Patterico's Pontifications

12/28/2009

Obama Grants Interpol Immunity

Filed under: Constitutional Law,International,Obama — DRJ @ 9:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Just before Christmas, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that immunizes Interpol’s acts in America:

“Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.

By removing language from President Reagan’s 1983 Executive Order 12425, this international law enforcement body now operates – now operates – on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests.”

I haven’t posted on this before because I’m having a difficult time thinking of all the reasons this is a bad thing. Is this about subjecting the United States to international laws? Exposing American leaders and military to international war crime proceedings? Exempting a police organization on American soil from FOIA and other traditional oversight provisions?

Andy McCarthy has a succinct explanation, and Phineas Fahrquar at PubSecrets makes two points that make sense to me. The first is a continuation of Andy McCarthy’s concerns:

“The author, former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, asks some very good questions, among them why we need to elevate a foreign police service above our own legal protections and why does Interpol need an untouchable repository for documents? Essentially this means that someone arrested under an Interpol warrant in the US can be denied the right to see the evidence used to swear out the warrant against him (presumably at an extradition hearing), a discovery process that’s considered a fundamental protection against tyranny under our Anglo-American system.”

Fahrquar describes the second as a quasi-conspiracy theory, but it’s a reasonable one in my view:

“I do find it more than a bit disturbing that a foreign law-enforcement agency would be allowed to operate on American soil and not be subject to the same constitutional restraints as the FBI or DEA. That’s an unacceptable slight to American sovereignty. And, to give my inner-conspiracy theorist full sway, isn’t it convenient that there’s now an archive within the Justice Department that’s protected by diplomatic immunity, so that no documents in it are available to Congress or a US court? What a perfect place to lose embarrassing documents Obama and Attorney General Holder would rather never see the light of day.”

– DRJ

Abdulmutallub Spent Time in Yemen (Updated)

Filed under: Air Security,International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 7:17 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Northwest Flight #253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab visited Yemen at least twice, including from August to December 2009:

“In a statement, the Yemeni Foreign Ministry says Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from early August until early December after receiving a visa to study Arabic in a school in San’a.

Monday’s statement said Abdulmutallab had previously studied at the school, indicating it was not his first trip to Yemen.”

The article implies Abdulmutallab may have received a Yemeni visa because he had a valid visa to visit the United States and other Western countries.

– DRJ

UPDATE — Despite the fact that Abdulmatallub’s family tried to locate him for weeks, asked for help from Nigerian and American officials, promised to cooperate with an investigation, and warned that he “had developed radical views, had disappeared and might have traveled to Yemen,” Tom Maguire [sarcastically] says there just weren’t enough clues for the Obama Administration. Or maybe there wasn’t the right clue:

“Too bad the authorities weren’t handed enough clues. Now if only the Nutjob Bomber had posted something fishy about ObamaCare on Facebook …”

So I guess that explains why no one questioned Abdulmatallub when he bought an international ticket to Detroit using cash and then reportedly showed up at the airport with no passport and no checked bags.

In Case You Were Worried About Whether Roman Polanski Is Comfortable . . .

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 4:19 pm

. . . let me set your mind at ease.

The child rapist is in “full comfort” at his Swiss chalet.

I know I’m breathing easier.

Two More Reasons Not to Close Guantanamo (Update: & 97 More)

Filed under: Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 2:38 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ABC News reports:

“Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007.”

That’s bad. So is this:

“American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.”

Note to those who support closing Guantanamo: This is called learning the hard way. You should have to clean this mess up but, unfortunately, it’s everyone’s mess now.

H/T Dmac, with my thanks.

– DRJ

Update: In the comments, Karl notes that the Obama Administration may send 97 more Guantanamo detainees to the Saudi art therapy release program … and a few Yemenis may be sent straight home without even having to go through rehab.

Drudge: Health Emergency at Obama Compound (Updated)

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Drudge Report banner states there is a health emergency at the Hawaii compound where the Obama family is vacationing. Apparently it is not the President, who was observed leaving a golf game and returning abruptly to the compound.

I hope it’s nothing serious but it sounds like it might be.

– DRJ

UPDATE: An AP report indicates the child of one of Obama’s friends was hurt and has been taken away by ambulance. Obama has returned to his golf game.

UPDATE 2: This report says the child had a minor injury.

Another Flight #253 Mystery (Updated)

Filed under: Air Security,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 1:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Who is the mystery videographer of Northwest Flight #253?

Fascinating snippet from WTMJ 620 radio in Milwaukee (“Oconomowoc Family Survives Terrorist Attempt”):

“…They were sitting about 20 rows behind Abdulmutallab, in a center aisle with her husband and daughter a row ahead of her and their two new adopted children, a six-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy.

Her daughter said that ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation.

“He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly,” said Patricia. “We do know that the FBI is looking for him intensely. Since then, we’ve heard nothing about it.”

Doug Ross wonders if it was al Qaeda trying to “learn from any failure by taping the entire incident.”

– DRJ

UPDATE: Was there a 3rd man, too?

Following Up on the L.A. Times’s Double Standards on ACORN Reporting

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

I have sent the following e-mail to L.A. Times reporter Robin Abcarian today:

Ms. Abcarian,

Last month I wrote you to ask if you would release your notes of your conversation with James O’Keefe for your article entitled, “Anti-abortion movement gets a new media twist?” published on April 26th, 2009. As you no doubt remember, James Rainey recently wrote a column citing your interview, in which Rainey made this statement:

So what sort of creature does this make O’Keefe? I don’t disagree with his observation in a previous interview with The Times that he follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.

Mr. O’Keefe absolutely denies that Mr. Rainey accurately set forth the context of this quote. He says that he never claimed that he followed the mold of Moore, using confrontation to “get at his version of the truth.”

When I asked you about this last month, you told me that Mr. O’Keefe could contact you if he felt that he had been misquoted. Mr. O’Keefe tells me that on December 1, he did indeed ask to see your notes — and that you promised to send him the quote the following day, December 2. Mr. O’Keefe tells me that you did not pass along the quote as you claimed you would. On December 7, Mr. O’Keefe tells me, he again asked you for your notes, to verify what he said about Michael Moore. To my knowledge, he has still not received the notes, or even your e-mailed statement regarding what the notes say.

This is an issue of whether The Times will comply with the same standards that Mr. Rainey claims are applicable to Mr. O’Keefe. Mr. Rainey’s column claimed that, because ACORN claimed that O’Keefe had taken their employees’ quotes out of context, O’Keefe needed to release all of his underlying source material to comply with journalistic principles. O’Keefe has released the full audio of his Los Angeles ACORN visit. Now O’Keefe claims that Mr. Rainey has taken his quotes out of context. By Mr. Rainey’s standards, the L.A. Times should release the underlying source material that relates to the quote Mr. Rainey claims O’Keefe gave you.

Sometime in the next 3-4 days I plan to write a year-end review of the Los Angeles Times. In the past, my year-end reviews have received links from numerous high-traffic blogs and are read by tens of thousands of readers. Rainey’s treatment of the ACORN scandal will likely play a prominent role in my upcoming piece.

As it stands, your paper appears to be refusing through inaction to substantiate the quote that Mr. O’Keefe denies having made. Can you tell me whether you plan to release your notes? All you would need to do is scan them in and send me the image. This way, you could comply with the standards that your media critic has deemed applicable to Mr. O’Keefe: namely, releasing source material when an interviewee claims that he has been misquoted or quoted out of context.

I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

http://patterico.com

The background on this is here.

I’ll let you know what I hear back.

Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Flight 253

Filed under: Air Security,Obama,Terrorism — DRJ @ 11:44 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Saudi-and Yemeni-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on Northwest Flight #253:

“Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack on a U.S. airliner on Christmas day, saying it was retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen.

In a statement posted on the Internet, the group said 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab coordinated with members of the group.”

Way to go, Janie.

– DRJ

Shall We Fly? (Updated x2)

Filed under: Air Security,Obama — DRJ @ 11:17 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Just 9 days after 9/11, President George Bush told Americans: “I ask you to live your lives and hug your children.” He was criticized for it, even by Republicans, but it was good advice. America could not afford — either economically or from a security standpoint — to be cowed by 9/11.

I’ve been thinking about what President Barack Obama will tell America following the Flight 253 terrorist attack, especially since the British and Abdulmutallab say there may be more attacks. The Obama administration is reportedly debating what his response should be.

Initially, I assumed the Administration’s concern was for potential jihadi listeners but they may also be conflicted about what to tell Americans. Should Obama tell Americans to “live your lives” — that is, to keep flying as if nothing happened? Anything else could decimate an already damaged airline industry, but doing so will make Obama sound even more like Bush.

We’ll know soon. ABC News reports Obama will address the terrorist attack today. I wonder if he will also explain why the British put Abdulmutallab on an official watch list and refused his visa, but the Americans did not?

– DRJ

UPDATE: ABC News’ report on Obama’s remarks. Video is here.

UPDATE 2 — The restrictions on passenger movements announced 2 days ago have apparently been eased — probably because someone realized the restrictions weren’t helping.

I Hate to Say I Told You So . . .

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 10:32 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Okay, I don’t really hate to say it. In fact, I found a great deal of vindication in this morning’s Los Angeles Times story on the dwindling ranks of LAPD gang officers. I’ve written often, both here and elsewhere (see here and here, for example), on what the results would be if the city pressed ahead with demanding extensive financial disclosure from officers assigned to anti-gang units. As the L.A. Times confirms today, some gang units in the city have seen their rosters trimmed by a third or even more as officers move on to other assignments but are not replaced as prospective members are deterred from applying due to what they view as unreasonable conditions for doing so. Crime remains low by historical standards, but if these gang units are allowed to continue shrinking, a rise in crime is all but unavoidable.

–Jack Dunphy

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