Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) lauded the Senate’s adoption of their amendment expressing the sense of Congress that members of Al Qaeda and other terrorists captured on the battlefield should be tried by military commissions rather than in federal courts in towns and cities across America.
“If anyone believes we are not at war with Al Qaeda, they should review the excerpts of the combatant status review tribunal with Khalid Sheikh Mohommad (KSM),” said Graham. “KSM, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on America, made it clear he is at war with us. Our nation is engaged in a deadly conflict with a ruthless enemy. These are not common criminals who robbed a liquor store. They are warriors committed to their cause which is the destruction of our nation. When captured, they need to be tried as a military threat under the rules of military law. Military commissions, not federal district court, are appropriate venue for these trials.”
“These are terrorists who have committed heinous acts against our citizens, our country, our allies, and all standards of human decency,” Lieberman said. “This year’s National Defense Authorization Act creates a robust military commission system that surpasses the standards of fundamental fairness and due process required by our own Supreme Court and the Geneva Conventions. We have used military commissions to try war criminals throughout our nation’s history, beginning with their use by our first President, General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. We are at war today, and we should not deviate from our time-honored practice of using military commissions to prosecute violations of the laws of war.”
The Senators introduced the amendment in response to a report released Monday by a joint Department of Justice and Department of Defense Detention Policy Task Force charged with developing options for handling Guantanamo detainees. The Task Force announced the administration’s policy that “There is a presumption that, where feasible, referred case will be prosecuted in an Article III court, in keeping with traditional principles of federal prosecution.” With passage of the Lieberman-Graham amendment, the Senate has sent a strong message that there should be no such presumption. To the contrary, the Senate’s vote reflects that these terrorists are war criminals not common criminals and that they should accordingly be tried by military commission.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced that AT&T has agreed to his request that it allow Connecticut consumers to block all third party charges on their phone bills.
Blumenthal earlier this month asked AT&T to give state consumers the option to block all third party fees on their phone bills to prevent unauthorized charges. He asked for the block because his office is receiving growing numbers of complaints about fees put on phone bills without consumers’ consent. His office is investigating the practice, which is called “cramming.”
“This major victory for consumers slams the crammers, nipping fraud in the bud,” Blumenthal said. “I am pleased that AT&T listened to my concerns and agreed to let Connecticut customers block all non-AT&T charges. This block is a powerful fraud fighter, scuttling scammer access to consumer bills.
“My office is vigorously and aggressively investigating alleged fraudulent charges on phone bills. If questionable fees appear on your bill, insist the phone company remove the charge and contact my office. I will fight to assure that consumers pay only for services that they want and request.”
Third party charges are typically for various services such as for pay web sites or travel services. The service providers hire so-called “aggregators” who contract with AT&T to put their clients’ charges on AT&T bills.
Scammers use a variety of methods to get their charges on phone bills, including deceptive web ads to trick consumers into signing up.
Consumers with unauthorized charges on their phone bills should call the Attorney General’s Office at (860) 808-5240.
Consumers will be able to request a full block by late September.
State Senator Jonathan A. Harris (D-West Hartford), the Senate Chairman of the Public Health Committee, today joined in a Senate override of several of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s recent vetoes, including her killing of a bill which would raise the wages of people who toil cleaning state buildings or otherwise maintaining state property.
House Bill 6502, “An Act Concerning the Standard Wage for Certain Connecticut Workers,” creates a new method for determining the hourly wage and benefits for employees under Connecticut’s standard wage law, which governs compensation for employees of private contractors who do building and property maintenance, property management, and food service work in state buildings. The governor vetoed the bill on July 2.
“If we can’t make an investment to provide health care for the people who clean the bathrooms and sweep the floors in state buildings and who cut the lawns and plow the parking lots of state properties — if we can’t treat them fairly keep them and their families from sliding into the taxpayer-funded HUSKY health care program which costs us more — I say shame on us,” Sen. Harris said. “Fortunately, this legislation benefitted from a bipartisan veto override in the Senate, which recognizes that this is the right thing to do and will save taxpayers in the long run.”
The House overrode Gov. Rell’s veto of HB 6502 on a 106-35 vote; the Senate overrode her veto 30-6, with half of the Republican Senate caucus joining with the Democrats in the veto override.
“Today was an historic day for families and businesses across Connecticut. The legislature took action to improve Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, remove politics from the budget forecasting process, help protect Long Island Sound from environmental threats, and address skyrocketing health care costs.”
“Of course, there is no question that the Sustinet bill is one of the highlights of today’s veto session. Anthem’s recent proposal to increase rates by an average of 23 percent should be a reminder to everyone that the status quo isn’t acceptable — not for families and not for businesses.”
“We must control costs, improve access, and grow jobs. The passage of the SustiNet bill will help Connecticut do this and prepare for national reform that President Obama and Congress are working on right now.”
All told, there were 89 Republican votes — both in the Senate and House — to override Governor Rell today. Not since 1974 has the legislature been successful in overriding so many gubernatorial vetoes. (The legislature overrode 7 vetoes in 1992 and 9 in 1974).