Saturday, July 26, 2008

Criminal Conduct of Public Affairs

The past few weeks have been very rewarding for the aspect of hearing from some one who has made an in-depth study of the development of a pro-torture policy in what should have been a respectable, if rightward leaning, executive branch. Although the oil industry in Texas has been shown to have the robber baron character that had prevailed before the last depression, the brutality it has displayed never had come out prior to the war it has waged against Iraq.

The nation seems to be coming out of the shock it suffered from finding its representatives engaged in outright barbarism. It is being greatly helped by the findings Jane Mayer has been presenting to us, and her appearance last night on Bill Moyers' Journal was very valuable. So much was condensed into a few words, and I am posting here only a part of it, but what I found really necessary information.

BILL MOYERS: But there is also this fact that, which is that there was a briefing in which four top members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was present, were present, and they were told what was going on. Have they been compromised by their knowledge of what was happening?

JANE MAYER: Well they've been very defensive about it, the Democrats in particular, because they've said that in private they complained about this. They felt they were not allowed to speak out because they'd be accused of violating national security. I also think that, what I've talked to some of them, that say that while the CIA explained what it was doing, it didn't explain it thoroughly. So they used a lot of euphemisms as the kind of euphemisms that we've been hearing, which are intent, enhanced interrogation, or special interrogation.

BILL MOYERS: The other side of it was raised by Representative Trent Franks, a Republican on the committee. Let me play this for you.

REP. TRENT FRANKS:CIA Director Michael Hayden has confirmed that, despite the incessant hysteria in some quarters, the waterboarding technique has only been used on three high-level captured terrorists - the very worst of the worst of our terrorist enemies. Now, what are these people like, Mr. Chairman? When the terrorist Zubaydah, a logistics chief of al-Qaeda was captured, he and two other men were caught building a bomb. A soldering gun used to make the bomb was still hot on the table, along with the building plans for a school. CIA Director Hayden has said that Mohammed and Zubaydah provided roughly 25 percent of the information CIA had on al-Qaeda from all human sources.

BILL MOYERS: What he is saying is that torture works.

JANE MAYER: Right. That's been the argument.

BILL MOYERS: What is your conclusion after these many years of reporting is?

JANE MAYER: Well, there are a couple of things I want to say about this. One is to say that there's a special exception here: We won't torture except when we will torture, is a legal problem. The convention against torture, which the United States Senate ratified, has no exceptions. It's a major felony. There's no excuse for doing it for war. There's no excuse for national security. It doesn't have exceptions. So this is a serious legal problem.

JANE MAYER: Secondly, what did they get from, let's take his case of Abu Zubaydah. There was a soldering iron, as he says, and they were building a bomb. What led them to Abu Zubaydah? Was it torture? It wasn't actually. It was a bribe that they gave to the Pakistanis that got them to Abu Zubaydah. Bribing people does work, and that's, you can see again and again in the war on terror. Then, what did they get out of Abu Zubaydah when they brutalized him? It turns out and I've talked to, for instance, Dan Coleman, who's an FBI agent who knows a lot about Abu Zubaydah and this interrogation. He questioned, he thinks they got nothing out of him. First of all, he was mentally unstable. They you, they, he said all kinds of crazy things. He later said that he made up half of the things that he told them.

There's - the reason that people don't torture is not just because it's a moral issue. It's because when we moved to a system of law that was on the principles of the enlightenment, the effort was to get at the truth. And you don't torture because people say anything under torture. And, according to a very top CIA officer I spoke to who was very close with Tenet, he said 90 percent of what we-

BILL MOYERS: George Tenet.

JANE MAYER: George Tenet, the former director of the CIA. He said 90 percent of what we got was crap. And he said and that was true of every method we used: Torture, non-torture.

BILL MOYERS: There have been some suggestions recently that they may have begun to torture Abu Zubaydah before the Justice Department drew up this memo justifying it. Do you think-

JANE MAYER: But the torture memo, the famous torture memo that was written in August of 2002 by, mostly by John Yoo, was written to justify these harsh interrogations, whatever you want to call them. But when John Ashcroft, the former attorney general, testified recently, he was asked, "Well, you know, when did these interrogations on Zubaydah begin?" It turns out they'd been interrogating him since March, which is several months before they had legal approval to do so. That's an area where there seems to be super legal exposure for the people involved in this program, the interrogators, the people at the CIA who authorized it. And, in particular, there were a number of psychologists who were contracted psychologists who designed that program. (Emphases added.)

The hardened criminal nature of the occupied White House is something that perhaps should have been anticipated, since so many of its personnel had been there during the Nixon years. Criminal acts were committed then, although a clean slate was given them by presidential pardons from Gerald Ford.

The press was negligent, and should have been suspicious of these former criminals. Accepting lies and reporting them without searching out the truths they denied has brought this nation to the lowest point any of us have seen.

We can't count on anyone but ourselves to keep the country safe, and as we have kept trumpeting, along with many others in the blogosphere such as Avedon, Atrios, Digby and so many others, we who are blogging constantly, dedicatedly, strongly, will do whatever we can to return the rule of law, and decency, to government.

Bill Moyers and Jane Mayer, thanks, for your tremendous help in fighting back against the criminals in the executive branch

Labels: , , , , ,


Blogger AnnPW said...

And thank you, Ruth.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The press was negligent, and should have been suspicious of these former criminals. Accepting lies and reporting them without searching out the truths they denied has brought this nation to the lowest point any of us have seen.

That has been the saddest thing. As you say, the criminal nature of the rethuglicans could be anticipated. It's happened before.

But not the egregious acceptance, and beyond that even, the active assistance of the press.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why should anybody buy the hot soldering iron/school plans on the table put out there by a known torturer? Only 3 people? Gonna believe that one, too? No credibility has been earned, and none should be extended. As far as I am concerned, they were making snuff films for rummy.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

As you will find me saying in today's post, when you think they can't sink any lower, they do.

7:03 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home