Monday, May 18, 2009

Three Monkeys In The Wings: Torture Howling, Cheney Chortles, Pelosi Pickings And The Game Is Working Towards A “PYA “Stalemate!

Three Monkeys In The Wings: Torture Howling, Cheney Chortles, Pelosi Pickings And The Game Is Working Towards A “PYA “Stalemate!


Of Course, There Is A Small Problem; Any Investigations And Subsequent “Show Trials “will require moving far beyond lawyers and functionaries. It will have to include ex-President Bush and ex-Vice President Cheney unless we are to believe that they had no idea of what was going on.

It will have to also include Democratic as well as Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee who were briefed and who approved waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, despite her faulty memory, will also need to be included. It all gotten  a bit tricky and after all the “sound bite” howling “The Three Monkey Syndrome” will set in “The Great Protect Our Asses move…or in Chess parlance: “Stalemate/end-of-game!

There will be screaming for a Pelosi censure, and even if censured; she’ll feel no need to step aside because when it’s all said and done, because we will know the truth…they are all guilty as hell, lying with every movement of their lips and no one will be held to account due a myriad of verbal lint deflecting self-serving excuses varying from national security to troop endangerment, but we’ll know the truth, or enough of it to reinforce our conviction that our government is corrupt from top to bottom, above the law and expects our votes the next time around because that’s all we have. 

Do you feel like a pissed-on puppet and peon?

Rachel Maddow-Guest Lawrence Wilkerson Destroys Dick Cheney

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, deputy commander of prison operations in Iraq, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill about Iraqi prisoner abuse, May 19, 2004.

It’s one thing if, as former Vice President Dick Cheney keeps saying, the United States brutally interrogated people to keep our kids safe from another strike by Osama bin Laden. If folks got tortured to provide a rationale for going to war with Iraq, though, that's a whole different story.

Recent news reports have suggested the possibility that the Bush administration might have endorsed torture to prove an Iraq-al Qaida link. And a recent report from the Senate Armed Services Committee shows that months after then-President Bush had declared Mission Accomplished in Iraq, an Army general working hand in glove with top administration officials tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to convince a unit charged with finding weapons of mass destruction to get tough on its prisoners.

In August and early September of 2003, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the man in charge of the Pentagon’s torture laboratory at Guantanamo Bay, was dispatched to Iraq, allegedly to Gitmoize operations there.

It seems to have worked, at least in one place. Soon after Miller visited with officials in charge of Abu Ghraib, guards there began to use working dogs, stress positions, extremely lengthy interrogations, isolation, yelling and nudity in order to try to wring information from prisoners -- all techniques that had been used at Guantanamo and that the world would later see in photos released from an investigation in to what had gone on at the prison.

But according to the Senate committee's report, before Miller met with the Abu Ghraib officials, he first made a little-known visit to the Iraq Survey Group, which was in charge of the hunt for WMDs in Iraq after the invasion.

Miller told the ISG they were “running a country club” by not getting tough on detainees, Chief Warrant Officer Brian Searcy, the ISG interrogation chief, told the Senate committee. Searcy said Miller suggested shackling detainees and forcing them to walk on gravel. Mike Kamin, another ISG official, told committee investigators that Miller recommended temperature manipulation and sleep deprivation.

Miller also told the ISG’s Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton that Dayton’s unit was “not getting much out of these people,” and complained that the ISG had not “broken” their detainees psychologically. Miller offered to send along suggested techniques, Dayton recalled, that would “actually break” the prisoners.

Dayton demurred, saying his unit wasn’t changing anything and that lawyers would have to carefully vet anything Miller suggested. The ISG generally balked. One of its debriefers threatened to resign if Miller got his way. After the cool reception, Miller appears to have dropped the effort with respect to the ISG.

On his return from Iraq, Miller was sent directly to the Pentagon to personally brief then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Steven Cambone.

When interviewed by the committee, Miller couldn’t remember much about that visit. But in retrospect, it is pretty clear why the ISG wasn’t “getting much” out of their detainees on WMDs in Iraq: There weren’t any. Though with enough abuse, the detainees probably would have claimed otherwise.

― Mark Benjamin


Pelosi Forced Cheney To Order Torture!

by Batocchio • Monday, May 18th, 2009 - 4:37 am

The hoopla over Nancy Pelosi and CIA briefings is pretty ridiculous, a calculated distraction by Republicans and the CIA, happily abetted by journalists, most of whom don’t want to do any real reporting on this subject (and aren’t even covering it well as a dispute, let alone fact-checking it). Is it really news that the Bush administration consistently misled Congress, even in secret briefings, and the CIA has a long history of doing just that? Is it so hard to realize that John BoehnerNewt Gingrich and other Republicans are shameless hypocrites here? Isn’t it funny how a relatively minor dispute, where the facts back Pelosi, is being sold as a condemnation of her? Isn’t it funny how that dispute seems to have elicited more fury from Republicans and more coverage from reporters than any of the many revelations of wrongdoing by the Bush administration on the same front? Ya know, the Bush administration - the folks who actually did this stuff? The people who ordered torture, and who reportedly did so to justify their war of choice with Iraq? What about the CIA destroying torture tapes, and torturing in the first place?

Gingrich and other Republicans have to know this is bullshit, but they’re raging like rabid dogs with little cause. In contrast, Pelosi took impeachment off the table. It’s all a farce.

The GOP doesn’t want a full investigation. Much of the press doesn’t want a full investigation. Pelosi, for any of her other faults (personally, I’m not a big fan of Pelosi or Reid), supports an investigation. Given all this “contention,” a full investigation is just what we need.

Emptywheel’s done a superb job on fact-checking the Pelosi story, including in “Mark Mazzetti, the Gray Lady’s Grammar-Impaired Spook Stenographer”:

C’mon, NYT, don’t you remember how embarrassing it was when Judy Miller was playing warmonger stenographer in 2002? Then why are you guys whoring yourself out to serve disinformation again?

I’m speaking of this post on Nancy Pelosi’s press conference spelling out reaaaalllyyyy slowly that the CIA lied when it briefed Pelosi and Goss on torture in 2002. When I first looked at the post, the headline said something like, “Pelosi says CIA misled Congress” (sorry, I didn’t get a screen cap; I should have known). Now it has shifted its focus back onto the fact that a Pelosi staffer–not the CIA, as required by law–informed Pelosi that CIA was in the torture business in 2003…

As a spook stenographer, Mark, I’m sure you’re familiar with the National Security Act, but if you need a primer, why not read about it on the pages of the NYT? You’ll see that the National Security Act requires the Administration inform Congress–arguably, the entire intelligence committees–about their covert ops. Requires. But instead, what happened here is that CIA took up torturing, and then, when they “briefed” Pelosi and Goss on it in September 2002, they didn’t tell them they were already doing it. They didn’t get around to revealing that until five months later–and six months after they had gotten into the torture business.

That is a violation of the law–some might even consider it news. But not the NYT!!! Nope, the NYT is going to keep recycling Porter Goss’ carefully parsed statements and imply they refute Nancy Pelosi when they don’t. The NYT is going to obsess over the fact that a staffer told Nancy Pelosi something that CIA should have told her almost a year earlier.

But the NYT is not, apparently, going to tell its readers that the CIA broke the law.

Emptywheel is really a must-read site if you want to follow this story or others related to torture. She unpacks Leon Panetta’s statement here. Meanwhile, one of her latest, “A Dick Cheney Torture Trifecta!” covers Judith Miller and Stephen Hayes claiming (as Emptywheel puts it) “Pelosi’s in trouble because Dick Cheney tortured.” She also dissects Victoria Toensing’s latest hackdom – continuing a fine torture apologist tradition, Toensing just ignores central pieces of evidence.

Tbogg also has a good take, in “Nancy Pelosi is the new Lynndie England”:

Due to “process” reporting we have learned that the Torture Years were not the responsibility of the Administration who demanded them, the legal counsel who found legal justification for them, the medical personnel who stood by and watched, the media talking heads who justified torture based upon a TV show, or the actual torturers who unquestioningly did the dirty work.

Now the Village elders have decided that Nancy Pelosi is a witch who turned us into awful people and by burning her we will be made whole again.

Digby has more in “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad GOP?” capturing David Brooks wanking away about how awful Pelosi is. Jim Webb is a big disappointment, and David Gregory apparently doesn’t just oppose prosecutions – he doesn’t want any investigation, either. Pretending this is somehow a bipartisan scandal is his angle now. Of course, most people pushing for a full investigation don’t give a damn about protecting Pelosi, they just want the truth – if she was negligent, all the better that it comes out. Desiring the truth and accountability on torture is not a partisan issue, and should not be.

There’s more on this, including Media Matters’ “Media let GOP change the subject in torture debate” and “The right’s tortured shell game.” DougJ at Balloon Juice also has a good post.

The GOP are howling for Pelosi’s head, despite the facts being against them on this rather minor matter, and a mountain of damning evidence towering over them on the overall story, since their party authorized torture and mostly said nothing about it - or defended it. Most of the press wants its news cycle story – Pelosi and CIA conflict! – and has its conclusion in place – there should be no investigations into torture. The obvious news story would be, hey, GOP, why are you going rabid over this when a) you’re wrong, and b) you never made anywhere near this big a stink over much bigger crimes by your own leaders? Why do you suddenly love the CIA when you’ve trashed them so often before? Aren’t you big, stinking hypocrites trying to hide the truth and avoid all accountability? Why should we believe you?

Then there’s the CIA angle – hey, CIA, why did you do something illegal? Why do you claim you briefed Pelosi about this, when Bob Graham (who’s damn reliable on this) contradicts you? Even if what you said was correct, you’d be telling Pelosi months after you started torturing people. Why did you tell her so late? Oh, and why were you torturing people? Why did you destroy those torture tapes when you were told not to? Why should we believe you?

The Democratic leadership should take a lesson from the GOP and actually push for impeachment when it’s clearly warranted, since the GOP will demand resignations over stupid things and the press generally will not call them on it. Meanwhile, the civically-minded should use this sideshow to push for a full investigation into the torture regime and all human rights abuses. David Gregory and others in the Beltway don’t want that to happen, and just don’t want to do the work to prevent the actual abuses from happening again. Morality and the law require that we ruin David Gregory’s day.

Does Nancy Pelosi Have Another Truthiness Problem? - streiff's ...
By Streiff (Profile) 
I want to call your attention to the excuse given by the central figure in Prevarigate, House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi for avoiding answering questions about her involvement in approving Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and then trying to ...
RedState -

TortureGate is Nancy Pelosi's Bill Clinton moment | HALFWAY TO CONCORD
Contra Costa News, Politics, Business, Events Calendar.

Faux News Reveals True Motivation Behind Attacks on Pelosi ...
By Kathy 
For weeks, conservatives have been launching hypocritical and disingenuous attacks on House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) regarding her level of knowledge of the Bush administration's torture program. Fox News conservatives are revealing ...
Comments from Left Field -

The Obama Legacy: Nancy Pelosi Can't Stop Lying...
By rdansie 
Posted by rdansie at 8:11 PM. Labels: Abu Ghraib, CIA, Democratic, democrats, dick cheney, Guantanamo, interrogation, Karl Rove, 
Nancy Pelosi, Obama, Obama Administration, Senate Intelligence Committee, water boarding, waterboarding ...
The Obama Legacy -

Where's the Outrage? » Pelosi, Panetta and the CIA
By ecthompson 
Republicans including former CIA chief and minority leader of the House intelligence committee, Porter Goss, have been accusing 
Nancy Pelosi lying. Marcy Wheeler has an absolutely fabulous summation -. A number of people are panicking ...
Where's the Outrage? -

Conservative Blogs Central: Nancy Pelosi Tripping Over Words At ...
By Nearly Nobody 
Conservative Blog Central is a website designed to help people get little seen conservative blogs noticed, Click below to send me an email with your blogs URL, If your blog is conservative it will be listed along with a feed of your 
Conservative Blogs Central -

Nancy Pelosi and the Republican Orgasmathon
Huffington Post - New York,NY,USA
And to Republicans, the 
Nancy Pelosi saga this week is the stuff wet dreams are made of. Seems House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can't remember being briefed by ...
See all stories on this topic

Pat Dollard | Young Americans | Blog Archive » The New Nancy ...
By Pat Dollard 
... Obama At Notre Dame: « prev Australian Rescues Kangaroo From Sharks. Related Posts: PelosiSlams The Troops On PBSPelosi To Pro Drilling Protesters: “Can We Drill Your Brains?” - With Video China Calls Nancy Pelosi “Disgusting” ...
Pat Dollard | Young Americans -

Nancy Pelosi Turns Down Sunday Show Invitations - Avoids ...
By Flap 
House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi of Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 14, 2009. Earlier Thursday, under strong attack from Republicans,
FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog -

Jonathan Garthwaite: Where NancyPelosi turns down Sunday show ...
By admin 
Pelosi turns down Sunday show invitations. Posted on 16 May 2009by admin (0). Quick Take: Jonathan Garthwaite: Where NancyPelosi turns down Sunday show invitations When in doubt use the family as an excuse to avoid tough questioning. ...
But As For Me -

Just my little piece of the world: More Back up for Nancy Pelosi ...
By Annette 
Here is video of Sen. Ron Wyden, (D,OR), saying that 
Nancy Pelosi is correct. Now, that is 2 members of the Senate Intelligence Committee backing up her statement that the CIA and the Bush Mis-Administration misled Congress during the ...
Just my little piece of the world -

The Speaker Is in the House
Newsweek - USA
By Tina Brown | NEWSWEEK 
Nancy Pelosi is a bit like Britain's Margaret Thatcher in reverse. Mrs. T. was tough and steely in her public role as prime ...See all stories on this topic

Nancy Pelosi…Liar | Jay Currie
By jay 
You can get the narrative here. The most interesting part of this is that the CIA was hardly in Bush's corner. For the Speaker to suggest that the CIA lied.
Jay Currie - Nancy Pelosi Lied
By Bruce Kelly 
Nancy Pelosi is either a liar, or really, really stupid... or both. Oh, and you heard it here, and here, first. Read More: Pelosi Lied Related: Pelosi Briefed About Waterboarding Related: Cheney on Waterboarding ... -

FREEDOM EDEN: SNL Season Finale: Nancy Pelosi
By Mary 
I was sure that 
Nancy Pelosi and disastrous news conference, including her accusations that the CIA lied, would be lampooned. It wasn't even mentioned on Weekend Update. Pelosi's name didn't come up at all at any point during the show. ...

The lies of the CIA and Nancy Pelosi
By admin 
Democratic Speaker of the House 
Nancy Pelosi charges the CIA with lying to her about torture in a 2002 briefing, a charge denied by the agency. What it is certain is that she and the Democrats have lied systematically to the American ...
News -

What does the average leftist think of Nancy Pelosi? - The ...
By HappyNowhere 
I don't think it's too far fetched to think that the CIA and the Bush administration lied to 
Pelosi about torturing people. It's indisputable that they lied to the public about it. I think that may be what you're talking about. ...
The Stranger Forums -

On The Ed Show - The Torture Issue IS NOT about Nancy Pelosi, What ...
By Chip 
On The Ed Show - The Torture Issue IS NOT about 
Nancy Pelosi, What She Knew & When She Knew It. Submitted by Chip on Sun, 2009-05-17 03:16. Congress · Criminal Prosecution and Accountability · Iraq · Military Industrial Complex ... - Bush-Cheney... -

Speaker to Speaker: Gingrich's Advice for Pelosi
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich goes "On the Record" about current Speaker
 Nancy Pelosi's allegation that the ...See all stories on this topic

An Open Letter to the Witch Hunters
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
We don't owe you a defense of 
Nancy Pelosi. No matter what could ever be said, you'd find a way to call it 'bogus'. It is the old shell game of demanding ...See all stories on this topic

Boehner: Pelosi needs to come clean on accusations
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top House Republican says Speaker
 Nancy Pelosi should provide evidence the CIA misled her about harsh interrogation techniques or ...See all stories on this topic

Nancy Pelosi Backpedals on CIA Criticism; Blames Bush for ...
By Mr Pink Eyes 
 Nancy Pelosi has changed her story again. I have lost count on how many stories that she has had on the issue of waterboarding and what she knew and for how long she has known it. She has had at least four stories, ...
America's Watchtower -

The ConservativeXpress: Newt Gingrich To Nancy Pelosi 2.0 ...
By ConservativeXpress 
Newt Gingrich To
 Nancy Pelosi 2.0: "Speaker Pelosi Lied On Two Counts... Defamed Every Person In The Intelligence Community"! (Video) - Oddly enough, Newt has more respect for Leon Panetta's honesty than Fraulein Speaker! ...
The ConservativeXpress -

Pelalusa: Nancy Pelosi: Poster Girl for the Hypocrisy of the Left
By Pelalusa 
It's worth noting that, by most if not all of her multiple accounts,
 Nancy Pelosi is as guilty of torture as anybody else. That's not an airy rhetorical flourish but a statement of law. As National Review's Andy McCarthy points out, ...
Pelalusa -

Thomas & Totenberg Excuse Pelosi; Thomas Hopes 'Moderate' Will ...
By Brent Baker 
Asked “why does it matter” what House Speaker
 Nancy Pelosi “knew or did not know” about the “enhanced interrogation” of terror suspects, Newsweek's Evan Thomas and NPR's Nina Totenberg failed to address Pelosi's hypocrisy in now ... - Exposing Liberal... -

McConnell: Intelligence Panels Could Resolve Dispute Between ...
House Speaker
 Nancy Pelosi has accused the CIA of lying to Congress about the use of interrogation tactics, while the CIA rejects the claim. ...See all stories on this topic

What's Going to Happen to Nancy Pelosi?
NewsBusters - USA
There isn't any way in the name of all that is good and heavenly that
 Pelosi will do anything that even resembles humility on her part. Impossible. ...See all stories on this topic

A few Question about Nancy - Lake Mary,FL,USA
The CIA claims that they informed
 Nancy Pelosi about Waterboarding in the fall(September) of 2002. Let's assume for arguments sake this is true,(which it ...See all stories on this topic

GOP War Hawk Sissy Boys Blame Torture on the D Girl
Burnt Orange Report - Austin,TX,USA
Funny how we never heard a peep about 
Nancy Pelosi during any of Cheney's confessions on torture interviews. But suddenly Democrats are responsible for ...
See all stories on this topic

Nancy Pelosi's new Botox Treatment … Pinochio Lies Again about ...
By Scared Monkeys 
Nancy Pelosi gone too far with her Botox treatments … One thing is for certain, Speaker Pelosi“nose” she is fabricating the truth in her efforts to malign GWB. Even her Botox will not help cover up this story and in fact her lies ...
Scared Monkeys -

The Greenroom » Forum Archive » In Defense of Nancy Pelosi
By Rovin 
Nancy Pelosi. For more than two years, our beloved House Speaker has been fighting for the public interest, toiling to restore “integrity and civility” to the Capitol's lower chamber, and striving to shape the most ethical ...
The Greenroom -

Nancy Pelosi, Liar, Liar, Liar | Political Humor by Radioactive ...
By Les James 
There once was a Speaker named 
Nancy, who said some things that were chancy. She pissed off some spies and that wasn't wise, because those guys can.
Political Humor by Radioactive Liberty -

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive ...
By CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart 
WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Minority Leader John Boehner turned up the heat Sunday in the escalating war of words between House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi, congressional Republicans, and the CIA over Pelosi's knowledge of enhanced CIA ...
CNN Political Ticker -

Connecting the Dots in the New World Order: Nancy Pelosi's Full ...
By DotConnector 
Nancy Pelosi's Full Schizophrenic Press Conference - May 14th/2009. Posted by DotConnector at 09:26. 0 comments: Post a Comment. Thanks for your comment it is much appreciated. Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) ...
Connecting the Dots in the New... -

Politik Ditto: John Boehner Slams Nancy Pelosi, Defends Dick Cheney
By Mr. Grey Ghost 
Al Gore Slammed By Congress Over Global Warming · Newt Gingrich Rips Liar Of The House 
Nancy Pelosi · Black Woman Fired For Supporting White Guy: Michae... Twins With Two Different Fathers! Average Looking Michelle Obama Makes Maxim's ...
Politik Ditto -

Association of Former Intelligence Officers Responds to Pelosi ...
Late last week, I reached out to the Association of Former Intelligence Officers to get their take on Speaker of the House 
Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her in their briefings about detainee interrogations and that they ...
The Campaign Spot -

In Defense of Nancy Pelosi | Civilianism News
By admin 
Give the 
Pelosi attacks a rest! Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is being attacked by progressives and right-wing extremists alike these days for.
Civilianism News -

Awww Shucks… Nancy Pelosi Hides and Declines Sunday Morning ...
By CrabbyCon 
As many of us already know, the controversies will not be put to bed because 
Nancy Pelosi is not smart enough to lie well and tends to put her foot in her mouth. The fact that these lies are directed at the national intelligence ...
Stop The Liberals Now -

Chickaboomer: Nancy Pelosi: The Truth Shall Set You Free
By Marty 
NYT columnist Maureen Dowd on sticky-mouthed harpy 
Nancy Pelosi: "It's discomfiting to think that the woman who's making Joe Biden seem suave is second in line to the presidency." What's more, Joe Biden is the only politician to have ...
Chickaboomer -

The ConservativeXpress: Rush Limbaugh Calls On Nancy Pelosi to ...
By ConservativeXpress 
Rush weighs in on 
Nancy Pelosi CIA Scandal. He wonders why Ms. Pelosi calling the CIA liars is not front-page news then calls on her to set an example for women by resigning over her lies! ...
The ConservativeXpress -

The Blue Voice
By Bruce Miller 
Now, I'm obviously willing to defend 
Nancy Pelosi on this. The Republicans knew attacking her over this issue would appeal to the dysfunctions of what some describe as our press corps. Because it muddles that discussion about the fact ...
The Blue Voice -

DC Weasels › “Somebody Call Me When Nancy Pelosi Gets Her Story ...
By Bill 
“Somebody Call Me When 
Nancy Pelosi Gets Her Story Straight”. So says first-rate political columnist Leonard Pitts in his latest piece. Another good line by the Pulitzer winner: “So far, the House speaker's explanation of what and when ...
DC Weasels -

Why Fellow Liberal Panetta Forced To Call Pelosi A Liar « Start ...
By Michael Eden 
Doctrinaire career liberal Leon Panetta, for instance, was forced to choose between 
Nancy Pelosi and his agency. And Panetta and many of the liberals in the CIA who have been leaking information to the media to hurt Republicans for ...
Start Thinking Right -

Opposing Views: OPINION: Nancy Pelosi Continues to Lie About ...
Well, well, would seem that 
Nancy Pelosi has outed herself as a liar...a disingenuous, political opportunist, hell-bent on making sure that her ideology is placed above the importance of honesty and good government. ...
Opposing Views - Issues, Experts,... -

Common Sense Political Thought » Blog Archive » Nancy Pelosi ...
By Mr. Grey Ghost 
Nancy Pelosi. Age: 69. Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland. Claim To Fame: Speaker of the House. Why She's the Insane Liberal of the Week: for lying about what she knew concerning the CIA's enhanced interrogations of terror suspects, ...
Common Sense Political Thought -

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid Spent 8 Years Cheering On The Bush ...
By Word Of The Day 
Harry Reid and 
Nancy Pelosi approved the Patriot Act, the War on Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, and the worst excesses of the Bush Administration -- so don't expect an investigation into torture.
Prose Before Hos -

Is Nancy Pelosi Suffering From Dementia? « A1A South
By swampie 
“I have been watching 
Nancy Pelosi, and I am concerned that she has some form of dementia. She was in the very same meetings that other people attended, and seems to be unaware of what happened. She also seems to have trouble speaking ...
A1A South -

Gingrich, Boehner Embarrass Republicans Over Pelosi Brouhaha
Shrill Republican blather over Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi's recollections of a 2002 CIA briefing is nothing more than contrived outrage designed to distract from the real issue: torture approved and performed by the Bush administration. ...
About US Liberal Politics -

Left In Alabama:: Nancy - Schmancy! Let's cut to the chase!
By piggieheart 
I cannot believe I am the only one who is sick to death of the GOP and its apologists in the main stream media delivering the message , "Pay no attention to the torture behind the curtain; crucify 
Nancy Pelosi!" ...
Left In Alabama - Front Page -

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
By Andrew Sullivan 
At the inauguration, 
Nancy Pelosi had a net favorable surplus of 6. She now has a deficit of 16 - a net drop of 22 points in five months. That's almost as bad as ... Boehner and McConnell. But they started in negative territory. ...
The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan -

Ivy Sneakers: Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi
By Max Rosett 
Similarly, it has only deepened my disgust for 
Nancy Pelosi. After years of her pretending to be shocked by the techniques the Bush administration used during interrogations, it is now coming out that she knew exactly what was going on ...
Ivy Sneakers -

What's Going to Happen to Nancy Pelosi? | Latest Technology News ...
By Internet Guru 
What's Going to Happen to 
Nancy Pelosi? Open Thread · SF Chronicle Reporter: Pelosi 'Torture Woes' Politically Motivated · Did The UK Press Con A 104-Year-Old Woman Into Joining Twitter For Digg Bait?...
Latest Technology News - Business... -

GOP turn up volume on Pelosi comment on CIA - Andy Barr -
By Andy Barr 
“She has put the Democratic Party in a position where the question for me is does the president support
Nancy Pelosi's version of what happened or the CIA director's version of what happened,” Steele added. “You have the speaker of the ... Congress -

Vagabond Scholar: Pelosi Forced Cheney to Order Torture!
By Batocchio 
I'm speaking of this post on 
Nancy Pelosi's press conference spelling out reaaaalllyyyy slowly that the CIA lied when it briefed Pelosi and Goss on torture in 2002. When I first looked at the post, the headline said something like, ...
Vagabond Scholar -

Independent Light: Nancy Pelosi Did Not Order Torture!
By pelican1 
You know, it was a big week. . . lots to talk about, lots of insanely insane Republicans to shamelessly shame. . . but what with all this “he said, she said,” with the “she” being 
Nancy Pelosi, isn't it time we talked about, you know, ...
Independent Light -

John King: Pelosi goes mute, but not her critics
(CNN) -- And amid all the talk, there was notable silence: House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi decided not to appear on any of the Sunday shows to defend herself ...
See all stories on this topic

Yet again, media figures respond to a Pelosi controversy with ...
Media Matters for America - Washington,DC,USA
SUMMARY: Commenting on the controversy surrounding what 
Nancy Pelosi was told about the use of harsh interrogation techniques, numerous media figures have ...
See all stories on this topic

Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Nancy Pelosi Is The Central Issue
By William A. Jacobson 
Nancy Pelosi recently accused the CIA of misleading Congress as to interrogation techniques employed against three al-Qaeda leaders. The CIA pushed back, claiming that Pelosi was given truthful details at briefings at least as early as ...
Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion -


Torture Continues at Guantánamo Bay

Friday 15 May 2009

by: Jeremy Scahill  |  Visit article original @ AlterNet


The 13 People Who Made Torture Possible

The Bush administration's Torture 13. They authorized it, they decided how to implement it, and they crafted the legal fig leaf to justify it.

By Marcy Wheeler


Read more: George W. BushFBIPoliticsNewsCIATortureCondoleezza RiceDick CheneyDonald RumsfeldIraq WarAbu GhraibAlberto GonzalesMarcy Wheeler

May 18, 2009 | On April 16, the Obama administration released four memos that were used to authorize torture in interrogations during the Bush administration. When President Obama released the memos, he said, "It is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution."

Yet 13 key people in the Bush administration cannot claim they relied on the memos from the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel. Some of the 13 manipulated the federal bureaucracy and the legal process to "preauthorize" torture in the days after 9/11. Others helped implement torture, and still others helped write the memos that provided the Bush administration with a legal fig leaf after torture had already begun.

The Torture 13 exploited the federal bureaucracy to establish a torture regime in two ways. First, they based the enhanced interrogation techniques on techniques used in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program. The program -- which subjects volunteers from the armed services to simulated hostile capture situations -- trains servicemen and -women to withstand coercion well enough to avoid making false confessions if captured. Two retired SERE psychologistscontracted with the government to "reverse-engineer" these techniques to use in detainee interrogations.

The Torture 13 also abused the legal review process in the Department of Justice in order to provide permission for torture. The DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) played a crucial role. OLC provides interpretations on how laws apply to the executive branch. On issues where the law is unclear, like national security, OLC opinions can set the boundary for "legal" activity for executive branch employees. As Jack Goldsmith, OLC head from 2003 to 2004, explains it, "One consequence of [OLC's] power to interpret the law is the power to bestow on government officials what is effectively an advance pardon for actions taken at the edges of vague criminal statutes." OLC has the power, Goldsmith continues, to dispense "get-out-of-jail-free cards." The Torture 13 exploited this power by collaborating on a series of OLC opinions that repeatedly gave U.S. officials such a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for torturing.

Between 9/11 and the end of 2002, the Torture 13 decided to torture, then reverse-engineered the techniques, and then crafted the legal cover. Here's who they are and what they did:

1. Dick Cheney, vice president (2001-2009) the morning of 9/11, after the evacuation of the White House, Dick Cheney summoned his legal counsel, David Addington, to return to work. The two had worked together for years. In the 1980s, when Cheney was a congressman from Wyoming and Addington a staff attorney to another congressman, Cheney and Addington argued that in Iran-Contra, the president could ignore congressional guidance on foreign policy matters. Between 1989 and 1992, when Dick Cheney was the elder George Bush's secretary of defense, Addington served as his counsel. He and Cheney saved the only known copies of abusive interrogation technique manuals taught at the School of the Americas. Now, on the morning of 9/11, they worked together to plot an expansive grab of executive power that they claimed was the correct response to the terrorist threat. Within two weeks, they had gotten a memoasserting almost unlimited power for the president as "the sole organ of the Nation in its foreign relations," to respond to the terrorist attacks. As part of that expansive view of executive power, Cheney and Addington would argue that domestic and international laws prohibiting torture and abuse could not prevent the president from authorizing harsh treatment of detainees in the war against terror.

But Cheney and Addington also fought bureaucratically to construct this torture program. Cheney led the way by controlling who got access to President Bush -- and making sure his own views preempted others'. Each time the torture program got into trouble as it spread around the globe, Cheney intervened to ward off legal threats and limits, by badgering the CIA's inspector general when he reported many problems with the interrogation program, and by lobbying Congress to legally protect thosewho had tortured.

Most shockingly, Cheney is reported to have ordered torture himself, even after interrogators believed detainees were cooperative. Since the 2002 OLC memo known as "Bybee Two" that authorizes torture premises its authorization for torture on the assertion that "the interrogation team is certain that" the detainee "has additional information he refuses to divulge," Cheney appears to have ordered torture that was illegal even under the spurious guidelines of the memo.

2. David Addington, counsel to the vice president (2001-2005), chief of staff to the vice president (2005-2009)

David Addington championed the fight to argue that the president -- in his role as commander in chief -- could not be bound by any law, including those prohibiting torture. He did so in two ways. He advised the lawyers drawing up the legal opinions that justified torture. In particular, he ran a "War Council" with Jim Haynes, John Yoo, John Rizzo and Alberto Gonzales (see all four below) and other trusted lawyers, which crafted and executed many of the legal approaches to the war on terror together.

In addition, Addington and Cheney wielded bureaucratic carrots and sticks -- notably by giving or withholding promotions for lawyers who supported these illegal policies. When Jack Goldsmith withdrew a number of OLC memos because of the legal problems in them,Addington was the sole administration lawyer who defended them. Addington's close bureaucratic control over the legal analysis process shows he was unwilling to let the lawyers give the administration a "good faith" assessment of the laws prohibiting torture.

3. Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel (2001-2005), and attorney general (2005-2008)

As White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales was nominally in charge of representing the president's views on legal issues, including national security issues. In that role, Gonzales wrote and reviewed a number of the legal opinions that attempted to immunize torture. Most important, in a Jan. 25, 2002, opinion reportedly written with David Addington, Gonzales paved the way for exempting al-Qaida detainees from the Geneva Conventions. His memo claimed the "new kind of war" represented by the war against al-Qaida "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners." In a signal that Gonzales and Addington adopted that position to immunize torture, Gonzales argued that one advantage of not applying the Geneva Convention to al-Qaida would "substantially reduce the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act." The memo even specifically foresaw the possibility of independent counsels' prosecuting acts against detainees.

4. James Mitchell, consultant

Even while Addington, Gonzales and the lawyers were beginning to build the legal framework for torture, a couple of military psychologists were laying out the techniques the military would use. James Mitchell, a retired military psychologist, had been a leading expert in the military's SERE program. In December 2001, with his partner, Bruce Jessen, Mitchell reverse-engineered SERE techniques to be used to interrogate detainees. Then, in the spring of 2002, before OLC gave official legal approval to torture, Mitchell oversaw Abu Zubaydah's interrogation. An FBI agent on the scene describes Mitchell overseeing the use of "borderline torture." And after OLC approved waterboarding, Mitchell oversaw its use in ways that exceeded the guidelines in the OLC memo. Under Mitchell's guidance, interrogators used the waterboard with "far greater frequency than initially indicated" -- a total of 183 times in a month for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 83 times in a month for Abu Zubaydah. 

5. George Tenet, director of Central Intelligence (1997-2004)

As director of the CIA during the early years of the war against al-Qaida, Tenet had ultimate management responsibility for the CIA's program of capturing, detaining and interrogating suspected al-Qaida members and briefed top Cabinet members on those techniques. Published reports say Tenet approved every detail of the interrogation plans: "Any change in the plan -- even if an extra day of a certain treatment was added -- was signed off on by the Director." It was under Tenet's leadership that Mitchell and Jessen's SERE techniques were applied to the administration's first allegedly high-value al-Qaida prisoner, Abu Zubaydah. After approval of the harsh techniques, CIA headquarters ordered Abu Zubaydah to be waterboarded even though onsite interrogators believed Zubaydah was "compliant." Since the Bybee Two memo authorizing torture required that interrogators believe the detainee had further information that could only be gained by using torture, this additional use of the waterboard was clearly illegal according to the memo.

6. Condoleezza Rice, national security advisor (2001-2005), secretary of state (2005-2008)

As national security advisor to President Bush, Rice coordinated much of the administration's internal debate over interrogation policies. She approved (she now says she "conveyed the authorization") for the first known officially sanctioned use of torture -- the CIA's interrogation of Abu Zubaydah -- on July 17, 2002. This approval was given after the torture of Zubaydah had begun, and before receiving a legal OK from the OLC. The approval from the OLC was given orally in late July and in written form on Aug. 1, 2002. Rice's approval or "convey[ance] of authorization" led directly to the intensified torture of Zubaydah.

7. John Yoo, deputy assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel (2001-2003)

As deputy assistant attorney general of OLC focusing on national security for the first year and a half after 9/11, Yoo drafted many of the memos that would establish the torture regime, starting with the opinion claiming virtually unlimited power for the president in times of war. In the early months of 2002, he started working with Addington and others to draft two key memos authorizing torture: Bybee One (providing legal cover for torture) and Bybee Two (describing the techniques that could be used), both dated Aug. 1, 2002. He also helped draft a similar memo approving harsh techniques for the military completed on March 14, 2003, and even a memo eviscerating Fourth Amendment protections in the United States. The Bybee One and DOD memos argue that "necessity" or "self-defense" might be used as defenses against prosecution, even thoughthe United Nations Convention Against Torture explicitly states that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war … may be invoked as a justification of torture." Bybee Two, listing the techniques the CIA could use in interrogation, was premised on hotly debated assumptions. For example, the memo presumed that Abu Zubaydah was uncooperative, and had actionable intelligence that could only be gotten through harsh techniques. Yet Zubaydah had already cooperated with the FBI. The memo claimed Zubaydah was mentally and physically fit to be waterboarded, even though Zubaydah had had head and recent gunshot injuries. As Jack Goldsmith described Yoo's opinions, they "could be interpreted as if they were designed to confer immunity for bad acts." In all of his torture memos, Yoo ignored key precedents relating both specifically to waterboarding and to separation of powers.

8. Jay Bybee, assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel (2001-2003)

As head of the OLC when the first torture memos were approved, Bybee signed the memos named after himthat John Yoo drafted. At the time, the White House knew that Bybee wanted an appointment as a Circuit Court judge; after signing his name to memos supporting torture, he received such an appointment. Of particular concern is the timing of Bybee's approval of the torture techniques. He first approved some techniques on July 24, 2002. The next day, Jim Haynes, the Defense Department's general counsel, ordered the SERE unit of DOD to collect information including details on waterboarding. While the record is contradictory on whether Haynes or CIA General Counsel John Rizzo gave that information to OLC, on the day they did so, OLC approved waterboarding. One of the documents in that packet identified these actions as torture, and stated that torture often produced unreliable results.

9. William "Jim" Haynes, Defense Department general counsel (2001-2008)

As general counsel of the Defense Department, Jim Haynes oversaw the legal analysis of interrogation techniques to be used with military detainees. Very early on, he worked as a broker between SERE professionals and the CIA. His office first asked for information on "exploiting" detainees in December 2001, which is when James Mitchell is first known to have worked on interrogation plans. And later, in July 2002, when CIA was already using torture with Abu Zubaydah but needed scientific cover before OLC would approve waterboarding, Haynes ordered the SERE team to produce such information immediately.

Later Haynes played a key role in making sure some of the techniques were adopted, with little review, by the military. He was thus crucial to the migration of torture to Guantánamo and then Iraq. In September 2002, Haynes participated in a key visit to Guantánamo (along with Addington and other lawyers) that coincided with requests from DOD interrogators there for some of the same techniques used by the CIA.

Haynes ignored repeated warnings from within the armed services about the techniques, including statements that the techniques "may violate torture statute" and "cross the line of 'humane' treatment." In October 2002, when the legal counsel for the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff attempted to conduct a thorough legal review of the techniques, Haynes ordered her to stop, because "people were going to see" the objections that some in the military had raised. On Nov. 27, 2002, Haynes recommended that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorize many of the requested techniques, including stress positions, hooding, the removal of clothing, and the use of dogs -- the same techniques that showed up later in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

Next page: "Rumsfeld's authorization of interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there"

10. Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense (2001-2006)

As secretary of defense, Rumsfeld signed off on interrogation methods used in the military, notably for Abu Ghraib, Bagram Air Force Base and Guantánamo Bay. With this approval, the use of torture would move from the CIA to the military. A recent bipartisan Senate report concluded that "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's authorization of interrogation techniques at Guantánamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there." Rumsfeld personally approved techniques including the use of phobias (dogs), forced nudity and stress positions on Dec. 2, 2002, signing a one-page memo prepared for him by Haynes. These techniques were among those deemed torture in the Charles Graner case and the case of "20th hijacker" Mohammed al-Qahtani. Rumsfeld also personally authorized an interrogation plan for Moahmedou Ould Slahi on Aug. 13, 2003; the plan used many of the same techniques as had been used with al-Qahtani, including sensory deprivation and "sleep adjustment." And through it all, Rumsfeld maintained a disdainful view on these techniques, at one point quipping on a memo approving harsh techniques, "I stand for eight to 10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?"

11. John Rizzo, CIA deputy general counsel (2002-2004), acting general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency (2001-2002, 2004-present)

As deputy general counsel and then acting general counsel for the CIA, John Rizzo's name appears on all of the known OLC opinions on torture for the CIA. For the Bybee Two memo, Rizzo provided a number of factually contested pieces of information to OLC -- notably, that Abu Zubaydah was uncooperative and physically and mentally fit enough to withstand waterboarding and other enhanced techniques. In addition, Rizzo provideda description of waterboarding using one standard, while the OLC opinion described a more moderate standard. Significantly, the description of waterboarding submitted to OLC came from the Defense Department, even though NSC had excluded DOD from discussions on the memo. Along with the description of waterboarding and other techniques, Rizzo also provided a document that called enhanced methods "torture" and deemed them unreliable -- yet even with this warning, Rizzo still advocated for the CIA to get permission to use those techniques.

12. Steven Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general, OLC (2004), acting assistant attorney general, OLC (2005-2009)

In 2004, the CIA's inspector general wrote a report concluding that the CIA's interrogation program might violate the Convention Against Torture. It fell to Acting Assistant Attorney General Steven Bradbury to write three memos in May 2005 that would dismiss the concerns the IG Report raised -- in effect, to affirm the OLC's 2002 memos legitimizing torture. Bradbury's memos noted the ways in which prior torture had exceeded the Bybee Two memo: the 183 uses of the waterboard for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in one month, the gallon and a half used in waterboarding, the 20 to 30 times a detainee is thrown agains the wall, the 11 days a detainee had been made to stay awake, the extra sessions of waterboarding ordered from CIA headquarters even after local interrogators deemed Abu Zubaydah to be fully compliant. Yet Bradbury does not consider it torture. He notes the CIA's doctors' cautions about the combination of using the waterboard with a physically fatigued detainee, yet in a separate memo approves the use of sleep deprivation and waterboading in tandem. He repeatedly concedes that the CIA's interrogation techniques as actually implemented exceeded the SERE techniques, yet repeatedly points to the connection to SERE to argue the methods must be legal. And as with the Bybee One memo, Bradbury resorts to precisely the kind of appeal to exceptional circumstances -- "used only as necessary to protect against grave threats" -- to distinguish U.S. interrogation techniques from the torture it so closely resembles around the world.

13. George W. Bush, president (2001-2009)

While President Bush maintained some distance from the torture for years -- Cheney describes him "basically" authorizing it -- he served as the chief propagandist about its efficacy and necessity. Most notably, on Sept. 6, 2006, when Bush first confessed to the program, Bush repeated the claims made to support the Bybee Two memo: that Abu Zubaydah wouldn't talk except by using torture. And in 2006, after the CIA's own inspector general had raised problems with the program, after Steven Bradbury had admitted all the ways that the torture program exceeded guidelines, Bush still claimed it was legal.

 "[They] were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively, and determined them to be lawful."

With this statement, the deceptions and bureaucratic games all came full circle. After all, it was Bush who, on Feb. 7, 2002, had declared the Geneva Conventions wouldn't apply (a view the Supreme Court ultimately rejected).

Bush's inaction in torture is as important as his actions. Bush failed to fulfill legal obligations to notify Congress of the torture program. A Senate Intelligence timeline on the torture program makes clear that Congress was not briefed on the techniques used in the torture program until after Abu Zubaydah had already been waterboarded. And in a 2003 letter, then House Intelligence ranking member Jane Harman shows that she had not yet seen evidence that Bush had signed off on this policy. This suggests President Bush did not provide the legally required notice to Congress, violating National Security Decisions Directive-286. What Bush did not say is as legally important as what he did say.

Yet, ultimately, Bush and whatever approval he gave the program is at the center of the administration's embrace of torture. Condoleezza Rice recently said, "By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations in the Convention Against Torture." While Rice has tried to reframe her statement, it uses the same logic used by John Yoo and David Addington to justify the program, the shocking claim that international and domestic laws cannot bind the president in times of war. Bush's close allies still insist if he authorized it, it couldn't be torture. 


Using a Law License to Facilitate Torture Should Result in Disbarment

by Kevin Zeese 

Statement Made Upon the Filing of Complaints Seeking Disbarment of Bush-Cheney's Cadre of Torture Lawyers

My name is Kevin Zeese, I am an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington, DC and before the U.S. Supreme Court.  I serve as the executive director of VotersForPeace.US and on the board of VelvetRevolution.US.  Today, we filed complaints with the District of Columbia Bar and with four other states seeking the disbarment of 12 Bush-Cheney torture lawyers.  These lawyers misused their license to practice law to provide legal cover for the war crime of torture.  This misuse of their license requires the bar association to disbar them or the bar will become complicit in torture.

It is a low threshold for legal ethics: if you use your license to facilitate war crimes you should lose your license.  If the bar associations do not apply ethics standards to disbar torture lawyers what is left of legal ethics?

Complaints have been filed against: John Yoo, Judge Jay Bybee, and Stephen Bradbury who authored the torture memoranda. As well as attorneys who advised, counseled, consulted and supported those memoranda including Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington.  These detailed complaints, with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits, have been filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and they seek disciplinary action and disbarment. Copies of the complaints and exhibits are available on-line at and  

This cadre of torture lawyers colluded tofacilitate the abuse and torture of prisoners (detainee) that included, evidence suggests, deaths at overseas U.S. military facilities. Human Rights Watch reports 98 deaths of people in custody of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Making torture even worse in this case is that it was used to try and get information to tie Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda – a relationship that did not exist – as well as information about non-existent weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We have asked the respective state bars to revoke the licenses of these attorneys for moral turpitude. They failed to show "respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others," and intentionally or recklessly failed to act competently, all in violation of legal Rules of Professional Conduct. Several attorneys failed to adequately supervise the work of subordinate attorneys and forwarded shoddy legal memoranda regarding the definition of torture to the White House and Department of Defense. These lawyers further acted incompetently by advising superiors to approve interrogation techniques that were in violation of U.S. and international law. They failed to support or uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the laws of the United States, and to maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers, all in violation state bar rules.

Torture is illegal under United States and international law. It is illegal under the U.S. Constitution, domestic law and international treaties to which the United States is a party. 

This includes:

1. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), Articles 1, 2, 3 and 16 (ratified in October 1994). Article 2(2) of the Convention states that:

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.                                                

2. The Geneva Conventions, Article 3, (ratified in August 1955). Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), held that the Geneva Conventions are applicable to accused members of al-Qaeda. Thus, due process protections apply to all detainees in U.S. custody, including those in military prisons.

3. The Eighth Amendment against "cruel and unusual punishment."

4.The United States Criminal Code, Title 18, Prohibitions Against Torture (18 USC 2340A) and War Crimes (18 USC 2441).

Torture is a clearly defined term under international and U.S. law.   The Convention Against Torture defines torture as any act by which: "severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental; is intentionally inflicted on a person . . ."

The torture memoranda did not provide objective legal advice to government decision-makers, but instead twisted the state of the law so that it was unrecognizable.  They were so inaccurate that these memoranda are more justifications about what the authors and the intended recipients wanted the law to be, rather than assessments of what the law actually is.

These laws provide no exception for torture under any circumstances. Moreover, the United States Criminal Code prohibits both torture and war crimes, the latter which includes torture. The Army Field Manual prohibits the use of degrading treatment of detainees.  The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture.

We decided to take action today because the federal government seems unable and unwilling to act.  The Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility has taken nearly five years to complete its report, as some of the memoranda at issue became public in June 2004.  Further, this OPR investigation is focused only on two lawyers, John Yoo and Jay Bybee rather than all those involved.  This inexcusable delay is unfair to the public because the consequences of any wrongdoing are diminished. The delay has already benefited the two men under investigation, John Yoo now has tenure at Berkeley law school and Jay Bybee now has a lifetime appointment as a federal court of appeals judge.  If OPR had completed its duties in a timely manner it is unlikely that either appointment would have been made.

In addition to inaction by OPR, the Congress where select Members were briefed 40 times by the CIA, seems unable to take action because of fear of its own complicity being exposed. And, Attorney General Eric Holder, has now testified that he approved renditions – which results in prisoners being tortured by other countries at the behest of the United States – during the Clinton administration.  And, sadly, the President of the United States has now decided to hide evidence of war crimes by refusing to release photographic and video evidence despite a court order to do so.  Finally, the administration is appointing General McChrystal to be the head of operations in Afghanistan despite being responsible for commanding Fort Nama in Iraq as well as special forces involved in torture:

"An interrogator at Camp Nama described locking prisoners in shipping containers for 24 hours at a time in extreme heat; exposing them to extreme cold with periodic soaking in cold water; bombardment with bright lights and loud music; sleep deprivation; and severe beatings. When he and other interrogators went to the colonel in charge and expressed concern that this kind of treatment was not legal, and that they might be investigated by the military's Criminal Investigation Division or the International Committee of the Red Cross, the colonel told them he had "this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there's no way that the Red Cross could get in."

Nicolas J S Davies, "Suspected War Criminal, General McChrystal, to Lead U.S. Forces in Afghanistan "

The unit's slogan, which set the tone for its practices, was "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." Reportedly prisoners died in the custody of troops in General McChrystal's command and five officers were convicted of prisoner abuse.

Therefore, the people must act to face up to this issue and restore morality and Rule of Law to the United States.  In addition to filing these complaints we are starting a campaign for disbarment, public torture hearings and for the appointment of an Independent Prosecutor.  People who want to get involved are urged to go and

Only by taking torture out of politics and allowing an independent prosecutor to pursue the facts and apply the law will the United States recover from these war crimes.  Application of the rule of law, beginning with disbarment, is a necessary part of the process of healing the nation.


Bible Quotes Adorned Covers Of Top-Secret Rumsfeld Intelligence Reports

By David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz 

Published: May 17, 2009 
Updated 1 day ago


Update at bottom: Rumsfeld blamed for military delay after Katrina

Top secret military intelligence briefings prepared by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and often hand-delivered to George W. Bush featured Crusades-like Bible quotes above triumphant photos of the U.S. military effort in Iraq.

Less than one month after U.S. and coalition forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, a “Worldwide Intelligence Update” reached then-President Bush with the following quote on the cover of the briefing, above photos of jubilant Iraqi crowds in newly liberated Baghdad: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

One week earlier, on April 3, 2003, another of these reports reached Bush, and its cover contained a passage from the book of Proverbs: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Revelations of these top-secret briefings containing explicitly Christian messages appeared today on GQ magazine’s Web site.

Texan journalist Robert Draper, who wrote an authorized biography of George W. Bush called “Dead Certain,” obtained the cover sheets from a former Bush administration official. Draper writes:

These cover sheets were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a director for intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense. In the days before the Iraq war, Shaffer’s staff had created humorous covers in an attempt to alleviate the stress of preparing for battle. Then, as the body counting began, Shaffer, a Christian, deemed the biblical passages more suitable.

Many inside the Pentagon, including one Muslim analyst, were offended by the biblical quotes, while others worried that the briefing cover sheets, if leaked, would do serious damage as the U.S. and its allied coalition of mostly Western troops prosecuted a war in an Islamic nation.

The Bible quotes adorned the reports in part because Rumsfeld wanted to forge a connection with his boss, Draper writes:

[P'ublicly flaunting his own religious views was not at all [Rumsfeld]’s style…but it was decidedly Bush’s style, and Rumsfeld likely saw the Scriptures as a way of making a personal connection with a president who frequently quoted the Bible.

Rumsfeld was intensely disliked by many high-level Bush administration officials, who wished he had been fired long before he actually was, Draper reports.

“Though few of these individuals would speak for the record (knowing that their former boss, George W. Bush, would not approve of it),” Draper writes, “they believe that Rumsfeld’s actions epitomized the very traits—arrogance, stubbornness, obliviousness, ineptitude—that critics say drove the Bush presidency off the rails.”

Additional images of “Worldwide Intelligence Update” cover sheets can be found at the URLs below.

Rumsfeld blamed for military delay after Katrina

A Louisiana newspaper notes that the GQ report is also “quoting [an] unnamed former Bush administration official as blaming former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for many failures, including a delay in military assistance in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.”

Draper’s GQ report noted,

“[T]hree years later, when I asked a top White House official how he would characterize Rumsfeld’s assistance in the response to Hurricane Katrina, I found out why. “It was commonly known in the West Wing that there was a battle with Rumsfeld regarding this,” said the official. “I can’t imagine another defense secretary throwing up the kinds of obstacles he did.”

Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”

The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”

“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”

The Times-Picayune reports,

After the president had returned to the White House, he eventually convened a meeting in the Situation Room to discuss the government’s response. Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”

When Rumsfeld mentioned his concerns about “unity of command” issues, Bush stopped talking to his Defense Secretary and directed all inquiries to Lieutenant General Honore, via video screen, who was on the ground in Louisiana.

Draper reported, “But still the troops hadn’t arrived. And by Saturday morning, says Honore, ‘we had dispersed all of these people across Louisiana. So we needed more troops to go to distribution centers, feed people, and maintain traffic.’ That morning Bush convened yet another meeting in the Situation Room. Chertoff was emphatic. ‘Mr. President,’ he said, ‘if we’re not going to begin to get these troops, we’re not going to be able to get the job done.’”

“Rumsfeld could see the writing on the wall and had come prepared with a deployment plan in hand,” Draper reports. “Still, he did not volunteer it. Only when Bush ordered, ‘Don, do it,’ did he acquiesce and send in the troops — a full five days after landfall.”

“And here I thought Rumsfeld was a nightmare at the Pentagon before reading the Draper piece,” Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen quips. 

Pinter: "What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Campaign

Torture is illegal under both United States and international law. The Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, and it states that treaties signed by the U.S. are the “supreme Law of the Land” under Article Six. The 
Geneva Convention andThe Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment both prohibit torture and have been signed by the United States. These laws provide no exception for torture under any circumstances. Moreover, the United States Criminal Code prohibits both torture and war crimes, the latter which includes torture. The Army Field Manual prohibits the use of degrading treatment of detainees.

Despite this well-established law, under the Bush administration, torture was authorized by George Bush and kept secret using classified designations. The White House requested legal memoranda to support its use of torture and it received those authored by a host of attorneys, including John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Stephen Bradbury. Attorneys who advised, counseled, consulted and supported those memoranda included Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft, Michael Chertoff, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith, Michael Mukasey, Timothy Flanigan, and David Addington.

Several of these memoranda have recently been released, and clearly demonstrate that these attorneys conspired to violate laws against torture and that their actions resulted in torture and death. Accordingly, these attorneys must be held accountable. We have asked the respective state bars to revoke the licenses of the foregoing attorneys for moral turpitude. They failed to show “respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others,” and intentionally or recklessly failed to act competently, all in violation of legal Rules of Professional Conduct. Several attorneys failed to adequately supervise the work of subordinate attorneys and forwarded shoddy legal memoranda regarding the definition of torture to the White House and Department of Defense. These lawyers further acted incompetently by advising superiors to approve interrogation techniques that were in violation of U.S. and international law. They failed to support or uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the laws of the United States, and to maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers, all in violation state bar rules. 

On Monday, May 18, 2009, a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to accountable government, and representing over one million members, filed disciplinary complaints with state bar licensing boards against the above named twelve attorneys for advocating the torture of detainees during the Bush Administration.  These detailed complaints, with over 500 pages of supporting exhibits, have been filed with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, and they seek disciplinary action and disbarment. Copies of the complaints and exhibits are available below.

The individually tailored complaints allege that the named attorneys violated the rules of professional responsibility by advocating torture.  The memos written and supported by these attorneys advocating torture have now been repudiated by the Department of Justice, the White House, the Department of Defense and other experts in the field.  The recently released Senate and Red Cross reports on detainee treatment provide uncontroverted evidence that the torture techniques advocated by the attorneys were used on human beings over an extended period of time. We have also sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, asking that he initiate impeachment proceeding against Jay Bybee, who is now a sitting federal judge. The evidence is clear that, during his confirmation hearings, Mr. Bybee misused the classified status of his torture memos to portray a false picture of his legal history. Several Senators have stated publicly that Mr. Bybee would not have been confirmed if they had been aware of his torture memos. The bar complaints have been signed by our board attorney, Kevin Zeese, who also directs the 
Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics, and Voters for Peace.

We ask other organizations to sign on to this campaign by sending an email to Individuals can sign on using the form below. This campaign will include a broad public relations push so we urge everyone to spread the word and for the press to contact us for comment and interviews.

You can make targeted donations to this campaign at with an earmark comment in the box at

Torture Photos And Video For Media

Click here and here for dozens of torture photos and several anti-torture ads that we are making available to organizations and the media. Please give attribution to High resolution versions and hours of torture and waterboarding footage are also available upon request.

This YouTube music video with waterboarding and torture footage is available for rebroadcast with attribution. 

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Our State Bar Complaints

Jay Bybee-District of Columbia Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Douglas Feith-District of Columbia Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
David Addington-District of Columbia Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Stephen Bradbury-District of Columbia 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Chertoff-District of Columbia 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Ashcroft-District of Columbia 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Timothy Flanigan-District of Columbia 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alice Fisher-District of Columbia Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Haynes-California Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
John Yoo- Pennsylvania Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Alberto Gonzales-Texas Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Michael Mukasey-New York Bar 
Microsoft Word (.doc) Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)

Exhibits Attached To Each Complaint

ACLU List Of Known Torture Documents
Army Field Manual On Detainee Treatment
Bradbury 20 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury 46 Page Memo 5-10-05
Bradbury Memo 5-30-05
Bybee to Gonzales Memo 8-01-02
Bybee to Rizzo Memo 8-01-02
Geneva Convention Article 3
Haynes Memo  11-27-02
Red Cross Detainee Treatment Report
Senate Detainee Treatment Report
UN Convention on Torture
U.S. Criminal Code
Yoo Memo 8-01-02
Yoo Memo 3-14-03



Republicans for Impeachment
Progressive Democrats of America
Impeach Bybee
Prosecute Bush/Cheney
After Downing Street
Buzz FlashOp Ed News
Coalition Repair Project
Progressive Magazine
Global Network
Justice Through Music
Media With Conscience
Bend-C Friendship Project
Citizens for Legitimate Government
Center for Study of Democratic Societies
The World Can’t Wait
American Freedom Campaign
Liberty Tree
BFUU Social Justice Campaign
Peace for Justice Forums
WESPAC Foundation
PDA Marin County
Central Jersey Impeach Group
Chesapeake Citizens
Topple Bush
Stop Recruiters WWU
Whatcom Peacebuilders Club
Iraq Veterans for Justice
Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The Democratic Activists
The Solution Zone
Patrick Henry Democratic Club
Epluribus Media
Consumers for Peace
No Nukes North
Veterans for Peace
Florida Peace Action Network
Reclaim the GOP
Boston Anti-War League
Voters for Peace
Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics
Veterans For Peace Chapter 72
Peace Majority
Freedom, Liberty and Defenders Society

The Released Torture Memos

Recent Articles About Accountability For Torture

Accountability for TortureThe Nation, John Nichols, 4/22/09
Accountability Does Not Stop At White House DoorHarvard Law Record, Andrew Kallock, 4/16/09
Pressure Grows For AccountabilityAmnesty International, 4/17/09
Medically Assisted TortureNew York Times, Editorial, 4/9/09
The Torturer’s ManifestoNew York Times, Editorial, 4/18/09
The Second Bybee MemoJurist Legal News and Research, Jordan Paust, 4/22/09
Federal Prosecution of War Criminals, Lawrence Vevel, 1/9/09
Faithfully Executing The LawsUCLA Law Review, Dawn Johnsen, 2007
The Torture TeamHarpers Magazine, Scott Horton, 3/28/08
Torture Isn’t PatrioticThe Boston Globe, Editorial, 5/16/09
Efforts to Halt Harsh Tactics ThwartedWashington Post, Carrie Johnson, 5/14/09
Obama Can’t Turn The Page On BushNew York Times, Frank Rich, 5/18/09


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Traction for a truth commission?

Is the truth commission - dismissed by President Obama and seemingly DOA a few weeks ago -- gaining traction again?

Three different stories out today make it clear that the idea of a truth commission is far from dead in the minds of many Democrats. And Republicans may now want their whack at the truth if they believe it will implicate Speaker Nancy Pelosi in any way.

First off, Jeffrey Rosen in the May 20 New Republic makes an argument that an empowered commission is the only way to find out what really happened:

But the fact that an independent commission would be politically distracting isn't a good argument for resisting it. The Bush torture policies are the most serious violation of American values since the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans. A closed Senate intelligence committee investigation would be inconsistent with the transparency Obama demanded when he released the memos in the first place.

Second, as The Hill reports this morning, Republicans like Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and Newt Gingrich now want Pelosi investigated: "If nothing else, Pelosi's hard-to-prove assertion that the CIA lied to her in a briefing has renewed interest among Republicans and Democrats in what the Bush administration was doing with detainees six years ago and what it told Congress and other officials," Mike Soraghan writes.

And finally, there's this quote from Pelosi herself to Daily Beast founder Tina Brown in the May 25 Newsweek column out this week:

"The president has been very clear. He wants to move forward. Me and the Congress want to be told the truth. The more things get released, the more we want a full commission. He wants to give immunity. I want to be more selective. He says go with immunity and maybe you will learn more. It's very hard."

Does all this add up to a full-blown "commission" with subpoena powers like the 9/11 commission? Hard to say at this point, but the idea seems to be back on the table.

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