Thursday, December 23, 2004

"This is the year we condoned torture"; Senator Dodd: "Free Speech Protection Act"; Ms. Women of the Year; Democracy Now!: Poverty Draft, Ohio Voting

This is the year we condoned torture. Of all the cultural markers of 2004 - a bare breast at the Super Bowl, a controversy over whether gays may marry, the tarnishing of baseball icons in the steroid scandal - which signpost says most about who we have become? We have, as a nation, said there is really nothing wrong with torture and abuse as an instrument of national security policy. At least we will not go out of our way to punish it.
-- Marie Cocco

"Moral Values Apply to Torture, Too" (,0,5808586.column?coll=ny-news-columnists)

Aggressive interrogation techniques in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, many tantamount to torture, were significantly more widespread than the White House or the Pentagon has admitted. That's the startling hook based on a trove of confidential documents from the FBI and Department of Defense (DoD) released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and reported yesterday by major newspapers.
These new allegations include "strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations" in Iraq (and similar methods for Guantánamo), according to an "Urgent Report" from the FBI's Sacramento Office to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
But many of the papers, including
The New York Times, regrettably omitted the story's biggest bombshell: President Bush may have issued an Executive Order condoning these techniques.
-- Ari Berman "Torture at the Top" (

From The Dodd Digest (Senator Chris Dodd):

On November 19, Senator Dodd introduced the Free Speech Protection Act of 2004, legislation that protects the rights of citizens to speak freely and in confidence with news reporters about matters of public importance. "This legislation is fundamentally about good government and the free flow of information to the public about their government," said Dodd."The American people deserve access to a wide array of views so that they can make informed decisions and effectively participate in matters of public concern. When the public's right to know is threatened, and when the rights of free speech and free press are at risk, all of the other liberties we hold dear are endangered. The legislation that I am introducing will protect these rights, and ensure that our government remains open and accountable to its citizens."
Read More:

Ms. Magazine's "Women of the Year" feature is now available online (sorry Kara for the delay in linking to this) at

Individual sections of the article are available by clicking below:
Jersey Girls Samantha Power Betty Dukes Saudatu Mahdi Kathy Najimy Maxine Waters Lisa Fernandez

Today's headlines from Democracy Now!:
- Washington Post Accuses U.S. Of Committing War Crimes
- U.S. Suspects Suicide Bomber Behind Mosul Attack
- Bush Unveils New Pro-Logging National Forest Policy
- Anti-Abortion GOPers Named to Senate Judiciary
- Corporate America Spends Millions on Bush Inauguration
- Michael Moore Targets Pharmaceutical Industry in New Film
- Harrison Ford To Star in "Battle of Fulluja" Film

And for Krista, we'll note this from headlines:

Russian Gov't Takes Control of Yukos Oil Firm
In business news, the state-owned Russian oil company has acquired the once-privately owned oil giant Yukos. The move effectively nationalizes one of Russia's largest oil production units. Earlier this week, the oil production unit of Yukos was put up for a bid. A mysterious company acquired it for $9.3 billion. Then on Thursday the state-owned company Rosneft bought the front company that had purchased Yukos.

Today's stories from Democracy Now!:

A New Poverty Draft: Military Contractors Target Latin America For New Recruits
Halliburton and other private military contractors have begun advertising campaigns in El Salvador, Colombia and Nicaragua to recruit ex-soldiers to work in Iraq.

Ohio Voting Rights Activists Call Electoral Fight The "Biggest Deal Since Selma"
Ohio-based journalist Harvey Wasserman reviews the ongoing controversy surrounding the presidential vote in Ohio. Representative John Conyers - the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee - has called on The Associated Press and the five broadcast networks to turn over raw exit poll data collected on Election Day in order to investigate any discrepancies between the data and the certified election results

Military Families & 9/11 Families Raise $500,000 for Falluja Refugees
A delegation of military family members whose sons died while fighting in the Iraq war will travel to Jordan from December 27, 2004 to January 4, 2005 to deliver $600,000 worth of humanitarian supplies for refugees from the U.S. attack on Falluja.

Homeless Veterans: Soldiers Go From Fighting in Iraq to Fighting A New War At Home
Two soldiers who recently returns from Iraq talk about how they faced another battle after they returned home from war. Nicole Goodwin, 24, only found a permanent place to live after her story was profiled in the New York Times. 25-year-old Herold Noel is still looking for a place for him, his wife and three children. He talks to Democracy Now! in his first broadcast interview.

[Note: R=transcript; L=Listen; W=Watch. Currently, two of the four segments have transcripts. More may or may not be posted later. Democracy Now! "Headlines" always has text you can read.]