Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bush officials defend physical abuse described in memos released by Obama.

I suppose they have no option other than to try and defend themselves. So we should not be surprised that they have gone where they have gone:

Senior members of the Bush administration today defended the physical abuse of prisoners by CIA operatives at Guantánamo and elsewhere round the world set out in graphic detail in secret memos released by president Barack Obama.

General Michael Hayden, head of the CIA under president George Bush, and Michael Mukasey, who was attorney-general, criticised Obama for releasing the memos. The two accused him of pandering to the media in creating "faux outrage", undermining the morale of the intelligence services and inviting the scorn of America's enemies.

But the interrogation techniques outlined in the memos prompted a flood of calls from human rights groups and others for the prosecution of politicians, lawyers, doctors and CIA operatives involved.

It is impossible to read about what was authorised - the beatings, the sleep deprivation, the leaving of people tied to chairs for three weeks at a time, the waterboarding - and not to conclude that this was a system designed to torture people into giving information.

And, as Obama has already stated that no CIA personnel who obeyed such orders will ever be prosecuted, Hayden's fake concern for the morale of the CIA is there for everyone to see. Hayden is outraged because what they did in secret, and what they believed would always be secret, has been dragged screaming and kicking into the light.

And, with the release of these memos, Obama has made the prospect of prosecution more likely, even if it still remains a faint possibility. Obama has thrown open the doors to the dirty world which the Bush operatives inhabited and, I believe, is waiting to see if public anger at what was done will demand prosecutions.

"The release of CIA memos on interrogation methods by the US department of justice appears to have offered a get-out-of-jail-free card to people involved in torture," Amnesty International said. "Torture is never acceptable and those who conduct it should not escape justice."

I understand the point which Amnesty are making, but I think Obama - by clearing CIA officers from future prosecution - is inviting people to ask who, if anyone, should be prosecuted if one absolves the CIA from engaging in practices which they were assured was legal.

Obama is asking the public to look much further up the food chain at the people who gave the orders and at the lawyers who mangled what they knew to be the law to make the case that such barbarity was, indeed, legal. And, of course, to the people at the very top of that food chain - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld - who gave the order for this barbarity to become official US policy.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights called for prosecutions: "Whether or not CIA operatives who conducted water boarding are guaranteed immunity, it is the high level officials who conceived, justified and ordered the torture programme who bear the most responsibility for breaking domestic and international law, and it is they who must be prosecuted."

But the language of Hayden and Mukasey as they seek to justify what they did, leaves one open mouthed:

"Disclosure of the techniques is likely to be met by faux outrage and is perfectly packaged for media consumption. It will also incur the utter contempt of our enemies.

"Somehow, it seems unlikely that the people who beheaded Nicholas Berg [the US businessman who was killed in Iraq] and Daniel Pearl [the US journalist killed in Pakistan], and have tortured and slain other American captives, are likely to be shamed into giving up violence by the news that the US will no longer interrupt that sleep cycle of captured terrorists even to help elicit intelligence that could save the lives of its citizens."

There is nothing "faux" about the outrage which many of us feel when the world's leading democracy engages in actions which would not have been out of place in the days of the Spanish Inquisition.

Nor is there any sense of shame in Hayden and Mukasey's defence of what was done. Indeed, they appear to think that what was done was justified. With every word and with every "faux" justification, they hang themselves.

They are now publicly arguing the case for torture.

The terrorist Abu Zubaydah (sometimes derided as a low-level operative of questionable reliability, but who was in fact close to KSM and other senior al Qaeda leaders) disclosed some information voluntarily. But he was coerced into disclosing information that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh, another of the planners of Sept. 11, who in turn disclosed information which -- when combined with what was learned from Abu Zubaydah -- helped lead to the capture of KSM and other senior terrorists, and the disruption of follow-on plots aimed at both Europe and the U.S. Details of these successes, and the methods used to obtain them, were disclosed repeatedly in more than 30 congressional briefings and hearings beginning in 2002, and open to all members of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress beginning in September 2006. Any protestation of ignorance of those details, particularly by members of those committees, is pretense.

They are clearly arguing that the end justifies the means.

History will condemn them, as it will the entire logic with which the Bush administration blackened America's name.

The only question now is whether or not the Obama Justice Department will step in and do the right thing by prosecuting these people, or whether they will be left to simply face history's disapprobation.

I would strongly argue that what is desperately needed is the former. If there is no prosecution, then future administrations might be able to argue that there is precedence for the use of torture in exceptional circumstances. In a civilised society that is a view that cannot be allowed to stand.

Stacy Sullivan, of Human Rights Watch, echoed this: "President Obama said there was nothing to gain 'by laying blame for the past'. But prosecuting those responsible for torture is really about ensuring that such crimes don't happen in the future."

There is a huge difference between "laying blame for the past" and "assigning responsibility for crimes". I can think of no other crime for which an American president would argue that we should "look forward and not backwards." A crime was committed here. And, as Mukasey and Hayden make abundantly clear, the criminals feel no shame at what they have done. Indeed, they are condemning Obama for having the temerity to expose them.

They are stating that they would do it again.


That is why prosecuting them is of such importance. A line needs to be drawn in the sand.

UPDATE:

Turley: You know, it's not retribution to enforce criminal laws. But it is, is obstruction to prevent that enforcement, and that's exactly what he's done thus far. He is trying to lay the groundwork to look principled when he's doing an utterly unprincipled thing. There's very few things worse for a president to do than to protect accused war criminals, and that's what we're talking about here.
UPDATE II:

I am pleased to note that Glenn Greenwald is also of the opinion that Obama is laying the way for public anger to demand prosecutions and that there is already evidence that the public favour prosecutions:
But more crucially, it is also the responsibility of the citizenry to demand that this happen. What Obama did yesterday -- whether by design or not -- provided the most potent tools yet to create the political pressure for prosecutions. As Kevin Drum makes clear, no decent human being reading those memos would be anything other than repelled by what was in them. Polls already found that large percentages of Americans, majorities even, favor investigations and/or prosecutions for Bush crimes. The onus is on those who believe in the rule of law to find ways to force the government to criminally investigate whether they want to or not (this petition demanding that Holder appoint a Special Prosecutor is a very good place to begin, though it will require much more than just petitions).
Americans need to make their voices known on this issue. Left only with the O'Reilly's and the Rove's of this world, it is possible to believe that most Americans don't care about what was done in their name.

Click title for full article.

25 comments:

gravel kucinich paul nader said...

This is the Lawyered-up Propaganda produced for mass consumption.

The REAL memos are leaking out all over the place ~

Thank you whistle blowers!

Kel said...

The sooner it is all made public the better.

Hate said...

"They are clearly arguing that the end justifies the means."


No, they are stating the FACTS, the memos described nothing that was against the law, all of it is perfectly legal.

Kel said...

No, they are stating the FACTS, the memos described nothing that was against the Chaining someone to a chair and leaving them there for three weeks is illegal. Putting someone into a collar so that you can smash their faces against a wall is illegal. Waterboarding is illegal. Perhaps you should reread the UN Convention Against Torture which was signed into US Law by Ronald Reagan.

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession.What they did was textbook torture.

Hate said...

Kel,

You don't have a CLUE as to what you are talking about.

18 U.S.C. sec. 2340 provides the definitions of what constitutes torture (emphasis mine):


As used in this chapter--

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from--
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe
physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and

(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.
http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2009/04/no-prosecution-because-no-crime.html


Nothing described in the memos is torture.



Kel "is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession"

WRONG!!!!!

“torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.


Nothing in the memos is torture under this law.

Kel said...

Nothing in the memos is torture under this law. Let's see how that view holds up once the Justice Department review exactly what took place here.

Most sentient human beings regard waterboarding as torture. They certainly would regard chaining someone to a chair for three weeks to be a form of torture. I see you disagree. Let's see what the Justice Department says.

Kel said...

Kel "is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession"

WRONG!!!!!
Sorry, maybe I didn't make myself very clear, but that is a direct quote from the UN Convention Against Torture to which your country is a signatory.

“torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.Are you saying that when they slam someone's head off a wall that they do not intend to inflict severe physical pain?

Likewise, when they waterboard someone and induce within that person the fear that they are going to die through drowning, are you seriously saying that the thought of imminent death is not causing someone "severe mental suffering"?

What about the black cells, where people are kept in solitary confinement for months at a time in total darkness, does that constitute "severe mental pain"?

Hate said...

"Most sentient human beings regard waterboarding as torture."

No, only the delusional ones.


"They certainly would regard chaining someone to a chair for three weeks to be a form of torture"

It isn't according to US law. I posted the law for you why do you run away from it?



“torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain"

Perhaps you didn't read this, it says "specifically intended" to inflict pain/suffering when it is blatantly clear that the memos went to great effort to AVOID great pain or suffering.

When waterboarding as done by the CIA inflicts nothing but a possible nightmare, it isn't torture.


"black cells,"

That is not on the list of approved enhanced interrogation methods.

Kel said...

It isn't according to US law. I posted the law for you why do you run away from it?International law supersedes US law, why don't you know that?

And your country is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the very kind of acts which the Bush regime indulged in.

Perhaps you didn't read this, it says "specifically intended" to inflict pain/suffering when it is blatantly clear that the memos went to great effort to AVOID great pain or suffering.Perhaps you don't believe that putting someone's head in a collar and slamming them off a wall is "specifically intended" to cause pain, which wouldn't surprise me, as you seem willing to defend anything that this bunch of thugs engaged in.

Kel said...

Oh, and by the way, as you keep insisting that waterboarding is not torture, can you explain why the US have prosecuted people so often for doing it?


In the United States, waterboarding has long been considered illegal or a violation of military rules of conduct. The earliest known case of a prosecution for waterboarding occurred in 1901 when an Army major was sentenced to 10 years in prison for waterboarding a Filipino guerrilla insurgent during the Philippine-American War. In 1926 the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a black man accused of murder because his confession had been obtained by waterboarding.


World War II (1939-1945) American prosecutors convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Allied prisoners of war. The soldiers were tried as part of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. During the Vietnam War, a U.S. soldier who participated in the waterboarding of a North Vietnamese prisoner of war was court-martialed in 1968. As recently as 1983, a Texas sheriff was sentenced to ten years in prison for waterboarding suspects in an attempt to coerce confessions.


In 1994 the United States ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). When this international treaty was ratified, its provisions became U.S. law. The convention defined torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.”

Hate said...

"And your country is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the very kind of acts which the Bush regime indulged in."

You should try reading it, because it certainly does NOT prohibit was was described in the memos.


"head in a collar and slamming them off a wall is "specifically intended" to cause pain,"

Not when it is a FAKE wall, it is clear you have not read the Convention because you don't know what you are talking about.

Hate said...

"In the United States, waterboarding has long been considered illegal or a violation of military rules of conduct. The earliest known case of a prosecution for waterboarding occurred in 1901 when an Army major was sentenced to 10 years in prison for waterboarding a Filipino guerrilla insurgent during the Philippine-American War. In 1926 the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a black man accused of murder because his confession had been obtained by waterboarding."


Once again you prove you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

The "waterboarding" done by the CIA was very different from what was done in WWII and in 1901.

Back then water was poured down the throats and noses of those being waterboarding, people actually drowned from that.

But what the CIA did was a SIMULATION of that, and causes absolutely NO harm.

This is what was done in 1901,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cure

and it is NOT what the CIA has been doing.

You incorrectly believe that because they have the same name, what the CIA did was illegal.





And here is how the CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE defines torture:

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental.http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

Neither waterboarding nor any other of the methods the CIA uses causes SEVERE pain or suffering, mental or physical.



You, like most of those of your ilk, never bother to GET INFORMED instead you dance to your puppet masters.

Kel said...

The "waterboarding" done by the CIA was very different from what was done in WWII and in 1901.Back then water was poured down the throats and noses of those being waterboarding, people actually drowned from that.

But what the CIA did was a SIMULATION of that, and causes absolutely NO harm.
What the CIA do is put a cloth over the persons face and induce suffocation. The Red Cross said that this caused "considerable" pain, indeed one of the people it was done to lost control of their bowels and urinated. And why is the presence of a doctor necessary if the patient is in no danger as you claim?

Neither waterboarding nor any other of the methods the CIA uses causes SEVERE pain or suffering, mental or physical.You really need to read The Red Cross report, as you are talking blatant nonsense. If a person believes that they are going to die you do not think that would cause SEVERE mental punishment?

Not when it is a FAKE wall.Abu Zabaydah was slammed off of a concrete wall. Others report being repeatedly punched and kicked and slapped.

I'm afraid you are the one who needs to GET INFORMED.

Kel said...

Watch This.

Hate said...

"What the CIA do is put a cloth over the persons face and induce suffocation"

That is a blatant LIE.



"The Red Cross said that this caused "considerable" pain"

What the ICRC has to say about anything is pure BS, 10s of thousands of US soldiers and CIA personnel have gone through it and it doesn't cause any pain.




"Zabaydah was slammed off of a concrete wall. Others report being repeatedly punched and kicked and slapped"

Just more Leftwing bullshit lies.



As for your video, if this is supposed to be "torture" then why did he VOLUNTARILY go through it a SECOND time?


"I'm afraid you are the one who needs to GET INFORMED"

You are the one who tries to compare what the CIA did with a completely different method used decades ago.

Hate said...

The fact is, that the WORST the CIA simulated waterboarding does is that it MIGHT give you bad dreams.

Only a pussy lib would think that is severe suffering.

Kel said...

Okay, I get where you are coming from. Anything that proves your point wrong is instantly dismissed as "left wing bullshit" and the International Red Cross are simply dismissed as "liars." Despite their worldwide reputation in these matters, you simply dismiss them because, like Mugabe, their message does not fit in with your world view.

You are not interested in facts, and certainly not in any facts which run contrary to the bizarre ones in your own little right wing head.

And you are right to say that US soldiers and CIA personnel have been waterboarded, what you omitted to say was that SERE is a way of preparing US personnel for the possibility of capture by nations who do not abide by the Geneva Conventions and who might torture them.They are waterboarded precisely to enable them to resist torture, a fact which you simply ignore.

And, of course, you avoid my other questions regarding the SEVERE mental punishment in leading persons to believe that they are going to die. Mock executions are, of course, blatantly illegal, and yet you continue to defend such behaviour as somehow reasonable.

I should have known it was idiocy to try to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who gives themselves the nickname, "Hate".

Hate said...

I dismiss the ICRC because they are nothing more than a Leftist organization pushing the Leftist agenda, unlike the American Red Cross which has a true non-partisan agenda of helping people. And their report is based on nothing more than the unsubstantiated claims of a few people who certainly can't be trusted to provide trustworthy testimony.


"And, of course, you avoid my other questions regarding the SEVERE mental punishment in leading persons to believe that they are going to die"

You see, you just blatantly lie and then can't understand why I dismiss your claims. There isn't anything described in those memos that makes people believe that they are going to die, let alone cause severe mental suffering.

It is also clear that you didn't bother to read the US law, which defines severe mental punishment as:

"means the prolonged mental harm"

Hate said...

I dismiss the ICRC because they are nothing more than a Leftist organization pushing the Leftist agenda, unlike the American Red Cross which has a true non-partisan agenda of helping people. And their report is based on nothing more than the unsubstantiated claims of a few people who certainly can't be trusted to provide trustworthy testimony.


"And, of course, you avoid my other questions regarding the SEVERE mental punishment in leading persons to believe that they are going to die"

You see, you just blatantly lie and then can't understand why I dismiss your claims. There isn't anything described in those memos that makes people believe that they are going to die, let alone cause severe mental suffering.

It is also clear that you didn't bother to read the US law, which defines severe mental punishment as:

"prolonged mental harm"

Kel said...

I dismiss the ICRC because they are nothing more than a Leftist organization pushing the Leftist agendaThey are nothing of the sort and you dismiss them because what they are saying doesn't fit in with your political viewpoint.

And their report is based on nothing more than the unsubstantiated claims of a few people who certainly can't be trusted to provide trustworthy testimony.No, their testimony deserves to be given great credit as they had all been kept in solitary confinement and all told basically the same stories of abuse. The fact that these stories sounded so alike from men who had had no opportunity to collaborate was one of the things which the ICRC highlighted.

There isn't anything described in those memos that makes people believe that they are going to die, let alone cause severe mental suffering.The people being waterboarded believe that they are being drowned. Indeed, they are being drowned. That's why the US have to have a doctor present in case there is a need to perform a tracheotomy, which suggests the entire procedure is much more dangerous than you appear to believe in this halcyon world you inhabit.

...a detainee could suffer spasms of the larynx that would prevent him from breathing even when the application of water is stopped and the detainee is returned to an upright position. In the event of such spasms, a qualified physician would immediately intervene to address the problem, and, if necessary, the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy.... we are informed that the necessary emergency medical equipment is always present- although not visible to the detainee- during any application of the waterboard.And doctors disagree with your statement that this does not cause severe mental suffering:

Defenders of waterboarding say that the procedure, while awful for the prisoner, is relatively safe and has few long-term effects. But doctors and psychologists who work with torture victims disagree strongly. They say that victims of American waterboarding—like the Chileans submitted to the submarinounder Pinochet—are likely to be psychologically damaged for life."This is an utterly terrifying event," says Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/New York University School of Medicine Program for Survivors of Torture. "Psychologically this can result in significant long-term post traumatic stress, and produce anxiety and depression."Not that I expect these facts to have any bearing on you at all. You will simply dismiss them as "left wing doctors" I presume.

The truth is that you simply don't care what was done to these people. That's what's just underneath your pretence that what was done to them was somehow legal.

Hate said...

Proof of your lying bullshit:

What was done in Chile was ACTUAL DROWNING you stupid fuck and yes that can be a traumatic. But what was done by the CIA is a SIMULATION of drowning designed to draw on the FEAR of drowning, no different than riding a scary ride where you simulate falling and briefly believe you are falling even though you are not.

What Keller refers to isn't what the CIA did:

"One patient whose head was repeatedly submerged during torture has constant flashbacks."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599189272100/print

You see you can't stop your fucking liberal lying.

You are the scum of the earth and shouldn't be allowed to waste good oxygen.

Hate said...

"their testimony deserves to be given great credit "

Their testimony deserves ZERO credit, they have no credibility at all.

"as they had all been kept in solitary confinement "

So they CLAIM, no credibility to to back that up.

Hate said...

And you are right, I don't give a damn what they do to those things we are fighting. In fact, I think they should practice these methods on a few million liberals.

Hate said...

"They are waterboarded precisely to enable them to resist torture"

Yes, the waterboarding is done to SIMULATE possible REAL torture that they will likely receive. Just as the CIA is a simulation and not real torture.


As for the ICRC report, once the 14 were transferred to GITMO they could have talked with each other, talked with other inmates, and probably did.

Their story has no credibility and is for nothing more than lawsuits against the US to try to get money, or to try to spread propaganda against the US, or both. Nothing more. The Al Quaeda training manuals captured in Afghanistan outlined just how to do this if they are captures, spread anti-America stores to stoke anti-American feelings.

No the report is pure unsubstantiated BS.

Kel said...

What was done in Chile was ACTUAL DROWNING you stupid fuck and yes that can be a traumatic. Consider yourself banned you stupid right wing asshole.

I'm actually tired of arguing with someone who is as stupid as a bloody post anyway.

All your future comments will be deleted.