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- Bill O'Reilly
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- Chris Matthews
- Countdown with Keith Olbermann
- Dan Abrams
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- Hardball/Chris Matthews
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- NSA Wiretapping
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- war crime
You would think that Chris Matthews would know something about Jonathan Turley, since he's been on MSNBC for years and has openly spoken about the Bush administration and torture, and has consistently said that waterboarding is a war crime and should be prosecuted.
The key exchange:
TURLEY: You know, Chris, the thing that disturbs me most, the thing that I think is most grotesque, is not the thought of prosecuting high-ranking officials, it's that high-ranking officials ordered war crimes. And if we need to prosecute it to show the world that we are not hypocrites...
MATTHEWS: When did you first say that?
TURLEY: When did I first say that we should prosecute?
TURLEY: Back in the Bush administration.
MATTHEWS: And why—I remember that. Why did the—why do you think there was no call within the legal community to do what you‘re saying right now? Why was this country so relatively silent? You were out there alone. Why was this country so silent on the possibility that war crimes were being committed in this country for eight years?
TURLEY: Well, unfortunately, that was part of the distortive effect after 9/11. And quite frankly, we lost our bearings. And this really shows how dangerous torture can be. When you hate someone enough or you‘re afraid enough...
MATTHEWS: OK, so what you think is possible here...
TURLEY: ... that you can violate the law.
Transcript below the fold:
As David already discussed, constitutional-law expert Jonathan Turley joined Rachel last night to discuss the fate of top Bush administration figures involved in "harsh interrogation techniques." The White House has indicated that Bush will not be issuing blanket pardons, but the Wall Street Journal later reported that that's because it's "unnecessary" to do so.
Turley makes a critical point in the interview -- namely, that the moral burden of torture is on the backs of each one of us until these people are brought to justice. And it will be profoundly immoral to let them go:
"We have third world countries that when they have found that their leaders committed torture war crimes, they prosecuted them. But the most successful democracy in history is just, I think, about to see war crimes, do nothing about it. And that's an indictment not just of George Bush and his administration. It's the indictment of all of us if we walk away from a clear war crime and say it's time for another commission."
Turley lays out a powerful case that's pretty hard to argue with. A wave of reconciliation and forgiveness seems to be sweeping Washington, but sanctioning torture and destroying America's moral credibility around the world is something that can't simply be ignored. I'm not opposed to a commission per se, but the commission MUST be granted sweeping investigatory powers and a mandate to prosecute any and all wrongdoing found to have been committed. Anything less is unacceptable.
Full transcript below the fold:
It's something that has certainly been spoken of within the liberal blogosphere. I've seen the random bumpersticker or freeway blogger suggest it as well, but it is no longer something that can be written off as a partisan or extremist view. As Countdown guest host Rachel Maddow and George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley discuss on Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross sent a report last year to the CIA saying that the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo was unquestionably torture and the Bush administration officials that approved the treatment are war criminals.
Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001.[..]
The book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers new details of the agency's secret detention program, as well as the bitter debates in the administration over interrogation methods and other tactics in the campaign against Al Qaeda.[..]
Citing unnamed "sources familiar with the report," Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document "warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted." Red Cross representatives were not permitted access to the secret prisons where the C.I.A. conducted interrogations, but were permitted to interview Abu Zubaydah and other high-level detainees in late 2006, after they were moved to the military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The book says the C.I.A. shared the report, which Ms. Mayer first described last year in less detail in The New Yorker, with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Jonathan Turley comes on KO once again to blast the umpteenth version of the
compromise FISA bill that is being shoved down our throats. This time the Hoyer/FISA rollover bill is attached to the new GI Bill and extending unemployment benefits bill. Please don't forget to chip into our FISA Actblue page so we can take a stand against all atempts at subverting our rights. Anyway, it's being debated today so we'll let you know what happens.
Turley: They repeatedly tried to cave it in to the White House only to be stopped by civil libertarians and bloggers and each time they would put it on the shelf, wait a few months, they did this before, reintroduced it with Jay Rockefeller's support and then there was another great dust up and they pulled it back. I think they're simply waiting to see if public's interest will wain and we'll see that tomorrow because this bill has no quite literally public value for citizens or civil liberties. It is reverse engineering. Th type of thing the Bush administration is famous for and now the Democrats are doing. That is to change the law to conform to past conduct. It's what any criminal would love to do.
As usual Russ Feingold isn't happy.
"The proposed FISA deal is not a compromise; it is a capitulation. The House and Senate should not be taking up this bill, which effectively guarantees immunity for telecom companies alleged to have participated in the President's illegal program, and which fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans at home.
Our Future: Conservatism, as we've known it since Ronald Reagan, is failing. Ground down in the desert of Iraq, drowned in the floods of Hurricane Katrina, foreclosed by the housing crisis and poisoned by toys imported from China. Even so, the class war continues, and my class is losing.
Pharyngula: Chris Hedges writes a book, wastes everyone's time.
Rising Hegemon: "My friends, it's all about me"
ANNALS OF JOURNALISM: Media hold McCain, Obama to different standards...Rebranding torture...What do you believe is the biggest threat facing our democracy? Some might say the appalling spread of false information...MSM looks at blogs...Play Pundit!...Journalist to be executed...Media won't take no for an answer...The propaganda machine Jack Welch built...LA Times owner looks to cash in on ballot proposition...
OLBERMANN: Why would evidence like this entire AT&T room in San Francisco—we know the number of the room, we know the guy who hooked it all up. Why is that not sufficient to at least move this lawsuit on?
TURLEY: Well, that’s part of the ridiculous element to all this. That we know there’s an NSA program; we know that it’s illegal. There’s been no showing nor is no showing possible that the President had the authority to order what he did. This is a crime, defined under federal law. So there’s no mystery to the program, there’s not a particular debate to its illegality. The only issue is standing: the ability of someone to come in and say, “I can show I was individually harmed.” And they can’t do that because the Courts won’t give them the information they need and Congress will do nothing to force out into the public the information needed to get this type of relief. And as you noted, the Congress is going further in the opposite direction; they’re trying to extinguish suits against telecom companies that have been successful.
This is why it is so critical that you contact your representative and let them know to NOT support telecom immunity. Anything less is enabling a crime against the country and its citizens. The Gavel has compiled some experts and editorials on the FISA law.
Dan Abrams offers another edition of his series "Bush League Justice" focusing on the latest petulant move on the part of the President, who is holding on to the nominations of 84 positions until Congress confirms Steven Bradbury to the position of Assistant Attorney General, something the Senate is loathe to do. Why? Because Steven Bradbury is the legal mind responsible for writing the opinions stripping detainees of their habeas corpus rights and torturing them was legally permissible as well as immunizing Harriet Miers from complying with a congressional subpoena. But of course, in Bush's mind it's the Democratic-controlled Congress who is the problem. Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley weighs in on the latest "made man" of the Bush Administration.
Dan Abrams continues his fantastic series started yesterday by looking how Bush has effectively subverted the system of government and eliminated any controls or oversight of the executive branch by the use of signing statements. Jonathan Turley and Charlie Savage join in to assess the damage done.
Some days, it literally gives me a migraine to have to watch Bill O'Reilly. This is one of those days...
On the heels of his ridiculous Talking Points Memo where he accuses the "hate America" crowd of rejoicing in the news of the destroyed CIA torture tapes--a statement that just reeks of the dumbing down of the electorate, Billo brings on GW Law professor Jonathan Turley to discuss the lawlessness of the tapes. Billo sees this as an opportunity to talk about how wimpy the left is and how accommodating they are to those scary terrorists. When Turley objects to us becoming those we're allegedly fighting by adopting their tactics.
But big, bad, macho Billo will have none of that...watch him carefully, he's actually getting visibly excited at the thought of torturing, something I don't think I could be as silent about as Turley is.
You know, Bill, if you had a shred of intellectual honesty, I'd say you'd make a perfect candidate for your "Pinheads & Patriots" segment. And for what it's worth, being for torture is NOT a patriotic stance.