Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Here's one reason the mainstream media might be a little shy about digging too deeply into the darker corners of the Bush White House. Jail anyone?

Reporters sans frontières - 27 June 2005
"Reporters without Borders denounces a "retrograde and freedom-curtailing decision"*:
Reporters without Borders is very concerned about the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States on June 27, 2005, not to hear the cases of Judith Miller, of The New York Times, and Matthew Cooper, of Time magazine, each sentenced by a federal court to 18 months in prison for refusing to reveal their information sources. The two journalists have no further judicial recourse and are now facing actual incarceration.
[ . . . ]
Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper had refused to reveal their information sources to a special chamber charged with investigating the information leaks that led to publication in the press of the identity of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame. In this case, the White House was suspected of having released Mrs. Plame's name in retaliation against her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had publicly opposed President Bush's arguments in favor of the war in Iraq.

Judith Miller had investigated this matter on behalf of the New York Times, but had finally decided not to devote an article on it. In Time magazine's July 17, 2003 issue, Matthew Cooper had merely mentioned that "some government agents" had given Mrs. Plame's name to the press.

Here's my question. Why are Time and the New York Times, bastions of the so-called liberal media, the scapegoats in this government attempt to silence future Deep Throats? Why isn't Robert Novak, the man who published Valerie Plame's name and knows well which White House source gave him that information, being asked this question and convicted of contempt for not answering? I probably missed something important somewhere along the line, but why is he off the hook? It couldn't have anything to do with him being a useful and loyal rightwing crackpot, could it?
Just asking,
True Blue Liberal

The awkward "retrograde and freedom-curtailing decision" sounds much more elegant in the French title: ". . . une décision « rétrograde et liberticide » ". Liberticide should become an English word in these times, used in a sentence such as: "George W. Bush, you are accused by this Congress of liberticide, and are hereby impeached."


True Jersey Girl said...

Just came across your blog and have to say I LOVE IT. I am going to blogroll you. Seems that there are just so many rightwing blogs out there and not nearly as many left wing ones.

alan s said...

You would think New Jersey was run by Republicans if you believe Howard Dean. No wonder Blacks and Hispanics are turning to the Republican Party. Seems in New Jersey it's OK if your White but not Black or Hispanic.

Trenton Moves to Eradicate Race Profiling by Local Police

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Published: June 29, 2005
TRENTON, June 28 - New Jersey, once vilified nationally for encouraging racial profiling by the state police, will now require officers in all 479 of the state's municipal police forces to undergo training intended to eliminate the practice.

Peter C. Harvey, the state attorney general, signed a directive on Tuesday that requires a half-day of anti-profiling instruction at the academies that his office operates to train municipal police officers. He also ordered all police departments to certify within six months that current officers have taken a self-administered version of the program, to be provided in videotape, DVD and written forms.

Mr. Harvey and experts in the field said the program represented the first time that a state law enforcement agency has mandated such training not only for its state police but also for thousands of local police officers. The training covers some 51,000 police officers in the state.

"The police officer training program, successfully developed for state troopers and now adapted for municipal police officers, puts New Jersey's police and law enforcement community in the forefront of the effort to eradicate racial profiling from all levels and sectors of policing," Mr. Harvey said, adding that he was introducing the kind of system reform that was crucial. "Cases come and cases go," he said. "But what changes behavior is structural reform."

A number of random audits of the departments over the next six months may be instituted to ensure that all officers undergo the training.

Since 1998, when civil rights groups sued the state after troopers shot three unarmed young black men during a traffic stop on the turnpike, New Jersey has became as infamous for racial profiling as it has been for its many hazardous waste dumps.

In the years since, the State Legislature outlawed racial profiling by the state police and the state entered into a legal agreement with the federal government to end the practice. Last year was the first time since that agreement was reached in 2000 that there were no complaints of racial profiling against state troopers.

Mr. Harvey's new directive is an effort to extend the reforms beyond the turnpike into the state's municipalities.

Warren Wielgus, the police chief in Roselle Park and head of the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, said that racial profiling was a "cloud hanging over police" generally, and that it was too complicated an issue for commanders to deal with in "a 10-minute talk each day at roll call."

Mayor Tim McDonough of Hope Township, a board member of the state's League of Municipalities, noted that such training was crucial to protect the reputations of towns and prevent localities from being bankrupted by lawsuits.

And the Rev. Reginald Jackson, president of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey, said that the training, in focusing on local law enforcement, was aiming at the level where racial profiling had always been the greatest problem.

"We still get a lot of calls and complaints from people saying they have been stopped by local police for trivial things," said Mr. Jackson, whose organization was in the forefront of protests over the wounding of the three minority youths in 1998. Local governments have been in denial about this."

James Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine who now runs the State Attorney General Project at Columbia University Law School, said that no other state had come up with such a statewide training program for the police, and that given the state's prominence in the national debate over racial profiling, it made sense for New Jersey to be the first.

The course includes situations that police officers are likely to face, and the wrong and right ways to handle them. It shows that it is all right to approach those who have chosen to wear gang colors or swastika tattoos but not all right to approach those behaving normally just because they are wearing religiously mandated or ethnically traditional dress. It attempts to teach that even though individual citizens may act out their individual racial and ethnic prejudices, police officers are restricted to react only to suspicious or illegal conduct.

"When a constitutional violation occurs, you have an aggressive defense bar in this state which won't hesitate to sue," Mr. Harvey said. "Once that happens you might as well take out your checkbook and just think about how many zeros you are going to add to the damage award

True Blue Liberal said...

Jersey Girl. Thanks.

Alan? I'm not sure what your point is. I definitely don't see the link between your uncredited cut'n'paste comment and the original post. I will say this though. I don't think the attitudes in this article really say anything specific about New Jersey (except that it's tackling a problem that many other states sweep under the rug). The article does say something about the natural attitudes and operating procedures of police everywhere if they are not properly overseen and controlled.