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uncle ebeneezer
04-22-2009, 03:37 AM
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/66622.html

TwinSwords
04-22-2009, 07:49 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu9UwBp45Wk

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 01:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu9UwBp45Wk

Mmmmm ... smell the panic. I thought Karl Rove was going to start crying.

It was hilarious, even being on Fox, for him to try to spin this as "going after the previous administration over policy differences." That sounds like a talking point we'll be hearing quite a bit over the next few months.

I had to laugh at the inconsistency of him saying the release of the torture memos "helps our enemies" (supposedly, because this will help them train to resist various techniques) while he also calls for release of documents to show how effective specific techniques were.

Also, this at around 1:55 made me wish I could dingalink YouTube. It must be said over and over, like "teabagging:"

That may be how they do things in Chicago. But that's not how we do things in America.

Way to expand the Big Tent there, Turdblossom.

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 02:15 PM
Mmmmm ... smell the panic. I thought Karl Rove was going to start crying.

And now that I'm looking around, I'm beginning to see why.

Item: Here is a NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22detain.html) on the cluelessness of those in charge while scheming how to make torture "legal." Blurb:

Top U.S. officials involved in the adoption of brutal interrogation methods did not investigate the origins of the techniques they approved with little debate.

Item: Tim F. of Balloon Juice (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=20287) has a link (repeated here (PDF (http://armed-services.senate.gov/Publications/Detainee%20Report%20Final_April%2022%202009.pdf))) to the just-released Senate Armed Service Committee report, "Inquiry Into The Treatment Of Detainees In U.S. Custody." Tim also provides a helpful summary of the report's conclusions (nineteen of them), which may be worth looking at before diving into the whole thing.

uncle ebeneezer
04-22-2009, 02:42 PM
It would almost be funny if it weren't so utterly sad. These people are like a child that was caught stealing and the child is now trying to spin a story why it was ok for them to steal, or umm...everybody else does it, or umm...sending them to juvy hall would be bad for the household or um...dad's just taking out a personal grudge etc., etc.

I think Matt Yglesias said it best when he pointed out (paraphrase) that smashing someones face into a wall is torture. When it was done to our guys, it was immoral and reprehensible. It cuts both ways regardless of who's the smasher and who's the smashee.

The fact that Rove and his bosses didn't believe they were beholden to the restrictions of the Constitution and the treaties and agreements that America has pledged to honor, doesn't mean that they are above the law. It would be nice to see some justice finally served if only on a PR level.



PS I think Obama would look mighty cool in mirrored shades!

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 03:18 PM
PS I think Obama would look mighty cool in mirrored shades!

LOL!

Made me think of this image (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/04/nightmare-image-for-wingnuttia.html) ...

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 03:40 PM
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/66622.html

Just noticed this, from that article:

The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush's quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.

[...]

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

"There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used," the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity.

"The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

"There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people to push harder," he continued.

"Cheney's and Rumsfeld's people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn't any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies."

Senior administration officials, however, "blew that off and kept insisting that we'd overlooked something, that the interrogators weren't pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information," he said.


Links to the Senate report and related materials here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/04/more-light-shone-upon-bush.html).

Links to the Justice Dept. documents and related materials here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/04/bush-administration-torture-memos.html).

uncle ebeneezer
04-22-2009, 04:19 PM
I think Rove sounds sorta like this guy:

http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sounds/sounds_files_20081223_3107713/blues_brothers/wasnt_my_fault.wav

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 04:37 PM
I think Rove sounds sorta like this guy:

http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sounds/sounds_files_20081223_3107713/blues_brothers/wasnt_my_fault.wav

Looks like that site won't allow direct access to the WAV file. Can you give the HTML page upon which a link to it may be found?

uncle ebeneezer
04-22-2009, 05:09 PM
Wierd. All sorts of re-directs happening every other time. Try again:

http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sounds/blues_brothers.htm

click on "wasn't my fault"

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 05:11 PM
Wierd. All sorts of re-directs happening every other time. Try again:

http://www.rosswalker.co.uk/movie_sounds/blues_brothers.htm

click on "wasn't my fault"

Thanks.

Unrelated: For some reason, the "orange whip" line has always been one of my favorites.

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 05:13 PM
... the just-released Senate Armed Service Committee report, "Inquiry Into The Treatment Of Detainees In U.S. Custody." ...

If you read nothing else from the report (PDF (http://armed-services.senate.gov/Publications/Detainee%20Report%20Final_April%2022%202009.pdf)), read this:

The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product of the Committee's inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about.

uncle ebeneezer
04-22-2009, 06:00 PM
This is pretty good too:

http://www.slate.com/id/2216601/

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 06:52 PM
This is pretty good too:

http://www.slate.com/id/2216601/

It is just pathetic that the Bushies are trying to resurrect this one. It was debunked (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1158467,00.html) years (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4697896.stm) ago (http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/bush-seizes-on-alqaeda-plot-to-hit-los-angeles/2006/02/10/1139542403036.html).

Good for Tim Noah for cutting right to the heart of it:

These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell (http://articles.latimes.com/p/2005/oct/08/nation/na-terror8) the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003 (http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/rendition701/timeline/timeline_2.html).

bjkeefe
04-22-2009, 07:31 PM
This is pretty good too:

http://www.slate.com/id/2216601/

Also good: The WaPo's Dan Froomkin (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/white-house-watch/torture/call-cheneys-bluff.html) has a post up on the more general spinning efforts, with a number of useful links debunking the claims that the Bushies have been making ever since their "we don't torture" talking point was revealed for the lie that it was. His conclusion:

There is something crazy about arguing over whether torture works or not. After all, it really doesn't matter, if you believe that torture is never justified. But since at least early last year (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/02/07/BL2008020701681.html), the main defense of the Bush apologists has been to argue that the ends justified the means. And you can't just leave their assertions unaddressed.

TwinSwords
04-23-2009, 01:00 AM
I think Atrios's "false confessions" interpretation is probably correct:

The Purpose Of Torture

Aside from providing an outlet for sadists is, of course, to extract false confessions.

[snip]

Thanks, Oh Wise Men Of Washington. It's always a bit traumatic remembering those crazy days of 2002 when only stupid dirty fucking hippie bloggers thought invading Iraq was a bit of a bad idea.

-Atrios 08:48

And:

Only Liars And Idiots

The Saddam-al Qaeda-9/11 connection was always transparently false. It was an obvious fabrication. I don't know if all involved with torturing the shit of people knew that, but certainly the people pushing for the "information" did. So false confessions were, you know, what they were looking for.

Thanks Oh Wise Men Of Washington.

-Atrios 11:27

bjkeefe
04-23-2009, 04:45 AM
I think Atrios's "false confessions" interpretation is probably correct:

And:

Agreed. Also, some of what he linked to (http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2009/04/22/torturing-the-al-qaeda-iraq-connection/) from the post that you quoted (http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/04/only-liars-and-idiots.html) is worth repeating, since I don't know if he saw this part:

UPDATE Early last year, Rand Beers -- a former NSC counterterrorism adviser who resigned over the Iraq war (http://www.globalissues.org/article/421/top-white-house-anti-terror-boss-resigns), which he correctly predicted would be disastrous for America's security -- reflected (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2008/0801.beers.html) on the case of Al Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/09/politics/09intel.html), who provided -- under torture -- "evidence" of an Iraq-Al Qaeda connection (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2008/0801.beers.html):

Al-Libi's testimony was used by the Bush administration to substantiate its allegations that Iraq was prepared to provide al-Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction, in January 2004, al-Libi recanted his confession. He said that he had invented the information because he was afraid of being further abused by his interrogators.[...]

The administration's best case for the value of enhanced interrogation techniques, then, turned out to have been fundamentally flawed. If the consequences of torture are as catastrophic as embarking upon the Iraq War on the basis of fabricated information, [B]it emasculates the claims by torture's defenders that the practice saves lives.

Bright spot at the end, though:

Beers has been nominated (http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1239207536374.shtm) as Under-Secretary for National Protection and Programs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security.

bjkeefe
04-24-2009, 01:17 PM
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/66622.html

Good early call on this article, uncle eb. I've probably seen links to it in a dozen times around the Web since you started this thread.

Here's the most recent reaction I've come across:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

Can you guess who said it?

Hint: The title of the referring post is "Appropriately Shrill (http://rising-hegemon.blogspot.com/2009/04/appropriately-shrill.html)."

(answer (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/grand-unified-scandal/))

bjkeefe
04-27-2009, 08:45 AM
Another torture document comes to light. WaPo article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042403171.html?hpid=topnews). Document itself (two-page PDF (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/pdf/JPRA-Memo_042409.pdf)). Excerpts from both, plus my blatherings (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2009/04/another-official-torture-document-comes.html).

Short version: This is an attachment from a memo written by the branch of the military that does SERE training. It recommends against torture (uses the word explicitly, numerous times) on operational grounds. Unclear how far up the food chain it went, but people are denying that other (top) people ever saw it. It's a piece of the puzzle, and worth a look.

uncle ebeneezer
04-27-2009, 04:26 PM
Nice. Great post/link.

I think this part needs to be shouted from the rooftops (whether Jeff likes it or not ;-)

As noted previously, upwards of 90 percent of interrogations have been successful through the exclusive use of a direct approach, where a degree of rapport is established with the prisoner. Once any means of duress has been purposefully applied to the prisoner, the formerly cooperative relationship can not be reestablished. In addition, the prisoner's level of resolve to resist cooperating with the interrogator will likely be increased as a result of harsh or brutal treatment.

For skilled interrogators, the observation of subtle nonverbal behaviors provides an invaluable assessment of the prisoner's psychological and emotional state. This offers important insights into how the prisoner can be most effectively leveraged into compliance. Further, it often enables the interrogator to form a reasonably accurate assessment of the prisoner's veracity in answering pertinent questions. The prisoner's physical response to the pain inflicted by an interrogator would obliterate such nuance and deprive the interrogator of these key tools.