Your job or your blog, er op-ed

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Newsweek’s Declassified blog had an item on December 3 about a top Congressional Research Service (CRS) official who was “fired from his job after publishing a newspaper op-ed criticizing the Obama administration’s recent decision about bringing Guantánamo detainees to trial.”

The blog post says in part:

“But another CRS official (who asked not to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity) confirms Davis’s firing and says it reflects persistent tensions between Mulhollan and some members of his staff over how far they can go in making public comments or publishing articles that might prove controversial with members of Congress. Another CRS researcher got into a similar dispute and was transferred to another job after publishing a newspaper op-ed criticizing congressional oversight of the Iraq War, the official notes.”

“The director has a paranoid fear that somebody somewhere is going to say something” that draws criticism from members of Congress, says the CRS official. “The director is very strict about us giving out our personal views or taking a position on issues.”

I have the links below on the items that reportedly got Morris Davis canned:

Here is Morris Davis’ November 10, 2009 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal: Justice and Guantanamo Bay.

Read his WaPo letter to the editor here on Michael Mukasey for publicly criticizing Holder for trying any detainees at all in federal court.

Neither piece mentions his association with the CRS. Read the rest of Top Congressional Researcher on Afghanistan Fired here.

If the director indeed has a healthy “paranoid fear that somebody somewhere is going to say something–” well, hey! don’t you think that’s a rather nice coincidence? Maybe he ought to have a powwow with the folks in Foggy Bottom responsible for the disappearance of Madam le Consul’s blog. Maybe they can share their “best practices” on transparency and without attracting too much media attention?

And if they’re smart – let’s say they are, they could sweep it all under the “matters of official concern” rug, so no insider would even dare blog or speak about it above that nice Madison rug. takbole Then everybody can sleep snug as a bug at night.

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Video of the Week: Cameron Sinclair: The refugees of boom-and-bust

At TEDGlobal U, Cameron Sinclair shows the unreported cost of real estate megaprojects gone bust: thousands of migrant construction laborers left stranded and penniless. To his fellow architects, he says there is only one ethical response.

After training as an architect, Cameron Sinclair (then age 24) joined Kate Stohr to found Architecture for Humanity, a nonprofit that helps architects apply their skills to humanitarian efforts. Starting with just $700 and a simple web site in 1999, AFH has grown into an international hub for humanitarian design, offering innovative solutions to housing problems in all corners of the globe. (Video duration: 3:06)

Whether rebuilding earthquake-ravaged Bam in Iran, designing a soccer field doubling as an HIV/AIDS clinic in Africa, housing refugees on the Afghan border, or helping Katrina victims rebuild, Architecture for Humanity works by Sinclair’s mantra: “Design like you give a damn.” (Sinclair and Stohr cowrote a book by the same name, released in 2006.)

A regular contributor to the sustainability blog, Sinclair is now working on the Open Architecture Network, born from the wish he made when he accepted the 2006 TED Prize: to build a global, open-source network where architects, governments and NGOs can share and implement design plans to house the world.

“Cameron Sinclair is doing his best to save the world, one emergency shelter and mobile AIDS clinic at a time.” Washington Post

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