Tag: torture memos

Open Thought for the Day

From a commenter at reddit, on the subject of Associate Attorney General David Margolis, with Holder’s approval, reducing the conclusion of the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility report on Yoo and Bybee’s Torture Memos  to Bush to say that they showed only “poor judgment“:

buy accutane If Obama’s ‘Justice Department’ had conducted the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, all of the Nazis would have gone free – ‘Merely Poor Judgement, the Holocaust was just a policy mistake’!

There is a road, no simple highway,

Between the dawn and the dark of night,

And if you go no one may follow,

That path is for your steps alone…

American’s Unitary Executive, STILL a 4th Branch of Govt unto himself

source site Confirmed: Cheney’s Role in Approving Torture

Edward M. Gomez; SFGate, Dec 17 2008

“… Dick Cheney isn’t sorry about any of it.” In his ABC News interview he “betrayed http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=Acquistare-Cialis-Generico-Senza-Ricetta-Italia no second thoughts – and certainly no remorse – about the policies pursued by the administration that he both served and, according to some, led.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=lasix-and-body-building-online Cheney’s dark side – and ours

Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe Columnist, Sep 1, 2009

But Cheney’s role is an old, if still developing story. After all, he warned us five days after Sept. 11 that http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=mood-swings-while-using-propecia-pills our government would work on the “dark side.” He told the late Tim Russert, “We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of dove comprare il vardenafil contrassegno what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies.” …

Not keeping us safe from terrorists!

The Republicans and Harry “honorary Republican for the week” Reid have been arguing that it’s terrible, awful for terrorists to be allowed into the country in order to go straight to maximum security prison. Ignoring for a second that terrorists are allowed free rein over the country as long as they’re Christian and white and therefore can’t be racially profiled, I have other problems with this.

First of all: 9/11. Terrorists didn’t just come here. They came here and hijacked planes from American airports. After this happened, Republicans panicked about immigration. Most of the 9/11 hijackers got here legally.

Then: the anthrax attacks. Not only were terrorists here but they were never even discovered. They’re probably still somewhere around. awesome.

Third: remember the freaking FLIGHT SCHOOLS?

There were al Qaeda flight schools in the United States for years, and the FBI and others had been investigating them for years. And the Republicans, who I guess care a lot about American safety, openly mocked President Bill Clinton for saying Osama bin Laden was a threat and tried to say it was a case of “Wag the Dog.” So while the president was trying to fend off terrorists from attacking us, Republicans were denying that such a threat existed.

And now we’re letting them control the message and Harry Reid is saying that we will never, ever allow terrorists on American soil. Because the Republicans are so tough and manly and THEY never did.

Last week, the F.B.I. acknowledged the existence of a memorandum written last summer in which an agent in its Phoenix office urged his superiors to investigate Middle Eastern men who had enrolled at American flight schools and who might be connected to Mr. bin Laden.

This article is really interesting for a lot of reasons. The FBI knew of this, which isn’t surprising. The government, who’s saying now that they kept us safe all this time, wasn’t prepared to keep us safe.

The Phoenix memorandum, along with the disclosure this week that President Bush was warned in August of the possibility that Al Qaeda might be planning hijackings, have been seized on by lawmakers as evidence that the government missed signals of the coming attacks.

The disclosure they’re referring to of course is the PDB titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US” and talked about using planes. I feel so safe! And if you think that, hey, well, at least they started torturing after 9/11 which kept us safe, you should read this:

Mr. Murad, who was captured in the Philippines in 1995 and convicted in New York[…]Murad’s confession formed a basis for an analysis prepared for United States intelligence agencies in 1999. The analysis warned that bin Laden terrorists could hijack a jet and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.

So they found out about the threat of bin Laden not from torture but from actual investigative work and interrogations.

The article goes on to note that his confession is on video.

These flight schools were in the US as well as other countries, here’s one that trained terrorists in Florida:

Officials at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach confirmed Thursday that the FBI has sought information on Waleed Al Sheri, 25, who graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science — the four-year school’s commercial pilot training degree.

The FBI is also investigating Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Al Sheri, 23. Law enforcement sources said they were looking at a possible family link between Marwan and Waleed Al Sheri.

So think about that next time Republicans talk about never allowing terrorists here.

In another case, they outright admit that they suck:

(CBS)  Law enforcement officials say the government kept hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta’s roommate from entering the United States on at least four occasions but didn’t track his money transfers that led directly to the eventual hijackers.

[…]

But they added the CIA had no information before Sept. 11 linking him to terrorism.

vardenafil originale effetto Nonetheless, experts said Bin al-Shibh’s actions highlight the challenges in stopping future terror attacks.

His repeated failed efforts to enter the country did not trigger an investigation. And there was no effort to track his finances.

When Bin al-Shibh failed to enter, follow url Moussaoui was sent in his place and made it into the country with $35,000 in cash and a plan to train to fly jetliners, officials say.

They found all of this out, by the way, using legal means. It was just after the fact. They used FISA warrants and monitored foreign conversations. They tracked money and wire transfers. They even found videos made by these people discussing these events.

It gets worse:

A State Department official said Wednesday there is still no mechanism, even in the aftermath of Sept. 11, to flag a foreigner who is turned down repeatedly for visas for suspicions like those that surrounded Bin al-Shibh.

Also this guy was planning on heading to a Minnesota flight school. That’s where his replacement, Moussaoui, was picked up.

This is also quite terrifying, these are the people named by intelligence officials in 2002 who were giving information to stop terrorist attacks:

Officials identified the three others as Abu Zubair, Ibn al-Sheikh http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=prices-for-levitra-super-active al-Libi, and a man known by his nom de guerre, Riyadh the Facilitator. farmacia viagra generico 50 mg a Verona Abu Zubaydah has been extensively interrogated since his capture and has provided important information, American officials say. Interrogation of others in custody have provided new insights into Al Qaeda’s structure and operations, they add.

Well with what those people are saying, I’m SURE we can prevent attacks. Or something. And nothing they’re saying is a lie and nothing our administration is saying is a lie.

Remember Cheney’s “pretty well confirmed” statement that has been mentioned over the years and was most recently reiterated during Rachel Maddow’s takedown of Cheney?

Dick Cheney: ‘Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that — it’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don’t know at this point, but that’s clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.’

(Meet the Press, 2001)

Well, um:

They add that they have not received any corroborating evidence to support an initial report from Czech intelligence that Mohamed Atta, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001. Many intelligence and law enforcement officials now say they do not believe the meeting took place.

Oh. So, didn’t happen. And remember, though most of the information that was given to the 9/11 Commission was extracted through torture – that was done specifically to GET a link – they found no link:

The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.

[…]

But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday’s hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.

Despite trying really hard to manufacture a link it did not even fool the 9/11 Commission, the CIA or FBI. And this was under the guise of keeping us safe. SAFE. Really.

And they blatantly lied:

As recently as Monday, Cheney said in a speech that Hussein “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” Bush, asked on Tuesday to verify or qualify that claim, defended it by pointing to Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has taken credit for a wave of attacks in Iraq.

Feel safer yet?

Back to the New York Times:

American officials believe the disruption has helped prevent about half a dozen — and possibly many more — Qaeda plots in the last year. Officials say that when Abu Zubaydah, Al Qaeda’s operations chief, was captured in Pakistan in March he had several plots in the works, including at least one that was imminent.

IMMINENT! Wow. We almost all died from an imminent plot. Except that it didn’t happen.

Speaking of imminent, their ineptness is apparent here:

The FBI sent the intelligence to its terrorism experts in Washington and New York for analysis and had begun discussing conducting a nationwide canvass of flight schools when the Sept. 11 tragedies occurred, officials told AP.

Right okay.

Here’s more:

Law enforcement officials said in retrospect the FBI believes it should have accelerated the suggested check of U.S. flight schools after Moussaoui’s arrest but does not believe it would have led to the hijackers.

Maybe so.

This is how bad the problem was, even though it was being ignored:

At least one hijacker on each of the four planes was trained at a U.S. flight school, Tucker said. The Times said authorities believe 27 suspected terrorists received pilot training.

Seems like a small number, I guess, but these are people who never want ANY TERRORISTS on US soil. Because that’s bad. If they’re jailed anyway. If they’re free to do whatever, we’ll just be idiots.

And then, this:

Ashcroft said numerous promising leads were being followed up. “The Department of Justice has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country,” he said. Ashcroft said all possible federal personnel and resources have been committed to the investigation, including thousands of agents and support personnel.

Ooh! And I guess now we’ve seen the results of this investigation by the DoJ. Tortured false confessions, expansion of federal powers even when information was obtained through legal means, ineptness at almost every level, allowing some plots to go unsolved and some terrorists to go without trials – which could lead to more discovery of more information, torture and homicide and all that stuff, and whatever else we don’t know about yet.

All of that happened but none of it made anyone safer and it conclusively made it more difficult to keep America safe. And they’re worried about prisoners.

We tortured and it’s illegal.

(Cross posted from over at teh kos)

“But it’s enhanced interrogation…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But investigations would be a witch-hunt…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But prosecutions of Republicans would be bad politically…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But most Americans don’t support torture investigations…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But Pelosi lied…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But the CIA SAYS Pelosi lied…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But Democrats knew too…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But the lawyers were just giving legal opinions…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But the Bush administration really thought they were protecting America…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But a ticking time bomb…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But it would be bad for terrorists to know our tactics…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But President Obama is unAme-”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But John McCain doesn’t think we should prosecute and he was tortured.”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But how bad were these techniques really?”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But they’re terrorists…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But dunking them in the water…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But prosecuting a policy decision…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But Democrats and Republicans BOTH…”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

“But this might get some high ranking people currently serving in trouble in both parties.”

We tortured and it’s illegal.

It’s illegal. It’s torture. It’s not allowed. We prosecute torturers.

Simple.

Gov’t was torturing while troops lacked armor protection?

(Cross-posted at DailyKos and my blog)

I am asking. I’m not sure whether this is a case of “correlation doesn’t equal causation” or not. Either way, I want to put this question out there, not as a Fox News-ish “some people say” but rather an honest question.

Right in the midst of the 2004 election, there was a major issue involving Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who was being “hounded” (read: asked questions) by members of the military, who were not being equipped properly, and so lots of them were being blown up and killed.

Obviously this isn’t something I’m just throwing out here. I’ve got some things to back up my question. Let’s start with 2001.

According to this timeline of the torture policy (which you might want to read before this post:)

September 17: Bush gives the CIA the authority to kill, capture, and detain al Qaeda operatives. The CIA lays plans for secret overseas prisons and special interrogations

[…]

December: The Department of Defense general counsel’s office solicits information (PDF) on detainee “exploitation” from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), which advises on counterinterrogation techniques known as SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape).

July 2002: Richard Shiffrin, a counsel in the Department of Defense, inquires about SERE techniques — initially designed to help U.S. soldiers captured abroad. Members of the CIA learn SERE techniques in September.

In October of 2003, the Red Cross says US is abusing detainees at Guantanamo. And then in March-April of 2004, stories broke about other abuses there by the military.

So that shows that the Department of Defense had been investigating SERE techniques for use since at least 2001, the findings were taught to the CIA, who used them. Then the whole policy spread throughout prisons in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and the CIA black sites.

The military was actually opposed to torture and objected many different times to its use:

The idea that torture is illegal, unethical and ineffective is well established in military circles. When elements of the military saw the interrogation plan being crafted by the White House, serious objections were raised. Those objections will be key to any prosecutions because they demonstrate that the White House should have been aware that what they were proposing was against the law.

The architects of the torture program, however, seem aware of the power of those dissenting views and, according to the Senate report, repeatedly denied receiving them.

Soon, the Air Force, Army, Navy and others voiced their objections. Nobody listened. They put their fingers in their ears and screamed. Then, of course, Rumsfeld signed off on the policy:

Despite the broad and deep concerns within the military, Haynes recommended to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the bulk of the practices be approved. On December 2, Rumsfeld signed off, famously scribbling in the margins: “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”

Right. I guess you torture and scapegoat the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to scapegoat at a later time.

Then, once we invaded Iraq the troops started being, I guess, a military of whiners:

Specialist Thomas Wilson, a scout with a Tennessee National Guard unit set to roll into Iraq this week, was the first to step forward, saying that soldiers had had to scrounge through landfills here for pieces of rusty scrap metal and bulletproof glass — what they called ”hillbilly armor” — to bolt to their trucks.

”Why don’t we have those resources readily available to us?” Specialist Wilson asked Mr. Rumsfeld, drawing cheers and applause from many of the 2,300 soldiers assembled in a cavernous hangar here to meet the secretary.

There were a lot of these questions sincerely asked by our military, who just wanted to serve and be properly protected. A guy I went to school with, whom I hadn’t seen since sixth grade or so, died in Iraq because of faulty equipment near the beginning of the war.

And naturally, Rumsfeld expressed empathy and respect for our troops:

”Now, settle down, settle down,” he said. ”Hell, I’m an old man, it’s early in the morning and I’m gathering my thoughts here.”

[…]

”You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up,” he said. ”And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up.”

How sweet. You’re gonna get blown up, no matter what, so why should we waste money on your asses? Unless we’re paying to train people to torture for absolutely no reason. Then wasting money is perfectly fine. I mean, I stand eight hours a day, you can deal with some IEDs.

Which, by the way, was the whole fucking point of the request for more armor. IEDs. The insurgents had switched tactics at that point, so while they were making roadside improvised explosive devices, our troops were stuck with no armor.

And if for some reason you’re not completely pissed off yet, it gets a lot worse.

The LA Times has Rumsfeld telling us why the troops were being screwed out of equipment:

Rumsfeld responded that the Pentagon had taken steps to equip soldiers being sent to Iraq, but that factory production was limited. “It’s essentially a matter of physics. It isn’t a matter of money. It isn’t a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it.

So it wasn’t that they were squandering money elsewhere or anything. It was a matter of physics. There was no one available to do any of the work to make sure the troops were equipped. That’s all. Not the administration’s fault. And nobody will ever say differently.

Except… the people who make the equipment:

WASHINGTON — The manufacturer of Humvees for the U.S. military and the company that adds armor to the utility vehicles are not running near production capacity and are making all that the Pentagon has requested, spokesmen for both companies said.

“If they call and say, ‘You know, we really want more,’ we’ll get it done,” said Lee Woodward, a spokesman for AM General, the Indiana company that makes Humvees and the civilian Hummer versions.

Why do O’Gara-Hess & Eisenhardt and AM General hate America?

This is how enormous of a problem there was at the time:

According to Army figures, there are almost 19,400 Humvees operating in the Iraq theater. Of those, about 5,900 were armored at the factory and armor was added to about 9,100 of them later.

Other vehicles also lack armor. The House Armed Services Committee released statistics yesterday showing that most transport trucks crisscrossing Iraq to supply the troops don’t have armor. Only 10 percent of the 4,814 medium-weight transport trucks have armor, and only 15 percent of the 4,314 heavy transport vehicles do.

Back to the LA Times article, for more screwing the troops:

It took the Pentagon nearly a year after President Bush declared an end to “major combat operations” on May 1, 2003, to equip all soldiers with protective plates for their protective vests. War planners had initially equipped only “front line” units with the plates. But militants made it clear that any location could become a battle zone.

The equipment problems were underscored in October when an Army Reserve supply unit south of Baghdad disobeyed a direct order to deliver fuel and other supplies to a base in northern Iraq. After an investigation into the incident, 23 members of the unit were given nonjudicial punishments, which could entail a reduction in rank and loss of pay.

A WHOLE YEAR after Mission Accomplished to equip them with protective vests? And, of course, when the administration screws up, look who gets fucked.

The guy who was president at the time, who’d authorized torture and training people to torture and military tribunals and rescinding Geneva Conventions protections and habeas corpus had this to say:

“The concerns expressed are being addressed, and that is we expect our troops to have the best possible equipment,” the president said in response to a reporter’s question at the White House.

“If I were a soldier overseas wanting to defend my country, I’d want to ask the secretary of defense the same question, and that is, ‘Are we getting the best we can get us?'”

[…]

“I’ve told many family I’ve met with, ‘We’re doing everything we possibly can to protect your loved ones.'”

I. HATE. that. guy. Can we please arrest him? Can we please prosecute all of these fuckers? It was already sick enough to see these people bash the troops, and to see Bush speak at anti-torture conventions about American values and all of that. But THIS.

They actively AVOIDED GIVING TROOPS ARMOR while fucking ordering them to torture.

Not to be outdone, there’s more:

“I think it’s good” that ordinary soldiers are given a chance to express their concerns to the defense secretary and senior military commanders, Rumsfeld told reporters during a visit to India.

“It’s necessary for the Army to hear that, do something about it and see that everyone is treated properly,” Rumsfeld said, referring not only to the complaint about insufficient armor but also to another soldier’s statement about not getting reimbursed for certain expenses in a timely way.

The military expressed reservations about torturing. Rumsfeld signed off. The military expressed reservations about being blown up by IEDs, Rumsfeld made smartass remarks.

And this was right in the middle of torturing, when the administration was paying and training people to torture. This was around the time that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld testified after Abu Ghraib that:

It’s my obligation to evaluate what happened, to make sure that those who have committed wrong-doing are brought to justice, and to make changes as needed to see that it doesn’t happen again.

[…]

It’s important for the American people and the world to know that while these terrible acts were perpetrated by a small number of U.S. military, they were also brought to light by the honorable and responsible actions of other military personnel.

I don’t even know what to say.

The LA Times article mentions that it “would cost” $9.5 billion annually to keep the military properly equipped. I’d have much rather paid for that than torture.

There were accusations at the time that one question by a person in the Army wasn’t his own, but was a reporter’s question. At the time, people were complaining. I’m glad it happened regardless of the controversy. Real people were really being blown up all the time, and I don’t care if it’s a reporter or a soldier who asks the question.

Is any of this seriously going to be looked at? We won’t investigate torture anymore deeply than a few troops, we aren’t even getting access to how much money was spent, or if it was diverted from equipment to torture planning and training by the Department of Defense.

In 2004, people were asking what is wrong with this picture:

But is this a topic that anyone wants to examine ever? Last April, the photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shocked the world and put the treatment of prisoners in the headlines for several weeks. Then, Congressional hearings faded, military investigations were begun in all directions, a few individuals were tried without great publicity – and attention shifted to the presidential campaign, where no one was going to touch the issue.

As Mark Danner points out in his book “Torture and Truth” (New York Review Books), in the end the lurid photos may have deflected the central question of what role torture may have played, or yet be playing, in American policy for waging a war on terror into the question of individual indiscipline and sadism – “Animal House on the night shift,” as former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger called the Abu Ghraib atrocities.

So I want to know. I want us to investigate torture. I want to know where our money went. I want to know if any money was diverted to pay for torture. And if so, who authorized it. And of course everything else that will never be uncovered if no investigations happen.

Why can’t we look deeper into this?

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Bloggers Against Torture

Condoleezza Rice avows; President is above law



Condi Rice Pulls a Nixon: If the President Orders Torture, It Must be Legal

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Students at Stanford stood still as they listened to former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice speak.  As the scholars pondered the words of the prominent woman who presented her case for waterboarding, many mused; “Is it Richard Nixon, or Condoleezza Rice?  Which person thinks a President is above the law?” One might wonder.  Those who viewed a video taped classroom conversation with Secretary Rice, today express astonishment as well.  In her defense for actions she took to advocate for this extreme interrogation techniques Condoleezza Rice both blamed her former boss, George W. Bush and justified his decision.

“The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

Memo to President Obama on Torture

In their first attempt to inform President Obama on a major intelligence issue, a powerful group of twelve intelligence experts who oppose torture has written a memo to President Obama asking him to investigate and prosecute torture by the Bush Administration. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), consistently challenged pre-war lies and fabricated justifications for the invasion of Iraq, beginning with Colin Powell’s speech to the U.N. in 2003. They were absolutely right – and were ignored by the media.

Now they are battling the widely-accepted lie that torture “works”:

The fact that the exploits of Jack Bauer have injected a dangerous level of fiction and fear among impressionable viewers, and have misled not only interrogators at Guantanamo but also the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes – not to mention Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – leaves no doubt that such illusionary scenarios need to be addressed by professionals with real-life experience.

They insist from professional experience that:

torture tactics are not only ineffective in terms of getting reliable, actionable intelligence but have fueled recruitment by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups to the point that, arguably, more U.S. troops have been killed by terrorists bent on revenge for torture than the 3,000 civilians killed on 9/11

As Bob Fertik at Democrats.com put it yesterday:

In effect, Bush’s torture regime created a second “9/11” – only the victims were our soldiers.

Read the VIPS Memo to President Obama on Torture in full here…

Torture Arrest Warrants Issued? Michael Ratner: Obama Must Now Prosecute Or Pardon.

Crossposted from Antemedius

Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon is recognized worldwide for his determination to bring suspects to justice, wherever they seek refuge or how old the crime.

A 2005 BBC profile of Garzon notes that:

He came to prominence in the late 1990s, when he campaigned for the extradition former Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet, from London to Spain for human rights abuses.

In late 2003 Judge Garzon compiled a 692-page indictment which called for the arrest of 35 men, including Osama Bin Laden, for their alleged membership of a terrorist group. The number of suspects was later increased to 41.



Mr Garzon is one of six investigating judges for Spain’s National Court which, like many other European countries, operates an inquisitorial system, as opposed to the adversarial system used by the US and UK.

The investigating judge’s role is to examine the cases assigned to him by the court, gathering evidence and evaluating whether the case should be brought to trial. He does not try the cases himself.

Today, April 30, 2009, Garzon opened a Spanish investigation into torture allegations against US military personnel at the Guantánamo detention centre:

Justifying Torture: Scott Horton & Bruce Ackerman On Jay Bybee & His Torture Memos

Crossposted from Antemedius

Not a single Democrat questioned Bybee at the session, and the proceedings came to a quick conclusion. The following month he was confirmed by the full Senate. Just six months prior to the hearing, Jay Bybee had signed legal memos providing cover for CIA agents torturing detainees — yet Congress voted him to a lifetime on the federal bench. How did this happen? And what will become of Judge Bybee now?

American News Project via Real News Network – The Jay Bybee Problem

How did Jay Bybee breeze through confirmation for his appointment to the Federal Appeals Court?



Transcripts below…

Considered Forthwith: House Judiciary Committee

Welcome to the fifth installment of “Considered Forthwith.”

This weekly series looks at the various committees in the House and the Senate. Committees are the workshops of our democracy. This is where bills are considered, revised, and occasionally advance for consideration by the House and Senate. Most committees also have the authority to exercise oversight of related executive branch agencies. If you want to read previous dairies in the series, search using the “forthwith” tag or use the link on my blogroll. I welcome criticisms and corrections in the comments.

This week, we will look at the House Judiciary Committee. Next week, this series will look at the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committees have similar jurisdiction, but they are different enough to Justify a separate entry.

Tortured

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Never for a moment in my life have I been “in love.”  I do not believe in the notion.  Fireworks have not filled my heart.  Flames of a fiery passion do not burn within me.  Indeed, my soul has not been ablaze.  Thoughts of a hot-blooded devotion seem illogical to me.  Such sentiments always have.  Fondness too fertile is but torture for me.  I admire many, and adore none.  For me, the affection I feel for another is born out of sincere and profound appreciation.  To like another means more to me than to love or be loved.  Excitement, an emotional reaction to another, rises up within me when I experience an empathetic exchange with someone who has glorious gray matter.

Today, it happened.  I felt an a twinge that startled me.  I stood still as he entered the room.  I expected nothing out of the ordinary, or at least nothing other than what has become his recently adopted, more avoidant, routine.  Although long ago, I had become accustomed to his face, his voice, and his demeanor, for I have known the man for more than a few years.  In the last few weeks, while essentially he is who he always was, some of his stances have changed.  Possibly, Barry has felt a need to compromise his positions, but I wonder; what of his principles.

American Torture: “A Bipartisan Skill”

Crossposted from Antemedius

The release of some of the Bush administration torture memos now presents the Obama administration with a crucial dilemma. President Obama at first exonerated CIA officials responsible for the euphemistic “enhanced interrogation” techniques. The White House has even expunged the word “torture” from its vocabulary. The bulk of corporate media favors a whitewash.

Pepe Escobar argues the question is not that the memos should have been kept secret – as the CIA and former Vice-President Dick Cheney wanted. The question is that those who broke the rule of law must be held accountable. Responding to growing public outrage, the White House shifted gears and is now leaving the door open for the work of a Special Prosecutor.



Real News – April 22, 2009

American torture

There can be no “exceptionalism” when the rule of law is broken

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