Posted tagged ‘Justice’

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe

May 26, 2017

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe, Newsmax, Todd Beamon, May 25, 2017

Jared Kushner (AP)

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that reports that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was under FBI scrutiny on Russia pointed to an inquiry that was “being done backwards” and “raises great concerns about civil liberties.”

“Usually, you can point to a statute and say, ‘We’re investigating crime under this statute,'” Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN before referencing special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

“What Mueller seems to be doing is saying: ‘We don’t like what happened. Maybe there was some collaboration. But I can’t figure out what statute was being violated.’

“When Hillary Clinton was being investigated, at least we knew what the statute was.”

The Washington Post and NBC News reported on Thursday that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s meetings last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a banker from Moscow.

Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s lawyer, said that her client would cooperate with the probe.

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings,” she said in a statement. “He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Dershowitz had some advice for Gorelick, whom he said was a former student.

“I would say, first to the investigators: ‘Before you talk to my client, I want to know what your authority is. What your jurisdiction is.'”

Lacking that foundation, Dershowitz likened the Kushner inquiry to the words of Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

“I don’t like criminal investigations to start on hoping that once you have the target, maybe we’ll find the crime, maybe we’ll find the statute – and if we can’t find the statute, we’ll stretch the statute to fit the person.

“I don’t want to ever see that come to America.”

What Is Justice? Ohio State Students Protest Killing of Jihadi

December 12, 2016

What Is Justice? Ohio State Students Protest Killing of Jihadi, Clarion Project, Meira Svirsky, December 12, 2016

osuattackScene of the Ohio Attack (Photo: © Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Protests erupted at Ohio State University over the killing of terrorist Abdul Razak Ali Artan.  Claiming he had reached a “boiling point” after becoming “sick and tired” of the treatment of Muslims, Artan injured 11 students when he drove his car over them and afterwards tried to stab them to death with a butcher knife.

The protests were part of a larger gathering organized by the OSU Coalition for Black Liberation meant to eulogize “people of color” killed by police since October, as reported by the student newspaper, The Lantern.

Artan’s name was added to that list.

As explained by Maryam Abidi, a fourth-year in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, “We broadened the scope of what today was supposed to be, to talk about the aftermath of what happened on the 28th.”

The event commenced with a eulogy for each name on the list, followed by a reading of all of their names, ages and the location of their deaths.

While acknowledging the violent nature of some of their crimes, Abidi still countered, “The protest against police brutality extends to the innocent and the guilty alike, because we know that no matter the crime, justice and due process don’t come from a cop’s bullet.”

This flawed moral argument – as well as the sheer ludicrousness of such a statement – is breathtaking.  First and foremost, a person armed with a lethal weapon (whether it be a car, a knife or even his or her bare hands) engaged in an act meant to kill innocent people has opted out of any system of “due process.”

The definition of justice in the moral realm is not a static reality. Justice in this case was served, namely, the killing of the attacker before he was able to carry out his intentions.

If he had not been stopped by a policeman’s bullet – which, given the circumstances, was most likely the only way he could have been neutralized – where would the justice be for his victims who most certainly would have been dead by that time?

Contrary to Abidi’s concept of justice, moral values are not determined in a vacuum. As much as it would be convenient to deconstruct every moral dilemma into binary parts (in this case, killed by a bullet shot by a policeman or not), that is not how our world is constructed.

Justice takes into consideration more components than simply this one fact seized on by the OSU Coalition for Black Liberation.  In the case of a jihadi terrorist perpetrating an attack on innocent civilians, justice was served when Artan was stopped.

Military brass told numerous US soldiers in Afghanistan to ignore child sex abuse by Afghan “allies”

September 3, 2016

Military brass told numerous US soldiers in Afghanistan to ignore child sex abuse by Afghan “allies”, Jihad Watch

Women are so despised and devalued in Islamic culture that it leads to this sort of thing. And even though this article says that Muslim clerics and the Taliban object to the practice, the Qur’an says that in Paradise, the blessed will be attended not only by the famous virgins, but by boys like pearls as well:

“Those are the ones brought near in the Gardens of Pleasure, a company of the former peoples and a few of the later peoples, on thrones woven, reclining on them, facing each other. There will circulate among them young boys made eternal with vessels, pitchers and a cup from a flowing spring.” — Qur’an 56:11-18

“And they will be given to drink a cup whose mixture is of ginger, a fountain within Paradise named Salsabeel. There will circulate among them young boys made eternal. When you see them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look there, you will see pleasure and great dominion.” — Qur’an 76:17-20

And the U.S. military leadership was so intent on pursuing our futile, fruitless, wasteful, pointless misadventure in Afghanistan that they became accessories to this behavior. The whole lot of them should be dishonorably discharged.

Jason-Brezler

“Navy analysis found that a Marine’s case would draw attention to Afghan ‘sex slaves,’” by Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, September 1, 2016:

Last fall, the Navy Department had a controversial disciplinary case before it: Maj. Jason C. Brezler had been asked by Marine colleagues to submit all the information he had about an influential Afghan police chief suspected of abusing children. Brezler sent a classified document in response over an unclassified Yahoo email server, and he self-reported the mistake soon after. But the Marine Corps recommended that he be discharged for mishandling classified material.

The Navy Department, which oversees the Marine Corps, had the ability to uphold or overturn the decision. However, rather than just looking at the merits of the case, Navy officials also assessed that holding new hearings on the case would renew attention on the scandal surrounding child sex abuse in Afghanistan, according to military documents newly disclosed in federal court.

The documents, filed Tuesday in a lawsuit by Brezler against the Navy Department and Marine Corps, also show that Marine and Navy officials in Afghanistan were aware in 2012 of allegations of abuse against children by the Afghan police chief but that the chief was allowed to keep his position in Helmand province anyway. This became a major issue after a teenage boy who worked for the chief — and allegedly was abused by him — opened fire on a U.S. base Aug. 10, 2012, killing three Marines and badly wounding a fourth.

The five-page legal review, written last October by Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Kassotis for Vice Adm. James W. Crawford III, the judge advocate general of the Navy, recommended that the Marine Corps’ actions against Brezler be upheld. Calling for a new administrative review, known as a Board of Inquiry, would delay actions in the case another six to nine months and possibly increase attention on the case, “especially in the aftermath of significant media attention to the allegations regarding the practice of keeping personal sex slaves in Afghanistan,” Kassotis wrote. A month later in November, acting assistant Navy secretary Scott Lutterloh upheld the Marine Corps’ decision.

Brezler’s case has drawn new attention in recent months as critics of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have compared her email controversy to Brezler’s, noting that the officer’s military career is on the brink of being over. He sued the Marine Corps and Navy Department in 2014, saying that he was a victim of reprisal for discussing his case with a member of Congress, and it has languished in court since. Brezler wants to block his dismissal, which is now on hold.

Navy and Marine Corps officials declined to discuss the case or the new documents filed in it, citing the pending litigation. A spokesman for the Justice Department, which is handling the lawsuit for the government, also declined to comment.

The Navy Department’s observation about Brezler’s case was made as another U.S. service member’s career was in jeopardy because of his response to alleged child sex abuse in Afghanistan. In that instance, Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland made headlines after the Army decided last year to involuntarily separate him from the service because of a reprimand he had received for hitting an Afghan Local Police (ALP) official in 2011 after the man laughed about kidnapping and raping a teenage boy. The Army overturned its decision in April and allowed Martland, a Green Beret, to stay in the military after Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.) intervened.

The Martland case opened a dialogue in which numerous veterans of the war in Afghanistan said they were told to ignore instances of child sex abuse by their Afghan colleagues. The Defense Department’s inspector general then opened an investigation into the sexual assault reports and how they were handled by U.S. military officials who knew about them.

Brezler’s attorney, Michael J. Bowe, said Wednesday in an email that his client is entitled to a “real review” of his case — “not a whitewash designed to avoid uncomfortable press stories about child rape by our ‘partners’ in Afghanistan.

“Our service members deserve better,” he added….

Indeed.

5 Things You Should Know About the FBI Hearing With James Comey

July 7, 2016

5 Things You Should Know About the FBI Hearing With James Comey, PJ MediaTyler O’Neil, July 7, 2016

FBI directorFILE – In this April 5, 2016 file photo, FBI Director James Comey speaks in Detroit. Comey hinted at an event in London on Thursday, April 21, 2016, that the FBI paid more than $1 million to break into the locked iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

On Thursday, FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about his recommendation for the FBI to issue no charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The hearing went on for nearly four hours, but PJ Media has compiled the 5 big statements during the event.

Just a brief recap: On Tuesday, Comey made a speech declaring Clinton’s use of a private email server as “extremely careless,” but effectively exonerating her from any federal charges. Many saw this as a “double standard,” especially because Comey’s comments revealed Clinton’s declarations on the email scandal to be huge lies — just check out this Reason TV video on it.

Republicans and Democrats asked important questions, and Comey responded or failed to respond. Here are the five big moments you shouldn’t miss:

1. This was not a Republican witch-hunt.

North Carolina Republican Representative Mark Walker asked Comey about the political nature of the FBI investigation. Comey made clear that “it wasn’t Republicans or Congress who asked for the investigation,” but it was suggested by the State Department Inspector General. “This was not a Republican witch-hunt,” he explicitly said.

Walker pointed out that many of the Congresswomen who have praised Comey as a public servant after his decision not to charge Hillary Clinton were the same people who attacked the FBI for running an investigation on “frivolous” issues earlier. These Democrats also argued that the entire investigation was a “Republican witch-hunt,” when it was not.

2. Hillary’s email was less secure than a Gmail account that hackers are paid $180 to hack into.

Iowa Republican Congressman Rod Blum asked Comey about the security of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The FBI director said that yes, “even a basic free account, a Gmail account, had better security than she did.” Blum emphasized that people are paid roughly $180 to hack into a Gmail account, suggesting that it is relatively easy to do so, and that Clinton’s server was extraordinarily unprotected from potential foreign hackers.

Comey agrees that Hillary’s security was weaker than Gmail’s, which people are paid only about $180 to hack into @PJMedia_com

Trump’s Jujitsu Overthrow of Liberalism

June 6, 2016

Trump’s Jujitsu Overthrow of Liberalism, Power LineSteven Hayward, June 5, 2016

In other words, with this seemingly reckless attack, Trump is once again performing a high public service that is long overdue.

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On the surface Trump’s attack on the presiding judge in his civil trial over Trump University is reckless, irresponsible, menacing, and . . . just plain wacko. Jonah Goldberg speculates that what he’s really trying to do is force the judge to recuse himself and have another judge take over the case, which will result in a delay of the proceedings well beyond the election, at which point Trump might settle, or who knows what. I’m wondering whether Trump really wants to win in November after all, but I’ll ponder that idea another time.

And yet, leave it to our anonymous friend “Decius” at the Journal of American Greatness (who received a very nice extended shout out yesterday from Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal) to offer the case that Trump is, wittingly or not, directly attacking one of the most egregious aspects of liberal orthodoxy today—the premise of “diversity” embedded in our rigid identity politics that really means uniformity to the liberal line. Turns out, for example, that judge Curiel is a member of the lawyer’s advisory board to La Raza, a deeply ideological leftist group determined to mark out Latinos for a political and social identify largely separate from America. Take it away Decius:

The left mostly takes for granted, first, that people from certain ethnicities in positions of power will be liberal Democrats and, second, that they will use that power in the interests of their party and co-ethnics.  This is a core reason for shouts of “treason!” “Uncle Tom” (or Tomas) and the like.  People like Clarence Thomas are offending the left’s whole conception of the moral order.  How dare he!

The implicit assumption underlying Sotomayor’s comment [about a “wise Latina”] and Thomas’ refusal to play to type is that there is a type—an expectation.  By virtue of her being a liberal, a Democrat, a woman, and a Latina (wise or otherwise), Sotomayor’s voting pattern on the Court ought to be predictable.  As, indeed, it is.  So should Thomas’, but he declines to play his assigned role.

The slightly deeper assumption is that this identity-based predictability is necessary, because the institutions and laws as designed will not reliably produce the “correct” outcome.  That’s the logic of diversity in a nutshell.  If everybody in power strictly followed law and procedure, the good guys—the poor, minorities, women, etc.—would lose a great deal of the time and that would be bad.  We need people who will look past the niceties of the rule of law and toward the outcome—the end.  The best way to ensure that is “diversity,” i.e., people more loyal to their own party and tribe than to abstractions like the rule of law.

Trump simply took this very same logic and restated it from his own point-of-view—that is, from the point-of-view of a rich, Republican, ostentatiously hyper-American defendant in a lawsuit being litigated in a highly-charged political environment.  He knows full well that at least 50% of the country will howl like crazy if he wins this suit.  He knows that the judge knows that, too.  He further knows that judge knows what his own “side” expects him to do.  It would take an act of extraordinary courage to act against interest and expectation in this instance.  And our present system is not calibrated to produce such acts of courage but rather to produce the expected outcome.

That’s what diversity is for.  That is, beyond the fairness issue, viz., that in a multiethnic country, it’s unwise and arguably unjust for high offices to be monopolized by one group.  But that’s an argument for something like quotas—or, if you want to be high-minded about it, “distributive justice”—and the quota rationale for diversity is passé.  The current rationale is that diversity provides “perspectives.”  Perspectives to aid in getting around the law and procedure.  Otherwise, who cares about diversity?  Just apply the law.  Simple.

Trump is taking for granted—because he is not blind—that ethnic Democratic judges will rule in the interests of their party and of their ethnic bloc.  That’s what they’re supposed to do.  The MSM and the overall narrative say this is just fine.  It’s only bad when someone like Trump points it out in a negative way.  If a properly sanctified liberal had said “This man is a good judge because his background gives him the perspective to see past narrow, technical legalities and grasp the larger justice,” not only would no one have complained, that comment would have been widely praised.  In fact, comments just like it are celebrated all the time.  That is precisely what Justice Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” phrase was meant to convey.

Plus, Trump has whacked the hornets’ nest by his criticism of Mexican immigration, which he feels this judge is bound to take personally.  And why shouldn’t he conclude that?  The left (and the domesticated right) tell us incessantly that any criticism—however fair or factual—that touches on a specific group will inevitably arouse the ire of that group.  Don’t say anything negative about immigration or the Hispanics will never vote for you!  Don’t say anything critical of Islamic terror or more Muslims will hate us!  But when Trump uses that same logic—I’ve criticized Mexican immigration so it’s likely this judge won’t like me—he’s a villain.

In other words, with this seemingly reckless attack, Trump is once again performing a high public service that is long overdue. I still can’t tell if there’s a deliberateness behind Trump’s crazy genius, or whether this is all happening by weird instinct or randomness.

The Mixed Legacy of Nuremberg

May 4, 2016

The Mixed Legacy of Nuremberg, Front Page Magazine, Alan M. Dershowitz, May 4, 2016

This year commemorates the 80th anniversary of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazi racist enactments that formed the legal basis for the Holocaust. Ironically, it also marks the 70thanniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, which provided the legal basis for prosecuting the Nazi war criminals who murdered millions of Jews and others following the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws.

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There is little dispute about the evil of the Nuremberg Laws. As Justice Robert H. Jackson, who was America’s chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, put it: “The most odious of all oppressions are those which mask as justice.”

There is some dispute, however, about the Nuremberg trials themselves. Did they represent objective justice or, as Hermann Göring characterized it, merely “victor’s justice?” Were the rules under which the Nazi leaders were tried and convicted ex post facto laws, enacted after the crimes were committed in an effort to secure legal justice for the most immoral of crimes? Did the prosecution and conviction of a relatively small number of Nazi leaders exculpate too many hands-on perpetrators? Do the principles that emerged from the Nuremberg Trials have continued relevance in today’s world?

Following the Holocaust, the world took a collective oath encapsulated in the powerful phrase “never again”, but following the Nuremberg Trials, mass murders, war crimes and even genocides have been permitted to occur again and again and again and again. Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, the former Yugoslavia and now Syria. Why has the promise of “never again” been so frequently been broken? Why have the Nuremberg principles not been effectively applied to prevent and punish these unspeakable crimes? Will the International Criminal Court, established in 2002, be capable of enforcing the Nuremberg principles and deterring future genocides by punishing past ones?

Whether the captured Nazi leaders — those who did not commit suicide or escape — should have been placed on trial, rather than summarily shot, was the subject of much controversy. Even before the end of the war, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau had proposed that a list of major war criminals be drawn up, and as soon as they were captured and identified, they would be shot. President Roosevelt was initially sympathetic to such rough justice, but eventually both he and President Truman were persuaded by Secretary of War Henry Stimson that summary execution was inconsistent with the American commitment to due process and the rule of law.

It was decided, therefore, to convene an international tribunal to sit in judgment over the Nazi leaders. But this proposal was not without considerable difficulties. Justice must be seen to be done, but it must also be done in reality. A show trial, with predictable verdicts and sentences, would be little better than no trial at all. Indeed, Justice Jackson went so far as to suggest, early on, that it would be preferable to shoot Nazi criminals out of hand than to discredit our judicial process by conducting farcical trials.

The challenge of the Nuremberg tribunal, therefore, was to do real justice in the context of a trial by the victors against the vanquished — and specifically those leaders of the vanquished who had been instrumental in the most barbaric genocide and mass slaughter of civilians in history. Moreover, the blood of Hitler’s millions of victims was still fresh at the time of the trials. Indeed, the magnitude of Nazi crimes was being learned by many for the first time during the trial itself. Was a fair trial possible against this emotional backdrop?

Even putting aside the formidable jurisprudential hurdles — the retroactive nature of the newly announced laws and the jurisdictional problems posed by a multinational court — there was a fundamental question of justice posed. Contemporary commentators wondered whether judges appointed by the victorious governments — and politically accountable to those governments — could be expected to listen with an open mind to the prosecution evidence offered by the Allies and to the defense claims submitted on behalf of erstwhile enemies.

A review of the trial nearly 70 years after the fact leads to the conclusion that the judges did a commendable job of trying to be fair. They did, after all, acquit three of the twenty-two defendants, and they sentenced another seven to prison terms rather than hanging. But results, of course, are not the only or even the best criteria for evaluating the fairness of a trial. Furthermore, it is impossible to determine with hindsight whether the core leaders, such as Göring, von Ribbentrop and Rosenberg, ever had a chance, or whether the acquittals and lesser sentences for some of the others was a ploy to make it appear that proportional justice was being done.

In the end, it was the documentary evidence — the Germans’ own detailed record of their aggression and genocide — that provided the smoking guns. Document after document proved beyond any doubt that the Nazis had conducted two wars: One was their aggressive war against Europe (and eventually America) for military, political, geographic, and economic domination. The other was their genocidal war to destroy “inferior” races, primarily the Jews and Gypsies. Its war aim was eventually crushed by the combined might of the Americans and the Russians. Their genocidal aims came very close to succeeding. Nearly the entire Jewish and Gypsy populations within the control of the Third Reich were systematically murdered while the rest of the world — including those nations sitting in judgment — turned a blind eye.

The Nuremberg tribunal and those that followed it administered justice to a tiny fraction of those guilty of the worst barbarism ever inflicted on humankind. The vast majority of German killers were eventually “denazified” and allowed to live normal and often productive lives.

It is necessary to ask whether, on balance, the Nuremberg Trials did more good than harm. By convicting and executing a tiny number of the most flagrant criminals, the Nuremberg tribunal permitted the world to get on with business as usual. The German economy was quickly rebuilt, unification between East and West Germany became a reality, and anti-Semitism is once again rife through Europe.

Perhaps Henry Morgenthau was asking for too much when he demanded that Germany’s industry and military capacity be destroyed “forever,” and that Germany must be “reduced to a nation of farmers.” But perhaps the Nuremberg tribunal asked too little when it implicitly expiated those guilty of thousands of hands-on murders by focusing culpability on a small number of leaders who could never have carried out their wholesale slaughter without the enthusiastic assistance of an army — both military and civilian — of wholesale butchers.

The Nuremberg trial was an example of both “victor’s justice” and of the possible beginning of a “new legal order” of accountability. Trying the culprits was plainly preferable to simply killing them. But trying so few of them sent out a powerful message that the “new legal order” would be lenient with those who were “just following orders.”

The reality that, following Nuremberg, the world was to experience genocide again and again demonstrated that trials alone cannot put an end to human barbarity. But the fact that tribunals were established to judge at least some of these crimes against humanity also demonstrates a willingness to at least attempt to prevent and punish evil using the rule of law.

These and other issues have challenged and continue to challenge thinking. That is why a major conference of judges, academics, prosecutors, victims and government officials is convening today, May 4, 2016, at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland to consider the duel legacies of the Nuremberg Laws and the Nuremberg Trials. We plan to explore all sides of these enduring issues in a series of talks, panels and visual presentations. The goal of the conference is symbolized by Santayana’s famous dictum: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The world cannot afford to repeat the tragedies of the Holocaust and so we must learn from the duel legacies of Nuremberg.

One of the most important lessons of history is that for genocide and other mass killings to be carried out requires the active participation of numerous individuals, from those who do the actual killing to those who incite, organize and provide the means. The Holocaust itself required hundreds of thousands of active co-conspirators and millions more of morally complicit people who remained silent while it was being carried out around them. Not only were most of these guilty participants immunized from prosecution, but many were rewarded with good jobs and other economic benefits. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the Nuremberg trials did not effectively deter subsequent mass killings. Indeed, the use of civilians as weapons of war — victims of genocide, mass rapes and human shields — has continued, with only a few handfuls of leaders and perpetrators prosecuted and punished. The challenge of Nuremberg is to construct an effective, ongoing, legal regime that punishes not just the leaders, but each and every guilty participant in the most egregious of war crimes.