Pat Leahy Calls for Truth Commission

I want prosecutions. But seeing as how it looks increasingly likely we won’t get that, I want some accounting for the crimes of the Bush Administration. Today, Pat Leahy joined his counter-part in the House, John Conyers, as well as the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, in calling for a committee to examine the wrong-doing of the Bush Administration. 

The President is right that we need to focus on fixing the problems that exist and improving the future for hardworking Americans. I wholeheartedly agree and expect the Judiciary Committee and the Senate to act accordingly. But that does not mean that we should abandon seeking ways to provide accountability for what has been a dangerous and disastrous diversion from American law and values. Many Americans feel we need to get to the bottom of what went wrong. We need to be able to read the page before we turn it.

We will work with the Obama administration to fix those parts of our government that went off course. The Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department is one of those institutions that was hijacked and must be restored. There must be review and revision of that office’s legal work of the last eight years, when so much of that work was kept secret.

We have succeeded over the last two years in revitalizing our Committee’s oversight capabilities. The periodic oversight hearings with the Attorney General, the FBI Director, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and others will continue. The past can be prologue unless we set things right.

As to the best course of action for bringing a reckoning for the actions of the past eight years, there has been heated disagreement. There are some who resist any effort to investigate the misdeeds of the recent past. Indeed, some Republican Senators tried to extract a devil’s bargain from the Attorney General nominee in exchange for their votes, a commitment that he would not prosecute for anything that happened on President Bush’s watch. That is a pledge no prosecutor should give, and Eric Holder did not, but because he did not, it accounts for many of the partisan votes against him.

There are others who say that, even if it takes all of the next eight years, divides this country, and distracts from the necessary priority of fixing the economy, we must prosecute Bush administration officials to lay down a marker. Of course, the courts are already considering congressional subpoenas that have been issued and claims of privilege and legal immunities – and they will be for some time.

There is another option that we might also consider, a middle ground. A middle ground to find the truth. We need to get to the bottom of what happened — and why — so we make sure it never happens again.

One path to that goal would be a reconciliation process and truth commission. We could develop and authorize a person or group of people universally recognized as fair minded, and without axes to grind. Their straightforward mission would be to find the truth. People would be invited to come forward and share their knowledge and experiences, not for purposes of constructing criminal indictments, but to assemble the facts. If needed, such a process could involve subpoena powers, and even the authority to obtain immunity from prosecutions in order to get to the whole truth. Congress has already granted immunity, over my objection, to those who facilitated warrantless wiretaps and those who conducted cruel interrogations. It would be far better to use that authority to learn the truth.

During the past several years, this country has been divided as deeply as it has been at any time in our history since the Civil War. It has made our government less productive and our society less civil. President Obama is right that we cannot afford extreme partisanship and debilitating divisions. In this week when we begin commemorating the Lincoln bicentennial, there is need, again, "to bind up the nation’s wounds." President Lincoln urged that course in his second inaugural address some seven score and four years ago.

Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened. Sometimes the best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again. When I came to the Senate, the Church Committee was working to expose the excesses of an earlier era. Its work helped ensure that in years to come, we did not repeat the mistakes of the past. We need to think about whether we have arrived at such a time, again. We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past.

It is something to be considered. It is something Professor Bernstein, for whom this lecture series is named, might have found worth studying. We need to see whether there is interest in Congress and the new administration. We would need to work through concerns about classified information and claims of executive privilege. Most of all, we need to see whether the American people are ready to take this path.

Edmund Burke said that law and arbitrary power are eternal enemies. Arbitrary power is a powerful, corrosive force in a democracy. Two years ago I described the scandals at the Bush-Cheney-Gonzales Justice Department as the worst since Watergate. They were. We are still digging out from the debris they left behind. Now we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression while still contending with national security threats around the world. This extraordinary time cries out for the American people to come together, as we did after 9/11, and as we have done before when we faced difficult challenges.

That is no more improbable than the truth that came to light and laid the foundation for reconciliation in South Africa, or in Greensboro, North Carolina; no more improbable than the founding of this Nation; and certainly no more improbable than the journey the people of this Nation took over the last year with a young man whose mother was from Kansas and whose father was from an African village half a world away. [my emphasis]

Chairman Pat Leahy, Chairman John Conyers, and Chairman Carl Levin, all calling for the truth. Conyers’ bill calling for a Truth Commission has 18 co-sponsors, people like Barney Frank (another powerful Chairman), Jerrold Nadler, and Maurice Hinchey. Senator Whitehouse has issued a statement in support of Leahy’s statements:

Chairman Leahy today summed up a belief shared by millions of Americans: that we need to ‘get the truth out’ about the damage done to this country under the Bush Administration, and what we now must do to repair it. 

He understands that the trust we hold for future generations can be safeguarded only when honesty, freedom, justice and compassion guide our institutions of government; that where that trust has been violated, the cost is incalculable; and that the path to recovery leads through disclosure. 

2 Senate Chairmen, 2 House Chairmen, 19 total Congressmen and women, and one more Senator. Arguably, Harry Reid has even expressed support (though I suspect that’s really an attempt to shift the energy for investigations into existing committees, rather than something with more expansive scope). That’s not enough, but it’s a start toward getting widespread support–particularly among senior Democrats–for exposing the things the Bush Administration did.  

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111 replies
    • Leen says:

      Tell that to the people who have lost their children in Iraq based on a “pack of lies”. Tell that to the widows the orphans, 5 million refugees in Iraq. No there is absolutely no way no way to “move forward” unless those responsible for lying our nation into an unnecessary war, undermined the Dept of Justice illegally wiretapped, are held accountable. No Way! Unless congress wants this country to continue to rot from within.

      Have they looked at the number of American people who have any faith in them? 10% 10%
      Many Americans know as well as people around the world that there are several justice systems in this country and they are not fair, honest or just.

      The whole world is watching….accountability now!

  1. clbrune says:

    Investigations without consequence?

    I’m all for investigations, and prosecutions where warranted. My sense is that if there is no intent to prosecute crimes, then who cares? I mean, anyone who has followed the last 8 years KNOWS that crimes have been committed.

    If the end result falls short of prosecution of crimes, doesn’t that just amplify the message that those in charge are immune from accountability? Doesn’t that make true Nixon’s assertion that “when the president does it, it’s not illegal?”

    • clbrune says:

      Note, I’m not saying “go after the ex-president.” I doubt that would happen. But there are a bunch of lawyers and sleazy politicos that did real damage to our nation and its standing in the world.

  2. Jerryinexile says:

    Other than the plumbers and Mitchell, most everyone in the Nixon administration got a pass. The old Bygones routine. And look how many of the Nixon miscreants showed up in the Bush administration. Unless exposed they will just crawl out from under their rocks in another four or eight years. “We’re back!!!”

  3. Leen says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Senator Leahy. If there is a god it looks, talks and thinks like Helen Thomas or Pat Leahy.

    But this is an odd statement by Senator Leahy ” Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened.”

    Just when did the pursuit of truth, justice and accountability in regard to very serious issues and crimes become “vengeance”?

    Holding those responsible for creating and disseminating false WMD intelligence that has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives is the very least congress can do for their families…the very least. Can you imagine telling those who survived the WWII holocaust “move on, turn the page, move forward”. Horse shit hold these people accountable

  4. sojourner says:

    On one hand, if we began with criminal prosecutions I doubt seriously that our judicial system could handle them — there would be too many! On the other, I would dearly LOVE to see Dubya and Dick squirm…

    I am a project manager. One of the best tools we have at our disposal is to conduct a “lessons learned” session as we near the completion of a project. Ideally, it should be conducted without attempting to fix blame, but rather to just look at what happened and what we can do the next time to avoid the issues and problems that we encountered. It becomes a part of the project’s history, and provides a valuable reference for others who may attempt a similar project at some point in the future.

    With any administration, I am sure that there are dirty pieces of laundry that probably should remain hidden from public view. The last eight years, though, are much, much more than a few soiled socks or stained underwear. One gets the feeling that there is a mountain of dirty, soiled, stained and smelly laundry that has to be gotten out of the hamper.

    Our country needs to conduct a “lessons learned” exercise. It needs to be conducted by persons who are outside the political structure of DC as much as possible. (In case anyone in power is reading, I am available and willing to work on such a panel! My job went down the tubes last week so I am now unemployed!!) I suspect that what will follow is that many members of Congress who are complicit in what went on will begin to scurry for cover — and maybe they will even get out of Washington!

    I have to wonder about KayBee Hutchison’s reasoning to suddenly run for governor of Texas. Perhaps she thinks that would be a safer place to be than to run for her Senate seat again. I am sure that there are others who will begin finding other things to do.

      • sojourner says:

        Thanks! I worked for a government defense contractor of all things! As you might imagine, I have had some issues about working for such a company… Now I don’t This whole mess is scary to say the least. Fortunately, if I have to, I have some other skills I can fall back on. Things always have a way of working themselves out, and with adults back in charge in DC — I think there is actually hope!

        Thanks, again!

  5. Mary says:

    I’m not in the fold.

    I think it’s a sham and a disgraceful pretense to have a truth and reconciliation commission instead of prosecutions. You have truth and reconciliation commissions in countries where there was a complete breakdown – a failed state type of situation. Here we have, had, and continue to have legal institutions in place. If we refuse to use them, we need to just fess up that that is who and what we are and not try to spray some air freshener and pretend we are doing something.

    When did a truth and reconciliation commission ever stop a Gonzales from lying and picking up speaking fees, or make child abuses suddenly forswear “that kind of thing” in the future? Heck, even convictions of obstruction of Congress didn’t keep Abrams out of W’s White House. Watergate and Vietnam investigations don’t seem to have kept Kissinger, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. from sitting at the center of more death by war deceit.

    Hell, no one can even get Republican (and a lot of Dems) to even sit down and acknowledge major truths in life when they hit them in the face – what exactly is a truth commission going to do? Esp as politicized as it would not doubt be, it would evolve into Inhofe and Graham stamping their feet and being the drum majors for issuing medals to the torturers and cowing Dems whenever they coughed loudly.

    And putting it in the hands of “independent” examiners won’t do anything differently – they will not get Republican consent unless they have people like Kagan and Heritage 24 fans and AEI cartoonists on the panels. Why have the fight for that instead of the fight for a real prosecutor?

    And I’m going to toss this out for the candidates running in Iran.

    How about offering to let outside investigators and inspectors in to look at you nuclear program – to coincide with the US letting outside lawyers and investigators in to examine its torture program info. Both teams would be in place to insure compliance with international law and to take action for violations. Let’s see that pig fly.

    • Neil says:

      I’m with Mary. We have a department of justice. What better way to rehabilitate it than have them do their job?

      Without consequences for gross criminal violation, we will have it again and again. I don’t think our Republic can endure that kind of government in four or eight years.

  6. Kathryn in MA says:

    I’m very happy these fine people are calling for investigations. We can’t do anything unless we have all the information. Yes, there can be a truth commission that can’t prosecute, but i suspect that, once the truth is out there, it will be so shocking that Americans will demand prosecution. Then the matter can go to the DOJ,

    • Stephen says:

      You just summed it up for me perfectly. We have got to let the truth come out, then let the American People decide. I am a Canadian and I am old enough to know that without The Great US of A on a firm and just foundation we are all screwed and the abyss is all we have left. Revolution created the bright future once before. Let it happen again.

  7. Leen says:

    Senator Leahy “Sometimes the best way to move forward is getting to the truth , finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again”

    “sometimes”? How about always!

    Hold these folks accountable…impeach them so that they can never roll back into future administrations…Prosecutions

    Refocusing the Impeachment Movement on Administration Officials Below the President and Vice-President:
    Why Not Have A Realistic Debate, with Charges that Could Actually Result in Convictions?
    By JOHN W. DEAN
    Friday, Dec. 15, 2006

    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20061215.html

  8. phred says:

    As regulars around here know, I have been opposed to a Truth Commission in favor of prosecutions. However, over the weekend I heard a compelling argument from an ACLU lawyer about how we could have both a truth commission and prosecutions. The model he cited was that of Peru (not South Africa). IANAL, so I hope I don’t misrepresent him, but in a nutshell his suggestion is to compel testimony (i.e., you cool your heels in jail if you don’t testify), but you grant immunity for the testimony (so that 5th amendment rights can’t be asserted). However, prosecutions could follow on the basis of other documentation (that the lawyer suggested would be unearthed via the truth commission). If this is true, if we could do both, I would be happy with this.

    If on the other hand, Congress sets up a Truth & Reconciliation Commission so we can all kiss and make up — then I am not in favor.

    As with all things the devil will be in the details. Depending on what sort of immunity is granted, what consequences there are for non-cooperation, it will either be a useful tool or a total whitewash. One other thing I think is essential is a thorough review of our classification system and how it has been used/abused. If we can’t get the information out into the open, then a commission is useless.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I’d prefer both for many reasons.

      But I think that sojourner makes a superb point: #1 Task = get all the relevant information. This is a huge, systemic problem and needs to be untangled without the heat and distortion of intense emotions.

      I have developed a lot of respect for Carl Levin.
      How on earth he ever organized and moved that Senate hearing on torture last year is really testament to his skills and determination.
      If this is Levin’s recommendation at this point, then I respect it.

      I’d rather have half a loaf than none at all.
      And if I can get more later, so much the better.

      • phred says:

        That’s where we differ. If there is a commission with no consequences for those who committed crimes, we are no longer a nation of laws. Period. Criminal behavior must be prosecuted, whether the President does it or some psychopath with a scalpel.

        The only advantage to a commission with testimonial immunity in my opinion is that it will preclude Dick Cheney and all his little chums from taking the 5th and not cooperating. Also, given BushCo’s tendencies to not cooperate when subpoenaed, non-cooperation needs to land these guys in jail while they think it over.

        If on the other hand, we go straight to prosecutions, they can assert their 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination and it could take years and years to sort out the whole mess.

        In any event, there must be prosecutions, where indicated, or we are no more than a very large banana republic.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          The only advantage to a commission with testimonial immunity in my opinion is that it will preclude Dick Cheney and all his little chums from taking the 5th and not cooperating.

          Precisely.
          It wouldn’t surprise me if they’d prefer the ‘open warfare’ of legal action.
          They’d probably far prefer to pay lawyers to keep stalling, than have to answer the simple question of why they aren’t willing to help the government document what happened.

          Not showing up to answer simple questions about what occurred is, in many respects, more risky for the GOP and BushCheney than being able to whine and wail that they’re being ‘unfairly harrassed’ for all those ‘hard decisions’ after 9/11.

          I think this is a very elegant way to call their bluff.
          They have to talk to a T&R Commission.

          It’s not a home run.
          But sometimes, you just need to get to first base.

          • bmaz says:

            You are smoking something I want if you think that Cheney and his close henchmen will cooperate under any circumstance. Not. Happening.

            • selise says:

              i agree. and that is exactly why i’m in favor of a T&R commission in the SA tradition – prosecution is only avoided by full and complete cooperation. *g*

              don’t think the Ds, let a lone the Rs are going to want to go for it…. but still, i can’t help dreaming..

              • Fern says:

                The main difference I see between a potential T&R commission in the US and that in SA is this – in SA the crimes were committed by South Africans against South Africans – and the commissions were a way of making peace so that people could go on and share the same country In the US, the crimes were largely committed by Americans against citizens of another country.
                The US has no right to say – well we’ll just get to the bottom of this mess and not charge anyone – essentially taking away opportunities for justice from those who have been wronged and who have had no voice in the decision to have a commission of this kind.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              I agree with you.
              My comment was along the ’smoke ‘em out’ lines.

              Wait till Cheney keeps stalling on simply coming to talk to a T&R Commission and watch how quiet the nation remains. Look at all the Iraq Vets (and other vets) in this nation — to say nothing of the number of attorneys.

              You think people are going to simply sit on their hands?
              I don’t.

              I say, let the Dems announce a T&R Commission.
              It’s the political equivalent of, “Well, why don’t you come to my lovely little tea party and we can all catch up on everyone’s news.”
              So Cheney and Addington and others will decline.
              They’ll find excuses not to show — including all kinds of b.s. that I can’t even dream up at this moment.

              But the Dems are showing themselves to be reasonable.
              They’re not starting out loaded for boar.
              They’re willing to talk.
              They’re not out for scorched earth.
              They only want some information.
              For those who show up and cooperate, okey dokey: document, document, document. “Would you like Earl Grey? Cream? Sugar? Thanks for helping us figure out this big Gordian Knot that happened on the BushCheney watch. Go in peace, don’t screw up again, be well, thanks for your help in assisting this process in our efforts to unravel this terrible mess…

              So the people with consciences will show up and provide info and go through a process that is healthy and builds good info.
              And then, Cheney and Addington and their ilk will be slathering b.s. excuses as to why they don’t like tea, never drink tea, find tea to be a wussie, candy-ass beverage and got no time to show up…

              Once the Dems are just offering tea, in a useful, productive fashion, and THEN Cheney won’t even come to the Tea Party, then he’s screwed.
              Not until then.
              Not before then.

              But once the VP who sent people to war based on lies won’t even come chit-chat for tea, then he’s screwed.
              And at that point, the Dems can move to (ahem) ‘prosecution mode’ for Cheney and his ilk — who aren’t willing to come chat with the T&R Commission.

              At that point, the ‘base’ supporting Cheney would pretty much dwindle to his close relatives, and whoever he signs paychecks for.

              I look forward with relish to such a scenario ;-)))))

              • bobschacht says:

                The thing that I hate the most about a T & R commission is that it takes the place of Impeachment proceedings, which are a Truth & Reconciliation kinda thing, but with teeth. We are left with chatter about T&R commissions now, because the 110th Congress abrogated their responsibility to defend the Constitution.

                Remember Watergate, and the Senate Select Committee? They did not set out to impeach Nixon. That came about as a byproduct of the committee’s work.

                The Congress must stop fobbing its responsibilities off on other parties and do the job it was designed to do!

                For this reason, I am not entirely unhappy that Rahm is trying to rough up Pelosi. So far as I am concerned, they’re both despicable, but for different reasons.

                Bob in HI

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  Thx. Let’s both hope like hell I’m right.
                  Levin’s committee hearing was jujitsu, so I have a few glimmerings of hope.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              And can I just say that I’m cheered to hear President Obama point out that it’s not all that valid for people (i.e., the GOP Intractables) to deride his economic problems, when THEY created them.

              Hoorayyyyyyy!!!

              I think he’s more of a martial artist than a football player.
              And I think this T&R Commission is the same shrewd approach.

        • waynec says:

          The only advantage to a commission with testimonial immunity in my opinion is that it will preclude Dick Cheney and all his little chums from taking the 5th and not cooperating. Also, given BushCo’s tendencies to not cooperate when subpoenaed, non-cooperation needs to land these guys in jail while they think it over.

          Absolutely right, phred.
          At the same time, they can spend their illgotten $$ on attornys.
          Just like the Retards did to anyone even remotely close to Clinton.

    • bmaz says:

      The thought that there could or would be both is naive and absurd. Quite frankly, I am more of Mary’s mind that nobody that counts has the stomach for any part of this fight. But from a legal perspective, there is no way in hell there will be both. Any T & R commission process would be predicated upon it being an alternative to criminal process. Love the ACLU guys, but this chap is dreaming.

      • phred says:

        I really wish you had been there bmaz, it was a really interesting discussion. The chap in question was Buz Eisenberg, President, International Justice Institute and a lawyer who has represented both Guantanamo and Bagram detainees. There was a law professor there (I can’t remember his name) who disagreed because (I think) of the immunity issue, that you might try to narrowly define it, but then it would be more broadly applied. I wish I could remember the terms better, something about “use” immunity and something else. Can you tell I’m not a lawyer? ; )

        Anyway, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea, but I thought it would be interesting to discuss further. I thought he made a good point about members of the administration stonewalling by taking the 5th. But then, if there is extant documentation — why not do the work to ferret it all out and skip the testimony altogether if need be. But then, you start bumping up against the classification system. They classified so much information and tucked it into so many different agencies, it’s nontrivial to uncover it all. So then we got to talking about the abuse of classification.

        At any rate, in the end, it’s really all a question of how do we get from where we are to prosecutions. The law professor would prefer a special prosecutor (as would I), but if we are going to go down the commission route, then lets at least make sure we define the parameters in such a way that prosecution isn’t precluded.

        And finally, lets drop the “reconciliation” bit. I’m not planning to reconcile with war criminals any time soon.

  9. Mary says:

    12 – the revelations of razoring genitals have been out there for years – I don’t see Americans being all that shocked yet.

    10 – intrinsic in that approach is that the “lesson learned” is that it always pays off to go along with the President and commit crimes for him, rather than stand against or be a whistleblower. The only way that lesson is unlearned is to change the outcome – declare the illegalities, reward the “leakers” and send the criminals to jail. As long as leakers have their life savings go to defense (like Tamm) and torturers collect pensions and get rabid talk radio support, no commission changes the take away on the lesson that got learned.

  10. MadDog says:

    Is there any excuse we haven’t heard from Congressional Democrats?

    Is there any crime that Congressional Democrats believe deserve punishment?

    No?

    Nevermind! Us serfs will go back to sleep now.

    • Leen says:

      And their numbers go down
      Zogby: Congress Gets Just 11% Approval, Lowest Ever
      http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..9050/posts

      Congress’s lack of credibility index has been heading south for quite some time.

      After we watched Republicans hold a President accountable for lying under oath about blow jobs and then witness six years of a Republican controlled congress allow the Bush administration to start a war based on lies, torture, undermine our justice system. On top of that after many of us worked our asses off to get Democrats into position in 2006. Pelosi tells us that “impeachment is off the table”.

      What the hell do they need to take the Bush administration crimes seriously. What do they think folks worked so fucking hard to get Obama and the rest of the Dems into position for? Tea time?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Good points.
      But in Iran-Contra, look what happened — n-o-t-h-i-n-g.
      Cheney deep-sixed the chances of getting to the bottom of it, Lawrence Walsh seems to have been punk’d, and the neocons hibernated through the Clinton years, to burst forth in the BushCheney admin.

      The first, most critical task is to get the information. Given Cheney’s man-sized safe and shredding trucks and fires in the VPs quarters, a lot of the info may be damaged. So the first task is to get the info.
      That will be easier to obtain if the emotions are less heated.

      Because I’m afraid if they go straight to prosecutions, the wrong people will be hauled into court and Addington and Yoo will never even have to publicly state what they did. I’d rather see it all out in public than behind closed doors of a court.

      Because a lot of people in this nation need to be educated about the systemic problems that led to this mess.
      And the only way to do that is to have a commission that can assemble the facts and then ‘tell the story’.

      Condi Rice may not have been sentenced in court for failing to act on that ‘Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US’ Presidential Daily Briefing, but the instant she said that to the 9/11 Commission, the entire world could see she was a butt-covering f*ck up. And it dogged her, as well as GWBush and Richard Cheney. Not a small thing.

      • Larue says:

        Iran/Contra? How about something more recent. Like the Iraqi Commission?

        I remain completely doubtful and skeptical until proven different.

  11. bobschacht says:

    The time for a truth and reconciliation commission is when the statute of limitations has passed. Then the scope of the T&RComm should be restricted to actions and behaviors for which the SoL has passed.

    And as I understand it, there is no SoL for war crimes, right?

    It is important NOT to have T&RComs for crimes that can still be prosecuted. Otherwise we have a two-tiered system of justice.

    The principle that no one is above the law must be respected!

    Bob in HI

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      And as I understand it, there is no SoL for war crimes, right?

      That’s my understanding. But I don’t have any citations to specific international legal codes to support it.

  12. Leen says:

    More to investigate

    More par for the course Bush administration activities. Revolving door politics. A new 35 million dollar contract for KBR
    25 billion for Halliburton in the last five years.

    http://www.democracynow.org/20…..s_army_how
    Pratap Chatterjee on “Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War”

    Despite a storm of controversy involving allegations of bribery and wrongful death, the military contractor KBR has been awarded a new $35 million contract for electrical work in Iraq. We speak to award-winning investigative journalist Pratap Chatterjee, author of the new book Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War. [include

    • Leen says:

      “AMY GOODMAN: Pratap Chatterjee, we just have two minutes, and I want to go to that top story, reading the introduction, how it was just awarded KBR $35 million for electrical work, despite the fact that it’s under criminal investigation for the deaths of at least two Americans, and separately, the US government has just charged KBR with criminal bribery charges for promising and paying tens of millions of dollars to Nigerian officials in exchange for lucrative contracts. Explain both of those quickly.”

  13. Mary says:

    18 – I’d respect Levin more if he had not been a co-sponsor of the habeas suspensions in the DTA; if he had joined with Dodd to fight the MCA; if he had ever ever ever ever ever once mentioned that we sent innocent people to GITMO, etc.

    26 – I don’t know how you get to Addington and Yoo fessing up to what they did just bc someone holds a commission. The guilty aren’t going to ante up and in particular they are not going to tell the truth. A commission won’t somehow extort truth from them and the American public isn’t going to get from the commission anything more than they get from the media right now, “balanced” commentary from Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham and Tom Delay. Uh huh. Watching that process be manipulated would be the absolute worst for the country IMO. They can’t pull that off with the prosecutions to the same extent that they can in the propagandizing of a commission that will undoubtedly take place. So there will be no education, just more discussion of ticking time bombs and episodes of 24.

    I do kind of think Rice’s “admission” to the 9/11 commission was a small thing. Where has been the adverse consequence to her? She has stayed on through 2 terms and is now a highly sought after speaker.

    • kspena says:

      IANAL-but I think I remember that in the South Africa truth commissions that a person could receive immunity if they told the truth and the whole truth; otherwise they could count on being prosecuted. That’s why so many came forward. Do you remember?

      • waynec says:

        IANAL-but I think I remember that in the South Africa truth commissions that a person could receive immunity if they told the truth and the whole truth; otherwise they could count on being prosecuted. That’s why so many came forward. Do you remember?

        And, just WHO is to say what the TRUTH is?

  14. oldtree says:

    there will be submissions, reports, analysis, revisions, edits, rejections, resubmissions and re-analysis and another 9 hundred eleven truth squad. As we know, that “squad” wasn’t even presented with the facts. The Warren commission would have been so proud. This time both can be proud of their patronage to the little ones.
    We keep expecting our government to do something to restore our trust. Haven’t we lost our trust after 8 years of no filibuster on the road to Poland?

  15. Leen says:

    A Cnn reporter just asked Obama if he would roll back the restrictions for journalist and photographers covering the returning caskets from Afghanistan and Iraq so the American public could witness the “real cost of war”

  16. Mary says:

    I don’t remember that there were lots of prosecutions and I don’t know how they could always tell if the “whole” truth was being told. And that was with pretty much out in the open activities, almost all concentrated in the nation state with witnesses available in the nation state.

    That’s not going to be the case here – there has already been evidence destruction out the wazoo, people who have been anticipating trials for years getting stories straight and — destroying more evidence. We have witnesses all over the world, from cultures we don’t understand speaking languages we don’t follow and, the big and, the reason we would be getting a commission would be bc of a decision not to prosecute. Did anyone see Rove going to jail for his fibs? And that was with a legal proceeding and a prosecutor.

    A commission appointed by competing politcal interests with competing agendas and some guys like Cheney playing hardball and nothing will ever be accomplished.

    We’ve had numerous cases now, stretching over a period of years, where detainees at GITMO in US based legal proceedings have been found to have NEVER BEEN illegal enemy combatants. Have you, even with that, seen the nation suddenly in outrage or have you even heard of one Dem ever taking to the media to acknowledge we committed war crimes against innocent people at GITMO?

    I’m not optimisitic that you wouldn’t have, not a blue ribbon panel, but a politicized propaganda tool. And I don’t think you would begin to have what you need on really getting to the truth. But ymmv.

  17. FrankProbst says:

    I’m really not sure how a truth and reconciliation commission would work. We’re talking about war crimes and blatant treaty violations here. Do we even have the authority to offer immunity here? It seems like it would be like a state official offering immunity for a federal crime–there are serious jurisdiction issues here, aren’t there?

  18. Leen says:

    Helen Thomas just asked Obama “if he knows any countries in the middle east who have nuclear weapons?

    Obama just said “I don’t want to speculate” A cowards answer

    Helen is back. Love that woman

    • FrankProbst says:

      Helen Thomas just asked Obama “if he knows any countries in the middle east who have nuclear weapons?”
      —–
      Israel?

      • Leen says:

        That middle east arms race started when Israel started building Dimona. The last President to push for inspections in Israel was Kennedy

        And tomorrow Israel may go further to the right (wrong)

  19. bmaz says:

    Well, I believe we have the answer. Sam Stein of HuffPo just asked Obama about Leahy’s proposal. He pretty much ducked the specifics, but then went on to forcefully convey that he is not interested in the past, but, instead, feels:

    “Let’s get it right moving forward”.

    What a pathetic pile of crap; just totally blowing off everything this country is supposed to stand for. It is a contemptible answer. Pathetic and thin gruel from the so called Constitutional expert. What a freaking joke.

    • Curious says:

      He also said no one was above the law and those should be prosecuted as any would any ordinary citizen… I think he tried to strike a middle ground — not a yes/no answer like Bush would have stated as if he, himself was he law. Let’s hope the system forces the issue.

      • bmaz says:

        No disrespect, but you have got to be kidding. After today’s little performance in the Ninth Circuit, that belief is a joke. There is no longer the ability to say “let’s wait for the evidence”. We have it.

        • Curious says:

          Well, I was disappointed for us when I read your post this afternoon about the Ninth Circuit and I wish the corrective actions would come quicker or arrive at all. I’m not giving up yet — Bush Co. left us many battle fronts.

          All the evidence that I have seen on firedoglake over the past 4 or so years happened slowly and constantly over time. I know we have the evidence. I have been crushed for hours and hours and depressed about the inability of citizens to make a difference (or maybe it would be worse without our efforts). I know remedies are a long shot, but it’s not over yet.

          • bmaz says:

            In fairness, that is where there may be hope. Unlike Bush, I do think Obama is subject to having his mind and perspective changed by rational argument, but only if coupled by forceful public opinion. If the majority of the citizenry could be rallied to be vocal, it really could have an effect. And I do think the majority want the law upheld; but they get confused and diluted by all the coverup mechanisms at play out there. The trick is to generate the outcry.

            • Curious says:

              I agree and I do think people will wake up and pay attention. I recently read a review of Democracy Inc. by Sheldon Wolin. Please read this: http://www.alternet.org/democracy/85728/ — I think he shows some of the pitfalls of how citizenry is divided to be inactive. I am sure some of you are clever enough about strategy to mobilize us into more and more action. Today, I thought about FDL sending Marcy and others to press conferences to ask quality questions of Obama — someone more on his level — the WH Press Corp is weak from the dumbing down of the past 8 years.

              Could we all ask Obama or his press secretary to take 3-5 questions of bloggers who have a following of x-number of readers at each press conference? Obama is good at talking in a manner to educate and I believe that will help the public over time.

              • bmaz says:

                Well, a blogger, Sam Stein, was the one tonight who asked the question about Leahy’s T&R Commission idea. As he was asking it, I kind of cringed, because I knew Obama would punt by saying he wasn’t familiar with the proposal. And he did just that; but lo and behold, he kept going and gave the most depressing answer imaginable. That was what I related @52 above.

                The good news is that a bloggy kind of guy was there, got called on and asked a question that elicited a very useful response. The bad news is that answer was hideous.

                • pdaly says:

                  I was surprised to hear the question on live TV. Glad Stein was called on. Such a question should be repeated at every news conference until Obam’s answer changes to something resembling the answer of an American President supporting the US Constitution and the tenets of rule of law.

                  I knew that Helen Thomas was asking Obama to name ‘Israel’ with her question, but I didn’t get a sense of where she was going with the answer. Hope she writes about it.

              • waynec says:

                We keep talking about the people finally rising up and finally showing their outrage.

                They have been asleep for at least the last 8 years. Why wake up and rock the boat now?
                Anyone know where to find Rumplestiltskin?

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Bmaz, I think very highly of your views, perspectives, background info, etc.
          I even overlook your tragic flaw: you remain a Sun Devils fan.

          I don’t view this as the final act; not by any means.
          The world is too small.
          The consequences for what Cheney, Bush, Addington did are now far, far to enormous for their criminal conduct to be ignored. Look at the fact that quietly, out of the limelight, attys have resigned from Gitmo. Attys have resigned from the military.

          I think we’re watching things play out slowly.
          I suspect this is the slow, first trumpet before the show begins.

          But I also believe that sojourner is correct in pointing out that there needs to be a comprehensive review of how all this happened. That would not, could not be achieved with litigation alone.

          I think this approach is masterful.

          Final question — there was a ‘Sealed v Sealed’ document at the end of Plame, or so I thought.
          Is it in any way possible that someone (say, GWBush) has actually been charged with a felony, and he would know it, but the charge has not been made public? Is that legally possible?

          Because I still can’t quite sort out why GWBush did not offer pardons at the 11th hour. Although Wm Ockham gave a very reasonable explanation: Bush didn’t think he’d done anything wrong (and pardons would have implied guilty), is it possible to be charged with a crime but not have the public notified…?

  20. Mary says:

    52 – so, as long as that CIA Station Director from Algeria promsise no more rapes, lets forget the old ones, ‘kay?

    I think Obama spends so much time dealing with REpublicans and what they want that he ends up with a skewed view of how stupid and childlike the rest of the nation is(not).

    • phred says:

      I don’t know what your so worked up about Mary, in the Village, rape is just another impropriety…

      “I can assure you that the agency would take seriously and follow up any allegations of impropriety,” CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said.

      Maybe someone needs to send Mr. Mansfield a dictionary to brush up on the subtle distinctions between violent felonies and “a failure to observe standards or show due honesty or modesty; improper language, behavior, or character” (courtesy Oxford American Dictionary).

  21. bmaz says:

    I think this approach is masterful.

    Leahy’s? without the teeth of possible prosecution, I see little hope for any teeth to this proposal. You really think that people are going to ante up and spill the goods? I don’t. The ones that would be willing already are, and not diddly squat is happening. I can see no hope whatsoever that anything resembling an effective board could result. It would be watered down, bi-partisan horse manure. Keep in mind that there is a good likelihood that actual cover could result instead of accountability from this type of toothless bunk

    Final question — there was a ‘Sealed v Sealed’ document at the end of Plame, or so I thought.
    Is it in any way possible that someone (say, GWBush) has actually been charged with a felony, and he would know it, but the charge has not been made public? Is that legally possible?

    It is my belief that the vaunted “Sealed v. Sealed” was something either entirely unrelated to Libby, or so tangentially related as to be of no moment. Yes sealed indictments happen all the time. Is there any chance Bush is the subject of such a sealed indictment? No.

    Because I still can’t quite sort out why GWBush did not offer pardons at the 11th hour. Although Wm Ockham gave a very reasonable explanation: Bush didn’t think he’d done anything wrong (and pardons would have implied guilty), is it possible to be charged with a crime but not have the public notified…?

    You are watching why Bush didn’t issue blanket pardons en masse. He didn’t need to; Obama isn’t going to do squat. The fix is in. Always has been.

    Lastly, well, yes, I remain a Sun Devil’s fan; but am avidly pro Pac-10, including the Cougs. Can’t be all bad, can I?

  22. Mary says:

    59 – IIRC, the only thing that really got anyone into big trouble was when the dog handlers at GITMO started using their dogs to like peanut butter off of breasts and other anatomical parts.

    Poor dogs, but still – you’d think genital razoring and child disappearances would at least rank on the next rung?

    Oh well, let’s all keep looking forward, that’s the best way to not see the knife heading for your back.

  23. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    You really think that people are going to ante up and spill the goods?

    No, I don’t.
    I think they’re going to lie outright. Why not? They’ve been doing it for years.
    I also think they’ve destroyed evidence.
    And it doesn’t bother them one bit.

    I think everyone who’s fed up with the Senate is totally on target.
    If I thought that this were the final phase of the process, I’d be livid. And actually, I agree that the fix is in. I think that Congress has been a bunch of weenies and I don’t think they’re used to standing up for themselves, nor for the Constitution.

    I also think the Exec branch has grown so rapidly the past 30 years, and taken on so much responsibility, that it’s become a government unto itself. And Cheney showed that in spades (to the 12th power).

    But **IF** I were going after Cheney, the last thing that I’d do is announce it out right.
    First, I’d do some T&R process.
    And I’d count on all the people inside DoD and DoJ to turn the heat up to boiling very, very, very slowly.

    And no, you can’t be all bad if you’re a Pac-10 fan.

  24. kspena says:

    I’m wondering if the anti-American sentiment around with world will continue to cause other nations not to cooperate with US until US does conduct transparent investigations and prosecutions of the war crimes of bush administration to ‘restore’ our reputation. It seems that key countries are increasingly turning to Russia and China for alliances, investments, and services. Maybe it will become strategic for ‘national security’ to make things right. For example, look at the pickle we’re in with our supply lines to Afganistan.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I’m wondering if the anti-American sentiment around with world will continue to cause other nations not to cooperate with US until US does conduct transparent investigations and prosecutions of the war crimes of bush administration to ‘restore’ our reputation. It seems that key countries are increasingly turning to Russia and China for alliances, investments, and services. Maybe it will become strategic for ‘national security’ to make things right. For example, look at the pickle we’re in with our supply lines to Afganistan.

      I really think so.
      And look at the (frightful, mind-boggling) fires in Australia after a 12 year drought.
      And the Aussie PM, Rudd, was elected in part because of his admissions of global warming and his focus on the need to address the environment (which dovetails with EW’s previous post on the new NSC Director’s speech).
      Who is most disliked b/c of Global Warming? The US and the Saudis.
      Who are the US politicians most associated with Global Warming, Big Oil, and environmental havoc? Bush and Cheney.

      I think there are factors that can put pressure on a T&R Commission.
      And I think kspena’s right on the money on some very significant pressures that will factor in.

  25. Jkat says:

    that pickle at the old kyber pass has been the bane of every foreign occupier of afghanistan since forever .. and it’s going to give us fits trying to supply any sizable force strictly by air…

    but back OT .. we need to get cheney and bush hung.. this latest bullshit about slicing on prisoners genitals with a scapel is just beyond the pale .. totally inexcusable .. indefensible … there’s NO WAY a civilized people can let the perps of such acts walk away scot-free … not in MY America ..

    pleeze lawd .. make it so ..

    • bobschacht says:

      pleeze lawd .. make it so ..

      Um, somewhere I heerd dat de lawd he’ps dos what he’ps demselves.
      So, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

      *g*

      Bob in HI

  26. kspena says:

    Also, I’m also hoping that Obama alters his course of action as he learns things. For example, on a different matter, Obama keeps saying, as do the neocon types in general, that Iran supports Hamas. Trita Parsi (and some other ME scholars) has said many times that they do not. The support for Hamas is primarily Arab and Saudi in particular…

  27. Jkat says:

    here’s what i hope conyers and leahey really believe .. that during the outing of the truth of what has been done in our name we will ..as a nation of people essentially grounded in the rules of fair play .. become really really more-than-disgusted with what bush-cheney-et-al have done under the giuse of “enhanced interrogations” and pick up our pitchforks and go hunt the varmits down …

    a lynchin’ is too good for the bunch of torturin’ scumbags …

  28. randiego says:

    off topic, but I loved the job Rachel did with Nelson. She really made him defend the compromises that he engineered. More like that, please.

  29. JohnJ says:

    BMAZ,
    Wasn’t that “Queen for a day” a form of T & R? (Immunity if you tell us EVERYTHING you know. Hold back anything and away you go, for those unfamiliar with the anti mob tactic.)

    I can see this working on someone like the unemployed Gonzo, which would nail the whole rest of the gang. Even someone lower lever would know enough to effectively nail the rest.

    Can you see the big dick actually getting immunity after that, the same way? The big guys would never go for it and therefore not be offered immunity.

    Sounds like a win-win if it was done right. Worked against the amateur mob, didn’t it?

    • bmaz says:

      John, it will never, ever “be done right”. I understand all the longing for justice, and the need to hold out hope, but to the best of my sensibilities, there is damn little. A true T&R commission structure is something that is generally done after there has been a complete collapse of a way of life or government. That has, despite all the hell, not happened here. Our structures of government, especially justice, have been invaded and weakened, but they are still in place. Think about all the different omnipotent type of commissions you can and find the ones that have not been semi-political creatures. Any commission here would have to be “bi-partisan” and that immediately dilutes any force. Furthermore I am convinced that the Obama Administration is so determined NOT to go after the Bushies that I think this just gives them cover.

      It sounds good in the theoretical, but it is darn pitiful compared to what ought to be occurring. I see little hope for any accountabiity; perhaps a smidgen of truth.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        A true T&R commission structure is something that is generally done after there has been a complete collapse of a way of life or government. That has, despite all the hell, not happened here. Our structures of government, especially justice, have been invaded and weakened, but they are still in place.

        Read randiego’s link and reconsider.
        And wow, check out the links from that DKos diary.

        Paging masaccio…!

        • bmaz says:

          Well shit, if it is on a DKos diary, it must be the gospel!!! I stand corrected. Eh, or not. And what does that have to do with a half assed T&R commission??

  30. freepatriot says:

    here’s a thought on the repuglitards’ claim that FDR’s policies didn’t help end the depression

    FDR led American thru a depression and WW II victoriously

    george bush led us thru two wars and IN TO A DEPRESSION

    so that’s the difference between george and FDR

    nuff said …

  31. plunger says:

    “W, we have a problem!

    Apparently a steel-frame sky scraper can burn entirely, from top to bottom, and the remaining super structure will not collapse.

    How are the NIST findings on the Twin Towers and Building 7 going to hold up against pictures like this?”

    Dick

    http://blogs.wsj.com/chinajour…..lenews_wsj

  32. Leen says:

    Reader of Tea Leaves…your views give me hope
    @ 50,57 and 64. Was able to sit it on the Libby Trial for a week or so and the Sealed vs. Sealed sure had me sitting on hope’s edge.

    Cheney’s, Wolfowitz etc illegal actions from the past and their ability to slip back into controlling the levers seems to be mostly destructive. Amazing that Cheney can head up the outing of Plame and then not only walk but come out 2 weeks after Obama takes office and continue to seriously undermine.

    [email protected]
    “But **IF** I were going after Cheney, the last thing that I’d do is announce it out right.
    First, I’d do some T&R process.
    And I’d count on all the people inside DoD and DoJ to turn the heat up to boiling very, very, very slowly.”

    Keeping the hope for justice (not vengeance) alive!

  33. Mary says:

    Well, here’s the “truth” that I think you get to either right now from the get go, or after a lengthy Truth and recon proceeding IF it hasn’t been politicized out the wazoo –

    The truth is that people committed crimes under the umbrella protection that if the President as CIC authorized the crimes, they were reborn as legal. We either “reconcile” that this is true in America, that Nixon had it right – or we reconcile that false truth with reality by putting Presidential criminals in jail

    Maybe that’s too black and white, but I don’t see what else happens and I don’t see how a commission process is anything but an opportunity to have Fieldings and Rivkins put on for political appeasement and watch them sabotage the nation further.

    • lllphd says:

      such a commission would have a powerful effect on public opinion. what happens next will depend considerably on where that opinion is once the truth starts coming out.

      having watched the watergate hearings like a damn soap opera every single night, i can tell you that public opinion against nixon as NOT negative prior to those days. even after the wapo stories were coming out. it was not until those hearings were televised and individuals were forced before congress that opinions turned.

      and things are different now. there are likely more out there who feel bush and his cohorts committed crimes than felt nixon did, but it’s more mixed on what to do about it. once the truths come out about how egregious the crimes were, those numbers will also change. and (and this is crucial) the media will be forced to face just how bad it is, and will be forced to shift their reporting stance, which will also have an effect on public opinion.

      so i agree; it’s just not so black and white. we here have been following this nightmare like hawks, from an angle that takes in a much broader scope and sees far more details than the bulk of the country that scurries around like sparrows scrubbing for the few seeds right in front of their faces.

      (that was unkind; sometimes i long for that kind of myopic unawareness of these larger issues; ignorance is bliss, i suppose. but you get the picture.)

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly what I have been trying to convey. Unless done under circumstances and frameworks that would simply be impossible to envision here, it is nothing but an invitation to obfuscate and obscure.

  34. lllphd says:

    bmaz, i know i’ll never convince you of this, but obama’s avoidance of a strong stand on the prosecution of bush makes perfect sense to me.

    first of all, as president it would be so untoward of him to make bellicose noises about his predecesor. i know i know, how can we be polite with these bastards, but it would stretch a boundary that could backfire badly in the future. he is being circumspect, and that’s appropriate.

    second, but along those lines, the extent to which he takes a strong and bold stand, he will meet with equal resistance from the other side. i know this issue is so important – it is to me, too – but it is not the only issue on this man’s plate. if he truly wishes to get anything done at all, especially on these other issues like the economy, he’ll need to reach across the aisle. and given just how divided this country is right now, worse than i’ve ever seen it and i survived assassinations and kent state and riots and nixon, the efforts toward unification are exceedingly important.

    finally, at least for now, there is the strategic angle on all this. it makes no sense to me that showing your intentions to a criminal is particularly wise. it makes more sense from a prosecutorial stance that you’d kind of let off the heat and allow these creeps to relax too much and make some big mistakes. such as rove has done and apparently cheney is planning to do with writing a new book (presumably to rewrite history, which also presumes he’d have to lie a lot, and there you have it). i also see a benefit with obama playing the good cop while congress makes more noise and keeps them nervous.

    in other words, your insistence that obama take a heroic stand in this is consistence with your requirement of a noble leader, but it again lacks in nuance given this context and complex set of circumstances.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh yes, of course, it is always a good idea to coddle criminals, turn down the heat and be ultra respectful of them. You have got to be kidding me. He is either for defending the Constitution and rule of law or he isn’t. The truth of the matter is that he is NOT for these things, he is all about moving along. If that is hunky dory with you fine, I will respect that. But don’t give me this happy horse manure about some slow developing master plan of accountability; that is absurd.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        bmaz, lllphd is a psychologist, IIRC.

        there is the strategic angle on all this. it makes no sense to me that showing your intentions to a criminal is particularly wise. it makes more sense from a prosecutorial stance that you’d kind of let off the heat and allow these creeps to relax too much and make some big mistakes. such as rove has done and apparently cheney is planning to do with writing a new book (presumably to rewrite history

        I have seen good and decent people make mistakes because they were given bad information, or were deliberately set up for sabotage. (I’ve been there, and I’m guessing that most have also had some kind of experience like this, larger or smaller.) The people who make mistakes learn from them and are generally better, tougher, wiser. I think that characterises people who rise to the top of most professions.

        Then there are those, like Cheney and Rove, who appear to ‘game’ every system they encounter. They appear to have no qualms about screwing people over, but one thing that comes up again and again and again in narratives about both Rove and Cheney is that they ‘never leave fingerprints’.

        People are going to have to feel safe coming forward.
        There have to be a lot of them.
        So many, that Rove and Cheney’s threats can’t harm so great a number of people.
        Those people will feel safer, and they can each add their tiny bit to the larger mosaic.

        I’m with lllphd — people know that something is wrong, and public engagement is high.
        I also think that people really are looking to root out the people who caused this disaster, which is why linking Bush, Cheney, and their economic malfeasance into the larger story is critical for helping people make connections between oversight, budgets, ethics, and stability.

        This is a morality tale, and everyone who comments here sees some element of that aspect.
        But in order for that tale to be told, a process is going to have to be implemented that brings ‘common people’ forward and then has so many people, with so much information that can demolish Rove, Cheney, etc’s claims that the evidence becomes overwhelming.

        The kind of social change that needs to occur can only come from a long public process.
        I think Levin’s approach is frustrating because it requires time, but then as Pres. Obama said last night, ‘You can’t short-circuit your way to success.’

        It’s frustrating, but the outcomes promise to be far more robust in the end.

        • bmaz says:

          You are biting off on a bunch of mushy bunk. The absolute fastest way to insulate these mopes from the only thing they fear, prosecution, is to gin up some half assed freaking civil T&R commission populated by the usual blue ribbon committee suspects. And that is exactly where this bunk is headed. llphd may have been a psychologist for a long time, and that is admirable; I have worked in and around the criminal justice system for a long time, and that is applicable. There is a difference you know.

  35. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Hey, it’s not about DKos, it’s about that video clip ;-}
    How is it that all this venalty was funded via black budgets? How is it that BushCheney failed to keep the economic system safe from dangers like $5,000,000,000,000,000 (trillion?) moving out of the US via electronic withdrawals in the space of 5 hours??

    There should be some questions about their failure to secure the financial system from a scenario in which it could melt down in a period of 5 hours.

    Maybe the SJC should reserve a thread of questions for all witnesses that focuses on budgets, and on how payments were issued. Because how does Congress oversee anything that isn’t in a budget that they approve…? I can see that committee and staff pose security risks in some (or more) cases, but nevertheless, there’s surely a correlation between black ops, financial meltdown, and new laws running off the rails via Gitmo.

  36. 4jkb4ia says:

    Scott Horton seems to think that this can be overcome, but an obstacle to a truth commission would be protecting intelligence information. This would be the primary reason that Cheney would give for not talking to them. Addington and Yoo have been happily blabbing when subpoenaed or even asked by a journalist.

  37. JohnLopresti says:

    /vision

    “Truth and Reconciliation commission idea nixed in favor of unimmunized coordinated international prosecutions to take place in NY.”

    Foreign policy coup: An internationally respected currently 2-term US senator, as well as a senior multi-term member of the Democratic Party caucus in US House of Representatives this week have held a news conference announcing they have persuaded the majority party leaders in Algeria, Morocco, Poland, Syria, Spain, Scotland, England, Thailand, Egypt, and, lastly, Italy, to send unimmunized witnesses to a formally scheduled tribunal set to determine responsibility for modern acts of off-battlefield torture during response to terrorist incident in NY in 2001. See link. /endVision

  38. Leen says:

    I appreciate Senator Leahy picking up on Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s call quite some time ago for a commission. But do not want to forget about Kucinich’s efforts

    Congressman Kucinich Calls for a Truth Commission to Establish What Really Happened on 9/11

    * 9/11: The Truth Can Move Us Forward
    By Dennis J. Kucinich
    The Nation, Sept. 11, 2008
    http://www.organicconsumers.or….._14584.cfm

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