Tag Archives: War Crimes

Today’s Quote: This is What the Corrupt GOP Will Use to Impeach Obama

“I [Ralph Nader] asked Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, constitutional rights litigator, author of books and articles and many Congressional testimonies on the imperial presidency, and its unlawful penchant for Empire, for his reaction. Here is his response:

‘Former President Bush’s selective memoir is a little like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. With the exception of authorizing waterboarding, a form of torture, Bush neglects his serial vandalizing of the Constitution and the federal criminal code: five years of illegal surveillances of Americans on American soil; a war against Iraq without proper authorization by Congress; illegal detentions of enemy combatants without accusation or trials; hundred of unconstitutional signing statements professing an intent to refuse to faithfully execute the laws; unconstitutional defiance of congressional subpoenas; and, employing unilateral executive agreements to circumvent the treaty authority of the Senate over military commitments.”

‘Despite his constitutional literacy, President Obama has balked at faithful execution of the laws against torture, warrantless spying on Americans, or obstruction of justice perpetrated by Bush and his servile minions. On that score, Obama resembles President Nixon, who was impeached by the House Judiciary Committee and forced to resign for sneering at his constitutional obligation to enforce, not ignore the laws.

‘If Obama believes exculpatory circumstances justify non-prosecution of Bush-Cheney,” Fein continued, “then he should pardon them as authorized by the Constitution. A pardon must be accepted by the recipient to be effective, and acknowledges guilt and the inviolability of the rule of law. Ignoring lawlessness at the highest levels like Obama wounds the rule of law, and creates a precedent that lies around like a loaded weapon ready to destroy the Constitution. Obama himself is thus violating his oath of office by nonfeasance.’ “
From “Bush At Large,” by Ralph Nader, CommonDreams.org, Nov.16, 2010.

Of course, the unconscionably hypocritical Republicans won’t demand Bush and Cheney be prosecuted, but they will use this as a basis to impeach Obama and AG Eric Holder for failing to prosecute them – that’s just how crass and despicable they are – and it’s really the only thing they have on Obama.

Think it’s unlikely? Remember, in the mid-90s when the GOP went after Bill Clinton for having an extramarital affair, the charge was initially spearheaded by Republican adulterers Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston and Henry Hyde.

The Tattlesnake Dick Cheney Doesn’t Have a Pulse Edition

Rachel Maddow reported July 14th that five-heart-attacks-since-he-was-37 Dick Cheney is hanging on by a thread following complete heart failure, kept alive only by a machine called a LVAD resting externally on his belly that keeps his blood moving. Ironically, because an external machine is circulating his blood rather than his damaged heart, Cheney apparently has no pulse, not that I would have sworn he had one before. Although I wouldn’t wish death on any human being (leave that to the kill-crazy wingnuts; I’d rather see him in jail), and Deadeye Dick marginally qualifies in that category, this would seem to be close to the end of the line for the Torture Boy the doctors can do no more except a full heart transplant and he’s physically in such bad shape he likely couldn’t survive the operation. (Although the sci-fi plot possibilities of Cheney receiving the heart of, say, a peaceful Buddhist monk and publicly renouncing his past self is nearly irresistible. “I’ve done wrong and now I must pay the price! President Obama, put me in prison for war crimes waterboard me, I insist! And I’m donating all of my millions in wealth to Green Peace! Liz, stop crying like that!”)

If he goes, are we going to be subjected to the full-pomp, days-long state funeral, or will every news outlet but Fox let him pass with just a brief mention and obit? I also wonder if, in his final moments in this realm, a fearful-of-judgment Cheney will pull a Lee Atwater and ask forgiveness for his past crimes and deceptions?

2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.

The News Pauper: Cheney is a Dick

By W.B. Dunne

In a way, the NP feels pangs of Christian sympathy for Cheney the Dicks daughter, Liz. Imagine being bred in such an environment as the one that the unfortunate Ms. Cheney was reared. Imagine the resulting mental trauma of coming of age and discovering that your father was among the worst human beings ever seen.

It is wondrous to me that a personality can be subdued to the extent of Liz Cheneys. In an attempt to capitalize on Eric Holders announcement that the Guantanamo inmates will finally see a judge, Liz went on Fox News to reach a new low in obfuscation of crime. Dick Cheney has so taken over his daughters independent thought that it would not surprise the NP in the slightest to discover that her real brain is in a vat somewhere, or that cloning is real and Dick has doubled his lifespan by installing his cloned hatred in his daughters handy corpse. Listening to this poor woman speak, I am reminded of a terrified 3-year-old trying to not incur the wrath of an abusive parent.

So, in addition to being a war criminal and traitor to his country, Dick Cheney will also to be able to claim the credit for all the damage he has imposed on his own flesh and blood. Dick Cheneys madness, his deep need for the blood of innocents, will be remembered for its ghoulish excesses alongside the worst of historys tyrants.

Such extremes of rhetoric can only imply a pervasive panic among the responsible, the Cheney’s in particular. They have all seen their comfortable margins evaporate. The cover that used to be there has inexplicably thinned to a veneer.

No doubt there is more to comewhen the day finally arrives that the book is closed on the Cheney chapter of American history, our mirage of exceptionalism will disappear forever.

Viva Obama! This is turning out to be a great year.

Contact the author at WBDunne@ltsaloon.org.

2009 W.B. Dunne. All Rights Reserved.

The News Pauper: A Thing of Beauty

By W.B. Dunne

It is with particular delight that the News Pauper announces that Eric Holder is my new favorite Attorney General ever

The announcement that the trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is to be held in New York City has led some on the right to say that the AG has granted citizenship to the terrorists. Bah actually, this is shaping up to be the route Obama will have to take in order to reverse the precedents set by the past eight years of Cheney-mentia.

I had not thought of it at first, but what a completely brilliant way to flip the flow on the criminal mismanagement that has occurred. By having this trial to begin with, the system has a chance to heal from its wounds, the press will have little else to focus on, and the facts of the case will certainly expose the treason of the architects of the policy. The right-wing noise machine is already wringing its hands at the terror of terrifying terrorists, in NYC, by having a fair and impartial trial in broad daylight. This is because it creates a scenario that if the criminals get off on any technicality, it will be that they did not receive the speedy trial they, and we, deserved.

A hearty, extra helping of reality to the Bush-wreckers of the Constitution.

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Errol Morris’ ‘S.O.P.’ and the Thrown Shoes of Muntazer al-Zaidi

Last Thursday I saw Errol Morris’ “Standard Operating Procedure,” an incredibly powerful documentary of the war crimes committed at Abu Ghraib, and the photographs thereof, put into context by the soldiers who were there. (Morris also made the great documentaries “The Fog of War” and “The Thin Blue Line.”) The most striking part of the “S.O.P.” film, aside from the wincing photos of torture and humiliation, is the ‘good kid’ quality of the participants and their bland, almost casual, recitations of how they helped to cause other human beings to suffer greatly sure, some knew it wasn’t right, but they had been ordered to “soften up” the prisoners for interrogation. It apparently never entered their minds that they were committing the same sorts of tortures that caused Iraqis to loathe Saddam Hussein and were used as a justification by the Bush Administration for the invasion of Iraq. The commentary by these young kids, most of them barely of drinking age and without training in interrogation, exudes Hannah Arendt’s oft-quoted line about the “banality of evil” and leaves several questions looming like large dark shadows over the entire farce of justice that sentenced these noncoms to prison terms: Why wasn’t anyone above the rank of E-7 (Staff Sergeant) jailed, especially US Army Col. Thomas Pappas, who was officially in command of interrogations at Abu Ghraib? (Pappas was forced to pay back $8,000 in wages and received a reprimand, but no criminal charges were ever filed.) Why was Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, former commander of Gitmo, allowed to retire honorably, since the abuse of prisoners apparently began when he took over Abu Ghraib? Why weren’t any senior members of the Bush Administration ever held accountable for the Abu Ghraib scandal? And these are just a few of the more obvious questions.

In case you aren’t familiar with the ugly and varied dimensions of these tortures at ‘Abu G,’ as a soldier in the film called it, here is a summary culled from US government and Red Cross reports (.pdf file):

“Soldiers tore out detainees toenails, administered electric shocks, beat detainees with hard objects (including pistols and rifles), slapped and punched detainees, kicked them with knees or feet on various parts of the body (legs, sides, lower back, groin), forcefully pressed detainees faces into the ground by stepping on their heads, purposely exposed detainees to severe heat and sun for prolonged periods, and forced detainees to stay in ‘stress’ positions (kneeling, squatting, standing with arms raised over their heads) for hours at a time.” []

“At least two detainees were forced to sit or lie down on blistering surfaces, causing severe burns that resulted in large crusted lesions and, in one case, three months hospitalization, the amputation of a finger and large skin grafts.”

The perverse sexual humiliation of the prisoners isn’t noted here, but it’s apparent in the photographs, and also not mentioned is the fact that at least one man was murdered as a result of torture, Manadel al-Jamadi. Al-Jamadi died just hours after his capture from abuse by Navy SEALs and torture by CIA personnel.

These are all war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions and US law, and, naturally, among the major reasons the Iraqi people hate our guts.

That brings us to Iraq’s current hero Muntazer al-Zaidi, the 30-year-old TV journalist who took the mild recourse of tossing his shoes at George W. Bush during Junior’s surprise visit to Iraq in December of 2008. (To the profound regret of many Americans, our first President installed by the Supreme Court managed to dodge both pieces of al-Zaidi’s footwear.)

Al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years, but was released in less than one year, ostensibly due to his good record, but probably because his continued confinement had become a P.R. nightmare for the shaky remains of the al-Maliki government.

Watch Morris’ documentary on Abu Ghraib, think about how you would feel if this were done to Americans, and then congratulate al-Zaidi on the forbearance and thoughtfulness of his words that follow:

Why I Threw the Shoe

I am no hero. I just acted as an Iraqi who witnessed the pain and bloodshed of too many innocents
by Muntazer al-Zaidi
September 18, 2009
(Originally published in The Guardian/UK)

I am free. But my country is still a prisoner of war. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act. But, simply, I answer: what compelled me to act is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

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