“According to White House officials, this was not ‘the first time’ under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive—rather than national security sensistive—information.”
Category Archives: Intelligence
Dick Cheney claims that “waterboarding” “stops short” of torture, but victims knew the reality. Torturers have been executed for submitting prisoners to simulated drowning, now tagged with that indistinct, even innocuous-sounding term.
Go no further than John McCain, who is unequivocal on the subject. He says waterboarding is not “enhanced interrogation” — it is torture.
In World War II, German and Japanese interrogators — and their commanders — were punished, imprisoned and executed for such crimes:
“The torture of the bathtub consisted in plunging the patient into a bath of icy water, his hands handcuffed behind the back, and keeping his head underwater until he was on the point of drowning. He was dragged to the surface by the hair and, if he still refused to speak, was immediately plunged underwater again.”Jacques Delarue, an anti-Nazi French intelligence officer during World War II.
The quote is from The Freedom Line, my book about the rescue of Allied pilots rescued by underground fighters in occupied Europe during World War Two. One key practitioner of simulated drowning at Gestapo headquarters in Paris was Jacques Desoubrie — aka Jean Masson. Desoubrie, a double agent who had infiltrated the underground, was captured by the United States after the war and executed in France.
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Laurie Garrett
So it is inevitable that nine years later, amid chatter of U.S. cruise missile launches to take out Syrian government military stockpiles I should revisit the sorry history of Bush’s drumbeats of war.
The Guardian, home paper of Edward Snowden’s leaks on data mining, publishes an editorial defending him as a whistleblower who should be tried in that context:
Edward Snowden: a whistleblower, not a spy
He has published US government information. And it is for this – not espionage – that he will have to answer to the law
If captured, I hope Administration will at least consider holding the Boston suspect as enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes.
“The public safety exception is a domestic criminal law doctrine that allows questioning of a criminal suspect without Miranda warnings for a limited time and purpose.
Prejudgment, no facts, no faith in laws guaranteeing the constitutional rights of an American citizen.
Both are elected by a populace that should think things through. McCain, save us, could have been President of the United States.
The lesson to be taken from Boston is that police know their jobs, and the system does work. If anything, the danger is succumbing to fear. There is this wise analysis by author and journalist, James Bamford, echoing Roosevelt three-quarters of a century ago.
If the idea of terrorism is to terrorize, then the hyper-hysterical media coverage of the Boston bombing was made to order and almost guarantees that others, seeking similar attention, will follow. This was not 9/11, far from it. And shutting down an entire city, telling everyone to lock themselves inside, is not a sign of strength. It is also a terrible precedent to set. London and other major cities have seen much, much worse and managed to follow the principle, Keep Calm and Carry On.
Almost lost in the news is a report from a blue-ribbon bipartisan Constitution Project commission that states bluntly that the U.S. government has conducted torture in violation of law.
The commission found there is “indisputable” evidence that U.S. government officials bear responsibility for mistreatment of detainees. Members reached unanimous consent on their findings, although they were stonewalled in receiving some official documents and full interviews with officials of the administration of George W. Bush. The committee includes Democratic and Republican former lawmakers, jurists, academics and retired and decorated high-ranking military officials. They cannot be dismissed on political grounds.
The commission said in a 560-page report:
“U.S. Forces, in many instances, used interrogation techniques on detainees that constitute torture. American personnel conducted an even larger number of interrogations that involved ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.’ Both categories of actions violate U.S. laws and international treaties. Such conduct was directly counter to the values of the Constitution and our nation.”
Among other things, the report debunks the notion that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” — the euphemism for torture — obtain useful information. The report concludes:
“The nation’s most senior officials … bear ultimate responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of illegal and improper interrogation techniques used by some US personnel on detainees in several theaters.”
The commission was hampered by the lack of subpoena power to get to the bottom of the systematic decision during the Bush administration to torture detainees. The commission says authorization of subpoenas should be the next step, a step that might lead to something akin to what many people have advocated for years — a Truth Commission.
Here’s what the organization Human Rights said about the commission report:
“The American people deserve a full accounting of the torture conducted in their name…The work of this private, bipartisan commission sends a clear message that full disclosure is an issue of great importance to all Americans, no matter their political leanings.”
Will Americans demand accounting or will they be complacent to the techniques of torture practiced in their name?
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Libya, a Tea Party Republican senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, used indirect language to blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the killing of four American diplomats in Benghazi last year. Paul described their deaths as the worst tragedy involving Americans since 9/11. Partisan politics, ignorance and nonsense.
A newly elected senator answered him strongly:
“I think if some people on this committee want to call the tragedy in Benghazi the worst since 9/11, it misunderstands the nature of 4,000 Americans plus lost over ten years of war in Iraq fought under false pretenses,” newly elected Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said in response.
Under a Republican president, George W. Bush, the United States went to war using lies about U.S. intelligence information. To this hour, a number of Americans — perhaps the same number that voted Republican in the 2012 presidential election — think that President Bush invaded Iraq based on “the best available intelligence” at the time. That has been proven to be a lie, as I wrote with my colleague, Knut Royce, in the book, The Italian Letter. I also wrote about it in the Washington Post.
President Bush has not stood before the Senate to answer that serious charge. It is fairly certain that he never will.
Ten years after Colin Powell sold a war to Americans and the world on a fake premise — that Iraq was on the verge of having nuclear weapons, it just could be that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the same market. The linkage ten years apart is a campaign to wage preemptive wars — perpetrated by the same alliance of neoconservatives.
Netanyahu appeared before the UN General Assembly in late September and, armed with a cartoon-like bomb diagram, said that Iran is within months of the point of no return–having nuclear weapons.
Is that true? Or are the purveyors of agitprop at work again.
A dispatch from Reuters quotes intelligence analysts and nuclear specialists as saying Iran could be years, not months from being able to produce and deliver a nuclear bomb.
(Reuters) – Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several atomic bombs if refined to a high degree but it may still be a few years away from being able to build a nuclear-armed missile if it decided to go down that path.
Israel’s warning last week that Iran will be on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon by mid-2013 seemed to refer to when it could have a sufficient stock of higher-grade uranium to make a quick dash to produce a bomb’s worth of weapon-grade material.
But, analysts say, Tehran would need time also for the technologically complicated task of fashioning highly refined uranium gas into a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a missile – if it opts for such weapons of mass destruction.
What if the same people who brought us the war in Iraq — some of whom actually still cling to the empty notion that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction — now are at their dangerous hi-jinks once again?
Propaganda is powerful business and so is manipulation of popular opinion. A large percentage of Americans still believe that:
–Iraq was responsible for the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon;
–Iraq was close to building a nuclear weapon in 2002;
–The United States acted in Iraq “based on the best available intelligence at the time.”
These are all lies.
Now, because Iran appears to be the enemy du jour, a sales campaign is underway to push public opinion toward the need for quick action against Iran. When will we learn? And will a new Obama administration follow through on diplomacy and neutralize the purveyors of lies?
from Jeff Stein:
It’s ironic isn’t it, that President Obama, who’s never gotten closer to a military uniform than a handshake, is so much more cautious about sending men and women into harm’s way than his predecessor, a onetime Air Force pilot?
The conventional wisdom, after all, is that civilians who’ve never seen a bullet fired in anger are far more cavalier about sounding the trumpets to war than a soldier who’s been there. read more: spytalk