Turley: ‘Disturbing’ for Obama to call torture a ‘technique’

Raw Story

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that President Obama’s suggestion that waterboarding yielded valuable information was “disturbing.” The President told reporters that he thought “waterboarding was torture” during a Wednesday news conference but also implied that reliable intelligence was gained from the interrogation technique.

“It is obviously disturbing to hear torture referred to by the president as a technique. It is like saying bank robbery is a technique for withdrawing money from the bank. It is not a technique. It is a crime,” said Turley. “The idea or the notion that torture works is expressly rejected in treaties we have signed, in cases we have prosecuted. It does not matter what is yielded in torture.”

I found myself yelling at my TV during the speech by President Obama. This issue enrages me. As long as our leaders and the press continue to use ambiguous, warm and fuzzy terms, such as “enhanced interrogations”, and “techniques”, or worse yet, calling what they did a “mistake”, instead of calling it what it is—“torture” and a CRIME—nothing is going to happen to hold these people who set this entire thing in motion accountable for their crimes. They have done SO much damage to this country.

None of this is secret any more (though there could still be a lot we don’t even know yet..). The world is watching. The US will have NO credibility going forward in the future, and we will not not be able to continue to lead holding the high moral ground if the laws are not enforced and our system allowed to work. We will NOT be able to condemn, or hold other countries to account for doing the same thing. This country has been made LESS safe, and our soldiers are now at even greater risk. 

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Turley: Torture prosecution is not ‘retribution’

George Washington University law school professor Jonathan Turley was a guest last evening on The Rachel Maddow Show, and discussed the White House release of the Bush-era secret torture memos, and President Obama’s ruling out the prosecution of CIA officials for the use of those tactics.

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Turley: Obama gets low grade on prosecuting Cheney

Raw Story:

On 60 Minutes, the president fired back at comments made by former Vice President Cheney about his foreign policies. He even repudiated Bush/Cheney torture policies and Guantanamo Bay.

Did Obama do enough? Rachel Maddow is joined by George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley.

Turley just can’t say it any clearer than this. There is NO need for a “Truth Commission”. Congress has ALL the evidence necessary to call for a criminal investigation into war crimes for the Bush/Cheney torture programs. There is no question, no debate or ambiguity here.

Turley: “This would be the shortest investigation in history”.

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Turley: Bush terror memos are ‘definition of tyranny’

Raw Story:

Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley presents a legal perspective on memos released about the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies and whether some members will be prosecuted for them.

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Turley pleads for prosecution of Bush crimes

Last night on Countdown (MSNBC), Keith Olbermann interviewed Constitutional Law professor Jonathan Turley.

Raw Story

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has suggested a bipartisan panel to seek the truth about accusations of criminal wrongdoing by the Bush administration. Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley discusses why Leahy wants this panel to have the power to grant immunity and serve subpoenas.

If you have not seen this interview, you must watch it. Nobody could say this any more clearly than Professor Turley:

“Truth commissions generally have been used by emerging democracies, often third world countries that have nascent legal systems, countries that are trying to create new governments. They’re not associated with the government that’s supposedly the leader of the rule of law. We don’t have any question about the obligation to follow these treaties.

There’s no question that torture occurred here. There’s no question it was a war crime. And so, the only reason to have a commission of this kind is to avoid doing what we’re obligated to do under a treaty. And the fact is, that these members of Congress view this as a very inconvenient time to fight on principle. But they would do us all a favor if they’d save the money on another useless commission.

Let’s just take the old 9/11 Commission Report, rip off the cover, put a new cover on it, and call it a day. Because it is shameful that we would be calling for this type of Commission.

Everyone knows what we’re doing. We’re in violation of our obligations now!

We were supposed to investigate. It’s not up to President Obama. It’s not up to Senator Leahy. We’re obligated to investigate.

This whole discussion in front of the world is basically saying that we’re not going to comply with the promise we made, not to ourselves, but the world.”

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Countdown: Tortured Logic

Raw Story

Turley compares Bush war crimes to Pinochet

Prof. Jonathan Turley talks about what will happen to President Bush if the Obama administration decides to prosecute what they deem as war crimes.

“If waterboarding is torture — and Barack Obama has said that it is torture,” Turley emphasized, “and torture is a war crime, then the president has committed a war crime if he did order waterboarding. You have to do some heavy lifting to avoid the simplicity of that logic.”

This segment made me stop what I was doing and caught my full attention. I wish with all my heart that those taking over the administration and the Justice Department pay attention to this. Nobody says it as simply and straightforward as Professor Turley.

It is what it is. No amount of spin changes that..

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Turley: Cheney actions ‘unambiguously a war crime’

Raw Story

Professor Jonathan Turley talk with Keith Olbermann about Vice President Dick Cheney’s defense of waterboarding and other forms of coercion used on detainees.

I actually watched this two times last night. Turley makes it perfectly clear: Cheney committed War Crimes. Plain and simple. Unambiguous. So, will anyone do anything about it? Was this admission of Cheney’s – on National TV – thumbing his nose at the entire world before he leaves office, knowing full well nobody will do a damned thing about it?

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Turley: Democratic leaders want pardons for torturers

Raw Story:

President Bush pardoned 14 people, including a rapper who was charged with drug smuggling. The White House is unlikely to grant pardons to officials who are involved in terrorism policies. Is this right? Rachel Maddow is joined by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

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Who else will Bush pardon? I know a couple of people that he SHOULD pardon.. Don Siegelman? Border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean?
It blows my mind that Bush finds it unnecessary to pardon his ‘fellow torturers’ because they are covered by his “torture memos”.. I hope they are all proved very, VERY wrong.

Turley: Blanket pardons would be ‘final nail in Bush’s coffin’

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Blanket pardons issued on the way out the door by President Bush, covering up all the crimes committed by this rogue administration and their cronies and underlings, would be the final ‘finger’ to the nation.. It must not be allowed to happen — or allowed to stand once it does happen.

And I am praying that there will be an ARMY of ‘whistleblowers’ prepared to come out of the woodwork come January 21, 2009, ready to tell their tales to any and all that will listen!

Raw Story

President Bush has consistently claimed executive privilege in response to attempts to investigate potentially illegal actions by his administration, and it now seems that he could continue to make that claim even after leaving office. There is also speculation that Bush could issue blanket pardons for anyone who might have engaged in torture or other criminal activities under his orders.

On Wednesday, an article in the New York Times noted that President Truman had invoked executive privilege in 1953, when he was no longer president, to avoid having to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Congress did not challenge that unprecedented claim, and legal cases involving Watergate and Iran-Contra have given it some tentative support.

“Can they really do that?” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow asked constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley on Thursday.

“This is very controversial,” Turley replied. “Truman’s own people later questioned whether they actually did have the right that they invoked, and it’s really never been tested, it’s never gone to the Supreme Court. I personally have considerable doubts about it.

“Turley explained that although federal law gives former presidents control over the release of presidential papers, what is being discussed here goes far beyond that. He indicated his belief that “this idea that President Bush can continue to invoke executive privilege even against the position of a sitting president, I think is pretty shaky.”

Read the rest of this article..

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Jonathan Turley: Evidence suggests Bush committed crimes

Raw Story

Law professor rebukes Democrats for letting Bush off hook

Nancy Pelosi needs to hold meaningful impeachment hearings that will focus on evidence that President Bush has committed crimes in office, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said Wednesday.

Turley was speaking with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann about the House Speaker’s indication that she would let the Judiciary Committee hold an hearing to consider an impeachment article introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

The problem, Turley says, is that Pelosi has already rendered a “not guilty” verdict on the impeachment question, and the hearing organizers are making sure they won’t be exposing any additional criminal activity. This makes the whole exercise more like a “fancy dress ball,” than a criminal prosecution, he said.

Read rest of article…

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Jonathan Turley: Crime of torture could only have been ordered by the president

 Jonathan Turley was a guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night.

Raw Story has the story and video:

Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley told Keith Olbermann that as many as six criminal offenses could be involved in the 9/11 Commission charge alone, including obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, perjury, and conspiracy.

However, Turley emphasized that the real crime under investigation is not merely obstruction, but the actual torture documented by the tapes. “It is still, even after the last seven year, a crime to torture suspects,” Turley commented.

Turley suggested that under those circumstances, the failure to appoint a special prosecutor was a serious problem, because “the investigation will essentially be the Justice Department investigating itself. … Picking some guy in Connecticut or Cincinnati or Delaware or any other state doesn’t make any difference. His boss is Michael Mukasey. And Michael Mukasey’s boss is the president of the United States. If torture occurred, he was the guy who ordered it.”

Turley suggested that there is a reluctance throughout official Washington, not “just Republicans,” to pry into an underlying crime which is potentially far more serious than the burglary which was the start of Watergate. When Olberman asked if the investigation “could still lead to criminal culpability for the president,” Turley replied, “Most certainly it can. That original crime could only have been ordered by the president and it leads directly to his office.”

This was a POWERFUL interview!

(For some reason the video is temporarily disabled here. Go here to watch the video).

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Turley: “It Is Rather Clear That What The President Ordered Was A Federal Crime”

via: Raw Story and Crooks and Liars

The Bush administration has made widespread use of the so-called state secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits that seek to challenge its domestic wiretaps and other illegal activities. Now two veteran senators, Arlen Spector (R-PA) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), are teaming up to craft legislation that would direct judges to evaluate the government’s state secrets claims rather than accepting them uncritically.

Keith Olbermann described this proposed legislation with a high degree of skepticism, saying sardonically, “The bill may end up as part of the Senate’s wiretapping law, due for a vote next month — after which the president will sign it and monkeys will fly out of his butt.”

I watched this last night. I could believe it when Keith said that.. Priceless..

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