Torture Is Not That Hard To Recognize.

April 24, 2009 at 9:42 am | Posted in Bush, torture | Leave a comment
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Hopes Raised, Dashed.

April 13, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Posted in Bush, Department of Defense, Foreign Affairs, law, torture | Leave a comment
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Justicia - Justice stands blindfolded as people around her are being tortured.  Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569), artist

"Justicia" - Justice stands blindfolded as people around her are being tortured. Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569), artist

Scott Horton at The Daily Beast:

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid.


The six defendants—in addition to Gonzales, 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—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”


The Bush Six labored at length to create a legal black hole in which they could implement their policies safe from the scrutiny of American courts and the American media. Perhaps they achieved much of their objective, but the law of unintended consequences has kicked in. If U.S. courts and prosecutors will not address the matter because of a lack of jurisdiction, foreign courts appear only too happy to step in.

I am having a hard time believing that anyone will prosecute the bastards, but the Spaniards give me hope.

It’s more than sad that an American should feel more hopeful at the effectiveness of a foreign legal system than their own.

h/t Hilzoy

UPDATE (4/16/09): It looks like my small hope has been dashed, at least for now.

Republicans Obstructing Justice.

January 22, 2009 at 12:10 am | Posted in Department of Justice, senate, torture | Leave a comment
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Removing An Obstruction

Removing An Obstruction

Marc Rich was the first excuse and lasted longer than the trip down memory lane to revisit the Elian Gonzalez drama.

But the real reason Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona are caviling on the confirmation of Eric Holder?

They want him to say “whether he will prosecute intelligence agents for torture if they were following orders and acting within what they believed to be legal guidelines.”

“Part of my concern, frankly, relates to some of his statements at the hearing in regard to torture and what his intentions are with regard to intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based upon their understanding of what the law was,” said Cornyn.

Apparently the good senator has never heard the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Or, for that matter, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

If the standard Cornyn seeks to have applied here were at work everywhere, the prisons would be empty. Then what would Dick Cheney do for his pocket money?

UPDATE (1/23/09):

(WhiskeyFire) Anyway, all you need to know about the Republican party is that the first fight they’re willing to pick with the new administration is quite literally based on the moral principle that nobody should be prosecuted for torture. That’s actually quite a radical, dare I say extremist position to be taking, except of course from the point of view of an apparatchik for a vicious totalitarian regime or a member of the Washington Post editorial board.

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