Monday, August 28, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Pardons are forever
Charlie mentioned the issue of "Pardons" being given to soldiers court martialled and often executed during WWI re Shell shock etc...this article shows just who the priviliged butchers are...they get pardons before they are even charged with attrocities.
To get his friends and allies out of the mess he created, George W. Bush is going to have to issue a slew of pardons
By: HARVEY SILVERGLATE
8/18/2006 11:06:03 AM
Prediction: Before leaving office, President Bush will issue a shockingly large number of presidential pardons to operatives who, with the administration’s blessing, ventured far outside the law to wage Bush’s “war on terror.” Bush may even owe some of his underlings use of the pardon pen, since they relied in good faith on radical legal opinions crafted by White House lawyers to justify an “anything goes” response to enemies real and imagined.
Pardons will be the only effective device by which Bush can give absolute protection to his underlings. Otherwise they may face prosecution under a new administration. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s efforts to convince Congress to enact legislation that would protect administration, intelligence, and military operatives from prosecution for illegal acts committed in the war on terror may fail to gain approval. And even if Gonzales convinces this highly partisan Republican-controlled Congress, a future Congress could repeal Gonzales’s protective statute. A presidential pardon, on the other hand, is final.
The Bushies’ concern grows out of recent developments. Congress, under the leadership of Republican senators John McCain, of Arizona, and Arlen Specter, of Pennsylvania, has expressed unease over the administration’s aggressive claims that a “war-time president” may override legal restrictions in order to protect the nation from its enemies, particularly in the areas of torture and citizen privacy. Even more threatening to the administration have been rumblings about war crimes from the current Congressional minority. And then there’s been a series of Supreme Court decisions explicitly rejecting some of the president’s more grandiose claims to unfettered executive power.
Interestingly, the most graphic indication of the danger presidentially empowered lawbreakers may face comes not from Washington but from Italy, where warrants are outstanding for 26 Americans, most believed to be CIA operatives. On July 6, the Los Angeles Times reported that among the 26, all of whom are allegedly involved in a kidnapping scandal, are the former CIA station chief in Rome and an Air Force commander. Their identities were recently disclosed after authorities arrested a top Italian spymaster. While none of the Americans, reported the Los Angeles Times’ Tracy Wilkinson, are currently under arrest in Italy, it’s a safe bet that none will be sightseeing at the Coliseum anytime soon.
At the center of this Milanese scandal is the February 2003 kidnapping of Egyptian Muslim cleric and suspected terrorist recruiter Abu Omar, which took place in Italy. The alleged CIA plot was carried out during the administration of then–prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who claims to have been unaware of the secret operation but whose government, it appears, knew of and aided it. In May the Italian electorate voted out Berlusconi and installed a center-left coalition. Prime Minister Romano Prodi seems to be lending previously absent support to Italian prosecutors.
It’s enough to make Team Bush’s higher-ups, along with its shadowy operatives, shudder. The Italian warrants demonstrate how a voter-mandated changing-of-the-guard can lead to corrective prosecutions.
Beyond the limits of the law The legal basis for Bush’s anti-terrorist program was hatched by David Addington, chief of staff and long-time legal adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, and John Yoo, currently a Berkeley Law School professor, shortly after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. They were among the chief architects of such executive-strengthening legal constructs as the “unitary executive” theory and presidential “signing statements” that asserted the president could ignore those statutes he did not approve of but was unwilling to put through the political strainer of a veto. The plan attempted to lend legal cover to CIA, NSA, FBI, and military officials and operatives who became involved in a clandestine and almost certainly extra-legal presidential response to the Al Qaeda attacks. Aspects of the response likely (and reasonably) would have passed legal muster as temporary measures in the frantic and frightening weeks following September 11. But years later Addington and Yoo’s legal theories continued to undergird the anti-terror program without any administration effort to enlist the approval, or often the knowledge, of its co-equal branches of government, as required by the Constitution.
The “unitary executive” theory developed by Addington, Yoo, and their cohorts holds that, despite the fact that the Constitution, as any school kid knows, demarcates a system of checks and balances among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, the president may exercise virtually unfettered authority to defend the nation. Although overlaid with fancy faux-scholarly position papers, the theory amounts to the risible notion that, because the president is named by the Constitution as “Commander-in-Chief” of the armed forces, he has the power to act alone on any matter implicating “national security,” broadly construed. But it just ain’t so.
In fact, an overwhelming number of legal experts and commentators — “Freedom Watch” among them — have rejected the president’s power grab. And the administration has also navigated some choppy internal-review waters along the way. Administration lawyers often clashed with professional military lawyers and officers who feared danger to discipline and morale — not to mention the correspondingly grave threat of unlawful treatment of American captives — if long-established, laboriously constructed international war conventions were cast aside. Jane Mayer, for example, wrote a startling February 27 New Yorker account of then–general counsel of the Navy Alberto J. Mora’s heroic efforts to undermine the administration’s encouragement of torture of prisoners, which was advanced in the administration’s infamous “torture memos.” The military professionals, it seems, were far more concerned about the White House’s reckless shredding of the laws of war than were the president’s men — many of whom had avoided military service when younger and did not appreciate the need to retain military discipline. Any future legal showdown could ensnare more administration higher-ups than military officers.
Gradually, attempts to insulate administration operatives from laws prohibiting White House–authorized conduct have come undone. In June 2004, the Supreme Court ruled in Rasul v. Bush that prisoners at Guantánamo had to be allowed access to lawyers and to the courts, as well as to some hearing process to determine whether they were indeed “enemy combatants” who could be held, on order of the president, for the war on terror’s duration. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor famously wrote, in words that surely gave some operatives reason for concern: “a state of war is not a blank check for the President.”
Other developments have further bedeviled administration strategists. After Arizona senator John McCain prevailed in getting Congress to enact, by overwhelming bipartisan margins, a law that bans cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of foreign arrestees and insists that interrogation techniques follow traditional Army Field Manual formulations, Bush felt compelled to sign the legislation. Yet Bush also issued a “presidential signing statement,” which asserted the power to ignore any provisions of the new law that he thought encroached on his role as commander in chief. Later, Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, chaired by Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter, questioned the legality of presidentially ordered National Security Agency eavesdropping.
This past June, the Supreme Court made it crystal clear that the emperor was without legal clothes. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court ruled not only that presidentially decreed military commissions to try captives were unlawful, but also — and this is a huge also — that the Geneva Conventions protect such prisoners. This had frightening implications for administration operatives and higher-ups. It meant that a decade-old criminal statute, the War Crimes Act of 1996, which authorizes American courts to prosecute violations of the Geneva Conventions, could now be applied to them. The highest court in the land thus supplied the legal basis for future prosecutions of American personnel involved in mistreatment of prisoners at Guantánamo and elsewhere, giving legal teeth to the concerns raised by McCain, Specter, and many others in Congress. Suddenly, the Italian arrest warrants foreshadowed likely developments at home.
Hamdan caused Attorney General Gonzales to jump into action: he is now seeking protective legislation — through amendments to the War Crimes Act — that would shield US personnel who dealt too harshly with war-on-terror prisoners, as a result of administration lawyers’ advice and orders from the commander in chief. The administration has good reason to worry. According to a tally kept by Human Rights Watch and reported by R. Jeffrey Smith in the Washington Post, “hundreds of service members deployed to Iraq have been accused by the Army of mistreating detainees, and at least 35 detainees have died in military or CIA custody.” Of even greater concern is Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions, which defines war crimes to include “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment,” which is significantly broader than the administration’s definition of torture.
Recent history suggests that a riot of pardons is on the way, and it could easily reach the cabinet level. Recall the indictment of President Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, Caspar W. Weinberger, for alleged perjury during congressional investigations into the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987. The current president’s father, George H. W. Bush, pardoned Weinberger and five others during the final days of his administration in 1992, on the not-implausible theory that the prosecutions sought to punish policy differences rather than real crimes.
Of course, torture and massive privacy violations seem more akin to real crimes than do the policy differences Bush the elder invoked to justify his Iran-Contra pardons. It is therefore unlikely that a member of the administration or a lower-echelon operative could credibly defend himself by claiming he believed in good faith that the president possessed the “inherent” authority to order torture. This absence of a “just following orders” defense, then, offers all the more reason to think that the son will emulate the father and grant a slew of pardons during his final weeks in office. After all, even if Gonzales gets his War Crimes Act amendments, the chilling lesson from Italy still applies: a new government could always reverse it. So why would the “decider” in chief — who’s never met a presidential prerogative he didn’t like — turn away from the ironclad protection offered by pardons? Count on it: he won’t. After all, a pardon, like a diamond, is forever.
Political storm clouds Recent developments suggest how a future Democratic-controlled government is likely to act. If the Democrats regain control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, various committees will surely issue a flurry of subpoenas. Michigan Democrat John Conyers Jr., who would be the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee, already wrote in a May 18 Washington Post op-ed: “We need to know the extent to which high-ranking officials approved the use of torture and other cruel and inhumane treatment inflicted upon detainees.”
Furthermore, if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, control of the prosecutorial arm of the government would likely pass into hands hostile to lawbreakers under the preceding administration. Even the election of a Republican president would not assure a free pass. After all, some Republicans, including reputed presidential front-runner John McCain, have urged taking a hard line against torture, and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter has questioned executive-authorized NSA eavesdropping.
Law-breaking administration operatives and those who transmitted presidential orders to them could face real heat from any number of angles. And as my son noted when I bounced my thoughts off him, if Bush gives medals to people who screw up, why not pardons?
Harvey Silverglate, a criminal and civil-liberties lawyer, is a long-time Freedom Watch contributor. Dustin Lewis assisted in the preparation of this piece.
Copyright © 2006 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Monday, August 21, 2006
He wore his socks well folded back to cover the callipers he wore till he went to school...a congenital condition which is still evident in some.
The shoes were well worn, too well worn. and the one tucked under shows this in its sole. I remember him telling me that when he was inprimary school, in the 1920's he was caned because he didn't have shoes...so after that he had a pair but only wore them at school and put them on just before classes. Bloody bastard school teachers.
His dad, my Grandfather, also had a foot deformity, left untreated in those days. He organised cricket teams for the kids in the small country town and carved wooden toys for them when he was ill.
He contracted the Flu in 1919 and although unlike others he survuved he was never well enough to work full time after that.
I look at this picutre of my dad and I know what he went through...being given a bloody white feather during World War 2 bcause he was young and apparently fit...but knocked back by the army because he couldn't march, because he limped...but he drove ammunitions trucks etc etc... still the white feathers hurt raw...I know this.
He met nd married my mum, herself a bit of a lost soul and wonder of wonders they had a alove story...I remember them all frisky and giggly in the kitcken when I was a kid... a lovely thing for a kid to know... that the parents are actually "in love",
so that when he was hit by a drunk driver and killed...mum just evaporated...collapsed internally.
So sad. I need to write their story properly one day. I have a repositry of 150 letters he wrote to her between 1946 and 1949 when they married...its a treasure trove. I don;t have her replies as his mum burnt them...you know the old Catholic proddie thing...she was Cof E and a strong masonic tradition in the family...and Mum was Irish catholic...full of music and whimsey and something other.
Friday, August 18, 2006
It all happened on the Ides of March that history glorified
through well deserved martyrdom, sweet Julio, cut from his Mother’s womb, so long ago. Whatever happened to her I wonder? Does history record? perhaps he should have been left stillborn..
Knives in the back, a fitting end for one who fed to the crowds, the defeated Celtic Queens and Kings in his Triumphal Marches. Proud men and women who fought the Roman way we live by today - food for lions also slaughtered, trodden under the feet of terrified elephants, later speared by desperate gladiators - who lived a day longer.
Ah! Sweet Julio, the vine who wound himself around the proud heart of the true Queen Cleopatra, who traded love and body to save her land - a land older than time, a way of living alien to the rigid plodding and cruel Roman way -
that we still live by.
Jules, the boy grown man, self deifying in his own mirror, the wreath of ivy placed upon his own human hea... a God! Just like Charlamange, who charged and stormed and murdered - like Henry and Elizabeth Tudor, like Cromwell, like the Hanovarian Georges, “Begone Stuarts, descendants of the Bruces and Holy Way.
Julio, the patrician butcher, of sucked in cheeks and dripping sword, held in someone elses hand - Just like soft faced Victoria, with Boer blood on her pastey jowls, like Adolph (they had the same eyes) who dabbled in the occult and never learned the most basic of occult laws, of ‘reaping what you sow’. Lenin, Stalin Mao and Bush, “Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa - forgive us for we knew exactly what we did but we did it anyway’ Lest we forget Panama, Grenada, and Iraq.
It all happened on the Ides of a March so long ago, that Thatcher should have known better, and Gough and Malcolm, red cheeked after sipping quality scotch, Malcolm keeping his belt tightly on his trousers, because of past mistakes - hoping no one would notice that little problem of East Timor and how they got into the silky sheets of the bed if Indonesian trade....lest we forget.. we forgot.. till it smacked us in the chops, and we could no longer pretend.
Heroes all! Not Julie’s mother who suffered hard the knife to bear him - but Julie’s deeds are deified instead, deeds of blood, power and evil. Cleopatra, his whore, the scarlet woman, who spoke fourteen languages proficiently, and cried bitter tears as her vast Alexandrian library of ancient ways and learning burnt to the ground. Cleopatra who vomited to bile whilst forced to watch Julie’s Roman debauchery. Who was really the whore here?
Roll on the Ides of March! No loss here. Diana the beautiful huntress, strides across the frame of history, in protective gear, in case of landmines,...a Bruce descendant, from the Celtic way - a Queen of our hearts, not of the Roman way. The flag hung low - officially - because Elizabeth Saxe- Coburg Gotha..sorry, Windsor, was persuaded it was good for public relations. Not to think that family relations would mean a lot. Diana rolled back far beyond the mists of time, before Hadrian built his wall to keep Diana’s people out; what cannot be subdued, the Scots - must be walled out - ignored...beyond Julio’s grasp.
“Watch your back Julius”, his fading wide advised - was it a dream she had... or had someone told her as Julie slept the contented sleep of adulterer, butcher and God?
“Beware the Ides of March”, the truth will out, for some... and while Roman roads are important, the roads they covered, the faery roads of Celtic ways are breaking, like determined blades of grass through the cracks of Julian eugenics.
“Et tu Brutus!” he exclaimed in surprise.. one wonders why. Did he think to die an old man in a bed tended by a grieving wife?
A wife, now free to live, to hold up her head - Julius Ceaser’s widow - to lie alone in bed as usual and dream, as women do.
“Beware the Ides of March”, Julio, ‘All the way with LBJ’ Soeharto, Bush, and Pinochet. The gentle dreams of motherless and fatherless children, cry out down through the centuries of Julian evil, for the milk for their survival and love and place of family. Their arms reach for the hearth of home, the arms of comfort and the gentleness of their mother’s humming. You can’t take your power with you, Julius, Torquemanda, Popes and Kings innumerable, ...there are no Gods in heaven - just one - the one of truth.
It all happened on the Ides of March..and was no big deal at all.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
These nations have progressed through this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complaceny to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependency back again into bondage.
Sir Alex Fraser Tyler: (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian
BUT look at the next photos...once the limelight faded away from her!
When she took this one she was watching our daughters and myself, and her comment was "You should star in horror movies Therese!" Just great!
We have a name for her in the famibly "Atilla of the hens - she who muct be obeyed"
By the time she took this one all four of us, Don included, were having a ball trying to murder "Moon River" via Karoke ... hey but at least we were relatively sober...
I have sat through an hour of this one and my next eldest older (heh heh)sister wending their drunken way through the highs and lows of "American Pie" which they thought they, knew till they realised it consisted of more than two lines and was veerrry long...
I am sooo glad she emailed me these pictures of herself as her 56th!!! is coming up fast and there is a "card" in all of this me thinks!
AHHHHH! Revenge is sweet for the Middle Child. I did chuck my dad's hobnailed boot at her head once, but as I missed and put a hole in the door of her "Oh so feminine teenage bedroom - papered within an inch of its life with posters of the Fab Four, the Stones and Little Patti" she was unscathed... :))
I nearly trod on this little creature which was painstakiingly pulling itself along on our path the other day. This one measuring its home or coocoon (?) is about 6" long.
It was quite unperturbed by my presence and its near miss...or maybe just kept going as a sort of bluff...
I picked it up and it just tucked itself back inside as I took it down the back well away from the path and in the shade.Its Australia, mid winter and on the mid north east coast, temperate zone ...does anyone know what this is?
Friday, August 04, 2006
Our daughter Melissa trying to get him to look...but he's too independent for that!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
**&%#@ Management Services
Dear BASTARD, BASTARD, BASTARDY,
On the weekend 2nd July we rang you because the Blower alarm on the Econocycle waste water system went off. (thats our grey and sewage water plant for you urbanites!)
You came round that day (Sunday) which we remembered because it was just before Don's birthday.
You assessed the problem and took the Blower away to be fixed.
About the middle of that week 4/5th July you came around and attached your Blower a different type, which was just to hold our system till the part needed arrived. You used a bit of our garden hose to attach it to the system.
When we hadn’t heard from you we rang you about 12/13th July and asked had you ordered the part. You said you had. We asked for the name of the company, which you would not provide. So we let things go. (WHY?)
We did not contact you nor did you contact us till Monday 24th July. We asked where was the part. You said it was coming. We asked again for the name of the company and again you would not provide it.
All during this time the alarm was sounding about every 24hrs and we would just mute it. This could not have been very good for the system. (which is worth thousands and new!!!)
We then decided to contact the company itself, Econocycle.. They said that you had not ordered that part for us. (AMAZEMENT!) We told them how long it had been and they were quite happy for us to order from them under these circumstances.
They asked us to get certain numbers from inside the Blower box. When we (me... with Don directing me into the cesspit lovingly - disability has some pluses don't it?) went outside to do this, and took off the 3 remaining screws (where did you put the other one?) the Blower was detached from the garden hose and right up against the side of the outside casing. A small black tube was also detached. (God knows what it was supposed to be doing)
We rang Econocycle back and they told us that you had just rung them to order the part. That part we ordered on that Monday arrived on the Thursday. Three days in transit.
We then spoke to you and told you about your Blower being adrift. You said you’d come out and sort it out and we said not to bother because we would not be paying you.
You came out anyway and put two clamps on the hose and reattached the little black tube. Then you said you’d be away for a couple of days and went.
The very next day Thursday 27th the Water alarm went off. (This is a major drama because if not fixed quickly toilet and grey water comes back into the house and toilet...MMMM yummy!). We called Garden Master in Taree, and they came out that day. They reported to us that a power cord was totally detached inside the box and that the filters on both lines were blocked. (They were at a loss to know why that cord could have so completely detached itself and fallen right our and away...but we have our suspicions!)
Early this week we asked you back for our Blower which you took away to be fixed early July. You said that before you bought it back you wanted to be paid $75 for your time, picking up the blower and installing your blower which was not attached securely to our system. (Tee hee)
We said we would not pay you because we’d had to contact Garden Master to re do the work, which you should have done in the first place, which may have caused more damage.
What we cannot understand is why you did not order that part in early July and that twice when we asked you, you said that you had ordered that part. (Que?? don't you like us :((
It is not unreasonable of us to have expected you to have fixed the Blower within a two week period, but almost a whole month had passed and you still had not ordered the part, much less fixed the Blower, and only ordered it once we said we would be contacting Econocycle.
We are happy to exchange your blower for ours and call it quits as we are more out of pocket than we needed to be due to your inaction. Please phone before coming out to pick up your part. We will have it ready for you when you do.
Yours sincerely,Don and Therese Mackay
PartII due soon... no doubt