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Criminal Prosecution and Accountability
The attempt to rehabilitate Tony Blair’s public image continues unabated. After editing the Evening Standard he will now be appearing on Wednesday 11 July alongside Ed Milliband at a dinner to promote British sport at the Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium. Help give him the welcome he deserves: War Criminals are not welcome here... or anywhere except at the International Criminal Court facing charges for war crimes. Please help spread the word in every way you can. And sign the TONY BLAIR NOT WELCOME HERE e-petition: http://bit.ly/MXrS33
War Criminals Not Welcome Here
Protest Wednesday 11 July 5.30pm
Main Entrance: Arsenal Emirates Stadium
London N5 1BU
Nearest tube Holloway, Arsenal or Finsbury Park.
How to get there: http://bit.ly/MXjWyK
Facebook event: http://on.fb.me/MXk0yB
For details and updates: http://bit.ly/MXnrFE
* E-PETITION: Make sure you sign the TONY BLAIR NOT WELCOME HERE e-petition:
* SEE Lindsey German: Why war criminal Tony Blair's comeback plan must be stopped in its tracks:
* SEE: Nowhere safe for Tony Blair as yet another attempt to arrest him for war crimes:
For two weeks now, Julian Assange has been at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, while he awaits the government's decision to offer him political asylum. Dennis Loo wrote about Assange's role in challenging the US empire, published just before the asylum request.
He ends with a challenge to us all:
By Dave Lindorff
There are two US presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now one of those Nobel laureate leaders is accusing the other, though without naming him, of actions that qualify as war crimes and impeachable crimes against the US Constitution.
By John Grant
Charging a man with murder in this place was like handing out speeding tickets in the Indy 500.
- Apocalypse Now
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Anita Colon was crying when she received the telephone call, but the caller knew hers were tears of joy.
The caller was her brother dialing her from a prison in Pennsylvania, where he is one of 480 persons serving a life-without-parole sentence for a crime ending in homicide, committed while they were teens.
From The Globe and Mail:
A military watchdog has rendered its long-awaited verdict on transfers of Canada’s battlefield prisoners to torture-prone jails in Afghanistan, saying eight soldiers can’t be held responsible because they were largely kept in the dark by senior Canadian Forces brass.
The Military Police Complaints Commission fought a losing battle with Defence Minister Peter MacKay and the rest of the Harper government as it tried to investigate allegations the military knew the detainees it turned over to Afghan officials would face abuse and mistreatment.
Mr. MacKay’s Conservatives battled the watchdog in court and succeeded in significantly limiting the scope of its investigation. The Defence Minister also refused to extend the term of the original chair of the commission so he could finish his probe.
The political parties in Washington, D.C., have switched sides for the moment. Now the Democrats accept presidential power abuses, while the Republicans are outraged, selectively, by a few of them. Host David Swanson gives his thoughts. Guest Elizabeth Holtzman discusses the possibility of creating a climate of accountability by prosecuting George W. Bush. Holtzman was a member of Congress and of the House Judiciary Committee that voted for articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. She proposed the bill that required review of state secrets claims, as well as the bill that created a special prosecutor -- a law that was allowed to lapse following Kenneth Starr's abuse of it. She was there for the creation of FISA. She has brought Nazi war criminals to justice. She was a leading advocate for impeaching George W. Bush. Liz Holtzman's new book, co-authored with Cynthia Cooper, is called Cheating Justice: How Bush and Cheney Attacked the Rule of Law and Plotted to Avoid Prosecution, and What We Can Do About It. In the book, and in this interview, Holzman builds a case that Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney went out of their way to carefully protect themselves from prosecution but nonetheless left themselves open to it.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!
Embed on your own site with this code:
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By Linn Washington, Jr.
A new book by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell is another display of this man’s savvy proclivity for self-promotion.
However, irrespective of the monstrous ego of this man known in Philadelphia as "Fast Eddy," Rendell is on target with the alarmingly accurate title of that book: A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I lost a friend from high school who had gone to the World Trade Center in New York City that day to make a speech. I cannot imagine the depth of the pain suffered by the families of the 9/11 victims.
I share their frustration with the delays in bringing the alleged perpetrators of the attacks to justice. Most recently, those delays have afflicted the military commission at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, that is trying the reputed mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and four associates for war crimes.
Hosni Mubarak's henchmen, including those in Washington and Arlington should be properly sentenced too, but Mubarak was given exactly the right sentence, one that demonstrates the power of nonviolence, the possibility of what could be imposed on tyrants like Bush and Obama if we were to all do our duty. This sentence will strengthen the peace and justice movement worldwide.
By John Grant
“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now. I sentence you to death.”
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
“It was easy.”
- Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury
The strict rule of law is an ideal and a fantasy. Conflicting and archaic words must be interpreted, and doing so is an art, not a science.
But there is an enormous chasm between honest attempts to approach the ideal of compliance with written law, and open disregard for it.
It is becoming standard practice for our government to enforce laws selectively or not at all, to openly defy laws, to enact laws in violation of the higher law called the Constitution or in violation of the treaties which that Constitution defines as the Supreme Law of the Land.
At the same time, charades of legality degrade it as an ideal: the International Criminal Court is not international, military justice makes a mockery of justice, etc. And anti-legal measures, like secret sections of the PATRIOT act that can be enforced against us but which we cannot be permitted to read in order to comply with, muddle for many people the very idea of lawfulness.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistni demand “extortion.”
By Dave Lindorff
It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence -- part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.
Lower courts to hear Iraqi civilians' claims of beatings, forced nudity, broken bones, and rape at hands of corporate defendants
Center for Constitutional Rights:
Tomorrow, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Europe's top human rights court based in Strasbourg, France, will hear arguments in El-Masri v. "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Tomorrow's hearing marks the first case to come before the court against a European nation for complicity in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program.
The case was brought against Macedonia by the Open Society Justice Initiative on behalf of Khaled El-Masri. El-Masri, a German citizen, who was abducted by Macedonian authorities at a border crossing in December 2003 and held incommunicado for 23 days. He was then handed over to CIA operatives who drugged, hooded, and strip-searched him before putting him on a secret flight to Afghanistan where he was secretly held, tortured and abused for about four months, only for the U.S. government to realize that they had the wrong person. Instead of acknowledging their mistake and sending him back to Germany with an apology, CIA operatives put El-Masri on another secret flight and dumped him on a hill in Albania, leaving him to make his own way home to Germany.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal will hear the second charge of Crime of Torture and War Crimes against former United States President George W. Bush and his associates for six days starting Monday.
By Dan De Walt
“This is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.”
-- Jeff Gearhart, Wall-Mart general counsel, on the firm’s Mexico bribery
[Torture] “is not the norm.”
-- Mike Pannek, Abu Ghraib prison warden.
“This is not who we are.”
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.
“This is not who we are.”
By Terry Baynes, Reuters, via dailypress.com
(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday ruled that John Yoo, a former legal counsel to the Bush administration, is immune from a lawsuit by an American citizen convicted on terrorism charges who said he was tortured at a military jail in South Carolina.
Jose Padilla, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2007, had accused Yoo of helping to formulate policies under which those designated as "enemy combatants" by the U.S. government were interrogated and detained.
The San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision which had allowed the suit to proceed.
By Dave Lindorff
As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new president and Congress this November, it is time to make it clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so many people with such inflated expectations four years ago (myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Let me count the ways:
War is legal, but pointing out its illegality is not mistaken; it's irrelevant and un-strategic. That's the argument I'm hearing from a number of quarters.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The retired top CIA officer who ordered the destruction of videos showing waterboarding says in a new book that he was tired of waiting for Washington's bureaucracy to make a decision that protected American lives.
Jose Rodriguez, who oversaw the CIA's once-secret interrogation and detention program, also lashes out at President Barack Obama's administration for calling waterboarding torture and criticizing its use.
"I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled 'torturers' by the president of the United States," Rodriguez writes in his book, "Hard Measures."
The book is due out April 30. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.
(AFP) WASHINGTON — US citizen Jose Padilla, who was jailed for four years as an "enemy combatant" and claims to have been tortured, has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate his civil case against top US officials.
His bid to sue former and present officials -- including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- was rejected by an appeals court in January, which said they enjoyed official immunity.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Padilla's mother Estela Lebron appealed the ruling. Padilla is in a maximum-security prison in Colorado after being convicted in 2007 of aiding a homegrown Al-Qaeda cell.
The ACLU claims in the suit that Padilla, who was imprisoned without charge for nearly four years as an "enemy combatant," was subjected to a range of abuse while being held in a Navy brig in South Carolina.
Occupy The Justice Department Challenges Obama Administration Integrity on Prosecutor Misconduct Issue
By Linn Washington, Jr.
One of the issues driving protesters participating in the April 24, 2012 Occupy The Justice Department demonstration is an issue that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knows well: prosecutorial misconduct.
Holder knows this misconduct issue well because he has criticized it during congressional testimony, in fact as recently as March 2012 when he was commenting on a special prosecutor’s report castigating the wrongdoing of federal prosecutors.
That wrongdoing, Holder acknowledged, unlawfully tainted the corruption investigation and 2008 trial of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption in his home state of Alaska.
"Self-purification through suffering is easier, I tell you: easier -- than that destiny which you are paving for many of them by wholesale acquittals in court. You are merely planting cynicism in their souls." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The United States Congress is outraged. Russia, it seems, may have wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and murdered a whistleblower. In the land of the free, our good representatives are outraged, I tell you. And not just I. NPR will tell you. This calls for action. There's a bill in the Senate and a bill in the House. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.
Who wouldn't support the rule of law and accountability?
Well, let me think.
Oh, I know. The United States Congress.
Bush and Cheney are selling books confessing to the crime of war and all that comes with it, including lawless imprisonment and torture. They have openly confessed in their books and on television, repeatedly, to a form of torture that the current Attorney General of the United States admits is torture. Bush's torture program tortured numerous people to death. And what has Congress wrought?
No enforcement of subpoenas.
No defunding of operations.
No criminalizing of secrecy.
No protection of whistleblowers.
No mandating of diplomacy, reparations, foreign aid, or commitments to international standards.
In other words, we have no Congress with the right to talk about the Rule of Law or Accountability without being mocked.
But keep hope alive.
Change is on the way.
Up in the sky!
It's Captain Peace Prize!
Obama launches wars without bothering to lie to Congress or the United Nations, has formalized the powers of lawless imprisonment, rendition, and murder, and places the protection of Bush and Cheney above almost anything else -- certainly above the rule of law or accountability.
Obama has badgered Spain, Italy, Germany, and the U.K. to leave the Bush gang in peace, publicly instructed the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute, and expanded claims of "State Secrets" beyond anything previously imagined in order to shut down legal accountability. Italy has convicted CIA agents in absentia, and Obama has not shipped them over to do their time. Poland is prosecuting its bit players in U.S. crimes. Former top British official Jack Straw is being hauled into court for his tangential role. But Obama has chosen a path to success in Washington, or thinks he has, and that path is immunity for anyone with power.
The trouble is that Obama now wants to apply that same standard to Russia, and Congress won't stand for it. Obama is opposed to the Hold Russia Accountable Act because he prefers to kiss up to the government of Russia. It's a policy that has worked beautifully for him at home. Why not apply it abroad?
Of course, the United States has no moral standing to speak against imprisonment, torture, or murder. The United States imprisons more of its people than any other country, keeps hundreds of thousands of them in supermaxes or long-term isolation, tolerates prison rape and violence, openly treats torture as a policy option, facilitates torture in what may be the two countries torturing the greatest number of people today: Iraq and Afghanistan, and kills with capital punishment, special forces, and drones.
The United States has no moral standing to speak against the punishment of whistleblowers, Obama having prosecuted seven of them under the Espionage Act of 1917, fittingly enough for the offense of having made U.S. war-making look bad by revealing facts about it.
But the answer cannot be to support Russian crimes just because there are U.S. crimes. Congress, revolting as it is to say, is right: the Russian government should be held to a decent rule of law. And it should be held to it through the language that speaks louder than words: action. U.S. immunity for torturers is one of the greatest factors in the current spread of acceptability for torture around the world.
Congress should impeach Bush and Obama, enforce its subpoenas, ship convicted CIA criminals to Italy, strengthen the War Powers Act, criminalize war profiteering, ban private mercenaries, ban unconstitutional detentions, ban secret budgets and laws and agencies, ban rendition, and ratify and enforce the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Congress should also cease encircling Russia with missiles, and end its wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.
Or, short of moving in a useful direction, sad to say, the best thing the United States Congress could do for the rule of law in Russia at the moment would be to shut the hell up.