George W. Bush Administration
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Good news for George W. Bush! His approval rating is the highest it’s been in years, just as he’s set to open his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. Forty-seven percent of Americans approve of Bush, up from 33 percent when he left office as the economy cratered.
When you are trying to acclimate a people to a new normal - in this case, the new normal means routine torture, with international law, and the law more generally, all subject to subordination and disregard as "military necessity" dictates - you start out by denying that you would even think of doing such terrible, illegal things as torture. For a long time, Bush claimed that he had approved an "alternative set of procedures" that were not, heaven forbid, torture, but that the exact details he couldn't reveal because it would give aid and comfort to the enemy. He assured the American people that all the relevant laws and procedures were being safeguarded. Remember his famous lines? " We do not torture ."
CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos Waterboarding Got White House Nod By Joby Warrick Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, October 15, 2008 The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects -- documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public. The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency's interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.
When democracy fails By Ralph Peters Democracy is the most humane and desirable form of government yet devised by humankind. From Afghanistan to Ukraine, democracy's recent successes have exceeded expectations. It deserves American support wherever it has a chance of taking hold.
The Bush administration is heading us towards more disaster with its 'toxic debt' bailout and destabilization of Pakistan and Iran. We can’t afford to go down this road again. Heather’s 10-minute video above provides background, context and ideas for taking action.
The hyper-political confirmation hearings of Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales are not the best jumping off point for high-level thinking about human behavior and values, but after several years of proceeding on automatic pilot the nation will take what it can get. First, dispense with the word games . The various legal opinions the Bush administration turned out on what has broadly become known as the torture topic were concerned with one thing: making sure that the Bush administration's treatment of detainees could not be taken as a violation of the Geneva Convention . The convention exists to prevent mistreatment of prisoners of war. The extent to which you think mistreatment constitutes torture is the extent to which you think the Bush administration was concerned about torture.
The left wants to sink Alberto Gonzales’s nomination to be attorney general and not because he’s a conservative, or because he might some day be nominated to the Supreme Court. Both of those otherwise sufficient motives are subordinated to the left’s determination to give suspected terrorists captured abroad the same legal rights and protections that a Los Angeles purse snatcher has. Gonzales, as counsel to the President, has been at the forefront of the fight to redefine the concepts of war to fit the new kind of war terrorists wage against us. To those who want to win this war, the fight over Gonzales’s nomination is much more important than the nomination itself.
President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night. The super-secretive NSA, which has generally been barred from domestic spying except in narrow circumstances involving foreign nationals, has monitored the e-mail, telephone calls and other communications of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people under the program, the New York Times disclosed last night. The aim of the program was to rapidly monitor the phone calls and other communications of people in the United States believed to have contact with suspected associates of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups overseas, according to two former senior administration officials. Authorities, including a former NSA director, Gen. Michael V.
After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. But CIA lawyers say the documents -- memos from President Bush and the Justice Department -- are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public. The disclosures by the CIA general counsel's office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU.
Pay no attention to the news stories suggesting that the White House caved in yesterday. On the central issue of whether the CIA should continue using interrogation methods on suspected terrorists that many say constitute torture, the White House got its way, winning agreement from the "maverick" Republican senators who had refused to go along with an overt undoing of the Geneva Conventions. The "compromise"? The Republican senators essentially agreed to look the other way. Once again (see Monday's column ) there was so much disingenuousness flying through the airwaves that straight news reporting simply wasn't up to the task of conveying the real meaning of the day.
UK airports are believed to be operational bases for two executive jets used by the CIA to carry out 'renditions' of terror suspects. Independent February 10, 2005 Britain's intelligence agencies have been accused of helping America in a secret operation that is sending terror suspects to Middle Eastern countries where prisoners are routinely tortured and abused. Since 11 September 2001, the CIA has been systematically seizing suspects and sending them, without legal process, not only to Guantanamo Bay but to authorities in countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Survey shows no tolerance for Torture Enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 states, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Taking this as our theme, the Gallup International Millennium Survey asked people in countries representing more than 1.5 billion citizens of the world whether they felt this basic right was fully or partially respected in their own country, or not respected at all. Overwhelmingly, in the more sophisticated democracies of Western Europe and North America more than eight out of every ten believe that Human Rights in respect of torture are respected. It is not surprising to see 90% or more citizens in countries such as Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Finland claiming their rights are respected in this regard. It could be seen as more of a surprise to find both the Czech and Slovak Republics of Eastern Europe show similar very high levels of agreement.
« Cheerleading Pyramid Scandal Rocks Texas Town | Main | Bush Twins Fume at Family-Friendly Concert Line Up » January 13, 2005 Good News for Gonzales: New Poll Shows Most Americans Think 'Some Torture' OK President Bush's candidate for attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, got a boost today with the release of a poll indicating that most Americans back his position on torture: it's ok to induce physical agony in individuals suspected of crimes, if it is for a good reason.
Question: Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents . . . [send] terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? . . . Answer: . . . We operate within the law and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people.
January 06, 2005, 8:30 a.m. Not-So Great Debate Torture and the war. A week or so back, I criticized the Washington Post for giving a lot of space to an article that basically "outed" a CIA aircraft, and only in passing raised what I took to be the main issue, namely the transportation of captured terrorist suspects to countries where they could be interrogated more vigorously than in the United States.