Thursday, June 12, 2008

This is what is being done in the name of the United States of America.

I just don’t understand this country right now. Have we, collectively, become that terrified that we allow anything to be done in the name of keeping us “secure”?

This is from Dan Froomkin.

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball write for Newsweek: "A previously undisclosed CIA report written in the summer of 2002 questioned the 'credibility' and 'truthfulness' of an Al Qaeda detainee who became a key source for the Bush administration's claims about links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The statements of the detainee -- a captured terrorist operative named Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi -- were the principal basis for President Bush's contention in a major pre-Iraq War speech that Saddam's regime had 'trained Al Qaeda members in bombmaking and poisons and deadly gases.' The speech was delivered in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, just as Congress was taking up the White House-backed resolution authorizing the president to invade Iraq.

But two months before Bush's dramatic assertion, the CIA had raised serious doubts about whether al-Libi might be inventing some of what he was telling his interrogators, according to a 171-page Senate Intelligence Committee report on pre-war intelligence released last week."

Complicating the story is the fact that "the agency itself had vetted and approved the language based on al-Libi's claims in both Bush's Cincinnati speech and [then-secretary of state Colin] Powell's presentation to the United Nations. Without actually using his name, Powell included the most expansive version of al-Libi's claims about chemical- and biological-weapons training--without hinting that there were doubts about the source's credibility. 'I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al Qaeda,' Powell said during one dramatic flourish. 'Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story. I will relate to you now as he himself described it.'"

As has been previously reported, "al-Libi only made his claims about Saddam's training for Al Qaeda after the CIA rendered him to a foreign intelligence service (later identified by Tenet as Egypt), where he was allegedly subjected to brutal interrogation. According to al-Libi, he was locked in a tiny box less than 20 inches high and held for 17 hours--an interrogation technique known as a 'mock burial,' which was considered even by some of the most aggressive Bush administration lawyers as illegal under U.S. and international laws banning torture. After being let out, al-Libi claimed, he was thrown to the floor and punched for 15 minutes. According to CIA operational cables, only then did he tell his 'fabricated' story about Al Qaeda members being dispatched to Iraq."

I don’t know about anyone else, but this makes me ill. I mean, have we fallen so far that we can’t even recognize when we have become the same as our enemies? Jailing people, U.S. citizens or not, for six years, not charging them with any crime and not allowing them any access to legal counsel? Sending someone to Egypt so they can be tortured, even with this lax standard that seems to be in vogue these days, in our name? And all it did was provide information that was more likely than not to be a complete fabrication?!

How can any self-aware person with a shred of decency really condone this as an acceptable part of our government? You remember the part of the Constitution that talks about the government, by the people and for the people, right? This is being done in all our names. And I am damn upset about it. First, it has been proven over and over again that you don’t get reliable information from someone being tortured! They will say anything to get it to stop, true or not! Secondly, the person being tortured may actually be innocent! We haven’t ever let them have a fair trail! We are torturing people who have not been shown to be guilty of anything! Finally, it is evil! It degrades both the person being tortured AND the persons doing the torture! How much of an idiot does a person have to be to not see this?

I can only say, I have never seen an entire country so ready to piss in our collective pants from fear. I usually try to stay away from voicing really strong opinions, as I don’t like conflict much and, given the anonymity of the internet and the possibility of being taken the wrong way, I try to keep my opinions rather low key and reasoned. This one just makes me mad. I am NOT proud of our country right now. I am ashamed.

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