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National Sovereignty and International Law

(Photo by Robin Holland)

In his conversation with Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL this week, international lawyer Philippe Sands discussed the Bush Administration’s view of international law:

“They don't like international rules. It goes back to a project back in the 1990s, a Project for the New American Century, in which the very same people who came into the administration said, 'International rules impose constraints on the United States, undermine America's sovereignty, make America unable to protect itself. And we're going to get rid of them.' And they came into office, I think, with that as a policy objective. And 9/11 provided a useful way of taking that forward.”

The argument that international laws endanger national sovereignty can be heard from diverse voices across the political spectrum with regard to a variety of issues.

Regarding trade policy, for instance, progressive stalwart Ralph Nader warned against “sovereignty shredding” and said:

“The decisions are now in Geneva, bypassing our courts, our regulatory agencies, our legislatures.”

The conservative John Birch Society objects to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which is purportedly a non-binding initiative to build “cooperative relations” between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Society argues:

“Plans include a 'free trade zone with a common security perimeter,' thus erasing established international borders. U.S. citizens would then effectively surrender their citizenship to the North American Union (NAU)... The John Birch Society believes the American people should oppose any programs or projects that would replace our constitutional system and/or combine our government with the very different Canadian and Mexican governmental systems — effectively destroying the United States of America.”

What do you think?

  • How should nation-states balance national sovereignty with international regulation and cooperation?
  • What are instances in which international law has proved beneficial? Detrimental? Explain.
  • Since international officials are not voted into office, can international law be democratic? Why or why not?

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    EmersonKaitlin24 opined, "Houses and cars are not very cheap and not every person is able to buy it."

    People who have the talent and health to labor to BUILD houses and cars can't afford them.

    Guess in the alternate universe, that makes sense, right?

    Houses and cars are not very cheap and not every person is able to buy it. But, mortgage loans was created to help people in such situations.

    “Jimmy Walters, who appeared at St Marks Church at a 911 truth event and showed a film focusing on the sexual habits, homosexuality, beastiality and sexual perversions (IN DETAIL !) of members of the Bush administration. Many of those in attendance left, appalled at the content being presented at a Les Jamieson promoted 911 event.”

    ” I firmly believe that many of the alleged passengers on the alleged aircraft are still alive, and quite frankly, I think they were all working for the Goverment.”

    (Jimmy Walters) *promoter of Willie “im a hero pay me” rodrigues (NYCCAN)

    “We will move forward and want all to know that Les Jamieson’s devotion to the cause and leadership is highly valued and supported by the overwhelming majority as you’ll see below.”
    (Luke Rudkowski)

    Les Jamieson 
    National Coordinator
    NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative / NYCCAN

    Please Donate...

    "P.S. If you dare,copies of the Urantia Book can be purchased through the website NYCCAN.ORG." Les Jamieson | 06.01.09 ..

    “My sources in the Obama Administration also inform me that Federal agents are planning a raid…”
    Les Jamieson | 13 April 2009

    “I personally sat down with local law enforcement…”
    Les Jamieson | 05.28.09 – 6:08 pm

    Les Jamieson
    National Coordinator
    NYC Ballot Initiative / NYCCAN

    Please donate more…

    International officials cannot govern any democracy if they are not elected by those governed--right?

    The Ostrich Republic elects officials that have been hand-picked by clubs\organizations whose members may not have been elected. These organizations filter out all candidates they do not approve & then the Ostrich Republic voters rush to the polls every 4th Nov. & vote for the pre-approved, hand-picked candidates & feel they have done their "democratic" duty.

    There is a difference--right?

    Is it just a matter of time?

    Billy Bob, Florida

    Okay, so if nothing in the constitution prevents the American president from approving torture, what does that do to the rationale that we had to invade Iraq because Saddam was torturing people? If we can do it, so can he, and the only excuse he needs is some trumped up charge that these people were hiding WMDs under their beds. In fact, what's to prevent anyone from acting against "perceived" enemies of the State even to the point of gassing whole populations?

    Thank you so much for your interview with Mr. Sands.
    I would certainly hope that more investigation is made.
    Someone needs to take responsibility for these events. But current policy seems to be "pass the buck".
    Quite frankly the politics of fear has made the world more unsafe and Mr. Sands tells us in relation to the IRA:
    "For a period of 1970s, the view was, let's hit them hard. Let's hit them very hard. And it soon became clear that that is not a technique that works. The technique ultimately that worked-- and prime ministers over time, John Major, Tony Blair, have put in-- tried a different approach. And the different approach is you understand what's at the root cause of the conflict. You talk to these people, sometimes secretly."
    Talk is always a good thing...even with the "enemy".
    On the health care problem, Richard Nixon wanted HMOs and wanted to see competition. He was all for profit.
    Where else in the world can a person go bankrupt because of health care bills?
    I'd like to see a solution to this even if it means that dreaded word "socialized".

    Dear Bill,

    PNAC is now out of business. Doesn't that bankruptcy (or dissolution) speak volumes about their worthless raison d'etre?

    I would rather that you consider whether or not their participants remain part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud, embezzle and otherwise rip off commoners throughout the world through every means at their disposal.

    Neoconservatism is just part of an overall plan for governance, advanced to reduce the influence and impact of popular and populist demands for food and housing. Its philosophy is generally scripted in terms of a 75-year plan for the maintenance of the elites, the patrician classes, the oligarchs. In the face of a global climate crisis, I am quite sure that their additional concerns about population growth and food scarcity lead them to justify (or is it rationalize?) their detestable philosophy of the survival of the fittest, which they abuse as a natural moral imperative, when this may, God-willing, turn be an accurate explanation of the demise of their specious species.

    Regards from a Popular Front Democrat!
    John Ullmann

    Bill and Phillipe,

    I appreciate the work being done by the both of you, giving voice to people who are being destroyed day after day, year after year.

    What I have come to know is that by time someone speaks out on behalf of someone being abused, there have been dozens more taken and never heard from again.

    People struggle to find enough proof to help one person and over the years hundreds if not thousands of abused people are lost to the horrors perpetrated by individuals and their governments psychotic desire to destroy them.

    Is this sickness a by -product of organisms that reach the size of governments and corporations? At a certain point does their size overwhelm their connection to other people and so reality?
    what can you tell me about the desire for some human beings in government and corporate positions to destroy human beings?

    Dear Bill,
    In "Green Light" Philippe Sands gives detainee 063 a voice. In all the conversations about torture, we don't usually hear about, or from the survivors themselves. These are real people with families who try to put their lives together after suffering the unimaginable. At Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition ( we meet torture survivors who are struggling through our asylum proceedures, who work at jobs for which they are over-qualified, and who need culturally sensitive health care. We need to talk about these issues while we talk about torture itself.

    As I read "Machiavelli's Dicourse and Prince", It is highly unlikely he would have a Republic submit the an even higher authority such as an International Democratic process. That said, this nation is actually doing what Machiavelli suggests nation's do to survive. But it is being done poorly at best. While it may seem as if some international coalition if forming, what prevents its being realised is the simpple notion of how to share power with so much at stake.

    In "Green Light" Philippe Sands gives detainee 063 a voice. In all the conversations about torture we don't usually hear about survivors themselves --real people with families and communities. They struggle with our asylum proceedures, work at jobs for which they are over-qualified and use cell phone to call their families in the wee hours. For more information go to Torture Abolition and Support Coalition International TASSC (

    With an estimated 50,000 torture survivors in the Washington DC area, the person next to me on the Metro could be a survivor. Experience has taught us that we need to make asylum laws and work permits more accessible, and health care culturally sensitive.

    'International rules impose constraints on the United States, undermine America's sovereignty' Yet, the same group substantially endorses 'unofficial' treaties like NAFT (CH # 19) that undermine the laws of national sovereignty.

    As a history teacher, I have used your program to educate my Chinese students (here in Taiwan) on the basics of free debate in a democracy. I have been an international teacher for ten years, and never thought I would see a day where my own government would condone torture. I am so grateful to you for bringing the full story of how our government came to forget that we are a democracy to light. I have searched in vain in the mainstream media for a frank admission of just how much we have betrayed our democratic heritage. This interview with Philippe Sands does so, in a fashion that gives me hope that perhaps as Lincoln said not so long ago "government for the people, by the people, and for the people, will not perish entirely from the earth."

    Thank you.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers, your podcasts are always enjoyed and appreciated.

    The Philipe Sands discussion,...was overwhelming.

    If the lawyers and politicians (The Torture Team) are not brought to Justice openly.

    If a precedent is not set
    from the bottom to the top on the consequences for corrupting and allowing for the corruption of codes of moral and ethical conduct.

    We will have re-defined the integrity of America and Americans as "fair weather" at best.

    We will have betrayed our National destiny,
    the character of our Military, and disgraced the intentions of our forefathers.

    We will have cemented the fact, for our children to inherit, and in the eyes of the rest of the world, that we have become the terrorists.We are no better.

    If there is a God, then let there be Justice.

    If there is Justice, Let God grant the courage to the men and women who serve it, to bring
    all involved forward by all means necessary.

    And let them answer to the accusations.

    From the top to the bottom, let the chips fall where they may.

    There is no stronger sign of the U.S. living out its intended destiny than to call our govt. leaders out on their conduct, and the courage to punish any leader and or administration if found guilty of abuse of power, war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against citizens of this nation or its Constitution.

    A return to justice is the one good thing that can come from this horrible war, and these horrible deeds.

    "The truth shall set you free"

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Your genuine sincerity,
    and the simple honesty
    of your many journalistic
    explorations has always
    impressed and informed me.

    Most recently, the depth
    of your COURAGE continues
    to INSPIRE ME and keep me
    working toward "a better
    day". You give me HOPE.

    "I love my country, but I
    despise my government..."

    My only request for you
    as a very brave fellow
    and genuinely concerned
    citizen, is that you do
    a series of similar pieces
    investigating the failure
    of our current representa-
    tives in the House even to
    allow the constitutionally
    MANDATED process of
    IMPEACHMENT to begin.

    If this nation does not
    hold the current leadership
    fully to account, at a
    minimum through serious
    investigations as part of
    the impeachment mechanism,
    (in effect) BE COMLICIT to
    the (alleged) high crimes
    and misdemeanors of the
    Bush/Cheney administration.

    I for one will be HAPPY
    to have been proven wrong
    if my worst fears turn out
    to be unfounded. However,
    I want to be able to look
    my grandchildren in the
    eyes and say: "Yes, it was
    all terrible, and a huge,
    frustrating mess. But we
    ordinary people finally
    realized that it really was
    UP TO US to wrestle our own
    Democracy back from the
    clutches of a band of
    well-intentioned but
    badly misguided tyrants."

    Bush has suspended Habeas Corpus and violated the US Constitution, they should only be afforded the same treatment they have condoned. Christians also believe in the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But, then again some only consider that belief in Jesus is the only requirement to be a practicing Christian. They represent Christianity like terrorist represent Islam.

    I've often thought that it would be easier for the minority of "superpatriots" (like Pol Pot Pundit) to follow the advice they often give me and leave the "free country" they can't stomach (form their own Bushreich somewhere else). The great majority of Americans are now suspicious and doubtful, but justifiably frightened, having nowhere to go. Actually, Moyers is a little to tame and conservative to honestly address our kitchen table issues now.

    As for the big shebang supposed to be coming (right before the Fourth of July) when Bush/Cheney underlings testify before Congress I predict it won't amount to much. Many of them will have erased their recollections and others will cop a "banal evil" or "heat of battle" defense without exposing any pertinent information. Don't expect any of these capos to capitulate. Bush and Cheney will float like feces, just as Reagan did in 1986. Senators and Congressmen are about as dangerous as my little dog Chaco barking at the TV. Maybe that is for the best because no one should be compelled to implicate herself/himself (5th) and the burden of proof is on the prosecution (habeas).

    I only hope the fondest dreams of J. Thielson (May 10th-1:18am) are realized and I live to see these neo-fascist warmongers tried in international court. Also, thank you Barrister Sands for your well-researched book.

    Bush and Cheney deserve a fair trial! You have to wonder what kind of info the courts could get from them with enhanced in"terror"gation. Of course any hard questions of Cheney would likely endanger his heart. Justice Scalia has approved it, it not punishment if they are only trying to get info. I say let them choose a fair trial or enhanced testimony. The are creating Terrorist faster than they can kill them along with the "collateral" damage(the killing of innocent civilians). History the Japanese where willing to kill themselves rather than be taken by the "Barbaric" Americans. This was absurd of course but preception is everything. The British experience with the IRA is also good to remember.

    Yet again, Bill Moyers brings excellence in journalism to the airwaves through the revelatory interview of Phillippe Sands whose book "Torture Team" I hope to read. Who would have thought in 2000 the failure-in-life person of George W. Bush would give us reading material about the plethora of illegalities and debacles of his administration which will be enough to take us into the next century to read and internalize?

    In view of ALL that has occurred -- including, I submit, the treasonous activity of the outing of a CIA agent, beginning a war based on lies which has taken 4000 lives and counting costing this country soon-to-be trillions with no end in sight -- it will be astounding if this country does not change the tenor and nature of its power by overthrowing Republican politics then I completely throw up my hands. When a populous has an utterly shortsighted unaware understanding of things political which allow it to continue to vote fools into the highest most powerful office in the world, then it gets what it deserves.

    Mr. Sands was passionate, verbally eloquent and academically credentialed. He offers up for examination what most of us already suspect. Our country, to its own peril, has been involved in the overthrow of the Geneva Conventions, has illegally employed torture techniques and brazenly flouted the law. Too bad more people like Mr. Sands do not occupy positions of power most especially within this most inept, corrupt, oblivious, cruel and murderous administration in US history.

    Mr. Sands remark that most of the people he interviewed where basically good people but were under enormous pressure to respond to there bosses. This raises the issue of a lack of character among individuals at higher levels of our government charged with critical decision making. At the Neuenburg trials following WWII, the convening authority sent many former Nazis to the gallows who claimed they were just following orders. Are these people the best we have to make critical decisions that determine the future of our Republic ?

    Edmund Burke, an Irish political philosopher who is regarded by many as the "father" of modern conservatism, is credited with making a widely used statement concerning the possible fate of Democratic governments; All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

    The interview with Philippe Sands reminded me of an article by Gerry Adams, Sin Féin President and Member of Parliament for West Belfast, who wrote "I Have Been in Torture Photos, Too" for Counterpunch in 2004. Read his account of surviving British "interrogation" at this link:

    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it"
    - Albert Einstein

    What we think must be consistent with our best interests. What we think should also be consistent with reality. Survival is our first priority. This survival is dependent on the quality of our environment and the efficiency of our social system. Our comprehension of the right solution for the problem, our ability to solve problems and our actions to make necessary changes to correct problems is an essential element of survival. We have to learn from the past, change things in the present and improve our future. We can create heaven or hell on earth depending on how well we manage our time and energy. Reality is a dynamic phenomenon and our choices create either good or evil. What goes around comes around. We are all going around on the same small world and have a direct effect on each other’s lives. Survival depends on doing what is good and right not what is evil and wrong. Wrong decisions create death and destruction.

    "Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning."
    Karen Horney

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Regarding torture, I think Walt Whitman summed it up best when he wrote: "What behaved well in the past or behaves well to-day is not such a wonder,
    The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel."
    But then if religion teaches that the wrongfulness of a torturous crucifixion was for the good of mankind, perhaps there in lies the flaw. And those who think it right to torture others are simply practicing what has been preached.
    Wrong is never right, is it.


    Unless we win the presidency in November, there will be no international law to discuss, since the Bush Admin. continues to dismantle the U.N. Why not take a moment, Bill, to stop fawning over Sen. Obama and face the reality of the October Surprise that's coming? At least with Clinton, we're sure of a victory.

    The G.O.P. saw her coming down the pike like a runaway locomotive back in 2004 and had to get creative. Obama's senate election that year, if you recall, was a cakewalk, thanks to Dennis Hastert and the Illinois Repub. Party. They were angling no doubt to put him on a collision course with her.

    Why him? Well, besides the obvious, he's got skeletons from his career in Chicago. To begin with, he represented slumlords under his boss Allison Davis at the law firm, and that will make for a nice TV spot in North and South Carolina, don't you think? Here are three other bombshells that might drop next fall.

    An indictment: The federal prosecutor in the trial of Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko may be sitting on charges against the senator. Patrick Fitzgerald, of course, was the special counsel in the Valerie Plame C.I.A. leak case. (And what an interesting coincidence that is.) To date, Obama has been identified as a participant in crafting legislation to reduce the number of members on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board from 15 to 9, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The prosecution alleges that as a result, in 2003, the board was stacked by Rezko in order to steer contracts his way. The government's principle witness, Stuart Levine, has also acknowledged in sworn testimony that Allison Davis (Rezko's development partner) acted as go-between in the shakedown of a Hollywood financier over a state pension fund.

    In addition, the New York Times has reported that Rezko's role in the purchase of Obama's South Chicago estate may have been an attempt to shield assets from creditors in several lawsuits pending at the time. How much Obama himself knew about the details of this transaction are unknown. We do know that Rezko did a walk-through of the home prior to the sale.

    Revelations about links to Iraqi money men: Shortly before the Obama property deal, Rezko received a mysterious $3.5 million loan from a longtime business associate and Iraqi exile, Nadhmi Auchi. The Pentagon has identified Auchi as a former bagman for Saddam Hussein. This London-based financier is one of the world's richest men, but that didn't prevent him from being convicted of fraud in 2003 in conjunction with the notorious European Elf affair. Needless to say, the suggestion that it was Saddam's banker who made Obama's home loan possible would probably not play well in heartland America.

    Obama is said to have attended a reception for Auchi in 2004, held at the posh Four Seasons hotel. In addition, prosecution witness Levine testified on April 14th that Obama and his wife Michelle met Auchi during a party at Rezko's home on April 3rd of that same year. The senator says he doesn't remember ever meeting the gentleman.

    And this isn't the only Iraqi hovering in Obama's closet. Another longtime Rezko acquaintance, Aiham Alsammarae, posted more than $2.7 million in property as collateral to help spring the slumlord developer from jail in April. Alsammarae is wanted by Interpol for the theft of $650 million in Iraqi reconstruction funds in his capacity as the country's Minister of Electricity. Newsweek has reported that Alsammarae'a son sent several faxes to Obama's office in Washington prior to his escape from a Baghdad jail in December, 2006. The fugitive now resides on a private compound in Illinois, apparently without incident. Recently it came to light that he donated online to the candidate in January, February and March. In response, Obama said he would relinquish those contributions to a nonprofit charity.

    McCain replaced by another presidential nominee: Since the G.O.P. convention takes place after the Democratic gathering, it's possible Karl Rove and his political machine will introduce their Bush-Cheney successor ticket at that time. This strategy has allowed neoconservatives to lull Democrats into the illusion that Obama's candidacy in the fall will be easy. Given the problems laid out above, as long as the replacement candidate isn't named Bush, the election could well turn out to be his to lose. And ours...

    For more on all this, including source links and an analysis of the 2008 election, see an article I've posted at or click on my screen name.

    Thank you Bill! Thank you for sharing your perspective, intelligence, and wisdom with compassion, understanding and humulity. Sincerely, Kay Parker

    Thank you Bill!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, perspective, and intelligence with compassion, understanding and humility, Sincerely, Kay Parker

    Thanks to the Moyer's team for routinely making us move outside of our comfort zones, and as a result, open ourselves to important learning experiences.

    While the torture discussion is an important one, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the ultimate blame for torture lies within "the accumulated evil of the whole", and results from the "supreme international crime" of waging a war of aggression. Of course, the quoted notations above come from the Nuremberg tribunals. Like it or not, if you launch a war of aggression, under international law, the leadership at the top is responsible for all the evil that follows... and there's been plenty.

    The problem is that no one in Washington ever really pays for their transgressions. The Iran Contra class of '86 is still running around D.C. collecting paychecks. Until someone does pay for their crimes, the behavior in D.C. will not change.

    I was blown away by Mr. Moyer's interview earlier this week with Amy Goodman. His criticism of mainstream media, as always, was right on target.

    We just need to understand that the establishment media has a job to do. Their main function is to make sure that Status doesn't wander too far from Quo. As such, their narrative will most always serve those with institutional power and financial resource. That's why powerfully insightful dissedent voices are almost never heard outside of alternative venues--and sometimes PBS. The establishment media will tell us that the American people just don't want to hear these alternative thinkers. This seems analagous to admitting that a gang of deranged bandits may have invaded our home but the press can't send anyone to tell us about it because it might upset us. Of course, there is little logic in this reasoning. A more likely alternative for the lack of dissident voices in the press is that the establishment media has more in common with that gang of deranged bandits than it does with the general public.

    Thanks again for pushing us outside our comfort zones.


    "Mindless screed." Obviously, not, SirScud. But, what, no challenge to my position? Just an empty comment of name-calling without substance. Piteous. Simply, piteous!

    I await a thought-filled challenge to my position, Sirscud.

    Mr. Moyers:
    Thanks again for an informative and timely program. Mr. Sands has done what no American attorney has had the courage to do thus far, I will be getting his book today!
    Also, thank you for allowing the mindless screed of "polpundit" to remain on this blog, it is a stark reminder of just how uninformed and brainwashed many of our people have become.

    Melinda and Matthew:

    “Clown!?” “Nutcase!?” Can’t you do any better than that? Your comments referencing my comments were piteous! You obviously disagree with my comments, but where’s the substance of your opinions? Where’s the substance of your position on the issues I raised? All you can come with is “clown” and “nutcase?” Are you two lost in the world and words of Bill Moyers alone? Can’t you think for yourself?

    Reduced to its simplest element your position is “pundit doesn’t agree with what I think and therefore, he is a clown or a nutcase.” So, anyone that doesn’t think like you think is wrong. Anyone who doesn’t think like Bill Moyers thinks, or that doesn’t see things in the same light as you and Bill Moyers is a clown or a nutcase. Take off the blinders, fellow citizens. Look beyond what you are being fed. Think for yourself. Don’t allow anyone to think for you. Be your own person.

    Where’s your sense of democracy: you know, the free flow of ideas? The free exchange of ideas? To be fully informed, one must look at all facets of the issues and examine them for himself or herself? Or, would you rather have a world that thinks just like you without other thoughts and ideas? Being told to think a certain way, is . . . well, you know – thought control: one of the tenets of communism. Think about it.

    Oh, and Melinda: Surprise: I don’t have health insurance! I pay my own way. I work with people who have government insurance through the military as military dependents. They are in a universal healthcare system. And, the fact is: those elements of the piece on universal healthcare and the Gold Star healthcare treatment “government employees” receive is simply untrue. It’s a lie. People in the government and government employees truly are in a universal healthcare system and they wait and wait and wait to be seen by doctors – and wait and wait and wait for their diagnostic procedures to be afforded them. Then, they wait and wait and wait some more for a surgical procedure to be scheduled. Remember the Walter Reed debacle? Its not just veterans that are experiencing difficult times in government hospitals! And you want this government to be in charge of your health care? Maybe you should do some independent research. Look at Canada. Look at England. Look at France.

    But, boo hoo hoo: what about Dick Cheney? The Vice President gets special consideration simply because he is the Vice President and he’s in line to be the President should something happen to the President. You want the healthcare he’s afforded and Congress is afforded: run for office. Maybe instead of everyone being escalated to their standard, maybe they should be subjected to the real world of healthcare.

    Think you two. Think.

    How did a discussion about "enhanced interrogation" based on the book *The Torture Team* turn into a blog question about trade? And since when did the blog turn into making homework assignments for participants? I guess there really is a lot of discomfort about the subject, but its about time we get over it, because the legacy of war and torture goes back 10,000 years, and we aren't ever going to "grow up" as human beings if we don't start taking responsibility for our bad behavior, denial, complicity, and all the other ways in which the status quo of violence is perpetuated.

    Excellent program on Torture & HMO Scam fix; Medicare For All

    The production aired last night was dead on target. Comparable only to the program with Fein and Nichols that should be followed up with an appearance by Elizabeth Holtzman and Robert Wexler.



    What are the obstacles preventing your having Colleen Rowley FBI, Ray McGovern CIA, William Pepper Esq., Richard Gage AIA Architect, Rev. Frank Morales St. Marks Church, and Les Jamieson NYC Initiative to address the shortcomings of the Kean-Hamilton Commission's findings?


    Is a new investigation unpatriotic?

    Not at all. Here’s what some important Americans in our history have said about questioning our government:

    "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."
    - Mark Twain

    "Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism."
    -Thomas Jefferson

    "To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men."
    - Abraham Lincoln

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to prevail in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."
    - Edmund Burke

    "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it"
    - Albert Einstein

    Did I miss your discussion on H.R. 1955? Under the guise of a bill that calls for the study of “homegrown terrorism,” Congress is apparently trying to broaden the definition of terrorism to encompass both First Amendment political activity and traditional forms of protest such as nonviolent civil disobedience, according to civil liberties advocates, scholars and historians. - Jessica Lee

    Have you looked into Maurice “Hank” Greenberg law firm's connections to Bush, per Jerry Mazza?

    Excellent show Bill! You dealt with two of the most pressing problems for which we desperately need solutions. And in only one hour, too.

    "The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberties. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone." - Thomas Jefferson

    I have come to the conclusion that because there is so much profit in war,knowing torture will only contribute to perpetuating hostilities, the current regime indulges in this because this is the real agenda. They want to perteuate conflict. The equation war = profits is the formula that the US, as the biggest arms dealer, wants to fulfill their purposes. The equation war = profits is what keeps the billions flowing to the Pentagon. War without end is their wet dream and this is what allows immoral behavior, like torture, behavior that only provokes the enemy to continue. The war on terror is the latest excuse to make money. In the 50's it was the communists. But this time our military industrial complex has grown to such vast proportions that it has become a nation unto itself, destroying ours to support theirs. The war on whatever is the latest convenient distraction and those who want an endless war will pursue their agenda at any cost. Oil companies will bankrupt nations, car companies and airlines, make food expensive and people poor. Our government has already fallen to our corrupt and out of control executive branch that makes secret laws as we speak. They have captured our nation and are waging an economic war on us. As billions for social safety nets, food banks, healthcare, college loans are scrificed for the war profiteers.

    Bill..Prof sands is truely brave intellectual,hope his hardwork and dedication brings back the honor and glory to this great nation of ours,thank you so much for starting the healing process although as painfull as it gonna be...KS Sandhu


    Whoever "polpundit" is and whaever else he or she may be, he or she for certain is a nutcase. America isn't "wicked". but it definitley has some high up officials who truly are. I want to see these people tried and convicted for the criminals they are.

    Thank you for tonight's interview on "The Torture Team."

    Philippe Sands'2005 book "Lawless World" explores these arguments. It is an excellent reference to the program tonight. Thank you, Mr. Moyers for the program tonight.

    Again, Thanks to Bill for facing the essential issues head on! A recent Vanity Fair article by Philippe Sands, called "The Green Light"
    deals with some other implications of the Bush administration's responsibility for eroding the rule of law. This quote from the end, offers some possible int'l repercussions for the Bush "henchmen" (my term):

    "It would be wrong to consider the prospect of legal jeopardy unlikely. I remember sitting in the House of Lords during the landmark Pinochet case, back in 1999—in which a prosecutor was seeking the extradition to Spain of the former Chilean head of state for torture and other international crimes—and being told by one of his key advisers that they had never expected the torture convention to lead to the former president of Chile’s loss of legal immunity. In my efforts to get to the heart of this story, and its possible consequences, I visited a judge and a prosecutor in a major European city, and guided them through all the materials pertaining to the Guantánamo case. The judge and prosecutor were particularly struck by the immunity from prosecution provided by the Military Commissions Act. “That is very stupid,” said the prosecutor, explaining that it would make it much easier for investigators outside the United States to argue that possible war crimes would never be addressed by the justice system in the home country—one of the trip wires enabling foreign courts to intervene. For some of those involved in the Guantánamo decisions, prudence may well dictate a more cautious approach to international travel. And for some the future may hold a tap on the shoulder.

    “It’s a matter of time,” the judge observed. “These things take time.” As I gathered my papers, he looked up and said, “And then something unexpected happens, when one of these lawyers travels to the wrong place.”

    Philippe Sands is an international lawyer at the firm Matrix Chambers and a professor at University College London. His latest book is Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values (Palgrave Macmillan)."

    Fascinating interview. Thank you for "showing the light" on "darkness". Pressure from the to is always difficult to resist.

    Bill - This was a powerful and important interview. Thank you.

    Thank God for Bill Moyer!! Who's this clown polpundit? He must have a government job with full insurance at Guantanamo.


    Thank you for another rollicking night of informative truths that just aren’t found anywhere else in the media. Your piece on the “Torture Team” was magnificent. What a bunch of scoundrels! You have once again exposed the corruptness rampant in government, but the actions of these lawyers, of the Vice President and, I dare say, the President are over the top. Even if the entire piece was eventually relegated to only three top terrorists, the idea of torturing these poor terrorists is incomprehensible. What a smear on America. What a smear on the government. What a smear on the bureaucratic Neanderthals that run our government. Thanks for denouncing America. How evil we are!

    Then your article on denouncing America’s healthcare system was too much! Bravo to you. Again, you are right, you are right, America is a terrible place. Universal healthcare is just what America needs. We should take the healthcare system that is so broken and obsolete in the worldview and turn it over to the government to run. Certainly, the bureaucrats will do better with our healthcare system than they did with our social security. They wouldn’t rob the healthcare system like they did and still do with social security. Shucks, naw, they wouldn’t do that. They will certainly do better with our healthcare system than they did running this torture-laden illegal war we are mired in. That’s just a fluke. And, they will certainly do better with giving us Gold-Star healthcare just like the V.P. gets even though the government hasn’t done a blasted thing in thirty-three years in addressing America’s dependence on foreign oil. No.

    Man, Bill, in assessing your show, you once again proved that America has lost its standing in the world. America is evil. America is wicked. There isn’t one thing America does right. America is just a sorry lot – its too far gone to do anything about it. There just isn’t any good news about America anymore. Thanks Bill, for pointing that out. You’re a great reminder every Friday night.

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