Have we forgotten that Bush and Cheney have literally gotten away with murder? In addition to them basically destroying civil rights they also took us into a permanent war that is still killing our men and women each day.
This guy is just saying what many said years ago but their crimes obviously have been swept under the rug by both Dems and Republicans.
via Huff Post
What President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantánamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the constitution was blatantly unconstitutional — and in some cases criminal,” Napolitano said. “They should have been indicted.
via Telegraph UK
Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg will take the starring role in a new computer game based on life at the prison camp. Begg, from Birmingham, was captured by the CIA and thrown in jail at Guantanamo Bay in 2003.
The 41-year-old, who was released in 2005, will now feature as himself in the game for Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
In the game, players control a detainee at the camp, which has been sold by the US Government to a shadowy agency called Freedom Corp.
Before he is subjected to torture and scientific experiments, the character must shoot his way out of the detention camp to bring down his captors.
Moazzam, who has a financial stake in the game, said he has not yet received any money from the producers.
He said: “The software firm approached me with this idea about making a game based on my experience in Guantanamo.
“My first response was hesitation – I was worried that it might trivialise my experience. Continue reading
Obama makes his case against Cheney and his lopsided policies on 60 Minutes. It is refreshing seeing him respond to the shots that Cheney has been taking at his cuz, trying to undermine his administration and Obama’s reluctance to openly support terror torture. Take that, take that!!
via Washington Post
Days after telling students at Stanford University that waterboarding was legal “by definition if it was authorized by the president,” former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was pressed again on the subject yesterday by a fourth-grader at a Washington school.
Rice, in her first appearance in Washington since leaving government, was at the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital before giving an evening lecture at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. She held forth amiably before a few dozen students about her love of Israel, travel abroad and the importance of learning languages, then opened the floor to their questions.
The questions had been developed beforehand by students with their teachers and had not been screened by Rice. At first, they were innocuous: What was it like growing up in segregated Birmingham, Ala.? What skill did she want to be best known for?
Then Misha Lerner, a student from Bethesda, asked: What did Rice think about the things President Obama’s administration was saying about the methods the Bush administration had used to get information from detainees?
Rice took the question in stride. saying that she was reluctant to criticize Obama, then getting to the heart of the matter.
“Let me just say that President Bush was very clear that he wanted to do everything he could to protect the country. After September 11, we wanted to protect the country,” she said. “But he was also very clear that we would do nothing, nothing, that was against the law or against our obligations internationally. So the president was only willing to authorize policies that were legal in order to protect the country.”
She added: “I hope you understand that it was a very difficult time. We were all so terrified of another attack on the country. September 11 was the worst day of my life in government, watching 3,000 Americans die. . . . Even under those most difficult circumstances, the president was not prepared to do something illegal, and I hope people understand that we were trying to protect the country.” Continue reading
“My soul cries from all that I witnessed and endured. It does more than cry, it mourns continuously,” said Black Panther Robert Hillary King, following his release from the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 2001, after serving his last 29 years in continuous solitary confinement. King argues that slavery persists in Angola and other U.S. prisons, citing the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which legalizes slavery in prisons as “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” King says: “You can be legally incarcerated but morally innocent.”
Robert King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace are known as the “Angola Three,” a trio of political prisoners whose supporters include Amnesty International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressman John Conyers, and the ACLU. Kgalema Mothlante, the President of South Africa says their case “has the potential of laying bare, exposing the shortcomings, in the entire U.S. system.” Woodfox and Wallace are the two co-founders of the Angola chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) — the only official prison chapter of the BPP. Both convicted in the highly contested stabbing death of white prison guard Brent Miller, Woodfox and Wallace have now spent over 36 years in solitary confinement. Continue reading
via NY Times
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Thursday made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted.
In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — like keeping detainees awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears.
The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons. The techniques were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and the documents released Thursday afternoon were the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the program.
Some senior Obama administration officials, including Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., have labeled one of the 14 approved techniques, waterboarding, illegal torture. The United States prosecuted some Japanese interrogators at war crimes trials after World War II for waterboarding and other methods detailed in the memos.
The release of the documents came after a bitter debate that divided the Obama administration, with the C.I.A. opposing the Justice Department’s proposal to air the details of the agency’s long-secret program. Fueling the urgency of the discussion was Thursday’s court deadline in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sued the government for the release of the Justice Department memos. Continue reading
via Washington Times
President Barack Obama‘s campaign theme should have been, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
The personality-driven media has juxtaposed Mr. Obama’s pledge to clean the nation’s Augean Stables of rich lobbyists and insiders who profited on special access to the corridors of power; and, his appointments or nominations of delinquent taxpayers to his Cabinet (with jurisdiction over the Internal Revenue Service), and appointment of a mega-lobbyist for a defense contractor as deputy secretary of defense.
But Mr. Obama’s more alarming betrayal concerns the imperial powers of his office, which he inherited from the Bush-Cheney duumvirate. He has either embraced or acquiesced in every one of their usurpations or abuses (some perpetrated with congressional collaboration).
Then-Sen. Obama had assailed the Bush-Cheney invocation of the non-constitutional state secrets privilege to block litigation by victims of egregious constitutional violations seeking damages from the wrongdoers. The case of Binyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian native, is exemplary. He sued a subsidiary of Boeing for arranging flights to execute the Bush-Cheney “extraordinary rendition” program. It entails kidnapping terrorism suspects based on the president’s say-so alone and transporting them to other countries for torture. Mr. Mohammed alleged that after his kidnap and transport to Morocco, “he was routinely beaten, suffering broken bones and, on occasion, loss of consciousness. His clothes were cut off with a scalpel and the same scalpel was then used to make incisions on his body, including his penis. A hot stinging liquid was then poured into open wounds on his penis where he had been cut. He was frequently threatened with rape, electrocution and death.” United States laws make torture a criminal offense irrespective of the nationality of the violator or the place of the crime.
Last week before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, President Obama echoed the position of Bush-Cheney that the state secrets privilege required dismissal of Mr. Mohammed’s suit. In other words, individual constitutional rights of the highest order should be sacrificed on the altar of national security. At the same time, Mr. Obama was deciding to defend the arch-defender of torture, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, from a suit brought by Jose Padilla. The complaint alleges that Mr. Yoo concocted the legal justification for detaining and harshly interrogating Padilla as an “enemy combatant” without accusation or trial. (The United States later recanted its enemy combatant allegation). Continue reading
Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.
Neely’s comprehensive account runs to roughly 15,000 words. It was compiled by law students at the University of California at Davis and can be accessed here. Three things struck me in reading through the account.
First, Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. military’s traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety, and, as any person familiar with the vast psychological literature in the area (think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, for instance) would have anticipated produced abuses. Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison. Continue reading
Mr. President, give the people what they want!
via USA Today
WASHINGTON — Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the “war on terror” broke the law.
Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.
Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither. Continue reading
On Monday in San Francisco, attorneys representing the Obama administration did what many of the president’s supporters would have considered unthinkable on election day: they arrived in a federal courtroom and defended one of the most controversial practices of the Bush administration.
“Eric Holder’s Justice Department stood up in court today and said that it would continue the Bush policy of invoking state secrets to hide the reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations committed by the American government,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said in an impassioned statement. “This is not change. This is definitely more of the same.”
The case was Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen Dataplan, a lawsuit originally brought in 2007 by the ACLU on behalf of five victims of extraordinary rendition, the notorious CIA program in which terror suspects are kidnapped, thrown on a plane and flown to another country to be tortured and interrogated.
Jeppesen Dataplan, a subsidiary of Boeing, is said to have provided the logistical support for the rendition of all five plaintiffs, among them, Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian national who, in July 2002, was taken from Pakistan to Morocco, where for 18 months he was imprisoned and brutally tortured, including being cut with razorblades on his testicles. Mohamed was later sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he supposedly awaits imminent plans for his release. He has never stood trial.
Under Bush, the ACLU’s lawsuit was thrown out multiple times on “state secrets” grounds — a bogus excuse according to human rights lawyers who have long argued that the real goal was to keep evidence of the sort of torture endured by Mohamed away from a courtroom. Continue reading
Credit where credit is due. The TV show “24” is probably the most significant piece of political drama in the last decade.
On one hand, it is very likely that Barack Obama got elected because America had already had a serious black presidential candidate (one season) and two black presidents (one season each). And he was always the most decent guy in the room. Often, the only decent guy in the room. Just like Obama.
On the other hand, there’s torture.
* Terrorists are going to nuke Los Angeles in three hours.
* Agent Jack Bauer has a suspect who knows where the bomb is.
* If Jack Bauer tortures the suspect, he can force him to say where it is, get there in 2 hours and 59 minutes, stop the bomb, and save 10 million people. Continue reading
I’ve said from day one this this dude is a natural born comedian, but please don’t pity the fool! Its either an unrivaled swag factor or pure ignorance that allows Dubya to arrogantly get up there and defiantly thumb his nose at his critics. As his reign of terror winds down (yeah right!) he is starting to let up, open up and give reporters some insite into just how cleverly devious he can be. As he exits office without reprimand, he seems confident knowing that there will be no future prosecution of his “war crimes.” This joker had the nerve to say he handled Katrina with dignity, instead of apologizing to those people who were left to die in the N-O. This cowboy seems to be determined going out shooting, I just hope someone has enough balls to bust back.
via LA Times
More than seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States is only beginning to chart long-term strategies for dealing with detainees: “How we apprehend them. Where they go. What process they go through,” Harman said. “The expectation of the Obama administration is that they are going to bring this into the sunlight.”
At the same time, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said there were other components of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism apparatus that the Obama team might find difficult to dismantle, if not enthusiastically embrace.
Among them are overseas prison facilities that are operated by the CIA — and currently not accessible to Red Cross monitors — as well as the use of unmanned Predator drones to fire missiles at suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban compounds in Pakistan, strikes that often cause civilian casualties.
Obama appeared to leave little wiggle room in his remarks Friday. The president-elect pledged that his administration would “adhere to our values as vigilantly as we protect our safety, with no exceptions.” Continue reading
These dudes are really enjoying their exit strategy, giving Americans the proverbial ‘middle-finger’ on their way out because they know damn well nothing will be done to bring them to justice. Now what?
via LA Times
Reporting from Washington — Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA, and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should remain open indefinitely.
Cheney’s remarks on Guantanamo appear to put him at odds with President Bush, who has expressed a desire to close the prison, although the decision is expected to be left to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. Continue reading
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered plans to be drafted for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, the Pentagon says.
A team was looking at moving inmates from the facility in a way that continued to protect the American people, a spokesman said.
About 250 detainees remain in the controversial Cuba camp.
US President-elect Barack Obama says closing the camp “in a responsible way” is one of his top priorities.
Mr Obama, who takes office on 20 January, said earlier this week he aimed to close the facility within two years.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Mr Gates – who is to retain his position in the new administration – had wanted to be prepared in case Mr Obama wished to tackle the issue “early in his tenure”. Continue reading
As someone who has been ringing the alarm on the need for fellow Americans to pay attention to the war being fought against their liberties right here on American soil, I am impressed by the forward thinking readers that have visited this blog and spoken with conviction about their suspicions of the current administration. So in the spirit of teaching the masses that they are under siege by a criminal regime, let me suggest this book that is on its way to print: The Dark Side by New Yorker journalist Jane Meyer. Here’s what you’ll find in between the sheets of this explosive look into the government sponsored theft of American rights, liberties and freedoms:
So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has publicly advised Mr. Feith, Mr. Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.
via NY Times
WASHINGTON — Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.
The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.