Former British diplomat blasts New York Times’ subservience

Carne Ross blasts Bill Keller of New York Times. (see Glenn Greenwald’s must read post on Wikileaks and what it says about the political culture and press).

Virginia standing up to the Fifth Column

Eric Cantor

IMPORTANT: Pro-Palestine activists and ordinary Americans who want their country back have an ideal opportunity to strike against Israel and its fifth column in the United States. Rep Eric Cantor recently promised the Israeli government that he would do everything in his power to undercut his own president on behalf of Israel,  statements which are demonstrably felonious under the Logan Act of 1799. Even the rightwing Examiner was moved to write that

Cantor’s comments take away from American prestige, and set a dangerous precedent for future United States foreign policy.  Cantor and his Republican colleagues have every right to support the nation of Israel, but their ultimately loyalty should be to the United States and not the country of Israel.  If Israel’s interests conflict with that of the United States, the Israeli government should theoretically not be able to call on Republicans in Congress to “check” the foreign policy of the Obama administration.

Should someone take this case to court, it will be an open and shut case. Veteran journalist and blogger Helena Cobban is already rallying Virginians to confront Cantor. If you are one, this campaign could really use your support.

The following two posts are a must read, one by Helena Cobban and the other by Glenn Greenwald.
Continue reading “Virginia standing up to the Fifth Column”

Is Terrorism being used to erode free speech rights?

Glenn Greenwald predictably shines in this panel discussion at the NYU Law School along with NYU Law Professor Burt Neuborne, Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Supervisory Agent Niall Brennan, moderated by Time‘s Barton Gellman. See Greenwald’s post here.


Ten days into the New Year: Not-so-Happy Updates from Gitmo and Bagram

self-deceptionThe Obama administration and Judiciary have been providing a pretty grim preview of 2010 in relation to Guantanamo Bay and Bagram policies.  Here’s a three-part update on some of the devastating ‘developments’ that have taken place in recent days:

1) In the final days of 2009, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that U.S. government agencies may refuse to confirm or deny the existence of records when faced with a Freedom of Information Act request that might disclose sensitive intelligence activities, sources, or methods.

The ruling came on the heels of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted in 2006 by 23 lawyers representing detainees at Guantánamo Bay. In the aforementioned case, lawyers were seeking access to records from the National Security Agency (NSA) and Justice Department that were obtained or related to “ongoing or completed warrantless electronic surveillance or physical searches regarding, referencing, or concerning”any of the 23 lawyers.  

During the ruling, one of the three presiding appeals court judges, Jose Cabranes, uses logic that strikes the ear as painfully predictable in stating that “as long as the disclosure of such data puts national security at risk, intelligence agencies can withhold secret information.” Cabranes further writes, ” The fact that the public is aware of the program’s existence does not mean that the public is entitled to have information regarding the operation of the program, its targets, the information it has yielded, or other highly sensitive national security information that the government has continued to classify.”

Continue reading “Ten days into the New Year: Not-so-Happy Updates from Gitmo and Bagram”

Obama and habeas corpus — then and now

Glenn Greenwald shows that Obama is worse than Bush on state secrets.

It was once the case under the Bush administration that the U.S. would abduct people from around the world, accuse them of being Terrorists, ship them to Guantanamo, and then keep them there for as long as we wanted without offering them any real due process to contest the accusations against them.  That due-process-denying framework was legalized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006.  Many Democrats — including Barack Obama — claimed they were vehemently opposed to this denial of due process for detainees, and on June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that the denial of habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees was unconstitutional and that all Guantanamo detainees have the right to a full hearing in which they can contest the accusations against them.

In the wake of the Boumediene ruling, the U.S. Government wanted to preserve the power to abduct people from around the world and bring them to American prisons without having to provide them any due process.  So, instead of bringing them to our Guantanamo prison camp (where, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, they were entitled to habeas hearings), the Bush administration would instead simply send them to our prison camp in Bagram, Afghanistan, and then argue that because they were flown to Bagram rather than Guantanamo, they had no rights of any kind and Boudemiene didn’t apply to them.  The Bush DOJ treated the Boumediene ruling, grounded in our most basic constitutional guarantees, as though it was some sort of a silly game — fly your abducted prisoners to Guantanamo and they have constitutional rights, but fly them instead to Bagram and you can disappear them forever with no judicial process.  Put another way, you just close Guantanamo, move it to Afghanistan, and — presto — all constitutional obligations disappear.

Continue reading “Obama and habeas corpus — then and now”

Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald on Bill Moyers Journal

Bill Moyers talks with alternative media heavyweights Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman about what can and can’t be addressed in big corporate media. Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald are the first recipients of the Park Center for Independent Media Izzy Award (named for I.F. Stone).

You know, fiction!

I am stealing Glenn Greenwald’s characteristically brilliant post on the incestuous relationship between the elite media and the political class. Bear in mind that Howard Kurtz is the same hack who led the government counteroffensive against Gary Webb (see here and here) — the journalist who had exposed a CIA operation, later confirmed by an internal investigation, that showed that the agency had been funding its covert ops in Central America by aiding the smuggling of crack cocained into California — by destroying his career. Here Greenwald destroys Kurtz and all that he represents.

Howard Kurtz: government and media need a “cease-fire” now and then

(updated below – Update II – Update III – Update IV)

Howard Kurtz makes an extremely funny joke today, showing why he is the “media critic” for both The Washington Post and CNN:

I know the [DC media/political] dinners may project an image that we’re all just a bunch of cozy Washington insiders, but I don’t think they’re that big a deal. There’s such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols that spending a couple of evenings in a kind of light-hearted cease-fire doesn’t strike me as a terrible thing.

That is some very penetrating media criticism there.  The media and political leaders are at each other’s throats so viciously, they have such sharply conflicting interests, that it’s a wonder they can even be in the same room together without physical confrontation.  For instance, it was the same Howie Kurtz who, in 2004, wrote this about what happened at his own newspaper:
Continue reading “You know, fiction!”

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