Posts Tagged ‘John Yoo’

The real reason Dick Cheney keeps talking shit about Barack Obama

April 21, 2009

If you’ve been watching cable news lately, you’ll know that Dick Cheney won’t keep his mouth shut about how unsafe we all are now that Barack Obama is President.  Cheney contends that terrorists provided crucial information to the United States when they were tortured.  Now that Obama has stopped all torture, they are less likely to provide more.  Click here to see a bit of what I will be discussing.

Cheneys a hater.

Cheney's a hater.

Cheney is banking on the fact that the American public doesn’t know much about the confessions of the supposed terrorists.  He is also saying that the methods, especially waterboarding, are so damn effective that we can’t possibly get good intel without their use.  Let’s analyze each of these premises in some detail.

Even though few people in the United States know it, torture is what got the United States to invade Iraq, at least if you are to assume that Cheney and company went to the waterboarding table in good faith (ie, had a conclusion to invade Iraq and just wanted to find any reason to do so).   Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a trainer for al-Qaeda, was tortured by the United States until he “confessed” to a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.  al-Libi said that “Iraq trained al-Qaeda in bomb-making, poisons, and gases” (George W. Bush, October 2002).

Now we now that this intelligence was completely bogus.  There was absolutely no link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.  No training, no trading, nothing.  The methods led to a false confession, which led to an illegal invasion.   So much for good intel.

Imagine if that were a US troop, in the hands of al-Qaeda.

Imagine if that were a US troop, in the hands of al-Qaeda.

The second premise from Cheney is that the torture methods used under the Bush Administration were so damn effective that no terrorist could resist a good waterboarding.  Unfortunately for Cheney, this is bullshit.

Recent memos released by the Obama Admistration that were written by the Bush Justice Department say that Abu Zubaydah, an operator of an al-Qaeda training camp, was waterboarded 83 times in a single month.  If waterboarding were so effective, why the additional 82 sessions?  Even worse was the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was waterboarded 183 times in one month.  Once again, if torture is so effective, why doesn’t KSM confess sooner?

Dick Cheney knows that torture doesn’t work.  He knows it leads to bad confessions.  But it’s almost as if he is on the campaign trial right now, disparaging Obama’s foreign policy constantly.   And that is exactly what he wants you to believe.

If the Obama Justice Department were to begin a special prosecution against Bush Administration officials that knowingly violated the Geneva Conventions  and the United Nations Convention against Torture, Cheney wants the public to view it as a political hitjob.  If Obama is seen by the public as playing politics by going after Bush officials, it may hurt him politically and may actually affect the outcome of the investigation.

Obama has to realize that the American people are on the side of law.  Torture is a crime in the United States.  Period.  If a lawyer from the Obama Justice Department were to write a memo justifying rape, rape would still be illegal.   And this whole “let’s just concentrate on looking forward” business is stupid.  Bernie Madoff could tell a judge that he already stole the money, let’s just look forward and not get bogged down in an investigation.  It sets a terrible precedent.

Now is the best time for this investigation.  If it gets dragged out, it’s more time the Republicans will have to convince the public that it is all a political game rather than justice for a group of thugs.   Leave the CIA agents that administered the torture alone.  But nail every motherfucker that ordered the Code Red to the wall.

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Bill O’Reilly threatens to boycott Spain

March 31, 2009

Proving my old assertion that it is perfectly normal for Bill O’Reilly to get paid to say inappropriate things, Papa Bear told his loyal audience last night that he wouldn’t visit Spain if they continue with their investigation of Bush Administration officials.

Why is this inappropriate?  Because he chooses to attack Gonzalo Boye, a man who served time in 1996 for participating in terrorist kidnappings.  Boye was convicted of helping the ETA, a Basque-nationalist terrorist organization.  Bill-O really nailed those libs now!  But wait, since his conviction Boye has been a staunch defender of human rights.  Not only that, but O’Reilly fails to mention that the case is out of Boye’s hands.

The investigative judge Baltasar Garzon is now considering whether the case established by Boye is sufficient grounds for the arrest of Alberto Gonzalez, John Yoo, and others.  Garzon has investigated several terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda and Basque nationalist groups.  Portraying the entire team of Spanish investigators as far-left loonies is disingenuous.  Garzon has tried, investigated, and issued arrest warrants for everyone from right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet to left wing revolutionaries like the Zapatista Army.

It’s not so much that Bill O’s hackery bothers me.  It’s that members of his audience are going to stay up at night and hate on the Spanish court that is trying to Protect the American Constitution.  John Yoo and Alberto Gonzalez are disgusting.  By defending them, you spit on the very reasons why this country was established.

RWP Rating: Normal

Real News of the Day: Spain investigating Bush officials for war crimes

March 28, 2009

Guantanamo Bay was essential to the Bush Administration’s War on Terror.   Its location in Cuba enabled a suspension of Habeas Corpus and due process.  Many suspected terrorists from many different countries were extradited to Guantanamo Bay.  Five of those suspects were from Spain.

The Bush Administrations worst nightmare.

The Bush Administration's worst nightmare.

Each of the Spanish citizens claims that they were tortured during their time in the prison.  All were released and stood trial in Spain and all of their cases were eventually dismissed.   So now  there are five free Spanish citizens that were tortured because of decisions made by a small list of top Bush officials.  Number one on that list?  Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Investigative judge Baltasar Garzon is examining the case in further detail.  Garzon gained fame in the 1970s for ordering the arrest of Chilean dictator (and American puppet) Augusto Pinochet.   Since then, Garzon has been a prominent human rights advocate, holding nations and terrorists, including Al-Qaeda, responsible for thier violations.

Also named in the report is former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo.  Yoo recently came under fire for writing memos in the wake of the September 11 attacks that would suspend the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment in the United States.  These memos were immediately retracted by the new chief of the Justice Department Jack Goldsmith when the Obama Administration took over.

John Yoo despises the Constitution.

John Yoo despises the Constitution.

Garzon is investigating Yoo and Gonzalez for knowingly circumventing the Geneva Conventions as well as the 1984 Convention Against Torture.  Torture tactics used by the United States including waterboarding were considered to be in violation.  Yoo and Gonzalez are also accused of attempting to redefine torture to fit in with the War on Terror ideology.

Other Bush Administration officials in the investigation include William J. Haynes II, the former general counsel for the Department of Defense, Jay Bybee, a manager at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and David S. Addington, who was the chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not named in the investigation…which is bullshit.  The buck stops at the President of the United States.  He is ultimately responsible and so is Cheney.

Cheney despises everything.

Dick Cheney despises everything.

I complain about the Obama Administration a lot.  I think that Geithner was a mistake and that we should not be bailing out AIG just because it cuts into the profits at Goldman Sachs.  That being said, the Justice Department of the Obama Administration is 210 million times better than the Justice Department during the Bush Administration.   After 8 long years, we can say unequivocally that the United States does not torture people.

The Bush Administration worked for 8 years to undermine our Constitution, to chip away at the Fourth Amendment, and to completely decimate the moral standing we once held in the international community.   Now we have a new President who seems to legitimately care about exceeding in the realm of foreign policy.   So today, sit back and drink some lemonade.  The blood on our hands is washing away.

Further Reading: New York Times