Maher Arar Gets A(nother) Day in Court

On June 30, the 2nd District Court of Appeals rejected Maher Arar’s suit against the US government for sending him to Syria to be tortured. That decision came almost a month after the Dpartment of Homeland Security Inspector General released a report showing–even in its redacted form–that Arar had repeatedly warned that he would be tortured if sent to Syria, and that the INS folks knew that there was a high likelihood that Arar was right.

Perhaps it took the judges on the Appeals Court some time to really digest the report, because today they announced the entire court will rehear his appeal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an extremely rare order that the case of Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar would be heard en banc by all of the active judges on the Second Circuit on December 9, 2008. For the court to issue the order sua sponte, that is, of its own accord without either party submitting papers requesting a rehearing, is even more rare.

“We are very encouraged,” said CCR attorney Maria LaHood. “For the court to take such extraordinary action on its own indicates the importance the judges place on the case and means that Maher may finally see justice in this country. As the dissenting judge noted, the majority’s opinion gave federal officials the license to ‘violate constitutional rights with virtual impunity.’ Now the court has the opportunity to uphold the law and hold accountable the U.S. officials who sent Maher to be tortured.”

One more thing may factor into this reversal. Recall that, when the DHS IG testified on the report, he said he was reopening his investigation into Arar’s rendition.

Interestingly, in his own testimony today, the Homeland Security IG states that "we have reopened our review into the Mr. Arar matter because, less than a month ago, we received additional information that contradicts one of the conclusions in our report. As such, we are in the process of conducting additional interviews to determine the validity of this information to the extent we can."

So maybe, pursuant to that reopened investigation, the Appeals Court knows of new information?

Is it possible that Arar will yet have the opportunity to prove his case against Larry Thompson and others, who sent him to be tortured in Syria?

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  1. bmaz says:

    So maybe, pursuant to that reopened investigation, the Appeals Court knows of new information?

    Maybe, but I dunno. appeals courts are not collectors of facts. They pretty much go on the record transmitted to them from the trial court. And it sure doesn’t sound like Arar’s team has submitted anything, the article is fairly clear on that. The government wouldn’t do it, and if they did, they would have to file it and notify Arar’s team; none of which seems to be the case. My guess is the zeitgeist at the 2nd Circuit overall (as opposed to the 3 judge panel deciding the case, and heck maybe even them too) has been moved by all the stuff coming out and things in the news that we all see, and they decided to rethink the whole deal. Making this decision sua aponte is pretty encouraging, but sure doesn’t guarantee a different result.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I realize that–certainly given that we haven’t heard any new results, it’s clear the Appeals Court hasn’t.

      Any other suggestions, then, for why they’re going to reconsider?

      • bmaz says:

        Activist judges. And we could use some in the proper direction about now. I honestly think that the Federal judiciary was, and understandably so to a limited regard, affected by 9/11. I also literally think they feared the wingnuts in the Bush Administration and affiliated with them. But, as the worm is turning on all the bad stuff being exposed, the power of the Bushies in decline, and the perceived soon to be exit of the Bushies, I think they are finding their judicial and equitable sea legs again. Even conservative judges. So, my best guess is just that everything that has come out, especially in the last two months on torture etc. and the happenings at Gitmo, they just realized that this deserved a broader consideration and rethinking.

      • Leen says:

        Ew Bmaz all. If you have not listened to the Democracy Now interview with Ron Susskind the last two days they are worth the listen (unable to link from this computer).

        Ron’s “Price of Loyalty” was one of the most informative about this administration that I have read

    • FormerFed says:

      “All the stuff coming out” – Good Grief as CB would say. The rendition of Maher Arar was pretty well covered in “Ghost Plane” by Stephen Grey which was first published in Oct 2006. I guess the judges have a real long reading list and not much time to read.

  2. host says:

    “maybe”???? Bush family “best friend”, William Stamps Farish III, also had a maternal grandfather, to round out the influence of his “trading with the enemy”, grandfather, ESSO New Jersey prez, WS Farsih…. none other than Robert E. Wood, founder of ACS, successor to the other fascist org that Wood had led, “America First”, in 1940….founded by Robert Douglas Stuart Jr. and promoted by Charles A. Lindbergh. Wood’s ACS was deeply involved in the Iran Contra “op”….
    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAwoodRE.htm

    EW, the rendering of kidnapped folk to foreign, torture “stops”, and the coverup….is ancillary to the bigger “tell”…. multi-generational, extreme right, neo-fascism…. we know the Bushes by the company they keep, the same company as Prescott and George Walker kept….it’s the price we’ve paid for anti-communism to the point of violent obsessiveness. The French lived under the Nazis….compare how their leftist politics have served the average Frenchman, compared to how US rightist political and financial control has destroyed the economic and health security of the average American. Compare the GINI….28 in France vs. 45 in the US, the trade balances of the US vs. France, the strength of the Euro vs. the dollar, the rates of increase in national debt, the levels of tourism…French exports and rate of foreign visitors should be depressed because of the high valuation of it’s currency, instead, it is the US with the crushed currency valuation and trade imbalance, and declining rate of foreign visitors…. the things that “the property party” ….the party with two right wings….in the US, claim are the opposite….that a weak currency makes us more competitive. We bury the info of the French success, for the welfare of it’s citizens/residents…but it’s all in the CIA Factbook stats…. We’re distractted by the “promise” offered by Obama….it’s transparent BS….about as little change as our neo-fascist elite, enabled by Pelois, Hoyer, Obama, et al….will conceed to us….compare it to what the French voter wrings from their elite…

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    Is it possible that Arar will yet have the opportunity to prove his case against Larry Thompson and others, who sent him to be tortured in Syria?

    I think it much more likely that that Thompson et al will be pardoned long before any significant discovery begins, never mind trial.

    Boxturtle (Unclear to me if Canada law permits Thompson et al to be charged there)

    • emptywheel says:

      I actually have wonderd whether the “new” information DHS IG got was that it wasn’t Thompson who had bought off on the deportation, that it was someone like Chertoff or someone else.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I’m thinking “bought off” isn’t the right phrase. That implies the idea of sending him to Syria didn’t come from DHS. I suspect his deportation was ordered by DHS/OVP.

        As I understand it (somebody correct me if I’m mistaken), it is STATE that has to sign off on a deportation if torture is a concern. So who actually authorized this becomes interesting. It seems unlikely that it went to Condi, she’s not the most reliable of Bushies on things like this.

        Boxturtle (likely the approval came out of Cheney’s Shadow State dept)

          • BoxTurtle says:

            That’s right…and Powell would be even less likely to have signed off on it. EW’s question is good, who DID sign off on this?

            Boxtrutle (Note to OVP monitors: We all know EW is NOT suicidal, so don’t even try)

        • emptywheel says:

          Arar was deported in fall 2002, so while Powell was SOS and Condi was NSA, Chertoff was head of DOJ Criminal, and INS was still INS before it got folded into DHS.

          • FormerFed says:

            According to Grey, the plane used to rendition Arar from Teterboro, NJ to Jordan was a private one hired by DOJ (Chertoff ??) from a consortium called Presidential Aviation of Florida.

            • plunger says:

              According to Grey, the plane used to rendition Arar from Teterboro, NJ to Jordan was a private one hired by DOJ (Chertoff ??) from a consortium called Presidential Aviation of Florida.

              Presidential Aviation operates out of Executive Airport in Fort Lauderdale. 100% Shadow Government Operations HQ. Ask GHW Bush about how many times he’s flown on those aircraft…and how many drugs he’s had flown in from Columbia to there. Same jets used by Tommy Frank’s wife for those shopping sprees to NYC.

              White jets – no tail numbers, flying at wave-top on return from South America to remain below the radar.

              There was a very good reason why Jeb ran the Florida Operation for “The Company.”

              Now what’s that tell you about Charlie Crist, Jeb’s replacement?

              Just another “Company Man.”

              GHW Bush is running the show.

              You CIA/Secret Service tax dollars @ work.

              • FormerFed says:

                Why am I not surprised?

                Boy, is there ever a ripe field for some intrepid author to write about all the inter workings in the US black world. (No pun intended on the word ‘black’.)

  4. host says:

    Brilliant EW is squandering her talent for assembling and interpreting the minutiae of individual incidents, and the bigger picture is lost… This is partially due to an attempt to avoid seeming even more “on the fringe” to the overwhelmingly dominant right wing bent of most of this country’s sheeple and it’s media.

    But, who the fuck cares what they think? Who has any hope of reaching them? This “bully pulpit” can stand, I think, the hit it would take if EW were to shift here efforts towards exmination of the power elite and their intertwined relationships. John McCloy and William S. Farish III are the tip of the iceberg. As the Bushes are, McCloy served the money…. Dillon, Mellon, and today…it’s the Bushes “serving” Farish….look at the ACS, there, under our noses: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet…..icansc.htm …and most of us have never even heard of it….

    • bmaz says:

      I thought we had the “you actually need to make comments from within this solar system” discussion before. Have you had a memory failure or something?

  5. Mary says:

    2 – Which article to you mean bmaz? The CCR press release?

    The en banc will have the same record before it as the original appellate court did, won’t they? I think Arar’s crew did what the could with fact submissions there (to the extent not blocked by Comey’s efforts and affidavit) and I think that those allegations need to be taken as trueI for the dismissal at this point, procedurally (although I get lost on all this – I need a file instead of a relying on what I remember from months and more ago).

    I’m not sure that I remember the rulings being precisely as CCR has framed, but in their press release:

    http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom…..n-victim-m

    they say:

    In June 2008, the majority on the three-judge panel ruled that Mr. Arar’s constitutional claims for being sent to Syria to be tortured and arbitrarily detained could not be redressed because Congress already provided a remedy by permitting foreign citizens to petition a court to review their removal orders, even though in this case the U.S. officials prevented Mr. Arar from doing so. The court also found these claims could not be heard because they would interfere with U.S. foreign relations and impede national security.

    This question, of the extent to which the courts should just blindly accept something like Comey’s affidavit certifying that the Arar case could not go forward bc talking about the torture conspiracy and its effectuation re: Arar would violate national security and interfere with Bush’s eye-locking, soul-searching, moments with other nations, may be one the 2nd Cir has decided it needs to grapple with some.

    After all, they did see what got done with their Padilla ruling and they pretty much know those players used nat sec trumpet to disappear a US citizen on US soil and in DOJ custody into years of preternatural abuse, all with no due process and leaving whether or not he was going to be buried alive as an “interrogation tactic” up to the whims and vagaries of such upstanding me as John Ashcroft, John Yoo, George Tenet, George Bush and Dick Cheney.

    To hold that Arar has no recourse Constitutionally and under the TVA, bc Congress gave the right to petition against removal orders as a remedy – while at the same time saying that Arar was prevented from exercising that remedy by US officials, is a bit “interesting” as well. And it’s interesting to me that no one has said or done much about the abuse alleged in Jordan, the direct recipient from the US and a country to which Arar had no citizenship ties, and where no charges or claims were pending against Arar, and there was flat out no legal reason for him to end up.

    But I very much appreciate seeing Pepsico Gen Counsel Thompson’s name in the header EW. The forgotten man – who certainly doesn’t seem to have anyone interested in questioning him – despite Lichtblau’s revelations as to his refusal to sign FISA apps while “teh program” was in session and his torture field trip and his participation in sending off Arar (or even his glowing recommendation of Wm. Chevron Counsel Haynes for the 4th Circuit.

    When is Mukasey going to pop up and say -”hey, guys, chill, as long as you know that the DOJ was actively involved in not just writing memos but making the direct arrangements for shipment to torture – why harsh the mellow with consequences?”

    • bmaz says:

      I’m not saying any article. And that there is nothing new in the way of evidence or fact in the record was exactly my point. But these judges, and I have known a couple, read, see and hear like the rest of us. Better than most of us. The ether does have an affect on them, subconsciously and consciously; they will admit as much off the record. Who knows. Something motivated this sua sponte action. Maybe the increasing totality of questionable facts had nothing to do with their decision; I dunno, but my guess is it played a part.

  6. plunger says:

    Private Jets from Florida used for rendition? Here’s what else they were used for, in order to either buy complicity or guarantee blackmail:

    What possible motive might Tommy Franks have to rush to Rumsfeld’s defense? Can you say Quid Pro Quo?

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/05/franks.wife/

    2/5/2003

    Sources have told CNN that Franks, the man who would lead U.S. forces in the event of a military strike on Iraq, faces several allegations — including one that he allowed his wife, Cathy, to be present during discussions of highly classified material.

    The sources also said questions have been raised about whether Franks properly repaid the U.S. government for his wife’s travel on military aircraft.

    Franks, the head of U.S. Central Command, has been under investigation for weeks by the Pentagon inspector general’s office.

    ”I am aware of the investigation and am cooperating with it,” Franks said in a brief written statement. ”It would not be appropriate to comment on the investigation until it is complete.”

    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — who would decide what, if any, disciplinary action Franks would face if any wrongdoing is found — has taken the unusual step of expressing support for the general before the investigation was completed.

  7. Mary says:

    23 – I just wondered if I had missed an article when you said the article was pretty clear on that.

    “Something motivated this sua sponte action” Yep- interesting that they just glossed over with a reference to the judges having been polled. Makes you wonder by whom and I’ll toss out Sack, the partial dissenter, as a possiblity.

    Maybe after the way the 2nd Cir got punked on jurisdiction in Padilla, with Rumsfeld and DOJ disappearing Padilla out of New York to resurface him in military detention in So Car – and the way Roberts ducked the whole thing – there are some judges who’ve been looking for a case where their jurisdiction is more golden to tap back on the issues of due process? Boumediene has been having some chance to sink in, too. And today I read where Hartmann has been barred from another proceeding at GITMO and yesterday read where an Army Brig Gen pretty much called Hartmann a liar (disputed Hartman’s under oath allegations is how I think they put it)

    Could be that some of the judges want to make sure that Bush ends up having to put his pen to paper for the pardons for Ashcroft, Thompson etc. instead of trying to escape by default what he set in motion.

    Hard to say and it may all turn out badly for Arar anyway. Certainly, the fact that no one in Congress ever mentions his case and neither candidate for President seems much inclined to say “sorry” isn’t a good harbinger. But sufficient unto the day …

    • bmaz says:

      What I meant was that the article was clear that Arar’s team had not submitted anything additional to the court, and was taken by surprise (which means they also didn’t get copied as a result of the govt. doing anything). As to the rest of your comment @26, exactly. This was a quick comment I made at FDL on Christy’s thread on this.

      I think the slapdowns in Boumediene, Parhat, and at Gitmo itself, and so many other things such as the revelations in Mayer’s book and all of it, in totality, have caused the Federal judiciary to wake up and regrow some balls. Sure, there is something in the record that will be pointed to, but just the public atmosphere plays a role too I think. It is turning. Slowly.

  8. plunger says:

    In May of 2006, Cheney appeared on Larry King. He stepped in it big time, but few people caught it. I alerted Rude Pundit and he wrote about it.

    an excerpt:

    Then Cheney made this statement: “In a sense, when you’re at war, you keep prisoners of war until the war is over with.” So, like, if, in a sense, the Gitmo campers are “prisoners of war,” then, in a sense, don’t they get Geneva Conventions protections?

    Cheney and Gonzales have been playing a semantics game to justify torture, since “war” was never formally declared. It’s pretty obvious why they chose to embark upon the path of war without ever formally declaring it – so they could not be held accountable for the War Crimes they knew they’d be committing.

    Bush tells us every day that we’re at war. Cheney and Gonzales tell us that we’re not REALLY at war.

    Problem is, Cheney is on tape stating not only that we are at war, but that we are holding “prisoners of war.”

    The Geneva Conventions DO APPLY, and Cheney is guilty of war Crimes.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRA…..kl.01.html

    KING: They specifically said, though, it was Guantanamo. They compared it to a gulag.

    D. CHENEY: Not true. Guantanamo’s been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. Remember who’s down there. These are people that were picked up off the battlefield in Afghanistan and other places in the global war on terror. These are individuals who have been actively involved as the enemy, if you will, trying to kill Americans. That we need to have a place where we can keep them. In a sense, when you’re at war, you keep prisoners of war until the war is over with.”

    So this is the war without end, and these prisoners will be held forever?

  9. host says:

    My ”point” is…what has been accomplished by the election of a democratic majority in Nov., 2006, the nomination of Obama, the hearings of Conyers, Waxman, et al, the coverage and analysis of the Libby trial, of the anthrax attacks, and of this case of ”rendering”?

    The answer, sadly…is….compared to what the French mainstream have accomplished via their politics and votes….is nothing….nothing to relieve wealth inequity, preservation of our rights, or, of accountbaility of authority. But, what we have seen, is the complicity of the political establishment in passing FISA ”reform”, and it’s telecomm amnesty provision. It’s one right wing party, like it or not, Gore Vidal was correct. The French have done a remarkable job, while our right wing dominated political/economic ”system” is showing itself to be unsustainable. The ”little steps” at forcing transparency, here at FDL/EW, and by Conyers and Waxman, are too little….overwhelmed by a neo-fascist dominance of media, politics, and finance…..

    • FormerFed says:

      Rusty earns his money. I thought that the flight attendant’s case was damaged very much when the other passengers in first class said they didn’t see anything happen. I don’t know what kind of plane it was but first class in most domestic flights is not all that big and if a scuffle was happening it sure seems like the other passengers would have seen something.

      Although I must say that Ms. Osteen certainly looks capable of a shoving and shouting match. Look at her eyes!! Kind of feel sorry for her hubby.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Did Joel cry at the verdict?
      I just got back from EW’s old stomping grounds.
      I had a few audits in the Amherst area.
      Does this mean bad news for MacNamee’s counter punch to the Rocket Man?
      I owe you a six pack.

  10. WilliamOckham says:

    I still wonder why this obvious falsehood was included in the IG report:

    Monday, October 7, 2002 In a letter to the INS Eastern Regional Director, dated Monday, October 7, 2002, the Acting Attorney General disregarded Mr. Arar’s request to return to Canada because he concluded that it would be “prejudicial in the interest of the United States.” The Deputy Attorney General signed the letter because the Attorney General was out of the country at the time.

    The DOJ’s own website puts the lie to that. I have no idea if it is germane.

  11. perris says:

    Problem is, Cheney is on tape stating not only that we are at war, but that we are holding “prisoners of war.”

    sad to say, and it pains me, I disagree with your conclusion Marcy

    Cheney can say the moon is cheese, it still is not…this might be fun and games to prove he is a war criminal to those who believe he is regardless but it’s just rhetoric, in my mind there is no legal weight to his statement

  12. Skilly says:

    I am curious to hear what LHP will have to say about this one. I really don’t keep close tabs on the various Appellate Court sympathies. I know the 7th Cir. cases and which way the wind blows in my circuit.
    I would love to hear her impression on how this result may have been driven internally by one or more judges/clerk’s to register what appears to be a major shift in the review of the executive branch. I also wonder what effect the recent Supreme Court rulings slapping down the executive branch, re: Quantanamo, might have emboldened the panel.

    • PetePierce says:

      You’re never going to know know what got the opinion en banc. You’d do better to figure out how many people Russia kills in the next hour in Georgia while they email Condi to enroll in a college and take World History 101 and Introductry Russian History 101 and ask Bush “You’re gonna what lil Bushie with what to what?”

      The votes on an en banc hearing and whether a presidential appointed group concurred, or whether members of the original panel changed their opinions in votes is always an enigma enshrouded in a mystery.

      You might get some idea when the opinion is released but you’ll still be extrapolating as to how it got en banc sua sponte in the first place

      • perris says:

        You’d do better to figure out how many people Russia kills in the next hour in Georgia

        hmmm…according to a youtube I just saw, russia was doing the protecting of individuals and we are getting some propaganda

        • PetePierce says:

          The propaganda you’re getting is from the US who doesn’t have a grip on any foreign policy situation.

          Russia isn’t doing the protecting of all of those people in coffins with no vital signs and they didn’t protect the kids with their faces sliced in the hospital.

          You’re going to need more than some You Tube to come up with the assessment Russia is protecting people from Georgia or protecting Georgians.

          Link me the You Tube.

          From everything I see and read Russia is not protecting; they are menacing and killing. They have wanted this opportunity for years, and the US helped set it up.

          Russia is far from protecting people. They’ve tragically killed a lot of them and wounded a lot of them and some are kids.

          The fiction that Russia has conjured up of massacres at the bidding of Mikheil Saakhashvili are not being confirmed by anyone on the ground there.

          The French negotiated agreement has done little to change things.

          What’s clear to me is that the US/Bush commands little or no respect. The US is the quintessence of a “paper tiger.” If Georgia hasn’t made all the payments to Randy Scheunemann for his 49 lobbying sessions with McCain for Georgia, they’d be fools to continue the payments.

          But Bush looked into his eyes and found him to be “straightforward and trustworthy.” He said the same thing about Cheney, Addington, Scootie, and Gonzo.

            • PetePierce says:

              LOL–

              Why is Perris watcing FOX Noise? You can find a few thousand better sources can’t you?

              You’re watching the morons from FOX. And you’re watching quintissential propaganda from people probably paid to deliver it.

              I wouldn’t waste a nano second if I were you continuing to do so. They aren’t legitimate news. We don’t know how much the little girl was paid by the Russians to give her account that she is running from Georgian troops.

              And the moron from Fox offered no information as to the validity of her story.

              However, I did watch your video. It didn’t provide any significant information as to the conditions now on the ground, nor as to culpability.

              What I do know is this:

              1) Russians aren’t stopping. They’re bombinb and killing hundreds of people.
              2) There are next to no significant injuries and casualties of Russian troops. There are a lot of deaths and casualties of Georgian civilians and troops.
              4) The French agreement is not worth the paper it’s written on.
              5) The message from Russia has been that Condi needs to apply to a college, start over, and take an intro course in American history and an intro course in Russian history.
              6) The message from Russia to Bush is “fuck you–you can’t do a damn thing. You can’t have significant impact in the UN Security counsel or any other forum. You’re a quintissential paper tiger and a characture of yourself.”
              7) Condi the idiot is not on her way to Russia. She’s on her way to Rue de Fauberg to buy clothes/shoes.
              The Russians don’t care what Condi or Bush or McCain think.

              9) Perris—pssst don’t waste valuable time watching FOX. Not even a You Tube from them.

              Michael Ware, the Australian international journalist who has reported from Bagdad for years and is now on the ground in Georgia is not reporting anything remotely like the FOX news video of the girl or the woman. They are reporting significant casualties and current disregard of the so-called French agreement, fires, burning, bombinb and death of people who are Georgian.

              Your “surely uninformed” designation was self inflicted. However, keep watching FOX and you surely will become uniformed. I don’t believe you’re uninformed at all, but that FOX You Tube is fiction.

              • perris says:

                to be sure pete, I was linked to fox, second, I think you are the one being propagandaized, as per ian welch, who is just about always right;

                Georgia started the war by launching an assault through Russian peace keepers in South Ossetia. They also deliberately left the one exit open, hoping that the civilians would flee. This indicates deliberate ethnic cleansing.
                When Russia went to the UN Security council, before responding in force, it asked for an immediate ceasefire and a return to prior borders. Only when the US and the West blocked that request for peace did Russia go to a full attack on Georgia

                I believe we have been gamed, yourself included

                • PetePierce says:

                  The ethnic cleansing report is going to be proved bullshit and I think it pretty much has already.

                  I guess you think the dead kids and people are props; that the destroyed apartments and buildings and bombs are props and that the Russian convoys are props.

                  How about the “fuck you” America from Russia? If it’s all ethnic cleansing and Russia is helping with strictly relief efforts why all the fuck you Bush and Clondi’s? That a prop too? If Condi is a Russian expert, I’m starting QB in the NFL.

              • perris says:

                more from ians post over at the lake pete;

                Russia was defending a territory in which it has peacekeeping troops by international agreement, a region that does not want to be part of Georgia. And Russia did not attack first. None of this is to say that Russia does not bear some guilt — it has been stirring up trouble in South Ossetia for some time and supporting Ossetian de-facto independence. But it did not start this war. It tried to stop escalation through diplomatic means and international law. When that failed, it acted.

                he goes on to give a both sides of this story, but as far as propaganda, if you look at that youtube from fox, you can see the hosts do not want to hear that story, they do whatever they can to change the subject

                • PetePierce says:

                  I got it. 2 people on a Fox video and all the veteran war correspondents like Michael Ware on the ground are just full of shit and delusional. The pictures from NYT are photoshoped right?

                • PetePierce says:

                  Russia bears a lot of guilt. China bears a lot of guilt. They are totalitarian societies and one masquerades as democratic, and both one crushes, kills and buries individuals.

                  The US is adapting characteristics of both of them is doing many of the same things that nations designated part of the “axis of evil” are doing.

                  Torture in ICE facilities that Judge Chertoff is bullshitting is competent medical care like the situation featured in the NYT Tuesday morning, and other stories that have been covered by NYT in ICE contract facilities and BOP contract facilities in New Jersey and Manhatten are examples.

                  Russia has resented signs of Democracy from states bordering them for years. Putin thrived when he ran an autocratic KBG and he’s taking giant steps backward to get there again. And if there is any question Russia is saying “Fuck you US –you don’t have the balls to get in our way” and they’re dead right.

                  • GregB says:

                    You got that one right on the head.

                    The same people, ahem the neo-conm amen chorus(not you PP) that are outraged about Russia bullying a tiny nation were the same dildos(like Jonah Goldberg and co.) who were boasting about an American “Ledeen Doctrine”. That doctrine says every few years the US picks up a small nation and knocks it around just to show that it can be done. The Tom Friedman “suck on this” doctrine if you will.

                    So there were great cheers whenever Israel launches new attacks on Lebanon or Syria and great cheers when the US threatens Syria and Iran.

                    So now Russia decides, hey, we can do this too. Let’s find a reason. Well, the neo-cons and the Cheneyites gave them a reason in Georgia.

                    Of course the victims in the global game of one upsmanship is always the people…the Iraqis, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Kurds, the Afghanis…you name it.

                    Russia is returning to their old ways and the US gave them the new blueprint.

                    Heckuva job.

                    -G

              • Nell says:

                OT (to OT comments): Pete, your list of assertions is noticeably link-free itself.

                What’s happened has been ugly, on all sides (Ossetian militias are actors in their own right). To paint this as simply evil Russia vs. suffering Georgians is not accurate or helpful.

                As to this: There are next to no significant injuries and casualties of Russian troops.

                [from Monday Aug. 11] Human Rights Watch visited a field hospital located in Russia’s North Ossetia run by the Russian Ministry of Emergencies. A hospital representative said that 52 wounded people were being treated there, nearly all of them military personnel. The hospital was expecting another 170 wounded to be delivered by ambulance from a mobile military clinic in South Ossetia.

                There has yet to be any documentation, by human rights groups or anyone else credible, of the scale of Georgian military and civilian casualties, or of the Ossetian casualties during the Georgian attack and Russian counter-attack.

                The assertions of the Georgian government have been literally fantastic (e.g., 80 Russian planes shot down, when all that’s been documented so far is two.)

                It’s a little early for confident statements about who has done what.

          • GregB says:

            It’s interesting now the moral gravity the neo-con right will apply to reports and studies by human rights watchdogs vis a vis the Georgian conflict.

            They couldn’t pooh-pooh and ridicule Amnesty and the Red Cross when they reported on Iraq.

            Now those groups will be cited for their fairness.

            -G

            Listening to Saakashvili is like listening to Bill Kristol.

            • PetePierce says:

              I’m not listening to him. I listening to correspondents who have years of credibility on the ground. I’m looking at the pictures of dead people who I’m betting I couldn’t find vital signs on if I were there.

              I’m looking at the Georgian kids who have had major plastic repairs on their faces who are in hospital beds.

              Try telling me Michael Ware on the ground is hallucinating. It’s not going to fly.

              Russia has been waiting to beat up on Georgia and they are. And I don’t have a political horse in this and wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for a Russian grandfathrer.

              Do you have data to show that Russia is not beating up on Georiga as I type this? I doubt it.

              And again your shit government has no impact on the Russians. They have no respect for Bush.

            • PetePierce says:

              This ain’t “Listening to Saakashvili” Greg.

              Russia Vows to Support Two Enclaves, in Retort to Bush

              MOSCOW — Russia issued a rebuke to President Bush on Thursday over the conflict in neighboring Georgia, refusing an immediate withdrawal of its troops there, affirming its support for two separatist enclaves and warning the United States to avoid doing anything that would encourage its Georgian ally to reignite hostilities.

              I don’t see any prospect for the use of military force by the United States in this situation,” Mr. Gates said. “Clear enough?”

              It’s pretty damn clear to me. The US doesn’t go to battle with countries who have a lot of nukes aimed at their splenic flexure.

              Does this picture look like a stunt picture to you?

              Russia and Georgia All Out War

              How about this slideshow?

              It doesn’t look like it’s coming from Saakashvili’s cell phone.

  13. skdadl says:

    It finally occurs to me to ask: after Mr Skinner’s (DHS IG) interesting testimony to the House subcommittee in June, quoted by EW above, when are we going to hear where that led him and his investigators? How would we know?

  14. perris says:

    just posted this over at the lake

    I know these usually go nowhere but the liberal blogs, but still, this is gonna be mighty fun

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers says his staff will investigate these allegations and others aired in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism.

    from here

    man, I want them to subpeona cheney, which gives him a no win decision, he shows up and testifies, to which whitehouse will tear him a new hole, or he defies subpeoan and insinuates his own guilt

    TASTEY

  15. Mary says:

    32 – so you don’t think MN has seceded, eh?

    I think we talked about this before in a thread and the possibility that he might have dipped over the northern border was floated, although the schedule has him back in DC I thinkt he next day.

    Also floated was the possibility that when the AG is out of DC, (even if not out of country), that the DAG becomes “Acting” for all the matters that need to be addressed in DC

    I do like pointing out, since the release of the longer list of names on the torture fieldtrip to GITMO, that Thompson was pretty recently returned from that Torture Motivational Retreat when he signed off on the Arar shipment. I’m not sure that anyone has asked Powell what State’s position was on Syria as a torture state when Thompson signed off. Kinda think someone should. I don’t know if Taft was gone by then or not or to what extent Bush’s Nat Sec Adviser, Rice, discovered that torture rendition would work so much more easily if she had State’s say-so on destinations.

    Lots of questions, not holding my breath for answers.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      He was in D.C. on Friday, Oct. 4, 2002. He was in D.C. Tuesday, Oct 8, 2002. He was in Minnesota on Monday, Oct. 7, 2002.

      It just offends my overly literal geek nature for the government to claim he was out of the country on a particular day and then leave evidence on the internet that he wasn’t. If he was out of town, why didn’t they just say that? It’s those seemingly small inconsistencies that set me off.

  16. Skilly says:

    I have been involved in briefing En banc, Sua Sponte, decisions before. My experience was that you can brief all day long and write exceptionally too, but that decision is already made and the court is reversing itself.
    I can imagine in my nightmares a scenario where the en banc panel wants to rewrite the opinion to affirm the lower court and prior holding but changing the language to make the appeal to the higher court even more narrow. But, I have never actually seen that.

    • bmaz says:

      I think that is mostly probably true. The briefing is to help the leaders bring along the stragglers though, and give them a forum to do so. It is a big circuit, so who knows what the real number in strength for reversal are. It is definitively a good sign; very good sign. One thing is for sure, your nightmare isn’t in play here; not during summer/late summer slacker season for the court, and then the crunch that they face when they are all back from the same. No time for going through all this just to pimp out a decision even more than it already is.

    • PetePierce says:

      I should add we often take the great work that organizations like CCR attorneys, many people at Georgetown law, a number of attorneys in New York and other places do to fight the things that are the subject of Jane Mayer’s book and Tim Shorrock’s book.

      I congratulate these attorneys and hope they are able to get every word in a reversal opinion from the Second Circuit they want and if necessary and the Supreme Court grants cert. in an appeal, that they repudiate this egregious rendition behavior of the government that has been beyond the pale.

      It has been ridiculous that State Secrets has played such a prominent role in so many D.C. Appealate opinions, and in some of those in 9th Circuit cases.

  17. JohnLopresti says:

    Last week Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petition and request for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in re Ameziane, a detainee who seeks trial and habeas rights, now formally, after 6 years executive detention, having passed one year in Khandahar then 5 years additional in Gitmo. This petition represents a fairly novel approach, as it were, asking the courts which usually hear latin american pleas to examine conditions in the US pow camp in Gitmo, and related policies. Since the 2006 US elections the atmosphere has opened, and I agree with bmaz’s depiction of that humanization and perhaps a new boldness from the bench. In spring 2007 several US congresspeople visited the President of Syria, among them NPelosi and DIssa, the latter of Lebanese extraction. Also last year August 2007 Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor won public dissemination of 1,500 formerly redacted words from the CAN government’s own ponderous report on the Arar abduction and torcha. The government in CAN is a tad conservativeRepublicanesque these days, but even there humans recognize tides are shifting in US politics, and the international law quaintness disparagement has persisted despite the best attempts by the US administration’s rhetoricians. OPR has kept Glenn Fine’s reporting within political bounds, but the mere barebones he has included in two recent publications have pushed the limits and opened more public discourse on the ways the Bush2 administration has conducted foreign policy and prosecuted its vision of international security. JimWhite’s recent writing, as several of us have, regarding Bolton’s longterm dislike for treaties of many sorts reinforced this locally, as well. The neocons arrived with an agenda, and event served them a field upon which to deploy their most outrageous simulacra. I even wonder if the grumpy Luttig from his corporate counsel post at Boeing has spawned some distaste for ghostplaning, especially since December 2007 when one of its subsidiaries made news in renditionating as a ‘business’ proposition.

  18. Loo Hoo. says:

    This is such great news. Christy has a great article on it next door too.
    One thing I’ve never understood is why the American government criminals are working with Syria on renditions and torture. I thought we were all supposed to hate Syria…

    • prostratedragon says:

      Cognitive neuroscience?! Dot-connecting?!!

      [Falls in a drunken swoon. Needless to say, thanks JimW.]

  19. Boston1775 says:

    Hell-o Loo Hoo – I caught your greeting on another thread long after it had slowed to a stop.

  20. lysias says:

    Isn’t one circumstance that sometimes leads to an en banc sua sponte decision when the Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could affect the case in the interval? Could the Second Circuit see a possible applicability of Boumediene to Arar’s case?

    • PetePierce says:

      The majority of

      en banc

      hearings in any Circuit–above 90% and close to maybe 100% are sua sponte.

      A lot of motions are made by parties who don’t like the result of en bancs and they are very rarely granted.

      In some cases, a Supreme Court opinion might cause an en banc hearing. The Supremes are often narrow, and there are many aspects of opinions that are ambiguous and circuits use to ignore them. There are some portions of Boumediene that are vague and ambiguous, and many issues it purposely side stepped.

      I’m not sure that Boumediene or what will be the real result of it on the ground had much impact on the 2nd Circuit’s taking this case en banc.

      On Friday, DOJ started the process on a new appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court — its second appeal in the detainee cases in the past two weeks. The object of these two appeals is to get a quick ruling out of the federalist martinets in the D.C. Circuit CA to stop the transfer of prisoners out of Gitmo by anyone on the federal bench, hopefully carrying it over to the Obama administration.


      Boumediene
      didn’t touch detainee transfers.

      What did Boumediene Strike Down?

      Marty Lederman on Boumediene

      But as far as I can tell just yet, the Court did not reach the two even more important questions:

      1. Whether the Constitution applies to detainees held outside GTMO; and

      2. What the substantive standard for detention is: “It bears repeating that our opinion does not address the content of the law that governs petitioners’ detention. That is a matter yet to be determined.”

      At first glance, it would appear that although the decision is momentous, there are other important things that it does not do:

      It does not speak to whether GTMO should be closed (although it basically undermines the Administration’s principal reason for using GTMO in the first place, which was to keep the courts from reviewing the legality of the Executive’s conduct).

      Nor does it affect, in any dramatic sense, possible military commission trials — with the important exception that it invites the defendants in those trials to raise constitutional defenses, such as under the Ex Post Facto Clause.

      I’m not sure what aspect of the Boumediene opinion you think impacts Maher Arar’s appeal at this point.

  21. plunger says:

    Erik Prince might just be a cut out – a front man for…wait for it…the REAL owner of Blackwater….The top dog at the CIA, king pin of the DEA coverup operation and the REAL President of the United States…

    THAT IS POPPY BUSH’s Aircraft.

  22. plunger says:

    “Presidential”…get it?

    That would be like naming your boat “Barbara,” or naming your secret CIA operation after your company…

    The CIA codename for the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 was “Operation Zapata”. (See Beschloss, p.89). Through his work with Zapata Off-Shore, Bush Sr. is alleged to have come into contact with Felix Rodriguez, Barry Seal, Porter Goss (who served briefly as CIA Director under Bush Jr.), E. Howard Hunt, around the time of the Bay of Pigs operation.[7] John Loftus writes: “Zapata [Off-Shore] provided commercial supplies for one of [Allen] Dulles’ most notorious operations: the Bay of Pigs invasion.”

    CIA liaison officer Col. L. (Leroy) Fletcher Prouty alleges in his book, The Secret Team (1973) and on his website, that Zapata Off-Shore provided or was used as cover for two of the ships used in the Bay of Pigs invasion: the Barbara J and Houston. Prouty claims he delivered two ships to an inactive Naval Base near Elizabeth City, North Carolina, for a CIA contact named George Bush, who re-named the boats.[9] (As a World War II Navy pilot, Bush had named his first Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo-bomber plane the Barbara after his wife, a second plane the Barbara II, and a third plane the Barbara III.) White House Portrait Barbara Pierce Bush (born June 8, 1925) is the wife of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, and was First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993

    Does it get any more obvious?

    • bmaz says:

      Where do you keep coming up with this looney toons junk, and why do you insist on cluttering this blog with it? You have been advised in this regard previously. Twice. Jeebus, I am getting carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive scrolling movements from your comments. As Scotty in Star Trek would say, “it can’t take much more captain”. We have very accomplished house monitors and cleaners here at the greater FDL; let’s not get to where they have to be utilized.

      And we have Freepatriot too. And he hasn’t had any red meat in a long time….

      • plunger says:

        The resource I used for the facts presented in #60 is right here:

        http://209.85.165.104/search?q…..#038;gl=us

        However those same facts are available from hundreds of similar links.

        Do refute the facts posted about Zapata, GHW Bush and the Bay of Pigs invasion posted in #60? They are accurate.

  23. plunger says:

    BMAZ:

    This is the second time you’ve opted to attack me personally – but you have yet to provide any facts to refute what I’ve posted. I assure you that I am not crazy, have researched everything I post completely, and have actual knowledge of what I am writing (direct personal knowledge).

    I realize it’s not “comfortable” to read, but I assure you it is accurate.

    I also understand that you have the power to silence me. I hope you will opt not to, but it is your medium – and your choice. Given all of the censorship we face in the mainstream media, I hope you will see the wisdom of allowing ideas to be presented, and refuted by the community, based on the discernible facts.

    Did you see the link provided above by John in Sacramento? Did you study it? He posted all of that detailed and valuable information in response to me. THAT is the benefit of my inclusion in this conversation.

    Apparently you’ve not learned any new valuable information from the hundreds of links I’ve posted and theories I’ve espoused.

    “Looney Tunes Junk?”

    Isn’t that a personal attack?

  24. perris says:

    pete, you’re a little defensive here, don’t forget, the war veterans and the new york times got us into Iraq with similar propaganda

    now I haven’t done the research but ian is pretty good at that so go have a read, leave some comments and see if you and he can agree

    here’s the link at the lake

    http://firedoglake.com/2008/08…..-cold-war/

    • perris says:

      I believe he gives both sides of the story as well, he doesn’t just give russia’s side, it’s a balanced and documented piece so have a read, though I think you might get there after ian has left

    • PetePierce says:

      I’ll be glad to read Ian over there. I try to monitor FDL posts, but there is much to read and it’s hard to keep up with them all. But I wouldn’t base an opinion on just one You Tube and I’m sure you’re not.

      Russia has done some very bad things there already. The fact that we can’t do much more than stand and cluck cluck at them is a testamant to how moronic it was for the Neo-Cons to squandar our resources in Iraq. We have made fools of ourselves in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and continue to do so.

      It took a lot more than NYT and Judy Miller to get us into Iraq. It took a lot of fuckheads like Mary Matlin, the editor of the new swiftboat piece of crap on Obama. And if you review the record, NYT wasn’t pushing Iraq in the vast majority of their reporting–and they got rid of Miller and discredited her. I don’t expect her to have much of a job in journalism.

      I’m with these writers of letters to NYT:

      To the Editor:

      Re “Russia’s War of Ambition” (editorial, Aug. 12):

      While militarily a success, Russia’s incursion into Georgia to reassert its sphere of influence in the “near abroad” is political folly.

      The Russian-Georgian conflict has likely pushed Georgia out of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine, whose leaders have traveled to Georgia to express solidarity with President Mikheil Saakashvili, will distance themselves further from a domineering, oil-resurgent Russia.

      Russian military might has won the day in Georgia, but as a means of extending its influence in the region, political pressure and persuasion would have been far more effective.

      Lawrence P. Markowitz

      Oberlin, Ohio, Aug. 12, 2008

      The writer is a visiting assistant professor of politics at Oberlin College, where he teaches nation- and state-building in post-Soviet politics
      _________

      To the Editor:

      Re “Will Russia Get Away With It?,” by William Kristol (column, Aug. 11):

      Those who advocated the invasion of Iraq believed that it would offer an intimidating show of the United States’ power, cementing its status as the world’s dominant, and sole, superpower. The result has been precisely the opposite:

      The limits of American power — our Army tied down in Iraq, even as we lose a second war in Afghanistan — have been humiliatingly displayed for the entire world to see.

      The effects of this strategic failure are now on display, as Russia invades Georgia, while the United States can do little more than stand by and complain ineffectually, its once intimidating power exposed as so much empty bluster.

      In the face of this wholesale disaster, William Kristol, an early and continuing supporter of the Iraq war, responds with precisely the arguments that got us into this mess in the first place, and finds it both regrettable and puzzling that the United States is now “oddly timid and uncertain”: unable, evidently, to recognize his own role in America’s current quandary. François Furstenberg

      New York, Aug. 11, 2008

      _______________________________

      To the Editor:

      If Georgians wonder where the United States may be while their country is enslaved by our good friends from Russia, they are really slow learners.

      Didn’t they pay attention while the United States turned its back on the Hungarians in 1956? Didn’t they notice that the Cubans we transported to the Bay of Pigs were massacred because we provided no support? Weren’t they watching our Vietnamese allies being kicked out of the fleeing helicopters as we abandoned that country? Have they heard about the Hmong?

      William Kristol asks, “Will Russia Get Away With It?” Of course it will. We don’t have a coherent foreign policy — we have sound bites of tough talk followed by abandonment of those dumb enough to believe us.

      Arthur O. Armstrong

      Manhattan Beach, Calif., Aug. 11, 2008

  25. PetePierce says:

    And some wisdom from self-professed and promoted Provost Rice who knows less about Russian than a college freshman:

    “This is not 1968..”

    Russia is quacking and when Rice says jump, they wanna know how high?

    • PetePierce says:

      Lieberman and Graham to Georgia. What the fuck is that supposed to do? How about Lieberman, Graham and Rice? McCain and the $500,000 credit card Sugar Mommy?

  26. Loo Hoo. says:

    No answers about why our government renders people to countries our government considers evil? It makes no sense.

    I’ll ask again later.

    • Nell says:

      The ’sense’ it makes is that after the September 11 attacks the govt of Syria made its torture resources available to the U.S. — no doubt in the hope of some considerations on issues that it cares about (Lebanon, Golan Heights), or to avoid becoming the target of U.S. military aggression.

      That cooperation is not so very different from the actions of the Iranian government after Sept. 11, which turned over al Qaeda and Taliban members in transit, in residence, or in prison. But the U.S. quickly officially spit on those gestures, so nothing further was forthcoming.

      The Syrian relationship falls far short of that of Egypt, Morocco, and especially Jordan, whose torture centers have been virtual annexes of the CIA for many years (going back into the Clinton administration at the very least). The security chiefs of Jordan and Morocco work hand in hand with the CIA.

  27. perris says:

    pete, I look forward to your discussion with ian, if you got to debate last thread I haven’t read it yet, if you missed him then I hope you catch up to him today and discuss

    I will enjoy reading both sides of this issue