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According to the Sunday Times in London, a Gulfstream 5's secret logs provide evidence that the United States intelligence agencies routinely transport extrajudicially arrested suspects to countries that use torture.  

The Gulfstream 5 and a Boeing 737 are both leased from Premier Executive Transport Services in Massachusetts.  They have been spotted at airports abroad, taking on hooded, drugged suspects who are bundled onto the planes by masked US agents.  

The movements of the Gulfstream 5 leased by agents from the United States defence department and the CIA are detailed in confidential logs obtained by The Sunday Times which cover more than 300 flights.

Countries with poor human rights records to which the Americans have delivered prisoners include Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan, according to the files. The logs have prompted allegations from critics that the agency is using such regimes to carry out "torture by proxy" -- a charge denied by the American government.

More below the fold:

The logs record flights originating in Washington and going to Afghanistan, Iraq and Indonesia to pick up suspects, then travelling to Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Guantanamo to drop off their human cargo.  Witnesses have also seen the Gulfstream take on prisoners in Sweden, Pakistan and Gambia.  The foreign state governments imprison and torture the suspects on our behalf to provide information to our intelligence services.

The most chilling paragraph is near the end of the article, describing the heirarchy of choices open to the CIA:

Bob Baer, a former CIA operative in the Middle East, said: "If you want a serious interrogation you send a prisoner to Jordan.  If you want them to be tortured you send them to Syria.  If you want someone to disappear . . . you send them to Egypt."

Among the countries where prisoners have been sent by America is Uzbekistan, a close ally and a dictatorship whose secret police are notorious for their interrogation methods, including the alleged boiling of prisoners.  The Gulfstream made at least seven trips to the Uzbek capital.

Rentogen points out that Seymour Hersh referred to this scandal when he spoke in Berkeley back in October. He said that:

My government has a secret unit that since December of 2001 has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and the Argentineans did. Rumsfeld decided after 9/11 that he could not wait. The president signed a secret document...There's a team of people, they fly in unmarked planes, they fly in Gulfstreams, they have their own choppers, they don't carry American passports, and they just grab people. And maybe in the beginning I can understand there was some rationale. Right after 9/11 we were frightened, we didn't know what to do ...

Oh, but not to worry because Bushco says none of this is true:

The American government, however, denies it is in any way complicit in torture and says it is actively working to stamp out the practice.

The perception of the United States among civilised nations is becoming more and more like a banana republic rogue state.  Substantiation of US torture tactics and abuse of international laws and conventions will reinforce a prejudice against and distrust of the US government.  It is worth remembering that the 370 million people of Europe's 25 nations have banned the death penalty, torture, racial discrimination, religious persecution and abuse of human rights.   Many lived under Soviet or Nazi occupations and know the implications which follow from a government placing itself above the interests of its people and above laws ensuring protection of due process.  They take these principles very seriously indeed, and cannot understand how Americans can be blind to them, or even support their erosion.

Originally posted to LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 02:41 AM PST.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Sy Hersh is right (4.00)
    When the truth about Gitmo comes out, the country might finally wake up and realize just how fucked up the current administration is.  Until then, our country should be ashamed of itself.

    "I want my country back!" - Howard Dean (proud member, reality-based community)

    by ziggy on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 02:45:13 AM PST

    •  You bet he's right (4.00)
      Guantanamo may actually turn the tide against BushCo. Then again, almost half the country believes he was "troubled" upon seeing "pitchers on the tee-vee" of Abu Ghraib. I've been ashamed for a long, long time. But Guantanamo will be a real pivotal point, in my opinion.
      •  Any more details? (4.00)
        I scan a couple listservs on security issues & this comment caught my attention a few months back:

        Abu Ghraib will n0t be the worst problem with prisoner abuse. There is another out there, part of the public knowledge but with n0 pictures to accompany it, that will prove to be worse.

        Gitmo?  Or Bagram?

        We must cultivate our garden.

        by daria g on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 03:10:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He is right (none)
        but so what? 51% of the American people don't care, as long as there are no more terrorist attacks in the US. It literally will not matter what war crimes the Bush administration commits. 51% of all Americans have lost any sense of pride or sense of dignity. What matters to these people is "no terrorist attacks on US soil".

        So, this story will not matter.

        •  Not sure (4.00)
          When the Abu Ghraib story first broke, Bush's approval ratings took a serious dive down to the low-to-mid 40's.  Word was that there were many conservatives who were disgusted and hopping mad over the deal.  Of course, it might have been over the fact that word got out, but I'm not so sure.

          My wife is a true-believer Republican, and so I feel I have a little insight into matters such as this.  I know she was very unhappy with the administration over the fact that people were being tortured.

          What probably saved Bush in this case was the effective propaganda effort to sell the idea that Bush wasn't behind it: it was just a few rogue soldiers who had gotten out of hand.  The media dropped it when the flow of pictures stopped, and a complicit Republican leadership in Congress did their best to cover things over.  In fact, of all the things that have happened over the last four years, this issue has to represent the worst failing of our media and the worst indictment of the Republican party in general.  The former have abdicated their duty to the people; the latter have made themselves co-conspirators in treasonous, unamerican activities.

          If there's one thing we've seen over the last couple of weeks, it's the ability of widespread blog attention to provide cover (read: an excuse) for the media to go after something.  Perhaps it's a power we need to use to get the issue of torture into wider play once again.  Emails to the press, anyone?

          Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

          by Jonathan on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 07:41:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (none)
            The thought of an oppressive government that entirely ignores basic standards of human decency probably won't appeal to the "values" crowd.
            •  The same "values" crowd that.... (none)
              listens to Rush Dimbo? Yes, that Rush that said after the Abu Gharib story broke that it was probably American soldiers "letting off steam".

              Talk radio in the South was very much PRO-torture. I  listened to one of the morning shows the day after the Abu Gharib story broke. They said something to the effect that "these are the same people who massacred thousands of innocent civilians. They deserve everything that is happening to them."

              With the help of our SCLM and right-wing radio, the people will always be "spun" a reason to support this shit.

              •  It's not the same (none)
                Limbaugh reaches perhaps 5 million people.  The vast majority of people who elected Bush, despite the fantasy world many of them live in, are not wingnuts.

                Visit the Diary of the Lying Socialist Weasels, for commentary from the Original Progressive Web Warriors!

                by Jonathan on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:56:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was using Rush as an example... (none)
                  He is by no means the only right-wing radio person. The show I was referring to in my previous post is the Walton & Johnson show out of Houston. They were doing the same "spinning" of the torture, and they have a much larger audience than Rush does in the area (the #1 morning show across the gulf coast).
      •  Dream on... (none)
        because that's exactly what the American people are doing.

        Our society no longer has the emotional capacity to be shocked, to grasp reality, or to remember anything for longer than about 3 or 4 days.

        I do believe we have reached a point where reality will have to come kicking our doors down with jackboots and literally kick us "off the island" before we wake up.

        •  sa (none)
          i think americans have become the "comatozed" giant.  If we had the ability to wake up, we would've awoken during 9/11.  if that didn't wake us up to the ills of our foreign policy, nothing will.

          you can only stop the cosmos from giving you payback for so long.

          man, this sucks.

    •  here's a link to an article about Seymour Hersh's (4.00)
      talk at Berkeley last October.
    •  Not likely (none)
      If this country were ever going to be ashamed of itself, that would have happened when the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib was revealed and the rejection of the Geneva Convention was accepted as something that was 'quaint'.  There are no limits anymore.
  •  Hmm (4.00)
    Recommended.  I wonder if the timing here has anything to do with the appointment of Gonzales?

    Wash Times op-ed: Questions arise on torture (10/18/04)

    Wait a minute.  That plane (a Gulfstream 5) was leased by US agents.  Leased by whom?

    FAA registry info on one of the planes (not the Gulfstream)

    The Gulfstream isn't in the FAA registry, but a Google on N379P yields some interesting stuff.  

    Where is Soj at this hour?  

    We must cultivate our garden.

    by daria g on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 03:07:50 AM PST

  •  Damn (4.00)
    Global Terror by Secret US Death Squads

    Amsterdam - 13-10-2004 - Three years ago, on October 1, 2001, President Bush made a reference to the arrests in foreign countries, in a speech at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)* in Washington.

    He was quoted in the Washington Post in November 2001 - as saying *"that the American people aren't going to see exactly what's taking place on their TV screens," but he added that "slowly, but surely," progress was being made. *

    "You see, we've said to people around the world: 'This could happen to you, this could have easily have taken place on your soil, so you need to take threats seriously, as well," Bush said.

    "We're beginning to share intelligence amongst our nations. We're finding out members of the Qaeda organization, who they are, where they think they can hide. And we're slowly, but surely, bringing them to justice."

    It is known that since Sept. 11, intelligence sharing and cooperation/collaboration among foreign services worldwide has flourished. The growing number of foreign detentions, *part of the "unseen" war on terror that President Bush has frequently alluded to, *shows the degree of cooperation other nations are quietly providing to the U.S. effort to crush al Qaeda.

    Oh, it shows so much more than that. Dammit.

  •  Stops in Ireland (4.00)
    'Abduction' jet makes Shannon stops

    DUBLIN -- A U.S. military jet used in the transport of Al Qaeda suspects from locations in Europe and the Middle East has used Shannon airport on at least 13 occasions in the last four years, it's been confirmed.

  •  From May 2004 (none)
    Scandal in Sweden

    I really want to know why we didn't hear about this before the election. I mean, I know why. I want to know who in our media knew and sat on it. This is an absolute outrage.

    •  Agiza's mother is quoted in the Sunday Times (4.00)
      describing the torture in Egypt:

      "The mattress had electricity . . . When they connected to the electricity, his body would rise up and then fall down and this up and down would go on until they unplugged the electricity."

      Nice.  He's been convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to 25 years.

      The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

      by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 04:02:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Uzbekistan from April 2004 (4.00)
      From the Toronto Sun:

      Uzbekistan holds over 7,000 political prisoners under unspeakable conditions - more political prisoners than held in the Soviet gulag during the 1980s. Prisoners are subjected to electric torture, burning with blowtorches, boiling alive, gang rapes, acid baths, and other atrocities.

      And since Uzbekistan's repressive government subjects some of its prisoners to "torture chambers and rape rooms", I guess we'll be invading Uzbekistan soon, right? Probably not, 'cause it's not just about the "War on Terror".

      A former Soviet republic, this Muslim nation of 25.6 million plays a key role in White House plans to dominate key Central Asian oil producing states - the region I call "Petrolistan."

      The new U.S. air base in Uzbekistan at Khanabad is the linchpin of a network of American bases in neighbouring Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Afghanistan and Pakistan guarding the planned pipelines exporting oil from the great Caspian Oil Basin.

      It's nice to know the SCLM has been on top of this one. Because surely the safeguarding of basic human rights has absolutely nothing to do with the freedom of the press and the security of journalists, right?

      "You can't talk to the ignorant about lies, since they have no criteria." --Ezra Pound

      by machopicasso on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 08:33:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  From Guerilla News Network (4.00)
    Seymour Hersh -

    US `Death Squad Protection Act'

    `Operation Northwoods' - Url.:

    Secret Task Force 121 - Url.:


    `Black' Gulfstream jet N379P : +picture

    It is supposed to be owned by:


    US companies that often flies/operate the plane: Aero Contractor Ltd Johnson County Airport - Smithfield, North Carolina, USA


    French source: another `Black Jet':×22n

    Dutch warcriminals in Court hearing: (picture too)



    ANP/Dutch multinationals:

    FEMA and Concentration Camps:

    Military Intelligence - Special Operations: Url:

  •  Guantanamo Bay Express + Photo (none)
    Guantanamo Bay Express

    Even before we set up the peace camp at Shannon we suspected that the US Government would use Shannon airport to transport its captives to Guantanamo Bay.

    After a lot of digging, and some luck, we now have a lot more than suspicion, and YOU have to help us to hold the Irish govt to account for this. A watered down version of this appeared on page six of the Sunday Business Post today... I was expecting a bit more bite.. so here's a bit more of what's being hidden."

    In the phony war on terror, thousands of people have been taken prisoner and tortured with no evidence, charges or trial. The arrests make good PR for Bush, the admissions of error are 'less newsworthy'....

    There is no limit to what the Irish Government will let Bush and Co, do when it comes to war and torture:

    Use our airports for troops? Sure thing boss!

    Use our airports for military aircrfaft and explosives? Ah, shur go on, we'll tell the gullible public that nothing odd is happening...
    they trust us. (Sure we never told ANYONE in Ireland that experts in the Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs told us 6 months before the war that Blair's Dossier was a load of rubbish.

    What else George? You wanna use our airports so you can capture lots of people with no evidence, blindfold and torture them...? mmm... okay, but we're gonna look the other way.


  •  Thanks, Kossacks! (4.00)
    For getting this on the Recommended List.

    The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

    by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:03:04 AM PST

  •  Bush-Cheney (none)
    Out-sourcing torture?

    Not a surprise, but thank for posting!

    I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks in Sozadee CA.

    by The Messenger on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 05:49:32 AM PST

  •  Do the logs show passenger manifests? (none)
    Propbably not. I'm betting that flights are not always landing with as many passengers as they took off with. Remember the Vietnam era practice of interrogating prisoners in helocopters?

    I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks in Sozadee CA.

    by The Messenger on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:07:13 AM PST

    •  The Boeing 737 and Gulfstream 5 appear (4.00)
      to be used as prisoner transports.  It is rumoured, however, that there are also helicopters at the disposal of the same secret teams which might have a more sinister purpose.  

      Maybe the United States is the new Argentina:  nice beaches, good skiing, delicious steaks, friendly people and a hideous, torturing, corrupt ruling elite.

      The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

      by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:10:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do they show the pilots? (4.00)
      If so, they should be named and shamed.  Their families and neighbours should know that they fly people around the world to be tortured.

      No Right Turn - New Zealand's second-best liberal blog

      •  Unrealistic to expect individuals to be (none)
        indentified.  How many people know that the nice "insurance salesman" next door - who travels so much on business - is a CIA operative.  These guys have as many passports and identities as they need, and they don't see what they're doing as wrong.  You can't hope to identify them, and even if you could, you wouldn't succeed in shaming them.

        Look at Rumsfeld, who's done such a "fabulous" job!  He gets praise for being the biggest fuck-up at Defense and getting absolutely every aspect of strategy and logistics wrong.

        The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

        by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:22:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  N379P and Irish Neutrality Violated (4.00)
    We've been tracking and breaking this story in Ireland...

    Ireland has a tradition of neutrality and the present Irish Govt has broken this in favour of the Bush Administration and its wars.  very controversial here.

    we need Irish-Americans to know how Bush's wars is affecting Ireland.

    more info at

    •  If you could deny Shannon to Rumsfeld (none)
      you would put a serious crimp in their logistics, even though they could still use UK and other NATO bases.  I hope someone over there is logging traffic through Shannon to identify non-commerical, possibly miliatary or extra-miliatry flights.

      The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

      by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:25:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't this a British fetish of sorts? (none)
        Isn't there a hobby in Britain/the U.K., by which people take notes on the details of transportation movements - "trainspotting", right?

        Do people do this for planes, as well? Could be interesting...

        •  yes, there was a problem with Greece a few years (none)
          back, some Brits were accused of being spies on the Greek air force and it was a big dustup diplomatically. The BBC archives should have it. That was my first intro to a) other people doing it - there are US planespotters who got the scoop on what the Stealth Fighter looked like, remember, and their models of it were accurate despite denials from the govt at first, by standing out in the desert in public land and using high powered binocs over the distance, and b) that it could cause international incidents, even when it was clearly a "birdwatching club" event, and between ostensibly friendly countries (ie doing it in the SSSR is one thing, between NATO allies another!)

          "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

          by bellatrys on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:48:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Planespotters (none)
          are big here in Britain, although viewed with suspicion and ridicule both here and abroad.  They make a hobby of cataloguing the planes that they've seen at various airbases and airports globally, particularly delighting in military aircraft.

          They tend to be pro-military types, but there should be a way to get them spotting these planes somehow through their websites and clubs.

          The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

          by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:14:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Since the Company is Headquartered in MA, (none)
      I was wondering about the possibility of a local prosecutor bringing criminal charges against the company in Massachusetts.  But I suppose that could happen in Ireland as well.

      Or, if no prosecutor will do that, I wonder who would have standing to bring a civil suit.

  •  Sunlight is the best disinfectant (4.00)
    So we know it's happening, but what can be done about it?

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Those responsible for this desecration of the American Dream should be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of day, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Torture by US nationals abroad is illegal under US law, and you have statues covering conspiracy.  Use them.  Find out who is responsible by hook or by crook, expose them, and hold them accountable.  And if your politicians are unwilling to cooperate, hold them accountable at the ballot box.  

    No nation should tolerate torture. But to see the US actively commissioning it sickens me to my stomach.

    No Right Turn - New Zealand's second-best liberal blog

    •  There are a lot of pissed off CIA agents leaving (4.00)
      The Company who might be able to shed some sunlight in aid of disinfecting the government.  The CIA made the first Bush administration with Casey's special ops teams.  It would be ironic indeed if the Langley boys determined that it was essential to destroy the second Bush administration.

      The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

      by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 06:40:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  International Court? (4.00)
    Could this shed a bit of light, perhaps, on BushCo being so opposed to joining the International Court?  Just conjecture, but a serious question - would BushCo be in bona-fide legal trouble for this (and other) activities among the international community if the effectively agreed to be under a larger "jurisdiction"?
    •  Yes. I suspected this from Afghanistan actually (4.00)
      At first, when it happened, I figured it was over Vietnam war crimes - that they were afraid of a Hague for more stuff like My Lai, because I personally knew it was more widespread than most people naively believed. (When your mother's ex had pictures of himself standing on heaps of dead bodies like a babylonian warrior and brought home ears - and went back to 'Nam rather than be a father when he found out she was pregnant and wanted to keep the baby - it gives you a different perspective on these things.)

      When I read the Tiger Force expose, it was like "Uh-huh, what did I tell you?"

      But at that point, I didn't know that all the conservative columnists who had been ranting about the need for a New Crusade against the spread of Islam in all the conservative Catholic magazines for so long were actually speaking the will of the Plutocracy that was (quietly) funding the likes of Michael Novak. I didn't know they were planning on starting future wars, with accompanying war crimes.

      But, with what I know of history (hey, we've even got Powell this time too, just like back in the days of Tiger Force!) I wasn't surprised either. It's like having the DA's office in bed with the Mob - of course they're going to be looking to make rules that will make their lives easier, or grease enough palms to ensure selective blindness...

      Leopards don't change their spots.

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:00:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just a question (3.50)
    so Don't flame...

    But what's wrong with having syria or the like torture some REALLY REALLY bad guys ? I ask this half rhetorically, and half to make you aware of what the mindset of the right is too.

    The problem I have is that this administration is so damn incompetant they cant distinguish between a REALLY REALLY bad guy, and some ordinary American walking down the street. Which is why I am appalled by Abu Garoobeedoobee, gitmo and the rest. For the most part it wasnt REALLY REALLY bad guys

    Personally, If we were to capture OBL or his ilk, I wouldnt have too much trouble with him being tortured and disappeared. I Also wish the grunt who found Saddam had just put a bullet in his head and saved us all the trouble of a show trial.

    But that's just me, I am VERY right wing when it comes to crime and punishment, about he only right wing position I take.

    •  This is how a lot of people feel (none)
      We do need to be able to answer this. It's the argument that the right wing will make, and unfortunately it appeals to a lot of people.

      We've all seen the cop shows or movies where the hero threatens or beats up the bad guy to get some information. It's usually presented as the right thing to do, stepping outside a bureaucratic system to get the job done.

      So what's wrong with torture? Here's a short list:

      1. It doesn't work. Most people will say anything to make the pain stop, and tell their interrogators exactly what they want to hear. ("Yes, I'm the link between Saddam and Osama!")

      2. It's against our moral values.

      3. You don't know whether the person you're torturing is guilty. That isn't just due to this administration's incompetence. It really is hard to tell a civilian from a terrorist.

      4. There's a very slippery slope from interrogation to outright sadism. I don't normally like the slippery slope argument, but the Sunday Times article makes it clear that Bushco is already a long way down it. They choose a country to send the victim to based on whether they want to extract information or just inflict pain. The Abu Ghraib photos also seem to show people inflicting pain and humiliation for their own enjoyment, not as part of an interrogation.
      •  indeed (none)
        the slippery slope is the problem.

        Though i think the torture of people like OBL is warranted, and not just to get info, but yes, for retribution, as it would be for his henchmen.

        but you are right, once you go down a very short list, it does get much harder to distinguish the "guilty without a trial" types and the many many others.

        I dont think it is against our Moral values to hurt and kill those that wish to do the same to us, but again, the trouble is the old "9 guilty and 1 innocent"

        •  I don't like the slippery slope argument... (none)
          It is pointless and meaningless. I would espouse that everyone is granted their day in court. It doesn't matter who you are, or how bad you are.

          Take the Nuremburg trials after WWII as an example. All of the Nazi leadership had their day(s) in court, and none were tortured. Further, if Hitler had been alive he would have been included in that group in trial.

          Further, I believe that if we summarily execute many of these Al Qaeda leaders, either before or after a "trial" they will become martyrs and more people will be willing to join the fight against us. For that reason I'd rather see them rot in prison for the rest of their lives.

          •  I'll probably get troll-rated, but... (none)
            I've always thought the best thing to do with Osama would be to give him life w/o parole -- in a maximum security prison with a 7-foot lifer who would make Osama his very own girlfriend. Every night he would beg Allah for mercy, and find only justice.

            Hatred is murder (1 John 3:15)

            by dirtroad on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 02:41:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  the answer takes us into philosophy (none)
      and I'm not much good at philosophy.

      A utilitarian argument would be that torture does not produce good results in extracting information from suspects. So on those grounds torture is not effective.

      One might argue that torture will serve as a deterrent. I don't think it does, however. The same can be said for capital punishment. It doesn't work as a deterrent.

      Some practical considerations: how do you know you have a "bad" guy? Who gets to define "bad"? Am I going to be on that list tomorrow? These considerations point to matters of self interest and shared interest. It is against my self interest to support a policy that may be so arbitrary that it becomes dangerous to me or to society. The best way to protect society's interests is to make clear to the public who is being punished and why.

      If we condone, or commit, cruel acts, then we are complicit in cruelty. Is their any benefit to cruelty? There may be some psychological comfort in exacting revenge, but in the long run seeking revenge tends to promote further violence. So the possible psychological benefits of revenge are outweighed by the effects of continued violence.

      I think a more useful question is not who should we torture (and on what grounds), but rather how can we suppress violence and enhance peace? Torture isn't much of an answer to that question.

    •  so how do you know who's guilty? (4.00)
      are you infallible, God omniscient, the Shadow to know what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

      People who study this  kind of thing know that the police can make anyone be guilty. We don't even have to talk about terrorism. There are people doing life for murder who were framed, one man was just released after some 50 years, because he was black and in the wrong place at the wrong time - and his girlfriend was still waiting for him, to give it a warm-fuzzy ending, but how many others have rotted away or continue to rot?

      You should read a book called "Night Watch" - it was written in 2002, before we knew this was going on, it's set in a fantasy combination of Old London and contemporary New York, kind of like Shrek, with the parodies and using fractured-fairy-tale settings to illustrate modern issues on a grander scale.

      But "Night Watch" is the grimmest, and most close to reality of all the series - and it shows how ordinary, sane, "nice" or jsut normal regl'r guys and their moms can put up with creeping dictatorship, until all the sudden you have people who talk too loudly being taken away to the Cable Street prison without any record of their names and never being seen again, and the national guard being ordered to fire on their neighbor, and how do you decide where to stand, and who's the good guys, when it's the government ordering the disappearing?

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:53:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a innocent Canadian was tortured in Syria (4.00)
      Here's what's wrong with the US sending people to Syria:

      The case of Canadian Maher Arar

      Now, imagine that this man was your brother, your father, your uncle.

      Frankly, in another thread regarding the shooting of a wounded Iraqi insurgent by a US soldier, I read several posts made by Democrats or left wingers who openly justified violating the Geneva Conventions - not only in that scenario, but in general.

      This war crimes issue is not just about why Bush supporters don't seem to care, it crosses the entire political spectrum and that ought to be a cause for enormous concern.

      Despite the so-called common view or political platform of the left, there are those among us who sanction Bush's retreat from the International Criminal Court and who choose to support the extremely light sentences of the torturers and murderers at Abu Ghraib by their very silence on the issue. Democrat Party supporters need to begin to look within their own ranks to push for respect for human rights worldwide before they can even hope to reach anyone on the right. I can't see how anyone who supports these abhorent Bushco policies can even begin to define themselves as "liberal" or as a "left-winger". That is just pure hypocrisy of the absolute worse kind. Of course there should be and is room for divergent views on the left, but when it comes to human life and the degradation of humanity, those views should not and can not be accepted as being representative of a modern Democratic party and anyone on the left who believes they have the right to sanction such inhumane policies really needs to examine which party actually suits their needs and views. As far as I'm concerned, you don't deserve the description, "liberal". That's not what being liberal is about.

      Yes, I feel strongly about this. I will not allow those kinds of attitudes to tarnish the public view of what I as a liberal believe in. You will not bring me down with you and you are not the kind of person I want to be identified with in my view of and fight for true civil rights and liberty.

      •  i agree, both in specific and in the larger (4.00)
        problem of getting people to realize that "all the evil is not bottled up in the dragons," because it's so tempting to externalize problems, but so much of it - the greed, the apathy, the fearfulness that will kill rather than risk humanity's common fate coming a moment sooner - all of these were just as prominent among Clinton's America as in the so-called "Greedy 80s" - I never saw any diminishing from one administration to the next, and I see these here far more often (and elsewere in left Blogistan)  than you would think if you listened to the binary Us/Them rhetoric.

        (large printable pdf version here)

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 12:52:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good persuasive answers (none)
      I asked a kinda sorta rhetorical question, and am swayed by the arguments not to torture in any circumstance...


      •  I'm relieved. I was very uncomfortable reading (none)
        your e-mail because it was clear that you were sincere, but I just couldn't believe that there was any rational argument favoring torture.  

        I think of those who say, "Yeah, but it would be okay for Osama Bin Laden," and in my mind I hear the other side of the world where the bombs are dropping and the children are dying saying, "Yeah, it would be okay for Dubya."  I don't want to be in either camp.  I live somewhere in the middle where it is just plain unacceptable under any conditions (unless you are Tony Blair and so deep up Dubya's ass that you can't navigate morality any more).

        I left it to others to reply to you, and felt rather cowardly about it, but I'm glad you have come over to the Force.

        The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

        by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 02:15:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  this is why the internet is so wonderful (4.00)
        because who could most of us ask in "real life" and have a seminar-type discussion with? much less one all around the globe.

        (This is also why I think that people who are now saying "we have to be just as much lying propagandists" are so wrong - the thing is, logical arguments are a lot more work, and not as much fun, but indoctrination doesn't cut it: as an ex-conservative, I'm living proof of that! -though I was always against torture, the fact that I was the only one in my college class who was, back in 1990, was a shock to me and has made me much more cynical about the USA as a result, ever since.)

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 02:56:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because the US Constitution (none)
      prohibits the government from inflicting cruel and unusual punishment.  Once agents of the government become involved in moving prisoners to other countries to be tortured, they have become responsible for their part in inflicting cruel punishment.  The Presidency is defined by the same Constitution, so if GWB wants to hold that title he had damn well better do the job and uphold the Constitution.
    •  The answer (none)
      : what's wrong with having syria or the like torture some REALLY REALLY bad guys ?


      Now some questions for you:

      1. How would you define the kiddie category of "bad guy" in grown-up terms?
      2. Who gets to say who is a "REALLY REALLY bad guy?"
      3. Got conscience?

      Get this: we don't do torture. Plain enough? Sheesh!
  •  Suggestion (4.00)
    Lets use this site to pressure the mainstream media to pick this up...someone, perhaps Hersch, should really get this out and published...before they shut down our ability to do so.
    •  wHY (none)
      do we seem to think giving the problem to someone else will be the Magic Bullet to make it go away. I think the most effective solution is to take up the torch ourselves.
       Wear a button.
       start a conversation with a neighbor or church leader.
       Display signs
       Write LTE's
       Educate, Educate , EDUCATE

      May there be peace on earth and may it begun with me

      by lazbumm on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 12:02:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you thank you thank you (4.00)
    I have been researching similar stories for a very long time on my weblog, and I am now trying to write a law review article on the subject.

    See this link for much, much more information on this general topic. If that's too long for you, see this article, which summarizes a lot of what we know.

    •  No, Thank You! Your resources (none)
      are excellent support that the practice is one embraced and promoted by Gonzales and the war criminal in the White House and Pentagon.  

      I wish that Gonzales will get questioned on these reports during his confirmation hearings.  I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice to believe there are still some Senators who think the United States should be above torture and extrajudicial arrest and imprisonment.  I don't ask for a majority, just some . . .

      The willow knows what the storm does not: that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it.

      by LondonYank on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:52:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  kudos (none)
      Very interesting article. Thanks for helping get the word out.
  •  Maybe the CIA purge attempt is already (none)
    getting some nice revenge. . . .

    Leaks Galore!

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 11:55:34 AM PST

  •  The sad fact is, (none)
    51% of the country that voted for Bush would say "Hell yeah" to this news.

    We live in a morally depraved country, led my morally depraved people.  Those of us who oppose this kind of action by our government are decidedly in the minority.

    I'm sorry to say this about my country.  But it is a fact that I believe to be true.

    •  Sadly, you're right. (none)
      My brother-in-law is staunchly republican, and we were having a conversation where he said that the US has had a reputation of treating their prisoners extremely well ever since WWII. I said, "Pity that ended with Abu Ghrab." He looks at me for a moment, wondering what I was talking about, then says, "Was that that place where they forced the prisoners to pose naked?"
      I nodded yes. He goes, "Well, no one died from that."
      "Actually," I replied, "there were a few people beaten to death."
      He shrugged and dismissed the knowledge with, "Yeah, well, they're not the nicest of people anyway."

      But he's sure against all those gay marriages, because they're against God.

      We've got a morally depraved society. The problem is, each half is convinced that they're the moral ones, while the other half is the ones who are depraved.

  •  And We Thought Iran-Contra Was Bad???? (none)
    WTF?  Have we lost our minds?

    This is the kind of shit we accused Saddam of doing?

    We have Manuel Noriega in prison for doing what?

    And we wonder why half the world hates us?

    Gimme a break!

  •  Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld: Judge, Jury, Executioner (none)
    Bush does not think that he talks to God --  he thinks that he IS God.

    I think I am going to puke!

  •  So, when they come after you? (none)
    How quiet and innocuous might the moment be? Color me paranoid, but what would you do?

    I just spent about 3 hours being sounded out (and sounding out) by a local 'staunch Republican, with somewhat libertarian bents' that I met.  I thought that I could discuss commonalities and differences. We did this in a friendly matter.  As he walked away, he said, 'don't ever talk to a conservative'.  What did this mean?  I think I was threatened as he walked away, but I wasn't sure.

    I think I got played & outed as a liberal (though I claimed it loudly & proudly, in a north-eastern Indiana bar.)  But perhaps not, he gave me an address to address two points which he thought he had me on, but which I didn't immediately have the fact-based data (to which I admitted). I'll look here in dkos & elsewhere, but if there is any top-of-mind-thought, well, I'd appreciate it.

    1. What detrimental differences have there been between Clinton & Bush regarding environmental policy and on-the-ground action (laws, decrees, funding)?  I heard the lame argument, "the environment is better than it ever has been".

    2. What documented, public legal opinions has Alberto Gonzales made regarding torture & the Geneva Convention?  I'm hunting for links to neutral sites which can be 'trusted' by most.

    And to pick up the original thread, when they come for you...well, shouldn't one know how to shoot?

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