Thanks to President Barack Obama, the family of Sgt. Brian McDonnell of the San Francisco Police Department may finally get justice. The Weather Underground, led by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, police believe, murdered McDonnell when they detonated a bomb at the city's Park Police station on February 16, 1970.
Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have long claimed that "a great many" terrorist plots had been foiled by Bush administration's torture policies (they called them “aggressive interrogation" techniques). But a March 29 Washington Post story reveals that the torture of Abu Zubaida, touted by the ex-president as an intelligence treasure-trove, failed to foil a single terror plot and turned up scores of false leads.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, one of the senior Bush Administration officials that pushed the run-up to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week he published a blog entry claiming that among the more than 700 people who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba that only “two dozen or so of the detainees who might well be hardcore terrorists.”
The U.S. Supreme Court almost vindicated the trial rights of persons seized within the territorial United States by vacating an appellate court judgment in the case of al-Marri v. Spagone. The case involved legal U.S. resident Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar who has been detained without charges since 2001.
The increasing violence that the drug cartels have been inflicting on Mexico is now making its way across the Rio Grande into the United States. And examples of the spillover are spreading and becoming ever more numerous, according to American officials cited in multiple reports.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s office has nearly completed a report that excoriates the three senior Bush administration officials who gave a pseudo-legal imprimatur to torture detainees, according to the New York Times for February 17. The Justice Department inquiry focuses upon three former Bush-era lawyers: Berkeley Law School Professor John Yoo, Judge Jay S. Bybee of the U.S. Ninth District Appellate Court, and Steven G. Bradbury.
Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo castigated President Obama’s decision to ban torture and close Guantanamo in a January 29 Wall Street Journal opinion column that somehow avoided the use of the word "torture." As we shall see, his column was a dance of obviously false assumptions and false conclusions designed to justify the Bush policy of torture (in his column Woo calls it "tough interrogation") and endless detention without trial.
The Department of Defense claimed in a dramatic press briefing on January 13 that “61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight” of terrorism. This figure has been repeated incessantly since that time by the mass media, often without the “or suspected of” qualifier in the statement.
President Barack Obama signed three executive orders on the first full day of his presidency, January 21, to (1) ban the use of torture, (2) close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year, and (3) review of detention policies for terrorist suspects, along with a review of cases for existing inmates.
The new and heavily liberal legislative bodies now ensconced in Washington and in many statehouses across the nation now pose a slow equivalent to the march on Lexington and Concord that sparked the American Revolution. Taxation, regulation, and government inroads into personal liberty, including gun control, are now proliferating.
During his last full day in office, President George W. Bush has commuted the sentences of former Border Patrol agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. The president had been under pressure from grass-roots organizations (including the John Birch Society), concerned members of Congress, and outraged citizens regarding the trial of the former agents and their subsequent mistreatment in prison.