Sunday, March 15, 2009

The continuation of the Obama Administration addressing the disposition of detainees at Gitmo.

I decided to piece together the current and past information from the past Administration on why Obama Administration inherited the contraversial issue of the disposition of the Gitmo detainees and why all of the secret torture memo will or will not be released soon as much of the human right group and public want so quickly. This is a very touchy subject that the Obama Adminstration and the public want the truth and transparency while the Administration is trying to protect National Security at the same time.

Obama released an Executive Order to close Gitmo and review all detainees' cases:
Executive Order 13492 - Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities.

Here is an excerpt of Obama's Executive Order from AG Holder.
From the DOJ website:

Section 3 of Executive Order 13492 provides that "[a] review of the status of each individual... shall commence immediately. The review shall determine whether the continued detention of any such individual is lawful and in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice."

The reviews addressing the disposition of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the vital issue of detention policy are ongoing. In conjunction with these reviews, the Executive Branch has refined the Government's position with respect to the detention authority to be asserted in this litigation, as stated in Respondents' Memorandum Regarding the Government's Detention Authority Relative to Detainees Held at Guantanamo Bay.

The Task Forces will continue to deliberate regarding these issues as part of their work. The development of detention policy requires consultation and coordination among all of the agencies involved in the Executive Order reviews. Important and difficult legal, diplomatic, and national security issues are at stake. As they continue to consider these significant issues pursuant to the President's directives, the Task Forces will advise the Civil Division of any policy developments that may affect the petitioners in the habeas litigation.

The real question that public keep asking: who authorized the torturing of the detainees? Some would say that was former President Bush since he was the President and the one who had the power to do so. Believe or not, there were more co-conspirators that should be held accoutable.

Let's start with Bush:

Jason Leopold wrote that a FBI e-mail – dated May 22, 2004 – followed disclosures about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and sought guidance on whether FBI agents in Iraq were obligated to report the U.S. military’s harsh interrogation of inmates when that treatment violated FBI standards but fit within the guidelines of a presidential Executive Order.

According to the e-mail, Bush’s Executive Order authorized interrogators to use military dogs, “stress positions,” sleep “management,” loud music and “sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc.” to extract information from detainees in Iraq.

But, then we had John Yoo torture memo where Yoo wrote a legal opinion basically given former President Bush a "blank check" to jail a person or persons, U.S. citizens and foreign individual or individuals indefintely if the Bush felt that the person or persons were a terrorist.
Click here to read more. Yoo's memo also said the Geneva Conventions, which governs the treatment of prisoners of war, don't apply al-Qaida and the Taliban.

On a side note: Obama's Executive Order does include al-Qaida and the Taliban if individual is involved or helping financially these groups with intention of doing harm to the U.S.

What about Dick Cheney?

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney personally authorized the “enhanced interrogations” of 33 suspected terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and approved the waterboarding of three so-called “high-value” prisoners held at the facility. “What we did with respect to al Qaeda high-value detainees, if I can put it in those terms, I think there were a total of about 33 who were subjected to enhanced interrogation; only three of those who were subjected to waterboarding -- Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and a third, al Nashiri.

That's it, those three guys,” Cheney told the conservative Washington Times, according to a
transcript of the interview released by the vice president’s office.

What about the CIA?

New York Times revealed that the Bush administration gave the CIA
secret approval in 2005 to use harsh interrogation techniques. When asked to former White House Secretary Dana Perino, she asserted that Congress had been “fully briefed” on the secret opinions. Well, that was untrue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was a minority leader in 2005 would have been informed of the most highly classified information, said that she hadn't been briefed “about the secret memos” in 2005.

At the time CIA was given approval by the Bush Administration to use torture techniques, Porter Goss was the CIA Director at the time. Goss told the
Senate Armed Services Committee "'The United States does not engage in or condone torture, ... I know for a fact that torture is not productive. That's not professional interrogation. We don't torture.'" Well, he lied. In November 18 2005 ABC News report quoted several CIA officials stating that CIA leadership approved six interrogation techniques in March 2002 for use against detainees held at CIA-run facilities in Afghanistan.

The techniques included slaps, sleep deprivation, forced standing, exposure to cold, and “waterboarding,” in which interrogators immerse or pour water over a detainee’s face until he believes he will suffocate or drown.

Bush described Porter Goss in a CNN
Transcript from video clip in 2004 : "Porter Goss is a leader with strong experience in intelligence and the fight against terrorism. He knows his CIA inside and out. He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."

Well, in Fahrenheit 9/11 movie, Goss told film maker Michael Moore this in Moore's interview:

"It is true I was in CIA from approximately the late 50's to approximately the early 70's. And it's true I was a case officer, clandestine services office and yes I do understand the core mission of the business. I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified.”
This tell you that Goss was hired more of a "yes man" as the CIA Director.

Finally, what about Donald Rumsfield?

Remember Janis Karpinski? Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was the former U.S. commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq until early 2004. Reuters
reported in November 26, 2006 that Karpinski was quoted as saying in Spain's El País newspaper that she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods:

"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: 'Make sure this is accomplished,' The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation . . . playing music at full volume . . . Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques."

And Karpinski gave more revealing information:

On March 8, 2006, Karpinski gave an interview to Dateline on the
Australian SBS network. When asked who was ultimately responsible for the actions of torture and humiliaton depicted in the photographs, Karpinski stated:

"you have to go back to the memorandum that was authored by our now-Attorney-General, Alberto Gonzalez, and John Yoo, from out in California, who was with the current administration at the time, and they did a memorandum, authorising departures from the Geneva Convention."

"The memorandum, which was certainly discussed at length with the Secretary of Defense and the Vice-President, according to sworn statements by people who were there when those conversations took place, that authorised the initial departure [from the Geneva Convention]. And yes, there was a memorandum that was posted at Abu Ghraib prison, that I only became aware of, after I heard of this ongoing investigation out at Abu Ghraib, and it was signed by the Secretary of Defense."
"...the signature on the memorandum was over the signature block of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and the ink that was used to sign appeared to be the same ink used for this handwritten note in the margin, "make sure this happens", and it was a list of interrogation techniques that were approved, so he obviously had knowledge of those [interrogation] techniques."

Bottom line: Obama Administration and DOJ have lot to piece together every secret memos and legal opinions on authorization of torture to decipher which detainee was a terrorist and who wasn't. As you can see, Bush authorized the detainees to be torture as the President of the United States but there were many more co-conspirators who were given power to torture the detainees. In order to remove the cancer in this issue and on-going investigation, Obama has to hold each individuals given authority to torture detainees accountable.

1 comment:

PrissyPatriot said...

Thanks Bil! Great post:)