BUSH’S TEASER PARDONS: WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP.
Bush is softening up the public with teaser pardons of low profile people convicted of various Federal offenses. In this way he will provide some cover as being egalitarian when he pardons the big fish out of necessity.
Here are the some of the little fish he pardoned or had their sentences commuted recently as reported by the Associated Press:
As you can see these are run of the mill people convicted of run of the mill offenses. Some appear to be the victim of circumstance. None involves a public official convicted of felonies committed while holding public office.
This is just the lead up to the round of pardons of the big names like Michael Milken, Conrad Black, Lewis Libby and Randy Duke Cunningham to name a few of the people already convicted of crimes.
We still don’t know what will come in the next round of pardons the Associated Press speculates:
We can expect to see the controversial pardons on the day Bush leaves office . In the case of Libby , Valerie Plame has a civil suit pending against him, Cheney and Rove which is on appeal after it was dismissed on immunity grounds in a lower court. Will a pardon of Libby also exonerate him in the civil suit? What about a blanket pardon for Cheney, Rove and Gonzales for both criminal acts and civil liability for acts committed in office.
In the case of Gonzales he wrote the legal memos authorizing the rough interrogations and water boarding. He also was involved in the dismissal of the seven attorney’s general on political gounds.
Rove is accused of masterminding the wrongful prosecution of many public officials such as former Governor Don Seligman of Alabama and prominent attorneys who donated money to democratic candidates notably John Edwards. These campaign donations were usually treated as misdemeanors or lesser offenses punished by small fines or reprimands in the past. However under Bush and Rove they were treated as felonies with imprisonment, fines and disbarment as punishment. This was to dissuade democratic fund raising.
If water boarding is held to be torture and therefore a war crime Cheney and Gonzales and perhaps Bush and the people who actually carried the procedure out would be liable criminally and civilly after Bush leaves office. They would be subject to the Yamashita or Medina standard developed by the U.S. courts. They could be prosecuted for torture, Guantanamo and other violations not just in the United States but also at the The International Criminal Court in The Hague. There any Bush pardons would not be a defense.
This also would be an unlikely event.
The “Yamashita or Medina Standard” Or Command Responsiblity.
This precedent is based upon the rule set by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Yamashita was charged with “unlawfully disregarding and failing to discharge his duty as a commander to control the acts of members of his command by permitting them to commit war crimes. Medina was the Captain in charge of the soldiers involved in the My Lai massacre during the Viet Nam War. Yamashita was hung by the U.S Army under General MacArthur’s direction. Medina was found not guilty. The fact that the Japanese lost the war and the Vietnamese never had jurisdiction over Medina may have something to do with the outcome of these cases.
However the principle of law still stands and it has been applied all the way up to political leaders as in the case of Slobodan Milošević The President of the Yugoslavian Federation. Milošević was indicted in May 1999, during the Kosovo War, by the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity in Kosovo. Charges of violating the laws or customs of war, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in Croatia and Bosnia and genocide in Bosnia were added a year and a half later. Slobodan Milošević died during his trial at the Hague.
Also Charles Taylor former President of Liberia, was indicted by the United Nations in th Criminal Courts at the Hague for Crimes Against Humanity, Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions… and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law. His trial has not been concluded.
The Nixon Pardon.
President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after he left office for past criminal acts and civil
liability. Ford said he wanted to put an end to the divisiveness of Watergate and unite the country. The pardon saved Nixon from years of criminal and civil suits and their consequences.
Many think that Ford was not reelected because of this pardon.