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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 15,480

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I'm the retired law professor & you're not

I cannot provide a legal education to you. To put it in simplest terms you simply cannot justify your personal interpretation. Good grief! Laws are constantly being changed, amended, expanded, or nullified by both legislative action and court opinion. Court opinions, including what is or is not "constitutional" can change from session to session, and particularly when one throws a new Justice into the mix. The section you quote does not refer to any particular Supreme Court case. And you never addressed the language which I highlighted which clearly shows habeas corpus, right to counsel and right to present evidence is out the window.

As to the division of powers within our government, Congress doesn't "overrule" SCOTUS decisions. The fact that you would even use the phrase "overrule" as you did, tells me you really don't understand the legal system. If Congress disagrees with a SCOTUS interpretation of a law, Congress may (as I said already) chose to change the law.

I've visited a Stasi (not staTsi) prison camp

Berlin is my favorite EU city, so I've spent quality time there. I also took a day trip to a nearby former Stasi prison and received an in-depth tour of that facility. It started out as Sachsenhausen concentration camp - Hitler's first, prototype camp. Since it was in East Germany, after WW Two, the soviets kept the camp operating as a prison for former Nazis, political dissidents and any Germans who attempted to escape to the West, or were even suspected of wanting to escape to the West. It operated as a prison (Soviet Special Camp Number Seven) until 1950.


Since you can't even spell "stasi", I challenge your qualifications to pontificate on what was suffered under the stasi. I'll tell you this, though. German citizens who were "disappeared" to Sachsenhausen, and later to Soviet Special Camp Number Seven, were snatched off the streets, from their homes, or from their places of employment, never to be heard from again. Because they didn't have habeas corpus, or the right to be publicly accused, or have lawyers defend them, or to have public trials. When my American tour leader (married to a Berliner, and living in Berlin) described this to us, I commented, sounds just like the Patriot Act, to which she sadly agreed.

A stasi comparison is quite valid, according to a loyalist's own post

Poster Californee above provides an undocumented, unlinked, unsourced quote describing the Stasi, ending with the challenging question, "does that sound like anything going on in this country?" As long as she is happy to skip any citations, let's just give her the benefit of the doubt and hoist her on her own undocumented petard.
My reply, "it absolutely does!" and I highlight portions of her own "defense" to prove my point.

"The Stasi perfected the technique of psychological harassment of perceived enemies known as Zersetzung – a term borrowed from chemistry which literally means "corrosion" or "undermining".

"By the 1970s, the Stasi had decided that methods of overt persecution which had been employed up to that time, such as arrest and torture, were too crude and obvious. It was realised that psychological harassment was far less likely to be recognised for what it was, so its victims, and their supporters, were less likely to be provoked into active resistance, given that they would often not be aware of the source of their problems, or even its exact nature. Zersetzung was designed to side-track and "switch off" perceived enemies so that they would lose the will to continue any "inappropriate" activities.

"Tactics employed under Zersetzung generally involved the disruption of the victim’s private or family life. This often included breaking into homes and messing with the contents – moving furniture, altering the timing of an alarm, removing pictures from walls or replacing one variety of tea with another. Other practices included smear campaigns, denunciation, provocation, psychological warfare, psychological subversion, wiretapping, bugging, mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, even including sending a vibrator to a target's wife. Usually victims had no idea the Stasi were responsible. Many thought they were losing their minds, and mental breakdowns and suicide could result.

(D)oes that sound like anything going on in this country?

Absolutely! Specifically, what we see ad nauseum by the administration & its enablers are: side-tracking, smear campaigns, denunciation, provocation, and by NSA, wiretapping and bugging.

And a perfect example of stasi like behavior is seen right in this thread where the OP is attacked for posting a story which originated with a Russian news source, but also broadcast on NPR. The attackers cannot deny that this incident actually occurred, so they try their classic defense strategy of side-tracking & denunciation of the messenger. I have several friends (2 of whom just won SDX awards for investigative journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists at the National Press Club last month) who report for NPR, and believe me, they meticulously verify via multiple sources before broadcasting news stories. How conservative must you be to attack NPR as too liberal to be trustworthy?

Executive orders "have the force of law":I referred to it 2x as an Order!

ex·ec·u·tive or·der
A rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law.

And the principles of judicial interpretation of the language of said order, should any victims of this Executive Order end up defending themselves in court, would be EXACTLY as I described in my post. Of course that makes the optimistic assumption that any federal employees "detained" under authority of this Order would ever see the light of day in a public court.

And your bald claim "existing statues aren't modified"?!?!?! There is a vast universe of existing "statutes", local, state and federal out there. How amazing that you are so omniscient that you can make such a proclamation. Here's a clue for your consideration: There's a whole field of study and practice called "Conflict of Laws." And while you're looking that up, take a gander at the concept of habeas corpus - just for old times sake.

Even your weak attempt to distract from the discussion at hand fails. The case you cited is not remotely applicable or binding as it refers to police surveillance of a cocaine trafficker. Furthermore "suggestions" in concurring opinions are not "the current state of the law." Such "suggestions" are only dicta, and in this case, not even relevant to the OP and discussion in this thread. The case you mentioned in no manner addresses issues of oh, scary, "national security!" or secret warrants approved by faceless unelected judges in a rubber stamp court. And may I point out, that while appointments to federal court judgeships must receive legislative approval, there are no such approvals required for the secret court relied upon by the feds to churn out warrants on demand.
If you are incapable of responding to a question, or a challenge, why don't you admit it, instead of making up what you would like the law to be.

And I suggest you go to law school before you attempt to interpret Supreme Court opinions!

Released prisoners would reveal horrendous US practices to the world.

The hell of Guantanamo is one of the darkest chapters of US history. One closely guarded aspect of Guantanamo is the participation of US Army physicians in designing and monitoring torture - a clear violation of their professional oath and the Geneva Convention.

Despite this, information that has become available indicates that the behavior of medical personnel at the US military prison facilities constitutes another war crime committed in the US “global war on terror.” Bloche and Marks write: “Not only did caregivers pass health information to military intelligence personnel; physicians assisted in the design of interrogation strategies, including sleep deprivation and other coercive methods tailored to detainees’ medical conditions. Medical personnel also coached interrogators on questioning technique.”

While the authors stop short of charging that doctors have directly participated in torture, they write that “there is probable cause for suspecting it.” They do argue, however, that any doctors or other medical personnel who helped devise and “execute aggressive counter-resistance plans...breached the laws of war.”

Such practices are in clear violation of the Third Geneva Convention, which states: “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever.”

Medical journal urges military physicians not to cooperate with Guantanamo force-feedings
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy | Jun. 26, 2013 NCR Today

A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine urges military physicians at Guantanamo not to cooperate with the force-feeding of prisoners currently on a hunger strike. Calling the military prison a "medical ethics-free zone," the authors of the article say they believe military doctors should "refuse to participate in any act that unambiguously violates medical ethics."

"Physicians at Guantanamo cannot permit the military to use them and their medical skills for military purposes and still comply with their ethical obligations. Force-feeding a competent person is not the practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault. Using a physician to assault prisoners no more changes the nature of the act than using physicians to 'monitor' torture makes torture a medical procedure. Military physicians are no more entitled to betray medical ethics than military lawyers are to betray the Constitution or military chaplains are to betray their religion," they write.

The prisoners' hunger strike has been going on at the military detention facility in Cuba for almost five months. According to The Washington Post, more than 100 detainees are refusing food to protest their indefinite detention and the conditions of their confinement. Of these, the Post reports, 41 are subjected daily to force-feedings, a procedure that entails strapping a detainee to a chair, inserting a tube in his nose and flooding his stomach with liquid protein.

In April (2010) President Barack Obama said he did not want any hunger-striker to die. In May, he promised to begin releasing the 86 men his interagency task force cleared to leave the prison in 2010. Weeks have passed, and no detainee has exited Guantanamo.
In fact, the situation there deteriorates.

Shaker Aamer, a British resident twice cleared for release from Guantanamo, recently told the head of the British legal charity Reprieve that prison authorities are using increasingly brutal tactics in an attempt to break the strike, making the cells "freezing cold" and employing metal-tipped tubes that cause prisoners to vomit during the twice-daily force-feedings.

In the interview, excerpts of which were published in the The Guardian, Aamer also said nurses are discarding their name tags before entering the camp so prisoners cannot identify and file complaints against them.

The article in The New England Journal of Medicine denounced the co-opting of medical professionals for political purposes.

"It's hardly revolutionary to state that physicians should act only in the best interests of their patients," the authors wrote.

They pointed out that "hunger striking is a peaceful political activity to protest terms of detention or prison conditions" and is not a medical condition that warrants force-feeding to prevent self-harm or save lives, as Guantanamo officials claim.

"Unlike individual medical and psychiatric assessments made in the context of doctor patient-relationship, the decision to force-feed prisoners is made by the base commander," they wrote. "It is a penological decision about how best to run the prison. Physicians who participate in this nonmedical process become weapons for maintaining prison order."

July 5-18, 2013


US Doctors 'Hid Signs of Torture' at Guantanamo
by Steve Connor

US government doctors who cared for the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay deliberately concealed or ignored evidence that their patients were being tortured, the first official study of its kind has found.

A detailed review of the medical records and case files of nine Guantanamo inmates has concluded that medical personnel at the US detention centre were complicit in suppressing evidence that would demonstrate systematic torture of the inmates. (Image Credit: United States Department of Defense) A detailed review of the medical records and case files of nine Guantanamo inmates has concluded that medical personnel at the US detention centre were complicit in suppressing evidence that would demonstrate systematic torture of the inmates.

The review is published in an online scientific journal, PLoS Medicine, and is the first peer-reviewed study analysing the behaviour of the doctors in charge of Guantanamo inmates who were subjected to "enhanced interrogation" techniques that a decade ago had been classed by the US government as torture. All of the nine detainees investigated in the study claimed to their own legal teams that they were also subjected over many months – and in some cases years – to additional, unauthorised episodes of ill-treatment, such as severe beatings, threats of rape, or forced nudity.

"The abuses reported in this case series could not be practised without the interrogators and medical monitors being aware of the severe and prolonged physical and mental pain that they caused," the study found. Dr Iacopino said that if individual doctors are found to have breached professional ethics by ignoring the evidence of torture, they should have their medical licence removed at the very least. "In the case of individuals who aided or abetted torture, or knowingly neglected to document torture, then at the minimum they should have their licence removed, but they should also be subject to adjudication under the rule of law," Dr Iacopino said.


Love it! Pro Sense outed as opposed to Obama's spying on citizens!

So what does she really believe? As the trial lawyer says to any witness who reverses their testimony, were you lying then or are you lying now? I'm sure she and her fellow loyalists are alerting like mad on her being outed, but come on - she put it in writing. I believe this used to be referred to as situational ethics.

Snaps to you, Woo Me With Science, for unearthing this delightful bit of DU history! As Sheldon Cooper would say, Bazinga!

What happened to DU? Follow the money, honey!

And I'm NOT talking about the DU administration/owners. Kudos to them for this website. I'm talking about the money paid to trolls to register and post on DU. With billions of dollars being spent (by agencies under the control of the present administration) on sophisticated monitoring and gathering of information, there is no doubt there are trolls paid to monitor, distract and disrupt criticism 24/7 on DU of said present administration, any federal agencies under it's control, its appointees (particularly all of those from the corporate/banking world, DINOs and lifelong Republican political hacks), and its sponsors/donors (profiteers in the nuclear energy, fracking, "clean coal", Big Oil, Big Pharma, Monsanto, Wall Street bankers, Keystone pipeline, military industrial complex, etc.).

Let's be real. Anyone who actually benefits from corporatist policies is too damn rich, successful, highly paid and/or otherwise insulated from harsh economic realities to hire out as trolls. And they are too busy enjoying and managing their personal fortunes to spend unpaid time on line at DU. For one example, Rahm Emanuel doubtless backs Obama and Obama's polices 100%. Rahm is well on his way to joining the One Percent. Rahm is not monitoring/posting on DU. Paid trolls are people who can't find well-paid, productive means of employment, and so choose to work against their own long-term best interests by selling out to the profiteers. They are sell-outs with no concern for the long-term health and welfare of the 99%.

Paid trolls become obvious by their over-the-top, canned comments and 100% support of all things Obama. We know many of them on sight. What I also know is that posters in support of progressive groups, actions and points-of-view are posting because of their personal values - not because they are paid to do so. Progressive groups may urge members to actively and publicly support their respective agendas, but they do not have the budget to PAY people to do so. And they don't NEED to pay people, because we are motivated by our own values and concerns for the well-being of ourselves, our families/friend/communties/country/world to give what time we can spare to post at places like DU or Huffington Post.

What kind of progressive groups do not hire trolls? Union of Concerned Scientists, Sierra Club, Veterans for Peace, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Public Interest Research Group, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, Friends of the Earth, Center for Media and Democracy, NOW, AAUW, ACLU, NARAL, Greenpeace, atheists, humanists, human rights activists, gays and lesbians, animal welfare groups, supporters of medical marijuana - oh, and let us not forget individuals: individuals like Glen Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, W. Mark Felt (FBI/Deep Throat), Karen Silkwood, never hired trolls to post on their behalf.
Full disclosure. I regularly receive phone calls, e-mail or snail-mail from progressive groups like those above, asking me to write letters to editors or contact my congresspersons regarding specific issues. I've never been asked to post anywhere on-line, and I've NEVER been offered one red cent by these groups to advocate in their behalf.

Obama/Berlin: 200,000 in 2008; 4,500 in 2013.

That's a clear drop of 97.5% in popularity if you go by the folks-vote-with-their-feet. And I'm sure a sample of 200,000 is a helluva lot larger than whatever group Pew sampled.
(On edit: just looked up size of Pew samples: "Due to their use of proven sampling techniques, the local vendors we work with can achieve nationally representative surveys by conducting face-to-face surveys with about 1,000 respondents." http://www.pewresearch.org/2011/12/13/ask-the-expert-3/)


6,000 guests were "invited", as in here's-your-ticket, you-better-show-up to masses of civil servants. Even then, according to a pool reporter, only 4,500 of the "invited" actually showed up.

The stage for the president's speech is set up on the East side of the Brandenburg Gate, in the old East Berlin. The sun is pounding down and there are around 6,000 invited guests according to German authorities. There are bleachers set up either side of the square, with a big two storey riser facing the stage which has a row of bullet proof glass and 12 US, German and EU flags and the grand backdrop of the Gate. There is a large standing crowd between the bleachers.

Last time around, when Obama delivered a speech in Berlin in the 2008 presidential campaign, when he was still a senator, 200,000 folks came out to see him.
UPDATE: The pool reporter says only 4,500 were present for Obama's speech:
Crowd count at the Brandenburg Gate speech was 4,500 according to Elmar Jakobs

Obama's honeymoon with Germans has been over for some time. This next article, from June of 2012, i.e, predating the ultra Stasi program, PRISM, discusses that. The Pew studies distinguish between whether Germans like him personally, and if they approve of US actions.
Frustrations with Obama Mounting

Germans were ecstatic when Barack Obama took over the keys to the White House from George W. Bush. Now, though, a new Pew Research Center survey shows that disillusionment with the US president is widespread in Germany and that Obama has not lived up to the high expectations Europeans had of him.

Moreover, there is grave German disappointment with Obama's handling of climate change. In 2009, the Pew Research Center asked Germans if they thought that the newly-elected president would get the US to take significant measures to control global climate change. At the time, 76 percent said he would. Now only 26 percent say he has. Only the French among Europeans had higher expectations. And only the French have been as disappointed.

Most notable, however, is the sizable gender gap in Germany on drone strikes. While 54 percent of German men approve of such activities, only 24 percent of women do. A male-female differential of that magnitude is rarely seen in public opinion.

Reality was unlikely to live up to these expectations. And it has not. The real global public opinion story as Obama heads into a re-election campaign may be just how long the Obama honeymoon with the Europeans, including the Germans, lasted. Nevertheless, this new survey suggests frustrations with Obama and the United States are mounting. And leaders in Berlin, Washington and elsewhere need to be cognizant of their implications, especially if the American people give Obama a second term.

"Knowing they might be chased to the ends of the earth by the King"

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Sleep safe and sound tonight, Edward Snowden. You're a patriot in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

Der Spiegel: (NSA) Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign

I was asked by J.D.Priestly to post my reply in another thread as an OP. So this one's for you, JDP. JDP had bemoaned the fact that some posters apparently were unfamiliar with Germany's reaction to the NSA spying revelations. So of course, he/she was ridiculed for expecting DUers to familiarize themselves with same, as in "speak German." My post pointed out that English translations of German news sources,such as Der Spiegel, are availalble on line, and provided a link. Specifically, I noted,
I was in Berlin in the fall of 2008, after Obama's triumphant visit there, and before the election. They adored him. A cabdriver asked me if I was Canadian or American. When I replied, "American", he slowed down, turned and said "I hope you be voting Obama." I flipped my backpack around and showed him my honking big Obama button. He smiled, turned off his meter, and gave me a free ride to Tegel airport.

I keep close track of news from Germany, and can tell you there is massive disappointment with Obama's performance - opinions now rate him no better than Bush, and are more bitter, because he raised their hopes. Which is pretty much how I feel about Obama. Anyone who doesn't understand that or is surprised by that is really clueless about German history and current attitudes. Research East Germany and STASI, and educate yourselves. Many Germans still recall blanket surveillance under the communist Stasi secret police, and when news of Washington's covert spying program PRISM broke, the German newspaper headline of choice was "Yes we scan".

Start reading international news sources, instead of White House press releases. That is not directed at you, JD Priestley, but at the true believers still posting uncited, undocumented claims that Obama's popularity is still high in the EU.

Der Spiegel available online in English - here's the link


Letter from Berlin: Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign

German Social Democrats are demanding that Berlin investigate top managers at the American intelligence agency NSA for alleged espionage. It's just the latest example of how the vast spying scandal is making waves in the German election campaign. . . .

Merkel, in other words, suddenly has an Achilles heel. Public opinion in Germany would seem to be one of overwhelming concern about the reach of US surveillance operations and most seem to have a great deal of sympathy for Edward Snowden. An unscientific online survey undertaken by SPIEGEL ONLINE this week found that almost 85 percent of those who responded are in favor of granting Snowden permission to stay in Germany. Other online surveys have arrived at similar numbers.

The SPD and other opposition parties have taken note and have not been shy this week about trying to take advantage. Gabriel said in his interview, for example, that his party continues to believe that intelligence services do not have the right to monitor everybody's communications.

"If that no longer applies in the Internet age, then we are destroying the values-based foundation of our society," he said. "And also the values that have bound the US together with Europe for decades. In this community of values, individual freedom and personal privacy are paramount. It is exactly this which differentiated us from the Communist Bloc."

The following are just some of the negative quotes published elsewhere in Der Spiegel and demonstrating that Germany's disenchantment with Obama is EU wide.

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, in an interview with broadcaster France 2.
"We need more precise information. But if it is true, it is a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information."
"I was always sure that dictatorships, some authoritarian systems, tried to listen ... but that measures like that are now practiced by an ally, by a friend, that is shocking, in the case that it is true."

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, in a June 30 statement to the media.
"If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War. It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies. There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the US as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the US in the EU are true or not. Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed."

Peer Steinbrück, the center-left Social Democratic Party's candidate for Chancellor, in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on June 30.
"The government must clear up the facts as quickly as possible. If the accusations are confirmed, it would go far beyond legitimate security concerns. That would mean that friends and partners were spied on. That would be completely unacceptable."

Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on June 30.
"If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent. It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies."
"The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism. But the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists. We need a guarantee from the very highest level that it stops immediately."

European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, during a citizens' dialogue in Luxembourg on June 30.
"Partners do not spy on each other. We cannot negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should eliminate such doubt swiftly."


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