domingo, 19 de abril de 2009

Memorandos sobre tortura e interceptación de comunicaciones. rev. 25/04/09


En respuesta a, entre otras cosas, el pleito (FOIA) incoada por el ACLU, el Departamento de Justicia acaba de publicar cuatro memorandos que proporcionaron la base para el programa de tortura de la administración de Bush. Elogiamos a la administración de Obama al hacer bueno su compromiso con la transparencia. También elogiamos a los ciudadanos que han apoyado y han luchado junto al equipo legal del ACLU y otros grupos de derechos humanos en la lucha por exponer el contenido de estos memorandos. Pero exponer la verdad es solamente el primer paso. Ahora es imperativo que el Departamento de Justicia investigue la responsabilidad penal asociada a los crímenes que ocurrieron bajo el sistema de seguridad de la administración Bush en su supuesta ‘Guerra al terrorismo‘. Los memorandos de tortura nunca debieron haber sido escritos -- justificando en derecho delitos en todo el mundo. Autorizaron a interrogadores a utilizar métodos barbáricos de interrogación, incluyendo los mismos métodos que los E.U. procesaron como crímenes de guerra. Los Estados Unidos procesaron a interrogadores japoneses de crímenes de guerra después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial por métodos similares a los detallados en los memorandos.

Ahora es la responsabilidad del Departamento de Justicia cerciorarse de que procesen a los arquitectos responsables del programa de tortura. Los funcionarios que autorizaron la tortura no deben ser excluídos de la investigación. Los memorandos secretos proporcionan la confirmación impactante de la implicación de alto nivel en el programa de tortura de Bush.












Tardó cinco años largos para descubrir y revelar estos documentos, y, hacer cumplir la ley no debe ser una decisión de política pública: darle golpes a gente contra las paredes, colocarlas en posiciones sumamente incómodas por períodos prolongados de tiempo y “waterboarding’ que podemos describir como similar a ahogar (asfixia simulada) personas al obligarlos a tomar grandes cantidades de agua en contra de su voluntad y forzosamente, por ejemplo son muestras inequívocas de conducta ilegal y constituyen violaciones al derecho humano. Éstas son algunas de las clases de “técnicas realzadas de interrogación” que estos memorandos indignantes intentan justificar. En fin, como uno de los memorandos de tortura de Bush reconoce abiertamente, intentan permitir las actividades que el propio Departamento de Estado condena rutinariamente como tortura.

En docenas de páginas de prosa legal desapasionada, explican detalladamente los métodos aprobados por la administración de Bush para extraer la información de sospechosos - como mantenerlos despiertos por hasta 11 días corridos, y meterlos en una caja oscura, y luego poner insectos en la caja para multiplicar sus temores y sufrimientos. Los métodos de interrogación al principio autorizados en 2002, fueron utilizados hasta tan recientes como en el 2005 en cárceles secretas. Las técnicas estaban entre los secretos más guardados de la administración de Bush, y los documentos son un recuento comprensivo hasta la fecha del programa. Algunos funcionarios de la administración de Obama, incluyendo el Secretario de Departamento de Justicia Eric Holder, han etiquetado las 14 técnicas aprobadas, tal como el ‘waterboarding‘ como tortura ilegal.

Vistos en conjunto, los cuatro memorandos dan unas extraordinarias descripciones gráficas detalladas de procedimientos de tácticas brutales: procesos que describen desnudez forzada, la privación prolongada del sueño y duchar prolongadamente a detenidos con agua fría (a 41 grados) alternan con discusiones legales elaboradas referentes a la Convención internacional contra la tortura.








Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt del Comité Judicial del Senado.) dijo que los documentos son "espeluznantes" y que su "contenido es tan alarmante como temí." Carl M. Levin (D-Mich del Comité de las fuerzas armadas del senado.), que ha investigado abusos de detenidos, dijo "debemos reconocer y enfrentar estos abusos".

Leon E. Panetta, el director de la CIA, había sostenido que revelar dicho sistema de información era un precedente peligroso para las fuentes de inteligencia. Una preocupación de la CIA es que las revelaciones pueden dar nuevo ímpetu a las ofertas para una verdadera investigación en los programas de contraterrorismo de la administración de Bush y procesamientos posibles. El senador Leahy, que es presidente del Comité Judicial del Senado, dijo que los memorandos ilustraron la necesidad de una comisión independiente según propuesta, que ofrecería inmunidad a cambio de testimonios sobre los hechos y procesos ilegales. El Sr. Obama condenó lo que él llamó “un capítulo oscuro y doloroso en nuestra historia” y dijo que las técnicas de interrogación nunca serían utilizadas otra vez. Pero él también repitió su oposición a una investigación prolongada del programa, aludiendo que “no se ganará nada pasando nuestro tiempo y energía buscando la culpa por el pasado.”

Obama dijo que no procesarían a los oficiales de la CIA que actuaron bajo el asesoramiento jurídico del Departamento de Justicia, sino que él dejó abierto la posibilidad que cualquier persona que actuaba sin la autorización legal podría todavía hacer frente a penas criminales.

Obama no especificó si los abogados que autorizaron el uso de las técnicas de interrogación deben hacer frente a una cierta clase de pena. Las cuatro asesorías legales, expuestas en un pleito del Acta de libertad de información (FOIA) presentada por el ACLU, fueron escritas entre 2002 y 2005 por la Oficina del asesor legal, la autoridad más alta del Departamento de Justicia encargada de interpretar la ley para el Poder Ejecutivo. El primero de los memorandos, a partir del agosto de 2002, fue firmado por Jay S. Bybee, que supervisó la Oficina del asesor legal, y dio a la CIA su primera aprobación legal detallada para el tratamiento del ‘waterboarding’ y otros métodos. Tres otros, firmados por Steven G. Bradbury, intentaron tranquilizar la agencia en mayo de 2005 que sus métodos eran todavía legales, incluso cuando los métodos múltiples fueron utilizados en combinación, y a pesar de la prohibición en derecho internacional contra el tratamiento “cruel, inhumano o de degradación”.

Todas las asesorías legales sobre la interrogación fueron revocadas por el Sr. Obama en su segundo día en oficina, cuando él también proscribió interrogaciones rudas y pidió que se cerraran las cárcles secretas. En los memorandos, los autores del Departamento de Justicia acentuaron precauciones que la CIA debía tomar, incluyendo la supervisión por persona médico y el rol de psicólogos. De hecho un aspecto en cuestión es la responsabilidad ética de dicho personal médico y psicólogos.


‘Waterboarding‘, por ejemplo, implica el atar un preso con correa a una camilla inclinada en ángulo de “10 a 15 grados” y el verter agua sobre una cubierta de paño a su nariz y boca “desde una altura de aproximadamente 6 a 18 pulgadas” por no más de 40 segundos a la vez. Pero una nota al calce de la página en el memorando de 2005 hizo claro que las reglas no fueron seguidas siempre.

El ‘waterboarding’ fue utilizado “con una frecuencia mucha mayor que lo indicado inicialmente” y con “volúmenes grandes de agua” y no las pequeñas cantidades citadas en las reglas, una nota dice, citando un informe de 2004 de la CIA.


Otro memorando de mayo de 2005, firmada por Bradbury, trata cómo los funcionarios de la CIA podrían emplear diversas combinaciones de técnicas, incluyendo una práctica conocida como albañilería, en la cual los interrogadores presionarían a un prisionero pegado (clavado) con láminas de hombro contra una pared falsa, produciendo fuertes ruidos. "Un detenido puede ser emparedado una vez (un impacto con la pared) o veinte a treinta veces consecutivamente cuando el interrogador requiere una respuesta más significativa a una pregunta," según el memorando.

La mayor parte de los métodos se han descrito en un informe del 2006 del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja, que entrevistó a 14 detenidos. Una táctica previamente desconocida que la CIA propuso contra Abu Zubaydah era el explotar su miedo de insectos. “Pues entendemos que usted planea informar a Zubaydah que usted va a colocar un insecto peligroso en la caja, pero usted colocará realmente un insecto inofensivo en la caja, tal como una oruga,” un memorando del Sr. Bybee dice. Sr. Bradbury y Juan Yoo, el autor principal de los memorandos de 2002, escriben sobre una investigación de Oficina de ética del Departamento de Justicia sobre su análisis legal de la interrogación. Los funcionarios describen el informe de ética.

El ACLU alega que los memorandos describen claramente conducta criminal. Pero Dennis C. Blair, director de Inteligencia nacional, plantea que los memorandos fueron escritas en un momento en que los oficiales de la CIA trabajaban frenéticamente para prevenir una repetición del 11 de sept. de 2001. “Esos métodos, leídos en un día brillante, soleado y seguro en abril de 2009, parecen gráficos y disturbantes,” dijo el Sr. Blair en una declaración escrita. “Defenderemos absolutamente a los que confiaron en esos memorandos.”


Técnicas aprobadas según un memorando, aprobado el 10 de mayo de 2005, del Departamento de Justicia. -- Manipulación dietética: Sustituir los reemplazos líquidos de la comida para el alimento sólido. -- Desnudez: Utilizado para causar malestar psicologico. -- Albañilería: Cerrar de golpe al detenido en una pared. -- Palmada facial: Dar palmadas en la cara de s con los dedos se separó levemente. -- Palmada abdominal: Dar en el abdomen con la parte posterior de una mano abierta. -- Situación de la pared: Forzando al detenido a colocarse con la extensión de los pies, los brazos estirados, los dedos que se reclinaban sobre la pared, no permitirle moverse. -- Agua ‘dousing‘ duchas: La agua fría se vierte en detenido. -- Privación del sueño: Privan al detenido del sueño por más de 48 horas. -- “Waterboarding“: Agua derramada sobre la cara del detenido en ángulo.


Resumen del mensaje de Obama sobre los memorandos:
Esta es una época para la reflexión, no retribución. Respeto las visiónes y las emociones fuertes que estas memorandos evocan. Hemos terminado un capítulo oscuro y doloroso en nuestra historia. Pero a la vez de grandes desafíos y de desunión, no se ganará nada pasando nuestro tiempo y energía buscando la culpa del pasado. Nuestra grandeza nacional se encuentra en la capacidad de enderezar nuestro curso en concierto con nuestros valores, y de movernos adelante con confianza. Ése es el porqué debemos oponernos a las fuerzas que nos dividen, y en lugar venimos juntos a nombre de nuestro futuro común. Los Estados Unidos son una nación de leyes. Mi administración actuará siempre de acuerdo con esas leyes, y con una comisión unshakeable a nuestros ideales. Éso es porqué hemos lanzado estos memorandos, y es porqué hemos tomado medidas para asegurarnos de que nunca ocurren las acciones descritas otra vez.

En el libro “La presidencia del terror” (The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration) el autor J. Goldsmith (otrora director de la Oficina (Oct./2003 a Ago./2004,) que luego produjo los citados memorandos) describe el fenómeno que ahora estamos experimentando, y su efecto inevitable, refiriéndose a lo que él llama "ciclos del miedo y de la agresión". Los políticos ejercen presión sobre el área de inteligencia para empujar hasta el límite legal y si acaso más allá de lo que se establece como debido procedimiento, y después echan acusaciones cuando la agresividad extralimitada se revierte, y entonces, según lo ocurrido como consecuencia de 9/11, critican al área de inteligencia (ignorando su silencio previo u olvidando su complicidad). Goldsmith critica la supuesta complicidad velada y el notable doble estándar que luego al cambiar el panorama político se torna en adversaria de lo que antes fue tolerante. Goldsmith justifica pero a la vez afirma que el Poder ejecutivo de la administración Bush en su obsesiva 'guerra al terrorismo', asesorado por John Yoo, desmantela el sistema de garantías constitucionales, disecando el concepto de debido procedimiento.

(Ver: http://ortizfeliciano.blogspot.com/2009/03/la-dictadura-de-george-w-bush-la.html)

Por otro lado, en aspectos relacionados, la presidenta de la Comisión de inteligencia del Senado dijo que llevaría a cabo una audiencia para examinar la interceptación de comunicaciones domésticas después de nuevos informes que la interceptación de teléfonos fue más allá de lo autorizado por el Congreso. “Éstas son alegaciones serias, y nos cercioraremos de que consigamos los hechos,” dijo la senadora Dianne Feinstein. “El comité está mirando esto, y llevaremos a cabo una audiencia en este tema en el plazo de un mes.”



El New York Times divulgó que el N.S.A. había interceptado correos electrónicos privados y llamadas de teléfono en una escala que fue más allá de los límites legales amplios establecidos por el Congreso. La agencia también intentó, entre 2005 a 2006, interceptar las llamadas de un miembro del Congreso no identificado como parte de una operación de inteligencia extranjera. El senador Russ Feingold, que ha estado activo en la supervisión de operaciones de inteligencia, dijo que el informe de los problemas de la interceptación de teléfonos era parte “de un retraimiento trágico de los principios que habían gobernado el área delicado de vigilancia del gobierno desde las tres décadas anteriores.” El Sr. Feingold pidió reformas en la ley de inteligencia así como publicación de ciertos aspectos de las operaciones de la interceptación de teléfonos “de modo que la gente americana pueda entender mejor su alcance e impacto.”

Varios funcionarios de inteligencia, tanto como los abogados versados sobre la materia, dijeron que el N.S.A. (la agencia nacional se seguridad) había estado dedicado al “overcollection” de comunicaciones domésticas de americanos. Describieron la práctica como significativo y sistémico, aunque un funcionario dijera que fue no intencional. Los problemas legales y operacionales que rodeaban las actividades de la vigilancia de la agencia han estado bajo escrutinio de la administración de Obama y Comisiones de inteligencia del Congreso. Funcionarios de inteligencia hablaron con los medios solamente bajo la condición de anonimato.

El Departamento de Justicia, en respuesta a las investigaciones reconoció que había habido problemas con la operación de la vigilancia de N.S.A., pero que han sido resueltos. Como parte de una revisión periódica de las actividades de la agencia, el Departamento “detectó errores que despertaron inquietudes”. Los funcionarios del Departamento de Justicia entonces “tomaron medidas comprensivas para corregir la situación y traer el programa en conformidad” con la ley y los órdenes judiciales. Eric Holder, el secrteraio de Justicia solicitó una renovación del programa de vigilancia solamente después que las nuevas salvaguardas fueron puestas en lugar.

El N.S.A. dijo que sus “operaciones de inteligencia, incluyendo los programas para la colección y el análisis, están estrictamente de acuerdo con leyes y regulaciones de los E.U.” La oficina del director de la inteligencia nacional, que supervisa la área de inteligencia, no trató los aspectos específicos de los problemas de la vigilancia sino que “cuando se incurren en equivocaciones inadvertidas, las tomamos muy seriamente y trabajamos inmediatamente para corregirlos.”



Las preguntas no se pueden resolver todavía. Los funcionarios de inteligencia dicen todavía están examinando el alcance de las prácticas de N.S.A., después de una discusión de tres años por el acceso en 2005 del programa de intervenciones sin autorizaciones que el presidente George W. Bush aprobó después de que los ataques de sept. del 11, dieran a N.S.A. nueva autoridad para recoger, sin autorizaciones comunicaciones de teléfono y el tráfico del email.

Las blancos de vigilancia tenían que ser de personas “razonablemente sospechosos y presuntamente” fuera de los Estados Unidos. Bajo nueva legislación, sin embargo, el N.S.A. todavía necesita autorización judicial para supervisar las comunicaciones puramente domésticas de los americanos sospechosos pero en parte por problemas técnicos en la capacidad de N.S.A. de distinguir ocasionalmente entre las comunicaciones dentro de los Estados Unidos y de ultramar mientras que utilizaba su acceso a las líneas fibroópticas de sociedades de las telecomunicaciones americanas y sus propios satélites de espía para interceptar millones de llamadas y de correos electrónico, un funcionario dijo que la agencia inadvertidamente “apuntó” a grupos de americanos y recogió sus comunicaciones domésticas sin autoridad apropiada de la corte. Los funcionarios todavía están intentando determinar cuántas violaciones pudieron haber ocurrido.

Los problemas parecen haber sido destapados como parte de una certificación que requieren el Departamento de Justicia y el director de inteligencia nacional para cumplir con los protocolos que el N.S.A. está utilizando en la interceptación de teléfonos. La revisión, los funcionarios dijeron, comenzó en los días finales de la administración de Bush y fue continuada por la administración de Obama. Llevó a revelar a funcionarios de inteligencia al intervenir incorrectamente información que implicaba cantidades significativas de tráfico de comunicaciones.


Nota #1 de ROF.- Como hemos planteado en escritos y análisis previos, los procesos legales de los E.U. en todos estos aspectos tienen importantes repercusiones directas e indirectas en la situación en Puerto Rico muy especialmente en lo que respecta al funcionamiento de las agencias federales de seguridad. Precisamente esta semana pasada vimos como el director local del FBI trataba de justificar el empleo de procedimientos altamente cuestionables en sus operaciones en la isla y no podemos dejar de concluir que el proceso de transparencia debe implicar esclarecer dichos procedimientos ilegales. No dejan de haber visos de ironía en que los planteamientos de jurisdicción federal que utilizaban dichas agencias federales se reviertan en su contra cuando ocurran los cambios que se presagian en la dirección local del Departamento federal de Justicia, léase fiscalía federal.

(Ver: http://ortizfeliciano.blogspot.com/2009/03/people-of-puerto-rico-vs-federal-bureau.html)

Traducción, redacción y edición de ROF.

Fuentes consultadas:
http://www.aclu.org/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/us/politics/17detain.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/us/17nsa.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123993446103128041.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041602768_pf.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041602873_pf.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041604336_pf.html

Nota #2 de ROF.- Los textos completos de los memorandos están disponibles en línea en el portal del ACLU. Estos textos son un asalto al pensamiento civilizado, advertimos que su lectura resulta una experiencia ofensiva y deprimente. Los ideólogos del Departamento de Justicia, el Pentágono y la Casa Blanca de la era de Bush, quienes idearon estas justificaciones del comportamiento criminal, todos son graduados de la mayoría de las universidades y de las Escuelas de Derecho más prestigiosas de los Estados Unidos. Pero sus argumentos positivistas no son mejores que las macabras y deshumanizadas teorías jurídicas que esbozaron los legisladores y jueces de la era nazi de Adolfo Hitler, que con discusiones legales espantosamente similares a los referidos memorandos justificaron racionalmente, entre otras aberraciones, las políticas genocidas de la Alemania nazi.

Pongamos a un lado, siquiera como constructo de análisis, por un momento (si es que se puede) si éstas técnicas de tortura y abusos sistematizados se puedan realmente considerar legales (o legalizables) en sus fundamentos. ¿Dónde está la prueba que las técnicas fueron acertadas, efectivas o eficientes - que la información que estas víctimas de tortura ofreció resultó realmente ser confiable o digamos de importancia real? Si los responsables de estas políticas tenían evidencia convincente que estas técnicas iban realmente a disuadir un atentado terrorista siguiente es crítica a los análisis legales que los justificaron. Si la CIA no tuvo razón para creer que meter a un individuo en una caja con insectos o dándole golpes en varias ocasiones contra la pared o privándolo de alimento y sueño por días rendiría información críticamente importante, la justificación legal de la doctrina de la tortura rápidamente se deshace y se convierte en un ejercicio de racionalismo sin sentido ulterior.


Adelanto que hoy sabemos a ciencia cierta que la vasta mayoría de los cientos de detenidos en Guantánamo simplemente no saben nada de valor o importancia, que la enorme mayoría ni siquiera tienen una razón basada en evidencia de estar encarcelados, si aplicamos este esquema lógico como el recurso procesal que impulsaba la mentalidad de la administración de Bush en su 'guerra al terrorismo', podemos anticipar la eventual, y tal vez absoluta, conclusión de la estupidez básica y cruel de todo este engendro.

(Nota 24/04/09) Hoy hemos visto a uno de los interrogadores 'de facto' de los supuestos terroristas plantear la ineficiencia de la tortura e igual nos hemos enterado de la existencia de, por lo menos, un documento procedente de la unidad especializada en tortura de las fuerzas armadas (de hecho los que orientaron sobre el tema a los abogados que produjeron los memorandos controversiales) en el que abiertamente y enfáticamente dan una recomendación negativa a dichos procedimientos los que claramente identifican como tortura y como ilegales. (Ver comentarios.)

Pero sigue destapándose la olla de grillos. Uno de los memorandos de la era de torturas de Bush confirmó inadvertidamente que la CIA detuvo a un sospechoso nombrado Hassan Ghul en una prisión secreta y lo sujetó a lo que llamaron los abogados de la administración de Bush " técnicas de interrogación realzada." La CIA nunca ha reconocido tener a Ghul, y su paradero es hoy secreto. Pero Ghul no es el único preso que sigue perdido. Por lo menos tres docenas de otros sospechosos anónimos que fueron detenidas en prisiones secretas no aparecen. Esfuerzos por organizaciones de derechos humanos para averiguar su paradero han fracasados, y ningún gobierno extranjero han reconocido su existencia ni paradero.

"Hacer públicos los memorandos del Departamento de Justicia fue un primer paso importante, pero la administración de Obama necesita revelar el paradero de cada persona que fue detenida por la CIA," ha dicho Joanne Mariner, directora del programa de terrorismo y contraterrorismo en Human Rights Watch: "Si estos hombres ahora se están descomponiendo en alguna carcel, la administración de Obama no puede fingir que cerró la puerta del programa de las cárceles secrteas de la CIA."





"Hasta que el gobierno de los E.U. no aclare el paradero de estos individuos, todavía siguen desaparecidos, y la desaparición es una de las mayores violaciones internacionales de los derechos humanos," dice Margaret Satterthwaite, profesora de derecho en la Universidad de Nueva York: "Nosotros claramente no sabemos la historia de cada uno de los que ha estado en el programa. Necesitamos descubrir dónde están y qué les sucedió."

Causa para acusar: Las piezas empiezan a caer en su sitio. Una agencia militar de los E.U. que entrena a las tropas para resistir y sobrevivir tortura ofreció ayuda crítica en desarrollar las técnicas de interrogación usadas por la CIA, según un informe de un Comité del Senado publicado miércoles.

El conocimiento militar también fue utilizado por el Departamento de Justicia para desarrollar las justificaciones legales para los métodos abusivos de interrogación, según el informe del Comité de las fuerzas armadas del Senado dijo el presidente del comité, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) "el informe conecta cómo las técnicas familiares a los expertos militares encontraron una manera de aparecer en los memorandos del Departmento de Justicia".


El informe observa que una semana después que la agencia militar describió las técnicas a los abogados del Departamento de Defensa, el anterior Secretario auxiliar de Justicia, hoy juez apelativo, Jay Bybee publicó un memorando (de los publicados) permitiendo que la CIA utilizara 10 de las técnicas referidas contra Abu Zubaydah.

El informe del Senado encontró que la agencia militar mencionaba las salvaguardas utilizadas al demostrar las técnicas de tortura, sin embargo, muchas de las salvaguardas fueron dejadas fuera por los interrogadores de la CIA. Por ejemplo, el límite en la cantidad de agua vertida a un detenido durante ‘waterboarding‘, por ejemplo, fue alzada de dos pintas a 1.5 galones.

El informe observa que funcionarios militares advirtieron enérgicamente contra usar dichas técnicas contra detenidos. Algunos advirtieron que el uso de las técnicas era ilegal. Otros acentuaron que serían contraproducentes. El Lt. Col. Morgan Banks, un psicólogo del ejército, escribió en un memo asociado al tema en el 2002, y citado por el informe del Senado, que mientras que la aplicación de dolor podría hacer que los detenidos hablen, no podría hacer que digan la verdad. "Esto aumentará la cantidad de información que dirán al interrogador, "escribió, "pero no significa que la información sea veraz."

Presidente Obama dice que es prerrogativa del Secretario de Justicia Eric Holder procesar a los individuos de la administración Bush responsables de las políticas de tortura de la ‘Guerra al terrorismo“.


Sometemos que en la lista inicial ya debe estar William J. Haynes II (que de hecho ya ha sido demandado por la filial de la Asociación Nacional de Abogados (NLG) en San Francisco, que además le pidió al Colegio de Abogados de California que lo investigara y expulsara) el principal asesor jurídico del Departamento de la Defensa durante los hechos citados. Haynes además autorizó la tortura en Abu Ghraib. Igual se debe residenciar al juez Jay Bybee - otro de los arquitectos detrás de las políticas de tortura de la administración Bush.

Diferente a Bybee, Haynes no consiguió un puesto en la judicatura federal en lugar se consiguió un cheque millonario de una empresa petrolera gigante que tiene un largo e infame historial de contaminación masiva y manejos políticos turbios.

Como Asesor Jurídico del Pentágono bajo Donald Rumsfeld, Haynes fue autor de la estrategia legal de algunas de las técnicas más atroces autorizadas por Bush - técnicas de tortura que eran, según el New York Times, "prácticas de interrogación basadas en las torturas ilegales ideadas por los chinos durante el conflicto coreano“.

Haynes salió del Pentágono cuando lo hizo Rumsfeld, pero en vez de ir a un exilio autoimpuesto - o mejorar todavía, prisión - Haynes en lugar es el principal asesor corporativo para Chevron. Chevron, por supuesto, no es extraño a las controversias sobre derechos humanos. El gigante petrolero hasta el momento ha escapado la justicia sobre su implicación (vía un subsidiario nigeriano) en el asesinato y la tortura de manifestantes ambientales nigerianos.

Causa para investigar: Rice y otros dos responsables aprobaron las torturas en los interrogatorios de la CIA


Nueva York, 23 Abr. (EUROPA PRESS). Condoleezza Rice y otros altos responsables de la Administración de George W. Bush aprobaron en el verano de 2002 la utilización de torturas en los interrogatorios de la CIA a sospechosos de terrorismo.

Entre las técnicas que consintieron estaba la conocida como 'waterboarding' o ahogamiento simulado, considerado tortura por las organizaciones defensoras de Derechos Humanos y por el actual Gobierno de Barack Obama.

Nuevos documentos hechos públicos por el Comité de Inteligencia del Senado, que investiga estas torturas, y desclasificados por el fiscal general, Eric Holder, indican que al menos una docena de miembros de la Administración Bush estaban presentes cuando el director de la CIA u otros responsables explicaron exactamente qué técnicas podrían usarse y cómo usarlas, según informa 'The Washington Post'.

Rice dio luz verde a estos métodos cuando, como consejera de Seguridad Nacional, se reunió el 17 de julio de 2002 con el entonces director de la CIA, George J. Tenet, al que dijo que la agencia "podía proceder con estos interrogatorios contra Abu Zubayda", uno de los presuntos terroristas que sufrieron estas torturas, pero debía ser aprobado por el Departamento de Justicia.


Abu Zubayda, palestino nacido en Arabia Saudí cuyo nombre real es Zayn al Abidin Muhamed Husein, fue capturado en Pakistán en marzo de 2002. Fue el primer detenido "de gran valor" bajo custodia de la CIA, como llamaban a los presos que se creía podían tener una información relevante para evitar ataques terroristas.

Rice y otras cuatro autoridades del Gobierno de Bush fueron informadas por primera vez de "métodos alternativos de interrogatorio, incluido el 'waterboarding'" en mayo de 2002, según revelan los nuevos documentos.

REUNIÓN PARA INFORMAR DE LAS TÉCNICAS
Un año después, en julio de 2003, la CIA informó a Rice, al ex vicepresidente Dick Cheney, al ex fiscal general John D. Ashcroft, al entonces consejero de la Casa Blanca Alberto Gonzales, y al ex asesor legal del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional John B. Bellinger III sobre el uso del 'waterboarding' y otros métodos calificados como torturas por los grupos defensores de Derechos Humanos.












"No fue un diálogo abstracto. Fueron conversaciones detalladas y específicas. Es una gran evidencia del papel que tuvieron altos responsables de la Administración", denunció Jameel Jaffer, director del Proyecto de Seguridad Nacional en la organización Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles (ACLU).

En aquel momento, julio de 2003, Estados Unidos ya había capturado a Jalid Sheij Mohamed, el supuesto 'cerebro' de los atentados del 11-S y contra el que los agentes de la CIA utilizaron el 'waterboarding' hasta en 183 ocasiones en marzo de ese año, según destacan los documentos sobre los interrogatorios que ha desclasificado el Departamento de Justicia en los últimos días.

POWELL Y RUMSFELD LO SUPIERON MÁS TARDE
En los informes no consta que los entonces secretarios de Estado y Defensa, Colin Powell y Donald Rumsfeld, respectivamente, supieran de las nuevas tácticas antes de septiembre de 2003. "A no ser que haya otra historia que no nos hayan enseñado, el secretario de Estado y el secretario de Defensa no estuvieron implicados en el proceso de toma de decisiones", explicó el senador John Rockefeller IV, miembro del Comité que investiga las torturas.


Todos los nuevos ex altos cargos que han aparecido en los últimos documentos desclasificados han evitado hacer comentarios al respecto, informa 'The Washington Post'.

En otoño de 2002, cuatro congresistas, incluida la demócrata Nancy Pelosi, actualmente presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes, fueron informados, de forma secreta, de las nuevas técnicas de tortura que aplicaba la CIA, incluido el 'waterboarding'.

La propia Pelosi ha confirmado, sin embargo, que en esa fecha fue informada "sobre técnicas de interrogatorio que la Administración estaba considerando utilizar en el futuro" y que el Gobierno "notificó que el asesor legal de la CIA y el Departamento de Justicia habían concluido que las técnicas eran legales".

http://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-condoleezza-rice-otros-altos-responsables-gobierno-aprobaron-torturas-interrogatorios-cia-20090423120842.html

Nota #3 de ROF.- La mayoría de las revelaciones notables en la investigación que conduce la Comisión de inteligencia del Senado sobre tortura divulgan el hecho de que Condoleezza Rice desempeñara un papel mucho más grande que lo que ella ha admitido; la negativa de miembros de la administración Bush para prestar atención y hacer caso a opiniones adversas; y la revelación del rastro de documentos mediante los cuales que "los altos funcionarios… redefinieron la ley para simular el aspecto de la legalidad" de la tortura. El informe del Senado indica que el anterior Gobierno de Bush comenzó a preparar el uso de técnicas coercitivas en interrogatorios antes de ser autorizadas legalmente y semanas antes de que la CIA capturara al primer sospechoso de terrorismo de alto nivel.


Interrogadores 'de facto' de presuntos terroristas, especificamente de Zubadayah, confiesan al New York Times que los procedimientos especiales ('tortura') no fueron efectivos, que la información que sustrajeron fue producto de procedimientos estándares o tradicionales de interrogación ("...there was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics" - Ali Soufan, agente interrogador del FBI). Las declaraciones de Soufan desmienten las declaraciones de George W. Bush en 2006 en defensa de las técnicas 'extraordinarias' y los supuestos resultados de dichos procedimientos.

La Administración de Obama ha dejado claro que los agentes de la CIA que cometieron las torturas no serán procesados. Ayer, en un encuentro con la prensa junto al rey Abdalá de Jordania, Obama lo reiteró. Lo diferente fue que el presidente dejó abierta la puerta al procesamiento de los abogados que construyeron el entramado legal que dio cobijo a las torturas. "Por lo que se refiere a quienes formularon las decisiones legales, eso es una decisión del fiscal general de acuerdo con las leyes, y yo no quiero prejuzgar eso", dijo Obama.


En una carta, la senadora Dianne Feinstein, presidenta del comité de Espionaje del Senado, pedía al presidente que no reparta inmunidades aún. El comité de Feinstein está ya investigando las torturas dentro de un limitado mandato. Ayer Obama indicó que, si el Congreso elige ir por esta vía, es partidario de que sea una comisión bipartidista, con figuras independientes de reconocido prestigio, quien efectúe el trabajo para evitar una guerra partidista. Sería en este contexto donde podrían procesarse responsabilidades políticas.

Las responsabilidades penales dependen del Departamento de Justicia. La Oficina de Responsabilidad Profesional está investigando si tres autores de los informes --John C. Yoo, Jay S. Bybee y Steven G. Bradbury-- vulneraron normas éticas en sus argumentos escritos en representación del Departamento de Justicia y por ende del Poder Ejecutivo, léase la Casa Blanca de Bush. De esta investigación puede surgir un abanico de recomendaciones, desde que no pase nada hasta que pierdan su potestad para ejercer como abogados o un procesamiento. Otra opción es que Holder nombre a un fiscal especial. Y lo que el Departamento de Justicia no ha descartado desde el principio es procesar a quienes fueran más allá de lo permitido en los informes legales.(24/04/09)













Nota adicional de ROF.- Porque las revelaciones se han seguido sumando constantemente hemos integrado los temas recientes más urgentes y relevantes: Favor ver importantes noticias y adicionales consideraciones pertinentes en los comentarios. (25/04/09).

Enlace con ACLU que contiene copias de los cuatro memos:

http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/olc_memos.html

36 comentarios:

Jose Oyola Medina dijo...

Como siempre, Roberto, gracias por sus contribuciones al descubrimiento de la verdad, porque solo la verdad os hara libres!!

The New York Times dijo...

Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects
By SCOTT SHANE

C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr. Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation methods, causing C.I.A. officers to worry that they might have crossed legal limits and to halt his questioning. But the precise number and the exact nature of the interrogation method was not previously known.

The release of the numbers is likely to become part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods that the Justice Department under the Bush administration declared legal even though the United States had historically treated them as torture.

President Obama plans to visit C.I.A. headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees, as well as meet privately with officials, an agency spokesman said Sunday night. It will be his first visit to the agency, whose use of harsh interrogation methods he often condemned during the presidential campaign and whose secret prisons he ordered closed on the second full day of his presidency.

C.I.A. officials had opposed the release of the interrogation memo, dated May 30, 2005, which was one of four secret legal memos on interrogation that Mr. Obama ordered to be released last Thursday.

Mr. Obama said C.I.A. officers who had used waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods with the approval of the Justice Department would not be prosecuted. He has repeatedly suggested that he opposes Congressional proposals for a “truth commission” to examine Bush administration counterterrorism programs, including interrogation and warrantless eavesdropping.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a yearlong, closed-door investigation of the C.I.A. interrogation program, in part to assess claims of Bush administration officials that brutal treatment, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes, was necessary to get information.

The fact that waterboarding was repeated so many times may raise questions about its effectiveness, as well as about assertions by Bush administration officials that their methods were used under strict guidelines.

A footnote to another 2005 Justice Department memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and with a greater volume of water than the C.I.A. rules permitted.

The new information on the number of waterboarding episodes came out over the weekend when a number of bloggers, including Marcy Wheeler of the blog emptywheel, discovered it in the May 30, 2005, memo.

The sentences in the memo containing that information appear to have been redacted from some copies but are visible in others. Initial news reports about the memos in The New York Times and other publications did not include the numbers.

Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A. for the last two years of the Bush administration, would not comment when asked on the program “Fox News Sunday” if Mr. Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times. He said he believed that that information was still classified.

A C.I.A. spokesman, reached Sunday night, also would not comment on the new information.

Mr. Hayden said he had opposed the release of the memos, even though President Obama has said the techniques will never be used again, because they would tell Al Qaeda “the outer limits that any American would ever go in terms of interrogating an Al Qaeda terrorist.”

He also disputed an article in The New York Times on Saturday that said Abu Zubaydah had revealed nothing new after being waterboarded, saying that he believed that after unspecified “techniques” were used, Abu Zubaydah revealed information that led to the capture of another terrorist suspect, Ramzi Binalshibh.

The Times article, based on information from former intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abu Zubaydah had revealed a great deal of information before harsh methods were used and after his captors stripped him of clothes, kept him in a cold cell and kept him awake at night. The article said interrogators at the secret prison in Thailand believed he had given up all the information he had, but officials at headquarters ordered them to use waterboarding.

He revealed no new information after being waterboarded, the article said, a conclusion that appears to be supported by a footnote to a 2005 Justice Department memo saying the use of the harshest methods appeared to have been “unnecessary” in his case.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

www.elnuevodia.com dijo...

Apoyan los memorandos de tortura

La Casa Blanca defendió la difusión de documentos secretos sobre interrogatorios a los que fueron sometidos sospechosos de terrorismo
Por Prensa Asociada

WASHINGTON— La Casa Blanca defendió hoy la difusión de los memorándum secretos de la época de George W. Bush sobre interrogatorios a los que fueron sometidos sospechosos de terrorismo, negando que la seguridad nacional hubiera resultado socavada, tal como indicaron ex jefes de la CIA.

“Tenemos una confianza absoluta en que contamos con las herramientas necesarias para obtener la información requerida a fin de mantener a este país seguro”, dijo David Axelrod, principal asesor del presidente Barack Obama.

“No creemos, y el presidente de los Estados Unidos tampoco cree, que se trata de una puja entre nuestros valores y nuestra seguridad. El cree que podemos cumplir y ejecutar ambos y eso es lo que va a hacer”, agregó.

Michael Hayden, quien dirigió a la CIA en la época de Bush, dijo que la decisión de Obama adoptada la semana pasada hará más difícil obtener información útil de presuntos terroristas detenidos en Estados Unidos.

Hayden dijo que al eliminar algunos métodos de interrogación, que grupos de defensa de los derechos humanos y la Convención de Ginebra consideran torturas, “resultará más difícil a los funcionarios de la CIA defender su país”.

Sin embargo, funcionarios del gobierno dijeron que la información de los memorándum ya había sido divulgada a través de la internet y que revelar detalles sobre técnicas de interrogación no ofrece ventaja alguna a al-Qaida o a otros grupos terroristas.

La decisión del presidente “ha mejorado la imagen de Estados Unidos en el exterior. Esas eran herramientas usadas por los terroristas, herramientas de propaganda, para reclutar a otros terroristas”, afirmó el domingo Rahm Emanuel, secretario general de la Casa Blanca.

Al cambiar la imagen de Estados Unidos, eso “tiene un impacto en nuestra seguridad” y “nos hace más fuertes”, añadió Emanuel.

No obstante, Hayden dijo que los duros métodos de interrogación “hicieron más seguros” a Estados Unidos. Realmente funcionaron”, añadió.

Axelrod formuló sus declaraciones en un programa de televisión de la red CBS, Hayden habló en la cadena de televisión Fox y Emanuel se presentó en la cadena ABC.

http://www.elnuevodia.com/apoyanlosmemorandosdetortura-558894.html

Electronic Frontier Foundation dijo...

La tarde de miércoles, un artículo del New York Times reveló abusos asombrosos de las poderes de vigilancia del NSA. Según el Times, "La agencia de seguridad national (NSA) interceptó correos electrónicos privados y llamadas de teléfono de americanos en una escala que fue más allá de los límites legales amplios establecidos el año por Congreso," dando por resultado una " significativa y sistemática…sobrecolección" de comunicaciones domésticas de americanos.
Estas revelaciones son apenas la última confirmación que la redada de la vigilancia del NSA de las llamadas de teléfono y los email domésticos de americanos ordinarios es violación de la ley. Es imprescindible que haya cuido terminante para asegurarse de que el gobierno no abuse de su acceso sin precedentes a las redes domésticas que llevan todas nuestras comunicaciones más privadas. Cada vez más, las cortes -- y particularmente, los pleitos de EFF (y las empresas de telecomunicaciones que cooperan con él ) contra el NSA -- parecen ser nuestra sola esperanza de lograr la responsabilidad y transparencia del gobierno ante la interceptación de teléfonos sin garantías.

http://www.eff.org/

Fiquito Yunqué dijo...

Curiosamente, me enteré que en los US and A, estaban demandando a las agencias de seguridad por MALA PAGA; ponían un wiretap en la troncal de los celulares, ponían un tipo a grabar e interceptar nueve meses, y no pagaban ni por el espacio, ni por la luz, ni por los técnicos que los ayudaban. Estos jodíos federales son aprovechaos y mala pagas dondequiera...

Jose Oyola Medina dijo...

Exacto! A veces se nos olvida que aqui tenemos todo un aparato federal y que somos ademas, vigilados por la Agencia Central de Inteligencia ( CIA ) por nuestra naturaleza colonial y punto de posible secesion. Las practicas de Bush alla tambien fueron aplicadas aca, no vacilemos un minuto en dudarlo.

elpais dijo...

Naciones Unidas reprende a EE UU por no castigar las torturas de la CIA
El relator especial de la ONU advierte que se ha violado la ley internacional

YOLANDA MONGE - Washington - 20/04/2009
Al relator de Naciones Unidas contra la Tortura no le ha gustado nada la decisión tomada por el presidente de Estados Unidos de no enjuiciar a aquellos agentes de la CIA que utilizaron técnicas cuestionables de interrogatorio contra sospechosos de terrorismo entre 2002 y 2005. Para Manfred Nowak, la decisión de Barack Obama viola el derecho internacional. Así de sencillo. "EE UU, al igual que los otros países adheridos a la Convención de la ONU contra la Tortura, se ha comprometido a investigar las torturas y llevar ante la justicia a todas las personas con pruebas en su contra", declaró Nowak en una entrevista concedida al diario vienés Der Standard.

La pasada semana, Obama anunció que los colaboradores de la CIA que utilizaron métodos sospechosos de tortura no serían encausados, ya que cumplían órdenes. "Aquellos que cumplieron con sus obligaciones fiándose de la buena fe del asesoramiento del Departamento de Justicia no serán enjuiciados", manifestó el presidente tras darse a conocer la publicación de cuatro memorandos que detallaban con todo detalle las técnicas que los agentes de la CIA debían emplear en las prisiones secretas que la agencia tenía desperdigadas por el mundo contra los sospechosos de pertenecer a Al Qaeda.

El anuncio decepcionó a grupos defensores de los derechos humanos y a ex detenidos, que condenaron esas prácticas como tortura. Ahora ha hablado el relator de la ONU. "El hecho de que uno haya cumplido una orden no le exime de responsabilidad", advierte Nowak, aunque admite que, sin embargo, podría ser una circunstancia atenuante. Para Nowak, lo más importante ahora es abrir una investigación exhaustiva por parte de instancias independientes. Los tribunales y fiscales de EE UU pueden abrir diligencias por presuntas torturas, razona Nowak en la entrevista, para concluir que también lo pueden hacer "otros países, como por ejemplo España".

Pero la Administración demócrata ya ha dejado claro que va a proteger a los empleados de la CIA de "cualquier tribunal internacional o extranjero" -en referencia a las diligencias iniciadas en España por el juez Baltasar Garzón contra un grupo de colaboradores del ex presidente George W. Bush-.

El senador Patrick Leahy, presidente del Comité de Asuntos Judiciales de la Cámara alta, asegura que los informes sobre las torturas refuerzan su argumento de establecer una comisión independiente que investigue lo sucedido.

Anthony Romero, director del grupo de defensa de derechos civiles ACLU, considera "insostenible" una amnistía encubierta para los agentes de la CIA.

Nowak cree muy improbable que Obama vaya tan lejos como para dictar "una ley de amnistía", y considera que lo que ha sucedido es puramente político. El presidente ha querido dejar claro que pasa página en ese asunto. "Es hora de reflexionar y no de castigar", declaró Obama tras dar a conocer los informes sobre los métodos de torturas de la CIA.

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Naciones/Unidas/reprende/EE/UU/castigar/torturas/CIA/elpepiint/20090420elpepiint_8/Tes

rebelion dijo...

Obama exonera a los torturadores de la CIA
Patrick Martin
World Socialist World Site
Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Sinfo Fernández

El presidente Barack Obama anunció el pasado miércoles que los agentes de la CIA implicados en los casos de torturas a prisioneros durante los últimos siete años no van a ser enjuiciados ni castigados. Cuando el Departamento de Justicia hizo públicos los memorandos en los que se documentaban con todo tipo de detalles espeluznantes las directrices seguidas por la administración Bush en los interrogatorios, la Casa Blanca dejó claro que ni quienes ordenaron la tortura, ni quienes la ejecutaron, tendrían que enfrentarse a la justicia.
La Oficina del Asesor Jurídico, un brazo del Departamento de Justicia estadounidense, fue quien escribió, en 2002 y 2005, los cuatro memorandos publicados el miércoles. Forzó su publicación un tribunal que estableció una fecha tope para la misma en un juicio del Acta por la Libertad de Información promovido por la Unión por las Libertades Civiles Americanas (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés).
La ACLU denunció el comunicado de la Casa Blanca de Obama excluyendo cualquier enjuiciamiento de los torturadores. Anthony Romero, Director Ejecutivo de la ACLU dijo que los memorandos “proporcionan pruebas más irrefutables aún de que los funcionarios de la administración Bush, al más alto nivel del gobierno, autorizaron y dieron su bendición legal a actos de tortura que violan tanto el derecho internacional como el estadounidense”.
El documento de los memorandos detalla los métodos empleados contra treinta prisioneros –un número mayor del anteriormente admitido- que incluían simulación de ahogamiento, palizas y patadas, estamparles la cabeza contra un muro, bofetadas, mantenerles de pie durante largos períodos de tiempo, desnudez forzosa, sujeción prolongada con grilletes, privación de sueño, privación de alimento y amenazas contra los miembros de la familia de un detenido.
El Fiscal General Eric Holder, oficial jefe para la aplicación del derecho estadounidense, defendió la decisión de no cumplir las leyes contra la tortura diciendo: “En una época de grandes desafíos y de alarmante desunión, nada vamos a conseguir gastando nuestro tiempo y energía en tratar de perseguir las culpas del pasado”.
El director de la CIA Leon Panetta, un ex congresista demócrata y ex jefe del gabinete de la Casa Blanca con la administración Clinton, envió un mensaje a los empleados de la CIA que habían declarado que la CIA, bajo la administración Bush, había “repetidamente solicitado y repetidamente recibido seguridades escritas por parte del Departamento de Justicia de que sus prácticas eran totalmente acordes con las leyes y obligaciones legales de los Estados Unidos. Esas operaciones fueron también aprobadas por el presidente y los directivos del Consejo de Seguridad Nacional y asimismo se informó de las mismas a los representantes del Congreso”.
La declaración de Panetta subraya una de las principales consideraciones de la Casa Blanca de Obama. Cualquier esfuerzo serio para someter a enjuiciamiento los “sitios negros” de la CIA –las prisiones secretas establecidas como parte de la “guerra contra el terror” de la administración Bush- expondría de forma inevitable a los dirigentes demócratas del Congreso, incluyendo a la Portavoz de la Cámara, Nancy Pelosi, y al líder de la mayoría en el Senado, Harry Reid, a sanciones criminales porque ellos sabían, y aprobaron, los brutales métodos ordenados por Bush y Cheney.
La administración Obama no sólo se niega a enjuiciar a los funcionarios de la CIA, dijo Panetta, además el Departamento de Justicia proporcionará asesoramiento legal gratis a todo aquel que se vea “sometido a investigación en relación con esas operaciones”. Esto significa que el gobierno estadounidense representará y defenderá a los torturadores de la CIA en caso de que tuvieran que enfrentarse a una investigación por parte del Congreso, a juicio civil por parte de sus víctimas, o a acciones judiciales bajo el derecho internacional, tales como la Convención Internacional contra la Tortura, de la cual Estados Unidos es signatario. El gobierno estadounidense pagará también cualquier sentencia condenatoria contra agentes de la CIA que implique indemnización por daños.
El mismo Obama envió una carta a todos los empleados de la CIA explicando su decisión de publicar los memorandos sobre la tortura, una acción a la que se oponían Panetta y el ex director de la CIA Michael Hayden. Escribió: “Es necesario que esos memorandos se publiquen en función de nuestro compromiso con el imperio de la ley”. Ese compromiso se extiende sólo a producir unas hojas de papel –publicadas con nombres y redactadas con otros detalles comprometedores- pero no se refiere a imponer ahora algún tipo de sanción contra quienes cometieron esos crímenes espantosos.
El texto de la declaración de Obama emitido por la Casa Blanca es la típica mezcla de hipocresía, demagogia y mentiras que está caracterizando los principales pronunciamientos del nuevo presidente. Obama nunca utiliza en él la palabra tortura, sustituyéndola por una serie de eufemismos que los medios repitieron después como papagayos y donde la palabra “tortura” aparece sólo en las citas de los críticos ante la decisión de la Casa Blanca.
Obama afirma: “En una de mis primeras actuaciones como presidente, prohibí que EEUU utilizara esas técnicas de interrogatorio porque socavan nuestra autoridad moral y no nos proporcionan mayor seguridad”. En realidad, esa prohibición no es absoluta y es esencialmente un gesto cosmético con el objetivo de restaurar la “autoridad moral” de una potencia imperialista que ha perpetrado crímenes de guerra masivos.
Deshaciéndose en disculpas ante la CIA por publicar los documentos, Obama se apresuró a tranquilizar a las agencias de inteligencia expresándoles que siguen contando con su apoyo, declarando: “En un mundo peligroso, Estados Unidos debe desarrollar en ocasiones operaciones de inteligencia y proteger la información clasificada por motivos de seguridad nacional. He luchado ya por ese principio en los tribunales y lo volveré a hacer en el futuro”.
Obama describe a los torturadores de la CIA como gentes “que llevaron a cabo sus tareas confiando con buena fe en el asesoramiento legal del Departamento de Justicia de que no serían sometidos a enjuiciamiento”. Esto recoge los ecos de la defensa de “fue en cumplimiento de las órdenes recibidas” que el Tribunal de Nuremberg rechazó cuando los criminales de guerra nazi intentaron acogerse a la misma.
Nadie necesitaba un memorando para que le dijeran que los métodos empleados en los “sitios negros” de la CIA eran brutales, repugnantes y criminales. Esa es la razón por la que la CIA y sus protectores están utilizando tácticas obstruccionistas frente a los tribunales mucho después de que esos detalles vieran la luz a través de filtraciones a la prensa basadas en los relatos de quienes sobrevivieron a esos interrogatorios, así como a los hallazgos del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja.
La mayor parte del comunicado de Obama está dedicado a glorificar a la “comunidad de la inteligencia”, en un lenguaje que parece haberse hecho eco, palabra por palabra, de las de Bush y Cheney: “Los hombres y mujeres de nuestra comunidad de inteligencia sirven valientemente en las líneas del frente de un mundo peligroso. No se reconocen sus logros ni se saben sus nombres, pero debido a sus sacrificios, todos y cada uno de los estadounidenses viven más seguros. Debemos proteger sus identidades con el mismo empeño con que ellos protegen nuestra seguridad y debemos proporcionarles confianza en que pueden hacer sus tareas”.
La verdad es que las agencias de inteligencia de la CIA cometen asesinatos, torturas, subversiones y provocaciones en interés no del pueblo estadounidense sino de la elite gobernante financiero-corporativa estadounidense. La CIA es vilipendiada por todo el mundo como “Asesinato Incorporado” estadounidense, que ha derrocado gobiernos en nombre de Washington, instigado guerras civiles y establecido dictaduras militares país tras país.
La declaración de Obama contiene una abyecta cobardía al doblegarse ante el poder de los aparatos de inteligencia/militar y adoptar su historia de violencia y contrarrevolución, como promete en el comunicado: “Haré siempre cuanto sea necesario para proteger la seguridad nacional de Estados Unidos”.
Para terminar, el presidente de EEUU declara: “Este es un momento de reflexión y no de castigo… no ganaremos nada empleando nuestro tiempo y energías en buscar culpas por el pasado. Nuestra grandeza nacional va incrustada con la capacidad de EEUU para corregir su curso en concierto con nuestros valores fundamentales y avanzar con confianza. Es por eso por lo que debemos resistir a las fuerzas que nos dividen y marchar juntos en nombre de nuestro común futuro”.
¡Qué cínica basura! ¡Como si pudiera acabarse con la tortura exonerando a los torturadores y ocultando sus crímenes a la gente!
El mensaje es claro: cualquiera que exija responsabilidades por los crímenes cometidos bajo la administración Bush (y continuados bajo la administración Obama) está actuando para “dividir” a la nación.
Al declarar una amnistía para quienes perpetraron acciones que –incluso según la administración Obama- constituían tortura y eran ilegales, la Casa Blanca está sancionando una actividad criminal a través del estado. Esto supone dar carta blanca a los aparatos de inteligencia y militar para que utilicen cualquier método ilegal que se les antoje.
Obama, al doblegarse ante las fuerzas más reaccionarias del estado está reforzando el inmenso y siempre creciente poder que ese “estado dentro del estado” ejerce sobre todos los aspectos de la política del gobierno. Es una demostración más de la descomposición terminal de la democracia estadounidense.
Enlace con texto original:
www.wsws.org/articles/2009/apr2009/tort-a17.shtml

http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=84084

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

EU: Obama abre la puerta al enjuiciamiento de ideólogos de la tortura
6pm 21 de abril de 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) — El presidente estadounidense, Barack Obama, abrió el martes una puerta para el enjuiciamiento a los autores de la doctrina jurídica que respaldó el uso de torturas en la lucha antiterrorista, mientras que una organización de derechos humanos pidió que la justicia investigue las torturas.

La Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles (ACLU) pidió a la justicia norteamericana que investigue la práctica de torturas en la lucha antiterrorista, durante el gobierno del presidente George W. Bush.

Obama hizo una distinción entre los agentes que llevaron a cabo interrogatorios severos permitidos por la Casa Blanca tras los ataques del 11 de setiembre de 2001 y los funcionarios jurídicos que justificaron esos métodos.

El presidente estadounidense repitió que sería "inapropiado" juzgar a los agentes que aplicaron las torturas, pero justificó una acción legal sobre los ideólogos que respaldaron estas prácticas por parte de la CIA en los interrogatorios a acusados de terrorismo durante el gobierno de Bush.

"Con respecto a aquellos que tomaron esas decisiones legales, diría que eso corresponde más a una decisión del fiscal general", precisó el mandatario.

El gobierno estadounidense difundió el jueves cuatro documentos redactados por Jay Bybee y Steven Bradbury, abogados del departamento de Justicia durante el gobierno de Bush, que daban el marco legal al programa de interrogatorios a los detenidos en la "guerra contra el terrorismo".

Dichos interrogatorios incluían técnicas ampliamente consideradas como tortura, como el caso del "submarino", en el cual al detenido se le impide respirar hasta estar cerca de la asfixia.

Los textos hechos públicos incluyen una larga lista de cosas que se le podía hacer a un prisionero. Se menciona, por ejemplo, obligarlos a estar desnudos, golpearlos en la cara y el abdomen, impedirles dormir, someterlos a "posiciones estresantes" y manipular su alimentación, todo lo cual -según los funcionarios- no podía ser considerado tortura.

En cuanto a la ACLU, en 2007 denunció a una empresa aérea sospechosa de participar en los vuelos secretos de la CIA. La demanda fue contra una filial del grupo Boeing, Jeppesen Dataplan, sospechosa de haber sido uno de los principales proveedores logísticos de los aviones usados por el servicio de inteligencia estadounidense.

Uno de los demandantes, Binyam Mohamed, de nacionalidad etíope, afirmaba haber sido transportado secretamente de esta manera a Marruecos para ser torturado en 2002, y a Kabul, en Afganistán, en 2004, donde fue igualmente torturado antes de ser transferido a Guantánamo, donde sigue preso, sostiene la ACLU.

Pero la denuncia fue rechazada sin ni siquiera ser examinada, a petición del gobierno de Bush, aduciendo que concernía actividades secretas que no podían ser confirmadas ni desmentidas.

"Esta lógica ya no es válida porque los métodos (de interrogatorio) son ahora públicos y porque fueron expresamente prohibidos", indica Ben Wizner, abogado de la ACLU

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h1fjC5Sppdfk9Eq4kwB-UAtJY_AA

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

Derechos humanos: la justicia de EEUU advierte a las grandes firmas

NUEVA YORK (AFP) — Una reciente avalancha de demandas ante la justicia estadounidense contra empresas acusadas de complicidad en la violación de derechos humanos suena como una advertencia a las grandes firmas que operan en países donde se cometen abusos, según analistas.
Víctimas del régimen del apartheid en Sudáfrica acaban de ser autorizadas a querellar en Estados Unidos a varias multinacionales como General Motors o IBM.
Una jueza federal de Nueva York dio luz verde el miércoles pasado a estas demandas en nombre colectivo, en virtud de la legislación estadounidense que autoriza a querellantes extranjeros a presentar una demanda ante un tribunal norteamericano en caso de violación de los derechos humanos.
El mes que viene será el turno del gigante petrolero anglo-holandés Royal Dutch/Shell de comparecer para defenderse de acusaciones de complicidad en exacciones contra el pueblo Ogoni en Nigeria, entre ellas la ejecución en 1995 del célebre militante ecologista y escritor ogoni Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Ya han habido otras querellas presentadas ante la justicia, en particular por iraquíes en contra de subcontratistas estadounidenses como la controvertida firma de seguridad Blackwater, acusada de complicidad en hechos de violencia.
En todos estos casos, los demandantes se basan en la "Alien Tort Claims Act" (Ley de reivindicación por delitos en el exterior), que exige a las empresas con una importante presencia en Estados Unidos respetar la legislación norteamericana en cualquier parte del mundo.
Poco utilizada hasta ahora, esta ley resurgió en los últimos tiempos.
"Hay una progresión", explicó Jennie Green, del Centro para los Derechos Constitucionales. El recurso a esta ley "cambia el paisaje (judicial), alargando la lista de restricciones legales a la cual (las empresas) deben obedecer".
En la decisión judicial del miércoles, la jueza federal de Nueva York Shira Scheindlin autorizó a víctimas del apartheid a demandar a los constructores de automóviles alemán Daimler y norteamericanos General Motors y Ford por "asistencia e incitación a actos de tortura (...) ejecuciones arbitrarias y apartheid".
El fallo permite asimismo a los demandantes querellar al grupo informático estadounidense IBM por "asistencia e incitación o negación de la nacionalidad arbitraria y apartheid".
El grupo alemán de defensa Rheinmetall puede ser querellado por "asistencia e incitación a ejecuciones arbitrarias y apartheid". Un proceso debería tener lugar en 2011, a menos que se acuerde un arreglo amistoso.
Uno de los abogados de los demandantes, Michael Hausfield, se congratuló por lo que definió como "un importante avance en el derecho internacional".
"Es una decisión que marca un hito, sumamente importante en el campo de la responsabilidad de las empresas y las violaciones de los derechos humanos", declaró Hausfield a la AFP.
Para Peter Rosenblum, profesor de derecho en la Universidad de Columbia, la ley Alien Tort está demasiado estrechamente definida para que las empresas se vean sumergidas en demandas.
"Los casos que se pueden tomar en cuenta son muy limitados. Tienen que ser violaciones flagrantes" de los derechos humanos, dijo Rosenblum.
Sin embargo, aclaró que "pasan muchas cosas en el mundo empresarial en lo referente a los derechos humanos, hay una gran atención puesta en eso (...) No existe nada tan eficaz como un juicio para llamar la atención"

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXlrxlrotQ2Ee6hf10y90QW7OjZg

The New York Times dijo...

In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Past Use

By SCOTT SHANE and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON — The program began with Central Intelligence Agency leaders in the grip of an alluring idea: They could get tough in terrorist interrogations without risking legal trouble by adopting a set of methods used on Americans during military training. How could that be torture?

In a series of high-level meetings in 2002, without a single dissent from cabinet members or lawmakers, the United States for the first time officially embraced the brutal methods of interrogation it had always condemned.

This extraordinary consensus was possible, an examination by The New York Times shows, largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials who were pushing the program, not the senior aides to President George W. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.

According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

Even George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director who insisted that the agency had thoroughly researched its proposal and pressed it on other officials, did not examine the history of the most shocking method, the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

The top officials he briefed did not learn that waterboarding had been prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II and was a well-documented favorite of despotic governments since the Spanish Inquisition; one waterboard used under Pol Pot was even on display at the genocide museum in Cambodia.

They did not know that some veteran trainers from the SERE program itself had warned in internal memorandums that, morality aside, the methods were ineffective. Nor were most of the officials aware that the former military psychologist who played a central role in persuading C.I.A. officials to use the harsh methods had never conducted a real interrogation, or that the Justice Department lawyer most responsible for declaring the methods legal had idiosyncratic ideas that even the Bush Justice Department would later renounce.

The process was “a perfect storm of ignorance and enthusiasm,” a former C.I.A. official said.

Today, asked how it happened, Bush administration officials are finger-pointing. Some blame the C.I.A., while some former agency officials blame the Justice Department or the White House.

Philip D. Zelikow, who worked on interrogation issues as counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2005 and 2006, said the flawed decision-making badly served Mr. Bush and the country.

“Competent staff work could have quickly canvassed relevant history, insights from the best law enforcement and military interrogators, and lessons from the painful British and Israeli experience,” Mr. Zelikow said. “Especially in a time of great stress, walking into this minefield, the president was entitled to get the most thoughtful and searching analysis our government could muster.”

After years of recriminations about torture and American values, Bush administration officials say it is easy to second-guess the decisions of 2002, when they feared that a new attack from Al Qaeda could come any moment.

If they shunned interrogation methods some thought might work, and an undetected bomb or bioweapon cost thousands of lives, where would the moral compass point today? It is a question that still haunts some officials. Others say that if they had known the full history of the interrogation methods or been able to anticipate how the issue would explode, they would have advised against using them.

This account is based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former senior officials of the C.I.A., White House, Justice Department and Congress. Nearly all, citing the possibility of future investigations, shared their recollections of the internal discussions of a classified program only on condition of anonymity.

Leaked to the news media months after they were first used, the C.I.A.’s interrogation methods would darken the country’s reputation, blur the moral distinction between terrorists and the Americans who hunted them, bring broad condemnation from Western allies and become a ready-made defense for governments accused of torture. The response has only intensified since Justice Department legal memos released last week showed that two prisoners were waterboarded 266 times and that C.I.A. interrogators were ordered to waterboard one of the captives despite their belief that he had no more information to divulge.

But according to many Bush administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and some intelligence officers who are critics of the coercive methods, the C.I.A. program would also produce an invaluable trove of information on Al Qaeda, including leads on the whereabouts of important operatives and on terror schemes discussed by Al Qaeda. Whether the same information could have been acquired using the traditional, noncoercive methods that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the military have long used is impossible to say, and former Bush administration officials say they did not have the luxury of time to develop a more patient approach, given that they had intelligence warnings of further attacks.

Michael V. Hayden, who served as C.I.A. director for the last two years of the Bush administration, devoted part of his last press briefing in January to defending the C.I.A. program. “It worked,” Mr. Hayden insisted.

“I have said to all who will listen that the agency did none of this out of enthusiasm,” he said. “It did it out of duty. It did it with the best legal advice it had.”

A Program Takes Shape

When Mr. Bush assigned the C.I.A. with the task of questioning high-level Qaeda captives in late 2001, the agency had almost no experience interrogating the kind of hostile prisoners it soon expected to hold.

It had dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, polygraphists and operations officers who had practiced the arts of eliciting information and assessing truthfulness. Their targets, however, were not usually terrorists, but foreigners offering to spy for the United States or C.I.A. employees suspected of misdeeds.

Agency officials, led by Mr. Tenet, sought interrogation advice from other countries. And, fatefully, they contacted the military unit that runs the SERE training program, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which gives American pilots, special operations troops and others a sample of the brutal interrogation methods they might face as prisoners of war. Mr. Tenet declined to be interviewed.

By late 2001, the agency had contracted with James E. Mitchell, a psychologist with the SERE program who had monitored many mock interrogations but had never conducted any real ones, according to colleagues. He was known for his belief that a psychological concept called “learned helplessness” was crucial to successful interrogation.

Martin Seligman, a prominent professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania who had developed the concept, said in an interview that he was puzzled by Dr. Mitchell’s notion that learned helplessness was relevant to interrogation.

“I think helplessness would make someone more dependent, less defiant and more compliant,” Dr. Seligman said, “but I do not think it would lead reliably to more truth-telling.”

Still, forceful and brainy, Dr. Mitchell, who declined to comment for this article, became a persuasive player in high-level agency discussions about the best way to interrogate Qaeda prisoners. Eventually, along with another former SERE psychologist, Bruce Jessen, Dr. Mitchell helped persuade C.I.A. officials that Qaeda members were fundamentally different from the myriad personalities the agency routinely dealt with.

“Jim believed that people of this ilk would confess for only one reason: sheer terror,” said one C.I.A. official who had discussed the matter with Dr. Mitchell.

Overwhelmed with reports of potential threats and anguished that the agency had failed to stop the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Tenet and his top aides did not probe deeply into the prescription Dr. Mitchell so confidently presented: using the SERE tactics on Qaeda prisoners.

A little research on the origin of those methods would have given reason for doubt. Government studies in the 1950s found that Chinese Communist interrogators had produced false confessions from captured American pilots not with some kind of sinister “brainwashing” but with crude tactics: shackling the Americans to force them to stand for hours, keeping them in cold cells, disrupting their sleep and limiting access to food and hygiene.

“The Communists do not look upon these assaults as ‘torture,’ ” one 1956 study concluded. “But all of them produce great discomfort, and lead to serious disturbances of many bodily processes; there is no reason to differentiate them from any other form of torture.”

Worse, the study found that under such abusive treatment, a prisoner became “malleable and suggestible, and in some instances he may confabulate.”

In late 2001, about a half-dozen SERE trainers, according to a report released Tuesday night by the Senate Armed Services Committee, began raising stark warning about plans by both the military and the C.I.A. to use the SERE methods in interrogations.

In December 2001, Lt. Col. Daniel J. Baumgartner of the Air Force, who oversaw SERE training, cautioned in one memo that physical pressure was “less reliable” than other interrogation methods, could backfire by increasing a prisoner’s resistance and would have an “intolerable public and political backlash when discovered.” But his memo went to the Defense Department, not the C.I.A.

One former senior intelligence official who played an important role in approving the interrogation methods said he had no idea of the origins and history of the SERE program when the C.I.A. started it in 2002.

“The agency was counting on the Justice Department to fully explore all the factors contributing to a judgment about legality, including the surrounding history and context,” the official said.

But it was the C.I.A. that was proposing the methods, and John Yoo, the Justice Department official who was the principal author of a secret August 2002 memorandum that authorized the interrogation program, was mostly interested in making a case that the president’s wartime powers allowed for the harsh tactics.

A Persuasive Case

After the March 28, 2002, capture in Pakistan of the Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah — the C.I.A.’s first big catch after Sept. 11 — Mr. Tenet told Ms. Rice, then the national security adviser, he wanted to discuss interrogation, several former officials said. At a series of small-group and individual briefings attended by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice and Attorney General John Ashcroft, Mr. Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin, laid out their case.

They made a persuasive duo, former officials who heard their pitch recalled. Mr. Tenet, an extroverted former Congressional staff member, was given to forceful language about the threat from Al Qaeda, which he said might well have had operations under way involving biological, radiological or even nuclear weapons. Mr. McLaughlin, a career intelligence analyst, was low-key and cerebral, and some White House officials said they found his support for the methods reassuring.

In the briefings, Mr. Tenet said that after extensive research, the agency believed that only the methods he described — which he said had been used on thousands of American trainees — could extract the details of plots from hardened Qaeda fanatics.

“It was described as a program that was safe and necessary, that would be closely monitored by medical personnel,” a former senior official recalled. “And it was very much in the context of the threat streams that were just eye-popping at the time.”

Mr. Tenet’s descriptions of each proposed interrogation method was so clinical and specific that at one briefing Mr. Ashcroft objected, saying that cabinet officials should approve broad outlines of important policies, not the fine details, according to someone present. The attorney general later complained that he thought Mr. Tenet was looking for cover in case controversy erupted, the person said.

Ms. Rice insisted that Mr. Ashcroft not just pass along the conclusions of his Office of Legal Counsel, where Mr. Yoo worked, but give his personal assurance that the methods were legal under domestic and international law. He did.

The C.I.A. then gave individual briefings to the secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and the secretary of state, Colin L. Powell. Neither objected, several former officials said.

Mr. Cheney, whose top legal adviser, David S. Addington, was closely consulting with Mr. Yoo about legal justification, strongly endorsed the program. Mr. Bush also gave his approval, though what details were shared with him is not known.

With that, the C.I.A. had the full support of the White House to begin its harshest interrogations. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have never publicly second-guessed their decision. Though some former officials expressed regret that such a momentous decision was made so quickly without vital information or robust debate, none were willing to be quoted by name.

There was one more check on intelligence programs, one designed in the 1970s to make sure independent observers kept an eye on spy agencies: Congress. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees had been created in the mid-1970s to prevent any repeat of the C.I.A. abuses unearthed by the Senate’s Church Committee.

As was common with the most secret programs, the C.I.A. chose not to brief the entire committees about the interrogation methods but only the so-called Gang of Four — the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate and House committees. The rest of the committee members would be fully briefed only in 2006.

The 2002 Gang of Four briefings left a hodgepodge of contradictory recollections that, to some Congressional staff members, reveal a dysfunctional oversight system. Without full staff support, few lawmakers are equipped to make difficult legal and policy judgments about secret programs, critics say.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who in 2002 was the ranking Democrat on the House committee, has said in public statements that she recalls being briefed on the methods, including waterboarding. She insists, however, that the lawmakers were told only that the C.I.A. believed the methods were legal — not that they were going to be used.

By contrast, the ranking Republican on the House committee at the time, Porter J. Goss of Florida, who later served as C.I.A. director, recalls a clear message that the methods would be used.

“We were briefed, and we certainly understood what C.I.A. was doing,” Mr. Goss said in an interview. “Not only was there no objection, there was actually concern about whether the agency was doing enough.”

Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, who was committee chairman in 2002, said in an interview that he did not recall ever being briefed on the methods, though government officials with access to records say all four committee leaders received multiple briefings.

Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the committee, declined to discuss the briefings.

Vicki Divoll, general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002 and a former C.I.A. lawyer, would have been a logical choice to advise senators on the legal status of the interrogation methods. But because of the restricted briefings, Ms. Divoll learned about them only years later from news media accounts.

Ms. Divoll, who now teaches government at the United States Naval Academy, said the interrogation issue revealed the perils of such restricted briefings.

“The very programs that are among the most risky and controversial, and that therefore should get the greatest congressional oversight,” she said, “in fact get the least.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22detain.html?hp=&pagewanted=all

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

El papel de los psicólogos en las torturas impulsadas por Bush

Según los papeles desclasificados por Obama, eran clave con los prisioneros
El presidente abre la puerta a posibles acciones judiciales contra responsables legales

Por WILLIAM SALETAN* (SLATE)
Actualizado 21-04-2009 18:51 CET

Estos días se ha conocido con mucho detalle que la CIA ordenó aplicar distintos métodos coercitivos —directamente tortura en muchas ocasiones— a presuntos miembros de Al Qaeda. Obama ha defendido la publicación de los informes secretos, pero anunció que no enjuiciaría a los agentes responsables. Sin embargo, hoy mismo Obama ha dejado una puerta abierta a posibles acciones judiciales contra los oficiales de la Administración Bush que dieron soporte legal a estas torturas. En este texto que ahora publicamos se relata la importancia y el papel que han desempeñado los psicólogos en estas torturas.

Cuando llegue el momento de torturar a un detenido, asegúrate de que se envía al especialista indicado: un psicólogo.

En la edición del pasado sábado del Washington Post, Joby Warrick y Peter Finn informaban de que el último montón de memorandos de tortura de la Administración Bush "muestra un flujo constante de psicólogos, médicos y otros funcionarios del sector sanitario que, por un lado, mantuvieron con vida a detenidos y, por otro, participaron al tiempo activamente en el diseño del programa de interrogatorios y el control sobre cómo se implementaba". En concreto:

"El 1 de agosto de 2002, un memorando decía que la CIA contaba con 'psicólogos in situ' para que ayudaran a diseñar e implementar un programa de interrogatorio para [el detenido y supuesto miembro de Al Qaeda] Abu Zubaida, que, en última instancia, proponía 10 métodos tomados del programa de entrenamiento militar de EEUU conocido como SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, Supervivencia, Evasión, Resistencia y Escape). Dicho programa, empleado para contribuir a preparar a pilotos para soportar la tortura en caso de una eventual captura, está ligeramente inspirado en técnicas que usó la China comunista para torturar a prisioneros de guerra norteamericanos… Los psicólogos de la CIA tenían experiencia personal en SERE y ayudaron a persuadir a los funcionarios de la CIA de que las tácticas severas coaccionarían a Abu Zubaida sin infligirle daños permanentes."

Atención al cambio radical en el propósito. SERE fue desarrollado para estudiar métodos de tortura con el fin de que los pilotos pudieran resistirlos. Pero llegamos a adquirir un grado tan alto de comprensión de estas técnicas, y nos impresionó tanto su eficacia, que comenzamos a aplicarlas a nuestros propios detenidos. La tortura como ciencia llevó a la tortura como tecnología. Esto ocurre con frecuencia con la pericia: la adquirimos con un propósito pero pronto la adaptamos a otro; en este caso, justo al propósito contrario.

Warrick y Finn prosiguen: "El memorando establece que la técnica de tortura de asfixia simulada conocida como submarino mojado fue proclamada como especialmente eficaz porque "se dijo que fue casi 100% efectiva para conseguir la colaboración" . La agencia se valió entonces de un informe psicológico de Abu Zubaida para averiguar sus puntos vulnerables. Uno de ellos resultó ser fobia a los bichos. "Parece tener miedo a los insectos", expone el memorando, que describe un plan para introducir una oruga o una criatura similar en el cajón de madera donde estaba confinado el prisionero. Funcionarios de la CIA aseguran que este plan nunca se llevó a cabo."

De nuevo, fijaos en la facilidad con que se trastoca la pericia. En psicología clínica el tratamiento se adapta a cada paciente. Un psicoterapeuta no establece principios generales: explora tus particulares miedos. La cuestión es ayudarte. Pero, como identificar miedos es una habilidad, puede volverse en tu contra con igual facilidad.

También se dijo a los interrogadores que podían explotar el miedo del detenido a ser visto desnudo por mujeres, tal como sostiene Jeffrey Smith, del Washington Post. A lo que sea que temas, ahí meteremos el dedo en la llaga.

La mayor parte del alboroto en torno a los memorandos de tortura se centra en la violencia que consienten. Pero el objetivo de un interrogatorio con tortura no es la violencia. Es la cooperación. La cooperación es un acto mental. Podría patearte la cabeza, pero seguramente todo quedaría hecho un asco y acabaría siendo peliagudo dar cuentas a los servicios sanitarios. Preferiría soslayar tu cuerpo e ir directamente a por lo que se niega a cooperar: tu mente. Ahí es donde entra en juego el psicólogo. Me dice cómo infligirte una angustia insoportable sin necesidad de recurrir a la violencia, o, al menos, sin dejar el rastro de cicatrices visibles.

Incluso con violencia de por medio, la vía pretendida es psicológica. Aquí tenemos al anterior director de la CIA, Michael Hayden, en el programa Fox News Sunday, explicando por qué se opuso a desclasificar los memorandos de tortura el pasado domingo: "Para nuestros enemigos, lo que hemos descrito en plena guerra son los límites más extremos, que ningún norteamericano llegaría a traspasar al interrogar a un terrorista de Al Qaeda. La naturaleza de esta información es muy valiosa. Ahora bien: eso no quiere decir que siempre llegáramos a esos límites, pero define el ámbito donde los norteamericanos no se moverían más allá. En mi opinión, esta información es muy útil para nuestros enemigos, independientemente de que, como asunto político, el presidente de turno decidiera no emplear ni una, ni varias, ni ninguna de dichas técnicas."

En otras palabras: la CIA quiere que los detenidos vivan en el terror de conjeturar qué les podríamos llegar a hacer. Aunque tengamos políticas que nos prohíban herirles o hacerles daño de una o otra forma física, desde un punto de vista psicológico no debemos permitir que lo sepan. Queremos crear en su imaginación un horizonte de posibles horrores, una pesadilla peor que la realidad.

La tortura es mental. Ésa es la razón por la que la CIA se valió de psicólogos —y también por eso las investigaciones en torno al programa de tortura de Bush deben ir más allá de indagar en la violencia que aplicamos en realidad—.

Artículo originalmente publicado en el medio digital estadounidense Slate.

(Traducción: Carola Paredes)

http://www.soitu.es/soitu/2009/04/21/actualidad/1240332672_774372.html

The New York Times dijo...

Report Gives New Detail on Approval of Brutal Techniques
By BRIAN KNOWLTON
April 22, 2009
WASHINGTON — A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration.

The report focused solely on interrogations carried out by the military, not those conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency at its secret prisons overseas. It rejected claims by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others that Pentagon policies played no role in harsh treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other military facilities.

The 232-page report, the product of an 18-month inquiry, was approved on Nov. 20 by the Senate Armed Services Committee, but has since been under Pentagon review for declassification. Some of the findings were made public in a Dec. 12 article in The New York Times; a spokesman for Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed the report at the time as “unfounded allegations against those who have served our nation.”

The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq — stripping detainees, placing them in “stress positions” or depriving them of sleep — originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.

According to the Senate investigation, a military behavioral scientist and a colleague who had witnessed SERE training proposed its use at Guantánamo in October 2002, as pressure was rising “to get ‘tougher’ with detainee interrogations.” Officers there sought authorization, and Mr. Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques.

The report showed that Mr. Rumsfeld’s authorization was cited by a United States military special-operations lawyer in Afghanistan as “an analogy and basis for use of these techniques,” and that, in February 2003, a special-operations unit in Iraq obtained a copy of the policy from Afghanistan “that included aggressive techniques, changed the letterhead, and adopted the policy verbatim.”

Months later, the report said, the interrogation officer in charge at Abu Ghraib obtained a copy of that policy “and submitted it, virtually unchanged, through her chain of command.” This ultimately led to authorization by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez of the use of stress positions, “sleep management” and military dogs to exploit detainees’ fears, the report said.

“The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots,” Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “This report, in great detail, shows a paper trail going from that authorization” by Mr. Rumsfeld “to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq,” Mr. Levin said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22report.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

José R. Cepeda dijo...

Ya era hora de que en USA se acabara la impunidad. Si hubo violaciones de derechos humanos que sean procesados como ellos exigen de otros.

El próximo paso puede ser quitarle también la impunidad a los delincuentes de cuello blanco. Se fijaron q varios de los bancos y empresas finacieras de USA reportaron ganancias billonarias este último trimestre. ¿Q cambió? ...¿seré yo, o esto huele a chanchullo?

Jose Oyola Medina dijo...

Amigo Jose R. Cepeda, buen punto se trae usted, ni lo habia
pensado con tantas cosas sucediendo a la vez, definitivo, hay
que sentar en el banquillo de acusados los responsables por esta enorme crisis financiera que sin dudas supone la apropiacion ilegal de billones de dolares, hicieron fiesta en Wall Street y otras companias privadas, y ahora se les tira la toalla a billetazo impreso pero con cargos al pueblo, espero Roberto pueda mas adelante analizar este asunto, Gracias!

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

Defensores de la tortura al banquillo
Por William Fisher

...el primer objetivo de los acusadores es el ex abogado general del Departamento (ministerio) de Defensa, William J. Haynes II.

La filial de la Asociación Nacional de Abogados (NLG) en San Francisco ya presentó una demanda en su contra, y le pidió al Colegio de Abogados del occidental estado de California que lo investigara y expulsara.

Haynes se desempeña ahora como abogado de la compañía automovilística Chevron Corp. en San Ramón, California.

El periódico Los Angeles Times informó que una demanda similar se prepara en el nororiental estado de Pennsylvania contra el ex abogado del Departamento de Justicia (fiscalía general) John C. Yoo, profesor de Derecho de la Universidad de California.

El motivo es el rol que jugó en la elaboración de las pautas legales que avalaban las denominadas técnicas de "interrogatorio mejorado", mientras se desempeñaba en la Oficina de Asesoramiento legal de ese departamento, durante el gobierno de George W. Bush (2001-2009).

Entre esas técnicas figuraba el "waterboarding" o simulación de ahogamiento, conocido y usado por las dictaduras latinoamericanas de los años 70 bajo el nombre de "submarino".

"Los abogados que brindaron a los altos funcionarios de Bush una fachada ‘legal’ participaron en la formulación de la política de tortura y tratamientos crueles. Deberían ser el blanco de investigación penal e inhabilitados para el ejercicio de la abogacía por sus violaciones éticas", dijo a IPS Marjorie Cohn, presidenta del NLG.

Cohn también observó que la demanda presentada en Pennsylvania contra John Yoo fue puesta en suspenso.

El proceso quedó pendiente "de la difusión del informe de la Oficina de Responsabilidad Profesional del Departamento de Justicia, que aparentemente es muy crítica de Yoo, Jay Bybee y Stephen Bradbury, autores de los memorandos sobre tortura", explicó la abogada.

Haynes se desempeñó como consejero general del Departamento de Defensa desde el 24 de mayo de 2001 hasta su abrupta renuncia el 25 de febrero de 2008, días después de que la revista The Nation publicó un artículo acusándolo de "arreglar" juicios a prisioneros en la cubana bahía de Guantánamo.

Haynes fue el principal funcionario legal del Departamento de Defensa y asesor legal del entonces secretario de esa cartera, Donald Rumsfeld.

Varios memorandos a y de Haynes fueron difundidos en marzo como parte de las desclasificaciones realizadas por el Departamento de Justicia de Obama.

Haynes también fue uno de los seis funcionarios del gobierno de Bush nombrados en la investigación en curso sobre torturas y otros delitos hoy a consideración de la justicia española.

La demanda del NLG señala que, mientras era consejero general del Departamento de Defensa, Haynes dejó de lado sus responsabilidades profesionales y promovió tácticas severas que equivalían a tortura, en violación del derecho estadounidense e internacional.

Esta "inadecuada defensa" de esas técnicas "condujo directamente a abusos de detenidos en las bases de la bahía de Guantánamo y Abu Ghraib", en Iraq, acusó el NLG en la demanda.

También señaló que Haynes brindó una fachada legal para que soldados y agentes federales de Estados Unidos usaran perros y otros métodos humillantes, como ordenar a los prisioneros a desnudarse y a soportar posiciones estresantes.

La demanda plantea que Haynes "está directamente vinculado a la tortura de al menos un detenido", Mohamed Mani Ahmad al-Kahtani, supuesto miembro de la red extremista Al Qaeda, a quien se acusa de participar en los ataques terroristas del 11 de septiembre de 2001, que dejaron 3.000 muertos en Nueva York y Washington.

A Al-Kahtani se le negó el ingreso a territorio estadounidense por sospechas de que intentaba inmigrar ilegalmente. Desde enero de 2002 está detenido en Guantánamo.

"Nosotros torturamos a Kathani. Su trato recibe la definición legal de tortura", dijo Susan J. Crawford, funcionaria a cargo de las acusaciones en las cortes marciales en Guantánamo. Por este motivo, ella misma desestimó los cargos contra Khatani.

El NLG denuncia que Haynes también está directamente vinculado al juicio de soldados de bajo rango por usar técnicas que él aprobó.

La asociación alega que Haynes no mostró "respeto ni obediencia por la ley, ni respeto por los derechos de otros", como requieren las normas internas de esta organización de abogados.

"Intencional o imprudentemente", él no actuó de modo competente, no supervisó adecuadamente el trabajo de los abogados subordinados, y presentó a Rumsfeld "memorandos legales de baja calidad en lo que refiere a la definición de tortura".

"Haynes también actuó de modo incompetente al aconsejarle al secretario Rumsfeld que aprobara técnicas de interrogatorios que violaban el derecho estadounidense e internacional, y sin siquiera mencionar fuertes objeciones por parte del ejército", señala la demanda.

En el marco del memorando de Haynes y aprobado por Rumsfeld, se molestó a un detenido haciendo que una mujer lo tocara, además de que hubiera "mujeres viendo su cuerpo desnudo", y negándole el derecho a rezar.

Haynes "recomendó la aprobación de agresivas técnicas de interrogatorio que los militares declararon pueden violar la ley. Obligó a abogados subordinados a depender de los memorandos preparados por la Oficina de Asesoramiento Legal, que desde entonces fueron objeto de rescisiones sin precedentes. Su consejo fue tan en contra de la ley que Rumsfeld fue forzado a rescindir la aprobación en base al memorando Haynes", según la demanda del NLG.

"No hay absolutamente ninguna evidencia de que el señor Haynes intentara presentar una evaluación imparcial, no tendenciosa, de la ley. Toda la evidencia muestra que el señor Haynes aconsejó inadecuadamente la asignación de técnicas ilegales e inhumanas de interrogatorios", continúa el texto.

Haynes "no apoyó o defendió la Constitución de Estados Unidos, ni las leyes de Estados Unidos, ni mantuvo el respeto debido a los tribunales y funcionarios judiciales. Sus acciones involucraron bajeza moral, deshonestidad y corrupción", agrega.

Además, "abusó de la ley y no la respetó, con fines políticos. Esto está mal".

El 29 de septiembre de 2003, Bush nombró a Haynes como miembro del Tribunal de Apelaciones del Cuarto Circuito.

Pero su participación en un memorando titulado "Argumentos legales para evitar la jurisdicción de las Convenciones de Ginebra" desató una intervención parlamentaria que impidió que su nominación recibiera la plena aprobación del Senado.

Según el NLG, los juicios de Nuremberg a los criminales de guerra nazis tras la Segunda Guerra Mundial (1939-1945) mostraron que "los líderes poderosos pueden comprometerse, y lo hacen, en actos ilegales y trato inhumano a otros. Estos líderes dependen de los abogados y del sistema legal para darle apariencia de legitimidad a una agenda ilegal. Tristemente, siempre parece haber abogados dispuestos a aceptar el ofrecimiento de gobernantes poderosos"

http://www.ipsnoticias.net/nota.asp?idnews=91901

Jose Oyola Medina dijo...

Que se procesen criminalmente por violaciones a los derechos humanos, y igualmente que se investiguen las violaciones a los derechos civiles y constitucionales a ciudadanos Americanos, desde Alaska a Puerto Rico. La unica manera de
garantizar, aunque no en su totalidad, que no se repitan las
practicas abusivas que laceran el derecho a existir de cada ser humano, extranjero o ciudadano.

The New York Times dijo...

Interrogations’ Effectiveness May Prove Elusive
By SCOTT SHANE
April 23, 2009
News Analysis
WASHINGTON — Even the most exacting truth commission may have a hard time determining for certain whether brutal interrogations conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency helped keep the country safe.

Last week’s release of long-secret Justice Department interrogation memorandums has given rise to starkly opposing narratives about what, if anything, was gained by the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, wall-slamming and other physical pressure to shock and intimidate Qaeda operatives.

Senior Bush administration officials, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and cheered by many Congressional Republicans, are fighting a rear-guard action in defense of their record. Only by using the harshest methods, they insist, did the intelligence agency get the information it needed to round up Qaeda killers and save thousands of American lives.

Even President Obama’s new director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, wrote in a memorandum to his staff last week that “high value information came from interrogations in which these methods were used,” an assertion left out when the memorandum was edited for public release. By contrast, Mr. Obama and most of his top aides have argued that the use of those methods betrayed American values — and anyway, produced unreliable information. Those are a convenient pair of opinions, of course: the moral balancing would be far trickier if the C.I.A. methods were demonstrated to have been crucial in disrupting major plots.

For both sides, the political stakes are high, as proposals for a national commission to unravel the interrogation story appear to be gaining momentum. Mr. Obama and his allies need to discredit the techniques he has banned. Otherwise, in the event of a future terrorist attack, critics may blame his decision to rein in C.I.A. interrogators.

But if a strong case emerges that the Bush administration authorized torture and got nothing but prisoners’ desperate fabrications in return, that will tarnish what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have claimed as their greatest achievement: preventing new attacks after Sept. 11, 2001.

Within the agency, the necessity, effectiveness and legality of the interrogation methods have been repeatedly subject to review. The agency’s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, studied the program in 2004 and raised serious questions. According to former intelligence officials, that led to separate reviews by an internal panel headed by Henry A. Crumpton, a veteran counterterrorism officer, and by two outsiders, Gardner Peckham, who had served as national security adviser to Newt Gingrich, and John J. Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary.

Their conclusions remain classified, but that could change now that the intelligence agency’s techniques have been made public. In a twist this week, Mr. Cheney, a fierce defender of secrecy as vice president, called for the release of more classified memorandums that he asserted prove the effectiveness of the coercive techniques.

The second-guessing of the C.I.A.’s methods inside the government began long before Mr. Obama’s election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government agency with the greatest knowledge of Al Qaeda in 2001, chose not to participate in the C.I.A. interrogation program after agents became uneasy about the earliest use of harsh methods in 2002 on Abu Zubaydah, a long-sought terrorist facilitator.

In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, the F.B.I. director since 2001, Robert S. Mueller III, was asked whether any attacks had been disrupted because of intelligence obtained through the coercive methods. “I don’t believe that has been the case,” Mr. Mueller said. (A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, John Miller, said on Tuesday, “The quote is accurate.”)

That assessment stands in sharp contrast to many assertions by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who on Fox News on Sunday said of the methods: “They did work. They kept us safe for seven years.”

Four successive C.I.A. directors have made similar claims, and the most recent, Michael V. Hayden, said in January that he believed the methods “got the maximum amount of information” from prisoners, citing specifically Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief 9/11 plotter.

Many intelligence officials, including some opposed to the brutal methods, confirm that the program produced information of great value, including tips on early-stage schemes to attack tall buildings on the West Coast and buildings in New York’s financial district and Washington. Interrogation of one Qaeda operative led to tips on finding others, until the leadership of the organization was decimated. Removing from the scene such dedicated and skilled plotters as Mr. Mohammed, or the Indonesian terrorist known as Hambali, almost certainly prevented future attacks.

But which information came from which methods, and whether the same result might have been achieved without the political, legal and moral cost of the torture controversy, is hotly disputed, even inside the intelligence agency.

The Justice Department memorandums released last week illustrate how difficult it can be to assess claims of effectiveness. One 2005 memorandum, for example, asserts that “enhanced techniques” used on Abu Zubaydah and Mr. Mohammed “yielded critical information.”

But the memorandum then lists among Abu Zubaydah’s revelations the identification of Mr. Mohammed and of an alleged radiological bomb plot by Jose Padilla, the American Qaeda associate. Both those disclosures were made long before Abu Zubaydah was subjected to harsh treatment, according to multiple accounts.

On Mr. Mohammed, the record is murkier. The memorandum says that “before the C.I.A. used enhanced techniques,” Mr. Mohammed “resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, ‘Simply noting, ‘Soon, you will know.’ ”

But the same memorandum reveals in a footnote that Mr. Mohammed, captured on March 1, 2003, was waterboarded 183 times that month. That striking number, which would average out to six waterboardings a day, suggests that interrogators did not try a traditional, rapport-building approach for long before escalating to their most extreme tool.

Mr. Obama paid his first visit to the agency this week, and his reference to the interrogation issue made for an awkward moment in which he sounded like a teacher gently correcting his pupils.

“Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we’ve made some mistakes,” he said. “That’s how we learn.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/us/politics/23detain.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&src=ig&pagewanted=print

The Washington Post dijo...

Congress Debates Fresh Investigation Of Interrogations
White House Tries to Quell Controversy

By Dan Balz and Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 23, 2009

The legacy of George W. Bush continued to dog President Obama and his administration yesterday, as Congress divided over creating a panel to investigate the harsh interrogation techniques employed under Bush's authorization and the White House tried to contain the controversy over the president's decision to release Justice Department memos justifying and outlining those procedures.

Obama had hoped to put the whole matter behind him, first by banning those interrogation methods early in his presidency and then by releasing the memos last week with the provison that no CIA official who carried out interrogations should be prosecuted.

Instead, the latest decision has stirred controversy on the right and the left. Obama has drawn sharp criticism from former vice president Richard B. Cheney, former CIA directors and Republican elected officials for releasing the memos. Those critics see softness in the commander in chief. He faces equally strong reaction from the left, where there is a desire to punish Bush administration officials for their actions and to conduct a more thorough investigation of what happened.

The controversy moved to Capitol Hill yesterday as lawmakers debated the wisdom of beginning a fresh investigation of the Bush-era practices. Several top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), withheld judgment, noting that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has begun an inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, endorsed the idea and said witnesses should not be immune from prosecution.

Obama apparently thought he could avoid what is now playing out. In the weeks when he was weighing the release of the memos, a vigorous debate took place within his administration. There was, according to a senior official, considerable support among Obama's advisers for the creation of a 9/11 Commission-style investigation as an alternative to releasing the documents. But the president quashed the concept.

"His concern was that would ratchet the whole thing up," the official said. "His whole thing is: 'I banned all this. This chapter is over. What we don't need now is to become a sort of feeding frenzy where we go back and re-litigate all this.' "

Obama knew he could not stop Congress from doing whatever lawmakers decided to do, but he was reluctant to give a presidential imprimatur to a national commission that would keep the controversy alive for months or years. He had his own agenda and wanted to move on. Putting out the memos seemed to be the cleanest way to accomplish his twin goals of making a break with the previous administration and avoiding a lengthy and partisan debate over his policy vs. Bush's.

That was where things stood when the administration released the information last week. In the subsequent four days, officials did damage control. Obama went to CIA headquarters Monday to defend his decision and to try to boost morale at the agency. Meanwhile, there was a backlash against the administration's seeming posture that no one should be prosecuted for what happened under Bush.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contributed to the perception that this was the administration's position. Speaking on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, he said that neither the CIA officials who carried out the harsh interrogations nor the Justice Department officials who authorized them should be prosecuted. "It's not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back [in] any sense of anger and retribution," he said.

That was contrary to what the administration signaled when the memos were released. At that time, it seemed clear that the authors of the legal justification could face legal jeopardy, depending on a further review by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

When Obama was pressed on this and other questions Tuesday, he said he was not prepared to rule out prosecutions of some of those responsible for setting the policy. What seemed to be off the table Monday was suddenly back on it.

White House officials said the president's words were not a change in policy, but the headlines and the television commentary said otherwise. Now, Obama finds himself in the middle of a storm that may or may not pass quickly.

Bush administration veterans, led by Cheney, are poised to renew a high-volume debate over the efficacy of the interrogation methods and, more broadly, the approach to terrorism that Obama's predecessor took after Sept. 11, 2001. Cheney called this week for the release of more memos that he said would demonstrate how effective the tactics were. And in an interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity, he made it clear that he is ready to wage a battle over who is right.

"The threat is there. It's very real, and it's continuing," Cheney said. "And what the Obama people are doing, in effect, is saying, 'Well, we don't need those tough policies that we had.' "

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was pressed in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday to respond to Cheney's contention that the administration is suppressing evidence that the techniques worked and that Bush officials tried to correct problems as they arose. "It won't surprise you that I don't consider him a particularly reliable source of information," Clinton responded.

Obama has triggered a debate over what happens next. The American Civil Liberties Union has called for a special prosecutor. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared to reject that course, saying Justice Department lawyers are looking into the question of legal action against those responsible for authorizing the interrogation methods and are capable of reaching a conclusion.

Gibbs also emphasized that it will be up to the Justice Department, not the White House, to decide how to proceed, and he invoked an analogy.

"If you spray-paint the back of this plane, if you tear up one of the seats, even though it's Air Force One, the president doesn't make a determination as to who broke the law," Gibbs said. "That's a legal official."

The possibility of a commission remained unclear. The Senate's leading advocate for the idea, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), said Tuesday that he welcomed Obama's comments opening the way for an inquiry but was still looking to gather support.

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), one of the chief backers of the commission proposal, sent Obama a letter yesterday pressing him to consider prosecuting not only the lawyers who provided legal justification but also some of the people who carried out the procedures.

In a joint statement, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said prosecuting Bush administration officials for their legal opinions would have a "deeply chilling effect" on any administration receiving legal advice. And they said a commission would "focus on the mistakes of the past" instead of "looking forward to solutions."

White House officials have expressed confidence that a congressionally backed investigation will not come to pass. But they have been drawn into a debate they did not foresee. The president has a full plate, domestically and internationally. He had hoped that, in winning the election and moving quickly to change his predecessor's policies, he could close the books on Bush's presidency.

Instead, he has found in his first months how difficult that is. Hopes for an immediate change in tone have withered. Republican opposition to his economic policies remains nearly unanimous. With this latest controversy, he is learning that neither the opponents nor the defenders of Bush's presidency are ready to move on.

Staff writers Glenn Kessler and Michael D. Shear contributed to this report

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/22/AR2009042204032_pf.html

The Washington Post dijo...

Harsh Methods Approved as Early as Summer 2002
Holder Declassifies Timeline of Actions by Top Bush Administration Officials Regarding Interrogation

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Condoleezza Rice, John D. Ashcroft and other top Bush administration officials approved as early as the summer of 2002 the CIA's use at secret prisons of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a technique that new Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has described as illegal torture, according to a chronology prepared by the Senate intelligence committee and declassified by Holder.

At a time when the Justice Department is deciding whether former officials who set interrogation policy or formulated the legal justifications for it should be investigated for possible crimes, the timeline lists at least a dozen members of the Bush administration who were present when the CIA's director or others explained exactly which questioning techniques were to be used and how those sessions proceeded.

Rice gave a key early green light when, as President George W. Bush's national security adviser, she met on July 17, 2002, with the CIA's then-director, George J. Tenet, and "advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation of Abu Zubaida," subject to approval by the Justice Department, according to the timeline.

Abu Zubaida, a Saudi-born Palestinian whose real name is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, was captured in Pakistan in March 2002. He was the first high-value detainee in CIA custody, and the agency believed that the al-Qaeda associate was "withholding imminent threat information," according to the timeline.

Rice and four other administration officials were first briefed in May 2002 on "alternative interrogation methods, including waterboarding," the timeline shows. Waterboarding is a technique that simulates drowning.

A year later, in July 2003, the CIA briefed Rice, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Attorney General Ashcroft, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and National Security Council legal adviser John B. Bellinger III on the use of waterboarding and other methods, the timeline states. They "reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy."

"This was not an abstract discussion. These were very detailed and specific conversations," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "And it's further evidence of the role that senior administration officials had."

At that point, the United States had also captured Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, who was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003, according to recently released Justice Department documents.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were not briefed on the program until September 2003, the narrative shows. "Strikingly, unless there is a further story in records not yet shown to us, the secretary of state and the secretary of defense were not involved in the decision-making process, despite the high stakes for U.S. foreign policy and for the treatment of the U.S. military," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.).

Reached in California, Bellinger declined to comment. Attempts to contact Ashcroft and Tenet through spokespeople were unsuccessful. Rice did not respond to an e-mail, and a spokesman for Gonzales declined to comment. The CIA also declined to comment.

"This chronology is misleading and incomplete and does not reflect the NSC review process or the information presented to the NSC," said a former White House official involved in the deliberations.

Cheney has said repeatedly that the CIA program was legal and critical in breaking up a series of planned terrorist attacks. He has called on the Obama administration to declassify memos examining the effectiveness of the interrogation policies he supported.

In the fall of 2002, four senior members of Congress, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), now speaker of the House, were secretly briefed on interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, according to U.S. officials. Pelosi has confirmed that she was then "briefed on interrogation techniques the administration was considering using in the future. The administration advised that legal counsel for both the CIA and the Justice Department had concluded that the techniques were legal."

In early 2004, a comprehensive report by the CIA inspector general raised new questions about the program, including queries about the waterboarding of three detainees. It said the interrogations were not clearly legal under an international treaty the United States had signed known as the Convention Against Torture, which bars cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that falls short of torture.

A fresh legal review by the Justice Department prompted Ashcroft to inform the CIA in writing on July 22, 2004, that its interrogation methods -- except waterboarding -- were legal. The following month, the head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel added that even waterboarding would be legal if it were carried out with a series of safeguards according to CIA plans. By May 2005, the department had completed two more reviews of the program that came to the same conclusion. Those were among the memos President Obama released last week.

After the leak in 2005 of a Justice Department memo that narrowly defined the type of activity that would constitute torture, Rice traveled to Europe in an effort to quell the international uproar. As her trip was getting underway, she said: "The United States government does not authorize or condone torture of detainees. Torture, and conspiracy to commit torture, are crimes under U.S. law, wherever they may occur in the world."

Rice also said at the time that the administration's policy "will be consistent" with the international convention prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." A former aide said that gaining administration approval for Rice to make this statement was "a move forward."

Staff writer Glenn Kessler and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/22/AR2009042203141_pf.html

The Washington Post dijo...

Defense Chief Gates Says He Backed Releasing CIA Memos

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 23, 2009 12:22 PM

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., April 23 -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates indicated Thursday that he supported the release of sensitive memos on detainee interrogation methods last week because he viewed their ultimate disclosure as inevitable.

Gates, a former CIA director, said his foremost concern was that CIA officers who had used the interrogation techniques should be protected from prosecution.

"I felt very strongly the importance that they be protected," Gates told reporters during a visit to this Marine Corps base in North Carolina.

Another concern, Gates said, was the possibility that the Obama administration's release of the memos would cause a "backlash in the Middle East" that could adversely affect U.S. forces operating there. In discussions, he said, senior administration officials realized the disclosure could be "used by al-Qaeda" to generate opposition against the United States.

Despite these concerns, Gates said he believed it was very likely that the interrogation memos would eventually become public.

In light of congressional probes and lawsuits on detainee operations, there was "a certain inevitability that most of this would come out," he said.

"All of us wrestled with it," he said when asked whether he personally supported the release of the memos. But he added that his own view was shaped by his belief that the methods would ultimately become known.

Gates said he deferred to the Justice Department on the extent of the redactions to the memos.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/23/AR2009042302446_pf.html

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

FBI Zubaydah Interrogator Calls George Bush a Liar: “No Actionable Intelligence Gained from Using Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”
By: Jane Hamsher Thursday April 23, 2009 10:06 am

Ali Soufan, an FBI interrogator who stayed mum for seven years about "the false claims magnifying the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding" breaks his silence in the NYT today. Along with other CIA and FBI agents, he questioned Zubadayah in June of 2002 before "harsh techniques" were introduced:

"Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence. We discovered, for example, that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Abu Zubaydah also told us about Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber."

That squares with what part of what George Bush said in his 2006 speech defending the use of "new interrogation" techniques:

"During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information -- and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the "nominal" information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- or KSM -- was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias "Muktar." This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM."

But that's where the stories diverge. Bush says Zubadayah gave critical information about Padilla's plans:

"Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States -- an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained -- one while traveling to the United States."

Soufan says this isn't true:

"Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false.... As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May."

Bush said that at this point, after Zubadayah gave up information about KSM and Padilla using normal interrogation techniques, he became uncooperative: "We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking." According to Jane Mayer, that's not what happened -- the FBI thought they were getting "phenomenal" information. George Tenet was thrilled, until he found out it was an FBI success, not a CIA success. According to Ron Suskind, Tenet was under "extraordinary pressure from Bush to produce breakthrough intelligence from Zubayda, whose capture the President had sold to the country as a major coup."

The CIA team arrived, the FBI people were frozen out, and psychologist James Mitchell took over and the "enhanced interrogation techniques" began. Bush said this was necessary because "it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation." In fact, says Mayer, "what happened next was that Zubayda completely shut down. After the next ten to fifteen days, the FBI agents had to be brought back in, at which point he began talking again." But they were once again expelled by orders from Washington. According to the McClatchy story yesterday, Cheney and Rumsfeld "demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration."

Bush said the CIA efforts were successful, and that the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh:

"Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh."

And that's where Soufan calls him a liar:

"The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods... there was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics"

http://firedoglake.com/2009/04/23/fbi-zubaydah-interrogator-calls-george-bush-a-liar-no-actionable-intelligence-gained-from-using-enhanced-interrogation-techniques/

CNN dijo...

Senate Report: Rice, Cheney OK'd CIA Use of Waterboarding

WASHINGTON - Top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique, as early as 2002, a Senate intelligence report shows.

On July 17, 2002, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who later became secretary of state, said the CIA could proceed with "alternative interrogation methods," including waterboarding, when questioning suspected al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.

The decision was contingent on the Justice Department's determining the method's legality. A week later, Attorney General John Ashcroft had determined the "proposed interrogation techniques were lawful," the report said.

The same techniques also were used in the interrogations of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the first person charged in the United States in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

The release of the report, prepared by the attorney general's office at the request of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, details and declassifies the advice given to the CIA regarding its interrogation techniques.

The techniques again gained the endorsement of the Bush administration in spring 2003 when the CIA asked for a "reaffirmation of the policies and practices in the interrogation program."

In a meeting that included Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet, Ashcroft, Rice and their legal counsels, "the principals reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy," the report said.

President Obama has called waterboarding -- which simulates drowning -- torture and last week released a series of Bush-era memos on interrogation tactics.

One memo showed that CIA interrogators used waterboarding at least 266 times on Zubaydah and Mohammed.

In a 2008 interview with ABC, Cheney defended the practice of waterboarding, now banned by the Obama administration, particularly in the case of Mohammed.

"Did it produce the desired results? I think it did," Cheney said.

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ... provided us with a wealth of information. There was a period of time there, three or fours years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source.

"So it's been a remarkably successful effort," he said. "I think the results speak for themselves."

More recently, Cheney said some people are more interested in reading terrorists their rights than protecting the United States, a dig at the new administration.

Cheney this week called Obama's release of the Bush memos "disturbing" and said the administration is sitting on other CIA memos that show that the interrogations helped stop terror attacks.

"They didn't put out the memos that show the success of the effort, and there are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity," Cheney told Fox News on Monday. "They have not been declassified."
© 2009 Cable News Network

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/04/23

Jose Oyola Medina dijo...

Esto se pone la mar de interesante. El Senado democrata a todas luces obliga a el Presidente Barack Obama de no interponerse en esta historica investigacion, y ya este parece
haberse allanado a la voluntad del Congreso federal, que si parece listo y decidido a ajusticiar a los culpables, por lo visto.
Gracias Roberto.

The Washington Post dijo...

Democrats split on Bush-era interrogation probe

By Randall Mikkelsen
Reuters
Friday, April 24, 2009 8:59 AM



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A debate over how to investigate Bush-era officials who authorized harsh interrogation tactics of terrorism suspects split Washington on Thursday, and Democrats squabbled over how to proceed.

The top Democrats in Congress differed over the creation of a special "truth commission" to investigate whether laws were violated by Bush administration officials whose legal analysis sanctioned waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning, and other methods such as sleep deprivation and forced nudity.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for creation of such a commission, her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid, declined to endorse it.

Reid said the Senate intelligence committee should complete its own closed-door inquiry, which could take up to a year. "I believe what we have to do is wait until the intelligence committee finishes its work," Reid told the Las Vegas Sun.

The White House did not sound enthusiastic about a special commission. "I think the last few days might well be evidence of why something like this would likely just become a political back-and-forth," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

President Barack Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, said he would not allow "criminalization" of policy differences over CIA interrogations.

"However, it is my responsibility as the attorney general to enforce the law," Holder told a congressional hearing. "If I see wrongdoing, I will pursue it to the full extent of the law."

The Democratic U.S. president on Tuesday opened the door to the possible prosecution of officials from the Republican Bush administration. Obama's comments intensified a political firestorm that erupted last week when he released previously top-secret Bush-era memos that provided legal justification for various interrogation techniques.

After the White House first said it wanted to look forward and not review the past, Obama raised the possibility that a bipartisan panel could look at the matter and said it would be up to the Justice Department to decide whether anyone from former President George W. Bush's administration should be prosecuted.

Comments by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration, suggested there was a split among Obama's inner circle about releasing the memos.

Gates said in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that he was concerned the release of the documents could lead to a backlash against U.S. interests overseas, but that the disclosures were inevitable.

"There was the realization in the discussions that some of these disclosures could be used by al Qaeda and our adversaries," Gates said.

PRESSURE TO TAKE ACTION

Democrats are being driven by pressure from their left wing to take action against Bush administration officials, saying Bush allowed interrogation techniques that amounted to torture and someone should be held responsible.

Republicans, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, have argued the tactics led to intelligence breakthroughs that saved U.S. lives, and accused Democrats of seeking to criminalize what amounts to a policy disagreement.

"The president made a big deal, after coming to office, about looking forward and not looking backward. And I wish there were as much focus in this administration on policies that will keep us safe here in the United States," said the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell.

Finger-pointing was taking place over who knew about the interrogation techniques when, given that the Bush administration briefed congressional leaders about its efforts to prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks.

Pelosi, asked about a classified briefing she received in 2002 from the Bush administration on interrogation techniques, said she was never told waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques were being used.

"We were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used. What they did tell us was that they had some ... (legal) opinions that they could be used," she told a news conference.

But the top Republican in the House, John Boehner of Ohio, told reporters he had seen a partial list of Democrats and Republicans who were briefed on the aggressive interrogation techniques "and not a word was raised about it at the time."

Asked if Pelosi was one of them, he said she and others had been "fully briefed" on the techniques.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Susan Cornwell; writing by Steve Holland; editing by Will Dunham)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042401387_pf.html

The Washington Post dijo...

Document: Military Agency Referred to 'Torture,' Questioned Its Effectiveness

By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, April 24, 2009 5:22 PM

The military agency that helped to devise harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information."

"The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week.

It remains unclear whether the attachment reached high-ranking officials in the Bush administration. But the document offers the clearest evidence that has come to light so far that those who helped formulate the harsh interrogation techniques voiced early concerns about the effectiveness of applying severe physical or psychological pressure.

The document was included among July 2002 memoranda that described severe interrogation techniques used against Americans in past conflicts and the psychological effects of such treatment. JPRA ran the military program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE), which trains pilots and others to resist hostile questioning.

The cautionary attachment was forwarded to the Pentagon's Office of the General Counsel as the administration finalized the legal underpinnings to a CIA interrogation program that would sanction the use of ten forms of coercion, including waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning. The JPRA material was sent from the Pentagon to the CIA's acting General Counsel, John Rizzo, and on to the Justice Department, according to testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

An August 1, 2002, memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel authorized the use of the ten methods against Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of an al-Qaeda associate captured in Pakistan in March 2002. Former intelligence officials have recently contended that Abu Zubaida provided little useful information about the organization's plans.

Senate investigators were unable to determine whether William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon's General Counsel in 2002, passed the cautionary memo to Rizzo or to other Bush administration officials reviewing the CIA's proposed program.

Haynes declined to comment, as did Rizzo and the CIA. Jay. S. Bybee, who as an assistant Attorney General signed the Aug. 1, 2002, memo, did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he believed the attachment was deliberately ignored and perhaps suppressed. Excerpts from the document appeared in a report on the treatment of detainees released this month by Levin's committee. The committee report says the attachment echoes JPRA warnings issued in late 2001.

"It's part of a pattern of squelching dissent," said Levin, who said there were other instances in which internal reviews of detainee treatment were halted or undercut. "They didn't want to hear the down side."

A former administration official said the National Security Council, which was briefed repeatedly that summer on the CIA's planned interrogation program by George Tenet, then Director of Central Intelligence, and agency lawyers, did not discuss the issues raised in the attachment.

"That information was not brought to the attention of the principals," said the former administration official, who was involved in deliberations on interrogation policy who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. "That would have been relevant. The CIA did not present with pros and cons, or points or concern. They said this was safe and effective, and there was no alternative."

The Aug. 1, 2002, memo on the interrogation of Abu Zubaida, draws from the JPRA's memo on psychological effects to conclude that while waterboarding constituted "a threat of imminent death" it did not cause "prolonged mental harm." Therefore, the Aug. 1, 2002, memo concluded, waterboarding "would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute."

But the JPRA's two-page attachment, titled "Operational Issues Pertaining to the Use of Physical/Psychological Coercion in Interrogation," questioned the effectiveness of employing extreme duress to obtain intelligence.

"The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible -- in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life -- has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture," the document said. "In essence, physical and/or psychological duress are viewed as an alternative to the more time-consuming conventional interrogation process. The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate information. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption."

There was no consideration within the National Security Council that the planned techniques stemmed from Chinese communist practices and had been deemed torture when employed against American personnel, the former administration official said. The U.S. military prosecuted its own soldiers for using waterboarding in the Philippines and had put Japanese officers on trial for war crimes for its use against Americans and other allied nationals during World War II.

The reasoning in the JPRA document contrasted sharply with arguments being pressed at the time by current and former military psychologists in the SERE program, including James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who later formed a company that became a CIA contractor advising on interrogations. Both men declined to comment on their role in formulating interrogation policy.

The JPRA attachment said the key deficiency of physical or psychological duress is the reliability and accuracy of the information gained. "A subject in pain may provide an answer, any answer, or many answers in order to get the pain to stop," it said.

In conclusion, the document said, "the application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational deficits, most notably, the potential to result in unreliable information." The word "extreme" is underlined.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042403171_pf.html

The Washington Post dijo...

Pentagon to Release Photos of Detainee Abuse Next Month

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 24, 2009 3:35 PM

The Pentagon, in response to a lawsuit, will end a Bush administration legal battle and release "hundreds" of photos showing abuse or alleged abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. personnel, according to defense officials and civil liberties advocates.

The photographs, to be released by May 28, include 21 images depicting detainee abuse in facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan other than the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, as well as 23 other detainee abuse photos, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a letter from the Justice Department sent to a federal court in New York yesterday.

In addition, the Justice Department letter said "the government is also processing for release a substantial number of other images" contained in dozens of Army Criminal Investigation Division reports on the abuse.

"This shows that the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was not aberrational but was systemic and widespread," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney involved with the 2004 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that led to the promise to release the photographs. "This will underscore calls for accountability for that abuse."

Singh called for an independent investigation into torture and prisoner abuse and said it should be followed, if warranted, by criminal prosecutions.

Pentagon officials disputed the charge that the photographs proved abuse was "systemic" in prisons run by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the images came from 60 of the military's own investigations of alleged abuse.

"What it demonstrates is that when we find credible allegations of abuse, we investigate them," said a senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Pentagon has not stated when or how it will release the detainee photos, but defense officials said the initial 44 and possibly hundreds more would likely be made public close to the May 28 deadline.

The Pentagon has noted that it investigates all allegations of detainee abuse, and since 2001 has taken more than 400 disciplinary actions against U.S. military personnel found to have been involved in such abuse.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday said it was "unrealistic" for the government to try to keep photos of detainee abuse a secret, noting that the ACLU lawsuit and others like it have made public release practically unavoidable. "There is a certain inevitability, I believe, that much of this will eventually come out," Gates said. "Much has already come out."

The Bush administration had argued that public disclosure of the photographs would unleash outrage andviolate Geneva Convention obligations on the treatment of detainees.

But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected such arguments in September 2008 and required disclosure of the photos because of a "significant public interest" in potential government misconduct.

A Bush administration request that the full Court of Appeals rehear the case was denied March 11.

Facing a deadline to either produce the photographs or take the appeal to the Supreme Court, where they believed chances of success were not high, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers consulted last week and decided to comply with the lower court ruling.

"This case had pretty much run its course. Legal options at this point had become pretty limited," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman.

At the same time, however, Gates voiced concern that the release of photos, along with disclosures of interrogation memos and other materials, could cause a "backlash" in the Middle East against U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"I also was quite concerned, as you might expect, with the potential backlash in the Middle East and in the theaters where we're involved in conflict, and that it might have a negative impact on our troops," he said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042401516_pf.html

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

Oficina del Pentágono advirtió sobre inutilidad de la tortura

24/04/2009 19:30 PM


EFE. Washington. La oficina del Pentágono que concibió las duras técnicas de interrogatorio de presuntos terroristas advirtió en julio de 2002 que no producirían "información fidedigna", dijo hoy el diario The Washington Post en su página de internet.

Además, en un documento enviado al representante jurídico del Pentágono esa oficina se refirió a los métodos de dureza extrema contra los interrogados directamente como "tortura", dijo la publicación.

"El resultado no previsto de una política de EE.UU. que establezca la tortura de prisioneros es que podría ser usada por nuestros adversarios para justificar la tortura de estadounidenses capturados", dijo el documento de la Agencia Conjunta de Recuperación de Personal.

Añadió que la necesidad de lograr información de "una fuente poco dispuesta" lo más rápidamente posible para evitar un atentado que pudiera causar muerte "se ha planteado como argumento convincente para el uso de la tortura".

Pero también advirtió de que "el error inherente en esta estrategia es la presunción de que, mediante la tortura, el interrogador pueda extraer información confiable y precisa. La historia y una consideración de la conducta humana parecen refutar esta presunción".

El documento fue incluido en una serie de memorandos que describieron en julio de 2002 técnicas de interrogatorio usadas contra estadounidenses en otros conflictos y sus efectos psicológicos.

El diario indicó que no se sabe si llegó al conocimiento de las más altas autoridades en el Gobierno del presidente George W. Bush.

Sin embargo, añadió, ofrece la prueba más clara conocida hasta ahora de que quienes formularon las duras técnicas de interrogatorio advirtieron sobre sus dudas en cuanto a la efectividad de aplicar "presiones intensas, físicas o psicológicas".

En agosto de 2002 un memorando de la Oficina de Asesoramiento Jurídico del Departamento de Justicia autorizó la aplicación de 10 de las técnicas de interrogatorio recomendadas a Abu Zubaida, un miembro de Al Qaeda capturado en Pakistán en marzo de ese año.

Según fuentes de inteligencia citadas por el diario, pese a esos métodos Abu Zubaida proporcionó escasa información útil acerca de los planes de la organización.

Carl Levin, presidente del Comité de Servicios Armados del Senado, indicó que el documento fue ignorado deliberadamente o tal vez suprimido.

"Es parte de una política de aplastar la disidencia", indicó el legislador demócrata que también denunció que hubo otras ocasiones en que se impidió u obstaculizó la investigación interna sobre el tratamiento dado a los detenidos.

El debate sobre el uso de la tortura durante el anterior Gobierno de Bush se intensificó esta semana en Estados Unidos y hoy la Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles (ACLU) anunció que el mes próximo el Pentágono publicará un número "sustancial" de fotos que muestran los abusos a presos detenidos en cárceles de EE.UU. en Irak y Afganistán.

Según la ACLU, el Gobierno del presidente Barack Obama accedió, en una carta enviada por el Departamento de Justicia, a que un juez federal de Nueva York divulgue las fotografías el 28 de mayo.

La decisión del Gobierno de desclasificar esas imágenes dentro de un mes responde a una querella interpuesta por ACLU en 2004 con base en la Ley de Libertad de Información de EE.UU..

El abogado de ACLU, Amrit Singh, señaló que las fotos "proveerán una prueba visual" de que los abusos a los presos "van mucho más allá de las paredes de Abu Ghraib", cerrada por EE.UU. tras conocerse los malos tratos practicados por soldados estadounidenses contra los detenidos en esa cárcel.

La publicación de las imágenes ayudará además a los estadounidenses a comprender la necesidad de que los altos cargos del Gobierno de Bush "rindan cuentas" ante la Justicia por sus actos, dijo Singh.

ACLU afirmó que la anterior Administración se negó a difundir esas fotografías alegando que generarían indignación en la sociedad y violarían los derechos de los detenidos.

http://www.laverdad.com/detavance.php?CodAvance=14441

BBC dijo...

Primero los memorandos, ahora las fotos

El Departamento de Defensa de Estados Unidos publicará un número significativo de fotografías que muestran los presuntos abusos cometidos por el personal estadounidense en las prisiones de Irak y Afganistán, durante el gobierno de George W. Bush.

Según indicó la Unión para las Libertades Civiles de EE.UU. (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés), el presidente de EE.UU., Barack Obama, accedió a divulgar el material el 28 de mayo.

Esta organización defensora de los derechos humanos había solicitado la publicación del material al gobierno anterior pero éste se había negado.

La administración de Bush había argumentado, dice ACLU, que la divulgación de las fotografías generaría indignación en la sociedad y violaría además los derechos de los detenidos.

En opinión de ACLU, las imágenes que muestran los abusos perpetrados en la prisión de Abu Grahib, en Irak, no constituyen una excepción sino que reflejan que se trató en realidad de una política sistemática y generalizada.
Presión

El Pentágono informó que el número de fotografías que serán puestas a disposición del público ronda los cientos.

La publicación de las imágenes, señala el corresponsal de la BBC en Washington Justin Webb, aumentará la presión sobre el gobierno de Obama para que evalúe la posibilidad de someter a juicio a los funcionarios del gobierno de Bush, por presunta complicidad en actos de tortura y maltrato de sospechosos de terrorismo y otros detenidos.

Por el momento, añade Webb, la Casa Blanca parece estar resistiendo a la presión, pero las voces que claman por que se tomen medidas están aumentando.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/lg/internacional/2009/04/090424_1829_fotos_lp.shtml

The New York Times dijo...

April 25, 2009
Pentagon to Release Detainee Photos
By DAVID STOUT

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has agreed to release dozens of previously undisclosed photographs depicting the abuse by American military personnel of captives in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was disclosed on Friday.

The pictures, showing incidents at a half-dozen prisons in addition to the notorious Abu Ghraib installation in Iraq, will be made available by May 28, the Defense Department and the American Civil Liberties Union said.

“These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib,” said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the A.C.L.U., which sued for release of the pictures under the Freedom of Information Act.

There were early reports that at least some of the new pictures show detainees being intimidated by American soldiers, sometimes at gunpoint, but Ms. Singh said it is not yet clear what kinds of scenes were captured, and by whose cameras.

The Abu Ghraib photographs, showing prisoners naked or in degrading positions, sometimes with Americans posing smugly nearby, caused an uproar in the Arab world and concerns within the military that the actions of a relatively few service members were detracting from the sacrifice and valor of thousands of fighting men and women.

Disclosure of the latest pictures “is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse,” said Ms. Singh, who argued the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan.

The exact number of new pictures was uncertain. In a letter to Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court in Manhattan, Lev L. Dassin, the acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the Pentagon had agreed to release 44 photographs involved in the case, plus “a substantial number of other images” gathered by Army investigators.

The Pentagon’s decision to release the pictures came after the A.C.L.U. prevailed at the Federal District Court level and before a panel of the Second Circuit. The full Second Circuit had declined to reconsider the panel’s decisions, and Robert Gibbs, the chief White House spokesman, said on Friday that Justice Department lawyers had concluded they would not be able to persuade the Supreme Court to review the case.

The Pentagon had fought the release of the photographs, connected with investigations between 2003 and 2006, on the grounds that the release could endanger American military personnel overseas and that the privacy of detainees would be violated. But the Second Circuit, upholding Judge Hellerstein, said the public interest involved in release of the pictures outweighed a vague, speculative fear of danger to the American military or violation of the detainees’ privacy.

A Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, said on Friday that while Defense Department officials are still concerned that release of the pictures could make the military’s mission more difficult, that consideration was less pressing now, given that Iraq is more stable than it was two or three years ago.

Terry Mitchell, chief of the audio-visual unit in the Defense Department’s public affairs office, said on Friday that planning for making the pictures public was just getting under way, so he had no information on the format and timing of the release.

When photographs of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib were made public in 2004, showing detainees being subjected to humiliation and intimidation, they caused widespread revulsion. Several military people were prosecuted and punished, but most of them were relatively low-ranking. (Mr. Whitman said more than 400 people had been disciplined for mistreating prisoners, with penalties ranging from prosecution and imprisonment to demotions or reprimands.)

Ms. Singh of the A.C.L.U. said the release of more pictures will make clearer than ever the need for an independent investigation into abuse of prisoners “so the public can see for itself the offenses committed in its name,” and punishment of those responsible, including military officers and civilian officials.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/25/us/politics/24web-prison.html?_r=1&ref=politics&pagewanted=print

The Washington Post dijo...

Amid Outcry on Memo, Signer's Private Regret
Friends Say Judge Wasn't Proud of Outcome

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 25, 2009



LAS VEGAS -- On a Saturday night in May last year, Jay S. Bybee hosted dinner for 35 at a Las Vegas restaurant. The young people seated around him had served as his law clerks in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the post Bybee had assumed after two turbulent years at the Justice Department, where as head of the Office of Legal Counsel he signed the legal justifications for harsh interrogations that have become known as the "torture memos."

Five years along in his new life as a federal judge, Bybee gathered the lawyers and their dates for a reunion, telling them he was proud of the legal work they had together produced.

And then, according to two of his guests, Bybee added that he wished he could say the same about his previous position.

It was, in the private room of a public restaurant, the kind of joyless judgment that some friends and associates say the jurist arrived at well before the public release of four additional memos last week and the resulting uproar that has engulfed Washington. One of the documents, dated Aug. 1, 2002, offered a helpfully narrow definition of torture to the CIA and soon became known as the "Bybee memo," because it bore his signature.

"I've heard him express regret at the contents of the memo," said a fellow legal scholar and longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity while offering remarks that might appear as "piling on." "I've heard him express regret that the memo was misused. I've heard him express regret at the lack of context -- of the enormous pressure and the enormous time pressure that he was under. And anyone would have regrets simply because of the notoriety."

That notoriety worsened this week as the documents -- detailing the acceptable application of waterboarding, "walling," sleep deprivation and other procedures the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation methods" -- prompted calls from human rights advocates and other critics for criminal investigations of the government lawyers who generated them.

Of the three former Justice Department lawyers associated with the memos, the public's attention has focused particularly harshly on Bybee because of his position as a sitting federal judge; John C. Yoo, who largely wrote the Bybee memo, returned to academic life, and Steven G. Bradbury, who signed three memos, resumed private practice at the end of the Bush administration.

Democratic lawmakers, human rights groups and others have called for Congress to impeach Bybee, complaining that his 2003 Senate confirmation came more than a year before his role in the memos was known. "If the Bush administration and Mr. Bybee had told the truth, he never would have been confirmed," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), adding that "the decent and honorable thing for him to do would be to resign."

Democrats blocked the nomination of former Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II to the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit because of his role in supporting aggressive interrogations of military detainees. Haynes withdrew his nomination in 2007.

The Justice Department withdrew the memos in the closing days of the Bush administration, and as its Office of Professional Responsibility investigates their origin -- and Congress, the American Bar Association and the United Nations mull inquiries -- Bybee is represented by Maureen E. Mahoney, a star litigator at Latham & Watkins.

The aura of regret described by Bybee's friends and associates stands in contrast to the demeanor of Yoo, who served under Bybee and has maintained both a public profile and the fearless confidence that informed the memos. "Al-Qaeda in the months after 9/11 was going to carry out follow-on attacks on our country and its citizens," Yoo said Tuesday at a conference at Chapman University, the Orange, Calif., campus where he is teaching this spring.

Bybee left the issue behind in 2003, returning to the gated suburban Las Vegas subdivision where he lives with his wife and children. He has said nothing publicly about the documents, a silence associates attributed to the restrictions on a sitting appellate judge, the possible advice of counsel and his own manner.

"Judge Bybee tends to be a very private person, even when he's not in the newspapers," said Ann S. Jarrell, law librarian in the downtown U.S. courthouse where he keeps his chambers. Neither Bybee nor Mahoney would comment for this article.

Still, in the years since the original Bybee memo was made public, his misgivings appeared evident to some in his immediate circle.

"On the primary memo, that legitimated and defined torture, he just felt it got away from him," said the fellow scholar. "What I understand that to mean is, any lawyer, when he or she is writing about something very complicated, very layered, sometimes you can get it all out there and if you're not careful, you end up in a place you never intended to go. I think for someone like Jay, who's a formalist and a textualist, that's a particular danger."

Tuan Samahon, a former clerk who recalled Bybee's remarks at the reunion dinner, said in an e-mail that the judge defended the legal reasoning behind the memos but not the policy decision. Bybee was disappointed by what was done to prisoners, saying that "the spirit of liberty has left the republic," Samahon said.

"Jay would be the sort of lawyer who would say, 'Look, I'll give you the legal advice, but it's up to someone else to make the policy decision whether you implement it,' " said Randall Guynn, who roomed with Bybee at Brigham Young University and remains close.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, which filed a freedom-of-information request regarding the latest memos, said any distinction Bybee may make between the logic of the memos and their application in secret prisons is theoretical at best.

"I don't think the August 2002 memos reflect serious attempts to grapple in good faith with the law," Jaffer said. "These are documents that are meant to justify predetermined ends. They're not objective legal memos at all."

Neither Guynn nor his brother, Steve, who also roomed with Bybee, recalled the judge distancing himself from the memos. But in the years since the first memo became public, Bybee left that sense with some.

"I got the impression that he was not pleased with that bit of scholarship," said an associate who asked not be identified sharing private conversations. "I don't know that he 'owned it.' . . . The way he put it was: He was head of the OLC, and it was written, and he was not pleased with it."

"But he signed it," said Chris Blakesley, a friend and fellow professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas Boyd School of Law who was outraged by the memo, which was leaked in May 2004.

"The very evening it came out, we were going to dinner, and I told him how awful it was and I hoped he got a chance to repudiate it," Blakesley said. "He didn't say very much, and it was kind of awkward because our families were there."

"Getting to the personal side of him, my sense is he would love to repudiate them all," Blakesley said. "Which gets to: Why'd you sign it?"

Bybee had worked in Washington before. During the 1980s he was in the civil and legal policy divisions at the Justice Department, then served as associate White House counsel under President George H.W. Bush.

During the Clinton years, he went from Louisiana State to UNLV, whose law school was so new it was located in an old elementary school across Tropicana Avenue. Through the thin walls of the annex, constitutional law specialist Tom McAffee would hear Bybee working the phones. But he struck none of his colleagues as an ideologue.

"I have colleagues with reputations as indoctrinators," said McAffee, who has known Bybee 30 years and co-authored a book with him on the Ninth and 10th amendments. "Bybee was the opposite end of the spectrum. He was more interested in getting people to think about things."

Students enjoyed Bybee, voting him professor of the year in 2000. "He was 'The Great Professor,' " said Briant S. Platt, who worked as his research assistant and later clerk. "He was quite self-deprecating: 'You get a root beer float in me and I'm a lot of fun.' "

Bybee still occasionally teaches a course at UNLV on separation of powers.

"The whole idea that the Constitution is based on a kind of wariness of mankind's tendency to grab power, that is an idea I got from Jay," McAffee said. "So the whole idea of uninhibited executive power, from him, does seem passing strange."

Bybee's friends said he never sought the job at the Office of Legal Counsel. The reason he went back to Washington, Guynn said, was to interview with then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales for a slot that would be opening on the 9th Circuit when a judge retired. The opening was not yet there, however, so Gonzales asked, "Would you be willing to take a position at the OLC first?" Guynn said.

Being unable to answer for what followed is "very frustrating," said Guynn, who spoke to Bybee before agreeing to be interviewed.

"If they end up having hearings," he said, "they're going to have a very difficult time trying to square him with their judgments about the memo."

Staff writer Ashley Surdin contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042403888_pf.html

ksla dijo...

New revelations on Bush Admin.'s so-called 'torture policies'

Posted: April 25, 2009 11:49 PM/Updated: April 25, 2009 11:49 PM

By Jeff Ferrell

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - There's yet another revelation about so-called "torture tactics" used during the Bush administration.

This time, it involves the CIA Inspector General who found 'no proof' that harsh interrogation techniquqes prevented any - quote - "specific imminent attacks." That's according to de-classified Justice Department memos, and reported this weekend by McClatchy newspapers.

This latest fact further undercuts claims by former Vice President Dick Cheney. He's now requesting the government to de-classify portions of two documents he kept in his own office, from three years after the techniques were stopped, as proof those harsh techniques worked.

In related news, on Friday a federal judge ruled the CIA must turn over transcripts of 92-interrogation tapes the agency had destroyed, as part of a legal battle with the ACLU over a Freedom of Information request.

And, as reported just days ago, the pentagon is also expected to release 2-thousand photos related to interrogations within the next month, also based on an ACLU FOIA request.

And, the United Nations' top anti-torture envoy added insult to injury for a reluctant White House, saying Friday that the U.N. convention requires the United States to prosecute Bush adminstration lawyers who drafted the so-called "torture memos."

http://www.ksla.com/global/story.asp?s=10250222&ClientType=Printable

The Washington Post dijo...

Why We Must Prosecute
Torture Is a Breach Of International Law
By Mark J. McKeon
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On Sept. 11, 2001, when the twin towers were hit, I was sitting in a meeting in The Hague discussing what should be included in an indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Bosnia. I was an American lawyer serving as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and there was no doubt that Milosevic should be indicted for his responsibility for the torture and cruel treatment of prisoners. As the head of state at the time those crimes were committed, Milosevic bore ultimate responsibility for what happened under his watch.
While at The Hague, I felt myself standing in a long line of American prosecutors working for a world where international standards restricted what one nation could do to another during war, stretching back to at least Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg trials. Those standards protected our own soldiers and citizens. They were also moral and right. So I didn't understand why, a few months after the attacks in 2001, the Bush administration withdrew its consent to joining the International Criminal Court. Wasn't accountability for war crimes one of the things America stood for? Although staying with the court did mean that the United States would be subject to being charged in that court, how likely was that to happen? Surely we would never do these things. And, in any event, the court could only assume jurisdiction over a person whose own government refused to prosecute him; surely, that would never happen in the United States.
And yet, seven years later, here we are debating whether we should hold senior Bush administration officials accountable for things they have done in the "war on terror."
In 2001 and the following few years, we at the international tribunal built a strong court case against Milosevic. We presented evidence that he had effective control over soldiers and paramilitaries who tortured prisoners, and did worse. We brought into court reports of atrocities that had been delivered to Milosevic by international organizations to show his knowledge of what was happening under his command. And we watched as other heads of state were indicted for similar crimes, including Charles Taylor in Liberia and, of course, Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
At the same time, I watched with horror the changes that were happening back home. The events are now well known: Abu Ghraib; Guantanamo; secret "renditions" of prisoners to countries where interrogators were not afraid to get rough; secret CIA prisons where there appeared to be no rules. I tried to answer, as best I could, the questions from my international colleagues at The Hague about what was happening in and to my country. But as each revelation topped the last, I soon found myself without words.
I hope that the United States has turned the page on those times and is returning to the values that sustained our country for so many years. But we cannot expect to regain our position of leadership in the world unless we hold ourselves to the same standards that we expect of others. That means punishing the most senior government officials responsible for these crimes. We have demanded this from other countries that have returned from walking on the dark side; we should expect no less from ourselves.
To say that we should hold ourselves to the same standards of justice that we applied to Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein is not to say that the level of our leaders' crimes approached theirs. Thankfully, there is no evidence of that. And yet, torture and cruel treatment are as much violations of international humanitarian law as are murder and genocide. They demand a judicial response. We cannot expect the rest of humanity to live in a world that we ourselves are not willing to inhabit.
The writer was a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from 2001 to 2004 and a senior prosecutor from 2004 to 2006.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/27/AR2009042702693_pf.html

On Higher Ground, but Not Safer
By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On April 16, President Obama released the now-infamous torture memos along with a covering statement that said the CIA's old interrogation methods not only failed to "make us safer" but undermined "our moral authority." A week later, a woman holding the hand of a child walked into a throng in Baghdad and blew herself up. Apparently she had not heard of our new moral authority.
That term -- "moral authority" -- gets used a lot. There is such a thing, I suppose, although a suicide bomber probably thinks he or she has it in abundance. Whatever it may be, however, it is an awfully thin reed upon which to construct a foreign policy. I, for one, am glad we're no longer torturing anyone, but ceasing this foul practice will not in any way make Americans safer. We prohibit torture for other reasons.
Yet the debate over torture has been infected with silly arguments about utility: whether it works or not. Of course it works -- sometimes or rarely, but if a proverbial bomb is ticking, that may just be the one time it works. I refer you to the 1995 interrogation by Philippine authorities of Abdul Hakim Murad, an al-Qaeda terrorist who served up extremely useful information about a plot to blow up airliners when he was told that he was about to be turned over to Israel's Mossad. As George Orwell suggested in "1984," everyone has his own idea of torture.
If the threat of torture works -- if it has worked at least once -- then it follows that torture itself would work. Some in the intelligence field, including a former CIA director, say it does, and I assume they say this on the basis of evidence. They can't all be fools or knaves. This is also the position of Dick Cheney, who can sometimes be both, but in this, at least, he has some support.
America should repudiate torture not because it is always ineffective -- nothing is always anything -- or because others loathe it but because it degrades us and runs counter to our national values. It is a statement of principle, somewhat similar to why we do not tap all phones or stop and frisk everyone under the age of 28. Those measures would certainly reduce crime, but they are abhorrent to us.
But it is important to understand that abolishing torture will not make us safer. Terrorists do not give a damn about our morality, our moral authority or what one columnist called "our moral compass." George Bush was certainly disliked in much of the world, but the Sept. 11 attacks were planned while Bill Clinton was in office, and he offended no one with the possible exception of the Christian right. Indeed, he went around the world apologizing for America's misdeeds -- slavery, in particular. No terrorist turned back as a result.
If Obama thinks the world will respond to his new torture policy, he is seriously misguided. Indeed, he has made things a bit easier for terrorists who now know what will not happen to them if they get caught. And by waffling over whether he will entertain the prosecution of Bush-era Justice Department lawyers (and possibly CIA interrogators as well), he has shown agents in the field that he is behind them, oh, about 62 percent of the time.
The horror of Sept. 11 resides in me like a dormant pathogen. It took a long time before I could pass a New York fire station -- the memorials still fresh -- without tearing up. I vowed vengeance that day -- yes, good Old Testament-style vengeance -- and that ember glows within me still. I know that nothing Obama did this month about torture made America safer.
But as I was reading the Bush administration's torture memos, I was also finishing Richard J. Evans's "The Third Reich at War." It is the last of his masterful trilogy on Nazi Germany and, like his two previous works, contains the sort of detail that assaults the eyes, overwhelms reason and instructs what we -- yes, ordinary people -- were capable of doing.
I know it is offensive to compare almost anyone or anything to the Nazis, but the Bush-era memos struck me as echoes from the past. Here, once again, were the squalid efforts of legal toadies to justify the unjustifiable. Here, again, was a lesson that needs constant refreshing: Before you can torture anyone, you must first torture the law. When that happens, we are all on the rack.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/27/AR2009042702692_pf.html

roberto 'pachi' ortiz feliciano dijo...

AI critica que Obama no pida responsabilidades por las torturas de Guantánamo

(miércoles, 29 de abril) Londres, 28 abr (EFE).- Amnistía Internacional (AI) condenó hoy que la Administración de Barack Obama no haya llevado aún ante los tribunales a todos los responsables de los actos de tortura y violación de derechos humanos cometidos en la prisión de Guantánamo.

En un informe que evalúa las decisiones del presidente de EEUU en sus primeros cien días de mandato en materia antiterrorista, AI cree que, a pesar de los avances registrados con respecto al Ejecutivo de su antecesor, George W. Bush, aún se observan actitudes "contradictorias".

Entre esas actitudes, la organización pro derechos humanos cita la de poner fecha de caducidad a Guantánamo sin llevar ante la Justicia a los responsables de las torturas perpetradas en ese centro detención que EEUU tiene en Cuba.

"Las acciones emprendidas por el presidente Obama, menos de 48 horas después de haber tomado posesión de su cargo, para cerrar Guantánamo en el plazo de un año o poner fin a las detenciones secretas de la CIA fueron acogidas con gran satisfacción", señala Irene Khan, secretaria general de la organización.

Sin embargo, Khan puntualiza que este cambio de tendencia no se completará hasta que el Gobierno "no siente ante los tribunales a todos los responsables de estos actos de tortura y proporcione a las víctimas la posibilidad real de resarcirse".

Bajo el título "Mensajes contradictorios: medidas antiterroristas y derechos humanos. Los 100 primeros días del Presidente Obama", el informe de AI, difundido desde su sede en Londres, recuerda al mandatario estadounidense que aún tiene "medidas pendientes" por tomar respecto a la base aérea de Bagram (Afganistán).

En ese lugar, indica la organización no gubernamental (ONG), permanecen recluidos más de 500 individuos sin cargos, juicio, ni posibilidad de revisión de su situación.

Asimismo, Amnistía considera "contradictorio" que el Gobierno de Obama haya clausurado los centros secretos de detención de la CIA, pero haya dejado abierta la posibilidad de que la agencia "secuestre y recluya a personas en centros transitorios a corto plazo".

A juicio de AI, tampoco tiene sentido promulgar una orden ejecutiva que prohíbe el uso de la tortura mientras se aprueba el Manual de Campo del Ejército de EEUU, que permite aislar y privar de de sueño a los detenidos por largos períodos de tiempo.

AI subraya que la desaparición de la terminología más belicista de la era Bush -quien acuñó el término de "guerra contra el terrorismo"-, no ha supuesto un cambio real en el modo de actuación, ya que "la lucha contra el terrorismo sigue basándose en el derecho aplicable en la guerra, en vez de en la justicia penal y los derechos humanos".

Como balance de los primeros cien días de Obama en la Casa Blanca, la secretaria general de Amnistía señala que "se han producido importantes avances, aunque aún quedan muchas medidas por tomar".

"La cuestión -concluye Khan- es si la promesa de cambio del presidente Obama y las medidas iniciales tomadas por su Gobierno suponen un avance significativo y duradero hacia el respeto a los derechos humanos en la lucha contra el terrorismo".

http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/2009/04/28/18_critica_obama_responsabilidades_torturas_guantanamo.html

abcnews dijo...

Waterboarding, Interrogations: The CIA's $1,000 a Day Specialists
New Focus on Two Retired Military Psychologists Called the 'Architects' of the CIA's Techniques
By BRIAN ROSS, MATTHEW COLE, and JOSEPH RHEE

April 30, 2009—

As the secrets about the CIA's interrogation techniques continue to come out, there's new information about the frequency and severity of their use, contradicting an 2007 ABC News report, and a new focus on two private contractors who were apparently directing the brutal sessions that President Obama calls torture.

According to current and former government officials, the CIA's secret waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe by two well-paid psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane, Washington.

Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, former military officers, together founded Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

Both men declined to speak to ABC News citing non-disclosure agreements with the CIA. But sources say Jessen and Mitchell together designed and implemented the CIA's interrogation program.

"It's clear that these psychologists had an important role in developing what became the CIA's torture program," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Former U.S. officials say the two men were essentially the architects of the CIA's 10-step interrogation plan that culminated in waterboarding.

Associates say the two made good money doing it, boasting of being paid a $1,000 a day by the CIA to oversee the use of the techniques on top al Qaeda suspects at CIA secret sites.

"The whole intense interrogation concept that we hear about, is essentially their concepts," according to Col. Steven Kleinman, an Air Force interrogator.

Both Mitchell and Jessen were previously involved in the U.S. military program to train pilots how to survive behind enemy lines and resist brutal tactics if captured.

Mitchell and Jessen Lacked Experience in Actual Interrogations

But it turns out neither Mitchell nor Jessen had any experience in conducting actual interrogations before the CIA hired them.

"They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience," said Col. Kleinman. "They are not interrogators."

The new documents show the CIA later came to learn that the two psychologists' waterboarding "expertise" was probably "misrepresented" and thus, there was no reason to believe it was "medically safe" or effective. The waterboarding used on al Qaeda detainees was far more intense than the brief sessions used on U.S. military personnel in the training classes.

"The use of these tactics tends to increase resistance on the part of the detainee to cooperating with us. So they have the exact opposite effect of what you want," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich).

The new memos also show waterboarding was used "with far greater frequency than initially indicated" to even those in the CIA.

Abu Zubaydah was water boarded at least 83 times and Khalid Sheikh Mohamed at least 183 times.

Former CIA Officer John Kiriakou Says Waterboarding is Torture

That contradicts what former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who led the Zubaydah capture team, told ABC News in 2007 when he first revealed publicly that waterboarding had been used.

He said then, based on top secret reports he had access to, that Zubaydah had only been water boarded once and then freely talked.

Kiriakou now says he too was stunned to learn how often Zubaydah was waterboarded, in what Kiriakou says was clearly torture.

"When I spoke to ABC News in December 2007 I was aware of Abu Zubaydah being waterboarded on one occasion," said Kiriakou. "It was after this one occasion that he revealed information related to a planned terrorist attack. As I said in the original interview, my information was second-hand. I never participated in the use of enhanced techniques on Abu Zubaydah or on any other prisoner, nor did I witness the use of such techniques."

A federal judge in New York is currently considering whether or not to make public the written logs of the interrogation sessions.

The tapes were destroyed by the CIA, but the written logs still exist, although the CIA is fighting their release.

A CIA spokesperson declined to comment for this report, except to note that the agency's terrorist interrogation program was guided by legal opinions from the Department of Justice.

Matthew Cole is a freelance national security reporter. His book, about the CIA rendition program, will be published later this year by Simon & Schuster.

This post has been updated.

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=7471217

Report: Two Psychologists Responsible for Devising CIA Interrogation Methods
ABC News reports that former military officers Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell were paid by the CIA to oversee the waterboarding techniques used against high-profile detainees to extract information in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

Two psychologists are responsible for designing the CIA's program of waterboarding suspected terrorists and for assuring the government the program was safe, according to an ABC News report.

Former military officers Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell had an "important role in developing what became the CIA's torture program," Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU, told ABC News.

Jessen and Mitchell were previously involved in the U.S. military program to train pilots how to resist brutal tactics if captured -- but Col. Steven Kleinman, an Air Force interrogator, told ABC News that the two never had experience conducting actual interrogations before the CIA hired them.

"They went to two individuals who had no interrogation experience," Col. Kleinman told ABC News.

Associates say Jessen and Mitchell were paid up to $1,000 a day by the CIA to oversee the techniques used against high-profile detainees to extract information in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

The revelation comes as Congressional Democrats turn up the pressure on the Obama administration to appoint a special counsel to start a criminal investigation into harsh interrogations of terror suspects and who authorized them. The debate was sparked by the Obama administration this month releasing four Bush-era memos outlining legal guidelines for the CIA's interrogation methods.

Obama has said it would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder to determine whether "those who formulated those legal decisions" should be prosecuted. The methods, described in the Bush-era memos, included slamming detainees against walls and subjecting them to simulated drowning, known as waterboarding.

The president said he would not seek to punish CIA officers and others who carried out interrogations.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/30/report-psychologists-responsible-devising-cia-torture-program/

Karl Rove defiende la tortura dijo...

Karl Rove defiende la tortura
Dice que son 'técnicas que funcionaron' para mantener la seguridad nacional.

El ex asesor de George W. Bush, Karl Rove, defendió el uso de métodos severos de interrogación y se pronunció orgulloso de los datos de inteligencia obtenidos por Estados Unidos a través del ahogamiento simulado (waterboarding, en inglés)
Este tormento, que simula el ahogamiento del interrogado, fue prohibido cuando Barack Obama asumió la presidencia estadounidense.
El ex asesor de la Casa Blanca Karl Rove señaló a la BBC que las instrucciones redactadas por abogados del gobierno fueron suficientemente específicas para evitar abusos.

"No estoy de acuerdo con el uso de la palabra 'tortura'. Esos memorándums fueron cuidadosamente diseñados para describir lo que es apropiado y lo que no es apropiado bajo nuestras leyes y compromisos internacionales. Y eso funcionó", dijo Rove en la entrevista.
"Mantuvo a Estados Unidos seguro. Mantuvo a nuestros aliados seguros. Se descubrieron complots como el de los que buscaban estrellar aviones contra Heathrow (aeropuerto británico) y la ciudad de Londres; complots para estrellar un avión contra el edificio más alto de Los Ángeles y derribar simultáneamente a dos aviones sobre el Pacífico.

"Esos métodos funcionaron al quebrar el espíritu de blancos de alto perfil que sabían de cosas, que nos entregaron (información) que nos permitió proteger a nuestro país y a nuestros amigos", agregó.
Algunos de los métodos a los que Rove se refiere, además del ‘waterboarding’, son privación de sueño y forzar a los detenidos a mantener posturas extremas que causan incomodidad y dolor.
Ejemplos específicos
El ex funcionario citó casos específicos. "El personal militar estadounidense se somete al tormento (de ahogamiento simulado) anualmente en cursos especiales de entrenamiento de supervivencia y para huir.
"Y pasan por una experiencia con mucho menos restricciones que el waterboarding que se aplicó en el caso de tres detenidos de alto perfil. Después que se desmoronaron y empezaron a cooperar, nos dieron información increíblemente valiosa que protegió a EE.UU. a nuestros aliados", señaló Rove.
El ex funcionario reconoció en su recién publicado libro Courage and Consequence (Valor y consecuencias) que el hecho de no haberse encontrado armas de destrucción masiva en Irak dañó la reputación de Bush.
En sus memorias Rove escribió que debería haber actuado de forma más enérgica para rechazar aseveraciones de que el ex mandatario mintió acerca del arsenal de Saddam Hussein.
Sin embargo, el ex estratega político y actual analista conservador calificó los logros del gobierno de Bush como "impresionantes, duraderos y significativos".

http://www.elnuevodia.com/karlrovedefiendelatortura-684959.html