Stephanopoulos Asks Obama About Special Prosecutor

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Obama ducked our Special Prosecutor question on change.gov, but that strategy backfired bigtime. Keith Olbermann discussed it with John Dean on Friday, and George Stephanopoulos asked Obama about it for Sunday's edition of This Week (h/t Josh Marshall). Here's Obama's answer - my response follows below. 

Obama Leaves Door Open (a Bit) On Prosecuting Bush Officials

During my exclusive interview with President-elect Barack Obama airing Sunday morning on "This Week" I asked the president-elect to respond to a one of the most popular questions on his own website, www.Change.gov.

"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor -- ideally Patrick Fitzgerald -- to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?" asked Bob Fertik of New York who runs the Democrats.com website.

Fertik submitted the question to Obama's "Open for Questions" portion of the site, and later to us when he didn't receive a response.

During his presidential campaign, Obama left the door open to a special prosecutor, so I asked him to respond to Fertik's question.

Here was Obama's answer:

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: "We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And 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.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "So no 9/11 Commission with independent seeking of power?"

OBAMA: "Well we have not made any final decisions but my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward, we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law. But my orientation's going to be to move forward," Obama said.

STEPHANOPOULOS: "So let me just press that one more time. You're not ruling out prosecution, but will you tell your Justice Department to investigate these cases and follow the evidence where it leads?"

OBAMA: What I -- I think my general view when it comes to my attorney general is that he's the people's lawyer. Eric Holder's been nominated. His job is to uphold the Constitution and look after the interests of the American people. Not be swayed by my day-to-day politics. So ultimately, he's going to be making some calls. But my general belief is that when it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past."

 

First, let me thank Stephanopoulos for raising the issue of accountability for the crimes of the Bush Administration - a topic that is taboo in the Washington Establishment. 

As for Obama's reply, it's absurd to talk about "upholding the Constitution" and say "no one is above the law" if you refuse to look "back" at those who have subverted the Constitution and broken the law.

And you can't have one set of rules for "national security" and a different set of rules for everything else; there is no "national security exception" in the oath President-elect Obama will swear on January 20 in front of the people of the United States and the world:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." 

So if there's any hope for prosecution in Obama's answer, it is that Attorney General Eric Holder will truly be "the people's lawyer" and fully represent us by prosecuting torturers, wiretappers, and other criminals who committed their crimes from secret undisclosed locations hidden within the Bush-Cheney administration.

But let's not leave this to chance. Let's all tell Attorney General Eric Holder what we want through a petition to Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor for Bush's crimes:
http://www.democrats.com/special-prosecutor-for-bush-war-crimes

Update 1: Satyam Khanna at ThinkProgress points out that

Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, rejects Obama’s “look forward” approach. In March 2008, she told “the next president” to avoid “any temptation to simply move on”:

We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation’s past transgressions and reject Bush’s corruption of our American ideals. Our constitutional democracy cannot survive with a government shrouded in secrecy, nor can our nation’s honor be restored without full disclosure.

In April 2008, Obama left the door open to a special prosecutor, saying, “What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued.”

On Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said, “All of this ‘we need to look to the future and we have to not look to the past,’ well in our immediate past may be war crimes. And we sure better look at that.” He added:

Everything that is coming out of the Congress and the Obama administration is very worrisome. It’s not the type of stuff that would be said if you were seriously going to pursue prosecution. But they are insane to try to dodge this issue. Because if we don’t investigate this administration for war crimes and illegality — particularly war crimes — someone else might. The fact is that the rest of the world sees these as war crimes.

So as "we the people" demand a Special Prosecutor for Bush's war crimes, our demands will be echoed by key officials within the Obama Administration and around the world. This will be a powerful force for Justice that will be hard - hopefully impossible - for AG Eric Holder to resist.

Update 2: Glennzilla believes Obama's reference an independent evaluation by Eric Holder is nothing more than "lip service":

Worst of all, Obama (in response to Stephenapolous' asking him about the number one highest-voted question on Change.gov, first submitted by Bob Fertik) all but said that he does not want to pursue prosecutions for high-level lawbreakers in the Bush administration, twice repeating the standard Beltway mantra that "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards" and "my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing."  Obama didn't categorically rule out prosecutions -- he paid passing lip service to the pretty idea that "nobody is above the law," implied Eric Holder would have some role in making these decisions, and said "we're going to be looking at past practices" -- but he clearly intended to convey his emphatic view that he opposes "past-looking" investigations.  In the U.S., high political officials aren't investigated, let alone held accountable, for lawbreaking, and that is rather clearly something Obama has no intention of changing.

Greenwald's belief that Obama and Holder will give amnesty to torturers is supported by anonymous sources within the Obama administration.

Comments

Judging from what both Joe Biden and Obama have said...

there will be no effort to charge Bushco or even to investigate Bushco for crimes. Biden echoes his 'boss'when he said it is a time to move forward and to not look back.

Obama, in the early days of the primary, said several times that he didn't 'know' of any crimes the Bush administration had committed but that he would certainly 'look' into it.

I would suggest that no one hold their breath waiting for Justice to be served.

Hope? Nope

Change? Nope

Time to return to the future.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

The "best case" scenario

  • Bob Fertik's picture
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is that Obama truly believes the Attorney General should make non-political decisions about prosecution. That's the way Attorneys General are supposed to operate, but we're all jaded by the corruption of AG's under Republican Presidents since Nixon appointed John Mitchell.

If Obama believes in the independence of the Attorney General, then it's up to *us* to convince him to prosecute torturers, wiretappers, and other criminals from the Bush Administration.

Exactly My Take

  • Chip's picture
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Yes, this is exactly my take on Obama's position. President-Elect Obama wants to "move forward." We must present the case to AG-Nominee Holder that for our nation to authentically move forward, we can not ignore the crimes of the Bush Administration. No men can be above the law.

They have constructed a sennit knot of fascist operations by law and administrative guidelines throughout our government that will difficult to extract. We must crush the head of the snake to ruin its nest.

It's the only way to restore the Republic.

The Bob Fertik Change.gov question.

  • christinagomez's picture
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Can I e-mail Mr. Fertik directly somehow? Anyone know?

Christina, yes, you can...

try:

http://democrats.com/contact

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

We can't let this situation wait too long

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I completely agree that it is up to us to keep this issue alive and in the front of people's minds. In many ways our job as activists has just begun a new chapter. The crimes against our Constitution can not be allowed to stand. If The Obama administration needs a push then we will keep pushing with petitions and interviews and e-mail, untill a special prosecutor is tasked with investigating the many abuses of this past administration. Already we have professor Jonathan Turley and John Dean speaking out on our side. We just need to make sure that these issues are not allowed to fade into the past to be forgotten by the public.

Then there is the strong possibility that those like Cheney who have been directly involved in torture will be arrested and tried by other signers of the Geneva Acocrds, when they leave the US. As I remember Kissenger was wanted and still may be in France, for war crimes and for murder. Do we want this to be the way that the US is viewed around the world? Do we want our Constitution to be left to scoundrals who will pick it's bones clean of the protections that it has guaranteed since the founding of our nation?

On May 31, 2001, French judge Roger Le Loire requested a summons served on Kissinger while he was staying at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.[28] Loire wanted to question Kissinger for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor—a mid-1970s campaign of kidnapping and murder coordinated among the intelligence and security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay—as well as the death of five French nationals under the Chilean junta.[28] Kissinger fled Paris that evening, and Loire's inquiries were directed to the U.S. State Department.

In August 2001, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a letter rogatory to the U.S. State Department, in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge's investigation of Operation Condor.[29]

On September 10, 2001, a civil suit was filed in a Washington, DC, federal court by the family of Gen. René Schneider, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, asserting that Kissinger gave the order for the elimination of Schneider because he had refused to endorse plans for a military coup.[28][30][31] Schneider was killed by coup-plotters loyal to General Roberto Viaux in a botched kidnapping attempt,[31] As a part of the suit, Schneider’s two sons are attempting to sue Kissinger and then-CIA director Richard Helms for US$3 million.[31]

On September 11, 2001, the 28th commemorations of the Pinochet coup, Chilean human rights lawyers filed a criminal case against Kissinger along with Augusto Pinochet, former Bolivian general and president Hugo Banzer, former Argentine general and dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, and former Paraguayan president Alfredo Stroessner for alleged involvement in Operation Condor.[32] The case was brought on behalf of some fifteen victims of Operation Condor, ten of whom were Chilean.

In late 2001, the Brazilian government cancelled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in São Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity from judicial action.[30][28] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger

This all happened in 2001 and seems to have been swept far under the rug so that the general public knows nothing about it or have forgotten it ever happened.

My point; we can't let this batch of Bush criminals slither under that lovely carpet from the Bush oval office as it is packed away for transfer to the Bush lie-brary.

thanks dinamic!

  • Bob Fertik's picture
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i don't know if it ever crossed my radar, but i've certainly forgotten it all.

the grinch who trolled activism?

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hey grinch, what part of activism don't you get? our JOB is to CHANGE policy.

your job apparently is to play the defeatist, to try to bum out those who ARE working for real change. a troll by any other name is still a troll.

thepen, Wow, tell the truth and am attacked for it...

Biden was told what to say. He has mostly done what he was told over the past few years has he not? Obama has said exactly what he wanted to say...has been saying the same thing over the two year primary.

Are you working for change? Pray tell us how you are working for that change.

As for being a troll, telling the actual truth is not being a troll. Telling unpleasant TRUTHS is more about being a Patriot. These things that have been said are the truth, and what, for example, have been your successes over the past 8 years?

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

we're ALL working for change

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so far the only successes any of us have to show for our efforts are a Democratic Congress and President, which isn't a bad start.

now we just have to make them do the things we want them to do.

call defeatism what it is

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spoken like a committed diehard defeatist. and now the grinch demands proof that activism has ever worked even ONE time.

there have been MANY victories of real consequence, and they did not happen because people whined that it was never going to happen. of course in this case, for those who are not entirely deaf to what's going on, turning the special prosecutor question into a NATIONAL news story is a major victory in the first instance in terms of shifting the debate.

but the victory we are most proud of so far was the SUCCESSFUL filibuster of the original John Bolton nomination, which though he was recess appointed anyway PRECLUDED his renomination, and now he's gone. and EVERYBODY in the media was saying that Senate confirmation for him was a done deal. all except the 30,000 plus people who we know submitted action pages opposing him and CHANGED that "truth".

we have no greater enemy than our own defeatism. every loser who ever lived would argue that they were just being "realistic" or "practical" or telling the "truth" or whatever. but we will get no more change than we will believe is possible, and THAT is the real truth.

What have your specific victories been? ...

I did not ask about successes in general. You attack in the specific and reply in generalities.

I don't pretend to speak for everyone. Never did.

"but the victory we are most proud of so far..." Who is the we?

As Bob stated, "We are ALL working for change..." But it would be rather nice to see some sort of cohesion among our so-called leadership in the House and Senate. Particularly those not seemingly affected by petitions and demonstrations. Somehow, we are, none of us, reaching those people.

We are facing right now, an approaching depression which will collapse the country probably worse than the depression in '29. We have a bunch of lawless criminals who are responsible for the loss of our Constitutional Rights and the apparent destruction of that Constitution.

Bob, on our home page, has one or more blogs covering the matter of investigating and indicting the criminals in our goverment. It seems that the answers we get are stalls and or outright dismissals of what should be done. It would seem that even if 100% of our people get behind this investigation, our leadership would pay no attention.

Hope we can all have individually. Change is mandated. But, the question is: How do we carry out that mandate?

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

Where the biggest problem lies

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In my opinion, and mine alone, We [the democrats I know and talk with on a daily basis] I support the ideals that Nancy Pelosi is far and away, the major problem that We [the democrats I know and talk with on a daily basis] face everyday. As long as she makes the "SUPREME" decisions on what is, and what is not done in the House of Representatives, We [the democrats I know and talk with on a daily basis] will not get equal representation. Her decision to not support our Constitution in any matter that effects the criminal actions of the Bush Adminstration, and the possibility that she, and other ranking members of the House and/or the Senate are part of some of these criminal acts, or had knowledge of,will prevent any support for "We the People", [the democrats I know and talk with on a daily basis], {the same people that OUR CONSTITUTION has guarnteed freedom}.

Sometimes grinch...

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Sometimes grinch, we have to try and keep up the optomism, and delve to find the answers to the questions you have posed. But keeping a close hand to your chest when the world is rooting for you to win, can be quite difficult. This has been the leakage in the campaign and while we would love to be as close in communication as we were when we were blogging to all hours of the day and night, it has come to our attention, that some of the supporters that are new, and "can't keep secrets" has caused us to watch who we blog about movement to. It is the negative nattering neybobbery shown during the primaries and general, that we avoid. No need in wasting brain cells, when a person is determined to phychicly judge the movement anyway, instead of finding common sense in their researching of the campaign and all the supporters of Obama and Biden.

Go get a drink of tea, scotch, or rum. Chill grinch, your on the right team.

I know victories are few and far in between on the Dems, but trust us, that last "kick ass" cured all that.

We lost OUR Gore.

We gained OUR Obama.
I knew Gore would endorse him.

mommapanther

Kim, I haven't posed any questions in this thread...

and I don't fully understand your hyperbole.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

Not hyperbole

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Just tired of hearing all the paranoid negative antagonist whenever I come visit. Grinch be for real now, since this mess has evolved, you have become somewhat cynical. It just blows my optomism, when people who really haven't done the battling for the Obama campaign and were voting for others, don't understand where we are headed and it is a little frustrating to have to explain most common sense. How many times does he have to say, one president at a time. The impatience shows me you aren't taught the Patience is a God given virtue. Right now Americans need patience until 1/9/09

I want it that bad too, but not at the expense of tipping the hand.

I think just maybe like me, your frustration shows. It's only human.

Chill people, 6 more days to go.

mommapanther

He is not a damned troll

He's been here since democrats.com was a message board and before blogging was 'in.'

I understand his cynicism. Since democratic leadership hasn't really given two craps what we think because of the DLC, it would appear that they haven't completely learned their lesson.

That said, we all have our issues. Mine is not torture or criminality of the BA, although I respect those to whom that is a great issue.

Mine is healthcare. I don't think people should lose their family homes because someone got sick and the industry is so out of control we end up gravely ill before we see someone because it costs so much.

I don't see that torture as an issue is any less important than mine, so I don't think those to whom it does matter are trolls. I think there is room for all viewpoints.

Usama bin Forgotten

troll = unpopular stance?

  • Jim's picture
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Not in my dictionary.

I've added the petition link to my site

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thanks dan!

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your work at pruningshears.us is tremendous :)

Why shouldn't law breakers be looking over their shoulders?

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"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."

Well, if they're war criminals, shouldn't they be looking over their shoulders? If their extraordinary talents include torturing people, they ought to know they'll have the book thrown at them. If we just decide to "move on" what's to prevent this sort of practice continuing?

This sounds like Bush-Speak at its worst.

if we just "move on"

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we will guarantee these crimes will only get worse.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came...

Okay, let's do it

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Bob get the petitions to Holder on the Impeachment there were over 100,000, right. Well since the hiring of the new AG, his first case, since he is oh so familiar with it, should be the people's outcry for accountability, to ensure future presidents know the consequences. Bush/Cheney's crimes against Iraqi humanity and Guantanamo, are just as much a threat to our security, as the assassin's on that blog. If they are investigating the threat from average John Q. Wingnutz, then they should investigate the head KNUTz in charge. Before Holden, there was a politicized JUSTICE DEPT. Now we'll resubmit, the same stuff from the past four years, when there was a rethug force in there. I'm sure that Holden has some top prosecuters in mind, to get the "heads" rolling.

This is the 1st step, to call attention, loudly and clearly. Start blogg polls and send them to the petition. Let's hop to it people, it won't get done unless We the People of ACCOUNTABILITY don't use our moveOn grassroot lawyers to do what HAS to be done.

Goooo Blue Tsunami!!!!

Accountability or Bust!

mommapanther

Wouldn't it make sense?

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it seems to me that what Obama is saying now is exactly what he should be saying, otherwise Bush would just grant pre-emptive pardons to avoid any prosecutions.

the pardons will not be because we weren't wimpy enough

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let us be very clear.

the pardons which have already been drafted (but will not be released until the last possible minute) WILL happen regardless of how coy and non-confrontational we are. Bush is too cowardly to even take a chance.

we will NOT head them off by being as wimpy as possible. rather, it is only by calling people to account, NOW, starting with our OWN to do their duty, and in particular by demanding from Holder at his confirmation whether he will in fact enforce the LAW, that we can set the stage for the prosecutions that must follow.

and if Bush wants to pardon himself, remember that accepting a pardon is an ADMISSION of guilt, and would be admissible as evidence of guilt in other jurisdictions (state by state, international, etc.)

so now do you see why the only strategic posture with any prospect of success is to beat the drums as loud as we can and never stop?

Nicely put.

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;)

We have to all....

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we have to all contact our reps as soon as the stimulus is past to start our green economy.

Blue Tsunami the new AG with the same amount of e-mail as the illegal immigration issue and watch how fast they jump on board. They need to know WE the People want Justice as well as economic recovery. Step 1. put us back on track. Step 2. Review the past 8 years, to ensure of no snares and traps from the outgoing administration.

Like that.

Peace out

mommapanther

Obama will become a war

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Obama will become a war criminal on January 21, 2009, if he does not take immediate action to stop ongoing war crimes. See the following for more specific information:

PRESS RELEASE
January 7, 2009

NEW BOOK DOCUMENTS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S 269 WAR CRIMES

With a Foreword by former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz, the book "George W. Bush, War Criminal? The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes" by Professor Michael Haas was released today by Greenwood Press. Further information is available at www.USwarcrimes.com

Based on information supplied in autobiographical and press sources, the book matches events in Afghanistan, Guantánamo, Iraq, and various secret places of detention with provisions in the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements on war crimes. His compilation is the first to cite a comprehensive list of specific war crimes in four categories—illegality of the decision to go to war, misconduct during war, mistreatment of prisoners of war, and misgovernment in the American occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Haas accuses President Bush of conduct bordering on treason because he reenacted several complaints stated in the Declaration of Independence against England, ignored the Constitution and federal laws, trampled on the American tradition of developing international law to bring order to world politics, and in effect made a Faustian pact with Osama Bin Laden that the intelligence community blames for an increase in world terrorism. Osama Bin Laden remains alive, he reports, because Bush preferred to go after oil-rich Iraq rather than tracking down Al Qaeda leaders, whose uncaptured presence was useful to him in justifying a “war on terror” pursued on a military rather than a criminal basis without constitutional restraints.

The worst war crime cited is the murder of at least 45 prisoners, some but not all by torture. Other heinous crimes include the brutal treatment of thousands of children, some 64 of whom have been detained at Guantánamo. Sources document the use of illegal weapons in the war from cluster bombs to daisy cutters, napalm, white phosphorus, and depleted uranium weapons, some of which have injured and killed American soldiers as well as thousands of innocent civilians. Children playing in areas of Iraq where depleted uranium weapons have been used, but not reported on request from the World Health Organization, have developed leukemia and other serious diseases.

“Bush’s violations of the Constitution as well as domestic and international law have besmirched the reputation of the United States,” Haas writes. “In so doing, they have accomplished a goal of which the Al Qaeda terrorists only dreamed—to transform the United States into a rogue nation feared by the rest of the world and loved by almost none.”

“One reason for the adoption of the Third Geneva Convention,” according to Haas, “was a revulsion against German-run interrogation camps during World War II.” Yet, he writes, “Bush’s order to set up interrogation camps in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo, and other secret locations “is directly contrary to the Geneva Conventions.” Nevertheless, Haas notes that Nazi Germany’s war crimes were wholesale offenses, whereas the scope of Bush’s crimes is retail, affecting fewer (a few millions) of innocent persons.

In view of the vast number of war crimes, Haas recommends a truth commission with the aim of educating the world on the nature of war crimes. He feels that stopping war crimes is a more important objective than prosecuting the offenders, some of whom may be brought to justice in foreign courts if they travel abroad.

The author, Michael Haas, has written over thirty books on government and politics in his academic career as a political scientist (Yale M.A., Stanford Ph.D.) at Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of Hawai`i, the University of London, the University of the Philippines, and several colleges and universities in California. He lives in the Hollywood Hills.

Prosecuting War Crimes

  • Marie Burns's picture
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Obama has been fairly consistent in his position. The problems are that (a) his consistent position is inconsistent with the Constitution; (b) his position is inconsistent with the rule of law; and (c) he has chosen an AG infamous for bending to the will of the President.

Republicans are going to grill Holder on his Marc Rich stuff (again), on his banana republic shenanigans, and on his failure to carry out their right-wing agendae. Will there be one Democratic Senator with the guts to ask, "What about war crimes, Mr. Holder?" Will there be one who will show outrage (and vote against Holder) when he gives an Obama-esque response? I doubt it. Patrick Leahy, one of the most liberal Dems, has been Holder's sherpa and has been making excuses for him since Day 1.

It looks as if the only hope for getting at the war crimes comes from Rep. John Conyers, who has something big up his sleeve with HB104.

we are our own savior, not Conyers

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there is only one factor here that matters, and it is not hope, it is how much citizen pressure we bring to bear. and the most critical thing is for us to come on STRONGER than the other side at the Holder hearings.

we must go on the offense. we must force the Republicans to admit that they just want to throw rule of law out in the trash, because that is their position really, isn't it? and we must force, with our phone calls and our emails, the Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee to ask the questions that must be asked.

Conyers, who is talking about a commission that John Dean considers a total joke, won't do a damn thing he is not pressured to do, and neither will any of the others, and we have to have a good attitude about it, and accept that is what POLITICS is all about.

but the good news is that we will apply that pressure. and those in the "Nope, ain't gonna happen" crowd can watch the miracle occur from the sidelines, and shame on us all if we do not make it happen.

because if we do our job as activists, Holder WILL be confirmed by standing for the proposition that nobody is above the law

I wish HB104

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was a serious effort at accountability, but it's just a fact-finding commission that will delay prosecutions - or worse, make them impossible through the immunization of witnesses by Congress, which undermined the Iran-Contra prosecutions.

We're support Rep. Nadler's H.Res. 9 which calls for a Special Prosecutor:
http://www.democrats.com/nadler-pardons

bob reynolds

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bob reynolds

Obama and George S. interview

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bob reynoldsThe Obama interview with George

its certainly nice to have an intelligent person interviewed, one who is

actually articulate and able to think out loud.

These interviews don't take us very far.

part of the problem is the questioner not asking the right questions
in relation to the investigation of the Bush administration.
if you don't frame the questions in the context of violations of
international and
american law as well as subverting our constitution then it allows for
the answers that Biden and Obama gave: we are looking forward etc..
If as he said Obama believes water boarding to be torture and torture
and violations of international law will not be tolerated then how does
he ignore what the Bush Cheney administration did? He is in effect
saying
they broke the law. Its the same with the CIA. He doesn't want to
do anything to hurt those men and women who have been so effective
in protecting our country in the past 8 years. He's doing what the
establishment wants, giving them a pass. But they always had a
way out. The FBI agents refused to cooperate in such acts. Others
in the administration refused to go along. They had a choice.

Obama's giving them a form of the
Eichmann defense "I was just following orders" even though its been long
established that that is not a defense for wrong doing or breaking
the law. On the other hand in practice anyone who refuses will
pay a price and will be hard pressed to defend himself in a court of
law or to keep his job. That's just the way it is.

LBJ let Nixon off the hook even though he called Nixon a traitor.
Hamilton let Reagan/Bush off the hook for the October Surprise.
Clinton let Reagan/Bush off the hook for Iran/Contra and a host
of other crimes. Now Obama seems prepared to let Bush/Cheney off
the hook for more crimes than all the others have committed.

How do we keep our freedom if there is no accountability?
What happens when we get another Repug in the WH?
Or a Democratic Bush/Cheney.

One other thing, Obama spoke of "Medicare Advantage". These
are the HMO (mostly) plans available to people with Medicare.

He spoke of the problem of subsidies given to companies
to encourage them to offer such plans. He spoke of
saving $200 billion yearly.

Its hard to tell
where he is heading, but absent a single payer plan, eliminating
MA plans would be a disaster. Yes there are a ton of problems with these
plans. They can cherry pick by county, offer different plans by
county, charge or not charge premiums by county and
in general are not required to insure all eligible in a State.
They can come in for a year and then just leave.

Its whatever they can get away with. There is also waste.
Some of the coverage now being offered includes gym
memberships and $30 a month for a selective list of over the
counter medications. But in general they do protect the
recipient from cataclysmic medical bills. Something that
basic Medicare does not do. There are exceptions.
If you have cancer you are going to be hit with 20% copays
on very expensive drugs and chemo and radiation treatments.

So I as a user hopes he goes slow on this one, but it does
sound as though he is looking at it as a way to capture
$200 billion in savings by eliminating coverage. If that is the
case then he needs to be sure that in transferring the burden
he does not create other problems. For instance if a
person on Medicare then becomes liable for catastrophic
bills and can't pay them some one will have to, either the
provider absorbing the loss, or the State or the Feds having
to step in anyway.

When the pols talk about sacrifice it usually means
you and me, not you and me and them too.

bob

"How do we keep our freedom if there is no accountability?"

  • Bob Fertik's picture
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that's exactly the right question - thanks for asking it!

change

  • KimJones's picture
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change.gov that question and send it to Justice/Attny Gen Holden is the one to answer it in kind.

Goooooooooo America! Soar for EQUAL JUSTICE for ALL including elite brats for profit.
mommapanther

Accountability

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President-elect Obama has stated that he wants us to "look forward" rather than "look backward". Holding President Bush and his administration accountable is a forward looking action. It's is important to let future administrations know that the offenses that took place during the past eight years and unacceptable to the American people and by our legal system. Future presidents need to know that if they behave in a similar fashion, there will be consequences.

that's exactly right

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and you said it beautifully :)

Accountability

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Bush and his merry little band should all be put in internment camps for their trials.Indict, convict, torture, strip their wealth and offer them a choice. They can have 1 5# bar of gold and a gallon of water. They then get dropped off in Baghdad. They're on their
own. Or they can donate their body organs. We'll take them while they're alive.
They deserve no mercy.
db

Hold everyone accountable...from the past and future

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I wonder if the reluctance to pursue legal ramifications against the Bush administration, would be about the possibility of holding your own administration accountable, if the situation presents itself. In other words, if they can get away with it......we can too!!!

That's the part that is most troubling to me. Who do our elected officials think they are, and where are they going with it on our tax payer dollars?

This may be a money makin "gig" now, and there's no turning back.

That's when a third strong party, would make the rest come out of their coma...and depending on how Obama performs, that may be in order, in order for us to truly regain our country back and return to what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

My two cents...

The Problem is Artur Davis

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Since I have been working on this question for months and writing about it myself, it's good to see the talking heads finally take up the question, along with the New York Times in a story this past week.

Part of the problem are some members of Congress on Obama's team, including Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama, who were only interested in investigating the Bush Justice Department to the extent it helped Obama win the election. It's the same reason they also voted for Bush spying bill last summer.

They don't seem to understand the need to protect the Constitution as well as to win elections. The investigation of Karl Rove must continue. He should not be able to get away with defying a Congressional subpoena to testify in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

It looks like the pressure is working to keep House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers on the case.

http://blog.locustfork.net/2009/01/07/house-moves-to-continue-investigat...

Glynn Wilson
Editor and Publisher
The Locust World News-Journal
http://www.locustfork.net/
http://blog.locustfork.net/

If your suggesting

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If your suggesting that the campaign used the issue of justice of impeachment to get to the WH, bite your tongue.
Tsk tsk tsk. I know we have been dealing from the bottom of the gutter deck over the last 8 years, but to say that, we at the campaign used it to political gain, is so very wrong. I'll expect an apology from you, in the months ahead. Kucinich and Obama are for all the justice being served, but to what purpose. To have the rethugs say it is about political agenda for Obama? I think not.
I think that the department of justice and the appointee, knows just when to strike. And although there are reactionaries that want the fight, right now, it is the only card we still hold, to keep this jerk in charge, from maintaining power, by declaring martial law, when the sh*t hits the fan at his executive branch. Remember all the smart strategy during the campaign. Well, we are STILL thinking outside the box, to protect Americans. Especially those who have evidence under this current prez. Do you want a sleu of bodies to try and figure out?

Learn how to keep your poker hand closer to your chest, and don't use the pawns all up. If you don't know how much the African American Congressional members that have been ignored in justice issues, dream of equal justice, then you've been asleep at the switch for quite some time. That was the reason for Martin's march.
Now, calm down and watch a pro at work. Each has their own jobs to do and it will be done for the People, of the People and by the people. Justice will be served.

I wish you could get all riled up over the 22year old black son, killed while cuffed, and facing the sidewalk, in cold blood on a subway platform full of witnesses that video recorded the whole thing. Not one word of outrage. It's these same reasons that AA don't attend show support in other endeavors of justice, and why there was so much "karma" talk, when OJ walked.

Do you think OUR mothers don't grieve when their child is murdered by badge. It's been going on since the sixties and seventies, got worse in the 90's and last 8 years. Emboldened by the nonjustice department, the murders by badge have gotten worse.

After a while when they place all the PTSD soldiers looking for work and denying PTSD symptoms, they will be able to say, stress of the job, as if we didn't know the steroidal use in gyms, didn't already have them amped up.
Let them patrol your neighborhoods, especially the off duty pull you over and feel you up kind. See if you like the justice our tax dollars pay for now.

mommapanther

Yes, That's What I'm Suggesting: Here's the Evidence

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mommapanther:

I don't quite get all that jibber jabber, but you can read what Davis said himself about why he supported Bush's FISA bill. It was all about politics: winning the election.

http://blog.locustfork.net/2008/08/18/can-the-constitution-survive-polit...

Glynn Wilson
Editor and Publisher
The Locust Fork News-Journal
http://www.locustfork.net/
http://blog.locustfork.net/

Why I think the Obama Administration cannot investigate

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A freewheeling investigation by a Special Prosecutor is to be avoided at all costs because it might lead to public disclosure about one of the worst security failures in our history, the one that led to the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. It would implicate the "friend" that Bush alluded to yesterday in his last press conference when he warned Obama that his "friends" would "betray" him too.

In Bush parlance a "friend" is a nation state that is an ally of the United States. To investigate and implicate this "friend" is politically such a hot potato that it is totally unacceptable to both parties in Congress. Hence, Bushco walks. They all made a deal with the devil. As Cheney said, "The American way of life is non-negotiable."

The Attorney General should have an inquest....

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I think that Pres-elect Obama will place this in the hands of the Attorney General. I don't think he will have a hands on for political reasons, but this must be done.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/opinion/16krugman.html?em=&pagewanted=...

Forgive and Forget?
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.

Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. It’s not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation’s security. The fact is that the Bush administration’s abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.

At the Justice Department, for example, political appointees illegally reserved nonpolitical positions for “right-thinking Americans” — their term, not mine — and there’s strong evidence that officials used their positions both to undermine the protection of minority voting rights and to persecute Democratic politicians.

The hiring process at Justice echoed the hiring process during the occupation of Iraq — an occupation whose success was supposedly essential to national security — in which applicants were judged by their politics, their personal loyalty to President Bush and, according to some reports, by their views on Roe v. Wade, rather than by their ability to do the job.

Speaking of Iraq, let’s also not forget that country’s failed reconstruction: the Bush administration handed billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to politically connected companies, companies that then failed to deliver. And why should they have bothered to do their jobs? Any government official who tried to enforce accountability on, say, Halliburton quickly found his or her career derailed.

There’s much, much more. By my count, at least six important government agencies experienced major scandals over the past eight years — in most cases, scandals that were never properly investigated. And then there was the biggest scandal of all: Does anyone seriously doubt that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into invading Iraq?

Why, then, shouldn’t we have an official inquiry into abuses during the Bush years?

One answer you hear is that pursuing the truth would be divisive, that it would exacerbate partisanship. But if partisanship is so terrible, shouldn’t there be some penalty for the Bush administration’s politicization of every aspect of government?

Alternatively, we’re told that we don’t have to dwell on past abuses, because we won’t repeat them. But no important figure in the Bush administration, or among that administration’s political allies, has expressed remorse for breaking the law. What makes anyone think that they or their political heirs won’t do it all over again, given the chance?

In fact, we’ve already seen this movie. During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators.

Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again.

Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.

And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make.

So let me get this straight

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In the midst of uniting the country and solving the massive horrors of Chimp/darth, You want Obama to get in between the rukus that is the Justice Department and soon Holden's job, and suggest that Obama as dems, tell him to investigate.

Uh uh. That is reactionary thinking. Holden is the one to carry it out. I think the direction of this request, since the hearing, is and should be directed to:

The Attorney General of the United States Justice Department.gov

Want results, let the dogs out and the games begin for progress. Let's clean up the messes that, "We the PEOPLE" need to have cleaned. Let everyone do their jobs in the position, selected by Obama.

Watch how Justice Works. With multiple e-mails, from citizens, I'm sure his ear will hear.

NOW, please let Obama juggle some of the multiple balls and turn this ship. It is gonna be a "GOOD YEAR!"
Celebrate and don't let Boosh, ruin this first and only time WE the People righted our government in our generation for truth Justice and the Moral American way.

mommapanther

Obama made it clear

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that Holder would not make a big decision like this on his own.

He told Stephanpoulos "he [Holder] is going to be making SOME calls." SOME - not ALL.

So it's perfectly appropriate foor us to direct our Special Prosecutor request to both Holder and President Obama, who is after all the "Chief Law Enforcement Officer" of the United States.

I....

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Hope I am wrong, and reserve final judgement until the man actually takes office, but I fear we got us another Corporate DLC Democrat in the WH. While he will be much better than Bush, I think Progressives have once again lost, and all the gains we have made towards retaking our party from the DLC types will be quickly washed away.

Although we have butted heads before, I must agree with grinch's pessimistic attitude.

And our other choice for

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And our other choice for president was the poster girl for the DLC: Ms. Hillary, who drew heavy DLC-sponsored Republican/Corporate suppport. And please, do not give me the BS about Kucinich (or any other far-left "progressive") being a better choice, as he/they would not even have carried his/their own state in the national elections, and we would be looking at four years of McCain/Palin.

At least Obama is not a card-carrying member of Al From's "New Democrats," and with the mess he's been handed, he deserves a chance to at least take office with our full support.

Bill Clinton was not as "progressive" as we would have liked, but he was an excellent president. I have complete confidence that Obama will equal, or surpass, Bill Clinton's accomplishments.

It is a little tiresome to read all of the negative comments about what Obama "might" or "might not" do once he takes office. We WON the fucking election people -- deal with it!

LOL!

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You had me at, "We WON the fucking election people".

Well

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I am more worried about what he has already done, not what he "might or might not" do. Retaining Gates, and backtracking on several Progressive promises isn't very encouraging.

There is no way he could be as bad as Bush, or McCain but that is not really saying much. He will take office with my full support, but if things he keeps along the track he is on now I reserve the right to withdraw it, this is America after all.

Bill Clinton was a Good President but his time in office was mostly a missed opportunity. I am not very excited about that again.

And we may have won an election, but it appears we still lost our party.