Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

06.11 How a nonprofit turned Baltimore County school storage rooms into a free general store for students in need

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

06.14 The Trump administration is waging a quiet war on education

06.11 Underpaid Adjunct Professors Sleep in Cars and Rely on Public Aid [The disease of rapacious-capitalism infects the education system]

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

06.15 'The Changes Are Really Accelerating': Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt

06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]

06.15 Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]

06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]

06.14 The Trans Mountain pipeline is a disaster – but Trudeau can make it right

06.14 The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds

06.14 Climate crisis: Alaska is melting and it’s likely to accelerate global heating

06.13 Chemical companies at centre of Guardian's Cancer Town series face state legal action [7:56 video]

06.12 'This is not a "what if" story': Tokyo braces for the earthquake of a century

06.12 Plant Species Have Been Disappearing 500 Times Faster Than Normal, Thanks to Humans

06.12 Atmospheric carbon levels are leaping. We can't afford more years like this

06.12 Politics as Usual and Planetary Destruction

06.12 Most 'meat' in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report

06.11 Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands – report

06.11 Twice as many plants have gone extinct than birds, mammals, and amphibians combined

06.11 NOAA forecasts very large ‘dead zone’ for Gulf of Mexico

06.10 Conservatives should change how they think about global warming. I did [Another crisis issue conservatives won't acknowledge...]

06.10 Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply [Who won't understand this?]

06.10 Greenpeace activists board BP oil rig as it is towed out to sea [Fossil fuel company conduct should be illegal...]

06.09 Racism as a Public Health Crisis

06.08 GreenWay Reaches 100 EV Fast Chargers In Poland!

06.07 The Other Climate Threat is Fear & Apathy: We can Fix this by Voting in a Manhattan Project

06.07 Toyota speeds up electric vehicle schedule as demand heats up

06.07 For 'Challenging Us All to Confront the Realities of the Climate Crisis,' Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future Movement Win Amnesty's Top Human Rights Award

06.07 Purpose in Life Protects Against Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults

06.07 All New British Columbia Light-Duty Vehicles Will Be Zero Emissions By 2040

06.07 Caribbean Solar Update: Curacao Solar Saves 10% In Energy Costs; Montecristi In The DR Doubles To 116 MW

06.07 Santiago (Chile) Adding 200 Electric Buses In 2019

06.07 Single-Payer Reform—“Medicare for All”

News Media Matters

06.15 China's Expanding Media Dominance in Africa

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]

06.15 Hard Times in the Imperial Valley

06.15 Ro Khanna Forces Beltway Bandit to Refund Millions From Price Gouging

06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]

06.14 Do Your Jobs: Sick and Dying, They Brought Themselves Down Here to Speak - To No One

06.14 The Case for Reparations [5:31 video]

06.14 Bernie Sanders just made a brilliant defense of democratic socialism

06.14 Texas Progressive Jessica Cisneros Announces Primary Challenge to Unseat "Trump's Favorite Democrat" in Congress

06.13 Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan for Everything — Except Health Care

06.13 Where do the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on the key issues?

06.13 Hidden Figures Way: Nasa renames street to honor black female mathematicians

06.13 Why are we still pretending 'trickle-down' economics work? [We aren't ‘laffing’ now! In Trump-world all the worst people are celebrated. Ref.: 3:07 Idiocracy Courtroom Scene]

06.13 What’s actually in the Green New Deal, explained with a video [7:30 video]

06.13 Even the 1% Know They Aren't Paying Their Fair Share: New Poll Shows 60% of Millionaires Support Warren's Ultra-Wealth Tax

Justice Matters

06.14 Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases [A very flawed prosecution using suspiciously limited evidence has been thrown out, a stronger case will be brought using newly found, voluminous evidence.]

High Crimes

06.12 'Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized' as German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years in Prison For Saving Refugees

06.11 Hundreds of North Korean execution sites identified, says rights group

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

06.11 Capitalism isn't 'broken'. It's working all too well - and we're the worse for it

06.11 The problem with billionaires fighting climate change? The billionaires [Bloomberg's sanity to control greed to save the life-on-earth (and continuing profits) is unfortunately rare]

06.09 Elizabeth Warren’s economic nationalism vision shows there's a better way [As like championed by Economist Joseph Stiglitz]

International & Futurism

06.15 Africa’s Lost Kingdoms

06.15 Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes surge in England and Wales

06.15 Extinction Rebellion protesters stop rush-hour traffic in London

06.15 Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill amid protest pressure [1:37 video]

06.15 The US must stand with the people of Hong Kong [But this attacks Xi's authoritarianism, which Trump is most envious of for himself...]

06.14 As Angus Taylor ducks, weaves and dithers, China zooms past

06.13 What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? [Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]

06.13 Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman

06.13 Theresa May’s carbon emissions plan will fail if the chancellor remains complacent

06.12 Hong Kong: police use rubber bullets as protesters vow 'no retreat' [1:34 video]

06.12 French medics warn health service is on brink of collapse

06.12 Leaked documents reveal Russian effort to exert influence in Africa

06.12 Extending the US Embargo on Cuba & Hurting the People [Doing what's cruelest]

06.12 Annexation Without Citizenship Is Apartheid

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Conyers Seeks Probe of Bush Crimes
Newspaper logo

FINALLY:

Conyers Seeks Probe of Bush Crimes

by Jason Leopold
7 January 2009

In one of the first acts of the 111th Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers proposed legislation to create a blue-ribbon panel of outside experts to probe the “broad range” of policies pursued by the Bush administration “under claims of unreviewable war powers,” including torture of detainees and warrantless wiretaps.

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 www.pubrecord.org.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on January 8, 2009.

 

Public Service Ads: