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ACLU Urges Senate Judiciary to Subpoena Interrogation Documents
Torture memos have been kept in the dark for too long
The American Civil Liberties Union calls on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote to authorize a subpoena for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to produce the legal opinions that approved harsh interrogations of detainees held by the United States. The committee has repeatedly requested these documents and has seen very little cooperation from DOJ. The Justice Department has provided some heavily redacted documents, which Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-PA) have called inadequate. If authorized, the subpoena would legally require DOJ to comply with the committee's request.
The George W. Bush administration's decision to launch commando raids and step up missiles strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda figures in the tribal areas of Pakistan followed what appears to have been the most contentious policy process over the use of force in Bush's eight-year presidency.
That decision has stirred such strong opposition from the Pakistani military and government that it is now being revisited. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Pakistan Tuesday for the second time in three weeks, and U.S. officials and sources just told Reuters that any future raids would be approved on a mission-by-mission basis by a top U.S. administration official.
As Andrew Bacevich tells us in the latest issue of the Atlantic, there's now a vigorous debate going on in the military about the nature of the "next" American wars and how to prepare for them. However, while military officers argue, that "next war" may already be creeping up on us.
Constitution Day has arrived without major statements from Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain on the need to restore this country's commitment to the rule of law.
In contrast, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's campaign produced a video statement detailing his commitment to constitutional renewal.
U.S. officials sent Canadian rendition survivor Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawyer Maria LaHood represents him in his struggle for justice. The Second Circuit Appellate Court has issued extremely rare order last month that approximately 12 judges will rehear Arar's case on December 9, 2008.
George Bush has signed a secret order allowing US troops to operate in Pakistan, without permission from the Pakistani government or agreement by the United Nations, contravening numerous international laws and conventions. Bush says the recent ground assault by US commandos and the big increase in the number of US missiles fired from unmanned aircraft are directed at al-Qaeda leaders, but the Pakistani government and local observers say that most of the dozens killed in these attacks have been civilians, the majority of them women and children.
In the twilight of his eight-year term, George W. Bush is the loneliest guy in town these days. Remember him? With the economy in the tank, the Iraq War dragging on with casualties at 2004 levels (which we were all horrified about back then), Bush’s popularity is in the cellar and holding. Republican presidential candidate John McCain is running away from him faster than an Alaskan snow machine.�The media has all but forgotten him, as it covers what the two aspirants to replace him have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.
But historians will not forget him and the few journalists who are still paying attention to him are asking if he is the worst president in history.�Although hard to believe, the answer is probably no.
They knew - it was blood for oil and empire.
- US warned of uprising if armed incursions continue
- New counter-terror policy backfires on Washington
A controversial new US tactic to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistan has met with fresh hostility, it emerged yesterday, as Pakistani tribesmen representing half a million people vowed to switch sides and join the Taliban if Washington does not stop cross-border attacks by its forces from Afghanistan.
Reacting to American missile attacks in north Waziristan last week, which followed an unprecedented cross-border ground assault earlier this month, tribal chiefs from the area called an emergency meeting on Saturday.
"If America doesn't stop attacks in tribal areas, we will prepare a lashkar [army] to attack US forces in Afghanistan," tribal chief Malik Nasrullah announced in Miran Shah, north Waziristan's largest city. "We will also seek support from the tribal elders in Afghanistan to fight jointly against America."
What illegal "things" was the government doing in 2001-2004?
Glenn Greenwald | Salon.com
For the second consecutive day, The Washington Post has published an excerpt from reporter Barton Gellman's new book on the Cheney Vice Presidency, and it provides still more details on the intense confrontation in March, 2004 between the Bush Justice Department and the Cheney-led White House over the DOJ's refusal to certify the legality of the NSA's domestic spying activities. As has been known ever since Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate in May, 2007, all of the top-level DOJ officials -- including Attorney General John Ashcroft, Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller -- told President Bush they would resign immediately because Bush ordered the NSA surveillance program to continue even after his own Justice Department told him it was patently illegal. Comey drafted his resignation letter, calling Bush's spying activities "an apocalyptic situation" because he had "been asked to be a part of something that is fundamentally wrong."
WASHINGTON - September 15 - Thirty-eight retired generals and admirals today appealed to the United States Senate to enact legislation ending the practice of holding "ghost detainees" by requiring that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) be notified of and given access to all prisoners in the custody of the U.S. intelligence community, including those held in secret prisons.
This is a striking summary piece on how, in the Bush years, American war fighting was privatized and how the Pentagon was largely turned over to corporate contractors, hired guns, hired hands, private cubicle mercenaries, and private subcontracting warriors. This stand-alone, second part in Frida Berrigan's three-part TomDispatch series on the expansion of the Pentagon under George W. Bush reveals just how fully America's defenses have been contracted out to the private sector. It's also just the sort of post -- a major story of the Bush era -- that should be the subject of front-page pieces in newspapers across the country, as the dark legacy of the Bush presidency begins to be considered.
By David Swanson
Can President Bush pardon himself of crimes like warrantless spying, torture, and aggressive war? Can he pardon his subordinates for following his instructions, and do so before they're even indicted? There's a good chance he'll try it. There's also a chance some Congress members will preemptively push back against such preemptive pardons, by legislating limitations on pardons, by introducing an article of impeachment, or simply by staking out a public position.
If I were in Congress I'd send the president a note something like the following. You might want to ask your Congress member to do the same.
Dear Mr. President,
If you issue pardons that do not fit a reasonable definition of pardons, that in fact abuse the pardon power as you have abused so many other powers, we will support your immediate impeachment before or after you leave office.
False pardons that we will not accept from you or any future president include:
Rep. Kucinich, ImpeachBush press conference renews impeachment call
Yesterday, representative Dennis Kucinich submitted 50,000 more names to the clerk of the House demanding impeachment. On Tuesday, Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-WA) spoke on the House floor in favor of impeachment. As Rep. Kucinich said yesterday, more than 2 million Americans have signed petitions demanding impeachment, making it one of the greatest exercises in grassroots democracy in recent times.
Impeachment has become an unavoidable issue on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite the efforts to take impeachment “off the table.” This amazing development is the result of the work of ImpeachBush.org and others who are petitioning, and joining rallies in cities and towns across the country to demand impeachment. Please make a donation right now to keep up this momentum.
U.S.: Respect World-Wide Demands for Bush Impeachment
By Bob Kendall | PoliticalCortex.com
In the September 11 Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Levi Pulkkinen reveals that Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott is joining the call to oust Bush, stating:
"Impeachment group won't let even the election stop impeachment."
Cleveland Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich has long advocated the impeachment of George Bush.
"Chiefly at issue, McDermott said, is Bush's decision to mislead the country to war with Iraq.
"'It's increasingly clear to me that we were led into a war without any justification whatsoever,' McDermott said in an interview Wednesday. 'And the president deliberately did this, it wasn't an accident of any kind.'"
Medvedev describes Georgia attack as Russia's 9/11
Jonathan Steele | The Guardian
Georgia's attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia was unnecessary and unprovoked and was encouraged by the United States, Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, said in an interview yesterday.
"For Russia, August 8 was like September 11 for the United States," he told a group of foreign journalists and academics. "I would like to see major lessons from it for the world."
He made clear that the lessons, as Russia sees them, are that the post-cold war "illusion" that a world with one super power is a safe and predictable place is now over.
On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.
Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan
The Value of One, the Value of None
An Anatomy of Collateral Damage in the Bush Era
By Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
In a little noted passage in her bestselling book, The Dark Side, Jane Mayer offers us a vision, just post-9/11, of the value of one. In October 2001, shaken by a nerve-gas false alarm at the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney, reports Mayer, went underground. He literally embunkered himself in "a secure, undisclosed location," which she describes as "one of several Cold War-era nuclear-hardened subterranean bunkers built during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the nearest of which were located hundreds of feet below bedrock..." That bunker would be dubbed, perhaps only half-sardonically, "the Commander in Chief's Suite."
Oh, and in that period, if Cheney had to be in transit, "he was chauffeured in an armored motorcade that varied its route to foil possible attackers." In the backseat of his car (just in case), adds Mayer, "rested a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and a biochemical survival suit." And lest danger rear its head, "rarely did he travel without a medical doctor in tow."
Fourteen people were killed in the northwestern Pakistani region of North Waziristan on Friday in a missile attack by a pilotless U.S. aircraft on suspected militants near the Afghan border, security officials said.
The strike, near the town of Miranshah, was the first since a recent surge in tension between Pakistan and the United States over how to tackle the Taliban and al Qaeda on the Pakistani side of the border.
"We confirm a missile attack at around 5.30 in the morning (2330 GMT on Thursday) ... We have informed the government," said military spokesman Major Murad Khan.
The military, apparently reluctant to highlight infringements of sovereignty, has rarely confirmed such attacks.
Khan gave no more details but security officials in the region said 14 people had been killed and about 12 wounded.
Residents said two missiles were fired at a former government school where militants and their families were living.
An intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan has raised fears about its prospects seven years after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban. That worry has compounded pressure on Pakistan to go after militants operating from enclaves on its side of the border, including in North Waziristan.
Bush Secret Order To Send Special Forces Into Pakistan : Fear of escalating regional conflict
by Simon Tisdall | Guardian.co.uk
A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.
The unprecedented executive order, signed by Bush in July after an intense internal administration debate, comes amid western concern that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and its al-Qaida backers based in "safe havens" in western Pakistan's tribal belt is being lost.
A single Vermont community's call for the impeachment of President Bush turned into a chorus Tuesday night, with town meetings across southern Vermont echoing the demand that Congress act to remove the president.
Voters in the town of Newfane, where the movement began, endorsed impeachment by a resounding margin. The paper ballot vote was 121-29 for a slightly amended version of the resolution that had been submitted by Dan DeWalt, an elected member of the town's select board. DeWalt's initial resolution declared:
Whereas George W. Bush has:
1. Misled the nation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;
2. Misled the nation about ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda;
3. Used these falsehoods to lead our nation into war unsupported by international law;
4. Not told the truth about American policy with respect to the use of torture; and
While it wasn’t her point, Nell’s excellent post earlier this week ("Prepare to Dare or Prepare to Despair") reminds me that I’ve been less energetic than I should have been in supporting and discussing Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res. 1258 resolution calling for George Bush’s impeachment. The lengthy resolution presents 35 articles of impeachment, leading with Bush’s propaganda campaign for the Iraq war:
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in
Email conversation with Thomas Nephew about the Million Doors for Peace effort got me to pull together some thoughts I've only let myself reflect on briefly over the last few months.
There's been a divide among antiwar activists -- between those who are serious about ending the occupation of Iraq and those who’d like to do that but only if it doesn’t cost Democrats politically. Depending on the size of the Democratic majorities in Congress, and assuming an Obama administration, that divide might be less important in 2009 than it's been for the last two years.
The US military provided combat training to 80 Georgian special forces commandos only months prior to Georgia's army assault in South Ossetia in August.
The revelation, based on recruitment documents and interviews with US military trainers obtained by the Financial Times, could add fuel to accusations by Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, last month that the US had "orchestrated" the war in the Georgian enclave.
The training was provided by senior US soldiers and two military contractors. There is no evidence that the contractors or the Pentagon, which hired them, knew that the commandos they were training were likely be used in the assault on South Ossetia.
Constitutional Law & Congress - John Nichols, Keith Ellison, Steve Cobble, LeslieCagan, Jamie Raskin