Posts Tagged ‘Laura Poitras’

Citizenfour

November 18, 2014

Full Democracy Now broadcast and transcript

Last night I saw Citizenfour, the documentary movie about Edward Snowden.  Laura Poitras, the maker of the documentary, never appears on camera, but, next to Snowden himself, she deserves the most credit for bringing his information to light.  She  understood that she had to adopt the same mentality and procedures as somebody in an earlier era operating behind the Iron Curtain.

Poitras lives in Berlin, Germany.  The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who wrote most of the articles about the Snowden leaks, lives in Rio de Janeiro.  Snowden had to flee to Hong Kong and then to Moscow.  It is striking that these truth-tellers live outside the United States so as to be outside the reach of the U.S. government, while people who have committed actual crimes have nothing to fear.

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The Question of Edward Snowden by David Bromwich for the New York Review of Books.  [added 11/21/14]

Law and justice: November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014

 Why Innocent People Plead Guilty by Jed S. Rakoff for The New York Review of Books.

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury … .”   Yet few Americans charged with crimes ever go before a jury, and the U.S. criminal justice system would likely break down if they did.

The prosecutor threatens the defendant with the severest charge with the worst punishment if they insist on trial, and promise a less serious charge and lighter sentence if they plead guilty.

Innocent people sometimes do plead guilty.  About 10 percent of those exonerated of charges of rape and murder under the Innocence Project had accepted plea bargains and pleaded guilty.

Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Arrested While Trying to Attend David Petraeus Event in New York by Kevin Gosztola for Firedoglake.   (Hat tip to Mike Connelly)

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and current CIA critic, was arrested and roughed up Thursday when he tried to attend a talk by David Petareus, fomer CIA director, with Lt. Col. John Nagi, a tank commander during the 1991 Gulf War, and Max Boot, a neoconservativ writer.  McGovern had bought a ticket to the event for $45.

Interestingly, the police recognized the 74-year-old McGovern and his peace activist friends by sight.  The friends also were barred despite having bought tickets.  No doubt this is the result of McGovern being on the State Department’s BOLO (be on the lookout) list.

The IRS Can Seize Your Cash Through Forfeiture by Erin Fuchs for Business Insider.  (Hat tip to tiffany267)

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

But the Internal Revenue Service can seize your bank account without any warning if IRS officers think you have too many bank accounts under $10,000 and they suspect you are trying to evade a bank regulation regarding reporting of all bank accounts of $10,000 or more.

Gideon’s Army at Guantanamo by Phil Hirschkorn for Just Security.

Lawyers fight secrecy and eavesdropping to give accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay a fair defense.  They say they’re concerned not just about the judgment of the military tribunal, but about the judgment of history.

Q&A: Edward Snowden in The Nation.

Q&A: Laura Poitras in The Nation.

The passing scene: Links & comment 8/14/13

August 14, 2013

How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets by Peter Maass of the New York Times.  Hat tip to Daniel Brandt.

The documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was the key figure in bringing Edward Snowden’s information before the public.  Glenn Greenwald is brave enough, but she was the one with the skills to evade the surveillance state.  She is like the heroine of some dystopian science fiction novel about a totalitarian state of the future.  This well-written, informative article is worth reading in its entirety.

Bandar Bush, ‘liberator of Syria’ by Pepe Escobar of Asia Times.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, who at one time was so close to the Bush family that George W. Bush nicknamed him “Bandar Bush,” flew to Moscow to offer to buy huge amounts of Russian weapons if the Russian government would withdraw its support for the Assad regime in Syria.  As Pepe Escobar noted, this will never happen.  Vladimir Putin would never tolerate Syria being taken over by radical jihadists, whose next target undoubtedly would be Chechnia, less than 600 miles away.

Hague war crimes ruling threatens to undermine future prosecutions by Owen Bowcott of The Guardian.  Hat tip to Jack C.

Three Serbian generals were acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia because they did not give orders for the atrocities committed by troops under their command.

Buddhism’s ‘lords’ must be challenged by Sanitsuda Ekachai of the Bangkok Post.

An editorial writer said that the Theravada Buddhist clergy are governed by an autocratic system that tolerates corruption and misconduct but not dissent and reform.  Accountability is needed, she wrote; one starting point would be for Thais to only contribute to temples with transparent accounting systems.

Judge Says That Baby ‘Messiah’ Will Have to Change His Name Because He’s Not Jesus Christ by Hemant Mehta on Patheos.

I was surprised to learn that “Messiah” is one of the 1.000 most common first names for newborn male babies in the United States.  The Tennessee judge is out of line, but perhaps the parents could settle for naming their baby “Senator,” “Colonel,” “Professor” or “Doctor”.