A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Legal Eagles Lose Grip: Bushquotes 2, Facts 7

"Americans serving in the FBI and CIA are performing their daily work with professionalism, while we reform those agencies to see the dangers around the next corner. Our country is grateful to all our fellow citizens who watch for the enemy, and answer the alarms, and guard America by their vigilance." --George W. Bush, September 11, 2004

U.S. Seeks to Dismiss Terror Convictions

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a dramatic reversal, the Justice Department acknowledges its original prosecution of a suspected terror cell in Detroit was filled with a "pattern of mistakes and oversights" that warrant the dismissal of the convictions.....

In a June 2003 jury verdict hailed by the administration as the breakup of a terror cell, Koubriti, 26, and Elmardoudi, 38, were convicted on terrorism and fraud charges and Ahmed Hannan, 36, was convicted of fraud. A fourth defendant, Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 24, was acquitted.

Probe Eyes Faulty FBI Arrest of Lawyer
Sep 13, 5:37 PM (ET)By CURT ANDERSON

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department's watchdog office is investigating whether the anti-terror Patriot Act was used improperly to arrest an Oregon lawyer in connection with terror bombings in Spain based on faulty FBI fingerprint analysis.

The case of Brandon Mayfield is among three new investigations by the department's inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, into potential civil rights or civil liberties violations by the Justice Department. The cases involve acts against Muslims, Arabs or other groups considered vulnerable to backlash in the war on terror.

Mayfield, a Muslim convert, was arrested May 6 on a material witness warrant after an FBI analysis concluded his fingerprint matched one found on a bag containing detonators like those used in March attacks on trains in Madrid that killed nearly 200 people and wounded 2,000.

A few weeks later, Mayfield was released after the FBI admitted it had made a mistake, and the fingerprint did not match Mayfield's.

Case Against NY Terror Suspects May Be Lost in Translation
August 25, 2004 By John Caher

ALBANY -- The Justice Department's misinterpretation of a Kurdish word has led a federal judge to reverse a prior decision and set bail for two Muslims accused of laundering terrorism money.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Homer, who previously said the proof against the men was "less than overwhelming," yesterday said that the government's translation error further weakens its case.

Saudi Student Cleared of Terror Charges in Idaho,
June 10, 2004 BOISE, Idaho –

A Saudi graduate student was acquitted Thursday of charges that he used his computer expertise to foster terrorism.

The case against Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, 34, was seen as an important test of a provision of the Patriot Act that makes it a crime to provide expert advice or assistance to terrorists. First Amendment advocates called the verdict a victory for free speech.

Al-Hussayen, a computer science student at the University of Idaho, set up and ran Web sites that prosecutors say were used to recruit terrorists, raise money and disseminate inflammatory rhetoric....

Al-Hussayen's attorneys have argued that he had little to do with the creation of the material posted. They say the material was protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and was not designed to raise money or recruit militants.

Government Concedes Scalia Erasure Wrong
Sep 14, 7:48 PM (ET)By RON HARRIST

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The government has conceded that the U.S. Marshals Service violated federal law when a marshal ordered reporters with The Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American to erase their recordings of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Justice Department also said the reporters and their employers are each entitled to $1,000 in damages and reasonable attorneys' fees, which had been sought by the media organizations.

The government's concessions were contained in court papers filed Friday in response to a lawsuit by the news organizations.

While agreeing the federal Privacy Protection Act forbids the seizure of the work product of a journalist, the government said the plaintiffs were not entitled to an injunction that would bar the Marshals Service from a repeat of the incident.

Judge Orders U.S. to Open Iraq Records

NEW YORK (AP) - Suggesting the government was acting as if it had something to hide, a federal judge Wednesday gave Washington one month to release records related to the treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein chastised officials for moving at a "glacial pace" in responding to nearly year-old Freedom of Information Act requests from the American Civil Liberties Union and four other watchdog organizations.

"If the documents are more of an embarrassment than a secret, the public should know of our government's treatment of individuals captured and held abroad," Hellerstein wrote. "We are a nation that strives to value the dignity of all humanity."

The groups brought a lawsuit in June, saying they wanted to expose the treatment of detainees.

Hellerstein said though the government had raised "important issues" of national security as a reason for the delays, "merely raising national security concerns cannot justify unlimited delay."

A reprimand, no apology for chaplain
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff, 3/23/2004

WASHINGTON -- Army Captain James "Yousef" Yee asked for an apology but received a reprimand yesterday, as the strange legal saga of the Muslim chaplain once suspected of the grand crime of spying at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp reached a whimper of a conclusion over sex offenses.

Outgoing Guantanamo commander Major General Geoffrey Miller, who dismissed all criminal charges against Yee last week, decided during an administrative hearing yesterday to place a reprimand in his permanent service record over charges that Yee downloaded porn onto his government-owned laptop and had an extramarital affair last summer.

The sex-related offenses, discovered during the course of the investigation into more serious national security fears, were all that remained of a case that began explosively in September, when Yee was arrested in Jacksonville upon the suspicion of being a spy in the war on terrorism.

He spent 76 days in solitary confinement at a South Carolina brig, some of it in leg irons, while government officials speaking anonymously told reporters he was suspected of treason. In fact, no such evidence was produced.

Oh, yes, and here's the GOOD news:

Stewart Asks to Serve Sentence Soon
Sep 15, 6:43 PM (ET)By ERIN McCLAM

NEW YORK (AP) - Even at a wrenching moment of surrender, Martha Stewart was - as always - under impeccable control.

Her announcement Wednesday that she would report to prison as soon as possible came in a light-bathed studio, before a brilliant backdrop of color swatches, perfectly choreographed for television. She lamented that she would miss her beloved pets - cats, dogs, horses, canaries and chickens - and hoped to be free in time for her cherished spring gardening.

Partial Government Win in Moussaoui Appeal
United Press International

A federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled terror suspect Zacharias Moussaoui could not have direct access to suspects held overseas.

The ruling is a partial victory for the Justice Department. The appeals court upheld a federal judge's ruling the overseas suspects could be helpful to Moussaoui's case, and said the judge could access enemy combatants overseas if they are in U.S. custody.

But the appeals court also said appropriate substitutions are available in place of the enemy combatant testimony at trial, such as a government proposal to summarize the relevant parts of terror suspect debriefings.

Well, hey, it's just like Dick Cheney says, they've gotten beyond regarding terrorism as merely "criminal acts". Maybe that's why they can't prosecute anybody straight.

For past confrontations of Bushquotes with the Facts, you can go here and here.


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