If He Hollers, Let Him Go

Gee, what a great idea!

Gitmo Detainee Ordered Released

A suspected al Qaeda organizer once called “the highest value detainee” held at Guantanamo Bay was ordered released by a federal judge Monday.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was accused in the 9/11 Commission report of helping recruit Mohammed Atta and other members of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, who took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Military prosecutors suspected Mr. Slahi of links to other al Qaeda operations, and considered seeking the death penalty against him while preparing possible charges in 2003 and 2004.

Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Mr. Slahi’s petition for habeas corpus, effectively finding that the government lacked legal grounds to hold him. The order was classified, although the court said it planned to release a redacted public version in coming weeks.

Judge Robertson held four days of closed hearings in the Slahi case last year. Mr. Slahi testified via secure video link from the U.S. military’s detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, his attorney said.

“They were considering giving him the death penalty. Now they don’t even have enough evidence to pass the test for habeas,” said Mr. Slahi’s attorney, Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, N.M. She said she couldn’t comment further because the proceedings were classified. Mr. Slahi is still being held at Guantánamo.

The government may appeal. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd on Monday said the agency was “reviewing the ruling.”

Brig. Gen. John Furlow, who helped lead a Pentagon-ordered probe of detainee abuse at Guantánamo Bay, has testified that at one point Mr. Slahi was “the highest value detainee” at the site and “the key orchestrator of the al Qaeda cell in Europe.”

Plans to try him by military commission were derailed after prosecutors learned Mr. Slahi had been subjected to a “special interrogation plan” involving weeks of physical and mental torment, including a death threat and a threat to bring Mr. Slahi’s mother to Guantanamo Bay where she could be gang-raped, officials said.

Although the treatment apparently induced Mr. Slahi’s compliance, the military prosecutor, Marine Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, determined that it constituted torture and that evidence it produced couldn’t lawfully be used against Mr. Slahi.

Mr. Slahi is the cretin on the left.

See also:
Detainee abused at Guantánamo ordered freed
U.S. judge orders release of Guantanamo detainee
US judge orders to free Gitmo inmate linked to 9/11
Guantanamo Detainee al-Slahi Wins Habeas Case
Judge Orders Guantanamo Detainee Released
US court to release 9/11 suspect
Judge clears Gitmo inmate
US judge orders release of 9/11 recruiter
Clinton Judge – James Robertson – Set to Free Top Al-Qaeda Terrorist
Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Judge James Robertson
James Robertson (judge)

On no, the horror, the mean interrogators tormented Slahi and made an empty threat to gang-rape his mother! The Clinton Judge says release the nice terrorist you professional military monsters!

/they should take out full page ads in the New York Times, every day for a week in advance, and then let him go at Ground Zero

Good On Bubba!

Clinton, 2 journalists depart NKorea for US

Former President Bill Clinton brought two freed U.S. journalists out of North Korea early Wednesday following rare talks with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the women sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling were heading back to the U.S. with Clinton, his spokesman Matt McKenna said, less than 24 hours after the former U.S. leader landed in the North Korean capital on a private, humanitarian trip to secure their release.

The women, dressed in short-sleeved shirts and jeans, appeared healthy as they climbed the steps to the plane and shook hands with Clinton before getting into the jet, APTN footage in Pyongyang showed. Clinton waved, put his hand over his heart and then saluted.

North Korean officials waved as the plane took off. McKenna said the flight was bound for Los Angeles, where the journalists will be reunited with their families. The White House had no comment.

Their departure was a jubilant conclusion to a more than four-month ordeal for the women arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March while on a reporting trip for Current TV, the media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore. They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and engaging in “hostile acts.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had urged North Korea last month to grant them amnesty, saying they were remorseful and their families anguished.

North Korean media characterized the women’s release as proof of “humanitarian and peace-loving policy.”

Their families said they were “overjoyed” by the pardon. Lee, 36, a South Korean-born U.S. citizen, is the mother of a 4-year-old. Ling, a 32-year-old California native, is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, a correspondent for CNN as well as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “National Geographic Explorer.”

Clinton’s landmark trip to Pyongyang also resulted in rare talks with reclusive Kim Jong Il that state-run media described as “wide-ranging” and “exhaustive.” The meeting was Kim’s first with a prominent Western figure since reportedly suffering a stroke nearly a year ago.

While the White House emphasized the private nature of Clinton’s trip, his landmark visit to Pyongyang to free the Americans was a coup that came at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program.

State media said Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and relayed President Barack Obama’s gratitude. The report said the visit would “contribute to deepening the understanding” between North Korea and the United States.

The meeting also appeared aimed at dispelling persistent questions about the health of the authoritarian North Korean leader, who was said to be suffering from chronic diabetes and heart disease before the reported stroke.

Kim smiled broadly for a photo standing next to a towering Clinton. He was markedly thinner than a year ago, with his graying hair cropped short. The once-pudgy 67-year-old, who for decades had a noticeable pot belly, wore a khaki jumpsuit and appeared frail and diminutive in a group shot seated next to a robust Clinton.

The journalists’ release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United Nations, said Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Clinton “didn’t go to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation,” Sneider said.

See also:
North Korea: 2 US journalists pardoned
Clinton Leaves North Korea With Two Journalists, Spokesman Says
N Korea frees US reporters after Clinton visit
Will nukes creep into Bill Clinton’s North Korea agenda?
Analysis: Obama lets NKorea’s Kim save face
Bill Clinton’s ‘rock star status’ delivers in North Korea
Clinton’s Unwise Trip to North Korea

Thank God the two journalists are free, safe, and on the way home to their families. Oh, and thanks to Bill Clinton too.

/still, you have to wonder exactly what we gave North Korea in return for thei release

Be Careful What You Wish For

So, does Eric Holder want to open this can of worms? Is giving a legal opinion now a criminal offense? Really?

Holder: Justice Department Will ‘Follow the Law’ in Probing Interrogation Tactics

The Justice Department will “follow the law” in investigating the Bush administration officials who cleared harsh interrogation techniques, Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday.

Holder reiterated his position a day after President Obama opened the door for potential prosecution against the lawyers who drafted memos that justified harsh interrogation tactics.

Obama has said the CIA operatives who employed those tactics using the legal guidance provided will be safe from criminal charges, but offered no such assurances to Bush administration lawyers.

“We’re going to follow the evidence wherever it takes us. We’re going to follow the law wherever that takes us,” Holder told reporters.

“No one is above the law,” Holder said.

Critics have said trying to prosecute lawyers for offering legal advice is a slippery slope toward criminalizing opinions.

“Will Democrats also investigate the members of Congress who were briefed on interrogation tactics in 2002 and raised no objection? If the lawyers are threatened with an investigation, why not the politicians who approved their actions?” asked Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

What about Congress?

Congress Debates Fresh Investigation Of Interrogations

Obama had hoped to put the whole matter behind him, first by banning those interrogation methods early in his presidency and then by releasing the memos last week with the proviso that no CIA official who carried out interrogations should be prosecuted.

Instead, the latest decision has stirred controversy on the right and the left. Obama has drawn sharp criticism from former vice president Richard B. Cheney, former CIA directors and Republican elected officials for releasing the memos. Those critics see softness in the commander in chief. He faces equally strong reaction from the left, where there is a desire to punish Bush administration officials for their actions and to conduct a more thorough investigation of what happened.

The controversy moved to Capitol Hill yesterday as lawmakers debated the wisdom of launching a fresh investigation into the Bush-era practices. Several top Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), withheld judgment, noting that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has begun an inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), however, endorsed the idea and said witnesses should not be immune from prosecution.

Even Speaker Pelosi is on the bandwagon.

Pelosi backs anti-terror ‘truth commission’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed today the establishment of a formal “truth commission” to investigate Bush administration anti-terrorism policies, including an examination of former top Justice Department lawyers who crafted the legal justifications for what critics say was torture.

Such a probe could target UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush Justice Department who was instrumental in crafting the interrogation memoranda, and his former boss, Jay Bybee, now a judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Pelosi’s endorsement follows President Obama’s signal Tuesday that he was open to the idea. Obama’s shift, in tandem with last week’s release by the administration of past memos describing brutal interrogation techniques on terror suspects, has touched a match to the seething controversy over whether there should be a public or legal accounting for Bush administration policies on torture and detention.

But wait Nancy, didn’t you approve of these interrogation techniques, are you going to investigate yourself?

Top legislators knew of interrogations

The CIA briefed top Democrats and Republicans on the congressional intelligence committees on enhanced interrogation techniques more than 30 times, according to intelligence sources, who said those members tacitly approved the techniques which some Democrats in Congress now say should land Bush administration officials in prison.

Between 2002 and 2006, the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees “each got complete, benchmark briefings on the program,” said one of the intelligence sources who is familiar with the briefings.

“If Congress wanted to kill this program, all it had to do was withhold funding,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the closed-door briefings.

Those who were briefed included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Rep. Jane Harman of California, all Democrats, and Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, all Republicans.

See also:
Holding Pelosi Accountable For Torture
Opinion: Nancy Pelosi encouraged CIA water boarding

Oops! Hey Obama, still think opening this Pandora’s box was a good idea? If this gets any real traction, it will surely scuttle your presidency and you’ll never be reelected. Emotions are that strong on this issue.

Presidential Poison

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

If this analogy seems excessive, consider how Mr. Obama has framed the issue. He has absolved CIA operatives of any legal jeopardy, no doubt because his intelligence advisers told him how damaging that would be to CIA morale when Mr. Obama needs the agency to protect the country. But he has pointedly invited investigations against Republican legal advisers who offered their best advice at the request of CIA officials.

“Your intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of ‘chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, in his August 1, 2002 memo. “In light of the information you believe [detainee Abu] Zubaydah has and the high level of threat you believe now exists, you wish to move the interrogations into what you have described as an ‘increased pressure phase.'”

So the CIA requests a legal review at a moment of heightened danger, the Justice Department obliges with an exceedingly detailed analysis of the law and interrogation practices — and, seven years later, Mr. Obama says only the legal advisers who are no longer in government should be investigated. The political convenience of this distinction for Mr. Obama betrays its basic injustice. And by the way, everyone agrees that senior officials, including President Bush, approved these interrogations. Is this President going to put his predecessor in the dock too?

Mr. Obama seemed to understand the peril of such an exercise when he said, before his inauguration, that he wanted to “look forward” and beyond the antiterror debates of the Bush years. As recently as Sunday, Rahm Emanuel said no prosecutions were contemplated and now is not a time for “anger and retribution.” Two days later the President disavowed his own chief of staff. Yet nothing had changed except that Mr. Obama’s decision last week to release the interrogation memos unleashed a revenge lust on the political left that he refuses to resist.

Just as with the AIG bonuses, he is trying to co-opt his left-wing base by playing to it — only to encourage it more. Within hours of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday comments, Senator Carl Levin piled on with his own accusatory Intelligence Committee report. The demands for a “special counsel” at Justice and a Congressional show trial are louder than ever, and both Europe’s left and the U.N. are signaling their desire to file their own charges against former U.S. officials.

Those officials won’t be the only ones who suffer if all of this goes forward. Congress will face questions about what the Members knew and when, especially Nancy Pelosi when she was on the House Intelligence Committee in 2002. The Speaker now says she remembers hearing about waterboarding, though not that it would actually be used. Does anyone believe that? Porter Goss, her GOP counterpart at the time, says he knew exactly what he was hearing and that, if anything, Ms. Pelosi worried the CIA wasn’t doing enough to stop another attack. By all means, put her under oath.

Mr. Obama may think he can soar above all of this, but he’ll soon learn otherwise. The Beltway’s political energy will focus more on the spectacle of revenge, and less on his agenda. The CIA will have its reputation smeared, and its agents second-guessing themselves. And if there is another terror attack against Americans, Mr. Obama will have set himself up for the argument that his campaign against the Bush policies is partly to blame.

Above all, the exercise will only embitter Republicans, including the moderates and national-security hawks Mr. Obama may need in the next four years. As patriotic officials who acted in good faith are indicted, smeared, impeached from judgeships or stripped of their academic tenure, the partisan anger and backlash will grow. And speaking of which, when will the GOP Members of Congress begin to denounce this partisan scapegoating? Senior Republicans like Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Pat Roberts and have hardly been profiles in courage.

Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, due in part to his personal charm and his seeming goodwill. By indulging his party’s desire to criminalize policy advice, he has unleashed furies that will haunt his Presidency.

See also:
Obama’s torture memo two-step
Obama pressed to back torture investigation
Torture Cases Would Face Legal Hurdles
Prosecuting Heroes

And hey, what about our extraordinary rendition programs? You know, where we send bad people to countries like Egypt to undergo real torture. Are we going to investigate that too?

/wasn’t Bill Clinton the one who first authorized extraordinary rendition, are we going to persecute the Clinton administration too, as long as we’re at it?

Spending Priorities

Remember two weeks ago when Robert Gates announced major cuts to the U.S. defense budget, including canceling the F-22 Raptor program and slashing the spending for ballistic missile defense?

See also:
Obama Plucks The Raptor
Disarming America

Well, well, well, we can’t afford national defense but look at what Obama and Congress saw fit to spend $5.7 billion on.

Obama signs service bill, says volunteers needed

Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a 5.7 billion US dollar national service bill yesterday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college.

“We need your service, right now, in this moment in history. … I’m asking you to stand up and play your part,” said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago. “I’m asking you to help change history’s course.”

Joining Obama was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the bill was named in honor of the Massachusetts Democrat.

Kennedy told the audience that included former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former first lady Rosalyn Carter that Obama’s efforts echoed that of his late brother, former President John F. Kennedy.

Obama signs national service legislation

President Obama signed into law Tuesday a measure designed to strengthen national community service efforts by boosting federal funding for thousands of volunteers in fields ranging from clean energy to health care and education.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, recently renamed to honor the Massachusetts senator’s sponsorship of the measure, will more than triple the number of positions in the AmeriCorps program, from 75,000 to 250,000, by 2017.

“Our government can help to rebuild our economy … [but] we need Americans willing to mentor our eager young children, or care for the sick, or ease the strains of deployment on our military families,” Obama said.

“All that’s required on your part is a willingness to make a difference. And that is, after all, the beauty of service. Anybody can do it.”

Kennedy, his niece Caroline Kennedy, former President Bill Clinton, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter were in attendance when Obama signed the measure into law at a Washington-area school that encourages volunteerism as part of its curriculum.

The law creates four national service corps and launches several other initiatives, including, among other things, a “Summer of Service” program to spur greater community outreach by middle- and high-school students.

Older Americans will also be encouraged to volunteer more through the creation of a “Silver Scholars” program, under which individuals 55 and older who perform 350 hours of service receive a $1,000 award.

See also:
National service bill gets Obama’s signature
Service Bill Signing a Tribute to Kennedy
Obama Signs $5.7 Billion National Service Bill Into Law
H.R.1388
AmeriCorps

President Barak Obama Signs Historic Volunteerism Act into Law

Today, President Barack Obama signed into law the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, heralding the next phase in the nation’s renewed call to service. With the signing, America’s local, regional and national service programs and nonprofit organizations are now poised to expand to further meet the nation’s most pressing challenges.

“We applaud Congress and President Obama on this important bi-partisan legislation that will change the course of history and civic responsibility in our country,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO, Points of Light Institute and co-founder of HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer management and civic engagement organization in the country. “Just as importantly, we applaud the countless volunteers and community organizers across the country that have supported the President’s call to service by advocating for this new legislation.”

Can’t you just smell ACORN? I’m all for volunteerism as long as it’s, well, voluntary. There are plenty of private organizations that do plenty of good volunteer work. Do we really need a quarter million person government “volunteer” force of “community organizers” or other make work jobs that aren’t really volunteers but paid/bribed with awards, stipends, or tuition, etc.? Just how coersive or mandatory this service is or will be in the future remains to be seen. This program is tailor made for political corruption, fraud, indoctrination, manipulation, and misuse. You need look no further than the government supported non-profit, non-partisan “community organizing” group ACORN to see where this is probably headed:

See also:
Criminals For Obama
Census Fun For Criminals
All The News That’s Fit To Hide
Rife With Bogus Idealism, Waste, AmeriCorps Doesn’t Need To Exist

I’m sure AmeriCorps has done some good work. But seriously, can you name one thing AmeriCorps has done? I can’t. So now, suddenly we need to throw $5.7 billion at a virtually unkown program and triple it’s size?

Instead of being wasted on a Democrat pet project that will inevitably be used to solidify their power base, that $5.7 billion could have purchased 32 additional F-22 Raptors, increasing the Raptor fleet by 15%, OR fully restored the $1.4 billion slashed from ballistic missile defense AND bought two dozen more Raptors! And, of course, that doesn’t even take into account the tens of thousands of high paying private sector engineering, manufacturing, etc. jobs that the F-22 and BMD programs support.

Spending priorities.

/all I can say is that, for all this wasted money, they had better be able to teach these 250,000 “community organizers” to fly so they can achieve air supremacy over the Chinese and Russians and protect American soil against Iranian Missiles and North Korean warheads

Birds Of A Feather

Accused Financier Under Federal Drug Investigation

The SEC’s fraud charges may be the least of accused financial scammer R. Allen Stanford’s worries. Federal authorities tell ABC News that the FBI and others have been investigating whether Stanford was involved in laundering drug money for Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel.

. . .

A video posted on the firm’s web-site shows Stanford, now sought by U.S. Marshals, being hugged by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and praised by former President Bill Clinton for helping to finance a convention-related forum and party put on by the National Democratic Institute.

See also:
Texas billionaire accused of $8-billion investment scam
Who is R. Allen Stanford?
R. Allen Stanford’s Private-Equity Connections
R. Allen Stanford and the Democrats’ Culture of Corruption
Stanford Financial Group
Gulf Cartel
National Democratic Institute
U.S. Marshals Service

/surprise, surprise!