Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: Crime,Current Events — Patterico @ 12:53 pm

For those who care about such things, there is apparently a verdict in the Michael Jackson case.

Get your predictions in now. I haven’t followed it closely enough to make an educated guess.

See-Dubya: The Chicago Way

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 10:53 am

I looked over the account of the suspected twentieth hijacker’s (wait? wasn’t that Moussaoui? Or is he now the 21st hijacker?) interrogation at Guantanamo. Someone leaked a document to Time, which ran to publish its breathless handwringing gotcha scoop. (The whole story is only available to Time subscribers; but here’s a press release; here are excerpts from the log; and here’s Brother Lileks’ incomparable japing.) I can’t compete with Lileks on this one, but let me throw a thought at you:

Time got played. If this thing wasn’t leaked by Karl Rove himself, it shoulda been.

Y’all remember that movie, the Untouchables? Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and Malone (Sean Connery), couple other guys go after the oily, brutal Al Capone, played by Robert DeNiro. And the Untouchables quickly realize that the regular methods of police work just don’t apply to this war. When they go on a raid of a liquor warehouse, Capone is tipped off and clears his booze out. And he tips off the media so when Ness opens what he thinks is a crate of liquor bottles, and he pulls out a parasol, a cameraman is there to record his mistake. A picture of Ness looking stupid is on the front page the next day.

It’s funny, when you think about it, how the press were portrayed in that film: they were staunchly anti-crime and kept hassling the cops to end this horrble crime wave–while at the same time they never missed a chance to make the cops look stupid and Capone look ten thousand feet tall and unbeatable. Though they would deny it, they were complicit in Capone’s power. They fawningly took down every single word he said at press conferences, printed his lies, and laughed at his jokes. It was easy to do that. Capone would kill you, the cops wouldn’t. It was easy for the press to swim with that current. Swim against it, prick the ego, tarnish the myth, look too deeply into the abyss, and you would sleep with the fishes.

Sound familiar?

Anyway, Ness is dejected about being set up and at some point early on in the movie, Malone, the gruff Irish beat cop, gives him one of the greatest movie speeches ever:

If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way because they’re not gonna give up the fight until one of you is dead…Do you want to know how to get Capone? You’ve got to do it the Chicago Way. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one o’ yours to the hospital, you send one o’ his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way. And that’s how you get Capone.

The first step in their Chicago-way pursuit of Capone is an interception of a liquor shipment at the Canadian border. Ness shoots a bootlegger outside a small cabin while the other Untouchables, with the help of the Canadian mounties, win a huge firefight nearby. One of the bootleggers is captured alive and brought to the cabin, where he refuses to translate the ledger that conceals Capone’s accounts. Malone grows frustrated with the interrogation and walks outside, picks up the dead bootlegger and slams him against the window of the cabin. He puts his pistol in the dead body’s mouth and yells, “I’ll give you to the count of three to tell me what I want to know!”

Of course the dead bootlegger, he say nothin’, and Malone blows the dead body’s head off, spraying the horrified captive inside with gore. He falls all over himself trying to talk. Malone comes in and says “And don’t let him clean himself until he tells you everything you want to know.”

At this point the prim captain of the Canadian Mounties puffs up and tells Malone indignantly, “I do not approve of your methods!”

Elliot Ness replies, “You’re not from Chicago.”

Now then. Check out the Time piece, where they have an actual log of what we do in Gitmo. Not what we tell the press, but the notes the US government keeps for its own use. The Nazis kept notes, you know, and it hung a bunch of them at Nuremberg. Ours exonerate us.

An interrogator sits on this guy’s head and reads him the news of the death of Al Qaeda figures. They call him worse than a dog, since dogs at least protect the innocent instead of killing them. They wake him up with pop music and they give him dancing lessons. They hang pictures of naked women on his clothes. They monitor his health and try to keep him hydrated despite his refusal to drink enough water. Blackjacks and rubber hoses? No, but they touched an inflated latex glove to his face.

This is, remember, the twentieth hijacker.

The man is being humiliated, not tortured. I’ve had worse in high school. I’ve had worse at church camp.

The tone of the memo is of professionals doing their best to get information from this guy without hurting him. They are exercising enormous restraint and care for his well-being. They even note how often he goes to the bathroom. I guaran-damn-tee you that better men who have done far less are being treated far worse right now, in Lompoc or San Quentin or Soledad prisons, right under the nose of the press and in the custody of the State of California. Bill Lockyer admitted as much in 2001.

This is the twentieth hijacker, and there are no rapes, no whips, no severed tongues, no battery cables, no kicks to the head. There are MRE Boxes with smiley faces placed on his head. And everyone’s going to realize this. Everyone sees that this is barely even a Chicago Rules interrogation.

Most people realize that the War on Terror must be fought the Chicago Way.

Most people, that is, except the press. They’re not from Chicago. After being tricked into publishing this exoneration of Guantanamo Bay, however, they are holding a parasol.

UPDATE: Here’s another comparison between the Terror War and the hunt for Capone–this time looking at the multi-agency task forces and prosecution strategy.

UPDATE II: Now I remember where I’ve heard about these tactics before.

UPDATE III: Geraghty at TKS agrees: this story is now a gift to the GOP.

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