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Criminal Prosecution and Accountability
By David Johnston, New York Times
Washington - A Justice Department team responsible for investigating accusations that civilian government employees had abused detainees has decided against prosecution in most of the nearly 20 cases referred in the last two years by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, said lawyers who have been officially briefed on the effort.
The prosecution team, which was established in June 2004 at the United States attorney's office in Alexandria, Va., has not brought a single indictment and has been plagued by problems.
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney will be called to testify on behalf of his former chief of staff in the CIA leak case, defense attorneys said Tuesday, ending months of speculation over what would be historic testimony.
"We're calling the vice president," attorney Ted Wells said in court. Wells represents defendant I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who is charged with perjury and obstruction.
By Associated Press
San Diego - A Marine captain has been told he will be criminally charged in connection with the killing of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha, his attorney said Monday.
Capt. Lucas McConnell, 31, was told by his commanding officer that he will be charged with dereliction of duty, said Kevin McDermott, his attorney.
"We're just absolutely clueless as to what kind of dereliction of duty he could have committed," he said, adding that his client was not present during the killings.
By SEAN D. HAMILL, New York Times
The federal government turned their lives upside down, but an Iranian immigrant couple, Aliakbar and Shahla Afshari, say they always believed in the system.
The Afsharis’ faith was rewarded earlier this month when the federal government admitted it made a mistake more than two-and-a-half years ago, when they were fired from their jobs with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Morgantown, W.Va. The reason given for their dismissals was that they had failed a secret background check, 18 years after moving to the United States.
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
Washington - In the first legal decision on a federal law that denies access to U.S. courts to detainees in the war on terrorism, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that foreign prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, could not sue for freedom.
But, in a split decision, U.S. District Judge James Robertson also ruled that the law's denial of that right to the more than 12 million legal immigrants living in the United States was unconstitutional.
By Catherine Komp, New Standard
Dec. 14 – A Canadian survivor of "extraordinary rendition" is appealing a federal court's decision to dismiss his lawsuit against the US government.
Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, charged the US government with violations of due process and the Torture Victim Protection Act after US officials detained him in 2002 and ordered his removal to Syria where he says he was imprisoned and tortured at the hands of Syrian officials. More than 12 months passed before Arar was finally released.
By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press
Washington - A federal judge upheld the Bush administration's new terrorism law Wednesday, agreeing that Guantanamo Bay detainees do not have the right to challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson is the first to address the new Military Commissions Act and is a legal victory for the Bush administration at a time when it has been fending off criticism of the law from Democrats and libertarians.
By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press
Washington - A federal judge on Friday appeared reluctant to give Donald H. Rumsfeld immunity from torture allegations, yet said it would be unprecedented to let the departing defense secretary face a civil trial.
"What you're asking for has never been done before," U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan told lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union.
By Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor
The Justice Department has asked the judge to throw out the ACLU-supported case against the former defense secretary.
As Donald Rumsfeld prepares to leave his job as secretary of Defense, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is seeking to hold him responsible for what it says was widespread torture carried out at his direction. [Editor's Note: The original version was changed because the American Civil Liberties Union says its civil suit is not intended to prove a war crime.]
By Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times
Washington - At least five marines are expected to be charged, possibly as early as Wednesday, with the killing of 24 Iraqis, many of them unarmed women and children, in the village of Haditha in November 2005, according to a Marine official and a lawyer involved in the case.
The charges are expected to range from negligent homicide to murder, said a senior Pentagon official familiar with the military's nearly nine-month investigation into the episode. Several marines from the Third Platoon of Company K, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, are accused of killing the villagers after a roadside explosion killed one of their comrades.
[Note: For those in the Santa Barbara area in California, Elizabeth de la Vega will be speaking on December 10th at a rally, one of many events being organized around the country for Human Rights (and Impeachment) Day. She'll be on stage with Ann Wright, Dennis Loo, and David Swanson (who also writes for Tomdispatch.com) among others. For more on this event and others that day visit Swanson's AfterDowningStreet.org website.]
From the ACLU
“I have come to America seeking three things. An acknowledgement that the United States government is responsible for kidnapping, abusing and detaining me; an explanation as to why I was singled out for this treatment; and an apology because I am an innocent man who has never been charged with any crime.” -- Khaled El-Masri, a victim of extraordinary rendition.
The case of our client Khaled El-Masri is one we should all be watching carefully. Yesterday, he stood up in a courtroom to challenge the Bush administration's use of "extraordinary rendition," abduction, detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.
German Citizen Wants Apology for US Role in His Abduction, Torture
by Catherine Komp, The New Standard
Richmond, Va.; Nov. 29 – A federal appeals court heard arguments here Tuesday from civil rights advocates trying to reinstate a landmark lawsuit against the CIA over alleged human rights abuses.
Federal attorneys argued vigorously to keep the case from going to trial.
By LINDA DEUTSCH, Associated Press
A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutional and vague.
Some parts of the Sept. 24, 2001 order tagging 27 groups and individuals as "specially designated global terrorists" were too vague and could impinge on First Amendment rights of free association, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said.
Think of it as a Tomdispatch.com milestone. This is now the first website to "indict" the President, the Vice President, and their colleagues for defrauding us into war in Iraq. I put that "indict" in quotes because what follows, as former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega makes clear in her new book United States v. George W. Bush et al., is "not an actual indictment." It can't be, of course; but consider it the second best thing.
Keep in mind, I've run Tomdispatch.com for only a few years, but I've been a book editor in mainstream publishing for over 30 years. Sometime last spring, I was on the phone with former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega talking about books she might someday write, when she suddenly said to me, "You know what I'd like to do?" When I asked what, she replied, "What I've done all my life."
Revolution Interview with Attorney Michael Ratner on the Case vs Rumsfeld
The Revolution Interview is a special feature to acquaint our readers with the views of significant figures in art, theater, music, literature, science, sports and politics. The views expressed by those we interview are, of course, their own, and they are not responsible for the views expressed elsewhere in Revolution and on our website.
Arguing lawsuit for Valerie Plane and Joseph Wilson could be his highest-profile action yet
By Aaron Kinney, Tri-Valley Herald
BURLINGAME— Joe Cotchett has been involved in a host of high-profile cases, but the one set to begin early next year may end up dwarfing them all.
The Burlingame-based attorney is the lead trial lawyer in the civil lawsuit filed by ex-CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, presidential adviser Karl Rove and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage.
By Ryan Singel, Wired News
San Francisco - Forty-eight lawsuits against the nation's largest telecommunications companies for alleged participation in a warrantless government surveillance program had their first day all together in court Friday, in a courtroom packed with more than two dozen lawyers for the government, the companies and civil liberties groups.
The class-action lawsuits accuse BellSouth, Cingular Wireless, Sprint, MCI, Verizon, AT&T and even cable provider Comcast of violating various privacy and fair business laws for allegedly collaborating with the government's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans' overseas phone calls, domestic phone logs and internet usage. Together, the suits seek millions in damages.
By Guardian Unlimited
A US soldier has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for conspiring to rape a 14-year-old Iraqi and kill her and her family.
Specialist James Barker was yesterday told he must serve 20 years before he could be considered for parole.
The 23-year-old - one of four US soldiers accused over the rape and killings - pleaded guilty and agreed to give evidence against the others to avoid the death penalty.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to conduct a full, independent and public inquiry into the role of high-ranking U.S. officials in the abuse and torture of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and elsewhere around the world. Sign the call.
FROM WND'S JERUSALEM BUREAU
Fox News reporters freed for $2 million
Terrorists used cash for arms to 'hit Zionists,'
payment said to encourage more abductions
By Aaron Klein
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM – Palestinian terror groups and security organizations in the Gaza Strip received $2 million from a U.S. source in exchange for the release of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, who were kidnapped here last summer, a senior leader of one of the groups suspected of the abductions told WND.
By James Vicini, Reuters
Washington - The Bush administration said on Monday that Guantanamo prisoners have no constitutional right to challenge their detention before U.S. federal judges, and the lawsuits by hundreds of detainees must be dismissed.
In papers filed with a U.S. appeals court in Washington, Justice Department attorneys gave their most detailed argument yet that the cases must be dismissed because of the tough anti-terrorism law signed by President George W. Bush last month.
War Crimes Suit Filed in Germany Against Rumsfeld, Other Top U.S. Officials Over Prisoner Torture
Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a war crimes
lawsuit today in Germany against outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
and other high-ranking U.S. officials, for their role in the torture of
prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo. We go to Berlin to speak with CCR
A lawsuit in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo
By ADAM ZAGORIN, from Time, in partnership with CNN:
Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, is heading to Germany today to file a new case charging outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with war crimes for authorizing torture at Guantanamo Bay.
By Marjorie Cohn
As the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and were on the verge of taking over the Senate, George W. Bush announced that Donald Rumsfeld was out and Robert Gates was in as Secretary of Defense. When Bush is being run out of town, he knows how to get out in the front of the crowd and make it look like he's leading the parade. The Rumsfeld-Gates swap is a classic example.