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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:27 PM
Original message
Obama Pick for OLC at Justice Means Bush War Crimes Are Likely to Be Appropriately Addressed
Other than the Bush/Cheney presidency itself, my biggest disappointment in my country over the past several years stems from the failure of our Democratic Congress to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their many crimes, through impeachment and removal from office. I have written on that subject many times.

Though I campaigned for Obamas election and was thrilled when he won, I have nevertheless had some mixed feelings about him. At the top of my concerns about his presidency were signals from him that I interpreted as telling us that he is not likely to pursue Bush administration war crimes as when he said in response to a question on that subject On the other hand I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.

That statement, more than perhaps any other statement of his upset me a great deal. As far as Im concerned, holding the Bush administration accountable for their many crimes against the American people, our Constitution, and humanity is the very essence of looking towards the future a future where my country has respect for the rule of law and where our leaders are aware that they cannot commit war crimes with impunity.

But with Obamas appointment of Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Department of Justice, for the first time since Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table I have high hopes that the Bush/Cheney war crimes and crimes against our Constitution will be pursued with the vigor that they deserve.

It was from the OLC that John Yoo authored his infamous torture memos. As head of the OLC, Dawn Johnsen will be the principle legal advisor to the Attorney General and responsible for providing legal advice to the President and other Executive Branch agencies. She will be in the third most authoritative position, next to Eric Holder and Obama himself, to pursue the many serious crimes committed by the Bush/Cheney administration.

Johnsen graduated from Yale Law School and was an OLC official in the Clinton administration. Her strong and publicly vocal opposition to Bush administration crimes make it seem unlikely that she will stand for allowing those crimes to be ignored. The fact that Obama chose her for this position makes it seem highly likely that he is fully open to allowing a full investigation into those crimes, with appropriate action taken in response to wherever those investigations lead.


Dawn Johnsen on Bush administration torture

In April 2008, Johnsen expressed her outrage over the revelation of the latest Bush OLC torture memo:

Where is the outrage, the public outcry?! The shockingly flawed content of this memo, the deficient processes that led to its issuance, the horrific acts it encouraged, the fact that it was kept secret for years and that the Bush administration continues to withhold other memos like it all demand our outrage.

We must regain our ability to feel outrage whenever our government acts lawlessly and devises bogus constitutional arguments for outlandishly expansive presidential power. Otherwise will threaten the rule of law and not just for the remaining nine months of this administration, but for years and administrations to come.

OLC, the office entrusted with making sure the President obeys the law instead here told the President that in fighting the war on terror, he is not bound by the laws Congress has enacted. That Congress lacks the authority to regulate the interrogation and treatment of enemy combatants. . . .

John Yoo, the memo's author, has the gall to continue to defend the legal reasoning in this memo, in the face even of Bush administration OLC head Jack Goldsmith's harsh criticism and withdrawal of the memo.

I know Yoo's statement to be false. And not merely false, but irresponsibly and dangerously false in a way that impugns OLC's integrity over time and threatens to undermine public faith in the possibility that any administration can be expected to adhere to the rule of law.

Recall that the last President who took the view that "when the President does it that means that it is not illegal" was forced to resign in disgrace. . . .

And Johnsen is definitely not one to limit accountability to low even high level personnel:

Is it possible John Yoo alone merits our outrage, as some kind of rogue legal advisor? Of course not. Bush has not fired anyone responsible for devising the legal arguments that have allowed the Bush administration to act contrary to federal statutes with close to immunity In fact, the ones at Justice who didn't last are the officials who dared to say "no" to the President which, by the way, is OLC's core job description. . . .The correct response to all this? Outrage directed where it belongs: at President Bush, as well as his lawyers.


Johnsen on the limits of executive authority

Johnsen is an expert on the limitations of Executive power and OLCs role in enforcing those limitations, and she has written about that issue:

OLC must be prepared to say no to the President. For OLC instead to distort its legal analysis to support preferred policy outcomes would undermine the rule of law and our democratic system of government. The Constitution expressly requires the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." This command cannot be reconciled with executive action based on preferred, merely plausible legal interpretations that support desired policies If such advice were given with a wink and a nod so that the President was not actually misled, OLC would be wrongfully empowering the President to violate his constitutional obligations.

She has also written forcefully about the Bush administrations abuse of its power, and her disgust with Congress for allowing it:

I'm afraid we are growing immune to just how outrageous and destructive it is, in a democracy, for the President to violate federal statutes in secret. Remember that much of what we know about the Bush administration's violations of statutes (and yes, I realize they claim not to be violating statutes) came first only because of leaks and news coverage. Incredibly, we still don't know the full extent of our government's illegal surveillance or illegal interrogations (and who knows what else) despite Congress's failed efforts to get to the bottom of it. Congress instead resorted to enacting new legislation on both issues largely in the dark.

She has also dealt with the issue of how the OLC should seek to ensure Executive Branch compliance with the rule of law, and she has signed on to guidelines to that effect:

OLC should follow a presumption in favor of timely publication of its written legal opinions. Such disclosure helps to ensure executive branch adherence to the rule of law and guard against excessive claims of executive authority. Transparency also promotes confidence in the lawfulness of governmental action


Johnsen on holding the Bush administration accountable for their crimes

If there was any doubt from the above writings by Dawn Johnsen that, as head of the OLC, she would be intent on holding the Bush administration accountable for its crimes, here is what she wrote on that subject in March 2008, in an article titled Restoring our Nations Honor:

I felt the sense of shame and responsibility for my government's behavior especially acutely in the summer of 2004, with the leaking of the infamous and outrageous Bush administration Office of Legal Counsel Torture Memo. . . .

Whenever any government or people act lawlessly, on whatever scale, questions of atonement and remedy and prevention must be confronted. And fundamental to any meaningful answer is transparency about the wrong committed. . . .

The question how we restore our nation's honor takes on new urgency and promise as we approach the end of this administration. We must resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists. . . .

Here is a partial answer to my own question of how should we behave, directed especially to the next president and members of his or her administration but also to all of us who will be relieved by the change: We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation's past transgressions and reject Bush's corruption of our American ideals. Our constitutional democracy cannot survive with a government shrouded in secrecy, nor can our nation's honor be restored without full disclosure.


In summary

Ive expressed numerous times why I feel it is necessary to hold the Bush administration accountable for its crimes. The above statement by Dawn Johnsen leaves little doubt as to how she will proceed with this issue. Here is a recent eloquent post from puebloknot, where the idea is expressed a little differently:

The world is watching to see whether America is going to own up to its crimes. I have continually said, over the last few years, that before healing can take place for this nation, the wound must be thoroughly cleaned. The wound is deep and cries for the excision of the cancer that has been growing on this latest presidency, and the reputation of this nation in the world, for the last eight years.

Glen Greenwald, referring to Johnsens writings, sums up the situation perfectly:

Anyone who can write this, in this unapologetic, euphemism-free and even impolitic tone, warning that the problem isn't merely John Yoo but Bush himself, repeatedly demanding "outrage," criticizing the Democratic Congress for legalizing Bush's surveillance program, arguing that we cannot merely "move on" if we are to restore our national honor all while emphasizing that the danger is unchecked power not just for the Bush administration but "for years and administrations to come" is someone whose appointment to such an important post is almost certainly a positive sign It's hard not to consider this encouraging.

For the first time in a long time Im optimistic about this.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'll give 6 months to let this play out.
12 months will be unacceptable.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. As long as they get on it and continue to make progress I'll be happy
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trynotto_giveuphope Donating Member (55 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
27. I Think The Way He's Addressing This So Far Is Brilliant
Obama MUST stay above the fray on this issue if we're ever going to hold Bush/Cheney accountable for their crimes. The prosecution of these criminals must be based in law and not in politics. If Obama ever says that, yes, he is going to go after them, the Republicans will cry, "Politics!" and nothing will ever happen. But if Obama stays above this, while the Justice Department goes after them, he can always say, "That's for the prosecutors decide. I myself am moving forward."

As much as I want to see the Bush/Cheney traitors held accountable, I *don't* want it to define Obama's presidency. I want him to accomplish more than that--putting them in jail will be an added bonus. And he's on track (so far) to do so.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I agree that Obama should stay out of this personally
The fear of some of us was that he would shackle his Justice Department, ordering them not to go after the Bush administration crimes, for fear of being accused of playing politics. I believe that would have been a terrible decision.

With the appointment of Dawn Johnsen to head OLC, my fears on that account have greatly subsided.
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americanmutt Donating Member (73 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. excellant...
I have felt that way all along. Thank you for putting it so eloquently. He is making the evidence available for the right people to attack the issue, while he cleans the pile of doo-doo on the WH lawn.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. If we give it 6months it will fade so far from memory that it will never come up - stay on it!
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hmm....Johnsen? Yale??? Skull and Bone ??? Will prosecute Bush/Cheney??? Not!
Are you serious???
Yale??? The Anti - American Institution??? Pro Bush Terrorism???

WTF????

When Bush/Cheney are behind bars ....I'll believe it , but now its just crap in one ear and out the other ear.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. You consider the fact that she's from Yale more important than all the articles she's written?
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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. That's quite a leap...
Jeepers..you don't like the woman, just say you don't like her.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
43. I doubt whether S & B admitted women.
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Just-plain-Kathy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. I was thinking the same thing.
Maybe she'll hold a grudge. YES!!
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. K & R! (Also, Google-bookmarked)
Several of my recent reads (actually "listens" from Audible.com), had zeroed in on this OLC issue. The above helps me flesh it out. Thanks!

pnorman
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #3
20. Thank you
Glad it helps.
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LaStrega Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. k&r baby!
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Believing Is Art Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
7. I don't know if the Obama admin will investigate/prosecute Bush/Cheney, but
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 11:19 PM by Believing Is Art
I HATED how reporters kept pressing Obama for a definitive answer on this issue. What, would you warn a suspect months in advance to serving a warrant? I would not have put it past the Bush admin to shred and then burn everything that proved they knew about torture and authorized it, and I don't see why the people that wanted these crimes investigated would have put it past them, either. I may be disappointed and the Obama admin may not investigate the crimes of the previous administration, but at least the path to do so is less obstructed since they did not receive warning.

*Edited for typo
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. I see your point. However, I think there are a lot of things to consider.
First, I feel that this was a legitimate campaign issue. Serious crimes have been committed against our Constitution and against the American people, and that deserves an investigation and full accounting. The American people -- and the American press -- have a right to ask presidential candidates about their intentions on this issue.

As far as the Bush administration getting rid of the evidence, there has already been tons of evidence collected, and numerous books written on the subject. It seems to me that there is more than enough evidence in the public domain to convict Bush and Cheney of war crimes. And I doubt that the expressed intentions of presidential candidates to questions about how they would handle this would have much effect on how Bush and Cheney conducted themselves. I believe that they would destroy any evidence against them that they thought they could get away with, regardless of what was said by presidential candidates. But their ability to do that is severely limited, given how much evidence has already been collected.
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Old Codger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
30. Also
I have had the feeling/hope all along that possibly Obama was playing close to the vest with this and wanting to lull them into thinking they were home free. Hopefully they will now get serious about it. Nothing would please me more than to see * and darth along with rummy and rice in cuffs and being sentenced to prison for treason and war crimes.
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Believing Is Art Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #30
53. I have had the same hope
*If* he is planning on investigating them, that was the smart thing to do.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
8. I would feel better if Dawn Johnsen was going to be AG instead of head of OLC,
but getting her confirmed would probably have been a very difficult task.

I agree, Timeforchange, I'm feeling hopeful on this one too.

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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Me too, but we have to keep the drumbeat going.
Louder and louder. They must not be able to find any refuge from it. No rest. No quiet. No peace, until we start seeing a true, no-bullshit pursuit of JUSTICE.

I do keep updated TOLL FREE Capitol Hill switchboard numbers in my sig line at all times so they're easy to find in case somebody wants to make a free phone call to their reps, or somebody else's reps - to nag about this.

We MUST keep on this, and keep on them about this. We can't afford to drop this, get discouraged, or give up. If they think we don't care, THEY WON'T, EITHER.
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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:43 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. That's the key point -- Johnsen isn't in the decision chain for prosecutions
That's not what OLC does.

One very likely scenario is that Johnsen wanders across the hall (figuratively) to put in her informal recommendation for prosecutions, but the people whose decision it is don't go for it.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. I don't think that's likely
Based on the articles she's written, Obama must know how strongly she feels about this. Much of her writing has dealt with how the OLC should hold the Executive Branch accountable for its actions. Obama must realize that if her advice is simply ignored, she will not sit still for that. If that were to happen, it is highly likely that she would resign, with a very public explanation for the reasons for her resignation. Obama must know that that would be the likely scenario if he were to ignore her advice on this issue. That would be embarassing to his administration. Therefore, I can't see why he would have appointed her to this position if he was planning on ignoring this issue.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:18 AM
Response to Original message
11. Her and Paneta have been the best appointments Obama has made
for those of us that support the concept of freedom and justice. If not for them, I would be still quite angry. I'm not just a go along Democrat. Activists seldom are.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
32. Hear, hear.
NT!

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D-Lee Donating Member (457 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:57 AM
Response to Original message
13. Very encouraging information -- thanks for putting it together!
I admired a lot of the articles you quote, but did not "put together" that the new proposed OLC head was the author.

Wow, that warms the cockles of my heart!

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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
17. I really don't think that the OLC will persue * crimes...
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 09:51 AM by hootinholler
I would expect a special prosecutor or USA to take on that task.

It is, however nice to have confirmation of a sympathetic ear in the OLC.

-Hoot

Edit to fix a dropped word and mention that Miami Vice aspects are a tad funny.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Why a special prosecutor?
I don't see conflicts of interest in this case that would require a special prosecutor.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Mainly because of the caseload.
Being that the USA in the district has other cases as well. This will require the full attention of whomever investigates.

-Hoot
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DeltaLitProf Donating Member (459 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 04:27 AM
Response to Reply #17
54. And it would be Holder, not Obama, who chooses the Special Prosecutor
n/t
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
18. I have suspected that Obama has wanted to keep his own hands out of this,
and to put his own energies and political capital into dealing with all the crises that are rushing at us, but to unleash his DOJ to go after the miscreants of the recent past. Certainly the current Holder brouhaha suggests that at least the Republicans fear what he will do. Everyone from Rove to Specter has been trying to derail his appointment, and Specter has been pretty open about his reasons.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
19. Dawn Johnsen is the bomb
another fantastic post. Thanks, TFC :hi:
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Thank you bigtree
:hi:
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Torn_Scorned_Ignored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
21. Thank you, Time for change


:kick:

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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
23. Wonderful post!
As far as Im concerned, holding the Bush administration accountable for their many crimes against the American people, our Constitution, and humanity is the very essence of looking towards the future a future where my country has respect for the rule of law and where our leaders are aware that they cannot commit war crimes with impunity.
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Dangerously Amused Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 03:01 PM
Response to Original message
26. Good. K&R.
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
31. What war crimes?
Where is the federal statute regarding war crimes? Is there one? I am not aware of it.

The reality is the only crimes committed under US law really were crimes Congress should have addressed and didn't.

War crimes are prosecutable in the International Criminal Court and the only way they will be prosecuted is if a member of the Security Council puts forth a resolution calling for referral of the matter to the International Criminal Court.

That just won't happen.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Here is US law
(a) Offense. Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
(b) Circumstances. The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the person committing such war crime or the victim of such war crime is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).


http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec...
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Thank you...
Thank you but I have to question whether it can be used to prosecute anyone:

3) Inapplicability of certain provisions with respect to collateral damage or incident of lawful attack. The intent specified for the conduct stated in subparagraphs (D), (E), and (F) or paragraph (1) precludes the applicability of those subparagraphs to an offense under subsection (a) by reasons of subsection (c)(3) with respect to
(A) collateral damage; or
(B) death, damage, or injury incident to a lawful attack.

I guess it depends on the interpretation of "incident to a lawful attack" keeping mind that Congress authorized the "lawful attack."

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Congress did not authorize it
According to the Iraq War Resolution:

(a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed
Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and
appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions regarding Iraq.

There was no threat to our country and there was no UN Security Council resolution authorizing the attack.

In addition, there is the crime of genocide:

U.S. Code; Chapter 50A; Section 1091. Genocide

(a) Basic Offense. - Whoever, whether in time of peace or in time of war, in a circumstance described in subsection (d) and with the specific
intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such.

(1) kills members of that group;

(2) causes serious bodily injury to members of that group;

(3) causes the permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar techniques...

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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. If they didn't authorize it, they shouldn't have funded it...
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 07:39 PM by Baby Snooks
Congress authorized it. And funded it. It is a can of worms. That I doubt seriously any president would be willing to open. Including Barack Obama.

History will be our only Nuremberg. And unfortunately it will judge us, the American people, as harshly as it will our presidents and our Congress. We have been such "good Germans."

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. You didn't address the issue of genocide, of which Bush's authorization of torture is a subset
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. It is also relevant that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined the Bush administration to have
committed war crimes.

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in an opinion concurring with the majority, Justice William Kennedy stated:

Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (III)Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War,Aug. 12,1949, <1955 > 6 U..S.T.3316,3318,T.I.A.S.No.3364. The provision is part of a treaty the United States has ratified and thus accepted as binding law.See id.,at 3316. By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered war crimes, punishable as federal offenses,when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel. See 18 U.S.C.2441. There should be no doubt,then,that Common Article 3 is part of the law of war as that term is used in 821.

In that respect, it is relevant that George Bush is on record as saying that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to anyone whom he determines to be an "illegal enemy combatant".
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Jambalaya Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-27-09 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #36
57. Nuremberg and Neo [Con ]Nazis

"We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them."

Hunter S. Thompson
Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2004)
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. Yes, I would think it would have to rely on lawful or unlawful attack.
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 07:46 PM by mmonk
However, other offenses including torture and other violations under the applicable Geneva convention can be prosecuted in our courts.
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. It will not be our decision...
We are not the Attorney General or the special prosecutor or any other party who would make the decision. In the end, I suspect that party will determine it was a lawful act of war, however heinous it was, and again it was a war that Congress authorized and funded.

Sorry but reality is reality. And if you listen carefully to everyone, everyone is already saying that.

Congress should have at least filed for impeachment which would have established some sort of basis for prosecution. Congress did not do so.

That is not to say that the International Criminal Court could not prosecute the matter. It could. But in all likelihood the United States would veto it and if the United States didn't then Great Britain probably would simply because of, again, the can of worms.

The matter of genocide is also a can of worms - we executed Saddam Hussein before he could be tried in the matter of the Kurds. Had he been tried, the matter of who supplied the gas would have been brought up. We supplied it. To kill Iranians with. We were not at war with Iran. So our supplying the gas was not a "lawful act" of a "lawful war."

Then there is the matter of Madeline Albright and her comment that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it. UN-approved sanctions do not justify genocide. And the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children might be regarded by quite a few as genocide. And in fact is.

Muddling the matter further is the reality that some who have been released from Guantanamo have now joined al Queda and so the argument will be made that they shouldn't have been released which negates any other argument. Particularly if we are attacked again.

We never had to deal with enemies who are people rather than countries before 9/11. Guantanamo was the only way to detain people. Unfortunately the detention of some was questionable and the interrogation of others was in violation of provisions of the Geneva Convention. But not necessarily in violation of our own laws. Not in the framework of war.

That is not to lend any legitimacy to the "war on terror" but merely to point out that we are dealing with enemies. Who have declared war on us.

We must move on. With our heads hung in shame. We cannot hold some accountable but not others. The problem is the others.

The others, particularly those in Congress, fear that. And that is why there will be no accountability. And no prosecutions.

Hopefully the voters in San Francisco will remember that next time. It was Madame Speaker who refused to allow impeachment which might have provided the basis for prosecution by stating that Congress did not authorize the acts and that Congress considered the acts as basis for impeachment and conviction and removal from office. Even if it was not successful, it would have been filed and would have provided a basis for prosecution. As it is, there probably is no basis for prosecution.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #41
44. "violation of provisions of the Geneva Convention. But not necessarily in violation of our own laws"
The U.S. Supreme Court has determined otherwise. See post # 39 above:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Especiailly this part:
"By Act of Congress, moreover, violations of Common Article 3 are considered war crimes, punishable as federal offenses,when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel."
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. It's not debatable. Our laws do not permit what they did and are prosecutable
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 09:12 PM by mmonk
in US courts. The AG can ignore it like the lawbreakers before him I suppose, but legally, anyone affected by the actions can go to court.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #41
47. Uh, violation of the GC *is* a violation of our laws.
We are legally bound to the GC due to the fact that all treaties the U.S. signs are the law of the land.

That's per the Constitution.

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Bloody John Flynt Donating Member (15 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:11 PM
Response to Original message
40. Would love to see, but doubt it will happen!
As much as I would love to see them both prosecuted for what they have done to the country and the Constitution, I sincerely doubt that anything will come of this. Darth Cheney and his apprentice W have covered their tracks to well. However, there will probably be more Scooter Libby's. I'm sure they will throw plenty of them under the bus.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #40
52. They haven't covered their tracks. There is no question
torture and other violations were ordered and they are unlawful. I do know that if nothing is done, I cannot stay in the Democratic party. I'm American first and opposed to all who are against the Constitution of the United States which is my birthright as citizen.
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Golden Raisin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
42. Nothing would please me more
but I'm not holding my breath. My personal number one priority is restoration of our beleaguered, bedraggled, tattered Constitution after almost daily public rape and assault for the last 8 years by Bush/Cheney and their gang of sneering, arrogant Neocon ("we're above the law") pharisees, as well as a return to honoring and enforcing the Rule of Law. We owe this to the Founding Fathers and to future generations of American citizens. However, the immense non-Constitutional devestation left by Bush: implosion/collapse of the financial system and national/global economies, staggering, almost unimagineable debt, billions-per-month quagmire, tarpit wars which we need to extricate ourselves from, collapsing infrastructure, loss of manufacturing base and job offshoring, etc. --- the list of horrors goes on and on --- are both practically and politically going to, of necessity, be Obama's main concerns and initial priorities if he wishes to remain in power and be elected to a second term. He's faced with and has to juggle multiple, complex, herculean tasks and is going to have to prevent bank collapses, home foreclosures and the potential for breadlines before unleashing the legal hounds on BushCo, no matter how noble, just and right that cause is. I hope I'm wrong. I hope he can and will do both. It would be helpful if Obama had a posse of Sam Ervins watching his back but instead he's got collaborating power-brokers like "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi who will opt for beltway business as usual before restoring Constitutiona balance and pursuing BushCo crimes and offenses.
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DutchLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
48. An OLC official under Clinton? No way she's prosecuting Bush!
Especially not for torture. You do know what 'extraordinary rendition' is, right? And when it was made into law, right? And who was president at the time, right? So don't count on her to prosecute Bush for torture, because that would set a precedent to certain other people being prosecuted for the same crimes...
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #48
50. Extraordinary rendition under Clinton was much different in both scope and purpose than it was under
Bush. I am almost positive (but can't find source right now) that in the Clinton administration it was not used for the purpose of having prisoners tortured, but rather simply to transfer them back to their home country when we didn't want to deal with them.

Anyhow, Johnsen has expressed her views on torture vehemently in writing. I don't think that she would let the fact that she worked in the Clinton administration prevent her from pursuing this aggressively.
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DutchLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. Extraordinary rendition, as I've read about it, is abducting suspects to 'black sites'...
...in the suspects' home countries (Middle Eastern countries), where, under their laws, torture is legal... and would be used! (Whether this was done through the CIA or out-sourced to Middle Eastern secret services, I don't recall.)
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #51
56. No, that's how it was practiced by Bush
Here is a brief statement of how it differed between Bush and previous presidents, from Stephen Grey, author of "Ghost Plane -- The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program":

Rendition, the practice of capturing and transporting someone to another country without legal extradition, is not a new practice. It has been used by U.S. law enforcement for decades to bring wanted suspects back to face trial in the U.S., rather than to a foreign country. In his book Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program, investigative journalist Stephen Grey reports that the earliest known rendition by the U.S. was in 1883 when Frederick Ker was kidnapped in Peru by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and rendered back to Chicago to face trial for grand larceny. The tactic was endorsed by the Supreme Court (see Ker vs Illinois). Until 9/11, reports Grey, the FBI published an annual summary of what they called "irregular renditions." Snatch operations may occasionally have broken local laws, Grey says, but ultimately the suspect was brought to court to face a judge and jury.

In his book he goes into much greater detail as to the vast difference between rendition under Clinton vs. rendition under Bush. But I loaned the book out, so I can't quote from it now.

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/rendition701/...
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #50
55. Different?


A picture is always worth a thousand words. Two presidents. One dynasty.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
49. I was hoping that the Obama team didn't want to give Bush the heads-up before taking office...
I really trust Obama's judgment so far.

Personally, I believe that if Bush thought Obama had plans to prosecute vigorously, then Bush would have issued mass pardons for himself and his cronies. My great hope was and is that by Pelosi and Obama signaling that all they wanted to do with Bush's record was put it all behind us, that Bush would be lulled into complacency.

Now and over the next year we will find out if my hopes were justified.

Hekate


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