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The Possibility of Prosecution
Posted: 25 January 2009 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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OK, I concede the “Impossibility of Impeachment.”  However, I insist on the possibility of prosecution.

From a recent wall street journal article:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey raised concerns that government agents and national security lawyers may be at risk for criminal prosecution after his likely successor, Eric Holder, declared that waterboarding of terror detainees is torture.

[…]Mr. Holder made the torture comment at his confirmation hearing Thursday when asked about the technique, which induces the sensation of drowning and was used by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators on at least three detainees.

The Holder response was in contrast to that of Mr. Mukasey, who declined when asked the same question at his confirmation hearing in 2007. The Justice Department’s office of legal counsel issued legal opinions, later rescinded, that backed the legality of harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. The CIA has said the method hasn’t been used since 2003, but President George W. Bush has opposed congressional efforts to explicitly ban the CIA from ever using it again.

“Torture is a crime,” Mr. Mukasey said in an interview Friday, adding that he worried “about the effect on…the work of fine intelligence lawyers who are called on to make judgments on questions like that, often under tremendous time pressure—not to mention the pressure of an attack that killed 3000 people [and caused worry that] maybe there was going to be another one.”

President-elect Barack Obama and his attorney general nominee, Mr. Holder, have said that once in office they will review actions taken by the Bush administration, but have declined to endorse the idea of conducting criminal probes of those involved in interrogations.

Mr. Mukasey said the legal opinions were rescinded because they were wrong. But he said the chance of prosecution could cause lawyers and intelligence agents to doubt legal advice from the Justice Department. Mr. Mukasey is preparing to leave office to make way for Mr. Holder, whose nomination is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Mr. Mukasey acknowledged that one reason he didn’t answer the question as Mr. Holder did was because of the peril it would pose to agents and lawyers who he believes did their best under trying circumstances following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“It’s one thing to write opinion on matter of abstruse law. It’s quite something else to write [opinions] on whether something is or isn’t a crime,” he said. He added that in the future, government lawyers and agents “have to be concerned that you may someday—having given your best, most honest, most impartial advice—have it be said of you that you sanctioned a crime.”

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“I am one of the few people I know who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror.”  Sam Harris October 17, 2005

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Posted: 25 January 2009 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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It seems I heard a blurb that this is precisely the reason Holder’s confirmation is being held up for a week ... that Republicans are trying to get some kind of assurance from Holder against persuing prosecutions, or a clear statement of his intent to decide how they’ll cast their vote.

Abu Graibe was a case in point where no really big brass took the heat for what occurred, while I suspected that the rank and file perpetrators were clandestinely coerced into performing much of their behaviors based on the highly secretive use of psychologists within the CIA to provide consultation on interrogation methods and practices. The whole thing reminded me of psych studies I read of in the early 80’s that demonstrated the degree of cruelty to which normal people would perform on others under conditions of isolation and perceived but inexplicit approval or permission by superiors in a jail/prisoner setting.

After the last eight years, I would think that Democrat congressional committees into improprieties, illegalities, and buried information including destruction of subpoenaed documents would be enough to keep them so busy that they wouldn’t have time for anything else.

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Posted: 25 January 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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goodgraydrab - 25 January 2009 06:34 PM

It seems I heard a blurb that this is precisely the reason Holder’s confirmation is being held up for a week ... that Republicans are trying to get some kind of assurance from Holder against persuing prosecutions, or a clear statement of his intent to decide how they’ll cast their vote.

teuchter - 24 January 2009 04:10 PM

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
issued this press release:

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for Rhode Island, today sharply criticized the argument some Republican members of the Committee are making for delaying a vote on the nomination of Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder:

“Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have asked Eric Holder to make a commitment, before he is even confirmed, that he will not prosecute any Bush Administration officials for their involvement in acts of torture during the last administration.

“Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system - especially those with experience as prosecutors or judges - should know that a prosecutor should make no determination about who to prosecute before he or she has all the facts, and particularly not in response to legislative pressure.

“After all we have recently been through at the Department of Justice, I would hope and expect that upon calm reflection, no one on our Committee would expect the Attorney General of the United States to make prosecutive decisions based on legislative pressure.”

You’re dead on about Abu Graibh;  the “respect the troops” Bush Crime Family hung a few reserve grunts out to dry, when the policy was UNDOUBTEDLY brought to Abu Graibh from Guantanamo by General Miller.

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Posted: 26 January 2009 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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teuchter - 25 January 2009 06:55 PM

You’re dead on about Abu Graibh;  the “respect the troops” Bush Crime Family hung a few reserve grunts out to dry, when the policy was UNDOUBTEDLY brought to Abu Graibh from Guantanamo by General Miller.

(Andrew):  I can see a repeat.  A couple of sergeants will be yardarmed for torture (or a couple of low-level clerks for tapping into fone lines they shouldn’t have)...and everyone will pat themselves on the back that “justice has been done.” 
While BushCo enjoys retirement.

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Posted: 26 January 2009 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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High crimes and misdemeanors.

Trouble is half the intelligence agencies around the world should be impeached. Along with Blair and his British regime.

Many people dropped the ball or lied about having possession of the ball in this game. What a fiasco the last 7 years have been.

We got the bastards out of office finally, so we just need to turn the page and never let this nationalistic, jingoistic bullshit ever happen again.

Yeah right. I am not holding my breath.

I think the one thing we could do is subject Bush and Cheney to waterboarding however. Just for shits and grins and a bit of payback.

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Posted: 26 January 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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McCreason - 26 January 2009 11:30 AM

We got the bastards out of office finally, so we just need to turn the page and never let this nationalistic, jingoistic bullshit ever happen again.

Every single person that voted for them shouldn’t escape punishment either. I hate them all. I should be awarded damages for pain and suffering. Where’s that guillotine?

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Posted: 26 January 2009 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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goodgraydrab - 26 January 2009 06:50 PM

Where’s that guillotine?

Right here.  You got the tumbrels?

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Posted: 26 January 2009 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I have a better idea for Bush. Lets waterboard him and then make him ride his mountain bike. He has trouble with that anyway!

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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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Posted: 26 January 2009 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Or make him eat a pretzel; didn’t that almost kill him a few years ago?

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“I am one of the few people I know who has argued in print that torture may be an ethical necessity in our war on terror.”  Sam Harris October 17, 2005

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Posted: 26 January 2009 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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This:

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is going to put Obama’s openness and transparency claims to an early test—by re-subpoenaing Karl Rove to testify about the U.S. attorney firings.

and this:

What comes next isn’t entirely clear. Rove’s obviously open to service of the subpoena, as evidenced by the notes on the cover sheet (page 2). One theory says that Bush can continue to claim executive privilege even once out of office. Another possibility: Rove’s lawyers go to court to ask that the subpoena be quashed pending the outcome of the final appeals of the Judiciary Committee’s lawsuit. Also possible: Rove shows up but refuses to tell the committee anything of value, or anything at all, either pleading the 5th, attempting to invoke some kind of claim of privilege, or just taking his chances and conducting a PR campaign to paint the investigation as a “partisan witch hunt” that’s out of keeping with President Obama’s promise to practice a forward-looking bipartisanship.

We’ll see how it goes. Game on

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Posted: 26 January 2009 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Let’s just send them all out duck hunting with Cheney.

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Posted: 27 January 2009 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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From Andrew’s quoted material:

One theory says that Bush can continue to claim executive privilege even once out of office.

.....Which brings us back to impeaching him once he leaves office. (I know I should concede impeachment with T. but if W can continue to claim executive privilege than I can continue to call for his impeachment, so I’m conceding nothing yet.)

And if W can claim executive privilege, then a criminal investigation won’t do any good, which brings us back to impeaching him which will deny him the power of using ex. privilege.  smile

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Posted: 27 January 2009 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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lindajean - 27 January 2009 08:37 PM

From Andrew’s quoted material:

One theory says that Bush can continue to claim executive privilege even once out of office.

.....Which brings us back to impeaching him once he leaves office. (I know I should concede impeachment with T. but if W can continue to claim executive privilege than I can continue to call for his impeachment, so I’m conceding nothing yet.)

And if W can claim executive privilege, then a criminal investigation won’t do any good, which brings us back to impeaching him which will deny him the power of using ex. privilege.  smile

(Andrew):  Rove’s lawyer has sent the subpeona from Conyer’s committee to Obama.  It’s up to him now to decide whether or not he wants to enforce Dubya’s promise of executive privilege for Rove.  If Obama agrees, Rove’s home free.  If he says no, this could drag on in the courts for years and years.  And years.
In either case, we’ll know soon. Rove’s scheduled to testify on Feb2.

PS The impeachment ship has sailed.  He’s already out of office.  You know that.

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Posted: 27 January 2009 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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It simply doesn’t matter if Obama/Holder want to prosecute these guys.  They will be prosecuted regardless, with or without US support, by the UN.  There are several special prosecutors specifically for war crimes and torture all throughout the UN who have come out recently and said they are looking into prosecuting Bush et al. 

Political posturing here in the US won’t do anything to sway these prosecuters.  They are putting together the cases as we speak.  Some have been working on this for a while now.  There are several other entities that could initiate an investigation on this issue besides the Justice Dept. I expect Obama and Holder to hold off on doing much with this until either Congress or the UN make their move.  Then he will support those efforts after the fact.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 09:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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tavishhill2003 - 27 January 2009 10:22 PM

It simply doesn’t matter if Obama/Holder want to prosecute these guys.  They will be prosecuted regardless, with or without US support, by the UN.  There are several special prosecutors specifically for war crimes and torture all throughout the UN who have come out recently and said they are looking into prosecuting Bush et al.

Can you reference some of this? The most I have heard is speculations. You seem to be suggesting the UN will act on this.

Bush Should Face Prosecution, Says UN Representative
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3966038,00.html

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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The House Judiciary committee has agreed to a request from Karl Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, to postpone the deadline by which Rove must respond to a subpoena issued by the committee.
Here’s the letter sent by the committee, agreeing to Luskin’s request and setting a new date of February 23 for Rove’s testimony.

Source

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