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Senate Panel’s Report on U.S. Torture Abuse

Posted on Dec 12, 2008
Let's Get Ready to Rumsfeld
AP photo / Rick Browmer

(Page 3)

SERE Techniques at GTMO (U)

(U) Following the Secretary’s December 2, 2002 authorization, senior staff at GTMO began drafting a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) specifically for the use of SERE techniques in interrogations. The draft SOP itself stated that “The premise behind this is that the interrogation tactics used at U.S. military SERE schools are appropriate for use in real-world interrogations. These tactics and techniques are used at SERE school to ‘break’ SERE detainees.  The same tactics and techniques can be used to break real detainees during interrogation.” The draft “GTMO SERE SOP” described how to slap, strip, and place detainees in stress positions. It also described other SERE techniques, such as “hooding,” “manhandling,” and “walling” detainees.   

(U) On December 30, 2002, two instructors from the Navy SERE school arrived at GTMO. The next day, in a session with approximately 24 interrogation personnel, the two SERE instructors demonstrated how to administer stress positions, and various slapping techniques. According to two interrogators, those who attended the training even broke off into pairs to practice the techniques. 

(U) Exemplifying the disturbing nature and substance of the training, the SERE instructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used by the Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during the Korean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart of those coercive techniques. Three days after they conducted the training, the SERE instructors met with GTMO’s Commander, Major General Geoffrey Miller. According to some who attended that meeting, Major General Miller stated that he did not want his interrogators using the techniques that the Navy SERE instructors had demonstrated. That conversation, however, took place after the training had already occurred and not all of the interrogators who attended the training got the message. 

(U) At about the same time, a dispute over the use of aggressive techniques was raging at GTMO over the interrogation of Mohammed al-Khatani, a high value detainee. Personnel from CITF and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had registered strong opposition, to interrogation techniques proposed for use on Khatani and made those concerns known to the DoD General Counsel’s office. Despite those objections, an interrogation plan that included aggressive techniques was approved. The interrogation itself, which actually began on November 23, 2002, a week before the Secretary’s December 2, 2002 grant of blanket authority for the use of aggressive techniques, continued through December and into mid-January 2003. 

(U) NSC Legal Advisor John Bellinger said that, on several occasions, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz raised concerns with him about allegations of detainee abuse at GTMO. Mr. Bellinger said that, in turn, he raised these concerns “on several occasions with DoD officials and was told that the allegations were being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.” Then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that Mr. Bellinger also advised her “on a regular basis regarding concerns and issues relating to DoD detention policies and practices at Guantanamo.” She said that as a result she convened a “series of meetings of NSC Principals in 2002 and 2003 to discuss various issues and concerns relating to detainees in the custody of the Department of Defense.” 

(U) Between mid-December 2002 and mid-January 2003, Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora spoke with the DoD General Counsel three times to express his concerns about interrogation techniques at GTMO, at one point telling Mr. Haynes that he thought techniques that had been authorized by the Secretary of Defense “could rise to the level of torture.” On January 15, 2003, having received no word that the Secretary’s authority would be withdrawn, Mr. Mora went so far as to deliver a draft memo to Mr. Haynes’s office memorializing his legal concerns about the techniques. In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Mora told Mr. Haynes he would sign his memo later that day unless he heard definitively that the use of the techniques was suspended. In a meeting that same day, Mr. Haynes told Mr. Mora that the Secretary would rescind the techniques. Secretary Rumsfeld signed a memo rescinding authority for the techniques on January 15, 2003. 

(U) That same day, GTMO suspended its use of aggressive techniques on Khatani.  While key documents relating to the interrogation remain classified, published accounts indicate that military working dogs had been used against Khatani. He had also been deprived of adequate sleep for weeks on end, stripped naked, subjected to loud music, and made to wear a leash and perform dog tricks. In a June 3, 2004 press briefing, SOUTHCOM Commander General James Hill traced the source of techniques used on Khatani back to SERE, stating: “The staff at Guantanamo working with behavioral scientists, having gone up to our SERE school and developed a list of techniques which our lawyers decided and looked at, said were OK.” General Hill said “we began to use a few of those techniques … on this individual…” 

(U) On May 13, 2008, the Pentagon announced in a written statement that the Convening Authority for military commissions “dismissed without prejudice the sworn charges against Mohamed al Khatani.” The statement does not indicate the role his treatment may have played in that decision. 

DoD Working Group Ignores Military Lawyers and Relies on OLC (U)

(U) On January 15, 2003, the same day he rescinded authority for GTMO to use aggressive techniques, Secretary Rumsfeld directed the establishment of a “Working Group” to review interrogation techniques. For the next few months senior military and civilian lawyers tried, without success, to have their concerns about the legality of aggressive techniques reflected in the Working Group’s report. Their arguments were rejected in favor of a legal opinion from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) John Yoo. Mr. Yoo’s opinion, the final version of which was dated March 14, 2003, had been requested by Mr. Haynes at the initiation of the Working Group process, and repeated much of what the first Bybee memo had said six months earlier. 

(U) The first Bybee memo, dated August 1, 2002, had concluded that, to violate the federal torture statute, physical pain that resulted from an act would have to be “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” Mr. Yoo’s March 14, 2003 memo stated that criminal laws, such as the federal torture statute, would not apply to certain military interrogations, and that interrogators could not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for using interrogation methods that would otherwise violate the law. 

(U) Though the final Working Group report does not specifically mention SERE, the list of interrogation techniques it evaluated and recommended for approval suggest the influence of SERE. Removal of clothing, prolonged standing, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation, hooding, increasing anxiety through the use of a detainee’s aversions like dogs, and face and stomach slaps were all recommended for approval. 

(U) On April 16, 2003, less than two weeks after the Working Group completed its report, the Secretary authorized the use of 24 specific interrogation techniques for use at GTMO.  While the authorization included such techniques as dietary manipulation, environmental manipulation, and sleep adjustment, it was silent on many of the techniques in the Working Group report. Secretary Rumsfeld’s memo said, however, that “If, in your view, you require additional interrogation techniques for a particular detainee, you should provide me, via the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a written request describing the proposed technique, recommended safeguards, and the rationale for applying it with an identified detainee.” 

(U) Just a few months later, one such request for “additional interrogation techniques” arrived on Secretary Rumsfeld’s desk. The detainee was Mohamedou Ould Slahi. While documents relating to the interrogation plan for Slahi remain classified, a May 2008 report from the Department of Justice Inspector General includes declassified information suggesting the plan included hooding Slahi and subjecting him to sensory deprivation and “sleep adjustment.”  The Inspector General’s report says that an FBI agent who saw a draft of the interrogation plan said it was similar to Khatani’s interrogation plan. Secretary Rumsfeld approved the Slahi plan on August 13, 2003. 

Aggressive Techniques Authorized in Afghanistan and Iraq (U)

(U) Shortly after Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2, 2002 approval of his General Counsel’s recommendation to authorize aggressive interrogation techniques, the techniques—and the fact the Secretary had authorized them—became known to interrogators in Afghanistan.  A copy of the Secretary’s memo was sent from GTMO to Afghanistan. Captain Carolyn Wood, the Officer in Charge of the Intelligence Section at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, said that in January 2003 she saw a power point presentation listing the aggressive techniques that had been authorized by the Secretary. 

(U) Despite the Secretary’s January 15, 2003 rescission of authority for GTMO to use aggressive techniques, his initial approval six weeks earlier continued to influence interrogation policies. 

(U) On January 24, 2003, nine days after Secretary Rumsfeld rescinded authority for the techniques at GTMO, the Staff Judge Advocate for Combined Joint Task Force 180 (CJTF-180), U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) conventional forces in Afghanistan, produced an “Interrogation techniques” memo. While that memo remains classified, unclassified portions of a report by Major General George Fay stated that the memo “recommended removal of clothing—a technique that had been in the Secretary’s December 2 authorization” and discussed “exploiting the Arab fear of dogs” another technique approved by the Secretary on December 2, 2002. 

(U) From Afghanistan, the techniques made their way to Iraq. According to the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG), at the beginning of the Iraq war, special mission unit forces in Iraq “used a January 2003 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which had been developed for operations in Afghanistan.” According to the DoD IG, the Afghanistan SOP had been: [I]nfluenced by the counterresistance memorandum that the Secretary of Defense approved on December 2, 2002 and incorporated techniques designed for detainees who were identified as unlawful combatants. Subsequent battlefield interrogation SOPs included techniques such as yelling, loud music, and light control, environmental manipulation, sleep deprivation/adjustment, stress positions, 20-hour interrogations, and controlled fear (muzzled dogs) … 

(U) Techniques approved by the Secretary of Defense in December 2002 reflect the influence of SERE. And not only did those techniques make their way into official interrogation policies in Iraq, but instructors from the JPRA SERE school followed. The DoD IG reported that in September 2003, at the request of the Commander of the Special Mission Unit Task Force, JPRA deployed a team to Iraq to assist interrogation operations. During that trip, which was explicitly approved by U.S. Joint Forces Command, JPRA’s higher headquarters, SERE instructors were authorized to participate in the interrogation of detainees in U.S. military custody using SERE techniques. 

(U) In September 2008 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Colonel Steven Kleinman, an Air Force Reservist who was a member of the interrogation support team sent by JPRA to the Special Mission Unit Task Force in Iraq, described abusive interrogations he witnessed, and intervened to stop, during that trip. Colonel Kleinman said that one of those interrogations, which took place in a room painted all in black with a spotlight on the detainee, the interrogator repeatedly slapped a detainee who was kneeling on the floor in front of the interrogator. In another interrogation Colonel Kleinman said the two other members of the JPRA team took a hooded detainee to a bunker at the Task Force facility, forcibly stripped him naked and left him, shackled by the wrist and ankles, to stand for 12 hours.


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By cyrena, December 19, 2008 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

As usual, you read the words right out of my mind:
“..And it accomplishes one other thing. Standing as documented knowledge, it affirms to the people that the House of Representatives understands the gravity of the abuses committed by Bush 43!

That is extremely important given Pelosi and yes, Obama’s careless statements regarding holding Bush accountable. As I recall those statements were made long before the full extent of the damage started to appear. And during an election cycle when one has to be careful to avoid saying anything that might upset a slightly less than brilliant conservative voter.”


First, the documentation – on the record stuff- is imperative. Even when it is ‘after the fact’ as these types of efforts always are, the first step is to formally ACKNOWLEDGE via documented declarations, that these crimes have been committed against us, and that they are severe.

The ‘accountability’ is most certainly the other part of it, and we’re actually seeing signs that some of THAT may be in the works as well, now that the election season has concluded. Speaking of which, the timing is probably not a surprise, since I agree with you that at the time of both Pelosi’s and Obama’s careless statements, (which may not have been so careless after all) we did NOT know the full extent, (or even all of the names/dates/places/chain of ‘evidence’) of the destruction. In fact, most American’s haven’t paid a lot of attention to the torture thing. So for the odd collection of us (mostly academics) that have been fixated on this on-going destruction of the Constitution and violation of the foundational tenets of the Geneva Conventions, -Common Article 3- it’s taken this long to get the full details that can tie the chain of command to the bar of the World Court, not to mention the indictment and criminal conviction of the whole flippin’ bunch of them right here as well.

So I say maybe not so careless on their parts, (in suggesting that the bush admin had not committed any impeachable crimes.). It would have been *less* careless for them to have said that (at least then) there were no completed investigations/reviews to even provide the required evidence/documentation to support the charges. That much at least is certainly true. I was amazed at how impressively comprehensive this report is. I mean, it’s lengthy, (even the guts of it that TD posted for us here, and the full thing is 513 pages) and the meticulously supplied details provide the irrefutable evidence for the damning conclusions. In fact, this report can be used as the blueprint for writing the indictments.

BUT, like I was saying..this investigation has only just completed. Much of this testimony has been in just the past 3 or so months. So maybe it was best for Pelosi and Obama to dismiss such impeachment suggestions at the time, even though they certainly could have (and should have) worded it differently. (Besides, Pelosi probably STILL doesn’t know what’s up with this report.) She’s been spending the last 2 years writing and promoting her book.

Obama DID say that such investigations into the conduct of this regime would be accomplished in his new Admin, but that he didn’t want his first term spent primarily prosecuting the criminals of the previous regime. Now it looks like the Senate committee has done at least the grunt work portion of it for them.

And now Levin is all over the place backing the report’s conclusions with a call for a Dick Cheney indictment. Of course Cheney doesn’t seem worried, but then…he wouldn’t be. As I mentioned on another thread, neither was Pinochet.

So we’ll see.

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By cyrena, December 19, 2008 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

•  “..Chairman Levin said, “SERE training techniques were designed to give our troops a taste of what they might be subjected to if captured by a ruthless, lawless enemy so that they would be better prepared to resist. The techniques were never intended to be used against detainees in U.S. custody.”..”

Ah the irony…these detainees WERE captured by a ruthless, lawless enemy, which is why the techniques were used in violation of the laws of war and all of the other international treaties and conventions. Levin just never expected the US to be the ruthless, lawless, enemy.

Now I don’t know why it’s taken so many of our leaders and representatives to Congress so long to figure this out. (and they DID pass the MCA, which literally covered Cheney’s ass with bogus legalese that Congress still signed on to) But, FINALLY, we’re seeing some action.

No surprise that Cheney and Rumsfeld don’t seem worried. Neither was Pinochet.

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By robert carkeek, December 17, 2008 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Senate Panel’s Report On Torture Abuse
Read it.
This report reflects an atrocity perpetrated against citizens of the world not just the American public. Bush, Rumsfeld, and their subordinates who used ambiguity to confuse and oblige “Torture”, crimes against humanity, and ignore the terms of the Geneva Convention have degraded our country’s integrity to all time depths of low.  From it, the American people, and the nation, will not recover without them held to account . If the Obama administration is indeed going wilt into a shrinking violet by not taking a stand for justice, human dignity ,and pride as it relates to the torture of prisoners of war, and their human rights,  Then a Global war crimes court needs to intervene because this is not something you can sweep under the carpet. The fact that our country’s leaders stooped to authorize torturing political detainees or suspected terrorists is a rip in the fabric of American Idealism, smash in the single plate glass of global alliance, and deterrent to growth of every kind, to say nothing of completely and utterly immoral, against the basic principles of our Democratic Republic.
It will be a long slog to restore the worlds confidence in the United States if this true act of terrorism perpetrated by our country’s leaders is left to forgetting.

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By KDelphi, December 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

The Democratic Congress, Senate and Persidency would have to do something about it.

I hope that someone sues the shit out of him…

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By Anarcissie, December 17, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

In reference to presidential pardons, I think it is not certain that a president can pardon anyone in advance of their being prosecuted, or for as-yet unspecified crimes.  I know that sort of thing has been permitted to go by in the past, but it seems to me it might be challenged.

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By Maani, December 17, 2008 at 9:25 am Link to this comment


Did you all hear that Dick Cheney admitted openly to approving torture?!  I am not joking.  In an ABC interview, Cheney admitted that he personally was involved in approving the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used on enemy combatants, including waterboarding.  And he believes it was correct, and that it was “successful.”

And is everyone also aware that both Japanese and Americans were hanged for engaging in waterboarding, which was considered (including by the U.S.) an unacceptable method of interrogation?

Where is the hue and cry for Cheney’s head?  Where is ANY response by the MSM, the AM or anyone else?  Why is this man - whose admission is on videotape - not immediately being charged with crimes against humanity?

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By KDelphi, December 16, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

I am no “Fullbright Scholar”, but I think MOST people know what the significance of “shoes or the lack therof” means in Arab culture, by now…dont they?

Now, sometimes people place too much “symbolism ” into things, I believe. Like , when PE Obama spoke to the press about getting his girls a puupy, someone posted, “Oh! How wonderful…or something, and, ‘why doesnt anyone see the symbolism of a gift of a puppy to prove you are not Muslim…”

??? RU kidding me?? I THINK his kids just want a puppy!!!

maybe not…hell, dubya think its about “freedom”—everything is about…“freedom”

Hell, Bush wouldnt know “freedom” if it bit him in the ass..

I would move, if I could, also…probably Canada or EU—maybe even Latin America…

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By Expat, December 16, 2008 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Maani, December 14 at 7:44 am;

I wish you good luck.  I guarantee it will be a life changing experience; hopefully a positive one.  Interestingly; most westerners do not like Asia and usually burn out after 2 years and leave.  Certainly not all, but the majority for sure.

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By moni, December 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Remember that at one moment in time, Obama actually mentioned being a distant cousin of
Dick Cheyney.  Well now Cheyney is saying that Guantanomo should stay open until the “War on Terrorism” is over.  Furthermore, he said that waterboarding is o.k.

Notice how these villainous people want to have their “last hurrahs”  as the Bush administration is winding down.  G Dubya had to visit Iraq again to bid farewell to the country that he unilatteraly invaded.  Having shoes thrown at him is nothing in comparison to all the American soldiers who stormed into Iraqui homes wearing their filthy boots.
In many cultures around the world, wearing shoes/boots into one’s home is the greatest insult and manifestation of uncouth behavior. 
People of Eastern cultures remove their shoes upon entering a home or sacred space. 
The ultimate insult is to wear shoes; carrying the dirt from outside, into the living space of cultured people.
For Americans not to grasp this most basic concept, must be completely baffling to the Iraqui people !

How tragic that the U.S. for all its Fulbright scholars didn’t “get” something so fundamental and Bush was completely unfazed by the gesture of having shoes thrown at him at a conference. 
He did not grasp the symbolic act of having shoes thrown at him . . . he is incapable of such sensibility.

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By dihey, December 14, 2008 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

It has become obvious a long time ago that official reports on torture are actually self-torture.

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By Maani, December 14, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment


Re TD, it does seem like there are more cynics than there used to be - and that some of them (but not all) express their views in less-than-humble ways.  (Though I can’t say I miss Mike Mid-City! LOL).  Still, there are some familiar “faces” still here: Cyrena, Louise, Inherit et al.

Re Dubai, it is more expensive than some, less so than others.  Yes, I can get work.  But in order to live there, I must be given an actual work contract for a minimum of a year.  Note that I also considered Portugal (largest American expat community in the world), and actually had a half-hour meeting with their embassy in NYC.

I’ll keep you apprised.  Nothing is going to happen quickly; if I do this, it will probably not be any earlier than Fall 2009.


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By Expat, December 14, 2008 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Maani, December 13 at 7:35 pm;

I’ve got to add; surely you’ve noticed most of the old posters here have bailed out.  I bailed because I got censored on a non-controversial point and let TD know how pissed I was about that. It was absolute bollocks!  The site has definitely gone down a notch.  Jackpine savage, Douglas Chalmers, me mostly, you mostly, Joesixpack, anyway more than I can remember.  Pity.

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By Expat, December 14, 2008 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

Maani, December 13 at 7:35 pm;
Dubai, hmmm, curious choice.  Isn’t it expensive to live there?  Will you work there?  Can you work there?  It is good that you’re looking at options though.  Not many will actually do it, only the few who see the greater world and have a sense of what freedom is.

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By KDelphi, December 13, 2008 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

I wish the Dems had backed Kucinich on the Articles of Impeachment, too!

But, it is hardly a mystery as to why not—-Pelosi and Harman and the rest of the House (at least the “Eight”)were all very aware of what was happening…According to a Washington Post article on Sunday, in 2002 four leading congressmen, including the current speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi,  was “given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make the prisoners talk.”

The Post: “Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was water-boarding… But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two US officials said.”

It was not until November 2005, in the period when the CIA decided to destroy the videotapes, that the American people learned about the interrogation program. The source for these revelations (first reported in an article in the Washington Post on November 2) was not the Democratic Party leadership, but unnamed foreign diplomats and US intelligence officials.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has called for the creation of committee to recommend grounds for possible impeachment of Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney.

But Pelosi said such a decision rests with her and the Democratic caucus.

“John Conyers is an enthusiastic advocate. I am the leader. Our caucus will decide where we go,” she said.”

The International Red Cross warned the president in 2002 that his administration was committing a war crime for which prosecution was possible. A federal judge (before Pelosi and the Democratic Congress barred further judicial review) declared that the domestic surveillance program was clearly illegal. The Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Bush officials in criminal contempt and referred the matter for prosecution. Yet, Speaker Pelosi insists that there is no evidence of crime while refusing to investigate that allegations.

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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Maani, December 13 at 7:35 pm;

Hope you enjoy the listen.
It’s been a real eye opener to live long term out of the States.  I wish I’d done it a long time ago.  I left 2 months after “the invasion” and it’s been a long slow train-wreck ever since. This latest non-revelation is confirmation of what we’ve known for a long time.  I’ll reserve judgment, for the time being, on Obama.  I fear the Faustian slide will slow, but not stop.  We’ll see.

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By Maani, December 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment


“Hey Maani, long time no hear.  Yeah, I’m happy but, I’m so pissed at the destruction of the U.S. and the total lack of even the pretense of doing the right thing.”

Same here.  I’ve been thinking about Dubai for a while.  No joke.  I have a (white, British) friend who lived in Qatar for eight months, and has been living in Dubai for the past year.  He loves it.  Even gave up his home and all holdings in GB to relocate there permanently.  Third (or fourth - I forget) largest American expat community in the world.  (Plus huge Canadian and South African expat communities.)  And although every country has been affected by the global economic meltdown, they are still doing basically okay.

Will listen to your reading shortly.  Interesting: I’ve heard of books on tape - but books on YouTube?  Maybe you will start a trend!


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By 3lites, December 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real story:  Rumsfeld followed orders. 


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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

Maani, December 13 at 8:49 am;
Hey Maani, long time no hear.  Yeah, I’m happy but, I’m so pissed at the destruction of the U.S. and the total lack of even the pretense of doing the right thing.

I’ve finished a couple of books.  Here’s a link to my reading of a bit of one on youtube.  Check it out if you like;

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By Maani, December 13, 2008 at 10:33 am Link to this comment


Just remember the old adage: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t someone after you.”



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By badlawdog, December 13, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

anybody out there getting the feeling that their house has been secretly searched? At the risk of sounding delusional, I know my home has been entered and I cant figure out why. I’m an educated, law abiding citizen. I am not involved in drugs, crime, etc. The only thing I can come up with this that I blog/post alot of anti-israeli (not antisemetic) comments here and elsewhere and have had my account revoked several times (especially on alternet)...I was talking with a friend, who also posts anti-isreali (not antisemetic) comments in the local papers, etc and they too feel someone has been in their home…we discussed the homeland security chief (chertoff) and all his jewish buddies he’s placed in upper positions within this new organization, and we smell a rat…Anybody relate??

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By Maani, December 13, 2008 at 8:49 am Link to this comment


LOL.  As ever, the happy expatriate…LOL.


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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Dream on; the world’s greatest war criminals since Hitler will escape prosecution and finish out their lives as respectable citizens among their twisted peers.  That’s one of many reasons I will never return to the U.S.  There is no greater ideal than the advertised America; but the reality is devastating and far from the thing as advertised.  Further; when the call to arms came to take back the Constitution; it was a no show.  I live in a country struggling with a democratic form of government and they mostly get it wrong: But it’s far preferable to the rampant hypocrisy in America (I can’t stand lies and especially, my intelligence insulted).  I can deal with reality but not the propaganda, lies, spinning, media’s compliance, and most importantly; the immense apathy of the American citizens.  Sign me, over and out; enjoy Faust’s journey into the depths of Hell.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, December 13, 2008 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

It really would have been foolish to begin any real legal action before this - Pardons and commutations being readily available to get his superiors or Minions out of hot water.
But with only a little over a Month left In power, these Cases won’t be decided Until AFTER 1-20-09. ‘pre Pardoning is admission of guilt, and we know how much W & Dick hate to admit ANY wrong they’ hang their cohorts out to dry by not admitting the Buck stopped at them and WE will be able to roast every last one of them….Better start grabing Passports and informing ‘non Extradtiction’ countries, that harboring these Criminals will amount to haboring terrorists. If you will not Act, WE will to capture and punish these International Criminals. They didn’t just screw US, they screwed the Global community.The Oil royals may find their palaces destroyed if they try to protect their ‘pets’. We will catch the Saudi’s native son and we will capture their lapdogs, one way or another, With them or THROUGH them.

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By Ron Ranft, December 13, 2008 at 12:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My old History Professor at the University I attended must be laughing uncontrollably by now. In 1989 he said that the level of acceptable misconduct by our elected national representatives had reached a point where unless the person was found standing over a dead body with a smoking gun in his hand they would not be charge with any crime. So this lengthy investigation goes on and they publish this very lengthy list of criminals and their crimes but they never propose any penalties. Ever since the Demowon’ts have come into control they have conducted investigations and hearing on a number of subjects. They point and pontificate, say tisk, tisk and then move on to the next subject as if just mere detailing of the lies, frauds, and criminal corruption was penalty enough. Obama on more than one occasion said that he has no interest in pursuing any criminal investigation of the Bush Administration. He has decided to follow the Pelosi policy. With years of books and articles detailing al the crimes and the proof the Demowon’ts still refuse to do their job. Why, because it is quid pro quo. The Dems have supported these lies that the Repugs told. The Dems have gotten as rich off this war and the ajoining crimes as the GOP. Why do poor and middleclass people continually elect rich people who only mouth the promise of change and new ideas and then feel betrayed. It is they who betray. They betray their own interests and their own ideals when they vote these scoundrels into office. They remain willfully ignorant. They shouldn’t blame Bush, they should blame themselves for electing him and all the people who were complicit in the crimes he committed.

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By Maani, December 12, 2008 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment


Don’t get me wrong; I’m proud of Jerry and hope the resolution passes.  (Though I wish he would have supported Kucinch’s articles of impeachment, which he did not.)

That said, I noted on another thread what I believe to be the best way to make Bush et al pay for their crimes, since it is unlikely (though certainly not impossible) that they will be indicted even after they leave office.  (Though, given that Obama is a constitutional scholar, and did say something about possibly looking into the Bush administration’s crimes, he might still do something to surprise us all.)

The best way to “get” Bush & Co. is for Obama to make the U.S. a formal member of the ICC, and then have the ICC do an investigation, with the Obama administration’s help, and, perhaps, indictments would come out re war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.

That seems to be the most likely way that Bush & Co. will ever be held accountable.


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By Louise, December 12, 2008 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment


“Because of the tens of thousands of our action page submissions in the last couple weeks, the mainstream media is actually talking about the prospect of blanket pardons, including the despicable act of Bush planning to pardon himself. The White House has even been forced to issue a non-denial denial, saying that Bush is “disinclined” to issue such pardons.”


Titled: H. RES. 1531:

A RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should not issue pardons to senior members of his administration during the final 90 days of his term of office.


If in fact the resolution is voted on and passed by the house of Representatives, it will have no more power in force than any of the other, “Expressing the Sense of the House” resolutions passed by the House since 2006. Other than to become a part of the Congressional Record, which could ultimately lead [in this case] to an amendment to the Constitution.

And it accomplishes one other thing. Standing as documented knowledge, it affirms to the people that the House of Representatives understands the gravity of the abuses committed by Bush 43!

That is extremely important given Pelosi and yes, Obama’s careless statements regarding holding Bush accountable. As I recall those statements were made long before the full extent of the damage started to appear. And during an election cycle when one has to be careful to avoid saying anything that might upset a slightly less than brilliant conservative voter.

But the House also understands the improbability of the Senate, still mightily populated by repubs, to join in and do something ... anything ... to stop the abuse. We have seen the most perfect example in the last twenty four hours, of how ineffective the Congress can be when a handful of right-wing, wing-nuts dig in their heels and refuse to do anything to deal with a horrible situation!

I believe as time unfolds, we will learn much more about the Bush 43 administration than we know now. I believe it will be far worse, far more wide-spread and far reaching than we can even imagine. As bad and inexcusable as torture is, that will prove to be just one of many horrors that stain the memory of Bush 43!

I believe as we struggle to recover from what is yet to come, the realization that legislation and yes, a Constitutional Amendment to prevent it’s happening again will come about. That is as good a reason as any to encourage the present members of the House of Representatives to vote yes on this resolution.



“What an ugly state of affairs, when both Congress and the new administration refuse to do their Constitutionally mandated duties.”


I am a bit puzzled. What marvelous Crystal Ball gives you the certainty to say with such authority, “... both Congress and the new administration refuse to do their Constitutionally mandated duties.” ???

How can you know when the new Congress and the new administration have not yet been seated? In case you didn’t know, they, he, them can not take over until January 6, 2009, and January 20, 2009, respectively.

And now, we the people have the power of proof, thanks to this report.

So rather than give up, excercise your right as a citizen and quickly dispatch a request to your curent sitting representative, and/or your soon to be seated representative to read this report, then vote for H. RES. 1531, if by then it hasn’t yet happened!

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By Dale Headley, December 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is depressing that a large number of Americans looked at the Abu Ghraib photos and, like Rush Limbaugh, said “So?”  To paraphrase Richard Nixon: if Americans do it, it’s not wrong.

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By nrobi, December 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Duhhhhhhbya, the unimpeachable!  What a stain on the American soul. This coming from the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, D, Cal. That there was no evidence of any illegal acts and that there is not a shred of evidence that any crimes against humanity were committed by the current administration.
This along with the statement of Barack Obama, that there would be no investigation of any illegalities that may have been committed or were committed by the shrub’s administration, puts the nail in the coffin on the world finding out about any crimes that the Congress should have investigated while the administration was doing them.
What an ugly state of affairs, when both Congress and the new administration refuse to do their Constitutionally mandated duties.
How is this government to survive this kind of stain?  Are the American people to be kept in the dark about serious war crimes that have been committed by the shrub’s administration? This question I can answer with absolute certainty, YES!
Congress and the next administration, have failed the American people in their fight to control the “imperial presidency,” and the acts that have been committed by the illegal and immoral administration of George W. Bush.
It saddens me that no one will stand up for the people in the coming months and fight for the rights of those who have been wronged and harmed by the illegal and immoral acts of G.W. Bush.
Should these crimes ever be brought into a true court
of law, then we the people would have a voice in the administration of justice in the matter of the People v. G.W. Bush et. al.

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By Maani, December 12, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment


While Jerry Nadler (in whose district I live) is to be commended for his actions, unfortunately it is highly unlikely that any court - including the Supreme Court - would find that ANYTHING overrides a president’s sole, unilateral and exclusive right to grant pardons (except for impeachment).  The following is some text from a scholarly site on this issue:

“The President has the power to completely overturn a criminal conviction.  This is a full pardon.  The conviction is wiped away as if it never happened.  The President can commute a criminal sentence, turning a life sentence into a 10 year sentence or a death penalty into a life sentence.  The President can make a pardon conditional, vacating a conviction but leaving paid fines in place, or even making the payment of a fine a prerequisite before a pardon takes effect…”

“There are, however, things that a pardon cannot cover.  The first and most obvious is impeachment, since it is specifically excepted in the Constitution.  Civil liability cannot be excused — a harm against another can still be considered a harm even if there is no longer any criminal liability.  Contempts of court cannot be pardoned, as they are offenses against the dignity of the court, and not necessarily offenses against the law.  In the Constitutional Convention, a proposal to except treason was popular, but was defeated when the talk turned to granting the Senate only the power to pardon treason.”

“Finally, there is no review of pardons.  This issue, too, was brought up in the Constitutional Convention, that pardons be granted with the consent of the Senate, but the measure was defeated on the vote of eight states to one….”

“The President need not provide a reason for a pardon, and the courts and the Congress have no legal authority to approve, disapprove, reject, or accept a pardon.  Currently, the only way to change the pardon power is by constitutional amendment…”

So unless Bush is impeached (for which there is no time even if articles of impeachment were drafted and accepted next week), there seems nothing that can be done to prevent him from doing whatever it is he plans to do.


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By Spiritgirl, December 12, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

For anyone that understands strict order and discipline, the military was “under orders”!  There is no way that those personnel convicted of torture were “rogue soldiers/bad apples”!  Those personnel were following orders from the highest levels!  It is unfortunate that the criminals that prosecuted this war skipped out, or had other things to do when it was their time (Viet Nam)!  It is also unfortunate for the over 4,000 dead and thousands of wounded Americans and Iraqi’s that have been harmed because of the lies of spoiled grown children that still have not been brought to account for these crimes!

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By Thomas P. Higgins, December 12, 2008 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By his own testimony, we know that Donald Rumsfeld ordered an Iraqi prisoner to be held in secret for several months, a violation of the Geneva Conventions and Title 18 United States Code § 2441.
At a June 2004 press conference, Rumsfeld stated that George J. Tenet, then Director of Central Intelligence, requested that an Iraqi detainee be hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.  At that news conference, Rumsfeld admitted that he complied with Tenet’s request by ordering the U.S. military to hold the detainee in secret.  Reportedly, the military secretly held that “ghost detainee” for more than seven months. “We were asked not to immediately register the individual, and we did that,” Rumsfeld said.

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By Louise, December 12, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

We all know that George Bush as someone without even the guts to face his own music, he who sent more than four thousand brave Americans to their senseless graves, for a premeditated and knowing lie in Iraq, tens of thousands of American crippled and mutilated for life.

TRILLIONS looted from our economy, and he doesn’t even have the simple courage to risk the
accountability of having to defend his numberless crimes in a fair trial.

It is now known that Nixon seriously considered pardoning himself, but even he was not THAT despicable. George Bush most certainly is!

And remember that his administration has been infested with Nixon era cronies like CHENEY and RUMSFELD, so it is no surprise that the malfeasance of the Nixon era has been magnified in the last eight years.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives demanding that President Bush refrain from issuing pre-emptive pardons of *SENIOR OFFICIALS* in his Administration during the final 90 days of office.  (*That would INCLUDE Rumsfeld!)

H.RES.1531 is in response to President Bush’s widespread abuses of power and potentially criminal transgressions against our Constitution.  The Resolution aims to prevent undeserved pardons of officials who may have been co-conspirators in the President’s unconstitutional policies, such as torture, illegal surveillance and curtailing of due process for defendants.

Because of the tens of thousands of our action page submissions in the last couple weeks, the mainstream media is actually talking about the prospect of blanket pardons, including the despicable act of Bush planning to pardon himself.

The White House has even been forced to issue a non-denial denial, saying that Bush is “disinclined” to issue such pardons.

Representative Nadler has put forward H. Res. 1531, which has some really terrific text in it about the intent of the founders and how this all relates to impeachment, so there is a definite suggestion there that a self pardon in particular would be compelling grounds for impeachment. Please submit this action page as well to ask your House member to co-sponsor this.

In an article in the New York Times the other day, current attorney general Mukasey is quoted as asserting it would not be “necessary” to grant blanket pardons. But please take careful note he did not say it wouldn’t happen, because unless we speak out now it WILL.

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By Jared, December 12, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The NYTimes article uses the word torture twice: once in a quote, and once describing McCain’s torture as a POW. Bad reporting.

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