The leading Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war who steadfastly opposes the use of torture, voted against the bill. Mr. McCain said the ban would limit the C.I.A.’s ability to gather intelligence. “We always supported allowing the C.I.A. to use extra measures,” he said.
At the same time, he said that he believed “waterboarding is illegal and should be banned” and that the agency must adhere to existing federal law and international treaties.
The White House again said Mr. Bush intended to veto the bill, on the ground that it would interfere with successful intelligence gathering. And Tony Fratto, a presidential spokesman, said that at least in the case of waterboarding, Democrats were criticizing a method that American interrogators no longer used.
Democratic supporters of the measure hailed its passage and immediately challenged Mr. Bush to veto it, saying that to do so would effectively endorse torture. “If the president vetoes intelligence authorization, he will be voting in favor of waterboarding,” Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York declared at a news conference.
If Bush vetoes this bill he will also be telling every country and every rag tag group of thugs that torture is OK if they believe they have something to benefit from it. McCain suffered government sanctioned torture so he is well aware of how these kinds of issues are fought in terms of propaganda and rationalization.
The most famous journalist you may never have heard of is Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera cameraman who is on a hunger strike to protest abuse during more than six years in a Kafkaesque prison system.
Mr. Hajj’s fortitude has turned him into a household name in the Arab world, and his story is sowing anger at the authorities holding him without trial.
That’s us. Mr. Hajj is one of our forgotten prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.
If the Bush administration appointed an Under Secretary of State for Antagonizing the Islamic World, with advice from a Blue Ribbon Commission for Sullying America’s Image, it couldn’t have done a more systematic job of discrediting our reputation around the globe. Instead of using American political capital to push for peace in the Middle East or Darfur, it is using it to force-feed Mr. Hajj.
A Republican blog called Stop the ACLU quotes in the most aduring terms to this quote from another Conservative blog, ACLU Condemns Senate FISA Vote, by Jay @ 7:39 pm on February 13, 2008.
This upside down world, where terrorists who make it to our shores are then considered untouchable because of some bizarre fear of a new Nixon abuse of power, is what Obama voted FOR! Obama wants to give terrorists carte blanche freedom to communicate with their agents in the US once they get here. What is so wrong with the current system? Why do NSA leads have to be relegated back to some kind of impure status simply because the NSA detected them and not the FBI (who doesn’t listen in on our enemies overseas)? What is wrong with the leads being passed to the FBI to assess, which then takes those which show to be troubling to the FIS(A) Court for full surveillance?
Neither Stop or Strata seems to understand the issue, or they’re lying or maybe they’re just visiting this planet. Senator Obama has proposed no such thing and neither have Democrats. Under the Patriot Act the FBI can still spy first and get a warrant later, the revisions to PAA would have no effect on that ability at all. The NSA now and as far back as they’ve existed has the right to spy on foreign communications and pass on any leads that entail a domestic threat to the FBI. A good example of why the Right is incapable of honest debate, they’d have to start being honest first.
The senators also cited Craig for using more than $213,000 from his campaign committee to pay legal expenses in the case without getting permission from the ethics committee.
Craig might be in denial about his sexual orientation, but he is Republican to the core using other people’s money to defend himself from charges he at first admitted to.
Things are still going semi-kinda-great in Iraq according to this Making (Some) Progress in Iraq. Now what to do about those 4.5 million Iraqi refugees. One would think that 4.5 million people would be crazy to leave the paradise that George and Dick built.
“It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.” ~ John Keats