Americans Heart TortureAl Hunt, Barack Obama, David Addington, Dick Cheney, Elliot Abrams, George W. Bush, Guantanamo, John Yoo, Margaret Carlson, Scooter Libby, Steven Bradbury, Torture, village -Speak. Kate O'Beirne, Waterboarding
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"There Will Be No Investigation of Torture" Declares VillageAbu-Ghraib, Barack Obama, C.I.A., Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Guantanamo, Illegal Wiretapping, Jay Bubee, John Yoo, Nancy Pelosi, Steven Bradbury, Torture, Valerie Plame
CIA Ordered To Hand Over Information About Destroyed Torture TapesCIA, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, George W. Bush, Iraq, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Raw Story, Steven Bradbury, Torture
The Central Intelligence Agency must turn over records regarding detainee interrogation tapes the agency destroyed in an alleged effort to protect the identity of its officers.
A federal judge rejected the CIA’s attempt to withhold records relating to the agency’s destruction of 92 videotapes that depicted interrogation of CIA prisoners in a ruling Friday afternoon. The tapes were said to have shown some detainees’ torture.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing for the documents’ release under the Freedom of Information Act, and aims to have the agency held in contempt of court for refusing to provide them.
The ACLU has been remarkably successful at obtaining previously secret government documents. President Barack Obama was recently forced to release Bush administration memos which outlined torture techniques to be employed on detainees.
ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh lauded the court’s decision.
“We welcome the court’s recognition that the ACLU’s contempt motion against the CIA must be promptly resolved,” Singh said in a release. “Recent disclosures about the CIA’s torture methods further confirm that there is no basis for the agency to continue to withhold records relating to the content of the destroyed videotapes or documents that shed light upon who authorized their destruction and why.
“The public has a right to this information and the CIA must be held accountable for its flagrant disregard for the rule of law,” Singh added.
In a release, the civil liberties group noted “the CIA had previously said it would only turn over documents from August 2002 that relate to the content of the videotapes. But U.S. District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York today ordered the CIA to produce records from April through December 2002 that relate to the content of the tapes, as well as documents from April 2002 through June 2003 that related to the destruction of the tapes and information about the persons and reasons behind their destruction.”
“Judge Hellerstein also ordered the government to reconsider the extent of redactions it intends to make to the documents in light of last week’s release, also as part of the ACLU’s FOIA litigation, of four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture,” the release adds. “In addition, the court ordered the government to explain whether contempt proceedings would interfere with a federal criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes led by prosecutor John Durham.”
Jane Hamsher Calls Bullshit On Rahm Emmanuel's 'This Week' AppearanceJay Bybee, John Yoo, Rahm Emanuel, Steven Bradbury, Torture, Waterboarding
JANE HAMSHER Gets it done; as usual…
Because someone has to
Rahm on This Week:
STEPHANOPOLOUS: The President has ruled out prosecutions of CIA officials who believed they were following the law. Does he believe the officials who devised the policies should be immune from prosecution?
RAHM: Yeah, what he believes is, look, as you saw in that statement he wrote. And I think, just take a step back. That he came up with this, and he worked on this for four weeks. Wrote that statement Wednesday night, after he made his decision, and dictated what he wanted to see and then Thursday morning I saw him in the office, he was still editing it. He believes that people in good faith were operating with the guidance they were provided. They shouldn’t be prosecuted.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: But what bout those who devised the policies?
RAHM: But those who devised the policies –he believes that they were — should not be prosecuted either. And it’s not the place that we go — as he said in that letter, and I really recommend that people look at that full statement. Not the letter, the statement. In that second paragraph: This is not a time for retribution. It’s a time for reflection. It is not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back, and in a sense of anger and retribution. We have a lot to do to protect America. What people need to know, this practice and technique, we don’t useany more. He banned it.
Is that truly what the administration thinks? That people who want to see those who illegally led the country down the road of torture held to account are simply “looking back” in “anger” and “retribution”? Fifty percent of the country favor such investigations, including 69% of Democrats and a majority of independents. Is Rahm saying that President Obama believes they’re nothing more than an angry, vindictive mob, and that nobody could possibly have a rational basis for believing that our laws should be enforced?
Manfred Nowak, the United Nations top torture investigator, says that treaties entered into by the United States require criminal investigations:
The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court.
How does Rahm rationalize the President’s stated goal to “restore our moral standing” in the world with thumbing our noses at the international agreements we’ve entered into? Is there an “except when we don’t feel like it” clause?
The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but nearly 25% of its prisoners. There is something terribly inconsistent about a Senior Administration official like Rahm Emanuel insisting that an elite few should not be subject to our laws, and that people who take issue with this have no higher motive than counterproductive rage.
Sign the petition telling Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture here.
Kicking Ass and Taking Names: Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald Call Bullshit on the White House StenographersBarack Obama, David Addington, Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, Glenn Greenwald, Illegal Wiretapping, Jane Hamsher, John Ashcroft, John Hannah, John Yoo, Justice Department, Rendition, State Secrets, The Atlantic, Torture, White House Stenographers
The Grand Dame of Blogs, Jane Hamsher and the Tough, Smart Glenn Greenwald Are Getting it Done
Access Journalism — Business As Usual?
By: Jane Hamsher Wednesday February 11
Glenn Greenwald has been rightfully indignant about the Obama DoJ’s use of Bush’s “state secrets” argument to cover up charges of rendition and torture. The NY Times this morning says “It was as if last month’s inauguration had never occurred…..Voters have good reason to feel betrayed if they took Mr. Obama seriously on the campaign trail when he criticized the Bush administration’s tactic of stretching the state-secrets privilege to get lawsuits tossed out of court.”
But Bush’s “state secrets” claims aren’t the only White House holdovers. Glenn also singles out Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic today for being a DC stenographer whose idea of “reporting” is calling up administration sources, granting them anonymity without cause, and then writing it up mindlessly without critique or context:
What possible justification is there for granting administration officials anonymity to explain why they are embracing a Bush-era weapon that they have long criticized? And why does an administration swearing great levels of transparency and accountability — and vowing to use secrecy only when absolutely necessary — need to hide behind a wall of anonymity in order to explain why they did what they did here? Why can’t they attach their names to this explanation, so that they can be questioned about it and held accountable?
Why would he do that? Well, possibly because that’s the only way they’ll talk to him — or anyone else. New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston has also written about this “business as usual” quality of White House press relations:
My questions to LaBolt and Singh prompted a return phone call the next day from Nick Shapiro, who spelled his name, but had to be prodded several times to give his job title: assistant press secretary.
During our brief conversation, Shapiro, like LaBolt (whose name Shapiro did not recognize), started one sentence with “off the record.” Told that the journalist grants the privilege, and that none would be granted here, Shapiro expressed surprise. His surprise was double-barreled, at both the idea that the reporter issues any privilege and that any reporter would decline to talk “off the record.”
The reportorial practice of letting government officials speak without taking responsibility for their words has been an issue with the public and is being questioned now by some journalists, as shown by this article from Slate’s Jack Shafer.
Questions about whether Shapiro knows the difference between off-the-record, background, deep background, and on-the-record did not get asked, because Shapiro made it clear he had no interest in answering anything about how the Obama press secretary’s office is operating and what its tone will be. He said questions should be submitted in writing by e-mail to email@example.com. I sent Shapiro an e-mail outlining the contours of what would be covered in an interview, but have not received a response as of this writing, the following day.
Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter whose book, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense [and Stick You with the Bill] is indispensible for anyone wanting to understand how the taxation and legislative system has been gamed to favor the rich. He’s a superb journalist and sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s still employed at the Times. (note: Johnston has left the NYT.) An administration interested in transparency should be ecstatic about working with him.
But what is going on right now in the world of DC journalism finds its most naked expression in Ambinder’s piece, though I’ve seen other glaring examples of late — journalists are scrambling for who gets “access” to the White House. So there’s no end to the bullshit they’ll write to ingratiate themselves to potential sources, or the inconvenient facts they’ll edit out in order to be the new Bob Woodward. (Though Ambinder does deserve some praise on this front — he wrote what everyone else knows but isn’t saying about White House plans: “encouragement of moderate Democrats,” “entitlement reform” and “standing up to Speaker Pelosi.”)
You can see it in the horror with which the traditional media is responding to Sam Stein getting called on at the President’s press conference — there are rules, there is a pecking order, and This Is Not How It’s Done. While it’s great Sam got recognized — he’s a really good journalist and he asked a critical question — it’s not much more than “window dressing” if the day-to-day interaction with the press stays the same as it did during the Bush years. And with Rahm managing the relations between the White House and the media these days, it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening.
Update: And the stenography continues: Ambinder calls back his “administration sources” so they can respond to Glenn but neither names him nor links to him. “They’re sensitive to the politics of the case, but they’re not motivated by what civil libertarians may write on their blogs.” The administration people don’t want you at the slumber party Glenn Greenwald, and they don’t give anonymous quotes to you, Glenn Greenwald, and they certainly aren’t going to RESPOND to you, Glenn Greenwald, well okay they DID and Ambinder just wrote PARAGRAPHS about it but they are going to just turn their backs and pretend you’re not there. Feh.
The Crimes of George W. Bush [Video]9/11, Ari Fleisher, Barack Obama, Bechtel, Bin Laden, Blackwater USA, Broadcatching, Carlyle, CPA, Dan Senor, David addinton, Elliot Abrams, Erik Prince, Extraordinary Rendition. Illegal, FISA, Frodo, Gonzalez, Guantanamo, Halliburton, Iraq, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, Karl Rove, KBR, Kristol, Military Commisions, Paul Bremer, Perle, PNAC, Politics, Rice, Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Torture, Truth Commision, Tullycast, U.S. Attorney Scandal, Valerie Plame, Vengeance Cnard, Wall Street, Waterboarding, Wiretapping, Wolfowitz
What Really Happened in Ashcroft's Hospital Room: The Battle For Secret SurveillanceAndy Card, David Addington, Domestic Spying, FBI, FISA, George W. Bush, James Comey, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, Metadata, Robert Mueller, Secret Surveillance, White House
Issue dated Dec 22, 2008
It is one of the darkly iconic scenes of the Bush Administration. In March 2004, two of the president’s most senior advisers rushed to a Washington hospital room where they confronted a bedridden John Ashcroft. White House chief of staff Andy Card and counsel Alberto Gonzales pressured the attorney general to renew a massive domestic-spying program that would lapse in a matter of days. But others hurried to the hospital room, too. Ashcroft’s deputy, James Comey, later joined by FBI Director Robert Mueller, stood over Ashcroft’s bed to make sure the White House aides didn’t coax their drugged and bleary colleague into signing something unwittingly. The attorney general, sick and pain-racked from a rare pancreatic disease, rose up from his bed, gathering what little strength he had, and firmly told the president’s emissaries that he would not sign their papers.
White House hard-liners would make one more effort—getting the president to recertify the program on his own, relying on his powers as commander in chief. But in the end, with an election looming and the entire political leadership of the Justice Department poised to resign rather than carry out orders they thought to be illegal, Bush backed down. The rebels prevailed.
But that is only part of the story—because Bush, even though he made concessions to the rebels, kept other aspects of the program intact. Even after The New York Times revealed the existence of the secret surveillance two years later—and despite outrage in Congress and among civil libertarians—monitoring of calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas without court approval continues. Much has been written about the Justice Department rebellion, including, most recently, the account in Barton Gellman’s groundbreaking book “Angler.” But a mystery remains: What did the Justice Department rebels object to, and what concessions did Bush make to appease them? What, precisely, was canceled?
Two knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that the clash erupted over a part of Bush’s espionage program that had nothing to do with the wiretapping of individual suspects. Rather, Comey and others threatened to resign because of the vast and indiscriminate collection of communications data. These sources, who asked not to be named discussing intelligence matters, describe a system in which the National Security Agency, with cooperation from some of the country’s largest telecommunications companies, was able to vacuum up the records of calls and e-mails of tens of millions of average Americans between September 2001 and March 2004. The program’s classified code name was “Stellar Wind,” though when officials needed to refer to it on the phone, they called it “SW.” (The NSA says it has “no information or comment”; a Justice Department spokesman also declined to comment.)
The NSA’s powerful computers became vast storehouses of “metadata.” They collected the telephone numbers of callers and recipients in the United States, and the time and duration of the calls. They also collected and stored the subject lines of e-mails, the times they were sent, and the addresses of both senders and recipients. By one estimate, the amount of data the NSA could suck up in close to real time was equivalent to one quarter of the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica per second. (The actual content of calls and e-mails was not being monitored as part of this aspect of the program, the sources say.) All this metadata was then sifted by the NSA, using complex algorithms to detect patterns and links that might indicate terrorist activity.
The secret collection and data-mining program had begun with a blessing by John Yoo, an ultraconservative lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Yoo was a close ally of hard-line lawyers in the White House and worked closely with David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s lawyer. (Addington is now Cheney’s chief of staff.) But by 2003, Yoo had moved on, and a new head of the OLC, Jack Goldsmith, began reviewing his work. Goldsmith found Yoo’s legal opinions justifying the program flawed. His reasons are based on a mind-numbingly complex area of federal law, but the basic analysis comes down to this: the systematic collection and digital transmission of huge amounts of telephone and e-mail data by the government constitutes “electronic surveillance” under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the exclusive law governing domestic spying in national-security cases. For such activities, FISA requires a court-approved warrant. Therefore, the program was illegal. The White House lawyers countered that the president’s constitutional powers as commander in chief trumped FISA. Goldsmith and his colleagues rejected that argument, and won. Days after the hospital clash, Bush shut down the massive data-collection program and stopped searches of the data that had already been stored. (It’s unclear whether the administration has since found new legal justification to return to at least some of these activities.)
This updated version of events helps explain exactly what motivated stalwart Republican lawyers like Comey to defy their Republican president. The Justice lawyers were not fuming about an Orwellian invasion of the privacy of American citizens. Though all the rebellious lawyers agreed that the program was illegal, some favored its goals while others questioned its efficacy. “At the end of the day, the dispute was a legal one, not a policy one,” says one participant. “It was about upholding the rule of law, not about what was appropriate from a civil-libertarian standpoint or any other standpoint.”
One of the most consequential government rebellions in memory may be regarded as an act of heroism by civil libertarians. But the rebels were conservatives who might have been willing to—and in some cases did—approve policies that would not sit well with many Americans. They just weren’t willing to break the law. Which is how the president’s men ended up in John Ashcroft’s hospital room on a cool March evening.
General Barry McCaffrey Exposed For The Ultimate Spineless Shill That He Is401k, ABC, ABC News, Abrams, Addington, AEI, Al Qaeda, Ari Fleisher, Ashcroft, bailout, Baker Botts, Banks, Bechtel, Beltway Groupthink, Beltway Journalism, Bin Laden, Blackwater, Bozell, Bremer, Britain, Broadcatching, Brown and Root, Buffett, Bush, Bush Apologists, Byron York, California, Campbell Brown, Carlyle Group, Charlie Gibson, Chevy Chase Club, Children, CIA, Coalition Provisional Authority, Cokie Roberts, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Consensus Journalism, Conservatism, Constitution, Corn, Credit, Credit Default Swaps, Dan Rather, Dan Senor, Dana Perino, David Brooks, David Iglesias, Debates, Democrats, Dick Cheney, District Of Corruption, Dow Jones, Duke Zeiberts, Equity Market, Evolution, FBI, Feith, Finance, FISA, Fournier, Framing, Freepers, George Stephanopoulos, George Tenet, George W. Bush, George Will, Global Warming, Gonzales, Gonzalez, Gootube, Grey, Grover Nordquist, Guantanamo, Guns, Habeas Corpus, Halliburton, Hannity, Healthcare, Hedge Funds, Hillary, Hume, Immigration, Iran, Iraq, Jeff Gannon, Jeff Guckert, Joe Biden, Joe Klein, John Yoo, Joseph Wilson, Judith Miller, Justice Department, K Street, Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Katrina, Kellog, Kerry, Kristol, Lee Atwater, Lehman. AIG, Libby, Limbaugh, Lobbyists, Luntz, Malkin, Maria Bartiromo, Mary Mapes, Matalin, Matt Cooper, Matt Drudge, Media Landscape, Medved, Meet The Press, Money Market, Moonbats, New York, New York Herald Sun, New York Times, NSA, O'Reilly, Obama, Olbermann, Patriot Act, Perle, PNAC, Politico, Politics, Politics Rundown, Poverty, Prager, Republic_Party, Retail Investors, Rich Lowry, Rick Sanchez, Right-Wing Conspiracy, Robert Luskin, Robert Novak, Roger Ailes, Rosie, Rumsfeld, Rupert Murdoch, Saddam, Sarah Palin, Scott McClellan, Shiite, Smerconish, Soldiers, Stock Market, Sunni, Surge, Taxes, terrorism, The Palm, The Plank, Tim Russert, Tony snow, Torture, Tullycast, Valerie Plame, Vandenheuvel, veterans, Viveca Novak, Wall Street, War Criminals, Washington D.C., Watergate, web 2.0, William Kristol, Wingnuttia, Wolfowitz, Youtube
One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex
In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.
The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.
Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.
Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.
Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.
“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.
President-Elect Barack Obama's Press Conference | Dec 1 2008401k, ABC, ABC News, Abrams, Addington, AEI, Al Qaeda, Ari Fleisher, Ashcroft, bailout, Baker Botts, Banks, Bechtel, Beltway Groupthink, Beltway Journalism, Bin Laden, Blackwater, Bozell, Bremer, Britain, Broadcatching, Brown and Root, Buffett, Bush, Bush Apologists, Byron York, California, Campbell Brown, Carlyle Group, Charlie Gibson, Chevy Chase Club, Children, CIA, Coalition Provisional Authority, Cokie Roberts, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Consensus Journalism, Conservatism, Constitution, Corn, Credit, Credit Default Swaps, Dan Rather, Dan Senor, Dana Perino, David Brooks, David Iglesias, Debates, Democrats, Dick Cheney, District Of Corruption, Dow Jones, Duke Zeiberts, Equity Market, Evolution, FBI, Feith, Finance, FISA, Fournier, Framing, Freepers, George Stephanopoulos, George Tenet, George W. Bush, George Will, Global Warming, Gonzales, Gonzalez, Gootube, Grey, Grover Nordquist, Guantanamo, Guns, Habeas Corpus, Halliburton, Hannity, Healthcare, Hedge Funds, Hillary, Hume, Immigration, Iran, Iraq, Jeff Gannon, Jeff Guckert, Joe Biden, Joe Klein, John Yoo, Joseph Wilson, Judith Miller, Justice Department, K Street, Karen Hughes, Karl Rove, Katrina, Kellog, Kerry, Kristol, Lee Atwater, Lehman. AIG, Libby, Limbaugh, Lobbyists, Luntz, Malkin, Maria Bartiromo, Mary Mapes, Matalin, Matt Cooper, Matt Drudge