VCS Weekly Update: Privacy, Torture and DIA Spying on Americans

October 24, 2005

Dear VCS Members and Supporters:

Veterans for Common Sense last week joined a coalition of privacy-focused organizations in opposition to a $349 million Pentagon database of 12 million Americans of recruitable-age. Much of the data in the database is compiled from commercial sources, such as data broker American Student List LLC. The database violates the Privacy Act in a number of areas.

To find out more about the database and the privacy coalition, follow these links:

Privacy Coalition Letter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Recruitment Tool Targeted: Privacy-Minded Coalition Seeks to Quash Pentagon Database

VCS Member Maura Stephens writes this week about torture and why so many in our society don’t see a problem with it. She asks, How can a “civilised society” tolerate the inhumane treatment endured by the people in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other American prisons?

Unfortunately, even as the electoral process moves forward in Iraq, violence continues to increase. A lengthy article in New York Times Magazine this weekend chronicled a tale of abuse, violence and lack of preparedness for insurgency warfare in Iraq and clearly demonstrates how our own policies in Iraq have made the insurgency much worse.

Last week the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence quietly approved a new provision which will exempt the Defense Intelligence Agency from the Freedom of Information Act and allow it to spy on Americans. Ken Sanders, author of the article linked below, points out that under this provision, none of the information which has been released under the ACLU-VCS FOIA lawsuit would have made it to the public.

Veterans for Common Sense On-line Store

Are you a graphic artist? Do you have a great idea for a bumper sticker or a t-shirt? VCS is seeking creating and interesting ideas! As many of you know, one of the ways VCS continues our work is through the sale of t-shirts, bumper stickers and other items. You can view our existing store (and order) here:

We’re looking for creative and interesting ideas for items to add to the store to make it more interesting, provocative and ultimately to better support our work. You can help! Send your ideas to

We’re a nonpartisan group, and we’re required by law to stay out of politcal races. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be provocative and interesting. If you’ve got interesting ideas for this, send your idea or design today! We’ll post your idea online, and may turn it into an item in our store.

On-Line Events Calendar

If you have an upcoming Veterans Day event, memorial service, or other event that may be of interest to other VCS members, please let us know. To post your event online today, visit:

Please Support Our Work

We also ask you to remember that each month, Veterans for Common Sense must pay a lot of bills, just like any other organization. The disasters in the Gulf States and elsewhere have meant that many nonprofit organizations are struggling to survive with far less in donations.

Consequently, we’re thousands of dollars below our expected budget over the last two months. We hope you can help, by making a gift to VCS today.

Find out how at:

As always, thanks for your support of Veterans for Common Sense.
With highest regards,

Charles Sheehan-Miles
Executive Director

Sustaining supporters of Veterans for Common Sense make small, monthly contributions to make our work possible. Please consider becoming a sustaining supporter — even small gifts make a big difference in our ability to succeed!


Veterans for Common Sense
1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

This entry was posted in Veterans for Common Sense News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.