Judge Whalton Waxes Sarcastic in Granting Libby Friends’ Amici Brief

Apparently attorneys for I. Scooter Libby have filed a motion with his trial Judge, Reggie Whalton, that Libby be granted bail while his appeal of his 30 month jail sentence is adjudicated.

The Next Hurrah reports that Robert Bork, Alan (torture is OK) Dershowitz, and ten other prominent and equally presumptuous attorneys, filed a motion with Judge Whalton “for leave to file brief as Amici Curiae and brief of law” on behalf of Libby’s motion for bail. (Bork, you will remember, was Nixon’s whoreson Solicitor General, who eagerly fired Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, after the more honorable Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest rather than fire Cox.)

Judge Whalton, in granting the Amici Curiae motion, included a footnote in which he delivered some richly earned sarcasm, expressing his expectation that the “twelve prominent and distinguished” attorneys would provide similar assistance to his court in future cases involving less well-heeled defendants.

“It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics’ willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.”

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Filed under Alan Dershowitz, Judge Whalton, Libby, Robert Bork

Another Guantanamo Dismissal

Raw Story links to a Guardian report that charges against a second Guantanamo prisoner have been dismissed. Charges against “Yasser Ahmed Hamdan, the man accused of being Osama bin Laden’s driver” were dropped for the same reason charges against “Omar Khadr, who has been held since he was 15-years-old” were dropped. Like all of the other prisoners in Bush’s gulag, Hamdan and Khadr had been designated by the Bush brain trust as “enemy combatants” not “unlawful enemy combatants” as required by the “Military Commissions Act adopted by the US Congress in 2006”.

Congress, you will remember, adopted the act to legitimize the Bush administration’s efforts to deny due process and habeas corpus rights to the Guantanamo prisoners after the Supreme Court ruled that the Guantanamo Bay military compound was in effect a part of the USA and, thus, the prisoners there are subject to the Constitutional due process guarantee.

The military judges in both cases dismissed the charges ruling that “the military tribunals did not have jurisdiction over detainees on the island”.

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A Victory at Guantanamo

Lauran Rozen, in her excellent blog War and Piece, passes on a report from the Guardian of the dismissal by a military judge of charges against a Guantanamo prisoner because the prisoner had been designated an “enemy combatant” not an “unlawful enemy combatant” as required by the “the Military Commissions Act adopted by the US Congress in 2006.” I should note the dismissal was “without prejudice, so I believe prosecutors are at liberty to try again.

I find the comment from one of Ms. Rozen’s readers, an Air Force Veteran, to be particularly interesting. He reads the dismissal as a sing of a revolt amongst the professional military against the illegal actions of the Bush administration.

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Neonatal Mortality – We’re Number 5

Here is a list of countries with lower neonatal mortality rates than has the USA. I copied the information from the excellent World Health Organization web site, where all sorts of health care statisics may be sorted.

The neonatal mortality rate is the number of deaths during the first 28 completed days* of life per 1000 live births in a given year or period.

Here is a list of countries with lower neonatal mortality rates than has the USA.  I copied the information from the excellent World Health Organization web site, where all sorts of health care statistics may be sorted.

The neonatal mortality rate is the number of deaths during the first 28 completed days of life per 1000 live births in a given year or period.

Singapore            1
Czech Republic        2
Finland            2
Iceland            2
Japan            2
San Marino        2
Sweden            2
Australia            3
Austria            3
Belgium            3
France            3
Germany            3
Italy            3
Monaco            3
Norway            3
Portugal            3
Republic of Korea        3
Spain            3
Switzerland        3
Andorra            4
Brunei Darussalam        4
Canada            4
Cuba            4
Cyprus            4
Denmark            4
Greece            4
Ireland            4
Israel            4
Luxembourg        4
Netherlands        4
New Zealand        4
Slovenia            4
United Kingdom        4

And here are the countries tied for fifth.  Did you notice Cuba is at a rate of 4?

Belarus            5
Croatia            5
Lithuania            5
Malaysia            5
Malta            5
Qatar            5
Slovakia            5
United Arab Emirates    5
United States of America    5

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Cheny/Bush Torturers Used “Evil Empire” Techniques

Think Progress reports on a Pentagon Inspector General’s report that indicates the torture techniques used at Guantanamo and in Iraq were those the Pentagon believed to be  techniques used by the erstwhile Soviet Union.

No wonder the Cheney administration refused to have the “land of the free, home of the brave” sign on to the treaty creating the International Criminal Court.   Perhaps Nuremberg will host a new round of war crimes trials.

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Sgt. Kokesh Goes to K. C.

Sgt. Adam Kokesh has exhibited great courage in telling the Marine Corps brass attempting to impinge his free speech rights to go fuck themselves.

Sgt. Adam Kokesh has been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after his “second activation as a reservist” and service in Iraq. It seems that his work with the Iraq Veterans Against the War has irritated the Marine Corps brass, which is now attempting to discharge Kokesh again, this time dishonorably.

Kokesh isn’t rolling over.

I think it’s a great story.

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Enhanced Interrogation Techniques = Verschärfte Vernehmung

Andrew Sullivan, in his excellent blog The Daily Dish, reports that the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by Bush administration to describe its torturing techniques is equivalent to the German phrase “Verschärfte Vernehmung”, “concocted” by the Nazis. Not only are the phrases used to describe the techniques the same, but many of the actual “techniques” employed are the same.

A number of Nazis were sentenced to death by post-WW II war crimes tribunals for employing such “techniques” on non-uniformed enemy combatants.

“The phrase ‘Verschärfte Vernehmung’ is German for ‘enhanced interrogation’. Other translations include ‘intensified interrogation’ or ‘sharpened interrogation’. It’s a phrase that appears to have been concocted in 1937, to describe a form of torture that would leave no marks, and hence save the embarrassment pre-war Nazi officials were experiencing as their wounded torture victims ended up in court. The methods, as you can see above, are indistinguishable from those described as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ by the president. As you can see from the Gestapo memo, moreover, the Nazis were adamant that their ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ would be carefully restricted and controlled, monitored by an elite professional staff, of the kind recommended by Charles Krauthammer, and strictly reserved for certain categories of prisoner. At least, that was the original plan.”

Sullivan completes his report with:

“Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I’m not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn’t-somehow-torture – ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ – is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.”

War criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, and their legal advisers, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, who justified “enhanced interrogation techniques”, in part arguing that the “enemy combatants” were non-uniformed, will unfortunately likely never suffer the justice visited upon the Nazis war criminals.

Sullivan’s report is well worth a read.

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