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November 14, 2007

Rudy Giuliani's tall tales of torture

My latest ITT column is up.

Rudy Giuliani made the following statement on Bloomberg TV in an interview that aired Nov. 2:

I can’t say that I [know more about torture than Sen. John McCain], but I do know a lot about intensive questioning and intensive questioning techniques. After all, I have had a different experience than John. John has never run city, never run a state, never run a government. He has never been responsible as a mayor for the safety and security of millions of people, and he has never run a law enforcement agency, which I have done. Now, intensive questioning works. If I didn’t use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of mafia guys running around New York right now and crime would be a lot higher in New York than it is. Intensive question has to be used. Torture should not be used. The line between the two is a difficult one.

I was shocked by these claims. Giuliani said that he busted the mob and reduced the crime rate using "intensive" techniques that are difficult to differentiate from torture?

Find out, here.

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Force Rudy innumerate what those techniques are.

I lived in New York while he was mayor and, frankly, just seeing his face on my TV again is torture to me.

And I'm nearly as shocked that Rudy keeps tooting his own horn about all the power he had in NYC. Is NYC a big govt? Yes. But, especially in Rudy's era, being mayor is not quite the executive power he claims it is.

When Rudy was in power, there was no Mayoral control (though there is now).

He couldn't regulate housing law in NYC (New York State was responsible).

He couldn't control the subways. (again, the State)

Bridges? Tunnels? Port Authority of NY and NJ - not Rudy. (although I think some bridges were State or Fed)

Rudy couldn't even meet with leaders of the African-American community. Oh, wait - that was just by choice.

But credit where credit is due: he did a bang-up job getting those potholes filled. And picking a sensible location for his $15 million emergency response center (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E2D7173DF937A25755C0A96E958260).

The only trouble is, Rudy used "enhanced interrogation techniques" against an innocent man and still got the wrong information...

Shouldn't the fact that 9/11 happened on his watch be a strike AGAINST Rudy?

I'm all in favor of pointing out that Giuliani is an authoritarian control freak who is unfit to be president. But I don't think it's correct to claim that saying The line between the intensive questioning and torture is a difficult one is the same thing as saying "I used intenstive questioning techniques that are difficult to differentiate from torture." I think you are making a pretty common logical mistake.

Let's say I'm trying to determine how many hairs on the face constitute a beard. Is is the case that having 44 hairs means you don't have a beard and having 45 hairs means you do? It might be the case that the line between "hair on the face" and "a beard" is a difficult one to draw. That doesn't mean there isn't a difference between the two. It also doesn't mean that it's not easy in some cases--let's say I have a single hair on my chin--to say definitively "I have hair on my face, and I don't have a beard."

I'd say there's a continuum of intensive questioning techiniques, going from the clearly permissible on one end to the hard-to-tell-from-torture on the other. Our former mayor could boast about applying those on the clearly permissible end of the specturm without admiting using the quasi-torturous ones on the other. Giuliani says plenty of outrageous things on his own. You don't need to put words in his mouth.

"Shouldn't the fact that 9/11 happened on his watch be a strike AGAINST Rudy?"

Explain that logic? How is a mayor suppossed to stop two planes flown from other cities ariports from slamming into the WTC? Was he privy to CIA, FBI and NSA intel? Could he scramble fighter jets to intercept? Does NYC have anti-aircraft weaponry that was not utilized? No, no, no and no. So how is it a strike against him?

I figured we'd eventually get from torturing foreign “terrorists” to torturing domestic suspects/captives. I must confess I’m surprised that it’s happening so fast.

I guess the re-incarnation of DaVinci thinks being mayor of Chinatown constitutes training in foreign policy. I just saw at Huffington that he says he can mediate a settlement to the writers strike. Will that be before you cure cancer or after you write 2 books. sir?

You have to use the methods of the mob to defeat the mob. In fact, I'd go further: you have to nominate people with actual mob ties to positions such as NYPD Commissioner, or head of Homeland Security if you're going to have any chance of keeping honest citizens safe.

parse -

Suppose a man said, "I've never had a beard. But I have had hair on my face. The line between the two is a difficult one."

The implication would be that he almost grew a beard.

Giuliani was implying that he almost committed torture.

Giuliani's declaration that he doesn't know if waterboarding is torture further taints him on this subject.

Eric Jaffa, you point is well taken. But I don't expect a journalist to write "Giuliani said that. . ." if she means "Guiliani implied that. . ." I think Lindsey could improve as a writer by being more precise.

Again, look at what Giuliani actually said: Intensive question has to be used. Torture should not be used. The line between the two is a difficult one. Since he's running for an office where he's likely to be the one drawing a line, it's proper to put his feet to the fire and make him tell us where he would draw it. I think making him responsible for what he really said is more useful than claiming he said things that he merely implied.

If I didn't use intensive questioning, there would be a lot of mafia guys running around New York right now
How intensively did he question Bernard Kerik about his mafia ties?

You don't need waterboarding, you need someone with good judgment. Not Rudy.

Shouldn't the fact that 9/11 happened on his watch be a strike AGAINST Rudy?

On 9/11, a bunch of terrorists achieved a stunning tactical victory that bypassed New York's entire anti-terrorism capability. It's not Giulani's fault that the planes hit the towers, but it's certainly not a point in his favor. I wish he'd stop bringing it up like it is.

It's not a good idea to put trust in people who have shown poor judgement.

Guiliani put New York's Office of Emergency Management sqarely in the center of an open board, as my dad used to say when I was little and he taught me chess.

That's bad.

It's in some little building situated under the Brooklyn Bridge now. Oh, that's much better.

It's not a good idea to put trust in people who have shown poor judgement.

Guiliani put New York's Office of Emergency Management squarely in the center of an open board, as my dad used to say when I was little and he taught me chess.

That's bad.

It's in some little building situated under the Brooklyn Bridge now. That's much better.

>But I don't expect a journalist to write "Giuliani said that. . ." if she means "Guiliani implied that. . ." I think Lindsey could improve as a writer by being more precise.

>I think making him responsible for what he really said is more useful than claiming he said things that he merely implied.

Hey, Mr./Ms. Close Reading, you did notice that there was this thing called a "question mark" at the end of the sentence? (Look, there's another one!)

I think that framing the statement as a question (in the informal setting of a blog, for Chrissake) moves it plenty close enough to claiming simple implication.

Did Rudy really clean up the mob? Or did he just clean up the competition?

Speaking of torture, have you seen the RCMP execution of a disoriented man in the Vancouver airport? The video is at the Globe and Mail's site (http://tinyurl.com/ysx53k).

Dock Miles, adding the question mark, even to pose a rhetorical question, probably does move the assertion pretty strongly in the direction of implication, especially "in the informal setting of a blog" as you point out. But the linked article, also authored by Beyerstein, makes the same argument as an assertion three separate times.

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani . . . announced on television that . . .his brand of intensive interrogation was difficult to differentiate from torture.

Giuliani said that the techniques that he favors are difficult to differentiate from torture.

For Giuliani’s sake, let’s hope he’s simply lying, rather than admitting that he committed criminal acts while he was a high-ranking public official.

She also reports that Giuliani claims to have use methods that violate the rules of the NYPD. Giuliani’s alleged exploits don’t square with the policies and practices of the New York City Police Department, either.

Again, I don't think reporting that Giuliani admitted using illegal interrogation tactics is good journalism, and I think it's less useful than pressing him to define clearly where the line between interrogation and torture rests.

B-money, you're kidding right?

The radios! The radio frequency. The placement of the EMC in the WTC AFTER the '93 attack! The love nests, the list goes on, and on, and on.

Not to mention Rudy's daring grandstanding on the backs of 3000 dead. If he couldn't protect New York from thugs on planes, how can he claim to be the only one who can protect the good ole USA? Particularly considering the man has a history of very, very bad judgment.

Rudy will not get the nod. If anything, he may get a jail sentence.

Not to mention, B-money, the GOP rightwingnuts like to pin 9/11 on Clinton. But if you're going to give a pass to Rudy, and Bush, on whose ACTUAL watch 9/11 occured...when THEY say, that even though they/Bush/Cheney, were warned, they/Bush/Cheney
couldn't believe, or, as Condi Rice said "no one could 'imagine'"...how are you gonna pin this on Bill, or Hill...in the up coming election cycle?

You, and your rightwingers are fucked. The numbers are soooo against you, and yours, that your party won't even be able to steal this election, this time.

(Tipping point, over played hand...how many metaphors do you need, money?)

Money...is that all you've got?

Do you NEED to BE Money?

First off mudkitty, I am not a Republican, so your attacks about "my party" are wasted. I am not a neo-con, right winger,a wing nut or any othe insult you people like to throw out. But I am also not a left-wingnut like you. I am open to hearing both sides and voting for the person I feel with represent my views the best. Basically it comes down to voting for a lesser of two evils usually, at least at the national level for President.

As for your 9/11 conspiracy theories, maybe you should hit up the Bill Maher Show. He loves your ilk!

I do not think Rudi can be held accountable for the cause of 9/11. Bush, yes. Clinton, yes. CIA, FBI, NSA? Yes. There is plenty of blame to go around.

I am not a real big Rudi G. supporter, so I could care less about what you think of him. I just feel it is unfair to say that he is culpable. I DO AGREE that he does milk 9/11 and I also AGREE that his actions surrounding and after make no more qualified to protect this ocuntry than HRC, Obama, Edwards, Romney, etc. But it's politics and he is playing to what his people view as a strength.

By the waym steal an election this time??? My God! It's 2007 for pete's sake! Let it go! It happened. It's over. Bush is gone in 14 months. We need to look forward, not back. That is why nothing gets done. People like you muck up the works.

First of all, Bull shit, MONEY. I've been reading your crap long enough to know you're not only not open minded, but reactionary. And you're reacting to progressive and liberal ideas in a negative way, constantly. So stop with the crap that you're no republican, because if you're not, you might as well be.

I'm not, nor have I ever advocated 9/11 conspiracy theories. It's not a conspiracy theory to say that 9/11 happened on Bush and Rudy's watch. It's just a fact.

As for blame to go around...the blame on Rudy is that he was ill prepared, and made judgments that made 9/11 worse than it had to be (resulting in the deaths of over 200 NYFD.) But clearly, you don't want to address that - the point!

*****

One doesn't "get over" the theft of a national election if one loves their Nation, their country; if one loves the notion of freedom, and free elections. One doesn't "get over" those things if one actually gives a shit about the U.S. Constitution. Nor will history get over it, because the theft of the 2000 election, and the corruption in Ohio 2004, is the very stuff of history itself.

Hip yourself.

>But the linked article, also authored by Beyerstein, makes the same argument as an assertion three separate times.

So your complaints have always been about the ITT article and not the blog entry? Seems to me that piece is ultimately the responsibility of the editors there. Shouldn't you be wasting their time yipping about journalistic standards, instead of ours?

Blaiming Rudi for 9/11 is over the top. Not as loony as trying to lay the whole rap on Bill Clinton, but over the top nonetheless. Actually undercuts the credibility of complaining about his incessant exploitation of the tragedy.

However, I also insist that Americans have become entirely too accustomed to accepting "just get over it" as a response to outrageous injustices. It's very, very, very corrosive. I was horrified that people didn't hammer harder on Gerald Ford for pardoning Nixon. Sure, it was a relief at the time. But people won't acknowledge that, even back then, it felt like shoving an elephant (so to speak) under the rug and hoping everybody would just forget it was there. That was the moment when this country accepted that a President could be above the law, and we couldn't pretend we didn't know. Every time an unjust enormity is allowed to float by, it insures that there will be more, and more, and worse.

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