Friday, April 27, 2007

the current war criminals may sleep a little worse tonight

* amy:
Argentina Strips Ex-Junta Leaders of Immunity
In Argentina, two former leaders of the military dictatorship have lost their immunity from prosecution for human rights abuses under their rule. General Jorge Videla and former Admiral Emilio Massera were among the junta leaders from 1976 to 1983. Some thirty-thousand people died or disappeared. The ruling effectively re-instates a twenty-year old verdict against the two for murdering and torturing dissidents.
the current war criminals may sleep a little worse tonight

* amy:
"Admin Asks for New Restrictions on Gitmo Attorneys
The Bush administration has renewed a push to deny Guantanano prisoners access to their attorneys. In a new filing to a federal appeals court, the Justice Department proposes to allow just three visits for an existing lawyer and one visit for a prospective lawyer. The rules would also deny attorneys access to secret evidence while letting military officials and lawyers read attorney-client mail. The Justice Department says it wants the changes in part because attorney contacts have allowed prisoners to communicate indirectly with the media. It also says lawyers don’t have access rights because the prisoners are foreign nationals held in a base in a foreign country. Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, said: “These rules are an effort to restore Guantánamo to its prior status as a legal black hole.”"

* amy:
Admin Meetings May Have Violated Laws on Partisan Use
The Bush administration has acknowledged it held at least twenty meetings in government agencies that could have violated federal law restricting partisan activity. The Washington Post is reporting the briefings were part of efforts to brief top appointees on Republicans’ electoral prospects and how the election could affect the success of administration policies. Investigators are looking into whether the briefings led appointees to feel pressure to shape decisions around boosting the chances for vulnerable Republican candidates.

* via SImon, it appears that we'll know next week with the brits will release the first draft of the 2002 Dossier. That'd be sweet.

* tpmm:
"Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing Thursday next week to testify about his involvement in the plan to fire certain U.S. attorneys. The committee will vote on authorizing a subpoena for Comey's testimony on Tuesday.

Comey's expected to shed light on the early part of the purge process -- and perhaps explain why his list of U.S. attorneys was so different from Kyle Sampson's.

Before Comey left the Justice Department in the summer of 2005, he reportedly generated his own list of U.S. attorneys to fire. But as U.S. News has reported, Comey's list was completely different than the list generated by Sampson -- save one name"

* AP via tpmm:
""Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday she has already answered the questions she has been subpoenaed to answer before a congressional committee and suggested she is not inclined to comply with the order. Rice said she would respond by mail to questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the Bush administration's prewar claims about Saddam Hussein seeking weapons of mass destruction, but signaled she would not appear in person."

1 comment:

Simon said...

There's a very strange parallel here between Condy's unwillingness to answer questions about the uranium claims as posed by Henry Waxman and British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett's unwillingness to answer questions about the genesis of the infamous September Dossier which, as astute readers here will obviously realise, was the basis of the SOTU 16 words.

Subject: WMD Dossier (Hansard 25 January 2007)

Parliamentarian Michael Moore MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 13W, on the WMD dossier, whether the first draft of the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction dossier authored by John Williams makes reference to Iraq’s ability to deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett: There are no plans for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to publish Mr. Williams’ draft document, extracts from it or to confirm details of the contents.


Subject: Iraq: Weapons (Hansard 23 April 2007)

Parliamentarian John Baron MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2007, Official Report, column 1957W, on the weapons of mass destruction dossier (1) why she has no plans to publish Mr. John Williams’ draft document, extracts from it, or to confirm details of the contents; why the draft document was not made available to the inquiry led by Lord Hutton; and whether her Department retains the document;

(2) whether the draft of the dossier on weapons of mass destruction produced by the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Mr. John Scarlett, on 10 September 2002 (a) was based upon and (b) took into account the draft document produced by Mr. John Williams on 9 September 2002;

(3) whether reference was made to Iraq’s ability to deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes in (a) an assessment by the Joint Intelligence Committee prior to 9 September 2002, (b) a draft of the dossier by the Joint Intelligence Committee prior to 9 September 2002, (c) the draft document produced by Mr. John Williams on 9 September 2002 and (d) the draft document produced by Mr. John Scarlett on 10 September 2002;

(4) who the author was of the executive summary of the dossier on weapons of mass destruction in September 2002;

(5) who the members were of the dossier on weapons of mass destruction drafting group in September 2002; at which meeting the dossier was signed off on behalf of the group; and which members of the group were present at that meeting.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett: Matters relating to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) dossier were examined in great detail by the inquiry led by Lord Hutton, Lord Butler’s "Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction" and the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report "Iraqi WMD—Intelligence and Assessments". These inquiries placed into the public domain as much information as it was possible to do without prejudicing national security.


The implication of the vapidity of her answer is that information was deliberately withheld from Lords Hutton and Butler and the ISC on national security grounds because it could be harmful to the UK's relationship with its foreign allies. There is absolutely no way that I can see that this particular set of answers would be helpful or of material comfort to any of the UK's enemies, such that it would affect the physical security of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies or any of its Overseas Territories. Misleading Parliament is an extremely serious offence. Margaret Beckett knows this only too well. Therefore her answer can only be grounded in fact. Even if she isn't willing to reveal what that fact actually is.