Protected Free Speech?
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This blog is the continuation of The Stark Raving Viking blog. The author of all the posts here is Steven G. Erickson a.k.a blogger Vikingas. Keywords: Human Rights Watch China USA World Civil Judicial prosecutorial attorney Judge misconduct brutality police action Connecticut Politics State Martial Law US Constitution
Well, the long-awaited, and long-delayed Office of Professional Responsibility [OPR] report on the writing of the "Justice" Department Office of (Il)Legal Counsel torture memos came out Friday. The report in its three drafts can be found here. No surprise that the Obama administration manages to say "naughty" without any semblance of accountability.
The torture memo author John Yoo is excused, according to DoJ hack David Margolis, because he simply demonstrated "poor judgment" in claiming that the abhorrent and patently illegal was legal. Jay Bybee was excused because he, according to Margolis, didn't pay attention when he signed off on torture.
The circle is now closed and smoothed:
A beautiful job, now completed by Obama-Holder Justice Department hack Margolis. Future lawless administrations now have a ready template to use to provide legal rationale for any abuses they desire.
This clearing of the torture lawyers is not the first time the Justice Department has covered over abuses by its attorneys Department prosecutors repeatedly withhold exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys. In fact, Department protection of its unethical lawyers happens so often that the OPR is referred to as the "Roach Motel, because, as Boston attorney Harvey Silverglate explains: "cases go into the Roach Motel and never come out."
However, we shouldn't believe that the (In)Justice Department is unconcerned with problematic actions by its attorneys. Rather, they appear to prefer going after those who put professional ethics above institutional loyalty. While closing its eyes to abuses committed by those providing the legal rationale for torture, DoJ "ethics" hawks were ever vigilant in persecuting former DoJ attorney Jesselyn Radack for the crime of correctly telling field operatives that John Walker Lindh was entitled to an attorney and for refusing to go along with official lies afterward.
On December 7, 2001, I fielded a call from a Criminal Division attorney named John DePue. He wanted to know about the ethical propriety of interrogating "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh without a lawyer being present. DePue told me unambiguously that Lindh's father had retained counsel for his son. I advised him that Lindh should not be questioned without his lawyer....
I was forced out of my job, fired from my subsequent private sector job at the government's behest, placed under criminal investigation without any charges ever being brought, referred for disciplinary action to the state bars where I'm licensed as a lawyer, and put on the "No-Fly" List.
In an interview by Scott Horton, Radack explains the contrast between her treatment and that of the torture memo writers:
action stemming from advice I gave in a terrorism caseand my advice was to permit an American terrorism suspect to have counsel.
Contrary to OPR's own policies, it hastily and vindictively forwarded my case to the state bars in which I'm licensed, absent a finding of "professional misconduct," much less a finding of "intentional misconduct or reckless disregard of an applicable standard or obligation"the benchmark that OPR uses. Instead, OPR referred me to the bar disciplinary authorities for "possible misconduct." Moreover, I was referred based on a secret report to which I did not have access. Finally, I was referred for conduct I engaged in as a private citizen, not as a public servant, after I had left the employ of the Justice Department.
To the extent that OPR holds itself out as an internal watchdog of the Justice Department, that is belied by the fact that David Margolis, a single senior career attorney who has been with the Department for more than 40 years, has the unilateral power to override anything OPR does. Like most career bureaucrats, he obviously has a vested institutional interest in legitimizing Department conduct. Margolis's take-away message is that it's okay to ignore the rules of professional conduct if you're scared or in a hurry, failing to realize, perhaps because he's a government attorney, that stress and deadlines are the status quo for most lawyers.
Although entirely predictable, the Justice Department's decision to give Yoo and his cohorts a pass should offend all lawyers. It is now incumbent upon the legal profession, which is entirely self-regulated, to provide oversight and accountability within its own ranks and to the public.
The so-called "Justice" Department is clearly broken and in need of major reform. The first reform should be to abolish the OPR and submit all investigations of ethics violations to an independent Inspector General, as occurs in almost all other government agencies. The DoJ can no longer be allowed to investigate itself, placing the needs of institutional survival and comfort above the law and ethics. Unlike the OPR, the IG must have subpoena power to compel testimony from retired officials and obtain documents that are being deliberately withheld. IG decisions must not be allowed to be overruled by Department career hacks.
Additionally, Justice Department ethics rules need to be strengthened. Prosecutors and OLC lawyers who officially interpret the law should be held to higher standards regarding competent, independent, performance and loyalty to the law rather than administrations or the Department. Rules should makes sure that OLC lawyers can never again be protected by claims extreme partisanship excuses their incompetent legal interpretations. Prosecutors must be severely punished for withholding exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys.
As long as the Justice Department operates independent of any commitment to justice, no one is safe. When convenient, it will persecute the ethical and protect the guilty. Only the ethical have to fear in that case.
Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology (more...)
Existence of classified, closed circuit video piped in to complement George W. Bushes' reading of My Pet Goat surfaces.
According to Wayne Madsen....
"A long-time L-3 Communications consultant for the National Security Agency (NSA) was, according to our source, one of the very few recipients of the live video stream that caught the first plane hitting the North Tower. The only other official who revealed that he saw the first plane strike the building on a live television link was President George W. Bush. Bush said on two occasions that he saw the first plane hit the building on television while waiting to speak to a group of elementary schoolchildren on the morning of 9/11.
"Video of the first plane hitting the North Tower did not surface until some time after the second plane had struck the South Tower at 8:46 am on September 11. The recorded film was taken by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, French documentary filmmakers who were shooting a film about the New York Fire Department and caught the scene from their vantage point at the corner of Church and Lispenard Streets in lower Manhattan. There were two other videos of the first plane's impact, one by Czech national Pavel Hlavna from a less-than-optimal vantage point at the entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and a series of webcam stills taken by Wolfgang Staehle. The Naudet clip was not released until 13 hours after the plane impact. The Hlava film did not surface until two years after 9/11 and the Staehle shots are inconclusive still frames.
"There was one other video tape of the first plane striking the North Tower. It was confiscated by the FBI from five Israeli Mossad agents who were arrested later in the afternoon by East Rutherford, New Jersey police after being witnessed filming the first impact from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The five Israelis, who came to be known as the "dancing Israelis" because they were seen celebrating the first impact, worked for an identified Mossad agent, Dominick Suter, who appeared on an FBI list of suspects, along with Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers. The FBI also reportedly had possession of the Naudet film before the six minutes of the impact was released by the French Gamma news agency."
What this means, folks, is that George W. Bush wasn't lying in the video clip, above. He may have actually seen this classified, closed circuit video of the first plane striking the North Tower on 9/11.
Again, this speaks to foreknowledge of the event. Foreknowledge of the event means we have direct evidence of participation in a criminal conspiracy to murder 3,000 American civilians on 9/11 by the Bush Administration.
If this L-3 Communications Consultant does not come forward with evidence or testimony as to the existence of this CC video, and soon, it will not matter what his employers do to wreck his wretched life. He will get to live whatever remains of his putrid existence secure in the knowledge that he ruined the lives of billions of human beings, including his own children and grandchildren.
The fires of eternal hell would be too good a punishment for such an amoral freak of nature.
Award winning poet, writer and refugee from the educational testing industry. Richard agitates, supports and motivates activists of all kinds, the most well-known being Cindy Sheehan. Web developer and designer by day, writer by night, Richard has (more...)
We the people aren't being served by our government. We're being beaten up, robbed, and killed. Police officers are not to protect and serve us, they're to protect the integrity of the system. A Connecticut State Police Officer told me that. It was his reasoning for having the officers under him give a mugger immunity to put me, the homeowner in prison for a year for resisting being mugged after working 16 hours and coming home. I don't pay taxes as I lost everything, and my contracting business built over 2 decades, having gone to prison. If you multiply the insanity in my case by 100's of thousands, you can see why America is tanking. You don't use tax dollars to use worthless parasites to ruin taxpayers and break up their families. That is the process that started in downtown America and is working its way out. I went to see legislators and asked them if they want evidence that the Judicial Branch is double the size it should be and is basically just a taxpayer scam. Judiciary Committee legislators don't want evidence, don't want to have a hearing, and don't think they should get evidence from constituents saying so on the record. [video and post] If I had the money, I'd leave the sinking ship, America. I love my country, I like my fellow Americans, I hate the [snipped] who run the country.
We the people aren't being served by our government. We're being beaten up, robbed, and killed. Police officers are not to protect and serve us, they're to protect the integrity of the system. A Connecticut State Police Officer told me that. It was his reasoning for having the officers under him give a mugger immunity to put me, the homeowner in prison for a year for resisting being mugged after working 16 hours and coming home.
I don't pay taxes as I lost everything, and my contracting business built over 2 decades, having gone to prison. If you multiply the insanity in my case by 100's of thousands, you can see why America is tanking. You don't use tax dollars to use worthless parasites to ruin taxpayers and break up their families. That is the process that started in downtown America and is working its way out. I went to see legislators and asked them if they want evidence that the Judicial Branch is double the size it should be and is basically just a taxpayer scam. Judiciary Committee legislators don't want evidence, don't want to have a hearing, and don't think they should get evidence from constituents saying so on the record. [video and post]
If I had the money, I'd leave the sinking ship, America. I love my country, I like my fellow Americans, I hate the [snipped] who run the country.
Joseph Stack, frustrated American, flew his airplane into an Austin, Texas, office building. He was one of the 79-percent of Americans who have given up on "their" government.
The latest Rasmussen Poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans are convinced that "their" government is totally unresponsive to them, their concerns, and their needs. Rasmussen found that only 21-percent of the American population agree that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed, and that 21-percent is comprised of the political class itself and liberals. Rasmussen concludes that the gap between the American population and the politicians who rule them "may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century."
Indications are that Joseph Stack was sane. Like Palestinians faced with Israeli jet fighters, helicopter gunships, tanks, missiles and poison gas, Stack realized that he was powerless. A suicide attack was the only weapon left to him.
Stack targeted the IRS, the federal agency that had gratuitously ruined him. He flew his airplane into an office building occupied by 200 members of the IRS. This deliberate plan and the written explanation he left behind segregate him from deranged people who randomly shoot up a Post Office or university campus.
The government and its propaganda ministry do not want to call Stack a terrorist. "Terrorist" is a term the government reserves for Muslims who do not like what Israel does to Palestinians and the U.S. government does to Muslim countries.
But Stack experienced the same frustrations and emotions as Muslims who can't take it any longer and strap on a suicide vest.
"Violence," Stack wrote, "not only is the answer, it is the only answer." Stack concluded that nothing short of violence will get the attention of a government that has turned its back on the American people.
Anger is building up. People are beginning to do unusual things. Terry Hoskins bulldozed his house rather than allow a bank to foreclose on it. The local TV station conducted an online survey and found that 79 percent of respondents agreed with Hoskins' action.
Perhaps the turning point was the federal government's bailout of the investment banks whose reckless misbehavior diminished Americans' retirement savings for the second time in eight years. Now a former head of the most culpable bank is campaigning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits in order to pay for the bailout. President Obama has obliged him by creating a "deficit commission."
The "deficit commission" will be used to gut Social Security, just as the private insurance health plan is paid for by cutting $500 billion out of Medicare.
It could not be more clear that government represents the interest groups that finance the election campaigns.
Conservatives used to say that Washington's power should be curtailed in behalf of state and local governments that are "closer to the people." But of course state and local governments are also controlled by interest groups.
Consider Florida, for example. In 2004 the storm surge from Hurricane Ivan did considerable damage to the Gulf Coast of the Florida panhandle. At Inlet Beach in Walton County, the surge claimed two beachfront homes and washed away enough of the high ground as to leave other homes vulnerable to the next storm.
People wanted to armor their homes with some form of sea wall. When the county gave the go ahead, two houses on the West end hired engineers who constructed a barrier made of rows of tubes 60 feet long filled with sand, each weighing about 70 tons. The sand-colored tubes were buried under many tons of white sand trucked in, and sea oats were planted. It was a perfect solution, and an expensive one -- $250,000.
Just East of the two homes, Ivan washed away a section of beach front road and left three houses built on pilings sitting on the beach. Last year government with FEMA money rebuilt the section of washed away beachfront road and armored it and two adjacent houses. The government used interlocking iron or steel panels that it drove down into the sand, leaving six to seven feet of the rusty metal above ground. Hundreds of truck loads of sand were brought in to cover the unsightly sea wall.
It didn't require a storm to wash away the loose sand and leave the ugly rusty metal exposed on the beach. The first high tide did the trick. Residents and vacationers are left with an eyesore on a beach ranked as the third most beautiful in the world.
The ugly rusty barrier built by the government is still there. But the intelligent approach taken by the private homeowners has been condemned to death. As I write, heavy equipment is on the beach slashing open the tubes and piling up the sand to be carried away. The homes will be left standing on the edge and will be undermined by the next hurricane.
Why did this happen? The official reason given by Florida's Department of Environmental Policy is that the county could only issue a temporary permit. Only DEP can issue a permanent permit, and as the homeowners don't have DEP's permanent permit, out goes the expensive, carefully engineered and unobtrusive sea wall.
This is the way government "works" for ordinary citizens. For the vast majority of people, government exists as a persecution mechanism that takes great pleasure in ruining their lives and pocketbooks. The DEP has inflicted heavy stress on the homeowners, now elderly, and could bring on a heart attack or stroke.
The real explanation for DEP's merciless treatment of citizens is that the agency is powerless against developers. It cannot stop them from destroying the Everglades, from destroying wetlands, from polluting rivers, or from building in front of the coastal setback line. As the state politicians protect developers from the DEP, the only people against whom the DEP can use its authority are unrepresented citizens. Frustrated itself, the DEP lashes out at powerless citizens.
In the small settlement of Inlet Beach, there are numerous examples of developers getting what they want. Over the years hurricanes have eaten away the beach and the dunes. As this occurs the setback line for construction moves inland. Back when the real estate bubble was being created by Alan Greenspan's irresponsibly low-interest-rate policy, small beach front lots were going for one million dollars. In the midst of this frenzy, a well connected developer bought a beach front lot for $30,000.
The lot was not recognizable as such. It sits on flat land on the beach. Decades ago it was a lot, but as the Gulf ate away the coast, the lot is now positioned in front of the setback line. The developer got the lot for the low price, because no one had been able to get a building permit for years.
But the developer got a permit. According to the head of the neighborhood association at the time, the developer went to a DEP official, whose jurisdiction was another part of the state and who was a former employee of the developer, and was issued a permit. Because of its exposure, during the real estate boom the house sat unsold for years. The community, which had opposed the project, concluded that the developer just wanted to show that he was more powerful than the law.
Currently, on six acres next to a state park on the East end of Inlet Beach another well connected developer has obtained DEP permission to compromise Walton County's highest and last remaining sand dunes held in place with native vegetation in order to build 20 houses. To protect the houses, DEP has issued a permit for the construction of a fifteen foot high man-made sand wall, a marketing device that will offer little protection.
According to information sent to me, nine of the houses will be seaward of the Coastal Construction Control line. Apparently this was a result of the developer being represented by a former county attorney, who convinced the commissioners to allow the developer to plan on the basis of the 1996 FEMA flood plain maps instead of using the current 2007 maps. Since 1996 there have been a number of hurricanes, such as Dennis and Ivan, and the set back line has moved inward.
When state and local governments allow developers to set aside the rules governing flood-plain development, they create insurance losses that drive up the insurance premiums for everyone in the community. The disturbance of the natural dunes could result in a breach through which storm surge can damage nearby properties. Instead of protecting people, government is allowing a developer to impose costs of his project on others.
Joseph Stack, Terry Hoskins, and 79 percent of the American population came to the realization that government does not represent them. Government represents monied interests for whom it bends the rules designed to protect the public, thus creating a legally privileged class.
In contrast, as at the West end of Inlet Beach, ordinary citizens are being driven into the ground.
This is what we call "freedom and democracy."
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new (more...)
U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.
You may ask yourself "why should I care?"
You should care because terrorism harms the economy. Specifically, a study by Harvard and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) points out:
From an economic standpoint, terrorism has been described to have four main effects (see, e.g., US Congress, Joint Economic Committee, 2002). First, the capital stock (human and physical) of a country is reduced as a result of terrorist attacks. Second, the terrorist threat induces higher levels of uncertainty. Third, terrorism promotes increases in counter-terrorism expenditures, drawing resources from productive sectors for use in security. Fourth, terrorism is known to affect negatively specific industries such as tourism.The Harvard/NBER concludes:
In accordance with the predictions of the model, higher levels of terrorist risks are associated with lower levels of net foreign direct investment positions, even after controlling for other types of country risks. On average, a standard deviation increase in the terrorist risk is associated with a fall in the net foreign direct investment position of about 5 percent of GDP.Moreover:
Terrorism has contributed to a decline in the global economy (for example, European Commission, 2001).And see this.
Indeed, the political causes you hold most dear will be derailed if false flag terror is carried out. To see that this is true, let's take a step back ..
"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector."
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
- U.S. President James Madison
"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death".
- Adolph Hitler
"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.
"The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened".
- Josef Stalin