Jane Mayer Building a Case That Could Be Used Against Cheney

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The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer has an extremely important piece in the 13 August edition of the magazine titled “The Black Sites: A Rare Look Inside the CIA’s Secret Interrogation Program.”
I knew from other sources that Mayer was working on a major article that would expose a closely held International Committee of the Red Cross report finding that American interrogators were using torture techniques — but did not know that her piece would be so comprehensive. This article — which is very long — should be read in full by anyone who wants to understand the details of the “darkness at noon” like intrigue that we have created. And it doesn’t even produce results that are dependable.
Much of this story is about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confession that he beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl’s wife and many others close to the case don’t have confidence in the confession or the CIA interrogators involved and their techniques for extraction of information from detainees.
The two parts of the essay that are of particular interest to me are first, the section about the ICRC report on US torture habits and second on the view that many have that despite all of the drama about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and the various “black sites,” it turns out in one of the highest profile cases involving Mohammed, there is enormous doubt about the information he coughed up.
Jane Mayer writes about the ICRC report:

Since the drafting of the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross has played a special role in safeguarding the rights of prisoners of war. For decades, governments have allowed officials from the organization to report on the treatment of detainees, to insure that standards set by international treaties are being maintained.
The Red Cross, however, was unable to get access to the C.I.A.’s prisoners for five years. Finally, last year, Red Cross officials were allowed to interview fifteen detainees, after they had been transferred to Guantanamo.
One of the prisoners was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. What the Red Cross learned has been kept from the public. The committee believes that its continued access to prisoners worldwide is contingent upon confidentiality, and therefore it addresses violations privately with the authorities directly responsible for prisoner treatment and detention. For this reason, Simon Schorno, a Red Cross spokesman in Washington, said, “The I.C.R.C. does not comment on its findings publicly. Its work is confidential.”
The public-affairs office at the C.I.A. and officials at the congressional intelligence-oversight committees would not even acknowledge the existence of the report.
Among the few people who are believed to have seen it are Condoleezza Rice, now the Secretary of State; Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser; John Bellinger III, the Secretary of State’s legal adviser; Hayden; and John Rizzo, the agency’s acting general counsel. Some members of the Senate and House intelligence-oversight committees are also believed to have had limited access to the report.
Confidentiality may be particularly stringent in this case. Congressional and other Washington sources familiar with the report said that it harshly criticized the C.I.A.’s practices. One of the sources said that the Red Cross described the agency’s detention and interrogation methods as tantamount to torture, and declared that American officials responsible for the abusive treatment could have committed serious crimes.
The source said the report warned that these officials may have committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions, and may have violated the U.S. Torture Act, which Congress passed in 1994. The conclusions of the Red Cross, which is known for its credibility and caution, could have potentially devastating legal ramifications.

Mayer’s meticulous reporting could potentially contribute to a legal case against those inside the US government who approved these torture techniques. It’s interesting to go back and read Jane Mayer’s brilliant expose on Cheney chief of staff David Addington, who is well known as the administration’s pro-torture advocate. David Ignatius dubbed him “Cheney’s Cheney.”
And the kicker of the story is also extremely important. To put it bluntly, all of the secret interrogation sites, military tribunals, rendition programs, and all of the intelligence drama has “undermined certainty” in these legal cases and introduced huge doubts.
As Jane Mayer reports:

Critics of the administration fear that the unorthodox nature of the C.I.A.’s interrogation and detention program will make it impossible to prosecute the entire top echelon of Al Qaeda leaders in captivity. Already, according to the Wall Street Journal, credible allegations of torture have caused a Marine Corps prosecutor reluctantly to decline to bring charges against Mohamedou Ould Slahi, an alleged Al Qaeda leader held in Guantanamo. Bruce Riedel, the former C.I.A. analyst, asked, “What are you going to do with K.S.M. in the long run? It’s a very good question. I don’t think anyone has an answer. If you took him to any real American court, I think any judge would say there is no admissible evidence. It would be thrown out.”
The problems with Mohammed’s coerced confessions are especially glaring in the Daniel Pearl case. It may be that Mohammed killed Pearl, but contradictory evidence and opinion continue to surface.
Yosri Fouda, the Al Jazeera reporter who interviewed Mohammed in Karachi, said that although Mohammed handed him a package of propaganda items, including an unedited video of the Pearl murder, he never identified himself as playing a role in the killing, which occurred in the same city just two months earlier.
And a federal official involved in Mohammed’s case said, “He has no history of killing with his own hands, although he’s proved happy to commit mass murder from afar.” Al Qaeda’s leadership had increasingly focussed on symbolic political targets. “For him, it’s not personal,” the official said. “It’s business.”
Ordinarily, the U.S. legal system is known for resolving such mysteries with painstaking care. But the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program, Senator Levin said, has undermined the public’s trust in American justice, both here and abroad. “A guy as dangerous as K.S.M. is, and half the world wonders if they can believe him — is that what we want?” he asked. “Statements that can’t be believed, because people think they rely on torture?”
Asra Nomani, the Pearls’ friend, said of the Mohammed confession, “I’m not interested in unfair justice, even for bad people.” She went on, “Danny was such a person of conscience. I don’t think he would have wanted all of this dirty business. I don’t think he would have wanted someone being tortured. He would have been repulsed. This is the kind of story that Danny would have investigated. He really believed in American principles.”

It seems that the best protection Americans and even victims of America had as far as the protection of their basic human rights was when the Soviet Union was challenging us in a global Cold War. Then, the U.S. had to be different — to present an alternative model.
Without the Soviet Union to juxtapose ourselves against, Bush’s dark and cynical leadership has taken this nation not towards increased liberty but to a place where we have our own kind of gulags.
And to some degree Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Vice President Cheney are conspiring with one another to knock the legs from beneath our democracy. They feed on each other and help each other while pretending to be enemies — but both harm us.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Jane Mayer Building a Case That Could Be Used Against Cheney

  1. MP says:

    Dear David N: I’m so sorry that somehow I missed this response. Hopefully, you’ll get this and I can do justice what you’ve written here. I don’t have much time, but I’ll try:
    Basically, politics in America is defined as if it were sports teams. (I appreciated J. Alter talking about that on tonight’s Olbermann.) There is the left, and when you’ve said that, you supposed to have completely described all these people believe. There is the right, same thing. And there’s the center, which picks points from either side and calls itself moderate. And those are the only choices allowed. Where are the ideas that don’t fit in either category, and just might stand a better chance of working?
    ME: Couldn’t agree more. A couple of possible changes: 1) Get rid of winner takes all elections, so that more gradations of views can gain some power. Thtis might mean a parliamentary system; not sure. 2) Reform the districting scandal. Right now, only a small number of districts are competitive and the extremes can push their extremism without fear of losing elections. Read the book Fixing Elections for more on this. 3) More citizens groups with real clout to swing elections. Kos is working hard on this and provides a model for citizen activism. 4) A serious attempt at a third or fourth party. But here you have to be ready to work for the long haul from the lower offices to the top. You can’t expect to jump in at the top, unless you’re a Bloomberg, and win. Nor do you really have any power to change things, because no one in Congress belongs to your party. In this sense, Nader, to me, is a piffle. He’s a great citizen; one of our best; but his attempt at electoral politics is bad, and he is disingenuous when he talks about all the candidates being “spoilers” for each other. Nonsense. That’s only true if he ever had a chance of winning, which he didn’t.
    There have been attempts to break out of this. There was the comment that “there are more than 2.0 sides to any question.” There was, in fact, the founding of the NAF, on the promise of finding an alternative to the left-right quagmire of politics. But all have foundered on the shoals of media simplifications and insider syncophancy.
    ME: Yes. Think tanks are another way to get more thinking into the system. And Steve has had plenty of impact, especially on Bolton, but I imagine elsewhere, too.
    Just think:
    Conservatives believe in limited government that leaves people alone, avoids foreign adventurism, balances the budget, and lets the free market decide winners and losers. This administration, by any of those measures, is not conservative, as John Dean has repeatedly said, and no one has noticed.
    Liberalism, as a philosophy, is basically the same thing, but has been characterized in the media as communism lite, which no one believes.
    ME: Yes. After a while the labels don’t make any sense at all. You really do want to pick one from column A; two from column B. That is, I believe, what the DLC was supposed to be about.
    Talk to any actual citizen of this country, and they don’t subscribe to either school of thought. They just want answers, and some of us want answers than are real, and not simplifications dumbed down for the rubes. We’re still waiting.
    ME: Yes. All I can say, though, is smart people are often not the ones who act. They become paralyzed by seeing so many sides of an issue. And, in terms of the current political scene, they can’t put their thoughts on a bumper sticker. Richard Viguerie once said that that was the Republicans single biggest advantage: Their positions were easy to boil down to simple, emotionally charged talking points. We got all intellectual with that idea and got caught up with “framing,” which (oh the irony!) seemed like BS and doubletalk as soon as it was aired. It was viewed as a “tactic”–a way NOT to say what you really believe. Republicans don’t “frame”–they just say what they believe! No new taxes! No permission slip! Support the troops! Stop illegal immigration! Protect the unborn.
    Thus, politics has been reduced to class warfare. Yet when John Edwards says that, it is characterized as nothing but a campaign slogan, and the media spends more time writing about his wife’s illness than his real policy proposals. Then they complain that citizens don’t know about his policy proposals.
    ME: MSM are lazy and are basically into selling papers.
    When the day comes, you are right, and I will no doubt vote Democrat, even if it is a DLC Democrat-lite like Clinton. Because you are absolutely right, we cannot stand another term of Republican fascism. And I use that word precisely.
    ME: Yes.
    But what really steams me is the idea that the Democrats are not moving to impeach even Cheney and Gonzales because, much as they rail against the BushCo abuse of power, they salivate at the prospect of getting their hands on those same powers, and “using them for good.” THAT is my real fear when thinking of supporting the Democrats. That is what has me thinking about voting for a candidate that, frankly, does not exist and has no prospect of existing.
    ME: Okay. Not sure I agree. I see what you’re saying and it has merit. I still don’t think that Gore would have taken us into Iraq or slashed away at the Constitution. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. I don’t think even Hillary would have done it.
    Our democracy has always depended on the fact that the government really could not gather undue power. Technology has removed that protection, and we stand naked before our own inadequacy as citizens.
    ME: Interesting point I haven’t considered. Citizens are also empowered by technology. Look at Kos and the rest of the blogosphere. Dean’s candidacy.
    Our only protection is to restore a real adherence to the Constitution, which the party that says it believes in “strict constructionism” is gutting every single day.
    ME: Yes. I’m mostly against “strict” anything because I think it’s a sign of an underlying imbalance. That’s why, IMO, extremism in defense of liberty IS a vice. You have to know when to stand firm with one hand, while you compromise elsewhere with the other.
    Goedel was right.
    ME: How so?
    THANKS for your comments. I appreciate it very much.

    Reply

  2. pauline says:

    A statement from Joe Wilson on rove’s leaving.
    “Karl Rove’s resignation signals the final chapter in the Bush administration’s betrayal of the identity of a covert CIA officer. When this breach of national security occurred, the President promised the American people that anybody in his administration responsible for the leak would be removed. Rove, identified by the prosecutors as one of the leakers, not only was not summarily dismissed, but has been allowed to leave on his own terms, to praise from the President. This sordid tale of compromising national security to cover-up and distract from the false rationale for the invasion of Iraq will forever remain in history a black mark on the Bush presidency”
    http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/alerts/274

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    John Stopa: Don’t blame Nader for Democratz’ lack of spine. They are who jumped on board for war, wearing their little flag lapel pins, voting for war without bothering to read the NIE reports.
    Yes, the principle of preserving non-partisan access to the ballot is fundamentally very important to preserving our freedoms. And Yes, I do sleep well at night because I did whatever I could to stop the war before it began. All of the info to know about why not to invade Iraq was available to those Demz who did the kneejerk Patriot thing.
    I voted for Gore in 2000, but I don’t blame Nader. I am grateful that I have a man of such dedication to the public good for whom to vote.

    Reply

  4. Jon Stopa says:

    A vote for Bush in 2000 was a vote for war. This was absolutely clear to me at that time. A vote for Nader in 2000 was a vote for the wars that Bush would create. Nader’s excuse for runing was that he was selling his brillent theory about the basic flaws in American Capitalism. His theory had a certain amount of validity as time has shown, but its greatest weakness is that it draws attention away from the acuual Malifactors of Great Wealth to side issues, which allows the MOGW to function on. Was Nader’s theory really worth all those deaths? People who still long for Nader appearently still have no problem sleeping at night.

    Reply

  5. Kathleen says:

    David N.. I’ve noticed that conservatives want small gov’t for themselves, but when it comes to those who disagree with them, they are under your bed, in your pipe, in your face… just deregulate them, so they can laugh all the way to the bank, but God forbid some welfare Mom gets two crumbs extra. That would be big gov’t.
    I agree… the best way to right the country is to stick STRICTLY to our Constitution. We cannot tolerate crimes in high office and if Democratz refuse to act to protect our Constitution, they deserve to go the way of the dinosaurs. No impeachment, no money.

    Reply

  6. David N says:

    MP:
    You have given a reasoned and thoughtful reply to my frustrated ranting.
    What I am truly frustrated about — more than the Democratic fecklessness or the Republican lawlessness — is the constrained thoughtlessness of the whole political process in this country.
    Basically, politics in America is defined as if it were sports teams. (I appreciated J. Alter talking about that on tonight’s Olbermann.) There is the left, and when you’ve said that, you supposed to have completely described all these people believe. There is the right, same thing. And there’s the center, which picks points from either side and calls itself moderate. And those are the only choices allowed. Where are the ideas that don’t fit in either category, and just might stand a better chance of working?
    There have been attempts to break out of this. There was the comment that “there are more than 2.0 sides to any question.” There was, in fact, the founding of the NAF, on the promise of finding an alternative to the left-right quagmire of politics. But all have foundered on the shoals of media simplifications and insider syncophancy.
    Just think:
    Conservatives believe in limited government that leaves people alone, avoids foreign adventurism, balances the budget, and lets the free market decide winners and losers. This administration, by any of those measures, is not conservative, as John Dean has repeatedly said, and no one has noticed.
    Liberalism, as a philosophy, is basically the same thing, but has been characterized in the media as communism lite, which no one believes.
    Talk to any actual citizen of this country, and they don’t subscribe to either school of thought. They just want answers, and some of us want answers than are real, and not simplifications dumbed down for the rubes. We’re still waiting.
    Thus, politics has been reduced to class warfare. Yet when John Edwards says that, it is characterized as nothing but a campaign slogan, and the media spends more time writing about his wife’s illness than his real policy proposals. Then they complain that citizens don’t know about his policy proposals.
    When the day comes, you are right, and I will no doubt vote Democrat, even if it is a DLC Democrat-lite like Clinton. Because you are absolutely right, we cannot stand another term of Republican fascism. And I use that word precisely.
    But what really steams me is the idea that the Democrats are not moving to impeach even Cheney and Gonzales because, much as they rail against the BushCo abuse of power, they salivate at the prospect of getting their hands on those same powers, and “using them for good.” THAT is my real fear when thinking of supporting the Democrats. That is what has me thinking about voting for a candidate that, frankly, does not exist and has no prospect of existing.
    Our democracy has always depended on the fact that the government really could not gather undue power. Technology has removed that protection, and we stand naked before our own inadequacy as citizens.
    Our only protection is to restore a real adherence to the Constitution, which the party that says it believes in “strict constructionism” is gutting every single day.
    Goedel was right.

    Reply

  7. Harveen says:

    Has there ever been any doubt that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz have been the master planners behind the tortures and “interrogations”? Surely we can’t be so ignornant to think this wasn’t orchestrated to benefit those playing God in America and had nothing to with the “people”.

    Reply

  8. Kathleen says:

    The Golden Rule is a great rule to apply to one’s actions, including how one votes.
    In a system of self-government, it takes people who are capable of self-government. Practice makes perfect. I’m not ready to throw the towel in on the people. Certainly I’m not ready to relinquish my freedom to use my own judgement over some party hack’s, who tailors their positions by what will further their own career.
    Representative governments rest on the premise that the people are capable of self-government. Rights, like muscles, need to be exercised or they atrophy. My right to vote for a non-partisan or 3rd party candidate needs to be exercised or it might atrophy.

    Reply

  9. MP says:

    K writes: “I’ll be voting my conscience, not party label. If everyone voted their conscience, instead of doing the math, according to ill informed pundits, and voting the lesser evil, we would right our country.”
    Perhaps. My faith in the so-called “people” is much less than yours. It would be interesting to take an historical tally and see how many times “the people” spontaneously, or with forethought, took well-reasoned, insightful, humane positions.
    Shall we start with “the people” in the south during slavery for 100 years afterward?
    Shall we take “the people” of Europe during centuries of anti-Semitism?
    Shall we take “the people” of Israel right now vis a vis the Palestinians?
    How about “the people” during the Cultural Revolution?
    Or let’s look at “the people” of Japan during WWII?
    Nor did our Founders particularly trust “the people,” as has often been pointed out.
    Sure, there are moments of greatness and remarkable overcoming; but there are many more, I’d wager, of the opposite. That would be some interesting “math” to do.
    If people would only follow the Golden Rule, the world would be a lot different. The Golden Rule isn’t all that difficult to follow, but how likely is that to happen?

    Reply

  10. Kathleen says:

    The best way to get the DNC to stop with their Repugnican Lite crapola is to make sure they know they cannot take us for granted.
    Those unhappy with the TweedleDee TweedlDumness of it all may want to check out Independant Voices.org. They are a national group of indepedqant voters who regulary have national conference calls. The next one is scheduled for August 12th 4 p.m. PST if you wish to participate, just call 712-580-0308 at 4 PST on August 12th. The access code for the conference call is 732282#.
    I’ll be voting my conscience, not party label. If everyone voted their conscience, instead of doing the math, according to ill informed pundits, and voting the lesser evil, we would right our country.
    Little brizzles from Hagel again, scrolling across the bottom of last night’s screen. I still prefer Russ Feingold.

    Reply

  11. MP says:

    Posted by Carroll at August 6, 2007 05:12 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I only skimmed; but, offhand, this sounds like good news.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    Get rid of Cheney…get him on torture and also save us a war. This will also rid us of all his neo’s running around the ME trying to phony up a reason to atack Iran. The longer he is there and the more the Bush adm time is running out the more Cheney will be pushing an Iran attack. Although the report below assumes the WH has backed off some on Iran it is clear that Cheney crew and the US Israelis have not because the war drums here are beating as loud as ever in the neo and Israeli camp. We know Cheney is insane and we know the dems have done nothing so far except cater to the Bomb Iran crowd so we cannot take for granted that another war isn’t in the works. Preventing this adm from attacking Iran will also make it harder for the dems to justify attacking Iran and starting another war should they win the WH.
    This is the no. 7 footnote in the Reut report referred to in the Haaretz article below:
    7) The main supporters of a military operation against Iran come from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. “Members of Vice President Cheney’s staff have told others that Mr. Cheney believes the diplomatic track with Iran is pointless, and is looking for ways to persuade Mr. Bush to confront Iran militarily”
    Study: Israel must initiate talks with U.S. on conflicting Iran interests
    By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
    A position paper that calls for Israel to initiate talks with the United States, to avoid the possibility that Washington and Tehran may conclude a “package deal” excluding Israel, has recently grabbed the attention of senior ministerial officials.
    Prepared by the Reut Institute, the document warns of the possibility that an agreement between the United States and Iran may allow the latter to retain some of its nuclear capabilities – particularly the ability to enrich uranium – and thus present Israel with a “strategic surprise.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Here is the total Reut Institute report with the current situtation as they see it right now:
    http://www.reut-institute,org
    ‘Libyan Scenario’ in Iran: The US ‘Goes Alone’
    Israel’s conduct vis-à-vis the US regarding Iran reflects the assumption that the two states are fully coordinated. However, Israeli and US interests regarding Iran are not identical in essence and intensity.
    Hence, a scenario exists in which the US will seek a ‘Grand Bargain’ with Iran.
    Essence of the Warning
    Israel’s conduct vis-à-vis the US regarding the Iranian issue reflects the assumption that the two states are fully coordinated and have a mutual understanding of the Iranian challenge. According to this mindset, the US will choose between one of the following scenarios in the near future:
    The Bush administration will stop the Iranian nuclear project during the current term: In this scenario, an effort will be made to exhaust diplomatic and political means via increasing economic, political and international pressure, condemnation of Iran in the UN, and setting clear deadlines. If this attempt fails, the US will lead a military campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities;
    The Iranian nuclear issue will be left for the next administration to deal with: In this scenario, the current US administration will decide not to exhaust the tools at its disposal in order to stop the Iranian nuclear project. The current Israeli mindset is that even a decision such as this will be coordinated with Israel and leave Israel with the alternative whether to accept US priorities and schedules or to act against Iran independently.
    However, Israeli and US interests regarding Iran are not identical in essence and intensity. Among the main differences is the fact that in Israel, Iran is perceived as an existential threat, while in the US, an organized withdrawal from Iraq and obligations to other actors in the region dominate its agenda.
    Hence, the Reut institute contends that a third scenario exists whose probability will increase in the coming months, according to which:
    The US will seek a ‘Grand Bargain’ with Iran: In this scenario, the US will form a deal with Iran, resulting in Iran keeping its ability to enrich uranium. In this scenario, Israel is liable to be perceived as obstructing such a bargain and hence may be excluded from the whole process. If this scenario occurs, Israel will be forced to accept the bargain as it is.
    Existing Perception: US-Israel Coordination on the Iranian Issue
    Israel’s current policy regarding the Iranian threat is based on the following basic assumptions:
    The Iranian Nuclear threat is an existential threat to Israel and stands at the head of its National Security priorities.1
    An integrated plan to halt the Iranian nuclear project includes:
    International Pressure – Israel is trying to increase international pressure on Iran in order to cause it to halt its nuclear project, based on the message that Iran is a challenge to the international community and world order, and not just to Israel.2
    Preference for an American military response – If international pressure on Iran does not bear fruit, Israel would prefer an American-led military operation against the Iranian nuclear project.3
    Fostering an image of a viable Israeli military option – Israel is building a viable military option as a last resort, or at least to foster an image of the existence of such an option.4 However, many voices in Israel, US and the international community argue that Israel does not have and will not have a military option against Iran that could effectively stop the nuclear project, even if Israel does have the capacity to strike specific sites of the Iranian nuclear project.
    The US understands the Iranian threat to Israel – President Bush and the US Presidential candidates recognize the great severity of Iran’s rising power and its nuclear project, as well as their influence on its status in the Middle East.5 A special understanding of the significance of the Iranian threat for Israel exists in America.6
    The probability that President Bush will act against Iran is higher than the probability that whoever succeeds him would. This assumption relies on the fact that most of the supporters of an operation against Iran come from within the Bush Administration.7
    Israel and US are coordinated on the Iranian issue – Between Israel and the US there is a tradition of military and political coordination around central issues (such as Israel’s nuclear policy or Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians).8
    Therefore, a change in US policy vis-à-vis Iran will be coordinated with Israel. Even if a US policy change vis-à-vis Iran occurs, it will be coordinated with Israel. Israel’s freedom of action will be preserved, if the US decides not to exhaust its military or political option within the current term of office.9
    Nonetheless, there is some incongruence between Israeli and US interests on the Iranian issue – The Iraqi issue is America’s top priority. Moreover, the US has strategic interests in the Persian Gulf, Kurdistan, Turkey, Central Asia and Afghanistan.10
    Changing Reality: Likelihood of US Military Operation Decreasing
    In practice, emerging trends undermine the aforementioned basic assumptions and render them irrelevant.
    Iraq dominates the American agenda –
    Among the American public, political system and US army, pressure is increasing to withdraw from Iraq and avoid further military confrontation with Iran.11
    The war in Iraq limits America’s operational capability against Iran. The US is exposed to a difficult Iranian response in Iraq and the Persian Gulf.12
    Already, the resources of the US are overstretched and the American army is fighting both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
    Resistance in Washington to a military operation against Iran is growing due to various reasons, including debate about the chances for success, the level of exposure of the US army in the Persian Gulf,13 the belief that economic sanctions are working as well as criticism of the Bush administration.14
    Even those who support a military operation agree that the political option must be exhausted first in order to build legitimacy for a military campaign. Exhaustion of the political process may thus be perceived as requiring direct US-Iran discussions.
    The call for direct discussions between the US and Iran is rising – Among the clearest calls for such discussions was the Baker-Hamilton Report (12/06). Although the administration officially rejected the report, direct discussions between US and Iranian representatives have been held on the topic of stabilizing Iraq. The US-Iranian communication channel also exists via Saudi Arabia.15
    The dilemma in the US is intensifying. The US is approaching a moment of decision -The closer the Bush administration gets to the end of its term, the more difficult it will be for the Administration to decide on a military campaign against Iran.16 Between a dangerous and controversial military option based on international sanctions and refusal to negotiate with Iran unless it stops enriching uranium, and a decision to leave the Iranian nuclear issue for the next President, a third option might arise of exhausting a process of direct negotiations with Iran.
    Israel is liable to become a burden – Israel is perceived as interested in American military action against Iran. Washington understands that Israel’s interests regarding Iran do not overlap with America’s interests and are liable to complicate achieving America’s goals in Iraq, for example. Therefore, in the case of a direct political process between Iran and the US, Israel is liable to be perceived as burden which will cause this process to fail, and thus will be excluded from the process.17
    Significance: Israel Must Prepare for a ‘Libyan Scenario’ in Iran
    The gap between Israel’s mindset and the trends influencing US policy is liable to lead Israel to a strategic surprise:
    A Two-phased American-Iranian-European deal –
    A deal regarding the existence of negotiations – Currently, the main obstacle to direct negotiations between the US and Iran is the American demand for Iran to cease enriching uranium as a precondition for negotiations. In order to convince other members of the Security Council to vote for increased sanctions on Iran, the US may agree to enter negotiations with Iran with no preconditions, or – under certain circumstances – may waive this demand entirely.
    A deal regarding the Iranian nuclear program – Negotiation with Iran may lead to a deal in which the US accepts Iran’s uranium enrichment capability (at the level of a ‘pilot project’), in return for Iranian consent to halt uranium enrichment for military purposes, under international supervision.
    A US-Iranian deal is not necessarily bad for Israel –
    Stopping the Iranian nuclear program will ‘spare’ Israel from the need to perform a present or future high-risk military operation. This may be preferable to the current situation, which may lead to a confrontation with Iran or to its nuclearization.
    A ‘good deal’ will stop the Iranian nuclear threat and contain Resistance Network activity against Israel.18
    A ‘bad deal’ will be one that does not block the potential for ongoing Iranian nuclear development and does not limit the activity of the Resistance Network.19
    In addition, prolonging negotiations between the US and Iran over a period of several years will give Iran time under a ‘negotiation umbrella’, during which it will be able to complete its nuclear development.
    Policy Options
    Israel’s key assumption has to be that not every US-Iranian deal reached ‘behind Israel’s back’ is a ‘bad deal’. Nonetheless, Israel must ensure that, in the case of talks between the US and Iran, its essential interests are preserved and that the US will seek a deal that is in Israel’s interest.
    How can Israel turn from a liability into an asset in the negotiations between the US and Iran? – In the case that the conclusion is reached that the chance for a military action against Iran is weak or unreasonable, Israel must be perceived as a partner for the US, and not as a political burden.
    Israel must consider and raise the issue of a US-Iranian deal in talks with the US – Israel needs to propose policy alternatives beyond the military option. Currently, Israel is perceived as supporting only military action against Iran, ruling out other possibilities. The more that Israel can be the one proposing creative alternatives for halting Iran’s nuclear project besides military action, the more likely it is that the US will choose to include Israel in its decision-making.
    Clarifying the issues which will be raised in US-Iranian negotiations – Israel needs to clarify with its American counterparts the main issues in US-Iranian negotiations which affect Israel: minimum requirements in such a deal; the significance of deadlines and length of the negotiation period, regional linkages, etc.

    Reply

  13. MP says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican at August 6, 2007 03:47 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Aw.

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  14. MP says:

    David, I like your arguments.
    Here’s what I’d say:
    “In other words, a third, fourth, or even fifth party candidate is not a guaranteed advantage for either side. It all depends.”
    ME: Yes, it does depend. I was assuming, rightly I think, that you’d be voting for a candidate who would draw votes from the Dems, thus giving the Republicans an edge. (But maybe you mean the opposite–and are crafty like a fox!) I think, in fact, that Perot drew from both camps because he was a bit of an iconoclast and had a style that appealed all on its own. However, I think he hurt HWB more than he did Clinton.
    Bloomberg, to me, is a wild card in this sense. If you’re from NY, or followed their politics at all, you know that Bloomberg was/is really a Democrat and switched to the Republicans for tactical reasons. He thus has a huge ability to appeal to Dems, I believe. With his dough, however, he also has the juice, I think, to win–so I might consider him, subject to further inspection.
    At this point, what the third party vote accomplishes is to inform the Democrats — most of all — that the electorate is fed up with their cowardice and fecklessness.
    ME: They may or may not get the message. In the meantime, you’ve got President Giuliani for 4-8 years and perhaps a companion Congress. In other words, whom are you hurting? You or them? And if we have PG for 4-8 years, what message does THAT send to the Dems? I ask this question, actually, without knowing, but I’m not sure it’s “we lost because we were cowards.” In part that’s because a vote, and especially a non-vote, is a blunt instrument: You don’t have the chance to include a signing statement as to why you didn’t vote–so folks are likely to draw a lot of different conclusions from your absence, if they note it at all.
    The media is pretending that the Democrats are losing support because they don’t support Republican hypocrisy enough. There has to be a way to inform these idiots that they are losing support because they are supporting Republican hypocrisy too much!!
    ME: I have to interject here. One of the things often argued here is how disciplined the Republicans are and how cowardly and feckless the Dems are. How they can’t even pull off an impeachment or subpoena with the Prez in the low 30s.
    But here (on these threads) we already see the cannibalism so prevalent among the left popping up in the comments about DailyKos. The Daily/Annual Kos is the ONE populist organizational triumph–the one example of ordinary people making their voices heard in an organized way–in contradistinction to the Democratic establishment and the DLC –and already people here are starting to shit on them because they aren’t doing XYZ. I guess, if one prefers to be “right” and without power…
    Anyway, back to your point. I might be wrong, but I think the Dems have moved away from the notion that they have to be more like the Republicans, in part because the Republicans are failing so badly. Yes, there is the apparent need to show one’s defense cojones, but this is something the Dems have struggled with since McGovern, since “we” “lost” Viet Nam. And here, hopefully, we will be aided by the fact that campaign talk is often just that. But it is a question, I agree.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Care to rebutt my argument?”
    No. To be honest, I don’t give a flyin’ f*ck about anything you say anymore.

    Reply

  16. David N says:

    MP:
    I refute your argument thusly:
    It has often been argued that one reason Clinton won the presidency twice was the presence — both times — of a third party candidate, Perot, who drew far more votes away from the Rethuglican candidate than from the Democratz.
    It can also be further argued that a Bloomberg would also draw more votes from the Rs than the Ds.
    Finally, one can cite the ultimate irony, that it was the votes for conservative thug Pat Buchanan — by mistake, we know, on a badly designed ballot — that provided the margin of error that allowed Bush and his brown shirts to steal the election in 2000.
    In other words, a third, fourth, or even fifth party candidate is not a guaranteed advantage for either side. It all depends.
    At this point, what the third party vote accomplishes is to inform the Democrats — most of all — that the electorate is fed up with their cowardice and fecklessness. The media is pretending that the Democrats are losing support because they don’t support Republican hypocrisy enough. There has to be a way to inform these idiots that they are losing support because they are supporting Republican hypocrisy too much!!

    Reply

  17. Sandy says:

    The Party of War. Hmmm. Which one would that be?
    Re the recent multi-BILLION dollar arms deals:
    “…Weapons have their own life. They strive to realize their potential. Their mission is to kill. A general whose arsenals are full tends to fantasize about “war this summer” or “war this winter”.
    The killing potential of weapons is getting “better” all the time, and their producers need testing grounds. Some days ago, one of our generals revealed on television that under an American-Israeli agreement, the Israeli army is obliged to report to the American military establishment on the effectiveness of all kinds of arms. For example: the accuracy of “smart” bombs and the performance of airplanes, missiles, drones, tanks and all the other instruments of destruction in our wars.
    Every “targeted killing” in Gaza or use of fragmentation bombs in Lebanon serves also as a test. The leveling of a neighborhood in Beirut, the death of women and children as “collateral damage”, the ongoing amputation of limbs by fragmentation bombs in South Lebanon – all these are statistical facts that are important for American arms manufacturers to know, so they can improve their merchandise.
    A deal is a deal, and goods are goods….” snip
    http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery08062007.html

    Reply

  18. MP says:

    POA writes: “You’re so full of shit. Your loyalties and tactics have become so ridiculously transparent that it is laughable. Gads, you’re a slimey piece of work.”
    Care to rebutt my argument?

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ” vote for a third-party candidate, like Nader, for example, is really a vote for Giuliani or Romney. I know this argument has been made a 1000 times, but I don’t see any way around it. If you’d feel happy with a President G or R, then by all means…”
    You’re so full of shit. Your loyalties and tactics have become so ridiculously transparent that it is laughable. Gads, you’re a slimey piece of work.

    Reply

  20. Sandy says:

    The Democratz are so self-serving and unprincipled that we can forget about them ever doing anything about the WAR CRIMES being perpetrated by this administration. They are accomplices.
    TORTURE. You talk about S A D I S T S. Yes. Our Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his Deputy Wolfowitz to name just two.
    They could hardly wait to hear all the gory details of the day’s TORTURE at Abu Ghraib. They waited….each night…for the reports. This was revealed — under oath — at a trial of one of the “bad apple” scapegoats:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/andrew05012007.html
    “Make Sure This Happens!!”
    How Rumsfeld Micromanaged Torture
    By ANDREW COCKBURN April 30, 2007
    When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld boasted, as he did frequently, of his unrelenting focus on the war on terror, his audience would have been startled, maybe even shocked, to discover the activities that Rumsfeld found it necessary to supervise in minute detail….
    …Further indications of Rumsfeld’s close interest in ongoing events at Abu Ghraib emerged in subsequent court proceedings. In May 2006, Sergeant Santos Cardona, an army dog handler was court-martialed at Fort Meade, Maryland. In stipulated (i.e., accepted by defense and prosecution) testimony, Maj. Michael Thompson, who had been assigned to the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion in the relevant period and reported to Col. Tom Pappas, the battalion commander, stated that he was frequently told by Pappas’ executive assistant that
    “Mr. Donald Rumsfeld and Mr. Paul Wolfowitz” had called and were “waiting for reports”.
    The defense also read aloud stipulated testimony from Steve Pescatore, a civilian interrogator employed by CACI, a corporation heavily contracted to assist in interrogations, who recalled being told by military intelligence personnel that Secretary Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz received “nightly briefings”….

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  21. pauline says:

    One thing for certain, false flags cause (and are) terrorism.

    Reply

  22. MP says:

    David N writes: “I am, if nothing changes, going to vote for a third-party candidate, because the Democrats do not deserve my support if they keep ignoring their responsibilities.”
    Is there a third party candidate running? Nader? The only who seems to have the prospect of a chance is Bloomberg. From what I can tell, he’d be a good choice.
    I do think, though, that you make a conceptual error when you talk about the Dems in the third person as not “deserving” your support as if, somehow, you’d be rewarding “them” by voting for “their” candidate–or punishing them by not voting for their candidate.
    The fact is, the person who wins will be president of YOUR country and have a great deal of power, soft and hard, to affect the lives of huge numbers of people here and abroad. This is not an issue of party affiliation or loyalty or any of that stuff. I’m not a Democratic apparatchik.
    This is a question of who gets the job for the next 4-8 years.
    A vote for a third-party candidate, like Nader, for example, is really a vote for Giuliani or Romney. I know this argument has been made a 1000 times, but I don’t see any way around it. If you’d feel happy with a President G or R, then by all means…
    In my view, third party candiates always fail because they’ve failed to do the decades of spade work at the local level (from dog catcher on up) to gain exposure and people’s trust and broad affiliation through proven effectiveness to make a difference in people’s lives. They are like the proverbial 22 year old who wants to start as a CEO rather than in the mailroom.

    Reply

  23. Carroll says:

    78% of Americans agree that fighting poverty is the best way to fight terrorism [Borgen Project]. Honestly put, the United States has not been doing either too successfully. Instead, we have issues and scandals of torture, beheadings, and constant guerilla warfare. Can we put a stop to this?
    Posted by Erica at August 6, 2007 12:23 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Poverty causing terrorism is false.

    Reply

  24. Erica says:

    78% of Americans agree that fighting poverty is the best way to fight terrorism [Borgen Project]. Honestly put, the United States has not been doing either too successfully. Instead, we have issues and scandals of torture, beheadings, and constant guerilla warfare. Can we put a stop to this?

    Reply

  25. Kathleen says:

    Marcia, Marica, Marcia… They are deaf, dumb and blind accomplices, who act like Pavlovian lab rats.
    Personally, I am in mourning for the America I knew and loved.
    Where is the country that led the way to write the Geneva Conventions?
    Where is the country that proposed the League of Nations and the UN and the concept of world co-operation?
    When did we turn into a country so bent on profits we sell arms to any and all sides of a conflict?
    When did we become so depraved we purposely inflict pain and injury on another human being?
    Demz should know, as they wait out the clock, that they are waiting it out on their own existence, too. If we have another election, we won’t be voting for Repug lite.
    Congressman Keith Ellison was right the first time and shouldn’t have backed down on his Reichstag Fire comparison.
    If Steve says the “I” word, does it mean the YearlyKos had an effect on his thinking?

    Reply

  26. linda says:

    john somer — you should read the vanity fair article. torture was a deliberate decision instituted because this administration is filled sadists who enjoy their powerful perches and display that power thru these abominable actions. there were plenty of people in the fbi, cia and the pentagon who were appalled by these actions but were ignored/overruled.
    and considering the cowardice of the democrats, the cheneyites were secure in their knowledge they would never be held accountable for their crimes.

    Reply

  27. David N says:

    Big Whoop.
    More relevant is the piece from yesterday’s outlook, talking about how impeaching these criminals will hurt the Democrats’ chances in next year’s election. That, not the law, not the general welfare, not some invented war to justify the criminal gutting of the Constitution, is all that counts.
    I am, if nothing changes, going to vote for a third-party candidate, because the Democrats do not deserve my support if they keep ignoring their responsibilities.
    Of course, the real genius of the BushCo Cabal is that their crimes are so extensive, so comprehensive, and so pervasive that the politicians and the media wouldn’t be able to keep track of them long enough to build a case for any purpose. It would be too confusing for us poor louts to hold in our tiny minds at the same time.
    Thus, we had a republic, as long as we could keep it. No more.
    P.S.: The real means of determining how effective torture is: If you were being tortured, what would you say? I will tell you that I thought about this deeply when serving overseas, and my own personal answer was, anything they wanted to hear. I told my wife that in that circumstance, if I were to make any media statements, she would know that the only reason I was doing it was that there was a gun off-screen pointed at my head. Would that make me a coward, or a sensible man? Glad I never had to find out.

    Reply

  28. liz says:

    Will the real man of lawlessness please stand up?

    Reply

  29. pauline says:

    I heard Alfred McCoy speak last year on his book, ” Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror”. see amazon.com for reader reviews.
    Basically McCoy says that after a while, detainees would give their interrogators any answer the detainees thought the interrogators wanted — just to get the torture to stop. McCoy says thus the detainee answers were never reliable. He tells the history of CIA torture and how many fruitful grants were given to select university psychology departments to “study” which torture methods could be used to get around Geneva Conventions.
    The AMA would have no part of these grants, so the CIA used psychologists to get the “answers” those in charge in DC wanted, and how these detainee “answers” were used to justify the continued their war on terror.
    As one reviewer stated on the McCoy book, “When one considers the fact that, according to the best informed sources, some 90% of the people detained in the War on Terror are absolutely innocent, torture becomes not only effective but necessary, for how else can one build a picture of looming threat from a bunch of poor souls picked up by mistake or handed over to the U.S. for bounties? The ultimate message is that the worst terrorists in the world operate out of Washington, D.C., and that we have far more to fear from them than from small-time operators and novices like Al Quaeda.”
    Here’s from a BBC article showing how out-of-control Rumsfeld was in exposing Joe Garby’s name publicly. Garby was the soldier who turned in the Abu Graib photos that started that entire investigation. Darby said, “I really find it hard to believe that the secretary of defence of the United States has no idea about the star witness for a criminal case being anonymous.”
    more at —
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6930197.stm

    Reply

  30. john somer says:

    One f te main reasons why the CIA had to resort to torture was its lack of knowledge of non-European cultures. An interrogator who doesn’t know the detainee’s culture is at a severe handicap. If forced to obtain “actionable intelligence”, he will tend to use medieaval methods

    Reply

  31. susan says:

    don’t assume that the Bush regime actually wants to prosecute these people. as long as they are locked away the can continue to be used as the bogeymen and hobgoblins to make the populace cower in fear.

    Reply

  32. Marcia says:

    A resounding thanks to Jane Mayer but it looks as though each day brings a new hole in the dike. If a case is to be brought against Cheney it would probably be a good idea to do it quickly, very quickly.
    After the vote on the FISA bill, there is the raid on the home of a former DOJ lawyer by the FBI with a secret warrant. They are advancing one step at a time – a candidate for the Supreme Court, eavesdropping, caging, firing non compliant judges – when confronted they consolidate their position, advance another pawn on a different issue, and Congress is rolling over and over and over.
    It seems incomprehensible. Are our elected representatives accomplices, or deaf, dumb and blind?

    Reply

  33. Mr.Murder says:

    The majority of prisoners had no ties to Al Qaeida, they were turned in to reap local bounties and settle rivalries.
    Among them, things like refusing to give a teen daughter up for arranged marriage…
    that’s what America has helped perpetuate.

    Reply

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