I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blogging at Salon

(updated below - updated again re: torture "compromise")

As I indicated yesterday, I am blogging for the next week at Salon's War Room. If you are not a Salon subscriber, you can read all of the posts there by clicking through the ad. If you have problems doing so, please e-mail me. I will update this post with links to my War Room posts. Feel free to participate in the comment section over there.

The first post concerns Hugo Chavez's United Nations speech yesterday and the extent to which the Bush administration is in a position to complain about what it considers to be the inflammatory, undiplomatic and undignified tone of Chavez's rhetoric.

The second post examines the implications of the findings of the new NYT/CBS poll (results are here - .pdf) which, among other things, reveals that 31% of Americans -- almost one-third of the country -- still believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks.


The next post at Salon concerns the semantic games being played by the administration (and then dutifully adopted by the media) in the interrogation/torture debate, along with the finding by the NYT/CBS poll that 56 percent of Americans said torture is never justifiable, even "to get information from a suspected terrorist" (and 63 percent say that "when it comes to the treatment of prisoners of war," the U.S. "should follow the international agreements that it and other countries have agreed to," rather than "do what it thinks is right, even if other countries disagree"). Why aren't Democrats aggressively opposing the administration's proposals?

The fourth post concerns the Bush administration's refusal even to acknowledge, let alone accept responsibility for, the abduction, rendition and torture of Maher Arar, the innocent Canadian who was kept in a tiny cell in Syria for 10 months after being abducted at JKF airport.

UPDATE II: The last post at Salon for today looks at the cynical anti-semitism accusations being hurled by the Allen campaign towards Jim Webb, the erroneous claims made by David Frum regarding media coverage of this incident, and some odd and interesting facts regarding how Jon Henke (who is irresponsibly spewing these anti-semitism accusations) became the official paid blogger of the Allen campaign.

UPDATE III: I haven't had time to really look at the torture "compromise," but I will obviously write a lot about it tomorrow. Marty Lederman had read the compromise and says that it is a complete capitulation, though one should read the comments to Marty's post - including from JustAnObserver - which suggests that it may not be as complete and total a defeat for the McCain-Warner-Graham position as it first seems (although this is a horrendous bill no matter how you slice it).

One thing to watch out for is whether this will be the same template used in the warrantless eavesdropping context - namely, that the "maverick, dissident, independent Republicans" who are "fighting" against the White House suddenly reach a "compromise" with the Bush administration that is slightly short of the Specter bill but nonetheless gives the White House virtually everything it wants - including legalizing warrantless eavesdropping on Americans with full discretion.

Then, Republicans dramatically join together as One and celebrate the victory they won in the war on terror, creating the appearance that they compromised, all while remaining tough-on-terrorism and protective of our civil liberties, while Democrats sit quietly and meekly on the sidelines, invisible, irrelevant and impotent. In other words, we will see the sequel to the sadly predictable spectacle which Digby predicted would occur with the interrogation debate and which, as Digby insightfully explains, is exactly what has now happened.

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