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If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Conyers Report: Patterns of Abuse Continues

Having not read the full 370 report, I am at a disadvantage and have read only the summary report which comprises just over 14 pages, with 12 pages of footnotes.

My purpose for commenting it to share what may be some methods to link the valid concerns with the events of the day. Rather than let the events of Iran and Lebanon overshadow the illegal activity, the goal is to use the report as a basis to better see through the distraction from Accountability.

[Note: The title should read, "Pattern of Abuse Continues", but the URL has already been linked, so it's staying as it is. Sorry for the spelling error.]

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General Remarks

This report is an important milestone. My peers in the RNC will see that this document forms the basis to conclude several things: That the House Ranking Leader has a viable plan in place, is well organized, and can quickly amass large body of facts and succinctly distill them into a readable document.

The report should also be taken as an important guide and well documented plan for leadership. Congressman Conyers has demonstrated that he's not only committed to finding facts, but that he's willing to persevere despite no support from the Majority Congressional leadership. This is the very individual the American public needs at the Chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee.

The report itself should be seen as an important milestone in asserting the rule of law. The investigation has not started, yet the body of evidence is already large, growing, and well organized. Before we can proceed with the investigation into the President’s misconduct, we need a plan. Congressman Conyers has the very plan his Committee needs to continue to do its work. His investigation will for the important ground breaking work needed to objectively assess what the problems are, and what reasonable remedies, if any, are required.

The report should be taken as what it is: A large document that has not been adequately given the support from the House Judiciary Chairman. Rather, despite no support, the report has grown to an unacceptably large, and damning indictment of the volume of evidence this Congress refuses to address.

What is noteworthy is the length of the final report: Over 370 pages of text and references. The formal House Judiciary Committee Investigations have not started. However, the report length should be considered as indicative of the enormity of the problem which Congress refuses to face.

Despite no help, the DNC Staff on the House Judiciary Committee has done amazing things. They are well organized, and deserve our continued support as they prepare to take their rightful position as the Majority Party Investigating Staff. Our Constitution needs their dedication, and the American people cannot afford to be without them.

Please join me in applauding Congressman Conyers and his staff for their continued work. Let's continue to reach out to Republicans in my party who are starting to realize that we will have to work together to find the facts, then jointly discuss what is to be done to protect this Constitution.

* * *

It is my contention, perhaps shared by others, that the events in Lebanon and Iran are part of a deliberate effort to distract attention from the war crimes liabilities facing the RNC.

Let us put that side for the moment, and approach the Conyers report from the RNC perspective, but use today's focus on Iran and Lebanon as a means to illustrate the importance of the Conyers report.

Ref Conyers outlines the deceptions of Iraq WMD. Putting aside the contention that Senator Roberts is delaying the WMD report, and that the results of that report could be used during the first weeks of 2009 to remove the President, the point for the RNC faithful is clear: We've learned the President lied about the threat in Iraq. Iraq was invaded first.

Yet, in 2006, we're asked to believe that this threat is more looming in Iran.

  • If the President's version of events is true -- that Iran is a looming threat -- why wasn't Iran invaded first?

  • Conversely, given we know the President has lied about WMD, why should we believe his contentions that there is pressing problem in Iran?

  • Iraq's Hussein substantially complied with the UN resolutions. Putting aside the no-fly zone and ability to keep Hussein in a box, why are we to believe the contention that Iran is lying about whether it is or is not doing something?

    * * *

    Let's consider the issue of accusations without evidence. This is a common theme when it comes to rendition, NSA surveillance, and other illegal things. The point is that the White House has been invoking Sept 2001 events as a pretext.

    There is a major problem: The illegal activity was occurring before Sept 2001: Illegal Iraq-invasion planning and NSA monitoring.

    The point not to be lost is that there is a common approach to the law, regardless whether we are examining the abuses in the Conyers report, or today's events. Given this entrenched pattern, it's prudent to explore the misconduct rather than jump to the next (likely) manufactured crisis/excuse to distract attention.

    * * *

    As you read the summary report, and the detailed Conyers report, make an effort to generalize the common themes. Here's a sample.

    As you go through the Conyers report, consider what we learned from Watergate and the Iran-Contra Minority Report: There is a core pattern of abuse which is not new. It doesn't matter what the facts are related to the means and details of the abuse; the more general issue which compels voter understanding and decision: What method will be most credible to protect the Constitution.

    It is irrelevant whether there have or have not been crimes. At this juncture, we have a far more fundamental problem: Congress refuses to ask the question: What happened.

    * * *

    As you read the details of what occurred over yellow cake, recall the friendly reminder from Attorney Fitzpatrick: Some of the Libby arguments, although true, are not relevant.

    We need not argue over facts or who is or isn't correct, when the fundamental truth remains in doubt. The approach of this Congress isn't to resolve ambiguity, but to create distractions to avoid resolving ambiguity. That is not leadership, nor does it protect our Constitution, as they are required under 5 USC 3331.

    * * *

    As you review the manipulations for war, consider two larger themes:

  • War was decided, yet there was no planning to comply with Geneva, which Hamdan affirmed was a requirement;

  • Illegal activity started before the events of Sept 2001, so whether there is or is not a "big scary threat," is meaningless: The President and DoJ Staff had already agreed to a course of conduct that was illegal, regardless the existence or no-existence of the FISA-war-provisions or AUMF. In turn, this meaningless invocation of the AUMF, needs to be considered when reviewing the AT&T and FISA surveillance: The AUMF is a read herring, as you can see in these diagrams. [See Diagram-1 (note 2) and Diagram-3 (note D) ]

    The point is that the DoJ Staff attorneys have invoked the AUMF multiple times; yet, Gonzalez now reports to Senator Feinstein that "we're not at war" and "FISA terms related to war do not matter."

    The point for the RNC voters is that their leadership keeps changing the story to match facts, but now the stories are not longer consistent. This deserves a review, but the RNC is quick to wave the flag to jump into Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Yet, despite this desire to jump, the RNC has no resources or plan to sustain the (likely) US (future) commitment in Lebanon, much less the (current, real) requirements in Iraq.

    The RNC leadership botched the Iraq planning, liked about the evidence, and still has no plan for Iraq. There's no reason we should trust the RNC leadership to adequately manage the (likely) manufactured crisis with Israel. Rather, the RNC enjoys crisis so that it can create confusion, and distract the public from the initial war crimes and evidence of incompetence.

    * * *

    When reviewing the Vice President's abuse of information and analysts, it's useful to recall the similar (contrasting) approach to information when it came to the Iran-Contra affair.

    Where Cheney in 2000-2006 twists information to suit his ends, then-Representative Cheney in 1997 appealed to "find facts" as an excuse to delay accountability. Just as some staged events are outrageous, other sham events are covered up. With this leadership their statements are not credible. Their only agenda is to abuse power, and their excuses are just that: An excuse to not be held accountable. They do not deserve to be treated with respect, but with disdain.

    * * *

    At this juncture, recall the Bybee and Goldsmith memos. They are evidence of DoJ Staff attorney knowledge of requirements, but their assent to excuse to ignore Article 82 Geneva requirements affirmed in Hamdan and remain ignored in Iraq and Lebanon.

    What does the President plan to do if the US is called into action in Syria and Lebanon: Suddenly "follow the laws" he openly admits he has insufficiently trained people to follow? It's absurd to believe US combat forces are going to be in a position to treat any prisoners of war humanely. Rather, the RNC is spinning the public to justify committing more abuses against Arabs and Moslems.

    The issue isn't the pretext to target a specific religion; rather, it's the domestic climate which embraces the abuse of authority, but does not little to quickly ensure the laws of war are followed.

    * * *

    Recall also here (in some cases) the courts assent to state secrets, and the refusal to investigate Rendition; and contrast that with the Judge Walker decision to review the AT&T-NSA allegations despite this privilege.
    Adam appears to be part of the public relations effort to explain away the judicial decisions to do nothing.

    Yet, recall from Ludwigsburg and Nuremburg that the Judicial officers can be prosecuted for failing to enforce the law, or not investigating things they knew, or should have known were illegal.

    * * *

    Recall here the Geneva Article 82 requirements of the DoJ Staff attorneys to comply with Geneva; and contrast what we were openly told, with what we've later found out: The Constitution has been ignored, they did not get required warrants, and information has been illegally obtained by the NSA to justify illegal rendition, warrantless interrogations, and subsequent abuse of innocent people.

    The common theme is: One abuse led to anther, then to another . . . Where's the circuit breaker?

    * * *

    Here recall the ORCON requirements, and how these have been selectively ignored: Illegal activity has been (illegally) classified.

    * * *

    Recall here the rude reality of Iraq: Despite it being a war of choice, the illegal occupation/invasion was inadequately planned, there's been contract fraud and incompetence, and the US knew well before 2000 that substantial troops would be required. Because of the poor planning, the US failed to adequately prepare for the Geneva requirements of occupation, and subsequently committed (when it decided to go to war in 2000-2002 timeframe with insufficient troops) to a another round of war crimes: Inadequate troops to comply with Geneva requirements on an occupying force.

    * * *

    As you read this recall the many efforts Congress is using to avoid investigating, but change the law, thereby duplicating the problem of Watergate: Permitting the Executive to exercise the powers of other branches.

    The theme is simple: One constitutional abuse, left unchecked, leads to another. Soon, the scope of the abuse is so large, the DoJ Staff attorneys claim, "It's such a large mess, we can't do anything." Fortunately, the ABA has been (somewhat) awoken form its coma. maybe the Senate Judiciary committee will ask real questions, and ignore the Executive "direction" to avoid certain "touchy subjects" like an attorneys legal thinking. Ref

    * * *

    The general lesson of this is that the law is there for all to follow, not to be explained away. Article II requires the Executive to enforce the law.

    Despite dismissing the case against the government, Kennelly's opinion on page 39 shows us that Congress has a duty to enforce the law.

    * * *

    The issue here with "fully informed" requirement, is the President's (apparent) failure to comply with the Title 50 mandatory requirement on the President to inform Congress of the illegal activity.

    Even if the President creates a "nice story" to justify the illegal activity, he can't explain why he’s failed to comply with Title 50 which imposes a duty to report that illegal activity.

    Congress, in the Kennelly opinion, appears to have been informed of other illegal activity, but refuses to openly investigate this illegal activity. [ See 27-18 of 40 ]

    * * *

    When reviewing the misleading Executive statements, ask why the RNC is not in favor of the ABA conducting peer reviews; or why the RNC does not want to have the Attorney General, Yoo, Addington, Kesiler, or Moschella, Viet Dinh investigated and disbarred.

    The answer is simple: They hope to avoid being held accountable.

    Small problem: We know the Attorney General is lying about the "buy DoJ Staff" because of open evidence showing the DoJ Staff was not busy with "important things," but surfing the internet. Ref

    * * *

    On this page, consider the open source information linking AT&T, NARUS, and the NSA. Ref ]

    * * *

    Here, recall the DoJ AG subsequently revealed the President ordered the DoJ OPR to be blocked, raising the prospect of POTUS obstruction of justice into DOJ OPR review of attorney misconduct. Here are some questions you may wish to consider in light of the apparent obstruction. These are questions which need to be addressed before we give a green light for broader compat operations in the Middle East.

    It's one thing to botch a pre-planned disaster; quite another to embark on a second phase while the forces are bogged down in the first quagmire. The US has no credible basis to threaten anyone, and the disaster in Iraq is inspiring other actors to rise up against the United States. The answer isn't to mobilize for war, but to comprehend what our reckless leadership is doing to contribute to the disaster. Ref

    The generic abuses are pervasive, overwhelming, and warrant investigation, impeachment, and removal from office.