Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dark Waters

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

NYT: As weeks wore on, Bush administration began to doubt Israel could win an outright military victory in Lebanon

"An advance version of the Times article obtained by RAW STORY included references to such doubts as expressed by an unidentified senior Bush Administration official, but for unknown reasons it was left out of the published article.

"'When the war in Lebanon began in mid-July, American diplomacy was predicated on giving the vaunted Israeli armed forces the time it needed to destroy Hezbollah militarily,' Warren Hoge had once written.

"The unpublished draft continued:

"The Bush administration resisted all calls for a cease-fire, even as worldwide clamor for one increased, arguing that a simple truce with no conditions for its aftermath would leave Hezbollah entrenched and Israel exposed to renewed rocket attacks from southern Lebanon.'"

Bush 'helped Israeli attack on Lebanon'

"The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday."

Bush 'viewed war in Lebanon as a curtain-raiser for attack on Iran'

"The officials apparently started their inquiries with Vice-President Dick Cheney, knowing that if they secured his support, obtaining the backing of President Bush and Condoleezza Rice would be easier."

Intelligence officials doubt Iran uranium claims, say Cheney receiving suspect briefings

"One former senior intelligence official is particularly concerned by private briefings that Vice President Dick Cheney is getting from former Office of Special Plans (OSP) Director, Abram Shulsky.

"'Vice President Cheney is relying on personal briefings from Shulsky for current intelligence on Iran,' said this intelligence official."

Cheney orchestrated Israel's losing war

"Dick Cheney orchestrated Israel’s losing war against Hizbullah by authorizing George Bush and Condoleezza Rice to encourage Ehud Olmert to launch the war against Lebanon as a prelude to America’s forthcoming war against Iran.

"Following briefings from top Israeli military officials, Cheney approved plans for an air war against Lebanon as a preliminary move to disarm Hizbullah in advance of America’s broader military objective - to launch an air war against Iran. Had the US launched its war against Iran without Olmert’s intervention in Lebanon, Hizbullah would have been free to attack Israel. Cheney’s plan was designed to disarm Hizbullah, but it was based on what now appears to have been a false assumption - that Israel would win their war in Lebanon."

No evidence Iran active in Iraq; US general

"'There is nothing that we definitively have found to say that there are any Iranians operating within the country of Iraq,' Major General William Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told a news conference."

Is conspiracy a war crime? The White House urges Congress to say yes, because it makes terror convictions easier. The high court is split.

"The Bush administration is asking Congress to simply pass a law recognizing conspiracy as a war crime."

I'm for it if it also applies to BushCo. Conspiring to invade Iraq using cooked information and conspiring with Israel to invade Iran using cooked information are both war crimes. Make BushCo the test case. The US has certainly terrorized Iraq and will do the same to Iran.

Olmert's war, and the next one

"With our War Party discredited by the failed policies it cheered on in Lebanon and Iraq, there will come a clamor that Bush must 'go to the source' of all our difficulty – Iran. Only thus can the War Party redeem itself for having pushed us and Israel into two unnecessary and ruinous wars. And the drumbeat for war on Iran has already begun." . . . .

"Bush is on notice from the neocons and War Party that have all but destroyed his presidency: Either you take down Iran, Mr. Bush, or you are a failed president.

"If the president is still listening to these people, Lord help the Republic."

Nuclear war starting in 10 days?

"Lewis believes it will be precisely Teheran who will unleash the ultimate conflict by attacking Israel. Why August 22nd? Perhaps simply because Washington has set a deadline for the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and has demanded a complete wrap up of the nuclear program by that day. It is obvious that Teheran has no intention to comply. Curiously, this year the night of August 22nd happens to be night Muslims will celebrate the journey of their prophet Mohammed to Jerusalem and his ascension into heaven. According to Lewis the followers of Mohammed have a perfect opportunity to enrich their celebration by throwing an attack on Israel. An immediate retaliation will follow."

Corporate war machine gathers speed

"More important, however, the professionals' opposition to the administration's bombing plans stems from the fact that, as pointed out by renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, 'American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine [nuclear] activities or hidden facilities' in Iran. Hersh further writes, 'A former senior intelligence official told me that people in the Pentagon were asking, 'What's the evidence? We've got a million tentacles out there, overt and covert, and these guys - the Iranians - have been working on this for 18 years, and we have nothing? We're coming up with jack shit.'"

Bush calls for sealing of Syria's borders

"However, Bush also asserted his belief that Hezbollah has been armed by Iran, with weapons passing through Syria. 'I know they claim they didn't have anything to do with it,' the President told reporters, 'but sophisticated weaponry ended up in the hands of Hezbollah fighters, and many assume and many believe that that weaponry came from Iran through Syria.'
The United States and ally nations plan to call for UN troops to seal off Syrian borders and ports soon after the Hezbollah resolution is considered."

Group says Iran is 'not a crisis': Former generals and officials seek to prevent an attack on suspected nuclear sites and to overhaul policies toward Tehran and Baghdad.

"Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security."

US to move quickly on Iran sanctions

"The United States intends to move very quickly in early September to impose UN sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment of uranium, a senior State Department official said Thursday.

"'They will be well-deserved,' Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters. 'It's not a mystery to the Iranians what is going to happen.'"

George Freedomseed is gonna' nuke 'em.

On eve of Lebanon ceasefire deadline: US, Israel face political debacle

"Israel’s ongoing aggression, carried out with open US support, leaves no doubt that any ceasefire will only be a pause in the US-Israeli drive to destroy Hezbollah, reduce Lebanon to the status of a protectorate and thereby create the conditions for a wider war against Syria and Iran.

"This is despite the fact that the attack on Lebanon has resulted in a setback to US-Israeli war aims, and has further isolated both countries, fuelling popular opposition to their governments in the Middle East and around the world."

Israeli leaders fault Bush on war

"Amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel’s faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon."

No honor among war criminals

God's chosen people: Israel is history

"There are limits to our patience, and limits for what we can accept. We do not believe in divine promises for occupation and apartheid. We are not in the Middle Ages any more. We laugh uneasily of those that still believe a God of flowers, life and everything in the galaxy has chosen a specific group as his/her favourites, and given them curious stone tablets, burning bushes and license to kill. Murderers of children are murderers and we never accept that such persons have any divine or historical authorization that excuses their crimes. We say: shame to all apartheid, shame to all ethnic cleansing, and shame to all terror against civilians whether it is done by Hamas, Hezbollah or the government of Israel!"

Another spy story suppressed to save Israel

"Many people reading this will automatically assume that the Navy was keeping the case mum so as not to let the Israeli’s know they had caught Weinmann, but this isn’t the case, the Israeli’s probably knew before the Navy that Weinmann had been arrested, the Navy was keeping the case quiet in an effort to keep the American people in the dark, just as the United States government did with more than one hundred and fifty Israeli’s after they had been arrested for espionage just after 9-11, and the five Israeli’s that were arrested on 9-11 as a result of being witnessed by several people laughing while filming the impact of the airliners into the twin towers and clapping one another on the back in a congratulatory manner. The Navy buried Weinmann’s case in the hope that the American people would never find out about him and what he did, just as the government did with Asher Karni, an Israeli Jew arrested at Denver International Airport on January 2, 2004 for having sold [past tense] more than sixty nuclear weapon detonators to Pakistan, a country populated by more than three hundred million Muslims, who generally don’t like the United States and where the name 'Osama,' is the most popular name for a newborn male child. There are dozens of cases just like these; that have occurred in this country recently, the common denominator is that they all involve ethnic Jews. Another case is that of American citizen, Yehuda Abraham, a New York City Jeweler and Orthodox Jew, who was arrested in 2003 for having sold FBI agents posing as Al Qeada operatives Russian made, shoulder launched, surface to air missiles, with the understanding that they’d be used against Americans on domestic flights. Ever heard of any of these people? Surprise, the fact that you haven’t doesn’t mean they aren’t real people and they weren’t arrested for the above crimes, they are all quite real and they are all quite guilty."

I'm not sure about what to make of stories like this, but it's probably good to remember them.

Israel vows Hezbollah pursuit

"Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, told parliament that Hezbollah had been driven underground.

"'These people will not be left alone, we will continue pursuing them anywhere all the time and we do not intend to apologise or ask anyone's permission,' he said in a televised address."

Israel's verdict: We lost the war

"Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, was obliged to admit 'shortcomings' in the 34-day-old conflict in Lebanon yesterday as he launched what may prove a protracted fight for his own political survival.

"Mr Olmert's admission in a stormy Knesset session came in the face of devastating poll figures showing a majority of the Israeli public believes none or only a very small part of the goals of the war had been achieved."

The Rovian political ploy and why it will no longer oppress America

"We saw the battle plan this past week as the talking points released to the media machine operated by the Bush regime included words such as Islamo-fascism, rise of Nazism, and cut and runners. The Lamont victory on Tuesday spoke volumes for how fed up America is with the fear-mongering tactics used by the GOP for the past five years. It portends good things for this November, if the oppressed can remember the game plan of the oppressor."

No shortage of fear: Desperate administration wants you to think we're under attack

"Of the hundreds of prisoners, alleged terrorists all, who have been held at Guantanamo on the grounds that they were the worst of the worst, only 10 have ever been charged with anything. In the latest episode, shortly after announcement of a British-based plot to blow up airliners, Britain and the United States were already airing their differences over when the perpetrators should have been arrested."

Source: US. UK at odds over timing of arrests: British wanted to continue surveillance on terror suspects

"In contrast to previous reports, one senior British official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports."

Politically, however, early arrests would help spin Loserman's loss in Connecticut.

The timing is political: We should be sceptical about this alleged plot, and wary of politicians who seek to benefit

"Nine days on, nobody has been charged with any crime. For there to be no clear evidence yet on something that was "imminent" and would bring 'mass murder on an unbelievable scale' is, to say the least, peculiar. A 24th person, arrested amid much fanfare on Tuesday, was quietly released without charge the following day."

Contradictions, anomalies, questions mount in UK terror scare

"Indeed, one week on, it seems that the current alert is unravelling, and that it is of a similar type to previous 'terror plots' that subsequently proved to involve nothing concrete, with much of the supposed evidence resulting from the activities of police informants working as agent provocateurs."

Letter from Airstrip One: Fear over facts by Chris Floyd

"Of course, Blair himself reacted to this 'imminent threat' of 'mass murder on an unimaginable scale,' this moment of extreme national peril, by · cruising the Caribbean. The sight of Blair sunning on a luxury yacht while security troops stormed suburban homes and surrounded mosques back home was just one of the many surreal juxtapositions in the vast media spectacle that quickly overwhelmed whatever kernel of reality lay behind the plot.

"The inherent schizophrenia of the 'War on Terror' was everywhere in evidence. Britons were told they were facing the greatest threat to the life of the nation since World War II, requiring tireless vigilance, a "huge effort of will and courage" - but they should keep shopping, keep traveling, carry on with their normal lives (as their tanned and jaunty leader was doing). They were pipelined stories by an unquestioning media about the dazzling triumph of the super-efficient security services - the same services that had botched the Iraq WMD intelligence, shot dead a Brazilian carpenter they mistook for a terrorist last year and, just two months before, sent 250 heavily armed agents on a raid to seize two alleged 'chemical bombers' (and shoot one of them) on the false word of a single informant. Britain has arrested more than 700 people on terrorism charges in the last five years; only 17 have been found guilty - and only three of these convictions were related to 'Islamic terrorism,' as CounterPunch and the Guardian report."

An officially induced panic: UK terror effort sparks wave of mini-scares

"It is becoming increasingly evident that the government-media hysteria about the alleged plot was prompted not by security concerns, but rather by a politically motivated desire to divert attention from the growing crisis of both the Bush and Blair governments. Under conditions of a deepening military and political debacle in Iraq, growing domestic opposition to the war, a deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, and the unfavorable outcome for the US and Britain in Lebanon, the eruption of the latest alleged terror plot has served to 'change the subject,' while fostering an atmosphere of fear and panic that both governments hope will disorient the public and facilitate new attacks on democratic rights."

The fear factory (Scroll down) by Greg Palast"

"Am I saying there’s no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its employees’ pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions altogether. Four-million three-hundred thousand Americans were injured, made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy gunk called 'lignite.' The filth it will pour into the sky will snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics with bottles of hydrogen peroxide."

Bingo, Palast nails it. BushCo is killing and will kill more Americans than Osama can wish for.

Olbermann exposes nexus of politics and terror

"During a prime time segment on his MSNBC show last night, anchor Keith Olbermann presented ten clear examples where the Bush administration had issued terror alerts days after politically damaging revelations and questioned the credibility of each of the alleged plots' authenticity in light of astounding evidence to the contrary."

Video segment included.

I bet you it will turn out to be a hoax: Despite all the revelations about the latest 'terror plot', politicians and security chiefs got it wrong before and are likely to have got it wrong now too.

"I have a feeling that all the Muslims detained in connection with the recent police operation to foil and alleged plot are innocent and will soon be proven so. I also suspect that the entire episode has been deemed, despite its enormous cost, to be of utility to a government that is increasingly out of touch with reality and seriously short of public support and sympathy. I wonder whether this was also intended to smear the image of Islam and the Muslims at the time when the entire world can see that they are the victims of a most unjust world order dominated by the USA and the UK who both support and sponsor Israeli terrorism against Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon and who both oppress the Muslim peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq through direct occupation."

The UK terror plot: what's really going on?

"We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for 'Another 9/11'. The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled."

Precott lets slip that some suspects won't face serious charges

"The Deputy Prime Minister made the admission during talks with Labour's Muslim MPs on how best to tackle Islamic extremism. During the 90-minute meeting, Mr Prescott briefed the MPs that the police only had enough evidence to bring serious charges against some suspects but not others."

Bush is crap, Prescott tells Labour MPs

"John Prescott faced further embarrassment last night after it was claimed that he had described George Bush as "crap" in a private meeting with Labour MPs."

No plot to bomb bridge, FBI says

"A day after saying it was investigating a possible plot by three men to blow up the Mackinac Bridge, federal officials now say the men have no link to terrorism and there is no plot.
"The news on Monday made national news and captured the attention of many in the Upper Peninsula."

Spinning old threats into new fears: Investigators have known for a decade about terrorist plots to bring down passenger jets with liquid explosives. So why, all of a sudden, did Bush ban most liquids on flights?

"Government-induced hysteria thrives on public ignorance, which is why President Bush is so confident of turning the British bomb plot to his partisan purposes. Otherwise, how could he dare claim that his policies have made the nation safer?"

Pakistanis find no evidence against 'terror mastermind'

"But after two weeks of interrogation, an inch-by-inch search of his house and analysis of his home computer, officials are now saying that his extradition is ‘a way down the track’ if it happens at all.

"It comes amid wider suspicions that the plot may not have been as serious, or as far advanced, as the authorities initially claimed."

Brits support for war on terror on the slide

"Now regular Brits are questioning the credibility of the so-called plot, the need and effectiveness of the increased security, and the government's motives for its 'paranoia' with terrorism."Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary publicly voiced his frustration and scepticism on Friday, when he said 'terrorists are rolling around caves in Pakistan laughing at us,' referring to what he terms an over-reaction to recent events.He said the recently imposed security measures were 'farcical, keystone cop-like, completely insane, and ineffectual.'"

Bush & Co.: Desperate desperados

"By suggesting that Ned Lamont and those who voted for him are somehow in the same league with al-Qaida -- as Cheney and Lieberman and Mehlman and others did -- clearly indicates that they're frightened enough to pull out all the stops, legit or not, no distinctions made. Karl Rove at his most Rovian."Many of those who voted against Lieberman in Connecticut were moderates, some of whom even supported Bush in previous elections. A national poll the other day showed that nearly one in five of those who voted for Bush in 2004 now say they'll vote for a Democrat in November."

GOP deserts one of its own for Lieberman

"Republican officials are actively working to help Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who is running for Senate as an independent."

Bush breaks rank to boost independent's bid

"President George Bush gave a boost to Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman’s re-election bid as an independent this week by taking the rare step of refusing to endorse the Republican candidate running for Lieberman’s US senate seat."

Bush gave Lieberman a soul kiss. Dem voters in Connecticut had it right on August 8.

The science of creating killers: Human reluctance to take a life can be reversed through training in the method known as killology

"What exactly does it take to kill someone? Here's how 21-year-old West Texas Army Pvt. Steven Green described shooting a man who refused to stop at an Iraqi checkpoint: "It was like nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody, and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza,' " he told the military newspaper Stars & Stripes."

Officer called Haditha routine

"The Marine officer who commanded the battalion involved in the Haditha killings last November did not consider the deaths of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, unusual and did not initiate an inquiry, according to a sworn statement he gave to military investigators in March.

"'I thought it was very sad, very unfortunate, but at the time, I did not suspect any wrongdoing from my Marines,' Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marines, said in the statement.

"'I did not have any reason to believe that this was anything other than combat action,' he added."

Military recruiters cited for misconduct

"More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams."

Iraqi death toll rose above 3400 in July

"July appears to have been the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, reinforcing criticism that the Baghdad security plan started in June by the new Iraqi government has failed."

Bush angry with Iraqis for not sharing his excitement over the colossal mess he's created there

"President Bush is perhaps the most self-absorbed, arrogant, delusional and dangerous president in American history. His foreign policy strategies and actions will be a poly-sci case study for students for years to come. With Iraq in particular, he invaded a sovereign nation on flawed/manipulated/manufactured evidence and intelligence; toppled its leader in a campaign pompously billed as 'shock and awe;' turned the country into a chaotic mess on the brink of full-scale civil war; causes over 100 Iraqis per day to be killed in mounting sectarian violence; and then has the supreme audacity to be angry that the Iraqi people aren't somehow happy and excited about all the good that he's done for them. The Iraqis, he believes, are unappreciative. His arrogance clearly knows no bounds."

George Bush is insane. His extreme narcissism is evidence of this. We're being herded over the cliff by the insane.

In western Iraq, insurgency is gaining

"In the dusty plains of western Iraq, al-Qaida is gaining strength. Daily attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces are on the rise, and there is little sign of progress in persuading the population to support the national government. U.S. commanders acknowledge they are locked in struggle with insurgents for the allegiance of Iraq's youth."

At 9:30 tonight [Aug. 15], Iraq takes longer than WWII

"On August 15, 2006 21:30 EST the United States will have been at war in Iraq longer than it was at war with Germany in World War II."

CBO forecasts 'staying the course' in Iraq would increase deficit by $1.3 trillion over next decade

"Today, the Congressional Budget Office released its budget projections, estimating the deficit will rise to $286 billion in fiscal 2007, up from this year’s $260 billion projected deficit. Moreover, the long-term outlook remains bleak; total deficits over the next decade are estimated at $1.7 trillion."

Analysis: US Army faces FCS shambles: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld`s cyber-dream for the U.S. Army has become a cyber nightmare.

"Rumsfeld took office determined to transform the U.S. armed forces into a high-tech, computerized, lean, mean fighting machine that would be invincible.

"Instead, the U.S. Army today remains becalmed in Iraq, stuck in the middle of a low intensity guerrilla war it has been unable to tame. And that war is now morphing into a no-holds-barred civil war. Meanwhile, U.S. military preparedness, retired generals and respected military analysts warn, is now lower than it was in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War -- when Rumsfeld was U.S. defense secretary for the first time."

Snake eyes

"The center of American politics is no longer as roomy (or as comfy) as it was then. The fringe, now luxuriant only at the rightmost edge of the political prayer rug, has gone online and wired itself for AM radio and cable TV. And nowhere in the cacophonous, atomized 'media environment' of today is there anyone capable of deploying the wall-to-wall avuncular authority that was Cronkite’s stock-in-trade. Even so, in this August of 2006 a palpable, ’68-like shift in sentiment is in the steamy air. Among foreign-policy élites and the broader public alike, it has become the preponderant conviction that George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq is a catastrophe."

Bombs aimed at GI's in Iraq are increasing

"Along with a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikes against American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January. The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of that increase. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959 were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs exploded or were found."

What next?

"The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall. The internecine conflict could easily spiral into one that threatens not only Iraq but also its neighbors throughout the oil-rich Persian Gulf region with instability, turmoil and war."

Campaign against depleted uranium

"The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU) was launched in 1999 to focus specifically on trying to achieve a global ban on the manufacture, testing, and use of depleted uranium weapons."

Afghanistan analysis: Canadian strategy makes matters worse

"This importation by the Harper government of the worst of American jingoism into the Canadian debate is a disgrace and utterly counterproductive. In my view, it is one of the reasons why so many Canadians are so disturbed about what they think is going on in Afghanistan.
"Canadian forces are daily facing catastrophic injury and death in a mission most Canadians just do not understand, and we will not find our way out of the Afghanistan quagmire unless we get back to the fundamentals of modern complex peace operations."

Canada, NATO quietly talking with Taliban

"However, intermediaries quietly got involved after Taliban leaders insisted on talks with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, or other international facilitators, rather than with the Afghan government, The Canadian Press has learned.

“'In fact, they are scared of the government,' an Afghan official said of the Taliban leadership, on condition of anonymity."

Governors oppose federal control of Guard

"The nation's governors, protesting what they call an unprecedented shift in authority from the states to the federal government, will urge Congress today to block legislation that would allow the president to take control of National Guard forces in the event of a natural disaster or a threat to homeland security."

Don't for a moment believe BushCo wouldn't use the troops to lock down the nation in the name of security.

In the NSA case, a judge says no to King George

"In ruling on Thursday that the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and must be halted, U.S. district Judge Anna Diggs Taylor slammed the White House on several critical fronts."

One of the local fascist papers framed the ruling like this: "Court: Anti-terror phone taps illegal". Perhaps it should have read, "Violating the Constitution illegal".

Ruling for the law

"'There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,' wrote Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit. Her decision was based on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union."

Two strange deaths in European wiretapping scandal

"Just after noon on Friday, July 21, Adamo Bove -- head of security at Telecom Italia, the country's largest telecommunications firm -- told his wife he had some errands to run as he left their Naples apartment. Hours later, police found his car parked atop a freeway overpass. Bove's body lay on the pavement some 100 feet below.

"Bove was a master at detecting hidden phone networks. Recently, at the direction of Milan prosecutors, he'd used mobile phone records to trace how a 'Special Removal Unit' composed of CIA and SISMI (the Italian CIA) agents abducted Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric, and flew him to Cairo where he was tortured. The Omar kidnapping and the alleged involvement of 26 CIA agents, whom prosecutors seek to arrest and extradite, electrified Italian media. U.S. media noted the story, then dropped it."

The main difference between the Us government and the Mafia? The US government is bigger.

Abolish the TSA, save lives

"The reports from London of a plot to smuggle explosives aboard planes and then combine them to murderous effect must have caused collective deja vu at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last week. Only eight months ago, its screeners failed to detect the same scenario here in the United States.

"Fortunately for passengers, it wasn't terrorists but government investigators who successfully smuggled bomb components through the TSA's checkpoints. Unfortunately, no screener has waved a magic wand since then to turn the TSA competent."

If BushCo weren't behind 9/11. they would be more effective in their anti-terrorist efforts and less concerned about destroying the Constitution.

The $170 million FBI computer upgrade that never was

"Within a few days, said Azmi, he warned FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III that the $170 million system was in serious trouble. A year later, it was dead. The nation's premier law enforcement and counterterrorism agency, burdened with one of the government's most archaic computer systems, would have to start from scratch.

"The collapse of the attempt to remake the FBI's filing system stemmed from failures of almost every kind, including poor conception and muddled execution of the steps needed to make the system work, according to outside reviews and interviews with people involved in the project."
And they'd be less concerned about wasting taxpayers' money, while filling the pockets of special interests.

Congress poised to unravel the Internet

"Lured by huge checks handed out by the country's top lobbyists, members of Congress could soon strike a blow against Internet freedom as they seek to resolve the hot-button controversy over preserving 'network neutrality.' The telecommunications reform bill now moving through Congress threatens to be a major setback for those who hope that digital media can foster a more democratic society. The bill not only precludes net neutrality safeguards but also eliminates local community oversight of digital communications provided by cable and phone giants. It sets the stage for the privatized, consolidated and unregulated communications system that is at the core of the phone and cable lobbies' political agenda."

No one is safe when the president is in the White House and Congress is in session.

Save the Internet: Join the fight for Internet freedom

Major arms soar to twice pre-9/11 cost: Systems have little direct role in terror fight

"The soaring cost estimates -- disclosed in a report for the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee -- have led to concerns that supporters of multibillion-dollar weapons programs in Congress, the Pentagon , and the defense industry are using the conflicts and the war on terrorism to fulfill a wish-list of defense expenditures, whether they are needed or not for the war on terrorism."

Welcome to Neo-fascism 101

"Neo-conservatives decided that World War III is to be waged against 'Islamic-Fascists' or 'Islamo-Fascism.'

"Who is reading from the new script? William Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Christopher Hitchens, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Nick Cohen, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Daniel Pipes, Glenn Beck, Oliver North – even George W. Bush, prompting legitimate complaints from Muslim-Americans."

"Confessions of an American ex-patriot"

"Afterwards, other questions arose in my mind. If we’re a democracy, then why is it that the important decisions of running this country and how our tax dollars are spent, are rarely a matter of public knowledge, let alone votes? Do we really live in a free country or a police state? Are we really promoting democracy around the world as the television claims we are, or are we just installing puppets who do our economic bidding? I thought of recent police suppression of demonstrations in Seattle, Portland and elsewhere. Images of pepper spray, riot gear, Nazi insignias, and countless people in prison cells filled my mind. I thought about how the Justice Department locks people up indefinitely now, without charges, even if they are American citizens. Bank accounts are frozen and lives are destroyed, just because George and company says they have “ties” to so and so. Our words speak of “nation building” but our actions speak more loudly of. nation destroying. I remembered hearing how the CIA meddles in governments the world over, staging armed rebellions and the like, yet without a single vote from the people involved. How does one establish a democracy by installing puppet dictators who are on the CIA payroll? I thought about the 'Patriot Act' which makes wire taps, e-mail interception and house searches without warrants “legal“. So much for the Bill of Rights."

World's worst Internet laws sneaking through the Senate

"The treaty requires that the U.S. government help enforce other countries' 'cybercrime' laws - even if the act being prosecuted is not illegal in the United States. That means that countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the F.B.I. to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments. American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdiction's requests to log their users’ behavior without due process, or compensation."

Duke Cunningham's wife tells all. Ace in the hole

"Cunningham is a product of the times, in which there are more creative ways to buy off congressmen - including inviting them on lavish junkets, hosting lucrative lobbyist-filled fund-raisers, and funneling money to their spouses and children-than ever before. And there's also a scale of economy that makes it more tempting for congressmen to trade power for money: Lawmakers earn $165,200 per year; the new breed of lobbyists who woo them earn in the millions. But, even in this atmosphere, the brazenness of Cunningham's quid pro quo was unique. The notoriously volatile congressman did little to hide his influence - peddling, even writing up a menu of prices on his congressional stationary - the use of a defense contractor's $140,000 yacht, for example, was the price for delivering a $16 million government contract. He accepted lavish gifts as bribes, including a china hutch, Louis Philippe commodes, and a used Rolls Royce. During poker nights in rented suites at Washington's Watergate Hotel and the Westin Grand, he was also supplied with prostitutes."

It's comforting to know that people like this are enacting the laws of the land.

Building a zero-carbon world

"These days, however, the masses are more likely to be found in Beijing than in Bolton. Like Arup, the UK engineering consultancy that is planning an eco-city three-quarters the size of Manhattan outside Shanghai, Dunster sees fast-expanding China as the new frontier for environment-conscious urban design. State planners have suddenly 'got' the environment in a big way, and this year China announced a major investment programme in renewable technologies. By the end of 2010, all Chinese buildings will need to reduce energy use by a headspinning 50 per cent."

Isn't it sad that China is acting more responsibly than BushCo's big oil US? By 2010, the US will have polluted most of the planet with fallout from DU munitions, not to speak of the damage caused by the rollback of hundreds of environmental laws.

Warnings of a US recession and global slowdown

"In an article published on August 10 under the title 'The world must prepare for America’s recession', New York University economist Nouriel Roubini warned that while the US Federal Reserve Board may have been hoping for a 'soft landing' when it decided earlier this month to halt its cycle of interest rate rises, the decision has come too late and it now confronts a recession."

Quotes from and others:

"Terrorists are waiting for the Democrats to take control, let things cool off and then strike again." -- Orrin Hatch, (R-Tertiary Syphilis) Link

"Imus and his buds have called him 'chicken wing Johnny Cochran,' called Sammy Davis Jr. 'a one-eyed lawn jockey,' called Patrick Ewing 'Mighty Joe Young.' Speaking of Gwen Ifill, Imus said, 'Isn't the Times wonderful? It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.' " -- Richard Goldstein, "Celebrity Bigots", villagevoice I guess with Rush and Savage and the others spewing even worse slurs,a slug like Imus can skate by under the radar with his racial attacks. It just proves you can get rich by appealing to the worst in the GOP.

"There are some good people in our country who believe we should cut and run." -- America's insane serial killer, Link

"Bush has no policy to avoid cutting and running. And cutting and running is exactly what he will have to do because the Iraq war is over, Bush lost." -- John Aravosis,

"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves that the terrorist network would be willing to use against those of us who believe in freedom.." -- Dubya, explaining why he stole Iraq's oil, Link

"There were almost no Democrats who agreed with his position... His position is the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld position." --Big Dog, smacking Kissyface, Link

"I don't respect people who see things headed in the wrong direction and because of their membership in the [national] culture of obedience they keep their mouths shut." --Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Link

"Maybe what was some kind of dream. I never believed things like that could happen in the United States." -- "Ben" Benatta, 9/11 Bush victim, cleared and released after nearly five years in prison, Link

"Lieberman (De Facto R) today unleashed a vicious attack on Bernie Sanders - a longtime progressive hero. The Lieberman campaign sent out an official email attacking Sanders and Markos of DailyKos. Apparently, this kind of sick smear game is Lieberman's twisted definition of 'bringing us together to get things done.'" --David Sirota, attacking somebody besides Hillary, Link

"Lamont's victory highlights what Democrats want from their candidates -- a resolute opposition to Bush's bloody quagmire. 78 percent of Democrats want candidates who oppose the conflict." --Zogby, Link

"Cheney's comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show that he and his party will stop at nothing. Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections - as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech - provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law - as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy." -- Ted Kennedy, finding the courage to speak out against the murderous thugs Link

"Lieberman is not only running as the de facto Republican in the race, he's running as the worst sort of Republican, going on the trail claiming that any serious questioning of our policy in Iraq is a victory for the terrorists. With Lamont, those guys might have blown up the plane. Leaving Iraq is a win for the terrorists. That was after Wednesday when Joe pledged to save the Democratic party from extremists." --Josh Marshall,

"Joe Lieberman would sell his mother to Iran's Ahmahanjob if it would guarantee him six more years. It's not about partisanship or ideological purges. It's about the inability to know when you are not wanted. When you have been rejected. So take a hint, Joe. Then take a walk." --TBogg, Link

The George W. Bush Clock

A man died and went to heaven.

As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"

"That was Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's the George Bush's clock?" asked the man.Bush's clock isn't here - it is in Jesus' office . . . he's using it as a ceiling fan."

New Red Alert for Airlines

Amsterdam (Associated Free Press) - On August 16, 2006 the Netherlands Government announced they had arrested 30 Terrorist suspects, and expected to arrest as many as 100 times that amount. The plot was to take over airline flights flying out of Amsterdam to various parts of the world. Terrorists were to fill their lungs with Marijuana and Hashish smoke before they went through security and hold their breath until they boarded, then blow billows of smoke in faces of the flight attendants and pilots, who would then fall to the floor in a state of euphoria. Their compatriots, who would be close behind feigning a cold with a Kleenex over their nose, would then take control of the plane, and fly it to an unknown rendezvous with terror.

Within hours, the United States Homeland Security National Police Department issued emergency security measures. All passengers going through security must now be tickled under their arms until they gasp for air, thereby releasing any smoke that may be stored in their lungs. This new security requirement has added several hours to the check in process at all airports. TSA reports, however, that the passengers don’t seem to mind and are in a much better mood after going through this process.

On a more dire note, however, TSA agents in Washington, D.C. report that they have arrested several terrorist suspects, including President Bush, who stated, "I just don’t know how that smoke got there in my lungs."


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