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Pelosi: Complicit in Torture, Complicit in Speeding the Downfall of the Democratic Party

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“Thank you very much, Mr. Menendez. I want to commend you, the chairman of our caucus, for your leadership on these issues, about honoring our responsibility to the American people.

To protect them is our first responsibility. And what is happening in Iraq raises a big question as to whether it is making America safer.

When we put our young men and women in harm's way, we always owe the American people the truth, and that is what the Congress is asking the president for: the truth.

I served many years on the Intelligence Committee, and I know we endanger our own troops and personnel when we use torture, because it can be used on them. The quality of intelligence that is collected by torture is worthless -- it is uncorroborated and it is worthless. We have the know-how, the personnel and the resources in our country to protect the American people in a way that protects our values, that reflects the priorities of our citizens. And that means not using torture.

I urge the speaker to appoint House conferees to the Defense appropriations bill immediately so that Congressman Murtha can offer his motion to instruct conferees, which would demonstrate the House's strong opposition to the torture of detainees. We must send a clear message to the world that torture is not consistent with American values.” –Nancy Pelosi, November 16, 2005

This statement made and recorded by CQ Transcriptions wholly contradicts the news that the Post is reporting, which is that “in September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.” It is being further reported that “for more than an hour, the bipartisan group” “included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.”

During this virtual tour, Nancy Pelosi did not object. On the contrary, the Post reports that “no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. From 2002 to 2003, “lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).”

Furthermore, Pelosi engaged in some dirty politicking with Jane Harman when she took over the Speaker of the House position in 2007. According to RAW Story, “only Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) -- then the second-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee who would supplant Pelosi in 2003 -- formally objected” to the interrogation techniques discussed. “Harman, who was set to lead the House Intelligence Committee when the Democrats retook the chamber in 2006, was pushed aside by Pelosi when she took over as Speaker, in what was seen as an element of personal rivalry.” That, or possibly, Pelosi was doing a favor for AIPAC, the Israel lobby that has become an increasing liability for the rule of law in America as well as our nation’s foreign policy.

If 2002 is in fact the date when our nation’s lawmakers first were privy to information on harsh interrogation techniques on “waterboarding”, than it is a fact that we have had key leaders complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, etc. It is a fact that we have leaders who were traitors to the moral values and democratic values that our nation claims to stand for.

Moreover, it is clear that they, like the Nazis in Germany, can make the case and will make the case that they were just doing their job. We can expect them to deliver the Democratic Party's favorite line: "If only I had known then what I know now." In fact, the Post graciously helps those implicated like Pelosi begin to formulate a defense by noting:

Congressional officials say the groups' ability to challenge the practices was hampered by strict rules of secrecy that prohibited them from being able to take notes or consult legal experts or members of their own staffs. And while various officials have described the briefings as detailed and graphic, it is unclear precisely what members were told about waterboarding and how it is conducted. Several officials familiar with the briefings also recalled that the meetings were marked by an atmosphere of deep concern about the possibility of an imminent terrorist attack.

"In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic," said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. "But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.' "

In fairness? IN FAIRNESS??? Excuse me, but out of fairness---fairness to the American people---our nation is further endangered because of the torture practices that our nation’s lawmakers found a way to ignore, allow, and in fact, maintain the preservation of.

And so, when Mukasey came to the stage and spoke his unforgettable words about “torture” and spoke about waterboarding not necessary being illegal, what did Nancy Pelosi say?

On November 2nd of this year, according to the Washington Times, Bush declared to Democrats upset with his pick for attorney general that, “It's wrong for congressional leaders to make Judge Mukasey's confirmation dependent on his willingness to go on the record about the details of a classified program he has not been briefed on.”

Forget the flaws in that remark because Nancy Pelosi’s remark is just as bad if not worse. The Washington Times coverage of Pelosi’s response is as follows:

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 
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Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer (maybe even ... by Susan Nelsen on Sunday, Dec 9, 2007 at 12:41:23 PM