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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Police State Methods: Preemptive Strikes Against Protest at the Republican National Convention

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, September 2, 2008

In the months leading up to the Republican National Convention, the FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force actively recruited people to infiltrate vegan groups and other leftist organizations and report back about their activities. On May 21, the Minneapolis City Pages ran a recruiting story called “Moles Wanted.” Law enforcement sought to preempt lawful protest against the policies of the Bush administration during the convention.

Since Friday, local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by “teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets.” Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.

“I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns,” said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. “The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint.”

The raids targeted members of “Food Not Bombs,” an anti-war, anti-authoritarian protest group that provides free vegetarian meals every week in hundreds of cities all over the world. They served meals to rescue workers at the World Trade Center after 9/11 and to nearly 20 communities in the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina.

Also targeted were members of I-Witness Video, a media watchdog group that monitors the police to protect civil liberties. The group worked with the National Lawyers Guild to gain the dismissal of charges or acquittals of about 400 of the 1,800 who were arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York . Preemptive policing was used at that time as well. Police infiltrated protest groups in advance of the convention.

Nestor said that no violence or illegality has taken place to justify the arrests. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political,” he said.

Further evidence the political nature of the police action was the boarding up of the Convergence Center , where protestors had gathered, for unspecified code violations. St. Paul City Council member David Thune said, “Normally we only board up buildings that are vacant and ramshackle.” Thune and fellow City Council member Elizabeth Glidden decried “actions that appear excessive and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for those who wish to exercise their first amendment rights.”

“So here we have a massive assault led by Federal Government law enforcement agencies on left-wing dissidents and protestors who have committed no acts of violence or illegality whatsoever, preceded by months-long espionage efforts to track what they do,” Greenwald wrote on Salon.

Preventive detention violates the Fourth Amendment, which requires that warrants be supported by probable cause. Protestors were charged with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely-used statute that is so vague, it is probably unconstitutional. Nestor said it “basically criminalizes political advocacy.”

On Sunday, the National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality filed an emergency motion requesting an injunction to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used to document their conduct.

During Monday’s demonstration, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. At least 50 people were arrested, including Amy Goodman, the prominent host of Democracy Now!, as well as the show’s producers, Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. “St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city to be,” Greenwald wrote, “with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations.”

On Sunday, the National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality filed an emergency motion requesting an injunction to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cellular phones used to document their conduct.

During Monday’s demonstration, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. At least 284 people were arrested, including Amy Goodman, the prominent host of Democracy Now!, as well as the show’s producers, Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. “St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city to be,” Greenwald wrote, “with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations.”

Bruce Nestor said the timing of the arrests was intended to stop protest activity, “to make people fearful of the protests, but also to discourage people from protesting,” he told Amy Goodman. Nevertheless, 10,000 people, many opposed to the Iraq war, turned out to demonstrate on Monday. A legal team from the National Lawyers Guild has been working diligently to protect the constitutional rights of protestors.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd), which will be published this winter by PoliPointPress. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10034

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Cops cancel Rage at Concert-triggering mass march on Excel Center

RNC Dispatch #4 + Cops Attack Anti-Capitalist Bloc + 17-year-old RNC protester

Ron Paul: Civil Disobedience is very important!

Looking at America’s Police State By Timothy V. Gatto

MN Natl Guard mobilized + Cop Attacked + Pyrotechnics

Youth in iconic RNC protest photo was later beaten by police

This is America. We don’t jail journalists here.

RNC – St Paul-Minneapolis MN

Guantánamo detainees have constitutional right to habeas corpus: Supreme Court Checks and Balances in Boumediene

Dandelion Salad

by Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, June 16, 2008
Jurist

After the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited opinion, upholding habeas corpus rights for the Guantánamo detainees, I was invited to appear on The O’Reilly Factor with guest host Laura Ingraham. Although she is a lawyer and former law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas, Ingraham has no use for our judicial branch of government, noting that the justices are “unelected.” Indeed, she advocated that Bush break the law and disregard the Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush:

“Marjorie, I was trying to think to myself, look, if I were President Bush, and I had heard that this case had come down, and I’m out of office in a few months. My ratings, my popularity ratings are pretty low, I would have said at this point, that’s very interesting that the court decided this, but I’m not going to respect the decision of the court because my job is to keep this country safe.”

What did the Court decide that so incensed Ingraham (who has just been rewarded for her “fair and balanced” views with her own show on Fox News)? Will this decision really imperil our safety? And will Boumediene become an issue in the presidential election?

The Supreme Court held in a 5-4 ruling that the Guantánamo detainees have a constitutional right to habeas corpus, and that the scheme for reviewing ‘enemy combatant’ designations under the Combatant Status Review Tribunals is an inadequate substitute for habeas corpus, a result I predicted in a December 3, 2007 article.

(http://marjoriecohn.com/2007/12/guantnamo-detainees-fate-at-stake-in.html).

Guantánamo detainees have constitutional right to habeas corpus

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution is known as the Suspension Clause. It reads, “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” In section 7(a) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Congress purported to strip habeas rights from the Guantánamo detainees by amending the habeas corpus statute (28 U.S.C.A. § 2241(e)). In Boumediene, the Court held that section of the Act to be unconstitutional, declaring that the detainees still retained the constitutional right to habeas corpus.

Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, reiterated the Court’s finding in Rasul v. Bush that although Cuba retains technical sovereignty over Guantánamo, the United States exercises complete jurisdiction and control over its naval base and thus the Constitution protects the detainees there. Kennedy rejected “the necessary implication” of Bush’s position that the political branches could “govern without legal restraint” by locating a U.S. military base in a country that retained formal sovereignty over the area. In his dissent, Chief Justice Roberts flippantly characterized Guantánamo as a “jurisdictionally quirky outpost.”

Kennedy worried that the political branches could “have the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will” which “would lead to a regime in which they, not this Court, say ‘what the law is.'” “Even when the United States acts outside its borders,” Kennedy wrote, “its powers are not ‘absolute and unlimited’ but are subject ‘to such restrictions as are expressed in the Constitution.'”

Thus, Kennedy observed, “the writ of habeas corpus is itself an indispensable mechanism for monitoring the separation of powers.” Indeed, habeas corpus was one of the few individual rights the Founding Fathers wrote it into the original Constitution, years before they enacted the Bill of Rights.

“The test for determining the scope of [the habeas corpus] provision,” Kennedy wrote, “must not be subject to manipulation by those whose power it is designed to restrain.” It is such manipulation that Laura Ingraham would perpetuate. It was a Republican-controlled Congress, working hand-in-glove with Bush, that tried to strip habeas corpus rights from the Guantánamo detainees in the Military Commissions Act. The Supreme Court has determined that effort to be unconstitutional. Fulfilling its constitutional duty to check and balance the other two branches, the Court has carried out its mandate to interpret the Constitution and say “what the law is.”

No adequate substitute for habeas corpus

Finding that the Guantánamo detainees retained the constitutional right to habeas corpus, the Court turned to the issue of whether there was an adequate substitute for habeas review. Bush established Combatant Status Review Tribunals (“CSRTs”) to determine whether a detainee is an “enemy combatant.” These kangaroo courts provide no right to counsel, only a “personal representative,” who owes no duty of confidentiality to his client and often doesn’t even advocate on behalf of the detainee; one even argued the government’s case. The detainee doesn’t have the right to see much of the evidence against him and is very limited in the evidence he can present.

The CSRTs have been criticized by military participants in the process. Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a veteran of U.S. intelligence, said they often relied on “generic” evidence and were set up to rubber-stamp the “enemy combatant” designation. When he sat as a judge in one of the tribunals, Abraham and the other two judges – a colonel and a major in the Air Force – “found the information presented to lack substance” and noted that statements presented as factual “lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence.” After they determined there was “no factual basis” to conclude the detainee was an enemy combatant, the government pressured them to change their conclusion but they refused. Abraham was never assigned to another CSRT panel. It is widely believed that Abraham’s affidavit about the shortcomings of the CSRT’s in Boumediene’s companion case caused the Supreme Court to reverse its denial of certiorari and agree to review Boumediene. This was the first time in 60 years the Court had so reversed itself.

While the Court declined to decide whether the CSRTs satisfied due process standards, it concluded that “even when all the parties involved in this process act with diligence and in good faith, there is considerable risk of error in the tribunal’s findings of fact.” The Court then had to determine whether the procedure for judicial review of the CSRTs’ “enemy combatant” designations constituted an adequate substitute for habeas corpus review.

“For the writ of habeas corpus, or its substitute, to function as an effective and proper remedy in this context,” Kennedy wrote, “the court that conducts the habeas proceeding must have the means to correct errors that occurred during the CSRT proceedings. This includes some authority to assess the sufficiency of the Government’s evidence against the detainee. It also must have the authority to admit and consider relevant exculpatory evidence that was not introduced during the earlier proceeding.”

But in the Detainee Treatment Act (“DTA”), Congress limited district court review of the CSRT determinations to whether the CSRT complied with its own procedures. The district court had no authority to hear newly discovered evidence or make a finding that the detainee was improperly designated as an enemy combatant.

The Supreme Court noted that “when the judicial power to issue habeas corpus properly is invoked the judicial officer must have adequate authority to make a determination in light of the relevant law and facts and to formulate and issue appropriate orders for relief, including, if necessary, an order directing the prisoner’s release.” Since the DTA’s scheme for reviewing determinations of the CSRTs did not afford this authority, the Court held it was not an adequate substitute for habeas corpus and thus section 7 of the Military Commissions Act acted as “an unconstitutional suspension of the writ.”

Boumediene will not imperil the United States

In his dissent, Justice Scalia sounded the alarm that the Boumediene decision “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.” Likewise, the Wall St. Journal editorialized, “We can say with confident horror that more Americans are likely to die as a result.” Their predictions, however, are not based in fact.

Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian detainees from Bosnia were accused of threatening to blow up an embassy in Bosnia . The Supreme Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded there was no evidence to continue to detain them and ordered them released. The Bosnian officials turned them over to the United States and they were transported to Guantánamo, where they have languished since 2002.

Many of the men and boys at Guantánamo were sold as bounty to the U.S. military by the Northern Alliance or warlords for $5,000 a head. Indeed, Maj. Gen. Jay Hood, the former commander at Guantánamo, admitted to the Wall St. Journal, “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks,” but innocent men remain detained there because “[n]obody wants to be the one to sign the release papers . . . there’s no muscle in the system.”

The Boumediene decision will not directly impact the criminal cases against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the few others who will be tried in the military commissions. It is the 211 men who have filed habeas corpus petitions challenging their “enemy combatant” designations who will benefit from this ruling. No one will be automatically released. They will simply be afforded a fair hearing. Most Americans would not object to a requirement that our government fairly prove someone guilty before we imprison him indefinitely.

Even Justice Jackson, the chief prosecutor at Nuremberg , advocated due process for the Nazi leaders. “The ultimate principle,” he said, “is that you must put no man on trial under the forms of judicial proceedings if you are not willing to see him freed if not proven guilty.” Jackson understood the importance of the presumption of innocence in our system of law.

Kennedy quoted Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in Federalist 84 that “arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.” Justice Souter cut to the chase in his separate opinion, citing “the length of the disputed imprisonments, some of the prisoners represented here today having been locked up for six years.” None of them has been charged with a crime and none has been brought before a fair and impartial judge.

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” Kennedy wrote. ” Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law.”

“Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles,” according to Kennedy. “Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers … Within the Constitution’s separation-of-powers structure, few exercises of judicial power are as legitimate or as necessary as the responsibility to hear challenges to the authority of the Executive to imprison a person.”

In responding to Laura Ingraham’s false dichotomy between keeping us safe and protecting habeas corpus, I cited Benjamin Franklin’s admonition: “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

Attacking judges under guise of national security

The Boumediene decision split along political lines with the four so-called liberal justices – Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter and Breyer – in the majority, and the four conservative justices – Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito – in the dissent. Kennedy, the swing vote, broke the tie. Curt Levy from the Committee for Justice, which seeks to pack the courts with right-wing judges, blogged that Boumediene has “teed up the Supreme Court issue nicely for the G.O.P.”

Indeed, John McCain has already seized upon it as a campaign issue. The day the opinion came out, McCain said, “It obviously concerns me . . . but it is a decision the Supreme Court has made. Now we need to move forward. As you know, I always favored closing of Guantánamo Bay and I still think that we ought to do that.” By the next day, McCain had changed his tune. “The Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country,” he declared. McCain, who hopes to overcome the unpopularity of his positions on the war and the economy, will make national security the centerpiece of his campaign.

Barack Obama, who links our national security with how other nations view us, characterized the Boumediene decision as “an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.”

It is very likely that the next president will make at least one nomination, and probably two, to the Supreme Court. Boumediene is the poster child for how delicately the Court is now balanced, and the disastrous consequences to the doctrine of separation-of-powers that await us if a President McCain makes good on his promise to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Alito.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com. This article first appeared in Jurist.

© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Jurist, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9354

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On Torture and “Administration Interrogation Rules” by Prof Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, May 8, 2008
US Congress

For the complete testimony, see
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/

Testimony to the US Congress

Testimony of Marjorie Cohn

“From the Department of Justice to Guantánamo Bay: Administration Lawyers and Administration Interrogation Rules”

Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties House Judiciary Committee

May 6, 2008

What does torture have in common with genocide, slavery, and wars of aggression? They are all jus cogens. That’s Latin for “higher law” or “compelling law.” This means that no country can ever pass a law that allows torture. There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a jus cogens prohibition.

The United States has always prohibited torture in our Constitution, laws, executive statements, judicial decisions, and treaties. When the U.S. ratifies a treaty, it becomes part of American law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, says, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture.”

Whether someone is a POW or not, he must always be treated humanely; there are no gaps in the Geneva Conventions.

The US War Crimes Act, and 18 USC sections 818 and 3231, punish torture, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment.

The Torture Statute criminalizes the commission, attempt, or conspiracy to commit torture outside the United States.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws and the President the duty to enforce them. Yet Bush, relying on memos by lawyers including John Yoo, announced the Geneva Conventions did not apply to alleged Taliban and Al Qaeda members. But torture and inhumane treatment are never allowed under our laws.

Justice Department lawyers wrote memos at the request of Bush officials to insulate them from prosecution for torture. In memos dated August 1, 2002 and March 18, 2003, John Yoo wrote the DOJ would not enforce U.S. laws against torture, assault, maiming and stalking, in the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants.

The maiming statute makes it a crime for someone “with the intent to torture, maim, or disfigure” to “cut, bite, or slit the nose, ear or lip, or cut out or disable the tongue, or put out or destroy an eye, or cut off or disable a limb, or any member of another person” or throw or pour upon another person any scalding water, corrosive acid, or caustic substance.

Yoo said, “just because the statute says — that doesn’t mean you have to do it.” In a debate with Notre Dame Professor Doug Cassell, Yoo said there is no treaty that prohibits the President from torturing someone by crushing the testicles of the person’s child. It depends on the President’s motive, Yoo said, notwithstanding the absolute prohibition on torture.

Yoo twisted the law and redefined torture much more narrowly than the Torture Convention and the Torture Statute. Under Yoo’s definition, you have to nearly kill the person to constitute torture.

Yoo wrote that self-defense or necessity could be defenses to war crimes prosecutions, notwithstanding the Torture Convention’s absolute prohibition against torture in all circumstances.

After the August 1, 2002 memo was made public, the DOJ knew it was indefensible. It was withdrawn as of June 1, 2004, and a new opinion, dated December 30, 2004, specifically rejected Yoo’s definition of torture, and admitted that a defendant’s motives to protect national security won’t shield him from prosecution. The rescission of the prior memo is an admission by the DOJ that the legal reasoning was wrong. But for the 22 months it was in effect, it sanctioned and caused the torture of myriad prisoners.

Yoo and other DOJ lawyers were part of a common plan to violate U.S. and international laws outlawing torture. It was reasonably foreseeable their advice would result in great physical or mental harm or death to many detainees. Indeed, more than 100 have died, many from torture. Yoo admitted recently he knew interrogators would take action based on what he advised.

Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft met in the White House and micromanaged the torture by approving specific torture techniques such as waterboarding. Bush admitted he knew and approved of their actions.

They are all liable under the War Crimes Act and the Torture Statute. Under the doctrine of command responsibility, commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief, are liable for war crimes if they knew or should have known their subordinates would commit them, and they did nothing to stop or prevent it. The Bush officials ordered the torture after seeking legal cover from their lawyers.

The President can no more order the commission of torture than he can order the commission of genocide, or establish a system of slavery, or wage a war of aggression.

A Select Committee of Congress should launch an immediate and thorough investigation of the circumstances under which torture was authorized and rationalized. The high officials of our government, and the lawyers who advised them, should be investigated and prosecuted by a Special Prosecutor, independent of the Justice Department, for their roles in misusing the rule of law and legal analysis to justify torture and other crimes in flagrant violation of our laws.

For the complete testimony, see
http://www.c-spanarchives.org/

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, US Congress, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8922

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Philippe Sands on the White House Role in Sanctioning Torture

Philippe Sands: Beyond the Torture Debate (video)

John Yoo-4th Amendment-Torture

Beware an Attack on Iran by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, March 17, 2008

Is the Bush administration ramping up for an attack on Iran? The signs seem to point in that direction. On March 11, Navy Adm. William Fallon, commander of the U.S. forces in the Middle East, retired early because of differences with Washington on Iran policy. And now, Dick Cheney’s current Middle East tour may be designed to prepare our Arab allies for an imminent “preemptive” war against Iran.

Bush and Cheney have long been rattling the sabers in Iran’s direction. The disaster they created in Iraq isn’t going well, no matter how they spin it. They may feel that engaging the United States militarily in Iran would make it harder to elect anyone other than the seasoned military man, John McCain. The Republican presidential candidate just happens to be touring Iraq with Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of the strongest advocates of a U.S. military strike on Iran. Lieberman is likely on McCain’s short list for a vice-presidential running mate.

Admiral Fallon took early retirement after making comments that contradicted the Bush administration’s aggressive stance on Iran. Fallon told the Arab television station Al Jazeera last fall that a “constant drumbeat of conflict” from the administration against Iran was “not helpful and not useful.” After Fallon announced his retirement, the New York Times reported a senior administration official as saying Fallon’s comments about U.S. Iran policy “left the perception he had a different foreign policy than the president.” If Fallon wants to talk to Iran rather than attack it, then his policy differs from Bush’s.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Miller, however, has downplayed the significance of Admiral Fallon’s abrupt retirement. Admiral Miller proclaimed recently, “In my view, this should not be seen as a sign – at all – towards any kind of conflict with Iran.” Perhaps the chairman doth protest too much.

The White House has been spewing pugilistic rhetoric toward Iran. In spite of the unanimous conclusion of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran is not developing nukes, Bush immediately declared, “I have said Iran is dangerous, and the NIE estimate doesn’t do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world – quite the contrary.”

(See http://marjoriecohn.com/2007/12/bush-still-spinning-nukes-in-iran.html).

News reports on Monday announced that Dick Cheney is on a surprise weeklong visit to Iraq, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Turkey. High on Cheney’s agenda is the topic of U.S. policy toward Iran.

Connect the dots. They paint a very frightening picture.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.” Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8371

see

Iran’s Conservatives Take Lead in Election, End Nuclear Negotiations By Liam Bailey

Threat of Iran War More Real: End the World for What? By Liam Bailey

The resignation of Admiral Fallon will provoke renewed fighting in Iraq

Disagreements by Top Military Brass regarding Bush-Cheney War Plans by Michel Chossudovsky

The Global Research News Hour with Michel Chossudovsky & Stephen Lendman (audio link)

Dandelion Salad

Must-listen radio show, complete with commercials. ~ Lo

The Global Research News Hour w/ Michel Chossudovsky & Stephen Lendman

Feb 18 program: The US Economic Crisis and the derogation of the US Constitution

(Starts Monday, February 18th 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM CST)

Audio link

Michel talks with his guest in the first hour Prof. Tremblay and in the second hour Prof. Marjorie Cohn. Michel co-host joins him in the last half hour.

***

AUDIO ARCHIVE: The Global Research News Hour

Feb 18 program: The US Economic Crisis and the derogation of the US Constitution

Global Research, February 18, 2008
– 2008-02-13

The Global Research News Hour
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Host: Michel Chossudovsky and Stephen Lendman
Time: Mondays 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

February 18th

Michel Chossudovsky and co-Host Stephen Lendman, Guests: Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay on the US Economic Crisis, Prof. Marjorie Cohn on Bush Cheney violation of the US Constitution and the derogation of the rule of law.

Other news issues covered in the second hour include Kosovo and America’s preemptive nuclear doctrine.
Click podcast to access Program archive of the Global Research News Hour.

2008
The Global Research News Hour
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© Copyright, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8065

see

Stagflation is Here by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

Bush and ExxonMobil v. Chavez by Stephen Lendman

E.U. Police and Military Intervention to enforce Secession from Serbia by Michel Chossudovsky + video

Injustice at Guantanamo: Torture Evidence & the Military Commissions Act by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Injustice at Guantanamo: Torture Evidence & the Military Commissions Act by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, February 15, 2008
Jurist

The Bush administration has announced its intention to try six alleged al Qaeda members at Guantánamo under the Military Commissions Act. That Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, although it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before December 30, 2005. Thus, the administration would be forbidden from relying on evidence obtained by waterboarding, if waterboarding constitutes torture.

That’s one reason Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to admit waterboarding is torture. The other is that torture is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Mukasey would be calling Dick Cheney a war criminal if the former admitted waterboarding is torture. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has said on National Public Radio that the policies that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners emanated from the Vice President’s office.

The federal government is working overtime to try and clean up the legal mess made by the use of illegal interrogation methods. In a thinly-veiled attempt to sanitize the Guantánamo trials, the Department of Justice and the Pentagon instituted an extensive program to re-interview the prisoners who have undergone abusive interrogations, this time with “clean teams.” For example, if a prisoner implicated one of the defendants during an interrogation using waterboarding, the government will now re-interrogate that prisoner without waterboarding and get the same information. Then they will say the information was secured humanely. This attempt to wipe the slate clean is a farce and a sham.

In Brady v. Maryland, the US Supreme Court held that a prosecutor has a duty to give criminal defendants all evidence that might tend to exonerate them. Yet the CIA admitted destroying several hundred hours of videotapes depicting interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Ramin al-Nashiri, which likely included waterboarding. The administration claims Abu Zubaydah led them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the defendants facing trial in the military commissions. So the government has destroyed potentially exonerating evidence. Moreover, the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” are classified so they can be kept secret from the defendants, and CIA agents cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence of torture.

A report just released by Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research reveals more than 24,000 interrogations have been conducted at Guantánamo since 2002 and every interrogation was videotaped. Many of these interrogations were abusive. “One Government document, for instance, reports detainee treatment so violent as to “shake the camera in the interrogation room” and “cause severe internal injury,” the report says.

The Military Commissions Act contains other provisions that deny the defendants basic due process. It allows a trial to continue in the absence of the accused, places the power to appoint judges in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, permits the introduction of hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the accused the right to see all of the evidence against him. Defense attorneys are not allowed to meet their clients without governmental monitoring, and all of their notes and mail must be handed over to the military.

Will the U.S. Supreme Court be able to rectify the situation of abusive interrogations if and when a case comes before it? Not if Justice Antonin Scalia has his way. Once again, Scalia is acting as a loyal foot soldier in the President’s “war on terror.” In a BBC interview that aired this week, Scalia defended the use of torture to extract information from prisoners in some cases.

Scalia’s remarks mean he has prejudged the issues in future cases in which the Constitution might dictate the suppression of evidence because of illegal police interrogation techniques, or the right to compensation of a person whose civil rights have been violated. Justice Scalia should recuse himself from any case that presents these issues.

Bush is meanwhile threatening to veto a bill Congress passed that would forbid the CIA from subjecting prisoners to interrogation techniques banned by the U.S. Army Field Manual. John McCain, the tortured POW who led the charge in 2005 against cruel treatment, has now hitched his wagon to Bush’s star. Presidential candidate McCain voted to allow the CIA to continue to ply its cruelty.

When Bush vetoes the bill, Congress should stand firm for the rule of law and basic standards of human decency and override his veto. Dick Cheney and other officials who participated in formulating the abusive interrogation policies should be investigated under the U.S. War Crimes Act. And the Democratic-controlled Congress should repeal the Military Commissions Act that Bush rammed through the Republican-controlled Congress.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic : Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com/

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Jurist, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8090

see

Habeas Corpus/HR 6166/Military Commissions Act/MCA

Cheney Impeachment Gains Traction in House Judiciary Committee by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, January 22, 2008

Nine out of 23 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee favor starting impeachment hearings against Vice-President Dick Cheney. Six of the nine are co-sponsors of H.R. 799, which contains three articles of impeachment.

Articles I and II of H.R. 799 accuse Cheney of purposely manipulating intelligence to deceive Congress and the American people about a fabricated threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, respectively. Article III charges Cheney with openly threatening aggression against Iran absent any real threat to the United States . All three articles say Cheney’s actions have damaged our national security interests.

Three of the nine Judiciary Committee Democrats who advocate launching impeachment hearings against Cheney, Reps. Robert Wexler (D., Fla.), Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill. ) and Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), co-authored an op-ed that appeared on December 27 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

They wrote, “The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that, if proven, may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution. The allegations against Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.”

There is also credible evidence that policies set in Cheney’s office authorized the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody, in violation of three treaties the United States has ratified, as well as the U.S. Torture Statute and War Crimes Act. The policies on the treatment of prisoners emanating from Cheney’s office triggered the abuse and torture, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s chief of staff.

“It was clear to me that there was a visible audit trail from the Vice President’s office through the Secretary of Defense down to the commanders in the field,” Wilkerson, a former colonel, said on National Public Radio‘s “Morning Edition.”

In November, the House of Representatives sent the impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for further proceedings. However many Democrats oppose impeachment, citing the year and a half of testimony about Bill Clinton‘s personal relations. They think impeachment will detract from Congress’s other pressing business.

Yet, the three congresspersons noted, the Clinton impeachment “must not be the model for impeachment inquiries. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for Clinton .”

And, they argue, the hearings would “involve the possible impeachment of the vice president – not of our commander in chief – and the resulting impact on the nation’s business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton presidential impeachment hearings.”

Seventy percent of American voters think Cheney has abused his powers and 43 percent say he should be removed from office, according to a Nov. 13 poll by the American Research Group. Organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild, have called for the impeachment of Dick Cheney.

Impeachment hearings against Cheney would not only fulfill the Constitution’s command that high officials who commit high crimes and misdemeanors be brought to justice. It would also deter the vice president from committing additional crimes that threaten the national security of the United States .

Any impeachment proceeding would have to start in the House Judiciary Committee. The nine Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who favor impeachment hearings are: Robert Wexler, Fla.; Luis Gutierrez, Ill. ; Anthony Weiner, N.Y.; Tammy Baldwin, Wisc.; Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas; Steve Cohen, Tenn.; Keith Ellison, Minn. ; Maxine Waters, Calif. ; and Hank Johnson, Ga.

Here is a list of the entire House Judiciary Committee: http://judiciary.house.gov/CommitteeMembership.aspx.

For information about the campaign to impeach Dick Cheney, see http://impeachcheney.org.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7875

see

http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com

Marjorie Cohn speaking on laws Bush has broken & Impeachment (video; Oct 07)

Dandelion Salad

by Maverick Media
43 min 45 sec – Nov 28, 2007

Marjorie Cohn, president of National Lawyers Guild, author of “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang has Defied the Law”, speaking at Ventura College, Ventura, CA on Oct. 5, 2007. Also discusses need for impeachment.

Continue reading

The Torture Tape Cover-up: How High Does It Go? by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, December 26, 2007

When the hideous photographs of torture and abuse emerged from Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2004, they created a public relations disaster for the Bush administration. The White House had painstakingly worked to capitalize on the 9/11 attacks by creating a “war on terror.” Never mind the absurdity of declaring war on a tactic. Central to Bush’s new “war” was the portrayal of us as the good guys and al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein as the bad guys.

But the Abu Ghraib photos of naked Iraqis piled on top of one another, forced to masturbate, led around on leashes like dogs shined the light on U.S. hypocrisy.

After the Abu Ghraib revelations, the Bush administration could not tolerate more bad publicity. So in 2005, the CIA destroyed several hundred hours of videotapes depicting torturous interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, probably including water boarding. The former U.S. official involved in discussions about the tapes reported widespread concern that “something as explosive as this would probably get out,” according to the Los Angeles Times. This destruction of evidence may violate several laws. And it remains to be seen how high up the chain of command the criminality goes.

Now that the videotape scandal has come to light, Bush and his men are back in damage control mode. CIA Director Michael Hayden minimized the significance of the destruction, claiming the tapes were destroyed “only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative or judicial inquiries.” These claims are disingenuous.

The tapes likely portray U.S. officials engaged in torture, which violates three U.S.-ratified treaties as well as the U.S. Torture Statute and the War Crimes Act.

Bush justifies his administration’s “harsh interrogation techniques” by maintaining that Zubaydah, under interrogation, fingered Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. But according to investigative journalist Ron Suskind in his 2006 book One Percent Doctrine, it was a “walk-in” who led the CIA to Mohammed in return for a $25 million reward.

Zubaydah evidently wasn’t a top al Qaeda leader. Dan Coleman, one of the FBI’s leading experts on al Qaeda, said Zubaydah “knew very little about real operations, or strategy.” Moreover, Zubaydah was schizophrenic, according to Coleman. “This guy is insane, certifiable split personality.” Coleman’s views were echoed at the top levels of the CIA and were communicated to Bush and Cheney. But Bush scolded CIA director George Tenet, saying, “I said [Zubaydah] was important. You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” Zubaydah’s minor role in al Qaeda and his apparent insanity were kept secret.

In response to the torture, Zubaydah told his interrogators about myriad terrorist targets al Qaeda had in its sights: the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statute of Liberty, shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, and apartment buildings. Al Qaeda was close to building a crude nuclear bomb, Zubaydah reported. None of this was corroborated but the Bush gang reacted to each report zealously.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed the government’s duty to provide criminal defendants with any evidence in the government’s possession that might tend to exonerate the defendant or impeach the prosecutor’s case. Zacarias Moussaoui tried to subpoena Zubaydah to testify at his trial. On May 9, 2003, Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Novak and David Raskin lied to U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema, who presided over Moussaoui’s trial. When the judge asked “whether the interrogations are being recorded in any format”?, the U.S. Attorneys, evidently relying on information from the CIA, said “No.” This is obstruction of justice.

When Zubaydah and al-Nashiri go before the military commissions, they will undoubtedly raise their torture as a defense to whatever crimes they face. Yet the evidence of that torture has been destroyed by the government.

There was no way of knowing whether these tapes could have intelligence value in the future. Indeed, the government defied the 2003 and 2004 demands of the 9/11 Commission by failing to turn over the videotaped interrogations. Now the CIA is parsing words by claiming the commission never directly asked for videotapes. “We asked for every single thing they had,” commission co-chairman Thomas Kean said. “And then my vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, looked the director of the CIA in the face, and said, ‘Look, even if we haven’t asked for something, if it’s pertinent to our investigation, make it available to us.’” Hamilton said the CIA “clearly obstructed” the commission’s investigation.

At the same time the 9/11 Commission was denied the tapes, the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records of the treatment of all detainees held in U.S. custody abroad since 9/11. When the government refused to comply with the FOIA requests, the ACLU sued in federal court in New York On September 15, 2004, U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the CIA and other government agencies to “produce or identify” all requested documents within one month. They are still not forthcoming. The ACLU has filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt of court for refusing to comply with Judge Hellerstein’s order.

When the destruction of the tapes became public, both the House and Senate intelligence committees opened investigations, and subpoenaed witnesses and documents to shed light on the matter. Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to cooperate and tried to put the kabosh on the congressional probes, asking them to wait until he had finished his own internal investigation. But after criticism in the media, the CIA relented and agreed to produce documents and the testimony of acting CIA general counsel John Rizzo.

The decision to destroy the tapes was allegedly made by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who was chief of the Directorate of Operations, the CIA’s clandestine service. Although the House intelligence committee has subpoenaed Rodriguez, there is no indication his bosses will allow him to testify.

The Sunday Times ( London ) reported that Rodriguez may seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying before the House intelligence committee. Rodriguez’s testimony could be explosive.

At least four top White House lawyers participated in discussions with the CIA between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy the videotapes. They included Alberto Gonzales, David Addington (Cheney’s former counsel, now his chief of staff), Harriet Miers, and John Bellinger (former senior attorney at the National Security Council). The New York Times quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying there was “vigorous sentiment” among some high White House officials to destroy the tapes.

Two former CIA officials, Vincent Cannistrano and Larry Johnson, think it highly unlikely Rodriguez made the decision to destroy the tapes on his own. George W. Bush “has no recollection” of hearing about the existence or destruction of the tapes before Hayden briefed him on December 13. Yet given Bush’s keen interest in Zubaydah’s interrogation, it seems more likely the President was involved with the decision to destroy the tapes.

During his Senate confirmation hearing, Michael Mukasey refused to opine about whether water boarding constitutes torture. Mukasey knew the Bush administration had admitted water boarding prisoners, and that torture is a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Mukasey was shielding his future bosses from criminal liability as war criminals. Now the Department of Justice, under Mukasey, is investigating the destruction of the tapes.

Justice Department regulations call for the appointment of an outside special counsel when (1) a criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted, (2) the investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department, and (3) under the circumstances it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter. When these three conditions are satisfied, the attorney general must select a special counsel from outside the government. (28 C.F.R. 600.1, 600.3 (2007).)

When he was a federal judge, Michael Mukasey issued the material witness warrant for Jose Padilla. The warrant was based partly on information from Abu Zubaydah. It is not clear whether Mukasey knew Zubaydah’s statements were obtained by torture. But since he issued the warrant, Mukasey has a real or apparent conflict of interest. He has said it is premature to appoint an outside special counsel. But like the Nixon administration, the Department of Justice cannot be trusted to investigate itself. Congress should be pressured to pass a new independent counsel statute.

 

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7684

see

Did Bush Watch the Torture Tapes?

CIA Torture and other War Crimes By Philip Giraldi

The torture tape fingering Bush as a war criminal By Andrew Sullivan

Lawyers Stepping Up by Katrina vanden Heuvel

Dandelion Salad

by Katrina vanden Heuvel
Global Research, December 22, 2007
The Nation – 2007-12-21

We are lawyers in the United States of America. As such, we have all taken an oath obligating us to defend the Constitution and the rule of law…. We believe the Bush administration has committed numerous offenses against the Constitution and may have violated federal laws…. Moreover, the administration has blatantly defied congressional subpoenas, obstructing constitutional oversight …. Thus, we call on House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to launch hearings into the possibility that crimes have been committed by this administration in violation of the Constitution…. We call for the investigations to go where they must, including into the offices of the President and the Vice President. American Lawyers Defending the Constitution

Over one thousand lawyers – including former Governor Mario Cuomo and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein – have signed onto the above statement demanding wide-ranging investigative hearings into unconstitutional and potentially criminal activity by the Bush administration.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and winner of the 2007 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, said: “The majority of lawyers in this country understand that the Bush administration has really gone off the page of constitutional rights and off the page of fundamental rights, and is willing to push the Congress to restore those rights.” Ratner said he was “dismayed” that a Democratic majority has failed “to push on key illegalities… the torture program, and now the destruction of the tapes involving the torture program; the warrantless wiretapping, the denial of habeas corpus, the secret sites/rendition program, special trials, and of course what we now know is the firing of US Attorneys scandal…. The minimal that absolutely is needed to get us back on the page of law is to have serious investigative hearings that go up the chain of command and figure out who is responsible for what.”

Ratner noted that even with regard to the US attorney’s investigations, where Congressional committees held Harriet Miers, Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove in contempt, leadership has failed to enforce these actions by bringing the resolutions to a vote. “Just announcing that investigations will be held and subpoenas will be issued is terribly insufficient unless Congress is willing to enforce the subpoenas by issuing contempt citations,” Ratner said. “Congress has a constitutional duty to oversee the activities of the executive branch and our entire system of government is threatened when Congress simply folds before an obstinate executive. Issuing contempt citations against Bolten, Miers, and Rove should be Congress’s first order of business in 2008.”

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, discussed the administration’s torture program violating three US-ratified treaties and the US torture statute; the illegal War in Iraq violating the US-ratified UN Charter as a war of aggression; and Attorney General Michael Mukasey‘s conflict of interest in overseeing investigations into the torture program and the destruction of the CIA interrogations tapes.

Also speaking with reporters was Jesselyn Raddack, a former Justice Department ethics lawyer who served as an advisor during the interrogation of John Walker Lindh (the “American Taliban”). Raddack said, “My e-mails documented my advice against interrogating Lindh without a lawyer, and concluded that the FBI committed an ethics violation when it did so anyway. Both the CIA videotapes and my e-mails were destroyed, in part, because officials were concerned that they documented controversial interrogation methods that could put agency officials in legal jeopardy…. ” Raddack pointed to the Department of Justice’s investigations of Enron and Arthur Anderson for obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence, and the need for the same aggressive oversight and legal proceedings in these scandals.

This is a vital effort by those charged with defending our constitution, as Ratner said, “This lawyers’ letter and the growing number of signatures we’ll have on it, and prominent people – it’s a way of saying to Congress, ‘You need some backbone. You need to have a serious investigation, wherever it might go, on these issues that really have taken the United States out of the mainstream of human rights.’ It’s absolutely critical… We’ve opened up the door to illegality…. Unless we have accountability on those illegalities, we’re going to be facing a very bleak future in which fundamental rights will not really be obeyed.”

Global Research Articles by Katrina vanden Heuvel

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7672

see

It’s time to impeach our VP and Pres: http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com

Guantanamo Detainees’ Fate at Stake by Prof Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, December 5, 2007
marjoriecohn.com

Boumediene v. Bush hearing at the Supreme court

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in Boumediene v. Bush. Most of the 34 detainees whose fate hangs in the balance in this case were brought to Guantánamo after being picked up by bounty hunters or tribesmen in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yet the Bush administration has fought hard to keep them away from any independent court where they could contest the legality of their confinement.

In February, two judges on a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that strips the statutory rights of all Guantánamo detainees to have their habeas corpus petitions heard by U.S. federal courts. The Supreme Court will decide in Boumediene whether these men still have a constitutional right to habeas corpus.

If the lower court decision is left to stand, they can be held there for the rest of their lives without ever having a federal judge determine the legality of their detention.

Background on the Guantánamo cases

In June 2004, the Supreme Court decided Rasul v. Bush, which upheld the right of those detained at Guantánamo to have their petitions for habeas corpus heard by U.S. courts, under the federal habeas statute.

The ink was barely dry on Rasul when Bush created the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, ostensibly to comply with the Rasul ruling. But these tribunals amounted to an end-run around Rasul. They were established to determine whether a detainee is an enemy combatant.

At the end of last term, the Supreme Court struck down Bush’s military commissions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld because they did not comply with due process guarantees in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. Military commissions are criminal courts to try prisoners for war crimes.

Then, in October of last year, in another end run, this time around Hamdan, Bush rammed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 through a Congress terrified of appearing soft on terror in the upcoming midterm elections. The Act does many things, but it notably amends the habeas corpus statute to strip statutory habeas rights from all Guantánamo detainees.

Do detainees retain constitutional right to habeas corpus?

The two-judge majority in Boumediene upheld the Military Commissions Act’s stripping of statutory habeas jurisdiction that the Supreme Court had recognized in Rasul.

Art. I of the Constitution contains the Suspension Clause, which says that Congress can suspend the right of habeas corpus only in times of rebellion or invasion when the public safety may require it. We are not now in a state of invasion or rebellion, and Congress did not make such a finding.

The two-judge majority in Boumediene said: (1) in the absence of a statutory habeas right (which Congress eliminated in the Military Commissions Act), the Constitution only protects the right of habeas corpus that was recognized at common law in 1789; (2) the law in 1789 did not provide the right of habeas corpus to aliens held by the government outside of the sovereign’s territory; and (3) Guantánamo is outside U.S territory for constitutional purposes, even though the U.S. has complete control over it.

This reasoning is erroneous for three reasons.

First, the Supreme Court held in INS v. St. Cyr that the Constitution protects the writ as it existed in 1789 “at the absolute minimum.” The high court in Rasul cited St. Cyr.

Second, although the Boumediene majority relies on the treaty that says Cuba, not the U.S., has sovereignty over Guantánamo, the Supreme Court rejected that argument in Rasul, when it said: “By the express terms of its agreements with Cuba, the United States exercises ‘complete jurisdiction and control’ over the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, and may continue to exercise such control permanently if it so chooses. . . Aliens held at the base, no less than American citizens, are entitled to invoke the federal courts’ authority under §2241.”

Third, although the Rasul Court was analyzing the pre-Military Commissions Act habeas statute, it also cited Johnson v. Eisentrager, which construed the constitutional right of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court in Eisentrager denied habeas jurisdiction to German citizens who had been captured by U.S. forces in China, then tried and convicted of war crimes by an American military commission in Nanking.

The Eisentrager court listed six factors to determine whether an alien is entitled to constitutional habeas jurisdiction in U.S. courts. These factors were cited in Rasul, which said:

“In reversing that determination, this Court [in Eisentrager] summarized the six critical facts in the case:

“We are here confronted with a decision whose basic premise is that these prisoners are entitled, as a constitutional right, to sue in some court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus. To support that assumption we must hold that a prisoner of our military authorities is constitutionally entitled to the writ, even though he (a) is an enemy alien; (b) has never been or resided in the United States; (c) was captured outside of our territory and there held in military custody as a prisoner of war; (d) was tried and convicted by a Military Commission sitting outside the United States; (e) for offenses against laws of war committed outside the United States; (f) and is at all times imprisoned outside the United States.”

“On this set of facts, the [Eisentrager] Court concluded, “no right to the writ of habeas corpus appears.”

The Rasul court continued:

“Petitioners in these [Guantánamo] cases differ from the Eisentrager detainees in important respects: They are not nationals of countries at war with the United States, and they deny that they have engaged in or plotted acts of aggression against the United States; they have never been afforded access to any tribunal, much less charged with and convicted of wrongdoing; and for more than two years they have been imprisoned in territory over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction and control.

“Not only are petitioners differently situated from the Eisentrager detainees, but the Court in Eisentrager made quite clear that all six of the facts critical to its disposition were relevant only to the question of the prisoners’ constitutional entitlement to habeas corpus.”

Combatant Status Review Tribunals not adequate substitute for habeas corpus

In Boumediene, the Bush administration asked the Court of Appeals to review the Combatant Status Review Tribunals. But the court declined, saying it had an inadequate record before it.

The Combatant Status Review Tribunals do not provide a meaningful opportunity to challenge detention. The prisoner is not entitled to an attorney, only a “personal representative,” and anything the detainee tells his personal representative can be used against him. After reviewing the cases of 393 detainees, a Seton Hall legal team found that in 96 percent of the cases, the government had not produced any witnesses or presented any documentary evidence to the detainee before the hearing. Detainees were allowed to see only summaries of the classified evidence offered against them, and that evidence was always presumed to be reliable and valid. Requests by detainees for witnesses were rarely granted.

In addition, the personal representatives said nothing in 14 percent of the hearings and made no substantive comments 30 percent of the time. Some personal representatives even advocated for the government’s position. In three cases, the detainee was found to be “no longer an enemy combatant,” but the military continued to convene tribunals until they were found to be enemy combatants. These detainees were never told of the favorable ruling and there was no indication they were informed or participated in the second or third hearings.

As the dissenter in Boumediene pointed out, the procedure set up in the Detainee Treatment Act for reviewing decisions of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals “is not designed to cure these inadequacies. The court may review only the record developed by the CSRT to assess whether the CSRT has complied with its own standards. Because the detainee still has no means to present evidence rebutting the government’s case – even assuming the detainee could learn of it contents – assessing whether the government has more evidence in its favor than the detainee is hardly the proper antidote.”

The suspension of habeas corpus will certainly have profound effects on non-citizen detainees. Consider the case of Abu Bakker Qassim, an Uighur from China who was held at Guantánamo for four years. He wrote in the New York Times: “I was locked up and mistreated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during America’s war in Afghanistan. Like hundreds of Guantánamo detainees, I was never a terrorist or a soldier. I was never even on a battlefield. Pakistani bounty hunters sold me and 17 other Uighurs to the United States military like animals for $5,000 a head. The Americans made a terrible mistake.”

Rasul v. Bush was a 6-3 decision. Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer, O’Connor and Kennedy voted with the majority. The dissenters were Justices Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist.

The Supreme Court should reverse the Court of Appeals decision in Boumediene, probably in a 5-4 vote with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito voting with the dissent. Surely the Court will not decide that Bush has succeeded in placing the detainees beyond the reach of our federal courts by sending them to Guantánamo. It should also conclude that the judicial review of the decisions of Combatant Status Review Tribunals does not provide an adequate substitute for constitutional habeas corpus.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of “Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.” Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, marjoriecohn.com, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7541

Operation Iraqi Freedom Exposed – Bush Negotiates Permanent Presence in Iraq By Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

By Marjorie Cohn
12/03/07 “ICH

The revelation that Bush will sign an agreement for a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq before his term is up confirms the real reason he invaded Iraq and changed its regime.

It was never about weapons of mass destruction. It was never about ties between Saddam and al Qaeda. And it was never about bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. These claims were lies to cover up the real motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom: to create a permanent American presence in Iraq. With Bush’s November 26, 2007 announcement that the United States and Iraq were negotiating a permanent “security relationship,” his lies have been exposed.

Bush declared, Iraqi leaders “understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic, and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency.” His outline for the permanent U.S.-Iraqi “Economic” relationship is “to encourage the flow of foreign investments to Iraq.” Two senior Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Bush is negotiating preferential treatment for U.S. investments.

This isn’t the first time Bush has tried to turn Iraq into an investment haven for U.S. oil companies. He used to tout the “Iraqi oil law,” which would transfer control of three-quarters of Iraq’s oil to foreign companies, as the benchmark for Iraqi progress. But in the face of opposition by the Iraqi oil unions, the parliament has refused to pass that law.

All along, Bush has been building mega-bases In Iraq. Camp Anaconda, which sits on 15 square miles of Iraqi soil, has a pool, gym, theater, beauty salon, school and six apartment buildings. Our $600 million American embassy in the Green Zone just opened. The largest embassy in the world, it is a self-contained city with no need for Iraqi electricity, food or water.

Although Bush has negotiated terms to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in perpetuity, the majority of American people oppose a permanent American occupation of Iraq.

So do many Iraqis. University of Michigan Juan Cole’s blog, “Informed Comment,” cited an Al-Hayat report in Arabic that the Sadr Movement and the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front rejected the “memorandum of understanding” between the United States and Iraq that Bush and Nuri al-Maliki signed. These groups say this agreement would be illegal unless agreed to by the legislature, and they complain about the absence of any timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

No wonder Iraqis oppose the U.S. occupation. The organization Just Foreign Policy has estimated that 1,118,846 Iraqis have been killed since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. Australian born journalist John Pilger wrote, “The scale of death caused by the British and U.S. governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.”

Yet Congress refuses to reign in the President. When Bush announced that violence is down in Baghdad so he can withdraw 5,000 troops, the Democratic candidates cheered, diverting their criticism to the lack of political progress in Iraq. But with so many Iraqis dead, there are fewer to kill.

We the people have to keep the pressure on. As we demand the United States withdraw completely from Iraq, we must also forbid Bush to attack Iran. Our voices must be heard – by Congress, by the media, and throughout the world.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law. She lectures throughout the world on human rights and US foreign policy. Please visit her website http://www.marjoriecohn.com/
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see

The Two Biggest Public Secrets, and How Bush Just Signing Statemented Iraq By David Swanson + Statement by the President

Preventing the Impending War on Iran by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, November 23, 2007

Rhetoric flowing out of the White House indicates the Bush administration is planning a military attack on Iran. Officials in Saudi Arabia, a close Bush ally, think the handwriting is on the wall. “George Bush’s tone makes us think he has decided what he is going to do,” according to Rihab Massoud, Prince Bandar ben Sultan’s right-hand man. Saudi Social Affairs Minister Abdel Mohsen Hakas told Le Figaro, “We are getting closer and closer to a confrontation.”

As Bush and Cheney try to whip us into a frenzy about the dangers Iran poses, their argument comes up short. They say Iran is developing nuclear weapons, but Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says there is “no evidence” of this. They say Iran is sending deadly weapons into Iraq to kill U.S. troops, but those devices can be manufactured in any Iraqi machine shop. Now the New York Times reports most of the foreign fighters in Iraq come, not from Iran, but from two Bush allies – Saudi Arabia and Libya. An estimated 90 percent of suicide bombings are carried out by foreign fighters. And senior U.S. military officials believe the financial support for Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia comes primarily from Saudi Arabia.

Yet the Bush/Cheney rhetoric about Iran continues to escalate. In light of the lack of evidence Iran is actually developing nukes, Bush equated Iranian “knowledge” to make nuclear weapons with World War III. “If you’re interested in avoiding World War III,” he said recently, “it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” This substantially lowers the bar for a U.S. attack on Iran.

A few days after Bush warned of World War III, Cheney called Iran “the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism,” adding, “The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose serious consequences… We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” These threats are eerily reminiscent of his rants in the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In an unprecedented move, the Bush administration labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. It appears the administration applied that label in an effort to trigger language in the 2002 Congressional authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. That authorization says, “The President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States.”

Like Bush’s invasion of Iraq, an attack on Iran would violate international and U.S. law. The U.N. Charter prohibits the use of military force except in self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council. Iran, which has not attacked any country for 2,000 years, hasn’t threatened to invade the United States or Israel. Rather than protecting Israel, U.S. or Israeli military force against Iran will endanger Israel, which would invariably suffer a retaliatory attack.

In making its case against Iran, the administration points to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s alleged comment that Israel should be wiped off the map. But this is an erroneous translation of what he said. According to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole and Farsi language analysts, Ahmadinejad was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini, who said the “regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” Cole said this “does not imply military action or killing anyone at all.” Journalist Diana Johnstone points out the quote is not aimed at the Israeli people, but at the Zionist “regime” occupying Jerusalem. “Coming from a Muslim religious leader,” Johnstone wrote, “this opinion is doubtless based on objection to Jewish monopoly of a city considered holy by all three of the Abramic monotheisms.”

It seems significant that support for Ahmadinejad may be waning among the real power brokers in Iran, particularly the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Jomhouri Eslami daily in Iran, which has close ties to Khamenei, has denounced Ahmadinejad’s characterization of those opposed to his nuclear program as traitors.

If the United States attacks Iran, the results would be catastrophic. Three Europeans, including former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard and Yehuda Atai, a member of the Israeli Committee for a Middle East without Weapons of Mass Destruction, wrote in Libération, “We are being warned about it from all sides: The United States is at the brink of war, ready to bombard Iran. The only thing lacking is the presidential order.” Drawing parallels with the U.S. war in Iraq, they caution, “An attack against Iran, whatever its targets, its methods and its initial scope, will significantly aggravate the situation, achieving similar results, without even talking about the disastrous impact on the global economy.” They add, “It would be still worse if the insane idea of using tactical nuclear weapons – which exist – to prevent Iran from building, in spite of its denials, the nuclear weapons that recent IAEA inspections have found no trace of, were implemented.”

The threats against Iran appear to be politically motivated. Seymour Hersh’s extensive research has convinced him that Bush/Cheney will invade Iran. They likely think embroiling us in Iran will ensure a GOP victory in 2008. It will certainly make it harder for the new President to withdraw from Iraq once we are mired in Iran.

If Hillary Clinton becomes that new President, she will likely continue Bush’s foreign policy. Clinton, who favors leaving a large contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq, says nothing about disbanding the huge U.S. military bases there. Clinton is also rattling the sabers in Iran ‘s direction. She voted to urge Bush to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and she, too, misquotes Ahmadinejad about Israel.

As we go to the polls in the coming months, it is imperative we scrutinize the candidates’ positions on Iraq and Iran. The security of the United States, as well as the Middle East, is hanging in the balance.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of “Cowboy Republic : Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law.” Her columns are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7416

Musharraf Plays Bush for a Fool by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, November 20, 2007

Pakistan ‘s President General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on November 3rd after the Pakistani Supreme Court indicated it would overturn the results of an illegitimate election that would have extended Musharraf’s term as president. Musharraf quickly fired the Supreme Court justices who planned to rule against him. And his declaration of emergency attacked the entire population of Pakistan by suspending fundamental constitutional rights to life and liberty, freedom of speech, assembly and association, and equal protection of the law.

As a result of Musharraf’s action, Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is being held under house arrest, and over 2500 lawyers in different parts of Pakistan have been detained. The detainees include the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and officials of the Democratic Lawyers Association of Pakistan. The government also ordered that journalists who brought “ridicule or disrepute” to Musharraf could face three years in prison.

The real motivation for Musharraf’s declared emergency is not to defend the country against “Islamic extremists,” as he claims, but to maintain Musharraf in power. He acted to prevent public protests that lawyers and political parties were organizing. And his scheme is working. Musharraf’s new brand-new, hand-picked Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Musharraf can remain in power for five more years.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is scurrying around in damage control mode. Musharraf’s actions would be very embarrassing for Bush — if Bush were the type of guy to get embarrassed. After all, Bush has been claiming for the past several years that he wants to spread democracy throughout the Islamic world. Somehow, Musharraf’s declared state of emergency, followed by mass arrests of his political opponents, doesn’t seem very democratic.

Bush dispatched Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Pakistan to talk sense to Musharraf. Negroponte urged Musharraf to end the state of emergency. But Bush’s man didn’t complain about Musharraf shutting down the Supreme Court and replacing it with his loyalists. Negroponte also failed to tell Musharraf to release the judges and lawyers from prison. So much for democracy and an independent judiciary.

The recipient of nearly $11 billion of U.S. aid since 9/11, Musharraf will cover for his benefactor Bush to keep him from losing face in light of the Pakistani strongman’s blatant and tyrannical power grab. Musharraf has agreed that parliamentary elections scheduled for January will proceed and that he will take off his military uniform after the sham elections are held. Of course, Musharraf’s jailed political opponents will likely find it difficult to campaign effectively for seats in parliament while incarcerated under a state of martial law.

American citizens whose tax dollars are being used to prop up this ruthless and corrupt regime should demand an accounting of how their money is being spent.

Bush claims that Musharraf is an indispensable ally in his “war against terror,” and that money sent to Pakistan supports that goal. It appears from my vantage point, though, that Musharraf is playing Bush for a fool. Musharraf tells Bush he will help destroy the Taliban. However, Pakistani Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy wrote in the November 18 Los Angeles Times that some people in Pakistan believe Musharraf is “secretly supporting the Taliban as a means for countering Indian influence.” Moreover, if Musharraf wants to regain and maintain support of the Pakistani people, he will continue to support the Taliban. Hoodbhoy also wrote, “Most Pakistanis see the [Taliban] as America ‘s enemy, not their own. The Taliban is perceived as the only group standing up against the unwelcome American presence in the region.” According to Hoodbhoy, “For more than 25 years, the army has nurtured Islamist radicals as proxy warriors for covert operations on Pakistan ‘s borders in Kashmir and Afghanistan .”

Hoodbhoy’s remarks are corroborated by Adrien Levy, co-author of “Deception: Pakistan , the United States and the Global Nuclear Weapons Conspiracy.” Levy told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “The [Musharraf] agenda is to destabilize Afghanistan , to create a government there which is favorable to Islamabad . These are goals which are actually contrary to the goals – very largely contrary to the goals of the West. Yet,” Levy, said, “this slowly moving car crash of the U.S. pumping billions of untraceable cash into the Pakistan military has continued since 2001 and we’re left with the position where Pakistan is devoid of democracy, democracy is weakened and feeble, and we have just increased instability, quite honestly.”

If Congress stands by and does nothing to cut off the funds to Musharraf while he maintains martial law in Pakistan , it will confirm our worst fears that Democrats and Republicans alike are making a sham of our democracy.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her columns are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn
www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7378