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May 15, 2012

Bush, aides convicted of Iraq war crimes in absentia by Malaysia

Bush, aides convicted of Iraq war crimes in absentia by Malaysia

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

This photo is believed to show Ali Shalal in Abu Ghrai; he testified before the tribunal.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former President of the United States George W. Bush and seven prominent former colleagues guilty of war crimes. Though the tribunal has no authority to detain the convicted or enforce its verdict, it recommended payment of reparations to detainees from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib who testified before the court, and recommended they take the matter to a suitable court for enforcement.

While largely symbolic, the tribunal plans to submit its findings to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council. In addition to Bush, the court also found complicit his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo. Legal advisors for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were also convicted.

The court heard Iraqi engineer Abbas Abid testify about removal of his fingernails by pliers. Ali Shalal recalled being made to stand on a box whilst hooded, with wires attached to him, and whilst hanging from a wall. Mozzam Begg explained how he was beaten, and Jameelah Hameedi described being stripped, and being used as a human shield. Witnesses described lasting effects.



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May 11, 2012

Bush, aides convicted of war crimes in abstentia

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Ali Shalal, who was tortured in this way and may be the hooded man here, testified before the tribunal.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former President of the United States George W. Bush and seven prominent former colleagues guilty of war crimes. Though the tribunal has no authority to detain the convicted or enforce its verdict, it recommended payment of reparations to detainees in Guantanamo Bay and who testified before the court, and recommended they take the matter to a suitable court for enforcement.

While largely symbolic, the tribunal plans to submit its findings to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council. In addition to Bush, the court also found complicit his Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and John Yoo. Legal advisors for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were also convited.

The court heard Iraqi engineer Abbas Abid testify about removal of his fingernails by pliers. Ali Shalal recalled being made to stand on a box whilst hooded, with wires attached to him, and whilst hanging from a wall. Mozzam Begg explained how he was beaten, and Jameelah Hameedi described being stripped, humiliated, and being used as a human shield. Witnesses also explained their residual injuries.



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March 29, 2009

Spanish court considering torture criminal case against former U.S. officials

Spanish court considering torture criminal case against former U.S. officials

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Spain, see the Spain Portal
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A Spanish court is considering opening a criminal investigation into whether six former George W. Bush administration officials gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Baltasar Garzón
Image: Presidency of Argentina.

Baltasar Garzón, a Spanish judge with an international reputation for bringing cases against high-profile alleged human rights violators, sent the case to the prosecutor’s office to review whether it has any merit. Among the officials identified in the potential case is former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The prosecutor’s office must issue a recommendation on the merits of the case and on whether the high court has jurisdiction to pursue it. A response is expected by next month, and an official close to the case said it was “highly probable” it would go forward and lead to arrest warrants.

Spanish law allows the courts to pursue cases of torture and war crimes beyond Spanish borders. But American legal experts said the warrants, if issued, would be a largely symbolic gesture and that the officials would likely not be arrested if they did not leave the United States.

The officials are accused of providing the framework of policies and legal opinions that justified torture at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and afforded no protection under the Geneva Convention to Al-Qaeda suspects.

Cquote1.svg The charges as related to me make no sense Cquote2.svg

—Douglas J. Feith

“The charges as related to make make no sense,” said Douglas J. Feith, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is one of the six accused former officials. “They criticize me for promoting a controversial position that I never advocated.”

Captives from the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay in January 2002.

The other officials are former Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, Pentagon attorney William Haynes, and Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee.

Cquote1.svg If I were them, I would search for a good lawyer Cquote2.svg

—Gonzalo Boyé

Gonzalo Boyé, a lawyer for the group, said that the officials cited had well-documented roles in approving illegal interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, which are widely regarded as torture. Spain typically investigates and prosecutes torture under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a party. “If I were them, I would search for a good lawyer,” said Boyé of the accused officials.

Defenders of the officials said their legal analyses, which were conducted immediately following the September 11 attacks, are now being unfairly second-guessed.

Several human rights groups have asked judges in different countries to indict Bush officials for war crimes. Judge Garzón, best known for issuing an arrest warrant for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, has himself has been outspoken about the treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

A Spanish human rights group called the Association for Dignity of Inmates filed the criminal complaint.



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September 17, 2007

US President Bush nominates Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General

US President Bush nominates Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General

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Monday, September 17, 2007

President George W. Bush listens to remarks by Judge Michael Mukasey after announcing his nomination Monday, September 17, 2007, in the Rose Garden, to be the 81st Attorney General of the United States.

United States President George W. Bush has today nominated Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General. If confirmed by the Senate, Mukasey, a former Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York, will replace Alberto Gonzales.

“He knows what it takes to fight this war effectively and he knows how to do it in a manner consistent with our laws and our Constitution,” Bush said, while announcing Mukasey’s nomination in the Rose Garden.

“I look forward to meeting with members of Congress in the days ahead and, if confirmed, to working with Congress to meeting our nation’s challenges,” Mukasey said in his comments.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who was among those who sought the ouster of Gonzales, said Mukasey “is certainly conservative,” but “seems to be the kind of nominee who would put rule of law first and show independence from the White House – our most important criteria.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: “A man who spent 18 years on the federal bench surely understands the importance of checks and balances and knows how to say no to the president when he oversteps the Constitution, but there should be no rush to judgment. The Senate Judiciary Committee must carefully examine Judge Mukasey’s views on the complex legal challenges facing the nation.”

Michael B. Mukasey was nominated as a federal district judge in Manhattan by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He took the bench in 1988 and served in that position for 18 years, including a 6-year tenure as Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York from 2000 to July 2006.



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August 27, 2007

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Alberto Gonzales, official Department of Justice portrait.

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, after several months of controversy, today announced his resignation after 13 years of public service. He will leave office on September 17, 2007. While he did not elaborate on the circumstances of his departure, he referred to his tenure as a “remarkable journey” and said he had “lived the American dream.”

Critics of the embattled Attorney General have called for his ousting for several months, largely over his conflicts with the US Congress over the Bush Administration’s warrant-less wiretapping program, and his firing of nine US attorneys.

George W. Bush and Laura Bush sit with Alberto Gonzales and his wife, Rebecca, during a visit August 26, 2007, at the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Observers have expressed surprise at the sudden announcement, as Gonzales had said as recently as the weekend of the 18th of August that he had planned to stay through the end of President Bush’s second term.

Critics of the Attorney General, most notably Harry Reid, majority leader for the US Senate, have welcomed the announcement, as Gonzales had been one of the most controversial members of the Bush Administration.

President Bush spoke on his “close friend’s” resignation saying that he has reluctantly accepted the resignation, but noted that Gonzales’ name had been “dragged through the mud for political reasons.” Throughout the recent controversy Bush has stood next to Gonzales. Paul Clement, the current Solicitor General, will serve as the acting Attorney General until a replacement has been confirmed by the Senate.

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November 2, 2006

Massive operation results in arrests of 10,733 fugitives in Eastern U.S.

Massive operation results in arrests of 10,733 fugitives in Eastern U.S.

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Police arrested over 10,000 fugitives in the 7-day operation

10,733 fugitive felons have been arrested after Operation Falcon III (Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally), came to a close after 7 days, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and U.S. Marshals Service Director John F. Clark announced on Thursday. The Operation Falcon projects are part of a federally organized effort involving about 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, who target fugitives with state and local law enforcement warrants, a Justice Department spokesman said.

According to Clark, there are currently at least 1 million fugitives in the United States, and police across the nation arrest about 1,000 fugitives per week.

Gonzales explained that the operation was designed “to be sure that there aren’t second or third victims, especially children. . . by a dangerous fugitive”. Included in the operation were 24 states east of the Mississippi River, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Amongst the 10,733 fugitives arrested were 1,659 sex offenders, 971 of which were wanted for failing to register. 360 gang members were also apprehended, and over 270 weapons confiscated in the raid. This latest sweep was preceded in April this year, and in April of last year by similar Falcon operations.

No enforcement officers were killed during Falcon III. According to officers, a male murder suspect was killed when he showed a weapon to the police in Atlanta. In Florida, a suspect’s mother fired a weapon at police.

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  • “United States arrests 10,340 fugitives in first-of-kind nationwide sweep” — Wikinews, April 15, 2005

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February 21, 2006

Three Ohio men indicted for terrorist plot against U.S. military in Iraq

Three Ohio men indicted for terrorist plot against U.S. military in Iraq

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Federal grand jury in Cleveland handed down indictments Tuesday against three Ohio men on terrorism related charges, including their alleged involvement in planning attacks overseas to kill U.S. and coalition military personnel in Iraq and other countries.

The three men, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, and Wassim Mazlous, all pleaded not guilty. The men were arrested over the weekend in Toledo, the town where they lived over the past year. They are expected to appear in a Federal District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The indictment does not specify that any attacks were imminent. In a press conference in Washington, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the indictments were intended to stop potential attacks before they could be launched. “We cannot wait until an attack happens,” he said. “We will continue to use our criminal laws as Congress intended.” He declined to say how far the alleged conspiracy had progressed or how close the group was to attacking American interests abroad or at home.

The three men are accused of having learned how to make bombs and suicide vests, of carrying out Jihad training exercises that included firearms training and target range practice, and conspiring to provide material support, money, training, and communications equipment to themselves and co-conspirators in the Middle East. They are also accused of using a business front to funnel money to co-conspirators in the region.

The indictment said the men recruited others to wage holy war against the United States and its allies. Mr. Gonzales would not say how large a group they had assembled.

One of the men, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, a citizen of both the United States and Jordan, is alleged to have twice threatened to kill or harm the President. He is also charged with distributing information about how to make and use an explosive device, relating to a plot that prosecutors claim to have begun in November 2004.

John Pistole, the deputy director of the F.B.I., described the men as “hiding in plain sight”, and said Toledo had been added to a growing list of small towns where groups with roots in the Middle East are alleged to plot actions against the United States.

Mr. Gonzales declined to comment on the controversial use of phone wiretaps before obtaining a court warrant, and how that might have played a role in the case.

Mr. Gonzales noted that the three men could face as much as life in prison, if convicted of the charges.


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January 20, 2006

Google refuses to hand over logs to US Department of Justice

Google refuses to hand over logs to US Department of Justice

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Friday, January 20, 2006

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The search engine Google has been asked by the U.S. department of Justice to hand over its records of user activity. Google was asked for information regarding the type of search and the index of pages it had over a week.

Google logo

This evidence is being requested by lawyers who are trying to defend the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act, which was struck down in 1998 by the Supreme Court.

Google has not complied with the request prompting US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to request a court order from a federal judge in California. Google has nevertheless stated that it would fight the order. Nicole Wong, the associate general counsel for Google, said “Google is not a party to this lawsuit and their demand for information overreaches,” and that “We had lengthy discussions with them to try to resolve this, but were not able to and we intend to resist their motion vigorously.”

Unlike its competitors, Google is taking a firm stand on this issue with no room to compromise. Yahoo has already said that it releases data “on a limited basis and did not provide any personally identifiable information.” and Microsoft said that it “works closely with law enforcement officials worldwide to assist them when requested”.

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January 18, 2006

Gore criticizes use of unwarranted domestic wiretaps

Gore criticizes use of unwarranted domestic wiretaps

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In a forceful speech Monday, former Vice President Al Gore criticized the use of unwarranted domestic wiretaps by the National Security Agency.

Gore called the wiretapping program, which the White House insists is vital to the defense of America, “a threat to the very structure of our government” and urged the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel for investigation into the matter. He additionally recommended Congress to hold comprehensive hearings and for telecommunications companies who are assisting in the program to stop doing so, and suggested the administration is using the threat of terrorism as a means to amass power in the executive branch.

Former Vice President Al Gore

“Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march – when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?” He added, “Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles.”

The Republican National Committee responded to Gore’s statements, saying, “Al Gore’s incessant need to insert himself in the headline of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America.” They continued, “While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger.”

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Scott McClellan also responded, saying that the Clinton administration had authorized an FBI search of double agent Aldrich Ames without a warrant. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made similar remarks earlier. Regarding Gore, McClellan said, “I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

Opponents of the wiretapping program say this is an inaccurate comparison. On Monday’s edition of Larry King Live, New York Times reporter James Risen said that “under the rules at that time the Attorney General could authorize a warrantless physical search of a house. After the Ames case,” he added, “Congress changed that and closed that loophole and so that now that kind of search couldn’t be done under the law.”

Responding to the White House and Attorney General’s comments, Gore said, “The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties. There are…problems with the Attorney General’s effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration’s behavior. [As] others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.”

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January 5, 2006

VP Cheney role surfaces in U.S. domestic spying

VP Cheney role surfaces in U.S. domestic spying

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Thursday, January 5, 2006

United States Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, admitted to a key role in the domestic spying program. In a ringing defense of the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush, Cheney said he had “personally presided” over most briefings of selected Capitol Hill lawmakers about the program, which was begun in response to the 9/11 attacks and after Congress passed a September 2001 resolution authorizing the use of force to combat terrorism.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring certain domestic telephone calls and emails, under the condition that the other end of the message is to or from a foreign location, the White House has admitted. In addition, the New York Times has reported that the agency has been conducting a widespread data-mining operation of such messages, hoping to identify patterns that might tip off the U.S. government to terrorist operations. Bush quickly backed up the decision by Michael Hayden, then NSA chief and now deputy national intelligence director, repeatedly authorizing the NSA to conduct warrantless searches, according to published reports.

Cheney vigorously defended the program, arguing that it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, though a Washington Post report of his speech notes flaws in his reasoning. Cheney avoided mention of words such as “warrantless” and gave no explanation of why the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which normally issues national security warrants, needed to be bypassed. He asserted however that “the civil liberties of the American people are unimpeded” by the “wartime measure.”

Cheney may face pressure by some in Congress, such as Republican Senator Arlen Specter, who has pledged to investigate the eavesdropping program, to testify on Capitol Hill, though Cheney is known to be a major proponent of executive privilege and may well resist. The vice president, anticipating a “spirited debate” on the necessity of the program, said the leak of “highly classified” data to the NYTimes had been a “clear detriment to our national security.”

The Justice Department launched a probe last week to seek the source of leaked information about the secretive program. No report has emerged that the Justice Department is making a formal inquiry into possible illegalities that might have occurred on the part of the NSA or White House. Many in Congress are interested in this point, as some see this surveillance of U.S. citizens as a violation of their Fourth Amendment right guarding against unreasonable searches.

The Justice Department head and former White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, has defended the NSA program as legal and constitutional.

Sources

  • Evan Thomas and Daniel Klaidman. “Full Speed Ahead” — Newsweek, January 9, 2006 issue
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