Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Controversy, Criminals, Debate, Impeach, Prosecute, And Investigate, Scandal, Media Cover-ups And All The Other News Breaking At Pop Corn Speed Today.

Controversy, Criminals, Debate, Impeach, Prosecute, And Investigate, Scandal, Media Cover-ups And All The Other News Breaking At Pop Corn Speed Today.  It’s All Here!











On a personal note. (which is neither here nor there just my need to vent a little). my feeling is your anger is a bit misdirected at the present time, BUT-- and this is the critical part -- there is something more effective you can do rather than sitting on your patoots pounding away at your keyboards or signing petition after petition. What you lack is an effective game plan to achieve your goal: the prosecution and or impeachment of somebody who was involved in the criminal activity. To achieve that, you have to get over your righteous outrage and get righteously ACTIVE.

In other words, since you are the ones you've been waiting for, stop waiting, start doing.

A "Capital" Idea: Lessons from the Movement

April 20, 2009, 9:54PM

There are two things which need to be explored: the track record of the United States in prosecuting, or even investigating those accused of war crimes. And second, if you are to bring about that prosecution, how might you do it effectively. Perhaps if you employ some of the lessons learned in the civil rights movement to further your cause, you might make significant progress with what will be a near impossible task.

Many of us are disgusted, appalled, outraged, angered by the content of the released torture memos written by Bush's Office of Legal Counsel. It is the content -- the black and white letters on the pages -- that delineated in gruesome detail exactly what was done to Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Muhammed. Done to them by operatives of the United States government. Many of you are taking your outrage out on the blogosphere, railing against the Obama administration, because -- at least for now -- a decision has been made (not etched in stone, mind you) that the administration is not likely to pursue prosecution against those who conducted the torturing, and possibly (again, not etched in stone) against those who crafted this policy. The critical problem is your outrage is seen as limited to the "liberal bloggers." Although the story has some traction in the mainstream media, they are not actively pursuing the goal you seek: the prosecution of George Bush and key members of his administration responsible for constructing and implementing this policy.

On a personal note. (which is neither here nor there just my need to vent a little). my feeling is your anger is a bit misdirected at the present time, BUT-- and this is the critical part -- there is something more effective you can do rather than sitting on your patoots pounding away at your keyboards or signing petition after petition. What you lack is an effective game plan to achieve your goal: the prosecution and or impeachment of somebody who was involved in the criminal activity. To achieve that, you have to get over your righteous outrage and get righteously ACTIVE.

In other words, since you are the ones you've been waiting for, stop waiting, start doing.

There was an ocassion when the idea of the government restoring to black Americans their full measure of civil rights was not a given. Although whites were congnizant of the incongruities of black and white existence. knew that segregation existed in their own neighborhoods, they were by and large comfortable with it, because it was not something they saw on a daily basis, nor did it affect them directly, Because the grossest violations of civil rights (in their minds) occurred in the South, northerners were more or less convinced it was a "remote, Southern problem." Never mind that it was in their backyards. And front yards.

Similarly, the torture memos provide us with a similar disconnect: Some -- that's YOU -- are extremely disturbed by what you've read (and you've read the torture memos). Others are more apathetic. The don't want the country involved in torture, but believe "the bad guys" got what they deserved, that it was just an isolated event that will not happen again. Still others wholeheartedly and enthusiastically support torture -- that would be most Republicans (your Joe Scarboroughs, your Joe the Plumbers, your Newt Gingriches, etc.)

So to achieve what you what, you need to move that apathetic group to your side. And if you can move one of the more "dedicated" torture proponents to your side, even better.

First, let's take a look back at what has happened over the years to provide a sense of history and context. If you want to do something historic, you need to know what the precedents are that you will need to overturn:

Members of the Executive Branch

Let's understand first just how difficult this undertaking will be. In the entire history of the United States, only two Presidents (Johnson and Clinton) have ever been impeached, one investigated to the point he resigned (Richard Nixon). Of the vice-Presidents, only two have ever resigned from office -- John C. Calhoun to become a Senator and Spiro T. Agnew because of criminal charges against him. Only two (Aaron Burr and John C. Brecknridge) were ever indicted after leaving office -- for treason. Although the Attorney General is subject to impeachment, there is no record of an AG being impeached or indicted for a crime.

With regard to Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, although accused of heinous deeds was never prosecuted. However, student activism had its effect, as reported on Wikipedia:

Shortly after Kissinger left office, he was offered an endowed chair at Columbia University (in 1977). The position came with considerable funding and would have given Kissinger his first platform for rehabilitating his then shattered reputation. When news of the proposed chair leaked out, a small group of students immediately began collecting signatures for a petition opposing his appointment. The petition charged Kissinger with illegal actions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, and in ordering domestic wiretaps of National Security Council staff.

The petition effort sparked wider organizing and the quickly formed "Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose Kissinger's Appointment" offered detailed substantiation of each of the charges in flyers widely distributed on campus. Kissinger's initial classes and meetings held on campus were dogged by protesters at every step.

The spectacle of the former secretary hounded and humiliated by his students was picked up in the popular comic strip Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau. The continuing strips detailed students attempt to challenge Kissinger in the street and in the classroom.

Columnists such as Anthony Lewisof the New York Times and Nat HentoffVillage Voice chimed in with opinions that denying Kissinger the chair would not be a violation of academic freedom and within weeks the story had become national news, breaking in NewsweekWashington PostMany of the news stories included a litany of the offenses Kissinger was alleged to have committed. Rather than a stepping stone toward rehabilitation, the appointment was spreading knowledge about Kissinger's actual record and rekindling student activism on the Columbia campus. After several months of pressure, the University and Kissinger mutually agreed that it was not the time to undertake such an appointment. Kissinger went to Georgetown University, where the students were less confrontational, to take a less prestigious and less permanent teaching and researching assignment.

And when the students finished with Kissinger, writer/author Christopher Hitchens of Vanity Fair took up the charge:

A revival of interest in Henry Kissinger came in 2001, when journalist Christopher Hitchens wrote The Trial of Henry Kissinger, a scathing critique of Kissinger's policy that accused him of war crimes, particularly for his policy toward Vietnam Cyprus Cambodia, Chile, East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Kissinger became a focal point of criticism from the political left and certain human rights NGOs. According to the book, his foreign policy was chiefly concerned with attaining allies that had valuable geographical and strategic locations, such as Turkey and Pakistan, and turned a blind eye when these allies attacked democracies and murdered countless innocent people.

The book was later adapted into a documentary entitled The Trials of Henry Kissinger. The film focused on Kissinger's policies towards Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, and Chile. (From Wikipedia.)

It will be an uphill climb.

Prosecution of War Crimes (World War II to present)

World War II-- Although there were a few Allied personnel courts-martialed for war crimes during or following World War II, other instances that were alleged by historians to be war crimes were not prosecuted or investigated.

Vietnam –

 The Vietnam War Crimes Working Group, established in the wake of the disclosure to the media the My Lai massacre, compiled over 9,000 pages of materials and determining that some 320 alleged incidents did have a factual basis. Seven previously unacknowledged massacres from 1967 through 1971 in which at least 137 civilians died.

Seventy-eight other attacks on noncombatants in which at least 57 were killed, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted.

One hundred forty-one instances in which U.S. soldiers tortured civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock.

Two hundred and three soldiers accused of harming Vietnamese civilians or prisoners were found to warrant formal charges after investigation, and were subsequently referred to the soldiers' superiors for official action. Of the 203 cases, 57 of them stood a court martial. Only 23 were convicted, of whom 14 received prison sentences ranging from six months to 20 years; most received significant reductions on appeal. Many substantiated cases were closed with a letter of reprimand, a fine or, in more than half the cases, no action at all.

The stiffest sentence went to a military intelligence interrogator convicted of committing indecent acts on a 13-year-old girl in an interrogation hut in 1967. The records show that he served seven months of a 20-year term.

(The above taken from the Vietnam Working Group Files, Wikipedia)

Iraq War I 

During the first Gulf War (again from Wikipedia), the two most widely reported incidents were:

HIghway of Death 

On the night of February 26 and February 27 1991, defeated Iraqi forces began leaving Kuwait on the main highway north of in a column of some 1400 vehicles. US Air Force and US Navy jets pursued and destroyed the convoy, subjecting it to sustained bombing for several hours. The Iraqi troops were not given any opportunities to surrender.

Bulldozer assault –

- Another incident during the war highlighted the question of large-scale Iraqi combat deaths. This was the "bulldozer assault", wherein two brigades from the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) used anti-mine plows mounted on tanks and combat earthmovers to bury Iraqi soldiers defending the fortified "Saddam Line." One newspaper story reported that the US commanders estimated thousands of Iraqi soldiers surrendered, escaping burial during the two-day assault February 24-25, 1991. However, like all other troop estimates made during the war, the estimated 8,000 Iraqi defenders was probably greatly inflated. After the war, the Iraqi government claimed to have found 44 bodies. In his book 'The Wars Against Saddam,' John Simpson, alleges that the US forces attempted to cover up this incident.

Kosovo –

 Slobodan Milosevic is the most notable person tried for war crimes in this conflict. Although NATO forces were accused of bombing civilian targets, no crimes (as yet) have been claimed against US or NATO forces against civilians.

Which brings us to Iraq War II. As you can see, even when there are clear-cut cases of atrocities, war crimes including torture, have rarely been prosecuted against US citizens. Of those who have been convicted, they tend to be US military personnel, are often characterized as "rogue" elements or units, and prosecutions never involve high-ranking officers William Calley of the My Lai massacre was a Lieutenant, Abu Ghraib's Lynndie England a Private First Class and Charles Graner a Sergeant. None of the other persons either court-martialed or dishonorably discharged from duty were in the commissioned officer ranks.

Lessons From the Movement

This is where the lessons from the civil rights movement can be helpful.

Create compelling political capital:

Let us distinguish between "political cover" and "political capital." Cover, in its simplest form, is exactly that -- a blanket, an excuse, behind which one can hide. You do not want to create cover. Capital, on the other hand, is "currency" which can be spent to pursue what are often unpopular decisions. Creating a groundswell of overwhelming public opinion creates capital.

Create a compelling visual image.

Reading memos, briefing papers, legal briefs does not a compelling visual make. And your visual is the most effective tool to create political capital.

During the civil rights movement, although administration after administration knew full well that segregation was wrong, did nothing until they were confronted with the imagery of children being turned away from schoolhouse doors, young men and women having police dogs turned on them, firehoses turned on them, billyclubs and axe handles used on them as the peaceably marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Your most compelling image is a re-enactment of torture and waterboarding and abuses described in the memos and shown in the pictures from Abu Ghraib. Imagine:

In front of federal courthouses all across the country, in front of the Newseum, in city plazas, in New York's Central Park and similar prominent locations, there is a full size mock-up of one of the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib (the same abuses occurred there). Every day for 30 days and nights, 6 times a day, every 4 hours, like clockwork, the torture and waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Muhammed is re-enacted. And 83 times during that 30 day period, the torture and waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah is re-enacted. The shackled prisoner, his captors methodically doing their "business." The cramped boxes, the stress positions, the head into wall slamming. Where there are transcripts, they should be read aloud. You should have Bush, Cheney, Bybee, Gonzales, et al from the Bush administration re-enactors portraying the principals involved.

This should not be a David Blaine-like stunt. Take it seriously, present it seriously,

Create a convert to the cause.

This should be someone who was a vocal and visible supporter of torture, who has been convinced to change his or her mind. Frankly, it should be a him. And although Joe Scarborough would be my desired convert -- by way of enjoying a pleasant waterboarding session or a few hours in a stress position covered in insects -- Michael Smerconish, the Philadelphia talk radio host might be a better prospect. (No, he needn't be waterboarded, but perhaps seeing it occur in real time, up close and personal might change his mind.) You need a high profile convert to lend credence to your message. (Although Christopher Hitchens has changed his position, his personal demeanor makes him a less than effective messenger.

Avoid Code Pink.

This is not the time for antics. This should be a serious and deliberate undertaking. Your goal is to change what is discussed as some abstraction into something real and powerful.

Avoid mixed messages. Your one and only goal is to create political capital. You want to shift the tide of public opinion so that support pushes your opponents into an impossible, unsustainable position. Your opponent is not the current administration. You need them. What you don't need is Republican pushback. (The Republicans are the Dixiecrats and segregationists.) What you want to create is environment where this unprecedented action you want can be taken. This is a single message protest which should lead to the punishment of those involved.

Now, the mission ahead of you is daunting. But, like those who fought (and continue to fight) the good fight for civil rights in this country, it can be done.
























As Report Shows Bybee's Torture Culpability, Conyers Says: 'We're Coming After These Guys'

Bush administration attorney Jay Bybee, now a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals serving a lifetime appointment, crafted legal justifications for torture after intelligence officials began to adapt techniques already deemed illegal by U.S. and international law, according to a report released Tuesday evening by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The 232-page report leaves no doubt that the interrogation techniques were torture and were long known to be illegal. The Bush administration's program of torture was "reverse engineered," in the words of Richard Shiffrin, the general counsel for intelligence for the Department of Defense in 2002, from communist Chinese techniques designed to elicit false confessions. In that respect, the program worked well, as tortured detainees told officials whatever they could think of and sent CIA agents chasing bogus tips around the globe, according to press reports.

The program that the torture was developed from was known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE). The purpose of SERE was to teach American soldiers to resist torture - not to establish a set of practices to torture detainees.

SERE was run by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA). One JPRA instructor told the committee that the set of techniques in the program, such as waterboarding, were "based on illegal exploitation...of prisoners over the last 50 years."

On August 1, 2002, Bybee signed two memos that purported to justify the torture, arguing that for it to be torture it "must inflict pain that is difficult to endure," using as examples "serious physical injury, such as organ failure." His second memo, released after the report was finished, justified specific acts of torture that had been deemed illegal for the past 50 years by U.S. and international law. The report was embargoed until Tuesday night.

Much of the abuse disclosed in the committee's report had previously been made public by either the International Committee of the Red Cross, news reports or in books such as Jane Mayer's "Dark Side". But the committee report demonstrates how torture was first justified by the White House for Guantanamo detainees, but then spread by official edict to Afghanistan and Iraq - even after the authority to torture was rescinded for Guantanamo agents. The Bush administration had argued that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply in Afghanistan, but never tried that argument in Iraq. Still, the torture memos written for Guantanamo, where international law was unilaterally suspended, were used, the report shows, to legally justify torture in Iraq.

Simply deeming illegal acts to be legal does not, of course, make them legal. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), in arguing for Bybee's impeachment, says that the purpose of the memos was not to give an honest legal analysis, but to deem legal behavior that is clearly illegal in order to encourage that illegal activity. The charge, says Nadler, would be something along the lines of conspiracy to abet torture.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) announced Tuesday he would hold a hearing looking into the role Bush administration lawyers played in justifying torture. Some lawyers, Conyers told the Huffington Post, were engaged in honest analysis of the law. Others, he said, were simple law breakers.

"There are some who tried to do a get-out-of-jail-free card. Obviously, there are some that that's all they were thinking," said Conyers, declining to name specific names, citing his upcoming hearings.

But he has a few in mind. "We're coming after these guys," he said. 

Diplomat Claims Bush White House Destroyed His Memo Opposing ...

By The Huffington Post News Editors 

It looks to me like Obama and Democrats have decided to let Bush walk, give the people some show trials and hearings, prosecute mid-level like Bybee and Yoo (only if necessary, if the unrest grows), and imply that Cheney was the mastermind behind ... Sunday's New York Times called on Congress to impeach federal judge Jay Bybee over his... Jon Stewart · "Daily Show" Takes On Torture Supporters (VIDEO). (SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO) Last week the Department of Justice released. ...

The Huffington Post | Full News Feed -

Daily Kos: Nadler Supports Bybee Impeachment, Torture Prosecutions
By mcjoan 
"And certainly you have real grounds to
 impeach him once the special prosecutor took a good look at that. I think there ought to be an impeachment inquiry looked at in any event. Which should happen first, I'm not sure." ...
Daily Kos -

White House: Rahm Didn't Mean What He Said On Not Prosecuting Bushies For Torture

By Zachary Roth - April 21, 2009, 10:06AM

On Sunday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel went on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos and clearlydeclared that the Obama administration would not prosecute the Bushies who"devised" torture policies.

That seemed to go further than anything the administration had said before. So yesterday we called the White House to get a more formal statement on the issue. And when we didn't hear back, we got to wondering: had Rahm been freelancing, and gotten out ahead of White House policy?

Looks like that's what happened: the White House now appears to be walking back Rahm's comments. The New York Times reports today: 

[A]dministration officials said Monday that Mr. Emanuel had meant the officials who ordered the policies carried out, not the lawyers who provided the legal rationale.

In other words, Rahm slipped up.

We're glad the White House has walked back that position -- amid what seems to be mounting pressure to hold Bush officials fully accountable (more on that in a bit). But if nothing else, the episode may provide an interesting window into the White House chief of staff' personal views on the issue.

Shocking the Conscience

The Bush administration made waterboarding almost routine.

IT WAS DEPRESSING enough when U.S. officials finally admitted last year that the country had waterboarded terrorism detainees. Bush administration officials from the president on down tried to quell the ensuing outcry by reassuring the country and the rest of the world that the technique, which simulates drowning and has been considered torture since it was introduced during the Spanish Inquisition, had been used only on high-ranking, "high-value" members of terrorist groups and only to obtain information necessary to avert an imminent and catastrophic attack. The administration and its band of lawyers argued that the application of such harsh interrogation techniques did not "shock the conscience" and thus abided by domestic and international strictures against torture because their use was limited, targeted and meant to save innocent lives.

Now comes the revelation that CIA interrogators were far from restrained in their use of this ancient and cruel technique.

According to a recently released Justice Department memo, CIA operatives subjected two al-Qaeda leaders -- alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and high-level lieutenant Abu Zubaida -- to 266 episodes of waterboarding. Mr. Mohammed is said to have been waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 -- for an average of six episodes a day of what has been described as among the most terrifying and brutal forms of coercive interrogation. Mr. Zubaida was subjected to water torture 83 times during August 2002. There is no mention of how many times a third detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded. Had any foreign government or terrorist group treated U.S. citizens in this way, the country would have been appalled -- and rightly so.

The details are contained in a section of a May 30, 2005, memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel released last week by President Obama. First reported online by such blogs as Emptywheel, the section takes its information from a confidential report issued by the CIA's inspector general.

The savagery of extremists cannot justify the abdication of principles or the adoption of means as brutal as those of the extremists.

Torture Tactics Readied Before Their Approval 22 Apr 2009 Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods -- and weeks before the CIA captured its first high-ranking terrorism suspect, Senate investigators have concluded. Previously secret memos and interviews show CIA and Pentagon officials exploring ways to break Taliban and 'al-Qaeda' prisoners in early 2002, up to eight months before Justice Department lawyers approved the use of waterboarding and nine other harsh methods, investigators found. The findings are contained in a Senate Armed Services Committee report scheduled for release today that also documents multiple warnings -- from legal and trained interrogation experts -- that the techniques could backfire and might violate U.S. and international law.

Military use of torture approved at high levels of Bush administration: Report --Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques 2 Apr 2009 A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods torture on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration. The report rejected claims by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others that Pentagon policies played no role in torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other military facilities. The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq -- stripping prisoners, placing them in "stress positions" or depriving them of sleep -- originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.

CIA torture exemption 'illegal' 21 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who used torture tactics is a violation of international law, a UN expert says. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says the US is bound under the UN Convention against Torture to prosecute those who engage in it.

Barack Obama: Bush officials could be prosecuted over torture documents US President Barack Obama has bowed to pressure from the Left [law] by opening the door to Bush administration officials being prosecuted for approving alleged torture by CIA interrogators. 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".

Dick Cheney calls for release of CIA waterboarding 'success' memos 21 Apr 2009 Dick Cheney, the former US Vice President [sic], has called for the release of memos detailing the effectiveness of waterboarding in collecting intelligence for the United States. Cheney told Fox News said the public should be aware how successful harsh interrogation methods torture had been in preventing terrorist attacks and saving lives.

The 'lost files' that suggest MI5 did collude in CIA interrogation 21 Apr 2009 The Government has been forced to issue a humiliating apology for failing to give several crucial intelligence documents to police investigating torture allegations against British spies. The 13 'lost' documents are said to contain evidence that MI5 agents colluded in the torture of former Guantanamo Bay inmate Binyam Mohamed. The British resident was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002 and says he was tortured there before his 'extraordinary rendition' to Morocco where he claims he was subjected to medieval interrogation on the orders of the CIA using questions supplied by MI5.

Lawyer tells court CIA memos undermine case 21 Apr 2009 Foreign prisoners who accused a Bay Area company of arranging torture flights for the CIA told a federal appeals court Tuesday that the Obama administration's disclosure of memos on brutal CIA interrogations undermined its claim that their lawsuit would endanger national secrets. The administration's chief rationale for dismissing the suit "no longer exists, because the (interrogation) methods are now public, and because they have been prohibited," Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing five current and former U.S. prisoners, said in a filing with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Torture case lawyers may face jail for letter 20 Apr 2009 A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who accused a Bay Area company of flying him to foreign torture chambers for the CIA is at the center of a bizarre new case, in which his lawyers [not the torturers] face possible jail sentences for writing a letter that asked President Obama to disclose how brutally he was treated. The government says the letter falsely accused a Pentagon review team of censoring details of the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed from a document the attorneys wanted to send to Obama. The lawyers stand by their accusations but have been summoned to Washington, D.C., by a federal judge for a hearing next month on whether they should be held in contempt of court, punishable by up to six months in jail.

Norwegian lawyers to accuse Israeli leaders of war crimes --Lawyers to call for arrest and extradition of Olmert, Livni 21 Apr 2009 Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials could face legal action in Norway over the Gaza offensive after six Norwegian lawyers said Tuesday they would accuse them of war crimes. The lawyers, who plan to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, said they will call for the arrest and extradition of Olmert as well as former foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers. [Don't stop there! Add Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Bybee, and Bradbury to the list.]

Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe By Bill Van Auken 22 Apr 2009 Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California was recorded in 2005 on a National Security Agency (NSA) wiretap of a suspected Israeli intelligence agent, according to current and former government officials cited in press reports. The recorded conversation, they indicated, dealt with an apparent quid pro quo arrangement involving Harman’s promise to seek leniency for two indicted pro-Israeli lobbyists in return for support for her bid to become chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The revelation has further exposed the internecine struggles within the US state apparatus as well as the intimate involvement of the Democratic Party and the media in the assault on democratic rights.

DoJ Nixed Investigation of Congresswoman to Get Support for NSA Wiretapping By Kim Zetter 20 Apr 2009 Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein has an explosive story about how the Justice Department thwarted a criminal investigation of Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) in order to guarantee her support for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. According to CQ, in 2004, Harman had helped lobby theNew York Times to kill its NSA warrantless wiretapping story, which the newspaper had originally intended to publish on the eve of the 2004 elections.

Blackwater by any name must go, Iraq says 22 Apr 2009 Baghdad says it does not want the Blackwater "security company" to operate in Iraqi airspace or land ... "under one name or another" and that Iraqi officials will press to secure compensation for the killings carried out by the US mercenary company. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Tuesday that the company - now calling itself Xe - will be active in the country at least until summer in some ground and air operations.

Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects 20 Apr 2009 C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from 'Al Qaeda,' far more than had been previously reported. The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Impeach Jay Bybee—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)
By Scott Horton 
It issues the second call for the impeachment of Jay Bybee, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Considering the gravity of the issues raised by Bybee’s conduct, the call is appropriate. ...
Harper's Magazine -

The Washington Independent » Movement to Impeach Judge Jay Bybee ...
By Daphne Eviatar 
But increasingly, lawmakers, newspapers and advocacy groups are demanding the impeachment of Jay Bybee, the author of some of those memos who is now a federal judge comfortably ensconced in a life-tenured seat on the U.S. Court of ...
The Washington Independent » Blog -

Nadler And NYT: Impeach Bybee For Torture Memo | TPMMuckraker
By Zachary Roth 
Nadler, who chairs the Judiciary committee's Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties subcommittee, told the Huffington Post that Bybee "ought to be impeached." Nadler continued: "It was not an honest legal memo. ...
TPMMuckraker -

Restore Justice -- Impeach Bybee | People For the American Way Blog
By Ben 
Sunday's New York Times included an editorial calling for the impeachment of Jay Bybee, a U.S. Appeals Court Judge on the Ninth Circuit (nominated by Bush) who, while at the Department of Justice, authored memos providing the "legal" ...
People For the American Way Blog blogs -

Docudharma:: Organizing! Sign the Petitions, Special Prosecutor ...
By buhdydharma 
Nadler is now calling for the impeachment of Jay Bybee. The National Lawyers' Guild has filed a complaint Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes II, asking "the State Bar of California to investigate him and revoke his ...
Docudharma - Front Page -

Red vs. Blue Blog: Nichols: Impeach the Torture Judge
By politicalcorrectness? 
Nichols: Impeach the Torture Judge. John Nichols: There has been much rhetoric with regard to the memorandums prepared by President Bush's Justice Department regarding how -- not if but how -- prisoners of the United States would be ...
Red vs. Blue Blog -

illusory tenant: Impeach Bybee
By illusory tenant 
So The New York Times editorial board believes Jay S. Bybee, former torture memo author and currently a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge, should be impeached. A number of famous "bloggers" are voicing their support for the ...
illusory tenant -

The Gyromantic Informicon: Impeach Bybee
By David 
Allow me to add my voice to the chorus calling for the impeachment of Federal District Judge Jay Bybee. Anyone who can write a specious piece of crap like his torture memo should be disbarred, much less be allowed to continue as a ...
The Gyromantic Informicon -

amor mundi
By Dale Carrico 
Therefore be it resolved that the undersigned urge that the United States House of Representatives begin impeachment proceedings against Judge Jay Bybee of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, charging him with ...
amor mundi -

Torture, Mind, and Body

Slate - 26 minutes ago

Yesterday we examined the CIA's reasons for involving psychologists in the Bush torture—sorry, I meant detainee interrogation program. ...

Didn't Know Much About Torture History

Slate - 51 minutes ago

By Daniel PolitiPosted Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 6:36 AM ET The New York Times leads with a detailed look at how the Central Intelligence Agency ...

Interrogation debate tests Obama - 1 hour ago

Gerald Herbert / AP By BEN FELLER AP Writer Trouble is, the White House had been sending the opposite signal for days. Obama tried last week to close a dark ...

Who's afraid of Obama's White House? - 1 hour ago

Barack Obama has dug himself a great big hole over his handling of the CIA torture controversy, and he would be well-advised to stop digging. ...

Report links CIA to military harsh interrogations

The Associated Press - 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The brutal treatment of terror detainees and prisoners by members of the military followed directly from the CIA's use of harsh ...

Obama suggests torture lawyers may be prosecuted

Belfast Telegraph - 2 hours ago

US President Barack Obama has hinted that lawyers from the Bush era who authorised the harsh interrogation of suspected terrorists could be prosecuted. ...

Cheney defends tough tactics

Toronto Star - 2 hours ago

AP WASHINGTON – Former vice-present Dick Cheney says the US government gained valuable intelligence from its aggressive interrogations of high-value ...

Obama unleashes political firestorm by raising prospect of torture ...

Globe and Mail - 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON -- America lost its moral compass during the Bush years, President Barack Obama said yesterday, leaving open the possibility that senior ...

Bring it on

Baltimore Sun - 4 hours ago

For days now, President Barack Obama has been insisting that while he condemns the torture of terrorist suspects, he would not allow the prosecution of CIA ...

Obama open to torture inquiry

Philadelphia Inquirer - 4 hours ago

He said a bipartisan commission may be the best approach, with prosecution of officials possible. By Michael A. Fletcher and Perry Bacon Jr. WASHINGTON ...

Unresolved debate in DOJ memos: Does torture work?

The Associated Press - 4 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Interrogators have centuries of experience extracting information from the unwilling. Medieval inquisitors hanged heretics from ceilings. ...

President Obama opens door to investigation into harsh ...

Chicago Tribune - 4 hours ago

By Peter Nicholas and Greg Miller | Washington Bureau WASHINGTON—Shifting ground in the face of a growing uproar, President Barack Obama opened the door ...

Lawyer tells court CIA memos undermine case

San Francisco Chronicle - 5 hours ago

Foreign prisoners who accused a Bay Area company of arranging torture flights for the CIA told a federal appeals court Tuesday that the Obama ...

n shift, Obama opens door to inquiry on interrogations

Boston Globe - 5 hours ago

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg WASHINGTON - President Obama left the door open yesterday to creating a bipartisan commission that would investigate the Bush ...

Obama Won't Bar Inquiry, or Penalty, on Interrogations

New York Times - 7 hours ago

A section of the detention camp at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, seen on a tour in October 2007. By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG WASHINGTON ..

Obama did right thing on torture - twice

San Francisco Chronicle - 7 hours ago

But just what does Obama think he's doing to some of his supporters by releasing interrogation memos that cast the Bush administration in a bad light, ...

Torture, witch hunts and the 9/11 nightmare

Globe and Mail - 7 hours ago

Barack Obama is trying to avoid a witch hunt of the previous administration, while still holding it accountable for authorizing the torture of suspected ...

Military helped with CIA interrogation tactics, report says

Los Angeles Times - 8 hours ago

Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said top civilians in the Bush administration allowed a military training program to be used to mistreat ...

Obama opens door to prosecutions on interrogations

Reuters - 8 hours ago

By Caren Bohan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama opened the door on Tuesday to possible prosecutions of US officials who laid the legal ...

Cheney: Memos released for Dems

Politico - 8 hours ago

By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 4/21/09 10:54 PM EDT Former Vice President Dick Cheney said President Obama's release of internal Bush administration memos detailing ...

European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials

Washington Post - 8 hours ago

By Craig Whitlock BERLIN, April 21 -- European prosecutors are likely to investigate CIA and Bush administration officials on suspicion of violating an ...

Obama: Justice Could Prosecute Torture Lawyers
Truthdig - United States
By Jim Yell, April 21 at 3:14 pm # Amazing as the Bush/Cheney White House did take it on themselves to issue edicts that they had no right to do both in ...

Sen. Carl Levin: New Report: Bush Officials Tried to Shift Blame ...
By Sen. Carl Levin 
Jacob Heilbrunn: Psycho: Bush's Willing Medical Torturers. Simply releasing the documents about their embrace of torture has further soiled Bush and Cheney's legacy. But whether that is punishment enough is another matter. ... Jeremy Scahill: Impeach Bybee: The Growing Movement to Unseat BushTorture Lawyer Turned Federal Judge. The UN has indicated that Obama's refusal to prosecute torturers may be a violation of International law. ...
The Full Feed from -

Chuck Todd Depicts Support For Torture Investigations As Outside ...
By The Huffington Post News Team 
They don't blame Bush (well, maybe Cheney), but they do want the lawyers to beimpeached/prosecuted/disbarred. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 10:10 PM on 04/21/2009. - + New MakersMark See Profile I'm a Fan of MakersMark I'm a ...
Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post -

Official: Cheney Hasn't Requested Release Of Torture Intel
By The Huffington Post News Editors 
And we have confirmation that Bush knew that he was telling a lie, because Dick Cheney went on Fox News yesterday to say that yes we did torture, and it worked! Why are the Republicans not angry that their own Republican president lied to .... Sunday's New York Times called on Congress to impeachfederal judge Jay Bybee over his... Miss California · Carrie Prejean, Miss California, Likes "Opposite Marriage" Better Than Gay Marriage (VIDEO). (SCROLL FOR VIDEO) UPDATE:. ...
The Huffington Post | Full News Feed -

Happy Hour Open Thread: Cheney Mystery Solved! | The Plum Line
By Greg Sargent 
That means that we may, in fact, see the documents that Cheney says will demonstrate that the Bushtorture program collected a whole bunch of useful intelligence, though it may take awhile. ... Senator Russ Feingold says the torture memos offer grounds for the impeachment of memo author and Judge Jay Bybee. * Which makes Feingold the highest-ranking elected official to make the claim that there’s an existing basis for impeachment, says Josh Orton. ...
The Plum Line -

Obama: Bush Official Prosecutions Over Torture Memos Possible ...
By The Huffington Post News Editors 
I remember getting into ridiculous continuous loop discussions/arguments with right leaning associates, who justified prosecuting the Bill Clinton impeachment because the "Rule of Law" demanded it, even though they would admit the actual wrong-doing was minor at best. ... BushCheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and their slimey lawyers. Throw in Jay Rockefeller and any one, Dem or Rep, in the Congressional loop who knew about it and had authority in the matter and approved torture. ...
The Huffington Post | Full News Feed -

Jay Bybee: NYT Calls For Impeachment Of Torture Memo Author | One Utah
By Cliff Lyon 
Get Breaking News Alerts never spam * Share * Print * Comments Sunday's New York Times called on Congress to impeach federal judge Jay Bybee over his now infamous role in authoring one of the Bushadministration memos arguing for the legality of torture. ... requires the prosecution of those who authorize torture, waterboarding is torture, and both former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Richard B. Cheney have admitted to authorizing waterboarding; and , ...
One Utah -

Leahy: If Bybee Is "Decent And Honorable" He'll Resign
By The Huffington Post News Team 
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), rejected calls for the impeachment of federal judge and torture memo author Jay Bybee, saying that he was "one of the most honorable people you'll ever meet." ... Asking anyone from the Bush/Cheney regime to do anything honorable is about as senseless as asking corporate-crook CEO's to give up their tens of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 04:21 PM on 04/21/2009. - + New Bitsko See Profile I'm a Fan of ...
Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post -

Hot Air » Blog Archive » CIA: We stand behind our actions — and ...
By Ed Morrissey 
Meeting late into the night, the Senate unanimously voted to convict Bush following a trial on his bill ofimpeachment from the House. Moments after being sworn in as the 44th president, Dick Cheney said that disgraced former national ...
Hot Air » Top Picks -

The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Where We Agree with Obama and the ...
By CK MacLeod 
Calls for witch hunts and prosecutions, or for the impeachment of memo-author Jay Bybee, now a Federal Judge, further underscore the real personal and professional risks that OLC lawyers and CIA personnel took in order to perform their ... We can condemn their arguments and their approach (though we don’t have to go as far as Senator McCain did in his presidential campaign in lending credence toBush-Cheney’s harshest critics), but we shouldn’t let them force us off the ...
The Greenroom -















The Daily KOS Posted This Under This Title:

Elizabeth de la Vega Argues for Letting Matters Unfold

I had a great deal of feedback and dialog into the early morning hours over my comments of yesterday some very productive and some knee-jerk defenders who obviously can’t grasp the idea of examining the assumptions or premises upon  which an argument or defense is foundationed.  They just cannot think for themselves and reflect one of the most serious problems we have in the Anti-War/Peace/Impeachment Movements, which I have again, earlier on in today’s post, presented yet another critical evaluation of the movements and efforts.  I suspect the same folks who refuse to engage in critical self-analysis preferring “Ostrich-Syndrome” self righteous, failure bound, enemy enabling conduct will again be upset. I don’t care; the truth is the truth.  Either be prepared to really act because the daily bitching doesn’t accomplish a damn thing!


OH, and as for the de la Vega wait and see enabling, obstructionist foot dragging conservative legalistic approach. I hope she’s on her toes to grab at events exploding like Orville Redenbacher at the moment!  It didn’t take long!


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