Watching the Shadows

Scooter takes hit for Dick: juror

Democrats are urging President Bush not to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby following his conviction on perjury charges in the Valerie Plame case. His lawyers pledge to seek a retrial, or appeal. Significantly, Libby was never charged with leaking Plame's identity—whoever did that remains at large. Vice President Dick Cheney, in a written statement, said he was "disappointed with the verdict." Cheney said "Scooter has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction through many years of public service." (CNN, March 6) We suspect Dick is laughing down his sleeve. Michael Roston for Raw Story:

"Ghost detainees" from secret CIA gulag to Gitmo tribunals

From the Center for Constitutional Rights via Buzzflash, March 6:

US to Put 14 Ghost Detainees From CIA Black Sites Before Sham Tribunals at Guantanamo

Today the Center for Constitutional Rights issued a statement in response to the news that CCR's client, Majid Khan, one of the 14 so-called high value detainees at Guantánamo who were kept in secret CIA prisons and tortured before being transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006, would be brought before the Combatant Status Review Tribunal despite having been denied access to counsel:

Sy Hersh, Zbiggy Brzezinski embrace conspiracy theory?

Some recent gaffes or revelations (depending on your point of view) by Big Names in the media are providing more fodder for the always-eager conspiracy set. First is Seymour Hersh's latest in the March 5 New Yorker, "The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?" Like most of his recent journalism, it is based overwhelmingly on anonymous, unverfiable sources. It argues that the US is cooperating with (Sunni) Saudi Arabia in covert activities aimed at beating back the influence of (Shi'ite) Iran and Hezbollah in the Middle East, and that a "by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda." This is a rather vague statement ("by-product" implies this "bolstering" is not an intentional policy). But in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer after the piece came out, Hersh went one step further, asserting that the US is directly aiding al-Qaeda-linked groups:

Court: no habeas corpus for Gitmo detainees

The arrogance of invoking Cuban "sovereignty" to justify this trangression when the Cubans oppose everything Washington is doing at Guantánamo Bay is staggering even by the standards of our deeply cynical age. Oh and by the way, freedom's on the march, eh? From the LAT, Feb. 21:

WASHINGTON -- In a victory for the White House, a U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday that the hundreds of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay do not have a right to plead their innocence in an American court.

Francis Boyle: "Neo-Nazis have signed us onto WWIII"

Francis Boyle has had some good stuff to say in recent years, but he now seems to be losing it. He is going way overboard here, but this is the stuff that the relentlessly annoying Alex Jones laps up. Yes, Bush wanted Saddam dead, as we have argued. But we do not believe the Bushites orchestrated the unseemly orgy at his execution, which has only inflamed the sectarian slaughter that is making Iraq ungovernable for the occupation. What started as a divide-and-rule strategy has now taken on a life of its own and is working against the interests of its own authors. On a related point, the neocons are no longer strictly in control (as we have also argued), and whatever the neocons are, they are not "neo-nazis." Boyle has in the past pointed to legitimate and frightening parallels between the neocons and the Nazis—most obviously in their hubristic visions of remaking the world and their fetish for aggressive war. But a part of the neocons' hubris is that they think they are spreading democracy. Hitler and the real Nazis had complete contempt for democracy. Failure to grapple with this critical difference—engaging in a sloppy neocon/neo-nazi conflation—will only get us into trouble in several critical areas. First, it will get us dismissed as wingnuts. Second, we'll miss the boat on how the neocons and their allies appeal (or attempt to appeal) to dissidents in places like Iran, Syria and Lebanon who legitimately hunger for democracy. Finally, it will blind us to the threat of real neo-Nazis—which is a particularly ironic and insidious threat given Alex Jones' ongoing embrace of the xenophobe right. From Alex Jones', Jan. 5:

Canada: compensation and apology for "rendition" victim

Canada caves in—the US remains intransigent. From This Week of Kamloops, BC, Jan. 28:

Maher Arar is Kamloops' newest millionaire, but in an impassioned speech Friday, his lawyer reminded potential detractors that no amount of money will help Arar and his family to ever lead a normal life again.

Pentagon terror trials to allow hearsay evidence

Freedom's on the march. From AlJazeera, Jan. 18:

The US defence department has released new rules allowing terror suspects to be convicted and possibly executed on the basis of hearsay evidence and some coerced testimony.

Stalino-fascists go mainstream

Impeaching George Bush is a damn good idea. But the full page ad in the Jan. 12 New York Times by appears to be a bid by the unrepentantly Stalinist Workers World Party to garner mainstream liberal support, probably to keep pace with the Maoist competition. The ad reads "Articles of impeachment drafted by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark." We have repeatedly noted that Ramsey Clark is a totalitarian pseudo-left huckster who supports fascism. The ad also plugs the March 17 anti-war march in Washington sponsored by WWP's front group International ANSWER. Significantly, it does not plug the Jan. 27 march on Washington sponsored by the rival United for Peace & Justice—which has the usual problems with elitism and timidity, but is, at least, not crypto-fascist.

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