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Get Caught in a Sting, Get Thrown Out of the USA, Get Gagged about It

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emptywheel
I suggested last month that the Liberty City Seven indictment looks more and more like a made for TV event, particularly after a mistrial was declared on most charges and one of the Seven, Lyglenson Lemorin, was acquitted of all charges. Well, now Lemorin is suffering from his own little Orwellian hell. On the day of his acquittal, the judge in the case immediately issued an oral gag order pertaining to the

Steven Aftergood Takes on Pixie Dust

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emptywheel
Steven Aftergood takes on the Pixie Dust ruling that says Cheney gets to follow the same rules as the President for classified information. Aftergood demands a ruling from DOJ on the underlying issue.

emptywheel's Quickie Analysis

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emptywheel
Many of you no doubt disagree. But I'm not crying about an Obama victory (then again, I wouldn't have been crying about an Edwards or Clinton win, either). But here are the two details that I think are most important. Crazy, record turnout--reportedly well over 200,000. And reportedly, perhaps two-to-one for Dems, compared to the Republicans. Crazy, record turnout among youth.

Helgerson's Reports Will Remain Unchanged

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emptywheel
Since I've been talking so much about Helgerson, and since we now have proof that Helgerson's investigation was always central to discussions of the torture tape destruction, I would be remiss in ignoring this bit from the LAT (h/t Laura). The CIA has completed a controversial in-house probe of its inspector general and plans to make a series of changes in the way the agency conducts internal investigations, according to U.S.
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Harman's Letter

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emptywheel
Jane Harman's letter to Scott Muller verifies something I had speculated--that CIA IG John Helgerson's inquiry into the interrogation practices of the CIA, and his conclusion that those practices constituted cruel and inhuman treatment--were at the center of the torture tape debates.
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Durham's Previous Run-In with Tribalism

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emptywheel
My favorite new detail on John Durham is the one that describes him negotiating the "tribal political and law enforcement interests" of Boston.
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Is Pelosi Planning on Picking Bush's Pocket?

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emptywheel
Remember Bush's surly claimed pocket veto on military pay raises, just in time for New Years? We pretty much dismissed its claim to legality when it happened (See especially PhoenixWoman's link, which has gotten far too little attention for its apparent precedent on precisely the issues in question). But now I'm increasingly intrigued by the political possibilities, particularly with the news that Speaker Pelosi is calling bullshit on Bush's claim
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What Did Helgerson Do with the Torture Tapes?

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emptywheel
Among new revelations today is the news (not surprise, but confirmed nevertheless) that CIA's IG John Helverson "reviewed" the torture tapes during the period when people were discussing destroying them. That strongly suggests he may have based his report--which found the CIA to engage in cruel and inhuman treatment--on those tapes. No wonder CIA wanted to destroy them.
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Mukasey's Statement

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emptywheel
The most interesting detail from Mukasey's statement is that the USA for ED VA, Chuck Rosenberg, asked to be recused from the investigation into the CIA.
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DOJ Launches a Criminal Probe into Torture Tapes

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emptywheel
Mukasey has appointed John Durham to investigate the torture tape destruction. From the sounds of a profile of Durham, Mukasey's not fucking around.

2008, the Year of $100/Barrel Oil

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emptywheel
As freep pointed out, the price of oil has officially topped $100/barrel. Surging economies in China and India fed by oil and gasoline have sent prices soaring over the past year, while tensions in oil producing nations like Nigeria and Iran have increasingly made investors nervous and invited speculators to drive prices even higher.

Obama Still Running Third among Republicans?

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emptywheel
There's been some hand-wringing among Democrats about the New Year's Eve Des Moines Register poll, which showed Obama polling 32% of the vote with strong support from a surprising (and arguably unrealistic) number of Independents participating in the caucus. The WaPo did an entire article suggesting Obama may win the caucus because he's got cross-over appeal.
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9/11 Commission Decries Obstruction

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emptywheel
Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton start the New Year by going aggressively after the Administration for obstructing the 9/11 Commission's investigation.

Bhutto and State

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emptywheel
Bob Novak and the AP present dueling sides of a debate over whether the US did enough to support Benazir Bhutto's safety.
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Is Dick Playing Games with Pakistan's Election?

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emptywheel
McClatchy reports that, on the day she was killed, Benazir Bhutto was about to hand over proof of the ISI's plans to steal the Pakistani election to Arlen Specter. It raises new reasons for concern that Cheney is in charge of our Pakistan "policy."
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Poland's Torture Palaces

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emptywheel
My supposition that one reasons Dana Priest's black site article precipitated the torture tape destruction is because the tapes were dangerous to the country on whose territory the CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah led to me to read something I should have already read--the COE report on European participation in the US HVD program. This post lays out what it says about Poland.
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Lying to Congress before the Torture Tapes

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emptywheel
If Mary McCarthy's allegations about the testimony of a senior CIA official in June 2005 are true, then it seems clear that one purpose of destroying the terror tapes--among many--was to destroy evidence that the official lied to Congress.
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Mary McCarthy and the Terror Tapes

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emptywheel
Remember Mary McCarthy, who was fired from the CIA for allegedly leaking details on European black sites to Dana Priest? This post looks at what details of her firing might reveal about the destruction of the terror tapes.
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The CIA Solidifies its Terror Tapes Story--or Tries To

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emptywheel
Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane have done good reporting on the terror tape story. But their latest installment reads like an attempt on the part of the CIA to get its story straight. While it appears to present a nice coherent narrative people with CIA officers acting rationally, it raises more questions than answers. One thing it does appear to support, though, is that the tapes were destroyed, in addition to an effort to prevent the tapes from coming out as Congress was trying to outlaw torture, because they were trying to protect the European ally on whose soil the torture took place.
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