November 8, 2007
By Rob Kall
Can Bush block any person from testifying before congress? Will congress back down on this and give up even more of the power that balances our system of government?
::::::::The house judiciary hearings on Michael Mukasey has them seeking expert info on the effects of the use of torture on legal proceedings.
The Wall street journal reported in an article titled, on it's website, Pentagon Forbids Marine to Testify
Asked last week to appear before the panel, Col. Couch says he informed his superiors and that none had any objection.
Yesterday, however, he was advised by email that the Pentagon general counsel, William J. Haynes II, "has determined that as a sitting judge and former prosecutor, it is improper for you to testify about matters still pending in the military court system, and you are not to appear before the Committee to testify tomorrow." Mr. Haynes is a Bush appointee who has overseen the legal aspects of the Pentagon's detention and interrogation policies since Sept. 11, 2001.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) said he was "outraged that the Defense Department is refusing to allow Lt. Col. Couch to testify before this committee, in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the government, concerning what he saw and heard relating to interrogation practices at Guantanamo." The subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.), said he would consider seeking a subpoena for Col. Couch if the Pentagon doesn't allow him to testify.
The ancient tradition of torture
The ancient tradition of torture
Image source from The Project Gutenberg EBook of Manners, Custom and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period
In another front page story, the Wall street journal reported,
Col. Couch refused to bring charges against Mohamedou Ould Slahi after determining the detainee's incriminating statements had been obtained through what Col. Couch considered to be torture. Mr. Slahi, who is alleged to have helped recruit several of the Sept. 11 hijackers, is one of two high-value Guantanamo prisoners who were authorized to undergo "special" interrogation methods. In addition to allegedly suffering physical beatings and death threats, Mr. Slahi was led to believe that the U.S. had taken his mother hostage and might ship her to Guantanamo Bay, where she would be the sole female amid hundreds of male prisoners.
Col. Couch, now a military judge, said he reluctantly concluded it would be impossible to prosecute Mr. Slahi without relying on tainted evidence. The decision was particularly difficult, Col. Couch said, because a Marine buddy, Mike Horrocks, had been the co-pilot on the hijacked United 175, which struck the World Trade Center -- and because Col. Couch believed Mr. Slahi indeed had taken part in the Sept. 11 conspiracy. After Col. Couch advised superiors that the tainted evidence made it impossible to proceed against Mr. Slahi, the prosecution was shelved.
The pentagon decided that Slahi's treatment did not amount to torture.
Does George Bush have the right to block congressional testimony by anyone employed by the government? Does the military have the right to refuse to allow its personnel to testify? Most important, will members of congress give up another power?
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table