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Condi stopped Saddam Hussein AND the US from torturing anyone!

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  • Peter Dow
    Now although the CIA did wrongly torture a few people, this happened under an administration which did more than anyone to reduce the total amount of torture
    Message 1 of 2 , May 1, 2009
      Now although the CIA did wrongly torture a few people, this happened under an administration which did more than anyone to reduce the total amount of torture in the world when they removed Saddam Hussein who tortured people in their thousands.
      We should be proud of Condi for standing her ground and fighting this through to a situation where the US government and the CIA are now hopefully torture free.
      Condi stopped Saddam Hussein torturing anyone and now she has stopped the US torturing anyone. Condi is amazing because who else could have done that?
      Americans should elect Condoleezza Rice as president in 2012.
      Peter Dow,
      Rice for President Yahoo Group

      --- On Thu, 30/4/09, Peter Dow <peterdow@...> wrote:
      From: Peter Dow <peterdow@...>
      Subject: [rice-for-president] Condi rebuts accusations that she "authorized torture". Video
      To: rice-for-president@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, 30 April, 2009, 5:30 PM

      New group link -
      Torture. Condi rebuts accusations that she authorized torture.
      Condoleezza Rice speaking to some students at Stanford University was questioned ("grilled!") about waterboarding, enhanced interrogation, torture, who did what and so on. April 27, 2009
      http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=ijEED_iviTA
      Condoleezza Rice:
      The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the convention against torture.

      So that's ... and by the way, I didn't authorize anything.

      I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency that they had policy authorization subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did.

      Is waterboarding torture?

      Condoleezza Rice:
      and I just said, the United States was told, we were told - "Nothing that violates our obligations under the convention against torture".

      And so, by definition, if it was authorized by the president it did not violate our obligations under the convention against torture.

      Peter Dow comments -
      The point to note however is that Presidential authorizations are only empowered by the constitution and the law and it isn't the case that a president's written order or verbal command or whatever always stands up as a legal, constitutional presidential authorization.

      It isn't the case that the word of the president alone becomes law because the president in a constitutional republic has limited powers and not the unlimited powers of a dictator or a monarch.

      I am not a lawyer so I cannot say for sure whether US or international law outlaws waterboarding or not (though I trust it IS outlawed) but if it is illegal then the president couldn't just overrule the law by saying - "it's OK, I'm the president saying you can do it, so that makes it legal".

      To summarize I would say it sounds like Condi was fed some flimsy legal arguments in 2002 to justify the "enhanced interrogation" techniques thought to be expedient at the time but which many people would see as torture.

      Conveying the president's wishes to the CIA, Condi was acting as little more than a messenger, so don't shoot the messenger.

      Condi also mentions that the authorization was subject to the Justice Department's clearance so if they cleared it, and they are the lawyers responsible then it is their fault for not giving better legal advice.

      The Justice Department should have said "no way is waterboarding legal"  and their failure to do so has brought us to this point.

      It needs to be understood that the National Security Advisor job Condi was doing in 2002 has no executive command responsibilities.

      Condi could not tell the CIA what to do because only the President gives the orders and only the Director of Central Intelligence, a.k.a. "the Director of the CIA", (then George Tenet), directed the CIA how to interrogate people.


      --- On Tue, 28/4/09, Peter Dow <peterdow@talk21. com> wrote:
      From: Peter Dow <peterdow@talk21. com>
      Subject: [rice-for-president ] Condi did not authorize torture.
      To: rice-for-president@ yahoogroups. com
      Date: Tuesday, 28 April, 2009, 1:55 PM

      Posting on the Perspectives forum I replied to a post by George Aligator as follows

      George Aligator wrote:
      I am a bit confused about why the Secretary of State was authorizing torture. Was there a State Department program as well as CIA and DoD. Sweet Jesus, what's next? Was the Department of Transportation waterboarding drivers at truck stops?

      The Secretary of State did not authorize torture. Condi did not authorize torture.

      Did you not understand the above Philip Zelikow videos I posted above? When she was Secretary of State 2005 - 2009 Condoleezza Rice was working from within to try to stop torture which was doing the US reputation no good in international circles.

      The latest fuss dragging Condi into it arises it seems from the time before Condi was made Secretary of State, from 2001 to 2005 Condi was National Security Advisor and was involved in senior staff discussions related to "enhanced interrogation techniques" a.k.a. "torture".

      However, it is not possible legally to authorize something which is illegal or unconstitutional so it looks like Condi correctly referred the CIA who wanted to "torture" (although they did not call it "torture") to go ask the lawyers to see if it was legal.

      Condi's only duty was to advise as to the National Security implications of torturing a prisoner - which are minimal if any I guess.

      Torturing a few top Al Qaeda leaders may be illegal, it may be unconstitutional, it may be immoral, it may be a complete waste of time because frankly if you have to waterboard someone 183 times over four weeks, the chances are any "ticking bombs" have long since stopped ticking and gone off and the enemy has changed their military deployment to make any intelligence the prisoner had out of date and worthless, but despite all that, a wee bit of torturing on the side doesn't harm the national security immediately - it doesn't help national security either but doesn't harm it particularly - so Condi was right to wash her hands of it and pass it off to those who a) thought it was a good idea - the CIA and b) those who could advise if it was legal - the lawyers.

      Condi was sold the policy, like others in the US administration, including President Bush, Condi was fed a lot of false claims from the CIA about effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and since her expertise was not in interrogation, she could not authoritatively tell the CIA they were wrong about whether their techniques would work or not - she was not an expert in the law either, so she just fullfilled her duties as National Security Advisor and passed the final decision to those who claimed expertise in interrogation and the law.

      Interrogations and the law were not Condi's "baby" so it was not her place to give a final "yea" or "nay" to it so people are wrong to try to blame Condi and put the responsibility for it on her.

      Later on when she was Secretary of State, she had a different lawyer who gave her different legal advice which fitted better with her Secretary of State duties - after all a lot of countries had huge concerns about the whole torturing thing, details of which were leaking out and so Condi was right to put her lawyer on trying to turn the policy and practice back to something decent - against torture, no ifs, no buts, which the international community would respect as worthy of the compassionate America we all love so much. 

      Condi is being smeared as a "torturer" for partisan political reasons because the Dems are still looking for any old way they can to sink Condi's political chances because the Dems still fear Condi as a candidate for the presidency in 2012, IMO.

      You would think the Democrats would have better things to do like actually getting on with governing the country but I guess not.

      On the Perspectives forum I replied to Alex Mundi as follows

      It all boils down to one simple sentence.

      "Rice was present and knew about torture."

      The fact that Condoleezza Rice knew and kept cool and continued to give the best national security advice she could which was to lead the Bush administration from within, while being allied with those in Congress and the courts who were leading the nation from outside the Bush administration, in a direction away from "enhanced interrogation" (a.k.a. "torture") which was born of frustration and poorly organised intelligence and towards the needed reorganised and improved intelligence gathering in order to defeat Al Qaeda and to win the war on terror, is a testimony to her strength of character.

      In order to win wars you need a strong character like Condi at the heart of government to keep her head while all about her are losing theirs. So we owe Condi everything for staying in there and continuing to fight the good fight.

      IF you can keep your head when all about you
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
      If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
      But make allowance for their doubting too;
      If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
      Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
      Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
      And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

      Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
      And - which is more - you’ll be a National Security Advisor, my dear!

      (Kipling-Dow 2009.)

      --- On Thu, 23/4/09, Peter Dow <peterdow@talk21. com> wrote:
      From: Peter Dow <peterdow@talk21. com>
      Subject: [rice-for-president ] Condoleezza Rice had grave concerns about waterboarding etc.
      To: "Rice for President" <rice-for-president@ yahoogroups. com>
      Date: Thursday, 23 April, 2009, 6:14 PM

      Counselor at the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice, from 2005-2007, Philip Zelikow in an interview for MSNBC reveals how Secretary Rice led an ultimately successful internal battle inside the Bush administration, allied to the efforts of the likes of Senator McCain in the US Congress, to turn the policy and practice of the Bush administration against "enhanced interrogation techniques" (aka "torture") such as waterboarding.

      Philip Zelikow wrote:
      I was there as a member of the team representing the State Department acting as an agent of Secretary Rice who had grave concerns about all of this.
      Secretary Rice knew what I was doing on her behalf. I was her agent in these matters.
      2-part VIDEO
      Former Rice confidant Philip Zelikow on the torture memos,

      Peter Dow comments -
      A very interesting interview which vindicates my faith in Condoleezza Rice  as being against torture and this interview must be an embarrassment to all those who blame Condi and "want a piece of her" for political partisan reasons as much as anything. Shame on them!
      My music video from one year ago-


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