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Thursday, April 03, 2008

I just read "The Green Light" Philippe Sands important article on the Bush administration legal justifiers of Torture.

On the principle that it should be reproduced in full bit by bit in the blogosphere I quote a relatively unimportant bit on whether any of them might face prosecution

As the consequences of Hamdan sank in, the instinct for self-preservation asserted itself. The lawyers got busy. Within four months President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act. This created a new legal defense against lawsuits for misconduct arising from the “detention and interrogation of aliens” between September 11, 2001, and December 30, 2005. That covered the interrogation of al-Qahtani, and no doubt much else. Signing the bill on October 17, 2006, President Bush explained that it provided “legal protections that ensure our military and intelligence personnel will not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists simply for doing their jobs.”

In a word, the interrogators and their superiors were granted immunity from prosecution. Some of the lawyers who contributed to this legislation were immunizing themselves. The hitch, and it is a big one, is that the immunity is good only within the borders of the United States.

I should read the act, because I am confused. Law suits and prosecution are totally different. The fact that Yoo, Gonzales, Haynes, Addington and Beaver won't respond in Al-Qatani vs X does not mean that they can't be defendants in People of the United States Vs X. Are they immune from prosecution in the USA ? If not, it is unlikely that they will be prosecuted, but I wonder.

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