Listed below is the Justice Integrity Project's monthly archive of cutting-edge news excerpts for December 2010.
 
Dec. 31
Daily Censored, Attorneys Attack Rights of Citizen Journalists, Mark Adams, JD, MBA, Dec. 31, 2011. The Florida Bar has proposed a new rule to eliminate coverage of court proceedings by citizen journalists. The Bar’s proposed rule prohibits anyone other than an employee of a traditional media outlet or an official court reporter from using any device which can make video or audio recording from being brought into a court including laptop computers.  Of course, the proposed rule allows the courts to continue to record you, but unfortunately, the courts usually don’t want to give up their own recordings without a fight even though they are required to do soDec. 31
 
Financial Times, Fred Kahn's First-Class Flight, Dec. 31, 2010. This week’s passing of economist Alfred Kahn, 93, has brought tributes for the Cornell professor’s key role in the 1970s deregulation of US airline fares. That achievement saves Americans a stunning $20bn annually. Yet Kahn’s contributions to electricity regulation and telecommunications policy may even exceed this high-flying success. Thanks to a superb, Pulitzer Prize-winning history of Kahn’s career, Thomas McCraw’s 1984 “Prophets of Regulation,” as well as Kahn’s own two-volume magnum opus, “The Economics of Regulation” (2nd Ed., 1988), and his papers and speeches on a variety of regulatory topics, we have a rich, bull-bodied view of the colourful life of a remarkable man.
 
Democracy Now! Julian Assange, Daniel Ellsberg on WikiLeaks, War and Resisting Government Crackdown, Amy Goodman, Dec. 31, 2010 (1 hour. Includes transcript). WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange were targeted by the U.S. and other governments around the world. We play our interviews with Assange and with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
 
Legal Schnauzer, Is Barack Obama Really Our First Black President? Roger Shuler, Dec. 31, 2010 (Videos). We recently extolled the virtues of the 1987 movie classic Amazon Women on the Moon, which featured the unforgettable character Don "No Soul" Simmons. Comedian David Alan Grier played the immortal "No Soul" Simmons and has gone on to appear in a number of TV shows, including Comedy Central's Chocolate News.
 
Dec. 30

Huffington Post/Guardian (UK), The Julian Assange Investigation -- Let's Clear the Air of Misinformation, Nick Davies, Dec. 30, 2010. The Guardian went out of their way to include exculpatory material, not just from the police file but also from previous comments made by Assange and his lawyers….Our story contains literally hundreds of words whose sole purpose is to reflect Assange's position.
 
Legal Schnauzer, Julian Assange Case Is Being Driven by a Tangled Web in Sweden, Roger Shuler, Dec. 30, 2010. A toxic mix of political, legal, and media elites is driving the prosecution in Sweden of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange -- apparently with a helping hand from U.S. political guru Karl Rove…. A source who is deeply familiar with Rove's history on the international stage has studied the Assange matter and found that it likely goes beyond the Rove/Reinfeldt alliance. Sweden, our source says, is a small country where the government, legal, and media communities are intertwined. The country is known for its neutrality and strong record on human rights. But our source says the incestuous nature of Swedish elites -- and the country's burgeoning right wing -- formed a perfect storm that helped create the peculiar sex-related charges against Assange.

FireDogLake, If the Justice Department Is Investigating Manning-Wikileaks, Why Isn’t It Investigating Lamo-Wired? Cynthia Kouril, Dec. 30, 2010. If the U.S. Department of Justice is looking at a conspiracy charge involving WikiLeaks, why isn’t it looking at a conspiracy charge against Wired.com? In the case of Wired we have: 1) two people who actually know each other, 2) an agreement to turn over classified information, and 3) an act done in furtherance of that agreement.

Washington Post, One tip enough to put name on watch list, Ellen Nakashima, Dec. 30, 2010. Senior counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list.

Boston Phoenix, Terror and the MBTA: You don't look harmless, Harvey Silverglate, Dec. 29, 2010. Racial profiling meets war on terror: The highest federal court in New England has said it’s okay for government officials single out dark-skinned people for searches, as long as they can concoct some cover rationale, ginned up with vague allusions to terrorism….In an awful and, I believe, dishonest ruling handed down two weeks ago, the First Circuit Court of Appeals approved a transit officer's search in 2004 of a van parked near the Sullivan Square MBTA station. The officer's "probable cause," as condoned by the court, was a laundry list of quite ordinary circumstances, including the fact that the driver "looked Middle Eastern." That he was, in fact, of Mexican descent apparently mattered not.

Harper’s/No Comment, Justice Department Refuses Cooperation With Polish Prosecutors Investigating Torture at CIA Black Site, Scott Horton, Dec. 30, 2010. Polish Radio reports: The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected a request from prosecutors in Warsaw for assistance in the investigation into the alleged CIA prisons in Poland, where captives claim they were tortured.

Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Wisconsin Awards $25,000 to Man Wrongly Imprisoned for 23 Years, Nathan Koppel, Dec. 30, 2010. What is a fair amount to pay someone who is wrongfully imprisoned? $1,000 per year in prison? $10,000? It’s a question that is coming up more.

 

Dec. 29
USA TODAY, Misconduct at the Justice Department: Prosecutor misconduct lets convicted off easy, Brad Heath and Kevin McCoy, Dec. 29, 2010.  What happened to [James] Strode underscores one of the least recognized consequences of misconduct by Justice Department attorneys in charge of enforcing the nation's laws. Although those abuses have put innocent people in prison, misconduct also has set guilty people free by significantly shortening their prison sentences.
Harper’s No Comment, How Prosecutorial Misconduct Helps Criminals Get Off, Scott Horton, Dec. 29, 2010. The USA Today series on the systematic misconduct of federal prosecutors continues today, with an examination of the consequences that prosecutorial misconduct has for criminal defendants….The Justice Department’s push-back against this article reveals the depths of its denial: "Once again, USA TODAY misleads readers by providing a statistically inaccurate representation of the hard work done by federal prosecutors daily in courtrooms across the country by cherry-picking a handful of examples dating back to the 1990s and confusing cases where attorneys made mistakes with cases where actual prosecutorial misconduct was involved."  Horton says, "The Department’s claim that it acts and transparently corrects mistakes when they occur is also simply dishonest."

Legal Schnauzer, Obama's Support for Michael Vick Reveals Shallow Thinking, Roger Shuler [left, with his late schnauzer, Murphy], Dec. 29, 2010. On one hand, Obama says he is concerned that former prisoners "never get a fair second chance." On the other hand, Obama has shown that he is not the least bit concerned about the plight of those who have been wrongfully imprisoned because of Bush-era political prosecutions. Thanks to his "look forward, not backwards" approach to the apparent crimes of Bush-administration officials, Obama essentially is telling victims of wrongful prosecutions, "Tough, get over it."

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, J.P. Morgan Chase sued for $25M in Petters case: Receiver Doug Kelley says big profits led the bank to ignore growing signs of fraud by Petters, Dan Browning, Dec. 29, 2010. The receiver rounding up assets from Tom Petters' $3.8 billion Ponzi scheme filed a federal lawsuit in Minneapolis Wednesday in an attempt to force J.P. Morgan Chase to return $25 million in cash and securities the bank confiscated from Petters' personal investment accounts as federal investigators swept in to shut down the fraud two years ago.

Wall Street Journal, Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers, Floyd Abrams, Dec. 29, 2010. On the face of the statute, it could not only permit the indictment of Mr. Assange but of journalists who actually report about or analyze diplomatic or defense topics. To this date, no journalist has ever been indicted under these provisions.
 
Dec. 28
Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The merger of journalists and government officials, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 28, 2010. Over the last month, I've done many television and radio segments about WikiLeaks and what always strikes me is how indistinguishable -- identical -- are the political figures and the journalists.  There's just no difference in how they think, what their values and priorities are, how completely they've ingested and how eagerly they recite the same anti-WikiLeaks, "Assange = Saddam" script.
 
Reason TV, Why the Feds Banned Four Loko (And is your favorite drink next?) Dec. 22, 2010. On December 21, Ramiro Diaz was arrested for selling eight cans of Four Loko to an undercover agent from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Diaz faces up to a year in jail for the offense, but just a few months ago Four Loko was perfectly legal. What happened? Video (3:30 min.).

AlterNet, Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act -- Here's Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange, Rosenberg Fund for Children, Robert Meeropol, Dec. 29, 2010. The Espionage Act is a huge danger to our open society; it's been used to send hundreds of dissenters to jail just for voicing their opinions, transforming dissent into treason.
 
OpEd News, 2011, Paul Craig Roberts, Dec. 28, 2010. The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy….If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens.

 

 

Dec. 28
FireDogLake, The Unlikely Story of Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning, Wired Magazine and the Federal Government, Jane Hamsher, Dec. 28, 2010. I’ve now gone through just about everything I can find of various accounts of what transpired between Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo, Wired and the federal government….And having reviewed all the material, I cannot tell you how implausible I find the cover story to be (Wired 6/6/2010, CJR 6/18 2010). Furthermore, I cannot believe that anyone of any journalistic standing has not seriously questioned it before going into print using Lamo as a source.
 
OpEd News/Barr Code, WikiLeaks may spawn new sedition act, Bob Barr, Dec. 27, 2010. The infamous Sedition Act, which criminalized speech critical of the federal government and which was passed by the Federalists during another of America’s undeclared wars (that time, against France), lasted only three years, from 1798 to 1801.  However, if the congressional critics of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have their way, a new and revised version of the Sedition Act may be in the offing.

Legal Schnauzer, Rove Might Be Trying To "Pull A Siegelman" With Julian Assange, Roger Shuler, Dec. 28, 2010. Is Karl Rove helping to export American-style political prosecutions to Scandinavia? Is "Bush's brain" trying to fashion a bogus criminal case in Sweden against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, much like the one he helped build against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman?
 
Dec. 27
Washington Post, Agony at the Airport: How much security risk in cargo overflights?
Ashley Halsey III, Dec.  27, 2010. As the Obama administration works to harden domestic defenses against terrorism, some experts point to a potential vulnerability from thousands of flights that pass over the United States each week. Although the United States regulates overflights, the cargo aboard them is not screened to federal standards and passenger lists are not matched to names on the terrorist watch list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration.

Truthdig, A Brave New Dystopia, Chris Hedges, Dec. 27, 2010. The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

FireDogLake, FDL’s Merged Version of Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Now Available, Jane Hamsher, Dec. 27, 2010. We here at FDL headquarters have spent a productive holiday season putting together data banks of information relevant to the Wikileaks-Bradley Manning- Adrian Lamo story. It feels like “Plame II, Electric Boogaloo,” because not since Scooter Libby has a story been so full of holes, contradictions and completely implausible events.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired, Dec. 27, 2010. For more than six months, Wired's Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen has possessed -- but refuses to publish -- the key evidence in one of the year's most significant political stories:  the arrest of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks' source.

 

Dec. 26
News 24 (Sweden), Karl Rove helps Reinfeldt to manage Julian Assange, Aaron Israelson, Dec. 26, 2010.
 
Dec. 24
Washington Post, For Judges, inconsistent use of ethics rules is evident, R. Jeffrey Smith, Dec. 24, 2010.  Ethics guidelines for the more than 3,000 federal judges are regularly issued and updated by the ethics panel, which includes 15 federal judges. But its advice is mostly given in secret communications to individual judges, and there is no systematic way for others to know what has been decided. Moreover, the decisions of the committee are advisory and may be ignored, unlike those issued by most state judicial ethics committees. Enforcement actions are rare, except in unusual cases of corruption and criminality that can lead to impeachment.
 
FireDogLake, Rape Victim Arrested by TSA for Refusing Groping, Michael Whitney, Dec. 24, 2010. A 56-year-old rape survivor with a pacemaker refused a groping by TSA agents at Austin Bergstrom airport, and was subsequently arrested, pushed to the floor, dragged, and banned from flying from the airport. KVUE in Austin has the horrifying story.
 
Washington Post, Agony at the Airport: Scanner firms rely on Washington insiders, Dan Eggen, Dec. 24, 2010.  The companies that build futuristic airport scanners take a more old-fashioned approach when it comes to pushing their business interests in Washington: hiring dozens of former lawmakers, congressional aides and federal employees as their lobbyists.
 
Salon/Unclaimed Territory, What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 24, 2010. The vast bulk of the outrage has been devoted not to the crimes that have been exposed but rather to those who exposed them:  WikiLeaks and (allegedly) Bradley Manning.
Dec. 23
Harper’s No Comment, Rethinking Public Integrity Prosecutions, Scott Horton, Dec. 22, 2010. In the last month, Texas prosecutors secured a dramatic conviction of former House Republican leader Tom DeLay, and the Justice Department announced it was not going anywhere in its long-standing inquiries into ethics violations involving Senator John Ensign, Representative Jerry Lewis, and a number of other prominent political figures (including DeLay). These developments have led to pointed criticism of the Justice Department’s public integrity section, whose nose has been badly bloodied by a number of disclosures of serious misconduct, including a criminal probe focused on its past leaders arising out of their botched handling of a case against Senator Ted Stevens.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, U.N. to investigate treatment of Bradley Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 23, 2010.  Both The Guardian and the Associated Press are reporting that the U.N.'s top official in charge of torture is now formally investigating the conditions under which the U.S. is detaining accused WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning.  Last week, I described the inhumane terms of his detention at a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, including being held 23 out of 24 hours a day in solitary confinement for seven straight months and counting as well as other punitive measures (such as strict prohibitions on any exercise inside his cell and the petty denial of pillows and sheets).

Huffington Post, Trial by Newspaper, Bianca Jagger, Dec. 23, 2010. I condemn and abhor rape and as an advocate of women rights, I will denounce any man who forces his sexual attention on women. I have found the sequence of events in the case against Assange, disturbing to say the least. At the end of the day, the issue here is justice and due process for all. Denying justice for men will not achieve justice for women.

Huffington Post, Kaplan Tarnishes Washington Post Legacy, Peter S. Goodman, Dec. 23, 2010.  Inside the corporation today, the newspaper is vastly overshadowed by a fast-growing business known as Kaplan Higher Education -- a sprawling empire of for-profit college campuses and sundry online course offerings alongside the test preparation business that first made the brand famous. The Kaplan name has been doing no favors for the Washington Post's reputation or that of the Graham family.

Wall Street Journal, Jabbar Collins Starts Over, Jason Bellini, Dec. 23, 2010.  After more than 15 years behind bars and now free after getting his murder conviction overturned, Jabbar Collins starts his day like so many other New Yorkers: He takes the subway to his job in Manhattan.

 

Dec. 22
National Journal, Ex-Regulator’s View: FCC Will Pass Net Neutrality, Why the agency's proposal, disliked by the Right and Left, likely will become law with a vote Tuesday, Bruce Gottlieb, Dec. 20, 2010. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (left) has proposed specific “net neutrality” rules that would govern how residential broadband providers may—and may not—prioritize particular Internet traffic. However, his fellow Democrats believe that his proposal doesn’t go far enough, and they are threatening to walk away with nothing rather than accept what’s on the table.

Huffington Post, At Kaplan University, 'Guerrilla Registration' Leaves Students Deep In Debt, Dec. 22, 2010. Managers at Kaplan--the highly profitable educational arm of the Washington Post Co.-- have for years pressured academic advisors to use this method to boost enrollment numbers, the former employees said, offering accounts consistent with dozens of complaints filed by former students with the Florida Attorney General's Office and reviewed by The Huffington Post.

Washington Post, Metro bag inspections cause minor customer annoyances, Ann Scott Tyson, Dec. 22, 2010.  Metro police began random inspections of passengers' bags and packages Tuesday morning, irritating some riders and reassuring others.

AOL News, AOL Investigation: No Proof TSA Scanners Are Safe, Andrew Schneider, Dec 20, 2010.  The Transportation Security Administration says that when working properly, the backscatter Advance Imaging Technology X-ray scanners emit an infinitesimal, virtually harmless amount of radiation.

Washington Post, CEO Group Picks Engler to be its New President, Dan Eggen, Dec. 22, 2010.   The Business Roundtable, which has served as one of the Obama administration's few allies in the business community in the past, signaled a possible change of course Tuesday by naming a well-known Republican as its president.

Washington Post, CIA launches task force to assess impact of U.S. cables' exposure by WikiLeaks, Greg Miller, Dec. 22, 2010. The CIA has launched a task force to assess the impact of the exposure of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and military files by WikiLeaks.

Washington Post, EEOC Sues Kaplan, Zachary Goldfarb, Dec. 22, 2010. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday sued The Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan Higher Education unit, alleging that it discriminated against black job applicants by refusing to hire people based on their credit histories. The federal lawsuit alleges that Kaplan needlessly evaluated the credit histories of potential hires in a way that had a disparate negative impact on black job applicants. The commission said the practice has been in place since at least January 2008.

OpEdNews, McCarthyism on Steroids: Monitoring Americans, Jesselyn Radack, Dec. 21, 2010. The Washington Post, to its credit, has a new blockbuster article, "Monitoring America," that is part of its larger "Top Secret America" series. In frightening detail, it dissects the vast domestic localized intelligence apparatus being used to collect, store and analyze information about Americans, most of whom have not been accused of any crime….Every state and local law enforcement agency feeds information to a vast, top-secret repository at the FBI, which stores the identities and profiles of those who are not known criminals or terrorists, but appear to have been "acting suspiciously" to a traffic cop or even a neighbor….My concern, after a stint on the "No-Fly List" during the Bush years for whistleblowing, is that information in the database could be improperly used or released.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 21, 2010.  In The New York Times today, Mark Mazzetti and Dexter Filkins expose very sensitive classified government secrets -- and not just routine secrets, but high-level, imminent planning for American covert military action in a foreign country….The question that emerges from all of this is obvious, but also critical for those who believe Wikileaks and Julian Assange should be prosecuted for the classified information they have published:  should the NYT editors and reporters who just spilled America's secrets to the world be criminally prosecuted as well?  After all, WikiLeaks has only exposed past conduct, and never -- like the NYT just did -- published imminent covert military plans.

Dec. 20

New York Times, Justice Dept. Is Criticized as Corruption Cases Close, Charlie Savage, Dec, 20, 2010. The Justice Department has shut down a wave of high-profile investigations of members of Congress over the past few months, drawing criticism that the government’s premier anticorruption agency has lost its nerve after the disastrous collapse last year of its case against former Senator Ted Stevens….“They’re gun-shy,” said J. Gerald Hebert, the executive director of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group that seeks greater disclosure of how money influences politics.  But in interviews, Jack Smith, chief of the Public Integrity Section at the Justice Department, and his supervisor, Lanny Breuer, the assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, hotly contested the contention that prosecutors were in retreat from taking on Congressional corruption.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory,The Government's one-way mirror, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 20, 2010. In The Washington Post today, Dana Priest and William Arkin continue their "Top Secret America" series by describing how America's vast and growing Surveillance State now encompasses state and local law enforcement agencies, collecting and storing always-growing amounts of information about even the most innocuous activities undertaken by citizens suspected of no wrongdoing.

The Week Magazine, Is Karl Rove helping persecute Julian Assange? Dec. 20, 2010.

 

Dec. 19

OpEd News, Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks, Justice Integrity Project, Dec. 19, 2010. [Swedish Prime Minister Fredric Reinfeldt, left, with President Bush.]

Huffington Post, Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks, Justice Integrity Project, Dec. 19, 2010. Karl Rove's help for Sweden as it assists the Obama administration's prosecution against WikiLeaks could be the latest example of the adage, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."  Rove has advised Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt for the past two years after resigning as Bush White House political advisor in mid-2007. Rove's resignation followed the scandalous Bush mid-term political purge of nine of the nation's 93 powerful U.S. attorneys.

New York Times, Swedish Police Report Details Case Against Assange, John F. Burns and Ravi Somaiya, Dec. 18, 2010. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who was released from a British jail late last week, is facing a new challenge: the leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report that sheds new light on the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to Mr. Assange’s legal troubles.

 

Dec. 18
WLCentral,  Statement by Julian Assange's counsel Mark Stephens, Nov. 18, 2010.  On the morning of 21 August 2010, my client, Julian Assange, read in the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen that there was a warrant out for his arrest relating to allegations of “rape” involving two Swedish women. However, even the substance of the allegations, as revealed to the press through unauthorized disclosures do not constitute what any advanced legal system considers to be rape; as various media outlets have reported “the basis for the rape charge” purely seems to constitute a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex days after the event.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Joe Biden v. Joe Biden on WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 18, 2010.  It's really not an overstatement to say that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the new Iraqi WMDs because the government and establishment media are jointly manufacturing and disseminating an endless stream of fear-mongering falsehoods designed to depict them as scary villains threatening the security of The American People and who must therefore be stopped at any cost.

 

 

Dec. 17
OpEd News, WikiLeaks Hearing on the Hill: Issues Raised by Desires to Prosecute Assange & WikiLeaks, Kevin Gosztola, Dec. 17, 2010. For over three hours on December 16th, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks. The hearing focused on the Espionage Act and whether the government could prosecute Julian Assange and others affiliated with the organization or not. The hearing also focused on the limits of the law and how the U.S. could adjust the classification process to guard itself from future "attacks" from WikiLeaks. The seven-person panel included: Abbe D. Lowell, a partner with McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Washington, D.C.; Kenneth L. Wainstein, a partner with O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C.; Geoffrey R. Stone, a professor and Former Dean of the University of Chicago Law School; Gabriel Schoenfeld, Ph.D., a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, Thomas S. Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, Stephen I. Vladeck, a Professor of Law at American University Washington College Law; and Ralph Nader, a legal advocate and author.

Truthout, Bush Sr., James Baker Instrumental in Getting Nigeria to Drop Bribery Charges Against Cheney, Jason Leopold, Dec. 17, 2010. Former President George H.W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State James Baker were part of a negotiating team that convinced Nigerian government officials to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the oil services firm he led prior to becoming vice president.

Huffington Post, Tax Cut Compromise Leaves Ardent Obama Supporters Disillusioned, Jason Linkins, Dec. 17, 2010. Graham-Felsen was a 2008 campaign workhorse, blogging his heart out for the campaign by "telling the stories" of the people who had joined up with OFA, "many of whom had never been engaged in politics or were reengaging after years of disillusionment." The way he puts it, many of the people whose stories he helped tell are hurtling backwards in the direction of disillusion.

Huffington Post, Dear Government of Sweden, Michael Moore, Dec. 17, 2010. Actually, many see right through you. They know what these "non-charge charges" are really about. And they know that you are cynically and disgustingly using the real and everyday threat that exists against women everywhere to help further the American government's interest in silencing the work of WikiLeaks.

OpEd News, Journalists Are All Julian Assange, Robert Parry, Dec. 17, 2010. By bringing a case against Mr. Assange as a conspirator to Private Manning's leak, the government would not have to confront awkward questions about why it is not also prosecuting traditional news organizations or investigative journalists who also disclose information the government says should be kept secret -- including The New York Times, which also published some documents originally obtained by WikiLeaks.

In other words, the Obama administration appears to be singling out Assange as an outlier in the journalistic community who is already regarded as something of a pariah. In that way, mainstream media personalities can be invited to join in his persecution without thinking that they might be next. Though American journalists may understandably want to find some protective cover by pretending that Julian Assange is not like us, the reality is " whether we like it or not " we are all Julian Assange.

 

 

Dec. 16
Legal Schnauzer, Federal Prosecutors Have Little to Fear for Gross Misconduct , Roger Shuler, Dec. 16, 2010. Why were lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) willing to pursue political prosecutions against Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and other Democrats during the George W. Bush years? Probably because they knew they could get away with it. That's the lesson to be taken from the latest installment in USA Today's series on misconduct among federal prosecutors.

FireDogLake, Justice Department Looking for Pretense to Charge Julian Assange, David Dayen, Dec. 16, 2010. The government could argue, after all, that Wikileaks, by advertising the fact that they publish secret information, was actively soliciting it and encouraging leakers to commit crimes. That may seem reasonable, but it’s not, because reporters, on some level, make their interest in secret government information known simply by being reporters, or by being the type of reporter whose beat involves matters of national security. What counts as “conspiracy” under such circumstances? If a source offers a reporter information both know to be secret, has the reporter engaged in conspiracy by agreeing to receive it?

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Getting to Assange through Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 16, 2010.  In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange…. [T]he Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma:  it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.  Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism.

Huffington.Post, The Media Gets It Wrong on WikiLeaks: It's About Broken Trust, Not Broken Condoms, Arianna Huffington. Dec.15, 2010. The first important aspect of the revelations is... the revelations.  Too much of the coverage has been meta -- focusing on questions about whether the leaks were justified, while too little has dealt with the details of what has actually been revealed and what those revelations say about the wisdom of our ongoing effort in Afghanistan. There's a reason why the administration is so upset about these leaks.

Harper’s No Comment, Knowing a Terrorist When You See One, Scott Horton, Dec. 16, 2010. Discussing the Wikileaks disclosures last week, New York Congressman Peter King urged Attorney General Eric Holder to designate the organization as a “foreign terrorist organization,” saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” A chorus was struck up almost immediately, with commentators and politicians following up on King’s demand.
Jersey Journal/NJ.com, L. Harvey Smith calls acquittal in corruption trial 'best birthday present,' Melissa Hayes, Dec. 16, 2010. “We had every confidence in the strength of the evidence but, as always, we respect the jury’s verdict,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. “The loss of an individual case is clearly disappointing, but we are undeterred in our mission to root out those who use official positions to betray the trust of the people of New Jersey.”

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Hudson County politicos weigh in on L. Harvey Smith not guilty verdict, Brett Wilshe, Dec. 16, 2010. "Tremendous! Tremendous!," former Assemblyman Lou Manzo, said tonight after learning that a federal jury in Newark found former Jersey City Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith not guilty of taking bribes from a government informant.

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Former Jersey City Assemblyman found not guilty on all six counts, Ian C. Bates, Dec. 16, 2010. Smith was accused of accepting $15,000 in bribes from Solomon Dwek, the government informant at the center of last year's sweeping sting operation that led to 46 arrests. Smith testified during the trial that he returned the the first $5,000 of the money to an intermediary and intended to give back the other $10,000, but was arrested before he could return the money.

Newark Star-Ledger/NJ.com, Ex-Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith is found not guilty of accepting $15K in bribes,  MaryAnn Spoto, Dec. 16, 2010.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Getting to Assange through Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 16, 2010. In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange…. [T]he Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma:  it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.  Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism.

Harper’s No Comment, Knowing a Terrorist When You See One, Scott Horton, Dec. 16, 2010. Discussing the Wikileaks disclosures last week, New York Congressman Peter King urged Attorney General Eric Holder to designate the organization as a “foreign terrorist organization,” saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” A chorus was struck up almost immediately, with commentators and politicians following up on King’s demand. In fact, the term “foreign terrorist organization” (FTO) is established in section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which empowers the Secretary of State (not the attorney general) to apply that label to foreign organizations, with immediate and severe consequences for those so labeled and those who communicate or deal with them in any way. The Secretary of State does not have carte blanche in this process.

 

Think Progress, US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents, Lee Fang, Feb. 10, 2011. ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.

 

New York Times, 538 Blog, A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange, Nate Silver, Dec. 15, 2010. The handling of the case has been highly irregular from the start, in ways that would seem to make clear that the motivation for bringing the charges is political.

OpEd News, We Are So Screwed, Rob Kall, Dec. 16, 2010. So does worthless Obama co-failure Eric Holder, who could go down in history as worse than Alberto” Gonzales.

Legal Schnauzer, Federal Prosecutors Have Little to Fear for Gross Misconduct, Roger Shuler, Dec. 16, 2010. Why were lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) willing to pursue political prosecutions against Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and other Democrats during the George W. Bush years? Probably because they knew they could get away with it. That's the lesson to be taken from the latest installment in USA Today's series on misconduct among federal prosecutors.
Nieman Watchdog, Ten questions for Harold Koh [former Yale Law School dean now at State Department] about torture and U.S. compliance with its legal commitments, Larry Siems, Dec. 16, 2010.  The Obama administration claims that all alleged abuses of detainees have been or are in the process of being investigated. The lead author of the ACLU's Torture Report asks the obvious but unasked questions.

FireDogLake, Justice Department Looking for Pretense to Charge Julian Assange, David Dayen, Dec. 16, 2010. Meanwhile, the bigger legal threat to Assange may not come from Sweden, but the United States. Charlie Savage reports on the effort by the Justice Department to devise charges against Assange for releasing classified State Department cables.

 

Dec. 16
Legal Schnauzer, Federal Prosecutors Have Little to Fear for Gross Misconduct , Roger Shuler, Dec. 16, 2010. Why were lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) willing to pursue political prosecutions against Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and other Democrats during the George W. Bush years? Probably because they knew they could get away with it. That's the lesson to be taken from the latest installment in USA Today's series on misconduct among federal prosecutors.

FireDogLake, Justice Department Looking for Pretense to Charge Julian Assange, David Dayen, Dec. 16, 2010. The government could argue, after all, that Wikileaks, by advertising the fact that they publish secret information, was actively soliciting it and encouraging leakers to commit crimes. That may seem reasonable, but it’s not, because reporters, on some level, make their interest in secret government information known simply by being reporters, or by being the type of reporter whose beat involves matters of national security. What counts as “conspiracy” under such circumstances? If a source offers a reporter information both know to be secret, has the reporter engaged in conspiracy by agreeing to receive it?

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Getting to Assange through Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 16, 2010.  In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange…. [T]he Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma:  it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.  Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism.

Huffington.Post, The Media Gets It Wrong on WikiLeaks: It's About Broken Trust, Not Broken Condoms, Arianna Huffington. Dec.15, 2010. The first important aspect of the revelations is... the revelations.  Too much of the coverage has been meta -- focusing on questions about whether the leaks were justified, while too little has dealt with the details of what has actually been revealed and what those revelations say about the wisdom of our ongoing effort in Afghanistan. There's a reason why the administration is so upset about these leaks.

Harper’s No Comment, Knowing a Terrorist When You See One, Scott Horton, Dec. 16, 2010. Discussing the Wikileaks disclosures last week, New York Congressman Peter King urged Attorney General Eric Holder to designate the organization as a “foreign terrorist organization,” saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” A chorus was struck up almost immediately, with commentators and politicians following up on King’s demand.
 
Jersey Journal/NJ.com, L. Harvey Smith calls acquittal in corruption trial 'best birthday present,' Melissa Hayes, Dec. 16, 2010. “We had every confidence in the strength of the evidence but, as always, we respect the jury’s verdict,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. “The loss of an individual case is clearly disappointing, but we are undeterred in our mission to root out those who use official positions to betray the trust of the people of New Jersey.”

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Hudson County politicos weigh in on L. Harvey Smith not guilty verdict, Brett Wilshe, Dec. 16, 2010. "Tremendous! Tremendous!," former Assemblyman Lou Manzo, said tonight after learning that a federal jury in Newark found former Jersey City Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith not guilty of taking bribes from a government informant.

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Former Jersey City Assemblyman found not guilty on all six counts, Ian C. Bates, Dec. 16, 2010. Smith was accused of accepting $15,000 in bribes from Solomon Dwek, the government informant at the center of last year's sweeping sting operation that led to 46 arrests. Smith testified during the trial that he returned the the first $5,000 of the money to an intermediary and intended to give back the other $10,000, but was arrested before he could return the money.

Newark Star-Ledger/NJ.com, Ex-Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith is found not guilty of accepting $15K in bribes,  MaryAnn Spoto, Dec. 16, 2010.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Getting to Assange through Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 16, 2010. In The New York Times this morning, Charlie Savage describes the latest thinking from the DOJ about how to criminally prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange…. [T]he Obama administration faces what it perceives a serious dilemma:  it is -- as Savage writes -- "under intense pressure to make an example of [Assange] as a deterrent to further mass leaking)," but nothing Assange or WikiLeaks has done actually violates the law.  Moreover, as these Columbia Journalism School professors explain in opposing prosecutions, it is impossible to invent theories to indict them without simultaneously criminalizing much of investigative journalism.

Harper’s No Comment, Knowing a Terrorist When You See One, Scott Horton, Dec. 16, 2010. Discussing the Wikileaks disclosures last week, New York Congressman Peter King urged Attorney General Eric Holder to designate the organization as a “foreign terrorist organization,” saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.” A chorus was struck up almost immediately, with commentators and politicians following up on King’s demand. In fact, the term “foreign terrorist organization” (FTO) is established in section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which empowers the Secretary of State (not the attorney general) to apply that label to foreign organizations, with immediate and severe consequences for those so labeled and those who communicate or deal with them in any way. The Secretary of State does not have carte blanche in this process.

 

Think Progress, US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents, Lee Fang, Feb. 10, 2011. ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.

 

New York Times, 538 Blog, A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange, Nate Silver, Dec. 15, 2010. The handling of the case has been highly irregular from the start, in ways that would seem to make clear that the motivation for bringing the charges is political.

OpEd News, We Are So Screwed, Rob Kall, Dec. 16, 2010. So does worthless Obama co-failure Eric Holder, who could go down in history as worse than Alberto” Gonzales.

Legal Schnauzer, Federal Prosecutors Have Little to Fear for Gross Misconduct, Roger Shuler, Dec. 16, 2010. Why were lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) willing to pursue political prosecutions against Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and other Democrats during the George W. Bush years? Probably because they knew they could get away with it. That's the lesson to be taken from the latest installment in USA Today's series on misconduct among federal prosecutors.
 
Nieman Watchdog, Ten questions for Harold Koh [former Yale Law School dean now at State Department] about torture and U.S. compliance with its legal commitments, Larry Siems, Dec. 16, 2010.  The Obama administration claims that all alleged abuses of detainees have been or are in the process of being investigated. The lead author of the ACLU's Torture Report asks the obvious but unasked questions.

FireDogLake, Justice Department Looking for Pretense to Charge Julian Assange, David Dayen, Dec. 16, 2010. Meanwhile, the bigger legal threat to Assange may not come from Sweden, but the United States. Charlie Savage reports on the effort by the Justice Department to devise charges against Assange for releasing classified State Department cables.

Dec. 14

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 14, 2010.  Amazingly, the Obama administration is surpassing its predecessor when it comes to assaults on whistle-blowing and a free press….But if current reports are correct -- that the Obama DOJ has now convened a Grand Jury to indict WikiLeaks and Julian Assange -- this will constitute a far greater assault on press freedom than anything George W. Bush managed, or even attempted.  Put simply, there is no intellectually coherent way to distinguish what WikiLeaks has done with these diplomatic cables with what newspapers around the world did in this case and what they do constantly:  namely, receive and then publish classified information without authorization.  And as much justifiable outrage as the Bush DOJ's prosecution of the AIPAC officials provoked, at least the actions there resembled "espionage" far more than anything Assange has done, as those AIPAC officials actually passed U.S. secrets to a foreign government, not published them as WikiLeaks has done.

Huffington Post/Michael Moore.com, Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange (A statement from Michael Moore), Dec. 14, 2010.  We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off….So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth.

Huffington Post, Obama's Judges Blocked At Historic Rate, Ryan Grim, Dec. 14, 2010. As the first congressional session of Obama's presidency draws to a close, what began as a slow process of confirmation has ballooned into a full-blown judicial crisis. The Senate has overseen the slowest pace of judicial staffing in at least a generation, with a paltry 39.8 percent of Obama's judges having been confirmed, according to numbers compiled by Senate Democrats. Of the 103 district and circuit court nominees, only 41 have been confirmed.

Legal Schnauzer, Is Karl Rove Driving the Effort to Prosecute Julian Assange? Roger Shuler, Dec.14, 2010. Former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove likely is playing a leading role in the effort to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a source with ties to the justice community tells Legal Schnauzer.

MSNBC, Sweden to appeal Assange's bail ruling; WikiLeaks founder likely to stay in jail for another day or two, Dec. 14, 2010. Swedish prosecutors will challenge an order by a British judge that granted bail to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. District Judge Howard Riddle said Tuesday that Assange could be free under strict conditions, but he granted a stay to allow Swedish prosecutors to appeal his decision.  A couple of hours later, prosecution lawyer Gemma Lindfield announced the decision to appeal the bail ruling, without giving reasons. As a result, Riddle said Assange must remain in custody until the appeal is heard within 48 hours.

Wayne Madsen Report, Obama's CIA brief: infiltrate the Marxist Left and "de-communize" it, Wayne Madsen, Dec 14, 2010 (Subscription required.) It is apparent that one of Barack Obama, Jr's major tasks for the CIA, through his work with Business International Corporation, his membership in leftist student groups at Occidental College in Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York, and his work as a "community organizer" in south Chicago was to infiltrate and "de-communize" the Marxist left and bring it into the capitalist globalist fold.

HedgeCo.Net, Hedge Fund Ritchie Capital Challenges Court’s Decision Against Victims Rights, Dec, 14, 2010. Hedge fund investment firm, Ritchie Capital Management, L.L.C., has filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari (a formal written order seeking judicial review), asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review decisions of the Minnesota Federal District Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals denying restitution to the victims of Thomas Petters’ $3.5 billion hedge fund Ponzi scheme.

WRRC-FM/Carson’s Corner, Justice Integrity Project Director Andrew Kreig interviewed on New Jersey’s Only Progressive FM radio show, Bob Carson, Dec. 14, 2010. Bob has officially jumped off the Obama  bandwagon after Obama made a deal with Senate Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts. Bob calls this what it is: redistribution from the bottom to the top. Has Obama jeopardized Social Security? Plus Andrew Kreig, the executive director of the Justice Integrity Project, gives an update on the Governor Christie saga. “Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups” is the latest report by the Justice Integrity Project, a non-partisan legal reform group based in Washington, DC.

 

Dec. 12
Hudson Reporter, Group criticizes political corruption probe, Ricardo Kaulessar, Dec 12, 2010. While a former assemblyman became the latest local politician to stand trial last week as one of dozens of local politicians caught in a political corruption sting, a national organization criticized the very same sting.  Andrew Kreig, director of the Justice Integrity Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization looking into “selective prosecutions” by the federal government, said in an interview with the Jersey City Reporter last week that the U.S. Attorney’s sting operation that ensnared 43 local officials in July, 2009 was “very unusual and disturbing.”

 

 

Dec. 11

Hartford Courant, Jepsen Names Nora Dannehy As Deputy, Jon Lender, Edmund Mahony, Dec.  11, 2010.  Attorney General-elect George Jepsen on Friday named Nora R. Dannehy (right) — the veteran federal prosecutor who handled the corruption cases of former Gov. John G. Rowland and former state Treasurer Paul Silvester, who both served prison terms — as his top deputy.

 

Dec. 10

The Hill/Common Dreams, Nader: I am Looking for Someone to Challenge Obama in 2012, Elise Viebeck Dec. 10, 2010. Perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader predicted on Wednesday that President Obama's tax deal with Republicans will earn him a primary challenge in 2012….."He's a con man. I have no use for him," Nader said.

Huffington Post, Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks On House Floor (VIDEO) Jason Linkins Dec. 10, 2010. In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks document dump, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), the self-styled libertarian crusader who's spent the past half-decade building up a massive grassroots following, has emerged as a principal voice in support of the transparency that WikiLeaks has provided.

Civil Beat/Huffington Post, Internet Press Vulnerable After WikiLeaks, Dec. 10, 2010.[T]he WikiLeaks case exposes the vulnerability of any publisher on the Internet….We're talking about how democracy can be diminished when government uses its power to silence a voice it disagrees with. Even more worrisome is how this case has exposed how foreign governments may be able to use their own criminal investigations to hurt and potentially silence journalists beyond their own borders.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The media's authoritarianism and WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald, Dec 10, 2010. After I highlighted the multiple factual inaccuracies in Time's WikiLeaks article yesterday (see Update V) -- and then had an email exchange with its author, Michael Lindenberger -- the magazine has now appended to the article what it is calling a "correction." In reality, the "correction" is nothing of the sort; it is instead a monument to the corrupted premise at the heart of American journalism.

 

 

ABA/USA Today, Federal Prosecutors Rarely Lose Their Jobs, Despite Misconduct Findings, Debra Cassens Weiss, Dec. 9, 2010. Justice Department investigations of prosecutor misconduct rarely result in serious sanctions for wrongdoing, according to a newspaper investigation. “Prosecutors have little reason to fear losing their jobs, even if they violate laws or constitutional safeguards designed to ensure the justice system is fair,” USA Today reports. Most violations result in reprimands, suspensions or agreements that allow lawyers to leave their jobs “with their reputations intact and their records unblemished,” the newspaper says.

 

 

The U.S. Justice Department refused USA Today’s request for a list of disciplinary actions taken against prosecutors, so the newspaper sifted through a decade of annual reports that summarize some of the cases investigated. The documents revealed just one termination. A Department of Justice lawyer was fired because she had been unlicensed for more than five years after she was suspended for failing to comply with legal education requirements, according to the 2009 report. The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended the firing of four other lawyers, but they either resigned or retired. According to the reports, OPR has investigated 756 complaints from 2000 to 2009 and found misconduct in 196 cases. Justice officials say they can’t release investigation details because of privacy laws.

 

 

Huffington Post, For-Profit Colleges Cashing In On Veterans, Chris Kirkham, Dec.  9, 2010. Veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been enrolling in for-profit colleges and institutions at substantially higher rates during the past two years, raising questions about the degree to which such institutions are seeking higher enrollment rates at the expense of true educational opportunities. A report released today by the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has been examining aggressive recruitment practices and high student loan default rates in the burgeoning for-profit education industry over the past several months, shows the share of their revenue coming from veterans has increased fivefold from 2008 to 2010. For-profit colleges have been one of the primary beneficiaries of the Great Recession, with many institutions capturing anywhere from 85 to 90 percent of their revenues from federal financial aid dollars. But veterans present a particularly attractive opportunity to boost enrollment, because their generous benefits through the GI bill and other programs are not counted as federal financial aid dollars -- a point singled out in the Senate report.

Salon/OpEd News, Nobody represents the American people: No matter which party runs Washington, Michael Lind, Dec. 9, 2010. The disconnect between the actions of the government and public opinion is the central fact of American politics today. It doesn’t seem to matter whether liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans are in power. Only minor, marginal reforms ever take place….The changes that do take place are often the opposite of those that majorities of Americans want.

Huffington Post, Anna Ardin, Julian Assange Rape Accuser, May Have Ceased Pursuing Claims, Dec. 9, 2010. The rape accusations against Julian Assange may be falling apart as one of his accusers leaves Sweden. Anna Ardin, one of two women behind the rape charges against the WIkiLeaks founder, may no longer be cooperating with prosecutors, the Australian website Crikey reports. Julian Assange has been fighting sex charges from Sweden and is now in British custody.

Crikey, Assange accuser may have ceased co-operating, Guy Rundle, Dec. 9, 2010. Even if the case comes to trial, the prospects of conviction look slim.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The crux of the WikiLeaks debate, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 8, 2010 (Updated below Dec. 9). Eric Holder today proudly announced that the DOJ is "looking into" cyber attacks directed at companies which cut off WikiLeaks' services (such as MasterCard and, coming soon, Paypal). I wonder why Holder's DOJ isn't also "looking into" the far more serious cyber attacks directed at WikiLeaks and which removed them from the Internet. Given how "no country believes in press freedom more than the United States," one would think they'd want to get to the bottom of who the culprits are who did that.

Dec. 8

Washington Post, GAO revises its report critical of practices at for-profit schools, Nick Anderson, Dec. 7, 2010. The Government Accountability Office has revised portions of a report it released last summer on recruiting practices in for-profit higher education, softening several examples from an undercover investigation but standing by its central finding that colleges had encouraged fraud and misled potential applicants. The revisions have come as the Obama administration and senior Democratic lawmakers are pushing for tougher regulation of the industry. A Republican senator said the revisions called into question some of the conclusions in the report.
The original report, issued Aug. 4 in testimony to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, examined recruiting practices at 15 for-profit colleges, including campuses operated by the Apollo Group, Corinthian Colleges and The Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan unit. Undercover GAO investigators posed as prospective students in encounters with college representatives that were captured in audio and video recordings. The GAO is a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress.


Washington Post/Bloomberg, Washington Post's Kaplan unit to cut 770 employees, Olga Kharif, Dec. 7, 2010. Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan Higher Education division said it plans to cut about 770 employees, or about 5 percent of the workforce, because of slowing enrollment. "These are difficult decisions to make, but necessary if we are to maintain the same high-quality education and support services our students expect," Jeff Conlon, chief executive officer of Kaplan Higher Education, said in a statement today…
Last week, a former dean of the unit alleged the company engaged in fraud to get U.S. student aid as he defended himself against criminal cyber-harassment charges in a federal jury trial under way in Chicago. In testimony in U.S. District Court, Bennie Wilcox, a former dean of law and legal studies at Kaplan University, said he witnessed Kaplan executives commit "multiple schemes" to defraud the U.S. government and taxpayers out of $1 billion. Kaplan denies the allegations. Wilcox claims the company retaliated against him when he exposed fraud in a pending whistleblower lawsuit in Florida filed in 2007.

Washington Post, Judge tosses bid to block assassination of cleric, Nedra Pickler, Dec/ 7, 2010, A judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit aimed at preventing the United States from targeting anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki for death, but questioned whether a president or his aides can unilaterally order a U.S. citizen assassinated for terrorist activity.  U.S. District Judge John Bates said in an 83-page opinion that he does not have the authority to review the president's military decisions and al-Awlaki's father does not have the legal right to sue to stop the United States from killing his son. But Bates also said the "unique and extraordinary case" raised vital considerations of national security and for military and foreign affairs.

Washington Post/Associated Press, Ben Evans, Dec. 8, 2010. The Senate has convicted U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Louisiana on four articles of impeachment brought by the House, removing him from the federal bench. The decision makes Porteous just the eighth federal judge in U.S. history to be impeached and convicted by Congress.

Dec. 7

Mail Online, The Wikileaks sex files: How two one-night stands sparked a worldwide hunt for Julian Assange, Dec. 7, 2010. Using a number of sources including leaked police interviews, we can begin to piece together the sequence of events which led to Assange’s liberty being threatened by Stockholm police rather than Washington, where already one U.S. politician has called on him to executed for ‘spying.’
 
Washington Post, For Michael Wilbon, a fond farewell to The Post, Michael Wilbon, Dec. 7, 2010. This is the first column I ever dreaded writing, the only time I can recall experiencing that thing known as writer's block. It's my last column for The Washington Post, 20-some years after my first one and 311/2 years after I walked in the door as a summer intern.
 
Washington Post, Former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee starts student advocacy group, Bill Turque and Nick Anderson Group, Michelle A. Rhee, who often expressed impatience with politics in more than three years as D.C. schools chancellor, launched a new political organization Monday that plans to spend $1 billion bringing her aggressive brand of education reform to the national stage.
 
Washington Post, As Voinovich leaves Senate, he sees a deficit of good sense, Dana Milbank, Dec. 7, 2010. George Voinovich, retiring from the Senate this month, is leaving behind an elegant legislative proposal for the Congress in which he served for a dozen years. "I think we have to blow up the place," says the Ohio Republican.
 
Dec. 6
Daily Censored, So You Want To Blow Your Whistle? Confessions of a whistle blower, David Goodstein, Dec. 6, 2010. Expectation – The government really wants to uncover fraud and punish the guilty! The Reality  – Don’t bother, the government’s first priority is ‘taking care of business’, big business! As the former Director of Education* for the Kaplan-owned CHI Institute in Broomall, PA, I was intimately involved in 2006 when an investigation by the State of Pennsylvania into the Medical Surgical Technician program began. Komisar Scoop, Lucy asks Condoleezza Rice about WikiLeaks, Lucy Komisar Dec. 6, 2010. George W. Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations Friday and used the occasion to attack WikiLeaks. I used the occasion — an HBO History Makers Series moderated by TV anchor Katie Couric– to ask her a question.
 
Dec. 4
FireDogLake, Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group, Kirk James Murphy, M.D., Dec. 4, 2010. Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.
 
The Standard (New Zealand), Marianne Ny: Making an arse of Swedish law, LPRENT, Dec. 4, 2010. What has been intriguing me more is the behavior of the Sweden’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny….Assange’s current lawyer compares her to role of the infamous Beria in Stalins (sic) 1930′s show trials – and from what I can see I’d have to agree. Similarly I fail to see why Interpol is involved for such a minor charge.
 
Dec. 3

OpEd News, Christie's Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies,' Cover-ups, Justice Integrity Project, Dec. 3, 2010.

The Justice Department this week resumed its massive New Jersey political corruption "Bid Rig III" case with a trial that continues the self-inflicted damage from its 2006 political purge of U.S. attorneys. The bribery trial of former state assemblyman Harvey Smith in Newark continues the DOJ's disgraceful 46-defendant sting that New Jersey's U.S. Attorney Chris Christie concocted years ago in consultation with the Bush DOJ headquarters.

OpEd News, Is the USA Attacking Wikileaks.org With Denial of Service Attacks? Rob Kall, Dec.  3, 2010.

It has been reported that Wikileaks.org was taken down because of massive denial of service attacks. This raises the question, "Who is coordinating these attacks?" Some experts have speculated that some hackers who were annoyed by Wikileaks unleashed these attacks. I don't buy it. There's something more interesting going on here. I think the US government may be involved and that raises a lot of questions.

Tickle The Wire, Feds Drop Tainted Star Witness In Tainted Star Witness In Politicized NJ Witch-Hunt, Justice Integrity Project, Dec. 2, 2010. The Justice Department is dropping its disreputable star witness in the latest trial of the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” corruption case that helped propel former New Jersey U.S.

OpEd News, A Government Caught Up in Mendacity and Lies, Paul Craig Roberts, Dec. 2, 2010. The reaction to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, tells us all we need to know about the total corruption of our "modern" world, which in fact is a throwback to the Dark Ages. Some member of the United States government released to WikiLeaks the documents that are now controversial. The documents are controversial because they are official US documents and show all too clearly that the US government is a duplicitous entity whose raison d'etre is to control every other government.

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Tapes show ex-Jersey City assemblyman offering to contact state agencies for developer, Melissa Hayes, Dec. 2, 2010. Sitting in the Jersey City Diner, former Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith flips over a paper placemat and begins taking notes. He’s meeting with Edward Cheatam, who served as his deputy mayor when he was appointed interim mayor following Glenn D. Cunningham’s death, Jersey City political consultant Jack Shaw and a man he believes to be David Esenbach, a purported developer. Esenbach is actually Solomon Dwek, a government informant who secretly recorded meetings with public officials. Smith is on trial in federal court in Newark, accused of accepting $15,000 from Dwek in exchange for his official assistance.

In the parking lot of the Malibu Diner in Hoboken, Edward Cheatam takes a Fed-Ex envelope containing $10,000 in cash, reaches through former Jersey City Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith’s car window and hands it to him and Smith drives off.

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Tapes show middle man giving ex-Jersey City assemblyman Fed-Ex envelope, Melissa Hayes, Dec. 2, 2010.

OpEd News, Bradley Manning, The Real WikiLeaks Champ, Greg Palast, Dec. 1, 2010.

Media Matters, Is Roger Ailes the one protecting Andrew Napolitano at Fox News? Eric Boehlert, Dec. 2, 2010.

As Media Matters has been detailing for the last week, the silence emanating from Fox News has been deafening regarding the fact that on-air personality Andrew Napolitano has recently expressed support for the 9/11 truther conspiracy, suggesting the United States government is hiding facts about the terrorist attack.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics, Glenn Greenwald, Dec. 1, 2010. Time's Joe Klein writes this about the WikiLeaks disclosures: I am tremendously concernced [sic] about the puerile eruptions of Julian Assange....If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in "freedom" stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He's the one who should be in jail.

Mother Jones, Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe, David Corn, Dec. 1, 2010. A WikiLeaks cable shows that when Spain considered a criminal case against ex-Bush officials, the Obama White House and Republicans got really bipartisan....In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects.

Above the Law, Could Just Reading Wikileaks Get You Nixed From Working as a Federal Attorney? Elie Mystal, Dec. 2, 2010. As if law students did have enough to worry about when trying to get a job, career services at Boston University School of Law has pointed out another potential pitfall that may terrify its students. According to BU, merely reading the Wikileaks could cause you to fail security clearances necessary to get some types of government jobs.

Star-Ledger/ NJ.com, Government unveils key witness in corruption trial of ex-Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, Ted Sherman, Dec. 1, 2010. The evidence included notes quickly scribbled on the back of a mustard-stained restaurant placemat, and the now-familiar black-and-white surveillance videos shot from a hidden camera in a cheap diner. But as the federal corruption trail of former Democratic Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith got underway in federal court in Newark today, something was missing.

Jersey Journal/NJ.com, Former Jersey City official testifies he introduced ex-Assemblyman Harvey Smith to government informant, Melissa Hayes, Dec.1, 2010. Former Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner Edward Cheatam admits that he struck and agreement with who he thought was a corrupt developer to make introductions with local political figures in exchange for cash. Cheatam, who is testifying in the federal corruption trial of former Jersey City Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, had no idea that developer was actually Solomon Dwek, a government informant who wore a wire. Smith is on trial, accused of accepting $15,000 in bribes from Dwek in exchange for his official assistance.

Harper’s No Comment, The Madrid Cables, Scott Horton, Dec. 1, 2010. In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now.... Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Naciona.... These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations.