interpreting the constitution
number 80  11.26.06
interpreting the constitution

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source:  United Nations
D'Gary
Tribute
Page
May Day  
March in
Chicago
verbatim
archive
verbatim                                                                  number 15.5
“The war we fight today is
more than a military conflict…
The Department of Defense has
issued a revised timetable for its
destruction of deadly nerve
agents and other chemical
weapons that extends a deadline
set in an international agreement
by 11 years.  The Chemical
Weapons Convention demands
the demolition of the US military’s
stockpile of chemical agents by
the year 2012.  The plan that was
unilaterally adopted by the
Pentagon estimates that the
military’s stockpiles of nerve and
chemical munitions will not be
completely destroyed until 2023.

The extension of the destruction  
timetable has angered
communities nearby the military’s
seven chemical weapons storage
facilities located around the
country.  Craig Williams of the
Chemical Weapons Working
Group said that the delay shows
that the Pentagon is ignoring
international treaty obligations
and undermining its “obligation to
protect US Citizens.”  

Extending the destruction
schedule for US chemical
weapons also extends the time
that the dangerous agents have
to be stored and protected
against theft.    
it's all true
A study of abstinence
education programs funded by
the federal government found
that the majority of programs
that receive federal dollars
from the Administration for
Children and Families have no
system in place to review the
medical accuracy of the
educational materials that are
distributed to young adults.  

Although regulations require
that federally supported no-
sex-before-marriage programs
only distribute medically
accurate information, the
study, conducted at the
request of Congress by the
Government Accountability
Office, found that that the ACF
“does not review its grantees’
education materials for
scientific accuracy.”  The study
also reported that the agency
does not even require
programs that receive
government funds to review
their own materials for
accuracy.  The result of this
lack of scientific accountability
has led to instances where
grantees have told young
adults that condoms do not
protect against the spread of
HIV.

The study also found that the
majority of states that receive
ACF money to promote
abstinence to teen-agers do
not conduct reviews of the
programs in their states to
ensure the scientific and
medical accuracy of the
information being distributed.  
In instances where state
reviews are performed, the
majority of these studies “do
not meet minimum scientific
standards” required to assess
the programs.                 
it's all
true
In an address delivered last week at
the US Air Force Academy, Attorney
General Alberto Gonzalez asserted
that critics of Bush administration
surveillance programs adhere to a
definition of freedom that poses a
“grave threat” to national security.
Gonzalez also dismissed as “myths”
a range of criticisms of the Patriot Act
and other aspects of the “war on
terror.”  The comments appeared to
be part of a new, more aggressive
posture by senior administration
officials in defense of controversial
intelligence operations and practices.

Speaking to the conservative
Federalist Society the day before
Gonzalez’
remarks, Vice President Cheney
bitterly assailed the August ruling
striking down the warrantless
wiretapping program run by the
National Security Agency. Cheney
said that a federal judge had
improperly intervened in “a matter
entirely outside the competence of
the judiciary.”  Earlier, Homeland
Security chief Michael Chertoff, also
speaking before the Federalist
Society, had complained that
“international law is being used as a
rhetorical weapon” against the United
States.

The Attorney General’s speech
focused on questions of civil liberties
with regard to administration anti-
terror efforts. Gonzalez
acknowledged that many view
secret domestic surveillance
programs as “stifling freedom.”  
But this definition of freedom, he
said, “is superficial and is itself a
grave threat to the liberty and
security of the American people.”

Cheney attacked the US District
Court ruling against the NSA
program, saying it wrongly
attempted to limit executive
branch authority during wartime,
and calling it “an indefensible act
of judicial overreaching.”   
Chertoff warned that US policy
might be unduly constrained by
international bodies such as the
European Union or the United
Nations.                 
it's all true
The new law that establishes
procedures for military tribunals to
adjudicate the detainees now held by
the US military at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba that was agreed to in
September by the Congress and the
Bush administration is reportedly
based upon “Combatant Status
Review Hearings” that took place in
2004 and 2005.  An investigation into
the government’s own records
regarding the limited tribunals
afforded over 500 prisoners currently
held by the US has revealed that the
military used a distorted system of
justice in the combatant review
hearings.  

The investigation found that all
evidence was withheld from the
detainees and the judicial panels
reviewed no witnesses or evidence in
support of the innocence of the
detainees.  Although the hearings
represented the single chance for
the prisoners to defend themselves
against charges that they were
terrorists and the penalty of
permanent detention, the detainees
were not allowed legal representation
and were afforded no more than 90
minutes preparation time prior to
their hearings.

The investigation was performed by a
team of law students at Seton Hall
University under the direction of a law
professor and his son, Mark and
Joshua
Denbeaux.  The Denbeauxs currently
represent two of the prisoners held at
the detention facility.

Prisoners did not have attorneys but
were assigned “personal
representatives” to speak for them at
the hearings.  Detainees were
advised that the representatives
assigned to them were not their
lawyer or advocate.  In 78 percent of
the cases the detainees were allowed
to meet only one time with their
representative and more than half of
these pre-hearing meetings lasted
less than an hour.  In 497 of the
hearings no evidence was presented
on behalf of the detainees.  In 12
percent of the hearings, the detainee’
s personal representative said
nothing at all.

The study reviewed the full details of
102 hearings and government
documents regarding 291 additional
hearings that were either released
under the Freedom of Information Act
or provided by attorneys who
represent some of the detainees.  
The US military conducted 558
proceedings between July 2004 and
January 2005 and only 38 inmates
were determined not to be enemy
combatants.  Following the rules set
up for the hearings, none of these 38
detainees were advised that they
were found to be innocent.          
it's
all true
The Department of Homeland
Security has initiated an investigation
into the forcible removal of six senior
Muslim community leaders from a US
Airways flight last week at
Minneapolis-St. Paul International
Airport. The Muslim passengers, all
imams, were detained for up to five
hours by local police, who released
the men without charge after
questioning them. The six were on
their way back to Arizona and
California after attending a
conference of the North American
Imams Federation in Bloomington,
Minnesota. The incident, which
sparked international outrage, was
apparently the result of actions by
individual passengers who relayed
their fears about the “suspicious
Arabic men” to the airline crew.

In addition to the DHS probe, US
Airways has announced that it will
formally investigate the incident, but
company statements have been
generally supportive of the
employees involved.  The Council on
American-Islamic Relations
condemned the actions of both the
police and the carrier, and called for
Congressional hearings on racial
profiling of Muslims in the United
States. CAIR executive director Nihad
Awad told the
New York Times that
the Council receives more complaints
about US Airways than other airlines.

In August, 28-year-old substitute
teacher Rima Qayyum was removed
from a US Airways flight and detained
for 14 hours in West Virginia when
security guards thought that cosmetic
products in her possession might be
components for
explosives.                          
it's all true
A classified report compiled by the
CIA found no conclusive evidence
that Iran is secretly pursuing a
nuclear weapons development
program paralleling its civil nuclear
energy program, as has been
alleged by President Bush and
members of his cabinet. The findings
are revealed in an article in the
current issue of
The New Yorker
magazine, by prominent investigative
reporter Seymour Hersh, who
describes White House reaction to
the CIA document as “hostile.”  Citing
unnamed sources within both the
administration and the intelligence
community, Hersh depicts internal
tensions as a faction led by Vice
President Cheney builds a case for
preemptive military action against
Iranian facilities.

Hersh quoted CIA officials who fear
that intelligence data is being
selectively
deployed by those who favor a
military strike. According to the
article, “The White House dismissal
of the CIA findings on Iran is widely
known in the intelligence
community.”  Many in that community
feel that the fate of the CIA report is
reminiscent of the so-called
“stovepiping” of intelligence that
preceded the invasion of Iraq in
2003. Interviewed since the
publication of his piece, Hersh has
said that a similar process is now
underway.

Although there has been a great deal
of media speculation as to how
sweeping Democratic victories in the
recent midterm elections would
impact Bush administration foreign
policy in the Middle East, Hersh
reports that Cheney, speaking in
October before the elections,
remained unconcerned. The vice
president assured senior staff that
the executive branch would be
able to circumvent any restrictions
that the new Congress might
attempt to impose. It is thought
that the White House will again
assert its authority under the
legally controversial theory of the
“unitary executive” if it decides to
act unilaterally against Iran. In an
alternative scenario, the US could
act in response to a perceived
threat to Israeli interests in the
region.

Cheney's top advisor on Middle
East issues, David Wurmser, is
known to be a strong proponent
of a preemptive attack on Iran.
Hersh quoted a Pentagon
consultant as saying that
Wurmser and Cheney "argue that
there can be no settlement of the
Iraq war without regime change in
Iran."       
it's all true
Gonzales Defines Freedom as Grave Threat to
Freedom
White House Determined to Act Despite Lack of Intelligence
Programs Abstain
From Presenting
Scientific Facts
You Are Not Free to Move About the Country
Kafkaesque Hearings a Model for Orwellian
Tribunals
DOD Finds Parting
With Toxic Weaponry
Difficult
...It is the decisive ideological
struggle of the 21st century."
Salt Lake City   UT   08.31.06
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