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As the Obama administration continues to do everything it can to cover-up for Bush/Cheney-era crimes against the American people, we now learn that Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General, has appointed Republican, John Durham, as a "special prosecutor" to investigate "alleged detainee mistreatment"....
Holder has named longtime prosecutor John H. Durham, who has parachuted into crisis situations for both political parties over three decades, to open an early review of nearly a dozen cases of alleged detainee mistreatment at the hands of CIA interrogators and contractors.
Durham has already been "investigating" the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes.....
The tapes allegedly depicted brutal scenes of waterboarding involving high-value al-Qaeda suspects. That investigation is in its 19th month, though lawyers following the case have cast doubt on whether criminal charges will be filed.
The videotapes investigation, reluctantly begun under the Bush administration, is the key to understanding Holder's goals in appointing Durham to investigate detainee abuse. No indictment recommendations will ever be made in the already 19-month-old videotapes investigation, but that long investigation gives the perception that federal leaders are serious about the rule of law. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The White House reiterated in a statement that Obama doesn't believe in prosecuting CIA personnel who used "enhanced" techniques "in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance" that was provided by Bush administration officials.
All a thinking person has to ask themselves is this: Does the executive branch have the power, the legal right under the Constitution, to order actions to be carried out which specifically violate American law and international treaties and conventions? And does the executive branch have the legal right under the Constitution to order new laws to be written by obedient lawyers, ala John Yoo, the architect of the "legalization" of American propagated torture?
Bush and Cheney have already given their answers.....now "looking forward, not backward" Obama is giving his. Neither have anything to do with fidelity to law or the Constitution.....but both answers have to do with perception of fidelity to law and the Constitution. Because as Karl Rove and the Townhall Buster Uppers have already proven.....perception is all that matters.
Holder, (if you can even fathom this), isn't setting up an "investigation" to determine if people ordered the open violation of existing law or treaties. He's setting up an "investigation" to determine if people exceeded the "new laws" written by John Yoo and Jay Bybee.
It would be similar to only investigating whether a getaway man in a bank robbery had exceeded the orders he was given by the architect of the bank robbery.
But that's where we're at in America today. And so, just as with Abu Ghraib, perhaps a low level, no-name, CIA employee or private contractor will be reprimanded after John Durham concludes his report in 4 or 5 years....perhaps not.
All that really matters is that Obama, like Bush before him, creates a perception of taking egregious violations of law seriously. He really doesn't.
Others working for Obama don't take violations of the law seriously, either. Consider Obama's CIA chief, Leon Panetta.....
In a message to CIA employees, agency director Leon Panetta declined to enter the debate over whether waterboarding and other "enhanced" questioning techniques were legal or crossed the line into torture. But he vowed to defend employees who were acting under the legal guidance they were given at the time and noted that any review must consider the pressures that agency personnel were facing.
"This much is clear," Panetta said: "The CIA obtained intelligence from high-value detainees when inside information on al-Qaeda was in short supply."
Panetta's defense of CIA personnel used to be called the Nazi defense. But no more. Now the Nazi defense......we were only obeying orders, and hey, we were under a lot of pressure....is the American defense. It is the defense of the lawless.
The only thing in "short supply" from 2001 onward was loyalty to American law and the Constitution. Perception of terror, fearmongering, was all that mattered during Bush/Cheney....and they were successful in selling their lawless coup through that perception of terror.
Now, Obama is creating the perceptions. The perception of getting to the bottom of numerous Bush White House-ordered crimes by appointing an investigator who will start his investigation with the understanding that the Bush White House had the perfect right to order crimes to be committed.