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Thread: Obama Administration to move forward in investigating the Bush Administration

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    Postman vector7's Avatar
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    Default Obama Administration to move forward in investigating the Bush Administration

    The Nancy, Harry and Office of the President-elect Show

    By Judi McLeod Thursday, November 13, 2008

    The Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Hussein Obama triumvirate will be doing as much as possible to distract and demoralize the millions of Americans disenfranchised by last week’s Election.

    They’ve waited so long to come out with their show of control.

    Tonight there’s a developing story on Drudge that the Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administration.

    A worldwide recession is deepening, the automobile industry is counting on billions, American Express is looking for a bailout, stocks are in freefall but the Dems have time to go after a lameduck president whose days in office are numbered.

    No matter what the spin, it comes down to one group of corrupt politicians investigating another group of corrupt politicians.

    Or does an eight-year-long hatred make one politician more corrupt than the others?

    Meanwhile, with a compliant mainstream media still sleep-walking through the news of the day, President-elect Obama is being portrayed as “King of the World”, as phony a title as the polls showing the so called “Office of the President-elect” having a 64% approval rating.

    Welcome to the World of Image where The Messiah can discern anything his people want on an empty screen behind him.

    With no proof of a past, an image is all that Obama really is.

    Folk who rely on the politics of change to miraculously turn their lives around are living inside the pages of Grimm’s Fairytales.

    With harsh reality pressing in, there is no fairytale world. Life is what you make of it.

    There was no world election ushering in the “King of the World” from beyond the borders of the United States of America. Obama’s is a brand of pomp and circumstance blown out from smoke rings of a pretentious Greek Temple.

    Hundreds of letters streaming in to sites like Canada Free Press are filled with remorse, their authors looking for substance and sense.
    Many average Americans are discouraged.

    Obama, his global elitist handlers and play pals Nancy and Harry need you to be discouraged. In fact, needing to hype the hype, they want you close to panic mode.

    Their message: “The world is going deeper into recession. It’s the fault of all those capitalist pigs. You will lose your job and your home. There will soon be a food shortage.

    Everybody hates the United States.”

    “Don’t believe it? Turn on the boob tube. Read the daily newspapers.”

    But not to worry, the Democrats are not really career politicians. They are the Saviours of the World. They have the Messiah, and he is going to save you, but only eventually. He walks on water, flits as easily through clouds as he soars through skyscrapers.

    This Messiah is the best one because he’s a Marxist with a pocketful of miracles for the long-suffering oppressed.

    Touted as a miracle cure, Marxism generally crushes the human spirit.
    What Marxists hate most is individuality.

    Wiping out individualism, they will do everything possible to demoralize you.
    The Office of the President Elect keeps supporting throngs in line with promises. It tosses out a bone to the Anti-War crowd with broad hints that their Messiah will want to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The shackles have been on these 200-plus underdogs for far too long. In Obama’s world, they will be set free.

    And don’t worry about the troops making America look like a nation of warmongers anymore, because the best equipped Army around after The Messiah can be called “Mr. President, Sir” will be Obama’s Army.
    Taxed with coming up with an Obama Cabinet, you can depend that the serious business of the Office of the President-elect is getting ready for Cinderella’s Inauguration Ball.

    As official coming out of the Left in Control, it will be the extravaganza of all time, and recession or not, it will be one to make Nancy Pelosi’s ball with its gold-edged plates seem downright chintzy.

    Movie stars will be dropped off by chauffeur-driven limos, but none of them will dare show up with bigger tiaras and crowns than Barack’s and Michelle’s.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner.

    Use this year’s holiday season to prepare for the Big Show of Gloat set to follow on January 20, 2009.

    Meanwhile, the best way you can fight the Messiah is to be yourself. There’s nothing more depressing for a Marxist hate than individuals sure of who and what they are.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/6252


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Bush, Out of Office, Could Oppose Inquiries

    By CHARLIE SAVAGE
    Published: November 12, 2008

    WASHINGTON — When a Congressional committee subpoenaed Harry S. Truman in 1953, nearly a year after he left office, he made a startling claim: Even though he was no longer president, the Constitution still empowered him to block subpoenas.

    “If the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the presidency is to have any validity at all, it must be equally applicable to a president after his term of office has expired,” Truman wrote to the committee.

    Congress backed down, establishing a precedent suggesting that former presidents wield lingering powers to keep matters from their administration secret. Now, as Congressional Democrats prepare to move forward with investigations of the Bush administration, they wonder whether that claim may be invoked again.

    “The Bush administration overstepped in its exertion of executive privilege, and may very well try to continue to shield information from the American people after it leaves office,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, who sits on two committees, Judiciary and Intelligence, that are examining aspects of Mr. Bush’s policies.

    Topics of open investigations include the harsh interrogation of detainees, the prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, secret legal memorandums from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and the role of the former White House aides Karl Rove and Harriet E. Miers in the firing of federal prosecutors.

    Mr. Bush has used his executive powers to block Congressional requests for executive branch documents and testimony from former aides. But investigators hope that the Obama administration will open the filing cabinets and withdraw assertions of executive privilege that Bush officials have invoked to keep from testifying.

    “I intend to ensure that our outstanding subpoenas and document requests relating to the U.S. attorneys matter are enforced,” said Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “I am hopeful that progress can be made with the coming of the new administration.”

    Also, two advocacy groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First, have prepared detailed reports for the new administration calling for criminal investigations into accusations of abuse of detainees.

    It is not clear, though, how a President Barack Obama will handle such requests. Legal specialists said the pressure to investigate the Bush years would raise tough political and legal questions.

    Because every president eventually leaves office, incoming chief executives have an incentive to quash investigations into their predecessor’s tenure. Mr. Bush used executive privilege for the first time in 2001, to block a subpoena by Congressional Republicans investigating the Clinton administration.

    In addition, Mr. Obama has expressed worries about too many investigations. In April, he told The Philadelphia Daily News that people needed to distinguish “between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity.”

    “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Mr. Obama said, but added, “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.”

    But even if his administration rejects the calls for investigations, Mr. Obama cannot control what the courts or Congress do. Several lawsuits are seeking information about Bush policies, including an Islamic charity’s claim that it was illegally spied on by Mr. Bush’s program on wiretapping without warrants.

    And Congressional Democrats say that they are determined to pursue their investigations — and that they expect career officials to disclose other issues after the Bush administration leaves. “We could spend the entire next four years investigating the Bush years,” Mr. Whitehouse said.

    But if Mr. Obama decides to release information about his predecessor’s tenure, Mr. Bush could try to invoke executive privilege by filing a lawsuit, said Peter Shane, a law professor at Ohio State University.

    In that case, an injunction would most likely be sought ordering the Obama administration not to release the Bush administration’s papers or enjoining Mr. Bush’s former aides from testifying. The dispute would probably go to the Supreme Court, Mr. Shane said.

    The idea that ex-presidents may possess residual constitutional powers to keep information secret traces back to Truman.

    In November 1953, after Dwight D. Eisenhower became president, the House Un-American Activities Committee subpoenaed Truman to testify about why he had appointed a suspected Communist to the International Monetary Fund.

    Truman decided not to comply and asked his lawyer, Samuel I. Rosenman, for help. But there was little time for research.

    Edward M. Cramer, a young associate at Mr. Rosenman’s law firm, recalled being summoned with two colleagues to their boss’s office at 6 p.m. and told to come up with something. The next morning, they helped dictate Truman’s letter telling the panel he did not have to testify — or even appear at the hearing.

    “I think, legally, we were wrong” about whether Truman had to show up, Mr. Cramer, now 83, said in a phone interview from his home in New York.
    But the committee did not call the former president’s bluff. It dropped the matter, and Truman’s hastily devised legal claim became a historical precedent.

    In 1973, President Nixon cited Truman’s letter when he refused to testify or give documents to the committee investigating the Watergate scandal.

    Mr. Cramer recalled, “Nixon used it, and we said ‘Oh, Jesus, what have we done?’ ”

    The first judicial backing for the idea that former presidents wield executive privilege powers came in 1977, as part of a Supreme Court ruling in a case over who controlled Nixon’s White House files. The decision suggested that Nixon might be able to block the release of papers in the future. But it offered few details, and Nixon never sought to do so.

    In 1989 and 1990, judges presiding over criminal trials related to the Iran-contra affair blocked requests by defendants to make former President Ronald Reagan testify and release his diaries.

    But the Supreme Court has never made clear how far a former president may go in trying to block Congressional demands for documents and testimony — or what happens if a president disagrees with a predecessor about making information public.

    “There is no relevant precedent on the books,” Mr. Shane said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/wa...13inquire.html


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Rove must be hanged. If they can't get him, they'll move down the list. It will indeed be a partisan witch hunt unless 0 grows a pair.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Restoring the US Constitution

    Violations of national sovereignty (e.g. Syria, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan, etc.) without formal declarations of war or through formal interventions by the United Nations are violations of international law, notes Ralph Nader .

    Barack Obama is receiving lots of advice from many people these days about the collapse of Wall Street, the sinking economy and the quagmire wars he will inherit from the Bush regime. However, there is one important matter that he alone can address with his legal training and the sworn oath he will take on January 20 to uphold the Constitution. That phenomenon is the systemic, chronic lawlessness and criminality of the Bush/Cheney regime which he must unravel and stop.


    To handle this immense responsibility as President, he needs to bring together a volunteer task force of very knowledgeable persons plus wise, retired civil servants to inventory the outlaw workings of this rogue regime.

    Much is already known and documented officially and by academic studies and media reporting. In the category of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, are (1) the criminal war—occupation of Iraq, (2) systemic torture as a White House policy, (3) arrests of thousands of Americans without charges or habeas corpus rights, (4) spying on large numbers of Americans without judicial warrants and (5) hundreds of signing statements by George W. Bush declaring that, he of the unitary presidency, will decide whether to obey the enacted bills or not.

    To its everlasting credit, the conservative American Bar Association sent to President Bush three reports in 2005-2006 concluding that he has been engaged in continuing serious violations of the Constitution. This is no one-time Watergate obstruction of justice episode ala Nixon that led to his resignation just before his impeachment in the House of Representatives.

    Nearly two years ago Senator Obama, contrary to what he knows and believes, vigorously came out against the House commencing impeachment proceedings. It would be too divisive, he said. As one of one hundred Senators who might have had to try the President and Vice President in the Senate were the House to impeach. He should have kept impartial and remained silent on the subject.

    As President, he cannot remain silent and do nothing, otherwise he will inherit the war crimes of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and become soon thereafter a war criminal himself. Inaction cannot be an option.

    Violating the Constitution and federal laws is now routine. What is routine after awhile becomes institutionalized lawlessness by official outlaws.
    Domestic Policy abuses are also rampant. Just what are the limits of the statutory authority of the US Treasury Department or the government within a government funded by bank assessments known as the Federal Reserve?

    Don’t read the $750 billion bailout law for any answers! The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid just sent a letter to Bush asking whether the White House believes the bailout law could be interpreted to save not just the reckless banks, but also the grossly mismanaged Big Three auto companies in Michigan.


    Didn’t Congress know what they were or were not authorizing? Or did the stampede started by the demanding Bush result in blanket, or panicked ambiguity by a cowardly Congress?

    This week, the Washington Post front paged an article that the Treasury Department unilaterally gave the banks a tax break that was estimated to be worth a staggering $140 billion. Just like that! Fiat! The Post reported that impartial legal experts flatly declared such a decision to be without statutory authority which means the Bush regime usurped the constitutional authority of Congress in matters of taxation and basically took out a 22 year old law enacted by Congress. Not to be outdone, on the same day, the lead article in the New York Times reported a four-year-old Bush doctrine allowing Special Forces and other armed force to pursue terrorists in any country in the world. The Times specified incursions at will into Syria, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan and other countries.

    Such violations of national sovereignty without formal declarations of war or through formal interventions by the United Nations are violations of international law. The Bush government answers this assertion by its open-ended, totally self-defined, right of “self-defense” under the UN Charter. The same self-determining argument can be made by covert terrorists or covert actions by adversarial governments. This is an example of make-up-your-own international law to suit your own covert operations.

    As a country that has the most to lose from the shredding of international law and order, the United States under Bush is giving many IOUs to revenge-minded suicidal adversaries. They can simply to their mass audiences say, if the US can do anything it wants, why shouldn’t they?

    It has been widely reported that the Justice Department under Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Gonzalez epitomized contempt for compliance with the laws regarding civil liberties, due process and politically interfering with US Attorneys.

    Less publicized was its refusal to enforce the laws routinely transgressed by the corporate patrons of the White House—such as environmental crimes, consumer fraud, and anti-trust violations.

    Obama has tools to restore law and order by the government itself. The Bully Pulpit. Ordering departmental directives. Issuing Executive Orders. Requesting legislation. Highlighting the integrity of the subdued and buffeted federal civil service which, with its oath of office, deserves far more effective whistleblowing protection laws.

    The ACLU has just released: "Actions For Restoring America: How to Begin Repairing the Damage to Freedom in America After Bush." Mr. Obama would do well to use this important report as blueprint for restoring faith in the US Government's commitment to the Constitution (see http://www.aclu.org/transition/). A second report titled: "Protecting Public Health and the Environment by the Stroke of a Presidential Pen by the Center for Progressive Reform suggests several Executive Orders that Mr. Obama could sign to advance important health, safety and the environment goals (see http://www.progressivereform.org/).

    Barack Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Let’s have it operate out of the Obama White House. And the time to start laying the groundwork is now!

    Ralph Nader is an American attorney and political activist. Nader ran for President of the United States three times (1996, 2000, and 2004). In 1996 and 2000 he was the nominee of the Green Party, while in 2004 he ran as an independent nominee. He also ran for the 2008 US presidency.

    Nader.org

    www.middle-east-online.com


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Vice president, former AG, state senator indicted

    By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN Associated Press Writer © 2008 The Associated Press
    Nov. 18, 2008, 6:51PM

    McALLEN, Texas — A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on state charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.

    The indictment, which had not yet been signed by the presiding judge, was one of seven released Tuesday in a county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles in recent years. Another of the indictments named a state senator on charges of profiting from his position.

    Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra himself had been under indictment for more than a year and half before a judge dismissed the indictments last month. This flurry of charges came in the twilight of Guerra's tenure, which ends this year after nearly two decades in office. He lost convincingly in a Democratic primary in March.

    Cheney's indictment on a charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity criticizes the vice president's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees because of his link to the prison companies.

    Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cheney, declined to comment on Tuesday, saying that the vice president had not yet received a copy of the indictment.

    The indictment accuses Gonzales of using his position while in office to stop an investigation in 2006 into abuses at one of the privately-run prisons.

    Gonzalez's attorney, George Terwilliger III, said in a written statement, "This is obviously a bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize. Hopefully, competent Texas authorities will take steps to reign in this abuse of the criminal justice system."

    Willacy County has become a prison hub with county, state and federal lockups. Guerra has gone after the prison-politician nexus before, extracting guilty pleas from three former Willacy and Webb county commissioners after investigating bribery related to federal prison contacts.

    Another indictment released Tuesday accuses state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. of profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies. Guerra announced his intention to investigate Lucio's prison consulting early last year.

    Lucio's attorney, Michael Cowen, released a scathing statement accusing Guerra of settling political scores in his final weeks in office.

    "Senator Lucio is completely innocent and has done nothing wrong," Cowen said, adding that he would file a motion to quash the indictment this week.

    Last month, a Willacy County grand jury indicted The GEO Group, a Florida private prison company, on a murder charge in the death of a prisoner days before his release. The three-count indictment alleged The GEO Group allowed other inmates to beat Gregorio de la Rosa Jr. to death with padlocks stuffed into socks. The death happened in 2001 at the Raymondville facility, just four days before de la Rosa's scheduled release.
    In 2006, a jury ordered the company to pay de la Rosa's family $47.5 million in a civil judgment. The Cheney-Gonzalez indictment makes reference to the de la Rosa case.

    None of the indictments released Tuesday had been signed by Presiding Judge Manuel Banales of the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region.

    A second batch of indictments targeted public officials connected to Guerra's own legal battles.

    Willacy County Clerk Gilbert Lozano, District judges Janet Leal and Migdalia Lopez, and special prosecutors Mervyn Mosbacker Jr. — a former U.S. attorney — and Gustavo Garza — a long-time political opponent of Guerra — were all indicted on charges of official abuse of official capacity and official oppression.

    Garza, the only one who could be immediately reached Tuesday, called it a sad state of affairs.

    "I feel sorry for all of the good people this unprofessional prosecutor has maligned," Garza said. "I'm not at all concerned about the accusations he has trumped up."

    Banales dismissed indictments against Guerra last month that charged him with extorting money from a bail bond company and using his office for personal business. An appeals court had earlier ruled that Garza was improperly appointed as special prosecutor to investigate Guerra.

    After Guerra's office was raided as part of the investigation early last year, he camped outside the courthouse in a borrowed camper with a horse, three goats and a rooster. He threatened to dismiss hundreds of cases because he believed local law enforcement had aided the investigation against him.

    On Tuesday, Guerra said the indictments speak for themselves. He said the prison-related charges are a national issue and experts from across the country testified to the grand jury. Asked about the indictments against local players in the justice system who had pursued him, Guerra said, "the grand jury is the one that made those decisions, not me."

    The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6119696.html


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama refuses to rule out charges against Bush officials
    By Agence France Presse (AFP)

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    WASHINGTON: US President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday he was not ruling out possible prosecution for abuses committed under the George W. Bush administration, saying no one "is above the law." "We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth," Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week" program when asked about alleged abuses under Bush.

    "Obviously we're going to be looking at past practices and I don't believe that anybody is above the law," Obama said.

    But Obama, who takes office on January 20, added he wanted his administration to focus on tackling problems moving forward, rather than reviewing policies under his predecessor.

    "My instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing," he said. "That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward."

    Human-rights and civil-liberties groups have called for senior Bush administration officials to be prosecuted for a series of alleged abuses, from mishandling the conflict in Iraq to the illegal detention and torture of terrorist suspects and domestic spying.

    Obama also criticized Vice President Dick Cheney for his public defense of "extraordinary" interrogation methods used against top terrorism suspects, including simulated drowning known as waterboarding.

    "Vice President Cheney, I think, continues to defend what he calls extraordinary measures or procedures when it comes to interrogations and from my view waterboarding is torture," he said.

    Obama declined to say whether he could appoint a special prosecutor to look into possible charges against Bush and his deputies, saying the issue would be up to his attorney general.

    "He is the people's lawyer," he said of the attorney general-designate, Eric Holder. "So, ultimately, he's going to be making some calls, but my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed looking at what we got wrong in the past." - AFP


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama open to some interrogation prosecution

    But president concerned about the impact of hearings

    The Associated Press
    updated 9:33 a.m. PT, Tues., April 21, 2009

    Gerald Herbert / AP

    President Obama is leaving the door open to possible prosecution of Bush administration officials for harsh interrogation tactics.
    View related photos


    WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is leaving the door open to possible prosecution of Bush administration officials who devised harsh terrorism-era interrogation tactics.

    He also said Tuesday that he worries about the impact of high-intensity hearings on how detainees were treated under former President George W. Bush.

    But Obama did say, nevertheless, he could support a congressional investigation if it were conducted in a bipartisan way.

    Obama has said he does not support charging CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, acting on advice from superiors that such practices were legal. But he also said that it is up to the attorney general whether to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who wrote the memos approving these tactics.

    Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had said this weekend that the Obama administration would not seek prosecution of the Bush administration lawyers.

    Last week, Obama's Justice Department published previously classified memos that described the Bush administration's legal justification for CIA interrogation techniques that included methods criticized as torture.

    Republican lawmakers and former CIA chiefs have criticized the release of the memos, contending that revealing the limits of interrogation techniques will hamper the effectiveness of interrogators.

    CIA support
    Monday Obama went to the spy agency's Virginia headquarters to defend his decision to release the memos and bolster the morale of its employees.

    "I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos, particularly the fact that so much of the information was public," Obama said.

    He also said a court case was going to force the memos to be released and that much of what they contained had already been compromised through leaks to news media.

    The president urged the hundreds of CIA employees who gathered in a secure auditorium to ignore the recent controversy. "Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks," he said.

    A round of cheers erupted when CIA Director Leon Panetta introduced Obama, who quickly reassured them that they had his backing.

    "I know the last few days have been difficult," he said. "You need to know you've got my full support."

    In opposition

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney says the U.S. government gained valuable intelligence from its aggressive interrogations of high-value detainees after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

    In an interview with Fox News Channel, Cheney said Monday that what hasn't been revealed publicly is what the U.S. gained as a result of these activities.

    "I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country," Cheney said.

    According to the declassified memos, waterboarding was used on alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003. Suspected al-Qaida logistics chief Abu Zubaydah was subjected to the treatment 83 times in August 2002.

    Separately, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Monday sent Obama a letter asking him to withhold judgment on potential prosecutions until the committee completes its investigation of the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

    The committee is looking into the treatment of each of the CIA's 14 "high-value detainees," a list that includes Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Muhammed.

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Barack Obama: Bush officials could be prosecuted over 'torture' documents

    US President Barack Obama has bowed to pressure from the Left by opening the door to Bush administration officials being prosecuted for approving alleged torture by CIA interrogators.

    By Toby Harnden in Washington
    Last Updated: 12:20PM BST 22 Apr 2009

    In a dramatic shift by a White House that on Monday had brushed aside questions about the issue by insisting the American president was "focused on looking forward", Mr Obama indicated that officials could be called to account for the US losing its "moral bearings".

    Last week, Mr Obama made public four memos written by officials in President George W. Bush's administration that contained explicit details of the CIA's methods of extracting information from al-Qaeda suspects between 2002 and 2005.

    Related Articles



    On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, Mr Obama's chief of staff, told ABC News that "those who devised policy ... should not be prosecuted".

    But Mr Obama on Tuesday drew a sharp distinction between CIA interrogators who believed they were acting legally and the officials who had approved the advice.

    "For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it's appropriate for them to be prosecuted," he said.

    "With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there."

    Mr Obama's dramatic u-turn raises the prospect of the three men who wrote the memos - Jay Bybee, a former assistant attorney general who is now a federal judge, and his deputies John Yoo and Steven Bradbury - and others facing congressional investigations and even criminal charges.

    The president has faced an uproar from former CIA chiefs and deep concern from current operatives but also a fierce reaction from Left-wing groups and Democrats on Capitol Hill determined to pursue the authors of the memos and other senior Bush officials.

    Mr Obama visited the CIA on Monday in an attempt to placate the agency. But there was no sign of the anger on the Left subsiding as as it emerged that the highly controversial technique of "water-boarding", a type of simulated drowning, had been used 266 times on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, two senior al-Qaeda prisoners.

    Mr Obama's abandonment of his previous position that the US should "move forward" and put the "dark and painful chapter in our history" behind it came after he was urged by Democrat senatorsSenator Dianne Feinstein of California, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged him not to rule out prosecutions.

    On Monday night, Dick Cheney, the former vice-president, said that told Fox News it was "disturbing" that Mr Obama administration had released some documents "but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort".


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  9. #9
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama triggers firestorm in CIA interrogation case

    By Steve Holland Steve Holland – Wed Apr 22, 7:56 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama came under strong criticism on Wednesday for leaving the door open to the prosecution of former Bush administration officials who authorized severe CIA interrogation procedures.

    Obama's decision to release classified memos last Thursday that detailed aggressive techniques on terrorism suspects, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and forced nudity, has triggered a political firestorm in Washington.

    Politicians on the left are eager to launch investigations into the Bush-era policies that were part of the effort to prevent a repeat of the September 11 attacks, while those on the right said Obama seems to be breaking a pledge to look forward, not review the past.

    Karl Rove, who was a top aide to former President George W. Bush, accused Obama of seeking to conduct "show trials" a day after the president left open the possibility of prosecuting officials who provided legal analysis of interrogation procedures.

    Rove told Reuters: "If the Obama administration insists on criminalizing policy disagreements, how can they place any limits on who they prosecute?"

    "Everyone in the interrogation process would have to be treated the same," he said, including the CIA agents, the physicians who monitored interrogation sessions, and the lawyers who researched and wrote the memos.

    The chain could reach "to the leadership of the intelligence community to the legislators in both parties and the Bush administration officials who were briefed on these memos and agreed to them," he said.

    "It is now clear that the Obama White House didn't think before it tried to appease the hard left of the Democratic Party," Rove said.

    "NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW"

    Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will follow the law wherever it leads in probing U.S. officials behind CIA interrogation policies.

    "No one is above the law," he said, reiterating that the department had no intention of prosecuting CIA interrogators who acted "in good faith" to follow official legal guidance.

    The controversy threatened to become a distraction for Obama as he seeks to keep Americans' attention on his efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy.

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama believes the memos and their release should be a moment for reflection, not a moment for retribution.

    Any decision to prosecute anyone, he said, would be made by the Justice Department, not the president or the White House. "I think that the lawyers that are involved are plenty capable of determining whether any law has been broken," he said.

    Three key U.S. senators, Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham and former Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman, issued a joint letter to Obama strongly urging him not to prosecute government officials who provided legal advice related to detainee interrogations.

    "Pursuing such prosecutions would, we believe, have serious negative effects on the candor with which officials in any administration provide their best advice," wrote the senators, who all had opposed the harsh interrogation tactics.

    On Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, renewed his call for creation of a special commission to investigate the severe interrogations methods he and other critics have said amounted to torture.

    Leahy said if the votes cannot be mustered among lawmakers to create such a bipartisan commission, he would hold an investigative hearing and would expect other congressional committees to do so as well.

    "I want someone to tell us exactly what happened so that it won't happen again," Leahy told reporters.

    A liberal group, Moveon.org, asked readers on its website to sign a petition calling on the Obama administration to appoint a special prosecutor "to investigate and prosecute the architects of the Bush-era torture program."

    Former national security adviser Condoleezza Rice approved the CIA's interrogation program, including waterboarding, in 2002 and Vice President Dick Cheney affirmed White House support a year later, a Senate Intelligence Committee report said on Wednesday.

    A former Bush White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said if a probe is opened up, "Barack Obama will regret this as one of the worst moments of his presidency, because it will set off a multi-year, extraordinarily divisive, all-consuming Washington scandal/controversy and everyone will end up looking bad."

    (Additional reporting by Randall Mikkelsen, Thomas Ferraro, Ross Colvin and Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Philip Barbara and Eric Beech)


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama open to some interrogation prosecution

    But president concerned about the impact of hearings
    The Associated Press
    updated 9:33 a.m. PT, Tues., April 21, 2009

    WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is leaving the door open to possible prosecution of Bush administration officials who devised harsh terrorism-era interrogation tactics.

    He also said Tuesday that he worries about the impact of high-intensity hearings on how detainees were treated under former President George W. Bush.

    But Obama did say, nevertheless, he could support a congressional investigation if it were conducted in a bipartisan way.

    Obama has said he does not support charging CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, acting on advice from superiors that such practices were legal. But he also said that it is up to the attorney general whether to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who wrote the memos approving these tactics.

    Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had said this weekend that the Obama administration would not seek prosecution of the Bush administration lawyers.

    Last week, Obama's Justice Department published previously classified memos that described the Bush administration's legal justification for CIA interrogation techniques that included methods criticized as torture.

    Republican lawmakers and former CIA chiefs have criticized the release of the memos, contending that revealing the limits of interrogation techniques will hamper the effectiveness of interrogators.

    CIA support
    Monday Obama went to the spy agency's Virginia headquarters to defend his decision to release the memos and bolster the morale of its employees.

    "I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos, particularly the fact that so much of the information was public," Obama said.

    He also said a court case was going to force the memos to be released and that much of what they contained had already been compromised through leaks to news media.

    The president urged the hundreds of CIA employees who gathered in a secure auditorium to ignore the recent controversy. "Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks," he said.

    A round of cheers erupted when CIA Director Leon Panetta introduced Obama, who quickly reassured them that they had his backing.

    "I know the last few days have been difficult," he said. "You need to know you've got my full support."

    In opposition
    Former Vice President Dick Cheney says the U.S. government gained valuable intelligence from its aggressive interrogations of high-value detainees after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

    In an interview with Fox News Channel, Cheney said Monday that what hasn't been revealed publicly is what the U.S. gained as a result of these activities.

    "I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country," Cheney said.

    According to the declassified memos, waterboarding was used on alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003. Suspected al-Qaida logistics chief Abu Zubaydah was subjected to the treatment 83 times in August 2002.

    Separately, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Monday sent Obama a letter asking him to withhold judgment on potential prosecutions until the committee completes its investigation of the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

    The committee is looking into the treatment of each of the CIA's 14 "high-value detainees," a list that includes Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Muhammed.

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  11. #11
    Postman vector7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama says CIA memos could yet lead to charges

    Those who wrote the memos are not in the clear, he says, but any investigation must be above partisanship.

    By Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer/ April 21, 2009 edition
    Washington

    The Obama administration’s release of secret memos on “enhanced interrogation” techniques is testing the president’s commitment to keep the nation looking forward, not backward.

    Today on Capitol Hill, the debate about who – if anyone – should now face prosecution for abuses that critics say could amount to torture continued to gain momentum.

    As recently as Monday, the administration’s course had seemed clear. To a cheering crowd at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., President Obama said: “You need to know that you’ve got my full support.”

    Yet today he suggested that the officials who crafted the memos could still face legal action. The comment comes as Democrats on Capitol Hill – including some who fought for years to release the Bush-era documents – rebuked the president.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California urged Mr. Obama to avoid any comment on holding people accountable for “detention and interrogation-related activities” until after the Select Committee on Intelligence, which she chairs, completes a review.

    “This study is now under way, and I estimate its completion within the next six to eight months,” she wrote in a letter Monday.

    In his comments today, the president gave a nod to a “further accounting” by Congress of how detainees were interrogated. Yet he remained firm on his key point that “we should be looking forward and not backwards.

    “I do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively, and it hampers our ability to carry out national security operations, he added.

    Therefore, if Congress is to investigate, Obama suggested a bipartisan review outside of the hearing process, which can “sometimes break down … entirely along party lines.”

    “To the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility – that would probably be a more sensible approach to take,” he said.

    From the beginning, Obama appeared reluctant to release the memos at all, saying at CIA headquarters Monday that it would have been “very difficult to mount an effective legal defense” to block their release. Much of the information had already leaked into the headlines, he argued.

    “I have fought to protect the integrity of classified information in the past, and I will do so in the future,” the president said in Langley. “There is nothing more important than protecting the identities of CIA officers.”

    Speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel went so far as to suggest that “those who devised the policy … should not be prosecuted either.”

    Responding to more than 30 questions at a briefing this afternoon, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to clear up any confusion.

    “I would simply say that … his general posture is to look forward, and that at the same time, nobody is above the law,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill stepped up their criticism. “It’s important to remember, from 9/11 until the end of the Bush administration, not another single attack on the US homeland,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “We were obviously doing something right.”

    He added: “To the extent that the president wants to alter the fundamental policies that have kept us safe for the last eight years since 9/11, it’s a matter of some concern.”

    In response, Democrats say that the nation is just beginning to understand what went on during this period and further investigation is essential.

    It’s too early to come to conclusions, said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

    Vice President Dick Cheney recently called to release other classified memos that show the value of “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

    “I’d be interested in seeing those, too, because the Bush administration has spoken over and over and over again about the value of the information they have received from these interrogations,” Senator Whitehouse added. “I’ve got a pretty good window on this on the intelligence committee, but I’ve never seen any information that connects those dots.”


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  12. #12
    Postman vector7's Avatar
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Obama Ducks Decision on Bush Prosecutions, Leaves it to Holder

    By Mark Impomeni
    Apr 21st 2009 8:00PM

    One thing is for certain, President Barack Obama's position with respect to the possibility of prosecutions of former members of the Bush Administration for their role in developing policies in the war on terror has changed. When he first took office, the president dismissed the idea of prosecutions and even official investigations, saying that his Administration would be focused on looking forward. In comments made in the Oval Office today, however, Obama hinted that he is now at least open to the possibility of either or both. But it remains unclear exactly what the president himself wants to see happen. That is because Obama said that the ultimate decision on prosecutions would be made by Attorney General Eric Holder, and left decisions on an investigatory commission of some form to Congress.

    Quote:
    "I would say that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.

    If and when there needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways in which it can be done in a bipartisan fashion – outside of the typical hearing [process] which can sometimes break down and break entirely along partisan lines – I think that would be a more sensible approach."

    Conspicuously absent from the president's remarks is any hint at the direction that Attorney General Holder is getting from the White House. That may be in part because the White House itself has no real direction on the issue. That is evidenced by the statements of senior White House officials from just this week. Both Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs were quoted as saying that the president was not focusing on prosecutions for Bush Administration officials who may have had a hand in formulating particular policies. Both said the president was "looking forward."

    Any decision on prosecutions of former administration officials – a first in American political history – is necessarily a weighty one and fraught with complications for the political system and the country as a whole. The issue demands leadership from the president and should not be left for others to decide. But President Obama's ambiguity on the issue indicates that he is most concerned with the political ramifications inherent in the decision for himself, not the nation. Obama's non-committal answer seems designed to position him to extract the maximum political benefit from whatever conclusion is reached, while simultaneously insulating him from ultimate responsibility. Put more simply, President Obama is playing to his radical left-wing base by entertaining the possibility of prosecutions without actually ordering the Justice Department to prepare cases where appropriate.

    The president should put politics aside and lead on this issue. Either he believes prosecutions of former Bush Administration officials are warranted and will direct Holder to prepare charges, or he does not.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  13. #13
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment

    By Craig Whitlock
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    BERLIN, April 21 -- European prosecutors are likely to investigate CIA and Bush administration officials on suspicion of violating an international ban on torture if they are not held legally accountable at home, according to U.N. officials and human rights lawyers.

    Many European officials and civil liberties groups said they were disappointed by President Obama's opposition to trials of CIA interrogators who subjected terrorism suspects to waterboarding and other harsh tactics. They said the release last week of secret U.S. Justice Department memos authorizing the techniques will make it easier for foreign prosecutors to open probes if U.S. officials do not.

    Some European countries, under a legal principle known as universal jurisdiction, have adopted laws giving themselves the authority to investigate torture, genocide and other human rights crimes anywhere in the world, even if their citizens are not involved. While it is rare for prosecutors to win such cases, those targeted can face arrest if they travel abroad.

    Martin Scheinin, the U.N. special investigator for human rights and counterterrorism, said the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration clearly violated international law. He said the lawyers who wrote the Justice Department memos, as well as senior figures such as former vice president Richard B. Cheney, will probably face legal trouble overseas if they avoid prosecution in the United States.

    "Torture is an international crime irrespective of the place where it is committed. Other countries have an obligation to investigate," Scheinin said in a telephone interview from Cairo. "This may be something that will be haunting CIA officials, or Justice Department officials, or the vice president, for the rest of their lives."

    Manfred Nowak, another senior U.N. official who investigates torture claims, said the Obama administration is violating terms of the U.N. Convention Against Torture by effectively granting amnesty to CIA interrogators. He said the United States, as a signatory to the treaty, is legally obligated to investigate suspected cases of torture. He also said Washington must provide compensation to torture victims, including al-Qaeda leaders who were waterboarded.

    "One cannot buy the argument anymore that this does not amount to torture," he said. "These memos are nothing but an attempt to circumvent the absolute prohibition on torture."

    Nowak, an Austrian law professor based in Vienna, acknowledged that there is no mechanism in the anti-torture treaty to punish governments that ignore its provisions. From a political standpoint, he said, it is more important for the White House or Congress to authorize an independent commission to conduct a public examination of how terrorism suspects were treated after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    "I still have full trust in the Obama administration to do the right thing," he said in a telephone interview from Bangkok. "It is more important for the United States to overcome a dark chapter in its history."

    On Tuesday, Obama for the first time raised the possibility of creating a bipartisan commission to examine the Bush administration's handling of terrorism suspects. He also said he would leave it up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to determine whether to prosecute senior officials who approved waterboarding and other tactics.

    Several CIA and Bush administration officials have already been targeted for prosecution in Europe, though the cases have generally not progressed very far.

    In Spain, a human rights group is pushing prosecutors to investigative six senior Bush administration officials for allegedly sanctioning the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Last week, Spanish prosecutors recommended dropping the case after Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido called it a politicized attempt to turn Spanish courts "into a plaything." A Spanish judge will make the final decision.

    In Germany, human rights groups have tried to bring charges against former U.S. defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Germany's federal prosecutor has twice rejected the case, but supporters have appealed in court.

    Wolfgang Kaleck, a Berlin lawyer who helped file the complaint against Rumsfeld, said that such cases have failed largely because European courts have ruled that they should be handled in U.S. courts instead. That could change, he said.

    "Everybody prefers that prosecutions take place in the U.S.," he said. "But if nothing happens there, then that's the end of the legal argument to dismiss these cases in Europe."

    John B. Bellinger III, who was legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said European governments will face a worsening legal and political dilemma if human rights groups redouble their efforts to pursue criminal investigations of U.S. officials.

    "They realize this will put them in a very difficult position," said Bellinger, now a partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter in Washington. "They will be under pressure from civil liberties groups and some European parliamentarians not to oppose these cases. But if they allow them to go forward, they know it could strain their relationship with the Obama administration, which says it wants to look forward, not back."

    Additionally, European governments are unlikely to favor the prosecution of U.S. officials under universal-jurisdiction statutes for practical reasons, he said. For instance, U.S. officials facing charges or indictment could no longer travel to Europe without facing the risk of arrest, a situation that could spiral out of control diplomatically.

    "It just sets a bad precedent," he said. "Current and former government officials have to be able to travel. Once you allow one or two of these cases, it could really open the floodgates to actions against officials of many countries."


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  14. #14
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    April 23, 2009
    America's Foes Have Only Bad Lawyering to Fear
    By Debra Saunders

    After 9/11, Americans wanted one thing from Washington: to prevent future terrorist attacks. President George W. Bush, the CIA and other hard-working officials delivered. For their trouble, a handful of those individuals now have reason to fear that they may be ruined.

    My guess is that President Obama realizes it was a big mistake for his administration to release four memos written by Bush administration lawyers sanctioning enhanced interrogation techniques. Already, rage on the left has prompted Obama to go squishy on his once-insistent opposition to prosecuting any Bush administration officials. Now he says he might let his attorney general prosecute Bush lawyers.

    That would be criminalizing the politics of 2002. George Tenet wrote in his book "At the Center of the Storm," "After 9/11, gripped by the same emotions and fears, Congress exhorted the intelligence community to take more risks to protect the country." Civil rights? Then-Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., noted at a 2002 Senate intelligence committee that "we are not living in times in which lawyers can say no to an operation just to play it safe." Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz defended the use of rough treatment -- "the third degree" -- in order "to elicit information from terrorists about continuing threats." The Bush administration authorized techniques that the ACLU calls torture.

    Seven years later, Obama banned those techniques, as he promised. But in releasing the memos last week, Obama unwittingly reinforced Osama bin Laden's view of America as a country of pantywaists. Now America's enemies know they have nothing to fear but bad lawyering if U.S. forces catch them.

    The memos describe "enhanced" techniques used on 28 high-value detainees. Protocol called for operatives to begin with tamer methods. To wit: the "attention grasp," the "facial slap" and "dietary manipulation -- that is, "presenting detainees with a bland, unappetizing but nutritionally complete diet." Read: Ensure Plus. Really.

    "Walling" involved pushing a detainee into a wall -- but a phony wall to prevent injury. The CIA was going to try to scare al-Qaida biggie Abu Zubaydah with insects, but the bugs had to be harmless and not cause an allergic reaction. I can see the al-Qaida boys chortling in their cave over the very idea that these techniques would even be controversial -- not to mention out of bounds under the Obama administration.

    If the tamer methods did not work, operatives could ask CIA headquarters for permission to use more daunting techniques -- such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding. Three detainees were waterboarded before the last waterboarding in March 2003. The memos revealed that two detainees -- Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM) -- were water boarded a total of 266 times.

    Some maintain that the CIA might have learned what it needed to know without waterboarding. But as one memo reported, before the questioning got tough, "KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will know.'"

    The questioning got tougher. As the memo noted, the CIA believes that "the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001."

    And: Once "enhanced techniques" were used on KSM, interrogations "led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the 'Second Wave,' ... to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner' into a building in Los Angeles."

    Do I like waterboarding? No, but it is not life threatening; in extreme cases, I can live with it. And I'll take waterboarding over a 9/11 in Los Angeles any day.

    One last point: The Navy has used waterboarding in training. Obama put a stop to the "enhanced" techniques because he believes they have tarnished America's image abroad, which makes Americans less safe. People of goodwill can disagree on that point.

    But when Obama opened the door for his attorney general to prosecute Bush lawyers, that flip-flop told U.S. intelligence and law enforcement operatives that Obama's assurances cannot be trusted. That can't be good for America's safety.

    Former California Gov. Pete Wilson, who served on the Bush Defense Policy Board, was appalled. "If they try to prosecute that, that should spark mass resignations in the government," he told me Tuesday.

    As for Obama, Wilson said, "This is a guy who was teaching law. Good God."

    dsaunders@sfchronicle.com
    Copyright 2009, Creators Syndicate Inc.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  15. #15
    Super Moderator Malsua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    The most interesting thing that will come out of these witch hunts...the next administration will burn the witch hunters of this administration.

    It's the perfect political irony and the punishments will be no less than absolutely delicious.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    This is just the logical progression of the bitter bipartisanship thats taken hold of this nation. Left ot right, I don't see it getting better anytime soon.

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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Let's say that you are President. And you "screw up" but not in a big, or illegal way. Then I am President and in the other party. So, because you screwed up, I decide to open a can of worms and "investigate" the outgoing party.

    All fine and dandy. I don't really "find much" in my administration, but I opened that can of worms.

    Next time around, YOUR party is in, and my side "screwed up too".

    So, they prosecute.

    it opens every subsequent administration to being treated as criminals.

    So - leave it at Executive Privilege and call it a friggin' day.
    Libertatem Prius!





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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Friday, April 24, 2009
    Tortured logic
    Exclusive: Hal Lindsey blasts Obama for paralyzing U.S. by releasing interrogation memos

    Posted: April 24, 2009
    1:00 am Eastern

    By Hal Lindsey

    The so-called torture memos released by the White House were not the only things tortured by what quickly became a crisis. The release tortured logic to a point beyond its endurance. Under that kind of torture, it quickly broke down.

    What purpose did releasing the alleged "torture" memos serve? For our country, I mean. It is painfully obvious how it served our enemies. In war, any accurate information the enemy holds is too much information. Logic screams in pain at the arguments advanced by the government – that it intended to project "legal and moral clarity" over the issue of torture.

    The most egregious form of torture cited by the memo is the "waterboarding" technique. The memo said that without it, Khalid Sheik Mohammed would never have given up the information that prevented a catastrophic airline attack against Los Angeles.

    The U.S. military uses waterboarding against American forces as part of advanced training for certain elite groups. If it isn't torture when it is applied against America's defenders as part of their training, how then can one argue it is "torture" when applied to one of America's enemies as part of national defense?

    No matter. It's out. So is "walling." Prisoners are slammed against a specially constructed wall that gives way, preventing injury but making a scary noise. No more of that, either.

    The White House argues that by releasing the formerly classified documents, we prove we've got nothing to hide. Well, we've got nothing left to hide, either.

    There's a scene in the mini-series "Band of Brothers" where Lt. Speirs explains why he allowed his company to believe he massacred a group of German POWs on D-Day. They thought he was nuts. But he never had problems with discipline.

    Obama's release of the torture memos dispels any lingering fear the enemy might have of us, and no doubt some think that is a good thing. And it would be. If we weren't at war.

    But since we are at war, logic would seem to suggest that under those circumstances, a little fear might not have been such a bad idea. It seems a better plan than to embolden him.

    Obama released the memos saying that it was necessary for America's legal and moral clarity. Legally, it's created a firestorm of controversy.

    The day he released them, he hurried over to the CIA to assure them that, even though they were all now complicit in torture, he wouldn't prosecute them for doing their jobs.

    Then the next day, he reversed himself. Maybe some people might have to be prosecuted, but only the lawyers. For now.

    Only one day after saying the country was interested in looking forward and not backward, the country was buzzing about how long it would take before Obama put Bush on trial for war crimes.

    The witch hunt is ongoing in a contextual vacuum. At the time these "enhanced" interrogation techniques took place, America was still reeling from the 9/11 attacks.

    The fact that the country is so complacent that Obama feels safe playing politics with Guantanamo, the CIA, the military and the War on Terror without significant public outcry is largely due to the information those enhanced interrogation techniques yielded.

    National Intelligence Director Adm. Dennis Blair said of the so-called torture techniques, "High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaida organization that was attacking this country." His comments were made in a memo released to his staff.

    "I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past," he wrote, "but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given."

    Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA director under President Bush, told Fox News Sunday "the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work." Former Vice President Dick Cheney expressed similar sentiments.

    Were they all lying? The answer to that question is self-evident. How many times have we been attacked since Sept. 11?

    Let's summarize the damage done by the torture memos so far. It empowers the enemy with knowledge useful to prosecuting his war against us. It emboldens our critics. It exposes the rest of the U.S. intelligence-gathering apparatus to closer scrutiny. It exposes those who advised the president to prosecution based on the advice they offered.

    It paralyzes government advisers and intelligence and military operatives out of fear they may be prosecuted for serving their country. And it exposes the real target, former President Bush, to a potential war crimes trial.

    Obama promised that releasing this classified information would benefit the country.

    In one sense, it does. The very worst thing America did was to scare some terrorists into thinking they were drowning with a technique we use on our own military recruits. Nobody got hurt. Nobody died. Uncounted thousands are alive today because of it.

    Maybe we weren't such a bad country, after all. Before The Change came, I mean.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



  19. #19
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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    Pentagon to Release Photos of Detainee Abuse Next Month

    By Ann Scott Tyson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, April 24, 2009; 11:34 AM


    The Pentagon, in response to a lawsuit, will make public by May 28 a "substantial number" of photos showing the abuse of detainees in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. personnel, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

    The photos include 21 images depicting detainee abuse in facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan other than the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, as well as 23 other detainee abuse photos, according to the ACLU and a letter from the Justice Department sent to a federal court in New York yesterday.

    In addition, the Justice Department letter said "the government is also processing for release a substantial number of other images" contained in Army Criminal Investigation Division reports on the abuse.

    "This shows that the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was not aberrational but was systemic and widespread," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney involved with the 2004 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that led to the promise to release the photographs. "This will underscore calls for accountability for that abuse."

    Singh called for an independent investigation into torture and prisoner abuse and said it should be followed, if warranted, by criminal prosecutions.
    The Pentagon has not stated when or how it will release the detainee photos, but a defense official said the initial 44 would likely be made public close to the May 28 deadline.

    The Pentagon has noted that it investigates all allegations of detainee abuse, and since 2001 has taken more than 400 disciplinary actions against U.S. military personnel found to have been involved in such abuse.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday said it was "unrealistic" for the government to try to keep photos of detainee abuse a secret, noting that the ACLU lawsuit and others like it made it likely that such photographs would be made public.

    "There is a certain inevitability, I believe, that much of this will eventually come out," Gates said. "Much has already come out."

    The Bush administration had argued that public disclosure of the photographs would unleash outrage and also violate Geneva Convention obligations on the treatment of detainees.

    But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in September 2008 rejected such arguments and required disclosure of the photos because of a "significant public interest" in potential government misconduct.

    A Bush administration request that the full Court of Appeals rehear the case was denied March 11. Singh said she has been told that the Obama administration will not ask the Supreme Court to review the photograph case.
    At the same time, however, Gates voiced concern that the release of photos, along with interrogation memos and other materials, could cause a "backlash" in the Middle East that could negatively impact U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

    "I also was quite concerned, as you might expect, with the potential backlash in the Middle East and in the theaters where we're involved in conflict, and that it might have a negative impact on our troops," he said.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: Democrats are prepared to move forward with an investigation of the Bush Administ

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 23, 2009
    6:59 PM
    Defense Department To Release Prisoner Abuse Photos By May 28 In Response To ACLU Lawsuit

    Photos Depict Abuse Of Prisoners By U.S. Personnel In Iraq And Afghanistan

    NEW YORK - April 23 - In a letter addressed to a federal court today, the Department of Defense announced that it will make public by May 28 a “substantial number” of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel. The photos, which are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2004, include images from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan at locations other than Abu Ghraib.

    “These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib,” said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. “Their disclosure is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse.”

    The letter follows a September 2008 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit requiring disclosure of the photos and the court’s subsequent refusal in March 2009 to rehear the case. The Defense Department has indicated that it will not ask the Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit’s ruling.

    Since the ACLU's FOIA request in 2003, the Bush administration had refused to disclose these images by attempting to radically expand the exemptions allowed under the FOIA for withholding records. The administration claimed that the public disclosure of such evidence would generate outrage and would violate U.S. obligations towards detainees under the Geneva Conventions.

    However, a three judge panel of the appeals court in September 2008 rejected the Bush administration’s attempt to use exemptions to the FOIA as "an all-purpose damper on global controversy" and recognized the "significant public interest in the disclosure of these photographs" in light of government misconduct. The court also recognized that releasing the photographs is likely to prevent "further abuse of prisoners." The Bush administration subsequently requested that the full Court of Appeals rehear the case. That request was denied on March 11, 2009.

    “The disclosure of these photographs serves as a further reminder that abuse of prisoners in U.S.-administered detention centers was systemic,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “Some of the abuse occurred because senior civilian and military officials created a culture of impunity in which abuse was tolerated, and some of the abuse was expressly authorized. It’s imperative that senior officials who condoned or authorized abuse now be held accountable for their actions.”

    The Department of Defense letter is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/39453lgl20090423.html

    To date, more than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the ACLU's FOIA lawsuit. They are available online at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia

    Many of these documents are also compiled and analyzed in "Administration of Torture," a book by Jaffer and Singh. More information is available online at: www.aclu.org/administrationoftorture

    In addition to Jaffer and Singh, attorneys on the case are Judy Rabinovitz of the national ACLU; Arthur Eisenberg and Beth Haroules of the New York Civil Liberties Union; Lawrence S. Lustberg and Jenny Brooke Condon of the New Jersey-based law firm Gibbons P.C.; and Shayana Kadidal and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

    ###
    The ACLU conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.
    We won’t have to fight you."
    We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands."



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