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Thank You Condoleezza Rice!!

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As Bush Adviser, Rice Gave OK to Waterboard

As national security adviser in the Bush White House, Condoleezza Rice verbally OK’d the CIA’s request to subject top Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002.

WASHINGTON — As national security adviser to former President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice verbally approved the CIA’s request to subject high-ranking Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002, the earliest known decision by a Bush administration official to OK use of the simulated drowning technique.

Rice’s role was detailed in a narrative released Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It provides the most detailed timeline yet for how the CIA’s harsh interrogation program was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.

The new timeline shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The narrative also shows that dissenting legal views about the severe interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly.

The Intelligence Committee’s timeline comes a day after the Senate Armed Services Committee released an exhaustive report detailing direct links between the CIA’s harsh interrogation program and abuses of prisoners at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in Afghanistan and at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

Both revelations follow President Barack Obama’s release of internal Bush administration legal memos that justified the use of severe methods by the CIA, a move that kicked up a firestorm from opposing sides of the ideological spectrum.

According to the new narrative, which compiles legal advice provided by the Bush administration to the CIA, Rice personally conveyed the administration’s approval for waterboarding of Zubaydah, a so-called high-value detainee, to then-CIA Director George Tenet in July 2002.

Last fall, Rice acknowledged to the Senate Armed Services Committee only that she had attended meetings where the CIA interrogation request was discussed and asked for the attorney general to conduct a legal review. She said she did not recall details. Rice omitted her direct role in approving the program in her written statement to the committee.

A spokesman for Rice declined comment when reached Wednesday.

Days after Rice gave Tenet the nod, the Justice Department approved the use of waterboarding in a top secret Aug. 1 memo. Zubaydah underwent waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002.

In the years that followed, according to the narrative issued Wednesday, there were numerous internal legal reviews of the program, suggesting government attorneys raised concerns that the harsh methods, particularly waterboarding, might violate federal laws against torture and the U.S. Constitution.

But Bush administration lawyers continued to validate the program. The CIA voluntarily dropped the use of waterboarding, which has a long history as a torture tactic, from its arsenal of techniques after 2005.

According to the two Senate reports, CIA lawyers first presented the plan to waterboard Zubaydah to White House lawyers in April 2002, a few weeks after he was taken into custody in 2002 in a Pakistani safe house.

Tenet wrote in his memoir that CIA officers themselves originated the idea.

In May 2002, Rice, along with then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales met at the White House with the CIA to discuss the use of waterboarding.

The Armed Services Committee report says that six months earlier, in December 2001, the Pentagon’s legal office already had made inquiries about the use of mock interrogation and detention tactics to a U.S. military training unit that schools armed forces personnel in how to endure harsh treatment. A former intelligence official said Wednesday the CIA officers also based their proposed harsh interrogations on the mock interrogation methods used by the unit.

He declined to be identified because the CIA had not authorized the disclosure of the information.
In July 2002, responding to a follow-up from the Pentagon general counsel’s office, officials at the training unit, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, detailed their methods for the Pentagon. The list included waterboarding.

But the training unit warned that harsh physical techniques could backfire by making prisoners more resistant. They also cautioned about the reliability of information gleaned from the severe methods and warned that the public and political backlash could be “intolerable.”

“A subject in extreme pain may provide an answer, any answer or many answers in order to get the pain to stop,” the training officials said in their memo.

Less than a week later, the Justice Department issued two legal opinions that sanctioned the CIA’s harsh interrogation program. The memos appeared to draw deeply on the survival school data provided to the Pentagon to show that the CIA’s methods would not cross the line into torture.

The opinion concluded that the harsh interrogation methods would be acceptable for use on terror detainees because the same techniques did not cause severe physical or mental pain to U.S. military students who were tested in the government’s carefully controlled training program.

Several people from the survival program objected to the use of their mock interrogations in battlefield settings. In an October 2002 e-mail, a senior Army psychologist told personnel at Guantanamo Bay that the methods were inherently dangerous and students were sometimes injured, even in a controlled setting.

“The risk with real detainees is increased exponentially,” he said.

Nevertheless, for the next two years, the CIA and military officials received interrogation training and direct interrogation support from JPRA trainers.

Last week, the Obama administration’s top intelligence official, Dennis Blair, privately told intelligence employees that “high value information” was obtained through the harsh interrogation techniques. However, on Tuesday, in a written statement, Blair said, “The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means.”

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Iraq Withdrawal was Who’s Plan?

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Via(INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY)

The Bush Pullout

Iraq War: President Obama traveled to Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Friday to announce that the U.S. would stay in Iraq at least until 2012 and keep 50,000 troops there even after combat ends. Sound familiar?

Obama’s withdrawal plan would take U.S. forces in Iraq down from a current 142,000 troops to 35,000 to 50,000. Under the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iran, negotiated and signed last year by the Bush administration, all forces must be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

In short, though President Obama will get credit, it was Bush’s plan — not Obama’s.

When Obama first began running for the nation’s highest office in 2006, he vowed he would immediately withdraw all U.S. combat forces if elected. At the time, few with any knowledge about the conflict in Iraq took him seriously.

And sure enough, faced with the realities on the ground in Iraq and in the campaign back home, Obama changed his stance last year from immediately withdrawing all combat forces to one of removing, as his campaign Web site said, “one to two combat brigades each month, and (having) all our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.”

Now comes his much-awaited plan. Technically, Obama won’t be able keep his most recent promise on troop withdrawals, but he’ll come close. For that he can thank President Bush and the highly successful “surge” in troops he and Gen. David Petraeus put in place, making withdrawal possible.

In Friday’s remarks, Obama told the assembled Marines: “Today I’ve come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end.” But in fact, the actual war has been over for some time. We hate to tell the Bush-haters out there, or to relive painful recent history, but President Bush won it, making the current pullout possible.

That victory was underscored in January when Iraq held largely peaceful elections, in which voters mostly repudiated extremist parties in favor of the moderate leadership of Nouri al-Maliki.

In his comments Friday, Obama noted the progress made.

“Thanks in great measure to your service,” he said, “the situation in Iraq has improved. Violence has been reduced substantially from the horrific sectarian killing of 2006 and 2007.

“Al-Qaida in Iraq has been dealt a serious blow by our troops and Iraq’s Security Forces, and through our partnership with Sunni Arabs,” Obama continued. “The capacity of Iraq’s Security Forces has improved, and Iraq’s leaders have taken steps toward political accommodation.”

He further lauded January’s elections showing Iraqis have begun “pursuing their aspirations through peaceful political process.”

All very true. Iraq has been a big success, which explains why you never see or hear about it in the mainstream news anymore. Suicide bombings and attacks on troops have become relatively rare, and now that Bush is out of office, there’s little political profit remaining for the left in bashing America’s bold Mideast initiative.

Whether you agree with Bush or not, he brought a kind of democracy to Iraq that can be found nowhere else in that region. His plan rocked al-Qaida back on its heels, to the point where its survival is in doubt. Iraq is a model.

In short, Obama’s policy is really, in most respects, Bush’s policy. That the troops can now come home proudly is a tribute to Bush’s steadfastness. But Obama will be wise not to remove them all.

We kept troops in Europe and Japan after World War II and in South Korea after the Korean War. Bush’s policy proved that democracy can take root where no one thought possible. But as in Europe, Korea and Japan, it must be protected.

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Top Ten Terror Threats

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Via(Homeland Security News)

CIA Director: Top Ten Terror Threats

homegrown_terrorism

Outgoing CIA Chief Michael Hayden lists Top Ten Terror Threats

1. Al Qaeda: “It is the organization that has the capacity to most threaten the physical safety of America and Americans. So it remains job No. 1. And we have talked about some successes and so on, but it is resilient, and therefore we have to continue to keep an eye on Al Qaeda,” he said.

2. Violence in Mexico: “Our good friend and neighbor Mexico had this horrible surge in violence that may cause — in fact has caused — us to talk with our Mexican friends, in more meaningful and deeper ways, to discover ways that we can cooperate against what we now view to be, and has always been, a common problem. …

“What you’ve got is President Calderon, very heroically, taking on drug cartels that I think everyone agrees threaten certainly the well-being of the Mexican people and the Mexican state, and taking them on in a very, very progressive way. Now, it is not quite the same thing as Colombia, where you had a politically motivated movement, the FARC, merging with narcotics organizations. Here it is largely in the business of crime but the effects could be just as dangerous, certainly to the well-being of the Mexican people.”

3. Iran’s nuclear program: “I included Iran, in terms of as they move forward in their own decision-making process, as they continue to churn out LEU, low enriched uranium, they do it at great cost, diplomatically and economically with regard to sanctions. They seem to be doing it with a purpose. As that quantity of that stockpile grows, you would think that at some point in that process, they are going to have to make a decision as to what it is they are going to do with it. So that is something we have to keep a close eye on as well.”

Read the rest of the Top 10 here:

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie

Britain is Warned by Al-Qaeda!!

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Via (Homeland Security News)

Al-Qaeda YouTube Warning To Britain

british_police

AL-Qaeda last night issued a chilling video threat to Britain — on YouTube.

Rants by key henchmen of Osama bin Laden are accompanied by footage of a black-clad gunman riddling the Union Flag with bullets.

The Stars and Stripes is also peppered — along with Israel’s flag.

Fanatic Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi — a former Guantanamo Bay inmate — vents his fury at the West while fondling an automatic rifle and brandishing a grenade.

The recording was posted on YouTube, which attracts up to 100million visits a day.

It was also downloaded to a number of extremist websites with hundreds of thousands of members.

Analysts said last night the message meant Britain is a revenge target for Israel’s war in Gaza.

Terror expert Chris Dobson warned: “Al-Qaeda is clearly taking aim at Britain. This makes it obvious, if there was any doubt, we rank alongside the US and Israel at the top of their hate list.”

Online terror investigator Neil Doyle added: “There has been a noticeable increase in chatter about attacks at the UK.”

Source

God Bless,
The Truth Tracker
Jason R. Bootie