Obama's Secret Laws?

Glenn Greenwald gets to the heart of today's big issue - whether President Obama will release the Bush torture memos:

I want to underscore one vital point about this controversy that is continuously overlooked and will be undoubtedly distorted today in the event of non-disclosure: these documents are not intelligence documents. They are legal documents and, more specifically, they constitute what can only be described as secret law under which the U.S. has been governed during the Bush era. Thus, the question posed by the release of these OLC memos is not whether Obama will release to the public classified intelligence programs. The question is whether he will release to the public the legal doctrines under which the U.S. Government conducted itself regarding interrogation techniques he claims are no longer used.

Will President Obama have secret laws on torture? That's the issue today.

Speaking for me only

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    It's endless. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:35:05 AM EST
    There are so many disappointments and failures along the way because they won't call a spade a spade, a war crime a war crime.  Our failure to prosecute Bushco for these crimes leaves a huge hole in our legal and moral fabric.  And all kinds of other battles, like this one, play out due to that cowardice.

    I wonder how much pressure Obama is getting from GOP folks about this though, especially since Spain is gearing up to prosecute.

    Just note: Spain is NOT gearing up to prosecute (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:47:01 AM EST
    The Spanish Attorney General said, in an article published today:

    Spanish prosecutors will recommend against opening an investigation into whether Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects, that country's attorney general said Thursday.

    Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpido told reporters that the case was without merit because the men were not present when the alleged torture took place and that a trial would have turned Spain's National Court into "a plaything" for political ends.

    "If one is dealing with a crime of mistreatment of prisoners of war, the complaint should go against those who physically carried it out," Conde-Pumpido stated. "If there is a reason to file a complaint against these people, it should be done before local courts with jurisdiction, in other words in the United States."

    I guess that means Pinochet not being in the room was some sort of aberration or something, seeing as how he was prosecuted.

    That, or the very cordial charm offensive Obama undertook on the Spanish Premier during the G20, hanging with him during the EU summit in Prague, and dealing with the Turks in Istanbul, plus HRC's Bad Cop coming to visit Spain both before and since then, have worked the trick to scotch the prosecutions.

    And you thought those foreign trips were all about watching the local folk dancing troupes and eating strange foods.


    This seemed odd (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:49:28 AM EST
    "Attorney General Candido Conde-Pumpido told reporters that the case was without merit because the men were not present when the alleged torture took place  . . "

    Neither was Pinochet. Or Hitler.


    perhaps (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:03:25 AM EST
    and I know this is rather pollyannaish, they got signals from the Obama administration that they were going to handle it.

    I cant help it.  Im an optimist.


    oh lord (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:18:02 AM EST
    you are an optimist!

    well (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:47:24 AM EST
    a cynical optimist.  like I said below it might also be because the think if they handle it it would be an easier thing to whitewash.

    There is precious little difference between (none / 0) (#13)
    by tokin librul on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:35:34 AM EST
    optimism" and "delusion."

    "optimism" is the secular equivalent of "faith."


    yeah? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:27:18 PM EST
    1  : a doctrine that this world is the best possible world    
    (relevant)2  : an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome


    1: the act of deluding : the state of being deluded
    2 a: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary  ; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs


    not a linguist but it seems like a pretty damn big difference to me.


    The difference is not (none / 0) (#16)
    by tokin librul on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 10:22:44 AM EST
    in definitions, which are in any case spurious for the purposes of discourse, but in attitude.

    Optimism is to have faith that a better, rather than a worse, eventuality may occur. Which, it seem to me, is equivalent with both faith and delusion...


    all I got out of that was (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by lilburro on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:51:50 AM EST
    "yeah, we think you're f*cking idiots."

    And even if you're not there for the torture of detainees, it must count for something that you sat in your conference room and watched a demonstration with every little detail played out before you?  No?


    if they are smart (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:37:36 AM EST
    they might want to try their own party to head off spain.  that judge in spain who nailed Pinochet might be more difficult to whitewash and smokescreen than the usual suspects on the various senate committees.

    Veterans are turning to suicide (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:53:12 AM EST
    Such a sad story, one that seems to be repeating itself over and over.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:54:31 AM EST
    Meant to post this in the Open Thread

    Given these are legal memos, (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:13:27 AM EST
    may the Obama admins. claim attorney/client privilege?

    Yes (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:29:34 PM EST
    The whole argument from Obama, Holder and Lederman, was/is that since these secret laws are no longer operative there is no harm done in releasing the memos. It is amazing that the CIA et al are still arguing that if these docs are made public the US will be harmed because enemies of the US will know the secret techniques we use to make terrorists talk.

    The issue, as I see it, is payback from the CIA if the memos are released in full. Clearly they are obsolete, and the CIA is being dishonest about the reasons they do not want them released.