Monday, February 6, 2017

Bashar al-Assad (Syrian President) — Vlad Putin's Best Bud — Both Trump BFF's

Best Buds in “War on Terror” — or “War on Civilians” in Syria
(Make no mistake – Syria is a Civil War)

New Middle East [Peace] Triad
(Or so it seems)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Syrian government has executed 5,000 to 13,000 people in mass hangings in just one of its many prisons since the start of the six-year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, Amnesty International contends in a new report.
The report on the Saydnaya military prison, which Amnesty said was based on interviews with former detainees there, prison employees, judges and others, accuses the Syrian government of systematically executing perceived opponents after sham trials that lasted just a few minutes.
Inmates are kept under conditions so dismal — including regular, severe beatings and deprivation of food, water, medicine and basic sanitation — that they amount to deliberate extermination, defined under international law as a crime against humanity, the report said.
While inhumane prison conditions in Syria have been known for decades, the Amnesty report laid out what it described as new details — not documented by any human rights monitoring group to date — about the scale of the killings and the state systems required to facilitate them, including approvals by high-ranking officials.
“We now know where, when and how often these hangings are taking place, as well as which elements of the Syrian government have authorized them,” said Nicolette Waldman, an Amnesty researcher specializing in detention issues and one of the report’s authors.
Assad, in an interview with The New York Times and other journalists last year, insisted that detainees were being treated according to Syrian law and that their families could locate them by appealing to the judicial system.
Can’t wait to hear Mr. Trump response to this – outta be a hoot. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Time for Two Events: FOX Must Fire Hannity and Trump Must Be Impeached

Hannity Interviews Trump in the White House
(Screenshot of White House Interview)

Sickening interview and this headline (actual clip is below)
Sean Hannity Advises President Trump to Justify and Authorize Torture by Posing Hypothetical Kidnapping of a Journalist's Kids
Sean Hannity said in part: “If I had an opportunity to speak with David Muir, I would ask if he would water board hypothetical kidnappers of his children.”

SEAN HANNITY (FOX INTERVIEW HOST): “Waterboarding, black sites came up in your interview last night. And I was thinking, if I had an opportunity to speak with David Muir, I would say, “OK, two guys go in to your house, they kidnap your child, one guy gets away with your child, you tackle the other guy. That guy knows where your child is. Would you not water board that guy?” 
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: “So water boarding used to be used because they said it really wasn't torture. It was the one step slightly below torture. That's why water boarding happened.”
HANNITY: “That's why it was legal.”
TRUMP: “Torture is real torture. OK, water boarding is, I'm sure it's not pleasant, but water boarding was just short of torture. When all of a sudden they made it torture. So here's the story, look. I spoke with people the other day, who are in this world that we're talking about. They said, “Absolutely it works. Absolutely.” Now, General Mattis said that he doesn't intend to use it. I'm with him all the way. Do I believe it works? Yes, I do.” 
HANNITY: “We actually know it works.”

Okay, first a couple of things: 

(1) Fox should immediately fire that dufus brain dead Sean Hannity, who on live TV advocates to the president that he break the law. 

FYI: Torture is and has been for many decades: illegal and unlawful, and yes, since water boarding is torture, it is also war crime.

(2) Hannity is flat out wrong to say and imply “That’s why it was legal,” under Bush-Cheney just because the OLC wrote a secret memo saying it was legal … memos cannot change the law.

(3) Hannity’s weak ass ticking time bomb fallacy (what if children kidnapped would you water board a kidnapper captured?) is just plain sick… cite this example I posted about here.

Hannity has to go. Also, Mr. Trump for his stance to support illegal, unlawful, and war crimes acts by pushing the decision to break or obey our torture law onto the new Defense Secretary James Mattis while Mr. Trump still supports torture (and yes, again, water boarding is torture, period) is reason alone to impeach and remove him from office, or for anyone else who holds that view in elected office.
Related to this: Respected Georgetown University Law Professor Jonathan Turley has appeared on many shows to discuss torture. He wrote a column in May of 2009 wherein he discussed the case for prosecuting war crimes, for example, those committed by those in the Bush Administration. 
Turley outlined how the “status of water boarding as torture was established by the United States” for example when Army Maj. Edwin F. Glenn used water boarding in the Philippines way back in 1898. Glenn later he argued water boarding was “justified under the necessities” but those arguments were rejected and Glenn was “court-martialed and convicted of the crime of torture.”

Turley also has outlined how torture is a war crime IAW “The Torture Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2340.” Torture also is expressly prohibited by “The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” That is binding law that was signed by President Reagan.

Also related here from the BBC (also with ABC News clip and David Muir interview that Hannity berated).

Bush lawyers who were involved in granting permission for torture of detainees like Abu Zubaydah would want us to believe the country could have been attacked if water boarding had not been ordered. (More here on Zubaydah by former professional FBI interrogator Ali Soufan who actually broke Zubaydah and didn't lay a finger on his and he gave up good info including the ID of KSM).

However, the Washington Post for example, reported in March of 2009 that the multi times that detainee Abu Zubaydah was water boarded (by the CIA not Soufan) that it “did not in fact stop any attacks, or even foil any planned ones.”

Mr. Trump is in essence advocating preemptive unlawful and illegal acts and would be breaking and knowingly breaking the law.
That short FOX interview segment is here (less than 2 minutes) – it is sickening just to see those two and hear them say what they said:

I ask everyone to send a note, a tweet, make a call, send a Fax, or Email to FOX (Attention: Rupert Murdoch and tell him to fire Hannity immediately).
Related: Two cases of how torture was employed and ended up killing two detainees in CIA custody without revealing any actionable or worthwhile military information… these are two cases we all should remember. Here they are from NPR. In the Jamadi case they CIA thought he had info about explosives and bombs… if he did, the info died with him. Ergo: torture DOES NOT work, period and the so-called “ticking time bomb” is utter bullshit.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Torture: Make It Policy and Let's Get on With It, Okay Says Pompeo and Trump

Trump and Pompeo View of Torture
(A cartoon, yes; in reality not funny)

So, remind me, who said history does not repeat itself? Don’t know for sure, but this quip is often attributed to Mark Twain comes close – I’ve always liked it: “History may not repeat itself. But it rhymes.” 

And, here we are again today: It appears that the GOP still loves torture… case in point with CIA nominee, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and views on the subject.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Donald Trump's pick to run the CIA, Mike Pompeo, told Congress that he would consider bringing back waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation measures under certain circumstances.

But, first this background and reminder from just one year ago reported on and with this startling part from then Donald J. Trump, now President Donald J. Trump:
BLUFFTON, SC — Donald Trump says he supports waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques because “torture works” in the questioning of terrorists.
Proponents of waterboarding are careful not to label the technique as torture, which is forbidden by various international laws and treaties. President Obama's administration discontinued the use of waterboarding because it deemed the technique to be torture. During a campaign event at the Sun City retirement community, Trump emphasized his intention to reinstate waterboarding and techniques that are “so much worse and much stronger,” adding: “Don't tell me it doesn't work – torture works. Okay, folks? Torture – you know, half these guys [say]: Torture doesn't work. Believe me, it works. Okay?”
Trump has long called for the return of waterboarding, and he has seemed to embrace the idea of torture in the past without using the term himself. During a February 7, 2016 interview on ABC's “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” he asked Mr. Trump whether he “would authorize torture,” and he responded:
“I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding.”
Then Mr. Trump wrote an Op-ed piece on the issue for USA Today and he called it: “I will do whatever it takes.”
Related and since the election of Mr. Trump this article as a reminder, too.
And, now here we are again with Mike Pompeo:

In a series of written responses to questions from members of the Senate intelligence committee, Pompeo said that while current permitted interrogation techniques are limited to those contained in the Army Field Manual, he was open to making changes to that policy.

Pompeo stated in part: “If confirmed, I will consult with experts at the Agency and at other organizations in the government on whether the Army Field Manual uniform application is an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country.”

Pompeo acknowledged interrogation practices like waterboarding are illegal under current law, but he did not rule out seeking to have those laws modified, saying further:If experts believed the current law was an impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country, I would want to understand such impediments and whether any recommendations were appropriate for changing current law.”

My summary and notes for Mr. Pompeo and others on this issue:

(1) Which experts do you refer to: legal, political, or professional interrogators?

(2) Changing the law and to make torture national policy and somehow say it's “okay” would begin the total demise of us as a nation and set us on a course for world turmoil on a platform that only ISIS would endorse 100%.

(3) Oh, yeah, Mr. Pompeo, what about this your earlier view stated to Congress… say the law were changed to allow torture, would you follow that law? Just asking.

Tell you what, Mr. Pompeo: Allow me and a team of other professional interrogators to water board you, okay?

Setup: Have someone give you some “fake” Top Secret information for this exercise, then we can see how it takes to break you and what info you provide.

My hunch is that you probably would break in a minute or less. But, the info would still be fake, wouldn’t it?

Pompeo must not be confirmed and for those who vote to confirm, well, may I suggest that they resign from office, then go join ISIS… they would greet you with open arms I am sure since they love torture – all forms of it.

Finally, and in all honestly for Mr. Pompeo on his views about this, and for all others who hold that same view about, I say as plainly as I can: You all are sick bastards. 

Please continue reading on this subject earlier posted here... and thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned... this topic is apt to get very, very ugly.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trump Favors Return to Waterboarding or Worse (He Has Said)

Sure he favors Waterboarding - says he likes it

This followed waterboarding, and he never broke 

The heart of this post and entire issue of torture and whether waterboarding is torture is again addressed in this fine article. Waterboarding in particular, as if I need to remind anyone is torture – make no mistake about it, it is torture and it has been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime for decades. 

The following notes on this comes from this very fine NY Times article here.

1.  Starting as far back as in the 1980's,
James Mitchell (Ret. Air Force officer with zero interrogator training or experience) helped run a training program designed to give service members a taste of the harsh treatment they could expect as prisoners of war (program is called SERE). It included a form of “simulated drowning” used by the Chinese on Americans in the Korean War today referred to as “waterboarding”).

2.  After the September 11 attacks, Mitchell and a colleague, also a Ret. Air Force officer,
Bruce Jessen (also with zero interrogator training or experience), developed a theory call “waterboarding” along with other brutal interrogation techniques and proclaimed that they could produce a sense of “learned helplessness” that “would render detainees incapable of withholding information.”

3.  Neither Mitchell nor Jessen had conducted any, not one real-world interrogation instead they simply relied on techniques designed by totalitarian states in the history books.

4. All those ancient methods tended to elicit false confessions, as opposed to reliable military intelligence for field/ground commanders — but that did not dissuade the CIA hiring those two and in the end paying more than $80 million to their company: Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

6.  Since then, military and counter-terrorism officials have never forgotten where that awful detour into darkness has led us: (1) troves of unreliable intelligence, (2) many demoralized professional interrogators, (3) terrorists in custody who still cannot be tried in a court of law because they were tortured, and (4) an ugly stench that still clings to America’s counter-terrorism reputation these many years later and indeed on the entire country – possibly for decades to come.

Now Donald J. Trump, CINC-in-Waiting wants to return to that era or worse (stated in his own words).


1.  This whole false attitude about torture must be in the Trump genes – in their DNA as it were. Trump's son, Eric Trump, says waterboarding no worse than “college frat prank” that I posted about here. That Trump gene: Totally corrupted in the mental medical sense I suspect.

2.  And, under consideration for the Trump national security team is this woman, K.T. McFarland – who BTW comes across as a complete and total airhead as recently seen and heard addressing waterboarding in panel led by no other than the dumbest guy on TV and radio, Sean Hannity as seen in this short clip that I also posted about earlier.

So, how far will the Trump team take us back down that rabbit hole? Probably to the Gates of Hell itself.

Stay tuned stay out of their way since Trump would also expand Gitmo as seen here, here, and especially seen here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Trump Promises to Put Us Back on Path Down the Dark Rat Hole of Torture

“That doesn't look like torture to me.” /s/ The Donald 

Waterboarding is Torture
(Make no mistake about it)
[click for larger image]

The story in question for this post is from the NY TIMES here.

My Pledge: If Donald Trump moves one inch to reinstate “waterboarding” (which is torture and has been a crime for decades or something far worse, words he once promised), then I will personally move on all fronts and with all the power and strength that I can muster to speak out and against him anyway possible on this subject.

If he does insist to move ahead, and in fact were to give the green light at all to anyone that it is okay, then he must be declared a war criminal and tried at The Hague just like key Nazis were at Nuremberg between 1945 and 1949.

We must never ever go back down that black rat hole. Trump is flat out wrong about what he thinks and believes is or is not torture.

Also, for anyone around him who advocates for that return path the way he does, then they too must be prosecuted as well.

That Bush-era stain is forever on our country and therefore on all us... it will take time to wear off, and it must stay off, period.

I am sure other professional interrogators share my view... time will tell how a president Trump handles this, but right now, it doesn't look very promising and as long as Mr. Trump stays in the limelight (his urge and need), well, that is all that matters to him, period.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Let's Be Clear Again: Torture is Unlawful, Illegal, and War Crime for Decades

Purpose of torture: Inflict pain, gain confession; not gain good intelligence

I read the below Op-Ed and had to respond as harshly and critical as I possibly can.

I have posted the Op-Ed from a totally stupid, arrogant, asshole, and I point out in one single part of his Op-Ed (that highlighted in RED below) along with the other total BS he writes in what I believe is legal proof positive that contrary to his statements and that of other novices about torture effectiveness, and as his Op-Ed shows, that he must be prosecuted for his own word of admission about torture, which need I remind anyone that under Federal law is a crime stated below. 

The Op-Ed in Mitchell’s own words (not mine): 
While meeting with the New York Times last month, President-elect Donald Trump was asked about water boarding. He explained that Gen. James Mattis, his choice for Defense secretary, said he “never found it to be useful.” The general reportedly advised, “Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that.” At the risk of making a man nicknamed Mad Dog mad, I have to respectfully disagree.
Gen. Mattis, a retired Marine four-star, is by all accounts a gentleman, a scholar, and a hell of a war fighter. I have the greatest respect for him, and the full nuance of his views might have been lost in the retelling. But on the subject of questioning terrorists, I have some practical experience. In 2002 I was contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency to help put together what became its enhanced-interrogation program. I spent much of the following six years at “black sites” around the world, trying to extract lifesaving information from some of the worst people on the planet.
It is understandable that Gen. Mattis would say he never found water boarding useful, because no one in the military has been authorized to water board a detainee. Thousands of U.S. military personnel have been water boarded as part of their training, though the services eventually abandoned the practice after finding it too effective in getting even the most hardened warrior to reveal critical information.
During the war on terror, the CIA alone had been authorized to use the technique. I personally water boarded the only three terrorists subjected to the tactic by the CIA. I also water boarded two U.S. government lawyers, at their request, when they were trying to decide for themselves whether the practice was “torture.” They determined it was not.
I volunteered to be water boarded myself and can assure you that it is not a pleasant experience. But no one volunteers to be tortured.

Water boarding was never the first, nor the best, choice for most detainees. We started out with the “tea and sympathy” approach and only escalated to harsher methods when it became clear that the detainee held vital information that might save innocent lives and was determined not to provide it. We quickly moved away from enhanced interrogations as soon as the detainee showed even a little cooperation.
The people I dealt with were not run-of-the-mill battlefield detainees, but hardened terrorists. Men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. These people were hell-bent on bringing about further devastation.
I would ask Gen. Mattis this: Imagine being captured by America’s enemies. Would you give up important secrets that could get fellow Americans captured or killed in exchange for a Michelob and a pack of Marlboros?
In our case, it is not as if we had unlimited time to see if we could buddy up to terrorists to find out if another attack was on the horizon. There were multiple attacks being planned at the time. For example, not long after 9/11 the CIA was told of an al-Qaeda effort to obtain nuclear fissionable material. When KSM was captured in 2003, we asked whether another major attack was in the works, and he responded, “Soon you will know.” We didn’t have time to dither.
Critics will point to the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report that declared enhanced interrogation didn’t work. The investigation cost $40 million and took five years, yet investigators didn’t even speak to anyone involved in the program. Anyway, a report produced by an extremely partisan congressional committee deserves skepticism to begin with.
I am not advocating that Mr. Trump “bring back a hell of a lot worse than water boarding,” as he suggested during the campaign. But the president-elect needs to think through what to do when the U.S. captures a major terrorist who likely has information about an impending nuclear, chemical or biological attack. Is he prepared to say that if intelligence cannot be elicited using only the tactics contained in the Army Field Manual — as President Obama has directed — we will simply have to live with the consequences?
Some in government have argued that for the U.S. to maintain the moral high ground, all harsh interrogation tactics should remain illegal, as they have been since the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016 was enacted.
Yet in a ticking-time-bomb scenario, should CIA officers just do whatever is necessary and hope for clemency in the trial that would follow? As someone who was thrown under the bus by the Obama Justice Department, I believe it is unreasonable to expect CIA officers to put their lives at risk to protect a government that will not do its best to protect them in return.
Overemphasize political correctness, and we will be standing on the moral high ground, looking down into a smoking hole that used to be several city blocks.
Mitchell is a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor, is the author of “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” out last month from Crown Forum

Thanks for stopping by - I hope Mitchell is charged and prosecuted for his war crimes that he admits to in this article... stay tuned.

Monday, November 28, 2016

K. T. McFarland Should Be Nowhere Near National Security or the White House

From FOX to the White House — Why? No Surprise There

This short clip is monitored by FOX's Sean Hannity... BTW: Another disgusting human being and for his remarks, makes my point. 

McFarland is a hardcore dumb ass and God help us if she is anywhere near the President at critical decision time... She is truly unbalanced. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eric Trump: Very Sick, Dumb, Stupid, Arrogant, and Misinformed

Even the Trump Smug, Arrogant Look Says It All - Pathetic

Short post in Eric Trump: Video his own words not mine. And, of course, on FOX TV.

I say short and sweet: Give me 2 minutes with Eric Trump. I will show him how waterboarding works and won’t be anywhere near Frat House antics.

I probably could accomplish that task and still have 1:30 seconds to spare of the scheduled two minutes. 

Eric Trump is one sick, sick man, and apparently the rotten apple does not fall from the rotten tree. Video clip is about 1-minute: 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Whew Boy, Here We Go Again: Old Issue, New View, Same Crime, Same Result

McCain Again Takes the High Road

If Anyone Knows Anything About Torture It is John McCain
(Trump, Pompeo, and others should ask him)

Updated after the below was originally posted earlier:

VP-in-waiting Mike Pence (R-IN) it seems is as sick as Trump on this issue: Making torture national policy once again.

Pence refused to say whether or not the new Trump administration would rule out water boarding of the nation's enemies. In an interview on CBS “Face the Nation” Pence was asked to respond to Sen. John McCain's fiery remarks (see above and again here:  “I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do… We will not water board. We will not torture.”

Pence went on to say: 
What I can tell you is going forward, as he outlined in that famous speech in Ohio, that a President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to this country. And we're going to have a president who will never say what we'll never do. I think in President-elect Donald Trump, you have someone who believes that we shouldn't be telling the enemy what our tactics or our strategies are.”

Call this a Mike Pence WTF moment:

I interject: Torture is not a military strategy nor combat tactic used to gain valuable military ground intelligence from a detainee. Torture of any kind is not a good step… torture, and please keep in mind has but one purpose and that is NOT to glean good actionable intelligence: The purpose of torture is to inflict pain and agony… period.

Also, allow me to say again, for maybe the millionth time that “Torture, and yes, water boarding is torture, is illegal, unlawful, and a war crime and has been for decades. It does not work, period.” (reference cited below from Cornell law).

The GOP has to get over their sick fixation with torture as a valuable aid to gain information in intelligence gathering… that is a false and dangerous and quite frankly, a very sick premise with 100% no legal or logical basis…

I know, I was an active duty Marine Corps interrogator for 10 years and later as a DOD civilian for some time after that. I know what I am talking about, but more importantly, I know the legal rules.

Additionally, secret White House memos that were written for Geo. W. Bush to justify torture, written by lawyers and advisers John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, and a few others does not justify breaking the law against torture in any way, or any other law for that matter. 

We are governed by law and not memos written to give opinions on the law that otherwise need no legal opinion. 

Finally, this is related and added for reinforcement on this issue:

1.  Torture is a crime (and a felony) – from Cornell Law.
2.  Torture, George Washington told his troops in 1775, brings “shame, disgrace, and ruin” to the country.
3.  Sen. John McCain previously called the CIA’s enhanced interrogation (buzzword for torture) tactics “shameful and unnecessary” and decried their employment.
4.  The UN expressly banned torture in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and twice underlined the position in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted in 1966) and Convention Against Torture (adopted in 1984).
5.  Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions (1949) prohibits “violence of life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture,” as well as “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”
6.  In our own Constitution, the Eighth Amendment, it is brilliant in its brevity: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
7.  Torture is also implicated in the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.


This post is pretty much of what I had previously predicted and actually kind of expected. So, here we are again back on ugly street with the GOP about to have total control of government and ready to tackle the worst stain on America ever: The Issue of Torture, and just like “Johnny said: I'm bacccccck.” Now about to enter thanks to Donald J. Trump and Mike Pompeo, or so they claim:

Now enter Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his fiery warning to President-elect Donald Trump, and anyone else, on the subject of torture. He said clearly to Trump and his CIA-nominee, Mike Pompeo, and their desire to resume water boarding and other extreme examples of torture:

I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do. We will not water board. We will not torture people… It doesn’t work.” (McCain speaking to an audience at the annual Halifax International Security Forum in Canada).

BACKGROUND: Trump for his part has repeatedly said that he would use much harsher measures against suspected terrorists saying at times: “We have to fight fire with fire. We have to fight so viciously and violently” against the Islamic State (when asked about torture and water boarding he asked a crowd who cheered) “What do you think about water boarding? I like it too, a lot. I don’t think it is tough enough.”

Then at a Republican primary debate in February, Trump vowed that he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than water boarding.”

Now enter McCain, who knows a bit about torture – he spent 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton and subject to all sorts of shit; he reminded the audience that torture remains illegal under the Geneva Conventions and was also banned by Congress last year. 

That law, signed by President Obama, restricts interrogation techniques to those outlined by the U.S. Army Field Manual — which does not permit water boarding as one of the so-called “enhanced techniques” the fav GOP buzzword for torture.

Some conservatives argue that water boarding, practiced on terrorist suspects by the Bush administration in the mid-2000s until Congress banned it in 2005, does not meet the definition of torture.

Former top national security officials, including some who served under Bush, have predicted insubordination and resignations from the military and CIA if Trump orders them to torture.

Trump just recently announced that he would tap GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to head up the CIA.

Pompeo for his part has defended Bush-era interrogation programs that included water boarding and other techniques widely defined as torture as “within the law, within the constitution.” 

Pompeo also in 2014, criticized Mr. Obama for “ending our (enhanced) interrogation program” adding: “[our] intelligence officials are not torturers, they are patriots.” 

McCain summarized in his speech by saying: “Anyone who tries to resume torture would find themselves in court in a New York minute.”

There is nothing I can add except the tons posted below for a long time on this subject.

As I have said a million times: Torture (and yes, water boarding is torture) is and has been for a very long time illegal, unlawful, and a war crime.

Stay tuned - think Mr. Trump will back down - hardly.  I think he will push this to the limits ... hopefully he will be shot down quickly and effectively.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Mental Review of Gitmo Detainees: A Doctor's Up Close and Personal Perspective

Fifteen Years and Counting

Doctor (Lt. Cmdr.) Shay Rosecrans crossed into the military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She always tucked her medical school class ring into her bra, covered the name on her uniform with tape, and hid her necklace under her T-shirt, especially if she was wearing a cross. She also tried to block out thoughts of her 4-year-old daughter back home. She is a Navy psychiatrist who had been warned not to speak about her family or display anything personal, clues that might allow a terrorism suspect to identify her.

Gitmo patients called her the “torture bitch.”

They spit at her co-workers and shouted death threats. One even hurled a cup of urine, feces, and other body fluids at a psychologist who was working with her. Even interviewing prisoners to assess their mental health set off recriminations and claims that she was torturing them.  Some even demanded from her: “What would your Jesus think?”

Dr. Rosecrans has since retired from the Navy. She had led one of the mental health teams assigned to care for detainees at Gitmo – some for over the past 15 years.

Some of detainees had arrived as mentally disturbed and traumatized adolescents hauled in from the battlefield. Others are unstable adults who disrupted the cell blocks. 

Most face indefinite confinement, and continue to struggle with despair.

Her story continues at the link… quite astonishing insight into the mental status of detainees held there.

As I have always said in the past, imagine our VN POWs had had been held in the Hanoi “Hilton” for 15 years like those now detained at Gitmo under U.S. custody.

This continues to be an ugly stain on the honor of all Americans. Those not charged and many are in that category should have been released long ago. Those facing charges should be tried ASAP and put away for life via Federal courts which have been proven to be 100% effective NOT military tribunals, which are weak and quite honestly ineffective. Our civil courts have processed and sentence big name terrorists and none have escaped and most are will never be released. 

Sadly the GOP does not trust our own judicial system, but they should.

Thanks for stopping by… Come again. Updated when appropriate. 

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.