"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 13 people who made torture possible

"The Bush administration's Torture 13. They authorized it, they decided how to implement it, and they crafted the legal fig leaf to justify it."

By Marcy Wheeler

FROM: SALON.COM

Pages 1 2 3

May 18, 2009 | On April 16, the Obama administration released four memos that were used to authorize torture in interrogations during the Bush administration. When President Obama released the memos, he said, "It is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution."

Yet 13 key people in the Bush administration cannot claim they relied on the memos from the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel. Some of the 13 manipulated the federal bureaucracy and the legal process to "preauthorize" torture in the days after 9/11. Others helped implement torture, and still others helped write the memos that provided the Bush administration with a legal fig leaf after torture had already begun.

The Torture 13 exploited the federal bureaucracy to establish a torture regime in two ways. First, they based the enhanced interrogation techniques on techniques used in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program. The program -- which subjects volunteers from the armed services to simulated hostile capture situations -- trains servicemen and -women to withstand coercion well enough to avoid making false confessions if captured. Two retired SERE psychologists contracted with the government to "reverse-engineer" these techniques to use in detainee interrogations.


The Torture 13 also abused the legal review process in the Department of Justice in order to provide permission for torture. The DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) played a crucial role. OLC provides interpretations on how laws apply to the executive branch. On issues where the law is unclear, like national security, OLC opinions can set the boundary for "legal" activity for executive branch employees. As Jack Goldsmith, OLC head from 2003 to 2004, explains it, "One consequence of [OLC's] power to interpret the law is the power to bestow on government officials what is effectively an advance pardon for actions taken at the edges of vague criminal statutes." OLC has the power, Goldsmith continues, to dispense "get-out-of-jail-free cards." The Torture 13 exploited this power by collaborating on a series of OLC opinions that repeatedly gave U.S. officials such a "get-out-of-jail-free card" for torturing.

Between 9/11 and the end of 2002, the Torture 13 decided to torture, then reverse-engineered the techniques, and then crafted the legal cover. Here's who they are and what they did:

1. Dick Cheney, vice president (2001-2009)

On the morning of 9/11, after the evacuation of the White House, Dick Cheney summoned his legal counsel, David Addington, to return to work. The two had worked together for years. In the 1980s, when Cheney was a congressman from Wyoming and Addington a staff attorney to another congressman, Cheney and Addington argued that in Iran-Contra, the president could ignore congressional guidance on foreign policy matters. Between 1989 and 1992, when Dick Cheney was the elder George Bush's secretary of defense, Addington served as his counsel. He and Cheney saved the only known copies of abusive interrogation technique manuals taught at the School of the Americas. Now, on the morning of 9/11, they worked together to plot an expansive grab of executive power that they claimed was the correct response to the terrorist threat. Within two weeks, they had gotten a memo asserting almost unlimited power for the president as "the sole organ of the Nation in its foreign relations," to respond to the terrorist attacks. As part of that expansive view of executive power, Cheney and Addington would argue that domestic and international laws prohibiting torture and abuse could not prevent the president from authorizing harsh treatment of detainees in the war against terror.

But Cheney and Addington also fought bureaucratically to construct this torture program. Cheney led the way by controlling who got access to President Bush -- and making sure his own views preempted others'. Each time the torture program got into trouble as it spread around the globe, Cheney intervened to ward off legal threats and limits, by badgering the CIA's inspector general when he reported many problems with the interrogation program, and by lobbying Congress to legally protect those who had tortured.

Most shockingly, Cheney is reported to have ordered torture himself, even after interrogators believed detainees were cooperative. Since the 2002 OLC memo known as "Bybee Two" that authorizes torture premises its authorization for torture on the assertion that "the interrogation team is certain that" the detainee "has additional information he refuses to divulge," Cheney appears to have ordered torture that was illegal even under the spurious guidelines of the memo.

2. David Addington, counsel to the vice president (2001-2005), chief of staff to the vice president (2005-2009)

David Addington

David Addington championed the fight to argue that the president -- in his role as commander in chief -- could not be bound by any law, including those prohibiting torture. He did so in two ways. He advised the lawyers drawing up the legal opinions that justified torture. In particular, he ran a "War Council" with Jim Haynes, John Yoo, John Rizzo and Alberto Gonzales (see all four below) and other trusted lawyers, which crafted and executed many of the legal approaches to the war on terror together.

In addition, Addington and Cheney wielded bureaucratic carrots and sticks -- notably by giving or withholding promotions for lawyers who supported these illegal policies. When Jack Goldsmith withdrew a number of OLC memos because of the legal problems in them, Addington was the sole administration lawyer who defended them. Addington's close bureaucratic control over the legal analysis process shows he was unwilling to let the lawyers give the administration a "good faith" assessment of the laws prohibiting torture.

3. Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel (2001-2005), and attorney general (2005-2008)

Alberto Gonzales

As White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales was nominally in charge of representing the president's views on legal issues, including national security issues. In that role, Gonzales wrote and reviewed a number of the legal opinions that attempted to immunize torture. Most important, in a Jan. 25, 2002, opinion reportedly written with David Addington, Gonzales paved the way for exempting al-Qaida detainees from the Geneva Conventions. His memo claimed the "new kind of war" represented by the war against al-Qaida "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners." In a signal that Gonzales and Addington adopted that position to immunize torture, Gonzales argued that one advantage of not applying the Geneva Convention to al-Qaida would "substantially reduce the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act." The memo even specifically foresaw the possibility of independent counsels' prosecuting acts against detainees.

4. James Mitchell, consultant

Even while Addington, Gonzales and the lawyers were beginning to build the legal framework for torture, a couple of military psychologists were laying out the techniques the military would use. James Mitchell, a retired military psychologist, had been a leading expert in the military's SERE program. In December 2001, with his partner, Bruce Jessen, Mitchell reverse-engineered SERE techniques to be used to interrogate detainees. Then, in the spring of 2002, before OLC gave official legal approval to torture, Mitchell oversaw Abu Zubaydah's interrogation. An FBI agent on the scene describes Mitchell overseeing the use of "borderline torture." And after OLC approved waterboarding, Mitchell oversaw its use in ways that exceeded the guidelines in the OLC memo. Under Mitchell's guidance, interrogators used the waterboard with "far greater frequency than initially indicated" -- a total of 183 times in a month for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 83 times in a month for Abu Zubaydah.

Next page (2): Yoo drafted many of the memos that would establish the torture regime, starting with the opinion claiming virtually unlimited power for the president in times of war

Next page(3): "Rumsfeld's authorization of interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there"

Pages 1 2 3

1 comment:

  1. Racist and Hate Demonstrations in Shenandoah Pennsylvania against Latinos, these last days.

    More Racism against Latinos in Shenandoah Pennsylvania. More Demonstrations of Hate with Hundreds of Racist Bastards, these last days !!

    After the Coward Terrorist Murder of Luis Ramirez on Juyly 2008 by a gang of Six Coward Football Players.

    While the men yelled racial epithets at Ramirez, they punched and kicked his head and body so severely that he lay foaming at the mouth with two skull fractures.

    Once Ramirez was on the ground he was continually kicked until brain matter leaked from his skull.

    And they were acquitted by a Racist Trial, Racist Judge, Racist Jury, Racist Prosecutor, Racist District Attorneys.

    *********************************

    *********************************

    I am going to tell you what Latinos, Minorities, Asians, Native American Indians, and all those considered as "darkies" or "brownies" should do.

    They should avoid being recruited for Wars, that is for Racist Genocide, Racist Extermination and Mass Murder. Do not go to collaborate in more Holocausts.

    Three million Asiatics were exterminated in Vietnam like flies, with airstrikes and with Orange Agents, Defoliants and Dioxins.

    The land was poisoned for generations, Vietnam is very cancerigen.

    Wasn't three million deaths enough ??
    Wasn't that Genocide enough ??
    Wasn't Vietnam enough ??

    Now Bush with Bible Quotations has declared a Terrorist "Crusade" ( Bush Words ) against other "darkies" and "brownies", primitive tribal people in pajamas.

    Latinos, Minorities !!
    Do not collaborate with that Coward Genocide.

    Thousands of Children, Women and the Old killed in Airstrikes.

    If your life is not guaranteed inside the U.S. ... Six Coward Bastards can kick you to death while you lie unconscious on the ground !

    Then why are you going to kill innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan ??

    Not a single person killed there knew about September 11 before it happened.

    And to think that George W. Bush is a poor idiot manipulated with Bible Quotes !!

    Manipulated by people that are shareholders of Contractors and the Military Industrial Complex as defined by President Eisenhower, also shareholders of Oil Companies. And that are becoming richer with these Idiotic Bastard Wars.

    Raciality.com

    Vicente Duque

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, our aim is to publish all comments; the exceptions will be those which advocate violence, threats of violence, spam, and shameless 'pimping' of blogs or sites.

A link to an article or post, in and by itself, does not qualify as a comment.

These comments(?) will be promptly and gleefuly rejected.

It is ok to us if you'd want to publish a link to your blog or website, as long as it is done in an honest way, i.e., in a comment which is to the point and relevant to the post you are commenting on.

I also appreciate your visit very much.

"The Administrator" AKA Aurora

Fare well,

Subscribe to El Rinconcito de Aurora - - Subscribe in a reader
 
Powered by FeedBurner - - Add to Google Reader or Homepage - Subscribe in podnova -

Back to Top