Archive for justice

Eric Holder Drone Speech – How We Can Help President Obama Today ››Esquire

This is going to be a more than occasional series on the blog from now until whenever the administration leaves office. So this is the first entry. We can help President Obama today by explaining as LOUDLY as we can that he shouldn’t lead this country so far into the quagmire of extrajudicial killing that it never finds its way out again.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance at Northwestern on Monday, during which he explained the exact circumstances under which the president can order the killing of just about anyone the president wants to kill, was not promising. The criteria for when a president can unilaterally decide to kill somebody is completely full of holes, regardless of what the government’s pet lawyers say. And this…

“This is an indicator of our times,” Holder said, “not a departure from our laws and our values.”

…is a monumental pile of crap that should embarrass every Democrat who ever said an unkind word about John Yoo. This policy is a vast departure from our laws and an interplanetary probe away from our values. The president should not have this power because the Constitution, which was written by smarter people than, say, Benjamin Wittes, knew full and goddamn well why the president shouldn’t have this power. If you give the president the power to kill without due process, or without demonstrable probable cause, he inevitably will do so. And, as a lot of us asked during the Bush years, if you give this power to President George Bush, will you also give it to President Hillary Clinton and, if you give this power to President Barack Obama, will you also give it to President Rick Santorum? To continue:

“‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security.” Holder said. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

Well, I’m reasssured.

And who will allegedly “restrain” the president in the exercise of this incredible usurpation of executive power? A bunch of unelected Cabinet officers? Some wise men brought over from Congress? This would be the same Congress that has fought so very hard to maintain its constitutionally delegated war powers over the past 60 years? I don’t mean to get all Ron Paul with you here, but he’s right about one thing: The Congress has an undeniable and irrevocable constitutional mandate over the war powers of the government, and that mandate is exactly the same in 2012 as it was in 1789, and as it was in 1941, which was the last time the Executive branch condescended to ask for a constitutionally proper declaration of war. Why we should believe that a Congress that has so thoroughly abdicated that profound constitutional obligation ever would, through the delegation of authority to a few of its members, enforce it against an Executive branch thoroughly set on killing someone is not for small minds to ponder. And why would the Executive ever bother to listen anyway? No Congress is ever going to impeach a president over the improper use of military force; in 1972, Congressman Robert Drinan, S.J. tried to do that to Richard Nixon over the blatantly impeachable offense of bombing Cambodia in secret, only to have the sainted Tip O’Neill squash the whole business until they could do it properly over a conspiracy to cover up a cheap-ass burglary. This ingrained cowardice was why the Congress of the time did not assert its constitutional authority and impeach Ronald Reagan over the crimes of Iran-Contra, wherein the administration made war unconstitutionally in Central America. Oh, but don’t get the Congress started about blowjobs because, wow, will they get all noble then.

You want some help, Mr. President? Keep the country from sinking further into this lawless abyss.

via Eric Holder Drone Speech – How We Can Help President Obama Today – Esquire.


Geir Haarde, Iceland’s Ex-PM, The First World Leader To Face Criminal Charges Over Financial Crisis ››

Geir Haarde Financial Crisis

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s former prime minister has rejected charges he failed to adequately protect his country’s economy from financial shocks in the first criminal trial of a world leader over the 2008 financial crisis.

“I reject all accusations, and believe there is no basis for them,” Geir Haarde said as he took the stand on Monday. He said it was the first chance he had to answer questions in the case.

Haarde became a symbol of the bubble economy for Icelanders who lost their jobs and homes after the country’s main commercial banks collapsed in 2008, sending its currency into a nosedive and inflation soaring.

Prosecutors opened the case at the Landsdomur, a special court being convened for the first time in Iceland’s history.

Part of their case hinges on a charge that Haarde failed to implement recommendations a government committee had drawn up in 2006 to strengthen Iceland’s economy.

Haarde told the court that the committee’s work could not have prevented Iceland’s economic crash.

“Nobody predicted that there would be a financial collapse in Iceland” in 2008, he said, adding that the government did not fully understand how much debt the country’s banks had on their books.

Haarde is accused of negligence for failing to prevent the financial implosion from which the small island country is still struggling to recover.

In the crisis’ immediate aftermath – as unemployment and inflation skyrocketed – many sought to affix blame for the havoc across the 330,000-strong nation. A wave of public protests forced Haarde out of government in 2009.

Haarde has pleaded not guilty and sought to have all charges dismissed, calling the proceedings “preposterous.”

He has insisted Icelanders’ interests were his “guiding light,” and blamed the banks for the crisis, saying government officials and regulatory authorities tried their best to prevent the crisis and that his “conscience is clear.”

The trial is expected to last until mid-March, with the court taking another four to six weeks to deliver its verdict.

via Geir Haarde, Iceland’s Ex-PM, The First World Leader To Face Criminal Charges Over Financial Crisis.

Gary Critchley enjoys his first day of freedom after being in jail for 30 years ››Sunday Mercury

Mar 4 2012 by Adam Aspinall, Sunday Mercury

A FORMER punk rocker jailed for over three decades for a crime he insists he did not commit has shared his first taste of freedom with the Sunday Mercury.

Gary Critchley

Gary Critchley, 49, from Birmingham, has been released from prison on parole after 31 years behind bars.

And he is currently learning how to deal with a very different world to the one he has been forbidden from seeing since he was locked up at the age of 17 in 1981.

Gary said: “It feels great to be out, it really does. But it is so strange getting to grips with everything because so much has changed.

“It is like the whole of Birmingham has gone up a gear. Everything is so much busier to how I remember it and there are so many more people about.

“Certain neighbourhoods I knew when I was younger have completely changed their character.

“I could not believe what I was seeing when I saw that the Longbridge factory had gone.

“It was very sad.

“Birmingham is also so much noisier then it used to be but it also looks much more modern in the city centre.

“There is so much for me to see and do, and there is so much for me to learn, that it is going to take time.

“I am just so happy to be out. I am enjoying every minute of it.”

Gary was jailed for the murder Edward McNeill, who was found bludgeoned to death in a London squat in 1980. There were no forensics to tie him to the crime and witness statements blaming someone else were never heard in court.

To everyone’s disbelief Gary was convicted of murder and ‘detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’, the juvenile equivalent of a life sentence with a recommendation that he should serve ‘no more than nine years’.

Gary has since lost multiple appeals and the Criminal Cases Review Commission has, so far, refused to re-open his case.

But the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation and The Innocence Project UK have taken up the fight to overturn his conviction.

Meanwhile, Gary said he was relieved to be finally a free man once more and says he hopes to try to make money by selling his paintings.

While in prison he became a prolific painter and won a Koestler award for some of his works.

He has also been encouraged by staff of Cambridge University, who exhibited several of his paintings in their library.

He even sent a painting to Nelson Mandela, who wrote a thank you letter to him and wished him luck with his bid to clear his name.

He said: “I am really keen to work. But I will not be able to do that for a while due to the demands of my parole conditions.

“As I wait for these to work out I think I am going to try to make some money by selling some of my paintings.

“I have had a lot of praise for them in the past and think if I could set myself up in a studio or something like that I could make a good effort trying to make a living out of it.

“So I am going to focus on enjoying my life and clearing my name.

“It is extremely important for me to do that, not just for myself but also for my long-suffering mum.

“My brother Alan was murdered in 1987 and my dad John was killed by a drink driver so I cannot be the only male left in my family with the tag of a murderer. I will not let that happen and I will clear my name.

l For more information visit

via Gary Critchley enjoys his first day of freedom after being in jail for 30 years – Sunday Mercury.

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