Saturday, May 23

Jack Bauer Denounces Torture

Jack Bauer, the Patron Saint of the Republican Wingnut Torturers Party, argues *against* his own philosophy of "Do whatever it takes to save lives" in this sequence from the Season 7 Finale of "24".

By pointing out to his protege FBI Agent Walker that...

"You took an oath, you made a promise to uphold the law. You cross that line it always starts out with a small step, before you know it you're running as fast as you can in the wrong direction just to justify why you started in the first place.These laws were written by much smarter men than me, and in the end I know that these laws have to be more important than the 15 people on the bus... I know this. In my mind I know that's right, I just don't think my heart could ever have lived with that."

This is an argument that should be thrown in the face of people like Liz Cheney and her dear ole' dad. Once you cross the line of the law, you spend all your time trying to justify that action - running at full speed in the wrong direction.

In Episode 1 Bauer had a completely different view as he was grilled by Senator Mayer:

BAUER: When I am activated, when I am brought into a situation, there is a reason and that reason is to complete the objectives of my mission at all costs. [...]

For a combat soldier the difference between success and failure is your ability to adapt to your enemy. The people that I deal with, they don’t care about your rules. ... In answer to your question, am I above the law? No, sir. I am more than willing to be judged by the people you claim to represent. I will let them decide what price I should pay. Now please do not sit there with that smug look on your face and expect me to regret the decisions that I have made because, sir, the truth is I don’t.

In this confrontation Bauer came off defiant and strongly challenged whether the law mattered when lives where at stake. His little speech was met with Cheers and Praise on Fox News.

I wonder what they'd think of his latest statements on the subject?

All during this Season the issue of Torture has been not simply shown, but repeatedly challenged particularly by FBI Agent Larry Moss and by Senate Mayer. The reason for this change in tone might be the departure of series creator Joel Surnow who is an admit right-wing "nut" - or it might have to do with a promise made by the Producers to the Commandant of West Point to "Tone Down the Torture". Either way, there has been a difference as Jack's practices have faced some rather stiff push-back.

At one point Mayer and the President Discussed Torture:

Mayer: Well, there's nothing "Grey" about Jack Bauer. The man has committed atrocities. Prisoners have died in is custody.

Taylor: Mr. Bauer has served under Three Presidents, not just me.

Mayer: Is it any less repugnant if it's authorized at the highest level? The State of War is not a Blank Check for the President or for anyone.

Taylor: OH, Don't Lecture me Senator. I am well aware of the limits of my power.

Mayer: Due respect, Madam President. Your power is great, just be careful that you use it to send the right message.

Taylor: All I'm asking you do is excuse Mr. Bauer as a witness. It's not a message, it's an expression of gratitude for what's he's done today.

Mayer: You're asking me to excuse him as a target of the investigation. And the message is clear: under certain cirmcumstances you elieve his methods are acceptable.

Taylor: Some would argue that they are.

Mayer: And they would be WRONG! Under any circumstances, military or moral standard. America has been down this road before Madame President. You yourself called it a "national tragedy".

Taylor: It was a tragedy, I still believe that.

Mayer:Pardon Jack Bauer and you're telling every interogattor in the field that it's "Open Season" again.

This is exactly the point, from all we've seen from the like of Liz Cheney - their arguments show strongly that THEY WILL TORTURE AGAIN. As soon as we have another Right-Wing Leaning President, they will unpack all their torture excuses and be right back in business.

Later Bauer and Mayer argued again face-to-face.

Mayer: You're done Bauer, your finished.

Bauer: He was talking, whatever is going to happen is happening now it's on your conscience.

Mayer: My conscience has a lot less to answer for than yours.


Mayer: Madame President I don't care if his source is the blessed virgin Mary nothing justifies what went on in this room.

Taylor: But what if he's right? What if it means we could save lives?

Mayer: Look at that (points to the bloody and battered Burnett) and tell me it's not barbarism? Is that something you can live with?

Bauer: Earlier today two airplanes were brought down - is THAT something you can live with?

Mayer: You're reprehensible Bauer.

Bauer: AND YOU SIR ARE WEAK - Unwiling and Unable to Look Evil in the Eye and DEAL WITH IT!,

This is the true face of the right wing, they are strong and civil libertarians are weak little cowards, who don't have the stomach to do what must be done and will consequently leave our country vulnerable to attack. It's exactly what you hear over and over again said about Obama's closing of GITMO and banning Water-Boarding. Over and over they say "We NEED these tools" because in their mind nothing else works.

Except that it does.

Even in the midst of "24" the truth that "harsh tactics" aren't the only options slips out... in this sequence Bauer and Chloe track down Tony Almeida using his cell phone - something I strongly argued could have and should have been done previously to locate Col Dubaku, instead of threatening to kill the innocent wife and child of a rogue Secret Service Agent. They manage to capture Almieda using smarts not braun, and even after they capture him while Jack is trying to beat the information out of him - Janeane Garofalo's character figures out exactly what they need to know faster than Jack can get answers from Tony, even showing up Chloe O'Brien in the process.

Even in there own show - Torture doesn't always work, and if it doesn't work while good LEGAL police work do - there's simply NO EXCUSES left for it.

As has been documented by Human Rights First, the constant inaccurate information that has come from many shows for decades - not just "24" - the kind of "uber macho" view we often see repeated by clueless politicians has had a direct effect on the actions of our soldiers in the field, and not a good one.

In their final talk, Bauer and Mayer ultimate had a meeting of the minds...

Mayer: At the hearing this morning you said you had "no regrets" about what you've done, but what I saw was a man full of regret.

Bauer: Of course I have regrets Senator. I regret losing my famlly. My wife was murdered because I was responsible for protecting David Palmer during an assasination attempt. (Actually she was murdered as blowback from a busted black-ops attack led by Bauer in Bosnia) My daughter can't even look at me (Which might have a bit to do with Jack cutting off her boyfriends right ARM!) Everyday I look in the eyes of men, women and children knowing that at any moment their lives might be deemed "expendable" in an effort to protect the greater good. I regret every decision and mistake I might have made that resulted in the loss (of innocent life). You know what I regret the most? It's that this world even needs someone like me (IT DOESN'T!)

Mayer: So you think I'm naive to believe we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard of conduct?

Bauer: It doesn't even matter what I think, you just need to understand that things get a lot messier where I work than where you work on the hill.

Mayer: What you've lost Mr. Bauer is tragic, what you've been compelled to do in the name of saving innocent life is tragic. Sometimes we need to incur the most horrible losses in order to uphold the ideals that this country is founded on - how can we presume to lead the world unless we set an example?

Bauer: You make it sound so simple.

Mayer: Maybe it's simpler than you think, maybe all the things you've seen and all the things you've done have clouded your vision.

It's probably this conversation that helps lead to Bauer final conversation with Walker - but in the end Bauer's words to Walker have the opposite effect from deterence and she goes on to commit another act of Torture at the end of the episode while Bauer lays in a Coma - "For the Greater Good".

Even though anything she learns would be inadmissible in any court and her actions would guarantee an acquittal for the victim just like a recent Gitmo detainee had all charges dropped because the Judge determined - he was *Tortured*!

Although this may seem to be a "selfless" act, just as many of Bauer's - it's also pointless and fruitless.

This is the FBI Agent - Agent Hubbard from "The Seige", one for more like Ali Soufan who faced this exact scenario in regards to the treatment of Abu Zubaydah.

This is the argument we see going on constantly in our nation, between the President and the former Vice President, between pundits and talk show hosts.

This is a fight we simply CAN NOT AFFORD not to finally get right.


Friday, May 22

Conservative Radio Host Gets Waterboarded: It's Torture!

Radio Host Erich Mancow allows himself to be Waterboarded on air, thinking it's going to be no big deal - he lasts about 6 Seconds and gets up declaring ...

Mancow: If I'd known it was going to be this bad, I wouldn't have done it. I don't want to say this - but it's ABSOLUTELY TORTURE. It's drowning

This makes the third Conservative whose been willing to do this, following Vanity Fair scribe Christopher Hitchens.

"Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture,"

And Ashcroft's Deputy Attorney General Daniel Levin.

Next up, Sean Hannity - and after that, i'm thinking Liz Cheney!


Wednesday, May 20

Olbermann to Limbaugh - FU!

Limbaugh thinks he's the Program Director for MSNBC, he's thinks his First Amendment Right to be a Public Dumbass is being infringed, that MSNBC - which is doing just fine in the ratings and getting better all the time - couldn't possibly survive without pointing out his Daily Dumbassery.

F! Him!

You act like an idiot in public, you don't get to whine about the rest of us laughing at you. Fuckwad.


Ten True Things!

1. Shep Smith Fox News: America Does Not Torture by Law and Treaty
2. Obama: America has been arrogant, but Europe has "casual, insidious" tendency for Anti-Americanism.
3. Fox News: People have attempted to portray the President as "Foreign" simply because of his name.
4. Joe Scarborough: He (Barack) didn't start the Fire, George Bush Nationalized the Banks.
5. Fox News: We can successfully keep terrorists in our Prison.
6. Joe Klien CNN: Rush Limbaugh is just as inappropriate as Wanda Sykes, and misinforming the American public is much more serious than a couple of Jokes.
7. MSNBC: I think Obama wants a Constutional Scholar on the SCOTUS.
8. O'Reilly: ACORN is not getting $2 Billion in Stimulous Money.
9. Shuster MSNBC: Torture was used to justify the Iraq War, not protect America.
10. MSNBC: It doesn't matter who Obama picks for the Supreme Court, Repulicans will be screaming that they are "Liberal and Activist"!


Republicans Reduced to Kindergarden Games

In the segment from MSNBC Contessa Brewer describes the ridiculous attempts by the GOP to rename Democrats as "Socialist" as being reduced to childish name-calling.

It's just plain pathetic.

And y'now what's even worse - There already IS a group called "Democratic Socialists of America".
What they believe is this...

Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.

Considering how Obama hasn't tried to shutdown all private industry in the U.S. - I don't think they're going to send him an invitation.


Tuesday, May 19

Pelosi-Gate: The Diversion from Investigating War Crimes and Torture

(Sorry for the high-pitched whine in the audio - I'm working on that)

Last night on Rachel, the issue of just what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it was examined for once with a less than jaundiced eye toward ignoring the entire "War Crimes Were Committed" thing.

I don't have a lot to add that I didn't already say in "Leave Nancy Pelosi (The Frack) Alone!"

Except to point out that at this point in time Sen Bob Graham's notes also contradict the CIA's, and even Leon Panetta basically says the CIA's information can't be trusted. This "Controvesy" is essentially all over, except for the whining.

Like this....

If we're going to continue down this road of nit-picking everything Democrats knew and did concerning what the Republicans are increasingly starting to admit Was Torture, it's only fair that we look at and examine what Porter Goss - who was head of the House Intelligence Committe at the time of those famed briefings - or what Senator Roberts his counter-part did.

Lay it All out On the Table.

Let's talk about Ibn Shayhk al-Libi who in February of 2002 was water-boarded and "broken" - then when he wouldn't give up link between Saddam and Bin Laden, he was buried alive until he did claiming that Saddam had been training al-Qaeda operatives on the use of Chemicals weapons.

Except that he DIDN'T.

Saddam didn't train al-Qaeda. Saddam didn't even have any Chemical Weapons anymore, and we knew it because the head of Iraqi Intelligence Habbush told us so in January of 2003.

Instead of listening to the truth, they requested that Habbush forge a letter claiming that Mohammad Atta was trained in Iraq.

In August 2002, Abu Zubaydah was water-boarded 80 times after he gave up KSM and Jose Padilla because he hadn't linked Saddam to Al-Qaeda yet.

In March 2003, KSM was water-boarded 183 after he revealed information about the Library tower plot (which had already been foiled) because he wouldn't tell us where Al-Qaeda washiding in Iraq.

In April 2003, Cheney's Office requested the Water-boarding of an Iraqi P.O.W. (in clear violation of Geneva since it was never denied to Iraqis by President Bush), simply to get him to tell us about - you guessed it - Links between Saddam and al-Qeada.

is it starting to look a bit like "The Facts are being made to fit the Policy?" They were.

Before the Iraqi invasion every bit of evidence against Saddam either came from a liar like >Curveball (aka "Rafid Alwan"), a blatant forgery or Torture.

All of these people were tortured to Justify a Lie!

THAT'S THE ISSUE, not which briefing Nancy Pelosi received while she was in the minority in Congress, and whether she was willing to violate National Security Classification Laws to "get the word out" - while every other Republican around like Goss, Hoekstra and Roberts stood by silently.


Monday, May 18

Human Rights Groups File Complaints against 12 Bush Attorneys over Torture

In what looks like a very serious shot across the bow, numerous Human Rights Groups have banned together to file 500 pages of formal complaints to several state bar associations with detailed allegations of support for Torture and War Crimes by 12 Key Bush Administration Attorneys.

Those attorney's include: John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Stephen Bradbury, Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington.

Although the OPR investigation of memo written by three of the attorney's John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury may also recommend disbarment when it is finally released, this set of complaints is much broader.

In testimony at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Former State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told a committee panel that Bush administration officials engaged in a ‘collective failure’ on detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. He called the torture memos "unsound" because "the lawyers involved ... did not welcome peer review and indeed would shut down challenges even inside the government." Another witness testified that the legal policy constituted "an ethical train wreck" because it violated constitutional, statutory and international law.


Torture is illegal under both United States and international law. The Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, and it states that treaties signed by the U.S. are the "supreme Law of the Land" under Article Six. The Geneva Convention and The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment both prohibit torture and have been signed by the United States. These laws provide no exception for torture under any circumstances. Moreover, the United States Criminal Code prohibits both torture and war crimes, the latter which includes torture. The Army Field Manual prohibits the use of degrading treatment of detainees.

Further argument provided Attorney Kevin Zeese:

Torture is illegal under United States and international law. It is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, domestic law and international treaties to which the United States is a party.

This includes:

1. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), Articles 1, 2, 3 and 16 (ratified in October 1994). Article 2(2) of the Convention states that:

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

2. The Geneva Conventions, Article 3, (ratified in August 1955). Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), held that the Geneva Conventions are applicable to accused members of al-Qaeda. Thus, due process protections apply to all detainees in U.S. custody, including those in military prisons.

3. The Eighth Amendment against "cruel and unusual punishment."
4. The United States Criminal Code, Title 18, Prohibitions Against Torture (18 USC 2340A) and War Crimes (18 USC 2441).

Torture is a clearly defined term under international and U.S. law. The Convention Against Torture defines torture as any act by which: "severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental; is intentionally inflicted on a person . . ."

The torture memoranda did not provide objective legal advice to government decision-makers, but instead twisted the state of the law so that it was unrecognizable. They were so inaccurate that these memoranda are more justifications about what the authors and the intended recipients wanted the law to be, rather than assessments of what the law actually is.

The Raw Data:

Our State Bar Complaints
Jay Bybee-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Douglas Feith-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
David Addington-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Stephen Bradbury-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Chertoff-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Ashcroft-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Timothy Flanigan-District of Columbia Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alice Fisher-District of Columbia Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Haynes-California Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Yoo- Pennsylvania Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alberto Gonzales-Texas Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Mukasey-New York Bar Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Exhibits Attached To Each Complaint
ACLU List of Known Torture Documents
Army Field Manual On Detainee Treatment
Bradbury 20 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury 46 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury Memo 5-30-05
Bybee to Gonzales Memo 8-01-02
Bybee to Rizzo Memo 8-01-02
Geneva Convention Article 3
Haynes Memo 11-27-02
Red Cross Detainee Treatment Report
Senate Detainee Treatment Report
UN Convention on Torture
U.S. Criminal Code
Yoo Memo 8-01-02
Yoo Memo 3-14-03

Republicans for Impeachment
Progressive Democrats of America
Impeach Bybee
Prosecute Bush/Cheney
After Downing Street
Buzz FlashOp Ed News
Coalition Repair Project
Progressive Magazine
Global Network
Justice Through Music
Media With Conscience
Bend-C Friendship Project
Citizens for Legitimate Government
Center for Study of Democratic Societies
The World Can’t Wait
American Freedom Campaign
Liberty Tree
BFUU Social Justice Campaign
Peace for Justice Forums
WESPAC Foundation
PDA Marin County
Central Jersey Impeach Group
Chesapeake Citizens
Topple Bush
Stop Recruiters WWU
Whatcom Peacebuilders Club
Iraq Veterans for Justice
Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The Democratic Activists
The Solution Zone
Patrick Henry Democratic Club
Epluribus Media
Consumers for Peace
No Nukes North
Veterans for Peace
Florida Peace Action Network
Reclaim the GOP
Boston Anti-War League
Voters for Peace
Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics

Bob Fertik
Ann Wright
Tim Carpenter
David Swanson
Benjamin David
William Crain
Phoebe Sorgen
Sphie de Vries
Bob Schecht
Susan Serpa
Peggy Love
Bruce Jones
Ben Maski
Andy Worlington
Mark Adams
William J. Cox
David Lindorff
Ann Wright
Steve Fox
Peggy Love
Pamela Selwyn
John H. Kennedy
Robley George
Bettejo Indelicato
Mike Woloshin
Bill Warick
Story Fitz
Nick Mattern
Dr. P. Thomas
Mark Hull-Richter
Laura Bonham
Amy Ferrer
Christiane Brown
Chris Borland
Chip Pitts
Ann Rick
Flux Rostrum
Evan Knapperberger
RJ Crane
Melinda Pillsbury Foster
David Wittner
David Slesinger
Mary Marino
Anita Fieldman
Nada Khader
Leslie Cagan
Kristina Borjesson
Debra Sweet
Lori Price
Timeteo Jeffries
Shahram Vahdany
Bruce Gagnon
Matthew Rothschild
David Robinson
Srena Crew
Lisa Boyd
Rob Kall
Peter Phillips
Mark Karlin
Doug Fuda

The Released Torture Memos

Recent Articles About Accountability For Torture
Accountability for Torture, The Nation, John Nichols, 4/22/09
Accountability Does Not Stop At White House Door, Harvard Law Record, Andrew Kallock, 4/16/09
Pressure Grows For Accountability, Amnesty International, 4/17/09
Medically Assisted Torture, New York Times, Editorial, 4/9/09
The Torturer’s Manifesto, New York Times, Editorial, 4/18/09
The Second Bybee Memo, Jurist Legal News and Research, Jordan Paust, 4/22/09
Federal Prosecution of War Criminals, Lawrence Vevel, 1/9/09
Faithfully Executing The Laws, UCLA Law Review, Dawn Johnsen, 2007
The Torture Team, Harpers Magazine, Scott Horton, 3/28/08
Torture Isn’t Patriotic, The Boston Globe, Editorial, 5/16/09
Efforts to Halt Harsh Tactics Thwarted, Washington Post, Carrie Johnson, 5/14/09
Obama Can’t Turn The Page On Bush, New York Times, Frank Rich, 5/18/09

"There is a very exclusive club, whose membership is very few, the tormentors of the human race, history will not forget you."

Sunday, May 17

Obama's Speech a Notre Dame

Liz Cheney is Geobbels!

Goebbels used modern propaganda techniques to manipulate and psychologically prepare the German people for aggressive war and the annihilation of civilian populations.

Listen as Liz Cheney uses trickery to justify an attempted War Crime!

The Serial Lying She-Goebbels Speaks.

First of all the issue isn't just the Water-boarding it's all the illegal coercive "24" crap they pulled on hundreds of detainees.

Second the specific allegation which appeared on Rachel last Friday pertains to the interrogation of the head of the Iraqi Secret Police as detailed by Charles Duelfer who was there. He even put it in his book.

It is technically true that Duelfer and his team rejected the suggestion, but several sources have now confirmed that it did come from the Vice President's Office.

The third thing, and really amazing part is that she tries to simultaneously put this claim on teh back of Colin Powell's former COS Col. Wilkersen and literally accuse him of fabricating "Fantasies" in order to maintain his own talk show cottage industry in a mad vendetta against Vice President Cheney.

Oh, Liz - me thinks thou dost protest - and project - far too much.

Why should we be surprised that Cheney's Office attempted to get a false confession from this man? They'd already done the exact same thing with Ibn Shaik al-Libi, having him buried alive in Egypt until he "confessed" that Saddam "had trained al-Qaeda on the use of chemical weapons". This was a Lie!

Why should we be surprised after Cheney's Office plotted to reveal the identity of a covert CIA Operative to cover their own ass over a forgery linking Saddam to yellow cake Uranium? This was a Lie!

Why should we be surprised when the White House ignored the head of Iraqi intelligence who told us in January 2003 "Iraq has NO WMD", and instead asked him to forge a letter claiming that Mohammad Atta had been trained in Iraq? This was a Lie!

It's not about whether this particular guy was or wassn't water-boarding, it's a clear and obvious pattern of malfeasance and LIES that is most revealing.


(Update:For the record I'm not calling her a "Nazi" - I'm calling her a LIAR just like Joseph. If you don't the impact of the Iraq war has been a devastating as some of the things excused by Joseph, I would point you to the estimated 655,000 dead and 4.5 Million displaced by a War which was waged based on a Pack of Lies expoused by Father Dick, and continued by Daughter Liz. Except for maybe the Khmer Rouge no one else is even in this league in modern memory!)