FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
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September 3, 2014 9:19 PM

Under the Protected National Security Document Act, enacted by the Obama administration in 2009 to cover the period September 2001 through January 2009, the United States Government has prohibited the release of photographs depicting 'enhanced interrogation techniques' - Torture - administered on enemy combatants taken into custody abroad by the U.S. military and/or its allied forces.
Barack Obama

This measure was taken when the Obama White House and its foreign policy implementation arm - State Department - lectures, advocates and even intimidates other countries to adopt accountability and transparency in their execution of domestic terrorism warfare often threatening to haul them before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Obama administration sponsored 2009 law ratified by the US Congress created a three-year (2009 to 2012) exemption from the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. Continue>>>
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December 14, 2012 9:49 AM

From KansasCity.com:

WASHINGTON -- Penn State University faculty member Jonathan H. Marks wants interrogation documents that the Pentagon insists on locking up.
 
The resulting struggle over sensitive information, now entering its seventh year, has become an unexpected master class in government secrecy for the Oxford-educated Marks. Hoping to shed light on harsh U.S. interrogation techniques, he has simultaneously undertaken a long and instructive legal journey.
 
[...]
 
The long fight for government documents has cast Marks, a 44-year-old associate professor of bioethics, humanities and law, into a wilderness only partially penetrated by the Freedom of Information Act. Others know similar terrain well. Federal information, it turns out, is not always free.
April 4, 2012 10:36 AM

From The National Security Archive:

The State Department today released a February 2006 internal memo from the Department's then-counselor opposing Justice Department authorization for "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the CIA. All copies of the memo (Document 1), which reflect strong internal disagreement within the George W. Bush administration over the constitutionality of such techniques, were thought to have been destroyed. But the State Department located a copy and declassified it in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive.

The author of the memo, Philip D. Zelikow, counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, described the context of the memo in congressional testimony on May 13, 2009, and in an article he had previously published on foreignpolicy.com site on April 21, 2009.

March 9, 2012 4:39 PM

Sunshine Week 2012 Events

Events around the country have been posted and we encourage you to not only add yours to the list, but also send photos, links, PDFs and other coverage. Federal, state and local lawmakers, as well as open government experts have contributed opinion columns on topics relevant to Sunshine Week. Editorial cartoons donated by the artists can be used by anyone for free in relation to their Sunshine Week coverage. Also posted is an infographic created by McClatchy-Tribune Graphics for anyone to use March 11-17.

Visit Sunshine Week for the rest.

Are you a 'Ray of Sunshine'?

The popular Sunshine Week Ray of Sunshine game is back with all-new questions for 2012. Take the quiz and wear the victory badge on your own site and Facebook page. You also can use the game button in your own pages with a link to the game to encourage others to test their open government knowledge.

Visit Sunshine Week for the rest.

Who is buying elections?

Welcome to a new era of exponentially more unlimited and undisclosed campaign spending. This is the first presidential election since game-changing rulings by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and a federal district court in SpeechNow.org v. FEC paved the way for a small group of elites to spend unprecedented sums — with little or no transparency — to influence voters. Since then, outside groups often called “super PACs” have proliferated, stimulating new ways for big donors to influence elections — often in secret.

Visit B.R. Hook for the rest.

Arkansas AG, journalists urge court to uphold FOI, reverse judge’s ruling

The state Supreme Court today granted requests from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and two journalists’ organizations to submit briefs in support of a challenge to a ruling that portions of Arkansas’ open government law are unconstitutional. McDaniel, the Arkansas Press Association and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argue in their briefs that a Sebastian County Circuit judge erred in the ruling he made in a lawsuit alleging the city of Fort Smith violated the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Visit Arkansas News for the rest.

Former Wisconsin supervisor honored for openness effort

A Wisconsin village president who resigned his county board seat rather than stay silent about an open records issue was one of several people honored Thursday by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. Hilbert Village President Ken Stenklyft was one of eight winners in six categories of the council's Openness Awards, or Opees. The winners were announced ahead of Sunshine Week, an annual national effort to draw attention to the public's right to know that begins Sunday.

Visit wisconsinrapidstribune.com for the rest.

Mayor unveils San Francisco open data cloud

Mayor Lee unveiled data.SFgov.org, a cloud-based open data site and the successor/replacement to DataSF.org. The city is adopting cloud services, “social citizen interfaces,” and APIs to power its new open data site, all in an effort to provide a more robust, technologically sound infrastructure that can drive innovation, access to information, engagement, and government efficiency.

Visit TechCrunch for the rest.

CIA claims that torture technique is an "intelligence method" exempted from FOIA

The CIA’s characterization of torture as an “intelligence method” is shameful, and at bottom it is simply another effort to prevent the public from learning the full scope of the torture program. We know from documents the government has already released that the CIA’s use of waterboarding violated even the minimal guidelines established by its legal memos. The Obama administration should fulfill its commitment to transparency and release these additional documents.

Visit ACLU Blog of Rights for the rest.

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