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

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

(Page 4)

(U) Interrogation techniques used by the Special Mission Unit Task Force eventually made their way into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued for all U.S. forces in Iraq. In the summer of 2003, Captain Wood, who by that time was the Interrogation Officer in Charge at Abu Ghraib, obtained a copy of the Special Mission Unit interrogation policy and submitted it, virtually unchanged, to her chain of command as proposed policy. 

(U) Captain Wood submitted her proposed policy around the same time that a message was being conveyed that interrogators should be more aggressive with detainees. In mid-August 2003, an email from staff at Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) headquarters in Iraq requested that subordinate units provide input for a “wish list” of interrogation techniques, stated that “the gloves are coming off,” and said “we want these detainees broken.” At the end of August 2003, Major General Geoffrey Miller, the GTMO Commander, led a team to Iraq to assess interrogation and detention operations. Colonel Thomas Pappas, the Commander of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, who met with Major General Miller during that visit, said that the tenor of the discussion was that “we had to get tougher with the detainees.” A Chief Warrant Officer with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said that during Major General Miller’s tour of the ISG’s facility, Major General Miller said the ISG was “running a country club” for detainees. 

(U) On September 14, 2003 the Commander of CJTF-7, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, issued the first CJTF-7 interrogation SOP. That SOP authorized interrogators in Iraq to use stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogs in interrogations. Lieutenant General Sanchez issued the September 14, 2003 policy with the knowledge that there were ongoing discussions about the legality of some of the approved techniques. Responding to legal concerns from CENTCOM lawyers about those techniques, Lieutenant General Sanchez issued a new policy on October 12, 2003, eliminating many of the previously authorized aggressive techniques. The new policy, however, contained ambiguities with respect to certain techniques, such as the use of dogs in interrogations, and led to confusion about which techniques were permitted. 

(U) In his report of his investigation into Abu Ghraib, Major General George Fay said that interrogation techniques developed for GTMO became “confused” and were implemented at Abu Ghraib. For example, Major General Fay said that removal of clothing, while not included in CJTF-7’s SOP, was “imported” to Abu Ghraib, could be “traced through Afghanistan and GTMO,” and contributed to an environment at Abu Ghraib that appeared “to condone depravity and degradation rather than humane treatment of detainees.” Major General Fay said that the policy approved by the Secretary of Defense on December 2, 2002 contributed to the use of aggressive interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib in late 2003. 

OLC Withdraws Legal Opinion - JFCOM Issues Guidance on JPRA “Offensive”  Support (U)  

(U) As the events at Abu Ghraib were unfolding, Jack Goldsmith, the new Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel was presented with a “short stack” of OLC opinions that were described to him as problematic. Included in that short stack were the Bybee memos of August 1, 2002 and Mr. Yoo’s memo of March 2003. After reviewing the memos, Mr. Goldsmith decided to rescind both the so-called first Bybee memo and Mr. Yoo’s memo. In late December 2003, Mr. Goldsmith notified Mr. Haynes that DoD could no longer rely on Mr. Yoo’s memo in determining the lawfulness of interrogation techniques. The change in OLC guidance, however, did not keep JPRA from making plans to continue their support to interrogation operations. In fact, it is not clear that the agency was even aware of the change. 

(U) In 2004, JPRA and CENTCOM took steps to send a JPRA training team to Afghanistan to assist in detainee interrogations there. In the wake of the public disclosure of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, however, that trip was cancelled and JFCOM subsequently issued policy guidance limiting JPRA’s support to interrogations. 

(U) On September 29, 2004 Major General James Soligan, JFCOM’s Chief of Staff, issued a memorandum referencing JPRA’s support to interrogation operations. Major General Soligan wrote: Recent requests from [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the Combatant Commands have solicited JPRA support based on knowledge and information gained through the debriefing of former U.S. POWs and detainees and their application to U.S. Strategic debriefing and interrogation techniques. These requests, which can be characterized as ‘offensive’ support, go beyond the chartered responsibilities of JPRA… The use of resistance to interrogation knowledge for ‘offensive’ purposes lies outside the roles and responsibilities of JPRA. 

(U) Lieutenant General Robert Wagner, the Deputy Commander of JFCOM, later called requests for JPRA interrogation support “inconsistent with the unit’s charter” and said that such requests “might create conditions which tasked JPRA to engage in offensive operational activities outside of JPRA’s defensive mission.” 

(U) Interrogation policies endorsed by senior military and civilian officials authorizing the use of harsh interrogation techniques were a major cause of the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody. The impact of those abuses has been significant. In a 2007 international BBC poll, only 29 percent of people around the world said the United States is a generally positive influence in the world. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have a lot to do with that perception. The fact that America is seen in a negative light by so many complicates our ability to attract allies to our side, strengthens the hand of our enemies, and reduces our ability to collect intelligence that can save lives. 

(U) It is particularly troubling that senior officials approved the use of interrogation techniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies against our own soldiers and that were modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese to elicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel. While some argue that the brutality and disregard for human life shown by al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists justifies us treating them harshly, General David Petraeus explained why that view is misguided. In a May 2007 letter to his troops, General Petraeus said “Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we—not our enemies—occupy the moral high ground.” 

Senate Armed Services Committee Conclusions

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Conclusion 1: On February 7, 2002, President George W. Bush made a written determination that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. Following the President’s determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions, used in SERE training to simulate tactics used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions, were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody. 

Conclusion 2: Members of the President’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed. National Security Council Principals reviewed the CIA’s interrogation program during that period. 

Conclusions on SERE Training Techniques and Interrogations  

Conclusion 3: The use of techniques similar to those used in SERE resistance training—such as stripping students of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, and treating them like animals—was at odds with the commitment to humane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Using those techniques for interrogating detainees was also inconsistent with the goal of collecting accurate intelligence information, as the purpose of SERE resistance training is to increase the ability of U.S. personnel to resist abusive interrogations and the techniques used were based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to elicit false confessions. 

Conclusion 4: The use of techniques in interrogations derived from SERE resistance training created a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to detainees. The SERE schools employ strict controls to reduce the risk of physical and psychological harm to students during training. Those controls include medical and psychological screening for students, interventions by trained psychologists during training, and code words to ensure that students can stop the application of a technique at any time should the need arise. Those same controls are not present in real world interrogations. 

Conclusions on Senior Official Consideration of SERE Techniques for Interrogations  

Conclusion 5: In July 2002, the Office of the Secretary of Defense General Counsel solicited information from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) on SERE techniques for use during interrogations. That solicitation, prompted by requests from Department of Defense General Counsel William J. Haynes II, reflected the view that abusive tactics similar to those used by our enemies should be considered for use against detainees in U.S. custody. 

Conclusion 6: The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation program included at least one SERE training technique, waterboarding. Senior Administration lawyers, including Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, were consulted on the development of legal analysis of CIA interrogation techniques. Legal opinions subsequently issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) interpreted legal obligations under U.S. anti-torture laws and determined the legality of CIA interrogation techniques. Those OLC opinions distorted the meaning and intent of anti-torture laws, rationalized the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody and influenced Department of Defense determinations as to what interrogation techniques were legal for use during interrogations conducted by U.S. military personnel. 

Conclusions on JPRA Offensive Activities  

Conclusion 7: Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) efforts in support of “offensive” interrogation operations went beyond the agency’s knowledge and expertise. JPRA’s support to U.S. government interrogation efforts contributed to detainee abuse. JPRA’s offensive support also influenced the development of policies that authorized abusive interrogation techniques for use against detainees in U.S. custody. 

Conclusion 8: Detainee abuse occurred during JPRA’s support to Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force (TF) interrogation operations in Iraq in September 2003. JPRA Commander Colonel Randy Moulton’s authorization of SERE instructors, who had no experience in detainee interrogations, to actively participate in Task Force interrogations using SERE resistance training techniques was a serious failure in judgment. The Special Mission Unit Task Force Commander’s failure to order that SERE resistance training techniques not be used in detainee interrogations was a serious failure in leadership that led to the abuse of detainees in Task Force custody. Iraq is a Geneva Convention theater and techniques used in SERE school are inconsistent with the obligations of U.S. personnel under the Geneva Conventions. 

Conclusion 9: Combatant Command requests for JPRA “offensive” interrogation support and U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) authorization of that support led to JPRA operating outside the agency’s charter and beyond its expertise. Only when JFCOM’s Staff Judge Advocate became aware of and raised concerns about JPRA’s support to offensive interrogation operations in late September 2003 did JFCOM leadership begin to take steps to curtail JPRA’s “offensive” activities. It was not until September 2004, however, that JFCOM issued a formal policy stating that support to offensive interrogation operations was outside JPRA’s charter.


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By cyrena, December 19, 2008 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

Louise,
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 1:26 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 8:48 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 2:00 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 11:34 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 10:25 am Link to this comment

NEWS FLASH!

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 2:51 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 5:08 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 7:24 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 9:22 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 8:44 am Link to this comment

Expat:

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.

Peace.

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By Expat, December 14, 2008 at 6:27 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 5:52 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 11:20 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.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/dec2007/cia-d10.shtml

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.

http://jonathanturley.org/2008/07/31/speaker-pelosi-declares-that-there-is-no-evidence-of-any-crime-by-president-bush/

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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 8:59 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 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Expat:

“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!

Peace.

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By 3lites, December 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real story:  Rumsfeld followed orders. 

Why?

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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 5:52 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;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KH-GG6QLAY

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By Maani, December 13, 2008 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

badlawdog:

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

LOL.

Peace.

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By badlawdog, December 13, 2008 at 11:08 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 9:49 am Link to this comment

Expat:

LOL.  As ever, the happy expatriate…LOL.

Peace.

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By Expat, December 13, 2008 at 7:37 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 7:15 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 doing.so 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 1:10 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 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

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.

Peace.

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By Louise, December 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

Maani:

“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.

~~~

nrobi,

“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 4:30 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 4:27 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 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Louise:

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.

Peace.

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By Spiritgirl, December 12, 2008 at 1:11 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 11:48 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 11:09 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.

http://www.usalone.com/hres1531.php

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 10:55 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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