Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe a Special Prosecutor for Torture??

    From the NY Times on July 13. Some comments follow:
New York Times -- July 13, 2009

Obama Faces a New Push to Look Back


President Obama is facing new pressure to reverse himself and to ramp up investigations into the Bush-era security programs, despite the political risks.
   Leading Democrats on Sunday demanded investigations of how a highly classified counterterrorism program was kept secret from the Congressional leadership on the orders of Vice Presid ent Dick Cheney.
  Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Fox News Sunday called it a “big problem.” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, on “This Week” on ABC, agreed that the secrecy “could be illegal” and demanded an inquiry.
  Mr. Obama said this weekend that he had asked his staff members to review the mass killing of prisoners in Afghanistan by local forces allied with the United States as it toppled the Taliban regime there. The New York Times reported Saturday that the Bush administration had blocked investigations of the matter.
    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is also close to assigning a prosecutor to look into whether prisoners in the campaign against terrorism were tortured, officials disclosed on Saturday.
    And after a report from five inspectors general about the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping said on Friday that there had been a number of undisclosed surveillance programs during the Bush years, Democrats sought more information.
  That makes four fronts on which the intelligence apparatus is under siege. It is just the kind of distraction from Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities — repairing the economy, revamping the health care system, and addressing the long-term problems of energy and climate — that the White House wanted to avoid. . . .
 The attorney general would prefer to keep such an inquiry narrowly focused and assign it to a line prosecutor, if possible, rather than appoint a special prosecutor, the person [an inside source] said. >>

This last sentence flashes with warning lights, I believe, for two reasons:
A. Such a "narrowly focused" inquiry could well end up going after no more than the 2010 version of Lynndie England, small-fry underlings, while letting the bigger fish skate. Definitely a BAD idea. And
B. A "line prosecutor" can be more easily controlled and quieted than an independent prosecutor, who would be, at least to some extent, "independent."
So this report contains some potentially very good news, but needs to be treated guardedly. High stakes stuff, and even if Holder pulls the trigger, our task will not be lessened, because pressure needs to continue on many fronts, if there's to be any hope of actually dismantling the TIC (Torture Inductrial Complex), rather than giving a few low-level spooks a slap-on-the-wrist and leaving the overall structure and operation in place.
Note that
<<>Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Fox News Sunday called it a “big problem.” >>
Feinstein is a big player in this; she's already conducting a secret inquiry. She's also Establishment all the way; but maybe her probe has uncorked such a seething bottle of liquid poop that it's more than even she can handle behind closed doors.
The fact that the article identifies four separate investigations underway is also encouraging: to avoid the smokescreens and pierce the coverups, we need to press for numerous investigations. The Times failed to mention al the foreignprobes underway too, from the UK to Poland. The MSM may not pay them much attention, but they are NOT irrelevant.
More to come on this.

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