Category Archives: CIA

Obama’s Black Ambition

If Barack Obama is running on the platform of being black, then he should lose unless the electorate cows in fear meanwhile justifying their own capitulation by hypocritical accusations (e.g., against conservatives for resisting miscegenation). An economist article suggested that American whites are less racist than they used to be (like in the fifties) because whites have had a seven-fold increase in the proportion of interracial children. This argument infers that whites are racist if they don’t intermarry and that whites are therefore racist by virtue of their skin color. Notwithstanding the fact that this is a racist argument, it leads unambiguously to the conclusion that whites are criminal (because it is a crime to be racist).  Don’t you like how the devil turns things upside down? Very nice logic indeed.

A leftist on tv says that she thinks it’s mean that people won’t vote for a candidate because of his race. On the contrary, it’s mean to vote for a candidate because of his/her identity.

 

 

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Lifesaving Leeway

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, April 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT

War On Terror: The White House again confirms that homeland protection is its top priority. The Justice Department has told Congress it’s reasonable to conclude that tough interrogation is legal when it stops terrorism.


Read More: Global War On Terror


 

Nearly six decades have passed since the Third Geneva Convention, governing the treatment of prisoners of war, was adopted. Its language is that of the lofty, well-intentioned idealism of the post-World War II years that also brought us the establishment of the United Nations, NATO and the state of Israel.

The success of those endeavors has, of course, been mixed. The U.N. is a corrupt black hole of fiscal waste and international ineptitude. NATO, on the other hand, won the Cold War. Israel is the only firmly established representative government in the Middle East, though it has not yet provided the long-suffering Jewish people with the kind of peaceful homeland for which they yearn.

Read with 21st-century eyes, there is an unmistakable naivete to the language of Geneva.

“Prisoners of war must at all times be humanely treated . . . protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity.” The agreement insists that “no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information,” and those who refuse to answer can’t be “threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

In the context of the global war on terror, endorsing a to-the-letter interpretation of Geneva’s language — which is undeniably vague and lacking in specifics — would be suicidal for the U.S. Keeping high-ranking terrorists who have information we can use to save hundreds, or thousands, of lives in custody and not taking steps to extract that knowledge would be a crime against Americans.

Beyond that, it would signal to the free world’s adversaries that we are not serious about fighting back — which would serve to embolden them and boost their recruitment efforts around the globe.

So while anti-war Democrats in Congress consider it shocking and damning that the Bush Justice Department would look for wiggle room in Geneva, those who see this world war with any realism understand its position as perfectly rational and honorable.

“The fact that an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliation or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski wrote to Congress.

Citing chapter and verse from the Geneva Convention over the ashes of a U.S. city will be of no solace to the dead or their loved ones.

 

Congress’ Comedians

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, April 03, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Defense: A top al-Qaida expert sees an election year terrorist attack, yet Congress keeps America vulnerable by letting FISA expire. Top Democrats have other priorities: “Time’s running out for the polar bear,” says one.


Read More: Global War On Terror


 

It could pass for stand-up comedy if the implications weren’t so grave. America is now in its seventh week lacking protection from terrorism because the Democratic Congress refuses to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Don’t worry, they’re not wasting time. Senate Democrats were busy this week pining about the fate of the Arctic’s polar bears.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee head Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., charged that “the Bush Administration is violating the law” because the Interior Department missed a deadline on whether to add polar bears to the endangered species list.

“These species do not have an indefinite time to be saved,” Boxer warned. “Time is running out for the polar bear, and time has run out for this decision.”

Maybe Boxer thinks polar bears would be more effective against al-Qaida operatives than a government being able to foil their plots ahead of time by listening in on terrorists’ communications without waiting for a warrant. Funnier still, the world polar bear population has actually doubled in recent decades to nearly 25,000.

If two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steve Coll, whose new book is “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century,” is to be heeded, congressional Democrats might want to shelve the conservation issue and give more attention to conserving American lives from bin Laden’s schemes.

In remarks to Der Spiegel this week, the New Yorker writer noted that bin Laden, the self-admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, “sees himself as a master of global changes and their technologies. He believes, not quite incorrectly, that he has used the modern media more effectively than his American adversaries.”

And just as bin Laden issued a message shortly before the last presidential election in 2004, Coll believes “he wants to influence America this time, as well.” Coll, who now heads Washington’s New America Foundation think tank, warned: “There is a threat of the terrorist attack on American soil that al-Qaida has long warned of. Osama bin Laden is planning something for the U.S. election.”

Coll, a longtime foreign correspondent, believes bin Laden lives in Pakistan’s mountainous North Waziristan, near a city called Miram Shah. That town is controlled by the Haqqani clan, who gained fame as mujahedeen fighters against the USSR in the 1980s.

The fierce Pakistani army is afraid to go there. But maybe congressional Democrats could authorize parachuting in a few polar bears.

Telecoms Face Double Risk on FISA

Commentary

Quin Hillyer: Telecoms face double risk on FISA

WASHINGTON -Did the House Democratic leadership really sell out national security just to kowtow to rich plaintiffs’ lawyers who fill their campaign coffers?

Prompted by groundbreaking reporting by Townhall’s Amanda Carpenter and columns by Robert Novak and others, the notion that congressional liberals are letting torts trump anti-terrorism is firmly taking hold.

With good reason. Telecommunications companies clearly have much to fear in a major legal and moral catch-22 now that Congress has allowed a key intelligence surveillance law approved in the wake of 9/11 to expire.

The key sticking point in the proposed Protect America Act, which House Democratic leaders blocked last week, is a provision giving the telecoms immunity from lawsuits for helping the surveillance program without specific court orders.

The companies received written assurances from the Justice Department of the program’s legality, but now they face dozens of lawsuits seeking damages (for alleged invasion of privacy) that could run into hundreds of billions of dollars.

Carpenter’s report showed that, while only 29 of 100 senators voted against the bill, 24 of those 29 received campaign cash from one or more of the plaintiffs attorneys in suits already filed against the telecoms. In all, 66 of these lawyers have given some $1.5 million to Democrats. Republicans received just $4,250.

Without immunity, the companies are unlikely to participate in this program that experts of both parties consider vital to anti-terrorism efforts — and would thus hobble the program drastically.

After all, as The Wall Street Journal noted this week, without immunity, the telecoms face double legal jeopardy. If they lose money through the wiretap suits, they become vulnerable to a second round of suits — this time from shareholders for putting the companies at risk.

The diabolical trick is that the same attorneys could seek jackpots both ways. Consider Eric Isaacson, himself a donor of $32,860 in the past six years to Democrats, who has made a career with controversial firms known for just the sort of class-action shareholder suits that The Journal warned about. He worked for 15 years for Milberg Weiss, three of whose top partners have pleaded guilty to a vast criminal kickback scheme that operated while Isaacson was there. The firm and a fourth partner are also under indictment and face trial later this year.

Isaacson joined now-convicted former Milberg Weiss lawyer William Lerach — with whom he has co-authored an academic paper on securities lawsuits — when Lerach split from the firm to form Lerach Coughlin (now Coughlin Stoia), the lead plaintiffs’ firm in the wiretap case Hepting v. AT&T. Attorneys for the two firms have donated millions of dollars to Democratic committees and/or current House and Senate members, almost all Democrats.

Isaacson was not implicated in the Milberg Weiss kickback scheme. The point is he comes from exactly the sort of cutthroat milieu that makes telecoms balk (absent immunity) when asked for an emergency foreign-intelligence wiretap.

Just imagine how Coughlin Stoia could take information gleaned from “discovery” motions in the wiretap suit and use it to try to nail the phone company in a subsequent investors’ suit that is the firm’s stock in trade.

Remember the modus operandi of Milberg Weiss, tactics that Isaacson specializes in defending on appeal. As former partners described in their guilty pleas, the firm would troll for clients with stock in big corporations and then file suit almost any time the share-price dropped, without specific evidence of wrongdoing but based merely on what Lerach called his internal “X-ray vision.”

These tactics are advocated at conferences at posh resorts for judges and law professors sponsored by the Institute for Law and Economic Policy, for which Isaacson is a vice president and Lerach is the former director. They are bullying tactics, the moral equivalent of a shakedown.

Without immunity from such shakedowns, the companies surely would be forced to decline even the most urgent of future government requests. Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has sworn under oath that the end result “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

The real losers, then, will be the American people whose lives these lawsuits, and the Democratic House leaders, have put at risk.

Examiner

U.S. confident about trials of Sept. 11 suspects

Commentary:

“There’s no such thing as a do-over when you have an abuse of fundamental rights.”

Actually, people who aren’t US citizens enjoy no such fundamental rights (e.g., as habeus corpus) therefore, the argument as to whether the methods of interrogation were ‘illegal’ fall under international law and the issue as to whether or not Gitmo is de facto US property is moot.

To the first point, international law is created and maintained via the UN, a body or charter of nations (most without permanent seats on the council) that enforces basic standards of conduct. Briefly, the UN was established to legitimize US hegemony after WWII and to institutionalize channels to air grievances. The law [of the UN] reigns by fiat of US hegemony; therefore, not only may the US renege, but the UN could easily be subverted by a major US defeat in war, rendering it [much less hegemonic than it is currently]. In the main we should be considerate of the big picture:

The US should not be a slave to its own laws such that as a consequence of a wooden interpretation of the letter [of the law], we impose upon the spirit, thereby creating a situation where everyone ends up worse off in the end (e.g., we lose a war due to lack of intelligence gathering ability because we’ve disemboweled our CIA from using potent-as-necessary techniques for interviewing terror-plot suspects).

Article:

WASHINGTON: Bush administration officials said they were confident that charges against six suspected members of Al Qaeda would hold up against expected defense claims that the cases were based on unreliable statements obtained using harsh interrogation methods.

The officials confirmed Tuesday that the Justice Department and the Pentagon, aware of probable legal challenges involving possible mistreatment of prisoners, began an extensive effort in late 2006 to rebuild the cases against the six men using what officials called “clean teams” of agents and military investigators.

By interviewing the prisoners again, and reassembling other evidence against them, the prosecutors could present evidence in court that would be harder for defense lawyers to challenge. But some legal experts said that approach might not defuse defense arguments that the initial investigations were tainted.

“No amount of redoing the interrogation would clean that up,” said Samuel Issacharoff, a New York University law professor. “There’s no such thing as a do-over when you have an abuse of fundamental rights.”

The chief military prosecutor for detainees at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, Colonel Lawrence Morris of the army, declined to discuss the details of how prosecutors would deal with questions about the treatment of captured terrorism suspects. But, Morris added, “we will take very seriously our burden to present trustworthy evidence on which a panel can rely” in reaching a verdict.

Dozens of FBI agents have spent hundreds of hours at the Guantánamo detention center interviewing potential witnesses and suspects. In effect, they have recreated intelligence files, thus avoiding information that might be tainted because it was obtained during interrogations using harsh techniques. The legal tactic was described Tuesday by The Washington Post.

The CIA confirmed last week that one of the six defendants, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, considered the chief plotter of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was subjected to the technique known as waterboarding while in CIA custody. Waterboarding is considered by many legal authorities to be torture.

In addition to Mohammed, military prosecutors filed charges Monday against Mohammed al-Kahtani, sometimes described as the “20th hijacker,” who was denied entry into the United States in August 2001; and four men who officials believe played logistical roles in the plot, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi and Walid bin Attash. The charges, for which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, include conspiracy, murder, terrorism and providing material support for terrorism.

The so-called clean-team investigators, who had not been briefed on earlier interrogations by the CIA using harsher tactics, adopted nonconfrontational interview techniques. One government official said some of those charged this week spoke openly about their roles in the Sept. 11 plot.

The investigators applied many of the same standards in Guantánamo that are commonly used in criminal cases in the United States. But unlike suspects in criminal cases, the Guantánamo detainees were not allowed to have a lawyer present during the interviews.

Agents involved in the interviews were chosen for their language and interviewing skills, law enforcement officials said. They spent many hours studying their assigned suspects and consulting with behavioral scientists before designing interrogation strategies.

While CIA interrogations of the same suspects, sometimes using harsh physical pressure, were aimed largely at preventing more attacks, a government official said the clean-team interviews tried to obtain information about past plots in order to build a prosecution.

Kenneth Wainstein, chief of the national security division at the Justice Department, said in a telephone interview that federal prosecutors assigned to the Guantánamo cases had been centrally involved in the investigation since 14 suspects alleged to be senior Qaeda operatives were moved to Guantánamo in September 2006.

Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the law setting up military commissions bans any evidence obtained by torture. The judge would decide whether to admit information produced using coercive techniques short of torture, Jaffer said.

“Every time they try to introduce a piece of evidence,” he said, “the defense lawyers are going to say, ‘This piece of evidence is unreliable’ because of coercion.”

William Glaberson and Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting.