Archive for Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama: No charges for past harsh CIA interrogations

April 17, 2009

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— President Barack Obama absolved CIA officers from prosecution for harsh, painful interrogation of terror suspects Thursday, even as his administration released Bush-era memos graphically detailing — and authorizing — such grim tactics as slamming detainees against walls, waterboarding them and keeping them naked and cold for long periods.

Human rights groups and many Obama officials have condemned such methods as torture. Bush officials have vigorously disagreed.

In releasing the documents, the most comprehensive accounting yet of interrogation methods that were among the Bush administrations most closely guarded secrets, Obama said he wanted to move beyond “a dark and painful chapter in our history.”

Past and present CIA officials had unsuccessfully pressed for more parts of the four legal memos to be kept secret, and some critics argued the release would make the United States less safe.

Michael Hayden, who led the CIA under George W. Bush, said CIA officers will now be more timid and allies will be more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence.

“If you want an intelligence service to work for you, they always work on the edge. That’s just where they work,” Hayden said. Now, he argued, foreign partners will be less likely to cooperate with the CIA because the release shows they “can’t keep anything secret.”

On the other side, human rights advocates argued that Obama should not have assured the CIA that officers who conducted interrogations would not be prosecuted if they used methods authorized by Bush lawyers in the memos.

Obama disagreed, saying in a statement, “Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

The Bush administration memos describe the tough interrogation methods used against 28 terror suspects, the fullest and now complete government accounting of the techniques. They range from waterboarding — simulated drowning — to using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls.

Other methods were more psychological than violent. One technique approved but never used involved putting a detainee who had shown a fear of insects into a box filled with caterpillars.

Even as they exposed new details of the interrogation program, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder offered the first definitive assurance that the CIA officials who were involved are in the clear, as long as their actions were in line with the legal advice at the time.

Comments

gphawk89 6 years, 1 month ago

" Obama said he wanted to move beyond “a dark and painful chapter in our history.” "

...to a pitch black and agonizing chapter in our history...

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Relax and have a popsicle, loggy. It's a cool and fruity treat on a spring day.

Perhaps a harsh interrogation will prevent a human-caused-disaster sometime?

waydownsouth 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh so now when we catch a terrorist or someone who has information about a terrorist group or person we will ask politely and offer tea and crackers. After they have given us all information we will reward them with a sucker and send them on there way.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth,

  1. Most of the people detained were released without any charges.

  2. If we knew who the terrorists were, it would be a lot easier.

  3. American citizens are supposed to have certain rights under the Constitution.

  4. Information gained through the use of torture is notoriously unreliable.

  5. If we want to claim we're morally superior, we have to live up to that assertion.

pistachio 6 years, 1 month ago

Log, I agree with your point that some of those tactics amount to torture and torture should never be condoned by the US.

BUT, I don't think it's right to prosecute intelligence agents who were merely following orders and engaging in behavior expressly permitted by their superiors. It would be unfair to them. If you want to prosecute anyone, it should be the people who made the rules.

waydownsouth 6 years, 1 month ago

  1. Tea and crackers is something polite that you do when you have company. You offer refreshments.
  2. How do propose that you find out who the other terrorists are? These are people willing to kill themselves for whatever cause that believe in. They will also kill you without blinking an eye.
  3. If an American Citizen is going to make terrorists acts on their own country or others they can be treated as such.
  4. As for being a police state i should not have to be afraid in my own home or place or work. I should not have to worry that my place of business is going to be blown up.

And furthermore i fully expect that if they know about or have a terrorist in custody that they protect my family, friends and me by any means necessary.

And yes if we knew about every terrorist and who they were it would be alot easier. How do you plan to get that information? Hmmm

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Buyer's remorse, coming to a Democrat near you.

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 1 month ago

Poor terrorist, we shouldn't be so mean. This harsh treatment is just outrageous. If we're nice I'm soooo sure they will be nice to us.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 1 month ago

Just as Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon's illegal acts led to the future illegalities of the bush administration, so Obama's pardon of bush's illegal torture will lead to future abuses of our Constitutional rights. Obama swore an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Ignoring the illegal bahavior of the prior administration neither preserves, protects, not defends our Constitutional rights andhe deserves to be impeached. I know there are no republican patriots who will start down that path and wonder if the Democratics will choose to uphold their oaths.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth,

You haven't responded at all to my points.

American citizens are supposed to be guaranteed certain rights by our Constitution.

Among these are the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy trial, the right not to be detained without charges, etc.

We also have in our system something called "the presumption of innocence", which means that unless proven guilty, one is assumed to be innocent.

The problem with your arguments are that they presume guilt without proof.

Would it be ok with you if you were picked up and taken somewhere, detained without access to a lawyer, not told why you were being held, and waterboarded?

I'm sure you would be glad to tell them whatever they wanted to hear to stop that treatment.

KansasVoter 6 years, 1 month ago

I should have voted for Ralph Nader. I know that it would have been throwing my vote away, but every day I regret my vote for Obama more and more.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

loggy, if you keep getting extreme, the DHS will be knocking on your door.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

snap, a do-over election? Why would you want to see McCain get spanked again? The Republicans are offering absolutely nothing but already failed ideas that largely got us where we are today.

Obama saying he isn't going to prosecute those who broke these laws is the wisest thing to do. Change how interrogations are performed from here on, then move on. We gain nothing as a nation by parading former politicians and their henchmen through the courts. What is best for the nation is the key that so many are ignoring.

Funny to see people here whining about Obama not prosecuting the very people they blindly supported the past eight years. Very funny, indeed. I mean, snap, would you really be happy to see Bush brought up on war crimes? You hate Obama, you always have, and you damn him no matter what he does. You are nothing but a broken record of hate. Big deal.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

Pilgrim2 - I agree with Obama that the people who interrogated prisoners, using techniques authorized under Bush's administration shouldn't prosecuted now, even though I disagreed with thos techniques. But I have every intention of "blaming" the previous administration for our current economic problems and budget deficit.

gphawk89 - you can see the future? Impressive. Tell me, what is the name of the Republican in the White House in the pitch black and agonizing times you foreesee?

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

Nancy Boy - you still haven't gotten any meds yet, have you?

waydownsouth 6 years, 1 month ago

Ok let me put this bluntly. You find out that people are going to kill your wife your kids your friends and your dog. You have know idea when or where or but you know its going to be bad. You catch a man who has that information.(Maybe) Now what do you do? You know these people will do anything. Shall you hire him an attornery. Wait for the legal process? Get that speedy trial that no one is getting now? What do you do time is ticking and could be running out.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth - so you think we should sink to the terrorists' level?

waydownsouth 6 years, 1 month ago

Call it what you want. But you can't tell me that you are going to sit passively if your family is in danger. And i want the government to protect me and my children as if we were. Those that have been fighting for our freedom and our rights have not done that for nothing. You talk about the rights of criminals. What rights are they using when they are committing those crimes? If they murder someone in my familly or yours did what rights law or code did they go by to justify what they did. How many have gone free because of a loophole in the law? How many innocent people have done crimes for what they did not commit? My family comes first. You want to go through years of legal red tape fine. You'll change your mind when it hits close to home. When it happens to you then the rules change.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth - no, I'm not going to sit by passively if my family is in danger. But I'm not going to endanger the rights of someone else, not if I want to keep those rights for myself. Your comment at 2:35 is twisted and makes no sense. You want stricter laws so that criminals don't slip through loopholes but you want looser laws so that innocent people aren't convicted of crimes they didn't commit. And no, when things happen to me, the rules don't change. If I'm accused of a crime, I want a fair trial. If someone commits a crime against me or my family, I want them to have a fair trial. You don't know me. You don't know I've been through or my family has been through. So don't tell me and don't assume you know how my family or I would react in any situation.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

Also, if I'm picked up by the authorities, I want to know why. I want to be able to talk to a lawyer about my options. I want a trial. I don't want to be held without knowing why with no contact with the outside world for days or months or years.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

"You are nothing but a broken record of hate. Big deal."

Whereas bea is Sister Mary Sunshine. Nothin' but compassion for her fellow man, not one sided at all. Ha!

"waydownsouth - so you think we should sink to the terrorists' level?"

Under the scenario he presented - Hell yes! Or is it preferable to allow your family to be murdered 'cuz you didn't want to stoop to their level? Hope that moral high road lends you comfort as you stand over their gravesites.

I'm not a whole-hearted proponent of torture, Jerseygirl, but I've read the reports and the explanations of methods. Governments and their security agencies around the world are chuckling at the types of 'torture' our citizens are railing against. Particularly when such suspects would enthusiastically behead each and every American they could get their hands on for the sake of a 30 second homemade propoganda video.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

jaywalker - perhaps you can tell me then what information was learned through these methods. Did we actually get information about other terrorists? Were other terrorist attacks prevented through these methods? Or did we just hold indefinately and interrogate a lot of possible terrorists with no real outcome?

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth and jaywalker - have either of you lost a family member or friend to a terrorist? Did you lose someone on 9/11? Have you lost someone to a beheading in Afganistan or Iraq? I mean absolutely no disrespect to our troops fighting in either country, but unfortunately, any military deaths do to the wars don't fall under the category of losing someone to a terrorist even though the wars are being fought because of terrorists. If you have lost a civilian loved one to some terrorist act, then I completely understand your feelings. But if you have not lost someone and this is all about a "what if" scenerio, then I don't think you have the right to tell me to give the government free reign over spying on me and imprisoning me over something that may or may not ever happen. I have always felt blessed to have been born and to have lived in the USA, precisely because I know I that I don't have to fear my government. Bush took that away. I want it back. I don't want to have to worry that because I told someone on my cell phone that I think they're the bomb that I'm now going to be arrested and held indefinitely because I said "bomb". And that's essentially what has become a possibility with all the crap that was legalized under Bush. I WILL NOT SURRENDER MY RIGHTS.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

log - that's precisely what I was thinking when having my family murdered was mentioned. That fearing a visit from men like Dick Hickock and Perry Edward Smith was more likely than a visit from Bin Laden.

sinverguenza 6 years, 1 month ago

Log -

The message it sends along with all the other things you noted is that "torture" is defined by whoever is in power when they're in power.

By not punishing the perpetrators of these crimes (which happen to be crimes both in the U.S. and internationally), Obama is essentially inviting whoever comes to power next to overthrow his definition of "torture" and go right back to waterboarding and the caterpillar box.

So we'll torture people for 4-8 years. Then another administration will stop it for 4-8 years. Then another will torture again. It's sick and it's wrong.

Do we forgive Nazi criminals their atrocities? Nope, we're still hunting them down. They were just taking orders too.

Bad move, Obama.

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

wds,

So if you thought someone "might" know something about a possible threat to you or your family, you would capture and torture them?

I believe you would be prosecuted under the law, and rightly so.

We are always more susceptible to allowing our rights to be diminished when we are afraid - that's a normal human reaction - but that doesn't make it good public policy.

And, again, torture is a notoriously bad way to get accurate information - so from a simply pragmatic perspective, it doesn't even make sense.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Jersey,

Yes, my nephew was KIA in Iraq and a high school girlfriend was killed in the second tower. But I don't think there needs to be a prerequisite to feel this way.

"any military deaths do to the wars don't fall under the category of losing someone to a terrorist even though the wars are being fought because of terrorists"

I beg to differ. Those that you wish to protect with the rights we hold dear don't respect ours. Heck, they don't even respect a fundamental right to life. These people would gladly sacrifice themselves, their family, and any innocent just to buy a ticket to paradise. The natural laws of man don't apply with such animals when strapping a bomb to a teenage girl they've drugged and directed into a civilian market in order to remote detonate is a 'reasonable strategy'.
I've digressed, so to your quote above, I agree with you on 'military deaths' as waged in a military battle. The problem with that is that many allied soldiers have been murdered after capture, beheaded. Those deaths fall outside the scope you detail, just as we prosecute our own when committing such acts.

"then I don't think you have the right to tell me to give the government free reign over spying on me and imprisoning me over something that may or may not ever happen"

No offense, but I know I didn't 'tell' you any such thing. And if we're talking justification for 'what if's', who do you know that's had such happen to them?

Lastly, and not for nothing, but Obama has left in a number of 'coercive techniques'; torture has not been completely eliminated from our repertoire.

waydownsouth 6 years, 1 month ago

Bush never took your personal rights away. He was watching those who was taking away our peace and quiet. We did not go over there and make trouble they came over here and keep comming over here. We can't stop them from comming to america that would "violate their right". They don't have a pryor record but they are associated with violent people. I do want them watched if they are here. I want to feel protected and if they have no fear of the consequences then what is to stop them. Yes we have a system but it does not protect the rights of the innocent. Those who have lost people and loved ones are getting the short end of the stick. And yes i do talk what i know. I and my family has been a victim of a violent crime. The "american citizen" bragged at the bar about what he wanted to do. Asked later people thought he was joking. After the bar closed he broke in and did everything he said he was going to do. I'll spare you all the details. He was there for 6 hours and i was 8 years old at the time. He got 4 years in prison and 3 years parole for his crimes most of them were dismissed and his lawyer said that "his" childhood brought him to this point. Now was justice served? According to the state of Colorado it was. Now for 6 hours while this was going on what was my familys rights? Now i also lost a family friend in 911. Do i have anger yes. Do i see a major problem with the system yes. These people do not care about our rights. They do not care how they torture us. And if they do not have that respect please explain to me why i should give in inkling to theirs. America in not torturing children or beheading for all the world to see. I do think that they should quake in their boots if caught doing so. And right now they are going to laugh in our face hire good lawyers and wave by by with a blown kiss.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

While the higher-ups need to get got, I think it is a mistake to absolve the "underlings" who were "just following orders".

Being a professional (in this case a professional intelligence agent) means sometimes having to stand up and oppose your bosses if necessary. Granted, Bushco had a history of firing those who disagreed with them, but a sense of morality must always be the ultimate judge.

Possibly some order-followers thought torture was just fine. These people should not be absolved, either.

I recommend watching Trials at Nuremburg for a good exploration of these ideas.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

The torture that was done under Bushco diminished the status and moral high-ground of America.

We are better than terrorists and need not stoop to their level.

Maybe torture makes the cruely-vindictive among us fell better, but it is not an effective intelligence-gathering tool.

Plus, it is immoral and below our people, our constitution, our ideals, and our country.

Jersey_Girl 6 years, 1 month ago

jaywalker - I'm sorry for your losses. As I said earier, if you did lose someone to those terrorist acts, then I completely understand your feelings. I just don't agree with them. I understand that they don't fair and they don't fight clean. But picking someone up, holding them with no charges for an indeterminate amount of time and 'interrorgating" them is not going to prevent suicide bombers or beheading or drugged girls strapped to a bomb being sent into civilian markets. And you're right, I don't personally know anyone who has been detained and interogated. I just know that it has happened. Fine, you didn't "tell" me to give the government free reign over spying me and imprisoning me over something that may or many not have happened. All I'm saying is I don't want to give the government those rights. They infringe on mine.

dandelion 6 years, 1 month ago

waydownsouth (Anonymous) says… So you would be willing to live in an immoral police state rather than worry about getting blown up. I would rather die than give up my principles. I am not a coward. Go hide in your basement, please or get a backbone.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

"Yep, I could imagine myself shackeled and laying in my own feces." I can imagine you in that situation......

TacoBob 6 years, 1 month ago

Obama disagreed, saying in a statement, “Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

Does this apply to everything or just this particular topic? Should would cut down on the yammering if it does.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Fascination and obsession you say, Marion? Um, no.

However, I still think he will be a far, far better President than McCain ever could have been at this time for our nation. The only one with an actual obsession for Obama, however, is you, because you get all lathered up just thinking about his middle name. You are like a Beavis and Butthead cartoon of a neocon, but without a decent soundtrack. Hussein ..hehe ... Husseein ... hehehehe .... Husssseiin ... hehehehehe. Obsession indeed. Consider how many times you write about him. That is an obsession.

LOL!

On this story, of all stories to go on about, too. I guess you think McCain would have supported the prosecution of the Bush administration's henchmen? Please. How naive are you people? I absolutely agree with Obama that our nation would gain nothing by dragging Bush, Cheney and their bunch of thugs through the courts for their multiple violations of the Constitution. I've written exactly that here in the past. If you feel we should and that it would be good for the country, more power to ya. I feel we need to just move on and fix the things they messed up already.

I also still believe that Obama will guide this country out of its worst economic crisis it has seen since the Depression, brought on by the previous administration. Further, since the right-wing have so little to offer, Obama will easily get re-elected, and then after him will be 8 years of Hillary.

Too bad and a bit sad that neocons have nothing to offer but a barrel full of whine, which seems to be in ready supply -- that and your fantasy that Sarah Palin will lead you back to the promised land. Talk about LOL!

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Obama also said he wouldn't reinstate the assault weapons ban. I told you he would leave your precious little guns alone.

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago

Jerseygirl,

I appreciate your empathy. And I understand and appreciate your feelings on this issue, there's no doubt it's a slippery slope and there was a time when I felt the same way. But the way I see it now is that the rules of the game have changed, we didn't change 'em but must adapt. Used to be that battles were fought in open fields, armies facing off in plain sight, lined up nice and neat. Our militia stood no chance against the British in this way, so we became guerilla warriors, snipers and 'skirmishes' and ambushes became the new fighting style. And the British all lamented how 'unfair' that was.

"But picking someone up, holding them with no charges for an indeterminate amount of time and 'interrorgating” them is not going to prevent suicide bombers "

Again you've veered from what we were talking about with the above statement, but to your assertion such tactics HAVE prevented attacks and American deaths. There have numerous plots thwarted that were to take place on our soil again through the interrogation of such prisoners.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 1 month ago

No one is worshiping at the feet of President Obama. You can't arrest someone for doing something that was legal. You can't hunt down and arrest everyone who refused service to blacks. However you can create new laws to address the problem and once they are in affect, you can arrest people.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

Some of the bloggers who frequent this site continuously spread misinformation designed only to attack the Democratic Party and the current administration.

They are very dedicated to this task.

I would describe their dedication and their world view as fanatical and extremist.

Those of you who seek insight on today's current issues, I would advise to go elsewhere.

Personally, I think reform of the Republican Party and the outing of extremism including the dirty tactics they use in today's media should be re-examined as more and more Americans have wised up to these unethical practices.

I also believe most Americans are looking for qualified information after years of misinformation and manipulation. If there is a revolution to take place I think it should be a truth in Journalism revolution rather than a lame tea bag revolution.

I paid a lot of taxes this year and I was happy to do so and glad to call myself an American citizen in the greatest country in the world. I am sorry that some others do not have the same sentiments.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, you can't say something goes well with crackers around here. Directly call somone a liar is fine, but to mention cheesy crackers you get booted. Okay.

Marion, thanks for pointing out Obama's middle name. We almost forgot.

By the way, how did that work for you during the last election?

camper 6 years, 1 month ago

The legal memos are quite embarrassing from the excerpts I heard. Hard to believe that the author is now an acting judge. From a non-political perspective, I'd like to think America is better than this.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, are you making the point that you would like Obama to do as the UN might recommend and pursue war-crime trials against Bush and Cheney and their thugs?

Seriously, I am not quite sure what this latest whine of yours is about. Do you want Obama to pursue legal actions against those in the Bush administration who violated the Constition or do you think doing so isn't in America's best interest?

I think you are torn up because you hate the very thought of agreeing with Obama's actions. Silly conservatives.

TacoBob 6 years, 1 month ago

The GOP lost, Dems need to get over it.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

We prosecuted the Nazi's after WWII for following orders. Please explain why that is different than now? There is no excuse for this now, if there wasn't then.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, since you already predicted Obama would never become President, maybe you should leave the predicting business aside and just stick with the middle name obsession. It is all you really have going for you. Obama does something you don't like, and you whine, and when he does something you do agree with, you whine even louder. Talk about party over country. How pathetic.

The GOP are losers, and are about to lose again when the nonsense in Minnesota ends and Al Franken is named Senator. hahahahaha losers.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, could, or would you explain your obsession with the President's middle name?

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

I know some are having trouble with posts appearing twice, but usually it is in the same story. I just read the same garbage from Marion on a completely different story. It must be the technology, because I'm sure Marion would never copy and paste himself from one story to the next.

That would be cheesy.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, did you also, always use all the previous Presidents full name at all times?

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, did you also, always use all the previous Presidents full name at all times? I don't think I'm the one obsessed and no, your use does not bother me. It just seems you could use some mental health counseling.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

He is OUR President -- unless you aren't an American. And you are obsessed with his middle name, and that is all you have to rail against him. Pathetic.

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Since he doesn't go by his full name at all times, why do you insist on using it at all times?

Could it be that you don't like the origin of his middle name? Gee, I wonder.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Why can't you answer the question?

Marion, could, or would you explain your obsession with the President's middle name?

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Why can't you answer the question?

Marion, could, or would you explain your obsession with the President's middle name?

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion: "Of course my Colt Walker replica, the most powerful handgun ever built and will take your head clean off, is exempt as well."

Very macho. We are so impressed by your ability to own a gun that will take someone's head clean off. That will prove to be important should Night of the Living Day become a reality.

I'll bet you watch Dirty Harry movies and react the same way other men do when watching porn.

So why the obsession with the President's middle name, when you don't use other President's middle names with anywhere near the same consistancy? Come on Marion, just admit what we already know.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

pistachio, we wouldn't accept that defense from the Nazi's, why should we accept it now?

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, could, or would you explain your obsession with the President's middle name?

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

We know why Marion is obsessed with Obama's middle name, just as we know why he is equally obsessed with his Kenyan heritage. I mean, when did we ever read a comment from Marion about John McCain that included the Senator's middle name or his father's heritage? That is right - it was never.

So Marion Cheez-It Lynn, we know why you do what you do. It is pretty obvious, really, and that is why you can't explain it without looking foolish and sad.

Cheezy crackers anyone?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Just checking in to see if the same folks are still saying the same things. Yup, 'bout what I figured. Carry on.

oldcat 6 years, 1 month ago

Marion, could, or would you explain your obsession with the President's middle name?”

Eileen Jones 6 years, 1 month ago

I am very disappointed the crimes of the past administration are going to be whitewashed by the new administration.

Prosecute them all, starting with the Bush White House. Every single person who was involved and had the power to oppose these crimes, and did not.

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