05
May
09

Change Starts by Correcting the Past

rumsfeld

icon_digg In the recent past I’ve posted articles on the former Administration’s authorization of torture and its associated cover-up by invoking Executive Privilege (here) along with authoring numerous articles encouraging our newly elected President and his administration the need for “change” within our country (here).

The issue of torture must be resolved and the “Rule of Law” has to be enforced against those responsible, if we as a nation expect to once again have the respect of our fellow countrymen and that of the international community.  Knowing we can correct our past misdeeds provides trust in our government to plan for the heavy tax burdens of the future, such as, universal health care, a greener environment, an improved educational system at a lowered cost of tuition, a safe removal of our troops from Iraq, to name just a few pressing issues, which lay ahead of our country.

A host of articles has been written over the past two weeks regarding the release of what I refer to as the torture authorization memorandums, and after their release President Obama has somewhat backtracked on what should logically follow, which in my opinion, is a congressional inquiry as to the extent of law(s) that were possibly broken and who is primarily responsible. (for me this is a good starting point here).

In a supporting post to my feelings is an article entitled “Those Who Approved Torture “Must Be Held Accountable”, authored by Marlene H. Phillips, and published here on Huffington Post.  The posting is an interview with Retired Brigadier General John Adams who has something in common with his namesake and distant relative.

Like the second president of the United States, the retired brigadier general adheres to one basic principle in his professional actions and beliefs: defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. He stands convinced that those that have acted in a way that would, as he put it, “triage the Constitution” must be brought to justice, including those who approved of and authorized the use of torture on U.S. held detainees.

Said Adams:

“I have never known anyone in a leadership position in the military who would condone torture. They would never do it. It would go against all the training we had, and against what we were trained to do, which is to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Regarding President Obama Adams had the following comment:

I trust President Obama’s judgment, I trust the people he has around him. I know some of them, and they are among the best people I’ve ever known in my life,” said Adams. Adams felt Obama’s actions show that he regards the issue as urgent and important, as evidenced by the speed with which he released classified information and by his meeting with generals to discuss the use of torture less than a week after assuming office. “Obama’s moving ahead and doing so with deliberate speed, which is exactly what’s warranted,” he said.

Related Newswires Stories on Torture

The Complete List of Congressional Leaders Briefed on Torture (pdf)

Complementing and driving this posting is the following YouTube video that I bumped into last night, which once again (has in the past several years) started my blood to boil.

Obama and The War Criminals

Five Things You Should Know About the Torture Memos

No. 1. I have read the 175 pages of legal memoranda (the memos) that the Department of Justice (DoJ) released last week. They consist of letters written by Bush DoJ officials to the Deputy General Counsel of the CIA concerning the techniques that may be used by American intelligence agents when interrogating high value detainees at facilities outside the U.S. The memos describe in vivid, gut-wrenching detail the procedures that the CIA apparently inquired about. The memos then proceed to authorize every procedure asked about, and to commend the CIA for taking the time to ask.

No. 2. In the process of explaining to the CIA Deputy General Counsel just what his folks could do in order to extract information from uncooperative detainees, it is immediately apparent that the writers of the memos are attempting to find snippets of language from other memoranda that they or their colleagues have prepared and from unrelated judicial opinions that justify everything that the CIA wants to do. “This is not rocket science and it is not art. Everyone knows torture when they see it.”

The bias in favor of permitting torture may easily be concluded from a footnote in one of the memos. In that footnote, the author, now-federal judge Jay Bybee, declines to characterize such notorious medieval torture techniques as the thumbscrew and the rack as torture. With that incredible mindset, he proceeds to do his Orwellian best to define away such terms as pain, suffering, and inhumane in such a way as to require that the interrogators produce near death experiences in order to have their behavior come under the proscriptions of the federal statute prohibiting torture, and the Convention (treaty) Against Torture, which was negotiated by and signed in behalf of the U.S. by President George H.W. Bush.

No. 3. The logic in the memos is simple: The government may utilize the ten procedures inquired about (all of which were publicly known except confinement on a coffin, bound and gagged, and in the presence of insects), so long as no one dies or comes close to death. This conclusion is startling in the case of walling (banging a detainees head against a solid but moveable wall) and waterboarding (near drowning) since the federal governments own physicians, cited in the memos themselves, have concluded that both techniques are always a near occasion of death. The conclusion is also startling since it fails to account for numerous federal and state prosecutions, and prosecutions in Thailand — where these torture sessions apparently occurred — that have defined torture according to its generally accepted meaning:

Any intentionally inflicted cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment, unauthorized by a court of law, perpetrated for the punishment of the victim, to extract statements from the victim, or to gratify the perpetrator.

This universally-accepted definition makes no reference and has no condition that anything goes short of a near occasion of death.

No. 4. The memos also fail to account for the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled govern American treatment of all foreign detainees, lawful or unlawful. The third of those conventions PROHIBITS TOUCHING the detainee in any way, other than for the purpose of moving him from place to place, if he refuses to go voluntarily and when told to do so.

No. 5. The memos place Attorney General Holder, who argued for their release, in an untenable situation. He has stated under oath, at his confirmation hearings, that waterboarding is torture and torture is prohibited by numerous federal laws. He has also taken an oath to uphold all federal laws, not just those that are politically expedient from time to time. He is correct and he must do his moral and legal duty to reject any Nuremberg defense. This is not rocket science and it is not art. Everyone knows torture when they see it; and no amount of twisted logic can detract from its illegal horror, its moral antipathy, and its attack at core American values.
By Judge Andrew Napolitano

Visit: http://www.puppetgov.com

The following video, released from the White House on May 21, 2009, President Obama speaks to the American people regarding his intentions on Guantanamo Bay and national Security:

President Obama: Our Security, Our Values

The President speaks at length on how American values and security are intertwined, touching on issues form closing Guantanamo to State Secrets. May 21, 2009.

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7 Responses to “Change Starts by Correcting the Past”


  1. May 5, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Good revelation there. Yes, in a wAY, Bush Tenure was a torture tenure. He lost much of the Global transparency and trust credibility thanks to his number of ‘black and shady’ butchering blood-stained deeds, inspite of his holy sermon speeches. unfortunately Obama has had inherited the same legacy coupled with the bad shaped damaged economy. Obama has nuch to do to cleanse and restore the normal normalcy, leave apart achieving the sudden ‘up’ in the economy and affairs.

  2. 2 Ms. Stacey A. Ward, Esq.
    May 6, 2009 at 2:05 AM

    Exceptional blog, Tom. I couldn’t agree more…


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