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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Smooth Criminal

“You've Been Hit By
You've Been Struck By-
A Smooth Criminal”
-Michael Jackson, Smooth Criminal


“Canadian intelligence officials passed false warnings and bad information to American agents about a Muslim Canadian citizen, after which U.S. authorities secretly whisked him to Syria, where he was tortured, a judicial report found Monday.
The report, released in Ottawa, was the result of a 2 1/2-year inquiry that represented one of the first public investigations into mistakes made as part of the United States' ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, which has secretly spirited suspects to foreign countries for interrogation by often brutal methods.”
-Washington Post, September 19, 2006

“Well, you know what they say… You can’t make an omelet without torturing some Canadians. This article is fun for a few reasons. First, it points out that the United States is more than happy to torture people (or have them tortured.. po-tay-to, po-tah-to). Second, that we are using what is called ‘extraordinary rendition’, aka secretly shipping them off to places where the media or other governments can’t see them… Both are, of course, violations of the Geneva Conventions. Still, we needed to torture that guy. There could have been important information involved.”
-Skippy


“Amid a debate between President Bush and bipartisan members of Congress over how harshly to question terror detainees, a former FBI agent said some of the most aggressive interrogation techniques in dispute are rarely effective anyway.
"Generally speaking, those don't work," said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent and an ABC News consultant.”
-ABC News, September 16, 2006

“It works in the movies (and I am fairly sure that the movies are where the War on Terror game plan has been drawn from).”
-Skippy


“With great fanfare, George W. Bush announced to a group of carefully selected 9/11 families that he had finally decided to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 13 other alleged terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, where they will be tried in military commissions. After nearly 5 years of interrogating these men, why did Bush choose this moment to bring them to ‘justice’?

Bush said his administration had ‘largely completed our questioning of the men’ and complained that ‘the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions and has put in question the future of the CIA program [aka secret CIA 'black sites'].’
He was referring to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the high court recently held that Bush's military commissions did not comply with the law. Bush sought to try prisoners in commissions they could not attend with evidence they never see, including hearsay and evidence obtained by coercion.
The Court also determined that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to al Qaeda detainees. That provision of Geneva prohibits ‘outrages upon personal dignity’ and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment.’"
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Luckily the Supreme Court did its job and pointed out that the Geneva Conventions applied, no matter what Alberto Gonzales says..”
-Skippy


"The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians...In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
-Alberto Gonzales, on the Geneva Convention

“Quaint! Quaint I tell you! Oh if only Alberto were in charge of defining the lay instead of judges.. The Supreme Court’s decision makes those who tortured, by definition, war criminals.”
-Skippy


“The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes - and that it might even apply to Bush administration officials themselves - is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by Newsweek. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.”
-Newsweek, May 19, 2004

“Rut ro Raggie.. It looks like Bush might be in a little trouble.”
-Skippy


“Bush called on Congress to define these "vague and undefined" terms in Common Article 3 because ‘our military and intelligence personnel’ involved in capture and interrogation ‘could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act.’”
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Vague and undefined terms like ‘outrages upon personal dignity’ and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment’. And to think that this is the same political party that had trouble when Clinton wanted to parse ‘sexual relations’.”
-Skippy


“Congress enacted the War Crimes Act in 1996. That act defines violations of Geneva's Common Article 3 as war crimes. Those convicted face life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

The President is undoubtedly familiar with the doctrine of command responsibility, where commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief, can be held liable for war crimes their inferiors commit if the commander knew or should have known they might be committed and did nothing to stop or prevent them.
Bush defensively denied that the United States engages in torture and foreswore authorizing it. But it has been well-documented that policies set at the highest levels of our government have resulted in the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of U.S. prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo.
Indeed, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act in December, which codifies the prohibition in United States law against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in U.S. custody. In his speech, Bush took credit for working with Senator John McCain to pass the DTA.
In fact, Bush fought the McCain ‘anti-torture’ amendment tooth-and-nail, at times threatening to veto the entire appropriations bill to which it was appended. At one point, Bush sent Dick Cheney to convince McCain to exempt the CIA from the prohibition on cruel treatment, but McCain refused.
Bush signed the bill, but attached a ‘signing statement’ where he reserved the right to violate the DTA if, as commander-in-chief, he thought it necessary.
Throughout his speech, Bush carefully denied his administration had violated any laws during its ‘tough’ interrogations of prisoners. Yet, the very same day, the Pentagon released a new interrogation manual that prohibits techniques including ‘waterboarding,’ which amounts to torture. The CIA reportedly subjected Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to waterboarding.
Before the Supreme Court decided the Hamdan case, the Pentagon intended to remove any mention of Common Article 3 from its manual. The manual had been the subject of revision since the Abu Ghraib torture photographs came to light.
But in light of Hamdan, the Pentagon was forced to back down and acknowledge the dictates of Common Article 3.
Bush also seeks Congressional approval for his revised military commissions, which reportedly contain nearly all of the objectionable features of his original ones.
The President's speech was timed to coincide with the beginning of the traditional post-Labor Day period when Congress focuses on the November elections. The Democrats stand a good chance of taking back one or both houses of Congress. Bush fears impeachment if the Democrats achieve a majority in the House of Representatives.
By challenging Congress to focus on legislation about treatment of terrorists - which he called ‘urgent’- Bush seeks to divert the election discourse away from his disastrous war on Iraq.”
-Marjorie Cohn, Legal News TV, September 18, 2006

“Yep, Bush is just trying to help our All-American torturers battle evil. He wants them to be immune to impeachment... and war crime trials… and if that just happens to save his own arse, well, that is just a happy coincidence.”
-Skippy

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