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Archive for January 16th, 2008

Can Blackwater Be Prosecuted?

By- Suzie-Q @ 7:10 PM MST

DoJ tells Congress: Prosecuting Blackwater for Nisour Square Shootings Will Be Mighty Difficult

By Paul Kiel – January 16, 2008, 2:47PM

No surprise here:

Justice Department officials have told Congress that they face serious legal difficulties in pursuing criminal prosecutions of Blackwater security guards involved in a September shooting that left at least 17 Iraqis dead.In a private briefing in mid-December, officials from the Justice and State Departments met with aides to the House Judiciary Committee and other Congressional staff members and warned them that there were major legal obstacles that might prevent any prosecution….

The officials from the Justice and State Departments “didn’t say they weren’t going to prosecute,” said one Congressional aide who attended the briefing. “They said there would be a lot of difficulties.”

To review: it’s debatable whether Blackwater can even be prosecuted because they don’t seem to be covered by any law. Beyond that, the State Department provided the Blackwater guards involved in the incident with limited immunity in order to get their version of events, thus further compromising the investigation. And don’t forget that Blackwater quickly mended the trucks involved in the incident, destroying key evidence as to whether the guards were actually under attack when they opened fire (Blackwater says that State gave them the green light to do that).

So those are the difficulties. The DoJ did launch a grand jury investigation after the FBI determined that the guards had indeed opened fire without provocation. But don’t hold your breath.

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Evening Jukebox… Piece Of Me

By- Suzie-Q @ 7:00 PM MST

Britney Spears – Piece Of Me

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by Geezer Power …3:02 pm

Asif Ali Zardari and Family

PPP submits petition for UN probe in Bhutto’s killing

16 Jan 2008, 1430 hrs IST,PTI

ISLAMABAD: Slain former premier Benazir Bhutto’s party on Wednesday said it had submitted a petition to the United Nations seeking an investigation into her assassination after the Pakistan government refused to forward the request to the world body.

The Pakistan People’s Party simultaneously launched an initiative to lobby governments around the world to back its demand for a UN-led inquiry. A delegation led by Bhutto’s security advisor Rehman Malik travelled to Norway to explain the need for an international investigation to trace those responsible for her killing.

“The PPP has a secretariat in New York through which the petition has been sent to the UN,” PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

“We will also approach governments around the world to explain our demand for the UN-led inquiry and to seek support for it,” he said.

~MORE~

Bhutto murder blamed on Pakistan agents

Scotland on Sunday
Dec. 30, 2007

Pakistani policemen stand alert beside a poster of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto during a funeral ceremony in abstentia for Bhutto in Rawalpindi yesterday.

By Richard Elias and Jeremy Watson

FACTIONS within the Pakistan intelligence service might have been behind the assassination of the country’s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, sources within MI5 told Scotland on Sunday last night.
Pakistan continues to teeter on the brink following Bhutto’s death on Thursday as she left a rally for an election in which she was expected to become prime minister. The government has tried to blame militant groups linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, which saw Bhutto’s rise to power as a threat.

But security sources in the UK say pro-Taliban factions in Pakistan’s feared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency may have been behind the attack on the charismatic politician, who returned to her homeland from exile only two months ago to fight the election.

Bhutto, 54, blamed rogue elements in the ISI for a suicide bombing that killed 140 people at a rally shortly after her return in October. There were reports last night that just weeks ago, she had sent UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband a private e-mail naming three senior members of government who, she said, wanted her dead.

~MORE~

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Wexler: Cheney impeachment ’stronger than Watergate.’

GEF @ 10:32 AM MST

via: Thinkprogress

Wexler: Cheney impeachment ’stronger than Watergate.’

Last night, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) took to the House floor to urge the House Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment hearings into Vice President Cheney for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Wexler, who has already acquired nearly 190,000 supporters through his website, explained his next steps:

Tomorrow, I will deliver these names to my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee with a letter to my friend, Chairman Conyers, calling for hearings. I will ask my colleagues to sign this letter … Continuing every day for months, I will publish in the Congressional Record several thousand names of supporters who signed up.

Watch Wexler’s speech:

“In the history of our nation, we have never encountered a moment where the actions of a President or a Vice President have more strongly demanded the use of the power of impeachment,” Wexler said last night.

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How the Pentagon Planted a False Story

Sudhan @10:20 CET

by Gareth Porter | Antiwar.com, January 16, 2008

Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the Jan. 6 U.S.-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran’s military aggressiveness, a reconstruction of the events following the incident shows.

The initial press stories on the incident, all of which can be traced to a briefing by deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in charge of media operations Bryan Whitman, contained similar information that has since been repudiated by the Navy itself.

Then the Navy disseminated a short video into which was spliced the audio of a phone call warning that U.S. warships would “explode” in “a few seconds.” Although it was ostensibly a Navy production, IPS has learned that the ultimate decision on its content was made by top officials of the Defense Department.

The encounter between five small and apparently unarmed speedboats, each carrying a crew of two to four men, and the three U.S. warships occurred very early on Saturday Jan. 6, Washington time. But no information was released to the public about the incident for more than 24 hours, indicating that it was not viewed initially as being very urgent.

Continued . . .

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