interpreting the constitution
number 65   08.13.06
Attorney General, President Soft on War Crimes
previous editions archive
The Bush administration will propose
amendments to the 1996 War Crimes
Act that redefine and limit the
offenses for which military,
intelligence, and government
personnel may be prosecuted,
according to a report by the
Washington Post, which obtained a
draft of the changes. The
amendments seek to reduce
potential criminal liability for
administration officials who
authorized or engaged in abuses of
prisoners that are prohibited by the
Geneva Conventions. If adopted by
Congress, the changes to the Act
would provide retroactive immunity
from prosecution to interrogators and
policy makers who violated provisions
of Common Article 3 of the
The draft lists just ten illegal acts that
would be subject to criminal
prosecutions, including murder,
torture, rape, and hostage-taking.
Violations of Article 3, which prohibits
degrading and humiliating treatment
of detainees and “outrages upon
personal dignity,” are excluded.
Administration officials have
complained that the language of the
Geneva Conventions is too vague,
and that the treaty may impede
intelligence investigations.

The proposed legislation is part of an
effort by the White House and the
Justice Department to respond to the
Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld, which held that the Geneva
Conventions had the force of US
law. The decision was widely
viewed as a major setback for
administration efforts to abrogate
the treaty as part of its “war on
terror.” At the same time, the
Court’s ruling indirectly raised the
possibility of criminal prosecutions
under the War Crimes Act.
Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez warned the President of
such prosecutions in a 2002
memo written when Gonzalez was
White House Counsel.  

The administration is also
pursuing legislation that would
ban detainees from suing to
enforce protections under the
its all true
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

Judge Rules Security Over Speech in Homeland America
Wal-Mart Finally
Finds a Reason
to Unionize
A federal judge ruled last week that
private citizens could be prosecuted
under espionage laws if they come
into unauthorized possession of
classified national security
information.  The judge ruled that two
lobbyists could be prosecuted by the
Bush administration under the
Espionage Act of 1917, a law that
has only been used against
government employees.

Legal experts fear that the ruling
could lead to the prosecution of
reporters who receive leaks from
government sources or of
newspapers for publishing classified
information.  The Federation of
American Scientists Project on
Government Secrecy called the
ruling a “momentous expansion of
the government’s authority to
regulate public disclosure of national
security information.”

The lobbyists are alleged to have
conspired to obtain classified
information and pass it to both
reporters and the Israeli
government.  Lawyers for the
accused attempted to have the case
dismissed arguing that the lobbyists
were engaged in free speech when
they passed on secret information.  
US District Judge T. S. Ellis denied
the lobbyist’s argument that the
prosecution infringed on the lobbyist’
s constitutional rights.  

Judge Ellis wrote,  “Government can
punish those outside of the
government for the unauthorized
receipt and deliberate
retransmission of information
relating to the national defense."  
First amendment advocates fear
that the ruling’s broad language
could expose reporters to
government lawsuits and that fear
of such prosecution could be a
tremendous chill on free speech
and the press.  

The ruling has been viewed as a
victory for the Bush administration as it
begins to seek the prosecution of
journalists and newspapers for
publishing reports about the National
Security Administration’s wiretapping of
US citizens.                             
its all true
The retail giant Wal-Mart has
agreed to allow it's employees
to join a union, as long as they
work in China.  Wal-Mart has
agreed with the Chinese
government to allow all of its
more than 23,000 Chinese
employees to join the state
organized union called the All-
China Federation of Trade
Unions.  There is only one
other Wal-Mart that has a
union, that is  in Canada. The
store's more than 1.3 million
US workers have no labor

Wal-Mart had resisted the
Chinese government’s
insistence to allow unionization
of its more than 60 stores in
China but relented hoping to
encourage China’s political
leaders to allow the retailer to
expand further in the country.

The Wal-Mart chain is known
to be aggressively anti-labor in
the US and is often criticized
by organized labor in America
for paying its employees low
wages and offering few
benefits.  The National Labor
Relations Board has sued the
retailer for sabotaging union
elections and suppressing
their employee's right to

Wal-Mart’s spokesperson
China said that Chinese
unions are “different from
unions elsewhere” because
they help “build a harmonious
its all true
crowd control
Florida Police Shoot First, Ridicule Later
Broward County, FL sheriff Maj. John
Brooks apologized last week after a
training video tape was leaked to the
press that shows him and his men
laughing at a woman who had been
shot in the head by police at a 2003
protest.  The tape shows the officers
celebrating a day after the protest
and includes a section where Brooks
congratulates officers who showered
a crowd of protesters with a hail of
rubber bullets characterizing the
shooting as “good times”.   

The tape was recorded for “training"
purposes on the day after the protest
and shows dozens of officers
celebrating their attack on the
protesters in a macabre mock award
ceremony.  Brooks addresses his
subordinates framing the shooting in
heroic or military terms
saying “I would go to war with
everyone here”.  Another officer
describes the protesters as
“cockroaches”.  Sgt. Michael Kallman
spoke about the shooting of the
female protester, which was caught
on tape by an amateur videographer,
saying that one of bullets “went right
through the sign and hit her smack
dab in the middle of the head.”  The
female protester was shot five times
at close range with rubber bullets.   

The tape became public after a
civilian commission was empanelled
to investigate allegations that the
Miami Police, Miami-Dade Police and
Broward Sheriffs Police used
excessive force and made false
arrests at a protest against the Free
Trade of the Americas Association
conference that took place in Miami
in 2003.                   
its all true
Executions by
0                        50                     
spread of the red






previous editions

  Links of the Week

US State Department
report-Syria: U.S. Relations
and Bilateral Issues

Bureau of Labor Statistics:  
Employment Situation July 2006

Hill & Adamson Photographic
Collection, Special Collections
Department, Glasgow
University Library

The Bill Douglas Center   
University of Exeter

contact us
Jobs Outlook
Unaffected By
Immigration Trends
Objections to Signing Statements Sustained
The American Bar Association has
adopted a resolution condemning the
Bush administration’s use of
presidential signing statements to
nullify legislation passed by
Congress, after reviewing the report
of a special task force. The panel
concluded that President Bush’s
signing statements “undermine the
rule of law and our constitutional
system of separation of powers,” and
it urged Congress to implement
legislation providing for judicial
review of such statements in the
future. The report was particularly
critical of the administration’s
assertion of unprecedented
executive authority in a number of

The ABA task force found that the
Bush White House has greatly
expanded the use of signing
statements; challenging some 800
provisions in 110 separate bills, more
than all previous presidential
administrations combined. At least 82
of those challenges reportedly
invoked the controversial theory of
the “unitary executive,” which
regards legislative limitation of
presidential prerogative as
unconstitutional. The panel found
that the statements themselves are
“ritualistic, mechanical, and generally
carry no citation of authority or
detailed explanation.”
Among the laws passed by Congress
to which the president has objected
are a ban on torture for military
detainees, federal whistleblower
protection for executive branch
employees, Congressional oversight
of the USA Patriot Act, and
restrictions on political interference in
federally funded scientific research.
The ABA report notes that even in
cases in which the president agrees
with the policy, his signing statements
assert that Congressional mandates
“impermissibly interfere with the
president’s constitutional authority.”

The task force determined that the
president’s refusal to veto legislation
he found objectionable by creating a
de facto line-item veto amounted to
an unconstitutional usurpation of
legislative authority by the executive
branch. Outgoing ABA President
Michael Greco, who convened the
task force, said, “If left unchecked,
the president’s practice does grave
harm to the separation of powers
doctrine, and the system of checks
and balances, that have sustained
our democracy for more than two
centuries. Immediate action is
required to address this threat to the
Constitution and to the rule of law in
our country.”                         
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Significant increases in
immigration since 1990 have not
led to a reduction in job
opportunities for American
workers, according to a report by
an independent research group.
The Pew Hispanic Center
conducted the study of Census
Bureau and Department of Labor
data to establish the role that the
foreign-born workforce plays in
determining employment

The report concludes that no
statistical pattern emerges to
indicate that increases in
immigrant populations adversely
impact the American-born
workforce. Other factors, such as
economic growth and the
availability of education and
training, were found to be decisive
in shaping local and national job

The study also found that the  
presence of immigrants in the
workforce did not affect unskilled
or entry-level job opportunities.
The Pew Hispanic Center is a
nonpartisan research organization
based in Washington,
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back to top of
verbatim                                  number 12.6
"For too long, the
culture of corruption
has undercut
development and
good governance ...
...High-level corruption
by senior government
officials, or
kleptocracy, is a grave
and corrosive abuse of
...and represents the
most invidious type of
public corruption...It
threatens our national
interest and violates
our values."
Washington DC 08.10.06
Brown Tribute
source: Viroqua