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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Eastern Europe: How many Americans has the CIA detained?

Consider the possibility: That the reason there's alot of concern about who knows what's going on in Eastern Europe may be for something else.

You might be surprised by the questions you might consider.

Two of the assumptions behind the CIA’s Eastern European torture chambers is that they

  • A. Moved the prisoners to a location where they were not subject to US laws

  • B. Personnel were moved from a location east of Europe, into Eastern Europe.

    Yet, there’s a problem.

    We are also told that the camps were negotiated and established at a time well before Guantanamo was subject to US District Court Action.

    This means that the basis for the decision to open the camps in Eastern Europe had nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the US law, nor with the location of the detention, but with the status of the detainee.

    Yet, the red herring in this debate is whether the detainee has been the subject of the Geneva Conventions based on their status. This argument ignores the fundamental issue that all people, regardless their combatant status, are [a] human beings and [b] protected by the UN Convention against degrading treatment.

    * * *

    Implicit in the assumptions behind the Washington Post article was that the camps were used to detain prisoners, but we are not told where the prisoners are from.

    Also, Vice President Cheney’s request for CIA exemption from the torture statute focuses solely on the CIA as the detaining organization, and makes no specific mention of the status of the more important issue: Who are the detainees, what is their status.

    The recurring theme is that the focus of the discussion has ignored one important factor: What is the citizenship of the detainee, where did they originally come from?

    * * *

    If we are to presume innocence in a court of law and consider the factors of mens rea, we have to ask what was going on in the minds of those who were making the arguments about establishing these camps in Eastern Europe

  • A. What would make the US suddenly concerned about whether the US laws did or didn’t apply to a detainee before the US was forced to address this issue before the courts?

  • B. The US already showed a pattern of conduct of ignoring the laws of war and UN Charter on human rights in how they treated prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo; why would the issue of whether US laws applied suddenly become a factor?

  • C. Personnel who have been detained were never brought to the US soil. Using the CIA-DoD flawed-construct, we remain unclear why the detainees would ever have been possibly subject to US jurisdiction. What would make DoD and the CIA suddenly concerned that personnel, that had never been transported to the US, would suddenly be subject to US jurisdiction at a time before the arguments came to the US courts over the applicability of US laws to Guantanamo?

    It seems odd that the detainees had never been brought to the US courts or US soil, so it remains unclear why all of a sudden there would be a concern that the US law would or would not apply.

    We are not persuaded that the CIA-DoD team had the “foresight” to see the need to develop an alternate detention location outside Guantanamo. Rather, we are more inclined there was something else driving the effort to find new locations, other than Guantanamo, but with the hopes of escaping US jurisdiction.

    * * *

    We argue that the reason for the sudden interest had nothing to do with how the US could or could not get away with treating foreign fighters or accused terrorists, but in whether the transportation of US citizens from US soil to Eastern Europe would be argued within DoJ, DoD, and the CIA as lawful.

    It is our thesis that US citizens would, in the minds of the CIA, not be subject to US laws in Eastern Europe.

    It remains a matter of evidence whether the US established the camps in Eastern Europe, not with the purpose of protecting the interrogators from prosecution, but in removing US citizens from protection of the US courts.

    It remains to be understood whether this possible movement of US personnel from US soil to Eastern Europe was done because the US wanted to keep this activity at arms length from the United States.

    * * *

    We believe this thesis needs to be explored and dovetailed against the Vice President’s open discussion with Senator Frisk during lunchtime.

    Let us presume for the sake of argument that the real objective of the Vice President’s request that the CIA be exempt from liability for torture is that the Vice President is already aware of cases where the CIA has committed torture under the existing laws, and could be liable for war crimes and punishment.

    It could be argued that Cheney’s objective for CIA immunity would then be openly evaluated incorrectly on the misleading premise that the detainees were of [a] Middle East origin and/or [b] accused terrorists.

    Rather, the correct analysis would hinge on whether Cheney’s actual considerations were whether the CIA could avoid liability for misconduct overseas committed against [c] Americans who have been [d] accused, not indicted of wrongdoing.

    Notice that Cheney’s focus has been on the CIA as a detaining authority, and makes vague references to the status of the detainee. We believe, if his arguments are evaluated within this new perspective, we might understand there is wiggle room for US citizens to be moved from the US to Eastern Europe and remain within the confines of the proposed exemptions for the CIA.

    * * *

    The evidence form Capt Ian Fishback and former NAVY SEAL interrogators is that the actual detainees largely had nothing to do with terrorism, much less any crime. The number are in the order of magnitude of more than 90% of the detainees have not committed any wrong doing. The issue is that the innocent’s torture under US custody then prompts them to take up arms after they are released.

    What compounds the discovery issues are the apparent widespread use within DoD, DoJ, and CIA of non-disclosure agreements. In short, it appears personnel in order to secure employment are required to sign non-disclosure agreements about what happened in Cell 1A in Guantanamo and other locations.

    Arguably, when someone is a witness to a crime and they are bound by an oath of secrecy, the matter is not a moral issue, but a legal one: Is the original agreement mandating silence of the specific war crime allegations inadmissible.

    We conclude that the objective of the nondisclosure agreement was contingent on the pre-torture knowledge that acts of abuse would likely occur. Thus, we judge that the agreements and employment contracts mandating silence about alleged war crimes are contrary to public policy in that they recognize an unlawful contract as enforceable.

    Conversely, we judge that the nondisclosure agreements were contingent upon the threat of loss of something of value and were made under duress; and that the agreements were made without fully disclosing the range of abuses interrogators would foreseeably be expected to engage.

    It remains a matter of law for the courts to adjudicate to what extent the nondisclosure agreement was crafted with the specific objective of suppressing evidence of war crimes, or in interfering with the lawful duties of investigators to gather facts related to war crimes.

    We believe that the conduct of the White House in the wake of the Eastern European detention center revelations is evidence of misplaced concern, and is a recurring pattern of conduct which warrants further study and review under the law.

    First, the concerns the DoD and White House had about the abuses in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib were not contingent upon the abuse occurring, but upon the revelations that the conduct had been captured on camera. We conclude that the pattern of conduct was sanctioned despite 5100.77 and believe that the laws of war and prisoner status were introduced as a red herring to distract attention from the real, known abuses occurring in contravention to the UN Charter Against abuse.

    Second, the concerns with the White House were not focused on why the abuse or centers in Eastern Europe existed or were occurring, but on who discussed the information. This implies that the conduct and facilities were known well in advance, but the White House assumed that the facility, not the apparent conduct, would remains secret.

    Third, because it appears there was a conscious decision to move personnel from one location, out of the argued-jurisdiction of the US courts, to Eastern Europe, we conclude that the state of mind of the participants was contingent upon clear and plain knowledge of what they were doing; and with the specific intent to avoid capture and detection. Thus, we conclude that the defense cannot argue that the defendants were mislead, confused, suffering from mental defect, or lacked the capacity to understand what they were doing.

    * * *

    We would hope that the Congress and others around the globe make independent assessments of the President and Vice President’s statements within this new light, and specifically challenge the White House Press Secretary on this issue:

  • A. How many American citizens are being held in Eastern Europe; have US citizens disappeared or been transported?
  • B. Would the Vice President’s proposed immunities for the CIA afford them immunity if they commit torture against American citizens in Eastern Europe?
  • C. What method will be used to timely identify by nationality all personnel being held in Eastern Europe?
  • D. Is there any reluctance by any member of Congress to get the Director of the CIA, Secretary of Defense, or other White House personnel to appear before Congress under penalty of perjury to attest that they have fully investigated the issue and know exactly how many American citizens are being held in Eastern Europe?
  • E. What is the reason that the Vice President’s arguments for granting the CIA immunity for torture focuses on the status of the CIA as an interrogator, but make no specific mention of the nationality of the detainee; nor any specific finding of fact on whether the detainee has or has not been formally accused of a crime based on probative, admissible evidence?
  • F. Why is the US asking for immunities for the CIA in re torture when the UN Charter specifically prohibits this conduct?
  • G. How are members of the armed services able to confirm that they are living up to their oath of office that they are following Article VI of the US Constitution which incorporates US treaties as part of the supreme law of the land?
  • H. Why is the status of a detainee under Geneva relevant or a factor, when the US has an obligation under the UN Charter to treat all people humanely, regardless their status, nationality, or accusations against them?
  • I. What specific acts of conduct prohibited under 5100.77 would be permitted under the Vice President’s waiver?
  • J. Why are personnel who are aware of this misconduct not reporting, as required by statute and the UCMJ that they have information related to war crimes?
  • K. Why are reports of misconduct, war crimes, and inhuman treatment not being processed by the commanders?
  • L. Why are orders which violate the UN Charter on human treatment not being disobeyed by military personnel and civilian contractors?
  • M. How can anyone in government argue that the non-disclosure agreements in re alleged torture and abuse are enforceable in that they tend to obstruct justice and preclude an adequate review of the facts related to these alleged war crimes?

    * * *

    When asked to choose, I would have a hard time saying which is worse:

  • A. Committing torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib
  • B. Violating the laws of war
  • C. Condoning agreements which allow war crimes to go unreported
  • D. Threatening someone with loss of something of value or life if they refuse to sign an agreement to be silent about foreseeable acts of torture
  • E. Detention centers in Eastern Europe
  • F. US Citizens being held in Eastern European detention centers.

    All of the above appear to be, or could be, occurring.

    * * *

    The President has apparently made some misleading statements on how the US treats detainees. We’ve heard plenty of arguments that the detainees are or are not under the Geneva Convention based on their status as either a lawful or unlawful combatant.

    We judge this argument to be a deliberate red herring to avoid the central issue: There is no lawful defense for anyone depriving others, regardless their status under Geneva, of their human rights because of the UN Charter against abusive conduct.

    * * *

    At this point, we can only speculate, but would not be surprised, whether US citizens have been moved from the United States to Eastern Europe, or how many US citizens are being held in Eastern Europe.

    If this is occurring, but the Senate Intelligence Committee shows it is as glacial in reviewing the details as it has been with Iraq WMD and 9-11, we believe it may be years before we know the truth. How convenient that this may come after the 2008 Presidential election.

    We remain concerned that between now and then, the continued movement of people from anywhere on the globe to these unlawful detention centers will amount to hundreds if not thousands of people.

    How many US citizens have to be moved to Eastern Europe before this becomes an issue?

    We also remain concerned that the Senate appears to have deferred all judicial review of these matters to the President. This is a concentration of power, and appears to undermine Habeas Corpus. We are also asked to believe that the people being detained are terrorists, and that they are security risks; however, evidence from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo shows that the detainees are not necessarily related to any criminal activity and that the numbers detained are on the order of 90% that are not related to any terrorist activity.

    If the burden of housing and moving detainees and/or US citizens is too costly, will execution be authorized by the US after a military tribunal?

    Is there a foreseeable time when the “burden of transport” and “logistics complexities of moving personnel” would justify, rightly or wrongly, the execution of detainees without any review by the court?

    * * *

    We do not know the facts: What is the status of the detainees in Eastern Europe. However, we would encourage people to have an open mind and carefully review the White House Press Secretary Statements and the Vice President’s discussions on the immunity for CIA in re torture.

    Consider how the rules would allow US citizens to be moved to Eastern Europe; conversely, rather than focus on the status of the detainee on the assumption that they are terrorists or from the Middle East, ask whether the proposed rules would sufficiently ensure the protections of anyone, even someone who is from the United States and innocent.

  • A. Has the CIA and DoD showed a pattern of conduct of ignoring the laws of the land?

  • B. Could the CIA and DoD be inducted to believe that it was a national security issue to transport US citizens from the United States to Eastern Europe?

  • C. If personnel can be convinced to keep silent about torture in Abu Ghraib, could they not be induced to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep silent about the transport of US citizens to Eastern Europe?

  • D. Why would the US want to open camps in Eastern Europe unless they wanted to do things they were not allowed to do in the United States?

    * * *

    The central issue is that the abuse of people, regardless their status as detainee or private citizen or nationality, is paramount. The laws and treaties already exist.

    The real problem is that the US has shown that it does not respect these laws and limitations, and we see no convincing evidence that the US would not transport US citizens overseas to face extra-judicial review outside the review of US courts.

    Regardless whether the personnel detained in Eastern Europe are or are not US citizens, the issue is that it is wrong to abuse people. Abuse is not permitted because someone is or is not outside Geneva; and abuse is not tolerable simply because Mr. Yoo or someone in the Department of Justice says that the law does or does not apply. The US is a signatory to the UN Charter against abuse, and all people have a lawful duty to adhere to the laws of the land – the treaties. Indeed, it remains a question how the military personnel can convincingly demonstrate they are adhering to their oaths of office when they violate treaty provisions and Article VI of the US Constitution banning abuse.

    We are concerned that the legal guidelines and lanes established in the wake of Nuremburg have been largely ignored, explained away; and that when it was foreseeable that abuse would occur, individuals were induced, sometimes under threat of loss of valuable consideration, to agree to remain silent when they had a lawful duty under the UCMJ to report the misconduct and alleged war crimes. Indeed, it is disturbing to learn that reports of abuse were not forwarded; and/or personnel trained on 5100.77 failed to refuse to obey orders; or failed to ensure that reports of abuse were timely investigated and processed. This conduct does not inspire confidence in the training, leadership, or policies of the Secretary of Defense or the United States of America.

    We remain concerned that, when left to their own devices, military personnel will be induced to ignore the laws of war, or be encouraged to sign agreements to remain silent about alleged war crimes. This is problematic in that military personnel, if they are aware of violations of the Posse Comitatus Act, are presumed to have an open door to make their concerns known. However, in light of the abuse, and retaliation against witnesses, we believe attestations about DoD involvement or non-involvement in domestic civilian law enforcement cannot be relied upon. This is a credibility problem for DoD to remedy, not explain away with another Joint Staff public relations effort coordinated with the DoD General Counsel.

    * * *

    The issue is that “Yes, given what we know about DoD, DoJ, and the CIA, they would move US citizens from the United States to Eastern Europe, if they were convinced, through whatever convoluted logic train, that the action was appropriate. We believe the current conditions and trends are inappropriately sending a green light.

    Bluntly, we believe that nothing is stopping the CIA and Vice President’s office in transporting US citizens from the United States. It is a false and irrelevant argument that personnel are being held, with the intent of keeping them outside US law, in Eastern Europe. It appears the only reason they’re being held there is because US laws prohibit certain things against all people, not just people from the Middle East or who have been falsely accused.

    There are a number of disturbing developments and trends in place. In no specific order, we outline them below with the concern that the excuse has simply been these are new times. We argue that the times are not different, and that the US Constitution remains in place. Unfortunately, it appears the US Congress has failed to exercise oversight and preserve the US Constitutional Checks and balances, and it remains a matter of law to what extent the US Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee are part of an effort to not review these matters, or cooperate with the White House in asserting tyranny over the US Constitution.

    Here are the trends:

  • A proven ability and means to move personnel
  • NSC silence over war crimes
  • Non disclosure agreements to remain silent about abuse
  • People willing to engage in abuse if given valuable consideration
  • Senators and Vice President openly discussing the legality of torture
  • Senate Intelligence Committee not reviewing matters in a timely matter
  • Vice President’s staff [Libby] indicted
  • Cheney and Senator Frisk openly discussing camps in Eastern Europe
  • Concern about abuse not in terms of the original wrong, but in public knowledge of the abuse
  • Denials of problems subsequently confirmed by photographic evidence of torture
  • Legal team willing to “legalize” inhuman treatment
  • Senate choosing to grant President judicial power to review a tribunal
  • Permitting the President to concentrate power
  • Congress willing to go along with this concentration of power
  • Senate discussing getting rid of Habeas Corpus for detainees
  • RNC protestors locked up
  • Abuse of personnel in DoJ prisons in the wake of 9-11

    The list is not intended to be exhaustive or all inclusive. Rather, the list is meant to illustrate the concept of a rolling wave of momentum.

    Some might argue that we’re not at fully tyranny yet. However, that is too late. The issue is that we’ve gone well beyond what the framers intended, and what the Constitution specifically allows:

  • Our treaties are the supreme law of the land, yet people are assenting to violations of those treaties

  • Our oaths of office are the promise to the nation to preserve the constitution, but we see efforts to undermine the law go unchallenged, rather they are debated as if just another bill. We would prefer that once the Constitution forbid something, that that be the end of the matter, but are concerned Congress constitutes to discuss the legality of torture or removing Habeas as if it were an option, or not under the umbrella of the US constitution.

  • Legal advice, when acted upon, does not mean that the action is legal. Hitler did create a legal construct to justify the Holocaust; in that spirit, we are concerned that legal opinions on the legality of abuse have been relied upon as if they were getting out of jail free cards. The burden rests on those who violate the law, and also on those who say violations of the law and treaties are permissible.

    * * *

    The idea of a court was to take away the trial by ordeal. Some have suggested that people do not have the right to appear in the courts. If this is true, what option to they have to air their legal grievances, other than take their dispute to the battlefield?

    * * *

    There are a few issues to explore in re Eastern Europe and the allegations that US Citizens may have been transported from the United States to Eastern Europe:

  • A. Have US citizens disappeared: HO many American have been picked up from the United States, transported out of the United States to Eastern Europe or other locations?
  • B. Did the DoJ/CIA threaten people with death or adverse consequences if they spoke about personnel movement to Eastern Europe?
  • C. How have National Security Letters been used to move not only information but people without judicial oversight?
  • D. How have “agreements to be silent in exchange for dropping false charges” been used to silence discussion about abuses committed on US citizens in Eastern Europe?
  • E. If the above actions could occur, and the national security letters are in place, what other methods could be used to locate, identify, and estimate the numbers of US citizens being detained overseas, either in Eastern Europe or other countries or on the oceans?
  • F. Have US government officers, agents, lawfully appointed personnel, or others been threatened with loss of valuable consideration [money, job, income, status] if they fail to pick-up, detain, and transport people to Eastern Europe?
  • G. Have national security letters been used to silence discussion about specific people who have disappeared?

    * * *

    Consider the list of trends above again: The simple questions are:

  • A. Where are the lawyers
  • B. Where are the reports of war crimes and criminal referrals
  • C. Where are the lawyers with lawsuits, in formations, and indictments

    It is unimpressive to learn that the Department Defense has shown a glacial response to FOIA requests; we have no confidence they will cooperate in providing timely information on alleged US citizens being detained in Eastern Europe.

    It is equally unacceptable that, in the absence of specific information, the world community has to wait until specific individuals are identified before court proceedings can occur.

    Ideally, under a system of checks and balances, where the Executive is holding people without identifying them, we would hope that the court could inject itself into the matter and demand a timely resolution to the problem.

    However, the problem is that we have no facts, no names, only the allegation that there are flights and detention centers in Eastern Europe. It is troubling that those in the know could suffer retaliation and cannot do anything because they are not a party to the dispute.

    Bluntly, our system of justice loses credibility when the to-be-identified-target of the unlawful detention has to take on the burden of going against the system in the court. We would hope that the legal community could devise an mechanism to expedite this process, permit witnesses to be called without identifying a specific victim, and that the court force the Congress and executive branch to ensure the laws of war and treaties are followed.

    The system currently does not do this, but requires time to allow DoD and the Executive and Senate Intelligence committee to “get around” to thinking about, if the weather cooperates, with their existing treaty requirements. More troubling is that despite the issues with Yellow Cake in Nigeria, Josh Marshall of Talking Point Memo appears to have uncovered evidence supporting the conclusion that the FBI investigation was a whitewash. Thus, we conclude any effort to review the matters related to allegations that the Joint Staff has fabricated evidence over Iran’s nuclear development to fall on deaf ears. The issue is the credibility and responsiveness not just of the Congress in general, but in the fact finders and investigators. There is a reasonable basis to question the responsiveness of the American government, which seems intent on avoiding accountability than in preserving the Constitution.

    It is troubling that there are reports of failure to report war crimes from Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski. This is evidence of crimes and we would hope that the public recognize that General Karpinski is aware of specific information suggesting that non-disclosure agreements were signed in order to keep people silent about what has happened. We can only speculate that this pattern of conduct is widespread; but it is troubling that despite allegations we have an open society, that the government can create for itself a Steel Curtain to Accountability not just on a border but in the court room.

    Under a Constitution, the accountability belongs on the government, not on the falsely accused. But this government has turned that on its head: Affording itself the right to remain secret about matters of public interest; and then targeting those who dare peep a hint of sense.

    The government has made a grave error. For when those who know what is going on no longer have confidence in the legal system or government, the government has one option: To impose order and discipline to force people to obey that which cannot be justified on the merits.

    This is where we find ourselves. In the end, this system of government, if allowed to continue, will consume the Constitution and all those who rely on it.

    This is not acceptable.

    * * *

    Nuremburg was about war crimes. That is where this momentum is going. Whether the United States government wants to cooperate or obstruct remains to be seen.

    We do know that Mr. Libby has allegedly made misleading statements to the Grand Jury.

    The problem at this juncture is that people appear to be relying on nondisclosure agreements to remain silent about misconduct. It is our view that these agreements, because of their unlawful objective of interfering with the reporting of abuse, are for an illegal purpose and not enforceable.

    It is troubling that any government can threaten others with adverse consequences in exchange for silence about allegations of abuse. We can only speculate on those who have assented and been rewarded with promotions; and those who have asserted the rule of law, refused, and have been punished or placed on “do not hire” lists.

    * * *

    The Constitution also affords the power to Congress to define rules of capture. This President seeks to have that power deferred to him.

    Arguably, this is unconstitutional. Yet, where are the lawyers, when will they speak out, when will the debates end: It is already in the law, our Constitution -- this power does not belong to the Executive.

    Why must the nation’s citizenry “put up” with the foreseeable abuses which the framers wanted to prevent?

    Oversight needs to be injected: Congress must be the one that imposes rules on DoD, not the other way around. DoD cannot be given a green light to “do what it thinks is best.” We’ve seen what DoD thinks is best: Violate the laws of war, intimidate those who report abuses, then do more in new locations.

    This is a spreading cancer.

    If they are not stopped, they will get more entrenched. Yes, they will over expand, likely in Syria and Iraq, and exceed their capabilities as did the Roman Empire.

    But to sustain combat operations beyond Iraq would require a draft. Will the American citizenry, young people, want to support was is an unlawful war; or will those who refuse to obey unlawful war run the risk of being exported to Eastern Europe?

    The spreading cancer will cause more problems, commit more violations. The benefit is that we will have more evidence of war crimes, abuse, and lawlessness.

    * * *

    Those who are allowing the above abuses to occur without consequences on the Senior White House leadership just realize that they are fueling tyranny.

    Their access to the public podium must end. They continue to mobilize more people and resources to commit crimes, then cover-up.

    American must object to this.

    These leaders commit to misconduct. Then they leave the mess for others to clean up.

    Then the lawyers show up with excuses, and drag the situation out for years.

    We need a war crimes trial. Yes, the ultimate penalty for war crimes is death. And despite that threat, the war crimes continue, as if a pardon will make it all go away.

    * * *

    The culture of “we can’t talk bout it” allows the camel to get its nose under the tent.

    The US military has failed its ultimate test over the issue of the Constitution. The Executive knows he can weave a non-sense argument, and the Joint Staff and DoD General Counsel will assent to more:

  • Denials
  • Truth suppression
  • Unenforceable nondisclosure agreements.

    We’ve seen the troops incapable of refusing to disobey unlawful orders. We have no confidence, if given the orders to march on US cities in violation of the law, that they will refuse. We remain unconvinced that the Posse Comitatus Act will be enforced or followed; and it is likely more non-sense will be created to justify ignoring these restrictions against using military for domestic police duties.

    This is a credibility problem for the US military.

    The issue is whether the public will be denied a voice in Congress and the courts to remedy these violations of the law.

    We’ve seen what has happened in Iraq when people are unlawfully invaded, then abused: When they are denied access to the legal system, they have no other option but the battle field.

    Is this what the American leadership understands to be the direction our country is taking: That their unacceptable violations of the law and refusal to discuss these issues leave few options for a free citizenry to remain free?

    * * *

    Some have asserted that the President can create contractors to grant immunity to contractors. However, this appears to be a prior agreement to condone and commit foreseeable unlawful acts. We find no merit to the argument that civilian contractors have any immunity through contract – we judge these contractors to be illusory shields to the real law against abuse.

    * * *

    It is our concern that the White House has one goal: To do whatever is needed to suppress evidence of crimes.

    However, we are no persuaded by the White House defense: That they do not understand.

    Clearly, the orders and non-disclosure agreements as crafted are designed to obstruct the truth. This is contrary to the rule of law and prudence.

    Imprudence is the fruit of tyranny: Heavy debts from unlawful wars.

    We judge the agreement not to disclose evidence of abuse and war crimes to be a conspiracy to

  • A. not report inhuman treatment and war crimes;
  • B. honor illegal contractors to obstruct justice.

    * * *

    Senator McCain and General Karpinski both believe in the rule of law and have served with distinction in our nation’s armed services.

    McCain suffered as a POW in Vietnam; Karpinski has been forced to retire based on false charges to keep her quiet about a leadership and accountability problem in the Pentagon.

    All military personnel, as all federal employees, have an oath of office: To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Article VI of the US Constitution states that the US Treaties are the supreme law of the land. The UN Charter prohibits abusive treatment; the status of the detainees relative to Geneva is irrelevant. 5100.77 outlines the specific procedures to treat people and these are known. Arguably, when the Secretary of Defense issues orders to justify abusive treatment, these orders are not lawful because they violate the UN Charter against abuse.

    It remains a matter for debate and investigation to understand:

  • Why weren’t unlawful orders ignored?

    It appears that American military personnel would rather harm and kill others than lose their liberty for refusing to follow orders. That is barbarism.

  • Where are the reports of abuse and interrogations outlining the misconduct?

    It appears as though the reports have been destroyed, not investigated, and that the Senior Leadership has not been held to account.

    Some have suggested that they have a non-disclosure agreement about what is going on in Eastern Europe, in Abu Ghraib, Thailand, or Guantanamo.

    However, if the agreement is to remain silent about abuse, we ask: How can anyone find that this agreement or contract is for a lawful purpose? Your duty is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution; and through Article VI, your duty is to ensure the UN Charter against abuse is followed, regardless what you are told about the status of detainees.

    How can anyone say that an agreement to remain silent about abuse or war crimes is enforceable?

    How can anyone suggest that the agreement to “not do what you are lawfully required to do” [report a war crime or abuse incident] is enforceable?

    Where are the reports of misconduct required under the UN Charter?

    We remain unconvinced the Joint Staff and Secretary of Defense are providing the requisite leadership to ensure the laws of war and Treaties prohibiting abuse are followed or enforced. We have no confidence in the Congress to exercise oversight. Rather, it is left to the troops under this failed Commander in Chief in the White House to sort things out.

    This is unacceptable. Congress has a role to define the laws of war and capture. It is not up to the American fighting men and women of the Untied States to “figure out” what Congress has the lawful power to exercise.

    We see no evidence, act, or writing before us that says that the laws of war and rules of capture have been delegated to the contractors who engage in abuse.

    Nor do we see anything before us to suggest Congress, given the evidence of the apparent vague rules on capture, have adequately injected themselves into the process. Rather, it’s more of the blind deference to whatever the White House wants, not withstanding the UN Charger against Abuse.

    * * *

    Some have wondered, if we commit torture on others, what might happen to US soldiers in future battles. This is short sighted.

    What may or may not happen to the military is a side issue.

    The real problem is what happens if, in the absence of discipline on US civilians, if foreign nationals kidnap American civilians and whisk them away to detention centers around the globe?

    The Senate and Executive propose eliminating the option of foreigners access to US courts. What option, besides open warfare on American streets, do people around the globe have to remedy their reasonable disagreement with how the Americans ignore the laws of war?

    Don’t let that hypothetical then become the excuse to engage in pre-emptive torture. Last time we checked, the UN Charter already outlaws abuse, and the US has violated this treaty.

    * * *

    Some have suggested that the CIA isn’t committing any abuses in Eastern Europe, or that it hasn’t been proven, or we don’t know that.

    Putting aside the allegations of widespread abuse in US prisons, let’s consider that: Why would the CIA create a detention center outside US laws unless they wanted to violate those laws, and do things they cannot do in the US: Commit more abuse.

    One of Senator McCain’s children eloquently reminds us of the timeless phrase, as it should be self-evident applies in this situation, “Duh.”

    There is no merit to the argument that the CIA isn’t engaging in abuse in Eastern Europe. The White House is upset, not at the original abuse in Eastern Europe, but in that the public knows about the abuse.

    There is a reasonable basis to presume that unlawful acts of abuse in violation of the UN Charter are occurring in Eastern Europe; that the President and Senior Members of the Congress know this conduct is in violation of the laws against abuse; and that the conduct falls outside the acceptable rules in re captures on land and sea.

    Bluntly, it appears there is a reasonable basis to bring charges against the President for violating this oath of office, not following the US Constitution, and against members of Congress for failing to preserve the US Constitution and UN Charter, through Article VI.

    It is disturbing that these apparent violations of the law are discussed in open as if nothing will be of consequence: We would hope that those who attended the luncheon with Senator Frisk and Vice President Cheney where the US Detention Centers in Eastern Europe were discussed would remember what is at stake: The rule of law and US Treaty obligations under the UN Charter.

    If your continued access to what appears to be a growing and cancerous criminal enterprise is contingent upon your silence about what is happening, we can understand that.

    However, know that your job is to also report on what you find out, and not leave things out. You can’t have a blank check to get access to alleged criminals, and then fail to make a report of what you find in the hopes of “getting a bigger scoop.” We fail to see how much bigger the scoop needs to be: Do you require photographs of people being tortured at the hands of US military personnel. You already have that.

    Perhaps what you need are photos of American citizens being tortured in Eastern European detention centers. Let us know, tell us what you want, let everyone know. If that is what is required for you to finally speak out, make it clear: This is the level of abuse we need before we will say something.

    Yet, given the experience of the Holocaust, we have little confidence that the nation will be ready to speak out about “what was really going on” in Europe for many years. It was only a small passage where someone mentioned the firebombing of Dresden. Is it considered “unimportant” to discuss the details related to allegations of US Citizens being held in Eastern Europe; or allegations of war crimes by the White House?

    Someone is in charge, or they are not. If there is a man who took the oath after he won the election in 2004, then he is in charge. Nobody made him take that oath. It was his to take.

    Why the reluctance to hold him accountable for what happened under his command:

  • Abuse
  • Silence over abuse
  • Nonsense stories to intimidate people
  • Nondisclosure agreements to remain silent about abuse
  • Promotion of those who allegedly violate the laws of war

    How many alleged violations of the laws must the President be linked to before the Nation Says, “We have had enough, we need to impeach the President?”

    If we require the number of US citizens to be held in Eastern Europe to be 400, say that. If the number of 378 is not enough, say that.

    Choose. Be specific. Set your line. Be willing to define the laws. Provide some Congressional wisdom so that the Courts may blindly defer to your collective guidance.

    If Congress fails to be specific, and the abuses continue but under the cloak of other excuses, then the self-evident abuse will require the US to self-evidently forego its sovereignty. Does Congress want the UN to step in where the local leadership fails to act?

    The UN is quick to step in when it comes to the Middle East and Africa. If the UN General Assembly, outside the veto-control of the US on the Security Council, chooses to vote against the US, will the US asserts its right to ignore the UN as it did with Iraq?

    It does not appear the US, despite its power, can afford to annoy the General Assembly. Alas, it is Bolton’s job to remind them of the consequences if the rule of law were applied to the Americans.

    Do not wonder why the insurgency in Iraq continues: It dares to stand up to this non-sense and inept Congress which refuses to see that the Executive is a tyrant and wants to wage more wars as a distraction from accountability.

    * * *

    The larger issue we have to contend with is the matter of DoD training.

    It appears as though the Secretary of Defense, despite 5100.77 guidance on the laws of war, is not capable of translating the rules of conduct into credible action on the ground.

    Again, the issue is: Why are US military personnel and DoD/CIA contractors engaging in abuse, despite the laws against that abuse?

    What would possibly have given them a green light to engage in this behavior?

    Self-evidently, regardless the accountability, we have a training problem. But the training under 5100.77 is clear. The real issue is that we have a responsiveness and accountability problem.

    It appears as though the training against abuse has been a whitewash; and when the soldiers and contractors, who are under the UN Charter prohibiting abuse, engaged in abuse, there was a twisted logic train as to why this was acceptable, or nothing could be done.

    Yet, consider the case of abuse when the CIA agent moved the prisoner out of the automobile, apparently broke his ribs, put a bag on his head, though he was faking, and suffocated: The CIA got on the cell phone as was worried.

    This indicates, despite the apparent, “You can do what you want order” form SecDef, that someone in the CIA suddenly had a conscience. Why? Because there was evidence that they had to get rid of. Likely, his CIA friends convinced him not to worry about it. They’ll find a General Officer to blame and the CIA can be free to engage in more abuse, but in Europe.

    What are we getting for this training? What is the American public getting, as a return, for the money we pay in taxes, to DoD and get back as training?

    The results are not inspiring:

  • Troops and contractors and agents who learn things but forget them
  • Commanders who issue orders that violate the Geneva Convention
  • A Joint Staff that issues propaganda to manipulate a civilian population
  • Non-sense statements from the White House about how the US doesn’t commit torture, despite the self-evident photos clearly showing otherwise

    What is a relief is that this is the best the White House can do: The only thing they can do at this juncture is to spew out more non-sense. Yet, where is the prudence as required under the constitution? “Oh, we can’t have that – we have the enemy to fight.”

    Indeed, that convenient enemy – emboldened by the abuse. More than 90% of the people detained in Iraq have done nothing wrong. And Americans wonder why those who hear of the abuses against the innocent take up arms to fight the abuse? Get real.


    It remains unclear why DoD trains people on what the rules are, when the commanders and White House can’t/won’t follow the rules.

    Why are unlawful orders being followed?

    Why? What is the benefit?

    It would please me greatly to know what benefit has been promised, or what threat communicated if the orders were not followed.

    The enemy, denied a vote and voice in America, has no other option but to resort to more operations on the battlefield. To do anything less would ask the opponent to assent to non-sense. Would you?

    Apparently, self-evidently, given the congressional non-sense, the answer is: “Yes, Americans would do something they do not like in the enemy: They would cower and grovel in the mud to thank their Congressional leadership for betraying their trust, and then telling them to be silent about the violations of the law.”

    Yes, Americans like double standards: they are surprised by those who dare stand up to tyranny because they have forgotten what it means to stand for something besides the mindless words they prattle at baseball.

    If you country and Constitution mean anything, when will you stand up for it and make your Congress do the same?

    How bad does it have to get?

    How many American citizens have to be held in the CIA’s detention center in Eastern Europe?

    Pick a number, start singing, and then stop when the number reaches that.

    It does not appear likely you’ll do anything until you are personally issued a national security letter and boarded a plan after having your clothing cut off with scissors, and then find yourself in an Eastern European detention center.

    Is that what it will take to get you to appreciate your Constitution?

    AlQueda isn’t doing this. Your own government is.

    Who’s the enemy and what are you fighting for?

    * * *

    America has to decide: Who or what is a greater threat to your Constitution:

  • A. Congress
  • B. The White House
  • C. DoD
  • D. DoJ
  • E. Innocent people in jail who are not inspired by hypocrisy.


    The real problem is that there is no prospect of any braces on this momentum. Sure, if the weather cooperates, maybe Congress will get around to looking into something. How many years later is that, and is that after the next Presidential election in 2008?

    The idea of elections is so that there is accountability; nor that, “Because there is an election, we should do nothing.”

    * * *

    Hitler used non-sense legal arguments to justify the Holocaust.

    Lawyers in the White House and DoJ, as we learn from Judge Roberts, can argue any point or side.

    It remains to be seen which arguments will win: The ones that assert the rule of law, or ones that assent to tyranny.

    This White House rewrites the rules, on its own, to justify fascism.

    There are two problems, which mirror what the Nazis did:

  • American military personnel cannot be trusted to follow only lawful orders, despite treaties which prohibit abuse

  • Americans will suppress information and hide to avoid accountability.

    The issue is: What is going to stop this?

    Be specific. How bad does this have to get, how many US Citizens do you need in the Eastern European detention centers before you wake up and say, “Hay, we need to do something.”

    Pick a number: 5, 20, or 300.

    What are you willing to do if the number is 301?

    * * *

    The momentum continues. If nothing is done, it will get worse.

    But it doesn’t stop there. The White House, DoD, and DoJ have to rely on more non-sense to justify another level of non-sense.

    This is like Russian Dolls: Layer after layer of deception, lies, and non-sense. For what? How many war crimes and abuse?

    This White House, DoJ, and General Counsel in the DoD rely on non-sense to justify torture.

    The issue of the detainee status is irrelevant. Geneva is red herring. The status of the detainees as combatants, or non-combatants, or unlawful combatants is irrelevant.

    The issue is: The US has signed a treaty against abuse, and the US government has taken an oath to preserve that treaty, not craft laws to ignore them, or find excuses not to enforce that treaty.

    Yet, at every turn, we hear of more agreements not to report, investigate, or hold people accountable.

    American relies on on-sense to justify lawlessness. If that is true, America is the land of stupid people who would have us believe they don’t know better. Then why are we letting them discuss the possibility of letting them patrol the streets of America? This makes no sense. They will be carrying guns, the very people who are too stupid not to realize what they are being ordered to do is against the law, or a violation of US treaties.

    This, despite the training.

    * * *

    What is the ultimate punishment for war crimes? Death. By a court per the rules of evidence.

    That is what the real problem is: People have committed war cries, and they have rallied around the Joint Staff and Generals hoping for favors once they leave for private industry.

    Do you want people like that running a corporation? They’ll run it into the ground.

    IF they’re wiling to ignore the laws of war, why not ignore the laws of accounting and the securities industry?

    These people need to be locked up, not given a free pass to graze.

    These people are smart enough to play the game, get promoted, and do what they’re told. This shows they have the mental capacity to make informed decisions.

    Thus, any argument that they’re not aware, don’t know, or had no clue is not compelling. Rather, it is more likely than not that there is a large conspiracy of people who know exactly what the stakes are.

    But the White House learned the hard way. You can’t rely on “everyone sticking together” when the story is convoluted.

    Libby got caught. And there will be others.

    Just as there are people who have problems on the Joint Staff.

    The bigger this mess gets, the more you’re going to have to make up larger levels of non-sense to keep it all together.

    But the RNC, Joint Staff, and White House know this is coming undone. They have a public trial, an ongoing investigation, and there are other things that keep surprising them.

    All with the objective of catching them make a mistake.

    They will find out who made these non-sense arguments to “legalize” conduct that is contrary to the UN Charter.

    * * *

    Americans have shown a pattern of conduct: They do what they can to justify lawlessness.

    They are not trustworthy.

    It remains t be understood what Americans will do if they are threatened with a loss of job: Will they sign an agreement to be silent about war crimes?

    It appears as though this has already happened.

    The issue before is: What do we call the zombies in America, the country of denial?

    Theirs in the land of war crimes, suppression of evidence.

    At every turn we find illusory immunity for contractors, arguably illegal and unenforceable clauses to not hold them accountable.

    They honor agreements to be silent, as if this were a game of accounting.

    Yet, where does their loyalty lie? With the law, with their job, or is it with the future prospect of some gain or avoidance of penalty?

    They live in the land of fear and favor, and presume that their judgment about what they should or shouldn’t do, regardless the laws or treaties against abuse, will reign supreme.

    Fortunately, for now, we have an independent judiciary. They can review the evidence.

    War crimes can be investigated, if the Congress wants to find out.

    It appears, given the lack of interest and unfavorable weather, the Senate and Executive are not inclined to take much interest in factors, progress, or the laws.

    Perhaps it is time for a new Congress. A better plan to gather evidence. It is a shame, that despite the founding fathers’ arguments for and against a Republic, that the citizenry, not the leadership of the Republic, may be the only source of ultimate leadership and needed guidance.

    How fitting: That after many years of ignoring the citizenry, the Congress must rely on that Citizenry for guidance. They are at a loss: What to do when the congress has voted away the power to control a tyrant.

    American is the land of unenforceable agreements. Where, if you assert the rule of law, you are ignored; and if you violate the rule of law, you are given favor. And America wonder why it is held with contempt abroad, now also at home.

    The agreements to remain silent about war crimes are contrary to public policy. This agreement cannot be recognized as lawful. It serves no lawful purpose. The outcome is a result which is contrary to the law of the land: The UN Charter against abuse.

    * * *

    Those who violate the laws of war and abuse others in violation of the UN Charter, appear to be holding onto the hope that they’ll be pardoned.


    If that is the case, then we should not be surprised why the Joint Staff has self-appointed itself to create another propaganda campaign: They are hitched with this tyrant, and know if they refuse to go along, they will lose the support of the only one who can save them.

    This is a poor calculation.

    GCHQ has the copies of the slides presented in 2003. There are other agencies which have copies of the transmissions. Not everything has been erased.

    You’re betting that the foreign intelligence will remain silent so as to not reveal the extent of their penetration in the DoD.

    But, they have made errors. And have been caught.

    Will someone in the DoJ make a deal with one of these spies to get information about the war crimes?

    Is the foreign agent you think nobody knows about actually someone who is working for DoJ?

    They have a green light to violate the law.

    You were fooled.

    It’s all on tape.

    * * *

    Some like to make a deal with DoJ: In exchange for giving them a new life in America, they will play along as if they were a spy. But they are a double-triple spy. Always ready to betray.

    * * *

    How many years will it be until we learn the truth? Some of it may never come out.

    But know that Americans know what is going on.

    The burden rests with those of you who are working: When will the White House issue orders that put the White House above the Joint Staff.

    Those orders are coming soon. The RNC has already been left to hang in the wind. Now the membership learns the lesson: That the White House promise is worthless, especially when up against a formidable foe.

    * * *

    Recall, the same people who bungled 9-11 are still there: IN the NSC and White House. They are idiots. They make errors. Libby has been caught. He failed to realize he was being set up.

    Many are good at playing stupid. Inside DoJ and the Joint Staff. But who are they really working for? Where are they real loyalties?

    They are waiting for the right moment. Then you will learn. The hard way.

    We also know about the Senate Intelligence Committee agreement with the White House: To slow roll, play stupid, not look at things, and do nothing – the normal, business as usual.

    Some are playing stupid about the CIA 2003 report which stated there was no good information about the Iraq WMD. Did you notice Parliament withdrew support for the Butler Report? Yes, sometimes people change their minds.

    “Sorry, that agreement we issued to help you out if you were silent. That’s not enforceable. You’re out of luck. And the ones you thought were on your side, you’re actually all alone.”

    * * *

    When you’re dealing with a corrupt organization, you have to know what the laws are.

    The agreements some made with the mafia weren’t enforceable. The courts don’t help those out who suffer losses because of an unenforceable and illegal contract.

    You’re stuck.

    Oops, they didn’t tell you that?

    Who would want to argue an agreement with unlawful counter parties is enforceable? The court will not help you. The stupid ones, the ones who believe this foolishness, will get left waving in the winds.

    The Joint Staff believes it can keep making promises. But who is going to get left holding the bag? There will be someone. They also have photographs.

    And don’t forget the recordings that they didn’t tell you about.

    * * *

    There are many people acting stupid in America about war crimes. They’ve failed to report, or chosen not to. They’ve got the problem with illegal contracts and agreements.

    Then if they stick through that, what about the retaliation?

    Why do you fear losing a job that asks you to put so much at risk: Will you be able to convince the jury not to put you to death for war crimes?

    Who would want to work in a place, if the only way to achieve a superior rating, was to violate the law and risk death by a jury conviction? There’s no honor in that.

    Come on, who really looks up to what the Nazis did – do you get excited thinking about the Nazis who were killed after the Nuremburg trial. Is that what you want as your legacy?

    Get real. Those pictures are there as a reminder. Or, so we thought.

    Then again, sometimes the Russians are the ones who have to show up and clean things up. We won’t tell anyone. It gets cold there.

    * * *

    The issue before us: There is arguably a criminal enterprise within the Joint Staff, White House, National Security Council and the CIA.

    Some realize that this cannot continue and still maintain a viable form of government.

    They’re speaking out. And the Senate and White House are upset, realizing their threats and promises have no force. The nondisclosure agreements about war crimes and abuse have no effect. They cannot be enforced.

    Or is it something else?

    They don’t know. All the White House and Senate know is that those they’ve relied on to blindly obey them in the Joint Staff and CIA have turned on them.

    No longer are they willing to obey unlawful orders.

    They’re tired of committing violations.

    They’re annoyed by the suppression of evidence.

    And, they really don’t like it when you retaliate against them when they do exactly what you’ve trained them to do: Use their brains.

    What is the White House most upset about: That the world and members of the Joint Staff and RNC realize that their days are numbered.

    That this is fascism. And it cannot continue.

    * * *

    If American will not subject itself to the rule of law, it is telling the world: “We cannot effectively self-govern ourselves.”

    What is the next option?

    Would US citizens, failing to assert the rule of law over tyranny, prefer the UN General Assembly to do the job?

    The UN General Assembly, if it sees enough abuse, can vote for that.

    The US, even though it is on the Security Council, will have no say.

    If the US continues with its abuses, it will have fewer allies. It will become more isolated. Sanctions can be imposed. And the American economy can grind to a halt.

    Your car and mortgages go into default. You’re homeless. All that work, and what do you have? Nothing but a blanket, sleeping in a ditch. Is that what the Joint Staff said you would get if you honored the nondisclosure agreement?

    Who’s to blame? Don’t blame the UN.

    Blame your leadership. In the RNC. On the Joint Staff. And also look in the mirror: You had the chance to speak out. The chance to notice. But what happened?

    You would rather embrace the security of tyranny, than refuse to cooperate with something which is wrong.

    Self-evidently, you have little chance of being free, but there are others who dare to stand up. Will you be one of them? Or will you hope someone steps forward first?

    They’ve already stepped forward: Sibel Edmonds, Ian Fishback, LtCol Schaeffer, Valarie Plame, Ambassador Wilson, General Karpinski to name a few.

    How bad does it have to get before you start to use your mind? Only you can choose. But the longer you go along with this non-sense, the longer it will take to clear your mind.

    You need your mind: To think clearly, to see through the Joint Staff ruses, and to know what the rule of law means, and to know when to listen to your lawyer.

    War crimes is a serious thing. Especially when many are feeling brave in coming forward. To tell their story. And to watch the support within the Joint Staff crumble.

    Yes, they meet, and cross talk. The General Counsel across the aisle is there as always. Well dressed. But think about this next time you dial your combination for your office: Is this what you dreamed of when you thought you wanted to do something important?

    American knows you meant well, but you also know when things have gone to far.

    Yes, there will be consequences. But you know that you can no longer trust those who have promised you things. Your silence is letting them put you before them when it comes to accountability.

    Yes, we will wonder why you didn’t disobey unlawful orders. And we will ask what happened. But the time to start doing the right thing has come.

    Yes, it is hard to face the facts: Your Joint Staff has put their career and interests before the rule of law. They are not to be trusted.

    * * *

    These are the things we need to know:

  • What’s Cheney doing with access and knowledge about torture
  • Doesn’t it seem a little odd that the Vice President knows all about CIA detention centers that the Congress doesn’t know about
  • What does Cheney’s information-access on these Eastern European detention centers say about the prospects of him knowing about things that may be contrary to the rule of law?

    What does Cheney do when people cross him?

    He targets them: Targets Plame, targets Wilson. Now he wants to target the CIA leaker who talked bout things that America should know.

    Cheney’s problem is that he’s openly talking about crimes in non-secured areas. He speaks because he assumes the prospects of accountability are slim.

    A man like that will do more harm. Is that the kind of man you want guiding your Joint Staff? Maybe you do.

    Your leadership is worried. People find out things they don’t want the world to know.

    It’s not for national security.

    They want things secret so that they can do more nasty things.

    How’s your teenage daughter – will you like it when American soldiers do to her what they do to female soldiers in the army?

    There’s a 50% chance female soldiers will be physically assaulted, raped, or sexually harassed.

    Imagine what a poorly disciplined American army, not all that smart about rules of engagement, . . . what they will do when they start to drool over your daughter. At home. On America’s streets.

    Posse Comitatus is there to protect your daughter so you can focus on your job and pay your bills.

    She’ll grow up just fine.


    That’s what they said before we invaded Iraq. We were there to do the right things.

    Let’s hope you can look your daughter in the eye.

    Is it right?

    Or do you want her visiting Eastern Europe?

    Let’s hope it’s just a visit and not a permanent change of status.

    Are you sure you know where she is?