Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama CIA Torture Memos Fox News , CNN, O'Reilly, Chris Wallace Call Obama A Traitor

UPDATE: 12:46 AM , April 20,2009

"The larger problem here, I think," one active CIA officer observed in 2005, "is that this kind of stuff just makes people feel better, even if it doesn't work."
From: 5 Myths About Torture and Truth By Darius Rejali at Washington Post Sunday, December 16, 2007

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.”
Stacy Sullivan, counterterrorism advisor

and the startling & disturbing verdict by President Obama concerning those who took part in torture; he says:

In a statement released with the memos, President Barack Obama said that although his administration had repudiated the interrogation techniques authorized by his predecessor, his administration would not prosecute those who "carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice."
From: Human Rights Watch, April 17, 2009

"The Bush administration knew that what it wanted the CIA to do in the field was illegal, which is precisely why the administration, in essence, 'lawyered up' by calling in the Office of Legal Counsel. Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury ignored decades of jurisprudence in drafting the now-infamous torture memos. This is not a 'good faith' misunderstanding or a difference of legal opinion; this was a calculated decision to torture prisoners in U.S. custody."
From: Amnesty International , April 17, 2009

Newly released Top Secret Bush Regime Memos at Memorandum for John Rizzo Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency
Interrogation of01 Qoel1l1 Operorive

or try URL:

And see International Committee of The Red Cross Report on torture at Guantanamo at ICRC Report

Chris Wallace a Schill for Bush & the Neocons thinks the whole issue of torture is funny- so Fox News YUKS IT UP once again- their attitude that torture is a good thing whether it gets good intel doesn't matter as long as those detained are made to suffer.- Chris Wallace like Bush, Cheney & Karl Rove etc. brings up the 9/11 attacks for the justification for torture. Americans show their true colors as Tyrranical & barbaric-

And from the Horses' Mouth as it were Karl Rove appealing to his own playbook.

And Now Karl Rove going way over the top concerning the Torture Memos claims Obama has weakened the CIA And made America weaker and more vulnerable to a terrorists attack.He reverts to talking points rather than arguments - trying to appeal to the public's fear

Obama Helps America's Enemies by releasing CIA Interrogation (torture) Memos
April 18, 2009

And another former Bush administration employee who now works for CNN- CNN & Fox News have become the repository of all these Neocon/ Bush apologists and Propagandists.Note she uses the same talking point as those on Fox News & O'Reilly(below) that Obama by releasing these memos is undermining the CIA and US government. She forgets many of America's former allies during the Bush era came to mistrust and dislike and doubt anything Bush & his gang of Neocons said.

Apologist Fran Townsend on Torture Memos and Prosecution- April 17, 2009

Next up Bill O'Reilly accuses the ACLU and other groups and individuals in his own opinion on the extreme Far Left want the torture memos released to embarrass the CIA & tear apart the CIA and to embarrass and undermine United States. To some extent Bill O'Reilly is returning to the election campaign hysteria and talking points that Obama is not one of us, that Obama is UnAmerican or not a real American and who if he releases the memos is out to disgrace America and is therefore a traitor. Note of course O'Reilly refers to 9/11 and the attacks that were thwarted by the CIA because they use torture techniques ala Karl Rove, Cheney, Bush. But we do not know if any major attacks were in fact stopped after 9/11 for all we know these are purely imaginary delusions of Bush, Cheney, Karl Rove etc. The point O'Reilly is making is that releasing these CIA Secret Memos is to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. To try to clinch his argument O'Reilly stretches back to the dropping of Atomic bombs in 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagazaki. But once again he ignores the trials of German and Japanese War Criminals at the end of the Second World War and that it is out of that experience that countries decided to join together to draw up the Geneva Conventions and other International Laws so we could havre a legal standard for what is and what is not appropriate. .

OSC Torture Memos- April 18, 2009

Cliff May -Republican Strategist again spouts the Rovian./ Cheney Talking Points that now the terrorists around the world know what CIA agents do in interrogations. He also assumes that Torture or other harsh techniques will bring results in actionable intel which is debatable. He also is uninterested any moral or ethical arguments. This is strange in a way that the party of Moral Values , Family Values and Judeo-Christian values are able to wiggle out of such arguments when faced with some sort of crisis or merely to defend their own. To many people the assumption is that it is at such moments of crisis that our values are tested. It is for instance at those moments when we are tempted to do the easy thing or the most pragmatic thing as opposed to doing the Right Thing.

Secret Torture Memos released by AG-April 17, 2009

Is there no way to convince these Pro-torturers that 1.: torture is morally reprehensible, 2 it goes against International Law 3. the intelligence gathered by torture techniques is dubious at the least 4. there is something absolutely sickening about Chris Wallace and the gang at Fox News laughing about the abuse of prsoners/ detainees 5. what many in the media seem to forget is that more than just these 14 top ranking Al Qaeda people were abused and tortured in a systematic fashion - once word got out that the gloves were off hundreds of prisoners at Gauantanamo, Abu Ghraib , at Bagram & dozens of other facilities run by the US military or CIA and those prisoners sent to other countries ie renditioned (to be tortured by Proxy) were abused, denied their basic rights , often held incommunicado ie disappeared, were denied legal counsel etc This as far as we know was official policy of the Bush administration though the paper trail may not still exist -either it never did or was destroyed or orders were passed on orally and the interpretation left open to the individual to decipher.

These issues concerning torture ie its ineffectivenes, the misleading "Ticking Bomb Scenario", the illegality of torture its immorality all of these are issues which Obama and his administration should spend more time speaking about in public to inform the American Public in order to counteract the Propaganda being spewed by FoxNews, CNN and Karl Rove, Dick Cheney , Rumsfeld, Feith & Bush etc. Instead Obama seems uninterested in taking on this battle. But if he is not going to prosecute he and his administrations should be providing more information about torture from various experts and studies done about torture or about techniques such as Sleep Deprivation - are Americans in general just a bit too thick to be able to actually think about the issue rather than accept whatever Karl Rove or Chris Wallace and Fox News tell them.

5 Myths About Torture and Truth By Darius Rejali at Washington Post Sunday, December 16, 2007

But did they work? Torture's defenders, including the wannabe tough guys who write Fox's "24," insist that the rough stuff gets results. "It was like flipping a switch," said Kiriakou about Abu Zubaida's response to being waterboarded. But the al-Qaeda operative's confessions -- descriptions of fantastic plots from a man who intelligence analysts were convinced was mentally ill -- probably didn't give the CIA any actionable intelligence. Of course, we may never know the whole truth, since the CIA destroyed the videotapes of Abu Zubaida's interrogation. But here are some other myths that are bound to come up as the debate over torture rages on.
and even the NAZI's torturing resulted in little valuable actionable intelligence

It's surprising how unsuccessful the Gestapo's brutal efforts were. They failed to break senior leaders of the French, Danish, Polish and German resistance. I've spent more than a decade collecting all the cases of Gestapo torture "successes" in multiple languages; the number is small and the results pathetic, especially compared with the devastating effects of public cooperation and informers.


Truth is, it's surprisingly hard to get anything under torture, true or false. For example, between 1500 and 1750, French prosecutors tried to torture confessions out of 785 individuals. Torture was legal back then, and the records document such practices as the bone-crushing use of splints, pumping stomachs with water until they swelled and pouring boiling oil on the feet. But the number of prisoners who said anything was low, from 3 percent in Paris to 14 percent in Toulouse (an exceptional high). Most of the time, the torturers were unable to get any statement whatsoever.

And such examples could be multiplied. The Japanese fascists, no strangers to torture, said it best in their field manual, which was found in Burma during World War II: They described torture as the clumsiest possible method of gathering intelligence. Like most sensible torturers, they preferred to use torture for intimidation, not information.

as for the success rate it is abysmal:

In fact, the problem of torture does not stem from the prisoner who has information; it stems from the prisoner who doesn't. Such a person is also likely to lie, to say anything, often convincingly. The torture of the informed may generate no more lies than normal interrogation, but the torture of the ignorant and innocent overwhelms investigators with misleading information. In these cases, nothing is indeed preferable to anything. Anything needs to be verified, and the CIA's own 1963 interrogation manual explains that "a time-consuming delay results" -- hardly useful when every moment matters.

Intelligence gathering is especially vulnerable to this problem. When police officers torture, they know what the crime is, and all they want is the confession. When intelligence officers torture, they must gather information about what they don't know.

For about 40 years, psychologists have been testing police officers as well as normal people to see whether they can spot lies, and the results aren't encouraging. Ordinary folk have an accuracy rate of about 57 percent, which is pretty poor considering that 50 percent is the flip of a coin. Likewise, the cops' accuracy rates fall between 45 percent and 65 percent -- that is, sometimes less accurate than a coin toss.

Why does this matter? Because even if torturers break a person, they have to recognize it, and most of the time they can't. Torturers assume too much and reject what doesn't fit their assumptions. For instance, Sheila Cassidy, a British physician, cracked under electric-shock torture by the Chilean secret service in the 1970s and identified priests who had helped the country's socialist opposition. But her devout interrogators couldn't believe that priests would ever help the socialists, so they tortured her for another week until they finally became convinced. By that time, she was so damaged that she couldn't remember the location of the safe house.

And yet these myths persist. "The larger problem here, I think," one active CIA officer observed in 2005, "is that this kind of stuff just makes people feel better, even if it doesn't work."

Washington Post

Darius Rejali is a professor of political science at Reed College and the author of the recently published "Torture and Democracy."
And Glenn Greenwald at sums up these issues quite concisely as he offers a challenge to his readers to try to reconcile Obama and Eric Holders insistence that CIA agents and others who took part in torturing & abusing detainees should not be prosecuted as they were just following orders:

Eric Holder v. America's legal obligations by Glenn Greenwald at, April 17, 2009

Can anyone reconcile these?:

Barack Obama, yesterday:

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

Eric Holder, yesterday:

It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department.

Convention Against Torture -- signed by Reagan in 1988, ratified in 1994 by Senate:

Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (Article 4) . . . . The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . . . An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Geneva Conventions, Article 146:

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.

Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, Article 8:

The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.

U.S. Constitution, Article VI:

[A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.

I agree entirely that it is the DOJ lawyers who purported to legalize torture and the high-level Bush officials ordering it who are the prime culprits and criminals, as compared to, say, CIA agents who were proverbially just following orders and were told by the DOJ that what they were doing was legal. But leave aside the question of whether prosecutions would produce good or bad outcomes. After all, the notion that the law can and should be ignored whenever we think doing so would produce good results or would constitute good policy was the engine that drove Bush lawlessness. If, as Barack Obama proclaimed yesterday, "the United States is a nation of laws" and his "Administration will always act in accordance with those laws," isn't it the obligation of those opposing prosecution to justify that position in light of these legal mandates and long-standing principles of Western justice? How can they be reconciled?

In what follows I have offered a few thoughts on US cases of detainee torture and illtreatment and The Convention Against Torture:

According to the Convention Against Torture the United States has a responsibility to prevent the use of torture by any of its government personnel or to delegate such actions to third parties.

Further a nation is responsible for the conduct of its personnel outside the USA or wherever they are posted on ships or on foreign territory- so Abu ghraib , Bagram , Guantanamo and all other facilities run by US personnel or delegated to a third party are all the responsibility of the US government. The US government is required to investigate and bring to justice anyone contravening these statutes.

and following orders is not an excuse or constitutes an exemption from the law
and sending an individual or detainee to a country where that it can be reasonably expected that they will be tortured is also forbidden and constitutes a breach of the law

and : 2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Note in its description of torture it includes no only "Torture" but also other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment - so forcing detainees to remain naked for extended periods of time in order to humiliate them or soften them up for interrogation is a crime as is making them wear diapers or resticting their nutrional intake to a liquid , or to cut off their beards in order to humiliate them knowing that their beard is mandated by their religion and culture and so on-

Torture is not according to International Law defined as only that suffering which may bring about organ failure or death or mental anguish which will lead to a permanent mental disorder as Cheney & Rumsfeld defined Torture

The Bush administration further failed by not instructing its CIA agents, or its military personnel, or medical personnel etc. about the rules and laws regarding torture. We now know for certain that besides CIA agents medical personnel ( MDs, psychologists, psychiatrists etc)also actively took part in or aided in the torture of detainees.

Article 10

1. Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.
2. Each State Party shall include this prohibition in the rules or instructions issued in regard to the duties and functions of any such persons.

according to articles 13 & 14 anyone who alleges abuse and or torture is be given an outlet to complain and that the case be judged impartially he and the witnesses in such a case are protected against ill-treatment or intimidation. We know that detainees who tried to complain about their treatment were kept in solitary confinement and or were further abused as they were considered to be non compliant-

Further the US government did not take action to rehabilitate those who were abused nor were they allowed to take part in proceedings for compensation-

Article 13
Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.

Article 14

1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependents shall be entitled to compensation.
2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other person to compensation which may exist under national law.

And as we see in Article 15 the Bush Government and its military courts contravened the law by allowing statements made as the result of torture or other illtreatment to be used against that individual or other individuals. Gitmo and its courts were operating well outside the law as described in this convention.

Article 15
Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

In Article 16 it is again noted that other acts of cruelty or inhumane or degrading treatment which do not amount to torture must be prevented and that such acts also are considered to a contravention of the Convention Against Torture.

Article 16

1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture or references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

And here is the preamble and the first seven articles of The Convention Against Torture:

and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment
Convention Against Torture — signed by Reagan in 1988, ratified in 1994 by Senate

The States Parties to this Convention,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Recognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter, in particular Article 55, to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Having regard to article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

Having regard also to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975 (resolution 3452 (XXX)),

Desiring to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world,

Have agreed as follows:

Part I
Article 1

1. 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, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3

1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.

Article 5

1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
1. When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
2. When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
3. When the victim was a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.
2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article.
3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.

Article 6

1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present, shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence. The custody and other legal measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may be continued only for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted.
2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.
3. Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article shall be assisted in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national, or, if he is a stateless person, to the representative of the State where he usually resides.
4. When a State, pursuant to this article, has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the States referred to in article 5, paragraph 1, of the fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances which warrant his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of this article shall promptly report its findings to the said State and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.

Article 7

1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
2. These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.
3. Any person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with any of the offences referred to in article 4 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings.

Some relevant articles:

'A Ton More People Were Wiretapped Than We've Been Led to Believe': FBI Whistleblower Thomas Tamm" By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Posted April 18, 2009.

" Obama's Immunity For CIA Agents Still Leaves Prosecutions of Senior Bushies on the Table " by Ali Frick, Think Progress , April 17, 2009.

Torture Memos Gave CIA Legal O.K. to Bring Detainees to Brink of Death Jason Leopold, ,April 17, 2009

and here's a more hopeful note though it may fall on deaf ears - by way of After-Downing

" Congressman Jerrold Nadler Calls for a Special Prosecutor for Torture",, April 17, 2009

Bush Memos Parallel Claim 9/11 "Mastermind’s" Children Were Tortured With Insects By John Byrne Rawstory, April 17, 2009

Newly Released Memo Inadvertently Reveals CIA Held (and Abused) Missing Prisoner at Mother Jones April 17, 2009

"Darkness, Darkness No Amnesty for Torturers By Dave Lindorff April 17, 2009 "Information Clearing House"

Hopebroken and Hopesick:A Lexicon of Disappointment By Naomi Klein April 17, 2009 "The Nation"

Obama Administration Considers Hiding Details of CIA Torture Posted by Emptywheel, Firedoglake April 15, 2009.

Does The Obama administration find Torture Funny -
" Why Are Robert Gibbs and the White House Press Corps Laughing About a Torture Investigation?" by Liliana Segura, AlterNet, April 15, 2009.

" Why Spain Can Actually Prosecute Bush and Co. for Their Crimes" By Marjorie Cohn, San Francisco Chronicle. Posted April 10, 2009.

Why Doesn't CIA Director Leon Panetta Want Torture Investigations? By John Sifton, The Daily Beast. Posted April 13, 2009.

Medical Personnel Accused of Helping CIA Torture Prisoners By Todd Neale, , MedPage Today, April 09, 2009

also see: "The Red Cross Torture Report: What it Means "By Mark Danner April 12, 2009 "NYRB" or

An Emerging Progressive Consensus on Obama's Executive Power and Secrecy Abuses by Glenn Greenwald, April 13, 2009

"We must confront the torturers who acted in our name"By Robyn Blumner, St. Petersburg Times April 13, 2009( at

from the blog The Osterley Times: When Turdblossoms Attack Countdown April 13, 2009

'These People Fear Prosecution': Why Bush's CIA Team Should Worry About Its Dark Embrace of Torture By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. April 11, 2009.

"Doug Feith: "I Was a Major Player" in Bush's Torture Policies" by Jason Leopold,, April 6, 2009

" The Green Light" As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guantánamo detainee wouldn’t talk, the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual. The attorneys would even fly to Guantánamo to ratchet up the pressure—then blame abuses on the military. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail, and holds out the possibility of war crimes Philippe Sands, Vanity Fair , May 2008

Obama, the ICRC Report and Ongoing Suppression by Glenn Greenwald,, April 7, 2009

Justice Extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror by Andy Worthington 7, 2009

and so it goes,

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