What About Nuremberg?
Did Eric Holder ever study U.S. History. Did the teacher omit the part about WWII and Nuremberg?
Holder Overturns Justice Jackson and Nuremberg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg war crimes Prosecutor Robert Jackson: "The case as presented by the United States will be concerned with the brains and authority back of all the crimes. These defendants were men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood. They were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil architecture the world would not have been for so long scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war."
More Prosecutor Jackson: "Secret arrest and indefinite detention, without charges, without evidence, without hearing, without counsel, became the method of inflicting inhuman punishment on any whom the Nazi police suspected or disliked. No court could issue an injunction, or writ of habeas corpus, or certiorari."
More Jackson: "Of the criminal nature of these acts at least, the defendants had, as we shall show, clear knowledge. Accordingly, they took pains to conceal their violations."
More Jackson: "Of course, the idea that a state, any more than a corporation, commits crimes, is a fiction. Crimes always are committed only by persons. While it is quite proper to employ the fiction of responsibility of a state or corporation for the purpose of imposing a collective liability, it is quite intolerable to let such a legalism become the basis of personal immunity."
"The Charter [Articles 7 and 8] recognizes that one who has committed criminal acts may not take refuge in superior orders nor in the doctrine that his crimes were acts of states. These twin principles working together have heretofore resulted in immunity for practically everyone concerned in the really great crimes against peace and mankind. Those in lower ranks were protected against liability by the orders of their superiors. The superiors were protected because their orders were called acts of state. Under the Charter, no defense based on either of these doctrines can be entertained. Modern civilization puts unlimited weapons of destruction in the hands of men. It cannot tolerate so vast an area of legal irresponsibility."
At least one observer thinks that due to his remarkable foresight, the people to whom U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson referred were George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, George Tenet, Alberto Gonzalez, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo.
More Unapproved CIA Interrogation
The point is that all of these people working for the government were supposed to be able to determine for themselves that the corrupt alleged attorneys were wrong as a matter of law and fact when the bent attorneys opined (based on false or misleading statements of "facts") that what the torture was legal. Suppose the attorneys concluded (as did John Ehrlichman under oath) that murder was permissible as long as directed by the President. Should the actual murderers and those directing them be given a pass just because some corrupt attorney (say John Mitchell) opined that the murders were "legal?" No.
Same situation here. Nuremberg applies. Following orders is not an acceptable defense. If necessary (and probably advisable in the interest of reaching and prosecuting the ringleaders quickly), give immunity to the underlings in exchange for complete and truthful testimony about the conduct and statements and directions of their nominal leaders.
Firedoglake may miss the point, or maybe the Times did
False Banality Is Not Evil
The point (which The Times could have made explicit) is that these descriptions of bureaucratic attention to the details of torture are strongly reminiscent of post-war accounts of what the Nazis did.
For example, see the book "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil" by Hannah Arendt. Only took until the 6th comment on the Firedoglake item for someone to make the point explicitly.
John McCain thinks we can assure the country that torture will never happen again.
How can he make that assurance? Who is the "we" to whom he refers? If in 2012 torture supporter, defender, and enabler Dick Cheney wins the Presidency (for which he is fully constitutionally qualified due to the continuing failure of the Congress to impeach and convict him and remove his current constitutional qualification to hold federal office), who and what is going to stop Cheney from immediately resuming the torture of anyone (including American citizens) he deems to be an "enemy combatant?" Without the precedent of torture investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and long served (not pardoned) jail terms, what incentive will there be to avoid torture in the future? Without the deterrent of torture investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and long served (not pardoned) jail terms, what incentive will there be to avoid torture in the future? For the next 25 or 30 years or so, would the reality of a relatively young George W. Bush (who has a still living, hale, hearty, sky-diving father about 25 years older) serving a life term for his role in ordering and enabling torture serve as a better deterrent than some hot air from John McCain on a Sunday talk show many years before?
Cheney on Fox Entertainment: "The thing I keep coming back to time and time again, Chris, is the fact that we've gone for eight years without another attack. Now, how do you explain that? "
Only because you asked Dick: One possible logical explanation is that the alleged involvement or responsibility for foreigners for the 9/11 attacks was just a good cover story for actions taken by US citizens (in a position to control (or direct control of) the government and opinion making about the attacks) for their own reasons (as for example to have a war which could be used as a campaign slogan to enable stealing the 2004 election by what was made to look like more than 100,000 votes and avoiding the need to steal very narrowly another election after the 2000 close call). Thus, only because you asked Dick, the reason there has been no further domestic attack is that the first one was enough to achieve the purpose of those responsible for it and a second attack would have been counter-productive because it might have led someone to suspect that whoever was in charge of preventing a second "attack" was not competent or capable of doing the job he (or they) assured everyone they could do.
And a load of briefs: Torture, Kennedy, Health Care and just general briefs.