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UN top torture investigator lashes out at Obama


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UN top torture investigator lashes out at Obama

20 April, 2009, 13:18

Russian Today

http://www.russiatoday.ru/Top_News/2009-04...t_at_Obama.html

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak has said that it is illegal for Barack Obama’s administration not to prosecute CIA officers who carried out torture sanctioned by the Bush administration.

It follows the release a few weeks back of Bush-era memos showing the sanctioning of interrogation methods like simulated drowning, sleep deprivation and forcing prisoners into stress positions.

Nowak insists that the US must try those who had been carrying out harsh interrogation techniques. He says the US is among the countries who have signed the UN Convention Against Torture and every country that signs this international document has to abide by it. If not, this can be seen as a breach of international law which could have negative consequences for the already tarnished American image.

“The United States, like all other states that are part of the UN Convention Against Torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court,” the expert told the Austrian daily Der Standard.

Now the UN torture investigator has said that the US should be committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bring in all the evidence to court.

It is important, he says, that even though some officers claim they were simply carrying out orders, this should not release them from accountability.

Manfred Nowak has said that an independent investigation should be carried out and the victims should be compensated.

Whether or not these calls will be heard at the White House remains to be seen. Nowak now plans to travel to Washington for a range of meetings with American officials.

American President Barack Obama has said that those CIA officers who were simply carrying out orders of the Bush administration should not be prosecuted and added that nothing would be gained by spending time and energy laying blame for the past.

On the other hand, the media, Internet blogs and human rights organizations have been saying that Barack Obama, during his election campaign, promised transparency and accountability. He has shown transparency when he exposed the Bush memos to the public, but accountability is something the American public has yet to see.

Nowak is not the first to criticise Obama's decision to protect CIA interrogators. Earlier, different human rights groups have voiced their concerns over the decision, saying charges are necessary to prevent future abuses and hold people accountable.

Washington, however, is unlikely to face any legal sanctions for its apparent breach of international law, but “naming and shaming has its impact and usually governments try not to be criticized,” Nowak added.

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Guest Stephen Turner
American President Barack Obama has said that those CIA officers who were simply carrying out orders of the Bush administration should not be prosecuted and added that nothing would be gained by spending time and energy laying blame for the past.

Now, just where have I heard that particular justification before?

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Now if we could only get Cheney to request the Joannides documents. - BK

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9042403645.html

Cheney Requests Release of 2 CIA Reports on Interrogations

By Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney is asking for the release of two CIA reports in his bid to marshal evidence that coercive interrogation tactics such as waterboarding helped thwart terrorist plots, according to documents released yesterday by the National Archives and Records Administration.Cheney's request was submitted March 31, more than two weeks before President Obama decided to release four "top secret" memos in which Bush administration lawyers sanctioned harsh tactics for questioning prisoners.

The release of the memos has renewed a fiery debate over whether former senior Bush officials should be the targets of criminal investigations into whether they violated U.S. and international laws prohibiting torture. Obama said this week that his administration has not ruled out prosecuting senior lawyers and others responsible for allowing the harsh tactics, but he said he opposes a special "truth commission" favored by some lawmakers.

Cheney who has emerged as an outspoken critic of Obama's national security policies, said in an interview on Fox News this week that he had asked for the release of documents that "lay out what we learned through the interrogation process" and how it saved U.S. lives.

The request applies to CIA reports issued on July 13, 2004, and June 1, 2005, that were held in a file marked "detainees" inside the office of the vice president, according to archives documents. Cheney's initial request said the reports were eight and 13 pages long, respectively; archives staff determined they are 12 and 19 pages long, including attachments.

said the reports were eight and 13 pages long, respectively; archives staff determined they are 12 and 19 pages long, including attachments.

Stephannie Oriabure, a presidential archivist, wrote in an April 8 letter to Cheney that the documents require "an agency review" before they can be released.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the review will take "up to about three weeks' time."

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project, said Cheney is attempting to "cherry-pick" intelligence to support his argument in favor of coercive interrogation tactics. "If we really wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of the CIA's interrogation program, we have to look at more than two small documents," he said.

The Obama administration is wrestling with how much material to release related to harsh interrogations, in part because of ongoing lawsuits demanding disclosures. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told Congress he would not "play hide and seek" with documents and would strive to release as many records about interrogations as possible.

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Guest Tom Scully
Now if we could only get Cheney to request the Joannides documents. - BK

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9042403645.html

Cheney Requests Release of 2 CIA Reports on Interrogations

By Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Former vice president Richard B. Cheney is asking for the release of two CIA reports in his bid to marshal evidence that coercive interrogation tactics such as waterboarding helped thwart terrorist plots, according to documents released yesterday by the National Archives and Records Administration....

Bill,

Why settle for Cheney attempting to support the people's right to know, when Bush seems easily pesuaded to lobby Obama to release the still classfied JFK-Oswald-Ruby goverment files?

“It’s important for people to understand that in a democracy, there will be a full investigation. In other words, we want to know the truth. In our country, when there’s an allegation of abuse … there will be a full investigation, and justice will be delivered. … It’s very important for people and your listeners to understand that in our country, when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act. And we act in a way in which leaders are willing to discuss it with the media. … In other words, people want to know the truth. That stands in contrast to dictatorships. A dictator wouldn’t be answering questions about this. A dictator wouldn’t be saying that the system will be investigated and the world will see the results of the investigation.”

George W. Bush

This has been a hypocrisy minute....now back to our regularly scheduled.....

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/66895.html#none

...The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks....

Cheney offers excuses for "policies" that have been shown to have yielded "intelligence" used as the basis for justification of an otherwise avoidable (unnecessary) war, and for the complication of the prosecution of the person originally convicted for the murfer of WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl, in 2002.

It's obvious that extemists such as Cheney, et al, are the gravest threat to the national security of the United States.

Cheney should be arrested and tried for orchestrating and ordering the commisssion of crimes against humanity and against the peace:

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/04/...ties/#more-4033

....I want to make a point about the timing of the decision to torture Abu Zubaydah.

At least according to the Senate narrative, they started discussing torture plans for Abu Zubaydah after February 22, 2002--when DIA first questioned Ibn Sheikh al-Libi's claim of a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda that derived from torture. And they signed the Bybee Memo the day after the second DIA report questioning al-Libi's Iraq-al Qaeda ties.

The intelligence reports from al-Libi's torture, of course, were used (in spite of DIA doubts about them) as a central claim in Colin Powell's speech to the UN a year later. http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/05/sprj.irq....t.09/index.html

I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al Qaeda.

Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it.

This senior al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of al Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan.

His information comes firsthand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan, deceased al Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef, did not believe that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq.

The support that (inaudible) describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.

In other words, they were getting false information from torture--the false information they would use to bring us to war with Iraq--at the same time as they were devising their plan to torture Abu Zubaydah.

Here's an excerpt of the full timeline.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14282

http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/04...out_torture.php

Lies About Torture

Posted on: April 21, 2009 9:16 AM, by Ed Brayton

Let's compare a few statements from CIA operatives to the information found in memos released last week on torture during the Bush administration. On the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, we were assured in the media several times by CIA sources who refused to give their names that KSM had cracked immediately while being waterboarded and that he had given up lots of useful information that helped combat terrorism. One told the New Yorker:

"Waterboarding works," the former officer said. "Drowning is a baseline fear. So is falling. People dream about it. It's human nature. Suffocation is a very scary thing. When you're waterboarded, you're inverted, so it exacerbates the fear. It's not painful, but it scares the xxxx out of you." (The former officer was waterboarded himself in a training course.) Mohammed, he claimed, "didn't resist. He sang right away. He cracked real quick." He said, "A lot of them want to talk. Their egos are unimaginable. K.S.M. was just a little doughboy. He couldn't stand toe to toe and fight it out."

Not only had KSM cracked immediately, but the others did so even more quickly. KSM had been the most successful at resisting the waterboard, enduring it for a full minute and a half before cracking, as another CIA official told ABC News:

Its most effective use, say current and former CIA officials, was in breaking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as KSM, who subsequently confessed to a number of ongoing plots against the United States.

A senior CIA official said KSM later admitted it was only because of the waterboarding that he talked.

Ultimately, KSM took responsibility for the 9/ll attacks and virtually all other al Qaeda terror strikes, including the beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

"KSM lasted the longest under waterboarding, about a minute and a half, but once he broke, it never had to be used again," said a former CIA official familiar with KSM's case.

This former CIA official was lying through his teeth. One of the memos released last week, written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury, cites a report by the CIA's Inspector General as saying that they used waterboarding on KSM a whopping 183 times in a single month:

The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

And as the New Yorker article notes, among the crimes KSM "admitted" under such torture techniques were crimes he almost certainly did not commit, including the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl. And not only did that false information not help catch other terrorists,

Further confusing matters, a Pakistani named Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh had already been convicted of the abduction and murder, in 2002. A British-educated terrorist who had a history of staging kidnappings, he had been sentenced to death in Pakistan for the crime. But the Pakistani government, not known for its leniency, had stayed his execution. Indeed, hearings on the matter had been delayed a remarkable number of times--at least thirty--possibly because of his reported ties to the Pakistani intelligence service, which may have helped free him after he was imprisoned for terrorist activities in India. Mohammed's confession would delay the execution further, since, under Pakistani law, any new evidence is grounds for appeal.

A surprising number of people close to the case are dubious of Mohammed's confession. A longtime friend of Pearl's, the former Journal reporter Asra Nomani, said, "The release of the confession came right in the midst of the U.S. Attorney scandal. There was a drumbeat for Gonzales's resignation. It seemed like a calculated strategy to change the subject. Why now? They'd had the confession for years." Mariane and Daniel Pearl were staying in Nomani's Karachi house at the time of his murder, and Nomani has followed the case meticulously; this fall, she plans to teach a course on the topic at Georgetown University. She said, "I don't think this confession resolves the case. You can't have justice from one person's confession, especially under such unusual circumstances. To me, it's not convincing." She added, "I called all the investigators. They weren't just skeptical--they didn't believe it."

Special Agent Randall Bennett, the head of security for the U.S. consulate in Karachi when Pearl was killed--and whose lead role investigating the murder was featured in the recent film "A Mighty Heart"--said that he has interviewed all the convicted accomplices who are now in custody in Pakistan, and that none of them named Mohammed as playing a role. "K.S.M.'s name never came up," he said. Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. officer, said, "My old colleagues say with one-hundred-per-cent certainty that it was not K.S.M. who killed Pearl." A government official involved in the case said, "The fear is that K.S.M. is covering up for others, and that these people will be released." And Judea Pearl, Daniel's father, said, "Something is fishy. There are a lot of unanswered questions. K.S.M. can say he killed Jesus--he has nothing to lose."

So rather than helping catch other terrorists, it actually hindered the ability to imprison the real people who killed Pearl. In fact, by claiming to have been the one who carried out a whole range of attacks around the world, KSM could well have been protecting the people who really did commit those crimes.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/4/24/72...Torture-Chamber

They Added a Tracheotomy Kit to the Torture Chamber

Close reading of these memos shows that:

1. The CIA misled the OLC about the harmlessness of waterboarding.

2. The waterboarding actually used on detainees fit the 2002 OLC definition of torture.

3. When the 2002 memos were rescinded, the OLC simply redefined torture to allow the waterboarding that fit the previous definition of torture.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/23/liz-cheney-torture-sere/

Liz Cheney Claims Waterboading Isn’t Torture Because Similar Tactics Were Used In SERE Training

On Monday, Time's Michael Scherer and Bobby Ghosh noted that a CIA inspector general report had found that the waterboarding used on detainees "was significantly different from that used in the SERE program": http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,...1892708,00.html

Finally, there is no credible way that Cheney can claim that trainees undergoing waterboarding during SERE training had it applied to them with "the frequency and intensity with which it was used" on detainees. As Marcy Wheeler pointed out, one of the released memos revealed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

Edited by Tom Scully
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