Lurita Doan, the horribly incompetent GSA head and certified Bush political hack, has resigned. It only took her a year to do so. The Washington post reports “At the request of the White House, General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan resigned last night as head of the government’s premier contracting agency… Doan’s resignation came almost a year after Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he believed Doan could no longer be effective because of the allegations about her leadership.”
Doan “violated the Hatch Act in January 2007 by asking political appointees how they could “help our candidates” at an agency briefing conducted by a White House official, according to several of the appointees present for the briefing”. She still needs to be prosecuted for sponsoring illegal political meetings.
Video from June 2007.
The Washington Post reports U.S. Role Deepens in Sadr City. Since Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ‘stir the hornet’s nest’ campaign last month in Basra, the U.S. has been drawn deeply into the fighting between rival Shi’ite factions. Yesterday, U.S. troops fight a four-hour battle against Shi’ite militia fighters that killed at least 28 Iraqis dead.
“Until Maliki’s push into the southern city of Basra, U.S. troops were not intensely engaged in Sadr City, a Baghdad neighborhood of roughly 3 million people that was among the most treacherous areas for U.S. forces early in the war.” Since Maliki’smove against Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in Basra, “more than 500 people have been killed and 2,100 injured in Sadr City“.
The Iraqis are deliberately escalating the fighting in Iraq to prove the “surge” has not worked, which of course, McCain will explain that this means the “surge” has worked and the Iraqis are just trying to influence the U.S. election. The “surge” cannot possibly fail.
To prove how right McCain is, al-Sadr “has threatened to call off the eight-month cease-fire, which has been widely credited with lowering the level of violence in Iraq, if the government does not end its offensive against his followers.” And according to a random Mahdi Army member quoted by WaPo, they are “very close to the Zero Hour” meaning time is nearly up.
McClatchy Newspapers reports
DefenseWar Secretary Robert Gates as saying Lull in Iraq has ended, but withdrawal will go on. He’s sending a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf, but denied it has anything to do with the Bush administration’s plans to attack Iran. The “surge” is working though, because:
April has been the bloodiest month for Americans in Iraq since September, with 44 troops killed, compared to 39 in March and 29 in February.
April also was the first month since November that saw U.S. Marines killed in once restive Anbar province. Two Marines were killed in April in Anbar, which had been the deadliest part of Iraq for U.S. troops before a widely heralded tribal rebellion drove Sunni militants from the province.
Meanwhile, to distract Americans from the obvious success of the “surge”, a trial for Tariq Aziz has begun. BBC News reports, “The trial of Iraq’s former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz over the deaths of a group of merchants in 1992 has opened in Baghdad,” but “after a brief session the judge adjourned the trial until 20 May”.
Four at Four continues below the fold with stories about the show trials in Guantánamo Bay and the Bush administration’s meddling with science.
News from The New York Times how the show trials in Guantánamo Bay are progressing. First, a Military lawyer urges Canada to try a citizen held by U.S. Forces.
A United States military lawyer representing the only Canadian held at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, urged Parliament on Tuesday to push for his client’s repatriation.
The lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, told the House of Commons subcommittee on international human rights that the Canadian, Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he was arrested by American forces in Afghanistan, would not receive a fair hearing from a United States military commission. He added that Mr. Khadr, who was born in Toronto, would probably be convicted.
“Justice will not result from a military commission that cannot try U.S. citizens and treats a Canadian as worth less than an American,” Commander Kuebler said. “Bring this young man home to face due process under a legitimate system.”
That’s because there will be no acquittals from the military commissions.
And then there’s this benignly named story, An apologetic boycott in good-natured banter.
The first indication that the afternoon’s hearing in the case of Salim Hamdan was going to be different came when he showed up in war crimes court in his prison khakis, a loose-fitting outfit that looked like yesterday’s pajamas…
Then, Mr. Hamdan, whose name already has a big place in American law, and the Navy judge, who seemed to want most to keep his case moving, began an extraordinary 40-minute exchange about the fairness of Guantánamo and the definition of justice.
“There is no such thing as justice here,” Mr. Hamdan said. He said he would boycott. He said he would not allow his lawyers to speak in his absence, an option it is not clear he has.
Before long there was a good-natured debate, tinged with a little desperation on both sides, and amiable apologies from Mr. Hamdan. It was soon obvious that the back-and-forth was leading toward the latest bewildering wrench in the military tribunal system here. Can a detainee tie the system in knots by saying he is boycotting but keeping his lawyers to muzzle them?
[Hamdan] noted that the court was not applying United States law, but some new law that he said seemed to have been passed just for him, since it followed his Supreme Court victory.
The Military Commissions Act, passed by Congress in 2006, governs the court here, the judge, Capt. Keith J. Allred, acknowledged.
“They changed the law,” Mr. Hamdan said. “Why did they change the law? Just for my case?”
Hamdan was once Osama bin Laden’s driver and now “in his seventh year of captivity”.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that according to the GAO, the White House blocked EPA studies. “The Government Accountability Office reported today that the White House’s budget office, the Pentagon and other agencies had delayed or blocked efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to list chemicals as carcinogens by requesting more research or more time to review the risks… GAO officials also faulted the administration for setting new rules that keep secret any involvement by the White House or a federal agency in a decision about the risks of a chemical.” The first rule of Bush Club is you do not talk about Bush Club.