Two issues: one conclusion

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Gen. Taguba hath spoken:

“The photographs in that lawsuit, I have not seen,” Taguba told Salon Friday night. The actual quote in the Telegraph was accurate, Taguba said — but he was referring to the hundreds of images he reviewed as an investigator of the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq — not the photos of abuse that Obama is seeking to suppress.

So, too, hath President Obama spoken:

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released.

Justice Department lawyers, in a response Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government over its refusal to turn over the document.

As has been pointed out, Gen. Taguba doesn’t deny the existence of photos or video from Abu Ghraib that depict soldiers raping detainees.  He only states that the photos in question are not those that he saw during his investigation.  Yet, even in this statement by Gen. Taguba there is a revelation:

May 30, 2009 | Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba denied reports that he has seen the prisoner-abuse photos that President Obama is fighting to keep secret, in an exclusive interview with Salon Friday night.

On Thursday an article in the Daily Telegraph reported that Taguba, the lead investigator into Abu Ghraib abuse, had seen images Obama wanted suppressed, and supported the president’s decision to fight their release. The paper quoted Taguba as saying, “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.”

But Taguba says he wasn’t talking about the 44 photographs that are the subject of an ongoing ACLU lawsuit that Obama is fighting.

If Gen. Taguba hasn’t seen the photos in question, then, how does he know that the photos referenced by the Telegraph aren’t the same ones?  He can’t.  All he knows is what he said, that the statement he made earlier wasn’t about the photographs in the ACLU lawsuit.

But, Scott Horton at The Daily Beast says that he has confirmation that the photos in question in the ACLU lawsuit are the same:

The Daily Beast has obtained specific corroboration of the British account, which appeared in the London Daily Telegraph, from several reliable sources, including a highly credible senior military officer with firsthand knowledge, who provided even more detail about the graphic photographs that have been withheld from the public by the Obama administration.

A senior military officer familiar with the photos told me that they would likely provoke a storm of outrage if released. The well-informed source confirmed, just as reported in the Telegraph, that many of the photographs are sexually explicit, including those mentioned above. The photographs differ from those already officially released. Some show U.S. personnel engaged in sexual acts with prisoners and each other. In one, a female prisoner appears to have been forced to expose her breasts to be photographed. In another, a prisoner is suspended naked upside down from the top bunk of a bed in a stress position.

The argument from the Obama administration goes like this: “Yes, we have evidence in our custody that shows a crime, but, because that evidence is inflammatory against us, we should be able to keep it secret and not act on it.”

That falls right in line with the second issue; the case of the wiretapping document.

The Bush administration inadvertently turned over the top secret document to Al-Haramain lawyers, who claimed it proved illegal wiretapping by the National Security Agency.

The document was returned to the government, and the lawyers have argued they need the document back to prove their case.

You see, this classified document showing that the organization had illegally been wiretapped has already been compromised.  The lawyers for the defense got it, read it, and was forced to return it to the Bush government.

The Obama administration claims, just like above, that: “Yes, we have evidence in our custody that shows a crime, but, because that evidence is inflammatory against us, we should be able to keep it secret and not act on it.”  But, they go one step further, claiming that the courts hold no power over the government at all.  That the government can disregard a finding by a Judge with impunity, that the court has no cause to penalize the government despite the government knowingly disregarding the courts ruling.

This wraps Nixon’s “when the President does it, it is not illegal” argument and Bush’s “the Imperial Presidency is above the other two branches of our government” argument into one, totally President Obama’s, unconstitutional argument that it is simply above the law, above the courts, and is a force unto itself.  Period.

This is no longer merely covering for Bush and Cheney.  This is President Obama taking the precedents set by them, and Nixon, and Reagan, and expounding upon them because our Congress abdicated all power with Nancy Pelosi’s “Impeachment is off the table” statement.  

Still, politicians are walking very lightly, waiting to see if there will come a time when they will be held to account, not by Congress, they are bought and paid for, but, by the courts.  A federal Judge can order people taken into custody for contempt.  That power extends to all people, even politicians.

With the traditional media cowed, or worse, bought by the establishment, the internet fight for open access takes on a whole new significance.  If people cannot communicate, they cannot organize.  Without organization, there is no opposition.  Without opposition, the government does as it will without impediment.

In the next four years, America will find out if we have truly lost as a people, as a nation, or not.

5 comments

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    • Edger on May 31, 2009 at 6:07 am

    This is no longer merely covering for Bush and Cheney.

    • Viet71 on May 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    to this country than Bush, who is a nincompoop.

    Obama holds and claims all the despicable powers Bush asserted he had, but Obama’s more charming and likable.

    Obama is settling in as a benevolent dictator.

    The way he’s going on so many matters, the country will be in sad shape when he leaves office.

    Oh, and the part about how he’s playing some deep, multi-dimensional game of chess or whatever:  bullshit.

    He doesn’t fool me one fucking bit.

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