Saturday, November 10, 2007


The concept of double jeopardy protects against abusive government conduct, such as harassing a person with repeated trials until convicted. The concept is so central to American jurisprudence that a court is required to stay, or halt, a second trial pending appeal if the basis for appeal is not frivolous.
This trial judge denied a stay pending appeal, as did the Army Court of Criminal Appeals and the higher Court of Military Appeals. At no point did the Army or any court state that the double jeopardy claim was frivolous. Finally, through a writ of habeas corpus, a federal judge in Tacoma granted a temporary stay.
What stark irony: At a time when habeas corpus is denied to captives held by our military, an American officer finds refuge in a writ of habeas corpus for protection from our military. In his decision, Judge Settle described the writ of habeas corpus: "Its scope has grown to achieve its grand purpose -- the protection of individuals against erosion of their right to be free from wrongful restraints upon their liberty."
To what extent do we extend the protections of our Constitution to those whose duty it is to protect our Constitution?

The above from Brian Michaels' "Constitution must protect the people who defend it" (Oregon Register-Guard) and it was written prior to Judge Benjamin Settle's verdict yesterday. It was noted by Portland and we were more focused Friday on Settle's ruling so we'll highlight it now.
Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in the Iraq War. As Christian Hill (The Olympian) reported yesterday, "Settle ruled that the civilian court's review of Watada's double-jeopardy claim is appropriate, rejecting claims by the Army that the court can only step in after the conclusion of the second court-martial and likely appeals within the military court system. He also found that the granting of a preliminary injunction is necessary in part because Watada will 'probably prevail on the merits' of his case, his ruling said. Settle reached that conclusion largely because of what he said was the abuse of discretion by Lt. Col. John Head, the military judge who presided in Watada's first court-martial, in rejecting a so-called stipulation of fact agreed upon by the government and defense that led to the mistrial, the ruling shows."

On February 11th, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts addressed Judge Toilet (aka John Head).


Fortunately Judge Toilet isn't the only judge or the last say.

Keshawn wanted to note that Glen Ford's Black Agenda Radio commentaries can be heard at the site as well as read. (In addition, they air on KPFK's Uprising each Friday -- I'm sure other stations as well but I am aware that Uprising airs the Black Agenda Radio commentary each Friday). Ava and I will be finishing up at our commentary for Hilda's Mix at some point tonight and we'll include that there as well. This is the beginning of Ford's "Obama and Clinton: The Siamese Twins" (Black Agenda Report):

Barack Obama is engaged in a high-profile/low substance effort to distance himself from Hillary Clinton on the Iraq war. It's like watching Siamese Twins slap each other around, knowing that the two are genetically identical and inseparable. Clinton and Obama are conjoined War Democrats who pretend to disagree on a phrase here and there. Both intend to stay in Iraq as long as so-called "U.S. interests" dictate. In that regard, their shared Iraq position is no different than George Bush's stated goals.
Last week, the New York Times gave Obama
acres of space to spin his illusory Iraq "withdrawal" plan - more space than the newspaper has afforded Dennis Kucinich, the real peace candidate, during the whole primary campaign. It was a waste of words, see-through clothing on a naked body. Obama claims he doesn't plan to maintain permanent bases in Iraq. So, by the way, do Hillary Clinton and George Bush. But Obama says he'll employ a "broader strategic" approach than Clinton - that he won't shy away from "talking" directly to the leaders of Iran and Syria. Sen. Clinton says she'd have to study the matter awhile, before deciding whether to have face-to-face meetings.
But, meetings about what? Obama and Clinton both insist that the U.S. military reserves the right to remain in Iraq until it serves U.S. interests to do otherwise - in Obama's words, until "we see some stability" in the region. But, what is "stability"? Apparently, it means pacification - just as it did in Vietnam. The "withdrawal" of which Obama speaks is predicated on leaving behind "secure" areas - again, in his words, "so we can afford to remove troops." And that depends on getting the "cooperation" of the Iraqis, friend and foe alike. George Bush sings the
same song: "When Iraqis Stand Up, We Stand Down," says Bush, bringing back an oldie-but-goldie phrase that presidents Johnson and Nixon deployed endlessly in Southeast Asia, two generations ago.

On a related topic, Lynda highlights this from Tom Hayden's open letter to Barack Obama at Common Dreams:

Your opposition to the Iraq War could have distinguished you, but it became more parsed than pronounced. All the nuance might please the New York Times' Michael Gordon, who helped get us into this madness in the first place, but the slivers of difference appear too narrow for many voters to notice. Clinton's plan, such as it is, amounts to six more years of thousands of American troops in Iraq [at least]. Your proposal is to remove combat troops by mid-2010, while leaving thousands of advisers trying to train a dysfunctional Iraqi army, and adding that you might re-invade to stave off ethnic genocide. Lately, you have said the mission of your residual American force would be more limited than the Clinton proposal. You would commit trainers, for example, only if the Iraqi government engages in reconciliation and abandons sectarian policing. You would not embed American trainers in the crossfire of combat. This nuancing avoids the tough and obvious question of what to do with the sectarian Frankenstein monster we have funded, armed and trained in the Baghdad Interior Ministry. The Jones Commission recently proposed "scrapping" the Iraqi police service. Do you agree? The Center for American Progress, directed by Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff, is urging that all US troops, including trainers, be redeployed this year. Why do you disagree? Lately you have taken advantage of Hillary Clinton's hawkishness on Iran to oppose bombing that country without Congressional authorization. But you carefully decline to say whether you would support bombing Iran when and if the time comes.
This caution has a history:
-- you were against the war in 2002 because it was a "dumb war", but you had to point out that you were not against all wars, without exactly saying what wars you favored; -- then you visited Iraq for 36 hours and "could only marvel at the ability of our government to essentially erect entire cities within hostile territory"; -- then as the quagmire deepened, you cloaked yourself in the bipartisan mantle of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group, which advocated leaving thousands of American troops in Iraq to fight terrorism, train the Iraqis until they "stand up", and sundry other tasks of occupation;
Perhaps your national security advisers are getting to you when it should be the other way around. Their expertise is not in the politics of primaries. If anything, they reject the of populist peace pressure influencing elite national security decisions. The result is a frustration towards all the Democratic candidates for what the Center for American Progress has recently called "strategic drift." The political result is the danger of returning to John Kerry’s muffled message in 2004. The policy result may be a total security disaster for our country, draining our young soldiers’ blood and everyone’s taxes on the continuing degradation of our national honor in a war which cannot be won.
Just for the record, let me tell you my position on Iraq. I think the only alternative is to begin a global diplomatic peace offensive starting with a commitment to withdraw all our troops as rapidly as possible. That is the only way to engage the world, including the Iraqi factions, in doing something about containing the crises of refugees, reconciliation and reconstruction. It means negotiating with Iran rather than escalating to a broader war. If you want to "turn a new page", it should not be about leaving the Sixties behind. It will be about leaving behind the superpower fantasies of both the neo-conservatives and your humanitarian hawks. And yes, it is to be "suspicious", as Eisenhower and John Kennedy came to be suspicious, of the advice of any Wise Men or security experts who advocated the military occupation of Iraq. Is that position as extreme as your rhetoric assumes?

I want to emphasize one section of the above:

- you were against the war in 2002 because it was a "dumb war", but you had to point out that you were not against all wars, without exactly saying what wars you favored; - then you visited Iraq for 36 hours and "could only marvel at the ability of our government to essentially erect entire cities within hostile territory"; - then as the quagmire deepened, you cloaked yourself in the bipartisan mantle of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group, which advocated leaving thousands of American troops in Iraq to fight terrorism, train the Iraqis until they "stand up", and sundry other tasks of occupation;

Excuse me? What cities does Obama believe the US "erected"? Does he think Iraq is empty land before the US landed? No cities were erected, let alone entire cities. That is a lie and highly xenophobic. Cities were destroyed -- Falluja was destroyed. Only someone willing to say anything at any given moment if they thought it would 'play well' would make such a ridiculous, such an offensive and such a xenophobic statement. No cities were "erected." Not "essentially," not at all. Maybe Bam-Bam's mistaking US military bases for cities? He is not a peace candidate, he made it clear in 2004 that he wasn't for withdrawal. This statement only goes to the fact that there's a gulf between the soft press he receives and who he actually is.

The New York Times? One article on Iraq. Not worth noting. What may be part of the article or may be an AP brief or a NYT brief (it's not credited) badly reports on another item. We'll note it via something else at another time. Those who hunger for bad reporting from the paper of a so-so record can turn to A5 for the story or stories.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
and Ruth's Ruth's Report

And we'll close with Margaret Kimberley's "Gangster Giuliani" (Black Agenda Report):

It is a supreme irony that Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City because his opponent and predecessor, David Dinkins, is a black man. The myth of the always liberal white New Yorker was proven to be just that on election day in 1993. White voters deserted Dinkins in droves and elected a Republican mayor for the first time in 30 years.
Giuliani, a former prosecutor, took office and immediately began treating New Yorkers, particularly black New Yorkers, like criminals. He specialized in pleasing white people by beating up black people. Under his leadership the police were unleashed and given the right to arrest for petty offenses and even to kill when they felt the urge to do so.
When Haitian immigrant
Patrick Dorismond was killed by a police officer, Giuliani illegally released his juvenile justice records to police. Adding insult to injury, he smeared the dead man by stating that he was "no altar boy." The Dorismond case was one of the tipping points that made even some white New Yorkers long for the day that Giuliani would be their former mayor. His public actions involving his private life also took the bloom off of the Rudy rose. In 2000 Giuliani informed his wife he was leaving her for another woman. He brought her that news via press conference. New York sophistication should not be confused with moral laissez faire. The tacky behavior was never forgotten.

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