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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

From 1987: Bill Moyers' "Secret Government"

an important piece of our history, particularly relevant today... as you're watching, just keep telling yourself, this was made twenty years ago...

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Thom Hartmann on "Corporate Personhood"

i've used a documentary film, the corporation, in my graduate seminars... in that film, there's an important segment tracing the course of events that led to corporations being given legal standing as "persons..." it's a fascinating piece, but i find that thom hartmann has done a much more in-depth study of that seriously distorted legal precedent and notes that it may reversible... well worth reading...
These non-living, non-breathing persons are now ... fully entitled to the protections that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison wrote into the Bill of Rights to shield human persons from abuse by such powerful institutions as governments. Even the American Civil Liberties Union, in a recent and misguided effort, argued before the Supreme Court that corporations should have the free speech right to lie (or say anything else they want) that’s granted to humans by the First Amendment.

A few of the world’s largest corporations ... successfully claimed the protection of the First Amendment, then lobbied Congress and the FCC to relax local ownership rules so they could take control of our media. Once that was done, they claimed First Amendment free speech rights to tell us whatever serves their interest and call it “news” without consideration of its truthfulness or having to worry about giving fair and equal time to other viewpoints. They claim the protection of the Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) so they can prevent the EPA and OSHA from inspecting factories for environmental or labor violations without first obtaining the corporation’s permission - which they say can be withheld for any reason.

They now have the protection of the Fifth Amendment so they are protected from double jeopardy and don’t have to answer questions about their own crimes. They now have the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment so they can sue local towns or counties or states that try to pass laws to protect local small businesses against their predations.

The structure for this displacement of humans by corporations under the constitution has been in place since 1886, but only since the 1980s have our largest corporations aggressively used the courts to claim human rights. (Interestingly, small and medium-sized corporations almost never use this argument: to them if corporate personhood vanished nothing would change.)

But a human backlash is now developing.

In ten Pennsylvania townships, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has helped local governments pass ordinances denying corporate personhood in order to block large corporate factory farms from setting up in areas previously the sole territory of family farms. In the city of Point Arena, California, voters passed a resolution declaring corporate personhood a threat to democracy, and encouraging a debate on it by other communities.

The Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), America’s oldest and most prestigious women’s rights group (founded in 1919 by Jane Addams, with two Nobel Prize Winners as past presidents), declared at their July, 2002 annual meeting the kick-off of a three-year “Abolish Corporate Personhood” educational and legislative campaign.

And elected officials across the nation are discovering that meaningful campaign finance reform, effective environmental protections, and human-friendly health-care will only happen when corporations can no longer use the extraordinary power of the Bill of Rights to insinuate themselves into politics and legislation.

i wasn't aware of the challenges that hartmann mentions... this is good news...

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Fred Thompson: If you're scared of liberals, vote for me

oferchrissake, fred... go wash your damn pick-up truck and stop blathering about idiocy...
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Saturday that election of a Democrat to the White House in 2008 would open the way for a welfare state where bigger government, higher taxes and defense cutbacks sap the country's economic and military strength.

"Our country is at a crossroads," Thompson told several hundred people at a rally at a community clubhouse.

"We know that the most liberal element of the Democratic Party has taken control of the Democratic Party, and if they win this next election we're going to go down the road of a welfare state," he said.

After warning of a government that gets "bigger and bigger," he said "I don't think the American people are going to turn the keys to this country over to the most left-wing part of a left-wing party next year."

"We've got to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.

O.M.G...! the "most LIBERAL element of the democratic party..." grab the children, turn off the lights, close the blinds, don't make any noise at all... maybe they'll go away...

what must go on in a brain like that...?

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Looting Iraq - Naomi Klein talks with Keith Olbermann

thanks to raw story...

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All private tv news broadcasts are owned by five corporations and the internet is next

juan cole...
[A]ll private television news broadcasts are owned by only five corporations in the United States. Five is too little for healthy competition, and all five disallow centrist and leftist points of view as most people in the world would define them (i.e. the range of acceptable opinion on the US airwaves is from center-right to far right, as Europeans would define these things).

Those who argue that the Five Sisters' monopoly is not so bad, given that they don't control a lot of the major newspapers or wire services are ignoring a simple fact. Most Americans get their news from television, and newspapers' readership is rapidly falling. The monopoly is real, and it explains everything about why BushRove were able to propagandize us into the Iraq War.

The narrowing of the range of public views in the media is a direct result of the Five Sisters' Monopoly.

So how could they Corporatize the internet and exclude our voices? They could set it up so that, for instance, if you couldn't come up with $100,000 a year, they could arrange for it to take 5 minutes for your web site to load, while Corporate Monopoly web sites loaded immediately. (Studies show that readers are unwilling to wait more than a few seconds for sites to load, after which they move on.) That move would not only destroy the blogosphere, but it would get rid of YouTube and similar video-posting sites, as well.

Or, they might decline to carry the bigger video files by p2p (as with Comcast, which actually lied to its subscribers that the download was unavailable with a spoofed email purporting to come from the poster!). Comcast is the same corporation that shoves Fox Cable News down our throats but won't let us see the direct BBC feed as part of our basic package, much less Aljazeera English.

Save the Internet is a key site for organizing to stop the imposition of a Corporate Monopoly on the Internet.

Join the campaign to make sure Congress knows how we feel, and send them a message here.

if we lose the internet, we're as good as screwed...

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"Instead of a presumption of innocence and of a public trial, we start with a presumption of guilt and of a secret trial”

from the nyt via raw story...
Defense lawyers preparing for the war crimes trial of a 21-year-old Guantánamo detainee have been ordered by a military judge not to tell their client — or anyone else — the identity of witnesses against him, newly released documents show.


Defense lawyers say the order would hamper their ability to build an adequate defense because they cannot ask their client or anyone else about prosecution witnesses, making it difficult to test the veracity of testimony.

The order, the documents show, followed a request by military prosecutors who said they feared terrorist retaliation against witnesses who appeared at Guantánamo proceedings.


Mr. Khadr’s military defense lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler of the Navy, said that while he has been given a list of prosecution witnesses, the judge’s decision requires him to keep secrets from his client and that he would ask Colonel Brownback to revoke the order. He said it treated Mr. Khadr as if he had already been convicted and deprived him of a trial at which the public could assess the evidence against him.

“Instead of a presumption of innocence and of a public trial,” Commander Kuebler said, “we start with a presumption of guilt and of a secret trial.”


In an interview, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, a senior official in the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions, said that the commission system was open to scrutiny from news organizations and human rights groups and that the order was necessary to protect the lives of witnesses.

“The system is designed to be open,” General Hartmann said. “But there are certain things that simply must be protected.”

i beg to differ... the system is NOT "designed to be open..." it may be easy to say those words, but the facts don't support them...
Joshua L. Dratel, a lawyer in New York who represented another detainee prosecuted for war crimes, described such orders as an Orwellian effort to hamstring defense lawyers while making it appear that detainees are rigorously represented.

“It is ‘1984,’” Mr. Dratel said. “No system in the United States would operate this way.”

Some legal experts said while the identities of witnesses were shielded on rare occasions in American courts, an order applying to all witnesses in a case would be exceptional.

Such an order “would be very, very unusual” in a civilian court, said James A. Cohen, a Fordham University law professor, adding that he knew of no blanket order protecting the identities of all witnesses in a case.

mr. khadr's defense attorney sums it up...
In an e-mail message on Oct. 11 to the judge and the prosecutors, Commander Kuebler argued that it was notable that the entire discussion of whether witnesses would be permitted to shield their identities was being conducted without anyone in the public or the press able to observe the arguments.

“The manner in which this is being dealt with (i.e., off the record, via e-mail),” he wrote, “creates an added level of difficulty by making it appear that the government is trying to keep the secrecy of the proceedings a secret itself.”

the "justice" system of the united states of america, circa late 2007...

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The LA Times: CNN = C_orrupt N_ews N_etwork

here's a major media news outlet taking a strong stand against our generally pathetic media's performance in what should be their solemn duty to help prepare u.s. citizens to be able to thoughtfully elect our next president and the abject failure to do so...
Regarding Media

CNN: Corrupt News Network

A self-serving agenda was set for the Republican presidential debates.
December 1, 2007

THE United States is at war in the Middle East and Central Asia, the economy is writhing like a snake with a broken back, oil prices are relentlessly climbing toward $100 a barrel and an increasing number of Americans just can't afford to be sick with anything that won't be treated with aspirin and bed rest.

So, when CNN brought the Republican presidential candidates together this week for what is loosely termed a "debate," what did the country get but a discussion of immigration, Biblical inerrancy and the propriety of flying the Confederate flag?

In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable to play the political role the Democratic and Republican parties recently have conceded it.

Selecting a president is, more than ever, a life and death business, and a news organization that consciously injects itself into the process, as CNN did by hosting Wednesday's debate, incurs a special responsibility to conduct itself in a dispassionate and, most of all, disinterested fashion. When one considers CNN's performance, however, the adjectives that leap to mind are corrupt and incompetent.

toldja... fairly strong stuff but not at all out of line...

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Concerned about the Constitutional crisis? Check out this guy!

john nirenberg is willing to put it all on the line...

The 60-year-old author and academic plans to walk from Boston to Washington, D.C., to confront House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in hopes of persuading Congress to take up the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Nirenberg says he's no activist. He hates snow, cold and darkness. He's not even sure he'll make a difference, but he's going to try.

He plans to hit the road Sunday, leaving from Faneuil Hall and walking 15 miles a day until he gets to Capitol Hill, stopping at the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and other symbolic locations as he makes his way to the U.S. Capitol.

Wearing a "Save the Constitution, Impeach Bush and Cheney," sandwich-board style sign, Nirenberg hopes to rally support for an issue Pelosi has said is no longer on the table.

"This is about satisfying my conscience. I just don't want to be the guy who says in five years that I regret not having stood up and said something.

i've often entertained this same thought... this guy is my age and he's hoofing it from boston to d.c. to demonstrate what he believes... my hat is off, and i'm damn sure giving him my support... you can too...
Can’t come with me? I’ll march in your name. Click here to learn more and watch my videos as I march.

from nirenberg's website...
What you can do to take citizenship to the next level:

* First, don’t wait for the organizers. If you can’t make the planned events or don’t like crowds make your presence felt anyway - whenever you are ready.

* When you can, go to Speaker Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C., go to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyer’s Office in Washington D.C. and tell them to do their duty and impeach Bush and Cheney for violating the Constitution and breaking the law.

* Let’s remind them that the halls of the Capitol are not just for high paid corporate lobbyists. Bring your friends. Keep it simple. Make it personal. Go whenever you can. Then go again. Tell them you want real accountability. Tell them you want to save the Constitution. Tell them to put impeachment back on the table — now.

This is our duty as citizens, our duty to what is left of our good old-fashioned American idealism and our duty to future generations.

Let’s stop the lies. Stop the corruption. Stop the killing. Now.

at this moment in our history, i'd much rather put my money behind somebody like this than one of the half-baked candidates running for president...

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Kansas R's dumping abortion in favor of immigration (and the violence and hypocrisy that comes with it)


from the la times...

[A]s the political season revs up, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party has issued a stern warning to his fellow conservatives: Abortion is not a winning issue.

"This is not something that the Kansas GOP is going to go out and lead on," Christian Morgan said.

Morgan said that he and his party remain firmly opposed to abortion. Most Republican voters in Kansas feel the same, he said. But Morgan also believes that those voters are fed up with years of fruitless political and legal maneuvering aimed at driving abortion clinics out of business. They would much prefer to see an all-out focus on curbing illegal immigration or cutting taxes, he said.

In an e-mail rebuffing an antiabortion activist who asked for more GOP support, Morgan explained: "My job is to win elections. . . . Your agenda does not fit my agenda."

so, kansas r's are "fed up" with the "fruitless" campaign against abortion and its related violence, so they're choosing to put their money on the wedge issue of immigration and ITS violence instead, eh...? let's see how THAT'S working for them...

this is from the southern poverty law center in an introduction to a list of the more egregious physical and psychological violence waged against latinos in the past two and one-half years...

There's no doubt that the tone of the raging national debate over immigration is growing uglier by the day. Once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists, vicious public denunciations of undocumented brown-skinned immigrants are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, radio hosts and politicians. While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as "invaders," "criminal aliens" and "cockroaches."

meanwhile, arguably one of the more vicious individuals to implicitly condone a violent response to immigration problems displays what has become the oh-so-predictable repub hypocrisy... ladies and gentlemen, i give you the odious tom tancredo...

from max blumenthal in alternet...

When Tancredo (presidential candidate and R-CO) hired a construction crew to transform his drab basement into a high-tech pleasure den in October 2001, however, he did not express concern that only two of its members spoke English. Nor did he bother to check the workers’ documentation to see if they were legal residents of the United States. Had Tancredo done so, he would have learned that most of the crew consisted of undocumented immigrants, or “criminal aliens” as he likes to call them. Instead, Tancredo paid the crew $60,000 for its labor and waited innocently for the completion of his elaborate entertainment complex.

During the renovation process, two illegal workers hired by Tancredo were alerted to his reputation for immigrant bashing. They went straight to the Denver Post to complain. Tancredo “doesn't want us here, but he'll take advantage of our sweat and our labor,” one of the workers complained to the Post on September 19, 2002. “It's just not right.”

The Post report momentarily threw Tancredo on the defensive. In a fiery speech soon after the story’s publication, Tancredo blamed his foibles on the INS. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many people I may have hired in the past as taxi drivers, as waiters, waitresses, home improvement people,” he boomed from the House floor. “I haven't the foggiest idea how many of those people may have been here illegally, and it is not my job to ask them.” Then defiance gave way to vitriol as the congressman dubbed undocumented immigrants, “the face of murder.”

Only days before the Post’s story appeared, Tancredo had personally reported an honor student profiled in the Denver Post to the INS because the 14-year-old was not a legal resident of the United States. The stunt forced the boy’s family to go into hiding.

now tell me that calling undocumented immigrants "the face of murder" isn't an implicit invitation to violence...

i've mentioned before that i had a one-degree of separation moment with tancredo when i was living in colorado in 2002... my friend, the vice consul at the mexican consulate in denver, was being seriously slimed by the vile tancredo for merely doing his job, helping his own country's citizens, one of whom was the honor student mentioned in the last paragraph of the excerpt above... i won't bore you with the details, but anyone who has followed tancredo's history of bile can easily fill in the blanks...

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Friday, November 30, 2007

JFK's warning on secret, closed societies

listening to this, it's no wonder the powerful, monied elites decided to get him out of the way...

This excerpt was clipped at the end and cuts off the following...

" that man can become what he was born to be, free and independent."

It's been 44 years since a man in the White House spoke this way.

First, he was assassinated and the facts of that assassination carefully concealed.

Then his memory was smeared by 1000 hack writers hired to sensationalize and distort details of his private life.

Now 44 years later, the anniversary of his death passes with barely a news media mention.

But they can't kill his word, or our memory.

can't you just imagine folks like cheney, bush, rove, addington, gonzales, yoo, and everyone else of that ilk, listening to kennedy's speech...? they would know immediately that, if his vision became the order of the day, their hold on power would be erased...

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Presidential extortion

happy holidays, all you government employees out there...! our president wants to hold your jobs and holiday shopping money hostage to his insanity... what a GUY...!
President Bush warned Congress yesterday that the Pentagon will soon have to start laying off civilian employees and reducing operations at U.S. military bases unless lawmakers send him an emergency war funding bill that does not mandate troop withdrawals from Iraq.

full disclosure: both my son and daughter-in-law, with whom i make my home when i am in the u.s., are civilian government employees, altho' not with the defense department...

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El Baradei talks about Iran and Argentina's nuclear program - more news we never see from a source we can't access

mohamed el baradei, the head of the international atomic energy agency, was in buenos aires earlier this week to receive an honorary doctorate from the university of buenos aires... he also met with outgoing argentine president nestor kirchner and granted an interview to the largest argentine daily, clarín... the translation is courtesy of the open source center (see below) via juan cole...

"I hope that what was done in Iraq will not be repeated. We have all learned a lesson and I hope with all my strength that the situation in Iran will be resolved diplomatically." [emphasis in original] Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei, who is now in Buenos Aires and gave an exclusive interview to Clarin yesterday afternoon, is at the center of a storm and is working against the clock. ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is supervising the Iranian (nuclear development) plan, and he is also under pressure from the United States and its allies to harden his stance toward Tehran. Both the United States and Israel have sharply attacked the IAEA report on Iran.

el baradei continues...
I try to convince, argue, apply pressure, and use persuasion. Of course, my diplomacy is limited to dialogue, as there is no army behind it. I am indeed the target of pressures, but as long as you know that you have your feet on the ground and are sure of what you are doing, pressures are like Teflon; they do not stick. Moreover, I have gotten used to this, as we have been criticized by Saddam, by Korea, and now by Israel. We deal with extremely sensitive issues and we have to be very careful that we are not pushed in any direction. Everyone listens to us with great attention. This does seem rather schizophrenic, doesn't it? Governments hire us, but at times we make a judgment about them and it is difficult for them to accept the fact that, even though they are paying us, we can still judge them.

as much time as i spend there, i still have to remind myself that argentina's a nuclear nation... here, el baradei responds to a question about argentina's nuclear program...
Argentina is the only country in the region that has developed the complete nuclear fuel cycle and that is in a position to export nuclear technology, like the reactor that was sold to Australia, which is very pleased with it. Argentina may play a significant role as a possessor of this technology. It could be part of this possible rebirth of nuclear energy, and Argentina and Brazil may be in a position to cooperate by supplying nuclear fuel.

ok, back to the open source center... juan cole regularly posts excerpts in translation from media outlets around the world that he credits to the u.s. government "open source center"... this morning i was moved to go check it out... what i found is that it's definitely not "open..." here's what they say on their password-protected site (see screen shot below)...
Welcome to the website of the Open Source Center. OSC provides foreign media reporting and analysis to policymakers, government institutions and strategic partners. We deliver targeted, timely and authoritative open source intelligence for analysis, operations and policymaking. [...] This is a U.S. Government computer system. You have reached a United States Government computer system. Unauthorized access is prohibited by U.S. Public Law 99-474 (the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986) and can result in administrative, disciplinary, and/or criminal proceedings. If you are not an authorized user, exit this system immediately. Use of this system constitutes consent to monitoring at all times.

so, who CAN access the open source center (besides juan cole)... again, from their website...
# U.S. Government Employee
Select this option if you are an employee of a U.S. Federal Government agency.
# U.S. Government Contractor
Select this option if you are a U.S. contractor working under the terms of an active U.S. Federal Government contract, and if our material is required to support your work for the U.S. Federal Government.
# State and Local Government Employee
Select this option if you are an employee of a state or local government in the United States with Homeland Security responsibilities.
# State and Local Government Contractor
Select this option if you are working under the terms of an active contract with a state or local government in the United States with Homeland Security responsibilities.
# BBC Monitoring Employee
Select this option if you are an employee of the BBC Monitoring Service, and if our material is required to support your work for BBCM.
# Foreign Liaison with U.S. Government
Select this option if you are an officer of a government other than that of the United States, or if you are employed by a government-level international organization. Note that you should only apply for this account after having secured our explicit consent to do so. If you would like an account but have not secured such consent, please contact us at

just a few more facts to file away for future reference... not that i don't have a head packed full already...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Must read: "uberveillance," "ambient technology," "ubiquitous computing," "ingest­ible bugs" and nanotechnology

we've been picking up bits and pieces of this all over the place, but this is one of the first concise summaries i've seen of the totality of what's going on...
Government and corporate officials responsible for compliance with privacy laws in Canada and Europe are using a whole new language in 2007. Much of the jargon has passed by the American public. So listen up. This is important.

At their annual meeting this fall in Montreal, there was little of the traditional talk among the international privacy people about the nuts and bolts of data protection. Instead, there were urgent and distressed discussions about "uberveillance," "ambient technology," "ubiquitous computing," "ingest­ible bugs" and nanotechnology.


[T]his new environment may render obsolete the three decades' old regime for protecting privacy, which merely gives certain rights of access to citizens. What good is checking the accuracy of your own information in a system if the essence of the system is to keep track of where you are? What good is notification about a new system if it's quite simply everywhere?

One form of this new technology is human-area networking, which permits the human body to be the conduit for electronic transmissions--of information, instructions, behavior and a lot more.

"We are entering a new era in privacy. Current con­cepts of consent will not be adequate for this," says Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Ethics, Law and Technology at the University of Ottawa, who seems to be the scholar in North America most aware of this trend.

And how about an RFID identifying chip that may be swallowed by humans--an ingestible bug. Last February, Eastman-Kodak (nyse: EK - news - people ), no longer your father's camera company, filed for patent protection for this new device. The patent filing suggested potential uses, including monitoring "bodily events," tracking how a person's digestive track is absorbing medicine, or verifying how a specific medicine is interacting with other drugs in one's body. The RFID tag would disintegrate eventually, the company says.

European officials are using terms like ubiquitous computing and pervasive or invasive comp­uting. One of them said that ambient intelligence is an even greater challenge to European privacy enforcers than terrorism.

Ambient intelligence refers to an environment in which electronic devices support human beings in their daily activities in a way that conceals the computers' inner workings. This will involve embedding tiny chips inside the body, customizing them to the individual and anticipating needs of the individual.

Michael G. Michael, a theologian and technology historian at the University of Wollongong, in New South Wales, Aus­tralia, says that he originated the term uberveillance to describe the new environment. The stem "uber" means "over" or "super" in German. He thinks the pervasive monitoring will lead to increased cases of insanity and mental distress. "Mental illness will become an increasingly confronting factor as these issues develop," he frowned.

Another threatening term often used in these contexts is nanotechnogy, which refers to a miniaturization of technology allowing applications originally deemed impossible.

Still another term is biobanking, which, in the words of an IBM (nyse: IBM - news - people ) developer, "aims to empower researchers with unprecedented access to critical molecular and clinical information to accelerate a more personalized paradigm of medicine." Biobanks--sometimes called biorepositories or tissue banks--are a critical resource for 21st century clinical research and medicine because they naturally generate lots of genomic and phenotypic data. "Combining the wealth of genetic and molecular information now emerging with patient records and other clinical records will help researchers understand disease at the molecular level, ultimately leading to innovative new personalized therapies and treatments."

Even--especially– children are already subjects of this pervasive monitoring. Web sites like,, and manipulate children by offering bonus points for loyalty to products and to the site. Children are coerced into visiting on a regular basis. They are forced to give care, love and attention to fictional characters and animals. Collecting information on child-oriented Web sites is regulated by American law (even though kids, of course, have little difficulty circumventing the parental consent rules), but manipulating children online is not regulated.

Surveillance systems require huge investments, which require government backing, and so it's important for taxpayers--not to mention consumers and parents--to stay up to date on these trends. As to be expected, an industry segment is growing around the new emphasis. Just this month, O'Reilly Media announced a conference next May for "the location industry," to discuss "location-based technology."

it's the nanotechnology that disturbs me most... we could very well be ingesting surveillance technology completely unbeknownst to us...

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Over 48 TONS of cocaine seized in Mexico since April, 33 TONS just last month

i've been half-assedly following (here and here) the madcow morning news coverage of the incredible cocaine bust stories coming out of mexico and the possible links to the cia and a bush ranger... yesterday, madcow's daniel hopsicker put up yet another story even more jaw-dropping than the other two...

check this

An incredible 33 tons of cocaine were discovered in cargo containers offloaded from the cargo ship Esmeralda which sailed to Mexico’s Pacific Coast port of Manzanillo from Buenaventura in northwestern Colombia.

This came hard on the heels of headlines from Tampico in early October. "Mexican soldiers seize 10 tons of cocaine after shootout."

Altogether so far this year an unprecedented 48 tons of cocaine has now been seized by the Mexican government.

the above follows the earlier stories of two cia-connected airplanes loaded with cocaine being busted in the yucatan...
In April of last year 5.5 tons of cocaine were discovered on a DC9 (N900SA) flight which originated in St. Petersburg, flew to Venezuela, to Colombia, and then on to Mexico, where it was busted by ordinary Mexican foot soldiers at a rural airport in Cuidad del Carmen on the Yucatan peninsula.

Then two months ago well over four tons of cocaine—some knowledgeable estimates went as high as six tons—were discovered on a Gulfstream business jet (N987SA) flight in Mexico.

This flight too originated at the St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, flew to Colombia, and then on to Mexico, where it crash-landed in a field 45 kilometers outside of the Yucatan capital of Merida.

but, wait... there's more...
There is a wild card in the story of cartel wars and drug murders involving busted loads on American planes in the Yucatan...

Several figures in the story are implicated in another, and if possible even more serious Mexican scandal underway currently.

Kamel Nacif and Jean Succor, prominent Lebanese businessmen in Cancun, are widely reported to be major figures in the dominant drug cartel in the Yucatan whose cocaine was seized on the two American planes.

The two men are also at the heart of a scandal involving a huge child molestation ring which has been providing children as young as five to a clientele of wealthy Mexican and foreign businessmen.

They have been dubbed Narco-Pederastas in Mexican press coverage of the scandal, which is growing so fast that it may become Mexico’s Watergate.

let's go back to the esmeralda, that cargo ship busted in manzanillo...
But in the voluminous press coverage of the bust in Mexico we were struck by the fact that we could find no picture of the ship itself. Just already-offloaded containers, presumably filled with cocaine, stacked on the dock, watched over by the watchful eyes and automatic weapons of soldiers from the Mexican military.

But no pictures of the Esmeralda.

Maybe its a ghost ship. A Philadelphia Experiment carrying cocaine in and out of the ether. Better than submarine, even.

Apparently Mexican authorities, before alerting the media, allowed the ship, after unloading, to proceed on its merry way.

Consider: if the government of Mexico found 23 tons of cocaine in the trunk of your car on your way back from a margarita-soaked weekend in Tijuana, would they hand back the keys after grabbing the dope?

ok, so who owns it...?
“Big cocaine haul on ship flying HK flag” read the headline from the South China Morning Post
“The identity of the ship, which departed from Buenaventura, Colombia, remains a mystery as the Hong Kong Marine Department said, ‘it did not find its registration.’”

“All Hong Kong ships must register with us. Maybe it was flying the flag to conceal its real identity,” a department spokesman said.’


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Softening us up for government control of the internet

with the internet being pretty much the last uncontrolled (note: i DIDN'T say un-TAPPED) means of individual expression and unfiltered news left, it's obviously only a matter of time before governments put a halt to that too... mettle has posted regularly on this blog about content filtering using packet sniffing technologies, the kind of technology that will allow the internet to be controlled and access restricted to those with the most money (and the most power)... another way that it's going to happen is under the guise of national security, namely, protecting the security of the internet infrastructure...

bet on it... it's on its way...

A "cyber cold war" waged over the world's computers threatens to become one of the biggest threats to security in the next decade, according to a report published on Thursday.

About 120 countries are developing ways to use the Internet as a weapon to target financial markets, government computer systems and utilities, Internet security company McAfee said in an annual report.

Intelligence agencies already routinely test other states' networks looking for weaknesses and their techniques are growing more sophisticated every year, it said.

Governments must urgently shore up their defenses against industrial espionage and attacks on infrastructure.

"Cybercrime is now a global issue," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs. "It has evolved significantly and is no longer just a threat to industry and individuals but increasingly to national security."

remember... it's for your own good...

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Are you discontented with the U.S. government? Don't call the fire department!

i posted on this story last sunday and keith olbermann picked up on it last night on countdown...

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The WaPo furthers the disinformation campaign against the Venezuela referendum [UPDATE: add the NYT]

apropos of yesterday's post on possible cia efforts to destabilize venezuela during and after sunday's referendum, here's an excellent example of how our government's propaganda organ, the wapo, is helping out...
Old Allies Abandon Chávez as Constitution Vote Nears

Few associates had been as loyal to President Hugo Chávez as the governor of the coastal state of Sucre, Ramón Martínez. And few are now more determined to defeat Chávez as he campaigns for constitutional changes that, if approved by voters on Sunday, could extend his presidency for life.

Chávez, 53 and in his ninth tumultuous year in office, was until recently predicted to win a referendum that would permit him to run for 8office indefinitely, appoint governors to federal districts he would create, and control the purse strings of one of the world's major oil-producing countries.

But Martínez and a handful of others who once were prominent pillars in the Chávez machine, have defected, saying approval of 69 constitutional changes would effectively turn Venezuela into a dictatorship run at the whim of one man. They have been derided by Chávez as traitors, but their unimpeachable leftist credentials have given momentum to a movement that pollsters say may deliver Chávez his first electoral defeat.

"The proposal would signify a coup d'etat," said Martínez, 58, whose dapper appearance belies his history as a guerrilla and Communist Party member. "Here the power is going to be concentrated in one person. That's very grave."

needless to say, there's zero mention of the cia memo in the wapo article... i offered this comment to the wapo...
any particular reason this item wasn't mentioned...?
[A]n internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007, references the "Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers", and confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd.

if true, and there seems to be no reason to assume it's not, that's a very explosive piece of information... it would be nice if your crack investigative journalists and fact-checkers could run it down and let us poor peons in on what you find out...

another triumph of context-free journalism...


oh, i shoulda known it wouldn't be JUST the wapo... at least the nyt has the good grace to cloak its propaganda onslaught in an op-ed, rather than pass it off as actual news reporting...

the odious roger cohen with an equally odious headline...

Shutting Up Venezuela’s Chávez

Venezuelans will vote Sunday in a referendum that would remove all limits on presidential re-election, grant Chávez direct control over foreign currency reserves, allow him to censor the media under a state of emergency declarable at his discretion, expand his powers to expropriate private property and create the second formally socialist nation in the Americas alongside Fidel’s.

“The measures amount to a constitutional coup,” said Teodoro Petkoff, who edits an opposition newspaper. Certainly, they would prod Venezuela from an oppressive rule comparable to Mexico’s under its once impregnable Institutional Revolutionary Party toward the dictatorial absolutism of Cuba.

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The amazing, disappearing presidential candidate, circa 1992, an excerpt from the movie Spin [UPDATE: Rap video from disappearing Mike Gravel]

from brasscheck tv...
US elections are rigged long before the voting results are falsified.

The news media helps the process along by making (or trying to make) legitimate candidates disappear.

In the 2008 campaign for president, the candidate the news media is trying to trivialize and marginalize Ron Paul. [profmarcus: also Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, both of whom are also being subjected to outright ridicule]

In 1992, the "disappeared" candidate was Democrat Larry Agran.

The good news is that the Internet has made this kind of chicanery, much more difficult.

here's "spin" from which the above excerpt was taken...
Artist Brian Springer spent a year scouring the airwaves with a satellite dish grabbing back channel news feeds not intended for public consumption. The result of his research is SPIN, one of the most insightful films ever made about the mechanics of how television is used as a tool of social control to distort and limit the American public's perception of reality.

Take the time to watch it from beginning to end and you'll never look at TV reporting the same again.


mike gravel is a perfect example of what's being talked about above... if not for alternative news sources like raw story and youtube, we would never even know about this...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday is the referendum in Venezuela [UPDATE: CIA attempting to destabilize Venezuela during the referendum]

needless to say, our domestic media have nothing good to say, so here's a couple of alternative views...

from james petras via global research...

The outcome of the Referendum of December 2 is a decisive historical event first and foremost for Venezuela but also for the rest of the Americas. A positive vote (Vota ‘Sí’) will provide the legal framework for the democratization of the political system, the socialization of strategic economic sectors, empower the poor and provide the basis for a self-managed factory system. A negative vote (or a successful US-backed civil-military uprising) will reverse the most promising living experience of popular self-rule, of advanced social welfare and democratically based socialism. A reversal, especially a military dictated outcome, will lead to a massive blood bath, such as we have not seen since the days of the Indonesian Generals’ Coup of 1966, which killed over a million workers and peasants or the Argentine Coup of 1976 in which over 30,000 Argentines were murdered by the US backed Generals.

A decisive vote for ‘Sí’ will not end US military and political destabilization campaigns but it will certainly undermine and demoralize their collaborators. On December 2, 2007 the Venezuelans have a rendezvous with history.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

here's mark weisbrot of the center for economic and policy research via alternet...
[T]he voters [of Venezuela] will decide, with a far stronger opposition media than exists in the United States proselytizing against the government. Venezuelans have not lost civil liberties the way people in the U.S. (or even the UK) have in recent years, and ordinary citizens continue to have more say in their government, and share more in its oil wealth, than ever before. It is doubtful that the referendum will reverse these changes, regardless of the outcome.

here's hoping the cia will stay the hell out of the way...


i neglected to include this very key point from the above-referenced article by james petras...
On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum this Sunday (December 2, 2007).

after putting up the original post, i stumbled across the following, and suddenly realized that i hadn't pointed out what just might be a very explosive issue brewing for our "men in black..."
[A]n internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007, references the "Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers", and confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd.


Officer Steere emphasizes the importance and success of the public relations and propaganda campaign that the CIA has been funding with more than $8 million during the past month - funds that the CIA confirms are transfered through the USAID contracted company, Development Alternatives, Inc., which set up operations in June 2002 to run the USAID Office for Transition Initiatives that funds and advises opposition NGOs and political parties in Venezuela. The CIA memo specifically refers to these propaganda initiatives as "psychological operations" (PSYOPS), that include contracting polling companies to create fraudulent polls that show the NO vote with an advantage over the SI vote, which is false. The CIA also confirms in the memo that it is working with international press agencies to distort the data and information about the referendum, and that it coordinates in Venezuela with a team of journalists and media organized and directed by the President of Globovision, Alberto Federico Ravell.

CIA Officer Michael Steere recommends to General Michael Hayden two different strategies to work simultaneously: Impede the referendum and refuse to recognize the results once the SI vote wins. Though these strategies appear contradictory, Steere claims that they must be implemented together precisely to encourage activities that aim toward impeding the referendum and at the same time prepare the conditions for a rejection of the results.

if you read both articles in their entirety, you will come away with little doubt that what is being described, both in concept and in terminology, is very unlikely to be bogus... i honestly doubt that venezuelan counterintelligence could come up with all those details nor muster the specific phraseology in which those details are framed... maybe i'm full of it and the venezuelans are considerably more sophisticated about the inner workings of the cia than i think they are, and this is an elaborate ruse to discredit the u.s... somehow, i doubt it...

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Seven things that MUST happen!

seven things with which i am in complete agreement...

excerpted from a forthcoming book, the art of mental warfare, via a site new to me called, a covert agent speaks out...

1. Try the Bush Administration for war crimes. If the case could ever be brought to court, the evidence to convict is definitely there. This is why the administration has been strongly against the International Criminal Court. If we are to begin repairing this country, and the world, we must begin by showing these power crazed and covert forces that they are accountable. If we can convict someone like Cheney, we will send a powerful message to the covert world. If we let them walk, we will keep having these problems. New people will follow them and take their place.

2. Investigate where all the military spending has been vanishing off to. There are literally trillions of taxpayer dollars unaccounted for. This money is fueling the covert world and terrorism in general. As part of this, I would include an investigation into war profiteering as well.

3. Make it mandatory that all electronic voting machines must have a 100% verifiable paper trail.

4. Get people into the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who will smash the current media ownership rules. The concentration of media ownership is the foundation of the covert power structure. Without that, the whole thing is a house of cards. That’s why the FCC is currently trying to ram through rules that will further consolidate media ownership before the Bush administration leaves office. As part of this, it is pivotal that we protect the open architecture of the Internet. The media belongs to the people, as does the government, in theory anyway, but we need an information system that actually serves the public interest.

5. Declare a national and global emergency on the environmental front. We have already reached the breaking point. We need organized, governmental, policy driven, bold action now.

6. We need to address entities that now have power over the Constitution, such as the undemocratic and unelected corporate global governing structure - institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and “agreements” like NAFTA and DR-CAFTA, to name a few. Most Americans don’t even know what these power structures are, let alone that they have power that supersedes the Constitution. We must also address the National Security Act, that’s where the ultimate power of our country lies. The National Security Act has effectively made the Constitution meaningless and is the primary driver of the covert world. The PATRIOT Act and various other newly granted powers must also be drastically revised or eliminated completely in order to protect our civil liberties.

7. Lastly, we need to have publicly financed elections. As long as we have a system that requires candidates to raise tens of millions of dollars to even be considered for office, we will have politicians who bend over backwards for the richest one percent and the most powerful elements of society at the citizens’ expense. An important aspect of this has to be a requirement for large media companies to provide candidates with free airtime. Candidates have to spend the majority of their money on advertising in the mainstream media. That’s why the major news media spend so much time focusing on who is raising the most money, because they are the ones who end up with all that money. Once we have publicly financed elections and free airtime for candidates, we will get people in office who will work in the interests of the public because they are not beholden to the large and powerful entities. When you have politicians depending on the public instead of the private sector for survival, all the issues mentioned above could be addressed because they won’t have to fear the withdrawal of support from large corporations and the wealthy and powerful who do not want these things to happen. This will also enable us to eliminate tax breaks for the richest one percent, put an end to corporate welfare practices, and stop funding for obscene military and prison industrial companies that are profiting off of disasters and no longer serve security interests. Then we can redirect that money into environmental, education, health care and social security programs, to mention a few.

none of these will contain anything unfamiliar to readers of this blog, but they're still things that are very good to see all in one place... it's also good to be reminded of just what the stakes are and what we must do to start setting things right...

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The REAL benefit of having a Glenn Greenwald fighting for decent journalism

glenn's excerpt from chris colvin in glenn's salon column of today...
From NBC News writer Chris Colvin, writing on the NBC Nightly News blog:
Salon's Glenn Greenwald has engaged in a fairly brutal takedown of something TIME columnist Joe Klein wrote about Congressional Democrats' updates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- which turned into a series of posts that culminated with Greenwald today demanding answers from Klein's editor. (And incidentally, raising the issue of a false story one of our competitors ran with back in 2001, which had a particularly nasty resonance in our newsroom -- and for which there was never an apology or any accountability.)

Believe me, I'm not pointing this out because it involves competitors. Browse around the archives of or if you want to see harsh criticism of us. The point is, journalists, particularly in Washington, aren't going to be able to repeat partisan spin that contains falsehoods as analysis without being called on it anymore. And as Greenwald notes, it's rather telling that the calling-out is coming from the blogosphere and not the actual Democrats who Klein misrepresented. Maybe that's why there is a blogosphere to begin with.

goddam right... if colvin is correct, and journalists "aren't going to be able to repeat partisan spin that contains falsehoods as analysis without being called on it anymore," that would be extremely good news, and, despite the respect i hold for media matters, the lion's share of credit is going to go to glenn for jumping into the ring and doing what's long been needed - a full-fledged, wwe take-down...

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The Center for American Progress' "Progressive Growth" report ignores constitutional crisis

here's the lead-in...
The Center for American Progress released such a comprehensive economic strategy today, called Progressive Growth, which outlines the means to restoring American growth, security, and economic opportunity.

so, lessee...

the economy...

climate change [PDF]...

innovation and education...

economic growth...

_ restoring the constitution...

putting this kind of stuff out creates the strong - and WRONG - impression that, when the new < cough, cough > DEMOCRATIC president is inaugurated on 20 january 2009, if this kind of plan is implemented, the trees will burst into leaf, a million roses will bloom, and the milk and honey will flow in abundance, and that's simply not true... all that same shit that george and his criminal compadres have put in place will still be there, and i, for one, don't want ANY future president, but especially hillary or rudy, sitting in the oval office contemplating how best to use it...

and, yeah, yeah, yeah... i KNOW the report is about an ECONOMIC strategy, but, ferchrissake, we're not going to even HAVE a goddam economy if we don't get these jokers out of office and restore our founding document and the rule of law to their rightful place as the foundation of our country...

guess we'll have to leave that to dennis, eh...?

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It looks like Dennis K. is going to fully take on the constitutional crisis

since chris dodd is looking increasingly like a one-trick pony, i'm really glad to see this...
We all know that something is very wrong in our country. The Rule of Law, the Balance of Powers, and our Constitutionally guaranteed Civil Liberties have been under sustained assault by an Administration that is brazen and unrepentant in its abuses of our rights and our founding principles. And, to make matters worse, the Democratic leadership of the House and the Senate have failed to exercise the Constitutional authority granted to Congress to stop those abuses and hold violators accountable.

The results? The powers of the Executive Branch have gone unchecked and its policies unchallenged. The Congress and the American people were deceived into an illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and those same deceptions and manipulations are being used to justify a new war in Iran. The government is spying on its own citizens, ignoring judicial protections and due process, denying the right of habeas corpus, and refusing to abide by international laws, treaties, and principles.

and even happier to read this...
This Thursday, November 29, Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich will host an unprecedented "Dialogue for Democracy" forum that will be streamed LIVE on the Internet at Along with invited guests, Dennis will bring this crisis to the attention of the nation and the world so we can better understand what's wrong, and, more importantly, what we can do about it. The first segment of the LIVE broadcast begins at 11 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. The LIVE forum will resume at 5 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

i've been waiting to hear any 2008 presidential candidate sound the clarion call of warning about our most critical constitutional crisis... this is looking like what i had in mind...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hillary and Colin sittin' in a tree

oh, well, i wasn't going to vote for her anyway...
“I won’t even wait until I’m inaugurated, but as soon as I’m elected I’m going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties — people like Colin Powell, for example, and others — who can represent our country well, including someone I know very well,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a Fox News Web report. “Because I want to send a message heard across the world. The era of cowboy diplomacy is over.”

she's out of her ever-lovin' mind...

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"America, as we have known her, is finished"

too important not to reprint in full...
America's Days Of Reckoning

Good-Bye to All That

By Paul Craig Roberts

Pat Buchanan is too patriotic to come right out and say it, but the message of his new book, Day of Reckoning, is that America, as we have known her, is finished. Moreover, Naomi Wolf agrees with him. These two writers of different political persuasions arrive at America's demise from different directions.

Buchanan explains how hubris, ideology, and greed have torn America apart. A neoconservative cabal with an alien agenda captured the Bush administration and committed American blood, energy, and money to aggression against Muslim countries in the Middle East, while permitting America's domestic borders to be overrun by immigrants and exporting the jobs that had made the US an opportunity society. War and offshoring have taken a savage economic toll while open borders and diversity have created social and political division.

In her new book, End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf explains America's demise in terms of the erosion of freedoms. She writes that the 10 classic steps that are used to close open societies are currently being taken in the US. Martial law is only a declaration away.

The Bush administration responded to September 11 by initiating military aggression in the Middle East and by using fear and the "war on terror" to implement police state measures at home with legislation, presidential directives, and executive orders.

Overnight the US became a tyranny in which people could be arrested and incarcerated on the basis of unsubstantiated accusation. Both US citizens and non-citizens were denied habeas corpus, due process, and access to attorneys and courts. Congress gave Bush legislation establishing military tribunals, the procedures of which permit people to be condemned to death on the basis of secret evidence, hearsay, and confessions extracted by torture. Nothing of the like has ever been seen before in the US.

The cancer might have metastasized if the Guantanamo detainees had actually been the dangerous terrorists and enemy combatants that the Bush regime declared them to be. Had the administration actually possessed evidence against the detainees, the Bush regime might have succeeded in dispensing with the Constitution. Conviction of the detainees could have led to what Wolf calls a "fascist expansion." Following the exercise of its new powers, the regime could have broadened the definition of terrorist to include the regime's critics, thus pulling citizens in general into tribunals devoid of civil liberty protections.

It could still turn out this way in the event of another 9/11 attack, whether real or orchestrated. But momentarily the drive toward tyranny has been blunted, because the vast majority of detainees turned out to be hapless individuals sold into American captivity by warlords responding to the bounty the US paid for "terrorists. " Any unprotected individual was vulnerable to being captured by Afghan and Pakistani warlords and sold as a "terrorist." The Americans needed to show results, and the Bush regime needed "terrorists" in order to feed the fear its propaganda had generated.

In Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, the absence of evidence would not have mattered as the judicial system produced the results demanded by the tyrants. However, the US military had not been sufficiently corrupted for the Bush regime's Guantanamo agenda to succeed. Honorable officers, such as Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, were able to discern that the US government had no information on the detainees and used interrogations in order to rubber stamp the a priori determination that a detainee was a terrorist or enemy combatant. Military officers made these revelations known to real courts before the tribunal process could establish itself.

CounterPunch writer Andy Worthington' s recently published book, The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, proves that the regime's claim that it had hundreds of dangerous terrorists at Guantanamo was just another Bush administration lie.

Currently, support for Bush, Cheney, and the neoconservative agenda is low. However, Congress, the press, and elections have proven to be feeble opponents of the Bush regime's drive toward war and tyranny. It remains to be seen whether the regime has sufficient credibility or audacity to initiate war with Iran or a false flag attack that would revive the fascist expansion of which Naomi Wolf warns.

The Bush administration has been a catastrophe. Its failures are unprecedented. Energy prices are at all time highs. The US is deeply in debt and dependent on foreign creditors. The dollar has lost 60 per cent of its value against other tradable currencies, and its reserve currency status, the basis of American power, is in doubt. The US has lost millions of middle class jobs which have been replaced with low paid domestic service jobs. Except for the very rich, Americans have experienced no gains in real income in the 21st century. As the ladders of upward mobility are dismantled and the middle class struggles and fails, America is left with a few rich and many poor. America's reputation and credibility are damaged perhaps beyond repair. Congress and the press have enabled the executive branch's disregard of the Constitution and civil liberty. The US is mired in two lost wars which are pushing Lebanon and nuclear-armed Pakistan into deepening political crises.

As Buchanan concludes, "Our day of reckoning is at hand."

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.

i hope he's not right... i don't want him to be right...

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The view from Germany: "Bush's Half-Hearted Summit" is a ploy to gain support against Iran

when our nation's attempts at "diplomacy" and "peace-making" are met with ridicule and scorn by an ally, you know we've sunk pretty far...


Middle East Conference: Bush's Half-Hearted Summit
US President George W. Bush plays host this week to a massive summit aimed at pushing the Middle East peace process forward. Expectations, though, are low. Many doubt that Bush is truly dedicated to the project.

so, why bother to have it at all...?
In the White House, the Annapolis conference is increasingly regarded as an admission of weakness, especially in the influential circle surrounding Dick Cheney and the neo-cons. They grudgingly accept that a stronger US engagement for peace in the Middle East is probably the price that has to be paid for more help against an increasingly powerful Iran.

as they say in argentina, patético...

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"I'm tired...I'm stunned...I simply cannot believe...I am nauseated...I am sad...I can't accept..."

all of which leads to this, a conclusion with which i am in complete agreement...
No, I can't get excited about the 2008 elections. I can't accept that we must go through another year of these criminals holding power and that no one will be held accountable, whether through impeachment hearings or real enforcement of the investigations that have been held.

The people who call themselves pragmatists say all the usual things, and seem very sanguine about the possibility of Bush and his crew never being held accountable.

But there's one thing they forget. There will be consequences if this happens. Bad ones. We will have allowed a poison to stay active in our halls of government, we will not have even pruned a branch, much less destroyed this evil at the root. There will be consequences that no amount of electoral victory can assuage.

also, to re-emphasize, the vial of "poison" that will remain "active in our halls of government" will pass directly into the hands of the next president to be inaugurated on 20 january 2009...

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Monday, November 26, 2007

A Little Southern Photo-Blogging

To offset the High Desert photo-blogging by Profmarcus.

Pictures from Mobile Bay

Our business, O'Donnell Marine, is in marine repair. We are a full-service yacht and boat repair, in the 30 to 70ft range. We handle everything from scheduled maintenence and small repairs, to complete diesel re-powering. We also provide over-water transporting.

This past week, we had a transporting job bringing a sailboat from Mobile, Alabama, to our facilities here in Pensacola, Florida. My usual pool of deckhands was dry due to other commitments. So, to prevent me from having to 'single-hand' a boat for that distance, my wife, Hallie, came along as First-Mate (she refuses to be called a deckhand). She brought along her camera (something I always forget to do) and got some great shots.

We got off to a late start, so there was a considerable amount of night sailing. The weather was great, NE winds at 10-12 knots, and temperatures in the 80 degree range. It was a bit chilly after dark though, dropping down to the mid 50s.

I knew it was going to be a good day, as we left the marina, passing under the watchful eye of a peaceful pelican. This has to be one of their favorite pilings, as evidenced by the pelican white-washing.
Traveling across the bay, we were escorted for several miles by groups of playful dolphins, swimming right along beside us.
Farther East, the pelicans came out to greet us. Although there were many, we only got a few good pictures.
Then, we were treated to a most beautiful sunset. These shots are near the Eastern part of the mouth of Mobile Bay, looking out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Can you believe people actually get paid for doing this stuff?

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Extraordinary rendition, European overflights, European complicity

from the london sunday times...
THE secret flight plans of American military planes have revealed for the first time how European countries helped send prisoners, including British citizens, to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Despite widespread criticism of alleged human rights abuses and torture at the US base in Cuba, a Sunday Times investigation has shown that at least five European countries gave the United States permission to fly nearly 700 terrorist suspects across their territory.


Inquiries by Ana Gomes, a Portuguese member of the European parliament, have uncovered not only more CIA flight logs but also more sensitive military flight plans, which until now have remained a closely guarded secret.


In a statement to the European parliament on the visits of CIA planes to Spain, the foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has testified: "Our territory may have been used not to commit crimes on it, but as a stopover on the way to committing crime in another country."

Spain, it has now emerged, had a specific agreement with the US to allow flights and visits to Spanish airbases for American planes.

In Portugal, the foreign minister Luis Amado has said flights across his country's airspace took place "under the aegis of the UN and Nato and that Portugal naturally follows the principle of good faith in the relations with its allies". Nato's role in Guantanamo stems from a secret agreement made in Brussels on October 4 2001 by all Nato members, including Britain. Although never made public, Lord Robertson, the former British defence secretary who was later Nato's secretary-general, explained that day that Nato had agreed to provide "blanket overflight clearances for the United States and other allies' aircraft for military flights related to operations against terrorism".

the following data courtesy of ghost plane... note that 191 of these 3557 flights took place PRIOR to 9/11... i don't know what that indicates, but it sure as hell would be interesting to find out... also, if you visit the site and look at the flight plans AFTER 9/11, you will see a MAJOR shift in both origins and destinations...
The following are historic flight plans that, according to a variety of aviation sources, were filed by aircraft understood to belong to companies identified in the New York Times in May, 2005 , as operated by the CIA. Please note that all flight plans were not executed, so some of these journeys may not have taken place and the actual route of the planes may have deviated from the flight plans. Further, these planes have been used for a wide variety of purposes and a great number have no connection at all with "rendition" or other prisoner operations; the planes may also have been chartered at times for use by other agencies. The Gulfstream registered N85VM and then N227SV was identified by the Chicago Tribune as regularly chartered by the CIA. The plane was however in private ownership and many of its journeys relate to private purposes. Although I have tried to make this information as accurate as possible, it may contain errors and you should not rely on it without further checks. It is published as an aid to further research, in particular to allow others to continue to establish the whereabouts of a great number of prisoners who have gone missing. Any information on the purpose of flights indicated here would be gratefully received - Stephen Grey.
Flight 101 - 200 of 3557
Flight date Departure Arrival Plane id Details
03-05-2001SKOPJE EX LYSKTIRANAN4009LDetails
11-05-2001TIRANASKOPJE EX LYSKN4009LDetails
16-05-2001FRANKFURT MAINTUZLAN4009LDetails
06-07-2001SKOPJE EX LYSKTIRANAN4009LDetails
20-07-2001GANDER INTLSHANNONN8183JDetails
21-07-2001SHANNONSIGONELLA (MIL)N8183JDetails
09-08-2001TIRANASKOPJE EX LYSKN4009LDetails
17-08-2001FRANKFURT MAINTUZLAN8183JDetails
17-08-2001TUZLAFRANKFURT MAINN8183JDetails
17-08-2001TUZLAFRANKFURT MAINN4009LDetails
29-08-2001SKOPJE EX LYSKTIRANAN4009LDetails
06-09-2001SKOPJE EX LYSKTIRANAN4009LDetails

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