Insects, sleep deprivation and waterboarding are among the techniques approved by the Bush administration to interrogate “terrorists”. And the memos contain worse!
Today, the American President, Barack Obama, released four top secret memos that allowed the CIA under the Bush administration to torture al-Qaida and other terror suspects held at Guantánamo and secret detention centers round the world.
Yet, in his accompanying statement, Obama ruled out prosecutions against the CIA agents who were involved in these interrogations. It is a “time for reflection, not retribution,” he said.
The Obama administration’s decision to release the “Top Secret” legal memos discussing specific interrogation techniques used against suspected terrorists was made against the objections of the intelligence community – and it expresses Obama’s determination to stay true to his campaign principles. The accompanying statements from the new American president and attorney general ruling out the prosecution of intelligence agents who relied on the legal advice contained in these memos is also not a surprise.
However, it’s not the CIA agents who should be prosecuted, because they were just following orders. It those behind the decision of allowing torture (namingly Bush and his mob) who should in fact be prosecuted for torture, War crimes, and dragging the world into a cycle of violence.
REACTIONS TO OBAMA DECISION
“The memos’ matter-of-fact clinical descriptions belie the harsh tactics to which they gave a green light. But… it is not enough to say that when we have a president who does not believe in cruel and inhuman treatment and torture, the United States will not engage in such practices. We must formally acknowledge that what was done was wrong, indeed criminal.”
Georgetown University Professor David Cole, debating the issue at The New York Times
“By repudiating the memos, the Obama administration has again seized the high ground and restored some of the honor lost over the past few years. Yet the decision to forgo prosecutions should not prevent — and perhaps should even encourage – further investigation about the circumstances that gave rise to torture.”
Editorial, The Washington Post
“On the surface, the statement today looks like a big ol’ grant of immunity – or a concession – or a deliberate attempt to boost morale at the CIA… There are plenty of CIA officers who followed the rules and shouldn’t be prosecuted. They’re the ones who are a little relieved today… although they might have to explain some things to their priests and their families.”
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
Download the pdfs:
First Published on Obama’s inauguration day:
First of all, I would like to Congratulate the American People and the world with departure of the abomination, otherwise known as George W. Bush. Finally! This demon for a president should have left 8 years ago (not 4! He shouldn’t have been president in the first place), yet the Americans re-elected him, and probably, if the constitution allowed it, he would have found enough rednecks to re-re-elect him… with another fear and hate campaign of his.
Secondly, which concurrently occurs, I would like to Congratulate them (this time the Americans only, bar the world), with the inauguration of Barak Hussein Obama (the “Change” they wanted) as America’s 44th President.
Now Obama’s presidency and rise to power are phenomenal and inspirational on so many levels, to the Americans and the world, this we’ve to admit.
A lot of people will be tuning in to his Inauguration Ceremony, to which he cinematically followed Lincoln’s route and which comes a day after Martin Luther’s day, just like a huge Hollywood finale to an epic story. (even Israel ended it’s criminal assault on Gaza, so as not to steal Obama’s thunder, after all, you can’t celebrate a proper presidential inauguration to the drums of war, and the wailing of the women and children, these comes well after he is settled in the embracing warmth of the oval office).
And although, I don’t want to spoil a good party, or ruin the euphoria of optimism that is surging all over the globe.
Still I couldn’t help but notice that as Mr. Obama is preparing to take the oath of office, there is evidence that, he doesn’t have all the answers he promised and there are no expectations for quick fixes.
The calculatedly sober tone Mr. Obama has adopted — most recently in his no-applause-line speeches — has provided something of a reverse from for the 2 years long Messiah image, that Mr. Obama so successively maintained.
He now knows that his promise to withdraw from Iraq within 16 months is “unrealistic”. Already he declared he is reconsidering the time frame for closing down Guantanamo Bay detention facility (Gitmo), he was quoted as saying it might not be as “easy” as he thought it was and calling it “a challenge” at sometimes.
The economy “hot fix” might turn into the economy “cold fix” as projections predict that the American economy might stay in recession for another two years.
As for foreign policy Mr. Obama, surprised the world with his utter silence towards the Gaza War, he gave no comment at all (neither for nor against Israel), while giving the feeble explanation that “There is one president at a time.” 
Two weeks into the assault, he gave another flimsy statement saying that the “Gaza Violence” is “Heartbreaking”.
All these stances coupled with his choice administration, reveal that, now that he is down to business, Obama knows well that not all his promises are attainable, at least not in the time frames his campaign had promised. Some might even say that he has cast down the mantle of the Messiah and wore the suit of the politician… and we know that no one likes the Politician suit!
You might discard these remarks as mere skepticism, coming from a cynical person, and they might as well be.
I sure hope I’m wrong and he is the “change” he promised to be (for Americans sake if for anything), I hope that he fixes everything that is wrong with America (if anyone can ever do that!). And that their economy would spring back to life, the American army would leave Iraq entirely, health care coverage would be for all and, to quote Hillary Clinton (now Secretary of State) back when she was still an Obama enemy, “celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.”!!!
But I know for sure, that even if all of this really happens, this doesn’t mean a shift in the American foreign policy or it’s strategy in the middle east.
The echoes of Mr. Obama’s “Change” will not ring down here…
So Americans, Congratulations, enjoy it while it lasts…
The rest of the world: Don’t expect change to come from outside, it usually comes from within!
However, in the spirit of celebration and festivity, Zedmag have prepared a little something for Obama and his supporters, you can download Obama’s “New Hope” poster from Zedmag’s website
(Download Hi-Res Wallpaper no. 5)
Enjoy using it in the ceremonies and may you have a rather “Hopeful” 4 years
Footnote 1: When Mr Obama arrived in Washington, his first appointment was with the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, because as he said “the business of the people cannot wait”. He has made statements on the economy, the carmakers’ bail-out, and the attacks in Mumbai – so why so little on Gaza?
Footnote 2: In reference to the appointment of the new foreign policy team, the Mr. Obama’s campaign promise of change looks less than exciting considering his choices.
One there is the appointment of the Israeli-American congressman “Rahm Israel Emanuel” as White House Chief of Staff, Rahm is a well known Zionist as his name suggests, who served in the Israeli Defense Force, as recent as the 90s.
Then there is Hillary Clinton who was appointed as Secretary of State, Hillary is not a Zionist, but with Zionist ties, and surly not friendly to Palestinians or Arabs in general.
If anything this means that the case is closed and we shouldn’t expect any fresh thinking or new approaches to Middle East peace.