about us Return to the home page

Blogs 146 - 155 of 213

Previous 10 Blogs 5 at a time | 10 at a time | 20 at a time Next 10 Blogs

Ashcroft Refuses to Release 2002 Torture Memo

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft refuses to release a 2002 Justice Department policy memo that suggests some degree of torture might be justified if it yields information that will prevent terrorist attacks on the United States, The Washington Post reported. During his testimony yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic senators asked Ashcroft to give them the unclassified document. The Bush administration has been under fire for the abuse of prisoners that occurred at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and for its questionable interpretations of the Geneva Convention and prisoner classifications.

Meanwhile, editorials in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times criticized the administration for "legalizing torture" and "twisting American values."

Posted 06-09-2004 11:36 AM EDT

............................................................

High Court to Rule on Presidential Powers

There's much at stake for the Bush administration as the U.S. Supreme Court enters the final month of its term. The Court will render verdicts in June that will test President Bush's handling of the war on terrorism and the administration's secrecy surrounding Vice President Dick Cheney's national energy task force, the Los Angeles Times reported. (The story was reprinted in The [Myrtle Beach, S.C.] Sun News.) "This is a term that will be remembered for what the court says about executive power," Bradford Berenson, a Washington lawyer who worked in the Bush White House, told the Times. "And it will be played as either the president overreached and abused his power, or that the president was vindicated."

In one case, the Court will decide whether nearly 600 foreign detainees held in military prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should have access to U.S. courts. In two other cases, justices will decide whether the military should be allowed to hold "enemy combatants" without filing charges or giving them a hearing.

Posted 06-04-2004 2:21 PM EDT

............................................................

NASA Gags on Global Warming Movie

The premiere of the global warming disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow" prompted a Bush administration memo to NASA that warns employees to stay out of the media hype surrounding the movie and decline media interview requests on the subject. The movie depicts catastrophic change in Earth's climate that causes massive destruction. Climate experts are skeptical about the science behind the chaos, but the idea that moviegoers could become alarmed and blame the Bush administration for its inattention to the environmental issue has caused some concern at the space agency.

A senior NASA scientist who said he resented attempts to muzzle climate researchers sent a copy of the gag order memo to The New York Times. In an urgent e-mail message dated April 1, sent to dozens of scientists and officers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Goddard's top press officer instructs, "No one from NASA is to do interviews or otherwise comment on anything having to do with (the film). Any news media wanting to discuss science fiction vs. science fact about climate change will need to seek comment from individuals or organizations not associated with NASA."

The movie contains subtle criticisms of a  Bush-like administration that likely makes the White House cringe. The movie's lead character is a paleoclimatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bush's proposed 2005 budget would sharply cut the agency's paleoclimatology program.

Posted 05-28-2004 10:10 AM EDT

............................................................

Missing Pieces in the Abu Ghraib Puzzle

Senior U.S. officials continue to claim that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top military leaders had no knowledge of the barbaric abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and played no role in orchestrating or encouraging such interrogation tactics. Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are trying to find out who knew what and when they knew it, but the investigation is being hampered by the Pentagon's withholding of 2,000 pages of the military's 6,000-page report of the Army's investigation into the prisoner abuse scandal. 

Among those missing documents, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), is a "draft update for the Secretary of Defense" on interrogation rules. Three other key documents the congressional investigators would like to examine are also missing. They relate to a visit by the current commander of all U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, who had some suggestions for improving prisoner interrogations.

Posted 05-27-2004 2:22 PM EDT

............................................................

Bush Administration Fights for Secrecy in the High Court

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments from the solicitor general and from former Public Citizen Litigation Group director Alan Morrison - representing the Sierra Club - on VP Dick Cheney's refusal to release records involving the energy task force that formulated the Bush administration's energy policy. The government's lawyer argued that because of separation of powers, Cheney shouldn't have to disclose details of the secret meetings with industry executives and lobbyists. The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, a conservative group also suing for disclosure, argued that the public has a right to know who influenced energy policy. Morrison contends that task force participants were members of an official advisory committee, and that federal law requires disclosure of such committees' makeup and activities. The resulting energy policy is laden with tax breaks, subsidies and regulatory relief for energy companies.

Justice Antonin Scalia's questions at the hearing were widely interpreted to indicate that he was on the side of non-disclosure. Scalia's presence was controversial because of a January duck-hunting trip he and Cheney took together.

Read coverage of the hearing in the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today - and a piece by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Posted 04-28-2004 11:58 AM EDT

............................................................

Kremlin More Transparent Than Bush White House?

That's right. While mum is the word at the Bush White House, the Kremlin is talking. When reporters wanted information about President Bush's recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, they turned to the Kremlin, a symbol of secrecy, for comment, The Washington Post reported. The presidents talked about Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and other "situations in the crisis areas of the world," the Russian government said in a statement. Meanwhile, the White House revealed "no details of the conversation," the Associated Press reported.

The Bush White House's routine secrecy and silence prompted Oliver Knox, a White House reporter at Agence France-Presse, to propose a new slogan for the Bush White House: "When we have something to announce, another country will announce it."

Posted 04-20-2004 10:57 AM EDT

............................................................

Bush Planned Iraq War While Troops Fought in Afghanistan

While U.S. troops fought the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, President Bush secretly made plans to invade Iraq, according to Bob Woodward's new book, the Associated Press reported. In "Plan of Attack," Woodward says Bush ordered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in November 2001 to draw up a war plan against Iraq. But Bush kept many top officials on his national security team, including CIA Director George Tenet and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, out of the loop because he didn't want word of his decision to leak. He feared that people would think he was too eager for war.

Woodward quotes Bush as saying, "It was such a high-stakes moment and ... it would look like I was anxious to go to war. And I'm not anxious to go to war." The book says the decision angered Gen. Tommy Franks when he was told to come up with a fresh Iraq war plan while U.S. troops were engaged in Afghanistan.

Posted 04-16-2004 5:44 PM EDT

............................................................

White House Withheld Terror Documents

Another day, another story about how the Bush White House is hampering the 9/11 investigation. The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks identified 69 Clinton-era documents, which include references to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, that the Bush administration withheld from investigators, The Washington Post reported. The White House gave the commission 12 of those documents yesterday, but 57 others are in dispute. Although they weren't specifically requested, the documents are "relevant to our work," according to a commission statement.

The White House insists that it is cooperating with the commission; however, Democratic commissioner Timothy Roemer told the Post: "We continue to have document problems with this White House ... Access to documents is absolutely crucial for this commission to be able to do its work."

Posted 04-08-2004 2:20 PM EDT

............................................................

FDA Sitting on Report Linking Suicide, Children

After a researcher at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that children on antidepressants were two times as likely to exhibit suicidal behavior as kids who were not, officials sat on the report for months and ordered more research, the Los Angeles Times reported. FDA officials also stopped Dr. Andrew Mosholder from presenting his findings to an agency advisory committee in February. The agency issued a warning in March about the possibility of problems for children taking antidepressant drugs, but FDA officials denied they had any conclusive scientific evidence linking children, antidepressants and suicidal behavior.

"Evidence that they're suppressing a report like this is an outrage, given the public health and safety issues at stake, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a Harvard psychiatrist, told the Times. Despite recent media attention, the FDA still hasn't released the report.

Posted 04-08-2004 2:16 PM EDT

............................................................

White House Played Down Mercury Health Risks

The White House edited a proposed rule concerning coal-fired power plant emissions and downplayed the public health risks of mercury, The New York Times reported. Documents and e-mail messages show that White House staff members, working with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, made a host of subtle changes that minimized the health risks associated with mercury from coal-fired plants. The final proposal placed less emphasis on potential public health risks. Attorneys general in 10 states and senators asked the EPA to junk the proposed rules because they weren't strict enough, the Times said.

The White House Office of Management and Budget's "role is supposed to be to review the economics of rules -- which they did very poorly here -- not to fly speck the science and minimize health threats," said Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University professor and co-author "Priceless," a book that looks critically at cost-benefit analysis of regulations.

Posted 04-07-2004 11:23 AM EDT

Previous 10 Blogs 5 at a time | 10 at a time | 20 at a time Next 10 Blogs


home | secrecy blog | about us | join us | other secrecy sites
Powered by Public Citizen - www.citizen.org
Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. All rights reserved.