Let's cut to the chase. No amount of mealy-mouthed obfuscation, desperate chatter, or careful legal analysis can obscure the fundamental facts here: what the Bushies did to the "high value" detainees was torture, and worst of all it didn't do any good. Talk about pointless AND useless! Not to mention in total contravention to everything America stands for. We don't torture. When Bush said that, he was lying, and he knew he was lying. You can spin legal arguments all day, but as the science fiction writer Douglas Adams once noted, even if you do prove black is white and white is black, you'll be run over by a truck the next time you use a [marked road] crossing. As one poster noted at TPM: "If only Saddam Hussein had been smart enough to solicit a legal opinion from his government lawyers that gassing people was within the law, he could have been playing golf in Myrtle Beach right now."
The prosecution of torturers has nothing to do with retribution or the politicization of policy differences and everything to do with honoring the sacrifice, in altogether too many cases the ultimate sacrifice, of our parents and relatives who defeated Nazi Germany in World War II. Our parents did not serve and sacrifice so Nazi tactics would be implemented, defended, admired, paid for, and rewarded by the United States Government. As confirmed by a recent official unanimous bipartisan Senate report, the torture tactics of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were brought to America by George W. Bush whose grandfather helped finance Hitler. George W. Bush is the fifth in a line of politicians who have betrayed our country.
First, Nelson Rockefeller, as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs during World War II, arranged for the Standard Oil Company, in which he and his family held substantial amounts of stock, to sell oil to the Nazis through South America. This oil fueled the Nazi war machine which killed uniformed American soldiers, sailors, and aviators.
Second, Richard Nixon, as a Presidential candidate in 1968 was recorded on audiotape, encouraging the South Vietnamese government to thwart the peace proposals being made to end the conflict in Vietnam by the President of the United States of America, Lyndon Johnson. Nixon's treachery resulted in the continuation of the war and the deaths of thousands of uniformed American soldiers, sailors, and aviators.
Third and fourth, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, as, respectively, candidates for President and Vice President in 1980, encouraged the Iranian government to continue to hold Americans hostage at the U.S embassy in Tehran in return for a promise of weapons if Reagan won the election. After Reagan was inaugurated he kept his promise and secretly delivered the weapons to what Reagan referred to as the terrorist government of Iran.
In 1986, in violation of an explicit Congressional ban on support to terrorists in Nicaragua and as reported by a major American television network, Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush caused weapons to be delivered to the terrorists in Central America in exchange for illegal drugs which were then unlawfully imported into the United States. The terrorists supplied by Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush in Nicaragua murdered many people. The number of people who died in the United States as a result of the illegal drugs Reagan and Bush caused to be unlawfully imported into the United States is not known.
Barack Obama solemnly swore that he would preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States which, due to the application of Article VI and the Convention Against Torture, requires prosecution, if supported by the evidence, of those who engaged in or enabled torture. A prosecution by the Obama Administration's Justice Department (or a Special Prosecutor) would not involve retribution (political or otherwise) of any type, kind, or description. Each prosecution would just be Barack Obama faithfully executing that which he solemnly swore to do as required before the people of the United States let him begin executing the duties of President. The investigations and, as appropriate, prosecutions exemplify a forward looking focus on the future.
But you don't have to look as far back as WWII. How about this year?
The United States Senate Armed Services Committee official bipartisan report (without apparent dissent from any Senator of any party) arguably establishes that George W. Bush conspired to commit torture.
Others with potential criminal culpability (which could result in sentences of multiple lifes in prison to be served consecutively) based on the official government report include Richard Cheney, David Addington (an alleged attorney serving as an advisor to Cheney), Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of State Condoleezea Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, United States Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, John Rizzo (an alleged attorney who allegedly worked for the CIA), Jonathan Fredman (an alleged attorney who allegedly worked for the CIA's CounterTerrorist Center), Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (commander of U.S. and "coalition" forces in Iraq), U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller (commander of the Guantanamo detention operation), and U.S. Army General Richard Myers, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The report also stated that the deaths of two detainees in U.S. military custody were homicides.
According to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."
Republican Jack Goldsmith, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote that a memorandum written by United States Circuit Judge Jay Bybee essentially stated the policy that the President and actions taken at the direction of the President are not subject to United States law. This policy was first enunciated and followed by Republican President Richard Nixon who was impeached by the House in July 1974 and resigned early the next month after the Republican leadership of the Senate informed Nixon that he would become the first U.S. President to be convicted and removed from office if he did not resign.
There are two possible punishments for impeachment and conviction. The first is removal from office. The second is permanent unpardonable disqualification from holding any federal office. Under the U.S. Constitution, Richard Cheney could be elected to, and serve, two full terms as President. The House Judiciary Committee has not commenced hearings to determine whether Richard Cheney should be impeached, convicted and permanently disqualified from holding any federal office (for example, President).
And, of course, have you communicated with your representative and senators to direct and instruct them to impeach and convict alleged torture enabler United States Circuit Judge Jay Bybee currently collecting a government salary and purporting to dispense justice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit? If so, what response did you receive? If not, why not? He's getting ready; he's retained a defense attorney.
- While evidentiary protocols may require some recitation of past events, the prosecutions are really a way for this generation of Americans to look forward to the future, to remind the sixth person in the line running from Rockefeller to Nixon to Reagan to George Herbert Walker Bush to George Walker Bush and those who may be nominated by or serve with the sixth person and that person's successors that torture is unacceptable and will have substantial personal criminal consequences, and to say clearly: "Never again."
- Nazi Germany brought to America by George W. Bush whose grandfather, as previously reported by PSACOT, helped financed Hitler:
- Health Care Professionals Help With Torture
The torture enabler recruited by Bush and Cheney
- Those who advocated torture should, at a minimum if they continue to be employed by the U.S., be removed from any involvement in interrogation:
- The torture had nothing to do with protecting the country and everything to do with finding a facade to justify protecting the profits of the armed conflict profiteers, including those from Dick Cheney's Halliburton, and George W. Bush's friends, the alleged murderers from Blackwater:
- Did Cheney personally order torture?
- Note well what FDR had in mind.
Our parents put their lives on the line to defeat a regime in which "following orders" was the order of the day. After the war, a judicial process found that "following orders" is not a defense.
Time for Barack Obama to learn some history and act as if he has.
If not now, when?
Under Pres. Gingrich? Under Pres. Giuliani? Under Pres. Palin?
- FBI Zubaydah Interrogator Calls George Bush a Liar: "No Actionable Intelligence Gained from Using Enhanced Interrogation Techniques"
- Wall Street Journal: Presidential Poison: His invitation to indict Bush officials will haunt Obama's Presidency. If this were a news story, they'd at least get the facts right. The new Administration of President Gerald R. Ford, acting through a Special Prosecutor, prosecuted and convicted members of the Nixon Administration for their Watergate related crimes. While clearly not politically motivated, any Obama Administration prosecution of government employees for their conduct before Obama took office would clearly be a continuation of Republican Gerald Ford's policy of allowing such prosecutions.
- Mitt Romney: Investigating Torture is "Lowest Form of Partisanship" Couldn't be more wrong. This is every bit as important as an investigation of lying under oath in a civil suit.
- Two good ideas: a special prosecutor for torture-based crimes and statutory judicial investigation and review of "state secrets" allegations by the government
- Goldman's games
- The big banks and their affiliated securities houses (joined at the hip since Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Phil Gramm repealed Glass Steagall) are pleased to offer the American investing public a Royal Left Handed Threaded Big Screw.
- The political descendants of Rose Mary Woods, or, a shredding we will go.
- The effort should be to stop any bank mergers resulting in a bank with assets in excess of $50B to $75B and, over time, to break-up any banks with assets in excess of $100B. In the interim, banks with over $100B in assets should be required to be very well capitalized (with cash and stable immediately marketable U.S. government obligations on the order of at least 20% of assets - the bankers may object that this will reduce profits - too bad).
- Summers and Geithner are stupid and/or warped and/or co-opted and/or corrupt enough to support this debt to equity conversion plan. The key issue: Is Obama stupid enough?
- Elliot Spitzer case: we still don't know everything. Spitzer was posed to shut down predatory lending just before the Feds took him down, in a case in which he was never charged, and in which there was, in any case, no possible federal charge.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the creation of a congressional panel to investigate the causes of the financial crisis and worsening recession.