davidswanson's blog

May
11

Will Holder Have a Different Answer Than Mukasey?

Tag: Peace and War

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance May 11, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder United States Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Sir:

We are writing on behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We are concerned citizens who tried to prevent the illegal invasion of Iraq. While we were unsuccessful, we have been devoting much time and energy to convince Congress to end the occupation. Over time we discovered that the Bush-Cheney administration has engaged in illegal behavior leading up to the war and afterwards.

May
11

So Much for "Disciplining" Bybee Without Impeaching or Prosecuting Him, But Bush and Cheney Not Helped

Tag: Impeachment

Jay Bybee is a member of the D.C. bar and could be complained about there and disbarred, since apparently enforcing the laws he violated or impeaching him would just be too much trouble. Except that, as Gordon Clark pointed out to me, the Washington Post just printed a letter from the "senior legal ethics counsel for the District of Columbia Bar" essentially objecting the existence of ethics:

Regarding the May 7 news story "Experts Say Authors of Memos May Avoid Professional Sanctions":

The story discussed the difficulties inherent in efforts to impose professional sanctions on Bush administration lawyers who drafted memoranda supporting the harsh interrogation of terrorist suspects.

If a client instructs his lawyer, "I want to perform a certain act; find me a legal way to do it," the lawyer's professional duty is to find a good-faith basis in the law to meet the client's needs while carefully advising the client of the risks of pursuing such a course of action. Such a lawyer not only acts well within the Rules of Professional Conduct, but he also serves his client well.

Waterboarding is a perfect example. A lawyer may personally believe that such a practice constitutes torture, but there is, at the very least, a good-faith argument to be made that it is not -- as evidenced by the fact that even now respected authorities argue that this is not torture. Thus, even if the ultimate arbiter decides that waterboarding is torture, that does not mean that lawyers who advised to the contrary should be professionally disciplined.

SAUL JAY SINGER

Washington

The writer is senior legal ethics counsel for the District of Columbia Bar.

The really good news here is that for people who think like this and want to protect mafia lawyers like Bybee, Bush and Cheney are not provided any cover by the "good faith" memos. The memos are merely opinions, not laws. A court can admit the obvious, that waterboarding is torture, and put Bush and Cheney in prison for it.

May
11

Three Worst Reasons to Delay Putting Cheney in Prison

Tag: Impeachment

By David Swanson

#1: Cheney says that he and Bush ordered torture but did nothing wrong.

On Sunday, Cheney said: "The fact of the matter is that these [torture] techniques that we're talking about are used on our own people. In the SERE program that in effect trains our people with respect to capture and evasion and so forth, and escape, a lot of them go through these same exact procedures."

If this were true, participants in the SERE program would be kidnapped and tortured by people willing to kill them. They would be waterboarded believing they might be drowned. This would be done upwards of 100 times. They would be hung hanged by their wrists, beaten, electroshocked, deprived of sleep, stripped naked and exposed to cold, attacked by dogs, slammed against walls, kept in isolation, and in many cases killed, in many other cases driven insane.

May
11

Statutes of Limitations

Tag: Impeachment

Elizabeth de la Vega has a new article at truthout arguing that in some cases torture can be prosecuted no matter how many years go by. This is helpful information, but where she loses me is on the notion that delay is desirable. Arguing that delay is possible for certain crimes if certain arguments can be won I understand. But that it's desirable I'm unable to see. As time passes, the ability of politicians to oppose "looking backward" grows, public interest shrinks, the opportunity is lost. Harry Reid wants to let everyone off and effectively said in an interview last week that if we can wait 6 months for the Senate Intelligence Committee's whitewash it'll then be easier to dismiss everything. I agree with him.

May
10

Congratulations to Kristin Szakos and Dave Norris

Tag: Elections

They're the new Democratic nominees for Charlottesville, Va., City Council!

May
08

Reid Says Cheney Tortured, Proposes Letting Him Off

Tag: Political Ideas

Christiane Brown interviews Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in this audio clip.

Reid says torture has been committed, but that the top priority should be delaying, and that certain people just shouldn't be prosecuted, even if that means failing to follow the law. Brown is brilliant and relentless. Reid is as pathetic as you'd think he'd be when confronted by a real journalist. Reid wants nothing done until November 2009 when the Senate Intelligence Committee produces its report, after which he's open to starting more committee investigations, panels, or commissions, but not necessarily prosecutions.

Here's a key segment:

May
08

Rep. Baldwin Calls for Executive Branch Accountability to Reverse Illegal Actions and Prevent Further Abuses

Tag: Political Ideas

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has introduced the Executive Branch Accountability Act of 2009 (H.Res. 417), calling on President Obama to reverse the damaging and illegal actions taken by the Bush/Cheney Administration and to collaborate with Congress to proactively prevent any further abuses of executive branch power.

May
08

In the Name of Womanhood and Humanity

Tag: Peace and War

By David Swanson

Imagine that tomorrow you begin to feel ill and rush to the hospital where you are eventually diagnosed with a horribly debilitating and probably incurable disease. Within a week your body and mind have deteriorated drastically. You cannot dress yourself. You have difficulty getting out of a chair or walking at all. You have no control over your bowels. You literally lack the sense to come in out of the rain or not wander into traffic. You are a danger to yourself and require a fulltime caregiver, one or more people of infinite patience and devotion who can turn their own lives into the handling of your life 24-7. And what if there is nobody who can do that for you? What if you are on your own?

May
08

Baucus v. Democracy

Tag: Health Care

By David Swanson

I can't recall a better corporate news video segment in at least the past decade than the story that Ed Schultz just aired on MSNBC in which he interviews Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and Senator Debbie Stabenow on the topic of healthcare reform.

May
07

Take Your Torture Photos to Church Day

Tag: Political Ideas

By David Swanson

If you're paying attention, you know that no more evidence is needed to prosecute and convict our top national torturers, murderers, war mongers, eavesdroppers, and election riggers. If you want to protest our nation's descent into open lawlessness, by no means delay. If you're not planning on going to church on May 31st, for godsake don't. But if you are planning to attend a church that day, and if more torture photos are finally made public on May 28th, I hope you will take some inspiration from the church blogging of Nick Mottern and bring along some new poster-sized images of what torture does to people.

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