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Ear to the Ground

Bush Lawyers Likely in the Clear

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Posted on May 6, 2009
Yoo Heritage

Lawyers like UC Berkeley professor John Yoo will likely escape legal punishment for their roles in justifying waterboarding.

A Justice Department report suggests that the possibility of legal consequence for those who broke the law is steadily waning, as Bush administration lawyers who approved the torture-interrogation technique of waterboarding will likely escape prosecution. The laughable back-up plan for disciplinary action has fallen to possible punishment by the lawyer’s respective bar associations.

The Guardian:

The Bush administration lawyers who approved the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques are likely to escape criminal prosecution, according to a US justice department draft report.

The lawyers, at worst, face being referred to their bar associations for possible disciplinary action. This could result in a reprimand or even disbarment, ending any further legal career on the part of once high-flying government lawyers.

The justice department has been conducting an inquiry into the role of the lawyers who wrote the now infamous memos giving the go-ahead for the CIA to use waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and other techniques such as slamming detainees against false walls and prolonged sleep deprivation.

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By Nicholas Fortuna, April 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

I am sure any experienced lawyer like Nicholas Fortuna would not agree with the decision to let these lawyers escape legal punishment as it creates doubts in the legal framework of the nation and will definitely cause the people to lose confidence.

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By Capt. A., May 8, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Poppycock on stilts!  Moral turpitude abounds in the American system of jurisprudence.  The system is corrupt.  The American president, Obama, is a bobble head just like the dog in the back of a ’57 Chevy.  Will Americans ever learn?

The stink of the double standard is alive, well and growing in America.  Only the seriously addlepated would dare to argue otherwise… 

America is a good place ... to be from.

Capt. A.
Principality of Monaco

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By Folktruther, May 8, 2009 at 9:02 am Link to this comment

Obama will not prosecute torture because he only ‘abolished’ it in words. It is still being practiced in Iraqi and Afgan prisons and probably in other prisons around the world.  Obama abolished torture in the same way he abolished Gitmo and other arbitrary imprisonment.  And the same way he abolished secrecy.  Obama is continuing Bushite policies and until Progessives understand and accept this, despite their political denial, the sooner an viable alternative can be begun.

And I don’t know why everyone keeps parroting that the ” US is a nation of laws”.  Oppression can be instutionalized in laws just as well as can in arbitrary actions.  slavery was legal in the US.  Nazi Germany was a nation of laws.  this can make lawyers contented, but what the population needs is justice, not laws.  Social justice.  Not a continuation of the monstrous social and economic inequality of the American power structue.

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By palomin, May 8, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why are you printing that Guardian piece of shit?  It pretends to be reporting but it is really advocating (“on the sly”).  It’s trying to create the impression of inevitability.

If the Bush criminals are not indicted then Obama and Holder will themselves have to live the rest of their lives holed up in the U.S. to avoid their own arrest.  Even if they are CRIMINAL INSIDERS, and they may be, they need to keep this in mind.

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By Kanamachi, May 8, 2009 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

America likes to tell other nations that it is a nation of laws.
Now it is time to put up or shut up.
If after flouting international law regarding torture—laws that we have agreed to abide by—and flouting domestic laws and the Constitution were not enough, letting these officials go free will set the precedent for worse abuses in future. Americans need to understand that our democratic rights have to be protected and if we just give them away, like we did after 911, they will not come back without a fight. That is why those in the last administration have to be brought to account. If it gets messy, too bad! If it goes to the top of the smelly pile, too bad! If you and I are not above the law, why should these officials be? If Obama and his administration do nothing about this; shame on them too!

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By PatrickHenry, May 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Start with their disbarment.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 7, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

“Our grandfathers who fought in WWII must be turning over in their graves.  They died to protect us from the Nazis and we ended up becoming Nazis.

How did the Greatest Generation manage to spawn the Worst Generation?”LawlessoneM

Because the core rich were fascists and eugenicists and like what the Axis had to offer and would have joined their side if they had gotten their coup in 1934. Read Gore Vidal’s history, he wondered why the USA didn’t join the Axis. They had more in common than not. Both in a racist, financial an maybe even religious points of view.

That same rot is still with us and has been festering and growing. It sprang forth in 1980 and has been killing the republic ever since. The tumor is very large now. The patient is in a light blue code. Crash cart keeps it going but not on its own. Death is imminent.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, May 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

That’s because Barack Obama is a CRIMINAL INSIDER just like the rest of them.  If he wasn’t, he would uphold the law.

That’s because Eric Holder is a CRIMINAL INSIDER just like the rest of them.  If he wasn’t, he would uphold the law.

DELUDED, IGNORANT DEMOCRATS are the main problem here. They install criminal insiders, and then they believe they have accomplished something positive.  It’s pathetic.  Truly pathetic.

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By taikan, May 7, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

The fact that the OPR report only mentions referral of Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury to bar associations for disciplinary action and does not mention referral of any of them for criminal prosecution does not mean that prosecution has been ruled out.  The Office of Professional Responsibility’s jurisdiction is limited to matters involving violations of ethical rules applicable to DOJ employees generally and DOJ attorneys in particular.  Look to the Office of the Inspector General or the DOJ Criminal Division to determine whether DOJ is contemplating prosecution.

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By Lawlessone, May 7, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our grandfathers who fought in WWII must be turning over in their graves.  They died to protect us from the Nazis and we ended up becoming Nazis.

How did the Greatest Generation manage to spawn the Worst Generation?

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By hippie4ever, May 7, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Samosamo wrote:

“What happens in a system that deals with a commodity such as ‘money’ and there are very little or NO regulations or oversight or accountability?

The criminals come in and take over essentially and actually becoming the rulers of a country that allows this to happen.”

A very important point, and I’d add that one group has escaped complete detection throughout the financial meltdown: the mafia. Way back in the 1970s the mob was takings its wealth from its money-laundry operations and investing heavily in Corporate America. Many have probably read about the BofA’s early mafia connection (they were originally called the Bank of Italy) but apparently they and other megacorps are really mob-owned and mob-run. This is drug/gambling/entertainment income, folks, and amounts to many trillions of USD.

Gives a whole new spin on the problems we face, doesn’t it? These guys aren’t just “white-collar” criminals—some are violent organized mafia thugs. And they have bought themselves a POTUS and a Congress.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 7, 2009 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

I wonder just how deep the fascist rot has spread in our republic? How many more like Yoo in legal and Geithner in economics and in the military as well? Too many to say the least and this is how you lose a republic, by little increments. The death by a thousand cuts leads to hemototic blood loss and death. One paper cut hurts but a thousand such nicks can kill you. We are way down the line and the republic is tottering for the fall. When that happens those who follow the Shock Doctrine will be in the wings waiting to come out and build a new shiny empire on the ruins of that republic. It will be a leaner, meaner, caricature of what we know as America. Think a corporate Nazi paradise with no vestiges of the New Deal remains. All is gone but the corporate/theocratic militaristic gov’t/church/corporate nation-state. A political carillon without the human note within leaving it a soulless juggernaut against the human condition.

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By coloradokarl, May 7, 2009 at 3:27 am Link to this comment

This Guy is a prime example of what happens when a bookish cry-baby gets some power. Iraq was a prime example of what happens when a bunch of Draft Dodging Deferment Junkies get to “play War”. The kid you teased in junior High comes back to Kill Your Kids…........

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, May 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a slap in the face to any and all who have fought, bled and died for freedoms, justice, equality and the Constitution of this once great country!  I feel like an alien displaced into an nether world.  I keep hoping I will wake up from this bad dream.

Instead of reeling in our dirty and shamefully stained laundry we have run it up the mainmast as the new “Don’t tread on me” banner.  We are a tyrannous and self-righteous society whose moral compass has been deflected by the radioactive alloy of retribution and nationalism.  It has produced cancerous lesions in the flesh of our living Constitution. 

Mr. Obama, in the name of political expediency, you are imbuing a patina of a garish, sickening palor upon this once shining beacon of light.

Pack the wagons and head to higher ground.  The encroaching muck is about to overcome us.

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By Thomas O. Anderson, May 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

The architects who revived the Nazi blueprint will only be in the clear if the Hightowers, Goodmans, vanden Heuvels, Kuciniches, and other so-called “progressives” allow the Democratic leadership to get away with their lawlessness.

There must be a line in the sand.  If there’s no respect for American and international law, there should be no respect for the Colluder-in-Chief who allows the world criminals to roam free - and regroup to strike another day.

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By samosamo, May 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Anything from reagan’s term until now, fully deserves investigation. To just pass any of it off as ‘doing business’, relegates what may have at one time been an honest attempt to govern for the people, to a almost total switch to governing by any and all illegal and crooked means.

This will definitely cause history to repeat itself to the point of there not ever being an honest way of governing again.

This was the true meaning of w & dick’s statement just after 9/11: “This changes everything”.

Two things stick out as the precursor to this situation and those are the crooked way the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed setting up a ‘private’ corporation, with little or no accountability or oversight from congress, to handle this country’s economy or money being based on debt and the passage of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 which allowed not just the gathering of intelligence but also allowed this new agency to intervene in certain situations, here or abroad, and that there was no accounting for funding or accountability(no oversight).

One of the worse parts of creating either of this institutions with little or no oversight was that both were perfect examples of the milton friedman’s ‘unfettered’ way of conducting ‘business’.

What happens in a system that deals with a commodity such as ‘money’ and there are very little or NO regulations or oversight or accountability?

The criminals come in and take over essentially and actually becoming the rulers of a country that allows this to happen.

It would a lot easier to repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 than to repeal the Central Intelligency Act of 1949, and what happened to JFK is proof of that.

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By Paolo, May 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Is it really true that we’re having a discussion in America about whether or not torture is allowable? Are we really getting into all the various techniques: water-boarding (a Soviet favorite), sleep deprivation (another Soviet favorite), and locking prisoners in confined areas with bugs (yet another Soviet favorite)?

It used to be that civilized countries did not have such discussions. As Justin Raimondo points out recently at, you might as well debate the various merits of infanticide and eating the dead.

We didn’t defeat the Soviet Union. We are becoming them.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, May 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

None of these shyster lawyers who created the “legal” rationale to get around torture will be prosecuted, much less disbarred.  The political and legal class in this declining nation will protect itself at any and all costs.  So the Europeans have to do it.  Not that it would mean anything to us or the increasingly cowardly and corrupt Obama administration.  They need to do it to set an example for themselves, on the chance a European version of George W. Bush comes to power somewhere on the continent.

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By Spiritgirl, May 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

The lawyers that “justified” the torture of prisoners may not face prosecution in this country, but they just might have to face the International Community.  Torture is a crime against humanity, and the President takes the oath of office - “ uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States…” - which does not condone the use of torture! One can only hope that the least that could happen to the lawyers is to be disbarred, an as for the ex-Pres and his hatchetmen - jail-time is appropriate!

After the lies and deception that got this country involved with Iraq (1)this nation doesn’t have any standing as far as the international community, (2)how can this nation talk about the abuses of the leaders of other countries, when we fail to hold those that authorized these crimes to go unchecked!?!?

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By hippie4ever, May 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, there are more than a few fascists in the United States. Probably half the population is brainwashed via social control e.g., the media, public education, Christianity. “Butt ignorant and stupid,” as my crusty grandmother used to say.

Obama is a huge disappointment, too little too late, and anyway, it’s doom alone that counts, as a well-known songsmith wrote a few years back.

The good news: the United States has lost forever its role as moral beacon to the world, a position it truly never deserved. Better to leave democracy and liberty to nations that practice it, like Spain, France, modern Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Holland. They certainly see Obama for what he is: an insincere apologist for war crimes and torture.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 6, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

I smell a fascist in the USA and it is Obama and company carrying on the bad fight to maintain the evil in the land. I wish it wasn’t true but there are the results in real time.

Question: will the Justice Department go ahead anyway?

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By tropicgirl, May 6, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

First of all, no one EVER agreed that these were the only persons to be accused and tried. So just dismissing these three is not going to stop potential arrests. They will just go up the chain, and down.

Secondly, the branch of the Justice Department that issued this report was the ETHICS department, a totally different branch than the arm that prosecutes. So, in a way this report was expected, and is irrelevent.

We also find out that Bybee issued his “report” in order to receive a judgeship at the request of Gonazales, who most likely will eventually be prosecuted.

And most importantly, we are also finding out that a good portion of the torture was done on military bases, and on persons, where there were no interrogations warranted or ever done. They were just tortured.

If they won’t prosecute these men, then we have the entire up and down the chain to prosecute. So if anyone thinks this is the end, its only the beginning. There is MUCH to prosecute. They might have gotten a little slack if they DID allow these guys to be prosecuted. Bad move.

The movie about the trial at Nuremburg was not really about the torturers. Central figures in the film are judges, lawyers and the lawmaker enablers. This is not being lost on most of us.

And, if we do not prosecute, Europe will. They MUST. They have no choice. And guess where the American people will side? That will be most embarrassing, and rightly so.

And, if we don’t prosecute and Europe does, then it leaves the Obama administration open for legal consequences for NOT prosecuting torture. We can prove that it is still going on also. I wouldn’t to be in Obama’s shoes at that point.

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By Purple Girl, May 6, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

Turn over Torture,Black Sites and Rendition to the International Community for Prosecutions. The Bushies rendered our system of Justice, the office of the presidency, congress and the military partial, if not complicite and thus culpable.
The only high crimes we have the right to pursue at this point is those which constitute Treason- Wiretapping, propaganda related to the invasion of Iraq,Abuse of Power..
we are allowing the Bushies to control the conversation with this debate over what constitutes torture- That has already been decided by the International Red Cross. the Bushies are working very hard to obscure the reality that the US has no jurisdiction over these charges of War crimes. There is no reason we should continue to afford them the irrelevant discussion, nor protection under our legal system (they prejudiced our system with those Briefs).
Lets be honest our form of Legal system is far more lenient and accomodating than most others. There is a good chance they will get off, or at least be sentenced to minimal time and in protective custody. Something far less likely if convicted elsewhere.
Why do you think the master of Shadows has been so visible and outspoken- after nearly 4 decades of living and operating under the cloak of secrecy. His not only hoping for prosecution here in the States- He’s begging for it.And if he can muddy the waters as to what defines ‘torture’ here he won’t ahve to face the concrete definition set by the international community. Futhermore, a mere guilty verdict on Torture may negate any further investigations into other crimes (like the Hit squad).and perhaps we will be satisfied enought not to look further into his dark past revealing more heinous or treasonous crimes(covert support of AQ & Saddam or the involvement in Iran Contra, which undermined a sitting Pres)
Obama’s release of documents and photos do not remain with in the realm of Domestic media- they are braodcated and available for international consumption too. That may be exactly the point of the releases.Who need witnesses for the prosecution when yu have such clear well documented and irrefuteable hard evidence.
honestly any invstigation conducted by Congress is a joke- there are far too many who failed their oversight responsiblities at the time (Derelcition of Duty) and a good number who were blatantly for a Special Prosecutor- it will always be claimed it was a political witch hunt regardless who they name.
The only way to Prove to ourselves and the Wrold we are a nation of Laws is to Recuse ourselves from the War crime Trials and provide any information and assistance requested, including expediting Extradiction.

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By Jim Yell, May 6, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The criminals should never be allowed to define what is a crime. The entire Bush Administration is guilty from the top to the bottom of crimes against humanity, crimes against the constitution (aka treason), crimes against the American People.

For them not to be taken to court and tried and where convicted to serve their punishment is to leave the country open to a return of these precursors of dictatorship. Why aren’t these people in Jail?

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