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Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:19 PM

 

Obama is BOUND BY LAW to prosecute torture.


The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Treaty law signed by US)) states:

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. . . .

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

Article 7

1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

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Reply Obama is BOUND BY LAW to prosecute torture. (Original post)
grahamhgreen Dec 2014 OP
spanone Dec 2014 #1
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Agony Dec 2014 #3
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TheKentuckian Dec 2014 #17
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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:20 PM

1. k&r....

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:21 PM

2. thank you for your constant commitment to justice

Particularly EQUAL justice under the law.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:23 PM

3. bound by common human decency

you would think? I mean there is that, right? We are Democrats after all, we should not act like those we despise.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:24 PM

4. Well maybe he is using his Executive Discretion to not focus resources on those crimes. nt

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:25 PM

5. I've been saying this since what they were doing first hit the news.

Congress should have done it then, and Obama should have done it when he came into office because congress didn't.
Unless he's been threatened if he did.

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Response to shraby (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:27 PM

17. You are right but are conflating two processes. Congress should have Impeached AND

The Executive branch should have and still should prosecute and I believe is obligated to the point they become in grave danger of becoming accessories after the fact by failing to do so.

The no evidence cop out is a busted up one that is straight delusional.

The uncertain it is a crime gambit, ridiculous. Totally disingenuous, knowing we have executed people for some of these same things and others requiring long sentences, like 20 years long. Some of these people it seems quite plausible in the context were tortured to death. There is smoke of depravity that while not fully supported is certainly within the realm of possibility. In fact, I consider the rectal feeding garbage an act of rape and if some don't maybe some shit can be forced up their ass and see what those folks think later.

The downplaying shit is sickening to the point that one has to wonder what kind of people even those folks are. All that fake ass gray area would resolve it's self real quick like if the subject was them or their's. What the hell is the story here? These people to a large degree even know that the rationale was to gather false evidence to trump up a war of aggression and still play these stupid, soulless games.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:34 PM

18. It is so chilling to me to see the constant drumming for torture to be excused because of 9-11. Note

 

"Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made."

In other words, claiming that torture 'worked' to prevent an attack, is actually evidence against the person making said claim (read Dick Cheney, GWB).

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #18)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:14 PM

56. Smoke screen activated ad nauseam

ad as needed.
Never worked for me.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:27 PM

6. K&R!!!!

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)


Response to Corruption Inc (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:03 PM

11. Authoritarians by definition have to blindly follow their chosen leader. If that leader

 

violates the Constitution, the authoritarian followers will rationalize away that violation. I don't use the word authoritarian in the pejorative manner. It is an explanation of why some take the stands they take.

The definition of authoritarian is - "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom"

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Response to Corruption Inc (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:17 PM

15. "apologists" for the Democratic President on Democratic Underground?

 

are you serious????

Have we gone through the looking glass?

This is really starting to look desperate!

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:35 PM

19. The torture apologists. Those that claim he is not breaking the law by his failure to prosecute

 

known torturers.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:37 PM

20. who does that?

 

and why isn't the world prosecuting in absentia if it is sooooo easy?

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:39 PM

23. The world is and has been prosectuing. Italy, Spain and now Germany. But no matter,

 

it is his legal obligation to prosecute.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:40 PM

24. Not so far they aren't

 

they are investigating not prosecuting

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #23)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:17 PM

38. There are more fertile fields to cultivate.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:37 PM

138. Link to Germany prosecuting? nt.

 

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #138)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:47 PM

140. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025992615

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #140)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:48 PM

141. Still waiting for a link that shows Germany is prosecuting.

 

The one you provide states nothing of the sort.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #177)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 02:50 PM

191. That is not what your link says. There's not a word about Germany "prosecuting" in that story.

The bottom line is that maybe, perhaps, it-could-happen, some lawyers might find some meat they can refer to in making charges against certain CIA officials, somewhere, somehow, sometime.

The Senate report may have given the lawyers much more ammunition but now they have to take the battle back to the courts.

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Response to MADem (Reply #191)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:27 PM

193. Quote:

 

" “The gaps have been between the CIA agents involved and the higher-ups conducting this policy,” says Wolfgang Kaleck, a lawyer and director of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin, which has brought criminal cases against the U.S. military and CIA agents in Germany, Switzerland, Spain and France. "

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #193)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 08:45 AM

239. Bad News for you--the European Center is NOT "Germany."

I could incorporate an institution called the "American Center for Constitutional and Human Rights" and sue YOU for getting all mushy-worded on the internet, and it would have about the same effect.

You come back when they a) Become the Government of Germany and b) Score a conviction (which won't happen....and that doesn't mean I "endorse torture" either--so get off that horse as well, and Happy Christmas, Season's Greetings, name-your-poison).

It should not be more important to misstate facts in a conversation than honestly discuss shortcomings in an effort. The bottom line here is that the Convention is weakly worded and the GOVERNMENT of Germany is doing NOTHING. This "Center" is making a symbolic attempt to call attention to an important matter--but that's not the same as frog-marching anyone to the Hague.

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Response to NCTraveler (Reply #138)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:57 PM

270. Your question implies that you would rather the torturers NOT be prosecuted. Am I

misunderstanding you?

Spain which has the jurisdiction to do so, began the prosecution of six of Bush's torturers just before the Bush gang left the WH.

The court did so because it was clear that the Bush administration would not.

However, in order to give the US a chance to do so themselves, the Spanish Court, assuming the US would return to being a nation that respects International Law after the election in 2008, waited to proceed..

After the announcement by President Obama that 'we are going to move forward' from all these war crimes, the Spanish Court began to move forward itself towards the prosecutions and convictions of those six war criminals.

However, thanks to the Wikileaks cables we discovered that the Obama Administration put pressure on the Spanish Court to drop the prosecutions. They were threatened with 'consequences' if they proceeded.

That explained the lack of news for a while regarding those cases.

However, the cases were not dropped airc, and recently there were indications of revival of those prosecutions.

And there have been other prosecutions. I believe France prosecuted and convicted several CIA agents but the US has refused to extradite them.

There are too many victims for these cases to go away and anyone following the torture story will see how often cases are brought even in this country, by the victims. Here they are always dismissed for 'national security reasons'.

I hope the German people pressure THEIR government to proceed with prosecutions also now that the interest is there.

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:03 AM

82. At least we agree that torture should always be prosecuted, right?

 

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:47 PM

269. The world has been prosecuting them for years now.

So why didn't this administration simply allow Spain, eg, to do that without trying to protect the Bush torturers?

Thanks to the Wikileaks cables we know that this administration put pressure on Spain's court to try to stop the prosecutions of six of Bush's torturers, theatening consequences if they proceeded with the prosecutions.

Why would a Democratic administration go out of its way to try to protect one of the most criminal Republican administrations in recent memory?

All of this will go down in history. We have had periods like this before in history when huge injustices were glossed over, but eventually they have generally been dealt with.

To be on the wrong side of the horrendous war crimes committed by Cheney/Bush and his gang of war criminals is not the place any future President should want to be.

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:17 AM

92. Torture is evil, and is universally understood to be criminal.

The US has signed international conventions recognizing this. The US has been in favour of prosecuting others for transgressions. The US continues to point fingers at others.

This doesn't change just because a "Democratic President" is in charge of enforcing the law, and it doesn't change just because one considers themselves to be a "Democrat". Being a "Democrat" has nothing to do with it.

There's something even more awful than just the torture itself when that torture is politicized and swept under the rug in favour of political expediency.

Look in the mirror.

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Response to VanillaRhapsody (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:16 PM

201. Where are the prosecutions for torture, VanillaRhapsody?

 

In your hurry to flap your hands and squawk about party loyalty, you seem to have forgotten the part about people being tortured and murdered by the united States. These are criminal acts. They are crimes against humanity. And there are no prosecutions forthcoming.

This should bother you. Why doesn't it?

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Response to Corruption Inc (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:33 PM

45. when I hear those same Duers screaming about so-called "hero worship" of cops

OMG the irony

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Response to Corruption Inc (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 11:14 PM

59. Hang on...

Doesn't support for "involv(ing) law enforcement, lawyers, actual prosecution and holding everyone who's a criminal responsible" make one an authoritarian?

How does one keep up these days?

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #59)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:59 AM

95. There's a difference between a law and an authority.

In theory you can follow laws and due process regardless of who the authority is.

Authoritarian implies following your superiors no matter what, even to the extent of following illegal orders.

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Response to CJCRANE (Reply #95)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:48 PM

148. I think you're confusing "imply" and "infer"

 

"Authoritarian implies following..."

I think you're confusing "imply" and "infer", as neither the definition nor the etymology of the word points to blind allegiance nor does it reference illegal orders.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #148)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 10:39 PM

251. Beg to differ.

 

"Authoritarian" (behavior) refers to a specific political concept, particularly on this board. I don't see how "infer" could be used in this construction at all.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:54 PM

8. The administration

 

Including Obama and the attorney general are guilty of malfeasance, they are obligated by their oath of office to uphold our laws.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:56 PM

9. The Constitution also requires the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed".

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 07:58 PM

10. Yes, that is the law. But surely your suggestion is not that Obama is legally obligated to prosecute?

The president and DOJ have wide discretion over such matters.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:17 PM

13. Link?

 

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:22 PM

16. Link for what?

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:06 PM

34. To your claim about Obama and the DoJ

 

having wide discretion to ignore treaties.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #34)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:12 PM

36. Google might be your best shot.

Type: "prosecutorial discretion" and then read up on the subject.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #36)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:17 PM

37. You made the claim; now, prove it.

 

Otherwise, you're pulling "evidence" out of your ass.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #37)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:27 PM

40. I am not the one making an extraordinary claim here.

That President Obama is under some sort of legal obligation to prosecute a federal crime, and somehow lacks the legal power to decline prosecution.

I'm not quite sure what you want me to prove? That prosecutorial discretion exists?

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #40)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:31 PM

43. Tell me where Obama and Holder can ignore an obligation

 

under an international treaty without violating said treaty.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #43)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:12 AM

96. The President has prosecutorial discretion

as to which crimes he chooses to prosecute. It's the same discretion he used in order to issue his executive order on immigration, as well as his decision to not prosecute marijuana users in Colorado and Washington.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:01 PM

266. They can't

 

Anyone with any experience whatsoever in law will tell you this.

Where is Msanthrope when you need her?

She won't like it, but she will tell you the truth. She'll probably say she isn't a specialist in International Law and such, but she won't deny it.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #37)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:34 PM

46. No, educate yourself on "prosecutorial discretion".

 

You don't NEED any links to make that happen. Stop being fucking lazy.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #46)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:48 PM

206. I think you would do well

 

to accuse less and click on some links yourself. You can't seem to get a grip between the fact that the Attorney General, appointed by President Obama and serving on his cabinet, is the very person that needs to start issuing indictments.

It's the LAW and the fact of the politics involved. Period. Either there is an indictment, or the law is broken by giving the individuals involved a pass.

We have some lawyers on this board. They might not like it, either, but the law is the law.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #206)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:20 PM

214. The law allows the Attorney General prosecutorial discretion, as I pointed out in our other exchange

 

Ignoring that fact isn't going to make it go away. The Attorney General has the LEGAL RIGHT to not bring charges against anyone they don't want to bring charges against. This isn't subject to an opinion. Its codifed into our laws.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #214)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:28 PM

217. By being a signatory

 

to the Geneva Convention, we are bound by International Law to uphold it. That is the law and it isn't suddenly superseded because President Obama is in office. If you are really that interested in the law, I can point you to multiple sources that under US law, codified into our laws, we obey the treaties that we sign.

If you don't like that, then pressure your Congressional Representative to sign an Amendment to make the treaties we sign null and void. Otherwise, it IS part of our laws that we follow the agreements made with other nations. Not liking the law because President Obama is politically adverse to prosecuting terrorists doesn't change the law.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #217)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 09:26 PM

219. Prosecutorial discretion is not overridden by the Geneva Convention or any other law or treaty.

 

Prosecutorial discretion = you lose, you CAN NOT get around the fact that it exists.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #219)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:25 AM

243. Yes it is overridden, explicitly, by the Geneva Conventions.

From the Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War:

ARTICLE 129

The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.
Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.
Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.
In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the present Convention.


The Fourth Convention contains similar language.

The state is under the obligation to prosecute as described in Article 129 of the Third Convention and in Article 146 of the Fourth Convention. This obligation does not have any exception under the law. And the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions are US law. By not following through on this obligation, the President and the Attorney General are in violation of US law.

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Response to eomer (Reply #243)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:07 PM

248. That does not mean prosecutorial discretion is overriden.

 

Every single thing defined as a crime in this country has language behind it that mandates prosecution... except in the case in the federal government itself which enjoys nearly limitless prosecutorial discretion. By your logic, they are in violation of law everytime they've not shut down a marijuana dispensary or every time they've not deported an illegal immigrant.

Prosecutorial discretion trumps pretty much everything. Thats a hard pill for some to swallow, but it is what it is.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #248)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:02 PM

261. That's incorrect, the Geneva Conventions do, as I said, explicitly override and allow no discretion.

The duty to prosecute, and even to search and arrest, is absolute and allows no discretion. And I'm surprised that a person on DU would be arguing this - the progressive position is clearly to advocate prosecution of torturers. To try to make the case that there's a way not to prosecute, especially when such a case is absolutely mistaken, is not really excusable. It's what we would expect from the extreme right wing, not something we should be entertaining here.

Here is an article by a Duke law professor that is one of many references that can be found stating that the duty is absolute and allows no discretion:

The second paragraph of common Article 49/50/129/146 sets forth the obligation of state parties to search for and arrest persons alleged to have committed such grave breaches.[sup]89[/sup] This common article provides that

Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.[sup]90[/sup]


These obligations "for the pursuit, arrest, trial, and punishment of grave violations of the Conventions constituted one of the Convention's more remarkable and, by all humanitarian, liberal, and non-militarist criteria, progressive elements"[sup]91[/sup] The obligation to prosecute is absolute; neither immunity nor amnesty from prosecution may be granted for grave breaches.[sup]92[/sup] The text of this common article does not define in any further detail the breadth of the obligation to search for and arrest persons suspected of committing grave breaches, and it does not impose any geographic, temporal, or other limitations on this obligation. The principal difficulty of this common article, however, was the states' determination of "how to legislate so as to catch alleged criminals and then to extradite those whom they chose not to bring to justice themselves...."[sup]93[/sup]

The commentary of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV published by the ICRC does not clarify the breadth of this obligation to search for and arrest persons suspected of grave breaches.[sup]94[/sup] The commentary for the second paragraph of Article 146 provides:

The obligation on the High Contracting Parties to search for persons accused to have committed grave breaches imposes an active duty on them. As soon as a Contracting Party realizes that there is on its territory a person who has committed such a breach, its duty to ensure that the person concerned is arrested and prosecuted with all speed. The necessary police action should be taken spontaneously, therefore, not merely in pursuance of a request from another State.[sup]95[/sup]


While this excerpt from the commentary makes it clear that this obligation is an active duty that should be acted upon spontaneously and with all speed, the second sentence interjects an undefined geographic dimension to the obligation. This language fails to clarify whether the second sentence is an example of the implementation of the obligation, or whether it is intended to suggest a geographic limitation on the obligation of a State party to search for and arrest persons suspected of grave breaches - notwithstanding the lack of any textual geographic limitation in common Article 49/50/129/146. Scholars and military manuals which discuss this obligation to search for and arrest persons suspected of grave breaches do not identify or even suggest any geographic limitations.[sup]96[/sup] To the contrary, in one recent text on the importance of enforcing the rule of law in the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, one scholar made the following conclusions:

One important point concerning war crimes trials in the Gulf crisis does not seem to be generally understood. That is, under the 1949 Geneva Conventions ... all States Parties to the Conventions ... are currently obligated to search out persons who have committed "grave breaches" of the Conventions and to either try them or extradite them for trial pursuant to the Conventions. This obligation is a major procedural mechanism under the Conventions for enforcement of their important humanitarian principles. The obligation applies to all States Parties whether or not they were parties to the conflict or the "grave breaches" took place in their jurisdiction, and it applies now with no need for further legal predicates.[sup]97[/sup]


Futhermore, upon signing the four Geneva Conventins of 1949, no state made a reservation with regard to this textually unlimited obligation.[sup]98[/sup]

Common Article 1 strongly supports the interpretation of common Article 49/50/129/146 that a state's obligation to search for and arrest persons suspected of grave breaches is universal and not limited to its own national territory. This common article provides that state parties "undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all its circumstances."[sup]99[/sup] The ICRC commentary to this common article emphasizes that this solemn obligation of a state party "to ensure respect" for the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 extends to "all those over whom it has authority," and that state parties "should do everything in their power to ensure that the humanitarian principles underlying the Conventions are applied universally."[sup]100[/sup]

The four Geneva Conventions of 1949 set forth one method of ensuring respect for their provisions by delineating certain acts that are punishable as grave breaches[sup]101[/sup] and then by imposing an absolute duty on state parties to prosecute those grave breaches.[sup]102[/sup] Since the deterrent value of any prosecution is fundamentally dependent upon the certainty that a given crime will be detected and that the criminal actor will be apprehended and prosecuted,[sup]103[/sup] an obligation to prosecute must encompass an obligation to search for and arrest to be effective. Accordingly, a duty under common Article 1 "to ensure respect" for the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 in all circumstances and an absolute dute to prosecute grave breaches includes the obligation upon a state party to search for and arrest persons suspected of grave breaches in all territories where the state is authorized by international law to exercise jurisdiction. In the context of general human rights conventions, some scholars have taken a similar position that "the duty to ensure rights implies a duty to prosecute violators"[sup]104[/sup] and that states should take "immediate and effective steps ... to bring to justice any persons" suspected of offenses.[sup]105[/sup]

http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=djcil

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Response to eomer (Reply #261)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:13 PM

262. The Geneva Conventions don't have the power to override prosecutorial discretion.

 

As I said, we have other laws that mandate prosecution as well... such as in the case of marijuana dispensaries or illegal immigrants. But prosecutorial discretion gives federal prosecutors the power to NOT prosecute. The Geneva Conventions carries no more weight than any other law of our land. It has no more power than our immigration laws or our drug laws.

And you obviously have not been reading my posts. I've said, in no uncertain terms, that I support prosecuting those responsible for torture. But I call bullshit on the notion that they HAVE to do it. "Should" and "have to" are 2 entirely different things.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #262)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:59 PM

265. And your basis for saying that is what?

I've quoted a paper by a Duke law professor that says the opposite of what you say. I can bring more articles that are similar. What is your basis for what you're saying - did you just figure this out on your own? Or can you provide some basis like I did?

And, yes, I've been reading your posts and saw that you're in favor of prosecution. But just pushing a position arguing that the laws are more permissible than they really are puts you in the same camp as people like John Yoo and Dick Cheney. It has the effect of enabling torture and impunity. I suggest to you that you realize you are wrong and get yourself onto the right side of this question - which is insisting that torture is illegal and that prosecution of torturers is required by US law, both of which are facts.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #37)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:52 PM

57. Here you are.

Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation. This discretion of the prosecuting attorney is called prosecutorial discretion.

http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/prosecutorial-discretion/

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Response to bornskeptic (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:02 AM

71. that's not proof. That's just a definition of prosecutorial discretion.

I don't see anything in this treaty that exonerates any leader of any country from prosecuting torturers based on prosecutorial discretion. so the question is, does some US law trump this treaty, and if so, where is a link explaining that in detail?

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Response to FourScore (Reply #71)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:05 AM

83. Of course it doesn't. If it did

 

then the officials of an offending country could simply fail to prosecute the war criminals, thereby rendering the treaty moot... There would be no point in having the law in the first place.

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Response to bornskeptic (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:52 PM

159. Treaties are international law not American law. Different beast altogether. n/t

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Response to A Simple Game (Reply #159)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:28 PM

194. Signed treaties are US law. That's why they want to do the TPP as a treaty.

 

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Response to A Simple Game (Reply #159)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:27 PM

273. They have to become US law first

That is normally done through enabling legislation when Congress approves the treaty.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:00 AM

106. "Prosecutorial discretion" sounds like a bullshit excuse for corruption to me.

So, because Obama personally likes the Bush family et al, as he has clearly stated, he is under no obligation to see to it that they get charged for crimes they commit, no matter how atrocious those crimes were. Sounds like how the local yocals in extremely corrupt areas where I live apply the law. If you are buddies with them, you can get by with murder, literally. If not, they'll shake you down routinely and harass you even when you are not breaking any laws. It's a bullshit excuse for cronyism AND corruption.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #106)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:21 PM

215. It can be used as a "bullshit excuse", but its still a perfectly legal bullshit excuse.

 

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #215)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:55 AM

253. Excuse for what?

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #253)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:16 AM

256. Choosing not to prosecute anyone in the prior administration. nt

 

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Response to branford (Reply #256)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:18 AM

257. An excuse for torture.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #257)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:30 AM

258. Complain to the American voters and Founding Fathers.

 

Obama is the duly elected president and he using the broad authority and discretion invested in him by the Constitution. The simple truth is that Obama is protecting himself, his allies, and his legacy by not charging anyone in the prior administration, just as the next administration will not charge anyone in the Obama administration, regardless of whether the next president is Republican or Democrat.

More importantly, as repeated polls clearly indicate, the clear majority of Americans simply do not care whether we tortured anyone, and a sizable number even support the practice.

I appreciate that you find torture abhorrent, and I actually agree, but due to a myriad of legal, political and practical reasons there will not be any domestic or foreign prosecutions of American officials for torture-related war crimes for the foreseeable future. When it comes to this issue, for good or ill, you're just tilting at windmills.

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Response to branford (Reply #258)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:30 AM

260. Now you argue torture protects him. It does not. He may be held accountable

 

some day. I submit that the torturing faction are leading him to this very point in order to throw him under the bus should they ever find it politically expedient.

Can you point to a poll that shows the majority agree that torturing innocent people to death is acceptable?

Why do we sign conventions against torture if we never intend to prosecute?

This line of reasoning also implies that any agreement we sign need not be upheld as it is soley at our discretion wether we enforce it or not.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #260)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:00 PM

275. I don't know where you get your information or if you really read the content of other posts.

 

Polls that shows majority of American support torture, and the support in actually growing:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/senate-torture-report-public-opinion/

You can frame the questions any way you wish, but regardless of your moral positions, the American public opinion is increasingly sympathetic to the use of torture.

If you've read even a fraction of my posts, you know that I did not argue that torture "protects" Obama, but rather that all presidential administrations engage in often questionable conduct to protect American citizens, and that to protect themselves against later prosecution, they will no prosecute prior administrations. You may find that distasteful, but the notion is hardly surprising.

You inquire as to whether treaties mean something if we have discretion not to abide by them. That is a philosophical question you need to answer for yourself. Nevertheless, the president still has the authority and discretion to choose whether to prosecute, and even if he does not, that will not affect whether the USA abides by the vast majority of its numerous treaty obligations concerning innumerable matters or the fact that other countries are eager to enter into agreements with us about commercial, military, security, environmental, social and other issues.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:20 AM

64. How is pot legal in Washington and Colorado

 

Are you arguing obama needs to prosecute them?

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Response to joeglow3 (Reply #64)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:16 PM

223. Say they can pick and choose, which I don't dispute

Why is it reasonable or responsible to choose not to?

Torture is a violation of basic human decency, YMMV, but I can't find many things that offend me more than such an act that is so cruel and inhumane. (Were the F are they going to run?)

Letting something like that go unchecked is just isn't right.

Regarding federal marijuana law.. what part of it requires enforcement with the no exception part( included?

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:37 PM

21. He must "submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution. " That is

 

his legal obligation.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:47 PM

27. "He" who?

The treaty refers to the "State Party", not an individual. The discretion (or ostensible obligation in this case) to prosecute federal crimes, in this country, falls on the DOJ. That includes the AG or any USA.

No doubt this has been explained thousands of times, but it's still in contention?

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:54 PM

151. Since obama is the AG's boss, the onus falls to him.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #151)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 04:25 PM

153. He can ask.

Perhaps he has - I don't know.

And should the AG ignore his request? What then, fire him?

That worked very well for Nixon.

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #153)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:31 PM

179. He is required to.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:52 PM

29. The executive has broad prosecutorial discretion

Over when when, who, how, and whether individuals are tried for federal crimes.

The suggestion that Obama is in some sort of violation of the law due to his decision is just plain wrong.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #29)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:18 PM

39. Citation? Case law?

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #39)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:35 PM

47. Stop being lazy and use google.

 

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #47)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:59 PM

49. The onus for proving a claim lies with the one making the claim. Here, these may help you.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #49)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:03 PM

51. Common Knowledge does not have to be cited....

prosecutorial discretion is well documented and common knowledge when it comes to the Law.

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #51)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:05 PM

52. Show me some case law where a President's discretion was reviewed on a legally similar situation.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #52)

Mon Jan 5, 2015, 02:03 AM

277. I'd be surprised

 

if that one could tie his shoelaces. If he can offer case law, I'd be impressed.

I don't mean to be insulting, but he or she is green as grass.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:22 AM

114. In that case, the onus is on you to support the claim that broad prosecutorial discretion...

 

...doesn't exist.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #114)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:24 AM

116. As said elsewhere on this thread, prosecutorial discretion is a euphemism for cronyism.

 

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Response to Scuba (Reply #116)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:27 AM

117. That may be so, in some cases, but its still describes the very real legal leeway the...

 

...executive branch has when determining priority of federal investigations/prosecutions.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #117)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:30 AM

118. Yet no one on this thread has been able to support the idea by citing case law in a similar case.

 

Lots of opinions, but that's all.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #114)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:40 AM

174. No. The Onus rests on President Obama

 

to get the ball moving to prosecute the tortures. You can contort, shimmy, swagger and dance like you don't care, but the law is unchanged.

I take a great deal of pleasure laying the facts on the line for you, because you have consistently been an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #174)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 10:35 AM

175. Lets get one thing straight, I would not oppose charges for those who were responsible for torture.

 

But the President is not legally required to prosecute them. He just isn't.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #175)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 01:40 PM

186. The Geneva Convention

 

of which the US is a signatory says something very different. I understand the "shield President Obama at all costs" urge that some folks have (nice turn of a phrase, right?), but the law is pretty ironclad.

If you turn a blind eye to evil, all you are doing is allowing evil to flourish. Do you think it is right that good police officers protect bad ones? If the answer is no, then you have yet another example of why things go sideways from right to wrong.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #186)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:37 PM

195. This has nothing to do with shielding any President.

 

For one, the President isn't the one that prosecutes ANYONE. This is handled by Justice Department attorneys. And whether you like it or not, they have prosecutorial discretion.

Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation. This discretion of the prosecuting attorney is called prosecutorial discretion.


http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/prosecutorial-discretion/

My argument isn't about right or wrong. I already told you that I think it would be the right thing to do. But its about legality. And my point still stands 100%, without any refutation. There is no legal obligation to prosecute the Bush admin for torture. Prosecutorial discretion is just as enshrined in US law as our agreements regarding the Geneva Convention. You might not like it, but thats the way it is.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #195)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:43 PM

204. You do realize that the Attorney General

 

who heads the Department of Justice is appointed by the President and serves on his cabinet?

And no, as a signatory to the Geneva Convention, the law is as clear as good glass. And let's not dance around it by couching it in terms of "prosecuting the Bush Administration". Let's state it in plain, unvarnished terms - the ACTORS involved in torture, whether they are part of the Bush Administration or the local theater troupe are the exact people that the Geneva Convention describes.

So, I'll hand it right back to you - you might not like it, but that is the way that it is - Obama is responsible, as is Congress and the Justice Department to indict, investigate and sentence those found guilty of committing torture as spelled out in the GC Treaty.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #204)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:18 PM

213. You are completely wrong and you completely ignored the thorough debunking I provided you.

 

You can't get around prosecutorial discretion, no matter how much you want to ignore it, its there, and its existence proves you wrong in every single way.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #213)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:22 PM

216. What statements did I make that are "completely wrong"?

 

That the Attorney General heads the DOJ? That he's a part of the President's Cabinet? That the US is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention? That by signing said treaty we aren't bound by International Law as all of the other signatories are?

I'd like to know which part of that I am "completely wrong" about. I'll wait.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #216)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 09:27 PM

220. The part where you continue to ignore the existence of prosecutorial discretion.

 

Thats the part that make you continue to be wrong about this.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #220)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 10:29 PM

221. The part that you don't like

 

that makes President Obama responsible for not prosecuting torturers. I explicitly laid out the reasons why they should be, who is responsible for doing it, and I get "You are still wrong".

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Response to Aerows (Reply #221)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:04 PM

222. You haven't been paying attention.

 

I believe they SHOULD be prosecuted. And if they were, of course it would be the Justice Department taking on that responsibility.

That STILL does not change the fact that they have prosecutorial discretion. They can legally choose not to pursue charges against anyone for any reason they want. Thats a THING. It EXISTS. And the Geneva Conventions do not change that mandate nor do any other "laws of the land". We have UN agreements on anti-marijuana enforcement that we are using prosecutorial discretion to ignore (thankfully). We can choosing (and are choosing) to not deport certain people even though the law says they are here illegally, thats another example of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutorial discretion has been used for many years as a legal shield, allowing the federal government to pick its prosecutorial battles however it sees fit. From tax evasion, to drug possession, to extortion and bribery, to what have you... there are many precedents that have upheld this right granted to the Federal Government, particularly the Justice Department.

I'll say it again, they are given full legal leeway to pick their battles. There are good reasons for that, but sometimes, there are bad consequences because of it too. The fact that they are not legally required to prosecute the Bush administration for torture is one of them I guess. But you keep insisting they are breaking the law by not doing so, and thats why I keep saying that you are wrong, because on that point, you are.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #222)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:22 PM

224. "You haven't been paying attention to what I've been saying"

 

and then here is a wall of text that completely confirms that you did in fact, say exactly what you have said.

A wall of text won't change it. I know it is probably frustrating for you to try to tilt the message, and you are doing a great job of trying to - the problem is there is no good way to spin this.

Facts are facts and law is law. Water is still going to be wet no matter how dry you describe it to be.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #224)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:27 PM

226. Wow, "a wall of text" = I can't bother to hear what you have to say.

 

This isn't even worth arguing with you over anymore because you obviously refuse to read what I have to say.

And seriously, if you call my posts "a wall of text", I don't see how in the hell you ever get through reading any kind of thorough legal analysis on anything. You're just being lazy and stubborn and thats that.

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #226)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:36 PM

228. tl;dr

 

isn't something I employ very often. It's just when I encounter a load so big that it strains the cart of credulity it is carried in.

In fact, I think you are the first person I've ever offered it to.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #228)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:37 PM

229. What?

 

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #229)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:39 PM

230. Is this where I enquire whether or not you speak English? n/t

 

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Response to phleshdef (Reply #226)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:02 PM

271. Wait

THAT is considered "too long" WTF??

Sorry, but that stuck me funny.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #39)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:02 AM

107. "Prosecutorial discretion" is a bullshit excuse for cronyism.

That is all that is.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #107)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:49 PM

142. Well said.

 

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #107)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:09 PM

161. +1 n/t

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #107)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:53 PM

207. It is.

 

Everyone here knows that the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet. The Attorney General serves at the President's bequest and heads the Department of Justice.

To say that the President has no ability to call for indictments is to say that the President can't decide what he wants for breakfast in the morning. It's a very silly way to try to absolve him of what is absolutely part of his responsibility, and the Attorney General's responsibility when each of them took office.

I understand people getting emotional because they want to shield President Obama of any responsibility whatsoever, but this just insults civic intelligence.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #207)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:45 PM

264. In fact, he could ask the AG to investigate torturing innocent people to death over breakfast!

 

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:08 AM

62. Obama is the executive. The attorney general serves at Obama's discretion.

If it is found that the treaty requires the US to prosecute torture without exercising prosecutorial discretion, then Obama as the executive is responsible for the failure of the Justice Department to carry out, to execute that law, that treaty. Of course, that is a big if, but considering the gravity of the issue of torture, it may be that we have bound ourselves to punish it when it is perpetrated by people in our government.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:05 AM

73. Repeating the same thing over and over without any links to back up your claims

makes you look like a fool, at best. A disruptor at worst.

It is not the reader's job to look up the claims made by people on message boards. The poster is should provide the link. But you know that already. Therefore, you look pretty weak in this argument.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:07 AM

85. Not when it comes to war crimes.

 

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:04 AM

61. This isi No, 7 in the international treaty cited above:

The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

So, it could be argued that in signing that treaty, we relinquished prosecutorial discretion in cases of torture.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #61)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:00 AM

254. +1

 

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:53 AM

68. Article 7 suggests that the U.S. government, no matter who

 

might happen to be in charge, is obligated to prosecute and may not exercise prosecutorial discretion:

The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.


The only wiggle room in Article 7 is the phrase "in territory under whose jurisdiction . . . " Since the alleged torture did not occur inside the U.S. proper, one might argue that Article 7 does not apply. However, I believe the U.S. legislature, subsequent to ratification of the Convention, passed two statutes (!8 USC 2340 and 18 USC 2340A) clarifying that jurisdiction holds even when the alleged torture did not occur inside the U.S. proper.

Long and short: Article 7 in conjunction with 18 USC 2340 and 18 USC 2340A require the competent authority to prosecute here or extradite to an international tribunal. No provision is made therein for 'prosecutorial discretion.'

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #68)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:08 AM

86. Thank you!

 

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #68)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:31 AM

244. That is NOT what that says at all.

Let's take the example of, say, a British person torturing someone in Afghanistan and deconstruct that language:

The State Party (that would be Afghanistan--Karzai, at the time) in territory (Afghanistan) under whose jurisdiction a person (the British guy) alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him (send him HOME TO BRITAIN), submit the case to its competent authorities (that would be the Afghan courts) for the purpose of prosecution.


But the article says you can do one, or the other!

This Convention--as I have said elsewhere--is an expression of our better selves, but it's written in such a way that everyone signing it gets an "out"--because we just aren't as good as we WANT to be.

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Response to MADem (Reply #244)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:39 AM

246. IANAL so please bear that in mind as you read my response. My layperson's

 

understanding is that federal statutes 18 USC 2340 and 18 USC 2340A were specifically crafted, passed and signed into law to clarify this ambiguity of jurisdictions and make it absolutely clear that torture by U.S. personnel on U.S. territory or any other foreign territories constitutes a direct violation of our federal statutes. IOW, Reagan signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1987 and the Senate ratified it, ironically, during George H.W. Bush's tenure in 1990. The two federal statutes referenced above were subsequently adopted precisely to bring US code into conformity with the U.N. Convention.

If you are an attorney, then I will defer to your superior knowledge of the law. Otherwise, we are simply two laypeople exchanging educated opinions. That's what a discussion board is for, I suppose

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #68)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 10:20 AM

259. Kick n/t

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 01:47 PM

187. Did you bother to read the treaty?

Yes he is legally obligated to prosecute according to the Convention signed by Ronald Reagan and ratified by Bill Clinton.

Now that doesn't mean that the USA has to keep it's word. Obama has the discretion to violate the treaty 2 other presidents signed. After all, we are not known for being honest, lawful, kind, and intelligent.

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Response to tritsofme (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:04 PM

272. They prosecute pot smokers. Which in your opinion, does more harm to

a nation, pot smokers/possessors or Torturers?

Airc, we signed the Geneva Conventions and it was ratified as part of the law of this land which forbids torture.

This country is obligated both morally and legally to prosecute War Criminals. Are you suggesting that is not the case? We sure point fingers at other nations when it suits us, for their 'human rights violations'. And as can be expected, some of those nations are now pointing right back at us, see China, with long lists of our own violations.

So not only is torture evil, condoning it, which is what this country is doing by not prosecuting torturers, has lost the US its moral authority to ever again criticize any other nation for doing the same thing.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:08 PM

12. If he did I think it would backfire politically

at least from my experience the majority of Americans would not want it.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:38 PM

22. Doesn't matter. He's in violation of the law. Worse, he could be considered complicit in war crimes,

 

something I'm sure Cheney, et al, are well aware of.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:03 AM

109. +1!

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Response to doc03 (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:37 PM

48. The 13th Amendment backfired politically.

Signing the Civil Rights Act backfired politically.

Do you think a President should not follow the law and break international treaties because of political expediency?

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #48)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:02 AM

108. Way to go, BrotherIvan!

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #108)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 10:06 AM

132. These arguments from so-called "Democrats" never cease to shock me!

Doesn't anyone think of the victims of these crimes? Is it because they are brown Muslims? If someone had said to Jewish survivors that Nazis couldn't be prosecuted because of political expediency, it would have been a moral outrage of epic proportions. To reinstate the rule of law in this country and internationally, war criminals and torturers MUST be prosecuted.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #132)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:09 PM

143. There is no wiggle room for these atrocities. Including our illegal invasion of Iraq.

 

Drone strikes on weddings. The human experiments the CIA ran on torture subjects. Hell, why won't Congress do anything about the CIA spying on them or lying to them?

So much gross injustice going on, it seems like nobody in charge even wants to start trying to take it on.

Just leave it for the next guy to ignore etc..

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Response to Rex (Reply #143)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 04:41 PM

155. That slippery slope has been well greased

As another DUer wisely said, it might take a generation or two as it has in other countries to finally bring dictators to justice. Unfortunately, many of those at the top will be dead by that time.

But the world KNOWS. We just has to make sure that they don't forget.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #132)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:59 PM

145. Exactly.

I guess life in American has been fully reshaped by the Neo-Con narrative. They transformed the world. Evil fucks. We have to fight back.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #145)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 04:44 PM

156. If it was a Republican in office, there would be howls on this board for prosecutions

The fact that we are hearing that it's not politically expedient, or that the President's hands are tied even though the law is very clear, is almost the worst part. Tribalism and hero worship do not erase the truth.

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #156)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:34 PM

157. Precisely.

"Tribalism and hero worship do not erase the truth."

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #132)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:25 PM

225. Doesn't anyone think of the victims?

I wish I could display that in large bold font all over-the-place. That is the most troubling aspect of it to me. If people had to experience, especially in a setting where they don't see an easy or known way out. It is one of the most cruel and unjust things you can ever do to someone.

Some people can rationalize certain acts as the person on the receiving end "deserves" it. A cruel twist of fate could put anyone into a position where they are on they on receiving end of this "deserving" (based on their interpretation) type of treatment.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #225)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:35 PM

227. The propaganda has worked

They don't show wars on tv anymore, but they talk about the evil Muslims. Notice how ISIS was the most pressing concern in the world for five seconds and now it's barely discussed. The fact that people forget that there are actual victims of these crimes, these atrocities, is understandable but not excusable. As you said, "it is one of the most cruel and unjust things you can ever do to someone." Shameful.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:18 PM

202. So torture gets a pass for political expediency.

 

This is what the democratic party and its supporters have come to?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:17 PM

14. The Powers That Be

have made it perfectly clear that the law does NOT apply to them.

They have each other's back and will continue to protect one another.

The U.S. is a rogue nation.

It does not abide by international law.

It does not abide by U.S. law.

The U.S. will continue its empire building and will use its military to stop anyone who gets in its way. (under the guise of U.S. interests)

You would think an honorable person of integrity would want the Bush administration held accountable, but that is not the way the U.S. government or the CIA operate.

It is difficult to admire or respect someone who protects criminals and commits criminal acts in the name of the U.S.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:41 PM

25. Obama is also bound by law to seek to deport those unlawfully in our country.

 

Presidential and prosecutorial discretion is a doubled edged sword.

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Response to branford (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:43 PM

26. He's deported more people than Bush! The problem here is that his failure to prosecute may well end

 

up with he himself being charged with war crimes.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:01 PM

32. How many people he deported is not really the issue, and you know that.

 

The point is that Obama has chosen, quite lawfully and within his discretion, how he will institute the laws of our country. That is why another president could deport everyone Obama has protected, and even use their registration with the government as a means of identification and proof of guilt.

In any event, I doubt Obama is losing any sleep that he'll be prosecuted for war crimes, whether as a result of not prosecuting American torturers or his own wartime conduct. Any attempt by a foreign entity to detain and charge a sitting or former American president or high official, irrespective of political party, would not be tolerated at all by the vast majority of the American public. Unless the Hague or ICC believes it's a match for the American armed forces, foreign tribunals charging American dignitaries with war crimes is little more than an academic discussion. Ironically, less democratic major powers like China and Russia would be leery of such international legal ambition for far less noble reasons, and would support the American position, at least behind the scenes.

Additionally, Obama will not charge his predecessors and other officials with war crimes in the USA, if for no other reason, as surety that he and his allies will not be prosecuted by a subsequent administration. All presidents engage in "dubious" conduct in defense of the nation, and the basic elements of mutually assured destruction ensure that both parties look the other way. If there's a perceived choice between torture, drones or god knows what else versus thousands of dead Americans, no president of any party will gamble, despite their best human rights rhetoric. There's a reason why Obama made it perfectly clear very early in his first term that there would be no prosecutions. Investigations and "reforms," yes, but definitely no prosecutions.

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Response to branford (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:59 PM

199. Dick Cheney has a single digit approval rating. No one is going to war to save Dick from

 

his war crimes.

I doubt the Germans lost any sleep over their war crimes either.... Until it was too late.

If future presidents don't wNt to be prosecuted, they simply need to follow the law. Is that too much to ask? Or can the no longer rule without torture as a tool?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #199)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:20 PM

203. It's not about Cheney personally, it's about American nationalism, pride,

 

strength, the fact that most Americans don't care about torture, and the legal and political precedent either a domestic or foreign prosecution would set. I think you already knew this, as well as vastly underestimate Cheney's popularity with large segments of the country.

Again, you keep on conflating what you want to be the repercussions of torture as somehow providing a basis to compel Obama or any other current or future official to prosecute. Your beliefs and motivations might be noble, but they do not change American law or alter fundamentals of politics and popular opinion.

I would also note that every president from both parties has engaged in what could generously be described as "dubious" conduct with regards to human rights and war crimes in defense of the American people. Other world leaders from democracies to tyrannies have acted likewise. I doubt the political unicorn you would want for president would ever be elected, and once in office, just like Obama, would almost always choose less savory options over risks to the safety and security of real Americans. Governing a country is not some college sociology seminar, real lives are routinely at risk, and every president ultimately makes unscrupulous choices.


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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:29 PM

42. No--see my comments below--your snippets avoided some qualifying language. nt

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Response to branford (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:57 PM

30. By that measure, he's also "bound by law" to raid all medical marijuana operations.

Argue all you want (them, not you) that he should bring charges, but the claim that he "must" is not true.

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Response to cheapdate (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:33 PM

180. Failure to do so may result in he himself being complicit in the war crimes.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #180)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:44 PM

249. Exactly as his failure to prosecute medical marijuana operators

may result in his being complicit in drug crimes.

Or his failure to prosecute himself for unlawful murders using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).

He's furthermore responsible for every immigrant who has died while in detention.

The spectacle of Donald Rumsfeld and other former senior government leaders being arrested and put on trial by the United States for torture and other war crimes didn't happen in 2009, or in 2010. It's not likely to happen in 2015-2016 either.

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Response to cheapdate (Reply #249)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:33 AM

252. War crimes are a different legal animal than legalized MMJ. Is their a more heinous crime than

 

torturing innocent people to death?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #252)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:15 AM

255. It does not matter whether war crimes are more heinous than marijuana.

 

The president has the same discretion whether to prosecute. This has been explained to you numerous time by various posters.

The president has explicitly stated that he will not commence any torture prosecutions. If you believe he or someone else with appropriate authority in the USA can be physically compelled to do so, kindly describe what legal mechanism can be employed to force such prosecutions and who would have standing in court to seek such relief?

It does not matter if he is in technical violation of a federal statute or agreed treaty, if there is no actual legal mechanism bypass the inherent prosecutorial discretion in the executive branch, the perceived level of heinousness of the alleged crimes is totally irrelevant.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #252)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 08:45 PM

276. Yes. There are more heinous crimes.

The entire Iraq War was a crime and the magnitude of the destruction, death, and misery it caused completely dwarfs the relatively small number of detainees who died in U.S. custody.

A single US bomb during the initial "shock and awe" campaign destroyed a structure where hundreds of Iraqi women and children were sheltering. Many times more innocent people were killed in this one incident than all of the detainees who were killed in U.S. military custody.

More immigration detainees have died in U.S. immigration custody over the past eight years (around 126) than detainees who died in military custody (around 50).

By an order of magnitude, more innocent civilians (around 2,000) were killed during Israel's last campaign in Gaza.

It's all horrible. I don't fault you for demanding justice.

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Response to branford (Reply #25)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:04 AM

72. Not by international treaty, he isn't. You're comparing apples to oranges to

 

imply that President Obama's EO curtailing deportations falls in the same category as his and Atty. General Holder's refusal to honor our international treaty obligations, i.e., executive discretion.

But that is a fundamentally dishonest position and we all know it. There is no point in signing treaties if, whenever it is inconveneint to one or more signatory party, they simply abrogate their responsibilities under the treaty.

Treaties entered into and duly ratified by the Senate have the full force and weight of the U.S. Constitution, per the language of the Constitution itself.

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #72)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:32 AM

78. That's not entirely true.

 

First, duly ratified treaties have the force and effect of federal law. NOTHING equals or abrogates the text of the Constitution. It is the supreme law of the land, and no treaty or law can violate its terms. This is part and parcel of the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.

Second, I don't know who would have standing to compel the president to do anything under the treaty, no less commence prosecutions, and separation of powers would almost certainly prevent any court from forcing a prosecution. If the matter ever saw a US court, they could declare us in breach of the treaty. That and $2.50 and you can ride the subway in NYC.

Third, we can withdraw from the treaty at any time. If somehow ordered to prosecute by the courts, in what would be a rare moment of bipartisanship, we would withdraw from all or part of the treaty rendering the issue moot. It would hardly be the first time Congress and the president acted to circumvent a court decision.

Fourth, the treaty already contemplates that a signatory state will not domestically prosecute. The remedy is an international prosecution. Until such time as the ICC or Hague can challenge the U.S. Armed Forces or the American people are prepared to turn-over our officials to foreign courts, such a discussion is, at best, academic.

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Response to branford (Reply #78)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:54 AM

120. Responses to your points

1. Besides the Constitution, nothing BUT laws and treaties is the supreme law of the land. See the second paragraph in article VI at http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.
Emphasis mine, of course.

2. Neither do I know who could compel the president to commence prosecutions. How did compelling the president to enforce the law become the issue?

3. Yes, we could withdraw from the treaty. Once we did, there would be no more treaty protecting our troops from torture at the hands of foreign nations. In fact, we may have effectively withdrawn from the treaty just by violating it. At this point, the only way we can show that we really want to be in this treaty after all is to show that we the American people consider violations of the treaty to be criminal. Thus, prosecutions.

4. Is turning our officials over to foreign courts out of the question? A treaty that does not work absent a military threat is not much of a treaty at all. If the choice in enforcing a treaty is between something that is not going to happen (turning our officials over) on the one hand and using military force on the other, I would say the treaty never meant much in the first place. That reasoning can be extended to any treaty the U.S. makes. It amounts to saying no one can enter into a treaty with the U.S. and expect it to mean much, because when push comes to shove the U.S. will say "You can't make me. So I win." No one wants to make a treaty with someone who will handle their treaty obligations that way.

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Response to freedom fighter jh (Reply #120)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 10:05 AM

131. Thank you for this. I got to your post about an hour after you posted it and

 

see no reason now why I would need to qualify a single word of your 4-point refutation. (I had looked up Article VI last night to satisfy myself that it said what I remembered it saying, Branford's equivocations notwithstanding. Upon reading your Point 1, I can see that I'm not the only one who has read Article VI.)

Your Point 4 is a brilliant unmasking of the ideology of realpolitik Branford had articulated and implied, at least when it comes to international relations. My sincerest compliments!

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Response to KingCharlemagne (Reply #131)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:49 PM

163. Thank you for your kind words, King Charlemagne. nt

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Response to freedom fighter jh (Reply #120)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:21 PM

146. Sigh . . .

 

1. I'm quite familiar with the text of the Supremacy Clause, I studied it extensively in law school in both my Constitutional Law and Conflicts of Laws classes, and it's even come up a couple of time in my litigation practice. You apparently can use Google. Try researching "conflict of laws treaty constitution" for numerous explanations, both scholarly and layman, about how the explicit text of the Constitution cannot be abrogated by any treaty. In the event of any conflict between a treaty and the Constitution, the Constitution must prevail. If you know any attorneys you like or trust, ask them the question. Any first year law student, no less an experienced litigator, knows fundamental Supremacy Clause jurisprudence.

2.The issue of who could possibly compel the president to initiate prosecutions is highly relevant because he has explicitly stated that he will not prosecute anyone from his or any prior administrations. All the repeated discussions about how he "must" prosecute are academic, if not amusing, unless someone actually has the power to make him do so.

3. You're discussing what you believe we should do, not what domestic law actually requires or politics demands. Countries often withdraw or reserve their rights not to follow certain parts of treaties or simply ignore certain terms. Welcome to international politics. Countries enter into and abide by treaties because they believe its in their interests, and ignore them for the same reasons. You can state what you believe the American people feel or think, but our actual elected representatives of both parties do not appear to agree, and it has not hurt the electoral prospects of either party except among the fringe.

4. Again, you're discussing why you believe we should comply with the treaty (to the extent the text actually requires certain actions), not how you intend to effectuate compliance when the president and the majority of both political parties have made it abundantly clear that there will be no prosecutions. I do not entirely disagree that ignoring the treaty sets a bad precedent for international comity, but this will not be the first time a country ignores some or all of a treaty, and it will not be the last. Nevertheless, the vast majority of treaties among countries, ranging from tyrannies to liberal democracies, with continue to negotiate and implement treaties because all parties mutually benefit. Countries eagerly try to enter into treaties with the USA all the time for reasons of trade, security and far more mundane matters, and the torture prosecution issue will barely be a blip in short or long term international relations, particularly because many of the more relevant countries have their own human rights problems that we'll politely ignore or make noise but few actual demands for treaty enforcement.

Now, as it pertains to KingCharlemagne's post, would you care to explain how President Obama will be forced to commence torture prosecutions in the USA if, as he has expressly and repeatedly stated, he chooses not to, or by what practical mechanism any high American official will be extradited, no less be forceably removed, to stand trial in a foreign tribunal?

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Response to branford (Reply #146)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 10:43 PM

164. "Sigh"?

That looks like shorthand for "What am I gonna do with you, you silly ignorant thing, you?" It's disrespectful, as is your comment about my being able to use google. I'll thank you not to talk down to me. Being a lawyer doesn't make you better or smarter than anyone else.

About your points:

1. I understand that you are familiar with the Supremacy Clause and that a treaty cannot abrogate the Constitution. But I fail to see anything in what King Charlemagne said in post 72 that implies that a treaty can abrogate the Constitution. So what's your point?

In my post 78, when I said treaties are also the supreme law of the land, I was responding to your statement "It [the Constitution] is the supreme law of the land," which in context seemed to me to imply that treaties are not, since you were drawing a contrast between the status of the Constitution and the status of treaties.

2. I have worked with lawyers. Usually the bottom line question for a lawyer is something like "Will this work?" or "What will happen in court?" But sometimes people want to discuss principles and ideas before they start to strategize. King, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I think King Charlemagne was doing.

3. You misrepresent my position. I was not trying to say what the American people think. I was saying that to show that we take the treaty seriously we would have to show that the American people consider violations of it to be criminal. Not saying they do consider violations criminal. I don't claim to know what everyone thinks.

4. Your point that prosecution is not viable now is important. You cite the positions of political parties, and I agree that those positions, as they stand now, would make prosecution impossible. Please note, though, that those positions can change if it becomes clear to everyone that war crimes were committed. That kind of change is, IMO, the goal of a process that grows out of discussions like these.

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Response to freedom fighter jh (Reply #164)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 11:46 PM

165. You really don't disagree with, at least for the most part,

 

and I'm at a loss as to why you so stridently disagreed with my prior points that you now appear to generally concede.

In any event, I willing to go a step farther than you, in that I don't believe that there is much dispute among most of the American people that some type of torture in fact occurred and, if the president was so inclined, he could prosecute everyone from Bush and Cheney on downward, regardless of any treaty. That does not mean that I believe any prosecutor could necessarily procure torture convictions.

The real issues as I see them are that a similar large majority of Americans don't really care that we tortured or believe it was wholly justified or deserved, and regardless, have no inclination for prosecution and the spectacle it would entail (it would require a monumental cultural and legal shift before a foreign prosecution of an American official could be openly discussed). More practically, every president and administration takes actions, particularly in the international sphere, that are, shall we say "dubious" from a human rights / war crimes perspective, and given the size of government, a great many additional officials are involved in varying capacities. There are and will be no prosecutions because of what amounts to simple mutually assured destruction.

If Obama prosecuted any Bush official, it would be an almost certain guarantee that Obama too would be later prosecuted for good cause, and even if another Democrat was subsequently elected president, there are enough people in the know to leak sufficient information to politically assure key Democrats would later criminally suffer. It would require a new administration that was so pure in deed and compliant in law that they and key allies and friends would be immune to risk once out of office. Successful politicians are people who are ambitious and willing to play dirty. The president, as both the civilian leader and commander-in-chief of the USA, a highly politicized democracy, will by necessity, inclination and duty generally do what they believe necessary to protect the safety of American, even if the methods might be "questionable." If the choice is between thousands or more dead Americans and the letter of the law, the law will lose every time. Accordingly, I cannot envision a political unicorn so saintly that they could actually be elected president and would be immune to the security and safety pressures that Obama, and every president before him, face on a regular basis. There's a reason why presidents from both parties go gray so fast . . .

I also certainly understand the discussion by some of what certain treaties may require or intend to occur. However, it's foolish to permit those that appear unfamiliar with the political and legal process to continually insist that some mechanism exists that would force Obama to prosecute Bush and his ilk. It may feel good, but such decisions are really discretionary, regardless of the text of a treaty or the nobility of the cause.




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Response to branford (Reply #78)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:35 PM

182. Your arguing that all of our treaty obligations are without substance.

 

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Response to branford (Reply #25)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:46 PM

231. First part of Obama's executive order

begins with beefing up the deportation side of things.

They don't have the manpower and resources to deport everyone so they he is prioritizing enforcement based on common sense & fairness.

Then there is this...

136 Law Professors Say President Has Legal Authority to Act on Immigration

After immigration reform stalled in the House, President Obama announced that he plans to “fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.” A chorus of legal experts and columnists agreed that he’d be on solid ground if he did. The President has discussed deferring deportations for up to 5 million immigrants, starting with families, whose lives hang in the balance.

Today, 136 law professors from across the United States joined the debate with a clear statement of support for the President’s ability to take action. Their letter states clearly that the “administration has the legal authority to use prosecutorial discretion as a tool for managing resources and protecting individuals residing in and contributing to the United States in meaningful ways.” Prosecutorial discretion is “grounded in the Constitution, and has been part of the immigration system for many years.”

Moreover, as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has shown, these “kinds of procedures help officers to implement policy decisions fairly and consistently, and they offer the public the transparency that government priority decisions require in a democracy.” Indeed, Stephen Legomsky, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel who is a Washington University School of Law professor, said, “As part of the administration’s legal team that ironed out the details of DACA, I can personally attest that we took pains to make sure the program meticulously satisfied every conceivable legal requirement. In this letter, 136 law professors who specialize in immigration reach the same conclusion.”

The letter was drafted by experts in prosecutorial discretion—Legomsky, Hiroshi Motomura of UCLA Law School, and Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia of Penn State University School of Law. And the signing professors, from 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, represent a wide-cross section of America. There are signers from Texas and Florida to North Carolina, Arizona, and Missouri, among other states. Every Ivy League law school is represented, as well as state schools and faith-based institutions. The letter “reflects a clear, broad, and informed consensus,” said Motomura.
- See more at: http://immigrationimpact.com/2014/09/03/136-law-professors-say-president-has-legal-authority-to-act-on-immigration/#sthash.gSdqR5y1.dpuf

OK - I think we can all agree on prosecutorial discretion but is the any part of federal immigration law that was very similar language to torture law - like can someone prosecute the state for violation of subsection 1?

OK - I came across this which brings up the international law angle

“Prosecution within the U.S. law tends to be of discretionary action,” Huneeus said. “Under international law there is less discretion. I don't think you can say we're not going to prosecute these crimes under international law.”
http://www.channel3000.com/news/UW-law-professor-Prosecuting-CIA-torture-suspects-must-be-priority/30190080

I jumped at you but searches backed you up but the circumstances and justifications are different, especially from the perspective of justice.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #231)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 12:07 AM

232. Please read my numerous posts on the thread.

 

My point has not been whether torture prosecutions would be just or proper, or even a dispute about the text of any treaties. My comments about not enforcing immigration or marijuana laws were simplifications of basic separation of powers and prosecutorial and presidential discretion arguments. However, there are no constitutional overrides to these legal fundamentals for torture.

Rather, Obama has already stated that he will not prosecute. I'm a trial attorney, and unless you can advise me on what mechanism Obama can be compelled to commence prosecutions, and who would have standing to do so, the issue is moot. Just because a treaty says something must be done, does not necessarily mean there is a procedure under American jurisprudence to accomplish the goal. In fact, the treaty at issue even contemplates that a country will not domestically prosecute. This is hardly the first time this has occurred in America or elsewhere, and it will not be the last.

I also discuss the fundamental political reasons why neither Obama nor any future president will prosecute despite anything that purportedly is required by treaty or any other law, domestic or international. Without repeating my other posts, he's simple covering his own rear end and those of his friends and allies. This may be distasteful, but still fairly indisputable.

Note also that if parties attempted to force any prosecutions, Obama could simply exercise his broad constitutional pardon and commutation powers to decisively end any chance of domestic prosecutions forever.

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Response to branford (Reply #232)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 12:26 AM

233. I couldn't advise you

My post started out one way but the links coming up backed up what you're saying.

I can't find much fault, but you mention the political reasons. I can understand partisan politically motivated prosecutions and investigations especially in this environment but with that said, Republicans and Republican routinely challenge the Obama administration. The one thing I do applaud is DoJ investigation into Arpaio. An example of a Republican who uses his position of authority to break the law. Arpaio responded with an investigation of his own into the DOJ and the judge who found him guilty of racial profiling (Arpaio has a well known local history for investigation judges who rule against him and political opponents).

I'm glad for whatever reason they do the right things when it comes racist Arizona politicians.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #233)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 12:39 AM

234. Both parties are not shy about employing the criminal just system against one another.

 

However, torture prosecutions raise the stakes for everyone dramatically.

An incredibly large number of very important people on both sides of the aisle have too many skeletons concerning what they believe are good faith acts to protect the American people. Matters like Joe Arpaio or some minor congressman's tax problems are barely a blip on the political radar without long-term consequences. However, torture prosecutions are the veritable nuclear launch, and the fear of mutually assured destruction keeps everyone quiet. Prosecutions would also realistically act as an impediment to recruiting and retaining key individuals in the defense, intelligence, foreign affairs and justice spheres, and might severely impact national security.

Apart from the legal difficulties, and despite my personal opposition to torture, I acknowledge that to those responsible for our safety and security, the issue complex with real life and death consequences.

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Response to branford (Reply #234)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 01:39 AM

235. I don't quite see the doom and gloom you do

Have an independent prosecutor (which would go without saying) look in the matter, bring charges in that case. The main 4 of the Bush administration & the torture architects certainly have access to best legal defense money can buy. Judges would likely go out of their way to make sure any of the defendants are being railroaded. The House Republicans have filed at-least one lawsuit that I know of against the Obama administration. How did the countless Clinton investigations impede Republicans?

As far as offending Bush loyalists and anyone who favors such corruption, arbitrary detentions & rolling back of civil liberties highlighted by the scary precedents and losing those "key" individuals wouldn't be a loss to me. That type of shit is more of a threat to whatever doom and gloom scenarios there is. Not prosecuting effectively legalizes torture for the executive branch, the push to keep it out of the light seems unnecessary since the accountability risk is low. Bush's interest in bombing Al-Jazeera is baffling for the same reasons.

All those people you mention as well as Obama took oaths to protect and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign & domestic. I don't care how marginal the existing support was for Kucinich but when he took out that pocket book constitution which he says he carries with him at all times and pointed out the oath won the debate regarding the impeach question in the primary debate. Deciding against doing the right thing because of political consequences is why I gave up hope on meaningful change.

It isn't like Bush administrations officials haven't been convicted before, you know how many Reagan officials were convicted? WHy Democrats fear their narrative, I have no idea.

Assured destruction implies someone has something on somebody which compromises them when it comes to policy which are politicians that I wouldn't lose sleep over.

BTW - SB 1070 was hardly a 'blip on the radar' which was legislation sponsored by my former state senator.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 08:51 PM

28. But the United States qualified its ratification of this convention with "reservations."

 

Those reservations included:

(1) (a) That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

John Yoo, being the asshole he is, argued that the waterboarding done by the CIA did not "specifically intend" to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and so did not constitute "torture" as defined above. Maybe Obama agrees, maybe not. Be that as it may, Congress should withdraw the reservation quoted above and also amend our criminal statutes against torture (the Torture Act and the War Crimes Act) so that waterboarding is unambiguously criminal under those statutes. But no one cares enough to push for the necessary changes. Obama isn't pushing for them and for all I know no one in Congress is doing so either. Sad and pathetic.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #28)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:00 PM

31. Thank you. Well said.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:44 PM

158. Excellent post, the CIA did all of those things to prisoners.

 

Yet like you said, no charges are coming.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:03 PM

33. No one tells the United States of America what it can and cannot do.

 

- No one. You know this. Laws written on pieces of paper don't mean squat in the end, as they can be altered (or, as in this case) ignored at-will.



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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:10 PM

35. The Picard once said treaties are not laws

but devices to smooth relations between different peoples or something like that.

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:26 PM

136. Ratified treaties become law.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:28 PM

41. Do you have a link? Ah, never mind--I found a copy...

http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

Your excerpts leave me with these impressions:

--Article 4 seems to say that it is a crime.

--Article 7 seems to be talking about foreign nationals, either extradite them or prosecute them-- not citizens of the country in question. We don't extradite our own citizens, after all.


I'm not "endorsing" torture, here, but those words--ALL of them, not just the snippets-- do appear to show a loophole big enough to drive an aircraft carrier through.

Here's the full text of Article 4:

Article 4

Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.


Hmmmm... "appropriate penalties" leaves a LOT of wiggle room. An Article 15, or a Courts Martial, could be viewed as an appropriate penalty. There's no requirement to prosecute there. Keep in mind that ART 15 is "non-judicial" punishment. Dick Cheney might find a "Letter of Reprimand" to be "appropriate" as a penalty.

Now, let's take on Article 5:

Article 5

Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
When the victim was a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.
Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article.
This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.


Basically, all that is saying is that you can't blow it off--you have to resolve it, one way or another. Even if you resolve it "in accordance with internal law"--like, say, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


Now let's look at all of Article 7:

Article 7

The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.
Any person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with any of the offences referred to in article 4 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings.


To my ear, this sounds like they are saying that you can't convict anyone on sketchy evidence, you've got to use the same rules of evidence that you would use in any other "ordinary offense of a serious nature," the bar has to be set high, and the accused is entitled to a vigorous defense. Pointing and accusing won't cut it--there needs to be proof, testimony, etc.

Again, I don't mean to be cynical, but this document is written to uphold a standard of expected and decent behavior, yet give individual countries an option and an "out" to "punish" as they see fit. Punishment could be something as benign as a "Letter of Instruction" along the lines of

Dear (Insert Name):

It has been observed that you have engaged in behaviors that might be regarded as cruel and unusual in your treatment of suspects and prisoners, specifically (list all the things the person has done wrong)..

This letter serves to advise you to cease and desist this conduct, to abide by the regulations governing the management of the prisoner population, and to direct any questions you have with regard to said management to your superior in the chain of command.

Your signature below indicates you have received and understand the contents of this Letter of Instruction.

(Signature of Head Honcho)

Signature of Recipient.........................


Now, you're not going to like this bit at all, but it's fact--Letters of Instruction are PRIVATE--they are between a boss and a subordinate, and they have an expiration date. Further, they are not punitive, and they do NOT become a part of one's "permanent record." They're designed to correct behavior. And they'd also check the block of resolving the issue within the confines of "internal law." Every single person accused of torture might have been issued an LOI, that expired after a year and was tossed into the burn bag, and no one outside the immediate chain of command would ever know about it--not the public, not the prisoners, no one. No copies are kept after the LOI expires.

Now, it might be argued that we're talking Major Poor Judgment if allegations of torture are handled with an LOI, but we'd have a hard time proving anything, since those kinds of administrative actions are designed to kick over the traces and not leave a permanent record.

Where your argument falls down is with the word "prosecute," which doesn't mean the same thing all around the world, and the text of that Convention seems to recognize and address that. Also, it's unlikely in the extreme that the USA or any other country would sign this convention if the wiggle room I have described wasn't written right into the thing. Sorry to be cynical (yet again), but that's the simple truth. Everyone loves the expression of a high-minded ideal, but no one likes being told what to do.

I certainly hope that there won't be any messenger shooting as a consequence of this post; what I'm saying is simple fact--not an endorsement.

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Response to MADem (Reply #41)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:11 PM

55. What you are saying is incorrect.

 

The convention requires signatories to make acts of torture criminal offenses with punishments appropriate to a crime of a grave nature. Criminal offenses of any kind, let alone grave criminal offenses, are never punished by a letter of instruction. Your reading of the convention would make a mockery of it.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #55)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:45 AM

60. Look, I read the convention and I provided documentation to prove what I'm saying.

From the Convention, one more time:

This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.


Military Justice is an "internal" system of justice--you may not like it, but you are not the controlling authority here. If a service member goes to Captain's Mast/Article 15, the CO can give them anything from a pat on the head and "Go and Sin No More, to an LOI, a Letter of Reprimand, restriction, extra duty, forfeiture of pay for a couple of months, or let them go. And that--like it, or not--satisfies the Convention.

My reading of the convention is--sorry to tell you--accurate. I did say don't shoot the messenger, so put the gun away..

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Response to MADem (Reply #60)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:48 AM

126. Your reading is clearly inaccurate, and any expert in international law would tell you that.

 

The point of the passage you quote is to not restrict the JURSIDICTION that a signatory's internal law establishes for criminal offenses pertaining to torture, etc.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #126)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:59 AM

127. You're trying to insist that the UCMJ doesn't constitute "internal law"

though--and it does.

The way that thing is written, if the military "punishes" their people for their behavior (and they do this often--it's the foundation of every SOFA agreement for most offenses), they've abided by the provisions of the Convention. And that punishment might not be forty lashes or years languishing in a cell. It might be a reprimand. It might be a half month's pay docked for two months. It might be "extra duty." Or it might be nothing at all.

There's enough wiggle room in that thing that enables host nations--not just the USA, anyone who is a signatory-- to get away with a LOT.

It's a statement of ideals, it's not "directions." That's why so many people felt easy signing it.

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Response to MADem (Reply #127)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:10 AM

128. Of course UCMJ is internal law. I never denied that, of course.

 

You seem to think that a slap on the wrist can be a punishment that is appropriate to a grave criminal offense. No one in their right mind agrees.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #128)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:16 AM

129. "In their right mind" eh? So you're going there?

I'm sorry to tell you that I've sat on courts martials where guilt was a foregone conclusion and the deliberators nullified. I've also participated in CMs where I thought the guilty bastard deserved far more than he ended up getting. Pre-trial deals are often made to limit the extent of punishment if a guilty verdict is returned, and those deliberating no nothing of it until well after the fact (if at all).

But hey, do go on with the personal insults because they're apparently the only weapons in your arsenal. They don't make your assertions accurate.

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Response to MADem (Reply #129)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:57 AM

130. I apologize for the personal insult. It was uncalled for.

 

I generally like reading your posts (though I seldom agree with you) because you are obviously an intelligent person. That being said, you keep ignoring my arguments, which is frustrating. Your experience on military courts, the existence of pretrial deals, etc. does not address any of my points. Besides, in the United States we do have criminal statutes with severe punishments for torture. The problem with those statutes is that they are horribly vague and ambiguous (as I discussed in my response to the OP).

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Response to Vattel (Reply #130)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:22 AM

172. You're saying what I said.

Sure, we have criminal statutes with severe punishments for torture, but we also have concepts like double jeopardy. No one is going to punish someone twice, even if the military punishment is non-judicial. If the military takes the case--particularly overseas, where states don't have any jurisdiciton--then what's done is done. No one in DOJ will come after them.

Yes, those statutes are vague and ambiguous--and that a) makes them difficult to prosecute, and b) dovetails nicely with the Convention, which is equally vague and ambiguous, making it difficult to apply (even though it's just a treaty--not law).

There won't be any frog marching "to the Hague!" or anywhere else, and there won't be some European judge flying in with a crew of world police to make arrests. It would seem that some people really want that to happen--but it's not going to happen. There's absolutely no motivation to do that, and many Americans still think torture is a good idea. The best one can hope for is to start a conversation about things like history and ethics, maybe start teaching those concepts in school, and perhaps change the culture of the country in that fashion.

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Response to MADem (Reply #172)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:10 PM

196. No, I disagree with what you said for the reasons I gave.

 

Setting our disagreements aside, I think that going forward we need to amend the torture act and the war crimes act to make them less vague and ambiguous. Then it would be more difficult to ignore them, as Bush and Cheney and the CIA did.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #196)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 12:36 PM

263. Well, to be clear, here are my views--torture is bad and we should not do it.

That's first and foremost.

Second, pigs will fly before any of the Bush regime -- or anyone involved in sketchy/illegal behavior--are prosecuted under these Conventions. That doesn't mean I "approve" or "am an apologist for" this reality, but that's the way it will roll out.

Third, if we want to be that to which we aspire, we need to start holding people accountable, and make them understand that an ethical sense, not a "get rich quick" attitude, is what is prized in public life. I don't think I'll live long enough to see that sea change. It'll probably take a few generations.

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Response to MADem (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:17 AM

91. Methinks the reason there is so much "wiggle room" is that the signatories -- not just the US --

wanted to preserve some space for them to wiggle if they themselves ever felt the need.

Many talk about how the US has "no moral authority" to lecture other nations about human rights abuse, acts of terror etc. but I can't help but wonder which nations have the right to lecture us -- or anyone else for that matter.

It's all one big system designed to be gamed so that it can defend itself more than it can defend those under its control. They fear the absence of the system more than they fear threats of change to the system.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #91)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:14 AM

98. Precisely. No nation signs these things with the idea that they

cede their sovereignty to some bureaucratic larger world body. The purpose of these treaties is to offer a "sense" of how we feel the world ought to work and to express an opinion on how we view things, in general. We don't box ourselves in overmuch with these things, though--and most importantly, neither does anyone else. Torture bad, torturers should be punished? Sure, we can get behind that! Of course, the devil, as always, is in the details.

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Response to MADem (Reply #98)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:26 AM

101. "Of course, the devil, as always, is in the details."

The devil, you say?

A curious turn of phrase. Christian anarchists (yes, there is such a thing, stop giggling) note that when Jesus was fasting for 40 days in the desert and being tempted by the Devil the Devil's final temptation was an appeal the Jesus' desire to see the world and peace and cared for and so the Devil offered Jesus every nation of the world --

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.


That's got to tell you something about the nature of government, eh?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #101)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:31 AM

102. If you're "in with the in crowd," well, "the devil made me do it!"

Where's Swamprat with his Devil Cheney when we need him?

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Response to MADem (Reply #41)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 01:53 PM

188. "I'm not endorsing torture here"

By looking for loopholes, finding ways to avoid taking responsibility, and avoiding prosecuting War Criminals according to the treaty we signed, you may not be "endorsing" torture, but you sure are busy making excuses.

We raped people. We threatened to rape and kill their families in front of them. WE CHAINED A MAN TO THE FUCKING FLOOR AND LEFT HIM THERE UNTILE HE DIED OF HYPOTHERMIA".

Yeah you keep finding those "loopholes" for Obama to jump through.

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #188)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 02:41 PM

190. Oh just stop it. Stop characterizing my remarks. That's LAME.

I said what I said and I MEANT what I said. I am not "busy making excuses," I am telling it LIKE IT IS.

Now, you can scream "To the Hague!!" all day, and guess what's gonna happen? Nuthin'. You can "blame" me for that but it's not my fault--it's the fault of people who have wiped their asses on standards down the years, from the Greed is Good clowns to the Let's Make a Profit Out of Education assholes. Who suffers? The next generations--they are "carefully taught" that being an asshole PAYS. And they've been taught that since "Ewwwwww---Evil Obama" was in Junior High School.

The only way to stop this kind of behavior is to inculcate it from the earliest years, and the only way to make that happen is to start teaching children ethics and civics from their earliest days in school.

But go on and make the snarky remarks, place blame so you don't have to share the responsibility, make it all about "Obama BAAAAAD" and not a bigger picture problem, since that's all you've got--and keep travelling down that low road. It won't solve a damn thing, but you'll feel better, I'm sure.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:32 PM

44. good luck with that

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:03 PM

50. I'll alert the media n/t

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:10 PM

53. Two words: prosecutorial discretion.

He's also supposed to deport undocumented aliens.

Quod erat demonstratum.

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:01 AM

81. War crimes are a special case. If prosecutorial discretion was allowed

 

then the officials of an offending country could always fail to prosecute the war criminals, thereby rendering the treaty moot... There would be no point in having the law in the first place.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #81)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:31 AM

87. Would you kindly care to cite the "war crimes exception"

 

to presidential powers in the Constitution or cite any federal jurisprudence limiting prosecutorial discretion, no less mandating prosecution (likely in violation of the separation of powers) in the event of an alleged war crime. As an attorney, I would be most interesting in reading such authority.

Treaties are "rendered moot" all the time by lack of enforcement. So are federal laws. How do you think Obama is managing to not deport known undocumented immigrants or why the DEA and FBI are not raiding every marijuana dispensary in Washington and Colorado.

If you want an example of a treaty that we signed, but refused to enforce, even though President Bush(!) wanted to and a ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering us to comply, check out the cases of undocumented Mexican nationals that faced the death penalty in Texas despite the fact that they did not promptly receive consular assistance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberto_Leal_Garcia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Medell%C3%ADn

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Response to branford (Reply #87)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 11:06 AM

135. Complicity

 

The Nuremberg principles:

Principle I
"Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment."

Principle II
"The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law."

Principle III
"The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

Principle IV
Main article: Superior Orders
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

Previous to the time of the Nuremberg Trials, this excuse was known in common parlance as "Superior Orders". After the prominent, high profile event of the Nuremberg Trials, that excuse is now referred to by many as the "Nuremberg Defense". In recent times, a third term, "lawful orders" has become common parlance for some people. All three terms are in use today, and they all have slightly different nuances of meaning, depending on the context in which they are used.

Nuremberg Principle IV is legally supported by the jurisprudence found in certain articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which deal indirectly with conscientious objection. It is also supported by the principles found in paragraph 171 of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status which was issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Those principles deal with the conditions under which conscientious objectors can apply for refugee status in another country if they face persecution in their own country for refusing to participate in an illegal war.

Principle V
"Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law."

Principle VI
"The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not 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:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."
Principle VII
"Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law."

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #135)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:41 PM

147. The Nuremberg Principles are used to establish what is a war crime.

 

The Principles do not override the text of the Constitution or establish independent American jurisprudence limiting the prosecutorial discretion of the president.

You can cite to the Principles as to why you believe the president should commence torture prosecution, but I'll inquire once again, do you have any citations to American law that establishes that the president must initiate prosecutions, and if he does not, by what mechanism he can actually be compelled to do so.

Your argument can essentially be distilled to claiming that war crimes are so important to prosecute that Obama must do so. That is a moral argument. I've neither seen nor read anything that actually legally compels Obama to prosecute any practical means by which American high officials will ever appear before a foreign tribunal. (See, e.g., my posts #78 and #46 in this thread).

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Response to branford (Reply #147)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:52 PM

150. Article 4 and 7 clearly indicate that the torturer must

 

be submitted to the proper authorities for prosecution, does it not?

Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

Article 7

1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #150)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 04:35 PM

154. Again . . .

 

Although you clearly mean well, I don't believe you understand basic constitutional separation of powers or legal procedure.

You can yell or cite "must" all you want, it's really meaningless and for all intent and purposes effectively aspirational.

This is the only relevant question: What actual mechanism can be employed in American courts to compel the president or anyone else in the executive branch of government to initiate torture prosecutions, and who would have standing to seek such relief?

In fact, the treaty contemplates that a country will not prosecute, and provides for an alternative international forum. This option is even less likely than a domestic prosecution. It basically requires the political branches to consent to the extradition of an American official to a foreign tribunal or their physical rendition. Virtually no member of either party will consent to sending an American high official to a foreign court, and they would be supported by the vast majority of the American public. As for physical rendition, I do not believe that the ICC or Hague is prepared to engage in a military conflict with American armed forces.

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Response to branford (Reply #154)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:28 PM

178. are you saying it is impractical for him to fulfill his legal obligations under the treaty?

 

And hen there's this:

Geneva Convention, Protocol 1, 1977, Art. 87. (3). The High Contracting Parties and Parties to the conflict shall require any commander who is aware that subordinates or other persons under his control are going to commit or have committed a breach of the Conventions or of this Protocol, to initiate such steps as are necessary to prevent such violations of the Conventions or this Protocol, and, where appropriate, to initiate disciplinary or penal action against violators thereof.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #178)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 03:38 PM

274. He is saying the President can't be forced to prosecute

There is no legal mechanism under US law that allows anyone to force the president to prosecute for torture.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #81)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:55 AM

94. "thereby rendering the treaty moot... There would be no point in having the law in the first place."

Welcome aboard --







At least here you'll always know where you stand. No illusions. No false promises. No one can ever claim to be better than you because he has a badge or a title.

It's a startling thought, I know. I felt it too; but soon enough the shock will fade and it actually may begin to feel quite comfortable. Liberating, even.

I know. I know. "We can't have anarchy because then we'd have -- ANARCHY!" Don't let the System lie to you. Anarchists can still come together to build roads, run a fire department, build and stock libraries and even defend each other. What they can't -- won't -- do is affix a piece of shiny metal on their shirts and claim special demands on your life and property that you are not entitled to make against them in return.

Don't think that is how the System really works?

Suppose Obama never holds the offenders to account? Who will hold Obama to account?

What happens if that party, in turn, is in dereliction of its duty?

And then?

And then?

And so on.

But what would happen to you if you tried to hold them to account?

Wait. What? You mean we've assembled this massive apparatus of the nation-state, promulgated it to every corner of the world to govern every facet of our lives and all it does is surround those administering it with cops and soldiers that will protect those administering it more than those whom it tortures?

YES!

The victims of the System are more liable to be punished under the colors of the System for seeking the protections promised to them under the System than those who flout the decrees of the very same System in order to torture.

Why?

Because those who are abused by the system are abused in the name of protecting the System, not those under its aegis. It cannot be claimed with a straight face that the System abuses in order to protect the people because the people are the ones being abused.

And changing administration of the system is a vain hope. Remember when we were promised Change? I do. Yet, here we are.

The only thing you can change is -- you; and how much do you even need to change since you already see the infuriating hypocrisy of it all. Change yourself. Govern yourself. That is all any person should be allowed to govern and then we will meet each other as true equals...not as masters and servants jockeying for position but as friends and neighbors.

If my words are lacking I offer nothing more except an outstretched hand and a smile.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #94)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:39 PM

183. I'll take it.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #81)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:12 AM

97. They're no more special than most drug crimes, which are also governed by treaty.

Please cite the legal authority (-ies) which support your contention that war crimes are 'special', in terms of prosecutorial discretion. Thank you in advance.

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #97)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:23 AM

115. You are right. Which is why the State eventually degenerates into a self-mocking farce. nt

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #115)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:33 AM

119. Exactly. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I support prosecutions for torture. n/t

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #119)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:02 AM

122. "In the interest of full disclosure, however, I support prosecutions for torture."

I could not have imagined you being otherwise.

I was discussing with another interlocutor in this thread that the reason no one will step-up to prosecute is because they don't want to paint themselves into a corner and one day feel the need to wring information out of someone in order to save their own hides.

Is it really mere coincidence that "the interests of the state" has the same sort of ring as the policemen's "code of silence" which, in turn, sounds no different than, "honor among thieves"?

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #122)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:18 AM

124. Couldn't have expressed it better myself!

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #124)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:23 AM

125. Thank-you. That's very kind of you. nt

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #81)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 10:12 AM

134. Who decides when there is enough evidence to prosecute?

You?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:11 PM

54. The ONLY thing I expect Obama to do is full pardons all around. Sweep it under the rug and keep look

 

-ing forward...

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 11:04 PM

58. K&R

 

Prosecution is required by law. Ab so fucking lutely.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:11 AM

63. The Attorney General is bound by law to prosecute torture.

Presidents don't prosecute, and would be impeached for firing an Attorney General for failing to prosecute his own political enemies.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #63)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:33 AM

65. Bingo.

I think Holder should resign.

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #65)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:36 AM

66. I think Holder should either prosecute or resign. Preferably the former.

And whatever dirt his enemies have on him that they would dredge up if he dared to move against them, he should simply face it and not let it deter justice.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #66)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:49 AM

67. I was, of course, being facetious...

as Holder has already announced his resignation.

But your post suggests a marvelous resolution: If Obama were to nominate a candidate so loathsome to the Republicans (like Bill Clinton) that they'd drag out confirmation for the next two years, Holder could work full-tilt-boogie on prosecutions.

What would the pubbies do? Demand his already submitted resignation? Confirm Obama's nominee?

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #67)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:58 AM

69. Exactly. This is a President who knows the value of imposing Catch 22s on the other side.

Holder wouldn't have been confirmed if they (meaning the CIA and DOD) didn't have enough dirt to make him resign. But since he has already resigned...

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #67)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 01:58 AM

70. One problem

 

Holder and his DOJ approved and monitored much of America's war on terror activities during Obama's term. As such, any subsequent administration could potentially charge Holder with various and sundry war crimes. The same reason why Obama will never consider prosecution applies equally to most in his administration, particularly AG Holder.

Further, since dealing with "uncomfortable" war on terror issues is a prerequisite for the position of AG, any newly appointed AG after Holder will be incriminated before the end of their first day in office.

There will be no prosecutions domestically, and the potential for foreign prosecutions could best be described as laughable.

People can quote any convention or treaty they wish, and demand prosecutions to their heart's content, but it will not overrule the essential imperatives of American politics, nor the nature of prosecutorial discretion inherent in our jurisprudence.

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Response to branford (Reply #70)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:17 AM

75. That's a likely scenario, with two caveats:

It presumes that there will be a Republican administration in the foreseeable future. I have my doubts.

Sometimes a gamble can turn conventional political wisdom on its head. For example, the Republican impeachment of Clinton not only did not result in a reciprocal impeachment of Bush, it actually poisoned the legitimate process. The public grew weary of the spectacle, so impeachment has, at least for the time being, become the newest third rail. Would vigorous war crimes prosecutions create a similar backlash? Who knows? Is it worth the gamble? Maybe...

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #63)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:59 AM

80. Our country is, and the buck stops at the President.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #80)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:07 AM

84. "Buck stops"...you realize that was a slogan, not an actual fact?

That was something Harry Truman put on a plaque. Sorry, but slogans are not actual principles of governance.

If "the buck" stops anywhere, it stops (and starts) with us. If you want it to stop with the President, what you actually want is a King.

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Response to True Blue Door (Reply #84)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:35 AM

88. Hold on!

 

I thought "The Buck Stops Here" was the little known and rarely discussed Amendment 10¾ to the Bill of Rights.

Oh well, I must have been sick that day in law school.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:11 AM

74. not really

I agree that failure to do so is a mistake. But the executive traditionally has great discretion in rega eds to prosecut ion on. Regardless of the wording of any statute or treaty.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #74)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:29 AM

76. so, in your view, he's above the law.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #76)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:32 AM

77. yeah, that is totally what I said. nt

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #77)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:56 AM

79. In the case of war crimes and torture, this is not the case. If it were,

 

then the officials of an offending country could fail to prosecute the war criminals, thereby rendering the treaty moot... There would be no point in having the law in the first place.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #79)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:38 AM

89. You're starting catch on, I just don't think you like the implications. nt

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:45 AM

90. You don't really think that matters, do you?

Let me state upfront that I believe everyone involved, from the politicians who ordered it, to the staff who signed off on it, to the troops who enacted it, should be charged and tried for war crimes. They must not be tortured in turn, they must receive a fair and public trial and a decent defence counsel. Should they be found guilty, they should be imprisoned for the rest of their lives, however long that may be.

Having said that, you don't really think the law matters here, do you? Firstly, the US has wiped it's ass with international law for years. Secondly, Obama is, above all else, a politician and charging the CheneyBush regime would be characterised by the Republicans (and therefore, by the media) as sour grapes, payback for impeaching Clinton and/or part of Obama's nefarious scheme to turn the USA into a Communist gulag because he's a Kenyan clone of Stalin working for the Illuminati/New World Order/Jewish bankers and the GOP would impeach him even faster than they're going to anyway.

No, I don't think the president should be above the law. But I also recognize that, in practice, he is above the law. Watergate wouldn't even make the papers today. The reigns of Reagan and W concentrated an incredible amount of power in the executive and while restrained by the law on paper, in practice, the president is above the law. It's not right, it's not fair and it's not how things should be. But it's how things are.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 05:51 AM

93. So many people in effect defending Cheney with their fine points of "law".

I'm appalled.
I'm heartsick.

So this is what it has come to.
So this is what it is, now.


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Response to delrem (Reply #93)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:21 AM

99. Who's defending Cheney?

That Convention is so nebulous you can drive a tank through it. Saying so isn't "defending Cheney." Cheney's an ass and he should be forced to sit in a field on a hot summer day covered with cowshit for the rest of his days....oh, wait--that would be torture, can't have that...!

The history books will be less kind to him than any poorly written treaty can ever be. That's probably going to be as good as it gets. His descendants will be eager to deny him. Saying that he's probably not going to see any criminal justice isn't "endorsing" or "supporting" Cheney's conduct--it's simply living in the real world.

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Response to MADem (Reply #99)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:25 AM

100. Ah. A "reality based" response. Who'da figured?

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Response to delrem (Reply #100)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:41 AM

103. Not sure what that means, maybe you can elucidate?

Should we live in a fantasy world? Would that be better? When the inevitable disappointment sinks in, is it 'better' to pretend that document says something other than what it actually says?

I think holding out hope that there will be some "frog marching" is quixotic at best. That's not going to happen. Best case, Cheney's travel is restricted because some OTHER country might decide to make an example of him, and he gets scourged in the history books, and people turn up their noses at him and regard him as a "bad man." Realistically, that's about it. Now, you can "attack the messenger" for daring to say this, you can insinuate (wrongly) that the messenger "likes" Cheney for being able to read in English, if that makes you feel better, but it's not going to change reality.

I mean, come on, read that Convention--it's wobbly as hell. It's got all sorts of language in it that appears to be deliberately-constructed wiggle room. And that, cynically but truthfully, is why countries signed on to the thing--not to be locked into a laundry list of what "must" be done if we step over the lines of decency, but to provide a "sense of appropriate behavior."

It's like a promise that we'll all try to be good, but we're still responsible for policing ourselves. The Honor System, if you will.

Pointing this out, when it's as obvious as the nose on anyone's face that this is how the Convention was constructed, isn't "favoring" Cheney or anyone else who behaved badly. It's just being honest about what's really going on, here.

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Response to MADem (Reply #103)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:58 AM

121. see post #93. nt

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Response to delrem (Reply #121)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 08:10 AM

123. Well, I strained my old eyes and found that post, and see that I already replied to it.

So, you're just going around in circles. You don't really have a response.

OK, whatever.

Some travelling music (a bit of history, if you will):

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Response to MADem (Reply #123)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:50 PM

149. I just find the discussion VERY distasteful.

But you know that.

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Response to delrem (Reply #100)


Response to MADem (Reply #99)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:54 AM

105. History books are written by the victors, he won. He will not be accountable in life and his

ideological children will be emboldened to step up their depravity even further. When the next cycle comes know full well you egged it on.

The history books! What utterly contemptible, faith based bullshit! The now is what we can control and we fail because of people like you who will look the other way for base reasons and lack of conviction to any semblance of decency.

Never speak of "the law" again, you make the term meaningless as can be other than as a cudgel for the powerful to inflict their will.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #105)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:11 AM

111. Now that, I don't accept. He didn't "win." He's a pariah.

His bad behavior is out there for all to see, his conduct is a matter of public record, his views have been recorded coming out of his snarling lips for all posterity.

You know, I think a lot of people here, on this board, would do well to read a few history books. I'm shocked at how little many Americans know about their own history or the history of the world.

See, if you don't know your history, you are condemned to repeat it.

As for this comment that you made:

"When the next cycle comes know full well you egged it on"

you really should be ashamed of yourself. That is some nasty, rude uncivil shit and there's just no excuse for it. I'm not the one here advocating that people be morons and not tend to their history--YOU are. So maybe you need to have a look in your own mirror before you start flinging that kind of nonsense about. Shame on you.

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Response to MADem (Reply #111)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:18 AM

167. A pariah? He is regularly on television, wealthy, and influentia with tentacles still on the levers

of power. It would shock few if it was determined that his word carries more weight with the military and clandestine forces than all of the Presidents since Bush I combined including the one actually holding office.

Where you get the made up nonsense that I discourage reading of history is beyond comprehension, it is absurd. I said the history is written by the winners and that is all I said, if you dispute that then argue the point rather than fabricating a wholly different one.

If you have a historical comparison that undermines my assertion then bust that shit on out, enlightened us.

As for your last statement expressing how ill treated you are by me, if you are against accountability then you are indeed part of the wind in the sails of the next wave of villainous behavior and there is no arguing it, in easy living memory we have observed that with each pass and look forward new depths are reached in short order often with the same cast and characters. Rumsfeld and Cheney particularly have been in the mix and they have brewed up generations behind them quite possibly even more vile than their ideological forebearers.

These criminals are not broken by any stretch of the most active imagination and could plausibly have positions of great power in the future. Iran - Contra should have been the definitive, drop dead, no further will you go, end of the line for this entire element but we looked forward with some "truth and reconciliation" garnish and here we go again.

Arguing with me and making up phony allegations won't fix that gnawing in the background of your mind. You know the truth, it just isn't palatable because it by definition and nature can't be pretty but you pretty much have to know in your bones that without correction this whole malignant set of motherfuckers will continue to fester and keep on digging in the pig trough.

What the hell do you think the impetus is for the insanity to at minimum keep on going and quite within the realm of reason to continue to grow worse and worse in criminality and depravity.

You think history will look back fondly at giving this stuff a pass, knowing what happened and doing nothing?

It is we who are present, we are the now and hold all the strings that there are to hold in trust for all future generations.

There is no future for us but the one we make and it isn't some secular version of promises of an afterlife but a responsibility, a debt to those who come after rather than a cosmic can to kick down the road for "resolution" by people who can do nothing but shake their heads in disgust and shame for our kind.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #167)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 02:00 AM

168. He has shown none of the so-called "shame" mentioned, nor any remorse.

He would do it again, and so would every one of his acolytes.

It's a disgusting lie, the claim that he's been punished enough by "his shame".

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Response to delrem (Reply #168)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:03 PM

192. Who is claiming he's been "punished enough by his shame?"

Just because there won't be consequences (and there won't, count on it) doesn't mean he deserves a parade.

History will regard him as a gigantic asshole. Decent people already turn up their noses. That, though, is about as good as it's going to get.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #167)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:08 AM

169. It's clear that you hold a point of view that is entirely

incompatible with mine. You equate presence on television to concepts like "importance" or "respect" or "societal value." You also apparently think wealth is a valid measure of a person. Not everyone looks at life that way.

Kim Kardashian is on TV too, just like Cheney, but she's no Ghandi either. And Pol Pot got a lot of press in his day, but his place in history isn't with the "Good" team.

I'm not sure why you're arguing with me about the "afterlife," I'm talking about a person's place in history.

You plainly didn't take my point at all, when you say things like:

You think history will look back fondly at giving this stuff a pass, knowing what happened and doing nothing?


I think history will see the entire picture for what it is--and I think the person with the greatest degree of excoriation will have been the one who is the cause of our woes today, as well as sported a natural scowl throughout his career in public life.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #167)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:08 AM

170. It's clear that you hold a point of view that is entirely

incompatible with mine. You equate presence on television to concepts like "importance" or "respect" or "societal value." You also apparently think wealth is a valid measure of a person. Not everyone looks at life that way.

Kim Kardashian is on TV too, just like Cheney, but she's no Ghandi either. And Pol Pot got a lot of press in his day, but his place in history isn't with the "Good" team.

I'm not sure why you're arguing with me about the "afterlife," I'm talking about a person's place in history.

You plainly didn't take my point at all, when you say things like:

You think history will look back fondly at giving this stuff a pass, knowing what happened and doing nothing?


I think history will see the entire picture for what it is--and I think the person with the greatest degree of excoriation will have been the one who is the cause of our woes today, as well as sported a natural scowl throughout his career in public life.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #167)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:08 AM

171. It's clear that you hold a point of view that is entirely

incompatible with mine. You equate presence on television to concepts like "importance" or "respect" or "societal value." You also apparently think wealth is a valid measure of a person. Not everyone looks at life that way.

Kim Kardashian is on TV too, just like Cheney, but she's no Ghandi either. And Pol Pot got a lot of press in his day, but his place in history isn't with the "Good" team.

I'm not sure why you're arguing with me about the "afterlife," I'm talking about a person's place in history.

You plainly didn't take my point at all, when you say things like:

You think history will look back fondly at giving this stuff a pass, knowing what happened and doing nothing?


I think history will see the entire picture for what it is--and I think the person with the greatest degree of excoriation will have been the one who is the cause of our woes today, as well as sported a natural scowl throughout his career in public life.

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Response to MADem (Reply #171)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 06:43 PM

208. I have no doubt of that, I won't waste a second excusing, wiping, dangling, or overlooking crimes

against humanity or shrugging our way back to the dark ages but you said pariah as in outcast, rejected by society, untouchable in the east Indian type way (but is in the gangster fashion) and that he isn't nor are the Kardashians. None may make the heroes and role models cut but pariah isn't even in the ballpark, there are many light years between "Sainted" territory and "pariah".

"Not on the good team" isn't accountability and it sure as isn't a deterrent, it is the opposite when malignant, soulless actors are given passes like this it encourages those same bastards to delve deeper down the shithole and tells the next ones in line to keep pushing the envelope because it is highly probably that NOTHING they can come up with will have any actual consequences to them so if they can reap rewards and gather great power then go ahead.

Why would a good person continuously argue that a pass is in any way acceptable? It isn't sick as the perpetrators but it is pretty unacceptable from my perspective. No defenders of the pass would be so if the victims were them and their's.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #208)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:15 AM

241. Even pariahs are accepted in the salons of other pariahs.

Who is "arguing" that "a pass" is "in any way acceptable?"

If the world would be a better place if somehow we could make the sun rise in the west, would having the "nerve" to say "that's not gonna happen" make one a "defender" and "sick?"

Look, some things are just truth. If those Conventions were to be rigorously applied, they would have been rigorously WRITTEN. But had they been rigorously written, no one would have signed on. Those Conventions are an expression of our better selves, not how we (and that's a world-wide "we" actually ARE.

Instead of pointing fingers and snarking at people here who are pointing out truths like wiggly Conventions and selective prosecutions, maybe we'd benefit from having a discussion about how we get from "Yeah, that'd be a good idea" to "This is the standard for all of us, without that famous 'wiggle' room."

Because the fact of the matter is this--we're not there yet, and no one is going to marched to the Hague or "prosecuted by Germany." And that's a "truth" no matter how much ANYONE here wrongly accuses others (who don't like torture either, really, truly) of being "shruggers" who find that kind of shit "acceptable."

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Response to MADem (Reply #99)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 07:29 PM

209. Torture is a crime. It's not nebulous. Claiming it is, is disturbing. "Less kind" is your solution

 

torturing innocent people to death?

In the real world, torturers are stopped by prosecutions.

The punishment is particularly harsh. The rehabilitation, extremely difficult.

You are defending torture, are you not?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #209)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 08:35 AM

236. Who said torture is NOT a crime? Who said the act of torture is nebulous?

I think you need to read a bit more carefully before you make those kinds of assertions. In the real world (since you apparently find that a cool talking point), making accusations like that is "not on."

No one is "defending torture" and to reduce the commentaries made here about the weaknesses inherent in the Convention says a lot about you--none of it particularly recommending.

It's not about having a fight on the internet. The fact of the matter is that Convention has holes in it big enough to drive an aircraft carrier through. If you are hanging your hopes on a Convention, you are going to be disappointed in a big, BIG way.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:42 AM

104. Yeah, but Democrat or Republican, none of the laws really apply to that class of people.

We all know that by now. Democrats are soft on Republicans and their crimes. We let them get by with too much. It is why they are out of control now. They are spoiled rotten brats and will pitch a temper tantrum if we bother to try to apply the actual laws to them. We all know what their temper tantrums are like too. Remember Oklahoma City? Remember the Olympics bombing and the abortion clinic bombings and the gay bar bombings and the doctors getting shot and all that other stuff? Yeah, that's what happens now when Democrats do try to discipline out of control Republicans. It's like we've raised them to be temper tantrum throwing spoiled rotten brats and now we are stuck with their terrorizing people the way they do. Democrats REALLY are SOFT on Republicans when they commit crimes. The law never seems to apply to them. Let a Democrat try to pull some of the same shit. We can't even get by with sex between grown, consenting adults without them making a big stink about it. They can torture and murder people and blow people up and all sorts of other shit and nothing ever really happens to them. They know it too. That's why they do whatever the fuck they want to do. They know they will never be disciplined in any way.

That is one thing I truly truly hate about the Democratic Party. We never hold Republicans accountable. They go on and on about everyone else should be held accountable, but they are never held accountable. They won't do it to each other, so it is up to Democrats to do it. Democrats never do and never will. We see the horrid things people said about Janet Reno when she tried to apply some kind of discipline at Waco and tried to follow the law with that Cuban kid. She got trashed for it even by most Democrats. Sometimes, I really do hate the other part of our own party, the right wingers we have to fucking put up with because....? Why do we have to put up with them again? It's all a sham. They are here to make sure we do things the way the Republicans want it done. Simple as that. No more excuses for their sorry asses being in our party and CONTROLLING our party. I know what they are here for and what they are doing. It's too transparent to pretend I don't see through it. I'm not that goddamn stupid. It is an insult to our intelligence that they expect us to pretend some big tent rule should be our "norm" in this party. The Republicans stay strong because they don't tolerate moles/saboteurs in their party. Let's face it. Being told we have to abide by whatever the right wing of the Democratic Party tells us we have to do is nothing more than sabotage. I can't pretend I don't see that for precisely what it really is.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #104)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:14 AM

113. Wow! I'm with you, Jamastiene.

I am beyond sick of this crap.

The Republicans are traitors and war criminals but, "We must look forward."

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #104)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 09:17 PM

162. "soft on Republicans and their crimes"

Well said, I'll sure use that when confronting trolls. Right wing or Third way.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 07:13 AM

112. laws only apply to the poor and the voiceless

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 10:08 AM

133. So he can be prosecuted for not prosecuting?

By whom?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:35 PM

137. Amazes me how confident people are that torture hasn't occurred under this administration. nt.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 12:41 PM

139. This is not law, it is a treaty.

All treaties signed by the US still have to A. abide by the US Constitution, and B. have congressional approval.

The laws Obama would be bound by would be US law, not a treaty. You would need to find the US law(s) that would apply to this treaty.

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Response to Glassunion (Reply #139)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:42 PM

184. Torture is illegal under us code as well.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 02:19 PM

144. Presidents enforce (or don't enforce) laws based on politics and what they like/don't like...

 

and we've been seeing that for years.

If you want the President to be able to choose to not enforce some laws (DOMA or changing immigration law via executive action), then with that you have to accept that sometimes he's not going to enforce the ones you DO want him to enforce.


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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 03:57 PM

152. No doubt the responders on this thread, having passed their bar exams

 

No doubt the responders on this thread, having passed their LSAT's and bar exams, will begin immediate indictments against the President for breaking the law, and lobby the relevant congress and house members on behalf of the American people?

If not, I'm quite sure that it's not because you lack the courage of your convictions and absolute knowledge of case law-- dinner can't cook itself.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #152)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:35 PM

197. If I'm reading your sarcasm correctly,

 

you're cool with acts of torture committed with impunity.

LaternWaste hearts death by hypothermia.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #152)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:03 PM

200. I passed 3, actually.

Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #200)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 07:33 PM

211. Would you ever defend torture?

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #211)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 08:10 PM

212. Of course not. n/t

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #212)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 08:39 AM

237. I don't think ANYONE--save Cheney--would "defend" torture. That argument, that anyone would,

is a self-serving canard, frankly, designed to put people on the defensive for daring to notice things like weak-worded Conventions that offer nations "outs" from full participation in the spirit expressed, and that fact that prosecutors and DOJs have, from the dawn of this nation, "selectively" prosecuted cases.

Discussion is not advanced by those tactics.

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Response to MADem (Reply #237)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 08:41 AM

238. Thank you for saying it!

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #238)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 08:49 AM

240. You are entirely welcome, and season's greetings to you!

It doesn't help advance the discussion of an important topic (torture is bad, we shouldn't do it, how do we prevent it in future, etc.) by accusing people who notice holes like the moths got into the sweater drawer in the language of the Convention or the behavior of prosecutors. That kind of "Everyone be a cheerleader" stuff doesn't fly. Also, it serves no one to pretend a private organization is a government.

I bemoan the dearth of NUANCE on this board--there are so few who can parse an issue without resorting to the "Soooooo, then that means YEW MUST..." line.

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Response to MADem (Reply #240)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:15 AM

242. You're entirely correct, and season's greetings to you, too!

The lack of nuance is very disturbing. Having spent six years as a deputy sheriff and 3 years as a public defender, certain questions, weaknesses/holes, mistaken assumptions, etc., simply leap out at me unbidden. I am sick to death of being 'called out' for the simple act of calling attention to certain things, or questioning others. An example of the aforementioned is stating that it is incredibly difficult to convict a police officer of any degree of homicide in a deadly-force situation, due to the wording of most state statutes regarding homicide. Dare to point that out, however, and one is attacked relentlessly with a series of (as you humorously but accurately put it), "Soooooo, then that means YEW MUST..." .

Cheers!

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Response to ColesCountyDem (Reply #242)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:35 AM

245. I'm a Golden Rule type, myself--and not that "Whoever has the gold makes the rules"

one, either. I try to live by that "Do unto others" routine, but I do find it challenging when people "do unto me" by calling me a torture-apologist and worse. I don't like it much when they fling it at others, either.

If I ruled the world, everyone would be housed, fed, educated and healthy--but I don't rule the world, I suppose that's why it's in such a mess!!

I keeeeeed, I keeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!

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Response to MADem (Reply #245)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:43 AM

247. I'm a "You can show someone the logic, but you can't make them understand it" type, myself.

You and I would rule similarly.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #152)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 09:16 PM

218. I passed two bar exams.

 

New York and New Jersey, and am a trial lawyer in NYC.

I do not support torture, but that is not the operative question.

Assuming arguendo that the relevant treaties actually demand domestic prosecution for torture, as I've indicated in a number of other posts in this thread, there are no legal means, and I don't know who would have standing if there were, to actually compel any executive branch official to commence a torture prosecution if they choose not to do so, as Obama has explicitly decided.

Similar legal issues and American political imperatives would make it even more difficult to extradite a current or former American official to stand trial for torture before a foreign tribunal, and unless the ICC intends to engage in combat with American armed forces, no American official will be involuntarily detained or subject to rendition.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 06:10 PM

160. Laws don't apply to Superpowers . . .

 

They're "exceptional" within the family of nations, being too big to punish. We'll make damn sure everyone else follows the letter of international law, especially those we don't like, but none of it applies to us.

As a matter of fact, the President has openly said, "I believe in American exceptionalism." It is in the public record.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Tue Dec 23, 2014, 11:47 PM

166. k & r & a-fuckin-men ! n/t

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 03:32 AM

173. Says who? This President inherited shit and tried

to rectify the situation in America and he is bound by law to do what?

Prosecute whom, he is and was trying to make America whole! Goodness gracious, President Obama is not God, he is a human being and kudos to what he has achieved, inspite of all the adversities he encountered. He tried to work with the assholes, the republicans, and even some Democrats were against him. What you want him to do, wave a frigging magic wand?

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Response to akbacchus_BC (Reply #173)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 11:21 AM

176. I dunno. Is arresting someone who admitted torturing innocent people to death too much to ask?

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #176)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 01:58 PM

189. Apparently it is..

Lots of torture supporters on DU. Of course they all start off with "I'm not defending what we did" right before defending not prosecuting animals who tortured people in order to shore up support for a drummed up war.

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Response to akbacchus_BC (Reply #173)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:35 PM

181. Executive Orders Don’t Last

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/six-reasons-the-dark-side-still-exists-under-obama/

1. Executive Orders Don’t Last: The most concrete step Obama has taken to end torture — signing an executive order banning the practice — could easily be rescinded by the next administration. This could be done in secret, the report notes, without any formal announcement.

2. It Hasn’t Deleted “Appendix M”: The Bush administration edited the Army Field Manual on Interrogations, which for 50 years has provided guidance to soldiers on how to treat prisoners. The latest version, produced in 1992, specifically prohibited “abnormal sleep deprivation,” which the manual calls “mental torture,” and “forcing an individual to stand, sit, or kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time” which it considers “physical torture.”

But in 2006, the Bush administration removed that language and added Appendix M, which authorized “separation,” isolating the detainee from others to prevent him from gathering information from others or learning new counter-interrogation techniques. The report found that the tactic “could inflict significant mental and physical stress” on a detainee and could technically allow him to be interrogated for 40 hours straight, with only four-hour rest periods on either end. Appendix M also forbids sensory deprivation, but allows goggles, blindfolds and handcuffs to “generate a perception of separation” for up to 12 hours, or longer if security necessitates it, the report said.

The Obama administration to date hasn’t re-edited the manual to remove Appendix M or restore the deleted language.

3. We Still Aren’t Sure about Renditions
----
4. The Obama Administration Is Still Keeping Secrets
----
5. Guantanamo Is Still Open.
----
6. There’s Still No Official Policy on Detainees: The U.S. has so far ignored the 9/11 Commission recommendation to develop a common approach to treatment and detention of suspected terrorists, drawing on the Geneva Conventions, that allied countries could adopt to prevent future abuses. The report said: “With the passage of time, the US’s failure to take meaningful, permanent action in this regard has put our nation’s security at greater risk.”

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 12:42 PM

185. Can't he issue an executive order to defer enforcement of this law? n/t

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 04:44 PM

198. Obviously that makes sense

The people in position of power over the victim would be the ones likely comiting the torture, an anti-torture law wouldn't be effective or as effective unless in included logic-based language to hold the powerful accountable.

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever

Hell, far from the only thing they could prosecute Bush on. I'm sure there is a law somewhere which prohibits Bush from bombing Al-Jazeera which he did twice, there is evidence he wanted to do it a third time but the British war on whistleblowers did something about that revelation.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 05:45 PM

205. I believe he will.

 

Give him a little more time. He always thinks things through, almost always for the better end result.

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Response to maced666 (Reply #205)

Wed Dec 24, 2014, 07:32 PM

210. Let's hope so... or if America collapses like Nazi Germany, he may find himself in deep trouble.

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Thu Dec 25, 2014, 10:04 PM

250. And the punishment for not doing so is the committee created by the treaty in Art. 21 will write a


report.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:02 PM

267. Not to mention common human decency.

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #267)

Mon Jan 5, 2015, 02:05 AM

278. That, too. n/t

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 02:07 PM

268. This thread should not sink

 

I like President Obama.

I despise torture.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Original post)

Mon Jan 5, 2015, 02:05 AM

279. K&R

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #279)

Mon Jan 5, 2015, 02:10 AM

280. Thank you

 

I do not understand why torture is suddenly condoned.

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