Tuesday, January 13, 2009

01.13.09 MORNING NEWS: Obama And Matters Of Prosecution


One Term?





Obama Answers Our Special Prosecutor Question on TV

Thanks to you, something remarkable happened this weekend: President-elect Barack Obama answered our question asking if he will appoint a Special Prosecutor to "investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping." Watch the video.

Because of your votes, our question was #1 on Change.gov after 4.7 million votes were cast for 76,000 questions. We received 22,779 votes; the next question (on bank bailout accountability) received 19,271.

We shocked the political and media elites who believe ordinary Americans don't care about holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their crimes. Your votes proved them wrong!

But winning the vote didn't guarantee an answer; Obama tried to dodge the question by recycling an evasive answer from Joe Biden.

Obama's strategy backfired. Bloggers like Ari Melber of The Nation objected. Then MSNBC's Keith Olbermann discussed our question with John Dean on Friday. Then on Sunday, ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Obama our question on This Week. Obama replied:

Obviously we're going to look at past practices. And I don't believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. And part of my job is to make sure that for example at the CIA, you've got extraordinarily talented people who are working very hard to keep Americans safe. I don't want them to suddenly feel like they've got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering up.

If nobody is above the law, then Obama must prosecute those who broke it. That's why Obama's very first act is swearing the oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

But Obama should not spend his time "looking backwards" and neither should his Attorney General. That is exactly why we want a Special Prosecutor who will pay no attention to politics and simply enforce the law.

And the Special Prosecutor should target the highest officials who have admitted on TVthey authorized torture: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their thoroughly corrupt lawyers. No one else should have to "look over their shoulders" or "lawyer up."

So we need your help again to continue our efforts to persuade President-elect Obama to appoint a Special Prosecutor. Please vote for our question again at a great independent website called change.org (not Obama's change.gov):

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Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention expressly forbids collective punishment and calls it a war crime. There can be little doubt that Israel has been employing, as the Red Cross put it in its commentary to the Geneva Conventions, "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts. One could say the same about Hamas firing rockets into civilian Israeli towns.


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