The long saught DoJ "Torture Memo" written by John Yoo, offering a defense to George W. Bush and his sadistic friends to order the torture, and even killing, of detainees, has finally been made available. Not by the DoJ to Congress as they'd long sought, but to the ACLU via a FOIA request. (Thank you, ACLU!)
Yoo's document is some 80 pages long, offering what he feels --- or what the Administration wanted him to feel --- is a reasonable legal defense for the use of torture, even where it is explicitly disallowed by international treaties to which the U.S. has signed on.
Progressive Democrats of America hosted Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam" in Los Angeles on Sunday night at an event moderated by Bree Walker. Video of the entire conversation can be found below broken down into individual Q&A to make each part easily accessible:
The dirty little secret about the "Bush Doctrine" and how the last eight years have "opened up a Pandora's box" (6:53)
American misperceptions about the Muslim community (3:21)
Good news! The bombshell report on the front page of London's Sunday Times on charges made by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, has finally led to press coverage by the mainstream media!
From one side of the globe to the other, as expected, the explosive whistleblower allegations concerning highly-placed, well-known U.S. officials in the Departments of State and Defense involved in an illicit, for-profit scheme to develop and protect a network of spies, who then stole and sold American nuclear secrets to the international black markets via Turkey, Israel and Pakistan, is now worldwide news!
That, even though the Times only covered "about 20%" of the story she has to tell, according to Edmonds, with whom we spoke late last night.
Sunday's British blockbuster, detailing how nuclear secrets were then proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially even al-Qaeda, was picked up on Monday and reported by international mainstream outlets such as The Times of India, Pakistan's Daily Times, Iran's PressTV, Israel's Haaretz and even the Turkish Daily News.
Here in the United States, the mainstream media coverage included:
That's right. Nobody. None of them. Zilch. Not a one.
Edmonds told The BRAD BLOG last night that her phone had been ringing of the hook since the Times story hit. From reporters around the globe, she said. As to America: "Not a single mainstream media channel, not even a newspaper."
Apparently American nuclear secrets, stolen by "moles" at America's most sensitive nuclear installations, sold on the black market with the help and protection of highly placed American officials, which then found their way into the hands of America's enemies, is not notable news to Americans. According to the American corporate mainstream media, anyway. We suppose they're all too busy fighting the War on Terror in New Hampshire or something.
And you wonder how our country got into this mess?
Edmonds was no longer amazed by it all. We still are.
(Hat-tip to Mizgîn, a Kurdish blogger at Rastî, for her collection of foreign press articles covering the Sunday Times story. Note: Mizgîn also has some harsh words for the coverage of our friend Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY at that same link. We are friends with Alexandrovna, and are thus likely compromised on this point. So we'll stay out of it for now and let each of them deal with the particulars as they see fit.)
UPDATE 6:22pm PT Credit where it's due. Independent American broadcast media outlet, INN World Report, seen on some satellite TV providers, covered the report in detail, including an interview with yours truly...
Okay, we will ask again. We report on what the American people (and the world) need to know about. The corporate mainstream media does not --- as evidenced above. Therefore, we ask again for your support, so we can continue to do exactly that, via an online donation to The BRAD BLOG. If you don't support our efforts, make no mistake, nobody else will.
Washington, D.C. -- U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy held a hearing this morning on a motion filed by attorneys representing detainees being held in Guantanamo. Following reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post that CIA videotapes of ‘harsh interrogations’ of detainees had been destroyed, apparently by the CIA, possibly under administration approval, attorneys David Remes and Marc Falkoff filed an Emergency Motion [PDF] for inquiry into the preservation of documents relating to prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.
Before Judge Kennedy and a courtroom packed with journalists,
• Lawyers for the detainees are asking the court to schedule a hearing for inquiry into whether the government is preserving evidence relating to detainees. Attorney David Remes expressed concern that the destruction of the two videotapes, as reported, may not be the full extent of the evidence destroyed...
Attention CBS 60 Minutes: we've got a huge scoop for you. If you want it.
Remember the exclusive story you aired on Sibel Edmonds, originally on October 27th, 2002, when she was not allowed to tell you everything that she heard while serving as an FBI translator after 9/11 because she was gagged by the rarely-invoked "States Secret Privilege"? Well, she's still gagged. In fact, as the ACLU first described her, she's "the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America."
But if you'll sit down and talk with her for an unedited interview, she has now told The BRAD BLOG during an exclusive interview, she will now tell you everything she knows.
Everything she hasn't been allowed to tell since 2002, about the criminal penetration of the FBI where she worked, and at the Departments of State and Defense; everything she heard concerning the corruption and illegal activities of several well-known members of Congress; everything she's aware of concerning information omitted and/or covered up in relation to 9/11. All of the information gleaned from her time listening to and translating wire-taps made prior to 9/11 at the FBI.
Here's a handy bullet-point list, as we ran it in March of 2006, for reference, of what she's now willing to tell you about.
"People say, 'why doesn't she just come forward and spill the beans?' I have gone all the way to the Supreme Court and was shut down, I went to Congress and now consider that shut down," she told The BRAD BLOG last week when we spoke with her for comments in relation to our story on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert's original attempt to move a resolution through the U.S. House in 2000 declaring the 1915 massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Turkey as "genocide."
"Here's my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks --- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX --- promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know," about everything mentioned above, she told us.
"I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up," she continued. "I'm not compromising ongoing investigations," Edmonds explained, because "they've all been shut down since."
Yes, her outing led to a still-classified CIA damage assessment and "serious" consequences" to other members of her CIA intelligence network.
No, despite Bush's promise, no one has ever been held accountable for leaking her identity in the first such outing of a covert CIA operative by agents of the U.S. Government itself.
No, Bush "is not a man of his word," as Valerie Plame Wilson told 60 Minutes tonight in her first broadcast network interview. Here's the video in two parts...
Some of what Plame is still not allowed to say, including details about "being taken hostage and subjected to torture for two days," is covered by her former CIA colleague, Larry Johnson, right here...
So what did the White House do about it? Johnson tells us...
When the White House learned of these threats they sprung into action. They beefed up Secret Service protection for Vice President Cheney and provided security protection to Karl Rove. But they declined to do anything for Valerie. That was a CIA problem.
Valerie contacted the office of Security at CIA and requested assistance. They told her too fucking bad and to go pound sand. They did not use those exact words, but they told her she was on her own.
While folks may have heard about the New York Times report last week concerning the secret DoJ memos created to give legal cover to the Administration to continue their policies of torturing prisoners of war, we suspect that most have not read the full, detailed 5-page investigative report.
But it's an important one, and it details the lengths to which the Bush team went to keep their pro-torture policies in place, even in the face of a DoJ rebellion, Congressional legislation, and even Supreme Court decisions. It was alarming to learn --- though we should hardly be alarmed at such things by now --- that when Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act in December 2005, meant to ban the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in American custody anywhere in the world, he already knew, even if Congress didn't, that his Dept. of Justice had previously created secret legal documents declaring their ongoing torturous interrogation techniques as not "cruel, inhuman or degrading."
In other words, he knew he'd be able to continue with torture as usual, since new AG Alberto Gonzales oversaw the crushing of an internal DoJ rebellion finding the practices to be both illegal and in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Also alarming (but also, shouldn't be by now), is the lackluster way in which Congress has reacted to this stunning news which --- like so many other things --- might have led to immediate Impeachment talk for almost any other administration.
For those with short-attention spans, however (like the aforementioned Congress members!), the NYTimes story included an excellent sidebar graphic summarizing the timeline and main beats in the "Interrogation Wars" from DoJ to the White House to Congress to the Supreme Court.
Since the graphic is too wide to easily run on most blogs, we've recreated the short, easy to read timeline in text format below. We'd strongly suggest, if nothing else, you familiarize yourself with it so you understand, in simple terms, the con game that has been played out here by this Administration.
As a bonus, below that, is a video from last Thursday Daily Show with John Stewart in which he interviews Jack Goldsmith, once the head of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, and the man who fought back, along with Dep. AG James Comey, against the policies. Though successful in their efforts, for a time, and to an extent, both men were eventually pushed out of the DoJ, as Gonzales was dispatched to quell the rebellion as AG.
One very short and very amusing anecdote, if we may, before both of those, buried on page 5 of the Times report....
The Washington Postreports that the United States and the European Union signed an agreement this week detailing the amount of private information the U.S. can obtain on EU citizens traveling to and from the United States, what kinds of information can be gathered, and for how long the data may be stored.
Privacy advocates in the U.S. and the E.U. immediately questioned the agreement's sweeping expansion of data mining of travelers’ private information, including such data fields as medical history, religious affiliation, trade union membership, sexual orientation, and sexual partners.
According to WaPo:
Peter Hustinx, the E.U.'s privacy supervisor, expressed "grave concern" over the plan, which he said is "without legal precedent." He wrote to E.U. officials on June 27, "I have serious doubts whether the outcome of these negotiations will be fully compatible with European fundamental rights."
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff praised the pact as an "essential screening tool for detecting potentially dangerous transatlantic travelers." If available at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Chertoff said, such information would have, "within a matter of moments, helped to identify many of the 19 hijackers by linking their methods of payment, phone numbers and seat assignments."
Paul Rosenzweig, Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary for policy, explained that the broad categories of information gathered are due to U.S. authorities' fears of risks they haven't yet imagined. Rosenzweig justified the unusual data fields if, for example, U.S. officials learned of an alert about passengers who request wheelchairs hiding bombs in leg casts.
George W. Bush's poll numbers are mired in the 20s, so he releases the hounds hoping to terrify the populace into rallying to him in fear:
Calling it "a gut feeling" based on past patterns of terrorists in Europe, recent al-Qaeda statements and intelligence he did not disclose, Chertoff said of terrorists: "Summertime seems to be appealing to them. ... We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."
A recent terror plot in London and Scotland has America's defense system on alert, Chertoff said. He urged Americans to be attentive if something appears suspicious. But he said there is an assessment "not of a specific threat, but of increased vulnerability."
And speaking of credit where it's due, the New York Times and several other outlets today confirm the story of secret US prisons in Poland and Romania which our friend and courageous investigative journalist, Larisa Alexandrovna, reported exclusively long ago with former Polish intelligence officer David Dastych over at the news site RAW STORY.
As usual, the Times, Washington Post, AP, and the Guardian all failed to acknowledge or recognize RAW in any way, despite that the fact that RAW "provided each of the four news organizations with the" report that they are today reporting on.
It's a continuing pattern, for which those outlets always have some form of excuse ("we verified it independently, we didn't know about the 'Internet reporting' on it previously, we don't credit 'blogs'," etc.) Meanwhile, RAW, ourselves, and virtually every other Internet reporting outlet routinely credit such MSM sources when we follow up on their reporting.
Anyway, none of them credited RAW, so we won't bother linking to any of them. Here's RAW STORY's coverage --- the ones who had the story and had it right in the first place --- instead.
Following up Arlen Parsa's BRAD BLOG article from yesterday detailing how the size of Bush's troop surge continues to balloon --- in both troop and budget size --- above and beyond what American's were told originally, today Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), the House Armed Service Committee chairman, sends a letter to DefSec Gates asking "Where does this end?" on the heels of yesterday's news that yet another 17,000 troops will be added to the "surged" forces.
In the second panel in the House Oversight Committee hearings this morning, following the testimony of Valerie Plame-Wilson, the Director of the White House Security Office, James Knodell, has stunned the Congress members by disclosing that no investigation into the leaking of Plame-Wilson's covert identity as a CIA operative was ever conducted by his office!
The members are flabbergasted. The questioning is intense. My live-blogging notes are posted, and updated live, below...
Also, the third panel, featuring Victoria Toensing, apologist for White House leaks, was fascinating, as her previous claims that "Plame was not covert" and that "she didn't serve overseas within five years prior to the leak" had been demolished by Plame-Wilson's earlier testimony. She attempted to mitigate the situation throughout her testimony by claiming that Plame-Wilson was not covert "under the provisions of the statute." Many more details below...
(Live blogging of Valerie Plame-Wilson's testimony is back here...)
UPDATE: Video of complete hearing and related documents now online at House Oversight Committee website right here...