Our text for today is from the New York Times: Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations .
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture "abhorrent" in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.Look, it's very simple, and we've been saying it for years: Bush and his minions are liars. They are proven liars, confirmed liars; they lie for pleasure and they lie for profit, they lie as a matter of course, as a matter of policy. So when they say they are not torturing people, when they say they are following U.S. law and international law and the restrictions of the courts and Congress, they are lying. They lied about it in 2004, they lied about it in 2005, and they are lying about it now.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales's arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document...The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures...
The 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said.
They lie about it because they want to torture people. That's the first thing you must understand: They want to do it. They enjoy the thought of it. They want to hear the details, they want to hear about the pain, about the broken spirits and the ruined minds. They literally, physically – perhaps even sexually – enjoy the idea of people getting beaten, tormented and waterboarded at their command. There's no question about this. Bush tortured animals when he was a child, and now he tortures human beings with the same kind of furtive, sniggering, naughty glee. And when someone catches him at it, he lies about it, just like a brattish child. And now the whole administration of the United States government operates on the degraded moral level of this profoundly stunted and twisted little wretch.
We know that the torture so assiduously and secretly pushed by Bush and Cheney has nothing to do with national security or "fighting terrorism;" every expert in interrogation – from law enforcement, the military, the intelligence world, and from analysts of KGB records and Nazi files, etc – confirms the obvious fact that torture produces garbage data; the victim will say anything to relieve the suffering. It is an established fact that more humane interrogation yields vastly greater rewards. Thus anyone using torture in the Bush-Cheney manner is manifestly not interested in garnering useful intelligence data about preventing terrorism or identifying and capturing its perpetrators. They are interested only in augmenting their own arbitrary power over other human beings – for sick psychological reasons, as noted above, and also to advance their ideological commitment to authoritarian government, run by and for unchallengeable elites.
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
As the NYT notes, the United States government had never formally authorized the use of torture as an official, systematic, approved procedure. (Although there has been plenty of off-the-books torture and murder in the CIA's storied past.) So where did Bush and Cheney turn to find role models for an official torture regimen?
The C.I.A. had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture.That's right; they got it from the Egyptian and Saudi dungeons whose dark arts had radicalized generations of captives, turning them into violent religious extremists; they got it from the hellhole of the Lubyanka, from the KGB, from Stalin himself. These were the guides that Bush and Cheney chose; this was their ideal of how a state should behave: raw power, unrestrained, arbitrary, ruling by terror and torture.
The NYT again:
Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.There is really no point in Congress passing laws restricting the Regime's use of torture (assuming that these slavish sad sacks were actually interested in doing so); nor is there any point in the courts ruling against it (assuming that the Bushist apparatchiks, arrogant partisans and lying dimbulbs on the Supreme Court would uphold any lower court rulings outlawing the Regime's filthy practices). It is obvious beyond all dispute by now that the Bush Regime will simply ignore any and all attempts to put fetters on its atrocities. They will not stop torturing people. They will not stop kidnapping people and holding them without charges. They will not stop launching mass-murdering wars of aggression. They will not stop perverting the electoral system to keep their extremist fringe views ensconced in power.
The only possible way to stop these criminal depradations is to remove Bush and Cheney from office. Nothing else will do it. And any national political figure or presidential candidate who does not have this removal at the top of their agenda, who is not beating this drum day after day and using all their power and influence and position to help bring it about is, as we have noted here before, nothing but an accomplice to torture and murder.
It's that simple.
Glenn Greenwald has more, and brings up an important point that we've been banging on about here for a long time; namely, that this torture goes on because the American Establishment approves of it:
But in another, more important, sense, this story reveals nothing new. As a country, we've known undeniably for almost two years now that we have a lawless government and a President who routinely orders our laws to be violated. [CF: Some of us have known about this lawlessness, and been writing about it, much longer than two years however; since March 2002, say, or November 2001, or May 2004, or even September 2001.] His top officials have been repeatedly caught lying outright to Congress on the most critical questions we face. They have argued out in the open that the "constitutional duty" to defend the country means that nothing — including our "laws" — can limit what the President does.Scott Horton is not very surprised by these revelations either:
It has long been known that we are torturing, holding detainees in secret prisons beyond the reach of law and civilization, sending detainees to the worst human rights abusers to be tortured, and subjecting them ourselves to all sorts of treatment which both our own laws and the treaties to which we are a party plainly prohibit. None of this is new.
And we have decided, collectively as a country, to do nothing about that. Quite the contrary, with regard to most of the revelations of lawbreaking and abuse, our political elite almost in unison has declared that such behavior is understandable, if not justifiable. And our elected representatives have chosen to remain largely in the dark about what was done and, when forced by court rulings or media revelations to act at all, they have endorsed and legalized this behavior — not investigated, outlawed or punished it.
...in came a new team of “loyal Bushies,” people who understood their sole duty to be to implement the personal will of George W. Bush. In the immortal words uttered last week by John Yoo, “Every subordinate should agree with [the President’s] views so there is a unified approach to the law.” Yes. It’s called the Führerprinzip. But it sounds so much more convincing in the original German.
[CF: for more on this theme, see this from July 2005. Or why not see how the entirety of our new authoritarian state unfolded, day by day, week by week, right here?]
The Bush Administration has opined that torture is not torture. So what tricks remain? To say that murder is not murder? That rape is not rape? That there isn’t any extortion or kidnapping, either? Ah, but I neglected the hearings down the hall concerning the contractors in Iraq. Of course, it’s given those opinions already, too.
Under Alberto Gonzales, the transformation is now complete. The nation’s Justice Department, once renowned as a guardian of the nation’s freedoms and liberties as well as a swift enforcer of justice, now emerges in a new guise. It is a criminal syndicate committed to empowering the most horrendous crimes. It is a Justice Department in the fully Orwellian sense.
But considering the long track record of political prosecutions, evidence for which mounts with each passing day, and the strenuous efforts to suppress voters and corrupt the basis of democracy, why should any of this come as a surprise? It is indeed all of one piece.
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