Breaking: Special Prosecutor on Torture Formally Requested
Between the swine flu and the surprise news of Sen. Arlen Specter switching political parties from Republican to Democratic, today, this important story will probably be missed. So, here it is:
BREAKING: House Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today formally requested Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to probe and “where appropriate, prosecute” Bush administration officials responsible for the torture of detainees at Guantanemo Bay prison and Iraq.
I hope the A.G. Holder complies quickly, but I also hope he doesn’t limit the investigation to Gitmo and Iraq, but includes rendition to third countries (C.I.A. “black sites” included), and to anything which might have happened at Baghram Airbase in Afghanistan or anywhere else.
On the eve of the invasion of Iraq (Youtube this for video), Pres. George W. Bush warned Iraqi soldiers that any war crimes would be prosecuted and that the Nuremberg excuse of “just following orders” would not save anyone. And when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, Bush promised viewers of Al Aribya TV that, since this was a democracy, full investigation would be forthcoming (instead, a cover up that blamed it all on a “few bad apples” occured). So, we should definitely hold the entire Bush admin., top to bottom, by standards Bush himself articulated.
Mr. Holder, the ball is in your court. You took an oath to uphold the Constitution and it is your job to ensure that this is a nation that respects human rights and the rule of law. Please appoint a special prosecutor known for independence and not connected with either political party–and then give full cooperation, but step out of the way.
UPDATE: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied the Obama Admin.’s “state secrets” claim in terrorism cases. Some left bloggers and legal experts believe that Obama has been deliberately pushing the Bush legal claims, but doing so badly in order to get the Courts to strike it down. On the other hand, if that is the strategy, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) (whom Obama once described as a mentor in The Audacity of Hope), a true progressive, isn’t in the loop. Today, he gave Obama a “D” on secrecy and civil liberties issues. I don’t know who’s right about this, but I am glad that this is another move back to the rule of law.
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