Saturday, August 19, 2006

agent provocateur stuff

* Reason:
"Take the latest in anti-leak legislation, dubbed the Official Secrets Act after the infamous British statute. On August 2nd, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) introduced what he calls an "appropriate and modern tool" for fighting the War on Terror, a bill now in the Judiciary Committee and supported by such diehard fans of modernity as Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn). How modern is Bond's bill? Word for word, it's the same act then-President Clinton vetoed in 2000.

If passed, the Act would criminalize the disclosure of classified information by current and former government employees, encouraging any would-be whistleblower to first picture himself in an orange jumpsuit. Right now, prosecutors have to prove leakers passed along information that has or will harm national security. That's hard, and, Bond informs us, utterly passé. As he explained in a statement introducing the legislation, leaks have "threatened to erode the trust and confidence of the American people." Bond's response to America's eroded trust is not to change the government that taps their phones without FISA authorization (old), but stop the leaks that let them know about it (new!).
As William Weaver, government professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, has pointed out, government prosecutors will apply the legislation only to leaked information the administration deems embarrassing or disadvantageous. Leaks that support the administration's position—however false or ultimately harmful—will continue to flow freely from officials to journalists. Misleading accounts of WMD build-up? A free press at work! Reports of secret prisons outside the rule of law? Call in the prosecutors.
The federal government's bright new ideas for a new kind of war come off, on closer look, like tired knock-offs, hastily refashioned for a new audience. Most are based on a false choice between national security and free speech: For all their protestation, those who rail against the New York Times and Washington Post for recent investigative work have never been able to explain how that work has made us less secure. But that's very much the point. In the made-over world of hyped-up government secrecy, explanations are no longer necessary."

* glenn on demnow re AIPAC and spying/ preznitial law-breaking.

* craig murray on demnow:
"But also, what are the Prime Minister and the President doing discussing the details of forthcoming arrests? That should be an operational matter for the experts, for the professionals and the security services and the police who are responsible for this kind of surveillance. They should be acting at the correct moment, when the evidence is in place and when they're certain that the people are, in their view, definitely involved, and when they can secure their conviction. They shouldn't be subject to pressure from politicians, as to when they move.

And one of the results of this is, I don't think we will ever know whether or not there really was this threat that, you know, we're told was greater than 9/11, and the officials have said it was going to cause murder on an unimaginable scale. Well, we'll never know, because if you arrest people before they even buy their airplane tickets, even if it does turn out to be true, that these people had, as is alleged, been bragging about what they were going to do in internet chat rooms, how do you know if that was really serious or if it was just talk, if you don't let the thing develop to a stage where you actually really see what's happening? But instead, I think we all have to suspect that for political reasons, Blair and Bush had the arrests made early.
There are several points here. One point is that allegedly both the Pakistani and the British intelligence services had infiltrated this group. So the question is, was there agent provocateur stuff going on here? You know, were the Pakistani intelligence services themselves egging on people to do some kind of bomb plot? Was there an element of that in the British intelligence services?"

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