Pardon Me!?!

Just yesterday I received an e-mail from the ACLU mentioning that George W. Bush may very well give Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, and others who are or have been in his administration something known as a Preemptive Pardon. When I read this, I said to myself, “Preemptive? WTF!?!”

What rational explanation can justify the granting of immunity by a sitting President to a person who has not yet been convicted nor even formally charged with a crime? It sounds ridiculous, yet it seems to have been acted upon once already… when Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon a presidential pardon before he had been convicted or even formally charged with the Watergate crimes.

Doesn’t this go against core American values of justice and due process? And isn’t it implicit that by allowing high-ranking officials to evade accountability for undermining the Constitution and violating the law will give a “Get Out Of Jail” pass to future public officials who commit high crimes against the people of the world, or against the interests of the American People? Maybe I’m naive, but doesn’t this define a certain powerful segment of the upper tier of our society as above the law? And how can a sitting president project his will into a succeeding president’s term, effectively nullifying the possibility of an investigation into past activities or bringing up charges against a former official?

Let me remind the reader that several officers in this administration, including the President himself, could easily be accused and tried for crimes such as subterfuge, libel, misrepresentation, torture, illegal wiretapping, and even treason under our own Federal laws. And though it would require a great act of political courage by our President Elect, Barack Obama, followed by the tying up our courts for a good whi a series of independent investigations are under way, would most certainly send a precedent to all future public officials and elected representative that they ARE accountable to their actions.

There are so many questions that need answers, such as “Was there tampering and/or fraud committed during the 2000 and 2004 elections?” Or, “Were any of the Bush Administration or American Neo-Conservatives involved with the planning, goings-on, or suppression of information that led to 9/11? And what about war crimes and crimes against humanity, as it is understood under the Geneva Convention and the International Criminal Court?

The Geneva Convention, which was ratified by the U.S., and is therefore as applicable as our own laws, is explicit in that it prohibits torture, the use of “violence,” “cruel treatment” or “humiliating and degrading treatment” against a detainee “at any time and in any place whatsoever.” The War Crimes Act of 1996 made any grave breach of those restrictions a U.S. felony.

This preemptive perversion of the Presidential Pardon would enable Bush to prevent any future criminal investigation into his administration’s activities. Though interestingly, through accepting a pardon, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and so on would be, by default, admitting their guilt.

In an editorial by The New York Times, it stated:

“The Bush administration distorted statutes and case law to legally justify interrogation techniques that had long been considered torture under domestic and international law. It relied on sloppy or aggressive legal analysis as a basis for evading judicial review of a warrantless wiretapping program. It has at every turn chosen the most expansive interpretation of the law to rationalize indefinite detentions and deny federal court review to those in custody. It has, in short, determined its preferred course of action first and then stitched together absurd readings of the law to defend those choices.”

With regard to torture, to outline the laws broken by our public officials, I offer the following information…

To show how inhumane the practice is, a U.S. volunteer is waterboarded.

To show how inhumane the practice is, a U.S. volunteer is waterboarded.

Dick Cheney, the sitting Vice President, orchestrated the use of torture, secret prisons, and detention without charge. The vice president’s office played a central role in eliminating limits on coercion in U.S. custody, and created a distinction between forbidden “torture” and the use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” methods of questioning which they advanced as permissible.

A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner, believed to be Satar Jabar, who reportedly was told that he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box.

A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner, believed to be Satar Jabar, who reportedly was told that he would be electrocuted if he fell off the box.

Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense, authorized the use of abusive interrogation methods at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and Abu Ghraib. These methods included abuse, humiliation, torture, sodomy, and homicide.

Lynndie England and Charles Graner posing with prisoners ordered to form a human pyramid.

Lynndie England and Charles Graner posing with prisoners ordered to form a human pyramid.

John Ashcroft, the former US Attorney General, reportedly participated in National Security Council meetings authorizing specific forms of abuse on specific prisoners, and approved Office of Legal Counsel torture memoranda.

England pointing to a naked prisoner being forced to masturbate in front of his captors.

England pointing to a naked prisoner being forced to masturbate in front of his captors.

George Tenet, forner Director of the CIA, oversaw the Extraordinary Rendition Program (the extrajudicial transfer of a person from one state to another, particularly with regard to the alleged transfer of suspected terrorists to countries known to torture prisoners or to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture), as well as the abusive interrogation methods, including waterboarding, by CIA officials.

Sgt. Ivan Frederick sitting on an Iraqi detainee between two stretchers.

Sgt. Ivan Frederick sitting on an Iraqi detainee between two stretchers.

John Yoo, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, authored memos that tried to provide a legal basis for the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody.

United States soldier Spc. Graner prepares to punch restrained prisoners.

United States soldier Spc. Graner prepares to punch restrained prisoners.

Alberto Gonzales, the former White House Counsel, chaired discussions about the authorization of specific forms of torture and abuse, and urged the president not to apply the Geneva Conventions to many of the detainees.

Spc. Charles Graner poses over Manadel al-Jamadis corpse.

Spc. Charles Graner poses over Manadel al-Jamadi's corpse.

Condoleeza Rice, the current Secretary of State, chaired the National Security Council meetings reportedly authorizing specific forms of abuse on specific prisoners.

One of the previously unreleased images released in February 2006 by SBS in Australia, showing a man covered in excrement forced to pose for the camera.

One of the previously unreleased images released in February 2006 by SBS in Australia, showing a man covered in excrement forced to pose for the camera.

In my opinion, this should be fought against, tooth and nail, by the American People. Then, there should be clear and rigorous conditions placed on the whens, hows, and limitations of a Presidential Pardon.

The pardon should be made available to correct judicial error, not used for the sake of political expediency or to absolve an administration’s criminal activities.

And now the big question… if these and the many other accusations against the Bush Administration (especially those of fraudulent election activity and/or involvement with 911) are found to be true in a court of law, would it not be prudent to retroactively nullify the many laws and appointments that this administration has made?

What do you think?

•••

Sources include the ACLU’s letter and citations from Wikipedia

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One response to “Pardon Me!?!

  1. In my travels for the last seven years i have heard from people from lots of other countries about how they don’t like Americans. The brutality of it’s own citizens though has largely been left out because it isn’t really understood. The misinformation foisted out and the complexities of simply making it month to month in this country makes it more difficult to see the forest through the trees and leaves criminals at the top of the elite mass free to do their crimes.

    I sent this following letter out recently to a big group of travelers i became acquainted with during that time:

    Hello All,

    i don’t usually hit reply to all with Dave’s (or Bucket Fairy’s) emails but i feel like i must say something to you folks out there. I assume that there are many travelers among you as i met Dave on an island in Thailand, and besides, who else would listen to his blather anyway? [Back to the point] I feel like saying something. I feel like saying it to my traveling compatriots. I met thousands of people during my five year jaunt, well, actually i still feel like i am traveling even here in the ‘states’. I don’t feel home here really. It is too strange to describe really. OK now really, back to the point.

    I feel like saying that my wife and i are in the midst of filing one gigantic amount of paperwork to get her legal status here in the U.S. It is for normalcy, for the basic human need to work, for dignity, and to earn to feed ourselves. I am “American” (I’m told anyway) and she is Polish. We are in the midst of what i would call legendary bureaucratic hell. I can prove i have made in my life plenty of cash to be a decent ‘sponsor’ to my wife. Actually much more than decent. Heck, i made big bucks in Hollywood and had property that i sold to be able to travel for five years without earning a cent. I am an artist and by all accounts one of the most successful ones of my set. But i’m not a company man and so i don’t look ‘official’ enough it seems. My travels make me look unsavory to the officials here. They don’t like to see travel in your life really.

    Why do i say this to you all? Well, as one of them ‘americans’ i ran into a lot of other travelers that, by dint of my nationality, liked to put me in a box quite often. I had friends that would introduce me to their friends like so: “This is Blue. He’s American. But he’s OK.”

    I don’t believe in five years of travel i heard one person say “You know what? I really love those Americans!” I think i may know why a lot of folks don’t like americans (lower case intended). I could describe the problem as i see it but that would be boring. It would have to do with corporate culture controlling the lot and monopolies controlling too much and lack of connection to the rest of the world and the abuse of the populace that you cannot understand unless you live/lived here and the reputation of it’s power elite (GWB etc.) and they don’t play soccer enough (i know, football) and and lots of other things blah, blah.. Why do you think i left for so long? Anyway, back to the point again! So, as i was reading the mail here from Dave, and being in this hell here, i found similarities to our situations. What kind? How is Dave not getting his passport in time because of normal international routing weirdness and honest ignorance of process similar to us here? I guess the similarity i feel is best described by a character in a movie we saw tonight. The title of the movie is The Visitor. (Recommend) There is this woman character and her son in this film is dealing with the brown shirts of this country, immigration officers, and she says, and it was subtle and beautifully put and well done (again recommend). She says: “It’s just like Syria.”

    Both my wife and i looked at each other and said: “Yes. It isn’t what people think.”

    So, the similarity to Dave’s situation and ours is: we both feel like we are living in a mess.

    To those that don’t know what has truly happened over here the last eight years you should know now. This place was taken over by seriously unhealthy minds and raped and pillaged and manipulated in a scale that is not possible to describe. The people are left abused, scared and brutalized with thugs still mostly in charge. I left because i saw it coming and i came back, partly, to see how things turned out. Well, it happened. It has been epic thievery.

    How can this happen in the ‘free-est place in the world’? How can this happen in “FREEDONIA©”? Well, because it ain’t free, that’s just the mumbo jumbo that passes for news on the telly here. You can be free here if you have money coming out of your bum but for the rest it is a slaughterhouse.

    Why do i say these things to you all? Because dammit, when are you gonna get together and quit acting like people don’t need help here? When are you gonna make an international tribunal of culture and come over here and declare war crimes on George W. Bush and his buddies? When are you all gonna stop believing that these guys are your masters too?

    So, contact all the non americans of culture and power that you know and anyone else that has some class and sophistication and insight and comes from something better. Then tell them to come over here and kick some ass!!!??? I mean it. Send in the bombs!!! Where are your secret service men to make sure they don’t kill Obama?! You guys went on and on too much for me to let it go. If you can make it better, now’z the time. (z intended) While the small window of opportunity is here and the most evil of the bastards are finally feeling a little defeat, get your ass over here and help!!

    Send in your best! The people here are starving for GREAT CITY DESIGN!!! …PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!??… A health system based on something other than money anyone??? Accountability for lobbyists? How about a nice mural? Maybe a film festival?… Or… i guess,.. we’re alone again, to fight them back until they poison us to death with our own food to cram more HUMVEES in our holes.

    How about this? QUIT LICKING THEIR BOOTS? Quit signing over your children to fight their wars? Quit hiding behind their skirts for profits for your companies? ANYTHING! America needs your help!

    Me and my friends did OK getting Obama in. The most hope i’ve had since i started fighting Ronald Reagan and George’s daddy, King George, back in the day. Obama is the best we can do in a system that only allows Republican or Republican LIGHT. (again full of hope for the first time in a while) It’s not a democracy here, that’s a lie, it is a monopoly of grand design and controlled by television and you wouldn’t be any better if you lived here. You simply don’t understand the brutality of it all, really, is my guess.

    Send help while we got ’em down!!!

    LOVE IN BIG BUSHELS,
    BLUE7
    http://www.blue7.cc

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