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Pentagon Reclassifying Documents Already in the Public Domain
By The Public Record Staff | The Public Record
From George Washington University’s National Security Archive:
Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today’s secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years. On Friday, the National Security Archive posted multiple versions of the same documents—on issues ranging from the 1973 October War to anti-ballistic missiles, strategic arms control, and U.S. policy toward China—that are already declassified and in the public domain.
What earlier declassification reviewers released in full, sometimes years ago, Pentagon reviewers have more recently excised, sometimes massively. The overclassification highlighted by these examples poses a major problem that should be addressed by the ongoing review of national security information policy that President Obama ordered on May 27, 2009. New presumptions against classification that may be added to an executive order on national security information will not, in isolation, end overclassification. Rigorous oversight, accompanied by improved training and consequences for improper classification are essential. Read more.
WHEN WE SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER, DOES ANYONE LISTEN?
By Max Obuszewski | No Good War
In late June Holder asked an aide for a copy of the CIA inspector general's thick classified report on interrogation abuses. He cleared his schedule and, over two days, holed up alone in his Justice Depart ment office, immersed himself in what Dick Cheney once referred to as ‘the dark side.’ He read the report twice, the first time as a lawyer, looking for evidence and instances of transgressions that might call for prosecution. The second time, he started to absorb what he was reading at a more emotional level. He was ‘shocked and saddened,’ he told a friend, by what government servants were alleged to have done in America's name. When he was done he stood at his window for a long time, staring at Constitution Avenue.” Independent’s Day, Daniel Klaidman, NEWSWEEK dated Jul. 20, 2009
For several years, members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have tried to speak truth to power. For example, after an exuberant rally in Washington, D.C.’s John Marshall Park on June 25, Torture Accountability Action Day, NCNR led a march to the Department of Justice to seek a meeting to discuss the indictment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney.
A letter had been sent on May 11 to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting a meeting. He never responded, so we marched to the DOJ entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue with banners calling for the prosecution of members of the Bush Administration for war crimes.
Last year, we sent a similar letter to then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Since he did not respond, we rallied on November 10 outside the DOJ’s Constitution Avenue entrance. A public relations person came out and said he would only deliver our letter. Since we were denied a meeting, sixteen of us did a die-in on the sidewalk. The police declined to arrest us.
The same PR person came out on June 25 and took a copy of the Holder letter. This time he claimed we would receive a response, but said nothing about a meeting. So again we did a die-in, and twelve of us got on the sidewalk to express our disgust. First, representatives of the DOJ were refusing to meet with concerned citizens, and second, it seemed the illegal machinations of the Bush administration were not going to be investigated.
A family vacation over Independence Day offered a poignant reminder of why, over 30 years ago, my parents sought refuge in the U.S. Fleeing the racial hostility they encountered in Britain after escaping the brutality of the Indian Subcontinent's Partition, they found in rural Missouri economic opportunity, political freedom, and small town Midwestern hospitality. Today, the specter of preventive detention calls into question whether my parents' grandchildren will enjoy the same freedom.
Warrantless domestic spying, detention without trial, torture, and excessive secrecy raised concerns across the political spectrum and fueled recent change in the White House. These policies, however, remain equally noxious under the new administration, which currently entertains proposals beyond even its predecessors' wildest plans.
We should begin by removing the beltway spin. Whether called "preventive," "indefinite," or simply "prolonged," prevention detention schemes are essentially lawless, unconstitutional, and un-American. And whether established through an executive order or an act of Congress, they would undermine—not enhance—our national security.
Here's a post at AmericaBlog that complains that Obama refuses to throw out Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell on the grounds that it is a "Constitutional" law, even though Obama trashes other laws with signing statements. Now, this blog post does not exactly ask Obama to throw out DADT, but it does fail to state clearly that activists for peace and justice who possess any sort of foresight oppose presidents operating as dictators even when done benevolently, because of the danger it creates. And the blog fails to say one word about demanding that Congress change the law. This is the problem with our obsession with the emperor even when our motives are good.
Veronza Bowers, Jr. - Another Victim of America's Criminal Justice System
by Stephen Lendman
On September 15, 1973, Veronza Bowers, Jr. was arrested in Mill Valley, California and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. After state charges were dropped for lack of probable cause to obtain a search warrant, the FBI arrested Bowers and charged him with the first-degree murder of National Park Service ranger Kenneth Patrick on August 5, 1973 at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco.
At trial, testimonies from two government informants, Alan Veale and Jonathan Shoher, proved crucial. Both were also charged with the killing. Yet there were no independent eye-witnesses, and no evidence incriminated Bowers besides the word of these two men who had every incentive to cooperate with the Department of Justice.
Some lived it,
some heard of it,
some speculated about it.
But who knew?
Now, watch it here.
You will, too.
U.S. Wiretapping of Limited Value, Officials Report
By Eric Lichtblau and James Risen | NYTimes
While the Bush administration had defended its program of wiretapping without warrants as a vital tool that saved lives, a new government review released Friday said the program’s effectiveness in fighting terrorism was unclear.
The report, mandated by Congress last year and produced by the inspectors general of five federal agencies, found that other intelligence tools used in assessing security threats posed by terrorists provided more timely and detailed information.
Most intelligence officials interviewed “had difficulty citing specific instances” when the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program contributed to successes against terrorists, the report said. Read more.
An Islamic charity challenging former President George W. Bush's wiretapping program in a San Francisco federal court cited candidate Barack Obama's words Thursday in arguing that a president has no power to unilaterally order eavesdropping on Americans.
Lawyers for the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation introduced their brief by quoting Obama's words in December 2007: "Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional."
FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, requires the government to get a warrant from a court that meets in secret before intercepting messages between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists. Bush acknowledged in 2005 that he authorized such surveillance four years earlier and said he had constitutional authority to take such actions during wartime. Read more.
The Bush administration built an unprecedented surveillance operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday, questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal.
The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."
The report says too few relevant officials knew of the size and depth of the program, let alone signed off on it. They particularly criticize John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general who wrote legal memos undergirding the policy. His boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was not aware until March 2004 of the exact nature of the intelligence operations beyond wiretapping that he had been approving for the previous two and a half years, the report says. Read more .
From the Young Turks
Writer for The Nation and Politico comes on TYT to discuss how radical and dangerous Obama's new indefinite detention policy is. Is his policy worse than Bush's and worse than what currently exists at Gitmo?
By Dave Lindorff
If this were the democracy that the Founding Fathers thought they were creating, word from CIA Director Leon Panetta that his agency had lied to Congress and specifically that it had lied repeatedly from 9-11-2001 through the end of 2008 concerning an as-yet undisclosed secret program, would have virtually every member of Congress in a state of rebellion, demanding answers.
After all, the CIA is required by law to report to at least the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and to the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress about such things.
But not only did the spy agency not report on what it was up to; it lied about what it was up to.
By Jeffrey Deskovic, AlterNet
My name is Jeffrey Deskovic. At age 17, I was wrongfully convicted of murder and rape, a conviction that was based upon a coerced, false confession, the fabrication of evidence, prosecutorial misconduct and fraud by a medical examiner. I was cleared 16 years later -- almost three years ago -- when DNA evidence proved my innocence, while also identifying the real perpetrator, who subsequently confessed to the crime. Since my release, I have made it my life's mission to battle against wrongful convictions and fight for legislation that would minimize the chances of what happened to me happening to someone else. It is this fight that compels me to speak out about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
DCrs! Walter Reed Vigil Every Friday, 7-9 PM Despite Orders to Stop Free Speech Calling for Peace, Care & Vet Benefits
The Walter Reed Vigil continues every Friday evening from 7-9 PM.
Our Vigil calls for Peace, Care for the wounded, and Full Benefits for all veterans.
Sisters and brothers,
The Walter Reed Vigil is now in its fifth year of continuous Friday evenings. We have withstood weather, fascists, warmongers, and motorcycle clubs—we are still here. Now we face another attempt to silence our messages of Peace, Care, and Full Benefits for veterans.
FRIDAY JULY 10, 2009
Come out for FREE SPEECH, for an END TO WAR and OCCUPATION, for an END TO SPREADING WAR—to call for ALL OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS HOME RIGHT NOW!
Aren’t We There?
Bioweapons, Dangerous Vaccines, and Threats of a Global Pandemic
By Stephen Lendman
Although international law prohibits the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons, America has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s. In 1941, it began secret developmental efforts using controversial testing methods. During WW II, mustard gas was tested on about 4000 servicemen. Biological weapons research was also conducted. Human subjects were used as guinea pigs in various other experiments, and numerous illegal practices continued to the present, including secretly releasing toxic biological agents in US cities to test the effects of germ warfare.
"Taking Back Our Constitutional Rights" July 4, 2009, Speech delivered by Marcy Winograd at Liberty Hill tribute in San Pedro
by Linda Milazzo
This morning I received the following letter from President Barack Obama:
Upcoming DC Panel: "Congress vs. the President: The Scope and Limits of Congressional Oversight Powers"
The Constitution Project is holding a panel "Congress vs. the President: The Scope and Limits of Congressional Oversight Powers" on July 16th. Details and RSVP here.
Sixty years ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson left Washington to pursue what he later called "the most important, enduring, and constructive work of [his] life": prosecuting international war crimes committed during WWII. Justice Jackson helped usher in a new international regime that promised to help deter human rights abuses.
Unfortunately, Jackson's achievements have proven less enduring than he hoped. Our nation continues to undermine international law by sweeping torture under the rug, with serious implications going forward.
The Nuremberg Trials established a timeless principle: individuals are criminally liable for violating fundamental human rights, even if their governments authorized those violations. Some laws, Nuremberg held, transcend those of any nation.
Reflections on this Fourth of July
Daphne Eviatar has this shameful story. There are those who would like to establish the precedent that a president can decree such an unconstitutional law into being, rather than risk allowing Congress to legislate the same thing (they might come up with something worse). Hmm. Are those the only two possible courses of action here?
Iowa & Wisconsin Green Parties Sue Davenport, Iowa
By Ronald Hardy | Green Party Watch
Last year two Wisconsin Greens went to Iowa to help Iowa Greens get Cynthia McKinney on the ballot. They hit Iowa City, and several other cities, before going to Davenport, IA for the Bix Street Fest, a large event with lots of people - ideal for gathering signatures. Event organizers DavenportOne confronted the petitioners and tried to force them to leave the streets of Davenport. They called the police.
The ACLU of Iowa took up the case and now the Green Party of the United States, The Wisconsin Greens and the Green Party of Iowa are suing Davenport for violating their first amendment rights to petition." Read more.
The Society of American Law Teachers has sent President Obama a letter uring him to take a leadership role in seeking the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and to replace it with a nondiscrimination provision that would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces. Reminding the President of his campaign rhetoric, SALT reiterated the demographic data that supports repeal. In a recent Gallup poll, over 70 percent of the American public believed that gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the armed forces. Perhaps more importantly, in a poll of verterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 75% reported being "personally comfortable" with gays and lesbians. Former Chairmen of the Join Chiefs of Staff, John Shalikoshvili and Colin Powell, among other high ranking military officials, have also recognized the time for repeal is now.
Spies In the Classroom: The Government Is Running a Secretive Intelligence Recruitment Program in Schools
Spies In the Classroom: The Government Is Running a Secretive Intelligence Recruitment Program in Schools
The "Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program" may become a permanent budget item, making universities unwitting agents of state intelligence.
By David Price | Alternet
As the continuities and disjunctures between the Bush and Obama administrations come into focus it becomes increasingly clear that while Obama’s domestic agenda has some identifiable breaks with Bush’s, at its core, the new administration remains committed to staying the course of American militarization. Now we have an articulate, nuanced president who supports elements of progressive domestic policies, can even comfortably say the phrase LGBT in public speeches, while funding military programs at alarming levels and continuing the Bush administration’s military and intelligence invasion of what used to be civilian life.
The latest manifestation of this continuity came last week when Dennis C. Blair, Director of National Intelligence, announced plans to transform the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP) from a pilot project into a permanent budget item. Blair also announced plans to establish a “Reserve Officers' Training Corps” to train unidentified future intelligence officers in US college classrooms. Like students receiving PRISP funds, the identities of students participating in these programs would not be known to professors, university administrators or fellow students -- in effect, these future intelligence analysts and agents would conduct their first covert missions in our university classrooms. Read more.
HR 1966 has cleared the House and now faces the Senate as S.909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (officially, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act). The bill is expected to sail through the Senate as it did in the House. It will provide federal assistance to the states, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for “other purposes.” It creates special protective status based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
S.909 is a direct violation of the First Amendment. It allows the federal government to prosecute people involved in “hate speech” transmitted over television, radio, and the internet. The House version of the bill states:
Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce [radio, TV, internet] any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. (HR 1966, SEC 3, Sec. 881a)Read more.
Dissidents, Hate Speech, Free Speech and Propaganda
Szandor Blestman | American Chronicle
I saw Glenn Beck the other day talking about the shooting at the holocaust memorial. On this particular program he wasn´t so much reporting the facts of the case as he was regaling us with his opinion. It appears as if this man James von Brunn has set a tempest upon us with his despicable action. One man kills another and mainstream media personalities are suddenly condemning entire groups of people numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not the millions. One crazy, paranoid, violent old man, perhaps suffering from who knows what kind of brain disorder, takes it upon himself to murder someone in cold blood and suddenly he is not responsible, but shadowy groups of hate mongers must have been pulling his strings? One tragic incident and suddenly I´m hearing rumblings that one of humankind´s most cherished birthrights needs to be monitored by those in power, thus tarnishing the memory of thousands who died in defense of such rights.
Mr. Beck made a statement something to the effect that he felt "9/11 truthers" were dangerous, potentially violent people. He´s been saying things like that for some time. James von Brunn is a racist, angry, violent man whose actions may be judged as that of a madman. Mr. Beck used that man´s individual actions as an excuse to condemn many who are nothing more than peaceful activists or those trying to express a point of view that may seem unacceptable to the majority. Any affiliations James von Brunn may have had, be they with the 9/11 truth movement or with some kind of white supremacist organization, are incidental. Just because he went out and decided to initiate violence against others doesn´t mean that everyone else in all the organizations he was affiliated with are going to go out and start doing the same. Read more.