< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: June 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

Protest Journalism

I'm not sure if people have seen this, but I saw a clip on the BBC about MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski who refused to lead with a story on Paris Hilton. She not only refused to lead with the story, but shredded it on air. While this is a small event, it does raise an interesting point about the current state of the news media and to what extent journalists should decide which types of news to report or which are more important. I provided a couple of links below:

Click here to watch the video.

Another link can be found by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Senate subpoenas White House over wiretapping

From the LA Times:

The Senate committee investigating the Bush administration's controversial domestic wiretapping program subpoenaed the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney's office and the Justice Department today for information regarding their legal justification for the warrantless secret surveillance.

The subpoenas by the Judiciary Committee set the stage for another legal and political battle between Senate Democrats and the administration over its counter-terrorism and law enforcement policies. Earlier subpoenas issued by Democratic lawmakers to current and former White House officials have essentially been ignored.

Legal experts suggested today that the administration would fight or ignore these subpoenas too, throwing the issue into federal court, perhaps even the Supreme Court. The outcome, they said, could be a kind of out-of-court compromise that gives lawmakers at least some insight into the legal machinations surrounding the top-secret National Security Agency program.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The General’s Report

Seymour M. Hersh has an excellent article about torture at Abu Ghraib in The New Yorker which can be accessed here. I will only paste a portion of the article, which is a quote of now retired Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba:

“There was no doubt in my mind that this stuff”—the explicit images—“was gravitating upward. It was standard operating procedure to assume that this had to go higher. The President had to be aware of this.” He said that Rumsfeld, his senior aides, and the high-ranking generals and admirals who stood with him as he misrepresented what he knew about Abu Ghraib had failed the nation.

Lawmakers to Investigate Bush on Laws and Intent

From the New York Times:

Lawmakers say they plan to dig deeper into the Bush administration’s use of bill-signing statements as ways to circumvent Congressional intent.

In a limited examination of the administration’s practice of reserving the authority to interpret legislation, the Government Accountability Office determined that in 6 out of 19 cases it studied, the administration did not follow the law as written after President Bush expressed reservations about some legislative directives. By using signing statements, the president has reserved the right not to enforce any laws he thinks violate the Constitution or national security, or that impair foreign relations.

The accountability office, a watchdog agency, in a report issued Monday, did not pass judgment on whether the agencies were responding to the signing statements or whether the president had the constitutional authority not to comply. But Congressional officials said Tuesday that the findings were alarming since the administration had apparently not complied with the law in 30 percent of the cases scrutinized.

“Federal law is not some buffet line where the president can pick parts of some laws to follow and others to reject,” said Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, one of two senior lawmakers who sought the review.

Mr. Byrd and aides to Representative John Conyers Jr., the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and joined in seeking the study, said their next step would be to explore the signing statements to determine the broad extent of their impact. Mr. Byrd noted that another agency, the Congressional Research Service, had identified 700 provisions in law questioned by the administration.

“Moving forward, I plan to ask auditors to take a look at these provisions and determine what legal violations they find,” Mr. Byrd said. “Once we have the facts, we will be able to determine the next steps.”

The Bush administration’s frequent use of signing statements has been one front in the battle between the White House and some in Congress over the power of the executive branch.

Administration officials said that it was fully within the president’s power to interpret how laws should be carried out by the executive branch and that the White House had acted appropriately to keep Congress from overreaching and meddling too much in the independent executive branch of government.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Senate Committee Approves Bill for Detainee Hearings

From the Washington Post:

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a bill that would give detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts, part of a renewed effort by the Democratic-controlled Congress to challenge the Bush administration on its wartime policies.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) joined all 10 Democrats on the committee in approving the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act, which aims to counteract a law passed hastily in October that stripped detainees of their ability to bring their cases to court under the centuries-old legal principle of habeas corpus.

Click here to read the article.


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