NEWS CLUES: Like A Torture Tape Of The Truth

BURN AFTER READING: CIA Destroyed 92 Torture Interrogation Tapes

torture_01.jpgThe CIA destroyed nearly 100 videotapes of interrogations and other U.S. treatment of terror suspects, far more than previously acknowledged, the Obama administration said Monday as it began disclosing details of post-Sept. 11 Bush-era actions. The interrogations were a highly contentious issue during the administration of President George W. Bush, with many Democrats and other critics saying that some methods used amounted to torture _ a contention Bush and other officials rejected. A criminal prosecutor is wrapping up his investigation in the matter. Monday’s acknowledgment, however, involved a civil lawsuit filed in New York by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking more details of the interrogation programs following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. “The CIA can now identify the number of videotapes that were destroyed,” said the letter submitted in that case by Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin. “Ninety-two videotapes were destroyed.” It is not clear what exactly was on the recordings. The government’s letter cites interrogation videos, but the lawsuit against the Defense Department also seeks records related to treatment of detainees, any deaths of detainees and the CIA’s sending of suspects overseas, known as “extraordinary rendition.” ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said the CIA should be held in contempt of court for holding back the information for so long. “The large number of videotapes destroyed confirms that the agency engaged in a systematic attempt to hide evidence of its illegal interrogations and to evade the court’s order,” Singh said. [via ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Silverman Threatens To Stop F*cking Matt Damon Over Show Budget Dispute

sarah_silvermangorillabutt_1.jpgThe economic downturn is jeopardizing “The Sarah Silverman Program,” one of Comedy Central’s signature series. The show’s executive producers — Silverman, Dan Sterling and Rob Schrab — have threatened to quit after the cable network told them the budget for their series would be slashed by more than 20%. More than two months after “Sarah Silverman” ended its second season, the show has yet to be renewed for Season 3. (In 2007, the second-season pickup came 11 days after the series’ premiere.) At the center of the holdup is the proposed budget for Season 3. Citing cuts imposed on the network by parent company MTV Networks, Comedy Central had proposed that the trio bring back the Writers Guild of America Award-nominated show at about $850,000 an episode, sources said, down from the $1.1 million an episode for the show’s second season. In broadcast, single-camera comedies are produced for about $1.5 million-$2 million an episode, and the budget for any series normally climbs from year to year. “Sarah Silverman” is a single-camera comedy that also features animated sequences and musical numbers. The contracting ad market is hitting networks hard. MTV Networks’ parent Viacom in December laid off 7% of its work force, though Comedy Central largely was spared because it had been through the ringer following the 2003 acquisition of Time Warner’s 50% ownership in the network and had little left to cut. Amid the economic woes, ABC Studios and 20th TV asked all of their showrunners to cut 2% of their series budgets. Concerned they won’t be able to maintain the integrity of the show at the discounted price, Silverman, on behalf of the three executive producers, informed the network late last week that they can’t proceed with a third season. The move reportedly sent shock waves through Comedy Central’s executive offices, with top brass jumping into action to find a budget compromise that would keep the flagship live-action series on the air. [via REUTERS]

 ARTSY: Dufala Brothers Win Grand Prize For Armored Ice Cream Truck

dufalabrosicecreamtruck_1.jpgWe are thrilled to announce that gallery artists, Steven and Billy Blaise Dufala, were awarded the West Prize Grand Prize, a cash award of $25,000. The West Prize, in its inaugural year, was selected from an open call for early career artists. 3,600 artists from 73 countries submitted 18,000 works for consideration. The Dufala Brothers “Ice Cream Truck Tank,” along with work from the other nine finalists—Rob Carter, Brian Cooper, Jonas Criscoe, Thomas Doyle, Deborah Hamon, James Johnson, Georg Parthen, Ann Toebbe, and Nathan Vincent—will be on exhibition at the NEXT Art Fair, in Chicago, May 1-4, 2009. [via FLEISHER/OLLMAN GALLERY]

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