Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Covert revelations ratting the Cheney

Cheney's secret plan pushed legal limits

Paramilitary units key to CIA program

Bush's ghosts threaten Obama's agenda

Given the excesses of the Bush years there are many of us inside the US and elsewhere who want to see a full investigation into illegal activity sanctioned by the administration. Despite the dramatic headlines it is highly unlikely these new revelations will trigger any serious investigations.

New governments are generally reluctant to launch ‘truth commissions’ to launch inquiries into their predecessors, regardless of how serious or provable allegations might be. There are some sound reasons for the reluctance, first and foremost the risk of opening a ‘Pandora’s Box’ with the potential to cross party lines.

The usual reason put, and one with a touch of logic, is the need to go forward and not be distracted by the past. I’m not entirely convinced by that argument, but I can see there are still other issues to be considered. A major one is clear proof of wrongdoing; covert activities for example are designed to exclude paper trails and deniability.

More to the point, these latest Cheney allegations relate to just one set of potentially illegal activities stretching back to the Kennedy years and beyond and implicating numerous foreign governments. Social and political fallout would stretch far beyond Bush’s administration and the USA.

Still little transparency

Part of the problem in each of our countries is that we pay lip service to transparency, but implement it only when it suits the political masters. I’m continually frustrated in my research in Australia by sections of key inquiry reports which remain sealed from public view. This can only happen when supposedly opposing political parties have something to hide.

The inquiries I’ve been looking into, related to international drug trafficking, involve both Australian and US administrations with potential for sanctioned illegal activities and explicit corruption. Fortunately for those powers who choose to hide their activities the general public either chooses to ignore or simply doesn’t care.

My concern is that our democracies only function in name, that we are subject to the whims of those who hold the power and the secrets. We can change governments, but there will always remain key unelected elements to guard the gates of secrecy. Such discussions are quickly dismissed under the label of conspiracy theory, but trite labels do not answer the doubts.

Not that Cheney will answer any doubts. He’s not particularly interested in public opinion and is safe in the knowledge that secrets will remain secret. So investigating the past might remain a dim hope, but rooting out those who continue to infect our governments with sanctioned illegality is something we should be focusing on.


lindsaylobe said...

Well said: moving on only heightens the risk of repeating the past and risk sanctioned torture by the few. I think a full investigation is essential.
Best wishes

Cart said...

I agree, but history doesn't, at least not the investigation aspect.