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View Full Version : Dear Sanity and President Obama: for the 183rd time, "stay the course!!


Bird of Prey
04-20-2009, 08:01 AM
Memo Says Prisoner Was Waterboarded 183 Times
By SCOTT SHANE (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/s/scott_shane/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

Published: April 19, 2009
Waterboarding (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/t/torture/waterboarding/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier), the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, was used by C.I.A. interrogators (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/cia_interrogations/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) 183 times on one prisoner from Al Qaeda (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/al_qaeda/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and 83 times on another, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum.
The release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/cia_interrogations/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) that the Bush administration Justice Department declared legal even though the United States had historically treated them as torture.
A former C.I.A. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news organizations in 2007 that the first prisoner questioned in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas detention program in 2002, Abu Zubaydah (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/z/abu_zubaydah/index.html?inline=nyt-per), had undergone waterboarding (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/t/torture/waterboarding/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.
But the May 30, 2005 memo, quoting a 2004 investigation by the C.I.A. inspector general, says C.I.A. officers used the waterboard at least 83 times during August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah.
During March 2003, the memo says, the waterboard was used 183 times against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/khalid_shaikh_mohammed/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the confessed planner of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr. Mohammed had been barraged with more than 100 different harsh interrogation methods, causing C.I.A. officers to worry that they might have crossed legal limits and halting his questioning. But the precise number and the exact nature of the interrogation method that had been used so extensively was not previously known.
The sentences in the 2005 memo including the number of times the two men were waterboarded appear to be redacted from some copies of the memo but are visible in others. Initial news reports about the memos in The New York Times and other publications did not include the numbers, but several bloggers, including Marcy Wheeler of the emptywheel blog, discovered the numbers over the weekend.
Michael V. Hayden (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/michael_v_hayden/index.html?inline=nyt-per), director of the C.I.A. for the last two years of the Bush administration, said on Fox News on Sunday that he had opposed the release of the memos, even though President Obama (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/o/barack_obama/index.html?inline=nyt-per) has said the techniques will never be used again, because they would tell Al Qaeda “the outer limits that any American would ever go in terms of interrogating an Al Qaeda terrorist.” He also disputed an article in The New York Times on Saturday saying that Abu Zubaydah revealed nothing new after being waterboarded, saying he believed that after unspecified “techniques” were used, Abu Zubaydah revealed information that led to the capture of another terrorist suspect, Ramzi Binalshibh. . . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?ref=global-home

Yep. That waterboarding thing really works, doesn't it?
http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/blog/uploaded_images/rachel_bladerunner_sml-777153.jpg

Have you ever taken that test yourself. . . .

Glenda
04-20-2009, 08:20 AM
That is sad. However, there is going to be some kind of torture in War. Every country have their methods of torture when they get prisoners of war. War is not pretty, never has been and never will be.

Unique
04-20-2009, 02:49 PM
torture under duress is always suspect. i would tell you anything, everything, nothing - whatever would get you to stop. Not from pain - waterboarding is like Perk's neti pot with force. I might even inhale to get it to stop. Yes, drown myself. Torture is never justified in a US position. I want no part of a country that believes torture is justified.

I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK. :rant:

Julie Worth
04-20-2009, 04:51 PM
This was sadism, nothing less. It was not even effective, for why would it have to be used more than a hundred times on one prisoner? Bush and his band of criminals took us from the moral high ground and right into the swamp.

Romantic Heretic
04-20-2009, 04:59 PM
Torture is, in my opinion, based on the following idea.

Interrogator: Not going to talk, are you?

Prisoner: No.

Interrogator: Then you'll do the next best thing.

Prisoner: What's that?

Interrogator: You'll scream.

From what I've seen people who are in favor of torture and those who perform it simply like hurting other people. They like inflicting pain and terror. The politics behind it, right or left, just gives them an excuse to do so.

Don
04-20-2009, 05:03 PM
My biggest disappointment with Obama is his stance that no prosecution of the criminals will take place. I'm with Unique on this one, I want my country back. The "I was only following orders" defense has now Godwined our whole country, and stripped us of any moral superiority we might have claimed (justly or unjustly) in the past.

It should at least open our eyes to the fact that the government will stop at nothing to maintain its position of power.

Don
04-20-2009, 05:08 PM
Amen, RT. Being known for inflicting pain and terror in a totally illogical way is also a good way to convince people they don't want to argue with you. Getting people to fear the government is a good thing if you're one of the JBTs in control.

Individuals who engage in these sorts of practices show up as episodes of Law and Order or CSI. Politicians and their henchmen who act that way get a free pass from the President.

Bird of Prey
04-20-2009, 05:16 PM
My biggest disappointment with Obama is his stance that no prosecution of the criminals will take place. I'm with Unique on this one, I want my country back. The "I was only following orders" defense has now Godwined our whole country, and stripped us of any moral superiority we might have claimed (justly or unjustly) in the past.

It should at least open our eyes to the fact that the government will stop at nothing to maintain its position of power.

I wish I could get behind you on this, Don, but I can't. The people practicing torture were essentially told/ordered to do so and what they were doing was perfectly legal. And studies indicate - I'll try to get links - that weird things happen to people in cases of absolute power. And where do the arrests end? At Congress? Because they O.K.'d it. Bush O.K.'d it. Now if you want to clean house on Capitol Hill, I think I'd be fine with that, but not just prosecuting those that carried out orders.

And if there's a mod somewhere, would you be kind enough to end the OP title with a quotation mark. . . .Sorry.

Don
04-20-2009, 05:33 PM
Yep, prosecute anybody involved. If that means Congress ends up in prison (or at least those who voted to authorize the torture) then so be it. Nobody is above the law, or law has no meaning.

Mr. Chuckletrousers
04-20-2009, 05:57 PM
I am very disappointed with Obama over this. He has sacrificed our future on the altar of present need.

Julie Worth
04-20-2009, 05:59 PM
Yep, prosecute anybody involved. If that means Congress ends up in prison (or at least those who voted to authorize the torture) then so be it.


That ignores the political realities. The CIA is guilty of much worse, going back decades--assassinations of foreign leaders, experimenting on US citizens with hallucinogens. Trying to hold them responsible could be fatal. And much the same with Congress. It has the power to impeach, after all. In any case, prosecutions would just rally his opponents without gaining him anything.

Prozyan
04-20-2009, 06:09 PM
How could something so many consider so offensive take place? Does it make all those who participated evil or sadists?

Nope, just human. Do some research into the Milgram experiment to find how such things happen. It makes a rather compelling case for the defense "I was just following orders".

Here is a quote from the report on the experiment:

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.

Mr. Chuckletrousers
04-20-2009, 06:30 PM
Nope, just human. Do some research into the Milgram experiment to find how such things happen. It makes a rather compelling case for the defense "I was just following orders".
Not compelling to me. The Milgram experiments only tell me we should come down hard on those in authority who gave the orders, not that we should absolve the underlings for following those orders.

Abraham
04-20-2009, 08:50 PM
Not compelling to me. The Milgram experiments only tell me we should come down hard on those in authority who gave the orders, not that we should absolve the underlings for following those orders.

I agree with this. The harshest penalties lie with those like Rumsfeld who were responsible for putting the system in place, but that cannot absolve those who still participated in it. If you haven't you should read The Lucifer Efferct by Phil Zimbardo as it covers the exact territory of this thread. Zimbardo was behind the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and used his experiences with it to bring to light to the world the dangers of dehumanization and blindly following authority. It's an excellent book and more than a little frightening.

rugcat
04-20-2009, 09:21 PM
I can't believe I'm defending torturers, but consider this:

You are an intelligence op. You are told that a certain prisoner is a terrorist who has killed innocent people. He has information which, if obtained, will save many more innocent lives.

You are told to use certain interrogation techniques to get this information. You're already angry at this man -- you've seen the videos of terrorists sawing off the heads of screaming victims. Even so, you're disturbed at the methods you're being asked to use. You are assured that the methods have been thoroughly vetted up through the highest levels, and these methods, though harsh, do not constitute torture and are perfectly legal and justified. (Remember, former CIA heads and presidents still maintain this to be the case)

So you do it. Two years later, people are insisting that you be prosecuted and that your defense that you were following orders, orders that you believed at the time were perfectly legal, with good reason, are no different than the defense given by Nazi war criminals as they herded Jews into the death chambers. (Please, no Godwin references)

I don't see prosecution of these agents as a necessary or just policy.

Prosecution of those who ordered it is a different discussion. But as a pragmatic matter, lets not forget the shape we find our country in these days. We are in economic meltdown, and more than a few people are predicting a worsening of conditions than will lead something worse than the great depression. We are facing international crises such as the breakdown of secular society in a nuclear armed Pakistan, for one.

Our only hope is to be united, at least somewhat, behind the current admins policies. If you have half the country adamantly opposed to them, they will most likely fail. And already, there are many who are opposed. Putting Rumsfeld, Cheney, or Bush on trial will surely divide our country further, so drastically that it would almost ensure a worst case scenario for us all.

We've already announced that our policies about the treatment of detainees have changed. No more waterboarding, no more torture.

One can say that morality reigns supreme, and we must do the right thing no matter what the consequences, and that's a valid argument. But it's one I disagree with.

Zoombie
04-20-2009, 09:36 PM
Can't we like...put them on a list, then come down on them when the country is not in a hole?

You know, delayed justice is still justice, and though I can understand that there are slightly more pressing issues at hand, I'd still rather see these guys get their comeuppance.

Don
04-20-2009, 10:13 PM
Zoombie, the country is always in crisis. It's hard for me to remember a time in the last 40 years when the politicians and the press haven't had us wound up about some looming catastrophe, and I don't see any end in sight, do you?

Zoombie
04-20-2009, 10:14 PM
That's a vera good point.

Julie Worth
04-21-2009, 04:55 PM
Cheney, in his effort to show himself completely out of touch, is now wanting CIA to release reports (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8009571.stm) that show how effective torture is. He’s even gone over Obama’s head, asking CIA directly to declassify the memos.

So turns out releasing memos that might harm the security of the United States is secondary to redeeming his own image. He also seems to have forgotten that he is no longer de facto president.

Bird of Prey
04-21-2009, 05:36 PM
Cheney, in his effort to show himself completely out of touch, is now wanting CIA to release reports (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8009571.stm) that show how effective torture is. He’s even gone over Obama’s head, asking CIA directly to declassify the memos.

So turns out releasing memos that might harm the security of the United States is secondary to redeeming his own image. He also seems to have forgotten that he is no longer de facto president.

I thank God for term limits. I really think that America got rid of that administration in the nick of time.

Zoombie
04-21-2009, 10:58 PM
Obama says that he's open to persecuting (or however you spell it) the people who wrote the goddamn memos.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090421/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_interrogation_memos

I really hope this means he's going to go after the bastards. I think the law makers are slightly more guilty than the actual torturers (Though said torturers REALLY should have known better, yeesh)

Julie Worth
04-22-2009, 12:09 AM
I really hope this means he's going to go after the bastards. I think the law makers are slightly more guilty than the actual torturers (Though said torturers REALLY should have known better, yeesh)

They did know better. This from 2005, when agents destroyed videotapes of interrogations:

The [destroyed] videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.

dclary
04-23-2009, 12:43 AM
I'm of the opinion that if you don't want to be tortured, that instead of relying on the benevolence of the people you've been trying to murder, you should maybe choose not to be a terrorist.