Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tricky-Dick Scheme to Pardon Bush for Torture Crimes

Former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman writes in the Chicago Sun Times about the Torture Chief's urgent tricky-dick scheme to grant a preemptive pardon to himself before the Democrats have a chance to take control of Congress and charge the Torture Chief with violating the War Crimes Act.

And all with the aid of the torture-enabling Republican Congress.

Snippets follow or you can read the full op-ed via the link.

Bush seeks immunity for violating War Crimes Act

Thirty-two years ago, President Gerald Ford created a political firestorm by pardoning former President Richard Nixon of all crimes he may have committed in Watergate -- and lost his election as a result. Now, President Bush, to avoid a similar public outcry, is quietly trying to pardon himself of any crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of U.S. detainees.

The ''pardon'' is buried in Bush's proposed legislation to create a new kind of military tribunal for cases involving top al-Qaida operatives. The ''pardon'' provision has nothing to do with the tribunals. Instead, it guts the War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal law that makes it a crime, in some cases punishable by death, to mistreat detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions and makes the new, weaker terms of the War Crimes Act retroactive to 9/11. . . .

The administration has apparently decided to secure immunity from prosecution through legislation. Under cover of the controversy involving the military tribunals and whether they could use hearsay or coerced evidence, the administration is trying to pardon itself, hoping that no one will notice. The urgent timetable has to do more than anything with the possibility that the next Congress may be controlled by Democrats, who will not permit such a provision to be adopted.

Creating immunity retroactively for violating the law sets a terrible precedent. The president takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution; that document requires him to obey the laws, not violate them. A president who knowingly and deliberately violates U.S. criminal laws should not be able to use stealth tactics to immunize himself from liability, and Congress should not go along.

Elizabeth Holtzman, a former New York congresswoman, is co-author with Cynthia L. Cooper of The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens.

Read the whole thing

via Josh Marshall

Related post: Freedom To Torture Is On the March