Balkinization  

Saturday, June 09, 2007

We Don't Violate International Law--"We have simply not reached the result or interpretation that [our] critics prefer"

Marty Lederman

That's the Orwellian message from State Legal Advisor John Bellinger at the Hague on Wednesday, in a lecture entitled "The United States and International Law."

What are these "results" and "interpretations" of international law that our critics do not "prefer"?

That "extreme sensory deprivation" is permissible.

Not to mention waterboarding.

And hypothermia.

And stress positions.

And severe sleep deprivation.

And detaining six-year-olds in order to use them as leverage against their parents.

And disappearances, outside the purview of any legal system.

And renditions to nations in which torture is common, or to CIA "black sites" in Poland and Romania in which some or all of the above techniques are used.

And refusing to cooperate with an Italian prosecution of CIA and Italian agents who engaged in such lawbreaking, even when the prosecutors are those who have been fighting terrorism for years.

And, when confronted with the evidence of such barbarism, to send Mr. Bellinger to Europe with the explanation that we can hardly be faulted because "there is a legal murkiness that applies to international terrorism."

And, to send Mr. Bellinger to Europe once again to also assert that the Convention Against Torture does not apply at all to the armed conflict against Al Qaeda, because it is superseded by the Geneva Conventions -- treaties that the Administration insisted do nothing at all to protect our detainees. (In his Hague speech on Wednesday, Bellinger stated that "I should add that contrary to what you might hear from some critics, no one in the United States government has sought to disregard or avoid these obligations [under the CAT]." Well, except that the Bush Administration has rendered legal opinions that (i) interpreted away to nothing the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, particularly overseas; (ii) insisted that the prohibition on rendition does not apply if the rendition begins in a European nation rather than in the United States; and, for good measure, (iii) concluded that the CAT is completely inapplicable to our current armed conflicts. Other than that, we don't seek to disregard or avoid our CAT obligations.)

To his credit, Bellinger addressed these issues directly in his speech. But what he said is quite remarkable:

This Administration has worked hard to identify and implement international rules applicable to these terrorist suspects. We have not ignored, changed, or re-interpreted existing international law. In fact, last year, our Supreme Court ruled that the one provision of the Geneva Conventions that does apply, even if the Conventions as a whole do not, is Common Article 3.
Did Bellinger utter this with a straight face? The Supreme Court, of course, is not the "Administration." And the actual Administration fought tooth and nail against that very holding for five years, because the conclusion that Common Article 3 did not apply was the critical cornerstone of its interrogation practices, which employ the "cruel treatment" CA3 forbids.

Bellinger concluded:
[T]he United States, and this Administration in particular [!], has worked hard to uphold international law. The efforts we have made are not always easy to see or to appreciate. But our having taken such steps even when it was not easy or costless, and our struggles to identify an appropriate path even when one was not clear, demonstrates the respect in which the United States holds international law.
What's most odd about this, as Scott Horton explains here, is that Bellinger is more aware than anyone how little this account comports with reality. To me, it reads very much like the recent speech in which Phil Zelikow claims that under the new Bush "paradigm" they're closing GTMO and reserving military commissions for the "worst of the worst" terrorists, "not bin Laden's driver." Both speeches -- Zelikow's and Bellinger's -- read as if they are fantasies of what the world would look like if the State Department had prevailed in the internal Administration debates. But time and again, the President has opted to go the route urged by the Vice President instead.

I know John slightly. He's a good guy; and, more importantly, I've heard numerous accounts that I trust that he's been leading the charge at the State Department to push the Administration back to the better traditions of our government, fighting the good fight. He is certainly to be commended for engaging the Administration's critics directly, often at a high level of seriousness and sophistication. I don't dispute that there may be some real value in John giving speeches such as this one -- perhaps, over time, they might shame the Administration into actually doing what Bellinger describes. But for now, anyway, the idea that John actually believes that his account has any relation to the truth outside Foggy Bottom is simply implausible .

Bellinger's timing here was uncanny, because the very next day after his address, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the European Council's Parliamentary Assembly issued this report entitled "Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states."

The report is a comprehensive account of the CIA's "High-Value Detainee" program at black sites in Europe. I can't possibly do it justice here. Please read the whole thing.

For starters, here are some of the Introductory remarks. Keep in mind, however, that these views are merely "interpretations" that the U.S. government does not "prefer."
1. What was previously just a set of allegations is now proven: large numbers of people have been abducted from various locations across the world and transferred to countries where they have been persecuted and where it is known that torture is common practice. Others have been held in arbitrary detention, without any precise charges levelled against them and without any judicial oversight – denied the possibility of defending themselves. Still others have simply disappeared for indefinite periods and have been held in secret prisons, including in member states of the Council of Europe, the existence and operations of which have been concealed ever since.

2. Some individuals were kept in secret detention centres for periods of several years, where they were subjected to degrading treatment and so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (essentially a euphemism for a kind of torture), in the name of gathering information, however unsound, which the United States claims has protected our common security. Elsewhere, others have been transferred thousands of miles into prisons whose locations they may never know, interrogated ceaselessly, physically and psychologically abused, before being released because they were plainly not the people being sought. After the suffering they went through, they were released without a word of apology or any compensation – with one remarkable exception owing to the ethical and responsible approach of the Canadian authorities . . . .

3. While the strategy in question was devised and put in place by the current United States administration to deal with the threat of global terrorism, it has only been made possible by the collaboration at various institutional levels of America’s many partner countries. [T]hese partners have included several Council of Europe member states. Only exceptionally have any of them acknowledged their responsibility – as in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for instance – while the majority have done nothing to seek out the truth. Indeed many governments have done everything to disguise the true nature and extent of their activities and are persistent in their unco-operative attitude. . . .

4. The rendition, abduction and detention of terrorist suspects have always taken place outside the territory of the United States, where such actions would no doubt have been ruled unlawful and unconstitutional. Obviously, these actions are also unacceptable under the laws of European countries, who nonetheless tolerated them or colluded actively in carrying them out. This export of illegal activities overseas is all the more shocking in that it shows fundamental contempt for the countries on whose territories it was decided to commit the relevant acts. The fact that the measures only apply to non-American citizens is just as disturbing: it reflects a kind of "legal apartheid" and an exaggerated sense of superiority. Once again, the blame does not lie solely with the Americans but also, above all, with European political leaders who have knowingly acquiesced in this state of affairs.

5. Some European governments have obstructed the search for the truth and are continuing to do so by invoking the concept of “state secrets”. Secrecy is invoked so as not to provide explanations to parliamentary bodies or to prevent judicial authorities from establishing the facts and prosecuting those guilty of offences. This criticism applies to Germany and Italy, in particular. It is striking to note that state secrets are invoked on grounds almost identical to those advanced by the authorities in the Russian Federation in its crackdown on scientists, journalists and lawyers, many of whom have been prosecuted and sentenced for alleged acts of espionage. The same approach led the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to hide the truth and give an obviously false account of the actions of its own national agencies and the CIA in carrying out the secret detention and rendition of Khaled El-Masri.

6. Invoking state secrets in such a way that they apply even years after the event is unacceptable in a democratic state based on the rule of law. It is frankly all the more shocking when the very body invoking such secrets attempts to define their concept and scope, as a means of shirking responsibility.

14. We are fully aware of the seriousness of the terrorist threat and the danger it poses to our societies. However, we believe that the end does not justify the means in this area either. The fight against terrorism must not serve as an excuse for systematic recourse to illegal acts, massive violation of fundamental human rights and contempt for the rule of law. . . .

15. We have said it before and others have said it much more forcefully, but we must repeat it here: having recourse to abuse and illegal acts actually amounts to a resounding failure of our system and plays right into the hands of the criminals who seek to destroy our societies through terror. Moreover, in the process, we give these criminals a degree of legitimacy – that of fighting an unfair system – and also generate sympathy for their cause, which cannot but serve as an encouragement to
them and their supporters.

Comments:

I'll stick with HARVARD law professor Alan Dershowitz on this one.
 

ummm, what part of Dershowitz's proscription for torture judges are we following?
 

i think dershowitz is best understood as saying that in those rare circumstances where torture is considered necessary, have a judge rule on it and have the cojones to come out and say, yes, we torture, but lawfully.
 

needless to say, I disagree, but acknowledge that it would be an improvement over unlawful torture.
 

I'll stick with HARVARD law professor Alan Dershowitz on this one.

# posted by Charles : 12:20 PM

So long as it's Harvard law (or is it the name "Dershowitz"), the war crime of torture is legitimated and made legal?

That is sufficient for you as substitute for the Constitutional mandate that adjudications of law, and innocence and guilt, are to be done by the branch and fora authorized by the Constitution -- the Judiciary -- rather than by private institutions and individuals?

As you may know, Masschusetts-Bay was originally a theocracy, a religious tyranny (which chartered Harvard College). Perhaps also because "Christian" it also authorized torture:

It is ordered, decreed, and by this Court declared, that no man fhall be forced by torture to confeffe any crime againft himfelfe or any other, unless it be in fome Capital cafe, where he is first fully convicted by clear and fufficient evidence to be guilty. After which, if the Cafe be of that nature that it is very apparent there be other Confpirators or Confederates with him; then he may be tortured, yet not with fuch tortures as be barbarous and inhumane. . . .

Even though a tyranny Massachusetts-Bay nonetheless required a person be adjudicated guilty of the crime charged, based upon clear and sufficient evidence, _before_ he could be tortured. _The Book of the General Lawes and Liberyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusetts_ (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts-Bay General Court, 1648; San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, paperback, 1975, Thomas G. Barnes, Editor), at 50.

Doubtless that is why Massachusetts is accused of being "liberal," and because of that -- in the words of such as Reagan and Bushit -- "out of the mainstream". And doubtless that is why the saner "conservatives" such as Bushit are more efficient in both process and certitude of outcome: torture first, then use the evidence obtained by that means to convict the person tortured.

The problem being, of course, it is precisely because the Framers were liberal -- not "conservative"/reactionary -- that they established as mandatory a democratic due process which reflects not the anti-rule of law views of fake conservatives Reagan and Bushit but that of a gov't which was, though a tyranny, not reactionary against the rule of law itself.

Neither Harvard law, nor such as Dershowitz, declare the law; any more than do those who conveniently rely on that evasion of the law and avoidance of the Constitutionally-mandated adjudication by the Judiciary. There is no doubt about it: those who choose to avoid the requirements of law, beginning with the Constitution itself, in order to defend and advance a craven and obvious violation of law are declaredly enemies of our "system of laws, and not of men" (John Adams). As clearly, as obviously, that anti-American position cannot be legitmately claimed as being "patriotic" or "patriotism," unless one's allegiance is to tyranny with no recourse theefrom whatsoever.
 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Following the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the question has become whether the senior al Qaeda leader will reveal key information about the terrorist network. If he doesn't, should he be tortured to make him tell what he knows?

...

BLITZER: Alan Dershowitz, a lot of our viewers will be surprised to hear that you think there are right times for torture. Is this one of those moments?

DERSHOWITZ: I don't think so. This is not the ticking-bomb terrorist case, at least so far as we know. Of course, the difficult question is the chicken-egg question: We won't know if he is a ticking-bomb terrorist unless he provides us information, and he's not likely to provide information unless we use certain extreme measures.

My basic point, though, is we should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture. If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in the ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice. I don't think we're in that situation in this case.

Brett,

I don't think Dershowitz says what you think he says.
 

BLITZER: Alan, how do you know he doesn't have that kind of ticking-bomb information right now, that there's some plot against New York or Washington that he was involved in and there's a time sensitivity? If you knew that, if you suspected that, you would say [to] get the president to authorize torture.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we don't know, and that's why [we could use] a torture warrant, which puts a heavy burden on the government to demonstrate by factual evidence the necessity to administer this horrible, horrible technique of torture. I would talk about nonlethal torture, say, a sterilized needle underneath the nail, which would violate the Geneva Accords, but you know, countries all over the world violate the Geneva Accords. They do it secretly and hypothetically, the way the French did it in Algeria. If we ever came close to doing it, and we don't know whether this is such a case, I think we would want to do it with accountability and openly and not adopt the way of the hypocrite.


hmmmmm, sound familiar?

this was filmed March 4, 2003.

the whole interview is intersting.
 

I urge everyone who hasn't already seen Scott Horton's ass-whuppin' of Bellinger to click the link thereto in Lederman's piece.
 

Scott Horton helps build the case that the Bush Administration are in fact beginning to be viewed as WAR CRIMINALS by European powers.

What do you think happens two years from now when Donny and Dickie want to take that long awaited trip to Italy?

Nixon's had problems in this respect, but imagine how much worse it will be for these THUGS.
 

i hope they truly do love america because it's gonna be a long time before they can leave it ;)
 

The Dershowitz interview Garth quotes illustrates perfectly the flaw with the "ticking bomb" scenario. It is not just that it is virtually impossible to know that any situation is is ticking but, but it is totally impossible to know that any given situation is not a ticking bomb.
 

What are these "results" and "interpretations" of international law that our critics do not "prefer"?

...And refusing to cooperate with an Italian prosecution of CIA and Italian agents who engaged in such lawbreaking, even when the prosecutors are those who have been fighting terrorism for years

...the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the European Council's Parliamentary Assembly issued this report entitled "Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states."


These two actions show just how unserious and hypocritical many in the EU are concerning Islamic fascism.

The EU Parliament report is a long diatribe against nearly all aspects of US, NATO and EU military action against al Qaeda and its allies and a recommendation that the EU treat this war against them as well as the US as just another criminal justice matter.

The limited thumbnail sketch of the extraordinary rendition program provided by the media accounts and some interviews with unnamed government sources from unnamed countries is that NATO approved a series of classified directives under the collective defense provisions of the NATO treaty which included authority for an expansion of the Clinton era rendition program. Consequently, if this report is correct, every NATO nation agreed to and many actively cooperated with this program. So much for the claim that this program is a Bush created, illegal CIA rogue operation.

As to the Italian political show trial, let us put aside for the moment that according to the EU Parliament the accused alleged CIA agents were authorized under the NATO treaty and were otherwise protected under diplomatic immunity. Instead, let us take a look at the man who the Italians accuse the CIA of rendering back to his home country of Egypt.

Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was an officer in the Egyptian terror group al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya. As some of you may recall, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya was run by the "blind sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman and was part of the 1993 attack on the WTC. For some reason, those silly Americans were interested in what this terrorist might know.

Nasr is hardly the innocent bystander portrayed in the media and could face terrorism charges under Italian law if he returns from Egypt. However, this Italian prosecutor, which Professor Lederman portrays as fighting terrorism for years, is not interested in prosecuting the terrorist, but rather the CIA and Italian intelligence agents who captured him.

Despite their political posturing, the EU / NATO governments who condemn this program (even though they authorized and cooperated with it) are not calling for the return of the rendered captures to their countries any more than they are accepting prisoners from Gitmo after calling for the closing of that detention center. In short, the EU is willing to accept the benefits of our military war against Islamic fascism while biting the hand that wields the sword which protects them.
 

do you feel safe and secure knowing this is going on?

welcome to fascism bart...
 

btw, i meant to say kissinger has had problems abroad, one notable example being offerred by none other than Christopher Hitchens who described a panicked kissinger fleeing paris when his intelligence system warned him he would be served with a subpoeana to appear and answer questions about Pinochet.

sorry about that.
 

bart argues that two wrongs make a right.

and then offers a textbook illustration of the parade of horribles.

you little scamp.

classic.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

In short, the EU is willing to accept the benefits of our military war against Islamic fascism while biting the hand that wields the sword which protects them.

1) "Islamic fascism" is nonsensical as a concept, but even more nonsensical as a military target.

2) Last time I checked, EU member states were part of the hand, and their troops part of the sword. You may have heard about this NATO idea--it was all the rage in 2001.

13 of the 27 states in the EU have troops deployed in Iraq, and 17 of the 27 states provided troops for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

3) Please define "the benefits of our military war." Given the propensity of terrorists to attack European targets ("there, so they don't attack here"), how has this war been beneficial?
 

Despite their political posturing, the EU / NATO governments who condemn this program (even though they authorized and cooperated with it) are not calling for the return of the rendered captures to their countries any more than they are accepting prisoners from Gitmo after calling for the closing of that detention center. In short, the EU is willing to accept the benefits of our military war against Islamic fascism while biting the hand that wields the sword which protects them.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 4:13 PM

We can be certain, nonetheless, that neither you nor your chickenhawk heros in the Bushit gang are members of the sword part of that effort. That's probably why you are so confused and misinformed as to believe an impossible idea -- "islamic fascism" -- exists, and can be targeted and defeated with deranged belligerance: you haven't a clue as to military realities and the realities the military finds itself in in Iraq.

Do I understand your chickenhawkism? Certainly: You aren't about to die in a war you enthusiastically support on false grounds. So it can't be other than glorious -- for you.

But show us you really believe the swill you drool: enlist, and demand to be sent to Iraq so you can show us how to win it singlehandedly. Or continue3 to be a loud-mouthed lying coward who hates this country and the fact of it being a system of laws, and not of men.
 

PMS_Chicago said...

1) "Islamic fascism" is nonsensical as a concept, but even more nonsensical as a military target.

Go get a copy of National Geographic's Inside 9/11 and watch Part I. NG actually did the research with which our media cannot be bothered and has several minutes of translated video of various recruiting speeches by various "radical imam's" like the rendered Nasr. These speeches are clear echos of the same rhetoric and promises of conquest and power you heard in Hitler's speeches.

As for military action, any foreign military organization like the al Qaeda network and its copy cats is a good target for military action and an exceedingly poor one for law enforcement. The past 15 years have borne out that truth.

2) Last time I checked, EU member states were part of the hand, and their troops part of the sword.

You are changing the subject. Let us get back to rendition. NATO was indeed part of the rendition program from the beginning. That is why the current hypocritical attacks by some on the program which they authorized and from which they benefited are biting the hand the wields the sword.

3) Please define "the benefits of our military war." Given the propensity of terrorists to attack European targets ("there, so they don't attack here"), how has this war been beneficial?

Rendition barely touched the surface of the festering foreign Islamic fascist movement which the EU has allowed to flourish in their countries. Until they start taking proactive action and treating this like the war it is, the Euros will be cleaning up the bodies of their countrymen and their destroyed property and then doing post facto criminal investigations for the foreseeable future while we have been living in relative safety because we are treating this as a war.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Go get a copy of National Geographic's Inside 9/11 and watch Part I. NG actually did the research with which our media cannot be bothered and has several minutes of translated video of various recruiting speeches by various "radical imam's" like the rendered Nasr. These speeches are clear echos of the same rhetoric and promises of conquest and power you heard in Hitler's speeches.

Or if that's too much bother, dig out a Cheney speech or tune in to Glenn Beck, Michael (nee Weiner) "Savage", InsHannity, or His Emanence Rush.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

As for military action, any foreign military organization like the al Qaeda network and its copy cats is a good target for military action and an exceedingly poor one for law enforcement. The past 15 years have borne out that truth.

Ummmmmm ... where's bin Laden?

Cheers,
 

Arne Langsetmo said...

"Bart" DePalma: As for military action, any foreign military organization like the al Qaeda network and its copy cats is a good target for military action and an exceedingly poor one for law enforcement. The past 15 years have borne out that truth.

Ummmmmm ... where's bin Laden?


Either dead since he has not been heard from for over a year or moving from cave to cave unable to conduct operations against the US rather than openly planning 9/11 and other attacks on the US in Afghanistan while the Clinton Administration declined to order air strikes to kill the bastard and his officers and instead sent the FBI to the Middle East.
 

Scotusblog has been covering the next interesting development in the detainee legal wars. The DTA permits the DC Circuit to review the CRST process to determine whether it is operating properly and the self appointed Gitmo attorneys are attempting to use this review to get access to the classified files on the Gitmo detainees. Follow all the links to previous posts and filings in this matter. Among them is a declaration by Rear Admiral McGarrah describing the CRST process which was filed by the government.

I would love to hear the professors' takes on this new development.
 

"rather than openly planning 9/11 and other attacks on the US in Afghanistan "

"Openly"?? How was 9/11 planned "openly"?
 

unable to conduct operations against the US

Whoa, hold on. I thought you said the majority of the attacks that occur on US troops in Iraq are due to Al-Qaeda?
 

PMS_Chicago said...

Bart: ...unable to conduct operations against the US.

Whoa, hold on. I thought you said the majority of the attacks that occur on US troops in Iraq are due to Al-Qaeda?


When did I say this?

I posted that al Qaeda's suicide car bombings are the cause of the majority of deaths in Iraq. However, unless we have cornered them, al Qaeda tends to avoid our troops after they have had their asses handed to them on multiple occasions.

In any case, Iraq is not in the United States the last time I checked. I have posted in the past that there have been nearly no attacks on US citizens and interests outside of the Afghan and Iraq war zones since we liberated those countries. The EU has not been nearly so fortunate, which is the point of my posts on this thread.
 

"Bart" DePalma continues his ways:

I posted that al Qaeda's suicide car bombings are the cause of the majority of deaths in Iraq.

I'll take your word (never a good idea, but of no consequence in this instance) that this is in fact what you posted. OK, where's the cites for this 'fact'?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

[Arne]: Ummmmmm ... where's bin Laden?

Either dead since he has not been heard from for over a year or moving from cave to cave unable to conduct operations against the US rather than openly planning 9/11 and other attacks on the US in Afghanistan while the Clinton Administration declined to order air strikes to kill the bastard and his officers and instead sent the FBI to the Middle East.


This is getting repetitious. O, but I repeat myself: Where's Osama bin Laden.

Oh, I know, he's "not ... important".

But if the Dubya maladministration should blunder into finding him (after disbanding the bin Laden task force), I'm quite sure that they'll change their min... -- um, sorry, rhetoric -- in a millisecond and trumpet this as the greatest achievement since Windows 95.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma lives in a parallel universe:

...while the Clinton Administration declined to order air strikes to kill the bastard [bin Laden]..."

Ummmm, Clinton did order strikes aimed at taking out bin Laden. When, unfortunately, they didn't get bin Laden, the stoopid and venal Republicans (and their butt-suckers as Bart is) started complaining about 'sending cruise missiles up a camel's a$$' (or words to that effect).

"Bart" is entitled to his own misguided if not hallucinatory opinions, but he's not entitled to his own 'facts'....

Cheers,
 

arne:

:::chuckle:::

When exactly did the Clinton Administration "order strikes aimed at taking out bin Laden."

Surely you are not talking about the 1998 Operation Infinite Reach cruise missile attacks against the Sudanese pharma plant and multiple largely abandoned Afghan al Qaeda camps killing a Sudanese janitor and perhaps 20 hostiles in Afghanistan with dozens of cruise missiles.

None of this was aimed at bin Laden.

What was that about "entitled to his own misguided if not hallucinatory opinions, but...not entitled to his own 'facts'...."
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Bart said:

When exactly did the Clinton Administration "order strikes aimed at taking out bin Laden. . . . None of this was aimed at bin Laden."

Unfortunately, both Bart and Arne are wrong. From what we know, Clinton never had hard intelligence of the location of bin Laden - therefore, he could never launch an attack aimed at taking out bin Laden. However, the attacks in Afghanistan, Sudan, and subsequent action (financial or otherwise) were all "aimed at bin Laden."

Source
 

When exactly did the Clinton Administration "order strikes aimed at taking out bin Laden."

August 8, 1998.

From the 9/11 commission report, page 116:

The day after the embassy bombings,Tenet brought to a principals meeting intelligence that terrorist leaders were expected to gather at a camp near Khowst,Afghanistan,to plan future attacks.According to Berger,Tenet said that several hundred would attend,including Bin Ladin.The CIA described the area as effectively a military cantonment, away from civilian population centers and overwhelmingly populated by jihadists. Clarke remembered sitting next to Tenet in a White House meeting,asking Tenet “You thinking what I’m thinking?”
and his nodding “yes.”39 The principals quickly reached a consensus on attacking the gathering.The strike’s purpose was to kill Bin Ladin and his chief lieutenants.40

 

When exactly did the Clinton Administration "order strikes aimed at taking out bin Laden."

August 8, 1998.

From the 9/11 commission report, page 116:

The day after the embassy bombings,Tenet brought to a principals meeting intelligence that terrorist leaders were expected to gather at a camp near Khowst,Afghanistan,to plan future attacks.According to Berger,Tenet said that several hundred would attend,including Bin Ladin.The CIA described the area as effectively a military cantonment, away from civilian population centers and overwhelmingly populated by jihadists. Clarke remembered sitting next to Tenet in a White House meeting,asking Tenet “You thinking what I’m thinking?”
and his nodding “yes.”39 The principals quickly reached a consensus on attacking the gathering.The strike’s purpose was to kill Bin Ladin and his chief lieutenants.40

# posted by PMS_Chicago : 3:16 AM

All or most of which facts were reported in the mainstream media at the time. Along with the response by the Republican'ts: that Clinton was "wagging the dog" in effort to distract from the Lewinsky non-issue.

And Clarke, himself a Republican, subsequently said that, while Clinton didn't hit that "contonment" hard enough, the Republican't attacks on Clinton at the time adversely affected that effort.
 

". . . . I have posted in the past that there have been nearly no attacks on US citizens and interests outside of the Afghan and Iraq war zones since we liberated those countries."

# posted by Bart DePalma : 6:22 PM

According to the International Red Cross, 98 per cent of detainees in Abu Ghraib _UNDER BUSHIT MANAGEMENT_ had committed no crime. That did not constrain Bushit having those detainees tortured anyway, without bothering with the "legal technicality" of first determining whether they were guilty in accordance with democratic due process -- beginning with presumption of innocence.

And we can be certain that the young Iraqi boys raped in front of their mothers were not adjudicated guilty first.

Neither were their mothers.

Those are the realities in Iraq under Bushit administration. And those are the realities you falsely term "liberation" -- unless you silently limit the term "liberation" to "the prior administration of war criminals".

Equivalent is true of US "liberation" of Afghanistan: the Taliban was stamping out the poppy fields. Since the "liberation" by Bushit, Afghanistan is not only again the #1 narco-state in the world, its production is at record levels.

You're as sick, and anti-American, as the Bushit War Crimes Family and Delusion Factory.

No actual, legitimate lawyer would be so lacking in ethics, and a sense of what is legal, and what not, and the fraud against the law of pretending "a few war crimes" don't present a clear and present danger to the rule of law in all respects.

When is the "Bart" pollution going to be banned -- sent back to under the rock which in insulted huff moved away from him and thereby allowed him to be "liberated" into decent society.
 

Kevin:

Unfortunately, both Bart and Arne are wrong. From what we know, Clinton never had hard intelligence of the location of bin Laden - therefore, he could never launch an attack aimed at taking out bin Laden.

Don't know where you get that. From the article:

"With only Attorney General Janet Reno dissenting, Clinton directed two retaliatory strikes on Aug. 20. One, near the Afghan town of Khost, was timed to kill bin Laden and his associates in their beds at 10 p.m. local time. It missed, the CIA said afterward, by a few hours."

Are you saying that while the attack may have been intended to hit bin Laden, it wasn't actually physically aimed at him (and as a consequence didn't hit him)? That would be quibbling about what the meaning of "aimed" is.

While other strikes were not made because the evidence was too shaky and/or stale, or because (in the case of the UAE shiekh's hunting party) of the untoward effects of a mistake.

I don't think I misstated the case, Kevin. "Bart" did. But thanks for the cite.

Cheers,
 

Prof. Lederman [from the post]:

And, to send Mr. Bellinger to Europe once again to also assert that the Convention Against Torture does not apply at all to the armed conflict against Al Qaeda, because it is superseded by the Geneva Conventions -- treaties that the Administration insisted do nothing at all to protect our detainees. (In his Hague speech on Wednesday, Bellinger stated that "I should add that contrary to what you might hear from some critics, no one in the United States government has sought to disregard or avoid these obligations [under the CAT]." Well, except that the Bush Administration has rendered legal opinions that (i) interpreted away to nothing the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, particularly overseas; (ii) insisted that the prohibition on rendition does not apply if the rendition begins in a European nation rather than in the United States; and, for good measure, (iii) concluded that the CAT is completely inapplicable to our current armed conflicts. Other than that, we don't seek to disregard or avoid our CAT obligations.)


Bellinger wrote the CAT out of existence for the Guantanamo detainees and such by saying that the CAT can't cover them because the GC already covers "armed conflicts" (and we wouldn't want to give even the slightest smidgen of a hint of any extra protection to people by some alleged duplication).

But then the thoroughly dishonest and disgusting maladministration has the balls to say that neither GC3 or GC4 cover these people either.

So I ask you, Mr. Bellinger, where's the duplication?!?!?

Cheers,
 

"I know John slightly. He's a good guy; . . . ."

Is there any point at which a mouthpiece for Bushit propaganda, intended to CYA war criminals, sufficiently ceases to be "a good guy" that instead of being given collegial courtesy they are held to account for their moral complicity in the war crimes?

". . . . I've heard numerous accounts that I trust that he's been leading the charge at the State Department to push the Administration back to the better traditions of our government, fighting the good fight. He is certainly to be commended for engaging the Administration's critics directly, often at a high level of seriousness and sophistication."

All beside the point, hidden as they are from public witness.

"I don't dispute that there may be some real value in John giving speeches such as this one -- perhaps, over time, they might shame the Administration into actually doing what Bellinger describes."

I do. We already have a six-plus year record of the fact that the Bushit gang will not obey the law, even when told they must by either the Judiciary or the Congress. How much longer will they be given the benefit of the doubt by the very people who have the credibility by means of which to turn the tide against the war crimes? I also mean the media: still we have a media of "prestige" "journalists" and pundits who treat every pronouncement from Bushit and Cheney as if untouchable as objects of critical analysis. As if it goes without saying that such are beyond question factual and truthful.

Even though we all know by now that the Bushit gang lies even when there can be no other reason for doing so than practice.

". . . . But for now, anyway, the idea that John actually believes that his account has any relation to the truth outside Foggy Bottom is simply implausible."

Beside the point. What matters is that "we" are intended to be deceived by the lie knowingly -- you would assert -- told by John Bellinger. We don't need frauds who'll only elbow Bushit in the ribs as a hint that he should obey the law, all the while knowing he won't. All the while knowing that shaming the Bushit criminal enterprise out of their sociopathies will have any effect.
 

arne:

In a storm of criticism of an attack timed for the night before the Lewinski testimony providing the basis for the felony charges against Clinton and which achieved little to nothing on the ground, the Administration put out the spin that the attack was aimed at bin Laden.

However, the CIA did not have real time intel as to the location of bin Laden during the 1998 attack as they had on multiple prior and subsequent occasions when the Clinton Administration vetoed requests to attack. Clinton simply ordered an attack on a largely abandoned camp where bin Laden had been seen in the past and called it an attack on bin Laden to justify the "wag the dog" timing of the attack on the eve of the testimony of the chief witness in the felony investigation against him.

Hell, bin Laden had a good laugh at Clinton's expense in one of his propaganda tapes ridiculing the notion that this was an attack on him.

You may want to drop this line of defense. It is a loser.
 

Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, 409-10:

The day after the embassy bombings the CIA received a report that senior leaders of Islamist militant and terrorist groups linked to bin Laden planned to meet on August 20 at the Zawhar Kili camp complex about seven miles south of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. The intelligence indicated that bin Laden himself might attend the meeting.

Zawhar Kili was near the scene of bin Laden's myth-making glory, the place he legendarily battled Soviet troops. It had been [the site of] his February announcement of the forthcoming jihad against "Crusaders and Jews." It had been the site of his May press conference and one-on-one television interviews. By striking the complex, the Americans would be attacking the birthplace of bin Laden's war and a symbol of his power. * * *

Participants later differed about the quality of the CIA's intelligence on the Zawhar Kili meeting. * * * General Anthony Zinni * * * recalled that "the intelligence wasn't that solid." He felt launching cruise missiles into the camp during the August 20 meeting would be "a long shot, very iffy." The CIA's Paul Pillar and two senior directors in Richard Clarke's White House counterterrorism office recalled that the intelligence predicted bin Laden's presence at the meeting. Other participants recalled the opposite, that the report offered no specific assurance bin Laden would attend. Whatever the uncertainties, there was no doubt from Clinton on down that an objective of the American attack was to kill bin Laden.


[Paragraphing altered.]

As Coll goes on to write, Pakistanti intelligence knew of the meeting -- they called it a "summit" that bin Laden had called -- and assumed that the Americans knew of it and would attack it. It seems very unlikely that OBL didn't pick up on it.
 

Anderson:

The military commander, General Zinni, thought the "intelligence report" was "very iffy," which is diplomatic for saying it was crap.

The Clintonistas at the meeting could not remember what was said as is the habit amongst Clintonistas who find themselves justifying some shenanigan or another.

You will also notice that CIA never even hinted who was the source of this "intelligence report."

It is fascinating that the Clintonistas could not be bothered with killing bin Laden when they had eyes on him several times before and after but jumped on an alleged report with no verification which just happened to fall on the evening before the Lewinski testimony.

If you believe this, I have some Pacific beach front property to sell you in Colorado.
 

In any case, Iraq is not in the United States the last time I checked. I have posted in the past that there have been nearly no attacks on US citizens and interests outside of the Afghan and Iraq war zones since we liberated those countries. The EU has not been nearly so fortunate, which is the point of my posts on this thread.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 6:22 PM


Classic Baghdad Bart. THERE HAVE BEEN NO ATTACKS EXCEPT IN THE PLACES WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN ATTACKS!!
 

Bart, of course is a poor liar, fact checker, historian and all-round poor source of any information.

He is a Bush supporter and therefore one of the Dead-Ender's propping up the national nightmare that is Bush.

Let's look at some objective facts shall we.

Lindsey and Band write that "The drama [the dramatisation that Bart relies on] leads viewers to believe that National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told the CIA that he would not authorize them to take a shot at bin Laden in 1998." We find no evidence that this scene is based on reality.

While a plan was drawn up for an operation to get bin Laden in early-to-mid 1998, it was never implemented. CIA Director George Tenet told the Commission that he alone took responsibility for pulling the plug, and he conveyed that decision to Berger (p. 114).

It is true that members of the intelligence community were frustrated at times, such as in mid-1999, by not getting a green light to mount a strike when they believed they had bin Laden's location pinpointed. "The reporting [on bin Laden's whereabouts] was very detailed and came from several sources," according to the Report (p. 140). But CIA Director George Tenet apparently didn't consider the intelligence good enough to authorize a strike.

Tenet told the Commission that he remembers the intelligence coming from a single uncorroborated source and that there was a risk of collateral damage.

Clinton: After the [attack on the USS] Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible. . . . So that meant I would've had to send a few hundred Special Forces in helicopters and refuel at night.

True: Clinton did draw up plans as he described, and was indeed frustrated by the reluctance of the CIA and FBI to pin blame for the attack squarely on bin Laden.

Clinton probably came within hours of killing bin Laden on Aug. 20, 1998 when the US attacked training camps in Afghanistan near Khost, where the CIA believed terrorist leaders were gathering to plan further attacks in the wake of earlier bombings of US embassies. The cruise missile strikes, launched from Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea, mostly hit their targets but missed bin Laden, most likely by just a few hours (9/11 Report, p. 117).

That's the last time an attack was launched until after 9/11. Bush probably came close too, however. Newspaper accounts have quoted unnamed intelligence officials saying that bin Laden narrowly escaped capture in the battle of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in late 2001, primarily because no U.S. ground troops were in the area at the critical time. The failure to capture bin Laden there became an issue in the 2004 presidential election. Last year, the CIA field commander at Tora Bora, Gary Bernsten, said he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was hiding in the Tora Bora mountains, and could have been caught.

October 3, 2006 Factcheck.org
 

Lewinsky a distraction? Thirdly, the letter says the ABC program insinuates that Clinton was too wrapped up in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment to pay sufficient attention to bin Laden. On this, the 9/11 Report supports Clinton. "Everyone involved in the decision [to launch cruise missiles aimed at bin Laden in 1998] had, of course, been aware of President Clinton's problems," the Report says. "He told them to ignore them. Berger recalled the President saying to him 'that they were going to get crap either way, so they should do the right thing.' All his aides testified to us that they based their advice solely on national security considerations. We have found no reason to question their statements." (p. 118) Because of complaints from Clinton's camp, ABC removed most references to the Lewinsky scandal by the time the program aired. - id.
 

Classic dead-ender stuff. Bin Laden is scampering from cave to cave in Pakistan, unable to plan attacks against the US; but somehow, if we withdrew our troops from Iraq, he'd magically regain the ability to attack the US! You have to admire the sort of logic that permits one to reach such conclusions.
 

Hell, bin Laden had a good laugh at Clinton's expense in one of his propaganda tapes ridiculing the notion that this was an attack on him.

Once again, if you want to be taken seriously, you probably shouldn't base your opinion on the content of enemy propaganda tapes.

You would think that someone who is a rabid supporter of a parallel action--one that has been just as successful, but far more costly in terms of American blood, resources, and reputation--would commend the prior administration for its efforts, even if he lamented their methods.

which just happened to fall on the evening before the Lewinski testimony.

Monica Lewinsky gave her first day of testimony to the federal grand jury on August 6, 1998--one day prior to al-Qaeda's embassy bombings. On that day she said she had "more than a dozen sexual encounters with the President." In short, the cat was out of the bag.

You may recall that the President's own testimony occurred on August 17--perhaps a better time to launch a distraction. Lewinsky's second day of testimony added little to the scandal, although the attacks were announced by the White House as she left the courthouse.

I would agree that the timing of the announcement was a political move, but people who claim that the operation was solely designed to steal public attention from the ongoing scandal are right up there in credibility with people that think our own government planned the 9/11 attacks.
 

of course if President Clinton had been more like Herr Busch, he would have created an executive pipeline of raw intelligence data from which he could cherrypick cases to justify his after the fact illegal military mission in Afghanistan.

DAMN THE RULE OF LAW!

After reveiwing your previous posts, Mr. DePalma, I must say, your ethics make my skin crawl!
 

Bart writes:You may want to drop this line of defense. It is a loser.

You might want to drop the "clinton did xyz bad thing, therefore its okay for gwb to do it too." It pretty much means that your moral bar was defined by clinton, because your defense of gwb seems to consistently fall back on the "clinton did it too" rhetoric. I really don't think its usefull to justify gwb's record by the watermark on clinton's forehead.
 

Hell, bin Laden had a good laugh at Clinton's expense in one of his propaganda tapes ridiculing the notion that this was an attack on him.

Once again, if you want to be taken seriously, you probably shouldn't base your opinion on the content of enemy propaganda tapes.

# posted by PMS_Chicago : 12:18 PM

Yeah, I've noticed that: wingnuts such as "Bart" constantly remind us that al Qaeda is not to be trusted -- except when their statements support the wingnut's attacks on such as Clinton.

In the alternative, might it actually be that "Bart" and his fellow wingnuts are al Qaeda "sleeper cells" who now and then let that cat out of the bag by adopting their world view?

"Bart" is one of those one-note singers, or one-tool toolboxes? To a fool with a hammer everything is a nail. The only tool to use against every kind of problem is the military.

They adamantly rule out criminal law and police work -- which is the means by which Clinton found, arrested, indicted, prosecuted and imprisoned the 1993 WTC bombers.

So where's bin Ladin? The military is a hammer to bin Laden as jello. Bushit and his 28 per cent dead-enders, no matter which way they turn, are losers.
 

Garth and JNagarya:

I think it's a fair recap of Dershowitz's position that, in those rare circumstances where torture is considered necessary, let's have a judge rule on it instead. I'm more than willing to accept that as a compromise to freeing all terrorists held by the U.S.
 

Charles,

But if, as the Red Cross asserts, 98% of the captives are not involved in terrorist activity, how can they/we prove it? You want to torture people who haven't been convicted of a crime? That's not a slippery slope, it's jumping off the cliff.

I'm not willing to do that. Let's make it simple. No torture. Period. That's consistent with our laws, traditions, and Constitution.
 

Fraud Guy:

I would HOPE that 100% of the captives are no longer involved in terrorist activities. Not sure from your post, however, what would be wrong with Dershowitz's "compromise" proposal.
 

I'm more than willing to accept that as a compromise to freeing all terrorists held by the U.S.

Because those are the choices?

That is the stupidest thing I'll read all week.

Back to bin Laden: Lawrence Wright reports that the info about OBL's being at Khost was based on a partial intercept of a satellite phone transmission. The NSA was surveilling al-Qaeda's phone calls, but wouldn't share its intel with CIA.

A member of OBL's guard at the time reports that OBL was planning to go to Khost, but let his companions vote for Kabul, where they could visit friends. The Looming Tower, 283-84.

Bart's credence in General Zinni could probably be satirized by a little googling, but I leave that as an exercise for the reader.
 

Charles,

Parse much?

98% not involved in activities even prior to capture/restraint.

Dershowitz' position is not a compromise, but an acceptance of torture. Torture is out of bounds. An example of compromise (under Geneva Conventions and thus, US law--remember the law?) would be whether accused captives are tried under capturing nation's civil or military systems.
 

Oh, thanks for the clarification, Fraud Guy. If you want to call it 'acceptance of torture' fine. I think I will stick to calling it the Dershowitz Compromise for now.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

In a storm of criticism of an attack timed for the night before the Lewinski testimony providing the basis for the felony charges against Clinton and which achieved little to nothing on the ground, the Administration put out the spin that the attack was aimed at bin Laden.

However, the CIA did not have real time intel as to the location of bin Laden during the 1998 attack as they had on multiple prior and subsequent occasions when the Clinton Administration vetoed requests to attack. Clinton simply ordered an attack on a largely abandoned camp where bin Laden had been seen in the past and called it an attack on bin Laden to justify the "wag the dog" timing of the attack on the eve of the testimony of the chief witness in the felony investigation against him.

Hell, bin Laden had a good laugh at Clinton's expense in one of his propaganda tapes ridiculing the notion that this was an attack on him.


Cites for these newsflashes?!?!?

You may want to drop this line of defense. It is a loser.

You might want to stop reading Freeperville foam as Gospel Truth and instead read something like the 9/11 report.

You know, it's beginning to sound like you have Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Don't feel bad, pretty much every Rethuglican had it a while back..... Bad news is that it's incurable; it rots your brain and you'll never get back those few neurones you had to lose.

To tell the truth, "Bart", I don't have to defend Clinton (but I will, because I believe in fairness and don't want to see malevolent acts go unpunished). Most of the country has figured out that Dubya is the: Worst. Presznit. Ever.

And in that light, even Clinton's blowjob seems lke small potatoes to all but the 28% (and dwindling) "dead-enders"....

Cheers,
 

"Bartbuster":

In any case, Iraq is not in the United States the last time I checked. I have posted in the past that there have been nearly no attacks on US citizens and interests outside of the Afghan and Iraq war zones since we liberated those countries. The EU has not been nearly so fortunate, which is the point of my posts on this thread.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 6:22 PM

Classic Baghdad Bart. THERE HAVE BEEN NO ATTACKS EXCEPT IN THE PLACES WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN ATTACKS!!


You noticed. Kind of like how you get a bulls-eye. You shoot the arrow, then you go paint rings around where it hit....

Needless to say, people have called "Bart" on this sophistry previously, including me. Won't make a difference; "Bart" will continue to use this technique. He's drunk so much Kool-Aid he no longer has a sense of shame....

Cheers,
 

I guess "Hillary" Clinton is drunk with Kool-Aid too, since she thinks the UNITED STATES is safer since 9/11 too.
 

In case you missed it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/06/us/politics/06dems.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
 

jnagarya:

They adamantly rule out criminal law and police work -- which is the means by which Clinton found, arrested, indicted, prosecuted and imprisoned the 1993 WTC bombers.

And one of the African embassy bombers too, IIRC....

Cheers,
 

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad -- A magistrate in Trinidad denied bail Monday for three of the four men accused in a plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport after a prosecutor presented evidence that the FBI had recordings of their alleged conspiracy.

The three suspects, Abdul Kadir, 55, and Abdel Nur, 67, both of Guyana and Trinidadian Kareem Ibrahim, 61, are expected to remain behind bars in Trinidad's capital, Port-of-Spain, until an August 2nd extradition hearing about sending them to New York city to face charges.
 

Charles:

I think it's a fair recap of Dershowitz's position that, in those rare circumstances where torture is considered necessary, let's have a judge rule on it instead. I'm more than willing to accept that as a compromise to freeing all terrorists held by the U.S.

Fallacy of bifurcation

I guess "Hillary" Clinton is drunk with Kool-Aid too, since she thinks the UNITED STATES is safer since 9/11 too.

No. "Bart"'s drunk the Kool-Aid because his only moral compass is what's good for Dubya and the Republican party. Bush did it? Good. Clinton did it? Bad. Scooter did it? Good. Clinton did it? Bad.

"Bart"'s total loyalty to the Republican party has him engaging in absurd leaps of faith, claims totally contrary to reality, and the most malevolent 'interpretations"' of law and justice you can imagine. Not to mention outright miscites of law.

One might argue we are safer ... but if so, that's hardly to Dubya's credit (and I personally think it false ... but then what do I know, I'm just a poor schmuck that came out and stated that Iraq would become a quagmire in March 2003 ... not to mention calling Chalabi on his propaganda and lies before the war, and saying there would be no WMDs found). But Iraq certainly hasn't made us any safer.

Cheers,
 

The Council of Europe report provides the first-ever glimpse of what took place inside the CIA's secret detention facilities in Poland and Romania. It's not a complete account -- the report attributes its information to "current and former detainees, human rights advocates, or people who have worked in the establishment or operations of CIA secret prisons" -- but it's by far the most complete account available. Here's a selection of what conditions in the so-called "black sites" were like:

Clothes were cut up and torn off; many detainees were then kept naked for several weeks. ...
At one point in 2004, eight persons were being kept together at one CIA facility in Europe, but were administered according to a strict regime of isolation. Contact between them through sight or sound was forbidden... and prevented unless it was expressly decided to create limited conditions where they could see or come into contact with one another because it would serve (the CIA's) intelligence-gathering objectives to allow it. ...

The air in many cells emanated from a ventilation hole in the ceiling, which was often controlled to produce extremes of temperature: sometimes so hot that one would gasp for breath, sometimes freezing cold.

Many detainees described air conditioning for deliberate discomfort.

Detainees were exposed at times to over-heating in the cell; at other times drafts of freezing breeze.

Detainees never experienced natural light or natural darkness, although most were blindfolded many times so they could see nothing....

There was a shackling ring in the wall of the cell, about half a metre up off the floor. Detainees' hands and feet were clamped in handcuffs and leg irons. Bodies were regularly forced into contorted shapes and chained to this ring for long, painful periods.
 

Arne:

If, hypothetically, 100 people killed in Iraq would have instead carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S., then even you would agree that going into Iraq had made us safer, right?
 

If, hypothetically, 100 people killed in Iraq would have instead carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S., then even you would agree that going into Iraq had made us safer, right?

# posted by Charles : 6:40 PM


Do you also still believe in Santa Claus?
 

Needless to say, people have called "Bart" on this sophistry previously, including me. Won't make a difference; "Bart" will continue to use this technique. He's drunk so much Kool-Aid he no longer has a sense of shame....

Cheers,

# posted by Arne Langsetmo : 5:55 PM


Baghdad Bart recently fled a forum where he's been spewing this sort of garbage for the last 4 years. A quick Googe search led me here. Given the beating he's getting here, I expect him to cut and run very soon.
 

Charles:


Arne:

If, hypothetically, 100 people killed in Iraq would have instead carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S., then even you would agree that going into Iraq had made us safer, right?


If pigs flew over the moon, maybe I'd feel some duty to answer you.

Instead, I feel a duty to show your garbage for the nonsense that it is. But even then, you might not like my answer, grounded in law as it would be. Clear now?

Cheers,
 

"Bartbuster":

Baghdad Bart recently fled a forum where he's been spewing this sort of garbage for the last 4 years. A quick Googe search led me here. Given the beating he's getting here, I expect him to cut and run very soon.

Sadly, no. "Bart" was kicked off Glenn Greenwald's blog (not for being an eedjit, but rather for losing his cool and calling Glenn a liar too many times). Glenn's tolerant of diverse 'opinions', but draws the line at slander propagated on his blog. That's abusing hospitality. Perhaps the proprietors here should take notice as well.

Cheers,
 

Garth and JNagarya:

I think it's a fair recap of Dershowitz's position that, in those rare circumstances where torture is considered necessary, let's have a judge rule on it instead. I'm more than willing to accept that as a compromise to freeing all terrorists held by the U.S.

# posted by Charles : 4:49 PM

Ass: wake up:

Even to those who reject evolution, the world is at least 6,000 years old. The Americas as a European colony, free of or not from Europe, is some 500 years of that at most.

And before Europe set foot on this continent, the Americas did not exist in relation to or under European law. But put all that aside except for this fact:

There is nothing new under the sun. "Terrorism" is nothing new -- regardless Bushit's bushit that we've "never faced an enemy like this". Ass: the Founders were terrorists fighting an asymetrical war from the _TERRORIST_ side.

Were they "state" or "state-sponsored" "terrorism"? Not according to those who insisted they weren't a state.

Nothing is new under the sun. And yet, that being the fact, torture has been prohibited, regardless what called, for at least one hundred years. Post WW II, the US authored the international prohibitions against torture and aggressive warfare -- attacking countries which aren't a threat.

Yet you want, in your ignorance of history, to have us adopt your uninformed stupidity as some sort of informed and reasoned means of dealing with that which only you, and Bushit suckers, believe is so new it's never been seen before?

Is it us who are stupid; or you?

Nothing Bushit claims is legal is legal. Beginning with his claim to be president. READ THE CONSTITUTION AS TO THE ONLY BRANCH AUTHORIZED TO RESOLVE ELECTION DISPUTES SUCH AS THAT IN 2000.

Clue: IT ISN'T THE SUPREME COURT.

Stop being an ass. Stop proffering flatly, and on their face, not merely lame but obvious bullshit rationalizations based upon nothing but "I Love Bushit". If you want to continue talking that ragtime, go where it's welcome -- elsewhere. Try Free Republic.
 

Garth and JNagarya:

I think it's a fair recap of Dershowitz's position that, in those rare circumstances where torture is considered necessary, let's have a judge rule on it instead. I'm more than willing to accept that as a compromise to freeing all terrorists held by the U.S.

# posted by Charles : 4:49 PM


You mean, don't you, _ALLEGED_ "terrorists"?

If yopu don't, then you may know what you mean, but you don't know what you're talking about.

Ass: stop being a knee-jerk ass.
 

Charles said:

Arne:

If, hypothetically, 100 people killed in Iraq would have instead carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S., then even you would agree that going into Iraq had made us safer, right?

# posted by Charles : 6:40 PM


Of course, this irretrievably begs the fact that regular Iraqis did not desire to carry out terrorist attacks against us until after we invaded and occupied their country for the past several years.

SO WE ARE NOT SAFER!

I have to recall that you counterfactually (actually, counterationally) felt that we should have a-bombed the Soviets instead of the Japanese.

Of course, when we leave Iraq, we can only hope that we can repeat the example of Vietnam and have success in developing ties with an ex-failed colonization attempt.
 

Hi All,

My first post here. I read bits of the blog fairly regularly.

In Garth's post (1:59pm), the gentleman, Alan Dershowitz, discusses placing a sterilized needle under someone's fingernail.

I was wondering if someone could point me in the direction of an explanation, or a theory, of how and why such techniques work to get accurate information quickly. I've seen remarks all over the place (including the US Army Field Manual) that claim torture doesn't work, inasmuch as the goal is to get reliable information.

If a hypothesis about why torture should work for the purposes of getting information, is unavailable. Does anyone know if there are studies about how effective other intelligence agencies have been at getting info using torture?

Just to let everyone know where I'm coming from, I'm not asking these questions to make any kind of point. I'm genuinely interested. Although my own position is that torture should illegal, and my *guess* is that it doesn't work reliably or generally enough that we even need to debate its use. However, I acknowledge I'm making a guess, based on my own intuitions. So I'd like to know if there's anything out there that suggests otherwise.

(I guess I'm looking for something of "peer review quality" and not just a statement from some guy. Those are easy enough to find.)

Thanks,

Pete L
 

Bartbuster:

No, I do not believe in Santa Claus -- can you answer my question now?

Fraud Guy:

I think I stated that we shouldn't have dropped TWO A-bombs on Japan -- can you answer my question though?

Pete:

Try John McCain's book "Faith of My Fathers" where he expresses regret for giving up classified info after being tortured.
 

No, I do not believe in Santa Claus -- can you answer my question now?

Sure, I can answer it.

If you believe that we have prevented 10 9/11 attacks by our invasion of Iraq, then your claim that you don't believe in Santa Claus is almost certainly a lie.
 

Bartbuster:

My question was not whether I believe in Santa Claus or not. That was YOUR question. MY question has nothing to do with Santa Claus. Here it is again: "If 100 people killed by us in Iraq would have instead carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S., then even you would agree that going into Iraq had made us safer, right?"
 

Charles, I know what your question was. What part of my answer did you not understand?
 

The part that was non-responsive to whether YOU would agree that the U.S. is quantitatively and qualitatively "safer" if (again, hypothetically) our Iraq invasion had killed 100 people who would have otherwise carried out 10 more 9/11 attacks here in the U.S. That question whether you agree can be answered "yes" or "no" and without any reference whatsoever to Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc.
 

Hi,

To Charles. Thanks for the McCain reference. Although, I think what McCain has to say might serve as a case study, I'm really concerned about finding out whether anyone has done a study to find out whether sticking a sterilized needle under a person's finger nail will reliably elicit accurate information. I imagine that the answer is to be found by looking at the records of those who have torture for the specific purpose of extracting information from someone. As I said, I'm not looking for a statement from some guy.

I found an article (I'm sorry I can't link to it): Rod Morgan's "The Utilitarian Justification of Torture," published in *Punishment and Society*, in 2000. He only makes brief mention that "There is now a sufficient corpus of research and case study evidence to demonstrate that even the mildest pressure - pressure so mild that the ordinary citizen might not even
interpret it to be pressure - is capable of eliciting a false confession or misleading
information from a vulnerable or suggestible subject (Royal Commission, 1981: 25-6;
Gudjonsson, 1996)." Obviously, most of us would agree that it is possible torture, or other coercive tactics, would fail sometimes and work other times. I'm trying to find out a more precise answer to this question . . . because if we find out that torture is not effective for eliciting information than debates about whether it is acceptable as policy will cease.

I can imagine more situations where torture would not work (for the purposes of getting information), than situations where it would.

Also, I'd like to answer the question you put to Bartbuster. Everyone would answer "Yes," including me, with the condition that the the invasion did not have the negative effect of creating 101 or more terrorists who would go on to do harm to people in the U.S. Part of the reason that I find your question a little weird, and disingenuous frankly, is that you didn't include the provision that less than 100 new terrorists are created.

Surely, we both agree that if Timothy McVeigh killed someone who would have gone on to kill thousands of innocent people than some good came out of his bombing. Clearly, we can invent an unlimited number of hypothetical situations which would justify all sorts of abhorrent acts. However, we don't learn anything just because we agree that there could be imaginable situations in which the invasion of Iraq was beneficial.

I assume, Charles, that you would find it absurd if someone asked you "If such-and-such . . . then, you would agree that the 9/11 attacks made us safer, right?"

Pete L
 

That question whether you agree can be answered "yes" or "no" and without any reference whatsoever to Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc.

Perhaps it can, but I doubt a yes/no answer would properly reflect the contempt I have for someone who thinks that particular hypothetical situation exists on this planet.
 

Pete L:

I could care less if 100, or 1,000, new terrorists were created by our Iraqi invasion, as long as none of them carried out 9/11 attacks in the U.S. I'm a big propoent of fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here.

As for my hypotehtical, I'm just trying to see where (or even IF) you will draw the line. So, as for not learning anything, we at least learn that some people like Bartbuster will indeed refuse to admit the obvious -- I would wager those same people would be the first to defend a DEMOCRAT President taking the same exact measures in Iraq -- on the flip side, even if I found it "absurd" I would have to answer the obvious question "If such-and-such . . . then, you would agree that the 9/11 attacks made us safer, right?"
 

I could care less if 100, or 1,000, new terrorists were created by our Iraqi invasion, as long as none of them carried out 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

But what if we created 1,000 terrorists that eventually do carry out 9/11 attacks on the US?

I'm a big propoent of fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here.

As long as you're not doing the fighting, I'll bet. That does sound like a good idea, provided that you ignore the fact that creating terrorists in Iraq does nothing to stop terrorists from coming here. In fact, it most likely encourages them to come here.

As for my hypotehtical, I'm just trying to see where (or even IF) you will draw the line. So, as for not learning anything, we at least learn that some people like Bartbuster will indeed refuse to admit the obvious

That is not true at all. I am completely willing to admit that you're an imbecile.

But let's check your claim that you would answer a similar hypothetical....

If your invasion created terrorists willing and capable of launching another 9/11 type attack, would you still think this invasion was a good idea?
 

For whatever it's worth, the "imbecile" would readily admit we were not made safer if we indeed created 1,000 terrorists that eventually carried out 9/11 attacks on the U.S. See how easy that was?
 

For whatever it's worth, the "imbecile" would readily admit we were not made safer if we indeed created 1,000 terrorists that eventually carried out 9/11 attacks on the U.S. See how easy that was?

# posted by Charles : 11:45 AM


It's not worth anything if the imbecile continues to support a war which makes that outcome more likely.

Unfortunately, it's not so easy to answer your question. If we're creating 1000 terrorists capable of carrying out another 9/11, it does not matter if we also killed 100 that were also capable of doing the same.
 

Then perhaps it's best if we agreed to disagree and left it at that.
 

Then perhaps it's best if we agreed to disagree and left it at that.

# posted by Charles : 12:12 PM


Your war is circling the drain. You're going to have to do more than just agree to disagree. You're going to have to convince people you are right. I intend to be on the side trying to convince people that you're an idiot.
 

As long as my guy is Commander-in-Chief, and your guys keep voting to fund the war, I don't have to do anything else -- see you around.
 

As long as my guy is Commander-in-Chief, and your guys keep voting to fund the war, I don't have to do anything else -- see you around.

# posted by Charles : 12:24 PM


Your guy won't be CiC forever, nor will our guys keep funding the war as public support for it continues to sink. You people are screwed.
 

Presidential Pardons . . .
 

The President also has the power the power to grant conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties.
 

To Charles,

Regarding your first paragraph addressed to me. I realized that your hypothetical question had nothing to do with creating terrorists in general, only those who are going to end up harming people in the U.S. If you'll notice I said exactly that in my modification of your question (that is, "the condition that the the invasion did not have the negative effect of creating 101 or more terrorists who would go on to do harm to people in the U.S.").

The notion that fighting them there, prevents fighting them here is completely bankrupt. No terrorist or group of terrorists would go to Iraq, wait for the fighting to end (while participating), and then go to the US. I find it hard to believe that you think American forces in Iraq will prevent, let's say, well financed Saudi terrorists from coming to the States.

As for your second paragraph, are you suggesting that my question about 9/11 was not absurd? I hope not. Although we can conjure some outlandish circumstances in which the September 11th attacks are justifiable, that doesn't bear on the fact that they were not. Concocting some scenario in which we agree that some terrorist act is OK is absurd when it bears no relevance to what is actually happening in the real world. And this applies whether we're talking about things we do to other people, or things done to us. (Thus, I admit some sympathy with Bartbuster's initial absurd response . . .)

Thanks for your response to the previous post.
 

And Charles leaves the discourse with the equivalent of a playground taunt:

As long as my guy is Commander-in-Chief, and your guys keep voting to fund the war, I don't have to do anything else -- see you around.

The President also has the power the power to grant conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties.


If he loses, his Leader can pardon all of his cronies, leave the broken countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, (possibly Iran) and the US, take their oil profits, and go home. Hundreds and thousands of Americans, Afghanis, Iraqis, et al die, and too bad, so sad, I've got the President in my pocket so I win.
 

I haven't left. I was simply pointing out the facts -- I doubt Bush will issue a FULL pardon to Libby before Thanksgiving 2009 -- as I noted, there's also commutation of sentence, conditional commutation of sentence, remission of fines and forfeitures, and respite.
 

Here's a great site for statistics on Presidential Pardons, Commutations, Remissions, and Respites: http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/actions_fiscal.htm
 

To Charles.

Presidential pardons, and such, have nothing to do with the foolish notion that American forces in Iraq will prevent terrorists based in other parts of the world from committing attacks against people inside the U.S. Your reference to some of the powers granted to the president has nothing to do with anything in the discussion up to this point.

I'm sure you don't believe that American forces in Iraq will prevent a group of terrorists from launching an attack against people in the U.S. To repeat, a terrorist group, this time let's say from Indonesia planning an attack inside of the States, is not going to, first, travel to Iraq in order to fight American forces until they withdraw.

Also, part of the discussion began because of your initial hypothetical question to Bartbuster. Nothing about the president's powers to pardon have anything to do with the validity, in terms of usefulness, of your initial question. While we didn't settle on an answer to whether your hypothetical was useful to the conversation, it was becoming quite clear that at the very best it was a philosophical exercise---because its underlying assumptions have no basis in reality.

At any rate, I appreciate you continuing the discussion.

Pete L.
 

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