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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:30 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
The Bush Six to Be Indicted...IN SPAIN

Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo.


This news is encouraging, and certainly appropriate considering the circumstances. I find it shameful, however, that Spain must pursue justice against American war criminals because America's leadership refuses to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:39 pm 
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If waterboarding was a war crime when the Japanese did it to my father, why isn't it a war crime anymore?...


Folluw-up article to "Prosecute or Perish" (link posted earlier in this thread): http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7043


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:39 am 
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It was a good try by the Spanish...but....

Spain rules out torture probe of U.S. officials

Spanish prosecutors will recommend against opening an investigation into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, the country's attorney-general said Thursday.

Candido Conde-Pumpido said the case against the high-ranking U.S. officials — including former U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales — was without merit because the men were not present when the alleged torture took place.

"If one is dealing with a crime of mistreatment of prisoners of war, the complaint should go against those who physically carried it out," Conde-Pumpido said in a breakfast meeting with journalists. He said a trial of the men would have turned Spain's National Court "into a plaything" to be used for political ends.


Quote:
The case came at a delicate time for Spain, whose Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is hoping to improve relations with Washington after eight years of strained ties during Bush's term.

The government has insisted the court is independent and that the executive branch has no sway over its decisions.
:wink: :lol: :roll: :albino: :drunken:



MORE AT THE LINK

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:38 pm 
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Obama Hints At Torture Investigation: ‘We Are Moving A Process Forward’

...The Spanish attorney general said today that he would not recommend a case, but Judge Baltazar Garzon “will decide whether to press ahead with a criminal investigation.”

Thus far, Obama administration officials have tried to skirt questions on the matter. On Tuesday, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded, “We may have some reaction based on what ultimately happens.” Today, CNN’s Juan Carlos Lopez asked Obama about the investigation ahead of his trip to Mexico. Obama repeated his desire to look forward:

OBAMA: I’m a strong believer that it’s important to look forward and not backwards, and to remind ourselves that we do have very real security threats out there. So I have not had direct conversations with the Spanish government about these issues. My team has been in communications with them.

Obama did, however, say he was aware of a “process” moving forward in the U.S. to “understand” what happened under Bush. Notably, he did not endorse or rule out an investigation or commission:

I think that we are moving a process forward here in the United States to understand what happened, but also to focus on how we make sure that the manner in which we operate currently is consistent with our values and our traditions.

Obama concluded: “And so my sense is, is that this will be worked out over time.”


It’s unclear what process Obama is referring to. Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) has prominently called for a truth commission to investigate Bush-era abuses, but he is uncertain whether it can proceed. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) recently called for “congressional investigations,” “a blue ribbon commission, or “independent criminal probes to be conducted by federal prosecutors.”

Attorney General Eric Holder told Katie Couric last week that a commission is something that “Senator Leahy, the people in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the President will ultimately have to decide.”

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:00 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
It was a good try by the Spanish...but....

Spain rules out torture probe of U.S. officials


So Spain's new position appears to be premised upon "mistreatment" being the point of challenge, as opposed to upon the resulting brutal deaths from such mistreatment being the concern. Perhaps none of those who perished at Gitmo from these subhuman torturous acts had a connection to Spain. Even so, I find it notable that higher points of authority so frequently tend to vaporize all reasonability and passion to do what's required.

This begs the question: Why are indictments for war crimes exclusively applicable to those who have physically carried out such acts? Did Stalin and Hitler physically carry out the actual acts of genocide within the slaughter campaigns they unleashed? Would Pol Pot have been prosecuted while alive if an opportunity had arisen? And how about the myriad other dictatorial and brutal murderers/torturers throughout history? Should those who crafted the plans and issued the commencement orders have been protected by such flawed reasoning?

How about the Japanese waterboarding of American POWs? It seems that only Japanese soldiers were convicted; apparently not the command personnel who ordered utilization of the tactic. But would we have been willing to convict those command personnel if clear evidence linking them to the orders were available? If not, I submit there's something patently wrong with our concept of justice.

There appear so many conflicting examples of selective favoritism when it comes to accountability and punishment of high-ranking officials. For example, what about Saddam Hussein? Did he slaughter masses of Shiites and Kurds with his own hand? Or did he merely orchestrate and order those operations? Now consider what end we facilitated for Mr. Hussein.

By limiting legal culpability for the perpetration of heartless and brutal acts upon "war prisoners" (and/or upon innocent civilians), exclusively to lowly soldiers who were following orders from their superiors when they committed such acts, or to those who we consider our political foes, we are selectively endorsing an egregious immunity for those in power. Call this what you will. It certainly fails to meet the definition of justice.

Those who authorized these reprehensible criminal acts are ultimately responsible for them. It's they who should be held accountable!


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:12 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
OBAMA: I’m a strong believer that it’s important to look forward and not backwards, and to remind ourselves that we do have very real security threats out there. So I have not had direct conversations with the Spanish government about these issues. My team has been in communications with them.


I wouldn't hold my breath.

What Mr. Obama conveniently ignores concerning the Bush crimes matter is that looking backward IS in fact looking forward. Failure to look back at these horrible crimes in order to apply justice is asking for the same criminal acts to occur again at some point in our future. There's simply no deterrent.


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:24 pm 
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jasonb wrote:

I wouldn't hold my breath.

What Mr. Obama conveniently ignores concerning the Bush crimes matter is that looking backward IS in fact looking forward. Failure to look back at these horrible crimes in order to apply justice is asking for the same criminal acts to occur again at some point in our future. There's simply no deterrent.


The thing is jasonb is that this government is guilty of much more than torture and both parties were complicit.

Most people who have done the research agree that 9/11 was a cover up of epic proportions, thus both wars are illegal.

Now, when you look at what they are currently doing, we can realize that there will be no honest investigation of 9/11, nor will there be an end to the wars, not to mention the fact that though this administration changed the rules on torture from the previous administration, there are loopholes big enough to drive trucks through. Guess it could be considered deniable culpability.

Also, they would have to have a real discussion on what constitutes war crimes which is something that this government seems to like to interpret in their own way. The use of Depleted Uranium IS a war crime. This means that Bush I, Clinton, BushII, and now Obama are all guilty of war crimes. Now I for one agree with this, but I understand that there will never be any justice.

In my honest opinion, the real reason Obama will do nothing, (aside from the fact that he is a part of the workings of the empire), is because IF this is brought to trial, there is the very real possibility that many, many, many more dirty secrets would come to light exposing the whole corrupt system to the light of truth, visible for all to see.

This will never be allowed to happen by the true rulers of this planet.

They want a world government and they are going to have a world government. That you can bank on.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:37 pm 
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I don't think I will ever agree with the Obama administration on this issue, so in the interest of my blood pressure, I'm going to make this my last post in this thread. Of course, if the minions are held responsible, they're going to sing like nightingales....

No charges against CIA officials for waterboarding

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:19 pm 
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CrimsonEagle wrote:
In my honest opinion, the real reason Obama will do nothing, (aside from the fact that he is a part of the workings of the empire), is because IF this is brought to trial, there is the very real possibility that many, many, many more dirty secrets would come to light exposing the whole corrupt system to the light of truth, visible for all to see.


I don't disagree with much of what you've stated. I would add, though, that in addition to their enduring strive to protect themselves and their coconspirators -- gotta be careful when using terms like this since the brain-dead, propagandized masses are inclined to ignorantly discredit us as conspiracy whackos -- the fascist domination factor promises such attractive benefits for some of these people that they'll do nearly anything to develop their goals beyond the point of no return. With Mr. Obama now in office and evidently protecting this movement, the very point I speak of may be closer than many of us know.


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:50 pm 
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Quote:
Congressman Jerrold Nadler Calls for a Special Prosecutor for Torture

Congressman Jerrold Nadler has just publicly asked that the Attorney General appoint a special prosecutor. Please THANK HIM, and please ask him and ask your congress member to jointly send to Eric Holder the letter that Nadler and 55 other congress members sent to Michael Mukasey requesting a special prosecutor last summer, or an updated version thereof.

Here is a release from Nadler's office:

CONGRESSMAN JERROLD NADLER
8th Congressional District of New York
Nadler Applauds Obama Administration's Transparency on Torture Memos
Renews Call for Special Prosecutor and Congressional Investigation

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, praised President Obama and the Department of Justice for releasing four legal memos on the torture of detainees that had previously been concealed by the Bush administration. Rep. Nadler, however, called on the Obama administration to go further and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute those responsible for authorizing the torture. He also said that a Congressional investigation is absolutely warranted. Rep Nadler released the following statement:

“While I applaud the Obama administration for releasing these torture memos in the spirit of openness and transparency, the memos' alarming content requires further action. These memos, without a shadow of a doubt, authorized torture and gave explicit instruction on how to carry it out, all the while carefully attempting to maintain a legal fig leaf.

“These memos make it abundantly clear that the Bush administration engaged in torture. Because torture is illegal under American law – as the U.S. is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture – we are legally required to investigate and, when appropriate, to prosecute those responsible for these crimes.

“I commend President Obama for his unequivocal rejection of torture and for his resolve to move forward. The President's intentions are honorable, but don't go far enough. All history teaches us that simply shining a light on criminal acts without holding the responsible people accountable will not prevent repetition of those acts.

“I have previously urged Attorneys General Gonzalez and Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the torture abuses of the Bush administration, and now I will convey that same necessity to President Obama and Attorney General Holder. We sorely need an independent investigation that will provide accountability for these terrible crimes. This investigation should not be a witch-hunt to punish those rank-and-file C.I.A. operatives who acted in good faith on Justice Department instructions. At the very least, those who wrote and authorized the memos knowing full well that they were instructing others to torture must be held accountable to the law.

“We must have a criminal investigation if the U.S. is to reclaim its moral authority and prevent repetition of these crimes.

“As Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights said yesterday, ‘Whether or not to prosecute law breakers is not a political decision. Laws were broken and crimes were committed. If we are truly a nation of laws . . . a prosecutor needs to be appointed and the decisions regarding the guilt of those involved in the torture program should be decided in a court of law.’

“Furthermore, the revelations contained in these memos make it abundantly clear that we need additional Congressional oversight hearings on this matter. We intend to hold such hearings.


“Finally, I particularly want to thank the American Civil Liberties Union for their role in bringing these memos to light and for their vigilant efforts to ensure that the United States government does not engage in torture.”

Following are the memos released yesterday: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/p ... _memos.pdf.

###

Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New Yorks 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

From: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/41806


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Below are excerpts from Congress' two letters (last year's and this year's) to the Attorneys General of the United States requesting appointment of a special counsel to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute those who crafted and authorized the Bush torture policies. Please note that last year's letter from Congress concerning this issue is quoted within the body of the following in green text.

Quote:
Hon. Eric Holder
Attorney General of the United States

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

On June 6, 2008, 56 members of Congress wrote to then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The letter read as follows:

Previous letter:
We are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the Bush Administration's policies regarding the interrogation of detainees have violated federal criminal laws. There is mounting evidence that the Bush Administration has sanctioned enhanced interrogation techniques against detainees under the control of the United States that warrant an investigation.

Congress is already aware of a pattern of abuse against detainees under the control of the United States and the Bush Administration. In 2004, prisoners being held at Abu Ghraib prison were subjected to abuse, sexual exploitation and torture. At the Guantanamo Bay Detention facility, prisoners have been held indefinitely, subjected to sleep deprivation, and drugged against their will. An independent investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross documented several instances of acts of torture against detainees, including soaking a prisoner's hand in alcohol and lighting it on fire, subjecting a prisoner to sexual abuse, and forcing a prisoner to eat a baseball. In October 2005, the New York Times reported that three detainees were killed during interrogations in Afghanistan and Iraq by CIA agents or CIA contractors.

We believe that these events alone warrant action, but within the last month additional information has surfaced that suggests the fact that not only did top Administration officials meet in the White House and approve the use of enhanced techniques including waterboarding against detainees, but that President Bush was aware of, and approved of the meetings taking place. This information indicates that the Bush Administration may have systematically implemented, from the top down, detainee interrogation policies that constitute torture or otherwise violate the law. We believe that these serious and significant revelations warrant an immediate investigation to determine whether actions taken by the President, his Cabinet, and other Administration officials are in violation of the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441), the Anti-Torture Act, (18 U.S.C. 2340-2340A), and other U.S. and international laws.

Despite the seriousness of the evidence, the Justice Department has brought prosecution against only one civilian for an interrogation-related crime. Given that record, we believe that it is necessary to appoint a special counsel in order to ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation occurs, and that the prosecution of anyone who violated federal criminal statutes prohibiting torture and abuse is pursued if warranted by the facts.

Again, we strongly urge that you act in a timely manner to appoint a special counsel. We look forward to hearing from you in response to our request.


Current letter:
The Justice Department, prior to your confirmation as Attorney General, did not in fact take any steps we are aware of to pursue this matter.

Since that letter was sent, new evidence has emerged, including an extensive report by the International Committee of the Red Cross documenting the torture of prisoners. On December 15, 2008, Richard Cheney, and on January 11, 2009 (as well as April 11, 2008), George W. Bush, made statements in televised interviews that appeared to admit to the authorization of torture. Also in January 2009 Susan J. Crawford, the convening authority for the Guantanamo military commissions, said that the United States had engaged in torture.

Reports from alleged victims, as well as from their jailers and torturers, continue to multiply. Memos documenting the systematic policy of torture have been released by your department. The Senate Armed Services Committee has released a report detailing the authorization of torture by former President George W. Bush and his subordinates. We have learned that the CIA destroyed 92 "interrogation" tapes, and we have a good idea from the Red Cross report what was on them.

Our failure thus far to prosecute torture, as required by the Convention Against Torture, is hurting our relationships with and our ability to influence other nations that we hope to dissuade from engaging in similar crimes.

Italy is trying U.S. officials in absentia for kidnapping a man in their country and having him tortured. Britain has begun a criminal investigation of its own complicity in U.S. torture. And Spain is pursuing criminal indictments against six former high ranking officials in the Bush administration.

We would benefit in numerous ways from obeying the requirements of the law and appointing a special counsel to enforce our own laws without delay. Please take this critical step.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky
John Conyers
Jerrold Nadler
Barney Frank
Jim Oberstar
Sheila Jackson Lee
Carolyn Maloney
Peter DeFazio
Ed Markey
Maurice Hinchey
Jim McGovern
Lynn Woolsey
Jim McDermott
Bob Filner
Tammy Baldwin
Keith Ellison
Steve Cohen
John Olver
Betty McCollum
Sam Farr
Jim Moran
Betty Sutton
Bobby Scott
Dennis Kucinich
Lois Capps
Jose Serrano
William Jefferson
Michael Capuano
Pete Stark
Lucille Roybal-Allard
John Tierney
George Miller
Luis Gutierrez
Steven Rothman
Rush Holt
David Wu
Paul Hodes
Andre Carson
Robert Wexler
Lloyd Doggett
Diana DeGette
Raul Grijalva
John Larson
Rick Boucher
Hilda Solis
Linda Sanchez
Danny Davis
Rosa DeLauro
Mike Honda
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Peter Welch
Tim Ryan
Barbara Lee
Zoe Lofgren
Chaka Fattah
David Price


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:54 pm 
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UN Rapporteur On Torture: Obama’s Pledge Not To Pursue Torture Prosecutions Of CIA Agents Is Not Legal


When President Obama released the four of the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) Bush-era torture memos last week, he issued a statement promising not to pursue torture prosecutions against CIA agents who relied on the memos to justify their use of torture tactics on terrorist suspects in U.S. custody. (Notably, Obama left open the possibility of prosecuting the torture architects.) “[I]t is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution,” Obama said.

But in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Der Standard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Manfred Nowak, explained that Obama’s grant of immunity is likely a violation of international law. As a party to the UN Convention Against Torture, the U.S. is obligated to investigate and prosecute U.S. citizens that are believed to have engaged in torture:

STANDARD: CIA torturers are according to U.S. President :

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:25 pm 
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You didn't really expect them to be prosecuted, now did you?

Quote:
This exceptionalist perspective is all the vogue these days. If you’re in debt and can’t pay the bills, you must cut down on expenses and save every penny – unless you’re the American government, in which case it’s spend, spend, spend! If country A attacks country B in violation of every international precedent and code of conduct, then it is called aggression – unless country A is the United States of America, in which case it’s called "liberation." If torture is plain evil, it must therefore be punished when the perpetrators become known – unless you’re an American government official, in which case you get an automatic Get Out of Jail Free card, and a federal judgeship, to boot!

American exceptionalism – ain’t it grand? It’s the perfect expression of 21st-century Americanism in that it embodies the national zeitgeist of entitlement, the idea that we are a specially privileged lot, given a special mission in the world. This gives us a pass to commit acts that, when done by others, are crimes, but in our hands are magically transmuted into acts of virtue, even heroism.

The Bush administration took this exceptionalist principle to unprecedented lengths, yet it is incorrect to claim, as the Obamaites are doing, that this administration is abjuring torture. CIA chief Leon Panetta has testified that they will not rule out "renditioning" prisoners to countries where torture is routine. So instead of torturing our own prisoners, we’re going to farm it out to overseas contractors – behavior that would normally be considered ignoble in the extreme, except when engaged in by the U.S. government.



http://original.antiwar.com/justin/the-torturers/

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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:11 am 
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During Mr. Obama's 'morale boost' visit to CIA headquarters on Monday, he said:

Quote:
"Ending torture will make America safer because what makes America special is the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals even when it's hard, not just when it's easy; even when we are afraid and under threat, not just when it's expedient to do so. Acknowledging potential mistakes is how we learn."


Let me get this straight. Mr. Obama is saying that America is special, and that the reason it's special is because its leadership is persistently willing to uphold those values and ideals it was founded upon, correct? Which, of course, should include a willingness to uphold its laws, correct? And a willingness to do so despite harsh circumstances, correct?

And, of course, our noble leadership consistently adheres to this honorable principle, right?

WRONG!

What the hell is our president talking about? Isn't this man able to follow his own assertions that "no one is above the law" and that "words must mean something"?

Obviously not.

Few things bother me more than blatant hypocrisy. Mr. Obama would do well to begin practicing what he preaches. He should permit the laws of the land to deter rogue abuse of power by executive officials. It was certainly not my intent to vote for a hypocrite.


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 Post subject: Re: self-explanatory
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:02 pm 
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Pressure Grows to Investigate Interrogations

...
Quote:
Three Bush administration lawyers who signed memos, John C. Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and Steven G. Bradbury, are the subjects of a coming report by the Justice Department’s ethics office that officials say is sharply critical of their work. The ethics office has the power to recommend disbarment or other professional penalties or, less likely, to refer cases for criminal prosecution.

The administration has also not ruled out prosecuting anyone who exceeded the legal guidelines, and officials have discussed appointing a special prosecutor. One option might be giving the job to John H. Durham, a federal prosecutor who has spent 15 months investigating the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations.

As the debate escalated, Mr. Cheney weighed in, saying that if the country is to judge the methods used in the interrogations, it should have information about what was obtained from the tough tactics.

“I find it a little bit disturbing” that “they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort,” Mr. Cheney said on Fox News. “There are reports that show specifically what we gained as a result of this activity.”

Other investigations promise to keep the issue alive. The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to release its own report after two years of looking at the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods. And the Democratic chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees are pushing for a commission to look into the matter. At the same time, the administration faces pressure from abroad. Manfred Nowak, the United Nations’ chief official on torture, told an Austrian newspaper that as a party to the international Convention against Torture, the United States was required to investigate credible accusations of torture.

Others pushing for more investigation included Philip D. Zelikow, the former State Department counselor in the Bush administration. On his blog for Foreign Policy magazine and in an interview, Mr. Zelikow said it was not up to a president to rule out an inquiry into possible criminal activity. “If a Republican president tried to do this, people would be apoplectic,” he said.

Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., who was chief counsel to the Church Committee, the Senate panel that investigated C.I.A. abuses in the 1970s, said Mr. Obama was “courageous” to rule out prosecutions for those who followed legal advice. But he said “it’s absolutely necessary” to investigate further, “not for the purpose of setting blame but to understand how it happened.

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