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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 22, 2015
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
'The Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natural gas billions...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/15 - 5/12/15 - Archives...
Walker and GOP Turn First Amendment On Its Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox:
'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing; MORE...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and the corporate MSM tell us they fear Bernie Sanders could 'pull Hillary to the left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP deal to tragedy in Philadelphia to the GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in Texas, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History
& GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Dumb Jeb Still Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
OUR 600th EPISODE! -- Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on Keystone XL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
Previous GNRs: 5/12/15 - 5/7/15 - Archives...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with their President (for now); Plus: First election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/12/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fire & oil spill at NY nuke plant; Shell approved for Arctic drilling; More CA water cuts; GOP slashes NASA Earth research; PLUS: Solar-powered plane's most dangerous journey...
Previous GNRs: 5/7/15 - 5/5/15 - Archives...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; NC's Mysteriously Vanishing Voter Registrations:
'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
Sunday Toons: 'Loon Star State' and Beyond
It's getting crazy in Texas and in the GOP 2016 race and...oh...just pick a place...
Unverifiable Voting Machines (& How to Hack Them): 'BradCast' 5/8/15
Guest: Computer scientist Jeremy Epstein of Verified Voting on the decertification of 1/5 of Virginia's voting machines; MUCH MORE...
Broken Political Machines (& How to Fix Them): 'BradCast' 5/7/15
Guests: TX blogger Perry 'PDiddie' Dorrell on Rick Perry's felonies; Ernie Canning on Bernie Sanders and the 'democracy deficit'; & MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/7/15
Huge, political win for progressives in Alberta; New rules for oil 'bomb trains'; C02 emmissions milestone; PLUS: Elon Musk and Tesla revolutionize batteries...again...
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and the Conservative Case for Climate Action: 'BradCast' 5/6/15
Finally! A Republican on The BradCast! Plus: Fox 'News' v. RWers; Another oil train explosion in ND and more!...
Perry's Ace in the Hole in Felony Trial
The former TX Governor is preparing to run for President, even while facing felony charges. He doesn't seem worried. Maybe this is why...
Equal Justice for All?: 'BradCast' 5/5/15
Constitutional law expert and reporter Ian Millhiser on last week's oral hearings in the landmark marriage equality case at SCOTUS. Plus: 'BridgeGate'; Huckabee; more...
'Green News Report' 5/5/15
2016 GOP nomination race just doubled in size with Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee (deniers all) all jumping in; PLUS: The Pope's moral message on climate change...
'Free Speech' Versus 'Hate Speech': 'BradCast' 5/4/15
Brad and comedian Jimmy Dore continue debate they've had since 'Charlie Hebdo' following another 'Mohammed cartoon' shooting; Plus: FEC dysfunction & more...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Sending them out to chase shadows...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/27/2009 11:12am PT  

Opinion by guest blogger, Ernest A. Canning

Keith Olbermann was astonished (full video below):

Despite the new wealth of evidence that the Bush administration’s desire to torture suspects was driven by a desire to gin up phony links between Iraq and al Qaeda, not by concerns about another terrorist attack, former Vice President Cheney is sticking to his story that it was all about terrorism. In part II of his interview with Fixed News, the Dark Lord accusing the Obama administration of not believing that the U.S. is threatened by terrorism.

The Fox "News" interview was vintage Cheney. He referred to torture as “a robust interrogation program on detainees” that was vital “to the very existence of the nation.”

CHENEY: What the Obama administration is doing, in effect, is saying that we don’t need those tough policies that we had. That says, either they didn’t work, which we know is not the case—they did work, they kept us safe for seven years...

You have to see a Cheney performance in order to appreciate the effectiveness of Cheney propaganda. Unlike George W. Bush, who was inclined to trip over his own tongue, Cheney has perfected the quiet lie. His words may be false but he delivers them as facts so uncontroversial you’d think he was a local network anchor reporting on traffic conditions...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2009 8:56am PT  

Reagan on torture prosecution, via Andrew Sullivan, from the days before George W. Bush decided how to use signing statements for evil, rather than good...

From his signing statement ratifying the UN Convention on Torture from 1984:

"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

My italics. Reagan was admant [sic] about prosecuting torture, but also prosecuting inhuman treatment that some might claim was not full-on torture. Now go read National Review or The Weekly Standard. And look what has happened to conservatism in America.

Reagan was, of course, part of the Blame-America-First crowd. Soft on terror. Friend of the evil-doers. Why did Ronald Reagan hate America?

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By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2009 1:16pm PT  

Hope? David Swanson reported last night that the AG "made [him] a promise":

As Attorney General Eric Holder left an appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday I spoke loudly from the third row as he prepared to leave the room:

"We need a special prosecutor for torture, Mr. Attorney General. Americans like the rule of law. The rule of law for everybody."

He replied as he approached and walked by, surrounded by bodyguards:

"And you will be proud of your country."

I was joined by others in replying simultaneously:

"Yes, we want to be proud of our country. We're ready. No need to wait."

Holder knew exactly what it would take for me to be proud of my country, and he told me directly that I would be.

Will I? Time will tell.

UPDATE 7/11/09: NEWSWEEK reports that Holder "may be on the verge of" and "leaning toward appointing" a prosecutor to investigate Bush/Cheney-era torture. Their story notes that his initial deliberations on this matter seem to have coincided with his comments as noted above. Details on all now here...

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The harsh realities of torture and following orders are quite different from the fictional world of Hollywood's anti-terror warriors, says a noted former FBI Special Agent and 9/11 whistleblower...
By Coleen Rowley on 4/24/2009 11:09am PT  

Guest Blogged by Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower, TIME's 2002 'Person of the Year'

Back in December 2007, when I wrote "Torture is Wrong, Illegal and It Doesn't Work," I mentioned that "the FBI agent who reportedly had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot, Ali Soufan, the only Arabic-speaking agent in New York and one of only eight in the country, and who has since resigned from the FBI, could and should tell people the truth of how the CIA's tactics were counterproductive."

Well guess what?! HE FINALLY DID SO ON WEDNESDAY! The points Soufan makes are very instructive as our country begins to unravel the differences between the fictional world of Hollywood's "Jack Bauer," and the real world dilemmas and questions of morality and legality as faced by actual intelligence and law enforcement officers.

"My Tortured Decision" is how former FBI Agent Soufan titled his New York Times op-ed, speaking out to specifically refute a number of Dick Cheney's lies about how torture "worked." The truth, according to Soufan, is quite the opposite from how Cheney continues to paint it...

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Fox 'News' host goes ballistic. Thank you...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2009 2:38pm PT  

Shepard Smith's days at Fox "News" may have to be numbered at this point. Even the filthy Judith Miller, for Chrissakes, is joining him in being appalled by the torture memos.

"If there was torture, there was a crime. If there was a crime, there were criminals who ordered the torture," he says to the reprehensible apologist Clifford May before he and Miller both concur that these "horrendous techniques are illegal"...


But later, Smith completely blows his stack on Fox's online-only show The Strategy Room, pounding on the table and SHOUTING: "We are America! I don't give a rat's ass if it helps! We are America! We do not fucking torture!!!":

(Hat-tips HuffPo and RAW STORY.)

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For that matter, why didn't Condoleezza Rice?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2009 4:56pm PT  

The former State Department adviser to Condoleezza Rice and executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, disclosed at Foreign Policy's Shadow Government yesterday that he offered a dissenting view to the torture memos and policies of the Bush Administration. (Ernie Canning discussed those memos and policies in detail here this morning.)

Zelikow not only dissented from the party line, admirably, but he also learned at one point that while the administration disagreed with his opinion, they were taking it a step further by actually going out of their way to destroy all copies of his memo. As he explained at FP yesterday:

At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn't entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives.

While it's admirable, I suppose, that he's finally speaking up to reveal that at least someone in the Bush Administration dissented from their tortured legal justifications for war crimes, the question must be raised as to why Zelikow didn't simply resign when it became clear that the administration was going far beyond simply disagreeing with him. They were stepping over what would seem to clearly be the line of legality, by actually destroying (or attempting to), all copies of his opinion.

Surely that was a red flag that something was gravely amiss there, no?

Zelikow was on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show last night (complete video and transcript below), and she asked directly if he'd considered resigning at that point. But I find his answer rather unsatisfying, in my opinion...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The Case for 'Looking Forward' to the Impeachment of Jay S. Bybee...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/22/2009 9:48am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

At the same time he took a step forward, releasing the four Justice Department torture memos he described as a "dark and painful chapter in our history," President Barack Obama assured CIA employees, who tortured under cover of these quasi-legal sophistries, they would not be prosecuted. The President said this was "a time for reflection, not retribution...nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." White House Press Secretary Robert Gibb explained that the President insisted on "looking forward." U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder not only seconded the President's promise not to prosecute, but vowed to provide legal counsel to defend these war criminals and to pay the damages awarded to their victims.

Great Britain's Times Online, quoting an unnamed former official, suggested there may be cases where the CIA exceeded the DOJ guidelines; perhaps even killed detainees. The President's hint at immunity does not extend to officials who exceeded the guidelines. Although the President, in his remarks, made no mention of those who ordered torture, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last Sunday that the President did not believe "those who devised the policy" should "be prosecuted."

The President's promise not to prosecute generated a firestorm of protest from the legal community. Law Professor Jonathan Turley blasted the effort to equate law enforcement with "retribution."

He is trying to lay the ground work for principle when he is doing an unprincipled thing....President Obama himself has said that waterboarding is torture, and torture itself violates four treaties and is considered a war crime. So the refusal to allow it to be investigated is to obstruct a war crimes investigation.…There aren't any convenient or inconvenient times to investigate war crimes. You don't have a choice....You have an obligation to do it, and what I think the President is desperately trying to do is to sell this idea that somehow it's a principled thing not to investigate war crimes because its going to be painful…It will be politically unpopular because an investigation will go directly to the doorstep of President Bush…and there's not going to be a lot of defenses that can be raised for ordering a torture program.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who serves on a House Intelligence Sub-Committee, added fuel to the firestorm by contrasting the President's advancement of the "I was only following orders" defense to the principles our nation applied at Nuremberg after WWII. Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said the President's refusal to prosecute violates the UN Convention Against Torture.

Before discussing the refreshing news that we have a President who, in the face of such a powerful critique, is not afraid to reverse course, let's consider what it means to "look forward" given that the principle author of these torture memos, Judge Jay S. Bybee, now sits on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, passing judgments on others. Absent incapacity or impeachment, there he will stay for the rest of his life...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Republican Army, Marine vet slams Limbaugh for support of torture, blames him for McCain loss
They're eating their own...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2009 4:25pm PT  


Republican Army and Marine vet caller to Rush: "You're one reason to blame for the Republicans losing...You're a brain-washed, Nazi...Anybody who could believe in torture, has got to have something wrong with them...What's the matter with you?! You never even served in the Army!"

Rush replies:
"You're stupid and ignorant...you don't know diddly-squat..."

Seriously, give it a listen above right. Media Matters has the transcript, Scholars and Rogues has more details. It's getting ugly out there in Limbaugh Land.

Must-Listen Musical Addendum: And as long as we're on the topic...We'll opportunistically take this opportunity to share Rush 'admitting' he's 'a Nazi'. If you haven't heard this brilliantly hilarious satirical tune, featuring Rush in his own words (as created by Atlanta's WNNX-FM), well, get your goose-stepping boots on, turn it up loud, and hit play below...

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If waterboarding was a war crime when the Japanese did it to my father, why isn't it a war crime anymore?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/6/2009 9:39am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In my previous piece, "Prosecute or Perish", here at The BRAD BLOG --- in which I argued that criminal investigations and, where appropriate, prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal for war crimes was not merely mandated by our treaty obligations but vital to preserving our constitutional democracy and the rule of law --- I referenced an allegation by Seymour Hersh that the Bush regime had created a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."

How can a nation that calls itself just convict the Japanese officers who waterboarded my father, yet refuse to so much as investigate high officials from our own government who authorized the same war crime and, as newly alleged, even much worse...

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Why the survival of our Constitutional Democracy may hinge on factually justified criminal prosecutions of the Bush/Cheney cabal...
[UPDATED: Spanish prosecutors file complaint calling for arrest of Bush 'torture attorneys']
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2009 5:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"It will remain one of democracy's best jokes that it provided its deadly enemies with the means by which it was destroyed." - Joseph Goebbels

* * *

Gradually, as the veil of secrecy lifts, a growing number of Americans are beginning to comprehend the lawlessness of the cabal which seized control of the White House in 2000 in what amounted to a judicially-aided coup d'etat.[i] This lawlessness extended across the board. It included the packing of federal agencies with lobbyists from industries they were designed to regulate, deception to take this nation into a war of choice, fraudulent no-bid contracts, torture, extraordinary rendition, warrantless NSA eavesdropping on the entire stream of domestic electronic communications, and, if Seymour Hersh's recent allegations are accurate, the creation of a highly secretive "executive assassination ring" which reported only to Dick Cheney's office and which had "been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people and executing them and leaving."[ii]

The reaction of leading Democratic politicians to these unprecedented high crimes has been ambivalent, at best. Even before she assumed the role of Speaker, Nancy Pelosi announced that impeachment was "off-the-table," thereby enabling two more years of executive lawlessness, not to mention the nation's economic demise. Pelosi evaded so much as mentioning their high crimes until February 2009. President Obama acknowledged that "no one is above the law," but added that the focus of his administration is to look forward, not back.

There are fundamental deficiencies in the President's formulation. First, it is impossible to observe the rule of law without looking back. It would make no sense, for example, for a man charged with armed robbery to come before a judge and say, "Well, the robbery was in the past. You've got to look forward. I have every intention of abiding by the law in the future. So why prosecute me?" Second, looking forward does not mean handling current events at the expense of the rule of law. The point is to look far enough into the future to appreciate that the same people who brought us the last eight years of executive lawlessness could one day return to power...

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Sign on to demand non-partisan special counsel, immediate prosecution of Bush, Cheney and other former senior administration officials...
By David Swanson on 2/26/2009 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by David Swanson of After Downing Street

Only in America can elected officials go on TV and confess to felonies (including torture and warrantless spying, not to mention aggressive war) and the resulting debate focus around the question of whether investigating the "possibility" of wrong-doing would be too radical. This week a coalition of dozens of human rights groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Society of American Law Teachers released a statement, as drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee, cutting to the chase.

It reads in its entirety:

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or "truth" commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately.

I wrote this statement with some helpful tweaks from colleagues and have been screaming the same basic message for about three years, but I sense more than ever right now that more ears are open to it.

While actually enforcing laws and "getting tough on crime" is now considered the radical leftist position and a "truth" commission the reasonable compromise, it is clear that a bipartisan commission would create the bipartisan bickering our elected officials are so eager to avoid. It would also, in Senator Patrick Leahy's view, investigate the complicity of Democrats as well as Republicans in the crimes of the past 8 years, thus guaranteeing that neither Democrats nor Republicans will support it.

If Congress can't take the heat and won't even enforce its own subpoenas, it should leave well enough alone. Statutes of limitations are running out fast, and we don't have time for another commission. If President Obama wants to distance himself from enforcing the law, he can do what he is supposed to do and leave the matter in the hands of Eric Holder. And if Attorney General Holder wants distance he can do what is required and appoint a truly independent prosecutor. Doing so would please the following organizations. More are signing on every hour, and both organizations and individuals can sign on at ProsecuteBushCheney.org.

Signatorees, as of 2/25/09, include...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'This is going to be big,' says Sen. Whitehouse
UPDATED: Hearing now scheduled for Wed., March 4th...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2009 10:13am PT  

[Updated at end of article, with details on hearing announced for next week.]

The Senate is quietly preparing plans to investigate allegations of torture under President George W. Bush, according to comments published Wednesday by Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The Senate Judiciary Committee could announce a hearing to consider various plans to probe allegations of torture as early as today, according to Salon's Mark Benjamin, citing Committee Chairman Pat Leahy and members of his staff.

Leahy's office told Raw Story Wednesday morning that a press release would be sent out shortly.

Sen. Whitehouse said he's "convinced" the investigation will move forward.

"Stay on this," he told Benjamin. "This is going to be big."

Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island, is "spearheading" the efforts, and as a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, "is privy to information about interrogations he can't yet share," the magazine noted.

Neither Salon's nor RAW STORY's coverage made it completely clear whether the Senators are discussing an idea that is different from Leahy's previously-floated "Truth Commission" --- where immunity would be granted to many who testify, in questionable exchange for making "the truth" known --- though this investigation does seem to be distinct from that one. We'll try to keep our eye out for Leahy's press release today, in case it offers some clarity. [Update: See details of Leahy's announcement added at bottom of article.]

One point from Salon, also worth highlighting, is that the tenacious Sen. Whitehouse seems keen on using this investigation to help disprove the often asserted notion that the Bush, um, "enhanced interrogation" policies saved lives, despite the lack of evidence supporting that wishful thinking, and the growing body of evidence and testimony --- from those who actually know --- which plainly disputes it.

Retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba, who led the investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, is quoted from a recent interview as disputing those who have claimed --- from the comfort of their keyboards --- that torture saved lives: "Some of those activities were actually not effective and those who thought so were in the academic or pristine settings of their offices," Taguba told Salon. "What would they know?"

Whitehouse adds: "It is important to prove the point, because they keep saying, 'We saved lives. We interrupted plans. We did this, that and the other.'...Well, when you drill down, there is never a fact there. It turns into fog and evasion."

Again, with Whitehouse on both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, with access to much more information than has been made public to date, he oughta know. At least slightly more so than the Wingnuts who rule the public airwaves and, with it, the public "debate" on these issues to date.

UPDATE 1:34pm PT: On the Senate floor today, Leahy announced his plans for a hearing next Wednesday, March 4th at 10am ET (including a live webcast), called "Getting to the Truth Through a Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry."

Details follow...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Scott Horton says paper conflated Dubya's program of kidnap, long-term foreign imprisonment and torture with older, less-nefarious anti-terror tool...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2009 11:41am PT  

From Scott Horton at Harper's...

In a breathless piece of reporting in the Sunday Los Angeles Times, we are told that Barack Obama “left intact” a “controversial counter-terrorism tool” called renditions. Moreover, the Times states, quoting unnamed “current and former U.S. intelligence figures,” Obama may actually be planning to expand the program. The report notes the existence of a European Parliament report condemning the practice, but states “the Obama Administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush Administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.”

The Los Angeles Times just got punked.

Horton --- who testified as an expert witness for the European Parliament report mentioned --- says the paper conflated the controversial Bush program, which often included torture and long-term abduction into secret CIA-run prisons in foreign countries, and a significantly less nefarious type of rendition, in use since the early 90's, and perhaps even during the Reagan era.

He explains the difference between the pre-Dubya "renditions program", which an Executive Order from Obama has not ended, versus Dubya's "extraordinary renditions program" which Obama has outlawed (despite media reports over the last several days to the contrary), thusly...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Says international law, convention obligates Obama government to begin criminal investigation or extradite to country that would prosecute
Congressional Democrats indicate willingness to proceed with investigations...
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2009 5:30pm PT  

From Scott Horton at Harper's...

In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.

“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
...
Law professor Dietmar Herz clarifies that under U.S. and international law, George W. Bush bears personal responsibility for the introduction of torture. From the point of his departure from office, head of state immunity terminates, and under clear principles of international law, the United States is obligated to commence a criminal investigation and then a prosecution.

In related news, top Congressional Democrats, including Senators Reid, Levin and Whitehouse, as well as Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Conyers have all indicated recently, in various forms, interest in investigations and/or accountability for various Bush crimes, which, reports Jason Leopold at Public Record, amounts to a growing consensus among Dems to approve a probe into torture allegations, and perhaps more.

UPDATE 1/26/09: In an interview with CNN, Nowak said he believes there is already enough evidence to prosecute fomer SecDef Don Rumsfeld:

"We have clear evidence," he said. "In our report that we sent to the United Nations, we made it clear that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld clearly authorized torture methods and he was told at that time by Alberto Mora, the legal council of the Navy, 'Mr. Secretary, what you are actual ordering here amounts to torture.' So, there we have the clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but, nevertheless, he ordered torture."

RAW STORY has the video of the CNN interview with Nowak...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/23/2009 12:24pm PT  

The photo above was taken on Jan 20th, 2009. President Obama has since signed an Executive Order calling for the closure of Gitmo within a year.

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