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Tag Archives: GITMO

McCain Says Torture Did Not Lead To Osama Bin Laden?

Former POW, and the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – aka TORTURE – were not a factor in the discovery of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and he condemned the use of any form of torture.

In a speech on the Senate floor, John McCain said waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques are not necessary in any kind of interrogation conducted by United States personnel.

“It was not torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden,” he said.

The former Presidential candidate said former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey was wrong when he claimed harsh interrogation had led to bin Laden. McCain said he had spoken to CIA Director Leon Panetta and got “the facts” on what really led to bin Laden’s demise. And guess what? The facts contradicted Mukasey’s claim.

“I asked CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.

“In fact, the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.”

McCain, prisoner of war for five and a half years in North Vietnam, said the U.S. should not compromise its deepest values by using torture.

It’s gratifying to see someone as senior and experienced as John McCain speaking out on torture, and how it has no place in interrogation used by the United States. Hopefully this will to silence those on the far right who think it’s perfectly OK for our country to violate international law, and our own laws. But, that’s probably just wishful thinking.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Torture

 

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Democrats won’t fund Gitmo closing?

GOP Spokesman Rush Limbaugh, reading from an Associated Press story yesterday said, “President Barack Obama’s allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison next January, a top Democratic official said Tuesday.  With debate looming on Obama’s spending request to cover military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo’s 241 detainees.”

Limbaugh immediately questioned why the Democrats in Congress would turn on the President, “Now, why would this be?” he asked. “Obama said he’s going to close Club Gitmo in January 2010.  Now, the Democrats say sorry, pal, we’re not going to give you the money for that.” 

Problem is El Rushbo, under his usual motus operandi (MO for all you ditto heads), only told a sliver of truth about what was actually said. Had Maha Rushdi dug a little deeper he would have found that what Democratic Party leaders in the Congress actually said was that the Senate was not going to fund closing Gitmo until it saw what the administration’s plan was., “The administration has not come up with a plan at this point,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, or No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. “I think Guantanamo should be closed and we have to wait for the president’s direction on what happens to the detainees.”

Durbin said that he could support transferring detainees to U.S. prisons. “Our prisons are filled with dangerous people, including terrorists. And not a single one (terrorist) has escaped.”

Durbin said the Congress simply wasn’t going to fund the closing blindly, “The feeling was at this point we were defending the unknown. We were being asked to defend a plan that hasn’t been announced. And the administration said, ‘Understood. Give us time to put together that plan and we’ll come to you in the next appropriations bill.'”

Rush further bloviated on the topic asking, “Why would the Democrats turn on Obama on this?  Why?  They don’t want to lose in 2010, and the polling data on closing Guantanamo must not be on the same page with Obama’s desire to do so.”

Well Rush actually polling data shows just the opposite, there’s a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that 53 percent of Americans said the United States should shutter the controversial facility in Cuba and find another way to deal with the prisoners there. While 42 percent of those polled, including 69 percent of Republicans, said terrorism suspects should remain at the prison. Most Democrats (68 percent) and independents (55 percent) said they would prefer another way to handle the detainees.  So basically the country seems to fall in line on this issue along the same political lines as the last presidential election. No surprise there. One side wants to try to do things the right way, the legal way, while the other wants to do everything based on fear mongering. You figure out which party fits which description.

Rush said, “Fear is the reason, because the word is out that if we close Gitmo that some of these clowns are going to be released in the United States, and people are not excited about that.”

No one Rush, repeat NO ONE has ever said that anyone convicted, or currently suspected, of being a terrorist at Gitmo were going to be released in the United States. Some of the prisoners may be transferred to federal prisons in the U.S., but no one has said they would be released here. This is once again Rush playing on the fear of his listeners.

Rush, Hannity, et al jumped on the story some time ago that some of the Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs held at Gitmo might be permitted to live in the United States, Chinese Muslims cleared by the Bush Administration as not being terrorists. The part of being cleared by the Bush Administration as not being terrorists is the part Rush, Hannity, et al always conveniently leave out when discussing the release of terrorists into America.

So, what have we learned today?

First, Democratic Party Members of Congress have not refused to fund closing Gitmo; it said they want to see the Obama Administration’s plan for doing so before it will discuss funding.

Second, Rush only tells his listeners what he wants them to hear, what he hopes and wishes to be true. That the Democratic Party is splintering, and that Americans are living in fear. You hold on to those happy thoughts Rush, those and some fairy dust and one day you’ll fly. Oh wait, you have oxycotton for that.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2009 in GITMO, Politics

 

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Enemy Combatants to be Released in America?

Once again the town crier of conservatism, Sean Hannity, gets it wrong. Crying out on his March 27th television show,  “[t]he director of national intelligence says Gitmo detainees will be released right here in the U.S.,” and later claiming: “…we’re going to release these enemy combatants on American soil, OK?”

Come on Hannity, you know that isn’t true. And yet you are continuing to spin these lies in hopes of spreading fear and panic among your listening and viewing audiences, many of whom get all their news from you, Rush, O’Rielly and Beck.

“Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!”

Hannity also referred to the detainees that “we’re going to release” as “Gitmo combatants.” However, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair has never proposed that the United States release “enemy combatants on American soil”. Blair has only outlined the “process” by which the government would determine whether, and how, to release detainees into the United States who are not “too dangerous to let out” and have not “committed offenses that merit punishment.” Gee Hannity, that would mean that the United States Government is talking about releasing innocent people from GITMO, not terrorist, nor enemy combatants. What’s this mean? It means Sean that you’re a liar!

Oh, and Hannity, I believe if you’d done your homework – ha! Like that’s ever going to happen! – you’d have discovered that it was the Bush Administration which first proposed releasing the indiviuals in question (detainees belonging to the Uighur ethnic group from western China) testifying before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September 2008 that the 17 Uighur detainees “will be treated as if they are no longer enemy combatants.”

Hannity also claimed – in the same broadcast – his familiar rant that more than 60 former GITMO detainees have returned to battlefied, “…we actually have from the Pentagon 61 people that we released from Gitmo. Sixty-one have gone back to the battlefield.” Once again, if Hannity had bothered to either check his facts, or report the truth, that this is not true.

Wake up America! Hannity is a liar who wouldn’t know the truth about a subject if it walked up and sat next to him. He, Rush, Beck and all the rest are not reporting facts, they’re making stuff up as they go along. They claim that the current administration is trying to govern using fear and gloom regarding our economy, but these guys just can’t let go of the old Bush/Cheney littany that brouhgt us the Patriot Act and Justice Department Memos that gave President Bush the authority to tear up the Bill of Rights all in the name of security.  Remember what Benjamin Franklin once said, “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Hannity, and his buds, would have us do just that.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2009 in National Security, Politics

 

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