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Torture Watch

Josh Meyer writes in the Los Angeles Times: "The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

"Under the 'global justice' initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases. They will expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said....

"The approach effectively reverses a mainstay of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, in which global counter-terrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem, not a law enforcement one. That policy led to the establishment of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; harsh interrogations; and detentions without trials....

"FBI agents for years had used non-coercive interrogations to thwart attacks, win convictions of Al Qaeda operatives and gain an encyclopedic knowledge of how the terrorist network operates. But they withdrew from questioning important suspects after the bureau opposed the tactics being used by the CIA and military -- often by inexperienced civilian contractors.

"The harsh interrogations provided such bad information that U.S. agents spent years chasing false leads around the world, former FBI agent Ali Soufan testified before Congress two weeks ago. 'It was one of the worst and most harmful decisions made in our efforts against Al Qaeda.'"

Duncan Gardham and Paul Cruickshank write in the Telegraph: "Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged....

"Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

"Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph."

Taguba last year accused senior Bush administration officials of war crimes in its treatment of detainees and called for accountability.

AFP reports: "Obama's record on changing the counter-terror policies of his predecessor has been 'mixed,' said a report by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International....

"Highlighting the 'widespread expectation of change' brought by Obama's swearing-in in January following eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, Amnesty said 'early promise and initial important steps to redress violations have been followed by limited action.'"

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 28, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Torture  
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I can't believe rove is not in jail for all his criminality. Does he have no shame or does he believe the nonsense he spews?

Posted by: davidsawh | May 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

davidsawh - he definately has no shame, that much is certain.

Posted by: m_mcmahon | May 28, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

We're bored with all the torture talk. Anything new with Adam and Kris?

Posted by: davidbn27 | May 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The FBI, CIA, and Bush administration, not only had advanced and detailed information and then did nothing to prevent the 9/11 assault and murder of 3000 Americans, they tried to cover it up and then lied about it.

After the September 11, attack, Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the FBI, said he was surprised to discover there were terrorists in the U.S., and even more surprised to learn they had been receiving flight training. "This is news to me" he said, and then added, "obviously, if we had understood that to be the case, we would have averted this."

Other top officials in the FBI, CIA, and Bush administration, including President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, echoed these claims of ignorance. Bush and Cheney were lying. They had received detailed briefings in August 2001.

In the months, weeks, and days before 9/11, top officials in the FBI, CIA, and in the Bush administration knew with 100% certainty that over a dozen men with links to Osama bin Laden and his organization were in the United States and attending U.S. flight schools. And government and Bush administration officials knew that these men were being trained to hijack commercial jetliners in order to use them as guided missiles that would be fired at major U.S. cities including New York and Washington. And, by August 2001, they knew with 100% certainty that a horrific attack would soon take place and that the primary targets would be the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

Posted by: motorfriend | May 28, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I wish Obama or his people would do the right thing and take at least one of those torture kooks to trial, here, in America.

The issue never goes away.

That's just wishful thinking, a control you simply don't have.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 28, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm impressed with Taguba's persistance. I remember his comment from last year about war crimes deserving prosecution and I'm glad to see Taguba's committed to the law being carried out by not remaining silent. It's too bad that the truth of the matter isn't being followed up on in an American paper, but at least this report is making it to the W.H. Watch blog. As for getting the difficult truths only on the web, after a while (6+ years now), it sort of feels like using the servants' entrance to the news and information. Are we really listened to or taken seriously when there's no monied interest to upset and make everyone take notice? Let's start sending letters and e-mails to the Post and Times and demand that they get this serious news out of the metaphorical back room and on to the front page where it belongs.

Posted by: russgeer | May 28, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Historically, the CIA does not work or play well with others. One of the reasons that the 9/11 attacks were not stopped was because the CIA kept information about a terrorist with a multi-entry visa to the US from the FBI. Top officials at the CIA have kept critical info from Congress (as have officials of nearly all of the executive agencies at some times).

Posted by: dickdata | May 29, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Bored with the torture talk? You Republican pervert and sadist! Bring 'em all to trial. Who knew that Obama's policy would be to cover up torture perpetrations? Homosexual rape of helpless prisoners--nobody's gonna cooperate with such people, who DESERVE to be harmed.

Posted by: bong_jamesbong2001 | May 29, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Which, by the way, is how the UK for instance is moving effectively to prevent terror attacks. It's just good police work.

And it has the additional advantage that you don't validate the attackers' claims and image. They're not warriors. They're criminals.

Posted by: jpk1 | May 29, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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