Thursday, January 8, 2009

It Is Going To Be A Busy January In Washington DC … Inauguration To Street Actions And Vigils!

It Is Going To Be A Busy January In Washington DC Inauguration To Street Actions And Vigils!



One Of The Best Inauguration Information Links Available

Stop the U.S./Israeli War
Against the Palestinian People

National March on Washington
Saturday, January 10

Assemble at the White House
(north side) at 1:00 PM


Sunday, January 18Anti-Torture Vigil - 4:30-6:00 p.m at the triangle, foot of Key Bridge, Virginia side. Sponsored by Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice (NVPJ), Torture Abolition and Survivors Coalition (TASSC) and the Washington Peace Center (WPC).  Handicapped accessible. Nearest Metro stop: Rosslyn, on the Orange/Blue line. Wear warm clothes and bring candles or flashlights. For information, contact :

Moya Atkinson, 703-941-3707,


Why President Bush Might Not Want to Pardon His Administration: An International Angle





 Iraqi Cleric Al Sadr Urges Attacks Against Americans Over Gaza Invasion

Baghdad — Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday urged reprisals against American forces in Iraq to protest Israel's Gaza offensive, as Arab anger grows over civilian deaths in the Palestinian territory.

The strongly worded statement signaled a threat by al-Sadr's militia fighters to renew violence against American troops after months of relative calm.

It was unclear, however, just how much influence the once-powerful Shiite leader _ who is believed to be in Iran _ still has. His fighters have been hit hard in U.S.-Iraqi military operations over the past year.

The U.S. State Department dismissed al-Sadr's calls, describing them as "outrageous."

"Any call for attacks against Americans is outrageous and, frankly, not worthy of much more comment," deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. "Outside calls to attack Americans for what's going on in the region are outrageous."

The Bush administration held off Wednesday from backing an Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal in Gaza, saying it was exploring other options to secure a lasting agreement that would end the violence.

Iraqis have expressed outrage over the Israeli offensive and what is perceived as U.S. inaction, holding protests to show solidarity with the Palestinians. The issue has again put the spotlight on Iraq's relations with Israel as the two countries remain technically at war.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed "great pain and sorrow" over the Israeli offensive and accused the international community of ignoring the plight of the Palestinians.

"It is regrettable that this brutal crime continues with the silence of the international community," he told reporters Tuesday.

He called on other Arab and Muslim nations to "abolish diplomatic relations" with Israel and to "stop all public and clandestine contacts with this murderous regime." Only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, have peace treaties with Israel.

In his own statement, al-Sadr said more action was needed "due to the continuation of Arab silence and the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy under U.S. and international cover."

"I call upon the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy," he said, using rhetoric referring to the United States and Israel.

He also urged that Palestinian flags be raised on mosques, churches and buildings in Iraq and that all countries close Israeli embassies.

Al-Sadr and his militiamen have been staunch opponents of the U.S. presence in Iraq and waged fierce battles in 2004 followed by years of sectarian violence. He ordered his fighters to stand down in 2007 but retained a smaller force.

But his movement's popularity has suffered with the involvement of some militiamen in protection and black market rackets, as well as general fatigue from on-again, off-again fighting.

Israel says it launched the offensive to end rocketing by the Islamic militant group Hamas that has traumatized southern Israel.

Palestinian and U.N. figures show that about 300 of the more than 670 Palestinians killed so far have been civilians.

Israel has lost six soldiers since launching a ground offensive on Saturday _ four in "friendly fire" incidents _ and four other Israelis have been killed by rocket fire since fighting began on Dec. 27.

In Jordan, meanwhile, two Iraqi planes carrying several tons of medicine, medical supplies, blankets and water reserves containers to be sent to Gaza, landed in Amman airport Tuesday, the Iraqi Red Crescent said.

Rasoul Khedayer, the agency's representative in Jordan, said "Iraq will continue to bring aid supplies to the people of Gaza and will fly more than 10 planes in the coming few days into Jordan."

Also Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Shiites joined processions to honor the martyrdom of one of their most revered saints. More than 30,000 policemen and soldiers were deployed in Baghdad, Karbala and on roads between the two cities to guard the ceremonies.

Associated Press writer Mazin Yahya in Baghdad and Shafika Mattar in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.


Before we all go getting too excited over the following development; I think we ought to consider pressuring Conyers to name some average citizens to the panel and not the usual collection of either Washington Celebrities or “renown” legal scholars.  It is the people who have making this demand and they should have a voice in a process that will have some integrity and result in a nice coat of finger pointing, wrist slapping, and name calling White Wash.


Conyers Seeks Probe of Bush Crimes

By Jason Leopold
January 7, 2009

Conyers’s proposal for a National Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties also signals that Congress will devote significant time this year to investigating the Bush administration’s most controversial actions with an eye to rolling back its expansion of executive power.

Many civil liberties and human rights groups feared that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Barack Obama’s administration would duck any sustained inquiry into wrongdoing by George W. Bush and his subordinates, to avoid angering Republicans.

While Conyers’s plan falls short of the criminal probe that civil rights groups have sought, neither would it prevent a criminal investigation by Obama’s Justice Department if the new administration moves in that direction, said two aides on Obama’s transition team who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Obama has been ambivalent about how to proceed regarding wrongdoing by the Bush administration. He said during the campaign that willful criminality should be punished because “nobody is above the law,” but also expressed concern that an investigation might get bogged down in recriminations and could be viewed by Republicans as “a partisan witch hunt.”

Obama also has suggested he might support some form of truth commission as a way of ascertaining the facts, which would be in line with Conyers’s plan.

The proposed blue-ribbon panel would consist of nine members, with no more than five from the same political party. Appointed by the President and congressional leaders, the panel would have a budget of about $3 million and subpoena power to compel testimony from high-level members of the Bush administration.

The panel would file an initial report to the President and Congress within one year and a final report six months later. The report would include “any recommendations the Commission considers appropriate.” lt is unclear if criminal prosecution could be one of the recommendations of the panel.

Mukasey's Stand

Last year, amid disclosures about White House approval of brutal interrogation tactics used against “war on terror” detainees, Conyers called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether these actions constituted war crimes. But Mukasey didn’t act.

In a roundtable discussion with reporters on Dec. 3, Mukasey revealed his thinking, arguing that there is no legal basis to prosecute current and former administration officials for authorizing torture and warrantless domestic surveillance because those decisions were made in the context of a presidential interest in protecting national security.

"There is absolutely no evidence that anybody who rendered a legal opinion, either with respect to surveillance or with respect to interrogation policies, did so for any reason other than to protect the security in the country and in the belief that he or she was doing something lawful,” Mukasey said.

Regarding Justice Department legal opinions sanctioning these actions, Mukasey said he feared that second-guessing of those opinions would send “the message … that if you come up with an answer that is not considered desirable in the future you might face prosecution, and that creates an incentive not to give an honest answer but to give an answer that may be acceptable in the future.”

The war-crimes issue surfaced again when Vice President Dick Cheney gave media interviews last month in which he talked unapologetically about his role in approving harsh interrogation tactics, including the simulated drowning of waterboarding which is widely regarded as torture.  

Conyers’s proposed legislation was introduced on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee gave reporters three previously unreleased Justice Department legal opinions pertaining to Bush’s authority to declare war with Iraq.

The legal opinions were written by Jay Bybee and John Yoo, former Justice Department attorneys who also drafted the infamous August 2002 “Torture Memo” that authorized CIA interrogators to waterboard high-level prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has spent the past four years investigating the genesis of that memo, specifically whether Bybee and Yoo provided the White House with poor legal advice.

In Bybee’s newly released Oct. 23, 2002, 47-page opinion, he stakes out broad war-making powers for Bush, claiming the President "possesses constitutional authority for ordering the use of force against Iraq to protect our national interests.”

The memo was drafted about two weeks after Congress approved a resolution authorizing Bush to "use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”

In the memo, Bybee reaffirmed an earlier opinion that Bush possessed the necessary war-making powers regardless of what Congress did.

"This memorandum confirms our prior advice to you regarding the scope of the President's authority. We conclude that the President possesses constitutional authority for ordering the use of force against Iraq to protect our national interests," Bybee's memo said.

“This independent authority is supplemented by congressional authorization in the form of the [1991] Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution ..., which supports the use of force to secure lraq' s compliance with its international obligations following the liberation of Kuwait, and the [2001] Authorization for Use of Military Force ..., which supports military action against Iraq if the President determines Iraq provided assistance to the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"In addition, using force against Iraq would be consistent with international law, because it would be authorized by the United Nations Security Council, or would be justified as anticipatory self-defense."

As it turned out, the UN Security Council did not approve military action against Iraq, forcing Bush to assemble an ad hoc multinational force that he called the "coalition of the willing." UN Secretary General Kofi Annan later acknowledged that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law.

There also has been no credible evidence indicating that Iraq provided any assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.

Another newly released legal opinion, written by Bybee’s successor, Jack Goldsmith, authorized Iraqi prisoners be moved to other countries to be interrogated — a practice known as rendition.

The existence of the three new legal opinions were first reported Tuesday by McClatchy Newspapers, which added that “Yoo supplements those arguments [on presidential powers] in two other memos dated Nov. 8, 2002 and Dec. 7, 2002.”

Conyers’s legislation for the blue-ribbon commission was co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Linda Sanchez, Bill Delahunt, Luis Gutierrez, Bobby Scott and Steve Cohen.

Jason Leopold has launched his own Web site, The Public Record, at


Impeachment report released today
Chicago Daily Herald - Chicago,IL,USA
For the public, the proposed report will be available via the web
at Separating the donkeys from the elephants from the pork and everything ...


FBI Warns of Inauguration Terror Threat


WASHINGTON _ The upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama is an attractive target for international and domestic terrorists, but U.S. intelligence officials have no information about specific threats to the Jan. 20 event.

An internal intelligence assessment, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, says the high visibility of the event, the presence of dignitaries and the significance of swearing in the country's first black president make the inauguration vulnerable to attacks.

What concerns analysts most, the report says, is the potential use of improvised explosive devices, a hostage situation or suicide bombers.

While security will be tight around the U.S. Capitol, the joint FBI and Homeland Security assessment says nearby hotels, public gatherings, restaurants and roads could be vulnerable to some kind of attack.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said security concerns during inaugurations have been elevated since the 2001 terror attacks. "I think it will be the most security, as far as I'm aware, that any inauguration has had," Chertoff said in an interview with the AP.

Chertoff also said there is no specific intelligence pointing to terrorist plots during the event.

"We have scrubbed very hard to look at anything that would suggest a credible, imminent threat or one that was specifically focused on the inauguration," Chertoff said, though not referring to the intelligence assessment. "We're not, at this point, aware of a credible, specific, imminent threat that would affect the inauguration."

The Secret Service, which is in charge of the overall security for the event, announced Wednesday that bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of the downtown will be closed on Jan. 20. The security perimeter covers more of the city than previous inaugurations.

The analysis says that threats against Obama have increased since he was elected, which also poses concern for the inauguration.

According to the intelligence assessment, a so-called lone wolf poses the greatest threat during the inauguration because such criminals are generally not affiliated with any specific group or act without the direction of a group. There have been some lone wolf threats reported, but nothing points to a well-planned plot, the assessment said.

Officials are concerned about explosives placed in crowded areas and people impersonating emergency and law enforcement officials, but they have no specific information that indicates terrorists are planning to do this, the assessment said.

While intelligence officials have seen no credible threats to the event from international terrorists or domestic terrorists, al-Qaida and its affiliates remain a threat to U.S. interests within the country and abroad, and the significance of Obama's presidency raises the potential threat from hate groups.

© 2009 Associated Press.







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