Tuesday, May 6

House issues Subpoena for Addington over Torture Program

The Judiciary Committee has voted this morning to subpoena Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff David Addington to testify and explain the development of the administrations interrogation program.

Amazingly Addington has actually agreed to testify, as has John Yoo reversing his previous refusals.

Listening to the Vice-President's Chief of staff explain how Pouring water down someone throat isn't as bad as Forcing it down their throat - never mind the ensuing suffocation either way - should be a real popcorn moment.

More from Thinkprogress which discusses ongoing efforts to bring Doug Feith, George Tenet and John Ashcroft before the committee as well.

If this had happened last year before Stonewall-Gate basically stole every once of energy from the DOJ-purge investigation, I'd be a lot more optimistic.

The best we can hope for - assuming that Fred Fielding doesn't kneecap the process with executive priveledge claims - is that these hearing may force the congress to seriously reconsider the Military Commissions Act, restore Habeaus Corpus, dismantle Gitmo, end the Kangaroo Combatant Courts and remove the immunity for torturers who acted between 2001 and 2005.

The eyes of the world are watching, particularly when we held an al Jazeera journalist for 6 years without charges or trial...

Hajj is the only major mainstream news journalist ever to be held at [Guantanemo] prison. His supporters claimed that he was being held in retaliation for US anger over the Arabic television network.

The cameraman was never prosecuted. The US never published its allegations, but said in a hearing that Hajj was classified as an enemy combatant because he worked as executive secretary for a beverage company whose director allegedly aided Muslim forces in Bosnia and Chechnya. He was also suspected of transfering money to a charity the US labeled as terrorist, and had interviewed Bin Laden.

The man worked at the company where the director was suspected of helping Muslim forces in Bosnia? In Chechnya? Talk about Guilt by Association. He gave money to a charity? He interviewed Bin Laden? So did Peter Arnett of CNN.

But Hajj isn't the worst case, the truth needs to be told. Here's what Human Rights First said about Torture two years ago in it's report on Gitmo: Command Responsibility

Since August 2002, nearly 100 detainees have died while in the hands of U.S. officials in the global "war on terror." According to the U.S. military’s own classifications, 34 of these cases are suspected or confirmed homicides; Human Rights First has identified another 11 in which the facts suggest death as a result of physical abuse or harsh conditions of detention. In close to half the deaths Human Rights First surveyed, the cause of death remains officially undetermined or unannounced. Overall, eight people in U.S. custody were tortured to death.

Despite these numbers, four years since the first known death in U.S. custody, only 12 detainee deaths have resulted in punishment of any kind for any U.S. official. Of the 34 homicide cases so far identified by the military, investigators recommended criminal charges in fewer than two thirds, and charges were actually brought (based on decisions made by command) in less than half. While the CIA has been implicated in several deaths, not one CIA agent has faced a criminal charge. Crucially, among the worst cases in this list – those of detainees tortured to death – only half have resulted in punishment; the steepest sentence for anyone involved in a torture-related death: five months in jail.

The War Crimes Act, even after it received it's Bybee inspired downgrade, still considers torturing someone to death to be a Capital Offense. High level government officials who sanction U.S. policies which led to these deaths could be charged with Conspiracy and as accesseries to Murder.

That's a conspiracy that includes Yoo, Bybee, Gonzales, Addington, Cheney - and Bush.

In a way I almost wish they would wait until the next administration, because the more that Congress shows that these people are at criminal risk, the more likely they are to get pardoned as they sneak out the back door - and we really don't need that.

One Silver Lining: Bush can't pardon himself.


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