Gibbs Confirms: No Torture Prosecutions By Obama Administration

Confirming Rahmbo, via think Progress, WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs say no to torture prosecutions:

CNNíS ED HENRY: Just so I understand, youíre saying the people in the CIA who followed through on what they were told was legal, they should not be prosecuted? But why not the Bush administration lawyers who, in the eyes of a lot of your supporters on the left, twisted the law, why are they not being held accountable?

GIBBS: The president is focused on looking forward. Thatís why.

You think some blogs might call Obama a "shill for Bush," like they did Jane Harman?

Speaking for me only

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    Shill for Bush? (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:08:52 PM EST
    He sure is protecting him.
    Maybe it's just that now that he is part of the scene, it is in his best interest to protect anybody doing something illegal at the behest of the administration in power.

    On the other hand... Obama voted for FISA. He campaigned for Lieberman, and on and on.

    Nobody really knows where he stands on anything.
    I'm not sure he does either.

    Infuriatingly consistent on (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:10:21 PM EST
    no prosecution however.  John Yoo @ Berkeley; Bybee on federal bench for life.  Disgusting.

    Is Yoo still at Berkeley (none / 0) (#10)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:21:03 PM EST
    I mean given the various petitions I'd assumed he left in disgrace- wow, who'd take a class from the guy, this isn't Kissigner/Albright at Georgetown where the historical perspective could add something (and the various deaths- obviously for one more than the other- could be separated from their subject matter), this is situation seems to reflect gross incompetence in the field the man is actually teaching- he's in effect instructing students in the very philosophy that he could be brought up on ICC charges for espousing.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:24:55 PM EST
    I don't feel bad for the guy (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:43:07 PM EST
    but dang that has to be an uncomfortable walk to class and teaching enviroment- I mean imagine filling out an instructor eval in 3 or 4 weeks-

    "Prof. Yoo, was an engaging and fascinating lecturer, up until we realized he wasn't discussing hypotheticals but instead literally endorsed "Le E'stat c'est moi"- forgive my French-as a legal philosophy and thought it would be okay to look a man in an Orwellian Bug Box. At that point I started reading "The Banality of Evil" instead of listening to lectures."


    When Condi Rice returned to Stanford (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:52:44 PM EST
    recently, a spokesperson for the university stated if you can't have a discussion here, where can you have it.  

    I feel like its different if (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:57:49 PM EST
    you teach exactly what might get you indicted in the first place- Condi's in the Albright/Kissigner @ Georgetown category where their teaching History, etc (though Condi likely wont be teaching)- Yoo is as far as I can tell teaching the very thing that might get him sent to the Hague.

    Don't you suppose his lecturers are full of (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:02:01 PM EST
    "some people think," "some people advocated" as opposed to"  here's what I did, sd., advocated etc.?

    Not sure (none / 0) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:12:28 PM EST
    I mean he stood pretty much alone (at least to the extreme he pushed it) on his theory on Executive Power, he might use "I"'s

    Well, then....an enterprising (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:15:11 PM EST
    student would have a tape recorder at all times.

    Isn't Berkley Soviet territory? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:26:07 PM EST
    I thought they only hired Leninists or football coaches.

    He's not a shill for Bush (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:11:47 PM EST
    Neither is Jane Harman.

    I was making a point.


    Too subtle. Suggest you solicit input from (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:19:11 PM EST
    a gilas girl and Pounder.  

    You lost me on this one (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by lambert on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:56:52 PM EST
    Not sure I see your point.

    The "looking forward" schtick isn't shilling? Why not?


    No? I give up. (none / 0) (#62)
    by jussumbody on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:52:18 PM EST
    So all three are shills for Cheney?  
    Shills for sure.  I'm just not sure for whom.  Definitely not for the people who voted for them.

    Maybe (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:13:33 PM EST
    Obama really is the Lieberman administration we never had. It's sure starting to sound like it.

    Ya know what? You are absolutely right. (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:45:36 PM EST
    Meh (none / 0) (#91)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:47:44 PM EST
    If we find out that the torture is continuing--then you'll be right.

    BTD, as you always say ... (5.00 / 8) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:41:26 PM EST
    pols are pols.

    But just imagine if this was the reaction to any other crime?

    "We're very sorry your house was robbed.  And, yes, we know who did it. But we're really focused on looking forward."

    I was just reading an Obamablog (5.00 / 8) (#27)
    by kempis on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:47:56 PM EST
    ...where people were cautioned by the lead author not to engage in destructive criticism of Obama because he "hasn't turned the country into a liberal oasis in three months."

    I said huh?

    Most people on the site heartily applauded the sentiment, being very protective of Obama. But one wise person spoke up and said Obama is not a liberal but a centrist. Therefore he/she never expected a liberal oasis. And if people actually want Obama to move more leftward on issues like this one, they need to let their displeasure with his position be known. Objecting to his stance on an issue is not "disloyalty." Etc. It was a great response. But I'm pretty sure it sailed over the heads of the others who were engaging in some fierce Obamalove.

    I think the left blogosphere overestimates its importance in general, which is demonstrated by Obama's actions on FISA, Rick Warren, prosecution of those who tore up our Constitution and our honor, the bank bailouts....And their fawning behavior demonstrates why that is: most aren't so much about principles as they are about winning, just like the DLC folks they savaged throughout the primaries--and before. Their attacks on "despicable pragmatists" like the Clintons were just like parakeets attacking their own images.

    Personally, I have nothing against pragmatism--as long as certain core Constitutional principles and personal liberties are protected. When they aren't, it's time to speak out.

    It's time to speak out.

    The left blogosphere (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:51:33 PM EST
    has had some fundraising success the problem is that its not established enough to weild the clout that said fundraising would normally bring- I mean the DailyKos probably donated enough in total to match some small special interests (or maybe large I mean its kind of murky how much SIs actually donate) but I doubt Markos can call up the President in the same way say a Dobson could under Bush.

    I think (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:18:46 PM EST
    that the left's, or progressive blogs ability to raise money has been vastly overstated.
    Goldman/Sachs contributed much more money to Obama.
    And the results are obvious.

    Except (none / 0) (#122)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:12:56 AM EST
    They were also one of Gore in 2000 biggest contributors without any results.

    Gore? (none / 0) (#129)
    by lentinel on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:54:38 AM EST
    Gore lost.
    How could he have rewarded Goldman/Sachs for their contributions?

    In any case, these mega-corporations contribute to both parties.
    They can't lose.
    Only we are the losers.
    To pretend that the net-roots are a competitive entity is foolhardy.


    What issues matter? (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:53:21 PM EST
    If your issue is "Democrats winning" then what else can you expect?

    How do you define "better Democrats" anyway?


    I wouldn't mind (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:53:42 PM EST
    some blog describing Obama as a shill for Bush.

    He is protecting the guilty.
    Not that we didn't have fair warning.

    It would be a silly thing to write (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:54:46 PM EST
    but I would not mind it either.

    Pressure from the Left is essential.


    Any ideas (none / 0) (#35)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:56:09 PM EST
    about how we could go about applying pressure?

    By holding Obama accountable (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:58:26 PM EST
    Praising him for those things we like (and we will not all agree, I am a free trader for instance) and criticizing him for those we do not.

    It is damn simple frankly. Tell the truth. Nothing more is needed.


    You (none / 0) (#43)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:02:17 PM EST
    are telling the truth.
    There are others as well.
    I don't sense, however, that Obama feels any pressure from the Left.

    Well (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:10:11 PM EST
    the "left" isn't really about issues that I can see. They've become the mirror image of the "right" in this country. They think that Obama is their "savior" much like the "right" saw Bush.

    Given his admins. has repeatly stated (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:04:43 PM EST
    blogs are not important to them, doesn't seem to influence his decisions.  

    Besides, (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:14:53 PM EST
    Obama and his associates know full well how civil libertarians and people on the left are going to react - and they couldn't care less.
    They just go right ahead.

    Their ace in the hole: the left's fear of the republicans.


    They may act as if the blogs don't matter (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by shoephone on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:42:50 AM EST
    But it certainly upset their little apple cart to see Marcy Wheeler -- a blogger -- highlighting  the 266 waterboarding incidents to the freaking New York Times.

    Anyway, not that petitions always work, but FDL has one going around (I received an email about it today) urging Obama to quit sweeping the torture under the rug, and prosecute. Much to the administration's chagrin, this is not going away. A German official was quoted as saying Obama is required, under international law, to investigate and prosecute the torturers. I very much dispute any notions that the world's citizens are just happy to see Obama in the White House and don't care about accountability.


    Precedent is destiny (5.00 / 5) (#51)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:20:20 PM EST
    The Bush Administration cited some of FDR's most regrettable wartime decisions in rationalizing their detention policies.

    Absent an affirmative repudiation of such precedents, we leave them intact in the tool kit for future officeholders whose intentions and scruples we cannot foresee.

    Last time I checked (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:37:45 PM EST
    The last time I checked, Obama doesn't actually get to decide this.  If the AG believes that crimes were committed, it is his decision whether to prosecute.  Sure, he serves at the pleasure of the President, but he is supposed to use his independent judgment.

    The higher-ups who ordered KSM and Zubayda to be waterboarded 266 times between them should be prosecuted (especially the ones who ordered it for Zubayda over the objections over the actual interrogators on site who said they believed he had already told them everything he knew).

    Very good point. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Joelarama on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:47:06 PM EST
    The reporting I have seen suggests, without attribution, that Holder was ready to consider prosecuting.

    And Holder is supposed to oversee the "de-politicization" of the DOJ.

    If I recall correctly, before the DC Circuit panel overturned the appointment, Janet Reno made the decision to appoint a special prosecutor, and Clinton had no power to stop her (or at least did not try to).

    I have not seen any commentators, mainstream or otherwise, pressing Holder to make an independent judgment -- or, as he has already admittedly bowed to public pressure, to recuse himself and let a deputy decide.


    Above should read: "bowed to (none / 0) (#60)
    by Joelarama on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:49:44 PM EST
    political pressure" as in the White House.

    Joe or Joel or Joela (none / 0) (#95)
    by cpa1 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10:25:19 PM EST
    What do you mean they overturned the appointment?

    I don't remember this one.  I remember David Sentelle but maybe I just forgot what happened.

    If I recall correctly, before the DC Circuit panel overturned the appointment, Janet Reno made the decision to appoint a special prosecutor, and Clinton had no power to stop her (or at least did not try to).

    Obama, Rahm and Gibbs (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:51:02 PM EST
    do not agree.

    That reason Gibbs gives (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:55:16 PM EST
    is, at the very least, deeply unsatisfying.

    Demand Obama prevent future abuses (5.00 / 9) (#79)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:46:27 PM EST
    The process used to justify waterboarding at secret prisons is far larger than just the issue of torture.  When government officials are deemed above the law, our faith in government wanes, and our trust in Obama's Change meme falters.  I expect that President Obama will do what's right if people demand that his Administration and Congress attend to this properly, not just sweep it under the rug.  

    From President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon in 1974 to Iran Contra and the presidential election fraud in 1980, drugs for arms, election fraud and other abuses, the Bush Administration's secret prisons and torture is just the latest manifestation of Republican dishonesty in a string of abuses that has encouraged and empowered repetitive lawbreaking.

    President Obama says we should move forward and we shouldn't be vindictive, but that's really not the point.  We don't even know the extent of who was involved in the lawbreaking this time.  Holding officials accountable isn't vindictiveness, it's a way to ensure that this never happens again.  The little we already know requires prosecution under the rule of law.  When we excuse high level lawbreakers in the interests of "moving forward instead of dwelling on the past," we embolden them to commit more and more crimes that tear down our democracy.  At the very least, we must know the full truth to prevent it from recurring.

    Our inability to prosecute unethical and illegal activities degrades our democracy and make a laughingstock of American justice and the rule of law.  We have a wildly popular Democratic president suggesting we do the same thing Ford and others did - let bygones be bygones.  But you cannot move forward without dealing with the past. In fact, there needs to be a serious reckoning before any sense of reconciliation can be achieved, especially since the characters corrupting our government are repeat offenders.  Cheney was a congressional intern in 1969 during Nixon's presidency.  He was on Donald Rumsfeld team when Rumsfeld from 1969-70.  He was White House Staff Assistant in 1971, and involved in other offices until 1975, when he suggested in a memo to Rumsfeld that Ford should use the Justice Department in legally questionable ways to exact retribution for an article published by The NY Times investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.  Sound familiar?  Would the Bush Administration have acted more responsibly if the Nixon Administration had been held to task for breaking the law?  Absolutely.  Would Cheney be have been our VP if more people knew about his devious and questionable activities.  I hope not.

    The name of the game is getting away with it, and Republicans are experts.  These memos describe grotesque war crimes legalized by those who benefit from destroying our great nation.  The Bybee memo just released seems like a legal authorization and preemptive point-by-point legalistic excuse for why the laws against torture don't apply to what they wanted to do.  In fact, it reads like somebody (perhaps Cheney) told them to go figure out a legal defense for why what they intended to do wouldn't be, strictly speaking, torture.

    So how do we fix this mess?  The Truth Commission should investigate and recommended policy changes, and a special prosecutor should be assigned to give the investigation some teeth.  We start with indictments, then move quickly to trials, convictions, and punishment.  Indict them, and some of them will turn tail and rat out the bosses rather than fall on their swords. Obama could grant clemency and commute their sentences providing they admit wrongdoing and testify against those in power who ordered them to do what they did.  I personally don't think Bush did much at all in terms of governing.  I think he was a puppet of oil interests and war profiteers.  I'd like to take down the real movers and shakers.  We need to get to the truth to destroy the power structure that has hamstrung our democracy for the past fifty years.

    If this becomes one more in a long string of government abuses, we are likely doomed to repeat these dangerous totalitarian actions done by our government in our name.  We need to demand the Obama administration initiate criminal proceedings, and at the least we should set up websites that flood Congress and the White House with good reasons to support the rule of law. Let's make a clear link between follow-up on torture prosecution and the people's trust in the government, which underlies the Hope we need Obama supporters to keep feeling.  I think Obama will do what's right if people demand it, and most people are willing to spend a few minutes telling Congress and the Prez to fix this so it can never happen again.
    These acts were carried out by our government, in our name, and if we are as repulsed by them as we claim to be, and as proud of our country as we should be, then the burden is on us to demand that something be done.  If we don't do so, we are complicit in the crimes of our government and we will have failed as in our duties as Americans.

    I have been expressing similar sentiments. Many (5.00 / 4) (#106)
    by DeborahNC on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 02:36:43 AM EST
    people on the blogs have said that such an investigation will "tear the country apart," yet if we do not proceed with a plan similar to what you just described, our country has potential to literally be torn apart, not just figuratively.

    Consider all of the violations of law perpetrated by the Bush regime, and then examine Obama's rationale for not pursuing investigations,etc.; how can anyone look at this situation closely and not think a mockery is being made of our so-called nation of laws? Why have laws, President  Obama, if one does not enforce them?

    President Obama is jeopardizing his credibility at home and abroad if he casually dismisses our judicial system with, "We need to look forward." It sounds so puerile and naive.


    The name of the game is getting away with (none / 0) (#92)
    by hairspray on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:56:20 PM EST
    it and the Republicans are very good at it.  It seems like a small thing, but it is not. These people are always around, hanging out at a think tank, a lobbying group, etc and in the next cycle or two they are back ready to roll.  Just look at Elliot Abrams as an example.

    We are under UN treaty obligations to investigate (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:35:12 PM EST
    torture cases where credible evidence exists that acts of torture occurred. Perhaps that unpleasant truth will mean Obama has no excuses, but I'd rather we actually demanded he not flake out.

    Under international law, he doesn't have the right to simply ignore solid evidence of war crimes, and torture is a war crime.  We have signed and ratified both the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture.  Failing to investigate is itself an illegal act.  

    This issue will not go away.  If we do not address the use of torture (and expose the process used to bring us to that horrific point) as well as the wider issue of executive power in undeclared wars, we will face bigger problems in the future.  We need to focus on the problems inherent in the system, and we get there by investigating the people who ordered this.  Obama will not be in power forever, and our system of checks and balances are worthless if we are unable to openly and transparently investigate US war crimes, including prosecuting those responsible.


    A Dustup Needed (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Missblu on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:01:37 PM EST
    I concur with above.

    Lets call for Patrick Fitzgerald to head up the Truth commission.

    I too am going to look forward. (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:30:15 PM EST
    Much easier that facing the train that's gonna plow us down.

    Facing forward!  

    The Soprano's - Season 6, Episode 10 (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by jerry on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:12:33 AM EST
    Robert Gibbs: "The president is focused on looking forward. That's why."

    Anthony Soprano at a meeting of the minds with Phil Leotardo hosted by Little Carmine, agreeing on overlooking the whack on Vita Spatafore, the blowing up of the wireshack, and the possible murder of Dom.  "I just want to look forward."

    I am all for moving forward (2.00 / 1) (#59)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:49:26 PM EST
    The major discussion I want to see, and I hope can come from this, is that their is no value in torturing our enemies.  I don't think prosecuting some lawyer is what will make this not happen again, but instead Congress, with whatever help is needed from Obama, needs to show the American people that the Jack Bower situation is not real.  Only when the vast majority of Americans trully believe that torturing someone else doesn't protect us can we be assured it won't happen again in our names.

    But (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:08:13 PM EST
    that's not the the discussion we're having. The discussion we're having is basically that torturing is okay as long as it keeps us "safe". The conservatives are winning this argument once again.

    Possibly because the "left" (2.00 / 1) (#88)
    by samtaylor2 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:41:18 PM EST
    Is more into the discussing prosecution, instead of if hurting someone over and over again is a valuable tool.

    Oh (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:14:50 PM EST
    and those so called "blogs" have lost all credibility long ago. Does anyone even care what they say anymore? IMO, it's the mirror image of redstate during the Bush administration.

    After three weeks of T_B_ posts (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Fabian on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 04:33:56 AM EST
    I have to agree with you. dk was all tea parties, all the time.  Then the memo release was announced which I anticipated anxiously - and that evening even the front page posts were still tea parties.

    If it's a blog about and for Democrats, why are they spending more time watching the out of power Republicans than the Democrats who are running our government?


    Yes some might (none / 0) (#6)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:16:57 PM EST
    I don't think the Obama admin would do anything to stop impeachment of Bybee and disbarrment of Yoo, (both of which are actions that the Executive has no business/ no authority to push, but which are appropriate). I guess I just can't see anyway that the people who should be charged (high-ranking Admin officials- Tenet, Rumsfield, Cheney and Bush himself) can be without it tearing the country a part, and charging low level CIA officials who didn't exceed the OLC guidelines (the number of times waterboarded for both Zubadyah and KSM exceed the guidelines) seems like it could have far reaching effects.  
    The right thing would be charging all applicable Executive branch officials but only going after the CIA persons if they went beyond the OLC memos. I just wonder how doable it is and to what extent its being kept quite because of the can of worms it would open with pass administrations and their orders to the various covert services- from Vietnam, to Afghanistan, to Iran-Contra, to rendition- almost all of which involved law-breaking.

    The Harmon situation- especially if it was as some have implied a quid pro quo situation, beyond disgusting and frankly you have to wonder as to its legality (both in terms of the taps, and in terms of Harmon's actions).  

    No they won't (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:19:50 PM EST
    My point is different than the one you want to project on it.

    I was quite critical of Jane Harman before she changed her tune in 2006.

    I am quite critical of Obama when he adopts a policy I disagree with (btw, I am not in disagreement with no prosecutions SO LONG AS we have a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.)

    I called neither "shills for Bush."

    I do have contempt for hypocrisy and double standards. That was exhibited today in the Left blogs.


    I'm okay with Harman (none / 0) (#12)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:22:27 PM EST
    assuming the contact she made wasn't illegal, and that she didn't tailor her actions in order to prevent the conduct from coming to light.

    Well (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:24:47 PM EST
    What contact is that? What precisely are you talking about? What precisely do you know at this point?

    You see, Harman denied the allegations. Gibbs confirmed that there will be no prosecutions for torture.

    The case is much stronger for "Obama is a shill for Bush" than "Harman is a shill for Bush."

    I think both statements are ridiculous.


    Is there no confirmation of the tapes (none / 0) (#19)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:32:24 PM EST
    if that's the case then my bad, I guess I thought the supposed conversation between Harman and the "agent of Israel" was recorded and released not just an unsubstantiated rumor.

    There is no confirmation (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:36:14 PM EST
    of much of anything frankly.

    But the tapes quote Harman as saying to some unknown person that "if they think it will help, she'll waddle in" to the AIPAC prosecutions issues.

    It turns out she did not, according to the only report we have - Harman's categorical denial on the record.

    So much for quid pro quo - btw, what did Harman supposedly get out of this anyway? Haim Saban lobbying Pelosi for Harman? Anyone connect that?

    How was Haim Saban involved? Was he the person being tapped? that would be a serious problem.


    How would (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:21:12 PM EST
    charging an ex president "tear the country apart". Sometimes you just have to do the right thing and hold people accountable. So we are supposed to let people get away with things because it might be too hard?

    I fail to see (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:23:05 PM EST
    how he finds Harman's actions despicable but is fine with this.

    I think one could disagree with Harman (the quid pro quo story has completely fallen apart at this point) and disagree with Obama and rightly state they are and were wrong without accusing anyone of being a "shill for Bush."

    At this point, the easier argument is that Obama is a shill for Bush.


    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:28:23 PM EST
    when you ignore the issues and buy into the cult of personality it's easy I guess.

    Harmon is bad so therefore everything she does is bad.

    Obama is good so even his tacit approval of torture is now fine.

    At least that's how I figure their thinking is.


    I guess I'm (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:30:32 PM EST
    worried that prosecuting Bush would do for us what Impeaching Bill Clinton did for the GOP (this is not to compare the merits of either case nor the gravity of the accusations).  Furthermore, I'm worried that prosecuting Bush for authorizing and quite possibly forcing torture on the CIA, might lead to things like the Extraordinary Rendition (as distasteful as it is) of the Clinton years, or the funding on the Mujahadeen of the late Carter term being criminalized- this is not to say that I don't think some things should be prosecuted- Iran-Contra was a more serious violation of the constitution than Watergate and one of the principles is basically a hero to 30% of America because of it.  I guess I would just prefer a truth and reconciliation model here (and ideally- though this is probably my leftwing values, and not in any way practical- the ICC taking up the case- we're not a signatory but I don't believe Serbia was a signatory when Milosevic was awaiting trial).  

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:35:20 PM EST
    just consider the fact that Bill Clinton was and still is extremely popular and Bush is pretty much reviled across the country.

    This has got to stop. It's only just going to get worse and if Obama fails on the economy (which it looks like he's going to do) there's a great chance that there will be a right winger even worse than Bush to make it into the White House. Then when the country falls under facism we can all sit around and wonder why, oh why didn't we do something when we had the chance?


    That would be wrong (none / 0) (#26)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:45:31 PM EST
    and even you have to admit it- Popularity shouldn't protect someone if their actions are illegal, if we actually did prosecute we'd have to go all the way, not give passes based on Public Opinion polls.

    I'm arguing (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:00:15 PM EST
    that first of all we can't impeach Bush. He's already left office. Secondly, criminally charging an unpopular President is unlikely to "tear the country" apart. That's pretty much my point. It shouldn't be determined by popularity but IMO the popularity of the President DOES have an effect i.e. indicting an unpopular president is frankly a lot easier if you're honest about it but that shouldn't be the deciding factor.

    The excuses you have been putting forth are the same ones the GOP has used time and again. It would be too detrimental to X to do Y. You have to weigh whether the effects are worth it. I think it's worth it simply because it's NOT going to stop and only get worse UNLESS we do something.


    Looking back on Watergate (5.00 / 5) (#81)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:55:13 PM EST
    at the beginning of the Nixon impeachment hearings, only 25% of the country favored impeachment. By the end of the hearings, 75% favored impeachment/removal. The hearings provided a national education in the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.  We've long forgotten the lessons.  The Watergate investigation went to the top by starting with easier targets in the Admimistration. I'd be in favor of going after Bybee -- for sure, IMO, he isn't qualified to hold a federal judgment, and allowing the Professional Liability Section of the Office of Legal Counsel to proceed with recommending disbarment of Yoo to the appropriate state bar; then let's see where these proceedings lead. We don't know all that's underneath until we start pealing away the top layers.  
    Also - I think there are national polls showing the majority favoring punishment for Bush admin wrong-doers.  

    Actually can't we techincally (none / 0) (#48)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:13:54 PM EST
    impeach Bush after he's left office- I thought I heard that argument bandied about.

    No (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:09:55 PM EST
    he can be prosecuted but not impeached is the way I understand it. Impeachment is simply removal from office.

    IIRC, impeachment (none / 0) (#74)
    by Spamlet on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:25:46 PM EST
    is charging a public official with misconduct and bringing said charges before a tribunal, but it is not necessarily synonymous with removal from office. After all, Clinton was impeached but not removed from office. Ditto President Andrew Johnson.

    Okay. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:27:03 PM EST
    You're right. I had forgotten that.

    Are you arguing Clinton (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:49:27 PM EST
    should have been impeached? Really? for what precisely?

    No (none / 0) (#34)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:55:27 PM EST
    I'm arguing that if we prosecute Bush for torture we open the door for Prosecution for Extraordinary Rendition under Clinton, I would say the direct torture is obviously a more serious crime, but that its also hard to imagine how Prosecuting one wouldn't lead the far more partisan right to seek indictment over the other.

    The popularity thing was in response to Ga6thDem talking about how Clinton's popular and thus wouldn't be prosecuted- which frankly if were going to actually apply the law to such things seems like the wrong attitude- I mean Peru just jailed a guy who's probably at 60% popularity in his country and who is widely credited with saving his nation.


    You would be wrong (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:56:51 PM EST
    Clinton did not engage in "extraordinary rendition."

    Just regular old fashioned extradition.


    To clarify (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:01:18 PM EST
    Clinton never used extraordinary rendition AFTER it was made illegal by congressional Act in 1998:

    "The Department of Justice's arguments notwithstanding, the extraordinary rendition program is illegal. It is clearly prohibited by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States in 1992, and by congressionally enacted policy giving effect to CAT. As Congress made clear, it is the policy of the United States not to:

    expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States.

    Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, ("FARRA"), Pub. L. No. 105-277, § 2242, 112 Stat. 2681 (Oct. 21, 1998), reprinted in 8 U.S.C. § 1231, Historical and Statutory Notes (1999) (emphasis added)."


    Well, we're also required by the UN (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:08:04 PM EST
    to investigate a prosecute torture.  So how can Obama just decide not to?

    Jeepers! (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:31:02 PM EST
    You surely can't mean that you don't see any difference between impeaching a guy for a consensual b**w job and prosecuting for somebody who orders torture?


    Nixon got pardoned for his crimes because not doing so would "tear the country apart."  A nascent movement to impeach Ronald Reagan for Iran-contra was squashed because it would "tear the country apart."  Bush wasn't impeached partly because of the same excuse.

    Sometimes it's more important to go after criminals.  The country would survive just fine, and be better off in the long run for certain.


    That's what they said (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:37:24 PM EST
    about blowing off FISA.

    I see no reason for you to have had any problem with Harman EVER if that is your view.


    The Harman situation, btw (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:20:50 PM EST
    has been denied by all named person on the record. Harman herself, Bill Keller of the Times, etc.

    Your disgust is quite selective it seems to me.


    Not A Shill for Bush (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:26:53 PM EST
    But a shill for the US. Apart from a ceremonial investigative committee, like the 9/11 committee, I think it would take tremendous international pressure for any US president to investigate a former administration for war crimes. Any stains that show up are stains on the US, and Obama, who is protecting the image of America. In this case the stains go deep, imo, and are not limited to GOPers.

    The only other pressure that could force Obama's hand would be major protests all across the US demanding trials and investigations. I can't imagine that happening.

    Which image of America is Obama (5.00 / 10) (#45)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:06:07 PM EST
    protecting?  Because as near as I can tell, the image we have seems to be of a country that abandons its democratic principles and tortures people.

    You don't change that image by yanking out the rear view mirror so the only direction we can see is forward, or by saying in appropriately stern tones that "America doesn't torture."  

    The memos make clear that we do - we did - torture.  And we did it because people at the highest levels of government said it was okay.  What else do you suppose presidents and vice presidents and attorneys general and the DNI and the OLC will decide is okay - especially given that we now seem to have this great precedent of - "hey!  do whatever you want! no one's goin' to jail!  Foward, people, forward!"  What fresh hell will someone decide warrants some new level of "harsh" treatment, what "exception" will be parsed and contrived by the latest group of yes-men in order to justify it?"

    Failure to investigate, and failure to prosecute renders the phrase "rule of law," when uttered by Obama, to be an insult and a mockery of who we hold ourselves out to be.  When Obama fails to act, he makes me and you and everyone else complicit - and I don't know why anyone - anyone - would stand for it.

    It's just too damn bad that no one went to the trouble to draw these lines two years ago, while Bush was still president; whining about how it would be too hard, or too unseemly, or too political to do anything now is just pathetic and cowardly.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:24:05 PM EST
    that the reason no one went to the trouble to draw these lines while Bush was still president is because they were all in it with him. Republican and Democrat. Bush, Cheney, Obama and Biden.

    The Image Is: (2.00 / 1) (#78)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:37:07 PM EST
    We don't torture. The BushCo torture years have ended. Most of the world, including most Americans believe the "dark years", as Obama put, have ended.

    The left as well as the international community can push for war crimes tribunals, but usually that only works out for defeated nations.

    We are not a defeated nation in the eyes of the world, imo. Most world citizens are happy enough to see BushCo gone to pasture and feel optimism from Obama.

    Where would the prosecutions stop? I would love to see Bush and Cheney as cellmates serving life sentences, but who else. Pelosi, Feinstein, Rockefeller, Hillary, they all blinked as well as many other usual suspects.  BushCo pulled a conjob based on 9/11 and took it to the bank. All those that nodded, are they also culpable?

    That winds up being well over half the country. Where does it stop once the prosecutions start?


    If people believe this, (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Aramis on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 03:21:24 AM EST
    The BushCo torture years have ended. Most of the world, including most Americans believe the "dark years", as Obama put, have ended.

    because Obama said it, then they are in denial and are not independent thinkers. Yes, Obama has been enthusiastically welcomed in many countries and enjoys moderately high approval rating.

    I agree it's a welcome change. But he can't maintain popularity from novelty and empassioned campaign promises. He has to govern well, and he has to promulgate policies and ideas consistent with his campaign rhetoric. That's what attracted people to him initially, and that is what will enable people to continue to trust him.

    The "dark years" can become darker if Obama is not a thoughtful leader and willing to defend the Constitution.


    Hillary was NOT a member (none / 0) (#83)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:59:30 PM EST
    of the Senate Intelligence Committee with knowledge of illegal acts.  

    As Far as You Know (1.33 / 3) (#94)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10:23:25 PM EST
    Hillary had no knowledge of illegal acts, but what if she knew? She was on the armed service committee. I am sure that would be upsetting for you if a full scale investigation turned up her name among others who we like, no?

    Well, at least it is good to know where you would stop digging for culpability.


    That is absurd (5.00 / 5) (#100)
    by otherlisa on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:17:56 PM EST
    Bringing HIllary into this is ridiculous. Talk about warped wishful thinking!

    Here's my list for prosecution:

    George W. Bush
    Dick Cheney
    Donald Rumsfeld
    Alberto Gonzales
    John Yoo

    I think that's a pretty good start.


    Yes, I would be upset (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:21:06 AM EST
    BUT no, I would not stop inquiry because it upset me.  What you are doing, on the other hand, is spreading misinformation.  You have no basis for throwing Hillary's name into the mix on this one.  It is you who are recklessly suggesting culpability.

    well, for example (none / 0) (#119)
    by lilburro on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:59:30 AM EST
    Dick Durbin of the SASC, the Senator that spearheaded the report on the treatment of detainees, said clearly that the role of the CIA was a big unknown when appearing on the talk rounds to discuss his report.

    Gitmo was in their sphere though.


    Hello? (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by CDN Ctzn on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:38:33 PM EST
    The world already knows we're full of sh!t, even without any investigation. ANY investigation could only help our image in the eyes of the world

    The only time (none / 0) (#20)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:33:37 PM EST
    I can think of that such a complete examination has ever occured was the Church commission but that was before I was even born.

    Let's hope (none / 0) (#39)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 06:59:02 PM EST
    for both international pressure and a domestic outcry from outraged citizens.

    The main Serbian opposition party, (none / 0) (#56)
    by Joelarama on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:39:50 PM EST
    the Democratic Party, has more guts on this issue than our Democratic Party.

    We're no better than Serbia -- or that is the lesson many will draw.  And it is hard to lecture Cuba, or China, or anyone else when we cannot uphold the rule of law on torture in our own country.

    Today in Iraq the report is that Iraqi men perceived as gay are being tortured and killed by having flesh-binding glue put in their anuses, followed by laxatives.  

    Perhaps a doctor was present to administer the drug, and that made it all right, under Bybee's formula.

    You Know, (none / 0) (#57)
    by CDN Ctzn on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:40:25 PM EST
    there are some of us here that aren't in the least bit surprised by this action. The writing was on the wall long before the Elections if anyone was really looking!

    I was a big Obama skeptic (none / 0) (#63)
    by Joelarama on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:52:46 PM EST
    and Clinton supporter.  And I do not believe Clinton would have done any different.  In fact, I believe she would have been less likely even to release the memos, much less prosecute.

    I would (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:06:40 PM EST
    tend to agree if she hadn't voted against FISA. That makes me think that maybe she wouldn't have done the same thing as Obama.

    What's more, Hillary would (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:04:40 PM EST
    not have had the 60% blind public approval to support her in doing what she might have thought is the right thing to do; Obama has this and he is squandering it.

    BYW, what's happening with Senate seating of Franken since Pawlenty statement that he won't sign election certificate clearly without any motive other than politics?


    After all the baseless GOP attacks on (none / 0) (#114)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:13:11 AM EST
    Bill, Hillary would be in an even worse position to pursue prosecutions than Obama is.  Anything she did regarding this issue would be seen as revenge for impeachment.  

    Obama has the a more generic version of this problem, political prosecution.  The case that it is not a political prosecution, if it is to be made, must be made slowly.  

    We have facts out there, more will follow.  Keep pressuring for Congressional investigations, Bybee impeachment and trial, etc and the case wil be made and the need for a Special Prosecutor will become impossible for Obama, rather Holder, to ignore.  

    The former President and Vice President of the US authorized, bent over backwards to legitimize, the use of torture.  I think we're all on new ground here in trying to figure out how to hold them accountable, but I am confident that over time they will be held accountable.  

    Keep up the pressure.


    Sad (none / 0) (#65)
    by CDN Ctzn on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 07:57:43 PM EST
    but true!

    I always had the feeling that (none / 0) (#99)
    by cpa1 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:16:06 PM EST
    Hillary was going to come out as a totally powerful woman, who could actually think for herself, if she became president.  I think she wanted to show all the men, whose asses she had to kiss to become president, that women are equal in every way to men and that she was going to be a lot truer to her beliefs than most of us think.  I think many of the men in the Democratic Party knew that and they didn't want that much change and look what happened.

    I think she wanted to make the hate monger in the GOP pay for opening Pandora's Box.  I think she would have no problem at all with the idea of burying the Republicans who were such hypocritical animals to her and her family, regardless of what her husband did.

    I do not think she would have prolonged our engagement in the war in Iraq that Obama, the man with that one speech, .did.  I don't think she would put restrictions on stem cell research as Obama did.  I don't think her AG would be prosecuting marijuana possessers while letting Alberto, Donald and Dick go free.  I think she would see the poison created by the Bush tax cuts and end them sooner than their prescribed sunset.  I don't think she would be an anal retentive free trader who would be blinded by the macho concept while ignoring state supported products and countries selling products off the backs of starving children making a few pennies an our.

    Finally, I think she would support my plan to force Switzerland to end their numbered and unnamed private bank accounts that represent the Sodom and Gomorrah of present day earth.  Reagan loving Obama would not do that.


    shill for the plutocracy of the usa, (none / 0) (#66)
    by sancho on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:05:15 PM EST
    like bush. but where the bush family had a green ranch, the obama family has an organic garden at the white house. i think that's sweet. and i'm glad obama is standing up for america--like harman, bush, and, well, just about everybody except one or two of those liberal bloggers whose names i cant remember anyway.

    seriously, i really dont know why we bother to comment on this travesty.

    Remember Lt Calley? (none / 0) (#70)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:10:44 PM EST
    Prosecuting war criminals often tends to focus sympathy on the accused.

    The most basic point, the key here, is to make sure that we have a general societal agreement that torture is wrong.  A finding that it doesn't work would be nice to. Once you start to prosecute, all kinds of forces are put into play....Lt. Calley was supported by many, many people while he was being tried....He was convicted, served a small amount of time on house arrest, and then was free....I believe his prosecution actually created more sympathy for him than for those he and Capt. Medina butchered.

    We need to brand Cheney, Bybee and Yoo as the monsters that they are.  We need a public consensus on that point.  It would be nice to prosecute them but in reality that would tend to draw too much sympathy to people "who were just defending their country."  Those who oppose torture have the public with them--now.  Cheney and his ilk could become martyrs in the eyes of many.  And they could win at trial.  There is no sure thing here...

    I think the best way is to start disbarment proceedings in California against Bybee where he sits on the Ninth Circuit, and against Yoo where he teaches (assuming both are members of the California Bar.)

    And, have a truth commission.  The truth is powerful.  The spotlight serves as a good disinfectant.

    We already have international consensus (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by shoephone on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:47:56 AM EST
    that torture is wrong. We have UN conventions stating exactly that. We have international law. What good is having a law unless it is upheld? Not prosecuting only encourages others to do the same in the future.

    Telford Taylor is turning in his grave.


    No Calleys in the picture (none / 0) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:11:58 PM EST
    So your point is not apparent to me.

    If someone who murdered (none / 0) (#73)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:20:57 PM EST
    many women, children and old men, gets sympathy and a slap on the wrist; then someone who merely "roughs up" known terrorists, will get even more favorable treatment...

    Prosecuting the current group could prove very problematic and counterproductive....


    It seems (none / 0) (#72)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:17:33 PM EST
    to me that a commission would make them much more sympathetic figures than any court proceeding. That can actually be seen as some sort of partisan thing since no Republicans are going to sign onto such a thing and it will completely conducted by Dems which is what will happen in the unlikely event there is even one.

    A commision would create (none / 0) (#75)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:26:26 PM EST
    a national debate that does not directly threaten the liberty of the perpetrators....

    I think we win that debate--now....If you put Bybee and the rest at risk of going to jail, the debate shifts in tone....

    If you think you can win all the marbles, and get a meaningful conviction, then the course would be clear.  I think, however, a trial could be lost....Sometimes settling rather than trying a case is a good idea...I'd take a truth commission as a half-baked settlement....


    Why shouldn't the liberty of the (5.00 / 7) (#80)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 08:51:42 PM EST
    perpetrators be threatened?

    You know, I don't understand why we seem to be so protective of the delicate sensibilities of people who devised contorted legal arguments for, and others who ordered, sadistic and inhumane treatment of other human beings, that included waterboarding two individuals a total of 266 times in one month.  That these same people love their wives and go to their kids' soccer games and visit their elderly parents in the nursing home doesn't excuse or condone the evil they twisted the law to justify and used to turn who-knows-how-many people we didn't even know were guilty of anything into basket cases.

    The American people deserve to know what happened, and those who are being investigated, and possibly prosecuted, need to understand that actions have consequences.  For almost a decade, too many within the government have acted with impunity, largely because of a massively misguided belief that as long as someone can make an argument that they were patriots just doing their jobs, it's okay.

    It's not okay.  And all the people who come after need to know that they cross the line at their own peril.


    The worst possible result (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:38:20 AM EST
    is an acquitall.  Cheney, Bybee, Yoo found innocent.  That is a very real possibility....



    Right, especially now that the CIA has (none / 0) (#131)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    destroyed evidence.  Reagan appointed his own investigation team (the Tower Commission) to look for wrongdoing in the arms for hostages scandal. Surprise, they didn't find any evidence that President Reagan himself knew of the "extent of the programs."  Neither did the congressional investigation, but it's hard to tell when you don't have damning evidence to get the underlings to turn on their superiors.

    There (none / 0) (#90)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 09:47:12 PM EST
    isn't going to be a commission. Leahy has said that he has been trying to get one together but apparenlty Obama won't go for it unless Republicans sign on and they aren't going to. You're advocating for basically a pipe dream.

    Truth commission (none / 0) (#93)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10:08:33 PM EST
    sounds very Orweillian to me.

    Anyone think the truth can be found via that route?

    Worked in Africa (none / 0) (#96)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10:27:41 PM EST
    both in South Africa and in Rwanda.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 10:32:17 PM EST
    Although, as much as I would like to see a truth commission here, the situation in SA and Rwanda were not even remotely parallel to the BushCo regime and our torture policies.

    Perhaps there should be a truth commission in Iraq, that could be a healing thing.


    And in Guatemala (none / 0) (#127)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:44:26 AM EST
    The truth matters.  The fog of lies and deception is a continual wound.  

    The Catholic Church's Gerardi Report in 1998 led to the UN Truth Commission's findings in 1999. Those reports have been very important--and honors those who fought and died to get the truth out, and remembers the innocents (200,000) who were the victims of Guatemala's civil war.  The power behind that is immense--especially since the Guatemalan Army and its U.S backers hid behind typical right-wing lies for so long.


    Obama may not be running his (none / 0) (#101)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 11:25:23 PM EST
    ideas past and/or soliciting input from his "Team of Rivals."  First cabinet mtg. just took place.  Surprising.

    BO has always been a shill for Bush (none / 0) (#110)
    by Bornagaindem on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 06:42:06 AM EST
    what is new about that?

    For real? (none / 0) (#113)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:02:15 AM EST
    joking no?

    Obama has little choice at the moment (none / 0) (#112)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:00:42 AM EST
    it is up to people to force him to appoint a special prosecutor.  If he set the DOJ on these guys, and we all know it goes up to Cheney and Bush, it cannot help but appear a political prosecution and the GOP and Fox drive that story 24/7.  They'll be screaming about the criminilization of politics when we all, including Obama, know what we have with Bushco is the politicization of crime.

    Keep pressuring for a special prosecutor and it will happen.  Feinstien wants a Senate investigation.  While I wouldn't trust her on this issue put Sheldon whitehouse on the committee and it will bring to light the facts and demonstrate the need for a Special Prosecutor.

    In order to avoid the naming of a prosecutor as a "cave in to the left," or "political retribution"  and creating an all consuming  sideshow that derails other Obama Administration initiatives, the case needs to be made slowly and surely before the jury, which is the American public.  The release of these memos is a good step... They should release whatever the Hell Cheney is talking about too, I doubt there's anything that will help out that paranoid creep.  

    We could very well have an impeachmnet of Bybee and a real trial in the Senate which could bring to light more facts.

    I am not suggesting this is Obama's master plan, it's just the political reality and it does not mean there won't be prosecutions.  It just means it is up to us.

    Are you kidding? (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:22:07 AM EST
    Of course Obama has a choice in this matter and he's made it. He's said there will be no prosecutions. Look no further than the tea parties to realize that the GOP already dislikes him. I simply can't understand why you guys are so worried about the GOP.

    It's just another keeping the powder dry moment. Before long Obama will have frittered away any political capital that he has and will be able to do nothing.


    It isn't Obama's decision. (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by Anne on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:11:30 AM EST
    The decision about prosecutions is Holder's, not Obama's.

    There is a Newsweek story out today that's a little interesting; here's a snip:

    But the Obama administration is not off the hook. Though administration officials declared that CIA interrogators who followed Justice's legal guidance on torture would not be prosecuted, that does not mean the inquiries are over. Senior Justice Department lawyers and other advisers, who declined to be identified discussing a sensitive subject, say Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has discussed naming a senior prosecutor or outside counsel to review whether CIA interrogators exceeded legal boundaries--and whether Bush administration officials broke the law by giving the CIA permission to torture in the first place. Some Justice officials are deeply troubled by reports of detainee treatment and believe they may suggest criminal misconduct, these sources say. Even if prosecutions prove too difficult to bring, an outside counsel's report could be made public. For his part, Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is still pushing for a "truth commission." In a democracy, the wheels of justice grind on--and the president, for good reason under the rule of law, does not have the power to stop them.

    Emphasis is mine.

    We can all speculate about why it is Obama who is declaring that no one will be prosecuted, when it isn't his call - is he attempting to make it impossible for Holder to call for prosecutions?  

    I don't know.  But for a guy who canmpaigned for transparency and accountability, who railed against the unitary executive concept, who forcefully declared that investigations into torture were called for, he is making a mockery of "the rule of law."


    This issue is not going away (none / 0) (#117)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:30:59 AM EST
    what you hearing is the usual, predicatble reluctance to appoint a special prosecutor, the public outrage builds, the SP gets named.

    There will be COngressional investigations, more info comes to light, possible Bybee impeachment effort etc.  In time, if public pressure builds, a special prosecutor.

    That's how it works.

    Of course the GOP hates him and will oppose any investigation or prosecution.  It is the independents who must be on board, and solidly on board for any of this to result in meaningful accountability.  They are not there yet and until they are neither is anyone in the Administration.

    The statute of limitaitons on these crimes has not run. Obama, like ALL politicans, will respond to public pressure or risk losing his job.

    Keep up the pressure.

    And I am against any Truth Commission. There should be no special set of procedures in this country for one class of criminals and the regular railroading, plea bargaining express for the rest of us.


    Congressional (none / 0) (#118)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 07:38:39 AM EST
    investigations won't work. They will do exactly what you are talking about: look partisan. The GOP will not sign onto them they've already said.

    If you don't lead on the issue then you may never get the independents on board. You're pretty much saying that Obama wants to cede leadership on this issue to someone else. What happens if those independents never "get on board". It's entirely possible with no leadership.


    They might not but there is no other (none / 0) (#120)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:06:52 AM EST
    approach.  Whether Obama is setting it up to make it look like he is dragged where he'd prefer not to go or whether he actually gets dragged against his will by public opinion is immaterial, it's the only way it is going to happen.  Only Nixon can go to China.  Whether by design or happenstance, Obama must be convincing as being opposed to this before he can actually do it.

    Imagine him leading on this by ordering the DOJ to look into this right now with what we presently know.  What happens? Pretty predictable and not likely to produce the intended result, accountability.  He makes martyrs out of these thugs and they have a field day accusing him of criminalizing politics.  BS but it will work - today.

    Now wait six months or a year as more and more is revealed.  Obama has steadfastly refused to prosecute, Congress has investigated , other materials have come to light, Bybee maybe impeached (if not removed from office), public awareness and outrage has grown.

    "despite my oft stated misgivings and opposition to looking backwards, recent revelations have forced me to re evaluate etc etc  SO today I am naming (some registered Republican prosecutor)  as Special Prosecutor"

    Could it NOT happen?  Sure.  But it is also the only way it can happen.  He simply cannot lead on this, he will  be viewed by independents as being inherently biased, just as Ken Starr & Co. were.  And yes it's not fair to compare torture to infidelity and a bogus land deal "scandal."  Life's not fair.  

    The public must lead on this one.  It cannot possibly happen without public demand so let's keep up the pressure.

    Actually, investigation can and have worked.  Watergate.  Iran-Contra led to criminal prosecutions.   Teh GOP is much waeker now than they were durign Iran Contra, the key is to do this in a way that keeps them weak.


    Why are (none / 0) (#124)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:23:53 AM EST
    you so sure that they're going to be made martyrs? Plenty of people are tried in court and the defendants don't come off as martyrs.

    Because (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 12:05:43 PM EST
    most view the detainees as bad guys who suffered no permanent physical injury.  And those who authorized torture didn't do so to enrich themselves or to score political points.  They did so to defend their country.

    That argument may not do much for you but it will for many.  This is a country that loves Dirty Harry movies.  And 24.

    The best analogy is Lt. Calley.  He did worse than Cheney, Bybee et. al.--because he killed innocent people.  He was ultimately viewed as sort of a hapless victim himself.  The real bad guy, Capt. Medina, Calley's company commander, was acquitted.  Plausible deniability.  

    So, you prosecute and Cheney is acquitted, maybe the others too....It can happen.  


    They'll be martyrs because ignorant people (none / 0) (#132)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 01:17:09 PM EST
    listen to, and fervently believe, right wing talk radio and pundits.  Remember Oliver North.  Not only did he get off, he made big bucks afterwards speaking on the university circuit.  Now he's a good ole boy Faux News commentator.

    What Ollie did was unethical and illegal, but since he did it supposedly in our country's best interests, he became a right wing hero.

    The same could happen if the wingers reframe torturers as patriots doing whatever it took to keep our country safe during a period of time when we were desperately trying to prevent another 9/11.  And in fact, they have a good point, except that of course the torture didn't work and the CIA should have know it wouldn't.  


    Soon (none / 0) (#123)
    by lilburro on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:17:16 AM EST
    John Durham will be finished with his investigation of the CIA tape destruction.  We'll get to see if anyone gets punished for any part of this torture regime at all.

    Letting people get away with (none / 0) (#125)
    by No Blood for Hubris on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 08:36:50 AM EST
    murder -- in this case, torture -- serves no one's interests.  Failing to enforce existing standards serves no one's interests.

    Obama/Rahm's notion of "move on move on nothing to see here, move along" is just not ok.

    It's an expression of numbing and avoidance -- gee, come to think of it, isn't that one of the prime symptom categories of PTSD?

    Why, yes it is!

    Makes one ponder.

    But it wasn't murder (none / 0) (#128)
    by MKS on Tue Apr 21, 2009 at 11:54:03 AM EST
    And presumably none of detainees suffered any lasting physical injury.   And they are bad eggs....

    That doesn't justify torture--I agree.  But we are liberals/progressives here. So we all agree on the principle.  But many will say so what--especially if we are trying to put the torturers in jail.

    The prosecution of those who authorized torture will result in a contest of abstract principles (no torture) v. real people (putting people in jail.)  Few will feel much sympathy for the detainees who were water-boardered.  Trying to uphold an abstract principle against real people is not the easiest thing to do.