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Obama Stands Nuremberg on Its Head

Posted on Oct 6, 2016

By Mike Farrell

  Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg Trials. (Marion Doss / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Editor’s note: Each week, we will reprint an article from the Truthdig archives. The following column was first published on April 20, 2009.

President Obama’s decision to spare CIA torturers from prosecution stands the Nuremberg principles on their head. “Good Germans who were only following orders” are not exempt from the bar of justice. Individuals must be held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Justice Robert Jackson, chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, declared in his opening statement to the tribunal that the men charged “represent sinister influence that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust. They are living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence, and of the arrogance and cruelty of power.”

The arrogance and cruelty of CIA officers who torture and brutalize helpless prisoners are not expunged just because, as Obama said, they “carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice.” Attorney General Eric Holder says it’s “unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department,” but he fails to note these very CIA agents requested said authority in order to engage in what all but the most insidious parsing of legal thought recognizes as torture.

As Justice Jackson said, “ ... it was under the law of all civilized peoples a crime for one man with his bare knuckles to assault another.” When awakened, he said, “Plain people, with their earthly common sense, revolted at such fictions and legalisms so contrary to ethical principles. ... ” He declared to the world that “[c]ivilization can afford no compromise with the social forces which would gain renewed strength if we deal ambiguously or indecisively with the men in whom those forces now precariously survive.”

How we cheapen ourselves today. “Enhanced interrogation,” “coercive techniques” and “harsh treatment” pretend torture is not torture. By what moral or ethical standard does a rational person determine that smashing a shackled human being’s head into a wall is legal, let alone acceptable? It has been clear from before Nuremberg that the duty of the individual is to refuse to commit an illegal act, even if so ordered by one’s commanding authority. 

Yet, “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past,” says our president, missing the point entirely. As a constitutional scholar, he above all should understand that impunity for torturers gnaws at the wound of injustice and denies healing. 

As Jackson said, “Crimes always are committed only by persons. … The Charter [of the tribunal] recognizes that one who has committed criminal acts may not take refuge in superior orders nor in the doctrine that his crimes were acts of states.” “International Law,” he went on, “is more than a scholarly collection of abstract and immutable principles. It is an outgrowth of treaties and agreements between nations and of accepted customs. The law, so far as International Law can be decreed, had been clearly pronounced when these acts took place.”

The pressures on a new president are intense, of course, but for the Obama administration to demean justice based on what can only be understood as political calculus is deeply disheartening. At a minimum, one would hope that the price exacted from the “intelligence professionals” involved in this dehumanizing exercise would be immediate dismissal. 

And as for their superiors, we might look again to Jackson, who made clear at Nuremberg that he was not indicting a nation. Instead, he condemned a group that “was not put in power by a majority” and that “came to power by an evil alliance between the most extreme of the … revolutionists, the most unrestrained of the … reactionaries, and the most aggressive of the … militarists.” 

Were President Obama to say he would not prosecute those who committed torture under color of law but would instead proceed against those who authorized it, one might see the logic in his position. Absent consequences for either the authors or the perpetrators of this outrage, however, we are left with what was described in another context as “law without justice, inviting charges of hypocrisy and double standards.”

Mike Farrell, president of the board of Death Penalty Focus and co-chair emeritus of the Southern California Committee of Human Rights Watch, is the author of “Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist” and “Of Mule and Man.”

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By Trithoverlies, June 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment

President Obama stood Nurimburg on its ears not with a decission to not charge anyone with war crimes; but by believing in positavist Law, which would have and does believe that the men sentance in Nuremburg where wrongly convicted because they were only doing what their society had mandated from 1932-1945. He has put forth Nominees to the federal bench that believe in positavitic Law, and has even nominated such a judge to became the next Supreme Court Justice Judge Sotameyyer. So we have Judges that don’t believe in any foundational law code but one that is constantly changing. What’s wrong today will be right tomorrow this is what Pres. Obama believes, and this is what all of His nominees believe.
  Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
    John R. Bloxson Jr.
P.S. Shlomo it is talk like yours that lead to the holicaust. The Murder of 6 million Jews, 3 million slavs, and 1 million Gypsies, and to a white supremist going to the National Holicaust Memorial and begin shooting You have a very warpped view of truth it is like most people escewed by your hate filled sin nature so I wouldn’t talk that way when you can’t or wont recognize the truth. John 8:31-32;” So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word then you are truly disciples
of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” If you seek the truth from God through the Holy Spirit than you will know the truth not the warpped and hate filled chains of slavery to Satan.

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By Mark E. Smith, June 9, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

You’re the one who has been listening to the lies.

I lived in Afghanistan for almost five years and they are no more terrorists than we are. Actually a lot less since they don’t have torture as an official national policy and they don’t start wars of aggression against other countries.

We destroyed a secular country whose leader, Sadaam Hussein, was a good friend of the U.S. for many years. There was no objection to anything he did until he threatened to peg Iraqi oil to the Euro instead of to the dollar.

There are very few, if any, terrorists in the world that our CIA didn’t recruit, arm, train, fund, and command. If they later turned against us, we were the ones who recruited, armed, trained, funded, commanded, and then later abandoned them when they no longer served our purposes.

If you think Iraqis are free, go live there and enjoy the freedom we brought them. Most no longer have running water, electricity, or food, as they did under Sadaam, and are afraid to go outdoors for fear of being killed.

The United States has never had any moral authority, not back when it was committing genocide against Native Americans, not when it was importing slaves, not when it was invading other countries to get their resources, not when it was overthrowing or assassinating democratically elected leaders and replacing them with dictators, and certainly not when our government first allowed U.S. financiers to support Hitler during WWII and then smuggled Nazi war criminals into the U.S. under Operation Paperclip.

I find it interesting that you think Bush lied when he admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Why do you think he would lie about something like that? Do you know something that neither Bush nor any U.S. intelligence agency knew?

Those who think it is perfectly alright to commit crimes against humanity as long as it was done in accordance with official orders, are called fascists. It doesn’t matter if they’re Germans or Americans, Republicans or Democrats, they have no morals, ethics, or human decency, and no respect even for our Constitution, or laws, and our Military Code of Justice. One young man who faced a court martial recently for refusing to deploy to Iraq because he would not obey an illegal order, was fully acquitted. Wars of aggression are illegal. Crimes against humanity are illegal. People who commit them, whether they do so out of sheer evil or because they were ordered to do so, are war criminals and should be tried and, if convicted, punished.

To insist that those who commit the worst crimes there are should not be punished if they were ordered to do so by their Nazi or American superior officers, is total disrespect for the rule of law. 

The United States has violated and is continuing to violate the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva Conventions and many other international treaties. It is a rogue, fascist, outlaw, terrorist state.

Many had hoped that this might change under Obama and a Democratic Congress. That has not been the case. Obama and the Democrats, now that they have ALL the power, are continuing to support the neo-conservative agenda they used to call Republican and claim they were too weak to oppose. It wasn’t ever that they were too weak—most of them are war profiteers and base a large part of their personal fortunes on the traditional American genocide-for-profit industry.

There are no worse crimes than war crimes and there are no more evil people than those fascists who would initiate war crimes, perpetuate war crimes, order others to commit war crimes, or try to shield those guilty of war crimes from being brought to justice.

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By Trithoverlies, June 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

So by freeing 90,000,000 people from tyrants we are tyrants what bull. Yes some religious extremist were being kept at bay by Sadam, but the cost was 960,000 innocent lives lost so again it seems that you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. 40,000 extremist inprisoned tortured and killed, while 960,000 innocent were also inprisoned, tortured, and killed says this Tyrant had to be stopped no less so, then Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Gen. Deim of North Vietnam you sell others lives at much to cheap a price. The death of real Tyrants saves lives and Sadam was a real tyrant as is the Atollah, and Amahinajad of Iran, as is Kim Jung Ill of North Korea, Osama Ben Ladin, the leadership of Hezzbulah, and Hamas, Syria, Chad, Sudan, and the Thugs of Somalia. So go ahead talk about human rights what human rights did the 3000 who died on 911 have according to the extremist, the thousands killed in Mosque, marketplace,and Police station bombings by Hamas, Hezzbulah, AlQuada,the Wahab’s, and the Talahaban. We have developed a double standard where we hold our selves to too riggid a standard while giving the enemy too loose a standard three count them three men were waterboarded before it was stopped by Pres. Bush, 21 others were treated to the same interigation standards used by police against hardened criminals and if Terrorist aren’t hardened criminals of the worst kind what are they saints no. You want your cake and eat it to the problem is you want safty without the protection of the trained police forces you can’t have it you either go after the terrorist where ever they are, or bare your neck and repeat
“there is one god and Allah is his name and Mohamid is His prophet”, and that doesn’t give you a safe pass card because the Wahabs will target you, or the Shia’s, or the Tallahban, or Hamas, or Hezzbulah so where is the safty you want without paying a price nowhere.
    Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
      John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Trithoverlies, June 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Smith,
You have been listening to the conspericy idiots to long so I will never chang your mind it is closed to the truth and I have never dreamed of robbing a Bank and 90,000,000 people now have a chance to be free so again what is your beef with the United States because we aren’t lilly clean we should automatically apologize for having made some mistakes well I am sorry that I am Recovering Alcoholic who has been sober for 22 years but in my past have made some mistakes but that doesn’t stop me today from saying don’t drink. You take the first drink and your judgment is impaired so should I just sit back and say drink, knowing what I know No. So we as a nation have more often attempted a noble purpose have we a perfect record of course not. but we have not had any tyrants voted into office either: but our presidents are men prone to the same poor judgment you show in believing the consperacy bull, and I did for 15 years believing I could control my drinking. So we find oursevels at an impass, I can’t change your mind, but we can both agree to disagree and leave it at that.
    Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
      John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Anarcissie, June 7, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Mark E. Smith:
’... So you also disagree with the Nuremberg Principles? ...’

It does seem that a lot of people do these days, doesn’t it?  But as I tried to point out before, tu quoque is not only a fallacy, it admits the charge.

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By Mark E. Smith, June 6, 2009 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Bloxson: “Don’t listen to he idiots that claim consperacy theories based on stuppidity the engineers 99% agree that the buildings were brought down because of the excessive heat of Av Gas….”

No amount of excessive heat can cause tall buildings to collapse at free-fall speed. The experts agree the buildings came down due to controlled demolition caused by thermite.

“...and as for Obama he is a posotivistc law lawyer they really don’t believe that the people charged and found guilty at Nerumburg should have been found guilty they were just following the present dictates of their society of the 1930’s and early 40’s so this whole article is bolonga and so is almost all of Europe today they are ripe for a new Hitler as the last of those that lived through WWII are dying off now.”

So you also disagree with the Nuremberg Principles? It was okay for the Nazis to kill your relatives because they were just following orders, it was legal according to the laws of the time, and they should not have been brought to trial or punished? We don’t have to wait for Europe to have a new Hitler. We’ve had two of them already, Bush and Obama, both presiding over wars of aggression which are crimes against humanity and the worst war crimes there are.

Bloxson: “So who are the Europeans to judge America for any reason they have to many skeletons in their own closets and why should we apologize for anything to them…”

Yeah, Bloxson, somebody just robbed a bank, so now you can rob a bank and not have to apologize to anyone, right?

Bloxson: “...if there should be any apologizing it should be them for the killing of 480,000 Americans to save their butts during WWII plus the 180,000 we lost to save them from themselves in WWI so Our President has no right to apologize for anything to the Europeans…”

How about the fact that we brought Nazi war criminals to the United States under Operation Paper Clip and allowed them to formulate U.S. foreign policy which has now led to us committing the same types of crimes against humanity as the Nazis? Don’t you think we owe the Europeans an apology for that?

Bloxson: “...nor to the Muslim world WE stepped in to save Muslims by armming them in Afghanist…”

And after we armed them, which wasn’t to save them but to have them fight the Russians so that we could control the oil in THEIR country, they turned against us and the whole reason we’re spending trillions of dollars and losing American lives in Afghanistan is because WE created the problem in the first place.

Bloxson: “We stepped in to stop the Genocide in Serbia, and Bosneia, and we stepped into save Muslim Kuwait, and Muslim Afghanistan, and Iraq so what does the muslim world owe us not what do we owe them!”

Yeah, just like they said in Viet Nam, sometimes you have to destroy something to save it. Well, Bloxson, if something is DESTROYED, it isn’t SAVED.

We owe Iran for overthrowing their government and installing a dictator who was responsible for the TORTURE that we prefer as U.S. policy. We not only carry out torture, we have for decades installed and supported dictators all over the world who tortured their own people with our training at the School of Americas and at our command so that our multinational companies could exploit their resources.

Torture is torture whether it is done by Republicans or Democrats. Wars of aggression are crimes against humanity whether they are commanded by Democrats or Republicans. Fascism is fascism whether it is the policy of Republicans or of Democrats. Decent people support the Nuremberg Principles, fascists do not.

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By Trithoverlies, June 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Actualy sir you are only partially right yes he murdered some extremist but the 20 thousand women and children gassed by him were not extremist nor were most of those he murdered and or ordered murdered many wanted Democracy and the rights to speak out against tyrants so to say most were extremist is a cock and bull story. But I agree that we should not murderd 4 or 5 Hundred thousand and we haven’t so stop listening to the liars at the huffington post and on Daily Kos.  Don’t listen to he idiots that claim consperacy theories based on stuppidity the engineers 99% agree that the buildings were brought down because of the excessive heat of Av Gas and as for Obama he is a posotivistc law lawyer they really don’t believe that the people charged and found guilty at Nerumburg should have been found guilty they were just following the present dictates of their society of the 1930’s and early 40’s so this whole article is bolonga and so is almost all of Europe today they are ripe for a new Hitler as the last of those that lived through WWII are dying off now. So who are the Europeans to judge America for any reason they have to many skeletons in their own closets and why should we apologize for anything to them if there should be any apologizing it should be them for the killing of 480,000 Americans to save their butts during WWII plus the 180,000 we lost to save them from themselves in WWI so Our President has no right to apologize for anything to the Europeans, nor to the Muslim world WE stepped in to save Muslims by armming them in Afghanist, We stepped in to stop the Genocide in Serbia, and Bosneia, and we stepped into save Muslim Kuwait, and Muslim Afghanistan, and Iraq so what does the muslim world owe us not what do we owe them!
    Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
      John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Mark E. Smith, May 4, 2009 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

Awww….just because some genocidaire murders a few million people doesn’t mean we can too? Not fair!

Actually, many of the people Sadaam killed were Islamic extremists. Sadaam was a secularist and he kept Iraq from sectarian strife by clamping down on religious extremists. So prior to our invasion and occupation, there were no terrorists in Iraq. Nor were there any weapons of mass destruction (Sadaam had already used up the ones we gave him, with our permission).

So first we kill the guy who was keeping the religious extremists out of Iraq, then we invade Iraq, which divides the country up into various groups of religious extremists and attracts more religious extremists from other countries, and then we claim that we’re fighting religious extremists.

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By Anarcissie, May 4, 2009 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

Trithoverlies:
‘Number One The War in Iraq was justified because of the Murders of more than a Million people by the Sadam Ragime. ...’

Nope.  Tu quoque doesn’t get it.  A crime remains a crime even if the victim is also a criminal, and people in the Bush regime are patently guilty of every crime listed in Article 6.  The only question is who’s guilty of what.  That is what a proper trial would bring out.  In a just world they would be tried and, if and as found guilty, punished with appropriate severity.

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By Trithoverlies, May 4, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Number One The War in Iraq was justified because of the Murders of more than a Million people by the Sadam Ragime.
Number Two Any accusations of murders committed by our forces was investigated throughly and in most cases debunked and the few where it was proven that mis treatment occured or murder the Military personel involved were tried found guilty and sentenced.
Number Three deportation of prisoners, not innocent civillian and not whole ethnic groups.
Number Four Torture the waterboarding of several High level Al Queda leaders is the only real problem we come close and even it was limited and stopped by the Government.
Number Five Humiliation is only a crime to the prisoner. If it were a real crime than nearly half the American people would be in Prison because of bullying, and picking on others of any race, religion, Ethnic identity, or Sexual harasment, or Sexual Preference. Did we humiliate some prisoners yes was it ordered from the top NO it was Americans who have been taught in our schools, and by parents that morals were athing of the past. Did we place some prisoners in Lighted rooms, and keep waking them up yes did we actually keep any for extended periods with no sleep allowed. That would depend on your definition of extended periods 72 hours, 48 hrs, 24 hrs I believe the longest was 32 hrs and that was on one prisoner I will say that the Government does that each year to millions of taxpayers just before filing dead line April 15th. So maybe we should all charge the Federal Government with abuse, or illtreatment It is Illtreatment to Lock anyone up but lets look at what they considered illtreatment at Nuremberg (Starvation rations, slave labor, continued physical abuse, and with holding food for days as a form of torture. If we talk about witholding food for one or two meals every parent on this planet is guilty but the prisoners we have are fed according to their Dietary laws and well fed so that doesn’t wash. Forced to listen to loud obnoxious music well everytime I walk outside I hear evan with 50% hearing lose the obnoxious stuff blearing from Car speakers that could be a form of torture but if so than almost every twenty year old is torturing you and I daily so no I don’t think so.
Number Six Deportation for slave labor or due to Ethnic Identity NO wrong not Happening even in Israel. But China yes, North Korea Yes, Burma yes, Vietnam yes (the Mung people group) as an example, Chad (the Christians)  over 1 million murdered and a like number enslaved yes, Sudan (300,000 Christians) murdered and about 500,000 enslaved yes.  We don’t fit that bill either, so really where do we fit? We are at war with a movement that wears no uniform, and can be Middle Eastern, Oriental, Indo European, or African.
Number Seven Have we fought a war of wanton destruction NO. Were innocent civilians killed unfortunately a few. But when the Enemy sheilds himself behind children or civilians it is unfortunately inevatable that some civilians will die. As Sherman once said War is Hell.
Number Eight Were we in violation of International treaty’s No we were enforcing 18 U.N. Resolutions so there again wrong we didn’t even come close to violating Article Six of the Nuremberg Laws.
The only one we might have come close to it, is the waterboarding of two Al Queda Leaders
          Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
              John R Bloxson Jr

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By Anarcissie, April 28, 2009 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

Trithoverlies:
‘Nuremburg how do you by any stretch of the imagenation even equate the few incidents of waterboarding with the full blown evil of the Nazi’s. ...’

Torture is only one the the acts performed under the direction of Bush and Cheney which violates Article 6 of the charter of the Nuremberg trials.

Here is the text of the charter:


Article 6.
... The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:

(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtconst.asp#art6

In concocting the invasion and occupation of Iraq under false pretenses, Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld and so forth were clearly guilty of (a).  We know that forces under the direction of these people committed murders, kidnapings, torture, terror, unjust imprisonment, theft, wanton destruction and so on against both military personnel and civilians, thus violating parts (b) and (c).  The torture is just a small part of the aggregation of crimes.  I believe it is being emphasized so that the higher-ups will be able to escape judgement and punishment; most of the physically dirty work, although ordered from on high, was actually performed by low-ranking people who will now be the fall guys for the greater criminals.

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By firefly, April 28, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Trithoverlies,

Your devotion to your party makes you unable to see reason.

Of course what Bush did is not comparable to what the Nazis did, but that is only partly because his presidency ended and because fortunately, a growing number of Americans started to see the light and turn against his administration. Had Bush and Cheney hung on to power for the length of time that Hitler was in power, I imagine they were/are more than capable of committing the kind of atrocities that the Nazi’s did.

Hitler’s devoted followers were all effectively poisoned against Jews partly because Germany was suffering enormously from WW1 and they needed a scapegoat, and partly because Europe in general was teetering on the brink of two extreme ideologies – Communism and Fascism. Before WW2, Fascism seemed the better option, so Hitler started with a lot of support. Much of the Communist party in Germany was strongly supported by the Jewish community, so with the aid of a huge amount of anti-Semitic propaganda, those that were afraid of communism were also able to ‘blame’ Jews.

This kind of xenophobic hatred feeds on itself. Any one misdemeanour or ‘crime’ by the ‘enemy’ is used to justify mass execution of ‘ALL those evil people’.

Because of the media ban on deaths, most Americans have never seen the consequences of their government’s actions. Sure Daniel Pearl’s beheading was despicable, but if you could see the carnage, body limbs and destruction of indiscriminate men, women and children as a result of American bombs, who’s to say, that is any better?

The point here is not whether committing a crime is justified because someone else does it, but whether it is ever justified!!!! Hitler did not start off as a murderous dictator, he became one because he had the support of his followers in committing those crimes. War also enabled him to gain more support from ordinary Germans who would otherwise have never supported him (people always rally around their leaders when their country is under attack from other nations no matter how much they dislike their leaders – case in point: Hamas grew in popularity after Israel’s attacks and Ahmadinejad would also ‘gain’ support from his people - even those in strong opposition - if America decided to bomb Iran.)

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By Sleeper, April 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Its not about who can be the meanest.  I believe there have been some deaths of prisoners of War in some cases.  Two wrongs don’t make a right especially when the whole premis to the invasion of Iraq was cherry picked trumped up bits of intel.

I have to throw out the us them arguement.  What Bush did was not with my approval.  I was given a Combat Action Ribbon for my service to a nation and I took an oath to defend a Constitution and I have watched the Bush administration and a bunch of bought off polititians make a mockery of it all while they stuff the family coffers with the Blood Money.

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By Trithoverlies, April 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Nuremburg how do you by any stretch of the imagenation even equate the few incidents of waterboarding with the full blown evil of the Nazi’s. The Jews murdered in the death camps were not criminals but innocent men women and children, While what Shiek Muhammid did to Daniel Pearl berfore beheading him on the Internet, and what was done by the Talhiban to two lesbians in Pakistan, and what was done to Nicholas Berg before they beheaded him, and what was done by Al Qeada to 300 Iraq police cadets and officers that is torture. The Left says don’t try to get any imformation the Talhiban just tortures for the fun of it, or intimadation, and Al Qeada does it to send a message of fear and intimadation. But waterboarding on a very small number of Al Qeada leaders is not torture the harsh interrigation methods used by the C.I.A. in protecting us from these Terrorist Monsters does not evan compare. The comparrisions with the Nazi’s is pure rubbish and it is time to get past your hatred of everything thats Bush, and wake up to the reality that your great socialist movement is doomed to fell just as it is doing in Europe, Just as it is doing in South and Central America and Africa.  The photos of humiliating prisoners at Abu Grave is sad but it is not torture, if it was than arrest the presidents and members of every feternity and serority in America. stop all Military, Police,& Firemans training, and do away completely with prisons and jails.
        Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
          John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Sleeper, April 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

It seems that within the power players of both parties there are a large number that either voted to put these policies in place and for that are somewhat accomplisses and others who continue to take actions aimed at a cover up which is as much a crime as the original crimes themselves.

They all need to be held accountable or their assumed positions are illegitimate.  They themselves are null and void or any respect or legitimate power.

I have taken these oaths to The legitimate meaning of Protecting and Defending our Constitution and would thereby be disregarding this oath if I allowed weight to this treacherous group or their illegitimate laws.

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By Anarcissie, April 27, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Mark:
’“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency, to forgive them is cruelty”

M. Robespierre

I guess Obama wasn’t paying attention during History 101’

Or he was indeed paying attention and decided that revolutionary tyranny and a reign of bloody terror, followed by the brutal execution of the tyrant himself, was not to his taste.  I certainly hope so.

“C’est le sang de Danton qui t’etouffe”

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By firefly, April 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

DWIGHT BAKER,

You ask “There must be an evil so deep and so disguised that most of the American people got conned, how could that be?”

The answer is simply: fear-mongering. Lots and lots of xenophobic fear-mongering by right-wing talk show hosts, the right-wing media and the religious right.

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By Mark, April 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency, to forgive them is cruelty”

M. Robespierre

I guess Obama wasn’t paying attention during History 101

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By ThaddeusStephens, April 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

I can’t help but share something else I just discovered about bringing war criminals to trial-the Reichstag Fire Trial in Germany in 1933 after the icon of German Republicanism was heavily damaged by arson. The trial was a public propaganda forum for the Nazis who had not completely solidified their power, they successfully pinned the crime on an innocent, Marinus van der Lubbe-he was a communist sympathizer and this fact allowed the Nazis to completely discredit the Communists and eventually throw them out of the government. However, the staged public oratory allowed the rest of the world to peer in at Germany and on the world stage the Nazis actually lost much in the way of credibility.

So to my point-if the Obama presidency was to hold public trials, many trails of investigation would lead right back to the Obama Administration officials who have stood by while we descend into Hell. Here is a quote from my source of the day,  “The Reichstag Fire Trial, 1933–2008
The Production of Law and History” by Michael E. Tigar and John Mage. The whole article is worthy of deep study.

http://www.monthlyreview.org/090309tigar-mage.php

Causal explanations of the descent into the Nazi hell have been, of course, numerous. Some have emphasized ideas, as in the Isaiah Berlin thesis that traces a line of descent into Nazi barbarism starting with the rejection of enlightenment values in the German romantic nationalism of the early nineteenth century. Other explanations, which we prefer, emphasize the interests and actions of those who held the most power—the ruling class—in the society that produced the Third Reich. But what of the formidable German legal establishment, the Bar, the judiciary, and the globally esteemed jurists, those much honored theorists in their university chairs? While no sensible case can be made that gives any primary causal responsibility to the legal establishment, yet it is very clear that it (or if you prefer “the Law”) presented not the slightest obstacle. Nonetheless the German legal establishment was not irrelevant, it had a secondary but not unimportant role in the debacle. For the Nazis to lead the German nation into a war of aggression and into genocide required their hegemony, the tacit acceptance of the legitimacy of their acts—and of the dutiful observance to their demands—as the lawful rulers of the German state, even by many of those German citizens who disagreed with their policies. Resistance to the Nazis, however, required the quickest possible global recognition of their crimes and the threat they represented to all decent people in the entire world. For one moment in the early days of Nazi rule in Germany a public trial presented a focus in which the German courts provided the Nazis an opportunity to further their hegemony, and the potential to the global resistance of an opportunity to expose the Nazi crimes—the Reichstag Fire trial.

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

I’m not really comparing Bush to the Nazis, except in connection to the charter of the Nuremberg Trials, specifically Article 6:

The Tribunal established by the Agreement referred to Article 1 hereof for the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis countries shall have the power to try and punish persons who, acting in the interests of the European Axis countries, whether as individuals or as members of organizations, committed any of the following crimes.

The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual responsibility:

(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtconst.asp#art6

It seems to me that the Bush regime was responsible for crimes of all three types, especially the concoction of a war of aggression.  They need not be in any other respect at all like the Nazis; they would still be guilty of these specific crimes.

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By ThaddeusStephens, April 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

I find it interesting that there are a lot of comparisons with Nazi Germany and the war criminal trials (the Bush Admin =~Hitler and Co.)in recent American history.
John Rawls made one in a book published in 1994. The quote is lengthy but with Rawls, pondering each word often yields a high reward. Basically he asks us to consider if we take the equation of justice with fairness as being something we take seriously plus at the same time is justice part and parcel of everyday Democracy in America; and if answer no to either half of the equation, well, hello Nazi land.
————————-
A reasonably just and well-ordered democratic society might be possible, and . . . justice as fairness should have a special place among the political conceptions in its political and social world. . . [M]any are prepared to accept the conclusion that a just and well-ordered democratic society is not possible, and even regard it as obvious. Isn’t admitting it part of growing up, part of the inevitable loss of innocence? But is this conclusion one we can so easily accept?
    The answer we give to the question of whether a just democratic society is possible and can be stable for the right reasons affects our background thoughts and attitudes about the world as a whole. And it affects these thoughts and attitudes before we come to actual politics,
and limits or inspires how we take part in it. . .
  If we take for granted as common knowledge that a just and well-ordered democratic society is impossible, then the quality and tone of those attitudes will reflect that knowledge. A cause of the fall of Wiemar’s constitutional regime was that none of the traditional elites of Germany
supported its constitution or were willing to cooperate to make it work.  They no longer believed a decent liberal parliamentary regime was possible. Its time had past.

The regime fell first to a series of authoritarian cabinet governments from 1930 to 1932. When these were increasingly weakened by their lack of popular support, President Hindenburg was finally persuaded to turn to Hitler, who had such support and whom conservatives thought they could control.
~ John Rawls “Political Liberalism” pg. lx

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By Virginia777, April 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

“It is disgusting that the trolls are allowed to disrupt discussions…so that it is almost impossible for anyone to see the important posts.”

“But I guess that’s what they’re paid to do.”

Yep!! they are.

But never forget with Trolls, they are trying to shut you up, so don’t!

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena—As you note, the United States government isn’t going to try Bush and company.  And I don’t see any foreign power with the ability or will to do it.  So where are these war crimes trials going to come from?

The only possibility I can see is if the ruling class make some kind of major political error so that things get out of hand, and then decide to throw Bush and company to the wolves in order to quiesce the situation.  That seems a rather distant possibility at the moment.  Everything’s under control.  The working people have even submitted to a $7000 per capita charge to keep the rich in champagne and posh condos without anything more than some whining and grumbling.  I don’t think much short of divine intervention is going to get our war criminals into a court.

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By Sleeper, April 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Many Laws can be made and many have been struct down as unconstitutional when and if they are ever tested.  This may not be a favorable time to test these laws in the U.S., but is is always time to aid the light that shines in the darkness.

An oath to protect and defend the Constitution is required by all who serve in our Government.  Any law that seeks to unsurp this Constitution and the Right Guaranteed are profane and worthy of investigation.

This is basic and understandable by all.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, the song is a joke. I was a lifelong voter until I started researching our electoral system, which I did for several years, and which led me to start researching the Constitution, which led me to understand that the system was designed to keep power in the hands of the wealthy and away from the hands of the people.

When you dirty your hands in corruption, all you get is dirty hands.

Grandmother Earth does not want Cynthia McKinney to seek power within a corrupt system, particularly since McKinney has been part of that system and knows that it is totally corrupt. Grandmother Earth does not want anyone to vote for a system that has no other goal than to destroy the planet for profit.

I’m just a person, but if I was a god and I saw somebody acting in ways that harmed my creation, voting for people who harmed my creation, and heard that person praying for my forgiveness, I’d suggest they stop harming me before they asked me for anything.

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By cyrena, April 23, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie writes:

•  “If you look at the charter of the Nuremberg Trials, especially Article 6, you will see that there is no logical legal reason why Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, and a number of others should not be indicted, tried, and if found guilty punished very severely.  (Several senior Nazis were hanged for the crime of planning and carrying out wars of aggression.)  But nothing like this is going to happen.”

Anarcissie,

How and why are you so certain that “nothing like this is going to happen?”

I’ve been trying (with little progress I realize,  but I think it’s positive information, so I’ll keep it up) to help the effort along by making the very clear distinctions in the laws/procedures/protocols involved in prosecuting former heads of state for war crimes and other various DOMESTIC (US Constitution) and INTERNATIONAL/UNIVERSAL LAWS/CRIMES.

It appears from the comments here, that most folks don’t get the distinctions, and that’s unfortunate, because it leads to articles with misleading titles like this one. Obama (US President) setting Nuremberg (DISTINCTLY International/Universal Law, a component of the Geneva Conventions) on its head. It’s bullshit, and gets people even more confused, specifically those who know only enough to be dangerous.

I’m going to say again, that these are two distinctively separate legal systems, as any comparative law or other legal scholar would be aware of. This isn’t privileged information, it’s just that people who do their own ‘self-education’ sometimes miss these details. Obama however, DOES happen to be a legal scholar, so he DOES know.

Obama is a US President and he CAN should he choose to, order the Justice Department to prosecute those responsible for the ordering and carrying out of the crimes of TREASON (9/11) but it would mean he’d have to be willing to open another investigation into the events of 9/11, and that’s the part that isn’t likely to happen, at least not while we’re in the throes of socio-economic chaos.

HOWEVER, at the domestic/US Constitutional level, it will be very difficult (maybe not impossible, but difficult) to prosecute this gang because they have effectively IMMUNIZED THEMSELVES in the language of the MCA! They did this to protect themselves against prosecution by the next Administration. It is obvious from the comments here, that most US citizens are apparently unaware of the language of the Military Commissions Act. I HIGHLY recommend a full read of that legislation, specifically for those of you who don’t quite grasp the importance of that 2006 legislation, and why then Senator Barack Obama was so passionately OPPOSED to it.

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/5/3/6/7/p253677_index.html

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/154/2006/en/dom-AMR511542006en.html

Senator Barack Obama delivered this speech on the floor of the US Senate, in reaction to Senate passage of S. 3930, Military Commissions Act of 2006, which approved U.S. torture of detainees and strips Constitutional rights away from detainees.
Senator Obama decries the placement of politics over human rights, and condemns S. 3930. He states, “This is not how a serious Administration would approach the problem of terrorism.”

STATEMENT ON THE MILITARY COMMISSION LEGISLATION
September 28, 2006

Remarks by Senator Barack Obama
“I may have only been in this body for a short while, but I am not naive to the political considerations that go along with many of the decisions we make here.

The rest is at the link:
http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/ObamaTorture.htm

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By cyrena, April 23, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

2 of 2
What SO MANY people don’t seem to understand is that the former administration created legislation that the US Congress PASSED, basically giving themselves immunity for all of their crimes, based on the ‘war on terror’ they created. This legislation passed in 2006 (MCA) essentially made it ‘legal’ for these people to get away with these crimes, and RETROACTIVELY AT THAT!

More than blatantly obvious to those of us who pay attention to these matters of Law and Society, (that includes Constitutional Law scholars) was that the passage of the MCA would do exactly what it has done; prevent/complicate the domestic prosecution of those who committed these crimes, because that legislation (the language is EVERYTHING) basically made it ‘ok’ to torture these people; in part by calling it something other than torture, (enhanced interrogation) and by creating a new category of people called “illegal/unlawful ‘enemy combatants’” and ‘detainees’, all in the ‘name’ of protecting national security in the so-called ‘war on terror’.

THIS is why Obama was so passionately against that legislation, but it passed anyway, and has basically tied his hands from a legal standpoint. That legislation must be overturned, so that we are again in compliance with the laws, (because the MCA even overrides our own laws against torture).
Meantime, for all the rest of these crimes, they CAN and SHOULD be tried/prosecuted in the INTERNATIONAL COURT, based on INTERNATIONAL Law!! In fact, that is the ONLY way to effectively accomplish compliance and prosecution for these crimes. They are NOT “immune” from prosecution based on International Law, and that includes the tortures, the illegal attack on and invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Crimes Against Humanity in IHL, the war crimes of failing to protect civilians, all of the violations of the Geneva Conventions, and I could add more.
Now Obama does NOT control the International Legal system, DESPITE what previous regimes may have led you to believe. So he cannot and will not obstruct any International prosecution of these former thugs.

By Shift, April 22 at 11:18 pm

“I am close to concluding that Obama has been oversold and is as dumb as W.  Is this what happens when affirmative action is used to advance minorities and educate them at Harvard?  It unfortunately seems so.  With all the zip boom bah I guess they never got around to Nuremberg.”

Shift, your bigotry is showing big time today. Your conclusions make the point of your own ignorance. Believe me, Obama knows the Geneva Conventions (AKA Nuremberg) as he does happen to be a scholar of the International Legal system as well as the US Constitution.

Your comments on affirmative action (he was at Columbia before Harvard and paid for it himself thank you very much) are the typical example of “‘sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity’ being among “the most dangerous things in the world”, as noted long ago by the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contrary to your own ignorance, the Geneva Conventions (which include Nuremberg) and any prosecutions related, cannot be ‘ordered’ by Barack Obama. The International Legal Community has to accomplish that, and we’re working on it. Rest assured that Obama knows this, based on that ‘high class’ education that he and his family made it a point for him to acquire.

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By Folktruther, April 23, 2009 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, Mark Smith-  You have substituted for the effacy of prayers the effacy of laws, which have a similar effectiveness.  The choice between the two major candidates IS a choice between shit and turds.  I voted for McKinney on the grounds that she might help mobilize the population, but if the Califoria election were close, I might have voted for Obama. 

Knowing he would commit war crimes.  Would have I then broken world war crimes laws?  Please.  Laws are only one small aspect of power.  IT is the power decisions by the powerful that should be punished by them, not the decisions of the powerless.  The Geman population was not responsible for the crimes of the Nazies, even though they did not want to know.  People are people and will behave like them; the problem is power, not people.

Alright Mark, I will include you in my prayers to the Great Goddess, Mother Earth. Who insists that you get your hands dirty politically instead of maintaining a specious purity.

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By Sleeper, April 23, 2009 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

This is from this Ray Mc Govern article:

http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_friendly.php?p=Obama-Plays-Hamlet-Shredd-by-Ray-McGovern-090423-367.html

Well, well.  The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role played by two faux psychologists in helping the Bush administration devise ways to torture people.  We should, I suppose, be thankful for small favors.

Apparently, a NY Times exposé requires a 21-month gestation period.  The substance of the Wednesday’s lead story on torture had already appeared in an article in the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair.

Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.”  It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantanamo.

She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject detainees to “psychic demolition”—essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
“The aim of torture is to destroy a person as a human being, to destroy their identity and soul. It is more evil than murder… ”—Inge Genefke - (1938-)  Danish Doctor & Human Rights Activist


It ends with this:

Obama’s Faustian Bargain?

In a recent article on torture, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/041409a.html,
I asked what might be holding the Obama administration back from appointing an independent prosecutor to investigate all this, so that as a nation we could hold to account any proven guilty and put this shameful chapter of American history behind us once and for all.

A reader replied in an email offering this answer to what is holding the administration back: “John D. Rockefeller, IV, and the Democrats who knew [about the torture] and did nothing.”  The sender signed the email: “Kathleen M. Rockefeller Uncowardly Cousin.” 

The disclosures in the Shane/Mazzetti article, and plenty of other evidence suggest that this may not be far off the mark.  The fact that so many Democratic leaders had complicit knowledge of the torture is no doubt one of the powerful forces working on our president.

Maybe, just maybe, the president insisted on releasing the torture memos with a view toward determining whether Americans really care, whether we would be appropriately outraged—so outraged that we would put inexorable pressure on him to hold everyone, repeat everyone, accountable.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour.  Like many, he is sickened at the abuse of prisoners—yet hopeful that Americans will summon the moral courage to insist on holding to account those responsible, so that Americans will not sink to those depths again.

The original version of this article appeared at Consortiumnews.com.

Author’s Bio: Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

There is HOPE to purge a corrupt system, but we will see one hell of a show before it is accomplished.

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—I am simply observing a set of facts.  One is that people in the Bush administration committed war crimes which became known before the election of November, 2004.  Nevertheless, millions of people voted for Bush, thus condoning the crimes and becoming accomplices after the fact.  These facts affect whether and to what extent prosecution for war crimes can be carried forward in the U.S.  Electorates seldom blame themselves, so, as I said, a narrative must be constructed which defines war crimes very narrowly and assigns them to a few scapegoats.

If you look at the charter of the Nuremberg Trials, especially Article 6, you will see that there is no logical legal reason why Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, and a number of others should not be indicted, tried, and if found guilty punished very severely.  (Several senior Nazis were hanged for the crime of planning and carrying out wars of aggression.)  But nothing like this is going to happen.

The fact that Gore or Kerry would have committed the same crimes, or worse, isn’t relevant here.  We are talking about actual crimes which were actually committed, which have a different legal status than putative crimes which would have been committed.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment

Gosh, Folktruther, what about me? I believe that anyone who voted, even if they voted for a third party candidate, in an election where they knew that the only two candidates with any chance of winning, were both committed to continuing the wars of aggression, is complicit and and should be tried for war crimes.

You gonna Pray For Me too?

Being opposed to war crimes myself, the minute I saw that the only possible outcome of the election was continuing war crimes, I decided not to delegate my power to war criminals by voting in an election like that. I can understand if people who are opposed to genocide don’t want to openly take action against it, but voting FOR it is obviously complicity.

Both Obama and McCain had voted to fund the war crimes. Both Obama and McCain had openly committed to continuing the war crimes. No other candidates had any chance of winning. Who else but war criminals would knowingly vote for war crimes or vote to legitimize a government engaged in war crimes? And, as you point out, everybody knew.

The “choice” in the 2008 election was war crimes or war crimes. You could vote for Republican or Democratic war crimes. You could vote for black or white war crimes. But there was absolutely no chance of a peace candidate winning the election. As far as I’m concerned, those who pay a murderer are just as guilty as those who murder. Those who authorize a murder are just as guilty as those who murder. When you vote, you are delegating your power. When you vote in an election where only a war criminal can win, you are delegating your power to whichever war criminal wins.

I truly believe that if American voters were given a choice on the ballot between sh*t and t*rds, they would seriously attempt to determine which was the lesser evil and vote for it, or else vote for whichever one their political party told them to.

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By Folktruther, April 22, 2009 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Shift, you are talking gibberish.  Oabama is very intelligent and Bush wasn’t dumb.  the political problem has nothing to do with a leader’s intelligence, but with the policies that he must pursue, intelligently or not.  One would prefer one’s political enemies to be dumb, like Ford.

There is insufficient minority education, largely because of American bigotry, I mention no names.

Anarcissie, you are saying that 30 million or so Gops are war criminals and should be punished for war crimes. You’ve obviously gone bonkers; I will pray for you.

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By Shift, April 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

I am close to concluding that Obama has been oversold and is as dumb as W.  Is this what happens when affirmative action is used to advance minorities and educate them at Harvard?  It unfortunately seems so.  With all the zip boom bah I guess they never got around to Nuremberg.

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By Anarcissie, April 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘Anarcisssie- foosh.  You know better than most that our elections are almost entirely political theater.  People have a choice between those reps of the ruling class who lie to us most convincingly.  Do you mean to say that those who voted for Bush ore criminals in the way that those who voted for Kerry are not? ...’

Yes—Bush and his friends actually committed war crimes which were known to the public by the time of the election.

In order to try anyone for crimes, a new fanciful narrative must be constructed which exempts the judge and jury from complicity.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, thank you for mentioning Hal Friedman’s post. I’d missed it and had to go back and find it.

It is disgusting that the trolls are allowed to disrupt discussions with page after page of blathering inanity, so that it is almost impossible for anyone to see the important posts.

But I guess that’s what they’re paid to do.

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By Reason, April 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has anyone considered the fact that maybe these methods of interrogation are not torture with respect to the Geneva Convention?

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By dihey, April 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena

Senator Feinstein stated on TV that CIA “agents” were not involved in “Torturegate” but that these were persons specially hired to do the torturing. In other words a kind of “Torture Blackwater” on assignation.

It is my opinion that Obama’s “hands-on” involvement with “Torturegate” has become and continues to be a gigantic judicial and political blunder which will only become worse if he publicly involves himself in efforts of other countries to try US perpetrators of torture. Is he, to give just a nasty example, going to collaborate with Spain but not with Iran if that country also brings charges? The pitfalls of his stunningly stupid public posturing are too numerous to know in advance.

Presidents, because of their power to pardon must not ever publicly state which person or groups of persons must be or may not be investigated/prosecuted for crimes. If Mr. Obama does not understand this he is not worthy to be my President.

How would you like president Obama publicly commenting on your case if you were ever suspected of a crime?

I hope that you saw the interview of Senator Feinstein by Mr. Blitzer the other day. She gave a whopping judicial lesson to Mr. Blitzer by refusing to be drawn into a “prosecute-do not prosecute stance” which I hope but doubt Mr. Obama has watched.

I am ashamed of the current rabble’s vicious attack on perpetrators of possible, perhaps likely crimes. It is the analog of the right’s rabble vicious attack on Ethel and Julius Rosenberg! I am deeply alarmed. I hope that you are too. A rabble is a rabble is a rabble.

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By Folktruther, April 22, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Anarcisssie- foosh.  You know better than most that our elections are almost entirely political theater.  People have a choice between those reps of the ruling class who lie to us most convincingly.  Do you mean to say that those who voted for Bush ore criminals in the way that those who voted for Kerry are not?

The real distinction is between people and power.  If you have little or no power you have no criminal guilt.

Hal friedman- what a heartwarming story about shooting a Nazi general.  If only more people of all countries would take it to heart.

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By Mark, April 22, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are two ways to rise to the top. The commonly embraced myth is that politicians are like cream and therefore rise to the top. While this is true in regard to milk; in the case of politics this analogy is seldom, if ever, the case. In reality, politicians rise to the top based on the principle that sh*t floats.

One of the reasons the Universe is so vast is to prevent our politicians from contaminating every other planet able to sustain life.

Obama’s unwillingness to assign both responsibility and accountability in this instance indicates that he is more comfortable with the political traditions of Illinois than he is with those of Nuremberg.

This is another example of WE CAN but we don’t have to. It’s already clear that his allegiance is to the oligarchs and that he sympathizes with statesmen like Bush and Chaney. It’s a pity he can’t be given an honorary membership to Skull & Bones.

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By Anarcissie, April 22, 2009 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

George T. Bachmann:
’... Its hard to escape the notion that our country and its people are now largely criminalized.’

This is one of the problems with applying the principles of the Nuremberg Trials to those involved in the recent invasion and occupation of Iraq and the “War On Terror”.  Approximately half of the American electorate, who knew or could and should have known that the policymakers who created these wars had violated those principles, nevertheless voted for Bush and his administration.  In doing so they became complicit in his crimes.  They are the ultimate policymakers.  They are unlikely to indict and try themselves.

In any case, murder, torture and terror and standard tools of empire and the ruling class will certainly expect Obama to keep using them just as his predecessors did.  If he does not he will be in danger himself.  However, appearances must be kept up, and so I expect a few scapegoats to be hauled before some court or investigating committee, especially if some of the files about torture and other war crimes leak out into the public domain.

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By nimblehuman, April 22, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment

It is clear reading the comments on this thread that Truthoverlies would have us believe that since terrorists are evil, we too must be evil.  What twisted logic.  By your own logic we should pay reparations to the families of those executed by the Nuremburg trials and give up any claim of moral superiority we have.  Truthoverlies is obviously so indoctrinated that it believes its own moniker without seeing the Orwellian irony in it.

Sir, YOU deserve to be waterboarded and to have your face smashed against a wall while you are shackled, if your statement about this thread represents your beliefs.  Brainwashed fool.

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By Sleeper, April 22, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

Everyone has an obligation to disobey an unlawful order.  It is holders Duty to enforce the law.  Obama appointed him for that he is responsible.  If he refuses to be part of the solution then he is also complacent in these WAR CRIMES.

George Senior recruited the assassination team that killed a President and JR put us on a path to relive the German side of what brought about WWII Who won that War anyway.  I think that maybe it seemed like we won it, but since the CIA killed Kennedy there is a good argument that the Bush family’s investments in Fascism have paid off with the untold story of how they were able to have it packaged in Red White and Blue.

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By Gloria Picchetti, April 22, 2009 at 3:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I made a cab driver switch from Sean Hannity complainning about torturers being exposed to music tonight. Now here on Truthdig - the other extreme. We are not pulling toe nails out of torturers. First of all the end of the conclusion has not been reached. O is being very coy. I am loving it too. Do you think the torturers are going to brag about torturing at blacktie events held in their honor? Do you think there are going to be police cars 24/7 outside their homes to protect them? When is the next time they are going to Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, or even Canada for a vacation? Even if it’s not to your taste, the goose is cooked.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

Finally, somebody with the guts to uphold and defend our Constitution. And he won!

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/271331

Check out the FOX News video where he explains why he refused to deploy to Iraq.

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By Daniel Kelly, April 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Mike Farrell…a great actor, a courageous voice in the wilderness, and a true American hero who has always spoken truth to power while affirming the dignity, compassion and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

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By Emilio, April 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Simply stated, the entire cabal of Christofascist animals, the Bush Crime Syndicate, ought to be held accountable for their crimes against the Iraqi people.  For his assist to these thugs, Colin Powell should be the first in the sights of justice, followed by the other outrageous cretins, culminating in Bush and Cheney.  The world view of America would be totally renewed, once we voluntarily put our house in order.  If the Obama administration lets these people off the hook, then he and his people would be seen as the latest incarnation of the perpetual evil that has taken root in this country.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

ROFL, Cyrena. You’re right. Outlaws don’t normally turn themselves in or prosecute themselves. Once they are caught by law enforcement, they may or may not cooperate, but nobody can expect outlaws to adhere to the law on their own initiative, or, by definition, they wouldn’t be outlaws.

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By cyrena, April 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

“The arrogance and cruelty of CIA officers who torture and brutalize helpless prisoners are not expunged just because, as Obama said, they “carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice.” Attorney General Eric Holder says it’s “unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department,” but he fails to note these very CIA agents requested said authority in order to engage in what all but the most insidious parsing of legal thought recognizes as torture.”

~*~*

First, a disclaimer…I admit that I haven’t read- IN its ENTIRETY-, the statement made by President Obama or anything that Eric Holder has said recently, in terms of this issue of prosecuting the torturers, so for the purpose of this article/post, I’ll just accept what the author has properly quoted, and make it a point to read the thing myself, so that I don’t misunderstand.

However, in terms of the title of the article here, as well as the text, I can find absolutely NOTHING that President Obama or US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that indicate they will somehow ‘prevent’ the International Community from prosecuting these torturers…ALL of them. The ones who ordered it, and the ones who carried it out.
In fact, as I’ve mentioned on more than a few threads here, this is EXACTLY the way it should go down. ALL of them need to be tried in an international court at The Hague, and there is nothing that I can find anywhere, (though admittedly I haven’t read everything) that gives me any indication that Obama would somehow ‘prevent’ this. And, it’s difficult for me to believe that he HAS indicated that, because he knows he can’t prevent the International Court from going after these guys.

So my question for the author is “How does Obama’s reluctance to do mass prosecutions on the domestic level, (based on our OWN laws against torture) have anything to do with the INTERNATIONAL PRINCIPLES embodied in the Nuremberg Convention and all of the other International treaties and conventions interconnected (Specifically IHL) to the Geneva Conventions?

My next question is what exactly did he say to indicate that he would NOT allow the International Law to follow its due process in this matter. I ask because I suspect that Pres. Obama (with his undergraduate work at Columbia in International Relations) knows very well that the International Community not only CAN prosecute the torturers, but that he will be overwhelmingly cooperative in assisting them in that effort. Why do you think he’s already published the tortures memos? A few of us saw these memos a few years back. (at least the Yoo and Bybee stuff) so it was for the rest of you - and the world - to KNOW what they were up to.

If you all know differently, I’d like to be able to read whatever brought you to that conclusion.

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By jackpine savage, April 21, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

EricinOak,

Thankyou; that was remarkably well said and salient.

In general,

Nobody is equating what exactly was done with what the Nazis did exactly.  But the Nazis didn’t start out with assembly line methods for their depravity.  Furthermore, Nuremburg was not only about the Holocaust.  It also concerned treatment of captured soldiers and how the Nazis behaved in occupied nations.

Klaus Barbie never worked at the camps…most of his victims were French, and he would have ended up in the Nuremberg dock if the US hadn’t helped him escape Europe.

None-the-less, a better comparison would be Stalin’s USSR.

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By George T. Bachmann, April 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It could also be noted that the Nuremburg Trials
included four counts.  Three had to do with crimes against humanity; the fourth had to do with preventive
war.  Rudolf Hesse was convicted on only this one
count and spent the rest of his life in Spandau
Prison in Berlin.

  Its hard to escape the notion that our country and
its people are now largely criminalized.

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By hal friedman, April 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After last Friday’s Left right and center broadcast, I tried to pass this info over in
response to Tony Blakely’s comments on the purpose of the Nuremberg trials-trial for genocide.

In 1945 I was in Fifth Army in Italy, having gone through two campaigns in an Ammunition and Pioneer platoon in the Infantry.  After the war ended in the Mediterranean Theater, I was assigned to the Mediterranean edition of the Stars and Stripes, and as such, covered the war crimes trial of German Gen. Anton Dostler in Rome.

General Dostler, a WWI veteran, was charged with breaking International law including the Geneva Convention by ordering the execution of 15 American soldiers captured behind German lines in Italy.

His only defense, and my impression was that, as a professional soldier, he knew it was faulty, was the “Feuerbefail’- that Hitler had ordered him to do it.

The court ruled that his defense had no validity, that he was the link in the chain of command who could have prevented the execution of the 15 Americans, and he was found guilty of war crimes-of disobeying the Geneva Convention, and sentenced to death.

On Dec. 1, 1945, General Dostler was executed by firing squad in Aserta, Italy, the squad commanded , coincidentally, be a classmate of mine.

This trial set the stage for the subsequent Nuremberg trials- the “Feurerfail” defense was invalid.  So too is it invalid re the torture Americans performed on enemy- those who established the policy to torture, from the White House down, should be tried and punished for breaking international law and defacing the face of the United States.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Mike Farrell.

Yes, Obama has openly contravened the Nuremberg Principles.

Obama needed to reassure torturers that they would not be prosecuted for “just doing their job” or just following illegal orders, because he is now Commander-in-Chief and the orders are now his. Folktruther is correct, Obama cannot prosecute others for what he is doing.

I’m very surprised at those who want to quantify evil. We don’t let petty thieves off the hook just because there are big bank robbers. EricinOak makes this point well.

I refused to vote when I saw that the only possible outcome of an election between two Presidential candidates who were both pro-war, was war. War is not a lesser evil than war, particularly not when it comes to wars of aggression based on lies (crimes against humanity).

Those who chose to vote for what they perceived as the lesser evil, or for a third party candidate they knew had no chance of winning, have no conscience. When the only possible outcome of an election is a greater evil or a lesser evil, good people don’t vote. I had always wondered how Hitler could have been elected, and now I know.

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By Thomas O. Anderson, April 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

If it wasn’t enough these past eight years witnessing a handful of Republicans successfully revive the Nazi blueprint - including torture - watching Obama cover for these bastards is too much to bear.

As long as the leadership of the two Washington crime families remains intact, there is NO HOPE for the American Dream.

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By Folktruther, April 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Obaama cannot prosecute torture because his adiministration is continuing it, transferring Gitmo to Afghanistan and the other prisons around the world.

And he cannot stop tortuing without ending the wars against populations, where torture is a necessary tactic to discourage resistence.

To end torture, therefore, it is necessary to end the War on Terrorism.  Not just in words but in deeds.  But Obama is continuing it, and therefore torture.  Which prevents prosecuting current torturers for past deeds.  And how could he prosecute Cheney and the Bushites who can claim, rightly, that they were doing exactly what Obama is now doing.

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By EricinOak, April 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

I am a graduate of the military’s SERE program, the well-documented source of torture techniques used by the CIA.  For me, it is obvious that what the CIA did was torture, and therefore a war crime.  SERE was set up to train soldiers and flyers to resist torture in case they ever found themselves captured.  The whole idea of the program was to teach this type of “resistance” (the R in the name).  The techniques used by SERE cadre came from Chinese torture techniques used in the Korean War (and from the sadistic imaginations of “hell week” trained cadre).  We all knew these techniques were torture; that was the point.

The parallel with Nuremberg is not the severity of the crime; the parallel is that a war crime was committed and the legal question is whether someone should be held accountable for that crime if they were following orders.  I am confident that the torturers in question were trained, as I was during SERE training, on the Geneva Conventions, and that they knew they were torturing.  They also knew that they had a legal obligation not to commit war crimes, not to torture.  My training made this abundantly clear.

I am not trained as a lawyer, but the question for me is whether Obama is putting himself above the law by *deciding* not to uphold the constitution when war crimes were obviously committed.  It seems to me that Obama is legally obligated to uphold the constitution, and therefore legally obligated to prosecute potential war criminals, including the CIA agents, the lawyers who helped justify their crimes, and those who gave the ultimate orders: Bush and Rumsfeld.

I supported Obama in the election, so it saddens me to think that his *decision* to put himself above the law in this way may be an impeachable crime.  Of course, it gets really messy if we consider that many democrats have been guilty of such crimes, of not upholding the constitution, for a while now (Pelosi and Reid) for not prosecuting these war crimes earlier: keeping such prosecutions “off the table” for political reasons.  This is all unclear to me because I am not a lawyer, but Bush put himself above the law (with the help of Yoo and friends) by ordering torture (and wiretapping).  I felt he should have been impeached for it long ago, and I feel he still should be prosecuted.

We need a big reminder that kings aren’t allowed here in the US.  Presidents can’t *decide* whether or not to follow and/or uphold the law.  If they *decide* not to uphold the law, to betray their oath (botched or not) for political expediency, they should be impeached.  Doesn’t Obama, a constitutional scholar of sorts, understand what his duty is here?  He has a duty to uphold the constitution first and foremost.  He is not fit for the job if he doesn’t do his duty.

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By Joe Gall, April 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama wants to “move on.”

So did Nazi war criminals.

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By dihey, April 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

There is one saving grace in this sordid meddling of Obama with Justice. Because laws may have been broken Obama is not empowered to investigate let alone prosecute because that would make his power to pardon a total farce!

Imagine that some evildoers are investigated, prosecuted and convicted. Since Obama has stated that those in the CIA acted in good faith he will be hard pressed by their defenders to either commute their sentences or pardon them! In fact, to be consistent with his massively stupid remarks he has no choice but to pardon them or be hooted away by the Republicans as a hypocrite. A pardon will make him Ford II and kill all chances for re-election in 2012. Scylla and Charybdis in Washington D.C.!!!

What Obama has thus far produced in this case is a series of constitutional blunders of the highest rank. Fortunately, everything he has said is legally irrelevant.

I wonder what Joe Biden is thinking today. With every Obama blunder his chances of ever becoming President shrink.

In some ways this is a tragedy. Instead of starting with a clean slate Obama was saddled with the inescapable but vile legacy of his predecessor. However, he bungled it like an ignorant beginner in governing.

It is now becoming clear why Cheney boasted that water boarding was OK as far as he was concerned. He knew that he might not be prosecuted but he did make life for Obama more miserable.

For those who might ask me what the more correct statement would have been, here it is, in my opinion.

“I have released these memos for the sake of openness and accountability of the Federal Government. Since investigations, hence prosecutions for crimes may ensue I cannot, hence will not comment on the legal implications of the memos and what else has become known about torture by Americans”.

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By Ribald, April 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

I seldom see the extreme inhumanity of Nazism used to justify nationalism and the dehumanization of victims of torture, and it’s always a shock. It’s worth dissecting that sort of argument since it is popular in many circles and highly significant.

  The thesis is that, since the Nazis perpetrated the worst crimes against humanity ever, then Americans have no right to complain when their government (which is synonymous with the country itself) commits lesser crimes against humanity. In fact, as long as greater villains exist somewhere in the world, it is wrong to attack the evils that our government is guilty of because such evils are necessary to destroy our enemies.

  In a perversion of the famous quote, we must become the evil we wish to eliminate in the world. Not surprisingly, only one’s native country is allowed to use this argument without moral consequence (by right of self-preservation). Anyone else who uses it is, by dint of the argument itself, an evil to be eliminated.

  In this lies the nucleus of all human evil, the very source of the basic confusion between right and wrong. It is self-perpetuating, self-enhancing, self-justifying. A perfect engine of wrongness, powered by seemingly limitless fear.

  As Winston Smith said in Orwell’s 1984,

  ‘Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’

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By mike turner, April 21, 2009 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

Naked freezing without sleep for weeks, water tortured, head slammed against concrete walls, placed in small box naked with scorpions… and that’s the tip of the depraved iceberg.

What about honor? What about morality? What about refusing to betray American principles? Once a person stoops to depraved pathological behavior….that is who they ARE! These depraved people are touted as HEROES!  They sit in positions of honor& status in American society.
Imagine them living in your neighborhood…let YOUR young daughters babysit for them…ticking time bombs they are.
people who panic at the prospect of attack, betray their principles, and resort to fantasy hero scenarios are to pitied…NOT treated as HEROES.

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By Brettski, April 21, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Torturing terrorists is a little different than what the Nazi’s did.  You’re a joke

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By Trithoverlies, April 21, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Mr. Farrell trying to compare harsh techneques of interrogation used with what the Nazi’s did is as low as it gets. I said the same to Sen. Dick Durbin when tried it 4 years ago. I lost many family member to the Nazi’s over 600 burkholders, over 500 Meyers, and 450 Burnbaums who by the way were early religeous converso’s to Lutheranism, so stop you don’t have the right to even speak such vitrolics. You have showed your hatred for this country why not then find one you like there are nearly 200 nations out there. Your have inability to know that theres differance between hating one administration because you have a warped view of what is and what isn’t torture. What kept us from another 911 or even worse you should also note that the harsh interogations were stopped by Pres. Bush and that Shiek Muhamid didn’t get any treatment he didn’t deserve. He Beheaded Daniel Pearl,
he planned 911 recruited and trained the 20 Hijacker Terrorist and paid them their blood money so compassion is nice but it is a weakness when dealing with such evil men. We have incarcerated about 400 terrorist thugs at Getmo where they belong for life. So that more mother want get the telegram, so more childern want be murdered or maimed, so innocent people can walk in their market without fear of being the next victem of this evil. I am fed up with the liberals complete misunderstanding the terrorist and excussing them for their mayhem. So don’t confuse the issue by comparing Americans to Nazi’s you have no comparrison to make. If you want to compare to Apples than compare the Nazi’s to the terror master minds Sheik Muhamid, Ayman al- Zawhiri, Ayatollah Khamenei, Amadinejad, and Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi and others who use mentally Handicapped boys and girls as human bombs detonated by remote control by real cowards, and as The Ayatollah Khomeini who used children as human bomd detectors marching them across mine field over the ten years of the Iraq/Iran War these named are the Nazi’s of today not anyone in the USA.
            Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
              John R. Bloxson Jr.
P.S. in the future try to be more objective and show less venom against your own nation.

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By Ron, April 21, 2009 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is very long stretch to compare the murders of 6 million jews with those who used harsh methods to extract information from terriorists.  You’ll note Mr. Farrel makes no reference to the methods used by the terriorist.  By omission I assume what they do is ok with him.  It is true that the end doesn’t justify the means.  But I’d like to ask the3,000 Americans who died on 9/11/2001 what they think.

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By Jim Yell, April 21, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama needs to heed some very old sayings. One of which he should consider is “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, translated what was done to the Nazi for torture should be done to those others who torture. It is a crime in both cases.

As to who is guilty of torture, well I believe that the most guilty are the leaders who made this practice happen. In other words who is most guilty in a murder involving a group, the dimwit who pulls the trigger or the evil manipulative bastard who convinced the dimwit to do the deed? I think clearly it is the leader who caused this to happen, who used influence to block accountability in these matters, those are the people most in need of trial, conviction and punishment.

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By Gunter Pfaff, April 21, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Nuremberg trials took place near where I grew up and when I was 14. I took them to heart - how come a constitutional lawyer (our president) can ignore them and continue the “might makes right” policy of empire?
Where is the congress and the justice department?

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By Pacrat, April 21, 2009 at 2:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, President Obama blew it! Does he think that he is the government like his predecessor did?

Congress will and should conduct an investigation into the Bush administration war crimes - it is an independent arm of the government. If the president wants to challenge the congress, let’s have at it. It’s time for a real change!

At least Holder realizes that the Justice Department cannot just kowtow to the white house. Good for him!

Nuremberg? Washington? There must be trials!

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By Kaelieh, April 21, 2009 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Last I remember Obama wasn’t interested in “looking back.” At all. Not even to authors of the memos. One of them is still a judge on a federal bench.

I keep wondering if Harvard is losing law school applications because clearly the President didn’t learn a thing or two while he was there.

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By Dave, April 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Obama realizes that if we start prosecuting the people responsible for the torture, it would not take long to start posting convictions for the entire Bush Regime. If we are going to compare this event to what germany did during WWII, convicting CIA agents ant not the entire Bush Government would be like holding german soldiers accountable and letting Hitler off the hook! And how about the almost 50% of beligerant Americans that voted for the corruption to begin with! America got a black eye over this, and those that voted for Bush are just as guilty as those that ran the incinerators at the Nazi Death camps.

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By Ribald, April 20, 2009 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

Hypocrisy indeed. If torture, the worst form of inhumanity next to war itself, is not worthy of prosecution, then Obama should be appalled that the American justice system imprisons so many murderers, rapists, and thieves. Their victims, by Obama’s logic, should stop wasting energy seeking justice. Justice, after all, is just that: a waste of energy.

  This, from an American president, at this crucial time in history, in the presence of detailed knowledge of high crimes committed openly and in secret, against innocents abroad, innocents domestically, and against the foundations of America itself.

  When the man chosen to lead the country says justice is a waste of energy, the grim comedy we live in raises a question:

  “Are we the baddies?”

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By Shlomo, April 20, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama does what everybody else has done before him,and
one might add,is still doing ...does what their Jewish
Masters tell him to do / say . . . surprised anyone ?

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