Analiese’s Reading 4/28

Coleman/Franken recount update and talking about torture: examining the “margin of error” argument, Coleman lawyer not big on equal protection, federal campaign finance complaint filed against Coleman, Coleman asks for and receives another delay in seating a Minnesota senator, report and video show how America treats those in its power, examining the efficacy of torture, Obama administration holds out possibility of prosecution, Bob Woodward says this story isn’t going away, appeals court rules Guantanamo Bay detainees are not “persons,” and CIA prisoners still missing.

When Does ‘Close’ Become Too-Close-to-Call?

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board, whose previous coverage of the Minnesota recount has tended to reflect a lack of command of the facts and circumstances of the case, is now back for another round, this time pressing for a re-vote:


Coleman lawyer in ‘06: GOP not into ‘whole notion of equal protection’

Republican attorney Ben Ginsberg is helping usher Norm Coleman’s equal-protection claims to a high court (Minnesota’s), just as he did with another client, George W. Bush, and another high court (the United States’) eight years ago. Indeed, Coleman’s yet-to-be submitted brief is expected to cite Bush vs. Gore, as have his earlier briefs presented (unsuccessfully) to the state Supreme Court and the election-contest court. Maybe there’s a reason for that.

The Minnesota Independent

Democrats file campaign finance complaint against Coleman

Norm Coleman may be violating federal campaign finance laws by paying his personal legal bills with campaign funds, according to charges in a complaint filed today by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party with the Federal Elections Commission. The controversy stems from a pair of lawsuits alleging that longtime Coleman associate Nasser Kazeminy attempted to funnel $75,000 to the Republican politician while he was serving in the U.S. Senate.

The Minnesota Independent

Coleman seeks slower court schedule

Norm Coleman wants more time to prepare his appeal of the U.S. Senate contest. In a brief filed this morning with the Minnesota Supreme Court, the former senator contends that he needs until April 30 to present his arguments to the court. Under Coleman’s proposed time-line, oral arguments would not be heard until after May 15. The brief states that the Republican “must be given enough time to fully develop and consider the issues on appeal.”

The Minnesota Independent

Minnesota Supremes Set Schedule For Coleman’s Appeal — Giving Him More Time

The Minnesota Supreme Court has just issued its order establishing a schedule for Norm Coleman’s appeal of the Senate election result — and even though this schedule has been expedited by the standards of normal civil litigation, it’s going to be a while by political standards.

Talking Points Memo

Report Details Origins of Bush-Era Interrogation Policies

A wealth of new details emerged Tuesday about how techniques designed to help captured U.S. troops resist torture formed the basis for the post-9/11 interrogation policies of the Bush-era Pentagon.

Instructors of those techniques proved to be eager in 2002 and 2003 to disseminate them to an emerging crop of inexperienced military interrogators facing the prospect of wresting information out of new captives. “I believe our niche lies in the fact that we can provide the ability to exploit personnel based on how our enemies have done this type of thing over the last five decades,” said Joseph Witsch, an instructor for the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), a component of U.S. Joint Forces Command that oversees the so-called Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Evasion (SERE) program for U.S. special forces, during a 2002 training session for U.S. military interrogators, according to a newly released report.

The Washington Independent

Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link

The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.


MoJo Video: Inside the Secret Cellblocks of Abu Ghraib

A soldier-narrated tour of the detainee camp during its final days.

Mother Jones

Torturing detainee may have produced false terror alerts

As the nation struggles to make sense of a wave of new revelations regarding the “harsh interrogation techniques” brought to bear on detainees by the CIA, two very different narratives are shaping up to describe the treatment of captured al Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in April and May of 2002.

The Raw Story

‘Torture Works’ is Not a Defense

Dick Cheney’s continued insistence that the torture techniques used by the CIA and DOD on terror suspects, or associates of terror suspects, or anyone they picked up that they thought might know some information, based at times on the “confessions” extracted from torture victims, has shifted much of the debate to the question, “Does Torture Work?”

The Washington Independent

Obama: Bush Official Prosecutions Over Torture Memos Possible

The question of whether to bring charges against those who devised justification for the methods “is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general within the parameters of various laws and I don’t want to prejudge that,” Obama said. The president discussed the continuing issue of terrorism-era interrogation tactics with reporters as he finished an Oval Office meeting with visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Huffington Post

The Story Has Legs

That’s what Bob Woodward said yesterday on Face The Nation about the unfolding story of torture and the rule of law. Torture memos prepared within George W. Bush’s Administration were released on April 16th; for the last 10 days the story has been getting bigger and Bigger and BIGGER. Which is amazing, in today’s media cycle – and indeed demonstrates, as Woodward says, that the story has legs.

MN Progressive

Appeals court rules Gitmo detainees are not ‘persons’

The ruling sprang from an appeal of Rasul v. Rumsfeld, which was thrown out in Jan. 2008. “The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the constitutional and international law claims, and reversed the district court’s decision that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) applied to Guantanamo detainees, dismissing those claims as well,” the Center for Constitutional Rights said.

The Raw Story

Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown

Last week, we pointed out that one of the newly released Bush-era memos inadvertently confirmed that the CIA held an al-Qaeda suspect [1] named Hassan Ghul in a secret prison and subjected him to what Bush administration lawyers called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The CIA has never acknowledged holding Ghul, and his whereabouts today are secret.

But Ghul is not the only such prisoner who remains missing. At least three dozen others who were held in the CIA’s secret prisons overseas appear to be missing as well. Efforts by human rights organizations to track their whereabouts have been unsuccessful, and no foreign governments have acknowledged holding them.


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