Monday, January 26, 2009

Bye Bye Gitmo - Investigatons Next?

Obama signed an order to close Gitmo (Ref.) and I just listened for a second time to a Fresh Air interview with Phillipe Sands on what might happen next and just how far reaching the implications of the Bush administration being involved in torture.

What was interesting about the Sands interview is that he goes into detail about what might happen, and who it might happen to.

Torture is considered an international war crime, right along with Genocide. What I didn't know is that these crimes are considered crimes against the whole world and most any country can investigate them and in fact is to some degree obligated to. If the US does not advance an inquiry into just what happened at Abu Grab and Guantanamo Bay, then another country is very likely to do so.

It's easy to think in terms of Bush and Cheney who have some sheilding by just because of having been the pres and vice pres of the US, but those who are really vunerable are those who were just underneath them, but in very high profile positions.

Names that we may be seeing again in terms of being investigated are these attorneys:
Donald Rumsfeld: former Sec of Defense
David Addington: Cheney's General Council and Chief of Staff and very central to policy making, and credited with coming up with the general climate that torture is ok.
Jim Hayes: Legal Council to Donald Rumsfeld, and now a lawyer for Chevron
John Yu - Attny who authorized aggressive interrogation methods, author of the torture memos
Alberto Gonzales: former Attny General and White House Council
Doug Fife & Paul Wolfowitz - helped dispense with adhereing to Geneva Convention

It's very interesting that Bush did not pardon anyone preemptively and Sands points out that even if Bush were to pardon all involved, then another country will step in.

Also if any of them were to travel things get really interesting because of extradition agreements. This is not theoretical. In 1998, the despot Pinocet went to London for a medical procedure. He thought he was safe there, but Spain who was investigating him and which Pinocet knew to avoid, asked for extradition, and he was immediately arrested.

It means that all these people are in some sense imprisoned here. Not much of an imprisonment, but it's a start and like that their freedom is curtailed at least some.

What's appalling is that precisely none of these people are apologetic about what they did. Ironically the one who has come the closest is Bush himself.

What's also interesting is that this screwup is entirely from the Administration lawyers and not the military lawyers who apparently were very opposed to this.

Staying tuned.

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