Friday, May 20, 2011

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by US Actions, Not Obama's Words Tell Story of US Middle East Policy by Dennis Kucinich

We all want to be supportive of our President as he attempts to broaden America's positive role in the Middle East and North Africa. But it is important to critically analyze what the President does, not what he says, when it comes to U.S. policy abroad. When the President says ‘[i]t will be the policy of the United States to promote reform across the region, and to support transitions to democracy,’ we must look more carefully at how this policy has been implemented as well as the implications of the actions that have already been taken.

President Obama violated the Constitution by pursuing war against Libya without a Constitutionally-required authorization for the use of military force or declaration of war from Congress. His actions, and now his policy recitations, set the stage for more interventions, presumably in Syria and Iran. His recounting of the reasons for U.S. intervention in Libya is at odds with the facts. There was no clear evidence of an impending massacre in Libya. There was menacing rhetoric and a violent government put-down of an armed insurrection which may have been joined by some with legitimate non-violent aspirations. No one can justify the actions of any parties to this conflict. In any case, discretion requires leaders to move with the utmost care in developing military responses to rhetoric and similar care to intervention in a civil war.

More at green announcement is a link....

"...only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers" - Jane Mayer | New Yorker

"...only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers" - Jane Mayer | New Yorker
Posted by nashville_brook

Most everyone has heard about Jane Mayer's epic New Yorker article about the NSA whistleblower, Thomas Drake, who is being prosecuted as an "enemy of the state" via The Espionage Act for the "crime" of publicizing a $1.2 Billion-dollar disaster that has resulted in the permanent loss of privacy of every American who uses any electronic communication device. What's troubling is that no one seems to care.

Only 10 years ago, government agents had to obtain a warrant before mucking around in our personal data; bills, phone calls, email, GPS locations, etc. Remember the outrage at Total Information Awareness -- the DARPA surveillance system proposed by John Poindexter, Iran-Contra CONVICT? Well, this is worse. Much worse. And it's all the more insidious b/c we no longer have a Reagan-era CRIMINAL at the helm. Our own democratic administration now owns this Orwellian nightmare.

from the article “We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national-surveillance state,” Jack Balkin, law professor at Yale, asserts that the increase in leak prosecutions is part of a larger transformation.

Only a decade ago it was considered a GRAVE breach of public trust to gather information on people who weren't accused of a crime. Now, every person in the United States is tracked and according to this article, the NSA "made a CORPORATE DECISION" to use a system that not only revealed the identities of everyone they were tracking, it allows for the NSA to SELECTIVELY track people based on their it political, religious or even taste in music.

If Obama would like a respite from criticism, he'd be well advised to take measures that lead to praise rather than horror. If this program doesn't horrify you, you're not paying attention. And, Obama would gain beau coup praise for eliminating it and making sure that whistleblowers like Thomas Drake are protected from political prosecution. We either put an end to the "bipartisan normalization" of total surveillance, or we make peace with the reality that the American Legacy will be nothing less than an Orwellian dystopia.

Here's just a smidge of the article -- you owe it yourself to read the whole damn thing -- Brook

Thomas Drake at home

THE SECRET SHARER - Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?
Drake, a former senior executive at the National Security Agency, faces some of the gravest charges that can be brought against an American citizen.

by Jane Mayer

(big snip)

The Espionage Act has rarely been used to prosecute leakers and whistle-blowers. Drake’s case is only the fourth in which the act has been used to indict someone for mishandling classified material. “It was meant to deal with classic espionage, not publication,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University who is an expert on the statute, says.

The first attempt to apply the law to leakers was the aborted prosecution, in 1973, of Daniel Ellsberg, a researcher at the RAND Corporation who was charged with disclosing the Pentagon Papers—a damning secret history of the Vietnam War. But the case was dropped, owing, in large part, to prosecutorial misconduct. The second such effort was the case of Samuel L. Morison, a naval intelligence officer who, in 1985, was convicted for providing U.S. photographs of a Soviet ship to Jane’s Defence Weekly. Morison was later pardoned by Bill Clinton. The third case was the prosecution, in 2005, of a Defense Department official, Lawrence Franklin, and two lobbyists for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Franklin pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and the case against the lobbyists collapsed after the presiding judge insisted that prosecutors establish criminal intent. Unable to prove this, the Justice Department abandoned the case, amid criticism that the government had overreached.

Few people are more disturbed about Drake’s prosecution than the others who spoke out against the N.S.A. surveillance program. In 2008, Thomas Tamm, a Justice Department lawyer, revealed that he was one of the people who leaked to the Times. He says of Obama, “It’s so disappointing from someone who was a constitutional-law professor, and who made all those campaign promises.” ...Tamm questions why the Drake case is proceeding, given that Drake never revealed anything as sensitive as what appeared in the Times. “The program he talked to the Baltimore Sun about was a failure and wasted billions of dollars,” Tamm says. “It’s embarrassing to the N.S.A., but it’s not giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”

Mark Klein, the former A.T. & T. employee who exposed the telecom-company wiretaps, is also dismayed by the Drake case. “I think it’s outrageous,” he says. “The Bush people have been let off. The telecom companies got immunity. The only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers.

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