Real News: Michael Ratner (CCR) On Obama’s Executive Orders

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

On Thursday January 22, 2009 President Barack Obama issued one of the first Executive Orders of his presidency, ordering the establishment of a Special Interagency Task Force to be composed of the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense as co-chairs, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other federal employees as determined by the co-chairs.

The Task Force will…

…develop policies for the detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations that are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:

  Section 1. Special Interagency Task Force on Detainee Disposition.

  (a) Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force. There shall be established a Special Task Force on Detainee Disposition (Special Task Force) to identify lawful options for the disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.


(e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

Both Attorney General Eric Holder, and Obama in another Executive Order on January 22, 2009, have indicated that the Army Field Manual, which as Valtin explains and Patriot Daily has also written so well about, codifies coercive psychological torture under the name of “Restricted Interrogation Technique – Separation” in Appendix M.  will be the Obama administrations baseline guide for detainee interrogation policies, taking us back to pre-Bush days on the question of torture but in no way ending the practice.

This morning Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, talks with The Real News, comments on Obama’s executive orders, loopholes, and says Obama must still take up the prosecution of Bush/Cheney for war crimes, specifically torture of detainees…

Real News: January 24, 2009 – 10 minutes 23 seconds

Obama’s orders on Guantanamo and torture

We need a Special Prosecutor to conduct a formal investigation without political considerations and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

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    • Edger on January 24, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    No matter who orders it or how it is “justified”.

    • Edger on January 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm


    • sharon on January 25, 2009 at 12:11 am

    clarification on obama’s exec orders from someone like ratner helps me to keep things in perspective.  there’s been a lot of talk about the cracks left open and it was good to hear his view of it.

    ot, i swear when i saw ratner speak a year or so ago he had considerably more hair.  does anyone else remember differently?  

  1. and I’m hoping he is doing O.K.  He is a strong voice for us all.

    I feel Obama is definitely on the right track, by all that he has done so far.  Of course, there needs to be much closer scrutiny of it ALL — I hope that is in the fore — maybe, he was just initially trying to establish a kinda’ forum of belief, and more determinative positions will be forthcoming — soon!  My hope!

    • sharon on January 26, 2009 at 5:18 am

    i was mistaken and he was quite bald that day.  i have to admit that i was rather smitten by denis moynihan who was the moderator of that show and has a full head of hair so may have been confused.  as far as she knows, michael ratner is fine and it is my mental acuity and/or vision that is suspect.  he does look ghastly/ghostly in the webcam lighting though.

  2. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised.  The Repugs are doing everything to fight the confirmation of Eric Holder.  I’ve had three e-mails on the subject of Eric Holder this a.m.

    Should DEMs Approve Holder as AG If He Agrees Not to Prosecute Bush Admin People?

    By Rob Kall

    Should DEMs Approve Holder as AG If He Agrees Not to Prosecute Bush Admin People?

    Republicans are pushing Eric Holder to promise not to prosecute Bush Admin people in return for their approving him.

    If he acquiesces– with or without Obama’s encouragement– should th Dems still approve holder?

    Yes. I like my AGs gelded

    No. Dems should find someone the Repugs will really hate– show them they need to start playing ball or get kicked in…

    Not sure. George and Dick are nice guys, uh, aren’t they?

            31 votes    View Results and Comments

    This, from Don Siegleman:

    Dear B. E. ,

    Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is using cagey political maneuvers to hold up confirmation of President Obama’s Attorney General nominee, Eric Holder. Call Sen. Specter’s office today and tell him to stop the hold up!

    The confirmation of President Obama’s choice for U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, is being held up by Senator Arlen Specter and others.

    Please call Senator Specter’s office and voice your disapproval. Ask the Senator to release his hold on the confirmation of Mr. Holder.

    Washington, D.C. Office: 711 Hart Senate Office Building,

    District of Columbia 20510-3802

    Phone: (202) 224-4254

    Fax: (202) 228-1229

    Philadelphia (215) 597-7200

    Pittsburgh (412) 644-3400

    Harrisburg (717) 782-3951

    Scranton (570) 346-2006

    Allentown (610) 434-1444

    Erie (814) 453-3010

    Wilkes Barre (570) 826 6265

    As you know, there is much work to be done by the next Attorney General in investigating the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and Karl Rove’s involvement in my prosecution. The new Attorney General will be able to facilitate the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the use of the Department of Justice as a political weapon and those who abused their power.

    Also, please urge your delegation to support a full investigation into all of the abuses of power of the Bush Administration.

    Tell Congress we cannot let the wrong doings of the past Administration be swept under the rug.

    Demand action! Tell Congress to keep digging for the truth!

    Thank you so much for all you’ve done!

    Don Siegelman

    Governor of Alabama 1999-2003

    And this from Barbra Streisand, speaking for People for the American Way.

    Dear Barbara E.,

    I’m writing to you now to let you know about my friend and President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder.

    Eric Holder is a man of unique integrity, as committed to liberty, the rule of law and our constitutional rights as anyone I know. He has enormous experience pursuing justice as a Superior Court Judge, a U.S. Attorney and as Deputy Attorney General for the United States. He has worked with people on both sides of the political aisle. That’s why I’m so angry that Republicans in the Senate have chosen to make him a target.

    And it’s why I am asking you to join me in making a donation to People For the American Way today to help them rebuke the partisan attacks on Eric Holder and ensure his speedy confirmation.

    After you donate, please make sure to sign the Confirm Holder petition if you have not yet added your name.

    President Obama made an excellent choice when he nominated Eric Holder for Attorney General. I am fearful that this Republican opposition is really about pushing back on the Obama administration and testing the waters for future judicial confirmation fights. This is typical Washington partisan politics at a time when our nation needs to join together to solve the crises confronting America. Disturbingly, a good man is caught in the middle of these partisan tactics, someone who will be an excellent Attorney General for all Americans.

    I’ve supported People For the American Way for years, for their steadfast defense of the First Amendment and their effectiveness in advocating progressive values in Washington. I’m glad it’s People For who has taken up this fight.

    But they need your help and your support. People For the American Way is generating grassroots pressure on senators from their home state constituents, leading efforts to get our message out in the media (and doing a fabulous job) and even mobilizing activists in Washington to physically show up for the hearings and the vote on the nomination.

    Be part history. Reject Republicans’ partisan obstruction and help give all Americans an Attorney General who will fight for them.

    Please join me in supporting this work.

    Thank you.


    Barbra Streisand

    P.S. We can’t let Republican delays deny the American people the Attorney General they deserve. Please support People For’s campaign to confirm Eric Holder with a gift right now.

    Please join me in donating to People For’s work to defend constitutional values and confirm Eric Holder.

    Then take a moment, if you’ve not yet done so, to sign the petition to the Senate.

    I hope all of you will take action on all of these — spread them around, too.

    (Maybe, we shoulda’ hung until after confirmation?)  

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