Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Free Speech remains enshrined in spite of GoPpiGs' attempts to stifle

Anti-flag-burning amendment to US Constitution fails by a single vote

....Also significant was the demagogic claim by Republican senators that a constitutional amendment to prohibit flag-burning would be an assertion of popular sovereignty against unelected judges. Senator John Cornyn of Texas asked, “Who gets the final word—five justices on the Supreme Court or we the people?” One might ask the senator where he was when the Supreme Court, by a similar 5-4 margin, suppressed the counting of votes by the people of Florida and installed George W. Bush in the White House.

Bush Faces of Death 80904

Bush Faces of Death 80904
Originally uploaded by AJ Franklin.
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Supreme Court rules against Bush administration’s military commissions

By John Burton
30 June 2006

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John Burton is the Socialist Equality Party candidate for US Congress from California’s 29th Congressional District

The US Supreme Court on Thursday struck down by a 5-3 vote the Bush administration’s use of military commissions to try prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The decision rejected the Bush administration’s use of the category of “enemy combatant” to place its captives in a legal black hole, unprotected either by the US criminal justice system or international treaties on the laws of war.

While the decision was a judicial rebuke to the Bush administration, it did not order the release of any of the more than 400 prisoners still held at the US military base. Nor did it address the Bush administration’s claim that it can hold captives there or at other US facilities around the world for the duration of “active hostilities” in the so-called “war on terror,” i.e., indefinitely.

Nevertheless, the high court ruling outlawed the Bush administration’s efforts to convene kangaroo courts where the accused do not have the right to see the evidence against them, cross-examine witnesses or seek judicial review for purported war crimes carrying sentences up to and including execution.

At a pre-scheduled joint press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, held Thursday morning shortly after the court handed down its ruling, Bush responded to questions about the decision, stating several times that “We take the findings of the Supreme Court seriously”—a dismissive concession given that rulings of the highest court in the country immediately become the law of the land. Indicating that his administration would seek to circumvent the substance, if not the letter, of the ruling, Bush said he intended “to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court.”

Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, had declared even before Bush’s statement, “I’m sure we will look at the means to provide them justice under our law,” and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, promised to introduce legislation to “try terrorists only before military commissions, not in our civilian courts.”

The case was brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni, captured by US-allied militia forces following the November 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan. He was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in June 2002 and was among the first five prisoners to be accused of war crimes and subjected to a military commission.

Bush ordered the creation of the military commissions after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to try prisoners whom it labeled “enemy combatants,” rather than “prisoners of war.” The invention of the category “enemy combatant” and the establishment of military commissions were designed to evade the rights and protections granted to captured soldiers and fighters under the Geneva Conventions, as well as due process provisions of US law.

Since Hamdan was charged, five more Guantánamo prisoners have been charged, and the government is claiming that as many as 70 more prisoners will be tried for war crimes.

Alleged to have been a driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Hamdan is facing a sentence of life imprisonment.

That the rules of the Bush administration’s military commissions provide no semblance of due process is obvious. Hamdan did not have the right to see and hear the evidence against him, and could be excluded from his trial altogether. Some of the most vociferous objections against the commission procedures were raised by Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, a Navy officer appointed to represent Hamdan, and even the government’s own prosecutors emailed complaints to their supervisors that the procedures were unfair. (See “Military commissions’ prosecutors charge: trials rigged against Guantánamo detainees”).

The exhaustive 73-page majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was authored by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, the high court’s senior member and, dating back to the theft of the 2000 election by a five-person Supreme Court majority allied to Bush and the Republicans, the most strident opponent of Bush administration power grabs. Stevens was joined by fellow liberals David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, and the crucial fifth vote was provided by Anthony M. Kennedy, who has emerged as the swing justice since the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor earlier this term.

Each of the three extreme right-wing associate justices wrote dissents, defending the Bush White House’s assertion of virtual dictatorial “war-time” powers. While that of newly appointed Samuel A. Alito, Jr., was, like the man himself, cold and technical, Antonin Scalia’s wondered aloud where “the court derives the authority—or the audacity—to contradict” the Bush administration.

Clarence Thomas, to reinforce his opposition to the majority ruling, took the unusual step of reading his dissent from the bench. Thomas called the decision “untenable” and “dangerous,” and accused “those justices who today disregard the commander-in-chief’s wartime decisions” of hampering “the president’s ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who ruled for the Bush administration against Hamdan while still a justice on the Court of Appeals, was not eligible to participate in the Supreme Court’s review.

The six opinions—Kennedy and Breyer drafted separate concurrences—exposed the deep, almost violent divisions that have arisen within the US ruling elite over the most fundamental issues of democratic rights and due process. The opinions suggest they were written by judges barely able to speak to one another, and acutely aware of the conflicted views among the powerful elites with whom they hobnob in Washington, DC.

The case was not, as sometimes portrayed in the media, a frontal attack on the Guantánamo Bay facility itself or the legality of the Bush administration’s policy of capturing people anywhere in the world and jailing them indefinitely. Those issues remain.

Hamdan argued simply that if he was going to be charged with war crimes carrying the possibility of life imprisonment, his trial should at least conform to the rules of a court martial constituted pursuant to the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and be based on a charge, unlike the conspiracy count against him, that is actually recognized as a war crime by international law.

In his majority opinion, Stevens began by overruling both of the Bush administration’s jurisdictional arguments that the Supreme Court should not even rule on the merits of Hamdan’s claims. First, he dismissed its assertion that the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), a law passed by Congress last December, divested the high court of jurisdiction. He then rejected the claim that the court should wait until the military commission reached a final decision on Hamdan before reviewing the matter.

Hamdan should know in advance, Stevens wrote, whether he “may be tried by a military commission that arguably is without any basis in law and operates free from many of the procedural rules prescribed by Congress for courts-martial—rules intended to safeguard the accused and ensure the reliability of any conviction.”

Turning to the merits of the claims themselves, Stevens began with the premise underlying much of the Bush administration’s attack on democratic rights—that the president’s role as “’commander in chief’ of the Armed Forces” frees him from any congressional or judicial restraint. The president’s role is limited, Stevens pointed out, by Congressional power to “declare war” and “make rules concerning captures on land and water,” to “define and punish... offenses against the law of nations,” and “to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.”

The rules that Congress imposed here, Stevens explained, were the UCMJ’s due process requirements. Stevens rejected the position, widely relied on by the Bush administration—for example, in its recent defense of the National Security Agency domestic eavesdropping program—that the Authorization to Use Military Force enacted by Congress shortly after the September 11 attacks freed Bush from the restrictions of legislation like the UCMJ.

Noting that military commissions have no constitutional basis, Stevens pointed out the absurdities in the Bush administration’s argument that one was necessary for Hamdan because he was captured near a battlefield. “Neither the purported agreement with Osama bin Laden and others to commit war crimes, nor a single overt act, is alleged to have occurred in a theater of war or on any specified date after September 11, 2001.”

In fact, Stevens added, “None of the overt acts that Hamdan is alleged to have committed violates the law of war.” The alleged war crime of conspiracy, he observed, “does not appear in either the Geneva Conventions or the Hague Conventions—the major treatises on the laws of war.”

Stevens concluded, “At a minimum, the government must make a substantial showing that the crime for which it seeks to try a defendant by military commission is acknowledged to be an offense against the law of war. That burden is far from satisfied here.” As an example, he cited “The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg,” which, “over the prosecution’s objections, pointedly refused to recognize as a violation of the law of war conspiracy to commit war crimes, and convicted only Hitler’s most senior associates of conspiracy to wage aggressive war.”

In the final and most far-reaching part of the ruling, Stevens overruled the Court of Appeals, which had held that Hamdan could not invoke the protection of the Geneva Conventions in US courts. (See: “US court upholds military trials for Guantánamo prisoners”).

Breaking through the Bush administration’s circular reasoning, which placed “enemy combatants” in legal limbo, unprotected either by criminal law or international law, Stevens explained that a governmental decision to take people out of the protection of the criminal justice system and subject them to military justice necessarily meant that there must be full compliance with the laws of war.

Stevens concluded that, at minimum, and regardless of whether Hamdan qualified as a “prisoner of war” under Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions—the Bush administration argued that he fought for Al Qaeda rather than Afghanistan and was therefore not affiliated with a signing power—he was entitled to the protections of Article 3, which covers captives in conflicts “occurring in the territory” of a signing power, which would include Afghanistan. In particular, Article 3 prohibits “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

As Stevens noted, “The commission that the president has convened to try Hamdan does not meet those requirements.”

Impeachment: No longer simply an option

by AJ Franklin

While el Chimpo jacks around with the constitution and Geneva conventions as any decent war criminal would do, he vows to keep us safe??

Safe from what? Starving prisoners in America's Gulag, Guantanamo Bay Prison?

Meanwhile where is Osama? "Like they say in Tennessee, er, I know it's wrote on the side of a barn down in Texas (where I pretend to be from), Wanted Dead or Alive! I want justice. We're gonna smoke him out of his cave bla bla bla bla

Many cities and local governments have a referendum in this year's primary and election season:


The last bastard who thought he could do that--because he was the president and when the "president does it it's legal," was another GOpPig crook: Richard Nixon.

It's way beyond time for the impeachment of these war criminals and all of their regime. What if they had a constitutional crisis and no one noticed?

That's what we are witnessing right now. Everyone is like the three monkeys of "hear not see not speak not." Let it be said: George W. Bush and Richard Cheney are breaking the law. They believe they are above the laws they have sworn to enforce. They did not swear to issue "signing statements"...they swore an oath of OFFICE to everyone of us in the USA. That came after they were installed by judicial decree.

Take them into custody and put them all on the prisoner's dock. They are criminals and killers and need to be dealt with accordingly.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Goodbye Joe, you gotta go, we won't miss ya

New Ad: Look Who's Talking - George Bush or Joe Lieberman?

We are going on the air with a brand new commercial, and we need your help to keep it on the air. While Senator Lieberman distorts facts and outright lies about Ned’s record, we are going to hit back with the truth.

For too long Senator Lieberman has parroted Republican talking points, giving “Democratic” cover to the president’s failed policies. If it talks like George W. Bush and acts like George W. Bush, it’s certainly not a Connecticut Democrat.

Watch the commercial and help keep us on the air.

30 Seconds: (Quick Time & Windows Media)

Fahrenheit 9/11 Marine Recruiter killed in Iraq

Supreme Court Decisions notwithstanding...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'll say it again: "Bush you dirty bastard"

Media Bullshit stills rolls downhill to readers

Rhetoric over realitity

Rhetoric over reality
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006

As long as two weeks ago, when the world was young, the favored story line of your biased, anti-American, left-wing media was that President Bush was “on a roll.” “ Spate of Good News Gives White House a Chance to Regroup” was The Washington Post’s front-page headline. The Wall Street Journal asked if the White House was “setting the stage for a political recovery.” “The GOP was clearly on a rebound,” Newsweek opined. “It’s been the kind of week that President Bush and the beleaguered White House have only dreamed about,” gushed ABC News’ Claire Shipman. Under Shipman’s shining face, documented by the invaluable, the on-screen text read, “Best week ever? Is Bush on a comeback?” Best week ever? The evidence for this putative surge was the killing of criminal psychopath Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, Bush’s secret 5-hour visit to Baghdad, the non-indictment of Karl Rove and what ABC called “a triumphant Rose Garden news conference” celebrating all of the above.

Sorry, but this last phrase strikes me as perfectly indicative of almost everything that’s wrong with the Bush administration and the celebrity press corps that chronicles its dubious progress. Rhetoric, symbolism and spin take precedence over reality at every turn. To put it bluntly, this nation is allegedly at war with an evil and implacable enemy. Don’t tell me about no triumphant press conferences.

The entire episode played like a chapter out of Eric Boehlert’s incisive new book, “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush.” By any measure, the killing of al-Zarqawi, Jordan’s answer to Timothy McVeigh, was unabashed good news. So good that it appears fellow “insurgents” betrayed him. Even al-Qa’ida objected to al-Zarqawi’s savage attacks against Shiite civilians and holy places, although it called him a martyr after he was safely in his grave.

The mystery is why, according to numerous reports, the White House turned down several opportunities to capture or kill al-Zarqawi as long ago as 2001. The answer seems to be that it found his presence in the Kurdish part of Iraq not under Saddam Hussein’s control useful for propaganda purposes. Then things got out of hand.

Something similar could be said about Bush’s visit to Baghdad. Satirist Stephen Colbert captured it perfectly during his standup routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner: “I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.”

Yet even as Bush was en route to Iraq, The Washington Post obtained—and all but buried—a cable from U. S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad portraying increasing sectarian violence and sharply deteriorating security affecting Iraqi employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Appearance not only trumps reality in the staging of photo-ops, it’s beginning to look as if the Bush White House can no longer tell the difference. It’s only natural for trendy TV pundits to think this way. What Hollywood calls a rising story line means more “exclusive” interviews with administration big shots, more face time on TV, invitations to more exclusive dinner parties and better speaker’s fees.

But when policy-makers start thinking like screenwriters, things can get dangerous. Consider last week’s Senate “debate” over two Democratic proposals for setting a rational timetable for leaving Iraq. On cue, almost every Republican in Washington began chanting, “Cut ’n’ run.”

Any and all proposals for withdrawing U. S. troops constitute evidence of Democratic cowardice, if not treason. Except those subsequently revealed to the press in a “classified briefing” (whatever that is) by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U. S. commander in Iraq, of course.

What nobody’s supposed to notice is that if the White House and Republicans were truly serious, one option would be increasing troop levels to deal with metastasizing sectarian violence among Iraqi factions. Military experts such as Gen. George Shinseki, all but forced out of the Pentagon back in 2002 for testifying to Congress that several hundred thousand troops would be necessary to pacify a nation as large as Iraq, warned that the force Bush was sending was inadequate to do the job.

So now American soldiers find themselves hostage to foolhardy decisions made four years ago, essentially serving as referees and targets of opportunity as a civil war breaks out around them. Bush can’t increase troop levels because the public wouldn’t stand for it even if sufficient combat-ready troops existed, which, with conditions in Afghanistan also deteriorating, they do not. Hence “Cut ’n’ run,” a slogan more appropriate to the rollout of an action/ adventure film than a grave matter of national security. What the phrase really means, as political commentator Josh Marshall points out, is “more of the same.”

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The philanthropy of Warren Buffett

This debate is over.

Scientists OK Gore's movie for accuracy - Yahoo! News

The former vice president's movie — replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets — mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.

The War Party!

The War Party!
Originally uploaded by AJ Franklin.
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Bush: "We don't need no stinkin' courts..."

Surveillance Disclosure Denounced

(The war criminal*) President Bush offered an impassioned defense of his secret international banking surveillance program yesterday, calling it a legal and effective tool for hunting down terrorists and denouncing the media's disclosure of it as a "disgraceful" act that does "great harm" to the nation.

The president used a White House appearance with supporters of troops in Iraq to lash out at newspapers that revealed the program, which has examined hundreds of thousands of private banking records from around the world. His remarks led off a broader White House assault later amplified by Vice President Cheney and Treasury Secretary John W. Snow.

"What we did was fully authorized under the law," Bush said in an angry tone as he leaned forward in his chair and wagged his finger. "And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We're at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America."

Bush denied overstepping his bounds by not seeking court or congressional approval for the program in the nearly five years since it was established following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "What we were doing was the right thing," he said. "Congress was aware of it, and we were within the law to do so."

Critics said Bush was trying to divert attention from his own actions. Bush, Cheney and other Republicans "have adopted a shoot-the-messenger strategy by attacking the newspaper that revealed the existence of the secret bank surveillance program rather than answering the disturbing questions that those reports raise about possible violations of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. privacy laws," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

Under the program, U.S. officials tapped records of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT, an international banking cooperative owned by nearly 8,000 banks in more than 20 countries. The Treasury Department used administrative subpoenas that do not involve a judge to search for terrorist transactions and hired Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. to verify that the data were properly handled.

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal first reported the program on their Web sites Thursday night. The Washington Post confirmed the story and reported it in its Friday editions. But the New York Times was the focus of White House ire because it led the way in investigating and because it disclosed the National Security Agency telephone surveillance program last year.

"Some of the press, in particular the New York Times, have made the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult by insisting on publishing detailed information about vital national security programs," Cheney said at a Republican fundraiser in Nebraska.

Referring to the NSA program, he added: "What is doubly disturbing for me is that not only have they gone forward with these stories, but they've been rewarded for it, for example, in the case of the terrorist surveillance program, by being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for outstanding journalism. I think that is a disgrace."

Neither Bush nor Cheney raised the prospect of investigating journalists, as proposed by Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who called on the Justice Department to prosecute the New York Times for "treasonous" action.

An investigation into how the information was revealed would normally follow such a disclosure. But officials denied that the rhetoric was an attempt to intimidate the media.

"It's not designed to have a chilling effect," White House press secretary Tony Snow said. "If the New York Times wants a spirited debate about it, it's got it. But certainly nobody is going to deny First Amendment rights. But the New York Times and other news organizations ought to think long and hard about whether a public's right to know, in some cases, might overwrite somebody's right to live."

A spokeswoman for the Times had no comment yesterday, pointing instead to an open letter by Executive Editor Bill Keller on Sunday. Keller noted that the Framers intended an independent press as a check on government abuse of power, and "rejected the idea that it is wise, or patriotic, to always take the President at his word, or to surrender to the government important decisions about what to publish."

Keller said he took seriously the government's private entreaties not to publish but decided that printing the story was in the public's interest. He argued that terrorist financiers knew the international banking system is being monitored and said administration officials seemed more worried that bankers would back out of the system. The argument that disclosure would change terrorist tactics, he wrote, "was made in a half-hearted way."

John Snow fired back yesterday in a letter to Keller, accusing him of "breathtaking arrogance" for presuming to know what terrorists know or do. "Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were 'half-hearted' is incorrect and offensive," the Treasury secretary wrote.

Unlike the NSA program, the banking surveillance has not triggered broad outrage among congressional Democrats. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), said that "it doesn't seem to be based on the same shaky legal analysis" as the NSA program. But he added that Reid, who was briefed on it for the first time a few weeks ago, is concerned that "the administration has continued to ignore its duty to keep Congress informed."

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a Bush critic, issued a tempered statement yesterday: "Allowing law enforcement to examine bank records in order to stop the flow of money to terrorists makes a lot of sense, and this program appears to allow for just that. The real question here, as with so many other programs run by this Administration, is whether they are obeying the laws we have on the books to protect Americans from unnecessary invasions of their privacy."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company
*("The war criminal" is AJ's comment)

Monday, June 26, 2006

T h i s l o u s e y b a s t a r d - - A b o v e t h e l a w ?

MUST SEE VIDEO//What have we (the USA under Fucking Bush) BECOME???

Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances
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Partner: 14 Non-Profit Organizations Worldwide

Human rights groups and several public inquiries in Europe have found the U.S. government, with the complicity of numerous governments worldwide, to be engaged in the illegal practice of extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture. The U.S. government-sponsored program of renditions is an unlawful practice in which numerous persons have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional human rights abuses including torture and enforced disappearance. No one knows the exact number of persons affected, due to the secrecy under which the operations are carried out.

Transport"Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'" tells the stories of Khaled El-Masri and Binyam Mohamed, two men who have survived extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture by the U.S. government working with various other governments worldwide. "Outlawed" features relevant commentary from Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.S. President George W. Bush, Michael Scheuer, the chief architect of the rendition program and former head of the Osama Bin Laden unit at the CIA, and Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State. "Outlawed" places the post-9/11 phenomenon of renditions and the "war on terrorism" in a human rights context for use on a global level in advocacy, education, and mobilization.

Outlawed places the post-9/11 phenomenon of renditions and the "war on terror" in a human rights context and calls for action end these human rights abuses. Click here to act now.

The video above contains excerpts from "Outlawed." To view the full-length video, click one of the links below. Please note that the video is 28 mins long and 91 MB and will need to be downloaded to your computer. It is available as a Real Media or Quicktime file.

Video and.or Streaming Sound

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Miami “terror” arrests—a government provocation

By Bill Van Auken
24 June 2006

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There are many incongruities surrounding the arrest of seven men from the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood of Miami on charges of conspiracy to “wage war on the United States” that suggest it, like so many previous “terrorist plots” announced by the Bush administration, is a government-inspired provocation mounted for reactionary political ends.

None of the claims made by the government and repeated uncritically by the media concerning the arrest of these young working-class men can be accepted as good coin. Both the flimsiness of the criminal indictment and the lurid headlines surrounding it mark this event as an escalation in the anti-democratic conspiracies of the Bush administration.

There is every indication that this latest purported terrorist threat—described by some media outlets as “even bigger than September 11”—was manufactured by the FBI, which used an undercover agent posing as a terrorist mastermind to entrap those targeted for arrest.

While the Justice Department declared that the arrests had foiled a plot to blow up the tallest building in the US, the Sears Tower in Chicago, authorities in that city assured its residents that there had never been any threat to the structure.

The four-count indictment presented by the Justice Department in a Miami federal court on Friday contains not a single indication of an overt criminal act or even the means to carry one out. The brief 11-page document consists almost entirely of alleged statements made by the defendants to the FBI informant, referred to in quotes throughout the indictment as “the al Qaeda representative.”

The government chose to consummate its entrapment plan by unleashing dozens of combat-equipped federal agents, dressed in olive drab fatigues and carrying automatic weapons, on the predominantly African-American Liberty City neighborhood, one of the poorest in the country. Liberty City was the scene of riots that broke out in 1980 after the acquittal of white police officers for the beating death of a black motorist.

On Thursday, the government’s paramilitary squads confronted residents with pictures of the accused, demanding to know their whereabouts. The seven defendants are representative of the impoverished working class population of Miami, including Haitian immigrants.

It appears they were targeted by the FBI because they had formed a religious group, calling themselves the “Seas of David,” which reportedly incorporated elements of Christianity and Islam. One of their crimes, according to the FBI’s deputy director, John Pistole, was that the Seas of David “did not believe the United States government had legal authority over them.”

According to some residents of the neighborhood, the group lived together in the warehouse that was raided by the FBI, using it for religious worship and as a base of operations for a construction business.

Elements of the federal indictment are so self-incriminating as to border on the ludicrous. Among the charges are that the defendants “swore an oath of loyalty to al Qaeda.” Who administered this oath? The “al Qaeda representative,” AKA, the paid informant of the FBI.

Aside from this “loyalty oath” solicited by the FBI, only one of the seven defendants is accused of any overt act, outside of driving the FBI informant to meetings.

The only action with which this one individual is charged—all else is words—is taking pictures of the FBI headquarters in Miami. Who supplied the camera? The “al Qaeda representative”—i.e., the FBI agent provocateur.

The indictment further charges two of the accused with driving “with the ‘al Qaeda representative’” to a store in Dade County, Florida to purchase a memory chip for a digital camera to be used for taking reconnaissance photographs of the FBI building. The document does not say who paid for the chip, but there is hardly room for doubt.

In one of the more curious sections of the indictment, one of the accused, Narseal Batiste, is accused of asking the FBI informant to provide various items for his group, including footwear, for which he provided a “list of shoe sizes.” Apparently the FBI delivered the shoes.

Pistole, the FBI deputy director, admitted that the supposed plots to blow up buildings had been “more aspirational than operational.” In the raids carried out by the FBI squads, no weapons and no explosive substances were found.

“We preempted their plot,” declared Pistole. But the indictment and the facts of the case indicate that the alleged plot would never have existed had the government not planned and instigated it in the first place.

At a Washington press conference, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged that the alleged plot had posed no actual danger. He claimed this was because the authorities had intervened “in its earliest stages.”

So “early” was the preemption that officials associated with the supposed targets of the plot dismissed the government’s indictment. Barbara Carley, the managing director of the Sears Tower, told the press, “Federal and local authorities continue to tell us they’ve never found evidence of a credible terrorism threat against Sears Tower that’s ever gone beyond just talk.”

Her remarks were echoed by Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline, who said, “There never was any credible threat to the Sears Tower at all.”

In his press conference, Attorney General Gonzales asserted that the Miami group represented a “new brand of terrorism” created by “the convergence of globalization and technology.”

What these words mean is anyone’s guess. There is no indication that those charged, who were living in a warehouse in the poorest city in America, had access to any technology, and their supposed contact to the wider world was an informer planted by the FBI. The suggestion that the seven men were a “home-grown” terrorist group inspired by contact with Al Qaeda elements over the Internet is supported neither by evidence nor the charges contained in the government’s own indictment.

R. Alexander Acosta, the United States attorney in South Florida, told the media that the defendants had “lived in the United States for most of their lives, but developed a hatred of America.” This is presented as though it constituted evidence of a crime.

It is hardly surprising for someone living in Liberty City to hate the poverty and oppression that prevail there, or for Haitian immigrants to despise the imprisonment and repression that Washington metes out to those attempting to escape the brutal conditions imposed by US imperialism upon their homeland.

What is highly noteworthy is that the federal government decided to intervene in this situation to concoct a phony Al Qaeda connection and trumped up “terror plot.”

What is the government’s motive in manufacturing such a plot? Whose interests are served? Under conditions in which the majority of the American people have turned against the Iraq war and support the withdrawal of American troops, the Bush administration is desperately attempting to once again link its neo-colonial venture in Iraq with a supposed “global war on terror” waged to defend the American people against another 9/11.

To sustain such a fiction, fresh evidence of terrorist threats is periodically required. And it has been forthcoming on a regular basis. Every several months another “conspiracy” is unveiled, invariably involving an FBI informant and hapless individuals ensnared in a plot orchestrated by the government.

Until now, these “sting” operations have been targeted at Muslim immigrants. Last month, for example, Pakistani immigrant Shahawar Siraj in New York City was found guilty of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station in a “plot” that the evidence indicated was based entirely on suggestions from an FBI informant. The FBI agent provocateur taunted the defendant with photographs of Abu Ghraib torture victims and demanded to know how, as a Muslim, he could fail to take action.

Similarly, in Albany, New York two years ago, the FBI recruited a Pakistani immigrant, promising him leniency on minor fraud charges, to ensnare two other immigrants in a fictitious scheme to help a non-existent person buy a weapon for a fake terrorist plot.

These provocations and conspiracies are symptomatic of a government that is both ruthless and desperate. Confronting a population that is increasingly hostile to its political agenda of reaction at home and war abroad, it is driven to manufacture an endless series of terrorist threats aimed at disorienting and intimidating public opinion.

Bush administration compiling massive database of bank records

By Kate Randall
24 June 2006

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The Bush administration has been secretly tapping into a global network of confidential financial transactions and compiling a vast database of bank records. According to an article in the June 23 New York Times, the program was initiated shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and has examined banking transactions involving tens of thousands of individuals in the US and internationally.

Through the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, ordered by Bush 10 days after 9/11, the US Treasury Department has been collecting data from the world’s largest financial communications network—the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. The Bush administration has authorized the program through administrative subpoenas under a little-known authority of the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

Administration officials asked the Times not publish its story. When the Times went ahead with it, the White House denounced the newspaper, implying that by informing the American and international public of the massive and warrentless intrusion of privacy it was aiding and abetting the terrorists. “We are disappointed that once again the New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect Americans,” Bush administration spokeswoman Dana Perino said. “We know that Al Qaeda watches for any clue as to how we are fighting the war on terrorism and then they adapt.”

Exposure of the government spying on bank records follows revelations of far-reaching secret spying operations on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) involving eavesdropping on telephone calls, emails and faxes without the benefit of court-issued warrants and the assembling of a database, again without court warrants, covering hundreds of millions of domestic telephone calls. The Justice Department has also requested that Internet providers keep two-year records of web sites their customers visit and addresses to which they send email.

As with the previously exposed spying programs, the Bush administration is using the so-called “war on terrorism” as the pretext for implementing, in the form of the SWIFT program, another unconstitutional and illegal assault on democratic rights. The piecemeal revelation of such programs provides only a glimpse of the vast infrastructure for police-state forms of rule that has been put in place.

No one should have any illusions, despite the pro forma assurances from government officials to the contrary, that this information is being assembled for future use against individuals with no connection to terrorism. Those who have instituted these programs see the major threat to their wealth and power coming not from bands of Islamist terrorists, but from among the American people. List are being assembled of political dissidents, opponents both of the war in Iraq and future wars and the right-wing domestic policies of the US ruling elite, in preparation for repression on a mass scale.

Government officials speaking to the Los Angeles Times said that information gathered from the SWIFT program could be used in “link analysis,” a procedure criticized by privacy advocates, in which information is gathered on innocent people with routine financial dealings with suspected terrorists.

If anything, the personal data compiled through SWIFT is even more detailed than that which is being amassed through the NSA programs, as it can be used to track the names and account numbers of both senders and recipients of bank funds, with all the information—addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, employment information—that appears on supposedly confidential bank records.

The amount of data and the number of individuals tracked is huge. Considered the central nervous system of central banking, SWIFT links about 7,800 banks and brokerages and carries up to 12.7 million messages a day. Mining this vast network, the Treasury Department, has compiled an enormous and continually expanding repository of records on individuals.

According to Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, the Treasury Department issues a new subpoena once a month. SWIFT then turns over vast amounts of electronic financial data, which is added to the database government officials have been compiling since shortly after 9/11. The Treasury Department then shares this data with analysts from the CIA, the FBI and other agencies, who can run searches on specific individuals.

After identifying a suspect, Levey said, “you can do a search, and you can determine whom he sent money to, and who sent money to him.” He said that “tens of thousands” of such searches have been conducted over the past five years.

Levey added, “The way the SWIFT data works, you would have all kinds of concrete information—addresses, phone numbers, real names, account numbers, lots of stuff we can really work with, the kind of actionable information that government officials can really follow up on.”

Bush administration officials spoke to the media only after it became clear that the New York Times and other news outlets were prepared to publish reports on the SWIFT spy operation. They were quick to defend its legality with claims that it was being used only to track terror suspects.

Government terrorism investigators have sought since the 1990s to access SWIFT’s database, but were blocked, in part, by government and industry authorities who cited American laws restricting government access to private financial records. After 9/11, President Bush pushed aside these concerns, invoking his power under the IEEPA to “investigate, regulate or prohibit” any foreign financial transaction linked to “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”

As with the previous revelations of NSA spying, the exposure of the SWIFT program will evoke no serious opposition from either of the two parties or from the media. There will be no serious congressional investigations, no demands from either party for the program to be ended, and none of the authors of the program, from Bush on down, will be called to account.

As with the NSA spying operations, the existence of the SWIFT program has long been known to leading congressional Democrats as well as Republicans. All have colluded to keep the American people in the dark. Treasury Secretary Snow made a point of declaring that both the House and Senate intelligence committees had been fully apprised of the program’s existence.

The record makes clear the bipartisan support for these police-state operations.

In the aftermath of the exposure of NSA spying, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (Republican from Pennsylvania), under pressure from the White House, shelved his threat to call executives from the telecommunications companies to testify before the committee.

Specter and another Republican senator, Mike DeWine (Ohio), have introduced bills that would, in effect, provide a legal cover for the NSA’s electronic surveillance and data mining of Americans by allowing the executive branch to bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and proceed without warrants. Another bill co-sponsored by Specter and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (California) would streamline the procedures required to seek approval from the court.

Moreover, Senate Democrats combined with Republicans last month to confirm, by a lopsided vote of 78-15, Bush nominee Gen. Michael Hayden as the new CIA director. Hayden was the head of the NSA when the agency’s spying operations on Americans were instituted after 9/11. He not only defended the programs during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he made it clear that he was a principal author of the programs.

See Also:
NSA phone spying program: a blueprint for mass repression
[15 May 2006]
Framework for a police state
US government phone spying targets all Americans
[12 May 2006]

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Doctor is IN THE HOUSE!

Custodians of chaos

In this extract from his forthcoming memoirs, Kurt Vonnegut is horrified by the hypocrisy in contemporary US politics

By Kurt Vonnegut

06/17/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, five hundred years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

The Chinese also gave us, via Marco Polo, pasta and the formula for gunpowder. The Chinese were so dumb they only used gunpowder for fireworks. And everybody was so dumb back then that nobody in either hemisphere even knew that there was another one.

We've sure come a long way since then. Sometimes I wish we hadn't. I hate H-bombs and the Jerry Springer Show

But back to people like Confucius and Jesus and my son the doctor, Mark, each of whom have said in their own way how we could behave more humanely and maybe make the world a less painful place. One of my favourite humans is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana.

Get a load of this. Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was not yet four, ran five times as the Socialist party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, almost 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

"As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.

"As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it.

"As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Doesn't anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools, or health insurance for all?

When you get out of bed each morning, with the roosters crowing, wouldn't you like to say. "As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

How about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

And so on.

Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly George W Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld stuff.

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

It so happens that idealism enough for anyone is not made of perfumed pink clouds. It is the law! It is the US Constitution.

But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'état imaginable.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale".

George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it!

Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything.

PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires out of billionaires, and they own television, and they bankroll George Bush, and not because he's against gay marriage.

So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.

They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilise the reserves! Privatise the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: only nut cases want to be president. This was true even in high school. Only clearly disturbed people ran for class president.

The title of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a parody of the title of Ray Bradbury's great science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. Four hundred and fifty-one degrees Fahrenheit is the combustion point, incidentally, of paper, of which books are composed. The hero of Bradbury's novel is a municipal worker whose job is burning books.

While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

And still on the subject of books: our daily news sources, newspapers and TV, are now so craven, so unvigilant on behalf of the American people, so uninformative, that only in books do we learn what's really going on.

I will cite an example: House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, published in early 2004, that humiliating, shameful, blood-soaked year.

In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African-Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appallingly powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed.

In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as Nazis once were.

And with good reason.

In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanised millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want.

Piece of cake.

In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanised our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class.

Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything.

Piece of cake.

The O'Reilly Factor.

So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called In These Times.

Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic New York Times guaranteed there were weapons of mass destruction there.

Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the first world war. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the first world war so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.

Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?

Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the second world war and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine.

My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."

Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas

Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?

© 2005 Kurt Vonnegut Extracted from A Man Without a Country: : A Memoir of Life in George W Bush's America.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Main Characters in this STINKING CABAL

Originally uploaded by AJ Franklin.
Finally captured and put on trial. Prosecutor recommends HANGING in the WORST DEGREE!


Attorney General Alfredo Gonzales warns of Al Caida in America--No...wait...something as "BIG" as Al Caida...
Jeb Bush proud of his brother's brains but takes all the credit since it happened in FLORIDA!

5 impoverished "Merikens" and 2 Haitian refugees were about to pull it off! FBI got in there and stifled the event!

BULLSHIT. I'll wait for the trial...TOTAL FRAUD...KARL ROVE"S NEW NOVEMBER MID TERM PLAN: SCARE AMERICA and start in Florida with an ILLINOIS building.

I think they will have a hard time showing that the TERRAISTZ had BUS FARE to Chicago. Does anyone remember the big terraist threat posed by 5 Afghani men coming across the Canadian border over New Year's Eve, 2003? John Asscrack went on TV and told everyone to go about their usual business and it would be ok...the FBI was on the case.

Three days later a small businessman, a jeweler by trade, in Khandahar, saw his picture and that of his friends being broadcast by the comically corrupt Asscrack justice department! He called his embassy and said he was definately NOT in America via the Canadian border and what the hell was America doing showing him as a terraistz?

An embarassed and disgraced justice department barely poked its nose out of a hole long enough to call off the charade. That's what Bush Cabal does. It is government by scare tactic. The media barely lost a beat, and you almost had to search the sources to find a withdrawl of the story.

And people wonder why I can't control myself when I call them lousy fucking bastards?

This is such crap. Where is Jon Stewert and the Daily Show on this one?

Dems Can Make it a Landslide Victory if they oppose Bush

Some Democrats coming to terms with Iraq rift

By Patricia WilsonFri Jun 23, 12:47 PM ET

With Iraq looming over critical U.S. congressional elections this year and the 2008 presidential campaign, some Democrats are beginning to be less fearful of the party split over the war.

While President George W. Bush, his political architect Karl Rove and Republicans in Congress step up their attacks, Democrats say the fact they are challenging the administration's conduct of the war will play well with voters in November when the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives is at stake.

"We don't have a single answer," said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the centrist New Democrat Network. "I don't think we need one."

Democrats have differed openly on options in Iraq, ranging from quick withdrawal of the 127,000 U.S. troops there, to a gradual pullout, to the need for a stand-down plan, to support for the war effort.

They offered competing amendments in the Senate this week, one demanding Bush start pulling out combat forces immediately and finish the job by July 2007, and another urging a phased withdrawal starting this year but without a deadline for completion.

Republicans voted down both, dismissing the first as a "cut-and-run" plan and ridiculing the second as "cut-and-jog."

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, a potential presidential contender in 2008, said on Friday the party's diversity of opinion on Iraq was a strength that stood in stark contrast to the broad Republican loyalty toward Bush.

"Although unity is important, it is not the most important value," Clinton told the second day of a conference sponsored by the New Democrat Network. "It is, I think, a tribute to the Democratic Party that we are honestly and openly struggling with a lot of the difficult issues facing our country."

After her speech, she told reporters that Republicans in Congress were "like the three monkeys -- see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), a Delaware Democrat who is also considering a White House run, said Republicans were "totally united" behind Bush's "mishandling" of the war, a position that could backfire in the elections.

"I'm confident if you're a Democratic audience, there's a split view on Iraq," he told the NDN conference. "But one thing we're not divided on, we're not divided on how badly this administration has bungled the war."

Public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans now thinks the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Rosenberg, who does not favor a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops, said Democratic unity on Iraq was not necessarily something the party should aspire to.

"I think consensus is an aspiration," he said, adding that Democrats had fulfilled their responsibility by coming together to challenge the Bush administration.

"We're doing what's required of us," he said.

Rising casualties and falling public support for the war have dragged down Bush's poll numbers and encouraged Democrats to believe they can seize control of Congress in midterm elections.

But they face a long-standing national security dilemma on Iraq, trying to balance the political costs of disappointing the party's anti-war activists with the risk of being cast as defeatist and weak on defense by Republicans.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, another potential Democratic presidential candidate who addressed the conference, said Rove and the White House were practicing "the politics of division, of red and blue America."

Warner said his biggest problem with Bush was that the president had missed an opportunity in the days after the September 11, 2001, attacks to challenge Americans "to step up."

"He's never asked us for shared sacrifice. He's never asked us to be part of the solution."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Washington escalates slaughter in Iraq

By Bill Van Auken
21 June 2006

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The killing of two American soldiers captured by insurgents at a roadblock south of Baghdad will be seized upon by Washington as justification for an intensified bloodbath against the Iraqi people.

Well before the discovery of the bodies of the young soldiers, reportedly bearing the marks of torture and mutilation, there were already mounting indications that the Bush White House and the Pentagon were implementing a shift in military tactics that spells a dramatic escalation of US violence in the occupied country.

The mass media, which has shown little inclination to highlight the daily death toll of American troops, now totaling over 2,500—much less the far greater toll of Iraqi dead, estimated in the hundreds of thousands—has exhibited keen interest in the fate of the two executed enlisted men, including gruesome details of their deaths. Their aim is to whip up an atmosphere of hatred and revenge against the Iraqi population.

Brutal killings of occupation troops are the inevitable product of every colonial war fought in the history of mankind. Yet virtually every US television announcer and every newspaper headline writer has felt a duty to proclaim the “barbaric” and “savage” character of these particular deaths, words that are never applied to the torture deaths of Iraqis in the confines of Abu Ghraib and other US detention centers, the slaughter of men, women and children in their own homes by 500-pound bombs, or the indiscriminate killing of civilians on Iraqi roads in the name of “force protection.”

The media has granted instant credibility to an Internet posting which claims that the purported new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq—Abu Hamza al-Muhajir—personally beheaded the American soldiers. This dubious claim is promoted to provide a personification of evil for mass consumption, with the aim of conditioning the American people for the mass killing that is about to be carried out in their name.

Government and media propaganda aside, these killings are a telling indication that more than three years after invading and occupying Iraq, US forces have failed to secure the very ground upon which they stand. The ability of masked gunmen to seize the soldiers, hold them for three days, kill them and dump their bodies, and then mine both the location of the corpses and the road leading to it, without being captured or detected by the thousands of troops searching for them, is evidence that those fighting the US occupation enjoy widespread support and sympathy from within the Iraqi population.

It should be recalled that the bloodbath unleashed upon Fallujah in November 2004 followed the killing and mutilation of four military contractors—hired mercenaries—who were ambushed while driving through the Iraqi city. The city was turned into a free-fire zone and much of it was reduced to rubble by means of high explosive bombs, complimented by napalm and chemical weapons.

Similar atrocities are being prepared against the capital of Anbar Province, Ramadi, which has been placed under US military siege. Warplanes and attack helicopters fly continuously over the city, dropping bombs, while battle tanks patrol the streets. A series of roadblocks have sealed off all roads in and out of Ramadi, and residents have been subjected to the cutoff of basic services such as electricity, water and emergency medical care.

An entire US Marine brigade—some 2,500 troops—has been deployed in and around the city, while an additional 1,500 US soldiers have been brought to Iraq specifically for the operation in Ramadi, long considered a center of resistance to the American occupation. Another two battalions of US-trained Iraqi government troops have been mobilized.

While many families have fled Ramadi, it is estimated that as many as 150,000 Iraqis—among them the poor, the elderly and the disabled—remain within the city, unable to leave. Once the all-out US offensive begins, these men, women and children will be classified as “terrorists” and many will be included in the reported toll of enemy forces killed in combat.

Another war crime is being prepared, even as evidence mounts that the US war and occupation of Iraq consists of countless acts of brutality and murder.

The search launched in the wake of the capture of the two US soldiers has itself been accompanied by massive violence. According to the Pentagon, the US deployed some 8,000 troops in the operation and “cleared” at least 12 villages, forcibly detaining large numbers of Iraqis.

In Baghdad itself, a security crackdown has been launched following George Bush’s grandstanding visit to the Green Zone last week. Security sweeps are being conducted by combined units of US and Iraqi puppet troops, while a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been put in place. Last month, according to official Iraqi sources, some 2,155 people suffered violent deaths in the capital, many of them victims of US-trained death squads.

Another atrocity was carried out by the US military this week in a village near the city of Baquba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. According to published reports, between 13 and 15 Iraqis were killed in an air raid and subsequent assault by US airborne troops. The dead consisted primarily of poultry farm workers, gunned down by American forces, but also included one child.

Even before the investigation into the massacre of 24 civilians in the town of Haditha has concluded, the US Army has charged three American soldiers—all members of the 101st Airborne, the unit of the two soldiers captured and executed this week—with murder in the summary execution of three Iraqis last month.

Those killed were among some 200 detained by American troops in a May 9 raid at a chemical plant near the Thar Thar canal in northern Salahuddin province. According to the Pentagon’s account, not only did three soldiers participate in the executions, they threatened to kill a fourth member of their unit if he said anything about the murders.

The growing number of criminal charges against US troops are symptomatic of an occupation and war that are themselves crimes, involving unimaginable violence and deprivation inflicted on the Iraqi people.

The great bulk of atrocities are carried out with official sanction and go unreported by the American media and unopposed by the ostensible political opposition, the Democratic Party. The US public is kept almost entirely in the dark about the horrors that are being carried out in its name under the phony mantle of the “global war on terrorism.”

While there is increasing evidence that the US attempt to conquer Iraq and install a puppet regime to ensure US control over the country’s oil reserves has produced a debacle, there is no indication that either the Bush administration or its nominal political opponents in the Democratic Party have any intention of calling the bloodbath to a halt.

On the contrary, the preparations for an assault on Ramadi and the crackdown in Baghdad suggest that the Bush administration is planning to employ naked force and mass terror to produce at least the appearance of a changed situation on the ground in Iraq before the November mid-term elections.

While such political calculations play a major role in this military strategy, on a more fundamental level, the US ruling elite remains committed to a policy of subjugating Iraq to semi-colonial domination. The phony debate on the war in Congress and within the Democratic Party is not over whether to end the occupation, but how to make it succeed.

The so-called “antiwar” faction of the Democrats, including the party’s former presidential candidate, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, is proposing not an end to the colonialist adventure in Iraq, but merely a “redeployment” to carry it out more effectively and with fewer American casualties. The predominant faction in the party, personified by New York Senator Hillary Clinton, maintains a policy of continuing the present deployment, differing little with the Bush administration.

Virtually every major newspaper, from the supposedly liberal New York Times to the hard-line Republican Wall Street Journal, has published editorials in the past week warning that demands to withdraw US troops or even to set a timetable for reducing force levels are unacceptable.

What accounts for this remarkable unanimity among those entrusted with manufacturing public opinion behind a position that is manifestly at odds with the popular antiwar sentiment reflected in every opinion poll? It reflects a broad consensus within America’s financial elite that the project of conquering Iraq—whatever differences might exist over its execution by the Bush administration—must continue, no matter what the cost in human life and financial resources. The profit interests of America’s multi-millionaires and billionaires are bound up with Washington’s attempt to use military force to achieve global hegemony, and no amount of killing is too great to secure them.

An end to this filthy war can be achieved only through the independent political mobilization of American working people against these interests and the two-party system that exists to defend them. The Socialist Equality Party has placed at the center of its intervention in the US midterm elections the demand for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq, and that all those responsible for the illegal and unprovoked invasion be compelled to face trial before a war crimes tribunal.

See Also:
A grim milestone in the Iraq war: 2,500th US military death
[17 June 2006]
Bush in Baghdad
[14 June 2006]
The Bush administration and the killing of Zarqawi
[9 June 2006]
US Army clears troops in Ishaqi massacre
[6 June 2006]
George Bush and the Haditha massacre
[2 June 2006]

Staying the course--Dying soldiers give chimpo cover

Staying the course is politics, not planning
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Instead of running for majority leader if Democrats take control of the House in 2006, maybe U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha ought to run for president. He may be 74, but the man knows how to handle himself in a fight, a skill too many genteel Democrats appear to have forgotten. Here’s the story: After escaping indictment last week, the new Republican ethical gold standard, White House apparatchik Karl Rove hustled to New Hampshire for a GOP fund-raiser. There he engaged in the kind of cheap smear for which he’s justly infamous. Of Democrats like Murtha who voted to confront Iraq but have become war critics, Rove said: “Too many Democrats—it strikes me they are ready to give the green light to go to war, but when it gets tough and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party’s old pattern of cutting and running. They may be with you at the first shots, but they are not going to be there for the last tough battles.” Let’s pass over the fact that when George W. Bush presented the Iraq resolution, he vowed that it wasn’t a declaration of war. Most people knew better. When Tim Russert played the videotape of Rove for Murtha on “Meet the Press,” the crusty old former Marine reacted angrily.

“He’s in New Hampshire,” Murtha said. “He’s making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office with his big, fat backside, saying, ‘Stay the course.’ That’s not a plan. I mean, this guy—I don’t know what his military experience is, but that’s a political statement.”

For the record, Rove’s military experience, like Vice President Dick Cheney’s and that of virtually all the neo-conservative architects of this ill-conceived utopian fantasy, is absolutely zero.

Murtha knows about war. A native of the coal-mining and steel-making region of western Pennsylvania, he volunteered to fight in Korea and Vietnam, where he won two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. I’m confident that even at 74, he could kick Rove’s pasty posterior with one leg—assuming he could outrun the little creep.

As history, this cut-and-run business is nonsense. It wasn’t Democrats who made peace in Korea. It was President Dwight Eisenhower. Democrats didn’t dispatch Henry Kissinger to whisper to China in 1972 that the U. S. could live with a communist Vietnam. President Richard Nixon did. He began the long, bloody retreat that ended with the North Vietnamese taking Saigon under President Gerald Ford.

Maybe the oddest thing about the legacy of Vietnam is that the worst thing that could happen, from a rightwing perspective, did happen. The U.S. lost the war. Communists conquered much of Southeast Asia. And the effect on national security? Well, we got lots of good Vietnamese restaurants out of it. Otherwise, none.

The communists soon fell to fighting among themselves, with Vietnam invading Cambodia, China attacking Vietnam, and the Chinese and Soviet Russians entangled in a blood feud. Next, Russia invaded Afghanistan. Domestic fallout from that bloody fiasco helped cause the collapse of the U.S.S.R.  and the demise of communism almost everywhere—also because nobody but a few crackpot professors in the West believed in it anymore.

Exactly why so many like Rove, Bush and Cheney, who avoided Vietnam, subsequently metamorphosed into countryclub Napoleons is mysterious. Personal psychodrama appears to be involved.

It’s past time to get real, Murtha says. Invading Iraq was an unnecessary folly.

“We didn’t have a threat to our national security. That’s been proven,” Murtha told Russert. “Second, we [sent ] inadequate forces to get it under control in a transition to peace.... [T] he third thing was no exit strategy.

“It’s no longer a military war,” Murtha said. “We have won the military war against [the] enemy. We toppled Saddam Hussein. The military’s done everything that they can do. And so it’s time for us to redeploy.... Only Iraqis can settle this.”

Murtha didn’t say so, but there’s no chance of an Iraqi democracy friendly to the U.S. That’s a delusion. Bush’s photo-op visit merely underscored the point. Three years after “Mission accomplished,” and the mighty conqueror flies into the fortified “Green Zone” unannounced and can’t trust Iraq’s prime minister enough to give him, oh, an hour’s notice? That’s not how Alexander the Great did it. Meanwhile, Murtha says, the U. S. is spending $8 billion a month while American soldiers are being killed and maimed, physically and psychologically, mainly to provide political cover for Bush. Intimidated by Rove? Not hardly. “You can’t sit there in the air-conditioned office,” Murtha said, “and tell these troops—they’re carrying 70 pounds on their back inside these armored vessels and hit with improvised explosive devices every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up—and he says, ‘stay the course.’ Yeah, it’s easy to say that from Washington, D. C.”

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."
"Operation Forward Together": Deeper Into the Quagmire

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 19 June 2006

On Tuesday, June 13th, while Mr. Bush spent a brave five hours in the
"green zone" of Baghdad with puppet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki,
at least 36 people were killed across Iraq amidst a wave of bombings. 18
of those died in a spasm of bombings in the oil city of Kirkuk in the
Kurdish north.

The minute word hit the streets in Baghdad of Bush's visit, over 2,000
supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took to the streets in
protest. The protestors chanted "Iraq is for the Iraqis," and Sadr aide
Hazem al-Araji publicly condemned the peek-a-boo visit of who he
referred to as "the leader of the occupation."

*Day One*

The very next day, not coincidentally, Maliki instituted the biggest
security crackdown in the capital city since the US invaded Iraq, dubbed
"Operation Forward Together." An estimated 75,000 US and Iraqi soldiers
clogged the already seriously congested streets of Baghdad, using tanks
and armored vehicles to man checkpoints, impose a more strict curfew in
liberated Baghdad (9 p.m. - 6 a.m. as opposed to the more generous 11
p.m. - 6 a.m.) and attempt to impose a weapons ban.

Just after "The Operation" began, a car bomb detonated, killing one
person while wounding five others. Major General Mahdi al-Gharrawi who
commands "public order forces" under the deadly umbrella of the
controversial Interior Ministry, made a statement for which George
Orwell would have been proud: "Baghdad is divided according to
geographical area, and we know the al-Qaeda leaders in each area," he
told reporters. "We are expecting clashes will erupt in the
predominantly Sunni areas." So Sunnis in Iraq, according to Gharrawi,
are tied to al-Qaeda.

Lest we forget, the Iraqi "army" ran a similar draconian security
crackdown in Baghdad in May 2005 called "Operation Lightning." That one,
too, was tens of thousands of Iraqi "police" and "soldiers" backed by
American troops and air support. That operation, rather than quell
violence in the capital, effectively alienated the Sunni populations in
the city due to rampant death squad activities, mass detentions and
heavy-handed tactics. Civilians across Baghdad complained about the mass
detentions, random violence and torture meted out by the death squads
during that "operation." And we see how well that operation managed to
improve security in Baghdad over the last year.

So here we go again - only this time with even more troops, raiding even
more homes, manning more checkpoints, and of course more death squads
operating - with backup support from American soldiers, and of course
their air strikes.

Iraq's puppet prime minister, in an effort to sooth the fear in the
hearts of Baghdad's residents who are concerned about more detentions,
random violence and "torture by electric drill" which the US-backed Shia
death squads prefer with their victims, told reporters of the operation,
"The raids during this plan will be very tough ... because there will be
no mercy towards those who show no mercy to our people."

The same day "Operation Forward Together" began and the day after Bush
bid farewell to Baghdad, he dismissed calls for a US withdrawal as
"election-year" politics. Refusing to give a timetable for withdrawal or
some kind of benchmark with which to measure success that may allow
troops to be brought home, Bush said simply, "It's bad policy," at a
news conference in the Rose Garden. He thought it would "endanger our
country" to pull out of Iraq before we "accomplish the mission." Of his
visit to Baghdad, Bush said, "I sense something different happening in

While pounding his fist on the podium set up for him at the press
conference, Bush proudly repeated his mantra of propaganda: "If the
United States of America leaves before this Iraqi government can defend
itself and sustain itself and govern itself, it will be a major blow in
the war on terror."

That morning the Pentagon announced the death of the 2,500th US soldier
in Iraq.

Meanwhile, back in liberated Baghdad, also on that same day, I received
an email from a very close friend of mine. It is a sobering glimpse into
"Operation Forward Together" and what Bush alluded to when he said, "I
sense something different happening in Iraq."

/ Habibi, we are divided in three houses today. I am at our home in
Adhamiya. My wife and two youngest boys are at her sister's house in Bab
Al-Moudam because it's safer for them. It's a mixed Sunni and Shia area,
so there are no detentions. Our daughter is with her husband in their
home, and my oldest son is at his house with his wife and baby, although
he is not in a safe area. There is often fighting there, but not too
many detentions./

/ Today Adhamiya is totally under occupation since early morning. None
of the shops are open, the soldiers are holding up all cars and
searching them, and home raids are happening. The city is a city of
ghosts. This situation is the same in all the Sunni areas. Checkpoints
are all over Baghdad, the highways between Baghdad and the other cities
are all closed and nobody can go on them. The airports are closed, and
no flights are coming in or out of Baghdad./

/ We cannot leave the country until the beginning of next month. By the
way, three of my son's friends were killed by explosions two days ago
while they were having fruits in the market. He came home crying because
of that. The situation is very bad. The son of Abdul Sattar Al Kubaisy,
who is in the Ministry of Interior, has been kidnapped from inside the
Ministry. He was found in one of the trash cans outside the Ministry of
Interior building ... so even the offices of the government are no
longer safe!!!/

/ God is with us insh'allah [God willing].
*Day Two*

On Friday, the second day of "Operation Forward Together," a hospital
source in Fallujah reported that 8 Iraqis, some of whom were women and
children from the same family, were killed and six wounded when US
warplanes bombed a home in the northeastern Ibrahim Bin Ali district of
the city.

That same day, a story titled "Shiite Militias Control Prisons,
Officials Say," was released by the Washington Post Foreign Service.

The story reads, "Iraq's prison system is overrun with Shiite Muslim
militiamen who have freed fellow militia members convicted of major
crimes and executed Sunni Arab inmates, the country's deputy justice
minister said in an interview." We cannot control the prisons. It's as
simple as that, said the deputy minister, Pusho Ibrahim Ali Daza Yei, an
ethnic Kurd. "Our jails are infiltrated by the militias from top to
bottom, from Basra to Baghdad."

The story continued, "In an interview this week, Deputy Prime Minister
Salam al-Zobaie, the top Sunni Arab in Iraq's new government, showed
photographs taken from one recent inspection of an Interior Ministry
detention center. An inmate in one of the photos held out his misshapen,
limp hands for the camera. The man's hands had been broken in a beating,
Zobaie said. Other inmates showed massive, dark bruises on their skin;
one bore a large, open infected sore. Inmates in another photo clustered
around chains hung from the middle of one of the crowded cells. The
chains were used to hoist prisoners by their bound hands, Zobaie said.
The practice, noted frequently in inspection reports of Interior
Ministry detention centers, often results in the dislocation of
prisoners' shoulders.

Ninety percent of the men crowded into Interior Ministry detention
centers are Sunni Arabs, Zobaie said.

*Day Three*

On Saturday, according to the same Washington Post story, "A group of
parliament members paid a surprise visit to a detention facility run by
the Interior Ministry in Baqubah, north of Baghdad. "We have found
terrible violations of the law," said Muhammed al-Dayni, a Sunni
parliament member, who said as many as 120 detainees were packed into a
35-by-20-foot cell. "They told us that they've been raped," Dayni said.
"Their families were called in and tortured to force the detainees to
testify against other people."

"The detention facilities of the ministries of Defense and Interior are
places for the most brutal human rights abuse," he added.

Despite broad US efforts to encourage the Iraqi government to improve
conditions in prisons, the problem of militia control could prove
particularly intractable. Shiite militias such as the Badr Organization
and the Mahdi Army, loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, are backed by
dozens of members of parliament whose political parties run the armed

"You can't even talk to the militias, because they are the government,"
Yei said. "They have ministers on their side."

The evening of Day Three, two US soldiers were detained by resistance
fighters just south of Baghdad. With a Bush administration that openly
advocates the use of torture and props up a Shia Prime Minister in Iraq
who says things like "there will be no mercy" when referencing his new
"security operation," their fate is indeed a dark one.

*Day Four*

On Saturday, the third day of "Operation Forward Together," at least 40
people were killed, and over 80 wounded amidst a rash of bomb and mortar
attacks, most of which took place in Baghdad. The deadliest attack
occurred at an Iraqi police checkpoint, while another car bomb targeting
the Iraqi army and police killed another 11 people. Meanwhile, 15 others
were wounded at a joint Iraqi army and police checkpoint, also in Baghdad.

*Day Five*

Gunmen kidnap 10 bakery workers from a predominantly Shia neighborhood
in Baghdad. 10 bullet-riddled bodies of men who had apparently been
tortured were also found in Baghdad. A mortar round hit al-Sadiq
University on Palestine Street in the capital city - five students and
one teacher are wounded. The US military continues to search in vain for
its two missing soldiers. Residents continue to stream out of the
capital city of al-Anbar province, Ramadi, due to the threat of an
all-out US assault on the city. Thousands of the refugees are wandering
around the province with nowhere to go.

*Coming Days, Weeks, Months, Years?*

With Operation Forward Together off to a dazzling beginning, how long
will the occupation be allowed to continue? Each passing day only brings
the people of Iraq and soldiers serving in the US military deeper into
the quagmire that the brutal, despicable, tortured occupation has become.
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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