S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What is behind all this hide and seek?

Waterboarding techniques were not what made 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad confess. He had already started to talk before the "enhanced interrogation" started. And actually at one point, Dick Cheney ‘fessesd up' that rapport, not torture, got intelligence. Following the most recent revelations about Cheney's larger role in the Bush administration's s0-called "war on terror, he is no longer "fessing up" to anything. He is again hiding at an undisclosed location. His daughter, Liz seems to now be his official spokesperson.

Well before Cheney stopped talking this question for Cheney occurred to a blogger: "How come no attacks after the torture stopped?" Here is another question: Why did the CIA hide Dick Cheney’s role in briefing Congress? As it turns out, former Vice President Cheney's campaign to make sure that interrogations could continue as before, to keep lawmakers in line on torture, started midway in the Bush administration .

So, as we are now finding out, the Vice President, not the President, was apparently in the lead of the administration's efforts to run secret operations that were more often than not, outside of the rule of law. For example the May 10, 2005 Justice Department opinions on combined torture techniques were retrospective, designed to give legal cover to something that has already happened. The effect of a related NYT story that misrepresents James Comey's e-mails, claiming that he approved torture, amounted to a pre-emptive strike on the OPR Report that will come out at some point.

The Geneva Convention failed to assure that U.S. detainees received humane treatment. At an international conference in Italy a few weeks ago, Georgetown lawyers from the Center on National Security and the Law were planning to urge a new Geneva Convention for terrorism. Common article 3, they feel is too vague to guide the government of how to protect the security of the United States while also upholding our basic values about justice. UN Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, last month called for for transparency and accountability as he presented his report on U.S. policies that have led to unlawful deaths and other abuses.

The case of tortured U.S. citizen, Naji Hamdan tested the Obama Administration on human rights. Did they stand silent, as the man who was himself tortured, went on trial in the UAE? With this and far too many other examples, the Obama administration finds itself "between a rock and a hard place." Rightly focusing on the economy, reforming health care, and tackling other issues is still front and center. Over and over again, to "put this behind us," the President or the Justice Department took the same legal position as the former administration. When it comes to how to come under the rule of law both in fact and in spirit they failed to step up and do the right thing immediately. Opting for secrecy, turning a blind eye, and assigning a low priority to accountability, are no longer working however.

Dragged kicking and screaming, Congress and the administration are being forced little by little to look back, in spite to their most commendable and forward looking policy changes and needed reforms. In some kind of magical way, the current Senate focus on confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court reminds us all once again that we are a nation of laws, not men. . . or (thank goodness) women. We will get back into balance with time, and because of how our founders set up the system. We must believe this.

[Post date - July 15, 2009]

My all-in-one Home Page of websites where I post regularly: Carol Gee - Online Universe

Technorati tags:

No comments: