Sunday, January 31, 2010

Margolis to Clear Bush Lawyers

I consider this a most disappointing development:

US torture ...NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

The report, which is still going through declassification, will provide many new details about how waterboarding was adopted and the role that top White House officials played in the process, say two sources who have read the report but asked for anonymity to describe a sensitive document. Two of the most controversial sections of the 2002 memo—including one contending that the president, as commander in chief, can override a federal law banning torture—were not in the original draft of the memo, say the sources. But when Michael Chertoff, then-chief of Justice’s criminal division, refused the CIA’s request for a blanket pledge not to prosecute its officers for torture, Yoo met at the White House with David Addington, Dick Cheney’s chief counsel, and then–White House counsel Alberto Gonzales. After that, Yoo inserted a section about the commander in chief’s wartime powers and another saying that agency officers accused of torturing Qaeda suspects could claim they were acting in “self-defense” to prevent future terror attacks, the sources say… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Newsweek>

war criminal3 I consider this a terrible decision.  The US is obligated by the terms of several treaties to investigate instances of torture and prosecute those responsible.  The Obama administration has failed to meet that obligation.  As angry as I feel over this, he did promise during his campaign to govern looking ahead rather than focusing on past misconduct.  I knew this when I voted for him.  So for me to complain too much would be rather hypocritical.  Nevertheless, I had hoped that DOJ would act independently, investigate, and prosecute, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Addington, Bybee, Yoo, and the other top leaders of the Bush/GOP regime responsible for this stain on our reputation as a nation.  I wish that Obama would abandon his completely unproductive fixation on bipartisanship and do the duty our treaty obligations require.

My first response was to assume that David Margolis might be a Bush/GOP regime operative, who  had burrowed in at the close of the worst administration in history.  I went digging for dirt on the man.  I found that he has creds as a straight shooter and a reputation for non-partisan service.  Therefore I have to consider that there may well be a sound legal reason for his decision.  I look forward to the release of the full report and hope that some of the details about the roll top White House officials played in adopting torture will result in legal action.  Otherwise, our best hope is that some foreign nation will arrest them during foreign travels and put them before the world court.

As disappointed as we are over this, we must remember that, despite his protestations to the contrary, McConJob voted for torture in the Senate.  Had he been elected, we would still be practicing torture, a far worse alternative.


the walking man said...

I do think they should all be presented to the world court in the Hague and let their peers judge them.
They all, including Tony Blair and his aids and assistants, were world leaders let the world judge them.

If these men truly believe in Democracy they should have no fear of a trial.

But I know it will never happen but going forward i say that if our system of jurisprudence can re-find respect try all of the Gitmo detainee's in Federal court as them who have committed criimes against the people of the United States.

bin Laden's original Fatwa presented in 1996 was directed not against the government only but all Americans.

Try them as criminals not combatants. Which is exactly how the Hague would try bush (etal)

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

What I have suspected for some time now is that 1. The DOJ is still packed with holdover attorneys from Bush, so there won't be much going on there, really, and HOlder needs to clean house. Although I'm hard pressed to determine who he would replace them with. 2. They covered their asses reasonably well, and untangling their bullshit could take a generation.

I lean toward my first theory.

Teresa said...

Yeah!! This is vindication for Bush, Cheney and his lawyers in any wrongdoing in keeping this country safe for the 7 years following 9/11. Unfortunately, I am keeping a tab on Obama's lack of security and allowing terrorist attacks on our soil due to rampant political correctness and his utter incompetence.Liberals have proven that they care more about terrorists rights instead of war heroes- Bush and Cheney.

Jack Jodell said...

Margolis has very low standards of justice. It is a certainty he would have let Eichmann, Mengele, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, Bormann, Frick, Jodl, Kaltenbrunner, Keitel, Roeder, Rosenberg, von Ribbentrop, Sauckel, Seyss-Inquart, and Streicher all go free as well. Margolis should be immediately dismissed and replaced with a competent person.

Dusty said...

Disappointing? Oh no dear is much more than that. It's criminal and it's a coverup.

Lisa G. said...

I agree that these people should be prosecuted; unless that is done, this will happen again.

TomCat said...

Mark, I agree with everything you said.

Bee, in general, I don't think that it's a choice of 1 or 2, bur rather a combination of 1 and 2. However, I lean toward your first theory as well.

Teresa, it is no such thing. To say that Bybee and Yoo exercised "poor judgment" as lawyers, rather than "violated their professional obligation" as lawyers in their flawed opinion used to justify war crimes does not change the fact that recommendation was wrong. Neither does it vindicate any of the Republican Reich, especially Bush an Cheney.

Jack and Dusty, my gut reaction is to agree with you. However, given Margolis' reputation as a non-partisan straight shooter, I prefer to wait until I actually see the report, rather than condemn it unseen on the basis of a leak.

Lisa, I agree. To let all the people on my list and more get away with no accountability is an open invitation for torture redux.

Lisa G. said...

Today is Otis and I's 1st anniversary and he's still alive. We should all thank God for that!

Sue said...

Happy Anniversary Lisa and Otis!

Tom, Teresa as you can see here by her outrageous claim, is a conservative from the dark side, pay her no mind...

Teresa said...

Sue and Tom are from the land of leftists who clearly don't give a rats ass about our national security. You keep on rooting for the terrorists instead of the good guys. You keep on living in that fantasy land that pefers to side with evil over good.

Kevin Kelley said...

When was President Bush a war hero?!

As for liberals caring for terrorist rights then that of war heroes, that argument seems illogical. Can war heroes commit crimes against others but not be held responsible because of their status? Wouldn't that classify as elitism?

My understanding of the Constitution is that it does not specify nationality when discussing the rights of man, and that despite borders, each person shall be granted equal rights, including criminals. Calling terrorists by any other name to avoid legal actions is despicable and un-American.

Teresa said...

The U.S. Constitution applies to both citizens and non-citzen civilians LIVING within the United States. It does not apply to non-citizens living in other countries all over the world. Otherwise, it would be called the World Constitution, which it is not.

Sue said...

Teresa don't sit on your butt and say I don't give a rats ass about my countries security. AND don't come back and complain about me saying something negative to you, I did not. Go play over at Mals house.

Teresa said...

Gee, Sue, such hateful words...

Your words against our former President show how much you are against America and against this nations security. If only you knew how many lives were saved by allowing the use of EIT's- many, many.

Go play in your evil lair with Obambi.

Anon-Paranoid said...

According to Teresa I would have too believe that she thinks we prosecuted Hitlers Nazi's unjustly for the very same legal opinions.

So if that is true then Teresa believes that what Hitler did to the Jews was what he believed to be the correct thing to do to protect Germans and the Homeland,oops, meant Fatherland.

Teresa said...

Hitler was a monster who specifically targeted innocent Jews, Catholics, etc.,and exterminated them. This was for purity and Hitler had not been attacked like we were on 9/11. Bush did everything in defense of our nation and to keep us safe. Bush did not target innocent human beings but rather Islamic Jihadists who killed 3000 innocent people and other Muslim Jihadists committed to continuing their cause and threatening to attack the United States again and considered a grave threat to the safety of the United States. The innocents that were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were collateral damage and is very unfortunate, but that has occurred in all types of military actions since the beginning of time. Your comparing George Bush, who is a hero who protected the citizens of the United States after 9/11 from these evil terrorists to Hitler who was an evil murderer who specifically targeted innocents is utterly absurd. But, you go ahead and live in that alter-reality or some fantasy land instead of REALITY. I live in the REALITY of knowing we were safe because of Bush and Cheney. Unfortunately, I can't say that we are safe under Obama- The weakest and worst President in our history.

ivan said...

I agree with Mark, The Walking Man.

...And even more with the opinions John Stuart Mill, whose book, it seems, the judges were ignorant of:

it is only by the collision
of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being
supplied. ...

Suzan said...

Perfect graphic, bro!

I'm ashamed for our country once again.

And for that person named Teresa for the first time.

Trolls welcome here? You're waaaayyy toooo liberal.



TomCat said...

Congrats, Otis and Lisa!

Sue and Teresa, please observe the respect rule here.

Teresa, I replied to your comment with respect. Instead of arguing the issue respectfully, you insulted me. I will not warn you again. The next time you insult anyone here, your comments will no longer be welcome. Last warning.

Kevin, your argument is sound.

Teresa, once an individual is transported against their will to territory controlled by the us, they are effectively living here. Furthermore, if they are warriors as you claim, they fall under the Geneva Convention and must be afforded treatment due prisoners of war. If they are criminals, as I claim, they should be treated as criminal defendants. Your argument fails either way.

Sue, please show restraint. I know that it is difficult when someone acts the way Teresa has. If she continues to use insult rather than argument, just ignore her, please.

Teresa, your so-called EIT's are war crimes. Objecting to them has nothing to do with caring for terrorists. It's about who we are and the need to occupy the moral high ground by acting in accord with the treaties to which we have agreed and are therefore our law.

AP, I think it a little extreme to compare Bush with Hitler. Hitler was responsible for the deaths of 15 million innocent people. Bush is responsible for the deaths of only 600,000 innocent people.

Teresa, we were safe with Bush and Cheney? The number of Americans killed on our soil by foreign terrorists under Bush during the first year of his administration is over three thousand. The number of Americans killed on our soil by foreign terrorists under Obama during the first year of his Administration is ...hmmmm... ZERO! Just over a month before the 9/11 attack, Bush was warned that AQ intended to attack the US using airliners. He waved off the briefer with the comment, "OK, you've covered your butt." He did not take the threat seriously. I'm afraid that your argument fails in light of the facts.

Ivan, I fully agree. Sadly, few Americans even know who Mill is.

Thanks, Suzan. It does fit.

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TomCat said...

Teresa is banned for continued disrespect and personal attacks. All future comments from her shall be deleted.

Anon-Paranoid said...


I apologize if I offended you with my comment.

There's a group, though I don't remember there name, who did the deaths of civilians from the Bosnia genocide and there figures were considered accurate.

They did a report on Iraq and there figures at the time was over 1 million dead I believe, along with two millon displaced living inside Iraq and another 1 or 2 million fleeing the country.

That's at least 3 if not 4 million people displaced or killed by Bush\Cheney's illegal invasion of a sovereign country to gain access to Iraqi resources, OIL and GAS.

To me that puts Bush\Cheney right up there with Hitler and the other despots like Pinochet, Stalin and Pol Pot.

Anyway I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but that's my story and I'm sticking too it.

God Bless.

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TomCat said...

AP, you said nothing offensive. I just disagreed, based on degree. Bush's 600,000 murders are not on the same plane as Hitler's 15,000,000.

The deleted comment was from a previoulsy banned troll.