Tuesday, July 31, 2007
An Iraqi who was a key source of intelligence for MI5 has given the first ever full insider's account of being seized by the CIA and bundled on to an illegal 'torture flight' under the programme known as extraordinary rendition.
From The Raw Story.
"Whether Gonzales has deliberately told untruths or is merely hampered by his memory has been the subject of intense debate among members of Congress, legal scholars and others who have watched him over the years," report the Post's Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein. "Some regard his verbal difficulties as a strategic ploy on behalf of a president to whom he owes his career; others see a public official overwhelmed by the magnitude of his responsibilities."
Gonzales's apparent willingness to dissemble in order to protect himself or President Bush stretches back to at least 1996, when he intervened to prevent then-Gov. Bush from serving jury duty in Texas, the Post notes. Not until its second-to-last paragraph, however, does the Post article remind readers that by not serving jury duty in the drunken driving case Bush was able to keep his own drunken driving conviction a secret for several more years.
From the Raw Story.
The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans admitted today that he sexually abused a colleague during a national convention here last summer.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
A 74-year-old retired mathematician who sells anti-Bush buttons at a Maryland farmers' market has become a symbol of free speech to some people. Others say Alan McConnell is a nuisance.
McConnell was at the market in Kensington as usual yesterday, selling buttons that say "Impeach Him" He has sold the $1 buttons for months; he told The Washington Post he uses the money earned to pay for "Impeach Them Both" yard signs.
McConnell showed up this weekend, when police arrested him and forcibly carried him to a squad car. A crowd of about 40 McConnell supporters booed the arrest, chanting "Free speech!"
Missing from Thursday's session of the Iraqi parliament were about half of the members, including the speaker, the former speaker and two former prime ministers.Also missing: a sense of urgency.
Despite the high stakes here, the Iraqi parliament appears to be deliberating at a pace to rival plodding legislative bodies around the world.Thursday's session, the 50th of the year, convened half an hour late.
From the LA Times.
Alaska may be the second youngest state in the country, but it's also one of the most corrupt. The state's entire congressional delegation -- Sens. Ted Stevens (R) and Lisa Murkowski (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) -- is now embroiled in a series of scandals and criminal investigations that threaten to topple Alaska's oil industry-friendly political leadership. Much of the corruption involves Alaska's "largest oil-field engineering firm," Veco Corp., which is "entwined in a broad federal investigation that has led to the indictment of four current and former Alaska politicians and ensnared former Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens, son of Ted Stevens."
From Progress Report 7/26/2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
ETHICS -- SCANDAL-CLAD REP. YOUNG FACES FEDERAL INVESTIGATION FOR POLITICAL FAVORS:
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is now under federal investigation by the Justice Department for alleged political favors for a company in Alaska, the Wall Street Journal reports today. "Federal investigators are examining whether Rep. Young...accepted bribes, illegal gratuities or unreported gifts from VECO Corp., Alaska's largest oil-field engineering firm." "While the investigation into Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) ties to Veco, including the remodeling of his Girdwood home, has been widely reported, this is the first time Young has been implicated in the scandal." "For a decade, former VECO Chief Executive Bill Allen has held fund-raisers for Mr. Young in Anchorage every August, known as 'The Pig Roast,' participants said." Public records show that between 1996 and 2000, VECO employees and the company's political action committee gave at least at least $157,000 to Young. The congressman's history of abuse of power is well-documented. Recently, he collaborated in a pork project with several Alaska congressmen to earmark a "Bridge to Nowhere" for personal profiteering and has long-standing ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Young also confessed to "taking more than $5,500 in illegal campaign contributions from a seafood trade association since 2001," but he refuses to return all the donations.
From Progress Report 7/25/2007
ETHICS -- REPORT OUTLINES SPECIFIC WAYS ADMINISTRATION MAY HAVE BROKEN LAW IN U.S. ATTORNEY SCANDAL:
In preparation for a vote today on contempt of Congress citations for White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has prepared a 52-page memo "that for the first time alleges specific ways that several administration officials may have broken the law during the multiple firings of U.S. attorneys." "The report says that Congress's seven-month investigation into the firings raises serious concerns' that senior White House and Justice Department aides involved in the removal of nine U.S. attorneys last year may have obstructed justice and violated federal statutes." It also lays out Congress's case for overriding "an effort by the White House to shield officials and documents from the congressional inquiry through a claim of executive privilege." Last week, the White House cited a
1984 legal opinion written by former administration solicitor general Ted Olson, claiming "the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege." The report contends that the opinion "does not apply here" because President Bush "has not furnished a signed statement or 'privilege logs' specifying the documents being withheld. In addition, the memo says, 'there is not the slightest indication' the 1984 opinion would apply to a former executive branch official, such as Miers."
From Progress Report 7/25/2007