Sunday, April 19, 2009

OBAMA : Torture, Abuse & Murder OK If Done in "Good Faith" - Besides America is Never Ever in The Wrong

UPDATE: 11:12 AM April 19, 2009

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."
Human Rights Watch

TORTURE DOES NOT WORK !!! How Many Times Do Experts On Interrogation Have To Say This Before Americans Accept It As A Fact ???

Once again Former Bush Regime members and the Neocons Erroneously claim Torture Works ala JACK BAUER
Many Americans have formed their opinion on the "Effectiveness of Torture " based on a fictional TV character
Americans unable to seperate TV from reality- the two are blurred in their minds
Former Interrogator on Torture Memos-Torture Does Not Work
April 18, 2009
Former Interrogator Matthew Alexander comments on Torture Memos

If the torturers can not be indicted will Bybee & Other Lawyers who produced the memos to allow Torture.
More on the Bush/ Cheney Insanity & Obama's Dilemma-
Rachel Maddow vs. Federal Judge Bybee's "Torture Memos"- April 17, 2009

Bill Kristol attacks Obam for relesing Torture Memos calls Obama Pathetic.
He & Fox News make light of the Torture and abuse of detainees. America is allowed legally and morally to do whatever it takes to protect itself from its enemies. It appears the people on this show on Fox did not read the Memos . In fact it is probable most Americans will not read the memos but will rely on the opinion of the Neocons & Fox News about these weighty matters . Most Americans don't care about a dozen or hundreds or thousands of prisoners being abused under the Bush Regime. In the end for the 9/11 attack Americans wanted revenge and their pound of flesh. Torture we are told is as American as Apple Pie besides the Bible says that the heretics and unbelievers do not deserve mercy.

Turley says this is proof of well defined premeditated War Crimes .
Turley like others is naive in believing Americans care whether or not these are War Crimes- They believe it is up to America and its President or the CIA and those in power to decide what is and what is not a crime or ethical. Those in the power-structure in Washington see Obama as an outsider who needs to be taught the rules of the House as it were.

Jonathan Turley responds to Torture Memos and Obama obstruction- April 18, 2009

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

"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."
Amnesty International , April 17, 2009

According to President Obama those who tortured and abused so called "Detainees" acted in good faith and that their motives were pure and so they are not culpable for their criminal actions.

So US soldiers who are told to shoot and kill innocent Iraqis can always say they did this on good faith- even though they knew these citizens to be innocent - they the American soldiers were just following orders. So what are the limits of this so called "Good Faith " defense. When American soldiers are told that all Iraqis are the enemy if they then shoot up whole neighborhoods or even cities such as Fallujah all they have to say is that " they were just following orders". These are by the way not hypothetical questions raised in a first year law class but are in fact real incidents. Fallujah was destroyed mainly so American troops & the White House could exact revenge for the deaths of four Private Contractors and had little to do with "The War On Terror ".

If we look back at My Lai massacre in Vietnam the soldiers who took part all claimed they were just following orders even though the hundreds killed were not Viet Cong or enemies of the United States. But the attitude throughout the War in Vietnam was that the Vietnamese people were as much the enemy as the Viet Cong. Large parts of Vietnam like large parts of Iraq we are told became Free Fire Zones. But the Vietnamese people did not register for many Americans as having any rights since they were characterized in racist terms as being " GOOKS" and therefore subhuman. In the same way Americans dehumanized Iraqis , Afghans and any one considered a " terrorist" or an "Insurgent" as vermin that needed
to be wiped out . Iraq would become peaceful and controllable once enough Iraqis were killed or left their own country.

The great irony is that the US has its first black president who seems incapable of seeing the prejudice , bigotry, racist stereotyping being applied to so called "Terrorists" whether they were among the leadership of Al Qaeda or some child soldier fighting because his elders said it would be a good thing. So isn't the child soldier or any insurgent fighting the Americans in Iraq also acting on Good Faith. They were told America invaded Iraq and were not invited and that the Americans were out to destroy their country and to basically enslave the whole nation; that is the US would tell Iraqis what kind of government they should have and who should be part of that government and who should not and what laws they should pass and that the US and various multinational corporations would tell the Iraqis what was to be done with their natural resources ie OIL. So did the Iraqi people in " Good Faith " rise up against an Invading Foreign Imperialistic Army. And rather than the Americans pulling out of the country showing the Iraqi people that all the Americans wanted to do was to topple Saddam's Regime instead the American troops stayed and the US Government decided build in Baghdad the Biggest Embassy in the world as a symbol of American Power and dominance and Hegemony.

In their war against Iraq the American military unleashed a fire storm and barrage referred to as Shock and Awe killing tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens in a matter of weeks. The Americans then dismantled the Iraqi state including the military, the police forces, they fired all the teachers and other professionals and all the bureaucrats in the name of Debaathification. In their Blizkrieg battle of Shock and Awe the Americans targeted Iraq's Infrastructure in contravention of International Law- they destroyed roads and bridges, power plants, water and sewage treatment facilities and thousands of other non-military targets. But of course Bush & Co. and Noe Obama do not see these as crimes because they were done in "Good Faith " the Iraqis and Saddam were evil and were the enemies of the United States and Israel and were an imminent threat with all of their bogus WMDS . Besides Saddam the American people were erroneously informed had financed and armed Al Qaeda and was involved in the 9/11 attacks. So American soldiers were told to show no mercy for any Iraqi citizen who resisted US invasion and Occupation. Six years late the US still occupies Iraq and will do so for another four or twenty years. Yet the American public have been led to believe that the Iraq war was necessary and was fought with the best of intentions and was fought to keep America secure which was of course all nonsense.

Yet Obama praises the US troops for fighting in this Noble Crusade . Obama could have praised the troops telling them they did what they were told and that they are not to blame for the fact that the whole enterprise in Iraq was a SHAM cooked up by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, Karl Rove Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice.

No instead President Obama like Karl Rove , Cheney et al is busily rewriting history to try to make Americans feel better about themselves. So it is the same old Propaganda of the American Myth-making enterprise which claims America never does wrong because its motivations are pure and they always act in "Good Faith ". Is this to be Obama's legacy as he buys into the Bush/Cheney/Rove rewriting of history as the facts about the Bush era are tossed down the Memory Hole in the name of America's Good Reputation as an Imperial Power like those before them who had Good Intentions .

In reference to the Torture Memos and Obama's response Amnesty International released this statement:

Pressure Grows for Accountability with Torture Memos' Release Hundreds of Amnesty International Activists Concluding In-District Lobbying This Week;
E-Lobbying Continues; April 30th March from Capitol to White House Planned WASHINGTON - April 17

CONTACT: Amnesty International - USA
Gwen Fitzgerald, 202-544-0200 x260, 240-462-9076(c) or Tom Parker, 646-651-6508

- Following the release yesterday of four key torture memos from the Bush administration and the concurrent statements by President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives who carried out interrogations of terrorism suspects will not be prosecuted, Amnesty International USA's (AIUSA) counterterrorism expert Tom Parker released the following statement:

"The continuing startling revelations about Bush administration detention and interrogation practices and the Obama administration's handling of them point unequivocally to the need for an independent investigation to expose the full scope of the practices and those involved.

"Attorney General Holder said yesterday that the Obama administration does not condone torture, but by refusing to investigate the coercive interrogation program used by the CIA that is precisely what the administration is doing.

"After 50 years of interviewing torture victims, Amnesty International has found that abuse, especially when sanctioned at the highest levels, inevitably escalates over time. If the now-public Bybee memo sets out such shocking scenarios, imagine what followed in practice.

"Americans will not know the truth until a comprehensive, independent investigation has been conducted.

"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."

During President Obama's first 100 days, AIUSA activists have mobilized nationwide to press for an independent commission of inquiry into U.S. policies on detainee interrogation and treatment.

This week, more than 200 face-to-face meetings occurred with Members of Congress and AIUSA delegations. President Obama and the U.S. Senate have received more than 50,000 e-mails and letters and more than 700 people have hosted events in their communities--all calling for accountability for abuse in the war on terror. On April 30 at 10 a.m., AIUSA and Witness Against Torture activists will make a last urgent call for action during Obama's first 100 days and march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

and from Human Rights Watch:

US: Investigate Those Responsible for Authorizing Torture Human Rights Watch at Huffington Post, April 17, 2009

Release of Justice Department Memos Underscores Need for Investigation

(New York) - The release of four US Justice Department memos detailing abusive interrogation techniques authorized for use on terrorism suspects underscores the need for an investigation into those who authorized and conducted torture and other abuse, Human Rights Watch said today.

"President Obama said there was nothing to gain 'by laying blame for the past,'" said Stacy Sullivan, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch. "But prosecuting those responsible for torture is really about ensuring that such crimes don't happen in the future."

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."

Notably, the president left open the possibility of prosecuting those higher up the chain who wrote the opinions and authorized the CIA to use abusive interrogation techniques and torture.

"If the Obama administration is to adhere to the law, it is not enough to ensure that torture does not take place in the future," said Sullivan. "It must apply the law prohibiting torture to those who violated it in the past."

The memos were written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to provide the legal framework for the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" including "waterboarding," which has been prosecuted as a war crime in the United States for more than 100 years.

A 2002 memo detailed the techniques authorized on Abu Zubaida, an alleged al-Qaeda operative whom the CIA believed had information about terrorist operations that were yet to be executed. In addition to "waterboarding" and "walling" (slamming a prisoner into a "flexible false wall"), the techniques included placing Abu Zubaida in a box with what he was told was a stinging insect. The memo provides a legal analysis to justify methods that are on their face torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment banned by US and international law.

" The Significance of Obama's Decision to Release the Torture Memos "by Glenn Greenwald,, April 17,2009

...The most criticism-worthy act that Obama engaged in yesterday was to affirm and perpetuate what is the single most-destructive premise in our political culture: namely, that when high government officials get caught committing serious crimes, the responsible and constructive thing to do is demand immunity for them, while only those who are vindictive and divisive want political leaders to be held accountable for their crimes. This is what Obama said in affirming that rotted premise:

This is a time for reflection, not retribution. . . . But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in America's ability to right its course in concert with our core values, and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.

That passage, more than anything else, is the mindset that has destroyed the rule of law in the U.S. and spawned massive criminality in our elite class. Accountability for crimes committed by political leaders (as opposed to ordinary Americans) is scorned as "retribution" and "laying blame for the past." Those who believe that the rule of law should be applied to the powerful as well as to ordinary citizens are demonized as the "forces that divide us." The bottomless corruption of immunizing political elites for serious crimes is glorified in the most Orwellian terms as "a time for reflection," "moving forward," and "coming together on behalf of our common future."

Regardless of the reasons, it is clear that Obama will not single-handedly eliminate the immunity from the rule of law which the political class and other elites have arrogated unto themselves. If anything, as his comments yesterday reflect, he is likely to affirm and defend that immunity (and, obviously, he personally benefits from its ongoing vitality). Demanding that political leaders be subjected to the rule of law -- and finding ways to force the appointment of a Special Prosecutor -- is what citizens ought to be doing. Either we care about the rule of law or we don't -- and if we do, we'll find the ways to demand its application to the politically powerful criminals who broke multiple laws over the last eight years. Obama's release of those torture memos yesterday makes that choice unambiguously clear and enables the right to choice to be made.

As we saw with Bill Kristol and Fox News the pro-Torture crowd are gloating over these detailed accounts of torture in the memos. They in fact feel vindicated. They do not see what could be morally or ethically wrong with such actions. As Obama himself has said they the torturers did it with "Good Intentions" therefore they are not culpable and I guess in fact they were acting heroically doing what needed to be done. The Neocons and people like Hannity and Fox News think these people should all get medals. And it is this point which shows that Obama is wrong not to prosecute since the Pro-Torture crowd see Obama's reluctance to prosecute as being tacit approval of these actions. And Obama's claim that America will no longer torture is just seen as the normal sort of liberal rhetoric to appease some of his supporters but in the end the CIA and other agencies know if they continue to torture and abuse detainees Obama not going to do much about it except possibly a bit of privated chastisement. So America will continue as a Rogue State which makes excuses for it inhumane treatment of prisoners.

For instance if Obama wanted to stop such abuses he should insist that these detainees from now on be referred to as Prisoners of War and grant them their full rights as POWS as detailed under the Geneva Conventions.Instead Obama has argued that detainees in prisons such Bagram have no rights except those the US or President Obama or those who are the true weilders of power decides to give them as they see fit. (Noblesse Oblige.)

Neocon Moral Lepers Continue to Defend and Glorify Torture by dday, Hullabaloo at 10:57 AM on April 17, 2009.

All the people squealing about the release of the torture memos and defending torture harm national security with each passing moment.

...We're always supposed to remember that we simply had to violate laws and shrink to the level of our enemies because that's how they operate, which is certainly telling on behalf of the cretins defending themselves in this. But the contempt of our enemies was never in question; it's the contempt of our allies, of indeed the entire world, which is only exacerbated by the defense of these actions, especially considering that they have for the time being been put outside the criminal justice system and above the law

. It's not the "publicizing of the techniques," as this

unnamed coward given sanction by useful idiot Mike Allen to rant today, that weakens national security, it's the constant defense of them, the daily shame that there are powerful people in the US government convinced that drowning people is a necessary activity that "can never be used again" - as if that's a bad thing.

And of course, this crowd has no problem lying about the application of torture, its effectiveness, or anything else surrounding the process, as long as it bolsters their argument.

...I agree that the largely unredacted release is a praiseworthy act by the President. The push to "move forward" and offer no accountability for violations of domestic law and international convention is a huge mistake - one compounded every day by the continued issuing of "torture memos" in newspapers and on cable TV from the Bush Administration weasels who aren't satisfied with just getting away with the crime, but feel the need to glorify it. This is a Justice Department decision, and they ought to appoint a special prosecutor, taking it out of the political realm. Believers in the rule of law should be screaming for that. Because every day that passes, another torture memo puts distance between us and the world.

...John Conyers:

“As Americans digest the awful revelations in the Bush-era OLC opinions, our nation faces a critical choice – what will we do to ensure that abuses like those described in these memos are never again ordered by our leaders or justified by our lawyers? To me, the answer is obvious. We must have a full investigation of the circumstances under which these torture methods were created, approved, and implemented, preferably by an independent commission as I previously proposed. And if our leaders are found to have violated the strict laws against torture, either by ordering these techniques without proper legal authority or by knowingly crafting legal fictions to justify the torture, they should be criminally prosecuted. It is simply obvious that, if there is no accountability when wrongdoing is exposed, future violations will not be deterred.

“I believe a Commission is the best forum to resolve the difficult issues raised by the ever-increasing documentary record of Bush Administration interrogation abuses. To take just one example, today two former Bush Administration officials again took to the papers to justify these practices by claiming that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydeh had been a clear success and had led to the disruption of terrorist plots. Yet just two weeks ago, former Bush Administration officials who monitored this interrogation told reporters that ‘not a single significant plot was foiled’ as a result. The American people deserve a non-partisan answer to such fundamental questions.

Meanwhile some of Obama's supporters are clutching at straws hoping that Obama will allow prosecutions of those higher up in the former Bush Regime. But there is little chance of this taking place.For one thing taking away the threat of prosecutions of CIA agents and others robs them of any incentive to go public with what they know or making deals with a " Special Prosecutor". With such deals those who did the actual torturing to get their prison sentences reduced or be then given immunity if they cooperate.

'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.

The man who blew the lid off Bush's spying program believes more details on government spying must, and will, come to light.

... for many people it may come as a shock that nearly 4 1/2 years after the illegal program was uncovered, not only has the government continued to spy on Americans with total impunity, most of the details of Bush's warrantless wiretapping scheme remain a mystery.

"What really concerns me is that we still don't know the truth," Thomas Tamm, a former FBI official told me. "We do not know what they did."

Tamm should know. He is the person who blew the whistle on the NSA spying program, a former employee of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, a highly sensitive unit of the Justice Department. He remained anonymous for years, until his identity was revealed in a front-page story by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff late last year.

The article described how Tamm, a veteran employee of the FBI, came across proof that the U.S. government had been unlawfully eavesdropping on Americans by intercepting domestic communications.

"The idea of lawlessness at the Justice Department angered him," Isikoff wrote. After many sleepless nights and frustrating conversations with his superiors -- "supervisors told him to drop the subject" -- he decided he could no longer keep the abuse to himself.

Finally, one day during his lunch hour, Tamm ducked into a subway station near the U.S. District Courthouse on Pennsylvania Avenue. He headed for a pair of adjoining pay phones partially concealed by large, illuminated Metro maps. Tamm had been eyeing the phone booths on his way to work in the morning. Now, as he slipped through the parade of midday subway riders, his heart was pounding, his body trembling. Tamm felt like a spy. After looking around to make sure nobody was watching, he picked up a phone and called the New York Times.

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

Obama's statement was carefully worded to include only "those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice."

Robert S. Rivkin in an article in 2004 claims that America needs to learn from its history as in its response to My Lai and now to Abu Ghraib and the political culture which led to both events:

"A Duty to Disobey: The Forgotten Lessons of My Lai" Pacific News Service, New America Media,Commentary, Robert S. Rivkin, May 14, 2004

Editor's Note: The abuses at Abu Ghraib, and past atrocities such as the My Lai massacre demonstrate one thing clearly, the writer says: From now on, U.S. soldiers must be trained to disobey orders if necessary.

and for the relevant chapter in Rivkin's book see:

also see Cindy Sheehan's response to the criminality of the Bush Regime in its launching of its criminal war of Aggression in Iraq and the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity perpetrated by the Bush Regime in its conducting of the war and its occupation of Iraq:

The Abominations of War
From My Lai to Haditha by Cindy Sheehan, June 6, 2006/ Third World Traveler

...The massacre in Haditha on November, 19, 2005, is just another way to underscore the fact that our troops are being turned into war criminals in what one article called: "The Worst War Crime of the Iraq War." (Sydney Morning Herald; May 28 , 2006). In a stunning display of shameless hypocrisy George Bush said of the (not uncommon) butchering of innocent civilians in Haditha:

"Our troops have been trained on core values throughout their training, but obviously there was an incident that took place in Iraq,"

...The most difficult part of this writing is in trying to reconcile the fact that our soldiers, for one example, in Haditha, could not show conscience and restraint, qualities which may have prevented a murderous rampage. When one sees the pictures of bodies burned beyond human recognition; hears of 2 year old children being killed out of revenge; women being shot for failing to stop at a checkpoint that is in the middle of THEIR country; prisoners being tortured in despicably inhumane ways; ad immoral infinitum: one should be appalled and ashamed to call oneself an American.

That some of our soldiers would stoop to the level of their leaders to commit such atrocities is unspeakable. Bush says our troops have been trained in "core values" when he as a so-called born again Christian can claim that God told him to invade Iraq and it's okay to spy on American citizens like he is some kind of sick voyeur with a penchant for death and destruction.

War, under any circumstance, is not a "core value" of humanity; in fact, it is the ultimate failure of humanity. War turns our mostly normal American youth into wanton murderers who have lost their own humanity and love of others. Haditha in this war and My Lai in another disgusting war were unfortunately not aberrations. War is the abominable aberration.

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice , our troops are forbidden from obeying unlawful orders and Iraq was unlawful before it ever began. Our soldiers need to start disobeying the unlawful order to even be deployed to Iraq and not raise their weapons in appeasement to the Bush Regime and say: "This war is the criminal, I am not. Threaten me if you will, but I am not going to be an accomplice in your crimes against humanity."

and so it goes,

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