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11 December 2014

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FND

My humble suggestions.

Judicial branch of government - 1)Judges should receive refresher training on embarrassing historical failures of the judicial branch to provide a true check and balance against the legislative and executive in the face of mass hysteria and support for injustice. For example, when the supreme court upheld the internment of Japanese program. They may have even been afraid of being lynched by a mob, given the yellow peril hysteria after the Pearl Harbor attack, but still, they forsook their responsibility. 2) No secret Judicial rulings allowed.

CIA and military - 1)Officer corps training should include greater emphasis on the hierarchy of the law, include more focus on the highest law, that being the constitution, their oath to uphold the constitution, and how to recognize obvious official (so-call legal) and non-official violations of the constitution. 2) Interrogator training and indoctrination on effective interrogation techniques based on history, if this isn't already being done.

Politicians and the media - At the next nation-shaking event, whatever it may be - Resist the urge for macho-knee-jerk reaction. Terrorism obviously works. The fools did exactly what the terrorists were hoping for. They went bonkers, creating the Department of Homeland Security, passing the Patriot Act, mass surveillance, and pissing trillions of dollars away.

john@johnbirchfield.com

Suspend security clearances. I don't think they should be employable by the govt. or able to contract to the govt.

Beyond that, I don't know what legal remedies exist. John Yoo and James Bybee need to feel the sting as well.

toto

Dick Cheney is already out in force. "Of course we knew everything that was going on!"

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/vice-president-dick-cheney-cia-torture-report-full/story?id=27513355

Charles I

Surely Gen Hayden should be er, fed, a few hundred copies of pureed Constitution. . . while of course the NSA watches.

Eventually some of these people could find themselves being Pinocheted or Assanged whilst abroad.

anna-marina

Both John Yoo and James Bybee must be disbarred and their names should be included into the textbook as an example of unprofessional and traitorous behavior that has endangered the citizenry of the USA and damaged the reputation of the country.

Clwydshire

The millions of dollars paid to contractors to commit criminal acts should all be clawed back, following the reasoning that the people of the United States, acting through their government, do not reward people for offensively criminal activities. A really smart attorney attempting to do this might not get a lot of money back, but could surely make things very unpleasant for the people involved.

Swampy

"Eventually some of these people could find themselves being Pinocheted or Assanged whilst abroad."

Ah, but there's the problem - getting them to go abroad. They're perfectly safe in U.S. where they can weather any storm by their prestige, power, money, and most importantly the passage of time.

cville reader

"According to the report, senior CIA officials fed the White House a poisoned smorgasbord of false statistics and fabricated good news. If they did so, it was because they knew what the White House wanted. There is no such thing as a “rogue elephant” CIA. For all its global depredations, it has always acted within US law, as interpreted by presidents and their aides. It is refreshing to see liars and torturers called out in this report, but disappointing that it stops short of naming the real culprits. Everything bad is attributed to runaway bureaucrats, rather than to those who gave them orders."

"This report should encourage Congress to establish, at long last, a commission to study how and why we fell into the Iraq disaster a decade ago. Any such study, however, is valuable only if it pursues responsibility to where it truly lies. This one fails that test."

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/12/09/torture-report-shows-cia-followed-white-house-lead/WAFekmzqVSa38X7OOa9QcI/story.html?p1=Article_Related_Box_Article_More

DC

Well, we ARE a country founded on the rule of law. The law requires enforcement, in order for our society to have long-term stability. When the laws are enforced, perpetrators are punished, which creates deterrence against future violations. You can't absolutely prevent future violations, but you can seek strong deterrence.

Obviously, the problem here is the politicians (beginning with the Bush administration) re-interpreted the laws in order to give them a free pass to torture. Then the current Obama administration refused to seek prosecutions or otherwise enforce the remaining laws. So, what are we to do, from a legal perspective? Well, the international laws still exist, and many countries - including our friends and enemies - are eager to enforce them. This is a real pickle, looking at it from the perspective of national security and state sovereignty. But it deserves serious thought. When the rot is from the inside, is it reasonable to invite the outside to do the prosecutions for us, when we cannot or will not? Obama could decide to refrain from vetoing the legal process at the United Nations National Security Council, which would thereby (I think) allow the U.N. jurisdiction over the United States' violations, at least within the U.N. for purposes of making findings against our people.

oofda

Remember that under the conventions to which the United States is a party, the USG has an obligation to prosecute those who tortured and who approved of the same. There is no exception, nor is there a statue of limitations. And if the USG does not do this, it will be in breach of those conventions. That is going to place the Untied States in a very awkward position.

Already the Chinese have thrown back in our faces comments made by US officials on International Human Rights day, saying that "the United States has no right to lecure on Human Rights." This is going to haunt us until at least some persons are prosecuted.

And other nations can prosecute as well, so a number of people will travel abroad at their own risk.

robt willmann

A video of the press conference today by CIA director John Brennan about the Senate torture report, with his machine-like speaking style, is here--

http://www.c-span.org/video/?323254-1/cia-director-john-brennan-interrogation-report

William R. Cumming

Hoping Brennan is the LAST CIA Director!

Cee

All,

We need a new congressional investigation of 9/11. This is how we got to this point of such lawlessness.
Cheney and his cabal had an agenda to drag us into perpetual war and they succeeded.

Shortly after news broke that CIA destroyed the torture tapes, the 9/11 Commission issued a letter complaining that they had not been told of–much less been allowed to review–the torture tapes.

The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

They released a memo from Philip Zelikow describing how the Administration refused to allow the 9/11 Commission direct access to detainees in early 2004.

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/03/16/did-addington-oppose-911-commission-questions-to-avoid-independent-evaluation-of-torture-program/

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/investigations/2014/09/11/bob-graham-fbi-911-coverup/15456013/

shege

We need something along the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that Nelson Mandela implemented in South Africa.

What's done is done, and prosecutions are not likely to result in convictions. Lower level officials will claim they asked for and received legal cover, and high officials will claim 'national security' (and in any case I'm sure they left few fingerprints).

Much better to make public all the misdeeds done by elected officials and presidential appointees (let's not out agents), and let them suffer in the court of public opinion. Allow them to allocute to their actions if they feel sufficiently remorseful.

As a country we are better off learning from this mess, how we got into it, how the laws were subverted by the executive. and then as a country deciding how we make sure this cannot happen again.

confusedponderer

In principle I think you're correct.

As for the South African example, I don't see a uniting figure like Mandela in the US. Such a person would be necessary to create the necessary nonpartisan unity. That such a matter as quickly as South Africa did, and that speed was actually quite uncommon.

Empirically speaking, in most cases where comparable human rights abuses have taken place by and large it takes 20-30 years i.e. about a generation or so until people start to work up the sins of the past. It took that long in Germany and long in Chile, Argentina or Brazil.

But in view of the situation in the US: Just look at all the flak Obama is getting now even for the Senate report's 'Accounting without Accountability', as Balkinization has put it (well). If Obama became serious about enforcing the law here, the Republicans would go stark raving mad.

http://balkin.blogspot.de/#1444390448489504490

Obama's wording is instructive - to him 'it seems like torture', implying that it is subjective. It isn't subjective, or at all unclear. He just doesn't want to go there.

And if I understand it correctly, Obama would then face the completely accurate accusation of hypochrisy - his virulent drone assassination program rests on some of the same legal bases as Bush's torture program did. He can't condemn torture without condemning himself.

So, in light of the current political climate and the lay of intrests in the US, it won't be any different in the exceptional US than in other countries. I wouldn't get my hopes up before 2025 to 2030.

That said, the unpredictable aspect here is to which extent other countries fill in for the US under universal jurisdiction in light of the demonstrated US unwillingness to live up to their comittments under the CAT to prosecute torturers and to ban the practice.

Naturally, those countries who dare so will be severly pressured and if they insist punished by the US.

elkern

FND (1st Commenter) mentions Media complacency, and I think we - this Committee of Correspondence - could have some effect on that front.

The same "pundits" who help manipulate the US into the invasion of Iraq also helped whitewash the torture. And most of those lying bastards are still getting paid to lie to us weekly. Fox News is obviously completely shameless, but our local newspapers may be open to public public pressure.

I suggest we all write Letters to The Editor of our local papers whenever they print an Op-Ed by any of those vermin, asking why they print - and pay for - anything written by those liars.

Cee

All,

Some people need to be prosecuted as a lesson to others.

THIS made me laugh. Dick threw his boy under the bus when reports were saying that George hadn't been made aware of what was happening.

Cheney: George W. Bush Was Fully Aware Of The CIA Torture Program

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-bush-knew-about-cia-torture-says-cheney-2014-12#ixzz3LmzrFIhl


http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-bush-knew-about-cia-torture-says-cheney-2014-12

tv

Here's a question for a would be terrorist:
Be blown up, with your family, by a drone-fired Hellfire missile OR
Have some water thrown n your face, lose some sleep and have to listen to Metallica.
Maybe even take a beating or two.

Pick one.

Thomas

Graywolf,

A Martyrdom Mujahid accepts either consequence as part and parcel of the mission.

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