Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 6, 2009


Washington Post - The Obama administration wants to maintain the secrecy of terrorist watch-list information it routinely shares with federal, state and local agencies, a move that rights groups say would make it difficult for people who have been improperly included on such lists to challenge the government. Intelligence officials in the administration are pressing for legislation that would exempt "terrorist identity information" from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Such information -- which includes names, aliases, fingerprints and other biometric identifiers -- is widely shared with law enforcement agencies and intelligence "fusion centers," which combine state and federal counterterrorism resources.

Advocates for civil liberties and open government argue that the administration has not proved the secrecy is necessary and that the proposed changes could make the government less accountable for errors on watch lists. . . "Instead of enhancing accountability, this would remove accountability one or two steps further away," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we have yet another violation of a basic human right: the right to know your accuser and the nature of the accusation. Of course, this is really connected to the defense of the "defense" budget. Back in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. There was talk of the "peace dividend" since clearly the cold war was kaput. The money used to fund the cold war could then be used for domestic purposes, like education, infrastructure, health care, housing, etc. Good grief, said the Military Industrial Complex (yup, the same one of which Eisenhower spoke in his farewell address), we can't let THAT happen. So global terrorism was invented so that the Complex could soak up all those dollars that had no home, now that the cold war was over. It's been a fantastic success! The US "defense" budget is now as big as the rest of the World's combined! You just can't be too careful when you've got so many enemies! And the best part is that going after all these enemies breeds more enemies. It's virtually a perpetual motion machine. It's like a breeder reactor which makes its own fuel! Plus, the US is just oozing with virtue. Fighting all that terrorism requires the committed, virtuous leadership. We have plenty of that. So much virtue, so little time and so much money to spend.

September 6, 2009 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just arrange to add the names and details of every public official and every member of the media? (Sorry, Sam)

September 7, 2009 2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Anon 5:49, who controls the "Complex"? Would it be what is now called the Neocon crowd--which includes both Democrats and Republicans? Who controls the Neocons? Who provides the common cause and coordination, without which how could the Neocons be a group, let alone a successfully group (at least in material terms)?

September 7, 2009 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:49, there is no such thing as a "basic human right". The concept of rights is an invention of the human mind and has no inherent existence of its own independent of human thought and activity. A right is not some magical thing that we all automatically have because we are human. We all collectively grant and maintain rights to each other or we don't. Lately we mostly talk about them as though they are real, but when it comes to practice, rights apparently have too high a price for the American public to be willing to fight to maintain them.

The most obvious example is found in the issue of capital punishment. According the principles our Constitution was based on, it was considered better for a dozen murderers to go free than for a single innocent man to be hanged. Most Americans have decided that is too high a price to pay, and now it's better for every American to be watched by cameras 24 hours a day than for a single person to get away with littering.

September 12, 2009 11:36 AM  

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