Friday, April 24, 2009

More Calls For Obama And Attorney General Eric Holder to Take action after Release oF Senate Armed Services Committee Report

UPDATE: 9:49 AM , April 24, 2009

Detainees Shackled On Plane - Is This Humane?

Detainees at Guantanamo

"What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight ... is how we behave. In
everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we
treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are
warriors, we are also all human beings. "
-- General David Petraeus

Let's begin with Karl Rove having the audacity to attack Obama for considering investigations about the authorization of Torture by Rove & CO.
And again uses Republican Talking Point that even releasing the Memos etc. has made America less safe and what's he going to do whine & complain - he made a decision and should accept the consequences like the Real Man he pretends to be - The Tough Guy beating the shit out of shackled prisoners on the weekends or at least fantasizing about doing it.

Karl Rove Fears Prosecution - claims its just a policy difference-
compares Obama to Military dictatorships
Actually Americans have had a habit especially people like Rove of supporting those military dictatorships in Latin America where the Generals take their orders from the USA to crush all the Commies , socialists and human rights advocates- only Americans are supposed to have rights or at least rich and powerful Americans like Rove.

Is Karl Rove Scared About Possible Torture Prosecutions?
The Young Turks-April 22, 2009
Watch more at

A.G. Holder: Investigate Torture-,April 22, 2009

" MoveOn Torture Ad Highlights Cheney for Investigation" by Sam Stein, Huffington April 22, 2009.

"America is better than this. Ask Attorney General Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate these abuses."
The people who authorized Bush's torture program shouldn't get off scot-free. It's time for Attorney General Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor.

With the newly released Senate Armed Services Committee Report it appears that the "Few Bad Apples" story or Talking Points touted by the Bush Administration about the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib no longer holds up though there were those in the US military and the Media who from early on doubted the official response given at the time. They may have been aware of this fact but they didn't have the necessary evidence to prove it. There now appears to be some evidence which has come to light which appears to link the abuse at Abu Ghraib to the White house and possibly to Vice president Cheney and Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice.One of the theories some argued was that given the CIA Torture Memos which gave a legal veneer or framework for the systematic use of torture by CIA agents at Guantanamo and that these were approved by Bush and Cheney that this created an environment which led to abuses of detainees elsewhere such as at Abu Ghraib.

This explanation suggests that the abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was possibly an unintentional result or consequence of the executive taking the stand that the Gloves were off and those personnel in the field possibly misinterpreting these orders or suggestions. But now it appears that the CIA and military Interrogators and guards may have been given the Green Light to go ahead and use so called "Enhanced Techniques" on detainees who were categorized as " terrorists" or who had ties to Terrorists organizations or who might have information on "Terrorists" or Terrorists" organizations.

The other thing to take into account is that Cheney and Bush decided that the definition of a terrorists was widened to include anyone who fired upon American soldiers or who placed road-side bombs to kill American soldiers. By doing so all of the so called insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan were then categorized as Terrorists and not as Enemy Combatants and so according to the Bush doctrine they therefore were not protected by the Geneva Conventions or by other International Laws regarding the treatment of POWs or "Enemy Combatants ". With this ruling almost anyone captured by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan could be abused and or tortured and they would have no legal rights under these conditions. These prisoners could be held indefinitely without being charged , they had no right to legal counsel, there was therefore no legal obligation that their families be notified where they were or that they were being held. Further the Bush Regime believed that they had no obligation to contact the government of Iraq or Afghanistan or a third party such as the International Committee of the Red cross or other agency about the arrests of these detainees or their whereabouts.These prisoners had no rights whatsoever and could be treated in any manner that the Bush Regime saw fit .

Essentially thousands of prisoners disappeared into a Black Hole which not even the Red Cross was permitted in order to evaluate the conditions in which the prisoners were held.

Eventually some prisoners were given legal counsel or were allowed to contact their families and some were released after weeks , months or years of abuse of one kind or another - from solitary confinement to not being permitted to speak to other inmates - forced to sit in one spot for lengthy periods of time and when they spoke or moved they were shouted at or slapped around, they more often than not were not permitted to pray and/or were not allowed to have a copy of the Qur'an in their cells or what look more like cages- Many were kept in cages outside where they open to the intense heat or cold. All of these actions are contraventions of the International Agreements banning torture or abuse including degrading and humiliating prisoners this includes the degrading of a prisoner religious beliefs . Yet we know from what these various reports have to say and the stories told by US soldiers and by released inmates that these abuses were all common place at Abu Ghraib , Bagram and other US run or controlled detention facilities.

Part of the problem with some of these abuses is that even President Obama has claimed that the prisoners held in Bagram or other US facilities outside the Continental United States or US Territory are excempt somehow or other from US law or the Geneva Conventions and so he too as a layer wants to pars his words and use some legal tortuous logic in order to justify denying these prisoners their basic legal rights or even that they be treated humanely and with dignity.

Will Obama give the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian and human rights advocacy organizations access to these prisoners held in Iraq or Afghanistan. It seems difficult for some reason to convince the Americans that these individuals being held should have their rights respected even though they are not American citizens or that they may not be Christians or even be white.

Even Obama seems to have fallen for the Bush/ Cheney/ or Republican and Christian conservative line that all Muslims, all Afghans, all Iraqis are potentially terrorists who wish to destroy America. In Iraq it is the United States by way of its bungled invasion and occupation which created a cycle of violence - the longer the Americans occupied the country the worse things became and even if Obama doesn't want to admit it or the US Media doesn't want to admit Iraq is still not a peaceful place to take your family to for a vacation- there are still suicide bombings and IEDs exploding and bodies being found while other people in Iraq just disappear.

And sadly Obama has now expanded the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan where much of the war is being fought by remote control Drones which have killed far more innocent Pakistanis than they have killed terrorists or Al Qaeda members. And so he is creating another quagmire for the US military just like the one the Russians spent years stuck in in Afghanistan which hastened the end of the Soviet Union. In the early 1990s Osama Bin Laden told a reporter that the only way he could fight the Americans was by taking some action or other to which the Americans would respond by invading Afghanistan and then he would be in a better position to possibly defeat the Americans. He set the trap the Americans instead of using diplomacy and good solid police work using the CIA and the Intelligence agencies of other countries to hunt down and arrest the members of Al Qaeda instead they used their military might and invaded Afghanistan and almost eight years later Al Qaeda is still operating.

Torture report 'links White House to Abu Ghraib' 22 Apr 09
Scott Horton, a human rights lawyer and writer on national security issues based in New York, tells Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi a new senate report links the White House to the abusive techniques used in US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Former Abu Ghraib commander on torture report 22 Apr 09
Janis Karpinski, the former commander of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison who was demoted in the wake of the revelations of abuse there, tells Al Jazeera about her reaction to a report that says senior Bush administration officials were involved in approving torture.

Was bush lying well depends on what you mean by lying & what you mean by torture; depends upon what you mean by "was" or "is" besides in War Time Presidents ' are permitted to lie ( and by this logic it is even better if one can set up the circumstances for an open-ended perpetual war ( ala 1984) whose goals are uncertain and where the end is in sigh but never quite achieved since there will always be a terrorist group operating somewhere around the world , as in Sri Lanka, Palestine and Israel, in India , Burma - so untill all are obliterated the war will continue)

Only a lawyer in the DOJ would know if it is was torture or not
Japanese soldiers were executed by the US for waterboarding US soldiers - catches Bush apologist in the headlights
Was Bush Lying When He Said We Don't Torture- april 21, 2009
Anderson cooper

Secretary Clinton on Torture Memos- April 22, 2009

Secretary of State Clinton responded to questions from Rep. Rohrabacher about information shared with her about torture memos as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In her remarks she also said that she did not view Former Vice President Cheney as "a particularly reliable source of information."

Detainee Final Report

Executive Summary

"What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight ... is how we behave. In
everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we
treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are
warriors, we are also all human beings. "
-- General David Petraeus

May 10,2007
(U) The collection oftimely and accurate intelligence is critical to the safety of U.S.
personnel deployed abroad and to the security ofthe American people here at home. The
methods by which we elicit intelligence information from detainees in our custody affect not
only the reliability ofthat information, but our broader efforts to win hearts and minds and attract
allies to our side.
(U) AI Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are taught to expect Americans to abuse them. They
are recruited based on false propaganda that says the United States is out to destroy Islam.
Treating detainees harshly only reinforces that distorted view, increases resistance to
cooperation, and creates new enemies. In fact, the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate
"Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States" cited "pervasive anti U.S.
sentiment among most Muslims" as an underlying factor fueling the spread ofthe global jihadist
movement. Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora testified to the Senate Armed Services
Committee in June 2008 that "there are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the fITst
and second identifiable causes of U. S. combat deaths in Iraq - as judged by their effectiveness in
recruiting insurgent fighters into combat - are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and
(U) The abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of
"a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States
government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to
create the appearance oftheir legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts
damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand
ofour enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product ofthe
Committee's inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about.

From Amnesty International USA

Senate Report Strongest Refutation to Date of 'A Few Bad Apples' Theory, Says Amnesty International
New Report Exposes Direct Link Between High-Level Authorization and the Spread of Torture Throughout Detention Sites;
Human Rights Group Reiterates Call for Long-Overdue Accountability for Abuse

WASHINGTON - April 22 - Upon release of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) full report on the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody, Amnesty International USA's executive director Larry Cox issued the following statement:

"The SASC report is a pivotal piece in the torture jigsaw puzzle that was created by the previous administration. The report focused on military interrogations only and concluded that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials authorized harsh interrogation techniques for detainees in U.S. military control.

"The report demonstrates that from the moment that Secretary Rumsfeld authorized specific techniques, torture began to spread from Guantanamo to Afghanistan to Iraq. All the while, the former Bush administration was publicly making the case that allegations of torture were aberrations, covering up for what we now know was a very deliberate policy embraced at the highest levels of government.

"Even with the release of the SASC report, the American people still only know part of the picture. The only way to complete the puzzle is to have a comprehensive, impartial and bipartisan investigation to fully examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees.

"Amnesty International is grateful to hear that President Obama agrees an independent, public commission with the force of law is the best way to examine how these inhumane practices became policy -- so that they can never happen again. An honest and thorough self-examination is the foundation on which the United States can rebuild its credibility as a positive force for human rights and the rule of law around the world."

A Closer Look at Obama's 'New' Position on Torture Prosecutions by Jeremy Scahill, RebelReports,April 22, 2009

The big news today is that the Senate Armed Services Committee has released a declassified report on the treatment of detainees in US custody.

The report was completed in November 2008, but has been held from the public by the Department of Defense until now. In releasing it, the committee chair, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), said "the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse - such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan - to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a ‘few bad apples,' were simply false:"

The truth is that, early on, it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone. On September 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that the United States turn to the "dark side" in our response to 9/11. Not long after that, after White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales called parts of the Geneva Conventions "quaint," President Bush determined that provisions of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain detainees. Other senior officials followed the President and Vice President's lead, authorizing policies that included harsh and abusive interrogation techniques.

The record established by the Committee's investigation shows that senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques. Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses.

This development comes as the movement to try to hold senior Bush administration officials, their torturers and their lawyers accountable for their crimes is gaining new momentum. President Obama's comments on Tuesday, made during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, has been reported in the press as Obama keeping the door open to prosecuting former Bush administration officials. What he actually indicated is that he may take the position that it "is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws" and is open to Congress forming a bipartisan commission to conduct an inquiry. The statement on Attorney General Eric Holder is perhaps a small step forward, but the "commission" idea is very problematic (more on this in a moment). The fact is that the president already did incredible damage to the accountability movement, and possibly acted unconstitutionally and in contravention of international law, by publicly-and repeatedly-stating that he will not allow prosecution of the CIA torturers because they were "in good faith" following evil orders.

" Senate Panel: Military Agency Had Hand in Developing CIA Interrogation Methods:Report also says experts helped create legal justification for abusive techniques " by Julian E. Barnes Chicago Tribune, April 22, 2009

WASHINGTON - A U.S. military agency that trains troops to resist and survive torture offered critical help in developing harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA, according to a Senate committee report to be released Wednesday.

The military expertise also was used by the Justice Department to develop controversial legal justifications for abusive interrogation methods, according to the report by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee chairman, said the report "connects the dots" to show how the techniques familiar to the military experts found their way into controversial memos by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that authorized abusive interrogation practices.

Senate Report Details Torture Policy Origins by Jason Leopold at Truthout, April 22, 2009

The seeds for the Bush administration's policy of torture were planted in December 2001, nearly a year before the Justice Department issued its first legal opinion that authorized CIA interrogators to torture "war on terror" prisoners, and the creation of the policy involved senior White House officials, according to a newly declassified report released late Tuesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

By December 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD)had already begun to solicit information on "detainee exploitation" from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), a DoD agency that trained the military to withstand interrogation methods considered illegal under the Geneva Conventions. The JPRA oversees a training program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training.

" Conyers to hold hearings on 'torture' memos "By Jared Allen 04/21/09 at The Hill

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) on Tuesday announced that he will soon hold hearings on the Bush administration’s legal memos justifying the use of numerous enhanced interrogation techniques.

Conyers and other Democrats have labeled as torture the techniques explained in the memos, which provide a legal framework for the use of controversial interrogation practices such as waterboarding.

President Obama recently declassified the memos written by Bush administration lawyers, which also detail for the first time a number of additional interrogation techniques approved for use by the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Recently disclosed legal memoranda from the former Bush Administration raise grave legal, ethical, and constitutional questions,” Conyers said in a statement. “The use of tactics described in these memos runs counter not only to basic notions of decency, but places our own prisoners of war at risk and weakens our national security. And the fact that these memos were authored and approved by senior lawyers of the Department of Justice challenges the very notion that we adhere to the Rule of Law in this country.”

Conyers said he might hold hearings before the White House Office of Professional Responsibility completes its report from concerning the former Justice Department lawyers who wrote the memos.

“Critical questions remain concerning how these memos came into existence and were approved, which our committee is uniquely situated to consider,” Conyers said.

and so it goes,

" Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown " by Dafna Linzer Propublica, April 22, 2009

Last week, we pointed out that one of the newly released Bush-era memos inadvertently confirmed that the CIA held an al-Qaeda suspect [1] named Hassan Ghul in a secret prison and subjected him to what Bush administration lawyers called "enhanced interrogation techniques." The CIA has never acknowledged holding Ghul, and his whereabouts today are secret.

But Ghul is not the only such prisoner who remains missing. At least three dozen others who were held in the CIA's secret prisons overseas appear to be missing as well. Efforts by human rights organizations to track their whereabouts have been unsuccessful, and no foreign governments have acknowledged holding them.

And photos were released by the Department of Defense last year which provide evidence of detainee abuse and torture at other US prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan whic supports the view that detainee abuse and torture was widespread and systematic and approved by the chain of command from the White House down.

DOD Ordered To Release Detainee Torture Photos "ACLU at Huffington Post Sept. 23, 2008

or at ACLU Photos:Photos Depict Abuse At Facilities In Afghanistan And Iraq"

A federal court today ordered the Department of Defense to release photographs depicting the abuse of detainees by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the government's appeal of a 2006 order directing the Defense Department to release the photos. Today's decision comes as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas.

"This is a resounding victory for the public's right to hold the government accountable," said ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh, who argued before the court. "These photographs demonstrate that the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody abroad was not aberrational and not confined to Abu Ghraib, but the result of policies adopted by high-ranking officials. Their release is critical for bringing an end to the administration's torture policies and for deterring further prisoner abuse."

and Greg Sargent at The Plum Line reminds us that the FBI director contradicts Bush and Cheney's lies about attacks on US soil:

The Plum LineGreg Sargent's blog "Flashback: Bush’s FBI Director Said Torture Didn’t Foil Any Terror Plots"April 23, 2009

Now that Bush administration officials have launched a major campaign to persuade us that torture “worked,” perhaps it’s worth recalling that George W. Bush’s own FBI director said in an interview last year that he wasn’t aware of a single planned terror attack on America that had been foiled by information obtained through torture.

Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Bush in 2001 and remains FBI director under Obama, delivered that assessment at the end of this December 2008 article in Vanity Fair on torture:

I ask Mueller: So far as he is aware, have any attacks on America been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through what the administration still calls “enhanced techniques”?

“I’m really reluctant to answer that,” Mueller says. He pauses, looks at an aide, and then says quietly, declining to elaborate: “I don’t believe that has been the case.”

That stands in direct contrast to Dick Cheney’s recent claim that torture has been “enormously valuable” in terms of “preventing another mass-casualty attack against the United States.”

You’d think that this sort of thing would throw a bit of a wrench into the Bushies’ campaign. But as Charles Kaiser notes, these types of statements haven’t really broken through the media din.

On that score, it’s worth asking why the White House and its allies aren’t pushing back a bit harder on the Bushies’ claims. Yes, this is a debate that the White House would like to avoid. But Cheney and other Bush administration officials have launched a major campaign here that shows no signs whatsoever of abating.

Whatever downsides Cheney’s constant public appearances hold for the GOP, the Bushies seem to be having some success shifting the debate onto the narrow question of whether torture “worked.” Shouldn’t we be seeing more push-back from the White House or its outside allies?

and so it goes,

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