Mar 162005

SECRECY WHEN IN DOUBT, BLACK IT OUT: New evidence points to the White House’s paranoid penchant for secrecy. In the most recent example, an Internet company last year took the FBI to court after the agency hiding behind the Patriot Act demanded private information about Internet subscribers. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ruled in September that the law violated the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches. The Justice Department, using a sweeping interpretation of the Patriot Act, then insisted on total secrecy surrounding the case. Everything was suppressed, censored, blacked out, and redacted. The previously censored material was released for the first time yesterday. It turns out the information suppressed was innocuous, harmless stuff. Justice Department spokesman Kevin Madden claims, “Redactions in classified documents are made with careful consideration of national security concerns.” You be the judge: Some of the blacked out phrases included the words “national security” and a sentence from a statement by an FBI agent that read, “I am a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

MILITARY FLUNKING THE DOVER TEST: It’s common knowledge that the Bush administration has banned photographs of caskets of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, but Salon reports the Bush administration appears to be pursuing a similar strategy with the wounded, “who are far more numerous.” According to Salon, the Bush administration continues to engage in a concerted effort to hide dead and wounded soldiers from the American public. Flights carrying injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan only arrive in the United States in the dead of night, under the cover of darkness. Soldiers are then taken to Walter Reed or Bethesda Navel Medical Center in ambulances or “unmarked black vans.” Photographs are prohibited. The wounded soldiers are then unloaded at back entrances, not the common entrances closest to the emergency rooms. The result is that images of wounded soldiers continue to be “extremely scarce.”

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