Memos Provide Blueprint for Police State by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, March 4, 2009

Seven newly released memos from the Bush Justice Department reveal a concerted strategy to cloak the President with power to override the Constitution. The memos provide “legal” rationales for the President to suspend freedom of speech and press; order warrantless searches and seizures, including wiretaps of U.S. citizens; lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely in the United States without criminal charges; send suspected terrorists to other countries where they will likely be tortured; and unilaterally abrogate treaties. According to the reasoning in the memos, Congress has no role to check and balance the executive. That is the definition of a police state.

Who wrote these memos? All but one were crafted in whole or in part by the infamous John Yoo and Jay Bybee, authors of the so-called “torture memos” that redefined torture much more narrowly than the U.S. definition of torture, and counseled the President how to torture and get away with it. In one memo, Yoo said the Justice Department would not enforce U.S. laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.

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Hell hath no fury like an imperialist scorned by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
www.killinghope.org
Mar. 4, 2009

The Anti-Empire Report

Being serious about torture. Or not.

In Cambodia they’re once again endeavoring to hold trials to bring some former senior Khmer Rouge officials to justice for their 1975-79 war crimes and crimes against humanity. The current defendant in a United Nations-organized trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who was the head of a Khmer Rouge torture center, has confessed to atrocities, but insists he was acting under orders.1 As we all know, this is the defense that the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected for the Nazi defendants. Everyone knows that, right? No one places any weight on such a defense any longer, right? We make jokes about Nazis declaring: “I was only following orders!” (“Ich habe nur den Befehlen gehorcht!”) Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken in favor of it. Here’s the new head of the CIA, Leon Panetta: “What I have expressed as a concern, as has the president, is that those who operated under the rules that were provided by the Attorney General in the interpretation of the law [concerning torture] and followed those rules ought not to be penalized. And … I would not support, obviously, an investigation or a prosecution of those individuals. I think they did their job.”2 Operating under the rules … doing their job … are of course the same as following orders.

The UN Convention Against Torture (first adopted in 1984), which has been ratified by the United States, says quite clearly, “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.” The Torture Convention enacts a prohibition against torture that is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.

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Countdown: Bush Dictatorship & Truth Commission

Dandelion Salad

firedoglake

Countdown-Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) discusses Truth Commission 03_04_09

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John Yoo’s Legal Groundwork for Subverting the Republic by Naomi Wolf

Countdown: Bush Admin Office of legal Counsel memos + Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show

John Yoo-4th Amendment-Torture

Crime and or Corruption

Torture

John Yoo’s Legal Groundwork for Subverting the Republic by Naomi Wolf

Dandelion Salad

by Naomi Wolf
The Nation
3.3.09

If history gets this recent era right, future textbooks will have to show that the US narrowly averted a carefully planned but thorough and unmistakable conspiracy to subvert the rule of law and the process of democracy from 2001-2008. For three years, since writing End of America, I have been arguing that the Bush team sought irretrievably to subvert our liberty. Fortunately, this appalling and conceivably irrevocable subversion of the tenets of freedom was narrowly averted by citizens at every level — from the grassroots to the courts — resisting in time. But the release this week by the Justice Department of the “secret memos” sought valiantly by the ACLU confirms that Bush’s legal architects were building up the framework for something even scarier than our most anguished projections.

You can see the documents themselves online — but, as usual, there is a gap between the cautious journalistic interpretation of the event and the dense legalese in which they are written, and no one yet has really explained to citizens who are not attorneys what these memos claimed to give Bush the right to do. This is my initial reading of these documents:

[…]

via Naomi Wolf: John Yoo’s Legal Groundwork for Subverting the Republic

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US Justice Department memos: the specter of military dictatorship

http://www.wsws.org
4 March 2009

A set of nine secret memos released by the US Justice Department Monday reveal that in the weeks and months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the US government began erecting the legal scaffolding for a full-blown military dictatorship.

Attorney General Eric Holder declared that the release of the documents, which were posted on the Justice Department’s web site, signaled a new era of “transparency and openness.” The actions of the Obama administration in recent weeks, however, including the invocation of national security and state secrets to quell lawsuits challenging the worst abuses of the Bush era, make it clear that the threat revealed in these memos is far from over.

[…]

via US Justice Department memos: the specter of military dictatorship

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Countdown: Bush Admin Office of legal Counsel memos + Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show

John Yoo-4th Amendment-Torture

Crime and or Corruption

Torture

Countdown: Bush Admin Office of legal Counsel memos + Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show

Dandelion Salad

firedoglake

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Justice Department Releases Bush Administration National Security Memos

American Civil Liberties Union
(3/2/2009)
Newly Released Legal Documents Responsive To ACLU Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK – The Justice Department today released nine secret memos and opinions written by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that authorized some of the Bush administration’s unlawful national security policies, including a memo written by OLC lawyer John Yoo that argued the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military activities inside the United States. Some of the memos are responsive to American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits seeking OLC legal opinions and other government records.

In a recent letter to the Obama administration, the ACLU called on the OLC to release, at the earliest possible date, dozens of still-secret legal memos related to interrogation, detention, rendition, surveillance and other Bush administration policies.

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Helicopters, Cover-ups and War Crimes

Dandelion Salad

by Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
2.19.09

“Obama Confronts a Choice on Copters” read this week’s New York Times. The President soon “will have to decide whether to proceed with some of the priciest aircraft in the world — a new fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters that will each cost more than the last Air Force One….The choice confronting Mr. Obama encapsulates the tension between two imperatives of his nascent presidency, the need to meet the continuing threats of an age of terrorism and the demand for austerity in a period of economic hardship.”

This is a gross misrepresentation of the choice Obama faces. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) and others have alleged that the contract for 28 Marine One helicopters was awarded to the Italian firm Finmeccanica as a thank you for Italy’s participation in the Iraq War. The evidence, however, indicates that the contract was more specifically a payoff to the Italian government for supplying the forged documents showing Saddam had obtained weapons grade uranium from Niger. President Bush famously used this fraudulent “yellowcake” intelligence to justify launching the war.

[…]

via Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere: Helicopters, Cover-ups and War Crimes

h/t: FalconerHK

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Part 2: The Lapdogs Get Some Teeth by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.walterbrasch.com
February 19, 2009

Toothless: The Watchdog Press That Became the Government’s Lapdog

Part 2: The Lapdogs Get Some Teeth

In May 2004, the New York Times, while claiming it was aggressive in pursuing stories about the Bush-Cheney Administration, slipped in an apology for acting more as the mouthpiece for politicians than as a watchdog for society. “Coverage was not as rigorous as it should have been,” the Times admitted. Part of the problem, the Times acknowledged, was that “Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper.” The Times concluded it wished “we had been more aggressive.”

Almost three months later, the Washington Post, one of the most hawkish papers for invading Iraq, finally acknowledged its own pre-war hysteria and lack of journalistic competence and courage. “We were so focused on trying to figure out what the administration was doing that we were not giving the same play to people who said it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration’s rationale,” wrote Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.

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Action Alert: Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s War Crimes, Crimes of State and Crimes against Humanity

Sent to DS from Rev. Manny, thank you.

Dandelion Salad

by Reverend Manny
Reverend Manny and The Twilight Empire
February 18, 2009

My personal Hero of the Day is H. Marshall Jarrett. Why?, you might ask. Well… Mr Jarret recently put out a report critiquing the legal advice the Bush Administration used, and created for itself, in support of torture.

Here it is at Al Jazeera magazine.

By Jason Leopold

A key line in George W. Bush’s defense against war crimes charges has weakened with the disclosure that an internal Justice Department watchdog has concluded that the legal advice, which cleared the way for Bush’s policies on torture and other abuse of detainees, was tainted by political influence.

An investigation by H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, reached “damning” conclusions about numerous cases of “misconduct” in the advice from John Yoo and other lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration, according to legal sources familiar with the report’s contents.

OPR investigators determined that Yoo blurred the lines between an attorney charged with providing independent legal advice to the White House and a policy advocate who was working to advance the administration’s goals, said the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contents of the report are still classified.

Here’s further conjecture on what will be in the report from The Washington IndependentNewsweek, and the Examiner.

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Toothless: The Watchdog Press That Became the Government’s Lapdog by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.walterbrasch.com
February 12, 2009

Part 1

The president of the Associated Press (AP) was spewing venom at the Bush-Cheney administration for having turned the Department of Defense into a propaganda machine.

Americans “expect honest answers about what’s happening to their sons and daughters,” Tom Curley told journalism students and faculty at the University of Kansas. Listing innumerable ways the Pentagon had advocated Bush-Cheney political beliefs, Curley questioned if the United States should “be trying to influence public opinion through subterfuge, both here and abroad,”

An AP investigation had just revealed that the Pentagon budget for “influence operations” this fiscal year is at least $4.8 billion, with about 27,000 civilian and military personnel assigned to information dissemination.

The penalty for failing to agree to the Pentagon’s terms of reporting, said Curley, was that he was told by top commanders that “if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined.”

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Apocalypse Nigh? by Cindy Sheehan (+ Action Alert)

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan for Congress
February 11, 2009

What experience and history teach is this — that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles.
George Wilhelm Hegel

I would like to stipulate for this essay that Barack Obama is honorable and really wants to do the right thing for this country and this world.

But I also want to go back in that so easily manipulated concept called “history.” Barack Obama glorified the Vietnam debacle by honoring two war criminals, John McCain and Colin Powell during the coronation ceremonies in DC and he honored those who fought “for us” at Khe Sahn so are we now officially re-writing history that Vietnam was an honorable war and that it was justified or moral in any way? That the 58,000 Americans and millions of Vietnamese who were killed were killed for a “noble cause?” No war is honorable or noble, no matter if it is “legal or justified,” but our religion of state is WAR and the robber class’s god is PROFIT and if Obama was the stipulated honorable man of this essay he would reject it, not glorify it.

I realize how seductive the mantra of “looking forward” is and how tempting it would be to want to forget the history of the last eight years and move on from the horror, but we cannot move on when we are smack dab in the middle of the horror that has in no way alleviated, nor will, if we continue to put blinders on and not face reality to avert pending disaster.

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Countdown: War Crimes + The Near Miss on Complete Financial Collapse + Leahy + Kanjorski

Dandelion Salad

firedoglake

Jonathan Turley discusses Obama administration prosecutions of Bush and Co. war crimes

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heathr456

The Near Miss on Complete Financial Collapse
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NATO’s, Pentagon’s New Strategic Battleground: The Arctic by Rick Rozoff

Sent to DS by the author; thanks Rick.

Dandelion Salad

by Rick Rozoff
Stop NATO
HTTP://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/message/37104
February 7, 2009

In the waning days of the Bush presidency while the domestic press corps was preoccupied with the impending inauguration of his successor, the White House effectively sneaked through a major, groundbreaking directive on the Arctic.

What little was reported on the matter at the time and since – and it has been little, readers can attempt a Bush + Arctic hunt on any major search engine – was perfunctory and provided an innocuous gloss to a deadly serious initiative.

The subject is the National Security Presidential Directive 66 of January 12, 2009, the contents of which will be detailed shortly and will be demonstrated to contrast starkly with what scant coverage was accorded it, such as items bearing titles like “White House Directive Guides Policy on Arctic” from the Washington Post and “Bush issues U.S. policy on Arctic energy supplies” from Reuters.

National Security Presidential Directive 66 can be read in its entirety at: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd-66.htm

It contains as its first two points:

1. The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region and is prepared to operate either independently or in conjunction with other states to safeguard these interests. These interests include such matters as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight.

2. The United States also has fundamental homeland security interests….

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Obama’s CIA Man: Afshin Rattansi and ex-CIA men, Ray McGovern & Bill Christison

Dandelion Salad

rattansifan

Afshin talks to former CIA official Ray McGovern about the consequences for the new head of the CIA and for the United States after Leon Panetta condemns torture, extraordinary rendition and those that were involved in it all. Also, will Cheney go to jail and what about David Milliband who denies that the UK secret services do not engage in torture despite evidence to the contrary for decades of British illegal activity, from Ireland to Gibraltar?

Hours later and after this interview, Leon Panetta retracted statements about extraordinary rendition or kidnapping and said that the Obama administration will still engage in the practice.

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h/t: ICH

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Obama’s CIA: Afshin Rattansi talks to Bill Christison, fmr. Senior CIA Official

Leon Panetta retracts his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee and says he doesn’t know about the Bush administration’s involvement in torture and he says kidnapping is okay, after all.

Bill Christison joined the CIA in 1950, and served on the analysis side of the Agency for 28 years. From the early 1970s he served as National Intelligence Officer (principal adviser to the Director of Central Intelligence on certain areas) for, at various times, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa. Before he retired in 1979 he was Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit.

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Obama preserves rendition two days after taking office

Olbermann Special Comment: It May Be Time For Mr. Cheney to Leave This Country

Torture on Dandelion Salad

Bush’s War Totals, By John Tirman

Dandelion Salad

By John Tirman
The Nation
February 02, 2009

We are now able to estimate the number of Iraqis who have died in the war instigated by the Bush administration. Looking at the empirical evidence of Bush’s war legacy will put his claims of victory in perspective. Of course, even by his standards — “stability” — the jury is out. Most independent analysts would say it’s too soon to judge the political outcome. Nearly six years after the invasion, the country remains riven by sectarian politics and major unresolved issues, like the status of Kirkuk.

We have a better grasp of the human costs of the war. For example, the United Nations estimates that there are about 4.5 million displaced Iraqis — more than half of them refugees — or about one in every six citizens. Only 5 percent have chosen to return to their homes over the past year, a period of reduced violence from the high levels of 2005-07. The availability of healthcare, clean water, functioning schools, jobs and so forth remains elusive. According to Unicef, many provinces report that less than 40 percent of households have access to clean water. More than 40 percent of children in Basra, and more than 70 percent in Baghdad, cannot attend school.

[…]

Bush’s War Totals

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Iraq on Dandelion Salad

Prosecuting the Georgites: Begin with the Mundane? by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on Buzzflash.com
January 30, 2009

The current debate on our side as to whether President Obama should “go after” the Georgites, right up to, or perhaps starting with, BushCheney echoes the debate on possible impeachment that occurred when the last Congress came to power. At the time, I put forth the view that it might be a good idea, despite the political risks, if one started on the mundane, such as corruption. One could start with it rather than with the truly important, such as the use of torture by the Administration, ordered/approved (depending upon how you read the known words) from the top. Among other things, violating the Geneva Conventions automatically violated Article Six of the Constitution (which makes ratified treaties part of the supreme law of the land). Given the incoming personnel at the top levels of the Justice Department, I do think the Administration will get there, sooner or later. But it has other priorities now, such as the economy, health care, and Israel/Palestine. And Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, is already starting in on the top level Georgites, on the matter of violating the Constitution. So what might the Administration do right away?

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