(cross-posted at Daily Kos)
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RealNews commentator, Pepe Escobar asks the question, “Where is the Special Prosecutor?”
Note an important point Pepe makes about how this will reflect on Obama if other countries must tackle the war crimes’ issue.
In their TV appearances, both Bush and Cheney attempt to make it appear that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was an isolated incidence of waterboarding. CIA Chief Hayden admitted to three incidences of waterboarding:
“Waterboarding has been used on only three detainees,” he told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on [Abd al-Rahim al-]Nashiri.”
I think it would be safe to say, there were more than three who were waterboarded (Hayden also admitted to thirteen others being subjected to “enhanced interrogation methods,” but not waterboarding). And what about the deaths that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? And those who were renditioned to other countries?
The point is that both Bush and Cheney tried to “legitimize” the use of waterboarding by 1) making it appear an isolated case and, 2) invaluable information was obtained. They, of course, try to make it seem to the American public that torture’s O.K. in “certain circumstances” — that there are exceptions to the laws. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!
Here are some thoughts on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by a Human Rights Watch representative and other CIA operators:
“The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.
The techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques “appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.
It is “bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department’s office of counterterrorism, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.” . . . .
A bit more follows!