Skip to comments.Are U.S. officials potential Spanish prisoners? (international law)
Posted on 04/06/2009 3:21:17 PM PDT by AmericaCitizen
Are U.S. officials potential Spanish prisoners? 04.06.09 Just when former Bush administration officials thought they could relax and perhaps travel a bit comes the disconcerting news that a Spanish court is considering charges against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other former government officials for the design of alleged torture at Guantánamo Bay.
Although the risk of Gonzales, UC Berkeley Professor John Yoo, Chevron Counsel William Haynes and the others actually standing trial is small, if charges are brought, then they'll put away their passports to avoid arrest abroad.
The larger concern is the giant stretching sound I hear when international law is used to allow a court in Spain to consider charges against former American officials for something that happened 5,000 miles from the Spanish courthouse steps. Coming on the heels of the International Criminal Court prosecutor announcing he was contemplating an investigation of Israel for alleged war crimes in Gaza, when neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority is a member of the court or subject to its jurisdiction, it looks as if we're on the verge, as Henry Kissinger once warned, of substituting the tyranny of judges for that of governments. International law is not "law" in the sense that Americans understand the term.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Publicly, Republicans contend that one of their key objections to Johnsen's appointment is that she's a former NARAL employee and a staunch advocate of reproductive rights. But she's also unusually qualified for the position, having served at the OLC for five years during the Clinton administration, and her nomination comes against a backdrop of Republican anger over the possibility that the Department of Justice will declassify and release yet more damning torture memoranda. Johnsen was an outspoken critic of Bush administration policies and legal opinions used to justify them.
Along the same lines, Republicans are making a lot of noise about the nomination of Harold Koh to be the State Department's chief legal counsel. The stated grounds for their opposition are that Koh would be too deferential to international and foriegn laws. But Koh, like Johnsen, has been a strong critic of the Bush torture regime.
Johnsen's appointment has already been green lighted by the Senate Judiciary committee on a party-line 11-7 vote. Sen. Arlen Specter--the ranking member on that panel--has withheld judgment pending a personal meeting with her, and, with the Senate now in recess, Harry Reid's office confirms that no date has been set to weigh her nomination on the floor. (Koh's nomination is still pending before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and a source there says it'll be a while before they get around to holding hearings.)
In any case, a filibuster or filibusters would be a pretty extraordinary move. Executive nominations are almost never filibustered by minority opposition in Congress.
Judicial nominations are a different but related matter. And it's worth recalling that, in 2005, when Democrats were filibustering Bush judicial nominations, Republicans threatened to change Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster for judicial confirmation votes altogether. Ultimately, though, the so-called "Gang of 14" moderates--seven Democrats and seven Republicans--got together and reached an agreement whereby Republican dropped the "nuclear option" and Democrats agreed to limit filibusters to extraordinary nominations only.
Four of those seven Republicans--John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe--are still in office today. I've placed calls to all of their offices to see if they think the same principle should apply to Obama's executive nominees, and, relatedly, to ask whether widely respected figures like Johnsen and Koh amount, in their minds, to extraordinary choices.
There is no true “international law.” International law is simply what happens between countries and how it was finally massaged while being adjudicated.
SEKULOW: He’s a transnationalist. He believes that the United States’ sovereignty and our judicial sovereignty should be subservient to the European Union or to the United Nations. I mean, if you look at what his written this is not by the way, you know, some are criticizing, Glenn, that we are using this term “transnational” as if it’s pejorative. This is the terms he uses.
SEKULOW: He’s written the law review articles that say he’s a transnationalist.
SEKULOW: And I want everybody to understand this, what Justice Scalia said about 15 years ago. When the United States Supreme Court is determining whether something is constitutional or not, they are expounding on a Constitution. Europe does not have a Constitution, so applying European standards to the United States Constitution basically takes our United States Constitution and makes it a local law only to be superseded by the European Union. And I litigate cases in Europe.
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BECK: OK. So, look, here’s the thing. So people understand what transnationalism is.
BECK: and again, it’s not a dirty word.
BECK: And this is how he describes himself.
BECK: What it means is and correct me if I’m not wrong, it is it is an evolutionary law. We no longer open up a textbook, go to any college and study the law. You’re not going to see the quotes from the Founding Fathers or anything from the constitutional convention.
BECK: You’re going to see case law. This started in the 1920s, if I’m not mistaken. And what happened is, they started saying, wait a minute, evolution, if evolution is real well then people evolve, so must our understanding of things and so must the law. So now they just look to the future.
BECK: And kind of sum and we continue to move forward. Now, it’s moving into other nations, correct or not?
SEKULOW: It’s even more yes, it is correct, but it’s even more than that. You mentioned the Darwinian aspect of this it does have a Darwinian base and that over time, universal norms come into existence. And even where you have a national sovereignty, a United States Constitution, that document no longer becomes the charter document upon which the government in the United States is to operate.
SEKULOW: And we have to meet these systems from foreign countries and apply that to United States. And here’s the real danger on this and this is a danger.
Now, here’s the danger. Dean Koh is a smart guy, don’t listen, nobody should not question he’s an intelligent guy. But what he is proposing is to take the State Department he is not going to be a senior lawyer at the State Department, he is going to be the lawyer at the State Department, the chief counsel, and he is basically saying, we take our American experience and if it doesn’t mesh with the rest of the world, the rest of the world wins.
And that, frankly, is I call it’s a lot of people are calling this “lawfare,” it’s utilizing the law as a weapon.
BECK: Oh, yes.
SEKULOW: And that’s where you got to be very, very concerned.
BECK: And, America, you know this. When they can’t get you to vote for something, they kick it up to the legal into the legal system. If they can’t win in the legal system, they kick it up to the United Nations or to the E.U. or whatever.
BECK: That’s the way it works.
SEKULOW: And you really have to watch the U.N. issue here because and we do a lot of work at the U.N. and here’s the problem you take those standards, for instance, the president has made the change now in the Human Rights Council, so the United States is going to join the Sudan and Cuba in the Human Rights Council. That’s been not the policy for two decades. We’ve now changed that.
The danger, and to me, its significant is, again, it’s subservient to our national interests, and what happens is, the international norms take over the U.S. norms.
SEKULOW: And the danger on that and the justices have said, be very careful when that starts happening because American sovereignty is at risk.
BECK: Real quick, I just have to say this because we have to go take a break.
BECK: The New York Times made this whole thing about he never called for Sharia law. I never claimed he called for Sharia law.
BECK: What he was talking about, again, is transnationalism, that if this is something that is starting to grow around the world, well then the world is moving in that direction and we move as well. That is what transnationalism means, right or wrong?
SEKULOW: Look, they’re doing absolutely they’re doing that in the United Kingdom right now. They are applying Sharia courts.
BECK: I know. I know.
SEKULOW: So, it’s absolutely that standard. And there you talked about the American people should understand what that means long-term for Americans’ domestic interest, not good.
BECK: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Listen to me, America, I have never I have never ever felt this way before, ever. And I started to feel it in the last couple of years, and now it is so strong. I’m telling you, you are being lied to. You are being lied to.
If the people at The New York Times don’t know what transnationalism is, well, then maybe they should be fired or just wait until their paper closes, which is probably going to happen soon, or they’re lying to you.
This is what it means, that if the world is moving in that direction, then we should, too, and we’ll all just play happy together. It’s dishonest what’s going on.
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MSNBC has been pushing for “war crimes trials” for Bush officials for months. Olbermann has the same commie “experts” on nearly every night. Somebody needs to remind these leftie punks that America is still a soverign nation (at least for now).
Yeah, hey Spain, how’s that reckoning with your Franco past going on? Hypocrites.
I don’t see that anyone has any authority over what goes on in the US.
I don’t give a rip about what they think.
Whoa Nelly, the term "Widely Respected" used to mean bipartisan support or support from a wide diversity of political opinion. I cannot speak about Johnson, but Koh represents a total bypass of the US Constitution as I know it. Can this man even take the standard oath of office since it ALWAYS has the phrase "Preserve and Protect the Constitution of the United States"? If he takes it, I would accuse him of being FORESWORN nased upon his own witness in writings!
I am sick and tired of hearing how noble Spain is for defending international humanitarian law.
Family members of the President Zapatero’s cabinet may have comitted war crimes during the Spanish Civil War.
And until and unless they start investigating and prosecuting their own war criminals they have nothing to say to the rest of the world.
Subscribe To Dick Morris’ Play-By-Play AnalysisLogin Password « OBAMAS WORST JOBS-KILLERTHE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE HAS BEEN REPEALEDBy Dick Morris 04.6.2009 On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiqué essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.
The mandate conferred on the FSB is remarkable for its scope and open-endedness. It is to set a framework of internationally agreed high standards that a global financial system requires. These standards are to include the extension of regulation and oversight to all systemically important financial institutions, instruments, and markets [including] systemically important hedge funds.
Note the key word: all. If the FSB, in its international wisdom, considers an institution or company systemically important, it may regulate and over see it. This provision extends and internationalizes the proposals of the Obama Administration to regulate all firms, in whatever sector of the economy that it deems to be too big to fail.
The FSB is also charged with implementing tough new principles on pay and compensation and to support sustainable compensation schemes and the corporate social responsibility of all firms.
That means that the FSB will regulate how much executives are to be paid and will enforce its idea of corporate social responsibility at all firms.
The head of the Financial Stability Forum, the precursor to the new FSB, is Mario Draghi, Italys central bank president. In a speech on February 21, 2009, he gave us clues to his thinking. He noted that the progress we have made in revising the global regulatory framework would have been unthinkable just months ago.
He said that every financial institution capable of creating systemic risk will be subject to supervision. He adds that it is envisaged that, at international level, the governance of financial institutions, executive compensation, and the special duties of intermediaries to protect retail investors will be subject to explicit supervision.
In remarks right before the London conference, Draghi said that while I dont see the FSF [now the FSB] as a global regulator at the present time it should be a standard setter that coordinates national agencies.
This coordination of national agencies and the setting of standards is an explicit statement of the mandate the FSB will have over our national regulatory agencies.
Obama, perhaps feeling guilty for the US role in triggering the international crisis, has, indeed, given away the store. Now we may no longer look to presidential appointees, confirmed by the Senate, to make policy for our economy. These decisions will be made internationally.
And Europe will dominate them. The FSF and, presumably, the FSB, is now composed of the central bankers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus representatives of the World Bank, the European Union, the IMF, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Europe, in other words, has six of the twelve national members. The G-20 will enlarge the FSB to include all its member nations, but the pro-European bias will be clear. The United States, with a GDP three times that of the next largest G-20 member (Japan), will have one vote. So will Italy.
The Europeans have been trying to get their hands on our financial system for decades. It is essential to them that they rein in American free enterprise so that their socialist heaven will not be polluted by vices such as the profit motive. Now, with President Obamas approval, they have done it.