Author Archives: condor

Well — That Only Took 13-1/2 Years. . .

But I, for one, am glad it has finally happened.

Of course, I favor complete repeal of the Section 215 style bulk collection, as I’ve said for over a decade — unless supported by full-on probable cause — but a curtailment may be all that is politically achievable, even now.

Even with a sitting President who is a Constitutional Scholar. So, I’ll take what I can get — for now.

Here’s the Gray Lady’s opening, on it all:

. . .In a remarkable reversal of national security policy formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Senate voted on Tuesday to curtail the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of American phone records, sending the legislation to President Obama’s desk for his signature. . . .

Nice. Onward. And take that, Mr. Cheney — history is obliterating almost all of your wrong headed follies from the rule of law, here in our truer, bluer version of 21st Century America.

Blackwater Guards’ Nisour Sentences: One — Life In Prison, And 30 Years. . . For Three Others. Justice.

Here was the October 2014 verdict(s) — yesterday was the sentencing. Deeply delayed, but plainly the right outcome.

The New York Times has it all:

. . .One by one, four former Blackwater security contractors wearing blue jumpsuits and leg irons stood before a federal judge on Monday and spoke publicly for the first time since a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq. . . .

In Iraq (pre 2006), Blackwater was perceived as so powerful that its employees could kill anyone and get away with it, said Mohammed Hafedh Abdulrazzaq Kinani, whose 9-year-old son, Ali, was killed in Nisour Square. . . .

No longer. Good riddance, Mr. Prince. Once again — all this blood is primarily on Dick Cheney’s hands. But it is on W.’s, too.

ACLU’s Take — On Today’s Five Year Torture Report

I too find this idea repugnant — which is why the logic is. . . in fact. . . compelling.

Establish that crimes were committed by Cheney, by pardoning him. Perfect. Here’s the Gray Lady’s reprint of Mr. Romero’s fine opinion — do go read it all:

. . .Mr. Obama could pardon George J. Tenet for authorizing torture at the C.I.A.’s black sites overseas, Donald H. Rumsfeld for authorizing the use of torture at the Guantánamo Bay prison, David S. Addington, John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee for crafting the legal cover for torture, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for overseeing it all.

While the idea of a pre-emptive pardon may seem novel, there is precedent. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson pardoned Confederate soldiers as a step toward unity and reconstruction after the Civil War. Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for the crimes of Watergate. Jimmy Carter pardoned Vietnam War draft resisters.

The spectacle of the president’s granting pardons to torturers still makes my stomach turn. But doing so may be the only way to ensure that the American government never tortures again. Pardons would make clear that crimes were committed; that the individuals who authorized and committed torture were indeed criminals; and that future architects and perpetrators of torture should beware. Prosecutions would be preferable, but pardons may be the only viable and lasting way to close the Pandora’s box of torture once and for all. . . .


Blackwater Outcome — In Nisour Square? Murder.

Finally. Some form of rough justice — via the NYT today:

. . .Jurors found one defendant guilty of murder and three others of manslaughter and weapons charges, roundly asserting that the shooting was criminal. . . .

Seventeen Iraqis died when gunfire erupted on Sept. 16, 2007 in the crowded Nisour Square in Baghdad. The shooting inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad and helped solidify the notion that Blackwater, America’s largest security contractor in Iraq, was reckless and unaccountable.

The former contractors said that they were ambushed by insurgents and that civilian deaths were the unfortunate, unintended consequences of urban warfare.

The defendants were Blackwater guards. One of them, Nicholas A. Slatten, who the government said fired the first shots, was convicted of murder. The others — Dustin L. Heard, Evan S. Liberty and Paul A. Slough — were convicted on manslaughter and firearms charges. . . .

Backgrounder here. Namaste — one and all.

Sen. Feinstein Is Right. This Smells. Dick.

Just go read on it — timeline especially.

You may certainly trust that every word she writes is true — and would channel my thoughts on the matter. Only she will lay it out far more artfully than I might ever hope to.

NYT’s Fabulous Post-Scriptum. . . Libby Edition!

Just go read it all — Mr. Cheney, in full regalia, and full of all that made him perhaps the least likeable politician. . . Ever.

There is no doubt in my mind that the attempt to pardon Scooter was purely quid pro quo. I am thankful that Bush 43 didn’t do so — for what ever reason.

That may be the only good news in the whole murderously sad story. Do go read it all.

“. . .George W. Bush’s refusal to pardon I. Lewis Libby at the end of his presidency caused Dick Cheney to lash out: ‘‘You are leaving a good man wounded on the field of battle. . . .”

I am truly glad to turn my back on this chapter of American Executive Branch history.

Wyoming’s Republicans: “Daughter’s A Cartpetbagger, Just Like Her Father”. . . Hilarious!

It comes as scant surprise that Mr. Cheney’s older daughter is as divisive — even within her own party — as Mr. Cheney was/is. It seems she’s trying to out-muscle a well-liked, long serving Senator in Wyoming. A Cheney acting brashly, and against advice? “Well. . . I’m shocked. Simply shocked.” Or not so much.

The only reason the long-standing, and well-liked Mr. Enzi would “be in any difficulty is if there’s a weird group of Republicans who think compromise is akin to communism,” said Alan Simpson, a legendary figure in Wyoming Republican politics. That sort of “difficulty” is of Mr. — and Ms. — Cheney’s making, at the moment.

Here is a bit of the Times reporting on it, from Jackson Hole, on it — do go read it all:

. . .What has startled some people here is not just the fact that Ms. Cheney is seemingly trying to nudge Mr. Enzi into retirement, but that she appears to be doing so with a hand from her father.

The former vice president and Mr. Enzi have been friends since the 1970s, when Mr. Cheney was Wyoming’s at-large congressman and Mr. Enzi was the mayor of Gillette. They became closer, Mr. Enzi recalled, over a shared passion: fly-fishing. The two were on the same team competing in a popular annual One Fly tournament — fishing with the same fly lure all day — in the Snake River.

But Mr. Enzi said he had not recently heard from the man he calls his “good friend.”

“I would expect that he’d call before she declares,” Mr. Enzi said of Mr. Cheney. . . .

If Ms. Cheney feels the need to blend in with the locals, it may be because of the carpetbagging charges her father faced when he moved back here from Washington in 1977 after working for President Gerald R. Ford. . . .

As I say — hilarious! Good luck Ms. Cheney!