Monday, December 20, 2004Bush's Baby
Newly Obtained FBI Records Call Defense Department's Methods "Torture," Express Concerns Over "Cover-Up" That May Leave FBI "Holding the Bag" for Abuses
NEW YORK -- A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up.
"These documents raise grave questions about where the blame for widespread detainee abuse ultimately rests," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Top government officials can no longer hide from public scrutiny by pointing the finger at a few low-ranking soldiers."
The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.
If there is one silver lining to our loss in 2004, it's that Bush now owns all the messes he's spent four years making. The shitty economy, the totalitarian leanings of the creeping religious right, the many sprouting scandals (Plame, Ohio, Kerik, DeLay, etc. ), and the twin disasters that are the war on terror and the war in Iraq (and their sub-disaster, the shameful lack of practical support for the military)-- it's all his now. They can't blame it on Clinton anymore, they can't stick Kerry with the tab, their attempts to blame the Democrats are a visibly pathetic attempt to deflect blame when they control all three branches of government. The reason high-ranking Republicans are starting to come out against the Bush administration is that they've caught the whiff of approaching disgrace, and they want to establish credible deniability for themselves and their respective roles in what's been happening under their watch.
You remember a few days ago I predicted that Rumsfeld would be out of the administration within a year? That's becoming a more likely possibility with every passing day. But the torture tarbaby's already got Gee Dubya in its grasp, and even Rumsfeld's departure isn't going to remove the sticky residue of Bush's foray into the pursuit of hearts and minds. No, I don't think this email is going to change everything, but it does point to the underlying reality: it was never a matter of a few bad apples, the guys at the top knew what was up. The stink coming from the White House is so strong I can smell it from Memphis.
Ten years from now you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who ever supported Bush.
PS: Here's the actual email in question (pdf file). Read it for yourself. The methods specifically listed as covered by an executive order signed by Bush -- hooding, sleep deprivation, "stress positions," dogs -- are all understood to be violations of both the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, both of which the United States has signed; furthermore, those same methods have been characterized as torture by the United States in cases of other countries using them.
George W. Bush is a war criminal.
PS: In related news: FBI Claims More Arab Prisoners Abused.
WASHINGTON -- FBI agents are increasingly complaining about what they consider abusive physical and mental torture by military officials against prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, including lighted cigarettes stuck in detainees' ears and Arab captives being humiliated with Israeli flags wrapped around them, according to new documents released today.|
The FBI records are the latest set of documents obtained by the ACLU in its lawsuit against the federal government and include instances in which bureau officials were disgusted that military interrogators pretended to be FBI agents and used the scheme as a "ruse" to glean intelligence information from prisoners.
In addition, the FBI complained that military interrogators have gone far beyond the restrictions of the Geneva Conventions prohibiting torture and have followed an apparently new executive order from President Bush that permits the use of dogs and other techniques to harass prisoners.