Obama Stands Up! ‘Secret Prosecution Plan’ Now At Least Plausible


After a tense internal debate, the Obama administration this afternoon will make public a number of detailed memos describing the harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency against al Qaeda suspects in secret overseas prisons.

The interrogation methods were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and today’s release will be the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the interrogation program that some senior Obama administration officials have said used illegal torture.


But the most immediate concern of C.I.A. officials is that the revelations could give new momentum to a full-blown congressional investigation into covert activities under the Bush Administration.

Other Obama administration officials, including Gregory B. Craig, the White House counsel, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, argued that releasing the documents not only would satisfy the government’s obligation in the lawsuit, but would also put distance between President Obama and some of his predecessor’s most controversial policies.

Obama and Holder have passed a crucial test. They stood up to the CIA and the Republicans who were trying to get them to block the release of the memos. They have asserted control over the CIA instead of bowing to them.

There is still the possibility of heavy redaction, but after the controversy around this, they would look incredibly foolish to if they release three memos full of nothing but black lines. Andrea Mitchell on TV just said that it WILL be a ‘modified release.’

So YAY! Obama!

This now makes the contention that Obama has some sort of “deep strategy” on torture prosecutions somewhat, and just barely, plausible.

While he is busy putting out the more immediate…. if not more important…. fires that were left blazing by Bushco, he and Holder COULD be pursuing a long term strategy.

If he had NOT released the memos there would have been virtually no chance of that.

Now that he has, it can be …at least… argued that he is releasing the damning information for the purposes of building a public case against The Bush Torture Program. he has just helped Spain, for instance, in building their case. (Even though, as was to be expected, there is evidently political pressure being applied to shut down Spain’s investigation)

The other part of the strategy, which seems to be working Very Well, lol, is letting the Republicans destroy their own credibility and political power. The republicans still have influence that FAR outweighs their actual political power. The press still hangs on their every lying, obstructionist word. But there ARE signs that the Glamour of Evil and fear of the Bush years is indeed wearing off. Everyone else is realizing what we have known for years, The Republicans are full of shit.

They are burning up all of their political capital and theatrical outrage at a high rate and in a few months…..IF…. the DOJ and/or Congress begins real investigations, (Pelosi say she is waiting for an IG report due in June) their howls of protest will carry FAR less wait. Especially IF Obama’s ratings stay high, he is successful in other high profile areas, and the economy shows signs of recovery. When they are done destroying themselves to a sufficient level, it will be far easier to….with public support and pressure…be far easier to do things like pass Health Care and Climate Crisis legislation….and pursue Justice on MANY fronts against Bushco.

Shorter version: There is still hope.

Obama is a very good political strategist, and this, if true, is a good political strategy. And now, there is at least some evidence to support it.

A new piece on Think Progress also reinforces this….though still vaguely…

Obama Hints At Torture Investigation: ‘We Are Moving A Process Forward’

Thus far, Obama administration officials have tried to skirt questions on the matter. On Tuesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded, “We may have some reaction based on what ultimately happens.” Today, CNN’s Juan Carlos Lopez asked Obama about the investigation ahead of his trip to Mexico. Obama repeated his desire to look forward:

   OBAMA: I’m a strong believer that it’s important to look forward and not backwards, and to remind ourselves that we do have very real security threats out there. So I have not had direct conversations with the Spanish government about these issues. My team has been in communications with them.

Obama did, however, say he was aware of a “process” moving forward in the U.S. to “understand” what happened under Bush. Notably, he did not endorse or rule out an investigation or commission:

   I think that we are moving a process forward here in the United States to understand what happened, but also to focus on how we make sure that the manner in which we operate currently is consistent with our values and our traditions.

Obama concluded: “And so my sense is, is that this will be worked out over time.”

In the meantime, the blogosphere and a few Trad Med sources like Olbermann, Maddow and the NYT have been doing a great job of keeping the story in the spotlight and keeping the pressure on and need to continue to do so. Though we can by no means take full credit, without the pressure from these sources it would have been MUCH easier for Obama to fold to the CIA and the Repubs on this issue, and many others.

The pressure works. Despite its detractors amongst the Obama Camp. Obama has asked us to hold him accountable and we can point to this decision as both a proof of his good intentions….and that the strategy of pressure from We The People is worthwhile, and not just bashing.

Let’s keep up the good work and keep the pressure on!

Thank you President Obama, for proving that your “teabagging equipment” is intact and functioning after a major battle with the forces within our government that wish to cover-up the Bushco War Crimes.  


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  1. Photobucket

    Yay for small but significant victories!



  2. I was afraid Obama was forgetting what it meant!

    Releasing the memos to the light of day should make it impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube (depending, like you said, on how much is redacted).  Let everybody see it in black and white so no one has to speculate about what we really did.

  3. any money yet on a “secret prosecution plan.”

    What this move forecasts to me is that the Obama administration will continue to put information out there about what happened and continue the process of cleaning out a system that allowed/facilitated/supported torture. That last one is going to take a good bit of time I think.

  4. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/

    April 16 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Justice Department will release memos today that provided legal guidance for the Bush administration’s interrogations of terror suspects, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

    Gibbs, speaking to reporters traveling to Mexico with President Barack Obama, said the memos would include redactions.

    Also… My teevee, msnbc, they said that CIA ops will NOT be prosecuted if they were following the guidelines of the official adminstration’s legal directives.

    • Arctor on April 16, 2009 at 21:40

    ps Ask John Dean what that means in case you weren’t around during Watergate.

  5. But, thank goodness, the Spanish efforts may not be “dead.”  The AG’s recommendations must first be accepted or not accepted by the Judge.

    I don’t doubt this, by Robert Parry!

    Right-Wingers Are Desperately Trying to Destroy Obama, and the Cowardly Corporate Media Are Helping

    By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted April 16, 2009.

    The right-wing media still pull the reins in DC, where they could sink the Obama presidency and even stymie a Democratic Congress.

    Watching Glenn Beck of Fox News rant about “progressive fascism” — and muse about armed insurrection — or listening to mainstream pundits prattle on about Barack Obama as the “most polarizing President ever,” it is hard to escape the conclusion that today’s U.S. news media represents a danger to the Republic.

    By and large, the Washington press corps continues to function within a paradigm set in the 1980s, mostly bending to the American Right, especially to its perceived power to destroy mainstream journalistic careers and to grease the way toward lucrative jobs for those who play ball. . . . .

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