interpreting the constitution
number 79  11.19.06
interpreting the constitution

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Links of the Week

GAO Report: Afghanistan Drug
Control: Despite Improved
Efforts, Deteriorating Security
Threatens Success of U.S.

CRS Report: Covert Action:
Legislative Background and
Possible Policy Questions

Orbis Terrae
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Omaha NE 02.04.05
The CIA recently confirmed the
existence of classified directives that
call for the construction of ‘black site’
detention facilities outside of the US
and create guidelines for the harsh
interrogation of terror suspects.  One
of the memos, which were used by
the CIA as guides to the detention
and treatment of “enemy
combatants”, was signed by
President Bush.

The memo authored by Bush was
described as a directive that gave
the CIA the authority to establish
clandestine prison camps in foreign
nations to house terror suspects that
the agency had in some cases
kidnapped off the streets of
European cities so they
could be interrogated.  Over the past
four years the CIA is alleged to have
created detention centers in several
countries including Uzbekistan, Israel
and Saudi Arabia.

The other memorandum was sent by
the Justice Department to the CIA in
2002 and was described by the
ACLU as a “Justice Department legal
analysis specifying interrogation
methods that the CIA may use
against top Al-Qaeda members.”

The revelation came in a letter sent
to the American Civil Liberties Union
by CIA attorneys in response to a two-
year-old freedom of information
The agency’s general counsel
disclosed that the memos existed
but refused to release the
documents to the ACLU stating
that to do so would threaten
national security.

The memorandums had not been
acknowledged to exist by the  
White House but reports of ‘black
site prisons’ suggested that such
directives had been
communicated by the
administration.  Sen. Patrick
Leahy (D-VT) sent a letter to the
Justice Department asking for the
release of the documents.  Leahy
said that "the public has a right to
know " if the president "authorized
the CIA to torture its
its all true
The Bush administration said that
immigrants in the US could be held
without charge indefinitely as “terror
suspects” and never be able to
challenge their detention in a court of

The assertion was made in court
documents filed in the case of Ali
Saleh Kahlah, a student from Qatar
who was arrested in the US in 2001
and accused of being affiliated with al
Qaida.   The Justice Department
argued that Kahlah was an “enemy
combatant” and under its
interpretation of the recently passed
military tribunal law, Kahlah has no
legal rights in US civil or criminal
courts.  Under the military tribunal law
the broad definition of enemy
combatant includes any person who
has “purposefully and materially
supported hostilities against the
United States.”   

In a separate court filing, Lawyers for
the Justice Department argued that
hundreds of lawsuits by detainees
challenging their detention now in the
US court system should be dismissed
and that the new military tribunal law
applies to any person so designated
by the president, no matter where
they were captured or where they are
being imprisoned.

The staggering and unprecedented
challenge came within weeks of
motions made in other court cases
involving the unlawful detention of
hundreds of terror suspects held by
the US military like Kahlah, who is
confined in a brig in South Carolina,
and others held abroad.   Lawyers
for the detainees point out that it is
the first time in US history that
immigrants or non-citizens held by
the US government have absolutely
no right under US law to challenge
their imprisonment.

The Justice Department said that,
under its interpretation of the new
tribunal law, detainees have
“unprecedented” rights.  It noted,
however, that giving detainees the
right to challenge their imprisonment
in civilian courts would “severely
impair the military’s ability to defend
this country.”  

Justice Department attorneys argued
that “Congress could have simply
withdrawn jurisdiction” from the
military, but they chose to deny
detainees the right to the US court
system.  Civil rights lawyers have
criticized the Justice Department's
expansive interpretation of the
Military Tribunal Act and members of
Congress have said that they intend
to amend the tribunal law, perhaps
reestablishing the right of detainees
to challenge their detention in the US
its all true
An investigation by the Center for
Investigative Reporting found that
at least two-dozen of the 249
judges who were under
consideration for lifetime
appointments to the federal bench
since 2001 gave targeted cash
donations to politicians who were
key in the appointment process.

The study found that the 24
candidates for the appellate court
and district gave more than
$44.000 to key Republican
politicians and some candidates
even donated to the campaign of
George Bush as well.

The Center found that “23
percent of Bush-appointed
appellate judges (11 out of 47)
and more than 16 percent of
Bush-appointed district judges (34
out of 202) gave campaign
contributions.”  Many of the
judge's donations went to home
state Senate candidates who tend
to have influence in the federal
judicial nomination process.

Although such campaign
donations are not illegal, many
government and legal scholars
believe that political contributions
by judicial candidates are
its all true
Unusually mild conditions in
southwestern Siberia are
preventing bears from
beginning their winter
hibernation on time, another
symptom, according to
scientists, of climate change in
a particularly sensitive area of
the world. The bears have
continued to forage for several
weeks beyond their normal
cycle, as regional
temperatures remain so warm
that fresh buds have appeared
on trees. Local officials fear
that the prolonged season will
increase incidents of human
contact with the foraging bears.

The region, near Kemerovo in
Siberia, is typically in the grip
of winter by this time of year.
But warmer and abnormally
wetter conditions have
extended the pre-hibernation
period for the bears. According
to environmental researchers,
the animals have yet to
prepare their dens for
hibernation, which normally
lasts about six months.

The news out of Siberia comes
in the same week as the
release of a study by the
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
that documents the extensive
effects of global warming on
the Arctic. The report, “The
State of the Arctic,” presents
the results of a yearlong
project involving 20
researchers from seven
countries. They found
evidence of serious reductions
in annual sea ice, and
continued melting of millions of
square miles of Arctic
Environmental consequences
of the melting of the
permafrost were previously
reported by
redstateupdate.            its all
President Bush has named the
controversial head of the federal
agency in charge of US government
overseas broadcasting to a second
term in office, despite calls by
congressional Democrats for his
ouster in the wake of apparently
documented misconduct during his
first term.

Kenneth Tomlinson was reappointed
as chairman of the Broadcasting
Board of Governors, which directs US
media outlets including the Voice of
America, Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio
Marti, and TV Marti. The former head
of the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, Tomlinson was the
subject of an investigation by the
State Department’s inspector
general. A report released in August
concluded that Tomlinson had
misused government
funds during his first term, and noted
that a separate investigation was
underway into allegations that the
chairman had improperly directed
some $245,000 worth of agency
contracts to a friend. The report
stated that Tomlinson overcharged
the government for his hours, and
used agency funds for his private
horseracing business.

The Senate never acted on the
Bush's original appointment of
Tomlinson in January 2005. A
divisive figure after his chairmanship
of CPB, his confirmation stalled in the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
As in the case of UN Ambassador
John Bolton, a provision in the
confirmation procedure allows
Tomlinson to serve even in the
absence of a vote in the Senate. The
new term will expire in August
its all true
Senate Democrats and legal scholars
have reacted with dismay to
President Bush’s renomination of six
candidates for the federal judiciary
who previously failed to win
confirmation by the Republican-
controlled Congress. The move was
seen by many as a provocative
gesture by the White House just one
week after heavy Republican losses
in the midterm elections, and as a
signal of a defiant stance on judicial
nominees for the incoming Senate, in
which the Democrats will have a slim
majority. In a speech to the
conservative Federalist Society on
Friday, Vice President Cheney
assured his audience that the
administration would continue its
policy of appointing so-called “strict
constructionist” judges to the federal

At the same event on Friday,
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
told members of the Federalist
Society that he will demand a vote on
the six controversial nominees,
threatening to obstruct legislation in
the next session of the Senate if
Democrats maneuver to block their
appointments. McConnell will become
the minority leader in January.
According to observers, a bitter
confrontation over the appointments
now seems inevitable, despite the
customary oaths of bipartisanship
issued by both parties after the

The nominees include Terrence
Boyle of North Carolina and William
James Haynes II of Virginia for the
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in
Richmond, Virginia; Michael Brunson
Wallace of Mississippi for the Fifth
Circuit in New Orleans; William Gerry
Meyers III and Norman Randy Smith,
both of Idaho, for
the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco;
and Peter Keisler of Maryland for
the District of Columbia Circuit
All six appointments stalled in the
Senate Judiciary Committee.

Judiciary Committee member Sen.
Charles Schumer (D, NY) told the
Washington Post that none of
the candidates would be
confirmed, saying their
renominations were “a real slap in
the face.”  Incoming Judiciary
Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick
Leahy (D, VT) dismissed the
White House move as an attempt
to placate the Christian right wing
of the Republican Party. "Advice
and consent does not mean
giving the president a free pass to
pack the courts with ideologues
from the right or the left," Leahy
told the
.            its all true
Political Payouts
May Demonstrate
Questionable Judgement
Immigrants Assured They Won’t Be Deported
Crony Benefits From 3 Strikes and You're In Policy
Judicial Re-Nominations a Preemptive Strike Against
Bears Losing Sleep
Over Global Warming
President Signed Secret Order Setting Up Secret
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