Posts Tagged ‘Middle East

04
Apr
09

The Blinds of Justice are Lifting

justice

icon_digg3 A couple of months ago (February 2nd to be precise), I authored a posting entitled, “John Yoo A Tough Decision to Defend for the President” regarding the redemption of America’s justice system in wake of all the miscarriages of justice which occurred during the Bush Administration and in particular those pertaining to John Yoo.  Yoo was Bush’s lead legal adviser authoring legal memos concerning the treatment, incarceration and trial (hearings) proceedings of Iraqi and Afghan detainees.

Following up on my past posting I’ve learned others share equally in my interest of Mr. Yoo’s all encompassing ability of embarrassing our country in the eyes of the international community.  In an article posted within Hoffington Post, Mr. Martin Garbus, a Trial lawyer, authored an article entitled: “The Times May Be Changing” where he states some of the following excerpts:

Now six years after Iraq started, nearly one hundred days into the new presidency, more and more information is coming out about the involvement of the Bush people in Iraq-related criminal acts. The legal memos and the statements of tortured detainees are only the beginning of what will soon be a flood of information.

The legal machinery is starting to build, case by case, a rejection of Bush’s legal theories.
Today’s decision from Federal Judge John Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that those detained in Afghanistan will have access to American courts builds on the recent cases that allow Guantanamo detainees access to the federal court. Judge Bates rejected both the Bush administration’s view and the recently articulated view of President Barack Obama that habeas corpus is not available to imprisoned non-Afghans who are arrested beyond Afghanistan.

We are seeing a pattern in the Washington federal courts. The judges are not shying away from tacking tough issues. The concept that a man sitting in Baghram has a right he can enforce in an American court seemed impossible a few years ago. The constant rat-a-tat of the media, with pictures of the tortured prisoners clearly influences judges along with the rest of the population. Judges respond also when the president too set a higher standard.

Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who must start the criminal process against Cheney, Gonzales, Yoo and the others. He does not shy away from difficult choices, given backing that lets him know he is not alone. He can, and has, taken positions that are ahead of Obama.

Attorney General Holder’s decision today is easier than it was yesterday, and as more and more stories of brutalized prisoners come out, it will get even easier, especially with our President’s recent executive order of allowing wider windows to be opened to the public through the “Freedom of Information Act.

Judge Bates, and the judges before him, including the Supreme Court, have rejected the rationale of Bush’s Attorney General and supporting lawyers that gave the President “unitary powers.”

The public should let Eric Holder and the president know they support criminal prosecution of the Bush people.  This may be accomplished by contacting the Department of Justice here.

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28
Jan
09

Search for History’s Sake the Guilty

Be a veteran of a war gone by I fully support our troops in both Iraqi and Afghanistan.  Further more I support our newly elected President to the fullest, who has in sense has decided not to investigate the past administration cover up of undisclosed facts leading up to the war with Iraqi or the horrendous, unconceivable torture of both the terrorists and citizens of these two countries.

However, I do feel, contrary to President Obama perhaps, that we must investigate what took place in our government before and during these two expensive conflicts and make it be known through the Freedom of Information Act, as soon as possible.  If only for history’s sake!

Recently on YouTube, a video pertaining to the British government’s involvement was produced and published which poses additional questions about the day’s before the Iraqi War began.  Here again, other are seeking to find answers to necking concerns of how the international community could be remiss in believing everything the Bush Administration led us to believe.

Here the YouTube video entitled “Investigation Into 2003 Iraq Invasion” with the producer’s commentary, which accompanied the video.

UK Ministers have been ordered to release minutes of the cabinet meetings which discussed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Information Tribunal upheld a decision that details of the March 13 and 17 sessions should be disclosed.

The sessions covered whether invasion was allowed under international law. Ministers failed to block the Freedom of Information bid to release minutes.

Downing Street said it was considering its response. The Lib Dems and Tories repeated calls for an Iraq war inquiry.

“The people who took these decisions, which were incredibly controversial, should be held to account,” he told the BBC News channel.

“And unfortunately the Labour government has put up a wall of secrecy, in the years since 2003, and prevented the full facts from coming out.”

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey repeated the Lib Dems’ call for a full inquiry into the Iraq war, something the government has agreed to in principle without setting a date for it.

On the eve of war, 17 March, Lord Goldsmith’s opinion unequivocally saying military action was legal was presented to cabinet, MPs and the military and published.

However, after long-running reports that he had changed his mind as the planned invasion approached, his initial lengthy advice given to Tony Blair on 7 March was leaked and then published in 2005.

This advice raised a number of questions and concerns about the possible legality of military action against Iraq without a second UN resolution and was never shown to the cabinet.

The then prime minister Tony Blair defended his decision not to show the cabinet the full advice, saying that Lord Goldsmith had attended the cabinet in person and was able to answer any legal questions and explain his view.

Also to follow along with this posting is a just released announcement by the American Civil Liberties Union entitled “ACLU Calls On Justice Department To Release Bush Administration Torture And Surveillance Memos.

In a letter sent to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) today, the American Civil Liberties Union requested the release of secret memos that provided the legal basis for many of the Bush administration’s controversial national security policies. The Justice Department continues to withhold many legal opinions, including memos purporting to allow torture and warrantless surveillance. The ACLU has previously sought the memos through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

23
Jan
09

A True Test for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

An outstanding question today was published by “Time” as it wrote “Can Clinton and Her Envoys Rebuild U.S. Diplomacy?”  Everyone knows the damage to the international community former President Bush’s Administration created and the hard feelings our neighbors have towards us, but few can venture to guess how deep these feelings are and how long it will take to repair the hurt feelings.

I published before, here, within this plot about my personal feelings regarding Secretary Clinton and can only hope there exists a feeling of “forgive and forget” among the countries we’ve upset over the past years of selfishness behavior, protectionism polices and discerning attitude we have engaged in.

Here are a few excerpts from the Time article, which bare a peek at:

Can Clinton and Her Envoys Rebuild U.S. Diplomacy?

By Massimo Calabresi / Washington Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

The euphoria that greeted Hillary Clinton’s arrival at the State Department on Thursday was not unfamiliar. Every few years, the usually reserved diplomats at Foggy Bottom drop their world-weariness and get all googly-eyed over a new leader: when Colin Powell took charge in January 2001, he was mobbed by star-struck Foreign Service Officers hoping he’d reverse the department’s diminishing stature under Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.

In early 2005, their adulation was even more desperate as they greeted Condoleezza Rice following Powell’s four-year emasculation at the hands of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney.

What the downcast diplomats really seek is someone who will return the State Department to the central role it played in the days when American diplomacy shaped the most important world events.

There are reasons to be optimistic that Holbrooke and Mitchell, and Clinton herself for that matter, are part of a new beginning for American diplomacy. Obama had made rejuvenating diplomacy a centerpiece of his campaign, and he has named a serious and strong-willed team whose members, as much as anything, hate to fail. Both envoys are known to be energetic in the field and to have records of peace-making achievement, Holbrooke in brokering the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnia conflict, and Mitchell in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement that marked the beginning of the end of the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

If the weary diplomats at the State department want nothing more than action on the diplomatic front, they’re certainly going to get it from Holbrooke and Mitchell. Whether the two men will actually succeed may depend on the policies that guide their efforts and on Hillary Clinton’s skills in managing them. She had a simple message for everyone at Foggy Bottom on her first day at work. “This is a team,” she told the gathered diplomats, and “We are not any longer going to tolerate the kind of divisiveness that has paralyzed and undermined our ability to get things done for America.” Says Levy of the New America Foundation: “I think you can make it work.”

22
Jan
09

The “One” is a Serious Individual!

No President in my generation has shaken the establishment in Washington on his first day as our New President – Lets Support this kind of “Take Charge” attitude!

Here are several examples from AP Online Newswire Service, with the first being directed within the White House and its staff.

Jan 21, 1:54 PM EST

Obama freezes salaries of some White House aides

By JENNIFER LOVEN
AP White House Correspondent

The pay freeze, first reported by The Associated Press, would hold salaries at their current levels for the roughly 100 White House employees who make over $100,000 a year. “Families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington,” said the new president, taking office amid startlingly bad economic times that many fear will grow worse.

Those affected by the freeze include the high-profile jobs of White House chief of staff, national security adviser and press secretary. Other aides who work in relative anonymity also would fit into that cap if Obama follows a structure similar to the one George W. Bush set up.

In an attempt to deliver on pledges of a transparent government, Obama said he would change the way the federal government interprets the Freedom of Information Act. He said he was directing agencies that vet requests for information to err on the side of making information public – not to look for reasons to legally withhold it – an alteration to the traditional standard of evaluation.

Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said. Reporters and public-interest groups often make use of the law to explore how and why government decisions were made; they are often stymied as agencies claim legal exemptions to the law.

“For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Obama said.

And this regarding President Obama’s concern over the Middle East conflict, also from AP Online Newswire Service.

Jan 21, 1:08 PM EST

Obama calls Middle East leaders

By BEN FELLER
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama called four Middle East leaders on Wednesday, weighing in for the first time about the Gaza crisis by pledging to support a fragile cease-fire.

Obama called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

In his phone calls, Gibbs said, Obama pledged that his government would do its share to make those efforts successful and work with international partners “as they fulfill their responsibilities as well.” The White House described the calls as warm in nature.

In the weeks before getting sworn in as president, Obama engaged deeply in the economic crisis at home. But he deferred to then-President George W. Bush on the Gaza conflict and declined frequent opportunities to comment, saying the country should speak with only one voice on foreign policy.




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