Constant's pations

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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Congressional Investigation

Governance: "Anyone having first-hand knowledge regarding this matter is requested to contact the committee offices." [ Source ]

Perhaps this current mess might be a trigger for people to ask, "If we're going to spend time investigating this issue, would it not be sensible to also investigate the larger issue of war crimes." I'm struck by the difference between how quickly the Congress moved on the IMs, but has done nothing on the issue of war crimes, and impeachable offenses.

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I'm struck by the language in the investigation, it seems just as appropriate to use the same language related to more serious issues.

Half the battle is getting the Congress to vote; the next battle is to get them to focus on the important legal issues of Geneva. Perhaps there's some way to encourage the pages to share information they may have about war crimes.

Anyone have any information about pages that were abused because they knew something about war crimes; or were any of the staffs involved in this alleged cover-up refusing to take action because of "the refusal to look at bigger issues like war crimes?"

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Notice the language: Ref

It's one thing to be upset and call for investigations, but quite another to apply that same standard to Geneva. Wouldn't it be nice if the Committee reviewed its statements and asked, "Are we applying our words to the weighty matter of Geneva violations?"

Sample Quotes Changed For War Crimes

1. House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to establish an Investigative Subcommittee regarding any conduct of House Members, officers and staff related to information concerning ____ war crimes ____.

2. . . . personally direct this investigation.

3. . . .will serve with us on the subcommittee and we will be assisted by a team of skilled professional investigators.

4. . . .Like all Americans, we are both appalled at the revelations of ___ war crimes ___.

5. Simply put, the American people . . . are entitled to know how this situation was handled – and we are determined to answer their questions.

6. Admittedly, this is a busy time for any Member of Congress . . . we have no higher priority in the days ahead and are committed to act accordingly.

7. Indeed, shortly following the meeting of the full Ethics Committee, our new investigative subcommittee met for the first time and unanimously approved nearly four dozen subpoenas for documents and testimony. Many of the individuals we plan to talk with are Members, officers and staff of the House. For that reason, we sincerely hope most of the subpoenas we authorized today will prove unnecessary, because we believe that most of those individuals share our desire to get quick and truthful answers to the questions being asked by so many Americans.

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Overall, I appreciate that Congress is reviewing the matter. I would appreciate Congress more if it reviewed the war crimes allegations with as must interest.

It's unfortunate that the required catalyst for Congressional action, despite the many war crimes, has been the instant messages. As with the DoD-CIA-DoJ war crimes, people's public comments and personal reports were of no consequence.

I understand more why the Holocaust occurred. People spoke out, but the leadership ignored the problems when they were small; then used the size of the mess to complain nothing could be done.

Yes, I'm comparing the Bush Administration's crimes to the Nazis -- each started small, and continued to build. This Congress has consistently permitted problems to spiral out of control.

Methods Outside Congress

When government fails, it too often blames the messenger by shouting at them. There needs to be a system in place that lawfully circumvents Congress when it fails to assert its oath, or do what should be done.

There should be something that triggers a credible response, especially when Congress fails. We are not required to follow a Congress which refuses to enforce standards, assert it oath, or protect the Constitution and Supreme Law.

Perhaps there could be a public forum to find interested prosecutors and investigators to gather information and present that evidence to the State Attorney Generals. Ideally this is what the media should do. In the case of war crimes, the Conyers Report has not triggered the State level prosecutions.

I wish the States exercised jurisdiction on matters, as opposed to deferring the decision, and subsequent inaction, to the Federal Government. I'm pleased the states like Vermont, New Jersey, Missouri, and Maine have investigated the NSA matters despite Congressional failure.

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Contrast Post WWII With 2006

What would Foley do? What this Congress has done: Keep doing what is not appropriate, and not stop what they should have stopped.

Maybe if you look closely, you can see a picture of someone saying, "We did all we could."

Speaker Hastert met the press, and faced questions.

Foley's lawyer appears before the camera to report his client is in rehab.

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Compare the mandate of Post WWII with 2006. I get the impression that Members of Congress are lazy; and not willing to use the resources that are available -- they don’t have to start from scratch -- there are indictments, discovery plans, and questions ready.

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What could be done: Notice what is leaning in the direction of Congressional oversight, review, and investigation, and encourage them, "OK, that's a start, let's see more action in this direction related to Geneva, abuse, and war crimes."

Indeed, the likely reason Members of Congress aren't taking the hint is that they're complicit for failing to prevent and stop the misconduct, war crimes earlier. To investigate now would mean facing too many bad things. That is only an excuse, which Hitler relied upon.

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Questions From 2006/IM's That We Were told Should Have Been Asked Earlier in the 1930s

How long did they know?

Who was involved in the planning, but dismissed because they were not in agreement?

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There is a statement of accounting standard 99, related to fraud indicators. Perhaps there should be a set of similar standards that We the People could create to evaluate when Members of Congress are or are not doing their job; and the criteria we could use to independently, without Congressional agreement-non-agreement engage in independent investigations of Congress.

Obviously, the problem is when they wage illegal war to avoid oversight.

Consider after WWII what they were doing with youth.

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For the moment, put aside the inconsistent Hastert statements. Consider what we've learned from the GOP about who did or didn't know. The same kind of selective memory or "non-involvement" wasn't a credible defense at Nuremburg. This one wasn't involved with the planning, but he did engage in the unlawful activity.

Hastert sounds like Hans Frank:
He tried to give the responsibility for his actions to others high in command, but Frank was a willing participant in too many crimes against humanity to put the blame on other people.

- How much did Hastert know, not just about the IMs, but the war crimes planning, and the efforts to block investigations?

- Title 28 and Title 50 are reporting requirements. How could Hastert not know there was a problem: Either Gonzalez told him about the planned violations of the law; or, now that we know there was a problem, Hastert should know that he didn't get a letter, as required. Either way, there's no excuse to not have long ago reviewed these Geneva issues within Congress.

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The GOP conduct is a problem. Failing to act is a serious business, whether we're talking about war crimes or abuse of authority against a page.

Consider this quote:
He also had knowledge of the torture committed against people in nursing homes, hospitals, and asylums. Although others complained to Frick about the murder of these innocent people, Frick turned his head and allowed it to continue. Ref

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Who gave the direction to do nothing about the page situation?

"Superior orders" wasn't a defense:
His defense was that he was an obedient soldier, signing orders only as a command from Hitler. This was not a defense allowed under Article Eight of the Charter, however, and no other mitigation evidence could be offered.Ref

Death penalty.

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Who wrote memoranda saying nothing should be done about the allegations? Those who directed others to do nothing, were guilty of war crimes:
He was responsible for proclamations and memorandum repressing citizens of Czechoslovakia.Ref

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It is one thing to engage in a course of conduct that is contrary to one's duty; quite another to argue that their actions were permissible, yet their conduct belies their defense. What did the people say they thought was right, vs. what the evidence shows they actually believed? This was no defense:

independent belief in what he was doing.Ref

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The IMs and Congressional reviews are political issues; there is also a criminal inquiry. Nuremburg was the criminal case; Congress is merely a legislative body. I sense in 2006, there is less rigor to find facts, and more interest in making the issue go away.

It will be interesting to see the thoroughness of the investigations. Not simply in speed, but to what extent the well known misleading, inconsistent statements are publicly challenged. When the evidence is at odds with the defenses, the Nuremburg Trials ignored the excuses and found people guilty.

- What will be done to ensure that the investigation is credible?

- What will be done to ensure that the full scope of evidence is thoroughly reviewed in an objective matter?

- Will the arguments, lines of evidence, and defenses get credibly challenged; or will the statements, as if often, get accepted without challenging the representations?

How this Congress chooses to proceed on the IMs-Page issue, will tell us what we might expect to see during an impeachment or war crimes.

It is one thing to vote to investigate. Quite another to investigate. We have yet to discuss the credibility of the fact finding as it might relate to a problem, much less a solution.

This is what happens when a nation refuses to listen to honorable leaders, and blindly defers to those who are arrogant and make up rules to suit their conclusions.

It's one thing to ask for ideas, then target those who take your request for inputs seriously; quite another to target some for violating rules you've made up after the fact, then whine when others emulate your despicable example. The small minded ones have difficulty understanding things, and quickly point fingers without realizing they have no credibility or solutions. Talking about a problem is different than solving it. If you have an idea, but a mindless mob is following you, you're not a leader, but in front of a mob.

You wished this.