Archive for the ‘Waterboarding’ Category

CIA: Whitehouse-Sanctioned Torture

December 10, 2014

CIA: Whitehouse-Sanctioned Torture

“5 questions about the CIA detention and interrogation report you wish you didn’t have to ask,” Adam Goldman, Washington Post

“Senate report on CIA torture claims spy agency lied about ‘ineffective’ program,” Spencer Ackerman, Dominic Rushe, and Julian Borger, The Guardian

“10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report,” Luke Brin, Salon

“16 absolutely outrageous abuses detailed in the CIA torture report,” Dylan Matthews, Vox

“The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report,'” Shane Harris, Daily Beast


Palin Baptism

April 28, 2014

Palin Baptism

Former Alaska Temp-Governor and amateur theologian Sarah Palin spoke to firearms enthusiasts on Saturday. “… if I were in charge,” she told them, “they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”


“Sarah Palin talks waterboarding, guns at NRA convention,” Jake Miller, CBS News

“Conservative Christians Disgusted With Palin’s Religious Talk,” Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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May 1, 2009 — Law Day

May 1, 2009

 May 1, 2009 -- Law Day

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with Public Law 87-20, as amended, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2009, as Law Day, U.S.A. I call upon the people of the United States to acknowledge the importance of our Nation’s legal and judicial systems with appropriate ceremonies and activities, and to display the flag of the United States in support of this national observance.

In 1958, President Eisenhower established Law Day as “a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law.” Each year on Law Day, we celebrate our commitment to the rule of law.
Law Day, U.S.A., 2009, A Proclamation.

 United States Code, Title  18, 2441: War Crimes

(d) Common Article 3 Violations.—

(1) Prohibited conduct.— In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:



January 23, 2009


The third executive order signed by President Barack Obama prepares the way for the closure of the U.S. Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp  in Cuba. U.S.. News and World Report has aggregated the information here.

The Guantánamo resort was George W. Bush’s destructive exercise in international destination tourism. Like every other business venture initiated by the MBA President, it was a dismal failure. Mr. Obama  has lived in Hawaii and Indonesia and knows about tropical island real estate. Perhaps he could  convert America’s Gulf Stream Gulag into a viable vacation destination and help defray the massive expenses of our economic recovery plan.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro seems to like our new president; perhaps Fidel will help with the condo conversions and timeshare sales.

 Surf’s up, people. See you in C-U-B-A.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


How Many Turkeys Will He Pardon?

November 16, 2008

How Many Turkeys Will He Pardon?

President George W. Bush, following a tradition started by Harry Truman, is expected to pardon the 2008 National Thanksgiving Turkey. Mr. Bush has always enjoyed this ceremony, except for the year when things went horribly, tragically wrong, and his pardon came too late.

President Bush has more pardons to consider in his remaining weeks in office, and the herd of turkeys gobbling for clemency is bigger than the one at Turkeyfest in Cuero, Texas. Jailbirds looking to leave the turkey pen include GOP gobblers Edwin Edwards and Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Fowls facing future chopping blocks include David Addington, William Haynes, and others who permitted torture in the name of national security.


White House Endorsed Waterboarding

October 15, 2008

White House Endorsed Waterboarding

Secret White House memos approved CIA use of “waterboarding” in 2003 and 2004, according to Joby Warrick in the Washington Post. CIA Director George Tenet had obtained a 2002 Justice Department ruling that waterboarding does not legally constitute torture, but sought specific policy approval from the White House.  Secretary Tenet got his White House approval for use of the technique in the 2003 and 2004 memos.

Condoleezza Rice, then White House Security Advisor, and Vice President Dick Cheney are among those known to have attended briefings on CIA waterboarding. The President was at these meetings.

Congress passed specific anti-waterboarding legistation, but it was vetoed by President George W. Bush.

Waterboarding is considered torture by the U.S. Army Field Manual, international law, and U.N. Treaty. Many authorities believe waterboarding is forbidden under Title 18 of the U.S. legal code.

Put Out More Flags

July 5, 2008

Put Out More Flags
Gitmo Guys Get the Gals!

Put Out More Flags!

See enough July 4th fireworks last night?

Good. Today it’s back to the old waterworks:

L.A. Times: Key player in waterboarding policy ‘smug’ under questioning

Washington Post/Chicago Tribune: CIA advised Pentagon on interrogation; Waterboarding defended in 2002

AFP: Harsh interrogation methods stain US image, endanger soldiers: experts

CNN:  Military lawyers objected to harsh interrogation techniques

Wall Street Journal: Ex-Pentagon Lawyers Challenged on Torture

Put Out More Flags!

Top image: Mike Licht. Download it here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

CIA in Poland

June 21, 2008

CIA in Poland

A C.I.A. narcotics analyst with no interrogation experience or appropriate language skills was the key interviewer of high-level Al Qaeda prisoners at a secret Polish prison, according to Scott Shane of the New York Times.

Deuce Martinez, a James Madison University alumnus, spoke no Arabic and refused to take part in waterboarding or other “enhanced interrogation methods.” He had worked at the Counternarcotics Center, data-mining phone numbers and credit card records to track drug cartels. He was detailed to the hunt for Al Qaeda after 9/11, using tracking techniques from his counternarcotics repertoire, and stayed with the investigation after it resulted in the capture of Abu Zubaydah. Mr. Martinez interrogated Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (accused planner of the U.S.S. Cole bombing), and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.


Tales of Tapes

February 15, 2008

Now You See Them . . . .

More work for the Guantanamo Audio-Visual Squad. Defendants in the trial planned for the U.S. Naval Base prison can’t speak with their attorneys without being documented on tape. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons the American Bar Association will have nothing to do with these proceedings. As I understand it, U.S. civilian and military legal proceedings consistently recognize attorney-client privilege.

It is now known that all interrogations have been videotaped, over 24,000 at Gitmo in a three-year period, as previously posited by NotionsCapital. The government claims it has routinely recorded over them, that is to say, erased them. Erasing these tapes violates federal records acts and clearly constitutes obstruction of justice.

Have interrogation tapes been re-used to record lawyer-client conversations? Let’s not put anything past these folks. It is time for investigators to confiscate every tape, DVD, CD, hard drive, flash drive, and notebook and index card at Gitmo before the ghost of Rose Mary Woods destroys every relevant document in the place.

Federal Water Sports Update

February 9, 2008

Federal Water Sports Update

Vice President Dick Cheney bragged to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday morning that the U.S. has been “waterboarding” detainees — submitting them to a drowning torture outlawed by the world and our own laws — and this has prevented more 9/11s.  For the record, I note that it has been equally effective in preventing asteroids from colliding with earth, Godzilla from stomping LA, and invasions from Mars.