Jul 28

Justice Dept. Moves to Shield Anti-Iran Group’s Files - -

"The Obama administration has gone to court to protect the files of an influential anti-Iran advocacy group, saying they likely contain information the government does not want disclosed.

The highly unusual move by the Justice Department raises questions about the connections between the American government and the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, a hard-line voice seeking to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The group has a roster of prominent former government officials and a reputation for uncovering information about companies that sometimes do business with Iran, in violation of international sanctions.”

Jul 27

Taliban Making Military Gains in Afghanistan - -

After 13 years, 2200 US dead and more than $700 billion spent by US taxpayers (not counting future medical bills), nothing lasting to show. Think of what those lives and dollars might have produced had Bush and Obama had made better decisions (most of the dead and most of the dollars have been under Obama) - David C. Unger

The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Their advance has gone unreported because most American forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it.

Jul 26

Ex-Chief of C.I.A. Shapes Response to Detention Report - -

Why is Obama ceding leadership on this issue and letting CIA people involved in the detention and interrogation programs shape his response? - David C. Unger

"The April meeting at C.I.A. headquarters highlighted how much of the agency is still seeded with officers who participated in the detention and interrogation program, which Mr. Obama officially ended during his first week in office in 2009."

Jul 25

Wyden Ponders Release of CIA Torture Report Without White House Consent | The World's Greatest Deliberative Body -

"Sen. Ron Wyden is talking with his colleagues about the possibility of using a seldom-invoked procedure to declassify an Intelligence Committee report on the use of torture in the event the White House does not move ahead quickly.

Speaking with reporters on a variety of subjects Thursday, the Oregon Democrat referred to the Senate’s “Resolution 400″ — the Abraham A. Ribicoff-sponsored resolution that established the Intelligence Committee back in 1976.

Wyden said he was discussing invoking the resolution “in order to move this along if we have to, through the committee process, to get it declassified.””

Senator’s Bill Is Stricter on N.S.A. Than House’s - -

"Mr. Leahy’s draft bill is said to make over a dozen changes to a version of the legislation, called the U.S.A. Freedom Act, that the House passed in May. Some privacy advocates who had denounced the House bill as too watered-down said they backed Mr. Leahy’s draft."

Jul 24

The Vincennes’ downing of Iran Air Flight 655: The United States tried to cover up its own destruction of a passenger plane. -

No reason here for taking the pressure off Putin. But put the self-righteousness on pause - David C. Unger

"None of this is meant to let Putin off the hook for whipping up secessionists in eastern Ukraine, giving them advanced weaponry, and training them how to use it. Nor do I mean to draw false equivalencies between Russia in Ukraine today and America in the Persian Gulf a quarter-century ago. That said, the Vincennes saga is more than a mere shocking bit of forgotten history. There are parallels between then and now, lessons to be learned."————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-"One more shocking bit, which I didn’t know until just now: In 1992, four years after the event (and shortly after I moved on to a different beat), Adm. Crowe admitted on ABC’s Nightline that the Vincennes was in Iranian waters at the time it shot down the plane. Back in 1988, he and others had said that the ship was in international waters. It also came out that some other Navy officers had regarded Rogers as “aggressive” and found it strange that he was moving his Aegis cruiser into those waters to pursue Iranian patrol boats—overkill at best, asking for trouble in any case. The distractions of the chase, possibly combined with the fact that the Aegis radar-guided missile system was new at the time, may have led to his fatal misjudgment."


Poland: Court awards €230,000 in CIA secret rendition and ‘torture’ judgement | HUMANERIGHTSEUROPE -

"Having regard to the evidence before it, the court came to the conclusion that the applicants’ allegations that they had been detained in Poland were sufficiently convincing. The court found that Poland had cooperated in the preparation and execution of the CIA rendition, secret detention and interrogation operations on its territory and it ought to have known that by enabling the CIA to detain the applicants on its territory, it was exposing them to a serious risk of treatment contrary to the convention."

Jul 23

U.S. Increases Surveillance, Military Advisers in Iraq - WSJ -

How about seeking a congressional resolution? - David C. Unger

"The Pentagon said 20 additional military advisers recently had arrived in Iraq, bringing total U.S. military personnel there to 825. Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said there are now 90 advisers working with Iraqi military forces, assessing their capabilities, and 160 Americans are assigned to joint operation centers in Baghdad and Erbil."

Prosecutors Are Reading Emails From Inmates to Lawyers - -

"Jailhouse conversations have been many a defendant’s downfall through incriminating words spoken to inmates or visitors, or in phone calls to friends or relatives. Inmates’ calls to or from lawyers, however, are generally exempt from such monitoring. But across the country, federal prosecutors have begun reading prisoners’ emails to lawyers — a practice wholly embraced in Brooklyn, where prosecutors have said they intend to read such emails in almost every case."

Jul 22

Senate Bill Requires Report on "All" NSA Bulk Collection | Federation Of American Scientists -

"The National Security Agency would be required to prepare an unclassified report on “all NSA bulk collection activities,” the Senate Appropriations Committee directed in its report on the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations bill, published yesterday.(7/17)"