George W. Bush’s Justice Department said subjecting a person to the near-drowning of waterboarding was not a crime and didn’t even cause pain, but Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department thought otherwise, prosecuting a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions.
Federal prosecutors secured a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies. But that 1983 case – which would seem to be directly on point for a legal analysis on waterboarding two decades later – was never mentioned in the four Bush administration opinions released last week.
"To take one example, there was a court-martial addressing the practice of waterboarding from 1903, a state court case from the Twenties, a series of prosecutions at the [post-World War II] Tokyo Tribunal (in many of which the death penalty was sought) and another court-martial in 1968," Horton said. "These precedents could have been revealed in just a few minutes of computerized research using the right search engines. It's hard to imagine that Yoo and Bybee didn't know them.
The failure to cite the earlier waterboarding case and a half-dozen other precedents that dealt with torture is reportedly one of the critical findings of a Justice Department watchdog report that legal sources say faults former Bush administration lawyers -- Jay Bybee, John Yoo and Steven Bradbury -- for violating "professional standards."
MADRID (AP) — Spain's top investigative magistrate has opened an investigation into the Bush administration over alleged torture of terror suspects at the Guantanamo prison.
Baltasar Garzón's move on Wednesday is separate from a complaint by human rights lawyers that seeks charges against six specific Bush administration officials.
Judge Garzon's action, which is separate from the inquiry requested by human rights lawyers against six Bush Administration officials including John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, and Douglas Feith, and is said to be premised upon the complaints of four individuals who claim to have been tortured while detained at Guantanamo, one of which is a Spanish citizen, along with two Brits and a Moroccan previously residing in Spain. All were accused of being members of al-Qaida in Spain, though all four were cleared
In late 2007, there was the first crack of daylight into the government’s use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. On Dec. 10, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who had participated in the capture of the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002, appeared on ABC News to say that while he considered waterboarding a form of torture, the technique worked and yielded results very quickly.Suck on that America!
Mr. Zubaydah started to cooperate after being waterboarded for “probably 30, 35 seconds,” Mr. Kiriakou told the ABC reporter Brian Ross. “From that day on he answered every question.”
His claims — unverified at the time, but repeated by dozens of broadcasts, blogs and newspapers — have been sharply contradicted by a newly declassified Justice Department memo that said waterboarding had been used on Mr. Zubaydah “at least 83 times.”
The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.
That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.
Remember, this is in keeping with the statements made recently by Robert Mueller, the Bush appointed, Republican Director of the FBI. These illegal techniques did not stop any imminent attacks, and therefore the necessity of torture in the ticking timebomb scenario does not apply.
The military agency that helped to devise harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information."
"The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week.
"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah," bin Laden said in the transcript.
He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, "using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers."
"We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden said.
He also said al Qaeda has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."
You have Obama nominating Judge Hamilton, who said in her ruling that saying the words Jesus Christ in a prayer is a sign of inappropriate behavior, but saying Allah would be OK. You'll find most Republican senators voting against a judge who is confused about whether you can say Jesus Christ in a prayer, particularly one who is pro-Muslim being able to say Allah.
Naturally, it's all a lie, but as I said, even I was shocked at how rancidly despicable a lie it was.It's a great read.
LATimes: Obama’s New Muslim Appointment is Hope… for Egyptians?
I will begin this right at the top by saying that I don’t care a whit if the appointment of any American official brings hope to Egyptians. After all, an American official should be concerned with America’s interests not Egypt’s....However, apparently the L.A. Times thinks that it is germane to U.S. interests that Egyptians are “rejoicing” that President Obama has appointed a female American Muslim to his administration. In, “Muslim woman’s appointment as Obama advisor draws cautious optimism” from April 22, Noha El-Hennawy is reporting from Cairo that Egyptians are happy with Obama’s purported outreach to Muslims.
At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn't entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable. My colleagues were entitled to ignore my views. They did more than that: The White House attempted to collect and destroy all copies of my memo. I expect that one or two are still at least in the State Department's archives.
Last week, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) of Kansas was asked whether Rush Limbaugh was the "de facto leader of the GOP." Tiahrt rejected the idea out of hand, telling the Kansas City Star, "No, no, he's just an entertainer."
This is, of course, the one line elected Republican officials are not supposed to cross. Limbaugh is to be revered, not dismissed. It took a couple of days, but as Amanda Terkel noted, Tiahrt's office is now anxious to let everyone know how much the congressman loves the right-wing blowhard.
Asked about the episode and resulting Web buzz, Tiahrt spokesman Sam Sackett said Tiahrt was not speaking negatively about Limbaugh but was trying to defend him against the suggestion that Limbaugh could be blamed for the GOP's woes.
"The congressman believes Rush is a great leader of the conservative movement in America -- not a party leader responsible for election losses," Sackett told The Eagle editorial board. "Nothing the congressman said diminished the role Rush has played and continues to play in the conservative movement."
For those keeping score at home, this is reversal #5 for Republicans who've been critical of Limbaugh recently. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) groveled for Rush's forgiveness in late January, and Gov. Mark Sanford's (R-S.C.) office quickly backpedaled after the governor said, "Anyone who wants [President Obama] to fail is an idiot." RNC Chairman Michael Steele, of course, humiliated himself in early March, and a couple of weeks later, Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate in the special election in New York's 20th, felt compelled to backpedal after saying Limbaugh is "meaningless" to him.
On Sunday, Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said on the ABC News program “This Week” that “those who devised policy” also “should not be prosecuted.” But administration officials said Monday that Mr. Emanuel had meant the officials who ordered the policies carried out, not the lawyers who provided the legal rationale.
And while Mr. Obama vowed not to prosecute C.I.A. officers for acting on legal advice, on Monday aides did not rule out legal sanctions for the Bush lawyers who developed the legal basis for the use of the techniques.
You can’t convince me that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t allow you to secede.I think that this issue might be considered settled after the little thing called the Civil War.
The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and if a state says: ‘I don’t want to go there, because that’s suicide, they have a right to back out. They have a right — people have a right to not commit economic suicide...
...Texas says go to hell, Washington, which by the way has been said before. I believe it was Davey Crocket...it’s about time that somebody says that again."
I just got off the phone with a military expert and former Army Ranger who supports Republicans and Dems, and he hammered Gingrich and conservative media figures for criticizing Obama, saying that the Commander-in-chief deserved "respect" while a sensitive operation was unfolding.What a tool.
"I would hope that they’re feeling a little silly today," said the expert, Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for National Security Studies. "It’s bad form. You don’t make this a partisan issue until an operation has been assessed. It’s fair game ex post facto. But during the emergency, I think that our elected leaders deserve our respect."
Gingrich whacked away at Obama’s handling of the standoff on Twitter over the weekend, saying it made us "look weak." The Wall Street Journal editorial page, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck also targeted Obama.
Exum, who advised Obama during the campaign but who also supports Republicans, hinted that the criticism bordered on unpatriotic. "If Glenn Beck loves his country as much as he alleges, he should hold his tongue when elected leaders on the ground are dealing with a very difficult situation."
We in America, Officers and private citizens alike, are fortunate that at this moment in our history we can still LAWFULLY EXTERMINATE these parasitic Global Blood Suckers by placing numerous "STAKES" made of words, paper, pen, and hard work through their hardened hearts.[…]Very soon, if we do not stop these world government proponents, and install in places of leadership honorable men and women, all military, national guardsmen and officers of the law will be used as the "enforcement arm" to guarantee a full complement of "volunteers" for these imperialists' "peaceful" socialist global society.
Mr. McVeigh's reading, which he pressed on his sister, Jennifer, among others, also included Spotlight, the newsletter of the anti-semitic Liberty Lobby, Patriot Report, a far-right Christian identity newsletter that would later declare the Oklahoma bombing a plot by "the real hate groups," namely the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, to crack down on armed paramilitary groups, and a strange document titled "Operation Vampire Killer 2000."Written by Jack McLamb, a former Phoenix police sergeant, it seeks to enlist police and military personnel against "the ongoing, elitist covert operation which has been installed in the American system with great stealth and cunning." It continues, "They, the globalists, have stated that the date of termination of the American way of life is the year 2000."
On Friday, April 10, as the standoff reached the end of its third day, I called on President Obama to take action to free the American hostage from his Somali captors. I outlined three possible operational tactics that could be used to do so; number 1 was the following:Really? Apparently, there's no concern that four separate snipers would be able to put a single round each into the heads of the pirates from a moving helicopter. Apparently, they could accomplish this simultaneously and without the pirates knowing they're coming (easy when approaching by helo), maintaining surprise so as to protect the hostage. All of this is not only possible, it's so likely to succeed that the President was some kind of spineless weakling for not jumping at the opportunity to give the order.
(1) 2 helos, 2 snipers each: pop the [pirates] in their heads, then drop a rescue swimmer to escort the hostage up to one of the choppers. This works best if the hostage is aware of what is happening and can help without getting in the way — say, by hopping overboard as the gunships near, to divert attention and get out of the line of fire.
(This was written before the USS Bainbridge tethered the life raft to its stern, an action which eliminated the need for helicopters.)
After taking fire from the Somali kidnappers again Saturday night, the on-scene commander decided he’d had enough. Keeping his authority to act in the case of a clear and present danger to the hostage’s life, and having heard nothing from Washington since yet another request to mount a rescue operation had been denied the day before, the Navy officer — unnamed in all media reports to date — decided the AK-47 one captor had leveled at Philips’ back was a threat to the hostage’s life, and ordered the NSWC team to take their shots.Please note that this version of events has no links documenting it. Maybe that's because every source one might reference for such a thing says the opposite - that Obama himself gave the goahead for lethal force.
The delay was due to us running through the full range of options, and making sure that the rescue went as planned should we reach that point. That involved a large number of small moves to engineer the situation - tethering the lifeboat to the USS Bainbridge, for instance. Obama is the king of the small move, made well in advance that cements his position. He plays the long game, Republicans. That really needs to sink in, or you'll get nowhere against him.
A senior US official tells me that President Barack Obama approved a recommendation by Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen to dispatch special forces to the US scene on Friday.RedState is having none of it:
These special forces were authorized to take action "in extremis" against the Somali pirates holding Maersk Captain Richard Phillips, 53, hostage on a motorized lifeboat off the coast of Somalia.
A senior official tells me that when the fourth Somali pirate was on the Bainbridge ship, Phillips moved to side of the lifeboat to relieve himself.
At that point, U.S. special forces saw their opportunity and took other three pirates out.
Captain Phillips is now safe aboard a U.S. vessel.
It's "going to make a great movie," a U.S. official adds.
In the end, Captain Phillips wasn’t saved by the President, but by his own courageous plunge and the deadly professionalism of our men with guns. The President, you see, was saved by the Captain.They spin a story of the President paralyzed with fear, unable to contemplate that most horrible option of using force. Then, when the deed is done all they can muster is "Obama doesn't deserve credit!"
The Treaty of Tripoli:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Sigh. Obama is the man.
This is the sane view of American Exceptionalism: that America holds a special place in history as the first great Democracy, and further for fighting for people's freedoms across the world. Finally, as an American, I think it's particularly great. This view is in stark contrast to Rush Limbaugh's definition, which I am not making up: that America is the exception! That the rules that apply to other countries to not apply to us! Anything less is blaming America first!
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Baracknophobia - Obey|
Well put, as always, Mr. Stewart. He is truly one of the indispensable men.
Massachusetts (Goodridge, 2003) Margaret Marshall, appointed by Chief Justice Gov. Weld (R) in 1996, elevated to Chief by Gov. Cellucci (R);Those damned activist judges, eh?
in 1999 California (In re Marriage Cases, 2008) Ronald George, Chief Justice appointed by Gov. Wilson (R) in 1991, elevated to Chief by Gov. Wilson (R);
in 1996 Connecticut (Kerrigan, 2008) Richard Palmer, Associate Justice appointed by Gov. Weicker (Ind.); in 1993 -- Note that Weicker was a Republican during his time in the House and Senate. He won the governorship as an independent.
And today, in Iowa (Varnum, 2009) Mark Cady, Associate Justice, appointed by Gov. Branstad (R) in 1998.
The world leaders who assembled at the G20 reached an agreement to address the global economic crisis, but whether their plan has merit depends a bit on who you ask. On the one hand, the agreement "was more than what experts expected," and was arguably "remarkable given the discord that preceded Thursday's meeting." The LA Times said the end product "surprised many observers with its unusually substantive achievements." At the same time, the WSJ and NYTwere less impressed.
But how about President Obama's first turn on the global stage, just two months into his first term? He told reporters yesterday, "I think I did O.K." By some measures, Obama was selling himself short.
For example, there was a heated disagreement between France and China over tax havens and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Obama personally intervened, took the opposing leaders aside, and brokered an agreement based on little more than a rhetorical shift. The process seemed a little silly, but it was the U.S. president's "first moment as a statesman."
TNR's John Judis said Obama's "performance at the G-20 has been flawless." TAP's Tim Fernholzadded, "After the G-20, we can say that President Barack Obama had a successful entrance onto the world stage." The WaPo's Steven Pearlstein concluded, "All in all, a pretty successful opening-night performance for President Obama on the international economic stage. He achieved most of what he wanted while allowing others to claim victory and allowing the United States to shed its Bush-era reputation for inflexibility and heavy-handedness. And by the standards of past summits, this one was full of accomplishment."
The Republicans suck at the expectations game. It's like they've suddenly become bad at politics.
Wait, was it "appalled," or "never mentioned?" I can't remember.
Of course, this is made doubly ridiculous by the fact that the Queen requested the Video IPod. She had a previous generation IPod already, but she wanted the neat toy that could play video. She should have gone for the Touch.
Update: DKos put together a video of the outrage, and a British spokesperson's succinct rebuttal.
Reporting from Los Angeles and London -- The G-20 leaders will pour at least $1 trillion into the global economy in an effort to stimulate recovery from a worldwide downturn and will push for greater regulation of the financial industry, officials said this morning.
In a televised news conference from London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the key elements of the plan, including an additional $500 billion for the International Monetary Fund, $250 billion in IMF Special Drawing Rights and $250 billion to boost trade.
The leaders of the major economies also pledged to work on such regulatory issues as pay and bonuses for executives and bringing financial instruments such as hedge funds into tighter government control. Many blame the new investment instruments, including derivatives and credit swaps, for the economic contraction around the world.
"This is the day that the world came together to fight back against the global recession," Brown told reporters.
"Our message today is clear and certain. We believe that in this new global age, our prosperity is indivisible,' he said. "We believe that growth, to be sustained, must be shared, and that trade must once again become an engine of growth. The old Washington consensus is over; today we have reached a new consensus."
"There are no quick fixes. But with the six pledges that we make today, we can shorten the recession and save jobs."
"It's just wrong," said John Reilly, an energy, environmental and agricultural economist at M.I.T. and one of the authors of the report [cited by congressional Republicans]. "It's wrong in so many ways it's hard to begin." [...]
The tax might push the price of carbon-based fuels up a bit, but other results of a cap-and-trade program, such as increased conservation and more competition from other fuel sources, would put downward pressure on prices. Moreover, consumers would get some of the tax back from the government in some form.
The report did include an estimate of the net cost to individuals, called the "welfare" cost. It would be $30.89 per person in 2015, or $79 per family if you use the same average household size the Republicans used of 2.56 people.
The cost would grow over time as the program ramps up, but the average annual cost over time in today's dollars -- that is, the "average annual net present value cost" -- is still just $85 per person, Reilly said. That would be $215.05 per household.
A far cry from $3,128. And that isn't the only inaccuracy in the claim.
Funny. We all thought she was a disaster, too.
Here we have a particularly hilarious example from RedState (the right's largest blog), where they rage over the audacity of the Washington State government trying to pass a law to clean up the state's water. They write "At What Point do People Revolt?"
At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?Wow! That's even got violence explicitly directed against elected officials! Charming! And what is the heavy hand of government in this case? Clean Water regulations! That's right. The activists at RedState wants to beat legislators to death over phosphates in sink detergent, when those same phosphates have been gone from machine detergents for decades. I wonder, have any of them heard of ocean dead zones? And should Obama start behaving like Bush (breaking laws, violating the Constitution, etc), how can they escalate their rhetoric appropriately?
At some point soon, it will happen. It'll be over an innocuous issue. But the rage is building. [...]
Were I in Washington State, I'd be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation.
Why the different standard?
First, AIG has had it's CEO replaced. So there's the same standard.
Furthermore, the Government doesn't have the authority to abrogate contracts - it has the secure the agreement of the parties to that contract, as I've talked about before.
Well, the results are in. The GOP had us by 70,000+ voters, and doubled our spending, but the Democrat won*.
*The absentees have yet to be counted, and it's less than 100 votes separating him from his opponent. This could go either way, but the GOP narrative is dead.