Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

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Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category

CIA threatened to kill suspect’s children

Posted by kelliasworld on August 24, 2009

AT LINK: RESTRICTED DETAINEE’S CAROTID ARTERY: DEVELOPING…
http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/08/24/holder-tapping-prosecutor-to-probe-nearly-a-dozen-cia-interrogations/

Inspector general’s report says CIA agents threatened to kill suspects’ children

America’s torture debate is nowhere near over.

“Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move,” Carrie Johnson reports in The Washington Post.

The appointment comes on the same day the Obama administration released a less-redacted version of an inspector general report detailing CIA abuses.

“The report says one interrogator threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect, and another may have threatened to [sexually] assault a suspect’s mother in front of him,” the Associated Press reported.

The revelations are an echo of an August, 2002 memo that showed the Bush administration’s initial approval of using insects as a means of torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s children. A second leaked memo later claimed the technique was never applied. However, at a military tribunal in 2007, the father of a Guantanamo detainee alleged that Pakistani guards had confessed that American interrogators used ants to coerce Mohammed’s children into revealing their father’s whereabouts.

According to the Post, “John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut,” is being tapped “to lead the high-stakes inquiry, added the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not yet complete.”

The New York Times added: “President Obama does not intend to voice his preference for whether anyone is prosecuted from prisoner abuse cases, a White House spokesman said Monday, and will allow Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to make the decision.”

Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton told reporters Monday that the president had complete faith in Holder and that the decision whether to launch an investigation was the attorney general’s sole prerogative.

“The White House supports the attorney general making the decisions on who gets prosecuted and investigated,” Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said, according to the Post.

Durham is no stranger to hard-slog prosecutions. A 30-plus-year veteran, he was most recently appointed by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the CIA’s destruction of terror war interrogation tapes.

When Mukasey selected Durham, Talking Points Memo posted a brief outline of his work history, quoting the Associated Press as saying that he’s “one of the nation’s most relentless prosecutors.”

Durham’s investigation of the missing or destroyed CIA interrogation tapes is ongoing, and several high-ranking officials have testified before a federal grand jury in Virginia. That investigation is ongoing.

“Mr. Durham has shrouded his investigation in a level of secrecy rare even by the normally tight-lipped standards of special prosecutors, and after 18 months it is still difficult to assess either the direction or the targets of his investigation,” The New York Times reported in July.

The Post’s report is the first confirmation that the Justice Department will open a formal investigation into the CIA’s alleged torture of terror war prisoners.

“Responsibility for the torture program cannot be laid at the feet of a few low-level operatives,” read a Center for Constitutional Rights statement on the matter. “Some agents in the field may have gone further than the limits so ghoulishly laid out by the lawyers who twisted the law to create legal cover for the program, but it is the lawyers and the officials who oversaw and approved the program who must be investigated.”

The watchdog group added: “We call on the Obama administration not to tie a prosecutor’s hands but to let the investigation go as far up the chain of command as the facts lead. We must send a clear message to the rest of the world, to future officials, and to the victims of torture that justice will be served and that the rule of law has been restored.”

DEVELOPING…

– Stephen Webster

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But while this is being reported, word is also out that the Obama Adminstration will continue the Bush policy of extraordinary rendition, even though Obama said in January that such would be illegal under his administration.  K.R.

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Commentary: Cheney says U.S. can torture but can’t heal

Posted by kelliasworld on March 18, 2009

By Paul Begala
CNN Contributor
Original article at CNNPolitics.com

Editor’s note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House.
Paul Begala says Cheney is hypocritical when he says he fears massive government expansion under Obama.

Paul Begala says Cheney is hypocritical when he says he fears massive government expansion under Obama.

(CNN) — Dick Cheney has finally found the limits of government power.

In his interview with CNN’s John King — his first television interview since leaving the vice presidency — Cheney revealed a view of federal power that is incoherent and hypocritical.

According to recently released legal memos from the Bush-Cheney administration, the former vice president believes that the federal government can ignore the First Amendment and suppress free speech and freedom of the press as part of its “war on terror.”

An October 23, 2001, memo from Justice Department lawyers John C. Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty said, “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully.”

Former Vice President Cheney also believes, according to these same memos, that the federal government can send troops to burst into the homes of American citizens without a search warrant, despite the Fourth Amendment’s protection against such unreasonable searches. He believes that the federal government has the right to arrest an American citizen on American soil and hold him in prison without charges. He believes that the federal government can listen in on your phone conversations without a court order.

Cheney believes that the federal government can ignore the Geneva Conventions, binding treaties largely written by the United States, signed by the president and ratified by the Senate. He believes that the federal government can commit torture, despite laws and treaties making torture a crime.

As the Washington Post reported, “Starting in January, 2002, Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive’s will to resist. The vice president’s office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion of prisoners in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials.”

The newspaper said, “Cheney and his allies … did not originate every idea to rewrite or reinterpret the law, but fresh accounts from participants show that they translated muscular theories, from Yoo and others, into the operational language of government.”

In fact, Yoo has said the federal government has the power to grab your young son and crush his private parts if the president thinks that will help the “war on terror.”

Think I’m kidding? Here’s the verbatim exchange from a debate between Yoo and Notre Dame professor Doug Cassel:

Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty …

Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo …

Yoo: I think it depends on why the president thinks he needs to do that.

Wow. That is a sick, twisted, sadistic world view. It is also a breathtakingly expansive view of federal power over citizens. Indeed, the position of Cheney and his allies seems to be that the federal government has limitless power over people. If the government can censor the free press, restrict free speech, listen in on your private conversations, burst into your home, take you away, hold you in prison without charges and torture you, it raises an interesting question: What on Earth does Dick Cheney think the federal government can’t do?

Thanks to John King, we now know: Cheney believes that the government cannot help with health care, improve education or wean America off Middle East oil. I’m not kidding.

Cheney, whose authoritarian impulses run deep, is suddenly worried that the federal government might become too powerful under President Obama.

“I worry a lot,” he told King, “that they’re using the current set of economic difficulties to try to justify a massive expansion in the government, and much more authority for the government over the private sector. I don’t think that’s good. I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem.”

Set aside the, umm, irony of a guy who is alive, thank God, because of government-provided health care opposing health care for taxpaying Americans. And set aside the hypocrisy of the Bush-Cheney Medicare prescription drug entitlement, the greatest expansion of the federal role in health care since President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Focus instead on Cheney’s alarmist rhetoric: “a massive expansion in the government”, “much more authority for the government.” Cheney is comfortable with a government that has the authority to torture, imprison, censor and kill. Just not a government that has the capacity and compassion to write a health insurance policy or take on Big Oil.

I write this only hours after King’s interview with Cheney, and yet I believe it will live in history. Right there, in his own words, Cheney gives historians a candid explication of his world view: that government may claim dictatorial powers when he and his ilk are in charge, but when we the people call on our government to act to address recession, illness and ignorance (made worse by Cheney’s policies) well, then we’ve reached Cheney’s boundaries of the government’s power.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul Begala.
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But I agree with him. And in this commentary, Begala has basically defined the difference between progressives and conservatives, especially those of the neocon variety. Cheney’s ilk cannot possibly see the government has a “force” (for want of the better word) for social good, when they see its main purpose as conquest, destruction, and authoritarian control. –K.R.

Posted in America, Dick Cheney, Torture, War | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Prosecutions and Accountability of Bush Administration Officials CCR’s 100 Days campaign to restore the Constitution:

Posted by kelliasworld on March 5, 2009

From the Center for Constitutional Rights

Evidence of the criminal activities of the Bush administration is exceedingly well documented. It is apparent in Bush administration memos, FOIA documents, congressional hearings, court documents, the testimony of victims, innumerable investigative news articles and books and direct admissions by intelligence, military and administration officials. The evidence shows that officials at the very highest level including Bush himself, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and CIA Director George Tenet were directly involved in illegal activities, including torture and war crimes.

In the face of this blatant lawbreaking and institutionalized torture and war crimes committed by the Bush administration, now is the time for accountability. The mechanism exists to hold these officials accountable for their criminal behavior and dissuade future government officials from engaging in torture, war crimes, warrantless surveillance of Americans, and other lawbreaking activities – criminal prosecution of those responsible.

A full investigation and prosecution of these actions by the Bush administration is necessary for the Obama administration to meaningfully reassert the rule of law in the United States. Government officials are not above the law, and their actions impact the lives of millions of people around the world. Prosecuting these officials for their activities is, in fact, a meaningful mechanism for securing justice for the victims and the survivors of torture and war crimes, as well as for deterring future government officials from repeating this conduct.

While the Bush administration hardly represented the first foray of the U.S. government into torture, its brazen conduct has set an example that must be repudiated — as strongly as it was asserted — through full investigation and criminal prosecution.

Download the full factsheet for more information.

Take Action!

SIGN THE PETITION

CCR has launched a new online campaign calling for accountability – and criminal prosecutions – of those Bush administration officials responsible for torture and war crimes. Help us make the point by signing on to our petition.

SEND A LETTER

We are also calling upon Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is holding a hearing on March 4 of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss a “truth commission” to investigate the crimes of the Bush administration, to support prosecutions for those government officials who violated the law. Sign a letter to Sen. Leahy and the Judiciary Committee calling for them to support prosecutions, and to oppose any immunity for the architects of these torture programs.

LEARN MORE

Holding the new administration of the United States accountable for preserving and restoring Constitutional rights is part of CCR’s 100 Days to Restore the Constitution campaign, which focuses on the harm done by previous administrations and the hopes we have for making the country a better place for all.

Posted in America, Dick Cheney, Terrorism, The Constitution, Torture, War | Leave a Comment »