Friday, August 11, 2006

eliminating war crimes (legislation)

* damien has more about whether Gonzales' new moves to 'refine' the definition of warcrimes appears illegal

* meanwhile, the story hit the front page of WaPo:
"The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments.

Officials say the amendments would alter a U.S. law passed in the mid-1990s that criminalized violations of the Geneva Conventions, a set of international treaties governing military conduct in wartime. The conventions generally bar the cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment of wartime prisoners without spelling out what all those terms mean.

The draft U.S. amendments to the War Crimes Act would narrow the scope of potential criminal prosecutions to 10 specific categories of illegal acts against detainees during a war, including torture, murder, rape and hostage-taking.

Left off the list would be what the Geneva Conventions refer to as "outrages upon [the] personal dignity" of a prisoner and deliberately humiliating acts -- such as the forced nakedness, use of dog leashes and wearing of women's underwear seen at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq -- that fall short of torture.
"This removal of [any] reference to humiliating and degrading treatment will be perceived by experts and probably allies as 'rewriting' " the Geneva Conventions, said retired Army Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn, who was recently chief of the war law branch of the Army's Office of the Judge Advocate General. Others said the changes could affect how foreigners treat U.S. soldiers."

* tpmm:
"As part of their ongoing law suit against the New Hampshire Republicans regarding the jamming of Democratic phone banks on Election Day, 2002, the Democrats alleged a "deliberate cover up" by the GOP in a filing earlier this week. Notes from FBI interviews indicate that that a number of senior officials with the New Hampshire Republican State Committee [NHRSC] knew of the jamming and consciously covered it up, they say."

* lizza:
" Lamont had--and may still have--a small window to shut (Joe's) campaign down, but he is off to a bad start. The overall effect of the dueling speeches--with Lieberman ignoring the fact he lost and Lamont ignoring the fact he won--was to greatly diminish Lamont's victory. "

* FAS:
"In a momentous expansion of the government's authority to regulate public disclosure of national security information, a federal court ruled that even private citizens who do not hold security clearances can be prosecuted for unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information.

The ruling (pdf) by Judge T.S. Ellis, III, denied a motion to dismiss the case of two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who were charged under the Espionage Act with illegally receiving and transmitting classified information.

The decision is a major interpretation of the Espionage Act with implications that extend far beyond this particular case."
* amy:
"In the Occupied Territories, a new report from the Palestinian Authority says Israel has taken 600 Palestinians prisoner since the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The prisoners include at least sixty-two Palestinian children. Two of the children are only twelve years old. Israel has launched a relentless attack on Gaza in an avowed effort to secure Shalit’s release. According to the report, there are more than 10,000 Palestinian detainees are currently held in 30 Israeli prisons, detention facilities and interrogation centers. Nearly three dozen elected legislators and cabinet members are among those detained."
* amy:
"In Mexico, election officials have begun a partial recount of votes from last month’s presidential elections. Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is demanding a full recount of all forty-one million votes. On Wednesday, thousands of supporters blocked the offices of three major foreign-owned banks as part of growing protests in support of Lopez Obrador’s demand. Just one-tenth of the country’s polling stations will be subjected to the recount."


Don said...

Amid the insanity, courtesy of Think Progress and Reuters, your "Gross-Security-Fuckup/Privacy-What-Privacy" moment of the day:

A U.S. government computer loaded with approximately 133,000 drivers' and pilots' records -- including Social Security numbers -- was stolen last month, the Department of Transportation said on Wednesday.

Feel safer yet?

LeeB said...

Wayne Madsen has set up a spreadsheet to keep track of all of these thefts.

You can find it here