'Justifying' Torture: Two Big Lies By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern

'Justifying' Torture: Two Big Lies

By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern
July 19, 2008

One can assume that former Attorney General John Ashcroft didn’t mean it to be funny, but his testimony on Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee might strike one as hilarious, were it not for the issue at hand — torture.

Ashcroft is the Attorney General who approved torture before he disapproved it, but committee members spared him accusations of flip-flopping.

He explained that he initially blessed the infamous torture memoranda drafted by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and others in mid-2002 because he (Ashcroft) believed it imperative to afford the President “the benefit of genuine doubt” regarding how to protect American lives in the “war on terror.”

But Ashcroft added that, despite this, when concerns about that earlier guidance for interrogations were brought to his attention, changing his mind “was not a hard decision for me.” A very flexible Attorney General.

Forget Morality, Humanity or Legality: Torture DOESN'T WORK

A recent poll showed that 44% of Americans support torture on "terrorist suspects".

Why so many?

A key architect of America's torture program, Doug Feith, testified under oath to Congress today that torture is necessary because - otherwise - we couldn't get any information out of the "bad guys". Several Congress people agreed.

Why do any Congress people support this argument?

Because many people mistakenly assume that torture works, and is thus a necessary evil.

Let's put aside questions of morality, humanity, and legality . . . Let's just focus on one question: does torture work?

In fact, the professional FBI, CIA and army interrogators all say no.

Jane Mayer: New Book on Torture, the CIA and 9/11

Our local radio station KPFA just covered the torture hearings with Feith that took place in Congress today and investigative journalist Jane Mayer's new book exposing torture info is now out at the same time. I was looking up what she's said about 9/11 and what the book might say and came across the descriptions below.

She mentioned how members of the Administration who spoke to her were so intimidated by Cheney that they had to speak in code to each other because they assumed that Cheney was tapping their phones. I expect she probably rejects "inside job" -- afterall, she was formerly a Wall Street Journal writer, is a Yale grad, etc -- but it could be an opportunity to provide her with more info, if possible.

What was the outcome with Naomi Klein? I'd be interested to hear any ideas of what did or didn't work for interacting with her and getting info across.

Jane Mayer discusses
"The Dark Side: How The War on Terror Became a War on American Ideals"


9am EDT - Tuesday - Live Broadcast - House Judiciary Hearing on Torture Continues - ON NO LIES RADIO
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Live Broadcast Tuesday, July 15th at: 6am Pacific - 9am Eastern - 13:00 GMT
Repeated Wednesday, July 16th at 7pm Pacific - 10pm Eastern - 02:00 GMT
Will be archived here shortly after the broadcasts.

The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008 By FRANK RICH July 13, 2008

Frank Rich is getting closer to the truth . . . I look forward to the day when he discovers and writes about the "war on terror" being a lie, a fraud, a hoax . . . and then REALLY connects the dots . . . And, Frank, the (9/11) crime is WORSE than the cover-up. --Betsy


July 13, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008

WE know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country.

The Truth Commission By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Interesting title and great article . . . He just needs to take it one step further, of course, to include 9/11 itself and not just the aftermath . . . But we're getting there, little by little. It's also not a bad thing that this title plants the "truth commission" idea in many readers' heads . . . --Betsy

July 6, 2008

The Truth Commission

When a distinguished American military commander accuses the United States of committing war crimes in its handling of detainees, you know that we need a new way forward.

“There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,” Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated abuses in Iraq, declares in a powerful new report on American torture from Physicians for Human Rights. “The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

The first step of accountability isn’t prosecutions. Rather, we need a national Truth Commission to lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing.

3 Released Gitmo Detainees Tell All on No Lies Radio! 9/11 Perps or Patsies? - you decide!
Click Here To Listen --

Coming Up Friday, July 4th at: 10am Pacific - 1pm Eastern - 17:00 GMT
Repeated Saturday, July 5th at 11am Pacific - 2pm Eastern - 18:00 GMT
Impeachment Could Be Our Last Chance for 9/11 Truth, Stopping the Iran War and Martial Law!!
Listen to the gripping testimony of these 3 released Gitmo detainees carefully! Then Act!

Read Rep. Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment. Call the Judiciary Committee and your Representative and Demand Impeachment Hearings Now. Be sure to mention Article 17 (illegal detention), Article 18 (Torture), Article 19 (Rendition) and Articles 33-35 regarding 9/11 Truth. Call 6 friends to do this also and ask them to call 6 friends...and this will go viral!!!

Listen to House Hearing on Torture on No Lies Radio. Stop Iran War, Martial Law, 911 Coverup by demanding Impeachment Hearings
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Coming Up Thursday, June 26th at: 6am Pacific - 9am Eastern - 13:00 GMT
Repeated Friday, June 27th at 7pm Pacific - 10pm Eastern - 02:00 GMT
Repeated Saturday, June 28th at 9am Pacific - 12noon Eastern - 16:00 GMT

Supreme Court to decide 9-11 abuse case

Supreme Court to decide 9-11 abuse case
Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:56am EDT
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court said on Monday it would decide whether a lawsuit can proceed against the former U.S. attorney general and the FBI director in a case brought by a Pakistani man who said he was abused in detention after the September 11 attacks.

The high court agreed to hear an appeal by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller, arguing they cannot be held personally liable in the lawsuit by Javaid Iqbal, who was held more than a year at a Brooklyn detention center after the September 11 attacks.

The decision followed last week's landmark Supreme Court ruling that held the Guantanamo Bay prisoners can go before U.S. federal judges to seek their release, a setback for President George W. Bush.

Iqbal, a Muslim, said in the lawsuit he was subjected to unlawful ethnic and religious discrimination and subjected to verbal and physical abuse, including unnecessary strip searches and brutal beatings by guards on two occasions.

Report: Military used harsh methods on 9/11 terror suspect

Report: Military used harsh methods on 9-11 terror suspect
Posted on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 12:29 PM PT

By Jim Popkin, NBC News Senior Investigative Producer

A new report by the Justice Department Inspector General details many of the harsh and intentionally humiliating techniques that the U.S. military used against Mohammed Al-Qahtani, a Saudi detainee at the Guantanamo Bay military prison who many US officials believe was meant to be the 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001.

The 438-page IG report focuses on the FBI's involvement in detainee interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it also provides a window into the methods used by the Defense Department and the CIA on uncooperative detainees such as Al-Qahtani.

Quoting military records and reports, the Justice Department Inspector General said that a "special projects team" of the U.S. military interrogated Al-Qahtani between November 2002 and January 2003.

Their methods included:

The Conservative Movement: From Failure to Threat

The Conservative Movement: From Failure to Threat

By Paul Craig Roberts

18/05/08 "ICH" -- - U.C. Berkeley tenured law professor John Yoo epitomizes the failure of the conservative movement in America. Known as "the torture professor," Yoo penned the Department of Justice (sic) memos that gave a blank check to sadistic Americans to torture detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. The human rights violations that John Yoo sanctioned destroyed America's reputation and exposed the Bush regime as more inhumane than the Muslim terrorists. The acts that Yoo justified are felonies under U.S. law and war crimes under the Nuremberg standard.

Yoo's torture memos are so devoid of legal basis that his close friend and fellow conservative member of the Federalist Society, Jack Goldsmith, rescinded the memos when he was appointed head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Yoo's extremely shoddy legal work and the fervor with which he served the evil intentions of the Bush regime have led to calls from distinguished legal scholars for Yoo's dismissal from Berkeley's Boalt Hall.

Scalia Tries to Apologize for Torture . . . Fails, Violating the War Crimes Act of 1996 in the Process

Supreme Court Justice Scalia says that torture doesn't constitute “cruel and unusual punishment”, because torture is not meant to punish, but only to illicit information.

Mr. Scalia's argument fails for several reasons.

Torture Does not Generate Useful Information

Initially, torture is a notoriously inaccurate way to obtain information. Indeed, it is well-known by professional interrogators that torture doesn't work. Experts on interrogation say that torture actually interferes with the ability to gather useful information.

So if torture is not an information-gathering technique, its only purpose must be punishment and/or intimidation.

Torturing People Who Can't Give Useful Information is Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity' (CNN Homepage)

Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Prescott Prince is a small-town lawyer who has never taken a death penalty case to trial. Yet he finds himself involved in one of the biggest capital punishment cases this century: He's defending the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

He readily acknowledges how his client is perceived as "one of the most reviled people" in the world. But he says it's imperative America give Mohammed a fair trial, just like anyone else accused of a crime.

No civilian court, he says, would accept confessions obtained after a defendant was mistreated. But the CIA admits Mohammed was waterboarded, a controversial interrogation technique that involves simulated drowning.

"I take the position that this is mock execution. ... Colloquially speaking, at least it's torture," Prince says.

The fact whatever Mohammed said during such duress could be used at trial is alarming to Prince.

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What About the War, Benedict? By Ray McGovern

What About the War, Benedict?

By Ray McGovern
April 21, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the United States last week against a macabre backdrop featuring reports of torture, execution and war. He chose not to notice.

Torture: Fresh reporting by ABC from inside sources depicted George W. Bush’s most senior aides (Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice and Tenet) meeting dozens of times in the White House during 2002/03 to sort out the most efficient mix of torture techniques for captured “terrorists.”

When initially ABC attempted to insulate the president from this sordid activity, Bush abruptly bragged that he knew all about it and approved. That comment and the action memorandum Bush signed on Feb. 7, 2002, dispelled any lingering doubt regarding his personal responsibility for authorizing torture.

Execution: Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court, with a majority of judges calling themselves Catholic, was openly deliberating on whether one gram, or two, or perhaps three of this or that chemical would be the preferred way to execute people.