but only the worst,-rogue agents who went beyond "legal" torture. It's starting to smell like it
will be an Abu Ghraib re-run, with only the bottom of the pecking order
Limited investigations of the worst torture abuse could be opened by AG Holder, but probably not investigations into John Yoo and torture policy and decision makers.
Politico reported: Holder told Newsweek, which broke the story on Saturday, "I hope that whatever decision I make would not have a negative impact on the president's agenda, But that can't be a part of my decision."
The Washington Post also reported, on Saturday,- that Holder was considering opening investigations
Although President Obama had said he wanted to move forward, continued revelations have put added pressure on AG Holder. Later on Saturday, an unidentified Justice Department staffer added some information, as the NY Times reports,
"The Department of Justice will follow the facts and the law with respect to any matter," the department said in a statement released Saturday. "We have made no decisions on investigations or prosecutions, including whether to appoint a prosecutor to conduct further inquiry. As the attorney general has made clear, it would be unfair to prosecute any official who acted in good faith based on legal guidance from the Justice Department."The Washington Post reported that any investigation will be limited.
The department is expected to complete an ethics report about Bush administration officials who drafted memos, since discredited, granting leeway for harsh interrogation standards. Mr. Holder's decision on a possible criminal inquiry could come around the same time.
criminal inquiry could face challenges, including potent legal defenses
by CIA employees who could argue that attorneys in the Bush Justice
Department authorized a wide range of harsh conduct. But the sources
said an inquiry would apply only to activities by interrogators,
working in bad faith, that fell outside the "four corners" of the legal
memos. Some incidents that might go beyond interrogation techniques
that were permitted involve detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are
described in the secret 2004 CIA inspector general report, set for
release Aug. 31.
Among the unauthorized techniques allegedly used, as described
in the report and Red Cross accounts, were shackling, punching and
beating of suspects, as well as the waterboarding of at least two
detainees using more liquid and for longer periods than the Justice
Department had approved. That conduct could violate ordinary criminal
laws, as well as the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the United
States signed more than a decade ago.
One has to wonder-- if the investigations only go after rogue actors, they will follow in the path of the investigations as they were done at Abu Ghraib-- ignoring higher up decision makers, only punishing those at the bottom, like Lynddie England .- Torture was permitted and decided as a policy by leaders, in a top-down manner. Failure by Obama and the Justice Department to pursue the facts at all levels will be a failure of justice. It will send a message to the rest of the world that the US condones torture.
It will send a message to radical Muslims that they are justified in capturing and torturing, even beheading western prisoners. It will send a message that the America the rest of the world loved and appreciated died during the Bush years.
It will send a message that the American people and culture, beloved by much of the world, has allowed the US to become an ugly place where despots can order torture, even murder (some of the tortured died) secret interrogation operations and more.
It will send a message that a lobbyist corrupted congress does not have the spine or inclination to stand up to presidents reaching for ever more executive power.