Saturday, March 18, 2017

USSC Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch Past Views on Gitmo Detainees and Torture

Supreme Court Today: 8 of 9 since Justice Scalia's Death

Candidate to fill Justice Scalia's seat


The headlines of this story below caught my eye since it ties in directly to the subject of this overall blog. That headlines is: 

Judge Neil Gorsuch helped defend disputed Bush-era terror policies
That is from this fine NY Times article, in part below:
(Note: Judge Gorsuch (bio here) was in the Bush administration at DOJ starting in June 2005 where he served as the principal deputy associate attorney general. That position put him as the top aide to the No. 3 official at DOJ. He left in August 2006 when Mr. Bush appointed him as a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver).
WASHINGTON (NY TIMES) — In December 2005, Congress handed President George W. Bush a significant defeat by tightening legal restrictions against torture in a law called the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA). Soon afterward, Neil M. Gorsuch — then a top Justice Department official — sent an email to a White House colleague in case he needed “cheering up” about the administration’s setback.
(I NOTE: That action — saying the setback was bad — implies to me that Judge Gorsuch did not approve of the DTA that Congress passed - interesting).
The email from Judge Gorsuch, nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, linked to articles about a less-noticed provision in the act that undercut the rights of Guantánamo Bay detainees by barring courts from hearing their habeas corpus lawsuits.
“The administration’s victory is not well known but its significance shouldn’t be understated,” wrote Judge Gorsuch, who had helped coordinate the Justice Department’s work with Congress on the bill.
The email about the court-stripping provision — which the Supreme Court later rejected — is among more than 150,000 pages of Bush-era Justice Department and White House documents involving Judge Gorsuch disclosed by the Trump administration ahead of his Senate confirmation hearings next week.
Key parts for me on the issue of “torture – the so-called “enhanced interrogation” methods is this from the article:
The files have not yet been systematically examined, and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have complained that they appear to be incomplete. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the panel’s ranking Democrat, sent a letter to Judge Gorsuch this week saying that the committee needs additional documents by 5 p.m. on Thursday (March 16).
For example, her letter noted, one document in the tranche indicated that Judge Gorsuch made a “proposal for a seminar on torture policy” to the Council on Foreign Relations, but the proposal itself was not included in the documents given to the committee. Sen. Feinstein wrote in part: “Please provide to the committee any materials related to any involvement you had in the issue of torture (including so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’), including this proposal (proposal for the CFR seminar – my emphasis added for clarity).”
So, will he be confirmed? Probably. By a close vote or vast majority in the Senate? Uncertain. Hearing starts next week (March 20 – also, the 1st Day of Spring).

Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Duck, What Duck?? Twitter Attack by “The Mad Tweeter” @realDonaldTrump

Gitmo Detainee Center: Looks like nice marble flooring
(Lights Out)

WASHINGTON (NY TIMES) — President Trump recently Twitted that “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!”
Whoa, at first blush, we need to call back Mr. Obama then “lock him up (alongside Hillary Clinton), and then consider giving them a fair trial and due process, right Mr. “T?”
Q:  Is Trump’s tweet true?
A:  No, what Trump tweeted is false.
So, what is true?
According to the Office of the DNI (Director of National Intelligence)  of the total 714 former Guantánamo Bay detainees who have been transferred to other countries as of January 15, 2017, and that dates back to when the George W. Bush administration first opened the prison January 2002, only 121 have been “confirmed to have engaged in militant activity after their release.” So, Trump’s 122 vicious number of off by one vicious number. Then consider this:
The overwhelming majority of those 121 (113 to be factual) were transferred on the Bush watch, not on Obama’s. And, on that note and also factually, about half of them are deemed recidivists who are already dead or back in custody. Why is Trump writing about Guantánamo recidivism today?
Simple, really, because on the Pentagon had announced about our airstrike in Yemen, which targeted a former detainee serving with al-Qaeda in the Yemen branch. He was killed and was known as “Mohammed Tahar” at the time (2007) he was imprisoned in Cuba. He had been repatriated to Yemen in December 2009, under the Obama administration. So, Trump took that little bit of info and ran with it, or in this case, tweeted with it.
So, why did most of the so-called recidivists come from Bush-era releases?
First, most of the former detainees captured in the world departed under Bush; that is 532 of the 714 former detainees who left the prison alive departed under Mr. Bush.
Second, Mr. Bush decided in his second term that, as he wrote in his memoir, “The detention facility had become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies.” Thus he started trying to close it, but never succeeded.
It is true that in terms of shear percentages, Bush-era releases have been more likely to cause problems than Obama-era releases. For example, about 35 percent of Bush-era transfers are confirmed or suspected of causing problems, while about only about 12 percent of the Obama-era transfers’ fall into one of those two categories, according to the DNI.

My summary: Mr. Trump continues to show he is not fit to be in the office, and especially with his sustained outlandish string of tweets that turn out to be 100% false and in some cases border on legal questions about his defamation of Mr. Obama’ time in office. 

Ergo: Donald J. Trump is a habitual liar. He is not held to account for anything he says or does, and especially by those close to him. Thus they all engage in one huge Trump philosophical game of CYA — their coat of arms:


Hence, he feels free to move on to the next tweet, lie, gross exaggeration, or false accusation.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Back in the National Spotlight: Not Where It Belongs at This Time (Again)

Waterboarding =Torture: Illegal, Unlawful, and War Crime for Decades

A Bright Red Line Trump is Willing to Cross
(Not so for Sen. John McCain)

Update: Awe damn. Here We Go Again: Trump Wants to Bring Back Torture and Waterboarding (and yes, waterboarding is torture):

BACKGROUND (references linked in the below post): At a rally last November in Columbus, Ohio, Trump promised to reinstate waterboarding and perhaps other methods of torture beyond it. He said: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat” (Trump said as the crowd cheered). “And I would approve more than that. Don't kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work.” He went on to repeat “It works” multiple times, then concluded: “Believe me, it works. And you know what? If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing. It works.”

Then a few months later, Trump doubled down on that pledge at another rally in SC, as well as in several interviews throughout the campaign, saying in essence the very same things. Then in an interview on ABC's This Week show earlier this year, when asked if he would authorize torture, Trump said: “I would absolutely authorize (it) and something beyond waterboarding.”

Now, recently and in response to the Trump pledge, John McCain said: “I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not water board. We will not do it.” (Those remarks were made to applause during a panel discussion at the Halifax International Security Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia). 

Recall that McCain was subjected to torture as a POW in Vietnam for 5 years.  McCain went on to say that waterboarding, sanctioned under the administration of President George W. Bush as an “enhanced interrogation technique,” doesn't work and is banned under U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions. Then McCain added in in conclusion to his statement:  “My God, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people?”

Now we have loyal dog, VP-elect Mike Pence, saying on CBS Sunday Face the Nation just recently: “A Trump administration would not rule out a return to waterboarding.” Then he added: “A President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to this country. We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do.”

More up to date facts: Trump will be hard pressed to find military support for a blatant return to torture and I say again and again, “Waterboarding is torture and has been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime for decades.” Trump takes a hard-nose stance against the current CIA Director (John Brennan).

Do you want firsthand experience about torture, specifically, waterboarding: … Here is a great resume from a man who knows – and believe me, you will want to read this.

Related: Any move to return to waterboarding would likely face opposition from the uniformed military leadership. Methods defined as enhanced interrogation techniques could subject service members to prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, for example:

Last March, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine General Joseph Dunford indirectly but strongly rejected Trump's “torture works campaign statements.

Dunford said he could not comment on politics but gave a general answer to questions in which he suggested that torture and waterboarding went against the “values cherished by the American military,” adding: “One of the things that makes me proud to represent this uniform is that we represent the values of the American people. When our young men and women go to war, they go with our values. And, when we find exceptions, and see U.S. troops abuse prisoners, you can see how aggressively we address those exceptions under the UCMJ. We should never apologize for going to war with the values of the American people. That's what we have done historically; that's what we expect to do in the future. And again, that's what makes me proud to wear this uniform.”

Now Trump’s leading candidate for Secretary of Defense, retired Marine general, James Mattis, whom Trump calls the “real deal” is at odds with Trump about bringing back waterboarding and Trump said he was surprised to hear the general say that. Wow – Trump is surprised to hear the general say that? Ha…  Give me a break, Mr. Trump. 

You are the one who should be surprised at anyone and especially while looking at yourself in a mirror, who would advocate torture as national policy.

My view as an old Interrogator on this subject: I do not believe that Donald J. Trump should not be allowed to take office on January 20, 2017. For him to advocate breaking U.S. and International law in the support of torture and in advance like this is unheard of in my lifetime. Therefore, I strongly believe that he is not suited for nor fit to be president of anything except maybe his newest golf resort.  

This is a big issue with major impact. I am amazed to see anyone cheer Trump when he suggests using torture as national policy. I am astonished about Trump saying that, and saddened to hear anyone support him. I am in accord with John McCain who said above: “My God, what does it say about America…”


(1)  “Torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control, 
(2)  “Severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from —
(A)  The intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B)  The administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C)  The threat of imminent death; or
(D)  The threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.


Some 92 video tapes were destroyed by the CIA in November 2005 after a report by CIA IG John L. Helgerson’s office, had determined that they depicted “… cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, as defined by the International Convention Against Torture.”

So, you decide: is Donald J. Trump wrong or not? And, if so, is he on the verge of advocating a serious war crime in advance? Is he worthy to be our President?

Pretty sad, either way, isn’t it. Thanks for stopping by and as I outline in my main detainee/torture site here, this is an ugly issue that just will not go away.

Stay tuned.

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).

Related:

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.

ORIGINAL POST STARTS FROM HERE: 

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.