December 15, 2009

Gathering for Gaza in Doylestown, Dec. 27, 2009

Isaac Luria of, a mainstream pro-Israel lobby, writes:
Gaza is in crisis, and without addressing the urgent humanitarian needs there, the prospects for long-term peace and real security for Israel will grow dimmer. We must act.

A year following Israel's military action in Gaza, rockets and mortars continue to land in southern Israel and residents still do not yet have true security. Israel's international standing continues to sink as a result of fallout from the war. Hamas's grip on the Strip remains strong.

A blockade on Gaza meant to weaken Hamas continues to deepen civilian suffering and anger there by preventing basic necessities and building materials from reaching the population. . . .

Tell Your Rep: Improve the Desperate Situation in Gaza

We must address the urgent humanitarian situation in Gaza to enhance the prospects for real peace and security in the region. . . .

[Suggested message:]

Subject: Please sign the McDermott-Ellison and Moran-Inglis Gaza letters

Your Letter: I believe it is in the interests of the United States, Israel and the Palestinian people for the U.S. to take action to improve the lives of the people of Gaza.

Please sign two letters – first, the McDermott-Ellison letter to President Obama urging him to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza and, second, the Moran-Inglis letter to Secretary of State Clinton, urging her to press the Israeli government to end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank.

Bucks County peace activist/Vietnam vet Bill Perry traveled to Egypt to join the Gaza Freedom March and had this to say about it. Here are Bill's photos from Egypt.
Locally, we . . .
December 27, 2009, 3-4 p.m.
Bucks County Courthouse
55 E. Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Support freedom and justice for Gaza
Commemorate the anniversary of the invasion and bombardment
inflicted on Gaza from December 27, 2008, to January 17, 2009
Support the Gaza Freedom March
Signs: Be positive, e.g., Freedom for Gaza!
Palestinian flags welcome!
Parking: Lot/garage directly across No. Main St. from Courthouse
Information: or 215-340-9747

The gathering's organizer, longtime Doylestown resident Susan Johnson, visited Gaza in May 2009. Her blog, "Palestine: Seeing for Myself," chronicles her trip. She has also given public presentations, as reported in the Intelligencer.

December 13, 2009

"Appellate Court Overturns Paul Minor Conviction"

By Emily Levy,, December 11, 2009: "Powerful Democratic donor, attorney from Mississippi, others, said to have been targeted for political prosecution by the Bush Administration's Dept. of Justice. . . ."

December 12, 2009

"The strange consensus on Obama's Nobel address"

By Glenn Greenwald,, December 11, 2009:
. . . Yesterday's speech and the odd, extremely bipartisan reaction to it underscored one of the real dangers of the Obama presidency: taking what had been ideas previously discredited as Republican or right-wing dogma and transforming them into bipartisan consensus. It's not just Republicans but Democrats that are now vested in -- and eager to justify -- the virtues of war, claims of Grave Danger posed by Islamic radicals and the need to use massive military force to combat them, indefinite detention, military commissions, extreme secrecy, full-scale immunity for government lawbreaking, and so many other doctrines once purportedly despised by Democrats but now defended by them because their leader has embraced them.

That's exactly the process that led former Bush DOJ official Jack Goldsmith to giddily explain that Obama has actually done more to legitimize Bush/Cheney "counter-terrorism" policies than Bush and Cheney themselves -- because he made them bipartisan -- and Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin made the same point to the New York Times' Charlie Savage back in July. . . ."

December 10, 2009

"Turley: Obama bags Peace Prize while his lawyers are ‘gutting’ Nuremberg"

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane,, December 10, 2009:
The Obama administration has asked the Department of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit brought by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla against torture memo author John Yoo, asserting that Yoo cannot be sued for legal opinions he offered in the course of advising then-President Bush on national security matters.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley finds this decision inexplicable. "The president literally has gotten onto a plane this evening to go to Norway," he told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday, "to accept the Nobel Prize, while his Justice Department is effectively gutting a major part of Nuremberg."

"The Obama administration is arguing not only that they shouldn't be prosecuted," Tuirley emphasized, "but it's now saying that you shouldn't even be able to sue them civilly. ... It's an international disgrace. . . ."

December 09, 2009

"My friend the president"

By Glenn Greenwald,, December 8, 2009: ". . . the only question that matters: are the criticisms that have been voiced about Obama valid? Has he appointed financial officials who have largely served the agenda of the Wall Street and industry interests that funded his campaign? Has he embraced many of the Bush/Cheney executive power and secrecy abuses which Democrats once railed against -- from state secrets to indefinite detention to renditions and military commissions? Has he actively sought to protect from accountability and disclosure a whole slew of Bush crimes? Did he secretly a negotiate a deal with the pharmaceutical industry after promising repeatedly that all negotiations over health care would take place out in the open, even on C-SPAN? Are the criticisms of his escalation of the war in Afghanistan valid, and are his arguments in its favor redolent of the ones George Bush made to "surge" in Iraq or Lyndon Johnson made to escalate in Vietnam? Is Bob Herbert right when he condemned Obama's detention policies as un-American and tyrannical, and warned: 'Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House'?"

November 27, 2009

"Call It Ecocide: Babies with No Heads, 2 Heads or Monstrous Deformities"

By Robert C. Koehler,, November 26, 2009.
In the cradle of civilization, young women have become terrified about having children.

This is the news I take with me into Thanksgiving and the season of gratitude and family togetherness: that doctors in Fallujah, the Iraqi city we devastated in two military assaults in 2004, have begun documenting a startling rise in birth defects -- about 15 times the pre-invasion occurrence of early-life cancers and brain and nervous-system abnormalities, according to the U.K.'s Guardian. . . .

November 12, 2009

Seymour Hersh on Pakistan, Afghanistan

"How Safe Is It? Seymour Hersh On Pakistan's Arsenal," NPR, November 12, 2009.

New documentary "Tortured Law"

From the Alliance for Justice: "Tortured Law, a new 10-minute documentary by Alliance for Justice, examines the role lawyers played in authorizing torture, and calls upon Attorney General Holder to conduct a full investigation of those who ordered, designed, and justified torture."

October 11, 2009

Response to Froma Harrop re Holder

Dear Ms. Harrop:

I read your column "Holder should do some remembering" with great sadness. Since you wrote, "Suspected terrorists are no longer sent to overseas prisons," the Obama administration has announced its intention to continue rendition of terrorists to foreign countries, where we all know what will likely happen. And while you cite Ali Soufan's opinion that "going after CIA officials now 'would be a mistake,'" what about Jack Cloonan, Matthew Alexander and Steve Kleinman, experienced interrogators who all support a wide-ranging criminal investigation? See It is precisely in times of crisis, such as the period after 9/11, that we must respect the rule of law, or damage our national security and ideals, as happened. Pursuing accountability may hurt some Democrats in the eyes of those who have been brainwashed by "24," but a probe that is done right will educate the public as to why it was needed and make such violations less likely in the future. Please reconsider before you contribute to a climate that aims to essentially cover up war crimes.

Barbara Glassman

September 11, 2009

"Fear was no excuse to condone torture"

By Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar,, September 11, 2009:
In the fear that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Americans were told that defeating Al Qaeda would require us to "take off the gloves." As a former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a retired commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, we knew that was a recipe for disaster.

But we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.

August 25, 2009

"Baby Step toward Justice" for torturers

"At Best, a Baby Step toward Justice for Bush's Torturers," by Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post, August 25, 2009.

What about detainees who died or disappeared?

"People who died," by Will Bunch,, 08/25/2009.

"Holder -- and Obama -- Must Focus on Torture Accountability"

"Holder -- and Obama -- Must Focus on Torture Accountability," by John Nichols, The Nation, August 25, 2009.

"A Thousand Little Gitmos"

"A Thousand Little Gitmos: How the federal courts turned into star chambers for terrorism cases—and why Obama may keep them that way," by Petra Bartosiewicz, Mother Jones, July/August 2009.

CIA's 2004 IG torture report released

"What every American should be made to learn about the IG Torture Report" - Glenn Greenwald -, August 24, 2009.

"Investigation based on Abu Ghraib model"

"Eric Holder announces investigation based on Abu Ghraib model" - Glenn Greenwald -, August 24, 2009.

July 14, 2009

Scott Horton re DoJ, Siegelman

OpEdNews » "Scott Horton Shines the Spotlight on the DoJ," Exclusive Interview by Joan Brunwasser, July 14, 2009.

Scott Horton: "Torture Prosecution Turnaround?"

"Torture Prosecution Turnaround?" - Scott Horton, The Daily Beast, July 12, 2009.

Glenn Greenwald: "The Holder trial balloon"

"The Holder trial balloon: Abu Ghraib redux" - Glenn Greenwald -, July 12, 2009.

Glenn Greenwald re accountability

"Our political class in a nutshell" - Glenn Greenwald -, July 11, 2009.

Brad Blog: History of CIA Torture, Part IV

"History of CIA Torture: Unraveling the Web of Deceit, Part IV [of a five-part series]: The Bureaucratic Euphemism of 'Extraordinary Rendition,'" by Ernest A. Canning, Brad Blog, July 14, 2009.

Jane Mayer re CIA, torture, rendition

Investigative Journalist Probes CIA Secrets: NPR, Fresh Air, July 14, 2009: Jane Mayer is interviewed by Dave Davies.
Investigative journalist Jane Mayer discusses a secret CIA counterterrorism program designed to assassinate senior al-Qaida terrorists.

The program was never fully put into action, but word of its parameters was withheld from Congress — reportedly on direct orders from then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

A staff writer for The New Yorker, Mayer wrote about new CIA chief Leon Panetta last month in "The Secret History: Can Leon Panetta move the CIA forward without confronting its past?"

Mayer is also the author of the book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals.

Support a prosecutor for torture!

The Brad Blog: "DoJ's 'Trial Balloon' over Torture Prosecution Wafts through the Weekend Media: Corporate MSM minimizes, serious journalist bloggers offer appropriate coverage, condemnation: Plus, YOU can take action. . . ."
So, if you wish to try to somewhat balance the power of the MSM, might I recommend contacting the DoJ with your opinion (202-514-2001 or Ask others to do the same.

Also, if you haven't already, please remember to sign on to Velvet Revolution's campaign. If nothing else, those Bush attorneys who violated all professional standards to "legalize" the illegal acts of the regime, need to be held accountable if only by the slap on the wrist of disbarment. Sign on here...

July 13, 2009

Justice for Don Siegelman?

Don Siegelman: "Tell Rahm: Remove Biased Prosecutors!", July 13, 2009:
. . . It is nonsense to think that the same Bush-appointed prosecutors who perpetrated this misconduct will fairly review my charges of misconduct against them.

That's why I am pleading with you to:

1) Call or e-mail Rahm and ask him to help ensure that President Obama's, not President Bush/Karl Rove's, prosecutors decide my fate - by immediately removing these biased prosecutors from this case.

2) Call or e-mail the Democratic National Party Chairman, Governor Tim Kaine, and stress that the Democratic Party ask Eric Holder to remove these partisan prosecutors. Remember my prosecutor is the wife of Karl Rove's best friend, business and political partner. My prosecutor's husband has been identified in sworn testimony as having said he got Rove to get the DOJ to go after me. My prosecutor's husband was also my Republican opponent's campaign manager!

My motion for a new trial was based on the misconduct of this US Attorney in withholding critical evidence that would have made a difference in my trial.

The rabid Rove prosecutors must be immediately removed by the Obama Administration if I am ever to get a fair and impartial review of my case.

PLEASE, PLEASE call and write today. Ask for the removal of Leura Canary and her prosecutors, and ask that DOJ in Washington appoint unbiased prosecutors to review my motion for a new trial.

Hon. Rahm Emanuel,
Chief of Staff to President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
202-456-1111fax: 202-456-2461

Hon. Tim Kaine,
Chairman,Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

While you're at it, contact Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-514-2001 or

July 09, 2009

"Local resident offers the view from Palestine" "Local resident offers the view from Palestine," Kaitlyn Willcoxon, Intelligencer, July 9, 2009:
Despite "looks" from neighbors and her family's fears, Susan Johnson, "a little grandmother from Doylestown," traveled to the West Bank in 2004 and this May visited the Gaza Strip.

For Johnson, a local resident for 50 years, travel to the West Bank and Gaza follows a career of passionate activism, having protested the Iraq War both in Doylestown and Washington.

Tonight at a coffee house in Doylestown, she plans to speak about what she saw in the Middle East.

From very early, Johnson argued fervently in favor of Israel's right to exist, but the Israeli construction of the separation wall in 2002 angered her. Then through "divine intervention" at a protest of the Iraq War, a woman approached Johnson and asked if she would consider going to the West Bank with a group called Women of a Certain Age.

After meeting the group of 13 "bright, funny, articulate, women +10 of them were Jewish, which was a big awakening to me," Johnson decided to go to the West Bank. She calls it "a life-changing experience."

When Johnson received a letter from the organization UN Relief, forwarded by one of the women from Women of a Certain Age, with an application to travel to Gaza, she considered the opportunity for several days. She applied and the UN accepted her to join a delegation of 13 other people and departed in May.

"I really wanted to see for myself," says Johnson, who after her trip believes that media coverage of Israel and Palestine is unbalanced.

One example Johnson gives is the coverage of Hamas.

"Hamas is described as terrorists + Hamas and others shoot rockets over into Israel. I also saw that Hamas supplies or facilitates aid to the people in Gaza that they wouldn't get otherwise," Johnson said. "Suppose your house was demolished, then they come and give your family money."

Hamas does "not brainwash all of the kids or people, or it wouldn't be safe to walk around in Gaza," she said. Johnson felt safe the entire time she was in Gaza City and Rafa.

With the delegation, Johnson also visited the Qattan Center for Children and Culture, which "could be a children's center built in Doylestown for all the suburban kids and their parents would be thrilled."

The center provides a library, computer rooms, English classes, arts and crafts, music, and dance classes. Most importantly, the center provides one of the only places, according to Johnson, that the children feel safe enough to have fun and act like children.

Though it would mean leaving behind her grandchildren, Johnson is considering volunteering at the Qattan Center to care for "the world's grandchildren," because, " I want my grandchildren to respect me and know that I've done what I could to make the world a better place. + I think it's why we're here on earth + that may sound high or lofty, but I believe that with all my heart."

Now back in Doylestown, Johnson wants to ensure that as many people learn about both her experience and the plight of Palestinians. Despite "challenges" with the computer, Johnson started a blog, "Palestine: Seeing for Myself" at . . .

Many of the photos Johnson showed at Saxby's can be viewed at She also recommended the blog of another member of the delegation, Philip Weiss: Mondoweiss. Several Israeli peace advocates were named, including Uri Avnery, who wrote this about the Gaza war.

Amnesty International issued a report on July 2, 2009: Israel/Gaza: Operation "Cast Lead": 22 Days of Death and Destruction. Amnesty also called on Israel to co-operate fully with the independent Gaza fact-finding mission set up by the UN Human Rights Council and headed by Justice Richard Goldstone. Read Rep. Keith Ellison re Goldstone and his report, submitted in September 2009.

"Is Texas Harboring Torture Decider?"

OpEdNews, July 8, 2009: "Is Texas Harboring Torture Decider?" by Ray McGovern.

Buying health insurance

Rundown 7/8/09 Here and Now Tips for seekers.

July 07, 2009

Michael Scheuer and Glenn Beck

"Shorter Fox News: 'To prevent another 9/11, we need another 9/11'" | Will Bunch, Attytood, | 07/01/2009.

"NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics 'torture'"

"The NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics 'torture'" - Glenn Greenwald -, July 4, 2009: ". . . 'torture' appears to be a perfectly fine term for The New York Times to use to describe what the Iranians do, but one that is explicitly banned to describe what the U.S. did. . . ."

Repeal "Don't ask, don't tell"

Intelligencer editorial by Ed Levenson, July 7, 2009: "Strategic retreat: End the Army's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."

Letter to the Editor of the Intelligencer, July 7, 2009:
To the Editor:

Kudos to Congressman Patrick Murphy for having the courage and conviction to lead the fight to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell." Who better than a veteran to make the case that national security suffers when highly trained and talented servicemen and women are forced out of the military simply because of their sexual orientation, especially at a time when their skills are sorely needed and not easily replaced – not to mention the waste of scarce resources spent on their training?

Thanks to his own service in the Army, Congressman Murphy can put the lie to false fears raised by those with no personal knowledge on which to base them. Our country can no longer afford a policy of discrimination that never served us well.

Barbara Glassman

Free financial advice "Free financial advice for Bucks, Montco residents," by Jenna Portnoy, Intelligencer, July 7, 2009:
. . . Starting today, anyone, regardless of income level, can stop by one of 20 locations throughout the state for free financial advice. The Bucks County Bar Association in Doylestown will offer these services to Bucks and Montgomery counties' residents. . . .

Lawyers from the Bucks Bar and financial experts from TruMark Financial Credit Union and First National Bank of Newtown and others will sit down with anyone in need to provide assistance. For example, an individual who lost a job and faces foreclosure could have questions about the law as well as money matters.

The program, called Get Help Now PA!, is separate from Bucks' Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, which provides optional mediation for lenders and borrowers at the onset of the foreclosure process. A notice about the program, including the Home Hotline 1-866-760-8911, will be attached to the foreclosure filing.

Get Help Now volunteers can refer cases that require specific expertise to Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The organization generally helps low income residents, but can make exceptions for seniors, victims of domestic abuse or predatory lending and others.

Liz Fritsch, the co-executive director of Legal Aid, encourages anyone in need to call the helpline at 1-877-429-5994 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

Officials don't know what to expect when the program kicks off this afternoon, but so far enough lawyers and paralegals have volunteered to keep it going through Sept. 11, said Chris Serpico, president of the Bucks Bar Association. . . .

The popularity of the program will determine if it continues: "Hopefully people will take advantage of the program, but time will tell." . . .

Get help now, here's how:

Where: Bucks County Bar Association, 135 East State St. in Doylestown

When: 1 p.m. to Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sept. 11

Find out more: 1-888-799-4557, or and click on Get Help Now icon

July 05, 2009

"Murphy: [Don't ask, don't tell] Policy must go" "Murphy: Policy must go," by Hilary Bentman, Intelligencer, July 3, 2009:
If you ask Patrick Murphy about "don't ask, don't tell," he'll tell you it must go.

For the Bucks congressman and Iraq War veteran, the policy toward gays in the military is a threat to national security and equality.

Now Murphy will get his chance to lead the charge to repeal the 16-year-old policy.

The primary sponsor of the bill, Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat, has resigned from Congress to take a position as undersecretary of state for arms control.

It means leadership of the push to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" has fallen into Murphy's lap.

And given the media attention surrounding the issue, it will undoubtedly be one of the more high-profile causes the three-year veteran of Congress has taken on to date. . . .

Vietnam vets spat upon? Didn't happen

NPR's On the Media, July 3, 2009, explores the many myths reported as fact. The purveyors of the myth that returning Vietnam vets were spat upon are still at work, supporting the same pro-war agenda. Jerry Lembcke, author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam, was among the guests. Transcript of the original February 2, 2007, broadcast of the "Great Expectorations" segment; transcript of July 3, 2009, segment.

July 02, 2009

Jane Mayer: "The Secret [CIA] History"

"Can Leon Panetta move the C.I.A. forward without confronting its past?" by Jane Mayer, New Yorker, June 22, 2009.

"NPR, Waterboarding and 'Torture'"

NPR: Blog of the Nation: "NPR, Waterboarding and 'Torture,'" Talk of the Nation, July 2, 2009: "NPR's Ombudsman Alicia Shepard responds to complaints that the network doesn't call waterboarding 'torture' and has instead referred to the practice in language like, 'harsh interrogation techniques that include waterboarding, which many consider torture.'"

In which Neil Conan offers his Orwellian variant, "what others regard as torture." That both he and Alicia Shepard could argue that whether waterboarding is torture is a matter of political debate shows the depths to which we have sunk. Shame on you, NPR.

June 28, 2009

Helgerson's CIA torture report release delayed

"Release of 'Holy Grail' Torture Document to Be Delayed," by Jason Linkins, Huffington Post, June 26, 2009.

NPR's "Torturous Wording"

On the Media, June 26, 2009:
Last week, NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard caused a minor uproar after responding to angry emails from listeners over NPR's use of the phrase "enhanced interrogation techniques" to describe treatment of terrorism suspects under the Bush Administration. Shepard talks about NPR's policy and her own opinion on the use of the word "torture."

"Preventive/prolonged detention"?

"Obama contemplates Executive Order for detention without charges" - Glenn Greenwald -, June 27, 2009.

The Daily Show: "Cheney Predacted"

Cheney Predacted | The Daily Show | June 25, 2009
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Cheney Predacted
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

June 23, 2009

NPR and "torture"

"NPR's ombudsman: Why we bar the word 'torture'" - Glenn Greenwald -, June 22, 2009.

Anyone who believes that NPR is a "liberal" media outlet -- and anyone who wants to understand the decay of American journalism -- should read this [June 21] column by NPR's Ombudsman, Alicia C. Shepard, as she explains and justifies why NPR bars the use of the word "torture" to describe what the Bush administration did. . . .

Alicia Shepard's response to the many negative comments her column received, posted June 30, 2009.

May 31, 2009

Moyers: See "Torturing Democracy", Bill Moyers and Michael Winship: "Everyone Should See 'Torturing Democracy'"

"We have re-created our enemy's methodologies in Guantanamo," Malcolm Nance, former head of the Navy's SERE training program, says in "Torturing Democracy." He adds, "It will hurt us for decades to come. Decades. Our people will all be subjected to these tactics, because we have authorized them for the world now. How it got to Guantanamo is a crime and somebody needs to figure out who did it, how they did it, who authorized them to do it ... Because our servicemen will suffer for years."

Link to documentary:

Powell for closing Guantanamo

Sam Stein: "Powell Hits Back at Cheney, GOP on Gitmo Closing," Huffington Post, May 24, 2009.

May 29, 2009

DOJ OPR re Bybee and Yoo

"DOJ Report Reaches 'Damning' Conclusions for Bybee and Yoo," Jason Leopold, May 7, 2009:
An ethics report prepared by H. Marshall Jarrett, head of the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), reached “damning” conclusions about numerous cases of “misconduct” in the advice attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee provided the Bush administration, according to legal and Congressional sources familiar with the findings and news reports.

The report, which also may be critical of legal opinions authorizing domestic surveillance activities, recommends state bar associations conduct a review of Yoo and Bybee’s legal work to determine whether they should face disciplinary action, including disbarment. . . .

"John Yoo's war crimes"

John Yoo's war crimes - Glenn Greenwald -, April 2, 2008.

May 21, 2009

Rep. Murphy briefed by CIA in 2008 and 2009

"Murphy was briefed on enhanced interrogation," by Gary Weckselblatt, Intelligencer, May 20, 2009:
Eighth District Congressman Patrick Murphy has attended two CIA briefings at the center of a firestorm between the agency and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said she was lied to about waterboarding.

An unclassified chart released by the CIA and published in The New York Times describes 40 briefings for lawmakers over a period of several years on enhanced interrogation techniques. Murphy, a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is listed among lawmakers in attendance on Jan. 16, 2008. The topics included "Videotape Destruction" and "Discussion of EITs, including waterboarding."

On March 12, less than two months after President Barack Obama signed orders that ended torture, Murphy was briefed with other members of the Intelligence Committee about "General references to EITs, interrogations and the end of the use of EITs by the CIA throughout," according to the CIA chart.

Murphy wouldn't address the issue that experts claim has taken the focus off Obama's domestic agenda.

In an e-mailed statement, his spokeswoman Kate Hansen stated, "Congressman Murphy has attended a number of intelligence briefings as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, but cannot disclose what is discussed in them as information presented within these briefings is strictly classified at the highest levels." . . .

Donna Brazile pro independent commission

"No time to hide," by Donna Brazile: ". . . Bring it on, Mr. Cheney. Let there be a national debate. You have much to answer for. Meanwhile, Mr. President, it’s time we create an independent commission to investigate these matters."

Will Bunch and Jon Stewart re Gitmo

". . . If you've thought America was on the brink of losing its mind, this may have been the week. . . ." Will Bunch, Attytood, Philadelphia Daily News, May 20, 2009.

Colbert re Yoo/Inquirer, May 20, 2009

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Extra! Extra! Bleed All About It!
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Restore Justice at Justice

A campaign

Amy Goodman re Yoo/Inquirer, "Yoo’s Views Make Philly News," by Amy Goodman, May 19, 2009. ". . . There are many Philadelphians who can write and inspire debate that leads people to action. John Yoo has done enough harm."

May 19, 2009

Disbar the Torture Lawyers

A campaign

Will Bunch responds

"The latest poor information on John Yoo," by Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News, 05/17/2009: ". . . Torture isn't like mass transit funding or filling a Supreme Court vacancy. It is something that is both unlawful and immoral and falls into those categories of things -- like racial discrimination or any kind of violence (which torture is) -- that are clearly beneath the core standards of the community. A newspaper that make such an overt (and unforced, and unnecessary) hire as John Yoo is normalizing torture to its readers and the world, stating that waterboarding and other violent interrogation tactics are just another one of those 'on one hand, on the other hand' kind of things. I find this torture normalization highly offensive, as do scores of other people who have written the Inquirer. . . ."

Lawrence Wilkerson re Cheney

"The Truth about Richard Bruce Cheney," TPMCafe, May 14, 2009.

Harold Jackson defends the indefensible

"Uproar over Inquirer's Yoo ignores opinion page purpose," by Harold Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer, 05/17/2009.

Inquirer publisher Brian Tierney wanted Yoo

"Definitely not a 'knee-jerk liberal publication," by Will Bunch,, 05/12/2009. "The New York Times, the so-called 'paper of record,' adds to the record of how torture architect John Yoo got that Inquirer column. . . ."

May 16, 2009

Gitmo prisoner abuse under Obama

"Little-Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama," by Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet, May 15, 2009. "The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals. . . ."

Inquirer editorial re torture

Editorial: "Descent into torture," Philadelphia Inquirer, 05/15/2009: "Just as harsh U.S. interrogation techniques were being discredited at a Senate hearing this week, the reported suicide of a former CIA detainee in Libya recalled one of the most spectacular and far-reaching failures of torture-like tactics. . . ."

"'Impolite' questions for Gen. Myers"

by Ray McGovern,, May 13, 2009:

. . . While researching his book [The Torture Team], [Philippe] Sands, a very astute observer, emerged from a three-hour session with Myers convinced that Myers did not understand the implications of what was being done and was “confused” about the decisions that were taken.

Sands writes that when he described the interrogation techniques introduced and stressed that they were not in the manual but rather breached U.S. military guidelines, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled.

Author Sands came to the conclusion that Myers was “hoodwinked;” that “Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him.”

There is no doubt something to that. And the apparent absence of Myers from the infamous torture boutiques in the White House Situation Room, aimed at discerning which particular techniques might be most appropriate for which “high-value” detainees, tends to support an out-of-the-loop defense for Myers.

I imagine it should not be all that surprising, given the way general officers are promoted these days, that a vacuous mind like Myers’s could rise to the very pinnacle of our entire military establishment. Certainly, nothing Myers said or did Tuesday evening would contradict Sands’s assessment regarding naïveté.

My best guess is that it is a combination of dullness, cowardice and careerism that accounts for Myers’ behavior — then and now. And, with those attributes well in place, falling in with bad companions as Richard Myers did, can really do you in.

Myers still writes that he found Rumsfeld to be “an insightful and incisive leader;” the general seems to have been putty in Rumsfeld’s hands — one reason he was promoted, no doubt. . . .

April 27, 2009

Sen. Specter re presidential power

"Sen. Specter: Roll Back Presidential Power Grabs": NPR, April 27, 2009: "In The New York Review of Books, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) outlines his plan to restrain the executive branch."

NY Times editorial re Don Siegelman

Editorial, "The Siegelman Case,", April 24, 2009: "Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent decision to drop all of the charges against Ted Stevens, the former Republican senator from Alaska, because of prosecutorial misconduct raises an important question: What about Don Siegelman? A bipartisan group of 75 former state attorneys general has written to Mr. Holder asking him to take a fresh look at the former Alabama governor’s case. He should do so right away. . . ."

April 23, 2009

For a Presidential Commission on Torture

Thomas R. Pickering and William S. Sessions,, March 23, 2009: "Moving Forward by Looking Back: Why a Presidential Commission on Torture Is Critical to America's Security."

Petition for Commission on Accountability

Sign the petition for a Commission on Accountability
We call on the President of the United States to establish an independent, non-partisan commission to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees in the period since September 11, 2001. The commission, comparable in stature to the 9/11 Commission, should look into the facts and circumstances of such abuses, report on lessons learned, and recommend measures that would prevent any future abuses. We believe that the commission is necessary to reaffirm America ’s commitment to the Constitution, international treaty obligations, and human rights. The report issued by the commission will strengthen U.S. national security and help to re-establish America ’s standing in the world.

Co-Sponsors for
Amnesty International USA
The Brennan Center for Justice
The Carter Center, Human Rights Program
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, School of Law
Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, UC Davis
The Center for Victims of Torture
The Constitution Project
Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Transitional Justice
International Justice Network
The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
National Institute of Military Justice
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The Open Society Institute
Physicians for Human Rights
The Rutherford Institute

April 21, 2009

"Obama open to prosecutions"

"Obama Open to Prosecutions in Interrogation Abuses,", April 21, 2009: "President Obama on Tuesday left open the door to creating a bipartisan commission that would investigate the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects, and he did not rule out taking action against the lawyers who fashioned the legal guidelines for the interrogations."

April 20, 2009

2 prisoners waterboarded 266 times

"Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects,", Scott Shane, April 19, 2009: "C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported."

April 19, 2009

NY Times editorial: "The Torturers’ Manifesto"

Editorial -"The Torturers’ Manifesto,", April 18, 2009: "After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability."

April 06, 2009

"Cowardice in the Time of Torture"

By Ray McGovern,, April 5, 2009: "I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have 'made it.' Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell."

April 02, 2009

Doha Debate on US Mideast policy

The Doha Debates » Qatar's forum for free speech in the Arab world: "A heated Doha Debate held at Georgetown University [March 25, 2009] in Washington, DC, signalled America was ready for change in the Middle East, with the audience voting in favour of a motion to 'get tough on Israel.'"

Obstruction of Justice

Truthdig - Reports - Obstruction of Justice: "The trial of Al-Arian is a cause célèbre in the Muslim world. A documentary film was made about the case in Europe. He has become the poster child for judicial abuse and persecution of Muslims in the United States by the Bush administration. The facts surrounding the trial and imprisonment of the former university professor have severely tarnished the integrity of the American judicial system...."

February 28, 2009

Prosecute Bush and Cheney et al.

It comes down to this: No one is above the law. It's past time to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Join with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, the Society of American Law Teachers, Human Rights USA, AfterDowningStreet, and many others and "urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

"Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations. The former president has confessed to violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"We see no need for these prosecutions to be extraordinarily lengthy or costly, and no need to wait for the recommendations of a panel or 'truth' commission when substantial evidence of the crimes is already in the public domain. We believe the most effective investigation can be conducted by a prosecutor, and we believe such an investigation should begin immediately."

Drafted by the Robert Jackson Steering Committee

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