Monday, November 14, 2005

We Do Not Torture - Except We Might

Portrait of a man trying to pat his head and rub his belly at the same time:


Though if it were possible for one's head to explode from sheer cognitive dissonance, the AP would quickly run out of stenographers - that is, reporters:

In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture, arguing the US administration was duty-bound to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

This is, of course, just days after Chimpy said 'We do not torture' and this same pack of lap-dogs dutifully wrote it down.
The administration continues in its fervid refusal to disavow 'enhanced interrogation techniques'.

3 Comments:

Blogger Management said...

White House declines to totally rule out torture

Sun Nov 13, 6:23 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - In an important clarification of
President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture, arguing the US administration was duty-bound to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

The comment, by US national security adviser
Stephen Hadley, came amid heated national debate about whether the
CIA and other US intelligence agencies should be authorized to use what is being referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" to extract from terror suspects information that may help prevent future assaults.

The US Senate voted 90-9 early last month to attach an amendment authored by Republican Senator John McCain to a defense spending bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of detainees in US custody. But the White House has threatened to veto the measure and has lobbied senators to have the language removed or modified to allow an exemption for the
Central Intelligence Agency.

During a trip to Panama earlier this month, Bush said that Americans "do not torture."

However, appearing on CNN's "Late Edition" program, Hadley elaborated on the policy, making clear the White House could envisage circumstances, in which the broad pledge not to torture might not apply.

"The president has said that we are going to do whatever we do in accordance with the law," the national security adviser said. "But... you see the dilemma. What happens if on September 7th of 2001, we had gotten one of the hijackers and based on information associated with that arrest, believed that within four days, there's going to be a devastating attack on the United States?"

He insisted that it was "a difficult dilemma to know what to do in that circumstance to both discharge our responsibility to protect the American people from terrorist attack and follow the president's guidance of staying within the confines of law."

The CIA is reported to be operating a network of covert prisons in eight countries around the world, including
Afghanistan, Thailand and several former Soviet bloc nations in Eastern Europe, where terror suspects are questioned.

Republican Senator Kit Bond, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Newsweek magazine that "enhanced interrogation techniques" had worked with at least one captured high-level Al-Qaeda operative, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, to thwart an unspecified plot.

But officials have been mum about interrogation techniques used on other detainees, drawing sharp criticism from members of the Senate.

A compromise with senators was in the works, Hadley assured, saying the White House was holding consultations with them about the McCain amendment.

He offered no specifics about the administration's goals in these talks. But McCain, who appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" program, said White House negotiators led by Vice President Richard Cheney were pushing to safeguard the option of using the enhanced interrogation techniques in order to get information from detainees in extraordinary circumstances.

The senator said he disagreed with that approach because he was worried about the damage to the image of the United States.

"I hold no brief for the terrorists," he said. "But it's not about them. It's about us. This battle we're in is about the things we stand for and believe in and practice. And that is an observance of human rights, no matter how terrible our adversaries may be."

Americans at large don't seem to have a clear-cut position on the use of torture. The latest Newsweek opinion poll found that 58 percent of the public would support torture to thwart a terrorist attack.

But the same survey showed that 51 percent of Americans believe it is rarely or never justified, while 44 percent said torture is often or sometimes justified to obtain important information.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Vice President for Torture

Wednesday, October 26, 2005; A18

VICE PRESIDENT Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. "Cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners is banned by an international treaty negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the United States. The State Department annually issues a report criticizing other governments for violating it. Now Mr. Cheney is asking Congress to approve legal language that would allow the CIA to commit such abuses against foreign prisoners it is holding abroad. In other words, this vice president has become an open advocate of torture.

His position is not just some abstract defense of presidential power. The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have "disappeared," like the victims of some dictatorships. The Justice Department and the White House are known to have approved harsh interrogation techniques for some of these people, including "waterboarding," or simulated drowning; mock execution; and the deliberate withholding of pain medication. CIA personnel have been implicated in the deaths during interrogation of at least four Afghan and Iraqi detainees. Official investigations have indicated that some aberrant practices by Army personnel in Iraq originated with the CIA. Yet no CIA personnel have been held accountable for this record, and there has never been a public report on the agency's performance.

It's not surprising that Mr. Cheney would be at the forefront of an attempt to ratify and legalize this shameful record. The vice president has been a prime mover behind the Bush administration's decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military. These decisions at the top have led to hundreds of documented cases of abuse, torture and homicide in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington, was reportedly one of the principal authors of a legal memo justifying the torture of suspects. This summer Mr. Cheney told several Republican senators that President Bush would veto the annual defense spending bill if it contained language prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any U.S. personnel.

The senators ignored Mr. Cheney's threats, and the amendment, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), passed this month by a vote of 90 to 9. So now Mr. Cheney is trying to persuade members of a House-Senate conference committee to adopt language that would not just nullify the McCain amendment but would formally adopt cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a legal instrument of U.S. policy. The Senate's earlier vote suggests that it will not allow such a betrayal of American values. As for Mr. Cheney: He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Friendly Fire said...

Nice blog, thanks for the link

5:13 AM  

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