Links, 4/22/12

I was never able to keep up with my goal of doing daily link posts last year. That said, there’s so much out today that I want to at least note that I can’t keep up with my own posting unless I dump all these here.

Steven Aftergood notes that your elected representatives are clarmoring for more leak prosecutions.

The EU just caved to US demands for EU passenger data. With Israel dictating no fly lists to Europe and Julian Assange’s lawyer being placed an an “inhibited” list with no explanation, this probably will lead to the US unilaterally dictating who can fly where in this world.

The Guardian asked pastor Terry Jones whether he bears any responsibility for the deaths he may cause if he insists on conducting another Quran burning. The Guardian doesn’t appear to have asked DOD, which is trying to convince Jones not to conduct the burning, why it doesn’t first take responsibility for ending the anti-Muslim abuses and the Quran burning committed by some troops.

In addition to the cooperation with Libya in exposing refugees in the UK, the documents liberated in Libya last year also describe how MI6 collaborated with Moammar Qaddafi to set up a radical mosque in some Western European country to use as bait for Islamic extremists.

Obama just issued an Executive Order basically saying that Syria and Iran should not be able to use tech to crack down on the opposition in the same we the US does.

Apparently we don’t have enough spies so now DOD is rolling out a new (actually, newly renamed) Clandestine Service.

Micah Zenko addresses the stupidity behind refusing to acknowledged our Third War–the drone one–publicly.

As Jack Goldsmith notes in Charlie Savage’s piece describing Obama’s increasing reliance on executive orders to do the work of business, “This is what Presidents do.” Congress has, with its capitulation to big money and greed, basically turned itself into a rump institution doing no more than channeling money into DC’s main industry. I think Obama, with his congressional majority in 2008, might have been able to begin to reverse that if he had actually used his majority rather than pissing it away in a bid for bipartisan crap rather than effective legislation. But he didn’t.

Evgeny Morozov explains why Anonymous’ structure and disparate goals has led to increased surveillance rather than less. I think his analysis suffers from the classic chicken-and-egg fallacy, and fails to account for the degree to which these choices are probably being dictated by FBI-directed double agents. But it worthwhile analysis.

File this news–that half of Iran’s super-tanker capacity is sitting anchored in the gulf with no place to go–in the “whatever could go wrong?” file. If we’re lucky it will involve nothing more than pirates and not fully-laden tankers sunk and draining into the gulf.

Jose Padilla’s mom has appealed her suit against Donald Rumsfeld for torture to SCOTUS. This case is the best set of facts–but the least empathetic plaintiff–of several suits trying to hold the government accountable for torturing American citizens.

10 replies
  1. Bill Michtom says:

    “I think Obama, with his congressional majority in 2008, might have been able to begin to reverse that if he had actually used his majority rather than pissing it away in a bid for bipartisan crap rather than effective legislation. But he didn’t.”

    This implies that he made a mistake. I have seen NO evidence to support any conclusion that he did anything other than what he wanted.

  2. emptywheel says:

    @Bill Michtom: I don’t think I meant to imply that. I agree he did what he wanted in the narrow term–he wanted the bid for bipartisanship to give him cover for passing overly corporatist policies.

    But from a historical perspective, in wondering to myself whether there was a moment when we could have fixed it, Al Franken’s swearing in was that moment. And Obama chose not to pursue it.

    Which makes his excuses now about the necessity of doing so–and his apologies that he couldn’t have earlier to, for example, get Dawn Johnsen confirmed–complete bullshit.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @emptywheel: “Complete bullshit”: pithy, accurate, understated. Thanks.

    Mr. Obama has decided that rather than divert or impede the course of the surveillance state juggernaut, he’d be happier to accept the unaccountable power it gives him (and to which his office is subject, a sword of Damocles that is likely to seem more ominous to his successors).

  4. posaune says:

    “Apparently we don’t have enough spies so now DOD is rolling out a new (actually, newly renamed) Clandestine Service.”

    STASI ?

  5. PeasantParty says:

    Obama does exactly what the Military Industrial Complex and Cold War holdovers like H. Kissenger tell him to do. He is bought and paid for by the Fascist Right. As EW has said many times, none of these things are just what has happened. They are planned and implimented by the stand in leader.

    “Obama, the Great Pretender!”

  6. lysias says:

    @PeasantParty: Speaking of Kissinger, he is the coauthor (with Brent Scowcroft) of an op ed in today’s Washington Post on further nuclear disarmament, Nuclear weapon reductions must be part of strategic analysis, that, although it does not name Israel, does seem, by implication, to call for a reduction in that country’s nuclear arsenal:

    Fifth, the global nonproliferation regime has been weakened to a point where some of the proliferating countries are reported to have arsenals of more than 100 weapons. And these arsenals are growing. At what lower U.S. levels could these arsenals constitute a strategic threat? What will be their strategic impact if deterrence breaks down in the overall strategic relationship? Does this prospect open up the risk of hostile alliances between countries whose forces individually are not adequate to challenge strategic stability but that combined might overthrow the nuclear equation?

  7. PeasantParty says:

    @lysias: Thank you for that notice. I rarely read the WaPo. I have a long and mighty disdain for Kissenger. He may call for nonproliferation of nuclear power in Isreal publicly, but he does not mean it. He is Jewish and will always place Isreal first in all policy decisions he puts forth in DC.

  8. prostratedragon says:

    It’s not over till the history gets written.*

    Hence the continuing need to keep even facts that have become banal to us straight apart from how we evaluate them.

    * and rewritten, and rewritten, and …

  9. Ian Welsh says:

    Oh yes, the “when you fight back against a bully they just beat you up more” argument against Anonymous. If only they didn’t resist, there’d be more more internet freedom.


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