Results tagged “Jack Bauer” from onegoodmove

24 Hours

What I call a Jack Bauer technique, and it doesn't work remember It's Our Cage, Too

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Jack Bauer for President

The GOP’s Torture Enthusiasts This Week’s Republican Debate Was a Jack Bauer Impersonation Contest

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Real Time w/Bill Maher
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Jack Bauer Justice

What is it about the right-wing's penchant for TV justice. Last night it was the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore. "You know what this is really. It's Jack Bauer justice ... he should run the CIA" to which Bill Maher responds, "you do realize it's a TV show," but Rep. Barney Frank (D) Massachusetts got to the heart of the matter when he said, "It's not terrorists we're talking about, it's people accused of terrorism."

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Real Time with Bill Maher

Tick Tock

This is mandatory reading. Anyone that fails to read this will be banned. Well, I would if I could.

The Myth of the Ticking Time Bomb

Ask not for whom the bomb ticks, Mr. and Ms. America. Right now, across Los Angeles, timers on dozens of toxic nerve-gas canisters are set to detonate in just hours and send some two million Americans to their deaths in writhing agony.

But take hope. We have one chance, just one, to avert this atrocity and save the lives of millions. Agent Jack Bauer of the Counter Terrorist Unit has his hunting knife poised over the eye of a trembling traitor who may know the identity of those who set these bombs. As a clock ticks menacingly and the camera focuses on knife point poised to plunge into eyeball, the traitor breaks and identifies the Muslim terrorists, giving Agent Bauer the lead he needs to crack this case wide open.

As happens with mind-numbing regularity every week on Fox Television’s hit show 24, torture has once again worked to save us all from the terror of a ticking bomb, affirming for millions of loyal viewers that torture is a necessary weapon in George Bush’s war on terror.

"Major success from limited, surgical torture is a fable, a fiction. . . . As we slide down the slippery slope to torture in general, we should also realize that there is a chasm at the bottom called extrajudicial execution."

With torture now a key weapon in the war on terror, the time has come to interrogate the logic of the ticking time bomb with a six-point critique. For this scenario embodies our deepest fears and makes most of us quietly—unwittingly—complicit in the Bush Administration’s recourse to torture.

Number one: In the real world, the probability that a terrorist might be captured after concealing a ticking nuclear bomb in Times Square and that his captors would somehow recognize his significance is phenomenally slender. The scenario assumes a highly improbable array of variables that runs something like this:

—First, FBI or CIA agents apprehend a terrorist at the precise moment between timer’s first tick and bomb’s burst.

—Second, the interrogators somehow have sufficiently detailed foreknowledge of the plot to know they must interrogate this very person and do it right now.

—Third, these same officers, for some unexplained reason, are missing just a few critical details that only this captive can divulge.

—Fourth, the biggest leap of all, these officers with just one shot to get the information that only this captive can divulge are best advised to try torture, as if beating him is the way to assure his wholehearted cooperation.

Take the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, who sat in a Minneapolis cell in the weeks before 9/11 under desultory investigation as a possible “suicide hijacker” because the FBI did not have precise foreknowledge of Al Qaeda’s plot or his possible role. In pressing for a search warrant before 9/11, the bureau’s Minneapolis field supervisor even warned Washington he was “trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center.” But FBI headquarters in Washington replied there was no evidence Moussaoui was a terrorist—providing us with yet another reminder of how difficult it is to grasp the significance of even such stunningly accurate insight or intelligence in the absence of foreknowledge.

“After the event,” Roberta Wohlstetter wrote in her classic study of that other great U.S. intelligence failure, Pearl Harbor, “a signal is always crystal clear; we can now see what disaster it was signaling since the disaster has occurred. But before the event, it is obscure and pregnant with conflicting meanings.”

Even if the terrorist begins to talk under torture, interrogators have a hard time figuring out whether he is telling the truth or not. Testing has found that professional interrogators perform within the 45 to 60 percent range in separating truth from lies—little better than flipping a coin. Thus, as intelligence data moves through three basic stages—acquisition, analysis, and action—the chances that good intelligence will be ignored are high.