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  1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    ACLU Wants Pardon for Torture

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Dec 9, 2014.

    At least, the Executive Director does. His reasoning? Nothing is going to come of it anyway, and at least a pardon makes it clear we consider this criminal.

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights-national-security/pardon-bush-and-those-who-tortured

    I don't know about the pardon, but I do think it is unlikely any kind of prosecution will result. I don't think it likely that higher-ups in the government, on both sides of the aisle, were unaware of what was going on, and that makes it unlikely that either side is going to push for the kind of independent investigation you'd need for a criminal prosecution. The guy who oversaw the program, Jose Gonzalez, is on the record saying he personally briefed members of Congress, including Nanci Pelosi, about all of this at the time it was happening.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee didn't even talk to Gonzalez, who was the top person in charge of the program from its inception. Seems to me that is one of the first people you want to talk to if you want to get to the bottom of everything.

    The Senate report is pretty sickening, and I doubt many in Washington want it to go much further than that for obvious reasons. More likely, it is meant to be a political football released during a lame duck session, with no one wanting an independent accounting of any of it for fear of where the blood trail might lead.
     
  2. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't seem to me like the tortures, sorry, the enhanced interrogation techniques, happened just once or were clustered over a very short period of time. Of course they are all shrugging their shoulders and saying, gosh darn how did that ever happen, but, if you ask me, they knew about it and they didn't say a damn thing.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    At the very least, I think the top officials in the White House and Congress knew some of what was going on. Too convenient for everyone suddenly to have been in the dark.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hear no evil, see no evil.

    Not that he'll ever feel a twinge of guilt but if there's one good thing to say about Cheney's heart transplant, it let him live long enough to hear everyone condemn him.

    Having paid attention to this at the time it was going on, I knew about most of the specifics. I have yet to hear anything that surprises me.

    Taxi to the Dark Side

    Maher Arar
    Arar v Ashcroft

    Khalid El-Masri
    In other words, (claiming it was national security but there is evidence Rice feared embarrassment), they kept this man for 2 more months after they knew he was mistakenly arrested in the first place.
    Mamdouh Habib
    Extraordinary Rendition

    Waterboarding, Interrogations: The CIA's $1,000 a Day Specialists - April 30, 2009; By BRIAN ROSS, MATTHEW COLE, and JOSEPH RHEE via World News


    CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described - Sources Say Agency's Tactics Lead to Questionable Confessions, Sometimes to Death
    By BRIAN ROSS and RICHARD ESPOSITO; Nov. 18, 2005 —


    2004 CIA Report - Finding: Torture doesn't work
    It's heavily redacted.
    Without re-reading everything from the time, and earlier, the scientific analyses essentially said, even when actionable information were to be found, which has not been established, there were so many false reports that required investment of resources to investigate that the bottom line was, torture was much more resource costly than could ever justify any beneficial results.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm just disgusted at this whole thing (and have been disgusted for years). I'm especially disgusted by the right-wing reaction (i.e. Fox News) to this report, claiming there's nothing wrong, and the nut-job who proclaimed that America is awesome, we are awesome, and the Dems released this report just to try to make us not look awesome. (WTF????)

    So, yeah, nothing really new or all that surprising (although it is nonetheless dismaying). Rachel Maddow had a good segment on this on her show last night -- that is, the ACLU advocating pardons. I don't want to agree, but he may be right that this is the least bad option.

    I wish Americans would wake up and grow up.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, the claim by the key operators (the CIA, Bush, Cheney, Yoo, etc) is that:
    they didn't really torture anyone
    Congress knew and approved
    the information gained kept us safe
    this is all a partisan attack led by Feinstein
    Feinstein had a confirmation bias
    the report was one sided​

    Disgusting is too mild a word. I get it they don't see their own wrongdoing. Look at Bush and Cheney who, to this day, can't admit the Iraq war was a mistake and that they lied about Saddam's WMDs.

    If the CIA got actionable information, why is it they can only tell us what that information was in generalities? There must be dozens of things that are no longer sensitive and we can hear about them. The only semi-concrete thing I've heard is some little tidbit years later played a role in getting Bin Laden. But that tidbit was supposedly also found out by other means. And some information it turns out was all given up before any of the torture started.

    I get it they want Congress to take some of the blame. I agree that was a shortcoming of the report. But it's shocking that the torture is being described by Bush et al as if it were some clean clinical thing that wasn't really torture. John Yoo had a big role in that. He was essentially asked to legally define torture as not including water-boarding or any of the other techniques the CIA wanted to use and he did.

    John Yoo: In His Own Words - Go inside John H. Richardson's transcript of his interviews with John Yoo, author of "The Torture Memo."

    It was a common Bush tactic to get a legal ruling on something he wanted to do and not the other way around**. When they wanted to institute their domestic surveillance program Ashcroft said no. John Ashcroft was eventually pushed out and Gonzales promoted because Ashcroft actually had some integrity and AG Gonzales just did whatever Bush and Cheney asked. Gonzales later said Bush told him to get Ashcroft's hospital bed approval (see the link).

    But I digress...

    The point is, John Yoo was one of many yes men Bush et al used to justify anything Bush did that was illegal. Later Bush would say, the CIA told them about the WMDs. In reality they cherry picked the reports that supported invading Iraq. Bush claimed the AG approved of the domestic surveillance program, in reality he found an AG that would approve of it. And Bush claimed his legal advisor John Yoo advised him the CIA actions weren't torture. In reality Yoo wrote the memo redefining torture to fit the CIA's needs.


    ** That is, of course, standard for Presidents. But sometimes it goes beyond the pale as it did with Bush et al. John Dean has a lot to say about the mentality of being in the presence of Nixon and how he thinks it played a role in his own illegal behavior. The President can make a person act differently, the President being something akin to a superstar to the staff.
    John Dean lists lessons of Watergate - Ethics seminars headlined by Nixon counsel spotlight attorney-client privilege, changes in lawyer-conduct rules since scandal


    On a different note, I'm surprised Andrea Mitchell said this morning, "we didn't know about the black sites." She must have had her head in the sand or she's defining "know about" in some odd way, or perhaps I misheard her. It was well known the CIA was using black sites, kidnapping people who would be taken to different countries, but not to the US and not to Gitmo, to then torture them.
    Black Sites
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I may be more cynical than most, but I simply don't believe higher ups in Congress had no idea about this.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    I agree. I knew about it, it was in the news, so people in Congress had to have had their heads in the sand if they didn't know. It suggests they didn't want to know, with the exception of the claim they asked the CIA head and were lied to. But really, that is almost willful denial to use that as an excuse to have 'not seen'.

    It's my understanding the report avoids pointing fingers at Congress. I think that was a mistake.

    Hearing the defenders continue to claim the torture got results is disturbing.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    I went back to my old forum posts. In 2003 the torture was being discussed on the forum, I wasn't a member then and the links were dead, but here's one I found from 2005:

    Ex-CIA boss: Cheney is 'vice president for torture'


    Quote from 2005 that I know was good at the time but the link is now dead:
    Here's another 2005 article from the New Yorker:

    OUTSOURCING TORTURE - The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
    If anyone in Congress didn't know about this, they should have.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    I disagree with John McCain when he's warmongering. But on this issue he's a war hero in my eyes, standing up against torture. Just shows to go you, characters really are complex.

    Now Cheney, on the other hand, pure evil. :(
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I agree, it seems almost a certainty they would know. I didn't believe members of my government when they said they didn't know about MP paedophile rings.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    Brennan is on now starting with reminding us all about 911 as if we need to be reminded in order to accept his premise that the ends justify the means. By that argument, torture is OK in any wartime situation.

    Hypocrite. :mad:

    I had the mute the TV, it's that disgusting to hear these men who took these immoral actions in the name of ends justify the means and we were authorized.

    Not to mention there is evidence that no useful information was obtained. The fact they keep claiming the torture led to getting Bin Laden is proof they got nothing. That claim is easily refuted.

    Way too many people believe the movie and TV version that torture gets results, too few people look at the actual reality evidence.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
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