9 thoughts on “Scheuer’s Fatuous Lies About Obama’s Counter-Terror Policy – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Poor stuff from Scheuer, I expected more from the author of Imperial Hubris which I liked.

    As a ruleI think the CIA were marginally in favour of torture as an interrogation technique. The FBI has been pretty much against it.

    1. “The FBI has been pretty much against it (torture)”.
      That strikes me as an understatement to put it mildly.
      Arguably the FBI could and should have raised more public objection to the blatant illegality of the previous administration’s regime of torture and gratuitous inhumanity. However, they did effectively refuse any part in it, to their enormous credit.
      The FBI comes out of the last eight dark years with its stature and credibility enhanced. Whether justified or not, the CIA is now again regarded, overseas at least, as the US’ principle institution for trashing those rights of foreigners which Americans hold so dear for themselves.

      I disagree with the impunity Obama has extended to low level CIA operatives who were “just following orders”. No one could read the ICRC testimonies and believe any reasonable person thought the treatment being meted out did not constitute torture and a clear violation of US law. Where is the reward for those who really defended the laws and constitution of the United States by objecting to such obvious illegality?
      Obama’s impunity has sent the clear signal to those who find themselves in similar situations in future that illegal orders should be obeyed, not challenged.

      1. U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak was also quite explicit in his interview with Glenn Greenwald (who rather unfortunately shortened his title to “U.N. torture official”):

        So, if under the direct jurisdiction of the United States of America, a government official – whether its a high official or a low official or a police officer or military officer, doesn’t matter – whoever practices torture shall be brought before an independent criminal court and be held accountable. That is, the torturer, him or herself, but also those who are ordering torture practices, or in any other way participating in the practice of torture. This is a general obligation, and it applies to everybody; there are no exceptions in the [UN] Convention [Against Torture].

        On the Nuremberg defence:

        Article 2-3 of the Convention is very clear that the fact that somebody tortures on the basis of an order does not relieve him or her of the obligation not to torture. That might then lead to mitigating circumstances if you can prove that you were really in a situation that you just couldn’t do differently because you would have had experienced yourself sanctions if you disobeyed this order. It might be mitigating, but it doesn’t take away the guilt and the illegality of the torture act by the individual CIA officer or military person or also from private security companies who actually practiced torture in Iraq.

        He also rejects as inconsistent with the Convention any kind of amnesty or immunity granted in advance, as opposed to the usual discretion given to an investigator or prosecutor.


  2. if torture is so effective, how is it that Osama Bin Laden is still alive ???

    it’s been 7 years, and we have tortured an unknown number of people, and Osama Bin Laden is still free and threatening the United States

    so splain to me how well torture works

    there is NO DOUBT that capturing Osama Bin Laden is one of the primary reasons we are torturing people, RIGHT ???

    cuz if they ain’t trying to capture Osama Bin Laden, what ARE THEY DOING that they need to torture people ???

    1. Because torturing, killing, detaining, disappearing people is only to ensure this “war on terror” goes on (and on and on) instead of ending it? Surely for some of those involved conclusively “winning” this “war” would be just as bad as “losing” it (and your guess is as good as mine how either would be defined).

  3. Scheuer has not hidden his opposition to the close US-Israel relationship.

    Presumably this is not because of the similar policies on torture?

  4. Michael Scheuer is a dimwitted, unmitigated ass! It really bothers me that I occasionally agree with him on some issue or other.

    1. Perhaps I judged Scheuer Michael a bit too harshly.

      SEE: “Lobby? What Lobby?” – by Michael Scheuer, 02/10/09

      (EXCERPT) “…My speech seemed well received, but in January I received a call from Jamestown’s president telling me I had been terminated as a senior fellow by the Foundation’s board of directors. Why, I asked? He responded by citing my comments about Obama doing the “Tel Aviv two-step” and my description of Emanuel’s record, both of which he said might be in a speech by Rep. Ron Paul. My remarks about Emanuel apparently sparked particular anger among the Foundation’s directors, as Jamestown’s president referred to them at least three times in a short telephone conversation. In any event, the president said several major financial donors to Jamestown threatened to withdraw funding if I remained a senior fellow, so I was getting the boot. Then he added that my every-other-week essays for Jamestown’s Terrorism Focus had attracted readers and praise for the Foundation, so the directors said I could keep writing for the journal. I declined this honor, which seemingly was a bribe made in the hope that I would not speak publicly about being terminated as a senior fellow for saying the current state of the U.S.-Israel relationship undermined U.S. national security…”

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=14221

  5. Miles, you raise troublesome issues. I would expect consciousness of their behavior to reward those who refuse to engage in inhumane activity, although it seems that’s not so. Kayla Williams, a vet, writes about her confrontation with torture while serving as a US military intelligence office. She’s at VetVoice.com, and crossposts to Huffington Post. http://www.vetvoice.com/userDiary.do?personId=419&feed=rss
    She links to a 1970’s experiement at Standford, which IMO provides additional information useful for considering what happened at Abu Ghraib, in particular, and torture in general. http://www.prisonexp.org/

    I recall Bush saying that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to treatment of non-state combatants and thinking that he was making a statement that human rights didn’t apply to some human beings.

    I consider Bush and his cabinet culpable regarding the use of torture. I think people who inflicted injuries on others through torture should be held responsible for their actions, yet also believe that the command bears more responsibility for those actions than the individual actors do, given the degree of importance placed by the military on obedience and the extraordinary pressure it appears was placed on US intelligence forces by the Administration.

    Individuals are responsible for their actions, but it is illogical to expect them not to be confused in how to meet their responsibilities when the state undermines previous understandings about the nature of those responsibilities and authorizes inhumane practices. Individuals must expose themselves to suspicion in order to protest such orders, and I’ve read more than one story about legal and military intelligence staff who suffered backlash from protesting conditions and treatment.

    I consider unfortunate anyone faced with such a situation, and am sure I too would experience severe stress as a result. Which would not be as bad an experience as that of those who underwent torture, but would be one more adverse result from bad policy.

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