House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on Monday threatened to subpoena former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a top former Justice Department lawyer and the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney over legal memos justifying the use of harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists.
Threats remain just that unless the administration fears that Congress finds the will to use its powers of inherent contempt. For the administration to claim executive privilege in matters involving what appears to be violations of the law isn’t much more then childishness dressed up in legal finery. Conyer’s reminded the Whitehouse that refusal to appear under this suspect umbrella of presidential powers being compromised isn’t born out by the history of numerous officials from multiple presidencies testifying before Congress. That while they were questioned, officials thought the question would violate executive powers in some way they could make those claims question by question. The administration’s legal impersonation of the Marx Brothers on acid isn’t exactly doing the prosecution of terror suspects much good. Serving justice, doing the right thing and protecting the innocent are obviously not part of the Bush-Neocon legacy, The failures of the legal system for both the torturers and the tortured.
Outside of the Bush administration, there is near-universal bipartisan agreement that Guantanamo should be shut down and the military commissions scrapped. Certainly a compelling case could have been made for Nuremburg-style trials for some of the prisoners held there—such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. But the CIA has admitted that Mohammed was water-boarded, rendering his confession unreliable and any possible subsequent conviction a sham. And even if we do press forward with this clutch of trials for terrorists at Guantanamo, there still remain almost 300 detainees at the base who’ve been jailed there for years without charges. At least some of them were turned in by Afghan captors for bounties, averaging $5,000 per head. Others are held based on the coerced testimony of their confederates. Some have been subjected to multiple preliminary status hearings (known as Combatant Status Review Tribunals) when they weren’t found to be “enemy combatants” the first time around.
Whatever the Bushies and their genuflecting supporters are, they are not serious about protecting the most basic tenets of justice and democracy, or bringing actual terrorists to justice. Circuses are better managed and have more coherent ideological direction then that of modern conservatives. John McCain promises more of the same. In between trying to morph Barack Obama into Rev Wright, some one in the media might want to ask McCain how he would be better then Bush or Clinton or Obama when he keeps saying he’ll continue Bush’s policies. Does McCain have some pixey dust in his pocket that he thinks he can sprinkle around and magically undo Bush’s damage while simultaneously making those failed policies suddenly start working. McBush would be just another faith based just trust me presidency, From Chief Prosecutor To Critic at Guantanamo
Sitting just feet from the courtroom table where he had once planned to make cases against military detainees, Air Force Col. Morris Davis instead took the witness stand to declare under oath that he felt undue pressure to hurry cases along so that the Bush administration could claim before political elections that the system was working.
[ ]…Davis’s claims, which the Pentagon has previously denied, were aired here as the Supreme Court nears a decision on whether the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that laid the legal foundation for these hearings violates the Constitution by barring any of the approximately 275 remaining Guantanamo Bay prisoners from forcing a civilian judicial review of their detention.
Davis told Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, who presided over the hearing, that top Pentagon officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, made it clear to him that charging some of the highest-profile detainees before elections this year could have “strategic political value.”
Davis said he wants to wait until the cases — and the military commissions system — have a more solid legal footing. He also said that Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.
“He said, ‘We can’t have acquittals,’ ” Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. ” ‘We’ve been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.’ “
Take your pick of despotic government legal systems, the old Soviet Union, Iran, communists China. The Bushies have managed to embrace the same Potemkin kangaroo system of justice that is contrary to the ideals that the majority of Americans take such great pride in. They think that making sure that innocent people are never aquitted would be good election propaganda. Sure the Michelle Malkin-Freeper crowd will love it, normal Americans not so much.