WORTH REPEATING: ‘Respectable Murder’


“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — GEORGE ORWELL

NEW YORK TIMES: “I believed if the public — in particular the American public — had access to the information” in the reports, “this could spark a debate about foreign policy in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. Private Manning said he first called The Washington Post and spoke to an unidentified reporter for about five minutes. He decided that the reporter did not seem particularly interested because she said The Post would have to review the material before making any commitment. He said he then tried to reach out to The New York Times by calling a phone number for the newspaper’s public editor — an ombudsman who is not part of the newsroom — and leaving a voice mail message that was not returned. In January 2010, around the time when Mr. Manning called the public editor’s line, voice mail messages were checked by Michael McElroy, the assistant to Clark Hoyt, then the public editor. Both Mr. Hoyt, now the editor at large at Bloomberg News, and Mr. McElroy, now a staff editor at The Times, said on Thursday that they had no recollection of hearing such a message. “We got hundreds of calls a week, and I tried to go through them all,” Mr. McElroy said. “If I’d heard something like that, I certainly hope I would have flagged it immediately.” Private Manning eventually decided to release the information by uploading it to WikiLeaks. To do it, he said, he used a broadband connection at a Barnes & Noble store because his aunt’s house in a Maryland suburb, where he was staying, had lost its Internet connection in a snowstorm. MORE




RELATED: The Supreme Court severely damaged the rule of law in its decisionon Tuesday to disallow a lawsuit challenging the federal law that permits broad, secret surveillance and interception of international communications involving Americans. The suit, brought by lawyers, journalists and human rights activists, charged that the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violate their rights to privacy and free speech. Justice Samuel Alito Jr., writing the 5-to-4 majority opinion, misleadingly presented the court as a model of restraint and its ruling as a narrow one. But, in fact, the decision will likely shut down all judicial review of this pernicious surveillance law, barring anyone from ever challenging its constitutionality in federal court. The majority ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue because they cannot show they have been harmed by the surveillance law. This is a classic Catch-22: since the surveillance is secret and no one can say for certain that their calls, e-mails and other communications have been or will be monitored, by the court’s logic no one will ever be able to show standing to bring a lawsuit. MORE