Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gagged librarians break silence on Patriot Act

Gagged librarians break silence on Patriot Act

Connecticut librarians spoke about their fight to stop the FBI from gaining access to patrons' library records at a news conference yesterday organized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and in a subsequent interview with RAW STORY.

The Librarians, members of Library Connection, a not-for profit cooperative organization for resource sharing across 26 Connecticut library branches sharing a centralized computer, were served with a National Security Letter (NSL) in August of last year as part of the FBI's attempt to attain access to patron's records.

The NSL is a little known statute in the Patriot Act that permits law enforcement to obtain records of people not suspected of any wrongdoing and without a court order. As part of the NSL, those served with the document are gagged and prohibited from disclosing that they have even been served.

The foursome of Barbara Bailey, Peter Chase, George Christian, and Jan Nocek were automatically gagged from disclosing that they had received the letter, the contents of the letter, and even from discussions surrounding the Patriot Act.

The librarians, via the national and Connecticut branches of the ACLU, filed suit challenging the Patriot Act on first amendment grounds.

"People ask about private and confidential things in the library setting… like about their health, their family issues and related books they take out … these are confidential and we did this to protect our patrons from authorized snooping," said Peter Chase, Vice President of Library Connection."

On September 9 of last year, a federal judge lifted the gag order and rejected the government's argument that identifying the plaintiff would pose a threat to national security.
Yet the government continued to appeal the case throughout the reauthorization debate, passionately arguing that not a single incident of civil liberties violations by the Patriot Act had occurred. By continuing the appeal, the government effectively silenced any evidence to counter their claims.

"This all happened during the reauthorization debate and the government was saying no one's rights were being violated," said George Christian, staff liaison for Library Connection and one of the plaintiffs in the case.

As the debate over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act heated up, the librarians and others gagged by the NSL had to watch in silence, intimately aware of dangers they believed were not being exposed.

"We could not speak to Congress until after the renewal of the Patriot Act," Said Barbara Bailey, President of Library Connection and one of four plaintiffs in the case.
Although the ACLU, representing the librarians, filed the case on August 9 of last year, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales decried any civil liberties violations in a Washington Post op-ed in December, stating that "There have been no verified civil liberties abuses in the four years of the [Patriot] act's existence."

The suit names Alberto Gonzales, Robert Mueller, and an un-named FBI official as the defendants in the case. The plaintiffs are collectively referred to in all court filings as simply John Doe.

"My testimony was informed not only by the successes of the act but also by my personal meetings with representatives from groups such as the ACLU and the American Library Association," wrote Gonzales in his Washington Post piece. During the reauthorization discussion, I asked that certain provisions be clarified to ensure the protection of civil liberties, and Congress responded."

After the Patriot Act was reauthorized in March of this year, the government stopped its appeals. Last Wednesday, the Connecticut librarians were finally allowed to say that they were the John Doe in the case, but they are still prohibited from discussing the case or the NSL.
"There are other people who have been served with these letters. We hope by our testimony that more people are aware of this and people are able to speak out," said Jan Nocek, Secretary for Library Connection and one of the four plaintiffs in the case.

"Our clients were gagged by the government at a time when Congress needed to hear their voices the most," said Ann Beeson, ACLU's lead attorney in the case. "This administration has repeatedly shown that it will hide behind the cloak of national security to silence its critics and cover up embarrassing facts. Every time the government invokes national security in defense of secrecy -- as they've done most recently with NSA wiretapping -- the American public should remember these four librarians."

It is unknown how many NSLs have been served and to whom. A University of Illinois survey conducted in 2002 found that out of roughly one thousand libraries asked, eighty five libraries said they were asked by law enforcement for patrons' records.

According to an ABC News report, Assistant Attorney General William Moschella told members of Congress "that 9,254 National Security Letters were issued in 2005 involving 3,501 people."
But much like his successor, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed that the Patriot Act did not violate civil liberties and said that it has never been used to obtain library records.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department's inspector general issued no less than six reports to the relevant Congressional oversight committees indicating that there were no allegations of abuse and no violations of civil liberties since the original enactment of the Patriot Act days after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

VIDEO: Bush Caught In Lie About Snow Resignation


Bush Caught In Lie About Snow Resignation


Watch it:





On May 25th, President Bush said that Treasury Secretary John Snow had not given him any indication that he was leaving soon:


PRESIDENT BUSH: Secretary of Treasury Snow?


Q Has he given you any indication he intends to leave his job any time soon?…


PRESIDENT BUSH: No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he’s doing a fine job.


In fact, not only had Snow indicated he was leaving, President Bush had already settled on his replacement. Today, Tony Snow said that Hank Paulson was offered the job on May 20 and accepted a day later:


QUESTION: Do you have any tick tock on the Paulson…


SNOW: Yes. The tick tock is the two of them met on the 20th of May and there was a conversation. And Hank Paulson accepted the job a day later. That was subject to clearance. It does take time, especially for a Senate confirmable position, to complete those. So it did take time to get some of those clearances wrapped up.


Later in the briefing, Tony Snow essentially admitted that Bush misled the public, claiming it was necessary to protect the market:


QUESTION: Can I just ask you one other follow-up on Karl about Secretary Snow? When the president was asked, when he was standing next to Prime Minister Blair and millions of people were watching, he’s telling the American people that: I have got no indication the secretary’s going to resign…


SNOW: No, He has not talked to me about resignation. I mean, it was very carefully worded. But again, what you didn’t want to have, I think, is at a period of time when you haven’t finished doing your clearances for the person you want to fill that position, you don’t want to have chaos in the markets. It was…


QUESTION: But he’s already offered it to somebody. He’s got it in hand. I mean, he offered these positions all the time and wait for FBI and background searches that sometimes take a long time. I mean, the Supreme Court nominees take six weeks. But you still announced to the public you’re pick somebody…


SNOW: Well, but you know, again Hank Paulson at that time, you don’t announce somebody who hasn’t been pre-cleared. You haven’t finished the clearance process, you don’t announce it. Period. I mean, it’s just…


QUESTION: But it’s not even announcing him. You could have been direct and said: We’re expecting…


SNOW: Well no — with all due respect, I think there was some concern again about how something like that affects the markets. If you have uncertainty for an extended period of time, which would have been, at that point, four or five days, I think that is something that you’ve got to worry about and you’ve got to be responsible in dealing with it.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bloomberg Wants Same Sex Marriage Licenses

Bloomberg Wants Same Sex Marriage Licenses

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- During his weekly Sunday radio address, Mayor Bloomberg announced that if the Court of Appeals does not rule in favor of the city issuing same sex marriage licenses, he will work with others in the city and state legislatures to establish a new law that establishes ‘marriage equality.’

"I believe all New Yorkers should have the right to marry whom ever they choose regardless of sexual orientation," said Bloomberg.

The court of appeals is scheduled to takes up the issue of same sex marriage this week.

Bloomberg also stated that the city has worked hard over the past few years to ensure that the rights of the gay community are protected. Same sex partners of city workers receive health benefits if they're registered as domestic partners.

Bloomberg furthered argued that “I do not believe the government should be in the business of telling us who we can, and can't marry...as mayor, i have an obligation to enforce the laws of the city and the state, but I also have an equal obligation to work to change laws that I believe are not in our city's best interest."

Murtha: New scandal worse than Abu Ghraib

Murtha: New scandal worse than Abu Ghraib

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The fallout from the killing of as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians by Marines could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq more than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal did, a lawmaker who is a prominent war critic said Sunday.

The shootings last November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, were covered up, said Rep. John Murtha D-Pa.

"Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" Murtha said on "This Week" on ABC. "We don't know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command."
A bomb rocked a military convoy on Nov. 19, killing a Marine. Marines then shot and killed unarmed civilians in a taxi at the scene and went into two homes and shot other people, according to Murtha, who has been briefed by officials.

Murtha said high-level reports he received indicated that no one fired upon the Marines or that there was any military action against the U.S. forces after the initial explosion. Yet the deaths were not seriously investigated until March because an early probe was stifled within days of the incident, he said.

"I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened," Murtha said. "This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterward and it should have been made public and people should have been held responsible for it."

Lt. Col. Scott Fazekas, a Marine Corps spokesman, told The Associated Press that the investigation was ongoing and he would have no comment.

Murtha, a former Marine and a prominent critic of Bush administration policies in Iraq, repeated his view that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily and needs political solutions, which he said were damaged by such incidents involving the U.S.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said. "And we're set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib."

The U.S. effort to win over Iraqis and others in the Arab world by fostering a democratic government was severely damaged when it was revealed that U.S. military personnel had abused and humiliated people held at Abu Ghraib, a prison outside of Baghdad.

The incident at Haditha has sparked two investigations — one into the deadly encounter itself and another into whether it was the subject of a cover-up.

The second, noncriminal investigation is examining whether Marines sought to cover up what actually occurred that day and, in doing so, lied about having killed civilians without justification. The Marine Corps had initially attributed 15 civilian deaths to the car bombing and a firefight with insurgents, eight of whom the Marines reported had been killed.

A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press on Friday that evidence gathered so far strongly indicated that the Haditha killings were unjustified.

Early this year, a videotape of the aftermath of the incident, showing the bodies of women and children, was obtained by Time magazine and Arab television stations. The military then undertook another investigation.

Sen. John Warner the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would hold hearings on the killings but cautioned against reaching conclusions until the military concluded its investigation.

"There is this serious question, however, of what happened and when it happened and what was the immediate reaction of the senior officers in the Marine Corps when they began to gain knowledge of it," Warner said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into the shootings is not expected to be completed earlier than in June. Whether violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including murder, would be pursued would be determined by a senior Marine commander in Iraq.

The NCIS also is conducting a criminal investigation into another incident, the death of an Iraqi civilian on April 26, involving Marines in Hamandiyah, west of Baghdad.

The 'IoS' reveals today that more than 60 of the detainees of the US camp were under 18 at the time of their capture, some as young as 14


Whitehall sources said the new allegations, from the London-based legal rights group Reprieve, directly contradicted the Bush administration's assurances to the UK that no juveniles had been held there. "We would take a very, very dim view if it transpires that there were actually minors there," said an official.

One child prisoner, Mohamed el Gharani, is accused of involvement in a 1998 al-Qa'ida plot in London led by the alleged al-Qa'ida leader in Europe, Abu Qatada. But he was 12 years old at the time and living with his parents in Saudi Arabia.

After being arrested in Karachi in October 2001, aged 14, he has spent several years in solitary confinement as an alleged al-Qa'ida-trained fighter.

One Canadian-born boy, Omar Khadr, was 15 when arrested in 2002 and has also been kept in solitary confinement. The son of a known al-Qa'ida commander, he is accused of killing a US soldier with a grenade in July 2002 and was placed top of the Bush administration's list of detainees facing prosecution.

"It would surely be really quite stupid to allow the world to think you have teenagers in orange jumpsuits and shackles, spending 23 hours a day locked up in a cage," a source added. "If it's true that young people have been held there, their cases should be dealt with as a priority."
British officials last night told the IoS that the UK had been assured that any juveniles would be held in a special facility for child detainees at Guantanamo called Camp Iguana. But the US admits only three inmates were ever treated as children - three young Afghans, one aged 13, who were released in 2004 after a furore over their detention.

The row will again focus attention on the Bush administration's repeated claims that normal rules of war and human rights conventions do not apply to "enemy combatants" who were al-Qa'ida or Taliban fighters and supporters. The US insists these fighters did not have the same legal status as soldiers in uniform.

Clive Stafford Smith, a legal director of Reprieve and lawyer for a number of detainees, said it broke every widely accepted legal convention on human rights to put children in the same prison as adults - including US law.

"There is nothing wrong with trying minors for crimes, if they have committed crimes. The problem is when you either hold minors without trial in shocking conditions, or try them before a military commission that, in the words of a prosecutor who refused to take part, is rigged," he said. "Even if these kids were involved in fighting - and Omar is the only one who the military pretends was - then there is a UN convention against the use of child soldiers. There is a general recognition in the civilised world that children should be treated differently from adults."
Because the detainees have been held in Cuba for four years, all the teenagers are now thought to have reached their 18th birthdays in Guantanamo Bay and some have since been released.
The latest figures emerged after the Department of Defense (DoD) in Washington was forced to release the first ever list of Guantanamo detainees earlier this month. Although lawyers say it is riddled with errors - getting numerous names and dates of birth wrong - they were able to confirm that 17 detainees on the list were under 18 when taken to the camp, and another seven were probably juveniles.

In addition, said Mr Stafford Smith, they had credible evidence from other detainees, lawyers and the International Red Cross that another 37 inmates were under 18 when they were seized. One detainee, an al-Jazeera journalist called Sami el Hajj, has identified 36 juveniles in Guantanamo.

A senior Pentagon spokesman, Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, insisted that no one now being held at Guantanamo was a juvenile and said the DoD also rejected arguments that normal criminal law was relevant to the Guantanamo detainees.

"There is no international standard concerning the age of an individual who engages in combat operations... Age is not a determining factor in detention. [of those] engaged in armed conflict against our forces or in support to those fighting against us."

The notorious US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay has been hit by fresh allegations of human rights abuses, with claims that dozens of children were sent there - some as young as 14 years old.

Lawyers in London estimate that more than 60 detainees held at the terrorists' prison camp were boys under 18 when they were captured.

They include at least 10 detainees still held at the US base in Cuba who were 14 or 15 when they were seized - including child soldiers who were held in solitary confinement, repeatedly interrogated and allegedly tortured.

The disclosures threaten to plunge the Bush administration into a fresh row with Britain, its closest ally in the war on terror, only days after the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, repeated his demands for the closure of the detention facility. It was, he said, a "symbol of injustice".

Whitehall sources said the new allegations, from the London-based legal rights group Reprieve, directly contradicted the Bush administration's assurances to the UK that no juveniles had been held there. "We would take a very, very dim view if it transpires that there were actually minors there," said an official.

One child prisoner, Mohamed el Gharani, is accused of involvement in a 1998 al-Qa'ida plot in London led by the alleged al-Qa'ida leader in Europe, Abu Qatada. But he was 12 years old at the time and living with his parents in Saudi Arabia.

After being arrested in Karachi in October 2001, aged 14, he has spent several years in solitary confinement as an alleged al-Qa'ida-trained fighter.

One Canadian-born boy, Omar Khadr, was 15 when arrested in 2002 and has also been kept in solitary confinement. The son of a known al-Qa'ida commander, he is accused of killing a US soldier with a grenade in July 2002 and was placed top of the Bush administration's list of detainees facing prosecution.

"It would surely be really quite stupid to allow the world to think you have teenagers in orange jumpsuits and shackles, spending 23 hours a day locked up in a cage," a source added. "If it's true that young people have been held there, their cases should be dealt with as a priority."
British officials last night told the IoS that the UK had been assured that any juveniles would be held in a special facility for child detainees at Guantanamo called Camp Iguana. But the US admits only three inmates were ever treated as children - three young Afghans, one aged 13, who were released in 2004 after a furore over their detention.

The row will again focus attention on the Bush administration's repeated claims that normal rules of war and human rights conventions do not apply to "enemy combatants" who were al-Qa'ida or Taliban fighters and supporters. The US insists these fighters did not have the same legal status as soldiers in uniform.

Clive Stafford Smith, a legal director of Reprieve and lawyer for a number of detainees, said it broke every widely accepted legal convention on human rights to put children in the same prison as adults - including US law.

"There is nothing wrong with trying minors for crimes, if they have committed crimes. The problem is when you either hold minors without trial in shocking conditions, or try them before a military commission that, in the words of a prosecutor who refused to take part, is rigged," he said. "Even if these kids were involved in fighting - and Omar is the only one who the military pretends was - then there is a UN convention against the use of child soldiers. There is a general recognition in the civilised world that children should be treated differently from adults."
Because the detainees have been held in Cuba for four years, all the teenagers are now thought to have reached their 18th birthdays in Guantanamo Bay and some have since been released.
The latest figures emerged after the Department of Defense (DoD) in Washington was forced to release the first ever list of Guantanamo detainees earlier this month. Although lawyers say it is riddled with errors - getting numerous names and dates of birth wrong - they were able to confirm that 17 detainees on the list were under 18 when taken to the camp, and another seven were probably juveniles.

In addition, said Mr Stafford Smith, they had credible evidence from other detainees, lawyers and the International Red Cross that another 37 inmates were under 18 when they were seized. One detainee, an al-Jazeera journalist called Sami el Hajj, has identified 36 juveniles in Guantanamo.

A senior Pentagon spokesman, Lt Commander Jeffrey Gordon, insisted that no one now being held at Guantanamo was a juvenile and said the DoD also rejected arguments that normal criminal law was relevant to the Guantanamo detainees.

"There is no international standard concerning the age of an individual who engages in combat operations... Age is not a determining factor in detention. [of those] engaged in armed conflict against our forces or in support to those fighting against us."

Dershowitz: Katherine Harris -- Still a Crook

Katherine Harris -- Still a Crook
Alan Dershowitz

Back in November 2000, while Katherine Harris was hard at work trying to suppress the voters' will by preventing a presidential election recount, I commented on Wolf Blitzer's program that the then-Florida Secretary of State was a crook. I thought it was significant that the person charged with handing Florida ballots was not only deeply entangled in the Bush campaign, but that she also had a history of corruption.

The backstory behind my allegation - entirely true and unchallenged - was that during Harris's 1994 state senate campaign, she had taken over $20,000 in illegal contributions. (The story was especially strange, given that Harris is independently wealthy. The University of Florida's football stadium is named after her grandfather.) Harris's campaign manager took the fall and was named an un-indicted co-conspirator in the subsequent criminal investigation that landed the corporate donor's founder in prison for five months. Two years later, Harris shamelessly sponsored a bill favorable to the offending corporation from which she had taken the $20,000 at the request of its lobbyists.

For pointing out Harris's seedy past I was subject to a barrage of abuse from the likes of The Washington Times ("When This is All Over, We Spray for Lawyers"), The Weekly Standard ("The Politics of Personal Destruction"), National Review ("Alan Dershowitz, Goofball"), and of course, various FoxNews shows.

Then, last Friday, the Boston Globe reported that Harris, now a congresswoman, faces the exact same charges and has offered up the same feeble defense as she did back in the '90s. Prosecutors are accusing Harris, among others, of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions from defense contractor Mitchell Wade. "Wade then discussed getting specific defense appropriations with Harris and Goode or their staffs, according to court documents." The story goes on to relate an incident in which Wade and Harris met for a dinner costing $2,800, which Wade paid for, in violation of House ethics rules. Harris's excuse is that "she didn't eat or drink much at the dinner and that she thought her staff had paid for her share."

Katherine Harris, apparently, is the same crooked politician that she was in 1994 and 2000. The only difference is that back then, she was a state-level crook. Today she's a federal crook.
My e-mail for accepting apologies from my Republican critics is dersh@law.harvard.edu.

Shatner to Visit Israel



Star Trek´s Jewish Captain to Visit Israel on Do-Good Mission
16:53 May 15, '06 / 17 Iyar 5766by Ezra HaLevi


Jewish Actor William Shatner, famous for his role in the Star Trek series, plans to visit Israel in the coming weeks.

Shatner, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Ukraine, is visiting the Jewish State as part of the Jewish National Fund's efforts to raise $10 million for therapeutic riding centers across Israel. Shatner enjoys breeding and showing American Saddlebreds and Quarter Horses and has a 360-acre horse farm in Kentucky named Bellreve, where he raises the winning horses.The actor is excited about the construction of centers using riding as therapy across Israel. One such center is located at Kibbutz Grofit. It offers psychological evaluations and therapy designed to meet the needs of physically, emotionally, and mentally handicapped children. The center, staffed by medical professionals and using horses, runs the length of the school year, September through July.Shatner said he hopes to create cooperation on the project between Israelis and Arabs from both the PA-controlled areas and the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan. "What better way to create dialogue than by helping handicapped children from different countries feel good about themselves?" Shatner said of the project.

Police and protesters break up Moscow gay parade

Police and protesters break up Moscow gay parade

By Oliver Bullough Sat May 27, 1:55 PM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police, militant Orthodox Christians and neo-fascists broke up a first ever gay rights march in Moscow on Saturday, but the homosexuals said their short-lived protest as a "great victory."

Activists led by 28-year-old Nikolai Alexeyev had planned to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier -- a symbol of the World War Two struggle against fascism, and one of Russia's most sacred places.

But police closed the gates to the park where the eternal flame burns under the Kremlin walls, and a heavy scrum of women singing hymns and shaven-headed nationalists tried to charge into the gay activists as the march arrived.

"This is a great victory, an absolute victory -- look at what's happening," Alexeyev said as he was dragged, bent almost double, away from the gates by two policemen.

City authorities had banned the march, which they called an "outrage to society," while religious leaders from all major faiths condemned it. Interfax news agency reported police had detained around 100 people after the clashes.

Even some rival gay activists said the march risked inflaming Russia's widespread intolerance of homosexuality, and wished Alexeyev had chosen a less direct way to protest against discrimination and homophobia.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, and although some gay clubs exist in big cities, same-sex couples almost never make a public display of their affections.

A gay German member of parliament who attended the rally, Volker Beck, was punched in the face. Beck, a leader of the Greens party and a prominent gay rights leader, was shown in German TV getting hit in the face.

"I was attacked," Beck told German television. "It was a stone and a fist. It shows we're not safe in this country. The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection."

"MOSCOW IS NOT SODOM"

The marchers, who seemed to number about 40 although an exact count was impossible in the mob, were outnumbered at least twofold by men and women carrying Russian Orthodox icons and chanting "Moscow is not Sodom."

"We must stop them at this first stage, or they'll come and corrupt our children," said Kirill Bolgarin, 24, who had come to protest despite the pouring rain.

His friend Andrei, 25, interrupted, and gestured at the eternal flame.

"We are Russians. We are Orthodox. These soldiers died so we could live like Russians, not so these people could come here and tell us what to do," he said.

Alexeyev had invited gay activists from all across Europe to the march, the culmination of three days of events that were a first Russian attempt to hold a Gay Pride festival like those in Western cities.

"We came here to lay flowers at this anti-fascist memorial, but the mayor is so terrified of us that he took the step of ordering the gates closed," said Peter Tatchell from the British gay rights group OutRage.

"As soon as we arrived we were set upon by fascist gangs and police. Today is a great shame for Russia because a peaceful protest has been suppressed."

Later, when police had formed a line between the two sides, a group of skinheads -- young Russian nationalists who have grown in number in recent years and have been behind a series of attacks on foreign students -- rushed toward the gay activists.

Their faces masked, they threw flares as they ran, but OMON riot police stopped them and dragged them to waiting buses.

Passers-by on the pavement outside parliament, which is on one of the capital's main streets, looked on in disbelief.

"I think it is a sexual abnormality, but if these gays want to do it, they should," said Robert Antonov, 35. "Why shouldn't they do what they like? They are people too."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

White House wants NSA suits dismissed

White House wants NSA suits dismissedCiting 'state secrets' ask fed judges to dismiss 2 lawsuits; AT&T leaks sensitive data.

Did you buy Bush's performance last night?


Did you buy Bush's performance last night?
Did you buy Bush's performance last night? Richard Wolffe from Newsweek, joined Keith Olbermann and says that Bush's more realistic tone and mannerisms seemed rehearsed.
Video-WMP Video-QT
Wolffe: ..And for me the big giveaway was at the end of that answer, I don't know if you can see it on camera, but the President flashed a big grin to those of us sitting in the front rows. It didn't seem that he was quite as contrite as his performance.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Chimp Virus Is Linked to H.I.V.

Chimp Virus Is Linked to H.I.V.

By studying chimpanzee droppings in remote African jungles, scientists reported yesterday, they have found direct evidence of a missing link between a chimpanzee virus and the one that causes human AIDS.

RelatedChimpanzee Reservoirs of Pandemic and Nonpandemic HIV-1 (Sciencemag.org)
Scientists have long suspected that chimpanzees are the source of the human AIDS pandemic because at least one subspecies carries a simian immune deficiency virus closely related to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

But because the simian virus, known as S.I.V.cpz, was identified in chimpanzees in captivity, researchers could not be sure that the same simian virus existed among these apes in the wild.
It does, the team of American, European and Cameroonian scientists reported in the journal Science. They found it by testing hundreds of chimpanzee droppings collected in Cameroon.
The genetic and immunologic tests were developed in stages over the past seven years to help trace the evolution of H.I.V. and solve the mysterious origins of AIDS, said Dr. Beatrice H. Hahn, a virologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Dr. Hahn led the international team that conducted the study, which combined genetics and epidemiology.

The new findings, she said in a telephone interview, do not explain the entire chain of events that led from the first human H.I.V. infection to the infection of 65 million people around the world.

But, Dr. Hahn reported, her team's findings show "for the first time a clear picture of the origin of H.I.V.-1 and the seeds of the AIDS pandemic." H.I.V.-1 is the virus that causes the vast majority of AIDS cases in the world. The first cases of AIDS were detected in the United States in 1981.

Studies estimate that the human AIDS virus jumped species 50 to 75 years ago. But no one knows who the first infected person was or how that person acquired H.I.V.
The earliest H.I.V. infection was documented in 1959 in an unidentified man in Kinshasa, in what was then the Belgian Congo and is now Congo. The man participated anonymously in a genetic study conducted by Dr. Arno Motulsky of the University of Washington in Seattle.
Dr. Hahn said her team theorized that H.I.V. was first transmitted locally somewhere in west-central Africa. Because the subspecies of chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes troglodytes, in which the simian virus had been found in captivity, lives in the wild in Cameroon, Gabon and the Congo Republic, the first infection could have been in any of those areas.

If the transmission occurred in southern Cameroon, where the new chimpanzee studies were conducted, an infected person or persons could have carried the virus traveling by river to Kinshasa. From there, it spread farther and eventually around the world, according to Dr. Hahn's hypothesis.

Wild chimps are reclusive, live in remote jungle areas and form geographically distinct communities. "You can hear them, but not see them," Dr. Hahn said.

So, with the permission of the government of Cameroon, Dr. Hahn's team asked hunters, members of expeditions and workers sent by local health officials to collect fecal samples from the forest floor, particularly near the base of fruit trees.

Dr. Hahn sent hundreds of test tubes containing a preservative. As the trekkers collected samples they put them immediately into the test tubes and then into their backpacks. They collected 599 fecal samples in 10 forest sites in the southern part of Cameroon.

The preservative allowed the specimens to be kept for weeks, until they ended up in Dr. Hahn's laboratory. There she tested for antibodies that detect S.I.V.cpz. She found evidence of infection with that virus in 5 of the 10 field sites.

Different DNA tests identified each individual chimp and its sex. Other tests found evidence of the simian virus.

The team found that there was widespread but uneven infection with that virus. The prevalence was up to 35 percent in three communities; 4 and 5 percent in two communities; and none in five communities.

The communities with a high prevalence of infected chimpanzees were located south of the Sangha River, which flows into the Congo River and on to Kinshasa. That led Dr. Hahn's team to the theory that some infected person carried H.I.V. from a remote area to Kinshasa, where it was then passed on.

It is not known whether chimpanzees infected with S.I.V.cpz become ill, Dr. Hahn said. She said more collections were needed in other vast areas of Africa to provide a clearer picture of the evolution of AIDS and to determine if there were other viruses that could cause epidemics like AIDS.

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Steal Elections, Get Paid by the Hour · DIEBOLD KNEW IN 2004, DID NOTHING · Ann Coulter Felony Update, Docs · NEW DIEBOLD SECURITY HOLE DISCOVERED! · AZ SoS Hides Diebold Probs, Is Sued by Voters · Brad's Lunch with Feingold · Neil Young's 'Living With War' · E-VOTING '06: Trainwreck in Progress · E-Vote Whistleblower in TX, OH! · Clint Curtis To Run Against Feeney · Coulter Posts BRAD BLOGGER'S Phone# · Bob Ney/Diebold/Abramoff Connection

Rove Sources Confirm Novak Conversations

LATEST: Rove sources confirm Novak conversation. Watch video.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Just In

Top Conservative: Bush Is “Facing An Open Rebellion”...

Retired General Wesley Clark Calls For Iraq Troop Withdrawal...

Treasury Secy. Likely To Step Down This Summer...

Pentagon-WHO-CDC H5N1Bird Flu Scam: Deadly Hoax

Pentagon-WHO-CDC H5N1Bird Flu Scam: Deadly Hoax

by HENRY SEE (SIGNS OF THE TIMES)

The bird flu scare will put the entire media spectacle in a different light. It is, in many ways, a microcosm of the lies and manipulations, ranging from mundane drives such as greed to the deepest of plans by the powers that be to eliminate large portions of the world's people.Let's start with the mundane element of greed.GREED BY RUMSFELDWhere there's corruption in the US, you'll find high ranking members of the Bush Reich. Dick Cheney's close association with Halliburton, the US corporation now making billions off the the US imposed, organised, and sanctioned suffering of the Iraqi people, is well known. Did you know that Donald Rumsfeld is closely associated with the California biotech firm that originally developed Tamiflu? You remember Tamiflu. It is the one drug that is being promoted as the cure-all for avian flu.Coincidence? We think not.In William Engdahl's article published in full today in our Bird Flu section, he writes:Tamiflu was developed and patented in 1996 by a California biotech firm, Gilead Sciences Inc.
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The Memorial Day Dividend For Big Oil

The Memorial Day Dividend For Big Oil

Oil companies contributed $2.6 milion to President George Bush's reelection campaign and this Memorial Day the dividend will be billions in added profits with the blessing of Bush's Federal Trade Commission.

This week's FTC report clearing oil companies of illegally manipulating the market in the wake of Katrina is so Orwellian that even Republicans in the Senate and House are rebelling with price gouging legislation.

The FTC found 15 instances of price gouging under a common definition, but said the laws of supply and demand in the unusual post Katrina world made the outrageous prices okay. Under the same logic the FTC would say there is no mob rule in Sudan simply because there is no law against mob rule.

What's really going on with gasoline pricing? Check out a new report by FTCR which finds oil companies artificially driving down supplies each Memorial Day, when there is peak demand, to pump up gasoline prices.

Every summer drive season, the oil companies short the market to jack up prices and profits. The bipartisan backlash this year could fuel some interesting reforms -- like modernization of anti-trust laws and price gouging laws being considered by the US Senate. Or passage of a pending California ballot measure this November that would create a massive state alternative fuel development fund.

Whatever new laws might pass, the FTC should not have any enforcement authority. Its recent report shows the FTC stands for Forget the Consumer.

Oil is Not Scarce -- The Oil Industry Continues to Play Us For Fools



Oil industry executives have launched an especially vigorous public-relations campaign trying to polish up the image of an industry that Sen. John McCain recently likened to approaching that of a "satanic cult." The usual rationalizations are being trotted out: "We're still recovering from Katrina," "A new hurricane season is upon us," "Iran presents a threat," "Nigeria cutoffs are having an impact on supply," "We are prisoners of global events," "Prices merely reflect the market," "Capacity is strained," and on.

Most ominously, in sotto voce, as though delivering bad news to a concerned family member, the industry argues that the world is running out of oil and that shortages are imminent. Industry spokesmen also imply, without saying so directly, that mile long lines could form at your filling station any day now. That, they try to make us understand, is why the market is so jittery, with oil prices jumping every time a pipeline leaks. The only trouble is that it isn't true. Oil, and permit me to underline this, is not scarce!

That is one of the most important facts in our world, and hardly anyone you meet will believe it. Most people have been bamboozled by the oil industry led by its flacks, by compliant analysts (read Daniel Yergin et al), by peak oil spinmeisters, a snoozing press, and the heavy artillery brought to bear by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which works overtime and spends big to make us believe in the myth of scarcity. That keeps prices high and oilmen rich, while the rest of us pay and pay and pay.

Even by the industry's own figures, which are surely understated given the restrictive Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting constraints. Proved reserves of oil around the world were pegged at 1.2 trillion barrels as of 2004, a humongous supply. And that figure doesn't include even vaster deposits of oil that will come on the market as technology makes it cheaper to extract. But before we go there, consider the following: In 1970, OPEC purportedly had 412 billion barrels of reserves. In the subsequent thirty years they claim to have pumped 307 billion barrels. They now claim to have some 820 billion barrels in reserves. In a world where pumping billions out of the ground seems to increase the billions still remaining, we are left to wonder where the real truth lies. To point to another anomaly, commercial stocks of crude oil are some 10 percent higher today than they were a year ago, yet the price of crude is some 40 percent higher than it was then.

And there are other sources that must be counted:

• Canada's tar sands are immense. The conservative estimate of oil saturating the province of Alberta is 175 billion barrels. Producers have been working for years to lower the cost of strip-mining the deposits, grinding it up, separating the tar-like bitumen from the sand, and refining it into synthetic crude oil. These days, all that can be done for about $20 a barrel -- providing nifty profits at today's market price, which hovers around $70/bbl. And sure enough, Chevron Corporation has just announced it will spend well over $1 billion for a vast new project to produce more than 100,000 barrels a day from the oil sands.

• Offshore drilling can now be done in waters as deep as two miles, with the oil deposits five to six miles below the ocean floor. Thanks to innovative drills, new information technology, and sophisticated undersea robots, oilmen now have access to an estimated 300 billion barrels of previously untappable oil.

• Sensor technology, seismic surveying and specialized software promise to open up another 150 billion barrels of reserves. The Pod, a supercomputer-powered exploration system designed by a software subsidiary of Halliburton Corporation, creates astonishingly detailed 3-D seismic models that are viewed on an IMAC-style 45-foot screen and take most of the guesswork out of drilling for oil.

• Old oilfields still hold hundreds of billions of barrels that were thought to be unrecoverable in the early days. Wells that have been abandoned as depleted may contain as much as 70 percent of the oil originally there. Advanced recovery techniques range from the obvious -- pumping in water or carbon dioxide to increase pressure in the well -- to the exotic: These days, wells can be filled with bioengineered microbes that release oil stuck in microscopic cavities.

• But the big new source will be oil shale, vast quantities of sedimentary rock in the western United States that contain an awesome 2.6 trillion barrels of oil. In the past, efforts to get it out have foundered on technological problems. Now, new methods are being developed: Drilling holes into the shale, heating the rock to 700 degrees to cook out the oil, and pumping it to the surface. In reasonably short order it can be expected that high-quality crude can be extracted from shale for circa $30 a barrel.

In all, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey estimate that these new sources could add as much as 4 trillion barrels to proved reserves -- giving us a more than ample cushion to develop alternative fuels and technologies at today's rate of consumption.

What is scarce is honesty, transparency -- OPEC countries won't tell us the extent of their reserves other than leave us with the orchestrated impression that things are worse today then they were yesterday, nor will Russia tell us about their reserves as such information is a State secret -- and the urgent need of an invigorated and vigilante press weaned off regurgitating oil patch press handouts.

Please understand this is not an argument for greater consumption. Everything needs be done to wean us from our addiction to fossil fuels no matter what the level of supply. What we also need is to understand that we have to end this con game that has enriched the pusher beyond his wildest dreams, and to the point that we are now expected to say thank you every time we get a fix. It is time to call his bluff and to do all we can to push down the price of crude oil and to make ourselves energy self reliant. We must stop enriching those in league with the con artists and pushers, meaning the oil patch in general. We must stop complying with one of the greatest rip-offs in history. We must wake up and respond to the actual facts, not the ones the oil patch, their paid lobbyists on "K" street, and an overly compliant government want us to believe. Sad to say, in this scenario, market forces have been corrupted, wherein, as example, we are transferring over $70 a barrel to oil producers for a commodity that costs them less than $1.50/bbl to produce (as in the majority of OPEC production costs). This issue is too important to our future to continue accepting the pushers rap as gospel.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cheney may be called in CIA leak case

Cheney may be called in CIA leak case

Immigration bill awaits Senate approval

Iraq PM: Forces capable of securing nation

Bush backs VA chief after data breach

House leaders demand FBI return papers

Bloomberg Says Plan to Deport Millions Is 'Ridiculous'

Bloomberg Says Plan to Deport Millions Is 'Ridiculous'

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in his most scathing attack to date on legislation working its way through Congress, declared a House proposal to deport 11 million illegal immigrants "pure fantasy" and called parts of a Senate plan "no less ridiculous."

"You have to wonder what world Congress is living in," the New York City mayor said in an interview on CNN. "Talk to any mayor who has to enforce the law and you'll find that none of these things are remotely possible."

Mr. Bloomberg was elaborating on proposals he made in an Op-Ed article published in The Wall Street Journal today, in which he called for the creation of an employment identity card using fingerprints or DNA information, and for an increase in the number of visas issued to both skilled and manual workers.

This afternoon in an interview on Fox News he said that the question of whether this would represent "amnesty" was beside the point.. "I'm a mayor, I have to deal with the real world," Mr. Bloomberg said. "I'm a businessman, I have to deal with the real world. I don't have the luxury of talking about the ideological wordsmithing of how you call it. The truth of the matter is we have people, they are here because we have wink-winked and let them come in. They are part of our economy. We need them. We need more."

The mayor had made similar comments before, both during his re-election campaign last year and interviews earlier this spring. But the article and television appearances today represented his most visible and detailed attempt to influence legislation as the Senate moves toward final passage of a bill — or to distance himself from the work of his Republican colleagues in Washington.

Mr. Bloomberg did ally himself with one portion of the Senate bill, which would allow illegal aliens who have been in the country for more than five years to earn legal status through a lengthy process. But the mayor, who had previously sidestepped the question of what to do about current illegal aliens, went far beyond the Senate plan, saying that the only "practical" solution was make that offer available to all of "those already here."
Mr. Bloomberg said the bills in both houses of Congress would repeat the mistakes made the last time immigration laws were overhauled, in 1986.

"Here we are with 10 times the problem, and we're going to do exactly the same thing," he said on CNN.

Mr. Bloomberg said that the American economy would be "devastated" by the deportation of large numbers of illegal immigrants.

In the article, speaking of New York and its estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants, he wrote: "Although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders or overstaying their visas, our economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported. The same holds true for the nation."

Mr. Bloomberg said that the current situation was the result of two decades in which the federal government was "pressured to look the other way while workers were exploited."
"As a business owner, I know the absurdity of our existing immigration regulations all too well," he wrote. He said that the "crucial step" in reducing illegal immigration was holding businesses accountable for hiring legal workers only, while creating an identity card and database system that would make that possible.

In the CNN interview, he acknowledged that any such plan would raise "Big Brother" fears, but said that without cards based on fingerprints or DNA information the only result of any new law would be a flood of new faked documents. "With today's computers you can replicate anything," he said.

While the mayor said that he supported plans to toughen border security, he said that without reducing incentives for illegal immigration and issuing more visas, "border guards will remain overwhelmed by the flood of people attempting to enter illegally."

Mr. Bloomberg said that workers from overseas were needed both to keep the economy growing and to replace members of the baby boom generation as they begin to retire. He said "recent studies give the lie to old arguments that immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans and significantly depress wages."

But the mayor was most critical when discussing the bills under discussion. Last December, the House passed a bill calling for the deportation of all illegal immigrants and making illegal entry into the country a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

The Senate has been voting this week on a bill that would take a layered approach. It would require that all illegal immigrants who have been in the country for two years or less be deported, and that those who have been here for three to five years return to the border to apply to participate in a guest worker program. Those who had been in the United States longer would be eligible for an 11-year process that could lead to citizenship after the paying of fines.
President Bush has indicated support for the Senate plan, while Republicans in the House are firmly opposed to anything that could be considered an amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Mr. Bloomberg, a Republican mayor of an overwhelmingly Democratic city, said the House plan for mass deportations would be "physically impossible to carry out, though if it were attempted, it would devastate both families and our economy."

"The Senate's tiered approach requiring that some people 'report to deport' through guest worker programs — while leaving their spouses, children and mortgages behind — is no less ridiculous," he wrote. "If this approach becomes law, there can be little doubt that the black market for false documentation would remain strong and real enforcement impossible."
Carla Baranauckas contributed reporting for this article.

Olmert says Israel will draw own borders

Olmert says Israel will draw own borders
By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer 6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday that Israel would be a "willing partner in peace" with the Palestinians, but would draw its own borders in the West Bank should it conclude it has no negotiating partner.

"We cannot wait for the Palestinians forever," Olmert told members of the House and Senate gathered in the House chamber.

"Our deepest wish is to build a better future for our region, hand in hand with a Palestinian partner, but if not, we will move forward, but not alone," he said, alluding to promised U.S. support.

Olmert drew a sustained standing ovation when he declared, "We will not yield to terror," a reference to suicide attacks on Israelis such as those that killed a 16-year-old American high school student observing the Passover holiday in Israel this year. Daniel Wultz's parents sat in the House chamber, sobbing, as Olmert mentioned their son.

Olmert said the West Bank withdrawal is vital to Israel's security and the cause of peace and cannot go forward without U.S. support.

In a policy shift on Tuesday, the White House gave unexpected backing to Israel's plan to unilaterally set its borders with the Palestinians should their new Hamas leaders refuse to disarm and renounce their call for Israel's destruction.

The president praised what he called Olmert's "bold ideas" for acting on its own in the event that talks founder on the internationally backed "road map" peace plan.

From the U.S. Capitol podium on Wednesday, Olmert called on the moderate Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to seek a negotiated solution — the preferred route for both Olmert and Bush.

"With a genuine Palestinian partner for peace, I believe we can reach an agreement on all the issues that divide us," the Israeli leader said.

If the Palestinians "ignore our outstretched hand for peace," Olmert said, "Israel will seek other alternatives to promote our future and the prospects of hope in the Middle East."

Hamas' victory in January Palestinian parliamentary elections damped peace prospects because of the group's violently anti-Israel ideology. The Bush administration considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and has acknowledged the obstacles Israel is liable to face in trying to make peace with Abbas, who was elected separately last year.

After the two men met on Tuesday, Bush said Olmert's ideas "could lead to a two-state solution if a pathway to progress on the road map is not opened in the period ahead."

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, an Abbas ally, welcomed Bush's call for negotiations. But he rejected the notion of an imposed solution.
"
President Bush said the first option is negotiation," Erekat told The Associated Press. "There is no other option."

Olmert, making his first visit to the U.S. since winning election in March, told Congress that Israel has learned it must give up some of its dreams in the interest of a secure future for a Jewish democratic state.

"We hope and pray that our Palestinian neighbors will also awaken," he said.
In Jerusalem, a senior Cabinet member close to Olmert said if Hamas does not recognize Israel and renounce violence within six months Israel will move ahead with plans to unilaterally draw its final borders by 2010.

"If these things don't happen, we won't wait for years, but rather we will wait until the end of this year," Haim Ramon told Israel Radio. "This will be a year of diplomacy."

"First negotiations, and after the negotiations, if it doesn't succeed and it becomes clear that there is no (Palestinian) partner, we will move ahead with the consolidation plan," Ramon said.
Olmert has given Abbas a tall order for proving Palestinian commitment to negotiating a final deal.

After six hours of meetings and dinner with Bush that Abbas would have to disarm Palestinian militant groups; the Palestinian government would have to recognize Israel; and previous agreements would have to be fully put in place.

Fighting has intensifying between Abbas loyalists and Hamas gunmen, and Hamas has refused to moderate its stance on Israel, raising questions about the Palestinian president's ability to deliver.

Abbas refused to disarm Palestinian factions even before Hamas swept to power in January parliamentary elections, fearing that would provoke civil war. Hamas has rejected international demands that it lay down its guns, recognize Israel and honor previous peace agreements.
Olmert told reporters he would meet with Abbas, but did not say when.

In his appearance with Bush, Olmert reaffirmed his ideas for Israel's final borders: The major Jewish settlement blocs on the West Bank where most of the 250,000 settlers live would become part of Israel, with most other settlements dismantled.
___
AP Diplomatic Correspondent Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Alleged Bin Laden Tape: Moussaoui Had No Link to 9/11

Audiotape Reportedly from al Qaeda Leader Surfaces on the Internet

May 23, 2006 — - In a new audiotape allegedly made by Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader said Zacarias Moussaoui had no connection to the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The statement surfaced on a Web site today. Below is a translation of the statement that accompanied the audiotape on the Internet site.

In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful. All praise is due Allah, lord of the worlds, and prayers and peace upon the prophets and messengers.

As for what follows:

From Usama bin Muhammad bin Ladin to the American people: Peace be upon he who has followed the guidance.

This is a brief message whose topic is my testimony on behalf of the Muslim prisoners you are holding, and in it I will talk about the truth concerning them, which is something that the Bush administration hates and is hostile to.

I begin by talking about the honorable brother Zacarias Moussaoui.

The truth is that he has no connection whatsoever with the events of Sept. 11, and I am certain of what I say, because I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers -- Allah have mercy upon them -- with those raids, and I did not assign brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission. And his confession that he was assigned to participate in those raids is a false confession that no intelligent person doubts is a result of the pressure put upon him for the past four and a half years.

And were this pressure lifted from him for him to return to his normal state, he would state the fact I mentioned. And among the things that confirm this fact is that the participants in Sept. 11 were two groups: pilots and support teams for each pilot in order to control the aircraft. And since Zacarias Moussaoui was learning how to fly, it follows that he wasn't component No. 20 from the teams that helped to control the airplanes, as your government previously claimed, and your government knows this fact with certainty.

And if Moussaoui was studying aviation to become a pilot of one of the planes, then let him tell us the names of those assigned to help him control the plane. But he won't be able to tell us their names, for a simple reason: that in fact they don't exist. This is from one perspective, and from another perspective, the brother Moussaoui was arrested two weeks before the events, and had he known anything -- however little -- about the September 11 group, we would have told the brother Commander Mohammed Atta and his brothers -- Allah have mercy upon them -- to leave America immediately before their affair was exposed. And with this it becomes clear to even the novice investigator -- not to mention the seasoned one -- that there is no connection between him and the events of September 11.

And then I call to memory my brothers, the prisoners in Guantanamo -- may Allah free them all -- and I state the fact, about which I also am certain, that all the prisoners of Guantanamo, who were captured in 2001 and the first half of 2002 and who number in the hundreds, have no connection whatsoever to the events of Sept. 11, and even stranger is that many of them have no connection with al Qaeda in the first place, and even more amazing is that some of them oppose al Qaeda's methodology of calling for war with America. And this is in addition to the arrest of those who were working in the relief agencies, like Abu Abdul Aziz al-Mutrafi, or those working in the media, like Sami al-Hajj and Taysir Alouni, who was imprisoned at the instigation of the American administration.

So the conclusion is that all the prisoners to date have no connection with the events of September 11 and knew nothing about them, with the exception of two of the brothers, may Allah free them all. Bush and his administration are aware of this fact, but they avoid mentioning it, for reasons not hidden to the discerning. Among these reasons is that it is necessary to create justifications for the massive spending of hundreds of billions on the Defense Department and other agencies in their war against the mujahedeen. My mentioning of these facts isn't out of hope that Bush and his party will treat our brothers fairly in their cases, because that is something no rational person expects but rather it is meant to expose the oppression, injustice and arbitrariness of your administration in using force and the reactions that result from that. This is from one perspective, and from another perspective, perhaps there will one day come from the Americans someone who desires justice and fairness, and that is the path to security and safety, if you are interested in it.

This is what needed to be said. And may peace be upon he who has followed the guidance.

Poll: 42% of Americans believe some 9/11 coverup...

Less than half of Americans satisfied with 9/11 investigations

According to a new Zogby poll, less than half of Americans are convinced that that the events of September 11 have been thoroughly investigated, RAW STORY has learned.

In the telephone survey of 1200 individuals, just 47% agreed that "the 9/11 attacks were thoroughly investigated and that any speculation about US government involvement is nonsense." Almost as many, 45%, indicated they were more likely to agree "that so many unanswered questions about 9/11 remain that Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success."

The poll is the first survey that has attempted to gauge the level of Americans' doubts about 9/11 and was carried out for the "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future" conference to be held in Chicago in June.

Not surprisingly, Republicans as a group were the most supportive of existing investigations, with 70% expressing their satisfaction -- about the same percentage that has expressed approval of Bush's performance in recent polls. Sixty-four percent of those earning over $75,000 were also skeptical of doubts about 9/11. The groups most likely to want the attacks re-investigated were Hispanics at 67% and African-Americans at 64%.

Other groups also skewed one way or another, but with the majority position generally not above 58%. Overall, the breakdown on the question closely followed the usual political divisions in the country: Republicans vs. Democrats and independents, whites vs. minorities, the wealthier and better-educated vs. the poorer and less educated, people over fifty vs. those under fifty, men vs. women.

This rough balance in opinions is itself a striking finding. It suggests that doubts about the officials accounts of 9/11, far from representing an extreme fringe position, have become a standard component of anti-establishment attitudes.

When asked specificially if they thought there had been a government coverup of evidence that contradicts the official story, the results were again not far from an even split, with 48% rejecting the idea of a deliberate coverup and 42% supporting it. Belief in a coverup was the majority position among Democrats, 18-29 year olds, and a few other groups.

In an attempt to focus more specifically on the attitudes of those who were best informed about the events of 9/11, the poll asked its responders if they were aware of WTC Building 7, whose collapse on September 11 for no obvious reason was not investigated by the 9/11 Commission. Only 52% answered that they were aware of the collapse of Building 7, but out of that subgroup, 73% believed it should have been investigated.

On a related topic, those polled were asked if they felt the Bush Administration had exploited the September 11th attacks to justify the invasion of Iraq or if Bush had been right to go into Iraq because Saddam Hussein supported terrorism. Here the country was divided exactly, 44% to 44%, with the answers following party lines more closely than those to the 9/11 questions. Among Republicans, 72% felt the invasion was appropriate, while among Democrats 69% felt it was not.

A final question asked about the media's performance regarding 9/11, including coverage of victims' families, unanswered questions, theories that challenged the official account, and how the attacks were investigated. A majority of 55% rated the media as only fair or poor, while only 33% rated it as good.

Surprisingly, the groups most likely to rate the media positively tended to be those that were also most skeptical about official accounts of 9/11, including African-Americans, progressives, and those with lower incomes. The media were rated poorly by roughly 60% of Republicans, conservatives, and the more affluent and better educated. Libertarians and extreme conservatives, at 74% and 67% respectively, were the most negative of all.
FULL POLL HERE

FCC REFUSES TO INVESTIGATE NSA SPYING

FCC REFUSES TO INVESTIGATE NSA SPYING

The Federal Communications Commission has told a Democratic congressman that they cannot investigate the National Security Agency's domestic data mining program because it is classified, RAW STORY has learned.

In a letter to Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey (posted here), FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the program could not be scrutinized because it was classified.

"In this case, however, the classified nature of the NSA's activities makes us unable to investigate the alleged violations discussed in your letter at this time," writes Martin. "The representations of [Director of National Intelligence John] Negroponte and [National Security Agency Director] General Alexander make clear that it would not be possible for us to investigate the activities described in your letter without examining highly sensitive classified information."

"The Commission has no power to order the production of classified information."
In his response, Markey, above right, chastised the FCC for "refus[ing] to demand answers."
"We can't have a situation where the FCC, charged with enforcing the law, won't even begin an investigation of apparent violations of the law because it predicts the Administration will roadblock any investigations citing national security," Markey remarked. "If the FCC initiates an investigation and gets blocked by the White House, then the White House is stonewalling. But if the FCC refuses to even demand answers, then the White House never has to block the enforcement agency from getting to the bottom of this. The American people deserve answers."

CHECK OUT THE FCC LETTER HERE (PDF).

US Military No Longer Planning For “Victory” In Iraq...

Washington’s New Watchword: Containment
As Iraq’s weak new government takes shape, the Bush administration’s best hope is for a non-bloodbath.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Zogby Poll Finds Over 70 Million Voting Age Americans Support New 9/11 Investigation

NEW ZOGBY POLL REVEALS OVER 70 MILLION VOTING AGE AMERICANS DISTRUST OFFICIAL 9/11 STORY AND SUPPORT NEW INVESTIGATION OF POSSIBLE US GOVERNMENT ROLE IN THE ATTACKS.*

- 911Truth.org urges 2006 reform candidates to recognize a powerful new constituency.
(Utica, NY) - Although the Bush administration continues to exploit September 11 to justify domestic spying, unprecedented spending and a permanent state of war, a new Zogby poll reveals that less than half of the American public trusts the official 9/11 story or believes the attacks were adequately investigated.

The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans' belief in a 9/11 cover up or the need to investigate possible US government complicity, and was commissioned to inform deliberations at the June 2-4 "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future" conference in Chicago. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been a cover up (with 10% unsure) and 45% think "Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success" (with 8% unsure). The poll of American residents was conducted from Friday, May 12 through Tuesday, May 16, 2006. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 2.9. All inquiries about questions, responses and demographics should be directed to Zogby International.

According to Janice Matthews, executive director of 911truth.org, "To those who have followed the mounting evidence for US government involvement in 9/11, these results are both heartening and frankly quite amazing, given the mainstream media's ongoing refusal to cover the most critical questions of that day. Our August 2004 Zogby poll of New Yorkers showed nearly half believe certain US officials 'consciously' allowed the attacks to happen and 66% want a fresh investigation, but these were people closest to the tragedy and most familiar with facts refuting the official account. This revelation that so many millions nationwide now also recognize a 9/11 cover up and the need for a new inquiry should be a wake up call for all 2006 political candidates hoping to turn this country around. We think it also indicates Americans are awakening to the larger pattern of deceit that led us into Constitutional twilight and endless war, and that our independent media may have finally come of age."

Poll co-author, W. David Kubiak concurs, saying: "Despite years of relentless media promotion, whitewash and 9/11 Commission propaganda, the official 9/11 story still can't even muster 50% popular support. Since this myth has been the administration's primary source of political and war-making power, this level of distrust has revolutionary implications for everyone working for peace, justice and civil liberties. If we ever hope to reclaim this country, end aggression and restore international respect, we all must finally scrutinize that day when things started to go so terribly wrong. The media and movement leaders ignore this call at their peril, because tens of millions are clearly telling us here they are ready for 9/11 truth."

SCOPE: The poll covered five related areas: 1) Iraq - do Americans think the Bush administration exploited 9/11 to attack Iraq? (44% do, 44% don't); 2) Cover up - did the government and its 9/11 Commission conceal or refuse to investigate evidence that contradicts their official story? (only 48% said no); 3) The collapse of WTC 7, which was not even mentioned by the 9/11 Commission and has seldom been reported in the media---were respondents aware of this collapse and, if so, did they think it should be investigated (only 52% knew about it, but over 70% of this group believe it should have been investigated); 4) new investigation of official complicity - do respondents think we need one? (only 48% said no); and 5) mass media - how do people rate its performance, including its coverage of alternative 9/11 theories, unanswered questions and inquiry issues? (43% rate it positively, 55% negatively).

(The poll sponsors see knowledge of the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 as a bellwether issue, because if people do not know this elementary fact, they have probably not been exposed to any independent 9/11 research at all. Since only 52% of respondents had ever heard of this collapse and 45% support a reinvestigation, it may be reasonably inferred that a public fully informed of all the unreported 9/11 facts might support a new investigation by a margin of 80% or more.)

SPONSOR: 911truth.org is a coalition of researchers, journalists and victim family members working to expose and answer the hundreds of still unresolved questions concerning 9/11, especially the nearly 400 questions that the Family Steering Committee filed with the 9/11 Commission. Initially welcomed by the commissioners as their "road map," these queries cut to the heart of 9/11 crimes and accountability, specifically raising the central issues of motive, means and cui bono (who profited?). The Commission ultimately ignored 80% of these issues, however, opting only to explore system failures, miscommunications and incompetence. The victim families' most incisive questions remain unaddressed to this day.
For more information on the Chicago "9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming our Future" conference and other developments, see www.911truth.org and http://911revealingthetruth.org or contact our media coordinator, Michael Berger, at 314-308-4893 or press@911truth.org.

*Numerical computations conservatively based on 2000 Census data citing 174 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. NOTE: Given US Census Bureau data projecting 184 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2005, the actual number of Americans who distrust the official 9/11 story is, then, over 80 million.

Download Final Report from Zogby:
911TruthZogbyFinalReport.doc -or-
911TruthZogbyFinalReport.htm
Complete Breakdown of Results:
Frequency DistributionDistribution by Category

Release of New Pentagon Video Clears Up Nothing, Unfortunately

Release of New Pentagon Video Clears Up Nothing, Unfortunately

May 16, 2006
911Truth.org Steering Committee

911Truth.org is disappointed that the Pentagon has released another video which does not clearly show a Boeing hitting the Pentagon. Despite the hyping of this release as offering 'definitive proof', we are surprised that this inconclusive video remained hidden to the American people for nearly five years.

Recall that http://www.flight77.info/ documents two years of FOIA requests for “85 videotapes in the possession of the FBI” that pertain to the Pentagon strike. The site's proprietor, like the steering committee of 9/11truth.org, is hopeful that a release of this footage will show definitively that a plane hit the Pentagon so that distracting speculation about the Pentagon attack can cease. But today's video does nothing of the sort.

If the Pentagon and the Bush administration truly sought to offer clear evidence for the official story of the Pentagon strike, why would they choose to release images that resemble the previously released stills rather than the footage from the Sheraton, the Citgo gas station, or the Virginia D.O.T that presumably would show the events more clearly?We will continue to relentlessly pursue a full investigation of the events surrounding 9/11 and seek justice for the victims, as clearly defined in our mission statement.The 9/11 families were told by the 9/11 Commission that the Family Steering Committee's questions would be used as a roadmap for the Commission, and that their questions would be answered in the final report. Yet upon publication of the final report, it became clear that more than half of those questions had never been asked, let alone answered.

Furthermore, 9/11 widow Lori van Auken testified before hearings held by Rep. Cynthia McKinney in July of 2005 that the final report actually raised more questions than it had answered.Some (like Fox News) who deride us for demanding a thorough, unbiased investigation attempt by doing so to shift the focus away from the valid concerns the family members and the 9/11 truth movement have sought answers to for more than four years. Others offer derision from ignorance. In both cases no useful purpose is served.We hope the release of this video serves to refocus Americans’ attention on these unanswered questions. We also hope that the corporate media will cease equating all 9/11 skepticism with the claim that a plane did not hit the Pentagon. The credible challenges to the official story are multi-faceted and well-researched. All it takes is an effort to discover and report on them.

In this spirit, we call for journalists of integrity to turn their attention to the dozens of remaining unanswered questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks, many of which unfortunately support the view that elements within the government had foreknowledge ofand may have been complicit in the attacks.

Journalists: For a comprehensive resource on the many paths into 9/11 research and activism, please visit http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20050204132153814.

For a thorough analysis of the official version of the Pentagon attack, as well as a critical analysis of a few of the ungrounded theories being propounded by some, please see: http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040810075752147

For a research archive of important essays and articles pertaining to 9/11 truth, please visit: http://911readingroom.org/bib/

Finally, for the most complete timeline of events associated with the 9/11 attacks, please visit: http://cooperativeresearch.org/project.jsp?project=911_project

Rep. Murtha On Iraq: “It's Worse Than It Was Prewar”...

Rep. Murtha On Iraq: “It's Worse Than It Was Prewar”...

MSNBC says Cheney could be called in CIA leak case.


MSNBC says Cheney could be called in CIA leak case. Watch the video.

BUSH, BLAIR PLAN IRAQ WITHDRAWAL

BUSH, BLAIR PLAN IRAQ WITHDRAWAL

Albright Faults Bush's Religious 'Certitude'

Albright Faults Bush's Religious 'Certitude'
By Gideon Long

Reuters
LONDON (May 22) - President Bush has alienated Muslims around the world by using absolutist Christian rhetoric to discuss foreign policy issues, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says.

"I worked for two presidents who were men of faith, and they did not make their religious views part of American policy," she said, referring to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both Democrats and Christians.

"President Bush's certitude about what he believes in, and the division between good and evil, is, I think, different," said Albright, who has just published a book on religion and world affairs. "The absolute truth is what makes Bush so worrying to some of us."

Bush, a Republican, has openly acknowledged his Christian faith informs his decisions as president. He says, for example, that he prayed to God for guidance before invading Iraq.
Some Muslims have accused him of waging a crusade against Islam, comparable with those of the Middle Ages. The White House says it has nothing against Islam, but against those who commit terrorist atrocities in its name.

But Albright says Bush's religious absolutism has made U.S. foreign policy "more rigid and more difficult for other countries to accept."

In her book, "The Mighty and the Almighty," Albright recalls how Bush, while he was governor of Texas, told Christians he believed God wanted him to be president.
She quotes from his speech to his party convention book. "When he says, 'God is on our side', it's very different from (former U.S. President Abraham) Lincoln saying, 'We have to be on God's side'."

The 69-year-old, who worked for Carter in the late 1970s and was Clinton's secretary of state from 1997-2001, says the war in Iraq "may eventually rank among the worst foreign policy disasters in U.S. history."

She describes it as arguably worse than the Vietnam War -- not in terms of the number of people killed but because the Middle East is a more volatile region than southeast Asia.
She also bemoaned "the growing influence of Iran" in the region and warned sectarian violence between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims could escalate into an all-out "Arab-Persian conflict."
"We should not be contributing to what is a long historical struggle between the Sunni and Shia," she said.

Asked about her own beliefs, Albright said she had "a very confused religious background."
Born and raised a Roman Catholic in Czechoslovakia, Britain and then the United States, she converted to Anglicanism when she married and only later in life discovered she had Jewish roots.

It is this legacy which makes her wary of any religion which claims a monopoly on truth, she said.

These days, she describes herself as "an Episcopalian (U.S. Anglican) with a Catholic background," recalling how she used to pray to the Virgin Mary as a child and still does.
"I know I believe in God but I have doubts, and doubt is part of faith," she said.

Bush On Gore's Global Warming Film: “Doubt It”...

Bush On Gore's Global Warming Film: “Doubt It”...

The Swift Boating of Jimmy Carter

The Swift Boating of Jimmy Carter

Have you seen the new ad on CNN that the "Move America Forward" people have produced? They want to censure Jimmy Carter.
Video-Real Audio Video-WMP
Keith Olbermann outed The Move America Backwards crew as being Republican shills.
Max Blumenthal has a great post on them and the phony "Iraq picture" man hmself, Kaloogian shows up.

"If Kaloogian wants to fight corruption, he should get up, turn the light on, and take a look in his own slimy bed. After all, Move America Forward's "Chief Strategist," Sal Russo, who handled Bill Simon's hapless 2002 gubernatorial campaign, is knee-deep in unethical business dealings and scandals."

"That's right. Move America Forward's Sal Russo ran tax shelters and bilked campaign donors out of $200,000. Oh, and then there's the little thing about Russo and Simon being in bed with a major drug trafficker, something they still can't explain"...read on"

They also put together that Creepy Caravan bus tour to try and fend off Cindy Sheehan down in Texas. MAF also produced phony commercials about WMD's being in Iraq.
MyDD wonders where the FEC is.