Sunday, October 29, 2006

YouTube Takes Down Comedy Central Clips

YouTube Takes Down Comedy Central Clips Based on DMCA Claims

Posted at 15:49 10/27by jeff

I received a couple of emails from YouTube this afternoon (see below) notifying me that a third party (probably attorneys for Comedy Central) had made a DMCA request to take down Colbert Report and Daily Show clips. If you visit YouTube, all Daily Show, Colbert Report and South Park clips now show “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”
For a long time, Comedy Central has passively allowed the sharing of online clips of its shows—because let’s face it, it’s helped them generate the kind of water cooler talk that has made them a ton of money. In this Wired Interview , Jon Stewart and Daily Show Executive Producer even encouraged viewers to watch the show on the Internet:

Karlin: If people want to take the show in various forms, I’d say go. But when you’re a part of something successful and meaningful, the rule book says don’t try to analyze it too much or dissect it. You shouldn’t say: “I really want to know what fans think. I really want to understand how people are digesting our show.” Because that is one of those things that you truly have no control over. The one thing that you have control over is the content of the show. But how people are reacting to it, how it’s being shared, how it’s being discussed, all that other stuff, is absolutely beyond your ability to control.

Stewart: I’m surprised people don’t have cables coming out of their asses, because that’s going to be a new thing. You’re just going to get it directly fed into you. I look at systems like the Internet as a convenience. I look at it as the same as cable or anything else. Everything is geared toward more individualized consumption. Getting it off the Internet is no different than getting it off TV.

But apparently, all good things come to an end when there is money and attorneys involved. I assume the only online clips that will remain will have to qualify under fair use – probably short clips, with social or political importance.
Read more

O'Reilly's Big Lie


O'Reilly's Big Lie on Letterman

Bill O'Reilly at one point in his face off with David Letterman attempted to stump Letterman and prove Iraq had ties to terrorism by sighting Ansar al-Islam. According to O'Reilly, Ansar al-Islam was a terrorist group tied to al-Qaeda who was in Iraq before the war working with Saddam Hussein. Of course, it's a lie.

The Senate Report of Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq has concluded that Ansar al-Islam was considered a threat to the Saddam regime. They were enemies -- not allies.
Here's the quote from the Republican led Senate committee (page 92-93):
According to the DIA[Defense Intelligence Agency], detainee information and captured document exploitation indicate that the regime [of Saddam Hussein] was aware of
Ansar al-Islam and al-Qa'ida presence in northeastern Iraq, but the groups' presence was considered a threat to the regime and the Iraqi government attempted intelligence collection operations against them. The DIA stated that information from senior Ansar al-Islam detainees revealed that the group viewed Saddam's regime as apostate, and denied any relationship with it.
A threat to the regime! Saddam attempted intelligence collection operations against them! And O'Reilly tried to use this as a reason why we had to invade Iraq. Ansar al-Islam was inside Iraq and they were connected to al-Qaeda -- and poor Dave Letterman couldn't understand these complexities according to O'Reilly. Yes, they were inside Iraq -- trying to undermine Saddam Hussein's regime!
There is complexity in that they were also against the main Kurdish factions, who were also fighting against Saddam Hussein (kind of like how almost everyone
in Iraq was against Saddam Hussein before the war and are still fighting each other now anyway). So, Ansar al-Islam was connected to al-Qaeda and was fighting against the Kurds and Saddam.

This should not be surprising because the Senate Intelligence Report also concluded that Saddam "was distrustful of al-Qaeda and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime."

Terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was connected to Ansar al-Islam and al-Qaeda. But contrary to the Republican talking point that this proved Saddam was working with al-Qaeda, the Senate Report concluded that, "postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi."

In other words, Saddam was trying to capture Zarqawi before we came in, and, in effect, let Zarqawi loose for several years to reak tremendous damage in Iraq. Let alone the NBC report that indicates we had three different chances to kill Zarqawi before the war and the Bush WHite House turned down all three opportunities.
Finally, the leader of Ansar al-Islam, Mullah Krekar has called Saddam Hussein his sworn enemy. So, according to O'Reilly's logic we had to invade Iraq to get rid of Saddam's sworn enemy. Maybe, this is all too complicated for O'Reilly to comprehend, not Letterman.

And, of course, Letterman said the one thing during the interview that turned out to be the most correct of all, "You're putting words into my mouth, just the way you put artificial facts in your head."
The Young Turks

Saturday, October 28, 2006

9/11 Guilt: An Interview with DVD Producer Don Paul

9/11 Guilt: An Interview with DVD Producer Don Paul
Written by Bob Feldman
Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Toward Freedom interviewed Don Paul, the author of 9/11: Facing The Fascist State and the 2005 book To Prevent Another 9/11, about his recently produced DVD, 9/11 Guilt: The Proof Is In Your Hands. Read more...

Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
Written by Frank Morales
Thursday, 26 October 2006

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law."

Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, "Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333, "Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law" states that "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."

For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event.

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other "undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.

An article on "recent contract awards" in a recent issue of the slick, insider "Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International" reported that "global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellog, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency." "With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term," the report notes, "the contract is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," "for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) - in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs." The report points out that "KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton." (3) So, in addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion "supplemental provision" which covers the cost of the ongoing, mad military maneuvers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places, the new law, signed by the president in a private White House ceremony, further collapses the historic divide between the police and the military: a tell-tale sign of a rapidly consolidating police state in America, all accomplished amidst ongoing U.S. imperial pretensions of global domination, sold to an "emergency managed" and seemingly willfully gullible public as a "global war on terrorism."

Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) is an ominous assault on American democratic tradition and jurisprudence. The 1878 Act, which reads, "Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both," is the only U.S. criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the American people under the cover of 'law enforcement.' As such, it has been the best protection we've had against the power-hungry intentions of an unscrupulous and reckless executive, an executive intent on using force to enforce its will.

Unfortunately, this past week, the president dealt posse comitatus, along with American democracy, a near fatal blow. Consequently, it will take an aroused citizenry to undo the damage wrought by this horrendous act, part and parcel, as we have seen, of a long train of abuses and outrages perpetrated by this authoritarian administration.

Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our elected officials in Congress. On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007's Defense Authorization Act contained a "widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard [adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation's governors."

Senator Leahy went on to stress that, "we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy. One can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders."

A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the Congressional Record that he had "grave reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report," the language of which, he said, "subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law." This had been "slipped in," Leahy said, "as a rider with little study," while "other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals."

In a telling bit of understatement, the Senator from Vermont noted that "the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous". "There is good reason," he said, "for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy. We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty."

Senator Leahy's final ruminations: "Since hearing word a couple of weeks ago that this outcome was likely, I have wondered how Congress could have gotten to this point. It seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it."

The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act, accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact.

The Pentagon, as one might expect, plays an even more direct role in martial law operations. Title XIV of the new law, entitled, "Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions," authorizes "the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders."

In other words, the law facilitates the "transfer" of the newest in so-called "crowd control" technology and other weaponry designed to suppress dissent from the Pentagon to local militarized police units. The new law builds on and further codifies earlier "technology transfer" agreements, specifically the 1995 DOD-Justice Department memorandum of agreement achieved back during the Clinton-Reno regime.(4)

It has become clear in recent months that a critical mass of the American people have seen through the lies of the Bush administration; with the president's polls at an historic low, growing resistance to the war Iraq, and the Democrats likely to take back the Congress in mid-term elections, the Bush administration is on the ropes. And so it is particularly worrying that President Bush has seen fit, at this juncture to, in effect, declare himself dictator.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Rumsfeld Comedy Hour

Iran official: 9/11 just 'make-believe'US 'orchestrated attacks,' WTC 'bombed'; Describes 'massive US propaganda.'

'Bush reserves right to repeat Katrina'

Lynne Cheney deflects Dick Cheney’s torture remarks by using the “liberal bias” meme

Tony Snow–Dick Cheney–waterboarding–a dunk in the water

The Rumsfeld Comedy Hour


October 27, 2006 -- ANY lingering doubts that David Letterman detests Bill O'Reilly will be laid to rest tonight, when the gap-toothed funnyman has the conservative Fox News powerhouse on his CBS "Late Show" and machine-guns him with insults.

In a tape previewed by Page Six, things go downhill fast as O'Reilly sits down and jokingly presents the liberal-leaning host with a plastic sword to do battle and holds up a plastic shield to defend himself.

An irritated Letterman cracks, "Oh, that's nice, that's cute, you come out with toys . . . Am I right about one thing: You guys over there at Fox and guys like Rush Limbaugh, you guys know it's all just a goof, right? You're just horsing around. You're doing it 'cause you know it'll be entertaining?" Letterman adds he's never seen O'Reilly's show because, "I dial up Fox and it's always 'The Simpsons.' "

O'Reilly tries to lighten the mood by telling the audience he and Letterman are "on the same bowling league" and asks whether he'd appear on "Dancing With the Stars."

"Bonehead!" snaps Letterman, who then starts shaking his fist and waving his arms at O'Reilly as the subject turns to the war in Iraq. "Let me ask you a question - was there more heinous, more dangerous violence taking place [before America invaded] Iraq, or is there more heinous, dangerous violence taking place now in Iraq?"

"Oh, stop it," O'Reilly scolds the host. "Saddam Hussein slaughtered 300,000 to 400,000 people, all right, so knock it off . . . It isn't so black and white, Dave - it isn't, 'We're a bad country. Bush is an evil liar.' That's not true."

"I didn't say he was an evil liar," Letterman shoots back. "You're putting words in my mouth, just the way you put artificial facts in your head!"

Letterman admits he hasn't read O'Reilly's new book, "Culture War," because "I looked at it. I said, 'What is it, a book on sailing?' "

Checking his watch to signal an end to the insult-a-thon, Letterman sarcastically quips, "Oh, gosh, where has the time gone?" He adds: "I have no idea what I'm talking about - but I don't think you do, either."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What Will Bush Do Now?

by Daniel Kohanski

I have become concerned in the past days by Bush and Rove's firmly
expressed conviction that, all the polling and other evidence to the
contrary notwitstanding, the Republicans will somehow retain control of
Congress after the upcoming election. It has even been news over here
in Kenya, where the Nation, a national paper, carried a story about how
Bush was upset with his father's worries about disaster (from the Bush
perspective) if the Democrats were to win. Bush lamented that his
father had not checked with him first, as he could have reassured the old man
that it was not going to happen.

It is possible that Bush/Rove have reason to be confident. After all,
voter disenfranchisement, absence of sufficient voting machines, and
outright manipulation of the count saved them the last time (see Robert
Kennedy Jr's analysis of the Ohio 2004 vote), and there are indications
the same thing is about to happen again. There are already stories from
Ohio to California of voters, overwhelmingly Democratic ones, finding
themselves inexplicably removed from the rolls. Also in Ohio, the
Secretary of State, who is running for governor - and trailing badly -
was at last report trying to use the power of his office to have his
opponent declared ineligible to run. The move is almost certain to
backfire - it is already reportedly making Ohioans even more disgusted
with him - but it is indicative of the depths to which the GOP will
sink under Rove's direction.

Nonetheless there are signs that the Rove machine is sputtering. Last
weekend high administration officials, including Bush himself, took to
the airwaves to declaim that, in Bush's own words, "we've never been
stay the course" in Iraq. Really? Once the bloggers stopped falling
over themselves with laughter, they filled the netwaves with countless
examples of Bush saying exactly that, over and over and over. "Stay the
course" was a Rove slogan meant to be held up in contrast to the
Democrats' "cut and run" (though no Democrat has ever said that). Now
it appears to have become, as Nixon's press secretary might have said,

(Every time I hear "stay the course," I'm reminded of that scene in
Star Wars, where the rebels are attacking the Death Star and one fighter
starts to worry about his flight path. His leader keeps on telling him
"Stay on target!" so the guy does - and gets blown up.)

Also, in order for a voter fraud to succeed, it requires that there be
a small margin, say five percent or so, between the exit polls and the
final count, otherwise it will not be seen as credible and will be
challenged by an increasingly restless and suspicious electorate. The
margins in recent polling are the greatest that have been seen in many
years, in some cases since the start of polling, and much too great for
the election to be manipulated without detection and challenge. All in
all, the Republicans could well be heading for a rout similar to,
perhaps even greater than, the one they perpetrated on the Democrats in
1994, Bush's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding.

It will not sound as odd as it should, then, when I say that I draw
some comfort from Woodward's latest book, "State of Denial," which is, as
the title suggests, essentially a series of interviews in which Bush and
his administration consistently deny the reality of Iraq, and denigrate
anyone who dares describe reality to them. This state of denial has, of
course, cost us immeasurably in blood and treasure and the good will of
the world. But it also suggests a pattern of dealing with the world by
acting as if what one wished for were so, and that same pattern may
well be at work in Bush's refusal to even consider losing control of
Congress. Certainly many in the GOP, especially those up for
reelection, are concerned with the White House's continued insousiance in the face
of what to them is clearly impending doom.

Bush may be putting the best face on things in order to suppress panic
among his followers and thus keep the damage from getting totally out
of hand. But I am more inclined to think that he is behaving as he always
has up until now, which is to imagine a world that conforms to his
desires, and then to insist that this world and the real world are one
and the same.

But if he was able to ignore and wish away reports that all was not as
he wished it to be in Iraq, it will be impossible for him to do so with
the election, should he wake up on November 8th to discover that Harry
Reid is the new Senate majority leader and Nancy Pelosi is about to be
the Speaker of the House. No compliant media, no shielding by
syncophants will be able to keep this truth from him. Thus, what
concerns me more than his ability to steal the election is his
inability to accept such a result.

Several months ago I wrote that I could see no legitimate way the
Republicans could keep control of Congress in the midterms. I was
therefore concerned with the illegitimate ways. While that still
concerns me, I have some hope that the margin of victory will be so
great that any attempt to alter the result will be seen for what it is,
and rejected. But I am convinced, as I wrote before, that Bush will
never accept being held to account. Nor will he accept "adult
supervision," as at least one commentator has recently suggested he
needs. And that is precisely the "disaster" that the elder Bush was
referring to: the prospect of Democrats having the power to "supervise"
the president - that is, to restore the system of checks and balances
set up in the Constitution.

For then they will have the power to find out what has really been
going on, from downplaying terror warnings and misusing intelligence to
no-bid contracts to the prescription giveway to the destruction of New Orleans
to the lack of real protection against terror to ... ad infinitum. What
then might be his plan to escape the wrath of Congress and the country
once they acknowledge the extent of the damage he has done? What
further damage might he do to the Republic in his attempts to wiggle off the
hook, to drag the process out until his term ends and he can run off to
South America? (For those who missed it, Bush recently bought about a
hundred thousand acres in Paraguay.) These are the concerns that
trouble me now.


U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover

U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover
Disgusted with the leadership of the Iraq war, two retired generals say the GOP must go. Plus: More than 100 current military personnel join a campaign to get the U.S. out of Iraq -- now.

By Mark Benjamin

Oct. 25, 2006 | Two retired senior Army generals, who served in Iraq and previously voted Republican, are now openly endorsing a Democratic takeover of Congress. The generals, and an active-duty senior military official, told Salon in separate interviews that they believe a Democratic victory will help reverse course from what they consider to be a disastrous Bush administration policy in Iraq. The two retired generals, Maj. Gen. John Batiste and Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, first openly criticized the handling of the war last spring, when they called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

"The best thing that can happen right now is for one or both of our houses to go Democratic so we can have some oversight," Batiste, who led the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, told Salon. Batiste describes himself as a "lifelong Republican." But now, he said, "It is time for a change."

Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, agrees that Democratic control of Congress could be the best way to wrest control from the Bush administration and steer the United States away from a gravely flawed strategy in Iraq. "The way out that I see is to hand the House and the Senate to the Democrats and get this thing turned around," Eaton explained, adding that such sentiment is growing among retired and active-duty military leaders. "Most of us see two more years of the same if the Republicans stay in power," he said. He also noted, "You could not have tortured me enough to vote for Mr. Kerry or Mr. Gore, but I'm not at all thrilled with who I did vote for."

An active-duty senior military official who also served in Iraq said that, among a surprising number of his otherwise "very conservative" colleagues, there is hope that Democrats will gain control of Congress. "I will tell you, in the circles I talk to, the only way to enable or enact change is to change the leadership," he said.

Political experts say there is no evidence of a large exodus of military voters from the GOP, and it remains unclear how Iraq will affect military voters at the polls. Particularly among officers and the top brass, the military has long been heavily Republican. President Bush led John Kerry 73 percent to 18 percent just prior to the 2004 election in a Military Times poll, which largely surveyed higher ranking and career members of the military. Three separate studies in the past decade, including one due in dissertation form from Columbia University next spring, have put the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the upper ranks of the military at 8-to-1.

But last spring a handful of retired commanders shook the military establishment to its core by publicly calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And palpable frustration and anger among officers over the Bush administration's Iraq strategy clearly is driving some to do what was previously unthinkable: switch their allegiance to the Democratic Party, at least for the time being.

That may also be the case among the rank and file. As Salon reported recently, there are signs that support for Bush and the GOP is eroding in a Virginia congressional district saturated with military voters. Salon has also learned that more than 100 current members of the military have now joined a campaign formally appealing to Congress to immediately withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.

"The rest of us still in uniform cannot publicly articulate our own concerns, but there is a whole bunch of people out there who feel [this] way," said the active-duty senior military official. When asked if he was a Republican, he responded, "I was in the past." He railed against the Bush administration's head-in-the-sand approach to the war. "What do we have today? Holy shit. Now you have sectarian violence? That is a new term, by the way," the official fumed, emphasizing that before the war and even well into a volatile occupation nobody in the Bush administration "would even believe there would be an insurgency."

It's not that the current and former military leaders are suddenly eager to see liberal House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi take more power in Congress if the Democrats win control. Instead, the embrace of the Democrats, they say, is purely pragmatic. They hope the Democrats will succeed where Republicans failed and conduct critical oversight to help the Bush administration fix its stalled and failing strategy for Iraq. "Over five years our Congress has abrogated [its] oversight responsibilities," Batiste said. "They have not held serious hearings about this war."

The military leaders also say that Democrats might be willing to put up the massive infusion of cash they believe will be required to fix a military stretched thin, and to permanently increase the size of the Army. In July 2005, Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced a bill that would boost the Army by 100,000 soldiers. In the House, Pennsylvania's John Murtha and Missouri's Ike Skelton, ranking Democrats in military matters, have also indicated support for a beefed-up military. While the Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation temporarily increasing the size of the Army, a permanent move in that direction is anathema to Rumsfeld -- who has battled for a smaller, ever more technology-dependent military.

The Bush administration's handling of the war, meanwhile, has come under extraordinary fire from within the military. More than 100 service members, including those on active duty and members of the Reserves, have now sent "appeals for redress" to members of Congress asking for the "prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq." The appeals are a form letter designed to air a complaint without running afoul of official regulations restricting what members of the military can say. Although they are sent individually, the unusual wave of appeals has been organized by antiwar groups including Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace.

It appears to be one of the first examples of an organized effort by active-duty and reservist military members in opposition to the war in Iraq. It also signals a level of desperation -- since those troops who contacted Congress have potentially invited retribution from their superiors and put their military careers at risk. "It is significant because it is a clear voice from people who are dedicated to the military and dedicated to service, but not dedicated to this war," said J.E. McNeil, the executive director at the Center on Conscience & War who is providing some legal advice to those participating. "For every one of those guys," McNeil claimed, "there are 2,000 or 3,000 guys who are not willing to go public like this. These men and women represent the tip of the iceberg."

Army Lt. Col. Brian Maka, a Pentagon spokesman, said he was unaware of the appeals for redress, and declined to comment further.

A prompt withdrawal of troops, which some Democrats have called for, is not part of the major strategic overhaul sought by Batiste and Eaton. But the retired generals are hoping that a Democratic-controlled Congress can push back more forcefully against President Bush, who continues to argue in favor of establishing democracy in Iraq, and against partitioning the country along sectarian lines. Some in the military say that partitioning the country may now be the only hope of success in some form -- a plan aired publicly by Sen. Joe Biden in May and backed by a number of Democrats.

"It will never be democracy," Batiste said, pointing to the military's several years of experience battling the insurgency in Iraq. Democracy, he said, simply runs counter to the powerful tribal and religious fault lines of Iraqi society. But he thinks that the country might still be successfully carved up among the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. Sharing oil resources might seal the deal, Batiste said, and it could be spun as "some form of representative government" -- if not a democracy.

"Either partition it into three countries or go into a loose confederation and have assurances on the sharing of natural resources," Eaton agreed. "I think that is the best we can get out of this deal now."

It's too early to tell whether the acute dissatisfaction with Republicans will have staying power, says Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University who has lectured at West Point. But Wayne says it reflects real and widespread disappointment among military officers at the Bush administration's wrongheaded approach. "I think in the short run, you are seeing anger" at the Bush administration, he explained. The uniformed officers "have been completely marginalized" by an administration that refuses to take their advice.

Batiste said he was tormented by reading daily casualty reports and knowing that the deaths are, in part, the result of a bungled, backward strategy that focuses on lofty but unattainable goals. But while he and others admit they have no particular love for the Democrats, they see the party as perhaps their last, best hope of reaping anything other than more death and destruction in Iraq.

-- By Mark Benjamin

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ex CIA and Marine Intel Officer: 9/11 Was An Inside Job

Ex CIA and Marine Intel Officer: 9/11 Was An Inside Job

Steve Watson / | October 23 2006

An important story that broke over the weekend and may not have been widely picked up was that another former US Intelligence insider has turned whistleblower and concedes that the 9/11 attacks represented a "Neoconservative Neo-Nazi Coup D'etat".

In a review of Webster Tarpley's 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, for Amazon, Steele contends that the book is the "strongest of the 770+ books I have reviewed"

Steele goes on:

"I am forced to conclude that 9/11 was at a minimum allowed to happen as a pretext for war (see my review of Jim Bamford’s “Pretext for War”), and I am forced to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to indict (not necessarily convict) Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others of a neo-conservative neo-Nazi coup d’etat and kick-off of the clash of civilizations (see my review of “Crossing the Rubicon” as well as “State of Denial”). Most fascinatingly, the author links Samuel Huntington, author of “Clash of Civilizations” with Leo Strauss, the connecting rod between Nazi fascists and the neo-cons."

Steele's biography is impressive. He was the second-ranking civilian (GS-14) in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence from 1988-1992. Steele is a former clandestine services case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.

He is the founder and president of Open Source Solutions, Inc., and is an acknowledged expert on computer and information vulnerabilities. Steele holds graduate degrees in International Relations and Public Administration from Leigh University and the University of Oklahoma. He has also earned certificates in Intelligence Policy from Harvard University and in Defense Studies from the Naval War College.

This is another example of how far the 9/11 truth movement has come over the past year. Before the 2004 election Steele advocated the re-election of George W Bush. Given what he knows now I don't think that would still be the case.

Last month we highlighted how Bill Christison, a A 28-year CIA career man, former National Intelligence Officer and the Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis had gone public to say 9/11 was an inside job.

Along with 16 year CIA veteran Ray McGovern, this trio have a combined total of over 65 years in intelligence. it's safe to say they know a covert op when they see one.

Over the past couple of years we have seen a deluge of former government and intelligence agency insiders to boldly go public with their doubts about the official story behind 9/11. This is very encouraging and sets the precedent for future whistleblowers who might be considering the same course of action.

Monday, October 23, 2006

This is democracy

ABC: Online voter database hacked

Blog: Chicago database 'vulnerable to downloading'

Electronic voting machines 'could skew elections'

Possible Theft of Voting Software

Officials Probing Possible Theft of Voting Software in Md.
Ex-Delegate Says FBI Contacted Her About Disks She Received

By Cameron W. Barr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; B01

The FBI is investigating the possible theft of software developed by the nation's leading maker of electronic voting equipment, said a former Maryland legislator who this week received three computer disks that apparently contain key portions of programs created by Diebold Election Systems.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a former Democratic delegate who has long questioned the security of electronic voting systems, said the disks were delivered anonymously to her office in Olney on Tuesday and that the FBI contacted her yesterday. The package contained an unsigned letter critical of Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone that said the disks were "right from SBE" and had been "accidentally picked up."

Lamone's deputy, Ross Goldstein, said "they were not our disks," but he acknowledged that the software was used in Maryland in the 2004 elections. Diebold said in a statement last night that it had never created or received the disks.

The disks bear the logos of two testing companies that send such disks to the Maryland board after using the software to conduct tests on Diebold equipment. A Ciber Inc. spokeswoman said the disks had not come from Ciber, and Wyle Laboratories Inc. said it was not missing any disks.

Diebold spokesman Mark Radke and Goldstein said that the labels on the disks referred to versions of the software that are no longer in use in Maryland, although the Diebold statement said the version of one program apparently stored on the disks is still in use in "a limited number of jurisdictions" and is protected by encryption. The statement also said the FBI is investigating the disks' chain of custody.

Michelle Crnkovich, an FBI spokeswoman in Baltimore, said she had no knowledge of an investigation.

In an unrelated development, Maryland state auditors said in a report yesterday that the State Board of Elections is not properly controlling access to a new statewide database of registered voters or verifying what changes are made to it. The report comes at a time of heightened concern over the security and effectiveness of electronic voting systems.

Legislative auditor Bruce Myers said it was unusual to allow "across-the-board access" by local election officials to a sensitive database, but Lamone defended the board's practices. In a letter released with the Office of Legislative Audits report, she wrote that the board "is unaware of any allegations of the falsification of additions or deletions to the system."

The FBI investigation into the disks could focus further scrutiny on the security of Maryland's electronic voting system.

The disks delivered to Kagan's office bear labels indicating that they hold "source code" -- the instructions that constitute the core of a software program -- for Diebold's Ballot Station and Global Election Management System (GEMS) programs. The former guides the operation of the company's touch-screen voting machines; the latter is in part a tabulation program used to tally votes after an election.

Three years ago, Diebold was embarrassed when an activist obtained some of its confidential software by searching the Internet. The company vowed to improve its security procedures to prevent another lapse.

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results.

In September, computer scientists at Princeton University who had obtained a Diebold voting machine demonstrated how a program they had created could secretly alter the votes cast on the machine. Diebold President Dave Byrd called the demonstration "unrealistic and inaccurate" and said it ignored the "physical security" measures used to safeguard voting machines.

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

Sam Small, the graduate student, said the version of Ballot Station "was consistent with what we've seen previously." Small could not gain access to the GEMS software because the material on two of the disks was protected by a password.

Radke, the Diebold spokesman, said the versions of Ballot Station released since the version identified on the disks have many new security features. The Diebold statement said "it would take years for a knowledgeable scientist" to break the encryption used on the software apparently contained on the disks delivered to Kagan. But Rubin said "the data and files were not encrypted" on the Ballot Station disk he reviewed.

The Office of Legislative Audits report also said the Maryland elections board has paid bills submitted by contractors without proper documentation and has not taken appropriate steps to safeguard its computer network and Web site.

Lamone said, "It seems inappropriate to base findings on a partially implemented system," referring to the new MDVOTERS database, which Maryland has established to comply with federal law.

She said it is appropriate for local election workers to have access to the database and said procedures are in place to verify changes. Lamone concurred with the auditors' criticism of her staff's accounting practices and said they had "obtained nearly all necessary documentation" for contractors' bills.

Providing the sort of local oversight envisioned by the auditors, she said, "simply cannot be conducted with existing resources."

Staff writer Eric Rich contributed to this report

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Obama 2008 run?

Sen. Obama says he's weighing 2008 run. Hmmm, how about a Gore/Obama ticket. Gore would win every state he won in 2000 (including Florida) and pick up a slew of Western states and some others to boot. A Gore/Obama ticket would be a likely landside victory.

GOP Rep. asks Pentagon to remove embedded CNN journos

Calif. Republican asks Pentagon to remove embedded CNN reporters

Associated Press

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon on Friday to remove CNN reporters embedded with U.S. combat troops, saying the network's broadcast of a video showing insurgent snipers targeting U.S. soldiers was tantamount to airing an enemy propaganda film.

The tape, which came to the network through contact with an insurgent leader, was aired Wednesday night on "Anderson Cooper 360" and repeated Thursday.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., wrote: "CNN has now served as the publicist for an enemy propaganda film featuring the killing of an American soldier."

The letter was also signed by San Diego-area Republican congressmen Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray.

"This is nothing short of a terrorist snuff film," Bilbray said at a press conference held in San Diego.

CNN producer David Doss wrote in a Web log Thursday the network televised the footage in an effort to present the "unvarnished truth" about the Iraq war.

In one instance, the tape shows a uniformed member of the U.S. military milling in a public area with Iraqis. A shot rings out. CNN fades the screen to black before the result - described as a victim falling forward - is visible.

Hunter said he hasn't received a response from Rumsfeld.

A Pentagon spokesman said Friday he didn't know whether Rumsfeld had seen the letter.

"The department takes this very seriously and will look into the matter and respond accordingly to the member in due course," said Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler.

CNN officials defended their decision to air the footage.

"Our responsibility is to report the news," said Laurie Goldberg, a CNN spokeswoman. "As an organization we stand by our decision and respect the rights of others to disagree with it."

The corpse of Habeas Corpus: Island dungeon is above the law, White House tells courts

Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; A18

Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

Beyond those already imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, the law applies to all non-U.S. citizens, including permanent U.S. residents.

The new law already has been challenged as unconstitutional by lawyers representing the petitioners. The issue of detainee rights is likely to reach the Supreme Court for a third time.

Habeas corpus, a Latin term meaning "you have the body," is one of the oldest principles of English and American law. It requires the government to show a legal basis for holding a prisoner. A series of unresolved federal court cases brought against the administration over the last several years by lawyers representing the detainees had left the question in limbo.

Two years ago, in Rasul v. Bush, which gave Guantanamo detainees the right to challenge their detention before a U.S. court, and in this year's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , the Supreme Court appeared to settle the issue in favor of the detainees. But the new legislation approved by Congress last month, which gives Bush the authority to try detainees before military commissions, included a provision removing judicial review for all habeas claims.

Immediately after Bush signed the act into law Tuesday, the Justice Department sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asserting the new authorities and informing the court that it no longer had jurisdiction over a combined habeas case that had been under consideration since 2004. The U.S. District Court cases, which had been stayed pending the appeals court decision, were similarly invalid, the administration informed that court on Wednesday.

A number of legal scholars and members of Congress, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), have said that the habeas provision of the new law violates a clause of the Constitution that says the right to challenge detention "shall not be suspended" except in cases of "rebellion or invasion." Historically, the Constitution has been interpreted to apply equally to citizens and noncitizens under U.S. jurisdiction.

The administration's persistence on the issue "demonstrates how difficult it is for the courts to enforce [the clause] in the face of a resolute executive branch that is bound and determined to resist it," said Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor involved in the detainee cases.

On Tuesday, the appeals court granted a petition by lawyers for the detainees to argue against the new law. Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many of the detainees, said yesterday that he expected the administration to file a motion for dismissal of all the cases before the defense challenge is heard.

"We and other habeas counsel are going to vigorously oppose dismissal of these cases," Warren said. "We are going to challenge that law as violating the Constitution on several grounds." Whichever side loses in the upcoming court battles, he said, will then appeal to the Supreme Court.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Diebold Code Sent In Anonymous Package

October 20th, 2006
Diebold Code Sent In Anonymous Package
By: Nicole Belle @ 4:45 PM - PDT

Holy cow. This is a VERY big deal. If you are a Maryland resident, you may want to get on the phone right now to find out from your Secretary of State how they can assure clean elections.

Baltimore Sun:

Diebold Election Systems Inc. expressed alarm and state election officials contacted the FBI yesterday after a former legislator received an anonymous package containing what appears to be the computer code that ran Maryland's polls in 2004.

Cheryl C. Kagan, a longtime critic of Maryland's elections chief, says the fact that the computer disks were sent to her - along with an unsigned note criticizing the management of the state elections board - demonstrates that Maryland's voting system faces grave security threats.

[..]In the wake of the problems, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and other politicians renewed their call to jettison the equipment. The governor has urged state voters to request absentee ballots, although use of the paper alternative raises different concerns about fraud.

A spokesman for the governor said the apparent distribution of the voting-machine software was troubling. Read on…

Tipster MrEMan reminds us of the problems experienced during the September primary and BradBlog points us to a letter by Governor Erlich expressing a loss of faith as far back as February of this year. And yet, to the disadvantage of all voters, nothing has been done.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Molly Ivins: Don’t Count the Republicans Out

Molly Ivins: Don’t Count the Republicans Out

Posted on Oct 18, 2006
By Molly Ivins

Stunning coincidence. The verdict in the long-running trial of Saddam Hussein in Iraq is now due two days before our congressional elections in November. Astounding. How ineffable.

Sometimes you know the Republicans have just lost the rag completely. This week, Dick Cheney said to Rush Limbaugh regarding the Iraqi government, “If you look at the general, overall situation, they’re doing remarkably well.” The vice president also acknowledged there’s some concern because the war wasn’t over “instantaneously.” We have now been in Iraq just one month shy of the entire time it took us to fight World War II. Seventy Americans dead so far in October. Electricity in Iraq this year hit its lowest levels since the war started.

What infuriates me about this is the lying. Why can’t they level with us? Just on the general, overall situation.

Put me in the depressive Dems camp. We always look good going into the last two weeks, until we get hit with that wall of Republican money (though I do think Ohio is beyond political recall at this point for the R’s). Of course, both sides always complain about unfair advertising, but I must admit that almost all political advertising strikes me as ludicrous and I don’t notice the D’s looking simon-pure. A little shading, a little emphasis here and there—I’m hard to shock on political ads, but I do get more than miffed when they take the truth and just stand it on its head.

For example, if ever there has been a friend to Social Security it would be Rep. Chet Edwards from Waco, Texas, a D loyal to the FDR, LBJ and government-exists-to-serve-the-people tradition. So what are the R’s attacking him on? Not supporting Social Security. All this kind of thing does is render political debate completely meaningless.

The argument now is that D’s have a seven-point structural deficit going into any election. I see the problem, I just have no idea what the actual numbers are.

Let’s start with the easy end, the Senate. From the book “Off Center” by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, as recently quoted by Eric Alterman in his blog: “The mismatch between popular votes and electoral outcomes is even more striking in the Senate. Combining the last three Senate elections, Democrats have actually won 2.5 million more votes than Republicans. Yet now they hold only 44 seats in that 100-person chamber because Republicans dominate the less populous states that are so heavily overrepresented in the Senate. As journalist Hendrik Hertzberg (of the New Yorker) notes, if you treat each senator as representing half that state’s population, then the Senate’s 55 Republicans currently represent 131 million people, while the 44 Democrats represent 161 million people.”

OK, we all know about the small-state advantage in the Senate. How did the People’s House get so far out of fair? Paul Krugman explains: “The key point is that African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, are highly concentrated in a few districts. This means that in close elections many Democratic votes are, as political analysts say, wasted—they simply add to huge majorities in a small number of districts, while the more widely spread Republican vote allows the GOP to win by narrower margins in a larger number of districts.”

I should also point out that Democrats used to pack minority voters into the same districts when they drew the redistricting lines because of simple racism. Minority candidates need more votes to win, as polling consistently shows them several points ahead of where they actually finish because some people still cannot bring themselves to vote for black politicians even if they agree with them.

For instance, race is a factor this year in Harold Ford’s Tennessee Senate contest—even though political people keep pretending it’s not.

I’m the one who has been writing for two years that the American people are fed up with the war in Iraq and with the Bush administration’s lies and incompetence. I’m the one that keeps beating the Washington press corps about the head over how out of touch it is. I’m the one who has been insisting there’s a Democratic tide out here, and that the people are so far ahead of the politicians and the media it’s painful to watch.

So how come I’m not thrilled? Because I watched this happen two years ago—same rejection of the Iraq war, same disgust with Bush and Co., same understanding that Republicans are for the rich, period, same polls showing D’s with the lead going right into Election Day. And the same geographic gerrymander and same wall of money in the last two weeks. I’m not close to calling this election, and I’m sure not into celebrating anything yet.

To find out more about Molly Ivins and see works by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Is it the new, next 911?

Is it the new, next 911?

Weazl isn't one to try to spread nasty little rumors, especially without much credible evidence. But certain chatter, which weazl will admit is not totally reliable have been talking about the sinking of an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf as the pretext for the attack against Iran. Weazl's sources tell him that it is the USS Enterprise, which was scheduled to be retired soon. Unlike 911, the criminals have had a little practice sinking aircraft carriers for this one. Last year, they sunk the USS America, which took a helluva long time to sink at 25 days, but now they've gotten it better with the USS Oriskany which sank in only 45 minutes.

And the MASSIVE NAVAL DEPLOYMENT, which includes the USS Eisenhower taking place makes this scenario more likely and worth mentioning.

Anyway, weazl's words of advice in this time of fascism and great criminality: hope for the best, but expect the worst.

Weazl would love to be wrong. But we're dealing with the worst that's ever been.

"Bush Will Live In Infamy"

Cenk Uygur

George Bush Will Live in Infamy for What He Has Done to Iraq

George W. Bush will live in infamy for what he has done in Iraq. 161 dead. 83 dead. 53 dead. 16 tortured. 17 decapitated. Shiite doctors dumping the bodies of Sunni patients they have murdered. Burn marks. Executions. Torture chambers. Revenge killings. Family members shot in front of their wives and children.

These are all the headlines from Iraq in just the last couple of days.

If this isn't a civil war, what in the world is? Anywhere from 50,000-650,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the last three and half years. Let that sink in for a second. That's a gigantic number. The human toll in Iraq has been unspeakable. And none of it had to happen. This was a war of choice. And it has been one of the worst choices ever made by a world leader.
George Bush now threatens to go from one of the worst leaders in US history to one of the worst leaders in world history. Iraq had allowed the weapons inspectors back in, they were doing their job, Iraq had absolutely no weapons of mass destruction, the United States military was doing a fantastic job of containing Saddam Hussein, there was no sectarian hostility in Iraq, there was stability in the region - and we came in like a bull in china shop and turned the whole country upside down. For what?

Democracy? Conservative pundits are now saying the Bush administration is considering replacing the Iraqi government. What? I thought they had a democracy. I thought that was the noble mission (of course, I didn't really think this, but that's the bullshit they've been feeding us all this time and the press has dutifully written down as if it had any merit in fact).
No WMD. No connection to 9/11. No democracy. No stability. Nothing accomplished but a horrible, unspeakable civil war. We ought to cover our faces in shame for what we have done to Iraq. Yes, it was us. There was no civil war before us. There were no Shiite militias. There were no death squads. There was no insurgency. We broke it, now we own it. To make excuses and to blame the Iraqis at this point is revolting.

George Bush has done the impossible - made Saddam Hussein's reign in Iraq seem not so bad by comparison. When you manage to make Saddam look good, you can't go any lower.
I could go on busting him up all night long and listing the crimes of omission and commission in Iraq, but any way you slice it, the point is inescapable. We started a war in a country we had no business in and it has now spiraled out of control. We have blood on our hands. And we have a leader who is criminally negligent and barbarically clueless.

And at this late juncture we have a president, vice president, Joe Lieberman and a Republican Congress who say they would do it again. Think about the madness of that statement. They would do it again.
If that doesn't send a chill down your spine, you have no feelings left. Somewhere between 50,000-650,000 dead, some of them in the most brutal ways imaginable. For absolutely nothing. And they would do it again.
If you vote for any of these guys again, you are one hundred percent guilty. You are voting for men and women who say they would make the same horrific choices again. They have warned
you of how unimaginably callous and barbaric they are - and if you vote for them again, you are no better than they are. This is a democracy. What our leaders do, we do. If we break it, we own it.
Now, it's up to you. Are you going to send these guys back in to make the same mistakes they promise to make again?

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Red Cross concerned with interrogation law

International group says U.S. definition of enemy combatant too broad

GENEVA - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed concern on Thursday at a new U.S. law allowing tough CIA interrogation techniques and military trials for terrorism suspects.

In an interview on its Web site, ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger said the law was too vague about which detainees could be covered and did not explicitly exclude the use of evidence extracted by force in trials.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush on Tuesday, could also weaken basic guarantees given under the Geneva Conventions which are supposed to protect everybody from humiliating and degrading treatment, he said.

“Our preliminary reading of the new legislation raises certain concerns and questions,” Kellenberger said.

“The very broad definition of who is an ’unlawful enemy combatant’ and the fact that there is not an explicit prohibition on the admission of evidence attained by coercion are examples,” he said.

Bush says the law will enable the United States to bring to trial some of those believed to be behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

It also means that Washington can continue a secret CIA program for interrogating terrorism suspects whom Bush argues could have vital information needed to thwart future plots against the United States.

But human rights groups charge that the measure, likely to face legal challenges that go up as far as the Supreme Court, would allow harsh techniques bordering on torture, such as sleep deprivation and induced hypothermia.

The White House has refused to describe what techniques will be allowed. Bush insisted “the United States does not torture”.

GOP to air ad warning of terror attacks

GOP to air ad warning of terror attacks
By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer Thu Oct 19, 9:10 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The Republican Party will begin airing a hard-hitting ad this weekend that warns of more cataclysmic terror attacks against the U.S. homeland.

The ad portrays Osama bin Laden and quotes his threats against America dating to February 1998. "These are the stakes," the ad concludes. "Vote November 7."

Brian Jones, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee' Republican National Committee, said the ad would run on national cable beginning Sunday, but he declined to discuss specifics of the buy.

The commercial tracks with Republican Party strategy to make the war on terrorism a central theme of this election. It will air as recent polls show Republicans losing ground as the party best able to combat terrorism.

Last month, President Bush made the war against terrorism a recurrent topic in public appearances. But his message was drowned out by the e-mail sex scandal involving former Republican Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) of Florida and by increasing fatalities in Iraq.

The ad displays an array of quotes from bin Laden and his top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, that include bin Laden's Dec. 26, 2001 vow that "what is yet to come will be even greater."
The ad also cites al-Zawahri's claim to have obtained "some suitcase bombs," followed by a scene that appears to show a nuclear explosion.

Despite al-Zawahri's claim, portable nuclear devices are believed to be particularly difficult to produce and elusive to rogue regimes and terror groups.

The ad is also featured on the RNC's Web site. The party said the ad, called "The Stakes," will be e-mailed to millions of GOP supporters, activists and the state parties.
Democrats denounced the ad as scaremongering.

"This is a pathetic move by an increasingly desperate GOP," said
Democratic National Committee' Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "Clearly Republicans are so afraid of their abysmal record they can't offer one example of what they've done to keep America safe."

Former U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak, a Democratic congressional candidate running against incumbent Rep. Curt Weldon (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., said the war in Iraq has made Americans less safe. "It's disturbing that the Republicans in Washington are trying to reinvent history with this latest message of fear," he said.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sen. Kennedy: Iraq For Sale Shows How The Bush Administration Has Been Outsourcing This War To Corporate America…

Priest Admits Relationship With Foley: Describes Naked Massages, Skinny-Dipping...

You've Got To Love It When Jack Murtha Helps You Kick Some Ass.
As we enter the stretch run of the 2006 Election, there's a lot going on in Patriot Project world. On one hand, you have Progress For America, a classic right wing front group, getting ready to drop $35 million behind a single tv spot built on a lie.

On the other hand, we've got Jack Murtha helping us out today.

I like my chances.

Congressman Murtha has been the subject of swift-boating for almost a year now. A decorated veteran and lifelong supporter of the military and our veterans, when even he dared to suggest we ought to redeploy out of Iraq, the chickenhawk toy soldiers went into action, questioning his right to dissent and his patriotism.

Congressman Murtha was kind enough to send out an email for us today. Here it is here. We very much appreciate his as well as Senator John Kerry's assistance earlier this week.
Someday, all Americans will realize that John Murtha, John Kerry and Max Cleland are the real warriors, the real heroes, and the real leaders this country needs.

Someday, all Americans will understand that piece-of-shit front groups like "Vets for the Truth" that went after John Murtha or the Swift Boat Veterans or the "Economic Freedom Fund" which has precious little to do with the economy or freedom and a lot to do with getting funded to the tune of $5,000,000 by Bob Perry are scum - they deserve to be exposed, the people behind them should be exposed, and everyone involved should be shamed and embarrassed publicly.

And if you're involved with this new front group, talking about whores and abortions, what America do you live in? Where's your conscience?

There's a lot to do between now and November 7th. We'll keep exposing these front groups, especially the ones that attack our veterans. We'll keep fighting and getting the truth out there. I very much appreciate everyone's emails and support. Thank you all.

The Patriot Project is working to expose the front groups, their funding, their connections and their tactics.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Book: Monroe was murdered

Book: Monroe was murdered while on phone with DiMaggio's sister
The niece of baseball legend Joe DiMaggio is set to claim that actress Marilyn Monroe was murdered – and managed to share a name before she died, RAW STORY has learned.
In Marilyn, Joe & Me, June DiMaggio, who says that she was a close friend to Monroe for 11 years, will claim that her mother, Lee, was on the telephone with Monroe when the actress was murdered.
The book was written by DiMaggio, now in her 70's, and TV and radio program host Mary Jane Popp.
Promotion for the book is also
set to include a Special Report in Playboy magazine on the "Strange and Still Mysterious Death of Marilyn Monroe."
"She wanted to tell it all before she died," Lisa DePaulo will write in the Playboy report, "what she knows about Monroe’s last moments on earth, including the phone call she believes was interrupted by her killer or killers."

What if They "Find" bin Laden?

Thomas de Zengotita

What if They "Find" bin
Laden Before the Election?

As some of my previous posts make clear, I don't hold with major 9/11-was-an-inside-job conspiracy theories, but I think the possibility that they will "find" Osama before the election is real. Deceptions of that kind are par for the course for these champions of moral clarity. Plus, even more importantly, it is logistically feasible.

So it could happen.

But here's the thing. Their credibility is now so damaged that it might backfire--especially if Democrats were to be smart about it. Candidates should confine themselves to solemn head shaking and comments like "All I can say is that this is very convenient timing." Bloggers will take care of the rest.

Come to think about it, the possibility of
backfire is so real that if, just by chance, just by accident, they were to locate bin Laden in the next couple of weeks they might be well advised to keep him on ice until after the election.

That's how suspect they've become. That's the kind of looking-glass warp of weirdness you get into when you lie as much and as often as they have.
Fingers crossed. Let the hard rain fall...

North Korea test was plutonium

North Korea test was plutonium: produced under Bush I or Bush II, not Clinton by AJ in DC - 10/17/2006 09:41:00 AM

The official word on North Korea's nuclear test is that the detonation was a nuclear event with a sub-kilo explosion, which matches what you've been reading on this site since the day after the test. Atmospheric sampling detected radiological emissions, confirming that the test was not an elaborate fake, but rather a semi-failed nuclear explosion.The tests also showed that the bomb was made with plutonium and not uranium. For everybody unfamiliar with the arcane details of nuclear weapons, this is another nail in the coffin of the "Clinton's fault!" meme.The New York Times explains:

The intelligence agencies' finding that the weapon was based on plutonium strongly suggested that the country's second path to a nuclear bomb — one using uranium — was not yet ready. [...] As president, Mr. Clinton negotiated a deal that froze the production and weaponization of North Korea's plutonium, but intelligence agencies later determined that North Korea began its secret uranium program under his watch. The plutonium that North Korea exploded was produced, according to intelligence estimates, either during the administration of the first President Bush or after 2003, when the North Koreans threw out international inspectors and began reprocessing spent nuclear fuel the inspectors had kept under seal.I'm shocked -- shocked! -- that the bomb's nuclear fuel was created not under Clinton, as hyperventilating conservatives alleged, but either before or, more likely, after his term.Also keep in mind that in 1994 the Clinton administration threatened to destroy North Korea's fuel and nuclear reprocessing facilities if it tried to make weapons with any plutonium it might have had. President Bush took no such stand, and three years after the administration's inept diplomacy caused North Korea to resume work with plutonium, we have another nuclear-armed state. This is oversimplifying things, but basically, back in 2003, the administration so insisted on Being Tough, and was ostensibly so concerned about a uranium bomb, that . . . it allowed North Korea to restart work with plutonium, work that had ceased under the Agreed Framework negotiated under Clinton/Carter/Albright.From Fred Kaplan:

On Jan. 10, 2003, they [North Korea] withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, they also said they would reverse their actions and retract their declarations if the United States resumed its obligations under the Agreed Framework and signed a non-aggression pledge.The Bush administration refused to negotiate, then made a bunch of empty threats, and then failed to respond when North Korea called the bluff. Why such atrocious foreign policy? Wait for it . . .
What explains Bush's inaction before North Korea crossed the red line--and its weak response afterward? Historians will surely debate that question for decades. Part of the answer probably lies in the administration's all-consuming focus on Iraq. [...] In January, a senior administration official told The New York Times, "President Bush does not want to distract international attention from Iraq."The short version of the news? North Korea has a nuclear bomb because . . . President Bush was more worried about Iraq than competent foreign policy. Perhaps we need to add another very, very big strategic debacle to the list of harmful Iraq effects.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why We Should Leave Iraq Now

Why We Should Leave Iraq Now
By John Weiss

Mr. Weiss is an emeritus professor of history, Lehman College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a writer for the History News Service.

We face a paradox in Iraq: the longer we stay, the stronger our enemies become. We cannot defeat either the insurgency or the civil war resulting from our invasion and occupation; in fact, both have grown stronger. Nor can we protect the Iraqis we came to save. A corrupt Iraqi government wastes the billions we have allocated for rebuilding, while the middle class flees to avoid the danger. The Pentagon trains Iraqis to fight, but we may well be training the army of our future enemies.

We could have been spared this debacle had our government consulted the historic origins of Iraq. In search of empire and oil, England formed Iraq from provinces of the defeated Ottoman Empire after World War I, but British officials ignored the ethnic and religious antagonisms dividing its peoples. Just as did our neo-conservatives who promoted our invasion of Iraq, Winston Churchill, then head of the British Colonial Office, believed Iraqis would greet the British as liberators. But when he tried to build a unified Iraq, experts warned Churchill that Iraqis would resist occupation by Christian "infidels" who threatened their traditions and values.
Like the Bush administration, Churchill ignored the advice. Instead, he picked the Sunni Faisal bin Hussein, king of Syria and a supporter of the British, to be Iraq's constitutional monarch. Once in office, King Faisal denounced British domination and proclaimed "Iraq for the Iraqis." As predicted, Sunni and Shiite clerics declared holy war against the British, and their followers assassinated British officials and killed British soldiers.

In only a year or two, the British press and public came to oppose Churchill for wasting lives and money to force Iraqis to accept an occupation they despised; even British troops agitated to return home. Churchill, President Bush's role model, withdrew, knowing better than to "stay the course" of a failed policy.

But we have remained. Our Iraqi government survives only because it huddles in the Green Zone of Baghdad with a small army of bodyguards. Elsewhere violence rules and Iraqis increasingly lose faith in the prime minister, Nouri al-Malaki, who is unable to halt the violence. Yet we insist that Iraq can become a democratic model for the rest of the Muslim states of the Middle East.

But our faith in democratic elections is misplaced. In Algeria in 1992, Islamic militants won the elections, and in 2006 elections in the Gaza Strip, the home of Palestinians, gave victory to the violent Islamic terrorists of Hamas. Militants also did well in the recent Egyptian elections. Yet our leaders greeted the Iraqi elections as a success, although the winning Shia majority hoped to put Iraq on the road to becoming an authoritarian Islamic State.

Tragically, Iran, Iraq's powerful neighbor and a looming enemy of the United States, is the main beneficiary of the chaos we have created. With 70 million subjects, support for terrorists and potential nuclear capability, Iran is a far greater threat than Iraq ever was. Moreover, the government we created in Iraq is drawing closer to Iran, while Iran, according to the American military, is arming Shia militias.

By killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, we have enraged Muslims everywhere and multiplied recruits for terrorism, as our own intelligence agencies recently reported. Given the consequences of our ill-considered invasion, it seems criminal to sacrifice more American soldiers and dollars to support our enemies and trap our troops in a civil war. Morality dictates that we repair the destruction we have caused, but we do not have the power even to do that.
Caught in our own trap, we should admit that we have brought ruin to Iraq, seriously damaged our own interests and aided our enemies. Such are the consequences of ignoring history when making present policy. We should leave, and we should leave now.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Open Letter Sent to States Urging Emergency Paper Ballot Plans

Open Letter Sent to States Urging Emergency Paper Ballot Plans and Procedures for November Election

Urgent Plea Mailed to 50 State Governors, Sec's of State and Election Directors Signed by Broad Coalition of Election Integrity Advocacy Orgs, Congressional Members, Elections Officials, Computer Scientists, Civil Rights Attorneys and Journalists

Initial Federal Effort Calling for Back-Up Paper Ballots Now Moves to States, Citizens Asked to Join the Call!

An urgent letter has been sent today to the Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors of all 50 states urging them to immediately create and implement plans and procedures for allowing the use of Emergency Paper Ballots at every local jurisdiction during this November's general election.

The missive, signed by a broad coalition of more than 50 Election Integrity Advocate groups, congressional members, elections officials, computer scientists, attorneys and journalists comes on the heels of Federal legislation recently introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. Those bills, which were not brought up for a vote before Congress adjourned for the Election Recess, called for funding to states who implement plans to provide Emergency Paper Ballots. The legislation was introduced in the wake of recent primary elections around the country where voters were unable to cast a vote due to failure, malfunction, or other inability of electronic voting systems.

The two-page letter [PDF] (also posted in full at the end of this article) was signed by individuals such as: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Rush Holt, Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, OH elections attorney Cliff Arnebeck and University of Iowa computer scientist Doug Jones. Organizations signed on include: Common Cause,,,,, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation,, and many other national, state and local Election Integrity advocate groups.

"No legally registered voter should ever be told to 'come back later,' or be forced to use a provisional ballot simply because a voting system is unavailable to them at the time they are able to vote," the letter reads. "It is imperative that an ample supply of Emergency Paper Ballots be made available to account for any unforeseen circumstance."

The letter continues, "All voters must have the option to vote on an Emergency Paper Ballot if necessary and all such ballots must be counted as regular — not provisional — ballots."

As well, it's pointed out that some states already have certain procedures required by law to ensure that registered voters are allowed to vote, in the event that primary balloting procedures break down. Officials are urged to check those requirements and otherwise "draft, establish and publicize your own state's common-sense plans for Emergency Paper Ballots at every polling place this Nov. 7th, so that every election official, poll worker, and voter may be crystal clear on the procedures for utilizing such measures."

The movement calling on states to create Emergency Paper Ballot plans began just three weeks ago when The BRAD BLOG first called on the U.S. Congress to introduce and pass legislation in order to ensure that legally registered voters would not be turned away from the polls without being allowed to vote, as has been the case for thousands of voters in a number of states this year due to voting machines that failed to start up, were misprogrammed, failed during voting or, in some cases, hadn't been brought to polling places at all until several hours after polls were to have opened.

Many voters were either told to "come back later" or given Provisional Ballots, which are not counted as normal ballots on Election Night and frequently not counted at all.

Legislation for Emergency Ballots was introduced the following week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Boxer, Christopher Dodd, Russ Feingold and Kerry. A matching House version was filed the next day by Rep. Rush Holt and co-sponsored by 28 other House members. As well, Feingold and Kerry introduced a "Sense of the Senate" resolution calling for same, but that effort was also never brought up for a vote on the floor before the recess.

The letter, drafted by this journalist along with a number of other signatories, was sent to all recipients via return-receipt requested certified mailing this morning by [DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]

With the failure of Congress to pass such crucial legislation prior to this November's important general election, the effort now moves to the State and Local level. Organizations and individuals are called on to contact their State and Local Elections officals to assure that plans are in place to accommodate any and all unforeseen circumstances.

Alluding to Americans who have fought for and defended the right to vote in the past, and indeed to this day around the globe, the letter concludes: "Our vote is our precious franchise. We believe it is worth defending, and worth the effort to guarantee that that right remains assured and inviolate."

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), one of the initial signatories, has created an online petition for citizens to urge their Secretaries of State and Governors to ensure such plans and procedures are created and implemented immediately. Take action by clicking here…

The open letter, sent to all State Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors calling for Emergency Paper Ballot plans and procedures and signed by 55 organizations and individuals, can be downloaded here [PDF]. It also follows below in full…

October 11, 2006

Honorable Governor, Secretary of State & State Election Director:

As you likely know, many legally registered American voters across the country were turned away from polling places without being able to cast a ballot this year. In state after state, voters were unable to exercise their franchise simply because electronic voting systems malfunctioned, suffered programming problems, or were otherwise unavailable for use.

We are sure you'll agree that should never happen in this country. No legally registered voter should ever be turned away from the polls without being allowed to vote on Election Day in America. No legally registered voter should ever be told to "come back later," or be forced to use a provisional ballot simply because a voting system is unavailable to them at the time they are able to vote. It is imperative that an ample supply of Emergency Paper Ballots be made available to account for any unforeseen circumstance.

Common-sense legislation for Emergency Paper Ballots at the polling place this November was recently filed in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposed legislation would have:

Mandated that voters be given a paper ballot upon request
Required election officials to post information announcing and confirming that right at each polling place, and Mandated that all such paper ballots be counted as regular, not provisional, ballots.

Unfortunately, legislators were unable to pass this important measure before adjourning for the Election Recess. Now the responsibility for this vital democratic process must rest on the States and Counties to ensure that millions of Americans will be able to cast their ballots in the general election on November 7th.

Many of your state's citizens and polling places will be using new electronic voting systems for the first time. Such systems have already caused unforeseen problems this year, resulting in disenfranchised voters from Maryland to California, from Texas to Indiana to many other states and counties around the union.

In Maryland, the Governor recently called for Emergency Paper Ballots statewide after catastrophic problems in their recent primary. In Texas and Arkansas, election officials wisely instructed their counties to have Emergency Paper Ballots on hand during runoff elections after thousands were unable to vote during primaries, or when voting machine companies failed to program balloting systems properly.

In America, in 2006, such occurrences should never have happened, and we write to you hoping that you will take every measure to ensure they do not happen anywhere in your state this November.

Therefore, we, the undersigned groups and individuals, strongly urge you to make contingency plans and procedures to ensure that every legally registered American voter can vote in the upcoming general election. All voters must have the option to vote on an Emergency Paper Ballot if necessary, and all such ballots must be counted as regular — not provisional — ballots.

We hope that your state and every county therein will take careful, yet aggressive measures to institute plans for ample Emergency Paper Ballots, to be made available in every voting jurisdiction.

Several states have laws in place requiring the use of emergency paper ballots for voters if voting equipment is unavailable or has malfunctioned. Many more states and counties, however, do not have such provisions. In addition, many poll workers are unaware of such state laws and elections code.

So many Americans have fought and died in this country and around the world — and indeed, are fighting today – in the defense of our most basic freedoms, to ensure the right to freely cast a vote and thus determine the consent of the governed in this great democracy. Our vote is our precious franchise. We believe it is worth defending, and worth the effort to guarantee that that right remains assured and inviolate.

We urge you to please take this opportunity to draft, establish and publicize your own state's common-sense plans for Emergency Paper Ballots at every polling place this Nov. 7th, so that every election official, poll worker, and voter may be crystal clear on the procedures for utilizing such measures.

With Great Respect,

The Undersigned

Broward Election Reform Coalition
Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota
Citizens for Legitimate Government
Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton NJ
Coloradoans for Voting Integrity
Common Cause
Election Defense Alliance (EDA)
Election Reform Network
Florida Fair Elections Coalition
Georgians for Verified Voting
Iowans for Voting Integrity
Las Vegas, NM Peace and Justice Center Political Action
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Committee for Voting Integrity
National Election Data Archive
New Yorkers for Verified Voting
Ohio Honest Elections Campaign
Palm Beach Coalition for Election Reform
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)
SAVE Our Votes:
Secure, Accessible, Verifiable Elections for MD TrueVoteMD
United Voters of New Mexico
Valley Grassroots for Democracy
Voting Matters [New Mexico]
Wake Up and Save Your Country
We Do Not Concede

Clifford O. Arnebeck, Jr, election attorney, OH
John C. Bonifaz, voting rights attorney, Boston
Sen. Barbara Boxer
Bob Fitrakis, Ph.D, J.D.
Brad Friedman, investigative journalist
Bruce Funk, County Clerk, Emery County, UT
Sarah Granger, computer security consultant
Rush Holt, Member of Congress
Douglas W. Jones, computer scientist, U. of Iowa
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Sen. John Kerry
Prof. Mark Crispin Miller, NYU
Freddie Oakley, Yolo County, CA, Clerk/Recorder
Ion Sancho, Supvsr. of Elections, Leon County, FL
Barbara Simons, retired, IBM Research