May 31, 2009

Moyers: See "Torturing Democracy", Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: "Everyone Should See 'Torturing Democracy'"

"We have re-created our enemy's methodologies in Guantanamo," Malcolm Nance, former head of the Navy's SERE training program, says in "Torturing Democracy." He adds, "It will hurt us for decades to come. Decades. Our people will all be subjected to these tactics, because we have authorized them for the world now. How it got to Guantanamo is a crime and somebody needs to figure out who did it, how they did it, who authorized them to do it ... Because our servicemen will suffer for years."

Link to documentary:

Powell for closing Guantanamo

Sam Stein: "Powell Hits Back at Cheney, GOP on Gitmo Closing," Huffington Post, May 24, 2009.

May 29, 2009

DOJ OPR re Bybee and Yoo

"DOJ Report Reaches 'Damning' Conclusions for Bybee and Yoo," Jason Leopold, May 7, 2009:
An ethics report prepared by H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), reached “damning” conclusions about numerous cases of “misconduct” in the advice attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee provided the Bush administration, according to legal and Congressional sources familiar with the findings and news reports.

The report, which also may be critical of legal opinions authorizing domestic surveillance activities, recommends state bar associations conduct a review of Yoo and Bybee’s legal work to determine whether they should face disciplinary action, including disbarment. . . .

"John Yoo's war crimes"

John Yoo's war crimes - Glenn Greenwald -, April 2, 2008.

May 21, 2009

Rep. Murphy briefed by CIA in 2008 and 2009

"Murphy was briefed on enhanced interrogation," by Gary Weckselblatt, Intelligencer, May 20, 2009:
Eighth District Congressman Patrick Murphy has attended two CIA briefings at the center of a firestorm between the agency and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said she was lied to about waterboarding.

An unclassified chart released by the CIA and published in The New York Times describes 40 briefings for lawmakers over a period of several years on enhanced interrogation techniques. Murphy, a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is listed among lawmakers in attendance on Jan. 16, 2008. The topics included "Videotape Destruction" and "Discussion of EITs, including waterboarding."

On March 12, less than two months after President Barack Obama signed orders that ended torture, Murphy was briefed with other members of the Intelligence Committee about "General references to EITs, interrogations and the end of the use of EITs by the CIA throughout," according to the CIA chart.

Murphy wouldn't address the issue that experts claim has taken the focus off Obama's domestic agenda.

In an e-mailed statement, his spokeswoman Kate Hansen stated, "Congressman Murphy has attended a number of intelligence briefings as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, but cannot disclose what is discussed in them as information presented within these briefings is strictly classified at the highest levels." . . .

Donna Brazile pro independent commission

"No time to hide," by Donna Brazile: ". . . Bring it on, Mr. Cheney. Let there be a national debate. You have much to answer for. Meanwhile, Mr. President, it’s time we create an independent commission to investigate these matters."

Will Bunch and Jon Stewart re Gitmo

". . . If you've thought America was on the brink of losing its mind, this may have been the week. . . ." Will Bunch, Attytood, Philadelphia Daily News, May 20, 2009.

Colbert re Yoo/Inquirer, May 20, 2009

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Restore Justice at Justice

A campaign

Amy Goodman re Yoo/Inquirer, "Yoo’s Views Make Philly News," by Amy Goodman, May 19, 2009. ". . . There are many Philadelphians who can write and inspire debate that leads people to action. John Yoo has done enough harm."

May 19, 2009

Disbar the Torture Lawyers

A campaign

Will Bunch responds

"The latest poor information on John Yoo," by Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News, 05/17/2009: ". . . Torture isn't like mass transit funding or filling a Supreme Court vacancy. It is something that is both unlawful and immoral and falls into those categories of things -- like racial discrimination or any kind of violence (which torture is) -- that are clearly beneath the core standards of the community. A newspaper that make such an overt (and unforced, and unnecessary) hire as John Yoo is normalizing torture to its readers and the world, stating that waterboarding and other violent interrogation tactics are just another one of those 'on one hand, on the other hand' kind of things. I find this torture normalization highly offensive, as do scores of other people who have written the Inquirer. . . ."

Lawrence Wilkerson re Cheney

"The Truth about Richard Bruce Cheney," TPMCafe, May 14, 2009.

Harold Jackson defends the indefensible

"Uproar over Inquirer's Yoo ignores opinion page purpose," by Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer, 05/17/2009.

Inquirer publisher Brian Tierney wanted Yoo

"Definitely not a 'knee-jerk liberal publication," by Will Bunch,, 05/12/2009. "The New York Times, the so-called 'paper of record,' adds to the record of how torture architect John Yoo got that Inquirer column. . . ."

May 16, 2009

Gitmo prisoner abuse under Obama

"Little-Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama," by Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet, May 15, 2009. "The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals. . . ."

Inquirer editorial re torture

Editorial: "Descent into torture," Philadelphia Inquirer, 05/15/2009: "Just as harsh U.S. interrogation techniques were being discredited at a Senate hearing this week, the reported suicide of a former CIA detainee in Libya recalled one of the most spectacular and far-reaching failures of torture-like tactics. . . ."

"'Impolite' questions for Gen. Myers"

by Ray McGovern,, May 13, 2009:

. . . While researching his book [The Torture Team], [Philippe] Sands, a very astute observer, emerged from a three-hour session with Myers convinced that Myers did not understand the implications of what was being done and was “confused” about the decisions that were taken.

Sands writes that when he described the interrogation techniques introduced and stressed that they were not in the manual but rather breached U.S. military guidelines, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled.

Author Sands came to the conclusion that Myers was “hoodwinked;” that “Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him.”

There is no doubt something to that. And the apparent absence of Myers from the infamous torture boutiques in the White House Situation Room, aimed at discerning which particular techniques might be most appropriate for which “high-value” detainees, tends to support an out-of-the-loop defense for Myers.

I imagine it should not be all that surprising, given the way general officers are promoted these days, that a vacuous mind like Myers’s could rise to the very pinnacle of our entire military establishment. Certainly, nothing Myers said or did Tuesday evening would contradict Sands’s assessment regarding naïveté.

My best guess is that it is a combination of dullness, cowardice and careerism that accounts for Myers’ behavior — then and now. And, with those attributes well in place, falling in with bad companions as Richard Myers did, can really do you in.

Myers still writes that he found Rumsfeld to be “an insightful and incisive leader;” the general seems to have been putty in Rumsfeld’s hands — one reason he was promoted, no doubt. . . .