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Take care, TCB

Oh! (sock it to me, sock it to me,

sock it to me, sock it to me)

(Apologies to The Queen Of Soul…)

Am I on the wrong side of the looking glass tonight?

Today President Obama released the “torture memos” (which caused some to say the release put us all in terrible danger, natch)  and made this statement:

My judgment on the content of these memos is a matter of record. In one of my very first acts as President, I prohibited the use of these interrogation techniques by the United States because they undermine our moral authority and do not make us safer.

Enlisting our values in the protection of our people makes us stronger and more secure. A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals, and that is why these methods of interrogation are already a thing of the past.

But that is not what compelled the release of these legal documents today. While I believe strongly in transparency and accountability, I also believe that in a dangerous world, the United States must sometimes carry out intelligence operations and protect information that is classified for purposes of national security. I have already fought for that principle in court and will do so again in the future. However, after consulting with the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and others, I believe that exceptional circumstances surround these memos and require their release.

First, the interrogation techniques described in these memos have already been widely reported.

Second, the previous Administration publicly acknowledged portions of the program – and some of the practices – associated with these memos.

Third, I have already ended the techniques described in the memos through an Executive Order.

Therefore, withholding these memos would only serve to deny facts that have been in the public domain for some time. This could contribute to an inaccurate accounting of the past, and fuel erroneous and inflammatory assumptions about actions taken by the United States.

…Aaaaaand? Next the United States is gonna do …whaaaaat?

More below, even though you probably already know the answer.Nada- the CIA operatives “were just following orders”… And it’s “time to move our country forward”.

“Leadership”- FAIL.

Obama’s highest-level appointees – from the attorney general to the Central Intelligence Agency director – have made it clear before this that the administration is more interested in moving ahead with practices that adhere to the Geneva Conventions than punishing anyone for past practices.

CIA Director Leon Panetta also sent a message to his own agency’s employees today noting that the CIA under the past administration had “repeatedly sought and repeatedly received written assurances from the Department of Justice that its practices were fully consistent with the laws and legal obligations of the United States. Those operations were also approved by the president and the National Security Council principals, and were briefed to the congressional leadership.

“As this information is revealed, it is important to understand the context in which these operations occurred,” Panetta wrote. “In the wake of September 11th, the president turned to CIA–as presidents have done so often in our history–and entrusted our officers with the most critical of tasks: to disrupt the terrorist network that struck our country and prevent further attacks. CIA responded, as duty requires.”

Not only will the Obama Justice Department not prosecute any CIA personnel who “operated within the legal system,” Panetta told his employees in his letter. Justice also will provide legal counsel for anyone “subject to investigations relating to these operations.”

Am I missing something here?

Is that a legitimate legal defense in America, let alone at The Hague- “my bosses told me to do it”?

So, what ABOUT those bosses? Oh, that’s right… Spain beat us to the punch.

Does Spain need to step up yet again?

Don’t hold your breath for THAT one- the President isn’t gonna let Spain or any other country prosecute, either!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – CIA interrogators who used waterboarding on terrorism suspects will not face prosecution, President Barack Obama said on Thursday in releasing Bush-era memos specifying that the practice did not constitute torture.

Obama affirmed his administration’s unwillingness to prosecute under antitorture laws CIA personnel who relied in good faith on Bush administration legal opinions issued after the September 11 attacks.

The four memos Obama released approved techniques including waterboarding, week-long sleep deprivation, nudity and putting insects in with a tightly confined prisoner.

Obama was trying to balance between showing the world he would break with former President George W. Bush over the widely condemned treatment of terrorism suspects, and preserving the effectiveness of his intelligence agencies.

The Obama administration also said it would try to shield CIA employees from “any international or foreign tribunal” — an immediate challenge to Spain, where a judge has threatened to investigate Bush administration officials.

Human rights advocates denounced Obama, saying charges were needed to prevent future abuses and hold people accountable, and some lawmakers called for public investigations.

Move along, people… nothing to see here…

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