Saturday, February 16, 2008

There are some things I want to blog about before we all die at midnight

The National Lawyers Guild has rebuked Justice Antonin Scalia for remarks he made in an interview with the BBC in which he excused torture as acceptable and perhaps even Constitutional in some instances.

[Get this -the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment does not apply when torture is used as an interrogation technique, because that isn't technically punishment. Seriously. This is why people hate lawyers.]

They have called on him to recuse himself from any and all cases that might come before the court involving interrogation techniques and the application of torture to extract intelligence information. “The Guild is appalled that a sitting Justice of the United States Supreme Court has ventured in a public forum his belief that it is justifiable to attempt to extract information from persons in custody by the use of torture. A justice of the highest court in the land, sworn to uphold the Constitution, whose views so undermine the fundamental right of security of the person guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, is unfit to sit on that Court,” said Marjorie Cohn, President of the Guild.

[Way to go Marjorie, and the rest of the NLG! This is why most people are like me - I get really damned defensive and ready to come to blows when someone says anything negative about my lawyer, who happens to be a pillar of virtue and integrity and a veritable scion of Adams.]

Hows that Surge™ workin' out for ya? Coalition -allied civilian guards announced Saturday that they were abandoning their posts in a volatile area south of Baghdad to protest the killing of at least 12 civilians over the last month by American airstrikes. The proverbial straw that broke the camels back came Friday when three members of the Sons of Iraq were gunned down by American forces who appeared to target them. The Sons of Iraq are largely credited with the reduction in violence throughout the country, especially in area that lack adequate police forces. Members receive about ten dollars a day in compensation and are given vests to make them readily identifiable to coalition forces. A tribal leader who has worked with the American forces said that the helicopter landed, the soldiers debarked, and deliberately fired on the Iraqi guards. "When we signed the contract with the U.S. forces, it was dependent on working jointly with them," the tribal leader said. "If they want us to come back, we will, but we need to make another contract that will guarantee our rights and prevent a repeat of such mistakes." By Saturday night 2000 had stood down and abandoned their checkpoints in the area where the shootings took place.

Oopsie! The FBI is blaming an "apparent miscommunication" with an as-yet-unnamed internet service provider that, instead of delivering the emails of a single individual named in a FISA warrant; delivered all of the emails that were sent to or from a small domain name. This is akin to a resident of your apartment complex being named in a warrant and the rental office turning over the keys to all 100 units. Marcia Hofmann, an attorney for the Electronic Freedom Foundation said it raised troubling questions about what happens when technology collides with civil liberties. “How do we know what the F.B.I. does with all these documents when a problem like this comes up?” Ms. Hofmann asked.

Tonight I nod respectfully to all those who served in the Balkans, especially Kosovo. The declaration of independence and the resulting celebrations are providing a few people around me with a feeling of quiet gratification tonight. Well done, Soldiers. Well done, Airmen. You saw your mission through, you halted a genocide, and you brought your men and women home alive, each and every one. Enjoy watching the payoff on cable over the next couple of days as the Kosovar Albanians you saved from genocide revel in the independence you made possible.

Well, that's a wrap - it's midnight-thirty in DC, and I'm still alive in KC. No one in my house has spontaneously succumbed to terrorism, at least not at this point.

If my luck holds out, I'll see you in the morning. If I wander into something interesting in the meantime, I'll update. Now, consider this an open thread and a communications hub. We're all in peril, you know, so let us know you're okay in comments, lest we fear the worst...

No comments: