Monday, October 24, 2016

Many Believe “Torture Works” — Okay, Imagine You're On The Receiving End

Ask John McCain About Torture (Does it work or not)

(December 9, 2014)

A fine NY Times Essay on Torture follows below:

INTRODUCTION: The torture itself was horrific enough. Beatings, hangings, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, mock executions — a litany of abuse authorized by the U. S. government against terrorism suspects held in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and for which no one in any position of power has ever been held accountable.

But taking fuller stock of the damage inflicted during those dark and brutal days is a continuing task. A series by The Times that began this month (October 2016) details the psychological and emotional scars that haunt the men, potentially hundreds, who suffered at the hands of interrogators at secret CIA “black sites” around the world and at the military detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

A disturbingly high number of these men were innocent, or were low-level fighters who posed so little threat that they were eventually released without charge. Yet despite assurances from lawyers in the DOJ that “enhanced interrogation techniques” (Note my insert: Enhanced interrogation is a fancy buzz word used to avoid saying torture) should have no negative long-term effects,

The Times found that many of the men still suffer from paranoia, psychosis, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their abuse.

They have flashbacks, nightmares, and debilitating panic attacks. Some cannot work, go outside, or speak to their families about what they went through.

One doctor compared the psychiatric disorders he saw among the former detainees to what military doctors observed in former American prisoners of war after they came home from Vietnam, Korea, and WW II.

Thanks for stopping by, and as usual, your comments are always welcome.

Monday, October 17, 2016

GITMO: Review of Detainees Held, Released, and Awaiting Action of Some Sort

[Click image for larger view]

The above map shows the 30 countries where former Gitmo detainees were released from U.S. custody. It also lists the number of former detainees released to those 30 countries.

This is an excellent and very extensive rundown on the current and historical status of war detainees held by the United States at Gitmo, Cuba.

Here are two key bullet points as way of introduction to the enormous amount of data there:

▪ First Gitmo Captives Arrive: Twenty arrived on January 11, 2002. They were housed at the first camp to open named: Camp X-Ray.

▪ The Last Captive to Arrive: A man named Muhammed Rahim al-Afghani. He is listed as a high-level al-Qaida captive. He arrived on March 14, 2008.

Enjoy the research and as I said, it is an excellent data base – easy to read and follow.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Major Update: Abu Zubaydah Captured and Held at Gitmo Since 2002 Seeks Release

Abu Zubaydah seen in 2002 (Later wounded and captured in Pakistan)
(Real name: Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn)

Abu Zubaydah in 2016 at Gitmo Detention Center

MAJOR UPDATE with this headlines from the NY Times

Abu Zubaydah, Tortured Guantánamo Detainee, Makes Case for Release

Extract from that article is here: Over 14 years in American custody, Abu Zubaydah, has come to symbolize, perhaps more than any other prisoner, how fear of terrorism after the September 11, 2001, attacks changed the United States.

He was the first detainee to be water boarded (over 80 times), and his brutal torture later was documented in a U.S. Senate report. He is among those held without charges and with no likelihood of a trial. The government long ago admitted that he was never the top leader of al-Qaeda that it had claimed at the time of his capture in 2002, but still insists today that he may still be dangerous and cannot be released.

In all that time, Mr. Zubaydah, now 45, had never been seen by the outside world. That changed on Tuesday, as his calm face was beamed via video feed from the Guantánamo Bay military prison to a Pentagon conference room.

That story continues at the link provided above.

His original capture and story follow here with this original background from April 23, 2009 also in the NY Times written by Ali Soufan former FBI supervisory special agent from 1997 to 2005. Mr. Soufan was the first to interrogate Abu Zubaydah and gain valuable intelligence without any harsh interrogation techniques. The following is in Agent Soufan’s own words from that article regarding that ordeal:

“For seven years I have remained silent about the false claims magnifying the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like water boarding. I have spoken only in closed government hearings, as these matters were classified. But the release of the four Justice Department memos on interrogations allows me to shed light on the story, and on some of the lessons to be learned.  One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working.

“The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use. It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another FBI agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence such as for example that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He then told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber. This experience fit what I had found throughout my counter terrorism career: traditional interrogation techniques are successful in identifying operatives, uncovering plots and saving lives.

“There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

“Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested in May 2002!!

“An FBI colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him. It has been the right decision to release these memos, as we need the truth to come out. This should not be a partisan matter, because it is in our national security interest to regain our position as the world’s foremost defenders of human rights. Just as important, releasing these memos enables us to begin the tricky process of finally bringing these terrorists to justice.

“The debate after the release of these memos has centered on whether C.I.A. officials should be prosecuted for their role in harsh interrogation techniques. That would be a mistake. Almost all the agency officials I worked with on these issues were good people who felt as I did about the use of enhanced techniques: it is un-American, ineffective and harmful to our national security.

“Fortunately for me, after I objected to the enhanced techniques, the message came through from Pat D’Amuro, an FBI assistant director stating: “We don’t do that.” Then I was pulled out of the interrogation by the FBI director, Robert Mueller (this was documented in the report released last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general).

“My CIA colleagues who balked at the techniques, on the other hand, were instructed to continue. (It’s worth noting that when reading between the lines of the newly released memos, it seems clear that it was contractors, not CIA officers, who requested the use of these techniques.)

“As we move forward, it’s important to not allow the torture issue to harm the reputation, and thus the effectiveness, of the CIA. The agency is essential to our national security. We must ensure that the mistakes behind the use of these techniques are never repeated.


“Some of the first questions asked of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed upon his capture and during the time during which he was water boarded were about possible connections between al-Qaeda and Iraq. KSM as he is called is the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. He was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003. According to Office of Legal Counsel (Bush’s legal office) memos released, he was water boarded 183 times that same month.

“The substance of the intelligence that was being sought from him has been an object of some speculation, with several defenders of the interrogation practice arguing that the goal was to prevent an impending attack on America. But a line buried on page 353 of the July 2004Select Committee on Intelligence report (523 pages) on pre-Iraq war intelligence strongly suggests that the interrogation was just as centered on a possible Iraq-al-Qaeda link as terrorist activity (thus a foundation for the invasion of Iraq).

“CTC [Counter Terrorist Center] noted that the questions regarding al-Qaida's ties to the Iraqi regime were among the first presented to senior al-Qaida operational planner Khalid Shaikh Muhammad following his capture. Revelations that KSM was questioned about possible al Qaeda ties to Iraq at roughly the same time that he was undergoing water boarding provides some key insight into the purpose of the CIA interrogations.

“A de-classified Senate Armed Services Committee report quoted army psychologist Maj. Paul Burney as saying that a large part of his time on a Behavioral Science Consultation Team was “... focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.” McClatchy newspapers then published an article citing a former intelligence official acknowledging that the Bush administration had pressured interrogators to use harsh techniques to produce evidence connecting the terrorist organization and Iraq's regime.

“All those efforts at establishing that link never bore fruit. KSM was unaware of any collaborative relationship between al-Qaida and the former Iraqi regime as he cited ideological disagreements as an impediment to closer ties.

“In addition, he was unable to corroborate reports that al-Qaeda associate Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi had traveled to Iraq to obtain medical treatment for injuries sustained in Afghanistan (another Bush team lie).

“All the reports shows that water boarding would be used as a means of establishing a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda also diffuses the Bush team notion that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques (torture)” were only being used in the so-called “ticking time bomb” scenarios.

“But one fact remains clear: “The Bush administration authorized harsh interrogation (torture) in April and May of 2002, well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion. Their principal priority for gathering critical intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack or stopping a “ticking bomb” as they said in every press conference, but was to discover the smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaeda that they so desperately need to justify the invasion of Iraq. It never happened, but the invasion did – the rest is now history.” [End of story from Mr. Soufan].

Related to this issue and posted at various times at this blog:

As usual, thanks from stopping by – come again and stay tuned to this very important issue.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Donald J. Trump is 100% Certifiable and Ready for the Nearest Padded Cell

Trump Fav Bedroom Pic

Trump wants to be president and take the oath office on Jan 20, 2017 by saying:

I, Donald J. Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Yet he advocates the below utter insanity. A very short clip is below wherein he says he would allow Americans to be tried at the Gitmo detainee center in Cuba … which need I remind anyone would be 100% illegal.

The whole story is here from the Miami Herald and in the short clip below:

Trump is certifiable and ready for the nearest padded cell.

Unbelievable – now watch him walk that back in a day or so …

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guantánamo Detainee Periodic Review Guide: Comprehensive and Up-to-Date

One View of Gitmo Bay, Cuba 

Faces of 15 of the 75 still detained
(See charts and photos in the link)

INTRODUCTION: The Miami Herald guide (as of July 25, 2016) breaks down the status of the last 76 Guantánamo detainees. It starts with those who have been entitled to Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearings. President Obama ordered the hearings in 2011.

Further down, the site charts show which detainees who are gone, both with and without board review, for various reasons.

NOTEWORTHY: Ten captives (listed immediately below) are charged at the war court and are not entitled to go before the PRB. One, Pakistani citizen Majid Khan, and who was educated in Baltimore and already pleaded guilty for being a courier of money used in the al-Qaeda bombing at the J. W. Marriott in Jakarta, Indonesia.

11/03/08 ^
Ahmed Haza al Darbi
Majid Khan
Khalid Sheik Mohammed
Walid bin Attash
Ramzi bin al Shibh
Ammar al Baluchi
Mustafa al Hawsawi
Abd al Rahim al Nashiri
Abd al Hadi al Iraqi
KEY for only one detainee: ^ = Convicted, serving life, still under appeal.

Three other captives were repatriated without Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearings under military commission plea agreements during the period when the Pentagon was setting up the PRB: (1) Ibrahim al Qosi and (2) Noor Uthman Mohammed to Sudan in July 2012 and December 2013 respectively and (3) Omar Khadr to Canada in September 2012.

This is an excellent and very comprehensive review of all the detainees at Gitmo in their various categories and stages of their prosecution, trial, and or possible release status.  

Thanks for stopping – please share this with anyone you choose. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Define Torture: Listening to Donald J. Trump Say Torture is Fine and Dandy

“Look, I Take My Orders from Above. And, No One is Above Me”

Now to prove my point: Trump’s stance and view on torture and other critical issues from the NY TIMES here.

Trump rose to prominence by describing the United States responses to terrorism as flaccid. 

For example, back during a GOP debate in February, he inched toward endorsing torture as a way to counteract the Islamic State’s barbarism, saying in part:

“Not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on (he meant the ISIS beheadings and other such horror) as we’ve seen on YouTube and elsewhere. I would bring back water boarding – and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than water boarding.”

Later, he said that “torture works,” and then he even called for killing families of terrorists,” which BTW is a violation of all kinds of laws. 

In March, he released a statement acknowledging the limitations imposed by laws and treaties and saying that he would not “order our military or other officials to violate those laws.”

But then in true Trump-style and one day later, he told a crowd that he would seek to change the laws barring torture, saying: “We’re like a bunch of babies — but we’re going to stay within the laws. But you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those laws broadened. Because we’re playing with two sets of rules — their rules and our rules.” (Note: So he says that in essence U.S. Forces who follow the rules of war are like a bunch of babies? And, his man wants to be CINC).

Trump says in so many words that he wants our troops and society, too I guess, to be like and act like and conduct ourselves like our enemies?

Say, like having another Vietnam-style My Lai, or how about more WWII Nazi Concentration Camps, or Russian Gulag, or even more modern and up-to-date horror/science lab? (Since most GOPers don’t believe in science, I’m sure any idea would be very popular and just fine for Trump supporters), or whatever else he could dream up.

Donald J. Trump is one very, very sick man – patently mentally disturbed and way off base in the middle of GOP la-la land not only on this issue, but on tons of several other critical issues. 

One session of “waterboarding” for him I am sure would change his mind in short order, or a full week or less of SERE training.

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gitmo Detainees at a Glance: The Numbers There Since

Cost Comparison Snapshot
(Federal Lockup vs. Gitmo)

1.  A total of 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo. Although most of these have been released without charge, we continue to classify many of those released detainees as “enemy combatants.” 

As of June 13, 2016, 80 detainees remained locked up at Guantanamo.

2.  In 2002, Camp Delta was opened to hold detainees swept up in the “War on Terror.”

Seems this scenario will play out until and through the November election, despite efforts by the Obama team to close Gitmo and shift detainee trials to Federal jurisdiction and close that chapter that still stains our entire system.

Myth: Terrorists have traditionally been tried in military commissions.

FactFederal civilian criminal courts have convicted more than 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges since 9/11Military commissions have convicted only eight, four of which have been overturned completely. Federal courts have convicted many high-profile terrorists, including “Shoe Bomber” Richard Reid, Ramzi Yousef (1993 World Trade Center bombing), Faisal Shahzad (Times Square bomber), and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law) in March 2014.

Myth: Military commissions are better equipped to handle terror cases.

Fact: Federal courts have more tools to try terrorists than military commissions. Federal courts, unlike military commissions, can try suspects for offenses involving fraud, immigration, firearms, and drugs. In addition, convictions for crimes of conspiracy and material support before a military commission, rather than a federal court, have been overturned on appeal because these crimes have not generally been considered war crimes. While Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, was convicted of terrorism-related offenses just over a year after he was captured, the military commission trial for the alleged 9/11 perpetrators has remained mired in pre-trial hearings since May 2012.

Myth: Federal prisons cannot safely detain terror suspects.

Fact: Federal prisons hold hundreds of individuals convicted of terrorism-related offenses. None have ever escaped. Guantanamo is also much more expensive than federal prisons, costing more than $5 million per prisoner annually, compared to less than $78,000 in a comparable maximum security federal prison.

Myth: Terrorism trials in federal court risk the safety of Americans.

Fact: None of the districts that have tried terrorism suspects have been attacked in response, and Guantanamo actually hinders counter-terrorism efforts. 

Myth: Terror suspects should be tried before military commissions because they do not deserve our regular courts.

Fact: Prosecuting terror suspects before military commissions makes them look like warriors rather than the criminals that they are. As Judge William Young said when sentencing Shoe Bomber Richard Reid, “You’re no warrior….You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.” 

More later I am sure.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Back in the Spotlight as Predicted: Will Justice Prevail or Be Swept Under a Rug

Jessen and Mitchell

Analysis Statement of Jessen and Mitchell Credentials

Updated (April 24, 2016) of the following, which was posted earlier:

The heart of the lawsuit by former detainees against the two phony CIA program designers, Jessen and Mitchell, is expressed in simple terms from this updated source link.  

First of all, this is the first time a case about the CIA’s use of torture has gotten is far in any American court. A big reason for that is because it’s harder to argue that classified information was at risk, since much of it was declassified in the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence report on the CIA’s use of torture, over 500 pages of which was released in December 2014.

That report confirmed that under former President George W. Bush, “... interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others at the time.”

The Senate report documented a variety of torture methods used on detainees: (1) waterboarding (which has been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime for decades); (2) sleep deprivation, (3) threats made against detainees families, (4) physical beatings, (5) rectal rehydration, (6) ice baths, (7) putting detainees in coffin-sized boxes (sometimes filled with creepy insects, and, (8) a few other horrifying abuses.

And, all done under the label of “national security to keep us safe in name of the American people.”

My simple retort to that weak-ass excuse is and has been along this, and excuse me for being so blunt:

I have written extensively on the issue of torture and this is a major update here regarding key previous posts about the two pictured above (Jessen and Mitchell). This story has this headline:

100 men who were tortured by the CIA are now suing the program’s (two) designers in Federal court…”

First, some key background info on Jessen and Mitchell here, here, here,  here, and here.

Whether this story goes any further than this headlines remains to be seen. If and when it does, I will provide updates.

For the first time since the US launched the so-called War on Terror, two former CIA contractors are in federal court.

Former Air Force Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who designed the CIA's torture program, are trying to get a judge to throw out the lawsuit filed on behalf of some of the men who were tortured.

More than 100 men say they were subjected to water boarding and beatings during interrogations in Afghanistan.

According to the 2014 US Senate Intelligence Committee report on the torture program, Mitchell and Jessen, neither of whom who had any experience in interrogations, were paid $81 million teach the CIA how to break the detainees during questioning.

The Senate Intelligence Committee torture report called the program “brutal, physically harmful, and not effective.”

More will be posted later as this story takes root, or not. That is to say it may not take root due to provisions already in place to give those two men cover that may be in the form of any contract between them and the CIA – i.e., gives them legal cover as it were if something like this ever were to come up and now it has.

For example, in a brief June 2009 e-mail exchange, Mitchell said his nondisclosure agreement with the CIA prevented him from commenting about the program details. He also suggested that his and Jessen’s work had been mischaracterized. Time will tell what happens next.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Close to Closing Gitmo: GOP Fears Federal Trials and Supermax Incarceration

Federal Prisons Across the Country
(Source is here. Click map for larger view)
[Resource: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice]

(CNN) The United States is transferring nine detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said recently (Saturday, April 16, 2016).

The transfer, which brings the number of prisoners remaining at Guantanamo to 80, comes amid President Obama's renewed effort to close the prison, a pledge he made early in his presidency. It also comes ahead of Obama's planned trip to Saudi Arabia next week.  

Ironically, most GOPers and a few DEMS, are still scared shitless about transferring the remaining (or any) detainees to Conus for Federal trial and confinement in Federal facilities or even Supermax prisons, which BTW currently hold several hundred already.  

The key question is simple: Why is the GOP so resistant to Federal trials which have been harsh on terrorists do date. It makes no sense, none whatsoever.  

Related background data also at this link with precise details on terrorists now incarcerated at Federal prisons.  

Bottom line: The GOP is stubborn and flat out wrong on this issue of closure. The record of trusting the Federal court system is rock solid. 

Stay tuned.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Trump and Cruz on Torture: Novices Who Want the U.S. to Be Just Like ISIS

Cruz and Trump: Maniacs Я Us

Updated (April 11, 2016):
Donald Trump back on same subject but now with some sort of crazy-ass vengeance aimed at the Director of the CIA, John Brennan, and saying: “The CIA director is ridiculous on waterboarding.”
Donald Trump took on Brennan on torture after Brennan said on NBC News Sunday (April 10, 2016) that he would not allow enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, even if a future president ordered it.
Trump struck at Brennan saying: “I think his comments are ridiculous.” (Naturally Trump said that on FOX News Monday). “I mean, they chop off heads and they drown people in cages with 50 in a cage, in big, steel heavy cages, drop them right into the water drown people, and we can’t water-board and we can’t do anything. And you know we’re playing on different fields. And we have a huge problem with ISIS, which we can’t beat, and the reason we can’t beat them is we won’t use strong tactics, whether it’s this or other things.”
Reminder from previous post: Joe Navarro, one of the FBI’s top experts in questioning techniques, told The New Yorker: “Only a psychopath can torture and be unaffected. You don’t want people like that in your organization. They are untrustworthy, and tend to have grotesque other problems.”
Also, Trump and Cruz both spewed on this subject previously saying:   
That view differs from UN Convention against torture, which was ratified by the U.S. in 1990. Here is their definition: “Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession… when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public office or other person acting in an official capacity.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross and many others all contend that torture falls into the above definition without doubt.
Federal law (18 USC Section 2340) defines torture as something that is: “Specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering” — plus and the U.S. Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” 
Former Army JAG, Major General Thomas Romig said: “There is no way any competent and knowledgeable attorney can say that waterboarding is legal under the Geneva Conventions, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or the Convention Against Torture.” (Wall Street Journal in 2014 interview).
Cruz was obviously referring to the controversial 2002 document known as the “Bybee Memo” written by Jay S Bybee, who as the time was the head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush. At the time, that memo advised the CIA and DOD that techniques such as “waterboarding” might be legally allowed under an interpretation of the president’s authority during war time. The memo said the only pain equal to that produced by organ failure or death qualified as torture.  But it is worth noting that this definition has since been widely criticized and subsequently disavowed.
Jack Goldsmith, who served as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 to 2004 (under Bush), put a temporary halt to the use of waterboarding as a technique after he raised questions about this type of interrogation and the law.
Let me be clear on this point:Waterboarding is often described as a simulated drowning or a technique to convince the detainee or prisoner that he or she is drowning.” There is no way to simulate the lungs filling with water without water entering the lungs to start the actual drowning.
Views in favor of accepting torture in emergencies: Alan Dershowitz, a prominent American defense attorney, surprised some observers by giving limited support to the idea that torture could be justified. He argued that human nature can lead to unregulated abuse “off the books.” Therefore, it would be better if there were a regulated procedure through which an interrogator could request a “torture warrant and that requiring a warrant would establish a paper trail of accountability.”
Torturers, and those who authorize torture, could be held to account for excesses. Dershowitz's suggested torture warrants, similar to search warrants and phone tap warrants, would spell out the limits on the techniques that interrogators may use, and the extent to which they may abridge a suspect's rights. In September 2002, when reviewing Alan Dershowitz's book, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge, Richard Posner, legal scholar and judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, wrote in The New Republic: 
“If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used--and will be used--to obtain the information.... No one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility.”
Views in favor of torturing the relatives of suspects: In February 2010 Bruce Anderson wrote a column for The Independent, arguing that the British government would have not just the right, but the duty, to torture if there was a ticking bomb, and that they should torture the relatives of suspects if they believed that doing so would yield information that would avert a terrorist attack: “It came, in the form of a devilish intellectual challenge: Let's take your hypothesis a bit further. We have captured a terrorist, but he is a hardened character. We cannot be certain that he will crack in time. We have also captured his wife and children. So, we torture the wife and children.”
Views rejecting torture under all circumstances: Some human rights organizations, professional and academic experts, and military and intelligence leaders have absolutely rejected the idea that torture is ever legal or acceptable, even in a so-called ticking bomb situation. They have expressed grave concern about the way the dramatic force and artificially simple moral answers the ticking bomb thought-experiment seems to offer, have manipulated and distorted the legal and moral perceptions, reasoning and judgment of both the general population and military and law enforcement officials. 
They reject the proposition, implicit or explicit, that certain acts of torture are justifiable, even desirable. They believe that simplistic responses to the scenario may lead well-intentioned societies down a slippery slope to legalized and systematic torture. They point out that no evidence of any real-life situation meeting all the criteria to constitute a pure ticking bomb scenario has ever been presented to the public, and that such a situation is highly unlikely.
As well, torture can be criticized as a poor vehicle for discovering truth, as people experiencing torture, once broken, are liable to make anything up in order to stop the pain and can become unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction under intense psychological pressure. Additionally, since the terrorist presumably knows that the timer is ticking, he has an excellent reason to lie and give false information under torture in order to misdirect his interrogators; merely giving a convincing answer which the investigators will waste time checking out makes it more likely that the bomb will go off, and of course once the bomb has gone off, not only has the terrorist won, but there is also no further point in torturing him, except perhaps as revenge.
Others point out that the ticking-bomb torture proponents adopt an extremely short-term view, which impoverishes their consequentialism. Using torture — or even declaring that one is prepared to accept its use — makes other groups of people much more likely to use torture themselves in the long run. The consequence is likely to be a long-term increase in violence.
This long-term effect is so serious that the person making the torture decision cannot possibly (according to this argument) make a reasonable estimate of its results.
Thus the decision-maker has no grounds for certainty that the value of the lives saved from the ticking bomb will outweigh the value of the lives lost because of the subsequent disorder. He or she cannot arrive at a successful accounting of consequences.
Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trump New Reality Show “Competition for Torture: to Inflict Pain and Agony”

Trump View of Torture (and Outcome)
(He never broke and never revealed info)

GOP's Favorite All-time Hero
(his view on torture)

Donald J. Trump is moving so fast and changing so quickly on this topic that’s it hard to keep up … so, here we are again with another update on his stance and views about torture.

But, first I present Trump in this short clip from “Face the Nation.” More details follow the clip. This an extremely important topic – torture of war detainees – for any candidate for President to tackle the way Trump has in the past, then he flip-flopped, and now, as seen this clip, he once again reverses course back to his original position. Watch it if you didn’t catch it on the live broadcast. It is about 11 minutes long.

Background: Trump said late last year on Fox to Sean Hannity and just recently reinforced his views that he would order and allow killing suspected terrorist family members and also have our Armed forces use torture like waterboarding and in fact that waterboarding was not torture in his view, etc.

Now this latest from him – his first backpedaling (my emphasis):

“I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”

As seen in the “Face the Nation” clip, he once again reverses course by saying he if is elected president, he would “strengthen laws to allow for the use of torture.”  As noted in the interview, Trump for the third time states his view on torture. Here are his own words from that show in part on this subject that I want to emphasize:

“We have an enemy in the Middle East that's chopping off heads and drowning people in massive steel cages. We have an enemy that doesn't play by the laws. You could say laws, and they're laughing. They're laughing at us right now. I would like to strengthen the laws so that we can better compete. You know, it's very tough to beat enemies that don't have any, that don't have any restrictions, all right? We have these massive restrictions. Now, I will always abide by the law, but I would like to have the law expanded. I happen to think that when you're fighting an enemy that chops off heads, I happen to think that we should use something that's stronger than we have right now. Right now, basically, waterboarding is essentially not allowed, as I understand it. ... I would certainly like it to be, at a minimum, at a minimum to allow that.”

[Trump discounted the argument that if the U.S. military used waterboarding, captured American soldiers and hostages could be subjected to worse treatment]. 

Trump continued: “They're doing that anyway. They're killing our soldiers when they capture 'em. I mean, they're doing that anyway. Now, if that were the case - in other words, we won't do it and you don't do it, but we're not playing by those rules. What, did somebody tell ISIS, “Look, we're going to treat your guys well; will you please do us a favor and treat our guys well?” They don't do that. We're not playing by - we are playing by rules but they have no rules. It's very hard to win when that's the case.”

Host Dickerson asked if rules are what “separates us from the savages,”

Trump said he didn't think so, adding “We have to beat the savages.” Dickerson then asked if that would require us throwing all the rules out.

Then Trump showed his true colors: “You have to play the game the way they're playing the game. You're not going to win if we're soft and they are not; they have no rules. Now, I want to stay within the laws, I want to do all of that, but I think we have to increase the laws.”

So, he would get laws in place that puts us on par with those we are fighting to “compete” like in a new business deal selling sneakers, or deal for another high-rise building, or getting permission to build a new casino in Nevada or off-shore?

All I can say is this insane talk from an insane man who wants to be President and do insane things.

Related here (General Officer rebuke), and here (Sen. John McCain).

That’s all I say at this time – more later, I am sure.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Major Update: Trump Backpedals on Waterboarding and Torture

Just Like Donald J. Trump: After he is held to account

Waterboarding is Torture by All Measurements
(Trump and others don't seem to think so)

The Man Who Ordered the CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed

Original post follows this major update: 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has retreated from his promise that if elected president he would order the military to kill family members of militants who threaten the United States.
His campaign issued a statement quoting him as saying he would not order the military to take actions contrary to international or U.S. law.
Just 24 hours earlier, in the last GOP debate, Trump stuck to his position on targeting family members of militants and on an expansive use of torture against captured militants. When a debate moderator asked him what he would do if the military refused to carry out such orders, Trump replied: “They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.”
These points, it seems must be reinforced time and time again and then again for the Trump types:
(1) The use of torture and the killing of civilians are barred by the Geneva Conventions, to which the United States is a signatory.
(2)  Congress outlawed waterboarding and the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” after the Bush team carried out such acts against suspected al-Qaeda detainees and others in U.S. custody.
(3)  Members of our military are bound by duty and tradition to refuse orders they know or believe to be illegal. This includes intentionally targeting civilian noncombatants.
This aspect of the issue drew additional attention recently when more than 100 Republican defense and national security figures, including former senior Pentagon officials, issued a written statement blasting Trump's foreign policy positions and calling his embrace of the expansive use of torture “inexcusable.”
Defining when aggressive interrogation techniques such as waterboarding amount to torture has been a matter of divided debate, but Trump had made clear that as president he would not hesitate to go beyond waterboarding, saying in part: “We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.”
(I interject at this point once again as I have stated before: Waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal, unlawful, a war crime, and has been for decades. It is useless and ineffective).
Trump had also defended his position on targeting the family of militants, which he first raised during a “FOX and Friends” interview last December, saying among other things:
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”
Now, however, Trump has now reversed course now saying this as the article states (Friday, March 4, 2016) – emphasis added:
“I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”
Wow – another turnaround and about face from this phony man – a man who will do, say, pay, try, lie, imply, or deny anything to win this election. In my humble view – that must never happen.

Original Post from Here:

Introduction:  Mr. Rodriquez failed mention that technique was used on our troops to demonstrate and show them how it feels and to teach them as much as possible how to resist interrogation as part of their SERE trainingThe “R” stands for resistance as part of the SERE acronym. I know. I used to teach our Marines that part.

The use of waterboarding, called “enhanced interrogation technique” by the Bush Administration that was the center of a national firestorm in 2007 when they were accused of using it – which by all standards is torture and is illegal, unlawful, and a war crime in international and U.S. legal circles and has been for decades – not counting it is downright inhumane and ineffective as a tool to gather actionable, let alone valuable information … it has one purpose as torture always does: to inflict pain and get a confession, which in 99.9% of the time is false and used to stop the torture. Ask any professional.  

Just don’t ask prospective GOP nominee Donald J. Trump. He did not flinch in a response to a question during a GOP debate recently whether he would use it or not. He told the moderator, David Muir, that he would not only use it, but “would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” He even said it was “minimal torture.” Minimal – like being almost pregnant I guess? Torture is torture, Mr. Trump and for you say you would commit a war crime in advance is the same as admitting to any premeditated crime.  

Later during his interview on Meet the Press the very next day Trump went on to explain why, adding: “I would be very much in favor of going beyond waterboarding. And believe me, in terms of getting information, it works.”

So, how do we spell utter nonsense bullshit in this election cycle? Oh, that’s easy. It’s spelled: “Donald J. Trump.”

Then standing with him on the debate platform, Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” chimed and said he would use it more sparingly, and then noted that waterboarding “is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.”

So, are Trump and Cruz and any others who think that same way on this issue right or wrong on this question: “Are enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding legal, necessary, and effective in protecting American citizens from future terror attacks?”

In three words: “No; Hell no; and, “Jose, no way in Hell, no.” (Actually that more than three words).

Some of it I have posted many times (see below) and always with the same simple message: “Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal, unlawful, and a war crime, and it is ineffective and does not work.” Case closed.

Now someone tell Mr. Trump and those who believe that same crap with him.

The mere thought of having Trump or any other person who in advance gives us notice that he or she would be a war criminal in the Oval Office is mind boggling. I shudder to even ponder that prospect. What about you?

Thanks for stopping by.