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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Best Way Forward on Torture Accountability: Special Prosecutor or Truth Commission?
23 May 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Best Way Forward on Torture Accountability: Special Prosecutor or Truth Commission?

Interview with Elizabeth de la Vega, former U.S. prosecutor, conducted by Scott Harris

Although President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated his view that he'd rather look forward than backward with regard to the Bush administration's torture and abuse of U.S.-held detainees, the issue just won't go away. A steady stream of revelations about President Bush's torture program have trickled out since President Obama released the now-infamous Bush Justice Department memos detailing the authorization of "waterboarding" and other harsh interrogation methods.

Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal, that the Bush administration's sanction of torture against key terrorist suspects "was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S., but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda."

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. has become the focus of Republican efforts to distract the public from focusing on Bush administration culpability. Citing reports that the then House minority leader had been briefed early on about Bush administration torture of prisoners, Pelosi responded by accusing the CIA of misleading her and Congress about the specifics of administration torture policy. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor, who explains her belief that a rush to appoint a special prosecutor could weaken the case against Bush administration officials who violated international and U.S. law by authorizing torture.

Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega is author of the book, "United States v. George W. Bush et al." Read her articles online at



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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
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Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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