Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rice's double talk on torture

Remember the double talk over WMD. Time to apply those lessons to what Rice is saying about torture.

It is a fabrication to suggest the Europeans "welcome" these statements -- Rice's statements are complete rubbish.

Now that Rice has enjoyed her winter holiday in Europe, it's time to bring her before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and have her confirm or deny every statement she made in Europe under penalty of perjury--the Brits are.

* * *
Think very methodically, and read each statement very slowly. You'll quickly see that there are logic problems be design.

Recall Rice's testimony before the 9-11 Commission. The oil executives were asked to come back under oath. Rice's statements should be re-affirmed under oath.

* * *

If you want a better perspective on what is happening, review Harold Pinter's speech -- it is credible and should form the basis for an impeachment and war crimes trial against the White House Staff, Joint Staff, and senior leadership in all the President's executive departments.

* * *

It's interesting to notice the flaws in Rice's statements.

Statement: That is the only promise that we can make to people: if we find abuses we will investigate them fully and punish them. Ref

Consider this: She's reversed two key concepts: "Find" and "investigate." One does not first find something then investigate. Rather, the opposite is true: One investigates something, and then finds it.

Importance: Well, recall the "useful" double talk over the WMD. Rice said, "We never said . . ."

Apply that rule this time:

Rice is not saying that she will investigate something. Rather, she's saying that she may investigate something if that is after a finding of abuse.

However, if someone "doesn't want to find" abuse, you will have neither found abuse, nor will there be a catalyst to investigate.

Rice's statement is, in effect, an admission that the abuse, if it is linked to someone they don't want to have linked, there will be no "finding" of that abuse, and no investigation.

* * *

Here's a key concept: If the US "isn't doing anything wrong" then the US "should have" opened the detention centers to the ICRC.

Why? Because recall what was going on at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib: There was a big "public relations problem" [read="war crimes"].

If the US "wanted to prove it was doing the right thing" and that the "problem" in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo was "isolated" a reasonable government would have said, for public rations, "Hay, we've got these other centers. We've got videos of what we've been doing. Have a look. You'll be impressed."

But, despite the US "public relations problem" [read = "probable cause to bring indictments for war crimes against SecDef, State's Rice, and DoJ's Gonzalez"], the US failed to disclose the centers; denied access; and moved the detainees to Africa.

Clearly, the course of conduct demonstrates that they have something to hide. If they had "nothing to hide" they would have let the IRCR in and the ICRC could dutifully report, "Hay, all that torture-problem with physical abuse, and nasty videos of dead people in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib . . .no problem!"

But, they didn't do that.

America has the burden of proof, and it continues to ask the world to accept, without reasonable foundation, that they should be believed.

We believe such a conclusion would ask the world to engage in continued delusion. How's that Grand Jury indictment feeling now, Libby? There are more on the way, America.

* * *

Statement: We are a nation of laws. The president of the United States is not going to ask US citizens to violate US law or to violate our international obligations.Ref

Note: This statement is almost the same as the State Department Attorney, John B. Bellinger Said:
Bellinger said that under international law and U.S. criminal law, the United States is banned from using torture.

"The U.S. is prohibited from engaging in torture and we do not engage in torture," he declared. RefBBC Coverage

The key is that Bellinger was in Brussels; but Rice was in Geneva. How did they possibly say the same non-sense? The answer is: They have what is called "diplomatic instructions" from the State Department. These are the official notes which the State Department provides to the Ambassadors. The purpose is to ensure the words, language, and phrases used are consistent with US policies and are supported at all levels of the government.

However, given we know the statements are not supportable, it is curious despite these instructions, Bellinger admitted that the US was not giving the ICRC access to all the detainees, as required by the protocols. Thus, on this point alone, we know the Americans have failed to meet their obligations, and all other statements from Rice are considered unreliable.

But let's dig into her statements just to demonstrate that the initial conclusion [that we need not look at the other statements before making an informed judgment that she appears to be part of an alleged conspiracy to avoid reasonable, lawful sanctions for war crimes], and see what we find.


* * *

Statement: We are a nation of laws. The president of the United States is not going to ask US citizens to violate US law or to violate our international obligations.Ref

Issues Note she asserts without proof that the US "is a nation of laws".

Also, note she says the President is "not going to ask" US citizens. Rather, the President will tell, order, persuade, and leave wiggle room to say, "If you do so, it services the higher cause of fascism, I mean liberty."

Also, note that Rice has not specifically stated, "We will not order people to violate treaties," leaving room for the President to do just that and remain consistent with what Rice has sated.

* * *

Statement: "Just because you're a democracy it doesn't mean you're perfect."Ref

This statement incorrectly presumes that the nation is a democracy. In fact, it is a fascist republic.

However, the problem with the assertion that "imperfection is acceptable" is contrary to the notion of a duty of an elected leader:

  • Follow the laws

  • Enforce the laws

  • Lead

  • Oversee

  • Train

  • Correctly report status

  • Ensure personnel under your authority are meeting standards

  • Issues are appropriately investigated

    What do we have under the current "leadership":

  • Excuses

  • Poor training

  • Lies

  • Incorrect reports of status

  • Failure to ensure personnel are trained

  • Demonstrated track record of not timely investigating the full range of issues

  • Failure to credibly review the senior commanders' and President's memos in re the original abuses committed in violation of the Conventions Against Torture/Abuse.

    The other problem with Rice's statement is that the standard of performance of "it's OK to be imperfect" doesn't stack up. Admittedly, there are problems, but there are also remedies. Rice fails to address the remedies.

    In this case, the appropriate remedies "should be":

  • Public review of training -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the training records and policy memos -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the budget documents related to the detention centers in Eastern Europe -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the videos made of the detainees in Eastern Europe [Yes, they were stupid enough to have those, just like they did in Abu Ghraib] -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the CIA charter flight records with details on times detainees were moved, fed, housed, and the times that they were given time to take care of personal hygiene -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the independent auditors reports and reviews of the facilities -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the meeting minutes associated with the creation, establishment, construction, and security decisions at the facility; -- We have nothing public

  • Public access to the discussions related to "why the center was moved from Guantanamo to Europe, then to Africa" -- We have nothing public

  • An independent assessment whether the conduct does or does not violate the conventions against torture/abuse -- We have nothing public

    The other problem with the statement is that it incorrectly asserts that "mistakes happen" without discussing the legal issues: Once there is a pattern of conduct that is contrary to the treaties, the nation and individuals must make affirmative steps to stop the conduct, correct the problem, and ensure there is an effective monitoring system in place to ensure there is no recurrence.

    Also, what's needed is a way to demonstrate that the leadership, despite being involved in the decisions to permit abuse, is appropriately sanctioned. IN this case, it appears there are felonies, but the Americans have failed to demonstrate that they are timely removing personnel from office.

    Kind of sounds like a reckless system of government. The Europeans are not amused.

    * * *

    Statement: "The United States is quite clear and quite determined to carry out the president's policy." Ref


    It is a false premise to argue the US is clear about anything.

    It is a rebuttalbe assumption that being "determined" about something is the same thing as "ensuring that conduct is lawful." Americans are determined about outcomes, without regard to the rule of law.

    There is nothing before us to suggest the asserted-"President's policy" however devoid of reality it may be, is lawful. This is something the Americans have asserted, but provide no access to confirm. A failure to provide evidence subjects the US and its individual citizens to a reasonable "adverse inference": Reasonable proof of innocence, or information that would show the statements were true, or accusations false, should be presented.

    However, we have the opposite: The incorrect assumption-assertion that the Government enjoys a "private right to privacy" [which it denies citizens] as the basis to hide information. Given the veracity of the Washington Post article, and failure to affirmatively deny something that a reasonable person should deny if it was not occurring; plus the reasonable reliance one might put on a media article for purposes of an investigation, we judge that the alleged detention in Eastern Europe was more likely than not contrary to US law. Thus we judge Rice's statements to be devoid of any linkage to facts.

    * * *

    Statement: The US does not engage in torture, doesn't condone it, doesn’t expect its employees to engage in it." Ref


    We judge this statement to be false, misleading, and intended to deceive. Based on all available evidence

  • the US has an official policy of sanctioning abuse which amounts to torture;

  • it's leaders fail to timely and effectively sanction torture and abuse which amounts to officials condoning unlawful acts;

  • and it fully expects employees, civilians, military, and contractors to engage in a course of conduct that would abuse others.

    Nothing Rice has said "addresses" or "resolves" or "satisfies" reasonable concerns about the wide disparity between the law and conduct.

    It is clear that the issue is that the US has self-defined conduct that is abusive as "not being something." This is a matter of law to which the Americans have not subjected their executive branch to an independent judicial review.

    Rather, the available evidence clearly indicates the opposite: The conduct is abusive, does amount to torture. We judge the conduct is torture; CIA personnel have concerns about the conduct; they are coming forward because the conduct does amount to torture; and the affirmative assertions of "what is going on" are not credible.

    Moreover, the failure to link, investigate, review, and timely hold senior military commanders and civilian leaders for the acts of subordinates under 5100.77 clearly shows the US does condone acts. Further, there is the recurring statement that the US, despite "not allowing torture" will assert, "Torture works" and "We are getting evidence."

    yet, the evidence is neither admissible, nor reliable, as evidenced by the bogus information prompting NYC to investigate false statements related to subway bombings. This was fiction.

    To assert the US "doesn't expect" employees to do something contrary to law is meaningless. Nobody expects the President to be a tyrant, but he is. Again, the issue isn't whether one is or isn't factually in violation of the law; but whether Rice's statements if brought before a court could be reasonably relied on as a fair report of official government policy.

    We judge the statements have one objective: To assert with the intent to deceive the false notion that if one "asserts they are following a policy" or that they "do not intend to violate the law" then that is to be presumed that they are not violating the law. Yet, this argument has no legal foundation and cannot be presumed to be true. At best a court could conclude that this was a failure to deny something affirmatively, which would be admissible.

    * * *

    Statement: "I appreciate the supportive comments a number of colleagues have made. I appreciate the fact that people recognize the dilemmas we face." Ref


    Rice doesn't appreciate anything, but perhaps Russian piano music and her relationship with her husband, I mean the President. This is diplomatic non-sense.

    The comments are not supportive -- the Germans specifically have stated that Rice admitted to mistakes. That assertion was met with a swift denial. We judge Rice did assert there was a "mistake". We judge these statements are, without qualification, designed to create a false record of what did or didn't happen.

    We would expect that public statements to the contrary will be dismissed, despite their being more likely than not a better record of what did happen. Rice's assertions are not credible and should not be relied upon.

    In reality, the "European colleagues" are concerned that the Americans, despite winning WWII, are walking down the same path of delusion, self-rustication as did the Nazis.

    "The dilemmas we face" are simply "the dilemma the President has -- he's in trouble, has no defense, and is in charge of a fascist dictatorship." There would be no dilemma if the Administration had been truthful, timely, and open to a full public accounting of what happened in re 9-11 and the Iraq WMD.

    At this juncture, the best available information is that the White House has orchestrated a delaying tactic with the Senate Intelligence Committee to "not review" what should be reviewed; and personnel who are principals of these alleged war crimes have failed to be truthful to the grand jury.

    * * *

    Note this question:

    QUESTION: Could you confirm that in case of CIA flights to Europe, the European government concerned is always informed in advance?

    SECRETARY RICE: First of all, we respect the sovereignty of our partners and allies and we, again as a nation of laws, follow the requirements and the procedures and the statutes of any place that we are operating in terms of aircraft. We follow those procedures.


    When Rice says, "We follow those procedures" she is narrowly applying that "we follow"-construct to the aircraft landing. That should be comforting -- the Americans decide to "follow the rules" when it comes to approaches, takeoffs, and refueling. Maybe.

    In other words, it's a stretch to say that Rice has said anything about whether the US respects the sovereignty and laws of the host nations when it comes to a different issue -- torture and abuse, not aircraft.

    Or put another way: This is like saying, "We follow all the laws . . . that are related to things that are irrelevant to what we're talking about -- torture, war crimes, and abuse of human rights. You're talking about war crimes, I'm talking about things that meet the standards, however unrelated that example is to what you really want me to say."

    Time to get these answers in writing, under penalty of perjury.

    * * *

    Here's one that really shows how things are:
    Now, I've made very clear, too -- it's not your question. . .
    . . . where she admits her response has nothing to do with the question.
    but let me just restate what I said -- that we -- I did give assurance that we have not used airports or airspace for the purpose of transferring people, detainees, to places where we believe that they are going to be tortured.

    This quote says only:

  • Airports were not liked with something they believed; however, it does leave open the option that the aircraft were used in re conditions that the US knew were related to torture; and the people were going to be abused, tortured, and mistreated.

    In other words, when Rice says, "We believe. . . " this means that they can say, "We didn't say they weren't being tortured, only that we believed something."

    Belief is a defense in that it is not an affirmative denial, but it sounds like the opposite. Yes, it is designed to be relied upon, but it is not designed to be used as a basis to indict someone. It actually means the opposite: We know the opposite is true, but want you to believe the illusion.

    Again, it's time to get Rice to assert affirmatively, in writing, under penalty of perjury, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

  • We know what is going on

  • We know why the aircraft landed in Europe

  • We know the prisoners were detained and transferred

  • We know how they were going to be treated

  • We know how the prisoners were treated

  • We know the standards of conduct

  • We know we have not allowed the ICRC to enter the facilities that we want the world to believe "there is nothing wrong" at a time when it would be in the interests of the US to let the world see "there is nothing going on"

    * * *

    Let's look at something that uses the word "may". Again, the goal here is to show that Rice is using alot of language that "sounds good," but the qualification leaves open the possibility of something entirely different.
    Sometimes the best answer in terms of what to do with a detainee, if you are not able to charge or prosecute a detainee in the United States or in some other place, is to transfer that person to a place where there may be charges against them or where they may, in fact, be a citizen.

    The only thing Rice has said is, "Ideally, if we can't figure out what to do, we may do something else... and we may take them to a country where they are a citizen."

    They also may not be a citizen of that country; and they may be tortured, abused, and mistreated.

    They also may never have charges brought against them, but still be held indefinitely, despite them having no connection to terrorism.

    * * *

    Rice said, "and people have been punished. "

    Note: She didn't say, "The correct people" nor did she say the "people in positions of leadership who are really accountable have been punished."

    So when she says immediately after, "That is the only promise that we can make to people" . . . this is meaningless: It's not a promise of anything, only that "someone" might face sanctions if they are found out; and if the US decides to do an investigation.

    However, if the "policy" of the US is to "not order people to violate the law" then there is no basis to conduct an investigation because "nobody is following orders that are contrary to the law."

    To say it another way, Rice is relying on a meaningless promise to justify confidence that something is or isn’t' happening. But the premise of that argument hinges on an assumption about "what will happen." But the problem is that the triggering event for that follow-up action is conditioned on something the administration has already asserted to "not exist"; thus there is no possible reason to believe that, even if there were a violation of the laws, that anyone would be investigated.

    Moreover, given the WaPo revelations US response -- and Bolton's admonition of the UN Human Rights official -- we see a pattern in place: "The US does not wrong; how dare you accuse us."

    Yawn. The truth is otherwise: The US abuses, we've seen the photos from Guatanamo; and the reason they moved the detention center from Guantanamo to Easern Europe was to "stay out of the court's review." That doesn't send a clear signal of "we're complying" but the opposite: We're still not in compliance; we're taking affirmative steps to avoid oversight; and we will do what we want."

    Let the White House prove they are following the laws. We believe, based on the convoluted statements above, that there is sufficient basis to open an informal inquiry and bring articles of impeachment against the President and Vice President of the Untied States for war crimes, abuse, torture, and mistreatment of people.

    What is outragoues is that each public statement requires years of discovery, delays. The prupose of the Constitution was to control government behavior, not say, "The Constitution doesn't apply so we can do what we want."

    Let's hear it for the filibuster aginst the "Patriot" Act.

    * * *

    Here is an example of a statement that implies two standards, and the demonstrated conduct to date shows the US is failing to meet this standard:
    want to say that when abuses are alleged it is also important to respect the obligation of due process for those who are accused.

    IN other words, Rice is saying "the accused" to mean the people who are committing the war crimes, abuse, and torture.

    Yet, isn't it curious: The US, when it comes to 'probable cause' and "due process" affords its own citizens as "meeting one standard" but all other people [those falsely accused, detained, and abused] do not enjoy that "due process".

  • Why do those who abuse enjoy "due process" but not those who are abused?

  • Our constitution says that "due process" applies to the accused, which in this case is the detainees -- how can the US credibly argue that "due process" is something that "should be" factored into a "war crimes investigation" when the original abuse, and subject of that mistreatment was denied the same due process?

    In matters of evidence, when the government engages in wrongful conduct, then the fruits of that conduct [evidence, information, testimony] cannot be used. The idea of this is to sanction the government and "put a leash" on them and create a "cost" for not following the rules.

    But if the government has pre determined that the "process for detainees" can be "however they want" or "without regard to due process" there is no credible basis to assert there is "any cost" or "adverse result" on the government. This is problematic because the entire proceeding that is "without due process" is in secret.

    If you want to find a similar situation, go back to the Spanish Inquisition: Secret trials, secret evidence, torture, sanctioning abuse, failing to stop abuse, using the fruit of unlawful conduct to take action, using coerced information.

    Each of these acts is contrary to the US constitution:

  • Right to due process

  • To be free from unreasonable searches, seizures

  • TO be free from abusive conduct

    Oh, then they cry, "The US Constitution doesn't apply." That is incorrect -- because the US law applies to government officials. The Constitution works two ways, first as a shield to the accused; and second as a leash on the government.

    That is what checks and balances is all about:

  • Did the government official follow the rules

  • Did the government official respect their rights

  • Did the person/detainee get treated improperly

  • Was there abuse used to collect information

  • Given the abuse, how do we sanction the government for the abuse

    If the government is doing "all this detaining in secret" then there can be no oversight to ensure "the fruit of the abuse" [information] is withheld as a sanction on the government.

    This is why judicial oversight, as the Patriot Act would ignore, is important: It ensures that if there is abuse, the government faces sanctions and a deterrent against committing abuses.

    Why do we do this? Because, one day long ago America used to be a land of rule of law.

    Today, it is the land of "we do what we want" and then say, "Those rules that impose sanctions on the government officials for the abuses" are not longer enforced because we choose to ignore them.

    And America wonders why they are referred to as "Septic Tank" or "Sepis" in South Asia.

    * * *

    In summary, there's no reason to believe the White House, Bush, or Rice when it comes to abuse, torture, and the "rule of law." Nothing they say should be believed, relied upon, or used as a basis for anything. The issue is not politics, but the reliability and credibility of the people. They have none.

    The information we have demonstrates they are collectively engaging in a cooperative agreements to use double talk, imply one thing, but actually mean something else.

    It is the job of the Congress to get straight answers, in writing, under penalty of perjury; then turn this information over to an independent prosecutor.

    Congress, because the weather has been uncooperative, is more inclined to huddle around the heater than ensure the rule of law is something America is truly willing to stand for.

    America is run no more effectively than any corrupt regime. The only difference is that Americans have for too long rested on their laurels and are unwilling to hold civilians accountable for self-evident violations of treaties and conduct contrary to the laws of war.

    Please, go back and watch your TiVo. You might be upset if you have to face reality. You live in a fascist dictatorship, and want the world to pretend it is something else.

    You live in a cancerous society.

    It's time for a war crimes trial, and a full accounting of this conduct. They need to be brought before a court, mandated to testify under penalty of perjury, and shown the full force of the American judicial system.

    Remember, that "other branch" which the White House and Congress have conveniently neglected since 9-11.