Known Unknowns Now Known

rumsfeldRummy may be fucked:

WASHINGTON — A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration.

The report focused solely on interrogations carried out by the military, not those conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency at its secret prisons overseas. It rejected claims by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others that Pentagon policies played no role in harsh treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other military facilities.

This is simply disgusting behavior. If Rumsfeld and the rest are not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law we might as well shut out the lights of our republic.  It will be over.

The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq — stripping detainees, placing them in “stress positions” or depriving them of sleep — originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.

According to the Senate investigation, a military behavioral scientist and a colleague who had witnessed SERE training proposed its use at Guantánamo in October 2002, as pressure was rising “to get ‘tougher’ with detainee interrogations.” Officers there sought authorization, and Mr. Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques.

The report showed that Mr. Rumsfeld’s authorization was cited by a United States military special-operations lawyer in Afghanistan as “an analogy and basis for use of these techniques,” and that, in February 2003, a special-operations unit in Iraq obtained a copy of the policy from Afghanistan “that included aggressive techniques, changed the letterhead, and adopted the policy verbatim.”

Well, Rummy stands up while he works, so why should the cabdrivers he tortures be any different?

Months later, the report said, the interrogation officer in charge at Abu Ghraib obtained a copy of that policy “and submitted it, virtually unchanged, through her chain of command.” This ultimately led to authorization by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez of the use of stress positions, “sleep management” and military dogs to exploit detainees’ fears, the report said.

“The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots,” Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “This report, in great detail, shows a paper trail going from that authorization” by Mr. Rumsfeld “to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq,” Mr. Levin said.

No one could have predicted ….

Trickle Down Torture [Crooks and Liars]

UPDATE: Move-On:

41 Comments

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Rumsfeld is living proof of the banality of evil.

I’m sure Rummy is probably thinking:

“You torture with the excuses you have—not the excuses you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Oh please, if anyone is ever held responsible for any of this, I’ll post a youtube of me eating my slacks.

The latest is that everyone at the CIA, Pentagon, OLC, Congress, etc, including Pelosi, are all so ignorant, incompetent, and totally lacking a moral compass that they didn’t even know that they were ordering and approving torture in violation of US and international law.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22detain.html?_r=2&hp

There are so many people involved in this, that it’s a systemic failure for which none of them want to hold anyone accountable. Basically, the US government operated as a criminal conspiracy to commit war crimes, and is now acting to obstruct justice and cover them up.

Oh, and just btw, Obama’s and Holder’s promise not to prosecute the torturers may itself be illegal under US and international law.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/19/obama-violated-int-law/

Its time to get distracted; you think what Rummy did was torture, you don’t know torture. There is a video floating around of a Prince from the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, the brother of their President and also brother of their Crown Prince, torturing some dude. Apparently this Prince’s hobby is torture, and he videos it. In the video, according to ABC news, you see a UAE cop tie the man’s hands and feet, then the prince has at him with a board with nails in it, whips and chains, what have you, and then, this is for real, he pours salt on the guys wounds, and then, he runs him over with his Mercedes SUV.

Wow, and this is our buddy, one of the good guys.

This alone is reason enough to develop alternate energy and stop buying oil from these fucks.

It also seems like psy-ops to me, for this to come out now, just something a bit distracting andd confusing and something to let them say, “hey, everybody does it.”

Bloggie sez: “Rummy may be fucked….”

Proper fucked?

If Black Eagle stands by and does nothing, then he will be proven to be a totally spineless time-filler. For real.

At the very least — the Senate should subpoena Rummy for a hearing set for RIGHT FUCKING NOW, MISTER. I cannot research this any (I actually have to, you know, do work right now), but the Senate hearings that Rummy has participated in the past might be somewhat inconsistent with what this reveals, in a couple of moderately important respects.

@Prommie: No, I think the reason is that they can point at it and say “That is torture: this is losing a night’s sleep.”

Wow, this UAE torture thing may be more than coincidence. First of all, it was reported last June. And it seems there is some suggestion that this sheik may have been torturing prisoners that the US “extraordinarily renditioned” there. Oh, and the sheik stuck a cattle prod up the guy’s ass, so there is a buttseks angle, woweee wow wow:

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a trusted adviser to a member of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, Texas businessman Bassam Nabulsi says he safeguarded the sheik’s most important documents: financial records, investment documents, and videotapes showing the sheik torturing people with a cattle prod and a spiked plank.
When the business relationship began to deteriorate, Nabulsi says, he also was imprisoned for months and tortured by jailers trying to get the tapes back.

Now, the tapes could become evidence in a federal lawsuit against Sheik Issa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a son of the late UAE president and brother of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince. By custom, a member of the Al Nahyan royal family serves as president of the UAE.

The lawsuit and the tapes could prove embarrassing to the UAE, a U.S. ally that promotes itself as a pro-Western nation catering to business travelers and tourists.

The tapes have not been made public but The Associated Press viewed 11 still frames from one of the videos. They showed a man who appeared to be Sheik Issa beating another man with lumber, firing an automatic weapon into the sand around him and forcing an apparent cattle prod into his anus. The victim also appeared to have been partly run over by a SUV and had salt poured on his wounds.

@Benedick: Yeah, but what of this possibility, that we sent the dude their to be tortured? That would be devastating.

@chicago bureau: I’m with Original Andrew on this one. History tells us that nothing will be done. If Holder doesn’t order a special prosecutor or the Senate start hearings right now the Eagle will lose his feathers of Hope ™.

I spent some time reading at least a selection of the memos today, and if nothing else they reveal a level of bureaucratic banality that Joseph Heller could have scripted. Would a desert Prince have any reason to spell out under what conditions his people could use a tactic called the “Mutt and Jeff”, or whether it was time for “emotional love” or “emotional hate”?

BTW: the Fox News above-the-scroll news photo teaser thing, at this moment, has this

CIA’s Use Of Extreme Interrogation Is Under Fire, But… DID IT WORK?

[served over picture of Liberty Library U.S. Bank Tower in El Lay, Khalid Sheik Hairball]

This observation is very Keef, I know, but — could they be more tone deaf?

My Inner Epistemologist is insanely jealous of your headline.

Nabisco: I have absolutely zero delusions about this — this is destined for the dustbin of history.

But still: the political downside on this for Black Eagle is nil. The House GOP is in lockstep against him, and the Senate is nearly so. What political cost is there in doing this. But also: does he fear a revolt among moderate Republican voters?

Maybe it’s because Democratic pols have been on the outs so long that they remember being manhandled by Rove et al. And since Democrats are compassionate new-age lovey-dovey types, they don’t feel like inflicting pain that they just suffered. It would be nice if they get over that feeling and start kicking some ass.

@chicago bureau:

Dustbin nothing, not prosecuting means that it will happen again, guaranteed. If it’s not happening now. It’s mostly the same compulsive liars at the CIA who started it and now claim it’s been stopped.

The Dems are nearly as guilty as the Repubs on this one, which is why they’re so desperate to avoid any investigation or prosecution.

Additionally, the same logic that makes kidnapping and torture acceptable for foreigners also makes it acceptable for US citizens.

We have large segments of our population, perhaps even a plurality, who don’t see anything wrong with torture and want more, and who will use a lack of prosecutions as an admission of acceptability.

A government that kidnaps, disappears and tortures people can do anything to anyone.

@Original Andrew: We have a large percentage of our population who are enthusiastic proponents of genocide (accomplished through nuclear bombs) as the answer to a wide range of international disputes ranging from disrespecting us, looking at us funny, and being dark-skinned, all the way to being uppity and speaking a different language.

@nojo: Thank you. As I see it, we knew Rumsfeld was in it up to his rimless spectacles, we just didn’t know his precise role. Now we do. And he’s a war criminal.

@blogenfreude: I just wonder if his daily trip to the exercise yard in the Hague will include 4 or 8 hours of standing.

You are all acting as if Hopey McUnicorn wasn’t a politician of the first order. He’s a politician. He made it all the way to the US presidency. You simply can’t do that without bending over backwards so far that your spine is transformed into a syrupy jelly-like substance.

International law will continue to be broken with impunity. Torturers and their enablers will escape scott-free as long as we get a couple of scapegoats. Citizens will continue to be wiretapped, and freedoms will continue to disappear down the drain. Big polluters will continue to pollute, and small polluters will be heavily fined.

Obama may have done a few things right, and is playing well to the cameras on a number of things, but fundamentally, he’s not going to change a damn thing. Why should he? He’s got the power, and it’s sweet. Who would honestly give that up?

Hopey is the thing with feathers.

I think maybe its true that cultures rise and flourish and then decline and fall. Maybe the accumulation of memes becomes like a poison, clogging the system like the proteins that make people age. People start running around believing all kinds of distorted myths and stupid shit.

Its either that, or, or, big or, OR, things always seem to be in decline, because in the old days, you were young, and when you are young, everything is rosy and hopeful. So anytime you look back at the past, you always think it was better and therefore conclude things are in decline.

Its gotta be one or the other.

I’m thinking that its more hopey to believe “It has always been thus,” at least then, as bad as it is, its not getting worse.

Gotta just keep on keeping on encouraging the good and opposing the evil, I suppose.

Thats my sermon for today.

@Original Andrew: And then I’ll post a YouTube video of me eating my computer playing your video.

@Prommie:

There’s definitely some truth to that, optimism of youth and so forth.

The weirdest thing is that somehow obeying the law has become a partisan issue. The party of law and order–you know who–openly advocate lawlessness for themselves and long prison terms for everyone else. That’s actually a fitting image for them: America’s jailers.

Which of course robs us all of having a real debate from an actual opposition party instead of this psychotic circus.

OK, I’m gonna come back when I can get my snark on.

I just can’t snark about torture. Along with wars of aggression, it’s the ultimate evil.

I’m gonna share an heelarious column from my super-Constitutional fantasy BF, Glenn Greenwald: Apparently, Jane Harman–Ms. Wire Tap The Shit Outta Everyone–is now an “angry, partisan, civil liberties extremist” since she got caught on tape committing treason or whatever.

But I’m really wondering: as serious as it is when a member of Congress is the target of government eavesdropping, can we really afford to investigate this? After all, we have so many very important things to do. It really seems like we need to be looking forward, not backwards. The Bush administration is gone. This all happened in 2005 — years ago. Is this really a time to be pursuing grudges, to be re-litigating old disputes? What kind of partisan witch hunt is Harman after? We can, and surely should, reflect on what happened to her — in fact, let us now pause together for a moment of quiet reflection on what was done to Jane Harman — but this is not a time for retribution or looking back. “Most Americans” want the people’s business done, not “abuse of power” investigations.

Besides, if Jane Harman didn’t do anything wrong — as she claims — then what does she have to hide? Only Terrorists and criminals would mind the Government listening in. We all know that government officials have better things to do than worry about what innocent Americans are saying. If she did nothing wrong — if all she was doing was talking to her nice constituents and AIPAC supporters about how she could be of service — then Bush officials obviously weren’t interested in what she had to say.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/04/21/harman/

@Original Andrew:
An ACLU supporter is an asshole who got wiretapped.

@Original Andrew: We all know that government officials have better things to do than worry about what innocent Americans are saying.

Yeah, they don’t lose any sleep over it, but they’re still listening. So be patriotic, and have a screaming orgasm for your local wiretapper today!

@Prommie: you think what Rummy did was torture, you don’t know torture.

No I don’t, but it’s my understanding that the International Red Cross makes the call under international law, and they call it torture.

Ok, so I L’dMAO about this:

Seymour Hersh Uncovers New Thing Too Sad To Think About

NEW YORK—Sources at The New Yorker said a new article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh “blows the lid completely off” a subject matter far too soul-crushing for the human brain to process. Hersh, renowned for breaking stories on events such as the My Lai Massacre and Abu Ghraib, is said to have plumbed every last, depressing detail of the newly uncovered topic, which likely involves an inconceivable combination of violence, drunken abuses of power, wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life, and a chain of deceit and corruption leading all the way to the top. According to a recent poll, none of The New Yorker’s nearly 1 million subscribers had summoned the strength to crack the story’s first paragraph, instead turning to the new Roz Chast cartoon on the next page.

@Original Andrew: Brilliant. And pretty much my reaction to this thread. Wonder what the boys at Project Rungay are up to . . .

@Mistress Cynica: Back when we was just suffused with Hopeyness and glorying in the delicious fantasy of having someone other than W as president, the world was brighter. But now its back to the day to day angst. Its like after Christmas, except it will last longer, and people will suffer and die.

@Original Andrew: To be fair, the Roz Chast cartoon is in color.

Something occurred to me just tonight. Hopey, last week, took a lot of shit when he made a statement that rank and file CIA people who were in good faith doing what they were told was legal should not be prosecuted.

Oh noes, there was wailing, he’s as bad as Bush, they said.

But in just the few days since then, there have been several ex CIA and defense people, and even Condi’s legal advisor, coming out and telling the story. There is a growing avalanche of information coming out, more and more people coming forward and talking.

Hmm. Is this a coincidence?

Obama may be the most skilled player of the political game ever to come down the pike.

I think he was playing his cards with incredible skill. How else do you encourage the little guys to come out and give up their bosses? You tell them what is only right, we’re not after you, we are after the evil shitbags who pushed this on you.

And its working.

@Promnight:

I hope you’re right; I truly do.

There’s one value that we cannot compromise, and that’s the total rejection of torture.

I have been extremely disappointed in the Obama “Justice” administration’s approach to everything regarding detainees and torture and such since day one. It’s great that they say, “We have stopped this, it isn’t going to happen from now on.” Kudos for that.

But why would I believe it’s not gonna happen, and it’s not happening now, when THIS ADMINISTRATION argues continuously against prosecuting the people who wantonly broke the law in doing this, and even make “legal” arguments for power extending beyond our dearly departed unitary executive?

When we see prosecutions for the OBVIOUS, OVERT WAR CRIMES committed by the higher-ups of the previous administration, I will give Obama the benefit of the doubt once again; until then, I’m in “loyal opposition”.

They reckon it’s either health care reform – or at least the shot at it – or war crimes trials. They have stopped the practice and are trying to talk to the other sides. Do we let Bush drag down any hope of getting anything done? I think it’s disgusting and I think we’re going to pay for it in years to come. And god knows what happens when any of them travel outside the States/China/the UAE. And yes it is/was torture and following orders is no defense: wasn’t that the point of Nuremberg?

@Pedonator:

Here’s the e-mail I sent yesterday to Jim McDermott, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell:

****************************************************

Investigate and demand prosecution of the torturers

The United States is obligated to investigate and prosecute torture under both US and International Law.

Not prosecuting torture guarantees that it will happen again!

Convention Against Torture — signed by Reagan in 1988, ratified in 1994 by Senate:

http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (Article 4) . . . . The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
***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. . . . An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.***

Geneva Conventions, Article 146:

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.

Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, Article 8:

The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.

U.S. Constitution, Article VI:

[A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.

Hey All:

Foist of all, it takes time. Patience can be a virtue. WE must provide the forces to demand investigations, the politicians never will on their own. We must force their hands, and then the pols will suffer less political damage. That is how it works.

Promnight:

First, right, you exempt the little guys and all the info starts falling in your lap. Second, yes, there is a line there, somewhere. Both of these reasons are why I propose to exempt CIA personnel (defined however) from punishment. Divide and conquer is the antidote to a cluster-freakshow like this. I am reminded of learning how the RICO statute helped the FBI all but destroy the Mafia 30 years ago.

http://www.gongshangfa.com/2009/03/24/why-bush-administration-crimes-must-be-punished/

@Original Andrew: I think what Hopey is doing is preparing the way to go after the shitbags without alienating the established powers within the bureaucracies, and even enlisting their aid.

I do truly believe he does sincereley morally reject torture. I think he is waiting until some of the foreign policy successes resulting from him acting sane and all start to show, so he can say, “see how being civilized accomplishes so much more?”

@Promnight:

Right. Our job is to make it easy for Hopey to shrug and say, what choice do I have? For hard core right wingers the political pressure will not be a sufficient excuse, but they are all nutbags anyway.

If he has to be the one to get out in front of this and lead the charge then he bears the full force of political pain. That is not good for a bunch of reasons.

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