September 02, 2009
http://MOXNews.com/ September 02, 2009 MSNBC Keith Olbermann
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Nadler Blasts Cheney’s Outrageous Defense of Illegal Torture
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson served in the US military for 31 years and was Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from August 2002 until January 2005, two months after Powell’s resignation, when he left the State Department. He is now the chairman of the New America Foundation’s US-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative. In March, in a guest column for the Washington Note, he wrote an article criticizing some crucial aspects of the Bush administration’s detention policies in the “War on Terror,” which, as I noted at the time, “are not as widely known as they should be, and which echo some of the important issues that I’ve tried to raise in my book The Guantánamo Files and my subsequent writing.”
August 26, 2009
Glenn Greenwald on CIA Interrogation Probe, Obama and Why the Media Failed on Covering Torture
Attorney General Eric Holder has opened an inquiry into CIA torture. On Monday, Holder appointed veteran federal prosecutor John Durham to look into whether CIA interrogators and contractors should be charged for the torture and abuse of foreign prisoners. Holder says he ordered the probe in response to a Justice Department recommendation to reopen nearly a dozen prisoner abuse cases that the Bush administration had closed. Holder says he was further influenced by the 2004 CIA report on the prisoners’ torture and abuse, which he released on Monday. We speak with political and legal blogger for Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald. [includes rush transcript–partial]
August 21, 2009
August 21, 2009 MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show
July 23, 2009
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow launched Culture Project’s “Blueprint for Accountability” series on May 31 with a gripping evening on accountability and the U.S. policy of torture in the War on Terror. This first episode is titled “Working The Dark Side.”
“Working The Dark Side” was produced for television by Link TV, which is proud to be Culture Project’s media partner on the “Blueprint for Accountability” series.
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By Scott Shane
July 11, 2009
The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
The disclosure about Mr. Cheney’s role in the unidentified C.I.A. program comes a day after an inspector general’s report underscored the central role of the former vice president’s office in restricting to a small circle of officials knowledge of the National Security Agency’s program of eavesdropping without warrants, a degree of secrecy that the report concluded had hurt the effectiveness of the counterterrorism surveillance effort.
from the archives:
Today was supposed to be the day that the Justice Department — after two delays — released an unclassified version of the CIA Inspector General’s 2004 Report into the interrogations of “high-value detainees” in the “War on Terror,” which Democrat Congressional staffers described as the “holy grail,” according to Greg Sargent of the Plum Line, writing in May, “because it is expected to detail torture in unprecedented detail and to cast doubt on the claim that torture works.”
Sargent was following up on an article in the Washington Post, “Hill Panel Reviewing CIA Tactics,” which described how Senate Intelligence Committee investigators were interviewing those involved in the interrogations, “examining hundreds of CIA e-mails and reviewing a classified 2005 study by the agency’s lawyers of dozens of interrogation videotapes” (which were later destroyed), and also examining the CIA Inspector General’s Report.
It Could Happen to Yoo
By David Swanson
Thu, 2009-06-18 17:36
Sometimes, during a tsunami of bad news, it’s nice to come up for a breath of encouraging air. The only way to do that this week that I know of is to read a beautiful 42-page order by a judge (PDF). Usually such things don’t strike me as beautiful, but this one says that leading torture lawyer John Yoo can be sued in court by one of his victims. It also says that his arguments for immunity are a load of crap, his arguments for the legality of torture are at least plausibly as fetid a pile of feces as they appear to the naked eye, and the treatment received by Jose Padilla is rather glaringly in conflict with our laws, basic standards of decency, and the wisdom of those who have gone before us and warned against sacrificing our rights on the temple of war. Here’s an analysis of exactly how well thought out (not just beautiful) this order is, and how very likely it is to withstand challenge.
So, while Congress and the Ministry of Truth, er … I mean the Department of Justice (DOJ), hold off on any attempts to hold anyone accountable for torture until the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility releases a report on the conduct of Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury — a report already delayed for six weeks of integrating edits made by the three men who are supposedly the subject of the report — a judge, by simply comparing Yoo’s publicly available confessions in the form of torture memos with actual legal standards, has produced the outline of an indictment that a special prosecutor could pick up and use to put John Yoo behind bars. The only thing missing is the creation of such a special prosecutor, something Attorney General Eric Holder would have to do. Meanwhile the House of Representatives is impeaching a judge for groping female employees, but can’t be bothered to impeach another judge, Jay Bybee, who was John Yoo’s boss during much of the torturing, who himself signed torture memos, and who signed a memo purporting to place the “legal” power of aggressive war in the hands of any president.
By Alfred W. McCoy
June 7, 2009
America’s Political Paralysis Over Torture
If, like me, you’ve been following America’s torture policies not just for the last few years, but for decades, you can’t help but experience that eerie feeling of déjà vu these days. With the departure of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from Washington and the arrival of Barack Obama, it may just be back to the future when it comes to torture policy, a turn away from a dark, do-it-yourself ethos and a return to the outsourcing of torture that went on, with the support of both Democrats and Republicans, in the Cold War years.
Like Chile after the regime of General Augusto Pinochet or the Philippines after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, Washington after Bush is now trapped in the painful politics of impunity. Unlike anything our allies have experienced, however, for Washington, and so for the rest of us, this may prove a political crisis without end or exit.
Despite dozens of official inquiries in the five years since the Abu Ghraib photos first exposed our abuse of Iraqi detainees, the torture scandal continues to spread like a virus, infecting all who touch it, including now Obama himself. By embracing a specific methodology of torture, covertly developed by the CIA over decades using countless millions of taxpayer dollars and graphically revealed in those Iraqi prison photos, we have condemned ourselves to retreat from whatever promises might be made to end this sort of abuse and are instead already returning to a bipartisan consensus that made torture America’s secret weapon throughout the Cold War.
By Noam Chomsky
Chomsky’s ZSpace page
Z Magazine June 2009
Torture has been routine practice from the early days of the Republic
The torture memos released by the White House in April elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable—particularly the testimony in the Senate Armed Services Committee report on the Cheney-Rumsfeld desperation to find links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, links that were later concocted as justification for the invasion, facts irrelevant. Former Army psychiatrist Major Charles Burney testified that “a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link…there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results”—that is, torture. The McClatchy press reported that a former senior intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue added that “The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime…. [Cheney and Rumsfeld] demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…. ‘There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder’.” These were the most significant revelations, barely reported.
Torture is a violation of US and international law. Yet, president George W. Bush and vice president Dick Cheney, on the basis of legally incompetent memos prepared by Justice Department officials, gave the OK to interrogators to violate US and international law.
The new Obama administration shows no inclination to uphold the rule of law by prosecuting those who abused their offices and broke the law.
Cheney claims, absurdly, that torture was necessary in order to save American cities from nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists. Many Americans have bought the argument that torture is morally justified in order to make terrorists reveal where ticking nuclear bombs are before they explode.
However, there were no hidden ticking nuclear bombs. Hypothetical scenarios were used to justify torture for other purposes.
For months, the torture debate has been focused to a significant extent on the issue of whether it “works” or not for eliciting useful intelligence from captured military operatives, quasi-military operatives, suspected terrorists, or people caught in some “anti-terrorist” dragnet who might well have nothing to do with the activity. Virtually every expert on gaining useful intelligence from captured operatives “from the other side,” whatever their particular classification might be, has said that it doesn’t. One must note that there are a handful of non-experts in addition to Cheney who think that torture does “work.”
The list includes the well-known GOP shill (so The New York Times said in a May 9 editorial) and MSNBC morning talk-show host Joe Scarborough and the prominent Christian-Rightist Gary Bauer. Bauer stands in favor of the use of torture along with a number of other Christian Rightists for whom that fact that Christ himself was tortured to death by the Romans (who used crucifixion to punish their enemies over a period of centuries) seems not to be of import.