bush_flag_tortureThe GAO released a long awaited report on CIA abuse of prisoners during the Bush years. It documents many things we know and many things we did not.

CIA report: ‘Inhumane’ tactics used on detainees

WASHINGTON – CIA interrogators threatened to kill the children of one detainee at the height of the Bush administration’s war on terror and implied that another’s mother would be sexually assaulted, newly declassified documents revealed Monday as the government launched a criminal investigation into the spy agency’s “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane” practices.”

From the same article the Obama administration announces the creating of a specialized terrorist interrogation team. The best part of this development is the team will be operated using FBI interrogation experts which is a huge improvement over using CIA operatives and independent contractors that were used during the Bush administration.

“At the same time, the Obama administration announced a new policy for future interrogations — under White House supervision.”

In the third and biggest development today it has been reported that AG Holder will announce that he has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate CIA abuse of detainees.

Holder to Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Terror Interrogations

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects, according to two sources familiar with the move.

Holder is poised to name John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor from Connecticut, to lead the inquiry, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.”

bushtorture1Yes the investigations will be  limited to the worst torture violations and will not go after the legality of the Bush terror memos.  That is disappointing but these torture investigations should be fully supported by progressives and liberal nonetheless.  Glenn Greenwald is already downplaying these investigations saying they will be like the “Abu Ghraib model” of investigations but he is surprisingly naive if he thinks that a civil investigation can be controlled like the military investigation at Abu Ghraib.   Civil investigations tend to take on a whole life of their own and cannot be contained like military investigations.  History shows us from Watergate, to Iran-Contra, to Whitewater and even the Plame investigation that much more always comes out than originally expected.

Moreover anyone who puts any trust in the Bush administration following even it’s own guidelines obviously had not observed the Bush administration for eight years.   I guarantee you people like Cheney authorized torture way beyond any Yoo memo.  In addition we already know most of these torturous acts occurred before the memos were written.

The other huge development here is that these upcoming investigations show that the DOJ and white house are independent of one another like they should be.  In the grand scheme of things that is the best development here in terms of restoring our rule of law.  President Obama does not want to have these prosecutions, at least not now and CIA Director Leon Panetta in a tirade at the white house threatened to quit heading up the CIA if these investigations were initiated.

The bottom line will these investigations be all progressives and liberals want?  No, I doubt we will see Bush and Cheney in orange jumpsuits and shackles like they should be serving long sentences in a Federal Penitentiary.  However I think these investigations will go a long way to expose the worst of the war crimes and unmask the perpetrators behind these crimes so hopefully this time history does not repeat itself.

K7 waiting for your rebuttal argument.

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I can think of no better answer to the dishonesty of Repubs on Health Care Reform than to change the focus back to recent history and the lies and crimes committed by Republicans when they had power.

Will these investigations follow the breadcrumbs to wherever they lead? I”m not certain, we now know that some Dems in Congress were in the loop on some of this and did nothing. They’ve blocked investigations below, might they try to keep this narrow?

Ultimately, one can only hope that Holder is committed to getting to the bottom of things and holding criminals responsible for their actions…despite any pressure exerted by Repubs and Dems in Congress.