Monday, January 26, 2009

Cheney: I authorized torture. I guess, I'm guilty.

Bush: I authorized torture:

Alberto Gonzales on NPR today:

When asked by NPR's interviewer Michel Martin for his reaction to Barack Obama's Attorney General designate, Eric Holder, saying he believed waterboarding was torture, Gonzales said:

"My reaction was very similar to General (Michael) Mukasey's reaction, was concern about making a pronouncement like that, a concern that arise in the minds of intelligence officials and lawyers at the Department who all acted in good faith, working as hard as they can in difficult circumstances, to give advise and make decisions, to protect our country. And when you have that kind of pronouncement . . . One needs to be careful in making a blanket pronouncement like that if you don't have all the information because of the effect it may have again on the morale and dedication of intelligence officials and lawyers throughout the administration.

MARTIN: And you worry officers, persons who participated in these practices might be now prosecuted?

GONZALES: "I don't think there's going to be a prosecution, quite frankly, because again these activities for the most part, based on what I know, obviously there may be some activities and actions that occurred that I'm not aware of, but in terms of what people really focused on, they were authorized, they were known at the highest levels, they were supported by legal opinions at the Department of Justice, so based on those facts, I think it would be difficult, again I can't prejudge it, Mr. Holder if he is confirmed will have to make a decision whether or not to move forward with a prosecution, an investigation and a prosecution but under those circumstances I find it hard to believe . . . "

Gonzo seems real concerned Holder may have made his pronouncement about waterboarding being torture without all the relevant info regarding the threats he was facing and the legal opinions authorizing the use of torture (which were, remember, authorized at the highest levels).

Well, it looks like the Obama administration and congressional democrats might be able to help to enlighten everyone: reports congressional democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee are ramping up an effort to begin investigations into what exactly BushCo was up to on the Dark Side. And also:

"Obama’s aides have indicated that there soon may be a 'public airing' of secret Justice Department legal opinions and other documents that provided the underpinning for the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation policies . . ."

The Republicans are now apparently holding up Holder's confirmation until he promises not to prosecute any of them.

"Meanwhile, Republicans have grown increasingly worried that Holder, as Attorney General, will launch a criminal investigation into Bush’s interrogation policies. They delayed a vote on his nomination demanding that he respond to questions about whether he intends to investigate and/or prosecute Bush administration officials.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he wants to ask Holder whether he intends to investigate the Bush administration and intelligence officials for torture. Last week, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder was asked about the practice of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning that the Bush administration has acknowledged using against three terror suspects. Holder answered that 'waterboarding was torture.'

Cornyn said Holder’s view means there is a possibility that investigations might be on the horizon. 'Part of my concern, frankly, relates to some of his statements at the hearing in regard to torture and what his intentions are with regard to intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based upon their understanding of what the law was,' Cornyn said Wednesday."

That term "operating in good faith" seems to be coming up a lot, lately. It's like telling a cop you didn't know the speed limit. Gonzo can go on and on about how legal opinions, written by such constitutional experts as he and John Yoo, said the CIA could torture the worst of the worst, but just writing something doesn't make it so.

Right, John Yoo?

"Doug Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that." (Information Clearinghouse)

The real scandal isn't so much waterboarding KSM and Co., it's the permissive environment his, Yoo's and Cheney's whole gloves coming off philosophy of criminal justice engendered all down the chain of command that led to all the horrors of Gitmo, Baghram and Abu-Ghraib.

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Anonymous Kosmicki said...

I sent a long email to John Yoo after an article came out in The New Yorker in 2006. Of course I never got an answer.

2:36 PM  

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