The Alabama Injustice System

What appears to be a case of selective justice in Alabama once again brings more bad news involving the usual mixture of apparent greed, corruption and dirty politics involving the Bush Administration ‘Justice’ system and shows the perfect example of why politics and justice don’t mix well.

According to a report by TIME, On May 8, 2002, Clayton Lamar (Lanny) Young Jr. sat in the downtown offices of the U.S. Attorney in Montgomery, Alabama and told a group of seasoned prosecutors and investigators that he had paid tens of thousands of dollars in apparently illegal campaign contributions to some of the biggest names in Alabama Republican politics.

Young told the the prosecutors and investigators that among the recipients of his contributions were Jeff Sessions, (then the state’s former attorney general, now a U.S. Senator) and William Pryor Jr., (then Sessions’ successor as attorney general, now a federal judge). Documents obtained by TIME describe Young’s detailed statements.

Young became a key witness in a major case in Alabama that brought down a high-profile politician, landing him in federal prision to serve an 88-month sentence. That official happened to be the top Democrat named by Young in a series of interviews. Conveniently enough, none of the Republicans named by Young were investigated, let alone prosecuted.

The top Democrat named by Young was Don Siegelman, the former Governor of Alabama who was convicted last year on corruption charges.

Bush Administration’s Political Justice Department

Forty four former state attorney generals, Republicans and Democrates alike, have cited “irregularities” in the investigation and the prosecution, calling into question the basic fairness that is the linchpin of our system of justice.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the U.S. Attorney’s office are strongly denying that politics played any part in Siegelman’s prosecution, claiming the former Governor got exactly what he deserved. In typical Bush Administration, ‘justice,’ officials refused to turn over documentation on the case requested by the House Judiciary Committee.

TIME has obtained sensitive portions of the requested materials, including FBI and state investigative records. Information provided by Young was central to roughly half the 32 counts faced by Siegelman for allegedly accepting campaign contributions, money and gifts in exchange for official favors. Siegelman was acquitted on 25 of those counts and convicted on 7 of them.

In recognition of Young’s cooperation with the government, he received a two year sentence and a fine. Interestingly enough, what Young said about Sessions, Pryor and other high-profile Alabama Republicans according to TIME was even more remarkable simply because much of it never came to light. The transcripts will most likely end up fueling the charges that the Bush Administration pursued selective justice in Alabama.

Alabama U.S. Attorneys connections To Karl Rove

Leura Canary was the U.S. Attorney in Alabama who drove Siegelman’s prosecution. She’s married to Bill Canary, Alabama’s most prominent political operative and a longtime friend of Karl Rove’s.

In May Dana Jill Simpson gave a notarized statement that she heard Canary say Rove “had spoken with the Department of Justice” about “pursuing” Siegelman with help from two of Alabama’s U.S. Attorneys. Last month Simpson testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee. Under penalty of perjury she repeated her allegations about Canary and Rove.

Raw Story has more information and an article detailing her 143-page sworn statement (PDF) recently released by the House Judiciary Committee.

After being led for years by Southern Democrats, Republicans now occupy the Governor’s mansion as well as most statewide officed and congressional seats. In the 1990s Rove helped orchestrate a G.O.P. near sweep of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Possible Political Money Laundering

Young testified that he furnished Siegelman with an all-terrain vehicle and a motorcycle, lavishing money on the Governor and his aides. Young didn’t play favorites. In November 2001 Young announced that five years earlier he “personally provided Sessions with cash campaign contributions” according to an FBI memo of the interview.

Prosecutors didn’t bother to follow up on that statement with any questions, but Young volunteered more information. The FBI memo adds that “on one occasion he (Young) provided Session with $5,000 and $7,000 using two intermediaries, one who held a senior position with Sessions’ campaign. On another occasion Young talked about providing “$10,000 to $15,000 to Session. Young had his secretaries and friends write checks to the Sessions campaign and then reimbursed them for their contributions.”

If true, Young’s statements describe political money laundering, a clear violation of federal law. In 1996, which was when Young said he made the contributions, it was illegal to give a candidate more than $1,000 for a primary or general campaign.

Young also detailed what he said were donations totaling between $12,000 and $15,000 to Pryor’s campaign for state attorney general. Again Young used his friends and colleagues maneuver. The FBI record shows “Young advised that during Pryor’s 1998 campaign he contributed money through other individuals,” naming four individuals who wrote checks to Pryor’s campaign and were reimbursed by him.

“This was not just for the Governor’s [Siegelman’s] campaign,” he told investigators. “It was also for the attorney general’s campaign … I gave you the example of five checks totaling $25,000. If I was there, I would write them out or just sign them, and they would fill in who it was to or whatever.”

Young also testified that a top official on Pryor’s campaign “would call and say, ‘I need money for this, this or this,'” and Young would take care of the request.

In an e-mail to TIME, Pryor wrote that he had no recollection of the amounts described as having been contributed by Young or his associates to his campaign.

Also among the illegal actions alleged in Siegelman’s indictment was his acceptance of $13,000 to $15,000 worth of free T-shirts and specially embossed coffee mugs to give away as Christmas presents. Young testified that he gave the same thing to Pryor. Young went so far as offering to share the extra coffee cups with the investigators and prosecutors.

The DoJ’s Public-Integrity Unit in Washington Didn’t Investigate

U.S. Attorney Canary’s office, representatives of Alabama’s Republican attorney general and an attorney from the Justice Department’s public-integrity unit heard this evidence. In what TIME refers to as an unusual exercise of prosecutorial descretion, nearly all the payments and donations went uninvestigated. When Siegelman’s defense team who had obtained Young’s statements among tens of thousands or other documents provided in discovery, raised his accusations in court, a judge with personal grudges and a major dislike for Siegelman quickly ruled them irrelevant.

Whether prosecutors chose not to pursue evidence of criminal activity by Republicans Sessions, Young and other well-known figures in the Alabama G.O.P, and a few of the state’s Democrats because of political bias or conflicts of interest isn’t known yet, but the U.S. Attorney’s office chose to prosecute Siegelman, a Democrat.

Because most of Young’s claimed contributions seem to have gone unrecorded, it raises the possibility that he never made them which would mean he lied to federal agents, which is a felony, and Young was never charged with that crime.

The corruption marches on unabated. For the complete story which raises serious suspicions about selective justice and that in the Bush Administration, enforcing the law has become a partisan pursuit, you can find the article on the TIME magazine web site.

Links to more information

Below are links to more samples of the corruption running rampant as well as other information:

Again: It’s BUSH who is soft on terror and national security! article from Daily Kos (lots of excellent information and links to other information along with some forgotten facts from the recent past):

“I don’t know whether or not the new FISA bill will be a sell-out, a capitulation, or a clever strategy, but I do know what bothers me most about it- the framing of its selling. More important than any of these particular instances, or possible instances, of Democratic weakness is the rationalization for the weakness. It’s not just about Democrats being weak in confronting Bush as a means of proving that they are not weak, it’s that Bush himself is the weakness!

And this is what infuriates me, because it’s not about weakness, it’s about stupidity. The Democrats need to stop playing political defense on national security issues and start simply referring to the facts. Because the facts prove that it is Bush who is soft on national security, so opposing Bush is not weakness, it is strength.”

Bush admin. leaks national security information: AGAIN!! article from Daily Kos:

“In what is becoming quite the common theme these days, once again the Bush administration has leaked sensitive national security information, this time intelligence that is directly linked to the fight against Al-Qaeda itself.”

Medicare Audits Show Problems in Private Plans article from The New York Times:

As noted in the ‘Act Surprised: Private Insurers Abuse Bush Medicare Drug Plan article‘ from Daily Kos, once again, privatization of what should be government’s responsibility proves that privatization is really about avoiding any responsibility:

“Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

The companies include three of the largest participants in the Medicare market, UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.

The audits document widespread violations of patients’ rights and consumer protection standards. Some violations could directly affect the health of patients — for example, by delaying access to urgently needed medications. In July, Medicare terminated its contract with a private plan in Florida after finding that it posed an “imminent and serious threat” to its 11,000 members.”

Watchdog of C.I.A. Is Subject of C.I.A. Inquiry article from the New York Times:

Ever notice that the ones who vehemently deny accusations of guilt the loudest and most often are usually guilty as hell?

“The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, has ordered an unusual internal inquiry into the work of the agency’s inspector general, whose aggressive investigations of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters have created resentment among agency operatives.

“These are good people who thought they were doing the right thing,” said one former agency official. “And now they are getting beat up pretty bad and they have to go out an hire a lawyer.”

Agency officials have also criticized the length of the inspector general’s investigations, some lasting more than five years, which have derailed careers and generated steep legal bills for officers under scrutiny.

The former agency official called General Hayden’s review of the inspector general “a smart move.”

CIA investigates conduct of its inspector general article from The Los Angeles Times

The Big Lie About Valerie Plame article from TPMCafe (written by a C.I.A. agent):

After what Dick Cheney and Karl Rove did to Valerie Plame, leaking information to the Robert Novak to write a column outing her and her whole company…if I was in the C.I.A. and saw how my colleagues got treated by the President and his puppet master Cheney, I’d be mighty upset and wanting to do something about it. That means that no undercover agent is safe and if need be, can and will be used as a pawn by this Administration to further their cause as needed.

“The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O’Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that “no laws were broken”. I don’t know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that pushed that lie and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That’s the true outrage.”

Ralph Nader on why Dems won’t impeach Bush: Bush would declare martial law video from Youtube:

From the simply freaking amazing category:

Several communities in Massachusetts passed resolutions to impeach Bush and presented the information to a Democratic congressman, who said that if the Dems were to try impeaching Bush, he would attack Iran and declare martial law to cancel the 2008 elections. If there is any truth in this, you could add blackmail to the growing list of illicit activities and it’s time for military and political leaders to start doing the right thing since the vast majority of them are just as accountable as their leader and fixing the messes they made. Can you declare Marshall Law if you’re being arrested for high crimes and misdemeanors?

Transcript from The National Press Club Luncheon with General Peter Pace, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff from jcs.mil:

“MR. JOHN DONNELLY: This was a question that came up at a Pentagon press conference, and I guess people are still a little confused about it. If a U.S. soldier or Marine in Iraq saw an Iraqi civilian being abused by a member of the Iraqi security force, should that soldier or Marine intervene? And a related question, should people in the U.S. military disobey orders that they believe are illegal?

GEN. PETER PACE:  In Iraq there’s an order signed by General Casey, the commanding general in Iraq, that specifically stipulates that if a member of the U.S. Armed Forces witnesses abuse of Iraqi detainees by either U.S. or any force they have an obligation to try to intervene. And if they’re not — if it’s one against 12, if it’s not possible to physically intervene, then to report as quickly as possible so that the situation can be corrected.

Number two, it is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”

Military members should question unlawful orders article from Penn State University letter to the editor:

“The Manual for Courts-Martial states, “An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.” Further, The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which governs the entire military, makes it clear personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer.”

Military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ.

The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.”

A Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders article written by Lawrence Mosqueda from CounterPunch:

“The military oath taken at the time of induction reads:

“I,____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God”

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.”

The job Lieberman is failing to do article from Crooks and Liars:

“Though the two committees have similar investigative powers and mandates to uncover waste, fraud and abuse of government funds, Waxman has held eight hearings on Iraq and contracting abuses this year, while Lieberman has held only one on reconstruction challenges in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And though Waxman rarely has missed an opportunity to fire off angry letters to the administration over potential waste, fraud, abuse and misconduct among government contractors, Lieberman – along with his predecessor and current ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) – has shown relatively little interest in tackling those issues.

A year ago, seeking re-election, Lieberman said this committee was his top priority, and he was desperate to return to the Senate so he could wield the gavel. And now that he has the authority he sought, he’s decided not to conduct any real oversight of the administration at all.”

McCullagh’s Law: When politicians invoke the do-this-or-Americans-will-die argument article from CNET News:

“This leads me to propose McCullagh’s Law of Politics:

As the certainty that legislation violates the U.S. Constitution increases, so does the probability of predictions that severe harm or death will come to Americans if the proposal is not swiftly enacted.

This threat is perpetual, meaning it may last the duration of the targeted politicians’ career. Adversarial television advertisements may appear during the targeted politician’s next campaign for re-election. They may display images of corpses if available, or stock photography if they’re not, and blame the target for their deaths.

An attack by Saddam Hussein, Wolfowitz predicted, would mean that “tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of Americans will die in some catastrophic attack with a biological weapon, or if we wait long enough, a nuclear weapon.” Of course, no such weapons were found in Iraq and at least 3,816 Americans actually have died as a result.”

Ex-General: Iraq ‘nightmare’ for US article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press

US Soldiers Have a New Enemy: Mercenaries Paid With Your Tax Dollars article from Daily Kos:

“Blackwater mercenaries are supposedly protecting Americans.  Then why are they pulling guns on American soldiers and holding our soldiers hostage?

The colonel was furious. “Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers.” He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company.

There’s a bunch of damn serious problems here. Do Blackwater mercenaries have a reputation with American soldiers of being too crazy to deal with? Are American soldiers told to defer to Blackwater mercenaries? If you watch this video from the battle of Najaf, you see American soldiers in a firefight taking orders from civilian-clad Blackwater mercenaries. And why the hell would Blackwater mercenaries even feel the need to pull their weapons on American soldiers wearing US military garb driving a US Army Humvee?”

CBS: Three weeks after Blackwater shooting, FBI ignores key evidence article from Raw Story:

Surprise surprise. More evidence of one-sided Bush Administration justice:

“CBS News reported on Tuesday that the FBI’s investigation of last month’s Blackwater shooting incident in Baghdad appears to be ignoring evidence that might support the Iraqi government’s version of events and hold Blackwater at fault.

“The FBI investigation is supposed to wrap up in days, not weeks, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” reports CBS. “Our investigation turned up many witnesses who haven’t yet been interviewed, not to mention vehicles that are key evidence still driving around the streets of Baghdad.”

According to the CBS reconstruction of events, based on “remarkably consistent” eyewitness accounts, the September 16 incident began when a four-vehicle Blackwater convoy heading around a traffic circle found its way blocked by a barrier protecting a maintenance crew. The convoy tried to warn nearby cars to stop but also opened fire on one car that continued to inch forward, instantly killing the driver. The Blackwater vehicles then pushed the barrier aside and moved ahead, firing on other cars and a city bus as they went.”

Pres. Carter: US tortures prisoners, ‘I know it’ article from Raw Story:

“Former president Jimmy Carter isn’t just suspicious that the US is using torture to extract intelligence from detainees — he’s absolutely convinced.

Carter was equally outspoken in a Wednesday interview with the BBC, calling Vice President Dick Cheney a “disaster,” according to Reuters.

“He’s a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military,” he said of Cheney, adding that the vice president “has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world.”

Rice says Iran ‘lying’ about nukes article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press:

“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday accused Iran of “lying” about the aim of its nuclear program, saying there’s no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons and has deceived the U.N.’s atomic watchdog about its intentions.

“There is an Iranian history of obfuscation and, indeed, lying to the IAEA,” she said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“There is a history of Iran not answering important questions about what is going on and there is Iran pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to nuclear weapons-grade material,” Rice told reporters aboard her plane as she headed to Moscow.”

Unfortunately for Condi, the Bush administration has a long history of lying about a lot of things too.

New U.S. military leaders question Iraq mission article from Yahoo! News

FCC won’t probe disclosure of phone records article from CNET News

When Is A Leak Not A Leak? article from CBS News

Al-Qaeda “Intranet” Goes Dark After Leak (Updated) article from Wired.com:

“For years, the private terror-hunters at the SITE Institute have been infiltrating jihadist chat rooms, and spying on the extremists congregating online.  Now, the group its digital cover has been blown — and Al-Qaeda online communications channels have gone dark — thanks to a ham-handed move by the Bush administration, it seems.  “Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless,” SITE’s Rita Katz told the Washington Post.

By midafternoon, several television news networks reported obtaining copies of the transcript. A copy posted around 3 p.m. on Fox News’s Web site referred to SITE and included page markers identical to those used by the group. “This confirms that the U.S. government was responsible for the leak of this document,” Katz wrote in an e-mail to Leiter at 5 p.m.

I think it bears repeating at this moment that Fielding’s boss, one George W. Bush, last year accused reporters of compromising national security because they discussed a bogus roadside bomb countermeasure. Will the President come down as hard on his own staff, if it turns out they leaked something much more serious?”

America Should Hire al-Qaeda’s PR Agent article from Good Magazine:

“Iraq has become a stage on which terrorists, insurgents, and Coalition forces compete for a global audience. YouTube, blogs, and all other forms of citizen media ensure that every GI Joe and Jihadi has at least a bit part in the theater of public opinion. The result is a new public diplomacy that insurgents understand, and the U.S. State Department doesn’t.

Today, bullets and bombs often have a much smaller impact than the propaganda opportunities they create–opportunities to influence public opinion and build public support.

An example of the shift from the Architecture of Democracy to the Architecture of Fear, the embassy-with its high walls and self-sufficiency that limits contact with the local population-is symbolic of what’s wrong with the State Department’s approach to public diplomacy. Sitting on prime real estate in the center of Baghdad, it is the largest complex of its kind anywhere in the world, American or otherwise. Built with borderline slave labor imported from outside the region, the unfinished complex enjoys 24/7 electricity in a city that before the war had 16 to 24 hours of power a day but now has maybe six. The construction of this self-contained complex has largely stayed on schedule, in stark contrast to virtually every other reconstruction project in Iraq-including health clinics, water-treatment facilities, and electrical plants, which have had to be drastically scaled down or left unfinished. The result is what Hollywood would call an image crisis, with this particular “deed” overshadowing other public diplomacy programs under way on the ground.”

Selective Justice in Alabama? article from Time Magazine

New testimony details alleged Rove ties to prosecution of Democratic governor article from Raw Story

Copy (PDF) of Dana Jill Simpson’s testimony available from The House Judiciary Committee

Was the 2004 Election Stolen? article from Rolling Stone – Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House

Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Sources, commentary and documentation from Rolling Stone

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