Friday, February 15, 2008

US Senate Bans Waterboarding and Bush Says This Will Lead To More Terrorists' Attacks

So anyway the conservatives and pseudo-liberals sit around arguing over what is and what is not torture. They carefully choose their words as they pretend to actually have any real values or sense of decency. They also argue over whether a million Iraqis have died or only a couple of hundred thousand innocent civilians . For the average pseudo-liberals it doesn't really matter . In the end they will believe whatever it is most comfortable for them to believe.

Baning waterboarding of detainees is a good thing but is the Bush Regime going to stop all forms of torture or just some. As discussed before the Neocons attitude towards torture is that they see nothing wrong with it. They believe the ends justify the means. They also believe as followers of Leo Strauss' political philosophy in the " noble lie" . For instance a lie which will unite a divided nation is a good thing according to the Bush Regime and their neocon supporters. And they believe that if it is necessary to lie to the citizens of the nation to promote a particular policy which the Neocons claim to be good for the country then so be it. This is in part why it becomes difficult to take anything these people say at its face value. So when Bush or Cheney or Condoleeza Rice or others say they do not use torture it doesn't really clarify the situation. Again and again they have also said they don't want to talk about specifics because this will give reveal secret information to the enemy. Bush claims that the policies now in place in America i.e. The Patriot Act and other legislation and the use of torture wide spread surveillance have prevented numerous attempted attacks on US soil. But there is little evidence for this. And it is difficult to find out whether it is true or not since almost everything which surrounds decision-making by the Bush Regime is hidden and buried under the wide umbrella term of National Security and so just about everything and anything can be considered a state- secret.

One the other issues concerning the use of torture is that there is this view which is being promoted that various forms of torture are being questioned as to whether or not these techniques are torture. Sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, sensory overload i.e. constantly playing loud music for days on end in a detainees cell or keeping bright lights on 24/7 , humiliating prisoners in various ways , keeping them in isolation solitary confinement in small cells or cages , keeping them incommunicado from the outside world from their families , friends or legal counsel are all ways of denying them their human rights or civil rights.Insisting that detainees if they want to go free first they must sign a confession whether or not the charges are true and then insist they not speak about the conditions under which they were kept to anyone that is not to legal counsel or to the media or anyone else. Again this seems a rather questionable demand of a detainee before he can be released . The Gestapo or SS of Nazi Germany often made the same request insisting on the same sort of conditions before releasing a prisoner.

The use of torture by the CIA and other agencies has a long history . At the School of the Americas American CIA agents and others teach foreign military and police officials in the use of various torture techniques. It was the CIA who helped train and advice the military and other forces under the former Shah of Iran in the use of torture techniques . While the US government criticized the use of torture in the former Soviet Union they defended brutal regimes such as that of the Shah in Iran and of Pinochet in Chile and the regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador when they used torture against so-called Communist Terrorists . Often these so-called terrorists were in fact people fighting for more justice and respect for human rights . Bush and the Neocons claim they want to spread democracy around the world but what they mean is a form of pro-capitalist or pro-laissez fair unfettered capitalism which defends the rich and ignores the needs of the poor in those countries. These countries in order to be supported by the Neocons they above all else must be compliant with the needs of American businesses investing in these foreign countries and also compliant with the needs of the American government and the American military while the needs of their own people must come second.

Senate Passes Ban on Waterboarding, Other Techniques ,By Dan Eggen,The Washington Post,Thursday 14 February 2008

The Senate voted yesterday to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, matching a previous House vote and putting Congress on a collision course with the White House over a pivotal national security issue.

In a 51 to 45 vote, the Senate approved an intelligence bill that limits the CIA to using 19 less-aggressive interrogation tactics outlined in a U.S. Army Field Manual. The measure would effectively ban the use of simulated drowning, temperature extremes and other harsh tactics that the CIA used on al-Qaeda prisoners after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The outcome marked a notable victory for Bush, who had threatened to veto any delay and warned yesterday that "terrorists are planning new attacks on our country . . . that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled last night that debate over the bill is unlikely to end quickly and that Democrats may let the temporary law expire. Although

"The President and House Republicans refused to support the extension and therefore will bear the responsibility should any adverse national consequences result," Pelosi said in a statement.

Congress banned any military use of waterboarding and other harsh tactics through the Detainee Treatment Act of 2006, which was co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), now the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

But McCain sided with the Bush administration yesterday on the waterboarding ban passed by the Senate, saying in a statement that the measure goes too far by applying military standards to intelligence agencies. He also said current laws already forbid waterboarding, and he urged the administration to declare it illegal.

"Staging a mock execution by inducing the misperception of drowning is a clear violation" of laws and treaties, McCain said.

The two Democratic presidential contenders, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), have said waterboarding is clearly illegal and should be banned, but neither voted yesterday because they were campaigning elsewhere.

and is this par for the course that party leader hopefuls do not show up to debate or vote on important issues .

Also check out article about John McCain doing an about face on the subject of torure by Arianna HuffingtonArianna Huffington's commentary inThe Huffington Post John McCain Sells His Soul to the Right: Backs Off on Torture Ban February 14, 2008

and here's a couple of more bits on the injustices and brutality of the War on Terror and the war on the civilian populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine , Lebanon Pakistan etc.Just what McCain and even Hillary and her rich friends want is more revenge and spilled blood for 9/11 and to make the World safe for the super-rich .

and US soldiers and private contractors murder innocent Iraqis and only rarely are they held accountable for these killings. The average American of course couldn't care less about a four or five hundred thousand or more dead Iraqis. But this is all part of the Bush's strategy in Iraq that is to terrorize the Iraqi people so they will eventually become more compliant to their American Over-Lords who bring peace by way of more blood shed .

U.S. Soldiers Kill Unarmed Iraqis and Afghanis,By Robert Parry, Consortium News. February 15, 2008.

George Bush winks at indiscriminate killings, further tarring the reputation of the U.S. military.

By forcing repeat combat assignments to Iraq and Afghanistan -- and by winking at torture and indiscriminate killings -- George W. Bush is degrading the reputation of the U.S. military, turning enlisted soldiers and intelligence officers into murderers and sadists.

For instance, on Feb. 10 at Camp Liberty in Iraq, Army Ranger Sgt. Evan Vela was sentenced by a U.S. military court to 10 years in prison for executing an unarmed Iraqi detainee who -- along with his son -- had stumbled into a U.S. sniper position last year.

After letting the 17-year-old son go, Vela's squad leader, Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley ordered Vela to use a 9-millimeter pistol to shoot the father, Genei Nesir Khudair al-Janabi, in the head, an order that Vela carried out. "It was murder, plain and simple," military prosecutor, Major Charles Kuhfahl, told the court.

Janabi's son, Mustafa, was allowed to make a statement, explaining how his father's death had devastated the family and how one of his four younger brothers now avoids their home because he can't stand the sight of his father's empty room.

"Please don't forget about us," Mustafa told the court.

But Vela's guilty verdict was a rare case of holding a U.S. soldier accountable in the killing or abusing of an Iraqi. Among the infrequent cases that have been brought, most end in acquittals or convictions only on minor charges.

Common Dreams.orgPublished on Thursday, February 14, 2008 by Reuters,Court Dismisses Lawsuit on Secret Kidnapping,by Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge, saying the case involved a state secret, dismissed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a unit of Boeing Co that charged the firm helped fly terrorism suspects abroad to secret prisons.0214 09The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint in May accusing Jeppesen Dataplan Inc of providing flight and logistical support to the U.S. government with at least 15 aircraft on 70 “extraordinary-rendition” flights.

“In sum, at the core of plaintiffs’ case against Defendant Jeppesen are ‘allegations’ of covert U.S. military or CIA operations in foreign countries against foreign nationals - clearly a subject matter which is a state secret,” Judge James Ware wrote in a ruling issued on Wednesday evening.

The court “grants the United States’ motion to dismiss on the ground that the very subject matter of the case is a state secret.”

And Republicans rebel because Democratic members of the House are actually trying to do the right thing for once:

House Holds Bush Confidants in Contempt; Republican Members Walk Out
Thursday, February 14, 2008 by Associated Press
by Julie Hirschfeld Davis

The House voted Thursday to hold two of President Bush’s confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The vote was 223-32 Thursday to hold presidential chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt. The citations charge Miers with failing to testify and accuse her and Bolten of refusing Congress’ demands for documents related to the 2006-2007 firings.

Republicans said Democrats should instead be working on extending a law - set to expire Saturday - allowing the government to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails in the United States in cases of suspected terrorist activity.

The White House said the Justice Department would not ask the U.S. attorney to pursue the House contempt charges.

It is the first time in 25 years that a full chamber of Congress has voted on a contempt of Congress citation.

The action, which Democrats had been threatening for months, was the latest wrinkle in a more than yearlong constitutional clash between Congress and the White House.

The Bush administration has said the information being sought is off-limits under executive privilege, and argues that Bolten and Miers are immune from prosecution.

Still, the resolution would allow the House to bring its own lawsuit on the matter.

If Congress doesn’t act to enforce the subpoenas, said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, it would “be giving its tacit consent to the dangerous idea of an imperial presidency, above the law and beyond the reach of checks and balances.”

and so it goes,

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