By Ray McGovern
For the CIA supervisors and operatives responsible for torture, the chickens are coming home to roost; that is, if President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder mean it when they say no one is above the law – and if they don’t fall victim to brazen intimidation.
Unable to prevent Holder from starting an investigation of torture and other war crimes that implicate CIA officials past and present, those same CIA officials, together with what those in the intelligence trade call “agents of influence” in the media, are pulling out all the stops to quash the Justice Department’s preliminary investigation.
In what should be seen as a bizarre twist, seven CIA directors — including three who are themselves implicated in planning and conducting torture and assassination — have asked the President to call off Holder.
Please, tell me how could the whole thing be more transparent?
The most vulnerable of the Gang of Seven, George Tenet, is not the brightest star in the heavens, but even he was able to figure out years ago that he and his accomplices might end up having to pay a heavy price for violating international and U.S. criminal law.
In his memoir, At the Center of the Storm, Tenet notes that what the CIA needed were “the right authorities” and policy determination to do the bidding of President George W. Bush:
“Sure, it was a risky proposition when you looked at it from a policy maker’s point of view. We were asking for and we would be given as many authorities as CIA had ever had. Things could blow up. People, me among them, could end up spending some of the worst days of our lives justifying before congressional overseers our new freedom to act.” (p. 178)
Tenet and his masters assumed, correctly, that given the mood of the times and the lack of spine among lawmakers, congressional “overseers” would relax into their accustomed role as congressional overlookers.
Unfortunately for him, Tenet seems to have confined his concern at the time to the invertebrates in Congress, not anticipating a rejuvenated Justice Department that might take its role in enforcing the law seriously.
Tenet proudly quotes his former counterterrorism chief, Cofer Black (now a senior official at Blackwater): “As Cofer Black later told Congress, ‘The gloves came off that day.’” That day was Sept. 17, 2001, when “the president approved our recommendations and provided us broad authorities to engage al-Qa’ida.” (p. 208)
Presumably, it was not lost on Tenet that no lawmaker dared ask exactly what Cofer Black meant when he said “the gloves came off.” Had they thought to ask Richard Clarke, former director of the counterterrorist operation at the White House, he could have told them what he wrote in his book, Against All Enemies.
Clarke describes a meeting in which he took part with President George W. Bush in the White House bunker just minutes after Bush’s TV address to the nation on the evening of 9/11.
When the subject of international law was raised, Clarke writes that the president responded vehemently: “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” [p. 24]
It only took Bush six days to grant the CIA the “broad authorities” the agency had recommended.
It then took White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, Vice President Dick Cheney’s lawyer David Addington, and William J. Haynes II, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s lawyer, four more months to advise the president formally that, by fiat, he could ignore the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war.
This gang of lawyers so advised at the turn of 2001-2002, beating down objections by William Howard Taft IV, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s lawyer. Bush chose to follow the dubious advice of imaginative lawyers in his and Dick Cheney’s employ; namely, that 9/11 ushered in a “new paradigm” rendering the Geneva protections “quaint” and “obsolete.”
Addington and Gonzales did take care to warn the president, by memorandum of Jan. 25, 2002, of the risk of criminal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 2441, the War Crimes Act of 1996. Their memo said:
“That statute, enacted in 1996, prohibits the commission of a ‘war crime’ by or against a U.S. person, including U.S. officials. ‘War crime’…is defined to include any grave breach of the GPW [Geneva] or any violation of Article 3 thereof (such as outrages against personal dignity)…Punishments for violations of Section 2441 include the death penalty….
“…it is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors or independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441. Your determination [that Geneva does not apply] would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution.”
With that kind of pre-ordered reassurance, President Bush issued a two-page executive directive in which he states, “I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al Qaeda or Taliban detainees…”
This is the smoking gun on Bush’s key role in the subsequent torture of “war on terror” prisoners. The Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report last December stating that that Feb. 7 memorandum “opened the door” to abusive interrogation practices.
Unhappily for Bush and those who carried out his instructions, on June 29, 2006, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Geneva DOES apply to al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees.
One senior Bush administration official is reported to have gone quite pale at the time, when Justice Anthony M. Kennedy raised the ante, warning that “violations of Common Article 3 are considered ‘war crimes,’ punishable as federal offenses.”
What about U.S. criminal law? Despite the almost laughable attempts by lawyers like Addington and John Yoo to get around the War Crimes Act by advising that only the kind of pain accompanying major organ failure or death can be considered torture, those involved are now in a cold sweat — the more so, since those dubious opinions have now been publicly released.
Evidence of Torture
In releasing the sordid, torture-approving memoranda written by Justice Department lawyers and a critical “Special Review” by the CIA’s own horse’s-mouth Inspector General, Obama and Holder had to face down very strong pressure from those with the most to lose — former CIA directors and the functionaries (some of them in senior CIA positions to this very day) who were responsible for seeing to it that “the gloves came off.”
Now, out in the public domain is all the evidence needed to show that war crimes were committed — “authorized” as legal by Justice Department Mafia-type lawyers recruited for that express purpose — but war crimes nonetheless.
Torture, kidnapping, illegal detention — not to mention blatant violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) outlawing eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant.
The stakes are incredibly high. No wonder the CIA and its “agents of influence” (see Saturday’s lead story in the Washington Post) are going all out.
According to the story, seven former CIA directors wrote a letter to Obama on Sept. 18 asking him to “reverse Attorney General Holder’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.”
This is the saddest commentary on CIA covert action operatives’ disdain for the law since their predecessors loudly applauded former Director Richard Helms for lying to Congress about the CIA role in the overthrow of Salvador Allende on 9/11/73.
The largest CIA cafeteria was bulging with welcoming supporters of Helms, when the court got finished with him. They then took up a collection on the spot to pay the fine the court had imposed after he was allowed to plead nolo contendere.
Among the most transparent parts of the letter from the Gang of Seven is their corporate worry that “there is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.”
Their worry is all too real. Evidence already on the public record shows that the first three listed – Michael Hayden, Porter Goss and George Tenet – could readily be indicted for crimes under U.S. and international law, including:
–Illegal eavesdropping by the National Security Agency (Hayden was NSA director when he ordered his employees to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires warrants from a special court before wiretaps are undertaken.)
–assassination planning without notification to Congress (Goss, whose uncommonly abrupt departure in May 2006 was never looked into by the Fawning Corporate Media [FCM]); and Tenet (who turned out to be right about at least one thing — that “things could blow up.”)
The other “distinguished signatories” were:
John Deutch, arrogant to the point of criminality, Deutch disregarded the most elementary rules governing protection of classified information, and had to be given a last-minute pardon by President Bill Clinton.
R. James Woolsey, the man who outdid himself in trying to tie Saddam Hussein to 9/11, and in pushing into the limelight spurious intelligence from the fabricator known as “Curveball.” (Remember those fictitious biological weapons labs for which Colin Powell displayed “artist renderings” to the U.N. on Feb. 5, 2003?)
William Webster, known mostly at Langley for his handsome face and his devotion to his late-afternoon matches with socialite tennis partners. (Folks like Webster should recognize that, once they have reached what my lawyer father used to call “the age of statutory senility,” they should be more careful regarding what they let themselves be dragged into.)
James R. Schlesinger, “Big Jim” launched his brief stint as CIA director by warning us CIA employees that his instructions were “to ensure that you guys do not screw Richard Nixon.” To give substance to this assertion, he told us that the White House had said he was to report to political henchman Bob Haldeman — not Henry Kissinger, the national security advisor. More recently, Schlesinger led one of the see-no-evil Defense Department “investigations” of the abuses of Abu Ghraib.
Quite a group, this Gang of Seven.
Their letter also is condescending toward President Obama: “As President you have the authority to make decisions restricting substantive interrogation… But the administration must be mindful that public disclosure about past intelligence operations can only help al-Qaeda elude US intelligence and plan future operations.”
The seven then proceed to repeat the canard alleging that such collection “have saved lives and helped protect America from further attacks.”
It reads as though Dick Cheney did their first draft. Actually, that would not be all that surprising, given his record of doing quite a lot of CIA’s drafting for eight long years.
Hold firm Holder.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years, working under nine CIA directors and seven presidents, he now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
Posted at Global Research.
Nice to have some inside info on this Gang of Seven
I wrote this type of letter to General ATTORNEY OFFICE on febraury, to newsweek edition and to ACLU Attornry Amerit Singh and Laurie Gindin Beacham or James Freedl and other jornalistes befor the release of the secret torture document of CIA ON Aug 24, 2009. Now people can understand me from the released document and from my letters.
Please read my letters and help me still now am suffering from the CIA Agents in Ethiopian USA Embassy.
The Letter I wrote before the Diclassification of CIA Document on Aug 24, 2009.
I am now in Ethiopia but I am one of the people being suffered and tortured by CIA STILL now am tortured by theCIA AGENTS in USA embassy in Addis Ababa.
The reason is I was in COLORADO , Denver in 2005.
I came to USA for school to study MSC in electrical Engineering at the school of Colorado Technical University but in the mean time I finish all my money to pay for the school and the SCHOOL drope it’s promis to give me a scholar then they put me as a suspect terrorist.
For a detail information I wrote to you a short note
and I attached pictures which indicate how they are abuse and torch me.
If you can please help me but my email adress is controled by these gays.
I am Simon G. Nuguse from Ethiopia, I graduated in Electrical Engineering in 2004 from Addis Ababa University, and then I came to Denver, Colorado in 2005 to study MSC degree in Electrical Engineering at Colorado Technical University. After I started class at CTU, almost after three months things changed that:
Ø I saw people continuously following me.
Ø I felt that some odd thing , which is electromagnetic signal rays , is falling and torching my body
Ø One day some body called me on my cell phone when I answered my cell phone I felt a pain on my head and some thing entered to my head and my heart. Then after that I continuously start receiving painful signal to my body and feeling hitch, depression, feeling sleepy, hearing different sounds, having nutritional restriction and seeing different things which are sent different audio visual signals to my brain.
Ø One day I was at my home the time was 9:00 pm my suddenly my heart started beating at high rate and all my nerves became out of control, then I open my door then running out of my house then I found people parching around my house and one car looks like police is just in front of my house. These people was pointing at me by their small hand electronic devices which they blink different colors of light. Then I run out of them then I felt ok.
Ø Then I tried to understand that how the electromagnetic signals are coming to me, and then I decided to through my cell phone then the signal which was torching my body got weaker and weaker. But what they did is they came to my work place and they gave me a business card which receives electromagnetic signal and then the signal which torching me got strong and strong. I understand about the card they gave me and I threw it and the torching signal got weak again.
Ø Dear reader, they torch me very dangerously like they are trying to kill me by installing different microchips in my heart, kidney and different part of my body but thanks to God incredibly I am alive. After they torch very dangerously, they left when they thought that I am already dead but to the miracles of God after some hours I wake up with dreams, they did like this many time till today! September 21, 2009.
After all this suffer I knew that I have microchip GPS, and other brain implants in my head and different types of microchips in different parts of my body. They already controlled all my thoughts and actions with out my consent. Finally I knew these people are US counter terrorist agents (CIA agents) and I tried to convince them that I am not a terrorist and even from my mind ( by their mind control technology) they found the truth that I am innocent orthodox Christian, but they keep torching by their different types of interrogation techniques and I keep prying to my Lord Jesus and his mother St. Maria.
Then after all this I decided to go to Canada, Toronto for asylum to get free out of the CIA against but the CIA agents and the Canadian agents are also in Toronto , then I start suffering a lot from their interrogation techniques then I decided to go back again to Ethiopia in 2007. When I arrived in Addis Ababa Ethiopia I got other CIA agent which keep torching me and trying to kill me by installing different microchips in my heart , kidney and different part of my body tile this timeSeptember 21, 2009 , but thanks to God incredibly am alive.
To summarize what is the feeling on my body when the CIA AGENTS use their secret interrogation weapons are as follows.
Ø Sensation of extreme cold and heat on various part of my body
Ø They manipulate my sense of test, that my food and my drink made different test or totally taste less.
Ø They manipulate my vision.
Ø They manipulate my sense of touch. They made my various parts of my body to tingle, vibrate or become entirely numb.
Ø Frequently pain: abdominal pain, head aches, earaches, tooth aches that longer for several hours and a stinging pain in my eyes.
Ø Sleep depreciation, feeling of being “wired”.
Ø They create to my mind artificial dreams that are I saw their motion and different things from them to feel me that I dreamed.
Ø My memory or my concentration is continuously affected and harmed.
Ø They controlled my emotional state.
Ø They made me to feel of having no appetite or having high appetite for food or drink.
Ø They made me to feel vomiting, to feel crying, and to feel laughing by controlling the nerves in my face and in my stomach.
Ø They made me to feel have no sex with my girl friend and feel to have sex with unexpected girls.
Ø They accelerate my heart beat by installing microchips inside my heart by sending signal through my cell phone; they made me to have fear.
Ø They disturb my breathing and my urinary system.
Ø They send a particle in the form of ray to my body then it changes to movable plastic.
Ø In general they see what I see , they hear what I hear, they know what I think, They feel what I touch and they know what I smell.
Ø They speak to me through my friends and my family by controlling the mind of my family and my friends even though they know my family and my friends are not terrorists.
Ø My house is full of their interrogation material, especially under my bed which blocks me from having good sleep. As I tried to show on the pictures the interrogation material looks like spider net.
Ø They send some invisible ray to my body them after some minutes it changes to some semi solid movable material then finally it changes to solid ( plastic) material it moves on my body by their remote controlling. Then this material looks like the picture I attached.
Ø All my closes are charged by their micro electromagnetic receiver.
Ø All my bed sheets and my blankets are charged by their micro electromagnetic receiver.
Ø Finally I need to know that I can’t hold cell phone and my email is controlled by them they do what they want on my personal email address , that is they delete when I communicate with some human rights.
I NEED JUSTICE and FREEDOM!!!!
Thanks to God I am a live!!!!!!
Simon Gebreyohannes Nuguse
Pingback: COTO Report Tops 100,000 Visitors « COTO Report
My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I should check things out.
I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to going over your web page repeatedly.
Wonderful blog you have here but I was wondering if you
knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!
Hey, I am new to running a blog and websites in
general and was curious about how you got the “www” included in your domain name?
I see your domain, “https://coto2.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/cia-torturers-running-scared/”
has the www and my web address looks like, “http://mydomain.com”.
Do you know the way I can alter this? I’m using WordPress. With thanks
Doh! I was domain shopping at namecheap.com and went to type in the domain name: http://coto2.
wordpress.com/2009/09/21/cia-torturers-running-scared/ and guess who already acquired it?
You did! haha j/k. I was about to buy this domain name but noticed it
had been taken so I decided I’d come check it out. Great blog!