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We now know that the Bush/Cheney administration ordered the torturing of detainees being held in U.S. secret prisons, in direct and repeated violation of national and international law. That is no longer in dispute. We also know now that the Bush administration ordered torture to be done BEFORE any Justice Department "legal" memos defending those acts of torture had been written.
But why did the Bushies order torture? What was their motivation for violating the Constitution and international treaties in the first place?
We have been told repeatedly over the last week, by those who support torture as long as it's the U.S doing it, that the Bushies ordered torture for the sole purpose of saving American lives. In other words, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi, et.al., ordered the torture of detainees thinking that vital information could be gleaned from the torturee that would save our nation from another attack.
The "why" part of America's institutionalizing of torture has always been answered with, 'we tortured to protect the country from further attack.'
That answer cannot be a truthful one.
First, consider this....
"The Pentagon's general counsel's office contacted the military agency that runs the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape programs -- schools where U.S. personnel and contractors are taught how to resist abuses that prisoners of war have been through before -- in December 2001 to find out how the SERE training could help interrogators break al-Qaida suspects."
Long before any "legal" memos were introduced in defense of the indefensible.....8-9 months before....the Bushies were planning to torture. Rumsfeld's lawyer at Defense consulted SERE to see how they could go about it.
At that early December, 2001 inquiry came this response from military officials....
"Military officials at the time told top Pentagon aides that the SERE techniques produced "less reliable" information."
In July of 2002, one month BEFORE Bybee, Bradbury and Yoo unfurled their "legal" defense for the use of torture, SERE issued a document of warning about using torture.....
The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information."
Why, indeed, would a presidential administration, intent on saving us from further attack, begin torturing detainees thinking they would gather valuable national defense information, when they were warned by the professionals that the very torture tactics they wanted to use would produce, "unreliable information"?
Why would they do that?
I believe this is the answer.....
"While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Army psychiatrist Maj. Paul Burney is quoted in the Senate report as saying about Guantánamo. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."
Five hours after the Twin Towers were hit, Donald Rumsfeld let us in on what the White House plans were.....
CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq — even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.
Richard Clarke, the White House counter-terrorism coordinator at the time, has revealed details of a meeting the day after the attacks during which officials considered the US response. Already, he said, they were certain al-Qa'ida was to blame and there was no hint of Iraqi involvement. "Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq," Mr Clarke said. "We all said, 'No, no, al-Qa'ida is in Afghanistan.'"
But Mr Clarke......said Mr Rumsfeld complained in the meeting that "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."
.....he (Clarke) believes the administration sought to link Iraq with the attacks because of a long-standing interest in overthrowing Saddam Hussein. "I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection" between Iraq and the al-Qa'ida attacks in the US, he says. "There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qa'ida."
Clarke..."The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this.
"I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. There's no connection.'
"He came back at me and said, "Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very intimidating way. I mean that we should come back with that answer. We wrote a report."
And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor or Deputy. It got bounced and sent back saying, 'Wrong answer. ... Do it again.'
Here's the clincher....
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi has been identified as the primary source of faulty prewar intelligence regarding chemical weapons training between Iraq and al Qaeda that was used by the Bush Administration to justify the invasion of Iraq. Link
Al-Libi, an al-Qaeda operative, was interrogated by both the United States and Egypt, and—as was publicly reported— tortured by Egyptian authorities. During these sessions, he claimed that Iraq had trained members of al-Qaeda to use chemical and biological weapons.
....in January 2004, al-Libi recanted his confession. He said that he had invented the information because he was afraid of being further abused by his interrogators. The CIA withdrew the intelligence.
The goal of the Bush administration in ordering torture was to produce "unreliable information" connecting Iraq to al-Qaeda. Al-Libi, while being tortured, gave the phony information the Bushies were after from the start.
The "why" concerning the ordering of torture was never about "saving American lives"...it was always about producing a fig leaf excuse for attacking and occupying Iraq.
"..the top item on the agenda of the National Security Council’s first meeting after Bush entered the Oval Office was Iraq. That was January 30, 2001, more than seven months before the 9/11 attacks. The next National Security Council (NSC) meeting on February 1st was devoted exclusively to Iraq."
Today we know that this "top item" was so important to the Bushies that they set up an American torture regime immediately after 9-11 to extract phony connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Those phony connections were then used in a fearmongering campaign to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Wickedness in high places.