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Thread: Al Queda Plans

  1. #31
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    Framing an Argument

    One argument underlies many of the administration's steps: that presidents need confidential and frank advice and that they cannot get it if the advice becomes public, cited by Mr. Cheney in reference to the task force and by Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, in explaining the administration's decision to delay the release of President Ronald Reagan's papers.

    Mr. Gonzales said "the pursuit of history" should not "deprive a president of candid advice while making crucial decisions."

    Some administration arguments are more closely focused on security. Mr. Ashcroft has said that releasing the names of people held for immigration offenses could give Al Qaeda "a road map" showing which agents had been arrested.

    Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has threatened action against Pentagon officials who discuss military operations with reporters, said before troops at the Army's Special Operation Command on Nov. 21, 2001, "I don't think the American people do want to know anything that's going to cause the death of any one of these enormously talented and dedicated and courageous people that are here today."

    The critics argue more generally. Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Democrat of New York, argues that secrecy does more harm than good. The Central Intelligence Agency's exaggerated estimates of Soviet economic strength, for example, would have stopped influencing United States policy, Mr. Moynihan said, if they had been published and any correspondent in Moscow could have laughed at them.

    "Secrecy is a formula for inefficient decision-making," Mr. Moynihan said, and plays to the instincts of self-importance of the bureaucracy.

    Mary Graham, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, saw two major risks in this administration's level of secrecy.

    "What are often being couched as temporary emergency orders are in fact what we are going to live with for 20 years, just as we lived with the cold war restrictions for years after it was over," Ms. Graham said. "We make policy by crisis, and we particularly make secrecy policy by crisis."

    Moreover, she said, it ignores the value of openness, which "creates public pressure for improvement." When risk analyses of chemical plants were available on the Internet, she said, people could pressure companies to do better, or move away.

    Mr. Fleischer contends that there is no secrecy problem. "I make the case that we are more accessible and open than many previous administrations -- given how many times [Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft have briefed," he said.

    Asked if there was anyone in the administration who was a consistent advocate of openness, who argued that secrecy hurt as well as helped, Mr. Fleischer said President Bush was that person. He said that was exemplified by the fact that while "the president reserved the authority to try people under military tribunals, nobody has been tried under military tribunals."

    In the cases of Zacarias Moussaoui and John Walker Lindh, he said, Mr. Bush has opted for the more open and traditional route of the criminal justice system.

    Shielding Presidents

    The Bush administration's first major policy move to enforce greater secrecy could affect how its own history is written.

    On March 23, 2001, Mr. Gonzales, the White House counsel, ordered the National Archives not to release to the public 68,000 pages of records from Ronald Reagan's presidency that scholars had requested and archivists had determined posed no threat to national security or personal privacy. Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the documents were to become available after Jan. 20, 2001, twelve years after Mr. Reagan left office. Mr. Reagan's administration was the first covered by the 1978 law.

    The directive, which also covered the papers of Mr. Reagan's vice president and the president's father, George Bush, was to last 90 days. When Mr. Gonzales extended the sealing period for an additional 90 days, historians like Hugh Davis Graham of Vanderbilt University attacked the delays, saying they were designed to prevent embarrassment and would nullify the records law's presumption of public access to those documents.

    On Nov. 1, 2001, President Bush issued an even more sweeping order under which former presidents and vice presidents like his father, or representatives designated by them or by their surviving families, could bar release of documents by claiming one of a variety of privileges: "military, diplomatic, or national security secrets, presidential communications, legal advice, legal work or the deliberative processes of the president and the president's advisers," according to the order.

    Before the order, the Archivist of the United States could reject a former president's claim of privilege. Now he cannot.

    The order was promptly attacked in court and on Capitol Hill. Scott L. Nelson of the Public Interest Litigation Group sued on behalf of historians and reporters, maintaining that the new order allowed unlimited delays in releasing documents and created new privileges to bar release.

    House Republicans were among the order's sharpest critics. Representative Steve Horn of California called a hearing within a few days, and Representative Doug Ose, another Californian, said the order "undercuts the public's right to be fully informed about how its government operated in the past." The order, Mr. Horn said, improperly "gives the former and incumbent presidents veto power over the release of the records."

    On Dec. 20, the White House sought to silence the complaints by announcing that nearly all the 68,000 pages of the Reagan records were being released. Legislation introduced to undo the order never made it to the House floor, where leaders had no interest in embarrassing the president. And a lawsuit challenging the order languishes in Federal District Court before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

    Historians remain angry. Robert Dallek, a biographer of Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy, said, "This order of Bush, we feel it's a disgrace -- what it means is if this policy applies, they can hold presidential documents close to the vest in perpetuity, the way Lincoln's papers were held by the family until 1947."

    Battling the Congress

    The administration's most publicized fight over secrecy, and its biggest victory to date, has come over its efforts to keep the investigative arm of Congress from gaining access to records of the energy task force led by Vice President Cheney.

    This fight is only the showiest of many battles between the Bush administration and members of Congress over information. Such skirmishes happen in every administration. But not only are they especially frequent now, but also many of the loudest Congressional complaints come from the president's own party, from Republicans like Senator Grassley and Representative Dan Burton of Indiana.

    The vice president framed the fight as being less about what the papers sought by the General Accounting Office might show than over power -- what Congress could demand and how it could get it or what essential prerogatives the executive branch could maintain, especially its ability to get confidential advice. And he welcomed the battle. In an interview the day before the suit was filed, he said. "It ought to be resolved in a court, unless you're willing to compromise on a basic fundamental principle, which we're not." And on Dec. 9, Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court ruled for the vice president.

    Judge Bates ruled that David M. Walker, who as comptroller general heads the General Accounting Office, had not suffered any personal injury, nor had he been injured as an agent of Congress, and therefore the suit could not be considered. An appeal is all but certain to be filed, but for the time being, the administration clearly has a victory.

    "Vice President Cheney's cover-up will apparently continue for the foreseeable future," said Representative John D. Dingell, the Michigan Democrat who pressed Mr. Walker to act, hoping to find evidence of special interest favoritism for Republican donors in the Cheney documents.

    There have been other bitter fights over disclosure between the White House and the Congress. While the Democrats controlled the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the chairman, James M. Jeffords, independent of Vermont, repeatedly threatened last year to subpoena the Environmental Protection Agency for documents explaining the scientific basis and potential impact of its proposed air pollution rule changes requiring aging power plants to install new pollution controls when their facilities are modernized. Mr. Jeffords, who never got around to issuing the subpoena, argued that the administration had broken its promises of cooperation.

    Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was infuriated last August when the Justice Department said it would send answers to some of his questions about how it was using the USA Patriot Act to the more pliant Intelligence Committee, which was not interested. Mr. Sensenbrenner threatened to issue a subpoena or "blow a fuse."

    Mr. Grassley, the incoming chairman of the Finance Committee, said administration obstruction required him to go and personally question government officials working on Medicare fraud cases, instead of sending his staff. But his new chairmanship and the Treasury confirmations before it may give him a lever. He said he told a White House aide of his problems and asked, "How can I get a presidential nominee through if I have to be spending my time doing things my investigators could be doing?"

    (continued next post)

  2. #32
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    Closing the Courtroom

    Legal policy is where the administration's desire to maintain secrecy has excited the most controversy. Since the first few days after the Sept. 11 attacks, the federal government has insisted on a rare degree of secrecy about the individuals it has arrested and detained.

    The immigration hearings held for hundreds of people caught in sweeps after the bombings have been closed to relatives, the news media and the public.

    The names of those detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service have been kept secret, along with details of their arrests, although on Dec. 12 the Justice Department told The Associated Press there had been 765 of them, of whom only 6 were still in custody.

    A few dozen individuals have been held as material witnesses, after the Justice Department persuaded federal judges that they had information about terrorism and might flee if released. Neither their names nor the total number of them have been made public.

    The administration has also kept a tight lid on the identities of the military detainees being held at Guantanamo, Cuba. But in considering how to deal with them, in military tribunals, the government has moved away from secrecy. When Mr. Bush directed the Defense Department in November 2001 to set up military tribunals to try noncitizens suspected of terrorism, one reason cited was the ability to hold those proceedings in secret, to protect intelligence and to reduce risks to judges and jurors. But when the rules were announced in March, they said "the accused shall be afforded a trial open to the public (except proceedings closed by the presiding officer)."

    While the government's policy in the immigration cases has suffered some judicial setbacks, appeals and stays have allowed it to remain in effect.

    Fundamentally, the government has argued against opening hearings by contending that they would make available to terrorists a mosaic of facts that a sophisticated enemy could use to build a road map of the investigation, to know what the government knew or did not know, and thus to escape or execute new attacks.

    That argument was also made in the main case involving releasing the names of those detained, where the government also maintains that the Freedom of Information Act's right to privacy would be violated by a release of the names.

    Legal scholars have objected particularly to the decision to close all the immigration hearings, rather than parts of them. Stephen A. Schulhofer, a professor at New York University Law School, said there was already a legal provision for closing a hearing when a judge was shown the necessity.

    The "road map" explanation seemed implausible, Mr. Schulhofer said, because the detainees had a right to make phone calls, in which "a real terrorist could alert cohorts who would not have known he was detained."

    At a recent seminar at Georgetown University Law School, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff said protecting privacy was the main reason for suppressing the names. Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, dismissed that rationale, asking Mr. Chertoff, "How can you even say that with a straight face?"

    So far, the government has won challenges to the detention of material witnesses.

    On releasing the names, it lost in a Federal District Court here, but appeared to have impressed two of the three appeals court judges who heard the case in November.

    On the question of a blanket closing of "special interest" immigration hearings, an appeals court in Cincinnati ruled against the government in August and one in Philadelphia ruled in its favor in October. The Supreme Court is likely to be faced with choosing between them.

    Putting Sand in the Gears

    Immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, governments at all levels feared that information they made publicly available could be useful to terrorists, and began moves to curtail access, a trend the Bush administration encouraged.

    The first of the strictures on information resulting from Sept. 11 were described by Ms. Graham, the Brookings and Kennedy School scholar, in her book, "Democracy by Disclosure" (Brookings Institution Press, 2002).

    "Officials quickly dismantled user-friendly disclosure systems on government Web sites," she wrote. "They censored information designed to tell community residents about risks from nearby chemical factories; maps that identified the location of pipelines carrying oil, gas and hazardous substances; and reports about risks associated with nuclear power plants."

    Many of those withdrawals mirrored efforts industry had been making for quite a few years, arguing that the public did not really need the information. Some information has been removed from public gaze entirely. James Neal, the Columbia University librarian, said that officials of libraries like his around the country that serve as depositories for federal information "have some concern about the requests to withdraw materials from those collections." Perhaps even more important, Mr. Neal said, was that "we also do not know what materials are not getting distributed."

    Some material that has been removed from Web sites is still available, though obviously to fewer people, in government reading rooms. The chemical factory risk management plans cited by Ms. Graham are no longer available through the Internet, said Stephanie Bell, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency. But individuals can look at up to 10 of them and take notes (but not photocopies) in 55 government reading rooms around the country, Ms. Bell said. There is at least one reading room in every state except Maine, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

    Last March the Defense Department issued a draft regulation concerning possible limits on publication of unclassified research it finances and sharp restrictions on access by foreign citizens to such data and research facilities.

    This prompted some concerted resistance from scientists. Bruce Alberts, a biochemist who heads the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences, told the academy's annual meeting on April 29:

    "I am worried about a movement to restrict publication that has been proceeding quietly but quickly in Washington. Some of the plans being proposed could severely hamper the U.S. research enterprise and decrease national security. It is being suggested that every manuscript resulting from work supported by federal funds be cleared by a federal project officer before being published, with serious penalties for violations. Another rule could prevent any foreign national from working on a broad range of projects."

    Even though the department withdrew its proposal and officials say there has been no decision on whether to try again, the scientists say they are still worried.

    The new Ashcroft directive on Freedom of Information requests has also begun to be felt. A veteran Justice Department official said he believed that fewer discretionary disclosures were being made throughout the government because "as a matter of policy, we are not advocating the making of discretionary disclosures."

    Delays are one clear reality. The General Accounting Office reported last fall that "while the number of requests received appears to be leveling off, backlogs of pending requests governmentwide are growing, indicating that agencies are falling behind in processing requests."

    To Thomas Blanton, who helps run the National Security Archive, which collects and posts documents gained through Freedom of Information Act, that is a clear effect of the Ashcroft order.

    "What these signals from on high do in a bureaucracy, they don't really change the standards," Mr. Blanton said, "but they put molasses or sand in the gears."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

    Reprinted from The New York Times:

  3. #33
    Tom is offline
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    Originally posted by catmando
    Dam I wish I could cut & paste like that. Sure would make things easier.
    It's easy. The hard part is finding an article worth posting

    1) Search for and read every article from every source you can find. Make sure you study every point of view so that you can get a view from all sides of a topic.

    2) pick articles that you think present a good logical well thought out argument no matter what side it is from.

    3) copy the article by highlighting it and using edit>copy

    4) open a new document in a word processing app. Paste your copy into it.

    5) go through the article and remove the ads and sidelines that were copied with it. Be careful next time to only copy what you want, but it is impossible.

    6) copy from your newly edited article. Don't edit out the author or anything he/she said unless you use ... to indicate that some is missing, but preferrably show the whole thing. Editing someones article can cause it to say the opposite of what they meant and is not fair, just ask Al Gore how he feels about that.

    5) start a new thread or reply to one.

    6) Paste your article into it.

    7) at the bottom of the small window where you put your text, click on the "check message length" link.

    8) if it is the right length send it.

    9) If too long cut some out hopefully at a natural break in the story

    10) Go back to your original and copy the rest of the article and go back to step 5. repeat till all article is posted.

    11) Wait for someone to slam you for it.
    Last edited by Tom; 01-19-2003 at 02:57 PM.

  4. #34
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  5. #35
    Platinum Member Platinum Member Steve 1's Avatar
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    Tom since when are we holding “military detainees” in Cuba there are terrorists or enemy combatants and allied Scum. Do not even attempt to glorify them!

    On second thought maybe you and Cat can bake the poor dears a Box of cookies and hand feed them!

    These nice Liberal terrorists BTW would have no problem killing a Bus Load of American School Children and have said so!!

    Also as for the protecting this country in these unprecedented times. Personally I could care less if they put a camera in my House!!!!!!!!!! I have nothing to hide!! NOTHING!

    You know any Dumbass can be a Critic:

    The real genius is taking the first steps!!

    The First steps to the resolution!!

    All I hear is criticism of the policies.... WHERE are the These People telling me my Children will be safe??????????? At?? Because they have a better plan!! Lets hear it !!!!!!!!!! All I hear Is Bull**** on top of Bull**** coming from the left ...and they in fact are responsible for this situation.

    I read these articles all the time and you know what! They are written by NOBODYS WHO NEVER DID ANYTHING. Where is this great Liberal Plan???????????? For protecting this country?? I hear is nothing encouraging from that bunch of Screw-ups But alcohol laden breath and hot air.
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  6. #36
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    NUKE THE AFGANIS!!!!!!!!!!

  7. #37
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    Got another comment.......I keep hearing that the Muslin faith is a peace loving faith and they are not agressive against people of other faiths. question is then how come most of the problems we are having around the world all have one common thread....Muslin terroist. Hmmmmmmmmm the entire world seems to be in arms against them, not just the USA.

  8. #38
    Tom is offline
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    Originally posted by Gearhead99
    Got another comment.......I keep hearing that the Muslin faith is a peace loving faith and they are not agressive against people of other faiths. question is then how come most of the problems we are having around the world all have one common thread....Muslin terroist. Hmmmmmmmmm the entire world seems to be in arms against them, not just the USA.
    The problem is they seem to have nothing but the Muslim equivelent of Steve 1 as their spokesman. I would really like to hear a Muslim explain how they claim to be peace loving, yet do not stop thier own from such hateful speech. On the other hand look at all the irrational hate speech on this thread alone. Exterminating a billion or more Muslims is going to make us worse than Hitler, but then we would be in good company - Hitler, Mussolini, Aaron Burr, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Trent Lott were ALL conservatives. In defense of those who have a moderate conservative bent like I do on some issues, these people were just as extreme examples as the extremist Muslims are to their own beliefs. We must stand up to the extremists at every opportunity and remind everyone that rational thought must prevail.

    I believe it is Christians that are the terrorists in Ireland, not to mention those in our own country that blow up buildings, kill people, and justify it with their twisted view of the Christian religion. Looks to me like extremism is the real problem and most of it seems religion based, greed based, or political. Last I checked North Korea is not a Muslim country. I have said it before that I am uncomfortable with Muslims, but we are no better than the Nazis if we stand back and tolerate such hate in the world without trying to bring rational thought into the picture.

    Does anyone beside me notice that when the hate speech comes out the logic and even sentence construction goes right out the window? The same person can write an intelligent post that is well thought out, but once hate takes over all intelligence is missing in the next post. I personally believe that religion, political affiliation, race, etc. have nothing to do with it as long as it is not an extremist position. Seems poverty, lack of education, and perceived or real inequity is the breeding ground of frustration and hate. My guess there is a greater relation to extremism to those things than what religion or political affiliation one belongs to unless you look at the extremes. Leftist rebels are just as bad as right wingers, but Thomas Jefferson, JFK, FDR, Mohatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Albert Einstein were ALL liberals. Why do the right wingers keep claiming their own as liberals? Probably because they are too blinded by their own extremism to notice that they make no sense?

    Now back the rational discussion we were having. Gearhead99, your post is a great point and I agree with you in your questioning. Please don't think I am ranting against you.

  9. #39
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    Oh damn, where to begin. Tom, you don't have a freekin clue! Talk about losing any sense when hate shows up. Hitler and Mussolini as conservatives???? WTF is that? Do you even have a clue as to what a conservative believes?? You apparently have been so taken by the cult of the left that you somehow believe that everything bad can be blamed on the right and/or Christians. I suppose this is what comes from living in the liberal mecca on the left coast. It really doesn't surprise me that you have such a hateful opinion of well spoken conservatives like Steve1. After all, having your entire world view shaken by someone with actual facts and figures and illustrations must be quite disturbing. And just to be fair I do agree with you on one point:

    Extremism on any side of an issue is not a good thing and more people have been killed in the name of religious extremism than most other reasons-except maybe anti-religious extremism. (See Hitler and the Russian and Chinese revolutions)

    Careful how far on the left you hang out there Tom, you might just fall off.
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  10. #40
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    Originally posted by Tom

    Does anyone beside me notice that when the hate speech comes out the logic and even sentence construction goes right out the window? The same person can write an intelligent post that is well thought out, but once hate takes over all intelligence is missing in the next post.
    It is called emotion. And this issue can get very emotional for some and should for all. Not everyone was captain of the debate team and their emotions can and will cause rash comments and spelling and grammar errors. This is yet another one of those areas I do not understand. Immediately following 9/11 we were being told by supposed scholars not to give in to our anger. While I do not condone the action against anyone based on religion or race, that does not mean I cannot be mad, angry and yes hateful towards those who wish me, my family and my countrymen DEAD. That is where logic and calm understanding cannot help us. This is a foreign concept to Americans, even during the cold war, the Russian people, nor government, did not wish all Americans dead. It is also not logical for a few thousand people to believe they can defeat the strongest nation on the planet, yet that is their belief.
    As far as the comments directed at Steve 1, I do not know him and although some of his comments may seem flip, I have read his posts and find he speaks from an experience few of us have had. And I for one favor experience to classroom theory. I have never been to the Middle East nor have I been in the military. I do have a good friend who was a ranger in Desert storm as well as a few other conflicts. The barbaric acts and hatred towards Americans that he witnessed are hard for me to comprehend. It is like the scene from Independence Day where the president asks the alien what they want, the response, we want you to die. This is what we face with terrorists and unfortunately we can't infect the mothership with a virus and have a glorious Hollywood ending. This war will be distasteful, long and expensive all of which require patience and unfortunately that is not a strongpoint we have demonstrated. The terrorists planned the attack on September 11th for years, and we complain that our leaders have not yet found or killed Bin Laden. Because the newspapers do not run a front page story on our fight against terrorism we assume they must be doing nothing, and if our government talks of another enemy be it N. Korea or Iraq, we must not care about terrorism. Wouldn't be great if our enemies would take a number like they were at the deli counter. Saddam, you can't sell that chemical weapon we haven't called your number.

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