Saturday, March 15, 2008

Risen & Edmonds: Not As Appreciated As Woodward & Bernstein... Yet.

Bless the Beasts and the Children and...

The Whistleblowers!

For Where would we all be without Them?

If it were left up to the current deluded, delusional and deep in denial/"I don’t remember" Administration...

...Well, let’s just say that... if Light represents Truth...
We’d still be stumbling and fumbling in complete and absolute darkness... grasping for some solid semblance of a Fact (... or one of those thousands of White House emails which "went missing"... and somehow didn’t make it into the Presidential Record... It’s Funny how the state-of-the-art systems in place to make sure all Presidential communications are entered into Permanent Record - something instituted after Watergate and the missing 18hrs. of tape - suddenly and without warning or anyone noticing... stopped working exactly at the times that serious communications were going on..
Like when CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity was being intentionally leaked and when Former Incompetent Attorney General Gonzalez became a Bush finger puppet and used his position to facilitate the firing of US Prosecutors who were pursuing cased against Republican officials...

Gee, I hope they got that bug out of the system...

I betcha it’ll be working just fine...
... As soon as GWB and his Cabinet of Corruption are out)

Anyway... The Whistleblowers.

Here are two names of two Americans who honestly deserve to be awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom...

They Love America.
They Believe in what America has always Stood for and Will Stand for Again...
As soon as...

These two Americans... in spite of it creating a real risk to their own freedoms and/or lives (one was fired from her job)... made a choice between being Sheeple and Being People... They saw that our leaders and some of those who had the responsibility to keep us safe were doing us wrong... and they took the initiative to let us know about it.

These two Americans are sooo much more deserving of The Medal of Freedom than ...
those "... bargain-basement Flying Karamazov Brothers of disastrous international politics..." - as Robert J. Elisberg described them - Tommy Franks, L. Paul Bremer and Former CIA Chief George Tenent.

But, considering who’s at the helm... can’t say as I’m surprised he gave it to them...
Maybe George believes that by doing so, he somehow makes the whole Iraq Fiasco - from inception to invasion to the Hundreds of Billions of Your Tax Dollars being poured into the Bottomless and Un-Accounted for Money Pit that Iraq is today...
(While here, in California, Hundreds of School Teachers are getting Pink Slips (firing notices) due to Trickle-Down Budget Cuts of - by comparison - a scant few $ Million)
look like less of a concocted and conspired-for War Crime.

Psst... Georgie?... It doesn’t.

Remember these two names:
James Risen and Sibel Edmonds...
Maybe even nominate them for a Medal...
(Once You-Know-Who is Gone, Baby Gone.)

I, for One, am looking forward to that moment...
More than I ever looked forward to Christmas Morning and the unwrapping of gifts.





(From: Bill Moyer’s Journal)

Government Secrecy and The Press

You may not know James Risen’s name, but you probably know his work: He’s one of the NEW YORK TIMES reporters who broke the story of the Bush administration listening in to phone calls and reading email, without search warrants. That story infuriated some conservatives. A popular blog accused Risen and his co-author of treason for revealing sensitive information, and pundit William Bennett said the reporters deserved jail time.

Bennett may get his wish. A federal prosecutor has asked a grand jury to look into a book that Risen wrote. It details not only warrantless wiretapping but also how, when it came to covert operations in the Middle East, the Administration made "mistake piled on mistake" caused an "espionage disaster" and was "operating in the blind" when it came to Iran.

Risen was subpoenaed to tell a grand jury who he talked to about Iran — in other words, to reveal his anonymous sources. So far, the reporter has refused to talk. And recently, his lawyer moved to quash the subpoena. Some veteran investigative journalists wrote letters in support of that motion. One of them told me that if Risen is forced to testify, the public will be the real loser. Here’s why: Anonymous sources have a lot to lose if their identities are revealed because a lot of them are powerful or prominent. So, if the Federal government can force a reporter like Risen to reveal their identities, those sources will clam up. There’d be more corruption and wrongdoing in Washington that the public would never learn about.

Administration officials seem not to mind keeping the public in the dark.

But for muckrakers and whistleblowers, it’s getting harder and harder to expose corruption and wrongdoing.

Take the case of former FBI agent Sibel Edmonds: She blew the whistle on massive incompetence at the Bureau — sloppy translations, missed messages from terror suspects. She even alleged that insiders were leaking secrets to foreign agents. She lost her job for it.

Just after Congress got interested in her story — and a bipartisan group of Senators said they found her claims credible enough to warrant an investigation — the administration retroactively classified everything that she knew, pretty much shutting down any chance of an investigation. U.S. journalists have found it nearly impossible to look into her claims. Over the past year, there’s been only one article on her in a major newspaper, and it simply announced that she’d won a freedom-of-speech award. Meanwhile, the TIMES OF LONDON has published three stories — just this year — digging into her claim that Administration officials sold secrets to foreign governments.

Sometimes the Administration’s efforts to squelch critics seem downright petty: Reporters for the Web site TALKING POINTS MEMO, for example, led the way in showing how the Administration encouraged federal prosecutors to go after Democrats, but go easy on Republicans. So the Department of Justice kicked the web site off of its press list. A small thing, sure, but it rankled one member of the House enough that he asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey about it at a hearing. Mukasey’s response? "I don’t know."

Recently, the Department of Justice reinstated TALKING POINTS MEMO to its press list — right around the same time that the web site won an award for its reporting on the Department of Justice.

So, Administration officials stonewall lawmakers and try to silence critics — or just make their jobs harder. That’s not news. But this time, a reporter could go to jail. The irony in James Risen’s predicament is that he was one of the reporters who revealed that the Administration could never have secretly listened in on phone calls, or read emails, without help from big telecom firms — the conglomerates that supply most Americans with phone or Internet service. After the article appeared, civil-liberties advocates filed lawsuits against the conglomerates trying to hold them accountable for helping the Administration break the law. Just recently, the Senate voted to grant those telecom companies immunity from the lawsuits — to let them off the hook — while the reporter who’d exposed them fought to stay out of jail.

Rick Karr is a correspondent for BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.
Published on February 28, 2008.

House Passes FISA Amendments Act
March 14th, 2008 by Jesse Lee

The House has just passed the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773, to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes, by a vote of 213-197-1. The revised House legislation to amend FISA grants new authorities for conducting electronic surveillance against foreign targets while preserving the requirement that the government obtain an individualized FISA court order, based on probable cause, when targeting Americans at home or abroad. The House bill also strongly enhances oversight of the Administration’s surveillance activities. Finally, the House bill does not provide retroactive immunity for telecom companies but allows the courts to determine whether lawsuits should proceed.

And lil ol’ Me says: "Yippee Kai Yay... M.F.!"
Thank You, US House of Representatives!... and Shame on You, US Senate... Get Up, Stand Up and Do The Right Things For the Right Reasons For All of Us... George is outta here in less than a year... No More Going Along to Get Along... Or... You’re Fired!

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