JURIST Contributing Editor Mary Ellen O’Connell of Notre Dame Law School and panel colleagues at a recent Washburn University School of Law symposium on “The Rule of Law and the Global War on Terrorism” offer their consensus on the appropriate way forward on critical issues in international law and policy that will confront President Barack Obama’s Administration when it takes office on January 20, 2009…
Within hours of the attacks of 9/11 the Bush Administration decided to treat the attacks as part of a worldwide war–a new kind of war that would free the Administration to re-write the rules. A “global war on terrorism” was declared and new rules for the targeting, detention and trials of persons suspected of acts of terrorism or membership in terrorist organizations were created. Seven years later, upon the election of a new president, there is an intense debate under way in the United States as to what to do about the “global war” and the laws and institutions resulting from it.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey expressed his views at a meeting of the Federalist Society November 20 and had this to say about the future:
The next Administration will have the opportunity to review the institutions and the legal structures that this Administration has relied upon in keeping the nation safe over the past seven years. I am neither so proud as to think that the next Administration will be unable to make improvements, nor so naÃ¯ve as to think that the policy choices,… Continue reading
November 21, 2008
By William Glaberson
New York Times
A federal judge issued the Bush administration a sharp setback on Thursday, ruling that five Algerian men have been held unlawfully at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp for nearly seven years and ordering their release.
It was the first hearing on the government’s evidence for holding detainees at Guantánamo. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, said the government’s secret evidence in the case had been weak: what he described as “a classified document from an unnamed source” for its central claim against the men, with little way to measure credibility.
“To rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court’s obligation,” Judge Leon said. He urged the government not to appeal and said the men should be released “forthwith.”
The habeas corpus case was an important test of the administration’s detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with hardened fighters and terrorist commanders.
The judge also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda, arranging travel for others to fight the United States, and planned to become a fighter himself.
The six men are among a group of Guantánamo inmates who won a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling in June that the detainees had a constitutional right to seek their release in federal court. The decision said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped them of their right to contest their imprisonment in habeas corpus lawsuits.…Continue reading
Refuse to Tolerate Torture
By Linda Rigas
November 18, 2008
Posted at FireJohnYoo.org
Excerpts from Scott Horton’s Justice
After Bush: Prosecuting An Outlaw Administration in Harper’s Magazine.
This administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law
itself. It transformed the Justice Department into a vehicle for voter suppression,
and it also summarily dismissed the U.S. attorneys who attempted to investigate
its wrongdoing. It issued wartime contracts to substandard vendors with inside
connections, and it also defunded efforts to police their performance. It spied
on church groups and political protestors, and it also introduced a sweeping
surveillance program that was so clearly illegal that virtually the entire senior
echelon of the Justice Department threatened to (but did not in fact) tender
their resignations over it. It waged an illegal and disastrous war, and it did
so by falsely representing to Congress and to the American public nearly every
piece of intelligence it had on Iraq. And through it all, as if to underscore
its contempt for any authority but its own, the administration issued more than
a hundred carefully crafted “signing statements” that raised pervasive
doubt about whether the president would even accede to bills that he himself
had signed into law.
No prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly lawless.
[...] Indeed, in weighing the enormity of the administration’s transgression
against the realistic prospect of justice, it is possible to determine not only
the crime that calls most clearly for prosecution but also the crime that is
most likely to be successfully prosecuted.…
By Randall Mikkelsen
Nov 7, 2008
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI tracked about 108,000 potential terrorism threats
or suspicious incidents from mid-2004 to November 2007, but most were found
groundless, a Justice Department review found on Friday.
The department’s office of inspector general gave the figure in an audit of
the FBI’s terrorism case-tracking system, called Guardian, launched in 2002
after the September 11 attacks.
"The FBI determined that the overwhelming majority of the threat information
documented in Guardian had no nexus to terrorism. However, as a result of information
reported in Guardian the FBI initiated over 600 criminal and terrorism-related
investigations from October 2006 to December 2007," the inspector general’s
The report did not discuss the result of the investigations.
FBI policy requires that each threat or suspicious incident reported by the
public or other government agencies and law enforcement officers be reviewed
to determine whether there is a link to terrorism.
The report expressed concern over delays in the development of a related system,
called E-Guardian, for sharing terrorism-related information with local law
enforcement. It said the automated Guardian system had improved since it was
first implemented, and the number of incidents tracked had grown dramatically.
FBI spokesman John Miller said the agency had implemented steps to resolve
concerns and it accepted recommendations made by the inspector general.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
West Virginia Department of Education
October 21, 2008
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – John Feal, founding president of the FealGood Foundation and a demolition expert who worked at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, will bring his message to Upshur County students and residents on Friday, Oct. 24. Feal and up to seven other first responders will meet with students at Buchannon Upshur High School beginning at 8:30 a.m. The group will meet with the community later in the day.
Feal, like 70 percent of 9/11 workers, suffers from post-9/11 illnesses. One of his feet had to be amputated after being crushed by an eight-ton steel beam. He also suffers from a respiratory syndrome called World Trade Center Cough and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Feal agreed to visit West Virginia after some Buckhannon-Upshur High School students contacted him via e-mail after watching a documentary in health educator Mateal Poling’s class. The documentary, Save the Brave, chronicles the daily struggles of 9/11 Ground Zero workers in the seven years since the attacks. Greg Quibell, one of the men featured, died of his injuries the day before the film’s premiere in New York.
“You have no idea how excited they were when Feal replied — me too,” Poling said. “It is hard to imagine that these kids were only first and second graders on 9/11, but thanks to Feal’s efforts, our students are starting to have a better understanding of the profound effects of that day.”
Feal said he is “humbled and honored to meet such amazing Americans.”
“They are a reflection of the teacher who has taught them well,” Feal said.…Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 16, 2008 CONTACT: Jason Lemieux, email@example.com, 760-409-9403 or Kristofer Goldsmith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-457-1260
Iraq War Veterans Arrested While Attempting to Deliver Questions to Obama and McCain
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — One hour before the final presidential debate of the 2008 campaign, fourteen members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) marched in formation to Hofstra University to present questions to the candidates. IVAW had requested permission from debate moderator Bob Schieffer to ask their questions during the debate, but received no response.
The contingent of veterans in dress and combat uniforms attempted to enter the building where the debate was to be held in order to ask questions about poor veterans’ healthcare and supporting war resisters of the candidates, but were turned back by police. IVAW members at the front of the formation were immediately arrested, and others were pushed back into the crowd by police on horseback. Several members were injured, including former Army Sergeant Nick Morgan who suffered a broken cheekbone when he was trampled by police horses before being arrested.
“Neither of the candidates has shown real support for service members and veterans. We came here to try and have serious questions answered, questions that we as veterans of the Iraq war have a right to ask, but instead we were arrested. We will continue to ask these questions no matter who is elected. We believe that the time has come to end this war and bring our troops home, and we will be pushing for that no matter what happens in this election.” said Jason Lemieux, a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps who served three tours in Iraq, and member of IVAW.…Continue reading
October 7, 2008
By William Glaberson
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Bush administration to release 17 detainees at Guantánamo Bay by the end of the week, the first such ruling in nearly seven years of legal disputes over the administration’s detention policies.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court, ordered that the 17 men be brought to his courtroom on Friday from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they have been held since 2002. He indicated that he would release the men, members of the restive Uighur Muslim minority in western China, into the care of supporters in the United States, initially in the Washington area.
“I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention,” Judge Urbina said.
Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal.
The ruling was a sharp setback for the administration, which has waged a long legal battle to defend its policies of detention at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, arguing a broad executive power in waging war. Federal courts up to the Supreme Court have waded through detention questions and in several major cases the courts have rejected administration contentions.
The government recently conceded that… Continue reading
Guidelines Released Amid Protest from Congress, Privacy Groups and American Public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/3/2008
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or email@example.com
(212) 519-7829 or 549-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC — New FBI guidelines governing investigations were released today after being signed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly blasted the Department of Justice and FBI for ignoring calls for more stringent protections of Americans’ rights. The guidelines replace existing bureau guidelines for five types of investigations: general criminal, national security, foreign intelligence, civil disorders and demonstrations. The ACLU has been vocal in its disapproval of the overly broad guidelines, citing both the FBI’s and DOJ’s documented records of internal abuse.
The new guidelines reduce standards for beginning “assessments” (precursors to investigations), conducting surveillance and gathering evidence, meaning the threshold to beginning investigations across the board will be lowered. More troubling still, the guidelines allow a person’s race or ethnic background to be used as a factor in opening an investigation, a move the ACLU believes may institute racial profiling as a matter of policy.
“The attorney general today gave the FBI a blank check to open investigations of innocent Americans based on no meaningful suspicion of wrongdoing,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “The new guidelines provide no safeguards against the FBI’s improperly using race and religion as grounds for suspicion. They also fail to sufficiently prevent the government from infiltrating groups whose viewpoints it doesn’t like. The FBI has shown time and… Continue reading
Interview with Naomi Wolf author of “Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries” given October 4, 2008 on Mind Over Matters, KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle.
10/5/08: CNN reports on the October 1st assignment of active duty army within US. Note this sentence: “The U.S. military ‘is not a Swiss Army knife,’ ready to fight the Taliban one week, respond to a hurricane the next and put down a major political protest the third week…” (emphasis added).
Excuse me? ‘Putting down’ political protest is now what our Army has been assigned to do? But, wait — I thought this was America… ?
Thursday, 27 May 2004 Column: Catherine Austin Fitts
America’s Black Budget & the Manipulation of Mortgage & Financial Markets
Investors benefit from understanding the federal budget, credit policies and covert intervention that drive markets — often overriding fundamental economics. How has the US governmental apparatus become so powerful in the marketplace and what does it mean to the health of our economy? How unstable is the mortgage bubble and where are the opportunities for investors if the bubble bursts?
For providing us with a transcript of the show, special thanks to one of Jim Puplava’s Financial Sense NewsHour listener, Glenn Assheton-Smith, and his fellow investors at the http://www.siliconinvestor.com forums:
Epic American Credit and Bond Bubble Laboratory Forum http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/subject.gsp?subjectid=54034
Ride the Tiger with CD Forum http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/subject.gsp?subjectid=54430
Catherine, we’ve seen a lot of information and a lot of concern on Wall St. about the Mortgage markets. We’ve seen consumers take on more debt when it comes to taking on bigger mortgages, refinance. But this story gets much bigger than just the credit itself.
CA: Sure. Where would you like to start?
JP: (Laughter) Well, let’s talk about black budgets and how the manipulation takes place in the mortgage and financial markets.
CA: OK. Let me start off with a story. When I became Assistant… Continue reading
Of course, this is that same Posse Comitatus Act that the Department of
Father Homeland Security now calls a “myth.” In an October 2000 article, “The Myth of Posse Comitatus,” Major Craig T. Trebilcock, U.S. Army Reserve, states:
“Through a gradual erosion of the act’s prohibitions over the past 20 years, posse comitatus today is more of a procedural formality than an actual impediment to the use of U.S. military forces in homeland defense.”
I say my country “was” dedicated … we were dedicated to prohibiting military occupation within America until 2006, when the John Warner Defense Authorization Act ( HR5122 ) was signed into law (specifically, see Section 1076, titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies” pretty much threw out the Posse Comitatus Act altogether.
But in January 2008, it appears posse comitatus was somewhat restored through an amendment to H.R. 4986 : National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
Section 1068 – Revises federal provisions concerning the use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies to discontinue the executive authority to deploy active and reserve personnel during domestic response incidents. Repeals the authority of the President to direct the Secretary to provide supplies, services, and equipment to persons affected by major public emergencies.
Naturally, the President issued a signing statement when he signed the bill, indicating he will “construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.” Of course, this means he’ll interpret and carry out this Act… Continue reading
by John Byrne
September 23, 2008
It certainly pays to be Treasury Secretary if your former firm is a brokerage
house, a new study says.
Goldman Sachs Group — formerly run by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and
Morgan Stanley, stand to be among the biggest beneficiaries of a $700 billion
"Its benefits, in its current form, will be largely limited to investment
banks and other banks that have aggressively written down the value of their
holdings and have already recognized the attendant capital impairment,"
Jeffrey Rosenberg, Bank of America’s head of credit strategy research, wrote
in a report obtained by Bloomberg News yesterday.
Paulson was the head of Goldman Sach’s investment banking division from 1990
to 1994. He later became chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman, and
left his post to join the Bush Administration.
According to the study, the bailout benefits Paulson’s former firm more because
banks haven’t had to write down as many troubled mortage assets under accounting
rules. This means that participating in the program would cause them to actually
lose capital, as opposed to investment banks, which stand to gain.
Paulson $700 billion program is designed to remove "bad assets" from
the US financial markets to prevent credit for businesses from drying up, which
would send the economy into a further tailspin. Many businesses rely on credit
to fund their daily operations.
Lawmakers are debating the plan today.
"While Goldman and Morgan Stanley, both based in New York, were yesterday
granted permission… Continue reading
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
Associated Press Writer
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
Skeptical Democrats clashed with Mueller, who told the House Judiciary Committee
that FBI agents would no longer need solid evidence or allegations of wrongdoing
to spy on Americans even before opening investigations. Democrats also expressed
doubts that the Justice Department and FBI would protect civil liberties and
privacy rights after years of previous abuses and stymied congressional oversight.
During nearly two hours of testimony, Mueller described the tentative rules
– known as the attorney general’s guidelines – as a proactive way to prevent
The new rules would ensure that suspicious behavior is investigated, Mueller
said, citing a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who noted a rising
trend of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. The agent’s warning was ignored,
and the 9/11 Commission later said it could have served as a clue to al-Qaida’s
“It is that kind of threat and identification of a very suspicious circumstance
that would warrant further investigation,” Mueller said. Additionally,
he said current guidelines make it “very difficult” for agents to
look into people believed to be traveling to terror hotspots, such as training
camps in Pakistan.…
by Peter Dale Scott
September 5, 2008
Though few Americans realize it, Cheney and Rumsfeld worked through the 1980s and 1990s on emergency nuclear-response plans which allegedly suspended the American Constitution and also Congress.1 (Through these decades Rumsfeld was CEO of a major pharmaceutical firm, and in the later 1990s Cheney was CEO of Halliburton; but their private status did not deter them from continuing to exercise a supra-constitutional planning power conferred on them by Ronald Reagan.)
Even fewer Americans know that these rules, originally dealing with a nuclear attack on America, were extended by Reagan Executive Order 12656 to cover “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”2 And few Americans realize that at least some of these rules, known technically as Continuity of Government (COG) rules, were invoked before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001.3
As he did in 2007, President Bush has again, on August 28, 2008, continued for another year the national emergency first officially proclaimed on September 14, 2001, along with “the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency”:
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New… Continue reading
By Liliana Segura
September 2, 2008
After five years in legal limbo, the Palestinian university professor falsely
accused of terrorism is free, but faces contempt charges.
Breaking, from ABC News.
Former professor Sami Al-Arian, who was once charged by the U.S. government
with being a top Palestinian terrorist, has been released from custody for the
first time in more than five years.
Immigration authorities released Al-Arian to the custody of his daughter,
just hours before a federal judge had ordered the agency to explain Al-Arian’s
Al-Arian, who once taught computer science at the University of South Florida,
has been in the custody of either federal marshals or immigration authorities
since February 2003, when federal prosecutors charged him with being a leader
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
His trial on those charges resulted in an acquittal on some counts and a hung
jury on others. He eventually struck a plea bargain admitting to lesser charges.
He currently faces contempt of court charges in federal court in Virginia
for failing to testify to a grand jury. Prosecutors strongly opposed his release
while he awaits trial.
Read more about the government’s persecution against Al-Arian here.
Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties
and War on Iraq Special Coverage.
Here are a few snippets from Greenwald’s post. Please go to his blog to read the entire thing, with excellent links and videos.
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.…Continue reading
August 30, 2008
by John Byrne
As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President
Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring
that America remains in a state of permanent war.
Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received
scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed
it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with
al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."
Part of a proposal for Guantánamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before
Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains
engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations,
who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated
to the slaughter of Americans.”
The New York Times‘ page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday
edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries
broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the
rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.
It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for
his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power
to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in
recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans’ information and
"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold… Continue reading