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Still not looking


Sen. Pat Roberts' announcement last week that the Senate Intelligence Committee won't look into allegations of CIA involvement in and condoning of torture doesn't mean those issues are going away.[The Los Angeles Times][1] reports this morning: "Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee failed to agree Tuesday on whether to open a formal investigation into U.S. interrogation and detention practices. 'It was probably the least constructive meeting of the Intelligence Committee that I have ever been to,' West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the panel's top Democrat, said after a closed committee session. "All seven of the committee's Democratic members have requested a formal review of interrogation and detention practices by the U.S. intelligence apparatus. The Democrats also want to look into renditions' - a practice of transferring foreigners to other countries for detention and questioning. "Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said the panel had a 'frank and useful discussion on committee oversight responsibilities on a very important topic,' but said how the committee would proceed was an 'open question.'"For two years, the intelligence agencies and the military have been accused of mistreating prisoners, in some cases torturing or killing detainees during interrogation. ... In a speech last week, Roberts laid out his case against the need for a formal committee investigation, saying it could be handled within the normal course of oversight."Is Roberts motivated by politics? [The Hill][2] examines the question."The controversy threatens to become the biggest scandal of President Bush's second term, and Democrats say that Republicans don't want to probe the matter thoroughly because it could embarrass their party and the administration. Republicans retort that the CIA's inspector general is already examining the allegations of abuse and that Democrats are pushing for a redundant investigation for partisan political purposes."More to come...National Heritage AreaRoberts and Sen. Sam Brownback both testified Tuesday in favor of a bill that would designate much of eastern Kansas as a National Heritage Area commemorating the area's "Bleeding Kansas" history. There may be an obstacle, however, according to the [Associated Press:][3]"A National Park Service official, however, urged lawmakers to defer legislation authorizing any additional national heritage sites until Congress establishes a uniform system of guidelines for deciding what areas are nationally significant. "Janet Snyder Matthews, associate director for cultural resources at the National Park Service, told lawmakers the proposed area in Kansas is historically unique and meets the criteria for designation, but she said comprehensive legislation is needed before allowing more heritage area sites to be selected."Other links:Pat Roberts links [(Washington Times) Private fields could open:][4] To address diminishing hunting acreage and sporting opportunities for Americans, U.S. Sens. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, and Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, have introduced a new version of what is known as the "Open Fields" bill. If successful, the legislation will open millions of acres of private land and water to hunters and anglers while offering farmers, ranchers and foresters a chance to bring new income into their operations.Sam Brownback links [(Washington Post) Phone Company Chiefs Defend Proposed Mergers:][5] Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) released a statement in which he "strongly" supported the SBC-AT&T merger. "Mergers create a larger, stronger, more financially secure company," Brownback said. "This can foster innovations and improvements in prices and service. It will also create more jobs in the long term."[(Washington Times) Bushes, Clintons make strange bedfellows:][6] Last week, for example, Mrs. Clinton appeared at a press conference with conservative Republican Sens. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sam Brownback of Kansas to rail against the pervasive influence of electronic media on children. "This fits in with standing side by side with, of all people, Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback -- I mean, who would have thought that?" Mr. Galen said of the Bush-Clinton detente. "So I think this is a conscious effort."[(Asia Times) Cambodian political road show:][7] Tension moved up several notches on February 3 when the Cambodian National Assembly voted to remove the parliamentary immunity of opposition politician Sam Rainsy and two other members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) so the courts could charge them with defamation. ... Rainsy scored on February 17, when long-time Hun Sen critic, US Senator Mitch McConnell, and Senator Sam Brownback tabled Resolution 65 at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling on the Cambodian National Assembly to reverse its decision to strip the three SRP members' parliamentary immunity. [(The Hill) GOP bill to save life of Schiavo:][8] Republican leaders in the Senate are preparing to move legislation this week if necessary to give federal courts jurisdiction over the life of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman on life support whose feeding tubes are to be removed Friday at her husband's insistence. Several conservative Republicans have co-sponsored the Martinez bill. Among them are Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Santorum and Sam Brownback (Kan.). How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][9] [1]: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-intel16mar16,1,3905993.story?coll=la-headlines-nation [2]: http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/031605/intel.html [3]: http://www.ljworld.com/section/stateregional/story/199140 [4]: http://washingtontimes.com/sports/20050315-113856-5206r.htm [5]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38649-2005Mar15.html [6]: http://washingtontimes.com/national/20050315-100429-2541r.htm [7]: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/GC17Ae02.html [8]: http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/031605/schiavo.html [9]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed


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