Thursday, June 07, 2007

Guantanamo Briefing

The following announcement, from Congresswoman Gifford’s office, was e-mailed to me by a friend at the ACLU. I pass it on as something worth attending.

June 6, 2007

Dear Friend:

I would like to invite you to attend a special briefing by Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, an attorney with the New York firm, Dorsey & Whitney, on the history and treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. The briefing will be held on Sunday, June 17 from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM at St. Marks Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. 3rd Street, Tucson.

This is a good opportunity to learn more about the constitutional issues that have been raised by the situation at Guantanamo.

Mr. Colangelo-Bryan, has visited the detention center in Cuba 11 times, and provides pro-bono representation for Bahraini nationals currently detained there. His work in this area has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post and on NPR. Among the questions he will address are the following:

o Can habeas corpus rights for the prisoners be waived indefinitely?

o Are we in violation of Geneva Convention Accords in the name of Homeland Security?

o Is the treatment and interrogation of these Guantanamo detainees legal and acceptable?

I regret that I will not be able to attend the meeting because I will not be in Tucson that day. I am pleased to have my office host Mr. Colangelo-Bryan for this important discussion. Please RSVP to Tracy in my District Office at 881-3588 or to

Sincerely yours,
Gabrielle Giffords
Member of Congress

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Prairie Dog Report

Every so often I pop out of my hidey-hole like an ever-vigilant prairie dog and look around at the presidential prairie.

Currently I’m seeing lots of old guys in suits, a couple of not-so-old guys and one woman. Republicans and Democrats are viewing with alarm, and pointing fingers of blame for the nation’s woes. So far, the “debates” on each side have been mind-crushingly boring.

I have already picked the candidate for whom I shall cast my vote in November 2008. That will be whatever Democrat is anointed by the centrist old guard (AKA DLC) to be my next President.

Back in the bad old days of the smoke-filled room this was accomplished in less than two years and without what I hold to be the immoral waste of literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

I am pretty sure that that candidate and party will have done nothing significant in the meantime to get us out of Iraq, close Guantanamo, provide universal single-payer healthcare, or dismantle the Bush system of attacks on civil liberties and privacy. Habeas Corpus is a good idea, too. I wish we had it back.

(Finally, I’d like to hear someone attack the tired old Republican mantra that if we don’t ‘fight them over there we’ll have to fight them over here.’ Fighting them here is the only place we can fight and defeat terrorists. It’s called police work, not war, and the counter terrorist units of Britain, Italy, and the US have been pretty successful.)

The following is purely anecdotal, but I’ve talked to more than one Democrat who is really annoyed that we didn’t hold Bush’s feet to the fire for at least two more vetoes of war funding, all the time pointing out that he was the one denying shoes to the troops.

My prediction: When the new Democratic president takes office in 2009 we will still be fully engaged in Iraq and that quagmire will then belong to the Democrats.