Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Other Items

The Central Intelligence Agency took no action after learning the pseudonym and whereabouts of the fugitive Holocaust administrator Adolf Eichmann in 1958, according to C.I.A. documents released Tuesday that shed new light on the spy agency's use of former Nazis as informants after World War II.
The C.I.A. was told by West German intelligence that Eichmann was living in Argentina under the name Clemens -- a slight variation on his actual alias, Ricardo Klement -- but did not share the information with Israel, which had been hunting for him for years, according to Timothy Naftali, a historian who examined the documents. Two years later, Israeli agents abducted Eichmann in Argentina and flew him to Israel, where he was tried and executed in 1962.
[. . .]
Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman from New York and member of the panel, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, said the documents showed that the C.I.A "failed to lift a finger" to hunt Eichmann and "force us to confront not only the moral harm but the practical harm" of relying on intelligence from ex-Nazis.

The above is from Scott Shane's "C.I.A. Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding, Documents Show" in this morning's New York Times. In the article, you'll also learn that Tscherim Soobzokov was employed by the CIA (1952-1959) despite being a Nazi war criminal. Soobzokov was in the headlines in 1979 when efforts took place to deport him from New Jersey. Does it sound like Jessica Lange's Music Box? Yes. Does so much of it sound like a movie? Yes. Considering that Shane loves to play movie critic, it's surprising that he doesn't work any of that in. Surprising, that is, until you grasp that he only uses "Hollywood" when he wants to dismiss something. (And earlier Shanes dismissed the Sobbzokov issue in 1979.) So he apparently only wants to play film critic when he can get nasty? The John Simon of the security beat. (With all that entails.)

Remember the Times' scoffing reports on rendention (well, they couldn't write with those reports, "As The New York Times first reported . . ." -- now could they?), Martha notes Jon Boyle's "Report: 14 European States Colluded With U.S. on Prisons" (Reuters via Washington Post):

"It is now clear -- although we are still far from having established the whole truth -- that authorities in several European countries actively participated with the CIA in these unlawful activities," Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said.
"Other countries ignored them knowingly, or did not want to know," he said in the conclusions of the 65-page report that he is due to present at a news conference at 1100 GMT.
The report fingered a number of states for collusion with CIA secret flights and secret transfers known as renditions.
They include:-
* Poland and Romania on the running of secret detention centres
* Germany, Turkey, Spain and Cyprus for being "staging points" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees
* Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Greece and Italy for being "stopovers" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees
* Sweden, Bosnia, Britain, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Germany and Turkey were cited in relation to cases involving specific individuals
Marty said more cases could yet come to light.

From rendention to prying governmental eyes in this country, Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Gagged Library Exec Speaks Out" (McCarthyism Watch, The Progressive):

George Christian is the executive director of Library Connection, Inc., a nonprofit cooperative of more than two dozen public and academic libraries in Connecticut.
Last summer, his office got an odd call. It wasn't from a co-op member.
And it wasn't from a library patron. It was from the FBI.
One of Christian's staff answered the phone and then brought him the news.
"We got a call from the FBI, they want to send us something called a National Security Letter, and they asked who to address it to, and I told them you," the staffer informed Christian, he recalls.
"I thought, National Security what? What’s a National Security Letter?
Until that moment, I'd never heard those three words, National Security Letter. I never knew there was such a thing. I had no inkling whatsoever," Christian says.
These letters are an extraordinarily powerful tool in the hands of the FBI. Basically, they amount to subpoenas the Justice Department issues by itself, without having to go to a judge for approval. When they were first authorized in the 1970s, the FBI was required to have " 'specific and articulable' reasons to believe the records it gathered in secret belonged to a terrorist or spy," Barton Gellman reported for The Washington Post on November 6, 2005. But thanks to the Patriot Act, the FBI can slap these letters not only on terrorist suspects but on anyone who is "relevant" to a national security investigation, even those "who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies," Gellman wrote. The Patriot Act authorizes the FBI to use these National Security Letters to obtain "transactional records" from financial institutions. And the 2004 Intelligence Authorization Act expanded the scope of these letters beyond financial institutions to include car dealers, travel agents, real estate agents, pawnbrokers, and others. The FBI is churning these National Security Letters out at the rate of 30,000 a year, Gellman discovered.

And for more on this, you can see Mike's "Dave Zirin on reilgious Rockies, Iraq and more" where he covers George Christian's appearance on WBAI's Wakeup Call. (You can also go to the station or show archives and listen to Tuesday's Wakeup Call.) As is noted, Bully Boy and the administration claimed for some time that National Security Letters weren't being used to obtain the records of library patrons.

Rory O'Connor's "Cooper’s Credibility in Question" (Media is Plural,

With Washington’s attention focused on the murky fate of top White House official Karl Rove, one surprising and potentially significant development in the ongoing CIA leak case against top White House official I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby has largely escaped notice. It concerns questions about the credibility of one of the reporters at the center of the case. To the surprise of many, however, the reporter in question is not the much-maligned ex-New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- but Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper.
The issue surfaced recently when US District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton issued an
Order and Memorandum Opinion in response to efforts by attorneys for Miller, Cooper, two journalists from NBC News and their respective news organizations to quash subpoenas from Libby’s attorneys seeking a wide range of the journalists' work material.
After personally reviewing the documents in question, Judge Walton upheld Miller's motion to quash her subpoena in full -- meaning she would not have to turn over anything -- but ordered at the same time that Time magazine must turn over drafts of articles written by Cooper. Walton noted there were variations in the drafts, written after Cooper had testified before the grand jury that investigated and indicted Libby in the case involving the leaking of C.I.A. operative Valerie Plame Wilson's name. "Upon reviewing the documents presented to it, the court discerns a slight alteration between the several drafts of the articles which the defense could arguably use to impeach Cooper," the judge wrote in a memorandum opinion.
"This slight alteration between the drafts will allow the defense to impeach Cooper, regardless of the substance of his trial testimony, because his trial testimony cannot be consistent with both versions," the judge concluded. "Thus, unlike Miller, whose documents appear internally consistent and thus will only be admissible if she testifies inconsistently with these documents, Cooper’s documents will undoubtedly be admissible."

Why, it's just shocking! (I'm not mocking O'Connor, I am noting that we called Matt Cooper out some time ago -- in fact, it's almost a year now -- and would have done so sooner if I hadn't been asked to bite my tongue.) Now that a judge is questioning Cooper's credibility, might it not be time for others to seriously explore it? Especially since all but his most zealous of self-appointed body guards have packed it in?

One more time because it's important, as Elaine noted, join United for Peace and Justice's call today:

Wednesday: Call for Congressional Debate on Iraq!
National Call-In Day, Wed, June 7
Call your Congressional Representative:
(888) 355-3588 (toll-free) or 202-224-3121
An open debate on Iraq is OVERDUE!The people of Iraq want their nation back; they understand that the departure of U.S. troops will be the first step toward quelling the violence that has overtaken their country. People in the U.S. want their sons and daughters home. Children want their mothers and fathers home. Most of the U.S. troops think they should leave in the next 6 months, if not sooner. Facing this is a moral and non-partisan challenge.
We have a unique opportunity to demand that Congress stop passing the buck. So far, 122 members of the House of Representatives have signed a 'discharge petition' calling for immediate debate and consideration of ALL alternatives to the policy of open-ended occupation of Iraq (including an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops). All we need is 96 more members of Congress to sign the petition for debate to begin. We need your help.
Call your U.S. Representative on Wednesday, June 7th. Ask your Representative to sign H.Res. 543 OR thank them if they have already signed and ask them to ask a colleague to sign H.Res. 543.

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