White House Fears U.S. Officials Could Be Tried Under War Crimes Act
Concern is growing within the White House that top members of the administration could be tried under the 1996 War Crimes Act. The law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment. The Washington Post is reporting that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need to protect administration officials and soldiers from being tried for war crimes.
Proposed Law Would Allow Gov’t to Indefinitely Detain U.S. Citizens
The Bush administration is proposing a new law that could allow the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens and bar them from access to civilian courts. The draft legislation is intended to authorize the Pentagon to try detainees by military tribunal. But some legal experts are warning that the bill would also allow the military to indefinitely detain so-called enemy combatants. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute." According to the Associated Press, the administration's proposal would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony.
Report: Oakland Police Infiltrated Anti-War Group
In Oakland, newly released documents show that the city’s police infiltrated the group Direct Action to Stop the War three years ago. Two undercover Oakland police officers managed to get themselves elected to leadership positions in an effort to influence a May 2003 anti-war protest. The undercover officers ended up spying on the protest organizers and even helped plan the route of the march.
P A L A R O I D S B Y G U Y B O U R D I N
This week in the magazine, Steve Coll writes about the Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan and the international trade in nuclear-weapons technology and equipment. Here, with Blake Eskin, he talks about Iran’s nuclear program, the dangers of proliferation, and the intersection of politics and the profit motive.
BLAKE ESKIN: Your story this week opens in Mannheim, Germany, at the trial of Gotthard Lerch. Who is Lerch, and what is he charged with?
STEVE COLL: He’s a German businessman who has specialized in the manufacture and sale of industrial vacuum systems. This summer, he was charged with violating German export-control laws for his alleged participation in a scheme to secretly supply Libya with a plant that could enrich uranium for nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. Police and government interest in Lerch’s activities dates back to the late nineteen-eighties, when he had business contacts with both Pakistan and Iran. Earlier, in Germany, he was charged with and acquitted of misappropriating blueprints for centrifuge-plant support systems, in connection with suspected sales to Pakistan.
The conspiracy that’s described in the current indictment seems to have begun in 1998 or 1999. There was work commissioned in South Africa and at a plant in Malaysia, there was a sort of front-office business infrastructure in Dubai, and there was manufacturing allegedly also undertaken in Turkey. It was a rather grand plan. The Libyans basically wanted the parts all manufactured offshore and then shipped in, ready to assemble.
But, as you report, Italian officials intercepted one of the shipments in 2003, and Libya ended up agreeing to abandon all weapons of mass destruction in exchange for an eventual end to economic sanctions. Was Lerch the only person on trial as a result of this deal?
Libyan coöperation has yielded an unprecedented array of evidence in a case of nuclear trading. Not only did the Libyans turn over invoices, shipping records, and physical equipment they received, making it possible for investigators to trace it back to its sources, but the exposure of the Libya project led to a worldwide series of arrests of businessmen and engineers who allegedly participated in it. And at least one of those arrested has decided to turn state’s evidence.
Has this information from Libya also helped to rein in A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist who has perhaps done more than anyone to spread nuclear-weapons technology?
1. Complete George W. Bush’s quote: “I believe that my job is _____.”
(a) to protect life. And sometimes people have to die in order to protect life, see? And that saddens me.
(b) hard. It’s a heckuva hard job. It’s difficult. But I’m doin’ it, see, and I’m gonna keep on doin’ it, because that’s the job of a President.
(c) to go out and explain to people what’s on my mind. That’s why I’m having this press conference, see? I’m telling you what’s on my mind. And what’s on my mind is winning the war on terror.
(d) to construe the laws I sign in a Presidential way. Because that’s part of being a leader, see, is construing with your gut.
2. Who is Peter Wallsten?
(a) The partially blind reporter whom George W. Bush mocked (“Are you going to ask that question with shades on?”) for not removing his sunglasses while addressing the President.
(b) The wheelchair-bound senior citizen whom George W. Bush mocked (“You look mighty comfortable”) for not standing in the presence of the President.
(c) The C.I.A. employee who, after delivering the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” briefing, was told by George W. Bush, “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”
(d) The Iraq-war amputee with whom George W. Bush tried to bond by telling him about a scratch he got during “combat with a cedar” while clearing brush.
Match the number with what it quantifies.
3. At least 30,000.
4. More than 5,000.
6. Around 200.
(a) Dollars’ worth of merchandise that the former Bush domestic-policy adviser Claude Allen was alleged to have stolen from Target and other stores through a phony refund scam.
(b) Shotgun pellets embedded in the face and upper body of Harry Whittington by Dick Cheney.
(c) National monuments or icons that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said there are in New York City.
(d) dollars donated by Barbara Bush to a hurricane relief fund with the stipulation that the money be spent on software bought from a company run by her son Neil.
7. Complete George W. Bush’s quote: “Nobody likes _______.”
(a) it when the press commits treason.
(b) being lied to.
(c) Osama bin Laden except the Democrats.
8. Three of these quotes were made by George W. Bush. Which one was made by Donald Rumsfeld?
(a) “Nobody likes war. It creates a sense of—of uncertainty in the country.”
(b) “The plan [in Iraq] is to prevent a civil war, and, to the extent one were to occur, to have the, from a security standpoint, have the Iraqi security forces deal with it to the extent they’re able to.”
(c) “Sometimes leaders show up who do a great disservice to the traditions and people of a country. ”
(d) “There are limits to how much corn can be used for ethanol. After all, we got to eat some.”
9. John Green.
10. James B. Comey.
11. James E. Hansen.
12. Harry Taylor.
(a) The “Good Morning America” producer who was suspended after e-mails he sent, including one in which he wrote, “Bush makes me sick,” were leaked.
(b) The NASA official who said, “It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States,” after the Administration began censoring climate scientists who tried to speak about global warming.
(c) The Justice Department official who refused to authorize the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.
(d) The questioner at a Charlotte event who told George W. Bush, “I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself.”
13. How did Dick Cheney say that the September 11th attacks might have been prevented?
(a) If George W. Bush’s father had taken out Saddam Hussein in 1991.
(b) If the Bush Administration had been able to eavesdrop on the hijackers’ phone conversations without court orders.
(c) If the National Security Agency hadn’t waited until September 12th to translate two messages warning of the attacks which had been intercepted on September 10th.
(d) If even one of the F.B.I. agent Harry Samit’s more than seventy warnings that Zacarias Moussaoui was a terrorist had been heeded.
14. Three of these quotes were made by George W. Bush. Which one was made by Dick Cheney?
(a) “I do want to give you some thoughts about what I’m thinking about.”
(b) “They ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English.”
(c) “We have all the legal authority we need.”
(d) “When you turn on your TV screen and see innocent people die day in and day out, it affects the mentality of our country.”
15. What pair of men did George W. Bush refer to as an “interesting cat” and a “dangerous dude”?
(a) The Iraqi Defense Minister and the Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
(b) Elvis Presley and “Colonel” Tom Parker, during the guided tour of Graceland that Bush gave to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
(c) Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon, after a special White House screening of “You, Me and Dupree.”
16. What was George W. Bush talking about when he declared, “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best”?
(a) Pushing ahead with the Dubai ports deal despite not having known about it until it appeared in the media.
(b) Blocking a Justice Department probe of the Administration’s secret domestic spying operation.
(c) Keeping Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary despite calls by six retired generals for his firing.
(d) Vetoing a stem-cell-research bill.
17. What did George W. Bush say was “the best moment” during his years in the White House?
(a) “The first day I sat at my desk in the Oval Office and thought about all the history that happened there and realized that now it was my turn.”
(b) “When I caught a seven-and-a-half-pound largemouth bass on my lake.”
(c) “When they told me we caught Saddam in his hidey-hole.”
18. True or false: When Tim Russert, the host of “Meet the Press,” said that “there were a lot of misjudgments made” regarding Iraq, his guest Condoleezza Rice pointed out, “There are also some misjudgments that were not made.”
19. Which of these words were among the top ten responses in a Pew Research Center poll that asked voters for the first word that came to mind when they think about George W. Bush?
(a) “Decisive,” “charming,” “brilliant,” and “truthful.”
(b) “Booze,” “cocaine,” “failure,” and “smirk.”
(c) “Illegitimate,” “simian,” “hotheaded,” and “torture.”
(d) “Incompetent,” “idiot,” “liar,” and “ass.”
(1) c, (2) a, (3) d, (4) a, (5) c, (6) b, (7) d, (8) b, (9) a, (10) c, (11) b, (12) d, (13) b, (14) c, (15) a, (16) c, (17) b, (18) True, (19) d
Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version.Link (via /.)
"Diebold has made the testing and certification process practically irrelevant," according to Dechert. "If you have access to these machines and you want to rig an election, anything is possible with the Diebold TS -- and it could be done without leaving a trace. All you need is a screwdriver." This model does not produce a voter verified paper trail so there is no way to check if the voter's choices are accurately reflected in the tabulation.