Sunday, June 6

Bush Admits War Crimes, America Shrugs...

It's been three days since former President George W. Bush casually admitted that he had authorized the water-boarding of Khallid Sheihk Mohammad, and although Huffpo claims there's been outrage - from my perspective America's collective response has been - "Ho Hum, what else is new? - Daddy, you plug that hole yet?

Bush: We Water-boarded Khallid Sheik Mohammad, I'd do it again to save lives.

Sad to say Mr. Ex-President, according to all the available evidence - Water-Boarding KSM didn't save anyone.

Not one.

In 2004, just two years after Bush's Controversial "Harsh Interrogation Program" the CIA's Own Inspector General found that it was both ineffective and illegal.

WASHINGTON — The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.

Bush himself actually shut his program down in 2004 after this report was issued, so why's he blathering now about "He'd do it again - to save lives"?

It didn't save any then, it wouldn't save any now - quite the opposite.

Bush's FBI Director, who ought to know if any lives were saved by the use of harsh techniques, says - that didn't happen.

Mueller: I don't believe it has been the case (that Harsh Tactics have saved lives)

So where are the saved lives George?

As Keith correctly points out, Water-boarding has been a War Crime for over half a century going back as far as the Spanish American War. General Washington banned tortured during the Revolutionary War. The U.S. Prosecuted and executed Japanese Soldiers who Water-Boarded our troops in WWII. The U.S. Court Martialed this soldier for participating in the Water-Boarding of a suspected VietCong member during the Vietnam Conflict.

During the 80's, under President Reagan a Texas Sherrif was prosecuted for water-boarding a suspect. Even recently there is a trial - sadly only a civil case - over a Police Lt. who tortured and gained false confessions from over a 100 Suspects over the course of 2 decades.

Water-boarding has always been a crime, going all the way back to beginning of this nation - IT. IS. UNAMERICAN! When the HELL did that change?

Keith with Air Force Interrogator "Matthew Alexander"

Here's a excerpt from Matthew Alexanders Wapo Op-ed on torture.
as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work.

Torture and abuse are against my moral fabric. The cliche still bears repeating: Such outrages are inconsistent with American principles. And then there's the pragmatic side: Torture and. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse.

KSM's sworn testimony during his Military Commission was that he lied to us while undergoing harsh tactics - "I Make Up Stories".

And what's worse the CIA knew he was lying.

As for K.S.M. himself, who (as Jane Mayer writes) was waterboarded, reportedly hung for hours on end from his wrists, beaten, and subjected to other agonies for weeks, Bush said he provided "many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans." K.S.M. was certainly knowledgeable. It would be surprising if he gave up nothing of value. But according to a former senior C.I.A. official, who read all the interrogation reports on K.S.M., "90 percent of it was total fucking bullshit." A former Pentagon analyst adds: "K.S.M. produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were."

Yeah, and apparently you guys were pretty fucking stupid.

KSM gave us Bupkis. Not only had the Library Tower plot already been foiled long before KSM was even captured - I think i've notice we still haven't caught Bin Laden! Weren't he and KSM like BFF's?

It's interesting that Bush's justifies the torture of KSM, but not that of Abu Zubaydah particularly since his mistreatment took place months before the OIC memos providing quasi-legal justification for it. And the fact is that according to FBI Agent Ali Soufan, Zubaydah had given us plenty of information, including confirming KSM's identity withou being mistreated, he just wasn't saying what the Bush Administration wanted to hear - "How was Saddam connected to 9-11?"

Officials who analyzed Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation reports say that the reports were afforded the highest value within the Bush administration not because of the many American lives they were going to save but because they could be cited repeatedly against those who doubted the wisdom of ousting Saddam by force.

"We didn’t know he’d been waterboarded and tortured when we did that analysis, and the reports were marked as credible as they could be," the former Pentagon analyst tells me. "The White House knew he’d been tortured. I didn’t, though I was supposed to be evaluating that intelligence." To draw conclusions about the importance of what Abu Zubaydah said without knowing this crucial piece of the background nullified the value of his work. "It seems to me they were using torture to achieve a political objective. I cannot believe that the president and vice president did not know who was being waterboarded, and what was being given up."

This is where the true outrage should stem, the fact that techniques authorized by Bush and Cheney very directly led to the unwarranted death of thousands of U.S. Troops by Emboldening and Enraging the Enemy with images like those from Abu Ghraib.

If fact, you can blame All U.S. Casualties in Iraq on Torture, since at least 1/3rd of the information the Bush Administration used to justify this War - and put on display in front of the United Nations, were produced by either Torture or outright lies.

Specifically I mean the Torture of Ibn Sheik al-Libi, something else that Bush clearly doesn't take pride and credit for in "saving lives" because It Didn't. After he was buried alive by Egyptian forces, al-Libi told us that Saddam's forces had trained members of Al-Qeada on use of Chemical Weapons.

THAT WAS A LIE. (Remember "I make up stories...")

According to the ABC News report, one other detainee who was waterboarded was Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the director of the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan, who was captured in November 2001. His current whereabouts are unknown, although there are suspicions that he was finally delivered to the Libyan government. Having slipped off the radar, the government clearly does not want his case revived, not only because it may have to explain what has happened to him, but also because, as a result of the application of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," al-Libi claimed that Saddam Hussein had offered to train two al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons.

Al-Libi's "confession" led to President Bush declaring, in October 2002, "Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases," and his claims were, notoriously, included in Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003. The claims were of course, groundless, and were recanted by al-Libi in January 2004, but it took Dan Cloonan, a veteran FBI interrogator, who was resolutely opposed to the use of torture, to explain why they should never have been believed in the first place.

How many lives did that Save, George?

The other two primary sources for the Iraq invasion were a known liar, code-named "Curveball" who gave us information about mobile labs which didn't exist, and a forgery of a receipt from Niger which claimed Iraq had recently purchased (not just attempted but actually possessed) tons of yellowcake uranium ore.

Yet, again - Both were LiES.

When Ambassador Joe Wilson attempted to expose the Yellowcake Lie, we all saw what length's the Bush Administration, with Cheney in the lead, went to to discredit him - including revealing the identity of an active covert CIA operative - Valerie Plame-Wilson.

It's been little reported, but there is currently no doubt the Bush was Directly informed by Saddam's own Head of intelligence that Iraq's WMD's had been destroyed in 1991, yet rather than take heed of this information the Bush Administration had this Iraqi Officer produce a forged letter claiming that Saddam's forces had Trained some of the 9-11 Hijackers.


Suskind says he spoke on the record with U.S. intelligence officials who stated that Bush was informed unequivocally in January 2003 that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, his book relates, Bush decided to invade Iraq three months later — with the forged letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam bolstering the U.S. rationale to go into war.


Suskind writes: "The White House had concocted a fake letter from Habbush to Saddam, backdated to July 1, 2001. It said that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had actually trained for his mission in Iraq — thus showing, finally, that there was an operation link between Saddam and al-Qaeda, something the Vice President's office had been pressing CIA to prove since 9/11 as a justification to invade."

He continues: "A handwritten letter, with Habbush's name on it, would be fashioned by CIA and then hand-carried by a CIA agent to Baghdad for dissemination."

Lastly, to yet again justify their baseless invasion and attack on Iraq, Dick Cheney suggested that an Iraqi captive be Water-boarded - even though he was already co-operating - and was VERY CLEARLY PROTECTED BY GENEVA as an enemy solder, not a "Unlaawful Combatant" - he still hadn't told us How Saddam Pulled off 9-11!.

Pardon the poor audio.

There were no WMD's in Iraq - not anymore. Bush was told this two months before he decided to invade - and invaded anyway.

There were NO ACTIVE LINKS, between Saddam and al Qeada - all suggests that there were were either lies generated by torture or forgeries.

Here we have a clear pattern using the techniques created by the Red Chinese to create false confessions for propaganda purposes being used over and over and over again - with and without legal wrangling - to justify the Bush Administrations blood lust again Saddam and misdirected guilt for not paying attention to Osama Bin Laden when everyone - Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, Richard Clarke and even George Tenet - said that al Qaeda would be the Bush Administration's Number one Priority.

A priority in which they failed, utterly, completely.

More Blood On Bush's hands.

Maybe it's the constant insane sadistic prattling of Liz Cheney and Marc Thieesen, maybe it's acute Jack Bauer poisoning - but after all these lives have been literally thrown away over lies, it's simply amazing that Bush smugly retorts "He'd do it all save lives"

And America shrugs...

8,000 Dead on YOUR Watch Mr. President, ON YOUR WATCH!

Whose life did you save George, besides your own political life?

"He'd do it again.. " and America yawns....

War Crimes have no Statute of Limitations.

Is America's indifference a greater indictment of Bush and his campaign to sanitize evil, or of us?


Update: It should be noted that Eric Holder has indeed selected Special Prosecutor John Durham to look into this issue. Exactly how far up or down the chain of command he will take this issue remains in question, but it is being addressed legally.

Starting in January of 2002 Bush began to preemptively immunize himself from prosecution under 18 USC 2441 (the War Crimes Act) by issuing executive orders which excepted so-called "enemy Combatants" from Geneva protections (and hence War Crimes protection) on the advice of Alberto Gonzales. I personally don't think that action was legal since the President doesn't make law, congress does - but it did begin a clear pattern of conspiracy to Torture even before the first high-value detainee Zubaydah was even captured in March of that year. These were followed by the Yoo Memos in August after complaints by the FBI and DOJ attorneys about Zubaydah's handling using SERE techniques by contractors. One problem with the Bush defense here is that Yoo didn't have the authority to issue those memos, Jay Bybee did - and another is that the separate Torture Statute (18 USC 2340) with it's own conspiracy section wasn't papered over until Jay Bybee determined that it required "near organ failure or death" for any treatment to be torture when he finally did issue a memo of his own.

This leaves a window from March to August - while Zubaydah was being treated using SERE-like tactics where the Torture Statue (2340) could apply even if Bush's memos had blocked Geneva. This is also why Bush talks about KSM's treatment openly, which didn't occur until later after all this legal cover was established, but not Zubaydah. It may also be why the tapes of Zubaydaah's interrogation were illegally destroyed. Bush also doesn't talk about Jose Padilla who was a U.S. Citizen and clearly protected by U.S. Law, not just Geneva. But a third problem arises, these weren't the only people subjected to this treatment and several of them even went beyond the "Bybee Standard" of protection - They died under Torture

So read several of the 44 US military autopsy reports on the ACLU website -evidence of extensive abuse of US detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan 2002 through 2004. Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations."

Conspiracy under both 2441 and 2340 when the subject dies, can lead to the Death Penalty. These cases are the ones most likely to be looked at by Durham, where interrogators went far outside even the framework provided by Gonzales, Yoo and Bybee - but the problem stems from the framework itself, not the act of a "few individuals".

The program was essentially shutdown after criticism from the CIA Inspector Generals Report in 2005, the Yoo/Bybee memos were later rescinded by Bradbury. Then the rest of Bush's erector set of memo's were ruled invalid by Hamdan v Rumfeld in 2006 which re-established Geneva even for Enemy Combatants. Bush then attempted to paper this over with the Military Commissions Act, which stripped Habeus protection from detainees, continued to allow coerced confessions as admissible. The torture program was Official over, but Bush still wanted access to the ill-gained "fruits" without having to admit they were illegal methods in the first place.

In 2007, despite Hamdan and the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act - after fierce urging by Cheney, Bush re-instituted parts of the program (w/o water-boarding), in clear violation of the law. Not only would he do it again - He DID it again.

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