Palestinian Elections

Democracy was on display in the Middle East Wednesday, as Palestinians voted for the first time in over a decade, but Washington is hardly embracing the outcome.

Hamas is claiming victory Thursday morning, and the current Palestinian Parliament has resigned. Election results reveal that the Islamic militant group has won a convincing majority of seats in the Parliament, in what President Bush considers a ?wake up call.?

Former President Jimmy Carter observed the elections and reiterated the United States’ stance against Hamas, a terrorist group that is in no hurry to lay down its weapons for peace.

The U.S. government has said many times that it will deny Palestine any further funding should Hamas enter the government.

Blog-breaking News

Big-time kudos to Glenn Greenwald who, as I mirrored yesterday, reported at his Unclaimed Territory on the inconsistencies in the administration’s 2002 stance on FISA and “probable cause” and what they are saying now.

Thursday’s Washington Post, Knight-Ridder, are among the media outlets crediting this blogger with breaking the story.

UPDATE Thurs Afternoon: Greenwald’s got more?

my post from yesterday, bumped up:
General Michael V. Hayden claimed on Monday that the government was forced to circumvent FISA formalities because of the burdensome “probable cause” standard necessary to constitutionally allow for wiretaps/eavesdropping etc.

But as Glenn Greenwald wrote today,when Mike DeWine proposed a 2002 bill that would reduce the standards required for “probable cause,” the Republicans voted it down. Is it because they really do know the fourth amendment, or had Bush and Cheney already decided it would be easier to just carry on spying, tapping into their “mandated” extraordinary power to circumvent Congress, the judiciary, society.

As evidenced by this cutting down of the proposed bill, as stated by James Baker, the DoJ attorney who supervises FISA requests, on behalf of the administration:

thanks to Congress’s passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, we have been able to use our expanded FISA tools more effectively to combat terrorist activities.

Does this insinuate that FISA was all they needed to combat terrorism in 2002, or does it reveal once again that the Bush Administration had taken the PATRIOT Act as a license to do as they please?

Once a dictator….

Saddam Hussein courtroom

Anything look peculiar about this Baghdad courtroom in which the trial of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was to continue Tuesday?

“One of the judges suffered a high-blood pressure attack and I just saw him in the hospital,” one of Hussein’s lawyers, the former Qatari justice minister Najib al-Nuami told AFP.

Rauf Rashid Abdel Rahman, who was appointed as the presiding judge after the December resignation of Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, was apparently angered by excessive security measures at the courthouse when he cancelled the proceedings.

The trial was postponed until Sunday because “some witnesses and complainants were away on pilgrimage to Mecca and did not show up” according to The Washington Post.

Tuesday was the scheduled date for the trial’s resumption after a month long recess preceded the resignation of Amin last week. The trial, which began in October 2005, was postponed for 40 days shortly after it began.

There was palpable contention regarding the sudden assignment this week of Abdel Rahman — a Kurd — as presiding judge, his first involvement in the case.

The Shiite judge Said al-Hammashi, who was chosen by the remaining judges to succeed Amin, was suddenly removed from the case entirely at the insistence of Iraq’s de-Baathification committee.

The sensible solution comes from Iraqi Vice President and leading prime ministerial candidate Adel Abdul Mahdi, who apparently recommends execution without trial as the most righteous and painless solution to the fiasco that may or may not become Saddam Hussein’s trial: “The continuing process is unnecessary and will only hurt the Iraqi people.”


Is this foreshadowing how hard it might be to get current and future dictatorial leaders to stand trial?

Will we live to see either a) Saddam Hussein on trial, b) Bush / Cheney / andor Rumsfeld on trial, c) any semblance of “democracy” in Iraq d) ???