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Scott Horton is a contributor to Harper's Magazine and writes No Comment for this website, www.harpers.org. A New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict, Horton lectures at Columbia Law School.

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(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Guantánamo "Suicides": A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle Those charged with accounting for what happened--the prison command, the civilian and military investigative agencies, the Justice Department, and ultimately the attorney general himself--all face a choice between the rule of law and the expedience of political silence. Thus far, their choice has been unanimous.
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(20 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Does Dick Cheney Want to be Prosecuted? "I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney said in an appearance on ABC's This Week on Sunday. Sec 2340A of the Federal Criminal Code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture. What prosecutor can look away when a perpetrator mocks the law itself and revels in his role in violating it?
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Saturday, November 15, 2008
What the Justice Department is Hiding A career DOJ lawyer stated that apprehension about the matter was building within the department."What happened in this case is a disgrace that threatens the reputation of the Department as a whole&federal prosecutors across the country."He identified David Margolis as having failed to take corrective measures."He has essentially checked out&is intent on sweeping everything under the carpet.Hell of a mess..."
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, August 29, 2010
America's Corruption Racket in Central Asia It is increasingly apparent that the United States is itself one of the most staggeringly corrupt actors in the region, willing to slide hundreds of millions of dollars under the carpet to foreign government officials to induce them to do Washington's bidding, on occasion doing this so crudely that it undermines the credibility of the government it has picked as an ally.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Bread, Circuses, and the Edwards Prosecution If Edwards can be imprisoned for using campaign funds to try to cover up his flaws, then few politicians could fairly escape prison. The Justice Department appears instead to be engaged in statutory vandalism, and it is awarding itself exceptional power to intrude into the electoral process--a power that is ripe for abuse, as the Edwards case demonstrates.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, October 10, 2008
Palin's Talent Scout Kristol is one of the few conservative columnists whose support of Palin has been unflinching.He has used his space as a NYT columnist to tout her candidacy repeatedly.But in the process Kristol has never bothered to disclose his role in the decision making process that led to the Palin pick.Kristol's Weekly Standard has figured as Palin's chief defender,and its writers have gone after even those who dare to pose questions
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sexual Blackmail in the Siegelman Case? What has Jeff Sessions so bothered? I have a hunch.Time's-Adam Zagorin-reported in 2007 that a key witness in the Siegelman investigation offered evidence implicating Sessions in bribery allegations far more substantial than those raised against Siegelman. The prosecutor handling the matter quickly scurried to sweep these allegations under the carpet.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Are Republicans Blackmailing Obama? If the president releases the Bush torture memos, Republicans are promising to "go nuclear" and filibuster his legal appointments. Scott Horton reports on a serious threat to Obama's transparency.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Justice's Vendetta Against a Whistleblower: Six Questions for Jesselyn Radack The DOJ has now given a pass to torture apologists and rationalizers John Yoo and Jay Bybee. Jesselyn Radack is the only Justice Department attorney referred for disciplinary action. Her crime whistleblowing when the DOJ lied and hid evidence. Scott Horton holds a very interesting conversation to get some answers on what's going on.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Official Response Begins This adamant insistence on official anonymity does nothing to dispel the accusation of cover-up. Just the opposite: it suggests that the lawyers and FBI agents involved quite urgently wish not to have their names associated with it. And who could blame them?
(6 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Torture Presidency President George W. Bush has launched "Operation Legacy," which he placed in the hands of his ultimate advisor, indeed his "brain,"Karl Rove.The Rove effort features a 2-page set of talking points which have been circulated to members of the administration's team highlighting the supposedly major Bush accomplishments which have begun to fill the American media.They start with the contention that "Bush kept us safe" ...
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, March 15, 2012
The Drone Secrecy Farce The Department of Justice "OLC Memo" is all about the despicable policies & cowardice of the CIA, its drone war in Yemen, covert assassinations & should be published in full, but that would require the White House & the Department of Justice to stop lying which isn't going to happen any time soon.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Stomach-Turning Truth About Bush's Torture Programs The Bush administration went to great lengths to fabricate a narrative under which it agreed to demands from interrogators on the ground to allow the use of harsher methods, effectively "removing the shackles" on their interaction with prisoners. But the Senate Armed Services Committee report shows that the effort to introduce these techniques dates from 2001, before there were any prisoners.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, August 16, 2009
Karl Rove's Convenient Memory Lapses Rove calls himself "Grendel,""Moby Dick,"&"Lord Voldemort"viewing the whole investigation as a sort of blood sport in which he is the crafty prey eluding his pursuers.He has repeatedly issued statements that sound like denials,but when examined closely turn out to be carefully constructed non-denials.Only one clear conclusion can be drawn from a review of the documents&Rove's own testimony:he's not coming clean with the facts.
SHARE More Sharing        Friday, August 21, 2009
Rove's Sorry Victim Act Rove's attacks are not from a position of strength. They're more akin to the pathetic lashings of a cornered feral animal. Perhaps Rove knows more than we do about the prosecutor's intentions with respect to his case.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 24, 2008
Rove and Siegelman In the flurry of pieces running about the pending 60 Minutes exposé on Karl Rove's involvement in the political prosecution of Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, one passage in the AP story by Ben Evans really stuck out. It was Karl Rove's response. And it was a flat-out lie. It showed up last night, and I assumed that, by now, it would be corrected, but it seems that Rove decided to stick with his lie.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, December 13, 2009
Freedom on the Horizon for Paul Minor The Bush-era DOJ's case was an attempt to criminalize campaign funding practices in which an attorney supported the election campaign efforts of Dem judges.No comparable cases were ever brought vs Repub judges or those who financed them.The charges took the novel view that campaign contributions/campaign finance assistance can be viewed as bribes paid to judges.But this rationale was applied to only one side of the political
(5 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, January 11, 2009
A Farewell to Dick Cheney James Madison was the Founding Father most concerned with the prospect for abuse of power by the executive. He worried in particular that presidents in the future would wage war for trivial and improvident reasons with a political subtext: to silence dissent and elevate their powers as president. Dick Cheney is the man that James Madison was warning us about.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, February 11, 2011
Our Man in Cairo With Mubarak's departure, the focus now falls on his chosen successor, Omar Suleiman. According to a classified American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Suleiman was Israel's pick to succeed Mubarak. But there's little doubt that he was also the choice of the United States, or at least of one particular American agency with which he has been closely tied through much of his career, the CIA.
(3 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Revealing the Secrets in Room 101 Now comes the test of our democracy–will we close the door and walk away, or demand to know what's been done in our name and hold those who guided any abuses to account for their misconduct? President Obama tells us there's nothing to see here, just move along. But this will be a test of whether we have a citizenry worthy of that name.
(2 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, January 25, 2009
UN Rapporteur: Initiate criminal proceedings against Bush & Rumsfeld Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteurresponsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush's head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush's torture practices.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, April 23, 2009
AGs Demand Siegelman Review The links to the Stevens case are numerous.The grave prosecutorial misconduct that led to the decision to overturn Stevens' conviction is virtually identical to the accusations in the Siegelman case.The charges are also sustained in the Siegelman case,as in the Stevens case,by a whistleblower inside the prosecution team.Moreover,the cases involve many of the same prosecutors, now themselves under internal DoJ investigation
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Friday, February 29, 2008
Siegelman Update The CBS piece features direct charges leveled at Karl Rove and at Bush Administration prosecutors.But to listen to the Michael Hubbard,the chair of the AL Repubs,you'd think it was a grudge match between 60 Minutes and his party.Jill Simpson put it to Rove: raise your hand,take an oath and testify.And Artur Davis makes very clear that Mukasey has a duty to pursue this and to have Rove questioned.But he has inexplicably failed
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Sunday, February 24, 2008
Department of Malicious Falsehoods So next time you see a report from Pentagon Public Affairs characterizing the reporting of a journalist or commenting on some question from a political debate, remember the source, and treat any words offered with suitable skepticism.
SHARE More Sharing        Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thiessen and the "Al Qaeda Lawyers" Lynn Cheney criticizes the DoJ for hiring lawyers who think Guantanamo prisoners have a right to a fair trial. WashPo has honored this idea with space on the OpEd page. Marc Thiessen's work at the WashPo looks like the work of a third-rate publicist, promoting the Cheney-Kristol Keep America Safe project. Just what is his relationship with this project? And why does WashPo let him do this for free from the editorial page?
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Karl in a Corner What's gotten Karl worked into a lather?It's simple.Jill Simpson & the US Congress are saying exactly the same thing:Karl,if you're so clear about this,then certainly you will have no problem appearing in response to a Congressional subpoena,swearing an oath & answering questions–just as Simpson did.Moreover,Congress wants to ask him just the same questions that GQ asked, & that he happily answered.How does he explain agreeing
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, July 30, 2009
Prosecutors Under the Loupe The government vehemently objects to a new judge,opposes an evidentiary hearing,and suggests that both the district court&court of appeals considered the defense's claims of jury tampering & jury misconduct to be harmless.The arguments are clearly designed to head off any serious investigation of the prosecutorial misconduct accusations, particularly the sort of investigation which has now been launched in the Stevens case.
SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, April 8, 2008
A Tale of Three Lawyers In a day when the legal profession is disgraced repeatedly by the performance of lawyers in the service of their government,Matthew Diaz is emerging as a hero to many,and as a symbol that for some lawyers devotion to truth, integrity and justice still matters.Indeed,that dedication and willingness to shoulder the burden it can bring,is and will likely be seen by future generations of Americans as the higher form of patriotism.
SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Great Tennessee Valley Blackout He was imprisoned as the result of a corrupt vendetta that involved political hacks,politically motivated Justice Depart. figures & a politicized judiciary.Siegelman's condition is a personal tragedy.But the hackery that produced his imprisonment is a cancer eating away at our society,slowly turning our nation into a banana republic.That's far more important than the gremlins that took 60 Minutes off the air in the TN Valley.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Justice in Birmingham In sum: the taxpayers may be out $500,000 or more on account of prosecutorial misconduct (not taking into account the taxpayer's funds expended on bringing a bogus case, which was probably several million), and Martin's handling of the case now appears to be driven by her fear of being forced to account for her own conduct under oath. This case cries out for an internal Justice Department probe.
(1 comments) SHARE More Sharing        Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Subpoena Issued to Karl Rove: "Time to talk" In sum, the tables have been turned on Karl Rove. He can continue to refuse to cooperate with Congress in their probe of the U.S. Attorney and Siegelman matters, but not without consequences. If he persists in defying the subpoenas, he may be headed to jail.
SHARE More Sharing        Thursday, June 19, 2008
Torture from the Top Down The conversation starts with wide recognition that the techniques which were to be introduced were criminal under federal law.Military officers recite the litany of reasons why these techniques should not be used.They seem to expect that the matter will work its way up to senior levels and be shot down.There is a sort of horror in the creeping recognition of the moralðical vacuum that has taken hold at the highest echelons

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