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Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
READER COMMENTS ON
"VIDEO: Law Professor: 'The President Ordered War Crimes'"
(22 Responses so far...)
Turley is too soft on 'em.
But the fun doesn't stop there! Apparently John Yoo was a very busy boy in those first months of the Administration.
Yoo, who put his name on that infamous lil' 'torture memo', also justified suspension of the 4th Amendment --- the one that guarantees all Americans against "unreasonable search and seizure":
The October 2001 memo was written at the request of the White House by John Yoo, then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time. The administration had asked the department for an opinion on the legality of potential responses to terrorist activity.
But not just any "terrorist activity", but specifically domestice terrorist activity:
The 37-page memo is classified and has not been released. Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret memo, dated March 14, 2003, released by the Pentagon in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations," the footnote states, referring to a document titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.
Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear. But federal documents indicate that the memo relates to the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP. [all emphasis added]
Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what "domestic military action" might encompass?
Luckily, Justice Dept. spokesman Brian Roehrkasse (who was soooo forthcoming during the U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal) responded by telling everybody, "We disagree with the proposition that the Fourth Amendment as no application to domestic military operations." Whether or not that means the DoJ has truly overturned the memo is not explicitly stated; all Roehrkasse said was that they disagree. In the double-speak of the Bush Admin, that doesn't mean that they won't do it anyway.
Plus, Yoo had help in drafting these, um, unorthodox interpretations of the Constitution.
Gee, wonder where all those strict "Constitutional constructionists" are...they're awfully quiet these days....
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
... Ex-Canuck said on 4/3/2008 @ 9:53 pm PT...
When, oh when will it be time to start charging those in the bush/cheney administration with war crimes? How many laws must they break before someone has the courage to do what should have been done some years ago? How many more hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims must die to slake the blood lust of bush and those in his administration who seem to desire only to kill?
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
... old91A10 said on 4/3/2008 @ 10:03 pm PT...
Since May 2006 through March 2008 there have been 1,700 US & UK Military Fatalities (and tens of thousands Iraqis)
Since November 2006 through March 2008 there have been 1,205 US & UK Military Fatalities (and tens of thousand Iraqis)
Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table in May 2006.
Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House on November 16, 2006.
I guess this is the MSM version of 'real time'.
And it is probably caused by too much driving while looking out the rear view mirror, and not enough time driving while looking out the windshield.
What do you call it when you are happy that the press is only years behind ... when what the blogs call 'olds' is what the MSM calls 'news'?
I propose that the MSM from this day forward be called 'revisionist historians' instead of 'journalists'.
They seem to have 'history' and 'breaking news' confused. And it has been that way 'forever'.
All rightie then, blog real time is 'putting those who commit torture in jail on the same day they do it in front of witnesses'.
They will be held there pending trial and sentencing.
At which time they will not be pardoned.
I am not soft on violent crime like the neoCons are.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
... diffidatio said on 4/4/2008 @ 2:31 am PT...
Does anyone have suggestions on how to articulate a concise policy solution to this, or if there has already been a solution proposed in Congress or elsewhere? By "this", I mean all of the legal slippage and double-speak to justify torture by Yoo and the other minions. You know, besides vague calls for "ending torture" or justified, but non-policy related calls for impeachment or prosecution or firings, etc.
In short, I'm looking for a pedagogical and organizing tool.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts/advice.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
... Robert "Bruce" McAlpine said on 4/4/2008 @ 3:26 am PT...
Torture has long been prohibited by international law, including the Geneva Conventions and their common article 3. This total ban was reinforced in 1984 with the adoption of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which criminalized torture and complicity in torture. . . .The 1984 Convention, which is binding on 145 countries, including the United States, defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person."
The abuse, rising to the level of torture, of those captured and detained in the war on terror is a defining feature of the presidency of George W. Bush. Its military beginnings, however, lie not in Abu Ghraib, as is commonly thought, or in the “rendition” of prisoners to other countries for questioning, but in the treatment of the very first prisoners at Guantanamo. Starting in late 2002 a detainee bearing the number 063 was tortured over a period of more than seven weeks. In his story lies the answer to a crucial question: How was the decision made to let the U.S. military start using coercive interrogations at Guantanamo? The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a “trickle up” explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration-by some of the most senior personal advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense. At the heart of the matter stand several political appointees-lawyers-who, it can be argued, broke their ethical codes of conduct and took themselves into a zone of international criminality, where formal investigation is now a very real option.
An open letter and call to action to my fellow citizens,
As a citizen of the U.S.A. and a member of humanity, I urge you to beseech your elected representatives and officials to fully investigate the American governments use of torture, the destruction of related evidence and the cover-up of said activities regardless of where they lead and to bring such individuals to justice by holding open hearings and preparing full and complete documentation. Our Republic is meant to be transparent and its officials answerable to the people.
Unfortunately to date, secrecy, cover-up, inaction, double-speak and now destruction of evidence have been the only visible and measurable results. I do not approve of torture, period. It is an uncivilized, vile and despicable crime against humanity. I therefore will not stand idly by while my elected officials refuse to decide and act against an overreaching executive branch and the legislative and judicial branches that enable it. I refuse to be an accessory to crimes against humanity and I will not pay any taxes while the United States of America’s governmental institutions stand idly by and allow it to happen. Indecision is a decision. Inaction is an action. Since my elected officials have to this point refused to decide and act on these crimes against humanity, they compel me, a sovereign individual, citizen of this great republic and member of humanity to make decisions and take actions. These actions include civil disobedience and a campaign of non-cooperation by not paying taxes of which in part are being used to fund torture and to speak out against my government and its officials. Additional activities include peaceful public demonstrations, speeches and email campaigns, all in the hope that they will make the moral decision to take action on these crimes against humanity.
I watched an amazing movie entitled, “The Great Debaters.” The themes and content of the movie are so timely and relevant to our Republics current ongoing struggle that I would like to share a portion of it here. Civil disobedience and violence can both be used morally in the fight for justice and may require the greatest sacrifice, one’s life. Gandhi believed we should act with love and respect toward one’s opponents and enemies and that lawbreakers must accept the legal consequences of their actions. Henry David Thoreau believed that any man more right than his neighbor constitutes a majority of one. However, the majority does not decide what is right or wrong, instead it is one’s conscience. A citizen should never kneel down and surrender their conscience to a majority simple because they are the majority. Because nothing that erodes the rule of law can be moral, no matter what name you give it. St. Augustine said that an unjust law is no law at all. This means that the sovereign individuals and citizens of this great country have an individual responsibility to resist the unjust laws and illegal activities of the majority with violence or civil disobedience; you should pray that they choose the latter.
My peace be with you,
Robert “Bruce” McAlpine
Did anybody read this yet? The American Prospect
Using the Department of Justice, friendly governors, and its usual propaganda outlets, the GOP has propagated the myth of voter fraud to purge the rolls of non-Republicans.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
... Mark S said on 4/4/2008 @ 1:47 pm PT...
Gimme a break!
It isn't that Congress doesn't want to deal with it.
The problem is that THEY VOTED FOR IT.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
... Mark S said on 4/4/2008 @ 1:49 pm PT...
If they hadn't wanted to deal with it, they wouldn't have voted for it in the first place. Case closed.
And while we discuss and debate and are appalled, people are being tortured in our name --- even as I type. Some are dying from it. With all the reports of attempted suicides, are they the lucky ones?
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
... Lora said on 4/4/2008 @ 6:32 pm PT...
Yeah, leave 'em laughing when you go, Keith. That way the public can more easily forget about it.
Such an important topic deserved a more serious ending comment than Keith's little jokes.
That's a really good point, Lora.
We're all so used to snarking about everything in our frustration that it even slips into one of the only places we can get real news on tv.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
... Mark S said on 4/4/2008 @ 6:53 pm PT...
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
... Henk said on 4/5/2008 @ 6:03 am PT...
The dems like Ike Skelton are too busy helping Bush drum up his war with Iran.
Mean while over there another female KBR employee is reporting a particularly brutal rape.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
... marzi said on 4/5/2008 @ 7:12 am PT...
The main point is they like to torture. It's Yoo's and Gonzalez's, Bush's, and Cheney's raison d'etre. It wouldn't happen if they didn't take pleasure in it. Then the next point is they need to try to torture people into admitting they're terrorists or Al Queda and of course under torture someone could say anything to stop the torture. They're manufacturing enemy combattants who wouldn't normally exist. OK Keith put all that on your show.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
... chabuka said on 4/5/2008 @ 10:44 am PT...
I am disgusted....at the weak democratic party, their complicity, their complacency, complete lack of their Constitutional duties to the people and their country.....sickened....I would throw every last one of them out of "office" starting with Conyers, Pelosi and Reid...
The "Constitutional constructionists" and gun-nuts are kept in a state of suspended animation during Republican administrations. Look for them to be revived the moment real people start to gain momentum.
Great thread with lots of important information! Thanks!
Larry, from your lips (finger tips) to God's ears. I will gladly welcome back some oversight and a return to the rule of law.
In my next life, I'm going to have broadband and be able to enjoy ALL of your great contributions, but if you never did anything other then that clip with Rove, you would have succeeded magnificently. Olbermann should have played the whole thing.
I think Keith made a good point about the show 24 being propaganda that supports torture. It's kind of how shows like NYPD Blue were propaganda for police brutality.
The ends do not justify the means. It has been shown that torture doesn't even work, that people subjected to it, unless they are Morpheus in The Matrix, are gonna eventually say what they feel is necessary to stop the pain.
Imho, Keith was on target with his last comment.
For a real eye opener, go to www.consumersforpeace.org where you can read 3 brilliantly concise reports by International Humanitarian lawyer Karen Parker and author and political analyst Bill Bau, presented in October 2006, September 2007, and April 2008, regarding war crimes in Iraq. They are not long, are easy to consume, and go far beyond the well-covered issue of torture to what is not being publicized.
If you don't have time right now for all that, you can read my article at OpEdNews on the subject here.
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