Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bush Defending His Role As Emperor Threatens the Independence of the J.A.G's

The Bush Regime of the United States has shown a wanton disregard for the fundamental concept of the United States system of government which is the separation of powers. Bush and Cheney have argued for more power and authority to be concentrated within the executive branch . This would essentially give more power to the Presidency than the American Constitution or its Bill of Rights would allow .The reason for these checks and balances was to prevent the safeguard against the President acting as a despot or tyrant.

The Judiciary in the United States is supposed to be independent of the Executive branch and the legislative branch of government. The Bush Regime has time and again acted in ways which have blurred the distinction between the executive and judiciary branches of government . They have done this in regard to the legislative branch through the use of intimidation and threatening to veto bills of which Bush does not approve. Bush also uses signing statements as a way of getting around the legislative branch . Bush has shown contempt for the legislative and judiciary branches of the federal government. He appears to believe that the president should have ultimate power over all branches of government and over each individual government department or agency. Bush has tampered and interfered with various departments and agencies of the federal government from the department of defense and the Pentagon and CIA & FBI to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bush has interfered with the daily operations in a number of Federal Agencies and departments . For instance Bush has put pressure on government scientists and bureaucrats in the EPA or other Federal agencies to ignore or downplay any science which may be used as evidence for Global Warming or that may view as harmful to the environment or the public the activities of certain industries ie coal mining as in Mountain Top Removal Mining etc.

The American system of government was set up so that each branch of government could act independently of one another. Each is also to be a safeguard against one branch dominating the other two. It was especially designed so that the executive branch could not act unilaterally and in a despotic authoritarian manner.

This should count as another scandal . It is also reminiscent of President Musharaff's of Pakistan power grab by taking over the judiciary thereby ending any semblance of democracy. So the lawyers protested publicly and held demonstrations. Imagine lawyers fighting corruption & the abuse of power . That's how the French Revolution started so we are told .

If the attorneys working within the American Federal Government are not permitted to do the job that they are supposed to without undue influence , pressure , intimidation from the President or his government appointees then they have not just a right but a duty to inform the legislators and the American People who are the ones they are ultimately responsible to.

But in America loyalty to one's boss or to the President is more important than ideals such as fairness, justice, due process, equality before the law or the American Constitution or The Bill of Rights etc.The other ideal in America and in our society in general is to keep one's job at all costs . Notions such as ethics or morality are all considered in our cynical age pass`e. Only a fool would ever take such things seriously.

But in our imaginary world where such things matter the 4,000 attorneys at JAG would protest by way of letters to the editor or full page notices in newspapers or even television spots . If these didn't get the results the attorneys hoped for they would hold walk-outs and demonstrations until they got results. Then if there were no results they would ask all government attorneys and the American Bar Association to join them in protests. But that is in the world of fantasy where justice and ethics matter.

In Pakistan when president Musharraf interfered with the Judges and government attorneys; the attorneys and judges staged walk outs and demonstrations. Of course when Musharraf sent his troops to beat up these attorneys and have them arrested and imprisoned Bush did little to interfere . In fact Bush has come out as an even a bigger supporter of Musharraff than he was before. So we can only imagine what Bush, Cheney and Co. would do if something similar were to happen in America.

One could argue that for instance other government employees could also stage protest and walk-outs etc. if they believed the Bush administration was not permitting them to do their jobs honestly and with integrity. For instance scientists working for the American government who have been told to skew their reports to fit with the Bush Regimes ideology i.e. Global Warming is just a fable - then those scientists & bureaucrats have a right and a duty to stand up to the government publicly and to inform the public of what is going on . If these professionals truly believed in the ideals of Democracy , Justice and Freedom etc . then they would act.

In Burma Myanmar it was the religious leaders of the country the Buddhist monks who marched in the streets to protest on behalf of the people against an oppressive , brutal regime. Of course they were beaten, gunned down , imprisoned and tortured . The government of Burma claimed these monks were trying to destroy the country . The Buddhist Monks had hoped they could get the government to see reason and start acting more humanely and justly towards its people. But like George W. Bush , Cheney , Condi Rice & co they believe that the only ones who matter are the rich and powerful, the super-wealthy, the Big corporations and the elite.

And to go one step further with this little bit of fantasy or thought experiment.
As for the American people I doubt they would even bother protesting and might even applaud if Bush were to arrest a few thousand publicly protesting and demonstrating lawyers or scientists or bureaucrats or University Professors etc. So maybe the cynics or realist are right Why Rock the Boat in this Best of All Possible Worlds to quote Voltaire that is.

Control Sought on Military Lawyers By Charlie Savage The Boston Globe,15 December 2007

Washington- The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House's policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

The administration has proposed a regulation requiring "coordination" with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate
General corps - the military's 4,000-member uniformed legal force - can be promoted.

... former JAG officers say the regulation would end the uniformed lawyers' role as a check-and-balance on presidential power, because politically appointed lawyers could block the promotion of JAGs who they believe would speak up if they think a White House policy is illegal.

...and would mean that promotions & job security would depend on the lawyers being "team players" who "bow to their political masters on legal advice.".

(and in a bit of an understatement given the seriousness of the matter) : "The message would be clear to every JAG, which is that when you have been told that the general counsel has a view on the law, any time you dare disagree with it, don't expect a promotion," Saltzburg said, adding "I don't think that would be in the best interest of the country. .."

... it would affect all military lawyers, not just the top JAGs. Retired Rear Admiral Donald Guter, the Navy's top JAG from 2000 to 2002, said the rule would "politicize" the JAG corps all the way "down into the bowels" of its lowest ranks.

"That would be the end of the professional [JAG] corps as we know it," Guter said.
For instance here is the letter from retired JAGs on waterboarding and other forms of torture:
Retired Judge Advocates General Write To Leahy Condemning Waterboarding

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy,

In the course of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s consideration of President Bush’s nominee for the post of Attorney General, there has been much discussion, but little clarity, about the legality of “waterboarding” under United States and international law. We write because this issue above all demands clarity: Waterboarding is inhumane, it is torture, and it is illegal.

In 2006 the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the authority to prosecute terrorists under the war crimes provisions of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. In connection with those hearings the sitting Judge Advocates General of the military services were asked to submit written responses to a series of questions regarding “the use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of drowning (i.e., waterboarding) . . .” Major General Scott Black, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, Major General Jack Rives, U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral Bruce MacDonald, U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General, and Brigadier Gen. Kevin Sandkuhler, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, unanimously and unambiguously agreed that such conduct is inhumane and illegal and would constitute a violation of international law, to include Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

We agree with our active duty colleagues. This is a critically important issue - but it is not, and never has been, a complex issue, and even to suggest otherwise does a terrible disservice to this nation. All U.S. Government agencies and personnel, and not just America’s military forces, must abide by both the spirit and letter of the controlling provisions of international law. Cruelty and torture - no less than wanton killing - is neither justified nor legal in any circumstance. It is essential to be clear, specific and unambiguous about this fact - as in fact we have been throughout America’s history, at least until the last few years. Abu Ghraib and other notorious examples of detainee abuse have been the product, at least in part, of a self-serving and destructive disregard for the well- established legal principles applicable to this issue. This must end.

The Rule of Law is fundamental to our existence as a civilized nation. The Rule of Law is not a goal which we merely aspire to achieve; it is the floor below which we must not sink. For the Rule of Law to function effectively, however, it must provide actual rules that can be followed. In this instance, the relevant rule - the law - has long been clear: Waterboarding detainees amounts to illegal torture in all circumstances. To suggest otherwise - or even to give credence to such a suggestion - represents both an affront to the law and to the core values of our nation.

We respectfully urge you to consider these principles in connection with the nomination of Judge Mukasey.


Rear Admiral Donald J. Guter, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 2000-02

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, United States Navy (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1997-2000

Major General John L. Fugh, United States Army (Ret.) Judge Advocate General of the Army, 1991-93

Brigadier General David M. Brahms, United States Marine Corps (Ret.) Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant, 1985-88

Mountain Top Removal Mining

Rule to Expand Mountaintop Coal Mining, New York Times By JOHN M. BRODER ,August 23,2007

Mountain Justice Summer

Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change By Joby Warrick Washington Post Staff Writer , August 17, 2004


BBC 7 June, 2001,Scientists warn Bush on global warming

Bush Disses Global Warming Report ,Dismisses His Own Environmental Protection Agency's Findings WASHINGTON, June 4, 2002

NASA scientist rips Bush on global warming: Renowned expert says data 'screened and controlled,MSNBC, Oct. 27, 2004

Landmark greenhouse plan feels Bush axe Herald ,December 21, 2007
( " THE US Government has blocked California's plan to reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles, setting the stage for an election-year battle over global warming.")

CNN.COM Special Reports:Global Warming: U.S. turns its back on Kyoto ;President Bush has re-entered the global warming debate by unveiling his alternative to the 1997 Kyoto agreement on global warming. ...

"Has the White House interfered on global warming reports?A new report claims that the Bush administration has suppressed scientists' climate-change work. By Peter N. Spotts The Christian Science Monitor, January 31, 2007

(More than 120 scientists across seven federal agencies say they have been pressured to remove references to "climate change" and "global warming" from a range of documents, including press releases and communications with Congress. Roughly the same number say appointees altered the meaning of scientific findings on climate contained in communications related to their research.)


M. Collins: George W. Bush, A Judiciary Of One 15 September 2007, Presidential Signing Statements Michael Collins “Scoop” Independent News Washington, D.C.

The Bush-Cheney White House is responsible for the birth of a new constitutional doctrine. He has elevated himself to become a judiciary of one. . When the president signs legislation passed by Congress, he frequently adds his own signing statement stating those legislative provisions he intends to ignore based on his interpretation of the Constitution. This caused the New York Times to note, “President Bush doesn't bother with vetoes; he simply declares his intention not to enforce anything he dislikes.”

Through the magic of the president’s petulant pen, signing statements never mentioned in the Constitution, Bush has ordered the torture of prisoners and spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant. Just have the boys in the back room knock out one of those signing statements. It’s all good.

The Politicization of the Department of Justice , The Lawyers Weekly,Elizabeth de la Vega, September 09, 2007

take care,

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