Global Eye Criminal World

By Chris Floyd
February 4, 2005

Another day, another accomplice in the construction of the Bush Regime's
torture chambers revealed. Nothing new there; the perp walk of top Bushists
colluding in torture could stretch a mile. But the remarkable thing about
the latest case is that it exposes an even greater depth of official
criminality than hitherto suspected -- no mean feat, given the rap sheet of
this crew.

The new man on the hot seat is Judge Michael Chertoff, nominated to head the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Chertoff was hip-deep in creating --
and covering up -- the infamous White House "torture memos": carefully
detailed guidelines from the desk of President George W. Bush that
instigated a global system of documented torture, rape and murder.

Before Bush elevated him to the federal bench, Chertoff headed the Justice
Department's criminal division, where he was frequently consulted by the CIA
and the White House on ways to weasel around the very clear U.S. laws
against torture, The New York Times reports. Bush and his legal staff, then
headed by Attorney General-designate Alberto Gonzales, were openly concerned
with "avoiding prosecution for war crimes" under some future administration
that might lack the Bushists' finely nuanced view of ramming phosphorous
lightsticks up a kidnapped detainee's rectum, or other enlightened methods
employed in the administration's crusade to defend civilization from

Throughout 2002 and 2003, the CIA sent Chertoff urgent questions asking
whether various "interrogation protocols" could get their agents sent to the
hoosegow. The questions themselves are revelatory of the tainted mindset at
CIA headquarters -- officially known as the George H.W. Bush Center for
Intelligence. Beyond methods we already know were used -- such as
"water-boarding" and "rendering" detainees to foreign torturers -- the Bush
Center boys sought legal cover for such additional refinements as "death
threats against family members" and "mind-altering drugs or psychological
procedures designed to profoundly disrupt a detainee's personality."

However, the Justice Department could only offer advice; final approval of
interrogation techniques -- including the Bush Center's requests -- rested
solely with the Bush White House. As one senior intelligence official told
The New York Times: "Nothing that was done was not explicitly authorized" by
the Oval Office. Thus the chain of responsibility is clearly established for
the reams of evidence on torture, rape and murder in the Bush gulag -- cases
documented by the FBI and the Pentagon's own investigators, as well as the
Red Cross, Amnesty International, the Red Crescent, Human Rights Watch and

Eventually, Chertoff referred all torture questions to the authority of the
"smoking gun" memo drawn up by Bush's office in August 2002. In this, the
White House essentially defined "torture" out of existence; practically any
interrogation method could be used, Bush said, as long as it didn't cause
"organ failure or imminent death." But even here Bush left an escape hatch
for atrocity, ruling that an interrogator who killed or permanently maimed a
prisoner could still be shielded from prosecution, as long as he claimed he
hadn't intended to murder or maim when he commenced the beating.

But Chertoff's involvement in Bush's chamber of horrors goes beyond an
advisory capacity. He was also instrumental in the earliest cover-up of
Bush's torture system: the trial of John Walker Lindh, the "American
Taliban" captured in Afghanistan, the Nation reports. In June 2002, Lindh
was due to testify about the methods used to extract his confession of
terrorist collusion: days of beating, drugging, denial of medical treatment,
and other abuses. These were of course standard procedures used -- by
presidential order -- from the very beginning of the "war on terror." To
stop Lindh from exposing this wide-ranging criminal regimen, Chertoff,
overseeing the prosecution, suddenly offered Lindh a deal: The feds would
drop all the most serious charges in exchange for a lighter sentence -- and
a gag order preventing Lindh from telling anyone about his brutal treatment.
Lindh, facing life imprisonment or execution, took the deal. Once again,
Bush skirts were kept clean. And the torture system was kept safe for its
expansion into Iraq, where thousands of innocent people fell into its maw.

The August 2002 torture authorization was in force until January 2005, when
it was ostentatiously replaced by a somewhat broader definition of torture
just before Gonzales' confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate. But another
2002 memo - detailing specific, Bush-approved "coercive methods" - remains
classified. Is it still in force? Nobody knows.

In any event, the Bushists' PR shuffle on torture is meaningless. Gonzales
has already declared to the Senate that interrogators in the CIA's secret
gulag aren't bound by the new "restrictions" anyway. What's more, he's also
asserted -- again openly, to the Senate -- that Bush has the right to break
any law or restriction he pleases "while acting in his capacity as
commander-in-chief." Thus whatever the Leader orders -- even torture and
murder -- cannot be a crime.

This is no hypothetical case, as Gonzales pretended to the Senate. In a
series of executive orders beginning in October 2001, Bush has declared his
peremptory right to capture, imprison, indefinitely detain or even
assassinate anyone in the world whom he arbitrarily and secretly designates
an "enemy" -- without any legal process at all, the Washington Post reports.
Thousands of such "enemies" have been plunged into the CIA's unrestricted
prisons, The Guardian reports; and as Bush himself bragged in his 2003 State
of the Union speech, "many others have met a different fate. Let's put it
this way: They are no longer a problem." They were simply killed, in secret,
at Bush's order.

This is thug law, a death-cult of blood and domination -- the true religion
of the Bushists and their mirror-image crimelords in al-Qaida.

Copyright © 2005 The Moscow Times