Daily Archives: January 24, 2009

A Second Look: Consortiumnews.com: Democrats Inch Toward Torture Probe

via Consortiumnews.com.

Democrats Inch Toward Torture Probe

By Jason Leopold
January 23, 2009

As President Barack Obama reverses some of ex-President George W. Bush’s most controversial “war on terror” policies, a consensus seems to be building among Democratic congressional leaders that further investigations are needed into Bush’s use of torture and other potential crimes.

On Wednesday – the first working day of the Obama administration – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would support funding and staff for additional fact-finding by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which last month released a report tracing abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to Bush’s Feb. 7, 2002, decision to exclude terror suspects from Geneva Convention protections.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers

This is a great piece rehashing all the latest congressional statements and actions regarding any possible criminal investigation of the Bush administration. Leopold states that Democrats are surprised by the recent statements by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in favor of a commission to probe the policies of Bush.

But why are Democrats surprised? I’ll excuse the use of Leopold’s weasel words about “Democrats” without saying exactly which Democrats, as there is some truth to this statement that Democrats are surprised. There has been some but not a great amount of buzz around the blogs –  such as Daily Kos and After Downing Street –  concerning prosecutions. But, I am not surprised by this.

These actions to investigate Bush after the fact fall right in line with the spineless stance the Democratic Congressional leaders took when Bush was in office, when the crimes were being committed. They have cowardly waited until Bush was out of power to begin any serious debate about the legality of his and his underlings’ actions and policies.

Now that Bush is gone, they seemingly find the balls they didn’t have before. The timing of the release of Conyers’ 486-page report on Bush should have been shoved in his face when he was still in town. The Democratic leaders are still cowards after all these years and it is sad that it really doesn’t surprise me.


What they’ve done is like waiting until the schoolyard bully is through beating on you and is walking away before you get the nerve to call his mother a tramp. He just turns and laughs at you and you cry.

That’s what Bush and his ever-clinging dingle berry Rove is doing right now down in Texas. They’re turning their heads and laughing at the weaklings.


A Second Look: McCain Hits Obama For William Lynn Pick

via McCain Hits Obama For William Lynn Pick.

WASHINGTON — A former Raytheon lobbyist nominated to be deputy defense secretary despite President Barack Obama’s ban on hiring lobbyists will sell his stock in the military contracting firm.

However, William J. Lynn won’t be forced to step back from decisions related to his former employer, the Pentagon said Friday.

Instead, Lynn’s dealings at the Defense Department will be subject to ethics reviews for one year, said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell.

That is fair enough. It is hard to find qualified people in Washington who are not lobbyists. Although I would prefer someone else i.e. anybody who’s not a Raytheon lobbyist, as No. 2 at Defense, I can live with the administration’s waiver of William Lynn if it stops here. The article goes on to say:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Linked to Lobbyists through entire campaign

But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he was disappointed that a recently employed lobbyist would be nominated to the No. 2 position at the Pentagon. McCain said he won’t endorse Lynn until more details are provided.

“Before I can determine whether to support his nomination as deputy secretary of defense, I intend to ask him to clarify for the record what matters and decisions will require his recusal,” McCain said in a statement.

John McCain is the absolute biggest hypocrite to ever grace the halls of Congress. He surrounded himself with high powered lobbyists from the moment he announced his candidacy. The first group of top campaign officers that McCain eventually fired were lobbyists, then the group he hired in late 2007 to revive his sinking campaign were also lobbyists.

From Thomas B. Edsall via Huffington Post in June 2007:

On March 7, 2007, McCain named ex-Texas Representative Tom Loeffler, who has one of the most lucrative and influential practices in the nation’s capital, as his campaign co-chair. In the same month, McCain named former Washington Sen. Slade Gorton, now a heavyweight lobbyist, as his honorary chairman for Washington state.

And from CNN in August 2008 identifying McCain’s new top advisers as lobbyists:

• One: Campaign manager Rick Davis is a major telecommunications lobbyist.

• Two: Senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann recently faced scrutiny over his foreign lobbying on behalf of the Republic of Georgia, which has been embroiled in a military conflict with Russia.

• Three: Senior adviser Charlie Black was a foreign lobbyist for dictators in Zaire and Angola in the 1980s, fodder for the liberal group MoveOn.org.

• Four: Frank Donatelli, the Republican National Committee’s liaison to the McCain campaign, has had clients including Exxon Mobil.

• Five: Economic adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer has lobbied for corporate giants like Koch Industries.

McCain needs to just STFU. Him and his deregulation-neo-con bottom-feeders are still being quoted after it was proved in November that Republicanism is DEAD. …Amazing.


A Second Look: Ex-Gitmo detainee reportedly gets al-Qaida role – Guantanamo- msnbc.com

via Ex-Gitmo detainee reportedly gets al-Qaida role – Guantanamo- msnbc.com.

CAIRO, Egypt – A released Guantanamo Bay terror detainee has re-emerged as an al-Qaida commander in Yemen, highlighting the dilemma facing President Barack Obama in shaping plans to close the detention facility and decide the fates of U.S. captives.

A U.S. counter terror official confirmed Friday that Said Ali al-Shihri, who was jailed in Guantanamo for six years after his capture in Pakistan, has resurfaced as a leader of a Yemeni branch of al-Qaida.

Guantanamo Bay

The article is talking about recidivism and what Obama should do about it. Recidivism is a huge problem right here in the U.S. when deals are struck with Americans who have killed as many people as al-Shiri and they are turned back onto the street after being imprisoned for a number of years only to murder again. This is not an Obama problem, criminals have been released throughout our history. Scooter Libby was released. He can repeat his offenses.

Al-Shihri was released by the U.S. in 2007 to the Saudi government for rehabilitation. But this week a publication posted on a militant-leaning Web site said he is now the top deputy in “al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,” a Yemeni offshoot of the terror group headed by Osama bin Laden. The group has been implicated in several attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital Sana.

Oh. 2007. Okay. Bush let him go.

Lastly, I just have to say that our judicial system is strong enough to prosecute and imprison war criminals like al-Shiri, or Bush.