Thursday, January 19, 2006

In The News - Jan. 19

Cisneros probe report charges cover-up: NY Times - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:23am - A report by David M. Barrett, which concludes the longest independent counsel investigation on record, costing some $21 million, says Justice Department officials refused to grant him the broad jurisdiction he wanted, the newspaper said.

Senior al Qaeda figures believed killed in US strike - 19 Jan 2006 at 1:08am - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - An al Qaeda bomb expert with a $5 million bounty on his head and a son-in-law of the group's No. 2 were among four militants believed killed by a U.S. airstrike last week, Pakistani intelligence sources said on Thursday.

Guantanamo prisoners tied to London bomb probe - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:08am - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Prisoners at the Guantanamo base in Cuba provided important information in connection with the London transit bombings that the United States shared with UK authorities, the general in charge of the prison said.

Provocative headline, but nowhere in the story does it suggest any connection between Guantanamo prisoners and the London bombings, beyond the fact that some of the Guantanamo prisoners had lived in or around London at one time.

Report says legality of CIA flights doubted - 19 Jan 2006 at 1:52am - The memo says the practice, known as extraordinary rendition, "could never be legal" if the detainee is at risk of torture, according to extracts printed in the Guardian.

Breaking Ranks - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - In an overheated old schoolroom in Washington, Larry Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, is doing his best to impose military discipline on 25 pupils as they prepare to attack a mountain of pizza, cupcakes and cookies. It is the year-end party for Macfarland Middle School's Colin L. Powell Leadership...

Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:00am - The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress's research arm released yesterday.

Furor Over Targeting Of Liberal Profs - 19 Jan 2006 at 9:47am - A former U.S. congressman and two others have quit the board of a conservative alumni group at UCLA after it offered students cash to inform on professors accused of pushing liberal views.

Bush rules out Senate run for first lady - 19 Jan 2006 at 12:52pm - STERLING, Va. -- The Senate may be the place for some former first ladies, but President Bush on Thursday categorically ruled out a run for office by his wife, Laura Bush.

"She's not interested in running for office. She's interested in literacy," Bush said during an appearance at JK Moving & Storage here.

...evidently reaffirming his belief that the two ought to be mutually exclusive.

Cheney says domestic surveillance vital - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:22pm - NEW YORK -- Vice President Dick Cheney offered a robust defense of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program Thursday, calling it an essential tool in monitoring the activities of al-Qaida and associated terrorist organizations. But he stressed the program was limited in scope and had been conducted in a way that safeguarded civil liberties.

Kinda makes one wonder how they define "robustness" for purposes of characterizing bloviation. I'm not sure I remember Dick Cheney saying anything I'd call "robust" in years, possibly decades. Everything he says comes out sounding like a sales pitch for neofascist totalitarianism the kind of American-style democracy we hope to bring to Iraq.

"Some have suggested that by liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, we've simply stirred up a hornet's nest. They overlook a fundamental fact: we were not in Iraq on September 11, 2001, and the terrorists hit us anyway," Cheney said. "The reality is that the terrorists were at war with our country long before the liberation of Iraq."

And it may be a "fundamental fact" that my roof was leaking long before I broke the garage-door window, but how that explains why I wouldn't be better off with an intact garage-door window, I'm not quite sure.

Cheney warned that the United States still faced significant threats from terrorists intent on establishing a radical Islamic empire throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. He insisted the U.S.-led war in Iraq was essential to combating that threat.

Whatever may have been undesirable about Saddam, I don't think allowing radical Muslims to remove him from power and assimilate Iraq into a vast Islamic caliphate held a prominent position on his to-do list.

Clinton strikes out at Bush, Republicans - 19 Jan 2006 at 2:05pm - ALBANY, N.Y. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton has come out swinging.

Retired military officers push Bush on torture ban - 19 Jan 2006 at 6:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of retired military officers urged President George W. Bush on Thursday to spell out how he will enforce a ban on the torture of U.S.-held prisoners, complaining he muddied the issue in a statement last month.


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