Peering beneath the covers ...

Several detainees die at Gitmo and the official story is that the choked themselves with rags .... sorry, make that they hanged themselves ... or perhaps ...

Scott Horton investigates a very murky situation.

Follow ups from Glenn Greenwald and Chris Floyd.

From GG:

The single biggest lie in War on Terror revisionist history is that our torture was confined only to a handful of "high-value" prisoners. New credible reports of torture continuously emerge. That's because America implemented and maintained a systematic torture regime spread throughout our worldwide, due-process-free detention system. There have been at least 100 deaths of detainees in American custody who died during or as the result of interrogation. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said: "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A." Gen. Antonio Taguba said after investigating the Abu Ghraib abuses and finding they were part and parcel of official policy sanctioned at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, and not the acts of a few "rogue" agents: "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Move along folks, nothing to see, look ahead. But at the illusion the powers-that-be create, not the reality.

"They hate us for ..."


  1. Scott Horton follows up with Auden—The Shield of Achilles.

    While working on “The Guantánamo ‘Suicides’” over the last weeks, I kept thinking back to these lines from Auden’s great poem. They seemed to describe the facts and problems I was pondering. The three men who died in Guantánamo on the night of June 9, 2006 certainly had failings and foibles as all men do; no one will portray them as angels. To its credit, the Bush Administration even seems to have determined to set two of them free; the third had only to await resolution of diplomatic problems between the United States and his homeland. These men were not warriors engaged in some vicious military campaign against the United States, nor was there a scintilla of evidence linking them to any crime. “They were small/ And could not hope for help and no help came,” Auden writes. And what was the reaction of the world to their plight? Auden describes it perfectly, and indeed it was only to be expected: “A crowd of ordinary decent folk/ Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke.” The only difference here is the sentries, who at great risk to themselves and their families have stepped forward to place on the record exactly what they saw. They know it defies the official story; they know they may suffer retribution for it; and they know that what they saw is not conclusive in any event. It is only a fragment of the truth, which needs to be put forward and made a part of the historical record. It was offered out of respect for the dignity of the dead and out of conviction that the truth should not be suppressed, no matter how unpleasant. In the corridors of power, however, a river surges past, indifferent to all these questions, viewing them as an insignificant distraction from the troubles of a war.

  2. Trials? Who needs trials? Or the rule of law ...

    On not trying and not releasing.

    From Glenn Greenwald - just kill them,even US citizens.

    Setting a "fine" example again.

  3. More from Glenn Greenwald on assassinations. It is in response to this:

    The U.S. intelligence community policy on killing American citizens who have joined al Qaeda requires first obtaining high-level government approval, a senior official disclosed to Congress on Wednesday.

    Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said in each case a decision to use lethal force against a U.S. citizen must get special permission. . . .

    He also said there are criteria that must be met to authorize the killing of a U.S. citizen that include "whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us, whether that American is a threat to other Americans. Those are the factors involved.

  4. Another GG - "The lynch mob mentality".

    If I had the power to have one statement of fact be universally recognized in our political discussions, it would be this one:

    The fact that the Government labels Person X a "Terrorist" is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.

    That proposition should be intrinsically understood by any American who completed sixth grade civics and was thus taught that a central prong of our political system is that government officials often abuse their power and/or err and therefore must prove accusations to be true (with tested evidence) before they're assumed to be true and the person punished accordingly. In particular, the fact that the U.S. Government, over and over, has falsely accused numerous people of being Terrorists -- only for it to turn out that they did nothing wrong -- by itself should compel a recognition of this truth. But it doesn't

    More on the issue.

    Attorney George Brent Mickum, who has defended a number of Guantánamo Bay detainees, told IPS, “I guess my sense is that it’s just more fear mongering. They kill somebody and don’t need to offer any justification.”

    “We have killed thousands of innocent civilians while attempting to target alleged operatives. And let us not forget how frequently our intelligence has been wrong about alleged operatives,” Mickum noted

    Gone are the days when they could say "We're only killing foreigners."

    The names are the same, only the story has been changed: Scott Horton with more on the Guantanamo "suicides".

    Last year, when the law faculty and students at Seton Hall University published their groundbreaking report, Death in Camp Delta, the Department of Defense had little to say. But after Harper’s Magazine published my article “The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’”—in which that research figured heavily—the DOD at last stirred itself to answer at least some of the many questions surrounding the events of June 9-10, 2006. The response itself was unusual, however, in that many of the new DOD claims actually contradict prior claims made by . . . the DOD.

    Nothing like having hard facts on which to base decisions and actions ... but hard facts seem elusive. There are more important hings - like the Empire and, well, killing people. Over to Chris Floyd.

    Here's the way the game works. First you get the outright lie, then later, in dribs and drabs, you get a few, grudging crumbs of the truth.

    For example, first you get: "No, there are no Blackwater operatives in Pakistan. None. That's just a conspiracy theory, terrorist propaganda. These kinds of lies just make it harder for us to do good in the region." Then later: "Well, yes, we do have Blackwater operatives in Pakistan. But, uh, we don't actually cut their checks directly in the Pentagon.

    For all the lies and blood and treasure the results are, well, ... From Tom Engelhardt- Michael Schwartz "The Iraqi oil conundrum".


  5. They're even incompetent at lying ... Andy Worthington on the (false) claims of recidivism amongst those released from Gitmo.

    A really "good" bit:

    To understand how easy it is for credulous officials to fall for this propaganda, I’d like to take you back to last month, when Senator Dianne Feinstein, who, laughably, is the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, falsely claimed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that “about a third of former inmates at the U.S. naval base who have returned to fight against U.S. interests come from Yemen,” as AFP described it. “If you look at Yemen, and we're taking a good look at Yemen,” Feinstein said, “what you see is, I think, at least 24 or 28 are confirmed returned to the battlefield in Yemen, and a number are suspected. If you combine the suspected and the confirmed, the number I have is 74 detainees have gone back into the fight, and I think that's bad.”

    It was a poor day for the Senate’s “intelligence” when Feinstein (drawing on the May report) made this ridiculous statement. Its most baleful effect was to add a deceptive veneer of acceptability to the pressure exerted on President Obama to suspend the release of any more cleared Yemeni prisoners at Guantánamo, for one simple reason: only 16 Yemeni prisoners were released from Guantánamo between 2004 and November 2009, and only one of these men allegedly became involved in terrorism

    Oh dear.

  6. Some people do get angry at the conditions in which some prisoners are held - but that depends on ... Glenn Greenwald on inconsistencies.

    Ten American Baptists were arrested two weeks ago in Haiti on charges that they exploited the chaos in that country by attempting to smuggle 33 young Haitian children across the border without permission -- either to bring them to a life of Christianity or (as some evidence suggests) to filter them into a child trafficking ring. National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez is deeply upset by the plight of at least one of the detained Americans, Jim Allen, whom she contends (based exclusively on his family's claims) is innocent. Lopez demands that the State Department do more to "insist" upon Allen's release, and -- most amazingly of all -- complains about the conditions of his detention. She has the audacity to cite a Human Rights Watch description of prison conditions in Haiti as "inhumane." Lopez complains that Allen was waterboarded, stripped, frozen and beaten has "hypertension," was shipped thousands of miles away to a secret black site beyond the reach of the ICRC and then rendered to Jordan allowed to speak to his wife only once in the first ten days of his confinement, and was consigned to years in an island-prison cage with no charges denied his choice of counsel for a few days (though he is now duly represented in Haitian courts by a large team of American lawyers).

    Oh, the hypocrisy!

    Scott Horton - on secrets ...

    and give the man what he wants.

    After he was indicted for the murder of Alexander Hamilton, vice president Aaron Burr fled to South Carolina, to hide out with his daughter. Another vice president, Spiro Agnew, kept completely silent before pleading nolo contendere on corruption charges. Former vice president Dick Cheney, on the other hand, seems proud of his criminal misadventures. On Sunday, he took to the airwaves to brag about them.

    “I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” Cheney said in an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. He went on to explain that Justice Department lawyers had been instructed to write legal opinions to cover the use of this and other torture techniques after the White House had settled on them

    He's begging for it.

  7. The rule of law doesn't mean Dick. Chris Floyd.

    Not, misconduct, just poor judgment - Justice Dept. on torture memo writers.

    What's in a name ... Glenn Greenwald on when a terrorist isn't a terrorist, or at least until it's expedient to call him one.