Freedom Of Information Act, FOIA

Without FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act, we’d never know about the torture of detainees, the bush administration’s role in it, and other abominations by this administration. FOIA makes it possible for us to find out things that are otherwise hidden on purpose from the publics view.

With FOIA, if the tax man comes auditing, you can demand to see the evidence they claim they have against you, something they don’t want you to know you can do. It usually blows their case out of the water because the whole point of an audit is for you to supply them with the information they need to get you. It is against the Constitution to incriminate yourself. But one of the IRS favorite tactics is that of self incrimination through strong arm moves. Simply by filling out a W-2 form you are signing away the ability to NOT incriminate yourself, expressly forbidden in the Bill or Rights. Through the use of FOIA you can find out what the IRS has on you first and based on that information, decide whether their case has merit or not and proceed from there. 90% of the tax audits are done on low income people who don’t have the money for a lawyer. FOIA can make all the difference for you.

Wikipedia has some interesting information on FOIA that I also recommend reading for the lay person. Educating yourself about how things are done is essential to maintaining your liberty and freedoms. If you don’t exercise your freedoms, they will disappear on you. Be aware, be vigilant.

The reason I’m writing about FOIA today is because of a ongoing case against the Department of Defense. The Office of the Inspector General, (OIG), has a FOIA request concerning a report requested by the ACLU but which is being blocked by the Defense Department. According to the Defense Department the report still needs to be reviewed and redacted by the Pentagon. Translation? They need to take out the parts that would damn them.

In an ongoing investigation that is ultimately aimed at finding out and proving the guilt of the highest members of the government on torture and abuse, the ACLU has filed a FOIA document demanding the release of this report from the OIG.

ACLU Demands Immediate Release Of Inspector General Report On FBI’s Role In Illegal Interrogations (4/22/2008 )

Filing Follows Stonewalling By Defense Department

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today with the Departments of Justice and Defense for the release of a report on a long-running investigation of the FBI’s role in the unlawful interrogations of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) launched the investigation after internal government documents – uncovered by an ACLU lawsuit – revealed that FBI agents stationed at Guantánamo Bay expressed concern after witnessing military interrogators’ use of brutal interrogation techniques.

According to recent media reports, the OIG investigation has been completed for months. The Defense Department, however, has blocked the OIG from releasing it, claiming that the report still needs to be reviewed and redacted by the Pentagon.

“The Pentagon is using the classification review as a pretext to delay the release of a report that ought to have been released months ago,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “It’s increasingly clear that the report is being suppressed not for legitimate security reasons, but in order to protect high-level government officials from embarrassment, criticism, and possibly even criminal prosecution. The report should be released immediately.”

Inspector General Glenn Fine has stated that his report was finalized months ago. In the last few weeks, Fine has taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing the Defense Department for delaying the release of the report.

The OIG investigation was initiated in 2005 after the ACLU obtained documents in which FBI agents described interrogations that they had witnessed at Guantánamo Bay. The documents included:

* An e-mail in which FBI agents stated that Defense Department interrogators had impersonated FBI agents during an interrogation and used “torture techniques.” The email stated that the techniques were ineffective.

* An e-mail in which an FBI agent stated that “on a couple of occasions” he or she “entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water,” and that on one occasion he or she entered a cell to find that “the A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night.”

* An e-mail that suggests that, although FBI agents began reporting abuse in 2002, the FBI did not initiate any comprehensive investigation of the abuse until after the Abu Ghraib photographs were published in 2004.

Read the full report HERE:

The abuses by the bush administration are coming to light, not that we haven’t known about them for some time, but proving them is a different story. And until they are proven, those responsible will not be held accountable. I don’t know about you, but I sure want to see them held accountable at all costs.

Never in the history have these United States have we had so much disregard shown for the rule of law, the separation of powers in the government, the abuse of power, or the criminalization of an entire country as we’ve had during the bush administration. With Voters being disenfranchised so that they cannot vote, ensuring that elections turn out the way the government wants them to, this country is in big trouble.

The Freedom of Information Act is one of the last ways We the People can get the information we need to bring those to justice that have broken the laws of this land, repeatedly and without regard for the land that gave them the power they believe is theirs by right. It is not theirs by any right, but by the will of the People. They have abused that privilege, they have broken our laws, they must be brought to justice.

That they believed themselves above the law, immune from prosecution, shows in how freely they documented their crimes. FOIA will make sure those documented happenings find their way into the hands of those who know what to do with them and can make the justice system work.

An interesting read on some of the military’s desire to deny access to photographs and video tapes taken of detainees being tortured can be found here: dod-court-decision:

FOIA is a powerful tool when used correctly.


~ by justmytruth on April 27, 2008.

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