A Bit of Help, If You Can

With the further suppression of the CIA IG Report, now seeming to move its release in a meaningful and timely fashion into the mythical realm of the return of Pterosaurs to Capistrano….

Combined with….

The Justice Department is declining to release Dick Cheney’s interview with federal investigators looking into the Valerie Plame leak, arguing — as it did under President Bush — that doing so would discourage future high-level officials from cooperating with criminal investigations.

The good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed a lawsuit seeking to have the interview released.

CREW points out in a press release that Cheney was never promised confidentiality in the investigation. And its executive director, Melanie Sloan, notes:


It is astonishing that a top Department of Justice political appointee is suggesting other high-level appointees are unlikely to cooperate with legitimate law enforcement investigations. What is wrong with this picture?

For more, see DOJ Confirms Cheney’s Key Role in CIA Leak Case, by Avenging Angel

Combined with….

Statement by President Barack Obama on United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims

Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention Against Torture, and twenty-two years ago this very day, the Convention entered into force. The United States’ leading role in the negotiation of the Convention and its subsequent ratification and implementation enjoyed strong bipartisan support.  Today, we join the international community in reaffirming unequivocally the principles behind that Convention, including the core principle that torture is never justified.

Torture violates United States and international law as well as human dignity.  Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country, and the fundamental values of our people. It diminishes the security of those who carry it out, and surrenders the moral authority that must form the basis for just leadership. That is why the United States must never engage in torture, and must stand against torture wherever it takes place.

My administration is committed to taking concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims.  On my third day in office, I issued an executive order that prohibits torture by the United States.  My budget request for fiscal year 2010 includes continued support for international and domestic groups working to rehabilitate torture victims.

The United States will continue to cooperate with governments and civil society organizations throughout the international community in the fight to end torture.  To this end, I have requested today that the Department of State solicit information from all of our diplomatic missions around the world about effective policies and programs for stopping torture and assisting its victims so that we and our civil society partners can learn from what others have done.  I applaud the courage, compassion and commitment of the many people and organizations doing this vitally important work.

THAT incredibly hypocritical statement….

Combined with the fact that as far as we know….

The Obama DOJ is not ‘building a case’ against the torturers secretly and surreptitiously so as not to let on to the bad guys that they are under investigation…or some other naive supposition…..


It is coming on time to start talking about collusion and cover-up.


At some point, this meme must be introduced into the public sphere. It is the only effective means of public pressure left, since the Obama Admin has done such a bang up job of completely ignoring the eight hundred pound Cheney in the national living room.

Needless to say…this will not be popular in some circles.

Therefore WE need to “build a case” in order to make this a credible charge and for it to be taken seriously and not be easily dismissed by the “Conventional Wisdom” and “Defend Obama” crowds.

We need good links to what the Obama Administration has done, and we need precedents and examples of past cover-ups to cite. We need to formulate a good definition of what a cover-up is and what collusion involves.

From a casual glance at Wikipedia:

A cover-upis an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrong-doing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. The expression is usually applied to people in authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism. Those who cover up may be those responsible for a misdeed or their allies, or simply people with an interest in silencing criticism.


Cover-ups do not necessarily require the active manipulation of facts or circumstances. Arguably the most common form of cover-up is one of non-action. It is the conscious failure to release incriminating information by a third party. This “passive cover-up” is often justified by the motive of not wanting to embarrass the culprit or expose them to criminal prosecution or even the belief that the cover-up is justified by protecting the greater community from scandal. Yet, because of the passive cover-up, the misdeed often goes undiscovered and results in harm to others ensuing from its failure to be discovered. (In Catholic Moral Theology this would be considered the Sin of omission and a Mortal sin)


While this is intended as a political action, to apply political pressure on the Obama Administration (and Congress, tangentially) to step up their efforts on persecuting the torturers….

It is in essence, depending on the all important framing and presentation, accusing Obama of a crime.

Accusing a popular sitting President of a crime is not to be taken lightly. There will be massive pushback, emotional outbursts and intense efforts to dismiss, deride, discredit and disparage not only whatever case we build, but all those involved in the project.

So we need an airtight, professionally presented, and easily defended set of facts to put forth. On a level easily understood by “The Average Blogger.”

Framing is key, good sources are key, solid, easily defended arguments are key.

All of which will be at least slightly tough to come up with….since we ARE being at least slightly premature, as far as public sentiment is concerned. But this WILL need to be done eventually. Imo, until public pressure builds, they will continue to skate on the edge of a cover-up. And as I say above, this is about the last piece of public pressure we have.

On July 20th, Obama will have been in office for six months. That will mark six months of inaction, to say the least, of active suppression of evidence, of flirting with collusion and cover-up. That seems like a good time by which to have all of our ducks in a row…and a time at which the “he has only been in office for______ months” meme to have lost some of its luster.

So if you are into it, let’s put our thinking caps and work clothes on and dig in!

I will post on this periodically to see where we are at, but don’t be shy about posting essays and ideas on the subject. Iow, don’t just wait for me!

Tally HO!


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  1. Photobucket

  2. … the CW among Obama loyalists was that he shouldn’t get involved in this, it was the AG’s (and later, Congress’) job.  But he has gotten involved in this, especially at the bully pulpit, from saying folks wanting prosecutions are into revenge, from saying the pictures the ACLU is fighting to release would not only hurt the troops, but are only the actions of a “small number” of people who have already been called to account, to promising Lieberman and Graham the pics will never be released … on and on.

    And the speech you quoted is conspicuous in its lack of even so much as a mention of accountability.

    There is still the “11th dimensional chess defense,” (which I noticed is being used in several comments in Avenging Angel’s diary) but I think that’s been thorougly debunked.

  3. early for this meme. It is not too early to start working on it and getting it in the best shape possible, but it is too early to start putting it out.

    As much as I want accountability ASAP I don’t think we can start talking this way prior to about 6 months after Holder has all his department heads in place. Right now if he pushed for this all it would to is create a civil war in the DOJ. Which is a lose for our side.

    I would work this up, but keep it in our pockets until December at the earliest. Yeah, yeah, I know, 2010 is an election year, but I actually think it is more leverage then. There will be lots of Reps in Congress who are going to have to face the people that is the time to put the meme out there so they pressure the president.  

  4. had a piece on this: link to video.

    ACLU has a new effort going, with EW and Valtin and others participating fabulously!

    hmmm…ACLU Press Release yesterday:

    Defense Department Releases Documents Relating To Detainee Abuse In U.S. Custody Overseas (7/2/2009)

    Key Details Of Illegal Interrogation Methods Remain Redacted


    CONTACT: media@aclu.org

    NEW YORK – The Department of Defense today released documents, some with significant redactions, related to detainee abuse in U.S. custody at Guantanamo and other overseas locations. The 12 documents were released as part of an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The Obama administration agreed to reprocess the documents, but continues to withhold many key details related to the Defense Department’s use of illegal interrogation methods. In some documents, the Obama administration has withheld details that were previously disclosed by the Bush administration.

    Ill think on this some more, and Ill be around this evening.

  5. project of mind control and drug experiments.  Those weren’t suicides, they were murder, and a Congressman was murdered as well, with CIA involvement.  

    • robodd on July 3, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    you’re not going to link that “Pterosaurs to Capistrano” reference??

    • Edger on July 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I think it’s time to start recognizing that Obama and Holder are not only never going to be on the side of “retributionists”, but instead are and always have been on George Bush’s side and on Dick Cheney’s side – the side of the moneyed elite who are running and trying to save their empire from collapse, and in their minds saving the empire is the best way they can be of service to all the ingrate peasants who are in their minds too stupid to comprehend what they are doing.

  6. the american people do want this to be resolved in a just way….

    they never have…….

    the avalanche of historical injustice just keeps arriving at the bottom of the valley of history……

    • jamess on July 4, 2009 at 1:49 am

    (ie. put the focus on knowledgeable, and concerned, Accountability pace-setters)

    March 24, 2009

    MADDOW:  […] In terms of lining themselves up with the Constitution, how substantive are these moves? Where would you put the Obama administration’s policies on these issues as we speak tonight?

    TURLEY: Quite frankly, I have to put it very, very low. Yes, the fact that he is having a dialogue with Dick Cheney that he finds irritating is understandable. I mean, Vice President Cheney comes off as sort of the cranky uncle you can’t get rid of at Thanksgiving dinner.

    But there is more to it than that. And the reason Obama seems very irritated by it is that he is responsible for the conversation. Because he’s the one that is blocking a criminal investigation of Vice President Cheney and President Bush and other Bush officials. It is like a bank robber calling up and asking him to debate bank robbery.

    President Obama would say, “Listen, fellow. That is a crime.”

    But of course, he hasn’t said that with Dick Cheney. He can’t say that.


    MADDOW: Should he be appointing a special prosecutor? What should he be doing?

    TURLEY: He should be appointing a special prosecutor. There is no question about that. This is the most well-defined and publicly known crime I have seen in my lifetime. There is no debate about it. There is no ambiguity. It is well known.

    You’ve got people involved who have basically admitted the elements of a war crime that we are committed to prosecuting. We don’t need a truth and reconciliation commission because we are already reconciled to the rule of law. There is nothing to reconcile to.

    What the people have to reconcile are the people who broke the law. They need to reconcile with the law. And he happens to be having a debate with one of those people as if they are talking about some quaint notion of policy.


    • jamess on July 4, 2009 at 1:55 am

    (that way, there would be a built in consensus, and credibility, to stand on — and rally later)

    Senate Armed Services Committee Conclusions

    Conclusion 1: On February 7, 2002, President George W. Bush made a written determination that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainee …

    Conclusion 2: Members of the President’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed.

    Conclusion 4: The use of techniques in interrogations derived from SERE resistance training created a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to detainees. …

    Conclusion 13: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. …

    Conclusion 14: Department of Defense General Counsel William J. Haynes II’s direction to the Department of Defense’s Detainee Working Group in early 2003 to consider a legal memo from John Yoo of the Department of Justice’s OLC as authoritative, blocked the Working Group from conducting a fair and complete legal analysis …

    Conclusion 19: The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own.

    Html page of Senate Report

    PDF of Senate Report

    A Few Bad Apples, can Spoil your Country’s Good Name

    by jamess, Apr 26, 2009

    just my 2 cents

  7. (If you havent already) per recommendation of Glen Greenwald…

    Greenwald says:

    That was the point former Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith made when arguing last month that Obama is actually strengthening (rather than “changing”) the Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism even more effectively than Bush did by entrenching those policies in law and causing unprincipled Democrats to switch from pretending to oppose them to supporting them, thus transforming them into bipartisan dogma.

    and sent me to this one…

    The Cheney Fallacy by Jack Goldsmith

    Why Barack Obama is waging a more effective war on terror than George W. Bush.

    Post Date Monday, May 18, 2009

    Many people think Cheney is scare-mongering and owes President Obama his support or at least his silence. But there is a different problem with Cheney’s criticisms: his premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong. The truth is closer to the opposite: The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit. Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric. This does not mean that the Obama changes are unimportant. Packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric, it turns out, are vitally important to the legitimacy of terrorism policies.

  8. But I’ll tell you what I think as for interim activity, so to speak.  Maybe, there are things we could do, collectively, to get behind the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Human Rights Commission, etc. to help “promote” the accountability issue.  Afterall, they are completely abreast of everything in a legal sense.  

    As for Obama, of course, he should be in favor of investigations, but it’s not really his call one way or another.  It is the call of the Attorney General.  Maybe, if the AG gets around to appointing new Attorneys to his department, things might get better.  Of course, when will he do that is the question.

    Just my thoughts at this moment!

  9. the whole health care deal goes.

    see slinkerwink today

    Anyway, agree with tahoe, we can continue same in blogidarity with ACLU etc’s, working for accountability in general. Obama’s opposition to it is becoming mroe and more apparent to even the folks who dont even care… care more about other Issues I should say.

    Also, it will be interesting to see what kind of energy comes out of the folks who go to Netroots Nation. Hope The Dog gets there!!!

    All this is me thinking in terms of timing, basically. I dont see much value in coming out at any time with a full out “attack” (not my style anyway!) butmore a pile up on facts… they speak for themselves, if you see it all in a pile like that. heh.

  10. I have the most terrible problem with reconciling that following the rule of law, has to be delayed by a resolution of the healthcare situation, North Korea, Iran, Israel, or any other circumstances that are bound to come up again & again, till accountability to the law, in the instance of war crimes, torture, possibly treason, are pushed back so repeatedly, that it will create a feeling of, “Jesus Christ, you`re not bringing that up again”.

    The laws are in effect Now, they should be followed Now, those who broke the law should be prosecuted Now & then it would be much easier to move forward Now.

    Hey, I did my time.

    No one said, we`ll get to you later.

    The prison system is filled with criminals.

    No one made any damn excuses for not demanding accountability for them.

    If there is no conforming to the rule of law, open the goddamned prison gates.

    All men being created equal & stuff.

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