Friday, January 16, 2009

Holder: 'Waterboarding is Torture' and Gitmo Will Close

By Ben Trott

As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, Eric J. Holder's Senate confirmation hearing began yesterday and is expected to continue today. He has been nominated as Attorney General.

In the following video excerpt from yesterday's hearing, Holder states that waterboarding is torture and the President of the United States does not have the authority to sanction it.

In this next video, he reiterates Obama's statement that 'Guantánamo will be closed', although 'it will not be an easy task'. He hints that it may well take some time:

(On this question, you might like to take a look at Willem Buiter's Maverecon blog over at the Financial Times. Buiter, the former Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and currently a Professor at the London School of Economics, in a strongly worded posting argues that 'The moral turpitude and ethical spinelessness of the Bush administration over the Guantánamo Bay detention camp have also infected president-elect Barack Obama.' The right thing to do, he argues, is simple: 'Just after midnight, on Tuesday January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama officially becomes the 44th president of the United States of America [actually, it's 12:00 noon that he becomes President, not midnight - but we get the gist, he means: right away. BT], all remaining Guantánamo detainees are put on a plane and are flown to the USA, where they are put under the jurisdiction and control of the US court system.')

And here he fudges his answer as to whether or not he would pursue prosecutions against members of the Bush administration - hedging his bets between a 'we don't want to criminalise policy differences' and 'nobody is above the law' position.

He was also quizzed on his basketball skills.

Comment and initial (generally positive) response to Holder's answers can be found at the Daily Kos as well as the Nation and the Huffington Post.

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