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Archive for April 21st, 2009

President Obama spoke at C.I.A. headquarters as C.I.A. director Leon Panetta looked on.

The New York Times- By PETER BAKER and SCOTT SHANE
Published: April 20, 2009

Pressure Grows to Investigate Interrogations

WASHINGTON — Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice.

Mr. Obama said it was time to admit “mistakes” and “move forward.” But there were signs that he might not be able to avoid a protracted inquiry into the use of interrogation techniques that the president’s top aides and many critics say crossed the line into torture.

And while Mr. Obama vowed not to prosecute C.I.A. officers for acting on legal advice, on Monday aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques.

The president’s decision last week to release secret memorandums detailing the harsh tactics employed by the C.I.A. under his predecessor provoked a furor that continued to grow on Monday as critics on various fronts assailed his position. Among other things, the memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

MORE HERE

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MoveOn Enters Torture Fray, Calls For Special Prosecutor

Huffington Post- Ryan Grim

04/21/09 09:05 AM

MoveOn.org will enter the debate over torture investigations on Tuesday, asking its members to call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the architects of the Bush administration’s program of detainee torture.

The foray represents a new direction for MoveOn, which has previously been focused on pushing the progressive agenda – the stimulus, Obama’s budget, healthcare, cap and trade – through Congress. Groups to MoveOn’s left have long been critical of the organization for not making investigations and prosecutions of Bush-era criminal activity a top priority.

The call for a special prosecutor adds MoveOn’s rather loud voice to the growing chorus demanding that crimes be investigated. It’s also an indication that the call for accountability for those who committed crimes during the Bush administration is becoming a mainstream Democratic position, and one the White House will find harder to move past.

The group will only deliver the petition to Holder, however, if it gathers 200,000 signatures, making the call a test of the appetite of the progressive base for investigations.

On Monday, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), a senior Democrat on the judiciary committee, called for the impeachment of Jay Bybee, one of the authors of the torture memos and now a federal judge.

MoveOn makes the case that without consequences for breaking the law, rogue behavior is only encouraged. “So far there’s been no accountability for the architects of Bush’s torture program — the top officials who justified keeping detainees awake for 11 days straight, waterboarding them repeatedly, and forcing prisoners into coffin-like boxes with insects,” reads the letter from MoveOn to its members. “We need real consequences for those responsible — it’s the only way to keep this from happening again.”

FULL LETTER HERE

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