The Daily Muck

Views

This week Col. Lawrence J. Morris, the newly installed Guantanamo chief prosecutor, will publicly detail a series of criminal charges against six men suspected (sub. req.) of plotting the suicide-hijackings of September 11, 2001. Morris has waited for this moment for years as the Bush administration’s military tribunal system has suffered legal setbacks, internal conflicts, revelations of detainee abuse, and embarrassing disclosures about its effort to conduct show trials. (Wall Street Journal)

President Bush used his State of the Union address to excoriate lawmakers for spending taxpayer dollars on their pet projects, yet Bush’s new budget includes plenty of executive earmarks. Bush’s pork includes $330 million for combating pests such as the emerald ash borer and sirex woodwasp, and $800,000 for the Neosho National Fish Hatchery in Missouri. (New York Times)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates suggested that after the last of the troops deployed to Iraq as part of the surge return to the U.S. in July, no more American troops will leave Iraq for at least another month and possibly even longer. If there is indeed a “freeze” on the withdrawal of U.S. forces later this year, it is possible that there will “be nearly as many U.S. troops in Iraq at the end of 2008 as were in the country when the administration announced plans for the surge more than a year ago.” (Wall Street Journal)Prosecutors in the corruption case against former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona released transcripts of Carona and an associate – who was wearing a wire – “plotting to cover up illicit cash payments and gifts he received while in office.” Carona’s lawyers have moved to have the transcripts excluded from the case. (Los Angeles Times)

Federal probation officials suggested a 60 year sentence for convicted Poway Defense Contractor Brent Wilkes, partly because Wilkes bribed an elected official, former representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA). Yet Wilkes’ attorney Mark Geragos, in a 36-page attack on the sentencing report, asserts that because there was no jury finding that Cunningham was an elected official, this fact cannot be taken into consideration in the sentencing. (San Diego Union Tribune)

In response to the Bush administration’s admission that the U.S. has used waterboarding in interrogations, Richard E. Mezo, who served for six years in the Navy, has a column in the Washington Post decrying the practice and describing his experience being waterboarded as part of his Navy surivival training. “Waterboarding is torture,” Mezo concludes, “and torture is clearly a crime against humanity. (Washington Post)

When Democrat Christine Jennings lost the District 13 congressional race in Florida to Republican Vern Buchanan by 369 votes, she called for a congressional investigation into why more than 18,00 ballots cast did not register a choice for either candidate. On Friday, a House task force ended that investigation because testing of touch-screen voting equipment suggested that the machines functioned properly and university computer experts believe that a poorly designed ballot caused voter confusion. (AP)

Last Friday the prosecution rested in the trial of former New Hampshire Democratic Congressional candidate Gary Dodds, who allegedly faked his own disappearance after a car accident during the campaign. The Portsmouth Herald has a rundown of the evidence presented against Dodds. (Portsmouth Herald)

Lawyers for Salim Ahmed Hamdan – Osama bin Laden’s former driver – say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed can help them defend their client. As part of their request to interview Mohammed, they have promised not to ask him about his treatment and interrogation by the United States. U.S. officials maintain that it would be dangerous to American agents if Mohammed revealed “the sources and methods the government used to get information” from him. (Reuters)

House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has warned Roger Clemens’ lawyer that comments he made to the New York Times could be interpreted as “an attempt to intimidate a federal law enforcement official in the performance of his official duties.” Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, was quoted as saying “if he [federal agent Jeff Novitzky] ever messes with Roger, Roger will eat his lunch.” (Agence France-Press)