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Tuesday, May 03rd

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DoJ blocking Obama team from docs on torture, wiretapping

The Justice Department has evaded a request from President-elect Barack Obama's transition team for documents about the secret programs of U.S. intelligence agencies.

The team asked to "review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs," but the inquiry has been denied.

Among the information requested are official documents about the "legal rationale" for the secret wiretapping and torture programs conducted by the two agencies.

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State AG Conference paid for by lobbyists and big corporations

Attorneys general from around the nation are attending professional and political conferences this month — paid for in large part by corporations and lobbyists with potential legal issues in their states.

The donors? Drug companies, tobacco firms, alcohol lobbyists, banks, energy companies and labor unions, among others.  Critics say the conferences — combined with corporate donations, sponsorships and political contributions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — represent at least the appearance of a conflict of interest for the attorneys general, and could be improper.

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TVNL Comment:  There is no appropriate comment other than DUH!

White House documents found to be altered

Scott Althaus, professor of political science and communication, and Kalev Leetaru, coordinator of research in the Cline Center for Democracy, recently found that the U.S. White House Web site has modified, and in some cases, deleted key documents in the public record.

When the U.S. invaded Iraq, the U.S. government released a statement on the White House Web site listing the nations involved in the "Coalition of the Willing." However, over a period of several years, different versions of the three releases all appear to be originals. In the case of two releases from the U.S. government Web site, the original document is completely missing from the site.

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Cheney, Gonzales indictments dropped

A judge in Raymondville, Texas has dropped indictments against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Judge Manuel Banales, after surviving a motion to have him removed from the case, threw out eight of the indictments brought by Willacy County District Attorney Juan Guerra, including those against two special prosecutors, two district judges, and a district clerk.

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You Cannot Pardon a Crime You Authorized

Statement from the Steering Committee for the Prosecution for War Crimes of President Bush and His Subordinates

Never before has a president pardoned himself or his subordinates for crimes he authorized. The closest thing to this in U.S. history thus far has been Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence. Bush is widely expected to follow that commutation with a pardon. Not only did Libby work for the White House, but he was convicted of obstruction of justice in an investigation that was headed to the president. Evidence introduced in the trial, including a hand-written note by the vice president, implicated Bush, and former press secretary Scott McClellan has since testified that Bush authorized the exposure of an undercover agent, that being the crime that was under investigation.

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Texas DA reveals evidence against Cheney

Cheney's stake in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies that run the detention centers, was cited in the indictment. Cheney is accused of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees through his ownership interest.

Gonzales is accused of using his position during his time as Attorney General to block an investigation into abuses at the detention centers, located in south Texas.

"Greed will get you discovered and arrested every time, and that's what happened to Cheney," Guerra said.

Excerpts from KRGV's report:

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