Bergstein on the FBI’s Extraction of False Confessions

One (small) comfort while watching our collective descent into being a state sponsor of torture has been the notion that the evil is at least confined to the CIA and the Defense Department. But of course that’s not true; the evil extends throughout the government. And it turns out that you don’t have to actually engage in torture to slide down the slippery moral slope it creates. For example, check out this item from Steve Bergstein: A tale of two decisions (or, how the FBI gets you to confess).

This is a side to the foolishness of the Bush administration’s use of torture that doesn’t get enough attention from those who support it. It’s not just that it’s wrong. It’s stupid — because using coercive techniques simply guarantees that your victims will tell you whatever it is they think you want to hear, even if it’s not remotely close to the truth. And even if you don’t actually torture them directly, but merely threaten to give the names of their family members to the Egyptian police.

I’m with Sean Penn on this: The people engaging in this kind of thing, and writing legal opinions allowing it, and pushing others to use it, belong in fucking jail.

15 Responses to “Bergstein on the FBI’s Extraction of False Confessions”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    By “fucking jail”, do you mean a nice jail where rich white collar folks go and conjugal visits are common, or do you mean something like a Syrian jail where torture will make them confess to secretly being involved with Al Qaida similar to what Maher Arar went through?

  2. enkidu Says:

    well jbc expect a firestore of rwnj approbrium at your shocking *yes shocking!* use of the dread “f word”

    knarly, real Americans abhor the canonization of torture as a Duhmerkkkin virtue (see? we iz as tough n stoopid as cranks n zealots everwhar!) The 24%ers like TV, loopy, sen craig (nice of you to keep posting here Senator!) and to a lesser extent shcb… think violence is the first best answer to everything. shrub is now polling as low as Nixon did. heck of a job bushie, and we haven’t even got impeachment proceedings going (yet).

    And the 13%ers who think Big Dick Cheney is doing a good job? batshit. I think the one thing Dick Cheney learned from Dick Nixon is: don’t get caught.

    bjc I agree with your sentiment, these criminals deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. In fucking jail.

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    FBI agent(s) threatened a suspect’s innocent family with torture. Is that FBI agent being prosecuted or severley disciplined, or is it official government policy to behave like that?

  4. shcb Says:

    Why is the hotel getting sued?

  5. shcb Says:

    That was a great video! Boy, Gary Shandling, if you guys don’t recruit him for the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention it will be a crime, and Penn should be the master of ceremonies. Imagine the reception of those lifelong democrats that make up the base. Sitting there in their living rooms will be Ma and Pa having dinner on TV trays with Penn cranking the crowd with “fuck bush!!!” before every speech. I can just see William F Buckley Jr. sitting in his living room watching the show (he’s a big fan) saying “crap, after all those years of studying issues and learning to write with elegance and all I had to do was go on second rate show and utter a four letter word” Bill would chide me that fucking is a seven letter word but you get the idea. But the best part was Ford reinforcing our view that liberals never wanted to win this war when he said “that once… this project, this Iraq project went as bad as has…” he of course caught himself and added that we all want to win but the damage was done. Makes ya proud to be an American

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    “Bush will be remembered as the president who tried to justify torture.”

  7. enkidu Says:

    wow, shcb you sure are earning your rwnj stripes with that post!

    no one said “fuck bush” or the much more clever “buck fush”

    your “quote” is mangled as well:
    “that once… this project, this Iraq project went as bad as has…” he of course caught himself and added that we all want to win but the damage was done. ”

    here is the actual transcript:
    “that once… or if, this project, this Iraq project went as poorly as this one has, (and here is what you clipped out) that the administration would be willing to make change. And what we have seen over and over again is that this administration is not been willing – once a miscalculation, a mistake – or just a huge blunder has been realized, instead of changing course, they charge down the course and add more to it. Which is why what the Senate and Congress has done over the past few days has been the smart thing. To say to this president that a change is needed. And you are going to have to sit down, and negotiate, not just with Congress, but with the American people. Because all of us want to win.”

    gosh, let’s see, what office does the mighty sage Gary Schandling hold? errrr 3rd rate actor? So he is one step down from the Governator? And Sean Penn? First rate actor, and that should disqualify him from speaking his mind? Well, I am glad someone is speaking out. And saying what many believe: that shrubco and their enablers belong in fucking jail.

    btw… Harold Ford? Lost his last election and now chairs the almost useless DLC. I am more in line with Jim Webb.

  8. NorthernLite Says:

    Condi Rive almost, almost, issued an apology for the Maher Arar fiasco.
    Therefore, she almost, almost showed a little bit of class and humility.


  9. NorthernLite Says:

    Condi Rice*

  10. shcb Says:


    Sucks when someone takes something out of context doesn’t it. If I would edit the clip using only those sections and mix in a couple images of dead soldiers with the text “Ford wants us to loose” right before or after would you believe it?

  11. knarlyknight Says:

    And by “someone”, you mean yourself. Was that your way of apologizing shcb? If so, you suck at it.

  12. knarlyknight Says:

    Here’s someone else who, although she did not use the fucking “jail” word, thinks the thugs need to be tried for their alleged crimes.

    I give the lecture 5 stars.

  13. enkidu Says:

    great link!
    I listen to stuff like this in the background (see Dawkins lectures, almost anything on physics, quantum theory, sometimes comedy). Anything that doesn’t rely on a visual to carry it. The Daily Show requires actual eyeballs rather than just ears… She was on Colbert a few weeks ago, much more succinct, but just as a clear a clarion call: Duhmerkkkuha is already a Fascist freakshow. It is left to the great majority of the rest of America to wake the fuck up and put these criminals in jail.

    We let Nixon off and the same cast of criminals are at it again. If we don’t send these bastards to fucking jail, then America is sliding into the abyss faster than we ever thought possible.


  14. Craig Says:

    Naomi is a classic armchair theorist who likes to make lazy anecdotal assumptions to prop up a very strong opinion. Please note that these people can be virtually all of us at one point or another, so this comment is very certainly NOT directed at those with a specific political viewpoint. We just don’t all have a chance to publish a book to illuminate that fact.

    Guess what is going to end this “fascist nightmare”. People walking into a voting booth. That is what ended the “Fascist’s” Congressional majority in 2004, and it is what will end “their” Presidency in 2008 (provided the Democrats can get their heads out of their collective rears in time). It’s going to happen, and even the Administration that pulled off the greatest deception in the history of Mankind will be utterly helpless to stop it.

    Then, all we’ll have left to worry about is the ten steps that Hillary’s administration is taking to put America into a vast Socialistic state. Pre-order your books now.

  15. knarlyknight Says:

    Craig, that was a clever parody of Endgame, the entertaining new video hysteria by Alex Jones.

  16. Steve Says:

    I don’t get it. The government claims the power to detain anyone they want to arrest for as long as the government wants, never bring any charges or allow that person access to a lawyer, and then torture that person in ways that break the spirit…

    And we should be worried about Hillary being a Socialist? I’d be much more worried that she’d try to keep and/or expand those powers. Powers that in a just society should land their perpetrators in fucking jail.

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