Tag: New York Times

New York Times Blasts Obama Appeal on Habeas at Bagram

The Sunday editorial in the New York Times was highly critical of the recent decision of the Obama administration to appeal the D.C. Federal Appeals Court ruling allowing habeas rights to some prisoners at Bagram.

The government furthermore asked for a stay in the proceedings of any cases under this ruling:

In sum, the extensive harms to the Government and the public interest involved in further proceedings envisioned by the Court in these cases, and the likelihood of respondents’ success on the merits of appeal, strongly warrant a stay pending appeal.

The NYT editorial, “The Next Guantánamo,” put it this way:

How the Press, the Pentagon, and Even Human Rights Groups Sold Us Army Field Manual that Tortures

Originally published at AlterNet — If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

A January 17 New York Times editorial noted that Attorney General designate Eric Holder testified at his nomination hearings that when it came to overhauling the nation’s interrogation rules for both the military and the CIA, the Army Field Manual represented “a good start.” The editorial noted the vagueness of Holder’s statement. Left unsaid was the question, if the AFM is only a “good start,” what comes next?

The Times editorial writer never bothered to mention the fact that three years earlier, a different New York Times article (12/14/2005) introduced a new controversy regarding the rewrite of the Army Field Manual. The rewrite was inspired by a proposal by Senator John McCain to limit U.S. military and CIA interrogation methods to those in the Army Field Manual. (McCain would later allow an exception for the CIA.)

According to the Times article, a new set of classified procedures proposed for the manual was “was pushing the limits on legal interrogation.” Anonymous military sources called the procedures “a back-door effort” to undermine McCain’s efforts at the time to change U.S. abusive interrogation techniques, and stop the torture.

Don’t Cry for the News

also posted at Kos

I do not feel any pity for Newspapers. They have done it to themselves. Gone are the days of the Muckrakers and the “yellow press”. Gone are the journalists. The Jack Andersons of yesteryear were replaced long ago by the Judith Millers. Even Bob Novak sold his soul(what little he had) for access to the White House. Newspapers are irrelevant.

So what if the Chicago Tribune has a decline in sales….what news is garnered from its pages? So what if I can subscribe and get the Sunday Trib and two weekdays for one dollar a week. What is the point? The news is already old by the time it is printed. And so what if the New York Times is having a cash-flow problem, aren’t we all? Suck it up, the shills for this Administration should all feel the pain!

Smearing Obama

I admit it.  I’m furious.  This evening’s New York Times online has a story with the title, “Obama and ’60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths”.  And what’s the article about?  It’s about how Obama has crossed paths with Bill Ayers in Chicago, where Ayers is a professor of education, a few times.  Check out how the story begins 39 years ago, in 1969:

At a tumultuous meeting of anti-Vietnam War militants at the Chicago Coliseum in 1969, Bill Ayers helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and United States Capitol.

Twenty-six years later[that would be in 1997], at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama’s first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.

Their relationship has become a touchstone for opponents of Mr. Obama, the Democratic senator, in his bid for the presidency. Video clips on YouTube, including a new advertisement that was broadcast on Friday, juxtapose Mr. Obama’s face with the young Mr. Ayers or grainy shots of the bombings.

In a televised interview last spring, Senator John McCain, Mr. Obama’s Republican rival, asked, “How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?”

Notice this.  This is a story that is a complete non-story. It’s a long repetition and a detailed examination of facts that definitely don’t support the smear.  And the story, when all is said and done, confirms that there is no real connection between Ayers and Obama. As the story itself says in a sixth paragraph that should have deflated the sensational, historical lede,

A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

You can read the entire story to make sure I’m not mischaracterizing it.

You tell me whether there is anything here except the repetition of the rightwing slander and a long, detailed discussion of how the two, who live in the same neighborhood, have connections to various progressive organizations and have, horror of all horrors, spoken to each other.   Put simply, there’s nothing here.  We knew there was nothing here.  We know that it’s just a rightwing smear.

So why is it on the front page of the online Times?  I don’t think you have to break out your tinfoil garments to answer the question.

Oh This Is Rich – NYT Rejects McCain OpEd

Courtesy of video by CNN, turns out the New York Times, after having published an OpEd by Barack Obama, has rejected Johh McCain’s efforts and will not publish his OpEd.

The video is very creepy – the Villagers are all atwitter.

Here is McCain’s rejected piece, in its entirety.

This is considered a big breaking news story.  Yep.

Enjoy the circus that used to be called America.

And no, there’s nothing below the flip.

NYT Limited Hangout on SERE Torture & U.S. Biological Warfare

Ex-CIA high official Victor Marchetti wrote:

“A ‘limited hangout’ is spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting – sometimes even volunteering – some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.”

Scott Shane’s New York Times article, China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo (7/2/08), details the use of Albert Biderman’s “Chart of Coercion” by members of the the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape program, or SERE, program to teach torture techniques to interrogators. The article is a fine example of how to conduct a limited hangout, or selected revelation, of intelligence-related material. Its headline and story is disingenuous or betrays ignorance. The aim of the article is to demonstrate the nefariousness or deviance of those who taught SERE techniques to U.S. interrogators, and to hide the truth about the derivation of those techniques, and to the history of the their use by U.S. government agencies.

On National Numbness

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

This morning’s Docudharma Times led off with a New York Times story about the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.  It’s worth reading all the way through.  I found it extremely disturbing, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  Hence, this essay is an expansion of this comment.

As Viet71 appropriately noted in the comments, the Times story

tries to put a “human face” on the CIA torture of prisoners by focusing on a CIA interrogator who doesn’t seem to be such a bad guy at all.

The writer displays absolutely no disgust for the topic about which he writes and paints a fairly calm picture of the CIA renditions and harsh methods.

There is no mention in the article of high-level administration approval of torture.

All in all, I believe this article is aimed at causing people to believe that what the CIA did in these renditions just wasn’t that bad.

In other words, the story appears to be propaganda for the acceptance of CIA behavior in extraordinary renditions illegal extraditions and harsh interrogation techniques torture.

I agree with the comment.  How, I wonder, can the arrest, detention in a secret prison in Poland, illegal extradition, and yes, torture, of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad not provoke outrage?  How, I wonder, did we end up with a story focusing on the “good cop” in the interrogation, and virtually ignoring the “bad cops”, the ones with whom the “good cop” was acting in concert in the interrogation, the “knuckledraggers” who admittedly, repeatedly abused the prisoner?  Do we just overlook the war crimes and human rights violations? Are we numb?

The Gray Lady

The NYT’s latest Kristol embarrassment

by Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Monday May 19, 2008 12:47 EDT

The NYT should be very proud of itself. Of course, Kristol was hired at the NYT because his dad, Irv, was really good friends with former NYT Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal, whose son, Andy, currently runs the NYT Op-Ed page. Andy and Bill followed in their dad’s footsteps by becoming good friends (and in every other sense), and Andy then hired his friend, Bill (son of his dad’s friend), as the new NYT Op-Ed writer. So this is typically what one gets — and deserves — when driven by nepotistic impulse.

Rosenthal actually claimed when he hired Kristol that he did so to achieve “balance” and to create diversity on the Op-Ed page. Indeed. Last Monday, Kristol’s column compared Americans who don’t want to fight for Israel to Neville Chamberlain appeasers. Then, on Wednesday, Tom Friedman declared a “cold war” whereby Israel and the U.S. fight together (along with Sunni Arab dictators) against Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Then, on Friday, David Brooks declared Obama suspect when it comes to hating Hezbollah enough, writing that Obama’s statements bear “the whiff of what President Bush described yesterday as appeasement” and that “if Obama believes all this, he’s not just a Jimmy Carter-style liberal. He’s off in Noam Chomskyland.” Obama then had to call Brooks, demonstrate his commitment to hating Hezbollah, and was cleared by Brooks (for now) of the charge of insufficient devotion to fighting Israel’s enemies.

Elizabeth Edwards Speaks Truth To The Press

In today’s OpEd section of The New York Times, Elizabeth Edwards delivers a very well expressed and unfortunately, very necessary, critique of today’s press regarding the picking of a president.

Opening with a mention of the media’s (lack of serious) coverage of the Pennsylvania primary, Elizabeth hits the nail on the head and calls the press out for what it has become: shallow. She also notes that she is not alone in this observation.

I’m not the only one who noticed this shallow news coverage. A report by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy found that during the early months of the 2008 presidential campaign, 63 percent of the campaign stories focused on political strategy while only 15 percent discussed the candidates’ ideas and proposals.

The picking of our president is too important a task to approach without good, solid analysis of a candidate’s policies and positions.

Thoughts and Googling on the NYT Analyst Article

Take a look at this paragraph from page 4 of today’s blockbuster NYT article:

Two of NBC’s most prominent analysts, Barry R. McCaffrey and the late Wayne A. Downing, were on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein.

Hmm.  Why don’t we have some fun with google?  This goes some interesting places.

God Damn America

Comments from the New York Times City Room blog, regarding the shooting of Sean Bell by undercover officers:

Of course the police will say that they identified themselves. However, no other witnesses at the scene heard them say anything about being police. They’re not exactly disinterested in their testimony.

– Posted by Shel

If the victims who where shot where innocent, Why did they run from the cops? Everything is always racially driven, a white cop shots a black person and Al Sharpton sets charge, What about the White Male who was killed in LONG ISLAND by a Black Male 2 months ago? WHERE THE HELL WAS AL SHARPTON FOR THE WHITE PEOPLE?

– Posted by John

Having served on NYC grand juries several times, I have heard extensive testimony about under cover operations by very brave NYC cops. Almost always the testimony involved serious drug dealing and illegal hand guns being found. The cops’ lives were almost always in danger in these situations. I never saw evidence that the cops acted recklessly.

Without under-cover stake-outs, many more crimes would be committed, and people of all races and economic settings would be in much greater danger from thugs.

The police in places like the Altima operation must actually witness felony crimes taking place or have reasonable grounds to suspect the threat of felony crimes to arrest possible perpetrators. They also must have reasonable grounds for seach and arrest.

They can’t just walk up to suspects and say, “We’re the police. Are you about to commit a felony? If so we wish to search you please.”

This particular situation ended up in a tragedy. Not a racially motivated tragedy. Just a tragedy. But most under-cover cops are brave, sensible, and dedicated, not reckless hot heads.

Trying to ram someone’s car when drunk, whether a police vehicle or a private citizens, certainly helped increase the odds of a tragedy occurring.

In the Altima case: Tragady yes, but clearly not a crime.

People who worry obsessively about police brutality should volunteer to serve on narcotics grand juries in NYC. It’s a real eye opener.

– Posted by realist

I have been struck by a member of the NYPD. My (then

pregnant) wife was threatened by a uniformed officer. We are both white. We do not live in NY. I requested an officer to take the tape [!] from his badge so I could report his number and was told to get “the **** away” or he’d introduce me to his stick.

I do not believe anything a member of the NYPD says.

– Posted by netpedant

When black males collectively start acting like responsible members of society, tragic incidents like the Bell case will go way down. The high incarceration rate of black men, and the widespread assumption that young urban men of color are carrying firearms,is not the fault of cops or Caucasians.

– Posted by James

I firmly believe that there were events that night that warranted police intervention, not for anyone to lose their lives, but when that vehicle charged at the police, it no longer matters if they had a gun or not, they were attempting to run from the cops for some reason, the friends of sean bell, including sean bell, do not have clean police records, they are not generally law abiding citizens, this whole case is very sad, good luck to the jury.

– Posted by Kim

If I am not mistaken at least one of the “victims” had a prior record and this group was “celebrating” the upcomin marriage of one of its members at a sleazy strip club known to be a drug den. You would have to gve the police at least the benefit of doubt under those circumstances.

– Posted by Whatsreallyup

A few years ago, I was put on a Manhattan Criminal Court jury. A man had entered a Midtown 5th Avenue store and stolen a 5? tall glass statue being sold for $ 28,500. It was winter and he tried to hide it under his parka, but it poked out of both the top and bottom. When he ran out of the store, he ran into two patrolmen knocking one to the ground and destroying the statue. He then ran across 5th Avenue and into the side of a taxi. He was immediately arrested by the two policemen. This was at lunchtime on a sunny day so there were hundreds of witnesses.

I say he was guilty, because not only were there hundreds of witnesses but it was all captured on video. Which we saw. Yet we only found him guilty of a lesser charge that sent him to Rikers for 15 days. It was only because we deliberated for two days that he got anything.

The reason for the lesser charge? More than half of the jury were minority and they all felt he was just a patsy. He was also a minority and they believed he was part of an insurance scam by the store and may not even have know he was stealing. They didn’t think he should get any time because the store management organized the crime. They felt he may have been just asked to move the sculpture. They couldn’t believe a minority could enter this store without being immediately surrounded by staff unless it was part of a plan. They also believed the police knew of the plan and were waiting for him.

He did not testify nor did his lawyer mention these possibilities.

It was a very frustrating experience for me. I don’t think we reached the right conclusions. Yet the majority of the jury reached their similar conclusions without ever having met each other beforehand. Their experience with authority and the legal process was clearly far different than mine.

I hope this much more serious case is decided using the law, the facts, and common sense. Whatever the result is, I hope they’re right.

– Posted by Bruce

Sean Bell: arrested 3 times (including once for firearm posession).

Joseph Guzman: arrested 9 times (including once for firearm posession). Spent 5 yrs in prison.

Trent Benefield: arrested 3 times (including once for firearm posession).

I’m sorry this young man is dead, but why such outcry over 3 dangerous law-breakers. Other than companionship to their friends and (presumably) love to their families, what contributions do/did any of these individuals make to society?

Lets get mad when the police mistakenly kill a real achiever, a real contributor… because that happens so often.

No one supports police brutality, but these three were zeros. This circus is just such a waste.

– Posted by surrr

This is America’s most cosmopolitan city, of course.

The NYT’s Awful Op-Ed on Prostitution

The New York Times op-ed page has become all too often a haven for the worst writing and opinions America has to offer.  Naturally, with prostitution in the news, they found a horrible opinion piece to publish.

The article begins with a deliberate misinterpretation of a simple notion, that of a victimless crime.  A victimless crime is simply put, a “crime” where each party to the crime is engaging in the crime consensually, as opposed to the standard crime victim, who is involuntarily subjected to the crime in question.  To say, for example, that the drug trade is a victimless crime means nothing more than that both parties in a drug deal engage in it voluntarily.  That hardly means that no one suffers due to the drug trade.  However, the op-ed tries to use this term to pretend that victimless means that everyone involved is in no way suffering, a ludicrous claim.

The op-ed then goes into unsubstantiated and pointless digression:  

But most women in prostitution, including those working for escort services, have been sexually abused as children, studies show. Incest sets young women up for prostitution – by letting them know what they’re worth and what’s expected of them. Other forces that channel women into escort prostitution are economic hardship and racism.

Is anyone suggesting that incest in victimless?  Or for its legalization?

The paragraph coming shortly afterwards, however, is stunningly laughable:

Telephone operators at the Emperor’s Club criticized one of the women for cutting sessions with buyers short so that she could pick up her children at school. “As a general rule,” one said, “girls with children tend to have a little more baggage going on.”

Have the authors ever met anyone with a job before?  Few employers are enthusiastic about workers who cut out early to pick up their children.  And generally speaking, employer bias against parents is well-documented.  But the authors actually try to convey the attitude that employer dislike of employees cutting work short to pick up children is a shocking act, which is evidence of the victimization of sex workers.

Those of us who have campaigned for the legalization of sex work, along with other “victimless crimes”, are not doing so because we consider these activities beneficial or beatific.  We do so because we believe, as the evidence clearly shows, that forcing certain trades into the black market does nothing to prevent the activity and does considerable harm to both the workers in such industries and to society at large.  This idiotic and offensive op-ed does our cause harm, both by pretending that it is answering any of the arguments for the legalization of sex work and by sloppy and unsubstantiated claims which do not address any meaningful issue.

The Times should know better than to publish such garbage.  But I hope at least that I can help readers here not be taken in.

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