Friday, September 15, 2006

Torture Insurance

Torture weakens our country's moral strengthThe administration is being disgustingly disingenuous when it claims it will abide by the Geneva Conventions - but sends to Congress a bill that would authorize the CIA to engage in interrogation tactics the world understands as torture. The bill would also rewrite America's obligations under the Geneva Conventions. That is, the administration is telling a bald-faced lie when it says it's opposed to torture

Of course it is. Bush refers to torture this way.....

Of course, Mr. Bush didn't come out and say he's lobbying for torture. Instead he refers to "an alternative set of procedures" for interrogation. But the administration no longer conceals what it wants. It wants authorization for the CIA to hide detainees in overseas prisons where even the International Committee of the Red Cross won't have access. It wants permission to interrogate those detainees with abusive practices that in the past have included induced hypothermia and "waterboarding," or simulated drowning. And it wants the right to try such detainees, and perhaps sentence them to death, on the basis of evidence that the defendants cannot see and that may have been extracted during those abusive interrogation sessions.

Yep they are otherwise the CIA wouldn't need insurance against facing crimes against humanity charges and violations of the Geneva Convention.

Many CIA officers involved in questioning war-on-terror detainees have signed up for a government-reimbursed insurance plan that would pay their legal expenses if they are sued or charged with criminal wrongdoing, The Washington Post reported yesterday.
Citing unnamed current and former intelligence officials, the newspaper said the trend reflects heightened anxiety at the Central Intelligence Agency that officers may be vulnerable to accusations they were involved in abuse, torture, human rights violations and other misconduct.
They worry that they will not have Justice Department representation in court or congressional inquiries, the report said.
The Post said the anxieties stem partly from public controversy about a system of secret CIA prisons.

What worriees the CIA and Bush is that they may be charged in international court for torture and Geneva convention violations between 9/11 and now.

Bush fears war crimes prosecution, impeachment

Bush called on Congress to define these “vague and undefined” terms in Common Article 3 because “our military and intelligence personnel” involved in capture and interrogation “could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act.”

Congress enacted the War Crimes Act in 1996. That act defines violations of Geneva’s Common Article 3 as war crimes. Those convicted face life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

The president is undoubtedly familiar with the doctrine of command responsibility, where commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief, can be held liable for war crimes their inferiors commit if the commander knew or should have known they might be committed and did nothing to stop or prevent them.

Bush defensively denied that the United States engages in torture and foreswore authorizing it. But it has been well documented that policies set at the highest levels of our government have resulted in the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of U.S. prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.

Indeed, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act in December, which codifies the prohibition in United States law against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in U.S. custody. In his speech, Bush took credit for working with Sen. John McCain to pass the DTA.

In fact, Bush fought the McCain “anti-torture” amendment tooth and nail, at times threatening to veto the entire appropriations bill to which it was appended. At one point, Bush sent Dick Cheney to convince McCain to exempt the CIA from the prohibition on cruel treatment, but McCain refused.

Bush signed the bill, but attached a “signing statement” where he reserved the right to violate the DTA if, as commander in chief, he thought it necessary.

Throughout his speech, Bush carefully denied his administration had violated any laws during its “tough” interrogations of prisoners. Yet, the very same day, the Pentagon released a new interrogation manual that prohibits techniques including “waterboarding,” which amounts to torture.

Having got the information they needed Bush is closing the barn door after the horse has left. The CIA may no longer torture but it will still contract out such torture.....

Secret Prisons: Implications of the Administration's Maneuver Stratfor

Ultimately, the Bush administration's decision to rescind the use of "secret prisons" does nothing to prohibit this kind of work with foreign intelligence services, which was a mainstay of the CIA before the 9/11 attacks. Even in cases where Washington has serious differences with a host government over strategic or political issues, there can remain close cooperation between intelligence services on the interrogation of al Qaeda suspects. Consider the unlikely example involving the United States and Syria in 2002: The United States rendered a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, back to Syria -- at the cost of a major strain in U.S.-Canadian relations.

The end of the CIA program, whether permanent or temporary, will not leave the United States with any blind spots in its war against al Qaeda. In fact, considering that only a few al Qaeda members were ever held by the CIA, most of the suspects interrogated in this war have been questioned by foreign proxies -- even since clandestine interrogation centers came into use. The flow of intelligence can be expected to continue -- and it perhaps could be argued that it might increase, as political attention in the United States concerning the treatment of prisoners turns elsewhere and foreign services continue their work without interference.

And we should not forget that it is not just the CIA that contracts out torture and prison operations....
US: Pentagon Spends Billions to Outsource Torture

But did the torture really get America the information it needed or is this all misdirection to be able to maintain a program that in fact is of little real value?

The Myth of the Ticking Time Bomb

Of course, the President could not, he said with a knowing wink to his audience, describe “the specific methods used in these CIA interrogations” because “it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning.” Although these “procedures were tough,” they had proved vital, the President assured us, in extracting “information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else” and thus prevented Al Qaeda from “launching another attack against the American homeland.” If Congress and the Supreme Court would simply set aside their constitutional qualms about these “tough” methods, Bush concluded, then the “brave men and women” who work in this CIA program can continue “to obtain information that will save innocent lives.”

As in so many of these ticking-bomb tales, Bush’s supposed successes crumble on closer examination. Just four days later, The New York Times reported that the FBI claimed it got the key information from Abu Zubaydah with its noncoercive methods and that other agencies already had much of his supposedly “vital” intelligence

Time to Impeach Bush!


Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: