Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Quote of the day: Al Qaida leaders Bin Laden and al-Zarqawi haven't been found "primarily because they don't want us to find them and they're going to great lengths to make sure we don't find them."
– Porter Goss, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and obvious MENSA candidate.
Bring ‘em on: Gunmen fatally shot two Iraqi journalists with state-owned al-Iraqiya TV station as they left a restaurant in western Baghdad after lunchtime, and in separate incidents, officials of two Sunni Arab political groups were killed Monday.
Bring ‘em on: A video of a kidnapped German citizen was delivered to public television broadcaster ARD in
Bring ‘em on: Four civilians wounded in a car bombing in western
Bring ‘em on: A U.S. Marine assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing was killed Saturday when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb near Camp Taqaddum, 45 miles west of Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: A total of 238 foreign nationals were kidnapped in
Bring ‘em on: Two soldiers were killed Tuesday when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb north of
Bring ‘em on: Four members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement were fired upon as they hung election posters. The shots came from gunmen in two cars. Joseph Nabil Ishmael (19) and George Brikha Youkhana (25) were pronounced dead at the scene. Simon Edmon Youkhana (22) and Milad Zakkar Mansour (18) were critically injured; According to Dr. Bahaldin al-Bakri of the Jumhouri hospital, Mr. Mansour suffered a gunshot to the head and is in the intensive care unit.
Bring ‘em on: A suicide car bomber killed eight Iraqi soldiers and wounding five more when he drove into an army patrol today in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad.
Bring ‘em on: Attackers ambushed a vehicle Monday, killing three people including a senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Ayad al-Izzi. Mr. al-Izzi was to compete in parliamentary elections set for next month.
Bring ‘em on: A Sunni Kurd cleric from this northern city was kidnapped, tortured and killed during a recent visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Sheik Bashir Hadi Fakhreddine, the imam of Bilal al-Habashi mosque in
Bring ‘em on: Six Iranians, including two women, and an Iraqi woman were kidnapped after gunmen opened fire on their bus on Monday, seriously wounding the Iraqi driver. The group were on their way to a Shi'ite holy shrine in Balad. Police said the three women were released later on Monday. Thafer Migwil Hazza, a relative of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and a former Iraqi army officer, was kidnapped from his house by gunmen on Monday in Tikrit. Bashar Shnawa Gaber, a senior member of the Shi'ite Dawa party, was shot dead in
Bring ‘em on: Four U.S. soldiers were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack on a military convoy in Baquba. At least one vehicle was destroyed in the attack.
The quiet civil war: Shiite Muslim militia members have infiltrated
And they undermine the
Time to get tough?: The leader of Iraq’s most powerful political party has called on the United States to let Iraqi fighters take a more aggressive role against insurgents, saying his country will only be able to defeat the insurgency when the United States lets Iraqis get tough.
“The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror,” said Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in
Instead, al-Hakim asserted in a rare interview late last week, the
In more than an hour of conversation at his Baghdad home and office, al-Hakim gave few details of what getting tough Iraq’s way would entail, other than making clear it would require more weapons, with more firepower, than the United States is currently supplying.
Looks like they already started: Iraqi authorities have been torturing and abusing prisoners in jails across the country, current and former Iraqi officials charged.
Deputy Human Rights Minister Aida Ussayran and Gen. Muntadhar Muhi al-Samaraee, a former head of special forces at the Ministry of the Interior, made the allegations two weeks after 169 men who apparently had been tortured were discovered in a south-central
A senior American military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said he suspected that the abuse wasn't isolated to the jail the
The Negroponte option: As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.
Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation.
Some Sunni men have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills. Many have simply vanished.
Some of the young men have turned up alive in prison. In a secret bunker discovered earlier this month in an Interior Ministry building in
Progress, of a sort: The U.S. is seeing significantly fewer foreign fighters on the battlefields of
Mookie: Men loyal to Moktada al-Sadr piled out of their cars at a plantation near Baghdad on a recent morning, bristling with Kalashnikov rifles and eager to exact vengeance on the Sunni Arab fighters who had butchered one of their Shiite militia brothers.
When the smoke cleared after the fight, at least 21 bodies lay scattered among the weeds, making it the deadliest militia battle in months. The black-clad Shiites swaggered away, boasting about the carnage.
Even as that battle raged on Oct. 27, Mr. Sadr's aides in
Negotiating with the victors: In a new indication that the balance of power within the administration of President George W. Bush has tilted strongly in favour of the realists, Washington's influential ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has disclosed that Bush has authorised him to open direct talks with Iran about stabilising Iraq.
The announcement, which came in an interview with Newsweek magazine, marks a major change in policy. The two countries have not held direct talks since mid-May 2003, shortly after the
The new balance of power: So, what about the "next permanent Iraqi government"? That was what Talabani's visit to
Rise of the warlords: The Iraqi private security details are supposed to travel in vehicles marked with a number and with trained forces carrying credentials from the interior minister. But no single agency is responsible for enforcing the rules. The details routinely disregard Iraqi government forces, including soldiers and police, who patrol the streets.
"While some perform in a very professional manner, others cause fear in other motorists and pedestrians with their heavy-handed approach, including the use of warning shots," said Col. Edward Cardon, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in
Hussein trial: Less than 24 hours before Saddam Hussein's scheduled return to court on charges of crimes against humanity, the police in northern
Prosecutors have said they plan to bring their first witnesses against Mr. Hussein and other defendants when the court resumes in
Defense lawyers say they will demand a new 45-day adjournment while the court considers motions to annul the proceedings on the ground that the American role in creating the court, formally known as the Iraqi High Tribunal, has voided its authority under Iraqi and international law.
Kidnapping victims: Consular officials in
So far, the Canadian government has said little about the case in an effort to protect the safety of those kidnapped. They have not identified the Canadians involved or the humanitarian organization they were working with.
Rumors Of Withdrawal
Ostensible withdrawal: The Iraqi Air Force is not now a fighting air force. If the Bush administration has any plans for such a force, it is a very well kept secret.
It is hard not to conclude that withdrawal would leave
Airstrike your rivals: The Bush administration is considering a plan to put America's awesome airpower at the disposal of Iraqi commanders, as a way of reducing the number of US troops on the ground. The plan is causing consternation among commanders in
According to an article in the New Yorker magazine by Seymour Hersh, the possibility of using airpower as a substitute for American troops on the ground has caused unease in the military, with air force commanders objecting to the possibility that Iraqis will eventually be responsible for target selection.
"Will the Iraqis call in air strikes in order to snuff rivals, or other warlords, or to snuff members of your own sect and blame it on someone else?" a senior military planner told the magazine. "Will some Iraqis be targeting on behalf of al-Qaida, or the insurgency, or the Iranians?
Pat Buchanan: By Thursday, the Pentagon confirmed that troops would be coming home after the December elections and, if conditions improve,
Moreover, our principal coalition partners after the Brits are coming out. Silvio Berlusconi has said
If no more troops are going in, and the only question is, how many
Someone – too lazy to check who – made an excellent point in Comments about this last statement, to the effect that it is preparatory to the future argument that Iraq was ‘lost’ not because our military wasn’t up to it but because of the public’s loss of will – the same old bullshit as we hear about Vietnam, in other words. The fact that neither conflict proved amenable to a military solution short of genocide is conveniently ignored.
Joe Conason: Too often omitted from American discussions of this dismal situation is the widely shared and forcefully expressed desire of the Iraqis themselves — namely that our troops should go home as soon as possible, and that a schedule must be established for their departure.
Last August, the British defense ministry conducted a secret opinion survey in
That broad judgment was ratified again in
According to the Egyptian newspaper Al Hayat , sources at the conference suggested that the Iraqi leaders want
Richard Clarke: In the past few weeks, the war in
The Senate voted overwhelmingly that Iraqi forces should assume the lead in the war in 2006 so that the
Now, our nation needs to agree on a withdrawal strategy. Four elements define a departure plan:
• How we characterize the end of our combat-force presence.
• When the departure starts.
• When it ends.
• What our residual involvement will be.
Stan Crock: I find it both amusing and dismaying that the Administration is keelhauling Democrats for wanting an exit strategy when Arab and Iraqi leaders are calling for a withdrawal timetable and the Pentagon reportedly has drafted a plan for starting a drawdown next year. Representative John Murtha (news, bio, voting record) (D-Pa.) has argued for a rapid withdrawal on the ground that we're not going to win and we shouldn't sentence more troops to die senselessly.
I would make a different argument: We should get out of
Roundheels Tom: Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from
But Daschle, who as Senate majority leader controlled the chamber's schedule, recalled recently that he asked Bush to delay the vote until after the impending midterm election.
"I asked directly if we could delay this so we could depoliticize it. I said: 'Mr. President, I know this is urgent, but why the rush? Why do we have to do this now?' He looked at Cheney and he looked at me, and there was a half-smile on his face. And he said: 'We just have to do this now.' "
Daschle's account, which White House officials said they could not confirm or deny, highlights a crucial factor that has drawn little attention amid rising controversy over the congressional vote that authorized the war in
No duh: It was obvious in 2002, and it is crystal clear now, that the Bush team - led by their political director, Karl Rove - carefully scheduled the war so that the timetable would work with the schedule of the next two election cycles.
The vote in Congress to give the president war authority had to occur before the mid-term elections in November 2002 in order to put the Democrats in disarray and to get all the Democratic senators who were planning to run for president in 2004 on the record. That part worked beautifully. Sen. John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee, never fully recovered from the GOP ads in which he stated conflicting views on the war.
The war itself was supposed to be a cakewalk. I believe Bush, Cheney and Rove were looking at intelligence that backed up weapons inspectors, including Scott Ritter, who said that
The Bush political team’s plan was to have the war successfully ended and a new democratically elected government installed by mid-2004 so that Bush could skate to re-election in November - not just as a “war president,” as he referred to himself, but also as a war hero.
Emblematic of this plan was the massive and costly publicity stunt in which Bush landed on the U.S.S. Lincoln off the coast of
Blinders coming off: A former senior U.S. State Department official says he has come to doubt whether President Bush's administration presented an honest intelligence case for the war in
"You begin to speculate, you begin to wonder _ Was this intelligence spun? Was it politicized? Was it cherry-picked? Did in fact the American people get fooled? I'm beginning to have my concerns," Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
Jesus, Larry, you’re just now wondering? Well, hey, better three years and 40,000 lives late than never, I guess.
More Larry: Wilkerson told the BBC:
“The post-invasion planning for Iraq was handled, in my opinion, in this alternative decision-making process which, in this case, constituted the vice-president and the secretary of defence and certain people in the defence department who did the "post invasion planning", which was as inept and incompetent as perhaps any planning anyone has ever done.”
“It consisted of largely sending Jay Garner and his organisation to sit in Kuwait until the military forces had moved into Baghdad, and then going to Baghdad and other places in Iraq with no other purpose than to deliver a little humanitarian assistance, perhaps deal with some oil-field fires, put Ahmed Chalabi or some other similar Iraqi in charge and leave.”
“This was not only inept and incompetent, it was day-dreaming of the most unfortunate type and ever since that failed we've been in a pick-up game - a pick-up game that's cost us over 2,000 American KIAs [killed in action] and almost a division's worth of casualties.”
More guts in his little finger than Dick Cheney has in his whole flabby pink body: Gary Olson is a 52-year-old grandfather, a retired U.S. Army veteran - and soon to be a soldier again, thanks to the need for troops in
Olson was ordered to report for duty Dec. 4 in
"They're just looking for bodies to fill in. I have been out cold turkey for 13 years," Olson said. "My philosophy is this: I'm going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If I have to go, I have to go."
Yes, a new PR campaign should turn things around. Good to see congress exerting some leadership: Amid declining public support for the war in
"We want to hear from the administration," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "We want more co-option of the Congress by the administration so that we're on the same wavelength."
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Bush should provide a detailed status report to the American public.
"It would bring him closer to the people, dispel some of this concern that understandably our people have about the loss of life and limb, the enormous cost of this war to the American public" and press the case that "we've got to stay firm for the next six months," Mr. Warner said.
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .
-- James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
The all-powerful presidency: On the question of detainees picked up in
Cheney's office, Rumsfeld aides and others argued "that the president of the
Wilkerson said Bush tried to work out a compromise in 2001 and 2002 that recognized that the war on terrorism was different from past wars and required greater flexibility in handling prisoners who don't belong to an enemy state or follow the rules themselves.
Bush's stated policy, which was heatedly criticized by civil liberties and legal groups at the time, was defensible, Wilkerson said. But it was undermined almost immediately in practice, he said.
In the field, the
War criminal: A top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell has launched a stinging attack on US Vice-President Dick Cheney over abuse of prisoners by US troops.
Col Lawrence Wilkerson accused Mr Cheney of ignoring a decision by President Bush on the treatment of prisoners in the war on terror.
Asked by the BBC's Today if Mr Cheney could be accused of war crimes, he said: "It's an interesting question."
"Certainly it is a domestic crime to advocate terror," he added.
"And I would suspect, for whatever it's worth, it's an international crime as well."
Gotta say this for Larry – he’s saying some stuff that is long past due to be said by leaders of national stature. Hope someone’s paying attention.
Any ‘conservative’ who sat quietly while an American citizen was held for three years without charges – and that would be pretty much all of them – is a despicable whore with no moral standing in civilized society: Since 9/11 the Bush Administration has sharply criticized others for daring to suggest that citizens accused of terrorism should be dealt with through the criminal justice system. It has insisted that 9/11 changed everything and that terrorism must be dealt with through novel methods that dispense with the ordinary protections that the Constitution affords the accused. Now it has backtracked in one of the most prominent cases and done precisely what it said it could not do-- treat Padilla as a criminal defendant.
The reason is not difficult to discover. The Administration counted votes and figured that even with a replacement for Justice O'Connor, it would likely lose in the Supreme Court. (The four dissenters in Rumsfeld v. Padilla thought Padilla was unconstitutionally confined, while Justice Scalia, who joined the majority, made clear that the September 18, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force did not justify detaining a U.S. citizen, because the AUMF was not a legitimate suspension of the writ of habeas corpus).
By indicting Padilla now, The Bush Administration moots Padilla's appeal to the Supreme Court. It also leaves standing the Fourth Circuit's decision in the Padilla case, which broadly upheld the President's power to detain
That result is particularly worthy of note, for the Fourth Circuit opinion may yet come in handy if the Administration needs to hold another U.S. citizen within the geographical boundaries of that circuit. The Administration now knows that the Fourth Circuit is a Constitution-free zone. It can, if it needs to, declare someone an enemy combantant, thrown them into a military prison, and interrogate them at its leisure. It will take years for a citizen to exhaust his appeals and reach the Supreme Court; and when the citizen finally gets to the Supreme Court, the Administration has the option to indict and moot the case (as it did with Padilla) or, if the Court's personnel have changed sufficiently in the interim, risk an appeal to the Supremes.
You may recall that, following the Hamdi decision last year, the Administration decided not to give Yaser Hamdi a hearing, but instead released Hamdi to
The Padilla case is a sobering lesson in how much leeway the President has to imprison and detain people for long periods of time in violation of the Constitution. The fact that the government's story about why Padilla was a threat has changed so frequently should give us pause the next time the government asserts that we should trust it when it rounds up U.S. citizens and claims the right to hold them indefinitely for our protection. Padilla may well be a very bad fellow, but we have a method of dealing with such bad fellows. It is called the rule of law, and we should not surrender it so readily merely because the President desires it.
The Bush administration’s torture policy is a clear violation of
All of these methods were used on Qatani, and documented in the Army's Schmidt report (PDF), which was commissioned in response to FBI allegations of abuses at
Methods like these were banned in
It depends what you mean by "legal obligations" and "humanely."
Shredding habeas corpus, due process, and civilized morality: This New York Times article confirms something I suspected as soon as Padilla's indictment was announced. The Bush administration is desperate to avoid accountability on its detention and interrogation policies not because of what it may need to do in the future but rather because of the illegality of what it has already done. As a result, Administration officials dropped any mention of the previously touted "dirty bomb" plot against Jose Padilla, because prosecuting that theory would lead to inquiries about what exactly it had done to get the information that formed the basis of the accusation.
“The decision not to charge [Padilla] criminally in connection with the more far-ranging bomb plots was prompted by the conclusion that Mr. Mohammed and Mr. Zubaydah could almost certainly not be used as witnesses, because that could expose classified information and could open up charges from defense lawyers that their earlier statements were a result of torture, officials said.”
”In an interview on Wednesday, a British lawyer for another man accused by the United States of working as Mr. Padilla's accomplice in the bomb plot also accused American officials of working to extract a confession. The lawyer said the
“"They took him to
Not to belabor the obvious, but information obtained by torture has two significant defects. First, it won't stand up in court because it's unreliable. Second it violates basic human rights, and that's an important reason why our constitutional system doesn't allow such practices in the first place.
It seems that the Administration's decision to flout the Constitution and the rule of law has come home to roost. The Administration assumed all along that it was entitled to do whatever it wanted, and that no one should object, because, after all, it was fighting evil. But the best way to fight evil is not to do evil yourself.
Lie after lie: In a rare television interview, Goss defended the CIA's track record, which has been tarnished by allegations ranging from erroneous or hyped intelligence leading to the war in
"What we do does not come close to torture," Goss said, though he declined to elaborate on the agency's interrogation techniques.
Let’s shackle Porter Goss and force him to stand for 40 hours and then ask him if it came close to torture: The CIA sources described a list of six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" instituted in mid-March 2002 and used, they said, on a dozen top al Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe. According to the sources, only a handful of CIA interrogators are trained and authorized to use the techniques:
1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.
2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.
5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.
6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.
According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.
"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.
Comment on above story: This story is notable for several reasons: 1. Confrmation that use of these techniques is formally approved at the highest level of the CIA: "According to the sources, when an interrogator wishes to use a particular technique on a prisoner, the policy at the CIA is that each step of the interrogation process must be signed off at the highest level -- by the deputy director for operations for the CIA." 2. The fact that several former and current CIA officers and supervisors are leaking CIA "methods" is newsworthy in and of itself. There's a very strong taboo against revelation of sources and methods within the CIA; such conduct could subject the leakers to severe discipline and even criminal exposure. Therefore it's virtually unheard of. These leaks -- together with recent leaks concerning the CIA's "black sites" where these interrogations occur, and about a CIA Inspector General report questioning the legality of these techniques -- indicate that there must be profound dissent within the agency on this issue, including on the question of the efficacy of such techniques: "[T]he debate among intelligence officers as to whether they are effective should not be underestimated." According to ABC News, the leakers "say they are revealing specific details of the techniques, and their impact on confessions, because the public needs to know the direction their agency has chosen." 3. The techniques were first approved in March 2002, at least four months before the infamous OLC "Torture Memo." This suggests that the CIA was willing to engage in such conduct before OLC signed off on it (in writing, anyway), and that OLC's advice was offered with respect to ongoing conduct. The general practice within OLC is not to opine on the legality of past or ongoing conduct within the Executive branch, because in such a case there could be an understandable inclination to skew advice so as not to conclude that Executive officials had been acting unlawfully. On the other hand, the Executive branch obviously needs to know if it has been acting unlawfully so that it can conform its practice to the law. Therefore it's often a tough call within OLC whether to give advice in situations such as this. 4. These techniques -- especially Nos. 4 through 6 -- would very likely be deemed conduct that "shocks the conscience," and that therefore would be forbidden by the McCain Amendment. (The CIA's own Inspector General apparently concluded that some of the techniques do shock the conscience.) I should caution, however, that there is no judicial precedent for applying the "shocks the conscience" standard in the context of interrogations of high-level international terrorism suspects, and therefore there is no way to know for certain whether the McCain Amendment would prohibit even such harsh techniques. * * * * I'm not going to discuss here whether these techniques are moral, or "effective," or worth the costs, or whether it was inevitable that they would "migrate" to less carefully monitored settings (e.g., Iraq), or whether they contributed to the confusion throughout the military about legal standards governing detainee treatment. Those important discussions are ongoing elsewhere (such as at Crooked Timber, on Andrew Sullivan's site, and in the comments to this Orin Kerr post), and I don't have any particular expertise to offer on such topics. No one is discussing this question, however: Are such techniques currently legal?
The Nuremburg legacy: For the last twenty years, it’s been common practice among law professors to view modern human rights law, and in a sense the entire international law system, as something that started with the gavel that convened the first of the
Thoroughly repulsed and deeply ashamed: Americans accustomed to taking their leaders' words at face value perhaps can be forgiven, at least until now, for believing the unbelievable. But enough details have recently come to light about the Bush administration's handling of terror suspects to make anyone aware of them thoroughly repulsed and deeply ashamed.
There is no escaping that this administration has undermined the nation's highest ideals, thereby jeopardizing its moral leadership in the world. It is now clear that it also has jeopardized its ability to bring terror suspects to justice.
Discussions of torture invariably deal both with questions of morality and effectiveness. In truth, torture fails both tests. But while our leaders state flatly that it doesn't work and that the United States does not torture, thereby seeming to agree that torture is immoral, they have acted otherwise. They have redefined what torture is, they have allowed
Unreliable method: Torture is not a theoretical discussion at the Center for Victims of Torture. We know what torture is and we know its impact.
Torture does not work. We know from working with victims that torture is an ineffective way to gather information. Nearly all our clients, when subjected to torture, confessed to a crime they did not commit, gave up extraneous information, or supplied names of innocent friends or colleagues. This is a great source of shame for our clients, who tell us they would have said anything to get the pain to stop.
But don't take just our word for it. Experienced and well-trained interrogators within the military, the FBI and the police say that torture does not yield reliable information. Such extraneous information distracts, rather than supports, valid investigations. F. Andy Messing, a retired major in U.S. Special Forces and director of the National Defense Council, told Insight magazine, "Anybody with real combat experience understands that torture is counterproductive."
Not only is torture ineffective, but it is never used in isolated cases, as some would have us believe. The Israeli Security Service claimed to use "moderate physical pressure," sometimes called stress and duress techniques, only where they had the most reliable information about the detainee's guilt. Yet a study found they were used on over 8,000 detainees. It is simply not credible that they had such precise information about so many. The Israeli Supreme Court determined such techniques were illegitimate and outlawed them in 1999.
At the time the photos were taken at Abu Ghraib, the Red Cross estimated that at least 80 percent of those imprisoned should never have been arrested, but were there because it was easier to arrest persons than to let them go. They were all vulnerable to abuse not because of their guilt but because they were there.
Guantanamo north: As the number of questions asked across Europe grows on the existence of a chain of secret prisons run by the CIA, the E.U. Commissioner for Human Rights, Alvaro Gil Robles, has described for the first time what he saw in September 2002, at a site that until now had not been mentioned in the controversy of extrajudicial detentions and the war on al-Qaeda: The U.S. military base at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.
Within this imposing base, which is home to 6,000 U.S. Army troops and spread out across 300 hectares near Ferizaj, south of Pristina, the "capital" of the U.N.-administered
Isn’t this what we fought the Cold War against?: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday defended the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects as part of an unprecedented war to prevent massive attacks on civilians.
In an interview with
"We have never fought a war like this before where ... you can't allow somebody to commit the crime before you detain them," she said. "Because if they commit the crime, thousands of innocent people die."
Yeah, Condi, in a big fucking mushroom cloud, right? Or in a hideous biowarfare attack launched by UAVs controlled by a fucking third world country 11,000 miles away, right? You revolting little fascist puke.
Editorial – Houston Chronicle: The charges finally leveled against Padilla are far from the alarming claims the Justice Department originally made to support Padilla's indefinite detention. At the time of his May 2002 arrest, prosecutors said Padilla had conspired with al-Qaida to detonate a radioactive bomb within the
Those claims do not appear as part of the indictment, demonstrating the ease with which broad powers of detention can be abused.
Government officials maintain they have the right to indefinitely hold without charges any
U.S. Attorney Alberto Gonzales said that with his indictment, Padilla is no longer considered to be an enemy combatant. As part of the process, he was transferred into civilian custody from a military lockup in
Sean Gonsalves: Appropriately, the National Council of Teachers of English 2004 Doublespeak Award went to the Bush administration, in part because “Jay S. Bybee, head of the Office of Legal Counsel, advised that, in order to be considered torture, the pain inflicted on a prisoner ‘must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.’”
“Leaving aside the problem of how to quantitatively measure human pain in this way, the memo advised that international laws against torture 'may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogation' of (suspected terrorists).”
Don't be surprised if the plain-talking Bush administration doesn't start calling torture “aversion therapy” or “behavior modification.”
It's not terrorist-sympathizing, feel-goodism to recognize that this tortured logic is self-defeating in the all-important war for “hearts and minds.” Words shape our thoughts. So as long as we buy into these linguistic sleights-of-hand where prisoners of war are called “detainees,” dangling in a legal limbo, “staying the course” is the path to “winning the war and losing the peace.”
John Adams: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."
Local story: A
Sgt. William B. Meeuwsen, 21, of Kingwood, died Wednesday in
Local story: Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric P. Pearrow, a 40-year-old veteran tank commander who was killed recently in a roll-over accident in
Local story: The Army's criminal unit is investigating the killing of a
Army Pvt. Dylan Paytas, 20, of Freedom, died of multiple gunshot wounds "sustained during a noncombat-related incident" Nov. 16 at the Warhorse forward base near Baqubah about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stacy Simon of the Coalition Press Information Center in Iraq.
Local story: A U.S. Army soldier with local ties was wounded this month in
Spc. Adam D. Millett, 22, of
He was injured Nov. 19 in Bayji when a bomb exploded near the Humvee he was in, according to The Associated Press.
Local story: Christine Lebron usually celebrates Thanksgiving with a big family gathering. But this year, with work and other obligations nagging at everyone's time, she and her relatives decided to forgo the annual feast and celebrate separately.
But that plan didn't last long. About 6:45 Thanksgiving morning, two uniformed soldiers showed up at Lebron's house in Bellmead, and instantly she knew: The day that had been set aside to give everyone some space was about to turn into one where family was the only thing holding them together.
Lebron's oldest son, Army Spc. Javier Antonio Villanueva, was dead. The 25-year-old had been injured the day before in the Iraqi town of
Local story: Master Sgt. Brett E. Angus was perhaps called to be a Marine. With his father and his uncle both in the military, he grew up surrounded by family members who wanted to serve their country.
He loved to travel and was able to see the world with the Marines. He even met his wife while working in
Local story: When Gregory L. Tull was a junior in high school, he told a guidance counselor that he was determined to enlist in the military.
‘‘He was just driven by that goal, and he was very confident in his decision,’’ said Kate Schiek, a counselor at
Local story: Bill Mitchell of Atascadero is still grieving the death of his only son, Sgt. Mike Mitchell who was killed in
The army says Sgt. Mitchell died along with seven other soldiers in an ambush.
Mitchell says he has made repeated attempts to meet with Congressman Bill Thomas, even in
“You know I want to sit down with him. I want to tell him about my son … what a fine young man that was killed in this war, and I want to talk to him about the war and I’d like to know why he continues to support it,” said Mitchell.
“I think it's the height of disrespect that he will not meet with the father of a soldier who was killed in this war, one of his constituents,” adds Mitchell.
Local story: A Harrow Muslim was among three to have been killed by gunmen while returning to
Husain Mohammedali, 50, who was from
Five close friends were travelling together, they were mainly Shiite Muslims from Husaini Masjid Mosque in Northolt.
Saifuddib Nakai from Streatham was also killed on Monday and Yahya Gulamali, 60, from Greenford died from his injuries on Tuesday, Ali Asqar Qaiyoom, 42, an engineer from Harrow and Zehra Jafferjee, 60, from Wembley were injured and are being treated in hospital.
Local story: Two West Michigan soldiers remained in critical but stable condition in a
Army Sgt. Spencer Akers, 35, of
Pfc. John Dearing, 21, of
Sgt. Duane Dreasky, 31, of Novi, and Spc. Joshua Youman, 25, of
Local story: A public memorial service will be held this week for an
The memorial for 20-year-old Lance Corporal Scott Zubowski will be Thursday at a church in
He and another Marine were killed November 12th by a roadside bomb near Fallujah.