Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So what is Eric Holder's position on this guy?

Pakistani forces accompanied by the CIA have captured a major biggie in the Taliban. This sounds like a big deal, not only because this guy is the military leader of the Taliban and his capture will harm the organization, at least in the short term, but because his capture signals a major shift by the Pakistani intelligence services.
The participation of Pakistan’s spy service could suggest a new level of cooperation from Pakistan’s leaders, who have been ambivalent about American efforts to crush the Taliban. Increasingly, the Americans say, senior leaders in Pakistan, including the chief of its army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have gradually come around to the view that they can no longer support the Taliban in Afghanistan — as they have quietly done for years — without endangering themselves. Indeed, American officials have speculated that Pakistani security officials could have picked up Mullah Baradar long ago.
The Pakistanis are leading in the interrogation of Baradar. In fact they picked him up several days ago and the New York Times had withheld the news at the request of the administration who were hoping the Pakistanis would gain intelligence from Baradar that could be used to pick up other bad guys in the Taliban.
Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader.

Disclosure of Mullah Baradar’s capture came as American and Afghan forces were in the midst of a major offensive in southern Afghanistan.

....The officials said that Pakistan was leading the interrogation of Mullah Baradar, but that Americans were also involved. The conditions of the questioning are unclear.
So if US forces are participating along with Pakistani intelligence officials, what standards of interrogation are being used? Are we telling the Pakistanis that they have to follow the Army Manual as far as what techniques should be used? After all, if American forces participated in his capture and in his interrogation, don't we bear some responsibility for how he is now treated? Remember all the hubbub asking the Bush administration whether or not we were using extraordinary rendition to send captured terrorists to other countries for interrogation? There was even a movie about how evil that was in 2007.

So what is Eric Holder's position on how this guy should be and is being treated?

We do know that the Obama administration has followed more of Bush policies than their supporters probably expected. In fact, they let it be known last year that they would continue rendition.
The Obama administration also quietly announced last summer that it would continue the practice of rendition to snatch and transfer terrorism suspects to America, or even from one country to another, outside of judicial frameworks, provided the detainees do not face the risk of torture.
Don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly happy to have the Pakistani intelligence forces work their will on this guy. I'm thrilled that the Pakistani intelligence services have apparently decided that it is no longer in their interest to give support to the Taliban because of the growing threat of the Taliban in Pakistan itself. This is the major shift that we needed from Pakistan. This is all good news, but it does raise questions as to how far the Eric Holder approach to fighting a war has permeated throughout our policies. And will liberal activists who screeched about everything that the Bush administration did that might have violated the rights of captured terrorists have the same concerns now that it is the Obama administration who is cooperating with other countries whose intelligence services might not be so tender towards those rights?