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"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Friday, April 07, 2006

Good News/Bad News
at least there's a little of both

I know I've been awol of late. Yes, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. I've been very, very busy. I can't thank Scott enough for keeping things moving right along here at WOAP. Scott, your the best!!
I just dropped by for a bit of catching up. [Good news]I see poor ole Tom has decided he'd best put his focus on keeping his butt out of jail. [Bad news]Of course if he succeeds at that (and he most likely will) he will forge ahead with his agenda which is to continue to promote a culture of corruption and greed. No big surprise there. If the dragon is not slayed, he will live to fight another day.
Then you have [good news] the recent revelation that the President himself was aware of and approved of the 'leaking' of classified information in order to combat/spite a political opponent. Again, no big surprise. In fact [bad news]the White House is now so secure in their arrogance they aren't even bothering to DENY the alligation. After all they're the people in power they can do whatever the hell they please.
Is the media concerned about this apparent arrogance and lack of shame? Are the people? Clearly not. I see no outrage. Of course it would have been much worse if he (the prez) had been found to be diddling Condi (or a lowly WH aide) but you know, sex is so much worse more important, than national security.
So, while I've been away, I see the status quo has remained in tact. Those in power are abusing it at every opportunity, and everybody else is sitting around whining about it.
Why do I get the feeling the bad news is still winning?
Ya'll keep between the ditches, yah hear!


U.S. State Department
Re: United Nation's Human Rights Council:

"We have better leverage from outside..."

How in the h*ll did this great country ...ever... get to such a place...?

Concerning "leverage"... leverage for advancing...?

Sweet Jesus... what's next ?

(a guest post by -Scott)

[source] United Nations, Apr 07, 2006: Under fire from human rights groups for its treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons, the US has decided against contesting for the newly established 47-member UN Human Rights Council. [meaning: the US would not run in an election to become a member of the UN's Human Rights Council.]

Announcing yesterday that it would not contest [run in] the May 9 elections for the body, the United States held out the hope it might do so next year even as its diplomats said that the US could be more effective from the outside. Diplomats and human rights group closely watching the developments leading to the formation of the Council suggested that the US had calculated it might not win in the elections, which are being conducted through secret ballot.

The US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, acknowledged that this was a concern but asserted that it would have better leverage by not being in the Council. [?]

Although the decision did not come as a surprise, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was disappointed and said he hoped that Washington [i.e., Bush] would continue to support the Council, which replaces the much criticised Human Rights Commission, and fight [run in] the elections next year.

India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran and Jordan are among 42 candidates who have so far officially made it known that they would contest [run in] the elections in which each candidate requires 96 votes in the 191-member General Assembly to get elected. With the exception of the United States, all other permanent members of the Council - Britain, France, Russia and China - are in the fray.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pre-trail Solitary Confinement at Guantánamo
What's the Confusion all about in
Bush's Morphing Military Tribunal ?
(a guest post by -Scott)

ALLEGED al-Qaida terrorist Omar Khadr protested his pretrial solitary confinement at his war-crimes court on Wednesday, and the Marine colonel overseeing the case agreed to take evidence on the Toronto teen's claim. (source)

Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured by US military forces. His lawyers believe that trying him for crimes allegedly committed as a juvenile violates international law. If convicted, Khadr would face life in prison.

Marine Col. Robert S. Chester is supposed to be presiding over a panel hearing allegations that the accused Canadian, who is now 19 years old, committed a war crime by killing a U.S. Army medic in a 2002 firefight in Khost, Afghanistan. Instead, he agreed to take briefs and possibly call witnesses on Khadr's complaint that guards had placed him in punitive isolation at the Pentagon's detention center for terrorist suspects.

The youth had been held in barracks-like communal captive quarters at the sprawling prison camp until March 30. He was then moved to the Camp 5 prison, housing 80 captives in single-occupancy cement cells.

Camp spokesman Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand disputed the defense team's characterization that the youth was held in "solitary confinement." Camp 5 captives can call to others on their cellblocks - unless guards turn on a fan that muffles their noise.

[-Scott Note: In which case they would be in solitary confinement - (?) - nice dodge Cmdr! Let's see... prior to any fair trial assertaining guilt or non-guilt - for an indefinate period, in this American system outside our borders, our prison guards choose between roasting the accused alive in a small concrete oven w/o air circulation (in Cuba) or they submit the accused to solitary confinement. All of course, being in the new American spirit and our manner of operating outside our borders to which we find ourselves defending from world objection - and threat of terror?]
Khadr asked Wednesday for Canadian attorneys to join his defense team. Chester then angered Khadr's Pentagon defense attorney, Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, questioning why he had not formally asked the war court to bring the lawyers from Canada. Vokey created an uproar by slamming his hand on a podium and yelling in frustration at Chester's questioning: "There are no rules here! The rules keep changing!"

Pentagon defense lawyers have protested the evolving rules for the first U.S. war-crimes tribunal since World War II, contending that it is not governed by existing military or civilian law.
[Scott Note: While I'm open to suggestions otherwise...one might draw some conclusions from the seconf part of this story... either the military defense attorney (appointed by the military tribunal) to defend the accused 1.) is not "equipped" himself to understand what he could be doing on behalf of the accused or 2.) he has not been equipped with information from the tribunal to understand what he could be doing on behalf of the accused, or 3.) in fact, he is a competent fully-equipped defense attorney unable to follow Bush's military tribunal's changing rules... You get to decide. Whichever - it does not bode well for any juriprudence in Bush's "parallel" wholly self-executing tribunal system as another component of his larger Perpetual Oil Wars.]


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Top Law Firms Join Forces
in Landmark Detainee Case
(a guest post by - Scott)

As follow up to my recently posted article I wondered what these people, including three dozen power law firms were thinking in assuming the role of terrorist sympathizer.

Background: The Perkin's Coi defense team argued to the Court that Bush's military commissions violate both the Geneva Conventions and federal statutes that limit the jurisdiction of commissions and provide important protections – such as the accused's right to be present at trial – to defendants subject to prosecution before these tribunals.

Here's what I found:

Tony Mauro of the Legal Times (source) wrote:

"More than three dozen briefs have been filed on Hamdan's side, largely arguing that the military tribunals established by the White House to try the detainees are illegal...."

"...The blue-chip firms are all in this case, and it's the senior partners who are involved very often," said David Remes, the Covington partner who coordinated the amicus curiae effort for Hamdan. "This is not a tousle-haired, wild-eyed group of lawyers..."

"...Adds New York University Law School professor Burt Neuborne, who also filed a brief for Hamdan: "This is not noblesse oblige by the big firms. It is an extraordinary no-confidence vote by the establishment bar in what the administration is trying to do here." Neuborne said the only recent parallel was the effort 50 years ago by New York firms to help desegregate public schools..."

"..."It goes to the foundation of our system," said Schneider. "These people were taken into custody and hadn't been given an opportunity to defend themselves."

Remes of Covington Burling said he thinks that is why so many large firms -- or at least committed lawyers within those firms -- were drawn to the case. "It sounds clichéd, but it's true; this case is about the rule of law," said Remes. "This is a power play by the administration to escape meaningful judicial review..."

"...But Neuborne sees the Guantanamo effort as different, and more widespread. "The centrist establishment bar has rallied to this as a defining issue," he said. "The government has gone too far..."

"..."This has nothing to do with 9/11 or supporting terrorism," said Paul Saunders, a Cravath partner who wrote a brief in Hamdan. "This case raises probably more fundamental issues of jurisprudence than any other case I can think of -- whether the president has the power to create a parallel system of courts that is self-executing..."

"...Remes' brief filed on behalf of former U.S. military officials argues that if the United States ignores Geneva rules, U.S. soldiers will be at risk at the hands of enemies..."

Detainee's Military Lawyer: (source) Navy Lawyer Charles Swift Battles Bush in Guantanamo Bay Case

Navy Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift "...As a military officer, I deeply respect the president...'' Swift said in an interview at his northern Virginia office. "...But I also believe it's my duty as a military officer to point out when he is wrong...''

:...Swift last year told a Senate panel he viewed the prosecutor's request to help secure a plea as "...a clear attempt to coerce Mr. Hamdan into pleading guilty...'' by threatening him with the loss of his legal representation.

...When the Defense Department refused to let Swift and his fellow defense attorneys hold a news conference to denounce the tribunal system, he decided he would simply present his case to reporters one-by-one, making himself the public face of the lawsuit.

"I am incredibly proud of military justice as a whole,'' Swift said. He has been passed over for promotion once, meaning he will have to leave the service if, as he says he expects, he is passed over a second time later this year. He says he has no misgivings about the effect the case has had on his career. "If you start thinking about your career over your duty,'' he said, "it's time to get out.''

The Court's opinion is expected in early July.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Living Breathing Document
(a guest post by -Scott)
(tune linked - speakers up!)


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