Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Heads in the sand — Asses in the air."

Subject: Torture of Detainees in U.S. custody

Danz Introduction: This subject needs much clearer focus than we see now. It also may need international scrutiny, but most certainly, it needs keen focus at home by the entire population. Sadly, that is lacking due to a shrewd and clever White House - Justice Department PR magical game of hide the evidence. The story below illustrates the nature of the problem from former high government officials - questions raised, questions hidden. Those officials are gone, but the issue has not.

Background: Five years ago, as troubling reports emerged about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a career lawyer at the Justice Department began a long and relatively lonely campaign to alert top Bush administration officials to a strategy he considered “wrongheaded.” That lawyer was Bruce C. Swartz, a criminal division deputy in charge of international issues. He repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of harsh interrogation tactics at White House meetings of a special group formed to decide detainee matters, with representatives present from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA. Swartz warned that the abuse of Guantanamo inmates would do “grave damage” to the country's reputation and to its law enforcement record. He was joined by a handful of other top Justice and FBI officials who said the abuse would almost certainly taint any legal proceedings against the detainees.

Concerns among FBI agents about the interrogations first came to light in 2004, when a series of internal memos disclosed to the American Civil Liberties Union made clear that the bureau withdrew its agents from interrogation rooms in protest. Besides Swartz, former FBI assistant general counsel, Marion "Spike" Bowman, documented his concerns in written reports. Former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism, Pasquale D'Amuro, also pitched in concerns. Even Michael Chertoff, now heading up Homeland Security, who was then the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, raised concerns in November 2002 about the effectiveness of military interrogation methods – although later he said he did not recall hearing assertions that they were illegal.

The most damaging is that at one point, FBI agents went so far as to collect allegations of abuse in what they labeled a “war crimes file.” The FBI Inspector General documented concerns and other allegations, but the file was closed without action shortly afterward.

Full story from Washington Post at

Danz View: This story speaks for itself.

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