Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Call In Day Plus: Ship Board Prisoners, Throwing McCLellan Over Board + Hillary

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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Call In Day Plus: Ship Board Prisoners, Throwing McCLellan Over Board + Hillary

By Ramsey Clark — Join the Tuesday (TODAY), June 3rd Call-in to John Conyers. (Plus Additional News)

Jam the capitol switchboard with our demand to restore justice and reclaim democracy. Capitol Hill Switchboard — Toll call: 202.224.3121 — Toll-Free call: 800.828.0498 — 800.459.1887 — 866.340.9281 — 866.338.1015 — 877.851.6437.

When you get the operator ask for John Conyers' office. Contact the House Judiciary Committee too.

More toll-free numbers at Call — New York City Ny — Every Day Brings Another Reason For George Bush To Be Impeached.

We Have A Duty To Act And We Can Make A Difference.

Explaining that his "loyalty to the truth" overrode his "loyalty to Bush," former White House spokesman Scott McClellan published a new memoir this week, which details the ways in which the administration regularly lied to and deceived the American public. McClellan asserts that the White House had managed the debate leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq in a way that "almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option." In this "culture of deception," the corporate media acted as "enablers" to the Bush administration's war of aggression.

McClellan undoubtedly wrote the book for the sake of his career, to distance himself from an increasingly detested president. But the fact is that the longstanding beliefs of the anti-war and impeachment movement have now been confirmed by a Bush insider. The president lied about going to war; it was not just a case of "bad intelligence," but intentional deception. This is an impeachable crime.

Our relentless efforts for impeachment have helped change the political climate. Everyone's actions have made a difference. More than 1 million people have voted to impeach. This is a stunning example of grassroots democracy in action.

The Judiciary Committee and its Chairman have failed to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of the most grievous high Crimes and Misdemeanors ever to imperil our nation and its place among nations. The time to act is now.

We are asking you to take a moment on Tuesday (Today), June 3rd, to call Rep. John Conyers, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to act on the impeachment resolution in the hands of his committee. This is not a matter of electoral politics or partisan politics. It is a matter of right-and-wrong, whether the Constitution is still adhered to, or if it is just a piece of paper.

Please call John Conyers Tuesday (Today), June 3rd, at the numbers listed above. Let Mr. Conyers know, "You have a constitutional and legal obligation to act on impeachment. The Bush administration intentionally deceived the public to go to war, and the people of this country demand that they be held accountable."

This impeachment drive is part of a two-month intensive effort, announced by Ramsey Clark, to have the House Judiciary Committee commence impeachment hearings by July 4. This movement is making a difference.

Impeach.. for self-respect..some say…

Common Dreams has an article about the need for our country to impeach the President to obtain our self-respect.

The American people have a choice ahead of them. They can continue to be shamed as a nation of torturers, or they can put a stop to this administration’s ongoing crimes against humanity.

More thoughts from the article:

These laws include the Geneva Conventions, the 1984 U.N. Convention Against Torture and the U.S. Constitution. These laws are not invalidated, as the Bush team alleges, if prisoners are not on U.S. soil.

Torture laws are just covens, meaning “compelling law,” said constitutional law Professor Marjorie Cohn, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. “There can be no immunity from criminal liability for violation of a just covens prohibition.”

Which country will eventually arrest one of the Bush Administration for torture?

Eventually, some of our highest officials will be tried for war crimes in a court of international law.

Already, charges of condoning torture are advancing against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in France. Author Philippe Sands quotes a judge with experience in international criminal cases who says “It’s a matter of time” before members of the Bush administration are arrested for war crimes while traveling abroad.

Today was an exciting day as we all watched Fox News circle the wagons around the Bush Administration. The blue bloggers once eviscerated Scott McClellan as Press Secretary but now it is the Nationalists that are eating Scotty’s lunch.

-Fox News readers questioned the value of Scotty’s disclosures. (FOX READERS!)

-Karl Rove says:Former top Bush aide Karl Rove compared McClellan to a “left-wing blogger.”

-Gingrich says: Well, a lot of Americans feel that way — and I have two comments about what Scott did. The first is I assume this is all designed to sell books, and of course, he got a lot of publicity, a lot of attention. The second is, if these allegations are true, why didn’t he resign?

-Fleischer says:”I’m really stumped,” former press secretary Ari Fleischer, once McClellan’s boss, said on MSNBC. “If he had these misgivings in 2002 … why did he take the job, if he thought it was propaganda?”

-The White House says:”Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad - this is not the Scott we knew.

“The book, as reported by the press, has been described to the President. I do not expect a comment from him on it - he has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers.”

Soon Scotty will be discovered wearing women’s clothes in a European brothel and will have no place to call home.

The Piranha are feeding….

US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships | World news ... North America is operating 'floating prisons' to house suspected terrorists, say human rights lawyers.

The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organization Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners; however that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.

Reprieve will raise particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.

At this time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more than 100 individuals were "disappeared" to prisons in locations including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

Reprieve believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate's story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. "One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo ... he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo."

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, said: "They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights.

"By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been 'through the system' since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them."

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on extraordinary rendition, called for the US and UK governments to come clean over the holding of detainees.

"Little by little, the truth is coming out on extraordinary rendition. The rest will come, in time. Better for governments to be candid now, rather than later. Greater transparency will provide increased confidence that President Bush's departure from justice and the rule of law in the aftermath of September 11 is being reversed, and can help to win back the confidence of moderate Muslim communities, whose support is crucial in tackling dangerous extremism."

The Liberal Democrat's foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said: "If the Bush administration is using British territories to aid and abet illegal state abduction, it would amount to a huge breach of trust with the British government. Ministers must make absolutely clear that they would not support such illegal activity, either directly or indirectly."

A US navy spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, told the Guardian: "There are no detention facilities on US navy ships." However, he added that it was a matter of public record that some individuals had been put on ships "for a few days" during what he called the initial days of detention. He declined to comment on reports that US naval vessels stationed in or near Diego Garcia had been used as "prison ships".

The Foreign Office referred to David Miliband's statement last February admitting to MPs that, despite previous assurances to the contrary, US rendition flights had twice landed on Diego Garcia. He said he had asked his officials to compile a list of all flights on which rendition had been alleged.

CIA "black sites" are also believed to have operated in Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland and Romania.

In addition, numerous prisoners have been "extraordinarily rendered" to US allies and are alleged to have been tortured in secret prisons in countries such as Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt.


Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish: Black Sites At Sea?

Think Progress: ThinkFast: June 2, 2008 — Australian troops “ended …

Nick Juliano / The Raw Story: Report: Detainees held in ‘floating prisons’ Barbara's Daily BuzzFlash Minute for June 2, 2008

Cheryl Rofer / Washington Monthly: EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION CONTINUED....Reprieve, a human rights …

Jules Crittenden: Prison Ships — Breathless UK Guardian article parrots …

Michael / US Accused of Regime of Secret Floating Prisons

Paddy / The Political Carnival: US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships

Well today maybe the day for a BIG HALLELUJAH, it will be over. (Maybe)

Clinton claims to have won the most popular votes since the primaries and caucuses began in January, but that includes results from Michigan and Florida. Obama leads Clinton by nearly 450,000 votes in primaries and caucuses where delegates were at stake, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Hillary: my part in her downfall

As Hillary Clinton's doomed presidential bid draws to a painful close, one man has been cast as the scapegoat. In his first interview, Mark Penn, the candidate's former chief strategist, talks to Oliver Burkeman about what went wrong.

It is a little surprising that Mark Penn has agreed to talk. You might have assumed these would be reclusive, wound-licking times for the original architect and former chief strategist of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign - a man described on the jacket of his latest book as "America's most perceptive pollster", but more commonly referred to, over the last few weeks, in far less flattering terms.

As the Clinton bandwagon shudders to a halt and the blaming begins, Penn has been blamed more than anyone: for being arrogant and complacent, for urging Hillary to run as the "inevitable" winner, for failing to see the electorate's hunger for change, for devising a victory plan based on elementary misunderstandings of the voting system, and for hubris in refusing to give up his lucrative lobbying work while masterminding her candidacy.

When the New Republic magazine asked Clinton staffers to explain, off the record, why her campaign went so wrong, one responded with a list: "1. Mark Penn, 2. Mark Penn, 3. Mark Penn."

Yet here we are, in Penn's gleaming top-floor office at the Washington headquarters of Burson-Marsteller, the PR firm, where he is "worldwide chief executive", and where the walls serve as a shrine to his successes: there's a newspaper front page reading "Clinton Acquitted", signed with a thank-you from Bill, and an autographed photo of Tony Blair, whom he advised in the 2005 election ("You were brilliant - Tony"). Since losing his official position on Hillary's team - it was revealed that he'd been helping the Colombian government to lobby for a trade deal that she opposed - Penn has kept a low public profile, refusing to discuss the campaign as defeat draws near. So why does he want to do so now?

Well, actually, he doesn't. "Now, my understanding is that this interview is for the paperback edition of Microtrends," Penn begins, referring to his book, a work of popular sociology. "I think I've made it clear that I'm not doing on-the-record interviews about the campaign." Nobody told me about any restrictions on what we could talk about, I reply.

There follows an uncomfortable silence, which I attempt to lighten with a remark about how there's surely plenty of overlap between book and campaign. Penn, a portly 53-year-old who is invariably described by friends and reporters alike as "socially awkward", looks at me expressionlessly. "I've made it clear I'm not doing on-the-record interviews about the campaign," he repeats. Mentally, I start rephrasing all the questions I'd planned to ask about the race for the Democratic nomination so that they don't mention Clinton, or Obama, or politics.

"It's not much of a political book," Penn explains, but it's hard to believe he honestly thinks this. To everyone else who has an opinion on the matter, Microtrends encapsulates his approach to campaigning. Society, it argues, is becoming ever more fragmented into tiny yet influential demographics, defined not by class but by lifestyle choices: Penn gives them slightly cringe-inducing names, such as "old new dads", "young knitters", "extreme commuters", "tech fatales" (women who like technology) and "powerful petites" (women who are small and proud of it).

The Penn philosophy of both politics and marketing involves identifying such groups through polling, then micro-targeting them with messages crafted precisely to their unique concerns. It's not pandering, he insists: it's an expression of faith in voters as smart and rational creatures who vote according to self-interest, not airy intangibles or well-packaged personalities. "They're not really voting for people on the basis of the color of their tie," he says.

"They're voting for people on the basis of [what it] means for them and their families at the time." One campaign anecdote has an aide urging Clinton to "show a little bit of humanity", the kind of woolly advice Penn detests. "Oh, come on," he is supposed to have replied. "Being human is overrated."

Thus it was that Bill Clinton's successful 1996 election strategy, overseen by Penn, targeted "soccer moms", a label he coined. And thus it was, Penn's critics argue, that for too long Hillary's campaign was a muddle of small, contradictory, cautious messages, when what the moment required was passion, inspiration, and a promise of change.

Penn also argued that "the numbers" - the polling that Clinton paid his firm to conduct - showed that she shouldn't apologise for having backed the Iraq war, and should "go negative" against Obama. The former tactic helped her rival; the latter led to the notorious "3am" ad, questioning whether Obama would be able to keep America safe, which arguably helped her stay in the race. Despite the loss of his official status in the campaign, he remains closely involved.

"Americans overwhelmingly favor small, reasonable ideas over big, grandiose schemes ... There is no One America any more, or Two, or Three, or Eight," he writes. "In fact, there are hundreds of Americas."

A message more opposed to Obama's call for unity would be hard to imagine.

What about the possibility that voters might be intelligent without being fixated on narrow self-interest - that they might, for perfectly smart reasons, favor a more ambitious message of unity or change? I mean, just hypothetically, obviously, since we're not discussing the campaign. Could a candidate with a message like that, even if he was relatively inexperienced, ever stand a chance against a more cautious, more experienced ... Oh, for goodness' sake.

Penn chuckles uneasily. For a man so often described as arrogant and prone to shouting matches with fellow campaign advisers, there's a disarming nervousness in his manner. "As I say, it's not a political book," he begins. "[But] if you look at Hillary's campaign, she has been for ending the Iraq war, for universal health care ... all big ideas. [It's] been, really, a very big campaign." The trick is to find the balance between big ideas and small, targeted proposals. "The campaign is a balance, and she has shown the balance."

But she's not going to win. "Well, more people will have voted for her than have ever voted for a presidential candidate in the history of this country."

But she's not going to win. "Well, you know, when the campaign's over, either successfully or not, we'll talk about that." I'm pretty sure I'm being filed away as a member of the "impressionable elites", a micro trend Penn identifies whereby working-class voters get ever more adept at making rational choices based on data, while only the more privileged - people who aren't "living through the difficulties with health care, and the economy, and the mortgage, and the job loss" - can afford to indulge in frivolous chatter about hope and change. Naturally, from Penn's perspective, this includes many journalists.

The book has not met with universal acclaim. "Micro trends is so bad that the question ... isn't whether it will destroy [Penn's] own reputation, but whether it is so epically awful as to take the entire polling industry down with it," wrote the liberal commentator Ezra Klein, who berated Penn for misusing statistics. "If Bin Laden could convert just 1% of the world's 1 billion Muslims to take up violence," Penn writes in a section on terrorism as a trend, "that would be 10 million terrorists." This is undeniably correct. But "just 1%" implies that it would be a breeze; Penn offers no evidence as to whether, or how, or why it might actually occur.

He has been accused of far worse, numbers-wise. In recent days, Penn's enemies in Washington have been amusing themselves over a campaign leak suggesting that he based his election strategy - focusing resources on America's largest states - on the erroneous belief that states awarded delegates on a winner-takes-all basis. (Democratic party primaries don't work that way.)

"How can it possibly be," the senior Clinton aide Harold Ickes was quoted as saying, "that the vaunted chief strategist does not understand proportional allocation?" Penn denies the misunderstanding, and it's difficult to imagine he could be so mistaken. Nor is he the campaign's only scapegoat these days: many blame Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's former campaign manager, and fund raising was a constant problem, too. But the big-state strategy undoubtedly damaged Clinton, allowing Obama to win in the states she ignored, while still picking up plenty of votes in the big states' urban areas.

The other charge against Penn holds that he is more concerned with profit than principle. That's hardly a new allegation at Burson-Marsteller, his PR firm, whose clients have included GM food giant Monsanto, the private military outfit Blackwater, and the Chinese toy manufacturer that last year shipped millions of products to the US contaminated with the "date-rape drug" GHB. Penn could have chosen to take a leave of absence from lobbying; his firm has so far earned more than $13m from the Clinton campaign.

Even Karl Rove put aside his direct-mail business when recruited by George Bush. Instead, Penn kept fingers in multiple pies - a decision that culminated in embarrassment for Clinton last month when it emerged that he had met the Colombian ambassador to help lobby for a free-trade agreement that Hillary opposed. The meeting, he conceded, had been an "error in judgment". Days later, Colombia fired Burson-Marsteller, complaining that Penn's apology showed "a lack of respect to Colombians".

Does he wish he'd taken a sabbatical from lobbying? Penn's answer is the closest he comes to expressing any regrets about his campaign work. "I think that we - you know, with the benefit of hindsight, we might have done things somewhat differently. I'll spend some time analyzing that." He won't quite admit to having any regrets about the campaign as a whole, though. "In these races, if you win you all win, and if you lose you all lose. You have to take your share of the responsibility. There is always, in everything, something that could have been done differently."

While we're discussing Colombia, Penn's blackberry chimes. He peers at it through wire-rimmed spectacles, and his face clouds over. For several long moments, he reads in silence, then sighs. Later, I learn that this coincided with the news of Clinton's foot-in-mouth comments about Robert F Kennedy, which gave the impression that she was remaining in the race in case Obama was assassinated.

Penn is on much more comfortable ground discussing his work with overseas politicians, including his contributions to Blair's 2005 campaign, which include dreaming up the slogan "Forward Not Back". "Part of the reason I've been so successful in so many different foreign countries," he says, "has been that I'll come to people who are locked into a world that they see only from their political context ... and be able to say 'No, no, no - let's take a look at the numbers.'" He seems remarkably sanguine about the current prime minister's problems.

"Look, obviously, Labor and Gordon Brown are in a tough spot," he says. "But these are situations that he has time to work out before a scheduled election ... Oftentimes; these [tough spots] can be a spur to taking the kind of action that's ultimately successful. There's plenty of time." Take a hard-headed, numbers-based approach to the way society and the economy are changing, he insists, and you'll see that "the changes should favor Labor over a return to the Tories".

It's time for Penn's next meeting. He shows me from his office to the lobby. As we walk, he says abruptly: "You know, I got an email from Tony recently ... Just saying how pleased he was." Pleased with what? "Pleased with my work on his campaign back then. He just said he was really pleased at how it went."

I don't know it yet, but as he speaks, hordes of television commentators are beginning to dissect Clinton's RFK gaffe, driving another nail into her all-but-certainly doomed campaign.

"2005 ... You know, I really enjoyed that campaign," Penn says, in a tone it would be easy to interpret as wistful.

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