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Old 05-09-2005, 09:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
Macnamara's Advice to Bush, One War Criminal to Another.....

89 year old former US Secty of Defense Robert S. Macnamara makes a plea to the Bush administration for a sane nuclear policy. Is the current Bush nuclear policy beneficial to the stated U.S. goal of preventing further proliferation?
If you haven't already, I urge everyone to see the movie:
The Fog of War

a k a The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons of Robert S. McNamara
If there's one movie that ought to be studied by military and civilian leaders around the world at this treacherous historical moment, it is Errol Morris's sober, beautifully edited documentary portrait of the former U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert S. McNamara. Mr. McNamara, who was 85 when the interviews that make up the bulk of the film were conducted two years ago, served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in the 1960's and has been widely vilified as a major architect of the Vietnam war. Subtitled "Eleven Lessons of Robert S. McNamara," the movie organizes his hard-won observations into a list of maxims about war and human error whose cumulative message suggests that during wartime nobody really knows anything.
Trivia: McNamara originally agreed to an hour-long interview for the Errol Morris PBS series, "First Person" (2000). The interview lasted eight hours and McNamara stayed for a second day of interviewing. He also returned months later, for two more days of interviews. Morris found himself with more than enough material for a feature-length documentary. (more)
Apocalypse Soon May/June 2005
By Robert S. McNamara

...........................The risk of an accidental or inadvertent nuclear launch is unacceptably high. Far from reducing these risks, the Bush administration has signaled that it is committed to keeping the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a mainstay of its military power—a commitment that is simultaneously eroding the international norms that have limited the spread of nuclear weapons and fissile materials for 50 years. Much of the current U.S. nuclear policy has been in place since before I was secretary of defense, and it has only grown more dangerous and diplomatically destructive in the intervening years.

Today, the United States has deployed approximately 4,500 strategic, offensive nuclear warheads. Russia has roughly 3,800. The strategic forces of Britain, France, and China are considerably smaller, with 200–400 nuclear weapons in each state’s arsenal. The new nuclear states of Pakistan and India have fewer than 100 weapons each. North Korea now claims to have developed nuclear weapons, and U.S. intelligence agencies estimate that Pyongyang has enough fissile material for 2–8 bombs.

How destructive are these weapons? The average U.S. warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Of the 8,000 active or operational U.S. warheads, 2,000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on 15 minutes’ warning. How are these weapons to be used? The United States has never endorsed the policy of “no first use,” not during my seven years as secretary or since. We have been and remain prepared to initiate the use of nuclear weapons—by the decision of one person, the president—against either a nuclear or nonnuclear enemy whenever we believe it is in our interest to do so. For decades, U.S. nuclear forces have been sufficiently strong to absorb a first strike and then inflict “unacceptable” damage on an opponent. This has been and (so long as we face a nuclear-armed, potential adversary) must continue to be the foundation of our nuclear deterrent. ...................................

No Way To Win http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/c...id=2829&page=2
I have worked on issues relating to U.S. and NATO nuclear strategy and war plans for more than 40 years. During that time, I have never seen a piece of paper that outlined a plan for the United States or NATO to initiate the use of nuclear weapons with any benefit for the United States or NATO. I have made this statement in front of audiences, including NATO defense ministers and senior military leaders, many times. No one has ever refuted it. To launch weapons against a nuclear-equipped opponent would be suicidal. To do so against a nonnuclear enemy would be militarily unnecessary, morally repugnant, and politically indefensible....................

I reached these conclusions very soon after becoming secretary of defense. Although I believe Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson shared my view, it was impossible for any of us to make such statements publicly because they were totally contrary to established NATO policy.................

............Having studied these views, I decided to go public with some information that I knew would be controversial, but that I felt was needed to inject reality into these increasingly unreal discussions about the military utility of nuclear weapons. In articles and speeches, I criticized the fundamentally flawed assumption that nuclear weapons could be used in some limited way. There is no way to effectively contain a nuclear strike—to keep it from inflicting enormous destruction on civilian life and property, and there is no guarantee against unlimited escalation once the first nuclear strike occurs. We cannot avoid the serious and unacceptable risk of nuclear war until we recognize these facts and base our military plans and policies upon this recognition. I hold these views even more strongly today than I did when I first spoke out against the nuclear dangers our policies were creating. I know from direct experience that U.S. nuclear policy today creates unacceptable risks to other nations and to our own. ..............................

Page 4 of 5

The lesson, if it had not been clear before, was made so at a conference on the crisis held in Havana in 1992, when we first began to learn from former Soviet officials about their preparations for nuclear war in the event of a U.S. invasion. Near the end of that meeting, I asked Castro whether he would have recommended that Khrushchev use the weapons in the face of a U.S. invasion, and if so, how he thought the United States would respond. “We started from the assumption that if there was an invasion of Cuba, nuclear war would erupt,” Castro replied. “We were certain of that…. [W]e would be forced to pay the price that we would disappear.” He continued, “Would I have been ready to use nuclear weapons? Yes, I would have agreed to the use of nuclear weapons.” And he added, “If Mr. McNamara or Mr. Kennedy had been in our place, and had their country been invaded, or their country was going to be occupied … I believe they would have used tactical nuclear weapons.”

I hope that President Kennedy and I would not have behaved as Castro suggested we would have. His decision would have destroyed his country. Had we responded in a similar way the damage to the United States would have been unthinkable. But human beings are fallible. In conventional war, mistakes cost lives, sometimes thousands of lives. However, if mistakes were to affect decisions relating to the use of nuclear forces, there would be no learning curve. They would result in the destruction of nations. The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons carries a very high risk of nuclear catastrophe. There is no way to reduce the risk to acceptable levels, other than to first eliminate the hair-trigger alert policy and later to eliminate or nearly eliminate nuclear weapons. The United States should move immediately to institute these actions, in cooperation with Russia. That is the lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

...........................A Dangerous Obsession..................................

.................In addition to projecting the deployment of large numbers of strategic nuclear weapons far into the future, the Bush administration is planning an extensive and expensive series of programs to sustain and modernize the existing nuclear force and to begin studies for new launch vehicles, as well as new warheads for all of the launch platforms. Some members of the administration have called for new nuclear weapons that could be used as bunker busters against underground shelters (such as the shelters Saddam Hussein used in Baghdad). New production facilities for fissile materials would need to be built to support the expanded force. The plans provide for integrating a national ballistic missile defense into the new triad of offensive weapons to enhance the nation’s ability to use its “power projection forces” by improving our ability to counterattack an enemy. The Bush administration also announced that it has no intention to ask congress to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and, though no decision to test has been made, the administration has ordered the national laboratories to begin research on new nuclear weapons designs and to prepare the underground test sites in Nevada for nuclear tests if necessary in the future. Clearly, the Bush administration assumes that nuclear weapons will be part of U.S. military forces for at least the next several decades.

Good faith participation in international negotiation on nuclear disarmament—including participation in the CTBT—is a legal and political obligation of all parties to the NPT that entered into force in 1970 and was extended indefinitely in 1995. <h4>The Bush administration’s nuclear program, alongside its refusal to ratify the CTBT, will be viewed, with reason, by many nations as equivalent to a U.S. break from the treaty. It says to the nonnuclear weapons nations, “We, with the strongest conventional military force in the world, require nuclear weapons in perpetuity, but you, facing potentially well-armed opponents, are never to be allowed even one nuclear weapon.”</h4>

If the United States continues its current nuclear stance, over time, substantial proliferation of nuclear weapons will almost surely follow.
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
Before we get into why nuclear weapons are bad, could you explain to me how Bush is a "war criminal"?
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
Seanland's Avatar
Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
could you explain to me how Bush is a "war criminal"?
well, technically breaking the Geneva Convention is a war crime.. I donno if you were including that, cause im sure everyone know about those stories..

Mistreatments of Iraqi Fighters because they are not considered Prisoners of War but Terrorists.. or some crap like that..

Also that Crazy Corporal Playing around with Prisoners Ding Dongs.. and her Camera.. with her nice little smile...

but she was punished or discharged.. but the point is they are still being mistreated.
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
Agreed that the shit is fucked up, I still don't see how that makes Shrub a war criminal.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
Seanland's Avatar
Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Agreed that the shit is fucked up, I still don't see how that makes Shrub a war criminal.
Well, Here are some general bush fuck ups

Here are some war related fuck ups

does this help? or no.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
well, technically breaking the Geneva Convention is a war crime.. I donno if you were including that, cause im sure everyone know about those stories..

Mistreatments of Iraqi Fighters because they are not considered Prisoners of War but Terrorists.. or some crap like that..

Also that Crazy Corporal Playing around with Prisoners Ding Dongs.. and her Camera.. with her nice little smile...

but she was punished or discharged.. but the point is they are still being mistreated.
I'm getting sick of replying to these leftist charges of breaking the Geneva. Before they were not classified because they were not uniformed. Now that the government is in place they are traitors. The Geneva Convention says nothing about people who dress as civilians and still fight. The Geneva Convention says nothing about people who drive cars loaded with explosives into a marketplace deserving proper care. It's a morality problem, not a legal one.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Seaver
It's a morality problem, not a legal one.
So is bombing an apartment building with innocent people claiming they were armed right?
but thats ok cause its collateral damage..
in order for things to get better innocent people die right?
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
Well in that case you would have to prove the intent of our soldiers is specifically to kill innocent civilians, there is no doubt that is the goal of many of the insurgents or the ones who are more approprietly(sp) deemed terrorists.
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Old 05-09-2005, 10:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
Seanland's Avatar
Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Well in that case you would have to prove the intent of our soldiers is specifically to kill innocent civilians
So your saying.. its ok to kill innocent civilians as long as your not trying to
something definately wrong there to me?

Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
The Geneva Convention says nothing about people who dress as civilians and still fight
So if 10 Iraqi people came to your house with guys, you wouldnt defend yourself?... what if they were just civilians defending themselves? They get captured by as prisoners.. they can still be mistreated? doesn't that violate their human rights?

Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
The Geneva Convention says nothing about people who drive cars loaded with explosives into a marketplace deserving proper care.
Most of those people dont get car, cause they are usually dead.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Before we get into why nuclear weapons are bad, could you explain to me how Bush is a "war criminal"?
I have responded to this several times before, and the place, IMO, to discuss it is here: http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=87571

In the interest of defending my choice for titling this thread, I'll post some excerpts of detailed references here in support: (I hope that we can shift back to the subject of the thread; Macnamara's epiphany later in his life, his advice to the Bush admin. on nuclear weapons, especially interesting because of his experience, especially as Kennedy's Defense Secty during the Cuban missle crises and as architect and manager of 7 years of the Vietnam war......)

FROM THE EYES OF A PARTICIPANT By Henry T. King,a Nuremberg prosecutor

What was the law which governed in the handling of these cases? In the first case before the International Military Tribunal, it was the London Charter of August 8, 1945. In the subsequent proceedings, it was the Control Council Law Number 10. These two documents were basically similar with two exceptions which I shall mention.

Both defined crimes against peace as planning or waging of aggressive war. But Control Council Law Number 10 defined “crimes against peace” to include invasions as well as wars – thus, providing a basis for charging the Austrian and Czechoslovak conquests as crimes against peace.

The second category of crimes was war crimes – violations of the laws and customs of war.

The third category of crimes was crimes against humanity – atrocities committed against civilian populations on racial, political, or religious grounds. The London Charter added the provision that “such crimes must be in execution of or in connection of any crime within the jurisdiction of the tribunal.” Thus, these crimes under the London Charter could not stand on their own bottom. Control Council Law Number 10 removed this provision; therefore, we could take cognizance of atrocities perpetrated prior to the outbreak of the war.

Back up for the changes in the case of war crimes against humanity came from The Hague and Geneva Conventions of 1907 and 1928, respectively, and in the case of crimes against peace, from the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928 which outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and various treaties that Germany had signed covering the peaceful resolution of disputes (i.e., the Locarno Treaties).
http://www.cfba.info/analyst/nyt_rev...greenberg.html =Alternate
BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Following A Paper Trail To the Roots Of Torture
Published: February 8, 2005, Tuesday

'The Road to Abu Ghraib'
Edited by Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel

''The Torture Papers,'' the new compendium of government memos and reports chronicling the road to Abu Ghraib and its aftermath, definitively blows such arguments to pieces. In fact, the book provides a damning paper trail that reveals, in uninflected bureaucratic prose, the roots that those terrible images had in decisions made at the highest levels of the Bush administration -- decisions that started the torture snowball rolling down the slippery slope of precedent by asserting that the United States need not abide by the Geneva Conventions in its war on terror................

.......Indeed, Justice Department memos suggested that in a war like the present one, presidential power can override both congressional laws and ''customary international law'': in short, that the president can choose to suspend America's obligation to comply with the Geneva Conventions if he wishes, authorize torture or detain prisoners without a hearing.

On Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush signed an order that would have all manner of unreckoned consequences: ''I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world.'' Instead, prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were to be designated ''unlawful combatants,'' who fell under rules that the administration itself would determine. That included all Qaeda suspects and Taliban detainees, who President Bush said were not entitled to prisoner of war status, but should instead be treated ''humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.'' In September 2002, a secret C.I.A. study raised questions about the significance of the Guantánamo detainees, reportedly suggesting that many of them might be low-level recruits or even innocents swept up in the fog of war.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld would later approve the use of special interrogation techniques for key terrorist suspects. Eventually techniques designed to be used on hard-core al Qaeda suspects at Guantánamo migrated to Iraq, where military intelligence officers told the Red Cross an estimated 70 percent to 90 percent of the detainees had been arrested by mistake.

A second seminal premise embraced by the administration was that the global war on terrorism represents ''a new paradigm,'' and that this new sort of war required new sorts of tools. In an interview on Sept. 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney reworked the means-and-ends equation, asserting that the United States was going to have to work ''sort of the dark side'' and that ''it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.'' Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time, was more specific; he argued that the ''new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners.'

There were some dissenting voices. In January 2002, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell argued that withholding prisoner of war status across the board (instead of case by case) to al Qaeda and Taliban suspects would ''reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice,'' ''undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops,'' have ''a high cost in terms of negative international reaction'' and ''undermine public support among critical allies.'' His warnings were not heeded..............

.....What happened to higher-up architects and consultants on administration policy? Mr. Rumsfeld revealed last week that he twice offered to resign over the Abu Ghraib scandal and was twice turned down by President Bush. Mr. Bybee, who defined torture as pain equivalent to ''organ failure,'' was nominated by Mr. Bush to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and took his seat there in 2003. Michael Chertoff, who in his capacity as head of the Justice Department's criminal division advised the C.I.A. on the legality of coercive interrogation methods, was selected by President Bush to be the new secretary of homeland security. William J. Haynes II, the Department of Defense's chief legal officer, who helped oversee Pentagon studies on the interrogation of detainees, was twice nominated by President Bush to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. And Mr. Gonzales, who used the words ''obsolete'' and ''quaint'' in reference to the Geneva Conventions, was confirmed last week as attorney general, the nation's top legal post.
The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have disclosed memorandums that show a pattern in which Bush administration lawyers set about devising arguments to avoid constraints against mistreatment and torture of detainees. Administration officials responded by releasing hundreds of pages of previously classified documents related to the development of a policy on detainees.

Additional documents were released in December and January by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a civil lawsuit seeking to discover the extent of abuse of prisoners by the military. Those papers are posted at aclu.org.
The secret Downing Street memo

.......................C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August. (2002) .........................

.........................The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change......................
International court hears anti-war claims

Lawyers for families and groups present evidence they say shows government acted unlawfully on Iraq

Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday May 6, 2005

.............Lawyers acting for anti-war groups yesterday presented the international criminal court with evidence which, they say, shows that the government acted unlawfully by participating in the US-led invasion of Iraq.

They say that British forces acted out of all proportion to the official war aim - ridding Iraq of its banned weapons programme but not regime change.

They also argue that British troops acted, and were ordered to act, beyond the bounds of military necessity. British soldiers acted unlawfully by detaining and, they allege, mistreating Iraqi civilians, and by targeting cluster munitions on urban areas.

The submissions to the ICC, which is based in The Hague, have been drawn up by Public Interest Lawyers, a Birmingham-based firm which is representing the Stop the War Coalition, Peacerights, a non-government organisation set up to promote peaceful conflict resolution, Military Families Against the War, and relatives of Iraqi civilians allegedly injured and killed by British troops.

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, warned Tony Blair on March 7 2003, less than two weeks before the invasion that "given the controversy surrounding the legal basis for action, it is likely that the [international criminal] court will scrutinise any allegations of war crimes by UK forces very closely".

Luis Moreno Campo, the ICC's chief prosecutor, has told Public Interest Lawyers that the cases are potentially significant and that he is treating seriously evidence already submitted to it.................
Look at track record of CCR vs. Bush Admin:
Law Professors and NGO’s Warn President Bush of Legal Consequences of Iraq War
Letter To Adminstration Officials Highlights Actions Which

New York, January 24th, 2003 – A group of over 100 prominent law professors and non-governmental organizations organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) today sent a letter to President Bush and senior government officials warning that their conduct during a potential war on Iraq would be closely scrutinized based on well established principles of international law including humanitarian law.:
Dear Sirs:
We, the undersigned Law Professors and U.S. Non-Governmental Organizations write to you
to raise our concerns about possible violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) that may
occur in any future use of force against Iraq. This letter does not concede or accept that any
future use of force would be lawful under international law. Nor do we accept that all “peaceful
means” to resolve the dispute have been exhausted as required under Article 33 of the UN
Charter. Indeed, we consider that any future use of force without a new U.N. Security Council
Resolution would constitute a crime against peace or aggressive war in violation of the U.N.
Our primary concern in this letter is with the large number of civilian casualties that may
result should U.S. and coalition forces fail to comply with IHL in using force against Iraq...................
The legal precedence since the 1946 Nuremberg trials that define war crimes that Bush and members of his administration have committed in attacks and invasions of sovereign nations Afghanistan and Iraq, are illegal invasion, unprovoked aggressive war. willful and premeditated violations of the key provisions of the Geneva Convention, regime change, failure to plan for and provide adequate security to the civilain populations in the aftermath of invasion, the use of radioactive materials in munitions, torture of prisoners, intentional military destruction of hospitals, the near total destruction of the civilian population center of Fallujah.............

Last edited by host; 05-10-2005 at 12:15 AM..
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: Duisburg, Germany
Originally Posted by Seaver
I'm getting sick of replying to these leftist charges of breaking the Geneva. Before they were not classified because they were not uniformed.
The People in Afghanistan were a legal militia.
But even if you ignore the GC, the detainment of those people is still a violation of human rights.
"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death
— Albert Einstein
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Old 05-10-2005, 07:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
The legal precedence since the 1946 Nuremberg trials that define war crimes that Bush and members of his administration have committed in attacks and invasions of sovereign nations Afghanistan and Iraq, are illegal invasion, unprovoked aggressive war.
I was ok with Iraq... but to claim that Afghanistan was unprovolked? NOW I've just lost all respect for you.
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Old 05-10-2005, 08:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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My appologies for not jumping on the rude posts sooner.

Perhaps if I had, several people wouldn't be sitting on the sidelines for a week.

But I honestly thought I could take a few days off.

My bad.

So here is the warning for this thread.

The title invites flames.

Don't give into temptation.

If you do, you will join those individuals with a time out.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

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Old 05-10-2005, 09:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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macnamara has been interested in turning himself into a kind of elder statesman for years--the fog of war is part of that.
but you also see in that film that macnamara is only really forthcoming about questions to do with real/potential war crimes when there is obviously someone else to blame for it: the firebombing of tokyo is one such example: the acceleration of american activities in vietnam as a function of the kennedy assassination is another. when it comes to agent orange, in the film macnamara is entirely evasive.

it is interesting to see in the above edito what macnamara talks about and what he does not talk about. he certainly is in a position to talk about the question of nuclear war. it is certainly strange to find oneself reading an edito from this guy and agreeing with it. kinda makes you feel dirty. but there we are: it is from the experience of the cuban missle crisis that macnamara can talk about how easy it is, given the correct circumstances--to come very very close to nuclear war. i do not think the bush people have the faintest idea. the development of a first strike rationale in recent military strategic thinking is one index of this--the absurd, inconsistent positions taken by this administration on the bigger questions of nuclear proliferation on the one hand and american nuclear strategy for itself on the other speak for themselves. this stuff macnamara can talk about.

he could also talk about how easy it can be to rationalize a foul unnecesary colonial war--but he doesnt. he could talk about the various slides one can make once involved--the justification of torture, for example, or the use of napalm or other chemical weapons--this kind of anything goes mentality--but he doesnt. on nukes, macnamara can frame hiself as part of the kennedy administration--on other questions, everything is probably johnson's fault in his mind in any event--but even if this is not true, these qeustions do not allow macnamara to speak as though his hands are clean. such is the way this type of discourse goes.

what is a shame is that i dont see any reason to imagine the administration will take macnamara seriously. perhaps as a function of that particular type of arrogance you see in limited people with seemingly unlimited power.
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
Seanland's Avatar
Location: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Seaver
I was ok with Iraq... but to claim that Afghanistan was unprovolked? NOW I've just lost all respect for you.
Im not trying to be sarcastic in anyway but how was Afganistan provoked?

Is it cause Osama Bin Ladin originated from there?
Terrorist Camps?
I don't know the real reason.. so It would be nice if you could explain...

Because as far as i see, they went into Iraq to get "chemical weapons" which were never found, and just ended up taking Saddam, and "liberating" Iraq, creating a ton of War Crimes along the way.
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Old 05-10-2005, 04:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
An illegimate theocratic regime facilitated Osama Bin Laden who masterminded the biggest terrorist attack in American history. It was an act of war against our nation, read an act of aggression, hence we were provoked. Anyone who claims we were not of the authority or right to go into Afghanistan is a nutbar.
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:15 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roachboy
but there we are: it is from the experience of the cuban missle crisis that macnamara can talk about how easy it is, given the correct circumstances--to come very very close to nuclear war. i do not think the bush people have the faintest idea. the development of a first strike rationale in recent military strategic thinking is one index of this--the absurd, inconsistent positions taken by this administration on the bigger questions of nuclear proliferation on the one hand and american nuclear strategy for itself on the other speak for themselves. this stuff macnamara can talk about.
Cheney and Rumsfeld know very well about the prospect of mutual annihilation because they are both from previous cold war administrations. Not only do the Bush people understand nuclear war, they are now promoting new nuclear development such as "bunker busters" and calling for renewed nuclear testing in Los Alamos. These proposals and others are in defiance of the nuclear proliferation treaty that was signed in the '70's and is being reviewed next week.

For all of his faults during the Viet Nam era, he does know what he is talking about and experienced our country on the brink of mutual annihilation. We would all be well served if Bush listened to this man.
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:24 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
What does Nuclear proliferation matter these days anyway? People (read those that fall under the "liberal" umbrella) are quick to defend countries such as Iran and NK who are in direct defiance of the treaty, or to insist it is somehow America's (read Shrubs) fault, or as I've seen on this board go after countries like Israel who aren't party to the treaty.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think it matters a great deal that millions of people can be vaporized in the blink of an eye, and believe that this should be prevented by any means. The difference between Iran and North Korea is that Iran wants to use nuclear material for electricity.. nuclear power plants. North Korea wants nuclear material to create weaponry that would be used to obliterate countless numbers of people. Looking at the leader of N. Korea i can reasonably say that he is not a mentally stable individual, and would probably end up using these weapons.

The reasons we have not dealt with N. Korea are:
1. we just don't have the troops to do it with them busy occupying two contries at the moment.
2. We learned our lesson from the first few wars in that region.. its not exactly an easy place to fight. The desert is much better for the way our country wages war.
We Must Dissent.
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Old 05-10-2005, 06:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
Cracking the Whip
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Originally Posted by ObieX
The difference between Iran and North Korea is that Iran wants to use nuclear material for electricity.. nuclear power plants.
I would buy this but for 2 facts:

1) Iran is sitting on a huge oil reserve which can easily provide electricity for every man, woman and child in the nation for centuries. This can be done safely and cheaply. This verses the very large expense of developing nuclear energy and the hazards associated with it.

2) Iran has vowed to wipe Isreal off the face of the earth and Isreal has nuclear weapons.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

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Old 05-13-2005, 11:24 PM   #21 (permalink)
Originally Posted by ObieX
I think it matters a great deal that millions of people can be vaporized in the blink of an eye, and believe that this should be prevented by any means.
So does Bush.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:53 PM   #22 (permalink)
I predict there will be much more talk about "war criminals" of the Bush administration. I think it is important that the political events that will truly "go down in history" not be eclipsed on this forum by discussions about people and events that will end up of little consequence. Jeremiah Wright and the "Black Judge" video immediately come to mind.

This forum has the same problem as the greater world does:


The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell
The U.S. government suspended the Fourth Amendment and expressly authorized torture. The attorney general lied about how the 9/11 attack happened. Barack Obama can't bowl well. Which revelations did the media cover?
Glenn Greenwald

Apr. 05, 2008 | (updated below - Update II)

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to "domestic military operations" within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102

"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

And as Eric Boehlert <a href="http://mediamatters.org/columns/200804020003">documents</a>, even Iraq -- that little five-year U.S. occupation with no end in sight -- has been virtually written out of the media narrative in favor of mindless, stupid, vapid chatter of the type referenced above. "The Clintons are Rich!!!!" will undoubtedly soon be at the top of this heap within a matter of a day or two.

"Media critic" Howie Kurtz in the Washington Post today devoted pages of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html">his column</a> to Obama's bowling and eating habits and how that shows he's not a regular guy but an Arrogant Elitist, compiling an endless string of similar chatter about this from Karl Rove, Maureen Dowd, Walter Shapiro and Ann Althouse. Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson devoted her <a href="http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_carlson&sid=aAa467CxhOvU">whole column</a> this week to arguing that, along with Wright, Obama's bowling was his biggest mistake, a "real doozy."

Obama's bowling has provided almost a full week of programming on MSNBC. Gail Collins, in The New York Times, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/05/opinion/05collins.html?hp">today observed</a> that Obama went bowling "with disastrous consequences." And, as always, they take their personality-based fixations <a href="http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/3205">from the Right</a>, who have been promoting the Obama is an Arrogant, Exotic, Elitist Freak narrative for some time. In a <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1727502,00.html">typically cliched and slimy article</a>, Time's Joe Klein this week explored what the headline called Obama's "Patriotism Problem," where we learn that "this is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right." He trotted it all out -- the bowling, the lapel pin, Obama's angry, America-hating wife, "his Islamic-sounding name."

Needless to say, these serious and accomplished political journalists are only focusing on these stupid and trivial matters because this is what the Regular Folk care about. They speak for the Regular People, and what the Regular People care about is not Iraq or the looming recession or health care or lobbyist control of our government or anything that would strain the brain of these reporters. What those nice little Regular Folk care about is whether Obama is Regular Folk just like them, whether he can bowl and wants to gorge himself with junk food.

Our nation's coddled, insulated journalist class reaches these conclusions about what Regular Folk think using the most self-referential, self-absorbed thought process imaginable. The proof that the Regular People are interested in these things is that . . . the journalists themselves chatter about it endlessly. In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Great-American-Hypocrites-Toppling-Republican/dp/0307408027/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206617559&sr=8-1">Great American Hypocrites</a>, I described the process as follows in the context of examining the three-week-long media obsession with John Edwards' haircut (to the exclusion of a whole array of revelations about what the government was doing or planning to do) and how they justified that coverage:

Most certainly, the press will pretend to be above it all ("this is not something that we, the sophisticated political journalists, care about, of course"). But they yammer about Drudge-promoted gossip endlessly, and then insist that their own chattering is proof that it is an important story that people care about. And because they conclude that "people" (i.e., them) are concerned with the story, they keep chirping about it, which in turn fuels their belief that the story is important. It is an endless loop of self-referential narcissism -- whatever they endlessly sputter is what "the people" care about, and therefore they must keep harping on it, because their chatter is proof of its importance.
<h3>They don't need Drudge to rule their world any longer because they are Matt Drudge now. </h3>

Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. <h3>Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened

so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?.....</h3>
The corporate media has not even bothered to report about the following comments, from Chris Matthews' Show, a few days ago. If there was a "fart joke" told, a new tidbit about Spitzer's prostitute, another dig at Obama or Hillary, or some new allowance made by the press to explain away another McCain misspoken "gaffe", it would be newsworthy though, right?

The Chris Matthews Show: Andrew Sullivan Calls Rumsfeld, Addington & Yoo War Criminals
By: Nicole Belle on Sunday, April 6th, 2008 at 6:35 AM - PDT

Download | Play Download | Play (ht Heather)

Every week on The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews has a segment where he asks his panel of pundits to “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” This week, Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic spoke as bluntly as any talking head has done since Bush/Cheney took office:

The latest revelations on the torture front show—the memo from John Yoo—as well as revelations from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Torture-Team-Rumsfelds-Betrayal-American/dp/0230603904/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207471303&sr=8-1">Phillippe Sands’ book</a>, <h3>mean that Donald Rumsfeld, David Addington and John Yoo should not leave the United States any time soon. They will be at some point indicted for war crimes. They deserve to be.</h3>

Damn straight. Phillippe Sands has an article in <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/guantanamo200805">this month’s Vanity Fair</a> highlighting aspects of his book, which comes out next month.
If we don't talk about the significant political issues of "our time", the key issues that this era will end up being known for, in this instance, notorious for, why fence this area off as a "politics" thread, if it's biggest "draws" are the same as the ones everywhere else?

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Old 04-07-2008, 04:06 PM   #23 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
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Not sure how I missed this thread. It's too bad, I would have enjoyed backing up Seanland.

Good info, Host. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:59 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
Not sure how I missed this thread. It's too bad, I would have enjoyed backing up Seanland.

Good info, Host. Thanks.
Because the last post was in 2005.
"Smite the rocks with the rod of knowledge, and fountains of unstinted wealth will gush forth." - Ashbel Smith as he laid the first cornerstone of the University of Texas
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:19 PM   #25 (permalink)
Originally Posted by Seaver
Because the last post was in 2005.
We didn't have this "stuff" available in 2005. With new "evidence", there is new relevance for this thread. Considering the following, do you think the people mentioned have any reason to avoid traveling outside the US?


Memo: Laws Didn't Apply to Interrogators
Justice Dept. Official in 2003 Said President's Wartime Authority Trumped Many Statutes

By Dan Eggen and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 2, 2008; A01

The Justice Department sent a legal memorandum to the Pentagon in 2003 asserting that federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief overrode such statutes.

The 81-page memo, which was declassified and released publicly yesterday, argues that poking, slapping or shoving detainees would not give rise to criminal liability. The document also appears to defend the use of mind-altering drugs that do not produce "an extreme effect" calculated to "cause a profound disruption of the senses or personality."

Although the existence of the memo has long been known, its contents had not been previously disclosed.

Nine months after it was issued, Justice Department officials told the Defense Department to stop relying on it. But its reasoning provided the legal foundation for the Defense Department's use of aggressive interrogation practices at a crucial time, as captives poured into military jails from Afghanistan and U.S. forces prepared to invade Iraq.

Sent to the Pentagon's general counsel on March 14, 2003, by John C. Yoo, then a deputy in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the memo provides an expansive argument for nearly unfettered presidential power in a time of war. It contends that numerous laws and treaties forbidding torture or cruel treatment should not apply to U.S. interrogations in foreign lands because of the president's inherent wartime powers.

"If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the al Qaeda terrorist network," Yoo wrote. "In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."

Interrogators who harmed a prisoner would be protected by a "national and international version of the right to self-defense," Yoo wrote. He also articulated a definition of illegal conduct in interrogations -- that it must "shock the conscience" -- that the Bush administration advocated for years.

"Whether conduct is conscience-shocking turns in part on whether it is without any justification," Yoo wrote, explaining, for example, that it would have to be inspired by malice or sadism before it could be prosecuted.

The declassified memo was sent by the Defense and Justice departments late yesterday to Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), who had seen the document in classified form and pushed for its release.

The document is similar, although much broader, than a notorious memo primarily written by Yoo in August 2002 that narrowly defined what constitutes illegal torture. That document was also later withdrawn.

In his 2007 book, "The Terror Presidency," Jack Goldsmith, who took over the Office of Legal Counsel after Yoo departed, writes that the two memos "stood out" for "the unusual lack of care and sobriety in their legal analysis."

The documents are among the Justice Department legal memoranda that undergirded some of the highly coercive interrogation techniques employed by the Bush administration, including extreme temperatures, head-slapping and a type of simulated drowning called waterboarding.

In 2005, amid public controversy over such methods, Congress limited Defense Department officials to interrogation methods listed in the Army's field manual, which was rewritten to forbid many of the aggressive methods. The CIA was exempted, however, and President Bush vetoed recent legislation that would have applied the same requirements to that agency.

Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, defended the memo in an e-mail yesterday, saying the Justice Department altered its opinions "for appearances' sake." He said his successors "ignored the Department's long tradition in defending the President's authority in wartime."

"Far from inventing some novel interpretation of the Constitution," Yoo wrote, "our legal advice to the President, in fact, was near boilerplate."

Yoo's 2003 memo arrived amid strong Pentagon debate about which interrogation techniques should be allowed and which might lead to legal action in domestic and international courts.

After a rebellion by military lawyers, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in December 2002 suspended a list of aggressive techniques he had approved, the most extreme of which were used on a single detainee at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prisoner, military investigators later would determine, was subjected to stress positions, nudity, hooding, exposure to dogs and other aggressive techniques.

Largely because of Yoo's memo, however, a Pentagon working group in April 2003 endorsed the continued use of extremely aggressive tactics. The top lawyers for each military service, who were largely excluded from the group, did not receive a final copy of Yoo's March memo and did not know about the group's final report for more than a year, officials said.

Thomas J. Romig, who was then the Army's judge advocate general, said yesterday after reading the memo that it appears to argue there are no rules in a time of war, a concept Romig found "downright offensive."

Martin S. Lederman, a former lawyer with the Office of Legal Counsel who now teaches law at Georgetown University, said the Yoo memo helped create a legal environment that allowed prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib.

"What else could have been the source of belief in Iraq that the gloves were off and all laws could be disregarded with impunity?" Lederman asked. "It created a world in which everyone on the ground believed the laws did not apply. It was a law-free zone."

In a 2004 memo for the Navy inspector general's office, then-General Counsel Alberto J. Mora objected to the ideas that cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment could be allowed at Guantanamo and that the president's authority is virtually unlimited.

Mora wrote that he spoke with Yoo at the Pentagon on Feb. 6, 2003, and that Yoo "glibly" defended his own memo. "Asked whether the President could order the application of torture, Mr. Yoo responded, 'Yes,' " Mora wrote. Yoo denies saying that.
[Post No. 1] The March 2003 Yoo Memo Emerges! (not an April Fool's Joke): The Torture Memo to Top All Torture Memos

Marty Lederman
<span class="rss:item"><div style="clear:both;"></div>Subhead: <span style="font-weight:bold;">The Big Kahuna: The Torture Memo that Makes the August 2002 Memo Look Like Objective and Thoughtful Legal Analysis</span><br /><br />[UPDATE: As explained <a href="http://balkin.blogspot.com/2008/04/correction-and-mea-culpa.html">here</a>, this timeline is mistaken: Jay Bybee had been confirmed to be a judge, but had not yet resigned from OLC, on March 13, 2003, a Thursday.] On Friday, March 13, 2003, Jay Bybee resigned from his Office as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, to become a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The very next day -- a <span style="font-style: italic;">Saturday</span>, mind you -- John Yoo, merely a Deputy AAG in the Office, issued his notorious memo to the Pentagon, on behalf of OLC.<br /><br />The Yoo memo effectively gave the Pentagon the green light to disregard statutory limits on torture, cruelty and maltreatment in the treatment of detainees. This is the version of the 2002 Torture memo, which was addressed only to the CIA and the torture statute, as applied to the numerous statutes restricting the conduct of the armed forces. None of those statues, you see, limits the conduct of war if the President says so. It is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004. Here, finally, is <a href="http://gulcfac.typepad.com/georgetown_university_law/files/march.14.memo.part1.pdf">Part One</a> of that memo, and here is <a href="http://gulcfac.typepad.com/georgetown_university_law/files/march14.memo.part2.pdf">Part Two</a>. (Thanks to the Washington Post for forwarding the memo.) (Needless to say, the classification of these memos all these years was ridiculously unjustified. There's no reason at all that this roll out could not have occurred in 2004.)<br /><br />[UPDATE: This next paragraph is mistaken.] Think about that: Either Jay Bybee -- who actually signed the August 2002 torture memo concerning the CIA -- did not know of this explosive memorandum, or it was so implausible that Bybee refused to issue it to the Pentagon. And as soon as he was quite literally out the door, John Yoo did not hesitate to issue the opinion on a weekend, presumably bypassing the head of the office (Acting AAG Ed Whelan) and the Attorney General. (I am assured that Ed had no involvement in this matter.)<br /><br />As I've discussed previously -- see for instance <a href="http://balkin.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-pentagon-came-to-adopt-criminal.html">here</a> and <a href="http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/06/gtmo-where-was-law-whither-ucmj.html">here</a>, and as Jane Mayer has <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?060227fa_fact">reported in great detail</a>, the March 14th Yoo memorandum, and the April 2, 2003 DOD Working Group Report that incorporated its outrageous arguments about justifications for ignoring statutory limits on interrogation, was secretly briefed to Geoffrey Miller before he was assigned to Iraq, and became the source of all the abuse that occurred there in 2003 and early 2004. (In late 2004, new OLC head Jack Goldsmith reviewed the March 2003 memo, was stunned by what he later called the "unusual lack of care and sobriety in [its] legal analysis" -- it "seemed more an exercise of sheer power than reasoned analysis" -- and immediately called the Pentagon to implore them not to rely upon it. Later, the next head of OLC, Dan Levin, <a href="http://balkin.blogspot.com/Levin.Haynes.205.pdf">wrote the Pentagon</a> to confirm that they rescind any policies that had been based on the Yoo memo. See the whole story <a href="http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/09/silver-linings-or-strange-but-true.html">here</a>.)<br /></span><br />Much more to follow in subsequent posts on the substance of the March 14th torture memo.<div style="clear:both; padding-bottom:0.25em">

Memo linked to warrantless surveillance
By PAMELA HESS and LARA JAKES JORDAN Associated Press Writers
Article Launched: 04/02/2008 04:48:21 PM PDT

WASHINGTON—For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, the Bush administration believed that the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures on U.S. soil didn't apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism.
That view was expressed in a Justice Department legal memo dated Oct. 23, 2001. The administration on Wednesday stressed that it now disavows that view.

The October 2001 memo was written at the request of the White House by John Yoo, then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time. The administration had asked the department for an opinion on the legality of potential responses to terrorist activity.

The 37-page memo has not been released. Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret memo, dated March 14, 2003, released by the Pentagon in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations," the footnote states, referring to a document titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States."

Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear. But federal documents indicate that the memo relates to the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program, or TSP.

That program intercepted phone calls and e-mails on U.S. soil, bypassing the normal legal requirement that such eavesdropping be authorized by a secret federal court. The program began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and continued until Jan. 17, 2007, when the White House resumed seeking surveillance warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Wednesday that the Fourth Amendment finding in the October memo was not the legal underpinning for the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

"TSP relied on a separate set of legal memoranda," Fratto told The Associated Press. The Justice Department outlined that legal framework in a January 2006 white paper issued by the Justice Department a month after the TSP was revealed by The New York Times....

...."The recent disclosures underscore the Bush administration's extraordinarily sweeping conception of executive power," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "The administration's lawyers believe the president should be permitted to violate statutory law, to violate international treaties and even to violate the Fourth Amendment inside the U.S. They believe that the president should be above the law."

"Each time one of these memos comes out you have to come up with a more extreme way to characterize it," Jaffer said.

The ACLU is challenging in court the government's withholding of the October 2001 memo.
Looks like war criminals, "quacks" like war criminals????
President Bush Meets with President Torrijos of PanamaNov 7, 2005 ... Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture. ...
Annals Of The Pentagon
The Memo
How an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees was thwarted.
by Jane Mayer
February 27, 2006

....Back in Haynes’s office, on the third floor of the Pentagon, there was a stack of papers chronicling a private battle that Mora had waged against Haynes and other top Administration officials, challenging their tactics in fighting terrorism. Some of the documents are classified and, despite repeated requests from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, have not been released. One document, which is marked “secret” but is not classified, is a twenty-two-page memo written by Mora. It shows that three years ago Mora tried to halt what he saw as a disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects.

The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described as “unlawful,” “dangerous,” and “erroneous” novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse. Mora warned that these precepts could leave U.S. personnel open to criminal prosecution.

In important ways, Mora’s memo is at odds with the official White House narrative. In 2002, President Bush declared that detainees should be treated “humanely, and to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles” of the Geneva conventions. The Administration has articulated this standard many times. Last month, on January 12th, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, responding to charges of abuse at the U.S. base in Cuba, told reporters, “What took place at Guantánamo is a matter of public record today, and the investigations turned up nothing that suggested that there was any policy in the department other than humane treatment.” A week later, the White House press spokesman, Scott McClellan, was asked about a Human Rights Watch report that the Administration had made a “deliberate policy choice” to abuse detainees. He answered that the organization had hurt its credibility by making unfounded accusations. <h3>Top Administration officials have stressed that the interrogation policy was reviewed and sanctioned by government lawyers; last November, President Bush said, “Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture.” Mora’s memo, however, shows that almost from the start of the Administration’s war on terror the White House, the Justice Department, and the Department of Defense, intent upon having greater flexibility, charted a legally questionable course despite sustained objections from some of its own lawyers.</h3>

Mora had some victories. “America has a lot to thank him for,” Brant, the former head of the N.C.I.S., told me. But those achievements were largely undermined by a small group of lawyers closely aligned with Vice-President Cheney. In the end, Mora was unable to overcome formidable resistance from several of the most powerful figures in the government.

Brant had joked at the farewell party that Mora “was an incredible publicity hound.” In fact, Mora—whose status in the Pentagon was equivalent to that of a four-star general—is known for his professional discretion, and he has avoided the press. This winter, however, he agreed to confirm the authenticity and accuracy of the memo and to be interviewed. A senior Defense Department official, whom the Bush Administration made available as a spokesman, on the condition that his name not be used, did so as well. Mora and the official both declined to elaborate on internal Department of Defense matters beyond those addressed in the memo. Mora, a courtly and warm man, is a cautious, cerebral conservative who admired President Reagan and served in both the first and the second Bush Administrations as a political appointee. He strongly supported the Administration’s war on terror, including the invasion of Iraq, and he revered the Navy. He stressed that his only reason for commenting at all was his concern that the Administration was continuing to pursue a dangerous course. “It’s my Administration, too,” he said.

Mora first learned about the problem of detainee abuse on December 17, 2002, when David Brant approached him with accusations of wrongdoing at Guantánamo. As head of the Naval Criminal [Investigative] Service, Brant often reported to Mora but hadn’t dealt with him on anything so sensitive. “I wasn’t sure how he would react,” Brant, a tall, thin man with a mustache, told me. Brant had already conveyed the allegations to Army leaders, since they had command authority over the military interrogators, and to the Air Force, but he said that nobody seemed to care. He therefore wasn’t hopeful when he went to Mora’s office that afternoon. .....

“The Memo” continues
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<a href="http://www.newsweek.com/id/130611">A Top Pentagon Lawyer Faces A Senate Grilling On Torture</a>
Newsweek - Apr 5, 2008
25 that Haynes was leaving for Chevron in San Francisco. "How often does somebody like that give two weeks' notice and leave town? ...

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Old 04-07-2008, 09:09 PM   #26 (permalink)
Eat your vegetables
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Host, you reveal a dark and frightening side of things here.
"Sometimes I have to remember that things are brought to me for a reason, either for my own lessons or for the benefit of others." Cynthetiq

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Old 04-07-2008, 10:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
Originally Posted by genuinegirly
Host, you reveal a dark and frightening side of things here.
But I'm not finished yet, genuinegirly.....if you click on the link in the last quote box displayed in my last post, read the short Newsweek report, and then continue here, you'll risk gaining an appreciation of the "problems" that the policies pursued by the Bush-Cheney administration are finally bringing home to them.

The Senate seems to be going after Morris Davis's former boss, a potential "war crimes king pin", William "Jim" Haynes. I know the news cycle centers around Britney, Jeremiah Wright, Obama's bowling score, Hillary's schedule when she was first lady....the press checks to see if she was at the White House, 11 years ago, on the day Monica was giving oral to Bill, and they thoroughly covered their weekend at McCain's Sedona "cabin", but all this "stuff" might end up in war crimes trials, and thus, we must at least assemble it and take a look see, like it or not....IT'S Soooooo Looonnnng, and we all hate to read Lonnnnnng Posts !!!!
article | posted February 20, 2008 (web only)
Rigged Trials at Gitmo
Ross Tuttle

....."[Haynes] said these trials will be the Nuremberg of our time," recalled Davis, referring to the Nazi tribunals in 1945, considered the model of procedural rights in the prosecution of war crimes. In response, Davis said he noted that at Nuremberg there had been some acquittals, which had lent great credibility to the proceedings.

"I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process," Davis continued. "At which point, [Haynes's] eyes got wide and he said, 'Wait a minute, we can't have acquittals. .. We've got to have convictions.'"

Davis submitted his resignation on October 4, 2007, just hours after he was informed that Haynes had been put above him in the commissions' chain of command. "Everyone has opinions," Davis says. "But when he was put above me, his opinions became orders." ...

<h3>Currently, in his capacity as Pentagon general counsel, Haynes oversees both the prosecution and the defense for the Guantánamo commissions. </h3>
....but it seems that the President intentionally misled us when he assured us, in the Nov. ,2005 quote in my last post:
President Bush Meets with President Torrijos of PanamaNov 7, 2005 ... Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture. ...
AWOL military justice

Why the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions resigned his post.
By Morris D. Davis
December 10, 2007

<h3>I was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until Oct. 4, the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system.</h3> I resigned on that day because I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively or responsibly.

In my view -- and I think most lawyers would agree -- it is absolutely critical to the legitimacy of the military commissions that they be conducted in an atmosphere of honesty and impartiality. Yet the political appointee known as the "convening authority" -- a title with no counterpart in civilian courts -- was not living up to that obligation.

In a nutshell, the convening authority is supposed to be objective -- not predisposed for the prosecution or defense -- and gets to make important decisions at various stages in the process. The convening authority decides which charges filed by the prosecution go to trial and which are dismissed, chooses who serves on the jury, decides whether to approve requests for experts and reassesses findings of guilt and sentences, among other things.

Earlier this year, Susan Crawford was appointed by the secretary of Defense to replace Maj. Gen. John Altenburg as the convening authority. Altenburg's staff had kept its distance from the prosecution to preserve its impartiality. Crawford, on the other hand, had her staff assessing evidence before the filing of charges, directing the prosecution's pretrial preparation of cases (which began while I was on medical leave), drafting charges against those who were accused and assigning prosecutors to cases, among other things.

How can you direct someone to do something -- use specific evidence to bring specific charges against a specific person at a specific time, for instance -- and later make an impartial assessment of whether they behaved properly? Intermingling convening authority and prosecutor roles perpetuates the perception of a rigged process stacked against the accused.

The second reason I resigned is that I believe even the most perfect trial in history will be viewed with skepticism if it is conducted behind closed doors. Telling the world, "Trust me, you would have been impressed if only you could have seen what we did in the courtroom" will not bolster our standing as defenders of justice. Getting evidence through the classification review process to allow its use in open hearings is time-consuming, but it is time well spent.

Crawford, however, thought it unnecessary to wait because the rules permit closed proceedings. There is no doubt that some portions of some trials have to be closed to protect classified information, but that should be the last option after exhausting all reasonable alternatives. Transparency is critical.

Finally, I resigned because of two memos signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England that placed the chief prosecutor -- that was me -- in a chain of command under Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes. Haynes was a controversial nominee for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but his nomination died in January 2007, in part because of his role in authorizing the use of the aggressive interrogation techniques some call torture.

I had instructed the prosecutors in September 2005 that we would not offer any evidence derived by waterboarding, one of the aggressive interrogation techniques the administration has sanctioned. Haynes and I have different perspectives and support different agendas, and the decision to give him command over the chief prosecutor's office, in my view, cast a shadow over the integrity of military commissions. <h3>I resigned a few hours after I was informed of Haynes' place in my chain of command.</h3>

The Military Commissions Act provides a foundation for fair trials, but some changes are clearly necessary. I was confident in full, fair and open trials when Gen. Altenburg was the convening authority and Brig. Gen. Tom Hemingway was his legal advisor. Collectively, they spent nearly 65 years in active duty, and they were committed to ensuring the integrity of military law. They acted on principle rather than politics.

The first step, if these truly are military commissions and not merely a political smoke screen, is to take control out of the hands of political appointees like Haynes and Crawford and give it back to the military.

The president first authorized military commissions in November 2001, more than six years ago, and the lack of progress is obvious. Only one war-crime case has been completed. It is time for the political appointees who created this quagmire to let go.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have said that how we treat the enemy says more about us than it does about him. If we want these military commissions to say anything good about us, it's time to take the politics out of military commissions, give the military control over the process and make the proceedings open and transparent.

Morris D. Davis is the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions. The opinions expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Air Force.
Guantanamo prosecutor turns defense witness

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who resigned as the prison's chief military prosecutor in October, will testify at a hearing for the driver of Osama bin Laden.
From the Associated Press
February 22, 2008

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- The former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday that he would be a defense witness for the driver of Osama bin Laden.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who resigned in October over alleged political interference in the U.S. military tribunals, told the Associated Press that he would appear at a hearing for Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

"I expect to be called as a witness. . . . I'm more than happy to testify," Davis said in a telephone interview from Washington. He called it "an opportunity to tell the truth."

At the April pretrial hearing inside the U.S. military base in southeast Cuba, Hamdan's defense team plans to argue that the alleged political interference cited by Davis violates the Military Commissions Act, Hamdan's military lawyer, Navy Lt. Brian Mizer, told the Associated Press.

Davis alleges, among other things, that <h3>Pentagon General Counsel William J. Haynes II said in August 2005 that any acquittals of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo would make the United States look bad, calling into question the fairness of the proceedings.

"He said, 'We can't have acquittals; we've got to have convictions,' " Davis recalled.</h3>

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, denied that Haynes made such a comment. Gordon also denied the former prosecutor's allegations of political interference, which he has repeated in newspaper opinion columns and in interviews in recent months.

If the judge rejects the motion to dismiss, Mizer said, the defense will seek to remove two top officials in the military commission system -- legal advisor Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann and Convening Authority Susan Crawford -- from Hamdan's case. This would probably result in further delays to a trial that has been stalled by legal challenges.

It is not clear whether the Pentagon -- which defends the commission system as fair -- will allow Davis to testify. In December, two months after he resigned as the chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo war-crimes tribunals, the Defense Department barred Davis from appearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee......
Hamdan's lawyer says advisor is exerting illegal sway for political ends

In a motion to dismiss the case against Bin Laden's ex-driver, he says his Navy superior is pursuing election-year convictions when he is supposed to be impartial.
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 28, 2008
Controversial JAG submits retirement papers

By Erik Holmes - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Mar 30, 2008 10:17:21 EDT

The former chief prosecutor for the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions is retiring from the Air Force, ending a distinguished 25-year career punctuated by a recent high-profile dispute with the Pentagon over the fairness of military tribunals for terrorism suspects.

Col. Morris Davis, director of the Air Force Judiciary, said he submitted retirement paperwork March 17 and expects to retire effective Nov. 1. He will leave his job and go on terminal leave in late July, he said.

Davis has been in his current job just six months following his resignation in October as chief prosecutor for the military commissions because of what he said was improper meddling with the prosecution by the convening authority, Susan Crawford, and her legal adviser, Brig. Gen. Tom Hartmann.

The resignation — followed by editorials he wrote for major newspapers criticizing the tribunals — effectively ended his career, Davis said.

“I knew when I quit what the consequences were,” he said. “I pretty much made myself noncompetitive for [Defense Department]-level jobs. I knew it was going to be the end of the line.”

Davis also raised eyebrows in February when he said he plans to testify in the defense for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver and bodyguard. He said he has been asked by the defense to testify at pre-trial hearings that begin April 28. Davis will not testify that the defendant is innocent, he said, but that there are problems with the military commissions process.

But Davis said there has been little backlash over that issue and there is no single reason he decided to retire. Family considerations were a major factor, he said. He and his family want to remain in the Washington, D.C., area, but because of the controversy, he would not be able to move onto other Air Force or Pentagon positions. That means he must retire and seek employment in the civilian sector.

Davis said his work has not been affected and no one has pressured him to retire.

“I’ve had nothing but support from the Air Force JAG community,” he said.

Davis said he is not certain what job opportunities he will pursue next, but he has applied for teaching positions at law schools around Washington. At this point, he said, he has not ruled anything out.

“I guess, worst-case, there’s a new Jiffy Lube up the street,” Davis said. “I like coveralls.”
The following is reported by Scott Horton. He recently publihed the most thorough and persuasuve investigative reporting about the conviction and imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Siegelman was finally released from a Louisiana federal prison after serving eight months, pending the results of his appeal of his convictions:

TITLE Torture Lawyer in the Crosshairs
BY Scott Horton
PUBLISHED April 7, 2008

I reported <a href="http://harpers.org/archive/2008/02/hbc-90002336">here</a> and <a href="http://harpers.org/archive/2008/03/hbc-90002648">here</a> on former Pentagon General Counsel William J. (“Jim”) Haynes II, his covert war against the JAG Corps, and the focal role played by the torture issue in this process. Haynes may have gone off to do lawyering for Chevron Inc., but it seems that as he leaves there is rising interest in getting him to account for his dealings at the Pentagon. The three lawyers who played the most central roles in the process of introducing torture techniques were David Addington, Jim Haynes, and John Yoo.

At least until Philippe Sands’s long-awaited book, The Torture Team, hits the stands, the internal story is still not sufficiently developed to narrow the field to the single key administration lawyer. But while the gregarious Mr. Yoo continues to insert himself into the limelight and is now the best-known, <h3>it’s clear that his role is subsidiary to that of Haynes and Addington.</h3> And Haynes’s role in advocating the decisive Rumsfeld December 2, 2002 order and other documents may yet yield for him the dubious distinction of being the lead torture lawyer.

Over the last four days I’ve shared notes several times with Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, who tells me he senses a distinct gathering of storm clouds around Haynes. On Sunday, Isikoff reported that Haynes had lawyered up, hiring a prominent criminal defense attorney to advise him. Here’s <a href="http://www.newsweek.com/id/130611">the Isikoff report</a>:

"With little advance notice, Pentagon general counsel William Haynes quietly resigned at the end of February to take a top legal job at Chevron. But Haynes, a close ally of Vice President Dick Cheney, remains a key figure in a sweeping Senate probe into allegations of abuses to detainees in Defense Department custody.

Haynes was thrust back into the spotlight last week after the disclosure of a March 2003 Justice Department memo concluding that federal laws against torture, assault and maiming would not apply to the overseas interrogation of terror suspects. Haynes requested the memo (which was written by the then Justice Department lawyer John Yoo) and he and his boss, the then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, later used it to justify harsh interrogation practices on terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay. The memo’s disclosure raises new questions about the role that Haynes and other Bush-administration lawyers played in crafting legal policies that critics say led to abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

Haynes’s departure initially raised concerns about obtaining his testimony without a subpoena, especially after the panel learned that he had retained top criminal defense attorney Terrence O’Donnell, who represented Cheney during the Valerie Plame leak investigation. But O’Donnell told NEWSWEEK that Haynes has agreed to be interviewed, adding that the committee’s probe “had nothing to do” with his resignation."

It’s noteworthy that Terrence O’Donnell also cut his teeth with Cheney in the Defense Department, and was close to David Addington and Jim Haynes. Indeed, O’Donnell preceded Addington as the Pentagon’s general counsel, and was, along with Addington and Haynes, deeply enmeshed in an effort to <a href="http://harpers.org/media/image/blogs/misc/odonnelltdod-gcltrsennunnchsasc070391.pdf">push back against</a>, downsize and potentially even eliminate the JAG Corps.

I’ve been looking into this trying to get a sense of what, exactly, the Armed Services Committee is so eager to discuss with Haynes. Two possibilities emerge.

First is the subject that Isikoff identifies: committee staffers have been carefully assembling secondary accounts concerning Haynes’s role in the process of authorizing highly coercive interrogation techniques, in preparing memoranda, and in soliciting memoranda to cover his advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Haynes’s relationship and dealings with OLC are drawing particular attention. <h3>Similarly, staffers are looking very carefully at Haynes’s prior appearances before the Committee, as well as his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with his nomination to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. </h3>

My hunch is that the facts and circumstances surrounding the preparation of the two “torture memoranda,” which I have dubbed Yoo Prime (August 2002) and Yoo Two (March 2003) will be right in the center of questioning. <h3>Something that Haynes said, it seems, doesn’t sit right with the investigators.

The second matter is Haynes’s role in restructuring the Military Commissions at Guantánamo and tasking prosecutors and the legal advisor to the convening authority. This is the point on which the president of the New York City Bar, apparently now joined by other bar associations, is pressing for Haynes’s examination under oath.</h3> Accusations come from the former chief prosecutor, Colonel Morris Davis, among others. Davis has recently stated that he is prepared to submit to a lie-detector test about the matter. Haynes has refused to make public comment, offering only a bland statement that he “disputes” Davis’s charges through a Pentagon public affairs spokesman.

Isikoff quotes O’Donnell as noting that Haynes will appear and testify. Previously, when invited to appear by Senator Diane Feinstein, <h3>Haynes not only refused to appear, he actually ordered uniformed military officers not to appear or testify either, setting the stage for confrontation. Haynes may now be pulling back from that. But as a private citizen and employee of Chevron Inc., his power prerogatives are obviously far more limited.</h3>
The Legality of the Iraq War

The following essay was written by Ben Ferencz a few days after the secret information contained therein became public. Since the American Society for International Law had published a comprehensive scholarly review of the legal issues as seen from various perspectives, Ferencz submitted his essay, on April 10, 2005.....

.....On August 3, 2002, UK military spokesmen briefed the Pentagon and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the status of UK's preparation. The next day they briefed President Bush. Coordinated plans for the attack on Iraq continued, despite a reported private statement by Britain's Foreign Secretary Straw that "Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." His legal advisers in the Foreign Office had submitted a Confidential 8-page memorandum casting doubt on whether Security Council (SC) resolutions 678 (1990) or 687 (1991), that had authorized members "to use all necessary means" to restore peace in the area" could justify the forceful invasion of Iraq.

Straw made the interesting point that if the SC would again demand that Saddam allow UN inspectors to confirm that he had complied with earlier resolutions to destroy his WMD and, if the inspectors discovered that he had failed to do so, that might justify a renewed use of force. A refusal to accept inspection would also be politically helpful to justify the invasion. The best that could be achieved, however, was SC Res. 1441 of November 8, 2002, again demanding that Iraq disarm and allow UN inspectors to report back within 30 days. The Resolution ''recalled" that Iraq had repeatedly been warned that it would "face serious consequences as a result of its violations". The "decision" taken by the Council was to "await further reports" and then "to consider the situation." Troops were being mobilized for a combined massive military assault but there was still no clear agreement on the legal justification for such action.

<b>On February 11, 2003. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith went to Washington where he conferred with leading lawyers in the Bush administration - including White House lawyer Alberto Gonzales</b>, State Department Legal Adviser William Taft IV, <h3>Jim Haynes</h3>, Adviser for the Defense Department and US Attorney General, John Ashcroft. A 13- page memo by Lord Goldsmith dated March 7, 2003, still expressed doubts about the legality of the contemplated assault on Iraq but seemed to be softer than the firm stand taken by him at the meeting of July 23, 2002.

Ten days later, on March 17, 2003, and just two days before the war was scheduled to begin, Goldsmith made a summary statement in Parliament in which he noted that a reasonable case could be made "for war without a Security Council resolution." William Taft IV is reported to have commented that the Goldsmith statement "sounded very familiar" - presumably because it echoed the US position.

In his report to his Prime Minister, Goldsmith wrote: " I remain of the opinion that the safest legal course would be to secure the adoption of a further resolution to authorize the use of force...nevertheless, having regard to the information on the negotiating history, which I have been given, and to the arguments which I heard in Washington, I accept that a reasonable case can be made that Resolution 1441 is capable in principle of reviving the authorization in 678 without a further resolution." He noted that such an argument could only be sustainable if there was clear evidence of non-compliance and non-cooperation by Iraq. These qualifying conditions were not mentioned in the 1-page summary given to the Cabinet on March 17.

UK military leaders had been calling for clear assurances that the war was legal under international law. They were very mindful that the treaty creating a new International Criminal Court in the Hague had entered into force on July 1, 2002, with full support of the British government. General Sir Mike Jackson, chief of the defense staff, was quoted as saying "I spent a good deal of time recently in the Balkans making sure Milosevic was put behind bars. I have no intention of ending up in the next cell to him in the Hague." On the eve of war, the British Attorney General's abbreviated statement of March 17 was accepted as legal approval of the official US/UK line. Not everyone in the British government could agree that the war that was about to begin was legal.

Prime Minister Blair chose to rely on the summary opinion of his Attorney General rather than the views of the Foreign Office which, ordinarily, would be responsible for opinions affecting foreign relations and international law. On March 18, 2003, the Deputy Legal Adviser to the Foreign Ministry, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned. Her letter of resignation, after more than 30 years of service, stated: "I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution..." She had, for many years, represented the UK at meetings of the UN preparatory committees for an international criminal court and was recognized as one of the foremost experts on the subject of aggression. Her letter stated..."an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression; nor can I agree with such action in circumstances that are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law."

Elizabeth Wilmshurst remembered that the Nuremberg trials had condemned aggressive war as "the supreme international crime" That decision had been affirmed by the UN General Assembly and followed in many other cases. She demonstrated Professor Tom Franck's concluding appeal in the 2003 Agora that "lawyers should zealously guard their professional integrity for a time when it can again be used in the service of the common weal."

Benjamin B. Ferencz
A former Nuremberg Prosecutor
J.D. Harvard (1943).....
Could Bush Be Prosecuted for War Crimes?

By Jan Frel, AlterNet. Posted July 10, 2006.

......Perhaps no person on the planet is better equipped to identify and describe our crimes in Iraq than Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials who successfully convicted 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating death squads that killed more than one million people in the famous Einsatzgruppen Case. Ferencz, now 87, has gone on to become a founding father of the basis behind international law regarding war crimes, and his essays and legal work drawing from the Nuremberg trials and later the commission that established the International Criminal Court remain a lasting influence in that realm.

Ferencz's biggest contribution to the war crimes field is his assertion that an unprovoked or "aggressive" war is the highest crime against mankind. It was the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that made possible the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallouja and Ramadi, the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, civilian massacres like Haditha, and on and on. Ferencz believes that a "prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation."

Interviewed from his home in New York, Ferencz laid out a simple summary of the case:

"The United Nations charter has a provision which was agreed to by the United States formulated by the United States in fact, after World War II. Its says that from now on, no nation can use armed force without the permission of the U.N. Security Council. They can use force in connection with self-defense, but a country can't use force in anticipation of self-defense. Regarding Iraq, the last Security Council resolution essentially said, 'Look, send the weapons inspectors out to Iraq, have them come back and tell us what they've found -- then we'll figure out what we're going to do. <b>The U.S. was impatient, and decided to invade Iraq -- which was all pre-arranged of course. So, the United States went to war, in violation of the charter."........</b>
Iraq, the secret US visit, and an angry military chief

The legality of the Iraq war exploded on to the agenda last week, causing chaos to Labour strategy. Here we reveal the key US officials who persuaded Britain that invasion was legal - and the astonishing reaction from our military chiefs

Antony Barnett, Gaby Hinsliff and Martin Bright
Sunday May 1, 2005

........ The US connection

On the sixth floor of the State Department in Foggy Bottom sits the recently vacated office of William Taft IV. Despite the peculiarity of his name, few in Britain will have heard of him or his distinguished Republican pedigree.

Yet The Observer can reveal that this great-grandson of a former Republican president played a critical role in persuading Goldsmith's that the war against Iraq was legal. Taft was one of five powerful lawyers in the Bush administration who met the Attorney General in Washington in February 2003 to push their view that a second UN resolution was superfluous.

Goldsmith, who had been expressing doubts about the legality of any proposed war, was sent to Washington by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to 'put some steel in his spine', as one official has said.

On 11 February, Goldsmith met Taft, a former US ambassador to Nato who was then chief legal adviser to the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. After a gruelling 90-minute meeting in Taft's conference room 6419, Goldsmith then met the US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, followed by a formidable triumvirate including Judge Al Gonzales, Bush's chief lawyer at the White House.

Goldsmith also met <h3>William 'Jim' Haynes</h3>, who is Defence Secretary's Donald Rumsfeld's chief legal adviser, and John Bellinger, legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice, then the National Security Adviser. This group of lawyers is as renowned for fearsome intellect as it is for hard-line conservative politics. Bellinger is alleged to have said: 'We had trouble with your Attorney; we got there eventually.' From copies of Goldsmith's legal advice to the Prime Minister published last week, it is clear that these meetings had a pivotal role in shaping Goldsmith's view that there was a 'reasonable case' for war.

Goldsmith states: 'Having regard to the information on the negotiating history which I have been given and to the arguments of the US Administration which I heard in Washington, I accept that a reasonable case can be made that Resolution 1441 is capable in principle of reviving the authorisation in 678 [which approved of military force in the first Gulf war] without a further resolution.'

In an exclusive interview with The Observer, Taft has for the first time disclosed details of Goldsmith's mysterious visit to the US capital. Up until now, the British government has been reluctant to give any details of his meeting with the powerful network of lawyers in Bush's inner sanctum who helped persuade him that a second UN resolution was not necessary.

Taft reveals the role Straw played in fixing up these meetings and how pleased the US lawyers were when they heard Goldsmith's final 'unequivocal' advice delivered to Parliament on the eve of invasion.

<h3>Taft, a former deputy defence secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was the man to do that. He had been credited with masterminding the doctrine of 'pre-emption', which argues that a state can take military action to deter an attack. Crucially, Taft was also personally responsible in 2002 for drawing up 1441, which called on Saddam fully to comply with demands to disarm or face 'serious consequences'.</h3>

Speaking from his country home in Lorton, Virginia, Taft explains how Straw set up Goldsmith's visit. 'It was something that grew out of a series of conversations between Secretary Powell and Secretary of State Straw,' said Taft. 'The question was: in particular circumstances - namely the failure of Iraq to comply with resolution 1441 - would the use of force be authorised in the absence of a further decision by the Security Council? We had reached the conclusion that, while a second resolution would be desirable, it was not necessary.

'As a legal matter, 1441 had been drafted in such a way that the Security Council was required to meet and discuss the subject in the absence of Iraq's compliance, but no further decision was needed. Secretary Powell had shared that conclusion with Mr Straw and Mr Straw said his lawyers were looking at this, the Attorney General in particular, and asked, could he meet Secretary Powell's lawyers? Because of that, Lord Goldsmith arranged to talk to us about our views.'

Taft, who has since left the State Department to resume work in the private sector, said: 'Lord Goldsmith met with me and one or or two others in the State Department most of the morning. He then met with our Attorney General, and met with people at the Pentagon - <h3>Jim Haynes</h3>, and Judge Gonzales and John Bellinger.'

<b>To human rights groups and many international lawyers, this roll-call of Republican lawyers will ring alarm bells.</b> Gonzales, the 49-year-old son of immigrants from Texas, has been at the heart of controversy over detainees in Guantanámo Bay and prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib.

After a political battle in Washington, Bush appointed Gonzales US Attorney General earlier this year, despite leaks of memos from him that appeared to authorise the use of torture on 'enemy combatants' not categorised as prisoners of war. Critics say his interpretation of guidelines on torture paved the way for human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib.

He was criticised after writing a memo to the President in which he said the war against terrorism was a 'new kind of war' that renders obsolete the Geneva Conventions' strict limitations on questioning enemy prisoners and renders 'quaint' some of its provisions.

<h3>Haynes</h3>, another Texan, was appointed to the top legal job in the Pentagon in May 2001 and has been a controversial architect of Bush's 'war on terror' under the wing of Rumsfeld. Like Gonzales, he has been embroiled in the Abu Ghraib scandal. His nomination as a federal judge last year led to a 35,000-name petition being sent to the White House demanding the withdrawal of his name.

Philippe Sands QC, an international lawyer whose book Lawless World re-ignited the row over the Attorney General's legal advice said: 'How delightful that a Labour government should seek assistance from US lawyers so closely associated with neo-con efforts to destroy the international legal order.'

Taft denies that any undue pressure was put on Goldsmith or that the British Attorney General expressed grave doubts about the legality of any war. He said: 'We all told him what our views were in the same way ... although he didn't indicate at the time what his own conclusion would be. Our discussions were very straight up and he was looking to understand our argument.'

Laughing he added: 'I will say that, when we heard his statement in Parliament, which was the next thing we heard about, what he said sounded very familiar.' ......
My this is messy, messy. Wouldn't you think, with the military tribunal "show trials" process on Guantonomo in complete implosion mode, it might be time for congress to demand the resignation of Sect'y of Defense Bob Gates, and maybe appoint a house impeachment investigative committee to examine whether or not there are legal grounds to impeach Dick Cheney, as a start?

Last edited by host; 04-07-2008 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:49 AM   #28 (permalink)
The odds of any impeachment are nil to none. Whether it's because the Democrats don't have the balls necessary to pull it off or they are knee deep in this and other scandals and don't want to rock the boat to much during an election year or a bit of both, you will have to decide.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:41 AM   #29 (permalink)
Seanland's Avatar
Location: Ontario, Canada
Nice posts Host.. really informative..

Originally Posted by scout
The odds of any impeachment are nil to none. Whether it's because the Democrats don't have the balls necessary to pull it off or they are knee deep in this and other scandals and don't want to rock the boat to much during an election year or a bit of both, you will have to decide.
Democrats, wont do anything.. they will just wait for the election cause they believe they got it in the bag.. Stirring things up, will probably not be beneficial.. the media is eatting up Obama and Clinton ...
lets be honest, who is McCain? He has been doing nothing compared to the Democrats.. but, I guess there are those people that vote Republican for the sake of voting Republican.. we'll have to see
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:47 AM   #30 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
Willravel's Avatar
Muhahaha... I knew I could coax you back. Yes, the Democrats are too afraid of the potential fallout to impeach Bush.

Had they done it back in 2003 when we found no WMDs, we could have potentially avoided Plamegate, warrentless wiretaps and other domestic spying, torture, "extraordinary rendition" (international kidnapping), prisoners being held without trial, now over 4000 Coalition deaths, as many as 1.3 million Iraq deaths, and as many as 5 million displaced in and outside of Iraq.

We also missed out on positive things that could have happened like repealing NCLB and Clean Air, signing on to Kyoto, no tax breaks for big oil, the middle class could be getting stronger instead of weaker, and a myriad of fantasies that are now lost.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:59 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Location: Washington DC
The troika behind the Bush torture policy.....Yoo (at DoJ), Addington (at White House) and Hayes (at Pentagon) are all lawyering up in advance of more Congressional hearings this spring/summer.
"The perfect is the enemy of the good."
~ Voltaire
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:01 PM   #32 (permalink)
OKAY....Morris Davis receives some sort of vindication, even if it comes too late to save his military career, but maybe it is a sign that there are still some elements of the military command that are not as corrupt as the civiliann administration that commands it:

(Big file....2 mb...)

Above is link to copy of legal motion resulting in the following


Key Official Barred From
Trial at Guantanamo
May 12, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon is set any day now to approve trials at Guantanamo Bay for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five others accused in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But a military-court ruling late last week against a top Defense Department war-crimes official throws a new cloud over the Bush administration's plan to prosecute the alleged Sept. 11 conspirators before the president leaves office in January.

The proposed charges were announced in February by Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, a hard-charging Air Force reservist brought in to jump-start the long-stalled plan for offshore trials.

Friday, a military judge at Guantanamo barred Gen. Hartmann from participating in the case against Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, who faces a potential life term. The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, granted a defense motion alleging an "unlawful command influence."

Mr. Hamdan's Navy lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, had alleged that Gen. Hartmann's dual role of supervising the prosecution and providing legal advice to the commissions administrator, who must make impartial rulings on issues raised by both the prosecution and defense, constituted a conflict of interest.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Sunday that officials were surprised at the ruling, because they believe the structure Capt. Allred rejected is similar to that used in courts-martial. The Pentagon is considering asking the military judge to reconsider his ruling, Mr. Morrell said.

<img src="http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/HC-GH816_Davis_20060409182845.gif">
[Morris (Moe) Davis]

Friday's ruling applies only to the Hamdan case. But defense lawyers say underlying issues apply to every prosecution at Guantanamo and are certain to resurface in other trials. Cmdr. Mizer, who also represents alleged 9/11 conspirator Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, said he plans to file a similar motion in that case.

Unlike most military defendants, Mr. Hamdan had an unusual ally in his motion: Col. Morris Davis, who resigned as chief prosecutor in October after clashes with Gen. Hartmann over control of the prosecution office. Col. Davis claimed that Gen. Hartmann had breached legislation authorizing the military commissions, which seeks to insulate the prosecution from improper influence. The Pentagon backed Gen. Hartmann. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England approved the arrangement.

Rather than quietly seeking reassignment, Col. Davis launched a public campaign to vindicate his position, granting interviews and writing opinion articles. Among other allegations, Col. Davis suggested political motivations behind the selection and timing of certain cases, and complained that Gen. Hartmann had second-guessed some of his decisions, such as excluding evidence obtained through waterboarding, an interrogation method critics call torture.

<h3>Last month, Col. Davis, called as a defense witness, testified in a Guantanamo courtroom that the process had been tainted.
Mr. Morrell said he didn't expect the issue to resurface in other cases, because Col. Davis left the military commissions office before charges were submitted for the 9/11 conspiracy. But Gen. Hartmann has been involved in developing the 9/11 cases, officials have said, which might still allow defense attorneys to question whether those charges have been tainted.

Capt. Allred denied other defense requests, notably to have Mr. Hamdan's charges dismissed. <h3>Capt. Allred's 13-page ruling adopting as official findings many of the allegations Col. Davis had made and that Pentagon officials had previously dismissed.

The order removes Gen. Hartmann from any role in Mr. Hamdan's case, bars the appointment of any of Gen. Hartmann's deputies as his successor and forbids any retaliation against military officers who offered testimony against Gen. Hartmann.</h3>

Cmdr. Mizer said the ruling would do nothing to change Mr. Hamdan's immediate circumstances and that he would be back in court for another hearing later this month.
So what kind of military justice system are we left with, now that honest, ethical Col. Morris Davis has left the military and there is a ruling that Gen. Hartmann is removed from the process of trying one gitmo prisoner, and:

"Gen. Hartmann [is barred] from any role in Mr. Hamdan's case, bars the appointment of any of Gen. Hartmann's deputies as his successor and forbids any retaliation against military officers who offered testimony against Gen. Hartmann."

Should Gen. Hartmann be ordered to resign, or be permitted to carry out his version of "justice" against other gitmo prisoners?
Where does the Bush administation manage to find so many thugs to carry out it's "vision"? It seems that there are an endless supply available.

UPDATE: This is an excerpt from the link at the top of the last quote box:

United States of America<br><p>


Salim Ahmed Hamdanbr><p>


9 May 2008

With Respect to the motion to disqualify the Legal Advisor:

....4. The Commission is troubled by the following actions of the Legal Advisor that reflect
too close an involvement in the prosecution of the commission cases:

(a) WHile RMC 705 authorizes the Legal Advisor to initiat pretrial agreement
negotiations, General Hartmann intended to personally cont the them without any consultation
with or the company of the trial counsel. This worked successfully with an agreement was
reached in Hicks, but may compromise the Legal Authority's objective position under other

(b) Telling the Chief Prosecutor (and other prosecutors) that certain types of cases would
be tried, and that otheres would not be tried, because political factors such as whether they
would capture the imagination of the American people, be sexy, or involve blood on the hands of
the accused, suggests that factors other than those pertaining to the merits of the case were at

(c) Appearing to direct, or attempting to direct, the Chief Prosecutor to use evidence that
the Chief Prosecutor considered tainted and unreliable, or perhaps obtained as the result of
torture or coercion, was clearly an effort to influence the professional judgment of the Chief
Prosecutor. While it is true that the trial judge is ultimately gatekeeper for each item of
evidence, each Prosecutor also has an ethical duty not to present evidence he considers

(d) Challenging the Chief Prosecutor's decision to take to trial first the cases he
considered the most serious suggest an improper influence on the Chief Prosecutor's discretion.

(e) Making public statements in which he aligned himself with the prosecution, took
creit for their success and indicated that he is their leader.

(f) "Nanomanagement" of the Prosecutor's office to such an extent that it could be
considered "cruelty and maltreatment" suggests a greater level of involvement than a
Legal Advisor can properly engage in without becoming identified as part of the prosecution.

Page 11

(g) The Legal Advisor's intimate involvement in the details of prosecutorial decision
making have led one prosecutor to resign, another to seek ehtical guidance from the Navy JAG
ethics office, and has led both prosecutors in this case, and their former supervisor, to believe
they were being "nano-managed" in both performance of his duties and the exercise of their

(h) Finally, the national attention focused on this dispute has seriously called into
question the Legal Advisor's ability to continue to perform his duties in a neutral and objective
manner. While the public's view of the matter is not controlling, the fact that a national
magazine should have called the public's attention to General Hartmann's actions and suggested
that he no longer can perform his duties is deeply disturbing.

Here is the article mentioned in (h), above...the one that helped this miltary commission to rule on 9 May, 2008, in response to a motion from defense attorneys representing Osama Bin Laden's driver, rule, in effect that gitmo "justice" Legal Advisor, Gen. Thomas Hartmann, is an ASSHAT !

The Great Guantánamo Puppet Theater
BY Scott Horton
PUBLISHED February 21, 2008

Last week the Department of Defense launched a major media offensive. It announced that trials of six “high-value detainees” linked to the attacks on 9/11 would be charged in proceedings before the Guantánamo military commissions this spring. Specific accusations concerning the roles played by each of the six in the tragedy of 9/11 were all over the media. For the most part, the media has only lightly embroidered the Pentagon’s script. The Washington Post told us about the “clean team” that the Pentagon had sent in, top-notch no-nonsense prosecutors to do the job. PBS’s NewsHour gave an extended segment over to the Pentagon’s key spokesman on the issue, Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann, to set out the case for the proceedings. ......

Last edited by host; 05-11-2008 at 08:25 PM..
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:34 AM   #33 (permalink)
I'm wondering if a military led coup, run by frustrated officers who are shocked by the behavior and decisions of their CIC and some of their fellow officers, would even be a bad thing, anymore.

My last posts details the ruling made by a military judge, ordering USAF Gen. Thomas Hartmann, Legal Advisor in the Hamdan gitmo prosecution, to stay away from that case, along with his staff, and not to retaliate against officers who protested Hartmann's unehtical, conflicted, an unprofessional, blatantly politicized behavior.

Today, we have this new example, a prominent, fast track for promotion, high ranking US Army General who would probably serve his country better if he resigned:

Pat Tillman's mother recalls journey for facts in new book

By Scott Lindlaw and Martha Mendoza

1:54 p.m. May 12, 2008

Frustrated by shifting accounts of her son Pat's death, Mary Tillman sat down with Army officers and got in their faces.

“Colonel, we were given the wrong information,” she recalls telling Col. James Nixon, her son's regimental commander, according to her new book. “If the Army knew he was killed by friendly fire, why were we and the media told he was killed by the enemy and that there were nine enemy dead and all that rubbish?”

“Ma'am, we didn't want to give you false information. No one has deliberately tried to hide anything,” replied Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bailey, the battalion commander who oversaw Pat Tillman's platoon.

Mrs. Tillman recalled thinking to herself: “Everyone appears to be lying.”

In “Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman,” Mary Tillman charts her family's efforts to cut through misleading official accounts of how the one-time NFL star died as a U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan. It was just issued by Modern Times books.

The Army told the Tillman family and the public Tillman was killed in an enemy ambush April 22, 2004. It waited about five weeks after it suspected friendly fire was involved before disclosing Tillman's own Ranger comrades shot him in what investigators concluded was a series of terrible mistakes.

“Boots on the Ground by Dusk” is based on Mrs. Tillman's review of thousands of pages of investigative documents stemming from Pat Tillman's death. The Associated Press and some other news organizations have reported on the contents of those reports, but lawmakers granted Mrs. Tillman access to uncensored versions of some documents that were not available to journalists.

Citing documents and eyewitness accounts, Mrs. Tillman says she strongly suspects the men who shot her son stepped out of a Humvee to take aim carefully at him. They were not, as official accounts have asserted, speeding by on a bumpy mountain road. The shooters denied this.

At an Army briefing at the end of one investigation, Mrs. Tillman vents frustration and incredulity at lead investigator Brig. Gen. Gary Jones. He had dismissed the account of Spc. Bryan O'Neal, who was just a few feet away from Tillman when the Rangers lit up their position with gunfire.

“No one got out of the vehicle. That early information is incorrect, and O'Neal is the least reliable witness because he was so traumatized,” Jones tells Mrs. Tillman, according to the author.

“You won't believe O'Neal, but you'll believe the guys who were shooting at him!” Mrs. Tillman says.

The book reveals that Bailey wrote an angry e-mail to O'Neal last year when O'Neal told a congressional committee Bailey had ordered him to keep quiet about what he had seen.

Mrs. Tillman reserves special contempt <h3>for Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, currently the commander of the “black ops” Joint Special Operations Command. Just a day after approving a Silver Star medal claiming Tillman had been cut down by “devastating enemy fire,” McChrystal tried to secretly warn President Bush that the story might not be true. The AP obtained and published the memo last year.

“Not only is he lying about the circumstances surrounding Pat's death, as enemy fire had ceased many minutes before, he is proposing false language for the Silver Star narrative,” Mrs. Tillman writes of the Silver Star language. “The false narrative, which McChrystal clearly helped construct, diminished Pat's true actions.”</h3>

The Pentagon recommended last year that McChrystal be held accountable for “misleading” actions, but the Army overruled the recommendation.

Last year the Army censured a retired three-star general, Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, for misleading investigators in the Tillman case. Specifically, a military review found “compelling evidence that Kensinger learned of suspected fratricide well before the memorial service (about two weeks after Tillman's death) and provided misleading testimony” on that issue.

New documents obtained by The AP under the Freedom of Information Act may explain why the Army felt so confident Kensinger had lied.

In a November 2006 written response to investigators, Nixon said he recalled telling Kensinger almost immediately of the possibility of friendly fire.

“I thought I did notify LTG Kensinger that there was a potential for fratricide and that we were beginning an investigation but can not recall the specific conversation,” Nixon wrote in an e-mail message. It was a follow-up to investigators who had interviewed him previously.

Nixon also recalled telling Kensinger's deputy, Brig. Gen. Howard Yellen.

Yellen has testified previously that he told Kensinger of the possibility of friendly fire the day after Tillman's death.
The defense department is trying to pomote this general notwithstanding his involvement in two ongoing scandals:
Page 5 of 5 <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2008/05/01/BL2008050101728_4.html">< Back</a>
Five Years After 'Mission Accomplished'

.....<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/30/usa.guantanamo" target="">Elana Schor</a> writes for the Guardian: &quot;A legal brief that exempted the US military from criminal laws following the 9/11 attacks was improperly kept classified for years, the former head of the US government agency in charge of document secrecy said today.
&quot;The March 2003 brief, which allowed Pentagon interrogators to claim self-defence in sidestepping laws against torture, was made public earlier this month.
&quot;J William Leonard, who directed George Bush's information security oversight office until last year, today told Congress that the document never should have been classified in the first place.

&quot;'To learn that such a document was classified had the same effect on me as waking up one morning and learning that after all these years, there is a &quot;secret&quot; article to the constitution that the American people do not even know about,' Leonard said.&quot;
And then there's the matter of Bush's attitude toward executive orders.
<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/01/washington/01justice.html?partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all" target="">Scott Shane and David Johnston</a> write in the New York Times that at the same hearing, senior Justice Department official John P. Elwood &quot;disclosed a previously unpublicized method to cloak government activities. Mr. Elwood acknowledged that the administration believed that the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he or other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation.

&quot;Mr. Elwood, citing a 1980s precedent, said there was nothing new or unusual about such a view.
&quot;Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, challenged Mr. Elwood, saying the administration's legal stance would let it secretly operate programs that are at odds with public executive orders that to all appearance remain in force. . . .</h3>
&quot;Mr. Whitehouse, who sits on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, has said the administration's contention that it can selectively modify executive orders 'turns The Federal Register into a screen of falsehoods behind whose phony regulations lawless programs can operate in secret.'&quot;
Whitehouse discussed this, among other concerns, in a <a href="http://whitehouse.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=288537" target="">Dec. 7 floor speech</a>, in which he summarized Bush's position on executive orders as: &quot;I don't have to follow my own rules, and I don't have to tell you when I'm breaking them.&quot;

Whitehouse offered this example of the stakes: &quot;Bear in mind that the so-called Protect America Act that was stampeded through this great body in August provides no -- zero -- statutory protections for Americans traveling abroad from government wiretapping. . . .
&quot;The only restriction is an executive order called <a href="http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12333.htm" target="">12333</a>, which limits executive branch surveillance to Americans who the Attorney General determines to be agents of a foreign power. That's what the executive order says.
&quot;But what does this administration say about executive orders? . . .
&quot;'Whenever (the President) wishes to depart from the terms of a previous executive order,' he may do so because 'an executive order cannot limit a President.' And he doesn't have to change the executive order, or give notice that he's violating it, because by 'depart(ing) from the executive order,' the President 'has instead modified or waived it.'
&quot;So unless Congress acts, here is what legally prevents this President from wiretapping Americans traveling abroad at will: nothing. Nothing.&quot;

<a href="http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0408/043008v1.htm" target="">Rafael Enrique Valero</a> writes for Government Executive that Leonard, the former secrecy czar, suggested another possibility: That Bush &quot;could change an order governing secrecy and do so in secret, all unbeknownst to Congress and the courts, as if Louis Carroll, George Orwell and Franz Kafka all conspired to come up with the ultimate recipe for unchecked executive power.&quot;
Statements prepared for the hearing are available <a href="http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=3305" target="">here</a>.
<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/30/AR2008043003203.html" target="">Carrie Johnson</a> writes in The Washington Post about the one administration concession of the day: &quot;The Justice Department yesterday agreed to grant lawmakers limited access to secret memos that authorized CIA interrogation strategies, an offer that Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) immediately criticized as 'certainly too late . . . and too little, as well.'

&quot;Bowing to intense pressure from congressional Democrats, senior Justice officials said they soon will release unredacted versions of memos drafted by staff members in the department's Office of Legal Counsel. Several of the controversial memos have been repudiated while others remain under fire from critics who say they encourage torture and civil liberties abuses. . . .
&quot;Feingold, who presided over a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday on excessive government secrecy, said that access to the memos would come with strings attached that would make it difficult for lawmakers to conduct a thorough review.
&quot;Under the terms of the arrangement, for instance, the members would not be able to keep paper or electronic copies of the documents.
&quot;'We have had the most god-awful fight getting these opinions,' added Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). 'There's an absolute stone wall being thrown up around this stuff.'&quot;
<font face="Arial,Helvetica" COLOR="#000000">
<b style="font-size:15px;">Torture Watch</b><br/><!-- BREAK --></font>

<a href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iZBw6W3yHB9rfuHrYlJ2k0iVjQzQD90CJCC00" target="">Adam Goldman</a> writes for the Associated Press: &quot;The military continued to use abusive interrogation methods on detainees after a 2003 directive meant to end such practices, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday after reviewing newly released documents.
&quot;The Department of Defense documents shed light on the use of psychologists in military interrogations and the failure of medical workers to report abuse of detainees, the ACLU said.
&quot;'The documents reveal that psychologists and medical personnel played a key role in sustaining prisoner abuse -- a clear violation of their ethical and legal obligations,' ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said. . . .
&quot;The report was largely disclosed in 2005, and a declassified version of the review was made public last year. Some of the documents were initially redacted because they were classified, Singh said. The government claimed that if the information were released it would cause serious damage to national security. The newly released documents are part of the Church Report not previously released.

&quot;Singh called the government's argument bogus, saying it furthered a pattern 'of claiming national security as pretext for withholding information to cover up embarrassing information.'&quot;
There's more on the <a href="http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/35111prs20080430.html" target="">ACLU Web site</a>.
<a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120959895479257747.html?mod=special_page_campaign2008_rightbox" target="">Yochi J. Dreazen</a> writes in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):<h3> &quot;Lawmakers have delayed a top general's nomination for a key position assisting the Joint Chiefs of Staff because of questions about detainee abuse by forces under his command, according to the Pentagon and people familiar with the matter.</h3>
&quot;<h3>The impasse involves Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a fast-rising officer who oversaw the secretive Special Operations units, including the Army's storied Delta Force, responsible for hunting high-ranking Islamic militants in both Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .</h3>

&quot;Investigators from the ACLU and human-rights organizations have long charged that elite forces received written directives from higher-ranking officers allowing them to use physical interrogation techniques that were off-limits to conventional forces.&quot;
<font face="Arial,Helvetica" COLOR="#000000">
<b style="font-size:15px;">FISA Watch</b><br/><!-- BREAK --></font>
<a href="http://www.newsweek.com/id/134930" target="">Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball</a> write for Newsweek: &quot;The Bush administration is refusing to disclose internal e-mails, letters and notes showing contacts with major telecommunications companies over how to persuade Congress to back a controversial surveillance bill, according to recently disclosed court documents.
&quot;The existence of these documents surfaced only in recent days as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a privacy group called the <a href="http://www.eff.org/issues/foia/cases/C-07-05278" target="">Electronic Frontier Foundation</a>. The foundation . . . is seeking information about communications among administration officials, Congress and a battery of politically well-connected lawyers and lobbyists hired by such big telecom carriers as AT&amp;amp;T and Verizon. Court papers recently filed by government lawyers in the case confirm for the first time that since last fall unnamed representatives of the telecoms phoned and e-mailed administration officials to talk about ways to block more than 40 civil suits accusing the companies of privacy violations because of their participation in a secret post-9/11 surveillance program ordered by the White House.&quot;

Meanwhile, <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080501/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/domestic_spying_4" target="">Matt Apuzzo</a> writes for the Associated Press: &quot;The nation's spy court approved a record number of requests to search or eavesdrop on suspected terrorists and spies last year, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
&quot;The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved 2,370 warrants last year targeting people in the United States believed to be linked to international terror organizations.
&quot;That figure represents a 9 percent increase over 2006. The number of warrants has more than doubled since the terrorist attacks of 2001. . . .
&quot;The court denied three warrant applications in full and partially denied one, the Justice Department said. Eighty-six times judges sent requests back to the government for changes before approving them.&quot;

<font face="Arial,Helvetica" COLOR="#000000">
<b style="font-size:15px;">Another Perino Dodge</b><br/><!-- BREAK --></font>
Blogger <a href="http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/15393.html" target="">Steve Benen</a> writes: &quot;It's been nearly two weeks since the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html?ex=1366344000&en=196b27df83cc255c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all" target="">New York Times</a> first reported on a Pentagon program in which retired military officers, who've since become lobbyists or consultants for military contractors, were recruited to become propaganda agents of the Bush administration. Throughout the war in Iraq, these retired officers -- or 'message multipliers,' as they were described by internal Defense Department documents -- took on roles as military analysts for all of the major news networks, without noting their puppet-like relationships with the Pentagon. . . .

&quot;At yesterday's White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080430-5.html" target="">press briefing</a>, Raw Story reporter Eric Brewer had raised his hand to ask a question for quite a while. Dana Perino ignored him until others intervened, urging Perino to call on him.
&quot;Brewer, after noting that the retired officers' access was cut off if they departed from the Pentagon's talking points, asked, '[D]id the White House know about and approve of this operation?'&quot;
Perino didn't answer directly. &quot;I think that it's absolutely appropriate to provide information to people who are seeking it and are going to be providing their opinions on it,&quot; she said.
But Benen writes how disingenuous that response really was: &quot;The press secretary's spin makes it sound quite innocuous. . . . In reality, however, this was as sophisticated a media-manipulation scheme as anything the Bush gang has hatched to date.&quot;

Generals Thomas Hartmann and Stanley McChrystal, a couple of chips off their CIC's "block"....the pre-repentant Robert McNamara would be proud of all of them!

Here's the CIC, his Defense Sec'ty and his national security team described, as they set us up for failure, from the outset, in Iraq:

A Tale of Two Incompetents (Bush and Rumsfeld)

.....This is the characteristic Rumsfeld style; cruel, manipulative, unconcerned with the truth, eager to escape responsibility for failure. He knows these generals are completely self-serving careerists and that they can be made to do anything that is desired by the implied or direct promise of reward or the threat of punishment. These modern generals have been cultivatd like plants to have the reactions of people on the way up in the business world where the war of "all against all" is the underlying psychological paragdigm. The inappropriateness of this mind set in the military world where cooperation and self sacrifice are called for completely escapes Rumsfeld. For the blind, selfish narrowmindedness that leads to that fatal incomprehension, Rumsfeld must be judged incompetent. pl....

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces

How Much Did Rumsfeld Know?
Thursday, May. 01, 2008

Giambastiani assigned the task to the Joint Warfighting Center and gave them a pretty tight timeline. So it wasn't long before I was giving the investigative team a complete rundown of everything that had happened in Iraq between May and June 2003. I later learned that Gen. Tommy Franks, however, had refused to speak with them.

A few months later, I was making a presentation at the Joint Warfighting Center and ran across several of the people involved with the study. "Say, did you guys ever complete that investigation?" I asked.

"Oh, yes sir. We sure did," came the reply. "And let me tell you, it was ugly."

"Ugly?" I asked.

"Yes, sir. Our report validated everything you told us — that Franks issued the orders to discard the original twelve-to-eighteen-month occupation deployment, that the forces were drawing down, that we were walking away from the mission, and that everybody knew about it. And let me tell you, the Secretary did not like that one bit. After we went in to brief him, he just shut us down. 'This is not going anywhere,' he said. 'Oh, and by the way, leave all the copies right here and don't talk to anybody about it.'"

"You mean he embargoed all the copies of the report?" I asked.

"Yes, sir, he did."

From that, my belief was that Rumsfeld's intent appeared to be to minimize and control further exposure within the Pentagon and to specifically keep this information from the American public.

Continuing the conversation, I inquired about the "original twelve-to-eighteen-month occupation deployment," because I wasn't sure what he was talking about. It turned out that the investigative team was so thorough, they had actually gone back and looked at the original operational concept that had been prepared by CENTCOM (led by Gen. Franks) before the invasion of Iraq was launched. It was standard procedure to present such a plan, which included such things as: timing for predeployment, deployment, staging for major combat operations, and postdeployment. The concept was briefed up to the highest levels of the U.S. government, including the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the President of the United States.

And the investigators were now telling me that the plan called for a Phase IV (after combat action) operation that would last twelve to eighteen months.

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I had never seen any approved CENTCOM campaign plan, either conceptual or detailed, for the post�major combat operations phase. When I was on the ground in Iraq and saw what was going on, I assumed they had done zero Phase IV planning. Now, three years later, I was learning for the first time that my assumption was not completely accurate. In fact, CENTCOM had originally called for twelve to eighteen months of Phase IV activity with active troop deployments. But then CENTCOM had completely walked away by simply stating that the war was over and Phase IV was not their job.

That decision set up the United States for a failed first year in Iraq. There is no question about it. And I was supposed to believe that neither the Secretary of Defense nor anybody above him knew anything about it? Impossible! Rumsfeld knew about it. Everybody on the NSC knew about it, including Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, and Colin Powell. Vice President Cheney knew about it. And President Bush knew about it.

There's not a doubt in my mind that they all embraced this decision to some degree. And if it had not been for the moral courage of Gen. John Abizaid to stand up to them all and reverse Franks's troop drawdown order, there's no telling how much more damage would have been done.

In the meantime, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent, and worse yet, too many of our most precious military resource, our American soldiers, were unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result. In my mind, this action by the Bush administration amounts to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty.
From the book Wiser in Battle. Copyright � 2008 by Ricardo S. Sanchez. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Admiral's Mullen's attitude

"Offering an unusual insight into how senior military leaders are anticipating the transition to a new president, Mullen said he is continually thinking about how military decisions taken today will play out under a new administration.

"There are very few either briefings or meetings that I'm in that I'm not thinking about 'How does what we're talking about right now transition to next spring?' " Mullen said. He said U.S. commanders in regions overseas, as well as chiefs of the different services, <h3>are having similar discussions.</h3>

The transition is unlikely to be smooth, predicted Mullen, who assumed his position seven months ago for a two-year term. <h3>He said he hopes to offer a stabilizing influence</h3> as a military leader who will bridge two administrations.

"We will be tested. . . . <h3>I'm preparing that this country will be tested</h3>, and I have a role in that regard, certainly providing advice to whoever the new president's going to be," he said. He said his current priority is to develop military strategies for the Middle East and the globe to "tee up" for a new president.

Specifically, Mullen said he hopes that the change in politically appointed leaders will unfold at a wartime pace, rather than at a "peacetime" one. <h3>"I think it's important for us to get as many principals in positions as rapidly as possible in a time of war," he said. "</h3> Tyson


Perhaps Tyson is trying to stimulate discomfort with the idea of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff talking about getting "as many principals in positions as rapidly as possible." If that is so, then she has succeeded with me. Mullen is talking about politically appointed civilians in that last sentence, civilians nominated by the president for confirmation by the senate of the United States.

<h2>What business is that of his?....</h2>

......You have to wonder how much Admiral Mullen's fretting is caused by the prospect of a Democratic Administration. Perhaps the new president should consider the suitability of present leadership in the Pentagon. pl


May 13, 2008


Change At The Top Posted 2008-05-07
What The Military Thinks Of The Race

The nation hasn't given much thought to this variable in the political equation, but perhaps it should: No matter who wins the presidency this November, whether Republican John McCain or either of the two Democrats (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) beating each other to a pulp rhetorically, the military will have a new commander-in-chief come January.

What do our men and women in uniform think about such a change?

Well, for one thing, they know it's coming and, hence, have already started preparing for the transition. They understand this inevitable changing of the guard will be a "time of vulnerability" as America will still find itself engaged in two wars.

The military's administrative leader, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael G. Mullen, labels the looming change "extraordinarily challenging." Mullen is particularly concerned about Iran, which revels in its role as agent provocateur, supplying weapons, know-how, and money to terrorist elements in both Iraq and Afghanistan. And speaking of the status quo in general, Adm. Mullen told The Washington Post that rarely a day goes by that he doesn't find himself thinking, "How does what we're talking about right now transition to next spring?"

He senses that the change is not likely to be seamless. Still, no matter who is elected, the bottom line for America's fighting force remains the same: "We will be tested," Adm. Mullen says. "I'm preparing that this country will be tested, and I have a role in that regard, certainly providing advice to whoever the new president's going to be."

We happen to believe that advice would be far better received, and followed, if that new commander-in-chief is Mr. McCain, an old warrior, rather than Mrs. Clinton, who once expressed "loathing" for the military, or Mr. Obama, a defense and foreign policy naif.

....and I think Col. W. Patrick Lang has Adm. Mullen "pegged" and the "Daily News Record of Harrisonburg, VA, confirms what Col, Lang and I suspect about Adm. Mullen. He needs to resign now....his arrogant and paritsan politcal attitude render him incapable of following orders from anyone except president Cheney or John McCain. At least we know, now.

<h3>Citizen to Gen. Hartmann, Gen. McChrystal, and Adm. Mullen....you're not supposed to be obviously partisan, unethical, or order or ignore war crimes; you're not to act in a partisan polical manner, at all !!!</h3>

Our military leadership seems as pathetic as our elected leadership, sheesh !

Last edited by host; 05-13-2008 at 01:43 AM..
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advice, bush, criminal, macnamara, war

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