Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Evil Dick Cheney weighs in on human rights abuse at Guantanamo

"Guantanamo's been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. ... I think these people have been well treated, treated humanely and decently," Cheney said.

  CNN article

Cheney: “For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights [in Guantanamo], I frankly just don’t take them seriously.” The head of Amnesty’s US branch responds nicely, “He doesn’t take torture seriously; he doesn’t take the Geneva Convention seriously; he doesn’t take due process rights seriously; and he doesn’t take international law seriously.”

  WIIIAI post

On the issue of Iraq, Cheney told King that he believes the insurgency there is "in the last throes." He also predicted the fighting would end before the Bush administration leaves office.

  CNN article

Mark your calendars.

Or is he telling us that the Bush Administration will not be leaving?

Economic warning

Bank of Canada governor David Dodge offered a bankerly rebuke to the United States on Monday for its borrow-and-spendthrift ways, which he suggested are a threat to world economic stability.

Less directly, he chided nations such as China for rigging their currencies to boost exports while building up larger and larger foreign-exchange reserves, creating a lopsided world in which Asian savings finance U.S. spending.

In the text of a speech to be given at a Montreal conference, the central bank chief warned of "large, global economic imbalances that have become the subject of increasing concern" to policy-makers.


His comments echo those of many economists who have watched the United States evolve from the world's greatest creditor nation to the greatest debtor as Americans saved less, consumed more and imported more. China, meanwhile, took over much of the world's consumer-goods manufacturing and used its export earnings to soak up vast amounts of U.S. debt.

Supporters of the Bush administration have tended to argue that the three U.S. deficits — in international trade, current account and federal budget — do not matter to a superpower that prints the world's most widely used money.


  CBC Canada article

And has plenty of paper.

The simplest simpleton on the planet

President Bush on Tuesday dismissed a human rights report as "absurd" for its harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the allegations were made by prisoners "who hate America."
You'll have to read the rest for yourself. I can't bear repeating it.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

Supreme Court bails out Arthur Andersen

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for destroying Enron Corp.-related documents before the energy giant's collapse.

In a unanimous opinion, justices said the former Big Five accounting firm's June 2002 obstruction-of-justice conviction — which virtually destroyed Andersen — was improper. The decision said jury instructions at trial were too vague and broad for jurors to determine correctly whether Andersen obstructed justice.

  Yahoo News article

Activist judges.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

The moment you've all been waiting for

Drumroll...Deep Throat has been identified.
Mark Felt, 91, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, kept the secret from even his family until 2002, when he confided to a friend that he had been Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's source, the magazine said.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," he told lawyer John O'Connor, author of the Vanity Fair article, the magazine said in a news release.

Mr. Felt was initially adamant about remaining silent on the subject, saying that such disclosures were dishonourable.


"I don't think (being Deep Throat) was anything to be proud of," Mr. Felt indicated to his son, Mark Jr., according to the article. "You (should) not leak information to anyone."

Mr. Felt is a retiree living in Santa Rosa, Calif., with his daughter, Joan, the magazine said.


In 1999, Mr. Felt denied he was the man.

"I would have done better," Mr. Felt told the Hartford Courant newspaper. "I would have been more effective. Deep Throat didn't exactly bring the White House crashing down, did he?"

  Globe & Mail article

Confused old geezer, what? Maybe he would have claimed responsibility earlier if he had brought the White House crashing down.

Oh well, he did his patriotic duty. And we're grateful to him.

Courtesy Raw Story

And we are sorely in need of new voices. We have a White House now that makes Tricky Dick's look almost harmless.

Maybe this is the beginning.

Update 6/1/05:

So maybe patriotism wasn't a motive. More like "no honor among thieves" type of thing.

Only two FBI officers were ever convicted for the numerous crimes carried out under the CoIntelPro program. One of them was W. Mark Felt. Ronald Reagan pardoned him.


Clemency for authorizing FBI agents to break into Vietnam protestors' offices without warrants.


[...] James Mann, a former Washington Post reporter who now works for the Los Angeles Times. Mann's article didn't solve the "who" question, but it did pretty persuasively answer the "what" question. That is, Mann identified where Deep Throat worked: at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to Mann, Deep Throat was probably W. Mark Felt, then the No. 3 guy at the FBI, and later famous for approving illegal break-ins to investigate the Weather Underground.

  1999 Slate article

One month before the Watergate break-in, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had died. Hoover loyalists at the bureau were frantic that President Richard Nixon would get his mitts on the FBI, which Hoover had kept independent of political control through a variety of nasty methods, including blackmail.


Why did Felt maintain his silence for so long? Part of the reason, I imagine, is that Felt knew his prosaic, bureaucratic-infighting motive was at least as strong as any moralistic desire to expose the truth about the crooks in the White House. That tarnishes Deep Throat's luster a little. Also, Felt's previous brush with national publicity involved his criminal conviction for bypassing warrants in his investigation of the Weather Underground. Ronald Reagan pardoned him, but it was a deeply painful experience, and Felt thinks the stress contributed to his wife's early death. It would only be logical that he'd avoid the spotlight after that. Possibly, too, he could imagine that the press would note that Deep Throat shared with Nixon an enthusiasm for illegal break-ins.

  Slate article

Getting things fixed

Yesterday, I saw Pratap Chatterjee, from CorpWatch on CSPAN. He's researched the money flowing from us to Iraq's supposed reconstruction and the cost of doing war business in a book: Iraq, Inc: A profitable occupation. An auditor recently said to him that if she reported the fraud, her company would lose the contract to provide the audit! He said that one of Halliburton's money making schemes, which they are still running, is to send empty trucks on the supply convoys - 2/3 of the trucks in any given convoy are empty. (One convoy he reported had 26 of 28 trucks with nothing in them.) And the corollary to that is that they send deliveries to outposts where the goods are not requested, so they have to turn around and go back. In other words, they just have trucks roaming around Iraq purposelessly. And this with all the captures and beheadings of truck drivers, who seem to be fairly easy targets.

Halliburton is paid $1,000 per truck.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

CorpWatch also has a new "alternative" annual report out on Halliburton:

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day



Million Veteran March


June 8, 2005

For more info please call 800-630-3631

Purpose for the march  Please Read


DC Links  











UPDATED 5-24-05


Memorial Day

And how to spend it.
As the rest of Congress shuffles off to their Memorial Day recess, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is drafting a letter to Defense Secretary —Donald Rumsfeld seeking answers after a report in the Sunday London Times revealed the U.S. and Britain may have sought to goad Iraq into war even as UN negotiations were ongoing, RAW STORY has learned.

A staffer said the congressman called the latest revelations "the smoking bullet in the smoking gun."


"If true, these assertions indicate that not only had our nation secretly and perhaps illegally agreed to go to war by the summer of 2002, but that we had gone on to take specific and tangible military actions before asking Congress or the United Nations for authority," the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee pens.

This time, however, the congressman demands more than answers. In his letter, Conyers will request all computer files relating to questions surrounding the planning stages of the Iraq war.
  Raw Story article

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.

The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.

The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make “regime change” in Iraq legal.

Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that “the US had already begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime”.
  UK Times Online article
First the memo, now this. It's not like this information wasn't available to Congress before they jumped on the invasion bandwagon, but how much has to be made widely public (albeit not yet from the U.S. side of the pond) before impeachment begins?

Memorial Day

Maj. Robert Rogers, the frontiersman whose 18th century manual on guerrilla warfare has become a blueprint for Army Ranger fighting tactics, is getting what some consider a long-overdue honor: a statue in his memory. But some veterans believe unveiling the monument on Memorial Day is insensitive because Rogers was loyal to England during the Revolutionary War.

"I think it's a travesty that we would think about honoring a person, especially someone who fought against us, on that day," said Bob Bearor, who served in the Army's 101st Airborne Division in the 1960s. "It's a sacred day. ... Let's honor our dead who died for our country."
  Yahoo News article


Baghdad fights back.
Insurgents defied a much-touted military crackdown in the capital yesterday, targeting police checkpoints, the Oil Ministry and convoys of U.S. and Iraqi troops.


Iraqi and U.S. officials had predicted militants besieging Baghdad with daily suicide bombings and assassinations would flee the crackdown, announced Thursday.

Iraqi and U.S. officials had planned to erect 675 checkpoints along the capital's outskirts to prevent insurgents from fleeing, but they have yet to set up an effective cordon. Instead, insurgents staged attacks across the capital, targeting the very checkpoints meant to ensnare them.

  Seattle Times article

And one more question:

Why are the Americans who, before the U.S. was pulled into WWII, went to Europe to join the fight against occupying Germans called heroes, but the Syrians, Jordanians, and others who go to Iraq to join the fight against the occupying Americans are terrorists?

Even the smallest dog can lift his leg on the tallest building. -- Jim Hightower

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Change in plans

The Bush administration has launched a high-level review of its efforts to battle terrorism, aimed at moving away from a policy that has stressed efforts to capture and kill Al Qaeda leaders and toward what an official called a broader ''strategy against violent extremism."

The shift is meant to recognize the transformation of Al Qaeda over the past three years into a far more amorphous and difficult-to-target organization than the group that struck the United States in 2001. Critics say the review followed months of delay and lost opportunities while the administration left key counterterrorism jobs unfilled and argued internally over how to confront the spread of the Al Qaeda effort.

President Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Fragos Townsend, said in an interview that the review is needed to take into account the ''ripple effect" from targeting Al Qaeda leaders.


  Boston.com article

We couldn't catch the evil geniuses: BinLaden, Zarqawi, Zawahri (haven't heard a peep about him lately, have you?). Therefore, we need to change our advertising.

The ripple effect from targeting the leaders? All those people are joining the fight against us because we're targeting a few Qa'ida leaders? All those people resisting the occupation are Qa'ida?

Where do we come up with these brilliant thinkers and strategists?

Here's one you can be sure we would never find in our "high-level" team of reviewers:
The so-called global war on terrorism does not exist, a high-ranking army officer has declared in a speech that challenges the conventional political wisdom.

In a frank speech, Brigadier Justin Kelly dismissed several of the central tenets of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, saying the "war" part is all about politics and terrorism is merely a tactic.


  SMH.com Australia article

State health insurance

LaBelle finds this comment at Mahablog. This Canadian has hit the nail on the head.
There's also the labour issue. I can tell my boss to go fuck himself and not worry about my son losing his health care. And I think this is the real reason the powers that be are so dead set against providing universal health care in the USA, they know they'll lose one of their best leashes on their employees. Can't have workers getting uppity, that's not the American way.
To be sure, this very thing keeps people working at or below poverty level wages where I am (soon to be un-) employed. Gotta have that insurance for their kids. And they put up with the most outrageous, borderline (and sometimes over the line) illegal treatment from their bosses.

I myself was always too "uppity", kids or no kids, but my kids suffered for it - not in terms of health care (although they never had preventive maintenance nor dental/optometrist visits) - to put up with boss abuse very long, but I only ever had one small child at a time, and I never accumulated anything - never owned a home - always lived on the edge as far as finances were concerned. But I certainly understand how people don't want to take those kinds of risks. And my kids were healthy. Some folks have no choice. Years ago, one job I had, the director actually stated that the best choice for an employee was a single mother with children (of which there were several of us in that insurance company office) because she couldn't afford to quit, no matter how she got treated. He was right, but I quit anyway.

Finally, I scraped my way through a bachelor and a master degree, as a single mother - to get a professional position. You'd think that would alleviate some of that attitude. You'd be wrong.

The bigoted die-hard Republicans on an arborists' forum I quit visiting constantly squawk about how they are so much better than their hired labor contemporaries, because they have what it takes (to wit: the smarts and the balls) to be self-employed or small business owners, and menial task laborers should get off their lazy asses and do the work it takes to become similarly self-sufficient. (I always thought they should feel lucky and blessed for their situation, and have some compassion for those not so fortunate. Silly me.) They could never answer my question of how everyone could be self-employed, and how they would then get their labor accomplished, where they'd find the manufactured equipment they need for their work, or where they'd find the manufactured products they sell. Seemed to me their incomes would come to a screeching halt if it weren't for those laborers. And they surely wouldn't have wanted to clean the toilets at their businesses themselves.

But that's just a guess.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Pope wants immunity

The Vatican has sought the intervention of the U.S. State Department to declare Pope Benedict XVI immune from a sexual abuse lawsuit filed here, according to court documents.


The lawsuit filed by plaintiffs identified as John Does I, II and III accuses the pope, then acting as a cardinal, of conspiring to cover up the alleged abuse about a decade ago. The suit names a former seminary student as the alleged abuser.
  Houston Chronicle article

The Poop says he's a head of state, and therefore gets diplomatic immunity - or whatever the hell ridiculous law it is that prevents the world's highest criminals from being prosecuted for pretty much any crime.

Our generous foreign aid

The world's richest nations greatly exaggerate their aid to poor countries – with the US, the worst offender, giving only 0.02% of its income in real assistance, says a study released today by ActionAid International.

The report, which can be downloaded at http://www.actionaidusa.org/Action Aid Real Aid.pdf says that some two-thirds of the money donated by the world’s wealthiest countries is in actuality “phantom aid” that is not genuinely available for poverty reduction in developing countries.

Phantom Aid is aid that is diverted from poor nations for other purposes within bureaucratic aid systems. This includes aid that is, among all G7 donations:

• not targeted for poverty reduction, estimated to be worth US$4.9 billion

• double counted as debt relief, totaling US$9.4 billion

• overpriced and ineffective- Technical Assistance, estimated at US$13.8 billion

• tied to goods and services from the donor country, estimated at US$2.7 billion

• poorly coordinated and with high transaction costs, estimated at US$9 billion

• too unpredictable to be useful to the recipient – lack of data prevents an estimate

• spent on immigration-related costs in the donor country; totaling US$1.5 billion

• spent on excess administration costs; totaling US$0.4 billion.

In total, says the study, at least 61% of all donor assistance from G7 nations is phantom aid, with real aid in 2003 accounting for just US$27 billion, or only 0.1% of combined donor income. Nearly 90% of all contributions coming from the United States and France are considered phantom aid.
  Reuters article
....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

MTV cancels Nine Inch Nails to avoid insulting King Buttie Boy

The rock band Nine Inch Nails said on Friday it canceled plans to appear on next week's MTV Movie Awards after the network questioned the band's plans to perform in front of an image of President Bush.

The band was slated to perform "The Hand That Feeds," the first single from its latest album.

A Los Angeles Times review called the song "a warning against blind acceptance of authority, including that of a president leading his nation to war."

"We were set to perform 'The Hand That Feeds' with an unmolested, straightforward image of George W. Bush as the backdrop. Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," Nine Inch Nails' leader
Trent Reznor said in a statement posted on the band's Web site.
  Yahoo article

Just gets creepier and creepier all the time, doesn't it? Stalinesque.

Protests for Condi

First Pickles, now Miss Thang. Not everybody gets to go around in a bubble and have hand-picked, rehearsed audiences. That is apparently reserved for the King.
Demonstrators interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday by recreating an image of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in which a hooded prisoner stood with his arms outstretched attached to electric wires.

Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined U.S. prestige abroad.
  Reuters article
Wish I could have been there. One was Medea Benjamin, activist founder of Global Exchange, the organization sponsoring the trip to Venezuela I was on in 2002. I keep waiting for the government to put Global Exchange on the terrorist organization list.

Dear Buttie, We want some answers.

Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned write to you because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a “Downing Street Memo” in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed to by the summer of 2002 to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.


As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:
1) Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain’’s commitment to invade prior to this time?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

These are the same questions 89 Members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., submitted to you on May 5, 2005. As citizens and taxpayers, we believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government and our commander in chief when you make representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war. As a result, we would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.

Like it will do any good. But you can read and sign the letter here. Conyers is sponsoring it, and he's looking for 100,000 signatures. Got one?

The Media

I might call it "The Medium", since it's essentially all about channeling he White House/Pentagon spokesmodels, and not much about disseminating information.


Balloon Juice:


The American Civil Liberties Union released the memo and other FBI documents it obtained from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

"Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet," the FBI agent wrote.

"It's not credible," chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said of the allegation regarding a Koran in a toilet.

I guess that means we need a talking points update:

1.) Newsweek Lied, People Died!

2.) The media hates the military.
3.) Why are they using anonymous sources?
4.) 1.) Why is the media recycling old stories?
5.) 2.) You can't trust those terrorists.
6.) 3.) Even if it is true, you shouldn't publish it- we are at war.
7.) 4.) You can't trust Newsweek and the Washington Post Reuters.
5.) What about the children?

The Poor Man:
This whole Newsweek saga has been idiotic, and I have limited my comment to the minimum required by the blogging bylaws because, like the Downing Street memo, it’s essentially old news. The idiotic details are, of course, unique to this case - the accusation (that Afghans hold off until the Pentagon conducts an investigation before they believe something is true) was slightly more preposterous than usual, the close-harmony talking points choir changed keys a bit more awkwardly - but it was a pretty typical example of “slime and defend” run by the usual suspects. I don’t get too worked up about it anymore for the same reason I don’t get excited every time the Sun* rises in the morning - eventually even the daily appearance of a unimaginably huge, ancient, and enduring nuclear inferno- this most awe-inspiring spectacle of Nature’s majesty and power - becomes, after being repeated every day for a few billion years, mundane.
Also from The Poor Man, on media balance:
There is a natural tendency to think that all opinions have some validity, and, by carefully plotting a conservative course somewhere between two representative arguments, you can make a serviceable approximation to something you could call “truth”. This is an admirable impulse, and often a constructive one, except if one (or both) of the positions is horseshit. Then, you’re fucked.

More American style justice

Another day, another military acquittal for prisoner abuse in Iraq. Today it was Navy SEAL lieutenant Andrew Ledford who led a platoon which beat a prisoner who died a little later, but probably because of torture in Abu Ghraib (for which no one has been charged) rather than from the beating. Prosecutors suggested that he had failed as a leader because he not only didn’t order his men to stop the beating, but took his turn when asked to “give this turd a knock,” then posed for pictures (which don’t seem to be available). Although the other men didn’t testify to seeing him hit the prisoner, he had confessed to it himself in a sworn statement; on the stand, he recanted. His lawyer, who was also Sabrina Harman’s lawyer, asked, “Were they supposed to give (al-Jamadi) tea and cookies on the way from his apartment to a CIA interrogation?” Ledford will now be promoted.
  WIIIAI post

Meanwhile in Iraq

The US is now being hoisted on its own political petard in Iraq, even as it has scored remarkable imperial success in Central Asia at quietly installing bases there on the doorsteps of Russia and China, and with the proposed Georgia-Turkey oil pipeline (Let’s hope Turkish comrades wil ramp up their efforts to close down US bases!). The military operations are increasingly being hemmed in (even though these “offensives” look like the opposite, for now) by the politic of unintended consequences – the stickiest being the fact that the US now has ZERO option to attack Iran. For those who haven’t noticed, or failed to understand, the new “government” is a kind of Pinocchio, part puppet, part “real boy.” It still depends on the US to some degree; it hasn’t managed to extricate itself from US control; but it is a decidely pro-Iranian government, with a pro-Iranian popular base that is being held back by Sistani and others from joining the open resistance. If the US attacks Iran, there will be a general Shia rebellion in Iraq, which will rapidly deliver the United States a decisive military defeat. How’s THAT for a Catch-22?
Read this post by Stan Goff. He describes the Catch-22 in which the Powell Doctrine puts the military, recounting the situation in Somalia (in which Goff participated) and tells what the military learned from Viet Nam about the PR of war. He also excerpts an article describing the Iraqi puppet government's intention to crack down on Baghdad. Regardless of what the WH and the TV are telling you, things in Iraq are looking very bad, my friends. Very bad.
Wire Services
Thursday, May 26, 2005; 7:25 AM

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s defense and interior ministers announced a massive security operation on Thursday that will see more than 40,000 Iraqi troops deployed in the capital to hunt down insurgents and their weapons.


“We will divide Baghdad into seven main areas, and the number of the forces who will take part in the operation from the interior and the defense ministry will be more than 40,000 security men,” he told a news conference.

Dulaimi said it would be the first phase of a security crackdown that could eventually cover the whole country.

“We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists’ infrastructure. No one will be able to penetrate this blockade,” Dulaimi said.

“You will witness unprecedentedly strict security measures.”

The WaPo stuffs some intriguing but underdeveloped Iraq stories inside a less interesting Iraq story, so you might have missed them: after a suicide car-bomb attack on an Iraqi military unit, American forces shot an Iraqi policeman and an ambulance driver arriving at the scene, the latter fatally.

Also, an Iraqi was shot dead “during the Marine and Iraqi forces sweep at Haditha, Lt. Col. Guy Rudisill, a military spokesman, said by e-mail.” The thing is, the Iraqi was a prisoner inside Abu Ghraib when he was hit. More details, please.
  WIIIAI article

Luis Posada Carriles update

The United States rejected on Friday Venezuela's first move to extradite a Cuban exile wanted for an airliner bombing, in a case that could challenge the U.S. commitment to fight all forms of terrorism.
  Reuters article
27 MAY 2005

1.- The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Washington, D.C. received this afternoon a diplomatic note from the U.S. Department of State concerning the request for preventative arrest with the purpose of extradition of Mr. Luis Posada Carriles. This request, which U.S. authorities have denied, was presented when clear evidence emerged that Mr. Posada was in the United States. The request for Mr. Posada’s arrest was a preventative nature, made while the Government of Venezuela compiled the necessary documentary and legal documentation necessary for a formal extradition request.

2.- According to the note sent to the Embassy of Venezuela, the denial of the request for preventative detention does not prevent Venezuela from formally requesting extradition of Mr. Posada, a Venezuela citizen, pursuant to the Extradition Treaty in force between the two countries.

3.- Venezuela wishes to express its belief in the importance of communication and cooperation of the United States on this matter, and reiterates that it will present the needed documents to request Mr. Posada’s extradition.

4.- The diplomatic note has been sent to Venezuelan officials for their consideration.
Embarrassingly to the average American, the joke has been circulating for weeks that the State Department would choose to turn down Venezuela’s extradition request for Posada on the eve of a Friday afternoon of a three-day national holiday, thus providing the slow news day environment in which indignation over his release would have time to cool down. This banal script was the exact one that the uncool Bush administration chose to follow.
  VHeadline article
Organizations attached to the Alianza Martiana in Miami are to demonstrate this Saturday outside the Immigration Department building in the Florida metropolis to demand the extradition to Venezuela of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.
  Granma.cu article
The United States' CIA has boldly intervened in Venezuelan affairs and aided in the failed coup there in 2002. Bitter to admit defeat, the United States continued to look for ways to provoke a confrontation with President Chavez. They found it in Luis Posada Carriles. In fact, Posada provides Bush with a two for one shot at Chavez and Castro. For many years Posada has been a CIA operative. He is wanted in Venezuela for his role in the 1976 shoot down of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 civilians including the national fencing team. He escaped from prison there. In 1998 he claimed responsibility for planning attacks on various Cuban establishments including the 1997 bombing of a tourist hotel that resulted in the death of an Italian tourist and the wounding of 11 others. In 2000 Posada was arrested in Panama for plotting to murder President Castro during the Ibero-American summit being held in that country. He was convicted and sentenced to eight years. In November 2004, the outgoing Panamanian President, Mireya Moscoso, pardoned Posada allegedly in exchange for $4 million paid by a Cuban American. Money talked and Posada walked, disappearing from public view for several months.

In March 2005, he surfaced in Miami. His lawyer, Eduardo Soto, admitted a few weeks later that Posada was in Miami as he filed his petition for political asylum. House of Representative William Delahunt (D-Mass) stated recently, "I can't imagine how one could defend a terrorist where there exists overwhelming evidence that he was responsible or a co-conspirator in blowing up a civilian airliner." To many the revelation that Posada is in the country is shocking. But they were apparently unaware that his co-conspirator, Orlando Bosch, has been living comfortably in Miami for at least the past two years. The revelation of Posada's presence in the United States set off a tidal wave of international and domestic criticism including accusations of political hypocrisy. President Castro called on President Bush to return Posada to Venezuela. Many demanded that the United States not allow Posada to remain in the country.

But the role of Bosch and Posada as terrorists is indisputable. They plotted, murdered, bombed innocents and bragged about it. So what could Bush do? He tried denying that Posada was in the country but Posada's lawyer had already said that he was. Roger Noriega, top State Department official for Western Hemisphere affairs, claimed he had no knowledge of Posada?s whereabouts; again, hard to believe. Things, as one can see, went from the sublime to the ridiculous.
  Feral Scholar post
And from there, we are in the current position. Bush has apparently taken a 30+-year-old killing of a New Jersey state trooper to new heights, calling it an act of terrorism, in order to charge that Cuba is refusing to extradite a terrorist to the U.S. - therefore, we can refuse to extradite Posada.

N.Y. Politicians, Black Activists Rally in Support of Assata Shakur

Friday, May 27, 2005

So that's what it is

¡Estamos presente, la gente está caliente!

In América, social movements are rising all around. I haven't been keeping up with the tense situation in Bolivia, but Narco News has.


"Esta es la guerra," (This is war) Luis repeated in my ear all morning long and I believe him. According to people here and based on the events today, the involvement of the Altiplano Aymaras means that everything has changed. It was this group that was primarily responsible for the victorious uprising in October 2003 that overthrew Goni. Their internal coordination and cohesion, their numbers and their knowledge of la tierra (the land) make them extremely powerful. But, right now, it is not just their strength, it is their will. The Aymaras demonstrated today to offer a warning: they are now a part of the uprising.


  Narcosphere article


This morning the Aymara came down marching from El Alto once again. This time it was a huge group divided into three parts: more than 5,000 rural school teachers from the La Paz department, then the Federation of Neighborhood Committees of El Alto (FEJUVE), and behind, battle-hardened, the Aymara peasant farmers. Downtown La Paz was paralyzed all day long by mobilizations… and all day long one could hear the famous rumor of a civic-military coup looming in Bolivia.


A little past 3:00 in the afternoon, tired and worried, the main groups demobilized. A young Aymara fighter asked us about the coup as well… this correspondent showed him a flyer that they have been passing out among the mobilizations. Directed to “all Bolivians and Latin American brothers,” and signed by a supposed “Civil-Military Alliance,” the document speaks of how “civilians and young soldiers, ‘BOLIVIANS UNITED,’ will share in the glory of liberating Bolivia from a government that has sold out to foreign interests.”

The young protester, worried like everyone about the tensions we are living through, and faced with the uncertainty created by these soldiers and their civilian allies, bade farewell, saying, “These guys make us look bad.”

At the moment, some parts of downtown La Paz are still tightly guarded by the National Police’s Special Security Group (of whom an intent to mutiny was announced this morning)… the soldiers remain at their posts in Plaza Murillo… the people fighting in this city have returned to their houses or shacks… but despite the calm that has fallen, no one is quite relaxing.

Don’t lose sight of us, because the tide is rising and all this is far from over.

  Narcosphere article

More articles and an ongoing watch of the situation are available at the Narco News Bulletin.

If you're in any position to help support this excellent free news source (mainly, but not exclusively, for what's really happening in South America), visit their site and donate. They do have expenses and don't get hazard pay. In fact, they don't get paid.

Customs Cops Visit Bill Conroy with an Attack on Press Freedom
By Al Giordano,
Posted on Tue May 24th, 2005 at 10:27:40 PM EST
At 5:55 p.m. last night, Monday, May 23rd, in San Antonio, Texas, Agent Carlos Salazar of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accompanied by a female agent who failed to identify herself, made a surprise visit to the home of Narco News journalist Bill Conroy, a reporter, and author of the online book Borderline Security, who has broken a string of stories about embarrassing and worrisome problems inside Salazar’s agency.

Identifying himself as an agent of “Customs OPR” (short for Office of Professional Responsibility, better known as “Internal Affairs”), Salazar told Conroy’s wife of 23 years, Teddi Beam-Conroy, that he was looking for Bill. “He’s at work,” replied Teddy. Salazar asked when he would be home. “Probably around 7ish,” she replied, asking the agents for a business card. Salazar flashed his badge. His partner never identified herself.

Teddi got a pen and paper and wrote down the agent’s cell phone number, so that Bill could contact Salazar: The number Salazar left was 210-336-0036...

A short while later, journalist Bill Conroy dialed that number – 210-336-0036 – but Salazar did not answer. This was the first sign of deviation from standard operating procedure by the Customs agent: Internal Affairs agents (those who investigate other Customs agents) are supposed to keep their cell phones on at all hours and are aware of all incoming calls. It’s part of the job… but not for Salazar at 210-336-0036 apparently… At least not last night… (Does anyone know if government employee Carlos Salazar is answering his cell phone, 210-336-0036, tonight, unlike last night? Inquiring citizens have a right to know!)

Today, Tuesday, May 24th, after the intimidating visit by cops to the family home – “I had to explain to my son that I hadn’t done anything wrong,” says Conroy - authentic journalist Bill Conroy went to work at his day job, as the mild-mannered and respected editor of a prominent business periodical.

Bill had left his own cell phone number on the voice mail of Agent Salazar at 210-336-0036. But Salazar didn’t bother to call. He preferred, instead, to barge into Conroy’s office at 2:30 p.m.



The visits by the Customs cops to Bill Conroy’s home and workplace this week confirm the accuracy of his reports: they wouldn’t go fishing for the source of a story that wasn’t accurate. (To paraphrase Homer Simpson: “It hurts because it is true!”) They also confirm that many of our best readers are Homeland Security officials. (Thanks, guys, for your continuing readership.) After all, they, too, have to learn from Narco News what is happening with the security of the homeland along the Border: thus the obsession to try and intimidate our reporters and us into silence.


Meanwhile, Authentic Journalist Bill Conroy dressed himself in glory today. These goons tried to intimidate his family with slimey underworld “we know where you live” tactics. And they tried to get Conroy fired from his day job by talking to his boss at a newspaper that had nothing to do with his report. And Bill Conroy - even with his livelihood threatened - stood firm.

Conroy protected his sources, as authentic journalists do. Word will now spread far and wide that Bill Conroy is a man that whistleblowers and sources can trust. He was tested today. And he passed the test. And my guess is that in their efforts to destroy a journalist, Agent Salazar and whomever, if anyone, is behind this rogue-style cop action, just made the already formidable Bill Conroy even stronger.

Needless to say, but worth repeating: An attack on one of our journalists is an attack on us all. The entire authentic journalism army stands proud and tall in defense of our colleague Bill Conroy. We will stand with him, nationally and internationally, and in favor of the people’s right to know, to the ultimate consequences. Bill Conroy is not alone tonight, tomorrow night, or forever more.


  Narcosphere article

Galloway to tour the States

Maverick British lawmaker George Galloway, who captured headlines this month during a fiery Senate appearance, plans on continuing his anti-war theme during a summer speaking tour of the United States.

Galloway appeared after the Senate committee released documents it claimed showed he and other international figures received valuable oil allocations from Saddam as a reward for opposing U.N. sanctions on Iraq. Galloway allegedly received 20 million barrels' worth between 2000 and 2003.

He vehemently denied the accusations and went on to accuse the U.S. of crimes in Iraq.

"As Oscar Wilde said, sometimes the most bitter trials turn out to be blessings in disguise," Galloway said Thursday. "In America, people pay huge sums of money to hear you speak."

Galloway said his talks would focus on America "and the way in which the United States has dragged us into disaster."

"They think they rule the world and everyone is afraid of them. But I'm not afraid," he said.

  Yahoo article

Hopefully, he is aware of the possibility of "a lone gunman", however. It could be a short tour.

If anybody comes upon a schedule, let me know.

In case you missed the Senate hearing fireworks, click here.

We're a democracy, not a fascist corporate government

Well, actually, we are. It's just now that politicians are feeling quite comfortable about no longer hiding the fact.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should pull a political commercial off the air that promotes the junk food products of his campaign donors, consumer advocates said.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on Schwarzenegger to return the quarter-million dollars he received from companies featured in the ad, and for the corporations to pay the market value of the advertising to the state because it is improper for the governor to use public office to sell corporate products.

The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for one-third of the ad.

Donors connected to Pepsi Co. and Arrowhead Water's parent company, Nestle, gave the governor a total of $279,800 in campaign contributions. Also recognizable on-screen are Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos and a SoBe Beverage, all brands owned by Pepsi.

View the ad at www.JoinArnold.com.


Oh, and by the way...
In March, at the Arnold Fitness Weekend, Schwarzenegger proposed a ban on all junk food in schools.
I'm going out on a limb here and say he really didn't intend for it to happen. It's just that it was Fitness Weekend and all.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

Justice DeLay'd

The former Democratic congressman who filed a successful ethics complaint against House Majority Tom DeLay (R-TX) last year told RAW STORY the ruling against a DeLay political action committee is a sign that DeLay’s case for innocence is hemorrhaging.

“Obviously he was hoping the judge would rule in favor of the defendants and he would have declared it a great victory,” former Texas Rep. Chris Bell told RAW STORY Thursday. “And now I think that he has to realize that his arguments aren’t going anywhere, and the web is getting bigger and bigger.


Bell filed a three-count ethics complaint against DeLay last year, and subsequently lost his seat after DeLay-engineered redistricting.


“I think it also has to be somewhat of a wakeup call for his colleagues that have already been indicted that their arguments could very well fail,” he added. “And if they do, I think that might motivate some of them to start spilling the beans about exactly what transpired.”

Today, a judge ruled that the treasurer of DeLay’s political action committee must return $200,000 in illegally collected corporate campaign contributions.


DeLay has not been charged with a crime and congressional immunity kept him from being forced to testify in the suit. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

  Raw Story article

I was talking to a friend the other day who goes to the same church as Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO). You may recall that Hulshof (about whom I've posted only critical comments - and I'm sticking by them) was kicked off the House Ethics Committee for saying that DeLay should be investigated.

Anyway, my friend said when Kenny was booted, he (my friend) said to him, "Kenny, I can truthfully say that I'm proud of you for the first time in a long time." And Kenny told him to just wait - he would be learning a lot more information about DeLay before all was said and done.

Coalition of the Willing to Impeach

A coalition of activist groups running the gamut of social and political issues will ask Congress to file a Resolution of Inquiry, the first necessary legal step to determine whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in misleading the country about his decision to go to war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The formal Resolution of Inquiry request, written by Boston constitutional attorney John C. Bonifaz, cites the Downing Street Memo and issues surrounding the planning and execution of the Iraq war. A resolution of inquiry would force relevant House committees to vote on the record as to whether to support an investigation.

  Raw Story article

Students refuse to be cowed

Posters that depicted President Bush with a Groucho Marx-style mustache and cigar were ordered torn down at a high school after a student complained.


Principal Kenny Lee ordered 100 posters removed from the campus of El Camino Real High School in the Woodland Hills area last week on grounds that they promoted smoking and "endorsing one ideology over another."


The school-funded posters advertised the students' play, "The Complete History of America (Abridged)," which satirizes U.S. history.

A senior who supports the president wrote a complaint letter to the administration, teachers and students said.

"We had one student who was very upset," Lee said. "If something is bothering a student on campus, we're going to address it."


The principal asked the drama students to come up with new posters. The new designs all feature a silhouette of Bush and a burning cigar, along with inscriptions such as "Free Expression for All (unless you are in high school)" and "What First Amendment?"

  WaPo article

Good job, kids.

Quran was "mishandled"

US officials say they have confirmed five cases in which prison guards at Guantanamo Bay mishandled the Quran.

  Xinhuanet article

Will Newsweek get an apology? Well, no, of course not.
However, they found no credible evidence to confirm a prisoner's report that the Muslim holy book was flushed in a toilet.


"We did identify 13 incidents of alleged mishandling of the Quran by Joint Task Force personnel. Ten of those were by a guard and three by interrogators. We found that in only five of those 13 incidents, four by guards and one by an interrogator, there was what could be broadly defined as mishandling of a Koran." [Brigadier General Jay W.] Hood said.

Let me ask you this: just what are guards and interrogators doing handling the Quran, if they have no intention of mishandling it? Praying with the prisoners in their own holy language perhaps?

Mark Morford critiques a new scientific report

Observe, won't you, a new book by a soft-spoken scientist named Dr. Elisabeth Lloyd, from Indiana U, that basically claims there is no justifiable evolutionary need for the female orgasm whatsoever, that it really serves no known biological purpose and that it's becoming, therefore, increasingly obsolete and redundant and more or less unnecessary.

Note how much fun Dr. Lloyd must be at parties. Or on a date.


There is no room in this mode of science for, you know, mystery. There is no room for the deeply funky or the hotly mystical, the moist divine wild card. This is because stiff little science tends to cram all possibility for a given explanation into the great maw of cold beautiful logic and spits out, sadly and tellingly and almost without fail, the cosmic hunks of mystical possibility as if they were indigestible bones.


Women have orgasms because by and large they refuse to launch monstrous ultraviolent illegal soul-deadening wars over oilsucking phallocentric powermad landwhoring BS powergrabs and therefore they fully deserve all the inexplicable otherworldly cosmically infused clitorally energized pleasures they can get.


Any good and deeply felt female climax is clearly a subatomic vibrational pulse of such unusual and kaleidoscopic frequency that the only ones who can truly hear its messages are purple orchids and bright red snakes and the aliens who built the Great Pyramids. All hail.


If you want to argue that anything has been lost to the mists of time and awareness, let's argue that. Let's lament the demise of that link, the great orgasmic disconnect, the massive cultural spin downward toward sexual terror and orgasmic stagnation and Laura Bush.


So now, if Lloyd's book is to be believed, the fact that women are losing the orgasmic impulse, the fact that the female water slide is not worshipped and studied and taught like a joyful religion or glorious deity in this dazed and confused and Bush-ravaged culture, and the sad fact that every girl is not given a new Hitachi Magic Wand as a beautiful rite of passage when she hits 14, these are more than merely the great tragedies of our age. They might very well be the things keeping us from progressing at all.


Woman's orgasm has no evolutionary purpose? Bull. Woman's orgasm is proof of evolution, baby. Spiritual, karmic, celestial evolution.


Magic Wands all around, Dr. Lloyd. It's the right thing to do.

The full critique here.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jesus' General addresses the Posada Carriles quandry

Mr. Posada, who appeared on the Department of Homeland Security's watchlist, entered the country illegally a few weeks ago and set up shop in South Florida. This, of course, embarrassed the State Security Apparatus, who learned of his presence in the country when he scheduled a press conference, so they arrested him.

That puts Sec. of State Ofgeorge in a ticklish position. Posada, a former CIA operative who worked for Venezuelan intelligence, was wanted in Caracas on escape and bombing charges. Since we have an extradition treaty with Venezuela, it looked like he might actually face justice. Ofgeorge can not allow that to happen. By virtue of his heroic actions in the war against communist tourists, he deserves Our Leader's protection.

Fortunately, the State Security Apparatus move quickly to provide Ofgeorge with some cover when they made the extraordinary announcement that they will not deport anyone to Cuba or a country that may be working on Cuba's behalf. Venezuela probably fits that description. The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has become quite friendly with Castro since John Bolton's coup against him failed a few years ago. I suspect that he struck up this friendship with Castro in order to prevent Bolton from coming to Caracas to personally berate him and kick him in the balls.

Now, all Ofgeorge needs to do is claim that Venezuela will extradite him to Cuba. Then she can turn down Venezuela's request. According to asylum attorney Ira Kurzban, a second option would be to deny the request based on the Convention Against Torture. That would be difficult because, unlike us, Venezuela doesn't believe in using the Great Glowstick of Freedom and therefore, does not practice torture.

This story is still unfolding. I expect that we'll be hearing more about it as the week progresses.
If I'm not mistaken, we've already claimed that Venezuela would extradite him to Cuba and thereby refused Chávez' request. Perhaps it's not a final final determination.

Apparently, there is some talk about deporting Posada to México. Alas, Buttie's no-longer-so-enamored friend Vicente Fox doesn't think México will be keeping him if we try.
MEXICO CITY -- Luis Posada Carriles, a longtime foe of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, apparently passed through Mexico illegally, and if the U.S. sends him back to Mexico, this country would pass him on to Venezuela, officials said Wednesday.

Posada left no record of his reported passage from Mexico into the United States, indicating he was here illegally, but Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said that is a relatively minor offense and Mexico doesn't want him, even if he is deported here.
  Miami.com article

Brazil to release UFO documents

Last Friday, on May 20th, Brazil became the first country in the world to officially announce the end of its UFO secrecy. The Brazilian Air Force opened its UFO files to Brazilian researchers including reports on three of the biggest cases there in the last fifty years. According to one Air Force official “we want to have all info on the subject, that is withheld by us for some decades,
fully released to public, through the UFO community.” One report alone, from 1977, contained over 100 Air Force photos.

This is a significant, historic event, and will contribute to a gradual disclosure of UFO information in other countries. You can read more about this event at the Brazil UFO Secrecy link on the www.ETLaw.org page . You will also find information there about our online petition to Congress to create an Open Contact Law.

Simeon Hein

More UFO information.

Wildlife protection break (or: People suck)

Each year 100 million sharks are killed, largely as a result of shark finning. Shark finning is a cruel and remarkably wasteful practice that involves cutting off the dorsal, pectoral and tail fins and dumping the rest of the shark back into the water. Often the mutilated sharks are thrown overboard while still alive, only to die a slow and painful death. This practice has become the method of choice to feed the global demand for shark fin soup, a popular delicacy in Asian cuisine.

Widespread shark finning is decimating the world's shark populations, resulting in declines of 90 percent or more in vast regions of the oceans. Much of this massive shark mortality could be avoided with an international ban on shark finning.
Click the graphic to

A culture of life

A reporter asked Bush today why discarding 400,000 frozen embryos or leaving them frozen was better than using them for scientific research. He sidestepped completely: destruction of life, federal dollars, yadda yadda. Didn’t suggest what should be done with the 400,000. No one’s mentioning the millions of orphans that will be institutionalized until they’re 18 while Christian couples donate to other Christian couples their leftover (but Christian) embryos.


Later, and sweatier, Bush added, “And my government strongly supports stem cells.” He meant research on adult stem cells, but it’s still a telling slip. I’ve said before that by the end of his second term, fetuses (and now embryos) will have the right to vote, but their mothers won’t.

He went on, “there must be a balance between science and ethics.” By ethics, he of course means religion, and his use of the word balance shows once again that he thinks of science as being something intrinsically unethical, amoral, and irreligious, which must be balanced, i.e., kept in check by, ethics/religion.

  WIIIAI post

I'll say it again...and this man is your president.
The standard Bush set four years ago and repeated last week is that we shouldn't take one life—even an embryonic life—in order to save others. Cost-benefit analysis is never sufficient grounds for the premeditated killing of civilians—except when it comes to the death penalty. When the discussion shifts from embryos to murderers, Bush and his spokesmen routinely argue that killing is justified not because murderers deserve it, but because it's moral to take one life in order to save others. He doesn't say that Person A should be executed because Person A is a danger to society. He says that Person A should be executed because the execution will deter Person B from killing Person C.


"The use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is—I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it."

—Bush, May 20, 2005


"I happen to believe that the death penalty, when properly applied, saves lives of others. And so I'm comfortable with my beliefs that there's no contradiction between the two."

—Bush, April 14, 2005

  Slate article

Spreading democracy around the world

A couple of days ago Laura Bush endorsed Egyptian President Mubarak’s plan to reform the electoral law by the smallest amount humanly possible, just prior to a referendum on those changes. This sort of intervention in another country’s elections is strictly verboten in international relations, and whoever it was — Condi Rice I assume — who fed Laura her words should not be sending messages to the Egyptian electorate through the First Lady, who was probably just lucky no reporter asked her to describe any details of the changes she was praising. Since then, demonstrators protesting the referendum, who evidently hadn’t gotten the word about Laura’s stamp of approval, and who were chanting “The Americans have sold us out” (which is simply incorrect: the Americans don’t care enough about them to sell them out; they gave them away) (also, were they really surprised to be sold out?) were beaten up by police.

  WIIIAI post

Officials of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, or NDP, led hundreds of young men who attacked anti-government demonstrators. Journalists and witnesses at the scene of several incidents, including this correspondent, saw riot police create corridors for stick-wielding men to freely charge the demonstrators. Women were particular targets, with at least five pulled from the mass of mostly male demonstrators on the steps of the Journalists' Syndicate in central Cairo and subjected to slaps, punches, kicks and groping. The blouses of at least two were ripped.

The attacks, which took place at several locations in Cairo, came against the backdrop of a crackdown on movements trying to end Mubarak's 24-year rule. Opposition parties and the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest anti-government organization, have been testing the limits of free speech and assembly in Egypt, and the government has responded with increasingly tougher measures.

In February, under local and U.S. pressure, Mubarak laid out a proposal for Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential election -- changes that were voted on in Wednesday's referendum. In this year's presidential vote, candidates from established parties would be able to run, but not independents. In subsequent races, independent candidates would have to either gain the approval of parliament and a government council dominated by the NDP or belong to a party that is at least five years old.

The Bush administration has supported Mubarak's election plan, and first lady Laura Bush, visiting Egypt this week, praised Mubarak for his reform efforts. Her remarks drew criticism from opposition leaders.

  WaPo article

Born to be wild

Antisocial behaviour is inherited in some children and not caused by bad parenting, psychiatrists claimed today.

They argued that children with psychopathic tendencies owed their antisocial behaviour to their genetic make-up.

But children without psychopathic tendencies who were also antisocial were more likely to be behaving badly because of their environment rather than their genes, they concluded.

Dr Essi Viding, from the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, at King's College, London, said his study had important implications for social policy.


If it's not caused by bad parenting, but genetics, then can we say it's just bad parents?

And another question: why is non-psychopathic antisocial behavior labeled bad?

Maybe those kids just don't see much of anything appealing about the society they're in.

Oh, and one more: What's the implication for social policy in this? Euthenasia to cull those kids with "bad" genes? Sterilize possible parents? Eugenics?

What you refused to believe

A cold case is heating up. Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch vanished without a trace in 1982. But, now, after KWWL's story last month on Johnny's disappearance, there is new information on the case.

A private investigator working Johnny's disappearance believe his kidnapping was part of a government conspiracy. The investigator shared new evidence with KWWL and it could be the break needed to solve this case. That evidence includes a recorded phone call that has never been heard publicly, until now.

During the early morning of Septmeber 5, 1982, Johnny Gosch was kidnapped from a West Des Moines neighborhood while delivering newspapers. It was silent, quick and professional. "This man has told us that at the end of their investigation that there were 834 kids involved that were kidnapped," says James Rothstein. He's talking about a former CIA agent who must remain anonymous.

Rothstein is a former New York City police detective, now a private investigator working the case for Johnny's mother, Noreen. And within the last couple weeks, Rothstein has uncovered new evidence linking Johnny's kidnapping to child prostitution. "It basically came down to one thing and one thing only. You know, it was money. These kids were being grabbed to satisfy the malignant, twisted, you know, evil depravity of very powerful individuals who have the money," he says.

Rothstein is talking about individuals who would spend as much as $10,000 to have sex with young boys and girls. And this new evidence points to the involvement of U.S. government officials. "They were using kids to compromise people. And what better way to compromise somebody than get a young boy with a politician or some powerful person that may be in the military or whatever and then you can compromise them and get what ever you want."

  KWWL article

This story came out because some bloggers picked up on the idea that Jeff Gannon (or whatever his name is), of White House prostitute/faux reporter fame, might actually be Johnny Gosch. Whether that's the case or not, I couldn't say, but it at least brought the attention back to the story of the child porn sex ring that goes all the way to the White House, and reaches as far back as some 20 years.

Will this hideous business finally break into the light of day and the criminal predators in our government be stopped? Or will it be buried again?

Click graphic for more links to the story and coverup

Quran desecration

Terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay prison told U.S. interrogators as early as April 2002, just three months after the first detainees arrived, that military guards abused them and desecrated the Quran, declassified FBI records say.

"Their behavior is bad," one detainee is quoted as saying of his guards during an interrogation by an FBI special agent on July 22, 2002. "About five months ago the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Quran in the toilet."

Lawrence Di Rita, chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said Wednesday that U.S. military officials at Guantanamo Bay had recently found a separate record of the same allegation by the same detainee, and he was re-interviewed on May 14. "He did not corroborate his own allegation," Di Rita said.

Asked why he felt certain that this detainee did not affirm his allegation out of fear of retaliation, Di Rita said, "It's a judgment call, and I trust the judgment of the commanders more than I trust the judgment of al-Qaida."


Di Rita said the charges of deliberate Quran desecration by U.S. military personnel were "fantastic" and "not credible on their face" because U.S. commanders were careful not to inflame passions among the detainees.

  Yahoo article

Right. (Insert Abu Ghraib pictures here.)

And if that's not enough for you...
The statements about guards disrespecting the Quran echo public allegations made many months later by some detainees and their lawyers after the prisoners' release from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The once-secret FBI documents show a consistency to the allegations and are the first indication that Justice and Defense department officials were aware in early 2002 that detainees were accusing their guards of mistreating the Quran.

One told an interrogator in March 2003 that guards had repeatedly mishandled the Quran. This detainee asked why the United States, as a supporter of freedom of religion, was using the Muslim holy book as a weapon.

Still another said in October 2002 that he and other detainees had been "beaten, spit upon and treated worse than a dog."

Separately on Wednesday, Amnesty International urged the United States to shut down the prison, calling it "the gulag of our time." White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the human rights group's complaints were "unsupported by the facts" and that allegations of mistreatment were being investigated.
How do we know they're "unsupported by the facts" if we haven't already investigated?
In January 2003, the military issued a three-page written guideline for handling a detainee's Quran, including a stipulation that it should be handled "as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art," and that it not be placed in "offensive areas such as the floor, near the toilet or sink, near the feet or dirty/wet areas."
Now, I'm kind of wondering....why would you issue such a specific (three-page) guideline two years into rounding up and detaining people? Just spontaneous? "I've been thinking Rummy, you know we could conceivably some day have a situation where our people might outrage the enemy by mistreating their holy book. Perhaps we should come up with a guideline."

I'd find it a lot more logical to believe that there had been some complaints and a guideline was deemed necessary, either to actually hold jailers in check (unlikely - because why would it just be a "guideline" - but possible), or more likely, to point to when the news of the desecration went public as proof that "we don't do that".

But hey, it's only a guideline.

....and do what you want....you will anyway.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


According to the International Narcotics Control Board based in Vienna, Iraq is becoming a major drug processing and production point. This is a major slap in the face for the United States, which has made a priority of fighting global drug trafficking.

Now that it is so actively engaged in the fight against terror, will the United States neglect another world plague, the traffic in drugs? The answer to this is yes, the International Narcotics Control Board reveals in its report.

According to this independent organization based in Vienna and attached to the United Nations, Iraq is on its way to becoming a key transit point for drug traffickers shipping their cargo from Afghanistan and to Europe and Asia, a new report says.

  Watching America article

"Young Democrat" can't get into Bush speech

A University of Arizona student says he was told he was a potential threat and was barred from President Bush's forum yesterday at the TCC because of the T-shirt he was wearing.

Steven Gerner, 19, said an event staff member told him that, although he had a valid ticket from Tucson congressman Raúl Grijalva's office, he could not enter the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave.


A staff member asked to see his shirt before crumpling up Gerner's ticket and walking away. He returned to say the Young Democrat's name had been added to the list of those not allowed into the convention hall, Gerner said.

Gerner said he offered to take the T-shirt off and wear only the long-sleeved blue shirt he had on underneath, but event staff still would not admit him.



Uzbekistan report

[It] appears that a poorly conceived armed revolt to Mr. Karimov's centralized government set off a local popular uprising that ended in horror when the Uzbek authorities suppressed a mixed crowd of escaped prison inmates and demonstrators with machine-gun and rifle fire.

The few hours of defiance culminated, the survivors say, in a desperate push by hundreds and perhaps thousands of Uzbek citizens, marching and crawling before the firing soldiers, some chanting "freedom" as people died around them.

Much about the events in Andijon, a city of 300,000 in the country's main cotton belt, remains unknown. Uzbekistan has blocked free travel to diplomats, human rights investigators and journalists seeking access to the city.

The scale of death is fiercely contested. Mr. Karimov said 32 Uzbek troops and 137 other people had been killed. An opposition party says that at least 745 civilians died in Andijon and Pakhtaabad, a border town, the next day. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, a Vienna-based group, says Uzbek troops may have killed 1,000 unarmed people.

An independent visit to Andijon by a photographer working for The New York Times also found indications that the death toll was much larger than Mr. Karimov has said. Bullet-riddled bodies were returned to families with numbered toe tags and certificates, families told the photographer and her translator. The numbers on the tags, they said, ranged from the teens to the hundreds.

And although the government has since tried to collect the certificates, they said, two families retained them and showed them to the photographer. One was No. 284. The other, which accompanied the remains of Rakhmatula Nadirov, 30, was 378. The same number was written on the dead man's leg, his mother said.

  Information Clearinghouse article (includes a report on the uprising)

A friendship between Texas and Uzbekistan:

Document from The Smoking Gun

Middle East expert Juan Cole analyzes the military prospects in Iraq


The guerrillas have widespread popular support in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, an area with some 4 million persons. Its cities and deserts offer plenty of cover for an unconventional war. Guerrilla movements can succeed if more than 40 percent of the local population supports them. While the guerrillas are a small proportion of Iraqis, they are very popular in the Sunni Arab areas. If you look at it as a regional war, they probably have 80 percent support in their region.

The guerrillas are mainly Iraqi Sunnis with an intelligence or military background, who know where secret weapons depots are containing some 250,000 tons of missing munitions, and who know how to use military strategy and tactics to good effect. They are well-funded and can easily get further funding from Gulf millionnaires any time they like.

The Iraqi guerrillas are given tactical support by foreign jihadi fighters. There are probably only a few hundred of them, but they are disproportionately willing to undertake very dangerous attacks, and to volunteer as suicide bombers.

There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas. There are only about 70,000 US fighting troops in Iraq, they don't have that much person-power superiority over the guerrillas. There are only 10,000 US troops for all of Anbar province, a center of the guerrilla movement with a population of 820,000. A high Iraqi official estimated that there are 40,000 active guerrillas and another 80,000 close supporters of them. The only real explanation for the successes of the guerrillas is that the US military has been consistently underestimating their numbers and abilities. There is no prospect of increasing the number of US troops in Iraq.

The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims. American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency. Moreover, as foreign, largely Christian occupiers of an Arab, Muslim, country, they are widely disliked and mistrusted outside Kurdistan.

So far the new pro-American Iraqi troops have not distinguished themselves against the guerrillas, and it will probably be at least 3-5 years before they can begin doing so, if ever. Insofar as the new army is disproportionately Shiite and Kurdish, it may simply never have the resources to penetrate the Sunni Arab center-north effectively. There is every reason to believe that the new Iraqi military is heavily infiltrated with sympathizers of the guerrillas.

US military tactics, of replying to attacks with massive force, have alienated ever more Sunni Arabs as time has gone on.

AP reports an Iraqi official saying today that there is a civil war going on in the northern city of Telafar between Sunnis and Shiites.

In an ideal world, the United States would relinquish Iraq to a United Nations military command, and the world would pony up the troops needed to establish order in the country in return for Iraqi good will in post-war contract bids. But that is not going to happen for many reasons. George W. Bush is a stubborn man and Iraq is his project, and he is not going to give up on it. And, by now the rest of the world knows what would await its troops in Iraq, and political leaders are not so stupid as to send their troops into a meat grinder.

The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.


He also discusses the state of the political situation in Iraq in the same post, here.

The dumbest president ever

I really can't say what is a good idea and what is a bad idea when we're talking Social Security reform, because I don't understand the ins and outs of financial accounts. On the other hand, I do recognize generalized stupidity.

I suspect that Buttie talks to his audiences as if they were children or have learning disabilities because that's they way things have to be explained to him. Why he says inappropriate things probably stems from the same cause: he's an imbecilic putz.

As I think about it some more, however, and notice the laugh and applause lines in these speeches, I can't be too sure the audience doesn't need to be spoken to in the same juvenile manner.


I thank Congressman Tom Reynolds. He's an effective United States Congressman who cares a lot about this district. (Applause.) I'm proud to call him friend. I'm proud to call Congressman Sherry Boehlert friend, as well. Sherry is from the district next door; I've known him for a long time. He's a good, thoughtful man. He's a fine United States congressman. (Applause.) Congressman Jim Walsh is with us today. He, too, is a fine United States congressman. (Applause.) And I was proud to be traveling with Congressman Randy Kuhl -- he's a freshman member of the House of Representatives, doing a great job. Thank you all for coming. (Applause.)

They want to ride on Air Force One. (Laughter.) Proud to make room for them. They want to ride back on Air Force One. (Laughter.) And they probably want a meal on Air Force One. Save up your appetite, fellows, you got a good meal coming.


[Laura's] doing great. She is on a trip promoting the freedom agenda.


If you’ve retired, you don’t have anything to worry about -- third time I’ve said that. (Laughter.) I’ll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)


Now, the system is pay-as-you-go -- that means when you pay in, we go ahead and pay out.


[If] you've worked all your life, that you should not retire in poverty. That's a principle that makes sense. We can design a system that supports that concept. And here's the way you do it: It's called progressive indexing. That's a Washington kind of thing, you know.


MR. BROWN: Well, I'm 18; I'm a sophomore at Canisius College, in Buffalo. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: What's your major?

MR. BROWN: I'm dual-majoring in business marketing and business management.

THE PRESIDENT: Great. All A's?

MR. BROWN: Hopefully. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, don't worry about it. That won't disqualify you from being President. (Applause.)


And finally, one other person [...] I'd like to introduce, is a woman named George-Ann Schauffele. George-Ann is a volunteer. And the reason I bring up people who volunteer is I want to remind you that the true strength of this country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens; that if you want to be a participant in America, and in the future America, volunteer to make somebody's life better. Feed the hungry, help find shelter for the homeless. George-Ann is involved with the Literacy Volunteers of Rochester Program, helping somebody learn to read. I can't think of a better way to pass on a gift from one generation to the next than to mentor somebody, particularly somebody who needs to learn to read.

  White House Press Release

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
We're taking your money, we're spending it on current retirees, and in that more money is coming in that needs to go out for the retirees, we're spending on other programs.
Perhaps he didn't notice he said that. Seems like a logical place to fix the program to me.
THE PRESIDENT: You are Audrey Ceglinski.

MRS. CEGLINSKI: That's right. I'm a 70-year-old widow.

THE PRESIDENT: Don't ever say your age. (Laughter.)

MRS. CEGLINSKI: Oh, that's -- I have no problem. Don't ask me my weight, though.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. (Laughter and applause.) Reminds me of my mother. (Laughter.)


THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Debbie, welcome.

MRS. BROWN: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for coming. Mom did a good job, didn't she?

MRS. BROWN: Yes, she did.

THE PRESIDENT: So what was it like growing up? Was Mom pretty tough, a disciplinarian?

MRS. BROWN: Yes, she was. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, then you and I share the same thing. (Laughter.)

I wonder if Babs is laughing.

I wouldn't recommend you read this whole thing, but it's a great example of
Buttie's scripted "town hall" publicity ops. Everybody he talks to has been well rehearsed, as in every such meeting. People have been chosen to participate in the "discussion" according to the points to be made. What great luck to find in this audience three members of one family who could be examples of three different ways a person could lose out on Social Security as it is currently stuctured.

In some of these ridiculous appearances, Buttie can't even manage to return lines, but he managed to stay on track in this one and even re-rail one of the participants who stumbled on her line. And he keeps telling each one as they finish their performance, "Thanks for coming. You did a good job."

"Catapult the propanganda."

"The freedom agenda."