Torture Acknowledgment Highlights Detainee Issue
by William Glaberson: New York Times


When the senior official for the Pentagon’s military commissions said this week that interrogators tortured a detainee at Guantánamo Bay and that therefore he could not be prosecuted, she highlighted the hard question at the center of the incoming Obama administration’s effort to form a new detention policy.


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Casey Signs 7,000 Letters Of Apology To Families Of Fallen
By Jeff Schogol: Stars and Stripes


ARLINGTON, Va. — Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey has personally signed letters apologizing to about 7,000 families of fallen soldiers who received letters last month that all began "Dear John Doe."

"There’s some things that you just have to personalize, and that was too personal," Casey said Wednesday.

Printed by a contractor, the letters were intended to inform families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan about private organizations that can help them, but the names of the families did not transfer when the contractor combined the letters with a list of families’ addresses.

The Army announced the mistake and issued an apology on Jan. 6.

Calling the incident a "terrible mistake," Casey said the Army has since suspended all mass mailings and e-mails pending a quality control check.

"We are working on what’s the appropriate action against the contractor right now," Casey told reporters after speaking at an Association of the United States Army event Wednesday.

Casey said he did not know the name of the contractor that printed the "John Doe" letters.

The Army has refused to release the name of the contractor, prompting some Stars and Stripes readers to ask why.

"The decision not to release the contractor’s name is because, ultimately, it’s the Army’s responsibility, sir, not the contractor’s, to maintain quality control," explained Army spokesman Paul Boyce on Monday.


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Spokesman: Obama Will Lift Ban On Gays
Washington Times (Pg. 2)


January 15, 2009

The incoming White House press secretary reiterated Wednesday in unusually blunt terms his boss' vow to allow openly homosexual persons to serve in the U.S. military.

Robert Gibbs made the statement in a video during which he answered members of the public who sent him questions via

"Thadeus of Lansing, Mich., asks, 'Is the new administration going to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy?'" Mr. Gibbs said. "Thadeus, you don't hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'"

President-elect Barack Obama has long opposed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which President Bill Clinton established as a compromise after a public furor in the opening days of his administration led him to back off his campaign promise to repeal outright the military's ban on gays.

The Washington Times reported in November that the Obama team did not expect to move against "don't ask don't tell" for months and, perhaps not until 2010.


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Immigration prosecutions surge under Bush's watch
By Dianne Solis: The Dallas Morning News


Tuesday, January 13, 2009 

Immigration prosecutions in the federal courts more than quadrupled during the eight years of the Bush administration and Texas' two border districts led the nation in the surge, according to a new report by a Syracuse University research center. Even the Dallas-based Northern Judicial District of Texas was part of the increase, though the number of prosecutions – 357 in the 2008 fiscal year – was a fraction of the 25,061 prosecutions in the Southern district of Texas. The report by the Syracuse group known as the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, also showed a decline in certain types of prosecutions such as white-collar crime and narcotics filings. The Justice Department defended its record on Monday and questioned the Syracuse's group analysis of federal data...


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