Wednesday, May 06, 2009

NYT Attempts A Whitewash By Focusing On Debates in Bush Regime Over Torture

UPDATE: 10:24 AM ,May 6,2009

"TORTURE" America's Shame
New York Times article another distraction
or What Magicians & Con Artists call Misdirection as they dissect what was happening in the Bush White House
There was Disagreement over the Use of Torture but they all kept silent publicly
Why didn't they go Public or Resign
Now they are all afraid that they might be indicted
Rats abandoning a sinking ship
The Torturers and their enablers must be brought to justice

and for a little background for Americans and Canadians who don't care or don't want to know what happened- everyone just wants to look away as Peggy Noonan I believe said -

Is Noonan the face of the " NEW UGLY AMERICAN "
George Will goes into Intellectualizing hyper-drive making excuses for the inexcusable- but he never care about ethics or morality except if it got him a bigger audience or sold another article or book-
- American Media is dominated by soulless Ayn Rand Fans and Leo Straussians & Greedy and avaricious self-serving Machiavellian Power Hungry pseudo-intellectuals who confuse glibness and cleverness with reason and wisdom.
Noonan wants to walk away

Torture report 'links White House to Abu Ghraib' 22 Apr 09

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

Former Abu Ghraib commander on torture report 22 Apr 09-Bad Apples Theory Debunked

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

In the New York Times article this week " Interrogation Debate Sharply Divided Bush White House " By MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT SHANE,May 3,2009 it is argued that there was a fierce debate over the use of torture on prisoners and that some techniques were no longer used after 2005 or later. But just because its in the New York Times doesn't mean we should believe what they were told by Bush Regime insiders. The New York Times like other US media promoted Bush's War on Terror and then aided and abetted in the Bush/Cheney propaganda and lies to convince Americans and the world that the US needed to invade Iraq because they claimed Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States & Israel which it was not.

So given the fact that The New York Times willingly was used as defender and promoter of the Bush Regime why are we now supposed to believe anything they might say. Maybe they are still acting on behalf of some members of the Bush Regime in order help save the reputations and careers of those individuals .

Meanwhile the New York Times like other members of the U.S. media can claim that the issues surrounding "Torture Techniques" which they like to call in 1984 style News-Speak as " Enhanced Interrogation Techniques " ie bashing someones head up against a wall a couple of dozen times a day or hanging an individual by his arms from the ceiling or making a one legged man stand on his only leg for six or seven hours and then slapping or punching him if he appeared to stagger or keeping men in coffin like boxes for hours on end or keeping prisoners awake for a week or two punctuated with other so called harsh methods - loud music, bright lights , being left naked for days having cold water or wet blankets tossed over prisoners to keep them alert and sometimes killing the odd inmate ie murdering them but doing so within the confines of legal memos written by callous immoral unethical lawyers who had no sense of human decency and one wonders if there was any humanity left in the people who authorized or who took part in this abuse.

Or the Bush Regime claimed that because they had medical staff on hand that therefore they were taking care to ensure the safety of their victims. No the doctors and psychologists were there to facilitate the torture of prisoners. The doctor would tell them when the victim might not be able to take anymore of this barbaric treatment and then inform them when the torture could be started again. Psychologists and psychiatrists helped develop criteria for torture based upon the individual prisoners psychological make up ie phobias or what they would find humiliating etc. thereby facilitating torture - these medical personnel also need to answer for their actions- losing their professional credentials or serving time in jail-but given Obama's record thus far he will probably give them a PEP TALK as he did to the C.I.A. and the military personnel who took part in torture .

President Obama may claim to oppose "Torture" but he appears to want to take no action against the Torturers and so far he has shown no sympathy for the thousands of victims of America's Systematic Torture of Prisoners at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or Bagram or the myriad of facilities run by the C.I.A. and the American Military and those run by America's Mercenaries aka Private Contractors or those sent to other countries to be " TORTURED BY PROXY ". Yet Obama claims to believe in the Rule of Law and that America should abide by its International Obligations of course he should add the usual American Caveat that is when it suits America- Condoleezza Rice was a genius at such duplicity- he should take her on as an adviser of how to break laws and get away with it and still live with yourself- we know that some of the soldiers and interrogators became mentally unhinged and some committed suicide unable to live with their shame and guilt. Unfortunately The Bush Regime was filled with people without any sort of human decency or conscience or even empathy for any other human being.

What this article seems like is an attempt on the part of some insiders to distance themselves from the Torture Policy or to give them plausible denial - or simply to muddy the waters over this issue. Are they just trying to pin it all on Dick Cheney and therefore not on Bush, or George Tenet or the C.I.A. or Condoleezza Rice .

What it seems is that those who fear being indicted and jailed or having their reputations tarnished are doing what they can to save their own skins. And of course the New York Times as the Pro-War Pro-Torture paper for years wants to distance itself from these unsavory actions.

The other problem I have with this article is that it glosses over the facts as reported in the Red Cross Report and the Torture Memos and the Armed Services Committee report that shows that these torture techniques were approved and used in Abu Ghriab and other US run prisons or holding areas in Iraq and at Bagram and throughout Afghanistan. It is this notion which many have ceased on that these torture techniques were only used on some 14 or two dozen or so high profile Al Qaeda operatives who the Bush Regime was certain were guilty of helping to plan the 9/11 attack- but much of their evidence does not hold up. But whether they were guilty or not didn't matter to Bush or Cheney who according to the newly released information were in fact on a fishing expedition to get false confessions from these people to prove the administration's claims about Saddam ie WMDs and ties to Al Qaeda . But this fishing expedition extended across Iraq and led to wholesale abuse and torture of large numbers of Iraqi prisoners and this sort of attitude prevailed in Afghanistan as well.

The number of those prisoners abused and tortured would given all the accounts we have heard about in the last 5 or six years would total in the thousands. What many in the Pro-Torture Pro-Bush camp keep doing is to focus on those 14 prisoners mentioned in the International Committee of the Red Cross Report while ignoring the thousands who may have been victims of the Bush Regime's callous and premeditated policies.

The other thing many of these people and the media continues to do is to focus on one particular " technique " used that of " Waterboarding " and then go on to claim they are not sure if it is torture or to agree that that techniques is torture but the other " Techniques " are not "Torture ".These people should go and read the Geneva Conventions and the Convention on the Ban on Torture and cruel and inhumane and humiliating Treatment of Prisoners. Torture by the way does not merely refer to Waterboarding or the Rack or red hot pincers. Prisoners we know were stripped naked forced to masturbate, were sometimes sodomized using various objects, they were kept in their own filth for days or weeks on end. Yet the Bush apologist on CNN and Fox News call these harmless pranks. So I don't expect even now for the New York Times or other Mainstream Media to face the truth on these matters anytime soon. Besides America has had a long history of white-washing its crimes.

Let 's look at some parts of this article as I offer my own opinion on the issues presented:

" Interrogation Debate Sharply Divided Bush White House " By MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT SHANE
New York Times, May 3, 2009

...Most news accounts of the C.I.A. program have focused on how it was approved and operated. This is the story of its unraveling, based on interviews with more than a dozen former Bush administration officials. They insisted on anonymity because they feared being enmeshed in future investigations or public controversy, but they shed new light on the battle about the C.I.A. methods that grew passionate in Mr. Bush’s second term.

The consensus of top administration officials about the C.I.A. interrogation program, which they had approved without debate or dissent in 2002, began to fall apart the next year.

Acutely aware that the agency would be blamed if the policies lost political support, nervous C.I.A. officials began to curb its practices much earlier than most Americans know: no one was waterboarded after March 2003, and coercive interrogation methods were shelved altogether in 2005.

(There are a few things to point out about these statements :This statement is made as if it were a provable fact- so we don't know if people were waterboarded after 2003 or that other torture techniques were not used after 2005- the statement is based on information given to the New York Times by people who fear being indicted or even jailed-

The question then arises did the New York Times then go out and fact check these matters with prison guards at Guantanamo, or Abu Ghraib or Bagram or the hundred or more other facilities run by the US government, the C.I.A., the US military such as Special Forces, Marines , Navy Seals etc. And did the New York Times do an exhaustive fact check with inmates or former inmates of these prisons or did they fact check with the Red Cross, Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups ?

Next we are told that George Tenet was no concerned about the use of torture as being immoral or illegal except that the White House might scape goat him and the C.I.A. so he was just trying after the fact to cover his own ass as it were)

...C.I.A. officials had sold the interrogation program to the White House. Now, the director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, knew that the inspector general’s report could be a noose for White House officials to hang the C.I.A. Mr. Tenet ordered a temporary halt to the harshest interrogation methods.

(Then in the article we get the story of Bellinger and Condoleezza Rice reconsidering their involvement in the "Torture Program " out of a sense of justice or a sense of decency no doubtful but rather again fearing they might be scapegoated and therefore to protect themselves.

There is nothing in these actions which were in any sense noble. Having approved of torture Bellinger , Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and others were and are still guilty of criminal activities and of dishonorable actions. The laws of the United States, its Constitution & Bill Of Rights and International Law meant nothing to them -this was all a matter of back-peddling to save themselves from future indictments and the possibility of jail time . )

...The report landed on the desks of some White House officials who were already having their doubts about the wisdom of the C.I.A.’s harsh methods. John B. Bellinger III, who, as the National Security Council’s top lawyer, played a role in discussions when the program was approved in 2002, by the next year had begun to research past ill-fated British and Israeli use of torture and grew doubtful about the wisdom of the techniques.

Mr. Bellinger shared his doubts with his boss, Ms. Rice, then the national security adviser, who began to reconsider her strong support for the program.

and in this next article by Harry Shearer he asks what is the deal with Cheney going public now admitting to authorizing the use of "Torture" claiming he was only doing it because of his Patriotism , His Love for His country and his belief in American values and ideals - well if he believed in those ideals and values why did he trash them for some greater good - or was it to try to back up his lies about invading Iraq or covering up the failure of the Bush administration to do anything having been warned before 9/11 of an IMMINENT attack on the United States.Is he just fearful of going to jail.

The Cheney Torture Tour: What's the Deal? by Harry Shearer at huffington Post ,May 4, 2009

Monday's NYT piece on the unraveling of the torture program during the second Bush term provokes a key question, and provides a stark answer. If, as the article reports, the Bush administration, due to rampant internal debate, had stopped waterboarding and walling and all the other repellent practices by 2005, what is Dick Cheney doing in 2009 saying that the Obama administration's rejection of those practices is making us less safe?

Of course, Cheney's resort to old-style Republican "the Democrats hate America" rhetoric is amusingly disturbing in any case. But if he's re-fighting an internal argument he lost four years ago, what's the point?

Three words: "don't prosecute me."

Cheney's goal is now revealed: to stir up enough passion on the Republican side to make a decision to prosecute the Bush administration's torture syndicate a political hot potato.

Without the former Vice President's publicity tour ginning up a "torture debate," public revulsion at the revelations in the declassified torture memos, and at the photographs the Pentagon is preparing to release, might have made prosecution not only politically desirable, but, to use a Tenetism, a slam dunk.

and here's an article from Deepak Chopra who argues in favor of at least a truth commission so that America can cleanse itself of its eight years of criminality and immorality. Myself I would also like to see indictments and individuals being removed from their jobs and if necessary being jailed. But I am possibly not as enlightened as Deepak Chopra .

The toxic residue of torture by Deepak Chopra at Sanfrancisco Chronicle, May 4, 2009

...This is one of those moments when painful truth is the only way to heal.

People don't want to hear about bad things from the past when the present is loaded down with more than enough bad things. But inconvenience and fatigue aren't good excuses. There is anger from the left — and not just the left — about an inexcusable Bush policy. There are demons in the closet, and shutting the door on them won't make them go away. Better to deal with it now, when a new president's idealism is still fresh. It will take idealism to face the torture issue. Otherwise, any truth commission will either turn into a vengeance squad or go the other way and sweep too much under the rug.

The more the right wing tries to justify the torture policy, the worse they look. Using national security to justify torture is just a bald-faced attempt to hide the truth. What really went on was simple. The Bush administration felt that Al-Qaida could not be defeated while still preserving what America stands for.

Now we have a President — and the world has a leader — who believes the opposite. Obama has stated that the terrorists can be defeated using methods that don't betray the core values of our country. I think he's right. He has to be. A country that resorts to torture has lost the battle to begin with. Not only was torture not effective (it yielded little that regular interrogation couldn't achieve) but even if it was effective, the damage done to America's standing in the world was far greater. What torture mainly does is provide a huge boost in recruitment for Al-Qaeda.

If the truth sets you free, then let's have a truth commission as a first step. Lay everything out, however painful. The aim should not be punishment but detoxification. The toxic residue of Bush-era policies hasn't been cleansed; healing hasn't replaced bitter resentment. Not only should the right wing and the war-makers tell the truth, but so should those politicians, including Democrats, who passively went along with what their conscience told them was dead wrong.

Then let's see where the truth leads us. There is no pro-torture side on this issue. "America does not torture" was the slogan of the Bush administration as well as the current administration. Now we need to expose how honest and sincere those words are. The road away from torture is the road back to America. Can we all agree on that?

and so it goes,

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