Monday, October 09, 2006

North Korea Sets Off Nuke

North Korea announced Monday (Oct. 9) that it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test, ignoring repeated warnings from the international community.

The self-proclaimed test, the first by the communist state, dealt a serious blow to international efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis through dialogue, as well as spark an arms race in the region.

In a report by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the communist regime said the test earlier Monday was carried out safely and successfully.

South Korea's presidential office Chong Wa Dae said the country's state geology research center detected a 3.58-3.7 magnitude tremor in the North's remote area of North Hamgyong Province at around 10:36 a.m (local).

The U.N. Security Council is expected to deal sternly with the North's nuclear test, if it is confirmed to have taken place.

Last week, the council issued a chairman's statement in response to Pyongyang's public threat on Oct. 3 that it would push for a nuclear test due to Washington's hostile policy.

Termination set for Iraq monitor

Congress has set a 2007 termination date for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction at the behest of the Bush administration, removing the source of a series of audit reports that have emboldened critics of the president's war polices.

The just-completed Pentagon authorization bill ends Special Inspector General of Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), as the post is called, on Oct. 1, 2007. The bill, which has yet to be signed by President Bush, calls for the work to be transferred to inspectors general for the Pentagon, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department. State runs reconstruction in Iraq.

Stuart W. Bowen Jr., a former Bush aide whom the president appointed as special inspector general in January 2004, has issued a series of reports and audits on a reconstruction effort dogged by incessant insurgent attacks and mismanagement.

Who, you may ask, will be responsible for oversight? None other than former CIA official
David H. Laufman, should his appointment by Bush for the IG spot at DoD get approved. Say goodbye to even more of your money.

Laufman was one of the "cleaners" who as part of the House Task Force investigating the 1980 October Surprise, where American hostages in Iran were witheld until Reagan's swearing-in, ignored pertinent information that Republicans (George H.W. Bush was an involved participant) held illegal, back door meetings with the Iranians in Paris to secure Reagan's victory in the presidential election by keeping the Americans away from an early (read: Carter) release.

SIGIR's website

British Find No Evidence Of Arms Traffic From Iran

ON THE IRAQ-IRAN BORDER -- Since late August, British commandos in the deserts of far southeastern Iraq have been testing one of the most serious charges leveled by the United States against Iran: that Iran is secretly supplying weapons, parts, funding and training for attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

A few hundred British troops living out of nothing more than their cut-down Land Rovers and light armored vehicles have taken to the desert in the start of what British officers said would be months of patrols aimed at finding the illicit weapons trafficking from Iran, or any sign of it.

There's just one thing.

"I suspect there's nothing out there," the commander, Lt. Col. David Labouchere, said last month, speaking at an overnight camp near the border. "And I intend to prove it."

Other senior British military leaders spoke as explicitly in interviews over the previous two months. Britain, whose forces have had responsibility for security in southeastern Iraq since the war began, has found nothing to support the Americans' contention that Iran is providing weapons and training in Iraq, several senior military officials said.

"I have not myself seen any evidence -- and I don't think any evidence exists -- of government-supported or instigated" armed support on Iran's part in Iraq, British Defense Secretary Des Browne said in an interview in Baghdad in late August.

Rove aide quits -- she took gifts, gave Abramoff inside information

A top aide to White House strategist Karl Rove resigned yesterday after disclosures that she accepted gifts from and passed information to now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, becoming the first official in the West Wing to lose a job in the influence-peddling scandal.

Susan Ralston submitted her resignation to avoid causing political damage for President Bush a month before the midterm elections, officials said.

"She did not want to be a distraction to the White House at this important time," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

As right hand to Rove, the president's most important adviser, Ralston was closer to the center of the Bush operation. She was a key organizer of presidential events, coordinating with White House political, scheduling, advance and public liaison offices.

The Bush administration insider, who is in her 30s, had been Abramoff's administrative assistant and, after Bush took office, assumed the same post with Rove.

The 'secret world' of Jack Abramoff being probed by investigators today has definite connections and unmistakable links to the one inhabited during their final year in the U.S by Mohamed Atta and the other hijackers.

One of the most amazing things about this scandal is that some of the same names in the Abramoff scandal also surface in connection with Mohamed Atta’s.

Less than a week before the 9.11 attack, for example, Atta and several other hijackers made a still-unexplained visit onboard one of Abramoff’s casino boats.

What were they doing there? No one knows.

Abramoff-Atta connection

So, with these items laid out we can connect, by four or less degrees of separation, George W. Bush and Mohammed Atta.

Even more troubling is that considering
Bush personally squashed an investigation of Abramoff back in 2002, it would appear Bush had reason to want to protect Abramoff, or, at least, his relationship to him.

Doesn't look good, does it? How connected to the 9/11 attacks is Bush II, really?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More on Bush's use of signing statements

Boston Globe: Bush signings called effort to expand power

President Bush's frequent use of signing statements to assert that he has the power to disobey newly enacted laws is ``an integral part" of his ``comprehensive strategy to strengthen and expand executive power" at the expense of the legislative branch, according to a report by the non partisan Congressional Research Service.

In a 27-page report written for lawmakers, the research service said the Bush administration is using signing statements as a means to slowly condition Congress into accepting the White House's broad conception of presidential power, which includes a presidential right to ignore laws he believes are unconstitutional.

Under most interpretations of the Constitution, the report said, some of the legal assertions in Bush's signing statements are dubious. For example, it said, the administration has suggested repeatedly that the president has exclusive authority over foreign affairs and has an absolute right to withhold information from Congress. Such assertions are ``generally unsupported by established legal principles," the report said.

Bush has used signing statements to challenge more than 800 laws that place limits or requirements on the executive branch, saying they intrude on his constitutional powers. By contrast, all previous presidents challenged a combined total of about 600 laws.

Extensive article on the topic from the Boston Globe

Examples of some of Bush's signing statements

NY Daily News: W sez he can tinker with privacy reports

President Bush, again defying Congress, insisted he has the power to alter the Homeland Security Department's reports about whether it obeys privacy rules while handling background checks, ID cards and watch lists.

In the law Bush signed Wednesday, Congress stated no one but the privacy officer could alter, delay or prohibit the mandatory annual report on agency activities that affect privacy, including complaints.

Bush Asserts Constitutional Right To Hire Incompetent People At FEMA

On Wednesday, the President signed “The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007.” In response to FEMA’s disastrous response to Katrina — led by the former Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, Michael Brown (a.k.a. Brownie) — Congress included some minimum professional requirements for FEMA’s director. From the bill:

2. QUALIFICATIONS.- The Administrator shall be appointed from among individuals who have-
A. a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management and homeland security; and
B. not less than 5 years of executive leadership and management experience in the public or private sector.

President Bush, however, released a “signing statement” at the time he signed the bill. In it, he asserted his constitutional right to continue to install incompetent FEMA administrators. From the statement released by the President:

Section 503(c)(2) vests in the President authority to appoint the Administrator, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, but purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the President may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office. The executive branch shall construe section 503(c)(2) in a manner consistent with the Appointments Clause of the Constitution.

It’s unclear how requiring someone to have five years of management experience and some knowledge of emergency management “rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified.” Georgetown Law School professor Marty Lederman noted, “It’s hard to imagine a more modest and reasonable congressional response to the Michael Brown fiasco,” he said.

From the recent
Congressional Research Service report on Presidential Signing Statements:

"The large bulk of the signing statements the Bush II Administration has issued to date do not apply particularized constitutional rationales to specific scenarios, nor do they contain explicit, measurable refusals to enforce a law. Instead, the statements make broad and largely hortatory assertions of executive authority that make it effectively impossible to ascertain what factors, if any, might lead to substantive constitutional or interpretive conflict in the implementation of an act. The often vague nature of these constitutional challenges, coupled with the pervasive manner in which they have been raised in numerous signing statements could thus be interpreted as an attempt by the Administration to systematically object to any perceived congressional encroachment, however slight, with the aim of inuring the other branches of government and the public to the validity of such objections and the attendant conception of presidential authority that will presumably follow from sustained exposure and acquiescence to such claims of power."

Earlier posts on signing statements

US Paying Pakistan $70-80 Million a Month

A British analyst has stirred a hornet's nest by revealing that the United States is bankrolling Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf to the extent of $70-80 million a month, adding fuel to the dictator's incendiary visit to the West this month.

The unnamed analyst has made the disclosure in a British ministry of defence think-tank paper that has subsequently been disowned by London as "not representing the views of the MoD or the government."

While much attention has been drawn to the analyst's contention that Pakistan's spy agency ISI is supporting terrorism, the portion about the payola for Musharraf, as reported by BBC, has embarrassed Washington, which is already chafing from Musharraf's own disclosure that the US paid bounty money to the Pakistan government for handing over wanted Al Qaida terrorists.

"Musharraf knows that time is running out for some point the US is likely to withdraw funding (and possibly even protection) of him estimated at $70-80 million a month," the analyst wrote, adding, "Without US funding his position will become increasingly tenuous."

While it is possible the analyst might have meant US funding Pakistan (and not Musharraf individually), the latest flap comes on top of Musharraf's own claim that the CIA has paid the Government of Pakistan undisclosed sum of reward money.

He later retracted the claim when faced with questioning arising from the fact that it is illegal for the US to pay governments. He then indicated the payments may have gone to individuals but did not identify the individuals. The Bush administration has refused to comment on the matter.

Time Warner Gives Bush-Bashing Comic the Hook

Is Time Warner getting into the censorship business? A host of Showtime at the Apollo claims he got the hook for angering top brass at the media megaconglomerate with jokes about President George W. Bush.

Comic Paul Mooney (most recently of Chappelle's Show) was midway through a taping of the famed Harlem theater's weekly variety show when the plug was abruptly pulled. Mooney claims the show's producer, Suzanne de Passe, told him material in his monologue had offended unnamed officials from Time Warner, whose chairman, Richard Parsons, heads the Apollo Theater Foundation's board of directors and is among the country's most prominent black Republicans. De Passe was traveling and unreachable for comment, but a Time Warner spokeswoman called the story "ridiculous." "It's absolutely untrue" that the company had anything to do with the incident, she says, noting that Parsons was out of the country at the time.

Mooney, however, seems certain who shut him down. "They wanted me out of there, the Republicans, the Time Warner people," he says. "They said I was Bush bashing, and it was hatred. I felt like I was in Iran or Cuba or somewhere."

After everything that's been said about Bush at this point, how did Mooney manage to provoke such a harsh response? "I talked about his little drunk daughters, Gin and Juice," he says, referring to Jenna and Barbara Bush. "I talked about his mother, who looks like the man on the oatmeal box." Mooney also did a bit on how the letters in Bush's name can be manipulated to produce the number 666, proving Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's recent claim that Bush is the devil.

Bush decides to continue harboring a terrorist

Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is to remain in a U.S. immigration detention center for now, and authorities say the criminal should continue searching for a third country that will take him in, despite an extradition application submitted by Venezuela.

The day before the 30th anniversary of the criminal attack on a Cubana airliner, representatives of the George W. Bush government insisted that Posada Carriles should be held until shelter is found for him outside the United States, but are ignoring the fact that his terrorist crimes remain unpunished.

Posada was also told that the Department of Homeland Security is considering, in consultation with the State Department, whether or not to continue his detention because "his release may have serious adverse foreign policy consequences in the United States," Zamarripa said. [This should be understood to mean that if he is released everything that Bush and Co. have been saying about their obligations to detain terrorists, and harboring them equates to being one is bull.]

The decision comes after U.S. Magistrate Norbert Garney ruled on September 11 that Posada should be released while the government finds a country to deport him to.

The National Security Archive has documents that show that the CIA (George H.W. Bush was the director at this time) had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner.

Luis Posada Carriles is a former CIA operative who was trained by the U.S. Army at Fort Benning in Georgia.

So he is "our" terrorist...which makes everything OK.

From the BBC: US accused of 'terror hypocrisy'

Venezuela has said the US will be guilty of double standards on terrorism if it does not extradite a Cuban exile wanted over the bombing of a plane.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the man, Luis Posada Carriles, was "a self-confessed terrorist".

He said the US had no choice but to send him back to Venezuela, where he escaped from jail two decades ago.

Venezuela wants the man to stand trial over the bombing of the Cuban plane in 1976 that killed 73 people.

Posada’s future lies in the court’s hands, and any intervention by the White House on behalf of his case would be considered offensive.

However, such political maneuvering is not unprecedented; in 1990 President George H. W. Bush overruled his own Department of Justice and had Orlando Bosch - a known international terrorist and Posada’s former partner-in-crime in the airline bombing- released from a Florida prison and granted asylum.

Bosch now enjoys his mysteriously granted freedom in Miami.

In today’s post-9/11 milieu, a similar move by the current administration would seriously undermine the credibility of the Bush doctrine.

Arrest over Cheney barb triggers lawsuit

A Denver-area man filed a lawsuit October 3, 2006, against a member of the Secret Service for causing him to be arrested after he approached Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek this summer and criticized him for his policies concerning Iraq.

Attorney David Lane said that on June 16, Steve Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people.

According to the lawsuit filed at U.S. District Court in Denver, Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, "I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible," or words to that effect, then walked on.

Ten minutes later, according to Howards' lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had "assaulted" the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.

Here's why Chávez is so mad

While politicians from across the political spectrum and editorial pages throughout the United States have been taking their shots at Venezuela's Hugo Chávez since his now infamous ''devil'' comment at the United Nations, no one is asking what made him so mad. Seats are getting crowded on the anti-Chávez bandwagon as retailer 7-Eleven announced it will drop Venezuelan-owned Citgo gasoline from its 2,100 service stations in the United States in protest and Florida lawmaker Rep. Adam Hasner has called for Citgo to be kicked off of the state's turnpike.

A quick glance at recent U.S. policy and posture toward Venezuela gives us some clues as to why people in Venezuela are getting set to reelect a president who calls the United States an empire.

A good place to start is the short-lived 2002 coup in Venezuela. While the United States publicly denies any role in the coup, numerous published reports show that at the very least the United States had a cozy relationship with many of the opposition figures who allegedly planned the coup and immediately welcomed the overthrow of the democratically elected president.

Do you think President Bush and Karl Rove would be upset if the tables were turned and Chávez were funding a 527 group supporting the Democrats in the mid-term elections?

At the same time, the United States is stepping up its spying efforts in Venezuela. In August the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, announced the creation of a new ''mission manager'' position for Venezuela and Cuba. According to the State Department, the only other countries in the world with ''mission managers'' based out of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are Iran and North Korea. Unconfirmed reports among security analysts suggest a recent 50 percent increase in CIA agents operating in Venezuela.

The century of drought

One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100, say climate experts in the most dire warning yet of the effects of global warming

Drought threatening the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth in the coming century because of global warming, according to a new study from the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

The research shows that extreme drought could affect 30 percent of the world's land surface, up from the current span of 3 percent. Severe drought will affect 40 percent of the earth's land, up from eight percent, and moderate drought, which currently affects about 25 percent of the world's surface, will rise to 50 percent.

Keith Olbermann on the difference between terrorists and critics

While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool ...

While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover ...

The president of the United States — unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: the Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.’”

The hell they did.

One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president’s seizure of another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

The president doesn’t just hear what he wants.

He hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.

But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, “We must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.

If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they’ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead, solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday ... nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is — why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands.

But the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening — and thanks to Bob Woodward’s most recent account — evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack — attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both — it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president — in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month — has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.

How often do we find priceless truth in the unlikeliest of places?

I tonight quote not Jefferson nor Voltaire, but Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

On Sept. 11th, 2003, the editor of that publication interviewed General Tommy Franks, at that point, just retired from his post as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command — of Cent-Com.

And amid his quaint defenses of the then-nagging absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the continuing freedom of Osama bin Laden, General Franks said some of the most profound words of this generation.

He spoke of “the worst thing that can happen” to this country:

First, quoting, a “massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western World — it may be in the United States of America.”

Then, the general continued, “the Western World, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years, in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

It was this super-patriotic warrior’s fear that we would lose that most cherished liberty, because of another attack, one — again quoting General Franks — “that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

And here we are, the fabric of our Constitution being unraveled, anyway.

Habeus corpus neutered; the rights of self-defense now as malleable and impermanent as clay; a president stifling all critics by every means available and, when he runs out of those, by simply lying about what they said or felt.

And all this, even without the dreaded attack.

General Franks, like all of us, loves this country, and believes not just in its values, but in its continuity.

He has been trained to look for threats to that continuity from without.

He has, perhaps been as naïve as the rest of us, in failing to keep close enough vigil on the threats to that continuity from within.

Secretary of State Rice first cannot remember urgent cautionary meetings with counterterrorism officials before 9/11. Then within hours of this lie, her spokesman confirms the meetings in question. Then she dismisses those meetings as nothing new — yet insists she wanted the same cautions expressed to Secretaries Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld, meantime, has been unable to accept the most logical and simple influence of the most noble and neutral of advisers. He and his employer insist they rely on the “generals in the field.” But dozens of those generals have now come forward to say how their words, their experiences, have been ignored.

And, of course, inherent in the Pentagon’s war-making functions is the regulation of presidential war lust.

Enacting that regulation should include everything up to symbolically wrestling the Chief Executive to the floor.

Yet—and it is Pentagon transcripts that now tell us this—evidently Mr. Rumsfeld’s strongest check on Mr. Bush’s ambitions, was to get somebody to excise the phrase “Mission Accomplished” out of the infamous Air Force Carrier speech of May 1st, 2003, even while the same empty words hung on a banner over the President’s shoulder.

And the vice president is a chilling figure, still unable, it seems, to accept the conclusions of his own party’s leaders in the Senate, that the foundations of his public position, are made out of sand.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But he still says so.

There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida.

But he still says so.

And thus, gripping firmly these figments of his own imagination, Mr. Cheney lives on, in defiance, and spreads—around him and before him—darkness, like some contagion of fear.

They are never wrong, and they never regret -- admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or “the Clinton era”—even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal.

Thus, last month’s enraged attacks on this administration’s predecessors, about Osama bin Laden—a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom—the Constitution—a triumph for al Qaida, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11’s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir.

It is your own—before 9/11 - and (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country—your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats -- piled atop lies about Iraq -- which were piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaida.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries -- as crushing, as immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop -- if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same -- you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country’s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Military Commissions Act of 2006

Torture Bill States Non-Allegiance To Bush Is Terrorism

Buried amongst the untold affronts to the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the very spirit of America, the torture bill contains a definition of "wrongfully aiding the enemy" which labels all American citizens who breach their "allegiance" to President Bush and the actions of his government as terrorists subject to possible arrest, torture and conviction in front of a military tribunal.

Further actions that result in the classification of an individual as a terrorist include the following.

- Destruction of any property, which is deemed punishable by any means of the military tribunal's choosing.

- Any violent activity whatsoever if it takes place near a designated protected building, such as a charity building.

- A change of the definition of "pillaging" which turns all illegal occupation of property and all theft into terrorism. This makes squatters and petty thieves enemy combatants.

Subsection 4(b) (26) of section 950v. of
HR 6166 - Crimes triable by military commissions - includes the following definition.

"Any person subject to this chapter who, in breach of an allegiance or duty to the United States, knowingly and intentionally aids an enemy of the United States, or one of the co-belligerents of the enemy, shall be punished as a military commission under this chapter may direct."

Report says detainee plan would pardon U.S. officials

A video report from CNN's Jack Cafferty says that buried deep within the pending plan to create military tribunals for those suspected of terrorism is amnesty for present U.S. officials.

He said that President Bush "is trying to pardon himself" with the plan, which is in the last stage of congressional endorsement and next will go to the president's desk.

"Here's the deal:" Cafferty said. "Under the War Crimes Act, violations of the Geneva Conventions are felonies, in some cases punishable by death. When the Supreme Court ruled that the Geneva Convention applied to al-Qaida and Taliban detainees, President Bush and his boys were suddenly in big trouble.

"They've been working these prisoners over pretty good. In an effort to avoid possible prosecution they're trying to cram this bill through Congress before the end of the week before Congress adjourns," he said.

"The reason there's such a rush to do this? If the Democrats get control of the House in November this kind of legislation probably wouldn't pass," he said.

Cafferty said the "real disgrace" was that Sen. Bill Frist and U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert "and their Republican stooges apparently don't see anything wrong with this. I really do wonder sometimes what we're becoming in this country."

The Chicago Tribune summarized the bill as shielding U.S. officials from prosecution under the War Crimes Act retroactively to 1997. That's when the original law was passed criminalizing violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

George Bush's vast new powers of detention and interrogation

It is fair to say, given how lopsided this vote was (both in the House and the Senate), that the Republicans are the party of torture, indefinite and unreviewable detention powers, and limitless presidential power, even over U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. By contrast, Democrats have opposed these tyrannical, un-American and truly dangerous measures. Even if Democrats didn't oppose them as vociferously as they could have and should have, this is still a meaningful and, at this point, critically important contrast.

Congress gives Bush the right to torture and detain people forever

Following in the footsteps of the House, the Senate this afternoon approved the bill which vests in the President the power of indefinite, unreviewable detention (even of U.S. citizens) and which also legalizes various torture techniques. It is not hyperbole to say that this is one of the most tyrannical and dangerous bills to be enacted in our nation’s history.

The White House Warden

BURIED IN THE complex Senate compromise on detainee treatment is a real shocker, reaching far beyond the legal struggles about foreign terrorist suspects in the Guantanamo Bay fortress. The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.

This dangerous compromise not only authorizes the president to seize and hold terrorists who have fought against our troops "during an armed conflict," it also allows him to seize anybody who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." This grants the president enormous power over citizens and legal residents. They can be designated as enemy combatants if they have contributed money to a Middle Eastern charity, and they can be held indefinitely in a military prison.

What is worse, if the federal courts support the president's initial detention decision, ordinary Americans would be required to defend themselves before a military tribunal without the constitutional guarantees provided in criminal trials.

Legal residents who aren't citizens are treated even more harshly. The bill entirely cuts off their access to federal habeas corpus, leaving them at the mercy of the president's suspicions.

We are not dealing with hypothetical abuses. The president has already subjected a citizen to military confinement. Consider the case of Jose Padilla. A few months after 9/11, he was seized by the Bush administration as an "enemy combatant" upon his arrival at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He was wearing civilian clothes and had no weapons. Despite his American citizenship, he was held for more than three years in a military brig, without any chance to challenge his detention before a military or civilian tribunal. After a federal appellate court upheld the president's extraordinary action, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, handing the administration's lawyers a terrible precedent.

The new bill, if passed [NOTE: it has passed both the House and Senate], would further entrench presidential power. At the very least, it would encourage the Supreme Court to draw an invidious distinction between citizens and legal residents. There are tens of millions of legal immigrants living among us, and the bill encourages the justices to uphold mass detentions without the semblance of judicial review.

In Case I Disappear By William Rivers Pitt

I have been told a thousand times at least, in the years I have spent reporting on the astonishing and repugnant abuses, lies and failures of the Bush administration, to watch my back. "Be careful," people always tell me. "These people are capable of anything. Stay off small planes, make sure you aren't being followed." A running joke between my mother and me is that she has a "safe room" set up for me in her cabin in the woods, in the event I have to flee because of something I wrote or said.

I always laughed and shook my head whenever I heard this stuff. Extreme paranoia wrapped in the tinfoil of conspiracy, I thought. This is still America, and these Bush fools will soon pass into history, I thought. I am a citizen, and the First Amendment hasn't yet been red-lined, I thought.

Matters are different now.

It seems, perhaps, that the people who warned me were not so paranoid. It seems, perhaps, that I was not paranoid enough. Legislation passed by the Republican House and Senate, legislation now marching up to the Republican White House for signature, has shattered a number of bedrock legal protections for suspects, prisoners, and pretty much anyone else George W. Bush deems to be an enemy.

So much of this legislation is wretched on the surface. Habeas corpus has been suspended for detainees suspected of terrorism or of aiding terrorism, so the Magna Carta-era rule that a person can face his accusers is now gone. Once a suspect has been thrown into prison, he does not have the right to a trial by his peers. Suspects cannot even stand in representation of themselves, another ancient protection, but must accept a military lawyer as their defender.

Illegally-obtained evidence can be used against suspects, whether that illegal evidence was gathered abroad or right here at home. To my way of thinking, this pretty much eradicates our security in persons, houses, papers, and effects, as stated in the Fourth Amendment, against illegal searches and seizures.

Speaking of collecting evidence, the torture of suspects and detainees has been broadly protected by this new legislation. While it tries to delineate what is and is not acceptable treatment of detainees, in the end, it gives George W. Bush the final word on what constitutes torture. US officials who use cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to extract information from detainees are now shielded from prosecution.

It was two Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that compelled the creation of this legislation. The Hamdi decision held that a prisoner has the right of habeas corpus, and can challenge his detention before an impartial judge. The Hamdan decision held that the military commissions set up to try detainees violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions.

In short, the Supreme Court wiped out virtually every legal argument the Bush administration put forth to defend its extraordinary and dangerous behavior. The passage of this legislation came after a scramble by Republicans to paper over the torture and murder of a number of detainees. As columnist Molly Ivins wrote on Wednesday, "Of the over 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a CYA for torture of the innocent that has already taken place."

It seems almost certain that, at some point, the Supreme Court will hear a case to challenge the legality of this legislation, but even this is questionable. If a detainee is not allowed access to a fair trial or to the evidence against him, how can he bring a legal challenge to a court? The legislation, in anticipation of court challenges like Hamdi and Hamdan, even includes severe restrictions on judicial review over the legislation itself.

The Republicans in Congress have managed, at the behest of Mr. Bush, to draft a bill that all but erases the judicial branch of the government. Time will tell whether this aspect, along with all the others, will withstand legal challenges. If such a challenge comes, it will take time, and meanwhile there is this bill. All of the above is deplorable on its face, indefensible in a nation that prides itself on Constitutional rights, protections and the rule of law.

Underneath all this, however, is where the paranoia sets in.

Underneath all this is the definition of "enemy combatant" that has been established by this legislation. An "enemy combatant" is now no longer just someone captured "during an armed conflict" against our forces. Thanks to this legislation, George W. Bush is now able to designate as an "enemy combatant" anyone who has "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States."

Consider that language a moment. "Purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" is in the eye of the beholder, and this administration has proven itself to be astonishingly impatient with criticism of any kind. The broad powers given to Bush by this legislation allow him to capture, indefinitely detain, and refuse a hearing to any American citizen who speaks out against Iraq or any other part of the so-called "War on Terror."

If you write a letter to the editor attacking Bush, you could be deemed as purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States. If you organize or join a public demonstration against Iraq, or against the administration, the same designation could befall you.
One dark-comedy aspect of the legislation is that senators or House members who publicly disagree with Bush, criticize him, or organize investigations into his dealings could be placed under the same designation. In effect, Congress just gave Bush the power to lock them up.

By writing this essay, I could be deemed an "enemy combatant." It's that simple, and very soon, it will be the law. I always laughed when people told me to be careful. I'm not laughing anymore.

In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place.

That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you.

Amnesty International review of the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Senate roll call vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Link to S. 3930 [Senate Version of the Military Commissions Act of 2006] on THOMAS

House roll call vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Link to H.R. 6166 [House Version of the Military Commissions Act of 2006] on THOMAS

May god bless you and keep you and shine his countenance upon you. You will need it.

Legislating Violations of the Constitution

With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion.

A federal statute, 42 United States Code section 1988, provides that attorneys are entitled to recover compensation for their fees if they successfully represent a plaintiff asserting a violation of his or her constitutional or civil rights. For example, a lawyer who successfully sues on behalf of a victim of racial discrimination or police abuse is entitled to recover attorney's fees from the defendant who acted wrongfully. Any plaintiff who successfully sues to remedy a violation of the Constitution or a federal civil rights statute is entitled to have his or her attorney's fees paid.

Despite the effectiveness of this statute, conservatives in the House of Representatives have now passed an insidious bill to try and limit enforcement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, by denying attorneys fees to lawyers who successfully challenge government actions as violating this key constitutional provision. For instance, a lawyer who successfully challenged unconstitutional prayers in schools or unconstitutional symbols on religious property or impermissible aid to religious groups would -- under the bill -- not be entitled to recover attorneys' fees. The bill, if enacted, would treat suits to enforce the Establishment Clause different from litigation to enforce all of the other provisions of the Constitution and federal civil rights statutes.

Such a bill could have only one motive: to protect unconstitutional government actions advancing religion. The religious right, which has been trying for years to use government to advance their religious views, wants to reduce the likelihood that their efforts will be declared unconstitutional. Since they cannot change the law of the Establishment Clause by statute, they have turned their attention to trying to prevent its enforcement by eliminating the possibility for recovery of attorneys' fees.

Link to info on the bill from THOMAS

Senior intel official: Pentagon moves to second-stage planning for Iran strike option

The Pentagon's top brass has moved into second-stage contingency planning for a potential military strike on Iran, one senior intelligence official familiar with the plans tells RAW STORY.

The official, who is close to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking officials of each branch of the US military, says the Chiefs have started what is called "branches and sequels" contingency planning.

"The JCS has accepted the inevitable," the intelligence official said, "and is engaged in serious contingency planning to deal with the worst case scenarios that the intelligence community has been painting."

A second military official, although unfamiliar with these latest scenarios, said there is a difference between contingency planning -- which he described as "what if, then what" planning -- and "branches and sequels," which takes place after an initial plan has been decided upon.

Adding to the concern of both military and intelligence officials alike is the nuclear option, the possibility of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons targeting alleged WMD facilities in Iran.

Retired Colonel: ‘We Are Conducting Military Operations Inside Iran Right Now. The Evidence Is Overwhelming.’ [The link has video for you to watch] For the full transcript, click here

Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner (Ret.) said, “We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming.”

Gardiner, who taught at the U.S. Army’s National War College, has previously suggested that U.S. forces were already on the ground in Iran. Today he added several additional new points:

1) The House Committee on Emerging Threats recently called on State and Defense Department officials to testify on whether U.S. forces were in Iran. The officials didn’t come to the hearing.

2) “We have learned from Time magazine today that some U.S. naval forces had been alerted for deployment. That is a major step.”

3) “The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning. When the plan goes to the White House, that means we’ve gone to a different state.”

War Signals?

As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.

As Time writes in its cover story, "
What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran."

Military Orders Suggest Iran Attack

Two recent orders by the American military have led some observers to conclude that the U.S. is preparing for an attack on Iran.

One order was a "Prepare to Deploy" command sent to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine hunters, telling the ships’ commanders to be ready to move by Oct. 1.

The other was a request from the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) for a fresh look at long-standing U.S. plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the Persian Gulf.

The orders created a buzz within the military because there are few places in the world where minesweepers could be significant – chief among them, the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, where about 40 percent of the world’s oil passes each day.

Iran could cut West's oil supplies in event of war, warns American chief in Gulf

Iran could trigger a global terrorist campaign and choke the West's oil supplies in the event of war with America, the top US commander in the region has warned.

In a rare public discussion of how a war with Iran might unfold, Gen John Abizaid, the chief of the US Central Command, gave a sobering assessment of Iran's military potential.

He warned that in a war Iran would rely on unconventional means to challenge America's superiority.

"Number one, they have naval capacity to temporarily block the
Straits of Hormuz [the entrance into the Gulf] and interfere with global commerce if they should choose to do so," he said.

"Number two, they've got a substantial missile force that can do a lot of damage to our friends and partners in the region.

"Number three, they've got a pretty robust terrorist surrogate arm that could in the event of hostilities cause problems not only in the Middle East but globally.

And number four, they have a very substantial land army that, while it's not offensively worrying, is certainly capable of conducting asymmetric warfare."

The "Iraq Scenario" in Iran

Is Iran secretly building an atomic bomb? The International Atomic Energy Agency wants to shed light on the core issue behind Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West. While the United States doubts the IAEA's efficacy, the UN inspectors fear hawks are trying to make them irrelevant -- just like before the Iraq war.

The worst case scenario making the rounds at the IAEA these days is that the UN Security Council does what the United States is pushing for and slaps sanctions on Iran. That then causes Tehran to retaliate by carrying out its threat to bar ElBaradei's inspectors from the country. Or, Iran could follow the example of North Korea and even ditch the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entirely.

Then the IAEA would essentially be blind. And each week without inspections would increase the uncertainty about what was truly going on in Iran's nuclear facilities. Theory, analysis and a flood of so-called experts would suddenly hold sway instead of actual facts.

Inside the IAEA this is known as the "Iraq Scenario." Saddam Hussein tossed inspectors out of the country in 1998, which ended up making it easier for the Bush administration's hawks to use exaggeration and outright lies to try to convince world opinion of the need to invade Iraq.

There are already the first attempts to shape the debate surrounding the dispute with Iran. In recent weeks, an IAEA letter has surfaced that harshly criticized a report by a US Congressional intelligence committee. The 29-page document supposedly grossly exaggerated the state of Iran's nuclear research and claimed ElBaradei had caved to Iranian pressure to remove a particularly critical IAEA expert from the list of inspectors. The report even went so far as to infer that Nobel Peace Prize winner ElBaradei was more interested in having good ties with Tehran than finding out the truth.

The IAEA called the report "upsetting and misleading" and Heinonen and his experts found at least five fundamental mistakes in it. The worst was the claim that Iran had enriched uranium to 90 percent -- that is, weapons grade. But the IAEA had only found uranium enriched to 3.5 percent in Natanz.

Such hyperbole can't be explained as simple sloppiness. One of the authors of the report is the former CIA official Frederick Fleitz, a hawk who's previously worked for John Bolton, US ambassador to the United Nations. "It's just like before the Iraq war," says David Albright, a respected US nuclear expert. "They blow up the threat with windy information and attack the IAEA."

Iran's KOLCHUGA antenna device passively detects stealth planes 800 Km away [The original article is no longer available online. "Page not found." Here is the originating URL:]

In the event the US and/or Israel stage an air attack on Iran they would be wise to remember that the Iranians have an unknown number of KOLCHUGA passive electronic warfare systems. Below you will find an explanation of what these systems can do.

Iran's KOCHULGA antenna device passively detects stealth planes 800 Km away, making the billions of Dollars spent on stealth technology and the AWACS planes (600km detection range) utterly useless. In addition, being passive, it cannot be detected, so the targeted plane(s) are unaware of detection and have nothing to home in to destroy the equipment.

It should be noted that the Kolchuga’s undeniable advantages are not accidental or temporary. The Ukrainian product [which is the one Iran has purchased] is head and shoulders above all American, Russian, French, Czech, or Brazilian developments in this field. But those who developed and made this unique product aren’t resting on their laurels. They continue to work.

Doomed to repeat: Germany, 1933

From Daily Kos:

I know how dangerous it is to argue by comparing present events to the Nazi nightmare. But I did a little research, and the comparison between the torture bill that Congress is about to pass and the Enabling Act of 1933 -- the law that gave Hitler his power -- seems inescapable to me.

Hitler was elected Chancellor (a point conveniently forgotten by many) in January 1933 on a platform of anti-communist propaganda. In February, the Reichstag, the equivalent of our Capitol, was destroyed by arsonists, who may or may not have been affiliated with the Nazis. Appropriately cowed by these and other intimidations, the German parliament passed the Enabling Act that March.

The Enabling Act, officially known as the "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and Realm," was short and simple. Its operative provisions were as follows:

Article 1

In addition to the procedure prescribed by the constitution, laws of the Reich may also be enacted by the government of the Reich...

Article 2

Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.

Article 3

Laws enacted by the Reich government shall be issued by the Chancellor and announced in the Reich Gazette...

That, seasoned with only a soupçon of legalistic detail, was it. What it meant was that the executive was empowered by the legislature to decide what the law was. He was empowered to ignore the constitution. Neither the courts nor the legislature would have means to check executive power.

When the world saw the logical conclusion of that social experiment, it promised, "never again."

Never again.

That promise has usually been understood to refer to the Holocaust. To that extent, the tragedies of Darfur and Bosnia and Rwanda stand as silent refutation, differing in scale but not culpability. But there was another implicit promise of lessons learned: Never again would the people of a powerful Western democracy descend into the madness of unrestrained dictatorship.
That second promise was largely implicit, because it seemed superfluous. After the obscenity of WWII, the idea that it could be broken by the United States or its allies was unthinkable. And that promise, at least, was largely kept.

Until now.

Forget, for the moment, that the proposed "compromise" torture legislation effectively abrogates the Geneva Conventions. Forget that it effectively licenses torture in the name of every American. Focus instead on the fact that it "vests in the administration the singularly most tyrannical power that exists - namely, the power unilaterally to decree someone guilty of a crime and to condemn the accused to eternal imprisonment without having even to charge him with a crime, let alone defend the validity of those accusations." Focus on this language from the proposed law:

...(N)o court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider any claim or cause of action whatsoever, ... including challenges to the lawfulness of procedures of military commissions under this chapter.

No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.

The language of the new Enabling Act is a bit more baroque than that used seventy years ago. And, to be sure, it is not as far-reaching as that of its predecessor. But make no mistake: Just as the 1933 Enabling Act created the context for dictatorship, so does this one. The German legislature told the executive that it had the power to make law and ignore the constitution. If Congress passes this bill, the American legislature will second the motion.

Congress has passed this bill respectively in the House and Senate. It will find its way to Bush's desk very soon. Do you think he'll sign it?

Are Parallels To Nazi Germany Crazy? A article from 2004

Goodbye to our sweet dream,
night has fallen.

Pakistan 'behind Mumbai bombings'

A deadly bombing on Mumbai's railway system was masterminded by Pakistan's spy agency and carried out by the Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Indian police said.

"We have solved the July 11 bombings case. The whole attack was planned by Pakistan's ISI [Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence] and carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba and their operatives in India," A.N. Roy, Mumbai's police commissioner said.

Roy said the ISI had begun planning the attacks in March and later provided training to those who carried out the bombings.

During a news conference, Roy gave a detailed description of how the explosives were transported into India and by whom. He also described how the bombs were packed into pressure cookers and placed on the trains.

The Pakistani ISI is the same organization that the Bush administration says is cooperating so helpfully in the "War on Terror." It also happens to be the organization that
wired $100,000 directly to alleged 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta.

It is also, according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, accused of having a
close working relationship with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Full 9/11 timeline with a
focus on how the Pakistani ISI factors into the event.

Settling Personnel and General Claims at the Department of Defense

Published recently in the Federal Register the final rule assigning responsibility and policy for the Settling of Personnel and General Claims and Processing Advance Decision Requests designates the General Counsel of the DoD the ultimate "judge" on whether or not a claim will be paid. The majority of claims dealth with in this final rule surround the death of a member of the military or a civilian employee of the DoD.

Who, you may ask, is the current General Counsel of DoD? It is
William J. Haynes II. He has most recently been lauded for the following:

During his tenure as General Counsel, Haynes was responsible for the development, implementation and promotion of three controversial Bush Administration policies:

-The refusal to treat any of the hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and conversely, the refusal to apply Contsitutionally mandated due process to these Guantanamo Bay prisoners, who are detained with a status of Non-POW by the United States Government without being convicted of any illegal act.

-Haynes appointed a working group led by John C. Yoo and Air Force general counsel Mary Walker that produced a report proposing ways in which existing international treaties banning torture could be circumvented, either through legal technicalities or by invoking the President's ultimate authority to wage war as he sees fit.

-The Defense Department's military tribunal plan for trying suspected war criminals.

-The indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the Executive Branch without legal counsel or judicial review.

Bush nominated him to a judgeship on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003, but his involvement with the creation of "Legal Arguments for Avoiding the Jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions in Iraq" has caused Senate Democrats to engage in a filibuster to prevent his nomination from receiving a full Senate vote.

Ted Kennedy has this to say about the nomination:

"Nominations do not get much worse than this. Haynes does not come anywhere close to the commitment to fundamental rights and the principle of separation of powers that we all expect from the federal courts. He would be a poster boy on the 4th Circuit for denying the rule of law, and he should not be confirmed."

Given the above, who is to say that Mr. Haynes would treat our uniformed and civilian employees of the DoD with respect and honor when their families file a claim against the DoD in the event of their loved ones death or mistreatment? This is just further evidence of the Bush administration's lack of concern for anyone but their corporate overlords and their personal greed.

CNN Fact Checks Inhofe’s Diatribe Against Global Warming Science

From on 9/28/06:

On Monday, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor and launched into a
45-minute diatribe on global warming science. Repeating his claim that global warming is a hoax, Inhofe said, “The American people know…when they are being used and when they are being duped by the hysterical left.”

In particular, he attacked the news media. According to Inhofe, “During the past year, the American people have been served up an unprecedented parade of environmental alarmism by the media and entertainment industry.”

This morning, CNN hit back with a segment documenting that virtually everything Inhofe said was flatly contradicted by the facts. Click the "thinkprogress" link above to watch the segment.

More gems from Inhofe

Beijing secretly fires lasers to disable US satellites

China has secretly fired powerful laser weapons designed to disable American spy satellites by "blinding" their sensitive surveillance devices, it was reported 9/25/06.

The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration for fear that it would damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic offensives against North Korea and Iran.
Sources told the military affairs publication Defense News that there had been a fierce internal battle within Washington over whether to make the attacks public. In the end, the Pentagon's annual assessment of the growing Chinese military build-up barely mentioned the threat.

"After a contentious debate, the White House directed the Pentagon to limit its concern to one line," Defense News said.

The document said that China could blind American satellites with a ground-based laser firing a beam of light to prevent spy photography as they pass over China.

According to senior American officials: "China not only has the capability, but has exercised it." American satellites like the giant Keyhole craft have come under attack "several times" in recent years.

Although the Chinese tests do not aim to destroy American satellites, the laser attacks could make them useless over Chinese territory.

The American military has been so alarmed by the Chinese activity that it has begun test attacks against its own satellites to determine the severity of the threat.

Defense News article

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

For the full, documented list, click here

#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
#15 Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
#22 Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
#24 Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

Secret Banff Meeting of CEOs and the Defense Establishment : Militarization and the Deconstruction of North America

Cabinet ministers, top military brass together with North America's top corporate executives mingle in the plush surroundings of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. [This link has a full list of attendees and an agenda for the retreat]

This secret venue on "Continental Prosperity in the New Security Environment" focused on "Deep Integration," which largely consists in flushing national sovereignty in favor of "Fortress North America".

According to the draft program (see below), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Banff, Alberta to deliver the keynote address on "military to military cooperation". Canada's Minister of Public Security Stockwell Day focused his address on issues of North American public security.

Top brass from the US and Canada were in attendance. Canada's Minister of Defense Gordon O'Connor was present together with Chief of Defense Staff, General Rick Hellier.

There was, however, no confirmation that Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the meetings.

On the US side, several of Rumsfeld's top policy advisers were present alongside a handful of researchers and consultants.

The commander of US NorthCom Admiral Tim Keating was also in attendance with several of his senior staff members. Keating is also Commander of NORAD, which is slated to be merged with US NorthCom.

Documents disclose 'shadow government', Indicate U.S. far advanced in constructing
bureaucracy united with Mexico, Canada

Government documents released by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal the Bush administration is running a "shadow government" with Mexico and Canada in which the U.S. is crafting a broad range of policy in conjunction with its neighbors to the north and south, asserts WND columnist and author Jerome R. Corsi.

The documents, a total of about 1,000 pages, are among the first to be released to Corsi through his FOIA request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, which describes itself as an initiative "to increase security and to enhance prosperity among the three countries through greater cooperation."

"The documents clearly reveal that SPP, working within the U.S. Department of Commerce, is far advanced in putting together a new regional infrastructure, creating a 'shadow' trilateral bureaucracy with Mexico and Canada that is aggressively rewriting a wide range of U.S. administrative law, all without congressional oversight or public disclosure," Corsi said.

PDF of a portion of the docs obtained from the FOIA request, including an organizational chart

N. American students trained for 'merger'; 10 universities participate in 'model Parliament' in Mexico to simulate 'integration' of 3 nations

In another example of the way the three nations of North America are being drawn into a federation, or "merger," students from 10 universities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are participating annually in a simulated "model Parliament."

Under the sponsorship of the Canadian based North American Forum on Integration, students met in the Mexican Senate for five days in May in an event dubbed "Triumvirate," with organizers declaring "A North American Parliament is born."

A similar event took place in the Canadian Senate in 2005.

The North American Forum on Integration

2006 Triumvirate North American Forum on Integration Conference Overview [with photos]