Un frickin’ believable!
Full disclosure took a back seat to the CIA’s green movement last week when agency big shots blocked officials from printing out hard copies of the Senate Democratic report on terrorist interrogations, fearing it was “killing too many trees.”
Meanwhile, paper copies of the report from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein were hand-delivered to terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay — though not the rebuttals from the CIA or Republicans on her committee.
I decided to collect these into one post instead of clutter the Most Wanted section. So bear with me.
Oh, the Hillarity:
NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she’s proud to have been part of an administration that “banned illegal renditions and brutal interrogations” and said the U.S. should never be involved in torture anywhere in the world.
First, renditions began under Bill Clinton; and last I read, they still go on under the current PotUS.
As for “banning” brutal interrogations, a number of the techniques for which the CIA has been criticized- sleep deprivation, isolation, and more- are still on the menu in the Army Field Manual. Just ask Amnesty International.
Furthermore, the last HVT to receive CIA swimming lessons was KSM in 2003. The CIA program itself was pretty much dead by November-December of 2007. Yes, ended on Bush’s watch. Obama’s 2009 EO “banning” torture was redundant. It essentially echoes much of the same that Bush said I. His 2007 EO.
Maybe congress should legislate a ban on torture (define it in non-vague terms) and waterboarding specifically if they hate it so much? (They didn’t ban it when Congress passed the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act; and they didn’t ban waterboarding in 2006 with the Military Commissions Act. As Marc Thiessen points out in his book, Congress “explicitly rejected an amendment by Senator Ted Kennedy to ban waterboarding by a vote of 53 to 46.”).
Marc Thiessen’s Courting Disaster, pg 214-215:
President Bush did not shy away from making hard choices. One of the criticisms he faced during his time in office is that he made too many of these hard decisions alone, without involving Congress. This “go-it-alone” approach, critics argue, undermined the administration’s policies; it invited the judiciary to overturn them. As Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes put it in the Washington Post, “Bush’s approach avoided congressional meddling but paradoxically sloughed off counterterrorism policy on the courts. Over time, the judiciary grew impatient with ad hoc detention procedures that lacked clear and specific legislative authorization, and judges began imposing novel and increasingly demanding rules on the cammander in chief’s traditionally broad powers to detain enemy soldiers during war.”
There are several problems with this argument: First, the judicial branch has overturned Bush’s counterterrorism policies without regard to congressional approval. In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan that the administration’s military commissions were unconstitutional, and instructed the administration to work with Congress on a compromise. The president did just that. A few months later, he secured passage of the Military Commissions Act in which Congress and the Executive Branch together established a new system of military commissions and declared that captured terrorists did not have the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.
What was the result? The Supreme Court overturned this compromise two years later in the Boumediene decision and gave terrorists at Guantanamo Bay an unprecedented Constitutional right to habeas corpus, allowing them to contest their detention in federal courts. It did not matter whether the president acted unilaterally or in concert with Congress- the judicial result was effectively the same.
The reason the president did not involve Congress in many of the early decisions is because Congress did not want to be involved in those decisions. Several senior Bush administration officials recounted for me how, when top Congressional leaders were first briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques, they were asked whether such briefings should be conducted more widely on Capitol Hill. They replied, “No, why are you even telling us?”
Meanwhile, KSM refuses to be escorted by female guards, prolonging his pre-trial hearings for 3 years now:
KSM’s treatment at Guantanamo Bay, his lawyer said, has been “cruel, inhuman, and degrading.” Much of the time spent over the past three years in pre-trial proceedings has been on perceived mistreatment. Time has been spent on whether KSM should be given a pillow to sit on while riding from the detention center to court, whether attorney communications have been kept private, and now, his extraction from his cell by female guards.
“My client hasn’t been waterboarded since 2003, but there are many more subtle forms of coercion,” Nevin said.
Despite having been held by the U.S. government since his capture in 2003, KSM hasn’t lost his vanity. He uses a combination of cafeteria ingredients to dye his beard—fruit juices and berries, as well as cumin and turmeric to alter his facial hair to a bright color.
And Janet Hamlin, an AP sketch artist who has drawn KSM in the past, once told NPR that the accused terrorist once complained that she drew his nose all wrong. According to NPR, he apparently told her, “Touch it up.”
He doesn’t care about prolonging his detainment without charge or trial. It’s on taxpayer’s dime, afterall:
The cancellation of this week’s proceedings also had a taxpayer cost. To facilitate the proceedings the government paid between $150,000 to $170,000 for a chartered flight between Andrews Air Force Base to Guantanamo Bay, a Pentagon spokesman said. Add to that the per diems paid for the 105 military commission personnel who attend the proceedings, which cost more than $16,000. This does not include the cost of housing press, NGOs and staff at Camp Justice, a number of expeditionary tents set up near the courtroom; nor the time and effort spent organizing the proceedings.