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ACLU seeks Sanchez perjury investigation.
March 31, 2005 3:33 PM   Subscribe

ACLU seeks Sanchez perjury investigation. As a followup to yesterday's post, the ACLU has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Gonzales, requesting an investigation of Gen. Ricardo Sanchez for perjury before Congress. Sanchez is accused of lying about approving guidelines for the use of abusive interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib prison. Now, many of you might think that Gonzales might refuse this request and be done with it. However, the ACLU has the right to request a writ of mandamus, which would compel Gonzales to initiate an investigation. If Sanchez is investigated, will he be pressured to reveal the identity of those in the Pentagon / Bush administration (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, Cambone?!) who knew about and possibly ordered these policies?
posted by insomnia_lj (28 comments total)

 
This is the best news I've heard all day.
posted by bshort at 3:37 PM on March 31, 2005


If it weren't for the writ mentioned, I would read this and go back to sobbing about my once fantastic neighbour to the south.

I wonder if this is the start of something meaningful.
posted by futureproof at 3:44 PM on March 31, 2005


*increases monthly ACLU contribution; crosses fingers*
posted by scody at 3:55 PM on March 31, 2005


Go Sanchez, go Sanchez, go - go - go Sanchez!

A-C-L-YOUUUUUUU

ok that added nothing to the discussion, but felt gooood.
posted by anthill at 3:56 PM on March 31, 2005


The role of the Gestapo was to investigate and combat "all tendencies dangerous to the State." [...] The law had been changed in such a way that the Gestapo's actions were not restricted by judicial review. The Nazi jurist, Dr. Werner Best, stated, "As long as the [Gestapo]... carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally." [...] The power of the Gestapo most open to misuse was Schutzhaft, or "protective custody" — a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings [....]
posted by orthogonality at 4:04 PM on March 31, 2005


Mandamus is a pipe dream. I wouldn't count on this.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:06 PM on March 31, 2005


I'm sure that a conscientious guy like Gonzales will take a good objective look at the request before wiping his ass with it.
posted by fenriq at 4:11 PM on March 31, 2005


If a federal court orders it? And risk a possible contempt of court charge?
posted by raysmj at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2005


orthogonality: that's hitting a little close to home. Scary.
posted by snsranch at 4:33 PM on March 31, 2005


Requesting a writ is not the same as getting a writ. I wouldn't get too excited yet. What I find troubling is the total lack of coverage from traditional media, aside from Moon's Washington Times. Weird. Is there something not apparent on the surface about this story?
posted by caddis at 4:46 PM on March 31, 2005


Ortho, I'm really liking your comments today. Is this the kind of thing you normally contribute, or are you just having a particularly good day?
posted by davejay at 4:49 PM on March 31, 2005


There's a typo ("Gozales") in the bloody ACLU headline. Bummer ...

I have no idea how this perjury charge pertains to civil liberties in America, but I'm glad somebody is still pushing for further investigation of any torture policies.

Also interesting (not sure if it's been posted on the front door), is an April Reason article about the Pentagon's "Secret Stash" of Abu Ghraib photos that have never been shown outside of Congress.

The Freedom of Information Act's exemptions 6 and 7 (as these justifications are known, respectively) have been used repeatedly to rebuff the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which since October 2003 has unearthed more than 600 torture-related government documents but zero images.

...

"The vast majority of those photographs and videotapes don't relate to ongoing criminal investigations; on the contrary they depict things that the government approved of at the time and maybe approves of now."

Wanna build some serious public support for charging Rumsfeld and associates with war crimes? Get those pictures. Good luck.

on preview: i don't get how the gestapo reference connects with torture, but maybe i'm daft
posted by mrgrimm at 5:02 PM on March 31, 2005


I don't understand the reference, Orthogonality. But then gain, I haven't quite had time to RTFA about Cambone.
posted by Freen at 5:12 PM on March 31, 2005


I have no idea how this perjury charge pertains to civil liberties in America, but I'm glad somebody is still pushing for further investigation of any torture policies.

You've got to be joking. This is sarcasm, right? I can't even reword that to make fun of it, because I'd end up saying:

"I have no idea how someone lying about authorizing torture pertains to civil liberties in America." ...which is essentially EXACTLY what you said.

Do you really, really not see how someone lying about authorizing the torture of people we've detained (often without charge or access to lawyers) pertains to your civil liberties DIRECTLY?
posted by odinsdream at 6:17 PM on March 31, 2005


If somebody from the ACLU is touting mandamus as a way to compel the AG to exercise prosecutorial discretion in favor of indicting a general for perjury because of testimony before Congress, then that somebody from the ACLU is either an idiot who is utterly untrained in the law or a charlatan who is capitalizing on the ignorance of lay persons in order to increase direct mail contributions. Does not tend to cast credit on the ACLU in either case.
posted by esquire at 6:26 PM on March 31, 2005


Freen writes " I don't understand the reference, Orthogonality. But then gain, I haven't quite had time to RTFA about Cambone."
mrgrimm writes "on preview: i don't get how the gestapo reference connects with torture, but maybe i'm daft"

Remember that it's not just about torture. It's also about Gonzales's contention that the President can authorize law-breaking and immunize law-breakers, or just set aside laws and Acts of Congress that the President prefers to ignore.

Thus Herr Doktor Werner Best's 'As long as the [Gestapo]... carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally', the Nazi contention that the measure of legality is that it expressed the Leader's will.

Compare this also to the Leaders in Congress, Mr. DeLay and Mr. Frist, authoring, and the President signing, the Terry Schiavo Bill to override "activist judges" and the laws of the State of Florida.

Or the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, ordering agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to seize Terry Schiavo, even after Jeb Bush knew that a judge had ruled against that. The seizure attempt was only abandoned when the sate police, en route to Shiavo's hospice, were informed that the local police would enforce the judge's order. Again, the principle is that the Leader's will -- in this case, Jeb Bush's -- should override the codified law and judge's rulings -- that "legality" is whatever the leadership wants.


"The law had been changed in such a way that the Gestapo's actions were not restricted by judicial review."

Compare this to repeated attempts by Congress to restrict judicial review, the Bush Administration's argument that U.S. actions at Guantanamo are not subject to judicial review on the grounds that Guantanamo is technically Cuban territory, or the practice of "extraordinary rendition" in which suspects the U.S. wants to interrogate are deported to countries where they can be legally tortured.

Again these, and the Schiavo Bill, are all ways that the Republicans currently in power seek to undermine judicial review.


"The power of the Gestapo most open to misuse was Schutzhaft, or 'protective custody' — a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings [....]"

Compare again, the Bush Administration's contention that U.S. courts did not have standing to review the imprisonment of, or lawyers to have access to, persons euphemistically called "enemy combatants", including the Guatannomo "detainees", but also U.S. citizens like Jose Padilla.


Now, some wag will immediately attempt to derail this by shouting "Godwin! I call Godwin!" as if Mike Godwin meant to prevent any comparisons to the Third Reich. But if we can get beyond such knee-jerk shouting, what are we to make of these comparisons?

Part of what has set America apart for 229 years is that we have always seen our Republic as a nation of laws, not men. But when we have a President and a Congress with so little regard for law that they regularly abuse the judiciary and assert their power to set aside laws of long standing, based on their personal ideological or religious whims, don't we have cause for concern -- especially when we see what hat led to in other countries which subordinated weak laws to the whims of strong Leaders?
posted by orthogonality at 6:45 PM on March 31, 2005


Damn, ORTHO, you are right on it! And, regardless of Godwin, if the shoe fits..........

And by the way, regarding your comment about the Gestapo, did anyone commenting read the post about Hitler earlier? Too many similarities for me. No Godwin thing here.
posted by snsranch at 7:04 PM on March 31, 2005


worst. president. ever.
posted by quonsar at 7:56 PM on March 31, 2005


I don't know what everyone's complaining about. It's not like he lied about getting his dick sucked or anything.
posted by schroedinger at 8:14 PM on March 31, 2005


schroedinger writes "
I don't know what everyone's complaining about. It's not like he lied about getting his dick sucked or anything."


I don't think I have to prove at this point that I'm against just about everything the Bush Administration does.

But that doesn't mean I venerate Clinton. To the contrary, I abhor him.

It was Clinton's lies that lowered the bar for Bush, and Clinton's lies that made many, including myself, unwilling to support Gore in 2000, paving the way for George W. Piss on the Constitution Bush. And Clinton's lie -- under oath -- will now again be invoked by the Right, this time to give cover to Sanchez's alleged lie.

Clinton let us all down, not because of the blowjob but because he tried to arrogate his personal whims over the law of the United States. Clinton's lie under oath expressed his belief he was above the law, and its consequences hurt the Democratic Party and the American people, and continue to hurt America.
posted by orthogonality at 8:35 PM on March 31, 2005


It was Clinton's lies that lowered the bar for Bush

It was Reagan's virtually consequence-free Iran-Contra and Central American adventures that lowered the bar for Bush. In contrast, Clinton's pathetic little peccadilloes demonstrated a real lack of ambition when it came to abusing power.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:48 PM on March 31, 2005


::points at Armitage::

Methinks that perspective is spot on, I do.

But the rest of what ortho just said, about the abrogation of civil liberites and judicial/legislative precedent in favor of ideological, religious, or (more likely imho) capitalistic/greed driven atrocities is truly scary. And it just keeps happening.......
posted by lazaruslong at 4:54 AM on April 1, 2005


What esquire said. Judges don't interfere with prosecutorial discretion.
posted by MattD at 5:47 AM on April 1, 2005


The Bush Administration is all the fault of the mighty Clenis!

Or not.

Try Saint Raygun instead ortho, the foo shits better.
posted by nofundy at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2005


It's hard to say who lowered the bar on truth. I think Clinton did significant damage to the U.S. political fabric by purgering himself, but so did Reagan, so did Bush, so did Nixon. That's as far back as I remember, but I suspect there's more.

This is encouraging, though this president has weathered worse. Dios better hurry if he wants his chance to pry vital information about the war on terror out of the rectums of 8 year old boys. Oops, did I say that? that was really inappropriate.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:33 AM on April 1, 2005


Do you really, really not see how someone lying about authorizing the torture of people we've detained (often without charge or access to lawyers) pertains to your civil liberties DIRECTLY?

I was a long time member of the ACLU until I realized that they like corporations just as much as individuals. I know what basic civil liberties are. How about the freedoms of speech, press, and religion, due process, and privacy? Those are a few.

I'm just not sure if violating the Geneva Conventions and lying about it under oath falls into the realm of due process. Don't get me wrong. I see a connection, but I disagree that it's a DIRECT connection.

I still don't see the Gestapo thing here either, although I do think it applies very well to the latest statements by Tom DeLay about the judicial system. (I suppose Gonzalez fits in generally as well, but maybe just not this specific case? my2c.)

But enough quibbles. Unfortunately, I think that esquire and MattD are right about the mandamus thing. Still worth following.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2005


This presidency is just like that of Milosovic, Jung II, and -- I hate to say it -- Hitler.

This presidency is an extremist who makes up his own rules and then forces them onto the citizenry, regardless the harm it causes the majority population. He then uses the media to effectively brainwash, if not the majority, the vocal minority. What was once repugnent then becomes the norm, and takes another step down the slippery slope to dictatorship rule.

The sooner most Americans wake up and realize this comparison is dead on, the sooner they're going to realize that they must take back their power.

The alternative is to end up like the countries ruled by dictators: impoverished, powerless, and abused.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2005


The seizure attempt was only abandoned when the sate police, en route to Shiavo's hospice, were informed that the local police would enforce the judge's order.

Geez, that would have been quite the news event if it had escalated to gun fire.

Armitage Shanks: In contrast, Clinton's pathetic little peccadilloes demonstrated a real lack of ambition when it came to abusing power.

True, I think Clinton was basically a nice guy. The US might be a better place if Clinton had just had the balls to say "Get Bent. The state has no business in the bedrooms of it's citizens. If anything happened it's between me and my wife, and the third party." instead of trying to weasel out of it like he did with that whole "I smoked but I didn't inhale" bit. Grow a back bone on something that isn't posturing.
posted by Mitheral at 11:22 AM on April 1, 2005


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