Monthly Archives: March 2007

Bush Supporters and Buyer’s Remorse

Even some of Bush's own senior campaign staff now have buyer's remorse: Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President.

So who are those three out of ten people who tell pollsters they support him?

Bush's support still exceeds that of perennial French presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front (FN) who currently has 17% support.

Posted in Politics: US | Leave a comment

Yet Another DoJ Document Dump

A third batch of documents dumped by DoJ in the Gonzales 8 scandal.

On review, it appears that certain statements in the February 23 letter are contradicted by Department documents included in our production in connection with the Committees' review of the resignations of U.S. Attorneys. We sincerely regret any inaccuracy.

Update: Here's why the new documents matter.

Still waiting for the White House documents…

Update: It seems the really good documents may be hiding at gwb43.com.

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | 2 Comments

Off to DC

I'm off to DC today. Tomorrow I'll be appearing on a panel entitled The Future of Internet Governance at the American Society of International Law's annual meeting.

Although I've taught the basic public international law course a couple of times, and the connections to Internet Law are obvious, I don't consider myself a mainstream international lawyer. This will be the first time I go to an ASIL meeting. A number of the panels are about things I am particularly interested in — arbitration, terrorism, detainee related issues — so I'm looking forward to learning stuff and meeting new people.

I suspect that the atmosphere will be more formal than most of the events I go to these days. I tend to go to tech events and conferences that are held in inexpensive venues and where people wear t-shirts. (Or, occasionally, that are held in lovely, expensive venues, but people still wear t-shirts.) The ASIL is meeting in a very expensive venue, in the heart of Foggy Bottom, but it being DC, and the attendee list full of international judges, I'm expecting this is a suit environment.

Posted in Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment

Detainee 940 Still Waiting for Justice

This, on the other hand, is not funny at all: Guantanamo Waiting for Justice, the latest from Project Hammad.

(thank you to MK).

Posted in Guantanamo | Leave a comment

Introducing the iRack

OK, this is really funny.

YouTube – MADtv – iRack :

Posted in Completely Different, Iraq | 2 Comments

The Modern Blacklist

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (which is separate from the national group) has an important report out, The OFAC List: How a Treasury Department Watchlist Ensnares Everyday Consumers. (You can view the whole 262-page, three columns per page, OFAC list at the US Treasury.)

The report details how a program that was originally designed to disrupt the finances of terrorists and other hostile foreign groups is now (due to name collisions) blocking the routine financial activities of innocent US persons with the misfortune to having similar names, or the bad luck to have one of the banned persons erroneously linked to them on a credit report.

The good news is that, unlike the no-fly list, the so-called no-buy list is public.

The bad news is that the criteria for getting on it are pretty vague, and there's no clear way for a person who feels they don't belong on it to get themselves off it. And for innocent people who happen to have the name “Michael Dooley” or any of the other names or aliases listed in the report, they are going to find that their lives get increasingly difficult as more and more employers, car dealers, mortgage brokers, and even retailers, start checking against this list.

PS. It's possible I'll be on Marketplace (NPR) this afternoon discussing this report. There are a ton of issues, and I doubt they'll use more than a snippet.

Posted in ID Cards | 1 Comment

ACLU on Surreal Hicks Proceeding

In the don't-miss category is this blog entry at the ACLU Blog by Ben Wizner posting from the Gitmo hearings of Australian David Hicks, A Tailor-Made Guilty Plea.

Here are some of the best parts:

First, following a somewhat arcane discussion, the judge ruled preliminarily (while claiming not to) that one of Hicks's lawyers, Rebecca Snyder, could not represent Hicks, because she had been appointed by the chief military defense counsel but was not herself on active duty. This was wrong — and the judge allowed that he might revisit the issue after briefing — but the result was the first empty chair at Hicks's table.

Next, and far more troubling, the judge stated that Hicks's civilian defense counsel, well-known criminal defense attorney Joshua Dratel, had not submitted a letter indicating his agreement to comply with the rules and regulations of the Commissions, and therefore was not qualified to serve as counsel. Under Commission rules, a civilian lawyer must sign an agreement issued by the Secretary of Defense indicating that the lawyer agrees to abide by the Commission's regulations. The problem for the judge was that the Secretary of Defense had not yet created that agreement, and therefore Dratel could not sign it.

Instead, the judge had created his own version of the agreement — thereby, in Dratel's words, “usurping the authority of the Secretary of Defense.” Dratel would have signed even that version — so long as the agreement made clear that it applied only to regulations that already existed, and not to those (and there are many) that have not yet been issued. “I cannot sign a document that provides a blank check on my ethical obligations as a lawyer,” Dratel explained. In simple terms, Dratel was unwilling to pledge compliance with rules that he had not yet seen.

The judge was unpersuaded. “I find no merit in the claim that this is beyond my authority,” he said. “That's sometimes what courts do, they find a way to move forward.” Because Dratel refused to sign the agreement as written by the judge, he could not serve as counsel. There was a second empty chair.

“I'm shocked,” said Hicks, “because I've just lost another lawyer. Now I'm left with poor Mr. Mori.” (Major Dan Mori is Hicks's very able military defense counsel.)

This was followed by one of those almost-surreal moments that the Military Commissions routinely produce. The judge had just issued rulings that effectively deprived Hicks of two of his three lawyers. So he decided the time was right to address an issue of fundamental importance: Hicks's clothes. Hicks had arrived in court wearing beige prison attire. The judge said that he thought that a suit and tie, or business casual — which he helpfully defined — would be more appropriate. This practice was “designed to protect the presumption of innocence,” the judge explained, because Commission members who observed the accused in prison clothing might be subconsciously prejudiced against him.

Posted in Guantanamo | 3 Comments