Interrogation and Response–the Democratic Way

Okay, I lied. I’m going to throw up a quick post.

I wanted to direct your attention to Scott Horton’s interview of the Stanford students who challenged Condi Rice on her role in torture. In particular, I wanted to point to the comments of Sammy Abusrur–whose friends are now calling him "Frost"–about Condi’s role over all as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

I am not a political scientist, nor an international relations major, so I am not going to pretend that I am an expert on this subject. However, in my opinion, Condoleezza Rice’s eight years in the Bush Administration were a disaster for the United States. Evidence has shown she failed to act on intelligence warning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved torture, and finally, unconditionally supported Israel’s campaigns in Lebanon and Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Lebanese and Palestinian children, women, and men. Therefore, I don’t think history will look back kindly on Condoleezza Rice. Indeed, the Bush Administration left the world in a worse state than it found it.

Condi was pretty contemptuous of these students asking her questions. But I’m glad the blogosphere offers a means for these students to have their say, as well. 

79 replies
  1. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    And I’m glad to know such articulate, engaged students are interested in public policy issues!

    • ExcuseMeExcuseMe says:

      I suspect that Condi, among others, doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.

      The inability to admit their “errors” is secondary to the mental gymnastics they had to have gone through to justify or rationalize their behaviors; and that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt.

      More likely is that – and I no longer believe it is hyperbole – most, if not all of them, are psychopaths.

      • perris says:

        I suspect that Condi, among others, doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.

        I don’t buy that for one second, unless you mean they don’t believe anything they could possibly do is wrong since they are the administration

        there is no way in my mind they could possibly believe they didn’t do anything wrong, they are simply sociopaths and do not care

  2. TheraP says:

    Marvelous way to break your self-imposed silence!

    And what a pleasure to see a bit more from these students who asked tougher questions than this lady may have had in 8 long years, standing their ground in the face of her (assumed) greater wealth of knowledge and experience.

    It is heartening to see young people who are so aware of events – even when not within their fields of study. They’ve done us proud! And she has not.

  3. bmaz says:

    Sammy Abuser?? So Sammy abused her? Perfect.

    She probably wasn’t comfortable with that without having the dominatrix get up and boots on.

    • basiluf says:


      Sammy Abuser?? So Sammy abused her? Perfect.

      She probably wasn’t comfortable with that without having the dominatrix get up and boots on.

      This made me lmao. I’m Sammy’s brother and this is exactly how they pronounced my last name at University of Florida graduation.

  4. klynn says:

    Good for the students and for Horton to give them a voice.


    Have a great trip to Syracuse. Some sad news going on in that area of the state due to the auto industry. But I do not understand the shut down of the New Process Gear Plant owned by Magna (in DeWitt) when they are making a bid for Opel?

    And, of course, there is the closure of Crucible Materials.

    (Sorry for the ”messy” link. The link icon was not working for me.)

  5. Mary says:

    Outside the structure of the beltway pundits, Condi is having some meltdown.…..d-bli.html

    That CQ link also links to a transcript of her remarks on Sunday.

    Rice said top Bush administration officials were ignorant about al Qaeda when the terrorists struck the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon.

    This, despite al Qaeda attacks on the USS Cole in Aden in 2000, the 1998 bombing of two American embassies in Africa and the now famous CIA memo she received the month before the attacks, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

    “We knew virtually nothing about how al Qaeda operated,” Rice said at the school event Sunday. “We were as deaf and dumb and blind on September 10th as you could possibly be.”

    Which is, of course, how they “knew” it was going to be a “war” and a “war like no other” rather than a response to a criminal group.

    I guess they learned pretty fast that, despite their collosal failure and the deaths on their watch, Bush couldn’t be bothered to actually spend time learning about al-Qaeda, but golly – he would light up like a little kid when they sent in “hands on” guys to fill him in on torture sessions.

    In any event, it’s a good thing they opted for programs that cut out people like Coleman and Cloonan and Soufan – who did actually know something about al-Qaeda. After all, if Cloonan had been kept on lead for the al-Libi questioning, we might never have been able kill so many more Americans and Iraqis and if we hadn’t gone for using the Pakistani government like hired thugs to disappear and then supported them while the jailed judges who tried to get them to account for the disappeared we might not have been able to make sure that every freakin avenue of coalition of the sane and decent was thoroughly fractured.

    Anyway, Condi straightens out her Frost moment:

    “Now, there’s been another confusing statement – I said at one point that it was, therefore, a given that the president – if the president authorized it, it was legal,” Rice said.

    “This was not a Nixon/Frost moment. What I intended to say or what I meant to say about this is, the president said I won’t authorize anything that is illegal. It’s not that because he authorized it, it was legal. No, that’s a tautology. It was that he said, I won’t authorize anything that’s illegal.”

    All better now. The follow up – so what happened to al-Libi, el-Masri, Arar, the Iceman, Vance – those ere all legal, eh? Bc they were authorized by the President and he wouldn’t have had us kidnap a German and disappear him to torture if it was illegal, right? We just have the legal power to do that to any Germans, Canadians, whoever … after Padilla, Americans. Right?

    Sure we do – Obama says so.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Not to mention that she was given a briefing by Tenet and Cofer Black about an imminent threat of an al Qaida attack on US buildings or assets by crashing a hijacked airplane into it “as a bomb”. That was in early July, and as a result it was ordered that the President and Condi would stay on the USS Abraham Lincoln during the G8 talks in Genoa. The Italians were told to ring the city with anti-aircraft missile batteries to make sure that such an eventuality would not occur.

      She was also made aware of reports that a hijacking would occur in the US related to the NY sentencing -scheduled for September 10-12, of several of the AQ bombers of the East African Embassies. She later has said that was thought to be “an exchange…not a bombing”..but where the hell was the increased airport security for THAT? Would it make a difference? If they had increased the alerts for ANY hijacking most, if not all, of these events could have been averted.

      • MarkH says:

        She was also made aware of reports that a hijacking would occur in the US related to the NY sentencing -scheduled for September 10-12, of several of the AQ bombers of the East African Embassies.

        Interesting. I hadn’t heard that before.

    • phred says:

      Thanks for that Mary. I know I’m repeating myself (but then so is Rice)… Incompetence — which is Bushco’s only remaining defense — simply does not hold up under scrutiny. Bushco actively worked to silence their critics and to ignore any evidence contrary to their preconceived designs. It is shocking that they think they can keep going back to that particular argument, but it must work on people who haven’t been paying close enough attention to know better. It would not hold up under a proper investigation or in a courtroom with a decent prosecutor, but evidently it works great on the MSM.

      If Condi was so utterly out of her depth — why didn’t she resign for the good of the country? If their team was that ignorant, why didn’t they seek out competent assistance? I would love to hear her answer those questions…

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ms. Rice is just another member of Stanford’s faculty or staff. These students’ tuition pays her salary and generous benefits. Its her job to answer their questions. Not surprisingly, she immediately became defensive and stumbled. Hiding the truth while appearing to be candid is hard work, too hard for her to hide her contempt for her audience. She was, indeed, a perfect Bushy.

    • TheraP says:

      This gets at the heart of it for me, as far as her being Stanford faculty. Her professorial role is in conflict with her role as a member of the bush administration. Maybe she can get them to transfer her to the music dept – where playing the piano is unlikely to conflict with her past behavior, legal and ethical lapses, and inability to treat students’ questions with respect.

  7. Arbusto says:

    Of course she was contemptuous. No journalist she’s dealt with would be so presumptuous to ask a thoughtful question. FOX News Channel profits up; I wonder who watches and why?

  8. prostratedragon says:

    Well, now we know that it’s a locked-down certainty that she’s reading this.

    Macabre, ain’t it?

  9. JohnEly says:

    First Stanford Tea & Crackers, then Misha Lerner in DC, and today the New York Times Op-Ed on Rice’s Nixonian remark on the law and the president.

    Maybe she’s not going to be very helpful in the future fund raising for the University?

  10. fatster says:

    Salon has put together an annotated list of their torture articles over the years.

    A guide to Salon’s investigation of torture, American-style
    From Abu Ghraib to Abu Zubaydah, everything you need to know about torture during the Bush administration’s war on terror.
    By Mark Benjamin…..7/torture/

  11. hackworth1 says:

    These Stanford students are heroes! Searching for truth, justice and the American way. Willing to ask tough questions and stand up when no one else will. Condi could have these brave young men extraordinarily renderered (She knows Dick Cheney very well). Even with Grey-Poupon-loving Obama, Habeus is still gone, isn’t it?

    As sychophants bowed to the imperial highness of Rice, these two students stood up and faced the demon. Heroes.

  12. fatster says:

    Pardon me, but I grew up in the Deep South, and this is just stunning news! I think Jimmy has been hard at work on this issue. This will probably result in a schism, but at least they’ve taken a stand.

    Southern Baptist agency declares ‘no room for torture’
    10:02 am May 7, 2009, by Jim Galloway

    “The Southern Baptist Convention, the dominant religious voice of the South, has finally weighed in on the issue of waterboarding and other forms of torture.

    “Under no circumstances should they be permitted in this country.”…..r-torture/

    • behindthefall says:

      “… in this country”

      Now, if they had just said ” … by this country”!

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I don’t think you need to parse this as if it came from a BushCo PR flack. Click through to the article, the statement leaves no lawyeristic wiggle room.

        Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said there is no circumstance in which torture should be permissible in interrogations by U.S. officials, even if the authorities believe a prisoner has information that might involve national security.

        This IS huge. It’s going to be real tough for a torture apologist to get the pulpet endorsement now.

        Boxturtle (Should I be worried that I agree wholeheartedly with the SBC?)

        • cinnamonape says:

          True…it’s good. But I wonder if the rank-and-file will even hear of this. They’ll likely hear it more from progressive bloggers than they will from their pastors. The Southern Baptists are, to my memory, not a very centralized denomination with encyclicals being sent out by the leadership to be obeyed or even communicated to the flock.

      • fatster says:

        I know, I know, but last time I stepped foot in one of their churches was in the late ’50s. If someone had told me then they’d take such a position as they have now, I’d not have believed them.

      • cinnamonape says:

        I suspect that this means “Don’t bring the terrorists into this country…do THAT in Gitmo.”

    • hackworth1 says:

      To paraphrase Dubya, “Don’t forget the Catholics”.

      In other words, the Catholic Church kinda likes the GWOT and its accoutrements. It’s a conversion tool. And we always pray for the troops. Never the (godless or wrong god)victims (women and children notwithstanding).

      (Fundamentalists enjoy the conversion aspect of the GWOT as well.)

  13. ralphbon says:

    Condoleezza Rice is confined in a room with dozens of supposedly sophisticated, knowledgeable students, and only two hold her feet to the fire about the criminality of her administration? Those two students shouldn’t have been noteworthy standouts; they should have been the norm for the dorm.

    • hackworth1 says:

      Yes, those young fellows alluded to that. Most of the students other than the protesters were enthusiastic wrt the celebrity of Killer Rice.

    • skdadl says:

      the norm for the dorm

      That’s got rhythm. I like it very much.

      I also hope that Sammy and Jeremy and lots of other people take courage from knowing that you don’t have to be a lawyer or a political scientist or an international-relations major or a Washington player to know by the time you are an adult citizen that torture is always wrong, no exceptions, and everyone, from president to foot soldier to CIA agent to individual citizen, is supposed to know that and how to react to illegal orders.

      And @ 29:

      Also, apologists are really pro-torture. No bones about it.

      That is an argument that is important to many of us in other countries, where we’re trying to sort out the complicity of our own governments and agencies as they continue to try to hush up shocking cases under cover of arguments about national security and damage to foreign relations.

      I am sorry to tell you that so far, Obama/Clinton don’t seem to have been changing the U.S. tune on any number of cases, which stance our government and others, like the Brits with Binyam Mohamed, use as an excuse to prolong the torment of dozens of individuals — some still in detention somewhere, others back home but in legal limbo, even a few completely exonerated and compensated individuals like Arar still on U.S. watch lists and subject to sniping in U.S. military commissions whenever someone has a chance.

      I don’t know why your State Dep’t remains so recalcitrant even in cases like Arar’s. It would cost money to admit what you did? What interests me more, though, is putting teh fear of becoming boy defendants in war crimes trials into some of our politicians and agents for rationalizing so much all these years.

      I’m not sure Americans are always aware of how far this has spread.

      • Mary says:

        I don’t know why your State Dep’t remains so recalcitrant even in cases like Arar’s.

        Once Obama decided to put Clinton at State I thought this was handwriting on the wall. Once you dig into rights and wrongs on renditions to torture, you open up the door to what happened during the Clinton era as well. Not as bad in many ways, but definitely some of the Algerians Clinton rendered to Egypt were put to death, as a “sentence” for the crimes that they confessed to after torture.

        But even apart from that, look at how many things intersect in the Arar case and how many people at the center of coalitions of power get hit. There’s no way to recognize publically that a mistake was made on Arar without huge ripples.

        If he was not an “enemy combatant” then all the legal rationales go out the window – you can’t claim anyone acting within the four corners of an OLC memo at that point, you just have conspiracy to torture.

        And this one isn’t even a clandestine CIA operation. Larry Thompson, as DAG and freshly returned from his torture trip, signed off directly on the paperwork to ship Arar to Syria. Ashcroft would have had to be involved as well. Everyone’s favorite St, Comey, made the state’s secrets invocation to cover for them. Cheney and Rumsfeld’s and the CIA’s torture programs at GITMO as applied to a teenager resulted in his false identifications of Arar bc he thought it would help him be released. Bush had to have played a direct role.

        And with Arar at the Syrian prison were a cast of characters who were all being held and tortured as favors to the US, including one who now appears to have been Noor al-Deen. al-Deen was taken with Zubaydah and provided the information that Bush didn’t want to hear – that Zubaydah was not al-Qaeda’s #3 and was not actually a member of al-Qaeda. So off goes the kid – maybe also a teenager – who wasn’t saying what they wanted to Syria where unfortunately Arar might have some ability to testify about information relating to him. And now al-Deen seems to be permantly disappeared, like al-Libi and others.

        So every aspect of the Arar case invokes and involve power coalitions who, while not natural allies, all have a common interest there. Ashcroft and Thompson have no cover of an OLC memo for what they did to Arar – nor does anyone who ordered or authorized them or who participated in the disappearance to Syria.

        If you bring Arar justice and bring his story into the mainstream (most Americans have no idea who he is) you put such various factions as the Clintonistas (who don’t want a review of the rendition program that would walk back to Bill); the CIA; lawyers in CIA; OLC office, OVP office, Bush WH; Riceco (who would have been briefed on him); Ashroftites; Gonzalesians; Thompsites; Comeyites; Pelosi/Harman/Rockefeller/Reid-ites (some or all would have gottent he brief on him at some point) etc.

        Then you tack on the fact that to bring his story out with acknowledgements of US guilt, you can’t really ignore the Syrian role. Right now, Obama is bending over backwards to re-open channels with Syria. Making a splash over how they tortured for Bush and the related tales of the other people they took in, permanently or otherwise, to help out the US, isn’t going to do much for making friends right about now.

        None of which is a reason not to do it. Evil crap like what happened to him that goes unaddressed by the law and by the successor policy makers just breeds more evil. But Obama has been making his choices and they aren’t inspiring.

        • skdadl says:

          What can I say? Ya. That’s about the way it is.

          Evil as what was done to Arar was at the time, and it was (and he had company), and it would have been even if he had not been innocent, which he was, what you are describing seems to me a continuing and worse evil, and when I watch our governments not only not trying to stop it but purposely continuing, I feel it is head-banging time for moi.

          Would you believe that we are going to have two cases in our Supreme Court next week where government lawyers are going to be using testimony from Abu Zubaydah? No kidding. In one, they may also be using testimony from Omar Khadr.

          • Mary says:

            I’m not all that surprised. Our courts here have been laying the groundwork for domestic use of torture testimony too. The Saleh case made bad law on that front, as did Mukasey’s agreement to allow torture testimony without comment for the Padilla material witness warrants.

            Back to Condi – Time has it all spelled out for us.

            Despite the fact that the Bybee one (withdrawn) memo says just what Rice later said at Standford “If the President [as CIC] does it, it’s not illegal” Time explains that Condi was just being inadvertent.

            The sound bite, with its inadvertent (and unfortunate) Nixonian resonance, raised eyebrows on the right and hackles on the left.

            Yep – it wasn’t the torture that raised hackles, it was the inadvertent sound byte.

            But apparently Time has figured out that Condi is “speaking out” not because she is no longer protected by the Bush bubble, but bc she wants to supplant Cheney as the defender of torture. And apparently that’s with the Bushies blessing.

            “Condi’s view is more nuanced, and it’s a more accurate reflection of President Bush’s thinking — Cheney’s take is his own,” says one former Bush official familiar with the internal White House discussions on the CIA’s interrogation policies.

            Well, I can understand that, “if the President says do it, it’s not illegal” would be a more accurate reflection of Bush’s thoughts than Cheney’s “if I say do it, everyone is too scared not to and little W runs and hides and pees in his pants” but I’m not sure that I followed all that “nuance” from Condi. When America tortures it’s good, but when North Korea and Iran torture it’s bad – that’s what they kids are calling “nuance” these days?

          • bobschacht says:

            Would you believe that we are going to have two cases in our Supreme Court next week where government lawyers are going to be using testimony from Abu Zubaydah? No kidding. In one, they may also be using testimony from Omar Khadr.

            Will that testimony be challenged on the grounds that it may have been extracted illegally using torture? Wouldn’t it be fun to hear the Supremes discussing that!

            Bob in HI

            • skdadl says:

              Oh, yes, there are some very good lawyers in both cases, Abdelrazik (in limbo in Sudan, clearly innocent guy, declared so by both RCMP and CSIS, but on UN list because U.S. put him there and won’t take him off) and Harkat (security certificates — a refugee-immigration perversity peculiar to us, but again in this case, informed by spooky persons in Washington).

              Further, only a couple of weeks ago the Federal Court ruled that Khadr’s Charter rights have been infringed and the government is required to take steps to ensure his repatriation from GTMO — which Cangov are not doing, of course. Well, they have thirty days to appeal, which they are probably measuring out by waiting on Obama’s deadline for GTMO review (20 May). Meanwhile, they say appallingly prejudicial things about our child soldier, undermining an entire body of international law along the way, as, of course, does Obama.

              Abdelrazik’s case has become so public (because it is so bizarre) that unusual numbers of ordinary citizens are starting to say WTF? Over a hundred Canadians, including a former solicitor general, contributed to buying a plane ticket home for him, and the UN says he can fly back to Canada whether he’s on their list or not (absolute right of repatriation). And yet, even in the face of that, our neocon government, now weirdly in love with Obama, will come up with a different excuse every day to keep him out of North America, and I fear that it appears that your government seems to be driving that insanity.

              I am hestitant to tell you that we have good Supremes because I don’t like to second-guess them. Well, I don’t want to jinx things. But I think that the news of tainted testimony will have got through to them, will be brought home by the lawyers next week, maybe reinforced by the British High Court judges whenever they’re ready to speak about Binyam Mohamed.

              In general, our judges have ruled well through the torture regime, although they have yet to come out with what I would consider a ringing statement.

            • MarkH says:

              I don’t think they review the ‘facts’ of any case. But, probably if they did they would remand the case to the lower court and have them ‘fix’ it.

              Still, I agree, it would be fascinating to hear them tackle it.

          • MarkH says:

            I never have understood why our gov’t (either Clinton or Bush) would send people to any ME country for interrogation. Sure, we could get Egyptian gov’t help, but Syria? Wouldn’t they have been more likely to ‘get’ the ‘testimony’ which served their purposes more than ours?

            It’s confusing to me.

            It’s as though we, and those countries to which we sent people, wanted a reason for us to take out Saddam Hussein, and would do anything to get it.

            Just who was the war against Saddam for? Was it a favor to countries in the ME as well as something to get Dubya re-elected?

            As I said, it’s confusing to me.

        • john in sacramento says:

          Once Obama decided to put Clinton at State I thought this was handwriting on the wall. Once you dig into rights and wrongs on renditions to torture, you open up the door to what happened during the Clinton era as well. Not as bad in many ways, but definitely some of the Algerians Clinton rendered to Egypt were put to death, as a “sentence” for the crimes that they confessed to after torture.

          The source of which, was PDD 39

          So off goes the kid – maybe also a teenager – who wasn’t saying what they wanted to Syria where unfortunately Arar might have some ability to testify about information relating to him. And now al-Deen seems to be permantly disappeared, like al-Libi and others.

          Yea, at least 36 others who’ve been disappeared. More here.

          Then of course there are the 48 who’ve been killed during interrogations or who’ve died just after being interrogated, 12 who’ve been tortured to death, and 98 who’ve died while in US custody

          Bloody hands all around

          Too bad Obama and Eric Holder can’t be bothered with little things like taking their oath of office seriously

          • bobschacht says:

            This is why I like to tell people that Bush & Cheney were literally getting away with murder. Your comment has a good summary of sources.

            Bob in HI

          • Mary says:


            And if no one is ever going to fess up to the horrific criminality of knowingly keeping so many innocent people at GITMO, after first buying them for human interrogation experimentation, then the US is going to blow a fuse at “releasing” any of “the terrorists” here.

  14. JohnB says:

    Dr. Rice says a lot of really stupid sh*t in that q & a with the students, but to my mind the most ridiculous assertion is her rebuttal that the al queada terrorists from the mid east pose a more terrifying threat than did Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers in WW2. I mean that is just plain bullsh*t. And it is very insulting to all of us and our grandparents who fought in that war, worked in the steel mills, were rationed all kinds of material and later stared down the threat of a nuclear armed Soviet Union. I mean we all know how that generation sacrificed. And (with the exception of the men and women in the armed services) we were all asked to just go shopping. It’s just stupid insulting bullsh*t. And it pisses me off. And all because the @$$holes let the threats go unheeded and they were able to fly the hijacked airlines into some buildings and she says that they were more dangerous to our existential nature because of ~3000 deaths on the “homeland”. I mean fuck you Condi. The rest of us are not as cloyingly patently stupid as you…rant over.

    • lysias says:

      The past couple of evenings, I’ve been watching the WWII propaganda movie The Purple Heart, about alleged Japanese torturing of American aircrew captured after the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942.

      We the audience are clearly supposed to regard the Japanese torture of those American POW’s as utterly outrageous. Those were the days.

      By the way, I’m delighted that Sammy seems to make as much of an issue of the U.S.A.-permitted Israeli aggressions in Lebanon and Gaza as of the torture and 9/11. I wonder what it will take to make that message come through for Americans in general.

    • cinnamonape says:

      And remember that this is the same Rice who then…despite this Nazi-like threat…turned around and attacked Iraq (with no WMD’s, no links to al Qaida, and which posed no tangible threat to any of its neighbors since 1991. So they took forces and materiel out of Afghanistan, allowing both the Taliban and Al Qaida leaders to escape…and focused on the imaginary threat of Saddam Hussein. Oh right, Saddam was also repeatedly compared with the threat of Hitler.

      If in doubt…claim the threat is as great as Hitler…Hitler…HITLER!!!

  15. Fenestrate says:

    I’ve been thinking about memes that could get the message out clearer than what’s been done so far. Here’s one, take it or leave it.

    torturer == wife beater

    Also, apologists are really pro-torture. No bones about it.

    (sorry for the OT but just sitting on the sidelines and felt like kicking in my 2 cents).

    • TheraP says:

      As bad as domestic abuse may be, it’s not torture. The victim is free to leave, even if he or she hesitates to do so. Torture, if you want to apply it to a household, is more akin to ritualistic, sadistic abuse of children. Make that ritualistic, sadistic sexual abuse of children. And you have a situation where someone is in “custody” of another and that other is completely treating the person as an object. In most cases like this, the child is told over and over the abuse is their fault. And they may even be expected to appear to “enjoy” the abuse or to be grateful for punishment they (supposedly) “deserved”.

      I just couldn’t let that go uncontested.

  16. Mary says:

    Having already claimed the ‘hear no evil’ monkey with his rant on lefty bloggers, Graham and Lieberman have joined together to bag the ’see no evil’ monkey for Graham’s collectin.

    They plead to Obama – don’t let people see pictures of the truth or they may not like the fact that we don’t believe in prosecuting torturers (of Muslims and guys with funky names).

    “We know that many terrorists captured in Iraq have told American interrogators that one of the reasons they decided to join the violent jihadist war against America was what they saw on Al-Qaeda videos of abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib,” wrote Graham and Lieberman. “Releasing these old photographs of detainee treatment now will provide new fodder to Al-Qaeda’s propaganda and recruitment operations, undercut the progress you have made in our international relations, and endanger America’s military and diplomatic personnel throughout the world.

    “The release of these old photographs of past behavior that has now been clearly prohibited can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations, hurt our country’s image, and endanger our men and women in uniform,” wrote Graham and Lieberman.

    But what about the option where, you know, you prosecute those who commit and conspire to commit war crimes and affirmatively try to bring justice to the victims – and even close down some concentrated population camps in Afghanistan and Iraq and Cuba? Wouldn’t something like, oh, say, following our own laws and delivering up at least an attempt at justice make a difference?

    Or maybe we could just go with handing out mass amnesty for war crimes and trying to block habeas rights and relase for innocent people held in our concentrated population camps:

    Graham and Lieberman noted that the abusive practices at Abu Ghraib began Congressional involvement in detainee policy. Congress then passed the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commission Act.

    Here’s the scoop. It’s not the fact that there ARE pictures (and we all know that Lieberman and Graham would be the first to claim none of it had ever happened if there were not pictures)that’s the problem; it’s that fact that there IS NOT justice.

    That’s the press release you won’t every find – Graham and Lieberman working to secure justice.

    • JimWhite says:

      Lieberman and Graham are so worked up over this, they slip and admit that Obama has made some progress on international relations by not engaging in their Bushie-style saber-rattling:

      undercut the progress you have made in our international relations

      Didn’t these two McCain sidekicks spend the entire campaign saying Obama’s international relations approach was weak and dangerous?

  17. Mary says:

    Nice to know, with everything that is going on, Obama has managed to get around to having his DOJ pull the AIPAC suit, and yet they are still scheduled for a hearing on trying to get the GITMO defense lawyers put in jail for sending a letter to Obama.


    • bmaz says:

      My my, JohnB’s rant @24 did get yer dander up didn’t it? It really was a very fine rant.

      Keep at it sister!

  18. Cheryl says:

    OT – Has anyone heard if there has been a response from the State Dept. or the National Archives regarding the Zelikow memo? Sorry for the off-topic queston.

    • Cheryl says:

      Just called the Judiciary Committee and they have not received a response. I’m not surprised.

  19. msmolly says:

    Sorry, WAY off topic.

    Notre Dame has withdrawn its invitation to Barack Obama to speak at commencement on May 17th.

    The Catholic right wing has won.

      • msmolly says:

        Yeah. A really good opinion piece about Obama’s speech by E. J. Dionne is here:
        Stakes are high for Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech

        Obviously the news hasn’t leaked out yet, although a letter has gone to alums (unless it was forged, since I got it second-hand). There’s a small plane circling over the campus pulling a banner with a photo of a bloody fetus and something about “Aren’t you ashamed” — has been doing this for several days. Unfortunately it is very difficult to make out the picture on the banner.

        Edit: “unfortunately” for whomever spent the money to put the plane up there. FAIL.

        • shekissesfrogs says:

          I’m glad they have retracted thier invitation if it’s true.
          Perhaps after Obama’s numerous overtures to the far right, he will tire of being kicked in the face.

          • msmolly says:

            Sorry, was offline for awhile (dentist). The news that Obama has been disinvited comes from a letter purportedly to alumni, notifying them “before the formal announcement.”

            I smell a rat. If this letter actually had been sent to all ND alums, you can’t convince me that not one of them would have called their local media outlet. And so far, there is NOTHING at all that teh Google can find.

            So I think this may be an elaborate hoax, and Obama may still be coming to ND. If it was a false alarm, I apologize.

    • hackworth1 says:

      Orlando FL Local 6 News made certain to provide a platform for the leader of the Extreme-Far-Right Catholic Diocese spouting off about Obama, ND and the Honorary Doctorate. The camera panned the interior of the church with its three anti-Obama people in it. It was made to be a big news item.

      Recall that Dubya’s brother Neil Bush met with then Cardinal Ratso (now pope) to kneecap Kerry with the no-communion kerfuffle. Neil Bush and the Cardinal had served on an international committee together.

      The Catholic Church and Right-Wing Republican Warmongers – Thick as thieves.

    • greenwarrior says:

      Good. Now he’ll have the time to focus on suggesting some special prosecutor possiblities for Holder to consider.

  20. Mary says:

    I admit to having been to more than one tent revival in my lifetime (and I may end up going to more at some point, who knows?) but to me the torture issues is pretty simple.

    Torture didn’t get us Bin Laden, it got us Iraq and now a disintegrating nuclear Pakistan.

    One of our first forays in government organized torture yielded al-Libi, agreeing to claim that there were al-Qaeda training camps in Iraq to make his torture stop. The pay-off for that commitment to becoming a torture regime (one that is not constrained from using torture to bolster policy decisions as opposed to find the ticking time bomb) was the conflagration we now have in the ME. Everyone is refuses to face up to that buys their children and grandchildren, to the 3rd and 4th generations, more horror and buys themselve their own plot in hell.

    Unfortunately, I have no readily available talking point on the issue.

  21. CalGeorge says:

    “Therefore, I don’t think history will look back kindly on Condoleezza Rice.”

    Look back? That’s not allowed anymore.

    Get with the program, Frost!

  22. JohnLopresti says:

    There are a lot of good people on that campus. Tuition is stratospheric. Politics, nevertheless, fairly staid, blandly put. There was a time four decades ago when that university began to join many others seeking a change of foreign policy at a time when the US was engaged in a military action, memorialized by the campus’ alumni newsletter there. Times have changed measurably, yet, it is nice some alert dorm residents spoke outside of the hyped view the prior administration used to blanket its favored media outlets. The campus is probably less Republican than Johns Hopkins. Yet, there have been times when issues loomed larger than partisanship. I think an instinctive awareness of that order of magnitude is what pushed Rice off balance in an otherwise ostensibly cozy setting. I continue to doubt that she was a coequal leader favoring torcha and war of aggression while the NatSec Advisor, and I believe her startled and angry retort’s allusion to the ambience in which she held that office. By the time she was secretary of state she had to deal with the legal issues of complicity in both prongs of policy, torchur and war of aggression, plus providing a globetrotting daily quantum of obfuscation throughout her tenure, one of the key voices maintaining the din of dullness to hide what had occurred, and that in service of a president who when elected had not favored reading history books much, nor, traveling a lot in foreign countries. It will be interesting to find out how much of a Principal she wishes to say she was in those respects.

  23. Mary says:

    skdadl – this shows a bit about what I was getting at on the interest groups

    In a piece about Holder claiming that getting Johnsen in at OLC is his top priority, a bit about rendition comes out –

    Shelby and Alexander both pointed out that the Clinton administration used rendition — the practice spiriting suspected terrorists to another country for interrogation — and asked Holder about his involvement in the program while he was the Justice Department’s No. 2 official. Holder said he knew generally of the practice but could not say how often it was used or articulate specific interrogation techniques used on suspects. Shelby asked Holder to provide him with information showing what steps the Justice Department took to ensure the program was in compliance with the law. Holder said he would.

  24. fatster says:

    Is this true?

    Government Could Destroy Records in Hundreds of Guantanamo Cases
    by Chisun Lee, ProPublica – May 7, 2009 11:07 am EDT

    “A stockpile of documents about hundreds of Guantanamo Bay detainees, some written by the prisoners themselves, could be destroyed under a little-known provision of a federal court order the Bush administration obtained in 2004.”…..-cases-507

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, it is true. However, the order has a provision for objection by the parties (read defendants) and their attorneys. My guess is that a hold will be requested and placed.

  25. john in sacramento says:

    California Students’ Call for Condi War Crimes Probe
    Initiative of Stanford Anti-War Alumni and Students

    by Prof. Marjorie Cohn


    On Sunday, surrounded by alumni and students, Lenny Siegel and I nailed a petition to the University President’s office door. The petition, circulated by Stanford Say No to War, reads:

    “We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other concerned members of the Stanford community, believe that high officials of the U.S. Government, including our former Provost, current Political Science Professor, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Condoleezza Rice, should be held accountable for any serious violations of the Law (included ratified treaties, statutes, and/or the U.S. Constitution) through investigation and, if the facts warrant, prosecution, by appropriate legal authorities.”

    I stated, “By nailing this petition to the door of the President’s office, we are telling Stanford that the university should not have war criminals on its faculty. There is prima facie evidence that Rice approved torture and misled the country into the Iraq War. Stanford has an obligation to investigate those charges.”

    After the petition nailing, I cited the law and evidence of Condoleezza Rice’s responsibility for war crimes – including torture – and for selling the illegal Iraq War:


  26. dotmafia says:

    “We knew virtually nothing about how al Qaeda operated,” Rice said at the school event Sunday. “We were as deaf and dumb and blind on September 10th as you could possibly be.”

    Well, we know Bush was dumb, so which of the other two monkeys was Rice?

    When former Bush “administration” officials use the term “we”, they really mean “I”, as they are attempting (as usual) to deflect away blame and responsibility. If Rice really was deaf, dumb and blind, then she had no business being in her position on September 10, 2001. Also, these comments are just further attempts by Rice to legitimize al Qaeda information gained through the torture which she “conveyed”.

    Why does no one ask Rice why no Bush “administration” officials lost their jobs for their major f**k up in being “deaf, dumb and blind”? What are her thoughts regarding accountability? I’m quite sure Rice has been in a position before to fire underlings for things which most certainly did not involve the deaths of thousands. So why was she given a free pass, indeed a promotion? What makes her so special? Her piano-playing, or her fluent Russian?

    Rice will eventually be held to account for being a deaf, dumb and blind war criminal. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow. But this will follow her day-after-day, to the end of her days. She, and her criminally irresponsible gangster co-horts, WILL be prosecuted and punished at some point in the future. Anticipating the American public’s fervent ultra-patriotism to continually save her ass will only last for so long.

  27. Leen says:

    Was Cohn the student that she attempted to humiliate and shut up with “do your homework”? Then leaned over and tried to pacify with “the Supreme Court”

    Cohn was polite and did indeed as some hardball questions.

    Condi could have come off so mature if she would have said “important, logical questions” Then gone into “if you were not there”

    She blew it AGAIN

    Glad Horton interviewed them

  28. JohnLopresti says:

    Marjorie Cohn had some interesting testimony before the House Judiciary Committee May 6 2008 110th Congress re: jus cogens, what it means to torcha.

  29. MarkH says:

    I suspect it was a habit which did her in.

    If your entire career is based on saying “yes”, but at some point you realize OMG, there actually *is* a line across which you don’t want to cross, then what do you do?

    She just stayed quiet. As she said recently, she owes them (Bush & co) her loyalty and silence. I think that’s what she did while in office.

    It’s understandable, but hardly commendable.

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