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President Bush signed order to allow torture, says ACLU

News release and documents made public today by the ACLU points a finger at the President. The information releases indicates President Bush signed an executive order permitting inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq.
Related: Fatimah's Letter reverberates throughout all Iraq


NEW YORK -- A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.

"These documents raise grave questions about where the blame for widespread detainee abuse ultimately rests," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Top government officials can no longer hide from public scrutiny by pointing the finger at a few low-ranking soldiers."

The documents were obtained after the ACLU and other public interest organizations filed a lawsuit against the government for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.

Another e-mail, dated December 2003, describes an incident in which Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo Bay impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" against a detainee. The e-mail concludes "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [sic] the 'FBI' interrogators. The FBI will [sic] left holding the bag before the public."

The document also says that no "intelligence of a threat neutralization nature" was garnered by the "FBI" interrogation, and that the FBI's Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) believes that the Defense Department's actions have destroyed any chance of prosecuting the detainee. The e-mail's author writes that he or she is documenting the incident "in order to protect the FBI."

"The methods that the Defense Department has adopted are illegal, immoral, and counterproductive," said ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer. "It is astounding that these methods appear to have been adopted as a matter of policy by the highest levels of government."

The June 2004 "Urgent Report" addressed to the FBI Director is heavily redacted. The legible portions of the document appear to describe an account given to the FBI's Sacramento Field Office by an FBI agent who had "observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees," including "strangulation, beatings, [and] placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings." The document states that "[redacted] was providing this account to the FBI based o­n his knowledge that [redacted] were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses."

The release of these documents follows a federal court order that directed government agencies to comply with a year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act filed by the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace. The New York Civil Liberties Union is co-counsel in the case.

Other documents released by the ACLU today include:

Several hotlinks embedded in this article.

Continued at:  http://mparent7777.blog-city.com/read/967790.htm

Related: Fatimah's Letter reverberates throughout all Iraq


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No Surprise here 20.Dec.2004 14:53

Mr. Charrington

It almost seems that bush has not only revived the Crusades, but the Inquisition. Shortly after 9/11 there were reports of "special rendition" and a public discussion, hosted by corporate media, of the use of torture and if it is justifiable. And it's ironic that Syria has been a willing player in this game but still remains in our sights.

I recently finished (for the nth time) 1984, and so thought to read up a bit on the use of torture. My browsings and readings led me to the career of Torquemada and on this subject is an incredible quote from the online Catholic Encyclopedia --  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14783a.htm

"Whether Torquemada's ways of ferreting out and punishing heretics were justifiable is a matter that has to be decided not only by comparison with the penal standard of the fifteenth century, but also, and chiefly, by an inquiry into their necessity for the preservation of Christian Spain."

Torture as necessity. I've heard similar arguments used recently. It goes something like -- "What if the information you gain from torturing one bad guy saves 10,000 lives?"

This is something new in the America. In all my years, torture has always been considered a bad word, a crime. We have always, at least accordingly to the fairy tale, supported the Geneva Conventions. But then again we have always been at war with Eastasia. In all the WWII movies, this was a big deal and in most of those, even the Germans supported them. Now according to reports, they are not even being taught to the troops.

So yeah, what's next. Do it in public? Be the next hit reality TV show?

War and Violence is the new America 20.Dec.2004 15:17

served up by the Bush regime

Funny that you should mention a new reality show based on torture because the CIA has beat you to it with their new propaganda show on Fox starring Kiefer Sutherland.

There was an episode of scripted torture worse than any seen before on prime time broadcast television. Fox's action drama 24 is known and acclaimed for its fast-paced, tense plots about terrorism and political espionage, but the scenes contained in the April 15, "2 A.M. - 3 A.M." episode turned viewers' moods from tension to revulsion.

Agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is kidnapped and becomes the victim of horrific torture. His captors strip him naked (his bare buttocks are briefly visible in profile) and hang him from a ceiling with his arms chained above his head. After he is gagged, a man takes out a scalpel and begins slicing into his torso.

The show focuses on other characters for a while, but eventually returns to the images of Jack's torture. Since he refuses to tell his captors where to find the computer chip they are looking for, a hot soldering iron is pressed into a scalpel cut in Jack's stomach, burning him. In a final attempt to get him to talk, Jack is shocked repeatedly with a taser gun. Jack, who is already covered in sweat, writhes in agony. In the last moments of the episode, the torture kills Jack.

The frank brutality of these scenes is the stuff of nightmares. Using this type of extreme violence for the sake of audience shock, is not only unnecessary, it is irresponsible, unless the public is being conditioned to accept this as a necessary evil in protecting society.

Our culture is being molded by insidious forces that have the tools and the authority to transform us from a people with morals and boundaries to an evil and amoral society willing to accept all forms of cruelty and violence in pursuit of the security of the State.

well... 20.Dec.2004 15:53

this thing here

if the bush administration wants america to become a country which routinely tortures suspects, fine. north korea, burma, cambodia and the like could use some company. so great, go for it.

but first- the bush administration should pull america out of the geneva convention, and any other binding international laws or codes that have to do with human rights, by executive order.

second- please stop any and all official reference to the untied states of america as:

- a land/country/nation/society that is free
- a land/country/nation/society that is democratic
- a land/country/nation/society that believes in the rule of law
- a land/country/nation/society which respects human dignity and human rights

this must include any and all reference such as the above in school textbooks, and any reference such as the above in the media.

the idea here is to make absolutely sure everyone is being honest about their nation, and is on the same page.

once this kind of honesty is attained, then great, the bush administration can torture as many people in as many horrible ways as they want, just like north korea does.

yeah, slide on down the downward spiral some more. drag us down into the shit even more george, and don, and john, and all the other lawyers and intellectuals and staffers who have no idea in the fucking world what the term moral authority means...

however, if the bush admin. wishes to continue to be a party to the geneva convention and all other binding international laws related to human rights, and wishes to prance about pompously selling america as the "most free" nation on earth, the "best" nation on earth, the only nation that "cares" about freeing the oppressed, the "only" nation that can back up it's claims of supporting human rights by the example set within in it's own territory, then no, IT CANNOT TORTURE ANY HUMAN BEING.

but as has been clear from day one, now 4 years ago, the bush admin. doesn't give a shit about human rights, about international law, about leading by example. the bush admin. can only be described as used car salesmen. snake oil hucksters. bullshit artists. saying one thing with a gleam in their eye, and doing the exact opposite, again and again and again. that is their method.

"we believe in human rights. in fact, we believe in human rights so much, that we think we can torture people." they have fooled half the country. the other half of the country is not fooled, nor is the entire rest of the planet.

as for the pResident himself signing this memo, is anyone really surprised? the man is a psychopath. a PERFECT executive officer, in that he is sick enough inside to sign off on anything. is the present catastrophe in iraq neccessarily his idea? no, but you know the guys who's idea it WAS were licking their chops to get him into power. "got some crazy ideas? get that psychopath to sign off on them". and the rest is some sick, busted history...

Dear Mr. This Thing Here 20.Dec.2004 17:26

Mr. Charrington

You have got to be the most agreeable character I've *never* met. Actually I take that back. You probably are not very agreeable, but what I mean to say is that I very agree with you.

Very agree. We should publicly and formally withdraw from the Geneva Conventions. We should stop referring to this nation as a democracy. We should acknowledge the imperialistic notions of the PNAC. Get it right out front. Be honest! Screw civil rights! Screw human rights! Screw anyone who isn't us!

And not only should we change any reference to the above in existing school textbooks, we should remove, rewrite and replace all books existing on both libraries and personal shelves.

Dang, but I'm too pissed off to remain sober. I just cannot stay sane while jiggling such conflicting ideas. A personal limitation I guess.

And as to Jack Bauer, what did he do to deserve it? Is there a purpose to torture, other than torture itself?

A Surrealist Statement Against Torturocracy 20.Dec.2004 19:27

some surrealist

**from August 2004 & even more relevant than ever**

BREAKING the LEASH: A Surrealist Statement Against Torturocracy
on the Occasion of the Imperial Coronation of George W. Bush

"Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated—fables, I had always
deemed them—but yet strange, and too ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper."
—Edgar Allan Poe, "The Pit and the Pendulum"

In general, surrealists tend to ignore the hubris, ignorance, and narcissism of the electioneering so adored by the war-addicted Democratic-Republican axis of elites. Yet, in the 1947 tract Freedom is a Vietnamese Word (later republished in the pages of the anarchist newspaper Le Libertaire), surrealists in Paris singled out a specific French governmental cabinet's newly-minted colonial war in southeast Asia: "Surrealism can only be against a regime whose members stand together behind a blood-stained disgrace as though it represents a joyful awakening." All governments are equally reprehensible, but any one that can so easily "collapse into the mire of compromise and extortion can be nothing but the calculated prelude to the establishment of a new totalitarianism," the tract explained. We were reminded of this when the Democratic Party convened in Boston in July, and again as the Republican Party bosses, their underlings, and their henchmen gather in New York City. In both instances, the party apparatuses happily stand together behind the bloody crimes of mass murder and torture in US-controlled Afghanistan and Iraq. We shudder to think about their next petro-imperialist crimewave against humanity which will be shrouded in the red, white and blue banners of this racist Christian civilization.

Systematic torture and the full-scale degradation of victims by the forces of law-'n'-order in Iraq is a symptom of the logic of the State and its inherent racist, colonialist configurations (tellingly, many of the soldiers directly responsible for meting out this abuse have worked as prison guards in the US). The awful humiliation and excruciating torment in US military prisons are not used solely to force prisoners into revealing vital information about the guerrilla war or into betraying their friends and family who may be taking up arms against the occupation and its quislings. Torture is also a coercive political technology deployed to terrorize and to demoralize an insubordinate population and to suppress the bitter truths about the rancid excesses of capitalism and the colossal failures of its wars.

Although the roads to the Abu Ghraib dungeon and the Guantánamo Bay concentration camp all intersect at the center stage podium of the Madison Square Garden this week, none of us are naïve enough to think that these are exceptional phenomena isolated to only one group of politicians. The spokes of torturocratic ideologies radiate out far from the helpless individual whose body and will are being broken on its wheel. Torture is a routine activity happening every day in any number of countries throughout the world as an integral part of security operations, law enforcement systems, and State authority. Any consolidated power, not just that of the Bush-Cheney regime but the entire apparatus of the State itself, passes on its surplus of accumulated violence to the next coterie of corporate executives, military officers, and civil bureaucrats regardless of political party affiliation. This power is disguised as "national security" and "public safety," but it is nothing more than statist and capitalist self-interest. Therefore, police and military torture cannot be eliminated through well-intentioned legal-aid groups and human-rights reform movements—it can only be curtailed by the sustained dismantling of the State's pretensions to moral and civil authority and its jealously-guarded monopoly on violence.

It is for these reasons that we feel obligated to re-assert surrealism against this ghoulish and self-congratulatory revival meeting in New York City this week. As the Republicans righteously speechify about this most terroristic war on terrorism, and as they swagger throughout the city
attempting to sate their sanctimonious gluttony, we will be thinking of the lives that they so carelessly have helped to destroy in the last four years. Every time one of them spouts some twisted balderdash about "freedom," we ask that you remember their feverish efforts to build a prison planet, a sprawling carceral archipelago of violence, rape and fear stretching from Guantánamo Bay to Kabul, and from Baghdad to places like the infamous women's High Security Control Unit in Lexington, Kentucky, and the jails being used by the NYPD to cage our friends for speaking out against the RNC.

We denounce the snowballing totalitarianism practiced domestically and internationally by the Bush-Cheney regime that is being applauded and honored at the Republican National Convention. Out of solidarity with the elegant wildfires of liberty, imagination, spontaneity, and sensitivity, we stand united and resolved against war, occupation, and murderous humanitarianism.

Freedom now, against jailers and police everywhere! Open the prisons! Disband the army!

Surrealists International
August 2004