Thursday, May 19, 2005

NYT: Free pass for the FBI?, Bolton, Drug Smuggling, Bully says we just need a little patience, Foster Care

The Bush administration and Senate Republican leaders are pushing a plan that would significantly expand the F.B.I.'s power to demand business records in terror investigations without obtaining approval from a judge, officials said on Wednesday.
The proposal, which is likely to be considered next week in a closed session of the Senate intelligence committee, would allow federal investigators to subpoena records from businesses and other institutions without a judge's sign-off if they declared that the material was needed as part of a foreign intelligence investigation.

Apparently to the Fourth Amendment, we, in the words of Billy Joel, "say goodbye, my baby." ("Say Goodbye to Hollywood.") The above excerpt is from Eric Lichtblau's "Plan Would Broaden F.B.I.'s Terror Role."

Please note the ACLU's "Is The FBI Spying On You."

The ACLU has launched a nationwide effort to expose and prevent FBI spying on people and groups simply for speaking out or practicing their faith. As a first step, the ACLU and its affiliates have filed Freedom of Information Act requests in more than a dozen states. Although the FBI has refused to turn over most of the files, we have obtained evidence (pdf) that confirms the FBI and local police, working through Joint Terrorism Task Forces, are spying on political, environmental, anti-war and faith-based groups. We think the public deserves to know who is being investigated and why. We have sued (pdf) the FBI and the Department of Justice to get those answers.
Our clients comprise advocates for causes including the environment, animal rights, labor, religion, Native American rights, fair trade, grassroots politics, peace, social justice, nuclear disarmament, human rights and civil liberties. When the FBI invades the privacy of political and religious groups in the name of fighting terrorism, it abuses our trust and freedom.

There are numerous resources on the page linked above but please take note of "Documents Obtained by ACLU Expose FBI and Police Targeting of Political Groups:"

The American Civil Liberties Union charged today that the FBI and local police are engaging in intimidation based on political association and are improperly investigating law-abiding human rights and advocacy groups, according to documents obtained through a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. ACLU affiliates today filed FOIA requests seeking similar documents in ten states.
"Since when did feeding the homeless become a terrorist activity?" asked ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. "When the FBI and local law enforcement target groups like Food Not Bombs under the guise of fighting terrorism, many Americans who oppose government policies will be discouraged from speaking out and exercising their rights."
In response to widespread complaints from students and political activists who said they were questioned by FBI agents in the months leading up to last summer’s political conventions, the ACLU filed FOIA requests in six states and the District of Columbia in December 2004 on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals. To date, the ACLU has received fewer than 20 pages in response to the FOIAs.
The ACLU charged that the FBI is wrongfully withholding thousands of pages of documents, and today filed a lawsuit in federal court to compel the FBI to comply with the FOIA requests. The complaint seeks files kept by the FBI on the ACLU, as well as Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The ACLU said that the few documents received to date through the December FOIA requests shed light on the FBI’s misuse of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance. In Colorado, one memo indicates an ongoing federal interest in Food Not Bombs, a group that provides free vegetarian food to hungry people and protests war and poverty,

The same memo suggests that an FBI interview of Sarah Bardwell and call to Scott Silber prior to last fall’s political conventions were intended as a means of intimidation. The FBI notes that although they did not obtain information about criminal activity from either student, it was unnecessary to contact others in the area as the "purpose of the interviews was served."

I'm going through the paper and not finding anything on this. Rachel Maddow discussed on The Rachel Maddow Show yesterday. Is the Times covering this?

Wally e-mails to note Douglas Jehl's "2 Sides in Bolton Debate Take Positions for Next Stage of Fight:"

One message circulated by a Bolton aide on June 7, 2002, contains a still classified draft letter from Mr. Bolton and Mr. Reich that is addressed to George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence.
The draft "urged the immediate replacement" of Mr. Armstrong and indicated that Mr. Bolton and Mr. Reich would take several measures on their own, including excluding Mr. Armstrong from official meetings at the State Department and official travel in the Western Hemisphere, the Democratic report says.
It cites a reply by a State Department official who reported that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Bolton, and said that Mr. Bolton "would prefer at this point to handle this in person with Tenet."

Martha e-mails to note an Associated Press article entitled "3 Colombians Held in U.S. Drug Smuggling:"

The authorities have arrested three Colombians, including a former serviceman, on charges of helping American soldiers who are accused of smuggling cocaine to the United States aboard an American military aircraft, the Colombian Air Force said Wednesday.
Five United States military personnel were previously arrested in the case, which caused widespread anger in Colombia. One suspect has been released, but the others are being held at an undisclosed location in the United States.

Richard W. Stevenson quotes Bully Boy (with a straight face) "Bush Says Patience Is Needed
as Nations Build a Democracy
." He's learned his lessons well while serving under Elisbeth Bumiller on the Elite Fluff Patrol. I understand that besides nations needing patience to build democracy, nations need truth to decide whether or not to wage war. We'll assume that was on an index card Bully Boy didn't have time to get to because he was too busy doing air guitar and posing as Slash while informing us all that "We just need a little patience, yeah, yeah, yeah, just a little patience." Did Guns 'N Roses make his iPod list that Elisabeth Bumiller compiled recently?

Lynda e-mails to note Monica Davey's "Those Who Outgrow Foster Care Still Struggle, Study Finds:"

As the definition of adulthood has shifted in this country and young people are living with their parents even into their 20's, one group has been mostly left behind in this phenomenon: thousands of people who grow up in foster care.
Nationally each year, some 20,000 youths who were once removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect leave their second home - the child welfare system - because they get too old for it. In some states, they are allowed to stay on until they turn 21, but in many more places, they "age out" when they turn 18.
And that, the authors of a new study to be released on Thursday by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago say, can have devastating consequences. The study, which is believed to be the broadest of its kind in 20 years, looked at a rarely examined group - more than 600 young people, mostly 19 years old and in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, who recently left foster care or will soon do so.

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