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April 23, 2009

Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney Irrevocably Linked To Water-boarding

waterboarding  A Senate Intelligence Committee document has revealed that when Condoleezza Rice was Bush’s National Security Adviser she personally verbally approved the CIA’s request to use water-boarding to subject alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah to water-boarding in July 2002.  This is the earliest known decision by a Bush administration official to approve use of water-boarding. 

The report gives a detailed timeline of how the CIA’s violent “enhanced interrogation” techniques was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.  The timeline also shows that Rice played a greater role than she admitted last fall in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

While there have long been suspicions that the White House was involved in the decision, the actions have until now been blamed on the CIA and unnamed officials at the Pentagon.

The report describes a meeting between Dick Cheney, then-CIA Director George Tenet and Dr. Rice in July 2002. The Secretary of State “advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation” of alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, the report said.

In 2003, the CIA briefed Dr. Rice, Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft — the then Attorney General — on the use of water-boarding and other methods including week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of stress positions. The Senate report says that officials “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy”.

CIA memos released by President Obama’s administration last week revealed that Mr. Zubaydah was water-boarded at least 83 times in the course of one month and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad who claimed to have planned the September 11 attacks was water-boarded183 times in one month.

Experts have said that water-boarding is so horrific that even the most hardened terrorists have not been able to stand it for more than a minute without begging to talk.

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July 19, 2008

Saturday: Senator Obama Visits Kuwait Arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan

    Senator Barack Obama has arrived in Afghanistan, the second stop on his international tour which started in Kuwait and will include Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.

Obama flew to the Afghan capital, Kabul, as part of an official congressional delegation. Senator Obama is hoping to address security issues, seen as the weakest aspect of his presidential bid.

The campaign announced early this morning, Eastern Time that Obama was on the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. military later said Obama was greeting U.S. troops at Jalalabad airfield in eastern Afghanistan.

  Obama’s first stop was in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, the main U.S. military base in Kuwait and a major gateway for U.S. soldiers moving into and out of Iraq.

Lt. Col. Bill Nutter, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Kuwait, said, “He talked to soldiers and constituents and met with senior military leadership.”

During the two-hour visit, Nutter said, the officers gave him an overview of operations. Obama shook hands, answered questions, posed for photos and played a little basketball during the visit. 

Obama and his party also met with troops and military brass at the huge Bagram Air Base, according to reporters on the ground.  Bagram is a militarized airport and housing complex that is located next to the ancient city of Bagram, Afghanistan. The base is currently occupied and maintained by the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army, with the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing of the United States Air Force and other U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps.

In a speech earlier this week Obama said the US military should focus on Afghanistan rather than Iraq.

There has been an upsurge in fighting in recent months between Taliban rebels and international and Afghan forces.

Asked what message he would convey to Afghan and Iraqi leaders, Senator Obama said: “I’m more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking.”

Speaking to reporters before leaving, he added: “I’m going over there as a US senator. We have one president at a time, so it’s the president’s job to deliver those messages.”

As Senator Obama arrives in Kabul (local time is 8 hours 30 minutes ahead of EST – when it’s 6am on the East Coast, it’s 2:30pm Kabul time) the temperature is expected to reach a hazy and hot 102 degrees.   But it’s not just the temperature that’s hot — war and heated disputes rages on in Afghanistan.

The NATO-led international force in Afghanistan rejected on Friday reports from Afghan officials that it killed more than 50 civilians in air strikes the previous day in the West of the country.

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July 18, 2008

Security Fears As Obama Travels To The Middle East And Europe

  Obama 's planned trip to Israel and the West Bank has raised security concerns to levels not seen since the Illinois senator began his presidential bid.

Coming just weeks after shots were fired at Israel's Tel Aviv airport during a farewell ceremony for France's Sarkozy, from an apparent suicide of a security guard, Obama's trek to the region has become a serious logistical and safety challenge.

"I would prefer if he did not make the trip to Ramallah," a concerned government official explained Thursday night from Washington. "And he must use extreme caution throughout Israel at this time, in my opinion, especially Jerusalem."

A planned foot tour of Jerusalem's Old City has been called off, a senior source reveals.

Senator Obama's exact itinerary is not being made public but campaign officials have announced stops in Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England.

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