Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama: Attorney General To Decide How to Proceed In Pusuing Investigations of Those Officials Who Permitted and Encouraged Others to Torture Detainees

"Barack Obama is not given the right by our Constitution to be the judge and jury for torturers. I include Bush and Cheney in this category although they committed other war crimes. Mr. Obama and our Congress took oaths to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. They must be reminded that they must do this job regardless of whether they think it is divisive or not."
Nick Mottern

"...In fact, it was the torture described in these memos, the existence of secret prisons, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib that endangered the security of the United States. What better tools could there be to inflame and recruit new terrorists and instill hatred for our country throughout the Muslim world and beyond? Still Mukasey and Hayden clearly believe that these techniques should have been used and should be used in the future. They are in favor of torture."
Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Does the Rule Of Law Not Apply to the Rich and Powerful and those in positions of authority as it is argued that they are superior to the rest of us lesser beings -

Obama and the Power of Positive Thinking -

The Prosperity Gospel in the White House-

Just click your heels and dream of Home or OZ
and suddenly the last eight years disappear as if a dream or a misplaced season of Dallas-

The 600,000 to 1,300,000 Dead in Iraq still cry out for Justice
The tens of thousands held in prisons in Iraq were also abused, treated inhumanely, were humiliated, degraded and treated like animals and not like men-

But of Course to Americans Iraqis are not quite human - they are the enemy ,the other, they are the spawn of the devil, they are all anti-American and anti-Christian etc.

Obama says it is up to the Attorney General Eric Holder whether to go ahead with investigations and prosecutions of those who permitted and encouraged others to commit crimes by abusing and torturing detainees-

MoveOn.Org calls for a Special Prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the use of Torture and abuse of detainees by the Bush administration

Anyway Obama:says it is up to Attorney General Holder to Decide Whether To Prosecute Bush Officials , members of the executive and Bush attorneys. Yet Obama wants a bipartisan approach to the any investigation. Is he delusional or just naive. The Republicans and their Media Propagandists at Fox News , CNN, ABC and on the Shock/Hate Radio circuit are uninterested in trying to uncover the truth about the use of torture and abuse of detainees at Guantanamo or elsewhere by American Personnel. Even now the debate has erroneously focused only on 14 detainees at Gitmo. The hundreds or thousands of other prisoners mistreated or disappeared by the CIA or the US military are being forgotten about. If all those who were mistreated by US personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan were actually allowed to testify at an official investigation then we could then getting close to some form of justice. But even many Obama supporters have deluded themselves into believing that American officials only permitted the abuse and torture of 14 or a couple of dozen detainees. Even they do not want to consider the real number of those abused and tortured or disappeared by the Bush Regime in the name of America's security and its Trumped up War On Terror which becomes a rationalization for America's on going War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

April 21, 2009

Michael Hayden Uses Rovian/Cheney Talking Points - Obama 's Release of Torture Memos Makes America Less Safe & undermines the CIA. He does not mention that water boarding was used 83 times on one particular detainee and that these techniques were used in combination over a period of months and even years.

Hayden Says The Techniques Were Not Torture, Just The 'Outer Limits' Of The Law- April 19, 2009-

Even John McCain is still against torture but then reverts to Republican Rovian Talking Point and so explains that he doesn't think Obama should have released the CIA top secret memos.

John McCain having been a victim of torture in Vietnam makes the point that torture rarely results in actionable intel and that regardless torture is bad for US reputation and is a recruiting tool for extremists such as Al Qaeda.

Sean Hannity & Fox News in another 'Love In' with Dick Cheney as they praise the former Bush administration and then wallow in a bit of Obama bashing.
Once again Cheney accuses Obama of undermining the CIA and America's foreign relations by releasing the Torture Memos- now America's enemies including Al Qaeda know what interrogation techniques the CIA were employing while Obama states that America will no longer allow these techniques to be used on detainees showing America's enemies according to Cheney how weak and pathetic Americans really are.Obama is not therefore a real American who will defend America's security by whatever means necessary.

Obama should wise up and realize that by not prosecuting these criminals including Cheney they are just sitting around laughing at him and his supporters for being too weak willed, too wishy-washy liberal and namby bamby to act upon their own convictions. The other implication is that if Obama and his administration had enough evidence they would prosecute the CIA agents and the lawyers and those in the executive for committing these so called crimes and therefore by not prosecuting Cheney and others imply that there is not enough evidence to prove they committed crimes to bring the matter to court or to a special prosecutor. By this logic Cheney, Fox News , Hannity etc. they would suggest that President Bush or Dick Cheney and others involved in the use of these interrogation techniques did not do anything morally or legally wrong.

Dick Cheney Fear Mongering on Fox News with Sean Hannity

George Will BS about the unitary theory of the executive - if the President does it then it is ok- so much for democracy and checks and balances - just another feeble defence of the Bush Regime
ABC news not sure if torture is a good thing
This Week-Will, Roberts, Noonan: If we don't see the memos, it's like it never is better if Americans didn't know the truth or it is better to just have complete and utter unconditional faith in one's government and not to probe into things which are not the public's business to know.
destruction of video tapes of interrogations is good news

Pundits Whitewash Torture- April 19, 2009
Marcus Baram at Huffington Post

And :

Feingold Unloads On Peggy Noonan: "Never Heard Anything Quite As Disturbing" by Sam Stein at Huffington Post , April 21, 2009

Senator Russ Feingold, one of the harshest critics of the Bush administration's nation security policies, says he can not bring himself to support President Obama's apparent decision not to investigate or prosecute illegalities from those years.

"Part of what troubles me are the lawyers -- we should see their law school degrees -- who consciously wrote these memos justifying and explaining full well those outrageous arguments," the Wisconsin Democrat said on Tuesday in reference to the Bush-era torture memos released last week. "I cannot join the president, or his spokesman, or [chief of staff] Rahm Emanuel, who said we aren't going [to prosecute these people]. I can't. I just disagree with them."

Later, the Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits.

Rachel Maddow: Impeach Federal Judge Bybee For Torture Memo?
April 20, 2009

Impeach Bybee: The Growing Movement to Unseat Bush Torture Lawyer Turned Federal Judge" by Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports ,, April 20, 2009.

While Democratic leaders stay silent on Obama's refusal to hold torturers accountable, activists call on Congress to impeach.

What message does this send to the world that the torturers and the authors of the facile, glib , badly formulated legal memos are also to be exonerated along with the President and Vice President and their advisers and others who permitted and or encouraged the use of illegal interrogation techniques which are crimes according to the Geneva Conventions and the International Agreements baning torture. The Bush administration ignored the rule of law and now Obama wants to ensure that these criminals are not prosecuted.

Gibbs: We're not holding torture authors accountable because I said so.
April 20, 2009

In this Headzup video the creators pose an interesting dilemma if Bush , Cheney and crew are all to be given amnesty then why not give amnesty to all those who committed crimes between 2001-2008.

To be a little more serious about why can't Obama have all those convicted for instance on the crime of simple possession of marijuana be given amnesty and released from prison. This would at least create a little sense of balance in America's justice system. But no most Americans see nothing wrong with the use of torture by government officials and yet insist people be put into prison anywhere from a year to seven years for possession of pot. The smoking of Marijuana does more harm to American society than does the launching of unnecessary and therefore illegal wars or the torturing of prisoners who may or may not be guilty of any crime. If they haven't committed a crime the Rovian /Cheney method is to torture the individual til they confess and then get other detainees after a little bit of torture to add phony intel to substantiate the false confessions already made ala Stalin & Mao etc. ( or as Maddow points out Big Brother in Orwell's 1984)

Headzup: Obama's Torture Amnesty

And MoveOn. org which was one of the big groups which organized support for Obama in his bid for the presidency is now calling on its members and others who agree with them to put pressure on the White House and the Congress and Senate etc. to take action against the former Bush Regime and to bring to justice all of those involved in these crimes .

MoveOn Enters Torture Fray, Calls For Special Prosecutor by Ryan Grim, at Huffington Post, April 21, 2009 will enter the debate over torture investigations on Tuesday, asking its members to call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the architects of the Bush administration's program of detainee torture.

The foray represents a new direction for MoveOn, which has previously been focused on pushing the progressive agenda - the stimulus, Obama's budget, healthcare, cap and trade - through Congress. Groups to MoveOn's left have long been critical of the organization for not making investigations and prosecutions of Bush-era criminal activity a top priority.

The call for a special prosecutor adds MoveOn's rather loud voice to the growing chorus demanding that crimes be investigated. It's also an indication that the call for accountability for those who committed crimes during the Bush administration is becoming a mainstream Democratic position, and one the White House will find harder to move past.

On Prosecuting War Crimes Nick Mottern,at April 21, 2009

I want to address a fundamental issue facing us right now: President Obama has said that people who have committed torture during the Bush/Cheney years will not be prosecuted. He said: "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past - we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future."

I would like to make two points.

First - President Obama is sending the message that there will be no investigations and prosecutions that are "divisive," that is, if they are politically difficult.

Is this a message then to the Yonkers (New York) police, for example, that they will not be prosecuted under federal law if they continue to humiliate and physically abuse people in the black and Hispanic community?

Is Mr. Obama sending a message to certain big bankers who are stealing from us every day in a variety of ways that they are simply too big to be prosecuted?

Is it a message that the legal system that is decimating our black and Hispanic communities with the disproportionate imprisonment of black and Hispanic men will go unchallenged?

My second point is that Mr. Obama's judgment on prosecution of torturers is central to the wars of our time.

Richard Nixon was forced out of office by Watergate; a burglary and cover-up, which was also an attempt to cover up domestic terrorism against his foes and particularly against African-Americans working for economic and social justice. Nixon was disgraced, but he did not go to jail.

But Nixon was not investigated, indicted or disgraced for a set of far greater crimes than Watergate. He and Henry Kissinger, and others, had, in the course of pursuing the Vietnam War, systematically, knowingly and willfully violated the US constitution and international law. International law doesn't get much respect in the US, even though it was forged out of the misery, degradation, sufferings and deaths of millions of people.

Nixon was a war criminal. Kissinger is a war criminal. They were responsible for millions of deaths, including the deaths in Cambodia wrought by our war on that nation which led to the scourge of Pol Pot.

We who were fighting for an end to the Vietnam War made a big mistake when that war stopped. We did not stay in the streets until Nixon,Kissinger and the others were investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned for war crimes.

...I believe that had Nixon and Kissinger been held accountable for their war crimes, we probably would not be in the wars we are in today. That is because in the very divisive process of investigating and prosecuting Nixon and Kissinger and others, we the American people would have learned something life-changing about ourselves as a people and about our acceptance of war.

Barack Obama is not given the right by our Constitution to be the judge and jury for torturers. I include Bush and Cheney in this category although they committed other war crimes. Mr. Obama and our Congress took oaths to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. They must be reminded that they must do this job regardless of whether they think it is divisive or not.

If President Obama and the Congress do their jobs of enforcing the law with respect to torture and other Bush and Cheney war crimes, they will begin unraveling the web of deceit that has supported the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

We as Americans will learn things that we must learn to save countless lives here and in countries where we are supporting and waging war.

Defending the use of illegal and immoral actions on the part of the CIA in foreign countries- whatever they do is justifiable in order to keep America safe or to protect Americas interest.

and on the pro-torture, pro-CIA, Pro-secrecy anti-Obama talking points
or the CIA and other American personnel work in the shadows and comit illegal acts all the time in order to defend America's national security- sometimes a few lies, sometimes a little arm twisting and torture or distributing disinformation & propaganda in an effort to undermine the legitimate government of a sovereign nation or helping death squads in other countries do their work or maybe assassinating members of the opposition or dissidents in other countries or even some members of the government who are not liked by that government or are disapproved of by US officials or just to create chaos-

"Joe Klein: For CIA, Laws Were Made to be Broken" by Jane Hamsher, at, April 21, 2009

I don't know if Joe Klein understands what the CIA does. Responding to Glenn Greenwald on the release of the torture memos, he writes:

What I did do that seems to have piqued Greenwald's ire is to report an obvious truth: this is going to hurt the morale and perhaps the efficacy of the clandestine service, which performs in extra-legal situations around the world. Greenwald finds the phrase "extra-legal" Orwellian. Perhaps...or maybe it's just a way to describe what spies do: they lie about who they are in order to steal information that can affect national security.

In his original piece, Klein said "some operators are asked to behave extra-legally for the greater good of the nation." "Extra-legal" is another way of saying "illegal." And while the CIA may very well run around the world performing in an "extra-legal" fashion, it's not what they're supposed to be doing. Even if they break the laws of other countries, they are supposed to be following ours. That's why we go to the trouble of writing them. The whole point of the Bybee memo was to solicit guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel as to what the CIA could and could not legally do, with the implicit notion that the CIA would then follow those rather expansive guidelines and stay within the law.

This whole "Spy vs Spy" view of the intelligence world is straight out of some Richard Burton cold war thriller, or maybe Mad magazine. How is breaking US law "for the greater good of the nation"? Who gets to decide when that happens? We have protocols and oversight for a reason -- because the CIA is not some "extra-legal" rogue outfit free to operate in any way it sees fit and accountable to no one. They may very well flatter themselves that their flouting of US law serves some noble purpose, but as an intelligence organization they're supposed to be aiding, not undermining law enforcement.

Klein says that exposing activity is gong to hurt "morale." Well, getting busted never made anyone happy, but that's the point of deterrence. Negative consequences, etc., etc. But I don't know why it's an "obvious truth" that the release of the memos will hurt "efficacy." Is it based on the unproven assertion of Dick Cheney and George Bush that "enhanced interrogation methods" actually work? Or is it just because being required to follow the laws of a country you're supposed to be supporting is going to be a big bummer?


White House Confirms that Torture Memo Authors are 'Not Being Held Accountable'

by Ali Frick, Think Progress at April 20, 2009.(

So much for the United States being "a nation of laws."

Mr. President, War Crimes Must Be Investigated" By Ruth Rosen, AlterNet. Posted April 20, 2009.

The country I care so much about has breached some of the most important international conventions. Yet no one has been held accountable.

The memos about torture released by the Obama administration are horrifying to read. Nothing new, here, but they are like a punch in the stomach all over again. This is my country? This is the nation that stands for freedom and decency?

and here's something to ponder and that is the use or abuse of supposedly reputable psychological studies done in regards to the different torture techniques outlined in the memos. It's odd how all these Pro-Torture advocates down play or ridicule any suggestions of psychological harm done to those who are tortured using techniques such as "sleep-deprivation, 'Sensory bombardment or overload', incorporating techniques which lead to humiliation of the detainees such as nudity, forced to wear a diaper so the detainee can urinate and defecate into the diaper rather than being permitted to use a normal toilet or being forced to do their business in a bucket or the use of a detainees phobias- this is all seen by Karl Robe , Bill Kristol, Bill O'Reilly etc . as being laughable and not worth discussing. Yet psychological techniques of torture are banned by the International Treaties dealing with the torture of detainees. Why would they be mentioned if they were not to be taken seriously.

As Jeffrey S. Kaye points out the memos written to provide a legal case for the use of Torture Techniques are filled with lies and distortions of facts.

The Torture Memos Are Not Just Sick, They're Full of Lies: A Closer Look at the Bybee Memo "By Jeffrey S. Kaye, AlterNet. Posted April 17, 2009.

The memo's gross distortion of psychological research makes it hard to imagine they were used in "good faith" as the Obama administration says.

...In summary, even an initial cursory look at the August 1, 2002 Bybee memo on the "Interrogation of Al Qaeda Operative" shows that the memos were written in bad faith, were meant to deceive, and utilized a memorandum by Jerald Ogrisseg that explicitly warned against using at least some of the techniques (waterboarding) that were approved by OLC.

I'm confident that other researchers will find much more wrong with the recently released OLC memos. Their extremely poor quality and their misrepresentations of medical and psychological information make them very hard to imagine using as the basis of "good faith" representations for those CIA interrogators for whom Attorney General Holder granted immunity, i.e., those "who acted reasonably and relied in good faith on authoritative legal advice from the Justice Department that their conduct was lawful, and conformed their conduct to that advice..."

I suppose a lot rides now on how you define "authoritative legal advice."

And Jan Schakowsky arguing that releasing the Torture Memos was no harmful since most these facts were known to the public at large and Al Qaeda and others have enough savvy or at least would have known about what techniques were used- these were not America's best kept secrets except to those Americans who did not want to know about them or just didn't care - as Peggy Noonan said its best not to know...- she is typical of the dumbing down of America or the Know Nothing attitude of many Americans especially on the right but there are surprisng number of self-proclaimed liberals in America who also prefer not to know- or as one of their sayings go " I don't think about things I don't want to think about"- willful blindness and ignorance which in many ways appears to be considered an American virtue ie in the sense of the Power of Positive Thinking or so called Americanized New Age Babble such as Cognitive Therapy or The Prosperity Gospel - if you think everything is OK then it will be even if you lost your job , your house, your children ,your spouse etc. - or in Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld terms the Iraq War was a rousing success.

Refuting the Self-Fulfilling Torture Prophecy: A Response to Hayden and Mukasey by Rep Jan Schakowsky at Huffington Post, April 21, 2009

...In fact, it was the torture described in these memos, the existence of secret prisons, Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib that endangered the security of the United States. What better tools could there be to inflame and recruit new terrorists and instill hatred for our country throughout the Muslim world and beyond? Still Mukasey and Hayden clearly believe that these techniques should have been used and should be used in the future. They are in favor of torture.

Hayden and Mukasey accuse the no-torture policy of inviting "the kind of institutional timidity and fear of recrimination that weakened intelligence gathering in the past, and that we came sorely to regret on September 11, 2001." That's a version of history I actually hadn't heard espoused by anyone ever before -- that had the intelligence community not been weakened by timidity and fear, 9/11 might not have happened. All this time I thought it had more to do with the fact that the White House did nothing to follow up on the August 6, 2001 daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." that included the warning that "FBI information... indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings..."

The Michaels Hayden and Mukasey assert that "public disclosure of the OLC opinions, and thus the techniques themselves, assures that terrorists are now aware of the absolute limit of what the U.S. government could do to extract information from them." Certainly the men who served as CIA Director and Attorney General must be aware that the secret of these techniques has been known by anyone who could read a newspaper beginning as long ago as December 26, 2002. That's when Dana Priest and Barton Gellman of the Washington Post reported on "stress and duress" interrogation tactics. Yes, everyone already knew about this dirty secret, and many have long been genuinely repulsed and offended by the attitude of one official who was quoted years ago as saying, "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job."

and so it goes,

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