Friday, July 28, 2006

Oops. Bush Asking for Post-Facto Law Change to Avoid Criminal Charges

In 1994, Walter B. Jones, Jr., the son of a multi-term Democratic Congressman from North Carolina, switched to the Republican Party after losing the 1992 democratic nomination to fill his father's seat. He was swept into office in the great Republican take over during the midterms in Bill Clinton's first term.

Soon after, he had a conversation with one of our pilots who was resident in the Hanoi Hilton. Upset to learn that there were no available avenues to seek criminal justice against the perpetrators of torture, he drafted and proposed the War Crimes Act. It was passed by a voice vote in the House and unanimously in the Senate. President Clinton signed the bill, which was fully supported by the Defense Department.


After the recent Supreme Court decision rejecting the Administration's trashing of the Geneva Conventions in Guantanemo, not to mention the kinds of things coming out of Iraq, the Bush Regime has apparently set about to re-write the War Crimes Act as it seems that it applies to them, too.

The War Crimes Act makes it a federal crime to, among other things, treat prisoners in violation of the Geneva Conventions. It imposes a 10-year prison sentence and the death penalty if a prisoner dies from the abuse.


Enter Alberto. As the Washington Post reports today,

Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. . . . Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need for such "protections," according to someone who heard his remarks last week. Gonzales told the lawmakers that a shield is needed for actions taken by U.S. personnel under a 2002 presidential order, which the Supreme Court declared illegal . . . .
Too bad that Gonzales wasn't asked about the potential problems under the War Crimes Act back in 2002 so that he could set the President straight . . . oh, wait a minute, the Washington Post also says,
Since September 2001, however, Bush administration officials have considered the law a potential threat to U.S. personnel involved in interrogations. While serving as White House legal counsel in 2002, Gonzales helped prepare a Jan. 25 draft memo to Bush . . . in which he cited the threat of prosecution under the act as a reason to declare that detainees captured in Afghanistan were not eligible for Geneva Conventions protections. . . . and said that only a presidential order exempting detainees from Geneva protections "would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution." That month, Bush approved an order exempting those captured in Afghanistan from these protections.


eRobin said...

Being prosecuted for war crimes is NO FUN. Watch Robert Newman's History of Oil for another take on it. Google:
"History of oil newman"

A Big Fat Slob said...

I checked that out, thanks for hte tip.