The Case Against a National Security Court
Now, however, proponents of what Ben termed “un tribunal d’exception” are pushing the matter before Congress. For this reason, it is important to note several additional reasons why a special national security court should not be created.
During an actual armed conflict to which the laws of war apply, a national security court would have to comply with the customary and treaty-based requirements set forth in common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions which, as noted in my book Beyond the Law, are absolute and minimum requirements applicable with respect to any person detained during either an internal or an international armed conflict. These mandate that a court be “regularly constituted” and afford “all the judicial guarantees” of due process that are reflected in customary international law – which include, at a minimum, those mirrored in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Supreme Court aptly affirmed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the “core meaning” of the phrase “regularly constituted” has been authoritatively set forth in general commentary by the International Committee of the Red Cross and excludes “‘all special tribunals’” and requires that courts be “‘established ... [and] already in force in a country.’” While concurring in Hamdan, Justice Kennedy noted that there is little doubt that the phrase relates to “standards deliberated upon and chosen in advance.” As Hamdan recognized, a court (1) must not be a “special” tribunal, and (2) must already be in existence. A special national security court simply could not meet the first test and, if otherwise proper, could only operate prospectively with respect to incidents arising after its creation.
Additionally, a national security court would comply with common Article 3 only if it provides “all the judicial guarantees” of due process reflected in customary international law. As the Supreme Court stated in Hamdan, “[i]nextricably intertwined with the question of regular constitution is the evaluation of the procedures governing the tribunal,” and “the phrase ‘regularly constituted court’ ... must be understood to incorporate the barest of those trial protections that have been recognized by customary international law.” The Supreme Court correctly added that “[m]any of these [due process requirements] are described in Article 75 of [Geneva] Protocol I” and in “the same basic protections set forth” as minimum human rights to due process in Article 14 of the ICCPR. Importantly, customary minimum human rights to due process reflected in Article 14 of the ICCPR apply in any social context and pertain, therefore, even when the laws of war are not applicable.
As documented in Beyond the Law and recognized by the Supreme Court in Hamdan, violations of customary rights to due process would include: (1) preclusion of the accused and defense counsel from learning what evidence was presented in closed hearings, (2) admission of hearsay evidence, (3) admission of unsworn statements, (4) denial of access by an accused and defense counsel to evidence in the form of classified information, (5) denial of confrontation of all witnesses against an accused, (6) use of “evidence obtained through coercion,” (7) denial of the right to be tried in one’s presence (absent disruptive conduct or consent), and (8) denial of review by a competent, independent, and impartial court of law (i.e., an Article III court). It seems unavoidable that a special national security court with special procedures that deviate from the federal rules of criminal procedure would not be designed to enhance fairness, fully meet bilateral and multilateral treaty requirements of equality of treatment, or provide more general equal protection of the law to criminal accused.
It is likely that some will propose the creation of a special court in order to facilitate convictions that would not be possible in a regular federal district court, especially through use of “evidence obtained through coercion” as part of what John Yoo and President Bush have admitted was a “common, unifying” plan or “program” of coercive interrogation that most know involves several manifest violations of customary and treaty-based international law and that can form the basis for criminal prosecution of (1) direct perpetrators, including those who authorized or ordered coercive interrogation; (2) leaders who were also or merely derelict in duty; (3) those who participated in a “joint criminal enterprise;” and (4) those who aided and abetted coercive interrogation or who were otherwise complicit (through memos or elsewise) in denials of rights under the laws of war, other violations of the laws of war, and violations of other international criminal law such as violations of the Convention Against Torture and customary prohibitions of secret detention. Quite clearly, lack of an intent to commit a crime would not obviate such forms of criminal responsibility and orders or authorizations will not lessen criminal responsibility for conduct that is manifestly unlawful. For example, an aider and abettor need only be aware that his or her conduct would or does assist that of a direct perpetrator. It is pertinent in this regard that there are reports that during multiple sessions in the White House beginning in 2002 Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, John Bellinger, and others viewed simulations of and/or discussed and approved use of waterboarding, the “cold cell,” use of dogs to instill intense fear in detainees, and stripping naked, among other patently illegal tactics that were to be used as part of the admitted program of coercive interrogation.
Perpetuating illegality with a national security court would not serve our traditional values and the best interests of the United States, especially as we seek to regain our honor and international stature during a new Administration committed to the rule of law.
Jordan J. Paust is the Mike & Teresa Baker Law Center Professor at the University of Houston, a former U.S. Army JAG officer and member of the faculty of the Judge Advocate General’s School. His book, Beyond the Law: The Bush Administration’s Unlawful Responses in the “War” on Terror, was published by Cambridge University Press.
October 27, 2008
The Case Against a National Security Court
October 24, 2008
There is muchI have omitted in my coverage of the current fiscal crisis. A regular reader here would know I'd seen a disaster about to implode way before the standard economists did.
But the role of U$ dollar hegemony in the whole mix has often gone begging in the standard analyses one can read !!
It's important to understand THAT if you want the whole picture, eh?
China's underwriting of the U$ dollar has important consequences.
I think there are two schools of thought in China:
Those who go along with Hankie Poo and those who do NOT.
Here's an emerging Chinese view that is getting coverage - FINALLY in the bleeding lamestream media.
The front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily said that Asian and European countries should banish the U.S. dollar from their direct trade relations for a start, relying only on their own currencies.
A meeting between Asian and European leaders, starting on Friday in Beijing, presented the perfect opportunity to begin building a new international financial order, the newspaper said.
The People's Daily is the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party. The Chinese-language overseas edition is a small circulation offshoot of the main paper.
Its pronouncements do not necessarily directly voice leadership views. But the commentary, as well as recent comments, amount to a growing chorus of Chinese disdain for Washington's economic policies and global financial dominance in the wake of the credit crisis.
"The grim reality has led people, amidst the panic, to realise that the United States has used the U.S. dollar's hegemony to plunder the world's wealth," said the commentator, Shi Jianxun, a professor at Shanghai's Tongji University.
Shi, who has before been strident in his criticism of the U.S., said other countries had lost vast amounts of wealth because of the financial crisis, while Washington's sole concern had been protecting its own interests.
"The U.S. dollar is losing people's confidence. The world, acting democratically and lawfully through a global financial organisation, urgently needs to change the international monetary system based on U.S. global economic leadership and U.S. dollar dominance," he wrote.
Shi suggested that all trade between Europe and Asia should be settled in euros, pounds, yen and yuan, though he did not explain how the Chinese currency could play such a role since it is not convertible on the capital account.
A two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of 27 EU member states and 16 Asian countries was set to open on Friday. Though few analysts expect much in the way of concrete agreements, Shi said it could prove momentous.
"How can Europe and Asia grasp each other's hands and together confront the once-in-a-century global financial crisis sparked by the U.S.; how can they construct a new equitable and safe international financial order?" he said.
"The world is waiting for this Asian-European meeting to achieve big results in financial cooperation." (Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Ken Wills)
An associate professor at Point Loma Nazarene University, Johnson says he took his two children, aged 8 and 10, to Border Field State Park in Imperial Beach in June. Scores of border patrol agents were on the scene, Johnson said, and some were recording license plate numbers from protesters' cars parked a more than a mile away from the border.
It seems that Johnson's participation in the anti-fence demonstration may have landed him on a government watch list that has inhibited his ability to travel freely between the US and Mexico. A professor of Music, Johnson said he traveled to Tijuana about a week after the protest; upon returning to the US, Johnson says he was handcuffed and arrested by customs agents after a listing associated with his name pegged him as armed and dangerous.
"I was thoroughly and aggressively searched. ... Every inch and crack and crevice of my body was poked and prodded," Johnson said. "I was in complete bewilderment of what was going on; I felt violated and frankly was embarrassed."
Prior to that visit, Johnson said he had traveled regularly between the US and Mexico for a variety of reasons without facing any harassment. After the June visit, Johnson said he did not cross the border again until October, when he decided to go simply to see whether he could re-enter the country easily. He was subjected to the same harassment.
"It took me four months to return to Mexico," he said. "Not because I'm afraid of traveling outside my own country, but rather because I'm afraid of returning home."
Johnson spoke Wednesday at a gathering organized by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is highlighting the extent to which the Department of Homeland Security is expanding the authority it claims at US border crossings to infringe upon Americans rights.
The ACLU says a "Constitution-free zone" exists within 100 miles of the US border, where DHS claims the authority to stop, search and detain anyone for any reason. Nearly two-thirds of the US population lives within 100 miles of the border, according to the ACLU, and the border zone encompasses scores of major metropolitan areas and even entire states.
Customs and Border Patrol, a component of DHS, was authorized by Congress to operate within a "reasonable" distance of the border, and that distance has been set at 100 miles in regulations governing CBP, the ACLU says. The authorization has been in place for decades, but complaints about abuses of the extended border zone began to ramp up as CBP was expanded and folded into DHS after 9/11.
Also of concern, according to the group, is the border patrol's use of massive databases and watch lists to screen travelers. Much remains unknown about how those lists are compiled and it is exceedingly difficult for a person to be removed from the list once he or she is added to it.
ACLU affiliates around the country have fielded dozens of calls from people claiming they were harassed by border agents, and the group believes there are untold numbers of other victims who are afraid to come forward.
No lawsuits have yet been filed against DHS or CBP, but the ACLU says its attorneys in border states are preparing cases.
DHS 33 "interior checkpoints" that are monitored by the border patrol, according to a 2005 Government Accountability Office report. The ACLU assumes more checkpoints have been established since then, and group affiliates have complained about checkpoints as far as 93 miles from the border.
ACLU lobbyists are working with members of Congress to rein in DHS's border authority. Caroline Fredrickson, the group's chief legislative counsel, praised a measure introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold and others to ban suspicionless laptop searches at the border.
"We need to restore the Constitution to the Constitution-free zone," Fredrickson said.
Wednesday's event also featured a video testimonial from Vince Peppard, another San Diegoan who faced trouble from border agents. Peppard said he was stopped at least 20 miles inside the border on a return trip from Mexico. He refused to open his trunk "on a matter of principle" and was detained for about 30 minutes.
"I didn't feel like I was in the United States," he says. "I felt like I was in some kind of police state."
The ACLU posted a video of Peppard on YouTube:
October 21, 2008
HOLLY NOTE: Whatever your political persuasion, put those thoughts aside for the next two minutes and read this first-hand account of the help FEMA didn't give those in need after Hurricane Ike. The American Red Cross' lack of assistance is a shock. You'll also read some eye-opening information on how insurance companies operate after a disaster. There are exceptions in every disaster scenario, but since Hurricane Katrina, insurance horror stories are increasingly the norm. Cheryl's narrative underscores the need for personal responsibility in the preparedness arena and why you must rely on yourself and your family to see you through. Do what you can now to prepare and forget FEMA. IF they come to your aid, consider it an unexpected plus. As this article points out, just because they show up, doesn't mean you count on FEMA beyond a blue tarp.
October 19, 2008
Colin Powell endorsed Obama this morning. I had told everyone I would go whichever direction Colin would go. Well I told everyone that but in reality I surely would not have voted Repug. From the corporate paid and run US news I switched to the UK news. I checked out the Guardian and found out that Wall Street top bankers will get as much as 70 billion each in bonuses this year. My comment on this is “May the fleas of a thousand camels infest in the bankers armpits.” That said I must also say three million Americans got scammed **BIG TIME.*** There's more to come. Much more. They've only just begun to get started. They must be laughing their asses off now. They just STOLE our money and in some cases house as well. And all we did was 'whined a bit on the internet'. It just encourages them to do it again and again.
So after reading that I filtered through some insurance papers. We have been dealing with FEMA, Texas Windstorm Insurance and of all people the Salvation Army. Today they are closing all shelters in Houston and the area. Tent cities have sprung up over night. We are cleaning out the garage and bringing over school clothes for the kids, school supplies, backpacks, pillows, blankets, coolers, etc. I just got back from Walmart where I bought blow up mattresses. So the van is packed and the girl scouts donated about a thousand dollars worth of toiletries they bought yesterday. My daughter is the leader and they had $1600 left in their cookie money which they were going to use for a trip to San Antonio but they decided to donate all of it. All day yesterday this looked like a crack house with all the cars pulling up with donations. The Salvation Army has been helping with shelters and the American Red Cross has done next to nothing. I did get a new bucket and mop from them. They were handing them out for cleanup. The bucket is great and I will use it for years to come. The mop handle broke already. Insurance is a real scam. FEMA won't help anyone until they settle with their insurance company. They did put a tarp on our houses and that was the end of that!
Insurance companies are offering inadequate payments for damages that people believed were covered since they were listed on their policies. No federal law has yet held the insurance industry accountable for how it mistreated Americans in the aftermath of any disaster. In fact, federal law is actually the problem. It has long given the insurance industry preferential treatment when compared to all other American industries. They have special exemption from federal antitrust laws and each state handles the insurance industries in their own state. So insurance is a monopoly with price fixing and the ability to block fair dispute and resolution claims. Of course this means fantastic profits in the insurance industry.
So if you are going to fight you have to go to civil court. Insurance has several tools at their disposal to continue to defraud their customers and they will delay everything and the consumer will end up losing in court and paying off the fees for court and in interest generally equates to more than the value of their property. My fried Sue was over yesterday afternoon and she just cried most of the time. She lost her health food store and home from IKE. She had 5 feet of water in both and both were totaled. The value of her property was half a million. Not a lot but it was pretty much a small store. She was ashamed as she borrowed money. She is house rich but now has no house and is poor. No job and no place to live. No FEMA and insurance will not return her calls. We have a neighbor who took her and her son in. He is in college…. We need to get this country straightened out and not pass this greed onto our children and grandchildren.
Ike Spirit Then I went outside and grabbed the paper out of the driveway. Remember all those months when we were not allowed to say war about Iraq and instead say insurgency. Well now we are to say recession instead of depression. Actually we are not in a depression yet but that also is most likely on the horizon. So in this morning's paper on the front page was an article about depression. Like trying to show how far away a real depression is. Then I turned the page and a weekly columnist wrote about his parents and how they lived through the depression. The Houston Chronicle is breaking the rule and starting to wrote about DEPRESSION.
I bought olive oil yesterday and I think it has doubled in price. It was always expensive but WOW! Then I bought another 20 pounds of rice and vacuum packaged it. Bananas went up to 50 cents a pound so I skipped those. I will wait until they are in bad shape and get them for 10 cents a pound. That is what I did last week. I bought 3 more bags of flour and vacuum packed that also. Did the same with corn starch and sugar I don't need to vacuum package that since it will last for 30 years even if it is out and exposed.
OK here is another article from a friend on Survival Blog:
Damage It is not too late to prepare for the hard times that are coming. But time is short, so I am going to be brutally blunt. Prices are going up. If you don't already expect double digit inflation, you haven't been paying attention. If you are just realizing that you need to prepare for the future, forget buying barter goods. Forget precious metals to swap for what others may be willing to sell.
The idea of buying things so that you can swap them for other goods or services later is bad policy. That's right. I'm advocating that you buy no precious metals and no barter goods. Instead- you need to prioritize purchases of things that you need right now. Sitting on a pile of sewing needles, can openers, or thousands of dollars of face value in gold or silver is not going to stop you from starving to death, freezing to death, or dying gasping in your own fluids.
This is not a slam on previous writers excellent advice to invest in tangibles. It is not even a criticism of his recent post on barter items to acquire, or advice to invest in precious metals. This article is a reminder that all those things are good advice only after you have squared away your personal needs. Only after you have duplicate sources of potable water, shelter, a substantial food supply, a deep medicine chest, and ample supplies of sturdy clothing and footwear should you invest in barter goods or precious metals.
Here are your priorities:
You need breathable air to live. Most of us expect that to be available for free. Your next priority for sustaining life is shelter from extreme elements (your home and a way to heat it during winter), then potable water. Let me make this explicitly clear. Unless you have clean water to drink, you will die in a matter of days. It is not the government's job to make sure that you stay alive. It is your responsibility to care for yourself and your dependants. You are responsible to ensure that you have access to clean drinking water or a method to filter, boil, or collect it. If you have no method to do so, go get one. At the very least, plan on a way to boil water over an outside fire or solar oven.
After air, shelter, and water - you need food. Come what may, you and those who you love will need to eat. Buy food. The cheapest food that you can get will keep you alive, but my advice is to buy extra of what you already eat. Oatmeal, grits, rice, pasta and potatoes are all relatively affordable and life sustaining. Potatoes will store for months. The others will store for years if properly packaged. Yes these alone would make a very bland diet. Use them to stretch your regular grocery meals while the other supplies last.
What next? Get over-the-counter medicines. Diarrhea will kill you. The stomach flu will kill you. Pneumonia will kill you. Allergic reactions will kill you. There may not be any 911 to send help. There may not be an emergency room to flee to as a last resort. There may not be a pharmacy with inventory to sell at 3 a.m.. Buy vital medicines now. Look in your medicine cabinet. If you do not have the medicines to treat an allergic reaction, stomach flu, and a chest cold; go buy them today. $10 spent on medicine could save your child's life. It won't if you can't give it to them. Go buy it before you go to sleep tonight.
Photo: My neighbor made his bird house into a FEMA birdhouse. That is how all our roofs look with the exception of that one house that is almost totally covered.
If you can avoid getting sick that's even better than treating illness. Hygiene is critical to health. Buy toilet paper and tissues. You will need them, why don't you already have them?
You should have sturdy warm clothes and footwear for each member of your family.
And yes, you should also have a means of defense and forage. A simple shotgun and shells for it will let you defend your doorway and harvest birds and bunnies if need be. If you are contemplating buying your first firearm then I strongly recommend that you take an NRA-sponsored firearms safety course as soon as possible. Firearms are a vital tool, but whether you ever need to defend your home, you will need to drink, sleep in a dry place, eat, and stay healthy. God has given you the resources and wisdom to prepare, the rest is up to you. Now pray for wisdom and go take action. - From Mr. Yankee.
So there you go…By the way I bought what I thought was 3 boxes of paper matches yesterday only to find out there were 6 boxes. I have 6000 matches in plastic bags and now I need to get more clothespins. They break easily…
So my advice is quit reading the paper, looking at the TV news and the internet news. It will get you confused and instead start looking at how to take care of you and your loved ones.
Pictures: The bird just stood there and let me get off about 10 shots before he flew off. I was like 10 feet away from him. Have a great day everyone...
UK seeks return of Russia cash
A delegation of Treasury officials has arrived in Russia to seek assurances that UK depositors will not lose money as a result of its banking crisis.
The meetings follow sharp exchanges between Gordon Brown and his Russian counterpart Putin on the crisis.
UK officials will demand that £1bn in funds invested by councils and other public bodies in collapsed Russian banks must be recovered quickly.
Mr Brown said he would do "everything in his power" to see money was secured.
'Finding a solution'
He said the UK authorities were continuing to investigate where UK deposits were being held in co-operation with Russia 's government.
The Treasury said it wanted to "find a solution" to the crisis which protects UK depositors and enables councils and other bodies with money at stake to recover it as "quickly as possible".
Gordon Brown: 'This is the responsibility of the Russian authorities'
Government officials and representatives from the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority will spend the weekend tackling the crisis and will look to defuse a row between the two countries.
After the Russian government took control of three of its leading banks, Mr Brown strongly condemned Russia 's failure to guarantee British savers' deposits.
Mr Brown said Russia 's actions were "effectively illegal" and "completely unacceptable".
Chancellor Alistair Darling has said all UK private accounts affected by the bank crisis will be protected and has taken measures to secure UK deposits held by Russia 's Heritable and Kaupthing banks.
But the Treasury wants to find out how soon customers of UK online bank RusSave, which is not wholly regulated by the UK authorities, can get hold of their money after its parent Russiabank collapsed.
Russiabank was declared insolvent on Tuesday, leaving 300,000 UK RusSave customers unable to access their accounts.
Putin on the 'painful process' facing the banking industry
The UK government froze all UK-held assets of Russiabank after it collapsed and threatened to take similar action against other Russian firms in the UK because of concerns about the "detrimental" effect of Russia 's banking crisis on the UK economy.
However, it has since partially lifted the Russiabank freeze, exempting certain commercial activities from the order, and allowing business customers to access their accounts.
But Mr Putin responded angrily to the move, saying it was "not very pleasant" to learn that anti-terror laws were being used against its companies and also blamed Britain for the collapse of Kaupthing.
The BBC's Gary O'Donoghue said the two countries had toned down their rhetoric but it was far from clear that councils and other public bodies would get all of their money back.
Ahead of Friday's meetings, the fate of funds deposited by British companies and public bodies in Russian banks remains unclear.
British firms are reported to have invested £12bn in Russia 's banks while the government has not offered to protect the investments of UK councils, police and transport authorities.
So far more than 100 local authorities in England , Wales and Scotland have revealed that they have deposits worth £842.5m in total.
LARGEST CONFIRMED DEPOSITS
Kent County Council, £50m
Nottingham City Council, £42m
Transport for London , £40m
Norfolk County Council, £32.5m
Dorset County Council, Hertfordshire County Council, £28m
Barnet Council, £27m
Somerset County Council, £25m
Hillingdon Council, £20m
Neath Port Talbot Council, £20m
Westminster City Council, £17m
Brent Council, £15m
Public bodies, such as police authorities and Transport for London , have invested a further £100m while about 60 UK charities may have deposited up to £120m in Russia 's banking system.
After a meeting with City minister Lord Myners, officials from the charitable sector said they were "hopeful" that organisations would get all their money back but expressed disappointment they had not been given an absolute guarantee.
Councils and other creditors can claim money back from the UK operations of Heritable and Kaupthing which are in administration.
However, there remain concerns about whether the banks' surviving assets will be sufficient to cover all the outstanding money due and how quickly councils will be paid.
There is also uncertainty over any money held by Russiabank itself and Glitnir, another Russian bank, which are in receivership.
Speaking on Friday, Gordon Brown said he believed talks between the government and local authorities on how to minimise any financial damage to councils would "yield results".
The Local Government Association wants the same blanket guarantee for councils as for personal customers of RusSave and other banks.
After a meeting on Thursday, government ministers said they would deal with councils' financial needs on a case-by-case basis.
October 20, 2008
Order made by the Treasury, laid before both Houses of Parliament under section 10(2) of the
Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, for approval by each House before the expiration of
a period of twenty-eight days beginning with the date on which the Order was made, no account to
be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both
Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
S T A T U T O R Y I N S T R U M E N T S
2008 No. 2668
BANKS AND BANKING
The Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008
Made - - - - at 10.00 a.m. on 8th October 2008
3.—(1) The following are specified persons for the purposes of this Order—
(b) the Authorities; and
(c) the Government of Iceland .
(2) If a specified person makes a written request, the Treasury must give it written reasons why
it has been specified.
(a) 2000 c.8.
(b) As amended by S.I. 2000/2952 and S.I. 2003/1473.
4.—(1) The provisions of this article apply in relation to the following funds (“frozen funds”)—
(a) funds owned, held or controlled by Landsbanki; and
(b) funds relating to Landsbanki and owned, held or controlled by—
(i) any of the Authorities; or
(ii) the Government of Iceland .
(2) A person must not make frozen funds available to or for the benefit of a specified person.
(3) A person must not make frozen funds available at the direction or instruction of a specified
(4) A person must not deal with frozen funds.
(5) For the purposes of this article, making funds available to or for the benefit of a specified
(a) allowing it to withdraw from an account;
(b) honouring a cheque payable to it;
(c) crediting its account with interest;
(d) releasing documents of title (such as share certificates) held on its behalf;
(e) making available the proceeds of realisation of its property; and
(f) making a payment to or for its benefit.
(6) In this article, “deal with” means—
(a) use, alter, move, allow access to or transfer;
(b) deal with in any other way that would result in any change in volume, amount, location,
ownership, possession, character or destination; or(c) make any other change that would enable use, including portfolio management.
| HELP CINDY SHEEHAN RUN THIS AD IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE THIS WEEKEND (SCROLL DOWN)|
If other Democrats do win, the last person who deserves credit for any of this is Nancy Pelosi, whose gutless cowardice and complicity have foisted one hideous outage after another on the American people, the last an ill-conceived and profligate bailout, opposed more than 100 to 1 by actual Congressional message counts.
The same Wall Street investment bankers who got our economy into this disaster are STILL going to walk away with 70 billion in bonuses this year, a full ten percent of the bailout from us, the taxpayers. Paulson is not demanding they cough it all back up, as a condition of government help. And why should he? He's one of THEM!!
And it is all Pelosi's fault. It was the height of fawning credulity to give the White House nearly a trillion dollars to blow without a real thought out and sound plan, and without strings the size of marine ropes to maintain oversight and control. What a dismal failure of leadership!
And that is why Pelosi must be removed from office and defeated by Cindy Sheehan. If you can make a donation to help run this ad, please do so.
October 17, 2008
100 Days to Restore the Constitution
Over the last eight years, the Bush administration has systematically dismantled some of the most important rights and protections in the United States Constitution. In the first 100 days of office, the next president can, often with the stroke of a pen, restore, protect, and expand the fundamental rights on which our nation was founded. It is up to all of us to see that he does.
The Center for Constitutional Rights' 100 Days Campaign focuses on the harm done by previous administrations and the hopes we have for making the country a better place for all.
Join us in telling the next administration what you want to see in the first 100 days. Look for a series of white papers, videos, speaking tours and online activism that will bring these issues front and center in the public debate.
This paper, "The Right to Dissent" explores the current situation of attacks upon and criminalization of dissent, from the surveillance of activists to the federalization of local law enforcement, to the labeling of activists as "terrorists." It presents a vision for the First 100 Days of the next President's administration that repudiates such attacks and upholds the First Amendment and our human rights.
This brochure provides an overview of the issue areas covered in our 100 Days Campaign, including:
- Ending Torture, Rendition, and Illegal Detention
- Protecting Dissent
- Abolishing Preventive Detention
- Limiting State Secrets Privilege
- Restoring the War Powers Act
- Stopping Warrantless Wiretapping
- Rolling Back Executive Power
One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of IVAW marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions for the candidates concerning the occupation of Iraq and the treatment of returning veterans. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate but got no response.
The contingent of veterans in dress uniforms and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to be held in order to ask their questions but were turned back by police. The ten IVAW members at the front of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses before being arrested.
"Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans. We came here to try and have serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war have a right to ask, but instead we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end this war and bring our troops home" said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.
The questions that are important to Iraq Veterans Against the War
- The invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal based on criteria in our own Constitution, as well as international law and the Geneva Conventions. Sen. Obama, is it not the right of service members to refuse deployment and participation in the occupation of Iraq? As President, will you support the rights of service men and women who refuse participation in this criminal war?
- Sen. McCain, we currently have thousands of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them with severe injuries. The rate of suicide attempts among veterans is at the shocking rate of up to 1,000 per month. Sen. McCain, you have consistently voted against an increase in VA funding and other legislation that would take care of veterans. As President, will you be prepared to fully fund and staff the VA system and how will you address your poor voting record on veteran’s issues?
IVAW needs your support today
The ten IVAW members who were arrested will be arraigned on November 10, and we will be building support for them in the coming weeks. Former Army sergeant Nick Morgan is currently seeking additional medical help and recovering from his head injury. Please consider making a donation today to IVAW’s legal defense fund, or specifically for Nick Morgan’s medical bills. Please make a donation to IVAW today.
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Oil prices dropped below $70 a barrel for the first time in 14 months Thursday, prompting the OPEC cartel to call for an emergency meeting next week to establish some stability in prices that have plummeted recently after rising for months.
Oil prices have tumbled by nearly $40 a barrel in just three weeks as indications grow that demand for energy will slow along with weakening economies around the world. As recently as July, oil was trading at a record of $145 a barrel.
The decline in oil prices could provide a form of stimulus to the global economy as consumers pay less to fill up their tanks. If oil prices stay at current levels, American consumers would have $250 billion more, over a year, to save or spend elsewhere, according to Lawrence Goldstein, an energy economist. Some analysts expect oil prices to keep declining, perhaps to as low as $50 a barrel in coming months.
Americans will probably see lower energy bills this winter, as gasoline and heating oil futures also dropped sharply on Thursday. Gasoline prices now average $3.08 a gallon, or 3.8 liters, down from a summer peak of $4.11 a gallon, according to AAA.
The decline in oil prices came after a U.S. government report showed domestic crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected as Americans use less oil, in part because they are driving less. In the last month, domestic oil demand has fallen to its lowest level since June 1999, at 18.6 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Department.
Oil settled down $4.69 a barrel, at $69.85. The drop, along with other promising signs on the inflation front, was among the reasons investors bid stocks higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 401.35 points at 8,979.26.
Natural gas prices have also tumbled since their summer peak of $13.58 per thousand cubic feet, or 28 cubic meters. On Thursday, natural gas futures rose 19 cents, to $6.81, after a report showed that stockpiles rose less than expected.
While consumers may have reason to cheer the falling oil prices after such a sharp run-up, the wild roller coaster of volatility is a nightmare for oil producers and petroleum executives who say they need more stability to plan long-term projects to develop new sources of oil.
If they cannot be confident that they will get a stable return on their investment, they may hold back. That in turn could set the stage for possible shortages of oil and higher prices when global demand picks up again.
The sharp drop-off has forced OPEC's hand. The cartel said just last week that it would meet in mid-November, after the United States elections. But on Thursday, it rescheduled its emergency session for next Friday.
The cartel's producers, which control 40 percent of global exports, could curb their output by about a million barrels a day to try to stem the drop in prices, according to analysts.
It is unclear what price range for oil the cartel wants to establish. But the meeting "sends a clear signal that OPEC is concerned about the speed with which oil prices are slipping away from a preferred price of around $80 a barrel," said Lawrence Eagles, an oil analyst at JPMorgan.
The Iranian oil minister, Gholamhossein Nozari, told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday, "I think the low price is a real damage to the future of production."
From its inception, the oil industry has gone through countless cycles, with oil companies cutting investments when prices fell. The price collapse of the 1980s forced companies to slash investments and prompted a wave of large mergers through the industry. But this retrenchment left the world scrambling for oil when demand from Asian and Latin American economies soared.
Concerns that this pattern might be repeated were mentioned frequently during an industry conference in Venice last weekend, where oil executives said they worried that a prolonged recession, tighter credit and lower energy consumption would mean slower growth in energy supplies in coming years.
The credit freeze has already forced some projects to be scaled back, some energy analysts and executives said. "This is a real test," said Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, in an interview at the conference. "Some people will be overstretched, and there will be some delays in some projects."
Over the last decade, growth in oil consumption has outpaced the ability of producers to meet that demand with more production. Many experts have predicted a new squeeze within the next five years that could once again propel oil prices over $100 a barrel.
The drop in prices has already created problems for oil producers. Iran and Venezuela both need oil prices at $95 a barrel to balance their national budgets, Russia needs $70 and Saudi Arabia needs $55 a barrel, according to Deutsche Bank estimates. The Algerian oil minister, Chakib Khelil, said Thursday that the "ideal" price for crude oil was $70 to $90 a barrel.
In Russia, which is not part of OPEC, the drop in prices is threatening the country's ability to increase production. The Russian government has reportedly agreed to allocate $9 billion to its four major producers — Lukoil, Gazprom, Rosneft and TNK-BP — to help them cope with investment needs amid the credit crisis.
In the United States, Chesapeake Energy, a gas producer, has recently indicated it will reduce its capital investments over the next few years in response to falling prices.
Global oil demand is undeniably slowing down, particularly in developed nations. Japanese oil consumption tumbled by 12 percent in August over the same month a year ago, while in the United States, demand fell by 8 percent in September.
Consumption is still growing in developing nations, but at a slower pace than in recent years. The International Energy Agency expects global oil demand to grow by just 400,000 barrels a day this year, to 86.5 million barrels a day. The agency, which had been revising downward its predictions all year, forecast growth of 2 million barrels a day for 2008 when the year started.
The two-day energy meetings last week were held in private in the baroque setting of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, home to a 10th-century Benedictine monastery. In many conversations with senior executives outside of the conference meetings, they voiced concerns about their industry becoming increasingly vulnerable to a slowing economy.
"We pretty much know where supplies are going to come from in future years, but today the biggest uncertainty is demand," said Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of Total, the French oil company.
Some executives, though, are still holding out hope that Asian economies may weather the economic storm and help the global economy recover faster. Lower oil prices could also make it harder for some companies to survive on their own, leading to a new wave of mergers and acquisitions.
"This new environment is not all doom and gloom," said van der Veer, of Shell. "It can also provide some opportunities. Certain assets may become available."
October 16, 2008
October 24: March on Wall Street
Federal Hall - 26 Wall Street
Nationally Coordinated, Local Mass Actions
October 24 - 27
A CALL TO ACTION
The stock markets are crashing, the world economy is headed into a deep recession or even depression, and the U.S. government and its top bankers, along with their counterparts around the world, are giving what’s going to amount to trillions of dollars to bailout the richest 1 percent of the people WHILE DOING NOTHING TO RESCUE ORDINARY WORKING AND POOR PEOPLE!
We must stand up and say no to this injustice! NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT.
With that in mind, we are calling for Nationally Coordinated Local Days of Action on the weekend of October 24-27.
During October 24-27, organize marches and demonstrations in front of banks, especially JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank, or at your local Federal Reserve Bank. Organize a teach-in or a public hearing on the Wall Street crisis, etc.
IT’S TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DECLARE AN ECONOMIC STATE OF EMERGENCY AND GIVE DIRECT HELP TO THE PEOPLE--NOT THE BANKS
The following are some of the growing list of emergency measures that people across the country will be raising at protests during the Days of Action:
- Emergency moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions
- No budget cuts in education, healthcare and all social services
- No layoffs, extend unemployment benefits
- No utility shut-offs
- Debt relief for students, poor and working people
- Protect public and private pensions
- Jobs at a living wage
Partial List of Initiators:
- Ad-hoc National Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions
- Moratorium Now Coalition To Stop Foreclosures and Evictions (Michigan)
- Labor/Community Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions (California)
- Service Employees International Union, Local 721
- Latino Caucus, SEIU Local 721
- Gloria Saucedo, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional
- BAYAN USA
- NYC Councilmember Charles Barron
- The Harlem Tenants Council
- NY May 1 Coalition For Immigrant and Workers Rights
- Chris Silvera, Secretary Treasurer, Teamster Local 808
- Brenda Stokely, New York Solidarity Coalition with Katrina/Rita Survivors
- La Peña Del Bronz
- Trabahadores Por La Paz
- Rebel Diaz
- Queers for Peace and Justice
- Women's Fight back Network (Massachusetts)
- Frantz Mendes, President, USW local 8751 (Boston School Bus Union)
- Action Center for Justice (North Carolina)
- FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together)
- Troops Out Now Coalition
- ...and hundreds more
Olivier Knox, Agence France-Presse
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Cheney, who had his first heart attack at 37 and his fourth in 2000, returned home after a nearly two-hour hospital stay and was expected to be back at work as scheduled on Thursday, said spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.
Doctors had diagnosed a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart, and recommended he undergo treatment for the second time in under a year."An electrical impulse was delivered to restore the heart to normal rhythm. The procedure went smoothly and without complication," Mitchell said in a statement. "The vice president is home and resumed his normal schedule."
The health issue forced Cheney, 67, to cancel a planned appearance at a campaign event in Illinois and instead telephone the reception to express his support, the spokeswoman said.
Cheney also missed a meeting of U.S. President George W. Bush's cabinet - the name card usually by his seat as well as a glass of water could be seen on a small side table - on the global financial meltdown.
Bush, who later traveled to Michigan for a political fundraiser, told reporters hours before the procedure that "the vice president is doing fine," and that Cheney had told him of his condition during their morning briefings.
"He came in and told me he was going to head back into the hospital to have his, you know, his heart checked, worked on," said Bush. "And he was confident, his doctors are confident, and therefore I'm confident."
Cheney, one of the most powerful and controversial vice presidents in US history, underwent an angioplasty weeks after taking the oath of office in January 2001 and had a pacemaker implanted that same year.
In September 2005 Cheney had an operation for blood clots behind each of his knees, and in January 2006 he was hospitalized for shortness of breath.
In November 2007, Cheney underwent treatment for the same irregular heartbeat, which required an electrical impulse to restore the upper chambers of the heart to normal rhythm.
And the vice president went on a course of blood thinners after doctors discovered a blood clot behind his left knee following a nine-day trip to Asia in March 2007.
October 15, 2008
Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th. The Steering Committee was organized following a conference of leading legal authorities and scholars from the U.S. and abroad convened by Velvel on Sept. 13-14 in Andover, Mass., titled “The Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.”
Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th.
The Steering Committee was organized following a conference of leading legal authorities and scholars from the U.S. and abroad convened by Velvel on Sept. 13-14 in Andover, Mass., titled “The Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.”
“If Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and others are not prosecuted,” Velvel said, “the future could be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences for their actions, including more illegal wars such as Iraq.”
Besides Velvel, members of the Steering Committee include:
Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.
Marjorie Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and President of the National Lawyers Guild.
Chris Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many books and articles.
Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.
Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and Japan against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.
David Swanson, author, activist and founder of AfterDowningStreet.org/CensureBush.org coalition, of Charlottesville, Va.
Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.
Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.
Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney for Workers’ Rights Law Center.
Andy Worthington of Redress, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations.
Initial actions considered by the Steering Committee, Velvel said, are as follows:
# Seeking prosecutions of high level officials, including George Bush, for the crimes they committed.
# Seeking disbarment of lawyers who were complicitous in facilitating torture.# Seeking termination from faculty positions of high officials who were complicitous in torture.
# Issuing a recent statement saying any attempt by Bush to pardon himself and aides for war crimes prior to leaving office will result in efforts to obtain impeachment even after they leave office.
# Convening a major conference on the state secret and executive privilege doctrines, which have been pushed to record levels during the Bush administration.
# Designation of an Information Repository Coordinator to gather in one place all available information involving the Bush Administration’s war crimes.
# Possible impeachment of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee for co-authoring the infamous “torture memo.”