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So, there's evidence the White House knew about the existence of the torture tapes back in 2003.

That's not at all surprising because, According to both the FBI and the CIA, George W. Bush signed three secret directives authorizing new torture methods that were used in those taped [and later erased] interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects.

We, the American people, have the right to see those documents Bush signed - which authorized the torture that's been carried out in our collective name.

Mr. Bush claims he has no memories of the torture tapes that the CIA erased in 2005, but he certainly can't deny remembering the interrogations themselves given that Bush, in a September 2006 White House speech, talked at length about those specific [taped] interrogations. Bush seemed quite proud of the confessions his new torture methods could elicit.

Last Friday, reports the LA Times, key Democrats began calling for an investigation into the destruction of the torture tapes:

Key members of Congress called Friday for multiple investigations into the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes, charging that the agency may have eliminated evidence of torture, obstructed justice or engaged in an illegal cover up.

The CIA's disclosure that it had destroyed tapes showing harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects rekindled the emotional controversy surrounding U.S. practices and threatened to reopen the tense confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration first begun more than three years ago.

Democratic leaders demanded that Attorney General Michael Mukasey order a full Justice Department investigation into whether the CIA had acted illegally in destroying the tapes, which recorded interrogations of two terrorism suspects.

"We haven't seen anything like this since the 18 1/2-minute gap in the tapes of President Richard Nixon," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a blistering speech on the Senate floor.

But Congressional investigations into the matter may well be aimed at prying loose the secret presidential directives, acknowledged to exist by both the FBI and the CIA, that George Bush signed which authorized torture methods that had been recorded in the destroyed videotapes.  

The erased torture videotapes are less significant than the three national security directives, which Bush signed, that authorized new, harsher interrogation standards because those are the documents which delegated the authority, from the Office of the President Of The United States all the way down the command chain to the guards and interrogators at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and secret CIA interrogation centers around the world.

George W. Bush's signature established a secret illegal nation torture regime, and the American public deserves to see his signature on those secret presidential directives which authorized what has been done in the name of the American people.

A Presidential John Hancock For Waterboarding

Three years ago, the FBI stated that George W. Bush had signed a secret executive order authorizing torture:

"According to agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, President George W. Bush has signed a secret executive order approving the use of torture against prisoners captured in his "war on terror" -- including thousands of innocent people rounded up in Iraq and crammed into Saddam Hussein's infamous Abu Ghraib prison."

Then, in November 2006, the CIA itself confirmed to the ACLU the existence of two secret memos signed by Mr. Bush. In a November 15 2006 International Herald Tribune story, David Johnston wrote:

The CIA has acknowledged for the first time the existence of two classified documents, including a directive signed by President George W. Bush, that have guided the agency's interrogation and detention of terror suspects.

The CIA referred to the documents in a letter sent last Friday from the agency's associate general counsel, John McPherson, to lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.

The contents of the documents were not revealed, but one of them is "a directive signed by President Bush granting the CIA the authority to set up detention facilities outside the United States and outlining interrogation methods that may be used against detainees," the civil liberties union said, based on its review of published accounts.

The second document, according to the group, is a Justice Department legal analysis "specifying interrogation methods that the CIA may use against top Al Qaeda members."

So, we've got three official US government documents - National Security Directives or memos - with George W. Bush's signature on them, authorizing torture methods that very probably violated the Geneva Conventions.

Bush claims he has no memory of the videotapes that were made of the CIA interrogation of Al Qaeda suspects. But, Bush talked specifically about one of the interrogations [that was taped] which used the new torture standards Bush himself had approved, in a September 2006 speech Bush gave at the White House. In the speech, Bush seemed quite proud of the purported effect of the new torture standards he had approved:  

We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures...

We need to see exactly what Bush authorized, so experts in international law and human rights can judge the safety and legality of those methods, because the best evidence we have suggests that the methods Mr. Bush authorized were neither legal, safe, or necessary. Evidence suggests those methods were illegal, by US and international law, unsafe, unnecessary, even brutal and sadistic.

Was Zubadayah subject to waterboarding, a method considered to be torture since the Inquisition and which the United States treated as a war crime, in war crimes prosecutions following World War Two ?

Was that one of the methods George W. Bush secretly authorized so that secret detentions and secret torture-interrogations could happen at the secret torture-interrogation centers the US CIA subsequently, secretly established around the world ?

So here's what the tapes would have shown: not just that we had brutally tortured an al-Qaeda operative, but that we had brutally tortured an al-Qaeda operative who was (a) unimportant and low-ranking, (b) mentally unstable, (c) had no useful information, and (d) eventually spewed out an endless series of worthless, fantastical "confessions" under duress. This was all prompted by the president of the United States, implemented by the director of the CIA, and the end result was thousands of wasted man hours by intelligence and law enforcement personnel.

   Nice trifecta there. And just think: there's an entire political party in this country that still thinks this is OK.

Kevin Drum wrote that Bush prompted torture, and that's probably true but Bush did more - he authorized torture as well.  

Did George W. Bush put his John Hancock on waterboarding ? We deserve to know exactly what President Bush authorized. IN fact, we demand it.


Originally posted to Troutfishing on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 01:42 PM PST.

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