Self-Fulfilling Legal Prophesies: Bush Defenders Attempt to Use Entrapment by Estoppel To Fend Off Criminal Prosecution

torture -abu ghraibMy recent interview on Legal Times on prosecuting Bush Administration officials for crimes committed in the torture program and unlawful surveillance program has attracted the ire of some conservative law faculty. My colleague Orin Kerr has raised this question on the conservative legal website Volokh Conspiracy. It is not without a good faith basis for such academic debate but, in my view, it should not be a barrier to prosecution.

As calls for prosecution in the Obama Administration increase, there seems to be shift in the emphasis of this defense. Fewer people are now suggesting that waterboarding is not torture. Instead, they are relying on the “entrapment by estoppel” defense – insisting that no one can be prosecuted because the Bush Administration said it was legal to waterboard suspects or engage in warrantless domestic surveillance.

Let’s focus on torture, which is the focus of some of these blog arguments.

The entrapment by estoppel argument is a difficult defense to make in a criminal case, as shown recently in California in the prosecution of a city council member who claimed to be acting on the legal advice of the city attorney. This argument is made where a government official misleads a defendant by first telling him that conduct is legal and then prosecuting him for the conduct. See United States v. Neville, 82 F.3d 750, 761 (7th Cir. 1996); see also Raley v. Ohio, 360 U.S. 423 (1959); Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 559 (1964).

However, this defense has often been rejected in even comparatively strong cases. See United States v. Fish, No. 04-1197 (7th Cir., Nov. 3, 2004). First, a defendant must show that he or she was reasonably misled by an official. The question is whether the official, acting under actual or apparent authority, affirmatively assured or actively misled the defendant into a reasonable belief that certain conduct was legal. Neville, 82 F.3d at 761.

In this case, we have a rather mixed record. The so-called Torture Memo signed by Alberto Gonzales was rescinded. The Administration has repeatedly stated that it “does not torture” and refused to publicly address waterboarding until recently. Indeed, Mukasey testified (rather implausibly) that he did not know what waterboarding was. Nevertheless, some Bush officials seem to have intentionally crafted an “entrapment by estoppel” defense in securing opinions from people like John Yoo. The DOD General Counsel, Jim Haynes, told military lawyers that the Office of Legal Counsel’s view of the law was determinative and established the law for the Executive branch. Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, it is not Yoo but the Attorney General who sets such legal policy — subject to being overridden by the President. Yet, a strong argument can be made that this function has been delegated to the Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel. The status of Yoo at the time is a bit unclear since Jay Bybee was AAG at the time. It is not clear if Yoo had authority to issue such a legal determination or whether it meets the high standard demanded under this doctrine. Indeed, Yoo appears to have been used as the designated legal shill in this case, which is a sad legacy for a talented academic. While others were clearly unwilling to pen such an absurd legal opinion, Yoo proved all too willing to play this role. The question is whether he could be used as the basis for an entrapment by estoppel defense or whether a different legal opinion must be produced. Certainly, Haynes does not have such authority and has been ridiculed for his lack of legal judgment and respect for the law. This could produce a rehash of the very questionable decision rendered in U.S. v. Barker, 546 F.2d 940 (D.C. Cir. 1976), where the court reversed the convictions of White House plumbers based on the assurance of E. Howard Hunt. As Judge Harold Leventhal noted, Hunt was hardly a source of legal reliance.

The uncertainty of the status of the memo undermines the claim. If one has to assume that there was direct presidential approval of such “special measures,” there remains the question of whether the president clearly indicated that it was deemed legal. A president cannot simply order a crime. The defendant must claim that he was told that the conduct of determined to be lawful. See United States v. Santiago-Godinez, 12 F.3d 722, 727 (7th Cir. 1993).

Then there is the question of actual reliance on that assurance. Waterboarding has long been defined as torture under domestic and international law. When this program was first made public by the media, there was overwhelming views expressed by experts that it was not just a crime but a war crime. The torture program appears to have continued despite such public views. At least one interrogator came forward to say that he believed that the waterboarding was torture. The patently false assurance that waterboarding torture is lawful would work against those claiming this defense.

Having said this, no one seriously expects the torturers themselves to be prosecuted. The debate surrounds high-ranking officials like Bush, Cheney, and others who approved and ordered torture. Moreover, there will be difficult issues like statute of limitations questions. By reportedly stopping the torture program in the second term, the Administration guaranteed that much of the statutory period would be exhausted during its administration. This is one of the problems with the effort of democrats to hold a commission that will take years to determine if there should be a criminal investigation into the torture program.

One of the more interesting questions will be the war crimes element. Even if Bush, Cheney et al are not prosecuted, they will have a status not unlike General Augusto Pinochet. While mainstream media in the country continue to refer to waterboarding as an “interrogation technique,” it is clearly torture under international law. When these officials travel, they could find themselves hounded by demands for their arrest.

In the end, the entrapment by estoppel defense would make for some interesting legal arguments in court. However, the key to have that debate in court and not some commission. If the Bush administration wants to argue that torture is legal because it said it was legal, they can have their ignoble moment. As with Nuremberg, Bush officials will claim that they were just following orders and had no obligation to note the public outcry from experts or the patent war crime involved in torture. Such a proceeding would be an equally ignoble moment for the democrats, who barred any serious investigation of torture for years.

72 thoughts on “Self-Fulfilling Legal Prophesies: Bush Defenders Attempt to Use Entrapment by Estoppel To Fend Off Criminal Prosecution

  1. Obama will allow & use the same programs for coerced information as Bush has.

    You know it and you know you won’t complain when he does.

    Move along Turley, and for God’s sake…LOSE SOME WEIGHT!

  2. AIR STRIKES ON GAZA…
    BLOODIEST DAY FOR PALESTINIANS IN 20 YEARS…
    REACTION…
    Arab world slams Israel…
    100 targets hit….
    Panic…
    Escalate?

    HAMAS THREATENS TO UNLEASH ‘HELL’

    Are we all breathlessly waiting for Jimmy Carter, Keith Olbermann, & Rachael Maddow to denounce Israel for defending itself again?

  3. Simon AKA Moron:

    If you have read this blog before you would know that he would protest just as loudly if Obama commits war crimes as when Bush does it.

    The only difference is that Obama is not likely to do it.

  4. JT:

    Just a we predicted on this blog some time ago, the rats are circumventing their Waterloo with a defense of government permission. Hell we even cited the US Attorneys Manual for them. We talked about this in the context of the Yoo memos and it seems that the bad guys are adept at CYA. This is not a case of some poor sap entrapped by government misfeasance into committing a crime that he reasonably believed to be furthering the government’s interests. This is pure evil sanctioned at the highest levels by guys itching to do it despite its demonstrated ineffectiveness.

    I certainly understand the statute of limitations issues, but this was conspiracy that continues to this day –now under the guise of deflection as the tobacco’s company used for years trying to convince us that the obvious wasn’t true. As for the torturers being exempted, I find that repugnant as well. The “Superior Orders” defense didn’t fair well at Nuremberg and its shouldn’t fair well today either:

    “Nuremberg Principle IV

    The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

    Since we don’t employ slaves in the CIA, such a moral choice was always available.

    Let’s see if Edmund Burke’s remarks hold true: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” All we really need is one honorable judge.

  5. Prof. Turley,
    I agree that the real prosecution possibilities are with the authorities who “authorized” the illegal torture. I include Mr. Yoo in that group along with the entire group who worked out of the White House to authorize the torture. That group included Cabinet members so any prosecution,if timely, would be unprecedented. I also agree that it is not likely that any domestic prosecutions will take place. The so-called Truth Commissions that have been suggested may be the closest we will get to putting the felons on trial. I may be satisfied with the commissions if the Dems also deal with the FISA situation and repeal the recent amendments that attempted to absolve the telecom companies for their complicity in the illegal wiretapping.

  6. Mespo,
    I didn’t see your posting until after I wrote my previous response. I am also looking for that one Honorable judge who will stand his/her ground and protect the Constitution. I will be pleasantly surprised if any prosecutions are undertaken.

  7. I only slightly disagree with Professor Turley in terms of the defense strategy here. I think the defense could also rely on the mistake of fact or alternatively the affirmative “public authority” (PA) defense found inter alia in United States v. Baptista-Rodriguez, 17 F.3d 1354, 1363-68 (11th Cir. 1994); United States v. Anderson, 872 F.2d 1508, 1517-18 & n.4 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1004 (1989); United States v. Juan, 776 F.2d 256, 258 (11th Cir. 1985). The elements of mistake of fact are less stringent than the entrapment by estoppel defense (a cousin to the “public authority defense) since there is no element of assurance. Under the mistake of fact scenario, the defendant after proving initially that he mistakenly believed he was performing the crimes in cooperation with the government, may then offer evidence that he lacked criminal intent in a mistake of fact type defense. In US v. Anderson the Court permitted an instruction which held the “defendants should be found not guilty if the jury had a reasonable doubt whether the defendants acted in good faith under the sincere belief that their activities were exempt from the law.”

    Under the affirmative PA defense the defendant need only prove that he knowingly committed a criminal act but did so in reasonable reliance upon a grant of authority from a government official to engage in illegal activity. This defense may lie, however, only when the government official in question had actual authority, as opposed to merely apparent authority, to empower the defendant to commit the criminal acts with which he is charged. I think Yoo’s memo would likely not qualify as “actual authority” but a directive from the President or VP –as has been alleged– likely would so qualify.

    To summarize, I think the defense has three arrows in its quiver rather than one.

  8. I’m afraid I’ve become pretty cynical over the years about the efforts of either party to seek justice. We certainly haven’t seen much from Pelosi on the Iraq war after the country made it’s feelings known during the ’06 congressional elections. It was ‘thank you, and now watch us melt away into the background …’

    At most I expect we’ll see some more ‘congressional theater’ like we’ve seen over everything from the war money accounting scandals to the housing lender scams, and from the Wall Street bankers hearings to the big three auto-maker bailouts. What do we always hear from the MSM?

    They are on The Hill ‘getting grilled’ by lawmakers. Oooh, they’re getting grilled! It sounds bad, but all it really amounts to is congressional leaders publicly admonishing fat-cats for being naughty, and then nothing else. There is much head-shaking, and hand-wringing, and eye-rolling and exasperated sighing from The House as the exclaim, “I’m shocked, shocked!”

    And in the end nobody (certainly nobody of any prominence) gets punished or does a day in jail. There may be some nice ‘theater’ so the American public can be appeased and feel that ‘something’ was done, when in fact it’s most likely that nothing will be done at all.

    Just my cynical two-cents.

  9. The problem I have with not prosecuting these offenders is pretty much the same problem most people have with not prosecuting someone who commits a crime. It encourages others to do so.

    Just recently we’ve seen Vladimir Putin “rear his ugly head” (thank you Sarah Palin) into not just Georgia, but he’s actually started to intrude into our back yard as it were, by placing warships and fighters in Venezuela. I realize the White House is acting nonchalant about it and so far it seems to be merely a token strategy, but we don’t know that. We don’t know whats being brought over in the cargo holds of those ships. It’s a sign of aggression, one that wouldn’t be made had we never started messing around in Russia’s back yard. Invading Iraq, Afghanistan, putting missiles in Poland. These are all moves that from the Russian point of view, essentially thumbs our collective noses at them.

    The doctrine of Preemptive war was a doctrine of Adolf Hitler and was a subject of condemnation at the Nuremberg trials. Torture, rendition, also condemned as doctrines of Hitler and the Nazi’s. Yet Bush and Cheney have made steady consistent arguments for all three of these doctrines and have committed all three of them.

    To me it seems that if we don’t do something to show the world that not only are we not going to do these sorts of things anymore, but will hold accountable those who did, then I fear the rest of the world may decide to do it for us.

    Regime change can happen anywhere, once the precedent is established.

  10. The problem I have with not prosecuting these offenders is pretty much the same problem most people have with not prosecuting someone who commits a crime. It encourages others to do so.

    Just recently we’ve seen Vladimir Putin “rear his ugly head” into not just Georgia, but he’s actually started to intrude into our back yard as it were, by placing warships and fighters in Venezuela. I realize the White House is acting nonchalant about it and so far it seems to be merely a token strategy, but we don’t know that. We don’t know whats being brought over in the cargo holds of those ships. It’s a sign of aggression, one that wouldn’t be made had we never started messing around in Russia’s back yard. Invading Iraq, Afghanistan, putting missiles in Poland. These are all moves that from the Russian point of view, essentially thumbs our collective noses at them.

    The doctrine of Preemptive war was a doctrine of Adolf Hitler and was a subject of condemnation at the Nuremberg trials. Torture, rendition, also condemned as doctrines of the Nazi’s. Yet Bush and Cheney have made steady consistent arguments for all three of these doctrines and have committed all three of them.

    To me it seems that if we don’t do something to show the world that not only are we not going to do these sorts of things anymore, but will hold accountable those who did, then I fear the rest of the world may decide to do it for us.

    Regime change can happen anywhere, once the precedent is established.

  11. Gaining cynicism with age is as assured as age-related weight gain.

    The principal reason I–as a conservative Republican–voted for Mr. Obama was that I trusted he would restore justice to our democracy.

    If he does not punish the Bush Administration and if his ‘change’ mantra was a falsification just to gain the presidency, my complete cynicism will overpower my civic duty and my solemn vow to vote in another election.

  12. “First, a defendant must show that he or she was reasonably misled by an official. The question is whether the official, acting under actual or apparent authority, affirmatively assured or actively misled the defendant into a reasonable belief that certain conduct was legal. Neville, 82 F.3d at 761.”

    In the case of bush and cheney I don’t see how this can be argued. There are eye witnesses to the fact that these two first devised a stategy and then kept dismissing anyone who told them what they were doing was unlawful. For example, cheney and addington were in the basement of the WH on 9/11 discussing how to detain prisoners at Gitmo and around the world, so they would not be subject to US law/protections. The Office of Special Plans was formed under and reported to d. cheney to make certain only “the right” material was collected and publically distributed. This legal argument is exactly the same as the Downing Street Memo where, “the intelligence was being fixed around the plan to go to war”. This has been their strategy at every point, legally or otherwise.

    They most certainly should be prosecuted. Like many, I doubt this will happen in the US, but hope it may take place internationally.

  13. Very true FFLEO –

    Just as we’ve discussed in prior posts the us-against-them mentality that can take hold among some in the law enforcement community, so too could that mentality apply in many cases to those who hold power in Congress and the Senate. It far too often seems like one big, happy family, where nobody seriously pursues justice for crimes that seem to have been committed, if those alleged crimes were committed by the politically connected or the financially powerful. There is some theater, people make strong statements to the media, and a week goes by and the story gets buried. Unfortunately the media believes (and in many cases correctly) that we Americans have a pretty short attention span.

    Mespo quoted it right when he wrote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

  14. My question Mojo is, how do we do something? I want to see prosecutions for these horrible crimes. I’m not certain how, as a citizen, I can try to make this happen. I’m going to keep banging on my pots and pans but so far that hasn’t been enough to make a compliant Congress/president elect get moving. I’m not giving up, even if it doesn’t look good, but I am completely open to ideas. To outmaneuver these people will take some doing!

  15. Jill
    1, December 27, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    “In the case of bush and cheney I don’t see how this can be argued. There are eye witnesses to the fact that these two first devised a stategy and then kept dismissing anyone who told them what they were doing was unlawful”

    This is what Professor Turley calls a crime “hiding in plain sight”.

  16. I really don’t see how Obama proceeds in his administration without some kind of prosecution of the Bush Administration? The wiretapping and other illegal acts, and something else nobody really mentions very much but was political paraded about on C-Span quite a bit was those crimes committed but those unbid contractors in Iraq. The horrorable crimes going on with Bush’s unbid contractors in Iraq, oh my word, nobody ever mentions those acts. I’m truly amazed that nobody ever talks about the real war profiteering that was going on at taxpayer expensive no less, from companies who contributed to the Republican Party and the current Administration, and thus got away with completely fudging their books and doing outrageous criminal acts.

    Bush was so criminal on so many levels and our national press and media members did nothing except to focus on petty partisan issues day in and day out during entire Bush regime. Bush has turned the country into a true Banana Republican, and not something we could joke about, so how do we, as nation move on from these acts, all the utter corruption of our nations highest government offices unless something is done about the huge criminal offenses that took place?

    Nobody can doubt that our media is no longer a function part of our democracy, perhaps it’s why so few US citizens falled to call for Bush and Cheney’s impeachment, and certainly the Republican Party is not exactly running in terror or anything like that since Bush turned the country into complete third world anarchy, but then it seems too there are an awful lot of US lawyers out there that don’t seem to mind that much that our nations highest US government offices have become so horribly corrupt. Conservative folk used to be the lynchpin of US laws, or so I used to think, but not since Bush came to office, do they seems to care about any laws except ROE v. WADE (abortion issues) or gun laws, and so any other law be damned. Heck, even the Catholic Church is still embracing Republicans as it seems that torture is no problem for the Pope, himself, apparently. And it just looks to me like Obama is going to try embracing all of Bush’s policies while merely trying not to appear to be embracing Bush’s lawlessness, depending on, once again, a worthless pack of press members from today’s opinionated, slated, cheap comment press world. If anybody really listens to Obama, he doesn’t sound to me like he is even planning on closing Gitmo down, not when you really listen to what he is saying. Plus, I don’t think, after picking Hillary as his Secretary of State that Obama is really even planning on leaving Iraq and our so called “economic security”. And all those JOBS Obama is going to create will have the magically be paid for with funny money, added taxpayer borrowing on top of Bush $ 700 billion bailout that was handed over to the banks – no re-regulation required.

  17. Independent Perspective,
    I do agree with your description of the Media as being AWOL during the Bush years. However, where is your evidence that Obama is not planning on leaving Iraq? Def. Sec. Gates has already informed the generals that the 16 month departure is the rule and Gates also requested the plans to close Gitmo. I don’t know why you are suggesting that the mere selection of Hillary as Secretary of State is evidence of Obama staying in Iraq?

  18. I don’t know about the rest of you but if I were the “President elect” and I planned on investigating and or prosecuting the current President, I probably wouldn’t tell him about it until after I’d taken over. If you know what I mean.

  19. I am watching all this with alarm. The administration, ably assisted by many in Congress and the “press” is obviously trying to put the fix in on torture prosecution. It’s difficult to counter all the propaganda when it’s coming from so many sources. It’s quite similar to the run up to the Iraq war. False intelligence is being disseminated as “the truth”, our motives are “noble”, and anyone who questions this is “obstructionist”, perhaps even a traitor. It’s clear that the tools for manipulation have moved far beyound what we’ve seen in the past and somehow we citizens need to figure out what they are doing, how they are doing it and most importantly, how to counteract it.

    The old techniques of protest no longer work. Some of the largest antiwar demonstrations of all time took place before the Iraq war. They were barely covered. Many experts repetedly spoke out, saying there were no weapons, this will be a disaster. They also were ignored or fired by cheney.

    During the bailout, people flooded their senators and house members with a resounding, “NO” (as Ted Stevens might say). But the fix was in and now well funded firms ring D.C. with the expressed purpose of gaining access to the handouts for the wealthy (some estimate 7 trillion has been passed out, largely unnoticed under special deals made by Tresury. Meanwhile, a full 300 people have refinanced under “Hope for Homeowners”, food banks are emptying, and unemployement rises.

    So I’ve really been thinking that we the people have to do something; but we have to do it with new techniques, or we are lost. One thing I believe must change is the upper middle and upper class have to get militant. It’s pretty clear that the classes below this level can protest all they want but the political elite is bought off by big donors or, in the case of torture, is completely complicit. I think if lawyers who opposed torture would march the way lawyers marched in Pakistan, it could make something happen.

    I am very grateful for all the effort so many attorneys have put towards ending the abuse of the prisoners of the “War on Terror”. This work has been instrumental in keeping the few checks over unfettered presidential crimes we have in place. This work has set some free and ameliorated the situation of many. To every attorney and every individual who has spoken out, demonstrated, given time or money I say thank you. Each person’s action has made a real difference.

    For those of us in the middle class and below, we have to get moving in another way. If the upper classes were to use more traditional forms of protest, such as mass marching on the Capital, I believe this would still be effective, just as it was when the middle and upper classes marched against the Vietnam War.

  20. If you talk about war crimes you will get trolls. I always liked that book, “Jennifer Government”. It’s very interesting and applies to today’s situation of rampant privatization, one example of which is global mercenaries.

  21. Jill,
    It does seem that the troll army comes out when we are talking about holding the Bushites responsible for their crimes. Waynebro, I am also hoping that Obama is not talking much about the investigation and prosecution of Bush administration in order to not tip his hand.

  22. rafflaw,

    I hope you and Wayne are correct, but don’t personally hold this opinion. I have been very struck with the “news” lately. It is even more vapid than before while so many important issues go completely ignored. It is my belief that the upper classes getting militant would break through, even the most irresponsible “reportage”. The press’s slogan right now should be: “News, it’s the new vapid!” ARRRGGGG!

    I hope your grandchild is doing well, along with his mother and the rest of the family. Congratulations again, to you all. As Lindy Lou said, he will be very loved!

  23. I have the patience of stone. That being said, no stone waits forever. The rule of law must be restored and the guilty punished. Preferably one way and not the other, they will be.

  24. Buddha,
    I am with you. Without the rule of law being restored, how can Americans trust any future President? The myth called the Unitary Executive is a false reason for breaking the law. Under the Bush/Cheney/Addington idea of the Unitary Executive, President Obama could pick up Bush and Cheney and Addington and put them into Gitmo without any recourse for over 5 years! Wait a minute, that sounds like a great idea!

  25. Mespo wwrote:

    I think the defense could also rely on the mistake of fact or alternatively the affirmative “public authority” (PA) defense found inter alia in United States v. Baptista-Rodriguez, 17 F.3d 1354, 1363-68 (11th Cir. 1994); United States v. Anderson, 872 F.2d 1508, 1517-18 & n.4 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 493 U.S. 1004 (1989); United States v. Juan, 776 F.2d 256, 258 (11th Cir. 1985). The elements of mistake of fact are less stringent than the entrapment by estoppel defense (a cousin to the “public authority defense) since there is no element of assurance. Under the mistake of fact scenario, the defendant after proving initially that he mistakenly believed he was performing the crimes in cooperation with the government, may then offer evidence that he lacked criminal intent in a mistake of fact type defense. In US v. Anderson the Court permitted an instruction which held the “defendants should be found not guilty if the jury had a reasonable doubt whether the defendants acted in good faith under the sincere belief that their activities were exempt from the law.”
    —–

    I’m sure they’ll try, my friend!

    How do you spell ‘conspiracy’? As JT said on KO many months ago
    -‘not just ‘torture’, but ‘a torture program’…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23373-2004Jun7.html
    Memo Offered Justification for Use of Torture
    Justice Dept. Gave Advice in 2002

  26. Glenn Greenwald has a revelatory entry on torture prosecutions today. Just one sample below:

    “UPDATE: Michael Mukasey, who refuses even to say whether waterboarding is torture and has repeatedly acted to protect Bush officials from prosecution, appeared two weeks ago at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and actually spoke these words (h/t sysprog):

    It serves as a daily reminder to the leaders of the free world, and to the many visitors to our nation’s capital, that law without conscience is no guarantee of freedom; that even the seemingly most advanced of nations can be led down the path of evil; and that we must confront horror with action and vigilance, not lethargy and cowardice. . . .

    Mukasey actually had the audacity to approvingly quote from Robert Jackson’s addresses to the Nuremberg Trials, at which this central proposition of law — now explicitly renounced by America’s political and media establishment — was established:

    The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power . . . .”

    Where do we get these people?

  27. Any defense based upon good faith reliance on the legality of one’s actions or on advice of counsel lacks credibility in the context of this case for several reasons. First, the Bush administration politicized the Department of Justice by systematically filling it with lawyers chosen on the basis of ideology. Second, the administration took great pains to devise strategies intended to prevent judicial review of its actions. Third, the decision to utilize extraordinary intelligence measures, such as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” was made with prior knowledge, either actual or constructive, of its questionable legality. Opinion letters were then requested to provide legal cover from lawyers who had already confirmed their commitment to administration aims, regardless of the obligations imposed by their oaths as attorneys, and who were accordingly prepared to give the president what he wanted. Where once the legal profession could boast of men like Archibald Cox, Eliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus, George Bush and Dick Cheney confirmed their disdain for the primacy of law by infecting the republic with the opinions of Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo and David Addington.
    Having said all that, I agree that prosecution is highly unlikely. Despite the ample legal justification for criminal proceedings, they would be viewed by many as political paybacks and would promote divisiveness at a time when we can ill afford it. However, a full and thorough investigation is important for moral, rather than political, reasons. It is essential that we reestablish in the eyes of Americans and the world at large that the excesses of the Bush administration were corrupt exceptions, that this country remains committed to the rule of law and that barbarism is not an acceptable weapon in the defense of freedom.

  28. Mike,

    I don’t think it would be divisive to prosecute these people for war crimes. In fact, I think the opposite is the case. You are a very articulate person and I would be interested in why you believe it would be so and even if so, why that outweighs prosecutions and restoring the rule of law.

  29. Gosh, Jill, but you do ask tough questions. On a visceral level, of course, I would like to see the whole bunch strung up, but my concerns are practical. My first concern is that people have short memories. An investigation and prosecution will take years and entail numerous appeals on both procedural and substantive issues. Over the course of time, people will become weary of the process, and we will witness a growing conservative chorus criticizing the prosecution as a politically motivated effort to destroy the lives of aging men and women whose only crime was to protect the country from terrorism (you could probably write the script). I believe that it will be virtually impossible to prevent the entire effort from being portrayed as a series of “show” trials. By the time the process is finished, the important constitutional principles which we seek to vindicate, principles which are not as widely understood as we might like to believe, will be lost among allegations of political witch hunting and the defendants will be increasingly perceived as patriotic victims.
    My second concern relates to the likely candidates for prosecution. We have learned from Watergate and Abu Ghraib that subordinates and those who actually implement illegal policies are the easiest targets, while layers of bureaucracy tend to protect the policy makers. Plea deals and jail time for minor players will not serve the primary purpose of reining in the executive branch.
    Third, criminal proceedings, especially if they involve the important figures (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their immediate aides),
    could produce some rulings on presidential authority that we may not like. I believe that we need to remember that the actions of the Bush administration occurred within the context of a war, however false its initial justification, an area in which the courts justifiably fear to tread. A criminal courtroom is the worst possible venue for deliberating issues relating to presidential war powers and the unitary executive theory.
    Finally, the best way to bring to heel an out-of-control executive branch is through political means. If president-elect Obama makes a genuine commitment to a complete, and public, accounting of the conduct of the Bush administration, the full extent of the abuse can be widely disseminated in a manner which will educate the average person to the perils posed by Bush and Cheney’s views, expose the unitary executive theory as fundamentally flawed and provide a framework for legislation to restore the balance of power. It will simultaneously provide the rest of the world a lesson in how truly representative government corrects itself without resort to coups and executions and reaffirm our commitment to core constitutional values.
    Anyway, that’s what I think.

  30. Mike,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I knew if anyone would be able to give an excellent argument for a non judicial accounting it would be you.

    I have to think about what you wrote. Are you really certain that a public accounting wouldn’t be spun by the principles in the same way you describe them doing during a criminal trial? That’s one question that comes to mind right away for me.

    You must have done a good job in your posts because we have trolls trying very hard to keep off this topic! Thanks again.

    Jill

  31. Mike,

    I haven’t watched enough reruns of Law and Order to address your point about the rulings of the court in favor of war powers and the unitary executive, should this go through a criminal prosecution. I’m hoping someone who does know these things will put their two cents in one way or the other. One year ago I would not have had any doubts concerning it, but I’ve since seen even conservative courts start to rule against unchecked executive power.

    I don’t see a commission with teeth, or even a commission of any kind as a practical response. David Cole writes about this in the latest NY Review of Books (he takes a similar turn to what you wrote although he seems to believe most high level defendents are protected from US prosecution under current law). Cole writes: “We cannot move forward in reforming the law effectively unless we are willing to account for what we did wrong in the past. The next administration or the next Congress should at a minimum appoint an independent, bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission…” If it is to be effective, it must have subpoena power, sufficient funding, security clearances, access to all the relevant evidence, and most importantly, a charge to assess responsibility, not just look forward.”

    Cole earlier writes: “On December 11, the leaders of the SASC…released a…report…that concluded that Donald Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials had ‘solicited information on how to use agressive (interrogation) techniques, redefined the law to create the appearnace of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.’ Most of the report was classified, however. And apart from this, Congress has largely acted symbolically, avoiding any real measures to enfore accountability.”

    My question is, why would Congress start to act differently? What’s their incentive? As to cheney, bush etc. and their underlings–haven’t each of these people shown their ability to avoid even minimal accountability to any commission (they dragged their heels on the totally toothless 9/11 commission)? They don’t even bother to show up at Congressional hearings. If they do show up, you’re going to need a court order to administer Aracept before their testimony.

    They’ll still say it’s a witch hunt. We’re going to be fighting a propganda blitz no matter what. We’re fighting it right now. I think we’d honestly have better luck trying for a straight up prosecution than to watch the dithering of setting up, let alone trying to get, a functional commission. I’d like to see cheney, bush and friends get something they denied our prisoners, a fair trial.

  32. Jill, I agree with you that Congress as a whole has proven to be a gutless wonder over the past eight years. I am not at all happy with the Democratic leadership over the past two years either. Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi will have to show more gumption once Congress reconvenes or nothing will happen. I also expect Pres. Obama to take an aggressive approach in meeting with congressional leaders to jumpstart the investigative process, but his plate will be very full, thanks to all of the other parts of the Bush legacy he will be left to sort out.

    There is no doubt that Republicans will attempt to spin the facts, whether the proceedings are criminal or congressional. However, Congress has extensive subpoena powers, as well as the ability to immunize witnesses. In addition, Congress is not bound by the rules of evidence and public hearings can open windows into matters that would never be heard in a courtroom. Congressional hearings are also more “user friendly” in the sense that testimony will be more understandable and not subject to constant objections, arguments between lawyers and courtroom time-outs. Questions will be asked by a number of individuals, making it more difficult for lawyers to prepare witnesses in advance. And with majorities in both houses, Democrats can reject Republican efforts to scuttle hearings or water down subpoenas. Republican leaders will hardly be in a position to urge deference to the Bush executive branch while simultaneously criticizing efforts by the Obama executive branch for an open and complete investigation.

    I am old enough to have watched the Watergate hearings and was riveted for days on end. I came away convinced that we learned more from those proceedings than would have been the case had the investigation stayed within the Justice Department. Criminal prosecutions did ensue, and might in this case as well, but the truth eventually came out.

    One final point. Congressional hearings will receive extensive press coverage and will encourage reporters to follow leads and travel into related areas, all without risk of being subjected to gag orders or other forms of judicial restraint that are sometimes imposed to protect the integrity of a trial.

    I know that my views are not satisfactory. My sense of justice wants all of the wrongdoers to answer in accordance with the law. On the other hand, my sense of justice is routinely thwarted by daily realities. What I want first and foremost is the truth. That at least can neutralize the pathetic efforts already underway to rewrite the history of the past decade.

  33. Mike,

    I don’t think we’ll get prosecutions in the US so I will hope for the kind of hearings and a vigorous press that you speak of. Happy New Year!

  34. Mr. Appleton has convinced me that any ‘judicial lawyering’ can and should wait until after the revelations of misconduct that can occur from any ‘legislative lawyering.’

  35. Let’s get serious. After the Jim Brennan affair & after Obama’s vote on the FISA Bill, I think we should all know where our President-elect stands on human & constitutional rights. If we see anything more than a blue ribbon commission whitewash –co-chaired by Jack Goldsmith– we’ll be lucky.

    Monday 17 November 2008

    by: Lara Jakes Jordan, The Associated Press

    ‘Asked this weekend during a Vermont Public Radio interview if Bush administration officials would face war crimes, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy flatly said, “In the United States, no.”

    “These things are not going to happen,” said Leahy, D-Vt.’

  36. Oh, & I forgot to add this: Jack Goldsmith’s opposite number will be Joe Lieberman & they’ll probably call Kieffer Sutherland as an expert witness.

  37. Happy New Year Carol,

    I believe you are here to draw attention away from your BFF’s bush and cheney’s horrendous actions against our own people and the people of other nations–aka–war crimes.

  38. Perhaps lower level figures might attempt this defense. But Bush, Cheney, Rice, Addington, Yoo, Rumsfeld, and Gonzales can hardly claim it was legal because _they themselves_ said it was. — Admittedly, adherents to the “unitary executive” nonsense might take “L’Etat C’est Moi” defense, aka “The Nixon Defense”, namely if the President says it, then it isn’t illegal.

    To date, Obama has shown no inclination of any kind to challenge power. Perhaps he is being diplomatic. Fine.

    Whatever happens domestically, we can hope for cases to brought abroad — in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Europe, anywhere — to prosecute Bush & Co. for crimes against humanity.

  39. Hugh,

    I agree with you about Obama showing no inclination to challenge power. I know this puts me at odds with some of the deepest, most articulate, and from what I can tell, ethical writers on this blog. The democratic underground collected Obama’s voting record. I’m linking to it below. Please be advised that it is written in an extremely annoying manner but it is instructive and still worth looking at:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=334×10842

    I have been thinking about what Mike Appleton wrote. I also thought of the Watergate hearings in the context of a commission. I don’t think that Congress or that press exists anymore in this nation. I think the Congressional record of aquiesence to power and complicity in war crimes will stand in the way of any real commission. Glenn Greenwald has written many times of the complicity of the press in sweeping torture under the rug and I think the facts are there to back him up.

    In other ways I completely agree with Mike that a commission with teeth would be a very good way to go. I do not have the knowledge of the legal system to address his points on how rulings may enshirne executive power in the law, but I take that fear seriously.

    If I understand JT’s argument correctly, he is talking of putting pressure on Congress to appoint an AG who will admit waterboarding is a crime and then prosecution would proceed with minimal interference from the political class and the evidence will go where it may. In this case, we run into the complicit Congress again. Most likely the last thing they will allow is someone to come to power who would prosecute, which is probably why we got Muskasey in the first place. He is an excellent lackey in the service of both cheneybush and Congress.

    So to my mind we have to 1. strengthen a true alternative press by putting time and financial resources into actual investigative reporting 2. pressure Congress to move or get out of the way and in this regard I think there would be better luck getting them to appoint a prosecutor rather than set up a commission 3. look to innovative places like Wikileaks, because someone always knows where the bodies are buried and finally, 4. hope someone in the international community will come forward with charges

  40. As I have said, justice will be had. One way or another. Whether the new administration likes it or not. Nature seeks equilibrium. Team Obama needs to decide if they are going to aid or resist the pendulum’s swing, but they cannot stop it. George Bush and his Neocon criminals are not going to be let off the hook by a large segment of the population. EVER. So you all better take that into your analysis. Bush and Cheney better be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their evil miserable little lives. Those people, every venture they’ve touched, and everyone they should endorse should be very concerned. The message to the GOP and the Neocons is simple. Sacrifice the guilty NOW or you (and the collective We) will all pay a much higher price later, but justice will be had. Count on it. Justice may be blind, but she’s got a sword and a good sense of balance in the long term. So help, get out of the way or get schwacked in the head history. The war criminals and traitors WILL pay. At what price justice is the question.

  41. I just heard this very informative interview with Pillipe Sands by Terry Gross. It pulls together many of the questions and thoughts presented by commentators and of course JT’s post. I’ll put the link in the following box.

    “Phillipe Sands Considers A Legacy Of ‘Torture’

    Audio for this story will be available at approx. 3:00 p.m. ET

    Philippe Sands argued that U.S. interrogation policies were issued from the top down in his 2008 book, Torture Team.

    Fresh Air from WHYY, January 7, 2009 · Although the Bush administration has stated that the interrogations techniques used at Guantanamo Bay came from the bottom up, British lawyer Philippe Sands disagrees.

    In his book, Torture Team, Sands argues that the harsh interrogation policy that emerged after Sept. 11 came from high-ranking government officials and top military figures.

    Sands warned in a June 2008 Fresh Air interview that the impact of the Bush administration’s conduct will be felt internationally:

    “The terrible tragedy of these memos and that dark period is that they have migrated into the hands of people who now say, ‘Well, Americans do it. We’re going to do it also.'”

    Sands believes President-elect Barack Obama can begin to restore the US’s global reputation. In a Dec. 4 article in The Guardian, he recommended that the next administration conduct a comprehensive, independent investigation of alleged abuses committed against detainees since Sept. 11, 2001.

    Sands is a professor of law at University College London, where he is director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals.”

  42. Mike,

    “criminal proceedings, especially if they involve the important figures (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their immediate aides),
    could produce some rulings on presidential authority that we may not like.”

    But not having criminal proceedings also produces rulings we don’t like. Haven’t a lot of the abuses of power by Cheney/Bush been enabled by the fact that Nixon and his administration were let off the hook?

    Not everyone’s memory is short for that kind of thing. I was heartsick when Ford announced that Nixon would not be prosecuted. In those days I was not especially involved in politics, but the excuse that it would keep the nation divided seemed like a bunch of baloney to me, even then.

    Every time these elected officials get away with something, it weakens the law and enables worse abuse.

  43. LindyLou,

    I too was disgusted with Ford’s pardoning of Nixon for the same reasons and I am a Republican. Even after egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution’s provisions, all branches of government are content to slap the others on the back— and not even on the wrist— and say ‘no need to point fingers’ because we have the public’s business to attend to! Mr. Obama stated the same “we won’t be pointing fingers” phrase this morning in his economic roundtable.

    What politicians do not understand is that the public wants and needs accountability and taking legal action against corrupt public servants is the remedy of atonement for breaches of the public trust.

  44. FFLeo, I often agree with you, even if we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. So many conservatives during these times have been steered away from the law in order that the neocons could have their way.

    During one of the TV interviews, the Professor talked about a collective yawn when it came to prosecuting Cheney. The yawning faces were the politicians who could have done something about it. There have been many, many of us ordinary folk who’ve on blogs arguing about prosecuting Bush/Cheney for years. We were marginalized as kooks, the 2% far left, etc. Remember, we were all supposed to believe that the Bush administration was doing everything legally and in the best interest of all Americans, and if you questioned that, you were a terrorist sympathizer.

    Even Russ Feingold hasn’t wanted to move to hold Cheney/Bush accountable. He might finally be coming around, though.

    What can the people do when Nancy Pelosi holds impeachment off the table and states she can’t find anything for which to prosecute the administration, after Kucinich has spent 2 hours going through his list of offenses that should be prosecuted? Cards, letters, and phone calls only mean so much, especially when the elections are over and the incumbents remain in place.

  45. LindyLou,

    Party affiliation must be irrelevant when meting out violations of rules, regulations, and laws.

    I will always be a Republican—although secondarily to being a U.S. citizen first—based on the Republican philosophy of limited government and the idea that citizens must do all that they can to be self-sufficient without subsisting on the dole from government.

    However, given the dole outs of well over a trillion dollars to the stock market criminals, banks, and others, these current day pseudo-Republicans’ philosophies deserve complete and final repudiation because those are worse than the true Democrats’ philosophies have ever been.

  46. LindyLou,

    Check out this link. It’s about 40 mins. long but really interesting. It addresses how things may proceed. Mr. Sands is very specific about options and how they would work out. If you get the time to listen to it, I’d like to hear your opinion. It’s from Terry Gross and Mr. Sands has participated in war crimes tribunals. It’s the first time I’ve heard that level of specificity both about the crimes and proceedures for accountability, both political and legal.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99061358

  47. FFLEO,

    I’ve said this before, but think it’s worth repeating. I never vote for party, I vote for the individual. I get the feeling you probably do the same thing.

    I think one of the leading causes of the corruption in the upper levels of politics is because most people vote to see their team win, rather than on individual merits and how closely the candidates views and actions (especially actions) match up with their own beliefs.

  48. Lindy Lou, You have made a worthy point, and one that Jill has attempted to (gently) pound into my thick skull on this issue. I watched all of the Watergate hearings and wanted nothing more than wholesale prosecutions and public trials at the time. On a visceral level, I feel the same way about the Bush administration. But here’s the problem. There are massive problems facing the incoming president. I do not remember economic conditions this perilous at any time during my life, and I believe that conditions will worsen through a good part of 2009. I believe that the public wants Pres. Obama’s focus to be on the economy as a first priority.

    For reasons which I have previously expressed on this topic, I believe the time available to Congress to deal with the legacy of lawlessness over the past eight years should be devoted to thorough and well-publicized hearings. Exposing what actually transpired to the light of day will do more to re-establish in the eyes of Americans, and, just as importantly, in the eyes of the rest of the world, our commitment to human rights and the rule of law, than miscellaneous prosecutions of minor characters. I plan to listen to the Fresh Aire interview, but I cannot conceive of any circumstance under which people like Bush and Cheney would ever be prosecuted for war crimes.

  49. Jill,

    Mr. Sands gave an extremely intelligent overview of the possibilities of tribunals. He also stated, as Mike Appleton did, that Bush/Cheney will most likely avoid prosecution in the U.S. and worldwide. I hate to hear that assessment; however, Mr. Yoo et al. are less likely to avoid such prosecutions if the facts are there following extensive investigations.

    I think that those 38-plus minutes of interview are well worth the time, even if simply to listen to an intelligent man who spoke with clarity; in fact, I am going to listen a second time. Thanks for the link Jill.

    Gyges: I agree.

  50. FFLEO,

    Thanks for hearing it out. He does agree with Mike on bush and cheney and they are very likely both correct. It is nice to hear all the different options laid out so well.

  51. Here’s one more interesting angle on the whole thing from glenn greenwood’s column of today. The wistleblower who disclosed the illegal spying on Americans is having his life destroyed by the “justice dept./FBI”. While the political elite call for leaving those at the top free to go about their business w/o consequence, they are offering no such protection to this man.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

  52. Mike,

    Please, please stop making sense when I want neocon blood. I have to admit that having the truth slowly exposed would be a wonderful second choice. Still, after the talk about the dance of the 7 veils in the time-space continuum, I couldn’t help but wish that Salome could do her thing around the head of a neocon instead of John the Baptist.

    Jill,
    Thank you for the link!! I have to get back to work, so I’ll be looking forward to this later tonight.

  53. From my experiences within and outside the federal government, the emotional and financial toll exacted on a whistleblower by the government is never fully compensated for even if the person who put honesty and ethics before his career and personal life is fully exonerated by the facts. There are many changed aspects of life that humans just cannot undo. Mr. Tamm is a courageous man but his life has forever been altered.

    From the Greenwald/Salon article link Jill provided:

    {Quote}

    “Meanwhile, the only person to pay any price from this rampant lawbreaking — Tom Tamm — is the one with infinitely less power than all of them, the one who risked his job security and even freedom to bring to the nation’s attention the fact that our highest government officials were deliberately committing felonies in how they spied on us. Those who broke the law and those who actively enabled it — the Cheneys and Haydens and Rockefellers and Pelosis and Harmans — all protect one another, and have virtually every political and media elite righteously demand that nothing be done to them.

    But there is not a peep of protest over the ongoing, life-destroying persecution of the former DOJ lawyer whose conscience compelled him to do what those cowardly Democratic leaders would not do: take action to uncover rampant criminality at the highest levels of our government.”

    {End Quote}

  54. On NPR’s Talk of the Nation today Tom Gjelten and “the host”, Niel Conan, derisively repeted that there was a group within the democratic party who considers torture, rendition, nsa spying etc. “hot botton issues”. Apparently if these things can be trivialized enough and the people who care about them marginalized–well, it’s all good for these types. ARRGGG!!!

    Also, yesterday Alternet had an article on how the army field manual still does allow torture. It should still be there.

  55. JT was just on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on this topic. Again he was passionate, well informed, quick on his feet and dead on! He answered every objection of his opponent who I believe, was not prepared to go up against someone who had thought so deeply about this issue and was equally eloquent and respectful.

    “The Legacy Of Bush’s ‘War On Terror’

    Audio for this story will be available at approx. 6:00 p.m. ET

    Talk of the Nation, January 12, 2009 · Some people are calling for President-elect Obama to investigate programs associated with the torture of detainees and warrantless surveillance. But others caution to leave history to judge the Bush Administration. What is to be gained in prosecuting the outgoing president?

    Guests:

    Charles Fried, professor at Harvard Law School and author of the op-ed “History’s Verdict” in The New York Times

    Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at The George Washington University”

  56. mespo,

    I only heard snippets but he seemed to be arguing that cheney and bush should not be prosecuted because they were only making decisions to protect our nation. I’ll try to look up his article and maybe that we’ll give us an idea until we can hear the program in full (about 20 mins.) after 6:00 p.m.

    I just took a look at his op-ed and I believe I have Fried’s argument correct. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Theirs were political crimes committed by persons whose jobs were to exercise the powers of government on our behalf…

    If you cannot see the difference between Hitler and Dick Cheney, between Stalin and Donald Rumsfeld, between Mao and Alberto Gonzales, there may be no point in our talking. It is not just a difference of scale, but our leaders were defending their country and people — albeit with an insufficient sense of moral restraint — against a terrifying threat by ruthless attackers with no sense of moral restraint at all.”

    Glenn Greenwald dispatches this argument as well in his column.

  57. Glenn Greenwald’s current column addresses this issue, to include Obama’s latest stance. It contains a statement by the ACLU. His earlier comments directly speak to the “they were just protecting us” argument of Mr. Fried.

    ttp://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

  58. As a realist I realize that there are consequences to be paid for prosecuting these criminals. There will also be the blow back from
    corporatism as represented by the MSM and Washington establishment, that will create an unpleasant firestorm for those prosecuting Bush, et. al.

    All that being said, I believe in my gut that treason has been committed against my country, innocent soldiers and civilians have needlessly died, careers of fine people have been ruined, the lives of average Americans have been made bleak and the honor of our country has been besmirched by abrogation of the sacrosanct Geneva Conventions. There must be retribution for these acts or they will occur again in the future and their effect will be even worse and cause a strangulation of any democratic aspirations we may hold. It must be exposed, tried, punished and stopped now.

  59. Some the earlier posts ignore the radicalism of the Torture Convention, under which actual innocence appears the only defense. Thus, advice of counsel or directives or advice of superiors would, at most, be mitigating factors. The Torture Convention addresses directly those who torture–recognizing full well that ordinary people will be torturing each other. It commands them to stop, it implores them for the sake of their common humanity. None may plead ignorance.

  60. O’Dumba has joined the club. The club is the Freemason club that is made up of Skull & Bonesmen and led by Jew bankers. Neocons and Bilderbergers are club members also.

    The goal of Freemasons is to gain power and through power make as much wealth as possible. They are addicts of a sort. Former drug and alcohol and sex addicts, now primarily power addicts. They seek to control everyone and don’t mind using torture and fascism to obtain their goal. They love dominating others and hurting them.

    The way a Freemason makes wealth is via HUMAN SACRIFICE and STEALING MONEY, it’s called PASSING THE VEIL.

    On 9/11 the veil was symbolized by the TWIN TOWERS. The PORCH of the Towers was Silverstein’s Building 7 where the human sacrifice was masterminded. When they pulled the Towers, 3,000 people were sacrificed to the money gods. On 9/11 the planet Saturn was in Gemini (a Masonic celestial meaning). Masons believe Blue men descend from the star Serius (Why so Serious? message in the 9/11-themed film “Batman: the Dark Night.’ Batman is a Jewish character concept.) The Twin Towers were destroyed and the Blue men’s descendants (those in power in commerce, politics and in religion who united against us as a cabal) were enriched by stolen money (global stock scandals, robbing the Treasuries of many nations, bank robbing (another theme of the Jewish film “Batman”). Passing the Veil means that earned your riches by killing others. That is what 9/11 was all about.

    Jews control Hollywood and mock us through their many subversive films like “Diehard with a VENGEANCE etc.” starring a Jew who married a Jew). “Fight Club” also has 9/11 themes with planes, buildings falling, a secret society and bank robbing.

    Jews play victim but their are victimizers who’ve used American leaders as tools by forming FRATERNITIES such as Skull & Bones founded by the Jew Senator John Kerry’s ancestor on Yale University property.

    JFK warned us about secret societies and was killed for it. He also tried to fight the Jewish bankers as Lincoln did before they killed Lincoln.

    What happened leading up to, during and after WWII are the events that occurred around the 9/11 attacks. It’s the same people doing it. Former Secretary of State, Kissinger, leads an unholy cabal who seek wealth in exchange for human sacrifice aka faux war. Same plan, new decade. It’s all about money. Israel plans to be the economic center of the world (a Torahnic blueprint of global subversion Kissinger et al follows) whereby “money central” is made to be Jew-rule-salem (burning witches) aka Jerusalem. Jew bankers united with Freemasons to rule by deceit and fascism. Masonic symbols are on all US currency. US currency is the most favored globally. People from 40 nations died on 9/11 and most, if not all, leading nations’ people were robbed on 9/11 via Insider Trading committed by those addicted to power in the unholy cabal.

    Truth be known

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