Law Professor Ben Davis on holding the Bush Administration accountable for their actions

Locus Focus
program date: 
Tue, 05/12/2009

 Hosted by Barbara Bernstein

The Bush Administration is now history but their criminal acts live on. How do we as a nation hold these characters accountable for the many apparent crimes they committed during the past 8 years. Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein talks with Ben Davis, Professor of Law at the University of Toledo College of Law, about his efforts to get Attorney GeneralEric Holder "to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush administration."


We'll also talk about the alleged suicide of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured trying to escape from Afghanistan in late 2001 and sent to Egypt to be tortured.  Under duress al -Libi alleged that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda agents in chemical weapons techniques. With al-Libi's death do we lose the best refutation of Dick Cheney's insistence that torture was necessary and useful in dealing with threats from al-Qaeda?


Before coming to the University of Toledo College of Law, Ben Davis was an Independent Consultant for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Director, Conference Programmes and Manager of the Institute of World Business Law, and Legal Counsel for the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, all in Paris, France. He has written numerous articles about torture and command responsibility.



Best Pledge drive show ever

the content was fantastic, but as far as a pledge drive show goes, I loved the matching grant, and the comments about selling indulgences to KBOO listeners while we're talking about cheney selling himself on national TV.. perfect!

by the way.. do you think there's any chance that Obama has offered the administration a choice: go admit what you did and absolve yourself in front of the public, or I press charges against you? I thought about that during this show (and it wouldn't change my belief they should be prosecuted) but that would be an interesting strategy for this president to take..

Wait a minute. When the

Wait a minute. When the Clintons were under investigation for all of their problems, it was that the Republicans were " mean spirited" and we needed a kinder, gentler nation. I'm a moderate and listen to various radio stations and watch all the news channels to try and get a cross section, and what I am hearing is blinding hatred from the left. Ask the relatives of the innocent people who were killed on 9/11 if they would have minded a little water boarding on those murdering cowards before they flew those planes. You should free yourselves from that blinding hatred for George Bush and open your eyes to the fact that there are those who hate us simply because we have freedom, don't treat our women like cattle, and don't subscribe to their antiquated religion which they have vowed to spread " by the sword" if necessary. The whole idea of the extreme interrogations was because we are dealing with extremely evil people, who bind up prisoners and cut their heads off on TV. You should look at the real evil in this, not at those who acted in desparation trying to protect our country.

Rule of Law

Hey, Anonymous (hey aren't you that one who writes for the mercury?). So, I don't know if you were responding to my post, or the show in general.. but it surprises me that you describe yourself as one who listens to various radio stations and watches all the news channels to get a cross section, because you're really presenting some outdated ways of thinking about this even amongst conservative\religious right idealogy.

but I'll lay it out for you real quick in case you didn't see it on TV: yes, the murder of americans is horrible, especially the working class folks who seemed to be populating the building that day.

But memos have been produced that seriously implicate the upper levels of the bush administration for practices they knew to be torture. If you think torture's ok - cool! just say it! there's a circle in hell for you. However, even most conservatives think that the idea of the rule of law isn't something you just throw away and it's what makes us civilized, if that word means anything. The magna carta and the Athenians were *for" the rule of law. You appear to be advocating a rule by king model apparently favored by the Bush administration.

There are 400 some innocent people being held in guantanamo.. and we could have a debate about whether it's worse to torture an innocent person because they're brown and don't speak your language, or worse to let a guilty murderer go free, if you want - but the framer's of the constitution already decided this question, and I happen to side with them. Bringing government authority against an innocent person is a higher crime than letting a guilty person go. if you don't like it, maybe you should move to a country where torture isn't illegal (I've always wanted to say that).

Here's the point: this isn't about Bush hating - though many hate Bush and Cheney with good reason - many of us on the left are criticizing Obama for not holding the Bush administration's feet to the fire (a fitting torturous image, i suppose). And that's what this show was about, Mr (I assume) anonymous - about whether the Obama administration should out the Bush administration - and how we on the left should pressure him to do it.

Because, to let them go would be to ignore the constitution, to cover up some very high crimes. In short, it would be to let the terrorists win.

1. Outdated ways of

1. Outdated ways of thinking- I don't base my opinions on what the current "date" way of thinking is. Apparently you do.

2. I didn't know working class people's lives were more important than "non-working class" folks.

3.Sure they were tortured- look at the evil they were dealing with. Pull your head out. There were laws against women owning property 100 years ago. Situations change.

4.The last refuge of a scoundrel is now racism. You don't know who is innocent or not and they aren't tortured because they are brown- it's because they are sworn enemies of our country.The framers of the constitution also said that the main job of the government is to protect it's citizens.

5. As far as Obama, you leftist are already seeing the results of voting for somebody who preyed on your naivete by promising you whatever you wanted to hear to get your votes, knowing you would vote emotionally instead of intelligently. That happens when a slick talking scammer knows that your are blinded by your personal agenda. The perfect example is how you say you have to pressure him, I guess that's because he won't voluntarily do all those things he promised to get your votes. Once again, pull your head out and look around reality is much different than naive pipe dreams.


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