Bill Press believes that America has abdicated its right to fulminate about “human rights.”
For decades, American politicians have denounced human rights violations in Cuba. With good cause, they’ve accused the Castro brothers of rounding up political prisoners, torturing them, and detaining them for years with no charges filed and no access to a criminal trial.
But, as true as they may be, American politicians can no longer make those charges. Because the worst human rights violator in Cuba today is not the Castro regime, it’s us. It’s the U.S. government at our prison at the United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay; first, under George W. Bush, and now, under Barack Obama.
Read the rest.
Remember that, when President Obama tried to close Gitmo, that old white men in Congress kept him from doing so.
As an old white man. I’m quite fed up with old white men.
Conservative chicken littles conspire for continuing concentration camp cruelty.
Robyn Blumner looks back:
What to do about the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is a tragic puzzle with no clear solution. Like the war of adventurism in Iraq and a domestic economy in free fall, President George W. Bush left behind this towering mess for Obama to clean up.
Raw politics have stymied Obama’s efforts to close Bush’s Bastille. Congress has imposed completely unjustified restrictions on the movement of Guantanamo detainees to the United States for trial or even for repatriation or settlement in other nations. A Fox News echo chamber equates Guantanamo’s closure and detainee prosecutions in U.S. civil courts with being soft on terrorists, an absurd but effective allegation.
Why would a nation whose moral authority as a world leader derives from its commitment to the rule of law and due process establish a parallel legal system for foreigners only, designed to bend whatever rules are necessary to obtain a conviction? Here’s why: Vice President Dick Cheney, his legal attack dog David Addington and apparatchik John Yoo saw military commissions as the culmination of the president’s king-like authority. The Bush administration wanted “a permanent legal structure under the president’s sole command,” Bravin writes, with the power of life and death.
What folks are loathe to mention–especially members of the professional punditocracy–is that the Bush Administration was not only corrupt and incompetent, it was also cruel and sadistic, filled with not nice people.
Read the rest.
The swamp gas continues to stink.
It is distasteful that America’s Torquemadas have not been called to account–distasteful, but understandable, for, were they to be called to account, the persons who set them their tasks, the Pope and Vatican Council to their Torquemada–George Bush, Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Paul Wolfewitz, and their dupes, symps, and fellow travelers–would also have to be called to account.
Frankly, not a chance.
But this–well, words fail me.
Peter Van Buren reports at Asia Times:
The one man in the whole archipelago of America’s secret horrors facing prosecution is former CIA agent John Kiriakou. Of the untold numbers of men and women involved in the whole nightmare show of those years, only one may go to jail.
And of course, he didn’t torture anyone.
Many observers believe however that the real “offense” in the eyes of the Obama administration was quite different. In 2007, Kiriakou became a whistleblower. He went on record as the first (albeit by then, former) CIA official to confirm the use of waterboarding of al-Qaeda prisoners as an interrogation technique, and then to condemn it as torture.
In the Guardian, Michael Ratner reviews the genesis of the shame of Guantanamo.
Together, these acts (the Authorisation (sic) for Use of Military Force and Military Order #1, both enacted in the post-9/11 frenzy–ed.), plus the Bush administration’s declaration of a so-called “war on terror”, doubled as publicity stunt and power grab. By treating the assaults of 9/11 as acts of war rather than crimes, despite the fact that laws of war apply to battles between countries, the White House could “go cowboy”. And so it did, eschewing the Constitution, kicking down doors, taking prisoners at will, and doing whatever it liked with them – without any heed for international law and without caring whether those prisoners were the right ones or not.
Remember, President Obama has tried since taking office to close the concentration camp. It’s that lily-livered sidewinder Congress that walks in fear.
One of the perpetual intellectual and moral failures of the “Progressives” who continually rail against the President, doing stupid stuff like calling on persons “to primary Obama,” is their inability to tell who did what to whom. They seem to expect that, since President George the Worst acted like a dictator, President Obama should do the same.
At Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog, JM Ashby reminds us why the concentration camp at Guantanamo is still open.
Hint: It ain’t the President’s doing.
- President Obama signed an executive order on the day he took office in 2009 to close Guantanamo Bay
- This is the fourth time since 2009 that Congress has voted to block the closure of Guantanamo Bay
- Congress has voted overwhelmingly, in a bipartisan fashion, each of those four times to block the closure of Guantanamo Bay
The Wall Street Journal reports that the security contractor is announcing it’s switched its name to Academi, all part of an effort to be more “boring.”
From the blurb on YouTube:
Thom Hartmann talks with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Congresswoman (D-IL, 9th District) about intimidation tacticts being used against her by Blackwater CEO Erik Prince.
In a display of meaningless machismo theatre, some members of Congress want to turn more terrorism suspects over the military tribunals.
In the Detroit Free-Press, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (U.S. Army Ret.) argues against this. He cites not only the obvious Constitutional grounds,* but also practical ones. A nugget (emphasis added):
Congress’ purported reason for funneling more suspects into the military system is, of course, to be tougher on terrorism. Terrorist attacks are acts of war, the thinking goes, and therefore should be handled solely by the U.S. military. But the respective records of federal courts and military tribunals undermine this rationale. Through domestic law enforcement, most notably the FBI and Department of Justice, the U.S. has successfully prosecuted more than 400 terrorism cases. Military tribunals have convicted only six people in 10 years.
*The rights in the Bill of Rights are accorded to “persons,” not to “persons we like this week”
It’s long past time that this sadistic and shameful stain on the moral standing of the United States was expunged:
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Obama administration will do its utmost to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay before next year’s presidential elections despite political opposition.
Holder said at the European Parliament that even if the current administration fails to close it ahead of elections, it will continue to press ahead if it wins the November 2012 presidential vote.
No doubt the Republicans will proceed to wet the nation’s pants in fear.
They are happiest when they can convince the populace to cower and shiver behind locked doors.
Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune:
That’s the sort of logic deployed by defenders of the Bush administration’s torture program.
Follow the link to see the take-down.
The recent attempts on the part of the wingnut right to claim that torture had a role in tracking Osama bin Laden, fraudulent though they are, leads me to wonder this:
(Update: Typo corrected.)
Once more, confirmation of what we already knew.
From the Guardian:
The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called “worst of the worst”, many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.
And, remember, President Obama tried to close the Guantanamo gulag, but Congress refused.
In the January issue (there’s a one issue lag before full articles hit their website), Psychology Today explored the techniques of four criminal investigators acknowledged by their peers as among the best at questioning witnesses and suspects.
Torture Enhanced interrogation techniques had nothing to do with it. The ability to read people and to establish a connection with them had a lot to do with it.
Here’s a nugget:
“On an elevator I’ll find out what I can between the first and fifteenth floor,” says Newberry. “I try to make people comfortable and if they’re not, I want to know why.” Newberry is soft-spoken and his physical presence is muted; perhaps the most noticeable characteristic about him is a tic in his right eye. He retired from the ATF in 1998, and lives on a secluded ranch in Northern California. . . .
Newberry likes to recount an incident from the beginning of his career in which a truck bomb killed a woman and child. At the scene was a man, rocking back and forth.
“I got down on my knees and said, ‘This is hard. I know you didn’t mean to do it.’”
“No,” the man responded. “She took the wrong car.”
Why did Newberry approach the man this way?
“Just a gut feeling.”