In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending Event

"The evidence
is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the
fact that this was torture."

These are the words of

Manfred Nowak
, the UN official appointed by the
Commission on Human Rights to

examine cases of torture
. Nowak has concluded
that President Obama is legally obligated to
prosecute former President George W. Bush and former
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. [UN
Rapporteur: Initiate criminal proceedings against
Bush and Rumsfeld now
By Scott Horton,
January 21, 2009]

If President Obama`s bankster
economic team finishes off what remains of the

economy, Obama, to deflect the public`s attention
from his own failures and Americans` growing
hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to
prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the
interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal

In the December 2008 issue of
CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his

on an inglorious chapter in the history
of the Harvard Law
, provides the
answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell,
both Harvard law students, were

politically active
against the Korean War. It
was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were
subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds
that the subpoena was a violation of the First


Law School

immediately began pressuring the students to
cooperate with Congress. The other students
ostracized them. Pressures from the Dean and faculty
turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated
magna cum laude, they were kept off the
Harvard Law
. Their scholarships were terminated. A
majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their
expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did

Law School

betray two honor students who stood up for the US
Constitution? Cockburn concludes that the Harvard
law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in
order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement
by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal
cowardice every day. Recently we had the case of
Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein,

tenure was blocked
by the cowardly president of
DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his
own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which
successfully imposed on a Catholic university the
principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic

The same calculation of
self-interest causes American journalists to serve
as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US
Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest
of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw
that torture was a policy coming down from the top,
they knew that doing the right thing would cost them
their careers. They trimmed their sails. One who did
not was Major General Antonio Taguba. Instead of
covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal,
General Taguba wrote an

honest report
that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that
protects whistleblowers, it is always the
whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers. When
it finally became public that the Bush regime was
committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on
Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after
the whistleblower. Nothing was done about the

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic)
Department continued to assert that
"we are a
nation of law."

The Bush regime was a lawless
regime. This makes it difficult for the Obama regime
to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead
naturally into a war crimes inquiry. General Taguba
said that the Bush regime committed war crimes.
President Obama was a war criminal by his third day
in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone
attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people,
including 3 children. The bombing and strafing of
homes and villages in Afghanistan by
US forces and
puppets are also war crimes. Obama cannot enforce
the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position
territorial expansion is not constrained by any
international law. The US government is
complicit in
`s war crimes
Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and
that the

government made the crimes possible by providing the
weapons and diplomatic support. What

and the

did in

and Gaza
is no different from crimes for which Nazis were
tried at
understands this, and the Israeli government is
currently preparing its defense, which will be led
by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman.
UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel`s massacre of Gazans to the
Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw
Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have

be held accountable for war crimes. Even eight
Israeli human rights groups have called for an
investigation into Israel`s war crimes.

Obama`s order to close
Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially,
Obama`s order is a public relations event. The
tribunal process had already been shut down by US
courts and by military lawyers, who refused to
prosecute the fabricated cases. The vast majority of
the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by
Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid
Americans as
"terrorists." Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us
were "the
most dangerous people alive,"
have already been

Obama`s order said nothing
about closing the CIA`s secret prisons or halting
the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA
kidnaps people and sends them to third world
countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks
that opportunistic politicians never take in order
for the

to become a nation of law instead of a nation in
which the agendas of special interests override the

Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in
universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It
cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants
and defense attorneys have given up on trials and
cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by
government. As Jonathan Turley said recently,

"is where principles go to die."

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.