Sunset Musings

It was a nice quiet weekend; thankfully somewhat thin on bad and/or outrageous news. Other than all the allergens that are currently thick as soup in the air, the weather here is perfect; 90 degrees and not a cloud in sight. Perfect day to get the backyard and pool ready for the summer. There are a couple of legal pieces on the various Bush atrocities of government I should probably work on, but that just seems like a little too much work as I sit here on the patio watching the sunset turn Camelback Mountain the most beautiful shades of purple, crimson, and gold that you can imagine. My wife calls sunsets like this "golden hour", they are truly stunning. The attached picture is from Flickr via Google Images, but I swear it must have been taken from my front yard; it is exactly the view I have as I write this post. Well, almost exactly, this is clearly taken at sunrise, because the view is looking to the east. It is a little hard to make out, but the pointed rock immediately underneath the sun is known as the Praying Monk. When the light is right, it really does bear a remarkable resemblance to it’s namesake.

The Casa de bmaz travelogue portion of this post thus complete, I would like to point out a recent New York Times story. It is the story of Sami al-Hajj, an individual caught up in Bush’s berserker war on terror. Often in our discussions Hannah Arendt’s phrase "the banality of evil" is applied; but it is not a metaphor, it really is the truth about our country these days. The following story is reported in national media, including the New York Times, but with a casual nonchalance that is an ox gore to our collective national soul.

Courtesy of William Glaberton at the New York Times, is the tale of Sami al-Hajj

A former cameraman for Al Jazeera who was believed to be the only journalist held at Guantánamo Bay was released on Thursday, after more than six years of detention that made him one of the best known Guantánamo detainees in the Arab world, his lawyers said.

“It is yet another case where the U.S. has held someone for years and years and years on the flimsiest of evidence” without filing charges, one of the lawyers, Zachary Katznelson, said Thursday.

The Pentagon several times changed its assertions about Mr. Hajj. But military officials have insisted recently that he carried money intended for Chechen rebels.

He had been an Al Jazeera employee for only a short time when he was captured in 2001 by Pakistani forces at the Afghan border. He was later turned over to American forces and, in 2002, sent to Guantánamo.

Bill Bennett made a cottage industry of screaming "where’s the outrage" in the late 90’s. Of course, right wing scrap hack that he is, Bennett was talking about the passivity of the nation toward a man getting a consensual blowjob from a adult woman. Screw Bill Bennett, I want to know where the outrage is over the fact that our country is effectively buying human beings in foreign countries and locking them in "enhanced interrogation" dungeons indefinitely based either on no probative evidence whatsoever, or on ever changing hoaked up bunk cobbled together on the fly as a means to their torture slave ends.

The pathetically ironic part of this story is Glaberton plowing through how journalists have not covered the story of a mistreated journalist.

The case did not draw the attention among American journalists that some of them said it deserved, in part because Mr. Hajj’s full life story was not known. As with most Guantánamo detainees, the Pentagon’s evidence against him was largely secret.

“I would have rather seen more of an outcry,” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which tried to call attention Mr. Hajj’s detention. Mr. Simon said the case was part of what he called a disturbing trend of the American military to hold journalists for long periods without charges before eventually releasing them. He said his group had documented 11 such cases since 2001.

Two critical concepts of immense importance to the fundamental nature of what this country is, what it stands for, and how it’s citizens are informed by their press, and it is published with all the introspection, analysis and professionalism of a freaking high school bake sale announcement.

I started writing this post Saturday afternoon, but it kind of got put on the back burner with all the outdoor fun we have been having here the last few days. As the comments appear to have closed on the last thread, I wanted to get something up. I have several other pieces that I am working on and will start putting up tonight; looks like a busy week ahead. Be back soon…..

UPDATE: There is another recent detainee story that deserves mention in the category of Bush/US Government cravenness as well. It is the story of young Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, but only 15 years old when captured at the side of his dying father in a firefight in Afghanistan.

A Canadian captured in Afghanistan at age 15 can be tried for murder in the Guantanamo war crimes court, a U.S. military judge ruled in rejecting claims that he was a child soldier who should be rehabilitated rather than prosecuted.

His military lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, had argued in February hearings at the Guantanamo naval base that Khadr was a child soldier illegally conscripted by his father, an al Qaeda financier. He urged the judge to drop the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Kuebler called the ruling "an embarrassment to the United States" and said Canada would share in the embarrassment if it allows its citizen to be tried at Guantanamo. He said Khadr would be the first child soldier tried for war crimes in modern history.

The United States and Canada have ratified an international treaty, the Child Soldier Protocol, that outlaws recruitment of combatants under age 18 and requires governments to help child soldiers recover and reintegrate into society.

Lovely. Bush has treated yet another seminal international human rights treaty, ratified and adopted by the United States as the law of the land, as "just a damn piece of paper". Not only are we violating the Child Soldier Protocol to prosecute young Khadr, there is a serious question as to the truthfulness of the allegations against him. As Ishmael and Skdadl have pointed out previously, the Canadians are not exactly acquitting themselves well on the Khadr case either; they should be standing up for the propriety and spirit of the law, irrespective of whether Khadr is ultimately guilty. Crickets chirping in the yard up north too.

In regards to detainee issues, when I started plumbing some depths for a couple of sub-issues, I stumbled into this dissertation that is very thorough and useful. Report On Guantanamo Detainees by Mark (Seton Hall Law Professor) and Joshua (attorney) Denbeaux. Pretty outstanding resource, check it out.

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89 replies
  1. phred says:

    bmaz — thanks for keeping the lights on while EW is away. I think there is plenty of outrage but it is spread so thin now… literally a case of so many scandalous acts that one hardly knows where to begin. That coupled with a Congress that just doesn’t give a damn, no matter what their constituents think and a person can get a sense that there is no outrage. From what I can tell, that just isn’t the case. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and everywhere I go, visceral disgust with BushCo crops up at some point, even in generally apolitical conversations. There is real anger over what has happened. The problem is we have yet to figure out how to channel that anger into an effective means to change our government.

    • MarieRoget says:

      Yes, thanx, bmaz, for holding down the fort. Sounds like the Phoenix weekend weather was lovely. My ex in-laws, whom I still visit when I go to see old friends in the Scottsdale area, are doing the pool prep/bbq pit clean out this week too, after returning from their visit here in L.A. You know where the old orange groves were in Scottsdale that became one of the 1st housing developments there? That’s where they view Camelback from, through the orange trees that still line every front yd. Picture postcard perfect @ twilight & dawn.

    • bobschacht says:

      Hiya, phred! You wrote,
      “bmaz — thanks for keeping the lights on while EW is away. I think there is plenty of outrage but it is spread so thin now… literally a case of so many scandalous acts that one hardly knows where to begin.”

      Ditto thanks to bmaz!
      Regarding “spread so thin”: I think this is actually part of the Rove strategy: Throw so much sh*t around that we’re all running around looking like the Marx brother’s version of a Chinese fire drill trying to clean it all up, while the sh*t makers are in the back rooms doing yet more dirty work. Since Speaker Pelosi has given them all a free pass until 2009, what is there to constrain them? Congress won’t do what it is supposed to do, thanks to Pelosi, and the clock is being run out in the Courts.

      I guess all we can hope for is that they will screw up so badly that even Congress and the Courts will finally wake up to their responsibilities. And hubris makes people do strange things…

      Bob in HI

  2. JohnLopresti says:

    There is a media facet to the detainment and torture without habeas of that reporter. Someone commented on his employer discretely in a different thread a day or two ago here. Being averse to graphic images, and leery of cookie technology, I avoid the website of his employer even though google news links to it occasionally on their frontpage.

    The media relevance I would mention is the rent a general scam whose conconction seemed to occur about the time folks were printing anachronistic Niger yellowcake memos. The Bush administration has been aggressive about its media strategy. Consider this interesting article written by Diane Farsetta from Center for Democracy and Technology a few days ago revealing more depth on the pentagon expert generals’ dual roles such as being registered lobbyists or on boards in the defense industry; she names companies and junkets, even a few boondoggles; I found the article replicated at afterdowningstreet.

    I happened upon the afterdowningstreet site once again tracing congressional interest in the history of the group of planners who expanded the torture policies under the current administration. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the constitution is holding two consecutive meetings tomorrow about this: first, a halfhour to discuss whether to subpoena Yoo and Addington, as Yoo evidently has refused to appear, though who knows whether Addington might sometime. The subsequent meeting begins at 10:00 in the same subcommittee, to hear from British international lawyer Philippe Sands, and the always charming National Lawyers Guild’s Marjorie Cohn, as well as DLuban and DRivkin.

  3. Neil says:

    Bmaz, Didn’t know you lived near Camelback. ILTA, used to LawNet, used to hold their annual conference there at the end of August. Its a non-profit legal technology peer-to-peer networking group I used to attend and then volunteer for. I was the track chair for operating systems.

    In Boston, we had a gray weekend, overcast with a chilling mist rain and 45F this weekend but the weather didn’t keep me from getting out, or the Celtics from hammering the Hawks.

    Mary Tillman said it on 60 minutes. She believes the US government intentional deceived the public for five weeks about Pat Tillman’s death. Pete Geren, the new Secretary of the Army, flatly denies deception.

    It’s hard to reconcile how signed testimony could be changed by an unknown individual after the fact without the intent to deceive. The gap is wide. Moreover, The Bush administration has exerted executive privilege over “certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting” because they claim they would “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

    They’re asserting Executive Privilege on documents related to the handling of Pat Tillman’s military inquest or documents produced at the time of his death. There’s your smoking gun. First, Bush doesn’t read memos, and second if the documents amount to executive advice then the question of the President’s involvement is relevant.

    60 Minutes Video

    • Anna says:

      Watched the Tilman family when they testified in D.c. in front of some committee awhile back. When you have a moment that testimony is well worth spending a few hours or a day watching. The Tillman family represent the best of America, integrity with no bull crap. They are an inspiration! No wonder Pat was such an honorable and independent person. Mary was on NPR this morning. This woman rips through the hogwash and lies. Her family wants the truth about her sons murder and the truth about this war for her son and for the rest of us!

      http://www.npr.org/templates/r…..hp?prgId=3

  4. JohnLopresti says:

    OT, Frances Fragos Townsend joins CNN, where TonySnow works, too. Less than one a day, but maybe this is ew timing the vacation excellently this goRound.

    • phred says:

      I don’t think that is off topic at all. As I continue to mull over this question of “where’s the outrage”, it seems to me that our collective sense of what the majority of citizens think and feel is based on what the mass media tells us. The media acts like a big mirror. When we pick up the paper or watch broadcast news we are looking for an accurate reflection of our communities, our country, and our world. As I said above, I believe there is a lot of outrage, but if the media fails to properly reflect it, we fail to see it, and then presume it is not there. This then works to isolate individuals making them less effective at collective action.

      I don’t think this notion is lost on the corporate headquarters of our major media outlets. The NYT hires William Kristol, CNN hires Fran Townsend and Tony Snow, because they are intent on showing us a one-sided view of the world that will keep the citizenry in check and the corporations in power. Yet, I think most of the public is aware that what they are seeing isn’t right. I think viewership and subscriptions are way down because people know the reflection of ourselves that the press allows us to see is biased and a waste of our time. The NYT makes a lot of noise about the collapse of civilization if everyone stops reading the NYT, yet they have only themselves to blame for making themselves irrelevant.

      It is nearly impossible to go into public spaces without being endlessly accosted by CNN, FOX, or MSNBC. Waiting areas have been completely overtaken by the endless chatter of 24/7 news, whether in airports, doctor’s offices, auto mechanics, etc. Yet how many people actually watch? Not many. Most people ignore it, completely tuning it out.

      Once we figure out how to properly gauge what our fellow citizens think through alternative means (whether via the internet or community organizations), then I think our outrage will find its proper expression. Until then, I’m convinced the outrage is there, we just don’t know how to show it so that our fellow citizens can see it.

      • bmaz says:

        It is nearly impossible to go into public spaces without being endlessly accosted by CNN, FOX, or MSNBC. Waiting areas have been completely overtaken by the endless chatter of 24/7 news, whether in airports, doctor’s offices, auto mechanics, etc

        How right you are Phred. And the astounding thing is, that despite the ubiquity and awesome resources of these worldwide cable networks, the “news” reported by them is such trite, simplistic, hollow and shallow infotainment that it can hardly be called news.

        • phred says:

          And the astounding thing is, that despite the ubiquity and awesome resources of these worldwide cable networks, the “news” reported by them is such trite, simplistic, hollow and shallow infotainment that it can hardly be called news.

          Yep. There really is no excuse, none whatsoever, for their exceedingly poor news coverage. It really makes their self-important blather about how essential they are all the more infuriating.

          • bmaz says:

            It is my understanding that Ted Turner is still livid, and literally thinks that the worst act/sin he ever did was to sell CNN/Turner Networks to AOL/Time Warner, and if he had it to do over would not even think about it. It really was a seminal moment in network journalism, because CNN really did set a standard and was, it turns out, one of the main, if not the main, force making the standard networks stay on their toes and do their job. Once CNN started the downhill slide to the inane, there was no hedge and look at what we get. I’ll be honest, i am not sure how much worse FOX is anymore.

            • JimWhite says:

              Is he livid enough to contribute to an endowment for a nonprofit news organization? I’d love to see what could be done with an endowment large enough to support a news organization with a couple hundred reporters who don’t answer to a corporate boss.

            • phred says:

              Thanks for that bmaz. I hadn’t heard that Ted Turner regretted the sale. And I agree that CNN is no longer discernible from FOX.

  5. bmaz says:

    I don’t know why, but this NYT article really bugged the crap out of me. It is a full length article, yet doesn’t delve at all into the program where the US government was essentially buying subjects to disappear into Guantanamo and other detention gulags and makes no apparent effort to determine how the Paks came to capture and transfer Hajj, or what evidence they had to support it. But the line that just killed me was this:

    The case did not draw the attention among American journalists that some of them said it deserved, in part because Mr. Hajj’s full life story was not known. As with most Guantánamo detainees, the Pentagon’s evidence against him was largely secret.

    Well, why the hell would you trust or believe the Pentagon’s secret evidence even if they would tell you what it is? Pardon me, but doesn’t this “reporter” work at the New York Times, perhaps the greatest news organization in the world? How about actually doing a little, you know, actual reporting and going out and finding out what Hajj’s life story really is? The lack of curiosity and desire to actually investigate and report this story would be bad no matter who the detainee was in light of the pretty clear fact that there seems to never have been a credible reason for this guy to have been salted away indefinitely; but when you consider that these media twits can’t even get off their butt when it is a member of the media being detained (and despite what they want you to believe in this country, al Jazeera is a legit world media organization) is somewhat pathetic.

  6. sojourner says:

    bmaz, I love the picture… And, for whatever it is worth, it is easy to imagine that it is a sunset

    This is not on topic, but then again, maybe it is. With all the atrocities of this bunch, including holding people indefinitely, spying on the citizenry, and any other number of things, has anyone else noticed how in the last couple of days, the President and Mrs. Bush have been making nice-nice in public? Are they trying to put a soft face on things to “save” Chimpy’s legacy? Considering that the United Methodist Church slapped his highness in the face by recommending last week against his library being located at SMU, maybe he and his wife are suddenly realizing how angry the nation is…

    At this late juncture, not much will help to counter all the bad that he has done.

  7. Loo Hoo. says:

    It’s interesting to me that journalists wouldn’t be almost more interested in Hajj than the other detainees. Isn’t there some kind of a brotherhood/sisterhood sense between journalists that would interest Glaberton?

    And wouldn’t they be worried that American/Western journalists would be treated in this manner if they were caught by an enemy group?

    Just saw on KO that Hajj exited the plane on a stretcher, and there were medics there to greet him. Jeez.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that was my thought exactly. If I was a journalist, I would want to know immediately what the real story on Hajj is so that the profession could either disavow itself of a bad individual that should not be called a journalist (assuming there is any evidence to support anything bad against Hajj, which there does not appear to be) or, more likely, show that the detention of Hajj is complete BS and get my brother journalist the heck out of Gitmo.

    • MarieRoget says:

      From the Glaberson article:

      Mr. Katznelson said Mr. Hajj had been “almost overwhelmed” at the prospect of seeing his 7-year-old son, who was an infant when he left home. But he said the former detainee’s health was so fragile that he would immediately go to a hospital after his military plane touched down in Khartoum.

      I’m not remotely the praying type, but I’m praying right now for the Family of Man, of which we all are members.

  8. Loo Hoo. says:

    I filled up my car while watching tv the other week. It was basically an infomercial on Exxon/Mobil with a little light cnn occasionally.

    • MarieRoget says:

      My daughter recently told me that a tv is now blatting on for the checkout line @ the neighborhood market where she shops. Even @ 11 p.m. it doesn’t stop- infomercials plus Nat. Inquirer-type stories.

      It’s like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel, where the info screens are omnipresent, & there are penalties for turning them off, even in yr. home.

      • TexBetsy says:

        Ick!

        I have several friends who are all raising their (young!) children without TV. One of the 4 yr olds saw a set at our house (inside an armoire) and commented that she didn’t know they had those in houses —- just at babysitting at the gym.

        • MarieRoget says:

          Good on them. Kids need to learn how to think for themselves about the world around them, not be spoon-fed a tv opinion of it. We were raised w/out the tube- couldn’t afford one anyway, plus out in the boonies there was no signal.

          Quaint idea now for many: we read books & newspapers, & talked about them w/our folks @ dinner & in the evenings.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      There’s a joke going around that those gas station TVs are showing porn in CA, so you get to watch someone else getting screwed while you are.

      • PetePierce says:

        Actually the porn is very enriched because the gas station TVs are showing porn and the MSM is re-enforcing porn with the insipidly stupid idea of a fictional gas tax vacation passed by a fictional Congress and signed by a fictional President (with a fictional requisite signing statement of course).

        If you want an index of how many children who become adult children are left behind, watch the muchbrains parade out to say what a great idea the gas tax vacation that they don’t realize besides being a consummately stupid idea underscoring how stupid Americans are, could never happen because it could never pass and correctly so.

  9. PetePierce says:

    I’ll tell you where the outrage is. It’s here, but not in mainstream America.

    This story caught sure my eye as well as another tragic horror story involving DOJ and their 3rd party contractor that made the NYT above the fold today.

    I commented on this last thread when I noticed the story. These several year solitary confinement imprisonment situations at Gitmo with no charges and minimal access and sometimes no access to attorneys are just beyond the pale.

    We have morphed into Kafka and totalitarianism at Gitmo.

    We have had stories written by local lawyers (some of the best and brightest) in firms with large corporate clients and white collar criminal practices who have volunteered to defend Gitmo inmates like Sami al-Hajj. They can’t even get access to their clients. They can’t get any discovery. It’s the defense milieu from hell.

    And of course there is no outrage because it’s not being absorbed via MSM by the general public.

    Another tragic story showed up in this morning’s NYT:

    Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in Custody

    Many of these people are legal immigrants or in this situation for the most minimal traffic misdemeanor possible.

    They are dying of medical incompetence and deliberate indifference of the worst kind and pure neglect.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Some of my fondest parenting memories are reading to my children when they were toddlers. Now tonight my younger daughter is in labor birthing my first grandchild, so hopefully I’ll soon be reading to a toddler again!

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        Well, it’s happened. I’m now officially a grandfather! My granddaughter was born at 11:24 EDT today, May 5, and weighed in at 7 lbs, 12 oz. Mother, daughter and father are doing great!

  10. bmaz says:

    Heh heh, Selise had emailed me to make sure that everything was okay because things had been a little slow over the weekend and I got caught up in court a little longer than I had anticipated this morning, causing kind of a lull. As I mentioned to Selise, I would like to point out that for all the vapors by everybody about all the earth shattering events that happen when Marcy is away, that all seems to have been the case before I was the designated store minder. The last two times I have held down the fort for a week or so, I have often strained to find something current that is particularly worthy of a post. I literally did all my normal daily plowing through my news sites, bookmarks etc., not to mention that I have a million teevees and there is always one on around somewhere in the house, and there just was nothing that stood out as particularly exciting either Saturday or Sunday. Nothing anyway that screamed out “Hey I got to write something on this right here and now”. I can always whine about something, if needed to have a thread, but the comments were already pretty slow on Friday evening and Saturday morning so I just kind of figured everybody was peacefully in their spring cleaning mode etc. like I was, and with the joy of not being battered with the daily horrid news we consistently see. It really was kind of refreshing not having to be immediately outraged at anything for once wasn’t it?

    Jim White @ 23 – I don’t know Turner, nor to my knowledge do I know anybody that does, but he might well be. I have seen him discuss it before (maybe on Moyers, but I am not sure of that), and he really is hurt, regretful and troubled by the results. That might actually be a decent task for some rainy afternoon discussion; put together some ideas and framework for such an undertaking with input from all the different views and areas of expertise of our diverse talent here, and then present it to Ted.

    • MarieRoget says:

      No complaints here. You’ve done an excellent job imo ‘holding down the fort”, post-wise & every other-wise.

      Watching the SA/NO game?

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Ya could have had a baseball holiday blogfest featuring Roger’s
      fake apology… among other comings and goings….

      • bmaz says:

        Heh, I don’t think that apology was fake (granted that may be a first for the Rocket); I bet he really is sorry this is all happening.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          Dice-K walked eight Tigers, and still won the game?
          Leland looks pissed…
          Nice article in NY Times on the D’backs…
          Hill will eke out Indiana and hire Bill James to statistically
          champion her electability….

    • PetePierce says:

      One of the better, frank interviews of Ted Turner lately was one on Charlie Rose about 3 weeks ago best I can remember. I saw part of it, and much of what was commented about was discussed in detail.

      I also have access to a lot of recent interviews in local papers.

      I’ll watch the DVR of Charlie Rose and pull the articles up, and summarize them.

    • strider7 says:

      your spring cleaning mode made me remarkedly aware of exactly how much of a contribution EW,you and everybody who contributes makes to clarify and expose a lot of the things everybody is faced with these days.Maybe it’s the way things get decyphered.EW has a remarkable way of reading between the lies and generating clarity.She is unique in a raw real sense,and I think alot of what gets revealed here comes from the sincerity of everybody involved.

  11. MarieRoget says:

    Well, sig other just got home so it’s dinner time. Made some pozole in honor of Cinco de Mayo. SA/NO looks pretty tight so far, but it’s only the second, so who knows.

    Read you all later.

  12. masaccio says:

    The Alstoetter case includes a long discussion of the Nacht und Nebel Erlassen, the Night and Fog Regulation, pursuant to which the Germans removed people from the occupied territories to Germany to be put in concentration camps or killed. The grounds for the removal were supposed to be that the people were unlawful belligerents, or people interfering with the German army. In fact that wasn’t happening:

    The evidence shows that many of the Night and Fog prisoners who were deported to Germany were not charged with serious offenses and were given comparatively light sentences or acquitted. This shows that they were not a menace to the occupying forces and were not dangerous in the eyes of the German justices who tried them. But they were kept secretly and not permitted to communicate in any manner with their friends and relatives. This is inhumane treatment.

    The legal ramifications are discussed at length, from which I pick out this gem:

    The report of the Paris Conference of 1919, referred to above, listed 32 crimes as constituting “the most striking list of crimes as has ever been drawn up, to the eternal shame of those who committed them.” This list of crimes was considered and recognized by the Versailles Treaty and was later recognized as international law in the manner hereinabove indicated. Among the crimes so listed was the “deportation of civilians” from enemy occupied territories.

    We are now a nation that casually commits one of the crimes that is an eternal shame to those who commit it.

  13. dugsdale says:

    As to where the outrage is, my theory is that an awful lot of Americans who voted for Bush (or worse, voted for him twice) are actively in denial about the consequences of their votes. I think their cultivated sense of denial is going to be one of the biggest psychological hurdles to getting our politicians to move on bringing the Bushies to account in courts of law.

    I’m all for throwing open all the secret files, appointing a kind of truth and reconciliation commission, appointing multiple special prosecutors, and bringing criminal charges across the board (and FAST, before the statute of limitations expires). But if the electorate is indifferent, and the indifference is rooted in denial, and the denial is intended to mask a full recognition of the vast crimes the Bushies committed with the electoral mandate the voters gave them, then I don’t think anything’s going to get done, except that criminals will go free and unpunished.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see the outrage, except forums like this.

    • TLinGA says:

      To expand on your ideas, I think the framing has been “us vs. them” for so long that nobody wants to acknowledge the most egregious of the crimes committed in our name. It forces us to indict ourselves and runs so counter to what we have been taught to believe that the US is about. Many of us are still in the Shock and Denial phases of grief over American ideals.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      As to where the outrage is, my theory is that an awful lot of Americans who voted for Bush (or worse, voted for him twice) are actively in denial about the consequences of their votes.

      Well, to my everlasting regret, I have no crystal ball.
      But simply because people aren’t marching in the streets doesn’t mean they’re happy. IMHO, the frustration has gone underground in a huge, seething silent wrath.

      Several random observations:
      1. Bush was boo’d when he tossed out the baseball at Opening Day this year; that may be a first. Baseball’s pretty mainstream, and they’re loudly booing the Pres? Wow.

      2. My state has caucuses, and I went to mine. A number of people there were former Bush voters. On every single topic that came up, the GOP was ridiculed, or else scorned. These citizens are not going to march in the streets, but they’re outraged, furious, and indignant.

      3. I also hear a ‘curse on both your houses!’ resentment. Things like FISA coming back again suck the energy out of Dem activists — and confirm the cynicism of low-info voters. Why do Dems continue to commit political suicide by enabling Bush, Cheney, and high priced lobbyists?! Go figure.

      4. The Dem turnout all across the US has been spectacular and it’s a good thing that more states have been important. But enough, already! I don’t think Hillary should drop out, but this can’t go on through July.

      5. FWIW, VP candidates are extremely important this year. I hear people who don’t want to vote for Hillary, nor Obama, nor McCain. The people I’m thinking of are more conservative, so a Jim Webb, or Wes Clarke, or someone that they view as ‘tough’, and credible, and ‘an ass kicker who doesn’t take shit’ would allow them to put all their hopes on the VP and plug their noses at the top of the ticket.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When the media fails to protect its own, the government knows it can come out and play. This story is also evidence that racism is alive and well in America’s mainstream media, not just in Philadelphia, MS, or Columbia, SC.

    Sami al-Hajj was just one of “them”. He doesn’t live in a Connecticut farmhouse or on Martha’s Vineyard or drive his 477 horsepower Porsche when the NBC limo doesn’t arrive in time for his nightly newscast.

    He was a working photojournalist, like Dith Pran. He probably wouldn’t take a picture of Tim Russert if he was as broke as Peter Parker and all he had was an old Brownie camera. The US owes him an apology and compensation, just as it does at least several hundred others.

  15. dipper says:

    Amy Goodman had the Sami al-Hajj story Friday. They showed him and also his brother telling how horrible the experience was. Even taking him home by military plane, he was chained and blindfolded. The US said they were turning him over to the Sudan, his home country, not releasing him. The Sudan said there will be no charges against him. It made my heart ache to think this was my country doing this. Six years of torture and humiliation, no charges.

  16. PetePierce says:

    Scott Horton has an interesting article in American Lawyer of another Republican hijacked DOJ witchunt with the indictment of Miami Attorney Ben Kuehne who formerly advised Al Gore.

    Like an angry puppy that takes a dump on the living room floor because it feels it has been slighted, Alice Fisher left a going away Criminal Division dump at DOJ.

    DICTA: Dirty Money by Scott Horton in The American Lawyer

    The Justice Department is prosecuting a lawyer for money laundering. The right to choose counsel may be the ultimate victim.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That is a pretty amazing dump by Alice Fisher and Karl Rove. Smack in the middle of the carpet; nowhere near the litter box.

      Unusually, the indictment is run by Alice’s former office at Main Justice. The entire Miami USA’s office – the entire office, a pretty big one – recused itself. They might have ties with the defendant, a former head of the Miami Bar and member of the state bar’s board of governors. But odds are it’s a vote of no confidence in Main Justice. If so, good for them. It’s about bloody time someone stood up and said, “No” to blatant political prosecutions.

      Briefly, a wealthy Latin American businessman turned alleged drug lord needed defense counsel in the US. That counsel, who formerly represented Rush Limbaugh, was rightly concerned that monies paid to him not be from illegal activity. Accepting such money would be a crime.

      Defense counsel did the smart thing. He hired a top local lawyer, an eminence grise of the Florida Bar, to review the defendant’s assets to determine whether there was enough untainted money to pay the US defense counsel. The defendant had come from old money and had substantial legitimate business interests, which predated his alleged drug activity, from which to draw funds. The advising lawyer concluded that the defendant did indeed have untainted funds with which to pay his US defense counsel.

      Alice Fisher didn’t like that answer. She didn’t bring the civil action the relevant statute contemplates. She didn’t sue the defense counsel. She indicted the advising lawyer — who had represented Al Gore in Decision 2000. Bush pisses on his enemies even when he wins, no matter how much time elapses between the perceived slight and the opportunity for payback. Frankly, that and avoiding paying his debts are the only two things Shrub is good at.

      Odds are the case will be thrown out or withdrawn before trial. But it will last long enough for Fisher to spew mud until well past the November election, making it just one variable in Karl’s math. When the next Attorney General withdraws the case for lack of merit, Rove & Company will screech about favoritism and politicizing a Department of Justice that they left pure as the driven snow. Naturally. I guess we’re still waiting for those responsible adults to visit Washington and clean up the mess.

      • bmaz says:

        I love Roy Black, he is somewhere beyond outstanding as a criminal trial lawyer. If I were charged with a major crime of some sort, among all the nationally known lawyers that the public generally sees in the news and on the teevee, there are a grand total of about two that, assuming I had the money (better keep my nose clean, because I probably don’t have enough), I would actually hire as my lawyer; and Roy is one of them. Gerry Spence is the other. I have been aware of the Ben Kuehne case for some time now, the circumstances surrounding the DOJ investigation/prosecution were the subject of rumors and alerts in the NACDL and the criminal defense community generally. This is a bad case brought by bad, malicious prosecutors.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Wow, EOH. Thanks for the synopsis. It’s just hard to get one’s head around the cognitive processes of the Bush DoJ; if they were auto mechanics, I honestly think many people would accidentally explode upon turning on their ignition keys, quite possibly due to unintentional ‘fixes’ during ‘repairs’.

        But this really struck a chord:

        Odds are the case will be thrown out or withdrawn before trial. But it will last long enough for Fisher to spew mud until well past the November election, making it just one variable in Karl’s math. When the next Attorney General withdraws the case for lack of merit, Rove & Company will screech about favoritism and politicizing a Department of Justice that they left pure as the driven snow.

        Part of the ALA and the AALL (Am Assn Law Librarians) work the next few years is probably going to require better explaining to the public how dysfunctional the Bush DoJ has been. Given the enormous sums of $$ that legal work represents (within the ‘professional services’ sector), this is simply critical for the financial health of the legal professions, IMHO.

        Why is anyone going to pony up big sums for legal work if the system of justice is viewed as so corrupt, dysfunctional, or inept that people move their intellectual property (patents, trademarks) to the EU and rely on overseas or international entities to protect their financial investments because the US legal system has been so sullied and debased that it’s not worth their time, money, and energy?

        These DoJ people have no clue about the financial impacts on businesses, the US economy, and international trade. (And those are only a few of the reasons they’re reprehensible.)

  17. bmaz says:

    The reason I had not originally completed this post on Saturday when I was enjoying the sunset was that I came across another subject matter related story that I decided would compliment the Hajj story nicely and I wanted to work it in as well. I won’t go into all the depth that I originally intended, but I did want to mention the case and also advise of a nice detainee resource paper I found. Posted as an UPDATE to the main body of the post:

    There is another recent detainee story that deserves mention in the category of Bush/US Government cravenness as well. It is the story of young Canadian Omar Khadr, now 21, but only 15 years old when captured at the side of his dying father in a firefight in Afghanistan.

    A Canadian captured in Afghanistan at age 15 can be tried for murder in the Guantanamo war crimes court, a U.S. military judge ruled in rejecting claims that he was a child soldier who should be rehabilitated rather than prosecuted.

    His military lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, had argued in February hearings at the Guantanamo naval base that Khadr was a child soldier illegally conscripted by his father, an al Qaeda financier. He urged the judge to drop the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

    Kuebler called the ruling “an embarrassment to the United States” and said Canada would share in the embarrassment if it allows its citizen to be tried at Guantanamo. He said Khadr would be the first child soldier tried for war crimes in modern history.

    The United States and Canada have ratified an international treaty, the Child Soldier Protocol, that outlaws recruitment of combatants under age 18 and requires governments to help child soldiers recover and reintegrate into society.

    Lovely. Bush has treated yet another seminal international human rights treaty, ratified and adopted by the United States as the law of the land, as “just a damn piece of paper”. Not only are we violating the Child Soldier Protocol to prosecute young Khadr, there is a serious question as to the truthfulness of the allegations against him. As Ishmael and Skdadl have pointed out previously, the Canadians are not exactly acquitting themselves well on the Khadr case either; they should be standing up for the propriety and spirit of the law, irrespective of whether Khadr is ultimately guilty. Crickets chirping in the yard up north too.

    In regards to detainee issues, when I started plumbing some depths for a couple of sub-issues, I stumbled into this dissertation that is very thorough and useful. Report On Guantanamo Detainees by Mark (Seton Hall Law Professor) and Joshua (attorney) Denbeaux. Pretty outstanding resource, check it out.

  18. pdaly says:

    Comments close on prior posts? When did that start happening?

    Thanks for the new post, bmaz.

    Well, on the bright side of this nightmare, we know of at least one member of the media (al-Hajji) who likely will be taking up the story of the US’s illegal capture, captivity and torture.

    Did anyone else get Harry Reid’s email to buy his new book? The Good Fight.
    I have to admit I’m annoyed with him these days and if the advertising email is legit, more so.

    Nevertheless I learned in this blurb that his mother lost her teeth and couldn’t eat meat, and (newsflash) that VP Cheney runs things at the White House.

    To quote Reid’s email/advert:

    Of course I don’t shy away from talking about my interactions with President Bush:

    “In mid-April, I was with the President at a White House breakfast, and took the opportunity to talk with him about it. ‘This nuclear option is very bad for the country, Mr. President,’ I said. ‘You shouldn’t do this.’

    Bush protested his innocence. ‘I’m not involved in it at all,’ he said. ‘Not my deal.’ It may not have been the President’s deal, but it was Karl Rove’s deal.

    A couple of days later, Dick Cheney spoke for the White House when he announced that the nuclear option was the way to go, and that he’d be honored to break a tie vote in the Senate when it was time to change the rules. The President had misled me and the Senate.

    And that was the second time I called George Bush a liar.”

    Wish Reid would call Pelosi to begin impeachment investigations over the WH abuses of the US Constitution.

  19. pdaly says:

    I caught part of the PSB special tonight on George H.W. Bush’s political career. Not sure if the timing of the special is supposed to distract us from present day. In any case G HW Bush is quoted at one point that when the President of the United States asks you to do something, you don’t say ‘No.’

    And I ask, why the hell not? In this age of the theory of the UE, Just Say No. It’s so easy that even a two-year old could do it.

    • MarieRoget says:

      Re: GHWB quote- sounds like the perfect formula for an administration composed of head-bobbing sycophants. Mustn’t ever say “No” to Fearless Leader, or he’ll toss you & get somebody else whose abilities might be bottom of the barrel, but whose unquestioning agreement w/you is 1st rate. This particular quote doesn’t distract from present day, it mirrors it.

      Congratulations on the brand new granddaughter, Minnesotachuck! Best wishes for many happy years of curling up w/book in hand & your wonderful grandchild on your knee.

  20. skdadl says:

    Crickets chirping in the yard up north too.

    bmaz, craven as our governments (three so far since Khadr’s capture) have been, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear Khadr’s attorneys’ arguments about access to documents exchanged between the U.S. and Canada concerning him. This happened because CSIS (our intel service) went to Guantanamo and participated in the interrogations, then shared what they learned with your people. Apparently we also have copies of U.S. documents in that file. The government objected to the case on grounds of national security, natch (by which they mean they’re worried about damaging relations with Washington above all else), but the SCC went ahead. Now we’re just waiting, I think, to see whether the court will order the documents handed over to Khadr’s lawyers.

    So there’s a bit more than crickets, and the press have woken up a little. A lot has happened since 2002, notably Justice O’Connor’s report on Arar (and there’s a further but secret inquiry going on into three related cases). We don’t know whether CSIS are still playing cowboy games abroad the way they did back then, but more and more people grasp what was going on and how wrong it has been.

    Oh, and there’s a sixth case, just made public last week, the fellow stuck in limbo in Sudan (passport ran out while CSIS goaded the Sudanese to imprison and question him, but no one has any evidence against him, so he’s free but stuck, on the no-fly list, government trying to pretend he doesn’t exist, journalists now in hot pursuit — God, it would be embarrassin’ if it weren’t such a nightmare).

    And now I’ll go back and read everyone else. Oh, where are my manners? Good morning, dad, and good morning, all.

  21. MarieRoget says:

    Selise points out over @ FDL that today is a big day for congressional hearings. Here’s her schedule compilation:

    9:30 am – House Energy and Commerce
    H.R. 5353, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008
    Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing

    10 am – House Veterans’ Affairs
    The Truth about Veterans’ Suicides

    10 am – Senate Finance
    To hold hearings to examine seizing the new opportunity for health reform

    10 am – House Judiciary
    Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
    Hearing on: From the Department of Justice to Guantanamo Bay: Administration Lawyers and Administration Interrogation Rules, Part I
    Witnesses:
    Philippe Sands, QC, Professor of Law, University College London, Barrister, Matrix Chambers
    Marjorie Cohn, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, President, National Lawyers Guild
    David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, Baker & Hostetler, LLP
    David J. Luban, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

    2 pm – House Judiciary
    Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law
    Hearing on the Rulemaking Process and the Unitary Executive Theory

    2 pm – House Foreign Affairs
    Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight
    Oversight Hearing: City on the Hill or Prison on the Bay? The Mistakes of Guantanamo and the Decline of America’s Image

    3 pm – Senate Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
    To hold hearings to examine oil and food prices relating to the link between energy and environmental security

    • Anna says:

      Thanks. Odd that they should pack all of this in in one day. Is this so folks have a difficult time keeping up.

  22. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Did anyone see where Hillary has now said that she plans to break up OPEC? How many places/groups does she plan to obliterate before she’s finished?

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        AT&T crossed my mind also.

        I just thought it was a strange thing to say. I guess she believes if she passes a law all the foreigners will do as she says.

    • Anna says:

      Hillary “obliterate” Iran. Those are some fighting and inflammatory words coming out of Hillary’s mouth. I guess she has chosen to ignore the director of the Iaea Mr. El Baradei many request of all sides “to turn down the inflammatory rhetoric”

      Allegedly Iranian President Ahmadenijads words about Israel have been spun and misinterpreted by the radical right, at least according to Prof Juan Cole and a few others. But Hillary did say “obliterate” frightening!

      http://www.juancole.com/2007/0…..mitic.html

      As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. (Wampum has more; as does the American Street).

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        Ignoring the IAEA? Kind of an understatement.

        I had read what Professor Cole had to say on that subject. Is anyone surprised it was spun that way by the wingers?

  23. klynn says:

    Thanks for taking the time to watch the house while EW is gone bmaz. Enjoyed the post.

    O/T

    Juan Cole has this up today:

    Some hard liners want to try Khatami for treason.

    Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Sunni tribes have offered to mediate between the al-Maliki government and the Sadr Movement.

    It also refers to Monday’s Pentagon-provoked story saying that Hizbullah of Lebanon is training Shiite radicals at camps in Iran.

    I am suspicious of this story not because it is necessarily untrue (how would I know?) but because it shares with typical Bush administration propaganda the ‘gotcha’ technique in which questions of proportionality, significance and causality do not arise.

    http://www.juancole.com/

    and this in the Guardian:

    Possible deal in US investigation into BAE

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…..msbusiness

    More O/T

    Congrats Minnesotachuck on the new granddaughter. Special times ahead. Enjoy the story time- lap time…again…

    We tried “no tv” and then got a 13 incher just for Frontline and PBS Kids. At the time, you could not download anything from PBS on your computer. We get a kick out of the, “That’s your tv?” Although, our computer monitor seems to make up for the 13 inch tv.

    We still stick to the library for most of our “familytainment” and our kids are book hounds yet active in a great deal of interests.

  24. masaccio says:

    At Balkanization, one of the questions about John Yoo’s torture memos was whether a legal opinion could form the basis for a criminal indictment for war crimes. Scott Horton says we have an answer from the Kuehne indictment:

    Following the indictment, the Miami bar rang with contemptuous denunciations of the Bush Justice Department. Many Miami lawyers angrily reject the idea that what Kuehne did-even accepting the government’s allegations as true-was a crime of any sort. He may have given a bad opinion, they note; he may even have been sloppy or inept in conducting the due diligence behind it. But they bristle at the suggestion that issuing a legal opinion in good faith can be a crime.

    • klynn says:

      Now, I feel sick…

      So, rule of law was a dream…

      No malpractice?

      Guess the hope lies in how “good faith” would be defined. If he wrote the opinion in order to legalize torture and for the protection of others…that would not meet the definition of “good faith.” Where’s the good faith in Yoo’s writing of the torture documents?

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, I’m not so sure Horton has this right if he thinks the Ben Kuehne case is apposite. The critical distinction is the mental state of intent, what lawyers call “scienter”, underlying the respective opinion writing actions.

        • klynn says:

          I am assuming attending law school alone would go a long way in proving intent in terms of having the requisite knowledge of the wrongness/illegality of his act or conduct; his guilty knowledge?

          I won’t even mention the fact that he teaches law…

          All I have to say to Horton is, “WHaaaaaat? Are. You. Thinking?”

  25. klynn says:

    Going O/T again…

    This in Asian Times:

    Yes, the Pentagon did want to hit Iran

    A write-up based on Feith’s book…

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/M…..7Ak01.html

    One has to ask, who has the most benefit from Feith “couching” a ME operation as totally being US (and no Israeli influence)?

    Another important article to read (especially in light of the slide show released recently…)

    New offer threatens Iran’s ‘red line’

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/M…..7Ak02.html

    Here’s how Hilliary will break up OPEC, I suppose…

    Speculators knock OPEC off oil-price perch

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/G…..6Dj07.html

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      Darn interesting article on the speculators. Maybe Hillary should obliterate them also.

  26. klynn says:

    Finally this article from two days ago and well worth reading:

    The last war won’t end, but in the Pentagon they’re already arguing about the next one.

    Let’s start with that “last war” and see if we can get things straight. Just over five years ago, American troops entered Baghdad in battle mode, felling the Sunni-dominated government of dictator Saddam Hussein and declaring Iraq “liberated”. In the wake of the city’s fall, after widespread looting, the new American administrators dismantled the remains of Saddam’s government in its hollowed out, trashed ministries; disassembled the Sunni-dominated Ba’athist party which had ruled Iraq since the 1960s, sending its members home with news that there was no coming back; dismantled Saddam’s 400,000 man army; and began to denationalize the economy. Soon, an insurgency of outraged Sunnis was raging against the American occupation.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/M…..6Ak04.html

  27. Anna says:

    It has been an amazing spring in Dayton Ohio. No killing frost serious enough to do damage to the tulips, jack in the pulpit, dutchman britches, spring beauties, flowering crabapples, redbud, dogwood, trillium, lilacs, magnolias etc etc etc. How much do you love the smell of spring where you live?

    Yet in a country/ a world where beauty abounds the Bush administration has taken part in criminal behaviour that our country may never recover from.

    • klynn says:

      We’ll have to compare garden notes someday…I’m in Columbus and I get over to Dayton a few times a year…

  28. Anna says:

    bmaz Have heard Zbigniew Brzenzinski asking “where is the outrage” over what has taken place during the Bush administrations reign. Says a great deal about Republicans, when they are more concerned about lies under oath having to do with a blowjob. Rather than holding anyone accountable for the intelligence snowjob that has resulted in 4000 dead American soldiers, tens of thousands of American soldiers injured a destroyed Iraq, millions of Iraqi dead, displaced and injured. But who knows this may have been the plan from the beginning.

    Sure looks like it

    • GulfCoastPirate says:

      I wonder what Zbig thnks of his daughter clowning around with Scarborough on MSNBC every morning. She really deserves a better gig.

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