitations on filing charges against the erasers expired. That means that the investigation into who destroyed videotapes of CIA interrogations is effectively over and no one will be held accountable.
Where were the strongly worded condemnations from the Times then? About where the coverage of those tapes, as opposed to the pre-emptive settlement is now.
Our friends at FireDogLake kept the pressure on while the clock ran out on our torture tapes, but it is ironic to see the Times wagging its finger at the government when it missed an excellent opportunity to hold it accountable itself.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.