Posts Tagged ‘CIA

06
Nov
10

Secrets

Doug Liman Talks “Fair Game”

Source: (http://goo.gl/Q72NY) by Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director, Center for Democracy

Which secrets should be kept, and which should be exposed? Those questions are at the heart of Doug Liman’s new film, Fair Game, which tells the story of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. Joe Wilson, remember, was the former U.S. diplomat who exposed one of the many false claims made by the Bush administration in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. Valerie Plame is Wilson’s wife, a covert CIA operative whose identity the Bush administration disclosed to reporters in an effort to retaliate against Wilson.

The film is about Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, but it’s also about secrecy. The Bush administration gathers evidence to support its claim that Iraq presents an imminent threat to the United States and its allies. The intelligence is manipulated, and the evidence is false, but the public is told only the rotten conclusion — that Iraq has sought yellowcake uranium from Niger — and the public is of course not in any position to evaluate that claim, because the evidence to support it is secret. Joe Wilson exposes the truth; he pierces the secrecy that conceals government misconduct. He’s a whistleblower in the best sense of the word.

But of course Joe Wilson isn’t the only one in the film who pierces secrecy. When Joe Wilson exposes the truth about the yellowcake claim, the Bush administration decides to discredit him by exposing the truth about his wife. Joe Wilson has a secret, too, and the government exposes it. Lewis Libby and Karl Rove are whistleblowers in a different sense of the world. When they pierce secrecy, it is an extension of government misconduct that they’re already engaged in.

There’s a sense in which these two narratives — or these two sides of Liman’s narrative — are emblematic of twin political shifts that have taken place over the last decade years. The public knows less and less about government policy; government secrecy is increasingly the norm, and transparency the exception. At the same time, the government knows more and more about individual citizens; government surveillance is increasingly pervasive, and increasingly intrusive. These twin shifts reverse the proper relationship between a democratic government and its citizens. It’s supposed to be the government that’s transparent and accountable to the citizenry, but increasingly transparency and accountability work only in the other direction.

As government secrecy has become the norm, particularly on issues relating to national security, we’re increasingly reliant on whistleblowers to provide us with information. Without leaks to the media, we wouldn’t know about the Abu Ghraib abuses, we wouldn’t know about the NSA warrantless wiretapping program, and of course we wouldn’t know about the yellowcake scandal. It’s worth asking whether this is good for our democracy.

And as government surveillance has become the norm, citizens are also more and more vulnerable to government power. Valerie Plame is an extreme case, because her secret was one that, when exposed, almost completely destroyed her life. But the government knows more and more of our secrets — at the very least, it knows who we call overseas, it knows who we correspond with by email, it has access to our banking records, our telephone records, our credit records, our internet surfing histories. With information comes power; in this context, the power to expose is the power to destroy. Here, too, it’s worth asking whether this is good for our democracy.

No one is above the law. Ask your member of Congress to support the State Secrets Protection Act today.

 

07
May
09

Time for Another Review of the Patriot Act

costoffreedom2

icon_digg1 As of late the CIA and other governmental Intel agencies have taken the long overdue and justified theoretical “hits” from a various number of congressional leaders, the presidential executive branch, news media and most importantly the American public for these agencies institutionalizing torture as a means of “hopefully” obtaining timely and accurate information from captured terrorists.

As mentioned the News media and bloggers have jumped at the opportunity to post their stories and opinions, myself included:

With the last, aforementioned link regarding a short reference capsule of articles published over the past several months by nationally recognized news sources.Unfortunately there’s more work required to correct the past injustices of the Bush Administration than has been started by the Obama Administration; namely issues regarding the FISA (part of the Patriot Act) and the FBI’s list of 24,000 people on a terrorist watch list.  This list is in dire need of being revised and updated based on the number of outdated or sometimes irrelevant information, while missing people with genuine ties to terrorism who should have been on the list.

In a recent article, published in the New York Times, entitled: “Justice Dept. Finds Flaws in F.B.I. Terror List”, authored by authored by Eric Lichtblau; here are some of the excerpts of what I feel of importance (high lighted revisions by myself):By the beginning of 2009, the report said, this consolidated government watch list comprised about 400,000 people, recorded as 1.1 million names and aliases, an exponential growth from the days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But the new report, by the office of the Justice Department’s inspector general, provides the most authoritative statistical account to date of the problems connected with the list. An earlier report by the inspector general, released in March 2008, looked mainly at flaws in the system, without an emphasis on the number of people caught up in it.

The list has long been a target of public criticism, particularly after well-publicized errors in which politicians including Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Representative John Lewis showed up on it. People with names similar to actual terrorists have complained that it can take months to be removed from the list, and civil liberties advocates charge that antiwar protesters, Muslim activists and others have been listed for political reasons.

The inspector general looked at a sampling of 216 F.B.I. terrorism investigations and found that in 15 percent of them, a total of 35 subjects were not referred to the list even though they should have been.

In one case, for instance, a Special Forces soldier was investigated and ultimately convicted of stealing some 16,500 rounds of ammunition, C-4 explosives and other material from Afghanistan and shipping them to the United States in what investigators suspected might be the makings of a domestic terrorist plot. Yet the suspect was not placed on the watch list until nearly five months after the investigation opened.

Coinciding with this Times story is a YouTube video showing just how bad things can happen for a family who falls under FBI suspicion implementing the provisions provided within The Patriot Act:

USA using Patriot Act against its own citizens

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby’s bedroom in his mother’s Granville County home is nothing, if not patriotic. Images of American flags are everywhere on the bed, on the floor, on the wall.

But according to the United States government, the tenth-grade home-schooler is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15.

An additional, but somewhat dated video on the Patriot Act is also provided here:

Obama, Clinton, McCain – The Patriot Act

Finally an abbreviated pdf copy of the Patriot Act, as it pertains to wire taps (foreign and domestic) can be view:

The USA PATRIOT Act – A Sketch

Newswire Updates:

Claims Graham Briefed About Domestic Spying in 2001 and 2002 Were Also Bogus
from The Public Record | Jason Leopold

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham disclosed in 2007 that an intelligence document which claimed he was briefed about the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance program on two dates in 2001 and 2002 were untrue when compared to his own records, which showed that no such briefings ever took place.

Graham also said at the time that he was never told during briefings he attended that were chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney, then-National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, and then-CIA Director George Tenet, that the Bush administration planned to spy on American citizens.

The statements Graham made in 2005 are virtually identical to the denials he has recently made in response to claims by the CIA that he and other Democratic and Republican lawmakers were told in classified briefings that the agency had been using so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” against high-value detainees.

Obama Administration Will Not Ask Supreme Court To Take Up National Security Letter “Gag Order” Decision
from ACLU Newsroom

The government will not ask the Supreme Court to review a decision that struck down Patriot Act provisions that allow the government to impose unconstitutional gag orders on recipients of national security letters (NSLs). NSLs issued by the FBI require recipients to turn over sensitive information about their clients and subscribers. A lower court ruled in 2007 that the gag order provisions were unconstitutional, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld that ruling in 2008. The government’s time for petitioning the Supreme Court for review has now expired.

05
May
09

Change Starts by Correcting the Past

rumsfeld

icon_digg In the recent past I’ve posted articles on the former Administration’s authorization of torture and its associated cover-up by invoking Executive Privilege (here) along with authoring numerous articles encouraging our newly elected President and his administration the need for “change” within our country (here).

The issue of torture must be resolved and the “Rule of Law” has to be enforced against those responsible, if we as a nation expect to once again have the respect of our fellow countrymen and that of the international community.  Knowing we can correct our past misdeeds provides trust in our government to plan for the heavy tax burdens of the future, such as, universal health care, a greener environment, an improved educational system at a lowered cost of tuition, a safe removal of our troops from Iraq, to name just a few pressing issues, which lay ahead of our country.

A host of articles has been written over the past two weeks regarding the release of what I refer to as the torture authorization memorandums, and after their release President Obama has somewhat backtracked on what should logically follow, which in my opinion, is a congressional inquiry as to the extent of law(s) that were possibly broken and who is primarily responsible. (for me this is a good starting point here).

In a supporting post to my feelings is an article entitled “Those Who Approved Torture “Must Be Held Accountable”, authored by Marlene H. Phillips, and published here on Huffington Post.  The posting is an interview with Retired Brigadier General John Adams who has something in common with his namesake and distant relative.

Like the second president of the United States, the retired brigadier general adheres to one basic principle in his professional actions and beliefs: defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. He stands convinced that those that have acted in a way that would, as he put it, “triage the Constitution” must be brought to justice, including those who approved of and authorized the use of torture on U.S. held detainees.

Said Adams:

“I have never known anyone in a leadership position in the military who would condone torture. They would never do it. It would go against all the training we had, and against what we were trained to do, which is to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Regarding President Obama Adams had the following comment:

I trust President Obama’s judgment, I trust the people he has around him. I know some of them, and they are among the best people I’ve ever known in my life,” said Adams. Adams felt Obama’s actions show that he regards the issue as urgent and important, as evidenced by the speed with which he released classified information and by his meeting with generals to discuss the use of torture less than a week after assuming office. “Obama’s moving ahead and doing so with deliberate speed, which is exactly what’s warranted,” he said.

Related Newswires Stories on Torture

The Complete List of Congressional Leaders Briefed on Torture (pdf)

Complementing and driving this posting is the following YouTube video that I bumped into last night, which once again (has in the past several years) started my blood to boil.

Obama and The War Criminals

Five Things You Should Know About the Torture Memos

No. 1. I have read the 175 pages of legal memoranda (the memos) that the Department of Justice (DoJ) released last week. They consist of letters written by Bush DoJ officials to the Deputy General Counsel of the CIA concerning the techniques that may be used by American intelligence agents when interrogating high value detainees at facilities outside the U.S. The memos describe in vivid, gut-wrenching detail the procedures that the CIA apparently inquired about. The memos then proceed to authorize every procedure asked about, and to commend the CIA for taking the time to ask.

No. 2. In the process of explaining to the CIA Deputy General Counsel just what his folks could do in order to extract information from uncooperative detainees, it is immediately apparent that the writers of the memos are attempting to find snippets of language from other memoranda that they or their colleagues have prepared and from unrelated judicial opinions that justify everything that the CIA wants to do. “This is not rocket science and it is not art. Everyone knows torture when they see it.”

The bias in favor of permitting torture may easily be concluded from a footnote in one of the memos. In that footnote, the author, now-federal judge Jay Bybee, declines to characterize such notorious medieval torture techniques as the thumbscrew and the rack as torture. With that incredible mindset, he proceeds to do his Orwellian best to define away such terms as pain, suffering, and inhumane in such a way as to require that the interrogators produce near death experiences in order to have their behavior come under the proscriptions of the federal statute prohibiting torture, and the Convention (treaty) Against Torture, which was negotiated by and signed in behalf of the U.S. by President George H.W. Bush.

No. 3. The logic in the memos is simple: The government may utilize the ten procedures inquired about (all of which were publicly known except confinement on a coffin, bound and gagged, and in the presence of insects), so long as no one dies or comes close to death. This conclusion is startling in the case of walling (banging a detainees head against a solid but moveable wall) and waterboarding (near drowning) since the federal governments own physicians, cited in the memos themselves, have concluded that both techniques are always a near occasion of death. The conclusion is also startling since it fails to account for numerous federal and state prosecutions, and prosecutions in Thailand — where these torture sessions apparently occurred — that have defined torture according to its generally accepted meaning:

Any intentionally inflicted cruel or inhumane or degrading treatment, unauthorized by a court of law, perpetrated for the punishment of the victim, to extract statements from the victim, or to gratify the perpetrator.

This universally-accepted definition makes no reference and has no condition that anything goes short of a near occasion of death.

No. 4. The memos also fail to account for the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled govern American treatment of all foreign detainees, lawful or unlawful. The third of those conventions PROHIBITS TOUCHING the detainee in any way, other than for the purpose of moving him from place to place, if he refuses to go voluntarily and when told to do so.

No. 5. The memos place Attorney General Holder, who argued for their release, in an untenable situation. He has stated under oath, at his confirmation hearings, that waterboarding is torture and torture is prohibited by numerous federal laws. He has also taken an oath to uphold all federal laws, not just those that are politically expedient from time to time. He is correct and he must do his moral and legal duty to reject any Nuremberg defense. This is not rocket science and it is not art. Everyone knows torture when they see it; and no amount of twisted logic can detract from its illegal horror, its moral antipathy, and its attack at core American values.
By Judge Andrew Napolitano

Visit: http://www.puppetgov.com

The following video, released from the White House on May 21, 2009, President Obama speaks to the American people regarding his intentions on Guantanamo Bay and national Security:

President Obama: Our Security, Our Values

The President speaks at length on how American values and security are intertwined, touching on issues form closing Guantanamo to State Secrets. May 21, 2009.

24
Apr
09

Like Father – Like Daughter

Cheney

icon_digg13 I to would like to see Donald Rumsfelt, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and George Tenet face charges, but first I want to see how our current administration handles this black mark on our country’s history, without outside interference. Basically, whose going to align themselves on whose side.

Think about it for a moment – Here’s Dick Cheney with every opportunity he can get a hold of, to voice his displeasure with any and all of Obama’s policies with the media; what other former Vice Presidents has done that? Not a one!

Now his daughter is getting into the act:

Liz Cheney Defends Father ‘Dick Cheney’ Torture Legacy/Policies

So Why, easy, to confuse along with attempting to defuse the issue at hand, his own personal involvement with authorizing torture.

Unapologetic and Unrestrained: Cheney Unbound
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG | NY Times

In the three months since leaving office, Mr. Cheney has upended the old Washington script for former presidents and vice presidents, using a series of interviews — the first just two weeks after leaving office — to kick off one last campaign, not for elective office, but on behalf of his own legacy. In the process, he has become a vocal leader of the opposition to President Obama, rallying conservatives as they search for leadership and heartening Democrats who see him as the ideal political foil.

Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding
Associated Press

The Director of Central Intelligence in the spring of 2003 sought a reaffirmation of the legality of the interrogation methods. Cheney, Rice, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales were among those at a meeting where it was decided that the policies would continue. Rumsfeld and Powell weren’t.

Update 25 Apr 09:

Cheney Starts Pro-Torture Facebook Page
Andy Borowitz | BorowitzReport.com

In his most aggressive public relations move since leaving office, former Vice President Dick Cheney today established a Facebook page for fans of torture.

23
Apr
09

Europe Back Off and Stay Out

Nuremberg Trials

Nuremberg Trials

icon_digg12 America, as all countries today, is undergoing a vast amount of change; however there exists a hopefully small number of individuals within our country who in essence mistakenly subscribe to the notion “the Bush doctrine on terror” was correct and righteous, which includes the use of torture to obtain supposed Intel information.

I believe our President is taking the right steps, as he promised during his campaign to “right the wrongs” of our country’s past eight years of injustice regarding our treatment of combative detainees.  First by releasing the Bush Administration’s memos condoning torture (listed here and here also here), which he followed up by insuring his release would not produce a witch hunt (as some want) by traveling to CIA’s Headquarters and assuring employees individual prosecution would not be presumed and finally, most importantly turned the entire matter over to our Justice Department and directly to Eric Holder, the Attorney General.

On this past Wednesday (22 Apr 09) an article in the Washington Post, authored by Craig Whitlock, of Washington Post’s Foreign Service Department and entitled: “European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment” confirms my beliefs by the following excerpt:

On Tuesday, Obama for the first time raised the possibility of creating a bipartisan commission to examine the Bush administration’s handling of terrorism suspects. He also said he would leave it up to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to determine whether to prosecute senior officials who approved waterboarding and other tactics.

This was further confirmed in a statement published by the American Civil Liberties Union, entitled: “Attorney General Holder Says He Will “Follow The Law” And Investigate Torture” where the following excerpt stated:

Attorney General Eric Holder said today that the Justice Department will “follow the law wherever it takes us” in investigating the U.S. officials behind the CIA torture policies under the Bush administration.

Europe, you have every obligation and right to legally pursue whatever action you feel is appropriate, but please let our present administration do what they can to correct these past “wrongs”; in our way of first and let America reestablish itself under the “Rule of Law”.

A.G. Holder: Investigate Torture

The people who authorized Bush’s torture program shouldn’t get off scot-free. It’s time for Attorney General Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor.

Update 23 Apr 09:

Clinton Questions Cheney’s Credibility: “I Don’t Consider Him A Particularly Reliable Source Of Information”
Huffington Post    |  Nicholas Graham

The sensitive topic of the release of the torture memos came to the forefront when Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacker asked Clinton if she agreed with Dick Cheney’s request that documents ostensibly showing the efficacy of the torture programs should be declassified. Clinton ultimately replied that she believes “we ought to get to the bottom of this entire matter” and that it “is in the best interest of our country” to do so, but not before she took a shot at Cheney’s credibility, saying “I don’t consider him to be a particularly reliable source of information.”

Update 24 Apr 09:

Torture and the Problem of Constitutional Evil: The Way Forward
Howard Schweber: Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

A year ago, in a blog post at Balkinization.com, Mark Graber discussed John Yoo’s role as an example of what he has called “the problem of Constitutional Evil.” Graber’s point is that the assumption that anything that is “evil” is therefore contrary to the dominant understanding of the Constitutional is simply wrong. This is not an argument he makes lightly; Graber is the author of Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil, a magisterial work that makes the case in historical context; orthodox, authoritative, widely accepted understandings of the Constitution may nonetheless permit actions that deserve to be described as “evil.”

A Quarter Million Americans Demand Torture Prosecutions
from ACLU Newsroom

WASHINGTON — A broad coalition of advocacy groups today will deliver petitions containing a quarter million signatures to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that he appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s use of torture on terrorism suspects. The petitions were gathered by the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org Political Action, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Firedoglake.com, Democrats.com and other advocacy groups. The petitions will be delivered during Holder’s testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee.

Holder: No Torture Memo “Hide And Seek”
from CBSNews.com

Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Thursday he won’t play “hide and seek” with secret memos about harsh interrogations of terror suspects and their effectiveness.

What if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Had Died?
Cenk Uygur | Host of The Young Turks

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. We practiced sleep deprivation on him for 11 straight days. I don’t know how many times we smashed his head against a wall, slapped him in the face, put him in a stress position in a freezing room and/or put him in a coffin sized box in extreme heat. But the right-wing argues that it doesn’t matter because none of this is torture. They are adamant in saying that it is not even open to interpretation.

Update 25 Apr 09:

Judge Rejects CIA Attempt To Withhold Records On Destroyed Interrogation Tapes
from ACLU Newsroom

NEW YORK – A federal judge today rejected the CIA’s attempt to withhold records relating to the agency’s destruction of 92 videotapes that depicted the harsh interrogation of CIA prisoners. The ACLU is seeking disclosure of these records as part of its pending motion to hold the CIA in contempt for destroying the tapes which violated a court order requiring it to produce or identify records responsive to the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records relating to the treatment of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas.

Update 27 Apr 09:

Torture Debate Follows Holder To Europe
from CBSNews.com

The Obama administration says it won’t look backward in the debate over harsh interrogations. On Attorney General Eric Holder’s first stop in Europe this week, he looked back centuries, visiting a historic torture site.

16
Apr
09

Going Beyond the Limits Surveillance

phone2_060516_nr_1

icon_digg9 Admittedly before 911 we were open to terrorists and we’ve paid dearly for our lacks and arrogant mistakes in many ways; loss of life of those involved in the twin towers attack, individual freedoms, increased taxes, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and international embarrassment on the Bush’s administration policies regarding torture to name a few.

However, we keep reading and hearing, for the past five years, how we’re “winning” the “War on Terror”, and reading an article such as this posted in the New York Times, entitled “N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress”, authored by Eric Lichtblau and James Risen is disturbing to me.

I was taught and agree with the fact; we live in a country governed by the “Rule of Law”, which to me implies our laws were authored for one sole purpose and to prosecute those who break this intended law.  Not to use the congressional passed legislation to uncover personal information concerning individuals for storage in a National Database and used for unknown purposes.

Here are a few excerpts from the Post article which I feel are significant:

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

The Justice Department, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday night that there had been problems with the N.S.A. surveillance operation, but said they had been resolved.

The questions may not be settled yet. Intelligence officials say they are still examining the scope of the N.S.A. practices, and Congressional investigators say they hope to determine if any violations of Americans’ privacy occurred. It is not clear to what extent the agency may have actively listened in on conversations or read e-mail messages of Americans without proper court authority, rather than simply obtained access to them

After a contentious three-year debate that was set off by the disclosure in 2005 of the program of wiretapping without warrants that President George W. Bush approved after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress gave the N.S.A. broad new authority to collect, without court-approved warrants, vast streams of international phone and e-mail traffic as it passed through American telecommunications gateways. The targets of the eavesdropping had to be “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States. Under the new legislation, however, the N.S.A. still needed court approval to monitor the purely domestic communications of Americans who came under suspicion.

One official said that led the agency to inadvertently “target” groups of Americans and collect their domestic communications without proper court authority. Officials are still trying to determine how many violations may have occurred.

Notified of the problems by the N.S.A., officials with both the House and Senate intelligence committees said they had concerns that the agency had ignored civil liberties safeguards built into last year’s wiretapping law. “We have received notice of a serious issue involving the N.S.A., and we’ve begun inquiries into it,” a Congressional staff member said.

And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Following is a video I produced during President Obama’s Presidential campaign, which I feel outlines the problems associated with the FISA legislation:

Senators Obama, Clinton, McCain – The Patriot Act

As one can surmise it is my personal feelings that in the coming November election we will be voting for Senators Obama, Clinton or McCain to be our next President. Also, it is my sincere hope that this newly elected president will restore many of the personal liberties, we as citizens of America have given up over the past eight years.

One example of surrendering our liberty, and for me the most important, is our Patriot Act. If I resided or visited a country outside the United States, and this country was on our country’s “watch” list, as being hostile to America; then I would fully support our current Patriot Act, has authored. But, me visiting a “friendly” country, to our nation and electronically communicating to my family, friends or work from this country, then I deem this an uncalled and unjustified surveillance an invasion of my privacy.

Over the past six months I have attempted to follow all the candidates closely through their web sites, televised debates (via the Internet wire services) and YouTube; but really do not have a clear understanding of their feelings on this issue. I am not expecting any direct response from any of these three aforementioned candidates, but would like clarification stated within their respective web sites’.

The video, produced by the ACLU and distributed by iTV presents our two governmental agencies that facilitate the usage of the Patriot Act and how it is implemented to monitor our electronic communications.

Updates 16 & 17 April 09:

U.S. Scales Back Domestic Spying
CBS News from AP

The Justice Department has reined in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency after finding the agency had improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails.

FISA Violated
TIME | Posted by Joe Klein

Those of us who supported FISA reform last year did so for two reasons: 1. There is a real need to monitor conversations terrorists may be having with their associates in the US and 2. There is a real need to set legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor those conversations, to make sure that every domestic target is approved by the FISA court, and to make sure that any innocents swept up in the data-mining process are protected and their names expunged from any list of suspects. Those who opposed the program believed–correctly–that, despite the safeguards, the potential for government violations was substantial.

NSA Spies On Americans Outside The Law
American Civil Liberties Union – ACLU

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans’ emails and phone calls in recent months to an extent that exceeded even the overbroad limits permitted under the controversial spying legislation passed last summer. According to the New York Times, the NSA’s “overcollection” of American’ communications has been “significant and systemic.”

15
Apr
09

Torturing Democracy – The Film

waterboarding

icon_digg8 Film and video documentaries are beginning to roll out regarding the Bush years of echoing continuous threats to our livelihoods if we didn’t adhere, allow and fellow our vice assistant leader Dick Cheney and his chief adviser on torture assistant Mr. John Yoo, (John can recalled here and here to refresh your memories).

The latest and most popular is entitled “Torturing Democracy” and has been awarded the RFK Journalism Award, where the awards committee calls the film “The definitive broadcast account of a deeply troubling chapter in recent American history”.

National Security Archive Update, April 14, 2009:

Washington, DC – Today, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights announced that “Torturing Democracy” has won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for domestic television and is a finalist for the grand prize. Produced and written by eight-time Emmy winner and National Security Archive fellow Sherry Jones, the RFK Center called the documentary film on the Bush administration’s interrogation and detention policies “the definitive broadcast account of a deeply troubling chapter in recent American history.”

From the RFK Center’s Web site:

“Domestic Television Winner: “Torturing Democracy”, Sherry Jones, Washington Media Associates: Meticulous reporting unravels the inside story of how torture was adopted by the U.S. government as official policy in the aftermath of 9/11. With exclusive interviews, explosive documents and rare archival footage, the documentary has been called the definitive broadcast account of a deeply troubling chapter in recent American history.”

The entire film can be viewed at the companion Web site, www.torturingdemocracy.org, along with key documents, a detailed timeline, the full annotated transcript of the show, and lengthy transcripts of major interviews carried out for the film. Hosted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the Web site will ultimately include a complete “Torture Archive” of primary sources.

Prior to the just released nine memos of Bush Administration regarding torture, the following seven highly censored documents were released in the fall of 2008.  All furnished documents are in pdf format:

Torture Memos Released 2008

The following uploaded documents were just released by the Justice Department on the 16 of April 09:

Torture Memos Released 2009

Please consider giving the website a visit and reviewing this timely and informative film, it’s definitely worth a “watch”.

Update 16 Apr 09:

Richard Armitage On Torture: I Should Have Resigned From Bush Administration (Video)
Ryan Grim | HuffPost Reporting From DC

Richard Armitage, the second in command at the State Department under President Bush, told Al Jazeera English in an interview to be aired Thursday that had he known then what he knows now about the torture of detainees, the right thing to do would have been to resign.

“I hope, had I known about it at the time I was serving, I would’ve had the courage to resign,” Armitage said in an interview, according to a transcript provided to the Huffington Post.

Armitage: ‘Maybe I should have quit’

Richard Armitage, the former US Deputy Secretary of State, tells Avi Lewis on Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines why he should have resigned from the Bush administration over its lack of respect for the Geneva conventions.

From Fault Lines, a new show on Al Jazeera English hosted by Avi Lewis and Josh Rushing.

The first episode examines the Obama administration’s emerging policies on detention, rendition and torture.

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from Huffington Post

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from The White House

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from TIME

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from CBS News

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from Politico

Related Newswires Articles on Torture from ABC News




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