Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines http://www.wikio.com Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: 10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: profmarcus2010@yahoo.com

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Does claiming state secrets in the Jeppesen extraordinary rendition suit mean acknowledging it happened?

just askin'...
U.S. asks court to dismiss lawsuit on secret flights

The U.S. government asked a federal court late on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit against a unit of Boeing Co that charges the firm helped fly suspects abroad to secret prisons.

"Allowing plaintiffs' claims to proceed would risk the disclosure of highly classified information concerning the alleged 'intelligence activities, sources, and methods' of the CIA," said the filing, signed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bucholtz.

The American Civil Liberties Union first filed a complaint in May accusing Jeppesen Dataplan Inc of providing flight and logistical support to at least 15 aircraft on 70 "extraordinary-rendition" flights.

The complaint to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleged Jeppesen "falsified flight plans to European air traffic control authorities to avoid public scrutiny of CIA flights."

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of five men who say the CIA had them flown to foreign prisons for interrogations and torture.

a little bit about jeppesen dataplan inc...
Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. describes itself this way:

"For more than 70 years Jeppesen has made it possible for pilots and their passengers to safely and efficiently reach their destinations. Today this pioneering spirit continues as Jeppesen delivers information and technology-based information management tool sets essential to navigation and efficient operations management to air, sea and rail operators around the globe. Jeppesen is a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, a unit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes."

[...]

According to investigative journalist Claudio Gatti, Jeppesen was also involved in planning the flights used in the kidnapping of Khaled El-Masri:

"El-Masri says he was seized while on vacation in Macedonia and flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured for five months before being released without charges. Gatti says El-Masri was rendered in the same Jeppesen-serviced plane as ACLU plaintiff Binyam Mohamed."

for all your extraordinary rendition needs...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

coming to a community near you

Pravda reports:
'The cities are the problem' [says the] director of the Joint Urban Operations Office at U.S. Joint Forces Command. [...] 'This is the next fight'

[...]

The largest contractors in the military-corporate complex are already hard at work helping the Pentagon prepare for future urban occupations. Raytheon, L-3 Communications, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) - the 5th, 7th, and 10th largest Pentagon contractors last year, taking in a combined $18.4-plus billion from the Department of Defense - have all signed Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with the U.S. Joint Forces Command, according to Berry "Dan" Fox, the Deputy Director of Science and Technology at its Joint Urban Operations Office.

[...]

According to Dan Fox of the Joint Urban Operations Office, the Department of Justice, like the military, is currently working on sense-through-wall technologies. His associate Duane Schattle is collaborating with the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) - set up by the Bush administration in 2002 and whose area of operations is 'America's homefront'

[note from profmarcus - here's the link to the original post in tomdispatch...]

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Iranian nuclear weapons are today's Iraq WMD's

from think progress...


In her first interview since Bush administration officials outed her as a covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson reveals to Minutes that she was involved in preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In the interview to be aired this Sunday, CBS reports that she was “involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran.”

and anyone would be in the least bit surprised by this because...? the threat of iran obtaining or manufacturing a nuclear weapon is in precisely the same category as saddam's wmd... our country's movers and shakers are totally committed to a state of endless war, regardless of the country or the area of the world, as long as it provides the opportunity to keep the rivers of cash flowing into the "right" pockets (apologies for the bad pun), to extend their power and global hegemony, and to monopolize the world's resources... iranian nuclear weapons are today's convenient smokescreen, cleverly designed to distract from their real motivations, and to keep the peasantry quivering in our boots, at least when we're not buying lottery tickets and hoping to strike it rich... we are one pathetic bunch of citizens...

[UPDATE]

i would be guilty of a glaring omission if i didn't mention that valerie plame's role with iran was first reported by larisa alexandrovna at raw story on february 13, 2006... larisa has been on top of a number of things, often WAY before the rest of the so-called responsible and serious traditional media... click on over to larisa's weblog, at largely, and show her some love...

congrats, larisa...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Hillary's Wall Street, weapons and defence industry contributors

just sayin'...
The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

[...]

Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. "The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed," said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.

[...]

So far, Mrs Clinton has received $52,600 in contributions from individual arms industry employees. That is more than half the sum given to all Democrats and 60 per cent of the total going to Republican candidates. Election fundraising laws ban individuals from donating more than $4,600 but contributions are often "bundled" to obtain influence over a candidate.

The arms industry has even deserted the biggest supporter of the Iraq war, Senator John McCain, who is also a member of the armed services committee and a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He has been only $19,200. Weapons-makers are equally unimpressed by the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Despite a campaign built largely around the need for an aggressive US military and a determination to stay the course in Iraq, he is behind Mrs Clinton in the affections of arms executives. Mr Giuliani may be suffering because of his strong association with the failed policies of President Bush and the fact he is he is known as a social liberal.

Mrs Clinton's closest competitor in raising cash from the arms industry is the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who raised just $32,000.

thanks to kevin at cryptogon, who calls hillary "cheney in drag..."

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"America is not made safer by making the Constitution weaker"

an ad in usa today [PDF] sponsored by amnesty international...


Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"A collusion between lawmakers and the White House that means that no one is ever held accountable"

in that post title is everything you need to know about the fisa bill debate...

the nyt sums up our sad, sad situation...

It was bad enough having a one-party government when Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues.

at least the internet gives those of us who are interested front-row seats to the destruction of our democratic republic and the united states constitution...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Weeping over the state of our nation

it's been over a week since naomi wolf posted this at the huffpo... i didn't stumble across it until yesterday when following up a link from another story... (i confess to having stopped visiting the huffpo, primarily due to the strong visceral reaction i get when confronted with arianna's insufferable self-promotion and name-dropping, although i acknowledge i'm missing some good stuff...)
I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

But I can't stand the stories I am hearing. I can't stand to open my email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day, someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking.

i've found that, over the years, i tend to tear up in moments of strong emotion, a reaction i've stopped trying to hide... two such times in our recent political history stand out... one was watching richard clarke's testimony before congress and the other was patrick fitzgerald's first press conference, both historical and increasingly rare moments of governmental honesty, integrity and accountability...

naomi wolf is involved with a group called the american freedom campaign...

The Constitution protects American Freedom. With checks and balances, and basic legal rights, it has prevented tyranny and safeguarded our liberty. Yet today, under the pretense of the "war on terror," the White House is dismantling the Constitution, concentrating power in the President and undermining the rule of law. THIS IS UN-AMERICAN. The American Freedom Campaign is dedicated to confronting and correcting these abuses of our America.

The mission of the American Freedom Campaign (AFC) is threefold. Our initial goal is to educate American citizens about the current Constitutional crisis in this country, about their individual rights, and about our Founders’ vision. As we educate, our secondary goal is to motivate and inspire individuals in order to build a grassroots citizens’ democracy movement. Finally, with the strength of this grassroots movement at our side, the American Freedom Campaign – through its advocacy arm, the American Freedom Campaign Action Fund – will push for the enactment of statutes that would end the infringement of fundamental rights by the executive and restore the Constitution’s hallowed system of checks and balances.

here's a bit of what the american freedom campaign agenda is all about...

At critical moments in our history, Americans have been called upon to protect our Constitutional guarantees of liberty and justice. We face such a moment today. The American Freedom Campaign is a non-partisan citizens' alliance formed to reverse the abuse of executive power and restore our system of checks and balances with these ten goals:

Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.

Prohibit torture and all cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Prohibit the use of secret evidence.

Prohibit the detention of anyone, including U.S. citizens, as an "enemy combatant" outside the battlefield, and on the President's say-so alone.

Prohibit the government from secretly breaking and entering our homes, tapping our phones or email, or seizing our computers without a court order, on the President's say-so alone.

Prohibit the President from "disappearing" anyone and holding them in secret detention.

Prohibit the executive from claiming "state secrets"
to deny justice to victims of government misdeeds, and from claiming "executive privilege" to obstruct Congressional oversight and an open government.

Prohibit the abuse of signing statements, where the President seeks to disregard duly enacted provisions of bills.

Use the federal courts, or courts-martial, to charge and prosecute terrorism suspects, and close Guantanamo down.

Reaffirm that the Espionage Act does not prohibit journalists from reporting on classified national security matters without fear of prosecution.

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"It still looks like a government -- . But pull back the curtains and there is nobody home."

naomi klein in today's la times...
[I]f any given job can't be outsourced, it can't be done.

This philosophy, so central to the Bush years, explains statistics like this one: In 2003, the U.S. government handed out 3,512 contracts to companies to perform domestic security functions, from bomb detection to data mining. In the 22-month period ending in August 2006, the Homeland Security Department had issued more than 115,000 security-related contracts.

If government is now an ATM, perhaps the war on terror is best understood not as a war but as a sprawling new economy, one based on continued disaster and instability. In this economy, the Bush team doesn't run the venture exactly; rather, it plays the role of deep-pocketed venture capitalist, always on the lookout for new security start-ups (overwhelmingly headed by former employees of the Pentagon and Homeland Security).

[...]

It still looks like a government -- with impressive buildings, presidential news briefings, policy battles. But pull back the curtain and there is nobody home.

it's interesting to note, however, that the areas of government that are working day and night to increase and solidify executive power, remove our civil liberties, and trash the constitution, there always seems to be plenty of people at home...

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Friday, October 19, 2007

VVI (Viru Viru International Airport) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, shut down by protesters



the wealthy elites that control the eastern agricultural lowland of bolivia continue to work to disrupt evo morales' government...


Thousands of protesters stormed Bolivia's busiest airport on Friday as rightist opposition groups fought the government of President Evo Morales for control of the country's main air hub.

At least 7,000 protesters shouting "This is ours" occupied airport hallways and waved flags on the runway. The government withdrew troops that had occupied the airport since Thursday, after airlines complained of corrupt practices.

The airport in the country's wealthy eastern region was shut down for part of Friday due to the protests but restarted operations in the afternoon, local media reported.

The military occupied the airport on government orders after several airlines, including American Airlines and Brazil's Gol, suspended flights complaining airport officials demanded cash payments for landing rights.

Government officials say the levies were illegal, but Santa Cruz civic leaders argue that sending the army was out of proportion with the problem.

"An act of corruption does not justify sending the army," protest leader Branco Marinkovic said.

Anti-riot police dispersed protesters with tear gas when they tried to storm the airport on Thursday, but on Friday troops withdrew from the scene.

The dispute is the latest between Morales' leftist government and the right-wing opposition in the Santa Cruz province, the country's agricultural heartland.

nobody ever said morales would have it easy... it's clear that those with the money and the power are not going to go quietly into that good night...

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

a special Democracy Now!

Today is Friday's show, so if you cannot muster the moral courage to watch today's program now, you'll have the whole weekend.

So heads up! You should see this one.

Labels: , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"Doddmania" (h/t Atrios) explodes

well, well, well... whaddaya know... evidently there are a lot of other folks besides moi who have been holding out for a presidential candidate who will step forward and speak out on the constitutional crisis...

from karen tumulty at time's swampland...

Senator Dodd's campaign communications director Hari Sevugan tells me that $150,000 in small contributions have poured into Dodd's campaign in the past 24 hours, since his announcement that he will put a hold on--and may even filibuster--a foreign intelligence surveillance bill approved yesterday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Dodd objects to a provision that would grant immunity to the telecommunications companies that turned over their customers' phone and e-mail records to the government's warrantless surveillance program. The companies have been hit with 40 pending lawsuits charging them with privacy violation.

Dodd has raised more small-dollar contributions in the last 24 hours than he did in the previous month. Sevugan also says the number of visits to his website is up tenfold, as is the number of people registering their e-mail addresses there.

earlier, i wrote tim tagaris at the dodd campaign that i thought the senator was definitely on the right track, but that i would continue to hold out to see if the good senator is truly going to walk his talk... i've jumped at too many flashes in the pan over the past nearly seven years to start singing the hallelujah chorus quite yet...

(thanks to atrios...)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

BooMan's rundown on what's going on with Dodd, Reid and the filibuster threat

he's got a pretty concise, quite understandable and probably reasonably accurate summary of the dodd/reid/senate/hold/filibuster/fisa backstory to which i was prompted to offer this comment...
i have been waiting for a confrontation to blow the constitutional crisis out into the open... i had hoped the dems would summon the cojones to proceed with inherent contempt charges in light of the white house flipping off congressional subpoenas, but, for the congressional dem leadership, who have evidently submitted to voluntary neutering and spaying, that is not to be... too bad it has to come in the form of in intra-party battle, but so be it... one way or another, we are way, WAY overdue in facing up to the most serious crisis that has ever faced our democratic republic...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Senator Reid's response to my email of yesterday

he's obviously taking a lot of heat or he wouldn't have turned this around quite so fast... too bad it says nothing substantive about the retroactive telecom immunity or senator dodd's hold... maybe that'll be in a follow-on email - or not...

the relevant excerpt...

I am ... a strong supporter of privacy rights. As you may know, on August 3, 2007, the Senate passed, and on August 5th, the President signed the Protect America Act of 2007, or Public Law 110-55 (P.L.110-55), providing temporary six-month changes to FISA in light of the Director of National Intelligence's (DNI) expressed concerns about a recently-emerged gap in foreign counterterrorism intelligence collection.


While I believe it is important to provide our intelligence community the tools it needs to ensure the safety of our nation, I also believe we can do so in a manner that does not compromise the privacy rights of innocent Americans. Although I opposed the Protect America Act because it did not meet this important standard, it passed by a vote of 60-28. As the sunset date of the Protect America Act approaches and Congress considers its replacement, I will fight for legislation that will keep our nation safe, but that will not compromise our core values as Americans.

[...]

My best wishes to you.

Sincerely,

HARRY REID

United States Senator

time for ANOTHER letter, i see... < sigh >

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Chris Dodd responds to Harry Reid

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Robert Parry notices a hidden element of the Protect America Act: spying on Americans overseas

as a testament to the depth of my cynicism, i've basically assumed that i'm being monitored no matter where i am, inside or outside the country... although i'm certainly not a computer technology geek, i'm sure that, even when i'm in argentina and using an argentina isp and ip address, there are enough identifying bits and bytes coming from my laptop that, should anyone care, would make it easy to pinpoint both my whereabouts and my activities... simply monitoring my web-based email accounts, for instance, would easily reveal from where those emails were sent... and, of course, there's also tracking atm withdrawals, credit card transactions, and the local provider that my u.s. cell phone is registered with... about the only way i WOULDN'T be traceable is if i went completely off the grid, which would mean no laptop, no phone, no credit cards, no atm's, no web-based email... i could possibly make occasional use of a ciber (as internet cafes are known in argentina), but only rarely and very carefully...

Bush's Spying Hits Americans Abroad

By Robert Parry
October 19, 2007

In August after the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in to George W. Bush’s demands for broader surveillance powers, I noted that the new authority went far beyond what was advertised and that the President could obtain year-long spying orders on Americans who ventured outside the United States.

My , which was based on a reading of the law’s language, wasn’t shared by commentators in the major U.S. news media and even drew some reader criticism as alarmist for failing to take into account secret “minimization” provisions that supposedly would protect American citizens.


some recent developments have further served to convince parry that his analysis is correct...
[T]he Bush administration’s hostile reaction to a seemingly innocuous amendment added to a new surveillance bill by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, suggests that targeting Americans who travel abroad was a key goal of Bush’s “Protect America Act of 2007.”

Wyden told the New York Times that his amendment would require the government to get a warrant whenever it wants to wiretap an American outside the country, such as a U.S. soldier serving overseas or an American on a business trip.

“The individual freedom of an American shouldn’t depend on their physical geography,” Wyden told the Times. He said his amendment passed on a 9-6 vote in a closed Senate Intelligence Committee meeting on Oct. 18. [NYT, Oct. 19, 2007]

After the committee vote, the Bush administration and a key Senate Republican took direct aim at Wyden’s provision.

“We have strong concerns about that amendment,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “We certainly could not accept it.”

Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri, the ranking committee Republican, said Wyden’s amendment was “problematic” and could scuttle the entire bill if not changed.

In other words, the seemingly loose phrasing of the Protect America Act wasn’t just an oversight or something that would be cleaned up with some internal technical adjustments. Rather, it was an important feature of the legislation that was slipped past the Democratic leadership and most of the Washington press corps in August.


like i've said repeatedly, you can only assume that EVERY transaction you make that takes place on a network of any type not totally under your control is potentially monitored...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Chris Dodd's response to Reid - filibuster

an email from the dodd campaign...
Just last night, we heard there are plans to disregard Senator Dodd's intention to place a hold on a FISA bill that includes amnesty for telecommunications companies.

That would be a pretty extraordinary move, but Chris Dodd has pledged to stop this horrible bill any way he can.

So if the hold is not honored, he is prepared to go to the Senate floor and filibuster.


Rolling back the Bush Administration assault on the rule of law has been a major focus of Chris Dodd's work in the Senate -- and it's also a centerpiece in his campaign for President.

this is good, although i think it's unfortunate that it came in the context of a campaign contribution solicitation... i had been wondering if dodd was willing to take the next step and now i know... we saw what happened as a result of his hold announcement and you can be damn sure that a threat to filibuster is going to generate even more of a shitstorm... if dodd is going to stay strong on this, he's going to need steel balls the size of basketballs...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

In Britain, an average person is caught on camera up to 300 times a day


THEY'RE WATCHING: A wall of video monitors
images from closed circuit television
CCTV) installed in central London.
Britain has the highest number of CCTV
cameras -- about one for every 14 people.


smile... wave...
By some estimates, 4.2 million CCTV cameras, or one for every 15 people, quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, monitor the comings and goings of almost everyone -- an average person is caught on camera up to 300 times a day.

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A possible CIA "black site" on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean

for some reason, diego garcia has always fascinated me... it's extremely remote, lying some 1000 miles off the southern coast of sri lanka... a friend from a previous life was a u.s. air force navigator who told me tales of flying in and out of diego garcia... what a perfect spot (terrible choice of words, i know) for a cia "black site" prison...
Allegations that the CIA held al-Qaida suspects for interrogation at a secret prison on sovereign British territory are to be investigated by MPs, the Guardian has learned. The all-party foreign affairs committee is to examine long-standing suspicions that the agency has operated one of its so-called "black site" prisons on Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory in the Indian Ocean that is home to a large US military base.

Lawyers from Reprieve, a legal charity that represents a number of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, including several former British residents, are calling on the committee to question US and British officials about the allegations. According to the organisation's submission to the committee, the UK government is "potentially systematically complicit in the most serious crimes against humanity of disappearance, torture and prolonged incommunicado detention"

[...]

Clive Stafford Smith, the charity's legal director, said he was "absolutely and categorically certain" that prisoners have been held on the island. "If the foreign affairs committee approaches this thoroughly, they will get to the bottom of it," he said.

[...]

Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star US general who is professor of international security studies at the West Point military academy, has twice spoken publicly about the use of Diego Garcia to detain suspects. In May 2004 he said: "We're probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq." In December last year he repeated the claim: "They're behind bars...we've got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantánamo."

MPs on the committee may inquire into a Gulfstream executive jet which has been linked by its registration number to several CIA prisoner operations - known as extraordinary renditions - and which flew from Washington to Diego Garcia, via Athens, on September 11 2002, soon after the capture of Ramzi Binalshibh, a suspected planner of the September 11 attacks the previous year.

A prison of some sort is known to exist on Diego Garcia: in 1984, a review by the US government's general accounting office of construction work on the island reported that a "detention facility" had been completed the previous December.

[...]

One possibility which the foreign affairs committee may explore is that suspects have been held on a prison ship off the coast of Diego Garcia. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, has said that he has heard from reliable sources that the US has held prisoners on ships in the Indian Ocean. There have also been second-hand accounts from detainees at Guantánamo of prisoners being held on US naval vessels.
.
here are some google earth shots of diego garcia...


The above shows the entire Diego Garcia
atoll surrounding the lagoon. Although
you can't see them very well in this shot,
there are 7 ships in the lagoon and 2
in port.



The above is a closer-in shot of the
airbase. The port is in the middle left
and the housing area is on the extreme
upper left.


from wikipedia... i've highlighted particularly interesting facts in bold...
Diego Garcia (-7.317, 72.417) is an atoll located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south off Colombo, Sri Lanka's southern coast. Diego Garcia is the largest atoll by land area of the Chagos Archipelago. It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a British overseas territory.

Since the enforced depopulation of Diego Garcia in the years leading up to 1973, it has been used as a military base by the United States and the United Kingdom. Diego Garcia hosts one of three ground antennas (others are on Kwajalein and Ascension Island) that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational system. GEODSS that tracks satellites optically along with the other GEODSS sites at White Sands Missle Range and on top of Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii. The Scripps Institute maintains Project IDA/IRIS sesmic montitors used there to correlate worldwide sesmic events for locating and underground nuclear testing for the US Govenment. Project ECHELON is also hosted there to provide worldwide reception of electronic signals. SNOOPY planes out of Offut AFB in Omaha regularly stop there as they skirted foreign countries intercepting SIGNET from their borders. The Anotonov-225 jet flys there providing cargo heavy lift for the island. B-1's from Ellsworth AFB still launch daily from there for OIF and OEF, as well as B-2's, and formerly B-52's were launched from there against Iraq during the Gulf War. To this day Navy P-3 Orion Subhunters operate out of there. The Navy Submarine Warfare Center is located there. The island is outfitted with sonophone microphones capable of detecting ship Screws turning 5000 miles away. The SR-71 Blackbird flew out of BIOT during the Cold War. The island's shape (similar to that of a human footprint) has led the US Navy to refer to Diego Garcia as "The Footprint of Freedom." You must have a US security clearance to even visit the island. Flights are provided by AMC out of Paya Lebar AB in Singapore.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Exploiting the rainforest of the Amazon headwaters in Peru



being a part-time resident of argentina, and after my various posts on la oroya, peru (here and here), and the more recent one on gold mining in honduras, i am feeling particularly sensitive to the exploitation of resources in latin america by u.s. companies...
The Peru Trade Agreement: Exploiting the Rainforest and Workers

Democratic leaders are threatening to try to pass a trade agreement with Peru that would give U.S. oil companies powerful new rights to exploit Peru’s Amazonian rainforest. It would also give Citibank the right to sue Peru if the country reverses the failed privatization of its Social Security system. No U.S. union or environmental, faith or development group supports the agreement. Peruvian indigenous leaders are calling for its rejection.

This agreement was negotiated by the Bush administration on the same principles as NAFTA. Some Democrats claim to have added labor and environmental standards, but these do nothing to fix many of the worst effects of the agreement.

you can voice your concerns here...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

I just KNEW Chris Dodd was going to be in for some shit

i didn't expect that the first of it would come from his own party and my own u.s. senator (altho' i guess i shouldn't be surprised)...
Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring the Senate's surveillance bill up for floor debate in mid-November. That's despite the hold that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to place on the measure --

so, off goes yet ANOTHER letter...
Dear Senator Reid,

I couldn't have been more encouraged to learn that Senator Chris Dodd had placed a hold on the heinous compromise FISA bill crafted yesterday by the Senate, a bill that grants retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies for their work illegally assisting an already criminal government to spy on its citizens.

I am deeply troubled by the many attacks on our United States Constitution that have been the hallmark of the Bush dministration. There are many serious issues facing our country, but none of them, I am convinced, are as critical as the on-going constitutional crisis, a crisis so severe it threatens the very existence of our democratic republic.

I have been equally concerned that none of the 2008 presidential candidates, with the occasional exception of Senator Dodd, have had the wisdom or the courage to speak out forcefully about our dire straits as a nation. That Senator Dodd is drawing a line in the sand by putting a hold on the shameful Senate FISA bill is a small ray of light in a very dark landscape.

I expect, Senator Reid, that you will take a cue about your own leadership from Senator Dodd, and use every means at your disposal to halt the shredding of our constitution and the abrogation of every premise upon which our nation was built. It's time for you and every Senate Democrat to take your oath of office seriously and make the protection and preservation of the United States Constitution your first priority.

Sincerely,

if i had a nickel for every petition i've signed, letter i've written and phone call i've made on behalf of the future of my country, i would be a rich man...

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Hmmm... I wonder how Darth's handling an Iraq with cojones...?

i have to give vent to a bit of rueful laughter here, since the u.s. started building those permanent bases immediately after saddam's government was toppled... do ya suppose that since the construction is fairly well advanced, the iraqis figure it's time to re-possess...?

from think progress...

The Iraqi government has “put the U.S. on notice” that they do not want permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, CNN reports today. The message was “delivered directly to Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House” by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, who told CNN that Iraqis say, “No, big fat no, N-O for the bases in Iraq”:
The people of Iraq, the parliament, the council of representatives and the government of Iraq, they all say no, big fat no, N-O for the bases in Iraq. No military bases for Iraq because we believe that is in direct encroachment to our soveriegnty, and we don’t need it.

it ought to be fun to watch THIS one play out...

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

WOW...! Dodd places a hold on the FISA bill...!!!

this just arrived in my email...

damn...! DAMN...!! i am impressed...!!!

[Name Redacted],

It's been a busy day, but I wanted take a moment and let you know that I have decided to place a "hold" on legislation in the Senate that includes amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.

I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.

It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution.

But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document.

That's why I am stopping this bill today.

I've gotta run, but please visit my campaign website for more details.

http://www.chrisdodd.com/fisa

Chris

this is a long overdue confrontation... dodd's going to take mountains of shit for this, but, by god, let the chips fall where they may... it's about goddam time someone took a forceful stand...

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

O.M.G.! A truth-teller Congressman!

no comment required...
First of all, I'm just amazed they can't figure out, the Republicans are worried we can't pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don't care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where ya gonna get that money? You going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement. This bill would provide healthcare for 10 million children and unlike the President's own kids, these children can't see a doctor or receive necessary care. [...]

But President Bush's statements about children's health shouldn't be taken any more seriously than his lies about the war in Iraq. The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up. In Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.

(thanks to barbinmd at daily kos via atrios...)

[UPDATE]

shaming shameless people into caring for kids obviously doesn't work...
House Fails to Override Veto of Children's Health Bill

The House failed by 16 votes to override President Bush's
veto of the children's health insurance bill.

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

IMPORTANT: tell Chris Dodd to put a hold on the Senate FISA bill

atrios...
If you think it's important for Dodd to place a hold on any crappy telecom immunity bill that the Senate comes up with, call Dodd campaign headquarters and request they do it. Ask to speak to the policy director, Amos Hochstein.

Dodd campaign headquarters telephone number:

(202)737-3633

this must be stopped...
Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources. . . .

The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee's chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush's director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

glenn greenwald has the relevant summary and more links...
To his credit, Chris Dodd has been, by far, the most vocal Democratic presidential candidate on the issues of executive power abuses and restoring our constitutional framework. Unsurprisingly, he has issued a very strong condemnation of telecom amnesty along with a vow to try to stop it:
While the President may think that it's right to offer immunity to those who break the law and violate the right to privacy of thousands of law-abiding Americans, I want to assure him it is not a value we have in common and I hope the same can be said of my fellow Democrats in the Senate.

For too long we have failed to respect the rule of law and failed to protect our fundamental civil liberties. I will do what I can to see to it that no telecommunications giant that was complicit in this Administration's assault on the Constitution is given a get-out-of-jail-free card.

The vow to "do what [he] can" to stop amnesty is interesting. Big Tent Democrat suggests he lead a filibuster to stop it (h/t Atrios), but I doubt, given Rockefeller's support, that they could get anywhere near the 40 votes necessary to sustain that. Dodd could, however, place a "hold" on any bill containing amnesty and prevent it from reaching the floor for a vote: "Senate tradition allows any senator to keep a piece of legislation from reaching the Senate floor by placing a hold on the bill." That is what Sen. Wyden did previously to prevent a vote on an anti-net-neutrality bill.

Dodd's emphasis in his campaign on constitutional issues -- along with his excellent voting record this year -- has generated significant positive feelings towards his campaign. But demonstrating real leadership on this incomparably important issue would almost certainly generate real, tangible support for his campaign in many circles.

Telecom amnesty implicates not only all of the issues raised by warrantless surveillance and the rule of law, but really calls into question the basic fairness of our entire political system, i.e, whether the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in Washington can literally buy their way out of lawbreaking. Anyone who boldly impedes what would be this bipartisan travesty -- and a "hold" on an issue of this magnitude would, in the context of Senate customs, be very bold -- is someone who will have demonstrated genuine leadership on a truly critical issue. There has been precious little of that thus far in the presidential race.


it's true that chris dodd has been the only candidate so far who has been regularly speaking out about our constitutional crisis... if he decides to take the considerably stronger and more visible stand of putting a hold on the senate fisa bill, i do believe there are many of us who will rise up to support him... i, for one, have been waiting for a candidate, any candidate, to step up to the most critical issue of our time...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

WaPo on Mukasey's confirmation hearing: a "ceremonial waltz" that has senators "swooning"

oh, lovely... a "ceremonial waltz"...
Mr. Mukasey's Answers
The attorney general nominee speaks clearly -- and senators swoon.

THE CONFIRMATION hearings for attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey began yesterday with the sober pronouncement by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) that, if confirmed, Mr. Mukasey would inherit a Justice Department facing its gravest challenge since the "Saturday Night Massacre" of Watergate infamy. Then it quickly turned into a ceremonial waltz, with members of both parties swooning as Mr. Mukasey delivered informed, concise and responsive answers. The senators' reaction was understandable, given the conspicuous difference between Mr. Mukasey's testimony and the chronic evasions of Alberto R. Gonzales. But senators shouldn't be surprised if, as attorney general, Mr. Mukasey adopts many of the same positions as his predecessor -- albeit with more reasoned and legally sound justifications.

[...]

The Senate should confirm him promptly -- and with eyes wide open.

so, mukasey will adopt "more reasoned and legally sound justifications," eh...?

(from glenn greenwald who was live-blogging the mukasey hearing...)

To Mukaskey ... it is an open question whether the President can imprison U.S. citizens, arrested on U.S. soil, with no charges of any kind. Shouldn't that be a rather significant hurdle to his becoming Attorney General, to put it mildly?

[...]

Mukasey will clearly support the Ashcroft/Comey/Goldsmith view that the President possesses Article II power to eavesdrop for foreign intelligence purposes, even on U.S. soil, and that FISA cannot restrict that power.

mukasey comforts me not in the least, particularly in light of the senate throwing its support behind telecom immunity...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Follow up to Mettle's post on Naomi Wolf

i put this post up back last april, excerpting naomi wolf's article in the guardian... it's the shorter version of the youtube video on mettle's earlier post...
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy [Islam, war on terror, al Qaeda]

2. Create a gulag [Guantánamo, CIA black sites, military tribunals, Military Commissions Act, suspension of habeas]

3. Develop a thug caste [Blackwater, security contractors who are immune from prosecution in Iraq]

4. Set up an internal surveillance system [the Patriot Act, warrantless domestic wiretapping]

5. Harass citizens' groups [conduct surveillance on environmental, anti-war, animal rights, and other activist groups]

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release ["no-fly" list, "terrorist watch" list]

7. Target key individuals [Sibel Edmonds, Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean]

8. Control the press [criminal complaint against Greg Palast, attacking al Jazeera, firing on unembedded reporters in Iraq, Fox News, O'Reilly, Limbaugh]

9. Dissent equals treason [accusations against Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the New York Times, open-ended definition of "enemy combatant"]

10. Suspend the rule of law [John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, possibility of the declaration of federal martial law]

and there ya have it...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

With all my tub-thumping about the U.S. Constitution being under attack

i only found out about this today... two of the founders are wes boyd of moveon and naomi wolf (see previous post from mettle)...
The Constitution protects American Freedom. With checks and balances, and basic legal rights, it has prevented tyranny and safeguarded our liberty. Yet today, under the pretense of the "war on terror," the White House is dismantling the Constitution, concentrating power in the President and undermining the rule of law. THIS IS UN-AMERICAN. The American Freedom Campaign is dedicated to confronting and correcting these abuses of our America.

[...]

Americans’ support for restoring checks and balances and protections against the abuse of power transcends partisanship. In advancing the American Freedom Campaign Agenda, we are neither Conservative nor Liberal; neither Republican nor Democrat. We are above all Americans who cherish the Constitution. Thus, we call on Americans across the political spectrum to join us. The enactment of the American Freedom Campaign Agenda would mark one of America’s finest Constitutional hours and restore the core rights of our citizens while making the nation safer.

you can see what they're all about here and sign their pledge here...

2008 presidential candidates who have signed...

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE)
Senator Joe Biden provided the American Freedom Campaign with a signed letter on September 25, detailing his commitment to defending the Constitution.

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Senator Hillary Clinton provided the American Freedom Campaign with a signed letter on October 4, detailing her commitment to defending the Constitution.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Senator Dodd signed the pledge on August 31.

Senator John Edwards (D-NC)
Former Senator John Edwards provided the American Freedom Campaign with a signed letter on September 13, detailing his commitment to defending the Constitution.

Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Former Senator Mike Gravel made a verbal commitment to sign the pledge on September 17. A signature on the pledge was received on October 4.

Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Representative Kucinich signed the pledge on September 6.

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)
Senator Obama signed the pledge on October 2.

Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Governor Richardson signed the pledge on August 30.

at least they're addressing the right issue...

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Must See Wolf Warning



Naomi Wolf - author of "The End of America" Letter of Warning...

Would that every honest Senator sitting on the committee for confirming the new Attorney General would see this. Thanks to DU for the find.

Labels: , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Making peace with torture: Spiegel interviews the director of "Taxi to the Dark Side"

more stuff we don't see in our domestic media...
SPIEGEL ONLINE: US President George W. Bush has stressed again and again that "the US does not torture." For your documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" you did a lot of research within the US military and talked to interrogators. Do you agree with Bush?

Alex Gibney: Only when you redefine torture so that it no longer means anything you can look the American people in the eye and say that. That's the only explanation how Bush can sit there and say that. The US administration has worked overtime to redefine torture beyond any common notion. They keep tinkering with the definition.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But hasn't torture been legally defined for decades?

Gibney: Sensory deprivation, psychological assault -- these are the kind of things we prosecuted the Germans for at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

[...]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So who is ultimately responsible?

Gibney: I think the individuals at ground level do have to take some responsibility for what they do. They have a responsibility to speak up. The far greater responsibility, however, is what's called command responsibility -- the commanding officers and the administration are responsible. And again, that's what we prosecuted in Nuremberg after World War II.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why doesn't the American public seem to see this? Why isn't there more outrage?

Gibney: At some point the people who are responsible need to be legally held accountable. But that takes more than courage in Congress. We, the American people, have to make it absolutely clear that we understand what torture is and won't do it anymore.

[...]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Didn't the Abu Ghraib scandal make people suspicious?

Gibney: There was initial outrage about Abu Ghraib. People were genuinely outraged. But the administration very successfully convinced them that that was an aberration, not a policy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The public can't be that foolish. Have the Americans privately made peace with the concept of torture?

Gibney: I agree. That is a huge problem. Americans have become comfortable with the idea. They see torture as a kind of footnote, as a few bad apples that occasionally crossed the line like in Abu Ghraib. But it is a fundamental aberration of what it used to mean to be an American.

you can visit the website for Gibney's film, Taxi to the Darkside...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

24

yeah, there have been plenty of other posts by plenty of other people about this, but i simply cannot pass it up...
Bush's job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month's record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month's record low.

my god, the teens cannot be far behind...

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Sidney Blumenthal writes a letter to Karen Hughes

it's long... it's thoughtful... it's honest as shoe leather... and it deserves to be read, despite the fact that offering any guidance to anyone in the bush administration is a pathetic joke...
So far, to be honest, you have earned a reputation for being out of touch, for spouting platitudes without understanding the underlying issues. You are seen as oblivious to the concerns and sensibilities of groups of foreigners with whom you have met. However noble the abstractions of your rhetoric, your speeches are uniformly received as irrelevant propaganda. Even after objective observers have called attention to this pattern, you have done little to adjust. While it would be unfair to put the entire burden of transforming the image of the United States on you, it is a sad fact that your actions have deepened cynicism about American motives. And your inability to change has been consistent with the administration's unwillingness to shift course in the face of demonstrable failure.

If you still wish to succeed, you must finally come to terms with how you and the administration are perceived. Self-awareness is the first step to recovery. Denial has been more than this administration's pervasive state of mind; it has become its prevailing strategy. When other rationales have been shown to be false, hollow or self-undermining, denial has invariably become the last defence.

[...]

Perhaps if you look closely at the problem, the solution to your dilemma may appear. Your words are not forging a new reality. Lying about the war in Iraq, or torture, is not building the bridges of understanding you are so fond of talking about in your speeches. Instead, empty words only fritter away at your ability to influence. There is power in truth.

You might also use your acquired skills in diplomacy among your colleagues in the inner circle of the White House. Perhaps you could talk to them about the dangers of politicising and militarizing fear.

[...]

While you are rethinking how to calm fears and rebuild America's image as a global leader perhaps you ought to begin to think of yourself not as a tool of the Bush administration but as a citizen of the world, not as a propagandist, constantly trying to formulate a hollow ideological phrase or distraction, but as someone who can admit mistakes and correct them.

yeah, well... words upon words upon words, and not a single goddam one of them make the slightest bit of difference...

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

On this day last year...

george w. bush signed the military commissions act, a shameful act that will forever live in history as one of the darkest days in united states history...
We’ve been up against a government that will stop at nothing in its pursuit of power and today we mark the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Military Commissions Act one of the most despicable pieces of legislation to ever see the light of day.

This reprehensible law is the starkest example of the countless ways that the Bush Administration aided by a complicit and compliant Congress has stained our nation's legacy as the standard-bearer for the protection of human rights and undermined our Constitutional heritage of due process and justice for all.

So this dark anniversary seems a fitting day for us all to recommit ourselves to our defense of the Constitution and to set our sights on putting things right.

No matter how many setbacks we experience no matter how many heartbreaking losses we have to endure we will keep at it until, finally, decent Americans force their government to respect the rule of law.

the aclu, as always, is working to restore the rule of law and respect for the constitution in the halls of our government, but for every step forward, it's at least one, and often two, steps back... and, even tho' every day it seems like more and more of a useless gesture, you can still deluge congress with our demands to call a halt to the destruction of our democratic republic...

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Newsweek cover, circa 2009



(thanks to survival acres...)

Labels:

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Unassailable Anti-War Patriot

Eat this, Cheney, and all the rest of you treasonous traitors who have supported the shredding of our Constitution.
Thanks to Information Clearing House for reminding me of the short but powerful argument against war.

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

By James Madison

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . . (emphasis added)

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Once again I am reminded of the foresight of the Founders.
[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . . .

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.

The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents.

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.

This simple piece refutes the fundamental NeoCon philosophy. It's a shame that poor ignorant folks like me are able to find and read this. Meanwhile the erudite leaders of our nation, who are obviously better equipped to govern, completely ignore this timeless wisdom.
How? Why?
Because they are all a bunch of crooks and self-serving elitist liars.
There comes a time in the existence of a people when they must throw off the evil yolk of tyranny,but not for their own freedom. Many of them won't survive the conflict to rest control from the tyrants.
They fight tyranny for their children and the belief that their sacrifice will give birth to a free society that will allow their children to thrive unfettered by the manipulations of a greedy, spoiled, and self absorbed "upper class".
All of these pretty words come down to one idea.
We need to kick some serious ass, and kick it NOW!
The ghosts of Lexington and Concord are restless.

Labels: , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

I'm with Kagro X... Article I is dead so let's have a funeral...

we are so screwed, and anybody that thinks congress is going to do a goddam thing to protect and preserve our constitution is smoking some high quality shit...
Three telecommunications companies have declined to tell Congress whether they gave U.S. intelligence agencies access to Americans' phone and computer records without court orders, citing White House objections and national security.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell "formally invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent AT&T from either confirming or denying" any details about intelligence programs, AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts wrote in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Qwest and Verizon also declined to answer, saying the federal government has prohibited them from providing information, discussing or referring to any classified intelligence activities.

"Our company essentially finds itself caught in the middle of an oversight dispute between the Congress and the executive relating to government surveillance activities," Watts wrote.

The White House declined to comment on the matter Monday.

kagro x at daily kos, in full...
Did you catch that?

Three telecommunications companies have declined to tell Congress. Citing White House objections.

First, the White House says it can use executive privilege to prevent former employees from testifying before Congress. (And Congress does nothing.)

Now, the White House says it can use the state secrets privilege (normally something invoked in the courts, not in Congress) to prevent corporations from testifying before Congress.

Any guesses on what Congress will do with this one?

Note, too, that the companies say "the federal government" has prohibited them from providing this information.

Has Congress removed itself from "the federal government" since we last checked?

Congress now demands the right to inform itself about the subject matter on which it legislates, and the executive branch says no -- and not only no, but that any bill not containing the provisions it demands but will not permit the Congress to inform itself on will be vetoed.

Article I is dead, and the least concerned with the death, astoundingly, is the Article I branch.

just in case you forgot, here's some selected Article I items...
The Constitution of the United States

Article. I. - The Legislative Branch

Section 1 - The Legislature

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2 - The House

[...]

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3 - The Senate

[...]

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

[...]

Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

[...]

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

[...]

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

[...]

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9 - Limits on Congress

[...]

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

i think we should have a full-blown funeral with a military honor guard and a 21-gun salute...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Chris Dodd seems to be the only one who gives a crap about the Constitution

why, when we are undergoing the most serious assault on the constitution in our nation's history, is it so damn hard for the candidates to step up to that issue...? the only one who's been regularly doing it, although, imho, not nearly strongly or comprehensively enough, has been chris dodd...
Today Senator Dodd released the following statement calling on Democratic Leadership to ensure that telecommunications companies that have violated the law and consumer privacy are not given immunity.
"Today's report that Verizon provided the Bush Administration with personal information of American citizens absent judicial authorization is deeply troubling. We must be told the full extent of Verizon's activities and what other private information they have provided to the Bush Administration.

"More troubling still is that the United States Senate would sanction those telecommunications companies that have violated the law and the privacy of our citizenry, enabling this Administration's assault on the Constitution."

in all fairness, just the other day, hillary made the first statement that i'm aware of regarding bush's illegal and unconstitutional abuse of executive power, although it's also interesting to note that she did not mention the u.s. constitution...
[Hillary Clinton] intends to roll back President Bush's expansion of executive authority, including his use of presidential signing statements to put his own interpretation on bills passed by Congress or to claim authority to disobey them entirely.

"I think you have to restore the checks and balances and the separation of powers, which means reining in the presidency," Clinton told the Boston Globe's editorial board.

Although Bush has issued hundreds of signing statements, declarations that accompany his signature on bills approved by Congress, Clinton said she would use the statements only to clarify bills that might be confusing or contradictory. She also said she did not subscribe to the "unitary executive" theory that argues the Constitution prevents Congress from passing laws limiting the president's power over executive branch operations. Adherents to the theory say any president who refuses to obey such laws is not really breaking the law.

after the past seven years of george w. bush and his fellow criminals, i am simply not ok with a candidate "crossing his/her heart, hoping to die, sticking a needle in the eye," PROMISING not to abuse executive power and to honor the constitution... without teeth, it's all just words, and, god knows, we've had plenty of those...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Monday, October 15, 2007

Via the Liberal Doomsayer: 37 Repub scandals in 4.5 minutes

from brave new films via the liberal doomsayer...

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

A human rights memorial to Argentina's Guerra Sucia



the headquarters of argentina's guerra sucia - dirty war - the navy mechanics school, is only a short, five-block walk from where i live in barrio nuñez...


ESMA [Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada - the Navy Mechanics
School] was a fully functioning naval school during the time that
it was being used as a torture camp. The Officer's quarters, which
was located only a few hundred feet from a busy street in Buenos
Aires and is visible to pedestrian traffic, was the main building
used to house and torture the victims.

The rubber tip of Victor Basterra's cane bounced from one photo to another, pointing out the faces that elicit the most vivid memories from his encounters with them in this same building more than 25 years ago.

Basterra was a prisoner here at the Navy Mechanics School
, the largest and most notorious political detention center used by the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The navy finally moved out at the end of last month, allowing workers to begin transforming the 40-acre campus into the country's first comprehensive human rights memorial recalling that era and its lingering consequences.

some additional background...
The Naval Mechanics School (ESMA), located Buenos Aires, is one of nearly 400 concentration camps/torture centers that operated in Argentina during the dictatorship. It is estimated that over 5,000 people were interrogated and tortured at ESMA and only 150 survived. ESMA had specially equipped detention and torture rooms as well as "birthing" rooms. Many of the children brought to ESMA and other concentration camps with their parents, or babies born at these facilities, were either tortured and ultimately killed in an attempt to extract information from their mother, or were seized and given to military families. In recent years, efforts initiated by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have been successful in confirming the "true" identity (using DNA testing) of about 85 of roughly 400 children who were "disappeared."

it was an ugly and horrifying time, and, to this day, few argentines really want to talk about it... to this day, it's said, when people who lived through that era see a black ford falcon - the standard vehicle used by the thugs who would snatch people off the streets - they will still involuntarily shudder...


Falcon de 1978 a 1981 "El clásico Argentino"

the streets of buenos aires are still full of ford falcons, many kept in good shape and now prized as collector's cars... there is an entire web site devoted to them that you can visit here...

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

The progressive blogosphere doesn't walk its talk, Think Progress edition

"d" list bloggers deserve respect too...
Dear Think Progress Colleagues:

I sent in a blog post to Think Progress yesterday regarding the omission of the allegation of perjury on the part of General Ricardo Sanchez in media and blog coverage of his recent speech. I waited the requisite four hours and, since I did not receive a response, put up the post on my own weblog. Imagine my surprise this morning when reading The Progress Report to see that you had decided to call attention to that allegation. Imagine my further surprise when I saw my own words printed verbatim.

The Progress Report
"A memorandum written and signed by Sanchez on Sept. 14, 2003, contained as an enclosure the specific interrogation techniques authorized to be used in Iraq, and also noted that these methods were potentially in contravention of the Geneva Conventions."

And, yes, I DO take it personally

"The memorandum written and signed by General Sanchez on September 14, 2003, contained as an enclosure the specific interrogation techniques authorized to be used in Iraq, and also noted those that were potentially in contravention of Geneva."

I find the lack of the simple courtesy of even sending a private email with a thank-you for the tip to be both disappointing and sadly unprofessional. You can be certain I won't make the same mistake twice.

i take great pains to credit all sources whether they be news media outlets or bloggers... the last thing i want to do is try to pretend that all the stuff i put out here is the product of my own fertile mind and diligent research... i don't think it's too much to ask to expect the same treatment in return...

Labels: , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

The hideous excrescence that is domestic spying

glenn greenwald offers us a few glimpses of the very scarey allegations (here and here, both PDF files) pending against the federal government for illegal domesting spying and the telecom companies who aided and abetted the crimes...
And:

And:

he also shares a number of observations about the current brouhaha surrounding the documents that were released as part of the criminal prosecution of former qwest ceo joseph nacchio...
  • The cooperation between the various military/intelligence branches of the Federal Government -- particularly the Pentagon and the NSA -- and the private telecommunications corporations is extraordinary and endless.
  • [T]he nation's telecoms are recipients of enormous amounts of revenues by virtue of turning themselves into branches of the Federal Government.
  • The top telecom officials are devoting substantial amounts of their energy to working on highly classified telecom projects with the Bush administration, including projects to develop whole new joint networks and ensure unfettered governmental access to those networks.
  • The private/public distinction here has eroded almost completely. There is no governmental oversight or regulation of these companies.
  • All of this takes place completely in the dark, in total secrecy, with no oversight and no checks.
  • That is what is so extraordinary -- and so absolutely appalling -- about the casual advocacy on the part of our nation's "journalists" for Congressional amnesty for telecoms. The amnesty [journalists like Fred Hiatt, David Ignatius and Joe Klein] advocate would result in the complete and permanent dismissal of all of the pending lawsuits arising out of this joint telecom-government lawbreaking, which would, in turn, ensure that this lawbreaking remains concealed.
just when it seems that the excrescences of the bush administration can't possibly grow any larger or more hideous, guess what...?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"Gasp! Did that child just say HE DOESN'T LIKE THE PRESIDENT?"

tom tomorrow presents our most recent insanity...

Labels: , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ray McGovern shares his thoughts on pre-9/11 spying, Nancy Pelosi, Michael Hayden and other potential criminals

rather than attempting to excerpt key passages, i suggest you click on over to consortium news and read it all for yourself... it's well worth it...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

Getting "permission" to fly from our government 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE?

uh, no... mama don't play THAT game...
Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) (pdf), all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin.

Currently, the Advanced Passenger Information System, operated by the Customs and Border Patrol, requires airlines to forward a list of passenger information no later than 15 minutes before flights from the US take off (international flights bound for the US have until 15 minutes after take-off). Planes are diverted if a passenger on board is on the no-fly list.

The new rules mean this information must be submitted 72 hours before departure. Only those given clearance will get a boarding pass. The TSA estimates that 90 to 93 per cent of all travel reservations are final by then.

The proposed rules require the following information for each passenger: full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number (assigned to passengers who use the Travel Redress Inquiry Program because they have been mistakenly placed on the no-fly list), and known traveller number (once there is a programme in place for registering known travellers whose backgrounds have been checked). Non-travellers entering secure areas, such as parents escorting children, will also need clearance.

sure, just throw this in the same hopper as everything else that's being deliberately crafted to nullify the united states constitution... this shit must cease...

(thanks to cryptogon...)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

When the progressive blogosphere doesn't walk its talk

A recurrent theme in the progressive blogosphere is the lack of context offered by traditional news outlets in their news reporting. It is remarkable, therefore, that, given General Ricardo Sanchez' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004, in which he perjured himself by denying that he authorized enhanced interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, that fact was completely ignored by both progressive bloggers and the traditional news media in the coverage of Sanchez' recent speech decrying the Bush administration debacle that is Iraq.

The memorandum written and signed by General Sanchez on September 14, 2003, contained as an enclosure the specific interrogation techniques authorized to be used in Iraq, and also noted those that were potentially in contravention of Geneva.

General Sanchez was asked if he ordered or approved those techniques by U.S. Senator Jack Reed in testimony given before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004.

On May 19, 2004, General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq Prison Abuse.
U.S. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.

REED: Is that correct?

LIEUTENANT GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ : Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.

General Sanchez' perjury was not mentioned in any of the following weblogs or news outlets.

Think Progress

AMERICAblog (here and here)

Talking Points Memo

Atrios

Daily Kos

Juan Cole

Raw Story

Washington Post

Associated Press

The missing context is crucial information regarding General Sanchez' credibility. Its inclusion would allow readers to potentially draw different conclusions about General Sanchez' purpose in speaking out against the Iraq debacle and the Bush administration. The progressive blogosphere has prided itself on holding public figures and the traditional media to account, and has never hesitated to excoriate the vast noise machine of the right for overlooking inconvenient facts. We should not allow ourselves to fall into the same trap.

Even more interesting is that I have posted comments about General Sanchez' perjury on all of the above weblogs, including the relevant links, and still no mention has been made. Trust me, I'm not looking for recognition here, I just believe that a very important fact regarding this story has been omitted, and WHERE that omission has taken place bothers me greatly.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments

"It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves"

frank rich in the nyt...
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.

yes, it's a strong statement from someone who has been consistently strong in his views, and i applaud him for it... i agree that it is most definitely way, WAY past time to stop standing idly by, but i would add one very important element to mr. rich's focus on the iraq war and torture...

the united states is in a deadly critical, exceptionally serious constitutional crisis that threatens the very existence of our democratic republic and everything it stands for... no matter how unrealistic or far-fetched it may seem, we simply MUST turn these criminals out of office BEFORE the next election (and most certainly BEFORE the new president is inaugurated), and seize that opportunity to roll back the unconstitutional mechanisms of unfettered power they have put in place...

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller



[Permalink] 0 comments