More change you can believe in

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horstfam's picture
horstfam
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More change you can believe in

Obama has approved startup money for a new office taking part in Monday's closed conference, the Office of Government Information Services. It was created to resolve disputes involving people who ask for records and government agencies. But as evidenced by the open-records event behind closed doors, there is a long way to go.

"We'd like to know, when they're training agencies, are they telling them the same thing they're saying in public, that they're committed to making the Freedom of Information Act work well and make sure that agencies are releasing information whenever possible while protecting important issues like individual privacy and national security," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which The Associated Press is a member.

The closed conference will provide tips for FOIA public liaisons on communicating and negotiating with people who make requests, and introduce the new Office of Government Information Services to them, said Melanie Ann Pustay, director of the Justice Department's Office of Information Policy, which takes the lead on government openness issues.

Pustay said she planned to say the same things at the private workshop that she would say publicly. She offered these reasons to explain why it was closed: She wanted government employees to be able to speak candidly, and the conference would be in an auditorium at the Commerce Department, where she said a government ID was required to be admitted. The AP and others news organizations routinely enter government buildings to cover the government.

Pustay said she is looking for ways to improve how the government responds to information requests, which costs roughly $400 million each year.

Link to article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091206/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_obama_open_government

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poisonivy113
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Re: More change you can believe in
horstfam wrote:

"We'd like to know, when they're training agencies, are they telling them the same thing they're saying in public, that they're committed to making the Freedom of Information Act work well and make sure that agencies are releasing information whenever possible while protecting important issues like individual privacy and national security," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which The Associated Press is a member.

 

We already know that National security isn't important to the Obama administration, as evidenced by the NYC civilian trial of  KSM. Perhaps they don't want any more accidental releases of evidence of falsifying scientific data!

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in

PoisonIvy

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The fact these people are being tried for a civilian crime they MUST be tried in public according to the 6th amendment of the Constitution. Or would you prefer suspension of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments just because someone is accused of a crime that you consider so atrocious that they don't apply, making the 4th 5th and 6th a privilege not a right. Just to point out the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States regardless of their country of origin, race, gender, religion, or political position.



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Re: More change you can believe in

Gungnir wrote:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The fact these people are being tried for a civilian crime they MUST be tried in public according to the 6th amendment of the Constitution. Or would you prefer suspension of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments just because someone is accused of a crime that you consider so atrocious that they don't apply, making the 4th 5th and 6th a privilege not a right. Just to point out the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States regardless of their country of origin, race, gender, religion, or political position.

 

I think the KSM situation is different than most.  If he was caught on US soil I would certainly agree with you.  I think the question really is, why is KSM on US soil getting a civilian trial?

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in

Where he was captured is not relevant, lets suppose this was a pure murder trial, and he'd been extradited from say Europe, he'd have exactly the same rights as any other person on US soil.

As far as a civilian trial, well either that or a military court-martial are generally regarded as acceptable as either a common criminal suspect, or a enemy combatant respectively, yes he could be tried under the military Commission act, but personally I think that act is perhaps the biggest affront to the constitution after the Patriot act.

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r101958
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Re: More change you can believe in

It wasn't an affront during WW2. Why is it now?

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in

I suspect you're thinking of something else

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills...

Any WW2 trials were conducted under the Geneva Convention (which the MCA 2006 expressly denies) and via Court-Martial. Most of the WW2 trials were held in Nuremburg either under the main Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, or the Nuremberg Military Tibunal since these were conducted in Germany they were not constrained to use US Constitutional law. There were also war trials held by the Allies in Tokyo  for Class A war crimes, and many other places (Manilla for instance) for class B and C crimes, again being these were International Military tribunals and not on US soil they were not constrained by US constitutional law.

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Re: More change you can believe in

Gungnir wrote:

Where he was captured is not relevant, lets suppose this was a pure murder trial, and he'd been extradited from say Europe, he'd have exactly the same rights as any other person on US soil.

True but KSM was not exactly extradited.  He was captured by the CIA in a foreign country.  It is fairly clear that he did not receive a speedy trial and has already received what must surely be considered cruel and unusual punishment.  At least if they kept him in some sort of military tribunal they could try to make it debatable that his constitutional rights were not violated.   As it is now, granting him a civilian trial makes a mockery of the system. 

The fact these people are being tried for a civilian crime they MUST be tried in public according to the 6th amendment of the Constitution. Or would you prefer suspension of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments just because someone is accused of a crime that you consider so atrocious that they don't apply, making the 4th 5th and 6th a privilege not a right. Just to point out the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States regardless of their country of origin, race, gender, religion, or political position.

I agree with you and for that reason I personally found the treatment of Jose Padilla to be far more outrageous.

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in

With you on Padilla.

Anyway not to put too fine a point on it, the purpose of the response wasn't to get into constitutional matters, but to point out that eliminating rights because they happen to be inconvenient leads to some dangerous outcomes.. Whether the decision to give KSM a civilian trial was correct or not, is debatable, personally I'd try him under the Uniform Code and Military Law and fulfil all obligations to the Geneva Conventions.

Giving him a Military Commissions Act hearing doesn't make the behaviors any less a mockery of the system, it just keeps it behind closed doors. The mockery of the system came back just after 9/11 when Congress, and the Executive office got together and decided to restrict certain unalienable rights under varying descriptions, for the purposes of "National Security" without any regard for the Constitution including the Bill of Rights.

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goes211
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Re: More change you can believe in

Anyway not to put too fine a point on it, the purpose of the response wasn't to get into constitutional matters, but to point out that eliminating rights because they happen to be inconvenient leads to some dangerous outcomes.. Whether the decision to give KSM a civilian trial was correct or not, is debatable, personally I'd try him under the Uniform Code and Military Law and fulfil all obligations to the Geneva Conventions.

Giving him a Military Commissions Act hearing doesn't make the behaviors any less a mockery of the system, it just keeps it behind closed doors. The mockery of the system came back just after 9/11 when Congress, and the Executive office got together and decided to restrict certain unalienable rights under varying descriptions, for the purposes of "National Security" without any regard for the Constitution including the Bill of Rights.

On that I agree totally!  Cheers!

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poisonivy113
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Re: More change you can believe in
Gungnir wrote:

PoisonIvy

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The fact these people are being tried for a civilian crime they MUST be tried in public according to the 6th amendment of the Constitution. Or would you prefer suspension of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments just because someone is accused of a crime that you consider so atrocious that they don't apply, making the 4th 5th and 6th a privilege not a right. Just to point out the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States regardless of their country of origin, race, gender, religion, or political position.


 

The attacks of 9/11 were an act of WAR, as evidenced by the blatant, direct attack on the center of US Military operations, the Pentagon. People forget this by focusing only on the World Trade Center. If we had caught Hitler alive, would we have tried him in US civilian court? I doubt it. 

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in

OMG you pulled a Godwin...

No he would have been tried by the allied forces at the International Military Trials in Nuremberg, along with Goering and his other cohorts.

As I explained elsewhere the IMT held in Nuremberg were governed by the Geneva Convention.

To repeat myself from earlier unfortunately picking and choosing your law because it's inconvenient is the happy road to Fascism, in this case a court martial under the uniform code and military law as defined under the Geneva conventions is appropriate, or alternatively a civilian trial under constitutional law as defined in the US constitution.Take your pick, but they both apply, and they should be followed, Geneva if it was an act of "WAR", or the Constitution if it wasn't.

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xraymike79
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Re: More change you can believe in

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bc0203
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Re: More change you can believe in
Gungnir wrote:

The fact these people are being tried for a civilian crime they MUST be tried in public according to the 6th amendment of the Constitution. Or would you prefer suspension of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments just because someone is accused of a crime that you consider so atrocious that they don't apply, making the 4th 5th and 6th a privilege not a right. Just to point out the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States regardless of their country of origin, race, gender, religion, or political position.

The only reason we're even having this discussion is because these terrorists represent an ideologial army, not a national one.

The laws of this country (and indeed the constitution) do not take into account an important paradigm shift that has occured over the past 50 years... our enemy is no longer the nation-state, they are terrorist organizations who are bent on destroying the United States.  If these people were members of the Iranian army, they would have been tried in a military tribunal, no questions asked, regardless of what soil they committed their acts on.

It is for this reason I can appreciate the approach President Bush's took in treating these terrorists in the manner he did; however, we do need to update our laws to reflect this new political reality as soon as practicable.

 

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Gungnir
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Re: More change you can believe in
bc0203 wrote:

The only reason we're even having this discussion is because these terrorists represent an ideologial army, not a national one.

The laws of this country (and indeed the constitution) do not take into account an important paradigm shift that has occured over the past 50 years... our enemy is no longer the nation-state, they are terrorist organizations who are bent on destroying the United States.  If these people were members of the Iranian army, they would have been tried in a military tribunal, no questions asked, regardless of what soil they committed their acts on.

It is for this reason I can appreciate the approach President Bush's took in treating these terrorists in the manner he did; however, we do need to update our laws to reflect this new political reality as soon as practicable.

Which would be suspension of Constitutional protections under religion or political position. That is a VERY dangerous road to walk down, as Godwin has already been invoked this happened in Germany prior to WW2 too. To reiterate what I said that would mean that constitutional protections would become a privilege not a right.

That privilege would be dependent on the current government to decide what religious or political positions are not acceptable, and what actions are defined as destructive, for example, suppose being a rabid supporter of the Constitution is classified as politically subversive and bent on destroying the US, then would that mean that these people could be rounded up, put into Guantanmo and given a Military Act hearing. That is one example of eliminating the rights enumerated in the Constitution, the Federal Government does the mashed potatoes all over the Constitution even without something so naive and stupid.

It is never acceptable to eliminate certain intrinsic and unalienable rights for the purposes of security; which is exactly why I posted the Benjamin Franklin quote. If the US is so fragile that without eliminating peoples rights it cannot survive then it does not deserve to survive, I do not believe that it is, however suspending Constitutional rights will only serve to weaken us and diminsh our standing as the bastion of freedom as perceived both here and within the international community.

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Re: More change you can believe in
poisonivy113 wrote:
horstfam wrote:

"We'd like to know, when they're training agencies, are they telling them the same thing they're saying in public, that they're committed to making the Freedom of Information Act work well and make sure that agencies are releasing information whenever possible while protecting important issues like individual privacy and national security," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, of which The Associated Press is a member.

 

We already know that National security isn't important to the Obama administration, as evidenced by the NYC civilian trial of  KSM. Perhaps they don't want any more accidental releases of evidence of falsifying scientific data!

I am so sick of hearing the words "National Security". The words want to make me throw up. How about some honestly for once? How about "We want to hide this from you so that you don't march with pitchforks and torches"? 

Remember, inquiries into Abu Gharib were classified due to "National Security". 

The No-Fly List is classified due to "National Security". 

MK-Ultra documents were destroyed due to "National Security". 

You get the picture. 

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