In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News....
Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.
The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic...
At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
This is not just a smoking gun -- it's a MOAB dropped right on the White House, confirming, yet again, what any sentient being should already know: the illegal torture tactics (yes, they are torture; and yes, they are illegal, no matter what "the Attorney General says") used on George W. Bush's Terror War captives were approved by the highest officials of the government, all of whom knew -- in exacting, sickening detail -- just what they were inflicting.
These cold-blooded atrocities were not restricted to "high value al Qaeda suspects" - the demure fiction that the ABC report, like most others in the mainstream media that have begun, gingerly, to delve into these crimes, still retains. As mountains of evidence has already shown, these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used throughout the Terror War prison system, from top to bottom, on prisoners rounded up at random in mass raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, on innocent people sold into captivity by bounty hunters, on innocent people snatched off the streets in Asia, Africa, Europe. They've been used on "low-level prisoners" in Bagram, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina, and all the other "secret prisons" and holding pens of the Terror War regime.
All of the atrocities and murders that have thus far come to light from the hellish pit of the Bush gulag are the direct responsibility of the "Principals," the inner circle, the Privy Council, the Star Chamber of the real American government: the "National Security State" that operates outside all law, all oversight, all constitutional legitimacy.
Yet even as the media digs out the workings of this junta, they feel compelled to offer what they believe is a fig leaf that will allow all good and decent folk to retain their sacred faith in American exceptionalism: "Hey, we're not evil; we only torture the really bad guys, the worst of the worst, the high value al Qaeda scum. Torture's too good for the likes of them!"
And the sad fact is, the media mandarins are right. American society has become so degenerate that the majority of people -- and the entirety of the American Establishment -- will now countenance torture, as long as they can convince themselves it is used only against "the bad guys." At one time, the leaders of this nation condemned and punished the torture even of proven Nazis, on the principle that we must uphold our own humanity, and not descend to the brutish level of the most degraded among us.
But no more. We are the degraded now, ruled by brutes: by deliberate torturers, military aggressors and mass murderers who walk the streets freely, live in wealth and comfort, receive public honors, and will never face justice, never have to answer for their crimes against humanity. If this were not so, these evil counsellors and their leader would already be subjected to the workings of the law: impeachment proceedings, criminal investigations, arrest, trial. The fact that they are not is yet another crime -- a crime in which the entire political establishment is deeply complicit.
We'll say it again: anyone in public life who accords these criminals the slightest legitimacy is an accomplice to their crimes. It's really that simple. You can move toward the light or you can hang back with the brutes.
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This story was published on April 11, 2008.