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Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:12 AM

What is the point in a multi-year investigation of torture practices of the Bush administration?

WHAT'S the point in engaging in a multi-year long investigation into the torture policy and practice of the Bush-era 'terror war' if it's not intended to produce some consequence or material accountability for offenders?

Is it merely an informational document? Did we really need an investigation costing millions of dollars and man-hours just to tell us that these practices are wrong?

Well, the answer to the second question of mine is, likely yes, Americans probably do need to see and hear the extent of abuses with their own eyes and ears in order for them to get up enough gumption to persuade our legislators to finally act to outlaw them. The stark and disturbing realities of those practices and policies may well go a long way in convincing the public to pressure their elected officials to finally act to criminalize the behaviors and policies.

Moreover, if there's some way of demonstrating the counterproductive and ineffective result of these actions taken by Bush-era interrogators, then these documents will serve a useful and lasting purpose.

However, merely releasing these findings of the Senate investigatory committee without immediately calling for and insisting on some sort of congressional action to legislate the practices and policies out of existence will amount to nothing more than a self-aggrandizing effort which will only serve opportunists and demagogues alike in their cynical recitation of the occurrences revealed for whatever hollow purpose they devise.

We need to be alert to the way the executive summary is crafted and presented to the American people. That summary is all that the White House and the Senate intends for the public to see. That's why the manner in which it's crafted -what's left in, what's taken out - is so critical to whatever we hope to achieve by the effort.

We also need to remain cognizant of what the prospect for congressional action on these issues currently is. There isn't a ready quorum of politicians poised to push through relevant and meaningful legislation in the present Congress regarding torture. Perhaps the report will motivate our legislators to action. Perhaps the committee investigation's findings can be perpetuated in upcoming campaigns and the banner of reform taken up and carried into office by a new breed of elected officials.

Barring that eventuality, the most effective route to ensuring that these practices aren't repeated by a new presidency hostile to the executive directive President Obama put in place early in his term outlawing many of the torture practices -overturning his order with a flick of their pen - is to push for a renewed effort to actually prosecute someone for the offenses uncovered in the report.

I know that people will tell us that is a long-shot; and they will claim that is unrealistic, given the limits of the law and given the limited will of even this Democratic-appointed Justice Dept.. Historically, justice has been shown to possess a long memory, yet it is only as determined and sure as the intensity of our political activism and advocacy dictates.

We will need to be vigilant to ensure that the release of whatever information the politicians, and the cronies who are actively working to limit whatever the public eventually sees, is the product of something more meaningful than fodder for blistering news accounts and editorials. Otherwise, what would be the point?

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 05:26 AM

1. I think we need to work to get congress to approve the US's signing on to the International Criminal

Court. I think that is the best solution to this, past, and future atrocities.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 09:50 AM

2. no U.S. President has ever recognized their authority over anyone in our government

. . .not likely Congress would either.

We have a better chance of building a political movement to demand changes to actual law which would criminalize the acts of torture. Further, I believe that pursuing charges in court for actions revealed in the investigation is a matter of will, more than it's as hopeless as Holder's surrender would suggest. It's not as if time has run out for the types of offenses we're talking about; just the Justice Dept.'s will. That will can be bolstered by our political activism and our advocacy.

We're not as impotent as folks are claiming; neither is the presidency.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:05 AM

3. I don't think we need new laws, these war criminals DID break the existing laws.

What we have learned over the past decade is that some Americans are above the law, so making new ones is not the answer, they would still be above the law.

The answer is to prosecute people who break our laws. Since we know now that is not going to happen, it will be up to outside entities to do so.

Eg, there is a case in a Spanish Court which began during the Bush admin against six top Bush torture suspects. The Court waited until after the election in 2008 to give this country the chance to prosecute them themselves.

When it became clear that wasn't going to happen, the Spanish Court, which has jurisdiction as some of their own citizens, I believe, were victims, got ready to proceed. We learned from the Wikileaks cables that the Obama administration pressured the court not to go forward.

The case is still pending, as far as I know. But no doubt pressure is still being applied. Also, six CIA agents were actually convicted elsewhere for kidnapping and torture, but the US will not comply with the extradition request.

So, we have to accept the fact that we are a rogue nation when it comes to International law. This was one of the major issues for many of us throughout the Bush years. I actually thought that one day we would restore the rule of law.

What a naive thing to think, I realize now.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:24 AM

4. yes, our government lacks the will to prosecute

. . . even this one born out of what was mostly a protest of the last administration's abuses.

I think this signals the need for a revived political push which recognizes and works to ensure that the people we elect need to have more commitment to the issues we raise and to the issues they claim to support.

It's a natural consequence of politics to be cynical about outcomes; the actions of our politicians invite cynicism in government. Yet, we are the vehicles for change in government, and we are an unending resource.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:35 AM

5. I wonder if even those who wanted to change things could. We've had a few,

Kucinich among them, all of them were ousted eventually. We don't know what powers are pulling the strings behind the scenes, but it's clear there are very powerful people who seem to have more power than those we elect.

To begin to change things, we would have to clear out almost everyone who is there right now. AND form huge, powerful alliances among the people to counter all the organizations that have so much influence on our government.

But that would require a country that was not so divided. They have succeeded in dividing the country so completely that it would take a miracle to get enough support to start putting people who are tearing down this democracy behind bars.

Think about it, we have been puzzled for years now by actions taken, even by Democrats, regarding issues that should have been a no-brainer in any Democracy. Eg, when Whistle Blowers come forward with evidence of wrong-doing, it is THEY, with the help of both Parties, who are called 'traitor'.

That is so out of sync with what should be happening, and yet, we see even Dems here making excuses for it.

My feeling at this point is that we can only influence our own small communities. Start building on the local levels, like little bugs begin eating away at the foundations of what THEY have constructed in communities across the nation. Other than that, I have to admit that the more I see and learn the more depressing it seems. But there is always hope, so we can't give up, I know that.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:56 AM

6. I'm a Clinton-era liberal

. . . we were the forefront of political change in that era. We established many important principles which are the bedrock of many important political advances. Certainly, as well, many of our political impulses and actions had a counterproductive effect.

Necessarily, our political aim has been raised higher than that generation of activists and our political allies had striven for. Even though many of those ideals that we ushered into the political mainstream have been corrupted and distorted by slick and compromised politics, there remains the opportunity to build on these realities and craft new campaigns based on our understanding of the shortcomings and shortfalls of our expectations in previous elections.

How far away 2008 seems now from the urgency we felt throughout the Bush years. It's a different status quo that we're fighting now. It's a challenge to move beyond just 'better than Bush' and an urgency to fully establish those ideals we've been working to effect in our political system. We have a new generation of activists who will usher in new political demands, which, in this era, move beyond just jolting the opposition party out of place and seek to motivate our own party to fully effect the changes we want.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 11:18 PM

12. I think we need a whole new strategy now. We have learned a lot since 2008

when many of us thought the cure was to get the Republicans out of power. Boy, were we wrong. There were voices raised trying to warn us, but we were not listening. NOW we know how right they were.

The old two party system has failed. Our own party has betrayed us on some major issues. They have more or less told us to 'stfu' AFTER we put them in power.

I don't know the answer but it sure isn't what we thought it was in 2008. I know one thing for sure, I will never, ever again trust a politician.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:44 PM

8. You may be right

Certainly this current Senate wouldn't approve membership in the ICC. They wouldn't even sign on to the international disabilities treaty.

I'm all for taking action. I wonder if some legal analysts have written about the basis for such prosecutions?

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:47 PM

7. That Is fine but pushing for such an effort (and a no more likely one than prosecution for the same

lawless and contemptuous reasons) does not negate our own responsibility to our own rule of law or to the principles of equality of the law as a fundamental basis for our very concept of justice.

I honestly don't get this argument even occurring at all with anybody other than some fringe lunatics favoring divine right of kings style authoritarianism and wild eyed anarchist. It is an open endorsement of might makes right and application driven by pure whim.

It is an endorsement of the idea that we are subject rather than citizens with mighty lords above us beyond the laws for us and beyond us generally and fully ceding justice to some outside power also reinforces the same wrongheaded notions.

If this shit slides then it is time to end the charade. Defund law enforcement, defund just us departments, and nullify with extreme prejudice until actual rule of law is not just propaganda to indoctrinate impressionable minds to cloud their thinking and pervert their perception to overlook a bunch of lies that can serve no other purpose than to harness them to the will of another, making them of foolish slave that thinks they are free, a subject at fucking best.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 03:07 PM

10. I think the problem with leaving it in the political sphere

Is Presidents worry that they will face political retribution, that they will be dealt with similarly by the next party in charge.

I agree with your assessment that we as a people and a country have a responsibility to work to ensure that such injustice does not triumph.




If this shit slides then it is time to end the charade. Defund law enforcement, defund just us departments, and nullify with extreme prejudice until actual rule of law is not just propaganda to indoctrinate impressionable minds to cloud their thinking and pervert their perception to overlook a bunch of lies that can serve no other purpose than to harness them to the will of another, making them of foolish slave that thinks they are free, a subject at fucking best.

This I oppose. The legal and policing system is already incredibly biased and fret with problems, including racism and woeful prosecution of rape. Torture of prisoners abroad is hardly the first or most endemic travesty in our system. However, abolishing law enforcements hurts the disadvantaged whose communities are most riddled with crime.

I don't know what your life is like, but I really don't think being subject to even more gun fire in my neighborhood is going to teach Cheney and co. a lesson. Allowing rapists to go completely unprosecuted might indeed suit the interests of some, but it puts many of our lives in peril. Now you may not care about the daily injustices that affect the rest of us, but you should perhaps give some thought to the fact that everyone is not white, male, and financially comfortable and that even though we are not, our lives matter.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:52 PM

9. Think CYA + Charade

 

He reminds one of the man who murdered both his parents, and then pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. - Abraham Lincoln

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 08:04 PM

11. curious if there's something in that report that involves folks in this administration?

. . . something that implicates Brennan, maybe, or his former boss.

I'd bet they're called out somewhere in that report - probably in the sections they're busy blacking-out.

See how that works? We get an 'executive summary' that's been gone over by the principles under investigation with a veto over the info they object to publicizing.

We'll need another investigation just to tell the story of how this investigation was interfered with and obstructed. Seriously.

" . . . full confidence in Brennan." Is that a fact?


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:14 AM

13.

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