|Attorney General Michael Mukasey - A Great Education For A Court|
|Saturday, 19 May 2012 20:08|
Washington D.C., May 15, 2012 - Thank you very much. Before I begin my remarks, I just want to tell Patrick Kennedy that if his late father walked in and asked the question that he joked about him asking, what are you doing here? I think that all of us, you and we who are on the panel, could respond, not only based on what you've heard today, but on what we have heard before, that his clarity of expression and his passion warrant the answer, he belongs here. (Applause.)
And your dad would be proud as I am to appear on the same program with you. Turning to the question that Patrick Kennedy just raised. What is the Justice Department doing in court taking the position that it took?
I have to tell you, folks, as a bit of kind of inside baseball. A lawyer is not just a technician. A lawyer is referred to by a kind of antique term, officer of the court. A lawyer is supposed to consider himself or herself as having a higher responsibility than just getting up and winning a case.
There are things a lawyer is allowed to do to win a case and there are things a lawyer is not allowed to do to win a case. And principle, principle among the things the lawyer is not allowed to do to win a case is to misrepresent facts or law to the court. That's commandment number one. That's sin number one.
With that in mind, let me read to you from some portions of the transcript and, mercifully, we have a transcript being taken down today because it would be a great education for a court to match the transcript of General Phillips' remarks with the transcript of the government lawyer's remarks, I'm not going to mention his name because I don't want to shame him in public, to match those two sets of remarks and see whether there is any way they can match up.
Their intent, speaking of the intent of the MeK, this is from page 35 of the transcript.
"It is shown by the cooperation. Their capacity can be shown by what we find in the camp which we have not been able to inspect all these years, Your Honor.
The U.S. military had an agreement with them, cease fire or a truce that they would not engage one another and the U.S. military confiscated the major, the tanks, the major equipment and vehicles. But as the RAN report says -- he's referring to a 2009 report from -- somebody who had never visited Ashraf and has alluded to in the Ambassador's testimony, the MeK did not permit an inspection.
This is a 15 square mile village, not a little camp. They did not permit a sort of door-to-door inspection of looking for caches of weapons or to actually disarm them door-to-door.
So many years later now, they again and again say we have turned over a new leaf. We have disarmed. But that has never actually been verified by the U.S. military."
A lawyer has an obligation not to do that. And if he does it, he has an obligation to report to the court that he did it and to take it back.
Ladies and gentlemen, there's an exchange of letters between the lawyers representing MeK and this appeal on the government. And apparently the government at this point is not of the mind to retract those statements.
I would suggest to you that if that transcript ever gets to the court, they will be of a mind to do that and a whole lot more and should be.
The Secretary has said in testimony before Congress that the decision to de-list, and this is again borne out I suppose by this morning's Wall Street Journal, the decision will be based in part of degree of cooperation that MeK gives in moving to what has been ironically Camp Liberty
Ladies and gentlemen, that has nothing to do with the law. The law doesn't allow for political decisions. It doesn't allow for decisions based on how cooperative somebody has been
The law allows for decisions based on somebody, whether somebody represents a threat to the National Security of the United States and if MeK doesn't, they don't belong on the list. It's that simple. And they don't.
To say that this decision is going to await the last transport and the last person and then maybe will be announced 60 days later, I would suggest to you is to give the Iranians and the Iraqis an opportunity that we don't want to see them given.
What we should all hope for now is that at the very least our government makes it clear that we have the means and the inclination to remove those people from Ashraf and from Camp Liberty if it is necessary to do so.
And it may very well be necessary when you consider this morning's stories about the fact that we are at least considering de-listing. They put them in a way, the worst possible position.
How do we know there are no weapons? We have heard it from the U.S. military. We have heard it from the people of Ashraf. I would suggest to you that you saw it. Those of you who saw those horrible videos from a year ago. Did you see the Iraqi troops shooting at unarmed people? They knew those people were unarmed.
How do we know that? Because the one thing you'll notice about the people doing the shooting, they were not wearing helmets. They knew very well that the people they were aiming at were unarmed. Don't you think they would have been dressed in battle gear rather than in flimsy uniforms with no helmets if they thought they were shooting at armed people? You bet they would.
Nobody, except the government lawyer, would be willing to get up and say what that lawyer said in court, that there is some suspicion that there were arms there
It's time to drop the mask. It's time to drop the pretense. It's time to do the right thing which is to de-list and it is important to do the right thing, which is to de-list.
The 18th century philosopher Edwin Burke said, all that is necessary to assure the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
I think what we have come here to say is it's about time for good people, men and women, and women, to do something. And that is the right thing; that is de-list and get those people out of there.
Thank you very much.
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