You are hereTorture
By Andrew McLemore, Raw Story
The Justice Department has evaded a request from President-elect Barack Obama's transition team for documents about the secret programs of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The team asked to "review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs," but the inquiry has been denied.
Among the information requested are official documents about the "legal rationale" for the secret wiretapping and torture programs conducted by the two agencies.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey addressed the issue with reporters, saying that his department was reluctant to give up the documents without permission from the two agencies involved.
By David Swanson
I've never had any use for the Senate Armed Services Committee before, or even for the idea that someone who was armed could provide a service, but the report on U.S. torture policy that the committee released on Thursday is noteworthy.
Here's a new report: SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY (PDF). Yes, it's obvious to anyone who's been paying attention. It's also useful at a time when pundits are urging Bush to pardon himself and the rest of those who created the policy of torture. Highlight:
The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of “a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.
By Ray McGovern, www.consortiumnews.com
You’ve got to hand it to them. Torture aficionados at the White House and CIA have conned key congressional leaders into insisting not only that torture-lite would be a swell idea, but advocating that the overseers of torture be kept on.
From change-you-can-believe-in, we seem to be slipping back to fear-you-can-trade-on.
Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has publicly warned those in charge of the administration transition that “continuity is going to be pivotal in keeping us safe and secure.”
Thus, he argues, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael Hayden should stay in their posts.
If that were not enough, Reyes told Congress Daily’s Chris Strohm that he [Reyes] had advised the Obama team that some parts of what Strohm referred to as “CIA’s controversial alternative interrogation program” should be allowed to continue.
By Sherwood Ross
Two Federal judges have deliberately invoked secrecy statutes to conceal the Federal government’s illegal use of torture, a prominent legal authority says.
Named are judges Terence Boyle of the U.S. District Court of Eastern North Carolina, and T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Virginia, both nominees of President Ronald Reagan.
According to Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Judge Boyle refused to allow CIA contractor David Passaro access to government memos that could be construed to show he was acting under orders when he tortured a prisoner to death. And Judge Ellis threw out a case brought by Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen illegally arrested and tortured by the CIA.
Judge Ellis “used the states secret doctrine to shield a once secret, now revealed criminal governmental enterprise---torture is a criminal violation of both international and domestic law,” Velvel said.
By David Swanson
The Pardon Scorecard is expanding rapidly, tracking punditry and advocacy against and in support of Bush pardoning crimes he authorized. Happily, the Against column is much longer than the Support column. Sadly, Bush is highly unlikely to give a rat's ass. Even more sadly, most of the statements against such pardons begin by announcing that Bush has every right to make them if he chooses, before proceeding to criticize, condemn, or mock the idea. That opening concession that such pardons would be Constitutional is morally reprehensible and outrageously absurd, but almost universally accepted by the punditocracy.
By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Amy Goodman: Writing under the pseudonym Matthew Alexander, a former special intelligence operations officer, who led an interrogations team in Iraq two years ago, has written a stunning op-ed in the Washington Post called "I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq." In it, he details his direct experience with torture practices put into effect in Iraq in 2006. He conducted more than 300 interrogations and supervised more than a thousand and was awarded a Bronze Star for his achievements in Iraq.
In the article, he says torture techniques used in Iraq consistently failed to produce actionable intelligence and that methods outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, which rest on confidence building, consistently worked and gave the interrogators access to critical information.
The short answer is the D after the name of the president elect. Glenn Greenwald has the long answer.
By David Swanson
This couple in California is facing torture charges for allegedly torturing one boy. And well they should. If we didn't prosecute torturers we'd be giving others a license to torture.
Turning our attention now to Washington ... ACKGHHH choke cough - must - not - look - AAAIIIIHRRRGGH - that - direction - TOOOOOO painful.
As I was saying, the details of the California case are quite fascinating. Please spend the rest of the day examining them.