"This, of course, takes us not only to the top of the administration, but back to the brink of the -- if I dare put it this way -- Ur-moment in the setting up of what would become our offshore mini-gulag, those months right after the 9/11 attacks when the Bush administration began to set their system in place on the fly and, as Suzanne Goldenberg of the British Guardian reported recently, on key issues without initially even consulting White House or Pentagon lawyers.At one point, he has an imbedded link to this article, CBS News-Prison Officer Says He Felt Heat, and I was amazed. The Teflon prez is turning into a magnet. Okay, maybe not a strong magnet yet, but as polarized as this country is, he could become a victim of mass attraction [almost works]. I mean CBS News has a web site w/ all this info on it already, and with more seemingly more high voltage material coming daily, the prez won't be able to remain cling free [worse].'In one instance, President George Bush's military order of November 13 2001, which denies prisoner-of-war status to captives from Afghanistan and allows their detention without charge or access to a lawyer at Guant�namo, was issued without any consultations with Pentagon lawyers, a former Pentagon official said� The military order issued by Mr Bush in November 2001 was the first such directive since the second world war, and the administration's failure to seek the Pentagon's advice on what would emerge as the entire system of detention at Guantonamo surprised Pentagon officials.'Add it all up -- only what's been revealed so far -- and you have a global system of injustice and torture, purposely mounted in the moral and legal darkness, beyond the reach or oversight of anyone but the President, vice-president, secretary of defense and associated officials, meant to extract information (and take revenge), meant as in Kafka's fictional penal colony to write the sentence these men had passed on the bodies of America's captives.
And talk about paper trails! If you need any evidence of the combination of arrogance, incompetence, and plain stupidity of the Bush administration, it now sits unavoidably before our eyes. Didn't they know anything about deniability? Didn't they know that you can get so much done without committing anything to paper? Didn't they know that you can signal what you want from the top without issuing orders, making direct demands, or demanding supporting opinions on paper?
Note two things here: That almost all of the above, this whole little global shop of horrors, is already documented -- quite literally in papers pouring out of the bowels of this administration. These documents are leaking daily from an administration that seems to have split open along many angry rift lines. The British Telegraph this week, writing of the leaking of a legal document on torture to the Wall Street Journal commented, for example:"The leak appears to be part of an extraordinary civil war in the Pentagon between civilian officials and uniformed officers appalled by what they have described as moves by political appointees to shroud the war on terrorism in an ‘environment of legal ambiguity'."Some in the military, the intelligence community, the State Department, administration legal offices, and possibly even the Justice Department opposed the creation of our mini-gulag and the kinds of interrogations and conditions planned for it; some simply feared what the illegality might do to them or their careers, including evidently Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers who fretted that he might become "a target for prosecution under laws governing prisoner treatment"; some are undoubtedly settling scores; others protecting tattered reputations; but it's now close to open season on the administration from within.