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Time To Call It Torture

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 Guantanamo 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 preemptive 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 them accountable itself.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is a best-selling author and broadcaster who hosts the The Laura Flanders Show, where she interviews forward thinking people about the key questions of our time.  The LF Show airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English & Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and Yes! Magazine (“Commonomics”) and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). The Laura Flanders Show first aired on Air America Radio 2004-2008. You can find all her archives and more at or via Twitter @GRITlaura

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