As The Washington Post reported late last month, a host of former detainees have come forward to say that they were drugged by CIA and military interrogators. Put that together with the fact that John Yoo's 2003 torture memo authorized the use of drugs on detainees, and you have plenty of grounds for suspicion.
Today Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Chuck Hagel (D-NE) followed up and signed letters to both the CIA and Defense Department inspectors general calling for an investigation. The letter to the DoD IG is below.
April 24, 2008
The Honorable Claude M. Kicklighter
Department of Defense
400 Army Navy Drive
Arlington , VA 22202-4704
By Facsimile & U.S. Mail
Dear Inspector General Kicklighter:
We are deeply concerned about the allegations reported in the April 23rd Washington Post article entitled Detainees Allege Being Drugged, Questioned regarding the alleged use of drugs on detainees to facilitate interrogations. They are the most recent in a series of allegations relating to the abuse and mistreatment of detainees in United States custody. Although such conduct is prohibited by U.S. law and international treaties and inconsistent with our national values, some similar allegations have since been confirmed by public reports.
As with other types of abuse, the forced administration of mind-altering drugs to facilitate interrogation appears to have been authorized by the legal analysis of John Yoo, then a lawyer in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel. His memorandum authorizing such abuse reportedly overturned a decades-old U.S. ban on the use of mind-altering drugs to facilitate interrogation. President Bush recently confirmed in an interview with ABC News that the Administration's overall interrogation policy was discussed by Cabinet level national security officials, and that the President himself was aware of these discussions.
The allegations reported in the Washington Post article warrant a thorough investigation by the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Investigation of alleged abuse and mistreatment of detainees is squarely within the purview of the Inspector General's office.
Only by identifying and reforming policies and practices that violate United States law and international treaties and are inconsistent with our national values can we strengthen the international coalitions we need to fight terrorism, decrease the success of terrorists' recruitment efforts, and restore America's standing in the world. Thorough investigations are an important step in that process.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senate Armed Services Committee
Senate Select Intelligence Committee
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Politico is reporting that Barack Obama will declare victory on May 20:
Not long after the polls close in the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Barack Obama plans to declare victory in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. . . .The Obama campaign agrees with the Democratic National Committee, which pegs a winning majority at 2,025 pledged delegates and superdelegatesa figure that excludes the penalized Florida and Michigan delegations.
So let me get this straight -- the first act of the self declared Democratic nominee Barack Obama will be to state that Michigan and Florida will not count? This is insane. Two key states in November will be dissed in the first act of the newly crowned Democratic nominee. At the least, Obama should wait until he has 2209 delegates counting the existing Florida and Michigan delegations. One assumes that will likely happen by the end of the primaries barring some unforeseen event. I can not understand the logic of this approach.
More . . .
By the way, the Obama campaign is badly mishandling this situation in other ways. In the Obama post NC/IN memo makes two very strange arguments. The first:
With the Clinton path to the nomination getting even narrower, we expect new and wildly creative scenarios to emerge in the coming days. While those scenarios may be entertaining, they are not legitimate and will not be considered legitimate by this campaign or its millions of supporters, volunteers, and donors.
The "wild scenario" is counting Michigan and Florida. This is simply madness from the Obama campaign at this juncture. Obama is going to be the nominee. It is time for him to think about November. The second problem from the Obama memo is its disgraceful disrespect of voters:
[T]he popular vote is a deeply flawed and illegitimate metric for deciding the nominee since each campaign based their strategy on the acquisition of delegates. . . . Essentially, the popular vote is not much better as a metric than basing the nominee on which candidate raised more money, has more volunteers, contacted more voters, or is taller.
This is political lunacy. The Obama campaign needs to get its act together on these issues at this crucial time.
Kissing Suzy Kolber: Say, isn’t this election just like a football game? National Priorities Project: Local costs updated on the President’s war budget requestIraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America: Congress has a historic choice to make today. Lawmakers will go on record regarding whether they support our nation’s newest generation of veterans.TPM Muckraker: Nobody [...]
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Have you had an empty feeling every morning while drinking your coffee? We think we have a solution for you! A 2008 Democratic Convention Watch Coffee Mug!
And anytime you look at the clock wondering how much longer the Democratic Primaries will last... wouldn't you feel better looking at a DCW Clock?
You can access the DCW story by clicking on the link at the top left or by clicking here. And if we see anybody wearing any DCW paraphernalia during the convention we'll feature you on the site!
Hope you like them!
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Yesterday we got a Google News Alert for an article on the NRCC web site trumpetting Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake's endorsement of Jim Ryun, in which Flake said Congress "needs" Ryun.
We'd post a link to it, but the NRCC took it off their web site because, we can only assume, that they realized suddenly Jim Ryun still had a primary opponent in the race, and that they had said they weren't taking sides.
Whatever- we understand it's easy to overlook Jenkins' faltering campaign (just like the Topeka news media did- Jim Ryun had umpteen news crews and KPR on hand when he opened his camapign office while the only thing Lynn got was two paragraphs on the WIBW web site).
It's also clear which side national Republican groups have fallen in this particular race, with Ryun endorsed by CHOMP, FRC Action, and the Susan B. Anthony List Candidate- while Jenkins has found herself out in the cold for the most part, only finding help from Republican pro-choice organizations.
Another week and another reason to not want to be a Lynn Jenkins supporter.
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The media narrative isn't always right, but it's always fascinating to watch. Because political reporters tend to be pack animals, once a narrative gets out there, it's tough to change. Yesterday, there was only one narrative: the Democratic race is over.
The consensus was swift and brutal. The tabloids had their own way of saying it (like the NY Post, which led the front page with "Toast!"). Broadcast media had their list, as captured by Jim Rutenberg in the NY Times (Pundits Declare the Race Over).
The moment came shortly after midnight Eastern time, captured in a devastatingly declarative statement from Tim Russert of NBC News: "We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it," he said on MSNBC. "Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.
Russert, btw, did an encore on Wednesday's evening news, using his whiteboard to go over the inexorable delegate math on the Nightly News (the astute Chuck Todd has been all over this), reiterating the idea that there was no way Clinton wins.
Yesterday afternoon, this AP story made its way onto the internet via the Houston Chronicle: Analysis: Democrats quietly send word to Clinton it's over. In the WaPo, Dan Balz did his own canvassing:
I sent a message to one of her most loyal supporters early Wednesday morning asking what are her realistic options? "She has only one option," he replied. "Gracefully exit and help unify the party to beat [John] McCain." How quickly, he was asked. "I would advise them to figure out how to do it as soon as this weekend," he replied.
Another veteran Democrat who has backed Clinton was equally pessimistic in his private assessment. "It's hard to see a path toward the twin goals of Hillary winning and the party uniting," he wrote. "Her strategy cannot be to destroy the village in order to save it. The superdelegate dam is about to break. Hillary losing [George] McGovern is like LBJ losing [former CBS News anchor Walter] Cronkite."
Several outlets started to dissect the Clinton superdelegates (this from The Hill):
"I, as you know, have great fondness and great respect for Sen. Clinton and I’m very loyal to her," [Dianne] Feinstein said. "Having said that, I’d like to talk with her and [get] her view on the rest of the race and what the strategy is.
Clinton, who eked out a win in Indiana Tuesday night but lost big to front-runner Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) in North Carolina, has not responded to Feinstein’s phone call, the California senator said.
Today, it'll be about grace, timing, pride and, inevitably, money. Already one can see the references to Planet Clinton ( a place far away from here where people think they can win) openly make their way into political discussions (I heard it on MSNBC yesterday; pundits hate it when the candidates defy the narrative.)
I'll leave it to others to talk about why the pundits suddenly realized what the blogs have been saying for weeks... Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee, and it's about damn time to put his opponent, 71 year old John McCain, under the microscope and hold him accountable for his positions, his gaffes and his embrace of the worst President in polling history. But given the current narrative, that time is coming very soon.
Barney & Maxine: problem solvers
While Republican House leaders wring their hands and rend their clothes fretting over why voters are massively rejecting their candidates and worrying that the GOP minority could easily lose another 2 or 3 dozen House members in November, all they need to do is look in the mirror to figure it out. And blaming hapless schnooks like Vito, Vitter or Larry Craig isn't going to do the trick. They are the party of obstructionism and the party that is standing in the way of progress, preventing an end to the occupation of Iraq, preventing universal health care, preventing sound environmental and energy policies, preventing, in fact, everything that the American people want!
Yesterday their despised leader, George Bush, threatened to veto a foreclosure bill that would attempt to help families and neighborhoods that have been victimized by predatory lenders who have been enabled by out-of-control Republican deregulation mania. Today the House passed the first of two of the bills Bush was railing against, Maxine Waters' Neighborhood Stabilization Act of 2008. Only one Blue Dog, Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) voted with the Republicans. Eleven Republicans-- all of whom are either retiring or in grave danger of losing their re-election bids in November-- abandoned their party's reactionary leadership and voted with the Democrats (even including such inveterate rubber stamps as the Diaz-Balart brothers in Florida and Steven LaTourette of Ohio).
While Bush was eager to shovel hundreds of billions of dollars towards the predatory lenders to shore up their businesses and even to provide irresponsible and possible criminal executive with multimillion dollar bonuses for causing the collapse of the real estate market, he dug in his heels on Water's attempt to "make federal money available in loans and grants for the rehabilitation and eventual sale or rental of blighted properties."
And just moments ago, the House also passed the companion bill, Barney Franks' American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act, a responsible and comprehensive response to the nightmare of the Bush Economic Miracle. It seeks to assist families facing foreclosure keep their homes, help other families avoid foreclosures in the future, and, with Maxine Waters' bill, help the recovery of communities harmed by empty homes caught in the foreclosure process. The bill, which Bush swears he will veto and McConnell vows to obstruct in the Senate, provide mortgage refinancing assistance, which will help keep families from losing their homes and protect neighboring home values. Barney's bill was voted on in 3 parts and dozens of Republicans were too frightened of the constituents to oppose the bill. On Roll Call 302, in fact, 95 Republicans gave Bush and their extremist leaders the finger and joined all the Democrats to pass it overwhelmingly and with a veto-proof majority. In fact only 94 Republicans voted with Bush. It passed 322-94, one of Bush's biggest defeats since he stole the presidency in 2000. Only the most insane kooks and loons-- The Dana Rohrabachers, John Shadeggs, Michael McCauls, Mean Jean Schmidts, and Scott Garretts hung in there with Boehner, Blunt, Cole and Howdy Doody.
The GOP strategy is to have Mitch McConnell filibuster both bills to death in the Senate and to use Bush's veto pen as a backup. And they wonder why they're unable to persuade even hard core Republican districts in Illinois and Louisiana to vote for their rubber stamp candidates? Even rank and file Republican voters have turned on Bush. While his overall approval rating continues to plummet to the lowest levels yet among normal Americans, only 6 in 10 GOP voters like the job he's doing. 7% of Democrats-- presumably Blue Dogs like Chris Carney, John Barrow, Leonard Boswell, Melissa Bean, Heath Shuler, Jim Marshall, and Nick Lampson who always rubber stamp his decisions-- approve of the job he's doing. (Hopefully, Democratic primary voters in Iowa and Georgia, will realize it isn't only admitted Republicans bolstering Bush's toxic regime, but some of their own representatives as well.) If Barrow and Boswell are defeated in their primary bids-- the way Al Wynn was-- you can bet your ass that crossover support for the Bush-Cheney agenda will drop precipitously among the treacherous Blue Dogs. Both of their opponents, Regina Thomas in Georgia and Ed Fallon in Iowa, are progressive with proven track records and both are up on the Blue America list of endorsees. Please consider supporting them-- and while you do, take a look at Texas Rep. Al Green explain the importance of this legislation-- for all of us:
video details and more
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The ACLU continues its undefeated streak in challenging FBI National Security Letters.[...]
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Guest post by ScanJoe looks to his girlfriend for inspiration and Mika says Hillary’s been "pretty brilliant" in another great Howard Wolfson appearance this morning. Open thread.[...]
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Republicans in Washington D.C. have asked Office of Special Counsel chief Scott Bloch to resign. This follows an FBI-led raid of his offices uncovered documents related to an investigation into allegations of Bloch's political bias and obstruction of justice in an office designed to protect whistleblowers and enforce rules on political activity in federal workplaces. (Washington Post)
Pentagon officials are pointing to the suicide bombing in Iraq by Guantanamo detainee Abdullah Salih Al Ajmi as a justification of holding prisoners there until the government is sure they are innocent. The Pentagon went on to release a list of a dozen former Guantanamo prisoners they claim have been released and then returned to fighting against the U.S. and its allies. (Boston Globe)
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is once again crying foul over ads from the organization Freedom's Watch. The DCCC claims the conservative group did not follow election guidelines by not reporting more than $600,000 of television ads in Louisiana and Mississippi elections. Freedom's Watch says the ads followed the rules, yet the complaint filed by the DCCC accuses the group of airing "electioneering communications" on April 22 and 29 regarding the race for a Louisiana Congressional seat without proper notice to the FEC. (Roll Call)
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton reiterated his views on bombing Iran: He's for it. Bolton said it would be an "entirely resposible" action for President Bush to target supposed Shiite insurgent training camps Iran before the end of his presidency. And despite regional ramifications of bombing Iran, Bolton thinks Israel would "delighted."(Think Progress)