Tag Archives: torture

Support Sen. John McCain’s opposition to Gina Haspel at CIA

For the past several days the media has been consumed by the story that White House communications special aide Kelly Sadler joked in a staff meeting about Sen. John McCain’s opposition to President Trump’s nominee for the CIA, Gina Haspel: “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.White House official mocked ‘dying’ McCain at internal meeting.

While Kelly Sadler has called the McCain family to apologize privately, she has not been terminated nor has she or the White House publicly apologized for her comment. The Trump White House crossed a new threshold for political debasement this week:

U. S. Senator John McCain

The White House probably thinks it cannot punish Kelly Sadler for her awful comment about John McCain because President Trump has also said nasty things about McCain. It may worry that showing her the door would set a troubling precedent for a president who may one day cross a very similar line.

Welcome to the ongoing degradation of our political discourse. Destination: No end in sight.

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What happened this week is worse than most anything we have seen — worse even, I would argue, than Trump questioning McCain’s war hero status. What’s more, the White House is trying to ignore it, which means the bulldozer is pressing forward.

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Either because the White House is afraid of setting a standard Trump cannot meet or because Trump is demanding it hold the line against the media’s outrage cycle, it is serving notice there are more important things than Sadler’s public accountability: things like confidentiality and politics.

Case in point, Trump blasts the White House leakers as ‘traitors and cowards’:

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Bush apologists and 9/11

jeb-and-george-bush-1One of the most remarkable propaganda campaigns of the modern era are the George W. Bush apologists who would have you believe that “W”‘s presidency did not begin until September 12, 2001 (and that the Bush Great Recession did not begin until Barack Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009, but that is another story).

On Friday, Tea-Publican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump sat down with Bloomberg Politics and had this exchange:

DONALD TRUMP: When you talk about George Bush, and say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, BLOOMBERG: Hold on, you can’t blame George Bush for that.
TRUMP: He was president. Blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.

In the military this is known as the Officer On Watch. Anything that happens during your watch, you will be held accountable for.  The Donald is not saying anything particularly controversial here. It is an obvious truth.

But note the Bush apologist response from this reporter from Bloomberg, “you can’t blame George Bush for that.” Well yes, you can lady. George W. Bush was president, or as he preferred to call himself, commander-in-chief, on 9/11. He was the Officer On Watch, and he is most assuredly accountable for what happened during his watch.

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America’s long night into torture

UnknownTorture is universally condemned, and whatever its actual practice, no country openly advocates  for the use of torture.

Torture is illegal under both U.S. statutory criminal law, and several international treaties and conventions of war to which the U.S. is not only a signatory to the agreement, but was the principle author and proponent of the agreement.

Torture is illegal. Period. Stop.

Despite this, the Bush-Cheney regime not only concocted convoluted legal theories to justify illegal torture, i.e., the Torture Memos, but engaged in illegal torture in violation of U.S. and international law.

The nonpartisan Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, conducted an independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it. U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11, Nonpartisan Review Concludes.

A 6,700 page report by the bipartisan United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s Detention and Interrogation Program, and its use of various forms of torture on detainees also “concludes that CIA abuses were far more brutal, systematic, and widespread than previously reported; that many of the CIA’s interrogation techniques went beyond even those authorized by the Justice Department; and that the CIA began using the techniques long before they had obtained authorization for them.” US: Senate Report Slams CIA Torture, Lies.

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New York Times calls for the prosecution of Bush-Cheney regime torturers

I believe that the New York Times is the first major U.S. publication to call for the prosecution of the Bush-Cheney regime torturers. Of course, the Times is also guilty of propaganda by Judith Miller and others at the Times in support of the unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq — also a war crime under the Nuremberg Principles — but this is at least a good start. Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses:

Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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He did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush. But the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed.

Mr. Obama has said multiple times that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” as though the two were incompatible. They are not. The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.

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WWRRD? Prosecute the individuals who authorized or engaged in illegal torture

Screenshot from 2014-12-12 10:23:50Republicans have made Ronald Reagan into a false idol whom they worship — the mythologized version of Ronaldus Magnus in the conservative media entertainment complex mind you, not the actual man or the reality of what he actually stood for.

In the “debate” over the use of illegal torture by the CIA as authorized and approved by members of the Bush-Cheney regime, I find it curious that no Republican is asking “What would Ronald Reagan do?” (WWRRD).

The reason they do not ask is because the modern-day Republican Party is not your father’s GOP. They do not like the answer that their sainted Ronnie Reagan actually provided them.

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Sen. Mark Udall resists call to read the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture into the Congressional Record

udallportrait2Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) was petitioned by more than  200,000 petition signatures  from Americans to read the 6,300 page classified version of the Senate Intelligence Report on CIA torture into the Congressional record, similar to what Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) did, reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in 1971 (with no one present to object to unanimous consent in the early morning hours, Sen. Gravel moved to insert the 4,100 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record of his subcommittee).

The following day, the Supreme Court’s New York Times Co. v. United States decision ruled in favor of the New York Times and Washington Post, which resumed publication of the Pentagon Papers.

So far, Sen. Udall has resisted reading the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA torture into the Congressional Record, preferring to work through “regular order” for now, but keeping his options open. Charles Pierce at Esquire reports, Mark Udall Had Something To Get Off His Chest:

Outgoing Senator Mark Udall got up in the Senate yesterday, and while he didn’t enter the entire 6000 pages of the Senate’s torture report into the record, the way I think he should have, he unlimbered himself sufficiently — It’s being called a “career-defining” speech, albeit one delivered to a largely empty chamber — that I suspect the mandarins of the security state, and their acolytes in the legislature and in my business, will shortly be rending their garments. In fact, that already may have started.

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