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Archive for Tuesday, August 25, 2009

‘Inhumane’ terror tactics by CIA spur criminal probe

August 25, 2009

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— The Obama administration launched a criminal investigation Monday into harsh questioning of detainees during President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism, revealing CIA interrogators’ threats to kill one suspect’s children and to force another to watch his mother sexually assaulted.

At the same time, President Barack Obama ordered changes in future interrogations, bringing in other agencies besides the CIA under the direction of the FBI and supervised by his own national security adviser. The administration pledged questioning would be controlled by the Army Field Manual, with strict rules on tactics, and said the White House would keep its hands off the professional investigators doing the work.

Despite the announcement of the criminal probe, several Obama spokesmen declared anew — as the president has repeatedly — that on the subject of detainee interrogation he “wants to look forward, not back” at Bush tactics. They took pains to say decisions on any prosecutions would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder, not the White House.

Monday’s five-year-old report by the CIA’s inspector general, newly declassified and released under a federal court’s orders, described severe tactics used by interrogators on terror suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Seeking information about possible further attacks, interrogators threatened one detainee with a gun and a power drill, choked another and tried to frighten still another with a mock execution of another prisoner.

Holder said he had chosen a veteran prosecutor to determine whether any CIA officers or contractors should face criminal charges for crossing the line on rough but permissible tactics.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Obama’s decision to allow the investigation “serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.” Cheney released the statement to The Weekly Standard, a conservative journal.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, appointed by President Bush in 2006, expressed dismay by the prospect of prosecutions for CIA officers. He noted that career prosecutors have already reviewed and declined to prosecute the alleged abuses.

Obama has said interrogators would not face charges if they followed legal guidelines, but the report by the CIA’s inspector general said they went too far — even beyond what was authorized under Justice Department legal memos that have since been withdrawn and discredited. The report also suggested some questioners knew they were crossing a line.

The report concluded the CIA used “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane” practices in questioning “high-value” terror suspects.

Monday’s documents represent the largest single release of information about the Bush administration’s once-secret system of capturing terrorism suspects and interrogating them in overseas prisons.

White House officials said they plan to continue the controversial practice of rendition of suspects to foreign countries, though they said that in future cases they would more carefully check to make sure such suspects are not tortured.

In one instance cited in the new documents, Abd al-Nashiri, the man accused of being behind the 2000 USS Cole bombing, was hooded, handcuffed and threatened with an unloaded gun and a power drill. The unidentified interrogator also threatened al-Nashiri’s mother and family, implying they would be sexually abused in front of him, according to the report.

The interrogator denied making a direct threat.

Comments

BigDog 5 years ago

We've stopped hiding behind bushes ...... we arrive in black helicopters now. And on really special occasions we arrive on the mother ship.

I guess trying to focus the presson these kinds of things and having investigations .... takes the focus off of the worsening unemployment and $2 trillion in additional deficit (now $9 trillion over next 10 years without his new healthcare spending plan). Kansas unemployment is now at 28 year high.

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BorderRat 5 years ago

Torture sucks. Just hack off their heads like the other guys do.

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jafs 5 years ago

If you look up torture in the dictionary, you will find that the definition includes causing "extreme pain of mind" as well as body.

Therefore these kinds of threats, if believed, are indeed torture.

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KansasVoter 5 years ago

They need to charge everyone involved with the torture decisions, otherwise the only people to be punished will be a few scapegoats at the bottom. They'll deserve whatever punishment they get, but so will their superiors. They need to be punished because if not the people who approved the torture will be in the next republican presidential administration.

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jd 5 years ago

threatening to kill in order to save American lives is torture, but bombing terrorists from an unmanned drone that ends up killing innocent women and children is not?

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jimmyjms 5 years ago

Funny...conservatives are all about the rule of law.

Except when they're not.

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Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Stalin was big on show trials. The O'dude needs to distract the American people from his epic fails.

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jonas_opines 5 years ago

You're gibbering, Pilgrim. Go somewhere quiet and take a nice drink of cool water or something.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years ago

I would think this would convince them that they are right to hate America. Since it is all out in the open, even moderate Muslims will be appalled by this kind of treatment and this might turn some to the radical side.

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ralphralph 5 years ago

Please! We were too mean to Khalid? Boo Hoo!

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Sigmund 5 years ago

Cheney Statement on CIA Documents/Investigation http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/08/cheney_statement_on_cia_docume.asp

The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. President Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.

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tbaker 5 years ago

Dear Logrithmic - I did a tour in Iraq as an Army officer that was part of a team that developed targeting packets on bomb (IED) makers. It was a very long and difficult process to assemble enough definitive intelligence needed to finally send the "special operators" out to capture the individual. In the mean time, friends and colleagues were being killed by IEDs on a daily basis.

In every case, the order was to capture these evil men - not kill them. Under threat of court marshal, we followed the rules of engagement to the letter and treated them humanly. The only technique ever used on them was very simple and very harmless: We would threaten to turn them over to the Iraqis for interrogation. It worked 100% of the time. Their fear- quite justified I might add - compelled them to sing like Maria Carey.

When faced with a choice, our enemies have historically opted to be captured and detained by Americans. History abounds with examples. Which way did the Nazis run as the Soviet Union closed on Berlin? Perhaps you should ask a captured Al Qaeda terrorist who he would like be his jailer? Ask the Taliban in Helmand province Afghanistan whether he would prefer to be the guest of the US Marine Corps or the Afghan National Army. The answers are redundant. The rare exception to this construct was when we fought ourselves during the Civil War. Americans have routinely been much harder on each other than any foreign enemy. Quantrill's Raid ring any bells?

Given your breathtaking ignorance, you have clumsily attempted to substitute reality with your flare for vitriol and hyper-partisan dogma. It doesn't work. Understand that wars are ugly things and human beings make mistakes and always will. The behavior of others never justifies the same in someone else, but if your aim is to condemn a country's behavior in a war, (or entity in today's genre) you'll find the truth will lead you elsewhere. For all our faults, the United States is a beacon of human virtue compared to what you'll find in much of the rest of the world. Wise up.

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tbaker 5 years ago

Dear Logrithmic -

...long breath...

I assume you're talking to me when you address Baxter.

I will repeat myself: Understand that wars are ugly things and human beings make mistakes and always will.

Perhaps you should go to one and see for yourself. You're obviously unwilling to take my word for it. After all you think I'm brainwashed.

Just because terrorists kill innocent people doesn't give the US or anyone else leave to do the same as we are better than that. Like I said, the behavior of others never justifies the same in someone else.

With an abundance of intellectual charity, lets assume all your sources and links are 100% factual. My question is: so what's your point? What are you trying to say? What motivates people to cherry-pick every bad thing they can find that illustrates how horrible their country may have behaved in this or that war? What is the purpose of doing this?

You assume WMDs were not in Iraq. Just because you you haven't been satisfied with the evidence of them, doesn't mean they weren't there.

Did you know several hundred chemical weapons (artillery shells) have been found in Iraq? When I was there, a few of them were actually been used in IED attacks. If Saddam didn't have WMDs, where did these come from?

Make no assumptions about my service to this country sir. I wasn't "sent" to Iraq; I volunteered, as did everyone else.

You give our enemies the benefit of the doubt while you excoriate your own country. You impute some twisted moral equivalence between our soldiers and the terrorists who crash planes into our buildings and chop off the heads of innocents. What was considered treason 40 years ago is now accepted as cutting edge commentary by you and your ilk. You claim the label of a patriot through your dissent, yet you actively undermine your own country.

Calling me a liar reveals your true character. Others who read this blog will see your malignant narcissism for what it is and assign value to your opinion accordingly.

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