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Archive for June 9th, 2009

Panetta: Too Dangerous To Release Torture Tape Docs

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – June 9, 2009, 9:58AM

Do we have yet another case of the Obama administration mimicking its predecessor’s notorious penchant for government secrecy?

The CIA argued yesterday that Bush-era documents detailing the videotaped interrogations of detainees should not be released, citing national security concerns, reports the Washington Post.

The videotapes, which depicted harsh interrogation tactics, were famously destroyed in 2005. As part of a wide-ranging lawsuit, the ACLU is seeking the release of CIA emails discussing the tapes, handwritten notes taken after reviewing the tapes, and a photograph of one high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah, among other items relating to the tapes.

CIA director Leon Panetta argued in a statement that releasing the material “could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence we possessed.”

Panetta wrote that the “disclosure of explicit details of specific interrogations” would give al-Qaeda “propaganda it could use to recruit and raise funds.” He called it “ready-made ammunition.”

MORE HERE

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Secretary of State Says US or “Some Other Enemy” May Launch First Strike Against Iran

by Jason Ditz | Antiwar.com, June 8, 2009

Citing the disastrous 2003 US invasion of Iraq as an example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today warned that by continuing to refuse to abandon its civilian nuclear program, Iran was risking the possibility of an invasion by the US or “some other enemy that would do that to them.”

The comments came during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program, and when asked by interviewer and former Clinton-era official George Stephanopoulus, Secretary Clinton reiterated “that’s right, as a first strike.”

The bulk of the interview emphasized US opposition to the Iranian program, along with unquestioned claims that the nation was pursuing nuclear weapons. Secretary Clinton also extended the American nuclear umbrella over Israel in the event that Iran attacked them.

Considering it was no more than 72 hours ago that President Obama made his historic call for a “new beginning” to US relations with the Muslim world, it seems incredible that his administration is already raising the prospect of an Iraq-style invasion of Iran.

Already six years in, the Iraq occupation has killed thousands of US soldiers, sucked trillions from the American economy, and is stretching the military to its limits. It is unfathomable that with this war still far from over, the Obama Administration is considering an Iraq redux in its larger neighbor to the east.

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The Australian, June 8, 2009

WASHINGTON: Senior US Justice Department lawyers in 2005 sought to limit tough interrogation tactics against terror suspects but were overruled.

James Comey, who was then the No2 official at the Justice Department, tried to convince Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales that some of the tactics were wrong and they would eventually damage the reputation of the department.

The New York Times reported that Mr Comey had sent an email at the time describing his efforts to curtail the use of the tactics that critics call torture. “I told him the people who were applying pressure now would not be there when the s… hit the fan,” Mr Comey wrote in an email obtained by the Times.

“It would be Alberto Gonzales in the bull’s-eye.

“I told him it was my job to protect the department and the A-G and that I could not agree to this because it was wrong.”

A person familiar with Mr Comey’s concerns, speaking anonymously, said Mr Comey had sought to put limits on the use of the interrogation tactics on moral and ethical grounds, and because they didn’t work.

The Justice Department has been conducting an investigation into the conduct of the lawyers, who wrote memos authorising the CIA to use a variety of measures, including sleep deprivation, slamming suspects into walls and waterboarding to make them talk. The memos were the subject of internal debates within the Bush administration and were later made public by the Obama administration.

AP

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Held Seven Years, Former Aid Worker Tells ABC News He Was Tortured

By JAKE TAPPER, KAREN TRAVERS, and STEPHANIE Z. SMITH | ABC News | June 8, 2009

For 7½ years, Lakhdar Boumediene was known simply by a number: “10005.”

These were the digits assigned to him when he arrived at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, swept up in a post-Sept. 11 dragnet and accused of plotting to blow up the U.S. and British Embassies in Sarajevo.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Boumediene said the interrogators at Gitmo never once asked him about this alleged plot, which he denied playing any part it.

“I’m a normal man,” said Boumediene, who at the time of his arrest worked for the Red Crescent, providing help to orphans and others in need. “I’m not a terrorist.”

The 43-year-old Algerian is now back with his wife and two daughters, a free man in France after a Republican judge found the evidence against Boumediene lacking. He is best known from the landmark Supreme Court case last year, Boumediene v. Bush, which said detainees have the right to challenge their detention in court.

That decision was a stunning rebuke of the Bush administration’s policies on terror suspects. It set up a ruling by District Court Judge Richard Leon, a former counsel to Republicans in Congress appointed to the bench by Bush, that there was no credible evidence to keep Boumediene detained.

After what Boumediene described as a 7½ year nightmare, he is now a free man. Boumediene: “I don’t think. I’m sure” about torture.

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