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Obama Continues to disappoint


President Obama has many issues but the ones dealing with his approach to the phony war on terror, torture and armed conflicts that he is escalating continue to baffle and upset me.  Now he has petitioned the US Supreme Court to suppress release of pictures taken at Abu Ghraib which show torture and prisoner abuse.  I understand why he doesn’t want them released; it would force his hand to prosecute those who would be clearly shown violating every conceivable law in the books, our books as well as international treaties we’ve sworn to uphold and protect.  However, he can’t give that as a reason for asking they not to be released so instead he chose this:

“there are nearly 200,000 Americans who are serving in harm’s way, and I have a solemn responsibility for their safety as Commander-in-Chief. It is my judgment … that releasing these photos would inflame anti-American opinion and allow our enemies to paint United States troops with a broad, damning and inaccurate brush, thereby endangering them in theaters of war.”

Obama was forced to petition the high court after  a lower court ruled the photos should be released  ignoring the pleas by some in government that their release would imperil US personnel.  The courts have sided with those who cite the Freedom of Information Act which they say requires, or mandates the release of such pictures.

Obama’s petition to block the release is an about face from his earlier position where he called for their release.  He has decided to escalate US involvement in Afghanistan and is using that escalation as an excuse for keeping the pictures locked up but he goes on to say with a straight face,  ‘Any abuse of detainees is unacceptable. It is against our values. It endangers our security. It will not be tolerated.’

If abuse won’t be tolerated Mr. President, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who carried it out as well as those who ordered it.  I assert the photos should imperil the freedom and liberty of those who are engaged in the abuse chronicled therein or who were responsible for it.  If he is worried about inflaming anti-American opinion, correct those anti-American notions by restoring the rule of law and showing the world we apply that law equally to all even when it hits close to home and involves members of American government.  If he’s worried about negative opinions of American foreign policy he should  curtail America’s wars of aggression and remove American troops from foreign lands that pose no direct threat to American personnel or American interests.  He should return them to America and de-escalate American forces that have been used as advance teams for US corporations to set up permanent bases and expand global markets at the expense of US resources.  These theaters of war are ones he has chosen to engage in when the survival or prosperity of our Republic is not at stake.  The greatest danger to our military is their deployment to these areas by the very government that wants to protect them by infringing on the rights of the society they are fighting to protect.    People who claim that photos showing abuse and or torture of prisoners under American control should be released should also proclaim  those who are responsible for their ugly content must be brought to justice.   If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama petition most likely he will used the powers of the unitary executive, finely tuned by the Bush administration, to block the release of the pictures.  Just one more example of ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.

Another Bad Bushism Bites the Dust


tariq ramadanNot that President Obama had anything to do with it, but a federal court has reversed a ruling against one Tariq Ramadan, who had been denied a visa to come to the US by the Bush Administration.  You can read about that decision here.  Ramadan had previously visited the US many times, but when the University of Notre Dame wanted to make him a tenured professor there, many within the political zionist movement, notably Daniel Pipes, would have none of that and so a well organized campaign began which resulted in the revocation/denial of a visit for Ramadan.  Oxford University snatched him up quickly, however, which proves this isn’t a fringe political hack we’re talking about in Ramadan.    What’s really happening  here is Islamophobes who are  trying to isolate Islamic thought from the main stream and keep it isolated,  feared and reviled; allowing Tariq Ramadan such a mainstream audience as Notre Dame in the heart of the midwest is anathema to political zionism’s goals of hate/fear based interaction with targeted religions such as Islam.  During the era of fear, accusations were made about or against people who were unable to counter those accusations or defend themselves against them in a court of law.  Witch hunts were carried out and people detained or denied their rights merely on the face of an accusation and without judicial recourse or review.  It remains to be seen whether Ramadan will be given a visa, but the ruling gives him a chance to defend himself in court and that’s what the Bill of Rights allows.

Reliving the sins of our (fore)fathers


gitmo detaineeSecurity subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to separation of powers. . . .

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

So said the US Supreme Court in its decision, BOUMEDIENE ET AL. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES, ET AL. where it ruled the Military Commissions Act’s Section 7 was unconstitutional and that Lakhdar Boumediene had a right to a habeas corpus hearing to decide whether he should face charges the US military said he was guilty. Lakhdar Boumediene’s case is a shining example of what American forefathers went through in their escape from an imperial England which brought them to the shores of America. Fleeing repressive government which arbitrarily meted out justice without any regard for the rule of law, even though there was some semblance of British common law in the magna carta, America’s founders established the right to habeas corpus for its citizens, which in turn the Supreme Court expanded to those present day America swooped up in its farcical war on terror.

Boumediene was one such casualty. Working in Sarajevo, Bosnia he was accused by the US of plotting to commit acts of terror against the US embassy there and arrested by Bosnian authorities who using their own judicial means established there was no merit to the charge. However, after being released by Bosnian authorities he was re-arrested by American forces and rendered to Guantanamo Bay where he was held for 7.5 years, without access to a legal system. Kept in isolation and tortured his only request was to know why he was being held.  Finally when his case went before the Supreme Court it was ruled he had a right to  habeas corpus review, which in turn quickly adjudicated him  innocent, by a Bush appointee federal judge no less, of the charges levied against him by America just as he was in a Bosnian court.

What possessed America to hold him another 8 months after he was ordered release shows the contempt the Bush administration had for the very judicial process it abused in order to justify it’s WOT. One can only imagine how many others, similarly innocent languish in places like Gitmo Bay, Bagram, or any other base set up to house people deemed terrorist by an abusive and imperial executive out of control. Why this should even matter to the average American on the street is simple: the country has built up over a long history a very precise, intricate and detailed system of law to avoid the mistakes of the English who chased its downtrodden all over the world to deny them their rights and inevitably fight them when they asserted them. We should not and cannot sit by and watch them discarded by an abusive executive who decides unilaterally what laws it wants to abide by and which ones it doesn’t. The Supreme Court decision was clear in that regard.

The Framers’ inherent distrust of government power was the driving force behind the constitutional plan that allocated powers among three independent branches. This design serves not only to make Government accountable but also to secure individual liberty. . . .

Where a person is detained by executive order rather than, say, after being tried and convicted in a court, the need for collateral review is most pressing. . . . The habeas court must have sufficient authority to conduct a meaningful review of both the cause of detention and the Executive’s power to detain. . . .

We haven’t begun to address the issue of Boumediene’s treatment while in captivity in Gitmo Bay and his assertion that he was tortured. Indeed the biggest torture of all was his unlawful imprisonment and isolation from the legal redress he was found by US authorities to be clearly entitled too but which he was denied for so very long. The fact that his imprisonment could not stand judicial review from TWO separate courts continents removed from one another is why the will of a whimsical executive must be challenged by the judicial checks and balances embedded in our system of government. Check out Boumediene’s interview with ABC news below. This should be one more nail in the coffin for the indictment of any and all officials in the Bush administration for international war crimes.

A funny


People say the damndest thing!

“Mr. Olmert is wrong,” the official said.

Even if everything had gone according to plan, “she would have abstained. That was the plan,” said the official. “The government of Israel does not make US policy.”

Hilarious!  This from a news article recounting the embarrassing US abstention  of a resolution it originally helped produce! It’s in response to Olmert’s interpretation of how that abstention came about.

“She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour…In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favour,” Olmert said.

“I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me.

“I told him the United States could not vote in favour. It cannot vote in favour of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favour.

and shows the disregard Israeli leaders have for Americans…. Americans are to serve every Israeli whim at the drop of a hat and drop what they’re doing to do so, and how Israelis paint their picture of that relationship among themselves.  That this story found its way in an English medium shows Israelis don’t care we know they have such disdain.  So, while the Ariel Sharon quote following 911 has been cast in doubt, literally spun into non-existence, the “I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me.” quote is alive and sourced.  So the next time anyone tells you it’s an urban legend, or anti-semitic to say Israelis are the dog that wags the American tail….just laugh and congratulate them for their chutzpah!