Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Speaker Pelosi's Poor Excuse for Staying Silent on Torture

From Politico:

Pelosi: Torture Protest Improper in '03

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi learned in early 2003 that the Bush administration was waterboarding terror detainees but didn't protest directly out of respect for "appropriate" legislative channels, a person familiar with the situation said Monday.

Pelosi has disputed a CIA document, released last week, that shows she was briefed in September 2002 on the "particular" interrogation techniques the United States had used on Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. Pelosi has said she was told then only that the Bush administration was considering using certain techniques in the future - and that it had the legal authority to do so.

But there's no dispute that on Feb. 4, 2003 - five months after Pelosi's September meeting - CIA officials briefed Pelosi aide Michael Sheehy and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on the specific techniques that had been used on Zubaydah - including waterboarding.

Harman was so alarmed by what she had heard, she drafted a short letter to the CIA's general counsel to express "profound" concerns with the tactic - going so far as to ask if waterboarding had been personally "approved by the president."

According to the Pelosi confidant, Sheehy told Pelosi about the briefing - and later informed Pelosi, the newly elected minority leader, that Harman was drafting a protest letter. Pelosi told Sheehy to tell Harman that she agreed with the letter, the Pelosi insider said. But she did not ask to be listed as a signatory on the letter, the source said, and there is no reference to her in it.

Speaker Pelosi made a grave error here -- some would say a criminal, error. It is the responsibility of high officials of the US government to try to stop illegal behavior if they witness it, especially illegal behavior that ended up killing an awful lot of people.

What's more, if it turns out that high Democratic leadership knew about a lot of this stuff and did nothing about it, the chances of ever prosecuting anyone over it become increasingly dim -- because it would mean that the Democrats would have to prosecute themselves, as well.

So what we have here is a situation where the highest officials in our government committed grave war crimes, and other high officials in the government -- who are supposed to be representing the opposition party -- knowingly did nothing about it.

It's a sad state of affairs for the rule of law in the US of A.


JMP said...

Again, a complete & deliberate misunderstanding of the rule of law here. It's always been one of Command Responsibility. Who Ordered the Torture? When & why? Who Hired the special torturers?

The Dems? They tried yes, valiantly to stop torture, they were first filibustered, and the Bush Vetoed their efforts. All to make democracy safe for the likes of fools like you to claim that Dems had some sort of Criminal complicity. Again. Go back to the original Nuremberg War Crimes trials and tell us how many German Legislators were prosecuted & why.

This is about Porter Goss & Dick Cheney & the Criminals of BushCo trying to cover their asses. They committed crimes. They lied & successfully covered it up for years. Your first instinct? Blame the Dems First! Yeah, that's the ticket! You want the Rule of Law to apply? Don't Just accept the say so of Kings over their lies of their own actions. Demand an investigation to actually find out what went on with the torture. Who ordered it, when & why, and what they may have Claimed to have told others.

And yeah, use Human Events more if you claim to be a Liberal. Yeah, that's just so cool & yeah stupid crazy. Claim War Crimes? Then Learn something about the application of the rule of war to the situation perhaps? Hmmm? JMP

Zaid at UGA said...

"Your first instinct? Blame the Dems First!"

We've had probably a dozen posts on this blog by various authors including myself calling for prosecution of Bush Admin. officials, but I -- and I'm joined in good company by Jon Stewart last night -- also think that those who covered up for them and impeded investigations (Nancy "impeachment is off the table" Pelosi), too, bear a moral and perhaps legal burden as well.

JMP said...

Again, Jon Stewart? Funny, but no expert on this. Ditto for his hilariously amusing & hard working staff. Sen. Bob Graham, was however, as Chair of the Senate Intell Committee, he was one of the very few who were also briefed. He supports Pelosi's account. Ditto for Sen. Rockefeller who was the follow on lead Dem Senator on the Senate Intell Committee. All were supposedly 'briefed', all support Pelosi's account. BushCo was lying & pretty vague about pretty much everything and the only reason they even bothered was to CYA for a moment just like this. So fools like you could take up the red herring of a 'complicity' argument for them. Heckava job Z!


Now in your 'blame the Dems First' approach, following on with the meme of the most Conservative media, you failed to recognize this one thing. Again.

Bush Lied. Repeatedly, early, blithesomely, often, and continuously& by necessity,& certainly daily if not hourly by natural inclination. About pretty much Everything. To Everyone. Certainly about the war, but also about all the lies they were telling to cover up their actions leading up to and in illegally prosecuting an immoral war of aggression.

And yet... Still you demand that Everyone take THEIR word for how & when they briefed Congress & the opposition party about what they were doing? And about why they were doing it? Yeah that's the ticket. Trust your pals at the CIA to tell the truth, right? Trust BushCo Forever over any & all Dems!

Yeah that's a true UGA Liberal spirit!

And you say you're not working as a double agent now, right?

Again why not try and get the facts straight and then try formulating an opinion on them. That might be the intelligent thing to do. Or start to. JMP

JMP said...

Oh yeah, Stolen from the DailyKos.com

What else Pelosi knew...

by Bill in Portland Maine


Wed May 13, 2009 at 05:55:09 AM PDT
What Did Pelosi Really Know?
Pelosi knew Professor Plum was the murderer, yet refused to call the proper authorities and even covered up the crime by hiding the wrench in her basement.
Pelosi knew about the Somali pirates, yet kept her personal Aegis destroyer in drydock.
Pelosi knew that Clarice Starling could hear the screaming of the lambs, and yet she did nothing.
Pelosi knew the low-carb craze would come crashing down, yet did nothing to warn the poor saps on the Atkins diet.
Pelosi knew that Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms in central Kansas, and yet she failed to issue a severe thunderstorm watch for the greater Salina area.
Pelosi knew the lug nuts were loose on the rear wheel of the car in front of her, and watched impassively as the tire rolled into a ditch and the bare axle dropped to the pavement in a shower of sparks.
Pelosi knew the first 500 digits of pi but always rounded off to 3.1416 anyway.
Pelosi knew about the sale at Macy's, but snuck out early to pick over the bargains without telling anyone.
Pelosi knew the source of the Nile, but covered it up with leaves and a tarp.
Pelosi knew she could get out of paying traffic tickets by showing a hint of leg, even though the loss of revenue would add to the Parking Division's budget deficit.
Pelosi knew the casserole was burned, yet served it anyway.
Pelosi knew what would happen when the Menthos were dropped into the Diet Coke. And yet she failed to warn the children.
Pelosi knew. Oh, yes. Pelosi knew".

Hurry we Must prosecute her now Before Cheney! Yeah, that's the ticket! JMP