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Bush League Justice

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DOJ Confused: Is Rape Really a Crime?
Another angle of the contractor immunity phenomenon is exhibited in a report carried by ABC’s chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross this evening.

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident. Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

“Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston,” Jones says she was told.

Sounds like a serious crime to me. Or rather, several: Assault. Rape. False imprisonment. All crimes which the DOJ is empowered to prosecute if they occur in Iraq and involve contractors. It’s the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA.

But in the eyes of the Bush Justice Department, contractors functioning in Iraq have complete immunity for whatever crimes they choose to commit. The U.S. issued a decree preventing the Iraqis from prosecuting. And the Justice Department isn’t going to do a thing about them. As one assistant attorney general explained to me in the corridors of the Rayburn Building, “we simply don’t have the resources or time to deal with this sort of thing.” Of course. When you dedicate 58 FBI agents (one of them recalled from Iraq just for that purpose) to a raid on a law office whose principals are under strong suspicion of raising money for Democratic presidential candidates and reimbursing staffers who make donations, then it only stands to reason that you have no resources to deal with the rape of a woman from Texas, or a group of Blackwater guards who needlessly murder 17 civilians at Nisoor Square. Or when you spend over $5 million on a bogus political prosecution of a Democratic governor, using evidence which is (as we will discover in the next two weeks) completely false. Or when you spend about $10 million on a series of trials in Mississippi which have the principal objective not of law enforcement, but of bankrupting the treasury of the Democratic Party. All of this shows what the priorities are: politics. Especially electoral politics. Dirty tricks designed to advance a G.O.P. electoral agenda. Murder, rape, assault? What is that by comparison? Unimportant. Trivial Stuff. Welcome to the Bush Justice Department.

Dan Abrams
This week MS-NBC’s “Live with Dan Abrams” is featuring a special series entitled “Bush League Justice.” The first installment featured the destruction of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It will be hard to get through all of this in just five hours. On Thursday, Dan will come to focus on political prosecutions. The case of America’s most prominent political prisoner, Alabama’s former Governor Don E. Siegelman, will be examined in some depth—along with others. Make a point of checking in and learn what the Birmingham News doesn’t want you to know.

Javert Returns to Centerstage
Siegelman prosecutor Louis V. Franklin is back in the center of another politically charged case. Sources in the Montgomery U.S. Attorney’s Office state that Leura Canary has put her most trusted political prosecutor in charge of a grand jury proceeding that Canary launched. The target is apparently an insurance executive who raised corruption allegations targeting two of Mrs. Canary’s husband’s clients. Apparently making accusations against clients of the Canary household is a crime down in Montgomery.

Incestuous Prosecutions in Alabama
Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna discusses the Siegelman case on Ring of Fire. She starts her account with how Siegelman was defeated in 2002, and the key role played by Alabama Attorney General William Pryor in blocking the counting of the votes in Baldwin County, so that Pryor’s friend and Bill Canary’s client, Bob Riley, could be declared victor by a 3,000 vote margin that statisticians call “not improbable but impossible.” Larisa goes on to describe the key role played in the corrupt prosecution of Siegelman by Karl Rove, Rove’s close friend, Bill Canary, and Canary’s wife, Leura, the U.S. Attorney who brought the case against Siegelman. It’s all a case of acute political incest, says Alexandrovna. Read the transcript here.

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