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Age of Obama
Barack Obama's presidency

Bush End Game
George W. Bush's presidency since 2007

Bush - Second Term
George W. Bush's presidency from 2005-06

Bush - First Term
George W. Bush's presidency, 2000-04

Who Is Bob Gates?
The secret world of Defense Secretary Gates

2004 Campaign
Bush Bests Kerry

Behind Colin Powell's Legend
Gauging Powell's reputation.

The 2000 Campaign
Recounting the controversial campaign.

Media Crisis
Is the national media a danger to democracy?

The Clinton Scandals
Behind President Clinton's impeachment.

Nazi Echo
Pinochet & Other Characters.

The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics.

Contra Crack
Contra drug stories uncovered

Lost History
America's tainted historical record

The October Surprise "X-Files"
The 1980 election scandal exposed.

From free trade to the Kosovo crisis.

Other Investigative Stories



The Republican Ayatollahs

By David Swanson
August 20, 2009

Editor’s Note: Nine Republican senators have complained to Attorney General Eric Holder that any investigation of the Bush administration’s torture of terrorism suspects would be unfair, bad for CIA morale, and likely to contribute to future attacks on Americans.

Strangely, this Republican protest parallels complaints from conservative Iranian officials opposed to any investigation of alleged abuse of people detained during protests over Iran’s disputed election, as David Swanson of notes in this guest essay that suggests Sen. Kit Bond and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may have been twins separated at birth:

You gotta keep 'em separated. My colleagues over at Velvet Revolution noticed a striking resemblance between certain Republican senators here at home and certain theocrats over yonder in Iran.

"You can't necessarily spot it by looking at them. You have to pay attention to what they say.

The Iranians say that prosecuting torturers within the Iranian government would endanger Iran:

"Parliament speaker Ali Larijani called last Wednesday for an investigation but a day later said [Mehdi] Karroubi's allegations were unfounded and could be used by Iran's enemies. On Friday, prayer leaders nationwide -- all appointed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- denounced Karroubi, saying his accusations had undermined respect for the country's leaders.

“'This was a letter with which America celebrated. It was a letter that was Israel's celebration,' said Ahmadi Khatami, a leader of Friday prayers in Tehran. 'The honorable judiciary said unequivocally that sexual assault, which this gentleman has alleged, is a lie.'"

Absurd, right? Just protecting themselves and waving a lousy flag, right? But, wait . . .

Republican senators Kit Bond of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Kyl of Arizona, and Jeff Sessions of Alabama just sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder explaining that prosecuting torturers within the U.S. government would endanger the United States:

The appointment of a special prosecutor could "have serious consequences, not just for the honorable members of the intelligence community, but also for the security of all Americans," they wrote.

"We will not know the lost opportunities to prevent attacks, the policies to protect the nation left on the table, due to fear of future policy disagreement being expressed through an indictment. It is hard to imagine how the Justice Department could take that risk after September 11, given that the foremost duty of the Department is to protect Americans.

"The intelligence community would be left to wonder whether actions taken today in the interest of national security will be subject to legal recriminations when the political winds shift. It is well past time for the Obama Administration to lift the cloud that has been placed over those in the intelligence community and let them return to the job of saving American lives."

Absurd, right? Just protecting themselves and waving a lousy flag, right?


David Swanson is the author of the upcoming book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press.  You can pre-order it for a discount price at

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