US Torture Report, Spring 2009

Links to US torture reports:

The New York Times

Knowlton, Brian. 2009. “Report gives new detail on approval of brutal techniques.” New York Times, April 22.

Shane, Scott and Mark Mazzetti. 2009. “In adopting harsh tactics, no inquiry into their past.” New York Times, April 22.

Shane, Scott. 2009. “2 suspects waterboarded 266 times.” New York Times, April 20.

The editors. 2009. “The torturers’ manifesto.” New York Times, April 18.

Danner, Mark. 2009. “Tales from torture’s dark world.” The New York Times, March 14.

Krugman, Paul. 2009. “Reclaiming America’s soul.” The New York Times, April 23.

Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald, Glenn. 2009. “The NYT’s definition of blinding American exceptionalism.” Salon.com, May 8. In which Greenwald points out that the American press calls all non-American-based torture by its name.

“(U)sing the editorial standards of America’s journalistic institutions — as explained recently by the NYT Public Editor — shouldn’t this (non-US-based torture) be called ‘torture’ rather than torture — or ‘harsh tactics some critics decry as torture’? Why are the much less brutal methods used by the Chinese on Fischer called torture by the NYT, whereas much harsher methods used by Americans do not merit that term? Here we find what is clearly the single most predominant fact shaping our political and media discourse: everything is different, and better, when we do it. In fact, it is that exact mentality that was and continues to be the primary justification for our torture regime and so much else that we do.”

How the US Tortures


In this article Mark Danner reports on US torture. Data from the ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross. 43 pp., February 2007.

B-Team, Sucking As Well: Part I

Thanks to the US’s crappy winner-take-all political system, we have 1.5 parties. Recently, the B-Team was put in charge of the Executive, despite the fact that the US has been successfully converted into a feudal cesspool.

Here is a short list of the shit that the Obama admin has done so far (March 2009) that reminds us of nothing more than the Bush regime:

1) Licked the hairy fat ass of the Likud West: Freeman blackballed from an intelligence post, see “The Freeman Affair” post below. Comment: That’s all right. The more they prevent intelligent people who speak some truth to work for US intelligence, the more lying yes-men they’ll give the jobs to, and the faster the US will implode, which seems to be the trend anyway.

2) The Obama Justice Department is scurrying to prevent torture victims of the Bush regime from seeking justice. What a relief: Tyranny continues unabated. No doubt Americans are really secure now. Especially the jackasses who run the country like it’s their own personal commode.

This list will lengthen. I just want to have a record of how naive I was at the beginning of the Obama administration.

CIA Destroys Recordings of Torture

CIA destroyed interrogation tapes

The CIA destroyed the tapes when being scrutinised over secret prisons
The CIA has confirmed that it destroyed at least two video tapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects.
According to the intelligence agency, the tapes were destroyed to protect the identity of CIA agents and because they no longer had intelligence value.

But civil liberties lawyers have refused to accept this, saying the CIA previously denied such tapes existed.

They say the move appears to be an attempt to destroy evidence that could have brought CIA agents to account.

The New York Times, which broke the story, quotes current and former government officials as saying the CIA destroyed the tapes in 2005 as it faced Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention programme.

Officials feared the tapes could have raised doubts about the legality of the CIA’s techniques, the newspaper says.

The tapes are thought to have shown the interrogation in 2002 of a number of terror suspects, including Abu Zubaydah, who had been a chief recruiter for the al-Qaeda network.

INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES
Water boarding: prisoner bound to a board with feet raised, and cellophane wrapped round his head. Water is poured onto his face and is said to produce a fear of drowning
Cold cell: prisoner made to stand naked in a cold, though not freezing, cell and doused with water
Standing: Prisoners stand for 40 hours and more, shackled to the floor
Belly slap: a hard slap to the stomach with an open hand. This is designed to be painful but not to cause injury

Source: ABC News

The videos were, according to the New York Times, wiped in 2005, at the time the agency was being scrutinised about its secret detention programme.

The Associated Press news agency on Thursday obtained a letter sent to all CIA employees by the agency’s current director, Michael Hayden, explaining why the footage was destroyed.

In the internal memo, Gen Hayden told staff that the CIA had begun taping interrogations as an internal check in 2002 and decided to delete the videos because they lacked any “legal or internal reason” to keep them.

According to AP, the CIA chief wrote to employees: “The tapes posed a serious security risk.

“Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the programme, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

‘Troubling’

The CIA acknowledges that these early interrogations were harsh, but Gen Hayden says that the CIA’s internal watchdogs saw the tapes in 2003 and verified that the techniques used were legal.

But Senate judiciary committee chairman Patrick Leahy said the tapes’ destruction was troubling.

The damage is compounded when such actions are hidden away from accountability
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman

Send us your comments

“The damage is compounded when such actions are hidden away from accountability,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the agency of showing an utter disregard for the law.

“The destruction of these tapes appears to be a part of an extensive, long-term pattern of misusing executive authority to insulate individuals from criminal prosecution for torture and abuse,” an ACLU statement said.

The BBC’s Jonathan Beale in Washington says the news is likely to trigger more questions about the interrogation techniques used by the CIA and whether they amounted to torture.

There are also questions over whether CIA agents withheld information from the courts and a presidential commission.

The CIA’s failure to make the tapes available to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the 9/11 Commission could amount to obstruction of justice, according to the New York Times.

Lawyers in the Moussaoui trial and officials from the 9/11 Commission had both requested from the CIA details of any relevant interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects.

Michael Hayden wrote to all CIA employees about the tapes

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, President George W Bush authorised the use of “harsh techniques” in the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

According to our correspondent, those techniques are alleged to have included water-boarding, a method in which a suspect is held down and gagged while water is poured into his mouth in order to simulate drowning.

Human rights groups say that water-boarding – and other techniques allegedly used by the CIA – can be defined as torture under various international treaties to which the US is a signatory.

The Bush administration has always maintained that it does not allow the use of torture.

a society based on laws?

US legal precedence for indefinite detention, military tribunals, and torture is based on rulings from the 1940s:

Korematsu: The Court ruled that Americans of Japanese ethnicity can be imprisoned in interment camps.

Korematsu was based on:

Quinin: Which created the power of the executive to establish military tribunals.

The legal precedence for Quinin?
There was no legal precedence in US law.
So the Court based Quinin on the Divine Right of Henry III, King of England.

Thus, the legality of military tribunals in the U.S. is based on the Divine Right of Kings.
In other words, military tribunals are based on: lawless tyranny.

Beautiful. What do you get when you mix tyranny with inequality with massive wealth and power?
Get. Me. Out. of. Here.

Absolute Corruption

The citation for the NYTimes story on the limited, censored release of CIA FoI documents in 2007, RE: the CIA attempts to assassinate Castro, as well as domestic spying, torture, and CIA-mafia connections, from the 1960s and early 1970s:

Mazzetti, Mark and Tim Weiner. 2007. “Files on illegal spying show C.I.A. skeletons from Cold War.” The New York Times, June 27.

the crappy crappiness of the world

OK, I’ve tried to responsibly modify the article below as it originally contained US Spite Department propaganda and zero analysis based on the voluminous data on Republican, neocon, oil & defense robber barons, and Bush regime behavior patterns. I think I was successful.

Get a load of neocon lawyer asshole Bellinger’s total mouthful of unfiltered bile at the bottom of Cornwell’s article. I’m convinced the neocons just sit around in a war/frat room, getting drunk, sportingly brainstorming improbably, classically official phrases that are utterly unrelated to their pustulent, pestilent efforts to shittify the world, for the simple purpose of trying to drop as many incredulous jaws as possible. No one’s come up with a better idea than fuckin Lawyer to the Cunts Alberto Gonzalez? Holy shit. My cat comes up with a million better ideas every day, and she died in October. How about this: What we do with the really dangerous terrorist suspects, as opposed to the hundreds of imprisoned victims of US feudo-capitalist state tyranny, is we put them in a cage with the neocons and a pile of tire irons. That is the BEST idea ever. I mean, even if they did fight–which I have my doubts about since Middle Eastern “terrorists” (the currently fashionable phrase; formerly “freedom fighters”) were all trained by their buddies in the CIA and their bosses are oil family friends of the Bushes, but let’s say by now they’re bitter–if they did fight, we know Dick Cheney would be the last “man” standing, because he is the earthly manifestation of the Lord of Flies, and that’s a big advantage; but still you would cull out a lot of vicious assholes.

Sigrunn.

“Gitmo’s days are numbered:U.S. moves closer to shuttering controversial prison for terror suspects”
By Rupert Cornwell
The Independent, London
(Jun 23, 2007)

The Bush regime is moving closer to shutting down its bitterly-criticized not-so-secret prison at Guantanamo Bay, but the process is being held up by neocon disdain for human life, and logistics about how to continue to muzzle many of the 370 inmates who remain at the prison, at a U.S. base imposed upon Cuba.

Although the Bush regime likes to act like they are completely unaccountable, the pressures to remove what has become a global embarrassment for the U.S. are now well-nigh irresistible.

“President” Bush the Younger and both Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice, the Secretaries of Aggression and Spite, have reluctantly indicated that they may close Gitmo, a highly visible icon of neocon corruption and evil, and transfer the imprisoned to be tortured elsewhere, somewhere less visible, possibly within the U.S., since law doesn’t apply here either.

Only last Sunday General Colin Powell, Secretary of State when the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay in January 2002, said he thought the facility should be closed and the prisoners moved to jails on the U.S. mainland.

On Capitol Hill, political discourses are circulating upon the topic of the prison’s closure, not only by Democrats but also by several leading Republicans.

Guantanamo was not merely a problem but “an international disgrace that every day continues to sully this great nation’s reputation,” Steny Hoyer, majority leader and the second ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, said this week. As the outrage has grown (? Who are these people who take years to notice this kind of horror?), U.S. officials increasingly find that when they try to negotiate for U.S. capital around the world, their moralistic arguments are undercut by people with a pulse who point to how prisoners have been held by the U.S. at the prison for up to five years or more without charge, effectively incommunicado and without the right of habeas corpus.

No fucking shit.

Only last year did legal action finally force the Pentagon to release a list of names and nationality of those detained. But four more suicides in the last 12 months alone, and years of reports of inhumane treatment, religious abuse and harsh interrogation techniques, have sealed Guantanamo’s reputation as a place of despair, where the normal requirements of the law and international conventions do not apply. Kind of like the entire neoliberal/neocon world, but even worse.

U.S. officials say the obstacles to simply shutting it down are practical: persuading other countries to take those inmates — 75 or so — who have been cleared for release, and imprisoning them in secret prisons in those countries. Finding enough space in secure military jails within the U.S., since the millions of U.S. prisons that have been erected due to neoliberal policy are really focused on extracting slave labor out of young black men. One possibility is the U.S. army jail at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Another is the U.S. Navy brig at Charleston, South Carolina, where Jose Padilla, U.S. citizen was held without trial or proper representation for three and a half years, before those charges were effectively dropped. But even at the brig, room exists only for some 200 prisoners at most, it is claimed. “These steps have not been completed and no decisions are imminent,” a National Security Council spokesman said, buying time and, inexplicably, laying down the argument for even more tax money for the bottomless pit that is the military and secret police and Halliburton.

Vice-President Dick Cheney, backed this time by the Justice Debasement and the Debasement of Homereich Security, are fighting to keep Gitmo a hideous reality.

Attorney General and Cunt Lawyer to the Cunt Stars Alberto Gonzales, the man who as President Bush’s first White House counsel, was largely responsible for devising the “enemy combatant” status conferred on the prisoners, among other crass psuedo-legal constructs only viable in a despotic feudal aristocracy, argues that to bring the detainees to the mainland would merely lead to a new flood of habeas corpus cases. Oh, shit. Law again. How bothersome for the princes. For their part, Homereich Security officials attempt to make like they are doing a socially-necessary job.

In testimony on Capitol Hill this week, John Bellinger, the State Department’s top lawyer-cunt complained that although critics in the U.S. and abroad were urging the prison’s immediate shut down, they had offered “no credible alternatives for dealing with the dangerous individuals detained there.”