MR Original – Obama Continues Cover-Up of Torture

Posted on by

Obama’s Normalization of Neo-Conservatism Part 2 of 4: Continuing Cover-Up of Torture. Read Part 1 of Obama’s Normalization of Neo-conservatism: Drones.

MEDIA ROOTS – With eight years of scandal, contempt and two illegal ground wars deep, a strong anti-bush sentiment was pervasive among American citizens leading up to the 2008 presidential elections. During Obama’s campaign for President, he made it clear that water boarding was torture, and that Bush administration officials broke the law with their counter terrorism torture strategies.
But if there’s one thing that’s clear from the last four years, it’s that talk is cheap. And as the 2012 Presidential elections inch closer, Media Roots takes a look back at the Bush administration’s illegal torture program, its exposure to the public with the Abu Ghraib scandal and what Obama’s subsequent cover-up of Bush era war crimes did to erode the fabric of our society.

The torture program was not some US foreign policy fluke gone awry. Instead, ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ was architecture that was systematically instituted by the Bush administration at the highest levels.

The policies that the Obama administration has been under fire for can be seen as trivial when compared to the ongoing coverup of blatant war crimes by the former administration. Now that torture and war crimes have been normalized, both 2012 presidential candidates will be sure to continue the same trajectory of utter impunity for the rule of law.


If US Army Staff Sergeant Sabrina Harman didn’t take any pictures while serving as a guard at Abu Ghraib prison, it’s possible that the world would have never known the extent to which our military and CIA implemented torture on a systematic level in their interrogations of suspected ‘terrorists’. The ensuing witch hunt resulted in charges pressed against only low level military personnel, which backed up the White House’s claim that they were ‘bad apples’ who went above and beyond ‘standard operating procedure.’ From the words of many who served sentences as a result of the leak, it was indeed ‘standard operating procedure’ to employ these techniques as a means of ‘softening up’ the prisoners.

As a brutal prelude to CIA interrogations, inexperienced 20-something soldiers were paired up with mostly innocent Iraqi males swept off the streets, and encouraged to do whatever they could to ‘get them to talk.’ What the Bush administration instructed the military to carry out was essentially a real life version of the Stanford Prison Experiment. The CIA would later torture these detainees, sometimes resulting in grave injury or death. The difference is that no video or photos have surfaced that depict what was in store for those detainees once they were in the custody of the CIA. 

Was this violence truly, as the White House claimed, the isolated work of a few ‘bad apples’ at Abu Ghraib? Did low-level soldiers independently conspire to dehumanize and torture detained suspects in the heat of battle? Looking at all of the available information makes it nearly impossible to accept the validity of the White House’s claims. Taken together with statements and supporting legal documentation, it appears to illuminate a widespread policy of psychological and physical torture for supposed ‘intelligence gathering.’ At least two other scenarios outside of Iraq imply that it was an official policy, and the claims of ‘gitmo-izing’ other prisons also imply that Guantanamo Bay was a sort of testing ground for the implementation of these extra-legal policies.

While also conceivable that these practices were institutionalized long before the ‘War on Terror’ began, only after 9/11 were they put on paper in such vivid detail and validated by internal lawyers. It seems clear that it was never intended to be revealed to the public, but the torture memos enabled an internal military PR campaign to give the green light for allowing anything “short of killing them” (Army Reservist Lyndie England). In the end, since this is now public knowledge, the fear of potentially being detained without due process and tortured for being radically against American foreign policy (especially if you are a Muslim, or in the wrong place at the wrong time) is a realistic and valid fear that can no longer be minimized or attributed solely to anti-American paranoia. 

“Torture didn’t happen in those photographs, that was humiliation, that was softening up, torture happened during interrogations, guys going into interrogation and they’re dead, and they were killed, and they died, that’s where the torture happened and we don’t have photographs of that.” (Sgt. Javal Davis)

As described by the American personnel involved, these photographs do not depict ‘torture’ per se, but rather ‘softening up’. If this kind of extreme violence and humiliation was only an orientation phase for detainees, one can only imagine the horrors that awaited them behind closed doors after they were turned over to CIA interrogators. Firsthand accounts of so-called ‘softening up’ included both physical and psychological torture. Physically, detainees were subjected to the following, among other acts: simulating sexual positions (often nude), being handcuffed to one another, being handcuffed or bound into stress positions, being bitten by dogs, being dressed in women’s undergarments, crawling and dragging their genitals along a freezing, wet concrete floor, being burned with cigarettes, repeated cold showers. Psychological stress was also increased by combining stress positions with threats: soldiers would have prisoners hold onto a set of overhead wires and instruct them to stand on a chair to the point of exhaustion. They were informed that the floor was electrified and that they would receive a deadly shock if they fell out of position. Bear in mind, this is not an exhaustive list of ‘techniques’.

“If they want us to keep him up that’s what we do, they say i want him to be awake, they say he’s dirty i want him to shower a lot.” (Specialist Megan Ambuhl)

“Did any of this seem weird to you?” (Errol Morris) 

“Not when you take into account that its helping to save lives, and you see people coming in from the other side of the wire with their body parts missing, and they need to see who’s doing it so they can stop it, and these are your battle buddies.” (Specialist Megan Ambuhl) 

It’s not as simple as hoping people would ‘follow orders’ to start committing torture on their own. They used the propagandistic trick of implying that you’re literally doing this for your survival and the survival of your companions so the apathy and amorality seeds are planted easily, their literal will to survive flight or flight instinct is overriding their normal moral compass.

“You could kill people off camera, you can shoot people you can blow their heads off, if it’s on camera you’re done.” (Sgt. Javal Davis)

In one horrifying case, the CIA placed a hooded individual, Manadel al-Jamadi back into his prison cell after a prolonged session of beatings. He was already deceased, and the official cause was recorded as a heart attack and many years later deemed a homicide (the investigation is still ongoing).  The corpse was transferred to another room, put on ice and left for low level military personnel to deal with. A level of desensitization could be easily heard in the words of Sabrina Harman in a letter home after she took photographs of herself giving a thumbs up near the body, remarking “how fucking gross, he’s been defrosting for 24 hours.”  

She was brought up on charges of evidence tampering, but they were quickly dropped, possibly because “they didn’t want to bring up the dead guy” … “they didn’t want anyone to find out they covered up a murder.”

Faced with public outrage over the leaked photos, the American government had no choice but to promise it would hold accountable those responsible for abusing detainees. The shameful fulfillment of that promise was a handful of  inexperienced young soldiers becoming scapegoats and serving sentences for carrying out what overwhelmingly appears to have become standard operating procedure. Punishing soldiers at the lowest levels is the absolute minimum response possible, and was likely intended to quell public anger and outrage over the incidents while protecting the lawyers, advisers and officials higher up in the chain of command, those who deserve investigation for authorizing and encouraging these practices of systematic abuse. 

“Sacrifice the little guys, thats how they cover it up.” (Sgt. Javal Davis)


Even before the Abu Ghraib scandal, rumors poured out of Guantanamo Bay that revealed the extreme and bizarre tactics used by the US military to ‘break down’ prisoners. British journalist Jon Ronson investigated the lengths to which US interrogators and military guards would psychologically torture prisoners via sensory deprivation and overload, e.g.,  opaque hoods, blackout goggles, solitary confinement boxes, and loud music repeated 24 hours a day. 60 Minutes, CBS news and the outlets later revealed that the prisoner abuses went much further than that. Coined ‘sexing-up’, Muslim prisoners were sexually humiliated by being forced to watch female personnel simulate masturbation and grope their own breasts.

In one instance red dye was placed in the underwear of a female interrogator who proceeded to rub it on the face of a detainee, claiming it was menstrual blood.  Since being used as a prison camp for ‘enemy combatants,’ at least 9 fatalities have occurred at GITMO, all deemed suicides or from natural causes, reminiscent of the ‘heart attack’ suffered by Manadel al-Jamadi in Abu Ghraib. And unlike Abu Ghraib, GITMO was staffed by a dedicated group of military personnel that were more hardened, experienced and loyal to their commanding officers. They were not inexperienced enlisted privates, suddenly thrust into a foreign warzone in a makeshift prison camp, but prepared and trained to deal with their difficult environment. Nevertheless, an alarming rate of suicides happened at Gitmo, in one instance three in one day. This seasoned climate and strong esprit de corps at Gitmo would also help explain why no embarrassing leaks in the form of photographs or video have been revealed. 

The practice of ‘waterboarding,’ wherein a detainee is subjected to simulated drowning, was made infamous through its use at Gitmo. It was admitted by authorities that Khalid Sheik Muhammad was water-boarded over 183 times. All of these ‘interrogations’ were videotaped by CIA personnel, though none have been made public. Do these videos only show ‘water-boarding,’ a technique already classified as torture, or do they show other horrendous acts, or possibly murder? Unfortunately there is no way of finding out, since the CIA has admitting to destroying these records, albeit with no explanation given. 

A familiar story was told by former Gitmo Commander Erik Saar, who worked there during many of the interrogation sessions. He said to 60 minutes:

“Interrogations were set up so the VIPs could come and witness an interrogation, and in fact the interrogation would be a mock interrogation, basically.”

Echoed by Brigader General Janis Karpinski  who served as overseer to prisons in Iraq who speculated that the interrogations she was shown were staged to give the appearance that everything was normal and that no abuse was regularly taking place. When a relief organization like the Red Cross made a scheduled visit to check the prison’s conditions, the environment was also artificially improved and normalized

Medical personnel who worked at Gitmo are also complicit in the cover-up of detainee abuse and torture. Glaring symptoms of physical abuse like bone fractures, internal bleeding and contusions were never explained in medical reports, nor were psychological symptoms of psychosis due to prolonged isolation and mental abuse. If the medical staff itself was helping to coverup what went on, how can we trust any of the internal reports of official causes of death for the 9 detainees who died while in US custody? 

Detainees who have been released from Gitmo have also described being drugged and sedated before interrogations with unknown substances via forced injection. While this has long been banned by the US in regards to treatment of POWS, infamous “torture memo” author John Yoo wrote that drugs could be used as long as they did not inflict permanent or “profound” psychological damage. U.S. law “does not preclude any and all use of drugs,” in essence rejecting the US ban of mind altering substances on prisoners, but more likely hinting that they should be used, basically an encouragement of the practice. 

If waterboarding, sexual humiliation, physical abuse, sleep deprivation and forced drugging weren’t reprehensible enough, there is also the lawsuit of former Gitmo inmate Qahtani’ and his disturbing testimony: he recounts having his genitals mutilated and cut with a straight razor after being repeatedly kicked in the same area. A monthly event during his imprisonment.

Accounts like this explain a lot of the possible impetus for the CIA to destroy video of interrogations.

Jay Bybee, author of another torture memo under Bush, wrote “Certain of the techniques [that we condemn other countries for] bear some resemblance to some of the CIA interrogation techniques.” Bybee also describes in detail in his OLC memo that almost every suggestion could be directly compared to the torture regime of different dictatorships’ gulag practices. 

No official internal investigations have ever been performed regarding the detainee abuse at Gitmo, probably because there isn’t any glaring and embarrassing photographic evidence of abuse taking place. Abu Ghraib was unique in the sense that the military had to do an internal investigation to save face in light of the leaked photos.

The most direct admission in the case of Gitmo comes from Susan J Crawford, the Bush appointed convening authority over military commissions at Gitmo.

“We tortured Mohammed al Qahtnai.”

“His treatment met the legal definition of torture and that’s why i did not refer the case for prosecution.”

You could dismiss the first hand account of Qahtani if one needs more evidence, but his statements hold even more impact when you take into account Susan Crawford’s admission, that they couldn’t even prosecute the guy because his torture was so extensive. 

Later in 2010, two years after Bush left office, a rather candid and startling revelation was made by Colin Powell’s chief of staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson who asserted “many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value and should be immediately release.” Quickly after he signed an affidavit attesting under oath that: 

“George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to Gitmo prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for the war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.”

To add insult to injury, not only were most of the inmates at Gitmo subjected to inhuman treatment, but hundreds of them were ‘innocent’ according to  a former high ranking Bush official. As of the date of the release of this article, Gitmo holds 167 prisoners.


Normalizing Torture, my appearance on Breaking the Set with Abby Martin

When the photos of Abu Ghraib leaked to the press, the Senate reacted by forming a public hearing committee to get to the bottom of the scandal. Bush-appointed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s appearance before the committee was the most anticipated of all, due to rumors and information that had came to light indicating that he had had a direct hand in ‘enhanced interrogations,’ AKA prisoner abuse up to and including torture. 

A White House memo leaked which described the legal limits the military would have to operate under if they modified the traditional Army Field Manual on Interrogations that had been in use since before 9/11. As the highest ranking member of the US military, Rumsfeld officially authorized its implementation. On the document, in Rumsfeld’s own handwriting, he circled and enhanced the wording with vague, hinting statements such as “I stand 8-10 hours a day, why is standing limited to 4 hours?” in reference to time limits on the use of stress positions. Rumsfeld later stepped down, most would say as a result of the scandal that tarnished his reputation and effectively ended his military career (in combination with his role in the Patt Tilman death cover-up). 

John Ashcroft , Attorney General at the time of White House discussions of ‘enhancing’ our interrogation techniques, said in response to the discussions “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will judge this kindly.” He resigned not long after these enhancements were decided upon, and many say his resignation was due at least in part to his disagreement with the Bush administration for authorizing torture. 

Alberto Gonzales was his replacement, and he quickly became deeply involved in the quasilegal framework that the special team of Bush-appointed lawyers, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and Steven G. Bradbury attempted to use to shield illegal torture from the official definition of a crime. In other words, these lawyers were specifically charged with the task of creating a series of elaborate arguments as to why committing torture under specific circumstances was ‘legal’. Despite their valiant attempt, most law professors and lawyers agree that the arguments were highly flawed. John Yoo has become the public face of this scandal in part due to his de facto role as PR chief in charge of defending these memos on television and at conferences. In one instance he was asked:

Cassel: “If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?”

Yoo: “No treaty…”

Cassel: “Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…”

Yoo: “I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.”

While Cassel’s vivid example is not directly from the text of the torture memos, several sections of those same arguments imply that psychologically torturing someone by feigning the rape or death of a family member or friend to gain intelligence was within the law since it did not produce ‘prolonged mental harm’.  The focus of much of these memos is on creating arguments for redefining extant terms, e.g., ‘prolonged pain’, which falls under the definition of torture in American law, applied only to pain that lasted months and years, rather than days or weeks.  Under these newly defined terms, the now-notorious practice of simulated drowning, better known as ‘water-boarding,’ creates no prolonged physical or mental harm because the subject ‘will experience relief as soon as the process stops,’ even though the repeated triggering of one’s fight or flight instinct can cause psychosis or other severe mental impairment.

The memos themselves are legally very flimsy, and if they were ever used by the government to defend their use of practices water-boarding or sexual abuse there isn’t much chance that  wouldn’t be convince a court of law. However, as time went on it become very clear that no cases would actually be heard, and that these memos would be never used by a government defendant. This is because none of the cases have proceeded to trial, usually blocked by the government’s claim that it would compromise national security. The government maintains that releasing classified evidence in order to conduct a thorough investigation and trial would put us in danger. We need to protect them from litigation for our own safety and ensured success in the ongoing War on Terror.

These memos were not created in a vacuum, but rather they were assignments from the highest level Bush White House officials. Based on the evidence that is now public, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, Ashcroft, CIA director George Tenant and Paul Wolfowitz incepted this policy of enhanced interrogation. From there, it was passed on to lawyers who examined each suggestion and provided the legal jargon deliberately aimed at justifying each practice, one by one. The Bush White House wanted and needed a legal shield, on paper and argued by lawyers, to get away with the crimes that he knew he and his administration had committed. 

Long after Bush left office, he openly admitted “Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” and when asked if he would do it again, responded, “Damn right.”  “I’d do it again to save lives.” 

Around the same time period, a pale and gaunt Dick Cheney said in reference to the torture memos and the policy “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared.” Clearly the former President and VP were admitting their actions with impunity, unafraid of any future repercussions. 

But rational voices came out in the form of two of the highest-ranking US government officials, now retired, who admitted on national television that they had indeed committed a felony by authorizing the use of water-boarding when they were well aware that it had been previously defined as torture and made illegal by the US government. Antonio Taguba, the retired 4 star General appointed to formally investigate the abuse at Abu Ghraib, stated that “after years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes” and that “the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

To most civil libertarians, it seemed like quite a risk to admit such a crime had occurred, and so publicly, even so long after the event. Still, as years passed with no progress, it became clear that neither Bush, nor Cheney, nor Rumsfeld, nor any other upper echelon official would ever face an investigation or criminal charges for their role in a systematic torture regime, regardless of how much they openly mocked the rule of law on the news with their criminal admissions. 

As the Bush administration did not seem concerned about the statements of Antonio Taguba or others, they remained equally unfazed by the new Obama-led administration arriving into office on campaign promises of substantive investigations and repeated condemnations of the former for violating the rule of law and the US constitution. 


One of Obama’s most powerful campaign messages in 2008 was that he felt that the Bush administration systematically broke the law in regard to not only torture but also NSA wiretapping. Quotes from his 2008 campaign include:

The era of scooter libby justice… will be over.”

“No more ignoring the law when it’s inconvenient that is not who we are”…”We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.” (August 1, 2007, CSPAN)

Obama did not shy away from referring to water-boarding as torture during his campaign speeches, and directly implied that an institutionalized torture regime took shape on Bush’s watch. Progressives were disappointed by Obama’s overall lukewarm anti-war message, wherein he objected to the Iraq war only on the grounds that it had been waged as a ‘dumb war’ but did not fundamentally challenge the ‘War on Terror.’  In spite of this, his stance against the lawless rhetoric of Bush gave many hope and excitement that he would investigate the Bush crimes in a substantial way. It logical to assume that  a constitutional law professor would carry over into his presidency some of those principles. 

As soon as Obama was elected, his message about Bush’s law breaking softened, and in various interviews when asked about his campaign message he responded with quotes like:

“What I would want to do is to have my justice department and my attorney general immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued…”

“I would want to find out directly from my attorney general having pursued having looked at what’s out there right now – are there possibilities of genuine crimes?” 

“If crimes have been committed they should be investigated if i found out that there were high officials who knowingly consciously broke the laws engaged in cover-ups of crimes with knowledge.” (April 2008, in response to Will Bunch for The Philly)

Constitutional experts and civil liberties activists were encouraged by this message because illegal water-boarding inarguably constitutes torture, and high level officials like Cheney had admitted to ordering the practice. Legally,  a president is not supposed to decide the outcome of a trial or investigation, so someone well versed in the law would know that this is as far as the president can go in condemnations without taking action to initiate an investigation. Obama’s Attorney General Erik Holder made even stronger statements to this end. Having the head of the justice department echo the need for an investigation likely alarmed many of Obama’s handlers, as well as the neoconservatives in the Bush administration, while simultaneously exciting civil libertarians all over the country. 

“Unfortunately in the last few years we have quite frankly lost our way with respect to the this commitment to the constitution and to the rule of law.” …. “Our government authorized the use of torture … secretly detained American citizens without due process of law denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the united states constitution.” (June 2008 in a speech to the American Constitution Society)

“We prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam, water-boarding is torture.” (Confirmation hearing January 2009)

“We owe the American people a reckoning.” (June 2008 in a speech to the American Constitution Society)

Nine days before Obama’s inauguration, the New York Times published an article titled Obama reluctant to look into Bush programs and from thereon Obama was not inclined to pursue these matters upon which he had campaigned.

On January 11th, 2009 ABC News correspondent George Stephanopolis asked Obama if he had a response to the #1 question on his website

“Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor — ideally Patrick Fitzgerald — to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”

Evidently, most of the people who voted on issues at felt that investigating Bush’s blatant lawbreaking was the most important issue. This was Obama’s response:

“We’re going to be looking at past practices, and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law… On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards, and part of my job is to make sure that, for example, at the CIA you’ve got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe, I don’t want them suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.”

Carefully wording his next statements, he continued with:

“[It] doesn’t mean if somebody has blatantly broke the law that they are above the law…” “…My instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing” … “My orientation’s going to be to move forward.”

The best case scenario is that somewhere along the line Obama decided, perhaps based on internal pressure, not to investigate the blatant lawbreaking because of the political fallout that it would cause. Or, a more sinister scenario that implies a more direct continuity that defies democracy itself. Blanket immunity between an administration that committed war crimes regularly and one that promised, during its campaign to punish people who thought torture memos written by lawyers would shield them from the law. 

Defying the course of events this far into Obama’s presidency, he declassified OLC (Presidential Office of Legal Counsel) torture memos in April 16th 2009 in response to an FOIA request. The release of these four memos reignited the debates in America over whether or not Obama should prosecute the Bush torture crimes. Perhaps the timing of this release produced an opportunity to reinforce the oft-repeated talking point that “we need to look forward, not backward.’ Investigations are defined by a critical ‘look backward’ to determine whether or not a crime was committed, and by whom. Crimes that are not punished must be considered more, and not less likely to occur again. ‘Looking forward’ without investigation into past actions acts as if no crimes were committed at all. To do this, the Obama administration attempted to sidestep the black mark on our history that the Bush torture crimes had left. 

Upon the release of the OLC memos, Obama reiterated this ‘look forward, not backward’ mantra in this speech:

“This is a time for reflection not retribution At a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying the the blame for the past. Our national greatness is embedded in Americas ability to right its course in concert with the our core values and to move forward with confidence. That is why we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.”

It seemed as if Obama was directly challenging previous statements by Eric Holder. Any chance of America getting its sought after ‘reckoning’ evaporate as the final words of Obama’s speech were uttered.

It was in August 2009 that Erik Holder was to deliver the final verdict on who would be investigated and how high up the chain it would go. He had already cut a deal with a prominent senate Republican (and probably by proxy the Republican establishment) wherein he promised not to investigate any high level officials in the Bush administration.  His first historically important act as Attorney General was to make a speech echoing the ‘look forward, not backward’ rhetoric of Obama. In the end, the only red meat he could offer the American pubic was in the form of 12 open investigations (now closed leaving only two remaining open) targeting low ranking military personnel who had physically carried out the torture. To this day, only insignificant people were brought to justice, and those responsible at the highest level escaped scrutiny and punishment.

This is moment in time when the narrative, the propaganda, and the marketing that got Obama into office needed to shift. It had served its purpose and was no longer useful to drum up anti-Bush sentiment. It was time to change to a new narrative, one that would under the cover of state secrets and prosecution of whistleblowers would serve the Bush neoconservative legacy. While it would be fun to imagine Bush and Cheney in hand cuffs and orange jump suits, they shared a goal with the new administration: how to maintain continuity for the escalating military moneymaker that is ‘War on Terror.’ Obama’s promise of ‘transparency of government’ was craftily extinguished, as this new and nebulous war was re-branded and continued under a new cloak of secrecy.

Obama is now complicit in war crimes by covering them up. In 1988 Reagan had signed into law the convention against torture, which was ratified in the senate in 1994. This US law states that knowledge of torture taking place, in the past or in the present, and refusing to investigate it is a crime unto itself and can be prosecuted. This is Obama’s law and the normalization of neoconservatism. In the next installment, we will discuss how his war on whistleblowers and continued blocking of court proceedings has used the states secret privilege to erode our rights even further. 

Previous Installment: Obama’s Normalization of Neo-conservatism Pt 1, Drones : Oskar Mosco

This article would not have been possible without the excellent work of the following:

Recommended Reading: Torture Taxi : Trevor Paglen, With Liberty and Justice for Some : Glenn Greenwald
Recommended Viewing: Standard Operating Procedure : Errol Morris, Taxi to the Dark Side : Alex Gibney


Written by Robbie Martin for Media Roots

Photo provided by US Army Records Public Domain

2 thoughts on “MR Original – Obama Continues Cover-Up of Torture

  1. MLK. To see an evil and keep silent is worse than the evil committed. Bush n cohorts should be brought to justice. This is top down stuff, not bottom up as we are lead to believe. Sad. More people die frofalling off chairs and tripping over sand casles on the beach then from terror. Let’s put sand castle builders on chairs in solitary, we would be doing more to protect lives of Americans..

  2. You know, with issues like this and many more I feel conflicted in my opinion of what happened and can only speculate. While the War on Terror is a horrific farce from start to present, when you look at the scale of the contradictions between word and deed of Obama the candidate and those close to him vis a vis Obama the President, it makes you ask a very fork in the road type of question. Does the cover-up of torture and normalization of the neo-con War of Terror by the Obama Admin. mean that they were in on it from the start and we’re simply manipulating the public in the ’08 election, or is there some dirt, some form of blackmail from the guilty of the previous administration which holds back justice. Just my 2 cents.

Leave a Reply


  • The Joe Rogan Experience #1111 — Abby Martin
  • Constituent Assembly Dictatorship or Democracy in Venezuela?
  • Buying a Slave – The Hidden World of US/Philippines Trafficking
  • The Hidden Purging of Millions of Voters

  • Empire Files Podcast: Flint’s Killer Cover-Up: Bombshell Report w/ Jordan & Jenn of Status Coup
  • Empire Files: CIA Stories: The CIA is Born
  • Empire Update w/ Abby Martin: Arctic War, Aid to Israel Challenge, Army VR Money Pit
  • Empire Files: A Guide to US Empire in Africa: Neocolonial Order & AFRICOM
  • Media Roots Radio: QAnonEleven, DC Military Lockdown & Trump’s #StopTheSteal Wack Pack w/ gumby4christ
  • Media Roots Radio: Failed State, Martial Law & Trump’s Final Mindfuck
  • Empire Update: Biden’s Scary Foreign Policy Picks: A Blast From War Crimes Past
  • Media Roots Radio: CIA Assassinations, Anticommunism & the Phoenix Program w/ Douglas Valentine
  • Tech Censorship Helps Trump Campaign
  • Media Roots Radio: DNC Republican Pandering, RNC Fascist Reality Show & Bannon Indicted For Fraud
  • Media Roots Radio: CIA Pete, Iowa Caucustrophe, Neocon Monster Limbaugh
  • Media Roots Radio: Epstein’s Mysterious Network & Sexual Blackmail as Intelligence Gathering w/ Whitney Webb
  • Media Roots Radio: Atomic War Crimes, Mainstreaming QAnon, American Mass Shootings
  • Media Roots Radio: War on BDS, Where Every 2020 Candidate Stands on Palestine
  • Media Roots Radio: 2020 Democratic Debate Train Wreck