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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

War Crimes Discovery Into Member of Congress Unofficial E-mail Systems

War Crimes prosecutors in Germany and Italy are aware of the e-mail related to war crimes evidence going into private e-mail accounts of Member of Congress and Staff counsel working for Congress.

Normally Members of Congress look only at the Executive Branch in re their document retention requirements.

However, given the War Crimes investigation is targeting all three branches of government -- the current problem with the US Attorney e-mail retention problem with the RNC also goes into Congress.

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When conducting a war crimes investigation, the issue isn't simply who committed war crimes, but who also had the duty to report, and prevent war crimes.

Nuremburg is precedent for attaching war crimes discovery to the Legislatures, especially when they have the legal and political tools of impeachment.

One issue is the Member of Congress knowledge of the illegal activity, and their refusal to enforce the laws of war.

Unlike a dictatorship that has all power in one branch of government, the US Government has three branches. This doesn't mean that the entire problem rests with the executive, but the reverse.

All policy making -- from legislation, enforcement, and interpretation of that policy -- spreads across all three branches.

War crimes prosecutors are aware of the e-mails send into and out of non-official communications system inside the White House, RNC, and Department of Justice.

However, the problem with non-official e-mails and data retention isn't isolated to the President or White house.

Members of Congress and their staff who use private e-mail accounts, and have been provided information related to war crimes, but have not acted on that information have a problem.

Just as the RNC thought they could get around some archiving requiring requirements if they sent it through non-official e-mails, the Members of Congress also have the same problem. It appears they were using non-official e-mails to receive information related to concerns and warning about war crimes which they have openly discussed.

The records show that the Members of Congress in using the private e-mail systems are not able to remove a link or trace between their official duty to act and the motivation of the evidence of war crimes they have no acted upon.

The war crimes prosecutors will need your specific assistance in finding other information related to this e-mal traffic:

A. When were war crimes issues against Members of Congress known to have been documented in the Congressional Correspond logs;

B. Despite an ethics requirements under the House or Senate rules to review these issues, when did the Secrete Meetings choose not to enforce the laws of war;

C. Despite the e-mail traffic prior to the Military Commissions Act passed, what reason did Members of Congress have to include language in the Act that would reward US Government officials for inaction on war crimes and pay their full funding?

Once Members of Congress put the language in the bill, the question changes from whether they knew or didn't know about war crimes; but how long they knew about through the private e-mails war crimes, but refused to act as required under the Nuremburg Precedents.

What would be helpful if you could reconstruct your phone calls, other memoranda, and written communications you may have provided to Members of Congress and their staff; and then outline the times, dates, and topics of discussion. Ideally, it would focus on the war crimes related issues.

Then what can be done is find out to what extent the Official Member of Congress e-mail does or does not capture this communication. If there is official e-mail that only captures a portion of the known discussion on war crimes, we’ll get an idea of the volume of data the RNC and Member of Congress were moving out side the system.

Also, when you forward your information to war crimes prosecutors, it will be helpful to get an idea if you made multiple calls to DC; or to your Congressional Office is your local district. What will be done is review your times you called; then compare the working papers in the Staff Counsel and Member of Congress notes to see whether those concerns were tallied and provided to the Senior staff inside the Various committees, for the Member of Congress, or cross flowed into the RNC or the Department.

The key will be to show that Member of Congress staff were notified, did get a specific request for a response, and that there should be a certain number of Congressional Correspond topics on war crimes. What will be interesting is to notice which of the Congressional Correspond logs related to war crimes issues are incomplete; or how they might have been documenting these concerns elsewhere; or whether the known communications going into the Congress on war crimes was not adequately retained.

The issue will be: To what extent, despite the known war crimes, were members of Congress directing staff to ignore war crimes issues and evidence; not documenting concerns about war crimes; yet, we can show that specific discussions occurred on war crimes; and these were deliberately conducted outside the official Member of Congress electronic archiving, and sent via non-official mechanism.

We already know they’ve been reviewing war crimes evidence using non-official e-mails. The issue is getting the public to share this information, and encourage your friends that there is something they can do right now – totally outside Congressional control – that will help war crimes prosecutors get an independent look of what should have been happening inside Congress, but is not supported by the official records, Title 28 and Title 50 documentation, and not into the Congressional Correspond logs.

What You Can Do

Let your friends know that any discussion, letter, e-mail, note, or communication they may have had with any member of Congress needs to be publicly discussed. You don’t have to identify yourself; we’re just interested in the names of the Staff counsel you contacted; the approximate time of day; the nature of your call related to what questions and issues you raised about war crimes; and what kind of response you were promised.

What we talk about war crimes, we're talking about the following:

A. Prisoner abuse;

B. Rendition;

C. Capture of information illegally used to support rendition;

D. FISA violations used to target people illegally and abuse them;

E. Efforts to not enforce the laws of war;

F. Member of Congress knowledge of illegal activity under Geneva, but their failure to investigate, act, or review the evidence;

G. Member of Congress notification of legal issues related to the above, but their failure to document their concerns; and despite assistance of legal counsel, not forward their war crimes-related concerns to the US Attorney, DOD/DOJ Inspector Genera

H. Evidence member of Congress were notified of legal issues directly or indirectly related to illegal prisoner abuse, but their failure to review the Title 28 and Title 50 exception reports

I. Active intimidation of public officials and private citizens from raising issues, discussing the war crimes, or attempt to take lawful action to bring these war crimes related charges, evidence, or investigation to the attention to Members of Congress;

J. Coordination by Members of Congress and State Officials to block state proclamations calling for Congress to investigate war crimes

K. Evidence Members of Congress received e-mail, news, summaries of Geneva Concerns, but did not act on that information;

L. Evidence Members of Congress were knowledgeable of the videos taken at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, but did not timely review this evidence of war rimes; and did not review the e-mails, documentation, or other supporting information showing the evidence was related to war crimes;

M. Evidence Members of Congress have had briefings on FISA violations, renditions, prisoner abuse, and they incorporated this information into legislation to circumvent enforcement of the laws of war;

N. Evidence Members of Congress knew about the retroactive changes to the statues which violated the laws of war, and described new crimes as being war crimes which is illegal under the laws of war;

O. Evidence Members of Congress and staff counsel knew, discussed, or were aware that funds were being set aside to reward, compensate, and cover the legal costs of their peers and staff who did not fully assert their oath to enforce the Geneva Conventions;

P. Copies of the e-mails between the White House, RNC, Member of Congress, and staff counsel related to war crimes, illegal prisoner abuse, and efforts to not enforce the laws of war despite fatal admissions by staff counsel that prisoner abuse was occurring

Q. Spikes in communication around key events -- Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and Eastern Europe -- but no noticeable change in the staffing assignments or action one might expect if the laws of war were being reviewed as required

R. Evidence Staff counsel in Congress knew of the 5100.77 laws of war program, failed to respond to concerns that JAGs and DOD or DOJ Staff counsel were not enforcing Geneva; or evidence that they knew of plans, programs, and polices of the President and others to target defense counsel attempting to enforce the laws of war.

S. Evidence Members of Congress were aware that JAGs were being intimidated – as were the US Attorneys – to not prosecute war crimes cases; or that JAGs were being asked to assent to war crimes; or JAGs were being asked to retroactively change their opinion on whether the Military Commissions Act was or was not lawful under the laws of war

T. Any evidence that any Member of Congress, staff counsel, or any US Government official took any action to block, dissuade, not enforce, or rebuff any attempt to report, investigate, or taken action to enforce the laws of war

U. Any evidence that Members of Congress -- despite a Nuremburg precedent linking a failure to impeach to enforce Geneva with war crimes – ignored the laws of war, did not impeach, made active effort to thwart impeachment, and how this decision was linked with what they knew, or should have known, was required to enforce the laws through impeachment.

V. Evidence Members of Congress knew that US government officials, contractors, or other indirect intermediaries had contracts, cover stories, training, or other assignments what would put them in a position to know about Geneva Violations; but these violations of the Conventions were not forward as required

W. Evidence that Members of Congress hanged the subject from whether contractors could or could not be prosecuted under the laws of war – they can – to whether Contractors were or were not subject to the UCMJ – irrelevant.

X. Evidence Members of Congress knew of White House, DOJ, DoD, or other staff counsel memoranda authorization, not enforcing, or failing to prevent abuse against prisoners; or pretending that “because it was not torture, it wasn’t a war crimes.” Prisoners when the are abused, regardless whether it is or is not torture, have been treated in volition of the laws of war.

Y. Evidence Members of Congress knew about prisoner of war reports – after their release to civilian life -- related to their abuse, mistreatment or Geneva violations, but ignored these press repots, did not act on them, or were reckless in not reviewing the information that was known to have been provided to them in the daily summaries, commentaries, and talking points.

Z. Copies of talking points, memos, meeting minutes, signed policy memos, budgets, e-mails or anything that would show that Members of Congress, staff counsel, the RNC or anyone knew of talking points to explain away violations of Geneva and pretend that the issue was trivial; copies of notes made to developing these talking points;

AA. Copies of the contracts with DoD, NSA, or DOJ intermediaries or contactors that illegally authorize the suppression of war crimes evidence; or put gag orders on contractors to keep quiet about war crimes committed by anyone

BB. Copies of coordinating e-mail members of Congress were forwarded related to prisoner transfers out of their district; courtesy copies of sample flight schedules and manifests related to illegal kidnapping and transfer of prisoners in re rendition to eastern Europe and the names of the contractors assigned to those scheduling and transport systems that were known to be linked with specific members of Congress who earmarked funds and other valuable consideration to contactors in their district to support war crimes.

Again, the issue isn’t just the original evidence of war crimes; but whether Members of Congress, when notified of this illegal activity through the non-official communications systems which are known to have occurred did or did not do what they should have done under the laws of war.

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Using your information, the war crimes prosecutors will be able to sample the available e-mails they have been provided, and get a feel for how much of the public conversations have not been captured; and get a sense right now how much evidence Congress, the RNC, and Staff Counsel working for the Republicans has deliberately destroyed to break the link. The evidence you have will be important to get a feel for which Members of Congress were contacted; what actions they should have taken under Title 28 and Title 50 to follow up with the DOJ and DOD IG; and whether Staff counsel did or did not document the concerns using the official correspond logs; or whether they sent the information another route.

Rest assured, the Members of Congress involved, and who did not do what they should have done know they have a problem. The key will be to remind your friends that there is something they can do today – 10 April 2007, well ahead of the May 2007 budget reviews, to outline the scope of the Member of Congress complicity with war crimes and to what extent this failed to fully assert their legal requirement they had under the Nuremberg Precedents to enforce the laws of war.

This is a real thing that you and your friends can actually do to remind Members of Congress that they need to cooperate. This is very serious business. If Members of Congress are not cooperative with your request, or subsequent calls on these war crimes issues, by all means forward that and let your friends know about. Every little piece of information you have about war crimes, and whether the RNC when it controlled Congress did or did not do what it should will be important. Every little piece o information matters. Do not for a minute believe that your single conversation isn’t important. It may be enough to tip the balance.

This is unfolding very quickly. The GOP has some major war crimes evidence problems right now. They are stuck: They have too much time until the 2008 election, not enough people to clean this mess up, no plan, and there is no statute of limitations. After this is done, do not be surprised if you see the GOP decimated as a political party. It is that serious. There are people who may be lawfully adjudicated with war crimes and lawfully executed.