Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Will we ever see them in prison jumpsuits?

Here are five reasons why we should criminally prosecute everybody involved in the crimes of the Bush Administration:

1. IT WASN'T JUST ABOUT TORTURE. Their crimes included kidnapping, rape, and murder. Here's a Department of Defense report on one of several murders of detainees in U.S. custody:

"Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy revealed bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominantly recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. DOD 003329 refers to this case as "strangulation, found outside isolation unit."

Report of homicide of Iraqi in United States custody at Whitehorse Detention Facility, Al Nasiriyah, Iraq, June 6, 2003.

Here is the report of an innocent victim kidnapped by U.S. Agents and later set free without an apology:

"On Dec. 31, 2003, I took a bus from Germany to Macedonia. When we arrived, my nightmare began. Macedonian agents confiscated my passport and detained me for 23 days. I was not allowed to contact anyone, including my wife.

At the end of that time, I was forced to record a video saying I had been treated well. Then I was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a building where I was severely beaten. My clothes were sliced from my body with a knife or scissors, and my underwear was forcibly removed. I was thrown to the floor, my hands pulled behind me, a boot placed on my back. I was humiliated.

Eventually my blindfold was removed, and I saw men dressed in black, wearing black ski masks. I did not know their nationality. I was put in a diaper, a belt with chains to my wrists and ankles, earmuffs, eye pads, a blindfold and a hood. I was thrown into a plane, and my legs and arms were spread-eagled and secured to the floor. I felt two injections and became nearly unconscious. I felt the plane take off, land and take off. I learned later that I had been taken to Afghanistan.

After 37 days without food, I was dragged to the interrogation room, where a feeding tube was forced through my nose into my stomach. I became extremely ill, suffering the worst pain of my life.

After three months, I was taken to meet an American who said he had traveled from Washington, D.C., and who promised I would soon be released. I was also visited by a German-speaking man who explained that I would be allowed to return home but warned that I was never to mention what had happened because the Americans were determined to keep the affair a secret.

On May 28, 2004, almost five months after I was first kidnapped, I was blindfolded, handcuffed and chained to an airplane seat. I was told we would land in a country other than Germany, because the Americans did not want to leave traces of their involvement, but that I would eventually get to Germany."

2. DETERRENCE OF FUTURE CRIMES IS IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST: We have to prosecute both the highest- including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld- and the lowest, including every American agent or contractor who committed the acts of murder, rape, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and torture. That will accomplish two goals in our national interest: (1) deter future wrongdoers, both those giving the orders, and those following them; and (2) it will show the world and the American people that we are a nation of laws, not men, and that the phrase "with liberty and justice for all" is more than just words.

3. THERE IS NO "GOOD FAITH DEFENSE" TO MURDER, KIDNAPPING, RAPE AND TORTURE: There is no such defense as "relying in good faith on Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos" that advised American agents that their conduct was authorized under law. American law enforcement agents and uniformed military are all trained in understanding what orders are legal and which are not, including orders which would violate American criminal law or the Geneva Conventions. Otherwise, we would not have criminally prosecuted the individual Marines who murdered helpless civilians to cover up their rape of an Iraqi girl, even though a superior ordered the killings. During some of the worst excesses by CIA agents at detention facilities, FBI Director Robert Mueller ordered his agents to leave the room and not to participate in what he knew was unlawful conduct. Numerous persons, even in the Bush Administration, such as Philip Zelikow, who was Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice's representative on the National Security Council, officially opposed the torture regime and other crimes of the Bush Administration. After the OLC torture memos were declassified, Mr. Zelikow came forward and informed the American people of his opposition, and he further stated that the Bush Administration had systematically destroyed every copy of his memo to avoid leaving behind evidence that they had been warned about the criminality of their conduct.

4. IT ISN'T ABOUT HOW BAD THE ENEMY IS, OR HOW EFFECTIVE TORTURE IS, IT'S ABOUT WHO WE ARE: Numerous arguments have been made, most prominently by former Vice President Dick Cheney, that the torture was effective in providing valuable intelligence against really bad people- only a few "bad actors," as they put it. Mr. Cheney misses the point: Of course it may be possible to extract information from a suspect by violating the law and by perpetrating horrors on human beings. It would probably be even more effective to torture a family member of the detainee- such as his two year old daughter- in the detainee's presence. If Mr. Cheney's argument is that success is the only measure of the acts committed under his direction, then he should be in favor of torturing innocent family members of suspects. However, the crucial policy decision- that the ends do not justify the means- was made 218 years ago, when "cruel and unusual punishments" were prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, and again after World War II, when America participated in the Nuremberg trials of Nazis for their crimes against humanity, and again by the President and Senate in signing and ratifying the Geneva Conventions against human rights violations of prisoners, and by Congress in numerous laws criminalizing unlawful imprisonment, rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder. We didn't torture Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols after they committed the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history in 1995 by blowing up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing innocent women and children among their victims. There were others out there with like minded views who may have been plotting similar attacks- but where were Cheney, Bybee, Rumsfeld and Addington? Not calling for the feds to torture the suspects, who were afforded every aspect of American due process before their trials and afterward.

5. TORTURE STRENGTHENS OUR ENEMIES My least favorite argument is that torture doesn't work- because then the bad guys would only have to try to prove that it did work to justify their conduct. However, virtually every intelligence professional trained in interrogation techniques, including one Army interrogator assigned to interrogations in Iraq in 2003, has said that the purposes of the torture techniques authorized by President Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, were borrowed from the Korean War experiences of Americans held by Communist Chinese, when those technique were used to coerce false confessions for propaganda purposes. Professionals say that effective interrogation techniques designed to elicit useful intelligence are completely different- and lawful- from the criminal acts committed by the Bush Administration. Worse yet, the acts of the Bush Administration have strengthened Al Qaida's hand by giving them a valuable recruiting tool and reinforcing their views of America as an evil, Satanic country against whom they are justified in waging a holy war. If Al Qaida had given a playbook to the Bush Administration and asked Bush, Cheney, et al. to follow it, it would look exactly like how they have acted since the 9-11 attacks. Short of literally handing a nuclear weapon to Al Qaida- and we may yet accomplish that if a nuclear armed Pakistan is radicalized to the point that they give Al Qaida a nuke- Bush, Cheney and the other criminals could not have done a better recruiting and arming job for Al Qaida during the last 8 years.


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