Tuesday, July 15, 2008

JMO - The Truth be told

I listened to NPR's Fresh Air today (7/15/08) with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker who has a book out now, "The Dark Side", about the Bush-Cheney legalization and use of torture, the slippery slope of abandoning the Geneva Convention for using cold war torture tactics, and its inevitable failure. In short, a small group of men changed American history destroying American values along the way, and set a new standard of the worst a nation will do in the name of fear.

And she raises a couple of points in the interview.

First, the initial review of the detainees and Gitmo showed at least one-third were innocent civilians, caught in sweeps or at the wrong place and time and have nothing to do with fighting the US or terrorism. Later studies have shown as many as 55% of them are innoncent civilians, and only 8% of them had any connection, let alone being members, of Al Qaeda. In short, to find the bad 5-10% we incarcerated another 90% or 9 times more than we thought were involved with Al Qaeda.

In short, we were blind to our own proces of evaluating individuals and took whomever seems suspicious.

Second, according to the International Court, anyone or any person(s) or nation who violates the Geneva Convention can be prosecuted and is considered guilty of war crimes against humanity. And the Bush-Cheney team thought that invalidating the Geneva Convention by calling these people "enemy combatants" would avoid that view of torture, especially since we know all the forms of torture used violated the Geneval Convention.

But they were, and still are, wrong. And according to many experts now, guilty of war crimes.

Third, the forms of torture the CIA used in the extraordinary rendtion program with its secret international prisons, doesn't illicit good information, but was used in training of the US military during to cold war against being captured and tortured by Communists. It was developed to provide false confessions and information to the enemy. And almost all the information they've gotten at the secret prisions and Gitmo is the same, false confessions and information.

The technique we knew and used to train soldiers we used to extract information from prisoners, but led to the same result. Lies. Pure and simple. Just lies.

Fourth, all this has destroyed the United States' credibility in the world. Where we once stood for justice, we now stand for secret prisons and torture. We're no better than our worst enemy, the very people we decry as villians and "evildoers", arresting or capturing and terrorizing people, innocent civilians for no reason other than suspicions, without trials and due process.

How can we say anymore we're for justice and the Geneva Convention? Who will believe us?

Fifth, the Bush, Cheney team overreacted and became super paranoid about Al Qaeda. Instead of showing strength and courage in the face of terrorists, they cowered in bunkers fearing another even worse, maybe nuclear, attack. And they used all the available intelligence, most of it inaccruate and incorrect, to justify their actions and decision to rewrite the laws on privacy and surveillence.

They didn't create all the terrorism issues out of the challenge to face our enemy, but out of fear of them.

Sixth, they've also showed they're more than willing to do the same to and use the same tactics on American citizens. We are all now considered suspects in the war on terrorism, and we can be treated no different than any enemy combatant if the government simply believes, without any proof or providing evidence to a judge, we have connections to or are providing material support for terrorists.

When it comes to terrorism we are now presumed guilty without the rights guarranteed under the Constitution and federal laws.

Our enemy won by making us paranoid and expending a lot of resource, orders of magnitude more than they could imagine having let alone using, out of fear instead of courage. And Bush and Cheney and the bunch of them did it to us, our country, and our nation.

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