This is how it works.
Predictably the rapists, murderers and torturers profiteering off the Iraq war turn out to be falling upon each other like animals now the spoils are not so easy to come by and hide. Would it be wrong to start taking bets on Erik Prince dying by his own hand, being whacked by his colleagues or Cheney/Bush, er I mean some shadowy third party eager to keep things quiet. Yes it would… still… profiteering off death, it’s a growing industry.
The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al-Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.
President George W. Bush made a written determination that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. This act, the committee found, cleared the way for a new interrogation program to be developed in-part based on “Chinese communist” tactics used against Americans during the Korean War, mainly to elicit false confessions for propaganda purposes.
Echoing what Glenn Greenwald wrote- Binding U.S. law requires prosecutions for those who authorize torture– there is no room for equivocation. Via Counterpunch–
Harper’s Scott Horton:- In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.
“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.
The ZDF piece also includes an interview with attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, who brought charges against Rumsfeld before German prosecutors. He states that the Obama administration is “off to a good beginning” with its explicit renunciation of torture, but it still has not shown how it will hold Bush, Rumsfeld, and others to account for their crimes, nor has it demonstrated its legally obligated duty to provide compensation to torture victims.
Law professor Dietmar Herz clarifies that under U.S. and international law, George W. Bush bears personal responsibility for the introduction of torture. From the point of his departure from office, head of state immunity terminates, and under clear principles of international law, the United States is obligated to commence a criminal investigation and then a prosecution.
Andy Worthington marks seven years since Gitmo began operating as a concentration camp outside of the law, that is slowly coming to an end, perhaps… he also notes the more secret legal black holes-
Disturbingly, the three foreign prisoners seem to have spent time in secret CIA prisons before ending up at Bagram, but what is also disturbing about their cases is that there seems to be no distinction between these prisoners and others who were transferred to Guantánamo, except, of course, that the Bagram prisoners continue to have no rights whatsoever, and the government intends to make sure that they never do.
According to SCOTUSblog, which reports on significant court cases in the United States, Judge Bates appeared to recognize this discrepancy, as he “voic[ed] some concern over the government creating a ‘black hole’ for detainees in a ‘law-free zone’” at Bagram, and “hinted” that he may allow some of the prisoners to file court cases to challenge the basis of their imprisonment.
Everyone concerned with the exercise of justice must hope that Judge Bates will indeed grant habeas rights to prisoners like Haji Wazir, Redha al-Najar, Amin al-Bakri, Fadi al-Maqalah, and, in due course, to others — also held for years — whose identities are either completely unknown or only suspected. Anything less, and Bagram will indeed remain a law-free black hole, even as plans move ahead to close Guantánamo.
Just today though noises emerged from the Obama camp that indicate they will not be pursuing torturers and will in fact negate the principles established at the Nuremberg trials, they were only following orders-
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told The Associated Press in an interview this week that there is a clear distinction between policymakers and those who execute the policy. “They (the CIA) carry out orders and the orders come from the (National Security Council) and the White House, so there’s not a lot of policy debate that goes on there,” said Feinstein, D-Calif. “We’re going to continue our looking into the situation and I think that is up to the administration and the director.”
“The men and women of the intelligence community have been on the front lines in this world of new and evolving dangers,” he [Obama] said. “They have served in the shadows, saved American lives, advanced our interests, and earned the respect of a grateful nation.”
So just how far away are they from the Bybee excuse for crime-
All that is required to avoid prosecution is a CIA agent’s “good faith belief” that his actions will not cause torturous pain and suffering. Such a belief “need not be reasonable,” Bybee writes.
Change, Hope, blah blah blah.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the highest civilian award in the US – the Presidential Medal of Freedom – next week.In his last week in office, President Bush will award the medal to Mr Blair, former Australian PM John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
Such distinguished company, reads more like a perp walk, or should. This is his second erm, honour–
Mr Blair was awarded the congressional gold medal in July 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, but he has yet to collect it. There was some speculation that unease over the Iraq war and Mr Blair’s close friendship with Mr Bush made him reluctant to accept it while in office. But each medal is individually designed and minted and it was reported it was taking some time to decide on the words and images. The office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives told the Sunday Telegraph this week that Mr Blair was taking a keen interest in the medal’s design, before it was specially made by the US Federal Mint.
Now some may ask what Blair The Peace Envoy is doing with Gaza being flattened under his nose, you might also ask why Bush is sending massive resources to Darfur in his twilight days. Some victims are deemed worthy or convenient, or…AFRICOM needing a hand (shame on me for doubting George Bush’s humanitarian impulses!)-
WASHINGTON —President Bush has authorized an immediate airlift of vehicles and equipment to bolster the international peace-keeping mission in the conflict-torn Darfur region of western Sudan, the White House announced on Monday.
Because of the urgency of the situation, the president is waiving the normal 15-day period to notify Congress of his intentions “because failing to do so would pose a substantial risk to human health and welfare,” Stephen Hadley, the president’s national security adviser, said in a statement.
The airlift to aid the peace mission, formally known as the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur, is a significant step up in American involvement in the region, even though it will not involve military action. The region has long been riven by ethnic and sectarian strife, which has claimed thousands of lives.