Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Asking Obama for a torture special prosecutor

Even though it's been eight months or so, interest in my question-and-answer with Barack Obama at the Daily News offices back in April -- in which he discussed the possibility of criminal prosecution for crimes committed by the Bush administration -- continues to rise as his presidency approaches. Here, my new online friend Ari Melber at the Nation cites the interview in urging the incoming president to name a special prosecutor to probe the White House greenlighting of torture: The Obama transition team is taking questions again at Change.gov, throwing open the site this week for citizen input. The first run of this experiment was a mixed bag. The platform was open and transparent, but the official answers felt more like old boilerplate than new responses. When the submitted questions parrot toics in the traditional media, of course, the exchange can feel like a dated press conference. But here's a vital question that few reporters have ever presented to Obama: Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping? That question ranked sixth in voting last time -- out of over 10,000 submissions -- but the transition team only answered the top five questions. Now that Vice President Cheney confessed his support for waterboarding on national television, flouting the rule of law, the issue is even more urgent. Activist Bob Fertik, who has submitted the question twice, explains how you can vote to press this issue on the transition team: Vote, by all means, although I appreciate the political issues facing Obama, who right now needs to rank the economy No. 1 and everything else No. 37 if he is to succeed. There are ways that don't require the direct involvement of the Obama White House -- either an aggressive congressional probe or a kind of National Truth Commission -- that could do the initial fact-finding. That delays the tougher decisions on prosecution for a while, but either way there needs to be a public investigation, so let's get that in gear.

Asking Obama for a torture special prosecutor



Even though it's been eight months or so, interest in my question-and-answer with Barack Obama at the Daily News offices back in April -- in which he discussed the possibility of criminal prosecution for crimes committed by the Bush administration -- continues to rise as his presidency approaches. Here, my new online friend Ari Melber at the Nation cites the interview in urging the incoming president to name a special prosecutor to probe the White House greenlighting of torture:

The Obama transition team is taking questions again at Change.gov, throwing open the site this week for citizen input. The first run of this experiment was a mixed bag. The platform was open and transparent, but the official answers felt more like old boilerplate than new responses. When the submitted questions parrot toics in the traditional media, of course, the exchange can feel like a dated press conference. But here's a vital question that few reporters have ever presented to Obama:

Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?

That question ranked sixth in voting last time -- out of over 10,000 submissions -- but the transition team only answered the top five questions. Now that Vice President Cheney confessed his support for waterboarding on national television, flouting the rule of law, the issue is even more urgent. Activist Bob Fertik, who has submitted the question twice, explains how you can vote to press this issue on the transition team:

Vote, by all means, although I appreciate the political issues facing Obama, who right now  needs to rank the economy No. 1 and everything else No. 37 if he is to succeed. There are ways that don't require the direct involvement of the Obama White House -- either an aggressive congressional probe or a kind of National Truth Commission -- that could do the initial fact-finding. That delays the tougher decisions on prosecution for a while, but either way there needs to be a public investigation, so let's get that in gear.
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