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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit www.newsjunkiebook.com for a preview. He is also a two-time winner of the Project Censored award, most recently, in 2007, for an investigative story related to Halliburton's work in Iran. He was recently named the recipient of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's Thomas Jefferson Award for a series of stories he wrote that exposed how soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been pressured to accept fundamentalist Christianity.
Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire
An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration's torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers. They say it unconstitutionally requires enlistees to believe in God or a "higher power" in order to be deemed "spiritually fit" to serve in the Army.
Special Prosecutor Declines to File Criminal Charges Over Destruction of CIA Torture Tapes
Nearly three years after he was appointed to investigate the destruction of at least 92 interrogation videotapes, a dozen of which showed two high-value detainees being subjected to various torture techniques by CIA interrogators, Special Prosecutor John Durham has determined that he does not have enough evidence to secure an indictment against anyone responsible for the purge.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wolfowitz Directive Gave Legal Cover to Detainee Experimentation Program
A former Pentagon official, who worked closely with the agency's ex-general counsel William Haynes, said the Wolfowitz directive provided legal cover for a top-secret Special Access Program at the Guantanamo Bay prison, which experimented on ways to glean information from unwilling subjects and to achieve "deception detection."
Confidential Report Blames BP Executive For Distress at Alyeska Pipeline
Alyeska Pipeline, the BP-led consortium that operates the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), has implemented deep budget cuts, deferred work on a number of important maintenance and upgrade projects threatening the integrity of the pipeline and is led by a chief executive who was described by the company's five vice presidents as "vulgar" and "inappropriate.
Friday, July 16, 2010(1 comments)
Author of Torture Memos Admits Some Techniques Were Not Approved By DOJ
Bybee's statements to the committee appeared to be an attempt to shift the blame for some illegal torturing onto the CIA. "If the CIA departed from anything that it told us here, if it had any other information that it didn't share with us or if it came into any information that would differ from what they told us here, then the CIA did not have an opinion from OLC," Bybee said.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Dangerous Cost Cuts at Alyeska Pipeline: "Yet Another Example of How BP Runs Things"
It's no coincidence that Alyeska has been accused of taking similar risks with TAPS and lashing out at employees who speak up. BP is the largest shareholder of Alyeska and Hostler is a BP executive "on loan" to the company. BP exerts significant control and influence over the way Alyeska is operated, senior BP and Alyeska officials said.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
EXCLUSIVE: Documents, Employees Reveal BP's Alaska Oilfield Plagued By Major Safety Issues
Nearly 5,000 miles from the oil-spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP and its culture of cost-cutting are contributing to another environmental mess. According to internal BP documents obtained by Truthout, and after interviewing more than a dozen employees over the past month, the Prudhoe Bay oil field, in a remote corner of North America on Alaska's north shore, is in danger.
Monday, June 7, 2010(1 comments)
Human Experimentation at the Heart of Bush Administration's Torture Program
The report said the research and experimentation of detainees its authors have documented is not only a violation of the Geneva Conventions, but is a grave breach of international laws, such as the Nuremberg Code, established after atrocities committed by Nazis were exposed in the aftermath of World War II.
Saturday, June 5, 2010(1 comments)
Israeli Naval Forces Seize Gaza Bound Aid Ship, "Rachel Corrie"
Much of Israel's claims about the events that lead up to the raid aboard the Mavi Marmara and the circumstances behind the deaths of the activists have been wholly discredited. Rep. Dennis Kucinich has called for an independent investigation of the incident.
Friday, May 28, 2010(5 comments)
Ex-EPA Officials: Why Isn't BP Under Criminal Investigation?
"BP is a convicted serial environmental criminal," West said. "So, where are the criminal investigators? The well head is a crime scene and yet the potential criminals are in charge of that crime scene. Have we learned nothing from this company's past behavior?"
Wednesday, May 19, 2010(2 comments)
How Bush's DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP That Threatened to Net Top Officials
Mention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: Beyond Prosecution. West was the special agent in charge with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) criminal division who had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company's senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company's Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska's North Slope.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
BP Flouted US Safety Rules
The oil conglomerate is also facing serious charges from the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it "willfully" failed to implement safety measures at its Texas City refinery, the third largest in the country, following an explosion that killed 15 employees and injured 170 others five years ago.
Friday, April 30, 2010(8 comments)
Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf
The issues related to the repeated spills in Prudhoe Bay and elsewhere were revealed by more than 100 whistleblowers who, since as far back as 1999, said the company failed to take seriously their warnings about shoddy safety practices and instead retaliated against whistleblowers who registered complaints with their superiors.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Zubaydah's Torture, Detention Subject of Senate Intelligence Inquiry
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has launched an investigation into the torture and detention of Abu Zubaydah, the "high-value" detainee captured in March 2002 that the Bush administration wrongly claimed was one of the planners of 9/11 and a top al-Qaeda operative.
Thursday, April 1, 2010(1 comments)
US Recants Zubaydah's Terror Charges
The Justice Department has quietly recanted nearly every major claim the Bush administration made about Abu Zubaydah, the alleged al-Qaeda leader who was the first suspected terrorist subjected to the torture of waterboarding and other White House-approved "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Monday, March 29, 2010(2 comments)
Torture Diaries, Drawings and the Special Prosecutor
Zubaydah was one of two high-value detainees whose interrogations between April and August of 2002 were captured on 90 videotapes that the CIA destroyed in November 2005 as public attention began focusing on allegations that the Bush administration had subjected "war on terror" prisoners to brutal interrogations that crossed the line into torture.
Saturday, March 13, 2010(2 comments)
Final Health Care Bill Vote Due As Early As Next Week
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid formally notified Sen. Mitch McConnell that he he will use the budgetary process of reconciliation to try to pass a final round of changes to the health care bill in the Senate with a simple majority and avoid a Republican-led filibuster.
Obama's Budget Calls for Billions in New Spending for Drones
the base spending plan for 2011 is 3.5 percent of gross domestic product. Adding in war costs, it comes out to 4.6 percent of GDP. Obama has called a three-year spending freeze on domestic programs, but the Defense Department is exempt from the proposal.
Blistering Indictment Leveled Against Obama Over His Handling of Bush-Era War Crimes
"Obama has substituted words for action on issues surrounding torture since his first days in office nearly one year ago. That's the point the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made shortly after Obama's acceptance Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. Officials from the civil rights organization issued a withering indictment of the Obama administration's handling of clear-cut cases of Bush-era war crimes.
Obama's DOJ May Appeal Ruling Ordering Release of Cheney's CIA Leak Transcript
The Obama administration indicated in court papers it may appeal a federal judge's ruling ordering the Justice Department to release portions of the transcribed interview between former Vice President Dick Cheney and Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor appointed to probe the roles Bush administration officials played in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson six years ago.
Thursday, October 8, 2009(1 comments)
Spending Bill Includes Provision to Block Release of Abuse Photos
the Obama administration petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear the case at the same time the president privately told Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) he would work with Congress to help get a measure passed aimed at blocking the photographs from being released.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009(1 comments)
Court Documents Reveal Existence of New Torture Tapes
A federal court judge on Monday revealed that the brutal interrogation of an alleged "war on terror" detainee imprisoned at Guantanamo for more than seven years was videotaped and she ordered the government to turn over the materials to the prisoner's lawyers.
Rove "Driving Force" Behind US Attorney Firings
Rove downplayed his role in the firings, saying he only acted as a "conduit" for complaints that Republican Party officials and GOP lawmakers sent to him about the federal prosecutors. The documents tell a different story.
Sunday, August 2, 2009(8 comments)
Holder Ponders Limited Torture Probe
By targeting just CIA interrogators who exceeded the torture guidelines, the Obama administration also would be shutting the door on new internal investigations that might reach higher levels - the Justice Department lawyers who established the parameters and the White House officials who encouraged the brutal tactics - including the near-drowning of waterboarding.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Obama Lawyers Shield Cheney on Leak
Though Judge Sullivan didn't issue a ruling in the case, he didn't appear swayed by the government's arguments. He said the Justice Department was, in effect, requesting that he "legislate" by issuing some sort of special Freedom of Information Act exemption for vice presidents.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Bush May Have Continued to Secretly Operate John Poindexter's TIA Program
"Suspicionless Surveillance" was developed by the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness department, led by Admiral John Poindexter, the former national security adviser who secretly sold weapons to Middle Eastern terrorists in 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair and was convicted of a felony for lying to Congress and destroying evidence. The convictions were later overturned on appeal.
Top Democrat Says Bush Broke the Law By Authorizing Surveillance
George W. Bush justified his warrantless wiretapping by relying on Justice Department attorney John Yoo's theories of unlimited presidential wartime powers, and started the spying operation even before Yoo issued a formal opinion, a government investigation discovered.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009(3 comments)
NSA Gave Up Names of Americans Wiretapped to Ex-State Dept. Official
The names of American citizens that are blacked out can be revealed to government officials if they ask for them in writing and only if they're needed to help the official better understand the context of the intelligence information they were included in.
But that wasn't the case with Bolton or other government officials and agencies.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Bush Spying Relied on Faulty Theories
After the inspectors generals' report was released Friday, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, renewed his calls for a bipartisan "truth commission" to examine abuses of power during the Bush administration.
Saturday, July 11, 2009(1 comments)
How Rove Said He'd Answer Siegelman Prosecution Queries
Rove indicated during his Fox News interview that he doesn't intend to stray from the responses to questions he had already provided to Smith, which were clearly written to elicit denials from Rove about his involvement in Siegelman's prosecution.
Saturday, July 11, 2009(4 comments)
Yoo Gave Bush White House Retroactive Legal Cover to Spy on Americans
The President's Surveillance Program (PSP) was far more expansive than the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), the report said, while the TSP allowed the NSA to spy on Americans' telephone calls without a warrant. The PSP went much further and remains classified and Yoo worked directly with White House officials on the PSP as he was the only official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel who was aware of progra
Friday, July 10, 2009
More Than $600 Billion And Counting: Iraq War Lies Revisited
Editor's Note: As the war in Iraq surpassed its sixth year, a common refrain from politicians who supported the invasion is "don't dwell on the past, think about the future." It is an argument that distracts Americans from the important lessons that this history can teach.
Friday, July 10, 2009(8 comments)
Ex-Senator Graham: Cheney, CIA Lied to Congress About Domestic Spying
The history of the CIA is replete with examples of agency officials obscuring key details when telling members of Congress about controversial programs. In the 1980s, CIA Director William Casey was famous for mumbling over such points and gruffly reacting when asked to repeat himself.
Thursday, July 9, 2009(1 comments)
How Rove Said He Would Answer Conyers's Siegelman Prosecution Queri
While the details of Karl Rove's eight-hour deposition Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee regarding his role in the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys and the alleged political prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman remain unknown, Rove has provided insight into how he said he intended to answer the panel's questions in the Siegelman matter.
Friday, July 3, 2009(4 comments)
Bush-Cheney Linked to CIA Leak Case
..filing in a federal court case also makes clear that Cheney was at the center of White Housemachinations rebutting criticism from former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who charged in summer 2003 that the Bush administration had "twisted" intelligence to justify invading Iraq in March 2003. While seeking to discredit Wilson, administration officials disclosed to reporters that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA
Obama's Torture Hypocrisy
Taking office in January, Obama announced that his administration would not condone or practice torture, but he also opposed holding Bush administration officials accountable out of fear that his actions might be deemed vindictive.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Author Calls For DOJ's Ethics Watchdog to Probe Patrick Fitzgerald
An Emmy Award-winning journalist whose recent book sharply criticized U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for failing to stop a key al-Qaeda figure during his tenure directing the elite bin Laden squad, filed a complaint with the DOJ's ethics watchdog requesting an investigation into Fitzgerald for allegedly using government resources to try and kill the publication of the book.
Friday, June 19, 2009(1 comments)
Secret CIA File Tests Obama's Pledge
President Barack Obama's promise of a more open government faces a new test this week as his administration weighs whether to release details of a May 2004 internal CIA report about the agency's use of torture, including how at least three detainees were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009(1 comments)
Yoo, Bybee Rendition Memo Drafted Specifically For Zubaydah's Torture
Orange County Register interview: "I wish they weren't doing it, but I understand why they are," Yoo told the OC Register in response to a question about Jarrett's probe. "It is something one would expect. You have to make these kinds of decisions in an unprecedented kind of war with legal questions we've never had to think about before. We didn't seek out those questions. 9/11 kind of thrust them on us.
Thursday, June 11, 2009(8 comments)
Why Obama is Fighting to Keep the Detainee Abuse Photographs Secret
By trying to block the release of photographs depicting US soldiers abusing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama is essentially killing any meaningful chance of opening the door to an investigation or independent inquiry of senior Pentagon officials who were responsible for implementing the policies that directly led to the abuses captured in the images.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The CIA's Shifting Reasons For Withholding Documents in the Torture Tapes Case
"It is extremely difficult for any outsider to make his mark within a bureaucracy as parochial and insular as the one at CIA," said Goodman, who spent more than two decades at the agency. "Panetta, unfortunately, has tried to ingratiate himself with the negative elements. Panetta's first mistake was to keep in place all of the holdovers from the era of George Tenet and Porter Goss, who were responsible for a coverup culture
Monday, June 8, 2009(3 comments)
Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Cheney Pressured DOJ to Approve Torture
Dick Cheney and his lawyer, David Addington, pressured the Justice Department in 2005 to quickly approve a torture memo that authorized CIA interrogators to use a combination of barbaric techniques during interrogations of "high-value" detainees, despite objections from senior officials in the Department of Justice, according to e-mails written by James Comey, the DOJ's former Deputy Attorney General.
Friday, June 5, 2009(5 comments)
Crisis at the VA as Benefits Claims Backlog Nearly Tops One Million
The VA's claims backlog, which includes all benefits claims and all appeals at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the Board of Veterans Appeals at VA, was 803,000 on January 5, 2009. The backlog hit 915,000 on May 4, 2009, a staggering 14 percent increase in four months.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009(2 comments)
Red Cross Informed Powell About Torture
The International Committee of the Red Cross began an investigation of US war crimes in Iraq from the first days of the invasion, interviewing Iraqi captives from March to November 2003. Powell is quoted as saying, "we are confident of our legal position, but we also know the world is watching us."
Tuesday, June 2, 2009(2 comments)
Powell Told U.S. Tortured Detainees, But He Failed to Act
On Jan. 15, 2004, ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger expressed his concern to Secretary of State Colin Powell about the Bush administration's attitude regarding international law. The next month, February 2004, the ICRC gave Bush administration officials a confidential report which found that U.S. occupation forces in Iraq often arrested Iraqis without good reason and subjected them to abuse and humiliation....
Monday, June 1, 2009(2 comments)
Crisis at the VA as Benefits Claims Backlog Nearly Tops One Million
In January and February, for the first time in military history, the number of battlefield suicides was higher than the number of combat deaths in the war zones, according to the Pentagon. Last year, 140 U.S. soldiers committed suicide, a record high, and during the first four months of 2009, 64 U.S. soldiers have committed suicide.
Saturday, May 30, 2009(1 comments)
Taguba Said He Saw Video of Male Soldier Sodomizing Female Detainee
In April, the Obama administration had agreed to release the photos because the Justice Department said it did not believe it could convince the Supreme Court to review the case. In court papers filed Thursday, the Justice Department indicated that it now intends to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009(5 comments)
Claims Graham Briefed About Domestic Spying in 2001 and 2002 Also Bogus
Graham said he was not told about the torture techniques used that the CIA claimed it had briefed him and Sen. Shelby on, echoing the statements he made back in 2005 about being kept in the dark regarding the domestic surveillance program.
The document also alleged that Pelosi was given a full accounting of the torture program during in 2002 and 2003. But Pelosi said last week she was mislead by the CIA about waterboarding
Saturday, May 16, 2009(2 comments)
Obama Pressured Into Withholding Prisoner Abuse Photos
In reversing an earlier commitment to release photos of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners, President Barack Obama succumbed to a propaganda barrage unleashed by former Bush administration officials, their congressional allies, the right-wing news media and holdovers who retain key jobs under Obama.
Saturday, May 16, 2009(1 comments)
Ex-CIA Official: Agency Brass Lied to Congress About Interrogations
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had been the ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee, vehemently denied that she was told the CIA planned on waterboarding detainees or intended to use other brutal techniques to try and extract information from "war on terror" prisoners."My colleague[Porter Goss], the chairman of the committee, has said 'if they say that it's legal you have to know they are going to use them