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Some good news, anyway: WexlerWantsHearings.com, Adel Hamad released

Three representatives on the House Judiciary Committee — Rep. Robert Wexler [1] (D-FL-19) , Rep. Luis Gutierrez [2] (D-IL-4), and Rep. Tammy Baldwin [3] (D-WI-2) — are publicly calling for impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney, and Rep. Wexler has launched a WexlerWantsHearings.com [4] web site to publicize their effort. Go lend your support! [4]

As Jonathan Schwarz [5] writes, this is significant in part because Rep. Wexler isn’t part of the progressive Democrats caucus. Perhaps just as significant, Wexler and Gutierrez were not among the co-sponsors of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res.333 Cheney impeachment resolution (although all three [6] Representatives voted with Kucinich against tabling his related privileged motion on Nov. 6 [7]).

Kucinich’s bill was somewhat iconoclastic in stressing not just Cheney’s deceptions of the public regarding the purported reasons for the war (Al Qaeda connections and WMD), but also Cheney’s belligerent statements against Iran (illegal, Kucinich believed, because of U.S. obligations to the United Nations charter).

While Wexler et al continue to list Cheney’s pre-Iraq War deceptions, they diverge a bit from Kucinich’s list by apparently dropping the “threatened Iran” charge, and adding illegal wiretapping of American citizens and the Plame affair (“the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation”). The op-ed signed by the three Representatives [8] also suggests that the administration’s recent deceptions about Iran’s nuclear intentions may be worthy of impeachment as well; in a videotaped statement, Wexler adds torture and obstruction of federal investigations to the list.

Perhaps most importantly, the three Representatives provide the highest-profile rebuttals yet of many of the specious arguments against impeachment:

Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business.

In his own “Why we need hearings” statement, Wexler argues [9]:

After the Democratic Party regained control of Congress, many – myself included – thought that it might be possible to meet President Bush half-way on the large issues facing our nation. Unfortunately, Bush has been nothing more than an ideological obstacle. He has vetoed stem cell research. He has vetoed efforts to bring our troops home from Iraq. He vetoed children’s health care. So, the idea that we are somehow inhibiting Congress from passing our agenda by holding impeachment hearings – unfortunately – is a false argument.

Way to go, Congressman Wexler! I’ll send a message to my own Congressman — Chris Van Hollen, DCCC chair — urging him to have a look at Wexler’s web site and arguments.

Adel Hamad released from Guantanamo
[10]Project Hamad [11] reports that Adel Hamad has been released from Guantanamo and is back in his native Sudan:

Over two years after being cleared for transfer, Adel Hamad has finally arrived in Khartoum and was immediately released and allowed to reunite with his family.

While it has been clear for years that Mr. Hamad — a hospital administrator working for an international charity — was in no way a terrorist, the U.S. government is calling his release a “transfer” to Sudanese custody. A second Project Hamad post [12] relays a statement by Hamad’s attorneys:

The Federal Public Defender for the District of Oregon is pleased to announce the repatriation of two of its clients from the United States prison at Guantánamo – Adel Hassan Hamad to Sudan and Chaman Gul to Afghanistan. Mr. Hamad had a joyful reunion with his family and friends early Thursday morning Khartoum time. Speaking over the noise of the celebration, he told his lawyers, “I thank God almighty and express my gratefulness to you. I can finally see the light after the darkness.” […]

Since being assigned to represent Mr. Hamad in October 2005, Federal Defender Steven Wax and his staff have been working to clear his name. In August 2006, Federal Defender Investigator and Attorney William Teesdale traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan and obtained ten sworn statements from Mr. Hamad’s employer, doctors at the hospital, Afghan government officials, and his landlord. In April 2007, Mr. Teesdale and Mr. Wax traveled to Sudan and gathered additional evidence of Mr. Hamad’s innocence. […]

[Mr. Hamad] will also continue to press the habeas corpus and Detainee Treatment Act cases pending in the District of Columbia courts through which he has been attempting to secure release and clear his name since 2005.


Project Hamad reminds readers that Mr. Hamad was only one of many detainees in the legal limbo of Guantanamo:

…we must remember that Adel is only one of many detainees cleared for transfer long ago, but who remain in legal limbo at Guantanamo. Adel Hamad’s downstairs neighbor in Pakistan, Ameur Mammar, detainee #939, is just one of many examples. Lets keep them in our hearts while we celebrate Hamad’s release.

EDIT, 12/14: I was unaware of the looming 2d FISA cave-in by “Majority” “Leader” Harry Reid when I first titled this post “Good news Friday: etc.” Sigh. For more, see Glenn Greenwald [13], scarecrow [14] (“firedoglake”), or Thoreau [15] (“Unqualified Offerings”).
UPDATE, 12/14: Via [16] Takoma Park IBC, John Nichols [17] at “The Nation” says this isn’t the peanut gallery at the Judiciary Committee:“It is notable, however, that Baldwin maintains warm relations with Pelosi and that Wexler, a veteran member of the Judiciary Committee has historically had an amiable and effective working relationship with Conyers. There is no question that Conyers, who voted to keep open the impeachment debate on November 7, has been looking for a way to explore the charges against Cheney.” No question? Good to hear, hard to believe.

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "Some good news, anyway: WexlerWantsHearings.com, Adel Hamad released"

#1 Comment By tom On December 15, 2007 @ 5:35 am

“First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business.”
Third, Republicans are filibustering everything anyway, so you might as well do something else.

#2 Comment By eRobin On December 16, 2007 @ 1:37 am

I was at an impeachment forum and Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (?) called in and said that when they were working on impeaching Nixon, the J committee did its work and it didn’t interfere at all with the larger Congress. All this “it’ll be a distraction” talk is pure nonsense.

#3 Comment By eRobin On December 16, 2007 @ 1:37 am

wait – it would definitely be a distraction but it wouldn’t stop Congress from getting any work done.

#4 Pingback By newsrackblog.com » Blog Archive » Philly Inquirer runs Rep. Wexler’s impeachment op-ed On December 12, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

[…] added.) As noted in my earlier post about Wexler et al, the representatives argue that the hearings need not and would not detract from the other business […]