A 1973 conversation between President Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham about Israel was among the secretly recorded tapes from the Nixon presidency that were made public this week. Though significantly milder than the 1972 Oval Office conversation that was made public in 2002, the latest recording has added fuel to those unable or unwilling to forgive the now-aged evangelist for past anti-Semitic remarks that had even shocked his admirers. “The newly released Nixon tapes only reinforce what we now know about a formidable, but flawed man who was so deeply infected with anti-Semitism that he was unable to see it, even in himself,” Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said regarding the nation’s 37th president. “Startling, too, is the information that continues to come out about the Rev. Billy Graham's anti-Semitism, showing how he raised the subject of Jews with Nixon and commiserated with him about the 'synagogue of Satan' and Jews who promote pornography and obscenity,” he added in a statement. “While never expressing these views in public, Rev. Graham unabashedly held forth with the president with age-old classical anti-Semitic canards.”
In a move that didn’t receive much attention, the Senate on Wednesday passed by unanimous consent the Graham-Lieberman bill, which seeks to make it illegal to make public any images of US prisoner abuse and torture from the Bush era. Specifically, the bill bans the release of images “taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.” The Obama White House supports this outrageous legislation whose sole purpose is to make it illegal to reveal the truth about US torture.
On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence. Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said. “There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.” Nine months later, Nixon forced the firing of the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate affair, Archibald Cox, and prompted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus. The next day, Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California and would later be president, told the White House that he approved.
DESPITE pleges to protect South Vietnam, former US president Richard Nixon privately vowed to "cut off the head" of its leader unless he backed peace with the communist North, tapes released today showed. The tapes appear to confirm charges by South Vietnam's late president, Nguyen Van Thieu, who tearfully accused the United States of breaking its word to protect Saigon when the southern capital fell in 1975. Listen to the tapes at the Nixon Library website.
Relatives of a number of the 29 people killed by the 1998 Real IRA (RIRA) bombing of the small Northern Irish town of Omagh have won a civil case against four men accused of being involved in the atrocity. Twelve relatives were awarded £1.6 million damages. Judge Declan Morgan, soon to be Northern Ireland’s Lord Chief Justice, ruled that Michael McEvitt, Liam Campbell, Colm Murphy and Seamus Daly were liable for the deaths. Action against another man, Seamus McKenna, was dropped. The verdict, however, provided no new insight into the decisive question regarding Omagh—what prior knowledge did the British and Irish governments and intelligence and police services have of the attack? The defendants in the civil case were sued in a personal capacity, while two of them, McEvitt and Campbell, were also sued as representatives of the RIRA.
Surrounded by barbwire fencing, the anonymous yet massive building on West Military Drive near San Antonio’s Loop 410 freeway looms mysteriously with no identifying signs of any kind. Surveillance is tight, with security cameras surrounding the under-construction building. Readers are advised not to take any photos unless you care to be detained for at least a 45-minute interrogation by the National Security Agency, as this reporter was. There’s a strangely blurry line during such an interrogation. After viewing the five photos I’d taken of the NSA’s new Texas Cryptology Center, the NSA officer asked if I would delete them. When I asked if he was ordering me to do so, he said no; he was asking as a personal favor. I declined and was eventually released. America’s top spy agency has taken over the former Sony microchip plant and is transforming it into a new data-mining headquarters — oddly positioned directly across the street from a 24-hour Walmart — where billions of electronic communications will be sifted in the agency’s mission to identify terrorist threats.
Democrats are on the verge of a fundamental shift in the regional balance of political power. If that old adage still holds true, then the nation may soon see a gradual backpedaling from the criminal justice policies that have led to wholesale incarceration in recent decades. Now, as California's politicians contemplate emergency cuts to deal with a $24 billion hole in the state budget, old certainties are crumbling. The state with the toughest three-strikes law in the land and a prison population of more than 150,000 is facing the real possibility of having to release tens of thousands of inmates early in order to pare its $10 billion annual correctional budget. At the same time, an increasing number of the state's political figures are challenging the basic tenets of the "war on drugs," the culprit most responsible for the spike in prison populations over the past thirty years; they argue that the country's harsh drug policies are not financially viable and no longer command majority support among the voting public.
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