Friday, 15 February 2008

Torturer-in-Chief to veto bill on waterboarding


Legal expert says Democrats don't have the guts to do their constitutional duty

President George Bush is certainly earning his nickname of ‘Torturer-in- Chief’ with announced plans to veto a bill that would expressly forbid the intelligence agencies from engaging in extreme forms of interrogation, including waterboarding.

Bush claims it would prevent the lawful interrogation of terror suspects. Bush hasn’t ruled out the possibility that waterboarding will be used again in the future.

Shortly after I published the opinion piece, Guantanamo is not Nuremburg, I had the opportunity to speak with Ed Spannaus and asked him if George Bush wants to be impeached, or is he just so confident that the Democrats haven’t got the stomach for an impeachment battle in an election year.

“I think you put your finger on it,” Spannaus said, “It’s the latter. He is quite confident at this point, both Bush and Vice President Cheney that the House will not go through with impeachment, even though there is enormous pressure for impeachment. Even more so of Cheney.”

Spannaus said House Speaker Pelosi has repeatedly said that impeachment is not on the table, and John Conyers, the Congressman who heads the House Judiciary Committee, has the jurisdiction to launch the process, but he is going along with Pelosi.

“Bush and Cheney, at this point, have nothing to fear from the House of Representatives because they’ve shown right now that they don’t have the stomach, they don’t have the guts to do their Constitutional duty,” Spannaus said.

Since waterboarding is universally accepted as torture, and torture in the United States is illegal, what law was Bush referring to when the claimed the bill would prevent the lawful interrogation of terror suspects?

“Bush has been told by Vice President Cheney and Cheney’s lawyers that he can make up his own law. That he doesn’t have to pay attention to the laws passed by Congress. He doesn’t have to pay attention to the laws as interpreted by the Supreme Court. That he is the law.,” Spannaus explained.

“Now this doctrine has a long history. It is what Hitler said, and Hitler’s lawyer said it is the leader that makes the law. And when Bush says he can issue a signing statement or ignore a law passed by Congress, he is following in the footsteps of the Nazi lawyers who said that Der Fuhrer is the law.”

Regarding the Guantanamo-Nuremburg comparison made by the White House, Spannaus immediately condemned it as blatant hypocrisy.

“At Nuremburg, the Nazi war criminals were not held in secret prisons for five years, they were not tortured, the process was an open process, and the world could see what was going on.”

Spannaus said he has no problem with putting the suspects on trial, but the problem is the Bush administration does not come into this with clean hands.

“In fact, they themselves should be on trial as war criminals,” he said.

What has happened over the past five to six years, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, secret prisons and so on, means the American people and people around the world have no confidence in the process that will take place in Guantanamo.

“The process will have no credibility,” Spannaus said, “because of the administration’s record.”

Above article based – in part – on interview conducted by author and first broadcast on PressTV News on Thursday 14th February, 2008.

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