The Wheels Of Justice

Top of the morning to one and all. As Marcy and family hit the road on their much delayed Christmas expedition, it occurs to me that it is time to grease the wheels of justice and get them rolling down the road of accountability. EW and Mad Dog are right about the implications of the new AP article. The collective insight and wisdom of the community are doing a wonderful job of dissecting the situation. I would like to highlight a couple of the angles that have been raised, and ask that you consider them, and the torture tape situation as a whole, in a broader context.

But no David Addington. Funny. Who would have thought that Addington would be the one lawyer who–at least thus far–doesn’t appear in records as having objected to the destruction of the tapes?
No mention of Negroponte, who apparently advised strongly against the destruction in 2005, when he was DNI (and presumably should have had significant sway over the decision). Hey Silvestre Reyes! Didn’t you get Isioff’s telegram?

These are not mere "administration officials"; with the exception of Cheney and Bush, they are as high as you go. Negroponte is DNI and Addington, despite his putative position as Cheney’s counsel/chief of staff, is the legal heart and soul of the Bush Administration. Toss in Gonzales, Miers and Bellinger, and there is simply no viable way to argue that "the White House", did not know about, and was not involved in, the intentional spoiling and destruction of material evidence; which, of course, means direct obstruction of justice.

“CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told lawmakers privately last week that three White House lawyers were briefed in 2004 about the existence of videotapes showing the interrogation of two al-Qaeda figures, and they urged the agency to be “cautious” about destroying the tapes, according to sources familiar with his classified testimony.”

To me, that sounds like they were briefed and urged the agency to be careful about destroying the tapes. In other words, destroy them, but be really careful how you do it. JMHO

LS’s take here is just about right I should think. Ralphbon’s response is dead on the money too.

For those who didn’t see it, ther (almost) consensus from the panel was:
1) that there was no way Mukasey could avoid conflict of interest because he had signed the material witness warrant for Jose Padilla that was based, in part, on information gained during interrogations that were depicted on the missing tapes;
2) a special prosecutor is needed to replace Mukasey who should recuse himslef;
3) as long as Congress doesn’t immunize anybody, there is no reason for Congress to wait on its own investigation;
4) CIA investigating itself is just batshit crazy

The Regan Admin guy thought that Congress should wait a couple weeks to give Mukasey a chance to do the right thing and recuse himself, because if they acted swiftly it would embarras Mukasey and imply that DOJ is still broken. (he didn’t say that exactly, but it’s what he meant)

Yee haw! Thank you LHP and the committee!

Ok, those are just a few of the points that have been made, and there are many more implications too. Here is the broader context I think it is time to return to. Impeachment. There is no question, at least in my view, that Mukasey for his own personal involvement, and the DOJ as an office for both it’s conduct and the roles played by senior officials, have severe and disqualifying conflicts of interest. The talk of a special prosecutor is warranted, but shortsided and inefficient; and this country simply cannot abide more inefficiency. There is no question but that a special prosecutor should be appointed, but it is time for more. It is time for impeachment.

I am going to come back to this again today. I am also working on a post describing some of the parameters on conflict of interest concerns for prosecutors and prosecuting agencies to give you all a little more information on the standards and concerns behind this element of the discussion. For now though, I have an emergency requiring me to go down to IA court and spring a poor soul suffering from a bum rap (aren’t they all?). To the extent EW is not around for the remainder of the holidays (and she does deserve some peace and good cheer I might add), I will be around. I know everybody has a lot going on, but we are running out of viable opportunities to bring about the accountability that simply must be made if we are to put this country, and it’s Constitution, back on the road to stability. Please chip in and keep working on this. Keep working through the implications of torturegate (sorry about the -gate; I am in a hurry) and the surrounding facts, as well as how we can leverage this straw to break the camel’s back. I will be back in a couple of hours. P.S. I will get a trash talk thread up a little later as well because, well, thats what we do!

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

63 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Hey bmaz, want to park this here for you and EW when she gets back. It was pointed out to me this morning that the ACLU has published a compendium of documentation on torture:

    Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Hardcover), by Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh

    Publication date: 18-SEP-2007

    It’s a collection of FOIA’d and otherwise discovered documentation; we may need to spend some time combing through this for the rest of the details we are missing.

  2. Ishmael says:

    Bmaz – looking forward to your take on conflict of interest – the only reason Scooter was convicted was that Ashcroft was forced to declare the conflict that led to Fitzgerald’s appointment. I think a blitz on this issue with the Torture Tapes could lead to Mukasey stepping aside as well, and with a lot of people looking at complicity for obstruction, war crimes, and any number of other crimes as Bushco winds down, things could get interesting very quickly. I am interested in the way the special prosecutor can work on parallel lines with impeachment proceedings – certainly it happened during Watergate, but those were different times. To what extent can any special prosecutor on the tapes issue work with the House impeachment inquiries? Are there any barriers to the sharing of information, or would this only happen if a grand jury were empaneled?

  3. njr83 says:

    impeachment, would be good to see
    I recall typing the word to my senator when asking about Roberts’ delay in presenting the Intelligence Committee Report, yes, Phase One

    I’m ready… maybe my Reps and Senators mistook those early thoughts as Trash Talk…

    But I’m ready…

  4. BlueStateRedHead says:

    No apologies needed. And take your time, we NAL learn so much from you that we can endure the wait.
    As for cliches, they welcome if they get the chiche-minded MSM to once again profit from EW and Co. work as they did during the Libby trial.

  5. looseheadprop says:

    The talk of a special prosecutor is warranted, but shortsided and inefficient; and this country simply cannot abide more inefficiency. There is no question but that a special prosecutor should be appointed, but it is time for more. It is time for impeachment.

    You need both, after impeachment, the S/P would be free to convict. I want belt and suspenders.

  6. radiofreewill says:

    If Rodriguez testifies on Jan 16th that he got his ‘orders’ to Destroy the Torture Tapes from the White House, then Impeachment will be un-stoppable.

  7. RodUnderleaf says:

    Here also is an important link to more amazing research by leveymg linking Cofer Black to the torture program and other hidden aspects of reality.

    Nothing can silence the DKOS bouncers like the research of Lukery and Leveymg. It is supprising that a stunning piece such as this,…..296/424820

    never made it to the recommended list and has slid right off the main page already.

  8. Loo Hoo. says:

    3) as long as Congress doesn’t immunize anybody, there is no reason for Congress to wait on its own investigation;

    Why would immunizing any of the players change Congress’ ability to investigate this?

    Oh, and GO LS! I remember her when…

    • FrankProbst says:

      Why would immunizing any of the players change Congress’ ability to investigate this?

      Because you don’t want to give immunity out without knowing what you’re going to get, especially with this bunch. Congress could throw out immunity, only to have their first immunized witness get up there and say, “I did it all, and I acted alone.”

      • Rayne says:

        That, in a nutshell is the problem of Iran Contra. Just read Lawrence Walsh’s concluding statement:

        Immunity is ordinarily given by a prosecutor to a witness who will incriminate someone more important than himself. Congress gave immunity to North and Poindexter, who incriminated only themselves and who largely exculpated those responsible for the initiation, supervision and support of their activities. This delayed and infinitely complicated the effort to prosecute North and Poindexter, and it largely destroyed the likelihood that their prompt conviction and appropriate sentence would induce meaningful cooperation.

        These assholes didn’t get prosecuted way back in the day, got immunized, tainted testimony of others, and then they came back and screwed us again.

        Elliott Abrams being a perfect example.

        No immunity without producing the goods up front.

        • BillE says:

          Didn’t Dick Cheney in the House have something to do with North / Poindexter getting the immunity? They have been gaming this for a long time.

          Also, the dual track impeachment/special prosecutor is vital for our country.
          Career government people need cover to blow the whistle on this cabal. There is a signing statement which eviscerates the normal whistle blower protections. This would let the sunshine in to do some serious disinfection. The military can be honest and not bomb Iran, etc….


          • Rayne says:

            And that’s why we should not accept Crazy Pete Hoekstra’s pulings about wanting an investigation. This guy would offer far too much immunity too widely — and we wouldn’t know if he did it intentionally and maliciously or out of just plain stupidity.

            Special Prosecutor. Now.

    • looseheadprop says:

      Why would immunizing any of the players change Congress’ ability to investigate this?

      During the Iran Contra Investigation Congress immunized Ollie North’s testimony beofre the Committee, just to do some cheap grandstanding. That imunization was usued to overturn his conviction on appeal.

      It doesn’t effect Congress’s abilty to hold hearings, it effects the prosecution’s abitliy to put people in jail

      • ralphbon says:

        Not to speak ill of the dead, but, well, to speak ill of the dead…was Arthur Liman an utter yutz or what? Not that he didn’t have lots of help from the soporific duo, Inouye and Hamilton.

  9. PJEvans says:

    Arguing that it was legal to destoy the tapes because the victims weren’t actually in Guantanamo at the time ….
    Administration: Destroying CIA tapes didn’t violate order

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Bush administration argued Friday that the CIA’s destruction of videotapes that showed the interrogations of two al Qaeda suspects did not violate a court order because the suspects were not at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    U.S. District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, who had ordered the hearing earlier this week, said he will consider the government’s arguments. The hearing lasted about an hour.


  10. Neil says:

    WOW! Bmaz gets the keys to the car and drives it right over the guard rail to the edge of the cliff. WAY TO GO BMAZ.

    I think you’re right. There is ample probable cause on a series of specific charges. The executive stonewalls with executive privilege and state secrets and oftentimes with no legal jusification at all (IE. Fitz’s interviews of bush and Cheney). It gamed the OLC to take illegal action with legal cover on torture, rendition, and obliterating out 4th amendment rights. The executive obstructs constitutional oversight responsibilities of Congress and jurisdictional responsibility of the courts. It is accountable to no one for word or deed. It intentionally outed a covert CIA agent and then commuted the sentence of the stonwaller, eliminating the effect of a prison sentence on his inclination to answer questions truthfully. It wiretapped us in our homes before 9/11 without a warrant. It suspended the right of habeus corpus. It started a war on fraudulent evidence, that has cost bundles and killed and maimed uncounted 100s of thousands. Politicized DOJ. Brought false charges aganist Democrats to effect Republican election victory. Disenfranchized minority voters. Fired non-compliant USAs for their prosecutorial discretion and refusal to play ball with the political arm of the White House. /rant over

    Will impeachment blow open the document stores and the loose lips that we need to put these criminals behind bars?

  11. ralphbon says:

    Hi, bmaz! Thanks for the kind word.

    Regarding impeachment, Amy Goodman quizzed John Conyers on the subject yesterday, and he sounded tired, beaten, and frankly incoherent. That’s not to minimize the challenges of mounting impeachment hearings or to denigrate all the good work Conyers still manages to do.

    But this exchange toward the end contained a Freudian slip, revealing the disconnect between Democratic leaders and the people they nominally work for:

    AMY GOODMAN: These numbers, Congressman Conyers, quickly, American Research Group: 45% of Americans would back impeachment proceedings against Bush, 54% -— that’s more than half the American people —- would back the same against Cheney. Your response?

    REP. JOHN CONYERS: Well, I respect whoever they are, but I’ve got to produce the votes inside the Congress, and that’s where our first battle is going to be….

    The majority of Americans, who support impeaching Cheney, merely constitute “whoever they are.”

  12. Jim Clausen says:


    Impeachment’s time is ripe. As LHP said so eloquently at firedoglake yesterday, we need to press the democratic leadership via netroots pressure much like the FISA stand-down.If you read Glenzilla today Reid,Pelosi et al hold us in contempt. We need to make them fear us as much as they fear this maladministration.

    Ralphbon hit the nail right on the head. We DFH’s need to practice targetted nonviolence….”then we Win”-Ghandi

    • ralphbon says:

      Ralphbon hit the nail right on the head. We DFH’s need to practice targetted nonviolence.

      I never actually said or implied that, but in fact I agree. (Glad we’ve got a “precog” on our side.)

  13. Ishmael says:

    Rayne – also apropos of Iran Contra, I’m sure that there will be an effort to protect Junior from any Torture Tape backlash, just as the Tower Commission gently chided Reagan for his “lax management style”, and Bush 41 being able to claim he was “out of the loop” until he was in a position to pardon all those who might have been able to say otherwise, and perhaps prove it with documents or tapes….

  14. Ishmael says:

    Bmaz – Congrats on the guest host role! However, as Peter Parker says, with great power comes great responsibility – I trust that you will exercise all due restraint as the moderator of the Football Trash Talk Thread!

  15. Jim Clausen says:

    Sorry Ralphbon, I meant to refer to recusal of McCasky and the appoinment of a special prosecutor and failed to preview.My humble apologies

    • ralphbon says:

      Sorry Ralphbon, I meant to refer to recusal of McCasky and the appoinment of a special prosecutor and failed to preview.My humble apologies

      No need to apologize — however, the quote about the need for Mukasey to recuse himself was by looseheadprop, not me. Bmaz’s arrangement of quotes was a little ambiguous. (The comment of mine that bmaz spotlighted can be read by clicking the link.)

  16. LS says:

    “76. CIA analytic report,”Ansar al-Islam:Al Qa’ida’s Ally in Northeastern Iraq,” CTC 2003-40011CX, Feb. 1, 2003. See also DIA analytic report,”Special Analysis: Iraq’s Inconclusive Ties to Al-Qaida,” July 31, 2002; CIA analytic report,”Old School Ties,” Mar. 10, 2003.We have seen other intelligence reports at the CIA about 1999 con-tacts.They are consistent with the conclusions we provide in the text, and their reliability is uncertain. Although there have been suggestions of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda regarding chemical weapons and explosives training, the most detailed information alleging such ties came from an al Qaeda operative who recanted much of his original information. Intelligence report, interrogation of al Qaeda operative, Feb. 14, 2004.Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any such ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. Intelligence reports, interrogations of KSM and Zubaydah, 2003 (cited in CIA letter, response to Douglas Feith memorandum,”Requested Modifications to ‘Summary of Body of Intelligence Reporting on Iraq-al Qaida Contacts (1990-2003),’” Dec. 10, 2003, p. 5).”

    This is from the 9/11 report “notes”…

    It is clear that the interrogations were focused on whether they could make a connection between Iraq and AQ in order to make the case for war. FWIW

  17. WilliamOckham says:

    While I completely agree that impeachment is warranted and, in a normal universe, required to right our civic institutions, I don’t think it is going to happen. I’m not saying we shouldn’t push for it. We should.

    I think it is more important to pursue Bush, Cheney, et. al. after they leave office. These guys should go to jail for the torture and breaking FISA. We need to elect a President who’s willing to go after the lawbreakers in this administration. I’d like to see a movement to push for full investigations by a new DOJ in 2009. I don’t want to ask the Dem candidates if they’d throw Bush and Cheney in jail. That would be inappropriate. I would like to get them on the record as promising to investigate the torture issue and the warrantless wiretapping. I’d be willing to support fairly liberal deals with the middle-level legal types who can deliver us the big fish.

    • merkwurdiglieber says:

      I think Ockham has the best of it, there is no will in the Congress
      for the dirty business of jailing these people… these types are the
      product of prolonged period of post WWII hysteria, the Democratic Party
      was gutted by the neocons in the 1960’s and through the magic of television
      we have been in suspended animation since. Hopefully the bubble will burst
      for real this time, but don’t bet your savings on it.

    • MarkH says:

      I don’t want to ask the Dem candidates if they’d throw Bush and Cheney in jail. That would be inappropriate.

      In New Hampshire Tuesday a person from the audience asked John Edwards about that. Edwards said there needed to be accountability and the main question was exactly how it should be done. Apparently there is someone in his campaign who is keeping an eye on this topic, even as we’re discussing it here.

      Well, at least YOU’RE discussing it. I’m mainly just reading. Continue.

  18. radiofreewill says:

    This is crazy…the basic conclusion appears to be – if you can ‘disappear’ someone, then evidence collection is impossible.

    bmaz, do Government Lawyers get to ‘narrowly read’ a Judge’s Order when a Potential War Crime is at issue?

    Can a Judge – who’s been told that the defendents have been in Guantanamo Bay only – say, “I’m interested in any evidence that shows testimony was collected using Torture. Therefore, I’m ordering the production of any video tapes, transcripts, etc in Guantanamo Bay germaine to the defendents.”

    And, in response, can the Government’s Lawyers legally Not Offer Up the Videos showing Torture-derived evidence involving the same defendents, secretly flown to Thailand?…

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday refused, at least for now, to order a hearing at which the government would have to explain in detail the destruction of C.I.A. videotapes showing the harsh interrogation of two suspected Al Qaeda operatives.

    District Judge Henry H. Kennedy refused a request by lawyers for a dozen Yemeni prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he order such a hearing. Instead, he took the matter under advisement and said he would rule later.

      • radiofreewill says:

        That reminds me of a scene in ‘A Night at the Opera’ where Groucho arrives at the grand state ball, full of people wearing uniforms and pomp and protocol. Entering the room, he announces he’s starving, and asks “Where’s the horse divers?”

        Rather than speaking to a ‘poorly worded’ Judicial Order, I think this whole semantics game regarding location instead reveals that the Torture program was ‘Compartmentalized’ away from Legislative Oversight and Judicial Review.

        Bush was hiding the Torture and the Tapes.

        • LS says:

          Maybe they are in Bush’s freezer or in a paperbag under his desk, or under Judy’s desk. /s

          If the tapes exist and are in the possession of Bushco, they will claim States Secrets. Then what?

          If the tapes were destroyed, Bushco is involved in obstruction of justice, but only if they can prove that someone in the WH ordered the destruction. If they ordered that they not be destroyed, but Rodriguez destroyed them anyway…then what?

          Why would Rodriguez take the fall for acting alone and destroying evidence? A guaranteed pardon?

          If the tapes exist and it cannot be proven that they were destroyed and they are never are produced, everybody walks.

          If someone (Rodriguez) has a copies, was forced to take the fall for it, look out.

          If someone saved copies, was not the destroyer, and comes forward, look out.

          Which is it?

          • radiofreewill says:

            That’s an excellent leveymg article at dkos, LS, thanks for the link! Loads of background, well worth reviewing…

            If copies of the Tapes are anywhere in the US, they’re in Bush’s VCR…jmo.

            Here’s my speculation, so far:

            – All the Lawyers, with the exception of Addington, have been quoted explicitly advising to Keep the Tapes.
            – Judge Kennedy doesn’t appear to have been aware of the non-Gitmo Black Site stays of the Detainees, and their associated Torture.
            – Rodriguez was ’spoon-fed’ with Legal Opinions from Hermes and Eatinger that said there was no statutory reason not to destroy the Tapes.

            Far more than a question of ‘Who Ordered the Tapes Destroyed?’ – this appears to be the eye-rubbing, beginning glimpses into A Whole Secret BushWorld of Torture – Kept entirely Out of Sight of Congress and the Courts.

            “Who Ordered the Torture Tapes Destroyed?” only begs the question all the more – “Who Ordered the Torture, and Architected the Compartmentalized Kabuki Screen to Hide it from Oversight and Legal Review?”

            Did Addington “Compartmentalize” Rodriguez and the Counter-Terrorism Group away from Rizzo, ‘engineer’ destruction-enabling Legal Opinions through Hermes and Eatinger, and pave the way for a Scooter Libby-style Secret Mission to Leak to Judy Greenlight Rodriguez to Destroy the Tapes?

  19. LS says:

    This diary from over at Kos has tons of interesting info, and it should be downloaded before it completely disappears. It was recommended this morning, and now it is no longer to be found, but I bookmarked it this morning. Check it out:…..296/424820

    • RodUnderleaf says:

      Yes, thats a great link. I posted it above in the same thread. Good eye-this stuff cant be understated.

      • bigbrother says:

        Yes the Kos link explains a lot..policy to undermine governments and destabilze regions. Make an ally an turn them. What happened to statesmanship?
        The way the publics business is done is disturbing. The eternal war is polifration and enablement by arming adversaries. Blackwater wants boots on San Diego and a string of private forces who operate independently INSIDE our borders.
        Conyers is getting leaned on to sit on the Imp. Henry Wexler has the energy, resources and will to handle this in Judiciary. Bushcos team see the weak links and has done damage control. HRC will continue that that is why MSM gives her the podium.
        That there has been careful analysis by bushco is painfully obvious. Nevertheless as in football you always take what they give yoy and look for an opening a mistake. There are lots of these to play. Without MSN we have to rely on cspan to get the word to voters where our real strength lies. Some things cannot be ignored by print so they have to spin.
        Impeachment investigation has to happen. The corporations will milk us into abject poverty as they globslize our economy enforced by a military on steroids that will keep the treasury broke. Under these continuing circumstances more threats by retired military types ‘brownshirts’to keep civil disobedience to a token ineffectual.
        The college campus environment of the 60’s is long gone for sure. Without the justice system being righted those kids you are raising will bemodified slaves for the system.
        BMAZ has it right Conyers has it wrong. STRUGGLE those who pontificate failure are here to discourage the progressive movement. As more people lose their jobs and housing the progressives will grow momentum. Merky I strongly disagree, if you want an outcome you must give it a chance to prevail and a healthy dose of faith is better than a negative prejudgement of what we can do and what we as Americascan be… good citizens of the planet. When you play the game you expect your opponent to exhaust all remedies… wimps not invited… you anticipate their moves and capacity.. and play your heart out. Winners never quit or whine they just get the job done. We have the tools we will prevail.

  20. LS says:

    Disgruntled employee…Grenier…could he have copies? Did he have access?

    Or what if Rodriguez gave the WH copies, and they “hinted” wink, wink, that he destroy the originals…therefore, copies are in the possession of Bushco, but no one can access them.

    Maybe the meetings with the WH were negotiations to get the videos from Rodriguez and he wouldn’t hand them over, until Bushco agreed to “cover” him and/or give him whatever he wanted…for example, his identity back; remember, they are saying he requested to be “outed” in August, after he took the fall. He wanted his identity back. Like in the movie, The Departed, where all DiCaprio wants is his identity back, but they’re dirty and they screw him.

  21. MadDog says:

    A reminder to all that Special Prosecutor and Impeachment go together like Touchdown and Extra Point (a two-fer that makes a few points and also gets my ground game ready for the Trash Talk *g*).

    It is not common knowledge, but a Special Prosecutor who found evidence of Presidential and Vice-Presidential crimes could refer the results of the investigation directly to the House of Representatives for Impeachment consideration.

    A Special Prosecutor’s work does not always need to directly end up in a courtroom.

    What I’m saying is that perhaps we can have our cake, and eat too!

  22. bmaz says:

    Ok, back now. Mad Dog is right about the potential for the dual track of special prosecutor and impeachment. As LHP quite appropriately termed it “belt AND suspenders” at the same time. I do believe it is THE fashion tip of the season! Because of the holiday spirit for charity and all, I am willing to personally donate some shackles and cuffs to add to her belt and suspenders.

    • bigbrother says:

      Does that mean we will see frogmarching down the Aisle of Congress on cspan. Great comment BMAZ. You lawyers are abstetutely marvelous. It is so delightful to see the law being used for what it was meant for JUSTICE. America, democracy and the free world is forever in your debt and your effort is not thankless, although honor is its own reward. Like a magnet more support is comming Senator Wexler got 110,000 supporters in two days, Air America is on board, the petition from The Lawyers Guild of America. The Dodd filibuster. Forward March!!! Yipes this is so much fun.

    • ralphbon says:

      Mad Dog is right about the potential for the dual track of special prosecutor and impeachment. As LHP quite appropriately termed it “belt AND suspenders” at the same time. I do believe it is THE fashion tip of the season!

      Ockham also mentioned prosecuting and imprisoning Cheney and Bush after they leave office, which I think might require something beyond even a special prosecutor (eg, detention by a third country a la Pinochet). I guess at that point we’d be in triple-redundancy mode: belt, suspenders, and cummerbund.

      OT, sort of, but the several mentions of the Iran Contra hearings prompted me to dig up this segment of Harry Shearer’s Le Show from July 13, 1997. (Note: When I clicked the link, RealPlayer needed to download an archaic codec before it could play the clip.)

      It’s a parody, 10 years on, of the Iran Contra hearings, as if they had been held by the Iranian leadership. Those of us who followed the hearings 20 years ago (God, it hurt to write that) will recognize brilliantly executed vocal characterizations of Daniel Inouye, John Poindexter, Brendan Sullivan, Henry Hyde, and Orrin Hatch.

  23. WilliamOckham says:

    From today’s hearing before Judge Kennedy:

    “It is inconceivable that the destroyed tapes could have been about abuse, mistreatment or torture of detainees at Guantanamo Bay,” Justice Department lawyer Joseph “Jody” Hunt, representing the White House, told the court.

    Cue up Inigo Montoya:
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • bmaz says:

      WO – One of my suggested assignments from EW was to discuss and evaluate the Kennedy hearing. As stated above, a couple of things came up, so I have no idea how the hearing went or what happened, if anything. i am just now sitting down to try to catch up on this and other things. Did you see, or hear of, anything else in the Kennedy hearing that you thought notable?

      The same goes for one and all; anything interesting that we should be discussing about the Kennedy hearing? Or anything else for that matter? I am not as informed and up on everything as Marcy is (OK, few are, but still…), so, please, nobody should have any reservations about thread etiquette or being “out there” with a comment. If there is something i ned to address or know, or something you feel we should all discuss, please let me, and us, know.

      • PetePierce says:

        Bmaz Kennedy gave every indication he’s staying out of the frey, and from the news accounts I’ve read of the hearing (no order was issued and I don’t have a transcript) the issue that the government is using rendition to wiggle out from under his previous order was alluded to by the gov attorneys and not commented on by Kennedy.

        Kennedy is gonig to be a loyal DOJster with an agenda elevated to the federal bench as they all are and he’s not getting in Mukasey’s way. You’ll never see a special prosecutor appointed on any of these issues. That’s what Bush sent Mukasey to do–guard all the criminal secrets and that’s what Mukasey is doing.

        I couldn’t agree more with all of you about implications for impeachment, and why it should happen, but it’s not going to happen. The Republicans have steamrollered Congress once again this year with the usual hogs at the troth for a lion’s share of those 9000+ earmarks that’d by Thad Cochran and Ted Senile Stevens (I could quote you bullshit language from Pelosi that things would be different but I’ll spare you).

        Kennedy loyal to his DOJ refuses to order hearing

        Glenn Greenwald has a nice piece on the current battle playing out over Immunity for Comcos I call the case of Reid vs. Dodd

        and to leave you with a smile on your face, Obama Girls (plural) have a year end tribute to the Bushmeister here:

        George Bush You’re So Lame

  24. NMvoiceofreason says:

    “Don’t destroy the tapes.” (wink wink)

    “Please don’t destroy the tapes.” (Wink Wink)

    Really, now, don’t destroy the tapes.” (WINK WINK)

    • MarkH says:

      “Don’t destroy the tapes.” (wink wink)
      “Please don’t destroy the tapes.” (Wink Wink)
      Really, now, don’t destroy the tapes.” (WINK WINK)

      I think the game-plan was for the leadership to tell everyone, “They’re going to come for us after we commit all these crimes. You have to steel yourself to that fact and be ready to lie, commit perjury and stonewall forever, else we all go down.” And, I think they’ll do that until some one person is specifically caught and can’t get out. Libby got pardoned, but Bush wouldn’t necessarily do that for everyone. Find that lose end and pull for all it’s worth. It’ll be someone lower down and defenseless and not obviously worth so much to the top guys. Cull him from the herd and have a barbecue.

      Who, in the group being discussed with regard to the tapes, might that person be?

  25. NMvoiceofreason says:

    BTW, we need to start getting everyone to call this debacle what it really is – TortureTapeGate.

  26. PetePierce says:

    Ex DOJster Henry Kennedy now on the D.C. district court Bench indicated he would perform as most federal judges do (the vast majority coming from the ranks of DOJsters) and allow Material Witness Mukasey to play fox gaurding the hencoop as the attorneys protesting the destruction of the tapes labled DOJ in their briefs. This is just one more coverup perpetuated by a corrupt DOJ that is in place to guard the privileges of the Unitary Executive and the trampling of the peasants–that’d be us.

  27. LS says:

    “Yoo has acknowledged drafting the August 2002 memo, which he says was the basis for the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, a top Al Qaeda operative. Yoo also wrote and signed the March 2003 opinion. His friendship with Goldsmith made it especially awkward for Goldsmith to criticize the memos. “I was basically taking steps to fix the mistakes of a close friend, who I knew would be mad about it,” Goldsmith told me. “We don’t talk anymore, and that’s one of the many sad things about my time in government.”

    In December 2003, Goldsmith decided that he had to withdraw the March opinion — that is, he had to tell administration officials that they could no longer rely on it. “But figuring out how to withdraw it was very tricky,” he told me, “since withdrawal would frighten everyone who relied on the opinions in a very sensitive area.”…..&_r=1

  28. perris says:

    4) CIA investigating itself is just batshit crazy

    looks to me like kennedy got some cold feet, reported today he’s taking the government’s case under advisement

    I don’t think he can take the heat

  29. LS says:

    The March 2003 memo is still classified. Goldsmith withdrew it…could that opinion have said that there was no legal reason not to destroy the tapes? Just wondering.

  30. LS says:

    I don’t know who has gotten the Admin and the CIA in more trouble…Yoo or Addington?…I’m guessing Addington. Bush or Cheney? I’m guessing Cheney. Because if you think about it, they were at the very least looking for legal opinion…they got it from Yoo, and when it all fell apart…Addington went into cover-up damage control mode, at least that is what it looks like to me. JMHO.

    • bmaz says:

      I cannot vouch for it, but there have been some reports that Addington basically babysat Yoo in the process; so i think that between those two, Addington is by far the more culpable.

  31. bonjonno says:

    bmaz, man, you crack me up.

    off to play a gig. It’s freezing rain/blowing snow, gusty winds here in the plains. When are the Packers up next?

    • bmaz says:

      Trash talk will be up in a few minutes. Climate sounds charming there. Here, it is 53 degrees and I am looking for my down parka and muckaluks. I fully admit that as a child of the west, I am a little soft. What kind of gig you got going?

  32. Mary says:

    Just doing a quick check in and don’t know what all has been discussed, but while I absolutely agree that Mukasey has a conflict of interest (not only were Zubaydah and Binyam Mohammed torture statements reportedly used (Mohammed has been a direct source that his statements were tortured from him) for the FBI declaration passed on to Mukasey, but given that an FBI agent was threatening to arrest CIA interrogators, it’s without question that the FBI had direct knowledge of the torture elements of the statements and the specific FBI agent who gave the declaration, even if he was chosen for not having actual knowledge – is chargeable constructively with his agency’s knowledge —- but more than that even, Padilla’s lawyers RAISED the issue of the arrest warrant being based on torture and IIRC, they raised that specficially to and in front of Mukasey the first time – that was before Comey helped disappear Padilla into US based abuse.

    The issue has also been raised when Padilla was released back into the judicial system. That maybe another issue at work in the decision to destroy. You had the Blacksites story coming out in November (and remember – that story includes the story of a detainee who was the victim of torture murder, left chained to freeze to death) and you had the Sup Ct, even after the Padilla presser, making noises like it wasn’t buying the “let’s disappear US citizens for a little DOJ/Military/Executive Branch torture and all just chuckle about it later” pablum that Comey was spoon feeding. Not only that, but you had other countries indicting CIA agents and investigating them, including a computer that fell into Italian hands.

    Then, in particular if the tapes were in Thailand, CIA could make an argument that there was sufficient unrest in that country going into the fall that they had concerns the tapes might fall into hostile hands. Which is a weird thing to say in a way – hands hostile to abusing and torturing detainees would be — the bad guys? Whatever.

    In any event, I left a long comment on a post a few days back ranking some of the cases, and I still think that, notwithstanding a specific court order, the Padilla case is the one that creates the biggest criminal obstruction issue.

    On the other hand, people like Thompson, Ashcroft, Addington, Comey, Bradbury, Gonzales, McNulty, Hillman, Goldsmith, Yoo, Bradbury etc. have so thoroughly broken the DOJ and this nation right along with it, it doesn’t really matter who committed what crimes anymore, does it? Abetted almost equally by the Democrats as the Republicans in Congress, they’ve all pretty much put paid to the theory that the President can torture and murder on whim and his lawyers in his DOJ roll and revel in that filth like a dogs in a cowpile.

    A nation of laws or men has been pretty completely answered. Padilla disappeared and tortured for years then all that ignored and forgotten in a trumped up case in Florida, el-Masri disappeared and tortured and dumped and DOJ putting a Sup Ct respected “secret” seal on the case, a dead man chained and frozen to death overseas with no word said and no inquiry, disappeared 6 and 8 yos, al-Libi tortured to provide talking points for a war that has created the largest refugee crises in the world and left thousands upon thousands limbless and lifeless, Arar disappeared and tortured and members of Congress apologizing to him via satellite because they can’t even bring him for a hearing due to the Executive’s continued DOJ backed and supported threats to the man’s life and future – – –

    It’s all just filth. And legal arguments don’t mean a thing. Not one thing. We have the answers to every legal argument you can make already. El-Masri and Arar’s cases give you those answers. The Bush DOJ assists in torture and murder and cover ups and does it blatantly with no consequences and those who get the orders to torture and disappear only face consequences for resisting, never for carrying out depravity.

    And it’s all basically in the open. Not “known” to many, because the 24 hour news channels don’t hammer it, but it’s all known – known for years on most points now. And yet everyone in DOJ just shows up everyday with smiles on their faces, happy little torture supporters. I can’t fathom it. It really staggers me every time I think of it.

  33. Mary says:

    I would just as soon not see a spec. pros. even though Mukasey should be recused (and does anyone thing Wainstein who he delegated to hasn’t been up to his eyeballs in torture cover up too with his position?)

    But we do not have an independent counsel statute anymore and the Special Prosecutor statute and regs that we have are just woefully insufficient to do what needs to be done. No offense to Fitzgerald, who did a good job getting the Bush authorization to plant domestic propaganda in violation of statutes into the open, but he couldn’t do half of what he needed to and he really had more flexibility than most would.

    A spec. prosecutor appointed now would be appointed by whom? Mukasey? Wouldn’t he be recused? His DAG? Filip? Who also thinks it’s a hard call on whether or not waterboarding is torture.

    Does anyone really want the investigation in hands of the people who would do the picking? I think DHS already has a bulletin out that anyone leaving Main Justice and looks back over their shoulder is likely to become a pillar of salt.

    So you go into 2008 with a Spec Pros picked by the loyal Bushies to investigate the loyal Bushies and who will also kowtow to the concept that no one can prosecute war crimes authorized by John Yoo’s opinions?

    Yeah. That’d be nice and make it all good.

    And with all the focus of late on who at the WH knew, I have to ask – who at DOJ knew? Read that Padilla press conf again and see how Ashcroft and Comey could have not known after the lengthy investigation they supposedly put into that Presser, so much involving Zubaydah. And didn’t the earliest reports indicate that CIA, WH AND DOJ lawyers were involved?

    No wonder Bellinger debates on behalf of the United States of America that waterboarding (and, implicitly, freezing, disappearing, and generally physically and mentally screwing over people) American citizen’s isn’t a bad thing. No wonder poor Gates is sitting their working his butt off to close GITMO, only to have the likes of Addington, Cheney and twits like Goldsmith via op ed pieces and the cabal of Haynes/Philbin/Comey/Goldsmith all spinning for continued cover up of the war crimes against innocent victims sold for bounties there – and all spinning desparately to try to destroy the elements of JAG who had the honor that no one at DOJ ever found and who, despite being subject to a military chain of command and military discipline far beyond what could be wreaked on civlian lawyers, found what it took to stand up and fight against having a despot kidnap and torture on whim.

    Too little, too late, but it’s nice to know that Some Stood.

    • bmaz says:

      Mary – I kind of share your concern about the potentialities that might result from a special prosecutor appointed by this Administration. They certainly won’t make the mistake of letting someone like Pat Fitzgerald in the henhouse again. And you are right that, worse than just not doing much, there is the opportunity for a cagey acolyte to bury and/or ratify much of the wrongful conduct. That is why in the post I tried to move this toward impeachment. Per LHP’s suggestion of both concurrently, I think that would be fine and might even have some benefits. Impeachment, however, is the key to the equation in my eyes. First off, for all the reasons we have all discussed over the past year or so, I think that under the Constitution, and to honor the Constitution, impeachment is not an option, it is mandated. But more significant are the extra discovery powers available under the umbrella of an impeachment investigation. It is the only modality that stands a chance of cutting through the privilege/state secrets crap the Administration will, and already is, throwing up.

  34. bmaz says:

    LOOSEHEADPROP – If you come back prowling around, I have been trying to do some catch up and just went back to the “Dick Cheney’s Lawyer Spikes the Phone-Jamming Case” thread. I saw a comment by you there that flat out cracked me up. You said to EW “But you have to give over Brady material. It’s not optional. I’m confused.” For some reason or another, this vision of Marcy rummaging through her box of Tom Brady memorabilia jumped into my head and would not leave….

Comments are closed.