Torture, Destruction of Evidence, Obstruction of Justice--Just a Typical Day in the Bush Administra
by Silence is Complicity LinkHere
Let's be frank here.
The recent discovery of documents related to the torture videotapes that were destoyed is old news, not new. The fact is that since 2001, our government has tortured, lied about the torture, and destroyed court ordered evidence and documents of the torture. In other words, they've done everything they can to cover their own asses.
Ask Jesselyn Radack.
If you don't know who Jesselyn Radack is, rest assured that Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, De Pue, Cherthoff and other high ranking officials do. Jesselyn Radack was the ethics advisor at the Department of Justice in 2001 at the onset of America's emerging torture policies. She was also one of the first to witness how far this administration would go to destroy evidence of their torture and to attack anyone who revealed them to the public.
Take a short trip down memory lane.
Most of us surely remember the famous picture of John Walker Lindh--naked, blindfolded, strapped and bound to a board with the word "SHITHEAD" sprawled across the duct-tape on his forhead, as he was lifted out of the freezing cold, unlit shipping container, where he'd been bound for days. He suffered dehydration, hypothermia, and frostbite. Parts of his torture had even been caught on videotape.
(Image courtesy Wikipedia)
And most of us remember Ashcroft standing in front of a microphone saying:
"Today I'm announcing the filing of criminal charges against John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who was captured in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban. ...
...As set forth in the complaint, the charges filed against Walker are based on voluntary statements made by Walker himself. The complaint alleges Walker knowingly and purposely allied himself with certain terrorist organizations with terror; that he chose to embrace fanatics; and his allegiance to those fanatics and terrorists never faltered, not even with the knowledge that they had murdered thousands of his countrymen, not with the knowledge that they were engaged in a war with the United States, and not, finally, in the prison uprising that took the life of CIA agent Johnny Spann.
...Walker is in the process from being transferred from the custody of the United States military, where by his own account he was treated well and received adequate food and medical treatment, to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
As the complaint states, prior to being interviewed by the FBI, Walker was informed of his Miranda rights, including the right to speak to consul. He acknowledged that he understood each of his rights, and he choose to waive them both verbally and in a signed document.
(Image courtesy CNN)
Remember that too?
Well, Ashcroft was lying. Jesselyn Radack knew he was lying. She had the proof. Official documentation. A judge hearing the Lindh case asked for her documents but suddenly those documents had disappeared. When Jesselyn discovered that Ashcroft, Du Pue, and other superiors at the DOJ had not given the court ordered documents to the judge, Jesselyn became investigator and whistleblower.
What were her documents and why were they so important to hide from the court of law and the American people? Why were these documents so important that the Bush administration intentionally destroyed them?
According to Jesselyn, she had emails in which she informed the government that they should not interview Lindh without an attorney present. She had evidence that Lindh did have an attorney, and yet he was held in captivity, stashed in a freezing storage container for two days, and when he was released he was offered a document to sign--his confession. And not once during those times did Lindh have access to his attorney.
Jesselyn wrote in her memoirs:
Shortly after meeting with Frank Lindh, Brosnahan faxed a letter to a number of key government officials, including Secretary of State Powell, Attorney General Ashcroft, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Cia Director, George Tenet, and CIA General Counsel Robert McNamara, Jr. The letter informed them that Brosnahan had been hired by Lindh's parents to represent their son and asked that any further interrogation of him be stopped."
On December 7th, Lindh was flown to Camp Rhino, a U.S. Marine base in the high Afghan desert south of Kandahar, a former stronghold of the Taliban regime. He was blindfolded, stripped naked, bound to a stretcher with duct tape, taunted, threatened and locked in an unheated metal shipping container that sat on the floor in the bitter cold. That day, on what I thought would be a laid-back Friday, I received a call from John De Pue, a counter-terrorism prosecutor in the Criminal Division's Terrorism and Vilent Crime Section.
"The FBI wants to interview American Taliban member John Walker sometime next week, " De Pue advised. "The interview would occur in Afghanistan. Walker's father retained counsel for him and the FBI wants to question Walker about taking up arms against the U.S."
This type of situation raised red flags at PRAO because the ethics rules prohibit communication with people represented by counsel. We were told unambiguously that Lindh had counsel. In the advice we later rendered, the premise that Lindh had counsel was never questions. We never suggested for a minute the argument that he was somehow not "really" represented--the argument Ashcroft ultimately adopted.
As the complaint states, prior to being interviewed by the FBI, Walker was informed of his Miranda rights, including the right to speak to consul. He acknowledged that he understood each of his rights, and he choose to waive them both verbally and in a signed document
Clearly, you can see that Ashcroft lied, period!
Yet, Jesselyn wrote more in her memoir that proved our nation was torturing and admitting confessions under torture as legally binding evidence:
On December 9th at Camp Rhino, after two days in the steel shipping container, Lindh was taken out. FBI agent Christopher Reimann began extracting the confession from Lindh that became the basis for the eventual and ill-advised criminal case. Reimann read Lindh the Maranda warning, but admits that when noting the right to counsel, he ad-libbed, "Of course, there are no lawyers here." Lindh was not told that his parents had retained an attorney for him who was willing to fly to Afghanistan. Worried that he would be returned to the container, which in fact happened at the conclusion fo the two-day interrogation, Lindh signed the waiver, which was improperly administered and clearly raised voluntariness issues.
On Monday De Pue called again with news from the Deputy Legal Adviso of the FBI: despite our advice not to question Lindh without counsel, an agent went and interviewed him over the weekend."
De Pue wanted to know what to do now.
Later, Jesselyn relays how the PRAO was in crisis management mode. She stated:
Meanwhile, Claudia told me to pull all the advice our office had ever issued in cases of "unauthorized cantracts" (unethical contracts with a person represented by counsel), which I did. ...
...two weeks after he had been transferred to our military custody, Navy physicians finally removed the bullet from his leg. I followed up repeatedly with John De Pue but received no response, which was unusual because he was the one who had initiated both of the contacts with our office. At the same time, Claudia told me, "Our office's involvement in this matter is over."
This abrupt termination was unprecedented when our office's advice had been flouted because part of our mission was to insulate Department attorneys from future allegations of ethical misconduct."
...I soon learned why.
Jesselyn then wrote about how Office of Legal Counsel, the same office that wrote the Patriot Act also provided agruments to keep U.S. officials from being charged with war crimes for the way prisoners were detained and treated. In January 2002, the memos from the Defense Department attempted to address if the Geneva Conventions applied to detainees. Here's the timeline:
January 24, 2002--literally six weeks after being forced, bound, and trapped in a freezing container, Lindh arrived home battered and haggard and in time for his first court appearance where he got to meet his attorneys for the first time.
On January 25, Gonzalez wrote the memo that rendered the Geneva Conventions obsolete.
On January 26, Powell wrote a memo to the Gonzalez making clear that the Geneva Conventions applied and why.
On February 1, 2002, Ashcroft wrote a 12 paragraph memo warning that if Bush sided with the State department then American officials would wind up going to jail for violating U.S. and the International laws.
On Februrary 7, 2002, President Bush announced who he would apply the Geneva Conventions to and who he wouldn't.
President Bush determined, with a little help from his friends, that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply and that he would rule who deserved to be tortured and who would be protected by POW status under the Geneva Conventions.
Obviously, this was another case of trying to cover their asses. Break a law...so change the law.
The torture and timeline above shows with out a doubt how torture was committed, against the advice of the ethics advisor in the DOJ, and against the law of this land. But the coverup began as John Walker Lindh's case was being heard in Eastern Virginia by U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
Once again, we refer to Jesselyn's memoir's:
Judge Ellis ordered that "all copies of the Justice Department's internal correspondence about the conditions of Lindh's interrogation be sent to him so that he could determin if the documents should be passed on to the defense team. Claudia concealed the order from me.
...March 7, 2002, was a pivotal day for me, when two and two finally added up to four. I go to work to find an e-mail from Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Bellows, the lead prosecutor in the Lindh case. he informed me that he had filed with the court two of my e-mails with De Pue, but wanted confirmation that he had all the Lindh-related communications I had written so that he could comply with the Court's discovery order. I wondered, "What discovery order?" His contact was my first alert to the discovery order. No one within PRAO had advised me of the Court's order or asked me to assist with compliance, even though I was the author and most likely source of the materials sought by the Court. Morever, I had written far more than two e-mails."
There's more Jesselyn discovered:
I was concerned immediately becaue I knew there were many more e-mails than the couple.
...Claudia came in shortly afterwards and I rushed to tell her in person about this development. She got very defensive. Staring daggers at me, she whispered in a slow, deliberate voice, "I sent everything that was in the file."
I went and checked the hard copy file, which had been an inch-thick stack of paper bound by a heavy-duty, long-reach staple. I felt sick as soon as I saw what was--and what was not--inside.
So here we arrive at today, and what brought on this massive article.
Today, Jesselyn forced herself to post a diary at DailyKos, Jesselyn states:
My e-mail advising against interrogating him without a lawyer "disappeared." So all of this sounds hauntingly familiar.
The CIA videotapes documented agency operatives subjecting terrorist suspects to severe interrogation techniques. My e-mails documented my advice against interrogating Lindh without a lawyer, and concluded that the FBI committed an ethics violation when it did so anyway. Abu Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding. John Walker Lindh was stripped, bound, blindfolded and stuffed into a frigid steel shipping container. Both the CIA videotapes and my e-mails were destroyed in part because officials were concerned that they documented controversial interrogation methods.
On July 12, 2002, the Defense Department was apoplectic that its new policy on the torture of captives in the war on terrorism was going to be exposed. It was a Friday and Lindh's suppression hearing--which was going to expose who did what to him--was scheduled for Monday. The Defense Department made it clear to the Justice Department that it wanted the suppression hearing blocked. Michael Chertoff, the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division (and now the head of the Department of Homeland Security) who was overseeing all the Justice Department's terrorism prosecutions, had the prosecution team offer a deal: the serious charges against Lindh would be dropped an he would plead guilty to just two technical charges AND . . .he would have to sign a statement swearing that he had "not been intentionally mistreated" by his captors and waiving any future right to claim mistreatment or torture.
The CIA and government withholding from the courts information about torturing terrorism suspects is not new and everyone's feigned surprise and outrage adds insult to injury. Not just injury to Zacarias Moussaoui or John Walker Lindh, but injury to the transparency that underpins democracy.
Since 2002, members of Congress and the media have known about this. Both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have failed to call for direct testimony under oath, and yet they feign surprise and send out righteous words of innocence to the media and to their distraught constituents?
Jesselyn has made a Herculean effort to get her memoirs to members of Congress. Take a look at the list of Senators and Representatives who have received her book and yet still failed to call her to testify under oath and have failed to call anyone else involved too.
So yeh...like the title says, "Torture, Destruction of Evidence, Obstruction of Justice--Just a typical day in the White House."
I'd like you guys to focus on the shipping containers....
Ok. So Lindh was tortured and shoved into an isolated, freezing cold shipping container, while naked and strapped to a board for 2 days approx.
And then you have that young girl who was raped and shoved into a shipping container as well.
The shipping containers...
Does that imply a link that hadn't been explored before?
How would our gov't be allowed to have access to a shipping container without the permission of a corporation to use theirs?
Was the same corporation providing the shipping containers?
How many other people have been shoved into those containers?