Patterico's Pontifications

2/24/2011

Nightmare: Gaddafi Thugs Murdering Wounded Protesters in Hospitals?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:00 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Via Hot Air, we get this account of some truly horrible conduct, if true:

A resident of the increasingly violent Libyan capital of Tripoli told CBS Radio News Thursday that armed supporters of Muammar Qaddafi, the country’s longtime leader, have stormed into hospitals to shoot wounded demonstrators and take dead bodies to an unknown location.

“They go in with guns into hospitals,” said the resident, identified only as Adel to protect his safety. “They take the bodies that are dead. In some hospitals, they have shot the wounded. This is true. I know it’s very strange for the States, but this is happening today in Tripoli.”

Because the situation in Libya is growing more dangerous day by day and reporting from the country is difficult for Western journalists, the statements Adel made to CBS Radio News could not be independently verified.

In one example of the violence in Libya, Adel said he saw 62 protesters killed and about 100 more wounded in Tripoli’s Green Square Tuesday.

“They’re putting the bodies on half pickup trucks, and they’re taking them somewhere we don’t know yet because they don’t want these bodies to go into hospitals,” Adel said.

And indeed you should read the whole thing, but I suspect the readers here are sharp enough to recognize that there is a serious sourcing problem for this story—it’s just one guy’s account and it’s not even clear if CBS News knows the man’s true identity.

As you know, the government of Libya, a member of the U.N.’s prestigious Human Rights Council, has been doing its best to terrorize anyone who might seek to do independent reporting over there.  The other day I gave you concrete examples of how, when the truth is not revealed, dubious tales rush in to fill the vacuum (although in this case, it is not CBS’ fault that they are having a hard time getting the truth to us).  Is this an example of that?  Hard to say.  I have gotten to the point in my life where I would not be surprised if this was true.  But that’s not the same as proving it.

Either way, this regime cannot end fast enough.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

In Which the Attorney General of Florida Apparently Cribs Off of Me…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:29 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As I mentioned the other day, the Obama administration filed a highly misleading and bizarre “Motion to Clarify” in the Florida Obamacare case.  Well, today the states filed their response and well, apparently they cribbed off of me.  Consider the following…

From my post on the Motion to Clarify:

…the adminstration’s lawyers are confused and seek to clarify, or so they say.  But in truth, they seem to be actually intent in getting the judge to grant a de facto stay of his ruling…

Now from the states’ memorandum:

Defendants’ Motion is, in fact, a transparent attempt,  through the guise of seeking clarification, to obtain a stay pending appeal.

I mean they are being more formal, but they are basically saying the same thing, right?  And consider this part from my post:

Anyway, the brief as a whole is a thinly disguised motion for a stay or motion for reconsideration of the entire ruling…

And from the states’ memorandum:

Likewise, Defendants’  purported motion for “clarification” is infused with a scattershot discussion of alleged defects in the scope of the Court’s judgment, suggesting their real aim is a  reconsideration of the Court’s  ruling.

And from my discussion of Kennedy v. Medoza-Martinez:

There are several problems with applying Mendoza to this current situation, not the least of which being that the statute in question was repealed.

From their discussion of the same case:

[T]he Court’s decision was predicated on 28 U.S.C. § 2282, a statute that precluded single-judge district courts from barring the operation of a federal regulatory scheme on constitutional grounds, and that statute was repealed by Congress more than a generation ago, in 1976.

And the discussion of Carreno v. Johnson are also similar, but not with such an easily quotable parallel.

Of course I am joking.  It is simply the case that two like-minded people saw the same flaws in the government’s motion and we were equally able to see through their transparent attempt to convince the court to grant a stay or reconsideration without calling it that.  Its like two mathematicians reaching the same solution to a problem; in theory that is how it is supposed to happen.  There should be one correct answer.  So they probably never even read my little posts…

Or so I thought until I came across this line in their memorandum:

Defendants’  contention  that  the Court needs to clarify this basic legal principle “throws sand in [the Court’s] eyes[.]”

And then I remembered the title of this post

Holy crap!

So to the attorneys representing the states, please contact me for payment arrangements for the free legal help I gave you.  Or just make a sizable donation to Patterico using the options on the side in my name.

————-

Actually joking aside, they do say a lot that I didn’t.  I just found the parallelism interesting.  And one smart move they made was to pre-empt any motion for a stay.  They correctly state that the legal standard is as follows:

(more…)

Stupid Lawyer Pesters President with Incompetent Request for Pardon for Charles Manson

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:41 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As a palate clenser, we get this idiotic story from TMZ:

Giovanni Di Stefano — known as “The Devil’s Advocate” — tells TMZ, he wants the Prez to set Manson free.

Di Stefano — who has also repped the likes of Saddam Hussein — says Manson was nothing more than a cult leader, not a murderer — Manson didn’t do the killing.  Di Stefano says at worst, Manson is guilty of telling his followers to “do something witchy” — never specifying murder.

Di Stefano complains, “Manson has been made out in America to be the Satan of the criminal justice system. He does not deserve the title.”

Right.  It is quite unfair the way we portray Manson as evil.  I mean look at that face!

Who could stay mad a face like that?

But the most ridiculous thing about this?  Manson was convicted under California state law.  And the President of the United States has no power to grant a pardon for state crimes.

Amazingly this idiot lawyer notes that Manson was convicted under California law on page four of the pardon letter.  And he quotes from the Constitution right off the bat, where it says, “Please accept this as an application under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which states that the President ‘shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States.’”  (Emphasis added.)  But amazingly he has no idea that those very words inform him that he is talking to the wrong guy.  The man you want to talk to is Governor Brown.

Personally my respect for Obama would skyrocket if he wrote a very simple response, on Presidential letterhead:

Dear Mr. Di Stefano,

I can’t grant pardons for state crimes even if I wanted to.  You are an idiot.

Warm regards,

President Obama

Seriously, if you are currently being represented by Mr. DiStephano, consider finding competent counsel instead.

Hat tip: Volokh.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Weakness of Our Response on Libya (And Other Scattered Updates on Libya)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:05 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

First, let me start with the most disheartening story of the day.  As you might know, Libya is on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, and the wholesale slaughter of their citizens has presented no danger to their membership:

Libya’s seat on the U.N.’s top human rights body looks secure for now, as a Western-led initiative to condemn it for its violent response to anti-government protests stops short of calling for its expulsion.

The Geneva-based Human Rights Council will hold an emergency meeting on Libya on Friday, following a request by 21 of the council’s 47 members – more than the 16 required – for a so-called “special session.”

The request followed appeals by scores of human rights groups earlier this week, amid turmoil sparked by protests against Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year rule, harshly suppressed at the cost of hundreds of Libyan lives.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said in Rome Wednesday credible reports put the estimated death toll at around 1,000.

Although it will be the first time in the HRC’s five-year history that a special session focuses on a sitting member, signs quickly emerged that it would fall short of the expectations of advocacy groups concerned about the killings.

A European Union-proposed draft resolution for Friday’s session “strongly condemns” human rights violations committed in Libya, rather than condemning Gaddafi or the regime for committing them.

It also does not call on the U.N. General Assembly to expel Libya from the HRC.

Yes, indeed.  There is an old, snide comment that democracy is like two foxes and a chicken voting on what is for dinner.  That is perhaps too harsh in many contexts, but seems exactly right when the U.N. is involved.  Will this august body also be simultaneously investigating allegations of human rights abuses nations such as Bahrain?  Will Libya’s membership on that counsel be reduced to the same stupendous hypocrisy as Iran’s dictator?  Or will they simply try to claim that none of these are human rights violations?

To get a little philosophical, this is exactly why the American constitution has what is known as the guarantee clause—a clause requiring that every state has a “republican” form of government.  Because you can’t mix republics with dictatorships in the same “representative” body.  And this is precisely why the U.N. has no legitimate say over American affairs.

And would it kill our president just to say that Libya should be removed?  Even if it is pointless, can he show us that he gets that this is a problem?

Well, we can hope this revolution is successful and the new people appointed to the council to represent Libya are better on human rights.

But then again Human Rights Watch had no problem appointing a terrorist to its Middle-East advisory board.  You think I am kidding?  God, I wish I was.

On the other hand our military is preparing options for Obama.  Which raises the question…  Why?  I mean assuming we don’t have Americans being taken hostages or anything like that, then, why?  Would some liberal who claimed that it was wrong to intervene in Iraq explain why this is different?  Why is it wrong to intervene to topple a dictator in Iraq, but okay in Libya?  And what about the phrase, “no blood for oil?”  Ring any bells?

Of course I am being facetious.  I have consistently believed that it is actually okay to expend our military resources “merely” for human rights.  It says something about the decency and honor of this country that most sane people are willing to do that now and then.  But if our planes impose a no-fly zone, or what have you, unless the liberals take to streets in protest, it will prove that their opposition to the Iraq war was always about politics and not principle.

The New York Times has coverage of what seems to be all out civil war in the country:

Forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi were reported to be striking back in several cites surrounding Tripoli on Thursday, as rebellion crept closer to the capital and defections of military officers multiplied.

The minaret of a mosque in Zawiya, a city 30 miles west of Tripoli where protesters had claimed victory, was blasted by heavy weapons in a morning attack, killing or wounding protesters who had been using the building as a refuge, a witness told The Associated Press by telephone. And in Sabratha, about 50 miles west of the capital where a government crackdown has been under way for several days, gunshots rang out as military troops filled the town, a witness said. With journalists banned from the area, it was impossible to independently verify these reports.

“We are not afraid; we are watching,” said the witness in Sabratha, a doctor reached by telephone. The city was under lockdown, he said, with no stores open, and the buildings of the police and Col. Qaddafi’s revolutionary committees were in ruins, he said, burned by protesters. “What I am sure about,” he said, “is that change is coming.”

But naturally you have to wonder, just like Obama, what kind of change we are talking about.  On the other hand, Gaddafi is one of those guys who are so bad, it’s hard to imagine things getting worse.

And via Hot Air, we get this Fox News interview with one of the leaders in rebel-controlled Tobruk, Mahtoub Hussein Mahtoub:

Meanwhile Gaddafi is blaming this all on reefer madness or something:

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Thursday blamed the violence in his country on young people, who he said are taking some sort of pills and being exploited by Osama bin Laden.

That article also had a lot of information about what was going on, on the grounds, so I recommend reading it.  And of course they put out a threat to foreign reporters:

Senior Libyan officials are warning foreign journalists who have entered Libya without proper government accreditation to cover the violent unrest sweeping the country that they will be considered Qaeda collaborators and subject to immediate arrest, the State Department said Thursday.

In meetings with U.S. diplomats, Libyan officials said their government would not be responsible for the safety of those journalists, the department said in a statement. The officials said all journalists now in the country must be part of government approved teams and will be prosecuted on immigration charges if they are working independently, according to the department.

“Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught,” the department said in a notice to news organizations.

It’s interesting that he constantly tries to demonize the opposition as members of al Qaeda, suggesting something about Gaddafi’s estimation of al Qaeda reputation.  On the other hand, its doubtful that Gaddafi really has a finger on the pulse of his people anyway, so maybe it doesn’t really tell us very much.

And meanwhile the WSJ is reporting that the rebels are getting ready to move on Tripoli.  And Strategy Page claims that Gaddafi only has about 5,000 soldiers he can actually depend on:

Out of approximately 50,000 regular troops, only a hardcore of about 5,000 soldiers and special forces can be considered reliable, and it’s simply impossible to retain dictatorial control over a population of almost 7,000,000 people with only a single brigade of soldiers. It is now out of the question as to whether the government can retake the entire country. It can only hold out for as long as possible.

Cross your fingers, folks.

Meanwhile at Commentary, Abe Greenwald asks us to “Imagine Libya with WMD.”  And if we successfully disarmed Gaddafi, of all of his WMDS, that would be a good thing and a credit to President Bush. But our government apparently doesn’t believe that to be entirely the case, because there are fears today that the regime will use poison gas to survive.  And meanwhile a former Libyan minister predicts that, like Hitler, Gaddafi will take his own life.  I am a little dubious on the sourcing of that one, but we can hope, right?

Of course, the Daily Caller asks the really, really important question in all of this: how to spell Gaddafi’s name.  Hey, with any luck the only people who will have to worry about that will be the people writing history books!

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


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