Monday, December 10, 2007

Rebellion in U.S. Intelligence Community & Torture American Style : A Matter of Semantics

"In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic," said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. "But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.' " ( members of Congress knew as early as 2002 about the New Improved Techniques ( torture: waterboarding etc. ) being used on " detainees " )

Just because this happened just after 9/11 is no excuse for allowing torture to take place.Or are we to believe that those in the know did not know what did or did not constitute torture . Are we to believe that these people never thought about what might or might not constitute torture at any time in their lives . If so then something is amiss in our society & our institutions from churches to schools & university .

Anyway the release of the NIE report on Iran's nuclear program & the release of information regarding the C.I.A.s illegal destruction of hundreds of hours of videotapes of interrogation sessions tells us that something is happening in the American Intelligence community.

In a recent article journalist Gwynne Dyer is of the opinion that intelligence agencies insisted that the NIE report be made public in part to prevent Bush from spreading more propaganda against Iran in his desire to attack Iran. Now Bush is forced to create new arguments for going to war with Iran & the public & other nations are going to be more skeptical of anything the Bush Regime comes up with.

As Gwynne Dyer argues:
Gwynne Dyer: Common sense tops spying on Iran
Monday, December 10, 2007 By Gwynne Dyer
( Columbus Dispatch Ohio )

For four years the Bush administration told us that Iran must be subject to sanctions, and maybe to military attack, because it was secretly working on nuclear weapons.

Suddenly, last week, the U.S. intelligence agencies tell President Bush that for the past four years Iran has not been working on nuclear weapons. So he announces that unless Iran abandons its civilian nuclear-power program, it must be subject to sanctions and maybe to military attack anyway, because, "What's to say they couldn't start another covert nuclear-weapons program?"

Even the 16 agencies (16!) that produce the National Intelligence Estimate didn't expect to shake Bush's determination to go after Iran. That's why they insisted that the new NIE be declassified and published so quickly. It was a pre-emptive strike to make it more difficult politically for Bush to press ahead.

Like the U.S. armed forces, the intelligence services are in a state of near-mutiny as they watch Bush drag the country toward another unnecessary and unwinnable war. But how come the same intelligence agencies were telling us two years ago with "high confidence" that Iran was developing nuclear weapons?

And in this article we have another " detainee " accusing the US government of torture- " state-sanctioned torture " which C.I.A. claims were not " torture " but rather "special methods of questioning" ( which is just another euphemism for " torture " The lawyer in the case insist there is evidence of this which has been collected by the C.I.A & he insists that the court intervene to insure that they do not destroy such evidence if it exists.

Man Held by CIA Says He Was Tortured by William Glaberson The New York Times Sunday 09 December 2007

Washington - The first of the so-called high-value Guantánamo detainees to have seen a lawyer claims he was subjected to "state-sanctioned torture" while in secret C.I.A. prisons, and he has asked for a court order barring the government from destroying evidence of his treatment.

The request, in a filing by his lawyers, was made on Nov. 29, before officials from the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged that the agency had destroyed videotapes of interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda that current and former officials said included the use of harsh techniques.

Lawyers for the detainee, Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident, released documents in his case on Friday. They claim he "was subjected to an aggressive C.I.A. detention and interrogation program notable for its elaborate planning and ruthless application of torture" to numerous detainees.

The documents also suggest that Mr. Khan, 27, and other high-value detainees are now being held in a previously undisclosed area of the Guantánamo prison in Cuba he called Camp 7.

Asked about Mr. Khan's assertions, Mark Mansfield, a C.I.A. spokesman, said, "the United States does not conduct or condone torture." He said a small number of "hardened terrorists" had required what he called "special methods of questioning" in what he called a lawful and carefully run program.

Mr. Khan's lawyers claim that "there is a substantial risk that the torture evidence will disappear." They did not specify what evidence they believe may exist.

An intelligence official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the C.I.A.'s interrogations of Mr. Khan were not videotaped.

Mr. Dixon, one of Mr. Khan's lawyers, said Saturday that the admission that officials had destroyed videotapes of interrogations showed why such an order was needed.

"They are no longer entitled to a presumption that the government has acted lawfully or in good faith," Mr. Dixon said.

As we see in this article Mark Mansfield of the C.I.A. says the United States does not condone torture but is this the whole truth. We have to question such an opinion because he is saying that the techniques used by the C.I.A. & the Pentagon are those which the Bush administration says are legal & do not in their opinion constitute torture. Again its all a matter of how you define torture. According to the Bush Regime only methods which put the detainee's life in immediate peril qualify as torture. This is a rather narrow definition of torture .

Torture can be defined as any technique which causes unnecessary pain physical or psychological. Interrogation techniques do not have to be life threatening to constitute torture . For instances shoving bamboo strips under a person's finger nails is not life threatening but most people would describe such a method as torture. Sleep deprivation & sensory overload or sensory deprivation are also considered as forms of torture. It is not life-threatening to keep lights on in detainees cells 24/7 or soldiers shouting all through the night or playing music loudly 24/7 but these techniques are considered to be torture according to International Law & common sense.

We can also include as torture any actions which are degrading & humiliating. These techniques include sodomizing detainees or having detainees merely to pretend to sodomize another detainee as in pretending to perform oral sex on another detainee . Having guards force naked detainees to pile one on top of another to make a human pyramid or leading a detainee, i.e. a human being ,around on a leash & making him bark like a dog is degrading & humiliating & can have severe psychological consequences for the victims. Even though many American citizens , law makers , members of Congress & Bush & his cronies & the guards in these cases think this is harmless fun it is not & constitutes a form of torture.

What strikes me as most disturbing about all of this is the number of American journalists, religious leaders , professionals & average citizens who defend these tactics being used against alleged terrorists . It is odd how so many people claim that Arabs & Muslims in general have no respect for human life or a concern for how other people should be treated. Yet these same people by defending the use of such tactics against detainees reveals how little respect they have for human life & the dignity of others.

When we hear of the various atrocities committed by Us soldiers & the Private Contractors ( mercenaries ) in Iraq we have to wonder whether Americans in general see all foreigners & especially Arabs & Muslims as an Inferior Race . Is this why So many Americans are willing to defend the use of various torture techniques & to rape, & murder innocent Iraqi civilians because all of these people are " Subhumans "& therefore not deserving of the same rights as American citizens .

see video tape at YOUTUBE :

US Army are Idiots! rape in Iraq is funny
from: Guerrila Radio
Beware the language & subject matter are brutal , disturbing , graphic & offensive so watch at your own risk.

This is another example of how the US military has helped to dehumanize & demonize Iraqi civilians to the extent that these soldiers can not imagine that what they have done from rape to murder is somehow illegal, immoral , cruel & goes against Western Civilization's oft trumpeted values . It also show the damage done to these young soldiers humanity & sense of decency turning them into vicious monsters or if you like sociopaths like their leaders in Washington . But America is as far as morals go " Morally Bankrupt " & possibly beyond redemption . But I'm sure Bush & Co. along with CNN, Fox News , Time , NewsWeek ,& most of the major American Media & the soulless ones hate mongers like Condoleeza Rice & Glenn Beck & Ann Coulter & Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh & the no longer funny Dennis Miller etc. would defend such actions as long as these soldiers were doing their duty & following orders & said their Christian prayers every day like good little automotons.

We must remind those in authority & the public at large that other groups were characterized in the same way for centuries such as Blacks or Gypsies , or Jews who also were seen as part of a " Subhuman Race " & therefore not entitled to the same rights as White Christians or Aryans . Now it is not as acceptable as it once was to treat these groups as a little less than human . So now our society has decided that it is OK to treat Arabs & Muslims & anyone who is labeled a " terrorist " in whatever way the authorities wish to treat them since these people are not just enemy combatants but are part of a Subhuman race out to destroy Western Civilization & Christianity .

And in the following report we discover that some members of the Congress including Speaker of the House Pelosi knew as far back as 2002 that " Torture " was being used & yet they did nothing about it & one is left wondering how far would they have let the Bush administration take these tactics . I also hope this clears up any understanding how involved & how culpable Nancy Pelosi was in all this by not informing others , by not sounding the alarm , by not protesting no instead she thought these tactics were justified in her own desire for revenge against the 9/11 hijackers.

Hopefully this is another warning against Hilary Clinton who has defends Nancy Pelosi over & over again. We can also speculate that Hilary Clinton & other Democrats were well aware of what was going on which explains why so many of them have been rather cautious in their criticisms of the Bush Regime's use of these questionable tactics .
According to how I understand the law anyone who knowingly takes part or knows of a criminal activity & does nothing is also considered as being guilty by keeping silent.

Again go check out the Geneva Conventions & other International Laws regarding torture & " War Crimes" as were developed during & after the Nuremberg Trials - but I would be surprised to discover that Americans were actually taught in their schools or in Universities about these International Laws or even about the Nuremberg Trials since Americans believe that only the laws they create have any real weight. But we forget America did up to recently have domestic laws preventing the use of torture but these laws have been shelved as Americans in their thirst for revenge want to teach NOT ONLY ARABS , MUSLIMS & TERRORISTS WHO IS THE BOSS BUT THE THE WHOLE WORLD . The Americans are like the Mafia sometimes they have to remind the public who actually runs the show .

The Washington Post
Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002 By Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen Sunday 09 December 2007

In meetings, spy panels' chiefs did not protest, officials say.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort. The CIA last week admitted that videotape of an interrogation of one of the waterboarded detainees was destroyed in 2005 against the advice of Justice Department and White House officials, provoking allegations that its actions were illegal and the destruction was a coverup.

Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

"In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic," said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. "But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.' "

... GOP lawmakers and Bush administration officials have previously said members of Congress were well informed and were supportive of the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques. But the details of who in Congress knew what, and when, about waterboarding - a form of simulated drowning that is the most extreme and widely condemned interrogation technique - have not previously been disclosed.

U.S. law requires the CIA to inform Congress of covert activities and allows the briefings to be limited in certain highly sensitive cases to a "Gang of Eight," including the four top congressional leaders of both parties as well as the four senior intelligence committee members. In this case, most briefings about detainee programs were limited to the "Gang of Four," the top Republican and Democrat on the two committees. A few staff members were permitted to attend some of the briefings.

That decision reflected the White House's decision that the "enhanced interrogation" program would be treated as one of the nation's top secrets for fear of warning al-Qaeda members about what they might expect, said U.S. officials familiar with the decision. Critics have since said the administration's motivation was at least partly to hide from view an embarrassing practice that the CIA considered vital but outsiders would almost certainly condemn as abhorrent.

Waterboarding as an interrogation technique has its roots in some of history's worst totalitarian nations, from Nazi Germany and the Spanish Inquisition to North Korea and Iraq. In the United States, the technique was first used five decades ago as a training tool to give U.S. troops a realistic sense of what they could expect if captured by the Soviet Union or the armies of Southeast Asia. The U.S. military has officially regarded the tactic as torture since the Spanish-American War.

The gang of Four sounds like China's former gang of four anyway maybe we'll get a few show trials like the Soviets used to have . So it'll come down to Public Relations merely a failure to communicate or a failure of never or a failure of conscience .

" abhorrent " is that to say the writer finds it so or that others do & is questioning their natural reaction to inhumane treatment. Are they saying that only those weak liberals & their kind would react in a less than genuine way. Are those who have those feelings not Man enough to do what is needed to be done in their view.This is not merely a squabble over semantics in a classroom but is about human dignity, fairness , justice the rights of all human beings & not just a select few . If an American soldier should not be tortured by the enemy when they are captured then the same holds for everyone .

The Inquisition & the Witch Hunts should have taught us that torture is abhorrent but it also does not achieve any practical purpose since the testimony is unreliable. If an alleged Witch for instance were being tortured the alleged Witch will claim she flies on a broomstick so the alleged terrorist is going to tell whatever they think the interrogators wish to hear.

Inquiry Begins Into Tapes' Destruction By Mark Mazetti and David Johnston The New York Times Sunday 09 December 2007

Washington - The Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency's internal watchdog on Saturday began a joint preliminary inquiry into the spy agency's destruction of hundreds of hours of videotapes showing interrogations of top operatives of Al Qaeda.

The announcement comes amid new questions about which officials inside the C.I.A. were involved in the decision to destroy the videotapes, which showed severe interrogation methods used on two Qaeda suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

To begin with the article doesn't point out that what the CIA is doing is investigating itself which is not very reassuring . So if you were to investigate yourself you might find yourself not guilty. It tends to sound Orwellian or Kafkaesque.But will any other department or agency or even Congress do much better. It is not even in the democrats interest to find out that a number of people or whole agencies or departments were ignoring any legal or ethical standards . But I guess you have to actually have ethical standards to begin with .

Again even though someone works for the government doesn't mean they no longer can be held responsible for their actions . Merely claiming one was just following orders was tossed out as an excuse during the Nuremberg trials. So the Republicans will hide behind the following orders while what defense will the Democrats who have held a majority in Congress for over a year.

and as the article continues :

The destruction of the tapes has intensified the focus on Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in March 2002. As one of the first close associates of Osama bin Laden to be caught after the 9/11 attacks, Abu Zubaydah became a test case on which the C.I.A. built and then adjusted its program of aggressive interrogations and overseas secret jails in the years that followed.

Current and former intelligence officials have said that Abu Zubaydah was subjected to coercive techniques by C.I.A. interrogators even before the Justice Department issued a formal, classified legal opinion in August 2002 declaring that the coercive techniques did not constitute torture

President Bush has argued, since officially confirming the existence of the interrogation program in September 2006, that Abu Zubaydah's case proved the value of harsh interrogation methods because Abu Zubaydah yielded valuable intelligence about the 9/11 plot only after those tactics were employed. That assertion was repeated on Thursday by General Hayden.

But other government officials have long disputed some aspects of the C.I.A.'s version of events. These officials said Abu Zubaydah, who had been taken to a secret location in Thailand, cooperated with interviewers from the F.B.I., who used a nonconfrontational approach, until C.I.A. interrogators took over the questioning in April or May of 2002 and used more aggressive techniques.

After the Thailand confrontation, the F.B.I. forbade its agents from taking part in sessions in which harsh methods were used. In his early F.B.I. interviews, Abu Zubaydah, who had been severely wounded during his capture, identified Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks. He also identified Jose Padilla, an American who was convicted in a Miami federal court in August on terrorism-related charges, as a low-ranking follower of Al Qaeda.

Government officials said that during Abu Zubaydah's interrogation sessions, his C.I.A. questioners used tactics including noise, stress positions, isolation and waterboarding, in which a subject is made to believe he is being drowned. In 2002, during parts of June and July, current and former intelligence officials have said, the C.I.A. suspended the use of harsh techniques against Abu Zubaydah.

also see:

The Washington Monthly Dec. 8, 2007 What The CIA Torture Tapes Would Have Shown

‘Well-Informed’ Source Tells CBS That Tapes Were Destroyed To Prevent Prosecution (Think Progress Dec.10,2007)
Last night on the CBS Evening News, national security correspondent David Martin reported that a “well-informed source” informed the network that the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos to “avoid criminal prosecution.”

CIA photos 'show UK Guantanamo detainee was tortured' By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor 12/10/07 "The Independent

Biden Calls for Special Counsel to Investigate CIA CNN Political Ticker Saturday 09 December 2007

Gwynne Dyer on possible U.S. attack against Iran By Derrick O'Keefe of COA NEWS published by The Center For Information Awareness.

Take care,

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