Only Accountability Can Repair the Damage Done

In his inaugural address, President Obama said: "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." This echoed a statement Ben Franklin made in 1759: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." As we continue to call for accountability for torture, we must remind the President that what was true in 1759 must still hold true today: if we abandon this nation's adherence to the rule of law, we're abandoning our core values.

Our Accountability for Torture Blog Forum ended yesterday with a focus on detainees who were tortured to death while in U.S. custody. More bloggers picked up on the general issue of accountability.

Jeff Kaye writes at Firedoglake about the use of drugs in interrogations on prisoners in the current Army Field Manual—the same one President Obama has held as the standard for interrogation procedure:

[…]Yoo's memos, which were written to provide supposed legal cover for the use of drugs and other forms of torture, appear to place the Army Field Manual's restrictions on the use of drugs out of sync with Yoo/Addington's legal justifications. Yoo would disallow the use of drugs that "cause profound mental harm," that "penetrate to the core of an individual's ability to perceive the world around him, substantially interfering with his cognitive abilities, or fundamentally alter his personality," and are calculated to that end -- a fairly stringent standard.

But the Army Field Manual only prohibits the use of drugs in interrogations which would cause "lasting or permanent mental alteration or damage," a much more permissive standard than "profound mental harm," especially when the latter is defined as something similar to "brief psychotic disorder" (per Yoo) . Thus, when Cambone and Company, getting off on their oh-so-smart word games in the redraft of the AFM, removed the prohibition against "chemically induced psychosis" from the old AFM, and replaced it with their new formulation, then according to Yoo's own analysis, the Army Field Manual now allowed the drugging of prisoners in a manner that would amount to torture.

McJoan at Daily Kos writes:

Torture wasn't limited to waterboarding. It was the combination of sleep deprivation, stress positions, "walling," exposure to extreme heat and cold. It was used indiscriminately and in combinations that were not only approved but were "virtually choreographed" by the highest levels of government: Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet and John Ashcroft. And, as we're likely to find confirmed in the CIA report to be released tomorrow--unless it is redacted into utter irrelevance--that the CIA knew it wasn't an effective tool for gathering intelligence.

Don't forget, the intelligence that it was employed to gather very early in the war in Afghanistan was the false intelligence to take us into Iraq.

[…]Our collective hands are stained. Sunlight, in the form of accountability is our only hope of cleansing that stain.

Digby writes:

[…]We deserve to know and the tortured dead deserve some justice. And if we want to just deal in pragmatic concerns, if anyone thinks that refusing to hold people accountable for what happened and showing the world that we can be trusted to civilized at least after the fact doesn't make us less safe, they are out of their minds. This is how countries become pariah states.

The United States went crazy after 9/11 and tortured many, many people, at least a hundred of them to death. It happened. How do we live with that?

In "When Torture Kills: Ten Murders In US Prisons In Afghanistan," Andy Worthington culls from his exhaustive research and reporting on detainees to highlight 10 murders, "three of which, to the best of my knowledge, have never been investigated at all."

Christy Hardin Smith says in response to yesterday's outline for accountability by the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer: "[T]he building of a complete and transparent public record has to be at the top of the list for me. More sunlight, please. And soon."

Daphne Eviatar at the Washington Independent wrote about the hearing in Mohammed Jawad's case today. We're arguing that the evidence extracted through torture—the same evidence that a judge threw out in Jawad's military commission case—should not be admissible in his case challenging his detention in federal court.

At Firedoglake, bmaz writes:

[…]So, what do we do about the criminal, immoral and depraved acts officials of the US government have conducted in our name? Clearly Bush and Cheney had no interest in accountability for their crimes of torture. But now President Barack Obama, who sold the electorate that he was the man to bring change and accountability, has shown himself to be more of the same. He truly desires to walk the other way and not address the wrongs committed against our nation, Constitution and fiber of existence. And, as Glenn Greenwald adroitly points out, President Obama even wants to raise the ante on indefinite detention without charges. How should we deal with that?

[…]The Founders gave us the answer to that conundrum. You follow the Rule of Law. You uphold the Constitution, what it stands for, and honor every drop of blood spilled since the Revolution to establish and defend it. You honor your oath to office. You do the right thing and have accountability on the merits. That is what you do, and it is time for a concerted effort from the grassroots to demand just that. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, those who would give up the essential Rule of Law for temporary security and political gain, deserve neither.

John Amato at Crooks and Liars added:"The torture issue is horrifying and the longer we get away from the Bush years, the more information the ACLU is able to gather. These documents are, in a word, vile."

So while Torture Awareness Month is over, our call for accountability is only just beginning. Remind President Obama of his own words on Inauguration Day. Ask the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor. Only then can we truly know what was done in our names, and begin the work needed to repair the damage done.

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anon

Something is seriously wrong within our borders, but the ACLU and others are either "in the dark" or "turning a blind eye" to what's going on. It's unbelievable, it's buried in the world of mental illness and that is why it's working.

Who's behind it, I don't know. COINTELPRO? The LEIU (exempt from the FOIA, as I understand it)? Someone else? It's the God's truth and no one is apparently paying any attention. Would the ACLU please help!

Vic Livingston

WHY WON'T ACLU TAKE UP THE CAUSE OF EXTRAJUDICIAL TARGETING AND TORTURE ALL ACROSS AMERICA?

• A journalist/victim leading the fight against a federally-enabled "Gestapo" answers an emailer's question -- and shares his response here.

The ACLU can be shamed into taking action, just as the FBI and Dept.
of Homeland Security and intel agency internal affairs sections may be
shamed by victims into policing their ranks to eliminate programs and
policies that have violated the civil and human rights of unjustly
targeted persons. Pointing out hypocrisy is a powerful weapon. If
people come to think that ACLU just pays lip service to human rights
when it comes to domestic torture, the credibility of the entire
organization will suffer, donations will fall off, and its ability to
fulfill its mission -- even if that mission involves creating the
illusion of equal justice for all -- will be jeopardized.

You see, over the past five years, even during the four years I was
largely incapacitated by microwave radiation "directed energy weapon" attacks (which
continue right up to today, BTW), I have been schooled by my
tormentors in the alleged "art" of agit-propaganda. While I often
accuse them of "lame psy ops," they also have shown me by example how
to separate the wheat from the chaff, and how to turn their sometimes
clumsy methods and tactics to my advantage.

I've also learned how to send messages to the "good people on the
inside" while I lead along their operatives, who seem to grow less
adept as the hour grows later. I have learned from the best they've
got, and from the worst. Maybe someday one of the agencies that at
its core believes in upholding the Constitution will hire me as an
internal affairs investigator. Stranger things have happened. Of
course, being 59 years old would tend to auger against that prospect,
but maybe they'll owe me something for the years of torture and lost
income I have suffered!

Best to you. Remember, anything you say can and will be held against
you! That just reminded me:

The (Falls Twp., Bucks County, PA) cops who assaulted me and
unlawfully detained me last week (and confiscated and towed my
vehicle, left unmentioned in the complaint against me) failed to read
me my rights or to allow me to make a phone call. And now I've been
charged in the mail with "stalking" -- what I believe the guy who
apparently was tracking me on his GPS was doing to me before he saw
that I was taking down his plate number.

Will these local cops ultimately regret the way their department is
handling this matter? Let's just see... I was very surprised, given
the procedural lapses and the fact that I was assaulted and unlawfully
detained in a locked cell, that they decided to charge me. Very, very
surprised that they seem to have handed me some legal ammunition. The
more they persecute me, the more they help prove my case.
Incredible...

But where is the ACLU of PA -- or national? I've been summoned to appear before a court, accused of the very crime that's been systemically committed upon me for FIVE YEARS -- and all I have received is a questionnaire.

Please, ACLU, live up to your mission. This nationally-known journalist/victim needs your assistance. Please demonstrate your commitment to principle on DOMESTIC matters of torture and extrajudicial abuse; it's just too easy to confine your outrage to Gitmo detainees and the occasional hard-time Sheriff Arpaio-style convict.

Vic Livingston, a/k/a "scrivener

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-ter...

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

WIRED MAGAZINE ACKNOWLEDGES THE REALITY OF MICROWAVE RADIATION 'DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPON' TORTURE IN AMERICA

• When will ACLU begin to battle the DOMESTIC, GOVERNMENT-ENABLED extrajudicial torture apparatus?

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/07/court-to-defendant-stop-blasting...

(Note "comments" section account by journalist Vic Livingston)

anon

There is a nationwide surveillance network that needs to be brought to its knees. Good Americans are being harassed. Where is the ACLU?

The rule of law is dead, as is the Constitution, but the ACLU either pretends (or really believes) that all is well.

anon

Forget about high-tech weaponry and all sorts of claims that can't be proven. Let's look at what is obvious -- what can be seen with the naked eye. We have a nationwide surveillance network driven by sophisticated surveillance equipment. Good Americans are being targeted and ruined. Unbelievable? You bet. True? Without a doubt.

Anonymous

as usual, the aclu screws America AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! I am going to make it a priority to send you some crosses and a United States of America FLAG!!!!!!
You want to look at discrimination here in the good ole U. S. of A.????? Look at the president and our loons in congress to include piglosi and dirty harry reid!!!!!
Thank you and keep up your dirty work

Vic LIvingston

To: #5 anon:

The U.S. government itself has confirmed the existence and proliferation of this directed energy "high tech weaponry." If you read my articles at NowPublic.com/scrivener, you will find links and citations.

The "hi-tech weaponry" appears to be an integral part of the "surveillance" system of which you speak. Some of what's called "surveillance" appears to be, in fact, weaponry.

Indeed, there is strong evidence that the U.S. government has weaponized the telecommunications system and that "directed energy weapons" are of several varieties:

Hand-held or portable; terrestrial cellphone tower-based; and satellite-based.

There is strong evidence these weapons have been used on Gitmo detainees (and targeted Americans) to induce weakness, fatigue and altered mood states. Maybe the Gitmo angle will get ACLU on the case?

But you're right: The GPS-enabled extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" on the ground -- manned by organized vigilante community stalkers -- must be taken down immediately.

It is truly an American Gestapo, enabled by government at the federal and local levels.

Vic LIvingston

MORE APPARENT, BLATANT GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP/PRIOR RESTRAINT OF POLITICAL BLOG SITES

* Surveillance "Fusion Centers" Used as Pretext to Harass, Censor Unjustly "Targeted" Americans?

* Common ploy: Opinionated posts rejected as "spam" via "spoofed" messages

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-...

anon

I only know what I can see, though little would surprise me anymore.

I know this:

Individuals are being targeted for harassment that involves vandalism, "sneak 'n peek searches", and obvious surveillance. It's domestic psychological terrorism and I would bet my bottom dollar that it's state-supported.

If someone is able to get to the bottom of the most obvious crimes, the rest of the madness (whatever else is going on) will come to the fore.

JERRY WIGGINS

IF ANYBODY OUTTHERE CAN TRUST WHAT ABOUT TO SAY PLEASE DO I AM IN TREMENDOSE PAIN/SUFFERING THROUGH WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GATHER ENOUGH REPORTS TO GO TO AN JUDGE TO BRING PERSONS TO COURT ON AN UNUSUAL CRIME THAT HAS/IS BEEN COMMITTED ON ME INCLUDEING DEVICES LIKE COMPUTERS AND SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY/ SPIRITUAL/CULT AND HUMANSKILLS THAT PUT TOGETHER CONFORM VOODOO PERSONS ARE LALAH HATHAWAY CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS RAPPER MC REN OF NWA MICHELLE LA OF NWA RAPPER MC BREED FROM ST LOUIS GRADE SCHOOL USED TO BE FRIEND STEVEN SNIPES SASONE PORTER AND MY BABY MOTHER STACY MALONE AND THAT HATE GROUP AND OTHERS INCLUDEING THE DOCTOR/DENTIST THAT HAS IMPLANTED SOMETHING ON ME THAT MAKES THIS POSSIBLE PLEASE HELP ME THIS IS VERY PAINFUL AND MYSTERIOUS THANK YOU

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