Truth Commssions For Money Issues, Not Fundamental Issues of Justice

Getting over 4000 Americans killed for a lie, Bush squandering victory in Afghanistan because he was in such a hurry to get a counter productive war on, using the Justice Department as a political wing of the RNC, no bid contracts, torture and murder. All things that have raised some concerns, but nothing gets people really steamed, really motivated until money is involved. A nation suddenly losing three trillion dollars in wealth is worth investigating, but its a little funny how money bridges the partisan divide,US votes for 9/11-style commission to probe financial crisis

The vote in the House of Representatives coincided with a new study that accused US and foreign banks of deliberate culpability in the collapse that engulfed the US and world economy.

The House voted 367-59 for a bill aimed at curbing financial fraud that included the proposal for an independent panel modeled on the bipartisan commission that investigated the September 11 attacks of 2001.

[  ]..Republican Representative Darrell Issa, who has been pushing for the new commission since last fall, said the United States should drop its “shoot first, aim second approach in dealing with the current financial crisis.”

“You cannot solve a problem until you’ve accurately diagnosed it,” he said in a statement.

Issa is a clown, but even clowns can hit the target eventually if they fire enough bullets.

In its new report, the Center for Public Integrity meanwhile named 25 “subprime” mortgage companies whose risky lending was blamed for the US property market collapse and the subsequent global economic tumult.

Many of the lenders were either controlled by US and European banks, or could not have indulged in their high-risk lending spree without the connivance of banks, the investigative journalism group said.

“The mega-banks that funded the subprime industry were not victims of an unforeseen financial collapse, as they have sometimes portrayed themselves,” the center’s executive director Bill Buzenberg said.

A grand investigation into the financial collapse is stark in comparison to the a 9/11 style truth commission looking into the conduct of the Bush administration’s torturteers. Experts Say Authors Of Memos May Avoid Professional Sanctions

Efforts to impose professional sanctions on Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos supporting harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects face steep hurdles, experts on legal ethics said yesterday.

Andrew C. McCarthy, a  hack and The National Review claims that the Obama DOJ is being hypocritical because

Jay Bybee, the former OLC chief who is now a federal appeals court judge in California, and John Yoo, Bybee’s deputy who is now a law professor at Berkeley. Construing federal anti-torture law — which is derived from the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) — Bybee and Yoo’s memoranda stressed that torture is a “specific intent” crime. As the lawyers concluded after studying the relevant history, this means it was narrowly drawn by Congress and the ratifiers of CAT to make certain that only those who had an evil motive to inflict severe pain and suffering could be prosecuted. That is, even if the victim of government abuse would surely feel severe pain and suffering, there could be no finding of torture unless the responsible government official was acting with a deliberate and conscious purpose to torture him.

In other words, if you’re slapped around, waterborarded, shut in cage by a kidnapper, said kidnapper may not be prosecuted if they were having happy little thoughts while doing so. Since said kidnapper has a warped mind, he is might not be thinking in terms of evil motives. Intent is a factor in the law, but McCarthy, like Yoo, Bybee and their cheerleaders have taken the definition to new heights. One which in real practical terms means that sans a confession otherwise almost no one would ever be convicted of a crime. McCarthy sites the current deportation of John Demjanjuk, a Nazi collaborator as proof that if Obama and Democrats should try and prosecute anyone( which so far no one shows signs they’re inclined to do so) they are hypocrites because Demjanjuk or rather his lawyers are arguing that deportation would be torture and the Justice Department is claiming that since merely transporting someone out of the country does not constitute an intent to torture. McCarthy cannot differentiate between acts of torture as defined by the Conventions Against Torture from an old Nazi war criminal using any legal recourse to stop deportation. So we can expect McCarthy to be defending the next terrorists caught abroad to be able to claim that the mere act of extradicting him is torture. McHack goes on,

This is precisely the theory that Bybee and Yoo outlined in the memos that the Justice Department is now citing as a premise for subjecting them to ethical rebuke — and that Obama and Holder have intimated may be grounds for prosecution. Bybee and Yoo reasoned that unless CIA interrogators specifically meant to inflict severe pain and suffering on the high-level al Qaeda detainees they were interrogating, there could be no legally viable claim of torture.

So McCarthy is claiming that slamming someone into a wall, facial holding, facial insult slapping, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and waterboarding were not specifically used to inflict pain and suffering. If McCarthy’s house is  invaded and those acts are committed against him and his family, of course he will not be filing charges. The National Review is filled with assertion after assertion that torture is legal and it works. If the aforementioned techniques were not intended to inflict pain and suffering, the pain and suffering the Right claims was required to get information, then why were they used at all, if according to McCarthy they were not pain and suffering – welcome to the circular and tortured reasoning that the Right shares with the old Khmer Rouge. What do the Bushies and the Khmer Rouge share?

The answer: enthusiasm for water-boarding. I’m in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and dropped by the Tuol Sleng genocide museum, where I soldiered through the haunting photos of the victims and pictures of tortures. The museum is on the site of the main torture center used by the Khmer Rouge during their brutal genocide in the 1970’s, and I was with my interpreter, whose father was executed by the Khmer Rouge.

Then I came to a familiar picture: a man being water-boarded. Beside it was the actual water-board that the Khmer Rouge used.

If The national Review wants to, albeit indirectly, defend the Khmer Rouge it is not particularly shocking since all authoritarians share the same sadistic tendencies and the same reasoning.

McCarthy ends on a particularly hypocritical note calling any attempts to enforce the law equally as a “partisan wtichhunt”. Investigating criminal acts is now a partisan witchhunt. Besides being blatantly dishonest and bizarre, that is contrary to what The National Review thought about prosecuting President Clinton, The Clinton Meltdown by Robert Bork ,October 21, 1998

. The proceedings of a court or a grand jury take place because we have enacted laws that we want to see enforced, and we want them enforced on the basis of truth, not fiction. We do not say that we care about truth when the subject is murder or drug pushing but care very little when the subject is the sexual harassment of a subordinate or tampering with witnesses to hide adultery.

Bork as one would expect short sheets the facts and spins like an out of control merry-go-round, but its clearly the case, as one would expect from the National Review, that when it comes to Democrats and the law, no less then the strictest letter of the law shall be followed and only the harshest punishment will do. Investigate actual heinous crimes, the same crimes that the U.S. has punished other countries, perpetrated by Republican politicians and their legal lackys and it is a partisan affair, just never mind, keep walking. It is not partisan for every American to be outraged that crimes were committed in their name. Crimes, whether further investigated or not are a blight on our history and values.

Some related material, TORTURE’S PATH

By several accounts, Gonzales and his team were constantly looking to push legal limits, to widen and maximize Bush’s powers. Just two weeks after September 11, an earlier secret memo drafted by Yoo had landed on Gonzales’s desk, arguing there were effectively “no limits” on Bush’s powers to respond to the attacks. Startlingly, the memo said the president could deploy military force “pre-emptively” against terror groups or entire countries that harbored them, “whether or not they can be linked to the specific terror incidents of Sept. 11.” The president’s decisions “are for him alone and are unreviewable,” the memo said. Never before disclosed, the Sept. 25, 2001, memo was quietly posted on an obscure government Web site late last week. The 15-page memo is the earliest known statement of Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive war.

Torture and “laying blame for the past”

The United States is party to a treaty (the Convention Against Torture ) that unambiguously requires it to take suspected torturers (or those complicit in torture) into custody and either extradite them or “submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.” Now, Obama did not use the word “torture” in his statement, which was surely not an accidental omission—but his AG did explicitly state that waterboarding was torture in his confirmation hearings, and Obama presumably condemned these memos because he disagrees with their legal conclusion that none of the disputed techniques constituted torture. Let’s assume arguendo, then, that torture took place.

If this is so, then it seems to me that the United States has a clear treaty obligation to do precisely what Obama dismisses as a waste of time: lay blame for the past, and look for retribution. That is what obligatory-prosecution treaties are for—they aim to end impunity for international crimes by requiring governments to look backward, and demand accountability, even when they would rather not do so. I am not suggesting that the Convention requires every individual associated with torture to be prosecuted regardless of the circumstances. It states that upon investigation, the “authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State,” which seems to allow some room for the ordinary exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

White House Used Twisted Health Language to Justify Torture

John Yoo, the author of the infamous Aug. 1, 2002, “torture memo” that formed the legal basis for so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques against high-level terrorist detainees, used a statute governing health benefits when he provided the White House with a legal opinion defining torture, according to a former Justice Department official.

Yoo’s legal opinion stated that unless the amount of pain administered to a detainee results in injury “such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions” than the interrogation technique could not be defined as torture.

Waterboarding, a brutal and painful technique in which a prisoner believes he is drowning, therefore was not considered to be torture.

Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, said that Yoo, a former OLC attorney who now teaches at the University of California at Berkeley, arrived at that definition by relying on statute written in 2000 related to health benefits.

“That statute defined an ’emergency medical condition’ that warranted certain health benefits as a condition ‘manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain)’ such that the absence of immediate medical care might reasonably be thought to result in death, organ failure, or impairment of bodily function,” Goldsmith wrote in his book, The Terror Presidency.

The citing of a health benefits clause is what the Right is referring to when they claim that the legal rationale used to justfy toture was on solid legal ground.