Tap Dance

January 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, politics straight up | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
"We're not commenting."

Frances Benjamin Johnston's cats, Herman and Vermin, seated on brick railing of New Orleans house, Louisiana. (Library of Congress)

Gosh, what could possibly be a motivation for Robert Flanagan, son of acting US Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, being involved in an attempted tapping of Senator Landrieu’s office phone?

Landrieu submitted the names of two people to replace outgoing USA Donald Washington. William J. Flanagan was not on the list. Stephanie A. Finley was one of Landrieu’s picks. Last week it was announced that Finley is the president’s nominee for the position.

My guess is that the Flanagan family has been stewing over this slight since July 2009.


Violations of Justice Continue.

April 12, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

This is disappointing, to say the least:

(NYT) The Obama administration said Friday that it would appeal a district court ruling that granted some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to file lawsuits seeking their release. The decision signaled that the administration was not backing down in its effort to maintain the power to imprison terrorism suspects for extended periods without judicial oversight.

In a court filing, the Justice Department also asked District Judge John D. Bates not to proceed with the habeas-corpus cases of three detainees at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, Afghanistan. Judge Bates ruled last week that the three — each of whom says he was seized outside of Afghanistan — could challenge their detention in court.

What Hilzoy Said.

February 10, 2009 at 12:47 am | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,
Portrait of Mr. Pruitts children II (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

Portrait of Mr. Pruitt's children II (Theodor Horydczak, photographer)

This whole thing makes me sick.

I can easily see why we might not want to disclose which other governments we have asked for assistance, especially assistance that involves taking a scalpel to someone’s genitalia. If we asked Morocco for help, Morocco might not take kindly to our turning around and publicizing that fact. And I can see why we might not want to disclose which companies work with the CIA.

But if the government cares about protecting these secrets, it ought to try very hard not to create situations in which disclosing them is the only way to remedy a horrific injustice. It is not OK for the government first to engage in the kind of conduct described above, and then to say that its victims can have no legal recourse, because of national security concerns. And one of the things that’s really shocking about the DoJ position is its apparently complete lack of consideration for the rights of the people who were abducted and sent off to be tortured at our behest.

Sometimes, when you do something really appalling, you lose the right to complain that making things right will harm your interests. I think this is one of those times. The Obama administration apparently disagrees.

So, Obama administration: you screwed this one up in a major, major way. Stop it. Stop it now. Work your hearts out to get the State Secrets Protection Act reintroduced in Congress and passed into law. Try to do right by people like the plaintiffs in this case. Don’t just say: it would be a problem for us to let people we shipped off to be tortured have their day in court. Try to make it right.

You have it in your power to make me proud of my government again. But this is really, really, really not a very good start.

The End of American Torture.

January 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Executive Orders, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Abu Ghraib prison photo released February 15, 2006 by Australias Special Broadcasting Service TV.

Abu Ghraib prison photo released February 15, 2006 by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service TV.

The full Executive Order is not yet posted at WhiteHouse.gov but when it is, you will find it here.

Executive Order revokes Executive Order 13440 that interpreted Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. It requires that all interrogations of detainees in armed conflict, by any government agency, follow the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines. The Order also prohibits reliance on any Department of Justice or other legal advice concerning interrogation that was issued between September 11, 2001 and January 20, 2009. The Order requires all departments and agencies to provide the ICRC access to detainees in a manner consistent with Department of Defense regulations and practice. It also orders the CIA to close all existing detention facilities and prohibits it from operating detention facilities in the future. Finally, the Order creates a Special Task Force with two missions. The Task Force will conduct a review of the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines to determine whether different or additional guidance is necessary for the CIA. It will also look at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries to be sure that our policies and practices comply with all obligations and are sufficient to ensure that individuals do not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred. This Task Force will be led by the Attorney General with the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence as co-Vice Chairs.

h/t Dependable Renegade and Attackerman

Republicans Obstructing Justice.

January 22, 2009 at 12:10 am | Posted in Department of Justice, senate, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Removing An Obstruction

Removing An Obstruction

Marc Rich was the first excuse and lasted longer than the trip down memory lane to revisit the Elian Gonzalez drama.

But the real reason Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona are caviling on the confirmation of Eric Holder?

They want him to say “whether he will prosecute intelligence agents for torture if they were following orders and acting within what they believed to be legal guidelines.”

“Part of my concern, frankly, relates to some of his statements at the hearing in regard to torture and what his intentions are with regard to intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based upon their understanding of what the law was,” said Cornyn.

Apparently the good senator has never heard the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Or, for that matter, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

If the standard Cornyn seeks to have applied here were at work everywhere, the prisons would be empty. Then what would Dick Cheney do for his pocket money?

UPDATE (1/23/09):

(WhiskeyFire) Anyway, all you need to know about the Republican party is that the first fight they’re willing to pick with the new administration is quite literally based on the moral principle that nobody should be prosecuted for torture. That’s actually quite a radical, dare I say extremist position to be taking, except of course from the point of view of an apparatchik for a vicious totalitarian regime or a member of the Washington Post editorial board.

Prosecuting Torture.

January 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,
Nuremberg Trials, 1945-1946, Birds-eye view of trial.

Nuremberg Trials, 1945-1946, Bird's-eye view of trial.

Europeans are talking about prosecuting the Bush administration for war crimes.

Barack Obama and his advisors need to recognize that the prosecutions will occur. The only issue now is whether America will face the additional humiliation of having the prosecutions brought by our closest allies because we lack the moral strength and resolve ourselves to do what is necessary.

The Marc Rich Pardon.

January 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, politics straight up | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House, Washington, D.C.  March 8, 1977.  (Marion S. Trikosko, photographer)

President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House, Washington, D.C. March 8, 1977. (Marion S. Trikosko, photographer)

Well, knock me down with a feather.

Echoing [then Israel’s prime minister Ehud] Barak’s pleas on behalf of Rich were Clinton’s old friend Shimon Peres, former Mossad director general Shabtai Shavit, and a host of other important figures in Israel and the American Jewish community. Winning the pardon was a top priority for Israeli officials because Rich had long been a financial and intelligence asset of the Jewish state, carrying out missions in many hostile countries where he did business.

* * *

Meanwhile the fugitive financier, as he is still known, has never returned from his lair in Zug, Switzerland, to the United States. (The mainstream press never mentions that, either.) In other words, he has never used the pardon — perhaps because he would first have to pay up tens of millions of dollars he owes in back taxes, a condition set by Clinton.

Clinton’s decision is subject to harsh criticism in both substance and appearance, even by smart people who know the truth. But the pardon power exists so that presidents will be free to make such hard choices for reasons of state. As a lame duck, Clinton had no other means to induce his Israeli partner to take any risk for peace. All of this has been ignored ever since by the likes of Arlen Specter and the Washington Post — and was obscured once more because Holder didn’t want to start an argument with the Washington establishment, which forgets nothing and, even more reliably, learns nothing.

It was more entertaining to gossip about what a putz Clinton was than to look at what else was going on.

What is really irritating to me is that the word “impeachment” was bandied about after the pardon of Marc Rich. But while we were living through eight years of endless impeachable offenses streaming out of the Bush administration, the public was told, no, no, impeachment is too divisive.


Ask Jack Bauer, Not the US Attorney General.

January 16, 2009 at 9:53 am | Posted in Department of Justice, torture | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Thank you, Eric Holder, for recognizing that life and fictional TV programs are two entirely different things.

It is concerning that a United States senator (John Cornyn) has the two confused.

CORNYN: Well, of course, torture’s illegal under international treaties and under domestic laws, and I’ve heard people talk about torture in expansive ways, where things like sleep deprivation, other techniques that maybe you would employ as an alternative are considered torture to them as well. But under my hypothetical, if that were the only thing standing between you and deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, you would decline to use that interrogation technique in order to save those lives. Is that correct?

HOLDER: Again, I think your hypothetical assumes a premise that I’m not willing to concede.

“Waterboarding has been recognized as torture since the Spanish Inquisition …”

Self-serving endorsement.

January 12, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Department of Justice | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Arkansas mother come to California for a new start, with husband and eleven children. Now a rural rehabilitation client. Tulare County, California.  November 1938.

Arkansas mother come to California for a new start, with husband and eleven children. Now a rural rehabilitation client. Tulare County, California. November 1938.

Former deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty is attempting to resuscitate his reputation by endorsing President-elect Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder.

You remember Paul McNulty. He’s one of the Bush administration officials involved in the firing of eight Attorneys General and compounded his malfeasance by lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee in February of 2007, claiming that the firings were “performance related,” later retracting his misleading testimony and blaming it on Monica Goodling.

Mr. McNulty may think this endorsement bolsters his credibility, but attempting to bootstrap yourself to more honest agents cannot wipe away the stain of your actions while in the employ of the Bush administration.

UPDATE (1/13/09): Paul McNulty’s name appears on page 18 of the final report of the Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring and Other Improper Personnel Actions in the Civil Rights Division.

Return of Justice

January 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Department of Justice | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Dawn Johnsen, President-Elect Obama’s nominee for the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC):

“In short, OLC must be prepared to say no to the President…. If the President desires only a rubberstamp, OLC will have to struggle mightily to provide an effective check on unlawful action. In addition to being prepared to say no, therefore, the assistant attorney general for OLC and other top Department of Justice officials must also be prepared to resign in the extraordinary event the President persists in acting unlawfully or demands that OLC legitimize unlawful activity.”

In February 2008 Ms. Johnsen wrote a guest post at IntLawGrrls titled “On Investigation of Post-9/11 Waterboarding” that you might find of interest.

There are additional published writings by her which can be accessed through her faculty profile page at Maurer School of Law where she is a professor and fellow (click on photo above).

Hilzoy has some observations.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.