Archive for August, 2009

White House: Cheney has his facts wrong

Raw Story
By David Edwards and Stephen Webster
Published: August 31, 2009 Updated 6 hours ago

The Obama White House is pushing back against former Vice President Dick Cheney’s allegation that a probe of unsanctioned CIA torture of terror war prisoners is politically motivated.

“This is the same song and dance we’ve heard since literally the first day of our administration,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday, speaking to reporters in the briefing room.

“I don’t have a lot to say,” he added. “I think [Cheney], if you watched some of his interview, was clearly, uh, clearly had his facts on a number of things wrong.”

Chief among them, though not pointed out by Gibbs, is Cheney’s allegation that the torture techniques were designed to be “safe” and were carried out by “trained professionals.” As RAW STORY reported last week, some of those “professionals” had little more than two weeks of training.

An unnamed Obama administration official further told CNN that Attorney General Eric Holder, not President Obama, made the decision to investigate torture “based on the facts and the law.”

The network’s source also corrected Cheney’s claim that the president is “the chief law enforcement officer in the land.”

“That’s not true,” they told CNN. “It’s the attorney general.”


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Phil Collins- In The Air Tonight (LIVE)

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Jack Straw has admitted the Government caved in to Libyan demands that the Lockerbie bomber be included in a prisoner transfer deal with Britain.

Telegraph.co.uk | By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
Published: 5:10PM BST 30 Aug 2009

The release of Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds and his return to Libya provoked a storm of provoked a storm of international condemnation. Photo: Reuters

The release of Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds and his return to Libya provoked a storm of provoked a storm of international condemnation. Photo: Reuters

The Justice Secretary said he originally wanted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi omitted from the agreement, but relented and agreed the bomber should be eligible.

He said the Libyans deserved “something” in return for giving up their nuclear weapons programme but vehemently denied striking a “backdoor deal” over Megrahi.

Shortly after the reversal of Britain’s stance, a multi-billion pound oil exploration deal between Libya and BP was rubberstamped.

Mr Straw insisted on Sunday that the disclosures were a “red herring” as Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice minister, made the final decision on Megrahi’s release.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, stressed that Libya’s PTA application had been rejected, and the terminally-ill bomber was freed on compassionate grounds.

But Opposition parties increased their demands for a full inquiry into suspicions that the PTA was a “terrorist-for-trade” deal.


Lockerbie and the conspiracy theories

Long standing theories about who was behind the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in 1988 have now been joined by a batch of new claims about the reasons behind the moves to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.


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Doug Bandow, The Huffington Post, Aug 24, 2009

Buzz up!

Attorney General Eric Holder is appointing a special prosecutor to review CIA interrogations of terrorist suspects. However, the investigation shouldn’t stop at the agency. No one should be above the law, especially top policymakers.

Investigating Bush administration policies and officials is bound to be controversial. President George W. Bush and his aides undoubtedly did what they thought was right. However, much of it was wrong. The Iraq war was foolish and unnecessary.

Continues >>

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Financial Times/UK, August 25 2009

When Barack Obama told Israel that “part of being a good friend is being honest”, the country’s political elites got an inkling that decades of double-talk on the conflict with the Palestinians were over. In his June 4 speech at Cairo University he spelled it out: “Just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.”

The US president could have been addressing Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, who refuses to rein in colonisation of Palestinian land or push a two-state solution to the conflict. Yet, however much Mr Obama tries to change the conversation, in and on the Middle East, Mr Netanyahu keeps trying to change the subject.

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What the Kennedy Who Lived on Had to Offer

Huffington Post    By- Alec Baldwin

Posted: August 28, 2009 10:29 AM

How unusual to mark the death of a Kennedy man in old age and from ordinary circumstances like illness. No tragic accidents. No political homicides. No footage to watch, obsessively, for decades to come, wondering what brought that moment on.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy lived on beyond his legendary brothers and faced the task that both John and Robert were denied: living. Living on to face the ebb and flow of an over forty year political career in the US Senate. Living on to represent the state of Massachusetts, the voters of which returned him to that job over and over again. Living on to craft a place of true effectiveness within the numbingly ineffective culture of the US Capitol. Living on to also serve as the titular head of a large (in modern terms, enormous) family. The other Kennedy men died young and two are enshrined in a place in the American soul that few humans can ever know. Ted lived on. To care. To serve. To love his country, his countrymen and his family.


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Shaggy- Mr. Boombastic

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by Norman Solomon | CommonDreams.org, Aug 28, 2009

This month, a lot of media stories have compared President Johnson’s war in Vietnam and President Obama’s war in Afghanistan. The comparisons are often valid, but a key parallel rarely gets mentioned — the media’s insistent support for the war even after most of the public has turned against it.

This omission relies on the mythology that the U.S. news media functioned as tough critics of the Vietnam War in real time, a fairy tale so widespread that it routinely masquerades as truth. In fact, overall, the default position of the corporate media is to bond with war policymakers in Washington — insisting for the longest time that the war must go on.

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The US public largely opposes America’s foreign wars and economic meddling. They need a voice in US foreign policy

Mark Weisbrot | The Guradian/UK, Aug 27, 2009

Americans are famous for not paying much attention to the rest of the world, and it is often said that foreign wars are the way that we learn geography. But most often it is not the people who have little direct experience outside their own country that are the problem, but rather the experts.

The latest polling data is making this clear once again, as a majority of Americans now oppose the war in Afghanistan, but the Obama administration is escalating the war, and his military commanders may ask for even more troops than the increase to 68,000 that the adminstration is planning by the end of this year.

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Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

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New York Times

Published: August 27, 2009

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

Leon E. Panetta, left, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tried to persuade Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., right, to drop plans to investigate the treatment of C.I.A. detainees.

WASHINGTON — With the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate detainee abuses, long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week, threatening relations between two critical players on President Obama’s national security team.

The tension between the agencies complicates how the administration handles delicate national security issues, particularly the tracking and capturing of suspected terrorists overseas. It also may distract Mr. Obama, who is trying to move beyond the battles of the Bush years to focus on an ambitious domestic agenda, most notably health care legislation.

The strains became evident inside the administration in the past several weeks. In July, Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, tried to head off the investigation, administration officials said. He sent the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, Stephen W. Preston, to Justice to persuade aides to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to abandon any plans for an inquiry.



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