August 11, 2007

Building Democracy, Fascism, Whatever

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, under fire at home with calls for his resignation, is spending some time in Iraq.

The Justice Department said that Gonzales arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for his third trip to Iraq to meet with department officials who have been there to help fashion the country's legal system.

"I am pleased to see firsthand ... the progress that the men and women of the Justice Department have made to rebuild Iraq's legal system and law enforcement infrastructure," Gonzales said in a statement released by the department.

His optimistic assessment came despite the frequent sectarian lawlessness and killings in the country.

The attorney general was accompanied by Michael Sullivan, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and John Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, and other department staff.


Gonzales also was an architect of U.S. policy on the treatment of prisoners abroad and author of a 2002 memo saying the president had the right to waive laws and treaties that protect war prisoners.

President Bush has staunchly defended the attorney general
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday signed into law the controversial Interception of Communications Bill, which gives his government the authority to eavesdrop on phone and Internet communications and read physical mail.

The legislation has drawn outspoken opposition from the political opposition and civil society organizations as trampling on the civil rights of Zimbabweans.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai called it an addition to "the dictator's tool kit."

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda was quoted in the Government Gazette Friday as saying Mr. Mugabe has signed the bill.

Secretary General Welshman Ncube of the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara called it a "final straw to the curtailment to the liberties of Zimbabweans."

Human rights lawyer Otto Saki told VOA that the law interferes and undermines the enjoyment of rights enshrined in the constitution and is a sign Mr. Mugabe wants to consolidate his power by "any means necessary or unnecessary."

But Communications Minister Christopher Mushowe said Zimbabwe is not unique in the world in passing such legislation, citing electronic eavesdropping programs in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa, among other countries.
Just think, we couldn't have done it without the Democrats' invaluable aid. And with passage of the FISA legislation, the Democrats aren't going to impeach anyone. Not that there was much likelihood of that before, but, you know, hope is a hard thing to kill.

On to Iran!

P.S. The second item is by way of C&L, via IOZ, who also wades into pools that I would not dream of entering, even with five layers of protective gear. Danger of infection, time is limited, life is short, etc.

Is it too early for a drink? Hey, it's Saturday! NO! Huzzah!