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The International Criminal Court: Selective Justice For Select Victims

Flag_of_Côte_d'Ivoire.svgBy Shawn Macomber  Lawfare Tyranny

Though she eventually — and, alas, more than a little predictably — trots out the unpersuasive argument that the multitudinous failures of the International Criminal Court can largely be chalked up to a lack of funding, this openDemocracy essay by Human Rights Watch Senior International Justice Counsel Elizabeth Evenson detailing “just how far the ICC still needs to go to make its work accessible, meaningful, and legitimate in local communities” is a fascinating example of how even devotees of the Court can quickly be plunged into a dark night of the soul when they are intellectually honest about the institution.

For example:

Since investigations began in Côte d’Ivoire in October 2011, the ICC prosecutor has only opened cases related to alleged crimes committed in Abidjan, the country’s economic capital, and by forces affiliated with Gbagbo. This despite the well-documented facts that crimes were committed both by forces allied to the former president and those allied to Ouattara, the current president, and that many of the worst atrocities occurred outside of Abidjan.

So…rent-seeking and tailoring “justice” to the preferred power structure of the West?

Yeah, that sounds like the ICC, alright.

More:

[Read more...]

Robert Satloff’s 10 Questions for President Obama About Iran

The Atlantic

Obama Iran1. You have argued that the Iran deal enhances Israel’s security and those of our Arab Gulf allies. At the same time, your administration has offered the Gulf states a huge security package by way of compensation and you have expressed frustration that the government of Israel has not yet entered into discussions with you to discuss ways to bolster its security. But isn’t this a paradox? If the Iran deal bolsters their security, shouldn’t their security needs be going down, not up?

2. It is surely legitimate for you to argue that the Iran deal enhances U.S. security but it certainly seems odd for you to claim to understand Israel’s security needs more than its democratically elected leaders. Are there other democracies whose leaders you believe don’t recognize their own best security interests or is Israel unique in this regard?

3. Constructive, respected, well-informed observers, like your former [National Security Council] Iran policy advisor Dennis Ross, have urged you to propose transferring to Israel the “mountain-busting” Massive Ordnance Penetrator as a way to boost Israel’s independent deterrence against Iran. But you have not done so. Instead, in your letter to Congressman [Jerrold] Nadler, you highlighted your administration’s plan to send Israel a much less capable weapon. Why are you reluctant to send Israel the best item we have in our inventory to address this profound threat? [Read more...]

IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account

‘Toby Miles’ account linked to government business

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Times

Lois Lerner IRSLois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal.

The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting.

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency. [Read more...]

Federal Judge: IRS must say if White House sought taxpayers’ information

By Stephen Dinan     •     Washington Times

IRS new logoA federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests — but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.

“This court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information,” the judge wrote in denying the IRS’s request to close out the case. [Read more...]

The Iran deal ensures a Mideast arms race — nukes and all

By Seth Mandel     •     New York Post

President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran promises to unleash a new round of chaos in the Middle East, destabilize allies and empower terrorist groups.

And he knows it. That’s the upshot of Obama’s letter to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan-B’klyn) to secure Nadler’s support for the deal.

Nadler says he believes the deal will keep Iran from going nuclear even after all its enforcement provisions end (though even Obama has admitted that’s a concern).

But the congressman was worried that unwinding the sanctions regime would leave Tehran flush with cash, and primed to step up its proxy wars throughout the region. [Read more...]

Clinton email probe needs special prosecutor

Investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private server should not be caught up in presidential politics

Detroit News

Hillary Clinton 2With Hillary Clinton running for president, it is hard to keep separate legitimate questions about whether her unorthodox email practices while secretary of state compromised national security from the partisan mud-slinging that comes with a political campaign.

Likewise, as the likely Democratic standard-bearer and former cabinet officer in the Obama administration, it is a stretch to assume the Justice Department will do a vigorous and impartial investigation into the email controversy and be entirely forthcoming with the results.

For the sake of everyone’s credibility, a special prosecutor should be appointed with the tools to quickly answer the questions before the presidential primaries begin.

That’s not a lot of time. The urgency of getting to the bottom of this argues for the tools a special prosecutor can bring to a probe. [Read more...]

Did Obama know about Iran side deal?

By Orange County Register Editorial

LISA BENSON, WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo were recently in Vienna, where they met up with the deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The U.S. lawmakers charged that the U.N. agency had made a “confidential” side agreement with Iran that was not included in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear pact between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany).

State Department spokesman John Kirby suggested that Sen. Cotton and Rep. Pompeo were lying. “There’s no side deals,” he assured, during a press briefing. “There’s no secret deals between Iran and the IAEA that the P5+1 has not been briefed on in detail.” [Read more...]

The long, slow death of the rule of law in America

by Troy Senik    •     Orange County Register

CAMERON CARDOW, CAGLE CARTOONS

The most disturbing aspect of the scandal around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state is not the former first lady’s penchant for secrecy. In fact, we all ought to be a little taken aback that Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers are declining as a result of that storyline. It boggles the mind to imagine that, after a quarter-century, there’s a slice of the electorate just now coming to the realization that she is not a terribly forthcoming politician.

What’s truly unsettling is that it has been widely taken as read among both the media and the general public that Mrs. Clinton will likely avoid serious legal consequences for her behavior because the Justice Department is ultimately answerable to President Obama – and Democrats will not use the instruments of government to destroy one of their own. Whether that eventually proves true, the sentiment itself reveals a troubling trend in American politics. [Read more...]

EPA knew of ‘blowout’ risk for tainted water at gold mine

By Michael Biesecker     •     My Way News

In this Aug. 12, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from the Gold King mine chemical accident, in the spillway about 1/4 mile downstream from the mine, outside Silverton, Colo. Internal documents released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Aug. 21, show managers at the EPA were aware of the potential for a catastrophic “blowout” at an abandoned mine that could release “large volumes” of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Internal documents released late Friday show managers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were aware of the potential for a catastrophic “blowout” at an abandoned mine that could release “large volumes” of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals.

EPA released the documents following weeks of prodding from The Associated Press and other media organizations. EPA and contract workers accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater on Aug. 5 as they inspected the idled Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.

Among the documents is a June 2014 work order for a planned cleanup that noted that the old mine had not been accessible since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed. The plan appears to have been produced by Environmental Restoration, a private contractor working for EPA.

“This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse,” the report says. “ln addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.” [Read more...]

EPA threatening Wyoming man with $75K per day fine over homemade pond

By Alex Cabrero     •     Deseret News

Andy Johnson, of Fort Bridger, Wyo., built a pond on his property about five years ago. Thirty days ago, he got a letter from the EPA accusing him of violating the Clean Water Act by damming a creek and polluting the water to build the pond. The agency is threatening Johnson with a $75,000 per day fine until he gets rid of the pond. He is fighting the EPA. James Young, Deseret News

It was a dream come true several years ago when Andy Johnson built a pond on his property to stock fish, let his kids play and provide a spot where his horses could have a drink.

But now that dream has turned into a nightmare. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency accused him of violating the Clean Water Act by damming the middle of Six Mile Creek and polluting the water to build the pond.

The agency is threatening Johnson with a $75,000 per day fine — a penalty often reserved for companies that emit toxic hazards — until he tears it all down.

“I think they’re trying to gain jurisdiction,” Johnson said. “They’re trying to see if they can run over me, and then they will get into everyone’s irrigation ditch and stock ponds throughout not only Wyoming, but the United States.” [Read more...]

Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a ‘rush’

by Michael Isikoff     •     NBC News

John Beale is set to be sentenced by a federal judge on Wednesday, Dec. 18. DOJ

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.

John C. Beale’s crimes were “inexplicable” and “unbelievably egregious,” said Judge Ellen Huvelle in imposing the sentence in a Washington. D.C. federal court. Beale has also agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture to the government.

Beale said he was ashamed of his lies about working for the CIA, a ruse that, according to court records, began in 2000 and continued until early this year.

“Why did I do this? Greed – simple greed – and I’m ashamed of that greed,” Beale told the court. He also said it was possible that he got a “rush” and a “sense of excitement” by telling people he worked for the CIA. “It was something like an addiction,” he said. [Read more...]

Clinton Email Scandal: 19 Lame Excuses Can’t Wipe It Away

by Investor’s Business Daily

Hillary Clinton Speaks At Event At Center For American ProgressHillary Clinton’s email scandal has grown into a credible threat to her candidacy. Worse for her, she continues to offer up a defense filled with contemptible excuses, weak explanations and outlandish dodges.

When asked Tuesday if she wiped her entire private email server clean before turning it over to investigators, Clinton responded with a retort suitable for a playground argument.

“Like with a cloth or something?” she asked, while making a wiping motion with her right hand.

It was a snarky answer — don’t tell us the humorless one was trying to employ humor — and it’s received a lot of attention. [Read more...]

Military leaders appointed by Presidents Obama and Clinton oppose Iran nuclear deal

By Michael Barone     •     Washington Examiner

President Clinton walks away from the podium with Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton in the briefing room of the White House Thursday, June 10,1999. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

What do military leaders appointed by President Obama and President Clinton think of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran? Not much, in many cases. Examples:

• Admiral James Stavridis, NATO supreme allied commander 2009-2013: “I think the top [issue] is the verification regime, which is starting to resemble swiss cheese … you can drive a truck through some of these holes. I am very concerned about that.”

• General Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency 2012- 2014: “There are so many things that Iran has been gifted right now with this unbelievable deal. I mean, it’s far more than just nuclear issues. I mean, it goes into everything that Iran is going to be capable of doing. And I’m going to tell you. When they receive this $150 billion check essentially I am really concerned about what kind of behavior they are going to continue to display.” [Read more...]

Industry braces for EPA regulatory ‘tidal wave’

By John Siciliano     •     Washington Examiner

The EPA estimates the total cost of the proposed methane restrictions to be $170 to $180 million in 2020 and $280 to $330 million in 2025. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

The methane restrictions for oil and gas companies proposed by the Obama administration Tuesday are just the beginning of a regulatory “tidal wave” that the industry is bracing for this fall.

The new rules for oil and gas wells proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would limit methane from fracking sites, creating new costs that the industry says are “unnecessary.” The industry says it has reduced methane voluntarily, so why bother with regulations that would only be duplicative.

The EPA estimates the cost of the proposed rule to be $170 to $180 million in 2020 and $280 to $330 million in 2025.

Those costs are expected to amplify considerably given that some of the rules coming down the pike are considered the most expensive in history. [Read more...]

The 3 a.m. phone call just came in — quick, hide the emails

By Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton at senate hearingLast week, the public learned that at least two of the 30,000 or more official work emails Hillary Clinton exposed to the world’s hackers and spies (before belatedly giving them to the State Department) contained “top secret” information. This is highly sensitive stuff that can be legally handled or discussed only within special, secure government facilities, with no recording devices allowed.

Another day, another shoe drops.

This week’s revelation is that there were actually at least 300 emails containing information that government officials are prohibited from allowing the public to see because it is probably also classified. Given the volume of Clinton’s emails yet to be analyzed, there are probably several times as many left to be disinterred.

So we now know that sloppiness with national security matters was the rule when Hillary Clinton ran the State Department. And what a contrast there is between her treatment of national secrets and her fastidious, thorough efforts to conceal what she did. She believes in security only after the horse has bolted — hardly a recommendation for the next commander in chief. [Read more...]