Hat tip: The Daily Beast
by Bruce Fein
There were no professional interrogators involved in the creation of the CIA’s torture program.
It’s bad enough that we have war criminals running amok. Having one of them (Jay Bybee )sitting on one of the highest courts in the land (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) is simply psychotic.
“The evidence is now undeniable. President Barack Obama is flouting his unflagging constitutional obligation enshrined in Article II, Section 3 to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” He is also reneging on his signature campaign promise to restore the rule of law, transparency, and accountability to the White House. He is displaying the psychology of an arrogant Empire as opposed to a modest Republic in continuing and escalating the Bush-Cheney duumvirate’s global and perpetual war against international terrorism heedless of foreign sovereignties or the lives of civilians.
Even more disappointing, Obama has proven a political coward dangerous to the Republic. Before April 16, he had decided against any criminal investigation of the Bush-Cheney duumvirate or their inner circles for their boasted complicity in torture, i.e., waterboarding, which Attorney General Eric Holder has declared is torture. He has similarly declined investigations of extraordinary renditions that have occasioned, among other things, the indictments and in absentia trials of 26 CIA operatives in Milan, Italy, for the kidnapping and torture of Egyptian cleric Abu Omar.
Obama asserted: “Enlisting our values [like the rule of law or transparency] in the protection of our people makes us stronger and more secure. A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals [like the rule of law or government in the sunshine]… I believe strongly in transparency and accountability… The United States is a nation of laws.”
Obama has set a precedent whitewashing White House lawlessness in the name of national security that will lie around like a loaded weapon ready for resurrection by any Commander-in-Chief eager to appear “tough on terrorism” and to exploit popular fear.
- Bruce Fein, (Excerpt: “How Obama Excused Torture,” The Daily Beast, 4-17-09.
Hat tip: MinnPost
By Eric Black
Mar 11 2009
At a “Great Conversations” event at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.
In an email exchange afterward, Hersh said that his statements were “an honest response to a question” from the event’s moderator, U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs and “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.”
Hersh didn’t take back the statements, which he said arise from reporting he is doing for a book, but that it might be a year or two before he has what he needs on the topic to be “effective…that is, empirical, for even the most skeptical.”
The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by Jacobs and titled “America’s Constitutional Crisis,” looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government officials who had experience with many of the crises.
And it was mostly historical, and a great conversation, in which Hersh and Mondale talked about the patterns by which presidents seem to get intoxicated by executive power, frustrated by the limitations on that power from Congress and the public, drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers, in the belief that they can get results and will never be found out. Despite a few references to the Founding Fathers, the history was mostly recent, starting with the Vietnam War with much of it arising from the George W. Bush administration, which both men roundly denounced.
At the end of one answer by Hersh about how these things tend to happen, Jacobs asked: “And do they continue to happen to this day?”
“Yuh. After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.
“Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. …
“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
“Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.
“It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.
“In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
“I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’
“But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”
Dear Senator Leahy,
We felt compelled to write to you regarding your recent call for the formation of a “Truth Commission.” According to your press comments, this Commission is supposed to look at the following:
* the politicization of prosecution in the Justice Department
* the wiretapping of U.S. citizens
* the flawed intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq
* the use of torture at Guantanamo and so-called black sites abroad
These are serious allegations of criminal activity by certain members of the Bush Administration. While we applaud your initiative in looking into these matters, we feel this approach is wrong.
As the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, you already have the responsibility and legal authority to investigate matters relating to federal criminal law without having to form a special commission. You are also bound by your oath of office to support and uphold the Constitution by ensuring that those who govern also abide by the rule of law.
Furthermore, a “Truth Commission” will not fix the real problems that our country faces, nor will it guarantee that we will get to the truth. The 9/11 Commission, which you want to model your commission after, is a perfect example of that flawed process.
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Barack Obama’s election promise to bring “change” to Washington and reverse the juggernaut of the Bush war machine has proven to be nothing more than a cruel hoax, emphasized by his recent actions on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and his latest demand for a total of around $800 billion in war funds and subsidiary costs just to cover the rest of 2009.
“According to the US defense officials, Obama needs USD 75.5 billion for 2009 to cover the cost of the additional troops deployed in to Afghanistan this year and an another USD 130 billion for the rest of fiscal 2009,” reports Press TV.
An additional $534 billion is required for the Defense Department, added to another figure of $65.9 billion that has already been approved by Congress, bringing the total figure to over $805 billion dollars.
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Israel is assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists as part of a covert war against the Islamic Republic’s illicit weapons program, the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday quoted Western intelligence analysts as saying.
The British daily said Israel’s Mossad espionage agency was rumored to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007.
Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli “hits”, intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the program, according to the analysts.
The Telegraph also quoted United States intelligence sources as saying Israel is using sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime’s illicit weapons project as an alternative to direct military strikes.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that Israel has been carrying out similar covert activities for about a decade, ever since Iran was first suspected of seeking nuclear weapons. The U.S. journalist James Risen has written recently that the CIA and the Mossad have planned together a number of sabotage operations against the Iranian program, including damaging power lines to nuclear sites in order to cause harm to computer systems and equipment.
Scott Ritter is the courageous ex-Marine captain and UN weapons inspector who reported the truth about Iraq…they had no weapons of mass destruction.
Following the “success” of their Iraq fraud, Bush and Cheney made similar wild claims about Iran.
Now the Obama administration is picking up the claim that Iran is just “one year” away from developing a successful nuclear weapon.
The CIA has stated that Iran is TEN years away which Ritter points out can be said about ANY country on earth.
WAR CRIMES REPORT SAYS WHITE HOUSE REJECTED ALL ADVICE FROM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT TORTURE WAS ILLEGAL
President Bush and his aides repeatedly ignored warnings that their torture plans were illegal from high State Department officials as well as the nation’s top uniformed legal officers, the Judge Advocates General of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, a new published report states.
“These warnings of illegality and immorality given by knowledgeable and experienced (government) persons were ignored by the small group of high Executive officers who were determined that America would torture and abuse its prisoners and who had the decision-making power to secretly require this to be done,” said Lawrence Velvel, chairman of the “Steering Committee of the Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.” The Steering Committee’s Report was drafted for the entire committee by Chair Velvel, a noted legal education reformer.
The Mumbai Attacks and the “Strategy of Tension”
by Andrew G. Marshall
December 7, 2008
The recent attacks in Mumbai, while largely blamed on Pakistan’s state-sponsored militant groups, represent the latest phase in a far more complex and long-term “strategy of tension” in the region; being employed by the Anglo-American-Israeli Axis to ultimately divide and conquer the Middle East and Central Asia. The aim is destabilization of the region, subversion and acquiescence of the region’s countries, and control of its economies, all in the name of preserving the West’s hegemony over the “Arc of Crisis.”
The attacks in India are not an isolated event, unrelated to growing tensions in the region. They are part of a process of unfolding chaos that threatens to engulf an entire region, stretching from the Horn of Africa to India: the “Arc of Crisis,” as it has been known in the past.
The motives and modus operandi of the attackers must be examined and questioned, and before quickly asserting blame to Pakistan, it is necessary to step back and review:
Who benefits? Who had the means? Who had to motive? In whose interest is it to destabilize the region? Ultimately, the roles of the United States, Israel and Great Britain must be submitted to closer scrutiny.