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View Diary: Harman: "We were not fully briefed" about secret torture memos (95 comments)

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  •  Andrew Sullivan wrote something very relevant (57+ / 0-)

    here's a snippet:

    George Orwell would have been impressed by the phrase "enhanced interrogation technique". By relying on it, the White House spokesman last week was able to say with a straight face that the administration strongly opposed torture and that "any procedures they use are tough, safe, necessary and lawful".

    So is "enhanced interrogation" torture? One way to answer this question is to examine history. The phrase has a lineage. Verschärfte Verneh-mung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the "third degree". It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.

    The United States prosecuted it as a war crime in Norway in 1948. The victims were not in uniform – they were part of the Norwegian insurgency against the German occupation – and the Nazis argued, just as Cheney has done, that this put them outside base-line protections (subsequently formalised by the Geneva conventions).

    The Nazis even argued that "the acts of torture in no case resulted in death. Most of the injuries inflicted were slight and did not result in permanent disablement". This argument is almost verbatim that made by John Yoo, the Bush administration’s house lawyer, who now sits comfortably at the Washington think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.

    The US-run court at the time clearly rejected Cheney’s arguments. Base-line protections against torture applied, the court argued, to all detainees, including those out of uniform. They didn’t qualify for full PoW status, but they couldn’t be abused either. The court also relied on the plain meaning of torture as defined under US and international law: "The court found it decisive that the defendants had inflicted serious physical and mental suffering on their victims, and did not find sufficient reason for a mitigation of the punishment . . ."

    The entire piece, which appeared in The Times of London and is entitled "Bush's torturers follow where the Nazis led" can be read, courtesy of ICH, here

    I have forwarded this to Congressional staff, candidates, and the like.

    I think Sullivan has given us a powerful argument.  If we prosecuted Nazis for a technique, then how can we justify using that technique without ourselves being like the Nazis? How can ANY justification remove those who use or authorize such techniques from prosecution as war criminals?

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 06:12:09 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Bravo (19+ / 0-)

      That's it, in a nutshell.  We cannot hold them to a lower standard than Nazis.

      Impeachment can never be off the the table.

      •  and yet (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hornito, murrayewv, greenearth, lamzdotes

        There it is, laying at Pelosi's feet.

        And the Republican who said he'd vote to impeach Bush if he attacked Iran... I say bullshit.

        Bull. Shit.

        The Republicans would line up and bash the Dems who didn't support Bush's "defensive war", and they'd be grinning from ear to ear as our side fractured.

        "...I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." - Barbara Jordan

        by racerx on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 09:35:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sullivan canbe a putz (4+ / 0-)

      on a number of issues, but he has defended human rights and has aggressively criticized the Bush Adminitration for its torture policies.  It's good to know that not all conservatives have gone over to the dark side.

      -5.13,-5.64 (Insert witty, pithy sig line here.)

      by gizmo59 on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 07:59:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Harman -- AIPAC (0+ / 0-)

      Probe of Harman's AIPAC Ties Confirmed

      That dumbfuck is owned and operated.

      Federal law enforcement sources confirmed yesterday that the FBI opened an investigation in 2005 into whether Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) improperly enlisted the aid of a pro-Israel lobbying group, but they cautioned that no evidence of wrongdoing was found.

      The inquiry focused on whether Harman had made promises to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in exchange for its support of her desire to become chairman of the House intelligence committee if Democrats take control of the House, several law enforcement sources said.

      Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

      by fugue on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 08:27:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Harman is AIPAC operative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Justice Department investigation

        In October 2006, it was reported that Harman was under investigation by the Justice Department for allegedly (with the help of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) enlisting wealthy donors to lobby House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to retain Harman as the head Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The investigation into the alleged campaign to support Harman for the leadership post began in mid-2005 after media reports said that Pelosi might name Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) to succeed Harman. In addition to investigating alleged calls made at Harman’s behest by wealthy Democratic Party contributors to Pelosi, the probe is also looking into whether, in exchange for help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to try to persuade the Bush Administration to go easy on AIPAC officials involved in a broader investigation. [1]

        Harman responded to the announcement in a voicemail message stating that any investigation of her would be "irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous." A spokesman for AIPAC, a powerful Washington-based organization with more than 100,000 members across the U.S., denied any wrongdoing by the group and stressed that it did not even take sides between Harman and Hastings in regards to the committee assignment.

        Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

        by fugue on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 08:36:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dinner date with AIPAC (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Sept. 13 dinner took place at the home of Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and was attended by over 120 top financial backers of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion in which Harman played the host, questioning Negroponte and Chertoff about Mideast developments, international terrorism and homeland-security issues, according to an AIPAC official.

        The dinner was hardly an unusual one for AIPAC. The group often arranges such elite pow-wows at the homes of senior members of Congress and government officials (one in the mid-1990s was hosted by then Vice President Al Gore) as a way for AIPAC to both demonstrate its political clout and to provide a perk for major donors.

        But last month’s event raises new questions about recent reports that the FBI was investigating whether Harman, an outspoken supporter of Israel, last year may have agreed to improperly influence an ongoing Justice Department probe of AIPAC. The reports of the probe came just a few days after Harman released a politically sensitive House report that included important new details about the investigation surrounding the activities of disgraced former GOP Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham.

        Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

        by fugue on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 09:16:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Israeli Spy Ring Probe Widens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:



      While two executives of the powerful Israeli lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) await trial on charges of spying against the United States, the FBI has now broadened its investigation to look at whether the group tried to strike a deal with a leading member of Congress. In particular, federal investigators wish to know if AIPAC tried to reach a shady arrangement with Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

      According to a recent report in a mainstream magazine, the alleged deal was that, in the event Democrats took control of Congress, AIPAC would lobby for Harman, now a member of the House Intelligence Committee, to become the chair of that committee. In return, she would be expected to press the White House and Justice Department to go easy on Keith Weisman and Steven Rosen, the two former AIPAC executives soon to be tried for espionage.

      Weisman and Rosen were connected to a spy ring involving the self-confessed traitor, Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin. In January 2006, Franklin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being part of a conspiracy to communicate America’s national defense secrets to a foreign power, namely Israel.

      According to Franklin’s explosive indictment, his co-conspirators were not only Rosen and Weisman, but also Uzi Arad, a former Mossad agent, and Naor Gilan, the lead Mossad agent at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Gilan and Arad left the country before they could be interviewed by the FBI, but Rosen and Weisman were not so fortunate. It soon emerged that the FBI had a wealth of incriminating video and wire-tapped material on the two AIPAC executives and had also extracted information from Franklin about his links to them and how he passed them classified papers.

      Through their lawyers, Rosen and Weisman argued that they were not guilty of treason and had been doing only what AIPAC had always done: They had pressured important people in the Pentagon and Congress and passed whatever information and documents they got from them to Israel.

      The latest claims that AIPAC has been meddling in intelligence circles in Congress will come as no shock to those who know just how powerful the Israeli lobby in Washington is. So far, Harman and AIPAC have denied a secret deal. However, to many insiders, such an arrangement is reasonable given AIPAC’s stated goal of shaping U.S. foreign policy to suit Israel’s agenda in the Middle East.

      Many people suspect that the FBI investigations into AIPAC and Harman will go nowhere. However, the Israeli lobby cannot put the Rosen-Weissman espionage case under the rug. The evidence in the case shows conclusively that AIPAC has been the means by which Israel has acquired critical intelligence on America’s Middle East policy, which it has used to influence American public opinion and White House policy.

      The most staggering aspect of the Franklin conviction was that, even though it proved AIPAC was spying on the United States, the majority of members on both sides of the House turned a blind eye to that fact. In other words, Congress was nowhere near as concerned as U.S. courts were that America’s national secrets were being acquired by a powerful special interest group on behalf of a foreign power.

      From the moment news of the FBI investigation in AIPAC broke in 2004, the Israeli lobby in Washington called in powerful friends and started circling the wagons.

      When it was leaked that Pentagon analyst Franklin had confessed to passing classified national security documents to the Israelis, the Anti-Defamation League called for a probe into FBI leaks as though leaks were more important than espionage.

      AIPAC used its powerful friends in the U.S. media and Congress to play down its role in the espionage conspiracy. To that end, it persuaded Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deliver the keynote address to the May 2005 AIPAC convention in Washington. The event was also attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and leaders of the House and Senate.

      Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former mainstream news producer who now writes for AFP so he can expose the kinds of subjects that he was forbidden to cover in the controlled press.

      (Note: this article is non copyrighted/free to use. so I paste the whole thing)

      Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

      by fugue on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 08:33:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]


        Excellent post... See the following URL as well:

        Feds Probe Neocon Dem Jane Harman's Relationship with AIPAC:

        Saban mentioned via the following URL as well:

        Prominent Mideast analyst associated with AIPAC espionage:

        Scott Ritter conveys via following youtube (for his 'Target Iran' book) that AIPAC is pushing US to attack Iran next for Israel:

        Israel's influence of US policy & the Israeli lobby:  

        AIPAC and the Neocon (War for Israel) agenda:

        Seymour Hersh: Jewish financiers backing Hilary Clinton to get US to attack Iran:

        More on Mearsheimer and Walt:

        Mearsheimer & Walt mentioned in the following article by Paul Findley as well:


        Please check out this website:

        "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" was #6 on the LA Times Bestsellers List of Books, and CBS 'Sixty Minutes' still refused to do a segment (see the email exchange with the executive office at '60 Minutes' via the following URL):

        CBS '60 Minutes' refusing to do a segment on Mearsheimer and Walt book as we head for war with Iran:

        The Mearsheimer & Walt book helps to explain how the US has incurred the wrath of 1.3 billion Muslims, and how we got into the war in Iraq (with Iran on deck next for Israel as well).

        Although it has been "Politically Incorrect" to discuss the Israeli Lobby and Israel, this book (as well as the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" by Jimmy Carter) have broken through this taboo. By breaking the silence, the discussion, hopefully, will begin. The discussion needs to begin immediately as Israel and The Lobby are now urging a US attack on Iran.

        Retired General Abizaid (Commander of US Forces in the Middle East) stated that Iran was not a "suicide nation" -- and that we could live with a nuclear Iran. He said that it wouldn't be desirable, but that we could "live with it".

        Serious war gaming by the Rand Institute and retired Generals have predicted some very serious consequences if we attack Iran:

        1. Increased deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. Shiites in Iraq, in sympathy with Shiites in Iran, would rise up against our soldiers in Iraq. Rumsfeld was against an attack on Iran because of the increased death toll to "his boys" in Iraq.
        1. closure of the narrow (22miles wide) Straits of Hormuz, the shipping lane where the majority of the world's oil flows -- resulting in huge increases in the price of oil which would result in a worldwide depression.
        1. Iran, who helped us against the Taliban in Afghanistan, could cause big trouble for our troops in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. One "war gamer" predicted that Iran could create a "bloody hell and defeat for US forces" in both countries with their million-man army.

        Yet President Bush has stated (in the Chapter Iran in the Crosshairs), "I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel." I wonder if he will be sending his daughters to fight this million man Iranian army.

        "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" will be a great help in understanding how BOTH political parties got us into this confrontation with the Muslim world which comprises 1.3 billlion people in 57 countries. And it is not because they hate freedom.


        This One is So Hot: The Censorship of Mearsheimer and Walt:

        We were tragically attacked at the World Trade Center in 1993 and on 9/11 because of US support of Israel which resulted in the 'War on Terror' that has eroded our Constitutional civil liberties:

        So we are having the Bill of Rights shredded because of support for Israel in the BILLIONS of US taxpayer dollars while US states go broke (see how much Israel receives via the links at ). Founding Father George Washington warned US (in his Farewell Address - see the bottom of ) to avoid the passionate attachment for any foreign country and artificially making that foreign country's interests our own (like we are doing with Israel which is taking US down).

        "Sit Down!" The Power to Silence

        Leo Braudy says there's only a few minutes left YET he finds time for himself to ask two more questions! When does a panel discussion ever end, go to the Q and A and THEN go back to the moderator asking even more questions of the panel? (when you want to serve Israel's agenda)
        It is depraved to deny the main motive for the 9/11 attacks.

        The Public Campaign to Stop
        the Lies and the Denial of
        the Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks:
        U.S. Support for Israel

        The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel (see the 'What Motivated the 9/11 Hijackers? video linked at the upper right of the following URL):


        Additional at following URL:

        Neocon propagandist David Horowitz was hammered about Israel's deliberat attack on the USS Liberty ( ) and his passionate attachment for Israel in the second half hour of the second hour of his 'In Depth' interview on C-SPAN 2 this past Sunday (see the 'In Depth' archive via and then was hammmered again in the last half hour of the broadcast when a caller mentioned that he was a Jewish neocon pushing the wars for Israel in the Middle East as Kevin MacDonald's 'Thinking about Neoconservatism' piece was mentioned to him as well (it is linked near the top of the following URL):

        Horowitz then blew the usual anti-Semite smoke screen (which is wearing thin these days) and then lied in response in mentioning that he wasn't a neocon, but the following piece from the neocon bastion (AEI) conveys a different story!:


    •  Absolutely teacherken ! (8+ / 0-)

      Ask anyone who has survived torture, or their family members, and they will say that what is being done to the detainees in Gauntanamo is torture, torture whose effects the detainee will suffer from the rest of their lives.

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is doing it to whom.

      ALL Americans need to stand up and say:
        NOT IN MY NAME!

      And keep saying it until the torture is stopped.

        For Dan,

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