Oct. 30, 2004

Blair Lied To Parliament- New Evidence

News: "US gave date of war to Britain in advance, court papers reveal By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor 27 October 2004 Secret plans for the war in Iraq were passed to British Army chiefs by US defence planners five months before the invasion was launched, a court martial heard yesterday. The revelation strengthened suspicions that Tony Blair gave his agreement to President George Bush to go to war while the diplomatic efforts to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions were continuing. Alan Simpson, the leader of Labour Against the War, said the documents were 'dynamite', if genuine, and showed that Clare Short was right to assert in her book, serialised in The Independent, that Mr Blair had 'knowingly misled' Parliament." Continued.........

Oct. 28, 2004

America Ranks 22nd In Press Freedom

IOL: Europe: " Reporters Without Borders check media freedom October 27 2004 at 08:52PM Paris - The United States ranked 22nd alongside Belgium and behind countries including Bosnia, France and Trinidad and Tobago on a media freedom index released this week by Reporters Without Borders. Eight countries shared the top spot on the Paris-based press freedom group's list, and repressive North Korea was last for the third year running. " Continued....... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Another story you're not going to see in the press. Ohhhh, the irony..........

Alleged Terror Tape Gives ABC Pause (washingtonpost.com)

Alleged Terror Tape Gives ABC Pause (washingtonpost.com): "Alleged Terror Tape Gives ABC Pause News Division Delays Airing Video as FBI, CIA Evaluate By Howard Kurtz Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, October 28, 2004; Page C01 It has all the makings of an incendiary story: a chilling pre-election videotape featuring a supposed member of al Qaeda, declaring in English that 'blood will run red in the streets of America.' The problem, say ABC News executives, is that they can't determine whether the tape, obtained by a producer, involves a real threat -- or even the identity of the figure on it, a man wearing an ammunition belt and a headdress that obscures his face. The network enlisted the aid of the FBI and CIA but still can't authenticate the 75-minute videotape." continued....... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Could we be witnessing another of Karl Roves tricks? The timing is typical "Rove". Mycos

Oct. 27, 2004

By Jove ! I Think They've (Finally) Got It

North Coast Cafe: "By Jove! I think They've [finally] Got it. The LA Times reports that some Christians are wondering whether the right to life might apply to innocent Iraqis who never did anything to us: 'It's hard for me to say that Christians should be marching against abortion and carrying signs, and then turn around and giving a pep rally for the war in Iraq without even contemplating that hundreds and hundreds of people are being killed on a regular basis over there.'" continued.....

Oct. 25, 2004

The Bush Cult

The Bush Cult: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality" By Chris Floyd 10/22/04 "Moscow Times" -- Now we come at last to the heart of darkness. Now we know, from their own words, that the Bush Regime is a cult -- a cult whose god is Power, whose adherents believe that they alone control reality, that indeed they create the world anew with each act of their iron will. And the goal of this will -- undergirded by the cult's supreme virtues of war, fury and blind faith -- is likewise openly declared: "Empire." You think this is an exaggeration? Then heed the words of the White House itself: a "senior adviser" to the president, who, as The New York Times reports, explained the cult to author Ron Suskind in the heady pre-war days of 2002. First, the top Bush insider mocked the journalist and all those "in what we call the reality-based community," i.e., people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." Suskind's attempt to defend the principles of reason and enlightenment cut no ice with the Bush-man. "That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality," he said. "And while you're studying that reality, we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Anyone with any knowledge of 20th-century history will know that this same megalomaniacal outburst could have been made by a "senior adviser" to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or Mao. continued at...... http://207.44.245.159/article7137.htm

Conservative Genes? Yes....

North Coast Cafe:: "North Coast Cafe 'I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right.' --George W. Bush A local radio host I listen to most mornings today made a comment suggesting there must be a 'politics gene' because that's the only way to explain how Bush supporters could reach conclusions about politics and policy polar opposite of what he believes. " continued.....

RollingStone.com: Politics - Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004

RollingStone.com: Politics - Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004: "Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004 Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sounds off on the fun-hogs in the passing lane By DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with my man John Kerry turned into a series of horrible embarrassments that cracked his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers. They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners. Kerry came into October as a five-point underdog with almost no chance of winning three out of three rigged confrontations with a treacherous little freak like George Bush. But the debates are over now, and the victor was clearly John Kerry every time. He steamrollered Bush and left him for roadkill." continued.....

Oct. 24, 2004

GOP Tricksters Con College Students into Registering Republican

Capitol Hill Blue: GOP Tricksters Con College Students into Registering Republican: "GOP Tricksters Con College Students into Registering Republican By DENNIS B. RODDY Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Oct 24, 2004, 06:16 Email this article Printer friendly page Scores of college students in Pennsylvania and Oregon have had their voting registrations switched by teams of Republican canvassers circulating bogus petitions and, in some cases, partially concealed voter registration forms students were requested to sign. The canvassers have visited campuses asking students to sign petitions advocating lower auto insurance rates, medical marijuana or stricter rape laws, according to elections officials. After signing their names, the students were pressured into registering with the Republican Party by being told that their signatures otherwise would be invalid, or they were asked to fill out the signature and address portions of blank voter registration forms as proof of citizenship. In multiple instances, students already registered to vote have had their registrations changed without their consent, elections officials said yesterday. Petition canvassers in Pennsylvania apparently did not identify themselves, although one told a University of Pittsburgh student that he was being paid by the Republican Party." Continued......

Surveillance and the War on Terrorism

Surveillance and the War on Terrorism by Jim Harper Jim Harper is director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute Ask any CEO about the power of branding, and you'll get an earful. Most corporate chiefs would give anything to have the positive brand recognition of a Coke, a Kodak or a Google. The architects of the surveillance state are using brand management,too, but with precisely the opposite purpose: to escape negative recognition. A case in point is a provision in an intelligence reform bill that passed the Senate last week. It calls for a "trusted" government surveillance network. Few have forgotten the Defense Department's doomed surveillance proposal, Total Information Awareness. It would have comprehensively scanned the commercial activities and communications of all Americans in an attempt to weed out terrorists. It was lamely rebranded "Terrorism Information Awareness" before Congress terminated the program. But Total Information Awareness may not stay dead all that long. The Senate intelligence bill, now being reconciled with similar House legislation, calls for a new "trusted information environment." The bill is, at best, ambiguous about how widely it would sweep as it conscripts privately held data for surveillance purposes. Of course, Congress cannot decree that such a network will be "trusted." That is up to the American people. If government investigators are going to put citizens' eBay listings and credit-card records in the same pool as information about Hamas leaders, one doubts that trust will be forthcoming. And calling this surveillance network an "environment" will not make it more palatable either. The idea for a "trusted" information network comes from a group assembled by the Markle Foundation, a New York nonprofit, that articulated such a program late last year. The group has tried to grab the high ground by painting opponents of comprehensive surveillance as anti-technology Luddites. Defending Total Information Awareness, the Markle group said, "We are disappointed that Congress found it necessary to ban research and development of technologies that would make use of privately held data." But searching privately held data without a warrant is not a technology: It is a policy, and a bad one. The Markle group has analyzed the federal laws that control government access to private-sector information, a road map of sorts for law changes that will fold private data even further into national surveillance. If there is to be a network, the mission should define the network, rather than the network defining the mission. Let there be networked delivery of warrants dealing with particular suspects, and networked responses to those warrants. Using technology consistent with the Constitution is perfectly acceptable, and there is no need for new legal authority if a network serves an existing legitimate purpose. But any technology that promises something "better" than law enforcement consistent with the Constitution -- well, that's just not better. The rebranding of government surveillance programs continues with CAPPS II, the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System -- now called "Secure Flight." The Transportation Security Administration put together this intrusive traveler background-check system to fight a crucial battle in the war on terrorism, but one that has probably passed as the terrorists move to new techniques. CAPPS II fell under the weight of congressional scrutiny when it abjectly failed to provide adequate protections for due process, privacy and other interests, as found by a Government Accountability Office study. When he announced the supposed end of CAPPS II, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge joked about putting a dagger through its heart. Even a wooden stake, garlic and holy water would not have worked, unfortunately, because his foe is far more resilient than any vampire or zombie. CAPPS III/Secure Flight is up and walking around. It will soon be tested using data commandeered from the airlines regarding everyone who traveled domestically during June 2004. CAPPS III shares many hallmarks of the failed CAPPS II, though little information about the program is available yet. Foremost, Privacy Act protections will not apply, due to a law enforcement/national security exception to the act. This treats every American who flew domestically during June 2004 as a terrorism suspect. Travelers will not be allowed to decline participation. The CAPPS III/Secure Flight program places no limits on how long data will be retained. Mission creep will inevitably lead the program to maintain records of Americans' travels well beyond the time when there is a legitimate terrorism-prevention purpose. Finally, CAPPS III will use data compiled by commercial data aggregators in ways that have yet to be defined. This is an end run around the Privacy Act that deserves debate before federal agencies assume it is acceptable. Renaming CAPPS II "Secure Flight" does not change or make its avoidance of the Privacy Act acceptable. Some consumer data companies, retailers and Internet companies may view the government surveillance market as a good one for them. They should think twice. The companies that sell data to government for this purpose, and the companies that sell data to those companies, may find themselves needing to re- brand because of public revulsion at the practice. This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 15, 2004.*

Memo Lets CIA Take Detainees Out of Iraq (washingtonpost.com)

Memo Lets CIA Take Detainees Out of Iraq (washingtonpost.com): "Memo Lets CIA Take Detainees Out of Iraq Practice Is Called Serious Breach of Geneva Conventions By Dana Priest Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, October 24, 2004; Page A01 At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorizes the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation -- a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions. One intelligence official familiar with the operation said the CIA has used the March draft memo as legal support for secretly transporting as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months. The agency has concealed the detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other authorities, the official said." continued......