SEREingly Illegal

NOTE: Nathaniel Raymond of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will be at FDL at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT to chat live about the SASC report and other issues surrounding the OLC memos and torture. Hope you can join us!

Let’s see if I have the chain of events that led to this searing SASC report on American use of torture techniques on prisoners in order here:

1.  A doctrine against torture was championed by the US for decades, including through codification proceedings for Geneva Conventions and other international treaties that we helped enact as a preventative measure against our own troops and those of our allies being tortured.  Because torture is bad and wrong.  We know this from farther back than George Washington’s day, and he set the standard that American troops would not torture British captives. This has been US military standard as codified in the UCMJ for years.

2.  The Chinese and North Koreans torture captured American troops during the Korean conflict.

3.  In order to prepare elite US covert ops troops to resist such techniques, they are reverse engineered so that some training — in a highly controlled, limited environment with safety considerations built in as preparation for potential torture — can be done.

4.  At this point, torture is still something evil done by rogue nations (others) against the fighters for truth, justice and the American way (us). 

5.  9/11 occurs.

6.  SERE techniques are asked to be reverse-engineered as interrogation techniques to be used against US captives.  (No one bothers to ask where we got them?)

7.  Through some craven mind trick, legal justification for torture is written up despite torture being illegal under US and international law in the very treaties that the US wrote only a few decades ago. Administration officials and their political allies defend it vociferously.

8.  Because it’s not torture because Dick Cheney says so.

I don’t even know what to say to something so searingly SEREingly illogical.  And evil.

So I’ll leave it to the Senate Armed Services Committee report to explain implications:

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.

Much more on this to come today.

We’ll have Nathaniel Raymond from PHR here for a live chat at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT today, and Jameel Jaffer from ACLU’s National Security Project tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT. Mark your calendars.

Please take a moment to sign our petition to AG Holder for legal investigation of these matters.

(YouTube — former State Dept. lawyer Phillip Zelikow on Rachel’s show discussing the OLC torture memos.)


 
110 Responses to "SEREingly Illegal"
Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:06 am 1

Morning everyone. Not enough coffee in the whole world to make this report palatable in any way whatsoever…


JimWhite | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:11 am 2

Thanks for this, Christy. Your list really puts into perspective just how morally bankrupt the whole process was.

And it has Dick Cheney’s fingerprints all over it. No wonder he’s making one last stand on the “but it worked” tour. Not even that can save him. We know that if they really had disrupted a credible threat, he would have declassified the report before the ink was dry.


tjbs | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:13 am 3

Just heard on NPR news someone is floating the idea of a “911 type commission” from the administration.

No.

We have a justice department that is supposed to be independent.
Will this end like the last one where dick and george could only testify for an hour together without being under oath. Thanks but no thanks.

World peace revolves around Justice for all Human Beings.
Peace now damn it.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:13 am 4
In response to JimWhite @ 2

Reading all of these reports is going to give me an ulcer. And the sad part is that we already know so much of what’s in there through prior reporting from the ICRC and PHR and others through the last few years. But having it all consolidated together is searingly painful. Ugh.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:14 am 5

And can I just say it’s 38 degees here right now — but by Saturday, we’re supposed to have a high of 84. WTF?!?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:16 am 6
In response to tjbs @ 3

My special favorite part of it was having them in the room together. Talk about a creepy security blankie pact…


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:20 am 7
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 5

It’s been 100 here for the last several days, but fortunately will be cooler today.
I thought Rachel’s interview last night was interesting. When she asked him what he thought it meant that they were destroying all the copies of his report, and he said they didn’t want anyone to see it, I just cracked up. Some people are just pragmatic and not prone to speculate. She seemed to be a little frustrated at not getting a cute quote out of him and was really trying to lead him. Not faulting her, I just found it kind of interesting.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:21 am 8

Now cheney’s recent appearances attempting to sooth FOX’s fevered browse makes more sense. Someone yestidie mentioned the fmrveep seemed to be laboring somewhat, breathing in odd fashion. Stress? Him? goodie, says my evil muse.


phred | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:21 am 9

Thanks for this post Christy. I just read the NYT piece about how all of this was simply a case of rampant ignorance, poor little doddering fools had no idea what they were doing was torture ’cause they never read a lick o’ history. Right. I only got through the first page, my blood pressure got too high to continue.

There simply is no justification for what was done. As Rachel Maddow once said, “you cannot defend the indefensible”.

And fwiw, I don’t think we need to wait for any more reports for there to be sufficient cause to appoint a special prosecutor, there is plenty of information out now for doing so.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:22 am 10
In response to demi @ 7

Yeah, the dynamic was strained at that point, to say the least. Zelikow is walking a fine line here of trying to do CYA for himself and Condi and not rile people like Addington. The squirmy sort of feeling you get watching it is palpable, isn’t it?


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:23 am 11
In response to Adie @ 8

I hope that Cheney lives a long and very unpleasant life.


mookieblaylock | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:24 am 12

coming to your local jail house for the 2012-2013 season


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:24 am 13
In response to phred @ 9

There is no excusing this through a willful ignorance whine. There just isn’t.

And there is especially no excuse given how much objection was raised by JAG attorneys and others within DOD — that was deliberately ignored and shut out by Rummy, Haynes and the rest of Cheney’s peeps.


phred | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:25 am 14
In response to Adie @ 8

the fmrveep seemed to be laboring somewhat, breathing in odd fashion

Kinda like Darth Vader with his helmet off ; )


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:25 am 15
In response to foothillsmike @ 11

Is it any wonder that he and Rumsfeld bought adjacent summer compound homes in MD on the shore? Bet their neighbors are just thrilled…blech.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:26 am 16
In response to Adie @ 8

Yes, and selecting Sean Hannity as the interviewer says “I’m really open to the tough questions” doesn’t it? HAHAHAHAHA


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:27 am 17

I thought their neighbor was the CIA compound.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:27 am 18

I like how dickie blames the rabid left for all wicked things. guilty as charged, if he means what i think he does. he’s been snagged in his own web of deceit, D’OH! and he wants us to take credit? we innocent lil’ old gray-haired rabble rousers shaking our canes at him? and we’re not shamed by the charge? why that should be crimineal.

ponder that, dick. epic FAIL! And we’re sick and tired of cleaning up and mending after the mess that was bush/cheney-co.43.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:27 am 19
In response to Adie @ 8

Satan’s a-comin’ for you Dick!


bgrothus | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:28 am 20

There are plenty of co-conspirators on the Dem side. They are all walking/talking on eggshells now.


phred | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:28 am 21

Yep. It’s just putting a different spin on the BushCo mantra, “who could have ever known”. It is shocking to me that these hypothetically well educated, high-powered political people so readily fall back on the incompetence defense. You would think they would be ashamed to admit that.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:29 am 22
In response to bgrothus @ 20

And well they should be.


Phoenix Woman | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:29 am 23
In response to tjbs @ 3

The problem is that Bush stuffed our DoJ chock-full of Federalist Society and Regent University hacks who are both evil and incompetent. It’s one reason that Eric Holder’s had such slow going since taking over DoJ.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:30 am 24

Rumsfeld’s place is the former nortorious slave plantation, Mount Misery. Figures.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1122-21.htm


bgrothus | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:33 am 25

Obama and Co have a big job sorting out who are the good people in all of these agencies. They probably have already gone through all the RegentU resumes and are in the process of figuring how to get rid of these incompetent fools. I guess they could just look at any “new hire” in any place since 2000 and target every one for a lay-off. But once inside, unless they are simple appointments, I think it is not so easy to get rid of them.


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:33 am 26

Christy,
I took advantage of the hot weather and spent the last two days cleaning the carpets and rugs. Which you know, means moving all the furniture and cleaning and getting out the spider webs and all that. And then, rearranged all the furniture, getting rid of a few things we don’t really need. I love clean and uncluttered. Do you think we need some serious Spring Cleaning in the DOJ?
And, as aside, I moved my computer to a different part of the living room all by myself. Not brain surgery, but I did it. I love small accomplishments


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:33 am 27

Or notorius.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:33 am 28
In response to foothillsmike @ 11

seconded! and i do believe that phase has begun.

linger dick, savor your spawn dick. and stay away from all those feathered pocket-pets u like to off by the dozens when yer firedup & lusting for dominationfeedback. this stuff u okayed WAS indeed torture, but that was NOT hunting. more like slaughter of innocents.

dick is ripe for shunning. a time-honoured custom. dick who?


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:34 am 29
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 23

It would be helpful if we could his team in place. Dawn Johnson should be confirmed now and while they are at it confirm her BIL Judge Hamilton.


SanderO | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:34 am 30

Please no more bipartisan commissions. They don’t get the truth and whitewash the matter and then everyone spouts their report as settled “law” on the matter.

We need a completely independent prosecutor and let the chips fall where they may. This jack is not going back in the box.

Thanks Christy!


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:34 am 31
In response to phred @ 21

deny,deny,obfuscate,deny,plead ignorance,change words,torture becomes enhanced techniques like,o say kneading dough


alank | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:35 am 32

America may have pretended to avoid involvement in torturing captives — military, political, refugees, or otherwise — but she’s never been shy when it came to seeing to it that said captives were tortured. She’s always played the word game of Addington’s OLC minions in one way or another to utilize the same means.

North [sic] Vietnam was accused by America of torturing American soldiers, as well. There was a hue and cry over that at the time. That was while America was obliterating South[sic] Vietnam and Cambodia.

And then, there are always people around willing to do the dirty work, be they Death Squads in Central America, or the yahoos in America. I be bound there are relatively few Americans today who are upset by Addington’s torture policy. I expect not a small number wouldn’t flinch at the suggestion of torturing the president. Something, the president should consider while weighing the pros and cons about whether to prosecute Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, et al.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:35 am 33
In response to phred @ 14

purty much. Good eye!


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:37 am 34
In response to alank @ 32

I see the intended irony in the post above was entirely lost on you there.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:37 am 35

Good Morning Christy and Firedogs,

SASC Report – color me impressed. and not just because there hasn’t been any real oversight in 8+ years.

I am equally impressed with Levin’s presentation over at HuffPo – in that he (or whoever wrote the piece) has working familiarity with the material – more so than the highlights and chest thumping we usually get for the cameras

and whither goest Ranking Member, aka Mr Microphone ? has he made a statement yet ?


SanderO | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:38 am 36

Oh yeah there was a lot of bipartisan cheering for america to get the terrists ASAP gloves off and Amerika first and foremost flag waving BS.

We really have ethics problems at every place you look in our government. Don’t these people listen in church?


GregB | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:40 am 37

Let’s not forget who’s been running around screaming in fear about becoming Communists.

-G


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:40 am 38
In response to SanderO @ 36

Don’t these people listen in church?

Unfortunately they probably do.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:41 am 39
In response to GregB @ 37

The stupid, it burns. And burns. And burns.


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:41 am 40

Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist, began life as a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. When his owner had trouble with the young, unruly slave, Douglass was sent to Edward Covey, a notorious “slave breaker.” Covey’s plantation, where physical and psychological torture were standard, was called Mount Misery. Douglass eventually fought back, escaped to the North and went on to change the world. Today Mount Misery is owned by Donald Rumsfeld, the outgoing secretary of defense.
————————-
if walls could scream


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:42 am 41
In response to foothillsmike @ 38

Even more unfortunate, some of the pastors are giving the wrong messages. IMHO.


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:43 am 42
In response to sadlyyes @ 40

Bad spirits united


sadlyyes | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:44 am 43

foothillsmike April 22nd, 2009 at 6:40 am
38
In response to SanderO @ 36 (show text)

Don’t these people listen in church?

Unfortunately they probably do.
————————–
amen to that
the churches around here,DONT preach brotherly love,the opposite,im afraid


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:44 am 44

that cheers my heart in a perverse sort of way. they will be forced to sweat and cogitate long and deeply on what horrible crimes they have helped enable, whatever their part in the scheme of things. That’s a bit of raw justice right there.


GregB | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:45 am 45
In response to Adie @ 8

He sounded like Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth huffing nitrous oxide in the film Blue Velvet.

He’s going to be like the mob kingpins who slap on nasal cannulas and hop into wheel chairs the moment they have to go to court so their lawyers can point to him and say what a sweet old man he really is.

-G


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:48 am 46
In response to GregB @ 45

he already pulled that gambit, at the inauguration. i didn’t detect any sympathy among the wretched masses. did you? after what he hath wrought, there’s nothing left, no tears to spare for dick. dick who?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:49 am 47
In response to GregB @ 45

A sweet old man who shot a lawyer pal in the face and thinks torture is awesome and the rule of law is crap. Not enough oxygen-colored lipstick in the world to cover up that pig… *g*


CalGeorge | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:50 am 48

Obama & Co. must act NOW.

These cretins and the people they trained could all be back in four to eight years and beyond if Obama lets all of this incredibly damning evidence just flutter away in the wind. Does he not understand that?

Their ideas and their careers must be stamped out.

Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Myers, Richard Cheney, and the memo writers should all be in jail.


klynn | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:50 am 49

Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies and compromised our moral authority.

That statement is the bottom line for years to come.


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:51 am 50

Here’s something kind of funny. Because I was just popping in and out here yesterday, I didn’t read correctly about the ACLU Chat and thought it was yesterday instead of Thursday. I speeded up my cleaning and went flying down the hill to return the machine I rented in order to be back here at noon. Silly me. You’ll be happy to know I didn’t wreck the car or get a speeding ticket. Just letting you know sometimes I have my priorities straight. *g*


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:53 am 51

I prefer comparing Cheney to Dr. Strangelove as opposed to Darth Vader
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59YKlP–PhU


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:55 am 52

in the fox interview, he sounded like a musician using circular breathing. always harms the quality of the sound, but it’s a trick that works in a pinch, after a fashion.

mebbe he was mentally channeling kewlaid boreding. definitely sounded as if some toobz were stressed. too bad for an old man. dick who?


MrWhy | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:56 am 53
In response to SanderO @ 30

You’re right, but who on this green earth would the Republicans ratify as an independent prosecutor?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:57 am 54

Meant to link up this post from Valtin above — inadvertently left out the link. Have added it above, but wanted to make sure folks knew it was there.


GregB | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:58 am 55

Well, we know that Dick Armitage was out last week throwing up flack for himself and Powell, trying to put distance between them. We saw Powell doing his attempted pre-emption on Rachel Maddow’s show.

Then we had Zelikow out doing CYA for himself and Condi Rice.

Cheney has been on his torture works roadshow.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the Bush legacy meetings that we were conspicuously notified of and told that Dick Cheney was “snubbed” from attending?

Seems the whole lot of the ex-Bush crew are spinning like dervishes.

-G


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:58 am 56
In response to demi @ 50

LOL Very glad you didn’t wreck!


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:58 am 57
In response to klynn @ 49

reminding everyone that this report was submitted to DoD without a single dissent from minority members – including:

Sessions, Thune, Inhoffe, Chambliss, and Cornyn

of course, they released a ’statement’ about a week later -

“The implication, however, that this abuse was the direct, necessary, or foreseeable result of policy decisions made by senior administration officials is false and without merit.”

really fellas, so why’d ya sign ??


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 06:59 am 58

Awww Redd! I wuz countin’ on you to drag me up outta teh mud, and look whut u gone n’ done! “sweet”???! dick who? *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:00 am 59
In response to GregB @ 55

Yeah, it’s been quite the CYA cavalcade, hasn’t it?


billybugs | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:01 am 60

Cheney is a sociopath ,a manipulator and a bully. He can no longer get his way by browbeating W so he tries to go directly to the people , trying to terrorize the American public by putting them in fear of future attacks.This dirtbag wants us to be attacked just so he can say I told you so .
It’s amazing the amount of crap that’s been exposed in the short time Obamas been Prez,I can only wonder what else we’ll learn about this lawless crew


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:02 am 61
In response to cbl2 @ 57

my remarks above also courtesy of Valtin


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:02 am 62
In response to cbl2 @ 57

somebody pick up the cattle prod, did they? youch! that’s gotta sting!


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:04 am 63

Zelikow has very expressive eyebrows. Quite the “tell”. Too late to warn him? Nah. Who cares! Give it yer all, Zellie.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:05 am 64
In response to foothillsmike @ 11

someone this morning was alluding to the demise of William Casey and how convenient it proved to be for those involved in Iran-Contra -


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:05 am 65
In response to cbl2 @ 57

Is it me, or does that sound like after-the-fact CYA urged on from someone implicated? (Hello, Mr. Addington and Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and your proxies.)


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:06 am 66
In response to billybugs @ 60

Yes, it is amazing. For some reason, I keep hearing King Richard’s speech…
Now, is the 8 year winter of our discontent made glorious by this son of the new administration.


Millineryman | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:06 am 67

I think it’s interesting that the DHS released the report about right wing threats as the torture memos were released, while the extreme wacko were teabaggin’, and since the Repubs are more about politics then morals and the rule of the law it forces the Republican party to demonstrate exactly what they’re about.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:07 am 68

hmmm. mrC sitting hunched over and wheezing, voice smooth and soothing, to the point of sounding…. defeated? Ah no ya don’t, sir. It’s not gonna be over that easily. dick who?


GregB | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:08 am 69

They all need to realize that there legacy will be that of war criminals.

I hope they savor that little morsel.

Heckuva job Torquemadas.

-G


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:09 am 70

Madness, Madness Madness !


GregB | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:10 am 71
In response to GregB @ 69

Their…..


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:11 am 72
In response to GregB @ 69

and in their, um, minds, they will be victims – it’s the Authoritarian way


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:13 am 73
In response to cbl2 @ 72

Well, it is all a liberal conspiracy, you know. I’m expecting my funding check from George Soros any day now. Mwwahahahahahaha….the ludicrous idiocy of conspiracy theorists on this cracks me up.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:13 am 74

where’s that spooky wizard wool-zee these dayz? he wuz all over the telly back during operation accomplisherator. then thingz turned nasty & he went “poof”.


Mithras61 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:13 am 75

It seems to me that an independant prosecutor who is politically above reproach would be a sound idea from the standpoint of preventing a “witch hunt” acusation, but the extent of the crimes seems to be such that there is inarguably sufficient evidence to convict regardless of the politics involved.

My question, therefore, is do we need a special prosecutor so that we avoid the implication that this is criminalizing a political dispute, or is the evidence sufficiently damning that no one who isn’t a rabid partisan could seriously claim that it was politically inspired?


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:15 am 76

ain’t it purty much all they got left? whut would nixun do? dick who?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:15 am 77
In response to Mithras61 @ 75

In the current political environment, someone independent might be best, sad to say. nd even then, there would be an attempt to make political hay out of whatever might occur. Because, in the end, CYA would be more important to far too many people than honesty and the rule of law.

That’s the sad truth of it.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:16 am 78

Christy,

did you see Elizabeth de la Vega’s statement yesterday ?


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:17 am 79
In response to Adie @ 76

get ready for cloth coats.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:18 am 80
In response to Adie @ 79

or hair of the dog.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:19 am 81
In response to cbl2 @ 78

Yes, and I don’t agree with her, although I completely understand her concerns. This is one of those cases where no way forward is without it’s potential for peril, I fear — because whatever is done will face the same political payback accusations bullshit that we saw during Iran-Contra.

Whatever it takes to provide CYA for the perpetrators.


billybugs | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:19 am 82

Thanks Christy I appreciate the hard work you put into your posts ,your work helps to amplify all of our voices so that these important issues are not ignored or forgotten.

Ps the check is in the mail………..really!!


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:19 am 83
In response to billybugs @ 82

Thanks so much — really appreciate the kind words. :)


SanderO | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:19 am 84

I think some sleuth needs to do a complete forensic analysis about how the entire path unfolded, who started the ball rolling, who and how others were “recruited” to participate and how the entire roll out took place including right down the the few bad apples who were “just following orders” (whose orders???)

My sense is that this may not be a conspiracy as much as a complete lack of moral compass and blind acceptance of authority and the unquestioning belief in my country right or wrong.

I don’t see much wiggle room for any of those in the entire structure as there was more than room at the time for them to NOT participate of leak a legitimate concern to congress or the press.

The entire things needs to see the light of day and only then can the accountability take place. It doesn’t look very good from over here.


foothillsmike | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:19 am 85

The notion of an independent prosecutor is silly. Whoever is in that position will be a rabid partisan according to the delusional right as soon as there is the first utterance of an inconvenient truth.


Blub | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:20 am 86
In response to billybugs @ 60

how likely is it that the torture comparators contrived to sprinkle fraudulent memos around the official record justifying or validating the effectiveness of the torture directives, and it is these memos that Cheney wants declassified? Already you have trial balloon headlines on MSNBC etc saying things like “classified memos showed effective of enhanced interrogation techniques” or just “Torture works, say yet to be disclosed CIA memos.”

I think these war criminals are going to try to turn their otherwise indefensible position into a debate on the effectiveness of torture and other illegal acts, which means they have no doubt already fabricated the requisite backup.


Mithras61 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:20 am 87

I thought that might be the case. It sounds like we not only need a special prosecutor, but one who is a apolitical as possible in this case, and who is willing to follow the evidence regardless of where it leads. They would furthermore need to be above reproach in integrity and professionally successful (that is, an incompetant mush won’t do).

Any ideas for a condidate?


msmolly | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:21 am 88

Zelikow is walking a fine line here of trying to do CYA for himself and Condi and not rile people like Addington.

I was bothered watching Zelikow last night, because I read The Commission and according to the author, Zelikow did his best to arrange things to favor Condi Rice and further his own agenda.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:21 am 89

“Show Trials !” “Witch Hunt !”

in 3…2…

political hay indeed. but even with Chuck Todd’s help, there is no way any of them are going to escape the “defending torture, defending lawlessness” label. In the likely event of Senate Hearings, do they really want to be the guy badgering a uniform guy or gal up there explaining how wrong it was ?!?!? . Any rhetoric on this will only resonate with the 17-21% mouthbreathers – yeah, that’s gonna help ya in ‘10 and ‘12


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:23 am 90
In response to msmolly @ 88

Yeah — it truly was an odd sight to watch his visible discomfort on display on Rachel last night. One of the reasons I put the video up top. You can feel it, just watching this, can’t you?


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:23 am 91

But, do you think any CYA, on Rachel or elsewhere, will matter much to Spain?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:24 am 92

btw, Jane’s got a fresh post on this up top at FDL, for folks who want to take a peek.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:24 am 93
In response to demi @ 91

Truthfully, I’m not exactly holding my breath on Spain. And, frankly, I think we have a responsibility to clean up our own messes anyway. But maybe that’s just me…


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:25 am 94

oooh thankee. I was really torn by it but wound up in the same place as you.


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:27 am 95
In response to cbl2 @ 89

Lawsie, this is all too similar to some of our work in the far corner of the basement recently:

icky old, recently deserted mouse nest in a cinder block,

took down an ancient shelf along a cinderblock wall & watched the fat spiders scramble for cover….


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:27 am 96

btw, meant to mention that I’ll be doing Liberal Oasis radio on Friday. Will have details on that for everyone tomorrow.


demi | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:27 am 97

Oh, I agree it is our responsibility. Just wondering about how Spain’s plans keeps the questions in the news.


billybugs | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:28 am 98
In response to Blub @ 86

torture is illegal ………period ! The fact that it may have produced valuable info ain’t the point

They can spin it any way they want the truth is … the ends do not justify the means!


frandor55 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:28 am 99
In response to msmolly @ 88

Zelikow is an extremely smart person, he is not some babe in the woods character. Remember , he coined the : a “Pearl Harbor” like event is required to knock the US out of complaceny phrase back in the mid 90’s.


msmolly | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:30 am 100

It was really making me squirm. I also had never seen him when I read the book, so putting a face with his name was “interesting” too. Sorta what I had pictured, only a bit younger.


cbl2 | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:30 am 101

Special Prosecutor -

I have “Republican” and “Southern” in the pool. a true ringer would be Reagan Appointed GA. Appellate guy who initially struck down their Voter ID


Adie | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:32 am 102
In response to msmolly @ 100

it’s amazing what a rug and a bit (!) of black shoe polish can accomplish.


goldpearl | Wednesday April 22, 2009 07:58 am 103

maddow – “did you ever consider resigning?”

zelikow – “no”

this from the man in charge of tweaking the 9/11 commission


HanTran | Wednesday April 22, 2009 08:02 am 104

As to your point 6, there was no reverse engineering. These techniques were not changed in any way since there re-creation in 1957 by Dr. Biderman.

from NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07…..038;emc=th

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

The 1957 article from which the chart was copied was entitled “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War” and written by Albert D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the Air Force, who died in 2003.


goldpearl | Wednesday April 22, 2009 08:03 am 105
In response to foothillsmike @ 51

ck this out – george lucas & maureen dowd discuss cheney vs darth

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04…..038;emc=th


goldpearl | Wednesday April 22, 2009 08:05 am 106
In response to msmolly @ 88

ding!


cinnamonape | Wednesday April 22, 2009 08:34 am 107

Why do I think that Zelikow’s memo was something of a CYA effort? It was written in 2005 while he was Condi’s aide-de-camp at STATE. C’mon…is he really asserting that he never learned about any of this when he was at the National Security Council? That’s where they would have been far more directly learning about the bogus intel. from these guys.

Sounds suspiciously like he got cold feet when the criticism related to torture began to rise to “warm”. It would be interesting to place this memo into that context if we had more precise dates.

“Okay, you’ve now covered your a**…” [Rummy]

As well, WHO ordered the documents destroyed? Why did “they” want him to do it? Could it be that if he destroyed them it would be on his neck for violating the Presidential Records Act? That’s a criminal act that he could be held accountable for. It’s one thing to place a classification code on such a document, it’s quite another to make a document “disappear”.

He should name names as to who received the “Memo”. His hard drive should be examined for the memo, the date of composition, number of copies printed, and who it was transmitted to.

I would suspect that ordering the destruction of the document constitutes a criminal act (Sandy Berger got slapped hard for destroying copies of copies). This was intended to eradicate all information about Zelikow’s opposition viewpoint from the record.

“No one could have foreseen…” [Condi]


Leen | Wednesday April 22, 2009 09:15 am 108

my sense is that Spain coming out saying they would do the job that the U.S. DOJ/Obama administration seemed unwilling to do pushed and embarrassed the Obama administration.

How many times can we hear the Obama administration and many of the other Dems and all the Republicans defining holding people accountable for very serious crimes “retribution, vengeance, witch hunts, blame game,” How many ways can they describe not upholding the rule of law?


tjbs | Wednesday April 22, 2009 09:44 am 109
In response to bgrothus @ 25

Put them on pencil sharping duty.


robspierre | Wednesday April 22, 2009 10:10 am 110

SERE exists to make torture ineffective as a means of extracting actionable information. To me, using it as the prototype for CIA torture thus demonstrates bad faith and points to a broader, more cynical conspiracy. No one expected to get intelligence or protect national security with a waterboard. It was all theater. They needed props for the Unitary Executive, Commander-in-Chief, Permanent War show, and they used detainees for the purpose.


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