States of Torture – UK and US

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Barack “Barky” Obama

In a fit of political incorrectness, I want to remind you about Guantanamo, the base that Barky Obama said would be closed. I want to remind you about the change we believed in – the open and transparent government our candidate promised us, if we would just elect him.

One thing is clear, Barky boy’s promises are about as transparent as so much hot air. Whether it’s the fact that he chose to be the savior for the banking system at the expense of the people, or the fact that his proposed budget sets impossible standards to reach a goal that is based on intentionally fabricated figures, or the fact that the US extraordinary rendition program is still going strong, the truth is that we are all beginning to see right through him.

Let me state my position clearly:

I see very little difference in the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations. Especially when it comes to their positions on the use of terror, I mean, torture. I am against what obviously is the current and recent official policy. In my opinion, especially since we, the USA, charged and executed Japanese soldiers for the very specific charge of waterboarding, everyone involved should be brought to trial and charged as war criminals. After all, we set the precedent for this.

The chances of that happening are slim, but at least the whole thing isn’t getting swept under the rug. Across the big lake, they’re starting to bring some things out in the open. From the NYTimes(emphasis mine):

There are times when governments fight to keep documents secret to protect sensitive intelligence or other vital national security interests. And there are times when they are just trying to cover up incompetence, misbehavior or lawbreaking.

Last week, when a British court released secret intelligence material relating to the torture allegations of a former Guantánamo prisoner, Binyam Mohamed, it was clear that the second motive had been in play when both the Bush and the Obama administrations and some high-ranking British officials tried to prevent the disclosure.


At issue in the British court were seven paragraphs derived from American intelligence documents. The Bush administration claimed the material contained top-secret information and threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with Britain if it was released. Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton repeated those threats, despite President Obama’s campaign promises of openness and the rule of law in his detainee policy.

The paragraphs contained no real secrets. Mainly, the document — a summary of information that American intelligence provided to Britain’s security service, MI5 — echoes previous disclosures by the C.I.A. and Mr. Mohamed’s harrowing account of his ordeal.

But what it does contain is the assessment by British intelligence that his treatment violated legal prohibitions against torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners.

barky's promise

A spokesman for President Obama expressed “deep disappointment” in the court’s decision, which might have been shocking except that Mr. Obama has refused to support any real investigation of Mr. Bush’s lawless detention policies. His lawyers have tried to shut down court cases filed by victims of those policies, with the same extravagant claims of state secrets and executive power that Mr. Bush made.

The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the Justice Department’s attempt to shut down a civil lawsuit brought by Mr. Mohamed and four others — on a flimsy national security claim that has been rendered even flimsier by the British court.

“I’ve seen the papers you are not allowed to see”

That’s the subheading of an article appearing in Saturday’s TimesOnline, a British publication. We are not being told the whole truth about torture” is written by the lawyer for the Guantanamo detainee, Binyam Mohamed, the British citizen who was tortured while in American captivity. (again, emphasis mine)

The British public isn’t permitted to see the classified evidence about Mr Mohamed’s abuse. As his lawyer, I am — albeit in the US — and this places me in a fairly good position to call Dr Howell’s bluff. I cannot reveal anything not in the public domain but I can suggest, sad to say, that Dr Howells has been less than forthright; either that, or evidence has been hidden from him and his committee.


There is, the Court of Appeal told us this week, a “vast body” of secret evidence that has not been revealed. Yet, in making his own public assessment on the innocence of every intelligence officer, Dr Howells lacks the appearance of objectivity. Nor was he fair in his criticism of Lord Neuberger. The assertion by a politician that we should take his word for it is no substitute for a full and impartial inquiry.


And finally, from Harpers(emph mine all mine):

Former vice president Dick Cheney, on the other hand, seems proud of his criminal misadventures. On Sunday, he took to the airwaves to brag about them.

“I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” Cheney said in an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. He went on to explain that Justice Department lawyers had been instructed to write legal opinions to cover the use of this and other torture techniques after the White House had settled on them.


What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it? Such cases cry out for prosecution. Dick Cheney wants to be prosecuted. And prosecutors should give him what he wants.

Who the hell are we anymore? Nothing will happen to this guy, even though he effectively admitted to being a war criminal on national TV. I’d like to slap that smarmy smile right off his face.

Hey Dick, let’s go hunting…