Saturday, October 01, 2005

Air sampler detected possible disease agent during protests

"THAT will teach those @#$@% protesters to criticize our President!!!" - anonymous white house source. (are they testing shit on us???)

WASHINGTON Officials are revealing that air sensors on the National Mall detected a possible disease agent last weekend during the Iraq war demonstrations.

Health officials say the sensors showed signs of a low level presence of Tularemia bacterium. Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics and is not contagious.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has alerted state health officials in D-C, Maryland and Virginia. But officials say no one has reported symptoms of the disease, and subsequent air tests have come back negative.
D-C Department of Health Director Doctor Gregg Pane tells W-T-O-P Radio the city was notified just today that a Department of Homeland Security air sensor detected the biohazard. Officials say Tularemia is found naturally in the environment.
Health officials are encouraging doctors to be on alert for any signs of the disease. Symptoms include sudden fever, chills, headaches, joint pain and pneumonia.

Occupied New Orleans and Homegrown Resistance

The appearance of fully-armed mercenaries on the streets of New Orleans tells us that the city is currently under occupation. Whenever foreign troops are deployed within an urban area it can only mean one thing; the loss of sovereignty. It's no different here. Blackwater mercenaries are part of a privately owned army that has seized control of the streets from their rightful owners, the people of New Orleans. They are an integral part of a much broader plan to militarize the nation and turn America into a garrison-state.

Gutless, Spineless and Clueless - Bush is Falling, But the Democrats are Sinking Faster

You would think that with all the troubles surrounding George W. Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress from the life-costing bungling of Hurricane responses to the deepening quagmire in Iraq to the front page stories of corruption, self-dealing and national security leaks you would think th Democrats would be in the ascendancy.

Not so. The polls are plummeting for George W. Bush on a whole variety of questions, including the key approval rating being at a record low for him. But the Democrats seem to be sinking right along with the besieged Republicans. Stan Greenberg, a leading Democratic Party pollster, declares that "feelings about Democrats are at a 54 month low." Another pollster, John Zogby, reports that the Democrats are floundering because people do not perceive them as having any credible national leaders.

Instead of drawing bright and bold lines with the Republicans about the nation's future directions, leaders in the Democratic Party have persuaded themselves to just stand by and let the Republicans sink themselves. By standing by, the Democrats are feeding the "pox on both your houses" mindset of many citizens.

Apart from protecting social security, what do the Democrats fight for these days? As a Party they are headless regarding the Iraq war-occupation. Their leaders cannot even follow some of their own members in Congress and propose a responsible but definitive exit strategy. This is the passive case even though there are former leading retired military, diplomatic and intelligence officials who have done just that.

I and others have called on the Democrats to raise the roof on Bush's grotesque dereliction in still not providing adequate protective armor for the military vehicles in Iraq. Billions for the Halliburtons; lethal excuses for the soldiers.

Also, deliberately undercounting US casualties in Iraq because thousands of serious injuries and sicknesses were not incurred directly in combat is a monumental display of disrespect by Bush for these soldiers and their families. Lowballing the human casualties keeps the public's political opposition lower than putting out the truth about the injury and sickness toll being double the official false figures coming from the Bush regime.

To this day, in criticizing Mr. Bush, even the anti-war Democrats like Rep. Dennis Kucinich use the false lowball figure of injuries.

To this day, Democratic House Leader, Nancy Pelosi, with arguably the most anti-war constituents in the nation residing in her California district, is not leading the Democrats with even comparable statements that some Republicans are making.

Consider the following:

From Vietnam war veteran, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who, after returning from one of several trips to Iraq, said: "We should start figuring out how we get out of our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

From Rep. John Duncan, Jr., conservative Republican from Tennessee, who urges conservatives to oppose the "undeclared and unnecessary war" not only because of the deaths but because "there is nothing conservative about this war; it mean[s] massive foreign aid, [and] huge deficit spending."

From CIA Director Porter Goss, who told the Senate in February that the war in Iraq has become a recruitment and training ground for more and more terrorists who will go back to other countries.

From Walter B. Jones, Jr., Republican Congressman from North Carolina, comes the declaration that he wants out of Iraq a war he once prominently supported but does no longer because the President did not tell him the truth when invading that country.

These legislators come from regions where a much larger percentage of the people support the war than in Nancy Pelosi's District. There is a growing majority of Americans who believe that war was a costly mistake and want out.

On other major matters affecting and afflicting the American people, the Democrats, dominated by their corporate connectors, are not up front.

On defending our civil justice system from the corporate attack on injured or defrauded people's right to their full day in court, the Democratic Party is gutless.

On moving serious corporate reforms to stop corporate crimes that have drained trillions from workers, investors and pensioneers, the Democrats are spineless.

On challenging the huge waste, fraud and corruption in government contracts and programs under the Republicans, the Democrats are hapless.

On raising the impoverished minimum wage to give working Americans a living wage, the way Senator Ted Kennedy has been calling for, the Democratic Party is clueless.

The Democratic Party will continue sliding into serial haplessness until a new breed of "jolters" comes to take over.

Uruguay pagará petróleo venezolano con exportaciones

El gobierno uruguayo preparó una cuenta especial en el Banco República (BROU) para el pago de exportaciones a Venezuela, el cual se efectuara con el dinero de las compras de crudo que realice esta nación.

Rechazan en Cuba y Venezuela decisión sobre Posada Carriles

Medios oficiales en Cuba y Venezuela rechazaron con vigor la decisión de un juez norteamericano de inmigración en El Paso, Texas, de no permitir la deportación a Caracas del terrorista Luis Posada Carriles para ser juzgado allí por cruentos crímenes, entre estos la destrucción con bombas de un avión civil cubano en pleno vuelo en 1976 con un saldo de 73 muertes.

Who is Scooter Libby? The Guy Behind the Guy Behind the Guy

When historians finally lift the curtain on the Bush administration, they will discover that Irv Lewis "Scooter" Libby was one of the most important men pulling the levers. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, has been center stage for every one of the administration's national security scandals - the Iraq intelligence debacle, secret meetings about Halliburton contracts in Iraq, and the leaking of a CIA's agent's identity to the press - and doubtless others we have not heard of yet.

Such a role is not unusual for Libby, who has more titles in the Bush White House than can fit on a business card. Essentially Libby is Dick Cheney's Dick Cheney - an odd combination of H.R Haldeman and Harry Hopkins, seemingly managing every detail of the vice president's professional life.

For the past three years, that has meant scooting from scandal to scandal.

It was Libby - along with Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith and a handful of other top aides at the Pentagon and White House - who convinced the President that we should go to war in Iraq. It was Libby who pushed Cheney to publicly argue that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda and 9/11.

Why not Torture Judith Miller?

The New York Times star investigative reporter, Judith Miller, spent 12 weeks in the hoosegow only to discover that she actually had permission to testify before the Federal grand jury the whole time? Is this what the Times means when they say that she had to confirm that she "finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver" from her source. (Ass. Chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby)

Oh, so it was all just a big mistake?

The facts, however, indicate that there may have been other factors that led to Miller changing her mind, including the prospect of spending another 60 days in the slammer. Apparently, her role of "martyr for the First amendment" has a shelf-life of about 12 weeks after which she returns to her day-job of dissembling pawn for the ruling party.

El presidente Chávez anuncia la construcción de 4.000 consultorios médicos

El presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, anunció el 28 la construcción de cuatro mil consultorios médicos como parte de la estrategia de su gobierno para brindar salud gratuita al pueblo.

Venezuela y Uruguay proponen un plan estratégico de integraciVenezuela y Uruguay proponen un plan estratégico de integración

La creación de una Comisión Sur que elabore "un plan estratégico 2005-2010 para la verdadera integración sudamericana”, propuesta por Venezuela y Uruguay, debe discutirse en la cumbre de mandatarios de la región que comienza el día 30 aquí.

Rogue Soldiers or Rogue President? Scapegoating Small-Fry

The news that yet another Army private, Lynndie England, 22, of Fort Ashby, W. Va., has been convicted and sentenced for posing for the infamous photos of torture at Abu Ghraib, while her superiors duck responsibility, is a sad commentary on the degenerating ethos of the U.S. Army.

The reminder of the photos of those inexcusable activities was sickening enough and England deserves to be punished. But I am of the old-Army school where officers took responsibility for the actions of those under their command. It is no less than scandalous how the Army brass and its civilian leadership, who are demonstrably responsible for the torture, continue to dance away from taking responsibility.

They chose, instead, to stone the woman, like the hypocrites of Bible fame, contending that the photos inflamed the insurgency in Iraq. It is the torture, not the photos, that has inflamed the insurgency. And responsibility for the torture reaches directly up the chain of command to the commander in chief himself. Perhaps when even more repulsive photos and videos of torture at Abu Ghraib are released, as federal judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered yesterday, the American people finally will be jarred awake.

10 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Tom DeLay Quotes (political humor)

1) "So many minority youths had volunteered…that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like myself." --Tom DeLay, explaining at the 1988 GOP convention why he and vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle did not fight in the Vietnam War(Source)

2) "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" –Tom Delay, to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005 (Source)

3) "I AM the federal government." –Tom DeLay, to the owner of Ruth's Chris Steak House, after being told to put out his cigar because of federal government regulations banning smoking in the building, May 14, 2003 (Source)

Blackwater USA: "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"

Blackwater USA represents a return to "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." According to a knowledgeable political insider in Washington, the private military contractor Blackwater USA has close ties to the Christian Right. The Prince Group, the McLean, Virginia-based parent company of Blackwater, recently hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel. Previously, Schmitz was the Inspector General of the Department of Defense. Schmitz was a Special Assistant to-Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who is an official of the dominionist Christian Fellowship Foundation and a Heritage Foundation Fellow who recently authored a blueprint for rebuilding New Orleans and Louisiana. Perhaps not coincidentally, Blackwater USA and its sister company Presidential Airways, have been providing security for petrochemical industry and other installations damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Blackwater's Raven Development Group (RDG) advertises the following services, which should alarm current landowners in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi: General Contracting, Construction Management, Design Build Services, Site Selection Assistance, and Municipal Interfaces for Site Plan Approvals -- Economic Incentives and Permitting.

Joseph Schmitz is active in the Washington Lawyers' Chapter of the right-wing Federalist Society, the same group with which the new Chief Justice John G. Roberts was affiliated. Schmitz is also a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Schmitz was accused of covering up several investigations into fraud, waste and abuse within the Rumsfeld Pentagon. Schmitz is the son of the late GOP far right congressman and segregationist American Independent Party presidential candidate John G. Schmitz. Schmitz's sister is former Washington State school teacher Mary Kay Letorneau who was jailed for child rape after having sex with her 12-year old sixth grade student. After Letorneau was released from prison in 2004 and after she had two children with the student, she and the boy, Vili Fualaau, married. Their sexual relationship began in 1996 when Letorneau was 34.

John G. Schmitz was discovered to have had an affair out of wedlock with one of his Santa Ana College political science students. In 1982, a 13-month old infant boy, who was the product of Schmitz's relationship with German national Carla Stuckle, was rushed to an Orange County, California hospital with a hair so tightly tied in a square knot around the boy's penis, it was almost severed. Child abuse charges were later dropped against the German college student and the infant was restored to her custody.

Joseph Schmitz is not the only connection between Blackwater and right-wing GOP politicians. Blackwater's CEO and co-founder is Michigan-based Erik D. Prince, an ex-US Navy SEAL, an heir to an automobile parts corporate fortune, a former intern for President George H. W. Bush, and a contributor to such right wing Republicans as recently indicted Tom DeLay. Prince also has strong political links to Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, one-time GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer, a political action committee called "Restoring the American Dream," (whose board of directors included Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Robert Bork, former Rep. Steve Largent, Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick [appointed to the Joint Congressional "Review" panel for Hurricane Katrina relief], and former Rep. J. C. Watts) and, more interestingly, current House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chairman Peter Hoekstra, who has been pressuring the CIA to accept more intelligence from HPSCI sources. The close connection between Hoekstra and Blackwater, a company that advertises its own intelligence gathering services: "Our mission is to provide the client with veteran military, intelligence and law enforcement professionals with demonstrated field operations performance tempered with mature experience in both foreign and domestic requirements," should be of concern to non-politicized and career U.S. intelligence professionals.

Erik Prince's sister Betsy, who is chairman of the Michigan GOP, is married to Dick DeVos, the son of Amway founder Richard DeVos, a member of the board of the conservative and Christian Dominionist Council for National Policy (CNP), an umbrella organization where he rubs shoulders with such leading right wingers as Jack Abramoff, Howard Ahmanson, the Leadership Institute's Morton Blackwell, Focus on the Family's James Dobson, Coral Ridge's Dr. D. James Kennedy, Edwin Meese III, Pat Robertson, Richard Viguerie, and Paul Weyrich. The DeVos family has used a corporate entities such as the Windquest Group, DP Fox Ventures, and Alticor, Inc. to funnel thousands of dollars to conservative GOP politicians and their PACs, including Restoring the American Dream board member Sue Myrick, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, and Louisiana Rep. Bobby Jindal. Erik Prince, through a Virginia entity called Prince Household LLC, as well as the Prince Group, has contributed to Tom DeLay, Peter Hoekstra, George W. Bush, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.

Blackwater maintains the largest private military training facility in the United States. Located on an abandoned U.S. military base at Moyock, North Carolina on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp near the North Carolina-Virginia border, Blackwater's Security Consulting subsidiary attracts military and paramilitary trainees from around the country and the world. Former Chilean and Honduran military personnel have been trained at Moyock prior to deployment to Iraq. What is even more attractive for the Bush administration and Blackwater is the fact that, as a private company, Blackwater is far removed from oversight by government inspectors general, Freedom of Information Act requests, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and snooping reporters.

Iraqi insurgents killed and mutilated the bodies of four Blackwater mercenaries near Fallujah, Iraq in April 2004, an act that triggered a massive U.S. military response that laid waste to the "city of mosques." Recently, Blackwater mercenaries have been patrolling the streets of New Orleans along with other mercenaries from the United States and Israel.

The White House Kabuki dance with Patrick Fitzgerald

The Bush spinmeisters' Kabuki dance with Patrick Fitzgerald. There is an interesting stylized dance taking place between the White House and Patrick Fitzgerald, the Special Prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

For weeks, there have been rumors inside the Beltway that something big would be announced about the case during the last weeks of September. The silence and lack of substantial leaks were indications that a major turn of events would soon occur. Yesterday afternoon, the White House quickly swore in John G. Roberts as Chief Justice, just hours after his Senate confirmation. Rather than wait for the next morning and thus get two days of puff ball coverage by the media, the White House wanted to clear the calendar on Friday for a possible announcement by Fitzgerald. The White House, unsure of what might be coming from the prosecutor, floated the story that Bush would "definitely" name a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor on Friday.

But then New York Times reporter Judith Miller was quickly released from prison in Alexandria Thursday night. No one expected it. In fact, the cable news channels were forced to show over three month-old file footage of Miller entering the US Courthouse in DC because they were also caught unprepared by the surprise announcement and lacked lead time to get reporters to the US Courthouse in Alexandria where Miller had been held for 85 days.

It was then announced that Miller had decided to cooperate with Fitzgerald and testify today before the Grand Jury in Washington, DC. Not surprisingly, the White House spin Kabuki dancers, fully expecting a Friday announcement from Fitzgerald, altered course and announced that Bush would not name a replacement for O'Connor until some time next week. The White House, unsure of when Fitzgerald might announce indictments, wants to keep the Supreme Court announcement ace up its sleeve in order to compete for news coverage when Fitzgerald makes his announcement.

It is clear that Miller was the missing link in Fitzgerald's criminal probe of the leak that a number of CIA insiders have told this editor was "devastating" to the agency. Miller's attorney claimed that Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a target of the leak probe, had released her from a confidentiality pledge. But that agreement had already been reported months ago. Something has changed. A former Justice Department prosecutor told this editor that Fitzgerald is the type of prosecutor who starts low in the food chain and works his way up to nab the big fish. Fitzgerald is said to have, very early on in the case, "flipped" John Hannah, Libby's deputy.

One possible explanation for the sudden turn of events regarding Miller and Libby is that Fitzgerald may have also "flipped" Libby as a witness. A promise of limited immunity to Libby would have cleared the way for testimony from Miller on what she discussed with Cheney's chief of staff. That means the ultimate target of Fitzgerald could be Cheney.

There's an interesting footnote to the Cheney family's recent activities. Lynne Cheney was recently spotted at a Washington, DC Pottery Barn buying items for the Cheney's new $2.7 million house in St. Michael's on the eastern shore of Maryland. The Cheneys will be close neighbors of the Rumsfelds.

Dick Cheney recently had surgery on two aneurysms behind his knees, thus taking him out of the public spotlight more than is the usual case. The Soviet leadership, which the Bush administration has striven so much to emulate, used to exile their sacked leaders to dachas in the countryside. Might the same thing be in store for a Vice President named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the CIA leak case? A quick resignation prior to the 2006 elections and replacement by a Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki, or [shudders] Jeb Bush? And, of course, in traditional GOP fashion, a presidential pardon of unindicted co-conspirator Cheney (a la Gerald Ford and unindicted Watergate co-conspirator Richard Nixon).

Meanwhile, GOP congressmen are beginning to abandon former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. They are undoubtedly aware of the connections of DeLay to mobster money funneled by indicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Even a puff piece by reporter Mark Leibovich on DeLay in yesterday's Washington Post's Style section did little to stop the continual shark bites on DeLay from his GOP colleagues. Of course, DeLay's troubles come at the same time that one of his major supporters, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli government, face an aggressive espionage probe by U.S. Attorney for Eastern Virginia Paul McNulty -- indicted Defense Intelligence Agency official Larry Franklin has agreed to a plea bargain in return for his cooperation as a prosecution witness.

After almost five years of incessant outrages by the Bush regime, I have never been more optimistic that the tide may be beginning to turn.

Guatemala: journalism under pressure

Marielos Monzón, a Guatemalan journalist, received the 2005 Human Rights Journalism Under Threat award from Amnesty International. In her acceptance speech, she describes a land where new injustices have succeeded the horrendous violence of the 1954-96 period

AIPAC and Espionage: Guilty as Hell - Pentagon analyst plea bargains, threatens to expose Israel's Washington cabal

The plea bargain struck by former Pentagon analyst Lawrence A. Franklin – charged with five counts of handing over classified information to officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, who passed it on to Israeli diplomatic personnel – has delivered a body blow to the defense of the two remaining accused spies. Steve Rosen, who for 20 years was the chief lobbyist over at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Keith Weissman, AIPAC's top foreign policy analyst, befriended Franklin and pumped him for top-secret information – including sensitive data about al-Qaeda, the Khobar Towers terrorist attack, Iran's weapons program, and attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Now they face the likely prospect of Franklin testifying to their treason in court.

U.S. Insists No Plans to Invade Venezuela (yeah, right!)

The United States is not planning to invade Venezuela, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela said Thursday, disputing claims by President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez has said his government has documents showing Washington has a "Plan Balboa" to invade his oil-producing countrywide with aircraft carriers and planes. He said Venezuela is preparing to repel any attack

Posada Carriles to stay in US: Washington shields CIA terrorist from prosecution

An immigration judge in El Paso, Texas ruled on Tuesday that the CIA-trained anti-Castro Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles cannot be deported to Venezuela, where he is a citizen and is wanted for mass murder, on the grounds that he could face torture there.

The ruling is the latest chapter in the decades-long US government protection of Posada and fellow Cuban exile terrorists. In this case, Washington is shielding him from prosecution for masterminding the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cuban jetliner carrying passengers from Venezuela, in which 73 people were killed.

Venezuela issued a formal request last May for Posada's extradition to stand trial, but the US authorities have flouted international law, refusing to arrest him on criminal charges and hand him over. Instead, after the extradition request, they picked him up on charges of entering the US illegally. This was done in order to protect him. Since then, US officials have treated his case as a run-of-the mill immigration matter.

The Venezuelan government has threatened to break diplomatic relations with Washington over its refusal to extradite Posada.

The ruling issued by Judge William Abbott in El Paso was farcical, exhibiting an unhealthy fascination with Posada, whom the judge described as "like a character out of Robert Ludlum's espionage thrillers, with all the plot twists and turns Ludlum is famous for."

Bird flu pandemic 'could kill 150,000,000'

A global influenza pandemic is imminent and will kill up to 150 million people, the UN official in charge of coordinating the worldwide response to an outbreak has warned.

David Nabarro, one of the most senior public health experts at the World Health Organisation, said outbreaks of bird flu, which have killed at least 65 people in Asia, could mutate into a form transmittable between people.

"The consequences in terms of human life when the pandemic does start are going to be extraordinary and very damaging," he said.

He told the BBC that the "range of deaths could be anything between five and 150 million people, the UN official in charge of coordinating the worldwide response to an outbreak has warned.

David Nabarro, one of the most senior public health experts at the World Health Organisation, said outbreaks of bird flu, which have killed at least 65 people in Asia, could mutate into a form transmittable between people.

"The consequences in terms of human life when the pandemic does start are going to be extraordinary and very damaging," he said.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more than 40 million people, and there were subsequent pandemics in 1957 and 1968 that had lower death rates but caused great disruption, he said.

(It is interesting to note that the U.S. Army chemical and biological laboratory at Ft. Dietrich, Maryland - has recently cloned the 1918 influenza virus.) The antrax came from that lab. Will a new flu? Hmmmm?

Chavez: Venezuela Moves Reserves to Europe

Venezuela has moved its central bank foreign reserves out of U.S. banks, liquidated its investments in U.S. Treasury securities and placed the funds in Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday.

"We've had to move the international reserves from U.S. banks because of the threats," from the U.S., Chavez said during televised remarks from a South American summit in Brazil.

"The reserves we had (invested) in U.S. Treasury bonds, we've sold them and we moved them to Europe and other countries," he said.

Chavez, a sharp critic of what he calls "imperialist" U.S.-style capitalism, has often criticized foreign banks for the power they wield in international financial markets at the expense of poorer countries.

US Diplomat Accused Of Heading CIA Kidnap Operation

Prosecutors in Italy have issued three more arrest warrants over the kidnapping of an Egyptian imam based in Milan by a team of CIA agents. Among those wanted in connection with the operation, which led to the man - Abu Omar - being tortured in Egypt, is a 38-year-old female CIA agent who was working as a diplomat at the US embassy in Rome and is said to have led the operation.

Betnie Medero, who was second secretary at the embassy until a few months ago, is one of 22 CIA agents now wanted by Italian police over the kidnapping, which happened in a street in Milan on 17 February, 2003. Medero arrived in Italy in August 2001 with diplomatic accreditation and oversaw the operation, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports. On Thursday police entered her house in Rome but found it deserted. She is believed to currently be at the US embassy in Mexico City.

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal by the Government Accountability Office

Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban.

The contract with Mr. Williams and the general contours of the public relations campaign had been known for months. The report Friday provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities.

Lawyers from the accountability office, an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the administration systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, "The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education."

The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."

All fake journalists who accepted money to write government propaganda news stories should be publicly outed for the frauds that they are.

The "American Street" Speaks: Will the (cowardly) Democratic Party Listen?

As more and more Americans turn against Bush's Iraq war, Democratic politicians remain silent. Their play-it-safe strategy isn't just cowardly, it also won't work.

The antiwar mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, protested with hundreds of others outside the White House on Monday. She and the others approached the gate of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue three times, and each time police warned them that they were trespassing. On the third approach, Ms. Sheehan was arrested and carried from the scene, as were the others. She left behind, in the fence, a picture of her dead son Casey, who died fighting the Mahdi Army in Sadr City in spring of 2004. Ever since, Ms. Sheehan has been asking the US government to explain what exactly he died for.

On Saturday, well over 100,000 demonstrators, including Ms. Sheehan and the "Gold Star" families of US soldiers killed in Iraq, had rallied in Washington against the ongoing Iraq war. Such numbers are difficult to verify, but this minimum was admitted by the Washington police, and supporters of the event claimed at least twice that. This large and impressive demonstration was accompanied by other protests, in London, San Francisco and other cities, though on a smaller scale. Critics of the event derided it as a carnival, but what popular movement in history has not been Rabelaisian? Crowds and their performers clown and mug, ridicule the sacred and celebrate the deity all at once. Carnivals of protest create their own bubble of consciousness, in which the unspeakable can finally be shouted, the powerful parodied, and the status quo turned upside down.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Washington, Warporn and Wild Wild Weather

It wasn't only the way he spoke or what he said that betokened an inner crisis for George W Bush, it was the befuddlement that dulled his eyes. Everything he held dear was falling apart. The most powerful man in the world was telling his people to limit the use of their cars. Even as he mouthed the words, Bush looked like he wanted to eat them.

At Brazil's environmental summit in '92, his father had famously issued a stern warning to Earth: "The American way of life is not negotiable", and now the White House was waving the white flag.

It was not the option he favoured. You can imagine the scenes at the Oval Office, the President in a flight suit pounding the table: "Let’s declare a war on the weather!"

Who dared to tell him? "You already have!" From his first days as President, Bush and his friends at Big Oil had doctored the data on Global Warming, cut funds for climate mitigation and bribed journalists to fling mud at environmentalists. So successful was this strategy, that it was adapted to pump up support for the conquest of Iraq – spread lies, embed the media, fling mud. Securing the oil was part of the plan.

Winter Soldier - The Film

In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, a public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held at a Howard Johnson motel in Detroit. Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation with support from Jane Fonda and Mark Lane. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed. "The major that I worked for had a fantastic capability of staking prisoners," goes one piece of testimony, "utilizing a knife that was extremely sharp, and sort of fileting them like a fish. . . . Prisoners treated this way were executed at the end because there was no way that we could take them into any medical aide and say, 'This dude fell down some steps.'"

Though the event was attended by press and television news crews almost nothing was reported to the American public. Yet, this unprecedented forum marked a turning point in the anti-war movement. It was a pivotal moment in the lives of young vets from around the country who participated, including the young John Kerry. The Winter Soldier Investigation changed him and his comrades forever. Their courage in testifying, their desire to prevent further atrocities and to regain their own humanity, provide a dramatic intensity that makes the film Winter Soldier an unforgettable experience.

Download the trailer here: Windows (Windows Movie file) | Mac (Quicktime file)

Karen Hughes, Bin Laden's little helper

US administration lectures about God delivered to Muslims are a dangerous folly

President Bush has no adviser more loyal and less self-serving than Karen Hughes. As governor of Texas, he trusted the former Dallas television reporter-turned-press secretary with the tending of his image and words. She was mother hen of his persona. In the White House, Hughes devoted heart and soul to Bush as his communications director until, suddenly, she returned home to Texas in 2002, citing her son's homesickness. There were reports that Karl Rove, jealous of power, had been sniping at her.

Pentagon dismisses new report on US military torture in Iraq

A report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) provides chilling new details of the torture of Iraqi detainees by US forces. The report, issued September 24 - "Leadership Failure: Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division" - is based on interviews with a US Army captain and two sergeants. It details abuse carried out at Forward Operating Base Mercury (FOB Mercury), near Fallajuh in Central Iraq, from 2003 through 2004.

The Pentagon has denounced the report as a politically motivated smear. Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner criticized it as an effort "to advance an agenda through the use of distortions and efforts in fact." He made the remarkable claim that the military has "looked at all aspects of detention operations under a microscope."

The soldiers' accounts include such practices as hitting detainees with baseball bats, breaking limbs, placing them in "stress positions," forcing them to form human pyramids, dousing them with cold water, exposing them to extremes of hot and cold, depriving them of sleep, and withholding food and water. The US troops committing the atrocities were nicknamed "the Murderous Maniacs" by the residents of nearby Fallujah, who were their victims. The abuse took place on a daily basis.

War, The American Tsunami

Don't be too quick to blame the administration for its slow response to Katrina. With his popularity dropping, there is nothing the President wants more than to look like humanitarians and peacemakers. Mr. Bush just doesn't know how! The American Tsunami took Washington by surprise because Washington is on a wartime footing and doesn't know how to carry out a friendly rescue.

Remember when the Indonesian tsunami came along? Bush made himself look foolish by leaving a couple of zeros off on his first offer of help. Our President offered something like one dollar per victim, making America an incredible cheapskate when compared to other, poorer countries. Maybe he just couldn't bring himself to say "sorry, we're spending all our money for war."

If politicians and those who groom, elect, and control them could cause natural disasters like this one, wars would be unnecessary. They would just respond to the disasters with photo-ops showing them holding babies or passing out food and be reelected for life. The complete destruction of a city is the most valuable event that could happen for the Warmakers who control our President. It beats war all to pieces as a control mechanism; for they can smile all the while they impose more restrictions on us and dilute our money. Have you noticed that while gas prices spiked to as high as $6.00 per gallon the stock market is standing firm? Wall Street smells a mainline injection of adrenaline on the way from Washington. Disasters, like wars, have their fans!

Thinking about a Florida vacation?

Kristol Clear - Bill Kristol, PNAC, 9/11 & The Media

To understand Bill Kristol, you have to examine his modus operandi – his devious ways of plying a nefarious art. Bill Kristol is a master neocon, a heartless warmonger and an accomplished charlatan. But Bill Kristol works behind the curtain. He sets the stage and pulls the strings, while others do his dirty work. And Bill Kristol, with little fanfare or publicity, is one of the most influential architects of George W. Bush’s wars.

To know the man, you have to look behind his overt persona. Bill Kristol makes no secret of his views or his philosophy. He has never hidden his affiliation with of the Project for a New American Century PNAC), of which he is a founder. And yet, when introduced to the public, he is never, ever connected to that organization. He is always presented as the editor of the Weekly Standard, as benign an introduction as can be.

Miller on a Scooter

The Judith Miller case doesn't make any more sense than it ever did. She spent 85 days in jail to avoid doing what she has now apparently agreed to do, rat out Scooter Libby. Libby could have given her the unconditional specific waiver she claims to have required at any time, but didn't. Or rather, he claims he gave it over a year ago, and subsequently, but she didn't accept it. Libby's lawyer, laying it on awfully thick, said (my emphasis):

"We told her lawyers it was not coerced. We are surprised to learn we had anything to do with her incarceration."

Amazing! More weirdness from the New York Times itself, referring to Bill Keller, the executive editor, repeating another claim of Libby's lawyer:

"Mr. Keller said that Mr. Fitzgerald had cleared the way to an agreement by assuring Ms. Miller and her source that he would not regard a conversation between the two about a possible waiver as an obstruction of justice."

This is getting silly. Fitzgerald now has to bless the waiver that they claim to have been talking about for a year? The waiver that Fitzgerald wanted so that Miller would testify? It appears likely that the real story is that Fitzgerald finally had enough on Libby to go after him without Miller, so it was no longer necessary for Miller to keep her mouth shut as Libby was finished anyway. The fan dance about the waiver is a trick to hide the truth. The deal apparently is that Miller will testify, but only about her conversations with Libby, thus protecting anyone else in the White House she might have talked to, and, as an added bonus, protecting her own reputation if she took a more active role in the outing of Plame than she is prepared to admit. As Libby is doomed anyway, a decision appears to have been made to sacrifice him in order to protect someone more important. That would have to be Dick Cheney himself, who needs protection so he can run for President (and win, due to the crooked voting machines). Miller going to jail makes no sense unless we assume that:

  • Libby's lawyer and the White House had to be convinced that Libby was going to be indicted anyway, and that convincing wasn't finished at the time Miller had to head off to jail (it required the testimony of other journalists and whatever else Fitzgerald was able to dig up);
  • the charade about Libby's consent was necessary to allow Miller to play the press martyr role long enough to put pressure on Fitzgerald to agree to limit the scope of Miller's testimony; and
  • the White House finally agreed that it was necessary to sacrifice Libby in order to protect Cheney, a concession that may actually have been precipitated by the loss of White House mojo caused by Bush's failed response to Katrina.

Miller gets to continue to play the role of martyr, Fitzgerald gets Libby - Cheney would have been overreaching, and dangerous to attempt - and Libby is temporarily inconvenienced, until his pardon and appointment to a cushy think tank job and his eventual reappearance in the new Cheney cabinet. Everybody wins!

Cynical decision on Posada Carriles, says Chávez

CARACAS, September 28.— Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez today described as cynical the decision by a U.S. immigration judge to give indefinite asylum to the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, PL reports.

In that respect he rejected the argument that Posada could suffer maltreatment if he is deported to Venezuela, as the authorities of that South American country are demanding in order to try the criminal responsible for the sabotage of a civilian airliner in 1976.

DISGRACE IN EL PASO - Revenge in Miami

Two days ago, in El Paso, Texas, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the expeditious decision by Judge William L. Abbott not to deport terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela or Cuba, arguing that he was at risk of being tortured in either nation, and resorting in a manipulative way to the exemptions provided for by the International Convention Against Torture.

Yesterday in Florida, in an attempt to prolong a kidnapping, federal prosecutors announced their petition to the Court of Appeals in Atlanta for a full review of the August ruling by a panel of three experienced judges to overturn the trial in Miami of five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters for failing to be a "fair and impartial" proceedings, and to organize another trial in a new venue.

Both of these news items reflect in all of their magnitude the cynicism and shamelessness that accompany the conduct of the U.S. administration and the falsity and hypocrisy of its supposed anti-terrorist crusade.

UN warns of deadly flu pandemic

A top UN public health official has warned that a new influenza pandemic could come anytime and claim millions of lives unless officials take action now to control an epidemic in Asia.

"We expect the next influenza pandemic to come at any time now, and it's likely to be caused by a mutant of the virus that is currently causing bird flu in Asia," he said.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed more than 40 million people, and there were subsequent pandemics in 1957 and 1968 that had lower death rates but caused great disruption, he said.

In a new pandemic, Nabarro said, "the range of deaths could be anything between 5 and 150 million".

ISLANDS OF IGNORANCE: Top 10 Places Where Science Education is Under Threat

Back To The Evolutionary Drawing Board

You've probably heard about the landmark trial taking place this week in Dover, Pa., where the school district is the first in the nation to require its schools to teach intelligent design in a science classroom. That's why eight families are suing the Dover School district for violating the separation of church and state. And while Dover, Pa. is the only district currently embroiled in a widely publicized trial, it's certainly not the only one working to undermine science in the classroom. A new report released today identifies the top 10 danger zones in the country where science and science education is under attack.

You know about Dover, and maybe about Kansas. But what about Ohio, where the state board of education approved a curriculum plan titled "A Critical Analysis of Evolution"? Or Cobb County, Ga., where stickers are placed on textbooks, warning that "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact." The report detailing these cases was released by, a new grassroots organization that's working to combat the religious right's growing power. The group also sent a letter signed by a long list of Noble laureate scientists and clergy members to all 50 state governors, calling on them to defend science education in America's public schools.

"The idea of 'teaching the controversy' is a fraud," Laurence Krauss, director of the Center for Education and Research, said in a conference call today. "There is no controversy. Science is independent of religion. It does not attack it."

Gitmo's Hunger Strikers

"I am slowly dying in this solitary prison cell," says Omar Deghayes, a British refugee and Guantánamo Bay prisoner. "I have no rights, no hope. So why not take my destiny into my own hands, and die for a principle?"

This magazine goes to press on the forty-ninth day of the Guantánamo hunger strike. In 1981 near Belfast, Bobby Sands and nine other members of the IRA starved themselves to death. The prisoners had insisted that they be treated as POWs rather than criminals. They died before the British government accepted that its use of kangaroo courts and its policy of "criminalization" did not just betray democratic principles; these methods functioned as the most persuasive recruiting sergeant the IRA ever had. How soon these lessons are forgotten. Three and a half years of internment without trial in Guantánamo, and any US claim to be the standard-bearer of the rule of law has dissolved.

But there are two important distinctions between the experience of Sands and Omar Deghayes: The US military has insisted on secrecy regarding Guantánamo, and the US media have been compliant in their apathy. Despite the traditional British hostility to free speech, every moment of Bobby Sands's decline was broadcast live. In contrast, nothing we lawyers learn from our Guantánamo clients can be revealed until it passes the US government censors. Thus, two weeks went by before the public even knew there was a hunger strike, and the military has been allowed to dissemble on the details since.

Doble moral de la administración Bush en la denominada guerra contra el terrorismo

El juez de inmigración William Abbot decidió este martes que el terrorista Luis Posada Carriles no debe ser deportado a Venezuela o Cuba, noticia que no por inesperada resulta sorprendente.

I want to teach the world to surf, says the man who invented the $100 laptop

One man in Boston has a plan that he hopes will bridge the world's gaping digital divide - and quickly. The visionary is Nicholas Negroponte, director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his idea consists of a new kind of laptop computer that will cost just $100 (£57) to buy.

It will also be a little different in design from the sleek machines some of us in the west have learned to love or covet. It will be foldable in different ways, encased in bump-proof rubber and will include a hand-crank to give it power in those corners of the globe where electricity supply is patchy.

The first prototype of the machine should be ready by November and Mr Negroponte - who was one of the first prophets of the internet before most of us understood the word - hopes to put them into production next year.

Judy Miller (CIA asset/Pentagon mouthpiece) walks free

Tired of playing martyr -- mostly to little effect -- the Times reporter has agreed to give up her source, who most unsurprisingly turns out to be Lewis 'Scooter' Libby.

Miller declared in her statement, "My source has now voluntarily and personally released me from my promise of confidentiality regarding our conversations." And the Times top brass did the usual, i.e. roll out the unduly portentous prose:

Stepping Up the Attack on Green Activists

A coordinated campaign by conservative lawmakers and the FBI aims to label environmental protests the newest form of terrorism.

A remorseless rapist in Hamilton County, Ohio is sentenced to 15 years in prison for beating and raping a 57-year-old woman. An environmental activist in California is sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three SUVS at a car dealership after taking precautions to harm no lives.

The disparity helps illustrates what animal rights and environmental groups say is an expanding Orwellian attack on American environmentalism being waged under the pretext of eco-terrorism.

Arrested at the Pentagon - Bringing the War Home

In a pre-dawn civil disobedience action Monday morning, 41 War Resisters League members and others sat down and were arrested at a pedestrian entrance to the Pentagon, slowing foot traffic at that location and prompting officials to close the U.S. military headquarters' sole stop on Washington's Metro line for a period.

Protesters, including Elizabeth McAllister and her daughter, Frieda Berrigan, Susan Crane, Ken Crowley and others with a long history of peace activism and arrests for civil disobedience, leafleted or sat down to block people from entering Entrance Three of the sprawling U.S. military command.

In one group of six, Crane repeated to the backed-up line of civilians and military personnel waiting at the security checkpoint, "Remember the innocent victims in Iraq." Another protester urged officers to think about what they were doing and "resign your commissions."

Wearing a Veterans For Peace garrison cap and t-shirt, I took the opportunity to say "Good morning, my name is Mike Ferner. I'm from Toledo, Ohio," and explained that I had served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman during Viet Nam, taking care of hundreds of soldiers coming back "in pieces" from that conflict. "We have to get smarter than that," I implored.

At the same time, protesters blocked other portions of Entrance Three, delivering various messages to hundreds more of the 26,000 workers in the building with over 17 miles of corridors.

Pentagon police handcuffed each of us and lead us back down a stairway to the access road where cars and buses added to the flow of workers arriving from the Metro. Sitting on the curb, with our arms pulled back tightly behind us, we continued to talk to as many men and women as we could before being taken by patrol carto a nearby Pentagon facility.

Over the next four hours we were fingerprinted, photographed and booked, receiving written citations for disobeying a lawful order, and given dates in January to appear at the Arlington, Virginia Federal District Court.
The night before the action, 60 people, including those who were ultimately arrested and others providing support, met at the offices of a community organization in the Shaw district of Northwest Washington, where a volunteer attorney from the National Lawyers Guild briefed us. Other Guild observers were present as we were arrested, and met us after we were released from booking.

One critical observation of the morning's activity was the nearly complete lack of news media coverage. Pentagon officials have banned any photographs of the facility since the attack on September 11, 2001, but no print or radio reporters were there to observe, either. Organizers had sent out news releases three days earlier, but had not scheduled a news conference for when arrestees were released from booking. Berrigan gave a phone interview to Democracy Now from the booking facility, and I gave an interview to an Indymedia reporter on the street in front of the White House after arriving there to support the much large rcivil disobedience action conducted by United for Peace and Justice. At that event, the arrest of Cindy Sheehan and nearly 400 others drew considerable press attention. A small number of those arrested at the White House, including Franciscan priest, Jerry Zawada, had also been arrested earlier at the Pentagon.

Mike Ferner is a freelance writer from Ohio, writing a book about his trips to Iraq before and after the U.S. invasion. In addition to participating in the civil disobedience action at the Pentagon, he joined nearly a half-million peace activists in Washington,September 24. He can be reached at

Manipulating the Public Mind

A sea of humanity descended upon the nation’s capital yesterday to voice its opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. My wife and I, along with a sizable contingent from West Virginia, were among the teeming throngs that flowed through the streets of the District of Columbia like a raging river in the aftermath of a storm. The rally was about more than the shameful events orchestrated by our government in the Middle East, it was equally about U.S. imperialism on a global scale. It was also about the Bush regime’s appalling lack of concern for the Gulf Coast’s poor—particularly the inhabitants of New Orleans. It was about the complicity of Congress in the criminality of what passes for government in America these days. Demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience will continue throughout the weekend.

The turnout was immense. Trying to estimate its size from within was like standing in the midst of a forest and trying to gage its extent. You have to wade through the crowd and take contingency samples; or get above it to gain an appreciation of its size and scale. I spoke to a friend on a cell phone while marching by the White House who was watching coverage of the event on C-span. He informed me that C-span estimated the size of the crowd at between two hundred thousand to a quarter million. When I got home I looked at coverage of the event on NBC and CBS which estimated the turnout as about half that of C-span.

The major television networks will determine how most Americans view of the event will be shaped. This is what interested me--how coverage of the event would be presented to the world. The manipulation of images and information is frequently subtle but its effect on the public mind is often profound.

Securitizing the Global Norm of Identity: Biometric Technologies in Domestic and Foreign Policy

In the 1930s the Spanish city of Guernica became a symbol of wanton murder and destruction. In the 1990s Grozny was cruelly flattened by the Russians; it still lies in ruins. This decade's unforgettable moment of brutality and overkill is Falluja...
Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail, 'This is our Guernica'
The Guardian, 27 April 2005i

They'll be fingerprinted, given a retina scan and then an ID card, which will allow them to travel around their homes or to nearby aid centers, which are now being built. The Marines will be authorized to use deadly force against those breaking the rules.
Richard Engel, NBC reporter, 8 December 2004ii
21st Century Guernica: (Dis)Ordering Places

In November 2004 the world watched - periodically, depending on the focus of the media gaze - as the US Marine Corps engaged so-called 'insurgents' in a brutal battle in Fallujah, Iraq. For all their high-tech weaponry, precision munitions, and exceptional training, in their search-and-destroy mission occupation forces all but obliterated Fallujah. During the month-long siege of Fallujah by American forces more than 200,000 residents fled the city. Out of these ruins, occupation forces argued they were erecting a 'model city', replete with a high-tech security infrastructure centered on biometric identification strategies to manage returning citizens. Returnees are fingerprinted, retina scanned, and issued a mandatory identity badge displaying the individual's home address and collected biometric data. In this context, the gratuitous destruction of Fallujah appeared, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld often retorts when pushed on current events in Iraq, to be precisely 'according to plan'.

Captain Courageous

Quietly, firmly, relentlessly, the good captain laid out the list of atrocities committed at the order of the enemies of freedom: "Death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment." A catalogue of depravity, all of it designed -- with diabolical sophistry -- by self-exalted men cloaking their violent perversions with sham piety and righteous sputum. This was terrorism on a grand scale, chewing up the innocent and guilty alike.

The good man is of course Captain Ian Fishback, the born-again U.S. Army officer who has blown the whistle on the systematic abuse of captives rounded up in President George W. Bush's War on Terror, The New York Times reports. Fishback, frustrated after 17 months of trying to get the atrocities investigated through official channels, finally turned to Human Rights Watch -- and top Republican senators -- seeking redress for the bloody dishonor that Bush has brought upon America.

In one sense, Fishback's revelations -- corroborated by other soldiers, now lying low to ward off the inevitable reprisals by Bush minions -- are not news. For example, this column has been detailing the use of torture in Bush's global gulag since January 2002. It was no secret; at first, the Bushists even bragged about it. "The gloves are coming off" was a favorite phrase of the deskbound tough guys cracking foxy to an enthralled media.


An army captain and two sergeants from the elite 82nd Airborne Division confirm previous reports that Bagram and other concentration camps in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan are a kind of Torture University where American troops are taught how to abuse prisoners who have neither been charged with nor found guilty of any crime. "The soldiers told Human Rights Watch that while they were serving in Afghanistan," reports The Times, "they learned the stress techniques [sic] from watching Central Intelligence Agency operatives interrogating prisoners." Veterans who served as prison guards in Afghanistan went on to apply their newfound knowledge at Abu Ghraib and other facilities in U.S.-occupied Iraq.

One of the sergeants, his name withheld to protect him from Pentagon reprisals, confirms that torture continued even after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. "We still did it, but we were careful," he told HRW.

Torture and the "Controversial" Arc of Injustice

Several decades ago, "controversial" subjects in news media included many issues that are now well beyond controversy. During the first half of the 1960s, fierce arguments raged in print and on the airwaves about questions like: Does a black person (a "Negro," in the language of the day) have the right to sit at a lunch counter, or stay at a hotel, the same way that a white person does? Should the federal government insist on upholding such rights all over the country?

Some agonizing disputes, in the media and on the ground, came to a climax with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Suddenly, after many decades of struggles against Jim Crow, federal law explicitly barred racial discrimination in public accommodations and employment. After President Lyndon Johnson signed the measure, saying "Let us close the springs of racial poison," controversy faded about access to restaurants and hotels.

But the need for civil rights protests continued, and for a time they increasingly focused on the right to vote. Banning poll taxes, literacy tests and other timeworn devices of discrimination that were routine in the South, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 followed. White supremacists howled about states' rights, but the law took hold.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Katrina Will Be Bush's Monica

My brief immersion in the almost unimaginable life of Cindy Sheehan begins on the Friday before the massive antiwar march past the White House. I take a cab to an address somewhere at the edge of Washington DC -- a city I don't know well -- where I'm to have a quiet hour with her. Finding myself on a porch filled with peace signs and vases of roses (assumedly sent for Sheehan), I ring the doorbell, only to be greeted by two barking dogs but no human beings. Checking my cell phone, I discover a message back in New York from someone helping Sheehan out. Good Morning America has just called; plans have changed. Can I make it to Constitution and 15th by five? I rush to the nearest major street and, from a bus stop, fruitlessly attempt to hail a cab. The only empty one passes me by and a young black man next to me offers an apologetic commentary: "I hate to say this, but they probably think you're hailing it for me and they don't want to pick me up." On his recommendation, I board a bus, leaping off (twenty blocks of crawl later) at the sight of a hotel with a cab stand.

Declaración Final de la II Asamblea Global de Jubileo Sur

Con la presencia de representantes de 39 países, Jubileo Sur celebró su II Cumbre Sur- Sur y la Asamblea Tricontinental en Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba entre los días 25 al 28 de septiembre del 2005.

Recordamos en esta ocasión los históricos encuentros que tuvieron lugar en 1985 en La Habana, los cuales contribuyeron a la creación de un mayor nivel de conciencia global sobre la verdadera naturaleza del problema de la deuda y fortaleció al mismo tiempo, la lucha de resistencia contra el pago de una deuda esclavizadota. El presidente Fidel Castro, se hizo eco de lo que ya habían planteado diversos participantes al declarar que la deuda de los países del Sur ya había sido pagada muchas veces y que no tenía ningún fundamento moral, político o legal, y que en todo caso, no debía ser pagada.

Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down"

Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

What Did Roberts Do in Florida? Did the Nominee Help Obstruct a Recount?

As Judge John Roberts inches closer and closer to confirmation as Chief Justice, what little debate there has been about his suitability to serve has focused on his opinions -- or, more precisely, the lack of them -- on a variety of issues. We know about his legal training and "achievements" -- or lack of them -- but not about his role as a White House political operative.

Specifically, what role did Roberts play in the Bush campaign in 2000 in Florida, where 175,000 votes went uncounted? Was he part of the obstruction of the recount that was carried out by a small brigade of militant GOP protesters who had been organized by the just-indicted House GOP minority leader Tom DeLay? DeLay was known for "bare knuckles" politics that often "skirted the ethical edge," according to the Associated Press.

'Frog-Marching' Bush to the Hague

Federal authorities "frog-marched" Private Lynndie England in handcuffs and shackles off to prison to serve three years for her role in abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.

The 22-year-old single mother from West Virginia joins a group of nine reservists punished for mistreating Iraqis, some of whom were stripped naked and forced to pose in mock sexual positions. England appeared in photos, pointing at a prisoner’s penis and holding a naked Iraqi by a leash.

While England’s punishment fits with George W. Bush's pledge to prosecute military personnel for wrongdoing in Iraq, a larger question is whether low-ranking soldiers are becoming scapegoats for the bloody fiasco that Bush created when he ordered the invasion in defiance of international law. Pumped-up by Bush's false claims linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, U.S. soldiers charged into that Arab country with revenge on their minds.

In a healthy democracy, the debate might be less about imprisoning England and other "grunts" than whether Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other war architects should be "frog-marched" to the Hague for prosecution as war criminals.

El Alto, Bolivia: A New World Out Of Differences

El Alto, Bolivia, at 13,300 feet above sea level, is in shambles viewed from the outside, if one cultivates someone else's Western, colonial way of looking. Another perspective, though, reveals the history of an amazing place where social mobilization has called the powers that be into question and done it without centralized or unified organizations. Here are facts and insights for understanding the Aymaras' capital city that reinvented the word insurrection.

Chaos in motion. A perplexing Babel. Street vendors and shopkeepers, merchants in their stores and sellers in their stalls, brokers and commission agents going on and on over persistent rumors, waves of movement on sidewalks and streets that are black and sticky with mud; blaring horns mix with Andean music -- traditional songs combining pututus and electric guitars -- fused with voices offering, selling, demanding, haggling; hundreds of pickup trucks preparing to be engulfed in the La Paz flow, and so many others plowing through the endless tide: this is El Alto's La Ceja district, the commercial and political junction of the Aymara capital. An orgy of color and sound. At the point when an outsider’s senses adapt themselves to the 13,300 foot elevation and icy breeze from the snowy Cordillera Real, when the outsider gets used to the hustle and bustle and the crowd, the pandemonium begins to take on a certain form. It's enough to let oneself be swept along by the scene, so the noise of the milling crowd turns into a murmur, and the cacophony into song. El Alto is chaos seen from outside -- that is, if one cultivates someone else's Western, colonial way of looking.

Pentagon Analyst to Plead Guilty to Leak to AIPAC

A Pentagon analyst charged with providing classified information to an Israeli official and members of a pro-Israeli lobbying group will plead guilty, according to the U.S. District Court clerk's office.

This is to prevent a trial and more public embarrassment, and mostly to bury the real scandal, which is not what information flowed from the Pentagon through AIPAC to Israel, but what disinformation flowed from Israel, through AIPAC, into the Pentagon, to lie the United States into a war on Iraq.

By way of deception.


A site dedicated to Senator Santorum.

BREAKING: Army cancels probe of "war dead for porn" scandal

Message to the world: The US government doesn't give a damn about Muslims or the Geneva Conventions.

Outrageous. They just canceled the entire investigation of the scandal involving US soldiers allegedly trading death pics from Iraq for access to online porn. And the reasons the military is giving for canceling the investigation are simply outrageous. Get this.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command in Iraq conducted the preliminary inquiry within the past week but closed it after concluding no felony crime had been committed and failing to determine whether U.S. soldiers were responsible for the photos and whether they showed actual war dead, Army officials said. Col. Joe Curtin, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said there currently was no formal investigation into the matter.
Again, they're playing with this "felony" word but then suggesting that there's no other formal investigation going on. There are lots of problems here beyond whether or not a felony has occurred.

Second, the reasons for their not finding a felony are simply bizarre.

a brazillion

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing. He
concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits in stunned silence--shocked at this uncharacteristic
display of emotion--nervously watching as the President sits slumped in his
chair with his head in his hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks...

"How many is a brazillion?"

When Will Rumsfeld Face the Music?

Lynndie England just got three years and a dishonorable discharge.

When is Donald Rumsfeld going to face the music and get canned or indicted for his part in the torture scandal?

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both say there is “prima facie evidence” to indict Rumsfeld for war crimes. (See "Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity.")

For the fact is, that the torture scandal is not confined to a few immoral and pathetic and sadistic soldiers on the lowest rungs of the command ladder.

U.S. torture and abuse have been widespread, and the evidence of that keeps mounting.

The Death of a Constitutional Republic

"President Bush yesterday sought to federalize hurricane-relief efforts, removing governors from the decision-making process," reports the Moonie Times, otherwise known as the Washington Times. "It wouldn’t be necessary to get a request fro"Mr. McClellan was referring to a new, direct line of authority that would allow the president to place the Pentagon in charge of responding to natural disasters, terrorist attacks and outbreaks of disease."

In other words, Bush wants to erase yet another constitutional amendment - the Tenth, which states "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" - and he is using the misfortune of Katrina as an opportunistic wrecking ball. "Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour declined the president’s offer to federalize the state's National Guard troops in the aftermath of Katrina. So Mr. Bush wants Congress to consider empowering the Pentagon with automatic control." In other words, the misery and suffering of the people of Louisiana - deliberately exacerbated by FEMA and the Ministry of Homeland Security - will serve as a red carpet for Bush to systematically dismantle the cornerstone of the United States, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It is, at minimum and as a start, a death knell for Posse Comitatus.

The New Battle for Coca in Peru

LA PAZ: It has been months now since they returned to the streets, since they've been confronting the police and the army. Once again, thousands of Peruvian coca growers have returned to defend their right to live and, of course, to cultivate the sacred leaf. This time, with new allies, the National Federation of Agricultural Producers of the Coca Growing Basins of Peru (CONPACC in its Spanish initials) has gotten at least three regional governments in the country to pass local legislation in favor of the traditional consumption and trade, as well as industrialization, of coca. The debate that these laws have generated across Peru had been going on for months, until Tuesday afternoon the Constitutional Tribunal declared the legislation passed in the Cuzco and Huánuco regions unconstitutional.

This time, your correspondents were preparing to offer you the story, which deserves to be told in all its details. On Tuesday, while the CONPACC was holding its fourth congress in Pampa de La Quinua (a legendary area for having been the site of the last great battle for independence in our América), and while the tribunal made its move, we interviewed Hugo Cabieses, one of the most important Peruvian "cocalogists" and a friend of Narco News.

Disgraceful decision: immigration judge refuses to extradite Posada

Immigration Judge William Abbot decided on Tuesday, September 27 that terrorist Luis Posada Carriles should not be deported to Venezuela or Cuba.

According to media reports from Miami, Abbott issued a written decision saying that Posada, accused of planning the sabotage of a airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people, could be tortured in those two countries, and that under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, he should not be extradited.

With that disgraceful decision not to extradite the terrorist to Venezuela, the U.S. justice system has demonstrated the double standard of its policies.

The U.S. spends more money harassing Cuba than on combating terrorism

THE United States is spending more money trying to prevent trade with Cuba than on combating terrorism in its own country. That can be confirmed by an analysis of how the U.S. government steadily intensified the blockade of the island this past year in a bid to defeat the "communist Revolution" once and for all.

Upon presenting the report The Necessity for Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States against Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Padilla, first deputy minister of foreign affairs, affirmed that "the blockade is a basic element of the state terrorism that the Northern government is waging against the island."

''Intelligence Brief: The Return of Moqtada al-Sadr''

In the last week, the threat posed by Moqtada al-Sadr to the U.S.-led efforts in Iraq resurfaced during a bloody incident that occurred in Baghdad. On September 25, a patrol by U.S. and Iraqi troops in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad ended in violence as the troops engaged in a firefight with militia from al-Sadr's Mehdi Army. At the end of the firefight, more than a handful lay dead. The event serves as a reminder that the threat posed by al-Sadr remains just below the surface.

Al-Sadr's Relevancy

Since the start of the U.S. intervention, al-Sadr posed a problem for U.S. troops. Commanding a militia with thousands of fighters, al-Sadr has a significant amount of negotiating leverage at his disposal. He comes from a very prominent family, and is the son of respected Shi'a cleric Mohamed Sadeq al-Sadr, who was assassinated by Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party in 1999 due to his outspoken criticism of its policies. Al-Sadr's vision of Iraq remains nationalist, leading him to reject all U.S. involvement in the country.

The Us Has Plans to Invade Iran Before Bush's Term Ends

Bill Gertz is a right-wing national security reporter for the Rev. Sun Yung Moon's neo-fascist newspaper, The Washington Times. He's also a spigot from which flows much classified information illegally leaked by like-minded "patriots" seeking to advance their hawkish agenda in the military-industrial-congressional complex. And, frankly speaking, that's the only reason I pay any attention to him.

So I was hardly surprised when, on September 16, 2005, Gertz reported on the Bush administration's "computer slide presentation." which was aimed at persuading whoever would listen that Iran is working feverishly to build nuclear weapons.

Sea ice melts to record low because of global warming

Arctic sea ice has melted to a record low this month, prompting fears that the entire polar ice cap may disappear within decades.

Satellite images of the northern hemisphere's floating sea ice show that the area of ocean covered by the ice during this month was the lowest ever observed by scientists.

It is the fourth consecutive summer that the area covered by the sea ice in the Arctic has shrunk below even the long-term decline, which began at least as far back as the late 1970s.

A gradual loss of sea ice has taken place for a quarter of a century but scientists believe they may be witnessing an acceleration in the melting process because of climate change and a process of "positive feedback" causing a vicious cycle of melting and warming.

Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself

As Things Fall Apart, Lie and Lie Again

Suppose you are the party responsible for invading a country under totally false pretenses. Suppose you had totally unrealistic expectations about the consequences of your gratuitous aggression.

What do you do when, instead of being greeted with flowers, you find your army is tied down by insurgents and you have no face-saving way to get out of the morass? If you are the moronic Bush administration, you blame someone else.

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Cheney and Bush blame Syria and Iran for the troubles that they brought upon themselves. The Iraqi insurgency, say the Five Morons, is the fault of Syria and Iran.

Here is Rumsfeld excusing himself for his dismal failures in Iraq: "Partly it's [the insurgency] a function of what the Syrians and the Iranians are doing."

You see, the facts that the US invaded Iraq on false pretenses, killed and maimed tens of thousands of Iraqis, shot down women and children in the streets, blew up Iraqis' homes, hospitals and mosques, cut Iraqis off from vital services such as water and electricity, destroyed the institutions of civil society, left half the population without means of livelihood, filled up prisons with people picked up off the streets and then tortured and humiliated them for fun and games are not facts that explain why there is an insurgency. These facts are just descriptions of collateral damage associated with America "bringing democracy to Iraq."

Legendary Puerto Rican national liberation fighter Filiberto Ojeda Ríos assassinated by FBI

On Sept. 23, as hundreds of workers and their families were participating in the annual pro-independence commemoration known as "El Grito de Lares," agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations descended on the town of Hormigueros in western Puerto Rico and fired the shots that killed Puerto Rican liberation hero Filiberto Ojeda Ríos.

El Grito de Lares-The Cry of Lares-marks the historic 1868 uprising carried out by peasants and workers against Spanish colonial rule. This rebellion is considered the birth of the Puerto Rican nation.

FBI agents armed with helicopters, military vehicles and machine guns, and sharpshooters carrying sniper rifles - aided by the Police of Puerto Rico, who closed off regional roads and streets leading to the rural municipality of Hormigueros - all surrounded the home of 72-year-old Filiberto Ojeda Ríos and Elma Beatriz Rosado, his wife.

Filiberto Ojeda Ríos was the leader of the Ejercito Popular Boricua – Los Macheteros (The Popular Army of the People – The Cane Cutters).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Latin American Voice to Counter Corporate Media

Congressional leaders are all atwitter over Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' new satellite television station, Telesur, which has begun broadcasting four hours a day, financed by its host country and also Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba.

Telesur hopes to be accepted regionally, and promises news through Latino eyes, produced by professional journalists from the region.

Telesur is likened to Al Jazeera, the Arabic satellite news channel headquartered in Qatar and extremely popular throughout the Middle East. Al Jazeera saw two Iraq wars through Arab eyes, and the Pentagon and other U.S. leaders didn't like what Arabs saw.

They may not like everything that Latinos see on Telesur, either.

You never ask questions when God's on your side

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies," says a study that brands the U.S. as "almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so."

Chilean mercenaries leave Honduras for Nicaragua

Iraq War Mercenaries Trained in Central America

Chilean mercenaries
ordered out of Honduras after authorities learned they had come to the Central American nation to train for duty in Iraq left here Friday for neighboring Nicaragua.
Benjamin Canales, manager of the Honduras office of Your Solutions, the U.S. firm that hired the Chileans for security tasks in Iraq, told EFE the men had to leave because Honduran officials turned down a request from the company that they be allowed to remain a few more days before flying out to the Middle East. He said the 105 Chileans left early Friday for Nicaragua, traveling by road.

Tuesday, Honduras gave the Chileans 72 hours to leave the country after immigration authorities discovered they had entered the Central American nation on tourist or business visas but were actually there for training as employees of the U.S.-based firm.

The country's constitution bars military training of foreign nationals on Honduran territory.
The existence of the Your Solutions training facility in Lepaterique, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tegucigalpa, was uncovered by La Tribuna newspaper.

Your Solutions Honduras is committed to delivering 600 private security guards to Iraq by next month, and has already sent 36 Hondurans to Baghdad.
"If we had gotten 600 Hondurans, we wouldn't have sought the Chileans," Canales told EFE, adding that the firm expects to fill its 600-guard quota through recruitment in Nicaragua.
Your Solutions is offering new hires assignments in Iraq that pay between $990 and $1,500 a month.

Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S., Bernardo Alvarez, called Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro militant who is wanted for 73 counts of murder in Venezuela, "the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America." He also said that the Bush administration is exercising "a cynical double-standard" and is “fighting an 'a la carte' war on terror," because of its refusal to act on the Venezuelan request for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles.

Alvarez made the comments during a press conference today, in which he laid out in detail why Venezuela believes that the Bush administration is being hypocritical in its war on terror. "Rather than to respect the extradition treaties [the U.S.] has signed over the years, the United States chose to treat Posada Carriles' case as a mere immigration matter and charged him only with illegal entry into the country," said Alvarez.

Hey, Hey, Woody Guthrie, I Wrote You a Song

I'm out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin' a road other men have gone down.
I'm seein' your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.
Hey, hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny old world that's a-comin' along.
Seems sick and it's hungry, it's tired and it's torn,
It looks like it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born.

-- Bob Dylan, "Song for Woody"

The unbelievably arrogant and power-mad GOP Representative from Texas, Tom DeLay, got a taste of the whip hand on Wednesday. Indicted on a charge of conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, DeLay has been forced to step down as Majority Leader in the House. There is no telling how long it will take for the case to wend its way through the courts, but informed opinion puts the time frame at about a year or so. If Tom gets convicted, however, we will never again see his political face. One hopes he saved his bug exterminator equipment. Perhaps, in his new career, he can disprove that old chestnut about not being able to go home again.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is staring down the barrel of an SEC charge that he dumped stock based on insider information. The stock he owned was from HCA, Inc., a company his family founded. Almost immediately after Frist dumped his stock, the value of those holdings dropped nine percent. "If there is really any evidence of insider trading, then he's in very serious trouble, and so is his party,'' said Gary Jacobson, professor of political science at the University of California in San Diego. "It adds another brick to Democrats' argument that Republicans are corrupt.'' Is it possible that Frist could have been given insider information on a company his own family started? Do the math, and then subtract from Frist's chances of being President in 2008.

Spotlight on US troops in Paraguay

Concern is mounting in South America over a series of 13 joint military exercises involving US special forces in Paraguay.

The exercises began in July and are due to run until December 2006.

The Paraguayan foreign ministry and the US embassy in Asuncion have both released statements denying that the US is planning to establish a permanent military base at Mariscal Estigarribia in the Chaco region, close to the border with Bolivia.

But this has failed to reassure Paraguay's neighbours, who point out the same was said of the Manta Base in Ecuador, shortly before the country signed a 10-year agreement with the US air force in November 1999.

Venezuela Says U.S. 'Hypocritical' With Terrorism

Venezuela said the U.S. government is "hypocritical'' in its fight against terrorism after a U.S. judge in Texas blocked extradition of terror suspect Luis Posada Carriles.

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said the decision by immigration Judge William Lee Abbott to bar Posada Carriles's extradition to Venezuela or Cuba to face charges he planned the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner was indicative of U.S. double standards. The downing of the plane killed 73 people.

"The U.S. government is a hypocrite in its fight against terrorism,'' Rangel told reporters today outside congress. "The U.S. is manipulating justice.''

Venezuela formally asked in June that Posada Carriles, who is in U.S. custody on unrelated immigration charges, be extradited. Abbott yesterday said there was no guarantee that Posada Carriles wouldn't be tortured if he was sent to Cuba or Venezuela.

"Luis Posada Carriles is the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America,'' Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez said in a statement. "The government must present our extradition request to the appropriate federal judge with no further delay. The victims of Posada's crime have waited long enough.''

President Hugo Chavez said on May 22 that he may cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. unless Posada Carriles is turned over to Venezuela to face trial. Posada Carriles was detained on May 17 for illegally entering the U.S.

Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, sends two-thirds of its crude exports to the U.S.

Judge refuses to deport accused terrorist

A U.S. immigration judge refused to deport accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela or Cuba but left open the possibility of sending him elsewhere.

The ruling was certain to further strain already tense relations between Venezuela and the United States, the Miami Herald reported.

The 77-year-old Posada, detained May 17 in Miami, escaped Venezuela while awaiting a prosecution-requested retrial on charges he masterminded bombing a Cuban jet that killed 73 people in 1976.

Absurdities & Atrocities

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities- Voltaire

Absurdities and atrocities have come to largely define America in the new millennium. Who would have thought that the United States of America would embrace the practice of torture as a matter of policy? Torture, with all its grim, sadistic, soul destroying, screaming implications.

The President endorses torture. The Attorney General made it possible. President Karimov of Uzbekistan boils enemies alive. ‘Blowtorch Bob’ D’Aubisson of El Salvador loved to burn people. Ronnie Reagan had nuns raped. It was called ‘fighting for freedom’. George is a freedom fighter right up there with the best of them. The shah was a freedom fighter. General Noriega, to a point. Pinochet. Enemies of the US hate it for its ‘freedom’. Damn right. Freedom from the rule of law.

America recently advanced 'freedom' by sodomizing young boys at Abu Grahaib, where they torture children to manipulate their parents. Did you hear that? Americans torture innocent children in front of their parents to intimidate them. Is that possible? Now certain 'leaders' are hoping that the tape of that advancement doesn’t get out. Too much freedom can be a bad thing after all.

To date, none of America's religious leaders have spoken out against the use of torture, or the wanton abrogation of civil liberties in America or Guantanamo. Okay, maybe a few Lutherans whispered something, and good for them. But where's Jerry Falwell? Franklin Graham? (He thinks Islam is evil.) Pat Robertson? (He wants to assassinate Hugo Chavez.) Where are the Catholic bishops? We know the pope has diplomatic immunity, so he can’t be held accountable for covering up sex crimes against children, but where are the priests? The ministers? The good people? If organized religion can’t or won’t stand up to the kind of immorality that is so patently being practiced by the Bush Administration - do you suppose that Jesus would endorse torture? If Christianity has no problem with torture or for that matter the wholesale slaughter of innocents in Iraq - if Christianity has no issue with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, rape and murder, then perhaps that religion does not have very much to offer in terms of moral values or teaching. Its silence has been louder than any prayer or hymn.

Maybe George is a little hard of hearing and God is actually telling him to fuck off.

Venezuela, Un país en transformación

Estoy escribiéndoles desde los llanos bolivarianos del estado de Barinas, en el centro de Venezuela. Estoy aquí haciendo un "recorrido", como ellos dicen, para conocer el proceso de reforma agraria en Venezuela. Estoy impresionado. Muy impresionado. Finalmente, como dice un proverbio oriental, "Los ojos divisan mil veces más que los oídos". Venezuela tuvo un pasado glorioso en el siglo XIX con las heroicas luchas por la independencia lideradas por Simón Bolívar y Ezequiel Zamora y que tuvieron como auxiliar un bravo combatiente brasileño que llegó al "rango" de general: el general Abreu de Lima, de Pernambuco, que produce mucho orgullo en Venezuela, aunque nosotros los brasileños lamentablemente todavía no conozcamos su historia.

More Trouble for Diebold, This Time in Georgia...

Stock Fall Another 3.3% Today...
(And More Trouble Still To Come for Diebold, Our Sources Tell Us...)

With Diebold, Inc.'s financial and ethical and political chickens perhaps finally coming home to roost, Andrew Gumbel, author of Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America comes out with some more troubling information on the voting machines sold by America's largest Voting Machine Company.

As we write this morning, Diebold's trouble stock prices, which fell nearly 20% over two days last week alone, continue to tumble. DBD share prices are down 2.33% so far in early trading today closed down another 3.3% today!

The trouble reported by Gumbel today, comes out of Georgia, vis a vis the Democratic Secretary of State down there and what appears to be some less-than-above-board contractual shenanigans with Diebold and their hardware and software. The report also suggest that votes may have disappeared entirely from Diebold voting machines.