Sunday, November 21, 2010


Between September 11, 2001 and today, Americans found out their government lied to build support for an unnecessary war. The same government illegally used private telecom companies to spy on Americans in a scope and depth unprecedented in our history. We know the government employed private contractors to help kidnap suspected terrorists and fly them to a series of secret prisons set up to avoid the protections of American law. At this same time, The CIA was engaging in forms of torture for which members of the Japanese military were tried and found guilty after World War 2. To add insult to injury, they videotaped these torture sessions, and when told by a federal court not to destroy the tapes, a CIA official did so any way. Not one person has been convicted of a crime in any of the above gross violations of American law. A special prosecutor has decided not to bring criminal charges against Jose A. Rodriguez, the CIA official who admits he destroyed the tapes, nor any charges against those above him who gave him permission to obstruct justice.

It is difficult to convey in writing the anger, frustration and outrage I hold because of this chain of events. How can America claim to be a nation of laws...a nations which uses these laws to incarcerate more of its citizens than any other nation on earth...a nation where no one is supposed to be above the law.. and yet these travasties of justice go on without opposition from the citizens in whose name these people were acting?

Even after a court ordered the taped evidence preserved, Mr. Rodriguez argues in a series of emails to his superiors that "the heat" the agency would take over destroying the tapes is nothing compared to what will happen if anyone sees the tapes. Rodriguez says the tapes would make "us" look terrible and would be devastating to "us". He isn't referring to the United States. The "us" is him and his friends at the CIA and the Bush Administration. Bush got two lawyers in his own administration to say it was legal to destroy the tapes and thus Rodriguez was acting in "good faith". Torquemada and the Inquisition couldn't have structured the law any better to fit their purposes. It appears as long as someone is acting in "good faith", they can lie, obstruct justice, torture, kidnap, spy even kill with impunity.

In his new book, President Bush says, "legal officials in his administration did their best and criminalizing differences of legal opinion would set a terrible precedent for our democracy." Is he out of his freakin' mind? As long as a government lawyer says it's legal, nothing can be a criminal act? It is breathtaking to conceive of the ways such a concept could be abused. Actually, we already know because the list of actions I cited earlier was all approved by the Bush legal team. I just want to be clear. As long as a lawyer, employed by the President, signs off, the CIA, FBI, NSA,Homeland Security and, wait for it, wait for it, "private companies and contractors" cant be held responsible for the criminal acts they engage in?

In his book, Bush says Vice President Cheney threatened to quit when Bush wouldn't pardon Scooter LIbby. I can understand Cheney's outrage. Everyone else was getting off, why not his little buddy? (of course Bush commuted any jail time so once again the law didn't apply to Libby either.)

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded a number of corporations and banks engaged in fraud, lying, covering up and hiding facts from investors. No criminal charges were filed. The Justice Department proved a number of pharmaceutical companies had sold drugs illegally by selling them for uses which were not approved. No criminal charges were filed despite the harm caused. It will eventually be proven BP, Halliburton, and Transocean cut costs, sacrificed safety and cut corners leading to the explosion on an oil rig, the deaths of 13 people and the worst oil spill in history. No criminal charges will be filed.

Human beings, under orders from their government, (Bush admits he personally authorized the torture techniques used), tortured prisoners. They were just following orders. Where have I heard that before? How can the average citizen have any respect for the criminal justice system or the law when they know there is a different set of rules for some than for others? What damage does this legal sophistry due to the rule of law? How do Bush et. al. combat the national cynicism and jaded perspective which this kind of legal subversion causes? How scary is it to realize the government can do whatever it wishes to you or anyone, as long as it is acting in "good faith"? I thought we had resolved these questions at Nuremburg. I was wrong.


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  2. Bernie,
    That's it? Just cut the military budget and make all higher education "free"? That's the best you can do?? - especially for California, with its unaffordable government size, services, and - perhaps most important - public pensions? BTW, should we also provide "free" education and healthcare to the illegals (excuse me, I meant "undocumented workers")?