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July 30, 2007

More Revisonism On Clinton-Era Torture of Detainees

The Editorial Staff is verklempt. Via Glenn Reynolds, now The Guardian is blaming Teh BushReich for the Clinton administration's tacit approval of torturing rendered detainees.

Not only do our media (Dana Priest, anyone?) routinely turn a blind eye to the fact that the Clinton administration as a matter of policy turned over rendered terrorism suspects to known human rights abusers without any guarantee they would not be tortured, but now they're blaming Bush (whose rendition program, according to the man who ran the program under Clinton is far more careful to respect the rights of detainees) for Clinton-era abuses! Is there anything these people aren't capable of?

ACCORDING TO THIS ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN, the Bush Administration was already supporting torturing suspects back in 1998. "The report criticises the Bush administration's approval of practices which would be illegal if carried out by British agents. It shows that in 1998, the year Bin Laden was indicted in the US, Britain insisted that the policy of treating prisoners humanely should include him. But the CIA never gave the assurances."

This is just one more data point that confirms the testimony of Michael Scheuer, who spoke a few inconvenient truths to Congress that seem somehow to have disappeared down the media's memory hole:

Let's talk about the renditions program; by that we mean the secret renditions program which began under Bill Clinton. Michael Scheuer, the man who ran that program, has a few choice words about it. To help focus the discussion, it may be helpful to point out a few differences between the two programs:

1. Under Clinton we were not at war, nor were we contemplating going to war.

2. Under Clinton, interrogation/intelligence was not a goal of the secret renditions program. Suspects were detained for the purpose of removing them as a threat. In other words, we simply wanted these people out of the way, so we detained them. We asked them no questions.

3. Under Clinton, detained suspects were, as a matter of policy, routinely sent to countries that were known human rights abusers. We obtained no agreement that they would not be tortured.

Of course Dana Priest displayed absolutely no interest in the fate of detainees rendered under Clinton/Gore, though we were not at war and they were routinely detained under worse conditions than they have been under Bush/Cheney. Why would she?

It doesn't fit the narrative. But on to Mr. Scheuer's statement. It's lengthy, so we'll give you just a few relevant excerpts in support of the numbered items above:

Mr. SCHEUER. All right. The CIA's Rendition Program began in late summer, 1995. I authored it and then ran and managed it against al-Qaeda leaders and other Sunni Islamists from August, 1995, until June, 1999.

There were only two goals for the program: First, to take men off the street who were planning or had been involved in attacks on the United States or its allies; second, to seize hard copy or electronic documents in their possession when arrested. Americans were never expected to read those, and they could provide options for follow-on operations.

I would like to add interrogation was never a goal under President Clinton. Why? Because it would be a foreign intelligence or security service without CIA being present or in control who would conduct the interrogation, because the take from the interrogation would be filtered by that service holding the individual and we never knew if it was complete or distorted, and because torture might be used and the information might be simply what an individual thought we wanted to hear.

We participated in a program that detained suspects who were never brought to the United States and thus never protected from torture. So not only was it known that torture might be used, but the Clinton administration planned in advance to keep a "see no evil" stance to insulate themselves from that eventuality.

What does Glenn have to say about that? Sounds "unprecedented" to me.

President Clinton and his national security team directed the CIA to take each captured al-Qaeda leader to the country which had an outstanding legal process for him. This was a hard-and-fast rule which greatly restricted CIA's ability to confront al-Qaeda because we could only focus on al-Qaeda leaders who were wanted somewhere for a legal process. As a result, many al-Qaeda fighters we knew of and who were dangerous to America could not be captured.

The program was less effective.

CIA warned the President and his National Security Council that the U.S. State Department had and would identify the countries to which the captured fighters were being delivered as human rights abusers. In response, President Clinton and his team asked if CIA could get each receiving country to guarantee that it would treat a person according to its own laws. This was no problem, and we did so.

Note: an agreement from a known human rights abuser to abide by "its own laws" does not protect detainees from torture.

I have read and been told that Mr. Clinton, Mr. Berger and Mr. Clarke have said, since 9 11, that they insisted that each receiving country treat the rendered person it received according to U.S. legal standards. To the best of my memory, that is a lie.

So, in other words, we did not obtain agreement for detainees to be treated according to US law (which would have been surprising - -few nations agree to follow the law of another nation). But more importantly, Clinton and Berger lied to the US public.

But then prevarication and historical revisionism are nothing new from the antiwar crowd. And yes, the editorial staff is going to keep hammering away at this until someone pays attention. Get over it.

It's an important point. Inexplicably, so far Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald have been unavailable for comment.

Posted by Cassandra at July 30, 2007 07:26 AM

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ACCORDING TO THIS ARTICLE FROM THE GUARDIAN, the Bush Administration was already supporting torturing suspects back in 1998.

Yeah, well, no reason to wait for something silly like stealing an election...

Posted by: camojack at July 30, 2007 08:40 AM

Guardian - the communist toilet paper...

Well, these deranged morons are living in a world of fantasies... lol

Posted by: German Voice at July 30, 2007 09:02 AM

After trying to plug this into a logic truth-table, I continue to fall down somewhere around that whole space-time continuum thing.

So confused are I that I suppose I'd better engage myself in some sort of mechanical task. One with relatively few moving parts such that I do not have to thunk about this too much. I'm with Glenn. Maybe Stephen Hawkin's can 'splain' this to us.

Hmmm, might RN-T be Pinky or maybe the Brain?

Posted by: bthun at July 30, 2007 12:45 PM

or Hawking's even...

I would fire my proofreader if only they understood English.

Posted by: bthun at July 30, 2007 12:48 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/30/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at July 30, 2007 01:58 PM

Is there anything these people aren't capable of?


Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 30, 2007 02:04 PM

This is an easy one to explain. See, Bush and Cheney are so EVIL that the EVIL transends time. It crawled backwards from the invasion of Iraq and the stolen election of 2000, and corrupted the judgment of the Clinton Administration. This should pretty well explain James Carville. Next we will find video of Karl Rove planting a stained blue dress...

Posted by: Rich at July 30, 2007 05:05 PM

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