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White House Hesitates Even to Prosecute Torture Deaths: “Could Have Been Clogged Arteries”

The Washington Post reports today that earlier reports of a vigorous program of investigation and prosecution for violations of federal torture law were wildly overstated. The Obama Administration Department of Justice will look at far fewer than ten cases. These cases will be prosecuted not solely for torture, but also apparently for homicide, with the selection of cases where detainees died after being beaten and frozen. Even then, Obama administration insiders suggest that charges may be dropped, because detainees dying after being beaten and frozen “may have died a natural death from clogged arteries.”

The Bush administration was condemned for concluding that torture isn’t torture unless someone almost dies. The Obama administration appears to be concluding that torture doesn’t matter unless someone actually does die.

30 comments to White House Hesitates Even to Prosecute Torture Deaths: “Could Have Been Clogged Arteries”

  • qs

    Well you voted for him.

    Imagine if McCain had won. He’d own the recession, he’d own the occupations (and the left would actually be annoyed about it unlike Obama), he was jones’in to attack Iran too. We’d still have an ultra angry and energized dem base that would no doubt lead to MORE midterm election seat losses in 2010 for the republicans. Why would that be a bad scenario for the dems?

    Instead we have the reverse where it looks like the communist party is in for a major hit in 2010 that could end up as another 1994 landslide.

    • Jim

      I don’t know if it would have been a “bad scenario for the dems.” It would have been a worse scenario for the country. And that’s what matters.

      Qs, go look at European politics before you call the Democratic Party the Communist Party. The Democratic Party is bought off by capitalist corporations.

      • qs

        Hilldog created 2 million new refugees in Pakistan recently, and Obama is escalating Afghanistan.

        How is it better on those fronts?

        • Jim

          “on those fronts” is the key. We’d be in our third war by now if John McCain were President. “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.”

          • qs

            Maybe, hard to say though. Sometimes president try to fix their perceived “weak points” by moderating. McCain may not have attacked.

            If Obama bombed Iran though, the left would support him for it and the right would say he’s not doing it enough.

            Obama is 100% committed to Afghanistan though and he may double the troops levels there. He’s made Pakistan much worse.

            He wasn’t really an anti-war candidate, but instead he is trying to fix his perceived “weak points” by doing what the hawks want him to.

          • qs

            Ya and what happens if Obama is a one termer. That means no real anti-war candidate for the next 8-12 years because the GOP would be back in charge.

            In terms of the anti-war movement along, putting all the desired new government programs and what not aside, wouldn’t everyone be better off with McCain in charge right now?

            That’s 12 years of GOP rule, McCain owns the recession and the wars, the dems win another midterm election, and a real anti-war candidate could have ran in 2012.

            Just a thought.

            • ReMarker

              Leadership competency is critical for America’s progress. I suggest McCain and virtually all of the current GOP (possibly Olympia Snow being an exception) are not competent leaders. The last GOP Administration proves that, and the current GOP’s public statements indicate their competency is still bankrupt. The GOP, among other things, has moved America from a balanced budget to 8+ trillion dollars in dept, in 8 freaking years!!!

              A realistic argument can NOT be made for trusting the current GOP (and some Dems.) to lead our country to be the kind of country that most Americans can proud of.

              Posturing for political strength, as you suggest, is at America’s expense.
              qs suggests, “wouldn’t everyone be better off with McCain in charge right now? That’s 12 years of GOP rule, McCain owns the recession and the wars, the dems win another midterm election, and a real anti-war candidate could have ran in 2012.”
              The political posturing of the GOP, has a lot to do with the current mess America finds itself in.

              The best thing we can do for America is to have a civil debate about the issues, using facts and reason to help us make decisions that have a high probably of helping America be a “more perfect union”. The worst thing we can do for America is to be a “fact and reason” obstructionist because of beliefs that government is the problem, America is better if Democrats are not in power, and/or God wants America to be different.

              “Is government the solution or the problem?”, “America is better if Democrats are not in power”, and God wants America to be different, may be good subjects for different discussions.

              • qs

                So you voted FOR Obama right?

                Does that mean if he escalated in Afghanistan or Pakistan or continues to stay the course in Iraq that he got you vote to do it as in you approve of it?

                If the left wanted an anti-war candidate, why were they voting for Obama since he seems pro-war?

              • Jim

                Go research the structure of American presidential elections to find the answer to the question for yourself, qs.

              • qs

                Ya but you voted for him. That means he has your backing when he does that stuff.

              • Jim

                Only if a person is a sheep.

  • ReMarker

    I want all the people guilty of torturing people to death, awa those simply guilty of torture AND the people that ordered that torture to pay for dastardly deeds. However, that doesn’t help the Justice Department get evidence.

    Maybe the following statement, taken from the linked Washington Post article in this thread’s article, has something to do with The White House hesitating.

    “(Justice Department officials cited complications, including a lack of evidence, problems with jurisdiction and “low probability of conviction”, according to a letter sent to Senate Democrats, who had demanded information about the investigations. One government lawyer involved in the reviews called the evidence “a mess” and said that material collected on battlefields and in secret prisons was difficult to translate into a criminal case, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt)”.

    A probable influence on the availability of the above mentioned, needed evidence is
    The CIA destroyed videos of interriagations.
    It is highly probable other evidence was destroyed too.

    I’m not making excuses for anyone. If I were on the “torture” jury, I would vote to convict on hearsay evidence. I probably would not be selected for that jury, if I made my feeling known. It may be fortunate that America’s system of justice protects the innocent from me.

    • qs

      Ya he would have had better luck going after the Bush lawyers than the CIA.

      If there is something incriminating at the CIA, it would be destroyed.

      • ReMarker

        What makes you think the Bush lawyers didn’t destroy information that could put them in jail?

        One thing is important for any Administration; Don’t investigate unless a conviction can be gotten. A unsuccessful investigation WILL be labeled a “witch hunt” by the political oposition, left or right.

        • qs

          Because we have video tapes of Cheney bragging about it, and we have the memos of the Gonzo six lawyers as part of the public record.

          It’s a “slam dunk” case.

          • ReMarker

            If there is a video of you bragging about committing an unlawful act, that is hearsay and/or circumstantial evidence, and usually more evidence is needed to get a conviction.

            If there is a video of you DOING an unlawful act, that is evidence and usually is all that is needed to get a conviction.

            The “Gonzo six” were giving legal “opinions”, which make being convicted for torture a problem.

            Your points are further evidence of the need for a good education.

  • Tom

    Our entire government is a FUCKING JOKE – don’t you get it yet?! It’s all complete bullshit – nobody’s lookin’ out
    for you and me, or qs and everyone he knows. It’s only about CORPORATIONS and their influence (see K-street for details) now, and decidedly NOT about keeping us citizens viable for the next bunch of years while the banks ARE BAILED OUT WITH OUR TAXES! Especially now that the (ponzi scheme) stock market is reaping great profits on PURE FICTION!! None of the criminals who got us into this mess – from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et. al. to Greenspan, Summers, Geithner, and the whole Goldman Sachs alumni crowd will ever be prosecuted because of the complete double standard Amerikkka operates under. The Justice Dept. is a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, so don’t expect anything much in the way of real justice.

    • Jim

      Entire, complete, only, none, whole…

      No, I can’t agree with you at such a level of absolutism. There is always hope for reasonable behavior in politics, there are many areas of government that actually do work hard and accomplish important things for people, and I am not willing to toss up my hands like that. Hope is harder, especially when the man who rode into the White House on the back of Hope turns his back on it. But yes, I still hold out hope. Otherwise, why even bother, Tom? Why even expend the energy to rail against the injustice of it all, if the system is absolutely shot as you say it is?

      • qs

        Why not have voluntary governments.

        I don’t like the idea of property tax. How can the government tax you on something you own.

        Property should be like a nation state status where the government has zero influence or better yet you could form your own government.

        • ReMarker

          qs, I agree with you, property taxes suck. There is something unAmerican about having to give money to stay on your own property.

          Historically property taxes are used for public schools. I don’t have a problem with chiping in on public schools but I think it would be better to tax something besides our property.

          There are some “anti-property tax” initiatives around but nothing serious is happening yet. Maybe when we get our the the weeds the GOP put us in, we will have some time to get some other things fine tuned.

          • qs

            Ya it’s bs too with the stuff they’re teaching in these public schools.

            They give equal time to all the subjects. Did you learn anything in U.S. history, Psychology, Geography, and all that other stuff? Most of the kids have no idea who Madison or Jefferson was anyway by the end of it anyway.

            All they need is Math, English, and foreign language, and some recess time. Everything else can be after school stuff. Also they’ve given up teaching sentence diagramming so every English class taught is utterly worthless anyway.

            Also I don’t like the government teaching its official “history” because anytime you have the government teaching its version of history then you have a problem.

            • ReMarker

              qs, my agreement with you is restricted to property taxes. Your opinion of many other things leaves the “train station of reason” without schedule delay.

              Consider this, to limit knowledge of any kind limits intelligence and wisdom, and has a negative impact a person’s decision making.

              Your opinion of “how to teach” is faulty logic. I am thankful you were not my child’s teacher.

          • qs

            Paul had a plan to do away with the income tax too by taking us back to 1998 spending levels.

            We should get rid of 100% of government spending and go back to State governments. We can get rid of the State governments too, but we have to do away with the Federal governments first.

            • ReMarker

              Your suggestion has allready been tried and it failed. It was called The Civil War. Contrary to your education position, maybe studing history IS a good thing.

              • qs

                Well the south could have won if they had gone through the courts and not started firing guns.

                Lincoln knew that he needed to the South to fire first so that he could justify is attack.

                The obliged, which was obviously their error.

    • Is your local post office a “fucking joke”? How about the Bureau of Weights and Measurements? The National Weather Service? Your public school district? How about the Centers for Disease Control?

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