Baddest eggs revealed
May 22, 2008 7:00 AM   Subscribe

The "a few bad eggs" theory crushed - ACLU summarizes the Justice Department Inspector General's report. "This new report should become exhibit A at the next congressional hearing on the Bush administration's use of torture," said Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel to the ACLU. ... "The questions are who did what and what crimes were committed. This Justice Department report helps answer both questions."

The complete OIG report is here, as a 438-page PDF.

A log of torture-related documents obtained by the ACLU's FOI requests here.
posted by Kirth Gerson (32 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Cue people saying "This is old news, quit focusing on the past, let's find a way forward!"
posted by aramaic at 7:14 AM on May 22, 2008

I'm a pragmatist. I'm quite happy to let this stuff slide until well into Obama's second term. Then the frogmarching begins.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I would think that systematically turning a blind eye to criminal violations by those you are charged with overseeing could constitute conspiracy.
posted by caddis at 7:36 AM on May 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Isn't it strange how bad eggs never have a rank above corporal?
posted by three blind mice at 7:44 AM on May 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

'Never' is an overstatement.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:53 AM on May 22, 2008

"Today's OIG report reveals that top government officials in the Defense Department, CIA and even as high as the White House turned a blind eye to torture and abuse and failed to act aggressively to end it," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.

It's not so much that top Bush Administration officials turned a blind eye to torture... it's that they were they ones who authorized the use of torture in the first place.

Haynes recommended that Rumsfeld give “blanket approval” to 15 out of 18 proposed techniques of aggressive interrogation. Rumsfeld duly did so, on December 2, 2002, signing his name firmly next to the word “Approved.” Under his signature he also scrawled a few words that refer to the length of time a detainee can be forced to stand during interrogation: “I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:59 AM on May 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm quite happy to let this stuff slide until well into Obama's second term

You realize, of course, that the disaster of an economy and bloodbath in the middle east will all, magically, become Obama's fault, right?

If only we'd made those tax cuts even more permanent!
posted by rokusan at 8:02 AM on May 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

'Never' is an overstatement.

I was referring to the whole Abu Gharib thing. No one above corporal got felled for that.

My Lai was more of an isolated incident. The nature of the rot and corruption within the government and armed forces today is an institutional thing. Not bad eggs so much as rotten henhouses.
posted by three blind mice at 8:16 AM on May 22, 2008

No, it wasn't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2008

My Lai, that is.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:43 AM on May 22, 2008

From Wiki:"At the age of twenty-two, Calley was rejected for military service for being tone deaf."
Tone deaf?? WTF?
posted by Floydd at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2008

*lifts rug, grabs broom*
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2008

"a way forward"

A way forward is to frogmarch the entire lot, and show the American and World population that the US actually doesn't condone torture. Heck, that might even prevent this from happening again in the future. But admittedly, that would only be a good path if the US government didn't condone torture.

Ok, here's an idea for a way forward; round up every single person who directly works for the ACLU, and torture them to death (minimum of 60 minutes torture per person) live on fox news. Heck, interrupt all OTA and cable stations and have them carry the live feed as well. *That* will get people to stop living in the past.
posted by nobeagle at 10:00 AM on May 22, 2008

US Holding 27,000 in Secret Overseas Prisons; Transporting Prisoners to Iraqi Jails to Avoid Media & Legal Scrutiny

From the link:

AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, Clive, did you say that you—that the US is taking prisoners to Iraq?

CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH: Oh, yes, they are. I mean, the US is taking an estimated forty to sixty, on average, prisoners a day around the world. And it doesn’t take a lot of arithmetic to tell you how many people that is each month. And people are being taken to Iraq to be held in Abu Ghraib, even today, and also in other camps in Iraq. And this is a big challenge for us as the lawyers to try to bring—you know, reunite them with their legal rights, because I, for one, am sort of forbidden by my wife from spending too much time going to Iraq and getting shot at.

Man. Oh. Man. Let that sink in for a second. Think about what that means. The Bush administration is deliberately creating a big black hole, deeper even than Guantanamo, to pour every potential misdeed into and there will be NOW WAY to sort that out. No way. Why is this not page one news? This is KGB or Gestapo level abuse here.

I hope that shit is not true. 'Cause that is fucked up right there.
posted by tkchrist at 10:03 AM on May 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

One of my biggest gripes about the Obama campaign, looking at it through foreign eyes, is his claim that the world wants the USA to lead.

No, we don't.

Really, Barack, take my word for it, we'd rather prefer it if the USA kept away from the rest of the world for a few centuries and grew up a little. I don't care if you claim to be better than the current lot, I don't want you to "lead" the world either. Because even if you are a saint, we're just another election away from more of this kind of inhumanity.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:18 AM on May 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


We've been here before with the Phoenix Program. Remember?

No, you probably don't.

And therein lies the problem.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:51 AM on May 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

This 'here' is different.

The Phoenix Program:
The chief aspect of the program was the collection of intelligence information. VCI members would then be neutralized (captured, converted, or killed). Emphasis for the enforcement of the operation was placed on local government militia and police forces, rather than the military, as the main operational arm of the program.

Neutralization was not arbitrary but took place under special laws that allowed the arrest and prosecution of suspected communists, but only within the legal system. Moreover, to avoid abuses such as phony accusations for personal reasons, or to rein in overzealous officials who might not be diligent enough in pursuing evidence before making arrests, the laws required three separate sources of evidence to convict any individual targeted for neutralization. If a suspected VCI was found guilty, he or she could be held in prison for two years, with renewable two-year sentences totaling up to six years.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:00 AM on May 22, 2008

even if Obama wins (I don't think it's as likely as his fans here think, we'll see, five months and change are a very long time in politics) what makes you think he'd go after these people for the obvious crimes they have committed? there's very little in his statements to back that up (yeah, he once said he'll "review" stuff, OK, fine), and frankly it'd be a very dumb political move, he'd blow a lot of political capital for what? he'd have to jump start a process similar to what happened in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the legacy of apartheid policies. you really think that'll happen in the States? Ford had to pardon Nixon, wake up, America can't send its Presidents to jail, or the system will collapse.

not to mention, Obama'd get crucified a thousand times worse that Bill & Hillary Clinton got crucified in the media for the gays in the military and the health care plan; he'd get branded a terrorist-lover who unleashed a witch hunt against the people who protected America, he wouldn't accomplish dick in Congress, and the Democrats would lose seats in the midterm elections the way they lost in 1994.

these guys won't pay for the crimes, the reason is the same reason why William Calley did less jail time than the average petty thief -- because it doesn't matter what the average MeFite thinks, but America as a whole has consistently shown it sees itself as a civilized nation, not as a terrorist/rogue state. and by unleashing a prosecution against Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush and the others Obama would actually argue the latter point, not the former.

it'll never happen, not even if Obama wins in a 1984-style landslide (which will never happen anyway). no one will ever have that much political capital, to drag the USA back to the drawing board.
posted by matteo at 11:29 AM on May 22, 2008

Bill Moyers interview with Philippe Sands (via Brad DeLong).
BILL MOYERS:I read comments just this week by a noted Arab scholar, who said that if you walk the streets of Cairo today, stop at the book stalls, stop at the book stores, you see, looking out at you everywhere, photographs of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. That the-- this torture, these enhanced interrogate-- interrogation techniques — this cruelty-- has seized the imagination of the Arab world. And that long after all of us have gone, including the torture team, the next generation of Arabs will living with those images. What's your own sense of that?

PHILIPPE SANDS:Well, that, I'm very sad to say, is my observation. I do travel a lot. I travel, you know, in South America, I travel in Asia, I travel in the Arab world. I do a lot of work for governments around the world. And it's sad but true. The image of the United States today is that it's a country that has given us Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
posted by russilwvong at 11:58 AM on May 22, 2008

US Holding 27,000 in Secret Overseas Prisons; Transporting Prisoners to Iraqi Jails to Avoid Media & Legal Scrutiny

I don't trust extreme left news just as much as extreme right sources. You have this story sourced with a organization with less of an agenda, I'm all ears.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2008

You mean like Fox news?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:29 PM on May 22, 2008

sorry. totally self-indulgent and pointless comment. wish there were a way to delete them sometimes.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:40 PM on May 22, 2008

While Democracy Now certainly carries its heart on its sleeve, I don't know of any history of misleading or false reporting coming from them. I'm all ears if there is any, though. (I suppose I could check with MediaMatters but they're also a bunch of crazy libruls...)
posted by mek at 1:52 PM on May 22, 2008

This 'here' is different.

Kirth, you're right. This "here" seems even less punctiliously carried out.

And if one refers to any current governmental operation as "less punctilious" as any of the US's actions in Vietnam, the sudden and full comprehension as to how far we've strayed from "securing the blessings of liberty..." makes one want to cry.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2008

Transporting Prisoners to Iraqi Jails to Avoid Media & Legal Scrutiny

"The torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever." -- President Bush Addresses Nation on the Capture of Saddam Hussein

the people who protected America

They didn't, though. They didn't prevent the 9/11 attacks, and the people behind the attacks are still on the loose. They didn't prevent the anthrax attacks, which President Bush called, "a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country," and the people behind the attacks are still on the loose. Invading a country on false pretenses, randomly rounding up people off the streets of Iraq and abusing them, then failing to punish the chain of command that ordered it is likely to endanger America by creating resentment and hatred in the Mideast.

America can't send its Presidents to jail, or the system will collapse

We should send our presidents to jail. Every Republican president in my lifetime has been a criminal. Nixon with election tampering and Watergate, Reagan and Bush 1.0 with Iran/Contra, and Bush 2.0 with his illegal invasion of Iraq and many other crimes. (Ooh, but Clinton was impeached because he lied about a blowjob in depositions for a private civil lawsuit that was dismissed without going to trial, had nothing to do with his job as president, and should never have been brought in the first place.)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:31 PM on May 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

kirkaracha: To be technical, and by your standards, Clinton should go to jail for bombing Serbia.

Which I am down with. I say Bush and Clinton. Frog march both the fuckers. If that will wipe the slate clean without causing a civil war then we should do it pronto.
posted by tkchrist at 3:59 PM on May 22, 2008

They didn't prevent the anthrax attacks, which President Bush called, "a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country," and the people behind the attacks are still on the loose.

Speaking of which: Anthrax Vaccine Loses to Lobbying
posted by homunculus at 4:20 PM on May 22, 2008

While Democracy Now certainly carries its heart on its sleeve, I don't know of any history of misleading or false reporting coming from them.

Corroboration of Clive's story by a second source, obviously. Red Cross would do nicely. As for being misleading, as you had to was listen to Amy Goodman during the Bosnia campaign, trying to find every single possible corporate/military conspiracy to explain the bombing of Serbia, aside from the obvious motivation intervene because thousands of white people were being slaughtered.

Also when Clinton launched a couple cruise missiles at a chemical factory in Sudan, they took it a face value that it made medicine plant because that's what the government minder said it was.

Lets not forget their grandstanding over the 'corporate takeover' of the KPFA, after that embarrassment I never tuned in again.

If the National Weather Service predicted rain in Cuba, Juan Gonzales would condemn them for being imperialist and insist the US embargo of sun against Cuba needs to stop.

Don't care which side it comes from, slanted news is slanted news.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:56 PM on May 22, 2008

Knee-Jerk Redaction?
posted by homunculus at 1:56 PM on May 28, 2008

« Older Too much TMI?   |   Ham Radio and Antennas Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments