Friday, November 28, 2008

If Obama Doesn't Prosecute Bush's Torture Team, We'll Pay a Big Price Down the Road

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Posted on November 28, 2008, Printed on November 28, 2008

"How did it come about that American military personnel stripped detainees naked, put them in stress positions, used dogs to scare them, put leashes around their necks to humiliate them, hooded them, deprived them of sleep and blasted music at them? Were these actions the result of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own? It would be a lot easier to accept if it were. But that's not the case."

-- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, June 17, 2008


It was a short but significant report in Newsweek last week, and it began like this:

Despite the hopes of many human rights advocates, the new Obama Justice Department is not likely to launch major new criminal probes of harsh interrogations and other alleged abuses by the Bush administration. But one idea that has currency among some top Obama advisers is setting up a 9/11-style commission that would investigate counterterrorism policies and make public as many details as possible. "At a minimum, the American people have to be able to see and judge what happened," said one senior adviser, who asked not to be identified for talking about policy matters. The commission would be empowered to order the U.S. intelligence agencies to open their files for review and question senior officials who approved "waterboarding" and other controversial practices.

The article, written by Michael Isikoff, came at the heels of another report by the Associated Press, which quoted a pair of anonymous Obama advisors as saying that there was little-to-no chance that an Obama Justice Department would try to prosecute Bush-era officials for torture. The same report quoted Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., as saying that members of the Bush administration would not face war crimes charges in the United States. "These things are not going to happen."

( Why the hell not? If we can't bring justice to our own officials, who did very definitely commit war crimes, we will never have any moral authority to say a damn word about the dictators and other snakes around the world. Barack, you are wrong on this. Please reconsider!)

Common consensus is that the Bush administration has been the most lawless in U.S. history. From its illegal invasion of Iraq to the corporate-assisted, warrant-less wiretapping of its own constituents, the Bush White House seems never to have held a view of the law from below. And, since long before the election of Barack Obama, a number of groups and individuals have called for accountability, from a vocal network of people calling for impeachment for Bush's illegal and fraudulent invasion of Iraq, to, this summer, the bluntly labeled campaign, Send Karl Rove to Jail.

But if ever there was a stain on the fabric of American democracy that must be deserving of prosecution, it is the dark legacy of torture left by the Bush administration. From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to the CIA's "secret sites," proof abounds that the U.S. government engaged in systematic torture that was approved by top government officials. Ironically, a central laboratory for this corrosion of the country's moral and legal code was the very office charged with defending the rule of law: the Department of Justice.

"It is these attorneys -- Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, James Bybee, David Addington and William Haynes -- who provided the legal basis for much of the torture and abuse that occurred at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other U.S. detention facilities around the globe," Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, writes in the recently published The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book. In Ratner's view, the prosecution of these attorneys, as well as Bush, Cheney and the rest, is a critical part of not just imposing accountability on those who approved and carried out torture in the name of the American people, but in dismantling a legal framework that could lead to more torture in the future.

'This Was an Assault on the Law Itself'

Members of the legal and human rights community are currently grappling with the question of how to hold the Bush administration accountable for its crimes. In a recent cover story of Harper's Magazine, human rights legal scholar Scott Horton lays out the rationale for pursuing the crimes of the Bush administration. The good news is there is plenty of historical precedent for going after government torturers in the United States. The bad news is that they have been uneven, at best. From an Army captain who was court-martialed for imposing the "water cure" on Filipinos during the Spanish-American War ("He was forced to pay a $50 fine") to Japanese military officials tried for war crimes (including waterboarding) after World War II -- some of whom were sentenced to death, the severity of the sanction has depended on who is meting it out.

Prosecuting the torturers of accused "terrorists" in far-away places may not inspire a call to action by Americans now -- especially when a few token prosecutions of soldiers have taken place (most famously, Abu Ghraib Army Reservists Cpl. Charles Graner and Pfc. Lynndie England). But a policy systematically designed to subvert the law should be intolerable to those who place any kind of faith in American democracy. Horton's article -- parts of which should be required reading -- discusses how, during the Nuremberg trials, "the Americans and Soviets … wanted to prosecute the people who had created the legal framework for the Nazi regime, but British and French leaders objected."

"Consequently, the United States, acting on its own, convened a separate Nuremberg tribunal to try lawyers, judges and legal policymakers," thereby establishing "the principal that policymakers who occurred the mandatory prohibitions of international law against harming prisoners in wartime could be prosecuted as war criminals, no matter how many internal memos they had written to the contrary."

This leads to a critical point: "The key issue that Scott pointed out in his article," Ratner says, "is that this was an assault on the law itself." If legal opinions that sanctioned torture are left untouched, it sets a dangerous precedent. As Ratner recently wrote on his blog, "If laws can be broken with impunity today, they can and will be broken with impunity tomorrow. Not just laws against torture and war crimes, but any and all laws; any and all limits on government."

"The only way to prevent this from happening again," he tells me, "is to have prosecutions that will send a deterrence message" to future administrations.

'We Owe the American People a Reckoning'

How to do this is the most pressing -- and difficult -- question. Horton considers the various forms such prosecutions might take, from the International Criminal Court (too dependent on the support of the United States) to foreign courts (viable, but "true justice cannot be compelled from without"), to domestic courts (unlikely, because prosecuting war crimes are rarely done against those at the top of the chain of command). Ultimately, he settles on a model of the truth-and-reconciliation commissions carried out in South America and South Africa. Although they have had imperfect results in the past -- "In some cases, a bargain was struck under which the truth about past misconduct was divulged in exchange for a pardon" -- the value of the commissions largely lies in the educational benefits a commission might bestow on the public. But beyond that, a "commission plus special prosecutor," as Horton calls it, could be carried out in public, in order to "find the facts, weigh them, and if the facts warrant, make a formal recommendation for the appointment of a prosecutor."

For Ratner, the models that have been suggested thus far don't go far enough. In his view, the only way to restore the rule of law is to pursue criminal investigation and prosecution. "People have been pulling their punches when it comes to seeking full prosecutions," he says, "because of the feeling that is not politically feasible." It may be true in the end, "but unless you demand it, you're not going to get it." Failing to try, he says is "the worst defeatism you can have."

Indeed, given the destruction of the past eight years to the fabric of American democracy, to shy away from torture prosecutions would seem profoundly -- and dangerously -- shortsighted. Obama has stated that as a country, the United States does not torture -- most recently in an interview with 60 Minutes -- and much of the support he gained as a candidate from the legal and human rights community was based on his vocal opposition to the Military Commissions Act. Although his opposition to torture has been unequivocal in tone, Obama has been hesitant to state in solid terms what exactly he would do about the torture that already took place. Responding to the question this summer, from a reporter from the Philadelphia Daily News, Obama responded:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my attorney general immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my attorney general -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important -- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings, and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in cover-ups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

It's hard to imagine the lawlessness of the Bush administration falling short of "exceptional." But regardless, whether Eric Holder, Obama's pick for attorney general, would take this on is questionable. "Everybody has advice for Holder," Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick recently wrote, "starting with shuttering Guantanamo and repairing detention and interrogation policies; recalibrating the legal limits on information-gathering by intelligence agencies; doing away with provisions of the Patriot Act that encroach on civil liberties; and restoring the integrity and independence of the Office of Legal Counsel, which advises the president on the lawfulness of a proposed action." But Holder has been known to criticize the violations committed by the Bush administration. "We owe the American people a reckoning," he said in a speech in June.

Still, in Horton's opinion, although torture is a federal crime and a federal prosecutor has the power to prosecute it, it is unlikely any U.S. attorney would possess the independence to do so. "Indeed," says Horton, "so many high-level figures at Justice were involved in creating the legal mechanism for torture that the Justice Department has effectively disqualified itself as an investigative vehicle, even under a new administration." Ratner agrees.

So what is a "reckoning"? And where are the consequences?

For Ratner, now is the time to push Obama, hard, on seeking independent prosecutions, "partisan witch hunt" concerns be damned. After all, Obama brings with him enormous moral credibility. Lifting the stain of torture is a project that could -- and should -- transcend partisan politics. "Obama could change this (discussion) as he changed the dialogue on race in this country," suggests Ratner, "with a speech on torture."

"People say that prosecuting torture is 'looking backward,' " says Ratner, "but in my view, prosecutions are looking forward -- looking forward so that this doesn't happen again."

Liliana Segura is an AlterNet staff writer.

I could not agree more; PROSECUTE!

If we have a choice, I don't see it.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Time To Speak Truth

Quote of the Week

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days."

Franklin D. Roosevelt,
First Inaugural Address
4 March 1933.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

When a Country Gets Lost --

And Finds Its Way Back

By Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor
The Crisis Papers

November 25, 2008

Let's face it. Countries, like individuals, get lost sometimes -- really lost, ignoring the maps of morality and civil behavior, bringing shame and disrepute on themselves.

In terms of individuals, good people do weird stuff on occasion: run off, or inexplicably go on a bender, or visit purveyors of easy virtue, or get addicted, or use hate-speech in extremes and so on. Stuff happens.

Nations, too, often take leave of their senses. Crises occur. Citizens get frightened by something and don't know how to respond. A strong leader comes along and channels that fright, usually aiming it at perceived enemies, real or invented, or at least highly exaggerated.

The powers-that-be love crises and catastrophes; at such nodal points, the public is more malleable, more easily rolled. (See Naomi Klein's brilliant book "The Shock Doctrine.")

And when these power-hungry rulers or elites grossly abuse their granted authority, the result often is social chaos, police-state laws, warped or broken economies, and often hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dead and maimed in ill-advised wars of choice.


History is replete with examples of nations, even democratic ones, that go crazy like this for awhile, head off into authoritarian rule, and sometimes even totalitarian control. And it isn't easy to turn that ship around. Sometimes that reversal can be accomplished by the populace, who wake up to what atrocities are being carried out in their name and throw the bums out at the next election, or by a coup. Sometimes natural death intervenes, making intervention moot. Other times, it takes a village, so to speak: The regional or world community has to act in concert to force a change in behavior by removing the ruling elite from the country in question.

You know what I'm talking about. Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mugabe, Amin, George W. Bush.

You may think it's unfair to throw Dubya into that line-up of political monsters, and I agree that not all miscreants are equal. George W. is no Hitler or Stalin or Idi Amin.

But it's fair to acknowledge that Bush does deserve to be in that continuum of grossly awful leaders who used and then abused their power and, by so doing, brought their countries to wrack and ruin and to worldwide condemnation and shame. Because Bush was in charge of the world's most powerful nation on earth, his crimes were magnified in their consequences and in their regional and global social impact, so his place in the pantheon of shame is correct.


So why am I bringing up Bush now, after a democratic election has, as it were, thrown out the bums? Am I being mean-spirited, just beating a dead horse?

Two reasons:

1. Bush will still be president for the next two months. Out of failed ideology and thoroughgoing ignorance and incompetence, he has left his successor with an ungodly mess to deal with. But he ain't through yet. He has concocted, so to speak, a scorched-earth welcome-to-the-White-House for Barack Obama, along with burrowing key political-appointed Bushies into civil-service positions of power in order to gum up the works even more for the incoming administration.

By executive order in the past several months, Bush, for example, has bent all sorts of environmental rules and regulations to give the exploiters and polluters even more leeway to take what they want, including permitting cutting some of the last old-growth forests in Oregon and oil/gas drilling in public lands and immediately adjacent to key National Parks, in particular in Utah. The idea is to get these projects started, with money in the federal pipeline, before Bush leaves office, making it more difficult for the Obama Administration to execute an immediate U-turn.

In addition, Bush has taken many of his mid-level political appointees and placed them under the civil-service umbrella in jobs overseeing energy and science experiments for which they are not trained or have no experience. Being civil service employees makes it virtually impossible for the new president to get rid of them. In effect, they would be moles inside the new government in key positions to harm or hamstring Obama's environmental policies. Among many others complaining about this last-minute tactic by Bush are scientists, angry that political ideologues with no scientific training will have important input on scientific policy.


2. Many of the authoritarian rules and precedents established during the CheneyBush years are still in place, and could be abused by Obama or presidents who follow him. True, Obama's transition team has listed 200 of Bush's executive orders that they will rescind quickly with the stroke of a pen. But some of the larger issues are still hanging out there:

  • The overuse of presidential "signing statements" to nullify aspects of laws passed by the Congress, as part of the "unitary executive" theory of government, which theory basically turns the president into a near-dictator;

  • The policy of "pre-emptive war," attacking a country that is not an actual imminent threat to the U.S.;

  • The use of torture as official state policy;

  • The nullification of the legal concept of habeas corpus from American law, whereby a judge has to certify the legitimacy of an arrest;

  • The employment of massive domestic spying on and data mining of American citizens, including eavesdropping without a court warrant on phone conversations, snooping into mail, examining personal computer files without the knowledge of the citizen, etc;

  • The throwing of citizens into jail as suspected "terrorists" or "enemy combatants," with no access to lawyers; etc. etc.

All of these violations of the Constitution's Bill of Rights, in the Patriot Act and elsewhere, have been enacted on a regular basis during the past eight years of CheneyBush. How much of this will be quickly and aggressively reversed by Obama and how much will he keep some of these police-state tactics still in place, just in case he wants to use them?


Which brings us to a key dilemma facing the progressive base of the Democratic Party: After eight years under CheneyBush, during which the U.S. was lost in a dark ideological/corrupt shadow world, President-Elect Obama promises us, finally, the return of light in our politics so that we can find our way back to some higher level of moral/spiritual/social health. He probably won't take the country as far in that regard as many of us might wish, but his landslide victory did break the back of the CheneyBush HardRight as an all-powerful movement and offers us, yes, hope for significant change and progress in righting many of the wrongs of the past eight years.

As many of us have been saying for months now, if you believe Obama will do, or even can do, all of the many things he's promised, you're in for a rude surprise. Obama is not a radical or progressive in how he operates; he's a pragmatic centrist, with liberal leanings but beholden to many of the same economic and political forces that have great influence in contemporary politics. But he's an unusually intelligent politician, open to argument and persuasion. That's why we on the progressive left must speak out forcefully when we see him straying from positions that we think can be most useful in repairing the damage of the past eight years.

So here's the nub of our current dilemma, much talked about in liberal/progressive circles: How much should we trust Obama to do the right thing and thus hold back our criticisms of his actions and policies during this interregnum before he actually is inaugurated as President and during the first few-months "honeymoon" period? And how much should we start criticizing him now for his sins of omission and commission, especially with regard to his somewhat more hawkish foreign/military policies? (See Jeremy Scahill's "This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama's White House.")


My inclination, given the enormity of the problems facing the new president, is to cut Obama some slack, at least until he takes office and starts messing up. On the other hand, he's making key decisions now, especially as he fills out his Cabinet and operational staff, and unless progressives take a stand now, it may be too late later.

For instance, as far as we can tell, most of his national-security appointments seem to come from the middle to the middle-right; there is not one true progressive who can balance out the arguments that will be made inside the Cabinet. Not a good sign.

I'll be interested to hear where you come down on this dilemma. How we act in the next few months may have much to do with how President Obama begins his Administration post-January 20. Join the debate and help "change the world."

Copyright 2008, by Bernard Weiner

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Bush's Last Days: The Lamest Duck

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008

We have "only one President at a time," Barack Obama said in his debut press conference as President-elect. Normally, that would be a safe assumption — but we're learning not to assume anything as the charcoal-dreary economic winter approaches. By mid-November, with the financial crisis growing worse by the day, it had become obvious that one President was no longer enough (at least not the President we had). So, in the days before Thanksgiving, Obama began to move — if not to take charge outright, then at least to preview what things will be like when he does take over in January. He became a more public presence, taking questions from the press three days in a row. He named his economic team. He promised an enormous stimulus package that would somehow create 2.5 million new jobs, and began to maneuver the new Congress toward having the bill ready for him to sign — in a dramatic ceremony, no doubt — as soon as he assumes office.

That we have slightly more than one President for the moment is mostly a consequence of the extraordinary economic times. Even if George Washington were the incumbent, the markets would want to know what John Adams was planning to do after his Inauguration. And yet this final humiliation seems particularly appropriate for George W. Bush. At the end of a presidency of stupefying ineptitude, he has become the lamest of all possible ducks. (See TIME's best pictures of Barack Obama.)

It is in the nature of mainstream journalism to attempt to be kind to Presidents when they are coming and going but to be fiercely skeptical in between. I've been feeling sorry for Bush lately, a feeling partly induced by recent fictional depictions of the President as an amiable lunkhead in Oliver Stone's W. and in Curtis Sittenfeld's terrific novel American Wife. There was a photo in the New York Times that seemed to sum up his current circumstance: Bush in Peru, dressed in an alpaca poncho, standing alone just after the photo op at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, with various Asian leaders departing the stage, none of them making eye contact with him. Bush has that forlorn what-the-hell-happened? expression on his face, the one that has marked his presidency at difficult times. You never want to see the President of the United States looking like that.

So I've been searching for valedictory encomiums. His position on immigration was admirable and courageous; he was right about the Dubai Ports deal and about free trade in general. He spoke well, in the abstract, about the importance of freedom. He is an impeccable classicist when it comes to baseball. And that just about does it for me. I'd add the bracing moment of Bush with the bullhorn in the ruins of the World Trade Center, but that was neutered in my memory by his ridiculous, preening appearance in a flight suit on the deck of the aircraft carrier beneath the "Mission Accomplished" sign. The flight-suit image is one of the two defining moments of the Bush failure. The other is the photo of Bush staring out the window of Air Force One, helplessly viewing the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina. This is a presidency that has wobbled between those two poles — overweening arrogance and paralytic incompetence.(President Bush in the Middle East.)

The latter has held sway these past few months as the economy has crumbled. It is too early to rate the performance of Bush's economic team, but we have more than enough evidence to say, definitively, that at a moment when there was a vast national need for reassurance, the President himself was a cipher. Yes, he's a lame duck with an Antarctic approval rating — but can you imagine Bill Clinton going so gently into the night? There are substantive gestures available to a President that do not involve the use of force or photo ops. For example, Bush could have boosted the public spirit — and the auto industry — by announcing that he was scrapping the entire federal automotive fleet, including the presidential limousine, and replacing it with hybrids made in Detroit. He could have jump-started — and he still could — the Obama plan by releasing funds for a green-jobs program to insulate public buildings. He could start funding the transit projects already approved by Congress.

In the end, though, it will not be the creative paralysis that defines Bush. It will be his intellectual laziness, at home and abroad. Bush never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and regulation that was necessary to make markets work. He never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and equity that was necessary to maintain the strong middle class required for both prosperity and democracy. He never considered the complexities of the cultures he was invading. He never understood that faith, unaccompanied by rigorous skepticism, is a recipe for myopia and foolishness. He is less than President now, and that is appropriate. He was never very much of one.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Guerra Reveals Evidence On Cheney

Wednesday , November 26, 2008 Posted: 07:14 PM

Guerra unveils why his investigation led him to the Vice President

WILLACY COUNTY - District Attorney Juan Guerra says his investigation took him all the way to the top, to the Vice President of the United States. He showed NEWSCHANNEL 5 records that he says could be used to prove Dick Cheney is guilty of criminal activity.

The charges against the Vice President stem from the Willacy State Jail in Raymondville and from the inmate, Gregorio De La Rosa, Jr., who was killed there by a fellow inmate in 2001. Guerra says that the elected officials let the jail get away with murder so that they can keep making money.

"Greed will get you discovered and arrested every time, and that's what happened to Cheney," Guerra said.

Guerra says he went through Cheney's financial records and the prison companies' financial records and found the connection. The three top prison companies Guerra researched were Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group and Cornell. Those three have the Vanguard Group in common, which is an investment company that puts money into all three prison companies.

"We knew Vanguard was the key," said Guerra.

Guerra showed us the Vice President's financial disclosure from last year and it shows he owned shares in the Vanguard Group. Guerra estimates Cheney has $85 million invested in Vanguard and in turn, into the prison companies.

"The problem you have is he now has a direct interest," said Guerra. And according to Guerra, it's a direct interest in making sure the prison companies stay in business.

In Cheney's indictment, Guerra wrote that "no government officials made efforts to properly investigate the death of Gregorio De La Rosa, Jr.," he says that was due to the "money being made by...government officials."

Guerra claims Cheney put a stop to the De La Rosa investigation in 2006. He claims that Cheney is simply looking the other way while inmates across the country are dying in private prisons which is why Cheney is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

New Details on F.B.I.’s False Start in Anthrax Case

November 26, 2008

WASHINGTON — A federal court on Tuesday unsealed documents that shed new light on why F.B.I. anthrax investigators spent years pursuing the wrong man, Steven J. Hatfill, who was exonerated by the government this year and received a $4.6 million settlement.

Search warrant affidavits said that Dr. Hatfill filled prescriptions for the antibiotic Cipro, the preferred drug for treatment of anthrax, two days before each of the mailings of anthrax-laced letters in September and October 2001. Under questioning by agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he denied taking Cipro at that time, the affidavits said.

The documents report that Dr. Hatfill spoke of serving in a Rhodesian military unit accused of starting an anthrax epidemic in 1979, told an acquaintance that it would take a “Pearl Harbor-type attack” to awaken the United States to the bioterrorist threat and kept an anthrax simulant in his apartment. They said Dr. Hatfill had access to the Ames strain of anthrax used in the attacks while working at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., from 1997 to 1999.

In August, after the suicide of another researcher who worked at the same Army laboratory, Dr. Bruce E. Ivins, the F.B.I. said it had concluded that Dr. Ivins alone had carried out the anthrax attacks, which killed 5 people and sickened 17 others.

The Justice Department then made public search warrant affidavits laying out circumstantial evidence against Dr. Ivins, including symptoms of mental illness, late hours in the laboratory before the mailings and genetic evidence linking the mailed anthrax to a supply in his laboratory. But no definitive evidence has tied Dr. Ivins directly to the letters or to the site of the mailings in Princeton, N.J., and many of his colleagues and friends have said they do not believe he committed the crime.

The Hatfill search warrant material shows how an accumulation of claims from acquaintances can cast an innocent person in a highly suspicious light, said Mark A. Grannis, a lawyer for Dr. Hatfill. As an example of how innocent details can be made to look suspicious, Mr. Grannis said Dr. Hatfill was taking Cipro, a widely prescribed antibiotic, after sinus surgery in 2001.

Search warrants, Mr. Grannis said, often use hearsay and unconfirmed information to convince a judge that a suspect is worthy of further investigation.

“Whether or not it was right for the government to rely on this kind of information to obtain a search warrant in 2002, we know in 2008 that Steven Hatfill had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks,” Mr. Grannis said.

The F.B.I. affidavits were used to obtain a search warrant in August 2002 for Dr. Hatfill’s apartment and a basement storage room in his building in Frederick, Md., as well as his car and a storage locker he rented in Ocala, Fla. The agency had conducted a search with Dr. Hatfill’s permission two months earlier, but it was considered inconclusive.

In searching Dr. Hatfill’s apartment, investigators seized biological equipment, glass laboratory slides, plastic tubing and a gun silencer, among other belongings, the documents say.

Dr. Hatfill was never charged in the anthrax case, but the searches and government leaks identifying him as a leading suspect drew widespread news coverage. He lost a teaching job at Louisiana State University after officials at the Justice Department, which was paying for the courses, objected to his employment. For months, F.B.I. surveillance teams followed Dr. Hatfill every time he left home.

Dr. Hatfill later sued the F.B.I. and the Justice Department for leaking information about him. A separate lawsuit he filed against The New York Times was dismissed and a lawsuit against Vanity Fair magazine was settled.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.