Monthly Archives: May 2009

CIA briefing was illegal

letter in the Inquirer, 5/27/09

Charles Krauthammer has it all wrong on Rep. Nancy Pelosi (“Pelosi was silent on torture,” May 4).

In 2002, when she, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, and two senators were briefed by the CIA, the reality of the moment was clear: President Bush was steamrolling everything, and whatever degree of briefing the CIA gave Pelosi was of the cover-your-butt variety.

According to Vicki Divoli, former deputy counsel to the CIA Counterterrorism Center and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2002, briefing only four members of Congress was, in fact, illegal, because the National Security Act requires full notification of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in circumstances like the covert use of torture. In extraordinary circumstances, the notification can be limited to eight people. This was not done, either.

John Grant
Plymouth Meeting

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Filed under John Grant, Rights, Justice, Law

Torture kept no one safe

letter in the Inquirer, 5/27/09:

The remarks by former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday were as shady as President Obama’s were candid (“Squaring off on closing Guantanamo,” Friday).

Consider, for instance, Cheney’s reference to the “willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top-secret program of enhanced interrogations.” Anyone who has read the Red Cross report and the recently released memos showing CIA interrogators in continual contact with Office of Legal Counsel attorneys can easily trace what went on at Abu Ghraib right back up the chain of command. The enhanced techniques were not invented at Abu Ghraib, but in Washington, while White House attorneys provided dubious legal cover.

It is time to end the myth that these practices kept Americans safe. It is time to call these “enhanced interrogation methods” by their real name: torture.

Barbara Quintiliano

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Filed under Publications by SEPA residents, Rights, Justice, Law

Specter is a phony moderate

letter in the Inquirer, 4/22/09

Arlen Specter is a moderate only in comparison to troglodytes like Pat Toomey and John Boehner. The scarlet “M” that Specter wears in Tony Auth’s cartoon on Friday does not stand for “moderate”; rather, Specter wears it as a symbol of his own ego, because the generation of Ronald Reagan (which Specter now represents) is the true “me” generation, swindling themselves and their children with the mistaken idea that Ponzi-magnified financial and political oligarchies have better priorities and motives than the collective wisdom of smaller competitors in sane and honest competition. I grew up with moderates. Moderates were my friends. Arlen Specter, you are no moderate.

Ben Burrows
Elkins Park

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Filed under Publications by SEPA residents, US Senate

Rumsfeld was on ABB board during deal with North Korea, February 24, 2003 [Article recirculated by CLG News email 5/26/09. How to categorize this? “Boundless hypocrisy” department? “Rummy and the revolving door”? “Where communism and capitalism intersect”? “US, Switzerland, North Korea: The annals of collaboration”?]

Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, was on the board of technology giant ABB when it won a deal to supply North Korea with two nuclear power plants.

Weapons experts say waste material from the two reactors could be used for so-called “dirty bombs”.

The Swiss-based ABB on Friday told swissinfo that Rumsfeld was involved with the company in early 2000, when it netted a $200 million (SFr270million) contract with Pyongyang.

The ABB contract was to deliver equipment and services for two nuclear power stations at Kumho, on North Korea’s east coast. Continue reading

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Filed under International - other, National govt & politics