The Gestapo Inheritance

'We do not torture': Groans from the CIA's black sites beg to differ

In this country, Congress is the "handmaiden of [our] torture program . . . having granted amnesty to officials who may have violated the torture and war crimes provisions of our laws; allowing a defense for future abusers if they relied on legal advice; authorizing the president to redefine cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and permitting the use of evidence derived from torture or coercion," writes Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (emphasis added). The center is heavily involved in litigation against the Bush administration, particularly its contemptuous refusal to abide by the Geneva Conventions. Yet, as of this writing, the Democratic (so-called) leadership in Congress has yet to insist on a thoroughly penetrating investigation. Such an investigation cannot rely on the Justice Department, which has also been "a handmaiden" of torture—and Michael Dukasey, if he becomes attorney general, has made it clear that he believes we have to go beyond our present system of justice in dealing with terrorism.

I am aware of the danger of runaway special prosecutors, but to head that much-needed independent investigation into the torture policies of this White House, I strongly recommend the appointment of constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, a former official of the Reagan Justice Department, who has written and testified, brilliantly and insistently, on the crimes against the Constitution—up to and including war crimes—committed by the Bush administration.

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