Waterboarding Approved Specifically To Justify Iraq War 36

I have just learnt something which has convinced me that Bush, Cheney and Rice are indeed evil in the sense that Hitler was evil. I did not actually believe that until today.

The excellent and much-respected Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild of the USA and Professor of Law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, has discovered that waterboarding was first approved in July 2002 by Condoleeza Rice, specifically to force confessions of links between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

Everybody in the intelligence and security worlds knew there were no such links – Bin Laden and Hussein were enemies. Only torture could yield “intelligence” of such links to provide a justification of the invasion of Iraq. There could be no clearer indication that these evil people wished to launch an illegal war of aggression for their other reasons.

If it is not evil to use torture to try to create a pretext for launching aggressive war, then what is evil?

Here is the full text of Marjorie’s article.

When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in the New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.

Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to a newly released report of the Senate Armed Services Committee. That link was never established.

The Senate Intelligence Committee revealed that Condoleezza Rice approved waterboarding on July 17, 2002 “subject to a determination of legality by the OLC.” She got it two weeks later from Bybee and John Yoo. Rice, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and George Tenet reassured the CIA in spring 2003 that the abusive methods were legal.

Team Bush claimed – and still claims – that it had to use harsh techniques to protect us from the terrorists. They really sought to create evidence to rationalize an illegal, unnecessary, and tragic war.

That is absolutely stunning in its implications. How much of this did Blair and Straw also know?

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36 thoughts on “Waterboarding Approved Specifically To Justify Iraq War

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  • Gerard Mulholland

    Not only does this make the arrest and prosecution of the entire Team Bush the litmus test for Obama’s honesty but it also demands that the House of Commons immediately launch impeachment proceedings against the entire Team Bliar. Unlike America, UK Impeachment can punish ex-officials and can vary the punishment according to the crime and according to the criminal. Bliar himself should get Life Without Parole.

  • anticant

    I’ve long been convinced that these people are even worse than Hitler, because whatever else he was, he wasn’t a cretin. They are. The seeds of all that has happened since Bush seized power [in an even more questionable way than Hitler did] are to be found in this document:


    The signatories include some very familiar names. More details about this successful conspiracy – for that is what it is – are here:


    When you have digested this information, you will be less surprised that I am convinced 9/11 was an inside job. Waterboarding a few unfortunate captives is small beer by comparison.

    I have long regarded Bush and Blair as the modern equivalents of Hitler and Mussolini so far as their political “morality” is concerned.

  • KevinB


    It is initially difficult, isn’t it, to accept the idea that political leaders with smiling faces are capable of pure evil.

    Below is an article (from PressTV) about yesterday’s massacres in Iraq of Shia worshipers including Iranian pilgrims. It is just an allegation for now but who can confidently contradict this man.

    I attended a middle east ‘Peace Conference’ in London in December 2005. At that time Iranian and some Iraqi politicians were alleging that most of the killings being carried out in Iraq were the work of death squads (Philipino and Mexican mercenaries and the like) and agent-provocateurs coming out of the Green Zone. The called it America’s ‘Salvador option’.

    Anyway, here is the article:

    The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei has held the US liable for the latest deadly attack on Iranian pilgrims in Iraq.

    On Friday, back to back deadly bombings rocked Kazimiyyah, a small town in Baghdad, where two Shia Imam’s lie at rest, killing 60 people, 10 of them Iranians.

    The double bombing followed a Thursday blast at a restaurant in the vicinity of Muqdadiya in the restive province of Diyala where another 53 Iranians lost their lives.

    “The main suspects in this crime and crimes similar to that are American security and military forces who ruthlessly occupied the Muslim country under the umbrella of ‘war on terrorism’,” Ayatollah Khamenei said on Saturday.

    In a statement, the Leader said the US forces “have massacred tens of thousands of people and made the country more insecure on a daily basis.”

    “The growth of the poisonous grass of terrorism in Iraq will definitely be written in America’s criminal record and American and Israeli intelligence bodies are the first suspects of that,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

    Bomb attacks and fighting continue to take a heavy toll on Iraq five years after the US-led invasion of the oil-rich country.

    A study conducted by ORB — a well-known British polling agency which has been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005 — estimated in September 2007 that 1.2 million Iraqis had been killed in violence-related incidents following the March 2003 invasion of the country.

    This is while Human Rights Watch estimates put the number of those killed during a period of twenty years of the reign of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein at 250,000 to 290,000.


  • Scunnert

    Yes – this will be a test of Obama’s authenticity. Is he real, or just another front man for the global corporate order?

  • Craig

    I not only read Informed Comment, I have had dinner with Juan Cole in Ann Arbor!

    What is new is that the purpose of the waterboarding was to extract confessions to the Al-Qaida/Iraq link – ie confessions they knew damn well were false.

  • Polo

    Clearly what we need in the White House at this time are “ordinary blacks” and not Uncle or Auntie Toms.

  • Anonymous

    Yes indeed, the time lines about who did what and when are throwing up some interesting facts.

    Explanations, justifications and denials are becoming increasingly incredible.

    I found this: and no, it’s not for kids


    While I was able to access this site ( below) yesterday……today it appears unavailable, except through Tor.


    The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism ( Martin Schenin) and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment ( Manfred Novak) have initiated a Joint Study to examine the practice of secret detention from a global perspective. Can we assume you will be making such information as you personally have available ?


  • opit

    The ‘rationale’ for torture is really quite simple. If one wants to ‘cook up evidence’ it is a proven method for generating false confessions : has been since before Torquemada and Witch Trials.

    Cheney had a department set up to manufacture ‘evidence’ of Iraq’s WMD Threat. Convenient how the ‘reasons’ for Iraq changed as the prior accusations proved specious.


    That’s the ‘accepted’ tale’. How reliable are the sources ?


    I’ve been using ‘alternative sources’ for quite a while now. Here’s one of the eye openers http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/10-apa-complicit-in-cia-torture/

  • Jaded

    ‘That is absolutely stunning in its implications. How much of this did Blair and Straw also know?’

    Some of the things they get up to are certainly stunning. That’s one of the reasons they get away with it. Folk don’t easily conclude they are humanly capable of doing what they do. Blair is dodgy as hell. Don’t know about Straw.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    There is a certain irony here:-

    “Team Bush claimed – and still claims – that it had to use harsh techniques to protect us from the terrorists.”

    The US State Department has a definition of terrorism as, “Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant* targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    * The word “noncombatant” has a certain flexibility added to it dependent upon which civilians and which unarmed targets.

    If we work with a fundamental divide of attacks on soldiers by other combatants being part of warfare, then rely on attacks on civilians, and moreso random and unprovoked attacks, as being at the core of terrorist activity ?” then reverting to the State Department definition, can we find satisfactory answers for the following acts:-

    A. Randomly kidnapping persons out of Afghanistan and depositing them in the Gulag of Guantanamo, with or without a measure of torture added, and denying them the writ of habeas corpus.

    B. Acting contrary to Article 2 of the UN Charter and, with deliberate lies, launching a war of aggression against the Iraqi people ?” which consequences are now so notoriously known that beyond individual suffering, it is only the broad numbers which give sufficient measure of the magnitude of this crime against humanity.

    C. Globally overthrowing governments which have been chosen by the people and installing “investor friendly” regimes, starting with Iran by the CIA in 1953 and continuing with Guatemala onwards, then giving military and logistical support to suppress the popular will of peoples across the globe with torture applied as and when deemed necessary.

    Ironically, people who find themselves the target of unprovoked attacks do ?” much along the line that Bush reasoned, find themselves having to act defensively and also ( from their point of view) “had to use harsh techniques to protect us from the terrorists.”

    The State Department’s semantic manipulations of the definition seems to suggest that a state cannot be the perpetrator of terrorism per se. But, the infliction of unprovoked pain on civilians does go some considerable way down the road to satisfying the State Department’s own definition of “terrorism” ( of which I cite 3 instances at A to C above ?” because the factor of infliction of the violence on originally noncombative civilians goes right down the road of a terrorist attack). But abandon my observation just made, and let’s stick to what the State Department seeks to accomplish. If a state cannot be the perpetrator of this “terrorism” so defined, then maybe that sufficiently clears the way to designate Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell and the whole cabal as what they really are!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Someone else put the issue in succinct and quite accurate terms, better than I ever could:-

    “The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world.”

    James Baldwin

  • anticant

    These people don’t know. They will never know. They contrive not to know. They block the knowledge out of their awareness. They are in denial – otherwise they couldn’t sleep at night. If they are confronted with irrefutable evidence they say “Oh, but I had no idea!” [Just as Brown did over the sleazy emails.]

    Like the defendants at Nuremberg, they will plead State necessity. Everything they have done and sanctioned is for the best, however regrettable. It must be, because they are patriots.

    And patriotism, as Dr Johnson said, is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  • Concerned

    Don’t forget the British angle.

    Torture has been used to shore up the Brit version of the ‘War of Terror’ on our shores.

    The Crevice case (“plotters”/players intrinsically linked with the July 7th accused) featured Salahuddin Amin, who was tortured in Pakistan & his confession evidence was used to elaborate the plot – such as the claim made by Mr Amin that he tried to buy ‘an atomic bomb from the Russian mafia in Belgium’ (see http://preview.tinyurl.com/c6gc2r )

    Nonsense stuff, but all part of the constructed story.

    I hope the case of Salahuddin Amin is mentioned on Tuesday.

  • Strategist

    “It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to a newly released report of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

    This is indeed stunning, but it feels so very plausible. However, I would like to see a bit more than just Marjorie Cohn’s word for it. Is there a link to the text of the Senate Armed Services Committee report referred to?

    Either way, it is clear that Condoleezza Rice authorised torture, which will teach a lesson to any of us who thought she might have been a more civilised individual than Bush & Cheney. Just as a matter of interest, is the evidence showing that Colin Powell has cleaner hands?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Strategist you ask: “Just as a matter of interest, is the evidence showing that Colin Powell has cleaner hands?

    Have you forgotten his presentation before the UN Security Council? He literally cherry picked the “evidence”. The issues over Niger, yellow cake, his use of pictures to establish the case for war. He was well briefed, knew the truth full well, but did “his job” for the Bush administration. Not a decent human being.

    Powell as a young army officer in the 1960s played a pivotal role in the My Lai massacre investigation. Basically he dishonetly covered up the whole sordid events. The system has been repaying him ever since. The guy was dishonest over the My Lai issue, and he demonstrates consistency ( if you think about it) in his presentation to the Security Council over the Iraq WMD issue.

  • Merkin

    Anticant said : ‘When you have digested this information, you will be less surprised that I am convinced 9/11 was an inside job.’

    I am pleased to hear that, Anti.

    You would not have said that 2 years ago.

    That is not a criticism.

    What that is seems closer to Robert Ludlum ‘the unthinkable is now thinkable’.

    People, such as yourself, who do have a long track record of good analysis and comment are going to open a few closed minds.

    Thank goodness.

  • Zigmund Void

    This all begs a few questions:

    1. Why did it take so long for Mr. Murray to ‘realise’ that this lot were as ‘evil as Hitler’?

    2. Why do mothers continue to raise children who would do such things?

    3. When will people stop being cowards, with the ubiquitous ‘I was only doing my Job.’, and refuse orders that are so flagrantly wrong?

    4. Is anyone who is sitting comfortably on the net posting on blogs like these really going to stop what is happening?

    5. PG Tips or Tetley?

  • Zigmund Void

    If anyone doesn’t ‘get’ question number 5:

    Whether it’s PG Tips or Tetley’s, whether it’s Bush or Obama, it’s all the same thing. Since when has a change of face actually changed the reality of any situation? The poor are still poor and oppressed and bankers still decide what happens.

  • Dick the Prick

    Like Chinese water torture – the drip drip drip drip of conceit. It’s for other men to obtain justice – i’m still shitting myself as to the clean up job.

  • Dick the Prick

    PG Tips obviously. Am on those Twinnings Everyday as got them half price – nice brew, up there – yeah, i’d recommend.

  • Zigmund Void

    I betray my common working class roots as I didn’t say Twinnings nor Yorkshire Gold but I’m still, sadly, not stupid. The clean up job is well complex, at this point. For instance:

    Cancer is going to be widespread and common in, and around, Europe due to the depleted Uranium that the Bush regime used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and a plethora of other places. The places this material was used has not only permanently buggered those areas but the massive, invisible, clouds that spread for over 1000 miles in every direction are not contained by invisible national borders, innit?

    Another loverly mess is the one of the sheep-led masses thinking ‘Well, if you’ve done nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about.’ Now that councils are paying even small children to spy on yourselves just you wait until that nosey neighbour with whom you have a mutual hate-fest decides to porky-up something to the council or stage physical evidence in your rubbish bin. People all over the world who live in countries where fear, oppression, and torture are the norm know that it nothing about what you do or don’t do and everything about making an example of someone in order to rule the masses through fear. Does anybody reading this comment believe it will just stop with the councils paying spies as young as 8 years of age?

    I’m finding it more and more suspect that Mr. Murry, an ex-government man who has seen a lot of dodgy politricking, -finally- realises how evil Bush and his buddies are only 9 years after stolen elections in the US. Are you taking the piss or is this site a honeypot for people who think a bit? Will the folks here be made examples for others? That sounds rather messy.

    As for ‘other men to obtain justice’ would that be the little green ones flying about in outter space doing anal probes? Oh, no, that was an X-Files episode (From Outter Space). I was suddenly confused and thought there were a few sane people left on earth who would save us from the dastardly villains but, apparently, they were all taken in for questioning and tortured to death. Shocking.

  • Dithers

    All humans are capable of evil, if the influences of bad outweigh the good.

    Blair and his cronies, Bush and his cronies must be arrested and charged with war crimes.

    Time for democracy to return to the US and the UK.


    He has yet to prove he is a man of courage, and if he does, he will be the very first politician ever to do so.

    Dont hold your breath.

  • Antipholus Papps

    Craig, I would like to cite your experiences and discoveries in a letter I am about to write to the taxman (Albert Speer).

    If Zigmud Void is in any way accurate I am now of course fucked.

  • Sam

    When it comes to the way in which you constructed your estimation of the evilness or otherwise of the Bush/Blair regime, I have to respect your superior inside knowledge and experience Craig.

    But, but…I read the first dodgy dossier cover to cover online at 8am the morning it was published: it was completely obvious to me that the whole was a tissue of confabulations. I wrote an impassioned letter to my MP (who, sheeplike, still voted for the war – which ultimately lost her NuLab local councillor colleagues their seats) which yielded another copy of the dodgy dossier and some trite pap about how she was completely convinced etc etc.

    Since then I’ve just reeled from the utterly astonishing blindness and RahRah warmongering that the vast majority of apparently intelligent politicians, journalists, civil servants et al have been willing to regurgitate to the not so blind plebs. All these warmongering deaf, dumb and blind power and control freaks are complicit.

    History will judge the Bush/Blair years very severely. This era WILL be seen as a reversion to fascist evil.

    And, it’s horrid to contemplate the suggestion that you’ve a honeypot going here! But…as Antipholus Papps so succinctly put it, if Zigmuhnd Void is in any way accurate I am now of course fucked!

    Actually, I was deaded a few years back. So it makes no difference. Except, except, I have this stubborn little hope that there is a shred of decency in the Conservative Party which might consider employing me and many others like me to help clean up the almighty debauched mess that NuLab is leaving behind.

    13 months and counting, folks…if we can survive til then we may just be ok.

  • Zigmund Void

    I am more accurate than you will ever know. I have been the ‘I told you so’ for such a long time that people fear when I next open my mouth (or in this case string letters together into human readable text).

    Let me supply a two quotes from two internationally famous (at least in the Occident) misogy- erm I mean men:

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

    Albert Einstein

    History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    (Or is that ‘sheeple?’ A person is not ‘good’ merely ‘refraining from doing bad.’ A good person walks the walk and knows that talk is the realm of the sheep.)

    “All humans are capable of evil, if the influences of bad outweigh the good.

    Blair and his cronies, Bush and his cronies must be arrested and charged with war crimes.

    Time for democracy to return to the US and the UK.”

    Firstly, democrazy started in the area of Greece where only a few priviledged men got to make the decisions. This was also a slave based class of society. If it has escaped anyone’s attention then be aware that this has not changed. The few women who have historically had their chance to run things proves they have been the exception to the rule. Queen Boudicca only gets any worthy mention because she successfully confounded a democrazy-in-republican-clothing for quite a long time.

    Secondly it is pedestrian to point out that anyone is capable of evil. Look at how it is commonly accepted that there are schoolyard bullies who beat people up. Did it never occur to anyone these are the same people who grow up to become thuggish police and military? Everyone who has gone to school has seen the toadies manipulate, lie, and cajole but few have connected how these children grow up to become future politricians and CEO’s (better than a politrician because they can hide behind their money). Who grows up to be a torturer? Mr. Murray, I don’t mean to harp on at you but since you have held your gonads with the best of them did you really think that Bush and his lot, and eventually the false prophet Obama, weren’t ‘so bad’ for over 9 years? This lot knew:


    Thirdly I’d like to point out, again, that unless people who collectively form a government don’t collectively stop what is going on it will continue with impunity as usual. It’s easy to express outrage and shock but when a dark-skinned foreigner, a Muslim, or anyone else unfamiliar to the Occidental mind is ‘arrested and questioned’ it is a well known fact that people only look the other way and breathe easy that it wasn’t personally them. Eventually it will be with the way things are going and the sheeple simply wait for the magic moment that things will change. They won’t.

    Fourthly: Women did not get the vote without literally fighting for it, Black people didn’t get rid of segregation in America until they literally fought for it, North Africans were not suddenly relieved of the colonising French without fighting for it, Black South Africans did not get the torture and apartheid to stop without fighting for it, Palestinians are fighting to stop genocide of their people and the world is finally only just waking up to this. Did the Nazis simply ‘give up’ out of the goodness of their hearts? Did Bush ever (or ever will) get arrested and tortured? Will Blair?

    My favourite cartoon shows a billion heads with the exact same thought bubble saying: What can one person do?

    I, personally, in 1997 shopped for food, cooked it myself, transported it myself, and illegally fed over 3700 people. I fed this many people on very little dosh I made that year as well. As for the question of torture, I don’t personally know any police, torturers, government agents but if I did you better bet your flabby White arses I’d be having some seriously long sit-downs with them in order to educate them regarding their collective participation of oppression. If I had some mates in the BNP I’d do the same with them as well. As long as the masses are divided and conquered by ignorance amongst themselves then the power elite will continue play out their agendas and keep cohesion of the sheeple through such idealogies as fear, torture, and executions. I have sat in Parliament until the wee hours watching a lot of back-room hand-shake deals going on. I asked Jack Straw and Robin Cook how one would approach the ‘opposite camp’ since everyone loves preaching to the choir and both were stumped for any real answer. Fascism has been in the UK long before the councils started spying on people. Watch the cowed follow orders and the few resistors be jailed, tortured, and executed.

    I told you lot so.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    “Dick the prick” : not trying to funny with your pseudonym, but I am happy to respond to you. I was in the Privy Council last month in a Constitutional case ( nothing dodgy there); have argued a number of human rights cases ( nothing dodgy there); have sued Cable and Wireless in the public interest ( nothing dodgy there); have just produced a long paper with recommendations to the British Government for reforms in the prison system ( again ?” guess there is nothing dodgy there); have a case starting in the morning involving a police shooting – and believe me Dick ?” I seriously suspect something dodgy there.

    P.S. So far as any commercial work I do in my law firm is concerned, to satisfy your curiosity – simply go to my law firm’s web site, which you have already done, check out the due diligence information there, then get back to me with suggestions, so that if any really dodgy characters invite me to do illegal things I can be on the ball and not entertain their business.

    PPS. Anything further to ask ?” feel free to post or just email me directly. Will be looking out for this from you “Dick the Prick” and ?” kind regards.

    Matter of interest ?” what do you do to earn an honest living?

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