Thursday, March 30, 2006

Other Items

The former prosecutor, Richard G. Convertino, and a State Department employee who served as a chief government witness were each indicted on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The grand jury charged that they had conspired to conceal evidence about photographs of a military hospital in Jordan that was the supposed target of a terrorist plot by the Detroit defendants.
Mr. Convertino, once a rising star at the Justice Department who fell out of favor with supervisors in Washington, denied that he had ever withheld evidence, and he pledged that he would be vindicated.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Ex-Prosecutor in Terror Inquiry Is Indicted" in this morning's New York Times. On the same topic, Martha notes Dan Eggen's "Prosecutor, Agent Indicted in Detroit: Misconduct Is Alleged in Terrorism Case" (Washington Post):

The charges mark the latest embarrassment for the government in a case that was once hailed by former attorney general John D. Ashcroft as one of the most important terrorism prosecutions since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It disintegrated after a federal judge ordered an investigation of Convertino's conduct.
Legal experts said yesterday that an indictment of a prosecutor for improper conduct in a federal courtroom is extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented, in modern times.
"The charge is essentially that he prosecuted too aggressively and crossed the line," said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor who specializes in legal ethics. "This is simply astonishing."
Convertino also is charged with presenting false information at a sentencing hearing in a separate drug case to gain a light prison term for an informant.

Which brings up the issue of Carla J. Martin and why she has a job still. As Ruth noted Dalia Hashad saying on WBAI's Law and Disorder last week:

Ms. Hashad noted, "She not only told them what was going on in the courtroom but she outlined the prosecutor's opening statement It's like a roadmap . . . she outlined for them and gave them talking points basically coaching them . . . . Among lawyers this is something you just never do. . . She's not relieved of her job. She's on administrative duty that she still has her law license, she should be disbarred."

Martin still has a job because?

With news of other disgraces, Mia notes Tariq Ali's "NGOs or WGOs?" (CounterPunch):

While we were opening the World Social Forum in Karachi last weekend with virtuoso performances of sufi music and speeches, the country's rulers were marking the centenary of the Muslim League [the party that created Pakistan and has ever since been passed on from one bunch of rogues to another till now it is in the hands of political pimps who treat it like a bordello] by gifting the organisation to General Pervaiz Musharaf, the country's uniformed ruler.
The secular opposition leaders, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, who used to compete with each other to see who could amass more funds while in power, are both in exile. To return home would mean to face arrest for corruption. Neither is in the mood for martyrdom or relinquishing control of their organizations. Meanwhile, the religious parties are happily implementing neo-liberal policies in the North-West Frontier province that is under their control. Incapable of catering to the real needs of the poor they concentrate their fire on women and the godless liberals who defend them.
The military is so secure in its rule and the official politicians so useless that 'civil society' is booming. Private TV channels, like NGOs, have mushroomed and most views are permissible (I was interviewed for an hour by one of these on the "fate of the world communist movement") except a frontal assault on religion or the military and its networks that govern the country. If civil society posed any real threat to the elite, the plaudits it receives would rapidly turn to menace.

And I wish I'd seen this highlight offered by Mia when I was doing the previous entry, Patrick Cockburn's "Bush's Call for Ouster of Iraq's Prime Minister Widens Rift with Shias" (CounterPunch):

Unless he chooses to step down Mr Jaafari may not be finished since he is still the chosen Shia candidate and other Shia leaders may not want to break ranks. The unity of the Shia Alliance is also supported by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the Hawza (the religious hierarchy) as well as by the Iranians.
The prolonged and rancorous negotiations on the make up of the new Iraqi government gives a false impression that it will be a powerful body. In reality central government authority is now very limited in much of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, the three largest cities in the country.
There is almost a complete breakdown in law and order. Often criminals wear police uniforms. Three groups of gunmen disguised as police yesterday kidnapped 24 Iraqis working in a currency exchange and two electronic stores. Kidnapping has been rife since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 but the kidnap gangs are operating ever more brazenly, snatching many people at the same time. Earlier this month gunmen dressed as police commandos seized 50 men from a security company.

Remember that Kat contributed "Kat's Korner: Etta James Takes It All The Way" last night so make a point to check that out. Also be sure to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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