Why The Torture Issue Can't Be Swept Under The Rug

While the Beltway wants the torture policy of the Bush Administration swept under the rug and forgotten, Bush Administration officials are working at cross purposes with their Media enablers. Outgoing CIA chief Michael Hayden yesterday said:

"These techniques worked," Hayden said of the agency's interrogation program during a farewell session with reporters who cover the CIA. "One needs to be very careful" about eliminating CIA authorities, he said, because "if you create barriers to doing things . . . there's no wink, no nod, no secret handshake. We won't do it."

(Emphasis supplied.) Since the goal of some of us is that they don't do it, Hayden is telling you what we must do -- investigate and remove any chance of misconstrued winks, nods and secret handshakes. More . . .

Indeed, due in no small part to the incompetence of the Media, Hayden thinks the illegality of the Bush Administration was vindicated by yesterday's FISC appellate court ruling. Hayden said:

Hayden won a measure of vindication with the release of a court ruling Thursday that supported the administration's right to compel U.S. telecommunications companies to cooperate with the eavesdropping effort. "My reaction?" Hayden said Thursday, referring to the ruling. "Duh."

It takes a special level of willful blindness and/or ignorance to write that "Hayden won a measure of vindication" and to say, as Hayden does, "Duh." Here is another perfect illustration of how the last 8 years happened. The Media is incompetent and craven, the Bush Administration shameless.

There is irony in the fact that the Media's attempts to sweep torture and lawlessness under the rug are providing the strongest evidence of why we can not sweep it under the rug.

One final point on why it can not be swept under the rug - the Bush Administration is insisted waterboardng is legal:

The White House said Wednesday that the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding is legal and that President Bush could authorize the CIA to resume using the simulated-drowning method under extraordinary circumstances.

The surprise assertion from the Bush administration reopened a debate that many in Washington had considered closed. Two laws passed by Congress in recent years -- as well as a Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of detainees -- were widely interpreted to have banned the CIA's use of the extreme interrogation method.

But in remarks that were greeted with disbelief by some members of Congress and human rights groups, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that waterboarding was a legal technique that could be employed again "under certain circumstances."

The Beltway Media wants it swept under the rug but the Bush Administration wants the issue aired. On this issue, I am with the Bush Administration. Let's investigate this and get to the truth.

Speaking for me only

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    There is more compelling reason. (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Edger on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:27:48 AM EST
    I care very little if at all for what Bush wants. But if we are not to become Bush to get rid of Bush, then he and others do deserve a fair trial, in a court of law, not just a trial and crucifixion by bloggers and media.

    And Barack Obama deserves the chance at a two term presidency, rather than becoming a Bush enabling torture supporting pariah and having his political future end before it begins.

    Moving Forward? Here Are The Rules

    The other day George Will, of all people, was comparing Obama refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney to Ford pardoning Nixon.

    If a far right crazed wingnut can get it right, why can't the rest of us?

    This comparison is one that we can use to good effect, but only if we do it continuously and loudly.

    A friend of mine a couple of days ago, a nearly unquestioning Obama supporter, said to me, and I quote:

    No argument from me. Ford should have been stood against the wall and shot for that pardon. Nixon cooling his heels in the clink for a few years would have prevented this mess, no doubt.

    Ford's pardon of Nixon was the beginning of the end of any hope Ford had of being politically effective, and absolutely killed his future chances for reelection.

    So let's see... if Obama doesn't want a political blood bath that might define his first term as him being a bush enabler and a torture excuser and might drown him, then he'll tell Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor, and answer Fertik's question directly himself, instead of hiding behind excuses and Joe Biden, since according to Biden it is not the job of the president or the vice president, but of the Justice department.

    Ford's pardon of Nixon killed Ford politically, and not prosecuting Bush and Cheney has to kill Obama politically.

    There has to be a political price to pay for not doing it, or he will not do it. Why would he, if there is no price to pay for not doing it and the price for doing it is high?

    With things like the petition, Fertik's insistent embarrasing questioning, people like Ari Melber doing their best to force the issue into the media, people need to force the price for not doing it so high that Obama and Holder cannot ignore it.

    People did it to Ford. If people are willing to let Obama slide on this, then there is no reason Obama will not let Bush and Cheney slide on torture and war crimes.

    It's not up to Obama. It's up to us. It's up to me. It's up to you.

    24 Hours.

    In the 24 hours leading up to and including Eric Holders Confirmation Hearing first day sessions yesterday we had nearly 3000 new signatures on the Petition for A Special Prosecutor to Investigate and Prosecute Bush War Crimes, after having settle back to a few hundred a day for the past week or so.

    Yesterday morning in the hearing Holder responding to Sen. Leahy's questioning answered bluntly and forcefully (and I don't recall him at any point saying "I don't recall", btw).

    Leahy: is "waterboarding" torture and illegal?

    Holder: yes, it is torture.

    Leahy: Can other nations legally torture Americans?

    Holder: No.

    Leahy: Can President of the United States immunize acts of torture?

    Holder: Nobody is above the law.  President has Constitutional obligation to enforce the laws.  We have laws and treaties.  The president acts most forcefully and has the greatest power when consistent with Congressional intent and directives.  The president does NOT have the power that you have indicated.

    But Holder and Obama need people in numbers to make this politically possible for them to do. If anyone has not yet signed the Formal Petition to Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes... sign it now.

    Bush & Cheney (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:58:53 AM EST
    aren't unpopular just because they are Bush and Cheney.  Their policies are unpopular and anyone who wants to condone, codify and continue those policies should suffer for them.

    I tend to think that the people who keep insisting "torture works!" are just CYAing as hard as they can.  "See?  Torture works!  You need torture.  You especially need legal torture because we need you not to punish or prosecute us.".

    How many guilty parties are there?  Who signed off on these policies and acts?  Who knew?

    Why would We The People want to protect them?


    I signed the petition. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jsj20002 on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:53:01 AM EST
    So should everyone else.  If Bush is not brought to trial in the United States, he should be sent to the Hague for trial by the International Criminal Court.  That is what happend to Milosevic when it became clear that Serbia would not bring him to trial.

    These techniques worked... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:53:44 AM EST
    When apologists for torture, uh --- I mean "enhanced interrogation techinques", speak in it's defense, they cite its' successes. Hayden says, "these techniques worked".

    I have yet to read or hear of any specific instance where the gleaning of information of a prisoner who has been suffocated, or frozen or boiled or nearly drowned, has resulted in some useful or life-saving information.

    I'm not saying that this has not happened - although I doubt it has - but you'd think that after the fact that freaky people like Hayden could say that so and so revealed to us a plot to blow up such and such only after we pulled out his toenails - and then provide us with credible evidence to back up his assertions.

    The only feeble attempt at this that I read was several years ago when they claimed to have thwarted a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge - and that story turned out to be bogus. I'm not even sure that they related it having tortured the "informer" of this non-existent plot.

    I can see absolutely no reason not to reveal credible information to back up a statement to the effect that torture works - except that there is in fact no information to reveal.

    I can't help but wonder what it does to the soul of an American soldier to be trained to practice this kind of activity on a fellow human being. I guess people can be programmed to do anything. Nazi Germany certainly proved that point.

    Other techniques work better. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:04:12 AM EST
    That's my counter argument.

    I'm all for obtaining information from people.  If we want to judge a technique properly, we need to compare it against other techniques.  I'm all for objective, scientific analysis.  I'm always skeptical of anecdotal "evidence".


    That's what bothers me (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:10:36 AM EST
    They brag about the lack of terrorist attacks on US soil, but perhaps they could have achieved the same result using legal and humane means. I hope the next 4 years will be a successful example of that.

    I woudn't even go that far ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:23:45 AM EST
    there isn't much of an argument that interrogation techniques of any kind are the best way to develop intelligence.

    Those in the intelligence community who were closer to foreseeing 9/11 itself based that assumption on legally acquired data.  A lot of it was actually in the public domain.

    Meanwhile, despite having countless covert operatives within the Soviet Union, and undoubtedly interrogations, no one in intelligence circles foresaw the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Additionally, those who most stridently questioned the existence of WMDs prior to invasion were a small gaggle of reporters at places such as Knight Ridder.  They obviously didn't use illegal interrogation methods to develop their information.


    True. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:58:08 AM EST
    But what do you do when you do capture a person of interest?

    All data is useful.  Data that is verifiable is the best.  That's the problem with torture when it comes to information.  You can get people to talk and talk and talk....  If you want to use any of that information, you need to verify it independently.  You could spend a lot of time extracting worthless information from someone and even more time finding out just how worthless it was.

    Is that a productive use of your time?


    I don't know ... (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:11:25 PM EST
    but I do think the value of our intelligence services is overstated, and more can be garnered from public domain sources than is generally believed.

    As Al Qaeda proved... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:35:15 PM EST
    Good point! (none / 0) (#33)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:50:43 PM EST
    Holder hearing (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:11:35 AM EST
    During his confirmation hearing, Holder stated that he viewed water boarding as torture. As torture is illegal, (calling it enhanced interrogation doesn't change the definition), does that mean he will pursue charges against those responsible? And if he doesn't how can he ignore it?

    We're all Guilty (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by SOS on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:50:19 AM EST
    Of allowing this to be done in our name.

    Prove otherwise

    How? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:34:54 AM EST
    How could you or I have prevented this? We weren't even able to stop it after Abu Grah became public. As a citizen, I'm disgusted with many of the policies adopted by this administration, in my name, but I refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

    I guess we were supposed (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Fabian on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:43:09 AM EST
    to charter a flight to Cuba and storm the castle armed with our cell phones and digital cameras.

    Totally OT - I have to admit that Voinovich's excuse for why he isn't running for re-election is both novel and plausible:  The next two years are so significant that they will take all of his energy and attention and he won't have any to spare for fund raising and running for re-election.  Wonder if anyone else will use it?


    We were supposed to impeach them (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by joanneleon on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:36:59 AM EST
    We were supposed to relentlessly put pressure on our representatives, those who speak with our voices (except they don't) to impeach Bush and Cheney, and we were supposed to pressure committees relentlessly to investigate, enforce subpoenas, etc.

    I suppose we were even supposed to withhold our votes and any kind of support from members of Congress who refused to move forward with impeachment.

    We could have done more to pressure for impeachment.  Instead we focused on gaining majorities in Congress and getting a Democrat in the White House.  That's the bottom line.  Our representatives and the leadership decided, firmly, that impeachment would jeopardize getting the White House in 2008, and it would have required moving a mountain to change their minds.  So impeachment was kept under the table and many of us, even if we wanted and/or pushed for impeachment, went along with the plan of getting control of Congress and the WH and "fixing things later."

    I can almost justify and rationalize that strategy -- just barely.  Now it looks like the Dems have decided that the Congress and the WH isn't enough for them.  Impeachment and accountability is still under the table, as far as I can tell.  Now it's because of some other goal.  If this happens, IMHO, it will not end well.


    I know (none / 0) (#16)
    by SOS on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:48:14 AM EST
    what you mean believe me.

    Great stuff BTD. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Faust on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:34:21 AM EST

    Clear answers (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by joanneleon on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:13:58 AM EST
    If it is true that the issue is still debatable in US Courts, then we need to get a clear answer.  And yes, investigation and hopefully prosecution should give that clear answer.  I didn't think there was any ambiguity but if there is, it has to be settled.

    The surprise assertion from the Bush administration reopened a debate that many in Washington had considered closed. Two laws passed by Congress in recent years -- as well as a Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of detainees -- were widely interpreted to have banned the CIA's use of the extreme interrogation method.

    Driving to work this morning, I was (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:08:29 PM EST
    listening to open phones on C-SPAN radio, and to the snippets of newspaper articles and op-eds that were being read, and one of the things that really made me uneasy was the view from the right that, hey, this Obama fellow might not be so bad, since he's keeping Gates, and he thinks Cheney has some good advice, they just want to look "forward," and - this is the one that really got me - he's said that he won't undo Bush-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement, which means a 3-year withdrawal and not the hasty 16 months the loonies on the left wanted.  Almost drove off the road.

    Why aren't people more disturbed by the realization that Republicans and conservatives are breathing a huge sigh of relief over the strong signals from Obama that no one's going to be held accountable for their actions?  You know how they're going to reward that, don't you?  By taking all the energy and money they won't have to spend defending themselves and their awful party and its agenda, and putting it into defeating Democrats so they can return to the power they love to abuse.  

    These people are thrilled - they're escaping the embarrassment of the Abramoff and Cunningham and Foley years, no one cares about the Gonzales DOJ, they think they're off the hook on warrantless wiretapping, no one cares anymore how many have died in Iraq or how the veterans are being treated, they got their Wall Street and banker friends boatloads of money, and Obama's talking tax cuts - if Obama doesn't have the stomach for bringing the Bushies to account, he will be the greatest gift the GOP has had in years.

    Seriously, they are all but dancing in the streets, and I find that galling, just galling.  If anyone thinks the Republicans have been weakened by Obama's victory, they need to think again.  As weak and conciliatory as Democrats have shown themselves to be, it won't matter how great the majority is - the GOP will not reward the extended hand of bi-partisanship with a friendly handshake; they will take whatever's in the hand, and then rip the entire arm off at the shoulder.

    How do people not see this?

    Why wouldn't they dance? (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by mmc9431 on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:07:55 PM EST
    Why wouldn't they be dancing in the streets. Obama hasn't even taken the oath of office yet and already he's backed away from Iraq which was the cornerstone of his campaign. He now says if he doesn't succeed in closing Gitmo within 4 yrs, he'll see that as a failure. He wants to tackle "entitlements". And he doesn't want to go after the Bush administration. Sounds like a good deal for them. Throw in the faith based programs and school vouchers and they have a winner.

    The real question that needs to be ... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:22:17 PM EST

    Why is the MSM so committed to supporting torture?

    Why do they regularly put their journalistic integrity on the line to defend the darker actions of the intelligence community?

    To gain access to 'sources?' (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:38:51 PM EST
    Hence, a byline!  Or facetime on the 6 o'clock news...invitations to be on panels...job security and career advancement enhanced...

    Or they serve the same ... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:49:59 PM EST

    Back in 1977, Carl Bernstein published an investigative piece in Rolling Stone that claimed that 400 U.S. reporters worked for the CIA, including an ABC network correspondent.

    Do we really think that number has decreased?


    Not either/or....both, I'd say. (none / 0) (#34)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:59:38 PM EST
    And I had forgotten that short-lived 'scandal.'  Of course, it was only a scandal in journalism schools and only in theory.

    Murrow and Cronkite are ancient history...sigh...


    "The Mighty Wurlitzer" (none / 0) (#38)
    by joanneleon on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:33:34 PM EST
    Journalism And The CIA:  The Mighty Wurlitzer

    Bernstein's article is mentioned here, along with a lot of other information.


    the beltway (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Turkana on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:20:17 PM EST
    doesn't want bush's torture policies swept under the rug and forgotten- it wants them continued. it wants obama to be complicit.

    It's not just the media (none / 0) (#1)
    by barryluda on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:04:39 AM EST
    with "a special level of willful blindness and/or ignorance."  I'm still dumbfounded that Bush was reelected four years ago.  How could so many of us have turned a blind-eye to obvious wrongdoing?

    Four more days!

    Kerry the lily-livered (none / 0) (#9)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:16:07 AM EST
    I remember that for a brief moment it looked as if Howard Dean would win the nomination of the democratic party. I believe if he had, he would have been elected and the war in Iraq ended.

    The people were supporting an antiwar candidate.
    Dean was winning primaries.
    Then Kerry "lent" his campaign 5 million dollars and things began to change.

    The media turned against Dean.
    They turned against his wife, a Doctor.

    Dean bears a share of the blame as well.
    He began to follow the strategies of the political advisors.
    The dumb "Dean scream" was an example of the kind of behavior he began to think he had to adopt in order to win.

    Actually, all he had to do was continue to speak from his head and heart.

    Kerry got the nomination.
    He was afraid to confront Bush. After all, he voted for the damn war and was afraid to acknowledge that he had been a chump - or worse - that he thought that it was the politically clever thing to do to go along with Bush's obviously bogus assertions.

    Kerry was dreadful in all of the debates.
    He sucked up to Bush.
    He didn't confront him with his lies and present evidence to the people of the deliberate fabrications of evidence created by the Bush administration. He could have used the "debate" broadcasts to wipe Bush off the planet. Dean, before he became anethesized, would have done so with aplomb.

    My point is that I can't blame the people.
    They were presented with no choice.

    Look at the election of 2006: They clearly voted to end the war. They voted in a democratic congress. Bush played the new democratic "leadership" for chumps. Pelosi and Reid did nothing to fight for the people who had given them their positions.

    A representative democracy cannot function if those elected to represent the people represent other interests.

    I don't blame the people. The people are the victims.

    I blame the media and the corporations that own them.
    I blame the political parties - democrat and republican.
    I blame the politicians for being self-interested gnomes.

    It is the well documented conspiracy of corporate-military-governmental power that has beaten us down.


    Kerry actually won (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jsj20002 on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:45:38 AM EST
    Read John Conyers report on the stolen Ohio election and you would know that Kerry actually took that state.  

    I agree, but (none / 0) (#43)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:36:36 PM EST
    If Kerry had been an impassioned fighter for us, instead of the nothing persona that he revealed himself to be, he would have won in a landslide.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:43:03 PM EST
    Dean was "anesthetized" and the "scream" was something his advisers told him to do?  Those things are not only wrong, both of them, but completely inconsistent with each other.

    And you way, way, way underemphasize the role of the MSM, which painted Dean relentlessly as "angry," which is why the so-called scream did him in completely, and trashed Kerry relentlessly as an effete, phony, waffling elitist and let the Swift Boat morons run wild with their lies.


    "..known as waterboarding is legal.." (none / 0) (#2)
    by convict on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:09:38 AM EST
    ..the word 'waterboarding' always seems to me to be used by media in the 'singular' sense.

    Some of these individuals have been so called 'waterboarded' up to one hundred (100) times.

    ...and, ..and, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by convict on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 07:22:00 AM EST
    ..a 'pardon', for waterboaring is just BushCo pipe dreams.

    The crime 'jus cogens' a crime under international law for which no derogation is permitted.


    IANAL (none / 0) (#18)
    by killer on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:30:05 AM EST
    but it seems to me that if a pardon were issued and not rejected by the recipient, that would constitute an admission (not the right word), and would make international action much easier. Because of this, I don't think that pardons for anything that could be considered a violation of international law will be forthcoming.

    The General needs to be told to be (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 09:13:14 AM EST
    "at ease".

    In military terms, that means to STFU.

    I strongly hope (none / 0) (#22)
    by joanneleon on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:17:56 AM EST
    that he keeps talking.  This guy knows a lot about what went on in the last eight years, in multiple organizations.

    I can't believe he made that statement about a wink and a nod.  Then the "Duh" response made it clear that he is (or at least was at that moment) a loose cannon.  It gives us a window into the workings and attitudes at the CIA and the executive branch in general.  There are going to be a lot of people in those organizations still around after Obama takes office.


    A Leap of Faith (none / 0) (#19)
    by pluege on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 10:32:35 AM EST
    The Media is incompetent and craven, the Bush Administration shameless.

    It is a leap of faith to assume the bush administration officials are any more cognizant of the Constitution and the principles of rights to privacy and rule of law, or have any concept of morality more so than the media, i.e., all of them are shameless; all of them are incompetent and craven.

    There is no evidence that (none / 0) (#36)
    by oldpro on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 01:14:58 PM EST
    I can see that Democrats in the country or in DC have any appetite for revisiting the Church Committee and the after-cycle of political retribution in subsequent elections.

    If it's not on the Obama agenda, it sure as H..l won't be on anyone else's...not anyone who can make it happen, anyway.

    I just don't see it.  Not unless someone like Sy Hersch does a blockbuster book and/or a Frontline-style/Al Gore-style docudrama distributed by a major celebrity who won't let it go.  "Frost/Nixon?"

    If there is no guaranteed political upside, no one in office will touch it.  The 80s and 90s showed us the downside...culminating in the last 8 years.

    Recycling is not that popular in politics.  Except for Gingrich.

    Senators MUST be prosecuted also (none / 0) (#40)
    by tropicgirl on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 05:01:05 PM EST
    The law is VERY CLEAR on this. The Senators on the Intelligence Oversight Committee that were in charge of oversight and failed are JUST AS COMPLICIT in the torture...

    UNLESS YOU HAVE THE STOMACH TO INCLUDE THEM among the guilty, you will not be able to prosecute Bush, because they stand ready to intervene for him, albeit to save themselves. If you are not ready to prosecute THESE MEMBERS then you should just give it up and COMPLETELY STOP WHINING, because you will get nowhere. (If I were one of these members, I would be getting an attorney TODAY to figure out how to get out of the net the Bush administration has caught them in and explain why they should not be charged as well.)

    The members are (were):
    Democrats: John D. Rockefeller IV,West Virginia Chairman; Dianne Feinstein, California; Ron Wyden, Oregon; Evan Bayh, Indiana; Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland; Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin; Bill Nelson, Florida; Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island;
    Republicans: Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Vice Chairman; John Warner, Virginia; Chuck Hagel, Nebraska; Saxby Chambliss, Georgia; Orrin Hatch, Utah; Olympia J. Snowe, Maine; Richard;  Burr, North Carolina; Harry Reid, Nevada, Ex Officio; Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, Ex Officio; Carl Levin, Michigan, Ex Officio; John McCain, Arizona, Ex Officio

    "The recent disclosure of the fact that the CIA briefed a bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives on the Congressional Intelligence Committees about methods of torture used by the CIA, including "water boarding", is evidence that there is complicity in these crimes by members of Congress."

    ...Importantly, Article One of the Convention's definition of torture includes not only acts committed by Public Officials but also the acts to which they acquiesced."

    "...prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his or her legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity"

    ...The members of Congress who were advised by the CIA that torturing prisoners, including water boarding, was being used included Rockefeller, from the family that is reaping an added fortune in billions of dollars from their oil, gas, and finance international conglomerates during the invasion and occupation of Iraq; Pelosi that voted for and continues to vote to fund the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestine beyond the internationally recognized 1948 and 1967 border between Palestine and Israel;
    ...The Senators who were advised of the CIA's use of torture became complicit in the act of torture upon their failure to intervene in the continuing practice and, even worse, in their encouragement of the CIA's use of torture."


    Pat Roberts (R-KS) (none / 0) (#41)
    by wurman on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 05:28:17 PM EST
    Bob Graham (D-FL)
    Dick Shelby (D & then R-AL)

    These 3 prior chairs of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence are potential progenitors of the problems by swilling the pablum they were spoonfed & by choosing not to ask questions or, shucks, investigating.

    Also, there are other committee members who came & went at various times during the "problem" era.

    In actuality, though, you may discover with some careful research, that none of these people were privvy to the "real deal" approval of torture.  

    The "Gang of Four" (which is the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, & Senate Minority Leader) will be the actual congressional folks who were briefed, who concurred, & who acquiesced.  In the day, it was Denny Hastert, Dick Gephardt, Trent Lott, & Harry Reid.  You may also find that, after the 2006 election, a slightly different Gang of Four was possibly (but not necessarily) "re-briefed" or consulted about the small matter of enhanced interrogation.


    In his latest non-fiction (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 07:33:11 AM EST
    book, The Ghost Train. Paul Theroux compares a torture technique commonly used in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge era [hang the person to be interrogated upside down until the person loses consciousness, then submerge the person's head in water, continue hanging] with waterboarding.  Theroux is a ruthless critic of the tactics of the Bush administration, including extraordinary rendition, which he learned of while talking with people in one of the "Stans."