Human Rights Court Holds Hearing on CIA's Use of Poland

The European Court of Human Rights is holding hearings to determine Poland's complicity in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and torture program. The court is gathering evidence pertaining to the kidnapping, detention and torture of detainees Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Abu Zubaydah was ultimately determined not to be a member of al Qaida, and al-Nashiri is one of the detainees scheduled to be tried by military commission at Guantanamo.

Here is the Court's fact-sheet on the two cases. In addition to waterboarding, the unauthorized interrogation techniques used by the CIA included the "powerdrill" and "handgun": [More...]

First, some background. Al Nashiri captured in Dubai, in September, 2002. A month later he was transferred to CIA custody. He was flown to "the salt pit" in Afghanistan where he was tortured.

During his detention, the interrogators subjected him to prolonged stress standing positions, during which his wrists were shackled to a bar or hook in the ceiling above the head for at least two days.

Then he was flown to Thailand where he was waterboarded.

From there the CIA had him flown to Poland, where he was tortured some more at a black hole site in Stare Kiejkuty. "The flight flew from Bangkok via Dubai and landed in Szymany, Poland, on 5 December 2002....The fact that the applicant was transferred to a secret detention site on 5 December 2002 and then tortured is confirmed in paragraph 224 of the of the 2004 CIA Report."

Polish officials cleared Al-Nashiri's flight (among others) for arrival at Szymany airport. The Court reviewed a letter from the Polish Border Guard Office confirming this.

Why Szymany? One likely reason:

Szymany is described by the Chairman of the Polish delegation to PACE as a ‘former Defence Ministry airfield’, located near the rural town of Szczytno in the North of the country. It is close to a large facility used by the Polish intelligence services, known as the Stare Kiejkuty base..... According to [one] report...the centre was located at the Stare Kiejkuty intelligence training base.

Here's where the powerdrill and handgun techniques come in (the use of these techniques later became the subject of an OIG investigation):

The debriefer assessed Al-Nashiri as withholding information, at which point [REDACTED] reinstated [REDACTED] hooding, and handcuffing. Sometime between 28 December 2002 and 1 January 2003, the debriefer used an unloaded semi-automatic handgun as a prop to frighten Al-Nashiri into disclosing information. After discussing this plan with [REDACTED] the debriefer entered the cell where Al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked [racking is a mechanical procedure used with firearms to chamber a bullet or simulate a bullet being chambered] the handgun once or twice close to Al-Nashiri’s head.

On what was probably the same day debriefer used a power drill to frighten Al-Nashiri. [REDACTED] consent, the debriefer entered the detainee’s cell and revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded. The debriefer did not touch Al-Nashiri with the power drill.

The [REDACTED] and debriefer did not request authorization or report the use of these unauthorized techniques to Headquarters.

So what happened with the investigation of this creep?

OIG investigated and referred its findings to the Criminal Division of DoJ. On 11 September 2003, DoJ declined to prosecute and turned these matters over to CIA for disposition. These incidents are the subject of a separate OIG Report of Investigation.

There was physical torture as well:

97. [REDACTED] OIG received reports that interrogation team members employed potentially injurious stress positions on Al-Nashiri. Al-Nashiri was required to kneel on the floor and lean back. On at least one occasion, an Agency officer reportedly pushed AI-Nashiri backward while he was in this stress position. On another occasion [REDACTED] said he had to intercede after [REDACTED] expressed concern that Al-Nashiri’s arms might be dislocated from his shoulders. [REDACTED] explained that, at the time, the interrogators were attempting to put Al-Nashiri in a standing stress position. Al-Nashiri was reportedly lifted off the floor by his arms while his arms were bound behind his back with a belt.

There was also the "stiff brush and shackles."

98 [REDACTED] interrogator reported that he witnessed other techniques used on Al-Nashiri that the interrogator knew were not specifically approved by DoJ. These included the use of a stiff brush that was intended to induce pain on Al-Nashiri and standing on Al-Nashiri’s shackles, which resulted in cuts and bruises. When questioned, an interrogator who was at [REDACTED] acknowledged that they used a stiff brush to bathe Al-Nashiri. He described the brush as the kind of brush one uses in a bath to remove stubborn dirt. A CTC manager who had heard of the incident attributed the abrasions on Al-Nashiri’s ankles to an Agency officer accidentally stepping on Al-Nashiri’s shackles while repositioning him into a stress position.”

After the torture in Poland, Al-Nashiri was transferred to Gitmo -- via a flight and brief stint at a secret site in Morocco:

Polish authorities assisted the CIA in secretly transferring the applicant from Poland to Rabat, Morocco, on a rendition plane flight N379P.

It's not just what Poland did to assist, but what it did not do:

There was apparently no attempt by the Polish Government to seek diplomatic assurances from the United States to avert the risk of his being subjected to further torture, incommunicado detention, an unfair trial, or the death penalty when in the US custody.

A 2010 report by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (“the CHRGJ”)found:

N379P’s movements over 3‑7 June 2003 “conform to the most typical attributes of a CIA rendition circuit”. The data collected and examined in the CHRGJ Report shows that a Gulfstream V aircraft, registered with the US Federal Aviation Administration as N379P, embarked from Dulles Airport, Washington D.C. on Tuesday June 3, at 23 h33m GMT and undertook a four-day flight circuit, during which it landed in and departed from six different foreign countries including Germany, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Poland, Morocco and Portugal. The aircraft returned from Portugal back to Dulles Αirport on 7 June 2003 (for further details (see also paragraphs 99-102 below).


...the Polish Government granted licences and overflight permissions to facilitate the CIA rendition flight N379P and that the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) (Polska Agencja Żeglugi Powietrznej) officials collaborated with Jeppesen (and, by extension, with Jeppesen’s client, the CIA) by accepting the task of navigating this disguised flight into Szymany. Indeeed, they knowingly issued a permit for Warsaw, despite the fact that they knew that the aircraft was actually going to land in Szymany....

Guantanamo wasn't the end for al-Nashiri. After 6 months at Gitmo, he was flown back to Morocco, and then to a secret site in Romania, where he spent several more months, before being returned to Gitmo.

So did the U.S. get anything of value from al-Nahsiri, or just lies to get them to stop the torture? According to al-Nashiri, he told them whatever they wanted to hear to get the torture to stop.

43. According to a partially redacted transcript of that hearing, the applicant stated that he “[had been] tortured into confession and once he [had] made a confession his captors [had been] happy and they [had] stopped torturing him. He also stated that he had made up stories during the torture in order to get it to stop and that “[f]rom the time I [had been] arrested five years ago, they [had] been torturing me. It [had] happened during interviews. One time they [had] tortured me one way and another time they [had] tortured me in a different way”.

The applicant’s reply to the President of the Tribunal’s request to describe the methods that were used, is largely redacted from the transcript of the hearing. The unredacted portion however states that: “before I was arrested I used to be able to run about ten kilometres. Now, I cannot walk for more than ten minutes. My nerves are swollen in my body”.

He also stated that “they used to drown me in water. So I used to say yes, yes.” Further details relating to his own description of his treatment are redacted from the transcript.

Al-Nashiri's current charges include participation in the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 and the attack on the French civilian oil tanker MV Limburg in the Gulf of Aden in 2002. The U.S. is seeking the death penalty for him. He filed a habeas petition in federal court five years ago in 2008 and it is still pending.

The U.S. dismissed the charge against him after his defense lawyers said they intended to introduce evidence of his torture. But then Congress passed the Military Commission Act of 2009, which changed the rules, so the U.S. refiled the charges before the military commission. On the new rules in the 2009 Act:

...they still provide for the death penalty and retain many of the deficiencies associated with the previous military commission rules.

...The United States Secretary of Defense or his designee acts as the convening authority for a given commission, approves charges for trial by a military commission and selects the commission members who are required to be members of the armed forces on or recalled to active duty, and as such are subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. Military commissions still apply only to non-US citizens. The current rules place no limits on the length of time within which a suspect must be charged or tried. Indeed, they expressly exempt military commissions from speedy trial requirements.

Furthermore, the current military commission rules allow for the accused to be denied access to classified information or evidence and, unlike US federal court procedures which bar the admission of hearsay, they expressly permit hearsay evidence and do not bar convictions based mainly on such evidence.

... Unlike US federal court procedures which bar the admission of evidence derived from coerced statements, the current military commission rules admit evidence derived from coerced statements if that evidence would have been otherwise obtained and the use of such evidence would be consistent with the interests of justice. Moreover, the military commissions will still be held in the remote location of Guantanamo Bay, thereby significantly hindering public access to the proceedings against the applicant.

Finally, there is considerable uncertainty associated with the current military commission rules, which were enacted as recently as October 2009 and have been applied so far in only three cases, none of which involved the death penalty.

Al-Nashiri's alleged co-spirators in the USS Cole bombing were tried in federal court, not at Gitmo.

Human Rights Watch also published a report on the ghost detainees, including al-Nashiri, which confirmed Poland's participation.

Arbitrary incommunicado detention is illegal under international law. It often acts as a foundation for torture and mistreatment of detainees. U.S. government officials, speaking anonymously to journalists in the past, have admitted that some secretly held detainees have been subjected to torture and other mistreatment, including waterboarding (immersing or smothering a detainee with water until he believes he is about to drown). Countries that allow secret detention programs to operate on their territory are complicit in the human rights abuses committed against detainees.

...Under international law, enforced disappearances occur when persons are deprived of their liberty, and the detaining authority refuses to disclose their fate or whereabouts, or refuses to acknowledge their detention, which places the detainees outside the protection of the law. International treaties ratified by the United States prohibit incommunicado detention of persons in secret locations.

Poland did its share of stone-walling investigations into its participation:

69. Mr. Karski also made the following statement, which reflects the position of the Polish Government on the question of CIA renditions:

‘According to the information I have been provided with, none of the questioned flights was recorded in the traffic controlled by our competent authorities – in connection with Szymany or any other Polish airport.’

70. The absence of flight records from a country such as Poland is unusual. A host of neighbouring countries, including Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have had no such problems in retrieving official data for the period since 2001. Indeed, the submissions of these countries, along with my data from Eurocontrol, confirm numerous flights into and out of Polish airports by the CIA-linked planes that are the subject of this report.

Then there's the 2006 Marty report:

It is inconceivable that certain operations conducted by American services could have taken place without the active participation, or at least the collusion, of national intelligence services. If this were the case, one would be justified in seriously questioning the effectiveness, and therefore the legitimacy, of such services. The main concern of some governments was clearly to avoid disturbing their relationships with the United States, a crucial partner and ally. Other governments apparently work on the assumption that any information learned via their intelligence services is not supposed to be known.”

More from the Marty report:

The CIA brokered ‘operating agreements’ with the Governments of Poland and Romania to hold its High-Value Detainees (HVDs) in secret detention facilities on their respective territories. Poland and Romania agreed to provide the premises in which these facilities were established, the highest degrees of physical security and secrecy, and steadfast guarantees of non-interference.

On why the U.S. chose Poland and Romania:

123. It is interesting to note that the United States chose, in the case of Poland and Romania, to form special partnerships with countries that were economically vulnerable, emerging from difficult transitional periods in their history, and dependent on American support for their strategic development.

How did Poland participate?

170 From our interviews with current and former Polish military intelligence officials, we have established that the WSI’s role in the HVD programme comprised two levels of co-operation. On the first level, military intelligence officers provided extraordinary levels of physical security by setting up temporary or permanent military-style ‘buffer zones’ around the CIA’s detainee transfer and interrogation activities. This approach was deployed most notably to protect the CIA’s movements to and from, as well as its activities within, the military training base at Stare Kiejkuty. Classified documents, the existence of which was made known to our team describe how WSI agents performed these security role under the guise of a Polish Army Unit (Jednostka Wojskowa) denoted by the code JW-2669, which was the formal occupant of the Stare Kiejkuty facility.

171 On the second level, the WSI’s assistance depended to a large extent on its covert penetration of other state and parastatal institutions through its collaboration with undercover ‘functionaries’ in their ranks. Our sources have indicated to us that WSI collaborators were present within institutions including the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (Polska Agencja Żeglugi Powietrznej), where they assisted m disguising the existence and exact movements of incoming CIA flights; the Polish Border Guard (Straż Graniczna), where they ensured that normal procedures for incoming foreign passengers were not strictly applied when those CIA flights landed; and the national Customs Office (Główny Urząd Celny), where they resolved irregularities in the non-payment of fees related to CIA operations Thus the military intelligence partnership brought with it influence throughout a society-wide undercover community, none of which was checked by the conventional civilian oversight mechanisms.”

Who in Poland might be accountable? The Marty report found:

...the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander KWAŚNIEWSKI, the Chief of the National Security Bureau (also Secretary of National Security Committee), Marek SIWIEC, the Minister of National Defence (Ministerial oversight of Military Intelligence), Jerzy SZMAJDZINSKI, and the Head of Military Intelligence, Marek DUKACZEWSKI.

...There was complete consensus on the part of our key senior sources that President Kwasniewski was the foremost national authority on the HVD programme. One military intelligence source told us: ‘Listen, Poland agreed from the top down... From the President - yes... to provide the CIA all it needed.’ Asked whether the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were briefed on the HVD programme, our source said: ‘Even the ABW [Internal Security Agency] and AW [Foreign Intelligence Agency] do not have access to all of our classified materials. Forget the Prime Minister it operated directly under the President’.

More confirmation:

At least ten flights by at least four different aircraft serviced the CIA’s secret detention programme in Poland between 2002 and 2005. At least six of them arrived directly from Kabul, Afghanistan during precisely the period in which our sources have told us that High-Value Detainees (HVDs) were being transferred to Poland. Each of these flights landed at the same airport I named in my 2006 report as a detainee drop-off point - Szymany.

Others potentially liable:

The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (Polska Agencja Żeglugi Powietrznej), commonly known as PANSA, also played a crucial role in this systematic cover-up PANSA’s Air Traffic Control in Warsaw navigated all of these flights through Polish airspace, exercising control over the aircraft through each of its flight phases right up to the last phase, when control was handed over to the authority supervising the airfield at Szymany, immediately before the aircraft’s landing PANSA navigated the aircraft m the majority of these cases without a legitimate and complete flight plan having been filed for the route flown.

It wasn't just al-Nashiri. Other detainees subjected to extraordinary rendition to the black hole sites include Bisher Al-Rawi, Jamil El-Banna, Abou Elkassim Britel, Khaled El-Masri and Binyam Mohammed. There were at least 14 of them.

The Statement of Facts cites the 2007 International Red Cross report which found:

Throughout the entire period during which they were held in the CIA detention program – which ranged from sixteen months up to almost four and a half years and which, for eleven of the fourteen was over three years – the detainees were kept in continuous solitary confinement and incommunicado detention. They had no knowledge of where they were being held, no contact with persons other than their interrogators or guards. Even their guards were usually masked and, other than the absolute minimum, did not communicate in any way with the detainees. None had any real – let alone regular – contact with other persons detained, other than occasionally for the purposes of inquiry when they were confronted with another detainee. None had any contact with legal representation. The fourteen had no access to news from the outside world, apart from in the later stages of their detention when some of them occasionally received printouts of sports news from the internet and one reported receiving newspapers.

None of the fourteen had any contact with their families, either in written form or through family visits or telephone calls. They were therefore unable to inform their families of their fate. As such, the fourteen had become missing persons. In any context, such a situation, given its prolonged duration, is clearly a cause of extreme distress for both the detainees and families concerned and itself constitutes a form of ill-treatment.

In addition, the detainees were denied access to an independent third party. In order to ensure accountability, there is a need for a procedure of notification to families, and of notification and access to detained persons, under defined modalities, for a third party, such as the ICRC. That this was not practiced, to the knowledge of the ICRC, neither for the fourteen nor for any other detainee who passed through the CIA detention program, is a matter of serious concern.

The IRC report also summed up the physical abuse -- it's too long to reprint here.

The Statement of Facts concludes with 13 ways Poland could be found liable.

The case is AL NASHIRI v. POLAND. Al Nashiri is represented by J.A. Goldston, R. Skilbeck, A. Singh and Nancy Hollander. Al Nashiri also has a case pending against Romania.

This article on the current hearing contains this response by former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski.

"Of course, everything took place with my knowledge,” former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski said. “The decision to cooperate with the CIA carried a risk, that Americans would use unacceptable methods. But if a CIA agent brutally treated a prisoner in a Marriott hotel in Warsaw, would you charge the directors of that hotel for the actions of that agent?"

...The court will issue a judgement on the culpability of Mr. Kwaśniewski’s “hotel” next year.

So what is an appropriate penalty for those involved in Hotel Stare Kiejkuty in Szymany, Poland? Maybe the authorizing (and/or willfully blind) officials (and ours,including Bush, Cheney and Yoo) should be imprisoned for life in solitary confinement at a facility like Gitmo, and forced to be undergo enhanced interrogation techniques once a month for three days until they admit they knew they were subjecting these men to torture in violation of domestic and international law. If they ever retract their confession, the EIT period will be increased to twice a month, so they learn, like Pavlov's dog, not to retract it again. And three times a day, every day, upon awakening, before dinner and before bedtime, the refrain from Hotel California will be blared into their cells: "You can check out any time you like but you can never leave."

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  • Display: Sort:
    Bush (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:49:02 AM EST
    lied, publicly, to the entire country, many times saying that we "don't torture".

    It is an ongoing shame that he has not been held to account.

    His lies impact upon us to an infinitely greater degree than those laid upon us by Mr. Clinton regarding his idiotic dalliance.

    And yet, Bush has been actively immunized by Obama from any prosecution or even serious investigation of his actions.

    It implies to me, rightly or wrongly, that we are either continuing the practices that Bush put in place, or at least that Obama doesn't think that torture is all that bad.

    He certainly put one over on us.

    Prosecuting (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 12:38:44 PM EST
    Bush and Cheney for waterboarding KSM, the mastermind behind 9/11, was never feasible.

    As a whole, most would agree that waterboarding is torture and beyond the pale.  You prosecute Bush and Cheney, and that consensus would evaporate.

    What you are asking for has never happened--war crimes trials, rightly or wrongly, are victor's justice.  The first War Crimes trial of note was of the commandant of Andersonville.   Winner placing loser on trial.  Nuremburg and the trial of the Japanese.  Was LeMay prosecuted?  No, and he was right there years later taunting JFK to invade Cuba during the Missile Crisis.

    Moreover, prosecuting a head of state is unusual and done again by the victors.

    There is a reason Truth Commissions exists instead of War Crimes trials.  In Guatemala, the 1996 Peace Accords gave limited immunity to many.  That paved the way for the UN Truth Commission, which clearly showed the Guatemalan military, instead of the rebels, was to blame for the atrocities.  Rios-Montt actually ran for President years later.  Only recently has he been charged with War Crimes.  And he killed and tortured innocent people.

    What you are proposing would rip this country apart, and would likely run contrary to public opinion.   The likely result would be an acquittal and a lasting consensus that you do not mess with leaders when they are trying to protect you, and waterboarding is just fine, thank you very much.  The U.S is not going to put Bush and Cheney in jail over KSM being waterboarded.

    Ideological purity feels good but can be very destructive.    


    When (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:13:27 PM EST
    I read,
    ...war crimes trials, rightly or wrongly, are victor's justice.

    my immediate reaction was, yes. And Obama was the victor in 2008. The perception, misguided as it might have been, was that he was going to bring about a change from the Bush era - as opposed to that awful awful McCain.

    That is the victor's justice I would like to have seen. That is the justice that the country deserves.

    I take exception to your statement about a trial or a serious governmental investigation into the lies and nefarious activities of the Bush administration would "rip this country apart".

    I think the opposite: that it would put this country back together.

    If you don't want to literally put Bush in the dock where he undoubtedly belongs, let there at least be a serious governmental "white paper" about what actually happened after 9/11.

    Let the facts be presented to the public and let the chips fall where they may.

    I think that is far more preferable, and healing, than having an Obama going around saying how likable Bush is, and how he is a "good man".
    It is an insult to all Americans to have this myth fostered and perpetuated.


    And Your Part? (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:54:31 PM EST
    Maybe in your eyes you are innocent, but in the eyes of other countries you are as guilty as Bush and Obama...  that is unless you want to give up the benefits of being a US citizen.

    step up to the plate...  


    Speaking for me... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 02:05:22 PM EST
    I know I'm as guilty as a motherf*cker for chipping in 4-5 grand a year towards the perpetration of heinous crimes against decency and humanity...guilty as charged.

    Regrettably, I'll admit that guilt is easier than the live with than living in a 6' x 8'.  Cuz that's where you go if you do anything effective and meaningful to try and change it..a 6' x 8' or a pine box.  

    It's a pickle allright.


    My innocence (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:07:22 PM EST
    or lack thereof is a deflection.

    The sad truth is that we, as a people, have been severely victimized by successive regimes - one republican and one democrat.

    The people of this country, the citizens of this country - of which I am one - have had absolutely no say in the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We have had practically no say in the conduct of our own economy.

    We have no candidates to represent us.

    We have no resources to match the giant corporations who control the only two political parties with power.

    All an individual citizen can do is sound the alarm. That is to say - to speak out when possible - and to speak to each other.

    I can't completely agree with you about the way we are viewed by people in other countries. Everyone in the entire world was thrilled to see Bush go - and credited us for not voting for his republican successor. But they, like many here, thought that Obama was going to be a breath of fresh air. And he turned out to be emitting his own version of the same toxic gas as his predecessor. I think we are viewed more as victims - pathetic. And our country is no longer viewed as the bastion of democracy - but merely another country grasping for any advantage.

    Frankly, to equate me with Bush or Obama is rather insulting. I am, unlike either of them, am not - how did Obama put it..."good at killing".


    And, Squeaky, (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:12:00 PM EST
    what exactly do you mean by "step up to the plate"?

    Take up arms?
    Refuse to pay taxes?

    Please say what you mean instead of resorting to a sports metaphor.

    It could result in a lively conversation.


    Give up CItizenship? (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:52:51 PM EST
    Seems to me if, as you often say, Bush, Cheney and Obama are all the same, culpable, then you are tacitly complicit by remaining a citizen under a criminal enterprise.

    Besides, considering how horrible this country has been treating you, I am surprised you have not renounced your citizenship already.

    Step up to plates...


    Yes, Lentinel should give up his/her (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by vml68 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:04:41 PM EST
    citizenship. Never mind that she is not the one who committed the crimes, she should still be the one to pay the price.

    I did (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 07:57:33 PM EST
    not say that this country has mistreated me.

    I have said that Bush and Obama have mistreated the country.

    And advice to someone critical of a thug like Bush to renounce citizenship is so absolutely stupid it is majestic.


    You Funded His Exploits, No? (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:01:03 PM EST
    Don't the American people bear any responsibility for their elected leaders and their actions?  According to you nothing has changed, yet you remain supporting the regime..

    do we need China and Russia to liberate us? Saudi Arabia?


    Segue: knowing what your (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:22:56 PM EST
    Refusing to pay taxes: Ask Wesley Snipes (none / 0) (#39)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 12:46:38 PM EST
    How that works out?

    FWIW, giving up your citizenship doesn't stop the IRS nowadays.  


    You (none / 0) (#22)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:34:10 PM EST
    are the one supporting their regimes.

    Since (none / 0) (#23)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:42:01 PM EST
    you think that I "funded" Bush and Obama's "exploits", you would appear to be translating "stepping up to the plate" as "don't pay taxes or you are as guilty of torturing people as Bush".

    It's an interesting position.

    Why you don't state it directly is puzzling - because it would, as I said, lead to an interesting conversation.


    I wonder why Squeaky does not use the (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by vml68 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 09:05:07 PM EST
    same logic with Jeralyn. She voted for Obama twice and I am pretty sure she pays her taxes. According to Squeaky, wouldn't that make her tacitly complicit in the ongoing surveillance programs, prosecuting of whistleblowers, drone strikes, etc.?
    Instead of blogging about it, maybe she should be giving up her citizenship instead!

    In fact, that should be the advice to people all over the world. Feeling oppressed? Dying of hunger? Don't have access to basic sanitation/education/medicine? Don't complain or criticize your leaders, just give up your citizenship.


    Her (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by lentinel on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 09:13:34 PM EST
    logic is reminiscent of the glorious nineteen fifties - when people who were critical of the government were admonished to "love it or leave it".

    Criticism was not an option.

    Critics were characterized as unpatriotic.

    And that kind of thinking, the stuff of totalitarianism, has made a major comeback in recent years.


    Squeaky is a he... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 12:43:22 PM EST
    if I'm not mistaken...and a good egg, we were supposed to start a well regulated NY militia together. No guns...just bows, arrows, and blades.

    And he is very liberal...just tired of us b&tching about the president all the time.  Which is fair enough, though b*tchin' should be tolerated, same as praise should be tolerated.  Tolerance is a virtue.

    Me I'm gonna b*tch about the president for as long as we have one...it's one of my many callings.


    lol; my problem is with Authority (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 01:02:15 PM EST
    I'm never gonna like anyone in power.

    My man! (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 01:14:12 PM EST
    I'm with you, fellow member of the Emma Goldman fanclub.

    "No Tsar! No President! No King!"


    lol - no need to reach back to the fifties... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 12:48:16 PM EST
    The same attitude resonated within the Bushies, just a few years back.

    Actually (none / 0) (#26)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:13:36 PM EST
    BHO campaigned on ending torture and closing Guantanamo and not on bringing former President GWB and Vice President Cheney to a trial and unleashing civil war in America.

    This is the reason why almost everything that lentinel wants (trial of GWB and members of his administration, single payer health care, etc) are non starters. The President did not campaign on these issues and lentinel is totally out of sync with the majority of people who actually voted for the President (unlike him).

    If lentinel wants all the things he writes about, he should try to recruit a candidate who will campaign on his issues and be able to win.


    I have (none / 0) (#30)
    by lentinel on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 04:09:07 AM EST
    to disagree with you.

    It doesn't matter what BO campaigned on.

    He does what he does, not what he says he will do.

    And to infer that people who voted for him are "in snyc" with what he is doing is quite a stretch.
    All one has to do is read Jeralyn's frequent and revealing posts to know that.

    As you should have noted, many voted for BO because of a perception that the alternative was worse. So, when BO turns around and behaves in a manner that is regressive and elitist, how would you expect them to be pleased?

    Finally, me "recruiting" a candidate? Seriously?

    Trying to reform either bloated political party is the non-starter. Trying to get the entrenched media out of the same bed with them is also a non-starter. They are controlled by the same corporations and advertisers that sponsor the lackies that the Republicans and Democrats present to us.

    I do think that an outsider can shake things up - as Ross Perot did - but he had a billion dollars or so to play with which I, at the moment, do not.

    I do think that people are hungering for an alternative to the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb realities presented to them by the repubs and dems.
    That's why they were initially enthusiastic about Carter - about Clinton - and feverishly so about Obama. These frauds are always perceived as if they are outsiders - and people go for it hoping that they in fact are that.

    But betrayal after betrayal have left many of us weary. You are content with BO and his Gitmo. Good. I'm glad for you.

    I am not.

    Give me about, say, $500,000 seed money and I'll see who I can recruit.


    What? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 06:38:25 AM EST
    "It doesn't matter what BO campaigned on."
    It does.

    Not understanding that reveals a very totalitarian mindset!

    What you want happens only in totalitarian regimes and immature democracies.

    In a lot of countries in the world, people who win an election or even manage to seize power without one, put their political opponents on trial or in prison for past misdeeds-real or concocted. Then their political opponents do the same they when they win an election or seize power without winning one. And so the cycle continues and chaos reigns in those countries.

    In mature democracies, you have orderly transfer of power. Orderly transfer of power would not occur if every administration knew that they would be put on trial or in prison for charges that were real or concocted the moment the did not have power.

    Total polarization would creep into the judiciary branch also and not remain limited to the executive branch.


    People (none / 0) (#32)
    by lentinel on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 08:33:08 AM EST
    say things during their campaigns.

    Obama, as you know, promised to close Gitmo

    He didn't.

    So, it doesn't matter what he said. It is what he does that impacts us.

    The only sense that it matters what he said while campaigning is that it allows us to measure the extent of his perfidy, impotence or incompetence.

    Are you actually saying that acknowledging that fact - that candidates make promises during campaigns that they don't keep - that they say one thing and do another - is a totalitarian mindset?

    I think that assertion is off the charts crazy.


    The thought has crossed my mind... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 09:07:32 AM EST
    about renouncing citizenship...then it dawned on me, where else is there to go?  Things are tough all over....especially for those without the stupid papers the world is obsessed with.  

    Squeaky has a point though...if you pay taxes and/or vote, you're guilty.  Maybe not as guilty as those directly sh*tting on human rights under the color of authority and mandate, but guilty as accessories.

    In conclusion...I'm a piker who won't renounce citizenship or get locked up doing what is required to attempt to stop the human rights abuses.  My compromise with my conscience is subversive on the sly...a Thoreau or a Mandela or a Goldman I ain't, too selfish with my liberty and hapiness.  Better men and women than me take the great risks to life and liberty to try and make this world better.


    Logic (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 09:07:43 AM EST
    Jeralyn and lentinel are not on the same planet regarding both their attitude about the US and what they are doing about it. Lentinel whines on a regular basis, about how Obama is exactly like BushCo, and portrays the US as a place that is in shambles. Not sure if his or her position is based on nostalgia, or it is lifelong position.

    And you may have missed this part:

    Don't the American people bear any responsibility for their elected leaders and their actions?

    sees pretty all inclusive to me, no?  


    White Paper sounds fine (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 11:51:05 PM EST
    I think DiFi had a report.  Not sure what happened to it.

    Very valid comment (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 06:34:46 AM EST
    until you get to the end, where "rightly or wrongly" I would say wrongly.

    You can say rightly or wrongly we don't hold Presidents accountable and instead we move on. The country has a long history of trying to move past our mistakes as soon as a new President is elected. I'm sure you disagree, but I think that's good for the long-term health of a country.


    Denial... (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:53:11 AM EST
    is not good for the long-term health of the country, neither is a system of justice where "some animals are more equal than others". IMO.

    Either everybody gets charged with accessory to kidnapping and torture when they are accessories to kidnapping and torture, or nobody should.  If Obama thinks we whould move on from the crimes of th apast, he should at least have the decency to pardon everybody in prison for such crimes, at least that would be consistent with "equality under the law". I mean, let's move on, right?

    That being said, I have no desire for eye for an eye and strapping Bush, Cheney, and the boys at Langley balls to a car battery, as tempting as it is;)...I'd settle for a sincere public apology to the American people and the world, and ceasing to torture and kidnap anybody.  

    But like lentinel, I don't think much has changed...the CIA has always been party to torture and kidnapping and murder, and always will as long as there is a CIA.  It's the purpose of the agency, is it not?


    How about if we just (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:22:16 AM EST
    lure them all into a brothel, dose them with a massive amount of LSD without their knowledge and then observe them through a one-way mirror?

    Supposedly the information derived from those kinds of operations are in our longterm national security interests. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander..

    I'm just wondering: when was it exactly that the U.S stopped torturing people, stopped teaching others how to torture people and completely halted practices like rendition? Was there some brief Golden Age of decency and humanity say, between or after Operation Phoenix and the opening of the School of the Americas?


    Some mobsters have all the luck... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:25:58 AM EST
    lure them all into a brothel, dose them with a massive amount of LSD without their knowledge and then observe them through a one-way mirror?

    The scary part is it's the nicest thing the CIA ever did to anybody!


    Gotta give a '5' to a post that over the top. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 01:05:21 PM EST
    Thanks to the Human Rights Court (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 12:22:42 PM EST
    and other international organizations (and Ed Snowden) for airing the abuses we have not officially owned up to. At least denial is no longer plausible.

    Poland is a very conservative country (none / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:42:03 AM EST
    I'm not surprised we got them to help us in our brave quest to root out "terrorists" and wring whatever information from them that we can. (And who cares if that terrorist's information turns out to be cricket scores from Karachi or the name of someone who stole his livestock blanket back in the day. Everything helps, right?)

    Hella good work, J. Much appreciated.

    Anyone and everyone (none / 0) (#7)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 11:19:55 AM EST
    involved in the activities described above belongs in prison. Up to and including CIA directors, the President and Vice President of the US.

    Based on the above description, the United States has absolutely no standing in the world anymore when it comes to denigrating any other country based on "human rights abuses," treatment of dissidents, or form of government. Any country to whom the United States makes any derogatory statements, should tell said United States to go pound sand and stick it where the sun don't shine.

    OK (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:51:38 PM EST
    Anyone and everyone involved in the activities described above belongs in prison. Up to and including CIA directors, the President and Vice President of the US.

    And by that metric, the punishment should be taken out of the hands of the US...  which of course would mean that you will also be serving a prison term... I assume you are american, and have not renounced your citizenship.

    We did it to the Japanese, we did it to the vietnamese, and the germans... so what about taking responsibility for being an american and turning yourself in as an example..



    People torturing Other People... (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 05:17:51 PM EST
    ...happens every day, but when it's policy, the people behind the policy, along with the people that actually did it, should stand trial.

    Like the Germans, anyone who we knew to have committed war crimes, was made to stand trial.  They did not go after all Nazi's, just the ones who committed war crimes.

    I would consider this a war crime of the highest degree, and FYI we actually prosecuted Japanese who water boarded us troops.  It's a war crime, I don't give a F how Bybee rationalized and legalized it.

    If Bush signed off on it, he should stand trial like any other war criminal.  But in the US, "I was Ordered to Do It" is a guarantee to not being prosecuted if you work for the CIA, and the people who did the ordering are too importation to prosecute.  Very 3rd world ruthless dictatorish, the guys we are told are enemies of the US.


    To (none / 0) (#27)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 10:20:31 PM EST
    a lot of Americans, the Baathists who were put on trial in post Saddam Iraq and hanged are the equivalent of the Nazis who were tried for war crimes after WW2.

    Your reasoning is ridiculous. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 11:36:18 AM EST
    ScottW nailed. I did not commit nor support those offenses. Just by being a US citizen, I do not share in the guilt.

    But, BTW, if it were feasible and economically possible, I would renounce my US citizenship and move to the Netherlands tomorrow. But alas, I'm not one of the 1% and just leave.