Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not Your Call

Glenn Greenwald:

Barack Obama, yesterday:

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

Eric Holder, yesterday:

It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department.


Convention Against Torture -- signed by Reagan in 1988, ratified in 1994 by Senate:

Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law (Article 4) . . . . The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. . . . An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Geneva Conventions, Article 146:

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts.

Charter of the International Tribunal at Nuremberg, Article 8:

The fact that the Defendant acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior shall not free him from responsibility, but may be considered in mitigation of punishment if the Tribunal determines that justice so requires.

U.S. Constitution, Article VI:

[A]ll Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.

I'm sorry the Obama Administration believes that "nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past", but that's not their decision to make. Unlike the way Larry Summers lied about it a few weeks ago, we actually are a "nation of laws"(and in this case international treaties), even though being president is super awesome, it doesn't let you choose what laws you will and won't inforce. It was very couragous to stand up to the CIA and release these documents despite their stauch objecitons. Now that you've shown us the evidence, you need to prosecute those who broke the law.


  1. GoogleHitler4/18/09, 1:44 PM

    Guys, can you please stop invoking Nuremberg? Please?

  2. Yeah, maybe it's a little extreme or divisive to mention the Nuremberg trials today.

    But then again, maybe it's not. The scale of the crimes is completely different, but there's a reason that practices like this can be called war crimes. They're unconscionable, terrible, horrifying, dehumanizing to both the torturer and the tortured. I could not be more appalled that my country did (and is doing?) this.

    Remember, the point of the Nuremberg trials was to assess the level of criminal intent (versus usual horror of war) of the perpetrators, not just pass sentence on them. Along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Post-Apartheid South Africa it's the most easily recognizable historical precedent of a large-scale attempt to deal with an atrocity. And it's clear – or at least it goddamn well should be – we need to do something to show future generations that activity like this is utterly unacceptable.

    So, no, frankly. Nuremberg is exactly the parallel we should be drawing. Sorry if this offends you, but what else can we do here but invoke a successful example of extreme social and legal shaming?

    Put another way: do you have a better solution?

  3. Hahah, I don't even get your complaint, GoogleHitler. JJ didn't say anything about the scale of the crimes resembling those tried at Nuremberg- he merely quoted the Tribunal. Are we supposed to never refer to Nuremberg ever again now that it's in the past, even though there was a clear attempt to set a precedent there?

    The whole reason those documents were written was so that in the future they could be quoted in situations where the crimes had a similar structure and similar issues in prosecutions.

    I'd like you to explain what you found objectionable about quoting that.

  4. Ugh. You guys are just too serious. All the time with the exhaustive arguments. My joke was the Jew to your blog's oven.

  5. Ah, sorry. We had a bunch of insane people from ResistNet here a while ago who would have said something like that seriously, now I never know what to think.

  6. @J.N. and 6.54. How could you not recognize that someone posting on your blog as GoogleHitler with a comment about Nuremberg was obviously satire? Like the clever antics of YahooStalin, or the lesser known AOLMussolini, and the long forgotten Ask.comCastro; their jokes are meant to remind us of the hatred and violence fostered by these men across the internet by asking with their handle to web-search such individuals. So please everyone Google, Hitler. Your message was not lost on me, GoogleHitler. I will not forget what that douchebag has done.