Where is the Special Prosecutor?

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

RealNews commentator, Pepe Escobar asks the question, “Where is the Special Prosecutor?”

Note an important point Pepe makes about how this will reflect on Obama if other countries must tackle the war crimes’ issue.

In their TV appearances, both Bush and Cheney attempt to make it appear that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was an isolated incidence of waterboarding.  CIA Chief Hayden admitted to three incidences of waterboarding:

“Waterboarding has been used on only three detainees,” he told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on [Abd al-Rahim al-]Nashiri.”

I think it would be safe to say, there were more than three who were waterboarded (Hayden also admitted to thirteen others being subjected to “enhanced interrogation methods,” but not waterboarding).  And what about the deaths that occurred at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?   And those who were renditioned to other countries?

The point is that both Bush and Cheney tried to “legitimize” the use of waterboarding by 1) making it appear an isolated case and, 2) invaluable information was obtained.  They, of course, try to make it seem to the American public that torture’s O.K. in “certain circumstances” — that there are exceptions to the laws.  THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!

Here are some thoughts on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by a Human Rights Watch representative and other CIA operators:

“The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

The techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques “appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.

It is “bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department’s office of counterterrorism, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.” . . . .

A bit more follows!

The unified effort by Bush and Cheney to justify waterboarding to the American people, appealing to the emotions of Americans, i.e, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was the mastermind of 9/11, so torturing him was alright.  And you know what, there will be hundreds of Americans who will agree with them.  We need to dispell the myth!*

*LTE’s would help, as well as more diaries!

If you haven’t already done so, please sign the Petition to Attorney-General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor.  While you’re at it, copy the badge, paste it into an e-mail and circulate it as far and wide as you can.

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35 comments

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  1. for a Special Prosecutor!  

    • Alma on January 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    We will never be able to redeem the USA’s reputation, nor be able to be really proud of our country until there is justice.

    You are right on with the push, push, push.  We can’t let up.

  2. Now, he may be proud of his warrantless wiretapping (at NSA) and his torture, secret prisons, and extraordinary rendition efforts (at CIA), because he believes that he was just “followink mein orders” for the good of the country. But he seems to comprehend that he broke U.S. and international law, so he is waging a full-out public relations offensive to cover his behind.

    And now Hayden is conflating his war crimes on the one hand, with necessary intelligence “risk=taking” on the other–an entirely different set of issues.

    Sorry, Gen. Hayden. The public isn’t quite as stupid and credulous as you may think it is, though perhaps some of the Establishment Villagers are. And even intelligence professionals know better.

    Hayden is just a rational actor in the neocon game. He seems to understand that a massive PR offensive–in effect threatening that intelligence professionals will refuse to take the necessary risks to do their jobs if he or the hands-on torturers are investigated and prosecuted–may preempt his need to gin up a legal defense fund from his rich Republican buddies in the telecoms and the defense industry. It is a good strategy, for in the midst of a systemic economic collapse, those rich Republican buddies may have less discretionary income to throw Hayden’s way.

    So far, Hayden’s PR gambit seems to be working. But maybe upon reflection and under public pressure, AG Holder will come to a different view. And perhaps Hayden will even end up having to pay his own legal fees.

  3. Take note of an article written by Ray McGovern!

    What’s Hayden Hidin’?

    Fri, 2009-01-16 00:38. By Ray McGovern

    Outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden is going around town telling folks he has warned President-elect Barack Obama “personally and forcefully” that if Obama authorizes an investigation into controversial activities like water boarding, “no one in Langley will ever take a risk again.”

    Upon learning this from what we former intelligence officers used to call an “A-1 source” (completely reliable with excellent access to the information), the thought that came to me in the face of such chutzpah was from Cicero’s livid oration against the Roman usurper Cataline: “Quousque, tandem, abutere, Catalina, patientia nostra!” – or “How long, at last, O Cataline, will you abuse our patience!” . . . .

    Could it be clearer? “Water boarding is torture,” said President-elect Obama last Sunday to George Stephanopoulos. Torture is a crime. Obama added, twice, that no one is “above the law,” although also citing his “belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward.”

    Despite the President-elect’s equivocations, it seems that President Bush and the current CIA director have a problem. And apparently Hayden’s palms are sweaty enough to warrant, in his view, a thinly veiled threat.

    In the outrage category, that threat/warning goes well beyond chutzpah. What an insult to my former colleagues at the CIA to suggest that they lack the integrity to fulfill their important duties in consonance with the law; to suggest that they would treat the incoming president like a substitute teacher!

    “Should Have Been Court-martialed”

    So spoke the late Gen. Bill Odom on Jan. 4, 2006 referring to Hayden. Odom’s comment came before being interviewed by George Kenney, a former Foreign Service officer and now producer of “Electronic Politics.” And President Bush “should be impeached,” added Odom with equal fury.

    Odom ruled out discussing during the actual interview the warrantless eavesdropping that had been revealed by the New York Times just a few weeks earlier. In a memorandum of conversation Kenney opined that Odom was so angry that he realized that if he started discussing the issue, he would not be able to control himself.

    Why was Gen. Odom so angry? Because he, like all uniformed officers, took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; because he took that oath seriously; and because, as head of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988, he did his best to ensure that all employees strictly observed NSA’s “First Commandment”-Thou Shalt Not Eavesdrop on Americans Without a Court Warrant. . . .

  4. Thanks tahoe!

  5. I will be able to write an essay as well as this one!

    Top notch!

    • Edger on January 17, 2009 at 3:08 am

    I guess I’d better find Pepe Escobar’s email address, ask him to sign the petition, and maybe try to prod him into making another video, this time with the petition in the video?

    What do you think?

  6. lifting me upwards!  😉   Much appreciated!

    • sharon on January 18, 2009 at 2:32 am

    when i got home there was a diary on dk about gaza that i got caught up in and read nearly 1000 comments.  and then i was just too tired to read anywhere else.  

    this is a great diary and thanks so much for posting the pepe escobar!  i never saw it this week and he is one of my favorite journos.  let’s hope keith olbermann tops him on monday!

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