17
May
09

Related Newswire Articles on Abu Ghraib – Huffington Post

pshaw

Newswire Updates from The Huffington Post:

Abu Ghraib Ties To Gitmo Shown By DOJ Memos
from The Huffington Post | Jason Linkins

Yesterday, in his remarks at the American Enterprise Institute, former Vice President Dick Cheney protested that everyone had Abu Ghraib all wrong!

In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib with the top-secret program of enhanced interrogations.At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulation, and simple decency. For the harm they did to Iraqi prisoners and to America’s cause, they deserved and received Army justice.

And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.

But maybe there has been a “willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib with the top-secret program of enhanced interrogations,” precisely because the two things are infinitely conflatable! Dan Froomkin takes on the issue in a report on Nieman Watchdog today and finds that Cheney’s words just don’t comport to observable reality:

A bipartisan report from the Senate Armed Services Committee released in December definitively concluded that the administration’s repeated explanations of the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was a pack of lies. “The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own,” the report found. “The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”Similarly, in his book “The Torture Team,” [Phillipe] Sands documents how the Pentagon initially tried to blame officers at Guantanamo for the brutal interrogation regime there. As Sands wrote in this Vanity Fair excerpt, Bush administration officials insisted that “techniques were not imposed or encouraged by Washington, which had merely reacted to a request from below.” They even maintained that the legal justification was initiated there as well. “It was not the result of legal positions taken by politically appointed lawyers in the upper echelons of the administration, and certainly not the Justice Department.”

But, Sands wrote: “The real story, pieced together from many hours of interviews with most of the people involved in the decisions about interrogation, goes something like this: [The February 2002 memo in which Bush exempted war-on-terror detainees from the Geneva Conventions] was not a case of following the logic of the law but rather was designed to give effect to a prior decision to take the gloves off and allow coercive interrogation; it deliberately created a legal black hole into which the detainees were meant to fall. The new interrogation techniques did not arise spontaneously from the field but came about as a direct result of intense pressure and input from Rumsfeld’s office. The Yoo-Bybee Memo was not simply some theoretical document, an academic exercise in blue-sky hypothesizing, but rather played a crucial role in giving those at the top the confidence to put pressure on those at the bottom. And the practices employed at Guantánamo led to abuses at Abu Ghraib.

“The fingerprints of the most senior lawyers in the administration were all over the design and implementation of the abusive interrogation policies. Addington, Bybee, Gonzales, Haynes, and Yoo became, in effect, a torture team of lawyers, freeing the administration from the constraints of all international rules prohibiting abuse.”

It’s important to note that President Barack Obama’s decision to not release the most recent spate of detainee photos, is one that will preserve the disinformation spread by his predecessor::

The White House disinformation campaign has been so successful, however, that Abu Ghraib is still widely seen as an isolated incident – and not as the result of public policy decisions. That’s the biggest reason why President Obama’s recent decision to fight the court-ordered release of more prison-abuse photos was such a blow to accountability…The photos Obama is now trying to keep secret are said to depict prisoner abuse very much like that at Abu Ghraib – but at several other locations, including Guantanamo.Froomkin’s piece is the eighth in a series of stories on this matter, so don’t just make do with these excerpts.

Bush Lawyers’ Disbarment Sought
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed by The Huffington Post News Editors

Two outside groups want Bush administration lawyers linked to memos on harsh interrogation techniques of detainees to lose their licenses to practice law.

Complaints were to be filed Monday against former attorneys general John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury. The complaints were being filed in the District of Columbia and four states _ New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Memos by the Bush Justice Department contended that waterboarding _ a form of simulated drowning _ as well as sleep deprivation and other extreme techniques were legal under U.S. and international law.

The groups VotersForPeace.US and Velvet Revolution say the lawyers misused their licenses.

Frank Rich: Obama Can’t Turn The Page On Bush
from The Huffington Post | NY Times

To paraphrase Al Pacino in “Godfather III,” just when we thought we were out, the Bush mob keeps pulling us back in. And will keep doing so. No matter how hard President Obama tries to turn the page on the previous administration, he can’t. Until there is true transparency and true accountability, revelations of that unresolved eight-year nightmare will keep raining down drip by drip, disrupting the new administration’s high ambitions.

That’s why the president’s flip-flop on the release of detainee abuse photos — whatever his motivation — is a fool’s errand. The pictures will eventually emerge anyway, either because of leaks (if they haven’t started already) or because the federal appeals court decision upholding their release remains in force. And here’s a bet: These images will not prove the most shocking evidence of Bush administration sins still to come.

There are many dots yet to be connected, and not just on torture. This Sunday, GQ magazine is posting on its Web site an article adding new details to the ample dossier on how Donald Rumsfeld’s corrupt and incompetent Defense Department cost American lives and compromised national security. The piece is not the work of a partisan but the Texan journalist Robert Draper, author of “Dead Certain,” the 2007 Bush biography that had the blessing (and cooperation) of the former president and his top brass. It draws on interviews with more than a dozen high-level Bush loyalists.

David Axelrod Defends Move To Block Release Of Detainee Photos
from The Huffington Post | News Editors

White House senior adviser David Axelrod strongly defended President Obama’s effort to block the release of detainee abuse photos in an interview with Online Newshour’s Jim Lehrer.

Axelrod, who said that he himself has seen some of the photos although he declined to give his own opinion of them, explained that the president was concerned that the release would harm national security by inflaming passions in the Middle East:

When he believes that the release of materials may jeopardize the national security, then he’s going to make that case. In this case, his concern is that the release of the photos from acts that happened years ago will serve to inflame the situation now and endanger our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. And that’s something he’s not inclined to do…

Well, obviously, the photos are provocative. We’ve seen them, photos like them the past. They’ve had an inflammatory effect. They were used by our opponents and al-Qaida as propaganda tools and recruiting devices. And so we don’t want to go back there again.

McCain Backs Obama Detainee Photo Decision
from The Huffington Post | New York Times

Senator John McCain on Thursday welcomed President Obama’s decision to oppose the release of photographs documenting prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel, even as criticism continued from groups of the left.

So far, few Democratic legislators have spoken in favor of Mr. Obama’s decision on a matter that pits deeply sensitive issues of openness and accountability against, potentially, the safety of American troops.

One Democrat, Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, acknowledged, “I have a bit of a hard time with this decision.”

But Mr. Sestak, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that because of the extraordinary problems in Pakistan, “which is close to being a failed state, where the Taliban are hiding and where nuclear weapons could soon be loose,” he would favor a temporary pause in releasing the photos.

To Disclose Or Not Disclose: Obama’s Decision On Detainee Photos Analysed
from The Huffington Post | Full News Feed by The Huffington Post News Editors

I find the whole argument that keeping these pictures under wraps will prevent the inflammation of anti-American violence and thus protect our troops to be a bit of a canard. I mean, that these images exist is an open secret. That they depict detainee abuse is widely known. Are we to believe that it will be the photographic composition that will set people off? The photographers’ use of color and light? This strikes me as, well… idiotic.

Sarabeth of 1115.org isolates the specific strain of idiocy, here:

As long as the photos are not released, everything is hunky dory. Knowing that hundreds of these photographs exist, knowing that the President of the United States regards them as dangerously inflammatory.

Dick Cheney tells truth about Iraq invasion!

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