Saturday, April 23, 2005
The Dead From Nowhere.
Iraq: Tigris corpses still a mystery
Medical sources in the town of al-Madain have cast doubts that 60 bloated bodies recovered from a river in Iraq are those of civilians thought to have been taken hostage there last week.
On Thursday morning, Iraqi medical sources said the tally of bodies recovered from the Tigris had risen to 60.
Earlier, President Jalal Talabani said the discovery proved that armed Sunni fighters had seized up to 100 Shia last week in the town of al-Madain, 20km southeast of Baghdad.
But local officials said the bodies had been floating to the surface for weeks, and there was no way of telling where they came from.
Iraq was last week rocked by claims that fighters had seized as many as 100 Shia Muslims and were threatening to kill them unless all Shia left the area.
Shia leaders and government officials warned of a major sectarian standoff, only to see the claims evaporate when Iraqi security forces swept into the region over the weekend and found no hostages.
But Talabani said he knew where the bodies found in the Tigris came from.
"Terrorists committed crimes there. It is not true to say there were no hostages," he said.
But Dr Falah al-Parmani, head of the Suwayra health department, said families had identified just a few of the bodies, and it was impossible to tell where most were from.
"The extent of decomposition suggests all the slayings happened more than three weeks ago, while the crisis in al-Madain started less than one week ago," al-Parmani said.
"So there is no way to link the two incidents."
He said the entire region had seen a surge in hostage-takings in recent months, which could account for the bodies. Some of the abductions were sectarian in nature.
Cardinal Ratzinger handed Bush the presidency by tipping the Catholic vote.
Can American democracy survive their shared medieval vision?
By Sidney Blumenthal
- - President Bush treated his final visit with Pope John Paul II in Vatican City on June 4, 2004, as a campaign stop. After enduring a public rebuke from the pope about the Iraq war, Bush lobbied Vatican officials to help him win the election. "Not all the American bishops are with me," he complained, according to the National Catholic Reporter. He pleaded with the Vatican to pressure the bishops to step up their activism against abortion and gay marriage in the states during the campaign season.
About a week later, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to the U.S. bishops, pronouncing that those Catholics who were pro-choice on abortion were committing a "grave sin" and must be denied Communion. He pointedly mentioned "the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" -- an obvious reference to John Kerry, the Democratic candidate and a Roman Catholic. If such a Catholic politician sought Communion, Ratzinger wrote, priests must be ordered to "refuse to distribute it." Any Catholic who voted for this "Catholic politician," he continued, "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion." During the closing weeks of the campaign, a pastoral letter was read from pulpits in Catholic churches repeating the ominous suggestion of excommunication. Voting for the Democrat was nothing less than consorting with the forces of Satan, collaboration with "evil."
In 2004 Bush increased his margin of Catholic support by 6 points from the 2000 election, rising from 46 to 52 percent. Without this shift, Kerry would have had a popular majority of a million votes. Three states -- Ohio, Iowa and New Mexico -- moved into Bush's column on the votes of the Catholic "faithful." Even with his atmospherics of terrorism and Sept. 11, Bush required the benediction of the Holy See as his saving grace. The key to his kingdom was turned by Cardinal Ratzinger.
With the College of Cardinals' election of Ratzinger to the papacy, his political alliances with conservative politicians can be expected to deepen and broaden. Under Benedict XVI, the church will assume a consistent reactionary activism it has not had for two centuries. And the new pope's crusade against modernity has already joined forces with the right-wing culture war in the United States, prefigured by his interference in the 2004 election.
Europe is far less susceptible than the United States to the religious wars that Ratzinger will incite. Attendance at church is negligible; church teachings are widely ignored; and the younger generation is least observant of all. But in the United States, the Bush administration and the right wing of the Republican Party are trying to batter down the wall of separation between church and state. Through court appointments, they wish to enshrine doctrinal views on the family, women, gays, medicine, scientific research and privacy. The Republican attempt to abolish the two-centuries-old filibuster -- the so-called nuclear option -- is only one coming wrangle in the larger Kulturkampf.
WHAT A BLOODY JOKE THESE TWO HYPOCRITS ARE :
SAVE THE FETUS KILL THE CHILD
NEVER ABORTION BUT WAR IS OKAY DONT MIND HOW MANY YOU KILL THERE
HE APPROVES AN EXECUTIONER
AND DISSAPPROVES OF A WAR HERO, WHO BOUGHT THE AMERICAN VETERANS HOME FROM VIETNAM MUCH EARLIER WITH HIS 1971 WINTER SPEECH TO THE SENATE
THE WORLD GONE MAD
152 EXECUTIONS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
I WONDER HOW MANY COULD HAVE BEEN INNOCENT: TO BAD TO LATE NOW
Although he said he was anguished by the decision, in an interview in Talk magazine, writer Tucker Carlson described Bush mimicking the woman's final plea for her life. "'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'" - Time Magazine
I think it is nothing short of unbelievable that the governor of a major state running for president thought it was acceptable to mock a woman he decided to put to death." - Republican Candidate Gary Bauer
It must be said that George W. Bush is not responsible for the increased pace of executions, nor did he create Texas' arcane clemency procedures. But it cannot be denied that Bush has steadfastly opposed changing the clemency procedures in the face of stinging criticism by the courts.
This website is run by private citizens and is not affiliated in any way with any political campaign. It is meant solely to voice opposition against capital punishment, using George W. Bush and Texas as an example.
This is the reason the Church lost this Catholic: "HYPOCRACY"
SHEAR UNADULTERATED HYPOCRACY\
Flashback: A Rare Broadcast of John Kerry's 1971 Speech Against the Vietnam War Before the Senate:
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered;
the point is to discover them.
Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
In the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft, soldiers treated at the Air Force Theater Hospital at Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, await evacuation to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. This photograph was taken on Nov. 13, 2004, during a mortar attack on the base. The red lights indicate ''contingency situations.''
WE LAY THESE DEATHS SIDE BY SIDE:
In 2004 the US-based scientist Dr Les Roberts led a survey into deaths caused by the invasion of Iraq. His results showed that approximately 100,000 Iraqis had been killed after the invasion. He spoke to Joseph Choonara about his survey
Your research on mortality in Iraq, published in the prestigious Lancet journal, made headlines across the globe last November. What motivated you to conduct the survey?
This is about the ninth “hot war” I’ve worked in. In most wars people are killed more by disease and disruption than by bullets and bombs. But when I read the newspaper reports on the war, all I heard about were the bullets and bombs. I didn’t think the reports were describing the suffering of the Iraqis very well.
I thought it would serve the interests of Iraqis if I described what they were really dying of. So, if we found they were dying of diarrhoea we could do something about that.
If they were dying at home in childbirth because they were too scared to go to hospital, we could do something about that. Much to our surprise we found that these things weren’t what they were dying of. Most were dying violent deaths.
Tommy Franks from US Central Command told the press that the US army “don’t do body counts”, despite the duty of care the Geneva Convention imposes on occupying forces. You showed it is possible to make mortality estimates.
Absolutely. I was smuggled across the border into Iraq. I went with just a suitcase and $20,000 in my pocket. All it took was six Iraqis brave enough to do the survey.
During a war things are messy and the Geneva Convention imposes very few constraints. But during an occupation things are quite different.
As I understand it there are obligations for the occupying forces that are similar to the obligations of a police officer on the streets here towards the local population - to arrest them if they step out of line, but to protect them the rest of the time.
Most of the people killed by the coalition were women and children, which implies the use of a lot of force, and perhaps too much.
As far as I’m concerned the exact number of dead is not so important. It is many tens of thousands. Whether it’s 80,000 or 140,000 dead, it’s just not acceptable.
What methods did your survey use?
What we did is not really that complicated. First we went to the ministry of health and asked them how many people were in each city and each village on 1 January 2003.
Then we randomly picked 33 neighbourhoods to visit. In each of these neighbourhoods we randomly picked a house and visited the 30 houses nearest to it.
Some of the mathematical detail may be complex, but the basic idea was to find almost 1,000 households representing the whole of Iraq.
How would you summarise your main findings?
The bottom line is that by any measure the death rate after the invasion was far higher than the death rate before.
Most of the deaths were violent and most of those deaths were caused by the coalition forces. There is little doubt that these “excess deaths” are as a result of the invasion and not some new flu epidemic or something else. >>> continued
by : Joseph ChoonaraThursday 21st April 2005
Words the White House don't want you to use.
Mouthing the GOP's Words
President Bush and his allies are probably going to lose his fight to privatize Social Security. But in the course of losing they have won an astonishing victory: They have established the precedent that a political party can unilaterally force the news media to change its terminology essentially. Push them hard enough, and the media will render verboten any previously agreed-upon phrase, no matter how widely accepted.
Up until very recently, the notion of allowing workers to divert their Social Security taxes into individual savings accounts was universally known as "privatization." Its most fervent advocates called it that. (The Cato Institute, one of the earliest champions of privatization, established a "Project on Social Security Privatization" in 1995.) Bush himself used the term. So did Karl Rove.
Late last year, though, Republican polls found that the public reacted far more favorably to "personal" accounts than to "private" accounts. So, overnight, they banished talk of "privatization" and "private accounts," accusing any journalist who dared use the phrase that they themselves had used mere weeks before of insidious bias. When a reporter asked about "privatization" earlier this year, Bush scolded: "You mean the personal savings accounts? We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions." A reporter told PR Week magazine that the White House staff informed him that if he wrote "privatization," "you have signaled you're against the White House."
Under this sustained barrage, the media have slowly retreated. In the first stage, news reports began alternating the two terms. (NBC's Tim Russert went a step further, adopting his own phrase, "private personal accounts.") This exquisite show of evenhandedness ignored the fact that one phrase was commonly used by both sides for years on end, while the other had been cooked up weeks before by a partisan pollster.
In the weeks that have passed, "personal" seems to be overtaking "private," like untreated weeds creeping over a garden. Politicians who dare use "oldspeak" risk censure, not just from Republicans but from the media themselves.
When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked what she called Bush's "misleading privatization plan," a Washington Post news story immediately noted that "Bush has never advocated privatizing the entire program." This is the formulation that newspapers use when they want to alert readers that a politician is lying.
Aside from showing the degree to which reporters have internalized the GOP's admonishments, the rebuke was remarkable for two reasons. First, Pelosi never said that Bush advocated privatizing the entire Social Security program, only that he supported "privatization." Second, as a matter of fact, Bush has advocated privatizing the entire program. In 2000, he said, "It's going to take a while to transition to a system where personal savings accounts are the predominant part of the investment vehicle…. This is a step toward a completely different world, and an important step."
The problem here isn't that the phrase "personal accounts" is any less accurate than "private accounts." It's that the media have abandoned a long-standing and perfectly accurate phrase for entirely partisan reasons.
There's no reason why this would stop with Social Security. From now on, why shouldn't both parties lobby the media to replace any inconvenient words with poll-tested equivalents? For years, Democrats have used euphemisms of their own, like "revenue enhancer" instead of "tax hike," or "investment" instead of "spending program." Yet it's never occurred to them to browbeat the media into adopting their lingo. But why not? After all, those terms are accurate. Tax hikes do enhance revenues, and many spending programs are investments. Democrats have every incentive to denounce terms like "taxes" and "spending" as biased, and to demand that the media give their preferred terms equal billing.
You could see political discourse diverging into two separate paths, one conducted in Democratic English and the other in Republican English. Alternatively, the media could decide that they're not going to change their language just because one party took a poll.
ABC yanks, replaces story
In which GOP Rep. suggests Clinton impeachment bid linked to Nixon's fall
ABC News in Chicago has yanked and replaced a story in which retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) indicated that the attempt to impeach President Clinton came in retaliation for the move to impeach President Nixon because they felt the story was too opinionated, RAW STORY has learned.
The piece was removed from the ABC Chicago affiliate's (WLS) website Friday because the network felt it had too much commentary by the author, a staffer says. The affiliate also took down a video which included comments from Hyde.
“It was much more commentary than was necessary," a source inside ABC 7 Chicago told RAW STORY Friday morning.
Asked if the story was removed because the piece was editorialized, the staffer said "yes."
The staffer said ABC News is currently "researching" the details of the story, and expected to repost it when the article has been revised.>>>>>continued
Friday, April 22, 2005
Fri Apr 22, 7:44 PM ET
By ROBERT BURNS,
AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON - The Army has cleared four top officers — including the three-star general who commanded all U.S. forces in Iraq — of all allegations of wrongdoing in connection with prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and will not be punished, officials said Friday.
. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who became the senior commander in Iraq in June 2003, two months after the fall of Baghdad, had been faulted in earlier investigations for leadership lapses that may have contributed to prisoner abuse. He is the highest ranking officer to face official allegations of leadership failures in Iraq, but he has not been accused of criminal violations.
After assessing the allegations against Sanchez and taking sworn statements from 37 people involved in Iraq, the Army's inspector general, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Green, concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated, said the officials who were familiar with the details of Green's probe.
Green reached the same conclusion in the cases of two generals and a colonel who worked for Sanchez
The officials who disclosed the findings spoke only on condition of anonymity because Congress has not yet been fully briefed on Green's findings and the information has not yet been publicly released. Green had scrutinized the actions of Sanchez and 11 other officers.
Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib were physically abused and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence soldiers in the fall of 2003. Photos of some of the abuse created a firestorm of criticism worldwide.
Congress has hotly debated the question of accountability among senior Army and Defense Department officials who were in positions of responsibility on Iraq detention and interrogation policy. Some Democrats have accused the Pentagon of foisting all the blame onto low-ranking soldiers.
In a statement Friday that did not mention specific cases, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., said that as soon as all Pentagon assessments of accountability are complete he will hold a hearing "to examine the adequacy of those reviews" and to hear senior civilian and military officials address the issue.
Warner said he strongly agrees with one investigation report that concluded last year that commanders should be held accountable for their action or inaction and that military as well as civilian leaders in the Pentagon "share this burden of responsibility." >>continued">>>>continued
Well what do you know guys.
No one is guilty just those low ranking officers, are the only ones to get jail time .
Well what is new we have come to expect that Have we not
The President and administration that never does anything wrong
Has engaged in some ‘undiplomatic’ behavior.
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Updated: 7:25 p.m. ET April 20, 2005
April 20 - President George W. Bush’s former ambassador to South Korea has contacted the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to report two confrontations he had with United Nations Ambassador-designate John Bolton, NEWSWEEK has learned. And Senate investigators are raising more questions about how Bolton and his staff handled sensitive intelligence matters while serving as under-secretary of state for arms control and international security.
The new issues surfaced as Bolton’s controversial nomination is running into increasing trouble. In a surprise development on Tuesday, Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio—who had been expected to vote for Bolton—told his colleagues that he needed more time to review Bolton’s record, forcing the foreign relations committee to delay what had been expected to be a party-line vote to approve the nominee. Republicans Chuck Hagel and Lincoln Chafee also raised red flags about Bolton.
Dahr Jamail didn’t like the news,
So he went out and reported it himself
By Barry Bergman,\
Public Affairs 21 April 2005
Only 24 months ago Dahr Jamail, a mild-mannered Houston native, was living the good life in Alaska, indulging his love of mountain climbing and supporting himself as a Denali guide and sometime freelance writer. In November 2003, fed up with mainstream coverage of a series of major news events — beginning with the 9/11 attacks and continuing on through the U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq — Jamail made a somewhat unorthodox career move.
He became a war correspondent.
“I definitely was scared, and I definitely knew it was a big risk and kind of a crazy thing to do,” he admits, recalling his decision to experience firsthand the chaotic violence of post-Saddam Iraq. He remembers watching the Bush administration’s “selling of the Iraq war” through America’s news media, whose portrayal seemed dramatically at odds with what he was seeing and hearing from independent and foreign sources.
“I figured, well, media control is how they’re doing it,” he explains, “so I’ll just go over there and try to report on it myself.
Jamail has now made four trips to Iraq, spending a total of eight months as that rarest of creatures, an independent American reporter in a country so dangerous that most unembedded journalists seldom leave their hotels. Traveling only with a translator, filing dispatches online and through alternative media outlets like The Nation and Pacifica radio, Jamail has emerged as a leading, albeit little-known, chronicler of war’s impacts on Iraqi civilians.
Speaking to a packed classroom in Etcheverry Hall last week, Jamail left little doubt those impacts have been devastating.
- This videos should only be viewed by a mature audience
This is what you gave us Mr Bush, ahhhh but then this is not you son is it
By Chris Floyd
04/22/05 "Moscow Times" - - With fresh indictments last week, the UN oil-for-food scandal took an unexpected turn into the Labyrinth -- the tangled skein of war profiteering and state terrorism that has seen the Bush Family's lust for blood money emerge in three of the darkest criminal episodes in modern American history: Iran-Contra, Iraqgate and the BCCI affair.
Texas oil baron David Chalmers of Bayoil and his partners were hit with criminal charges for allegedly cutting deals with Saddam Hussein in the notorious skim operation that outflanked UN sanctions and diverted funds intended for humanitarian relief. Prosecutors were shocked -- shocked! -- to find such collusion and corruption in the oil business.
Of course, the fact that three U.S. presidents -- the two George Bushes and their new best pal, Bill Clinton -- actually brokered massive backroom oil deals for Saddam that dwarfed Bayoil's petty chiseling, plus the fact that Saddam's nation-strangling thievery has since been eclipsed by the epic rapine of Bush II's Babylonian Conquest, in no way mitigates the seriousness of the Chalmers indictment. But somehow we doubt you'll be seeing those august statesmen sharing leg irons with old Davy anytime soon.
Chalmers is a longtime denizen of the Labyrinth. In the mid-1980s, he joined up with Chilean gun-runner Carlos Cardoen, the Financial Times reported. Cardoen was a CIA frontman used by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush I to funnel cluster bombs and other weapons secretly to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War. At Reagan's direct order, Saddam received U.S. military intelligence, billions of dollars in credits and a steady supply of covert "third-country" arms to sustain his war effort, even though the White House was fully aware of Saddam's "almost daily use" of illegal chemical weapons, The Washington Post reported. Later, Bush I, as president, would also mandate the sale of WMD material to Saddam, including anthrax -- long after Saddam notoriously "gassed his own people" at Halabja.
As in the present UN scandal, Saddam paid for his covert cluster bombs with oil. Chalmers would move the actual black stuff and broker its sale for the CIA and Cardoen, taking a cut in the process. Since 1999, Chalmers has been doing the same thing on behalf of Italtech, owned by another crony in the old Cardoen gun-running scheme. The Texas baron must be aghast to find himself in hot water for an activity that was once blessed at the highest levels. Perhaps he neglected to cross the requisite Bushist palms with sufficient silver -- or else, as with many a Bush minion, he's just been tossed overboard as chum for the sharks when he's no longer of any use.
But let's be fair. Helping Saddam kill people with chemical gas was not the only reason why Reagan and Bush I aided their favorite dictator. They had bigger fish to fry -- using the Constitution as kindling for the feast.
In 1986, George Bush I visited the Middle East with a secret message to be passed to Saddam via Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: "Drop more bombs on Iran's cities." How do we know this? From the sworn testimony of Howard Teicher, the National Security Council official who accompanied Bush and wrote the official "talking points" for the trip. Ostensibly, Bush urged this mass killing of civilians as a strategy to halt Iran's gains at the front. But as The New Yorker reported -- 13 years ago -- there was another layer to this covert plot.
A fierce aerial offensive by Saddam would force Iran to seek more spare parts for its U.S.-made planes and anti-aircraft weapons, inherited from the ousted Shah. Bush was already waist-deep in the Iran-Contra scam, which involved selling Tehran U.S. military goods through back channels, then funneling the secret profits to the Contras, the gang of right-wing insurgents and CIA-trained terrorists in Nicaragua. Congress had forbidden U.S. aid to the Contras, so Reagan and Bush used the mullahs (and Central American drug lords) to run their illegal terrorist war. More innocent deaths in Iran meant more backdoor cash for the Contras. A win-win situation!
When Bush I became president, he clasped Saddam even closer, sending him billions in U.S.-backed "agricultural credits" through BNL, an Italian bank tied up with BCCI -- the international "financial consortium" that was actually "one of the largest criminal enterprises in history," according to the U.S. Senate. BCCI laundered money and financed arms dealing, terrorism, smuggling and prostitution, while corrupting government officials worldwide with bribes and extortion.
As Bush well knew, Saddam was using the BNL cash for arms, not food; indeed, that was the point of the exercise. When some honest U.S. officials threatened to unravel the BNL gun-running scam, Bush appointed Cardoen's own lawyer to a top Justice Department post -- overseeing the investigation of his former boss. Under heavy White House pressure, the case was quickly whittled down to the usual "bad apple" underlings carrying out some minor fraud.
But perhaps Papa Bush was just being fatherly. Earlier, another BCCI offshoot bank had bailed out one of Bush Junior's many business failures with $25 million in cash. That deal had been brokered by mysterious Arkansas tycoon Jackson Stephens, one of the Bush family's biggest campaign contributors. Curiously enough, Stephens was also a top moneyman for another leading politician: Bill Clinton. When Clinton took office, he obligingly deep-sixed the continuing probes into BCCI, Iraqgate and Iran-Contra.
That's how the system really works. All the guff about law, democracy and morality is just cornball for the yokels back home -- and for the cannon fodder sent off to die in the elite's commercial and dynastic wars. The Labyrinth -- that knotted gut of blood and bile -- has poisoned us all.
My Own Words.
An Open Letter To Republicans,
When you speak of things, such as the 'Culture of Life'.. I think about the 5 children I was gutted 5 times for. I think of the war that will be thiers to fight, and soon.
When you say culture of life...I imediately see the Iraqi dead, too numerous to count. I see our wounded soldiers in my mind coming home ONLY in the dead of night. When they come home alive,that is.
You can move congress in the middle of night for one woman on a feeding tube, yet our soldiers are still even now digging through the trash to try to hold off the traps of death they face daily. Where was congress when she was starving herself to death? Where are they now?...Oh yeah a fundraiser.
You say Culture of Life. Yet, death is all around us. Death like a river. Death like an ocean. And it will only grow wider.
You say No Child Left Behind...and then leave them all behind in your greed for power. You use the very name of the program as cover for military recruiters to have unlimited access to our children. No child left behind is no child can be afforded.
There is TRILLIONS of dollars missing. You say who took it?..I say who was authorized to touch it in the first place?
You say Support Our Troops then pull the money to heal thier shattered bodies. You have made thier deaths more profitable than thier wounds. You hide the dead from us, like we are children who cannot know the full measure of it.
You hide death from us, like it is a prize to covet.
You have lost your way. I beg you now to change your heart.
You speak of Gods will and announce yourself as His messenger. You use people of faith to repell questions of Ethics and LAW. You are useing the law as a stepping stone to dismantle any opposition. Any law that stands in the way is simply broken. With no consequence.
You have given a body of Government the right to SUSPEND the Constitution of the United States of America. Suspend ALL law. Homeland Security can dissolve the very mother that birthed it. Or should I say monster..? You say any dissent makes an American unpatriotic.
I say dissent is what made us Americans.
You have gone mad with power and PEOPLE ARE DYING FOR IT. Even good men have fallen silent and we are lied too, on a daily basis, by 'news personalities' who make tens of millions of dollars a year to tell us thier opinion.
The FBI has INVOKED 'privacy rights' for Osama Bin Laden. There are those among you whom have BETRAYED US ALL. They bought insurance increases on the World Trade Center less than 90 days before they were attacked. What ARE the missle defenses on top of the White House and Pentagon for if NOT to repell attacking aircraft?
Truth was the first to die that day.
You say we are keeping him in hiding...I say...IS THAT TRUE?
I was once one of you. But because I choose ONLY life, I could no longer choose your path. You say Culture of Life...
I say, I want our children to live. All of them.
I truely hope you change your own hearts and minds soon. The dying will not end until it is stopped by heros.
I know in my heart there are still heros among you. Please send them out. Innocents who can not fight for themselves need you now. We all do.
Our soldiers are waiting to come home. Be THIER hero.
And the next time you utter the words Culture of Life, I truely hope you mean it.
The girl's teacher videotaped her class that day as a self-improvement exercise. An attorney calls the arrest "absurd" and "excessive."
ST. PETERSBURG - Videotape was rolling March 14 when the 5-year-old girl swung again and again, her bantam punches landing on the outstretched palms of Nicole Dibenedetto, the new assistant principal at Fairmount Park Elementary.
She tore papers off Dibenedetto's bulletin board and desk. She climbed on a table four times. About an hour had passed since she refused to participate in a kindergarten math lesson, which escalated into a series of defiant and destructive acts.
Dibenedetto had used tactics from a Pinellas school district training called Crisis Prevention Intervention:
Let the child know her actions have consequences but also try to "de-escalate."
Give her opportunities to end the conflict.
Try not to touch her, defend yourself and make sure no one else gets hurt.
As St. Petersburg police officers arrived shortly after 3 p.m., the girl suddenly sat quietly at Dibenedetto's table. And, just as suddenly, the tactics used by educators gave way to the more direct approach of law enforcement.
An officer sternly said the girl's name. Then: "You need to calm down. You need to do it now. OK?"
Seconds later, three officers approached and placed their hands on the girl's wrists and upper arms. They stood her up, put her arms behind her back and put on handcuffs. She bent over the table and let out a terrified scream.
"No. Nooooo. Ahhhhh."
The tape ends there.
---Handcuffing 5 year olds. What a total bunch of BULLSHIT.---
Says retiring congressman
By Andy ShawApril 21, 2005 — Republican Congressman Henry Hyde made some surprising comments Thursday on the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton. He now says Republicans may have gone after Clinton to retaliate for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Hyde is stepping down after this term. >>continued">>>>continued
April 22, 2005 - 10:21AM
Iraq is descending into more indiscriminate violence after a period of relative calm, according to a Australian private security contractor working in the country.
He was commenting on the latest deadly outbursts in Iraq that has claimed scores of victims, including an Australian security contractor, among three foreigners killed in a roadside ambush on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old NSW man was shot along with two other foreign nationals, believed to be an American and a Canadian, while travelling in a convoy on the main road near Baghdad International Airport.
Reuters have named the man as Chris Ahmelman.
The attack came ahead of a missile strike on a civilian Bulgarian helicopter, in which at least nine people died and the discovery of 60 bodies of possibly Shi'ite hostages in the Tigris River.
Another Australian contractor working in Iraq for security company AKE Asia Pacific said today the tempo of violence was on the rise again.
"It appears that it's now picking up again ... it's quite dangerous here," the contractor, identified only as Rodge, told ABC radio.
You certainly wouldn't want to be on the ground without some kind of protection," he said.
"I would say that things are becoming more unstable here on the ground and every day you can just see people are a little more scared.
"There's a lot of things that are going on behind the scenes that people don't really have a lot of knowledge about.">>continued">>>>continued
Friday April 22, 2005 5:01 AM
By P. SOLOMON BANDA
Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) - A lawyer for three activists removed from one of President Bush's town hall events said Thursday that the Secret Service has opened a criminal probe into whether the man who escorted them from the hall was impersonating an agent.
The man was dressed in a dark suit and wore an earpiece when he escorted the three from the March 21 event. The Secret Service has said it has determined the man was not one of its agents, but a staff member with the host committee.
An agent from Washington, D.C., contacted attorney Dan Recht and asked if his clients - Alex Young, Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise - could be interviewed this week, Recht said.
The lawyer said he declined the request unless the ``mystery'' man's name and organization were released.
Jonathan Cherry, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman for the Secret Service, said he could not comment on the case.
The White House has said the man was a volunteer who probably feared the three might have disrupted Bush's event. Bauer, Young and Weise acknowledge they wore T-shirts under their clothing that read, ``Stop the Lies,'' but did not plan to reveal them.
The three belong to an activist organization called Denver Progressives. The day after being escorted out of the event, they say they were told by the Secret Service they were singled out because a bumper sticker on their car said ``No More Blood for Oil.''
The man who escorted the three out did not identify himself, but he threatened Bauer and Weise with arrest if they ``did anything'' and told them they had to leave because it was a private event, the women said. The three had tickets to the event.
Members of Colorado's congressional delegation from both parties have raised concerns about the case.
but Powell Warns of Volatility
By DOUGLAS JEHL
Published: April 22, 2005
WASHINGTON, April 21 - President Bush on Thursday issued a strong new defense of John R. Bolton, his nominee as ambassador to the United Nations. But associates of Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, said he had expressed reservations about Mr. Bolton in conversations with at least two wavering Republican senators.
The associates said Mr. Powell, in private telephone conversations, had made clear his concerns about Mr. Bolton on several fronts, including his harsh treatment of subordinates.
The associates said Mr. Powell had also praised Mr. Bolton's performance on some matters during his tenure as under secretary of state, but they said Mr. Powell had stopped well short of the endorsements offered by Mr. Bush and by Mr. Powell's own successor, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The accounts of Mr. Powell's private messages about Mr. Bolton suggested a new gulf between the former secretary of state and Mr. Bush. In a speech in Washington on Thursday, Mr. Bush portrayed Democratic opposition to Mr. Bolton as politically driven, and urged the Senate to confirm the nomination.>>continued">>>>continued
Mr. Bush's comment and others by a White House spokesman suggested that the administration was determined to defend Mr. Bolton's nomination, despite crumbling support among Senate Republicans that has left the nomination in peril.
In his speech on Thursday, to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Mr. Bush brought up the subject quickly, saying, "I welcome you to the nation's capital, where sometimes politics gets in the way of doing the people's business."
If they can disable an election, what's coming next?
By ROBERT C. KOEHLER
Tribune Media Services
“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.” — Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
What if it could happen here?
This is the disquieting question I hesitate to ask because, once asked, it pretty much changes everything. The answer roars in behind it, as obvious as a Florida hurricane, an Ohio twister, ripping up the complacent heart. What if it could? What if it did? I think of my daughter, quickly, guiltily, and the country she’d inherit. I can no longer stay on the sidelines. No breath comes easily afterward.
It’s what I would call the spirit of Nashville, where a national conference was held in early April on the issue of vote fraud and election reform — a conference of expert testimony on dirty tricks, uncounted ballots, needlessly long lines, weird numbers and evidence of electronic vote tampering, adding up to a crime against democracy.
As angry as I’ve ever been with the direction of any given administration’s foreign or domestic policy, I never doubted the bedrock premise that the country itself was sound and free, and that political activity — speaking up, attempting to sway public opinion — always had the chance of reversing that policy. I never doubted, even after moving to Chicago in the mid-’70s, with the old Daley Machine (“vote early and vote often”) still huffing and wheezing, that elections mattered and could alter the balance of power. I never felt disenfranchised. Now that certainty is gone, replaced by dread.
I do know that I’m not alone. The column I wrote about the conference last week hit a nerve, generating more e-mail and more hits to my formerly obscure Web site, commonwonders.com, than anything else I’ve ever written, by several powers of 10. It was not “sore loser” stuff. John Kerry, indeed, was hardly a candidate to inspire that kind of loyalty. I heard from readers who saw irregularities firsthand last Nov. 2 that churned their stomachs:
“I live near Toledo, Ohio and worked 12 hours on Election Day driving people to the polls, mostly in the inner city,” one woman wrote. “I saw up close what was happening — the long lines, the aggressive Republican challengers, the broken machines. I personally live in an upscale, predominantly Republican suburb of Toledo and people sailed through the lines at my voting place. The difference in voting conditions vs. in poorer areas couldn’t have been more glaring.”
There was a malice afoot that day directed at our electoral process that cannot be explained away as mere flaws in a basically sound system, as Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell attempted to do, shrugging off his critics with the glib observation that “There’s no such thing as an error-free election.”
No, no, we can’t let copouts and smug catchphrases stand as answers to the serious questions the nation must ask. What happened on Nov. 2 were not “errors,” honest or otherwise, to be tolerated as harmlessly inevitable. Nor were they random. Nor did they occur “on both sides.”
There were, on that day, a “dizzying list of electoral problems that might make some wonder how any ballots were counted in November.” So the Washington Post reported the other day, as part of the coverage of the opening session of the Commission on Federal Election Reform hearings.
Well, gosh. Think of that. This is not page 17 news, though that’s where the Post buried it, in its unfathomable news judgment. But at least the story is seeping out. This requires national outrage, an unstinting demand that the details of fraud and disenfranchisement be outed, the perpetrators punished and, most important of all, future elections secured from a repeat. It’s democracy’s Abu Ghraib.
I fear that a force is loose in the land that will stop at nothing to impose its agenda on the nation. We already have a permanent state of war and the USA Patriot Act. Now the Senate Republicans are attempting to implement the “nuclear option” and eliminate the filibuster — what William Rivers Pitt calls “the last lingering firebreak” separating church from state — so that 12 far right nominees to the federal judiciary (a mere 5 percent of the Bush administration’s total) can be confirmed over Democratic objection.
“. . . right now they believe they have the power to get anything they want,” writes Pitt, referring to the “theocracy” wing of the GOP. In the context of a disabled electoral process, this is truly chilling. Could it happen here?
With God on your side, who needs democracy?
Will someone please tell the media?
By ROBERT C. KOEHLER
Tribune Media Services
As they slowly hack democracy to death, we’re as alone — we citizens — as we’ve ever been, protected only by the dust-covered clichés of the nation’s founding: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
It’s time to blow off the dust and start paying the price. The media are not on our side. The politicians are not on our side.It’s just us, connecting the dots, fitting the fragments together, crunching the numbers, wanting to know why there were so many irregularities in the last election and why these glitches and dirty tricks and wacko numbers had not just an anti-Kerry but a racist tinge. This is not about partisan politics. It’s more like: “Oh no, this can’t be true.”
I just got back from what was officially called the National Election Reform Conference, in Nashville, Tenn., an extraordinary pulling together of disparate voting-rights activists — 30 states were represented, 15 red and 15 blue — sponsored by a Nashville group called Gathering To Save Our Democracy. It had the feel of 1775: citizen patriots taking matters into their own hands to reclaim the republic. This was the level of its urgency.
Was the election of 2004 stolen? Thus is the question framed by those who don’t want to know the answer. Anyone who says yes is immediately a conspiracy nut, and the listener’s eyeballs roll. So let’s not ask that question.
Let’s simply ask why the lines were so long and the voting machines so few in Columbus and Cleveland and inner-city and college precincts across the country, especially in the swing states, causing an estimated one-third of the voters in these precincts to drop out of line without casting a ballot; why so many otherwise Democratic ballots, thousands and thousands in Ohio alone, but by no means only in Ohio, recorded no vote for president (as though people with no opinion on the presidential race waited in line for three or six or eight hours out of a fervor to have their say in the race for county commissioner); and why virtually every voter complaint about electronic voting machine malfunction indicated an unauthorized vote switch from Kerry to Bush.
This, mind you, is just for starters. We might also ask why so many Ph.D.-level mathematicians and computer programmers and other numbers-savvy scientists are saying that the numbers don’t make sense (see, for instance, www.northnet.org/minstrel, the Web site of Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, lead statistician in the Moss v. Bush lawsuit challenging the Ohio election results). Indeed, the movement to investigate the 2004 election is led by such people, because the numbers are screaming at them that something is wrong.
And we might, no, we must, ask — with more seriousness than the media have asked — about those exit polls, which in years past were extraordinarily accurate but last November went haywire, predicting Kerry by roughly the margin by which he ultimately lost to Bush. This swing is out of the realm of random chance, forcing chagrined pollsters to hypothesize a “shy Republican” factor as the explanation; and the media have bought this evidence-free absurdity because it spares them the need to think about the F-word: fraud.
And the numbers are still haywire. A few days ago, Terry Neal wrote in the Washington Post about Bush’s inexplicably low approval rating in the latest Gallup poll, 45 percent, vs. a 49 percent disapproval rating. This is, by a huge margin, the worst rating at this point in a president’s second term ever recorded by Gallup, dating back to Truman.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” asks exit polling expert Jonathan Simon, who pointed these latest numbers out to me. Bush mustered low approval ratings immediately before the election, surged on Election Day, then saw his ratings plunge immediately afterward. Yet Big Media has no curiosity about this anomaly.
Simon, who spoke at the Nashville conference — one of dozens of speakers to give highly detailed testimony on evidence of fraud and dirty tricks from sea to shining sea — said, “When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death.”
In contrast to the deathly silence of the media is the silent scream of the numbers. The more you ponder these numbers, and all the accompanying data, the louder that scream grows. Did the people’s choice get thwarted? Were thousands disenfranchised by chaos in the precincts, spurious challenges and uncounted provisional ballots? Were millions disenfranchised by electronic voting fraud on insecure, easily hacked computers? And who is authorized to act if this is so? Who is authorized to care?
No one, apparently, except average Americans, who want to be able to trust the voting process again, and who want their country back.
MASS SCHOOL CLOSING
A billion minutes ago, Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago, our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate Washington spends it.
And it's YOUR money.
10 Seattle schools targeted for closure
Parents gasp, heckle as draft plan is announced;
more than 3,500 students would be displaced
By DEBORAH BACH
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
Faced with multimillion-dollar budget deficits, Seattle Public Schools administrators yesterday outlined a cost-cutting plan that would close 10 schools, eliminate a popular alternative program and create two middle schools.
Under the sweeping restructuring proposal, more than 3,500 students would be displaced -- a sobering fact that outraged many parents last night.
The 46,000-student district would also return to a neighborhood school system and scale back an expensive, citywide busing program. District-contracted bus service would be eliminated for middle and high school students attending classes outside their neighborhood. Those students would instead be provided with Metro passes.
There was no public comment period during yesterday's School Board work session, but members of the standing-room-only crowd gasped, called out comments and heckled administrators as the proposed closures were announced.
By Cynthia Banham
Defence Reporter, and Reuters
April 22, 2005
A former member of the Australian Army working as a private security guard in Iraq was among three foreigners killed in a roadside attack in Baghdad.
He has been named as Chris Ahmelman, from Queensland. He served in the army from 1986 to 1996 and was later a reservist.
The three were killed by insurgent gunfire, their employer said yesterday. They were shot on the highway leading to Baghdad's airport yesterday, Edinburgh Risk and Security Management, a private British company, said in a statement.
The others were identified as James Hunt, from Kentucky, United States, and Stefan Surette, from Nova Scotia, Canada. A fourth contractor was wounded in the attack.
Insurgents using small arms attacked their convoy as it was travelling to the airport from Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, site of the Iraqi Government, US embassy and various contracting companies.
A leading insurgent group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, said it was behind the attack, according to an internet posting.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Liberal bias in media?...Then why no talk of the dead?
A common misconception some are led to believe is that the mainstream press has a liberal bias.
Those ascribing to the “liberal bias” myth believe the press will take any attempt to tarnish the President and other right-wingers credibility and reputations.
If this were so, surely they would’ve picked up on the suspicious suicides of people pointing fingers at our government leaders — Hunter S. Thompson, Gary Webb, Terrance Yeakey and Margie Schoedinger.
Ironically, all four lives ended before evidence could be presented calling out the political heads involved in corruption and scandals.
The night before Thompson’s death, he told his friend at the Toronto Globe he had been working on a book regarding the Sept. 11 attacks being a controlled demolition — strategically placed explosives.
He claimed “hard evidence” gathered proves the buildings were not brought down by planes and was afraid he might be “suicided.”
In our own state, former Oklahoma City Police Officer Terrance Yeakey was one of the first responders to the Murrah Building bombing on April 19, 1995.
He was working on presenting evidence to the public about the bombing being a government cover-up, but he was found dead in a field in El Reno.
The report claimed he slit both his wrist, stabbed himself in both sides of the jugular, then walked from his car a mile and a half and shot himself.
“The bullet entered the upper temple on the right side and exited below the upper jaw bone on the left side, meaning the gun would have been pointed in a downward angle - a most unlikely way for a person bent on suicide to hold a gun,” according to the Spotlight, an Internet news source.
One witness said the inside of Yeakey’s car looked like someone had slaughtered a pig.
Gary Webb, who died last December, was working on a book about the government cover-up of CIA drug smuggling in the 1980s. His findings will be highlighted in the film “American Drug War” by Alex Jones.
The clip he will use is from a special by MSNBC on the drug-smuggling featuring Webb. Following Webb’s mysterious death, no follow-up story has been made by MSNBC.
The only hole in the story noticeable on the surface was how Webb managed to shoot himself in the head twice.
Like Thompson and Yeakey, Webb’s friends and family saw no indication he was a man about to end his own life. In addition, none of them left suicide notes. In fact, Thompson, Yeakey and Webb were working on something monumental.
The most interesting death thus far is the alleged suicide Margie Shoedinger, the only woman who has accused President Bush of sexual assault.
After Shoedinger died on Sept. 22, 2003, the only news organizations to run this story were the one in her local town and the “New Nation” in London, a very small circulated paper. The story has gone virtually unnoticed, completely blacked out from the public eye.
One would assume if the media in this country hates Bush and Republicans so much, they would run more stories like these. But that is the lie being spread on television and radio — that a “liberal media” bias truly exists.
Isn’t it strange those deeply involved in the mainstream press, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, are saying there is a liberal bias?
Most importantly, we should be asking ourselves who controls the mainstream news and what exactly constitutes “news worthy.” Last week the news organizations couldn’t stop talking about Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson.
“They’re gonna make it look like suicide,” Thompson told his friend at the Toronto Globe. “I know how these bastards think.”
Brent Battle is an opinion columnist at The Daily O’Collegian. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by: Mark Fancey
Alligated on: 2005-03-21 11:16:29
Original URL: http://www.ocolly.com/new_ocollycom/show_story.php?a_id=25704
Farkesque Headline: Hunter S. Thompson, Gary Webb, Terrance Yeakey and Margie Schoedinger are names you should Google
Source: The Daily O'Collegian
Archaeologists say they have found the largest funerary complex yet dating from the earliest era of ancient Egypt, more than 5,000 years ago.
The necropolis was discovered by a joint US and Egyptian team in the Kom al-Ahmar region, around 600 km (370 miles) south of the capital, Cairo.
Inside the tombs, the archaeologists found a cow's head carved from flint and the remains of seven people.
They believe four of them were buried alive as human sacrifices.
Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, said the discovery would add greatly to knowledge of the elusive pre-dynastic period, when Egypt was first becoming a nation.
The complex is thought to belong to a ruler of the ancient city of Hierakonpolis in around 3600 BC, when it was the largest urban centre on the Nile river
The remains survived despite the fact that the tombs were plundered in ancient times.
2 Nov 03: US Chinook helicopter shot down near Falluja, killing 16
9 Nov 03: US Black Hawk helicopter comes down near Tikrit, killing six
15 Nov 03: Two Black Hawks collide while trying to avoid ground fire in Mosul, killing 17
8 Jan 04: Black Hawk shot down near Falluja, killing nine
26 Jan 05: US Super Stallion in bad weather near the Jordanian border, killing 31
30 Jan 05: RAF Hercules transport plane comes down near Baghdad, killing 10
A commercial helicopter has been shot down about 20km (12 miles) north of the Iraqi
Baghdad, killing all 11 people on board.
Those who died were six US security contractors, three Bulgarian crew members and two
US and Bulgarian officials said the Bulgarian-owned chopper was brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade.
It is believed to be the first time a civilian aircraft has been shot down over Iraq since the US-led invasion.
However, insurgents have shot down several US military helicopters.
The Russian-built MI-8 helicopter was owned by a Bulgarian company, Heli Air, and chartered by SkyLink, a North American company.
SkyLink said it had been flying to Tikrit, north of Baghdad.
TV footage showed the burning wreckage of the aircraft in a barren area.
The six Americans who died were working for security contractor Blackwater USA.
US and Bulgarian officials said the Bulgarian-owned chopper was brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade.
It is believed to be the first time a civilian aircraft has been shot down over Iraq since the US-led invasion.
However, insurgents have shot down several US military helicopters.
The Russian-built MI-8 helicopter was owned by a Bulgarian company, Heli Air, and chartered by SkyLink, a North American company.
SkyLink said it had been flying to Tikrit, north of Baghdad.
TV footage showed the burning wreckage of the aircraft in a barren area.
The six Americans who died were working for security contractor Blackwater USA.
The crash came hours after two foreign contractors were killed in a roadside bomb on the road to Baghdad airport.
Three foreign contractors - an American, a Canadian and an Australian - died in an attack on the same stretch of road on Wednesday.
The same day saw Iraq's outgoing Prime Minister Iyad Allawi escape unhurt after a suicide bomber blew up a car near his convoy in Baghdad. At least two policemen are said to have died in the blast.
By LUKE McILVEEN
April 22, 2005
A SECURITY security contractor, 34, who spent 10 years serving in the regular army is the fourth Australian to be killed in Iraq.
The NSW man was gunned down in a small-arms ambush on a convoy on the road to Baghdad international airport on Wednesday.
Two other foreign nationals were killed in the attack on Wednesday.
The ex-army mercenary was working as a security officer with UK firm Edinburgh Risk and Security Management, guarding a businessman client, when insurgents in a four-wheel-drive pulled up alongside his vehicle and opened fire.
The Baghdad airport road is notorious for shootings and car bombings. One of the foreign nationals died instantly, the from his wounds.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said yesterday: "It's a sad situation but it does remind us that I think it's quite obvious that the risks of working in Baghdad are high."
The victim was discharged from the army in 1996 and was one of about 100 Australians who chased highly paid security work in Iraq.
Mercenaries can earn up to $9000 a week putting their lives on the line for corporations with huge contracts to re-build Iraq.
Heavily armed and well-trained, many have military experience and risk their lives ferrying their employers around Baghdad.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman declined to name the man, whose relatives have been told.
The Australian consul-general is helping to organise the repatriation of the man's remains to Australia.
He's the fourth Australian casualty.
FBI invokes 'privacy rights' for Osama bin Laden
FBI PROTECTS OSAMA BIN LADEN’S “RIGHT TO PRIVACY” IN DOCUMENT RELEASE
Judicial Watch Investigation Uncovers FBI Documents Concerning Bin Laden Family and Post-9/11 Flights
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified “Secret” FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))
Before invoking privacy protections for Osama bin Laden under Exemption 6, the FBI should have conducted a balancing “test” of the public's right to disclosure against the individual's right to privacy. Many of the references in the redacted documents cite publicly available news articles from sources such as The Washington Post and Associated Press. Based on its analysis of the news stories cited in the FBI report, Judicial Watch was able to determine that bin Laden’s name was redacted from the document, including newspaper headlines in the footnoted citations.
“It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public’s right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day.”
The redacted documents were obtained by Judicial Watch under the provisions of the FOIA and through ongoing litigation (Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security & Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 04-1643 (RWR)). Among the documents was a declassified “Secret” FBI report, dated September 24, 2003, entitled: “Response to October 2003 Vanity Fair Article (Re: [Redacted] Family Departures After 9/11/2001).” Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on October 7, 2003. The full text of the report and related documents are available on the Internet by clicking here (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
A New York man was arrested on Tuesday for threatening to kill a Brooklyn federal judge and bomb his courthouse amid growing concern about the safety of the nation's judiciary and their courtrooms.
Wazir Khan, 20, who lives in New York's borough of Queens, was charged with threatening to kill an individual and destroy the Brooklyn federal courthouse, according to federal prosecutors.
So, all you "culture of life" flamethrowers -- what say you here? Now you find yourselves in flagrante delicto with (gulp) a New Yorker who is also (I'm guessing based on the name) a Muslim of Middle Eastern extraction. 'Splain to me how you justify your own threats on our judiciary while condemning him....
I have all day.
posted by bluememe at 4/19/2005
A very serious allegation buried in a story in today’s Washington Post:
On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her senior staff she was disappointed about the stream of allegations [about John Bolton] and said she did not want any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
18 U.S.C. Section 1505:
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress–
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
This is serious enough that a reporter covering the State Department should inquire about Rice’s conduct. What, exactly, did Rice tell her subordinates? How is this consistent with their full cooperation with a Congressional inquiry.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
An angry phone caller meets the new Paul Revere
We did our best to make notes of the extraordinary conversation that took place during the phone call as it unfolded...These are some of the highlights...or lowlights as the case may be...
"If you're trying to make sure you are heard," he yelled at us on the phone, "you've been heard! But we're not going to work with you because you are harassing us!"
"How is individual email being sent by individual American Citizens to let you know that they find it absurd that the man responsible for ensuring the votes of Americans would never be counted in the 2000 Election would be appointed as co-chair of a secretly formed Election Reform Committee?...That there couldn't be a more inappropriate choice for the job...how is that harassment?" we asked him.
ROBERT PASTOR: You are harassing us. And we're not going to talk to you, or anybody in your group. We've heard you, but unless you turn off that email, we're not going to...
BRAD BLOG: You are receiving mail from Americans who are letting you know how they feel?
RP: It's the same message over and over again.
BB: They are welcome to add any text they like as a P.S., but would you feel better if we removed the text and let them write whatever they wanted?!
RP: No. We are not going to talk to you, you've been heard, but we're not going to talk to you.
BRAD BLOG: You keeping saying you've "heard us", but what have you done about it? Have you made any changes to the commission? Anything at all other than giving us lip-service that "we've been heard"?!
RP: The commission is done, we're not making any changes.
BB: So what good is "hearing" us?...If we take down the page where Americans can Email you -- you asked on your web page for input from Americans after all -- will you place Velvet Revolution or any of our affiliates on the commission? Since not one of them -- over 100 Election Reform and Voting Rights groups -- was even invited to participate in this commission?
RP: The commission is done, we're not making any changes to it. It's closed...What you are doing is harassment...Stop the harassment, sending us the same Email over and over again.
BB: We're not doing any such thing...Those are individuals sending you email...
RP: It is not individuals! We've received thousands of Emails and they were sent from only about 6 or 7 people only!
BB: Wait, wait, wait...What are you talking about?!...Do you have any evidence of that, sir? Do you have one single iota of evidence to make that claim that the thousands of emails you're receiving are in fact from "6 or 7 people"?...Do you have any evidence? ...Why don't you try replying to a few hundred of those notes, and see if they bounce back, or see if they get to people and you get a reply back...Those are thousands of Americans who are trying to have their voice be heard!, Bob!...That's the only way they can be heard since they've been shut out of this commission entirely! People who have been working for months and years on the very thing your secret commission is supposedly working on!
RP: Well, they are not going to be listened to.
BB: So, you are suggesting that somehow, for some reason, you should have more power over our American democracy than any other American Citizen? Are you kidding me?!
RP: Well, apparently I do have more power because otherwise you wouldn't care so much about what the commission is doing.
BB: Yes, we care, because it's an important commission...It needs to happen...Such a commission is necessary, very necessary...but the way this thing has been fixed and stacked...
RP: It is not stacked.
BB: Who appointed the members of that commission?
RP: The members of the commission are Republicans and Democrats and individual non-partisans...
BB: Who appointed them to this commission?
RP: You have a problem with three or four of the commission members and one of the academic advisors, but there are probably more Democrats than Republicans on the commission...
BB: I don't care how many...This isn't about Democrats or Republicans, Bob. There should be Republicans on the commission...We have no problem with that! What we do have a problem with is Bush/Cheney and Voting Machine Representatives...is the lead attorney from the Kerry/Edwards campaign on the advisory board, Bob? [As is Thor Hearne, the National Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.]
RP: No he's not. But there are people on the Right that have problems with all the Democrats on the committee.
BB: I don't give a damn about the...There's no problem with Republicans on the committee, Bob...It's not...
RP: Do you know who won the last election?
BB: Uh...Not really...Do you?...
RP: You don't know who won the election?
BB: Not really...I wish I did, but...
RP: The Republicans won the Presidency! And both houses of Congress, the House and the Senate!
BB: How do you know that?...
RP: Look, if you...
BB: How do you know that, sir?
RP: Look, if you think you speak for 51% of the American people you are wrong, you don't...
BB: How. Do. You. Know. That. Sir?...How do you know the Republicans won?!
At that point, apparently, Mr. Pastor had no answer or simply refused to discuss it any further because he then hung up the phone on us.
It's a pity that we never got to ask him why John Conyers, who compiled some 102 pages of evidence of what went on in Ohio last Election, was not invited to either join the commission, nor even testify before it.
Also not invited, were any of the scores of speakers present at the "Nash-ional" Election Reform Conference held last week in Nashville, where mountains of evidence was presented to suggest that something went terribly wrong in last November's general election.
On the other hand, Mr. Pastor's commission did have time to invite hard right partisans like John Fund of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board (and a frequent contributor to the Fox News Channel) to present unsupported anectodal evidence suggesting there was some trumped up, phoney-baloney problem with "provisional voter fraud" that would be solved by throwing out all provision votes not placed in the voter's own precinct.
Disallowing provisional votes not cast in the voter's precinct, Fund was allowed to inform the commission and America via CSPAN, would help the "problems" from the last election because the poll workers would be able to determine if the voter "looks as if they belong the neighborhood."
Apparently, they had time for that. But not the work of Conyers and others who have worked tirelessly for months, if not years, on problems in the rapidly disintegrating American Electoral system.
Dr. Robert A. Pastor and his Blue-Ribbon National Election Reform Commission hard at work to assure that there will be no true Election Reform in America. And the "6 or 7 of you" out there who feel that American democracy deserves much better, can apparently all go to straight to hell.
Dr. Robert A. Pastor
Executive Director for the Commission on Federal Election Reform