Transparency

Transparency Failure

National security or secure lobbying?

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On his first day as president, Barack Obama said, "For a long time now, there's been too much secrecy in this city." He promised that "information will not be withheld just because I say so." But while Obama has released some documents related to the war on terror, he also has denied requests for documents that are, at most, tenuously related to national security.

Since October 2007 dozens of nations, including the United States, have been negotiating international standards for enforcement of intellectual property rights, a deal known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A group called Knowledge Ecology International, founded by Ralph Nader and focused on fairness issues related to the information economy, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn about the state of the negotiations.

"Please be advised the documents you seek are being withheld in full," wrote Carmen Suro-Bredie, chief FOIA officer in the White House's Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, on March 10. Suro-Bredie added that the documents fall under an executive order pertaining to information "properly classified in the interest of national security."

Although the documents are secret, you can view them if you're a "cleared adviser." The list of cleared advisers includes a large number of people involved in industries with something to gain from the agreement's details. Wired reported that leaks suggest the agreement would "criminalize peer-to-peer file sharing, subject iPods to border searches, and allow Internet service providers to monitor their customers' communications."

NEXT: Briefly Noted: A Foreign Policy They Can't Refuse

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  1. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets.

  2. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on..

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