It’s hard to find anything George W. Bush did that was a positive contribution that left a positive legacy. It goes the other way. From Andrew Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
In the days and months following the attacks of 9/11, the government laid the blame for orchestrating the attacks on Osama bin Ladin. Then, after bin Ladin was murdered in his home in Pakistan in 2011, the government decided that the true mastermind of 9/11 was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
By the time of bin Ladin’s death, Mohammed had already been tortured by CIA agents for two years in Pakistan and charged with conspiracy to commit mass murder, to be tried before an American military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Throughout the entire existence of the U.S. military detention camp at Gitmo, no one has been tried for causing or carrying out the crimes of 9/11. The government only tried one person for crimes related to 9/11. That was Zacharias Moussaoui who pleaded guilty in federal court in Virginia to being the 20th hijacker and then was tried in a penalty phase trial where the issue was life in prison or death. The government spent millions in its death penalty case, which it lost. A civilian jury sentenced Moussaoui, who never harmed a hair on the head of anyone, to life in prison.
Mohammed, meanwhile, and four other alleged conspirators, have been awaiting trial since their arrivals at Gitmo in 2006. Since then, numerous government military and civilian prosecutors, as well as numerous military judges, have rotated into and out of the case.
The concept of military tribunals was born in the administration of President George W. Bush, who argued that 9/11, though conducted by civilians, was an attack of military magnitude and thus warranted a military response. This pathetic knee-jerk argument, of course, not only brought us the fruitless and destructive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; it also brought a host of legal problems unforeseen by Bush and his revenge-over-justice thirsty colleagues.
The government does not want to try five alleged 9/11 conspirators still at Guantanamo because there would be further revelations of U.S. torture and other illegality. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
Last week, the government announced that it does not want to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four of his colleagues whom it claims are the remaining conspirators of the attacks on 9/11.
All five are awaiting trial at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The allegations are that these five conspired to commit mass murder, a capital offense. Even though conspiracy is not a war crime, the feds are planning to try these defendants before a military tribunal under the rules utilized in federal criminal trials.
All five were detained from around 2003 to 2006 at CIA black sites, where they were kept in solitary confinement and egregiously tortured. After the CIA torture was concluded, the five were transferred to military custody at Gitmo in 2006.
There, the tortures resumed until FBI agents arrived to interrogate them. For all of its faults in other cases, the FBI put a stop to the military torture and solitary confinement.
The decisions to have the CIA torture these detainees, not to charge them with capital offenses in federal district courts in the U.S. as the Constitution mandates, to implement military torture, to charge these folks with crimes not recognized under the laws of war before military tribunals, to scuttle the constitutionally mandated jury system, and to keep the Department of Justice out of these cases were all made by the legally ignorant, Constitution-defying President George W. Bush.
The problem is evidence obtained by torture in inadmissible. From John Kiriakou at responsiblestatecraft.org:
The Guardian has reported that a recently-declassified CIA Inspector General’s report from 2008 found that CIA officers at a covert detention site in Afghanistan used a prisoner, Ammar al-Baluch, as a “training prop,” taking turns smashing his head against a plywood wall and leaving him with permanent brain damage.
Baluch is currently one of five defendants before a military tribunal at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo charged with participating in the planning for the September 11 attacks. The case has been stuck in the pre-trial phase for 10 years, in part because much of the information that the government wants to use against the defendants was collected using torture.
In addition to the five, Mohammed al-Qahtani, known as the potential “20th hijacker,” is to be transferred so he can be treated at a rehabilitation and mental health care in his home country of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qahtani was reportedly suffering from mental illness and brain injuries as a young man, which were exacerbated by torture after he was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, and was not deemed fit for trial.
If the U.S. government had its way, everything it does would be classified as a state secret. From Marjorie Cohn at consortiumnews.com:
In a scathing dissent, Neil Gorsuch accused the government of seeking dismissal of Abu Zubaydah’s petition to avoid “further embarrassment for past misdeeds.”
Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Adam Fagen, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Abu Zubaydah, whom the CIA once mistakenly alleged was a top Al-Qaeda leader, was waterboarded 80-plus times, subjected to assault in the form of forced rectal exams, and exposed to live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours. Zubaydah sobbed, twitched and hyperventilated. During one waterboarding session, he became completely unresponsive, with bubbles coming out of his mouth. “He became so compliant that he would prepare for waterboarding at the snap of a finger,” Neil Gorsuch wrote in his 30-page dissent in United States v. Zubaydah.
On March 3, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court dismissed Zubaydah’s petition requesting the testimony of psychologists James Mitchell and John Jessen, whom the CIA hired to orchestrate his torture at a secret CIA prison (“CIA black site”) in Poland from December 2002 until September 2003. Zubaydah was transferred to other CIA black sites before being sent to Guantánamo in 2006, where he remains today with no charges against him.
Abu Zubaydah in pre-2008 photo. (DoD, Wikimedia Commons)
Zubaydah sought information: (1) to confirm that the CIA black site in question was located in Poland; (2) about his torture there; and (3) about the involvement of Polish officials. First the Trump administration — now the Biden administration — claim that confirming the location of the CIA black site in Poland is a “state secret” that would significantly harm U.S. national security interests. Zubaydah needs Mitchell and Jessen’s testimony to document his treatment from December 2002 to 2003 at the CIA black site in Poland for use in the ongoing Polish criminal investigation of Poles complicit in his torture. Those details have not been publicly documented.
Bad as politicians are in public, what they try to hide is always much worse, usually criminal. From Marjorie Cohn at truthout.org:
President Joe Biden takes the stage before delivering remarks on the September jobs numbers in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
When Abu Zubaydah was apprehended in Pakistan in 2002, the George W. Bush administration falsely characterized him as chief of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s number three man. For the next four years, the CIA sent Zubaydah to its “black sites” in Thailand and Poland where he was viciously tortured. In 2006, Zubaydah was taken to Guantánamo, where he remains to this day. He has never been charged with a crime.
The torture of Abu Zubaydah is thoroughly documented in the 2014 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, several of the justices at the October 6 Supreme Court oral argument in United States v. Zubaydah referred to his treatment as “torture.”
Zubaydah’s lawyers detailed the torture he suffered in their brief (which referenced the Senate torture report) as follows:
On 83 different occasions in a single month of 2002, he was strapped to an inclined board with his head lower than his feet while CIA contractors poured water up his nose and down his throat, bringing him within sight of death. He was handcuffed and repeatedly slammed into walls, and suspended naked from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time. He was forced to remain awake for eleven consecutive days, and doused again and again with cold water when he collapsed into sleep. He was forced into a tall, narrow box the size of a coffin, and crammed into another box that would nearly fit under a chair, where he was left for hours. He was subjected to a particularly grotesque humiliation described by the CIA as “rectal rehydration.”
Nevertheless, the Biden administration told the high court that Zubaydah’s well-known torture is a “state secret” because former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said publicizing it would harm national security. Thus, Solicitor General Brian Fletcher argued, the two contractors who orchestrated Zubaydah’s torture in Poland should not be permitted to testify in a Polish court’s criminal investigation into the treatment of Zubaydah.
Evidence obtained by tortured confession should be inadmissible in a US court of law, but it no longer is. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:
For the first time in American history, a federal judge last week authorized the government to admit as evidence in a criminal case in a public courtroom words uttered by the defendant that were obtained under torture.
The fruits of torture — which is any cruel or degrading or intentionally painful or disorienting behavior visited upon a person in captivity to induce compliance or to gratify the torturer — are not permitted in any court in the United States, and their inducement is criminal.
Here is the backstory.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a low-level former member of the Taliban, is accused with others of plotting the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. He has been in U.S. custody since 2002 and at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2004. When he was first captured, he was turned over to the CIA for interrogation, not the Department of Justice for prosecution.
The practice of the federal government immediately following 9/11, when it captured anyone overseas from whom it believed it could extract national security information, was to hand the person over to the CIA for torture — the feds call it “enhanced interrogation” — at a “dark site” in a foreign country with which the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty.
The British and US governments want to kill Julian Assange as quickly as possible, without it looking like murder. From consortiumnews.com:
In a new letter to the British medical journal The Lancet, Doctors for Assange say that the British government may be held legally responsible for the torture of the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher.
Here is the doctors’ statement followed by the letter to The Lancet and the doctors’ letter to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland.
UK officials may be legally culpable in the torture of Julian Assange
Doctors have warned that UK officials could be held accountable for the torture of Julian Assange in an open letter published in The Lancet on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The 216 undersigned physicians and psychologists from 33 countries have accused UK and U.S. government officials of intensifying Julian Assange’s psychological torture in spite of the world’s leading authorities on human rights and international law calling for his immediate release from prison.
Clinical Psychologist and Australian co-author of the publication, ‘The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange’, Dr Lissa Johnson said the failure to properly treat Mr Assange may amount to an act of torture in which state officials, from parliament to court to prison, risk being judged complicit.
“Our letter is published just two days after the US Department of Justice announced a new superseding indictment against Assange representing yet another escalation in psychological torture tactics,” said Dr Johnson.
Anyone who doesn’t think the CIA tortures prisoners should volunteer to undergo one or more of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques described in this article. From ENMNews and The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting at enmnews.com:
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — One shows the prisoner nude and strapped to a crude gurney, his entire body clenched as he is waterboarded by an unseen interrogator. Another shows him with his wrists cuffed to bars so high above his head he is forced on to his tiptoes, with a long wound stitched on his left leg and a howl emerging from his open mouth. Yet another depicts a captor smacking his head against a wall.
They are sketches drawn in captivity by the Guantánamo Bay prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah, self-portraits of the torture he was subjected to during the four years he was held in secret prisons by the C.I.A.
Published here for the first time, they are gritty and highly personal depictions that put flesh, bones and emotion on what until now had sometimes been portrayed in popular culture in sanitized or inaccurate ways: the so-called enhanced interrogations techniques used by the United States in secret overseas prisons during a feverish pursuit of Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In each illustration, Mr. Zubaydah — the first person to be subject to the interrogation program approved by President George W. Bush’s administration — portrays the particular techniques as he says they were used on him at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in August 2002.
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The CIA Torture Report is horrifying, and the British play a prominent role. From TruePublica at truepublica.org.uk:
The latest report about kidnappings, rendition, ‘black sites’ and torture is a remarkable piece of investigative work. It provides us with nothing less than a litany of shocking evidence and testimony and at 403 pages it makes for truly grim reading. This article is made up of a very brief set of extracts from the just-released CIA Torture Unredacted report. It presents the findings from a four-year joint investigation by The Rendition Project and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism into the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its partners in the ‘War on Terror’.
Attempts to hold UK authorities to account for their role in the rendition (kidnapping and/or movement of suspects) and torture programme have been thwarted at every turn. Successive governments have repeatedly denied any involvement of UK security service or military personnel in torture or CIDT. Even as credible evidence mounted, officials were slow to fully investigate, were reticent about holding anyone to account, and have done very little to offer meaningful redress. In 2010, the incoming UK Coalition government led by David Cameron finally launched a judge-led inquiry chaired by Peter Gibson, which was closed down before witnesses were even called, in part because of the considerable constraints placed on the Inquiry by government. Indeed, successive UK governments have gone to great lengths to suppress vital evidence, including passing legislation precisely for this purpose and continue to this day to resist repeated calls for a new inquiry.
Between 2001 and 2009, the CIA established a global network of secret prisons (‘black sites’) for the purpose of detaining terrorism suspects, in secret and indefinitely, and interrogating them through the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The abuses which took place were severe, sustained, and in clear violation of domestic and international law. The perpetrators have never been held to account. The Rendition Project’s website (www.therenditionproject.org.uk), provide the most detailed public account to date of the CIA torture programme.
Information about CIA torture programme prisoners had to be prised out of the US military’s unwilling bureaucracy. But already at that time, there were rumours of an even more secretive programme, run in parallel by the Central Intelligence Agency outside the Pentagon’s chain of command. Press stories spoke of people abducted in the middle of the night, manhandled onto planes and never heard of again.
By tomorrow this will be yesterday’s news, even among the few media organs that mention it. The journalist was not a American writing for the Washington Post. From Middle East Monitor at middleeastmonitor.com:
Saudi journalist and writer Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jasser has died after being tortured while in detention, the New Khaleej reported yesterday.
Reporting human rights sources, the news site said that Al-Jasser was arrested and tortured to death after Saudi authorities claimed he administered the Twitter account Kashkool, which disclosed rights violations committed by the Saudi authorities and royal family.
The sources said that the authorities identified Al-Jasser as the admin using moles in Twitter’s regional office located in Dubai. He was arrested in March.
According to the sources, these spies are considered part of the Saudi Cyber Army which was established by Saud Al-Qahtani, the former aide of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
In a tweet, Al-Qahtani has said that the fake names on Twitter would not protect those behind the accounts from the Saudi authorities.
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Where’s the international outrage? The condemnations?