Posts tagged with ‘CIA’

Erotica Controversies
The 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted inmate Andres Martinez the right to read a werewolf erotica novel in prison. The book in question was The Silver Crown by Mathilde Madden (a pseudonym used by Guardian contributor, Mathilda Gregory).
NPR says the two year legal battle to read the book began when guards at Pelican Bay State Prison confiscated the novel on the grounds that it was pornographic. 
According to TIME, California banned porn from prisons in 2002 to prevent inmates from creating a “hostile work environment” for female guards. But in the 1973 case of Miller vs. California, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if a literary work has scientific or political value, it can’t be deemed “obscene.” Outlawing all works that describe sex would go against the standard. 
So, after 30 pages of decision making, the court decided that the book possesses “serious literary value” and doesn’t qualify as straight up porn. The Warden of Pelican Bay State Prison has been ordered to “allow petitioner to receive, possess, and read his copy of The Silver Crown.” Victory.
And if this erotica scandal isn’t hot enough for the press, the first female deputy CIA director, Avril Haines, is being what Salon calls “slut-shamed” for hosting “erotica nights.”
According to The Daily Beast, in the 1990s, Haines co-owned Adrian’s Book Cafe in Baltimore, Md. The cafe used to feature events where published guests would read their erotic prose. Apparently, Haines even read some racy excerpts herself from Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. 
FJP: What does any of this have to do with the fact that Haines is the new CIA director? Nothing. So why bring it up?
Media Matters suggests that the press applies a “shockingly different standard” to what they cover in regards to accomplished females vs. males in Washington D.C. The media assumes that a woman’s sexuality, or even what she wears, defines who she is (see: Purse Politics: Tote and Vote), and that’s a standard that’s “almost never applied to male counterparts.” 
Would this story be being beaten to death (here, here, here, here, here, and here, to name only a few articles) if Haines was a man who used to be into smutty reading nights? Or is a woman’s sexuality just infinitely more interesting? Also… if a male inmate can read what he wants, shouldn’t Haines have the same right? - Krissy
Image: Salon 

Erotica Controversies

The 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted inmate Andres Martinez the right to read a werewolf erotica novel in prison. The book in question was The Silver Crown by Mathilde Madden (a pseudonym used by Guardian contributor, Mathilda Gregory).

NPR says the two year legal battle to read the book began when guards at Pelican Bay State Prison confiscated the novel on the grounds that it was pornographic. 

According to TIME, California banned porn from prisons in 2002 to prevent inmates from creating a “hostile work environment” for female guards. But in the 1973 case of Miller vs. California, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if a literary work has scientific or political value, it can’t be deemed “obscene.” Outlawing all works that describe sex would go against the standard. 

So, after 30 pages of decision making, the court decided that the book possesses “serious literary value” and doesn’t qualify as straight up porn. The Warden of Pelican Bay State Prison has been ordered to “allow petitioner to receive, possess, and read his copy of The Silver Crown.” Victory.

And if this erotica scandal isn’t hot enough for the press, the first female deputy CIA director, Avril Haines, is being what Salon calls “slut-shamed” for hosting “erotica nights.”

According to The Daily Beast, in the 1990s, Haines co-owned Adrian’s Book Cafe in Baltimore, Md. The cafe used to feature events where published guests would read their erotic prose. Apparently, Haines even read some racy excerpts herself from Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy

FJP: What does any of this have to do with the fact that Haines is the new CIA director? Nothing. So why bring it up?

Media Matters suggests that the press applies a “shockingly different standard” to what they cover in regards to accomplished females vs. males in Washington D.C. The media assumes that a woman’s sexuality, or even what she wears, defines who she is (see: Purse Politics: Tote and Vote), and that’s a standard that’s “almost never applied to male counterparts.” 

Would this story be being beaten to death (hereherehereherehere, and here, to name only a few articles) if Haines was a man who used to be into smutty reading nights? Or is a woman’s sexuality just infinitely more interesting? Also… if a male inmate can read what he wants, shouldn’t Haines have the same right? - Krissy

Image: Salon 

I had an interesting weekend. Maybe you did, too. It’s always a mixed bag, you know? Some Friday nights are drunken and exhilarating; other Friday nights are empty and reserved. And then, of course, there are those Friday nights when random people believe you accidentally forced the resignation of the head of the CIA.

We’ve all been there.

Chuck Klosterman, Grantland. I Lived a CIA Conspiracy Theory.

Background: When news broke about CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine posted to Twitter about a New York Times Magazine Ethicist letter from July that had somewhat similar details to the Petraeus-Broadwell relationship. Soon, the Internet wanted to know: did Broadwell’s husband write that letter? 

Klosterman, who writes the Ethicist column, talks about what it was like to suddenly be caught in the middle of Internet gossip and rumor.

Bonus: After NYT Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren posted to Twitter that the letter was not about the Petraeus affair, Jeff Winkler wrote in the New Republic that doing so probably wasn’t ethical.

Double Bonus: Jon Stewart once had Broadwell on his show. Now he explains why he’s the “worst journalist in the world.”

Someone’s Enjoying This Story
Yesterday’s New York Post.

Someone’s Enjoying This Story

Yesterday’s New York Post.

humanrightswatch:

US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya
A file folder found after the fall of Tripoli in a building belonging to the Libyan external security services containing faxes and memos between the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Libyan Intelligence Service. You can read some of those documents here.
Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first. The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened.
Read more after the jump.
© 2011 Tim Grucza

FJP: See too Wired’s coverage of this report:

It wasn’t the only box that the CIA allegedly placed him inside. Another was a tall, narrow box, less than two feet wide, with handcuffs at the top. The detainee, Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed al-Shoroeiya, says he was placed into that one with his hands elevated and suspended by the handcuffs, for a day and a half, naked, with music blasting into his ears constantly through speakers built into the box. A different detainee describes being placed into a similar box for three days and being left with no choice but to urinate and defecate on himself.
Getting shoved into those boxes was only the start of Shoroeiya’s woes. The CIA would later deliver him and at least four others into the hands of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who further brutalized them for opposing his regime. Accordingly, a new Human Rights Watch report telling the stories of those detainees strips away a euphemism in the war on terrorism: how the CIA says it holds its nose and “works with” unsavory regimes.

humanrightswatch:

US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya

A file folder found after the fall of Tripoli in a building belonging to the Libyan external security services containing faxes and memos between the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Libyan Intelligence Service. You can read some of those documents here.

Not only did the US deliver Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter but it seems the CIA tortured many of them first. The scope of Bush administration abuse appears far broader than previously acknowledged and underscores the importance of opening up a full-scale inquiry into what happened.

Read more after the jump.

© 2011 Tim Grucza

FJP: See too Wired’s coverage of this report:

It wasn’t the only box that the CIA allegedly placed him inside. Another was a tall, narrow box, less than two feet wide, with handcuffs at the top. The detainee, Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed al-Shoroeiya, says he was placed into that one with his hands elevated and suspended by the handcuffs, for a day and a half, naked, with music blasting into his ears constantly through speakers built into the box. A different detainee describes being placed into a similar box for three days and being left with no choice but to urinate and defecate on himself.

Getting shoved into those boxes was only the start of Shoroeiya’s woes. The CIA would later deliver him and at least four others into the hands of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who further brutalized them for opposing his regime. Accordingly, a new Human Rights Watch report telling the stories of those detainees strips away a euphemism in the war on terrorism: how the CIA says it holds its nose and “works with” unsavory regimes.

This Court should not depart from well-established precedent by being the first court of appeals ever to deny the existence of a reporter’s privilege with respect to confidential source information in the criminal trial context…. Confidentiality is essential for journalists to sustain their relationships with sources and to obtain sensitive information from them. Without it, the press cannot effectively serve the public by keeping it informed.

Attorney’s for Jeffrey Sterling, the former CIA officer who is accused of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, to the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Secrecy News, Reporter’s Privilege at Issue in Sterling Leak Case.

Prosecutors in the case want to compel New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against Sterling in order to reveal that Sterling passed along information that the CIA has a program in place to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Reporter’s Privilege is a law or statute in 31 states. Known as Shield laws, they protect journalists from having to testify, reveal or otherwise make known their sources, or how, where and from whom they received confidential information.

 
AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook


McLEAN, Va. (AP) — In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.
At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the “vengeful librarians” also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.
From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.
Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn’t know exactly when revolution might hit, said the center’s director, Doug Naquin.
The center already had “predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the center. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.



read the rest of the article at Yahoo! News

AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.

At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the “vengeful librarians” also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.

Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn’t know exactly when revolution might hit, said the center’s director, Doug Naquin.

The center already had “predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the center. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.

read the rest of the article at Yahoo! News

climateadaptation asked: Excellent catch on the CIA FOIA request denial. I happen to follow climate and national security and this cracks open some research. Many thanks! m

That’s great that our Internet scouring cropped up something useful for you. Finding bits others can run with is what we’re trying to do.

CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data
Via Secrecy News:

When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic.  But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center:  It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.
Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.
“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.
With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified.  Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure.  Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.
But that’s not what CIA said.  Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security.  That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.

Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data

Via Secrecy News:

When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic. But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center: It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.

Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.

“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.

With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.

But that’s not what CIA said. Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security. That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.

Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.

I take very seriously my obligations as a journalist when reporting about matters that may be classified or may implicate national security concerns. I do not always publish all information that I have, even if it is newsworthy and true. If I believe that the publication of the information would cause real harm to our national security, I will not publish a piece. I have found, however, that all too frequently, the government claims that publication of certain information will harm national security, when in reality, the government’s real concern is about covering up its own wrongdoing or avoiding embarrassment…

…Any testimony I were to provide to the Government would compromise to a significant degree my ability to continue reporting as well as the ability of other journalists to do so. This is particularly true in my current line of work covering stories relating to national security, intelligence and terrorism. If I aided the Government in its effort to prosecute my confidential source(s) for providing information to me under terms of confidentiality, I would inevitably be compromising my own ability to gather news in the future. I also believe that I would be impeding all other reporters’ ability to gather and report the news in the future.

James Risen, in an affidavit (PDF) asking a federal judge to dismiss the US government’s attempts to get him to identify his confidential sources in the upcoming trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a CIA officer accused of leaking classified information.

Via Secrecy News.

Background via Politico.

Hacktivists LulzSec have taken credit for disabling the website for the CIA.

War, Diplomacy and Reporting

Background, Part I: In January, former US Special Forces officer Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistani citizens in Lahore, and claims he did so because they were attacking him. After the shooting, Americans in Land Rovers came to extract Davis from the situation. En route, they ran over and killed a motorcyclist. Later, the wife of one of those killed committed suicide.

Subsequently, Davis was arrested and charged with murder but the US government claimed he worked for the US Embassy and has diplomatic immunity.

Background, Part II: US media outlets reported the US government’s story, repeated claims that Davis served in some sort of diplomatic capacity, and while admitting the issue was cloudy, basically made the case that he could and should be freed.

Until, that is, the Guardian reported:

The American who shot dead two men in Lahore, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time.

To which the New York Times concurred, while adding:

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A.. On Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication, though George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined any further comment.

Issue, Part I: Salon’s Glenn Greenwald claims that not only did the Times withhold information, but it also included information in their reporting that they knew to be false:

It’s one thing for a newspaper to withhold information because they believe its disclosure would endanger lives. But here, the U.S. Government has spent weeks making public statements that were misleading in the extreme — Obama’s calling Davis “our diplomat in Pakistan” — while the NYT deliberately concealed facts undermining those government claims because government officials told them to do so. That’s called being an active enabler of government propaganda.

Issue, Part II: So should news organizations have revealed that Davis was CIA?

The Guardian Readers’ Editor Chris Elliot walks us through his news room’s decision to expose the connection, saying that newspapers are faced with such dilemmas all the time. They apply ethical tests, he writes, and live with the consequences.

Quoting David Katz, the paper’s deputy editor:

We came to the view that his CIA-ness was a critical part of the story, bound to be a factor in his trial or in attempts to have him released. The reasons we were given for not naming him were, firstly, that it may complicate his release – that is not our job. If he was held hostage other factors would kick in but he is in the judicial process. The other reason given by the CIA was that he would come to harm in prison.

The New York Times’ Public Editor Arthur Brisbane defends the newspaper’s actions, saying that news organizations don’t have standing to make life and death decisions.

As profoundly unpalatable as it is, I think the Times did the only thing it could do. Agreeing to the State Department’s request was a decision bound to bring down an avalanche of criticism and, even worse, impose serious constraints on The Times’s journalism. The alternative, though, was to take the risk that reporting the C.I.A. connection would, as warned, lead to Mr. Davis’s death.

In military affairs, there is a calculus that balances the loss of life against the gain of an objective. In journalism, though, there is no equivalent. Editors don’t have the standing to make a judgment that a story — any story — is worth a life. I find it hard to second-guess the editors’ assessment…

…It was a brutally hard call that, for some, damaged The Times’s standing. But to have handled it otherwise would have been simply reckless. I’d call this a no-win situation, one that reflects the limits of responsible journalism in the theater of secret war.

To report or not to report: Truthiness is a difficult gig.