Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hey Rossi

Can you email Sunflower those American body bag mass grave pics from Iraq..or post them here and tell her, so she can get started on it ?

The links, too if you don't mind.

Yes, I know they are somewhere in our archives, (or SHOULD BE) but I can't remember where. Actually if you can post them again on this scroll I promise I will make my own copies.

Love from around the bend.

Art For Boys


Reposted Cause I'm On A Mission

Preaching to the Choir.

Excuse me, Blue State people. May I have your attention please..? Thank you.

I make it an obsessive habit to watch everything in our country lately. From down here in Louisiana, because of the 'Information Revolution' I keep surprisingly up to date on the current clusterfuck our nation has become.

Now, normally, I don't see things in red state/blue state terms. I was taught to believe we are ALL Americans first. Period. However, there is a red/blue problem that I simply can not remain silent on anymore. It touches on EVERYTHING we hope to do.

I see all our democratic and activist leaders, all on the move. It is truely a beautiful thing. The people are waking up, and the message is trickling out, slowly but surely. Our opposition to the tyranny of the Bush family bonds us in ways that transcend blue state red state and hold us firm against the fear. I see our leaders holding rallies in N.Y., L.A., Phoenix, and D.C.

What I do not see is rallies in Jackson, Shreveport, or Birmingham.

There may be a speech now and then, that gets heartily protested by the very loud minority, and then they are gone. Back to the blue states to preach to the chior. There is no democratic hope in the south because there are no democratic generals here fighting the republicans on thier own turf. Don't get me wrong there are dems here hard at work trying desperately to spoon out the ocean. But these dems are underfunded and COMPLETELY INVISIBLE in our daily lives.

Now perhaps, you have been told that we are all morons down here that spit at outsiders and dream of the days when slaves were ours to own. Perhaps thats the image you have. But nothing could be further from the truth. By tradition the southerners are DEMOCRATS. We are only red state because the damn republicans have been rigging elections down here for more than a century. You think Ohio was ugly...? Try Louisiana EVERY election day. But, who do we tell? We are left with the corrupted leaders or telling those who will pass it on to the yankees, who then turn around and forget they once violently overthrew and occupied the very soil I am sitting above as I write this. And there were consequences.

MANY MANY consequences. All of them political. None of them easy. I wonder at times, if Martin Luther King had been from Cali would he have found it worth dying for? I doubt it.

Coming down here to make a speech and then outrun the fruit throwers on your way back to bluer borders WILL NOT WORK. You are simply overlooking the TRUE problem of the south because it is what..? Distasteful?..Tedious?.. Dangerous?

And you are missing the opportunity of the ages.

The current shuck and jive campaign coming out of D.C. these days is being delivered with a southern accent. But, not eveyone who SPEAKS with an accent, THINKS with an accent. And it is WAY past time to come and engage those people in a VERY lengthy discussion. One that we can sleep on, and engage again in the morning. I have never once believed the republicans outnumber democrats down here. ONLY at the polls is this a republican stronghold, and if you believe the numbers from Florida can be skewwed it's not a hard leap to see the truth about the south.

The truth is, you have abandoned us, and we need you now more than ever. We have the numbers, and the courage, and the will. But, we can not go anywhere without leaders who are willing to risk just as much as we are.

When a hero does come forth I do not know if he will be northern, or southern, black, white, red nor blue. I do NOT know if that hero that leads us to rally down here will even survive the experience. What I do know is this, WHOMEVER that hero is, when they rise from the ashes of the old south, their names will live forever in the halls of heros among men.

When that hero does come, many, including me, will give all we have to protect them. But we can not protect what we can not reach.

When the rallies that electrify the blue states are over, and the chior goes home, there will STILL be a quiet sense of desperation in the deep south. As a region we are the poorest and most illiterate, even now. You could get it all back, and win the very heart and mind of the country.

But you can not take what you refuse to touch.

OHHH, This is getting REALLY Interesting

Out of Iraq
A conservative's case for ending the war. Now.

by Philip Gold
Link Here

Sometimes, it's sucky being right.

In the summer of 2001, in two Washington Law and Politics magazine columns, I predicted an imminent terrorist strike. Later, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan and the Bush Doctrine, including pre-emption and "regime change"—if these were used rationally and sparingly.

They have not been used rationally and sparingly. I saw it coming, and in the spring of 2002 became one of America's first mainstream conservatives to oppose the Iraq venture and the Bush/neocon agenda. Quietly at first. Then in a Sept. 11, 2002, Seattle Weekly article titled "An Anti-War Movement of One."

Three years later, it's still pretty lonesome. No effective antiwar movement has emerged. Perhaps what's left of the left, despairing of a people as docile and as over-spun as ours, didn't care or dare to make the effort. Perhaps they've been waiting for the polls to trend downward sufficiently and permanently, so that the Blame America First crowd and the "One More Chardonnay, Then We March" brigades might once again flaunt their peculiar combo of self-loathing and self-righteousness.

No matter. No sustainable antiwar movement will emerge. Other issues, from Supreme Court nomination slugfests to how best to wreck Social Security, plus whatever scandals happen along, will matter more. Not to mention the 2006 elections and a Democratic Party grimly intent on flaunting its impotence. Mr. Bush is blessed with an ample supply of diversions.

Still, maybe being lonesome ain't so bad. At least the war's supporters no longer criticize me for giving aid and comfort to high-viz PC leftos, Jane Fonda wanna-bes, all-purpose pacifists, and sundry Botoxed and Viagra'd clowns who missed the last helicopter out of the 1960s, or wish they had. Their collective public absence makes it easier to be serious about why this war is wrong.

I opposed the Iraq war for reasons other than the clear and present lack of a clear and present danger. This was one lousy idea militarily, politically, and economically. Yes, we took the real estate, although few Americans understand how big a bullet we almost had to dodge. It wasn't all those chem/bio weapons they didn't use because they didn't have them. It was that our logistical system was shaking like the Alaskan Way Viaduct during an earthquake. Had Saddam's army not conveniently disintegrated, had that armored dash to Baghdad not been so brilliantly executed, "Comical Ali" might not have been quite so funny.

Nor was there much humor, or sanity, in the postwar theory of why we had to stay. "Hard Wilsonianism," some called it, making the world safe for democracy, this time with adequate muscle. "Democracy Dominoes," others chanted. Just render Iraq a good little American knockoff, then watch the whole bloody Umma morph into a liberal theme park

It hasn't happened. But maybe, from the administration's perspective, it doesn't matter. To borrow an old D.C. proverb: "Nothing succeeds like the right kind of failure."

We're staying in Iraq. In his Fort Bragg speech in June, before a controlled and grimacing audience of those who know how their valor and devotion have been used, President Bush made it clear, once again, that Iraq has been assigned its meanings, roles, and missions in our reality. That it might not be working in their reality is irrelevant. We decide what matters, and what's real.

We're staying in Iraq because we're staying in the Islamic world. We've tied our future to its secular redemption by any means necessary. Strife serves us well if, as neocon Michael Ledeen once put it, our purpose is to "cauldronize the Middle East." Fighting is merely part of the rent we pay, rather like that lease we recently signed on Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Think of it as a 99-year time-share.

Meanwhile, the insurgents most likely want us to stay. They know they can't defeat us. But they certainly can bleed us. Death and maiming. Three hundred billion dollars by year's end in direct costs; maybe coming up on a trillion, total. The U.S. Army is imploding and can't replace its ruined people and gear, while the Navy and Air Force are letting people go because they're running out of ships and planes—on a basic defense budget of over $400 billion a year.

To borrow from Thomas Jefferson: "I tremble for my country when I reflect that our enemies can count."

But who are our enemies? In Iraq, whose government recently signed a defense cooperation agreement with Axis of Evil charter member Iran, they're a microcosm of what we face globally. Jihadi. Amateur adventurers ("Come kill Americans; it'll be great fun"). Iraqis embittered by the occupation. Professional fighters with no other skills or desires. And all those with more to lose than to gain from freedom. The Bush administration has crowed that the influx of foreigners means that, hey, now we've got 'em all in one place. Not exactly. It does mean that thousands of fighters will return to their own and other countries as skilled terrorist operatives and instructors.

We went into Iraq to teach the world a lesson. It didn't work. It won't. Perhaps now we should let the people of Iraq do the teaching, and say to them:

"We freed you from a hideous tyrant. We helped you to rebuild your economy, your society, your security forces. We gave you three years to think about what you really want. Now we're leaving. Let's see what you do with your freedom."


Philip Gold is a Seattle-based writer. His most recent book is Take Back the Right: How the Neocons and the Religious Right Have Hijacked the Conservative Movement. Gold can be reached at aretean@netscape .net. Regular old Mossback Knute Berger is on vacation.

---Remember all those LONG conversations we got into where I INSISTED the mod repells would confront the neocons sooner or later...?

Ohhh it must be soooo sucky to be them right now. They have to explain to their grandkids one day why they stood by and LAUGHED AND CHEERED so POLITICALLY CORRECTLY as our nation was molested, robbed, and lied to constantly. Why they giggled so sweetly as their own children were led to slaughter.

The bastards. I hope when you eat each other it not only hurts but messes up your stomaches for the rest of your unnatural lives. I hope it EATS YOU BACK.



Art For Girls


Ahhh, I Get It Now...



The Stolen Election of 2000

Brent Kallestad of the Associated Press reported that Roberts, contributor of $1,000 to the 2000 Bush election campaign, had ponied up his own money for airfare and, in the midst of the contested Florida recount, voluntarily flown down from Washington to offer advice to the Republicans, and more specifically to Governor Jeb Bush. The Florida governor's spokesman, Jacob DiPietre was quoted as saying, "He came down and met with the governor briefly and shared with him some of his thoughts on what he believed the governor's responsibilities were after a presidential election, a presidential election in dispute."

Link Here


How Cafta Passed House by 2 Votes

By Edmund L. Andrews
The New York Times
Friday 29 July 2005

"Once again, the floor of the House of Representatives resembled the set of 'Let's Make a Deal,' " Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

Washington - It was just before midnight on Wednesday when Representative Robin Hayes capitulated.

Mr. Hayes, a Republican whose district in North Carolina has lost thousands of textile jobs in the last four years, had defied President Bush and House Republican leaders by voting against the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or Cafta.

But the House speaker, J. Dennis Hastert, told him they needed his vote anyway. If he switched from "nay" to "aye," Mr. Hayes recounted, Mr. Hastert promised to push for whatever steps he felt were necessary to restrict imports of Chinese clothing, which has been flooding into the United States in recent months.

As it turned out, the switch by Mr. Hayes was decisive. Within a few minutes, the House approved the trade pact by the paper-thin margin of two votes, 217 to 215. The pact would eliminate most trade barriers between the United States and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The cliffhanger House vote was one of the most wrenching in Congress this year, and it highlighted the messy compromises that were necessary to overcome deep antagonism in many quarters toward trade-opening agreements.

The restrictions Mr. Hastert promised could come soon. Within the next 10 days, the Bush administration is expected to rule on whether to impose import quotas on Chinese sweaters, wool trousers, bras and other goods.

Mr. Hastert "said to me, 'If you vote with me, we'll do everything we need to do in your district to help with jobs,' " Mr. Hayes recalled.

Democrats charged Republicans with buying votes and forcing members to vote against their consciences.

But Bush administration officials said the ultimate goal was one of high principle: an opening of the United States to greater competition and engagement with poorer countries in its own backyard, a liberation from trade barriers that would benefit Americans as well as their neighbors.

"This became much bigger than Cafta, because it became a political issue," said Rob Portman, the United States trade representative. "It was important to our position as the global leader on trade, so we had to fight back, and to fight back meant being very aggressive, explaining why it was good."

Trade agreements have almost always been difficult to pass, because any reduction in barriers provokes intense opposition from unions and industries that would face new competition.

But the Central American trade pact became a litmus test for both parties, a precedent for both the opportunities and dangers of freer international trade.

In economic terms, the Central American trade pact will have a negligible impact on the United States. About 80 percent of the exports from those countries to the United States were already duty-free, and the total trade volumes are tiny: American exports to the six countries - about $17 billion a year - are about equal to the annual global exports of New Jersey.

Supporters of the trade pact said it was the principles at stake, a reaffirmation and an expansion of the much bigger North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994 that linked the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Like Nafta, the Central American free trade pact will eliminate most barriers to trade in goods and services and most barriers to investment. It will give American companies tough new legal rights to enforce patents and copyrights in other member countries, and it may give some pharmaceutical companies even greater protection against generic drugs in Central America than they have in the United States.

But labor unions and their Democratic allies charge that the pact offers strong backing to corporations while offering little additional protection to low-wage workers in Central America. As a result, they contend, it will encourage American companies to shift more jobs to those countries.

Whatever the economic merits, the vote on Wednesday night made it clear that the political appeal of the trade agreement was low. Only 15 Democrats supported the measure.
And despite intense pressure from President Bush and House Republican leaders, 27 Republicans voted against the deal; many others badly wanted to do so.

The biggest opposition among Republicans came from textile producing states in the south, sugar-producing states like Louisiana and Idaho and old-line manufacturing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
House Republican leaders kept the voting open for almost a full hour, in violation of the normal 15-minute time limit. They spent much of that time wrestling with about 10 rebellious but "undecided" Republicans, pleading and pressuring one after another to vote for the agreement.

One of the strangest votes was by Representative Charles H. Taylor, Republican of North Carolina, who had vowed to vote against the pact because of his concerns for textile workers.

But as the minutes ticked by, Mr. Taylor was one of only two members recorded as not voting. By not voting, he gave Republicans a two-vote victory rather than a one-vote margin.

But on Thursday, Mr. Taylor insisted that there had been an error in the electronic voting system and that he had indeed voted against the measure.

"I voted NO," Mr. Taylor announced in a terse statement on Thursday, saying the House clerk's written log showed his vote and that he would seek to have the vote registered as a "no."

Democrats, who have already lined up a potent challenger to Mr. Taylor for the next election, accused him of trying to have it both ways.

"He seemed to find time to vote for procedural motions and legislation that had nothing to do with North Carolina," said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, "but he couldn't seem to figure out how to squeeze in the time to vote against a trade deal that could cost North Carolina thousands of jobs."

But business groups, including even some parts of the textile industry, lobbied fiercely in favor of the trade pact. The National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau Federation all supported the agreement and pushed hard.

One Republican who agonized over the vote was Representative Mark Foley of Florida, whose district includes some of the biggest sugar producers in the country.

Mr. Foley, a member of the House leadership team responsible for lining up votes, supported the bill even though he staunchly opposed the pact because it would allow higher sugar imports.

"It was difficult, a gut-wrenching night," Mr. Foley said on Thursday. President Bush called him about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday to plead for his vote, he said, and Republican leaders had already made it clear that they would punish the sugar industry in the next farm bill if they managed to defeat the trade pact.

"If the administration thinks that sugar brought about the demise of this, there would have been hell to pay in the farm bill," Mr. Foley said. "This was somewhat of a vote for the survival of my constituents."

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, accused Republican leaders of trading anything they had to get the votes they needed.

"Once again, the floor of the House of Representatives resembled the set of 'Let's Make a Deal,' " Ms. Pelosi said Thursday.

"What was the cost to the US taxpayer for the president, with all of his power and all of his influence at his disposal, what was the cost to US taxpayers of his very slim margin?"

The full answer will not be known for some time. Opponents of the trade pact said Republicans lured many lawmakers by earmarking billions of dollars for pet projects in a $286 billion highway spending bill.

The House and Senate conferees said they had reached agreement on the overall transportation bill, but as of Thursday night they had not made any details public.



Roberts Had Larger 2000 Recount Role

By Marc Caputo
The Miami Herald
Wednesday 27 July 2005

The role of US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in the 2000 election aftermath in Florida was larger than has been reported. Roberts helped prepare the Supreme Court case.
Tallahassee - US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported - as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job.

Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation "lions" and "800-pound gorillas," which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida.

Until now, Gov. Jeb Bush and others involved in the election dispute could recall almost nothing of Roberts' role, except for a half-hour meeting the governor had with Roberts. Cruz said Roberts was in Tallahassee helping the Bush camp for "a week to 10 days," and that his help was important, though Cruz said it is difficult to remember specifics five years after the sleep-depriving frenetic pace of the 2000 recount.

But one thing was certain, Cruz told The Herald: "There was no one better for the job."

"He's one of the best brief writers in the country. Just like a good journalist or a novelist, he can write with clarity, concisely and can paint a picture with words," said Cruz. Roberts, a constitutional-law expert in a top Washington law firm at the time, is now a federal appeals court judge in D.C. Roberts was a no-brainer for the recount effort: His win-loss record at the US Supreme Court was one of the most impressive. And, like Cruz, he was a member of a tight-knit circle of former clerks for the court's chief justice, William Rehnquist - a group jokingly referred to as "the cabal."

Dress Rehearsal

Soon after getting the call from Cruz, Roberts traveled from his Washington office at Hogan & Hartson to Tallahassee to lend advice and help polish legal briefs. Later, Roberts participated in a dress rehearsal to prepare the Bush legal team for the US Supreme Court.

Cruz's account is the first to place Roberts firmly within the Bush vs. Gore battle, filling in substantial blanks in the memories of everyone from Bush's campaign lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, to the governor.

Even before Roberts' more extensive role in the 2000 elections was known, Democrats wanted the issue brought up in his confirmation hearings, during which he appears likely to be confirmed.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who sits on the judiciary committee, has said through a spokeswoman that Roberts is a partisan Republican who needs to show he can hear cases fairly. The chair of Florida's Democratic Party, former US Rep Karen Thurman, said Roberts should be questioned about anything relating to the Constitution - including the most important constitutional case regarding presidential elections.

Republicans such as Jeb Bush, though, say they've "moved on."

In Tallahassee

When it comes to his meeting with Roberts, the governor said Roberts flew down to Tallahassee, on his own dime, to meet for 30 minutes sometime in November or December to discuss the governor's role in certifying the election. Cruz, who had also met with the governor, said he believed that Roberts was already in Tallahassee and simply walked up the hill from the GOP headquarters to meet the governor.

Ted Olson, the lawyer who successfully argued George W. Bush's case before the US Supreme Court, said Roberts helped, but couldn't recall what legal briefs, if any, Roberts reviewed. Olson said he was certain that Roberts participated in a "moot court" hearing to prep him for arguments before the high court in the first of two hearings.

"It was a conference room full of people and John was there. I had known him for 20 years by that point, and I highly respected his opinions," Olson said.

Cruz said there are few candidates as qualified as Roberts for the Supreme Court. Roberts won 25 out of 39 cases he argued before the US Supreme Court. His secret, according to Cruz: "He does his homework for hundreds of hours."

Other Case

Cruz remembered a case Roberts argued Nov. 29, 2000. The day before, Cruz saw Roberts unexpectedly preparing to depart Tallahassee. When asked why, Roberts said he had to argue before the high court the next day. He won a 9-0 decision on behalf of a small, road-sign company in a trademark case.

In a case Roberts lost, against a prisoner who complained of secondhand-smoke exposure, Cruz said Roberts got a laugh out of the justices in response to a question about whether avoiding smoke exposure was the same as asbestos exposure.

'When we go to a restaurant they don't ask: 'Do you want the asbestos section or the non-asbestos section?' They do ask: 'Do you want smoking or nonsmoking?' Smoking is a matter of personal preference," Roberts responded.


While working on the recount, neither Roberts nor any of the other attorneys squabbled. They were too focused, Cruz said - and too worried about what they say were the Democrats' efforts to subvert the voting process through recounts divining voters' wishes on pregnant, hanging and dimpled chads.

"To a person, the Republican lawyers were horrified at what was going on . . . the effort [by Democrats] to, in effect, steal the elections," Cruz said.

About 30 of the 400 Republican lawyers in the election fight were based in Tallahassee, though Washington lawyers such as Olson and Roberts left for home by the end of November and remained in contact with Tallahassee lawyers by e-mail, phone and fax.

Ginsberg, who met with Cruz just after the election to hire the dream team of lawyers, didn't clearly remember Roberts, noting that the number of attorneys made it tough to keep track of everyone.

The Republicans assigned lawyers to one of five teams: the US Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court, local county litigation, trial attorneys and military affairs. Though apparently on the federal team, Roberts' name appears on no legal briefs, a fact that Cruz attributes to Roberts' modesty.

"He already had a name. He didn't need the recognition," Cruz said. Plus, Cruz said, the lawsuit-a-day atmosphere was like "a building on fire. Everyone just grabbed a bucket."


Bush to bypass Senate to appoint Bolton-sources

By Steve HollandReuters
Friday, July 29, 2005; 7:12 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush plans to bypass the U.S. Senate and install John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, officials said.

Bush can go around the Senate and give Bolton a "recess appointment" when the Senate begins its August recess this weekend. Bolton would be able to serve until January 2007, when a new Congress is sworn in.

Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was Bush's intent to make a recess appointment. An announcement could come as early as Monday.

Senate Democrats have stalled the nomination of Bolton, a favorite of conservatives, over accusations he tried to manipulate intelligence and intimidated intelligence analysts to support his hawkish views while the top U.S. diplomat for arms control.

Asked about the possibility of a recess appointment for Bolton, White House spokesman Scott McClellan argued that the job needed to be filled soon.

"We need our permanent representative in place at the United Nations at this critical time.

There is an effort under way to move forward on comprehensive reform," he said.

"And it's a critical time to be moving forward on this. The United Nations will be having their General Assembly meeting in September, and it's important that we get our permanent representative in place," he said.

A recess appointment would risk the wrath of the Senate at a time when Bush is pressing senators to support his nominee for Supreme Court justice, John Roberts. His confirmation hearings begin on Sept. 6.

"A recess appointment is not in the interest of the country. Mr. Bolton does not have the full confidence of the Senate. Sending him to the U.N. without the Senate's approval would send a mixed message to friend and foe alike," said Sen. Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat and a sharp critic of Bolton.

Thirty-five Senate Democrats and one independent sent Bush a letter on Friday urging him to find a different U.N. envoy.


Questions about Bolton surfaced anew on Thursday when the State Department reversed itself and acknowledged that Bolton had given Congress inaccurate information when he wrote that he had not been questioned or provided information to jury or government investigations in the past five years.

At first, the State Department had insisted Bolton's answer was truthful.

But it later acknowledged that Bolton had failed to tell lawmakers that he had been interviewed as part of a State Department-CIA joint investigation on intelligence lapses that led to the Bush administration's claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.

"When Mr. Bolton completed his form during the Senate confirmation process he did not recall being interviewed by the State Department inspector general. Therefore his form as submitted was inaccurate in this regard and he will correct the form," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

McClellan said the White House was not concerned by the episode.

Officials have said Bolton was not interviewed in special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The White House has argued that Bolton should be given an up-or-down vote in the Senate but Democrats have blocked such a move.

(Additional reporting by Saul Hudson and Vicki Allen)




Saddam 'attacked' during hearing

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was attacked by an unidentified man after questioning by the Iraqi special tribunal on Thursday, his lawyers say.

Link Here BBC

The former president was attacked as he was leaving the courtroom, and there was an exchange of blows, his legal team said in a statement.

However, a US military spokeswoman denied that any such incident happened.

Saddam Hussein was being questioned about the suppression of Kurdish and Shia uprisings in 1991.

The former leader's alleged role in putting down the uprising is one of several accusations that are expected to form the basis of his trial.

Also in Iraq on Saturday, two British security contractors were killed in an attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

And police in northern Iraq say the number of people who died when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an army recruitment centre in Mosul on Friday has risen to more than 40.

Firm denial

Saddam Hussein's legal team said the incident occurred as he stood to leave the courtroom.

"One of those present attacked him and there was an exchange of blows between the man and the president," the statement said.

The defence team said it would now boycott the tribunal or any interrogation committee until Saddam Hussein was given the right to proper legal representation by a team of international lawyers.

The legal team did not "recognise the authority of the court and all the bodies that were interrogating Saddam as it had no legal authority", the statement added.

However, a spokeswoman for detainee operations in Iraq said that the incident did not take place.

"Nothing like that happened with Saddam whatsoever," Lt Kristy Miller told the Reuters news agency.

The former Iraqi president was ousted by US-led forces and captured in December 2003.

So far, he has only been formally charged in relation to the killing of Shia Muslims in the village of Dujail, north of Baghdad, in 1982,

However, he is also likely to face charges relating to the chemical attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.

---Oh, and I forgot to add, WAY TO GO DUDE. I don't know WHO hit him but if it DID happen, I hope you cracked his ugly face one good time in life. And if your hand was hurt doing it I pray it heals quickly.

I'm not advocating violence I just so happen to believe Saddam SHOULD have gone toe to toe with a REAL man more often in life. Can't think of it happening to anyone more deserving at the moment.---

Gods' Masterpiece

Astronomers say

they’ve found the

10th planet

2003 UB313 is bigger, more distant than Pluto, but sparks a debate

Link Here
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior science writer

Updated: 2:25 a.m. ET July 30, 2005
Astronomers have discovered an object in our solar system that is larger than Pluto. They are calling it the 10th planet, but already that claim is contested.

The new world's size is not at issue. But the very definition of planethood is.

It is the first time an object so big has been found in our solar system since the discovery of Pluto 75 years ago.

The announcement, made Friday by Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, came just hours after another celestial object slightly smaller than Pluto was revealed, on a very confusing day for astronomers and the media.

The new object, temporarily named 2003 UB313, is about three times as far from the sun as is Pluto.

"It's definitely bigger than Pluto," said Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech. The object is round and could be up to twice as large as Pluto, Brown told reporters during a hastily called NASA-run teleconference Friday evening.

His best estimate is that it is 2,100 miles (3,360 kilometers) wide, about one and a half times the diameter of Pluto.

One of many?
The object is inclined by a whopping 45 degrees to the main plane of the solar system, where most of the other planets orbit. That's why it eluded discovery: Nobody was looking there until now, Brown said.

Some astronomers view it as a Kuiper Belt object and not a planet. The Kuiper Belt is a region of frozen objects beyond Neptune.

Pluto itself is called a Kuiper Belt object by many astronomers. Brown himself has argued in the past for Pluto's demotion from planet status, because of its diminutive size and eccentric and inclined orbit.

But on Friday he struck a different note.

"Pluto has been a planet for so long that the world is comfortable with that," Brown said during the teleconference. "It seems to me a logical extension that anything bigger than Pluto and farther out is a planet."

Offering additional justification, Brown said 2003 UB313 appears to be surfaced with methane ice, as is Pluto. That's not the case with other large Kuiper Belt objects.

"This object is in a class very much like Pluto," he said.

NASA effectively endorsed the idea in an official statement that referred to 2003 UB313 as the 10th planet.

Yet in recent years, a bevy of objects roughly half to three-fourths the size of Pluto have been found.

Brian Marsden, who runs the Minor Planet Center where data on objects like this are collected, said that if Pluto is a planet, then other round objects nearly as large as Pluto ought to be called planets. By that logic, 2003 UB313 would perhaps be a planet, but it would have to get in line behind a handful of others that were discovered previously.

"I would not call it the 10th planet," Marsden told Space.com.

Alan Boss, a planet-formation theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, called the discovery "a major step." But Boss would not call it a planet at all. Instead, he said Pluto and other small objects beyond Neptune should be called, at best, "Kuiper Belt planets."

"To just call them planets does an injustice to the big guys in the solar system," Boss said in a telephone interview.

The very definition of what constitutes a planet is currently being debated by Boss and others in a working group of the International Astronomical Union. Boss said the group has not reached consensus after six months of discussion.

The debate actually stretches back more than five years and is rooted in the fact that astronomers have never had a definition for the word "planet," because the nine we knew seemed obvious.

"This discovery will likely re-ignite a healthy debate about what is and what is not a planet," Boss said.

Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, the top scientist for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto, predicted in the early 1990s that there would be 1,000 Plutos out there. He has also contended, based on computer modeling, that there should be Mars-sized objects hidden in the far corners of our solar system and even possibly other worlds as large as Earth.

In a telephone interview after Friday's announcement, Stern, who was not involved in the discovery, said he stands by those predictions and expects Mars-sized objects to be found within decades.

"I find this to be very satisfying," Stern said of 2003 UB313. "It's something we've been looking for for a long time."

Stern stopped short of calling it one of the greatest discoveries in astronomy, however, because he sees it as just one more of many findings of objects in this size range. Last year, for example, Brown's team found Sedna, which is about three-fourths as large as Pluto. Others include 2004 DW and Quaoar.

Stern sees the outer solar system as an attic full of undiscovered objects.

"Now we have the technology to see them," he said. "We're just barely scratching the surface."

CONTINUED: It's way out, but you might be able to see it

---Wow, ..Way Cool. The universe is ALIVE, ALIVE, I tell you!.---

Michael Moore About To Kick The Pharma Industries Ass, AND They KNOW It.

Moore Says Doc

Already Has HMOs


Sat Jul 30, 9:24 AM ET

Link Here

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Michael Moore says his next documentary already has HMOs quaking in their boots. Moore has not yet begun shooting the film, "Sicko," but his planned critique of the nation's health care system, he says, is making "freaked-out" HMOs warn employees what to do if approached by the filmmaker.

"At this point we haven't shot anything yet and they're totally discombobulated," Moore said at the inaugural Traverse City Film Festival. Moore, who lives near Traverse City, founded the film festival with local movie buffs to showcase excellent films.

Moore described good movies as a bridge across the political divide for people "tired of the hate, tired of the yelling, tired of ... the screamfests, the talk radio."

Though the festival is showing films like "Casablanca" and the upcoming Bill Murray movie "Broken Flowers," Moore's involvement sparked a conservative Texas group to sponsor a rival festival showing Hollywood classics and conservative-themed movies. That festival was to begin Saturday.

While Moore's Traverse City Film Festival puts politics on the back-burner for a weekend, he makes no apology for making politically themed films.

"When in this great democracy did 'political' become a dirty word?"

---Go Michael Go Michael Go Michael...---

Is it just me...

Or does John Roberts look JUST LIKE that dude that played the Manchurian Candidate in the new remake??? Yes white man opposite of Denzel.

That is TOTALLY creepy.

From Camp Stupid

Drug Czar Says Medical

Marijuana 'Dying'
Associated Press Writer
Friday, July 29, 2005
Link Here
(07-29) 19:47 PDT Honolulu (AP) --

The White House drug czar said Friday that medical marijuana is "dying out" after the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that federal authorities may prosecute sick people whose doctors prescribe pot to ease pain.

John Walters, the national drug policy director, said state legislative efforts to expand medical marijuana programs have stalled in the two months since the high court's ruling overrode laws in Hawaii and nine other states.

"I think it's dying out," Walters told reporters after a meeting with Hawaii drug treatment counselors and law enforcement officials. "The real issue here is, is it the safe and best way for medical treatment? We don't think the best thing for people who are really sick is to make them high and send them away."

Walters said the federal government was funding research into whether cannabis could be used as a source of "medically sound" drugs, but he said "smoked marijuana hasn't met that science."

Steve Kubby, national director of the American Medical Marijuana Association, objected to Walters' remark, saying there are "hundreds" of peer-reviewed scientific studies showing clear medical benefits from cannabis.

"The drug czar has blood on his hands for blocking the humane and medical use of cannabis for sick, disabled and dying people," Kubby said.
Kubby, a force behind the passage of a California proposition that legalized pot clubs, said marijuana can help treat nausea, pain, arthritis and cancer.

---EVERY culture, EVERY race, on EVERY continant, in EVERY period of history has used pot as a MEDICINE. ONLY in the 60s did it become a 'problem' when you stupid bitches declared WAR on it and made it EVERYBODYS PROBLEM.

IT is NOT EVER going to die out as a MEDICINE. You stupid prick. You have simply forced SERIOUSLY ILL people onto the streets.But then again, you are accostomed to throwing sick people into the streets in this nation anyway.

Perhaps our government should QUIT SAYING LIES..you know, like' Its the GATEWAY DRUG' or my favorite, "Its About the money.' Gee, why do they call it ADDICTION then and WHEN shall we declare WAR ON MONEY...?

Gateway my ass, THAT would be alchohol and CIGARRETTES , but I guess when you get SO much money from alchohol and tabbacco lobbiests,then you have to defer responsibility somewhere ,
OTHERWISE you would be a bunch of ASSHOLES.


War on drugs = War on our own families. ...??????

Try this, do something useful and declare war on YOURSELVES. Atleast THEN we would be at war with the RIGHT ENEMY.


And The Judge That ORDERED GW Bush To Texas On RAPE Charges In 2003...?

From the British Press New Nation, Later in 2003, Click to enlarge for detail.

SOOOOO....Who else out there can just IGNORE a JUDGES ORDERS to appear on RAPE charges...?

Well, if you are GW Bush you could just invade Iraq instead. And that is just what he did, too.

What If...The ENTIRE WAR...was a COVER to DISTRACT from that judges ORDER...?

And to the DISGUSTING bushevik chicks who like to leave messages like ' Oh no w is SEXY..'...You STUPID SKANKS. Go ask the JUDGE HE IGNORED ON RAPE CHARGES, and see how sexy they find him. And then go fuck yourselves. And if you REALLY want to make georgie smile resist and rape yourself instead. He digs that.

Hey busheviks...WHOS YOUR DADDY?

Art for everyone


Toll from Iraq bomb climbs to 40

The death toll from a suicide bombing in northern Iraq on Friday has climbed to 40.
Police also say the number of wounded from the attack, by a suicide bomber who blew himself up among a group of Iraqi army recruits, has risen to 57.
The attack occurred outside a municipal building in Rabia, a town 80 kilometres north-west of Mosul.

- Reuters


Americans losing in Iraq and Lebanon is on brink of civil war

British MP George Galloway

“I believe that the resistance will grow stronger and stronger, and the occupiers will pay dearly”, he said referring to foreign forces in Iraq. He added that the situation in Iraq is extremely dangerous. “No one can predict if the occupiers will leave on their own accord, or if the resistance has come closer to achieving its goal (of driving the occupying forces out).”




White House Redefines The Meaning Of "Torture"

By Chris Floyd

Congress may rubber-stamp the gulag ("a buy-in to Guantanamo"); that's allowed. And Congress may approve funding for the gulag. But the people's representatives must have no say whatsoever in the gulag's operations. To give way on this point would reintroduce the rule of law and genuine democracy to U.S. government. And the Bush militarists have gone too far, waded through too much blood, to return to such "quaint" notions now.




Seven beheaded bodies found near Iraqi capital :

The murder victims were five police officers and two Iraqi civilians who worked for the US Army



Art for Everyone


Bush won't block abuse of detainees

Thursday, July 28, 2005

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, who bills himself as a "compassionate conservative," refuses to rule out cruel, abusive treatment of prisoners of war and detainees.

He has gone so far as to threaten to veto the vital $491 billion defense bill if an amendment barring mistreatment of prisoners is attached.

This is the president who -- along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- was shocked last year when he saw photos of leashed naked prisoners under U.S. guard at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

The irony is that Bush's close adviser, Karen Hughes, has just been put in charge of the State Department's public diplomacy division to improve the nation's tattered global image. Millions spent on this effort will go to waste if we do not wipe out the impression that the United States tolerates torture.

There have been a dozen Pentagon investigations of POW abuse -- the latest by Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who recommended that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison, be reprimanded for failing to supervise the mistreatment of Mohamed al-Kahtani. He admitted to being "the 20th hijacker" for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Schmidt said, but was blocked from entering the United States by an alert immigration agent.

But Gen. Bantz Craddock, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, overruled the recommendation that Miller be punished. Miller has a reputation for aggressive methods in the prisons and for introducing dogs at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, where he was sent to beef up the interrogations.

Al-Kahtani was threatened with dogs and made to "perform a series of dog tricks," according to an unclassified version of Schmidt's report released earlier this month.

Al-Kahtani also had to stand naked in front of female soldiers, and was forced to wear female lingerie and dance with a male interrogator. Also he had his copy of the Quran squatted on by an interrogator.

These revelations did not evoke universal outrage on Capitol Hill. Sen. James Imhofe, R-Okla., was incensed that investigators put so much energy into the inquiries.

"It's hard to see why we're so wrapped up in this investigation," he said. "We have nothing to be ashamed of."

Last week, Bush dispatched no less an emissary than Vice President Dick Cheney to warn members of the Senate Armed Services Committee against any congressional intervention on detainee interrogations.

The White House told Capitol Hill that Bush's advisers would urge him to veto the multibillion-dollar military bill "if legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was a prisoner of war for six years during the Vietnam War, is proposing an amendment that would set uniform standards for interrogating anyone detained by the Defense Department. He would limit the questioning techniques to those along the lines of the Army field manual, which is undergoing revision.

McCain also proposes all foreign nationals held by our military be registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which would block the practice of holding "ghost detainees." Unfortunately it would not cover the CIA's practice of "extraordinary rendition" where we send detainees to other countries for possible torture.

McCain's key amendment prohibits the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of any person in U.S. custody. The amendment was based on the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the United States has ratified.

The administration says the treaty doesn't apply to foreigners outside the country. The White House opposes any restrictions it thinks would tie the president's hands in wartime.

The sadistic, humiliating treatment of Iraqis, Afghans and others rounded up by U.S. forces has disgraced the country.

But Bush and Rumsfeld have taken no responsibility.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, an Army Reserve officer in charge of military police at Abu Ghraib, was demoted and given a written reprimand. But otherwise low-ranking MPs have been forced to take the fall.

It is high time that the Pentagon stopped investigating itself.

Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, has proposed an amendment to the defense bill to create an independent panel to review the detention and interrogation practices that have led us down this shameful path.

Meantime, consideration of the defense legislation, including the controversial amendments, has been put off until fall. Let's hope wiser and kinder heads prevail by then.

Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. E-mail: helent@hearstdc.com. Copyright 2005 Hearst Newspapers.


CIA Blocks Book on Tora Bora, Author Says

By Katherine Shrader, Associated Press
July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The CIA is squelching publication of a new book detailing events leading up to Osama bin Laden's escape from his Tora Bora mountain stronghold during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, says a former CIA officer who led much of the fighting.

In a story he says he resigned from the agency to tell, Gary Berntsen recounts the attacks he coordinated at the peak of the fighting in eastern Afghanistan in late 2001, including how US commanders knew bin Laden was in the rugged mountains near the Pakistani border and the Al Qaeda leader's much-discussed getaway.

Berntsen says in a federal court lawsuit that the CIA is over- classifying his manuscript and has repeatedly missed deadlines written into its own regulations to review his book. His lawyer, Roy Krieger, said he delivered papers to the US District Court in Washington after hours Wednesday.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigiliano said Berntsen's manuscript is subject to the same pre-publication review as that of all former employees.

''There, the guideline is that it contain no classified information," he said. ''In this case, the process is moving forward."

During the 2004 election, President Bush and other senior administration officials repeatedly said commanders did not know whether bin Laden was at Tora Bora when US and allied Afghan forces attacked there in 2001.

They rejected allegations by Senator John F. Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee, that the United States had missed an opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden because they had ''outsourced" the fighting to Afghan warlords.

''When I watched the presidential debates, it was clear to me . . . the debate and discussions on Tora Bora were -- from both sides -- completely incorrect," said Berntsen, who will not provide details until the agency finishes declassifying his book. ''It did not represent the reality of what happened on the ground."

Berntsen, 48, retired in June.


Murdoch's Son and Expected Successor Quits News Corp.

Published: July 29, 2005

One of the business world's most-watched family dynasty dramas took a sudden twist today when Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of the News Corporation, resigned from his executive posts at the global media company.

His departure raises fresh questions about executive succession at the News Corporation. Though Rupert Murdoch, 74, has not formally declared his successor , it was widely believed that he favored Lachlan, his oldest son, to replace him eventually

The company said Lachlan Murdoch, 33, would remain on the News Corporation's board but would relinquish his executive posts, which include deputy chief operating officer, at the end of August. He is also the publisher of The New York Post.

With Lachlan's departure, the front runners to succeed Rupert Murdoch appear to be James R. Murdoch, his 32-year-old son who is chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite television service in which the News Corporation owns a 34 percent stake, and Peter Chernin, the News Corporation's president and chief operating officer.

Lachlan Murdoch, 33, had worked at the global media company for 11 years.

"I look forward to returning home to Australia with my wife, Sarah, and son, Kalan, in the very near future," Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement. "I would like especially to thank my father for all he has taught me in business and in life. It is now time for me to apply those lessons to the next phase of my career."

Rupert Murdoch said: "I am particularly saddened by my son's decision and thanked him for his terrific contribution to the company, and also his agreement to stay on the board and advise us in a number of areas."

Neither Murdoch gave details on the events that presaged Lachlan's departure.
Among the six Murdoch siblings who range in age from 46 to 3 from three marriages, only James Murdoch remains directly involved with the company's operations.

Gary Ginsberg, a spokesman for the News Corporation, said Lachlan Murdoch's resignation does not necessarily mean his brother James would be Rupert Murdoch's ultimate successor.
"It does not change the succession plan at all," Mr. Ginsberg said. "Rupert has said he plans on staying as chairman as long as he mentally and physically fit to do so."

Rupert Murdoch has said that Mr. Chernin is likely to be his immediate successor as chief executive, but that his ambition is for a member of his family to one day take charge of the company.

"The investment community has an interest in figuring this out as well because you would probably come down on the side, in the near term, of Peter Chernin vs. his sons," said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. "We are in kind of an ambiguous place right now."

Though Mr. Murdoch has long wanted one of his sons to succeed him, investors and analysts prefer Mr. Chernin, 51, with his greater experience and lack of family ties.

"From an investors' standpoint there was an ongoing fear of nepotism that is lifted, or at least partially lifted, by his departure," Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners, said referring to Lachlan Murdoch.

Other media companies like Walt Disney have eyed Mr. Chernin as a candidate for a top job, a factor that could play into the thinking of News Corporation's board, which would not want to see such a senior executive leave to join a competitor.

Mr. Greenfield said he did not expect Lachlan Murdoch's decision to have any significant impact on the News Corporation's operations, because Rupert Murdoch and Mr. Chernin remain in control. "It further cements the fact that if anything happens to Mr. Murdoch in the next year or two that Peter Chernin, the No. 2, will take his place."

As part of his grooming, Lachlan Murdoch's duties had included oversight of the News Corporation's print operations in the United States and Australia, which included the HarperCollins book publisher, as well as The New York Post.>>>continued


The Case of Sergeant Benderman

I would like you to meet a man of true Patriotism, Honour and Dignity, I would like to shake your hand Sergeant Benderman, Thank the lord there are true Patriots left in this infamous War, of Bush and his Administration

By Camilo Mejia t r u t h o u t Perspective
Thursday 28 July 2005

Fort Stewart, Georgia - When Sgt. Kevin Benderman went to Iraq on March of 2003, he saw the destruction of a nation, he saw a little girl with a burnt arm asking the soldiers for help they were ordered not to provide, he saw people drinking water from mud puddles, and he saw that Iraqis were regular people, just like himself, and that our military should not bring destruction to that country.

What Sgt. Benderman saw in Iraq changed him in a way so profound, that after ten impeccable years in the Army, he decided to apply for conscientious objection. But Sgt. Benderman also spoke truth to the people about what is going on in Iraq, and he spoke about how the war is not destroying Iraq alone, but our own country as well. He spoke of how American soldiers are dehumanized by the war.

But today's general Court-Martial did not deal with Sgt. Benderman's war experience, nor with the dehumanization of America's children in Iraq; it mostly dealt with a forty-five minute meeting Sgt. Benderman had with his Sgt. Major just an hour before his unit was to deploy to the Middle East, where they were to provide logistic support to American infantry units, and they were to train Iraqi police officers and military personnel.

The defense successfully showed how during that meeting Sgt. Benderman's chain of command, not knowing how to deal with his Conscientious Objector packet, released him to work on documents and to have dinner with his wife, just an hour prior to his unit's deployment, and how they made no effort to get him to the airfield, or to get him onboard a later flight. The defense showed how Sgt. Benderman, far from being absent without authority or having missed movement, continued to perform a sergeant's duties while and after his unit deployed to Iraq.

The defense also showed the ambiguity in Sgt. Benderman's chain of command. For instance, one of the government's arguments in seeking both a conviction and a harsh punishment was that Sgt. Benderman's logistic duties were crucial for the unit in Iraq, yet the defense proved that his chain of command had planned to fire him from his job and to assign him to latrine duty. Another argument was the hazardous component of the unit's mission in Iraq, yet the 1st Sgt. insisted that Sgt. Benderman would be perfectly safe and in a position were he would see no combat at all. The defense successfully showed the humiliation Sgt. Benderman went through because of his Conscientious Objector beliefs, from the harassment of his wife by the Sgt. Major (who admitted to commenting on her physical figure) to his 1st Sgt. calling him a coward.

Why then, one wonders, was Sgt. Benderman convicted of Missing Movement by Design, and sentenced to 15 months of confinement, reduction to the lowest rank, and a dishonorable discharge? The defense strategy was sound and solid. The government's prejudice and Sgt. Benderman's chain of command's unmeasured persecution and incompetence were all made evident. Why the conviction and the harsh sentence then?

Perhaps because a legal strategy is no match for a political strategy. The Army had in its hands a blond, blue-eyed, six foot two, all American soldier, born and raised in the south, someone white America can look up to and identify with, someone who went to Iraq and came back with his humanity enhanced, most definitely a threat to a government on a mission to militarize its society and spread its empire. The government threw the book at Sgt. Benderman to ensure others like him don't follow behind. Therefore, his case should not have been boiled down to a forty-five minute meeting, because in doing so, the defense disconnected itself from the humanity of the action and from its message of resistance, and that is something America cannot afford at this time.

Sgt. Benderman is not an African American Muslim, he is not a Cuban Buddhist, his parents are not Latin Americans. Unlike other recent conscientious objectors, Binderman looks like he belongs at a George W. Bush rally. The humanity he displays in his refusal to fight a senseless war cannot be blamed on a foreign ethnicity, or on the color of his skin; it cannot be blamed on his religion either. And he cannot be accused of being a Yankee liberal. Sgt. Benderman's courageous stance gives the conscientious objector response to the war in Iraq a universal touch that breaks down barriers and goes beyond borders, bringing down the issue of war resistance to the humanity in each and every one of us, regardless of who we are or where we come from.

Sgt. Kevin Benderman chose to put his weapon down; he chose not to kill but to love his fellow human beings; he chose to put his career and physical freedom in jeopardy; he chose to speak truth in the face of power and adversity; he was harassed, humiliated, accused, tried, convicted, and sentenced to jail. He kissed his wife goodbye, and he kept his head up high as he walked to his fifteen months of confinement. I have never seen a freer man.

Camilo E. Mejia is a former prisoner of conscience, Iraq war veteran, war resister, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Camilo's conscientious objector application is still pending. He served nine months in confinement for refusing to return to Iraq after a two-week leave.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Judge Rules Against Provisions Of (Un) Patriot Act

Federal Judge Says

Patriot Act Too


The Associated Press
Friday, July 29, 2005; 7:12 PM
Link Here

LOS ANGELES -- A federal judge has ruled that some provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act dealing with foreign terrorist organizations remain too vague to be understood by a person of average intelligence and are
therefore unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that Congress failed to remedy all the problems she defined in a 2004 ruling that struck down key provisions of the act. Her decision was handed down Thursday and released Friday.

"Even as amended, the statute fails to identify the prohibited conduct in a manner that persons of ordinary intelligence can reasonably understand," the ruling said.

Collins issued an injunction against enforcement of the sections she found vague but specified that her ruling applies only to the named plaintiffs and does not constitute a nationwide injunction.

"I'm pleased that the court has recognized that people have a right to support lawful, nonviolent activities of groups the secretary of state has put on a blacklist," said David Cole, the attorney and Georgetown University law professor who argued the case on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Humanitarian Law Project.

The center had sought to clear the way for U.S. groups and individuals to assist political organizations in Turkey and Sri Lanka.

The case centered on two groups, the Liberation Tigers, which seeks a separate homeland for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, and Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan, a political organization representing the interests of the Kurds in Turkey.

Both groups have been designated by the United States as foreign terrorist organizations.

However, the plaintiffs argued that there was a desperately increased need for aid following the tsunami disaster that devastated Sri Lanka last December. Without a clear definition of what aid is permissible, they said that those who provide assistance could be subject to 15-year prison terms.

The judge's ruling addressed the prohibition on providing material support or resources, including "training," "expert advice or assistance," "personnel" and "service" to designated foreign terrorist organizations.

The judge upheld the government position on a challenge to the ban on providing "personnel" to the named groups but found the other terms too vague.

"The court finds that the terms 'training,' 'expert advice or assistance' in the form of 'specialized knowledge' and 'service' are impermissibly vague under the Fifth Amendment," the judge concluded at the end of 42-page decision.

She enjoined the government from enforcing those provisions as they apply to the groups named in the lawsuit.

--Hey Lady, there are OTHER 5th Amendment issues to discuss, and 4th amendment, oh and that 6th one, the seventh one, oh, DEFINATELY the 9th one,probably 1, 2, and 3 as well.For starters.

Then can we pull up the Geneva Conventions for dessert....? Yummy

'remain too vague to be understood by a person of average intelligence'

Yeah, OR you could say, Worded for DELIBERATE MANIPULATION.

Why don't people just see a spade, and call it a damn spade anymore??

Let me put that into CONTEXT for you....

Yeah, good luck with that!!!

I am going to sharpen my beautiful pitchfork. And pop some popcorn.---

Peacekeepers Accused after Killings in Haiti

By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK

Friday 29 July 2005
Go to Original

Evidence is mounting that United Nations peacekeepers shot and killed unarmed civilians, including children, during a recent raid in Haiti. The UN said it was ready to investigate the alleged "use of unnecessary force."

Independent witnesses say up to 23 people were killed during the raid and that many were shot in the head. Video footage seen by The Independent shows the bodies of many killed in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and contains testimony from witnesses claiming the victims were killed by "blue helmets" - common parlance for UN peacekeepers.

In a statement, the UN Mission in Haiti (Minustah) said: "[UN forces] did not target civilians in the operation ... but the nature of such missions in densely populated urban areas is such that there is always a risk of civilian casualties. Minustah deeply regrets any injuries or loss of life during its operation."

Yesterday, the most senior UN peacekeeping official appealed to the Security Council for specialised troops for Haiti - admitting the forces available were not trained for such raids.

The footage of the aftermath of the 6 July raid in the Cité Soleil slum was taken by a team led by Haitian-based journalist Kevin Pina. Pina said: "Numerous witnesses said the victims were killed by UN forces - the Haitian National Police (HNP) were not even there. I think the fact the UN did not bring a single doctor or ambulance with them on this mission is extraordinary - surely you would do that whether you were targeting criminal gangs or civilians? It is interesting that so many victims were shot in the head. I think the reason they did not bring ambulances is that they were not shooting to wound, they were shooting to kill."

The raid took place against a backdrop of violence in Haiti ahead of autumn elections. Authorities say much of the violence is perpetrated by criminal gangs with links to the former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

But since the ousting of the democratically elected Mr Aristide last year, human rights groups have detailed repression of his supporters by the US-backed interim government and the HNP. A report by the human rights programme at Harvard Law School said there were also "credible allegations of human rights abuses perpetrated by Minustah."

Minustah said its dawn raid, involving more than 400 troops, targeted the gang leader known as "Dread Wilme," who is accused of murder and kidnapping. He and four alleged associates were killed.

But other independent witnesses support Pina's evidence that civilians werealso killed. David Welsh, of the US Labour/Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, was at a conference in Port-au-Prince that weekend. Delegation members interviewed witnesses and filmed the bodies of victims. He described the shooting as a "massacre:" "Based on witnesses' testimony and the number of bodies we were able to confirm, we believe that at least 23 people were killed," he said.

Among the dead were four-year-old Stanley Romelus, who was shot in the head; his mother, Sonia, and his one-year-old brother, Nelson. The boy's father said they were killed in their house after UN forces threw smoke grenades. His testimony is to be included in a documentary Pina is producing based on the footage.

Christophe Fournier, Médecins Sans Frontières, which has a clinic close to Cité Soleil, said: "On that day we treated 27 people for gunshot wounds. Of them, around 20 were women under the age of 18."

Minustah claims it received "unconfirmed information" that criminal gangs were seen killing civilians after its operation. It said: "Subsequently, these elements attributed these atrocious acts to Minustah."

At UN headquarters yesterday, Jean-Marie Guehenno, undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, asked for specialist troops for Haiti. "I have to acknowledge the forces we have do not have the kind of very specialised capacity ... that makes absolutely sure that there will be zero civilian casualties in a densely populated environment."

Art For Boys


"We Regard Falluja As a Large Prison"

News: A reporter returns to the city, where violence and destruction remain part of everyday life.

By David Enders
July 27, 2005

Eight months after the second invasion of Falluja, there is hardly a street that does not still feature a building pulverized during the assault. I had not been in the city since last July, when I was escorted out by three cars of mujahedeen — that's when things were still relatively nice — and though I had expected it, the destruction was still shocking.

The dome of one mosque I had previously used as a landmark was completely missing, large holes had been blown in others. Houses have been pancaked, it is hard to find a façade without the mark of at least small arms fire. As many as 80 percent of the city's 300,000-plus residents have returned, but the city has by no means returned to normal. On Sunday, the police were hard at work adding razor wire and new concrete blast barriers to the already sprawling fortifications around their main station in the center of town while US and Iraqi army patrols traversed the main street, the Iraqis firing their rifles in the air to clear traffic. Small arms chattered in the distance, followed by a response from a larger gun. The tension is palpable. Curfew begins at 10 p.m. but low-level fighting continues.

"They are killing one or two of us everyday," says an Iraqi soldier at one of the checkpoints into the city, a claim confirmed by local doctors.

I have heard Iraqis make comparisons between their occupation and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but it wasn't until I saw families walking through the kilometer-long checkpoint, from a parking lot outside Falluja to one on the other side, that it seemed apt. Once inside, seeing the life continuing amidst the rubble, it was harder still to ignore the physical similarities.

A child jumps into the Euphrates from a one-lane bridge, the same bridge from which angry residents hung the charred and beaten bodies of four American contractors in March 2004, the same bridge that connects the center of town to Falluja General hospital, the first objective taken by the Marines in November's invasion. Doctors Ahmed and Salam, who agreed to be interviewed on the condition that their names be changed, lamented the condition of the city and its people. In the last week, they have received three civilian casualties of US fire, and say that this week has been below average — normally, says Ahmed, they see one or two dead civilians every day, and that hundreds have been killed by coalition forces since the city was taken over by the US.

"Just yesterday a middle-aged lady was brought here by coalition forces — she was killed by a single shot to the head," Ahmed says. "The coalition forces came to the hospital and took her name and all her information."

"The people of Falluja feel depressed because they can't move freely from place to place, because the coalition forces and the Iraqi national guard make new checkpoints every day, make new obstacles," says Salam. "They cannot move freely at night. There are medical cases at night that result in casualties because they cannot reach us."

At Al-Furqan Mosque, one of the city's moderate places of worship, some of the men stay after the prayers to discuss the situation. Even more than the US military, they feel the new, government, dominated by conservative Shiite parties, has laid siege to their city.

"They use their weapons to clear traffic," says Imam Abdul Majid. Some of the men cry during his sermon, when he asks god to save Falluja and Iraq. "We can say the Americans are better than them. Let me speak frankly — the new government has failed." They complain of continued raids and arrests, missing persons, harassment, he says. "Before we were oppressed by invaders. Now it's getting worse."

"Shops are broken into at night," one of the men says. "Tell me, if there is a curfew and the army and the police control the streets, who is breaking into our shops?"

The men are afraid of the Iranian influence on the new government, the government that has failed to continue sending aid, something which US-appointed prime minister Ayad Allawi's government, despite supporting November's invasion, did do.

Back at the hospital, Ahmed says he expects the fighting to continue. "Even civilian people will change to be fighters," he says. "We regard Falluja as a large prison." (People in Falluja will not talk directly about fighting, though all indications are that the new attacks are homegrown.)

The Iraqi army in Falluja, who don't mind telling a journalist that they are all from cities in the south, don't seem particularly thrilled to be here. (When the US tried recruiting Fallujis to fight in Falluja, they turned their guns on the US or turned them over to the guerillas.)

"Falluja — death," says one of them, drawing a finger across his throat, a motion that I would like to go one day in Iraq without seeing someone make.

Most of the reconstruction that has taken place since the fighting has been the often partial rebuilding of houses. Iyad Allawi's government sent 20 percent of the promised compensation.

"It costs in Iraq right now at least 50 million dinars to build a house," Salam said. "What is someone supposed to do if he only gets three million dinars? And these people, they have had to spend time out of their houses, and there is not a single family in Falluja that does not have someone killed."

I approach some of the Marines on a base inside the city, to try and find out what life is like for them. They say there is no one at the base who can speak on the record, but I pause for a minute and chat, not terribly excited about walking back outside into the thick dust and, potentially, a line of fire. They ask why I have come, I am the first journalist they have seen in four months.

"No one wants to talk about Falluja," says one of the Marines.

David Enders is a freelance journalist who has been working in Iraq for most of the last two years. His first book, Baghdad Bulletin, is available from University of Michigan Press.

---When they come here for our children, they will chant the word 'Fallujah, Fallujah' as they kill OUR children HERE.

WHY NOT..We went THERE to kill theirs.With Napalm.---

OK Rossi...

Now MY pics won't upload.

You've jinxed me.

A Fascinating Time For The Japanese Monarchy

After 26 centuries, is Japan

finally fit for a queen?

By Bennett Richardson,
Jul 28, 4:00 AM ET
Link Here

Japan's monarchy is so woven into the island nation's traditions that it survived defeat in World War II and invasion by the Mongols, and predates the introduction of rice. Now, a 3-year-old girl may be about to bring 2,600 years of male-dominated tradition crashing down.

After months of deliberation and official hearings, an advisory panel to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recommended Tuesday that women be allowed to ascend Japan's imperial throne.

The move was precipitated by a dearth of male heirs in the royal family and reflects changing perceptions of women in Japanese society. Gender roles changed abruptly after the war when women got the vote and a constitutional guarantee of equality. Attitudes have shifted to such a degree over the past couple of decades that many Japanese women are now spurning marriage and other traditional roles altogether.

Debate surrounding the possibility of a female monarch has grown since 2001, when the birth of Princess Aiko spotlighted the fact that the Chrysanthemum Throne was fast running out of male heirs. Aiko is the only child of the current heir Prince Naruhito and the Harvard-educated Princess Masako.

Naruhito's younger brother Prince Fumihito is second in line for the throne, but beyond him there are only a few elderly uncles and doddering male cousins in the wings. No boy has been born into the family since 1965. Aiko and any of her future offspring are barred under law from becoming monarch because she is a girl. Royal watchers have thus grown anxious that the dynasty could die out unless women are allowed to take the throne.

"People need to wake up to the fact that if the present system continues as it is, there is a real danger of the line ending altogether," says Koichi Yokota, a constitutional law professor at Ryutsu Keizai University near Tokyo.

But a 26-century habit is hard to break - especially in Japan. The panel that will decide the future of the family and the fate of young Aiko is made up of both progressives and conservatives. The progressive camp says the situation leaves no choice but to allow an empress to ensure a stable succession. Furthermore, they argue, Japan has had eight female rulers in the past.

But purists say that these women were simply caretakers and were always succeeded by heirs in the male line of descent, not their own children. "They were extremely unusual cases," says Yasuo Ohara, an expert on religious culture at Kokugakuin University, the school charged with educating the royal family.

The problem will arise, conservatives say, not if Aiko takes the throne, but if her child (presumably fathered by a commoner) becomes ruler. This would transfer succession from the male line to the female line for the first time.

"The tradition of the male line taking priority is a very important historical precedent," Mr. Ohara says. "We have a major responsibility not only to our ancestors, but also to future generations to preserve that."
Although the Japanese Emperor's role as head of state is mainly ceremonial, many still hold the imperial family in awe as an entity that unites the country and makes it uniquely Japanese.

Rather than allowing an empress, the conservatives want to expand the royal family back to its pre-war size. When the current Imperial House Law was enacted in 1947 under US occupation, it not only barred women from the throne but also reduced the royal clan from 14 families to three. By allowing some families to become royalty again, traditionalists hope to ensure a new crop of eligible males.

Such a plan might be accepted over allowing a female ruler. Although the decision-making process has been set in motion, all options remain on the table until a final report that may come as late as November. Details remain to be worked out such as the exact rules of succession, including whether younger males should take precedence over older sisters.
The knight in shining armor that may save Aiko from relegation behind an obscure male cousin is the Japanese people themselves. The panel has said it will base its final decision on three factors: the likely stability of the system, tradition, and public opinion. And public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of allowing a woman to rule.

Polls generally show such support topping 80 percent. In one survey taken by Nippon Television Network, 92 percent said they thought having a woman on the throne would be desirable while only 5 percent were opposed. Ohara says these numbers are simply due to the fact that Aiko turned out to be a girl, as well as the existence of female monarchs overseas and in Japan's past. "I think the support levels will probably change,"he says.

But even before Aiko was born, support for changing the system to allow for a female ruler was around 70 percent. If the system has to undergo unusual modifications in order to ensure a male ruler, people will simply question what is so essential about having a man on the throne, says Yokota. "It would be very difficult now to build public support for any system other than allowing a female monarch."

---C'MON!!! Give the girl the throne..Damn, their family pre-dates RICE... ??? That is incredible.

Art For Girls


HOLY SHIT...The Neck Bone IS Connected To The Hip Bone

Dramatic New Charges Deepen Link between

Ohio's "Coingate," Voinovich Mob Connections,

and the Theft of the 2004 Election

By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
The Columbus Free Press
Go to Original
Friday 29 July 2005

Columbus - New charges filed against Ohio Governor Bob Taft's former top aide have blazed a new trail between "Coingate" and the GOP theft of the 2004 presidential election.

Brian Hicks appears in court today to answer charges that he failed to report vacation trips he took to Coingate mastermind Tom Noe's $1.3 million home in the Florida Keys. A top Taft aide for a dozen years, Hicks stayed at Noe's place in 2002 and 2003. Another Taft aide, Cherie Carroll, is charged with taking some $500 in free dinners from Noe.

Noe is a high-roller crony of Taft, US Senator George Voinovich and President George W. Bush. Noe charged the Ohio Bureau of Workman's Compensation nearly $13 million to invest some $58 million. Ohio Attorney-General Jim Petro, to whom Noe once donated money, says some $4 million disappeared into Noe's pocket.

The new charges against Taft's former aide are at the edge of Coingate's links to Bush, Voinovich and organized crime. Through Noe's wife Bernadette, those links extend to the GOP theft of Ohio 2004.

Tom Noe, northwest Ohio's "Mr. Republican" and a close Bush/Rove crony, is under federal investigation for making possibly illegal contributions to the Bush/Cheney campaign.

As owner of Vintage Coins and Cards in Maumee, Ohio, Noe raised more than $100,000, to become a Bush Pioneer/Ranger.

But Noe was more than a mere fundraiser. The New York Times dubbed him Toledo's "Mr. Republican," the GOP "man to see" in northwest Ohio. While Tom chaired the regional Bush-Cheney campaign, his wife Bernadette chaired the scandal-torn Lucas County Board of Elections that played a key role in caging votes to put Bush back in the White House.

Noe's fortune came in part from charging the Bureau of Worker's Compensation (BWC) $12.6 million in coin-fund related expenses for managing the $50 million investment between 1998 and 2004. Federal and state officials are now investigating these expenses.

A "Ponzi scheme" is what Ohio's Republican Attorney General Jim Petro calls the method by which Noe may have stolen millions of dollars from the state of Ohio's Bureau of Worker's Compensation (BWC).

Petro says that on May 31, 1998, Noe received the first of two $25 million payments approved from then-Governor Voinovich's BWC. Noe promptly laundered $1.375 million into his personal or business account. Rolling in public money, Noe then asked to run a bizarre rare coin investment scheme on behalf of the BWC.

Meanwhile Noe laundered money into Republican Party campaigns. Among others, he and Bernadette made a $4500 contribution to then-Secretary of State Bob Taft's successful campaign for governor, at a time when Brian Hicks was Taft's top aide.

The Toledo Blade reports that Noe later gave Taft another $2500. Still another $2000 went to then-governor Voinovich's successful Senate campaign. And another $500 went to re-elect Petro, then the state auditor.

Mr. Noe's attorney acknowledged on May 26 that as much as $13 million in BWC assets remain missing. Petro says $4 million was illegally taken by Noe for personal use.

Noe's high-flying financial dance is rooted in the gubernatorial corruption of his good friend Voinovich, and a shady aide named Paul Mifsud. Mifsud was Voinovich's Chief of Staff and has become a statewide symbol of official corruption and illegality.

Mifsud's was responsible for much of Tom Noe's rapid rise. According to the conservative Columbus Dispatch, May 8, 2005, Mifsud paved the way for Noe's rare coin gambit.

Mifsud himself spent six months in prison for destroying the government records of a sweetheart construction deal he engineered for his then-fiancée's house. Mifsud made the mistake of giving the bid to a controversial contractor named T.G. Banks, who allegedly did the job in exchange for state contracts.

Mifsud took both Banks and Noe under his wing. He made Noe Chair of the Lucas County Republican Party in 1992. Noe says the job "kept me alive."

In 1993, Noe testified in his divorce case that Mifsud and Voinovich's cohort Vincent Panichi were now his coin clients. Panichi later figured in a 1996 money laundering scandal involving donations from Banks' underage nieces of $1000 each to the Voinovich campaign.

Panichi also told a grand jury that Voinovich had approved a $60,000 illegal payment from his 1994 gubernatorial campaign fund to his own family's business, headed by his brother Paul Voinovich. The Governor later said Panichi probably told him this, but he hadn't heard it because his hearing aid was turned off or malfunctioning.

A very public high roller, Mifsud openly bragged of alleged ties to the CIA. He also claimed membership in the secretive Knights of Malta, running the Maltese American Foundation. The Knights and the CIA have been accused in various news reports of working together in covert operations around the globe.

Mifsud never talked to the Free Press. But the late Republican Franklin County Sheriff Earl Smith and other high-ranking law enforcement sources and Republicans say Mifsud's CIA connections were real.

Mifsud's own autobiography claimed service in "military intelligence" with the United States Air Force between 1966-1970. Columbus Alive revealed in an award-winning article that Mifsud was indeed the key player in spending millions of Ohio tax dollars to bring the CIA-affiliated drug-running Southern Air Transport airline to Columbus in 1995.

The infamous Iran-Contra airline went bankrupt in October 1998 after the CIA Inspector General confirmed printed allegations that a dozen of its pilots were linked to drug running. A downed Southern Air Transport plane led to the Reagan-Era Iran-Contra scandals.

Noe's Coingate goes to the Bush family through Misfud, whose connections to George Herbert Walker Bush date from the 1970s. Regardless of his alleged CIA connections, Misfud chaired Bush1's Cuyahoga County Bush for President Committee in 1979. Mifsud was also vice chairman for Ohio's 1988 Bush for President Committee.

Mifsud was investigated by Ohio Inspector General David Sturtz during Voinovich's first term as governor (1991-1995). Voinovich fired Sturtz. But not before Columbus ALIVE uncovered Mifsud's role in helping Banks jump from being a bar room bouncer to the state's leading minority contractor, a major Voinovich donor, and the contractor of choice for Mifsud's girl friend's house.

As the Mifsud-Banks scandal heated up, Voinovich appointed Noe to the Ohio Board of Regents. Noe has no college degree. But in 1999, Taft re-appointed him to a full 9-year term.

On July 26, 1996, Mifsud resigned as the governor's Chief of Staff claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family. On October 9, 1997 Mifsud was sentenced to six months in the Union County Rehabilitation Center after pleading guilty to ethics violations for altering a public document in the Banks scandal.

Mifsud got a coveted daytime work release which, according to news reports, allowed him to continue work as a GOP fundraiser and operative. Tom Noe and Coingate may have been his last covert operation.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Bush the Elder contacted Mifsud when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. Mifsud died in May 2000.

Three years earlier the Ohio Bureau of Workman's Compensation was caught up in a major scandal. BWC Chief Operating Office Steve Isaac was fired November 7, 1997.

Isaac then sued his former boss, Bureau Chief James Conrad, a longtime Voinovich operative. Isaac alleged he was fired for filing an ethics complaint against Dale Hamilton, the Bureau's Deputy Administrator for Special Projects. Dale is the son of Phil Hamilton, Governor Voinovich's Transition Chief and a powerful lobbyist for the then-Governor's family business, the Voinovich Companies.

Dale's mother Patricia chaired the important Ohio Board of Personnel Review. Issac claimed that he found documents in a briefcase that Dale Hamilton left in Isaac's office that "showed that Hamilton had used his inside status at the Bureau and the information to which he had acquired access through administering managed care technology, internal auditing and external consulting for the Bureau, to benefit Hamilton and Associates," his father's firm.

Essentially Hamilton was mining BWC data on emergency medical services and other health services and selling the information to Ohio municipalities for a cut of the reimbursements. Conrad threatened to sue the Columbus Alive weekly newspaper for reporting the story. He also threatened a private citizen with a lawsuit within 13 minutes of receiving her email complaining about Isaac's firing, the Alive later reported. Conrad resigned as BWC Chief on May 27, 2005, as Coingate began to erupt.

Richard G. Ward, Ohio's Inspector General, released a report on June 19, 1997 after an investigation of the BWC that noted "This experience served to illustrate serious deficiencies in the ability of BWC to objectively identify, analyze and deal with allegations of wrongdoing within the agency."

In July, 2003, Taft gave Noe a seat on the Ohio Turnpike Commission for a term ending June 30, 2011. In Ohio politics, the Turnpike Commission is where the GOP and organized crime are known to meet. Its commissioners have included a long string of notorious alleged mob bosses such as Umberto Fedeli, appointed by Voinovich as its chair.

In August 1996, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Tommy Banks's Banks-Carbone construction company, suspected as a phony minority front company, bought liability insurance through the Fedeli Group, solely owned by the Chair of the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Fedeli refused to disclose his insurance agency clients who did business with the Turnpike. Fedeli resigned after printed accounts revealed that he had not disclosed his 1995 relationship with Banks-Carbone. A state contractor, S.E. Johnson Companies, received a $32 million construction contract in early 1996, the same year they switched their insurance to the Fedeli Group in 1996.

That year Voinovich attempted to appoint to the Turnpike Commission Carmen Parise, an alleged associate of James T. "Jack White" Licavoli, another reputed organized crime boss. Noe's Taft-appointed eight-year seat at the Turnpike Commission by Taft put him at dead center of a scandal-ridden office from which his coin operations could flourish.

Among other things, Noe used his political pull for insider favors like a coveted ticket at Ohio State's national championship football game in Arizona. Email documents also indicate Noe attended at least one "Ohio political strategy session" with GOP operatives Ken Mehlman and Collister "Coddy" Johnson, George W. Bush's Ohio campaign manager and field director. Karl Rove is listed as a possible attendee. As a Bush Ranger/Pioneer with unparalleled clout in northern Ohio and around the 2004 election's most crucial swing state, Noe was near the top of the national GOP food chain.

In April, the Toledo Blade reported that Noe was under federal investigation for making illegal donations to the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. By all accounts, Coingate is still in the early stages of unraveling, and where it reaches, no one yet knows. But most serious observers of Ohio politics believe it will go very high.

The outing of how Noe and his wife may have used their clout to steal votes in Lucas County's "Votegate" has also just begun.

Election day in Ohio 2004 was defined by partisan chaos, confusion and theft everywhere in the state. But the Noe's Toledo was uniquely rife with corruption and illegality.

Well before election day, Lucas County's Democratic headquarters was broken into. Key voter data went missing.

On November 2, inner city voting machines mysteriously broke down en masse. Polls opened late. The Toledo Blade has reported that the sole machine at the Birmingham polling site in east Toledo broke down around 7 a.m. By order of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, no paper ballots were available for backup.

At one school polling station the voting machines were locked in the office of the principal, who called in sick. The Gesu School in West Toledo temporarily ran out of ballots. There were huge lines, missing ballots and technical anomalies associated with the leased Diebold Optical-Scan voting tabulators. Lucas County BOE Director Paula Hicks-Hudson admitted that the Diebold machines had jammed during the previous week's testing, but the BOE did not bother to fix them for the election.

Sworn statements at public hearings in Toledo and Columbus confirmed that scores of citizens were disenfranchised because they had to go to work. According to the Toledo Blade, at the Birmingham polling site in east Toledo, the sole machine broke down around 7am. When Ohio Rep. Peter Ujvagi tried to cast his ballot an hour later, a poll worker told him to place his ballot in "a secure slot under the machine" so it could be scanned in later, after Ujvagi had left.

When voting rights activists challenged Republican Secretary of State Blackwell's controversial partisan handling of provisional ballots, Tom Noe sued on Blackwell's behalf. Bernadette Noe worked hard to reverse the traditional Ohio practice of allowing provisional ballots to be cast in precincts other than the one in which voters were registered. Her efforts helped disenfranchise innumerable Toledo voters, most of them inner city Democrats..

Ms. Noe also reversed standard procedure and banned public testimony at an open meeting meant to discuss a Republican Party challenge to 35,000 newly registered Ohio voters. The challenge was blocked by a federal judge.

But the election in Lucas County had become so infamous that on April 8, Blackwell fired the entire County Board of Elections. Bernadette Noe had announced her plans to resign in December, 2004. But Blackwell's desperate move was a slap in her face, especially since the Secretary of State himself is at center stage in deepening disputes over how Ohio's 2004 election might have been stolen. Blackwell served as Ohio's Bush-Cheney co-chair while running what he claimed to be a fair election.

Blackwell's investigation of the Lucas County BOE has been received with shock and awe around the state.

It cites no less than thirteen areas of "grave concern" including "failure to maintain ballot security"; "inability to implement and maintain a trackable system for voter ballot reconciliation": "failure to prepare and develop a plan for the processing of the voluminous amount of voter registration forms received"; "issuance and acceptance of incorrect absentee ballot forms"; and "failure to maintain the security of poll books during the official canvas."

Richard Weghorst, Ohio's Director of Campaign Finance, and Faith Lyon, the Secretary of State's liaison to county board of elections, found among other things that optical scan ballots received from a private printing company were left unattended and unsecured in a warehouse for nearly a month prior to the presidential election.

Ms. Noe was quoted in the Toledo Blade, saying, "It is important for everyone to remember that we had a good, fair, and accurate election in November, despite the fact that we were at the epicenter of the national election."

But election protection activists are swarming into Lucas County and have added to Blackwell's list a stunning litany of irregularities, all pointing in the direction of massive vote fraud for the benefit of George W. Bush, engineered at least in part by his friends Tom and Bernadette Noe.

Tom Noe has been reportedly liquidating his properties to pay back the state. But his financial sinkhole has already thoroughly tainted a deeply unpopular Taft regime.

The still-young Coingate and Votegate scandals have already catapulted the Bush/Rove Pioneer/Ranger Noe family close to the realm of headlines currently reserved for Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.

But Ohio insiders predict much more to come.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-editors of Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election?, published by FreePress.org, where The Fitrakis Files are also available. Harvey Wasserman's History of the US is at HarveyWasserman.com.

----OHHH wow...The house of cards IS falling.---
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