Aug 11 2015

Was The American Civil War Fought over Slavery? Absolutely!

Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate once and for all.

slavery

Was the Civil War About Slavery?New Video! “Was the Civil War About Slavery?”What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely…perhaps states’ rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate once and for all.

Posted by Prager University on Monday, August 10, 2015


Jun 2 2013

“Letter From Loretto”

“Letter From Loretto” from John Kiriakou, Federal Prisoner for Informing Americans about CIA torture program.

Greetings from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania. I arrived here on February 28, 2013 to serve a 30 month sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. At least that’s what the government wants people to believe. In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official US government policy. But that’s a different story. The purpose of this letter is to tell you about prison life.

At my formal sentencing hearing in January, the judge, the prosecutors, and my attorneys all agreed that I would serve my sentence in Loretto’s Federal Work Camp. When I arrived, however, much to my surprise, the Corrections Officer (CO, or “hack”) who processed me said that the Justice DepartmentBureau of Prisons had deemed me a “threat to the public safety” and so I would do serve the entire sentence in the actual prison, rather than the camp.

Processing took about an hour and included fingerprinting, a mug shot (my third after FBI and the Marshals), my fourth DNA sample, and a quite comprehensive strip search. I was given a pair of baggy brown pants, two brown shirts, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and a pair of cheap sandals. My own clothes were boxed and mailed to my wife. The CO then led me to a steel bunk in “Central Unit” and walked away. I didn’t know what to do, so I took a nap.

My cell is more like a cubicle made out of a concrete block. Built to hold four men, mine holds six. Most others hold eight. My cell-mates include two Dominicans serving 24- and 20-year sentences for drugs, a Mexican serving 15 years for drugs, a Puerto Rican serving 7 1/2 years 7 1/2 years for drug conspiracy, and the former auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio who’s doing [unintelligible] years a long sentence for corruption. They’re all decent guys and we actually enjoy each other’s company.

The prison population is much like you might expect. Loretto has 1,369 prisoners. (I never call myself an “inmate.” I’m a prisoner). About 50% are black, 30% are Hispanic and 20% are white. Of the white prisoners, most are pedophiles with personal stories that would make you sick to your stomach. The rest of the white prisoners are here for drugs, except for a dozen or so who ran Ponzi schemes. Of the 1,369 prisoners, 40 have college degrees and 6 of us have master’s degrees. The GED program is robust. (But when I volunteered to teach a class, my “counsellor” shouted, “Dammit, Kiriakou! If I wanted you to teach a fucking class, I’d ask you to teach a fucking class!”) I’m a janitor in the chapel. I make $5.25 a month.

The cafeteria, or “chow hall” was the most difficult experience of my first few days. Where should I sit? On my first day, two Aryans, completely covered in tattoos, walked up to me and asked, “Are you a pedophile?” Nope, I said. “Are you a fag?” Nope. “Do you have good paper?” I didn’t know what this meant. It turned out that I had to get a copy of my formal sentencing documents to prove that I wasn’t a child molester. I did that, and was welcomed by the Aryans, who aren’t really Aryans but more accurately self-important hillbillies.

The cafeteria is very formally divided. There is a table for the Aryans whites with good paper, a section of a table for the Native Americans, a section of a table for people belonging to a certain Italian-American stereotypical “subculture,” two tables for the Muslims, four tables for the pedophiles, and all the remaining tables for the blacks and hispanics. We don’t all eat at the same time, but each table is more-or-less reserved as I described.

Violence hasn’t been much of a problem since I arrived. There have been maybe a half-dozen fights, almost always over what television show to watch. The choices are pretty much set in stone between ESPN, MTV, VH1, BET and Univision. I haven’t watched TV since I got here. It’s just not worth the trouble. Otherwise, violence isn’t a problem. Most of the guys in here have worked their way down to a low-security prison from a medium or a maximum, and they don’t want to go back.

I’ve also had some luck in this regard. My reputation preceded me, and a rumor got started that I was a CIA hit man. The Aryans whispered that I was a “Muslim hunter,” but the Muslims, on the strength of my Arabic language skills and a well-timed statement of support from Louis Farrakhan have lauded me as a champion of Muslim human rights. Meanwhile the Italians have taken a liking to me because I’m patriotic, as they are, and I have a visceral dislike of the FBI, which they do as well. I have good relations with the blacks because I’ve helped several of them write commutation appeals or letters to judges and I don’t charge anything for it. And the Hispanics respect me because my cellmates, who represent a myriad of Latin drug gangs, have told them to. So far, so good.

The only thing close to a problem that I’ve had has been from the CO’s. When I first arrived, after about four days, I heard an announcement that I was told to dread: “Kiriakou – report to the lieutenant’s office immediately.” Very quickly, I gave my wife’s phone number to a friend and asked him to call her if for some reason I was sent to the SHU (Special Housing Unit) more commonly known as the hole, or solitary confinement. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but this kind of thing happens all the time.

When I got to the lieutenant’s office, I was ushered into the office of SIS, the Special Investigative Service. This is the prison version of every police department’s Internal Affairs Division detective bureau. I saw on a desk a copy of my book, the Reluctant Spy, as well as DVD copies of all the documentaries I’ve been in. The CO showed me a picture of an Arab. “Do you know this guy,” he asked me. I responded that I had met him a day earlier, but our conversation was limited to “nice to meet you.” Well, the CO said, this was the uncle of the Times Square bomber, and after we had met, he called a number in Pakistan, reported the meeting, and was told to kill me. I told the CO that I could kill the guy with my thumb. He’s about 5’4″ and 125 pounds compared to my 6’1″ and 250 pounds. The CO said they were looking to ship him out, so I should stay away from him. But the more I thought about it, the more this made no sense. Why would the uncle of the Times Square bomber be in a low-security prison? He should be in a maximum. So I asked my Muslim friends to check him out. It turns out that he’s an Iraqi Kurd from Buffalo, NY. He was the imam of a mosque there, which also happened to be the mosque where the “Lackawana 7” worshipped. (The Lackawana 7 were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.) The FBI pressured him to testify against his parishioners. He refused and got five years for obstruction of justice. The ACLU and several religious freedom groups have rallied to his defense. He had nothing to do with terrorism.

In the meantime, SIS told him that I had made a call to Washington after we met, and that I had been instructed to kill him! We both laughed at the hamhandedness by which the SIS tried to get us to attack each other. If we had, we would have spent the rest of our sentences in the [unintelligible] SHU – solitary. Instead, we’re friendly, we exchange greetings in Arabic and English, and we chat.

The only other problem I’ve had with the CO’s was about two weeks after I arrived. I get a great deal of mail here in prison (and I answer every letter I get.) Monday through Friday, prisoners gather in front of the unit CO’s office for mail call. One female CO butchers my name every time she says it. So when she does mail call, I hear “Kirkakow, Kiriloo, Teriyaki” and a million other variations. One day after mail call I passed her in the hall. She stopped me and said, “are you the motherfucker whose name I can’t pronounce?” I responded, “Ki-ri-AH-koo.” She said, “How about if I just call you Fuckface?” I just walked away and a friend I was walking with said, “Classy.” I said to him, “White trash is more like it.” An hour later, four CO’s descended on both of our cells, trashing all of our worldly possessions in my first “shake-down.” Lesson learned: CO’s can treat us like subhumans but we have to show them faux respect even when it’s not earned.

I’ll write about CO’s more next time. If you’d like to drop me a line, I can be reached at: John Kiriakou, 79637-083, PO Box 1000, FCI Loretto, Loretto PA 15940.

Best regards from Loretto,

John


Mar 19 2013

A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

The Last Letter

A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.


May 11 2012

Torture: The Bush Administration on Trial


By Andy Worthington

 

While Rodriguez — like John Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and senior Bush administration officials, up to and including the president — have never been criminally prosecuted, it is uncertain whether, overall, the apologists for torture are winning. Despite their protestations over the years, they have no proof that torture worked.

::::::::

Law-abiding U.S. citizens have been appalled that Jose Rodriguez, the director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service until his retirement in 2007, was invited to appear on CBS’s 60 Minutes program last weekend to promote his book, “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives,” in which he defends the use of torture on “high-value detainees” captured in the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” even though it was illegal under U.S. and international law.

Rodriguez joins an elite club of public officials — including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld — who have not been prosecuted for using torture or authorizing its use. Instead, they have been writing books, going on book tours, and appearing on mainstream TV to attempt to justify their unjustifiable actions.

They all claim to be protected by a “golden shield,” a legal opinion issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel crafted by attorney John Yoo. While the office’s mandate is to provide impartial legal advice to the executive branch, the opinion redefined torture and approved its use — including the use of waterboarding, an ancient torture technique and a form of controlled drowning — on a supposed “high-value detainee,” Abu Zubaydah. The opinion came in the form of two memos, dated August 1, 2002, that will forever be known as the “torture memos.”

A four-year internal ethics investigation concluded in January 2010 that Yoo and Bybee had been guilty of “professional misconduct,” which ordinarily would have led to professional sanctions, but a senior Department of Justice official, David Margolis, overrode that conclusion, stating that both men had been under great pressure following the 9/11 attacks, and had merely exercised “poor judgment,” which was the equivalent of nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

No one bothered mentioning that Article 2.2 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the U.S. became a signatory under Ronald Reagan, declares, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

And so, this past Sunday, Jose Rodriguez was invited to undertake his own redefinition of torture, essentially unchallenged, and on mainstream TV. Rodriguez brushed off criticism of the use of torture by saying, “We made some al-Qaeda with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days, but we did the right thing for the right reason. The right reason to protect the homeland and to protect American lives.”

As Amy Davidson noted in The New Yorker, he also “bragged about its use in proving the manhood of the torturer,” stating, “We needed to get everybody in government to put their big boy pants on and provide the authorities that we needed,” and he “talked as if torture were an expression of strength, rather than momentary domination masking the most abject moral and practical weakness.” For Glenn Greenwald, the reference to “big boy pants” exposed “a whole new level of psychosexual creepiness.”

On specific techniques, Rodriguez defended the use of waterboarding by saying, of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was subjected to waterboarding 183 times, “I don’t know what kind of man it takes to cut the throat of someone in front of a camera like that [a reference to KSM’s unproved confession that he personally killed U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl], but I can tell you this is probably someone who didn’t give a rat’s ass about having water poured on his face.”

He also defended the use of physical violence and nudity by pointing out, “The objective is to let him [the detainee] know there’s a new sheriff in town and he better pay attention,” compared sleep deprivation to “jet lag,” and, reflecting on the use of “stress positions” over many hours, said, “I was thinking about this the other day. The objective was to induce muscle fatigue, and most people who work out do a lot more fatiguing of the muscles.”

At another point in the interview, Rodriguez made reference to the psychologists — including James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen — who had worked on the U.S. military’s program for using torture to train U.S. personnel to resist interrogation if captured by a hostile enemy, which was reverse-engineered and provided the basis of the torture program in the “war on terror.” Their particular contribution was to emphasize that detainees must be broken down to a state of “learned helplessness” (a concept developed by U.S. psychologist Martin Seligman in the 1960s), in which all resistance is futile and the detainee becomes completely dependent on his interrogators. Speaking of that, Rodriguez stated, “This program was about instilling a sense of hopelessness and despair on the terrorist, on the detainee, so that he would conclude on his own that he was better off cooperating with us.”

To be spouting all of the above on mainstream TV without, essentially, any comeback from the host, Lesley Stahl, or from those who should be enforcing America’s obligations to prosecute torturers, is depressing enough, but it was not all that was wrong. Rodriguez also spoke openly of the crime for which he is most generally known — the destruction of 92 videotapes that contained the “interrogations” in Thailand of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, another “high-value detainee” who was waterboarded. As Glenn Greenwald explained last week,

“At the time the destruction order was issued, numerous federal courts — as well as the 9/11 Commission — had ordered the U.S. Government to preserve and disclose all evidence relating to interrogations of Al-Qaeda and 9/11 suspects. Purposely destroying evidence relevant to legal proceedings is called ‘obstruction of justice.’ Destroying evidence which courts and binding tribunals (such as the 9/11 Commission) have ordered to be preserved is called ‘contempt of court.’ There are many people who have been harshly punished, including some sitting right now in prison, for committing those crimes in far less flagrant ways than was done here. In fact, so glaring was the lawbreaking that the co-Chairmen of the 9/11 Commission — the mild-mannered, consummate establishment figures Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean — wrote a New York Times op-ed pointedly accusing the CIA of ‘obstruction’ (‘Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation’).”

As with John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, Rodriguez was never punished. An investigation into the destruction of the videotapes began under Bush, and continued under Obama, but in November 2010 the Department of Justice announced that the investigation would be closed without filing any charges. As Greenwald explained, Judge Alvin Hellerstein, who had ordered the CIA to preserve and produce the tapes, “refused even to hold the CIA in contempt for deliberately disregarding his own order.” Instead, he “reasoned that punishment for the CIA was unnecessary because, as he put it, new rules issued by the CIA “should lead to greater accountability within the agency and prevent another episode like the videotapes’ destruction.’”
However, while Rodriguez — like John Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and senior Bush administration officials, up to and including the president — have never been criminally prosecuted, it is uncertain whether, overall, the apologists for torture are winning. For them to succeed in persuading enough ordinary Americans that criminal laws don’t actually apply to the U.S. president, or anyone working for him, they also need to establish that torture kept America safe. On that front, despite their protestations over the years, they have no proof that torture worked.

In his interview, Rodriguez wheeled out the tired old lies about torture’s leading to the capture of “high-value detainees.” In a moment of courage, Lesley Stahl mentioned well-established claims that Abu Zubaydah’s torture had led operatives on countless wild-goose chases, to which Rodriguez replied, “Bullshit. He gave us a road map that allowed us to capture a bunch of al-Qaeda senior leaders.” In contrast, of course, former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan pointed out last year that torture did not yield important leads, and that, for example, information from Abu Zubaydeh pointing to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s central role in the 9/11 attacks came before the CIA’s torturers took over his interrogations.

Soufan also pointed out the difference between torturers and skilled interrogators, which CNN described as follows:

“‘There is a difference between compliance and cooperation,’ he said. Compliance can result from torture — a detainee will do anything to make the rough treatment end. But real cooperation, says Soufan, comes from engaging the detainee after learning everything possible about them.”
Torture’s apologists always want to deny the importance of skilled interrogators, who conduct extensive research on their subjects and often spend a long time building up a rapport with them.

In Rodriguez’s case, he also resorted to claims that torture had led to the capture of Osama bin Laden. He told Dana Priest of the Washington Post last week, “I am certain, beyond any doubt, that these techniques, approved at the highest levels of the U.S. government, certified by the Department of Justice, and briefed to and supported by bipartisan leadership of congressional intelligence oversight committees, shielded the people of the United States from harm and led to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden.”

In response, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a joint statement (PDF) condemning the remarks made by Rodriguez and others who had leapt on the bandwagon as the anniversary of bin Laden’s death approached. In their statement they said that such remarks were “inconsistent with CIA records” and “misguided and misinformed,” and they expressed their disappointment that “Mr. Rodriguez and others, who left government positions prior to the OBL operation and are not privy to all of the intelligence that led to the raid, continue to insist that the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques’ used many years ago were a central component of our success.”

Their statement, as the New York Times explained, “rebutted various claims that critical information about bin Laden’s courier” came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or from Abu Faraj al-Libi, another “high-value detainee” seized in Pakistan in 2005 and held at Guantánamo since September 2006 like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 13 other “high-value detainees.” In addition, the Times noted that the statement “rejected claims that tough treatment drew valuable information about bin Laden’s courier from a third detainee, unidentified in the statement,” but elsewhere identified as Hassan Ghul, another “high-value detainee,” who was seized in Iraq in 2004 and who was never held at Guantánamo. The statement noted, “While this third detainee did provide relevant information, he did so the day before he was interrogated by the CIA using their coercive interrogation techniques.”

“Instead,” according to the Times, Sens. Feinstein and Levin stated, without elaborating, that “the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.”

That is important, but what is needed now is for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to complete its comprehensive review of the CIA’s former detention and interrogation program and publish it. As the statement also explained, “Committee staff have reviewed more than 6 million pages of records and the Committee’s final report, which we expect to exceed 5000 pages, will provide a detailed, factual description of how interrogation techniques were used, the conditions under which detainees were held, and the intelligence that was — or wasn’t — gained from the program.”

As Dan Froomkin explained in the Huffington Post last Monday, the investigation by Democrats, which has taken nearly three years and in which Republican lawmakers have refused to take part, “concludes that records from the Bush administration fail to support claims that torture was effective in stopping any terrorist attack” or in leading to the discovery and killing of Osama bin Laden last year.

While people such as Jose Rodriguez remain free to peddle their nonsense about torture, and to profit from it, America’s name continues to be tarnished and the American public continue to be shamefully misled. The long-awaited report into the CIA’s torture program should be published as soon as possible to let people know what really happened and, one hopes, to play a part in tearing down the “golden shield” that has so far protected Bush administration’s officials from prosecution.

Submitters Website: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk

Submitters Bio:

Andy Worthington is the author of “The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison” (published by Pluto Press), as well as and “The Battle of the Beanfield” (2005) and “Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion” (2004). He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.” Visit his website at: www.andyworthington.co.uk.


Nov 15 2011

Enhanced Interrogation: A Non-Thing

Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry claimed they would reinstate illegal programs that have been dismissed by experts as ineffective and illegal. They have sought to foster the ignorance in the Republican party that comes with a belief in a non-thing. This non-thing is called, “enhanced interrogation”.

Each of these people continue an insult against real interrogators and other military and civilian service members who have been clear that they seek a trail to what is so, not what is previously concluded and then supported via confession. Whether it is Malcolm Nance, SERE instructor and counterterrorism and intelligence specialist, Matthew Alexander or Col Steve Kleinman, military interrogators who have clearly rejected the idea of an ‘enhanced interrogation’, Glenn Carle, Ali Soufan, the list goes on. Each of these people have come forward to denounce torture and discredit the idea of ‘enhanced interrogation’. Each of these people has direct experience with interrogation and are adamant that torture does not work, that waterboarding wasn’t the only torture happening and that it was not only ineffective but delayed information, sent agents on white noise chases, and in some cases ended in deaths of both civilians and military service members because of the bad intelligence.

OBAMA ALLOWING ACLU TO RUN CIA
It didn’t take long for right wing nonsense like “Obama is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA” to come from Michele Bachmann. If this were true, Guantanamo would be closed, many detainees would be freed, the cases pending would be underway and Dick Cheney would likely be in prison. But from a dog whistle idiot like Bachmann, this is just another tune. She has no respect for the interrogation specialists in the FBI or US military. Though I’m sure some CIA officers are familiar with interrogation now, all accounts by former CIA officers in the public sphere for the past 6 or so years have been clear that no such wing ever existed in CIA until now. At the request of the White House, contractors were used to do what officers wouldn’t. Ali Soufan was there when the shift took place from conventional and probably legal to clearly illegal and clearly values destructive.

Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul disagree. Ron Paul was determined to state that waterboarding is torture. He is correct. Jon Huntsman was even more clear that as an ambassador, he was able to tell first hand how these events shaped views of the United States and that real clout comes from moral compass not this idiot might that is so lauded by the Blind Candidates, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, Romney and Gingrich.

Now while Romney and Gingrich didn’t weigh in on the waterboarding question, to which we can predict their delightful glee at the idea, we can see that Mitt Romney is into the macho ‘kill them’ talk when it comes to Anwar al-Awlaki and even worse was Newt Gingrich. Gingrich couldn’t distinguish between a jury and a presidential finding.

WATERBOARDING AND THE NEWS MEDIA
This play to the extreme is only part of the problem. When the moderators and news junkies continue the ‘enhanced interrogation’ term, they do their viewers and readers a disservice. There is no further enhancement in harming people, even if they are bad people.

Brains, Not Brutality, to take down the deadliest man in Iraq

How To Break A Terrorist by Matthew Alexander

In his book, How To Break A Terrorist, Matthew Alexander describes in detail the interaction with confessed bomb makers. He is able to get past the bullshit of the front each seems to put on. He is a skilled seeker of what is So. He is looking for accurate information to put in a larger picture that will help end bombings. If he gets the wrong information, military resources will likely strike the wrong house resulting in the deaths of both civilians and service members. He is aware of this at all points. Rick Perry could care less about the truth if it would get him more votes.

Ali Soufan knows that Abu Zubaydah was speaking with them before the torture crew of Jessen and Mitchell arrived to fulfill executive orders that were illegal and were not going to get approval from FBI. Herman Cain has never heard of any of these people and wouldn’t be able to tell you the first thing about EITs or CSRTs. Yet as he disavows ‘torture’ he is clear in finding a way to say he’d endorse ‘enhanced interrogation’…as if it existed. This was dog whistle nonsense. Cain is hedging his right wing bets. As GuestBlogger from ThinkProgress noted Cain said he’d accept the wisdom of the military leaders and they have been clear that torture isn’t condone.

Malcolm Nance has clearly issued the call to each of the previous apologists for waterboarding that he can clear up their views if they’d submit to being waterboarded. He knows and the SERE program knows. Waterboarding isn’t done to our soldiers any where near what was done to KSM, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. This wasn’t the only torture done to these men. And while one can argue how bad they are, how bad is less important when accurate is what you are looking for. A confession is quite easy to illicit. If a confession is all you want, that doesn’t take much. If you are trying to conclude with a previously ordained notion, then you aren’t looking for intelligence, you are looking to fix the narrative. This was the MO of the Cheney administration. No respect for intelligence officers, no respect for interrogators, no respect for the law, or our treaties.

This new batch of candidates seeks to bring back a New American Century as if we forgot what the last Project attempted to bring with its failed war in Iraq. In the end Americans lost, our economy is shot for quite a while, we weren’t greeted as liberators and were asked to leave and don’t let the door hit our ass on the way out. Bill Kristol predicted the war would last a few weeks opposite Daniel Ellsberg on Washington Journal in March 2003. He was cocky and sure of himself. Romney and the rest of Mt Assmore show us that they don’t really care about intelligence but to pandering to the base reactionary elements of the right wing. They don’t care that the government hasn’t been able to make a case against Abu Zubaydah for any actions against the United States. Being a terrorist somewhere in the world isn’t a US crime. Being a terrorist against the United States is no longer being alleged. There isn’t a candidate up on stage that knows any of these cases. They don’t care.

The idea of “enhanced interrogation” needs to be put to rest as a petty coward’s rhetoric about being tough when there are already real tough guys doing a good job at protecting lives on all sides. Seeking to inject further testosterone nonsense serves nothing to protecting American interests and many Pentagon reports indicate that the opposite is true; torture leads to acts of violence against American interests and increased confusion in the intelligence chain.

These candidates aren’t serious. The news centers are irresponsible and it doesn’t take long to find someone who has done this work for a while to tell you that intelligence isn’t about Jack Bauer television dramatics.  Speech writers like Marc Theissen are flat out liars when it comes to lauding their own expertise. Theissen is a tool with Michael Hayden’s hand up his ass. Frank Gaffney and the other cowardly chickenhawks are utterly discredited outside their own thinktank circle jerks.

Major Garrett and Scott Pelley should know that there is no such thing as, Enhanced Interrogation. They should have pressed these candidates to explain where they learned about these “techniques”. As supposed Journalists, they should have asked for sources of their information. Mine are easy to share, Matthew Alexander, interrogator, Malcolm Nance, SERE instructor, counterterrorism, intel, Ali Soufan, FBI interrogator, Col. Steve Kleinman, interrogator, Glenn Carle, CIA officer,  and and the vast documentation released under FOIA that clearly demonstrates torture has an adverse effect upon gaining intelligence.

These candidates represent the absurdist notions of Dick Cheney who spent his prime days with 5 deferments. He’s never been there, they’ve never been there, and yet they are always right and always claim to be the toughest. When it comes to national security, these idiots of the GOP party insult the very values established under General George Washington when he issued orders to do no harm to captured British or Hessian troops. He may have done this for moral purpose, but he clearly did it for tactical purpose. These GOP candidates have no place in the company of the founders.


Oct 10 2011

CIA: Detainee’s Torture Drawings, Writings, “Should They Exist,” to Remain Top Secret

Wednesday 5 October 2011
by: Jason Leopold, Truthout

In 2002, not long after he was subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” by Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, psychologists under contract to the CIA, high-value detainee Abu Zubaydah made about ten drawings depicting the torture he endured while in custody of the agency.

The drawings Zubaydah made were classified as top secret by the CIA. But according to two counterterrorism officials, one of the drawings Zubaydah had sketched captured in incredible detail the waterboarding sessions he underwent. Another drawing showed him being chained by his wrists to the ceiling of a CIA black site prison where he was held and another showed him strapped to a chair and being doused with water as part of his sleep deprivation program.

Zubaydah drew the pictures of the torture techniques he was subjected to on a sheet of paper measuring about 8 x 11 inches and on pieces of paper about the size of an index card. In some instances, Zubaydah drew several of the torture techniques on a single piece of paper.

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Jul 17 2010

Author of Torture Memos Admits Some Techniques Were Not Approved By DOJ

Author of Torture Memos Admits Some Techniques Were Not Approved By DOJ

Author of Torture Memos Admits Some Techniques Were Not Approved By DOJ

Thursday 15 July 2010
by: Jason Leopold, reprinted from TruthOut.org
(make sure to support TruthOut with a donation today)

Jay Bybee, who as a senior Justice Department lawyer signed two memos in 2002 authorizing CIA interrogators to torture “war on terror” prisoners, told a congressional panel that more than a half dozen other brutal methods were used by the CIA without legal approval.

In a closed-door interview with members of the House Judiciary Committee on May 26, Bybee said his Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) did not allow the CIA to use diapering, water dousing, blackout goggles, extended solitary confinement, daily beatings, forcing a detainee to defecate on himself, hanging a detainee from ceiling hooks or subjecting prisoners to loud music or noise.

Bybee, who is now a federal appeals court judge in San Francisco, did sign off on a variety of other torture techniques, including the near-drowning experience of waterboarding. Prolonged diapering was included in a list of torture techniques that the OLC initially approved in 2002, but it was removed possibly because it might have resulted in a lengthy legal review.

Some of the techniques, including diapering, were permitted by CIA Director George Tenet and other senior agency officials despite the lack of clear OLC sign-off in 2002. Diapering and other abuses, such as water dousing, were cleared by the OLC later after Bybee left to become a federal judge. Continue reading


Jul 13 2010

Accountability for Designing Torture

Complaint Filed on James Mitchell with Texas Board

Complaint Filed on James Mitchell with Texas Board

Intro and Interview with Jim Cox PhD – Forensic Psychologist Segment 1
Interview with Joseph Margulies – Lawyer/Professor of Law Segment 2
Audio reading of complaint filed Segment 3
Interview with Andy Worthington about complaint, BP, and World Cup Segment 4

TO listen in: CLICK HERE
Copy of Complaint PDF: CLICK HERE
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Jun 26 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010 Show-Oil, Judges and Jobs-Maher Arar and James Yee

June 26 2010 show

June 26 2010 show

Intro and Kate Gordon from Center for American Progress Segment 1
Rep. Gene Green Segment 2
Maria Lahood (Center for Constitutional Rights) Segment 3
James Yee Segment 4
Op-Ed on Dick Cheney Segment 5

TO listen in: CLICK HERE Continue reading


Jun 25 2010

An Interview with Captain James Yee

Captain James Yee

Captain James Yee

James Yee is a former US. Army chaplain who was subjected to arrest, confinement and charges of sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order. The charges were later reduced then dropped. But it raised the question about the U.S. attitude towards its own loyal service members who were also Muslim and whether the U.S. was capable of understanding a conflict it was in. Since his honorable discharge from the military, Yee has been a critic of the U.S. treatment of detainees, the treatment of the Koran by the U.S. military, and the treatment of service members who are Muslim. I spoke with Captain Yee about his experiences and his role in a panel discussion on torture for Torture Awareness Month.

Interview

The June 27th Panel will culminate a number of events for “June is Torture Awareness Month”
Sunday, June 27, 2010
3:00pm – 5:00pm
Plymouth Congregational Church
1900 Nicollet Ave. S (at Franklin)
Minneapolis, MN

Article info