Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 02, 2014, 04:55:01 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82149 Posts in 2247 Topics by 1047 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Interrogation methods
« previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 Print
Author Topic: Interrogation methods  (Read 43249 times)
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #100 on: March 20, 2009, 03:17:35 PM »

Here is the problem with this theory. Many jihadists have lived in our nations, gone to our schools, enjoyed humane treatment in our lands and still gone on to wage jihad, often with a western passport in their possession.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #101 on: March 20, 2009, 03:32:09 PM »

And the solution is , , ,
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #102 on: March 20, 2009, 05:15:32 PM »

If you need intel, you use whatever works, including enhanced interrogation. They aren't honorable warriors. They deserve nothing but to be crushed.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #103 on: April 08, 2009, 04:55:12 PM »

4th Infantry Division gives signed photo of Saddam to South Park creators

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

South Park creators given signed photo of Saddam Hussein

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park, were given a signed photo of Saddam Hussein by US marines after the former Iraqi leader was shown their movie in prison.

By Chris Irvine
Last Updated: 10:30PM BST 07 Apr 2009


During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the move South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as the boyfriend of Satan. He was also regularly depicted in a similar manner during the TV series.

The admission comes with the show's 13th season already running in the US. It will celebrate its 12th anniversary later this year.

The show, which satirises a wide range of topics, including religion, sexuality and mental illness, has won a number of awards including three Emmys for Outstanding Animated Programme.

Recent episodes have seen Barack Obama using his Presidential victory as a way to steal jewels from Washington in an Oceans 11-style heist.

It also recently depicted the United States Treasury as deciding economic measures by cutting the head off a chicken and letting it run on a game show style board, landing on a decision.

Stone, 37, said both he and Parker, 39, were most proud of the signed Saddam photo, given to them by the US Army's 4th Infantry Division.

He said: "We're very proud of our signed Saddam picture and what it means. Its one of our biggest highlights.

"I have it on pretty good information from the marines on detail in Iraq that they showed Saddam the movie.

"Over and over again – which is a pretty funny thought.

"That's really adding insult to injury."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...m-Hussein.html
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #104 on: April 11, 2009, 08:52:58 AM »

Medical Personnel Accused of Helping CIA Torture Prisoners
By Todd Neale, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: April 09, 2009
   
 
LITTLE FALLS, N.J., April 9 -- Some medical personnel allegedly took part in the torture of "high-level detainees" at CIA detention centers as part of the war on terrorism, according to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The "strictly confidential" report, written in 2007 and published recently on the Web site of the New York Review of Books, detailed interviews the agency conducted with 14 prisoners -- including the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- after they were transferred to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.


The prisoners described a wide array of psychological and physical abuse while in CIA custody lasting up to four-and-a-half years. The tactics amounted to "torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," according to the report.


Specific acts included near-suffocation by water (water boarding), forcing prisoners to stand with their arms chained above their heads, beatings, confinement within a box, prolonged nudity, sleep deprivation, exposure to cold temperatures, prolonged shackling, exposure to constant loud music, threats to the detainee and his family, forced shaving of the head and facial hair, and food restrictions.


The prisoners said that, in addition to routine medical checks before and after transfers and the provision of healthcare for routine ailments -- which was described as "appropriate and satisfactory" -- medical personnel actively monitored or directly engaged in torture in some cases.


"It was alleged that, based on their assessments, health personnel gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust, or to stop particular methods," the report said.


Mohammed claimed that during one water-boarding session a doctor placed a clip on his finger, which, from the description, "appeared to be a pulse oximeter," according to the report.


"I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood," Mohammed was quoted as saying. "So they could take me to breaking point."


Another detainee "alleged that a health person threatened that medical care would be conditional upon cooperation with the interrogators," the report said.


The ICRC said the consistency of the detainees' accounts gave credibility to their allegations.


If the accounts are true, the agency said, the medical personnel acted unethically.


"The alleged participation of health personnel in the interrogation process and, either directly or indirectly, in the infliction of ill-treatment constituted a gross breach of medical ethics and, in some cases, amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment," the report said.


"The role of the physician and any other health professional involved in the care of detainees is explicitly to protect them from such ill-treatment and there can be no exceptional circumstances invoked to excuse this obligation."


Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have policies prohibiting physicians from participating in government interrogations. (See: AMA to Examine Ethics of Physician Involvement in Prisoner Interrogations)


The American Psychological Association instituted a similar policy last year. (See: New APA Policy Bars Psychologists From Helping in Illegal Interrogations)


President Barack Obama has renounced the use of torture in dealing with prisoners but has opposed efforts to punish interrogators who might have been guilty of abuses during the Bush administration.
 
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #105 on: April 11, 2009, 09:05:57 AM »

Ohhhhh nooooooo. Poor jihadis.  rolleyes
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #106 on: April 11, 2009, 09:19:13 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123940383654409651.html#

The Pirates Challenge Obama's Pre-9/11 Mentality
Distinctions between lawful and unlawful combatants go back to Roman times.

By MACKUBIN THOMAS OWENS

When Somali pirates hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama this week and took 20 Americans hostage, President Barack Obama refused to comment. It seems that our new president is desperate to do everything he can to distance himself from his predecessor, which is why his team has launched a campaign to rebrand the War on Terror. The results are mystifying. "Overseas contingency operations" is the new name for the war, while "man-caused disasters" is a euphemism for terrorist attacks.


AFP/Getty Images
In this new rhetorical regime, the administration criticizes President George W. Bush for his "illegal" policies with respect to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and claims that the treatment of the detainees themselves constitutes "torture."

But while they've certainly made cosmetic changes, many claim the Obama administration has left the substance of Bush's approach intact.

Attorney General Eric Holder added to this perception when, after visiting Guantanamo, he acknowledged that the facility is very well run and that implementing Mr. Obama's promise to close it down will be difficult. While renouncing the term "enemy combatant," the Obama administration acknowledges the reality that no matter what we call those detained at Guantanamo, the detainees are still not entitled to prisoner-of-war status because they have violated the laws of war by killing civilians and fighting out of uniform. Instead of calling the detainees enemy combatants, the administration has opted to refer to them as "individuals captured in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations," or "members of enemy forces," or "persons who [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for the September 11 attacks."

Though these changes might seem superficial, unfortunately, they represent a substantive shift. They signal a return to the policy mindset that existed before 9/11, and the consequence will be material harm to U.S. security.

First, in holding that the president's power to indefinitely detain without legal charges is derived from Congress's authorization for the Use of Military Force Act (passed in the aftermath of 9/11), the Justice Department has undercut the president's own war power under the Constitution. This is an inherent executive power that has been recognized since at least the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

As Lincoln wrote to James Conkling in August 1863, "I think the Constitution invests its commander-in-chief, with the law of war, in time of war." In addition to the commander-in-chief clause of Article II, Lincoln found his war power in his presidential oath "to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Second, the various new substitutes for "unlawful enemy combatant" abolish an important distinction in traditional international law. As the eminent military historian Sir Michael Howard argued shortly after 9/11, the status of al Qaeda terrorists is to be found in a distinction first made by the Romans and subsequently incorporated into international law by way of medieval and early modern European jurisprudence. According to Mr. Howard, the Romans distinguished between bellum (war against legitimus hostis, a legitimate enemy) and guerra (war against latrunculi, pirates, robbers, brigands and outlaws).

Bellum became the standard for interstate conflict, and it is here that the Geneva Conventions were meant to apply. They do not apply to guerra. Indeed, punishment for latrunculi, "the common enemies of mankind," traditionally has been summary execution.

Though they don't often employ the term, many legal experts agree that al Qaeda fighters are latrunculi -- hardly distinguishable by their actions from pirates and the like. Robert Kogod Goldman, an American University law professor has commented: "I think under any standard, the captured al Qaeda fighters simply do not meet the minimum standards set out to be considered prisoners of war." And according to Marc Cogen, a professor of international law at Ghent University in Belgium, "no 'terrorist organization' thus far has been deemed a combatant under the laws of armed conflict." Thus al Qaeda members "can be punished for all hostile acts, including the killing of soldiers, because they have no right to participate directly in hostilities." But the Obama administration is about to extend legal rights -- intended to protect civilians -- to the very latrunculi who want to blow them up by considering the possibility of trying them in U.S. courts. Indeed, Attorney General Holder did not rule out trying the Somali pirates.

Some in Congress want to go further than the Obama team. Rather than focusing their attention on the terrorists, these politicians wish to criminalize the behavior of Bush administration officials for actions they took to protect Americans, and that fell well short of those taken by Lincoln in suppressing the Rebellion of 1861. Thus Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), aided and abetted by my own Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I), have begun hearings on Mr. Leahy's proposal for a "Truth Commission" to investigate the Bush administration's interrogation policies.

The mantra of Bush critics has been that the previous administration "tortured" detainees. But this is nonsense. At issue is the CIA's waterboarding of three high-ranking latrunculi who had been instrumental in planning and executing attacks that killed thousands of Americans. These individuals had been trained to resist conventional interrogation methods and were thought to have information about impending attacks.

What makes the Leahy-Whitehouse show trials most appalling -- and hypocritical -- is that Congress was briefed on the enhanced interrogation methods in September 2002. At the time, according to the Washington Post, members of Congress from both parties -- including current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- wanted to ensure that the interrogations were tough enough to get the necessary intelligence from the captured terrorists. As the Post reported, "there was no objecting, no hand-wringing," and according to a U.S. official present during the briefings, "the attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.'" But of course, according to a source looking back on that period, "the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic."

And therein lies the problem. Too many of our leaders have forgotten that we are at war with latrunculi who wish to destroy us. Anyone who doubts this need only read the recent statement by the five detainees at Guantanamo charged with planning the 9/11 attacks in which they describe the charge that they murdered Americans very clearly -- as a "badge of honor."

Mr. Owens is a professor at the Naval War College and editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #107 on: April 20, 2009, 01:11:52 AM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/04/call-aclu.html

SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 2009

Call the ACLU...
....I'm a past victim of U.S. government torture.

Of course, I never made that connection until the other day, when the Obama Administration released memos on that subject from the Bush White House. Reviewing various media accounts of the documents--including this one from the Washington Times--I discovered that I was subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Of course, no one used that term at the time; we called it "survival school."

Back in the day, your humble correspondent was a military aircrew member. Part of my training included a 17-day course at the U.S. Air Force Survival School, located at Fairchild AFB, Washington. The school provides detailed instruction in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) techniques, essential information for anyone who might find themselves on the lam in bad-guy territory, or even worse, in enemy hands.

We learned resistance measures in a realistic training environment; a mock POW camp, complete with guards, barbed wire and interrogators. I haven't been back to Fairchild in more than a decade, but during my time as a student (the early 1990s), we endured two stays in the camp--and exposure to those interrogation techniques, the same ones used on captured terrorists.

Being placed in a confinement box? Yep, been there, done that. In fact, virtually everyone in my group at Fairchild enjoyed that experience. According to the Times, senior Al Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, spent a little time in the box, with an added treat: insects. Apparently, interrogators discovered that Mr. Zubaydah had a fear of bugs, so they placed a few in the box to make him talk. But, as the memos cautioned, the insects placed inside the confinement box could not be "harmful."

The other techniques approved by the Bush Administration would also be familiar to anyone who's been through a DoD SERE course: conditioning techniques (such as sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation); "corrective" measures (including facial and abdominal slaps; facial holds and attention grabs, and "coercive" steps that were considered the most effective.

Approved techniques in that latter category ranged from water-boarding; cramped confinement, dousing with cold water and stress position. I never saw anyone water-boarded during my SERE class, but the other tactics were common-place.

During one stay in the mock POW camp, I spent more than twelve hours in a pitch-black isolation box, unable to fully stand or lay down. After 10 hours or so, I began to experience hallucinations. So did my classmates. Again, we didn't consider it torture. It was training--training that one day, might have saved our lives.

Mr. Obama's decision to release the memos has been rightly criticized. Former CIA Director General Mike Hayden believes the disclosures jeopardize national security, providing new details on how far the U.S. is willing to go during terrorist interrogations.

Making matters worse, the administration has suspended use of these "harsh" techniques, which have been described as torture by various politicians and human rights groups. But the memos actually reveal that such measures were used carefully, in a controlled environment. Guidelines contained in the documents mandate the presence of medical personnel and psychologists when the interrogation tactics were employed (emphasis ours).

The Bush memos affirm what we've said all along; the kerfuffle over alleged "torture" at Gitmo (and other interrogation sites) is more about politics that legitimate human rights issues. Most of the techniques used on captured terrorists are identical to those found in military training. Even the most coercive measure--the dreaded water boarding--was used on only a handful of high-value prisoners, and for only the briefest periods of time. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the Al Qaida ops chief, broke down after only 30 seconds of water boarding.

And, did we mention that information derived through these measures saved countless American lives? Will President Obama reconsider his ban when interrogators can't obtain the right information and a terror plan succeeds? Mr. Obama--and his supporters in the media--have been rather quiet on that one.

The commander-in-chief has vowed not to prosecute intelligence officers who used the "torture" methods on suspected terrorists. But that won't stop the ACLU. A spokesman suggested that his organization may consider lawsuits against current and former interrogators. I'm still waiting to hear if they will take my case.

Oh that's right. I signed that waiver at survival school, releasing the government from any liability. Makes me wonder if Mr. Obama will prepare an executive order, absolving himself of any responsibility, just in case that "ban on torture" backfires.
Logged
Black Grass
Newbie
*
Posts: 18


« Reply #108 on: April 20, 2009, 11:07:37 AM »

Here is the problem with this theory. Many jihadists have lived in our nations, gone to our schools, enjoyed humane treatment in our lands and still gone on to wage jihad, often with a western passport in their possession.

The same thing can be said of rapists, murders, and other criminals in jails.

Vince
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #109 on: April 20, 2009, 12:59:10 PM »

What do we make of this?


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

April 20, 2009
Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects
By SCOTT SHANE
C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr. Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation methods, causing C.I.A. officers to worry that they might have crossed legal limits and to halt his questioning. But the precise number and the exact nature of the interrogation method was not previously known.

The release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods that the Justice Department under the Bush administration declared legal even though the United States had historically treated them as torture.

President Obama plans to visit C.I.A. headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees, as well as meet privately with officials, an agency spokesman said Sunday night. It will be his first visit to the agency, whose use of harsh interrogation methods he often condemned during the presidential campaign and whose secret prisons he ordered closed on the second full day of his presidency.

C.I.A. officials had opposed the release of the interrogation memo, dated May 30, 2005, which was one of four secret legal memos on interrogation that Mr. Obama ordered to be released last Thursday.

Mr. Obama said C.I.A. officers who had used waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods with the approval of the Justice Department would not be prosecuted. He has repeatedly suggested that he opposes Congressional proposals for a “truth commission” to examine Bush administration counterterrorism programs, including interrogation and warrantless eavesdropping.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a yearlong, closed-door investigation of the C.I.A. interrogation program, in part to assess claims of Bush administration officials that brutal treatment, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes, was necessary to get information.

The fact that waterboarding was repeated so many times may raise questions about its effectiveness, as well as about assertions by Bush administration officials that their methods were used under strict guidelines.

A footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the C.I.A. rules permitted.

The new information on the number of waterboarding episodes came out over the weekend when a number of bloggers, including Marcy Wheeler of the blog emptywheel, discovered it in the May 30, 2005, memo.

The sentences in the memo containing that information appear to have been redacted from some copies but are visible in others. Initial news reports about the memos in The New York Times and other publications did not include the numbers.

Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A. for the last two years of the Bush administration, would not comment when asked on the program “Fox News Sunday” if Mr. Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times. He said he believed that that information was still classified.

A C.I.A. spokesman, reached Sunday night, also would not comment on the new information.

Mr. Hayden said he had opposed the release of the memos, even though President Obama has said the techniques will never be used again, because they would tell Al Qaeda “the outer limits that any American would ever go in terms of interrogating an Al Qaeda terrorist.”

He also disputed an article in The New York Times on Saturday that said Abu Zubaydah had revealed nothing new after being waterboarded, saying that he believed that after unspecified “techniques” were used, Abu Zubaydah revealed information that led to the capture of another terrorist suspect, Ramzi Binalshibh.

The Times article, based on information from former intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abu Zubaydah had revealed a great deal of information before harsh methods were used and after his captors stripped him of clothes, kept him in a cold cell and kept him awake at night. The article said interrogators at the secret prison in Thailand believed he had given up all the information he had, but officials at headquarters ordered them to use waterboarding.

He revealed no new information after being waterboarded, the article said, a conclusion that appears to be supported by a footnote to a 2005 Justice Department memo saying the use of the harshest methods appeared to have been “unnecessary” in his case.

 
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #110 on: April 20, 2009, 03:30:08 PM »

"President Obama plans to visit C.I.A. headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees"

I hear on the radio he told empolyees "not to be discouraged" by the release of memos that this is how you learn from your mistakes.

Imagine.  The leader of our country humiliating those who did their best to protect us.  And doing for his political gain in for international media.

I don't recall Jimmy Carter who was a Navy veteran, or any other President for that matter, going around disgracing us this way.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #111 on: April 20, 2009, 03:47:46 PM »

Torture and the U.S. Intelligence Failure
April 20, 2009




By George Friedman

The Obama administration published a series of memoranda on torture issued under the Bush administration. The memoranda, most of which dated from the period after 9/11, authorized measures including depriving prisoners of solid food, having them stand shackled and in uncomfortable positions, leaving them in cold cells with inadequate clothing, slapping their heads and/or abdomens, and telling them that their families might be harmed if they didn’t cooperate with their interrogators.

On the scale of human cruelty, these actions do not rise anywhere near the top. At the same time, anyone who thinks that being placed without food in a freezing cell subject to random mild beatings — all while being told that your family might be joining you — isn’t agonizing clearly lacks imagination. The treatment of detainees could have been worse. It was terrible nonetheless.

Torture and the Intelligence Gap
But torture is meant to be terrible, and we must judge the torturer in the context of his own desperation. In the wake of 9/11, anyone who wasn’t terrified was not in touch with reality. We know several people who now are quite blasé about 9/11. Unfortunately for them, we knew them in the months after, and they were not nearly as composed then as they are now.

Sept. 11 was terrifying for one main reason: We had little idea about al Qaeda’s capabilities. It was a very reasonable assumption that other al Qaeda cells were operating in the United States and that any day might bring follow-on attacks. (Especially given the group’s reputation for one-two attacks.) We still remember our first flight after 9/11, looking at our fellow passengers, planning what we would do if one of them moved. Every time a passenger visited the lavatory, one could see the tensions soar.

And while Sept. 11 was frightening enough, there were ample fears that al Qaeda had secured a “suitcase bomb” and that a nuclear attack on a major U.S. city could come at any moment. For individuals, such an attack was simply another possibility. We remember staying at a hotel in Washington close to the White House and realizing that we were at ground zero — and imagining what the next moment might be like. For the government, however, the problem was having scraps of intelligence indicating that al Qaeda might have a nuclear weapon, but not having any way of telling whether those scraps had any value. The president and vice president accordingly were continually kept at different locations, and not for any frivolous reason.

This lack of intelligence led directly to the most extreme fears, which in turn led to extreme measures. Washington simply did not know very much about al Qaeda and its capabilities and intentions in the United States. A lack of knowledge forces people to think of worst-case scenarios. In the absence of intelligence to the contrary after 9/11, the only reasonable assumption was that al Qaeda was planning more — and perhaps worse — attacks.

Collecting intelligence rapidly became the highest national priority. Given the genuine and reasonable fears, no action in pursuit of intelligence was out of the question, so long as it promised quick answers. This led to the authorization of torture, among other things. Torture offered a rapid means to accumulate intelligence, or at least — given the time lag on other means — it was something that had to be tried.

Torture and the Moral Question
And this raises the moral question. The United States is a moral project: its Declaration of Independence and Constitution state that. The president takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. The Constitution does not speak to the question of torture of non-citizens, but it implies an abhorrence of rights violations (at least for citizens). But the Declaration of Independence contains the phrase, “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.” This indicates that world opinion matters.

At the same time, the president is sworn to protect the Constitution. In practical terms, this means protecting the physical security of the United States “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Protecting the principles of the declaration and the Constitution are meaningless without regime preservation and defending the nation.

While this all makes for an interesting seminar in political philosophy, presidents — and others who have taken the same oath — do not have the luxury of the contemplative life. They must act on their oaths, and inaction is an action. Former U.S. President George W. Bush knew that he did not know the threat, and that in order to carry out his oath, he needed very rapidly to find out the threat. He could not know that torture would work, but he clearly did not feel that he had the right to avoid it.

Consider this example. Assume you knew that a certain individual knew the location of a nuclear device planted in an American city. The device would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans, but he individual refused to divulge the information. Would anyone who had sworn the oath have the right not to torture the individual? Torture might or might not work, but either way, would it be moral to protect the individual’s rights while allowing hundreds of thousands to die? It would seem that in this case, torture is a moral imperative; the rights of the one with the information cannot transcend the life of a city.

Torture in the Real World
But here is the problem: You would not find yourself in this situation. Knowing a bomb had been planted, knowing who knew that the bomb had been planted, and needing only to apply torture to extract this information is not how the real world works. Post-9/11, the United States knew much less about the extent of the threat from al Qaeda. This hypothetical sort of torture was not the issue.

Discrete information was not needed, but situational awareness. The United States did not know what it needed to know, it did not know who was of value and who wasn’t, and it did not know how much time it had. Torture thus was not a precise solution to a specific problem: It became an intelligence-gathering technique. The nature of the problem the United States faced forced it into indiscriminate intelligence gathering. When you don’t know what you need to know, you cast a wide net. And when torture is included in the mix, it is cast wide as well. In such a case, you know you will be following many false leads — and when you carry torture with you, you will be torturing people with little to tell you. Moreover, torture applied by anyone other than well-trained, experienced personnel (who are in exceptionally short supply) will only compound these problems, and make the practice less productive.

Defenders of torture frequently seem to believe that the person in custody is known to have valuable information, and that this information must be forced out of him. His possession of the information is proof of his guilt. The problem is that unless you have excellent intelligence to begin with, you will become engaged in developing baseline intelligence, and the person you are torturing may well know nothing at all. Torture thus becomes not only a waste of time and a violation of decency, it actually undermines good intelligence. After a while, scooping up suspects in a dragnet and trying to extract intelligence becomes a substitute for competent intelligence techniques — and can potentially blind the intelligence service. This is especially true as people will tell you what they think you want to hear to make torture stop.

Critics of torture, on the other hand, seem to assume the torture was brutality for the sake of brutality instead of a desperate attempt to get some clarity on what might well have been a catastrophic outcome. The critics also cannot know the extent to which the use of torture actually prevented follow-on attacks. They assume that to the extent that torture was useful, it was not essential; that there were other ways to find out what was needed. In the long run, they might have been correct. But neither they, nor anyone else, had the right to assume in late 2001 that there was a long run. One of the things that wasn’t known was how much time there was.

The U.S. Intelligence Failure
The endless argument over torture, the posturing of both critics and defenders, misses the crucial point. The United States turned to torture because it has experienced a massive intelligence failure reaching back a decade. The U.S. intelligence community simply failed to gather sufficient information on al Qaeda’s intentions, capability, organization and personnel. The use of torture was not part of a competent intelligence effort, but a response to a massive intelligence failure.

That failure was rooted in a range of miscalculations over time. There was the public belief that the end of the Cold War meant the United States didn’t need a major intelligence effort, a point made by the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan. There were the intelligence people who regarded Afghanistan as old news. There was the Torricelli amendment that made recruiting people with ties to terrorist groups illegal without special approval. There were the Middle East experts who could not understand that al Qaeda was fundamentally different from anything seen before. The list of the guilty is endless, and ultimately includes the American people, who always seem to believe that the view of the world as a dangerous place is something made up by contractors and bureaucrats.

Bush was handed an impossible situation on Sept. 11, after just nine months in office. The country demanded protection, and given the intelligence shambles he inherited, he reacted about as well or badly as anyone else might have in the situation. He used the tools he had, and hoped they were good enough.

The problem with torture — as with other exceptional measures — is that it is useful, at best, in extraordinary situations. The problem with all such techniques in the hands of bureaucracies is that the extraordinary in due course becomes the routine, and torture as a desperate stopgap measure becomes a routine part of the intelligence interrogator’s tool kit.

At a certain point, the emergency was over. U.S. intelligence had focused itself and had developed an increasingly coherent picture of al Qaeda, with the aid of allied Muslim intelligence agencies, and was able to start taking a toll on al Qaeda. The war had become routinized, and extraordinary measures were no longer essential. But the routinization of the extraordinary is the built-in danger of bureaucracy, and what began as a response to unprecedented dangers became part of the process. Bush had an opportunity to move beyond the emergency. He didn’t.

If you know that an individual is loaded with information, torture can be a useful tool. But if you have so much intelligence that you already know enough to identify the individual is loaded with information, then you have come pretty close to winning the intelligence war. That’s not when you use torture. That’s when you simply point out to the prisoner that, “for you the war is over.” You lay out all you already know and how much you know about him. That is as demoralizing as freezing in a cell — and helps your interrogators keep their balance.

U.S. President Barack Obama has handled this issue in the style to which we have become accustomed, and which is as practical a solution as possible. He has published the memos authorizing torture to make this entirely a Bush administration problem while refusing to prosecute anyone associated with torture, keeping the issue from becoming overly divisive. Good politics perhaps, but not something that deals with the fundamental question.

The fundamental question remains unanswered, and may remain unanswered. When a president takes an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” what are the limits on his obligation? We take the oath for granted. But it should be considered carefully by anyone entering this debate, particularly for presidents.

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #112 on: April 20, 2009, 04:05:53 PM »

***He has published the memos authorizing torture to make this entirely a Bush administration problem***

And that's it folks.  It is less about morality than politics.

Bush is the deamon.  Not those who attacked us.

Thus strip Bush of his biggest claim to fame - that he protected us.

He didn't make us safer he made us less safe.  So their argument goes. 
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #113 on: April 21, 2009, 02:25:07 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: CIA Directors Speak About Memo Releases
April 20, 2009
The Obama administration’s decision to release four previously classified memos from former President George W. Bush’s administration on now-banned interrogation techniques late last week sparked a flurry of articles and debate over the weekend. Critics denounce the “enhanced interrogation techniques” as morally reprehensible torture and want the details brought to light. But on Sunday, former CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly criticized the White House over the release, arguing that it made CIA interrogators’ jobs more difficult.

Hayden, a Bush appointee to the top post in Langley, reportedly was one of four former directors — a mixture of Bush and Clinton appointees — to contact the White House last month in order to warn that the Obama administration’s decision to release the memos would compromise intelligence efforts. These four directors — Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet and John Deutch — are approaching the issue from the perspective of intelligence practitioners. Their argument is that the memos, which specifically detail now-banned interrogation methods, reveal more information on the threshold at which interrogators are legally obligated to stop. Subjects who are aware of these limits, the line of reasoning goes, are better positioned to endure the methods that are used.

These methods were hardly the most draconian used — indeed, captives handed over to foreign governments experienced far worse in many cases. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that even these limited methods could be psychologically devastating if applied over time by a skilled interrogator. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has claimed that their use helped prevent a terrorist attack, though details and evidence of that are scarce.

Cheney’s assertion brings to mind — perhaps not unintentionally — the idea of a captured terrorist refusing to reveal information about an impending and devastating attack on the verge of being carried out. This is great fodder for dramatic television series and movies, but getting to that point is an intelligence-intensive process. A great deal of tactical information on the individual — what he knows, the organization he works for and that organization’s activities — is all necessary to get to that point. This is rarely the case in either police work or the intelligence community — and if authorities did have that much highly specific intelligence, the time-consuming process of torture is rarely either necessary or an efficient means of gathering further details.

Interrogation is rightly termed a dark art. It is difficult to do well, and takes well-trained and experienced interrogators to apply techniques that compel subjects to accurately reveal information they intend to keep secret. Done poorly, these harsh techniques only compel the individual to tell the interrogators what they think they want to hear — some true, but much made up. Indeed, this was reportedly the case with the interrogation of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. False or made-up information is often a problem — even when skilled practitioners (who are very rare) are used. The issue is commonly mentioned in criticism of torture in general.

And in the months and years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, this was how harsh interrogation techniques were being applied: with little concrete intelligence on individual subjects specifically or al Qaeda in general out of a nonspecific and highly generic concern about another impending al Qaeda attack. Dr. George Friedman will explore this issue in depth in this week’s Geopolitical Intelligence Report.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #114 on: April 21, 2009, 06:26:18 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/21/cia-we-stand-behind-our-actions-and-the-results/

CIA: We stand behind our actions — and the results
POSTED AT 2:45 PM ON APRIL 21, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


With Barack Obama releasing the OLC memos and branding them as all but criminal and leaving the door open to prosecutions connected to the interrogation of Al-Qaeda terrorists, one might expect the CIA to retreat from its earlier defense of its actions.  So far, though, the agency remains tenacious in insisting that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah saved American lives.  CNS News reports that the CIA stands by its 2005 memo describing how those interrogations stopped another 9/11-scale attack:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM initially resisted all other interrogation procedures, right up to the waterboard.  He insisted that Americans did not have the necessary resolve to get information out of him, and that we would only know about the next plot when it killed hundreds, if not thousands again.  Only after the waterboard did KSM cough up the information on the “second wave” attacks, and the CIA and other national-security agencies stopped it.

Does this answer whether waterboarding is torture?  Not really.  Does it negate the canard that “torture never works”?  Yes.  Torture works in getting people to talk, and sometimes they tell the truth.  The CIA got what it wanted — the information it needed to save lives — but it doesn’t prove or disprove whether a mock-execution procedure like waterboarding is torture or not.

It does, however, pose a difficult question for Americans, especially since the CIA even under Leon Panetta seems determined to get an answer to it.  What price do we want to pay for a pristine conscience in combating terrorism?  Do you mind if it costs thousands of American lives in plots we can’t discover because a terrorist suspect captured in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or somewhere else has lawyered up?  Are there times when we can appropriately use a non-lethal technique without letting the target know that it’s non-lethal, in order to save American lives?

Both sides need to quit pretending on this issue.  Mock executions fit the definition of torture, and they also saved a lot of American lives.  If we can admit to reality, then we can have an honest debate about how far we should go to protect ourselves, and what price might be too high for our public image internationally.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5875


« Reply #115 on: April 22, 2009, 08:26:20 AM »

I don't like picking on Strat, but...

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney has claimed that their use helped prevent a terrorist attack, though details and evidence of that are scarce."

According to Cheney, the details are not scarce, they are still classified and he called for that information to be declassified so that methods can be seen in that context.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #116 on: April 22, 2009, 08:31:23 AM »

The often-suspect NYTimes weighs in with an interesting article:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22detain.html?_r=1&hp

April 22, 2009
In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use
By SCOTT SHANE and MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON — The program began with Central Intelligence Agency leaders in the grip of an alluring idea: They could get tough in terrorist interrogations without risking legal trouble by adopting a set of methods used on Americans during military training. How could that be torture?

In a series of high-level meetings in 2002, without a single dissent from cabinet members or lawmakers, the United States for the first time officially embraced the brutal methods of interrogation it had always condemned.

This extraordinary consensus was possible, an examination by The New York Times shows, largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials who were pushing the program, not the senior aides to President George W. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.

According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

Even George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director who insisted that the agency had thoroughly researched its proposal and pressed it on other officials, did not examine the history of the most shocking method, the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

The top officials he briefed did not learn that waterboarding had been prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II and was a well-documented favorite of despotic governments since the Spanish Inquisition; one waterboard used under Pol Pot was even on display at the genocide museum in Cambodia.

They did not know that some veteran trainers from the SERE program itself had warned in internal memorandums that, morality aside, the methods were ineffective. Nor were most of the officials aware that the former military psychologist who played a central role in persuading C.I.A. officials to use the harsh methods had never conducted a real interrogation, or that the Justice Department lawyer most responsible for declaring the methods legal had idiosyncratic ideas that even the Bush Justice Department would later renounce.

The process was “a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm,” a former C.I.A. official said.

Today, asked how it happened, Bush administration officials are finger-pointing. Some blame the C.I.A., while some former agency officials blame the Justice Department or the White House.

Philip D. Zelikow, who worked on interrogation issues as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 and 2006, said the flawed decision-making badly served Mr. Bush and the country.

“Competent staff work could have quickly canvassed relevant history, insights from the best law enforcement and military interrogators, and lessons from the painful British and Israeli experience,” Mr. Zelikow said. “Especially in a time of great stress, walking into this minefield, the president was entitled to get the most thoughtful and searching analysis our government could muster.”

After years of recriminations about torture and American values, Bush administration officials say it is easy to second-guess the decisions of 2002, when they feared that a new attack from Al Qaeda could come any moment.

If they shunned interrogation methods some thought might work, and an undetected bomb or bioweapon cost thousands of lives, where would the moral compass point today? It is a question that still haunts some officials. Others say that if they had known the full history of the interrogation methods or been able to anticipate how the issue would explode, they would have advised against using them.

This account is based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former senior officials of the C.I.A., White House, Justice Department and Congress. Nearly all, citing the possibility of future investigations, shared their recollections of the internal discussions of a classified program only on condition of anonymity.

Leaked to the news media months after they were first used, the C.I.A.’s interrogation methods would darken the country’s reputation, blur the moral distinction between terrorists and the Americans who hunted them, bring broad condemnation from Western allies and become a ready-made defense for governments accused of torture. The response has only intensified since Justice Department legal memos released last week showed that two prisoners were waterboarded 266 times and that C.I.A. interrogators were ordered to waterboard one of the captives despite their belief that he had no more information to divulge.

But according to many Bush administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and some intelligence officers who are critics of the coercive methods, the C.I.A. program would also produce an invaluable trove of information on Al Qaeda, including leads on the whereabouts of important operatives and on terror schemes discussed by Al Qaeda. Whether the same information could have been acquired using the traditional, noncoercive methods that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military have long used is impossible to say, and former Bush administration officials say they did not have the luxury of time to develop a more patient approach, given that they had intelligence warnings of further attacks.

Michael V. Hayden, who served as C.I.A. director for the last two years of the Bush administration, devoted part of his last press briefing in January to defending the C.I.A. program. “It worked,” Mr. Hayden insisted.

“I have said to all who will listen that the agency did none of this out of enthusiasm,” he said. “It did it out of duty. It did it with the best legal advice it had.”

A Program Takes Shape

When Mr. Bush assigned the C.I.A. with the task of questioning high-level Qaeda captives in late 2001, the agency had almost no experience interrogating the kind of hostile prisoners it soon expected to hold.

It had dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, polygraphists and operations officers who had practiced the arts of eliciting information and assessing truthfulness. Their targets, however, were not usually terrorists, but foreigners offering to spy for the United States or C.I.A. employees suspected of misdeeds.

Agency officials, led by Mr. Tenet, sought interrogation advice from other countries. And, fatefully, they contacted the military unit that runs the SERE training program, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which gives American pilots, special operations troops and others a sample of the brutal interrogation methods they might face as prisoners of war. Mr. Tenet declined to be interviewed.

By late 2001, the agency had contracted with James E. Mitchell, a psychologist with the SERE program who had monitored many mock interrogations but had never conducted any real ones, according to colleagues. He was known for his belief that a psychological concept called “learned helplessness” was crucial to successful interrogation.

Martin Seligman, a prominent professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who had developed the concept, said in an interview that he was puzzled by Dr. Mitchell’s notion that learned helplessness was relevant to interrogation.

“I think helplessness would make someone more dependent, less defiant and more compliant,” Dr. Seligman said, “but I do not think it would lead reliably to more truth-telling.”

Still, forceful and brainy, Dr. Mitchell, who declined to comment for this article, became a persuasive player in high-level agency discussions about the best way to interrogate Qaeda prisoners. Eventually, along with another former SERE psychologist, Bruce Jessen, Dr. Mitchell helped persuade C.I.A. officials that Qaeda members were fundamentally different from the myriad personalities the agency routinely dealt with.

“Jim believed that people of this ilk would confess for only one reason: sheer terror,” said one C.I.A. official who had discussed the matter with Dr. Mitchell.

Overwhelmed with reports of potential threats and anguished that the agency had failed to stop the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet and his top aides did not probe deeply into the prescription Dr. Mitchell so confidently presented: using the SERE tactics on Qaeda prisoners.

A little research on the origin of those methods would have given reason for doubt. Government studies in the 1950s found that Chinese Communist interrogators had produced false confessions from captured American pilots not with some kind of sinister “brainwashing” but with crude tactics: shackling the Americans to force them to stand for hours, keeping them in cold cells, disrupting their sleep and limiting access to food and hygiene.

“The Communists do not look upon these assaults as ‘torture,’ ” one 1956 study concluded. “But all of them produce great discomfort, and lead to serious disturbances of many bodily processes; there is no reason to differentiate them from any other form of torture.”

Worse, the study found that under such abusive treatment, a prisoner became “malleable and suggestible, and in some instances he may confabulate.”

In late 2001, about a half-dozen SERE trainers, according to a report released Tuesday night by the Senate Armed Services Committee, began raising stark warning about plans by both the military and the C.I.A. to use the SERE methods in interrogations.

In December 2001, Lt. Col. Daniel J. Baumgartner of the Air Force, who oversaw SERE training, cautioned in one memo that physical pressure was “less reliable” than other interrogation methods, could backfire by increasing a prisoner’s resistance and would have an “intolerable public and political backlash when discovered.” But his memo went to the Defense Department, not the C.I.A.

One former senior intelligence official who played an important role in approving the interrogation methods said he had no idea of the origins and history of the SERE program when the C.I.A. started it in 2002.

“The agency was counting on the Justice Department to fully explore all the factors contributing to a judgment about legality, including the surrounding history and context,” the official said.

But it was the C.I.A. that was proposing the methods, and John Yoo, the Justice Department official who was the principal author of a secret August 2002 memorandum that authorized the interrogation program, was mostly interested in making a case that the president’s wartime powers allowed for the harsh tactics.

A Persuasive Case

After the March 28, 2002, capture in Pakistan of the Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah — the C.I.A.’s first big catch after Sept. 11 — Mr. Tenet told Ms. Rice, then the national security adviser, he wanted to discuss interrogation, several former officials said. At a series of small-group and individual briefings attended by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice and Attorney General John Ashcroft, Mr. Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin, laid out their case.

They made a persuasive duo, former officials who heard their pitch recalled. Mr. Tenet, an extroverted former Congressional staff member, was given to forceful language about the threat from Al Qaeda, which he said might well have had operations under way involving biological, radiological or even nuclear weapons. Mr. McLaughlin, a career intelligence analyst, was low-key and cerebral, and some White House officials said they found his support for the methods reassuring.

In the briefings, Mr. Tenet said that after extensive research, the agency believed that only the methods he described — which he said had been used on thousands of American trainees — could extract the details of plots from hardened Qaeda fanatics.

“It was described as a program that was safe and necessary, that would be closely monitored by medical personnel,” a former senior official recalled. “And it was very much in the context of the threat streams that were just eye-popping at the time.”

Mr. Tenet’s descriptions of each proposed interrogation method was so clinical and specific that at one briefing Mr. Ashcroft objected, saying that cabinet officials should approve broad outlines of important policies, not the fine details, according to someone present. The attorney general later complained that he thought Mr. Tenet was looking for cover in case controversy erupted, the person said.

Ms. Rice insisted that Mr. Ashcroft not just pass along the conclusions of his Office of Legal Counsel, where Mr. Yoo worked, but give his personal assurance that the methods were legal under domestic and international law. He did.

The C.I.A. then gave individual briefings to the secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and the secretary of state, Colin L. Powell. Neither objected, several former officials said.

Mr. Cheney, whose top legal adviser, David S. Addington, was closely consulting with Mr. Yoo about legal justification, strongly endorsed the program. Mr. Bush also gave his approval, though what details were shared with him is not known.

With that, the C.I.A. had the full support of the White House to begin its harshest interrogations. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have never publicly second-guessed their decision. Though some former officials expressed regret that such a momentous decision was made so quickly without vital information or robust debate, none were willing to be quoted by name.

There was one more check on intelligence programs, one designed in the 1970s to make sure independent observers kept an eye on spy agencies: Congress. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees had been created in the mid-1970s to prevent any repeat of the C.I.A. abuses unearthed by the Senate’s Church Committee.

As was common with the most secret programs, the C.I.A. chose not to brief the entire committees about the interrogation methods but only the so-called Gang of Four — the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate and House committees. The rest of the committee members would be fully briefed only in 2006.

The 2002 Gang of Four briefings left a hodgepodge of contradictory recollections that, to some Congressional staff members, reveal a dysfunctional oversight system. Without full staff support, few lawmakers are equipped to make difficult legal and policy judgments about secret programs, critics say.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who in 2002 was the ranking Democrat on the House committee, has said in public statements that she recalls being briefed on the methods, including waterboarding. She insists, however, that the lawmakers were told only that the C.I.A. believed the methods were legal — not that they were going to be used.

By contrast, the ranking Republican on the House committee at the time, Porter J. Goss of Florida, who later served as C.I.A. director, recalls a clear message that the methods would be used.

“We were briefed, and we certainly understood what C.I.A. was doing,” Mr. Goss said in an interview. “Not only was there no objection, there was actually concern about whether the agency was doing enough.”

Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, who was committee chairman in 2002, said in an interview that he did not recall ever being briefed on the methods, though government officials with access to records say all four committee leaders received multiple briefings.

Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the committee, declined to discuss the briefings.

Vicki Divoll, general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 and a former C.I.A. lawyer, would have been a logical choice to advise senators on the legal status of the interrogation methods. But because of the restricted briefings, Ms. Divoll learned about them only years later from news media accounts.

Ms. Divoll, who now teaches government at the United States Naval Academy, said the interrogation issue revealed the perils of such restricted briefings.

“The very programs that are among the most risky and controversial, and that therefore should get the greatest congressional oversight,” she said, “in fact get the least.”


 
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #117 on: April 22, 2009, 02:52:55 PM »

Except when it does!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22blair.html?pagewanted=print

April 22, 2009
Banned Techniques Yielded ‘High Value Information,’ Memo Says

By PETER BAKER
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #118 on: April 22, 2009, 06:44:02 PM »

How could it not work?

I suppose if we offered our enemies lots of money, an ocean front villa with free water skiing lessons, and all the virgins they could handle that might work better.....

Otherwise, of course it works.  If it didn't it would be obvious after thousands of years of use.  It wouldn't take the NYT's "investigative" team to figure this out.

In a way, the more information we are bombarded with every day the less we know.
Sorting the crap from reality is nearly or completely impossible.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #119 on: April 23, 2009, 03:47:54 AM »

Here's another take on all this:

My Tortured Decision
        By ALI SOUFAN
Published: April 22, 2009

FOR seven years I have remained silent about the false claims magnifying the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding. I have spoken only in closed government hearings, as these matters were classified. But the release last week of four Justice Department memos on interrogations allows me to shed light on the story, and on some of the lessons to be learned.

One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.

We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counterterrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.

One of the worst consequences of the use of these harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the so-called Chinese wall between the C.I.A. and F.B.I., similar to the communications obstacles that prevented us from working together to stop the 9/11 attacks. Because the bureau would not employ these problematic techniques, our agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.

It was the right decision to release these memos, as we need the truth to come out. This should not be a partisan matter, because it is in our national security interest to regain our position as the world’s foremost defenders of human rights. Just as important, releasing these memos enables us to begin the tricky process of finally bringing these terrorists to justice.

The debate after the release of these memos has centered on whether C.I.A. officials should be prosecuted for their role in harsh interrogation techniques. That would be a mistake. Almost all the agency officials I worked with on these issues were good people who felt as I did about the use of enhanced techniques: it is un-American, ineffective and harmful to our national security.

Fortunately for me, after I objected to the enhanced techniques, the message came through from Pat D’Amuro, an F.B.I. assistant director, that “we don’t do that,” and I was pulled out of the interrogations by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller (this was documented in the report released last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general).

My C.I.A. colleagues who balked at the techniques, on the other hand, were instructed to continue. (It’s worth noting that when reading between the lines of the newly released memos, it seems clear that it was contractors, not C.I.A. officers, who requested the use of these techniques.)

As we move forward, it’s important to not allow the torture issue to harm the reputation, and thus the effectiveness, of the C.I.A. The agency is essential to our national security. We must ensure that the mistakes behind the use of these techniques are never repeated. We’re making a good start: President Obama has limited interrogation techniques to the guidelines set in the Army Field Manual, and Leon Panetta, the C.I.A. director, says he has banned the use of contractors and secret overseas prisons for terrorism suspects (the so-called black sites). Just as important, we need to ensure that no new mistakes are made in the process of moving forward — a real danger right now.

Ali Soufan was an F.B.I. supervisory special agent from 1997 to 2005.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #120 on: April 23, 2009, 08:36:01 AM »

The FBI operates from a law enforcement paradigm. We are not going to mirandize and indict al qaeda into submission. It didn't work under Clinton and it won't work now.

Moral posturing is great when the threat is theoretical. What if waterboarding might make the difference in keeping your kids from dying in the next Beslan? What is an acceptable level of loss of innocent life in your own city, neighborhood?
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #121 on: April 23, 2009, 09:25:54 AM »

So where do you draw the line?
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #122 on: April 23, 2009, 02:41:54 PM »

Dershowitz: Torture could be justified
Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Posted: 0431 GMT (12:31 PM HKT)
Ken Roth and Alan Dershowitz

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the question has become whether the senior al Qaeda leader will reveal key information about the terrorist network. If he doesn't, should he be tortured to make him tell what he knows?

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer posed this question to noted author and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

BLITZER: Well, how do you know ...

DERSHOWITZ: So we might be close.

BLITZER: Alan, how do you know he doesn't have that kind of ticking-bomb information right now, that there's some plot against New York or Washington that he was involved in and there's a time sensitivity? If you knew that, if you suspected that, you would say [to] get the president to authorize torture.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don't know, and that's why [we could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly and hypothetically, the way the French did it in Algeria. If we ever came close to doing it, and we don't know whether this is such a case, I think we would want to do it with accountability and openly and not adopt the way of the hypocrite.

BLITZER: All right. Ken, under those kinds of rare, extreme circumstances, does Professor Dershowitz make a good point?

ROTH: He doesn't. The prohibition on torture is one of the basic, absolute prohibitions that exists in international law. It exists in time of peace as well as in time of war. It exists regardless of the severity of a security threat. And the only other comparable prohibition that I can think of is the prohibition on attacking innocent civilians in time of war or through terrorism. If you're going to have a torture warrant, why not create a terrorism warrant? Why not go in and allow terrorists to come forward and make their case for why terrorism should be allowed?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, in fact, we've done that. Of course, we've done that. We have bombed civilian targets during every single one of our wars. We did it in Dresden. We did it in Vietnam notwithstanding these rules. So you know, having laws on the books and breaking them systemically just creates disdain ... It's much better to have rules that we can actually live within. And absolute prohibitions, generally, are not the kind of rules that countries would live within.

I want to ask you a question. Don't you think if we ever had a ticking-bomb case, regardless of your views or mine, that the CIA would actually either torture themselves or subcontract the job to Jordan, the Philippines or Egypt, who are our favorite countries, to do the torturing for us?

ROTH: OK, there is no moral or legal difference between torturing yourself and subcontracting torture to somebody else. They're equally absolutely prohibited.

DERSHOWITZ: But we do it.

ROTH: In the case -- the fact that sometimes laws are violated does not mean you want to start legitimizing the violation by getting some judge to authorize it. Imagine, you're always thinking about the U.S. Supreme Court, but any rule you apply to the United States has to be applied around the world. Do you want Chinese judges authorizing torture of say, Muslim dissidents?

DERSHOWITZ: It wouldn't make any difference. They just torture anyway. It wouldn't make any difference. They torture now.

ROTH: Once you open the door to torture, once you start legitimizing it in any way, you have broken the absolute taboo. President Bush had it right in his State of the Union address when he was describing various forms of torture by Saddam Hussein and he said, "If this isn't evil, then evil has no meaning."

BLITZER: Well, let me interrupt, Ken. Let me ask you about a hypothetical case. Professor Dershowitz talks about it in one of his articles and one of his books. There's a terrorist attack. A lot of people have just been killed in New York. They capture one of the terrorists, who says, "Guess what, there's another bomb out there, it is going to kill a lot more, but I'm not telling you where it is."

ROTH: Yes, that's the ticking-bomb scenario, which everybody loves to put forward as an excuse for torture. Israel tried that. Under the guise of just looking at the narrow exception of where the ticking-bomb is there and you could save the poor schoolchildren whose bus was about to be exploded some place. They ended up torturing on the theory that -- well, it may not be the terrorist, but it's somebody who knows the terrorist or it's somebody who might have information leading to the terrorist.

They ended up torturing say 90 percent of the Palestinian security detainees they had until finally the Israeli supreme court had to say this kind of rare exception isn't working. It's an exception that's destroying the rule. We have to understand the United States sets a model for the rest of the world. And if the United States is going to authorize torture in any sense, you can imagine that there are many more unsavory regimes out there that are just dying for the chance to say, "Well, the U.S. is doing it, we're going to start doing it as well."

DERSHOWITZ: And I think that we're much, much better off admitting what we're doing or not doing it at all. I agree with you, it will much better if we never did it. But if we're going to do it and subcontract and find ways of circumventing, it's much better to do what Israel did. They were the only country in the world ever directly to confront the issue, and it led to a supreme court decision, as you say, outlawing torture, and yet Israel has been criticized all over the world for confronting the issue directly. Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

ROTH: So let's learn the lesson from the Israelis, which is you can't open the door a little bit. If you try, you end up having torture left and right. The other alternative, rather than legitimizing with torture warrants, is to prohibit it and prosecute the offenders. And we have murder on the street every day. We don't ask for murder warrants.

BLITZER: Ken, let me just get back to that ticking time bomb scenario. You would -- you could morally justify letting this terrorist that you've captured remain silent and allow hundreds of people to die?

ROTH: Look, we just heard from the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. You just had him on your show, Wolf, who said the interrogators at Bagram Air Base or wherever Mohammed is, they don't need torture. They have other, legitimate ways of getting at the truth. They're listening in through various wiretaps and the like.

Torture is not needed. If you start opening the door, making a little exception here, a little exception there, you've basically sent the signal that the ends justify the means, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden thinks. He has some vision of a just society. His ends justify the means of attacking the World Trade Center. If we're going to violate an equally basic prohibition on torture, we are reaffirming that false logic of terrorism. We are going to end up losing the war ...

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #123 on: April 23, 2009, 04:10:30 PM »

The lines are easy to draw for the most part.

1. Lawful combatants, as defined in the Gen. Conventions get covered by the conventions. We treat legitimate soldiers as soldiers.

2. Ordinary criminals get treated as ordinary criminals in the criminal justice system, with all the standard legal checks and balances.

3. Terrorists that operate outside the laws of war get no protections of any kind. We teach them fear.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #124 on: April 24, 2009, 09:56:47 AM »

Quite the contrary to the Dems working hard to politically demolish the Republican party BO IMO has done more to damage our reputation around the world than all previous presidents combined.  This is unprecedented and damaging long and short term than anything previous.  That the mainstream media runs along for the ride says it all about them:


Obama Administration to Release Detainee Abuse Photos; Former CIA Official Says Former Colleagues 'Don't Believe They Have Cover Anymore'
April 24, 2009 10:23 AM

In a letter from the Justice Department to a federal judge yesterday, the Obama administration announced that the Pentagon would turn over to the American Civil Liberties Union 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration.

The photographs are part of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU for all information relating to the treatment of detainees -- the same battle that led, last week, to President Obama's decision to release memos from the Bush Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing legal justifications for harsh interrogation methods that human rights groups call torture.

Courts had ruled against the Bush administration's attempts to keep the photographs from public view. ACLU attorney Amrit Singh tells ABC News that "the fact that the Obama administration opted not to seek further review is a sign that it is committed to more transparency."

Singh added that the photographs "only underscore the need for a criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted" of U.S. officials responsible for the harsh treatment of detainees.

But some experts say the move could have a chilling effect on the CIA even beyond President Obama's decision last week to release the so-called "torture memos."

Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs "prurient" and "reprehensible," Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, tells ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

"They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost," Lowenthal said. "There's nothing to be gained from it. There's no substantive reason why those photos have to be released."

Lowenthal said the president's moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on "the undercurrent I've been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago."

"We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they've been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong," Lowenthal says. "They don't believe they have that cover anymore." Releasing the photographs "will make it much worse," he said.

Even though President Obama has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute CIA officers who were operating within the four corners of what they'd been told was the law, Lowenthal says members of the CIA are worried. "They feel exposed already, and this is going to increase drumbeat for an investigation or a commission" to explore detainee treatment during the Bush years, he said. "It's going to make it much harder to resist, and they fear they're then going to be thrown over."

The Bush administration argued that releasing these photographs would violate US obligations towards detainees and would prompt outrage and perhaps attacks against the U.S. On June 9 and June 21, 2006 judges directed the Bush administration to release 21 photographs depicting the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last September, the Second Circuit Court affirmed that decision.

The Bush administration had argued that an exemption from FOIA was needed here because of the exemption for law enforcement records that could reasonably be expected to endanger “any individual." The release of the disputed photographs, the Bush administration argued, will endanger United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the court found that the exemption was not intended "as an all-purpose damper on global controversy."

The Bush administration had also argued that releasing the photographs would violated the Geneva Conventions, which protect prisoners of war and detained civilians “against insults and public curiosity." The court ruled that the Geneva Conventions "do not prohibit dissemination of images of detainees being abused when the images are redacted so as to protect the identities of the detainees, at least in situations where, as here, the purpose of the dissemination is not itself to humiliate the detainees."

Moreover, the court found that releasing "the photographs is likely to further the purposes of the Geneva Conventions by deterring future abuse of prisoners."

"There is a significant public interest in the disclosure of these photographs," the court ruled. "The defendants concede that these photographs yield evidence of governmental wrongdoing, but nonetheless argue that they add little additional value to the written summaries of the depicted events, which have already been made public. This contention disregards FOIA’s central purpose of furthering governmental accountability, and the special importance the law accords to information revealing official misconduct."

A November 6, 2008, petition for a re-hearing was denied last month.

The Obama administration could have opted to go all the way to the Supreme Court to try to keep these photographs from public view, but yesterday Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin wrote to District Judge Alvin Hellerstein and said the Pentagon was preparing to release 21 photos at issue in the appeal, in addition to 23 others "previously identified as responsive."

The materials will be released to the ACLU no later than May 28, after which the ACLU says it will make them public. This release will come just days before President Obama travels to the volatile Middle East.

Dassin wrote that the Pentagon also was "processing for release a substantial number of other images contained in Army CID reports that have been closed during the pendency of this case."

Singh said in a statement that the photographs "will constitute visual proof that, unlike the Bush administration's claim, the abuse was not confined to Abu Ghraib and was not aberrational. Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse."

Lowenthal said his former colleagues at the CIA were "put off" by President Obama's trip to the CIA earlier this week. "I don't think the president's speech went down very well, particularly the part when he said they made mistakes. They don't think they made mistakes. They think they acted to execute policy. And those in the intelligence service don't make policy."

Those in intelligence are "gong to become increasingly wary about doing dangerous things," Lowenthal said. "They feel at the end of the day they won't be covered. It's not irreparable right now, but it's problematic."
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5875


« Reply #125 on: April 24, 2009, 04:04:34 PM »

Quoting GM:  "3. Terrorists that operate outside the laws of war get no protections of any kind. We teach them fear."

Even under the GM doctrine, we are still limited by our own sense of decency and by the context of the situation.  With the beheading videos of Daniel Pearl in mind, the images of people jumping from the towers, and airline passengers crashing into the Pentagon and the struggle above Pennsylvania that ended all dead in the ground, I would like to see if these photos show more than inmates in underwear or water tricks.  I'll bet no one lost an ear, much less got beheaded, dropped from the sky or burnt to death.

For comparison, I would like to see a complete list of all punishments and lost appendages due to criminal sanctions from Islamic governments during the same time frame, such as stoned to death for fraternizing with your rapist.  Let's see who is barbaric and who is trying to protect peace and freedom.  And let's see if Obama prefaces his remarks by saying this isn't nearly as brutal as what is already happening everyday in these terrorists' own home countries.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 05:23:04 PM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #126 on: April 24, 2009, 04:13:09 PM »

April 23, 2009

Levels Of Enhancement

Ali Soufan, an FBI interrogator of Abu Zubaydah joins the torture debate on the NY Times op-ed page and explains that the Bush era enhanced interrogation techniques were unnecessary and ineffective.  Torture doesn't work, and Mr. Soufan is today's darling of the reality-based community.  However, based on earlier Times reporting and the DoJ Inspector General report Mr. Soufan is, well, misleading us.

So, the Times has run an op-ed that dovetails with their current agenda but is contradicted by other strong evidence and their own reporting - does anyone think we will see a clarification or follow-up?  Neither do I.

Eventually patient readers will also find my rebuttal to Marcy Wheeler and Andrew Sullivan, who claim that these latest revelations bring down the whole legal structure crafted by the OLC memos.  Not to jump ahead, but since the Soufan story is bogus, conclusions based on that story are also shaky.  It's castles on sand and another day in reality-world.

Let's start with Mr. Soufan:

One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
I guess there are different levels of "traditional" techniques - the DoJ IG report (p. 111 of 438) makes it clear that the FBI had concerns about the CIA-led approach from the outset, with one of the agents describing it as "borderline torture".

What "borderline torture" techniques are we talking about?  The DoJ IG report has redactions, but this is from theDavid Johnson, writing in the Sept 10 2006 Times:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Abu Zubaydah, the first Osama bin Laden henchman captured by the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was bloodied and feverish when a C.I.A. security team delivered him to a secret safe house in Thailand for interrogation in the early spring of 2002. Bullet fragments had ripped through his abdomen and groin during a firefight in Pakistan several days earlier when he had been captured.

The events that unfolded at the safe house over the next few weeks proved to be fateful for the Bush administration. Within days, Mr. Zubaydah was being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques — he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music — the genesis of practices later adopted by some within the military, and widely used by the Central Intelligence Agency in handling prominent terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons.
The Times returned to Zubaydah last week and apparently believed that the unenhanced enhanced techniques were controversial:

His interrogation, according to multiple accounts, began in Pakistan and continued at the secret C.I.A. site in Thailand, with a traditional, rapport-building approach led by two F.B.I. agents, who even helped care for him as his gunshot wounds healed.

Abu Zubaydah gave up perhaps his single most valuable piece of information early, naming Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, whom he knew as Mukhtar, as the main organizer of the 9/11 plot.

A C.I.A. interrogation team that arrived a week or two later, which included former military psychologists, did not change the approach to questioning, but began to keep him awake night and day with blasting rock music, have his clothes removed and keep his cell cold.

The legal basis for this treatment is uncertain, but lawyers at C.I.A. headquarters were in constant touch with interrogators, as well as with Mr. Bybee’s subordinate in the Office of Legal Counsel, John C. Yoo, who was drafting memos on the legal limits of interrogation.
Well.  One hopes the actual interrogations were done in compliance with FBI guidelines, even if the treatment of the prisoner was "enhanced" a bit on an extra-curricular basis outside of the interrogation room.  From the May 30 2005 memo (p. 94 of 124) I infer that the proponents of enhanced techniques scored this as a win for their techniques.  And since per the DoJ IG report the FBI withdrew its agents in May and June because of the harsh CIA techniques, we are left wondering just what sort of "traditional" FBI interrogation Mr. Soufan normally conducts.

Switching gears, let me summarize the argument offered by Ms. Wheeler and enthusiastically endorsed by Andrew Sullivan.  The OLC legal opinion offered by Bybee included the caveat that "The interrogation team is certain that he has additional information that he refuses to divulge" and warns that

We also understand that you do not have any facts in your possession contrary to the facts outlined here, and this opinion is limited to these facts. If these facts were to change, this advice would not necessarily apply.
To continue the argument, the interrogations were taking place with both FBI and CIA agents present; therefore, the CIA had to know, as Mr. Soufan did, that the prisoner was cooperating; therefore, the legal opinion is based on a false premise and collapses.  Or so sys Ms. Wheeler, with a strong second from Sully.

To which I say, well, maybe, if the Inspector General and the Times reporting is all wrong.  The Johnston 2006 story included this:

After Mr. Zubaydah’s capture, a C.I.A. interrogation team was dispatched from the agency’s counterterrorism center to take the lead in his questioning, former law enforcement and intelligence officials said, and F.B.I. agents were withdrawn. The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. Three former intelligence officials said the techniques had been drawn up on the basis of legal guidance from the Justice Department, but were not yet supported by a formal legal opinion.

In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted.

At times, Mr. Zubaydah, still weak from his wounds, was stripped and placed in a cell without a bunk or blankets. He stood or lay on the bare floor, sometimes with air-conditioning adjusted so that, one official said, Mr. Zubaydah seemed to turn blue. At other times, the interrogators piped in deafening blasts of music by groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sometimes, the interrogator would use simpler techniques, entering his cell to ask him to confess.

“You know what I want,” the interrogator would say to him, according to one official’s account, departing leaving Mr. Zubaydah to brood over his answer.

F.B.I. agents on the scene angrily protested the more aggressive approach, arguing that persuasion rather than coercion had succeeded. But leaders of the C.I.A. interrogation team were convinced that tougher tactics were warranted and said that the methods had been authorized by senior lawyers at the White House.
Mr. Soufan says that "I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August."  As we have seen, something like harsh techniques were already in place.  But what happened in July?  This high value target of so much attention was left to rock out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers while shivering in his underwear?  Probably not.  Based on the DoJ IG report the Times story is roughly accurate.

If Mr. Soufan is credible at all then there were divisions within the original CIA team, some members were convinced a tougher approach was warranted, and Bybee was working with them.  Or perhaps after the fact some CIA officials involved in the interrogation decided that someone else must have been responsible.  CYA at the CIA.  Go figure.

And do note that ater the fact the FBI team may have been absolutely correct in their assessment of Zubaydah's compliance but that does not mean that the CIA people requested the legal guidance in bad faith.

MORE ON THE INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT:

Mr. Soufan makes an interesting claim in his op-ed:

Fortunately for me, after I objected to the enhanced techniques, the message came through from Pat D’Amuro, an F.B.I. assistant director, that “we don’t do that,” and I was pulled out of the interrogations by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller (this was documented in the report released last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general).
 Well, if the DoJ Inspector General's report is reliable, the Soufan story is full of holes.  Starting at p. 110 of 438, we see that two FBI agents, Gibson and Thomas (pseudonyms) were involved in the Zubaydah interrogation.

The CIA showed up and took over quickly.  Thomas had objections to their techniques, which he described as "borderline torture", and left somewhat thereafter.  Gibson was authorized (or instructed) to leave but hung around until early June, several weeks after Thomas left.  So let's tentatively infer from that that "Gibson" is Mr. Soufan (the story hardly changes if "Thomas" is Soufan.)

The first and most important point is that the FBI was troubled by the CIA techniques from the outset, not only after August 1.  The current op-ed imagines that there was a long period of "traditional" interrogation, but that is contradicted by the IG report.

Secondly, per page 111, "Gibson", (probably Mr. Soufan), told the CIA was told by the CIA upon their arrival that Zubaydah was only providing "throwaway" information and that they "needed to diminish his capacity to resist".  Thomas expressed concern about the CIA techniques, calling them "border-line torture"; "Gibson" "did not express as much concern" as Thomas.  From which we conclude that somebody from the FBI CIA side thought that more could be gleaned from Zubaydah.

When "Gibson" got home he told FBI Counter terrorism AD D'Amuro that he had no moral qualms about the CIA approach, that they were behaving professionally, and that he had endured similar treatment in SERE school.

Well.  If Mr. Soufan is Thomas, then there were obvious divisions even within the FBI; if he is Gibson, there are apparent divisions within himself.

Eventually, after a series of meetings in Washington, the FBI learned about the OLC opinion and decided to withdraw from the enhanced interrogation process.

OOPS:  When I summarized the IG report above I had the CIA calling for tougher treatment (as did the Johnston story), but in the version right above it was "Gibson" of the FBI making that suggestion, which is both wrong and irrelevant.

[end of thread]

Posted by Tom Maguire on April 23, 2009 | Permalink
TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b2aa69e201157045edbb970b
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #127 on: April 26, 2009, 01:48:01 PM »

Doug says,

"And let's see if Obama prefaces his remarks by saying this isn't nearly as brutal as what is already happening everyday in these terrorists' own home countries"

The MSM is letting BO have his cake and eat it too.
He is clearly doing the triangulation thing, pretending he is above the politics of it all and is just doing the "moral thing" that "America is all about".  His apologists are all over the talk shows saying he doesn't want to proceed with special investigators and the rest.  That he is under tremendous pressure from the far left.  As if he is not far left.

BO is clearly on board with damaging the Republicans, humiliating the previous administration (and America) around the world, deflecting attention from his agenda and continuing the blame game and playing the savior who is going to straighten this country - and the world - out.

His whole personal history is this - of the liberal left wing radical.

I guess except for Lou Dobbs, Fox, WSJ, talk radio conservatives there is no one speaking up from the right that has the gravitas to offer another alternative.

I don't know if this will change or not.  As long as government expands exponentially and more and more people are on the dole, and the new age immigrants who expect far more than they did historically continue to change the demographics it will be an uphill battle.

It is infuriating to me to see the Dems out in force talking about the interrogation issues like they are.
Except for the die hard dems who are glad to use any excuse to get Bush I think most Americans would agree with me.
FBI agents of Muslim heritage excepted.  And I mean no disrespect otherwise to him or the agency but I can't help wonder his agenda here.



 

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #128 on: April 26, 2009, 01:54:05 PM »

PS
It is more sickening than humorous to hear Chris Matthews now say that John McCain should have been the guy to win the Presidency in 2000.  Now that he is continuing to speak out against harsher interrogation techniques essentially supporting the left, AND no longer in a position to run for office and the Bama has safely beaten him,  he is again their Republican poster boy.

I recall Matthews cried when Gore made his concession speech in 2001.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #129 on: April 26, 2009, 04:35:09 PM »

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDE5YTNmZTg5OWUyOTlkMGUxOTk3OGMxY2I4ZDQ4YWQ=

The West Coast Plot: An "Inconvenient Truth"    [Marc Thiessen]

Critics of the CIA program are desperate to convince Americans that no valuable information came from the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and other senior terrorists.  They know that if our citizens learn the details of how enhanced interrogations stopped terrorist plots, most would support the CIA program.  A recent Pew poll showed that 71% of Americans believe that there are circumstances under which torture (not just enhanced interrogations, but actual torture) is justifiable to get information from captured terrorists.

This is why Timothy Noah of Slate (with Andrew Sullivan cheerleading him on his blog) is at such pains to debunk the story of the West Coast plot.

This was a KSM plot for a “Second Wave” attack using East Asian operatives to use shoe-bombs to hijack an airplane and fly it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles.  Noah states in a blog post that this plot was never realistic.  Here is his rationale:

The first reason to be skeptical that this planned attack could have been carried out successfully is that, as I've noted before, attacking buildings by flying planes into them didn't remain a viable al-Qaida strategy even through Sept. 11, 2001. Thanks to cell phones, passengers on United Flight 93 were able to learn that al-Qaida was using planes as missiles and crashed the plane before it could hit its target. There was no way future passengers on any flight would let a terrorist who killed the pilot and took the controls fly wherever he pleased.

Really?  Planes were off the table after 9/11?  That would come as a surprise to every passenger in the past three years who had their liquids confiscated in an airport security line.  Those security measures were instituted because in 2006 we foiled an al-Qaeda plot to hijack airplanes leaving London’s Heathrow airport and blow them up over the Atlantic (a plot our intelligence community says was just weeks from execution).  Apparently al-Qaeda didn’t get Noah’s memo explaining that hijacking airplanes for terrorist attacks is “no longer viable al Qaeda strategy.”

In his post, Noah calls the West Coast plot “Thiessen’s claim” and Anderw Sullivan calls it “Thiessen’s LA Tower Canard.”   What these two fail to appreciate is that the story of how enhanced interrogation broke up the West Coast plot is not my story — it is the official position of the intelligence community.

In my Washington Post piece, I was citing the very documents which President Obama released, which quote the CIA saying that interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ to ‘use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”  The memo released by Obama goes on the explain that “information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave.’ ”

Again, those are not my words.  That is the position of our intelligence community.


And not just in the released memos.  In his September 2006 speech revealing the existence of the CIA program, President Bush described specifically how the interrogation of KSM led to the capture of the key operatives in this attack.  This was the most carefully vetted speech in presidential history — reviewed by all the key players from the individuals who ran the program all the way up to the director of national intelligence, who personally attested to the accuracy of the speech in a memo to the president.  And just last week on Fox News, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he went back and checked with the agency as to the accuracy of that speech and reported:  “We stand by our story.”

In numerous subsequent speeches, President Bush said that the West Coast plot was disrupted because of the CIA program.   Each of those speeches was carefully reviewed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — and each time the DNI provided the White House with a classified memo stating that the contents of the speech was accurate and did not compromise sources and methods.  So the Director of National Intelligence has repeatedly affirmed the accuracy of the statement that the West Coast plot was disrupted because of the CIA program.  And Noah himself acknowledges in his post a CIA spokesman affirmed the accuracy of the story.

So bottom line: The intelligence community says it is so.

In his blog, Noah cites the fact that Fran Townsend, the Bush administration’s homeland-security adviser, told reporters in a February 2006 press briefing that a key cell leader in the West Coast plot was arrested February of 2002.  This, Noah points out, is before KSM came into CIA custody and underwent enhanced interrogation.  He also notes Townsend said that after the cell leader’s capture other cell members “believed” that the plot was not going forward.

I hate to break it to Noah, but this does not refute the fact that KSM’s interrogation disrupted the West Coast plot.

It is true that a key cell leader in the West Coast plot was detained in February 2002.  According press accounts, his name was Marsan bin Arshad. What is also demonstrably true is that the captured terrorist did not lead us to the members of the cell tasked with carrying out the West Coast plot. Indeed, when KSM was captured 13 months later — in March of 2003 — almost all of the key operatives in the plot were still at large and operating with impunity.

This is what happened next:

·     *   In March of 2003, the CIA captured another key operative in the West Coast plot — a terrorist named Majid Khan.

·     *   When KSM was captured later that same month, he knew that Khan was in CIA custody — and assumed that Khan had given us the details of the West Coast plot.

·     *   KSM refused to provide any information about active plots, telling his interrogators: “Soon you will find out.”

·     *   After undergoing enhanced-interrogation techniques, KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a terrorist named Hambali — the leader of al-Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate Jemmah Islamiyah and KSM’s partner in developing the West Coast plot.

·     *   CIA officers then confronted Khan with this information from KSM.  Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair.  He provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative — which led to the capture of Zubair in June 2003.

·     *   Zubair then provided information that led to the capture of Hambali in August 2003, along with another key operative, a JI terrorist named Bashir bin Lep (aka “Lillie”).

·     *   Told of Hambali's capture, KSM then identified Hambali's younger brother Rusman Gunawan (aka "Gun Gun") as Hambali's conduit for communications with al-Qaeda, and the leader of the JI cell that was to carry out the West Coast plot.  This information led to the capture of “Gun Gun” in September 2003 in Pakistan.

·     *   Hambali's brother then gave us information that led to a cell of 17 JI operatives — the Guraba Cell — that was going to carry out the West Coast plot.

All of these operatives were captured because of information gained from the interrogation of KSM using enhanced interrogation techniques.

To buy Noah’s argument that the plot was over before KSM’s capture, you would have to accept that premise that if Zubair … and Hambali … and Lillie … and Gun Gun … and the 17-member Guraba cell were all left at large and unmolested, they would not have eventually carried out the West Coast plot.

This flies in the face of logic — and the official position of the intelligence community.  And it is contrary to everything we know about the way al-Qaeda operates.  If we have learned anything from recent history, it is that once al-Qaeda develops a plot for a major attack, it never gives up until that attack has been carried out.  Al-Qaeda’s modus operandi is to continue going after the same target time and time again until they succeed.

In 1993, al-Qaeda tried to blow up the World Trade Center, and failed.  In 2001, al-Qaeda finished the job.

In 1995, KSM hatched the “Bojinka Plot” to hijack multiple passenger planes and blow them up over the Pacific.  The plot failed — and so al-Qaeda tried it again over the Atlantic in 2006.

From this experience, Noah takes the lesson that because one al-Qaeda cell leader in the West Coast plot was captured, al-Qaeda just gave up.  Indeed, he claims, they not only gave up on the Library Tower, after 9/11 they decided they would never try to fly a plane into a building again.  But in the same briefing Noah cites, Fran Townsend says that “the intelligence tells us that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began to initiate [the attack on the Library Tower] in October 2001” — a month after 9/11.  She also states that “KSM, himself, trained the leader of the cell in late 2001 or early 2002 in the shoe bomb technique” — again after the 9/11 attacks.

The fact is Noah and Sullivan’s claims are absurd.  But put aside the West Coast plot off for a moment.  What about all the other plots that were stopped as a result of enhanced interrogations?

Here are some facts: On Fox News last weekend, General Hayden declared that after enhanced interrogation techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah “he gave up … information that led to the arrest of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh.”  Bin al-Shibh was KSM’s right-hand-man, and a key 9/11 plotter.  At the time of his arrest, Bin al-Shibh was in the midst of planning a 9/11-style attack on Britain, in which al-Qaeda operatives would hijack planes in Europe and fly them into Heathrow airport.  According his CIA biography, “as of his capture, Bin al-Shibh had identified four operatives for the operation.”

Enhanced interrogations also helped us capture an al-Qaeda terrorist named Ammar al-Baluchi.  Ammar had prepared Jose Padilla for his plot to blow up apartment buildings in America (which was foiled thanks to information from Abu Zubaydah), and was the one who had sent Majid Khan to deliver the $50,000 to Zubair for the West Coast plot.  According to Ammar’s CIA biography, “From late 2002, Ammar began plotting to carry out simultaneous attacks in Karachi against the U.S. Consulate, Western residences, and Westerners at the local airport…. He was within days of completing preparations for the Karachi plot when he was captured.”

These are just a few of the plots that were broken up because of information gained from CIA interrogations.  According to the intelligence community, terrorists held in CIA custody also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti using an explosive laden water tanker.  They provided information the helped us uncover al-Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.  And according to the memos released by the Obama administration “intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of the [Counterterrorism Center's] reporting on al Qaeda.”

General Hayden calls these facts an “inconvenient truth.”  He put it this way in his Fox News interview: “Most people who oppose these techniques want to be able to say: I don’t want my country doing this – which is a purely honorable position – and they didn’t work anyway.  That back half of the sentence isn’t true.  The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer.  It really did work.”

Former CIA Director George Tenet has said, “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than [what] the FBI, the [CIA], and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.”

Former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has said, “We have people walking around in this country that are alive today because this process happened.”

And even Obama’s director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, said in a letter to the intelligence community on April 16, 2009: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.”

So you can believe Hayden, Tenet, McConnell, and Blair … or Tim Noah and Andrew Sullivan. 
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #130 on: April 28, 2009, 03:06:22 PM »

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6168959.ece

From The Sunday Times
April 26, 2009
Russian death squads ‘pulverise’ Chechens
Elite commandos have broken their silence to reveal how they torture, execute and then blow captives to atoms to obliterate the grisly evidence

Thousands of Chechens disappeared after being taken away by Russian troops. One death squad targeted 'black widow' bombers such as those who seized a Moscow theatre in 2002
Mark Franchetti in Moscow
THE hunt for a nest of female suicide bombers in Chechnya led an elite group of Russian special forces commandos to a small village deep in the countryside. There they surrounded a modest house just before dawn to be sure of catching their quarry unawares.

When the order came to storm the single-storey property, dozens of heavily armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms - unmarked to conceal their identity - had no difficulty in overwhelming the three women inside. Their captives were driven to a military base.

The soldiers were responding to a tip-off that the eldest of the three, who was in her forties, had been indoctrinating women to sacrifice themselves in Chechnya’s ferocious war between Islamic militants and the Russians. The others captured with her were her latest recruits. One was barely 15.

“At first the older one denied everything,” said a senior special forces officer last week. “Then we roughed her up and gave her electric shocks. She provided us with good information. Once we were done with her we shot her in the head.

“We disposed of her body in a field. We placed an artillery shell between her legs and one over her chest, added several 200-gram TNT blocks and blew her to smithereens. The trick is to make sure absolutely nothing is left. No body, no proof, no problem.” The technique was known as pulverisation.

The young recruits were taken away by another unit for further interrogation before they, too, were executed.

The account is one of a series given to The Sunday Times by two special forces officers who fought the militants in Chechnya over a period of 10 years. Their testimony, the first of its kind to a foreign journalist, provides startling insights into the operation of secret Russian death squads during one of the most brutal conflicts since the second world war.

The men, decorated veterans of more than 40 tours of duty in Chechnya, said not only suspected rebels but also people close to them were systematically tracked, abducted, tortured and killed. Intelligence was often extracted by breaking their limbs with a hammer, administering electric shocks and forcing men to perform sexual acts on each other. The bodies were either buried in unmarked pits or pulverised.

Far from being the work of a few ruthless mavericks, such methods were widely used among special forces, the men said. They were backed by their superiors on the understanding that operations were to be carried out covertly and that any officers who were caught risked prosecution: the Russian government publicly condemns torture and extrajudicial killings and denies that its army committed war crimes in Chechnya.

In practice, said Andrei and Vladimir, the second officer, the Kremlin turned a blind eye. “Anyone in power who took the slightest interest in the war knows this was going on,” Andrei said. “Our only aim was to wipe out the terrorists.”

The two officers expressed pride in their contribution to the special forces’ “success” in containing the terrorist threat. But they spoke on condition they would not be named.

Andrei, who was badly wounded in the war, said he took part in the killing of at least 10 alleged female suicide bombers. In a separate incident he had a wounded female sniper tied up and ordered a tank to drive over her.

He also participated in one of the most brutal revenge sprees by Russian forces. Following the 2002 killings of two agents from the FSB security service and two soldiers from Russia’s equivalent of the SAS, the troops hunted down 200 Chechens said to be linked to the attacks.

In another operation, Andrei’s unit stumbled across dozens of wounded fighters in a cellar being used as a field hospital. Some were being tended by female relatives. “The fighters who were well enough to be interrogated were taken away. We executed the others, together with some of the women,” he recalled. “That’s the only way to deal with terrorists.”

Following an inconclusive war in Chechnya from 1994-6, Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, launched a second war in 1999 and set the tone by vowing “to wipe out militants wherever they are, even in the outhouse”. More than 100,000 Chechens are thought to have died by the time the Kremlin declared earlier this month that it was over. Grozny, the capital, was all but flattened. Putin’s toughness earned him great popularity at home.

Acts of blood-curdling brutality were committed by both sides as the rebels tried to turn Chechnya into an Islamic state, often decapitating Russian prisoners. One Russian victim was filmed being mutilated with a chainsaw.

As the war raged, Chechen terrorists launched suicide attacks against civilians in the Moscow metro and at a rock festival. In 2002 a gang including 18 female suicide bombers seized more than 800 hostages in a Moscow theatre, 129 of whom died when the Russians pumped poisonous gas into the building on day three of the siege.

In their most savage act, the rebels took hundreds of school-children and their relatives hostage in Beslan. The three-day siege in 2004 ended with the deaths of 334 hostages, more than half of them children.

It was in this highly charged climate that the death squads were operating. Andrei recalled that his men had detained a suspect who had several videos of militants torturing Russian hostages. One showed him laughing as his comrades raped a 12-year-old girl and then shot off three of her fingers.

“We all went berserk after watching this,” said Andrei, who had begun to beat the suspect. “He fell to the ground. I ordered him to get up but he couldn’t because of his handcuffs. I ordered the cuffs off but something was wrong with the lock. I became angrier and ordered one of my sergeants to get them off no matter what.

“So he took an axe and chopped his arms off. The prisoner screamed in agony. Clearly it would have been impossible to interrogate him further so I shot him in the head.”

Andrei said he thought of his opponents not as human beings but as cockroaches to be squashed. He was unapologetic about acts of cruelty but said he did not condone excessive boasting among his men.

“I had a problem with one of my guys, who liked to collect ears which had been chopped off prisoners. He’d made a necklace and was very serious about taking this home. I did not like that kind of behaviour.”

The brutality continued after Moscow began to cede more control to Chechen special forces made up of former rebels who switched sides. Militias commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin president, are also accused of abducting, torturing and executing suspects.

Vladimir said he had established a death squad that hunted down, tortured and executed more than 16 alleged militants in 2005. The squad’s commander would log a bogus mission in a faraway location in his unit’s official register to provide an alibi. “We’d break in, take the suspect and vanish. We’d duct-tape and handcuff them. If there was resistance we’d gun down the suspect. If, in the firefight, someone else got killed then we’d plant a gun on the dead person.”

Vladimir and his men referred to their prey as “zaichik” - a term of endearment used by lovers that means “little hare”.

“Only a very small circle of my men took part in this work. Some of those we abducted were tougher than others but eventually everyone talks when you give them the right treatment.

“We used several methods. We’d beat them to a pulp with our bare hands and with sticks. One very effective method is ‘the grand piano’ - when one by one we’d smash the captive’s fingers with a hammer. It’s dirty and difficult work. You would not be human if you enjoyed it but it was the only way to get this filth to talk.”

A hammer would also be used to smash a captive’s kneecaps and militants would be forced to perform sexual acts. The scenes would occasionally be filmed and circulated among enemy combatants in psychological warfare.

“You have to be a certain kind of person to do this job - very strong,” Vladimir said. “Those who carried it out always volunteered. It would not be right to order one of your men to torture someone. It can be morally and psychologically very tough.”

Andrei added: “What mattered most was to carry out this work professionally, not to leave evidence which could be traced back to us. Our bosses knew about such methods but there was a clear understanding that we should cover our tracks. We knew we'd be hung out to dry if we got caught.

“We are not murderers. We are officers engaged in a war against brutal terrorists who will stop at nothing, not even at killing children. They are animals and the only way to deal with them is to destroy them. There is no room for legal niceties in a war like this. Only those who were there can truly understand. I have no regrets. My conscience is clear.”

Clashes of a brutal war

December 1994
Russian troops enter Chechnya to quash independence movement

November 1996
Ceasefire, Russian troops withdraw

September 1999
About 300 die in apartment bombings in Russia, blamed on rebels. Putin sends troops back into Chechnya

February 2000
Russians capture Grozny

October 2002
Moscow theatre siege. At least 33 terrorists and 129 hostages die

May 2004
Pro-Moscow President Akhmad Kadyrov killed by bomb

September 2004
Beslan school siege. Nearly 400 killed

July 2006
Shamil Basayev, rebel leader, killed by Russians

April 2009
Kremlin declares war to be over
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #131 on: May 01, 2009, 12:17:15 PM »

May 01, 2009, 0:20 p.m.

Saying No to Justice
Why I declined to meet with the President’s Detention Policy Task Force.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

I did something today that I’ve never done before. The Department of Justice, which I proudly served for a quarter century as an assistant U.S. attorney and a deputy U.S. marshal, asked me for help, and I declined. Actually, what I declined to do was attend a meeting. My hope is that the dissent I am registering — to the administration’s disastrous policies of releasing trained terrorists and threatening prosecution against government lawyers — will help the department and the Obama administration, even if they don’t want to hear it.

At the start of his term, President Obama directed Attorney General Eric Holder to head up the President’s Detention Policy Task Force to study detention, trial, and other issues relating to alien enemy combatants — though that venerable law-of-war term has been purged in favor of “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” The attorney general has assigned lawyers in the department’s Counterterrorism Division to organize the effort. Those lawyers invited me, among other former and current prosecutors experienced in terrorism and national-security matters, to attend a roundtable session next week, to sort through the vexing legal challenges of modern international terrorism.

I’ve declined the invitation. It pained me to do it. I’ve always believed enforcing our laws and defending our nation are duties of citizenship, not ideology. My conservative political views aside, I regularly make myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, if they think tapping my national-security or law-enforcement experience would be beneficial.

This time, though, I had to say no. As I explain to Attorney General Holder in a letter, which was posted this morning on the website of the National Review Institute, I declined for two reasons.

First, President Obama and Attorney General Holder have created an untenable situation for lawyers asked to advise the government on policy matters.

Former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo (now a law professor at Berkeley) and Jay Bybee (now a federal appeals-court judge in California), as well as other government attorneys, were asked during the emergency conditions that followed the 9/11 attacks to advise Bush administration policymakers on U.S. interrogation law. They did that in good faith and, despite the fact that it’s now de rigueur to castigate them, quite reasonably (as I’ve argued in an online Federalist Society debate, see here). For their service to our country, they are now being tormented by the Obama administration with both a criminal investigation and an ethics inquiry by Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility. (There have even been calls on the left for Judge Bybee’s impeachment, which — even if he had done something wrong years earlier as a Justice Department lawyer — would be absurd: The Constitution reserves judicial impeachment for misconduct committed during the judge’s tenure on the bench, and Bybee is an excellent judge.)

A little over a week ago, the Obama administration recklessly revealed publicly (i.e., to al-Qaeda) the details of enhanced interrogation tactics used by the CIA against top-tier terrorists. The decision to employ these tactics was not made by Yoo, Bybee, or other government lawyers. They did not look to press these practices on government agents. Rather, the CIA initiated the controversy by asking for clarification of its authority. President Bush and his top national-security officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, were responsible for making the policy. The attorneys merely gave their best legal advice — the policymakers didn’t have to follow it, and it was the CIA, not the lawyers, that conducted questioning and made judgments about how it was affecting the terrorists.

Yet President Obama’s antiwar base is in a froth — so much so that he has unleashed his Justice Department to criminalize political disputes after claiming for weeks that he did not want to do this. And the president is being a bully about it. He obviously doesn’t want to incur the wrath of leaking spooks, so he has said CIA agents won’t be investigated (the right result reached for self-interested reasons). He hasn’t worked up the nerve to go after his predecessor, who ordered the policy, and Tenet — a Democrat and one of Bush’s Clinton-holdovers — is another politically inconvenient target. That leaves the lawyers — relatively unknown and thus easily demonized — as the feast for the piranhas.

Any experienced prosecutor would know there is no criminal case here. And let’s assume you think the lawyers gave bad advice — as many say they do, particularly if they haven’t read the memos. Bad legal advice given in good faith is not an ethical violation. There’s not a lawyer in America who hasn’t given bad legal advice at some point — certainly not in the government. It is disgraceful to target these lawyers for this kind of persecution, to force them to retain counsel to defend their wartime service to the country, and to put them in fear of criminal, professional, and financial repercussions. It should be offensive to all people of good will, regardless of their politics or of where they come out on the explosive issue of coercive interrogation. We can arrive at a sound policy, or not, without demonizing our adversaries as crooks and cads.

But that’s not how the attorney general sees it. For all his confirmation-hearing talk about learning his lesson from the Marc Rich debacle and being strong enough to stand up to a president who tries to politicize the Justice Department, Holder took the buck that Obama decided stops at the Justice Department. The attorney general dutifully promised to “follow the evidence wherever it takes us.”

That puts every lawyer who is asked to advise the government on notice: If the Holder Justice Department decides your good-faith advice promoted what it considers illegal activity, you could face criminal prosecution or ruinous ethical charges. That turns out to be a problem for me.

The government has asked for my legal advice on detainees. And worse, I already know that Holder think the advice I would give counsels illegal activity. That is, I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained, until the conclusion of hostilities, at Guantanamo Bay (or someplace just like it). Yet, in a provocative speech in Germany on Wednesday, the attorney general framed that notion as a violation of “the rule of law.” Continuing the new administration’s unbecoming propensity to vilify its predecessor, Holder told his audience, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . .  President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law.”

Was Holder just pandering, as he was when he called Americans “cowards” on the issue of race? Perhaps. From my perspective, though, I’m a lawyer who’s been asked to give advice to the government by an administration that says such advice could lead to criminal investigation and professional discipline. And although the advice I would give is firmly rooted in the laws of war, and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi decision, this administration regards such detention as running afoul of the rule of law. Thus, as I wrote to the attorney general:

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.

The second reason for declining the Justice Department’s request is that the exercise known as the “President’s Detention Policy Task Force” is a farce. The administration has already settled on a detainee policy: It is simply going to release trained jihadists. Holder said as much in his Germany speech. In the irrational world he inhabits, the existence of Guantanamo Bay, where dangerous terrorists cannot harm anyone, is more of a security threat than jihadists roaming free, plotting to menace and murder us. That’s why the administration just released Binyam Mohammed, who conspired with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla to execute post-9/11 bombings in American cities. That’s why Holder will soon announce (perhaps as early as today) that the Chinese Uighur detainees — who’ve been affiliated with a designated terrorist organization and who’ve received paramilitary training at al-Qaeda camps — will not only be set free in the United States but will, according to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, subsist on the support of the American taxpayer.

For all their talk about “the rule of law,” President Obama and Attorney General Holder have to know this policy is illegal. In 2005, Congress provided in the REAL ID Act that aliens who’ve been affiliated with a terrorist organization or who’ve received paramilitary training (which has been a staple of virtually every jihadist plot against the United States) are excludable from the United States. Moreover, even if the administration were not riding roughshod over federal immigration law, it is endangering the American people. The sophistry required to believe that having people who want to kill us locked up is more perilous than loosing them on civilian populations is so absurd it nearly defies description.

To satisfy his antiwar base and to put paid to commitments offered by his top campaign advisers (like Eric Holder), President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay within a year, despite having no plan for what to do about the terrorists there, many of whom cannot be tried under the standards of the civilian justice system. Military proceedings are anathema to the administration — many of whose lawyers either represented the Gitmo detainees or come from firms that did. (Holder’s former firm, for example, brags on its website that it represents detainees in their wartime lawsuits against the American people.) And the administration is evidently not very interested in exploring novel systems of preventive detention, such as my proposal for a “national security court,” which would require extensive legislative work. Instead, the Obama policy is simply to release our enemies — knowing many are certain to return to the jihad — if that’s what it takes to comply with the president’s promise to close Gitmo by January.

Consequently, the President’s Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best counterterrorism policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been made — to be able to tell the American people that this suicidal approach was arrived at in consultation with experienced terrorism prosecutors and national-security officials.

As I told the attorney general in my letter, “I am powerless to stop the president, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.”


— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008).
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MjA0YmFlMzk3ZmFkNTQwYjFiNmM0OTExYzNhNjg5NDE=
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5875


« Reply #132 on: May 02, 2009, 12:17:12 AM »

We will stop 'intensive interrogations' in order to impress the Arab-street with our civility.  Let's look at theirs for a moment.  Water tricks and underwear photos don't compare with these guys...

"A 45-minute tape shows a man that the Government of Abu Dhabi has acknowledged is Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al-Nahyan — one of 22 royal brothers of the UAE President and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince — mercilessly and repeatedly beating a man with a cattle prod and a nailed board, burning his genitals and driving his Mercedes over him several times."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6201333.ece

This was over a grain deal gone bad.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 12:40:05 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #133 on: May 02, 2009, 08:26:22 AM »

"We will stop 'intensive interrogations' in order to impress the Arab-street with our civility"

I think that is BO's delusion.
But for many liberals especially the likes of MSNBC it is all about getting the Repubs and beating them mercilessly.  For them it is politics not morality.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #134 on: May 07, 2009, 07:28:49 PM »

This is interesting. There have been a lot of tidbits floating around that the CIA is angry about BHO's recent release of interrogation records, some have speculated that the CIA would respond as it did during the Plame affair, and now this is circulating. Mayhaps the honeymoon between the executive branch and intelligence organs is over.
   

Pelosi Knew about Waterboarding from the Start
by Jed Babbin (more by this author)
Posted 05/07/2009 ET
Updated 05/07/2009 ET

She knew from the beginning.  According to a CIA document compiled by the Director of National Intelligence summarizing briefings to Congress on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorist detainees, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) knew from the very beginning that those techniques -- including waterboarding -- were being used on September 4, 2002.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31784
 
According to the memo the very first briefing listed is 9/4/02 with then Rep. Porter Goss & Pelosi.  The summary of the briefing says:

“Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed.”

This directly contradicts Pelosi’s story, that “we were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.”

As HUMAN EVENTS reported earlier, Pelosi - by objecting to the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques - could have stopped them but didn't.

Pelosi's misstatements were apparently intended to divert attention from her and other Democrats in Congress who knew of all the enhanced interrogation methods -- in detail -- apparently as soon as they were being used.




Mr. Babbin is the editor of Human Events and HumanEvents.com. He served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration. He is the author of "In the Words of our Enemies"(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of "Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States" (Regnery, 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think" (Regnery, 2004). E-mail him at jbabbin@eaglepub.com.

Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #135 on: May 11, 2009, 08:12:39 PM »

Oh my, this could prove amusing:

LEADING THE NEWS   
GOP wants intel docs declassified
By Reid Wilson
Posted: 05/11/09 07:55 PM [ET]
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) has called on the intelligence community to declassify documents showing what certain members of Congress were told about the harsh interrogation techniques employed in the war on terrorism.

In a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair on Friday, Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, asked that the so-called Memoranda for the Record (MFR) he reviewed last week be released.

Memoranda for the Record indicate subjects discussed at the classified briefings, as well as who attended.

The request comes after a memo prepared by the CIA listed 40 briefings for members of Congress and their staffs over the past six and a half years. The records indicated that during these briefings, several lawmakers — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — were briefed on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

Hoekstra’s letter is the latest step in a campaign to associate Pelosi with the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects. Republicans hope to delay any potential probes into Bush administration officials’ conduct during the war on terror.

Though some Democrats want what could amount to a truth commission for the last six years, Republicans say prominent Democrats like Pelosi should be asked to testify as well.

The debate came after the Obama administration publicly released Department of Justice (DoJ) memos that laid out guidelines under which CIA officials could use the controversial interrogation techniques, which the president himself has described as torture.

Hoekstra argues that since the DoJ memos were released, there would be no harmful effects from releasing the MFRs.

“Given that the underlying programs have now been publicly disclosed by the president and that a general description of each briefing has been declassified, I am requesting that the [MFRs] be reviewed for declassification and publicly released as soon as possible,” Hoekstra wrote.

Those techniques include waterboarding, which Pelosi maintains she was not aware of. Justice Department documents show one terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, the month before the only briefing at which Pelosi has acknowledged being present.

“The American people should be given the full picture on what was known and agreed to on Capitol Hill on a bipartisan basis about the enhanced interrogation program,” Hoekstra said in a statement. “I think the administration should review the CIA notes and records from the briefings and, consistent with national security, make them available to the public.”

The CIA could not be reached for comment. The agency is not required to release the documents, although it has made them available to members of Congress and key staff for review at the agency’s Langley headquarters. 

The Intelligence Committee’s top Republican denied that the call for declassification was tied to Pelosi, instead insisting it would shed light on congressional oversight efforts.

“This effort is not about one person, but what lawmakers in this institution, in both parties, were aware of and supported at the time,” he said. “Releasing these records will help clear the air. Accountability for enhanced interrogation doesn’t begin with lawyers who offered opinions or interrogators in the field, it begins right here in the halls of Congress.”

In a statement released Friday, Pelosi said she had been informed only of techniques the CIA might use in the future.

Records show Pelosi aide Michael Sheehy attended a 2003 briefing with Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in which CIA officers disclosed the use of waterboarding on Zubaydah.

Pelosi acknowledged in December 2007 that she had learned about the meeting and had concurred with a protest Harman filed with the CIA.

Democrats are stressing that Pelosi and Harman were not explicitly told of waterboarding until the 2003 briefing, at which point it had been used for six months, and that it continued after Harman protested. They also note that the House passed legislation that would have banned waterboarding months after Democrats took control in 2007.

Hoekstra has maintained for weeks that Pelosi knew about waterboarding used on terrorists and terrorism suspects. Last week, Hoekstra told The Hill he would be open to hearings on when certain members of Congress knew about the enhanced interrogation techniques.

“I wouldn’t have a problem with the Intelligence Committee or the Judiciary Committee having hearings on this,” he said on Friday. “If [House Judiciary Committee Chairman] John Conyers [Jr. (D-Mich.)] wants to have hearings, they shouldn’t call in the Department of Justice attorneys as their first witnesses. The first people that should be called in and held accountable ought to be Congress.”

Former Sen. Bob Graham (Fla.), who was the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence panel in September 2002, told The Washington Post on Monday that he was not told about waterboarding during a briefing he received around the same time Pelosi received hers.

CIA documents say Graham and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) received briefings on techniques used on Zubaydah, though Graham said he was never told about the enhanced tactics.

Mike Soraghan contributed to this article.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/gop-wants-intel-docs-declassified-2009-05-11.html
 
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 5875


« Reply #136 on: May 11, 2009, 11:51:30 PM »

"...called on the intelligence community to declassify documents..."
"In a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta..."

Thank God they didn't pick someone political for that critical job, lol.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #137 on: May 13, 2009, 12:43:30 PM »

http://www.eventsounds.com/wav/haha.wav

May 13, 2009
Democrats say CIA out to get them

Rick Moran
After watching for 8 years as the Central Intelligence Agency sought to bring down the Bush Administration, the Democrats have decided that the spooks attacking politicians is not a good idea.

Funny how "whistelblowers" turn into "leakers" almost overnight:

Democrats charged Tuesday that the CIA has released documents about congressional briefings on harsh interrogation techniques in order to deflect attention and blame away from itself.

"I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others - that's what I think," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he finds it "interesting" that a document detailing congressional briefings was released just as "some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism."

Asked whether the CIA was seeking political cover by releasing the documents, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: "Sure it is."

The CIA has long been on the receiving end of harsh rebukes from Congress - on intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq, on secret prisons abroad and on the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects. But with the release of records showing that it briefed members of Congress along the way, the CIA has effectively put lawmakers on the defensive.


The above quote from Politico's Manu Raju could have been taken almost verbatim from 2005-06 interviews with Republican members. Then it was more of a partisan hit than self defense on the part of the spooks. Some CIA personnel simply didn't care for Bush policies and sought to undermine them at every turn.

This time out, they appear not to approve of the towering hypocrisy of Democrats who weep crocodile tears about the immorality of torture while failing to mention they knew all about it and approved of it at the time.

So the spies play the old Washington game of leaking damaging documents through friendly reporters and watch as their targets squirm.

Somewhere, the world's smallest violin is playing a sad tune.


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/05/democrats_say_cia_out_to_get_t.html at May 13, 2009 - 01:40:28 PM EDT
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #138 on: May 13, 2009, 02:03:16 PM »

Second post & interesting analysis.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Dems Lack Waterboarding Exit Strategy
Many Democrats in Congress have pushed for release of documents and the holding of hearings on waterboarding and other interrogation methods. Putting aside for now whether the release of such information should take place, it appears that Obama started the ball rolling down hill by releasing the interrogation memos. Barring active intervention by Obama, there will be some further level of document release, Congressional investigations, and public hearings.

This presents a problem mostly for Democrats. Republicans who were briefed on the interrogation methods at least will be consistent, for the most part, in maintaining that the methods were lawful and useful. No Republican is going to be harmed politically by the revelations because most Americans support these methods against people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. If leaks of a Justice Department report are to be believed, there will be no prosecutions. Republicans are safe politically and legally.

For Democrats, however, the damage could be significant. Nancy Pelosi already has lost a great deal of credibility from her changing stories. Dozens of other Democrats, including such senior Senators as Jay Rockefeller, apparently also were briefed on the interrogation methods and either were silent, approved, or encouraged the policy.

The irony is that a full blow investigation and hearings will turn mostly on what the Democrats knew, and when they knew it. The Republicans mostly couldn't care less if they were "blamed" for keeping the country safe even if it necessitated waterboarding the mastermind of 9/11 to prevent further attacks. When faced with sacrificing a city versus using harsh interrogation methods, most voters would opt for harsh interrogation.

That the Democrats have more to lose is demonstrated by the looming fight between Democrats in Congress and the CIA. The Democrats are complaining that the CIA is out to get them through selective leaks of documents. These are the same Democrats who cheered when the CIA leaked information damaging to Bush administration policies. So that complaining is going to go no where.

Where this seems to be heading is: (1) Republicans claim Democrats are damaging national security, thereby setting Democrats up for blame when there is a terrorist attack; (2) Republicans claim the mantle of putting the safety of the country ahead of politics; (3) Democrats claim the mantle of putting politics ahead of the safety of the country; (4) Democrats end up exposing Democratic Party leaders to be untruthful, misleading, deceptive and/or too smart by half; (5) the CIA fights as it always has for its institutional interests, in a battle politicians mostly lose; and (6) Democrats turn on each other.

Just a month ago, who would have expected this headline:

Hoyer wants Pelosi facts out

This is the same Stenny Hoyer who lost out to Pelosi back in 2001 for Minority Whip, and who Pelosi opposed for his present position of Majority Leader (Pelosi backed John Murtha). No connection, I know. He just wants the truth to come out about Pelosi for the sake of the truth coming out.

Democrats vs. national security. Democrats vs. CIA. Democrats vs. Democrats. This is an investigation only Democrats could dream up, and Republicans can get behind. Republicans will be dragged kicking and screaming into the hearing room so they can ask Nancy Pelosi what she knew and when she knew it. If Democrats shield themselves, Republicans may need to schedule counter-hearings, also known as, "The Whole Truth Commission."

You know it's bad when Media Matters complains that Republicans have managed to change the subject:
Adopting the GOP's emphasis on what Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats knew about the Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation techniques, some in the media have ignored evidence that the Bush administration began using the tactics before briefing Democrats, and that upon learning of them, Rep. Jane Harman unsuccessfully expressed concerns to the CIA.
So Jane Harman is the Democrats' big hope? The same Jane Harman who Nancy Pelosi refused to allow to become Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, despite Harman's seniority? The same Jane Harman who Democrats tried to throw under the bus on the now-dropped AIPAC prosecutions by leaking that Harman was wiretapped talking to a possible "Israeli agent"? That Jane Harman? The only person who did object to waterboarding is expected to run interference for Democrats who went along to get along and who have treated her so poorly in the past several years?

What will Democrats do if they find that other Democrats were morally if not legally culpable in waterboarding? Do the Democrats have an exit strategy?

Here's my prediction of what will happen if Democrats push the investigation to the bitter end causing damage to national security, a political death match with the CIA, and Democrat-on-Democrat finger pointing:

Stenny Hoyer, Speaker; Jane Harman, Majority Leader; Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the House sub-committee on fresh water fisheries; Republicans, unexpected gains in 2010 mid-term elections.
The Democrats wished hard for an investigation into waterboarding and other interrogation methods. They may have wished too hard, because they are about to get what they wished for, with no way out.

http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2009/05/dems-lack-waterboarding-exit-strategy.html
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4052


« Reply #139 on: May 13, 2009, 07:35:16 PM »

Frankly I don't believe for a second that BO changed course on the relese of the alleged torture pictures because he was concerned about the safety of our troops.  It seems far more likely to me this was his excuse to back out because of the exposure it would lead to his buddy liberal dems who knew and supported enhanced interrogation techniques from day one.

No question BO was left with a mess.  I think he is turning a mess into a disaster.
Now if only Repubs can groom some smart communicators.
I cannot be convinced though that simply saying less taxes, get out of the way and let the chips fall where they may is going to attract new people away from a party that promises everything for nothing.



Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31047


« Reply #140 on: May 14, 2009, 07:15:35 AM »

The impression of Commander in Chiefs competence, character, and integrity left by this episode are dispiriting indeed.
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #141 on: May 14, 2009, 09:48:15 PM »

A devastating dissection of Pelosi's statements today:

Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2788


« Reply #142 on: May 16, 2009, 01:10:44 PM »

Critics Still Haven't Read the 'Torture' Memos
The CIA proposed the methods. The Justice Department gave its advice.
By VICTORIA TOENSING

Sen. Patrick Leahy wants an independent commission to investigate them. Rep. John Conyers wants the Obama Justice Department to prosecute them. Liberal lawyers want to disbar them, and the media maligns them.

What did the Justice Department attorneys at George W. Bush's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) -- John Yoo and Jay Bybee -- do to garner such scorn? They analyzed a 1994 criminal statute prohibiting torture when the CIA asked for legal guidance on interrogation techniques for a high-level al Qaeda detainee (Abu Zubaydah).

In the mid-1980s, when I supervised the legality of apprehending terrorists to stand trial, I relied on a decades-old Supreme Court standard: Our capture and treatment could not "shock the conscience" of the court. The OLC lawyers, however, were not asked what treatment was legal to preserve a prosecution. They were asked what treatment was legal for a detainee who they were told had knowledge of future attacks on Americans.

The 1994 law was passed pursuant to an international treaty, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. The law's definition of torture is circular. Torture under that law means "severe physical or mental pain or suffering," which in turn means "prolonged mental harm," which must be caused by one of four prohibited acts. The only relevant one to the CIA inquiry was threatening or inflicting "severe physical pain or suffering." What is "prolonged mental suffering"? The term appears nowhere else in the U.S. Code.

Congress required, in order for there to be a violation of the law, that an interrogator specifically intend that the detainee suffer prolonged physical or mental suffering as a result of the prohibited conduct. Just knowing a person could be injured from the interrogation method is not a violation under Supreme Court rulings interpreting "specific intent" in other criminal statutes.

In the summer of 2002, the CIA outlined 10 interrogation methods that would be used only on Abu Zubaydah, who it told the lawyers was "one of the highest ranking members of" al Qaeda, serving as "Usama Bin Laden's senior lieutenant." According to the CIA, Zubaydah had "been involved in every major" al Qaeda terrorist operation including 9/11, and was "planning future terrorist attacks" against U.S. interests.

Most importantly, the lawyers were told that Zubaydah -- who was well-versed in American interrogation techniques, having written al Qaeda's manual on the subject -- "displays no signs of willingness" to provide information and "has come to expect that no physical harm will be done to him." When the usual interrogation methods were used, he had maintained his "unabated desire to kill Americans and Jews."

The CIA and Department of Justice lawyers had two options: continue questioning Zubaydah by a process that had not worked or escalate the interrogation techniques in compliance with U.S. law. They chose the latter.

The Justice Department lawyers wrote two opinions totaling 54 pages. One went to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, the other to the CIA general counsel.

Both memos noted that the legislative history of the 1994 torture statute was "scant." Neither house of Congress had hearings, debates or amendments, or provided clarification about terms such as "severe" or "prolonged mental harm." There is no record of Rep. Jerrold Nadler -- who now calls for impeachment and a criminal investigation of the lawyers -- trying to make any act (e.g., waterboarding) illegal, or attempting to lessen the specific intent standard.

The Gonzales memo analyzed "torture" under American and international law. It noted that our courts, under a civil statute, have interpreted "severe" physical or mental pain or suffering to require extreme acts: The person had to be shot, beaten or raped, threatened with death or removal of extremities, or denied medical care. One federal court distinguished between torture and acts that were "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." So have international courts. The European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ireland v. United Kingdom (1978) specifically found that wall standing (to produce muscle fatigue), hooding, and sleep and food deprivation were not torture.

The U.N. treaty defined torture as "severe pain and suffering." The Justice Department witness for the Senate treaty hearings testified that "[t]orture is understood to be barbaric cruelty . . . the mere mention of which sends chills down one's spine." He gave examples of "the needle under the fingernail, the application of electrical shock to the genital area, the piercing of eyeballs. . . ." Mental torture was an act "designed to damage and destroy the human personality."

The treaty had a specific provision stating that nothing, not even war, justifies torture. Congress removed that provision when drafting the 1994 law against torture, thereby permitting someone accused of violating the statute to invoke the long-established defense of necessity.

The memo to the CIA discussed 10 requested interrogation techniques and how each should be limited so as not to violate the statute. The lawyers warned that no procedure could be used that "interferes with the proper healing of Zubaydah's wound," which he incurred during capture. They observed that all the techniques, including waterboarding, were used on our military trainees, and that the CIA had conducted an "extensive inquiry" with experts and psychologists.

But now, safe in ivory towers eight years removed from 9/11, critics demand criminalization of the techniques and the prosecution or disbarment of the lawyers who advised the CIA. Contrary to columnist Frank Rich's uninformed accusation in the New York Times that the lawyers "proposed using" the techniques, they did no such thing. They were asked to provide legal guidance on whether the CIA's proposed methods violated the law.

Then there is Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who declared that "waterboarding will almost certainly be deemed illegal if put under judicial scrutiny," depending on which "of several possibly applicable legal standards" apply. Does he know the Senate rejected a bill in 2006 to make waterboarding illegal? That fact alone negates criminalization of the act. So quick to condemn, Mr. Robinson later replied to a TV interview question that he did not know how long sleep deprivation could go before it was "immoral." It is "a nuance," he said.

Yet the CIA asked those OLC lawyers to figure out exactly where that nuance stopped in the context of preventing another attack. There should be a rule that all persons proposing investigation, prosecution or disbarment must read the two memos and all underlying documents and then draft a dissenting analysis.

Ms. Toensing was chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration.

 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243020964825531.html
Logged
HUSS
Power User
***
Posts: 191


« Reply #143 on: May 17, 2009, 02:39:51 PM »

Why do we need one?  Do you know how many terror attacks the Philippines suffered after the moro uprising?  probably the same amount Russia suffered during the 70's after Russian forces sent the body parts of hostage takers family members who were holding russians.  Like it or not, it is Arab/Muslims culture to respect strength.  Our leftist treat them kindly methods only encourage them. ie.  The situation in Iran.  Instead of secretly have Imadinijad whacked and the mullahs bombed into an unpleasent memory Obama offers "talks".  As you see below, it was well received.



In response to Barack Obama's "outstretched hand," as he expressed in his April 1, 2009 speech, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad emphasized that the West was weak, and could not force anything on Iran. He enumerated Iran's demands for dialogue with the U.S.; the demands included the withdrawal of Western forces, the destruction of the West's entire nuclear arsenal, and respect for Iran's right to its nuclear program.

The following are just a few of the excerpts from Ahmadinejad's speech:

"You yourselves know that you are today in a position of weakness. Your hands are empty and you can no longer promote your affairs from a position of strength."

"Anyone who talks about change must change his own behavior and policy."

"The fundamental step [must be] the collection and destruction of all [nuclear] arsenals in the world"

"If they [the US] ask for real change, they must withdraw all their military bases and respect the independence and the values of the nations."

"But today, with the grace of God, and thanks to Iran's national unity, the recommendations of Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei], and the following of his [path], nearly 7,000 centrifuges are spinning today at Natanz, mocking them."





So where do you draw the line?
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #144 on: May 17, 2009, 03:18:09 PM »

So where do you draw the line?

Yep, maybe you are right, we too should send the body parts of women and children of any hostage takers family members or anyone
else for that matter who threaten America!

Now there's a good long term plan for peace...

 sad

Logged
HUSS
Power User
***
Posts: 191


« Reply #145 on: May 17, 2009, 04:35:25 PM »

Yep, maybe you are right, we too should send the body parts of women and children of any hostage takers family members or anyone
else for that matter who threaten America!

Now there's a good long term plan for peace...

 sad



What is wrong with you?  i just gave you examples that resulted in prolonged periods of peace.  The circle jerk your suggesting is going to get a whole lot of people killed.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #146 on: May 17, 2009, 04:43:50 PM »

April 12, 2004, 8:39 a.m.
Holding Us Hostage
Speaking their language.

The recent mania for hostage taking in Iraq reminded me of an exchange I had with one of my professors in grad school. We were discussing the Iran-Contra hearings, particularly the secret attempts to bring Iranian influence to bear on the terrorist groups that held a half dozen Americans. I brought up an alternative crisis-resolution model. In September 1985, four Soviet diplomats in Beirut were kidnapped by members of Hezbollah. One of them, Arkady Katkov, was shot in the head, and the rest were imprisoned. The terrorists wanted the Soviet Union to bring pressure on Syria to stop giving military support to a rival militia group. The situation was similar to that the United States, France, and other countries faced vis-à-vis the same Iranian-backed Shiite militants. But the Soviet response was different. Working with Syria, the KGB tracked down three young relatives of the Hezbollah leader. The Soviets then, so it is said, mutilated one of the men and sent body parts to the terrorists with a promise that the other two in their care would be treated similarly unless their people were released. That evening, the three diplomats, emaciated, unshaven, barefoot, and wearing dirty track suits, appeared at the gates of the Soviet embassy. Problem solved.

Naturally, I was not suggesting we go the mutilation route — what I admired was the unwillingness of the Soviets to accept the boundaries Hezbollah had tried to establish. Maybe in our face-off with the terrorists we should have abducted some their people, particularly family members, and leveled the playing field. But the professor took issue with my argument:

Professor: "We can't do things like that."
JR: "Why not?"

Professor: "We're a democracy."

JR: "So what? Foreign terrorists acting abroad have no rights under our law."

Professor: "But if we did something like that and it became known, the public would not stand for it."

JR: "The public would love it. Who are their heroes? Guys like Rambo and Dirty Harry. The American people just want the job done. They won't question success. If Ollie North had pulled off something like that and brought our people home, there would have been no need to keep it secret. President Reagan could have announced it in prime time."

Professor: "But what about the investigations?"

JR: "There would be no investigations."

Professor: (Silence)

I was not the only one thinking that way back then, and certainly not the most influential. After the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front, during which disabled American Leon Klinghoffer was shot in his wheelchair and thrown overboard, Donald Rumsfeld called terrorism a form of "outright warfare" against the United States. He called for vigorous action against terrorists on their home ground, which at the time meant moving against their state sponsors as well. Sixteen years later, al Qaeda and the Taliban discovered what the Rumsfeld Doctrine entailed.

Recent communiqués from al Qaeda have discussed the possibility of taking hostages to exchange for terrorists held in Guantanamo and elsewhere. This is a switch for the terrorists, who in recent years have usually taken prisoners as the prelude to ritual execution. The practice probably shows the influence of the Chechens, for whom it is customary. The Danny Pearl kidnapping and murder is the most noted example. This senseless and brutal act, recorded in grisly detail (and the entire video has not been shown publicly) was meant no doubt to frighten, but only had the effect of increasing our anger. However, before 9/11 al Qaeda knew the value of using hostages as a medium of exchange. This is noted in the recently declassified August 6, 2001 PDB; in 1998 al Qaeda discussed hijacking an American aircraft to exchange for Omar Abdel-Rahman, "spiritual leader" of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The technique was used on an Air India flight hijacked in December 1999 and taken to Kandahar. Among the three fellow travelers the terrorists got released was Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh — mastermind of the Danny Pearl murder, now in a Pakistani jail awaiting execution.

Hostage taking, like other forms of terrorism, is a weapon of the weak. It is aimed at our emotions, and thus at our national will. Above all, hostage taking seeks to humiliate. It plays better on television than killing people, because it produces images that are more sympathetic, and the event can last much longer than a single news cycle. It gives producers something to storyline and build catchphrases around. The Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80, for example, persisted long enough to make Ted Koppel's career. Luckily, the recent spate of hostage takings shows no coordinated media or political strategy. They seem to be random actions taken by small groups of independent actors. The tale of kidnapped journalists Stephen Farrell and Orly Halperin is noteworthy — the group that took them captive was talked out of killing them by a wiser band of terrorists who knew it was bad form to murder reporters. It tends to bias the coverage. The Taliban on the other hand made it a practice to slay any journalists they caught — they were nothing if not sincere.

The terrorists may be trying to recreate the conditions of the late 1970s, in which a hostage crisis helped bring down a president, or the mid-1980s, in which another nearly achieved the same effect. But these are different times. We now acknowledge what we chose not to admit then, that we are at war with terrorism. That alone changes our perspective and broadens our options. Our leadership will not let the hostage takers set the parameters of the situation. We can of course communicate with the terrorists — I would not call it "negotiation," that would lead to a lot of Democratic chest-beating. But talking to the enemy is a valuable way to collect intelligence and try to stabilize the situation while working on other solutions. The actual resolution would involve something more active — rescue, counter hostage-taking, psychological operations, coercive diplomacy, enlisting the assistance of friendly tribal leaders (something we should be doing as a matter of course anyway), or other forms of action. If the terrorists kill our people before we can get them back, we establish our credibility by hunting them down the way the Israelis did with "Operation Wrath of God," aimed at the Palestinian Black September terrorists who killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and were also responsible for the 1973 murder of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel Jr., and charge d'affaires George Curtis Moore, among others. Nice how Israel did not let political correctness get in the way of naming that operation.

Yet does not have to end that way. We should make it known that if the hostage takers choose to release their captives unharmed and surrender they can enjoy all the benefits of due process in the new Iraqi justice system. After all, we are not savages; the terrorists are.

And in case you were wondering, the professor in question has since come around to my way of thinking. Not that I am taking credit.


   
   
 


    
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins200404120839.asp
        

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #147 on: May 17, 2009, 04:51:01 PM »

JDN,

Ever wonder why you don't often see wealthy organized crime figures becoming the victims of street crime? Ever hear of a biker wearing the colors of a outlaw motorcycle gang getting his bike jacked at gunpoint? Ever hear of certain ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn with very low crime rates despite being close to neighborhoods with very high crime rates? Ever wonder how this could be? Hint: It ain't the NYPD keeping things quiet.
Logged
HUSS
Power User
***
Posts: 191


« Reply #148 on: May 17, 2009, 05:43:54 PM »

Now there's a good long term plan for peace...

 sad



Tell that to Nick Berg.......... well actually you cant as he had his head sawn off. But at least you and your ilk can pat each other on the back and reasure each other that you are morally superior to the jihadis.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12001


« Reply #149 on: May 31, 2009, 07:15:44 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/31/obama-argues-against-uigher-release/comment-page-1/#comments

Obama argues against Uigher release
POSTED AT 10:00 AM ON MAY 31, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Barack Obama has decided to fight the release of the 17 Chinese Uighers at Guantanamo Bay into the US, Jake Tapper reports — and he’s choosing an interesting argument to use.  While Obama has wasted no opportunity to paint Gitmo as a stain on the nation’s reputation and all but the gulag Dick Durbin called it a few years ago, the administration paints quite a different picture of it in court:

The Obama administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to reject a request for a hearing from 17 Chinese Muslims currently being held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, arguing they have no right to come to America despite a district judge’s orders last Fall that they immediately be brought to the U.S. and released.

“Petitioners are free to return to their home country, but they understandably do not wish to do so, because they fear inhumane treatment there,” reads the filing, signed by US Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, and other Justice Department officials. “Petitioners are also free to go to any other country that is willing to accept them.”

Many European countries are waiting for the US to accept the Uighurs before they agree to accept any more detainees from Guantanamo, but there is strong resistance from Congress, which recently voted to keep any detainees out of the US — even out of US prisons.

But not to worry — the Obama administration says the Uighurs’ detention isn’t so bad, considering.

“In contrast to individuals currently detained as enemies under the laws of war, petitioners are being housed under relatively unrestrictive conditions, given the status of Guantanamo Bay as a United States military base,” Kagan writes, saying they are “in special communal housing with access to all areas of their camp, including an outdoor recreation space and picnic area.” They “sleep in an air-conditioned bunk house and have the use of an activity room equipped with various recreational items, including a television with VCR and DVD players, a stereo system, and sports equipment.”

In fact, the conditions at the rest of the facility also are pretty decent, compared to conditions in max-security prisons elsewhere in the US.  The military runs a tight ship at Gitmo, but the prisoners have a standard of living that — apart from their detention — exceeds anything available to them in their home countries, free or not.  They certainly don’t want to be there any more than the Uighers, but as the administration admits in this filing, they’re being detained under the “laws of war.”

Presumably, they would have to be detained under the “laws of war” regardless of where we house them.  So why close Gitmo at all?

Also, Obama’s new friends in Europe have to be a little nonplussed at this filing.  He just got done twisting arms on his first trip to the EU to get our allies to take some of the Gitmo detainees.  Supposedly, the Uighers are the best of the lot, with no particular animus towards anyone but China, at least according to the administration.  If so, why did Obama go to court to block them from entering the US?  Europeans may not have been so charmed by Obama as to miss that glaring hypocrisy.

It seems that the more Obama looks at Gitmo and the military tribunal system, the better he likes both.  Maybe by this summer, Obama will finally admit out loud that George W. Bush had it right all along.
Logged
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!