Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?

http://www.debatingtaboos.org/2011/11/bush-and-obama-war-crimes-or-lawful-wars/

DEBATING TABOOS:
Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?

For Immediate Release: Nov. 3, 2011

Who: Ralph Nader; Center for Study of Responsive Law
When: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.
What: Bush/Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?
Where: 1530 P St NW, Washington, DC – Carnegie Institution building
Contact: Katherine Raymond, 202-387-8030, kraymond@csrl.org

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, November 18, Ralph Nader and the Center for Study of Responsive Law will host a public debate on the subject: Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s actions: war crimes or lawful wars?

Debaters arguing for the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

Bruce Fein is an attorney and constitutional scholar, and has consulted foreign nations on matters ranging from constitutional revision to telecommunications and cable regulation, and human rights. He appears regularly on national and international television, cable, and radio programs as an expert in foreign affairs, terrorism, national security, and has testified over 200 times before Congressional committees. .

Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer is a highly experienced U.S. Army intelligence officer, and is nationally known as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies. He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Debaters arguing against the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

David B. Rivkin is a member of Baker & Hostetler Law Firm’s litigation, international and environmental groups and co-chairs the firm’s appellate and major motions team. He served in the White House Counsel’s office and the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Prior to embarking on a legal career, Mr. Rivkin worked as a defense and foreign policy analyst, focusing on Soviet affairs, arms control, naval strategy and NATO-related issues, and served as a defense consultant to numerous government agencies and Washington think tanks.

Lee Casey a partner at Baker & Hostetler, focuses on federal environmental, constitutional and international law and Alien Tort Statute issues. He served in the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also advises clients on compliance issues under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. trade sanctions regimes, and federal ethics requirements. Mr. Casey’s practice includes federal, district and appellate court litigation, as well as matters before federal agencies. From 2004 through 2007 he served as a member of the United Nations Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Moderators
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues. He also is a nationally recognized legal commentator.

Stuart S. Taylor is a lawyer, author and freelance journalist focusing on legal and policy issues, a “National Journal” contributing editor, and a Brookings Institution nonresident fellow. He has written many columns on this issue and has co-authored a piece titled “Looking Forward, Not Backward: Refining American Interrogation Law” through the Brookings Institution.

The event is free and open to the public. Please join us and invite your colleagues and friends to attend.The Debating Taboos series brings public attention and analyses to “taboo” topics. This is the third debate in the series.

A complimentary light lunch will follow the event.

Second Court allows another Rumsfeld torture case to go forward.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has rendered a ruling in Rumsfeld’s attempt to dismiss the case based on immunity. The court has rejected the argument and nobody should be surprised that torture apologist David Rivkin is firing back by insulting the judges themselves. “Having judges second-guess the decisions made by the armed forces halfway around the world is no way to wage a war. It saps the effectiveness of the military, puts American soldiers at risk, and shackles federal officials who have a constitutional duty to protect America.”

U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote the opinion.

Second, we agree with the district court that Secretary Rumsfeld is not entitled to qualified immunity on the pleadings. The law was clearly established in 2006 that the treatment plaintiffs have alleged was unconstitutional. No reasonable public official could have believed otherwise.

The plaintiff in this case is filed as John Doe. John Doe was sent to Iraq in as an Arabic-English interpreter with a marine corp’s intel unit in December 2004. In less than a year he was arrested without charge and thrown in solitary confinement blindfolded and handcuffed. He was in solitary for 72 hours then transported to Camp Cropper before being tortured some more. He was released 9 months later. He filed suit in 2008.

The court decision comes on the heels of a ruling by Federal Court in the case of Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel. Vance and Ertel are suing for torture committed upon them when they worked for Shield Group Security, U.S. hired contractor.

A report from RussiaToday

Another report worth watching

Rumsfeld is accused of approving torture methods that included sleep deprivation, walling, extended standing, and other violations of Army Field Manual, domestic law, and foreign treaties regarding the treatment of prisoners. The expressed outrage by officials days into the Iraq war about the treatment of captured chopper pilots shows they had a low bar for tolerance in abuse of American prisoners of war but no compunction for the abuses we know happened. Repeatedly, they’ve used the ‘bad apples’ spin.

These suits work to destroy the bad apples narrative. Attorney Mike Kanovitz said, the court had to choose between “protecting the most fundamental rights of American citizens in the difficult context of a war or leaving those rights solely in the hands of politicians and the military. It was not an easy choice for the Court to make, but it was the brave and right choice.”

The state department hasn’t responded but torture apologist and broken message maker David Rivkin resumed his same old attacks and claimed the decision would be overturned.

We’ll keep you posted on Donald Rumsfeld and his torture apologist attorney, David Rivkin.

Canadian Activists Vow to Arrest George W. Bush in October

Apparently Canadians haven’t forgotten George W Bush’s crimes.

Surrey BC Mayor Diane Watts forewarned of torture issues with George W Bush Invite in October by Peace Activists

Surrey BC Canada May 2 2011: WeAreChangeVancouver has just released new video of Surrey BC Mayor Diane Watts’s Office being notified by Peace Activists of her impending complicity in harboring/inviting a credibly accused and self admitted torturer and war criminal to Surrey BC this October.

http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/05/canadian-activists-vow-arrest-george-w-bush-october

U.S. seeks to contain ‘top secret’ evidence in Mehanna trial

Laurel Sweet of the Boston Herald has just published a report on the DOJ’s use of state secrets arguments in prosecuting Tarek Mehanna.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is beseeching a federal judge in Boston not to release to an accused Sudbury terrorist’s lawyers the evidence prosecutors that have amassed against him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, warning the disclosure of “top secret” materials could “cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

Such lawyers are able to examine evidence without divulging contents to the accused. This argument has become typical of the DOJ for the past several years.

Holder asserted in a sworn claim of executive privilege filed with U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole Jr. in the case of Tarek Mehanna, “The FISA materials contain sensitive and classified information concerning United States intelligence sources and methods and other information related to efforts of the United States to conduct counterterrorism investigations.”

This argument has been used back since the civil war as spies for the North couldn’t get recognized for compensation while the government simply turned a blind eye to them. It is a specious argument.

“We don’t even know what the (FISA) evidence is,” Mehanna’s attorney Janice Bassil said yesterday, adding Holder’s attempt to withhold the government’s evidence from electronic surveillance and physical searches was not unexpected.

“In these cases, where there are accusations of terrorism, civil liberties and constitutional rights kind of go out the window,” she said. “They are not clearly recognized and are often ignored.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1353939

HRW: Obama broke law not prosecuting Bush & Cheney

Human Rights Watch has stated its position on the Obama Administration’s lack of justice in the cases of Richard Bruce Cheney and George Walker Bush for war crimes and authorizing war crimes

John Kiriakou changes his tune

John Kiriakou changes his tune

After some reflection former CIA agent John Kiriakou has modified his view about the torture of Abu Zubaydah. He apparently didn’t realize that there wasn’t just one session of torture, but 83 sessions of torture.

If one round of torture worked, Kiriakou seems to argue that he would at least find it effective.

The Truth About Richard Bruce Cheney

(Thanks to our friends’ site: NoQuarterUSA.net for heads up on this.  Thank you to Steve Clemons for allowing us reprint the full text with Col. Wilkerson’s and Steve Clemons’ express permission from The Washington Note.)This is a guest post exclusive to The Washington Note by Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who is former chief of staff of the Department of State during the term of Secretary of State Colin Powell. Lawrence Wilkerson is also Pamela Harriman Visiting Professor at the College of William & Mary.Last night I was on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC at the top of the hour. But before I came on, through the earpiece I listened to the five minutes that Rachel sketched as a lead-in. Most of it was videotape from the last few days of former Vice President Dick Cheney extolling the virtues of harsh interrogation, torture, and his leadership. I had heard some of it earlier of course but not all of it and not in such a tightly-packed package.

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Italian Court Dismisses Evidence in CIA Rendition Trial citing”State Secrets”

The Italian Constitutional Court has ruled that prosecutors violated “state secrecy laws” in building their case against Italian and U.S. agents who are accused of extraordinary rendition of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, aka Abu Omar.Though the case has not been thrown out it has set back the case which resumes hearing on March 18, 2009. The case claims that the CIA led team kidnapped Abu Omar in Milan and took him to US bases in Italy and Germany before they flew him to Egypt in 2003. Abu Omar says he was tortured there and held without being charged.The court ruled that the prosecutors improperly used classified secrets to prepare their case. Much of the indictment rests on the “secrets”, and no word has come as to how the lawyers will be able to make their case without being able to rely upon these materials.From Berlisconi till now, Italy maintains it had no role in the Nasr rendition.The case involves twenty six American agents and several Italian agents.We will keep you posted.

Follow Up With Your Local D.A. Now That They Have The Bugliosi Book On Prosecuting Dick&W

From http://www.peaceteam.net

From We want you to know that we are gearing up for actions on many critical and substantive issues, health care, mass media issues, real food safety and more, and we will have much more on all these soon.However, this week there is a special priority. We told you that another activist group was sending copies of the Vince Bugliosi Book, “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” to each and every local county district attorney in the country, nearly 3,000 books in the mail which were due to arrive at their destinations on or about Feb. 21, so they should be there by now.

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Truth and Consequences hearing

On Wednesday, March 4, 2009, Patrick Leahy convened a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the creation of a “Truth and Consequences Commission” to hear the abuses and remedies of the George Bush and Dick Cheney administration. Joining this panel were Thomas Pickering, Ret. Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, John Farmer, F.A.O. Schwarz, David Rivkin and Jeremy Rabkin.

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Guantanamo report conflicts with earlier testimony

So now we are hearing that everything at Gitmo is squeaky clean and always was.But wait…what about the previous headlines that a military commission judgeWashington Post headline “Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.”

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The Legalities and Immunity

During the Cheney/Bush Administration we saw many examples of judicial manipulation. From the Department of Justice attorney firings to the commutation of Scooter Libby’s sentence, the Bush Administration repeatedly flaunted its power to protect its own backside. The questions of legality of torture were obfuscated by ideologues who favored any actions the CheneyBush Admin wished to enact. But the question remains, how binding are those decisions?

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The Case for Prosecution of Dick Cheney, George Bush and Co.

There is rarely joy to be found in prosecution. This process of holding someone accountable is loaded with frustration from the get go. But without holding people accountable for their actions, we might as well scrap any pretense of justice or rule of law.In the past 8 years we have seen violations of the fundamental standards of American values, whether they were ever real or simply imagined. In the name of national defense the administration and their enablers in the Congress eroded the fundamental constitutional standards that define this democratic experiment. The Bush Administration lobbied to go to war on a country that had never attacked the U.S., authorized torture of detainees, allowed extraordinary rendition of suspects, wasted billions of dollars to hide its crimes and mistakes, wiretapped citizens, journalists, soldiers calling their families, non-profits, politicized the Department of Justice, outed a CIA officer and her colleagues operations, threatened countries who didn’t run lock-step, and continuously lied about these actions when directly asked to own up to them.

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Terror suspects spill more ‘high value’ intelligence

July 24, 2003, 10:54PM
Terror suspects spill more ‘high value’ intelligence
Detainees are offered rewards in exchange for information

Associated Press GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — Terrorist suspects have become more compliant and are offering many more important intelligence tips, said the U.S. Army general who commands the prison where preparations are under way for military tribunals.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller said that three-fourths of the 660 or so detainees have confessed to some involvement in terrorism. Many have turned on former friends and colleagues, he added.

Miller said detainees are giving up information in “incentive-based interrogations.” Rewards include more recreation time, extra food rations to keep in their cells, or a move to the prison’s medium-security facility.

“We have a large number of detainees who have been very cooperative describing their actions, either terrorist actions or in support of terrorism — more than 75 percent” of them, Miller said in an interview Wednesday.

Some tips have led to more arrests, others revealed terrorist recruiting techniques, he said.

“In February we were able to get 35 `high value’ — the highest value — intelligence (pieces). … In June we had more than 225,” Miller said.

The prisoners’ statements, which Miller said have been verbal, could be used as evidence before the secret tribunals, unlike in the United States.

The prison’s location at this U.S. naval base at the eastern end of Cuba puts the detainees out of the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and constitutional protections, a situation that has been criticized by human rights groups as a violation of the detainees’ rights.

The prisoners are all suspected of ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network or Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.