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Torturers Should Be Punished

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

By Amy Goodman

  SPOKANE, Wash.—George W. Bush insisted that the U.S. did not use torture.

  But the four Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel memos released last week by the Obama administration’s Justice Department paint a starkly different picture. The declassified memos provided legal authorization for “harsh interrogation techniques” used by the Bush administration in the years following Sept. 11, 2001. They authorized (as listed in the Aug. 1, 2002, memo by then-Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee) “walling ... facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and the waterboard.”

  According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the OLC under Bush “became a facilitator for illegal government conduct, issuing dozens of memos meant to permit gross violations of domestic and international law.”

  The memos authorize what the International Committee of the Red Cross called, in a leaked report, “treatment and interrogation techniques ... that amounted to torture.”

  These torture techniques were developed by two psychologists based in Spokane, Wash.: James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Their company, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, provided specialized training to members of the U.S. military to deal with capture by enemy forces. The training is called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. Mitchell and Jessen, both psychologists, were contracted by the U.S. government to train interrogators with techniques they claimed would break prisoners.

  They reverse-engineered the SERE training, originally developed to help people withstand and survive torture, to train a new generation of torturers.

  The memos provide gruesome details of the torture. Waterboarding was used hundreds of times on a number of prisoners. The Bybee memo includes this Kafkaesque authorization: “You would like to place [Abu] Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him.”

  After President Barack Obama said there should be no prosecutions, he was received with great fanfare at the CIA this week. Mark Benjamin, the reporter who originally broke the Mitchell and Jessen story, said when I questioned him about Obama’s position: “If you look at the president’s statements and you combine them with the statements of Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, and Eric Holder, the attorney general ... you will see that over the last couple of days the Obama administration has announced that no one, not the people who carried out the torture program or the people who designed the program or the people that authorized the program or the people who said that it was legal—even though they knew that it frankly wasn’t—none of those people will ever face charges. The attorney general has announced that ... the government will pay the legal fees for anybody who is brought up on any charges anywhere in the world or has to go before Congress. They will be provided attorneys ... they have been given this blanket immunity ... in return for nothing.”

  Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein asked Obama to hold off on ruling out prosecutions until her panel finishes an investigation during the next six months. Though Obama promises to let the torturers go, others are pursuing them. Bybee is now a federal judge. A grass-roots movement, including Common Cause and the Center for Constitutional Rights, is calling on Congress to impeach Bybee. In Spain, Judge Baltasar Garzon, who got Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet indicted for crimes against humanity, has named Bybee and five others as targets of a prosecution.

  For years, people have felt they have been hitting their heads against walls (some suffered this literally, as the memos detail). On Election Day, it looked like that wall had become a door. But that door is open only a crack. Whether it is kicked open or slammed shut is not up to the president. Though he may occupy the most powerful office on Earth, there is a force more powerful: committed people demanding change. We need a universal standard of justice. Torturers should be punished.

  Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

  Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times,” recently released in paperback.

  © 2009 Amy Goodman

  Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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By sheila, April 30, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an American citizen and tax payer I resent Mr. G.W.Bush getting $200,000 a year for the mess he’s
made of the country and for his underhanded tactics while in office.  He can’t hide behind anyone in his cabinet or his twisting of the law - this is a democracy and he should be subject to punishment just as the people who elected him are subject to punishment - he authorized torture and he authorized war with a country who had done us no harm.

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By Howard in Manchester, April 29, 2009 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find it amazing how brainwashed you Americans still are…
First of all the notion that John McCain was tortured is a total mythological fiction. McCain
far from being tortured received their best medical care and in return was the prison’s number one snitch !! The Vietnamese did not call him POW SONGBIRD for nothing within hours of capture he told them everything and made a deal. Fine in itself but he has built a career on a lie. He could have told the truth on his return home (in good condition) but instead he went along with the myth !!

Here are the facts

FEWER than 500 American pilots were tortured by the
NVA ...McCain was NOT one of them.

IN CONTRAST…the United States built a torture complex across South Vietnam that was responsible for the far worse far more cruel and brutal torture
of an estimated 200,000 Vietnamese. In Saigon alone
the CIA and the client regime tortured 50,000 Vietnamese.

Wake UP !!

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By foggyjones, April 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TUESDAY 1159 PM/CST DFW

GARTH GETS IT!

Years of experience in the inner workings of the news industry helps gain insight in these things. Otherwise, things like this seem happenstance. It usually is not. Joseph Goebbels may have been the first to play the modern propaganda game and calculate time and potential effects. Rove cut his teeth on the Water Gate epidode. Now many others have learned the craft. It works, but now worse, now the news business is an oligarchy who one leg of the triangle of power. Now, they routinely cooperate, unlike years ago. Not like it is now, anyway. They routinely assist with these asinine diversions, also, the outright misrepresentation and, most frequently, burying stories like the impending $3 trillion TARP add-on that could be up for a vote by Thursday. The more distractions the better. Maybe it will get rubber-stamped late at night by the U.S. Congress. I am afraid they are building a house of cards and the little working people may get hurt, again. A bold leader’s excessive hubris and testosterone can result in decisive action but people get hurt.

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By Lynn, April 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Isn’t this the same intelligence agency that told us about WMD’s and OBL, and where are they? I see this as smoke and mirrors to take away from the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iraquis, and now, or soon to be, Afghanis have been KILLED. We complain about torture, but where is the indignation about murder? I don’t think in a 100 years, we could or would torture as many people as we kill on a regular basis in just a few years. Once again we miss the forest for the trees…Murder of innocents so corporations can profit has to be the most heinous crime on the planet today…I think if we prosecute the murderers, we may find that the torturers are part of the same club and will also go down.

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By garth, April 27, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

The “argument” that is being used by those in favor of torture seems to be one of justification rather than justice.  The justification is 911 and blah, blah, blah.
All this talk about a terrorist holding information back while the clock is ticking sounds good, but the torture was carried out in far different circumstances. For verification you could’ve asked ex-Rep Duncan (R-CA) as he sampled the lemon chicken in a press conference a few years ago to show how well the terrorists were being treated in Guantanamo.
The interesting question to me seems to be: Where did all this start? Could Bush be at the bottom of all this?  Nah, too obtuse.  Could it be Cheney?  Well, he is Machiavellian, but far too one-track minded to be at the bottom of it, but close to the bottom.
Now, our Bobo says, in effect, we are immune from punishment because we call, “Time.” Let us say let’s not look at that.  Like the Japanese do with their folding separators for rooms.  The separator says, “Don’t look there.”

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By garth, April 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Another little note of interest in this swine flu.

Taken from WRH:
“The outbreak coincided with the President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico City on April 16. Obama was received at Mexico’s anthropology museum in Mexico City by Felipe Solis, a distinguished archeologist who died the following day from symptoms similar to flu, Reforma newspaper reported.”

Commentary from Website
“And yet a week later, after the 7 day incubation period, Barack Obama does not have the flu according to this report.”

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By garth, April 25, 2009 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment

There goes the Torture memos.  Down the 24-hour news cycle hole.

————————————————————————
From Legitgov.org

“In a ‘Holy convenience, Batman!’ moment, a ‘unique’ flu virus (one likely concocted in US Army labs) overtakes media coverage of revelations that the highest levels of the US government instructed the CIA (and private contractors) to torture terror suspects.

Scientists said the virus combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before. “We are very, very concerned,” World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. “We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human,” he said. “It’s all hands on deck at the moment.”

Guess where the first swine flu outbreak occurred? That’s right, Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1976. Also likely created in a US Army lab. Thirteen soldiers died, leading the US government to force a questionable vaccine on the population—backed by a legal liability escape clause mandated by and for the pharma-terrorists. Next, people started dying not from the flu—but from the *vaccine.*

Every major media outlet has reported the fact that US/UK bioterrorists have been manipulating the avian flu virus in university and Army labs. This new flu strain, one that ‘no one has ever seen,’ contains avian flu. Now, how does *that* happen?”

http://www.legitgov.org/flu_kills_torture_memos_260409.html
===================================================
From the University of CT Health Center
By William Hathaway

Scientists have resurrected one of the world’s great killers in the laboratory, hoping that the genetic secrets within the 1918 influenza virus will help them predict and combat the next major microbial threat to mankind.

In a contained laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, scientists used reverse genetics to re-create the 1918 flu virus that killed 20 million to 50 million people, according to studies released Wednesday. Scientists say that although the 1918 strain probably does not represent a significant human health threat today, it can provide insight into dangerous types of contemporary influenza, such as the highly lethal avian strain now circulating among birds, which some scientists fear could evolve into the next catastrophic pandemic.

“This is truly a spectacular event,” Dr. John Shanley, professor of medicine and director of infectious diseases at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said of the studies published in the journals Nature and Science. “To resurrect a virus and gain useful scientific information from it is remarkable.”

http://www.uchc.edu/ocomm/newsarchive/news05/oct05/fluvirus.html
=================================================
By Anthony Wile
FreeMarketNews.com
11-16-5

POMPANO BEACH and MONTREAL—(Former) U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is not only a force in launching the controversial flu remedy Tamiflu, he (was) also behind the release of the increasingly criticized sweetener aspartame.

http://www.rense.com/general68/page.htm
================================================
It seems like the first step in their eugenics plan.  The next step will be the quarantine and vaccinations.

Good bye cruel world.  Whooosh!

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By A. Z. Arrow, April 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

Torture is a national disgrace, it is also illegal: The Nuremberg defense will not do -“I was only following orders.” Well, who gave these orders? Who authorized the use of torture? The law requires that those who colluded with these crimes be investigate, charged, brought to trail, and, if found guilty, sentenced—CIA operatives, private contractors, and Bush administration officials included. There is no debate on this. Torture is a violation of the Geneva Convention that the United States Government initiated, help draft, and signed, along with other nations, on the dotted line. The US has imposed compliance with Geneva in its’ treaties and military alliances with other nations. Further, United States law makes it obligatory that Eric Holder bring charges against those responsible for the crime of torture. If Holder and/or Obama do not comply with these laws then they are engaged in a cover-up.

> A. Z. Arrow
April 24,2009
.

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By JFoster2k, April 24, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Waterboarding is torture. That fact is established. Whatever lengths anyone goes to to justify it’s use is irrelevant. Whether or not it produced good intelligence is irrelevant. Whether or not our enemies use the same or harsher techniques is irrelevant. Whether democrat or republican is irrelevant. Torture is illegal.

We are a nation of laws. Our laws must be upheld.

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By Outraged, April 24, 2009 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

Re: rfidler

AGAIN…. you are absolutely speaking for McCain… or at least “betting” you know what he THINKS…. by stating;

”“I can’t speak for John McCain, but I’d bet he’d much rather be in Club Gitmo than the Hanoi Hilton.”

In this same vein you are making ill-conceived comments regarding “moi”.  Such as:

“I went through SERE training on my way to Viet Nam while you were sponging off your parents and trying to figure out how to destroy their wealth.”

How is it you “know” what I was doing during the Viet Nam War and the measure of my parents “wealth”?

From Wiki:  “U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s and combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive.”

For the record, what I specifically did during the Viet Nam War was watch the national news, at the ripe old age of 9,10,11 to see if MY BROTHER’S NAME appeared at the end of the newscast when they listed the dead, the injured and the MIA’s ( word was, that this was the quickest way to know their fate ).  You see, my parents had a large family, my father worked overtime each and everyday to support his family.  For this reason, many times was “just getting in the door” to find out if his son was dead or alive, maybe crippled for life…. or maybe just GONE.

My mother worked without let-up to keep the family needs met, therefore was usually busy preparing supper.  Of course, she would “run in and out” of the living room trying to find out if her son was dead or alive or GONE.

So while there were several of us, you know how it is the older ones were out doing other activities, but I wasn’t “old enough” to be to far from home, BUT…. I was a good reader and quick at it, therefore I would watch the names roll by, seemed like hundreds….. especially when you’re young.

Anyway, I remember distinctly the look on my parents face when my brother wasn’t “listed in the dead”.  Of course, you still had to pay attention to see if he was injured or GONE.

Yep, that was what I did during the Viet Nam War.  I’ll never forget it.  My brother came home, physically, “all in one piece”.  And a mere 20 yrs. later, I believed… that really, he was going to be okay.  But you’d have to get his perspective regarding how he determines it….. I can only give you mine.

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By foggyjones, April 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THIS IS MAINSTREAM INITIATED PROPAGANDA AT ITS WORST - THIS WATERBOARDING BS.


Keep you eye on the the ball. It is still the economy, stupid. For instance, the “suicide” of Kellerman (Freddie Mac) yesterday, and the announcement of Ken Lewis (Bank of A) today about how the governement (Bernanke, Lloy Blankstein of Golman Sachs, Paulsen, Geithner, Summers etc.) forced him to buy Merril Lynch, and the news about traitorous acts by Rep. Jane Harman, etc. etc. GET SERIOUS! iT IS STILL THE ECONOMY, STUPID!

(WANT MORE? Gilad Atzmon believes the financial meltdown “is all just part of the programme,” including the Iraq war, of “America acting as an Israeli mission for fighting the last pockets of resistance, led tactically by Neoconservatives and the Federal Reserve.” He says there was not a credit crunch but a “Zionist punch” and that “ALAN GREENSPAN’S JOB was to create a financial boom so America’s people were not concerned with the tactics used in the Middle East.” He says non-Jews like former U.S. president George W. Bush also “behaved Jewishly”: “Even in Christianity, this tendency to go Old Testament - into tribalism, into supremacy, into violence, into shock and awe . . . This is something we have to fight against.”

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By garth, April 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

The outstanding argument in favor of torture thus far should go to one, Marc A. Thiessen, a lard-encased, cherub looking lout from the Hoover Institute, who said on C-SPAN the other day that the Koran allows muslims to give in to torture if they reach a breaking point and can’t take it anymore.  (That’s all I can stands.  I can’t stands no more.) Then, as his argument goes, the torturers therefore were helping the captives reach that point sooner with the “enhanced techniques.” 
And there it is.  The torturers were just being facilitators.  Helpful.
In the words of my favorite commentator, Bugs Bunny, on some of the stuff that comes out of these think tanks, “What a moroon!”

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By garth, April 23, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

The outstanding argument in favor of torture thus far should go to one, Marc A. Thiessen, a lard-encased, cherub looking lout from the Hoover Institute, who said on C-SPAN the other day that the Koran allows muslims to give in to torture if they reach a breaking point and can’t take it anymore.  (That’s all I can stands.  I can’t stands no more.) Then, as his argument goes, the torturers therefore were helping the captives reach that point sooner with the “enhanced techniques.” 
And there it is.  The torturers were just being facilitators.  Helpful.
In the words of my favorite commentator, Bugs Bunny, on some of the stuff that comes out of these think tanks, “What a moroon!”

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By dihey, April 23, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

I am astonished that TD is always so far behind on the really significant news. Digging must be a slow process I guess.

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By DMFD, April 23, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

I say again; There will never be any Nuremberg re-enactments with Congress because some of the Democrat members were on the 2002 Intelligence Committee that allowed for the torture.  ie: Nancy Pelosi.  If we are going to call on all involved then let’s call on all involved.  This is not just a republican or democrat thing.  Quit looking beyond your own party to place your revenge. 
“Those officials won’t be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn’t doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he’ll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway’s political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.” WSJ

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By rico, suave, April 23, 2009 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

outraged:
Again, I’m not speaking for McCain.
I went through SERE training on my way to Viet Nam while you were sponging off your parents and trying to figure out how to destroy their wealth.

Norman Harman:
I’m looking at the Lyndie England photo as I write: no “ice-packed corpse” to be found, just a line of naked (OH, THE HORROR!!) guys with bags over their heads.

jackpine savage:
You said the contractors are not legal combatants and are therefore not covered under the Geneva Convention. Same goes for Al Qaeda.

Bisbonian:
“palestinian crucifixion” What could be the etymology of that phrase I wonder? And Warrant Welshofer was convicted? I guess what he did was a crime then. Who convicted him? The Taliban? Al Qaeda? Or was it the Bush judicial system? You need to understand that the Geneva Conventions are NOT universally binding. Among many other limitations is one that requires combatants to be in uniform and the flag of a recognized sovereign nation.

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By Billy Brown, April 23, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The way to stop torture is to torture the torturers!

The way to stop war is to go to war to end all wars!

The way to stop murder is to murder the murderers!

The way to stop abortion is to kill the killers!

Can you spell “highpockcrassy”?

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By Outraged, April 22, 2009 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

Re: Dwight Baker

Your comment: “One thing for sure all of us agree you have guts to want the job of being our President to lead us out of the espionage and sabotage done by some corrupting our Nation that has been going on for a long time.  And one thing you can count on us for doing——is watching your back day and night, best as we can. 

What ever you need us to do just tell us.  Give us BIG JOBS to do——there is a lot of folks that will work for free to help us get back on our feet——WHY—- They like me love this our home America——- think about holding a SUMMIT with the many others that have a good heartbeat from the grass roots of the American folks right now.

As in all good things——change comes little by little and we should not rush any longer to put out fires that might be needed to burn down the old failed ways of doing business as usual——- that has us in the fix we are in.

I cannot say I agree with your entire post, Dwight…. but this portion, is spot on.  Very empathetic and encouraging words.  And to this portion of your post, I commend you.

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By Outraged, April 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Re: rfidler

Your comment: “I can’t speak for John McCain, but I’d bet he’d much rather be in Club Gitmo than the Hanoi Hilton.

Standing against a wall! Hooding!

OH, THE HORROR!!!!”

Yes.  You shouldn’t speak for John McCain, so don’t attempt to.

Additionally, the SERE program was instituted to help pilots endure the VERY TORTURE PRACTICES that our country has now engaged in.  Yes… these are communist TORTURE practices, are you claiming we should engage in the same depravities?  Or are you claiming that it’s okay…?

Hey everyone…..get a load of the commie torture endorser.  Apparently goes by the screen-name, rfidler.

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By Folktruther, April 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Obama is continuing the torture of the Bushites, saying publically, as the Bushites did, “America does not torture.”

How can he possibly try the previous administration for torture when he is still practicing it?  Indeed, there is no point in indicting past toruturers if the US is replacing them with others.

torture is part of the war against populations that the US-Israel is conducting.  This includes blowing up houses and bombing weddings, deliberately killing large numbers of women and children.  How is torture worse than mass slaughter?  It’s all part of the same war, the War on Terrorism.  Which Obama is continuing.

Opposing torture and mass slaughter and at the same time supporting Obama simply doesn’t make any sense.  the simple truth of the matter is that America DOES torture, and does so under both Bush and Obama.  Under both the Dems and Gops.  They both are funded by the ruling class and both support barbarism, as the ruling class does.

there is no way that pressuring Obama to put a few lower torturers on trial is going to change that.

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Name me one, just one Gitmo, or Abu Ghraib detainee killed as a direct result of our “torture” techniques. Someone please give me the particulars of ONE Al Qaeda prisoner who was killed by a bug, or a slap, or humiliation, or sleep deprivation, or waterboarding, or any other heinous method employed by our sicko military/intelligence complex.”

I have…once on this thread and a few times on others, in answer to your challenge.  You either can’t read, or choose to ignore it.  Norman Harman has also stepped up to the plate, with other examples.

A couple of points to note.  None of these examples were Al Quaida.  One of them was a soldier; an Iraqi General.  Iraq had agreed to abide by the Geneva COnventions…and we made a big flap about it when they “violated” them by showing a few of our POWs on television.  At least they didn’t waterboard them, or smother them to death in a sleeping bag.

Second, why is it that people who have had extensive military training on the subject (John McCain, Norman Harman, myself…I am an Academy grad, SERE grad, taught the Survival portion for two years, and veteran of the first Gulf War, my ex-wife… Army CWO3 reservist called up to train new interrogators after the mess at Abu Ghraib) abhor torture and American use of it, and people whose military experience was gained from an X-Box and from watching Bill O’Reilly think that it’s no big deal?  More importantly, why do we care WHAT you think?

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By James Morgan, April 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen should face those they indirectly tortured by their approval of the ‘procedures’ they espoused. Then let’s see how THEY fare under the same ‘procedures’.

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By Norman Harman, April 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

riddler and Scorpionet asked “Name me one, just one Gitmo, or Abu Ghraib detainee killed as a direct result of our “torture” techniques.”

OK, here’s one from Abu Ghraib: Mr. Manadel al Jamadi. Captured by Navy Special Ops near the Jordanian border in mid-2003. He was taken to Abu Ghraib and, over the course of several weeks, autopsy reports show he was beaten to death during interrogation. Most reports seem to indicate he was being interrogated by American mercenaries (now-a-days we call them “civilian contractors”). In fact, his corpse appears in one of those famous Abu Ghraib “photo-ops” released in 2004. It’s the one with little Lyndie England smiling over Mr. Jamadi’s ice-packed, plastic-wrapped body, giving the “thumbs-up” sign. Mr. Jamadi’s death is mentioned prominently in the Taguba Report, the Army’s internal investigation of the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Here’s two more, these are from Bagram Prison in Afghanistan - both occurred in 2003 within weeks of each other: Mullah Habibullah, a Taliban commander - according to an American military doctor who did the autopsy report, he died from blunt force trauma to the lower extremities, resulting in fatal blood clots. The other was a Mr. Dilawar - a taxi driver picked up just outside the airbase by Afghan soldiers and handed over to the Americans. He also died of blunt force trauma to the lower extremities, resulting in fatal blood clots. The really disturbing thing about Mr. Dilawar’s case is that every American who dealt with Mr. Dilawar during his 2 week ordeal, by their own admissions, knew he was a perfectly innocent man. If you read the official investigation you can actually read the words of several soldiers as they lament the fact that “this guy wasn’t guilty of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In addition there are reports of three others beaten to death at Bagram and allegations of more than 35 total deaths at the various torture sites the Bush administration set-up around the world.

I spent four years in the US Army (65-69), I was an intelligence specialist and I was put through what was then the standard SERE training. It was painful and it was at times frightening - and I was aware the whole time the guys doing it were not really trying to harm me or kill me.

Torture is a disgusting practice, it generally leaves lasting psychological scars (not mention physical), and it corrupts those who do it. There is no such thing as “lawful torture.” It is one of the few human practices that virtually all civilized societies condemn. And rightly so for it is monstrously degrading to the human spirit of both the victims and the perpetrators.

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By jackpine savage, April 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Just to be clear, a contractor who happens to carry a US passport is not…using the legal argument of the Bush/Obama administrations…a legal combatant and so not covered by the Geneva Conventions or the UN Convention on Torture.  Therefore, all you red-blooded Americans might not want to use what happened to a contractor (which is another word for mercenary, which is also illegal under international standards) as some kind of counter-example.

Then, have someone waterboard you and let us know whether or not its torture.

As no one has ever been charged with 9/11…certainly not OBL, who’s not even wanted for the attack…the argument about the evils that Al Queada has done don’t hold much water either. 

And finally, the actual military was against the use of torture from the get-go.  You might be wise to not conflate the uniformed military with intelligence agencies…since the latter don’t wear uniforms either and also fall under the Bush definition of illegal enemy combatant.

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By rico, suave, April 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

NYCartist:
Cons aren’t afraid to have torture charges investigated. We argue that “torture” didn’t even occur. And, if it did, it was within the bounds of current law and with the approval of Congress, including Nancy Pelosi. And, that retroactive prosecution is no more than political payback (be careful what you wish for).

It’s libs who are now crying about the publication (which the administration wanted to suppress)of the positive results of the “torture” of KSM. So much for “the new openness” and all that crap.

Once again, I only hope that our servicemen, should they become prisoners, are treated as “barbarically” as we treat our prisoners.

And I’ll add to Scorpionet: Name me one, just one Gitmo, or Abu Ghraib detainee killed as a direct result of our “torture” techniques. Someone please give me the particulars of ONE Al Qaeda prisoner who was killed by a bug, or a slap, or humiliation, or sleep deprivation, or waterboarding, or any other heinous method employed by our sicko military/intelligence complex.

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By foggyjones, April 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
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This waterboarding discussion accomplishes exactly what Rahm Emanuel and his propaganda staff is aiming at, to distract from the Crime of Century, tossing out red herrings to get the hounds off the trail of what underlies the Great Bailouts of 2009. Further, to allow the “winners” like Lloyd Blankfein and the Goldman Sachs alumni to sweep things under the rug and bury the bodies, such today’s body found hanging in his closet (ref. Fannie Mae official).

Connect the dots and follow the money. A Grand Panel must be created to prosecute these people. It reeks, everybody is either very suspicious or outraged. Obama, Emanuel and Summers cannot keep their fingers in the dike much longer, despite how much sway they have with mainstream media. The truth will out and heads will roll. These current politicians in the U.S. Congress better read the writing on the wall. Offer huge rewards and immunity to get the ball rolling. The longer they hesitate, the more they must pay. Pay no attention to this waterboarding distraction and the others that will follow. I worry they will create another diaster to try and distract us from the crucial issue. The greatest bank robbery, ever!

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By NYCartist, April 22, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

Why are Rightwingers, conservative Republicans, so scared to have the torture charges investigated?  The comments who insist “torture” didn’t happen are examples.

I like Zinnia44’s comment, but I would change one word, based on my own point of view: in the two (or more)place where Zinnia44 uses “moral”, I would put “law”. 

Reverb, DemocracyNow has covered Adm. Blair in re his support of Indonesia’s nasties in E. Timor.  When he was nominated, it was covered.  Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn were reporters in Dily, E.Timor when the Indonesian (occupying) military attacked/massacred people at a funeral.  At the time, I heard their coverage, soon after the event, on WBAI 99.5FM,NYC in the early 1990s.  Nairn had a concussion from a soldier hitting him in the head. Amy Goodman kept pointing out how she and Nairn were American journalists, so the soldiers would not attack them further, as they were shooting civilians at the funeral. Scary stuff.  Blair did some questionable things in his job in the Pacific, as the Indonesian military went wild as they were leaving E. Timor in the late 1990s, I think is the timing. http://www.democracynow.org

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By Scorpionet, April 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

By the way, those who escaped or were freed by force from Al Qaeda capture survived not because of the kindness of these terrorists. You think Al Qaeda teaches their members rules of the Geneva Conventions, really?

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By Scorpionet, April 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Oh, those who say we should not ‘torture’ so the enemy would treat our soldiers kindly if captured. Al Qaeda terrorist are soldiers? Excuse me, name one American soldier or civilian for that matter who had survived an Al Qaeda (and their affiliates, including AQ of Iraq/Mesopotamia) capture. Even before Abu Griab, just name one!

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I only hope that waterboarding is all they have to fear.”

Actually, rfidler, as I have pointed out before, they have far more to fear. 

Manadel al-Jamadi was hung from the bars of his window by his wrists, in a technique commonly called a “palestinian hanging” or “palestinian crucifiction.”  He was beaten and questioned by CIA interrogator Mark Swanner for about 30 minutes, but was unresponsive.  Swanner asked the guards to move him to another position, and they found he was dead.

CWO Lewis Welshofer was convicted in the torture death of Iraqi General Abed Mowhoush by pulling a sleeping bag over Mowhoush’s head, tying it with electrical cord, then sitting on him and periodically placing a hand over his mouth.  (Incidentally, no intelligence was gained in either of these interrogations.  Hard to give much actionalable intelligence information when you are dead.)

I think our soldiers can expect at least that much.  Do you have ANY idea why we signed the Geneva Conventions (thus making them binding law, by the way)?

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By rico, suave, April 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Zinnia44:
I only hope that when our soldiers are captured, that the enemy treats them the same as we treat the enemy. I only hope that waterboarding is all they have to fear.

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s all true, American.  They should also be tried, for their part in the crimes.

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No need for you to speak for John McCain,  rfidler, because he spoke for himself.  You can speak for the panty-wearers, though, if you like.

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By American, April 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a joke, Clinton and her buddies in congress APPROVED the treatment of these prisoners many times! Now they act outraged and want to prosecute. That is the part of the report they are trying to keep under raps.

just like when they sent our troops to Iraq, and then changed their minds, and we outraged by the war.

Just like when they ran the debt up under bush, and know want to say they “inherted the debt”

liars and hipocrites

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By Zinnia44, April 22, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
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The techniques used are torture as it is legally and ordinarily defined.  Perhaps not the most extreme available, but still torture.  Several good reasons for not using them 1. They don’t provide reliable intelligence according to experienced interrogators and law enforcement 2. They are morally wrong against treaties that we have signed, and their use corrupts the torturers 3. They destroy the reputation of the US as an honorable country 4.  They make it more likely that our soldiers will be subjected to torture if captured.

For those who know the history of the Nurenberg trials, “I was just following orders” is not an acceptable defense.  A full investigation, followed by prosecutions, should be conducted, with or without the permission of the President.

By allowing these techniques, we put ourselves in moral danger. The good book says “What profits it a man to save his life if he loses his soul.”  Our souls are in danger if we allow torture. Better, if it comes to that, to be destroyed from without than by our own immoral actions.

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By rico, suave, April 22, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

I can’t speak for John McCain, but I’d bet he’d much rather be in Club Gitmo than the Hanoi Hilton.

Standing against a wall! Hooding!

OH, THE HORROR!!!!

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By rico, suave, April 22, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Come on Purple Girl. I bet you’re not purple and I bet you’re not even a girl. I know you’re not educated. You’re a pathetic soul who is outraged by the fact that the world doesn’t know or care about your existence. Go find something constructive to do.

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By Finnerty, April 22, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have posted a group on Facebook to support the case in front of Spanish prosecutor Baltazar Garzón accusing the 6 Bush attorneys of war crimes for their engineering of the policies of torture used at Guantanamo and other “black sites.”

Please tell your friends on Facebook to join, to show their support that this case go forward. It is especially important in light of President Obama’s apparent unwillingness to pursue this matter in a just and legally appropriate manner.

Thank you,
Terrence Finnerty Burke

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105932486520&ref=nf

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By Gaia, April 22, 2009 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You have the power to Contact Holder and tell him how you feel:
BY E-MAIL: E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, may be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Department of Justice Main Switchboard - 202-514-2000 Office of the Attorney General -202-353-1555 http://www.usdoj.gov/contact-us.html

Contact Holder now, and give this contact info to all your friends.

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By Scorpionet, April 22, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

You call this torture? You should ask the families and loved ones of over 3000 victims and counting on 911, terrorist acts commited thereafter by Al Qaeda and it’s affiliates what REAL torture is. No? I guess not, you just don’t have the balls to approach the REAL victims of torture by these two thugs and the entity they represent. Oops, I forgot, people like Amy Goodman do not have balls or guts for the matter…

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By voice of truth, April 22, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl, please stop posting the exact same lunatic rage on every article.  At least come up with a new and original thought on each one if you are going to post, and please don’t post the same thing over and over.  Most of us can read it the first time.

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By Purple Girl, April 22, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

FISH ON!!
Once again the Left has latched it’s mouth around the shiny lure of the MIC.
Do you actually think this well known atrocity is the only High crime they’ve committed- they threw this out for you.
What crimes did they committ they never bothered to get a Legal CYA for?
What has happened to those taken to Black prisons?
Who was on the Damn Cheney Assasination List- Bhouto?
When the Heir apparents of the MIC Throw out these type of Lures- you have to realize there is a reason.They are distracting you from the more heinous crimes.
there was more to Watergate than merely a Break in or secret Slush fund, and yet Nixon and his handlers never were prosecuted (election Rigging). There was more to Iran contra than merely a Rouge soldier doing back room deals…There was the undermining of a sitting president, again to rig an election.
The Left must finally realize they are being played just as much as the Right.
if the left continues to whine and stomp their feet about these low rankers, the big fish will once again get off scott Free.
Past small time prosecutions have provided cover for the MIC to continue Business as usual. We need to not only get the heads of the MIC - Cheney Rummy & Wolfie- we need to dismantle the MIC itself and the best way is to focus on the crimes these three have committted over the last 3+ decades.

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By Scorpionet, April 22, 2009 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

It is Amy Goodman and her fellow terrorist lovers who should also be water-boarded for weakening the resolve to fight this cancer called the jihadist movement, islamic terrorists or islamofacists as some of her opponenents would call them.

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 8:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear voice of truth “Please find me one person who was “tortured” anything like any pilot / captive of the infamous Hanoi Hilton,”

I FOUND one!  His name is John McCain!  Lets see what he has to say:

  “Anyone who knows what waterboarding is could not be unsure. It is a horrible torture technique used by Pol Pot and being used on Buddhist monks as we speak,” said McCain after a campaign stop at Dordt College here.

  “People who have worn the uniform and had the experience know that this is a terrible and odious practice and should never be condoned in the U.S. We are a better nation than that.” —John McCain, October, 2007 in Iowa.

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By Douglas, April 22, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So the two terrorists were ‘tortured’ to extract information hopefully to save thousands of innocent lives in the future. You don’t mention the real and permanent torture these terrorists inflicted on over 3000 families of people who died on 911 and numerous subsequent terrorist acts thereafter around the world.
Amy Goodman is so left and WRONG for this country. I suggest she and her Democracy NOW cohorts move to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea where there is no torture, you just disappear from the face of the earth courtesy of her buddy the Great Kim Jong IL! A real democracy it is!

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By Purple Girl, April 22, 2009 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Again chasing Small Fish while the big fish get away. Haven’t we learned anything from Watergate, iran Contra,AbuGhraib..?Come on folks Wake Up, You waste time and money prosecuting these low rankers and the Godfathers walk away scott free.
Small fish will invoke their miranda rights and we’ll never learn what crimes were committed that no legal briefs were requested. Lessoned Learned- don’t just destroy ‘18 minutes’ -never document those 18 minutes!
I don’t just want the Godfathers, I want the entire Orgnaized Crime Syndicate which they played Executors of.
Who is encouraging these Red herring prosecutions- those who have worked so hard to protect and defend the underlying network of Ciminal activity- for Decades?
I not interested in the Liddy’s, the Norths, the Englands, the Libby’s ....I want the entire conspiratorial network of ‘Families’ and their Current heads. Cheney Rummy and Wolfie are the Face of the MIC- but they are NOT the heart & circulatory system of the MIC.
Ya think Ike was a soothsayer or paranoid Tin hat? SOB the man tried to warning US about an organiztion which was already up & running!Hell bent on Bringing the Political, socio- economic sovereignty of the US to it’s knees.A Multinational conglomerate who’s mission statement is to oppress and enslave Humanity for it’s own self serving power and wealth. Who do you think has been sponsoring this Race to the Bottom? Come on Paulson and Berneke knew this economic collapse was coming 6 months prior- and they penned a 2 1/2 page Death threat/Ransom note to be pulled out as soon as the bottom fell out! Well forseen, thus avoidable, thus forethought, thus malice.
Torture is a Red herring, one they are confident will create enough distraction to avoid prosecution for much more heinous and treasonous acts.
Ya think the Waterboarding was bad, you have yet to even ask what happen to those in the Black prisons, where Torture is legal.Or Who was Assasinated by Cheneys’ Hit squad???Bhouto?
This is why the American people have been led astray for at least 3 decades- the so called Investigative Reporting never bothers to ask more indepth questions than the raw meat you are thrown. Ever wonder why they offer up this red meat, so readily?shit you never bothered to devle further into what was really on those damn 18 minutes!A Higher crime than a mere DNC break in or slush funds?
It’s an ‘Eminence Front’

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By Purple Girl, April 22, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Again chasing Small Fish while the big fish get away. Haven’t we learned anything from Watergate, iran Contra,AbuGhraib..?Come on folks Wake Up, You waste time and money prosecuting these low rankers and the Godfathers walk away scott free.
Small fish will invoke their miranda rights and we’ll never learn what crimes were committed that no legal briefs were requested. Lessoned Learned- don’t just destroy ‘18 minutes’ -never document those 18 minutes!
I don’t just want the Godfathers, I want the entire Orgnaized Crime Syndicate which they played Executors of.
Who is encouraging these Red herring prosecutions- those who have worked so hard to protect and defend the underlying network of Ciminal activity- for Decades?
I not interested in the Liddy’s, the Norths, the Englands, the Libby’s ....I want the entire conspiratorial network of ‘Families’ and their Current heads. Cheney Rummy and Wolfie are the Face of the MIC- but they are NOT the heart & circulatory system of the MIC.
Ya think Ike was a soothsayer or paranoid Tin hat? SOB the man tried to warning US about an organiztion which was already up & running!Hell bent on Bringing the Political, socio- economic sovereignty of the US to it’s knees.A Multinational conglomerate who’s mission statement is to oppress and enslave Humanity for it’s own self serving power and wealth. Who do you think has been sponsoring this Race to the Bottom? Come on Paulson and Berneke knew this economic collapse was coming 6 months prior- and they penned a 2 1/2 page Death threat/Ransom note to be pulled out as soon as the bottom fell out! Well forseen, thus avoidable, thus forethought, thus malice.
Torture is a Red herring, one they are confident will create enough distraction to avoid prosecution for much more heinous and treasonous acts.
Ya think the Waterboarding was bad, you have yet to even ask what happen to those in the Black prisons, where Torture is legal.Or Who was Assasinated by Cheneys’ Hit squad???Bhouto?
This is why the American people have been led astray for at least 3 decades- the so called Investigative Reporting never bothers to ask more indepth questions than the raw meat you are thrown. Ever wonder why they offer up this red meat, so readily?shit you never bothered to devle further into what was really on those damn 18 minutes!A Higher crime than a mere DNC break in or slush funds?

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By voice of truth, April 22, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

This whole hysteria is ridiculous.  Torture, Medieval?  Subhuman?  Are you kidding me?  Please find me one person who was “tortured” anything like any pilot / captive of the infamous Hanoi Hilton. 

Sleep deprivation?  Have any of you ever had children?  Should mine be put in jail for depriving me of sleep?  Solitary confinement?  I got 4 kids, I would LOVE to be left alone for an hour!

Red hot pokers stuck into eyes and up anuses is medieval torture.  Sticking a hood over a guys head is not.

All this crazy wacko is simply a way for the Hate American First, Everything is Bush’s fault nutjobs who are clearly not capable of rational thought or looking at both sides of an issue.

It really is pathetic.

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

John McCain, who has experienced torture, says that waterboarding is torture.  Rfidler, who has experienced women’s underwear on his head, says it is not.

It’s so confusing! Who can we believe?

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By Bisbonian, April 22, 2009 at 7:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sam, if “the techniques as described in the memos are clearly not torture,” then why was a Japanese soldier tried and convicted at Nuremberg waterboarding an American prisoner?  Why did the Cambodians bother to waterboard prisoners at the camp at Tuol Sleng if it was so innocuous?  Why did John McCain (who has some experience on the subject) say that Rudy Giuliani’s failure to call it torture reflected his own inexperience?  Perhaps he just has a Left-Wing difference of opinion.

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By rico, suave, April 22, 2009 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

freedom loving american:
I am mightily impressed by your intellectual depth! You condemn torture then prescribe torture for the malefactors. Ok, class- spot the contradiction.

Sam Francis and dep182:
Thank you.

Slapping! Bugs in dark rooms! Barking dogs! Women’s underwear over the face! Verbal insults! Disrespect for the Qu’ran! Standing blindfolded on a box while women (gross!) insult you! Naked scrums!

OH! THE HORROR!!

All you whiners have is waterboarding. Admit it. You want torture, check the beheading tapes, or the stonings of women during soccer halftimes. Now THAT’S torture!

This whole torture obsession is just a proxy for your sense of powerlessness.

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By garth, April 22, 2009 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

I don’t get it.  First, Obama says no one should be held accountable.  Michael Isakoff on C-SPAN says, “Say, what?  That’s not his decision to make.”  Obama then says that those who wrote the legal gymnastics memos should be held accountable but the investigation should stop at the doors of the WH and the CIA.
Maybe, Obama, the supposed Constitutional scholar, didn’t hear the first time.  Someone should lean over and tell him, “Sir, it’s not your decision to make.  Who gets investigated and who doesn’t.  The sovereignty of the President or the President as King, does not work here.”
But if they persist in letting this one go, then I suggest we have a period of “looking forward” for all crimes.  Suspend all laws for a test period, save one, and that is everyone must carry a loaded weapon at all times, same caliber with the same number of bullets.  Why not give everyone a chance at lawlessness?  Sure violence would spike, but then I bet it would fall dramatically in the aftermath and would level off.
One question:  Why do all sentences from liberals and progressives about what Obama will do always begin with the word, “Hopefully…”
One final note.  Obama can’t go near the CIA because that is the Bush Crime Family’s bailiwick, and, therefore, it’s off gounds.  We have to look overseas for justice.

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By Lawrence Oswald, April 22, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All the uproar over torture is a convenient diversion from the bigger issue, convenient for the members of the Bush administration. The much more important question is the assault on the Constitution.

At the very core of our American experiment with representative democracy is the idea of CHECKS AND BALANCES. Never should any person or group be allowed to make decisions without others being able to review and reverse those decisions. Signing statements, Executive Privilege, phone taps, renditions, the Patriot Act, FISA, covert actions, black ops, secret budgets, Cheneyism all must not happen. Torture is terrible but it is minor compared to these bigger abuses.

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By grant, April 22, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OMG, this is much ado about nothing compared to the truly high priority we are facing today. You must be mad as hatter to dwell on this issue at this time. My God, the nation is bankrupt, the jobs are being eliminated, the national debt and the annual budget is beyond belief and the Fed is feverishly churning out fresh currency, thus, destroying the dollar and inviting hyper inflation like the Weimar Republic and you fret over this waterboard to - to what? Smokescreen and obfuscate the critical issues. Hell, do another polar bear story, or update the old snail darter story. Waterboarding? Waterboarding? OMG!

Another distraction from the manipulative mainstream media, that is what it looks like to ordinary people!

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By freedom loving american, April 22, 2009 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

Amy was outstanding, like she always is.

Water boarding has always been torture, it was torture in the 1st century it was torture in the 6th century it was torture in the 13 century it was torture in the 20 century.  Only since these crazy American hating, liberty hating, freedom hating, wingnuts stole our country in the last 5 elections has it not been considered torture. 

These gutless, inhumane, spineless, worthless, subhuman’s, who’s only concern is to steal all the money the hard working citizens pay to the government. The bush cabal should all be tried and hung like the worthless filth they are. Any gutless inhumane bureaucrat that tortured another human should be executed beside their leaders. 

However, this is somewhat sticky since we routinely torture and in many cases murder our own citizens.

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By dep182, April 21, 2009 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i think we lost sight of 9/11 to give a crap what happen to these scumbags they are killing us.  maybe we should give them milk and cookies or smother them with kindness . you should look up the U.S. contractor kidnapped and beheaded video.  they use a large knife to remove his head it takes a long time. muffled screams moans and gargling he has a hard time cutting through bone in his neck . the torturers should be giving medals and more terrorist

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By Sam Francis, April 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

Just an utterly absurd commentary, on so many levels.

1.  The techniques as described in the memos are clearly not torture.  These techniques must be reviewed in the circumstances in which they are used.  We weren’t dealing with political dissidents.  They were people that were connected to   the deaths of thousands of Americans.

2.  You are using supporting statements from the International Red Cross and the ACLU?  You must kidding.

3.  So at the end of the day, what you really object to is that Obama appears reluctant to prosecute people who have A DIFFERENT OPINION than you do.  Well that just about sums up the Left-Wing in this country, doesn’t it?

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By politicky, April 21, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

I sure hope DiFi doesn’t cave on this one.

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By Reverb, April 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Noticed that Dennis Blair, Dir. of National Intelligence, issued a statement about the torture memos - read this excerpt:

<—->
As a young Navy officer during the Vietnam years, I experienced public scorn for those of us who served in the Armed Forces during an unpopular war. Challenging and debating the wisdom and policies linked to wars and warfighting is important and legitimate; however disrespect for
those who serve honorably within legal guidelines is not. I remember well the pain of those of us who served our country even when the policies we were carrying out were unpopular or could be second-guessed.

We in the Intelligence Community should not be subjected to similar pain.

<—->

Hard to feel for the pain of the “Intelligence Community” in light of these memos.

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