Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘transparency’ Category

US tanks used to control Egyptian protests #cablegate #Egypt

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2011

Robert Fisk on January 31st reported an important detail, which seems to have been missed by everyone else:

Many of the crowd produced stun-gun cartridge cases fired last week with “Made in the USA” stamped on the bottom. And I noticed the lead tank’s hull bore markings beginning “MFR” – at this point a soldier with a rifle and bayonet fixed was ordered to arrest me so I ran into the crowd and he retreated – but could “MFR” stand for the US Mobile Force Reserve, which keeps its tanks in Egypt? [Added: Fisk confirmed that it was today] Was this tank column on loan from the Americans? You don’t need to work out what the Egyptians make of all this.

This is a critical detail because of the implications: that the US government approved the US of US materiel for crowd suppression. To this detail can be added three others:

1. A car used to drive through the crowd in Tahrir Square, injuring people, has been identified as a US embassy vehicle. The US embassy reported it stolen… days after the incident.

2. The US is apparently continuing to ship tear gas to Egypt, although France belatedly (ca. 2/3) suspended such shipments. At the very least, as far as I can tell, it has not announced a suspension of shipments.

3. The man installed in the vice-presidency was long ago (Wikileaks 8/29/08) deemed acceptable by Israel as a replacement for Mubarak.

Juan Cole says he is puzzled by this. I am puzzled by Juan’s puzzlement. As with Honduras, no official is going to come forward to tell us whether the Administration was inept, succumbing to pressures from the Republicans, or was actively complicit in suppressing a democratic movement. We have to judge for ourselves.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, State Department, totalitarianism, transparency | 2 Comments »

To do what is right or what is effective?/updated

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2009

Keith Olbermann raised an interesting question: was the goal of the torture to elicit false confessions of a link between Iraq and 911, i.e., torture to produce propaganda? I think the answer is obvious: whatever happens in organizations is generally what is intended. If an organization uses techniques known to produce false confessions, then that is what they sought to obtain. Muriel Kane of Raw Story has assembled much of the evidence that this may have been the goal. It’s been interesting to watch Keith’s guests shrink from reaching an obvious conclusion. Their only cover is that from a legal standpoint, the proposition is far from proved.
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Update: Jonathan Landay of McClatchy has provided further evidence that torture was used to manufacture evidence of an Iraq-al Qaeda link (via DeLong)
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And, separately, Marjorie Cohn and Elizabeth de la Vega have framed perfectly the debate on whether to prosecute torture or whether to proceed through congressional hearings. (Cohn asserts that the function of torture was to produce false confessions but does not demonstrate that). Cohn argues for immediate prosecutions, while de la Vega argues for congressional hearings.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Justice Department, Obama Administration, torture, transparency | 3 Comments »

In Which Secretary Clinton Bests Several Republican Clowns Without Getting Her Hair Mussed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 22, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and ably dispatched the best — or rather, worst — the Republicans could throw at her:

I am watching SOS Hillary Clinton’s testimony to the House Foreign Affairs committee on CNN.com whereupon some Republican congressman (Dana Rohrabacher) asked about the wisdom in releasing the torture memos, and went on to quote Dick Cheney’s statement to Fox News that torture works to keep us safe. He continued with Cheney’s claim that there are memos that show that torture techniques work. Hillary abruptly cut the congressman saying acerbically:

“It won’t surprise you that I don’t consider him (Dick Cheney) a particularly reliable source of information … I believe we ought to get to the bottom of this”

It gets even better from there.

Posted in 111th Congress, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, Obama Administration, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, torture, transparency | 1 Comment »

Republicans Trying To Hide Bush Torture Crimes By Blocking Key Obama Appointments

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 6, 2009

Wonder why the Republicans are indulging in yet another bout of nonsensical-seeming hissy kabuki over Obama’s nominations of Dawn Johnsen and Harold Koh? Wonder no more — it’s all about the GOP’s desire to keep Bush and his buddies from being sent to the Hague:

Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to “go nuclear” over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration’s abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.

Time to melt down some Capitol Hill phones, folks. And some media phones as well. The whole reason this story got leaked to the outside world is twofold: Some Republicans have consciences, and the Democrats want there to be a big public outcry against the GOP’s stonewalling so that it can’t be easily framed as mere “politics” and thus blown off by the press.

Oh, and here’s a sample (h/t DougJ) of the right-wing pushback against Eric Holder for daring to want to release the torture memos. Edward Whelan wants to keep his own butt away from The Hague as well.

Posted in 111th Congress, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, President Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, torture, transparency | 6 Comments »

How To Do Banking Right, The Lebanese Way

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 22, 2009

Bmaz over at the Emptywheel portion of the FDL shop does us the signal favor of showing us an article from the Los Angeles Times that the rest of the GOP/Media Complex will studiously ignore.

Why? Because it shows how Riad Toufic Salame, the central bank chief for the country of Lebanon, avoided falling for the glorified Ponzi scheme that sucked in so many of the world’s financial minds and instead went for extreme transparency, hardcore government regulations, and conservative lending rules:

In 2005, he defied pressure from the Lebanese business community and bucked international trends to issue what now looks like a prophetic decree: a blanket order barring any bank in his country from investing in mortgage-backed securities, which contributed to the most dramatic collapse of financial institutions since the Great Depression.

So as major banks in America and Europe were shuttered or partly nationalized and thousands of people in the U.S. financial sector were laid off, Lebanon’s banks had one of their best years ever.

Billions in cash continue to pour in to the relative safety of Lebanese savings accounts, with comfy but not extravagant yields of 6%. A nation shunned for years as the quintessential failed state has become a pretty safe bet, or as safe a bet as investors are likely to find in this climate.

“Being able to survive and to do well in this crisis,” Salame said, savoring a deep sigh. “I can tell you I was proud of this achievement.”

Ironically enough, this was achieved in no small measure by Lebanon’s forsaking its former money-laundering ways, even as the rest of the world fell for schemes that promised rates of return that they knew full well could only have been achieved by criminality such as insider trading. (And as it turns out, many of these rates of return were in fact unreal, as the entities promising them were running Ponzi operations.)

Posted in banking, big money, transparency | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Let the Sunshine In!

Posted by MEC on January 22, 2009

sun

This makes me very happy.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish policies and procedures governing the assertion of executive privilege by incumbent and former Presidents in connection with the release of Presidential records by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the Presidential Records Act of 1978, it is hereby ordered as follows:

[…]

Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.

Summary: The law, not the wishes of former Presidents, shall determine when presidential records are made public.

(H/T Dependable Renegade)

Posted in President Obama, secrecy, transparency | 4 Comments »

 
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