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Thursday, Nov 27th

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Cheney Admits Authorizing Detainee's Torture

When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called "high value prisoner" at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture.

"I supported it," he said regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do," Cheney said. "And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it."

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Rep. Eshoo to push for Fairness Doctrine

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said Monday she will work to restore the Fairness Doctrine and have it apply to cable and satellite programming as well as radio and TV.

The Fairness Doctrine required TV and radio stations to balance opposing points of view. It meant that those who disagreed with the political slant of a commentator were entitled to free air time to give contrasting points of view, usually in the same time slot as the original broadcast.

The doctrine was repealed by the Reagan administration's Federal Communications Commission in 1987, and a year later, Rush Limbaugh's show went national, ushering in a new form of AM radio. 

A Reagan legacy: repealing fairness. How wonderful.

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Israel deports American academic

Israel has refused entry to the controversial Jewish American academic and UN envoy, Richard Falk who once compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis' treatment of Jews.

Earlier this year, when the Princeton University professor of international law was appointed as the UN's special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, Israel said it would deny him entry because in 2007 he said the Jewish nation's blockade on the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza was a "Holocaust in the making".

TVNL Comment: How is that for democracy and freedom? Say something that they don't like and they kick you out of the country!

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Supreme Court won't review Obama's eligibility to serve

The Supreme Court has turned down another challenge to Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president because of his citizenship.

Wrotnowski argued that Obama was a British subject at birth and therefore cannot meet the requirement for becoming president.

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Families' 9/11 liability suit could go to trial

The suit alleges that security at Dulles International Airport, Newark International Airport and Logan International Airport was negligent in allowing the alleged terrorists to board the flights.

To date, no family members of Sept. 11 victims have had a day in court. Over 3,000 families have instead accepted lucrative settlements from the federal victims compensation fund, with the average figure hovering in the range of $2 million.

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Iraqi group files 200 lawsuits against Rumsfeld, US security firms for torture

A Jordan-based Iraqi rights group said on Monday it has filed 200 lawsuits against US former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and American security firms for their alleged role in torturing Iraqis.

Ali Qeisi, head of the group the "Society of Victims of the US Occupation in Iraq," said the cases, relating to torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners, have been recently filed in federal courts in Virginia, Michigan and Maryland.

"Around 30 lawsuits have been accepted so far," Qeisi told AFP. The others are still under consideration.

"The torture was systemic, and those responsible for it should be punished and the victims should be compensated," he said.

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Banks hit worldwide by US 'fraud'

Some of the world's biggest banks have revealed they are victims of an alleged fraud which has lost $50bn (£33bn).

Bernard Madoff, who was arrested on Thursday, has been charged with fraud in what is being described as one of the biggest-ever such cases.

Among the banks that have been hit are Britain's HSBC and RBS, Spain's Santander and France's BNP Paribas.

Other victims include film director Stephen Spielberg's Wunderkinder Foundation charity.

One of the City's best-known fund managers has criticised US regulators for not detecting the alleged fraud.

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The Torture Presidency

The report concluded that Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level officials of the administration consciously adopted a policy for the torture and abuse of prisoners held in the war on terror. It also found that they attempted to cover up their conduct by waging a P.R. campaign to put the blame on a group of young soldiers they called “rotten apples.” Lawyers figure prominently among the miscreants identified. Evidently the torture policy’s authors then enlisted ethics-challenged lawyers to craft memoranda designed to give torture “the appearance of legality” as part of a scheme to create the torture program despite internal opposition. A declassified summary of the report can be read here; the full report is filled with classified information and therefore has been submitted to the Department of Defense with a request that the materials be declassified for release. (Don’t expect that to happen before January 20, however).

This report sums up all you need to know about George W. Bush’s eight years of leadership.

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Cheney: Obama 'not likely to cede authority'

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that President-elect Barack Obama will “appreciate” the expansions of executive power achieved during the Bush administration and is unlikely to cede authority back to Congress.

“Once they get here and they’re faced with the same problems we deal with every day, then they will appreciate some of the things we've put in place,” Cheney said during an interview on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.

TVNL Comment: Maybe Obama will use that power to delcare Cheney an enemy combatant and haul him off to some torture chamber! That would be justice.

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