portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war

IMPEACHMENT TIME HAS COME!!!

3 articles dealinmg with the subject in the lat two days in addition to Nader's call to Congress (a few posts down). The list has to be long though. We can't run the risk of leaving the neocons in power since it is ALL of them that we are after by cutting off the head...
Campaign Wants Inquiry of Impeachable Offenses
By David Swanson
The American Chronicle
Thursday 26 May 2005
A coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups announced a campaign today to urge that the US Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.
John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush.
Bonifaz's memo, made available today at www.AfterDowningStreet.org, begins: "The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution."
In February and March 2003, John Bonifaz served as lead counsel for a coalition of United States soldiers, parents of US soldiers, and Members of Congress (led by Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Dennis Kucinich) in a federal lawsuit challenging President George W. Bush's authority to wage war against Iraq absent a congressional declaration of war or equivalent action. Bonifaz is the author of Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush (NationBooks-NY, 2004, foreword by Rep. John Conyers, Jr.), which chronicles that case and its meaning for the United States Constitution.
The organizations forming the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition include: Global Exchange, Gold Star Families for Peace, Democrats.com, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, and Democracy Rising. These organizations, beginning today, will be urging their members to contact their Representatives to urge support of a Resolution of Inquiry.



Give Rumsfeld the Pinochet Treatment, Says US Amnesty Chief
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
Thursday 26 May 2005
If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal.
-- William Schulz, Amnesty Intl USA
Washington - If the administration of President George W. Bush fails to conduct a truly independent investigation of US abuses against detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, foreign governments should investigate and prosecute those senior officials who bear responsibility for them, the head of the US chapter of Amnesty International said here Wednesday.
Speaking at the release of Amnesty's annual report, William Schulz charged that Washington has become "a leading purveyor and practitioner" of torture and ill-treatment and that senior officials should face prosecution by other governments for violations of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
Among those officials, Schulz named Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet, and senior officers at US detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, Iraq.
"If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal," said Schulz, who added that violations of the torture convention, which has been ratified by the United States and some 138 other countries, can be prosecuted in any jurisdiction.
"If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them," he added. "The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as (former Chilean dictator) Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998."
Schulz also called on state bar associations to investigate administration lawyers who helped prepare legal opinions that sought to justify or defend the use of abusive interrogation methods for breach of their professional and ethical responsibilities.
He cited, in particular, Vice President Dick Cheney's general counsel, David Addington; Pentagon General Counsel William Haynes; and top officials in the Justice Department's Office of General Counsel, one of whom, Jay Bybee, has since been confirmed as a federal appeals court judge.
"A wall of secrecy is protecting those who masterminded and developed the US torture policy," Schulz said. "Unless those who drew the blueprint for torture, approved it, and ordered it implemented are held accountable, the United States' once-proud reputation as an exemplar of human rights will remain in tatters."
Schulz's appeal for foreign governments to take the initiative coincided with the launch of a bipartisan drive endorsed by some 350 attorneys and legal scholars urging the administration to establish an independent commission to address the allegations of abuse and torture, including an assessment of the responsibility of senior administration officials and military officers.
"By establishing an independent bipartisan commission to fully investigate the issue of abuse of terrorist suspects," said John Whitehead, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Ronald Reagan administration, "Congress and the president have a unique opportunity to send a message to the rest of the world that the United States is committed to respecting the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings, whether they are US citizens or prisoners of war."
Whitehead said a high-level, independent investigation was necessary because the Pentagon's ongoing or recently completed investigations were too narrowly focused and not designed to produce recommendations to prevent future abuses.
Among the signers of the initiative, which was sponsored by the bipartisan Constitution Project at Georgetown University, were prominent right-wing activists including David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, two former Republican congressmen, as well as former US ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering, and former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director William Sessions. The National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) also endorsed the statement, as did more than a dozen military law specialists and retired high-ranking military officers.
Since the abuses first came to light with the publication of photos of prisoners at Abu Ghraib 13 months ago, the Pentagon has carried out dozens of reviews, courts-martial, and disciplinary proceedings. But virtually all of them have dealt only with the responsibility of the soldiers who carried out the abuses or their immediate superiors.
The failure to address the responsibility of officials and officers at the top of the command chain, particularly in light of the disclosure of memos which appeared to authorize at least some of the tactics carried out against detainees, has provoked repeated demands by human rights groups to appoint an independent commission to conduct a thorough examination. Last summer, the 400,000-lawyer American Bar Association joined Amnesty, Human rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in those demands.
But the Bush administration has rejected them, arguing that the Pentagon's own efforts to investigate and prosecute abuses were adequate. The Republican leadership in Congress has also paralyzed efforts by Democratic and some Republican lawmakers to create a commission.
The refusal to investigate translates into effective "tolerance" for torture and mistreatment, Schulz said, resulting not only in the spread of such practices but also in the destruction of US credibility when it assails other countries, such as Syria or Egypt, for human rights violations.
"It is the height of hypocrisy for the US government itself to use the very torture techniques that it routinely condemns in other countries," he said. "When the US government then calls upon foreign leaders to bring to justice those who commit or authorize human rights violations in their own countries, why should those foreign leaders listen?"
As he spoke, the ACLU released new documents it had obtained from the FBI under court order that disclosed that prisoners held at Guantanamo complained that guards there had repeatedly mistreated the Koran. In one 2002 summary, an FBI interrogator noted a prisoner's allegation that guards had flushed a Koran down a toilet.
The disclosure comes on the heels of controversy over a Newsweek report saying that government investigators had corroborated an almost identical incident. Newsweek ultimately retracted its story because a confidential government source could not be confirmed.
Other documents released Wednesday by the ACLU provided accounts of beatings, planned suicide attempts, hunger strikes to protest mistreatment and sexual assaults, including an incident in which a female guard fondled a detainee's genitals while he was held down by male guards.
"The United States government continues to turn a blind eye to mounting evidence of widespread abuse of detainees held in its custody," said ACLU director Anthony Romero. "If we are to truly repair America's standing in the world, the Bush administration must hold accountable high-ranking officials who allow the continuing abuse and torture of detainees."
Campaign Wants Inquiry of Impeachable Offenses
By David Swanson
The American Chronicle
Thursday 26 May 2005
A coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups announced a campaign today to urge that the US Congress launch a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.
John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush.
Bonifaz's memo, made available today at www.AfterDowningStreet.org, begins: "The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution."
In February and March 2003, John Bonifaz served as lead counsel for a coalition of United States soldiers, parents of US soldiers, and Members of Congress (led by Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Dennis Kucinich) in a federal lawsuit challenging President George W. Bush's authority to wage war against Iraq absent a congressional declaration of war or equivalent action. Bonifaz is the author of Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush (NationBooks-NY, 2004, foreword by Rep. John Conyers, Jr.), which chronicles that case and its meaning for the United States Constitution.
The organizations forming the AfterDowningStreet.org coalition include: Global Exchange, Gold Star Families for Peace, Democrats.com, Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, and Democracy Rising. These organizations, beginning today, will be urging their members to contact their Representatives to urge support of a Resolution of Inquiry.
For more information, see AfterDowningStreet.org.






Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity
By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive
July 2005 Issue
When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was asked whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise, and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." Sanchez, who was head of the Pentagon's Combined Joint Task Force-7 in Iraq, swore the answer was no. Under oath, he told the Senators he "never approved any of those measures to be used."
But a document the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained from the Pentagon flat out contradicts Sanchez's testimony. It's a memorandum entitled "CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy," dated September 14, 2003. In it, Sanchez approved several methods designed for "significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee." These included "sleep management"; "yelling, loud music, and light control: used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock"; and "presence of military working dogs: exploits Arab fear of dogs."
On March 30, the ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging him "to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony."
The problem is, Gonzales may himself have committed perjury in his Congressional testimony this January. According to a March 6 article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States." He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the executive branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."
"That's a clear, absolute lie," says Michael Ratner, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is suing Administration officials for their involvement in the torture scandal. "The Administration has a policy of sending people to countries where there is a likelihood that they will be tortured."
The New York Times article backs up Ratner's claim. It says "a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the September 11 attacks" gave the CIA broad authority to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogations. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that the United States has transferred between 100 and 150 detainees to countries notorious for torture.
So Gonzales may not be the best person to evaluate the allegation of perjury against Sanchez.
But going after Sanchez or Gonzales for perjury is the least of it. Sanchez may be personally culpable for war crimes and torture, according to Human Rights Watch. And Gonzales himself was one of the legal architects of the torture policies. As such, he may have been involved in "a conspiracy to immunize U.S. agents from criminal liability for torture and war crimes under U.S. law," according to Amnesty International's recent report: "Guantánamo and Beyond: The Continuing Pursuit of Unchecked Executive Power."
As White House Counsel, Gonzales advised President Bush to not apply Geneva Convention protections to detainees captured in Afghanistan, in part because this "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act," Gonzales wrote in his January 25, 2002, memo to the President.
Gonzales's press office refused to provide comment after several requests from The Progressive. In his Senate confirmation testimony, Gonzales said, "I want to make very clear that I am deeply committed to the rule of law. I have a deep and abiding commitment to the fundamental American principle that we are a nation of laws, and not of men."
Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel John Skinner says the ACLU's suggestion that Sanchez committed perjury is "absolutely ridiculous." In addition, Skinner pointed to a recent Army inspector general report that looked into Sanchez's role. "Every senior-officer allegation was formally investigated," the Army said in a May 5 summary. Sanchez was investigated, it said, for "dereliction in the performance of duties pertaining to detention and interrogation operations" and for "improperly communicating interrogation policies." The inspector general "found each of the allegations unsubstantiated."
The Bush Administration's legal troubles don't end with Sanchez or Gonzales. They go right to the top: to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush himself. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA say there is "prima facie" evidence against Rumsfeld for war crimes and torture. And Amnesty International USA says there is also "prima facie" evidence against Bush for war crimes and torture. (According to Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, "prima facie evidence" is "evidence sufficient to establish a fact or to raise a presumption of fact unless rebutted.")
Amnesty International USA has even taken the extraordinary step of calling on officials in other countries to apprehend Bush and Rumsfeld and other high-ranking members of the Administration who have played a part in the torture scandal.
Foreign governments should "uphold their obligations under international law by investigating U.S. officials implicated in the development or implementation of interrogation techniques that constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment," the group said in a May 25 statement. William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, added, "If the United States permits the architects of torture policy to get off scot-free, then other nations will be compelled" to take action.
The Geneva Conventions and the torture treaty "place a legally binding obligation on states that have ratified them to exercise universal jurisdiction over persons accused of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions," Amnesty International USA said. "If anyone suspected of involvement in the U.S. torture scandal visits or transits through foreign territories, governments could take legal steps to ensure that such individuals are investigated and charged with applicable crimes."
When these two leading human rights organizations make such bold claims about the President and the Secretary of Defense, we need to take the question of executive criminality seriously.
And we have to ask ourselves, where is the accountability? Who has the authority to ascertain whether these high officials committed war crimes and torture, and if they did, to bring them to justice?
The independent counsel law is no longer on the books, so that can't be relied on. Attorney General Gonzales is not about to investigate himself, Rumsfeld, or his boss. And Republicans who control Congress have shown no interest in pursuing the torture scandal, much less drawing up bills of impeachment.
Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU, the American Bar Association, and Human Rights First (formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) have joined in a call for a special prosecutor. But that decision is up to Gonzales and ultimately Bush.
"It's a complete joke" to expect Gonzales to appoint a special prosecutor, concedes Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
John Sifton, Afghanistan specialist and military affairs researcher for Human Rights Watch, is not so sure. "Do I think this would happen right now? No," he says. "But in the middle of the Watergate scandal, very few people thought the President would resign." If more information comes out, and if the American public demands an investigation, and if there is a change in the control of the Senate, Sifton believes Gonzales may end up with little choice.
Human Rights Watch and other groups are also calling for Congress to appoint an independent commission, similar to the 9/11 one, to investigate the torture scandal.
"Unless a special counsel or an independent commission are named, and those who designed or authorized the illegal policies are held to account, all the protestations of 'disgust' at the Abu Ghraib photos by President George W. Bush and others will be meaningless," concludes Human Rights Watch's April report "Getting Away with Torture? Command Responsibility for the U.S. Abuse of Detainees."
But even as it denounces the "substantial impunity that has prevailed until now," Human Rights Watch is not sanguine about the likelihood of such inquiries. "There are obviously steep political obstacles in the way of investigating a sitting Defense Secretary," it notes in its report.
By not pursuing senior officials who may have been involved in ordering war crimes or torture, the United States may be further violating international law, according to Human Rights Watch. "Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, whenever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction," says the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Geneva Conventions have a similar requirement.
Stymied by the obstacles along the customary routes of accountability, the ACLU and Human Rights First are suing Rumsfeld in civil court on behalf of plaintiffs who have been victims of torture. The Center for Constitutional Rights is suing on behalf of a separate group of clients. The center also filed a criminal complaint in Germany against Rumsfeld and Gonzales, along with nine others. The center argued that Germany was "a court of last resort," since "the U.S. government is not willing to open an investigation into these allegations against these officials." The case was dismissed.
Amnesty International's call for foreign countries to nab Rumsfeld and Bush also seems unlikely to be heeded any time soon. How, physically, could another country arrest Bush, for instance? And which country would want to face the wrath of Washington for doing so?
But that we have come this far—where the only option for justice available seems to be to rely on officials of other governments to apprehend our own—is a damning indictment in and of itself.
The case against Rumsfeld may be the most substantial of all. While "expressing no opinion about the ultimate guilt or innocence" of Rumsfeld, Human Rights Watch is urging his prosecution under the War Crimes Act of 1996 and the Anti-Torture Act of 1996. Under these statutes, a "war crime" is any "grave breach" of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment," as well as torture and murder. A "grave breach," according to U.S. law, includes "willful killing, torture, or inhuman treatment of prisoners of war and of other 'protected persons,' " Human Rights Watch explains in "Getting Away with Torture?"
Rumsfeld faces jeopardy for being head of the Defense Department when those directly under him committed grave offenses. And he may be liable for actions he himself undertook.
"Secretary Rumsfeld may bear legal liability for war crimes and torture by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo under the doctrine of 'command responsibility'—the legal principle that holds a superior responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates when he knew or should have known that they were being committed but fails to take reasonable measures to stop them," Human Rights Watch says in its report.
But Rumsfeld's potential liability may be more direct than simply being the guy in charge who didn't stop the torture and mistreatment once he learned about it.
First of all, when the initial reports of prisoner mistreatment came in, he mocked the concerns of human rights groups as "isolated pockets of international hyperventilation." He also asserted that "unlawful combatants do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention," even though, as Human Rights Watch argues, "the Geneva Conventions provide explicit protections to all persons captured in an international armed conflict, even if they are not entitled to POW status."
Secondly, he himself issued a list of permissible interrogation techniques in a December 2, 2002, directive that likely violated the Geneva Conventions, according to Human Rights Watch. Among those techniques: "The use of stress positions (like standing) for a maximum of four hours." On the directive, Rumsfeld, incidentally, added in his own handwriting next to this technique: "However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?" He also included the following techniques: "removal of all comfort items (including religious items)," "deprivation of light and auditory stimuli," "isolation up to 30 days," and "using detainees' individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress."
On January 15, 2003, Rumsfeld rescinded this directive after the Navy registered its adamant objections. If, during the six weeks that Rumsfeld's techniques were official Pentagon policy at Guantánamo, soldiers mistreated or tortured prisoners using his approved techniques, then "Rumsfeld could potentially bear direct criminal responsibility, as opposed to command responsibility," says Human Rights Watch.
Rumsfeld may also bear direct responsibility for the torture or abuse of two other prisoners, says Human Rights Watch, citing the Church Report. (This report, one of Rumsfeld's many internal investigations, was conducted by the Navy Inspector General Vice Admiral Albert Church.) "The Secretary of Defense approved specific interrogation plans for two 'high-value detainees' " at Guantánamo, the Church Report noted. Those plans, it added, "employed several of the counter resistance techniques found in the December 2, 2002, [policy]. . . . These interrogations were sufficiently aggressive that they highlighted the difficult question of precisely defining the boundaries of humane treatment of detainees."
And Rumsfeld may be in legal trouble for hiding detainees from the Red Cross. "Secretary Rumsfeld has publicly admitted that . . . he ordered an Iraqi national held in Camp Cropper, a high security detention center in Iraq, to be kept off the prison's rolls and not presented to the International Committee of the Red Cross," Human Rights Watch notes. This prisoner, according to The New York Times, was kept off the books for at least seven months.
The Geneva Conventions require countries to grant access to the Red Cross to all detainees, wherever they are being held. As Human Rights Watch explains, "Visits may only be prohibited for'reasons of imperative military necessity' and then only as'an exceptional and temporary measure.'"
The last potential legal problem for Rumsfeld is his alleged involvement in creating a "secret access program," or SAP. According to reporter Seymour Hersh, Rumsfeld "authorized the establishment of a highly secret program that was given blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate 'high value' targets in the war on terror." Human Rights Watch says that "if Secretary Rumsfeld did, in fact, approve such a program, he would bear direct liability, as opposed to command responsibility, for war crimes and torture committed by the SAP."
The Pentagon vehemently denies the allegation that Rumsfeld may have committed war crimes. "It's absurd," says Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Skinner. "The facts speak for themselves. We have aggressively investigated all allegations of detainee mistreatment. We have had ten major investigations on everything from A to Z. We've also had more than 350 criminal investigations looking into detainee abuse. More than 103 individuals have been held accountable for actions related to detainee mistreatment. Our policy has always been, and will always remain, the humane treatment of detainees."
What about Bush? If Donald Rumsfeld can be charged for war crimes because of his command responsibility and his personal involvement in giving orders, why can't the commander in chief? Hina Shansi, senior counsel at Human Rights First, believes the case against Bush is much more difficult to document. And Sifton of Human Rights Watch says that since Bush is known as "a major delegator," it may be hard to pin down "what he's briefed on and what role he plays in the decision-making process."
Amnesty International USA, however, believes that Bush, by his own involvement in formulating policy on torture, may have committed war crimes. "It's the memos, the meetings, the public statements," says Alistair Hodgett, media director of Amnesty International USA.
There is "prima facie evidence that senior members of the U.S. Administration, including President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, have authorized human rights violations, including 'disappearances and torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment,' " Amnesty states in "Guantánamo and Beyond."
The first solid piece of evidence against Bush is his September 17, 2001, "Memorandum of Notification" that unleashed the CIA. According to Bob Woodward's book Bush at War, that memo "authorized the CIA to operate freely and fully in Afghanistan with its own paramilitary teams" and to go after Al Qaeda "on a worldwide scale, using lethal covert action to keep the role of the United States hidden."
Two days before at Camp David, then-CIA Director George Tenet had outlined some of the additional powers he wanted, Woodward writes. These included the power to " 'buy' key intelligence services. . . . Several intelligence services were listed: Egypt, Jordan, Algeria. Acting as surrogates for the United States, these services could triple or quadruple the CIA's resources." According to Woodward, Tenet was upfront with Bush about the risks entailed: "It would put the United States in league with questionable intelligence services, some of them with dreadful human rights records. Some had reputations for ruthlessness and using torture to obtain confessions. Tenet acknowledged that these were not people you were likely to be sitting next to in church on Sunday. Look, I don't control these guys all the time, he said. Bush said he understood the risks."
That this was Administration policy is clear from comments Vice President Dick Cheney made on Meet the Press the very next day.
"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will," Cheney told Tim Russert. "We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."
If, as The New York Times reported, Bush authorized the transfer of detainees to countries where torture is routine, he appears to be in grave breach of international law.
Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture explicitly prohibits this: "No State Party shall expel, return, or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture." Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions is also clear: "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive."
On February 7, 2002, Bush issued another self-incriminating memorandum. This one was to the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of the CIA, the National Security Adviser, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was entitled "Humane Treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees." In it, Bush asserted that "none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world." He also declared, "I have the authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as between the United States and Afghanistan," though he declined to do so. And he said that "common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either Al Qaeda or Taliban."
This memo "set the stage for the tragic abuse of detainees," says William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
Bush failed to recognize that the Geneva Conventions provide universal protections. "The Conventions and customary law still provide explicit protections to all persons held in an armed conflict," Human Rights Watch says in its report, citing the "fundamental guarantees" in Article 75 of Protocol I of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions. That article prohibits "torture of all kinds, whether physical or mental," "corporal punishment," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment."
In the February 7, 2002, memo, Bush tried to give himself cover by stating that "our values as a Nation, values that we share with many nations in the world, call for us to treat detainees humanely, including those who are not entitled to such treatment." He added that the United States, "to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity," would abide by the principles of the Geneva Conventions.
But this only made matters worse. His assertion that there are some detainees who are not entitled to be treated humanely is an affront to international law, as is his claim that the Geneva Conventions can be made subordinate to military necessity.
The Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture all prohibit the torture and abuse that the United States has been inflicting on detainees. Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture states that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
Article VI of the Constitution makes treaties "the supreme law of the land," and the President swears an oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
As more information comes out, the case against Bush could get even stronger, says Sifton of Human Rights Watch. If, for instance, Bush said at Camp David on September 15, 2001, or at another meeting, "Take the gloves off," or something to that effect, he would be even more implicated. "Obviously, if he did make such an explicit order, his complicity would be shown," says Sifton. Somehow, that message was conveyed down the line. "There was a before-9/11 and an after-9/11," Cofer Black, who was director of the CIA's counterterrorist unit, told Congress in 2002. "After 9/11, the gloves came off."
The White House press office refused to return five phone calls from The Progressive seeking comment about the allegations against Bush. At his daily press briefing on May 25, the President's Press Secretary Scott McClellan was not asked specifically about Bush's culpability but about Amnesty International's general charge that the United States is a chief offender of human rights.
"The allegations are ridiculous and unsupported by the facts," McClellan said. "The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated fifty million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . We're also leading the way when it comes to spreading compassion."
Amnesty International USA does not intend to back off. "Our call is for the United States to step up to its responsibilities and investigate these matters first," Executive Director Schulz says. "And if that doesn't happen, then indeed, we are calling upon foreign governments to take on their responsibility and to investigate the apparent architects of torture."
Inquiries to the embassies of Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, South Africa, and Venezuela, as well as to the government of Canada, while met with some amusement, did not reveal any inclination to heed Amnesty's call.
Schulz is not deterred. Acknowledging that the possibility of a foreign government seizing Rumsfeld or Bush might not be "an immediate reality," Schulz takes the long view: "Let's keep in mind, there are no statutes of limitations here."

Matthew Rothschild is Editor of The Progressive.
Stripping the Clones 31.May.2005 11:13

Confession

I am for Impeachment. The problem has another layer not addressed in the above article. I am referring to the Christian clones. These are mindless robots, including women and children who no longer think for themselves, but maintain a core of integrity that prevents them from being attacked. They are the shock troops for the neo-con Elite. They must be separated from their overlords. The two primary control techniques are an Old Testament guilt associated with tithing and a belief in Satan. Both are fear techniques cleverly worked into Christian theology. Using media and other avenues these fronts for the Neo-cons can be turned off. Catholics already are aware of the 'protestant virus' inserted through the charismatic movement whose end goal it turns out was to subvert Catholic right to choose, to ally with Protestant anti-abortion adherents. It had nothing to do with abortion, but political control to establish the religious right. When taking down the neo-cons through impeachment, turn the switch off for these sleeping Christians that they don't bear the brunt of anger from the rest of us.

Don't expect much 31.May.2005 11:13

Illuminated Inertia

Impeachment has to come from a vote of Congress - voted on by the House and tried by the Senate. Don't expect much. Most of the congress people are paid shills who do what they are told by the highest bidder. And the highest bidders are the globalists who want to make the entire world despise the American democratic republic. Get America out of the way and the new world order slips nicely into place. America stays in the picture and...ooops France just slipped away, tomorrow the Netherlands, then Britain(?) - each country deciding to maintain their own national sovereign.

To confession 31.May.2005 11:29

asd

There is ample material which can be laid out to show that Bush actually is the antichrist - including the matching of a large number of prophecies about this seedy character, who I am sure never imagined he would be outdone by the likes of our retard president - but there it is! It is even rumored that the previous Pope held on and did not want to go because too late he realized that W actually fulfilled all the prophecies. Maybe some biblical scholars can come up with a series of articles that will show the clones that they have been taken for the longest joy ride of their fucked up lives...

head wound 31.May.2005 15:38

TheTroll

If it were impeachment time, would there be a new, bigger 911 so Bush could declair martial law and bypass congress on all matters forever.

military coup 31.May.2005 17:12

tree

I'm ready for the military to arrest the entire staff of the wh.

asdf 31.May.2005 17:13

asdf

Maybe we should get off Iraq and start focusing on the REAL treason: the fact that the Bush regime planned and executed the attacks of 9/11. Let's get serious, shall we? Stop fuckin pussyfooting around. Who am I directing that to? I'm directing that to those who keep obsessing with the Iraq issue, which of course has it's share of significance...but when it comes to what is mentioned aboved, and also aired on C-SPAN2...again, let's get serious.

After Downing Street Dot Org 31.May.2005 18:27

pass it on

Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war:


 http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/


Write Your Rep.
 http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/39

Sign Conyers' Letter.
 http://www.johnconyers.campaignoffice.com/index.asp?Type=SUPERFORMS&SEC={0F1B03E0-080B-4100-B143-36A5985EF1E3}

Contact Local Media.
 http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=7656046&type=ME

Contact TV Networks.
 http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=5&page=1

Tell Others.
 http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=2&page=1

SEE ALSO:

War Crimes and Constitutional Punishment
It's Time to Get Serious About Impeaching Bush

By NORMAN SOLOMON
 http://www.counterpunch.org/solomon05312005.html


Who will act? 31.May.2005 18:29

Marleen

The evidence is obvious, but who will act? What's happening is akin to a district attorney
having irreputable evidence to prosecute a mass-murderer, but chooses not
to carry the case forward. It's 100% his perogative.

Are members of Congress, by law, required to initiate impeachment proceedings
on irreputable evidence, or is impeachment at their discretion?