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Tilting at Windmills

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October 22, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

REDACTIONS....Shortly after 9/11, an Egyptian national named Abdallah Higazy was rounded up by the FBI and told to confess that he had been part of the plot. If he didn't, he was warned, things would go badly for his family. So he confessed. But then it turned out the FBI had made a mistake. He wasn't part of the 9/11 plot after all.

So he sued the FBI. On Thursday the Second Circuit Court issued an opinion in the case, but a few minutes later the decision was pulled down from the court's website. Steve Bergstein tells the story:

The next day, the Court of Appeals reissued the Higazy opinion. With a redaction. The court simply omitted from the revised decision facts about how the FBI agent extracted the false confession from Higazy. For some reason, this information is classified. Just as the opinion gets interesting, when we are about to learn how an FBI agent named Templeton squeezed the "truth" out of Higazy, the opinion reads at page 7: "This opinion has been redacted because portions of the record are under seal. For the purposes of the summary judgment motion, Templeton did not contest that Higazy's statements were coerced."

Obvious lessons here: (a) forced confessions aren't worth the tape they're recorded on, and (b) redactions for national security reasons often aren't for national security reasons at all. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Read the full story at Bergstein's blog, complete with many links and a copy of the redacted portion of the opinion. (Via Howard Bashman via Patterico via Instapundit.)

Kevin Drum 1:38 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (91)

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Comments

Hmmm... Templeton. Wasn't that the name of the rat in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web? You know, the one that hides a rotten egg in his nest until it breaks open...

Posted by: tom on October 22, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

So...how long do you think the intertubes will be allowed to exist?

And don't give me that "paranoid fantasy" shit. Are you telling me no one could have anticipated this Kafkaesque scenario from a USA court of appeals?

Who got in there and got them to redact the opinion? That's a question for Henry Waxman...at least until he's Wellstoned.

Posted by: Charles on October 22, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

This redaction story is obviously a very disturbing account that requires further fol- -- oh, my God! Isn't that Britney Spears, hanging out with O.J.? OK, we're outa here! Hey, you guys! Wait up! America wants to know ...

Posted by: Katie Couric, CBS Evening News on October 22, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

redactions for national security reasons often aren't for national security reasons at all.

Kevin, you're jumping to conclusions here. How do you know the what Higazy claimed was true? Templeton did not say it was true. He just decided not to contest it. I suspect what happened was that Higazy was lying about the "coerced" confession, but Templeton did not wish to dispute it because doing so would involve exposing classified information.
Templeton did not want that classified information to be leaked to the public because then the terrorists would get their hands on it and use it for evil purposes. The court decided to redact it because they realized what Higazy said was probably untrue, and printing it in public would be libel/slander against an innocent man. This is a far simpler solution than your conspiracy theory that Higazy was "tortured" or "threatened".

Posted by: Al on October 22, 2007 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't the Founding Fathers write that every now and then governments need to be over thrown by it's very own people?

Seems like the U.S. is rapidly getting closer too that situation.

May Americans live in interesting times.

Posted by: James on October 22, 2007 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Al, you realize that Higazy falsely confessed to owning a radio that wasn't his, right?

Why do you suppose he did that if he wasn't coerced?

Posted by: Patterico on October 22, 2007 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Alllll. How 'bout reading the story at Bergstein's blog before frothing at the mouth.

Posted by: nepeta on October 22, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK

Al, the man was wrongly accused and was forced to falsely confess amid threats of harm to his own family. Your baseless insinuations are insipid, and merely underscore why you are scorned and ridiculed by most rational, thinking people everywhere. You're a fuckin' embarrassment as an American.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 22, 2007 at 5:14 AM | PERMALINK

This shows that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals -- which trends more liberal than the rest of the judiciary -- is willing to take orders from the Bush political apparatus. Very disturbing.

I wonder what Cheney told Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs (a Bush 41 appointee)? I can't imagine that Jacobs said, "Yeah, o.k., sure!" when first asked. Something must have changed his mind. What did Cheney threaten him with if he didn't redact the opinion?

Posted by: captcrisis on October 22, 2007 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

See, now here is an interesting question. When did the redaction actually happen? After the full decision was posted, or before, and the full decision was accidentally posted temporarily? We see it all the time, right? Court documents posted online that shouldn't be. what are the chances that someone at the Court accidentally (or maybe 'accidentally') posted the full decision, knowing that it doesn't take long for someone to copy everything off that site? Could the court be so disgusted with the redaction order they found a loophole to release it? Hmm.

oh, and Special Agent Templeton should be drummed out of the Bureau, sans pension, in disgrace. See, here's the thing with the ticking time bomb scenario, if you use torture to find the location of a bomb and save a busload of schoolchildren, their apple-pie baking grandmothers and kittens, you are a hero. If you use torture and there was no bomb, you are a common criminal who should be collecting debts for the Russian Mob. Such is the catch. Use it well.

Posted by: Northzax on October 22, 2007 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Was the editing done through the routine review of opinions having any connection to terrorism? Did the clerk post the opinion while a routine review was occurring at DoJ/DHS? Was the editing done by DoJ/DHS or the court?

I can see why keeping the specifics of an interrogation out of sight would be viewed as necessary, but who decides what is redacted?

Posted by: TJM on October 22, 2007 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, surely you aren't implying that someone might be trying to COVER THEIR ASS? You bad boy, they'll be listening to you...and, now CHENEY back on the horse...just when one thinks it can't get any worse! Got Rudy all hot about "marriage amendment"...next he'll be PROMISING to go after "choice"...then we'll need a WAR to finally sell this crook...ah, well, the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Posted by: Dancer on October 22, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Sad that a long-time troll like Al doesn't even bother to read the linked text: "Templeton later admitted that he knew how the Egyptian security forces operated: 'that they had a security service, that their laws are different than ours, that they are probably allowed to do things in that country where they don’t advise people of their rights, they don’t – yeah, probably about torture, sure.'"

Posted by: Min Oh on October 22, 2007 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Insta-worthless has an opinion?

Those "values voters" go to Insty to get their daily bread of Bushism so I can only imagine their disappointment if Pundy question's dear leaders motives. I'm sure Pundies readers don't want to hear Pudy regurgitate liberal talking points because really, when has Insty EVER been interested in an legal writ that doesn't make the Bushism apparatus look good?

Posted by: Me_again on October 22, 2007 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Something must have changed his mind. What did Cheney threaten him with if he didn't redact the opinion?

An afternoon of bird-hunting.

Posted by: Model 62 on October 22, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

The secrets that are at issue here are the use of torture by the US govenment and the use of proxy torturers by the current administration. Criminals, but unfortunately the democrats are alos proving to be silent on the issue also.

Posted by: Neal on October 22, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

You could argue that the redaction serves a national security reason. Egypt does not want its barbarity publicized and will be less likely to help us in the future if we clarify the way it treats detainees. Since we don't want to antagonize Egypt at the same time that we are already antagonizing Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria, and a few others, we should keep things quiet that they want kept quiet.

Of course, I would prefer it if we behaved like a civilized nation and came out against torture, but, as long as we are ruled by a barbaric Vice President, we want to avoid being hated by the torturees and the torturers.

Posted by: reino on October 22, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Obvious lessons here: (a) forced confessions aren't worth the tape they're recorded on, and (b) redactions for national security reasons often aren't for national security reasons at all. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Yep. Thanks for this post, Kevin.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on October 22, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder what Cheney told Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs (a Bush 41 appointee)?

While I don't know that it's necessary to assume that Cheney made a phone call, you're absolutely right to highlight Dennis Jacobs, the Chief of the Second. He's been chief for about a year. He is staunchly conservative, particularly when it comes to issues of "law and order" and upholding government authority. (He's also one of the worst judges on the circuit, in my opinion. He's the one that a few months ago issued a dissent where he admitted he hadn't even read the majority opinion, because the case -- a First Amendment issue -- wasn't worth anyone's time.) He was also one of the judges on the panel for this opinion. There can be no doubt that the redaction order came from him.

Posted by: Glenn on October 22, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

The government workers were really on the ball here. So who is this team that works so efficiently to keep torture out of the public record? They would have to be working two shifts running constant web crawls and doc searches.

Or are prosecutors on the front lines? If so, there must be a series of training seminars for hundreds of people across the DOJ/State, "Job #1: Keeping the secret of torture".

Posted by: Jim Lund on October 22, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Grotesque. Pity your Right Bolsheviks seem to be at once of the same mind as the Left Bolsheviks, and as competent. (or perhaps not a pity on the competence front)

Posted by: The Lounsbury on October 22, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

(b) redactions for national security reasons often aren't for national security reasons at all. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Wow, you're such a little crusader all of a sudden, Kevin.

Posted by: Swan on October 22, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The next day, the Court of Appeals reissued the Higazy opinion. With a redaction. The court simply omitted from the revised decision facts about how the FBI agent extracted the false confession from Higazy. For some reason, this information is classified. Just as the opinion gets interesting, when we are about to learn how an FBI agent named Templeton squeezed the "truth" out of Higazy, the opinion reads at page 7: "This opinion has been redacted because portions of the record are under seal. For the purposes of the summary judgment motion, Templeton did not contest that Higazy's statements were coerced."

Now, just for comparison's sake--look at what our government is doing in our name above and contrast that with what was done to Valerie Plame Wilson:

[From Larry Johnson]In 2004 the FBI received intelligence that Al Qaeda hit teams were enroute to the United States to kill Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Valerie Plame. The FBI informed Valerie of this threat. This was just more "good" news piled on the fact that her intelligence career was in shambles, that intelligence assets she had recruited/managed were destroyed, and that she was unable to rebut publicly false and malicious smears of her character and reputation by a bunch of partisan Republican hacks. As the mother of two pre-school children, her first thoughts were about protecting her kids. She took the threat seriously and asked for help.

When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. But they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.

[Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own.

Not only does torture not work, not only do they retro-actively classify things, but they can't even protect an American citizen from al Qaeda. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they're supposed to justify their torture of these people because they have knowledge that threatens Americans, right? Isn't that the justification for torture?

So I look at these two items and I wonder why the media can't figure this shit out. Is it simply too goddamned difficult for the average person to figure out? Because I can't for the life of me figure out how it is that I can look at these two things and see how they're related and--why the fuck doesn't anyone else? We are torturing people because we suspect they're in al Qaeda, but when we receive a credible report that a US citizen is being targeted by al Qaeda, we tell that citizen to go "pound sand." But, in the meantime, we'll keep torturing people so we can...protect the American people???

I sure would like to know what the fuck happened to this country. It doesn't resemble anything I used to know.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 22, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

We need to start jailing people who abuse the classification system to hide the crimes they have committed. Bush would be a good start.

Posted by: freelunch on October 22, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

What did Cheney threaten him with if he didn't redact the opinion?" Posted by: captcrisis on October 22, 2007 at 6:03 AM

that one's GOP insider membership card to the Republican New World Order will be revoked.

Same thing he uses with all Republicans, media mogals, green-zone generals, anyone sworn to uphold justice, and those who gravitate toward power rather than truth.


Posted by: Zit on October 22, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

But we don't torture. Right?

I honestly was less frightened for the future of this country when I thought the Russians were just going to blow us all up. Because I never really thought they would. Whereas your modern GOP...

Posted by: craigie on October 22, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Methinks we oughta make a more direct connection between GOP folly BEFORE 9-11, and this kinda crap AFTER.

Before 9-11, Bush had hired open borders guys to run the INS. They told folks who understood the security implications of immigration issues that they were assholes. That's a significant part of how 9-11 happened.

Post-911, Bush assigned guys like Templeton to parachute into by-the-book investigations and fuck 'em up. Anybody wanna bet chasing shadows like this is a big part of how we have failed to get bin Laden?

I wanna know who assigned Templeton to this case.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Don't bother responding to Al -- he's not an actual person. If he was, he would already be dead from shame.

Posted by: Kenji on October 22, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I know much information classified by the gov't is not kept secret for national security purposes, but b/c it's politically damaging.

But do Democrats running for President? What about Democrats in Congress?

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on October 22, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's not as small as it appears, but I'd guess that the rationale, such as it is, isn't so much revealing what WE did, as how much we know about what the EGYPTIANS do. That is, I expect the government argued that Egyptian cooperation with the war on terror is a critical national security issue that would be compromised by revealing that we use THEIR use of torture for our own purposes.

So it's worth couching arguments around that consideration -- either confronting it directly, or making it irrelevant.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

... (b) redactions for national security reasons often aren't for national security reasons at all. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Or an even scarier thought: our national security really does hang on the frayed thread of keeping our methods for torturing^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcoercing false confessions out of people from being disclosed as evidence in court documents.

Posted by: s9 on October 22, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Redacted to protect Egyptian secrets?? Nonsense. This is all about damage control for torture. Even the staunchest supporters of torture would have a tough time explaining how torturing an innocent man and threatening his family has anything to do with protecting public security. Torture promoters like to talk about extracting ticking bomb information from the baddest of the bad. If the public learned that innocent people have been tortured, too, they might be less inclined to look the other way. And the actual details make it all the more real.

Posted by: jeri on October 22, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Al, the man was wrongly accused and was forced to falsely confess amid threats of harm to his own family. Your baseless insinuations are insipid, and merely underscore why you are scorned and ridiculed by most rational, thinking people everywhere. You're a fuckin' embarrassment to your species.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on October 22, 2007 at 5:14 AM | PERMALINK

There ya go Don, fixed that for ya.

Posted by: Cognitive Dissident on October 22, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jeri, you didn't understand my point.

Nations act OFFICIALLY, after all. When the US hands somebody over to Egypt to have his fingernails pulled out, or even merely says that "there's this family in Cairo...", that is an official act by BOTH countries.

In other words, it's not a prosecution (on which courts have lots of legal authority to work with), it's foreign policy, for which they have little.

The courts have historically given the executive branch great latitude in foreign policy, since it is NOT a judicial, nor a legislative function. Remember that whole checks and balances thing?

So it seems likely to me that, however flimsy, the formal reason for the redaction wasn't the transparent (and easily resisted) "ooh, we can't admit we threatened this guy", but "oooh, we can't admit that we USED EGYPT to do it".

It's a subtle distinction, but not to be dismissed if you want to fix this mess instead of just bitch about it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

The courts have historically given the executive branch great latitude in foreign policy, since it is NOT a judicial, nor a legislative function. Remember that whole checks and balances thing?

Americanist, those two statements are contradictory. Checks and balances limit a branches leeway with any of it's powers, by definition. Your assertion is more like the claims of the "unitary Executive" people that the President's power to conduct foreign policy is absolute.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on October 22, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist,
Ah, now I see your point. And I agree. But I also think the PR aspect of this is a factor, too. So I guess the redaction is a two-fer.

Posted by: jeri on October 22, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

This gets WAY above my paygrade, but no, Morph -- I don't think the statements are contradictory the way I made 'em, referring to the subj. I made 'em about.

Foreign policy is not a legislative, nor a judicial function. It is an EXECUTIVE function.

The latter first -- if I remember right, the basic principle (Missouri vs. Holland?) is that when the United States as represented by its sole national government through the executive reaches an agreement with a sovereign foreign power, receiving the advice and consent of the Senate with respect to ratification: that agreement is binding on the United States AND on each state to the same degree the US Constitution is.

That probably sounds like more than it means, but the gist of it is that neither the Congress nor the states can alter the terms of a deal the WHOLE country (that is, the national government as such) makes with a foreign government, whether it's protecting migratory birds or controlling nuclear weapons. And the courts have upheld that rule -- that is, we have Constitutional rights (no treaty can give away the Bill of Rights cuz treaties are equal to, but not superior than; same deal with the Pequot casinos), but courts cannot read a statute that applies IN THE US as overturning a treaty that BINDS the US -- IIRC.

This is a BIG honking deal for the Congress, notably for immigration, btw, cuz trade agreements (which are sorta kinda foreign policy) include lots of labor across border provisions that Congress cannot alter once it has accepted 'em. (Sucks, don't it?)

So, no, I don't think it's contradictory, Morph, you're just behind the times.

Anyway, in this case it's much simpler: don't give the Bush apologists the out (cuz it IS a legitimate out, however illegitimately applied here), of saying that we have (ahem) "foreign policy and national security interests" which require that the court documents not include a formal admission that the US government threatens to ask friendly nations to rape a guy's mother so he will admit to killing Elvis.

Cuz it's that this poor bastard would have admitted to offing Hoffa that's the important thing, not the fucking Egyptians.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum wrote “(Via Howard Bashman via Patterico via Instapundit.)”

The Instapundit item begins thus: “PATTERICO FINDS EVIDENCE OF FBI MISBEHAVIOR and observes:

The Patterico item says: “You’ll get to see one such example in this post, courtesy of Howard Bashman, the legal blogger at How Appealing.”

I wonder if Kevin should have written: “(Via Instapundit via Patterico via Howard Bashman).”

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on October 22, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Foreign policy is not a legislative, nor a judicial function. It is an EXECUTIVE function.

Is that why the Founding Fathers gave the Legislative branch the power to ratify treaties? To Declare war? Is that why (in the modern era)there's a Foreign Relations committee?

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 22, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Pale, you really are a sucker:

1) The Constitution doesn't give "the Legislative branch" the power to ratify treaties. In fact, strictly speaking, ratification isn't a power at all, it's a condition, which is why I phrased it properly, "advice and consent with respect to ratification", and it is exclusively a prerogative of the SENATE, not the legislative branch.

(For true aficionadoes of hairsplitting, the Senate doesn't "ratify" treaties, either. A treaty isn't ratified until the signatory states exchange instruments of ratification, which in the case of the United States can only be provided or received with the advice and consent of the Senate. Weirdly enough, this has occasionally been quite important, viz, the Panama Canal.)

2) War is not foreign policy.

(You may have noticed that as such, "war" has also fallen out of favor. In the world of international affairs at the time of the Founding, war was a LEGAL act which states used all the time under widely recognized rules. Under the UN system, 'war' is an ILLEGAL act -- which states use all the time, under rules nobody really understands or uses.)

Foreign policy includes a very wide range of options, from having some flunky take the phone call to a state visit to offering military assistance or arms sales. At the low end of the continuum, the judicial and legislative branches have nothing to add; at the upper end, the legislature properly controls the money, but not the policy -- particularly when they act under the delusion that controlling the money IS controlling the policy, viz., the contras.

3) The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and what the House used to call the Committee on Foreign Affairs (cue the jokes) are largely ceremonial, more prestige than power. They're flash; the cash happens elsewhere.

Doubtless explaining your distraction, Pale: you have a limitless capacity to miss the point.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK
You may have noticed that as such, "war" has also fallen out of favor.

No, it hasn't.

Declarations of war have, but that's a different issue.

In the world of international affairs at the time of the Founding, war was a LEGAL act which states used all the time under widely recognized rules. Under the UN system, 'war' is an ILLEGAL act -- which states use all the time, under rules nobody really understands or uses.)

War is not illegal under the U.N. system; you may be confusing the U.N. system with the Kellog-Briand Pact system (which, nominally at least, I believe remains in force among those who ratified it, including the U.S.), which was certainly instrumental in shaping the Nuremberg Principles and later the Charter of the U.N., however, the systems are different and neither of the latter two is as unconditional as the former one. Under the U.N. system, the legality of the threat or use of force, whether or not it is "war", is determined by the purposes for which force is applied and the conditions in which it is used.

It is also quite incorrect to state that there were widely recognized rules of war at the time of the Founding but none now; indeed, the scope of the body of international law relating to war and the degree to which what is formally accepted is consistent across the globe are both greater now than at the time of the Founding of the U.S., and while the application remains inconsistent, that was the case even for those rules that were generally accepted (mostly among the European Powers alone) at the time of the Founding.

At the low end of the continuum, the judicial and legislative branches have nothing to add; at the upper end, the legislature properly controls the money, but not the policy

Incorrect. Properly, the legislature controlls the policy of relations to foreign states; this is express in the grants of power in Article I; the legislature declares war, to be sure, but its role in foreign relation is not limited to that and the power of the purse; it is given power without limit (except that the President remain Commander-in-Chief) to provide both for the government and regulation of the military, it is given power to regulate commerce, and immigration, and to define the application of international law to the U.S. ("To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations").

Now, it is true that Presidents, especially in the modern era, have usurped the legislative function in the foreign arena (and, increasingly, the domestic as well) without substantially challenge, and that consequently much that is properly and Constitutionally the role of the legislature has become practically the role of the executive. But this is not a legitimate, regular exercise of power Constitutionally assigned, but, in essence, a series of self-coups executed by successive Presidents.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 22, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist wrote “The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and what the House used to call the Committee on Foreign Affairs (cue the jokes) are largely ceremonial, more prestige than power. They're flash; the cash happens elsewhere.”

These two committees mark up the foreign aid authorization bills, which set foreign aid policy in great detail, and provide spending levels up to which Congress can appropriate funds. Together with the Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, these two committees do have power, do set policy, and do determine financial priorities, by which the administration is required to abide.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on October 22, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- you guys are so stoopid, it's a wonder you know how to breathe, viz, JR's brilliant concession of what I'd said in the first place "Together with the Foreign Operations Subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee..."

DO get back to us when you figure out what I meant about the contras.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- and for the benefit of our baby lawyer, here, Dice, the UN Charter Article 2, paragraph 4

"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Note the use of the words "shall refrain". Perhaps they covered this in law school -- or were you polishing your.... mirror, that day?


Posted by: theAmericanist on October 22, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

The basic end result in regards to treaties is to have the Senate approve or disapprove of a treaty negotiated by the Executive branch.

If a treaty is disapproved it is ignored with no force of law upon the land.

If approved the treaty has the force of law upon the land equal to any Federal law that is constitutional.

But that's where a conflict of interest can occur.

A treaty can be approved which is in direct violation of the Constitution.

It's the job of the Federal Courts to sort out a solution to the problem.

Foreign policy is a multi-functional process as set up by the Founding Fathers with each branch of government playing a role at a particular time; These times of activity can and do overlap as treaties are worked on.

No branch of government has the sole rights to foreign policies.

Any time the Executive branch does "lone wolf" treaty work without giving a heads up to the Senate, the Executive branch is asking for trouble; And well deserves it.

Posted by: James on October 22, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

now why was shortstop's comment removed?

[Because sometimes when the link spam that does not publish gets trashed, it picks up a comment or two at random. Usually from very old entries. Apologies.]

Posted by: Disputo on October 23, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

See the superb "Rendition".

Posted by: bob h on October 23, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Hairsplitting 101: there are basically two types. The useful one is exemplified above -- the ACTUAL meaning and practice of the advice and consent clause regarding treaties.

The useless one is exemplified by James, or for that matter pretty much any of Dice's posts.

A useful bit of hairsplitting shows how a small distinction can be important. The actual meaning and use of advice and consent, for example, was critical in the long drawn-out struggle over Senate approval of the Panama Canal treaties. Most folks talk blithely (I once made the mistake of doing this myself to the guy who actually got the Canal treaties through the Senate) about Senate "ratification" of a treaty, as if (as James claimed) the Senate "approves" 'em. Not quite -- and the distinction can be decisive, often more than 10 votes.

In the case of the Canal treaties, negotiated over many years with extensive Senate notice (and costing 12 Senators their seats), it was not until the instruments of ratification were exchanged that the Senate allowed the treaties to take effect, including elaborate parliamentary procedures to delay or defer at every step. But the Senate didn't "approve" of the Treaties, they simply allowed them to take effect through applying the advice and consent clause. If the Senate had been required to "approve" 'em, they would surely have refused. (Senator Zelinksy, RIP.)

A useless bit of hairsplitting makes a distinction without a difference, or sometimes concedes the primary point in passing while focusing on a secondary or even tertiary matter. (Dice does this all the time, which is why I've concluded his education exceeds his intellect, oddly advantageous for a lawyer: more billable hours.) James and JR both did this, piously mumbling about shared responsibilities and such for "foreign policy", skipping past the essential point that in what COUNTS, the policy, it is exclusively an executive function.

The easiest way to discern this sorta thing is to see if the distinction makes a difference. What's "foreign policy", as opposed to say, "spending"? To the extent there is a difference, it has to do with the way we favor this nation or that, WITHOUT spending money. When it spends money, it tends to be "spending", rather than "policy". That's why it's the Foreign Ops subcommittees on appropriations that count, more than than Foreign Relations or what used to be Foreign Affairs (which now has this long bogus bureaucratic-sounding name). Odd that JR conceded this without quite realizing it, since it was my breezy point in the first place.

But "foreign policy" doesn't necessarily involve spending money as such: there are a zillion ways the executive branch can reward friends and punish enemies, about which the legislature can't do a thing -- see the whole contras mess, and note particularly the difference between the Dodd amendment in the Senate (which was defeated cuz it focused on POLICY), and the failed Boland amendment in the House (which passed because it SEEMED stronger, yet it was weaker, cuz it was about MONEY). Talking about "shared responsibilities" in that context suggests ignorance or a lack of focus or both.

Which leads to James' blindness: "No branch of government has the sole rights to foreign policies." This isn't even hairsplitting, it simply proves what it's trying to rebut: I suggested that the argument the executive probably used in this case was NOT 'we can't admit that we threatened the guy'. (Cops pretty much always tell suspects it'll go better for them and their families if they confess: what Templeton did was a difference in degree.) I bet what got the court to redact was the executive branch prerogative 'it would harm our foreign policy to admit that we ask EGYPT to do stuff like this'.

A unilateral executive claim unauthorized by the legislature yet accepted by the judiciary: QED.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter tA: When I do it, I am correct; when anyone else does it, they are wrong.

Posted by: Disputo on October 23, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

LOL -- not so. Sometimes splitting hairs is actually checking facts.

BlueGirl corrected me not so long ago cuz I can never keep my Kermits Roosevelt straight; hell, Dice even corrected me on Central Asian geography once. When I'm shown to be wrong, I admit it.

I don't have many, but that's a 'eristic to be emulated, no?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

You know you've proven Donnelly wrong when he becomes unhinged and tries to throw a "QED" in there.

WAR is Foriegn Policy. War is what you do with forign powers and foreign entities. The result of that war is the goal of what you couldn't achieve through negotiations or diplomacy and war should always be declared by the Congress. We've gotten away from that. I'm not speaking entirely of the way things are right now--we know that the way things are is fucked up. I'm speaking in terms of precedent and the way things should be. Big difference. Hair splitting? Sure.

Is the United States bound by anything in the UNited Nations charter? Absolutely not. You will never hear a candidate or a President or anyone who wants to remain in elected office say, "the interests of the United States are subordinate to those of the UNited Nations. If the UN says we can't do X, then we can't do X."

Does foreign policy rest completely in the Executive? No. The Foreign Policy of the United States is split, albeit unequally, between the Executive and the Legislative branches because we have that inherent separation of powers; if the Executive decided to rebuild the Sudan from the ground up, where would it go to get the money? The Legislative branch funds their policies and can restrict or change policies by tightening or loosening the purse strings. And if the Executive abuses some aspect of foreign policy (assassinating foreign leaders, etc.) then the Legislative branch steps in and passes laws that restrict the conduct of that foreign policy.

Americanist/Donnelly fails to note that little problem--irregardless of our current lawless Executive and their abuse of the law and their power, there are still laws that have to be followed when conducting foreign policy, and the Legislative Branch makes the laws. (The Judiciary has a place in the interpretation, of course.)

Foreign policy is not the sole province of the Executive. Otherwise, we'd see half the leaders of the countries we oppose being assassinated and the other half being jailed somewhere in Colorado.

Posted by: Pale Rider on October 23, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: . . . skipping past the essential point that in what COUNTS, the policy, it is exclusively an executive function.

Repeating a lie endlessly doesn't make it true.

BTW, "consent" = "acceptance or APPROVAL of what is planned or done by another."

Treaties or nominations have no legal validity without congressional approval, no matter how many times you falsely claim otherwise.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Oy, you guys lack traction. Honest, it really does help to stick.to.the.frigging.point, which in this case is the redaction. Ya wanna have bigger arguments, at least KNOW when you're leaving the astral plane, willya?

1) I just noted that the most likely reason the executive offered for redacting wasn't to hide that Templeton threatened the guy with having Egyptian cops rape his mother, it was that ... EGYPTIAN cops would rape his mother.

I realize this is a bit subtle for such keen minds as Pale and 'ymous, but while they're lacking most folks DO have the intellectual equivalent of opposable thumbs.

2) The reason the judicial branch went along with this transparent nonsense, is cuz as a matter of principle, it isn't nonsense: the judiciary really does pay great deference to the executive in foreign policy for lots of reasons that are founded in the Constitution.

3) To the extent the legislature plays a role in these matters, it's about spending money. The POLICY issues are an executive function.

LOL -- and just for fun, like pulling wings off, 'ymous, perhaps you've heard of the extensive and expanding practice of recess appointments?

For you to claim that "nominations have no legal validity without Congressional approval" amounts to a statement of bone-deep ignorance on your part, dude.

Extra bonus hairsplitting demonstration: "Treaties ...have no legal validity without congressional approval" is simply wrong on its face, and more deeply conflates two different types of agreements.

TREATIES cannot be ratified without the advice and consent of the SENATE with respect to ratification, as noted above with the example of the Panama Canal treaties. It is not "congressional approval"; that 'ymous doesn't get the distinction but speaks up anyway is yet more proof of what a piece of shit he is.

Various sorts of executive agreements involving other nations are nevertheless not treaties (though often implement 'em) and involve the House as well as the Senate in various ways, particularly trade agreements. I noted another example of this way upthread (yet more evidence that Pale and 'ymous suck like bilge pumps that they didn't notice), the way America's sovereignty over immigration has been eroded by executive authority in foreign policy. (The numbers of temporary workers admitted to the United States can NOT slip below a certain level regardless of any Act of Congress because of trade agreements, f'r instance.)

But the POINT of the thread is the redaction: that it was done, the way it was done, and the EFFECT of doing it (which is pretty minimal, I have a copy of the un-redacted version), all proves what I've said about the EXCLUSIVE, unchallenged and entirely-supported-by-the-judiciary authority of the executive in foreign POLICY.

How many times you guys gotta add up 2+2 to realize it amounts to "4"?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: I just noted that the most likely reason the executive offered for redacting wasn't to hide that Templeton threatened the guy with having Egyptian cops rape his mother, it was that ... EGYPTIAN cops would rape his mother.

Dimwitted even by your standards.

I hardly think the EGYPTIAN cops need suggestions from our interrogators or courts on what sort of torture they will impose on their own people. They do quite well on their own. You and your allegedly opposable thumbs must've missed the point that merely revealing he was EGYPTION would alert the EGYPTIAN authorities that he likely had family in EGYPT which they could readily find and subject to all sorts of crimes regardless whether they were inspired by text in a US court opinion or not.

LOL with your theory, though.

. . . the judiciary really does pay great deference to the executive in foreign policy for lots of reasons that are founded in the Constitution.

The reasons you and the courts pose are not founded in the Constitution, but in authoritarianism.

. . . as a matter of principle, it isn't nonsense . . .

Yes, it was. The redaction was intended to protect no one except people in the US government who engaged in illegal, unethical, and immoral actions.

To the extent the legislature plays a role in these matters, it's about spending money. The POLICY issues are an executive function.

Again, repeating a lie doesn't make it so.

It is not "congressional approval . . .

Ignoring the meaning of "consent" and posing a different meaning won't give "consent" a different meaning no matter how many times you state this.

CONSTITUTION: "[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties . . ."

Advice and consent by the Senate applies to the making of treating, not their ratification; it is the act of consenting that achieves ratification, not that the act of consent applies to ratification.

How many times are you going to pose idiotic interpreations before you realize that 2 + 3 adds up to 5 not 4?


Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

. . . the extensive and expanding practice of recess appointments?

Persons appointed during a recess are not nominees, although they may later also be nominated and become nominees.

Your failure to recognize that a recess appointment is not a nomination shows profound stupidity or profound mendacity.

Either way, LOL conflating the two.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

When I'm shown to be wrong, I admit it.

But not without a little public ridicule first, eh? You towering jackass.

Posted by: express written consent on October 23, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, nowhere in the Constitution does it give the Executive power over "policy." In fact, the term "policy," just like the term "privacy," does not exist in the Constitution and under conservative principles of constitutional construction, therefore, the Constitution does not speak to who controls policy.

Nevertheless, even under a more expansive interpretation of the Constitution, the powers given to Congress go well beyond just spending money, to wit:

" . . . make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water . . ."

". . . define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations . . ."

". . . make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces . . ."

". . . provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions . . ."

All of which powers fall within the realm of policy-making; the power to "make Rules" is the power to "make Policy;" the power to "provide for calling forth" the armed services is the power to "decide Policy."

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: When I'm shown to be wrong, I admit it.

Funniest thing you've ever written; also possibly the most mendacious, although this statement has much competition.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, nowhere in the Constitution does it grant to the President authority over foreign affairs.

In fact, that term does not appear in the Constitution, nor does any phrase in the Constitution even remotely declare that the President shall conduct foreign affairs. If such authority exists, it only exists by implication (from penumbras and emanations arising from the president's authority, again with the approval of the Senate, to appoint ambassadors and the like and from his designation as the executive) that are as emphemeral as the right to privacy that conservatives condemn.

As usual, they are hypocrites, finding penumbras and emanations justifying executive excess, while denying and implication of a right to privacy.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

(snicker) Sticking to the point, just cuz it annoys folks who can't seem to FIND one:

'ymous: "... merely revealing he was EGYPTION would alert the EGYPTIAN authorities that he likely had family in EGYPT which they could readily find and subject to all sorts of crimes regardless whether they were inspired by text in a US court opinion or not."

So 'ymous claims that the reason the court redacted was to PROTECT Higazy's family?

Riiight.

Even you guys don't believe your bullshit, though I suppose this sorta thing enables you to hallucinate you're standing up to me. You show as much class as brains, folks.

In fact, we notified the guy's embassy promptly, so the Egyptians knew we had him in custody. (This practice, btw, is required by those "treaties" we were talking about. If this is too complicated, raise your hand.)

What Templeton was threatening to do wasn't to NOTIFY the Egyptians we had one of theirs under investigation, it was to ASK the Egyptians to hurt his family.

Going too fast for you? It's sorta central to the whole argument, yanno, that Templeton testified he would "make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell."

No wonder you clowns miss the point: you post here to make personal insults and be applauded by folks as dumb as you are, not to actually understand anything. (grin) As opposed to ME, since I make observations from the evidence of your stooooooooopidity, and obviously don't give a damn about applause (not here, anyway), at all.

LOL -- and since I've provided examples of distinctions WITH a difference above, let's all thank 'ymous for illustrating how to split hairs WITHOUT a point: "a recess appointment is not a nomination."

(cue golf applause)

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

And you were doing so well for a few days there, Americanist.

Ah, well. Same as it ever was.

Posted by: shortstop on October 23, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- so tell us, 'stop: do you agree with 'ymous that the redaction was to PROTECT Higazy's family?

(batting lashes)

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Right, because you're only about the facts and the argument, Americanist, aren't you? That's why you stick serenely to your points and don't attack every single other person in the conversation gratuitously, bizarrely, hysterically...and hamhandedly.

Once again, everyone in the place you happen to be is a hopeless 'tard except for you. What are the odds?

Posted by: shortstop on October 23, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: Going too fast for you?

No, going to mendaciously and disingenuously for me.

theAmericanist: I expect the government argued that Egyptian cooperation with the war on terror is a critical national security issue that would be compromised by revealing that we use THEIR use of torture for our own purposes.

But the redaction didn't reveal that America uses Egyptian torture for our own purposes.

It merely revealed that Templeton claimed this to get the individual to talk.

And this information is public knowledge anyway and by definition, therefore, not a state secret.

So, you are lying about what the redaction would reveal; not to mention that this practice is common knowledge now.

You must have missed all the discussion over the past two years about extraordinary rendition with an abundance of proof about when and where this has and is taking place.

BTW from Patterico (hardly a liberal source of information): An anonymous source, who I’m guessing is a government official, told the New York Sun that the omitted material might put people’s safety at risk:

A source close to the case said the opinion was withdrawn because of concerns that it disclosed information that was sealed by the district court on the grounds that it could jeopardize the safety of certain individuals.

So, apparently individuals in the government, on the right, and maybe on the left all agree that the redaction was likely to have been done to protect the man's family, but it is looney to suggest this or even hint that this is in fact what the government is claiming.

Well, you are nothing if not consistently mendacious and disingenuous!

I've provided examples of distinctions WITH a difference above . . .

Claiming something is true doesn't make it so, particularly when the claim arises from a serial liar.

. . .let's all thank 'ymous for illustrating how to split hairs WITHOUT a point: "a recess appointment is not a nomination."

Actually, a couple of points were made: one, you lie; two, you don't admit when you are wrong, which leads to one, you even lie about admitting when you are wrong.

YOU made the point of explicitly (and wrongly) indicating that nominations do not require congressional approval so you could "prove" my "bone deep ignorance."

The truth is you argue "splitting hairs" in most instances where you are proven wrong or inaccurate; you do not routinely admit it when you re wrong.


Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist's claims:

1. The Constitution give Congress no authority over policy, but only the authority to spend money.

False. In spades. Beyond congressional authority to delegate policy-making to administrative agencies (and you can't delegate something you don't have) and that lawmaking (legislation) is quintessentially policy-making, the Constitution gives EXPRESS grants of policy-making authority to Congress that goes well beyond simply controlling the purse, authority that extends to the areas of foreign and military policy.

2. The court probably granted the redaction because leaving the text in would reveal that the Egyptians torture on our behalf.

Beyond the fact that the redacted text reveals no such thing, but merely a claim suggesting that maybe this might be true, the "fact" of extraordinary rendition to allied countries, including Egypt, for torture is widely known and believed and the redacted text pales in comparison to the overwhelming amount of explicit and implicit evidence from other sources, including other official sources within the US government or its adjuncts.

The claimed purpose (by the government and apparently embraced by the court, as agreed throughout the continuum of policital philosophy (with the notable exception of theAmericanist) was to protect the wrongly accused man and his family.

The real reason is, of course, to protect the government of the United States from explicit proof of the unethical, immoral, and illegal tactics they are employing against innocent and guilty alike without shame or embarassment.

3. Nominations don't require congressional approval and recess appointments prove that.

Just too, too funny for words. 'Nough said.

4. No wonder you clowns miss the point

Implies you have a point, which obviously you don't, at least not one based on fact and reality.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

During the Nixon administration, conservatives claimed that it was wrong to reveal the secret bombing of Cambodia because it would reveal to our enemies what we were doing, as if our enemies with bombs dropping down on their heads from American planes somehow didn't know they were being bombed.

The truth was, conservatives wanted this to remain a secret not to keep government secrets from falling into the hands of our enemies or because it might interfere with foreign policy, but to keep those secrets from falling into the hands of American citizens who might hold them accountable for their immoral, unethical, and illegal actions.

That is exactly what is going on right here: it is the American public who is being deceived, not foreign governments, and the Bush administration who is being protected, not US foreign policy.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

(patiently)

'ymous, it helps when you frame an argument, to drive these stakes in the ground known as "facts", and wrap the argument AROUND 'em. If your "argument" leaves the facts OUTSIDE, it won't stand up.

When a foreigner is arrested in the U.S., it is standard practice for him (or his lawyer) to notify his embassy. Was this not done for Higazy? We're NOT talkin about a rendition -- that was a later, um, refinement.

So the purpose of the redaction could NOT have been to keep his arrest secret from the Egyptians, since we had, er, TOLD them already.

Ya with me so far?

Templeton told this poor bastard that he was going to "make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell." He was threatening to get the Egyptians to do something to the guy's family. He didn't say 'I'm going to tell the Egyptian government we have you in custody' -- because Higazy himself HAD ALREADY TOLD HIS LAWYER TO MAKE SURE THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT KNEW THAT.

Repeat as necessary, 'ymous: a thing cannot be both true, and not true, at the same time. The redaction was not to protect Higazy's family. (Leashing Templeton with a sock in his mouth would do that.)

Look, folks: when you make a distinction, STICK with it. It rarely helps clarify to say that A is sorta like B, which is sorta like C, and that is sometimes like D, and then try to explain how A and D are not the same.

Congress and the President disagree about foreign policy all the time. The basic power Congress has is spending -- so when they don't like Policy A, they refuse to fund it, or tie strings on the money. But there are a MILLION examples how this has, shall we say, limited utility: look at Iraq.

Another vivid example (on which I cut my teeth), were the human rights restrictions on military aid to El Salvador. Because a bid to simply refuse to provide it would have failed (cuz the President sets the policy...), Congress voted to require that before any arms were sent, the President had to report on human rights progress. I remember when the first report was issued, somebody went up to the author, slapped him on the back, and said: "Well, you straightened THAT out in a hurry, didn't you?"

LOL -- take the hint, already: this is a PRACTICAL lesson.

The basic executive power I'm pointing to in foreign affairs is POLICY. Bush gets to say what we are doing this or that FOR -- and unless Congress is prepared to stop paying for this or that, even if they ARE prepared to pay for something ELSE, Bush gets to keep setting the POLICY.

So don't go after THAT, cuz it is his fucking job. Got after how the way he does is a FAILURE.

What's so hard to grasp about that?

Ya know what's fascinating to me about this thread? I made a simple, common sense point way up: that the way to avoid this sorta silly sideline is to focus on how Higazy would have confessed to offing Hoffa to protect his family, and NOT on what "secrets" we're protecting.

And for that, I've had to deal with Pale being stooopid, 'ymous being a piece of shit, and shortstop avoiding the issue (I asked a pretty direct question of him) just so he can scoff at me for knowing what I was talking about.

(shaking head) Pitiful.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

And for that, I've had to deal with Pale being stooopid, 'ymous being a piece of shit, and shortstop avoiding the issue (I asked a pretty direct question of him) just so he can scoff at me for knowing what I was talking about.

Nope. You asked a redirect question because you didn't care for having it once again pointed out that you are utterly incapable of carrying on a normal interaction with anyone--anytime, anyplace.

In this thread alone, you've managed to direct your overwrought and wholly inappropriate venom not just at Pale Rider and anonymous (or anonymouses), but also at cmdicely, Joel Rubinstein and James. Am I forgetting anyone?

Gosh, never before has one man been so misunderstood. Never before has one man had to deal with every single person he meets being such a fool. The odds against one guy never once encountering someone who's not a complete idiot are astronomical, yet you've beaten them.

That's some streak of bad luck you've got going there, bud.

Posted by: shortstop on October 23, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK
Note the use of the words "shall refrain".

How about if you note the words "against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state...".

A use or threat of force not directed at conquering territory or subjecting a foreign state to the political control of the state using forces is not directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of the state targetted by the force. Presuming that the purpose of that is (see the following clause) not contrary to the purposes of the United Nation, and isn't prohibited by some other provision of the Charter (because, say, it violates a binding resolution of the Security Council), a use or threat of force, whether declared as war or not, is not illegal.

Now, admittedly, in most actual armed conflicts, at least one party, if not both, is using force in contravention of the UN Charter, though its possible to at least imagine scenarios where that is not true (where one side makes a legitimate mistake of a grave imminent--in the internationally accepted rather than the novel form adopted by the Bush Administration--threat and acts defensively against it, while the other side acts in defense against that misguided response.)

But to characterize, as you have, "war" as categorically illegal under the UN system is grossly erroneous. Indeed, the UN system avoided doing that precisely because the rather less qualified attempt to prohibit war by legal mechanisms through the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a miserable failure. That's also why the UN Charter calls for an integrated military command and forces held available by member-states to give the UN its own enforcement capacity, a good idea, but one which ultimately failed through lack of substantive compliance and implementation.

Ultimately (and this is wandering far afield) I think the problem is that the UN, like the Leage of Nations and the US under the Articles of Confederation, was organized as a government of governments, without direct accountability. Organizations like that tend to lack the support of the people and the moral authority to really make compliance happen; higher-level governments with direct accountability to the people that are the constituents of their member governments, like the US under the Constitution and the E.U. are more successful.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK
The basic executive power I'm pointing to in foreign affairs is POLICY. Bush gets to say what we are doing this or that FOR -- and unless Congress is prepared to stop paying for this or that, even if they ARE prepared to pay for something ELSE, Bush gets to keep setting the POLICY.

Or Congress can exercise its Constitutional power to set policy through law, and sue or impeach the President for failure to obey the law. Now, its true that practically Congress rarely (as a body; individual members often try and always fail for lack of standing because they are not the Congress as a body) sues for this reason, and almost never impeaches for any reason, but this is certainly a Constitutional option, and a legitimate power of Congress.

The Executive's practical power is not because of a proper or Constitutional role of the Executive, but simply because the Congress has, over the years, handed over more of its proper and Constitutional power over foreign policy, that is express in the Constitution, to the Executive by failing to exercise it, by failing to hold the Executive accountable for violating the Congress's direction where Congress has acted, and by generally shirking the legislative branch's Constitutional duty.

Law is policy. Congress has broad (not merely funding) Constitutional lawmaking powers when it comes to foreign affairs. Foreign policy is not the exclusive job of the President, it is first and foremost the job of the Congress, which ought to hold everyone subject to its authority, and most especially those sworn to faithfully execute the law, accountable to the laws it passes in the legitimate exercise of its Constitutional authority, and, beyond that, ought to exercise that authority as necessary to assure a responsible foreign policy in the first place.

The President's legitimate power over foreign policy is, essentially, to act within the boundaries prescribed by Congress through law.


Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Awww...shortstop wants his psychoanalysis to be taken seriously. Good luck with that.

(snort!) See, this is why I scoff at Dice: just imagine the legal reasoning his poor clients pay for...

(patiently) Dice, the UN system continues to effectively include ALL the nations of the world in the very direct sense that if you're not recognized by the UN as a nation, you're not one. Before the UN, war was a sovereign matter for each individual state. What made you a sovereign nation, in fact, was partly your capacity to go to war. It was not only legal, the capacity to do this legal act was part of your legal status AS a state. If a nation couldn't lawfully go to war independently, it wasn't actually a nation under international law: this was as true of India under the Raj (including all the component parts; the first thing the Victorians did was take over the various principates' armies) as it is of New Jersey. Making war was a big part of how any individual nation would come to be recognized AS a nation by other countries, e.g., the founding of modern Italy or the unification of Germany.

We've long since established you were educated beyond your intelligence, Dice, so it's not clear which is at fault here, but you radically misunderstand Kellog-Briand, and you're flat-out ignorant of the UN system. The WHOLE FRIGGING POINT of the UN system is that the nations of the world, in order to BE recognized as"the nations of the world", have agreed that outside of the UN system, war is illegal. It's NO LONGER the essence of sovereignty, cuz (according to the UN system), NO nation can lawfully go to war without UN approval in some form, including the standing authorization for self-defense, etc.

Like I said -- before the UN, war was legal. Under the UN system, war is ILLEGAL -- it's not about the lack of a "declaration" of war, which is generally focused within the eroded legislative prerogatives of the American system. The illegality of war is the core of the UN system, which is about UNITED nations, not separate sovereignties.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Awww...shortstop wants his psychoanalysis to be taken seriously. Good luck with that.

Sugar, it makes no never mind to me whether you "take seriously" a universally observed phenomenon. As has been pointed out in countless threads, including this one, facts remain facts regardless of whether you're capable of acknowledging them. Your very frequent lack of such capability doesn't alter the nature of reality.

Carry on--here's hoping you'll get different results the 1,001st time!

Posted by: shortstop on October 23, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: Ya with me so far?

I can't be with someone who consistently misrepresents the issue and the facts and keeps comparing apples to oranges.

The basic executive power I'm pointing to in foreign affairs is POLICY. Bush gets to say what we are doing this or that FOR -- and unless Congress is prepared to stop paying for this or that, even if they ARE prepared to pay for something ELSE, Bush gets to keep setting the POLICY.

To a large extent not without congressional assent, since Congress must approve treaties, ambassadors, and can set rules not only on spending but with respect to what is lawful and not lawful and how the military will be used or not used.

Templeton told this poor bastard that he was going to "make sure that Egyptian security gives [his] family hell." He was threatening to get the Egyptians to do something to the guy's family. He didn't say 'I'm going to tell the Egyptian government we have you in custody' -- because Higazy himself HAD ALREADY TOLD HIS LAWYER TO MAKE SURE THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT KNEW THAT.

Then we clearly agree that the government's claim of state secrets was a sham and that there was no legal, practical, or foreign policy reason for the redaction, but that it was clearly done to protect the Bush administration from public knowledge in the US of what immoral, illegal, and unethical activities it was engaged in.

Whew!

Agreement is good.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: Pitiful.

You finally picked the right signature to sign off your nonsense with.

Congratulations!

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: When a foreigner is arrested in the U.S., it is standard practice for him (or his lawyer) to notify his embassy. Was this not done for Higazy? . . . So the purpose of the redaction could NOT have been to keep his arrest secret from the Egyptians, since we had, er, TOLD them already.

Do you have proof that he or his lawyer or our government told his embassy?

If not, and your previous sentence indicates you don't know, then this is speculation not fact and you are arguing from speculation not fact which is contrary to your assertion you argue only from fact and that makes you a liar.

Admit it, since that is supposedly what you do.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Dice, the UN system continues to effectively include ALL the nations of the world in the very direct sense that if you're not recognized by the UN as a nation, you're not one.

Counterexample: the Republic of China, which neither the UN nor many major nations formally recognize as a nation, but quite a lot of nations treats practically as one because, well, it is, no matter what the People's Republic of China might demand.

Before the UN, war was a sovereign matter for each individual state.

Insofar as it was before the UN, it still is. As before the UN, international agreements (including, but not limited to, the UN Charter) include formal declarations that war won't be used against certain parties or in certain conditions, and as was the case before the UN, such agreements are no more trustworthy than the current leadership of a country.

We've long since established you were educated beyond your intelligence

You having asserted such an attack is not the same thing as "we" having established it as true, though I suppose your use of the plural may be justified by validation you've recieved from the voices in your head.

but you radically misunderstand Kellog-Briand

You asserting it doesn't make it so.

The WHOLE FRIGGING POINT of the UN system is that the nations of the world, in order to BE recognized as"the nations of the world", have agreed that outside of the UN system, war is illegal.

Except that, as review of the excerpt from the Charter you point to will show, that's not true at all.

Certainly, the intent of the United Nations, as with Kellogg-Briand, the League of Nations, and many other efforts prior was to end war, using legalism as part of the tool. But the UN Charter does not make war illegal, it makes certain uses of war illegal. And even there, it wasn't entirely new international law, since the Nuremberg concept of the crime of aggression -- which was declared based on existing international instruments including, but not limited to, Kellogg-Briand -- largely overlaps with the uses for force between nations prohibited by the UN Charter (making it clear that much of the war prohibited by the Charter was prohibited independently of the UN system.)

Like I said -- before the UN, war was legal.

And, like I said, this is true in part and false in part; war was sometimes legal and sometimes illegal under international law existing prior to and independent of the UN system.

Under the UN system, war is ILLEGAL

And, like I said, this to is true in part and false in part; some uses of war are illegal under the UN system, some are legal as permitted by authorization of the UN, and some are legal as fundamental elements of soveriegnty which the UN Charter expressly leaves intact (to wit, self-defense, which you present as a "standing authorization", but the UN Charter presents as a pre-existing and inherent right--see Article 51 "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations...".)

it's not about the lack of a "declaration" of war, which is generally focused within the eroded legislative prerogatives of the American system.

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here; as usual, you ramble about without focus or structure. What is the "it" here?


The illegality of war is the core of the UN system

No, the reservation of the right to determine in advance when war is necessary other than in immediate self-defense to the decision-making bodies of the UN (particularly, the Security Council) is the core of the UN system, just as the right to determine in advance when violence is necessary (in any just system, other than in immediate self-defense) is the core of any civilized system of government.

This is not the same as the illegality of war, because war remains legal under the UN system under much the same circumstances as it was recognized as legal under the Nuremberg principles, which purported to be an articulation of the pre-existing international law drawn from existing instruments and custom.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

(with Job-like patience) I never claimed that I arguue "only from fact". I noted that you have to drive stakes in the ground, these stakes are known as "facts", and your argument HAS to include 'em, or leave 'em out -- and if you leave important facts OUTSIDE the argument, it falls apart.

Here is an example of a fact, from the US State Department instructions provided to EVERY FUCKING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN AMERICA, most definitely including the FBI (this is actually one of the things you get tested on to become an FBI agent):

"Consular Notification and Access, Part 2: Detailed Instructions

The instructions in this booklet should be followed by all federal, state, and local government officials, whether law enforcement, judicial, or other, insofar as they pertain to foreign nationals subject to such officials' authority or to matters within their competence. These instructions relate to the arrest and detention of foreign nationals...

Arrests and Detentions of Foreign Nationals

Whenever a foreign national is arrested or detained in the United States, there are legal requirements to ensure that the foreign national's government can offer him/her appropriate consular assistance. In all cases, the foreign national must be told of the right of consular notification and access . In most cases, the foreign national then has the option to decide whether to have consular representatives notified of the arrest or detention. In other cases, however, the foreign national's consular officials must be notified of an arrest and/or detention regardless of the foreign national's wishes. Whenever a foreign national is taken into custody, the detaining official should determine whether consular notification is at the option of the foreign national or whether it is mandatory . A list of all embassies and consulates in the United States, with their telephone and facsimile numbers, is included in this booklet..."

I wasn't speculating. I know what I'm talking about. I gather this isn't something you're used to?

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist (aka, theDelusionist): . . . if you're not recognized by the UN as a nation, you're not one . . .

I've looked everywhere (well, literally not everywhere, but a vigorous search nonetheless) for a definition of "nation" that says in some form that "a nation is a geographical and political entity declared to be a nation by the UN."

Can't find it anywhere.

Hmmmm . . . how can that be . . . surely theDelusionist couldn't be wrong about the meaning of words . . .

Actually, "nation" is a cultural entity; "state" is a political entity often based on the cultural concept of "nation."

Of course, I'm sure this is just more "hair-splitting."

Even so, whether "state" or "nation," these are concepts that exist outside the UN framework and neither concept is dependent upon the capacity to "make war," much less the actuality of "making war."

Unless you are Dick Cheney, of course, in which event everything in the world is defined through the prism of war.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK
When a foreigner is arrested in the U.S., it is standard practice for him (or his lawyer) to notify his embassy.

When a foreigner is arrested in the U.S., it is a legal obligation of the U.S. government on the request of the detained person to notify the consulate of the nation of which the detained person is a national; it is likewise a legal obligation of the U.S. government to inform the detained person of his right to have his consulate notified. Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Art. 36, § 1(c).

This obligation, however, has been rather routinely neglected in the U.S. See, particularly, the Internation Court of Justice in Mexico V. United States (Avena and other Mexican nationals) and Germany v. United States of America (LaGrand), among others.

Was this not done for Higazy?

Is there any evidence it was?

Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: Here is an example of a fact, from the US State Department instructions provided to EVERY FUCKING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN AMERICA, most definitely including the FBI (this is actually one of the things you get tested on to become an FBI agent)

So, basically, the argument is that something must have occurred because the FBI has been instructed to do that thing, even though this is the very same FBI that repeatedly failed to follow instructions when issuing national security letters to collect information?

Riiiiight.

Whenever a foreign national is arrested or detained in the United States, there are legal requirements to ensure that the foreign national's government can offer him/her appropriate consular assistance.

There are also legal requirements to read suspects their Miranda rights, to not coerce confessions, to not deny suspects access to lawyers, to not taint lineups, to not plant evidence, etc, etc, etc, that get violated all the time by law enforcement officials, including the illustrious (yuk-yuk) FBI.

It does not follow from the existence of requirements that the requirements were met in a particular case; hence, you were speculating, you mendacious twit, since you cannot point to any evidence that in this specific instance the requirements were met.

I gather you are not used to logic.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: I know what I'm talking about.

You've yet to produce any more evidence to back up this claim than you have to back up the claim that the Egyptian consulate was notified of Higazy's detention.

Not that, in any event, this fact would be particularly relevant to why the government asked the court to redact the information in question.

You've stated: I expect the government argued that Egyptian cooperation with the war on terror is a critical national security issue that would be compromised by revealing that we use THEIR use of torture for our own purposes.

It is widely recognized that Egypt practices torture and I'm not sure they even bother to deny it as a practical matter and may even relish their reputation (as a means of discouraging disorder for fear of torture), so revealing that US officials use the fact that Egypt tortures to coerce detainees would seem unlikely under even the most bizarre scenarios to affect cooperation with the Egyptians and might even enhance it.

The only government it would likely be embarassing to would be the US government - aka, the Bush administration.

Your claim that Egyptian cooperation might be affected is as lame as the government's apparent claim that failure to redact the information would place Higazy's family in greater danger.

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, cmdicely, anonymous and shortstop,

Will you PLEASE stop clogging the thread? There is soooo much to learn from AmericanPie on being a top notch AssHole. Perhaps AmwayBoy, you perceive yourself to be smart, but, you are an arrogant, conceited pile of shit as a human being. And money was wasted on you in government? You have joined rickmick and rdw for being a complete waste of type.

And now, may we have some more of Pale Rider, cmdicely, anonymous and shortstop for truly intelligent thought and comments?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on October 23, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: Under the UN system, war is ILLEGAL

You appear to be arguing that war, pre-UN or under principles of sovereignty that you approve of, for purposes other than self-defense (e.g., land grab, genocide, etc) should be legal and moral and was/is legal and moral outside the auspices of the UN.

But I'm not sure why a war of aggression should (even assuming it ever was) be legal, much less moral.

If that is the case, if sovereignty trumps all else, then you justify Saddam and his war on Kuwait (we know conservative have already rationalized in their own mind that the war against Iran was justified), not to mention many other actions that were justified under principles of sovereignty.

Perhaps you are just building a defense for Bush who claimed a false defensive justification for invading Iraq and now needs some other theory to justify the invasion and continued occupation of another sovereign nation?

Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Try to follow this slowly, guys: I read the unredacted version. Evidently you guys have not.

1) There is no indication in it anywhere that Higazy was not provided with the opportunity to tell his embassy (or more technically, a consular officer) that he had been arrested. Since he is suing the government for violating his rights, if they had refused to give him that opportunity, he would surely have made the claim. He did not. So I conclude that he was given the opportunity.

2) I quoted the State Department's instruction, which is also a standing order for the FBI, that EITHER the guy is given the chance to notify his embassy (as Dice pointlessly splits hairs, the consular officer)OR the US government MUST do so in certain circumstances.

A material witness in 9/11 is such a circumstance.

That's why I concluded that the Egyptians were notified: either Higazy did it, or the FBI did, or both. (NB to folks keeping score: it is generally fair not only to tell folks what you think, but why you think it. That's why I asked Shortstop if he agreed that the reason the decision was redacted was to PROTECT Higazy's family, of all bizarre rationalizations, which 'ymous claimed. It ain't me who makes these folks look stoooopid and chickenshit.)

It's not at all clear, either, why you guys are arguing every side of this minor point: first you're saying that they did NOT tell the Egyptians he was arrested cuz Higazy's arrest was like a rendition (which is secret, and nobody gets "notified"), even though he had a lawyer and was allowed to call his SCHOOL, fercrying out loud; then you're arguing the redacting was done to protect Higazy's family (the one Templeton had threatened?); so you change your feeble minds to argue that the FBI was SUPPOSED to tell the Egyptians as they are required by law to do but CHOSE not to so they could THREATEN to tell the Egyptians...

WTF? "Tell us what we want to know, buster, or we will OBEY THE LAW, that's how crazy we are..."

Are y'all really that stooopid? Cuz...

3) As I keep noting from, ya know, the unredacted version, Templeton didn't threaten to NOTIFY the Egyptians, he threatened to "make sure" they tortured Higazy's family.

4) Try to follow this part, cuz it's important: THIS MEANS THAT WE TELL EGYPT TO TORTURE ITS OWN PEOPLE, and EGYPT WOULD DO IT. For folks who actually think about this stuff (lets y'all off the hook), that is more sensitive to foreign policy than the fact of Egyptian security forces committing torture independently.

So it is the sort of thing which the executive branch would say involves matters to be redacted and which, in fact, is precisely what the judicial branch DID.

Even for you guys, I am genuinely impressed that you can't seem to follow something this simple.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: There is no indication in it anywhere that Higazy was not provided with the opportunity to tell his embassy (or more technically, a consular officer) that he had been arrested. Since he is suing the government for violating his rights, if they had refused to give him that opportunity, he would surely have made the claim. He did not. So I conclude that he was given the opportunity.

Your conclusion is speculation, then, inferred and not based on direct fact.

Glad we got that settled.

BTW, your conclusion is also based on an undemonstrated assumption that one can sue (have a cause of action) for being denied consular access.

More evidence that you are arguing from speculation, not fact.

I quoted the State Department's instruction, which is also a standing order for the FBI, that EITHER the guy is given the chance to notify his embassy (as Dice pointlessly splits hairs, the consular officer) OR the US government MUST do so in certain circumstances.

Which quotation is irrelevant to whether this was done in this particular case and is not evidence that it was.

And as wingers always say, not truthfully of course, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

. . . first you're saying that they did NOT tell the Egyptians he was arrested cuz Higazy's arrest was like a rendition (which is secret, and nobody gets "notified") . . .

I wrote no such thing.

so you change your feeble minds to argue that the FBI was SUPPOSED to tell the Egyptians as they are required by law to do but CHOSE not to so they could THREATEN to tell the Egyptians...

Didn't write this either, even by inference.

As I keep noting from, ya know, the unredacted version, Templeton didn't threaten to NOTIFY the Egyptians, he threatened to "make sure" they tortured Higazy's family.

I'm not sure why this is significant either way - the bottom line is that the FBI, through notification that they would like the family tortured (and do you really believe the US is explictly asking for people, even rendered people, to be tortured to serve US interests? If so, then there are far worse crimes at issue. If not, then they are merely notifying Egyptian authorities and allowing events to run their course) or "making sure" (whatever that phrase means - are we supposed to infer that Templeton was going to hold a gun to some Egyptian's head and force him to torture Higazy's family? How can the FBI get the Egyptian authorities to torture his family other than by notifying them - it's not as if the FBI can order the Egyptians to do anything) would somehow put Higazy's family in danger of being abused by the Egyptian government.

In other words, the lack of ability of the FBI to directly force Egyptian authorities to impose torture against family members and the unlikelihood that FBI agents would make themselves subject to prosecution for aiding and abetting torture, if they were to directly and expressly ask for it, suggests an interpretation of "make sure" that the FBI would merely notify the Egyptian authorities of the circumstances and let the Egyptians draw their own conclusions and determine their own course of action according to their own standards.

So, really it is you who is splitting hairs about whether the FBI threatened to merely "notify" or threatened to "make sure" which don't really seem to be any different in the context in question.

I'm not shocked and certainly not impressed that you can't follow simply reasoning and are creating vast disculpatory arguments for the Bush administration based on the slimmest of semantic and logical reeds.

THIS MEANS THAT WE TELL [(notify)] EGYPT TO TORTURE ITS OWN PEOPLE, and EGYPT WOULD DO IT.

This would seem to be a black mark against the administration, but I fail to see, especially in light of widespread knowledge of torture in Egypt and the fact of US extraordinary rendition which is also a request to torture that is no different and no more independent that what happened here, how this creates a sensitive situation for EGYPT such that foreign policy interests are implicated.

Only the most dimwitted of citizens in this country or Egypt are unaware that the US has relied upon Egyptian authorities to carry out torture on its behalf.

If it's not a secret, it's not a state secret and has no implications for foreign policy.

Moreover, if Egypt tortures on its own, they suffer no further embarassment from the fact that they torture on our behalf, since they are already known to cooperate with the US on many issues repugnant to radical Islamists.

You haven't made your case and your argument is lame.

Which of course is why the administration itself has not even offered up such a lame reason, but apparently has claimed the redaction was to protect Higazy's family.


Posted by: anonymous on October 23, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK
There is no indication in it anywhere that Higazy was not provided with the opportunity to tell his embassy (or more technically, a consular officer) that he had been arrested.

The requirement is not that Hilgazy be provided an opportunity to tell his embassy or consular officer anything, the requirement is for the U.S. to affirmatively inform him of his right to have his consulate notified and for the the U.S. government to, if he chooses to exercise that right, inform the consulate. The absence of evidence regarding this is not evidence that the obligation was fulfilled.

I quoted the State Department's instruction, which is also a standing order for the FBI, that EITHER the guy is given the chance to notify his embassy (as Dice pointlessly splits hairs, the consular officer)OR the US government MUST do so in certain circumstances.

The existence of a standing public order is not evidence that the order was followed, or even that it was general policy in practice to comply with the order. Further, there are no exceptions to the requirement in the Vienna Convention, if a national is detained "in any manner", they must be informed of their right to have their consulate informed. (And it is, as I said before, "consulate" or, in the precise words of the Vienna Convention, "consular post"—I did not say "consular officer". For future reference, that's what "hairsplitting" looks like; the distinction between a consular post and an embassy is rather more significant, though an embassy will generally also be a consular post, though the converse is not true. For a starting point on the distinction, compare the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.)

That's why I concluded that the Egyptians were notified: either Higazy did it, or the FBI did, or both.

None of that presents a substantial reason to believe there was notification. Certainly, there is substantial reason to believe their should have been notification, but "should have been" does not imply "was".

It's not at all clear, either, why you guys are arguing every side of this minor point

Um, we're a bunch of different people, not a collective hive mind. We, therefore, often argue different things.

I, for one, am arguing only that you have provided no substantial reason for believing the things you assert to be true, and pointing to historical patterns of actions in the U.S. which tend to undermine your argument that because the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations requires certain things to be done, it is reasonable to assume that they in fact were done in the absence of any direct evidence that they were, in fact, done in the specific case at issue.

THIS MEANS THAT WE TELL EGYPT TO TORTURE ITS OWN PEOPLE, and EGYPT WOULD DO IT.

Er, no; it means that we tell people that we will tell Egypt to torture their own people, and we want people to believe that Egypt will do it. Of course, it is consistent with those both being true, but there would be a reason (perhaps not a legitimate one, but a reason) to redact it even if we don't tell Egypt to torture its own people, and/or they wouldn't listen if we did: if the threat becomes public (as it has), then either our government officials have to deny that we actually do that (and undermine their credibility when threatening it) or admit that they do it (and potentially admit to committing crimes under US law). Similarly, Egyptian officials might be pressured to deny that the would do so for the US (and thus also undermine our ability to us the threat) or admit that they would listen (and make themselves look like tools of the US). So, clearly, if the threat was made, the US government and particularly the people involved wouldn't want it to become public, independently.

But, if your statement were correct, you would be arguing that the redaction was a legitimate act by the judiciary to cover-up gross criminality by the executive, which, I think, is inconsistent with both the law and any reasonable interpretation of the legitimate role of the judiciary.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Golly, you guys are just brain damaged lackwits: "you would be arguing that the redaction was a legitimate act by the judiciary to cover-up gross criminality by the executive..."

NO!!!! You shit-for-brains asshat fucktard.

For the nth time, it's THE WRONG FUCKING ARGUMENT TO HAVE.

The argument SMART people would make is that this poor bastard would have agreed to ANYTHING to protect his family.

The amount of time you've spent convincing yourselves walking me through stuff that I obviously know a bit about, and you don't, is proof that you wouldn't know how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK
The amount of time you've spent convincing yourselves walking me through stuff that I obviously know a bit about

If you know anything about what you are talking about, it is far from obvious. Perhaps merely because you have trouble writing with any focus: its not clear if you communicate poorly because you feel it is so beneath you to even comment here that you can't be bothered to try to express yourself clearly, or if the circumlocution you consistently engage in is a trick to hide the absence of any real point behind your posts.

OTOH, you are proficient at spouting insults, and I assume that whatever you do in your day job is something that makes the cathartic release that doing that on the internet apparently provides for you necessary.

Posted by: cmdicely on October 23, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

"If you know anything about what you are talking about, it is far from obvious."

A better example of this guy's ignorance would be hard to create.

Posted by: theAmericanist on October 23, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: The amount of time you've spent convincing yourselves walking me through stuff that I obviously know a bit about, and you don't, is proof that you wouldn't know how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

As so obviously proven by your failure to distinguish between a nomination and a recess appointment?

LOL

. . . it's THE WRONG FUCKING ARGUMENT TO HAVE.

It's America and I can have any f*cking argument I want to. See, e.g., First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

And besides, you don't get to tell anyone what argument they may or may not have and what is the most important aspect of an issue.

The argument SMART people would make is that this poor bastard would have agreed to ANYTHING to protect his family.

Then you will agree that "Rendition" is a very, very smart movie.

Posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: The argument SMART people would make is that this poor bastard would have agreed to ANYTHING to protect his family.

Everyone, even fairly stupid people, already know that if a person is tortured they will generally say anything to stop the torture; the same is obviously true with regarding to stopping or preventing the torture of a third party about whom the person being tortured cares.

SMART people wouldn't make an obvious stateement (argument) that is a given and with which everyone already agrees.

That would be like arguing solely about whether the Constitution contains an amendment (the First Amendment) that protects free speech and ignoring various other aspects of a particular circumstance involving the boundaries of that right.

So, why are you spending so much time promoting an argument that no one would disagree with and therefore is not at issue?

Because you want to divert attention from the real issue which is the illegal, immoral, and unethical conduct of the Bush administration and its agents and approve of courts that improperly and corruptly seek to hide this information from the American public through jurisprudential principles that amount to a sham.

Posted by: anonymous on October 24, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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