Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Higher Crime

Finally the pieces are assemble into the picture.

The torture of the high value targets was not to gain intelligence.

The torture was not to save souls.

The torture was to save their collective adminstration ass.

The torture of the high value targets was to "brain wash" them and obtain evidence or a confession that Saddam Hussein and thus Iraq was connect to Al Qaeda and 9/11. It was all about justifying the war. That is why it was done so late in the interrogations and why the extreme techniques were used.

That makes this a crime several magnitudes greater than before.

This was treason.

Now what?

Does it go away like the last example of American Treason , Iran/Contra?

Do we bite the bullet and follow through?

Do we keep our mouths shut and our eyes turned forward and ignore the screams for justice from the road behind us?

Nixon lives.


Erudite Redneck said...

On top of the morality of it, if we our own selves don't prosecute this, somebody else will.

Feodor said...

Our problem is that we cannot ask the sitting chief executive to act on any of this.

1. it undermines his/her ability to govern the whole nation in respect.

2. it is asking, in secondary fashion, for a review of executive privilege, a conflict of interest in other words.

3. this would not be an exercise in checks and balances, which is why the legislative or judicial bodies must act.

Finally, and generally and by way of analogy, this is somewhat akin to the dynamics of episcopacy that DrLJB opposes.

The political power in this country has been re-gathered by the executive branch since Watergate and Congress has lost a tremendous amount of power.

The Supreme Court has to but largely by refusing its role as a check and conservatively framing its sense of balancing power.

So we have no hero, no heroes that have the ability to call our recent policies into examination, trial and punishment were appropriate.

But this, too, hardly escapes conflict of interests.

The World Court is the venue. But it will not be the venue until the tipping point of Superpower deficit is reached.

Erudite Redneck said...

I agree. It's not up to the present executive to act officially. It does fall to him to lead: to get, shame or otherwise persuade Congress to act -- and I'm just enuf of a romantic to want it to initiate in the Housse.

OR, heh, heh, might SCOTUS take some unprecedented step in some case before it to effectively make a general "trial" of it all come to pass?

Something has to give. The United States -- not the nation, not the people -- are not ready to allow anyone outside "We the People" to decide anything like this to transpire without "We," or without, at least, our, blessing.

drlobojo said...

The United States Attorney General has all the power he needs to pursue this with or without the administrations help or permission.

At a bare minimum the USAG can dis-bar the attorneys involved from any federal court. That is already in process.

If the torture happened on any military base anywhere in the world, the Inspector General of that service involved has the power to prosecute those involved even if civilian and can call into court anyone they please up to and including the Commander in Chief.

The U.S. Security Courts, likewise can pursue this outside the military and USDJ jurisdictions

Obama's executive orders on torture will have no legal effect unless previous crimes committed under existing criminal law are prosecuted.

In short, I don't care what this does to Presidential Executive Power. No one is above the law.
Bush, Obama, or Christ the Executive is a branch of Government not the Government.

I agree that the House should act where it can. Right now impeachment of the lawyer that became a Federal Appeals Court Judge would be a start and would scare the peewadenine out of a whole bunch of turd blossoms.

Feodor said...

But it wasn't considered torture. Political, military, and civilian officials executed plan and policy that the highest legal executive of the country determined as failing to meet the definition of torture.

How can politics and conflict of interest not be at least possible explanations should a new attorney general disagree?

Can the Supreme Court consider the terms of torture simply under constitutional review? Is the Supreme Court the venue for adjudicating the Geneva Codes?

How can we as a society determine what we consider to be torture? Putting it up for national referendum?

These are the kinds of issues for which I think a society needs to have some universal description of rights and boundaries for itself. GKS disagrees.

drlobojo said...

F: "But it wasn't considered torture."

It is defined as such in the law and treaties that have the effect of law. The U.S. courts have executed people for this very act.

drlobojo said...

For the real record:
"Referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning."

"A number of the Japanese soldiers
convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received
lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps."


It is not a policy decision it was a war and federal crime.

BB-Idaho said...

Waterboarding has a fairly lengthy history..CIA files, for example. It seems utlitizing it in an attempt to justify an ill-advised policy reeks of the medieval era...

drlobojo said...

Story:personal footnote to history:

Fort Devens, Mass. 1968: ASA Target Training, Escape and Evasion Course: a full night of trying to escape while being hunted. If caught we would be tortured, electric shock, stress positions, water cure, humiliation by Nurses and other fun stuff.

It was all serious but still "play", it would go away in the morning. Truth is three of us volunteered to police and set-up the site after a sesscion in order to re conned the E&E site days before and found two holes in the fence (they were traps actually), but decided to make our exit so it couldn't be found. Turns out I ended up not having to go. The other two got out of the site, spent the night at a local bar and got away with it until roll call in the a.m..
They were ordered to do E&E again, but they didn't.

Point is, we were being trained to resist brainwashing not to protect intelligent information.

Truth is that any ASA personnel who were taken in Nam were to be killed. We were not trusted to resist and we were expendable. The military's motto was no man left behind. We joked that the ASA motto was nobody left alive.

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