Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

To do what is right or what is effective?/updated

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2009

Keith Olbermann raised an interesting question: was the goal of the torture to elicit false confessions of a link between Iraq and 911, i.e., torture to produce propaganda? I think the answer is obvious: whatever happens in organizations is generally what is intended. If an organization uses techniques known to produce false confessions, then that is what they sought to obtain. Muriel Kane of Raw Story has assembled much of the evidence that this may have been the goal. It’s been interesting to watch Keith’s guests shrink from reaching an obvious conclusion. Their only cover is that from a legal standpoint, the proposition is far from proved.
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Update: Jonathan Landay of McClatchy has provided further evidence that torture was used to manufacture evidence of an Iraq-al Qaeda link (via DeLong)
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And, separately, Marjorie Cohn and Elizabeth de la Vega have framed perfectly the debate on whether to prosecute torture or whether to proceed through congressional hearings. (Cohn asserts that the function of torture was to produce false confessions but does not demonstrate that). Cohn argues for immediate prosecutions, while de la Vega argues for congressional hearings.


Cohn says:

If Holder continues to carry out Obama’s political agenda by resisting investigations and prosecution, Congress can, and should, authorize the appointment of a special independent prosecutor to do what the law requires. The president must fulfill his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Obama said that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” He is wrong. There is more to gain from upholding the rule of law. It will make future leaders think twice before they authorize the cruel, illegal treatment of other human beings.

De la Vega says:

In all of this conduct, they have committed grave crimes for which they must be held accountable. I believe this to be a national imperative of the highest order…. If a special prosecutor were appointed today, what we would have tomorrow would be the very public initiation of a federal grand jury investigation. …Because of the stringent secrecy rules that govern grand jury proceedings – and prosecutors’ justifiable concern about violating them – information that was previously public may be transformed into secret grand jury material. …So there will be no public narrative, no official opportunity for victims to describe what was done to them by the US government…. What we continue to need, in sum, are unwavering spotlights, even more civic education, and, most importantly, an irrefutable and cohesive factual narrative – comprised of direct and circumstantial evidence – that links the highest-level officials and advisers of the Bush administration, ineluctably, to specific instances and victims of torture. What we will surely have, however, if a special prosecutor is named, will be precisely the opposite…

de la Vega is the experienced prosecutor. But we got into this mess by people saying, “Let’s place expedience above fulfilling the law.” It may not be the most effective way to proceed, but blood has been shed, and that blood cries out for justice to be done now.

3 Responses to “To do what is right or what is effective?/updated”

  1. jo6pac said

    The sad thing about 911 was people died that had nothing to do with the dream of the wh to put in place the final plan of the take over of the US. It worked out so they were able put the final touches on uncle milton plan, only this time it for the USA. Yes I have my tin foil hat on and I hope I’m wrong but with ws melt down that affect the US and the worlds little people, WOW what can I say but hang on kids it’s only going to get really strange. Sad the US people and world didn’t deserve this. Greed is the bottom line.

    • Charles II said

      If they had intended to take over the US, they would have, Jo. They had all the power. We keep lurching toward a corporate state because there isn’t a better vision out there.

      The middle class has largely abdicated its role. Way too many people are too busy or too cynical to get involved. To the extent people are willing to get involved, it tends to be over parochial interests like Taxed Enough Already. The wealthy– who potentially have a valuable role to play– seem to be turning into Paris Hiltons. There are very few people like Buffett and Soros who understand that we need to have our sights set on higher goals.

  2. MEC said

    I’m taking for granted that the purpose of the torture was to get “confessions” that would link Saddam Hussein with 9/11.

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