Category Archives: White House emails

As sick as it gets: Cheney gets standing ovation for torture, at CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference; gathering place for the near-Fascist right; Dick Cheney is of course their leader.

From Sadly, No!, a description of these maniacs. I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize conservatism in this stuff. It’s just sickness.

Weirdly enough – or maybe not so much – his defense of torture gets a standing ovation, but his praising of our fighting men in uniform does not.

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US government prepares for martial law, recruits civilian force

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Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, http://www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative.

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Wisconsin legislature votes to pay unjustly imprisoned state employee

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Continued fallout from the U.S. attorneys scandal. From The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

The state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved the payment of legal fees for Georgia Thompson, a state employee whose conviction for mishandling a contract was overturned by a federal appeals court….Senators voted 32-0 to pay $228,793 for Thompson’s legal fees; the bill now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass. There was no debate on the bill, but Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit) said it was the “least we can do” for Thompson, who served time in a federal prison before the appeals judges ordered her released.

Of course, the appeals court’s decision to immediately overturn the case was remarkable in itself. But here you have a state legislature working to redress the wrongs of a federal prosecutor. Has this ever happened before? It strikes me as a rather unique situation.

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Bush/Cheney/Mukasey tries to suppress the press

Spencer Ackerman:

The Justice Department is going after New York Times reporter Jim Risen for the non-crime of revealing President Bush’s illegal domestic surveillance program. It’s pathetic and unsurprising—a fixture of Bush Justice—that the activity DOJ pursues isn’t the blatant illegality of Bush violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but instead the fact that government sources blew the whistle to a great investigative reporter. The right response from the press, and the public, is to put one arm around Risen and, with the other arm, extend a single finger in the direction of the Justice Department.

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US attorney scandal not going away; federal probe deepens

It is difficult to believe this will result in any indictments, given the suppressive nature of the Bush administration. But it’s a sign that there is still some life in the Justice Department.

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….recent behind-the-scenes activity in several investigations suggests that the issue that roiled Congress in 2007 could re-emerge in the heat of the election year. Two inquiries by the House and Senate ethics committees are examining whether several congressional Republicans, including one running for the Senate this year, improperly interfered with investigations.

As potent as the congressional probes might be, they appear to be far narrower than a sprawling inquiry launched by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Investigators from these offices have been questioning whether senior officials lied to Congress, violated the criminal provisions in the Hatch Act, tampered with witnesses preparing to testify to Congress, obstructed justice, took improper political considerations into account during the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys and created widespread problems in the department’s Civil Rights Division, according to several people familiar with the investigation.

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Why is Waxman having baseball hearings?

Doesn’t strike me as the Oversight Committee’s highest priority. Strikes me as a Republican-like “oh, look over there….” kind of cover for not doing the real work…am I wrong?

Like, how about a little more attention to this?

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