Monday, December 29, 2008

Obama Should Indict President Bush and His Fellow Criminals

UPDATE: DEC. 29, 2008 at 5:09 PM

UPDATE: DEC.29, 2008 2:40 PM

In case You Missed It:

Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow & John Dean on War Crimes Probe Dec. 18, 2008

Anyway the criminality of the Bush /Cheney Regime has now become for the most part a matter of public record. Those interested in pursuing legal actions against Bush and his fellow thugs need only to get enough evidence to get indictments and then prosecutions and a guilty verdict. It is not necessary to get them on every offence they have committed.

They are guilty of committing actions which show their contempt for the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and for the limits imposed on the executive branch. They used a campaign of distortions and misinformation and lies and propaganda to engage in an unnecessary war costing the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. They abused and tortured POWS which they refer to as " detainees" as if the rule of law or international agreements did not apply to those captured in the War on Terror.

But Bush and Cheney and their supporters believe whatever Bush or Cheney did was wrong or illegal. They claim the President in a time of War which was the state of the nation the day after 9/11 so he and his vice-President and others in the administration would be permitted to do whatever they wanted if it was justified in the name of National Security . So spreading Propaganda by interfering with the Media to make sure it was kept on message adhering to the administration's Talking Points could therefore be justified . So the use of Torture on prisoners was all in the name of protecting America and its Superior Values. Survelliance on millions of Americans was supported by Bush and the Neocons and Religious Right for the same questionable and dubious reasons.

Nixon Nixon - When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal

Impeach Bush! Nixon: "When the president does it..."
Listen carefully to Nixons words here, the legislation he is saying would be impossible to pass because of public uproar, Bush has passed under the influence of fear and the threat of terrorism.

Nixon spied on activists in secret-Bush has passed laws to let him do it.
The NSA for one have recently been exposed by whistle blowers for listening in on private phone calls made by average citizens, and harrassing peaceful anti-war protestors

Impeach Bush!

So here's an example of the disinformation and misinformation for going to War with Iraq. The Bush Regime and the Media which they controlled claimed that Saddam wouldn't allow inspectors into Iraq or when allowed in they were not permitted to do their jobs. But this was a fabrication. It was the Bush Regime that insisted UN inspectors leave Iraq so that Bush & Co. could invade Iraq. The head inspectorHans Blix is interviewed in this piece:

Hans Blix: "Cheney threatened to discredit me" -Dec. 22, 2008
Dick Cheney cooking The Intel to suit his own purposes
Americans still buying into his lies and Propaganda
"Hans Blik talks about the moment Dick Cheney threatened to discredit him and Mohamed El-Baradei over Weapons Inspections in Iraq "

David Swanson points out even if George W. Bush issues pardons even to himself there are precedents in American history that these pardons could be undone or negated especially if it appears that the people pardoned carried out actions approved by President Bush. Giving himself a pardon is in fact would be rather unusual and could be overturned if the Obama administration wants to reassure Americans that the Constitution and the rule of law mean something. This would go a long way to improve America's reputation abroad.

"Yes We Can Unpardon War Criminals" by David Swanson at MWC Media With Conscience, Dec. 28, 2008
Dear President Elect Obama,

On his third day in office President Grant revoked two pardons that had been granted by President Andrew Johnson. President Nixon also undid a pardon that had been granted by President Lyndon Johnson. There may be other examples of this, as these two have somewhat accidentally come up in a discussion focused on numerous examples of presidents undoing pardons that they had themselves granted, something the current president did last week. (See ). In 2001, President George W. Bush's lawyers advised him that he could undo a pardon that President Clinton had granted.

Much of the discussion of this history of revoking pardons deals with the question of whether a pardon can still be revoked after actually reaching the hands of the pardonee, or after various other obscure lines are crossed in the process of issuing and enforcing of the pardon. If President Bush issues blanket pardons to dozens of criminals in his administration for crimes that he himself authorized, he will probably -- with the exception of Libby -- not even name them, much less initiate any processes through which they are each formally notified of the pardons. He will be pardoning people of crimes they have not yet been charged with, so the question of timing is something you are unlikely to have to worry about (except perhaps with Libby).

Virtually none of the discussion of these matters ever addresses the appropriateness or legitimacy of the pardons involved or of the revoking of them. The history would appear to establish that you will have the power to revoke Bush's pardons. I want to stress that you will also have a moral responsibility to do so and a legal requirement to do so. Morally and legally, you have no choice in this matter. When you take the oath of office, you will be promising to faithfully execute the laws of the land. Through Article VI of our Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment are the supreme laws of this land. Those laws bind you to prosecute violations, including torture and other war crimes of which Bush, Cheney, and their subordinates are guilty and which Bush is likely to try to pardon.

and the writer notes for instance:

The idea that the pardon power constitutionally includes such pardons ignores a thousand year tradition in which no man can sit in judgment of himself, and the fact that James Madison and George Mason argued that the reason we needed the impeachment power was that a president might some day try to pardon someone for a crime that he himself was involved in. If impeachment was created to handle the abuse of pardoning a crime the president was himself involved with, how can we imagine that the pardon power legitimizes such abuse, much less the pardoning of crimes authorized by the president, much less the pardoning of obstruction of an investigation into a crime committed by the president? In fact, all such pardons are themselves obstruction of justice, as well as violations of treaties requiring the president to prosecute the types of crimes involved.

The problem is not preemptive pardons of people not yet tried and convicted. The problem is not blanket pardons of unnamed masses of people. Both of those types of pardons have been issued in the past and have their appropriate place. The problem is the complete elimination of any semblance of the rule of law if Bush pardons his subordinates for crimes he instructed or authorized them to commit. We elected you to restore the rule of law, and you will soon have the opportunity to either do so or to place a final nail in its coffin. Bush is likely to attempt to pardon torture, warrantless spying, all sorts of war crimes, fraud and aggressive war, and the various abuses of the politicized Justice Department.

There are limits to forgiveness since some crimes committed by the President of the United States and others in authority if left unpunished will undermine the American peoples faith in its government and the rule of law.

Seasonal forgiveness has a limit. "Bush and his cronies must face a reckoning"By Jonathan Freedland
December 24, 2008 The Guardian"

Heinous crimes are now synonymous with this US administration. If it isn't held to account, what does that say about us?

Yes, the new year would get off to a more soothing start if we could all agree to draw a line and move on. But it would be wrong. First, because we cannot hope to avoid repeating the errors of the last eight years unless they are subject to a full accounting. (It is for that reason Britain needs its own full, unconstrained inquiry into the Iraq war.) Second, because a crucial principle, one that goes to the very heart of the American creed, is at stake. And third, because this is not solely about the judgment of history. It may be about the judgment of the courts - specifically those charged with punishing war crimes.

Less than a fortnight ago, in the news graveyard of a Friday afternoon, the armed services committee of the US Senate released a bipartisan report - with none other than John McCain as its co-author - into the American use of torture against those held in the war on terror. It dismissed entirely the notion that the horrors of Abu Ghraib could be put down to "a few bad apples". Instead it laid bare, in forensic detail, the trail of memos and instructions that led directly to the then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

For this Bush should surely be held to account. And yet there is no sign that he will, and precious little agitation that he should. A still smiling Cheney denies the Bush administration did anything wrong. Note this breathtaking exchange with Fox News at the weekend. He was asked: "If the president during war decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?" Cheney's answer: "General proposition, I'd say yes."

It takes a few seconds for the full horror of that remark to sink in. And then you remember where you last heard something like it. It was the now immortalised interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon. The disgraced ex-president was asked whether there were certain situations where the president can do something illegal, if he deems it in the national interest. Nixon's reply: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."

...If Bush and Cheney are allowed to retire quietly, America will have failed to reassert that bedrock principle of the republic: the rule of law.
This is why there must be a reckoning. Bush will do all he can to avoid it: and it is wholly possible that one of his last acts as president will be to cover himself, his vice-president and all his henchmen with a blanket pardon. Even if that does not happen, Barack Obama is unlikely to want to spend precious capital pursuing his predecessor for war crimes.

But other prosecutors elsewhere in the world should weigh their responsibilities. In the end, it was a lone Spanish magistrate, not a Chilean court, who ensured the arrest of Augusto Pinochet. A pleasing, if uncharitable, thought this Christmas, is that Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush will hesitate before making plans to travel abroad in 2009. Or indeed at any time - ever again.

and : The Noose Tightens
Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and other top Bush officials could soon face legal jeopardy.
By Jonathan Tepperman | Newsweek Web Exclusive Dec 19, 2008

The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing—and that top Bush administration officials could soon face legal jeopardy for prisoner abuse committed under their watch in the war on terror.

In early December, in a highly unusual move, a federal court in New York agreed to rehear a lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft brought by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar. (Arar was a victim of the administration's extraordinary rendition program: he was seized by U.S. officials in 2002 while in transit through Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria, where he was tortured.) Then, on Dec. 15, the Supreme Court revived a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld by four Guantánamo detainees alleging abuse there—a reminder that the court, unlike the White House, will extend Constitutional protections to foreigners at Gitmo. Finally, in the same week the Senate Armed Service Committee, led by Carl Levin and John McCain, released a blistering report specifically blaming key administration figures for prisoner mistreatment and interrogation techniques that broke the law. The bipartisan report reads like a brief for the prosecution—calling, for example, Rumsfeld's behavior a "direct cause" of abuse. Analysts say it gives a green light to prosecutors, and supplies them with political cover and factual ammunition. Administration officials, with a few exceptions, deny wrongdoing.

Vice President Dick Cheney says there was nothing improper with U.S. interrogation techniques—"we don't do torture," he repeated in an ABC interview on Dec. 15. The government blamed the worst abuses, such as those at Abu Ghraib, on a few bad apples.

High-level charges, if they come, would be a first in U.S. history. "Traditionally we've caught some poor bastard down low and not gone up the chain," says Burt Neuborne, a constitutional expert and Supreme Court lawyer at NYU. Prosecutions may well be forestalled if Bush issues a blanket pardon in his final days, as Neuborne and many other experts now expect. (Some see Cheney's recent defiant-sounding admission of his own role in approving waterboarding as an attempt to force Bush's hand.)

But for those interested in tougher sanctions, one other possibility looms. Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of "The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld," points out that over 20 countries now have universal jurisdiction laws that would allow them to indict U.S. officials for torture if America doesn't do it itself. A few such cases were attempted in recent years but were dropped, reportedly under U.S. pressure. Now the Obama administration may be less likely to stand in their way. This doesn't mean it will extradite Cheney and Co. to stand trial abroad. But at the very least, the threat of such suits could soon force Bush aides to think twice before buying plane tickets. "The world is getting smaller for these guys," says Ratner, "and they'll have to check with their lawyers very carefully before they travel." Jail time it isn't—but it may be some justice nonetheless.

and so it goes,

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