Wednesday, January 28, 2009

America Does Not Torture

The America I believe in does not torture, says the sign in this photo taken by Jerry Jaspar, of a torture exhibit for Social Justice Awareness Day held at College of the Sequoias, Visalia, California, on March 14, 2008.
I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery. I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector.
---William Stafford
Millions of people, unseeing, joyless, bluster through life in their half sleep, hitting, kicking, and killing what they have barely perceived. They have never learned to see or they have forgotten that man has eyes to see, to experience.
---Frederick Franck
Yet ruined as my house is, you live there!
---Thomas Merton
I've been disturbed the past several days by reports confirmation of Obama's attorney general nominee, Eric Holder, has become hinged on guarantees that Democrats will not seek prosecution of Republicans responsible for illegally detaining suspects around the world and torturing them. At first I thought the idea was absurd, but rumors persisted and eventually some respectable columnists began discussing it, Joe Galloway among the most prominent. Still, no news service or publication was carrying anything of the least not as a news item. I've grown suspicious of censorship of news in this country however, and so I kept searching.
From a blog at The Washington Post yesterday afternoon however, it appears there have been other matters that concerned Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who's been central in holding things up. He says now he will vote in favor of confirmation of Eric Holder, and we should have a decision today.
In the process of searching this extortion claim against Republicans, I came across a formidable journalist at The Washington Independent. Her name is Daphne Eviatar, a Brooklyn-based attorney, who is absolutely relentless in her concerns about the various prisons around the world used to house and torture the people we lightly shrug off as "detainees." If I'm detained someplace, I have a sense it is momentary while various records are cleared up. I do not think of it as being locked up for years, without explanation or access to help. Guantanamo isn't even the biggest: there are more prisoners at an air base in Afghanistan.
If you paused to read that link, you're now acquainted with Ms. Eviatar and her commitment to this issue. She writes like that with increasing frequency, sometimes 2 and 3 posts per day at The Washington Independent. What is more revealing in her research are the many individual cases she presents of people still locked up. These are stories we just don't read and I've never heard about before. On Monday she posted maybe the best of them all, as it really calls out President Obama as to just what his position on "extraordinary rendition" is going to be. Here it is~~~
Torture Case Tests Obama Secrecy Policy
Will Obama Administration Break From Bush on Extraordinary Rendition?
By Daphne Eviatar 1/26/09 6:05 AM
President Obama’s sweeping reversals of torture and state secret policies are about to face an early test.
After Obama issued an executive order and two presidential memoranda last week proclaiming a new transparency in the workings of the federal government, advocates for open government were thrilled.
“That was an order we were really looking for,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The test of those commitments will come soon in key court cases involving CIA “black sites” and torture that the Bush administration had quashed by claiming they would reveal state secrets and endanger national security. Legal experts say that the Bush Department of Justice used what’s known as the “state secrets privilege” – created originally as a narrow evidentiary privilege for sensitive national security information — as a broad shield to protect the government from exposure of its own misconduct.
One such case, dealing with the gruesome realities of the CIA’s so-called “extraordinary rendition” program, is scheduled for oral argument before a federal appeals court in early February. The position the Obama administration takes in this case may be the first major test of its new policies on transparency in government.
Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. involves five victims of CIA rendition, or “torture by proxy,” as it’s also known. Abducted abroad, the men were flown by the CIA to cooperating countries whose agents interrogated them under torture. Because federal officials are usually immune from lawsuits, the men later sued the private aviation data company, Jeppesen — a subsidiary of Boeing, one of the largest federal defense contractors — that knowingly provided the flight plans and other assistance necessary for the CIA to carry out its clandestine operations.
The ACLU filed suit on behalf of this group of victims in May 2007, but the Bush administration quickly swooped in, waving the flag of the state secrets privilege. Insisting that the very subject of the lawsuit – the CIA’s rendition program – is itself a state secret, the Justice Department convinced the federal court in California, where Jeppesen is based, to dismiss the case on the grounds that it would harm national security.
By this time though, the CIA’s torture practices had already been widely publicized. As it happens, on the same day that Justice Department lawyers were in a federal court in California insisting that the case against Jeppesen be dismissed to protect CIA secrecy, CIA Director Michael Hayden was testifying before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee under oath that the CIA had waterboarded three prisoners in its custody. Earlier, Hayden had given a speech about “the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation programs” at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previous CIA Directors Porter Goss and George Tenet — and even President Bush, in a speech in September 2006 — had also described and defended the program.
In fact, by the time this lawsuit was filed, the CIA’s rendition of suspected terrorists to foreign countries to be tortured had become an international scandal. Foreign countries such as Egypt, Switzerland, the UK and others that had cooperated with the CIA had been forced to investigate; those investigations had corroborated many of the allegations that are the subject of the case pending against Jeppesen.
Still, the U.S. government, now under President Obama, continues to insist in a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that “[t]he sensitivity of the information at issue in this litigation, and the serious harms that would result from its disclosure, compel the Government to assert the state secrets privilege.” The Obama administration has not filed any new briefs or amendments in the case.
If the court agrees, none of the victims of rendition in this case — or likely, in any other — will get his day in court.
“These victims not only haven’t been compensated, they haven’t even been heard,” said Ben Wizner, one of the lead ACLU lawyers handling the case. “Torture victims deserve acknowledgment and compensation.”
Take the case of one of Wizner’s clients, Binyam Mohamed. A 28-year-old Ethiopian citizen and legal resident of the UK, Mohamed was arrested at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan on immigration charges in April 2002. For the next three months, he was held in secret detention, interrogated and tortured by Pakistani authorities, he says; he was also questioned by US and British agents.
In July, according to the lawsuit, he was turned over to the exclusive custody of the United States, whose agents stripped, shackled, and blindfolded him, then dressed him in a tracksuit and dragged him on board a Gulfstream V jet aircraft. With assistance from Jeppesen Dataplan, Mohamed was flown to Morocco, where he was turned over to local police and interrogated under torture for the next 18 months. Mohamed says he was routinely beaten to the point of losing consciousness and, as the ACLU describes in its legal brief, “a scalpel was used to make incisions all over his body, including his penis, after which a hot stinging liquid was poured into his open wounds.”
In January 2004, Mohamed was returned to the custody of U.S. officials, flown to Afghanistan and tortured again, he said, this time at a secret CIA prison. After months of beatings and interrogation following sleep and food deprivation, according to the lawsuit, he was transferred to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, where he remains today.
The stories of Abou Brital, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Bashmilah and Bisher Al-Rawi are similar, and much in their accounts is corroborated. Ahmed Agiza’s rendition and torture in Egypt, for example, has been investigated and publicly acknowledged by the government of Sweden, where he was seeking asylum when he was captured. (He’s now serving 15 years in an Egyptian prison for membership in a banned Islamic organization.) Jeppesen’s role is also public record, revealed in documents produced in separate inquiries by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.
Meanwhile, Britain’s High Court of Justice, which corroborated much of Binyam Mohamed’s story in its own investigation, in August ruled that Mohamed was entitled to obtain documents from the British government to establish that he was tortured so he can seek to exclude evidence extracted by torture as unreliable if he is ever prosecuted by U.S. authorities.
Curiously, however, part of the government’s “state secrets” claim rests on the need to protect information about the participation of U.S. allies in the CIA’s rendition program.
“It would be a remarkable irony if this Court were to affirm the dismissal of this suit in order to protect from disclosure the roles played by other nations - when those very nations are engaged in proceedings that continue to expose precisely the relationships and information that the United States here characterizes as ‘state secrets’, ” the men’s lawyers write in a brief filed with the court of appeals.
The Department of Justice declined to comment on this case. In its brief filed before President Obama took office, however, it argues, largely on the basis of a classified declaration of former CIA Director Michael Hayden submitted “in camera” – that is, for exclusive review by the judge — that release of any information pertaining to this case would harm national security. Hayden’s statement “explained more fully than was possible on the public record the scope of information subject to the privilege assertion, and the harms that would flow from its disclosure,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. Although the victims perhaps “cannot appreciate fully the reasons for the district court’s conclusion . . . or comprehend the substantial harm to national security and foreign relations that could reasonably be expected to result from litigating this case,” the court of appeals should rest assured that the government’s reasoning is sound, write the government lawyers.
Contacted last week by TWI, a Justice Department spokesman would not say whether the new Obama administration would change its position in this case. He confirmed only that oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 9.
If the Obama administration maintains the government’s position in this case, said Wizner, it would further the Bush administration’s strategy of turning the state secrets privilege into a blanket immunity for the most egregious and unlawful government action.
“Every single civil torture case that’s been filed has been dismissed at the pleadings stage on what non-lawyers would call a technicality,” said Wizner, referring to the state secrets and government immunity defenses that have succeeded in other torture cases.
In another lawsuit filed by the ACLU in 2006 on behalf of rendition victim Khaled El-Masri, for example, a federal court in Virginia accepted the government’s same argument that the subject of the entire case was privileged and dismissed the lawsuit. El-Masri was a German citizen and car salesman when he was abducted in 2003 by U.S. authorities, transported to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan and tortured, until he was released without charge in 2004, dumped on a hill in Albania. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, an ideologically conservative court long dominated by Republican judges, affirmed the lawsuit’s dismissal. (The Ninth Circuit Court in California that will hear the Jeppesen case is considered more liberal.)
“The Bush administration said over and over not just that these programs were necessary, but that they were legal,” insists Wizner. “But they’ve never allowed any court to rule on it.”
None of the victims involved in the case against Jeppesen were available to talk to TWI, but in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Khaled El-Masri wrote after his case was dismissed in 2007:
“Above all, what I want from the lawsuit is a public acknowledgment from the U.S. government that I was innocent, a mistaken victim of its rendition program, and an apology for what I was forced to endure. Without this vindication, it has been impossible for me to return to a normal life.”
Advocates hope the new administration will stop using the state secrets defense to avoid providing that kind of acknowledgment.
“Instead of this notion that the entire subject matter of the lawsuit is a state secret, there should be a parsing of the evidence,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel at the Constitution Project, an independent nonprofit think tank that issued a comprehensive report last year on the need to reform the state secrets privilege. “The new administration might have a valid state secrets claim about some particular pieces of evidence, but it shouldn’t be the entire lawsuit. We all know there’s been this extraordinary rendition program. The government should consent to an independent review by a judge as to what evidence should or should not be disclosed.”
More broadly, advocates have been pressing for a law such as the bipartisan State Secrets Protection Act, introduced by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) last year, that would codify and narrow the state secrets privilege “to restore the role of the courts as an independent check,” says Franklin. They’ve also asked the Obama transition team to change the government’s policy on its use.
“We’ve asked that the Attorney General put in place a much better system for reviewing when the Justice Department will assert the state secrets privilege,” said Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel for the National Security Archives at George Washington University. “Because once it’s asserted it’s tremendously powerful.”
In a memorandum issued to the heads of all agencies last week, President Obama wrote: “The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve.”
Advocates will watch closely to see how the Obama administration will handle this and other cases that under the Bush administration were stymied by government secrecy.
“Because the Bush administration was so secretive and it played out in so much litigation,” said Fuchs, “what happens in these cases is a good test of whether the Obama administration really means what it’s saying.”
If you're feeling shocked the United States of America is involved in such goings-on---or worse, don't want to know about it---consider please that our government has boasted a "base" of the fundamentalist religious right for a number of years. Fundamentalists around the world have nothing if not a record of torture. If you think Christians are above such practices, please review your history...and one place to do that might be here~~~


Quinty said...

The odd thing is that Bush departed from some of his predecessors only in that he was so open about torture. Torture has been practiced in the United States going far, far back. In the Philippines (1902-1913) it was quite common. There are many instances in other American wars. And here at home “the third degree” was (is it still?) commonplace in police stations, forming part of the background for the Miranda decision.

Bush, well, Bush was so Bush. He did it in wide open secret and blatantly. And when inevitably the scandal broke the Bib Boys simply blamed it on some buck privates, a sergeant or two, and the general (a woman) in charge. It never went up the ladder to the very top. Of course the Bush administration should be investigated and prosecuted.

Why all the reluctance?

I have a theory that the Republicans have never forgiven the Democrats for going after Nixon.

And then following that there was Iran Contra, tarnishing their idol Ronald Reagan.

When they caught Clinton lying under oath about his sex life that gift was simply too large to pass by. It was finally “pay back.” Had not the Republicans endured previous scandals they may have been willing to blink an eye. But the fact that their own rogues had committed serious crimes didn’t hamper them. Perjury is perjury, after all.

My guess is that the Democrats today are attempting to end the retuperative cycle. Their dilemma is that the new president is hoping (???) for bipartisanship on the one hand. And on the other to maintain some level of national health past crimes - crimes committed by high officials - need to be examined. The reasons why should be obvious.

We can’t have both, and the Republicans still have a bitter taste from enduring previous scandals. Bush is only their latest embarrassment.

Well, we’ve seen how the Republicans react to collegial bipartisanship. They are on the attack. Hoping they would ever have abandoned their fixations (a better and more accurate word than “ideals”) may have been naive. Or perhaps Obama’s attempts have demonstrated to the American people that there can not be any true, fundamental bipartisanship. No mores so than a crocodile can be trained not to eat swimming sheep.

So let the Attorney General do his work. And let’s bring back the office of the special prosecutor. Let justice ring and the congressional hearings begin. The Republicans will seek “pay back” for sure. But nobody is above the law, not even to keep the peace, or for reasons of political expediency. Perhaps someone can point out to disappointed Republicans that law breaking is law breaking, no matter who does. As they so righteously claimed during the Lewinski affair.

Let’s hope Rove’s luck has run out too, and that he has nowhere to hide. His arrogance is truly appalling.

Quinty said...

Rereading my comment I see numerous errors. Oh, that we could go back into these postings and fix them!!!

Bib Boys is Big Boys. And the loop de loop is also elsewhere......

jazzolog said...

Yes, there are a number of aspects of the Blogger platform that are a problem for this dialup non-techie. But a lot of people more in-the-know construct beautiful and amazing sites in here. Thanks for the comment, Quinty.

Cut off as we've been here in Southeast Ohio by emergency conditions from the ice storm, I wanted to preserve a couple of items from the past week by posting here. First was Greg Palast's blast at the unified Republican rejection of an economic stimulus package in the House---and promise of more Nay's in the Senate~~~

Obama is a two-faced liar. Aw-RIGHT!
by Greg Palast


January 29, 2009

Republicans are right. President Barack Obama treated them like dirt, didn't give a damn what they thought about his stimulus package, loaded it with a bunch of programs that will last for years and will never leave the budget, is giving away money disguised as "tax refunds," and is sneaking in huge changes in policy, from schools to health care, using the pretext of an economic emergency.
Way to go, Mr. O! Mr. Down-and-Dirty Chicago pol. Street-fightin' man. Covering over his break-you-face power play with a "we're all post-partisan friends" BS.

And it's about time.

Frankly, I was worried about this guy. Obama's appointing Clinton-droids to the Cabinet, bloated incompetents like Larry Summers as "Economics Czar," made me fear for my country, that we'd gotten another Democrat who wished he were a Republican.

Then came Obama's money bomb. The House bill included $125 billion for schools (TRIPLING federal spending on education - yes!), expanding insurance coverage to the unemployed, making the most progressive change in the tax code in four decades by creating a $500 credit against social security payroll deductions, and so on.

It's as if Obama dug up Ronald Reagan's carcass and put a stake through The Gipper's anti-government heart. Aw-RIGHT!

About the only concession Obama threw to the right-wing trogs was to remove the subsidy for condoms, leaving hooker-happy GOP Senators, like David Vitter, to pay for their own protection. S'OK with me.

And here's the proof that Bam is The Man: Not one single Republican congressman voted for the bill. And that means that Obama didn't compromise, the way Clinton and Carter would have, to win the love of these condom-less jerks.

And we didn't need'm. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

Now I understand Obama's weird moves: dinner with those creepy conservative columnists, earnest meetings at the White House with the Republican leaders, a dramatic begging foray into Senate offices. Just as the Republicans say, it was all a fraud. Obama was pure Chicago, Boss Daley in a slim skin, putting his arms around his enemies, pretending to listen and care and compromise, then slowly, quietly, slipping in the knife. All while the media praises Obama's "post-partisanship." Heh heh heh.

Love it. Now we know why Obama picked that vindictive little viper Rahm Emanuel to run the White House schedule: everyone visiting the Oval Office will be greeted by the Windy City hit man who would hack up your grandma if you mess with the Godfather-in-Chief.

I don't know about you, but THIS is the change I've been waiting for.

Will it last?

We'll see if Obama caves in to more tax cuts to investment bankers. We'll see if he stops the sub-prime scum-bags from foreclosing on frightened families. We'll see if he stands up to the whining, gormless generals who don't know how to get our troops out of Iraq. (In SHIPS, you doofusses!)

Look, don't get your hopes up. But it may turn out the new President's ... a Democrat!

Greg Palast's investigative reports for BBC and Rolling Stone can be seen at Palast is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

But "gormless?" I had to look that up. Has Greg been in Britain too long?

For those who prefer positive thinking, we got Isaiah J. Poole's on Thursday of the First 10 Days~~~

What A Difference Ten Days Make
By Isaiah J. Poole
Created 01/30/2009 - 10:10am

Consider how far we've come since January 20.

On Thursday, the Senate followed the House in passing a reauthorization of a child health insurance bill that will mean 4 million more children will have access to health insurance. When the Congress passed similar legislation last year, then-President Bush vetoed the legislation—twice. This time, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law next week.

Increasing the number of working-class families who have health insurance for their children is just one of the significant victories progressives can lay claim to in just the first 10 days of the Obama administration.

Struggles over the the administration's economic recovery package, and the brutal snubbing Obama received from House Republicans in spite of what most progressives think were ill-advised compromises, have threatened to overshadow the sea-change that is unfolding inside the Beltway. It's wrong to let that happen. Instead, the change should be celebrated, defended and established as a foundation for the bolder policy steps that this administration must take in the days ahead.

The positives so far are sweeping:

An executive order that commits the United States to closing the international shame that is Guantanamo Bay, and that will finally mean that Guantanamo detainees will receive legal due process—and that the United States has returned to respecting the rule of law.

An executive order, and a clear statement from Obama's attorney general-designate Eric Holder, that reject the Bush administration's policy on torture.

Repeal of the Bush administration order that banned funding to international family planning organizations that supported legal abortions, which means that vital women's health services to poor countries will begin flowing again.

President Obama's signing on Thursday of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which will finally allow victims of wage discrimination a fair chance in the courts to get the justice due them. Ledbetter, who lost a conservative Supreme Court ruling that she could not pursue a wage discrimination claim because of an impractical statute of limitations, was able to witness the White House signing.

A memorandum that allows California and several other states to impose tough auto-emissions standards, a move that a New York Times analysis suggests is the first step in a relationship with state governments of "progressive federalism."

Obama's interview with the Al-Arabiya television network, in which he pledged a relationship of mutual respect with the Arab world, backed with the reminder that he has direct Muslim familial ties. The interview has immediately opened possibilities for diplomatic progress with the Arab world on a host of issues.

Obama's visit to the Pentagon this week to make clear his intention to follow through on his campaign promise of a safe and responsible withdrawal from Iraq and a refocusing of resources on repairing the Bush administration's disastrous handling of the fight against al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

Then there is the economic recovery bill that dominated the news this week, a bill that my colleague Bernie Horn calls "the biggest and boldest progressive legislation in 40 years," even with its concessions to business interests and conservative whiners. This bill makes a significant down payment toward addressing both the short- and long-term challenges of rebuilding the economy and assuring that prosperity is more broadly spread than it was under President Bush.

Yes, Obama administration proposals have had to be nudged in a more progressive direction by allies in Congress and by activist groups, and that will continue to be the case. But let's also appreciate how much change is already beginning to happen. Conservatives are certainly noticing, and if we are not careful to guard and build upon the victories that we are winning, it will not take long for us to be dragged back into much darker times.

Finally, I need to mention John Updike's passing. The New York Times attempted no words but instead published one of his poems taken from a forthcoming collection, “Endpoint and Other Poems”~~~


It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

Quinty said...

Do those who complain of “creeping Socialism” even know what they’re talking about? (Some Republican Senators stood up to argue against SCHIP on this basis.)

I’ve seen the term even used to describe increased taxes on the rich. Which, of course, has nothing to do with Socialism.

So the use of the word must express an attitude, rather than express any kind of logical criticism of real life economic practices.

It’s like pornography, Socialism is. You know it when you see it. And any manifestation of government competency, with the exception of militarily whumping some third world country, is Socialism.

Never mind that a national healthcare program will bring decent health services to everyone. That good as an end diminishes when compared to the evils of Socialism. And if you have the right attitude you never ask if a new government program will bring about a desired and beneficial public good. For the litmus test it must pass is the basic sniff test. Does it smell like Socialism?

And what is Socialism to so-called Conservatives? Big government! Government solving problems. Competent, effective government. The government helping the poor, safeguarding the environment, regulating the market place, protecting consumers, children, patients, and other so-called “special interests.” Etc.

True enough, if government had engaged in these activities in the 1840’s we may never have heard of Marx.

Updike deserved a Nobel. As did Mailer. Now both gone.

jazzolog said...

I grew up in a town of about 40,000 in Western New York. The furniture industry there had brought artisans from both Sweden and Italy to work together in common pursuit of a livelihood. This wasn't always amicable, given that Italians and Swedes have little we share socially, except meatballs---and fistfights could break out over what the ingredients should be in those.

My great uncle was mayor emeritus of Jamestown, serving through the 30s and 40s...and continuing to appear at city council meetings with ideas for improvements well into my teenage years. I never heard Samuel Carlson declare to be a socialist, but he manifested in our city many of the ideas we think of about Sweden. That the people control utilities was prime in his thinking, and to this day Jamestown has among the lowest electricity rates you'll find anywhere. It's not a progressive community by any stretch, and I imagine still a typical upstate Republican stronghold; but people like me grew up with socialist facilities all around and were so accustomed to them that it was quite a shock to move into the larger American world and discover things just aren't that way.

Paul Krugman this morning instructs us about something called "lemon socialism," which he defines thus: "taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right." In his column "Bailouts For Bunglars," he finds Obama's plan in regard to banks continues the doleout of cash. "And in return for what is likely to be a huge subsidy to stockholders, taxpayers will get, well, nothing."

Benjamin R. Barber, in the February 9th issue of The Nation, takes the next step to question the very nature of this terrible "free market" globalized capitalism shoved down our throats by Poppy and Sonny Bush. He concludes, "The struggle for the soul of capitalism is...a struggle between the nation's economic body and its civic soul: a struggle to put capitalism in its proper place, where it serves our nature and needs rather than manipulating and fabricating whims and wants." Barber wrote a book with a subtitle I love: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults and Swallow Citizens Whole.

jazzolog said...

I'm going to one of these Obama house gatherings this afternoon, and I'm trying to get issues prioritized. I'm very concerned not only about torture, but also military secret ops...and this whole business of the United States feeling we have to sneak around, attack first, and show other evidence of crumbling "empire." We used to treat the people of the world and each other differently. We're way off track.

The media is the key, Reagan's overhaul of the FCC the villain, and Associated Press CEO Curley has the evidence. His speech at the University of Kansas on Friday tells the tale~~~

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."

Much like in Vietnam, "civilian policymakers and soldiers alike have cracked down on independent reporting from the battlefield" when the news has been unflattering, Curley said. "Top commanders have told me that if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined."

The other matter of course is the Stimulus Package. Both Joseph Stiglitz and Naomi Klein are advising nationalization of the banks...and that's good enough for me.

Here's the Stiglitz interview with Deutsche Welle on Friday~~~,,4005355,00.html

and a report of an address by Klein in Chicago January 29th, in which she also urges the President to get really Green and do it now~~~

President Obama still is fooling around with the Senate, where Shock Doctrine holds forth (and he's used a bit of it himself) and apparently going on the road this week. I understand the hesitation to be too FDR about all this, but I guess that's what I'm going to advise this afternoon.

Utah Savage said...

I'm quite hopeful that when Bush fulfills his agreement to make a speech for big bucks in Canada he will be arrested and charged with war crimes. I know that this is probably naive, but I'm wanting to see the pack of them eventually end up at the Hague. They have commttted crimes against humanity. They have subverted the constitution, they have spied on all of us without warrants or cause. They are criminals. No one is above the law. Because the president does it it's not illegal? Been there. Frost/Nixon is so timely.

Took me long enough to get here, but it was well worth the trip.