Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Report Warned on C.I.A.'s Tactics in Interrogation" (Douglas Jehl)

A classified report issued last year by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general warned that interrogation procedures approved by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks might violate some provisions of the international Convention Against Torture, current and former intelligence officials say.
The previously undisclosed findings from the report, which was completed in the spring of 2004, reflected deep unease within the C.I.A. about the interrogation procedures, the officials said. A list of 10 techniques authorized early in 2002 for use against terror suspects included one known as waterboarding, and went well beyond those authorized by the military for use on prisoners of war.
The convention, which was drafted by the United Nations, bans torture, which is defined as the infliction of "severe" physical or mental pain or suffering, and prohibits lesser abuses that fall short of torture if they are "cruel, inhuman or degrading." The United States is a signatory, but with some reservations set when it was ratified by the Senate in 1994.
The report, by John L. Helgerson, the C.I.A.'s inspector general, did not conclude that the techniques constituted torture, which is also prohibited under American law, the officials said. But Mr. Helgerson did find, the officials said, that the techniques appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the convention.

The above is from Douglas Jehl's "Report Warned on C.I.A.'s Tactics in Interrogation" in this morning's New York Times and was selected by Kara as the must read in the paper today.

Marci e-mails to note Robert Oscar Lopez's "Saving Rosa Parks from American Hypocrisy" (CounterPunch):

With extreme sadness, I see Rosa Parks slowly being marshaled in the latter course. "Unassuming," "humble," this "small-framed" "seamstress" "chosen by God" is the perfect antidote to the "Rage des Oubliés." Instead of discussing Rosa Parks' readiness for confrontation or how enraged she must have felt about the Montgomery law, the adjectives emphasize her sacrificial meekness. Kyra Phillips may have simply blurted the question that much of white America is thinking but refuses to ask: "now what do you think of all those commentators who keep complaining all the time on the television, when Rosa Parks' approach was so different?"
In death, she is brought into the Capitol Rotunda. The honor is not hers, I would argue, but the Rotunda's. In a sickening irony, she lies in the same spot that served to honor J. Edgar Hoover's corpse shortly after his death on May 4, 1972. [4] Hoover, the longest-lasting head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, worked indefatigably to destroy everything that Rosa Parks stood for. To place her coffin inside the Rotunda is a not-too-subtle act of ownership by the conservative Washington camp that follows in Hoover's footsteps, not Rosa Parks'. Her story will now belong to someone else, and this time, she cannot refuse to be placed where they want to place her. The story will now go something like this: racism once existed, but it does not anymore. It ended because God chose one small seamstress, and she defied the law, but she defied it meekly, quietly, unassumingly, without pride or aggression. If you are patient and quiet, you will be remembered. If you are angry or militant, you will be forgotten, just as the French headline says.
To his great credit, Reverend Joseph Lowery politely resisted Kyra Phillips' innuendoes on CNN. "It takes all approaches," Lowery said. "I do not condone violence, but I do condone militancy." Phillips, blonde and smiling, may or may not have understood that Lowery was telling her she was wrong. She did not say anything in response. But the endless photographs of Rosa Parks to follow simply reinforced everything Phillips had said: black-and-white pictures of a bygone era, the small "quiet angel" as Lowery called her, serenely defying her oppressors in a feminine, almost Christ-like sacrifice consciously differentiated from the black woman screaming at the top of her lungs in the wreckage of New Orleans.
Turning heroes against their causes is a very old routine in American racial history. When I teach African American literature to college students, I always observe how well students have learned the "I love Martin Luther King but I hate Malcolm X" game. They vaunt Frederick Douglass' method of opposing slavery through self-education and they condemn Nat Turner's violence (in a mock trial I held in Camden, New Jersey, for instance, the students called Douglass' ghost to the stand and used his testimony to convict Turner.) Someone somewhere usually manages to rewrite racial history in the United States to instill:
(1) indifference to the racial problems of the present,
(2) a false remembrance of past heroism in the face of an injustice that is supposedly gone, and
(3) an even falser nostalgia for the classier, more polite, more Christian, nicer, and more acceptable forms of antiracist resistance that used to exist.
All this rewriting can be translated to the crass thought, "they don't make colored people the way they used to."

Marci wondered if it was okay to note that. Absolutely, it's an important article. But besides being that, she wondered if it was okay due to the fact that we've already noted Rosa Parks' passing. There's no sell by date on good writing and there's no, "Rosa Parks again!" on my end.
If you find something on Rosa Parks, feel free to e-mail about it.

Zach e-mails to note Robert Parry's "So Iraq Was About the Oil" (Consortiumn News):

When Colin Powell's former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson publicly decried the Bush administration's bungling of U.S. foreign policy, the focus of the press coverage was on Wilkerson's depiction of a "cabal" headed by Vice President Dick Cheney that had hijacked the decision-making process.
Largely overlooked were Wilkerson's frank admissions about the importance of oil in justifying a long-term U.S. military intervention in Iraq. "The other thing that no one ever likes to talk about is SUVs and oil and consumption," the retired Army colonel said in a speech on Oct. 19.
While bemoaning the administration's incompetence in implementing the war strategy, Wilkerson said the U.S. government now had no choice but to succeed in Iraq or face the necessity of conquering the Middle East within the next 10 years to ensure access to the region's oil supplies.
"We had a discussion in (the State Department's Office of) Policy Planning about actually mounting an operation to take the oilfields of the Middle East, internationalize them, put them under some sort of U.N. trusteeship and administer the revenues and the oil accordingly," Wilkerson said. "That's how serious we thought about it."
The centrality of Iraq's oil in Wilkerson's blunt comments contrasted with three years of assurances from the Bush administration that the war had almost nothing to do with oil.
When critics have called the Iraq War a case of "blood for oil," George W. Bush's defenders have dismissed them as "conspiracy theorists." The Bush defenders insisted the president went to war out of concern about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s links to al-Qaeda, neither of which turned out to be true. Later, Bush cited humanitarian concerns and the desire to spread democracy.
Always left out of the administration's war equation – or referenced only obliquely – was the fact that Iraq sits atop one of the world's largest known oil reserves at a time when international competition is intensifying to secure reliable oil supplies.
O'Neill's Revelations
But Wilkerson is not the first senior Bush administration official to cite the importance of oil in the U.S. calculus toward Iraq. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill made similar assertions in 2004.
O'Neill, who was fired in late 2002 after disagreeing with Bush on tax cuts and Iraq, told author Ron Suskind that Bush’s first National Security Council meeting just days into his presidency included a discussion of invading Iraq. O'Neill said even at that early date, the message from Bush was "find a way to do this."

Rod e-mails to note today's scheduled topics for Democracy Now!:

* Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East journalist for the London Independent joins us in our firehouse studio to discuss Iraq, the media and his new book "The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East."
* We take a look at the latest in the ongoing uprising in France being led by immigrant and Muslim youths. The French government has now put in place curfews and emergency measures in an effort to stop the unrest.

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