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02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
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02.16 We Shouldn't Stick Our Heads In The Sand, But We Do It Anyway [26:46 audio; Fear like Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]
02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.18 Dictator Trump
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw
The Republic Needs Bush's Prosecution
27 January 2009
Bob Parry's editorial comment: Washington’s pundit class and many politicians are eager to turn the page on the Bush Years, and some – like the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen – are even excusing the Bush administration’s post-9/11 use of torture. However, in this guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland argues that only the prosecution of President George W. Bush and other senior officials responsible for torture and other serious crimes can protect the American Republic:
The Obama administration is reluctant to turn over too many rocks in the Bush administration’s conduct in the “war on terror.”
Obama has pledged to reach a post-partisan nirvana, and Republicans could condemn any investigation of Bush administration abuse of the Republic as a partisan witch-hunt.
Also, the Obama administration has a conflict of interest in pursuing investigations and prosecutions against Bush administration officials because now that Obama is President, he may not want to entirely discredit Bush's precedents, which significantly expanded executive powers.
Yet in the expanse of human history, the existence of republican government has been rare and short-lived by comparison. Even in recent years, when republicanism has spread the farthest, we forget how fragile the experiment is.
The stakes are high, and the Obama administration needs to beat down the autocratic prece___dents left by the previous administration. The only way it can do so is by bringing criminal cases against the high-level perpetrators.
This action will not be bipartisan, and the Republicans will rally and claim that Bush and his advisers had good intentions and were just attempting to protect the country in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
But the rule of law and constitutional protections are needed most to protect citizens when the government is wielding power to respond to a security crisis.
Furthermore, even if you rob a bank and give the proceeds to charity (and the Bush administration's intentions weren't even that charitable), you are still guilty of robbing the bank.
Dick Cheney still maintains that the Bush administration didn't torture anyone. But the Vice President's definition of that term is narrow and, well, tortured.
Now that even Susan J. Crawford, the senior Bush administration official in charge of that administration's kangaroo military commissions, used the “t” word to describe what the administration did to one prisoner, the administration admitted to committing a war crime under international law.
Therefore, a criminal investigation must be launched because the same techniques used on that prisoner-isolation, sleep deprivation, threats by attack dogs, exposure to prolonged cold, and sexual and other humiliations-were used on many other detainees in U.S. custody.
And the investigation must involve all relevant officials, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Astonishingly, Bush recently admitted that he had approved all “extraordinary” techniques used on detainees.
The United States has committed illegal acts of torture before-for example, during the Philippine counterinsurgency at the beginning of the last century and by the CIA during the Vietnam era-but this episode is unique and dangerous because the President has admitted that his approval was given.
So not only has an administration official admitted a war crime but so has the President.
Waterboarding-simulated drowning-was not mentioned by Crawford in the case of that specific prisoner, but the administration has used it on at least three high-profile detainees, and it has been considered a war crime for centuries. The interrogation techniques that President Bush admitted approving included waterboarding.
Bush made this admission to boldly defend his record on the subject and probably felt secure in doing so because he feels immune from prosecution.
After Gerald Ford's horrible and unconstitutional precedent of pardoning Richard Nixon even before he could be indicted for his Watergate crimes (the Constitution says that you must be convicted of a crime before getting a pardon), presidents and former presidents couldn't be blamed for feeling that they were immune from prosecution.
This demonstrates the pernicious effects of a bad prior precedent.
And what about investigating and possibly prosecuting Bush for intentionally violating another statute with criminal penalties-the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The act said that all spying on people living in the United States will be done with a warrant obtained from the secret FISA court.
President Bush deliberately flouted the law and Constitution (the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights implies that warrants are needed for all searches, with no exception mentioned for cases of national security) by not seeking warrants and continuing to ignore the need to do this even after being publicly exposed.
Bush perpetrated this crime and then defended it by reference to an expansive theory of presidential power called the unitary executive theory.
Bush believes that in wartime (the legality of this designation is also suspect because, after 9/11, no declaration of war on any party was ever approved by Congress), a President can ignore laws passed by Congress.
If the President is allowed to do so without prosecution, it implicitly throws constitutional checks and balances out the window and effectively puts the country on the road to dictatorship.
Of course, violating the Constitution is more serious than violating a law with criminal penalties, but curiously, in America, presidents can get into more severe trouble for violating the law.
Thus, although seemingly radical, the only way we can prevent future presidents, including Obama, from capitalizing on Bush's illegal and unconstitutional precedents to expand executive authority towards dictatorship is to investigate, prosecute and discredit these abuses of executive power.
The Obama administration, with the complicity of Congress, will probably try to establish a truth commission that will expose, but not prosecute, such crimes. But this is not enough to discredit these vile precedents.
Investigation and prosecution are needed, and are now harder for these parties to avoid with Ms. Crawford's and Bush's public admissions.
Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland has spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His books include The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on January 27, 2009.