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According to knowledgeable sources, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has hired John Kiriakou, the former CIA official who assisted with the 2002 capture of al-Qaeda detainee Abu Zubaydah and who said the detainee was tortured, as an investigator. Kiriakou, a CIA counterterrorism official from 1998 to 2004, will start work this week, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia for the committee.
Mr. Cheney, What About This 'Executive Assassination Squad'?
By John Nichols | The Nation
An elite assassination squad run out of the vice president's office? That certainly sounds like an interesting point at which to begin an official inquiry. And since the vice president is so willing to talk about his time in office--as evidenced by his recent media appearances--why not invite him up to Capitol Hill to engage in it? Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has a suggestion that might get the ball rolling. Kucinich has asked New York Congressman Edolphus Towns, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to begin an immediate investigation into Hersh's allegations.
Fast Track This! CA Dems Seek Support for Impeachment Resolution of Torture Enabler Jay Bybee; Text & Background Available Here
Note: The deadline for resolutions is this Wednesday, March 25th. Please don't delay!
Hi... Just a note to let you know that I'm organizing a resolution from the California Democratic Party to impeach Jay Bybee.
Below, please find my letter requesting support, and the resolution itself:
Friends and Fellow Members of the California Democratic Party SCC:
This e-mail is marked "urgent" because new revelations are breaking daily about Bush-sanctioned torture, and the legal opinions that underpinned this unprecedented abuse of presidential power.
Next week's "Newsweek" magazine promises that the Obama administration will soon declassify three more key memos from 2005 by Bush's Justice Department detailing "enhanced interrogation" techniques, such as "waterboarding, head-slapping and other rough tactics."
By Luke Baker, Reuters
LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - U.S. government lawyers tried to get a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay to sign a deal saying he had never been tortured and that he would not speak to the media as a condition of his release, according to documents presented in Britain's High Court.
U.S. lawyers also wanted Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen held at Guantanamo for more than 4 years, to plead guilty to secure his freedom, even though he was never charged with a crime, according to documents released by two judges who ruled in the High Court case.
The documents, relating to a ruling the judges made last October, reveal the U.S. military wanted Mohamed to agree not to sue the United States or any of its allies, and that any rights to compensation should be assigned to the U.S. government.
White House ready to let Guantánamo inmates settle on US mainland
Obama administration reconciled to allowing some of Guantánamo Bay inmates on to US soil
By Julian Borger & Ewen MacAskill | Guardian UK
The White House is set to reverse a key Bush administration policy by allowing some of the 240 remaining Guantánamo Bay inmates to be resettled on American soil.
The US is pushing for Europe to take a share of released inmates, but the Obama administration is reconciled to taking some of them, even though there will be noisy resistance from individual states.
Washington has told European officials that once a review of the Guantánamo cases is completed, the US will almost certainly allow some inmates to resettle on the mainland.
UNLV colleagues of man who advised Bush on interrogation techniques agonize as they try to reconcile that work with the legal scholar they knew
By Patrick Coolican, Las Vegas Sun
Jay S. Bybee is described as a gentle soul. His legal scholarship was considered rigorous and his positions well reasoned and, though conservative, not dogmatic.
Even as he moved up easily through the elite echelons of government and academe, Bybee remained true to his nature, generous and kind.
So how could Bybee, now a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sign his name to a legal document that seemed to sanction the use of torture?
This is the question now facing Bybee’s colleagues at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, where he remains a tenured professor, and others who have worked with him. How he answers that question, if he ever decides to, will decide his legacy, those colleagues say.
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, NEWSWEEK
Over objections from the U.S. intelligence community, the White House is moving to declassify—and publicly release—three internal memos that will lay out, for the first time, details of the "enhanced" interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration for use against "high value" Qaeda detainees. The memos, written by Justice Department lawyers in May 2005, provide the legal rationale for waterboarding, head slapping and other rough tactics used by the CIA. One senior Obama official, who like others interviewed for this story requested anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, said the memos were "ugly" and could embarrass the CIA. Other officials predicted they would fuel demands for a "truth commission" on torture.
[And non-officials might even suggest enforcing the *&$^%%^@! law. Gasp!]
Mr. Obama also should stop resisting an investigation of Mr. Bush’s policies on terrorism, state secrets, wiretapping, detention and interrogation....But understanding all that has gone wrong is the only way to ensure that abuses will truly end. That investigation should be done calmly rather than under the pressure of some new, shocking revelation. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is still proclaiming that waterboarding detainees prevented another attack. Among other things, an investigation would examine that assertion — for which Mr. Cheney offers no evidence, and which others have challenged. Everyone wants to move forward. The only way to do that, and make sure the system of justice is working properly, is to know exactly how Mr. Bush broke it.
As much as it needs to happen, we never expected President Obama to immediately reverse every one of President George W. Bush’s misguided and dangerous policies on terrorism, prisoners, the rule of law and government secrecy. Fixing this calamitous mess will take time and care — and Mr. Obama has taken important steps in that direction.
Ex-Bush admin official: Many at Gitmo are innocent
By Andrew O. Selsky | Google News
Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. "There are still innocent people there," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. "Some have been there six or seven years."
The U.S. has rejected a Guantanamo prisoner's proposal to end his 3 1/2-year hunger strike in exchange for easing his conditions at the American prison in Cuba, saying such a deal would undermine security and encourage similar protests.
A federal judge in Washington had urged U.S. authorities to consider the proposed deal in the case of Ahmed Zuhair, a Saudi prisoner who has refused to eat since the summer of 2005 and is force-fed a liquid nutrient mix to keep him alive.
DC's Center for Constitutional Rights Presents "Reflections of a Guantanamo Lawyer" Wed., 3/25/2009 at 7 PM
Join us for "Reflections of a Guantanamo Lawyer" in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at 7 PM.
WHAT: Reflections of a Guantanamo Lawyer
WHO: Featuring CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei
WHEN: Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Hart Auditorium, McDonough Building, Georgetown Law, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC
CCR staff attorney Pardiss Kebriaei will speak about her clients and the ongoing struggle to close Guantánamo and secure justice for its victims and survivors. In the face of the new executive orders by President Barack Obama to close Guantanamo, Ms. Kebriaei will lay out what is necessary to close the prison camp swiftly and effectively.
Guest Post by Lawrence Wilkerson: Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay
By Lawrence Wilkerson | Washington Note
Lawrence B. Wilkerson was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and is chairman of the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba 21st Century Policy Initiative.
There are several dimensions to the debate over the U.S. prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that the media have largely missed and, thus, of which the American people are almost completely unaware. For that matter, few within the government who were not directly involved are aware either.
The first of these is the utter incompetence of the battlefield vetting in Afghanistan during the early stages of the U.S. operations there. Simply stated, no meaningful attempt at discrimination was made in-country by competent officials, civilian or military, as to who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation.
This was a factor of having too few troops in the combat zone, of the troops and civilians who were there having too few people trained and skilled in such vetting, and of the incredible pressure coming down from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others to "just get the bastards to the interrogators".
When Torture is “Torture”
by Scott Horton, Harper's
One moment still serves to define the Bush Administration’s relationship with the press. On April 29, 2006, comedian Stephen Colbert addressed the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, with President Bush present, and ripped into the press corps (“I have nothing but contempt for these people,” he uttered at one point, creating a bond with his television audience but drawing embarrassed recognition and no laughter from the correspondents present).
Over the last five years, you people were so good—over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. … And then you write, Oh, they’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”
A new report by a journalist who has seen a secret 2007 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concludes:
Ray McGovern: A Nation of Torturers
Matt Daloisio of the 100 Days Campaign filed this report at the campaign's half-way mark.
We have passed the mid-point of the 100 Days, and the campaign continues to be quite busy! Here is a brief update on how things have been, and how you can get involved. Follow the campaign here which is updated daily.
100 DAYS VIGIL – THE UIGHURS - CONGRESSIONAL OUTREACH - MEDIA – SPEAKERS
& FILMS – DAY 100 (come to dc!) - 10 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
100 DAYS VIGIL
As the seasons change, more and more folks are coming by our Monday – Friday, 11am-1pm, vigil in front of the White House. In the last few
weeks we have seen Joe Biden, Joe the Plumber, and the Prime Minister of Japan (just to name a few). We maintain a solemn presence in orange
Appeals Court Refuses To Revisit Decision Ordering Defense Department To Release Prisoner Abuse Photos
Photos Depict Abuse By U.S. Personnel At Facilities In Afghanistan And Iraq
NEW YORK – A federal court rejected a Bush administration request to reconsider a decision that ordered the Department of Defense to release photographs depicting the abuse of detainees by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the government's request to have the full appeals court rehear a decision from last September ordering the release of the photos as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas.
The Obama administration, which has not taken a position on the litigation, has 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court if it chooses to challenge the September order.
By David Swanson
As with the evidence that Bush, Cheney, and gang intentionally lied us into a war, or the evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying, each time a major new piece of evidence of torture emerges, it is impossible not to hope that this is the one that will compel the Justice Department or Congress or the courts or the American people to act decisively. Certainly I hope that, right now, the day after Mark Danner reported on a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
By MARK DANNER
ON a bright sunny day two years ago, President George W. Bush strode into the East Room of the White House and informed the world that the United States had created a dark and secret universe to hold and interrogate captured terrorists. Keep Reading in New York Times. And read more in New York Review of Books.
The Obama administration is trying to protect top Bush administration military officials from lawsuits brought by prisoners who say they were tortured while being held at Guantanamo Bay.
The Justice Department argued in a filing Thursday with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that holding military officials liable for their treatment of prisoners could cause them to make future decisions based on fear of litigation rather than appropriate military policy.
The Obama administration said Friday that it is abandoning one of President George W. Bush's key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant.
But that won't change much for the detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba — Obama still asserts the military's authority to hold them. Human rights attorneys said they were disappointed that Obama didn't take a new stance.
The Justice Department said in legal filings that it will no longer use the term "enemy combatants' to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
"This is really a case of old wine in new bottles," the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has been fighting the detainees' detention, said in a statement. "It is still unlawful to hold people indefinitely without charge. The men who have been held for more than seven years by our government must be charged or released."
In another court filing Thursday criticized by human rights advocates, the Obama administration tried to protect top Bush administration military officials from lawsuits brought by prisoners who say they were tortured while being held at Guantanamo Bay.
The Obama administration's position on use of the phrase "enemy combatants" came in response to a deadline by U.S. District Judge John Bates, who is overseeing lawsuits of detainees challenging their detention. Bates asked the administration to give its definition of whom the United States may hold as an "enemy combatant."
Aired February 10, 2009
The Obama administration said Friday that it would abandon the Bush administration’s term “enemy combatant” as it argues in court for the continued detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in a move that seemed intended to symbolically separate the new administration from Bush detention policies.
But in a much anticipated court filing, the Justice Department argued that the president has the authority to detain terrorism suspects there without criminal charges, much as the Bush administration had asserted. It provided a broad definition of those who can be held, which was not significantly different from the one used by the Bush administration.