Report: Justice Department To Re-Open Nearly a Dozen Prisoner-Abuse Cases

holdererictorture -abu ghraibThe Justice Department appears close to re-opening nearly a dozen prisoner abuse cases that were all but buried by the Bush Administration. The move comes after a recommendation of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The Obama Administration, however, is still blocking any investigation into war crimes and the torture program. I discussed the appointment of Mr. Durham in <a href="“>this segment of Countdown.

The Justice Department is expected to release details on prisoner abuse this week, which will add pressure for re-opening these cases. The Bush Administration rejected any prosecution after sending the cases to the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District has had a number of controversial terrorism cases and has been criticized for extreme views of the law. Critics charged that the office effectively buried the cases.

This announcement also comes with the disclosure that the CIA officers used mock executions and a power drill to interrogate detainees, here.

The cases include the controversy over the death of Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in 2003 in C.I.A. custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. While prosecutors dismissed the case by saying that he probably suffered the wounds in his capture, Navy seals who captured him deny that.

Rather than proceed on this piecemeal approach, the Obama Administration should simply appoint a special prosecutor with full authority to investigate the torture program and all detainee abuse –without limitations. Instead, Attorney General Holder appears to be struggling to game the system to protect officials for any war crimes prosecution — a politically difficult move for the Obama Administration.

For the full story, click here.

89 thoughts on “Report: Justice Department To Re-Open Nearly a Dozen Prisoner-Abuse Cases”

  1. This is a great update from GG:

    “UPDATE: In other breaking news, Erik Prince announces that he believes criminal prosecutions of Blackwater are unwarranted; Wall Street CEOs — past and present — conclude that an investigation of fraud and abuse among investment banks would serve no real purpose; Alberto Gonzales reveals his opposition to any proceedings against DOJ lawyers who acted in bad faith; police unions announce that the problem of brutality is overstated and there’s no need for added oversight; medical doctors agree that malpractice lawsuits need to be limited; and a poll of felons currently in prison reveal that 99% of them believe that the country would have been better off if it had just let bygones be bygones and decided not to proceed with prosecutions in their particular case.”

    We should all be so lucky!

  2. The more I think about this from a prosecutorial perspective, I’m not so sure Tenet isn’t one of the best villains to lean on. He’s just enough of a self-preservationist to roll on Cheney if Holder really put the twist on him. I submit as evidence the way he weaseled out from under Rumsfeld’s missteps that could have damaged him as well. George will do whatever it takes to stay out of prison is my guess.

  3. What an interesting contrast. MSNBC portrays the story just as they’re told to. No analysis, no digging, no attempt to understand the law. Just stenography. Thanks for the link.

  4. Here’s what the ACLU said:

    “The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:

    “Attorney General Holder initiated a criminal investigation because the available evidence shows that prisoners were abused and tortured in CIA custody. The suggestion that President Obama should order Attorney General Holder to abort the investigation betrays a misunderstanding of the role of the attorney general as well as the relationship between the attorney general and the president. Where there is evidence of criminal conduct, the attorney general has not just the authority but the duty to investigate. The attorney general is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer, and it would be profoundly inappropriate for President Obama to interfere with his work.

    “The attorney general’s investigation should be allowed to proceed without interference, and it certainly should not be derailed by the self-serving protests of former CIA officials who oversaw the very crimes that are being investigated. If there is a problem with the unfolding criminal investigation, it is that its focus is too narrow. There is abundant evidence that torture was authorized at the highest levels of the Bush administration, and the Justice Department’s investigation should be broad enough to encompass Bush administration lawyers and senior officials – including the CIA officials – who authorized torture.”

  5. Here’s a column by Glenn Greenwald on the “request” by CIA directors not to prosecute any of their people for anything. There are only about 3 % of CIA people who agreed to torture other human beings to begin with. I’m not certain why prosecutions of 3 % of the CIA would cripple the agency’s work, considering that many other people who did not agree to or with torturing others were highly demoralized by what happened. As GG points out, there will be only a handful of people from that 3 % who will even be considered for prosecution. Further, Obama could always pardon these officers after they pled guilty and gave a full account of what they had done. Obama could even allow them to retire with pensions. I’m on board with all of that, should this be the only way our “leaders” will both get to the truth and not make torture legal.

  6. Couldn’t have seen this coming–not!

    “Former CIA Directors Urge Torture Prosecution Reversal

    The Justice Department investigation into CIA torture allegations may have already jeopardized American intelligence capabilities, seven former CIA directors told President Obama. In a letter, the spy chiefs urge him to reverse Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to re-review case files of a dozen interrogations for possible criminal prosecution. Letter to President Obama from Former DCIs and DCIAs (2).pdf

    “Not only will some members of the intelligence community be subjected to costly financial and other burdens from what amounts to endless criminal investigations, but this approach will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country,” the directors write. “In our judgment such risk-taking is vital to success in the long and difficult fight against the terrorists who continue to threaten us.”

    The letter also criticizes the disclosure of information about interrogation methodology. In what amounts to a lecture of sorts, the directors write that “[s]uccess in intelligence often depends on surprise and deception and on creating uncertainty in the mind of an enemy.” The administration must be mindful, they write, that public disclosure about past intelligence operations “can only help Al Qaeda elude U.S. intelligence and plan future operations.”

    Finally, they warn that U.S. intelligence liaison relationships with other countries is in jeopardy because these countries worry that the U.S. can’t keep secrets — and secrecy is often a prerequisite for intelligence sharing.”

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