Reports indicate that Attorney General Eric Holder is close to naming a prosecutor to look into interrogation abuse, but that he is going to structure the investigation to protect high-ranking officials from investigation for war crimes. While Holder admits that waterboarding is torture, he is reportedly going to allow only the investigation into whether some interrogations went beyond the torture guidelines set by the Justice Department — which allowed for waterboarding.
The investigation is being described as “narrow” and would exclude torture permitted by the Justice Department. It is a towering example of the conflict of interest in the Justice Department handling this investigation. The first thing that it will do is reaffirm its own legal analysis permitting the commission of a well-defined war crime.
It would essentially punish people who “tortured too much,” a standard that is not only shameful but in clear violation of our international obligations. It also reaffirms (as the Obama Administration has done before) that “just following orders” is now viewed by the United States as a viable defense to war crimes.
For the full story, click here.
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“As luck would have it, Providence was on my Side”
“I have always heard of providence, and yet I have never seen him, or anything that resembles him, or which can make me believe that he exists.
I wish to be providence myself, for I feel that the most beautiful, noblest, most sublime thing in the world, is to recompense and punish.'” — Edmond Dantes, Count of Monte Cristo
Succinctly, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. But the verbose form is nice too.
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” — John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790
I agree, but the downside of that argument is the propensity for people to draw the line at that which they’re willing to accept as being wrong. IOW, “okay, we were wrong to over look the torture, but that’s enough for today” — leaving all the other nasties to be simply swept under the rug on account of a cognizantly lazy audience.
This is why I consider the issue a tipping point issue. It’s not that the Constitutional abuses are less important. I agree, the underlying Constitutional issues of the whole debacle are critical but they lack that “sympathy” factor. But that is exactly why this is a critical juncture. Torture DOES have a “sympathy factor”. If you can get the people behind that injustice, it could be the thread that unravels the fascist tapestry. But the dangers you listed won’t be addressed until the torture issue is dealt with and if THIS is how Holder intends to address them? Bush Co. fascism is here to stay and it’s here to stay with Holder and Obama’s explicitly aiding and abetting treason. Until We the People force their hand. That day will eventually come. Equality and justice for all . . . or for none. That’s the American way as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. It is one of the principles for which we eternally aspire. If left unchecked, the fascist will eventually push people until something very bad and very bloody happens. Not punishing those guilty of violating the Constitution is not an option in any scenario that does not end in eventual disaster for the Federal government and the American people and/or the total abandonment of the Constitution as a functional basis for American jurisprudence. If torture is the crowbar used to bust up the Bush Co/K St./Corporatist crime spree so be it, but right now, it’s the best lever I’m seeing unless you’ve got something else that has the potential to gain public traction any better.
“A three-judge panel from the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on Monday found that, contrary to Passaro’s argument, federal courts have jurisdiction over assaults committed by US citizens abroad in countries where the United States conducts military missions.”
And the contractors argument, ‘Just following orders’, wasn’t good enough to keep him from getting convicted.
Torture is a crime against humanity; thus it is easily consumed by the dim-witted public eye in a sympathetic fashion.
Abstract crimes targeted at the constitution itself are deemed by the same public eye as being damn near non-important for simple lack of the sympathy factor.
Torture and Rendition are not only in the past:
“Published on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 by Huffington Post
Target Of Obama-Era Rendition Alleges Torture
by Scott Horton”
(I wondered why we got so many trolls. I’m guessing this story is what’s bringing them out on all the blogs.)
Each of the crimes you mentioned are interrelated. They are all violations of our Constitution and destructive of our society. It is because the rule of law has broken down that we have each of them.
Torture is a horrifying crime. Even if it only happened to “a few people” it would still matter. The truth is, torture has become systemic in our wars and in our prisons. Torture has now become a common tool used by our govt. Everything you talked about is a really big deal. There’s no need to denigrate one to make the others seem important. They’re all, already extremely important.
Allow me to clarify. Torture is a side issue. I don’t know about you, but I’m so f’n sick of ‘the people’ ignoring acts of genuine tyranny while raising their voices against acts which are merely criminal.
The successor to G.W. Bush is exercising the same power beyond right which no one has a right to, and yet is being called out, albeit quite meekly, only about acts of usurpation.
The Patriot Act?
NSA surveillance without warrant?
Yet everyone is focused on the torture of a few people?
Yeah, that’s the biggest f’n’ crime committed so far.
Fitz was limited by Scooter’s obstruction, he couldn’t go after Cheney because of lack of evidence. If Fitz would have gone after Cheney, and lost he would be off the hook because of double jeopardy.
Fitz has said in so many words that an attempt to limit prosecutions by Holder won’t work because the prosecutor will have to explore where the evidence takes him, and that would be obstruction by Holder. That is not true in a congressional investigation.
I think lottakatz made this point and it’s worth reiterating. We are accepting torture of citizens and non-citizens alike. We have got to snap out of it:
“America’s torture problem is much bigger than Gitmo or the CIA or the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The government is torturing people every day and killing some of them. Then videos of the torture wind up on Youtube where sadists laugh and jeer at the victims. It’s the sign of profound cultural illness.”
This plan is beyond dangerous. It’s a recipe for certain disaster.
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