The Torture Administration: Still Believing They Should Be Let Off the Hook

Even though some Bush administration officials are now openly acknowledging that they knew what they were doing was wrong, they like the new President’s philosophy that we should move forward.

And the wheels of empire turn slowly forward, crushing most of what is in the path, running roughshod over the small and meek, ignoring the important things in this existence such as justice.

Richard Jehn / The Rag Blog

Avi Lewis interviews former Deputy Secretary of State for Aljazeera English

Armitage: ‘They Tortured. . . Maybe I should Have Resigned”
By Juan Cole / April 16, 2009

Armitage admits:

1. He and his boss Colin Powell lost a major battle within the Bush administration on whether the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war applied to guerrillas captured during the “war on terror.”

2. That the Bush administration engaged in torture in the form of waterboarding, though he denied that he had sure knowledge of this practice at the time he was in office

3. That he probably should have resigned, but hung on for fear of how bad policy could get if he and others were not there to fight the battles

4. He says that the US Senate should have known about the torture, calls them “AWOL,” and implies that there will be no investigation of Bush crimes against humanity because such a process would implicate the senators themselves, as at the very least having been derelict in their duty to advise and consent. (I wonder if he is also implying that some Democratic senators knew about the waterboarding and remained silent, so that they will not now launch a prosecution?)

Armitage was one of three officials, including Karl Rove and Irv Lewis Libby, who revealed to US reporters that Valerie Plame was a covert operative in the CIA. Plame is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was the first to publicly undermine the Bush claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which was used to justify the war.

Armitage was also involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.

A Spanish judge is considering an indictment of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and several other Bush administration officials for having sanctioned torture at Guantanamo Bay. In breaking news Thursday morning, it was announced in Spain that the government prosecutor has advised the judge to drop the case; apparently he still has the discretion to continue.

The others who would likely be indicted if the case went forward, according to Scott Horton, are “Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.”

Armitage’s revelation that he and his boss “lost” a battle to preserve a commitment to the Geneva Conventions in Washington in this period seems likely to me to become part of the Spanish prosecution.

Japanese officers were tried for war crimes after World War II by the United States for having engaged in waterboarding.

It has been suggested that the six implicated Bush administration officials would, in case of formal indictment, no longer be able safely travel to Europe, because judges claiming universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity might well order their arrest, as happened to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Source / Informed Comment

The Rag Blog

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4 Responses to The Torture Administration: Still Believing They Should Be Let Off the Hook

  1. I agree they should all be prosecutred, but I think there must be some unspoken/secret ‘agreement’ that if elected, thou shalt not go after the former administration for any ‘crimes’, else there would be not only upheaval and potential rioting by the crazy-assed citizens, but it would make it difficult for future presidents to want to stick their necks out and even run for election.

    If the nit-wits who stood around with tea-bags; signs, and crowding the streets with some feeble protest about an issue that has no real basis for such behavior, can you imagine what would happen if Obama did prosecute; did proceed, on something that DID have a basis for public outcry and demonstration?

    Politicians have their little ‘code of silence’ and probably a ‘protection agreement’ that essentially requires them to ‘sell their soul’ rather than actually correct the errors that they now call ‘in the past’.

    With the clout and influence GWB has not only inside this country but around the world with certain ‘factions’, I think he’d create such hell implementing a type of terror that would be as much (or more) damaging as he did while he served in office.

    GWB is a vindictive and miserable piece of sh*t; he has no regard or love of this country or the average citizen – no doubt, Obama knows the consequences as do his advisors, and this country has its hands so full right now of problems, adding an attempt to bring the myriad of offenders to justice could potentially tear us further apart.

    We’d go from tea-bags to guns in a heart-beat….sadly, we seem to have been backed into a corner, and if Spain can ‘go forward’ – doing what our leaders should be doing, maybe it will set the stage in a way that might give courage to our current administration to ‘follow suit’.

    Again, who knows – it could all be a ruse; Spain may not be serious; just doing a little sabre-rattling to ‘test the public’s reaction’.

    After all, ‘tokens and sound bites’ are what the news media live on – give them something to chew on, but nothing to really nourish them; constantly instilling fear and conflict in the minds of nations – our nation; already in disarray and division.

  2. Six months after a sweeping defeat in the Presidential election, Republicans have taken on an unlikely political persona, Oscar the Grouch. And judging from their muddled “Tea Parties,” the GOP has adopted their new Ideology from a familiar Sesame Street Song: We’re mad. Very angry, very, very angry. Real mad. Very angry, very, very angry.

    While 88 percent of Democrats approve of President Obama’s job performance, only 27 percent of Republicans share that perception. This 61-point difference of opinion is the largest spread since Pew began conducting its poll in 1969, when 84 percent of Republicans approved of Richard Nixon’s job performance and 55 percent of Democrats agreed.

    Because President Obama’s popularity ratings are so high, Democrats tend to dismiss Republican sentiments. After all, a recent New York Times/CBS News Poll found that while two-thirds of Americans approved of Obama’s job performance, only 31 percent had a favorable view of the GOP.

    Americans are abandoning the Republican Party. The latest Gallup Poll found that 35 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, an equal number as Independents, and only 28 percent as Republicans. But rather than propose ideological alternatives to Obama’s policies, the GOP has responded with anger and dogmatic negativity. When Obama proposed to ease the financial crisis with a stimulus package, Republicans argued for tax cuts. When Obama responded to the launch of a North Korean missile with a call for renewed diplomacy, Republicans wanted military intervention. On issue after issue the GOP stance is we’re against anything proposed by the Obama Administration.

    It’s clear Republicans lack of leadership. Their base has not rallied around politicians such as John Boehner, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Michael Steele. Instead they’ve turned to conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and Fox News personalities Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly. Republican ideas are being dictated by vacuous media personalities who care more about ratings than they do about prudent national policy. As a result the unifying theme is anger: We’re mad. Very angry, very, very angry.

    Since the inauguration, the tone of the anti-Obama discourse has become increasingly strident. Karl Rove described the President as a “fiscal radical” and suggested that Obama is a “divisive figure.” Former Senator Rick Santorum berated the President’s supposed, “disdain for American values.” Leading this cacophony is Fox News where commentators rant that Obama has an “agenda” for gun confiscation and plans “a total police state.” Recently Glenn Beck suggested the federal government is a “heroin pusher using smiley-aced fascism to grow the nanny state,” concluding “[we have] come to a very dangerous point in our country’s long, storied history.”

    This incendiary rhetoric is a throwback to the thirties, when conservative commentator Father Charles Coughlin used his national radio show to attack Franklin Roosevelt. A virulent Anti-Semite, Coughlin managed to derail initiatives such as support for Jews fleeing the Nazis.

    Thirties hate-radio fomented white supremacy. Now, Fox News and conservative talk shows are again stirring up the lunatic right, who are more heavily armed than they were in the thirties. Writing in THE HUFFINGTON POST Eric Boehlert links several recent mass killings to hate-radio messages: Obama plans to take away your guns and kill all liberals.

    At the least, Republican anger will delay Obama appointments and legislative initiatives, as GOP Senators use procedural gimmicks to block the President’s intent. But judging from the experience of the thirties, it’s likely that as the recession drags on, the conservative hate-media will inflame class, race, and ethnic tensions, as they blame specific minority groups, particularly undocumented immigrants, for social problems. A report from the Department of Homeland Security warns of the rise of right-wing extremism.

    The most alarming trend is the increase in threats against the President. Since the election, the Secret Service has tightened security around Obama, responding to a disturbing number of warnings.

    A recent Council on Foreign Relations report noted that in the last decade the vast majority of US terrorist attacks were carried out by domestic extremists. Now Republicans, through their media surrogates, are appealing to the hate that fuels domestic terrorism. During the Presidential campaign, Sarah Palin called Barack Obama a terrorist, stoking crowds who yelled threats. On March 29th, Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, appearing on the Sean Hannity TV show, warned of dangers of tyranny under an Obama Administration and appealed for revolution.

    Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” Now Republicans and their toadies are stoking the anger of their constituents, shouting fire in the theatre of American politics.

    The GOP has gone too far. Congress needs to reprimand legislators who make extreme statements. And the FCC should punish Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, and other purveyors of hate, whenever they abuse free speech and fan the fires of insurrection.
    So, would you add bringing GWB and cronies up for prosecution to add fuel to an already smoldering fire?

    As you can read on many web-sites and listen to the ‘hate mongers’ screech; you also read other blogs and web-sites who are trying to help the rest of us ‘balance’ out our reactions and actions as we must learn to accept some of the things we can change; change what we can – have that wisdom to know the difference, and know that the difference might be violence in our own streets and communities that I doubt anyone really wants to see.

  3. we must learn to accept some of the things we can NOT change; change what we can – have that wisdom to know the difference, and know that the difference might be violence in our own streets and communities that I doubt anyone really wants to see.

  4. Sid says:

    The idea you float of some sort of ‘secret arrangement’ whereby each administration promises not to prosecute the previous ones illegal acts is very popular in Banana Republics the world around. This is what you’re proposing?

    You’re argument that previous administrations (your example being GWB’s) could make things very difficult for the current administration to act is certainly true… but all the more reason to act. Otherwise, the U.S. itself becomes by definition, a Banana Republic.

    As Glenn Greenwald has written, try and tell the cop that stops you for speeding that you’d prefer to look forwards, not backwards… and see how that works.

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