Category Archives: transparency in government

Apple drops Wikileaks app. Google keeps theirs

Apple apparently doesn’t want to feel the wrath of the US government…but Google doesn’t give a shit. From Reuters:

Apple Inc has joined a growing number of U.S. companies that have severed ties with WikiLeaks, removing an application from its online store that gave users access to the controversial website’s content.

But Google Inc, which operates the second-largest online mobile applications store, has kept more than half a dozen apps available on its Android Marketplace that make it easier to access the confidential U.S. government documents WikiLeaks had released on its site.

The two distinct approaches highlight how it is far tougher for developers to get on the iPhone’s platform than Android’s. Some of the Android programs provide direct access to the WikiLeaks cables, and one of them even alerts users whenever a new leaked document from the WikiLeaks repository is made public.

Kind of makes me Steve Jobs? Is Jobs a republican? Hearty lick of applause for Google on this issue.

The Biggest Document leak in History and what it means.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), a UK website, has the entire set of Wikileaks Iraq War Logs online, other than Wikileaks itself. The corporate news sites like the NYT, The Guardian and Der Speigel and several others, all give you their interpretations of the thousands of pages, but TBIJ site seems the most comprehensive to me. From their site, the section which tells us what exactly the thousand upon thousands of pages of doc’s, (400,000 pages), videos and military logs mean and their accompanying short video below:

Twelve weeks ago the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was given access to the biggest leak of military documents in history.

These documents formed a database of nearly 400,000 military logs recorded over six years of the Iraq war and covering the years 2004 to 2009.

There are over 37 million words used to recount military significant actions that took place across the entire country. This material provides an unrivaled portrait of one of the most controversial wars of the modern age.

For the first time the files reveal just how much the American military detailed the escalating violence in Iraq, and how this contrasts markedly to what the politicians said in public. This is the story behind the pronouncements – the uncensored detail Washington did not want us to know.
PROMO from TBIJ on Vimeo.

First off, the number of unreported civilian deaths just boggles my mind. The Iraq Body Count site estimates that this leak uncovers 15,000 more civilian deaths than our government reported. This of course raises the total level of deaths, regardless of group, country affiliation and including combatants to more than 150,000.Another quote to blow your mind:

Following the release of the US military war logs, the civilian death toll has risen from 107,000 to 122,000, according to Iraq Body Count.

I have been perusing the TBIJ site most of today and it just gets more ugly, grim and nightmarish with each page/story.  The following line, from this page, just took my breath away:

On the same day 123 secret logs, including reports of the murder of 128 civilians, were filed.*

Holy fuckamoly, I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around everything I read there. Bear in mind that all the civilian deaths were not caused by US or Coalition troops. But…. Hundreds of civilians were gunned down in error at checkpoints…their deaths never reported to anyone.

Mutha Fuckas..Our government lied and continues to lie to us about the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Why do I say they continue to lie? Well because, for one thing, the Obama administration handed over detainees despite reports of torture by Iraq government authorities. This is a clear violation of international law, drawn up by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, ratified by the US in 1994, for any government to transfer detainees to a regime at whose hands they face torture or other serious human rights violations.

That last paragraph above should make your friggin day…it sure as fuck made mine. A small price to pay my ass.

Obama backs BushCo on warrantless wiretapping?

First video is Professor Turley’s take on this new development and the legal ramifications. The second is KO and Howie Fineman discussing this newest fresh hell.

Let me see if I have this correct. President Obama’s administration is supporting BushCo’s wiretapping program and their defense of said program by invoking ‘government secrecy‘ aka the almighty States Secret Privilege fuckery.

Thats a whole lotta bullshit folks..It gives one wonder wtf is up and why in the blue hell the DOJ would pursue this line of defense when all Obama has talked about is transparency..transparency and yep..transparency. Not to mention ‘the rule of law’.

AG Holder changes FOIA guidelines.

Thursday, Holder released new guidelines for complying with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). His intent is to make government more accessible and transparent. From Jurist:

The new guidelines, designed to increase transparency in government, will rescind the Attorney General’s FOIA Memorandum of October 12, 2001, which stated that the Department of Justice would defend decisions to withhold records “unless they lack a sound legal basis or present an unwarranted risk of adverse impact on the ability of other agencies to protect other important records.” Instead, the Department of Justice will defend a denial of a FOIA request only if (1) the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions, or (2) disclosure is prohibited by law.

This is a good thing for severals reasons and on many levels. In January, President Obama released a memo directing all department heads and agencies to lean towards transparency when dealing with FOIA requests. A section of his directive below:

All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.

I direct the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the FOIA to the heads of executive departments and agencies, reaffirming the commitment to accountability and transparency.

Good on ya President Obama…good on ya dude.