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 - Salon.com, July 12, 2009.

Glenn Greenwald re accountability

"Our political class in a nutshell" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com, 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 AskDOJ@usdoj.gov). Ask others to do the same.

Also, if you haven't already, please remember to sign on to Velvet Revolution's DisbarTortureLawyers.com 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!" OpEdNews.com, 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 askdoj@usdoj.gov.

July 09, 2009

"Local resident offers the view from Palestine"

PhillyBurbs.com: "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 seeingformyself.blogspot.com. . . .

Many of the photos Johnson showed at Saxby's can be viewed at www.vivagaza.org/. 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, Philly.com | 07/01/2009.

"NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics 'torture'"

"The NYT calls Iranian interrogation tactics 'torture'" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com, 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

PhillyBurbs.com: "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

www.pa.gov and click on Get Help Now icon

July 05, 2009

"Murphy: [Don't ask, don't tell] Policy must go"

PhillyBurbs.com: "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.