Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bush & Cheney Ordered Torture Seeking False Confessions To Link Saddam to AlQaeda and 9/11 Attacks ; U.S. Media Defend Use Of Torture

UPDATE:12:29 PM April 25, 2009

Bush and Cheney authorized torture
Reason For Torture to Prove Links Between Saddam and Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks
U.S. Military and C.I.A used the same torture techniques
Thousands of detainees tortured or abused in Bush /Cheney desire for False Confessions
Bush defends C.I.A
C.I.A. covers up for Bush not acting on Intel warnings on Al Qaeda prior to 9/11 attacks
C.I.A and U.S. military agree to torture
F.B.I. refused to take part in torture

Note the convention against torture also includes " Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment"

Further torture is not defined as that which brings about severe pain which may lead to organ failure or death- for instance according to Bush and Cheney's definition of torture pulling out someone's fingernails would therefore not be torture nor would burning someone with lit cigarettes or through electric shocks to a prisoners nipples or genitals or a myriad of other forms of what are normally considered to be torture- isolation, sensory deprivation, sensory overload , sleep deprivation are all considered to be forms of torture and or abuse etc.

Yet in the American media all of these techniques it seems are up for debate - if a prisoner is only burned once by a lit cigarette is that torture, they ask or do you have to do it 100 times for it to constitute torture- when someone is repeatedly kicked is it only abuse or torture if they bleed externally or internally or how does one determine this and so the Bush Cheney supporters and their brainless immoral , unethical sycophants in the media argue on and on .

Other Neocon true believers have even claimed it would be best for the general public not to know the details of what the government does in order to protect its citizens. These people would belong to the Know-Nothing party because to every difficult moral question they just say they don't know and would prefer to then go on to think about less depressing matters. The dumbing down of America is complete'
So they trust the Karl Roves and Glenn Becks and Sean Hannitys to just tell them what is right or wrong and that is the end of that story. So Karl Rove , Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice made the difficult choices for them and now they want Obama and his administration not to bother them with all this unsavory facts. They like his talk of hope and change but they don't want to reflect or to examine the dark past. Would they feel this way if Americans who were captured by a foreign government were treated in the same way as America has treated its prisoners or detainees.

and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

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.

To begin here's a quote by Paul Krugman from his article in The New York Times:

America is more than a collection of policies. We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals. In the past, our government has sometimes done an imperfect job of upholding those ideals. But never before have our leaders so utterly betrayed everything our nation stands for. "This government does not torture people," declared former President Bush, but it did, and all the world knows it.

And the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible.

...For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract "confessions" that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

It's hard, then, not to be cynical when some of the people who should have spoken out against what was happening, but didn't, now declare that we should forget the whole era - for the sake of the country, of course.

Sorry, but what we really should do for the sake of the country is have investigations both of torture and of the march to war. These investigations should, where appropriate, be followed by prosecutions - not out of vindictiveness, but because this is a nation of laws.

We need to do this for the sake of our future. For this isn't about looking backward, it's about looking forward - because it's about reclaiming America's soul.

FROM: Reclaiming America’s Soul by Paul Krugman, New York Times also at Information Clearing house ,April 24, 2009

(Paul Krugman is professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a regular columnist for The New York Times. Krugman was the 2008 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics. He is the author of numerous books, including The Conscience of A Liberal, and his most recent, The Return of Depression Economics. )

Watrboarding is Torture. Torture is a Crime. Period.
Keith Olbermann

The only issue I have with this commentary by Olbermann is that he and others focus on Waterboarding as torture and though Olbermann may not mean to the impression or perception is left that other Harsh Interrogation Techniques used by the Bush/Cheney Regime may therefore be seen as possibly not constituting torture or abuse. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross the other techniques used on prisoners at Guantanamo or any where else are also considered to be illegal and immoral that they constitute Torture and or abuse .

It is too bad that so many people especially those who think that it is OK for the United States to treat prisoners in anyway they see fit depending on America's needs and not that of the Rule of Law or to be bound by what is considered civilized behavior or what constitutes humane treatment of prisoners.

Those in favor of the Bush/Cheney doctrine of American unilateralism in regards to what is lawful and what is not will sit around quibbling over words such as torture because they have an agenda which they believe supersedes any traditional laws or concepts of civilized behavior or those laws agreed upon by International Agreements such as the Geneva Conventions.

To these apologists the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners and the " International Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of Prisoners " is just outdated or quaint or some outdated ideal which should be tossed out so that those in power in American can do as they please or see fit . To these people I would say that their view is such that what they are advocating is to abandon any semblance of the rule of law because it happens to be inconvenient to their agenda at the moment.

Supposedly the Pro-Torture argument is that information can be obtained by the use of torture. This is blatantly false but even if it were not Torture and the cruel and the Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners is against International Law. The United States ratified this treaty and is therefore bound by it according to US law and the US Constitution no matter what Bush, Cheney, Condoleeza Rice , Karl Rove , Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Fox News or CNN claims.

Of course it is another issue if what the United States under President Bush or under President Obama wants to claim is that though they signed onto this agreement that as of this week April 2009 or as of the day after 9/11 September 12, 2001 that they unilaterally reject the Geneva Conventions and all other International Agreements in regards to the treatment of prisoners then the United States should make that absolutely clear and final . By doing so the United States should be treated by the International Community as a Rogue State which has no interests in any form of International Law for it only abides by its international responsibilities when it suits its needs. If this is the case the United Nations and other International Organizations should deal from here on out in the way it would other Rogue or Criminal States which have no respect for any International Laws or Agreements.

So toss the United States out of the United Nations Security Council and then consider sanctions against it as the United Nations would any other state. Unfortunately the United Nations is far too fearful to take such action. It did not when it learned that the United States had deliberately and wantonly lied to the General Assembly in its case for the unjustifiable invasion of Iraq which constituted a War Crime. So we know that the United States even according to the United Nations is above and outside the rule of law as constructed by the United Nations and the International Community.

Even President Obama has said he will do whatever necessary to protect the Torturers whether members of the CIA or the US military or Private Contractors from prosecution by any group, organization or nation or the United Nations. Further he says they will protected from any law suits etc. Great if you are one of the torturers because you are protected and have been absolved of all your crimes and sins by the President of the United States which is possibly equivalent to being absolved of all sins by the Pope. And no international court can do anything about it.

So much for Obama's speech in Turkey and Europe denying American exceptionalism and America as one of if not the chosen nation of God.

Rachel Maddow Ron Susskind - Torture Policy Came From Bush and Cheney
involved in day to day decisons about torture
Main reason for torture was to try to find a link between 9/11 and AlQaeda

And here's a funny and also disturbing bit from The Young Turks talking about Shep Smith on Fox News considering whether or not America should use harsh tecniques which constitute torture - Note on Fox News and much of the US mainstream media they are still discussing what is and what is not torture as if no before them ever discussed the issue.

The Young Turks:Shep Smith - We Don't F*#kin' Torture!-April 23, 2009

What the Conservatives and Republicans and Cheney/Karl Rove/ Bush supporters want is a laundry list of techniques which constitute torture.

Many of them argue that Sleep Deprivation, Sensory Deprivation, Sensory bombardment or Sensory overload or other psychological forms of torture are not really torture .

I for one wish the various professional organizations in America would have the guts to take a stand on the issue publicly as in Open Letters to the President posted in The New York Times and not just in some obscure scholarly professional journal etc.

- there have been many reputable studies done on all of these techniques and more which prove the long term adverse effects these techniques have on people. So where's the American Medical Association. or the Association of American Psychologists, or the American Psychiatric Association etc. Or must we continue these sort of linguistic acrobatics about what is and what is not torture.

Arianna Huffington takes the US media to task for trying to frame the issue of Torure in terms of left versus the right or Republicans versus Democrats since this is she argues an issue with only one side.

The Torture Moment by Arianna Huffington, at Huff Post , April 23, 2009

Since when is the need to adhere to the laws that govern us a left-wing "point of view"? Is Thou Shalt Not Kill a "point of view"? When the police arrest a rapist, is it because rape is inherently, inarguably wrong -- or because that's the cops' "point of view"?

Isn't torture one of those things where there really is no legitimate other side?

And if this really is a question of right vs. left, how do Henry, Balz, and all the others framing the discussion that way account for Shepard Smith's table-slamming outburst on's The Strategy Room? Was his "We are AMERICA! We do not fucking torture!" a left-wing point of view confusingly expressed by a right-wing commentator?

Memo to the media: Time to check in for a serious round of "right vs left" rehab. When it comes to torture, the only appropriate framing is "right vs wrong."

Steve Benan points out that Karl Rove,the Republicans & the Media echo-chamber including Fox News & Sean Hannity etc. in referring to calls for investigations into the Bush Regimes use of torture as acting as if America was a "Banana Republic are misusing the term because it is in Banana Republics that authoritarian or dictatorial governments are not investigated for such allegations and therefore get away with breaching the Rule of Law. What Steven Benan is arguing is that it is the Bush administration and its desperate supporters who were and are trying to treat the United States as if it were a "Banana Republic.

We Already Went Through Our 'Banana Republic' Phase by Steve Benan at huffington Post ,April 24, 2009

There are a lot of errors of fact and judgment here, but let's just address the broader point: these Republican lawmakers and officials are all using the same coordinated phrase, but they don't seem to know what a "Banana Republic" is.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a "Banana Republic" is an unaccountable chief executive who ignores the rule of law when it suits his/her purposes. The ruling junta in a "Banana Republic" eschews accountability, commits heinous acts in secret, tolerates widespread corruption, and generally embraces a totalitarian attitude in which the leader can break laws whenever he/she feels it's justified to protect the state.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Rove, McCain, Bond, Hannity, Beck, et al are so caught up in their partisan rage, they've failed to realize they have the story backwards.

If our goal is to avoid looking like a "Banana Republic," then we would investigate those responsible for torture, which is, not incidentally, illegal. The accused would enjoy the presumption of innocence and due process rights. The process would be transparent, and those who act (and have acted) in our name would be held accountable.

It's the hallmark of a great and stable democracy: we honor the rule of law, even when it's inconvenient, and even when it meets the cries of small men with sad ideas.

" Never Again " by Trey Ellis at Huffington Post , April 24, 2009

Sure, I'm a liberal and would love nothing more than to see justice served to those who ordered torture, lied us into a war in Iraq for the gain of their private armies and petrodollars and, by the way, stole an election. If I had one wish it would be to see Dick Cheney in an orange jumpsuit lifting weights in the big yard.

But no one is talking about the full-scale accountability that a truly healthy democracy would demand after such a reign of terror.

The least we can do now, all Americans, regardless of political stripe, is to stand up and say, "Torture? Never again." The Obama administration is usually so adept at looking forward to their historical relevance and legacy. The crimes that were urged and condoned are so profoundly un-American that to ignore them now is to forever lose a chunk of our essence as a democracy.


As for Condoleeza Rice it appears she knew more about the torture taking place and was in fact involved in its approval.

"Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding " at Huffington Post , April 23, 2009

The Associated Press reports that the highest Bush administration officials signed off on waterboarding:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice verbally OK'd the CIA's request to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002, a decision memorialized a few days later in a secret memo that the Obama administration declassified last week.

Rice's role was detailed in a narrative released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It provides the most detailed timeline yet for how the CIA's harsh interrogation program was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.

The new timeline shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The narrative also shows that dissenting legal views about the severe interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly.

...According to the new narrative, which compiles legal advice provided by the Bush administration to the CIA, Rice personally conveyed the administration's approval for waterboarding of Zubaydah, a so-called high-value detainee, to then-CIA Director George Tenet in July 2002...

As McClatchy notes, Cheney attended a meeting in 2003 to discuss the continuation of the interrogation program:

The Director of Central Intelligence in the spring of 2003 sought a reaffirmation of the legality of the interrogation methods. Cheney, Rice, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales were among those at a meeting where it was decided that the policies would continue. Rumsfeld and Powell weren't.

...Last fall, Rice acknowledged to the Senate Armed Services Committee only that she had attended meetings where the CIA interrogation request was discussed. She said she did not recall details. Rice omitted her direct role in approving the program in her written statement to the committee.

Days after Rice gave Tenet the nod, the Justice Department approved the use of waterboarding in a top secret Aug. 1 memo. Zubaydah underwent waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002.

In the years that followed, according to the narrative issued Wednesday, there were numerous internal legal reviews of the program, suggesting government attorneys raised concerns that the harsh methods, particularly waterboarding, might violate federal laws against torture and the U.S. Constitution.

and so it goes,

No comments: