This week, the Iraqi government sent police to order the removal of a statue honoring the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who threw a shoe at former President George Bush. The statue’s removal in Tikrit appears to be an effort to show respect to the United States by denying the right of free speech to the Iraqi people.
Archive for January, 2009
French financial firm Calyon in the Americas is being sued by Ryan Pacifico who alleges that he was fired because his boss, Robert Catalanello, thought that he seemed gay because he would not eat steak and wore snug-fitting shorts during triathlons. The firm denies the allegation and says that he was fired for performance reasons.
In 2005, ex-radio DJ Quincy De’Shawn Smith was involved in a confrontation with a police officer that resulted in his being tased. In November, this case was cleared for trial alleging police brutality by the officer. However, Smith, 24, is now dead after being tased in December by the same Minneapolis police officer, Officer Timothy Devick, who was responding to a report of a domestic assault.
The appointment of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her recent confirmation as Secretary of State raises a very interesting constitutional question. As discussed previously here, the Constitution would appear to block Clinton from being able to serve in this capacity under Article I, Section 6. Now, Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit on behalf of U.S. Foreign Service Officer and State Department employee David C. Rodearmel to make just such a case.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eric Chevallier has publicly criticized Israel for allegedly blocking the shipment of a water purification station into Gaza, forcing France to return the equipment to Europe despite the serious health emergency growing in Gaza over contaminated water. Spain for its part has now opened an investigation to look into the allegations of crimes against humanity in how Israel conducted the operation.
As predicted in our earlier entry, the investigation into the salmonella outbreak has now become a criminal investigation of Peanut Corporation of America. Recently, it was learned that company officials knew that prior batches of its product were contaminated but shipped them anyway. The Food and Drug Administration is spearheading the investigation.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has an interesting trickle down theory. According to Giuliani, the outrageous bonuses for Wall Street figures (many paid for by public funds) are a vital part of economic recovery for average New Yorker. According to Giuliani, the relatively few super rich recipients are a major source of money for the thousands of people who serve their whims and fulfill their wishes for exotic foods, fast cars, and impeccable service. It is basically the same economic theory advanced by that pre-Friedman scholar Marie Antoinette in the eighteenth century but under Giulianiomics, we don’t let the peasants actually eat the cake . . . just serve it.
North Carolina prosecutors are pursuing an interesting felony-murder charge against Larry Whitfield, who is accused of breaking into the home of an elderly lade after an attempted bank robbery and car chase. Whitfield never touched Mary Parnell, 79, but the stress is believed to have caused her heart attack and death.
England is about to make it illegal to take photographs of police officers in a continuing trend limiting the free press and free speech in the West. This ill-conceived law, The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, will take effect on February 16th and “allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.” For this crime, you can get up to ten years and a fine.
In a striking departure from the Bush Administration, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, called for an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel in the recent Gaza fighting. While correctly noting such violations by Hamas, Rice noted that there are now credible accounts that need to be investigated. The question is now whether the Administration will apply the same standard to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes that are now clearly identified in the Bush Administration involving an official torture program.
Karl Rove is promising to defy the subpoena issued by John Conyers — citing instructions from Bush lawyers shortly before the end of the Administration. The statement may indicate that President Bush is preparing for a novel fight: asserting executive privilege against the position of the sitting president (who would presumably support Congress in this matter). In the interview, Rove compares himself to the Great White Whale in Moby Dick.
If Chevaliee ”Chevy” Robinson, 30, was unhappy about pleading guilty to drug conspiracy and money laundering in Akron a few months ago, he was probably even less happy when he learned the identity of the snitch that helped set him up with the police: his lawyer Frank Pignatelli. Media has learned that Pignatelli found himself implicated in the drug conspiracy and agreed to work undercover with police in stings to incriminate others, including his own former clients. It is an extremely troubling use of a lawyer by law enforcement that the American Bar Association should review.
Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond (R., Mo.), the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has told The Washington Times that Eric Holder privately assured him that there would be no prosecution of Bush officials for torture or unlawful acts. The story is reminiscent of last week’s statement by Gen. Michael Hayden that he was assured by President Obama that there would be no investigations or prosecutions allowed for war crimes committed by the Bush Administration. I discussed this story and the recent ACLU demand for the release of the torture and surveillance memos on this segment of Countdown.