Sunday, June 29, 2003

Democrats plan separate review of Iraq spy data

Partisan bickering over intelligence that President Bush used to justify the war on Iraq escalated yesterday as minority Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee announced they would conduct their own investigation.

The panel's senior Democrat, Carl Levin of Michigan, said the Democrats had decided to undertake their own review because the panel's Republican chairman, John Warner of Virginia, had spurned an offer for a bipartisan inquiry.

Row Between BBC And British Govt. Going Strong

The unprecedented row between the Government and the BBC took a dramatic twist last night when Andrew Gilligan, the reporter at the centre of claims that Number 10 deliberately 'sexed up' evidence against Saddam Hussein, announced he was ready to sue a serving Minister.

Gilligan, the defence correspondent for Radio 4's Today programme, said that he would take legal action against Phil Woolas, the Deputy Leader of the House, unless he received a full apology for allegations made against him.

The BBC is not backing down.

Posted June 27th...

Letter from Richard Sambrook, Director, BBC News to Alastair Campbell

Downing Street

The latest from Downing Street.
U.S. Begins Bid to Crush Iraq Insurgents

The operation, dubbed "Desert Sidewinder," is taking place in a huge swath of central Iraq (news - web sites) stretching from the Iranian border to the areas north of Baghdad, and is expected to last for several days, military officials said.

Election Activism for 2004

Cowboy Kahlil linked to this call for action from Dennis Kucinich.

If you think the 2004 vote should be monitored go read.
Is Any Of This Stuff Made In The U.S.A.?

Israel cuts off ties with BBC

Israel declared over the weekend that it is cutting off ties with the BBC to protest a repeat broadcast on non-conventional weapons said to be in Israel.

The program was broadcast for the first time in March in Britain, and was rerun Saturday on a BBC channel that is aired all over the world.

The MoveOn Vote

My problems with the MoveOn vote are they went almost immediately from asking members to vote for a top three tier to the actual 'vote'. And Zack Exley should have recused himself from the entire process.

Why was there no debate period between asking members to vote for a top three tier and the actual voting? The letters were fine but no substitute for debate on the issues.

Nathan Newman alerted people to Freepers bragging about rigging the vote and registering multiple times. He suggested charging a fee for the privilege of voting. A friend who read his post took offense not only to this suggestion but felt Nathan was being critical of Sharpton. I don't think that was his purpose but unlike my friend I've read the articles linked on this page.

I do think Nathan may be one of those lefties who doesn't think a true progressive has a real chance of winning the nomination. That's a little different from someone who dismisses Sharpton's credentials entirely but not much.

Did you read the comments section of the alert I linked? Some people honestly wonder why the Republicans are kicking Dem ass all over town and the answer is right there under their noses. There's no glue to hold it all together. This 'oh we can't go too left' attitude makes absolutely no sense to me. If you're going to be the opposition party give me something to believe in. If in your heart you lean more to the right than left join the GOP and back candidates like Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chaffe.

It's a sorry excuse to say unless a hawkish candidate is backed the election can't be won. I think the people who say things like it are simply projecting their insecurities about advancing peaceful causes.

Again. Get thee to the party that intends to wage perpetual war.

And in response to the suggestion of charging a fee for voting I say no. Fix the problem, don't create a new one.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Who Will Lose Overtime Pay?

The deadline for submitting comments to the Department of Labor opposing President Bush's overtime cuts is just days away. All public comments must be submitted to the Labor Department before the end of the day this coming Monday, June 30. Act now before it is too late. You, your friends or members of your family could be among the more than 8 million workers who might LOSE ALL of their overtime pay.

Please take one minute to submit your comment opposing Bush's overtime pay cuts by clicking on the link below.

Even if you've acted before, your voice is needed now.

A personal reason I am completely against this outrage.

For some years now I've worked 12 hr. shifts.

When I worked as a nurse these were straight shifts on the night side but for those who don't know working these longer hours can involve 'creative' scheduling.

There were weeks I would be scheduled 5 nights on, 2 off, so forth...completely dependent upon the will of the manager. Every 5 weeks or so I would swing around to 5 days off in a row. Working 5 [or more] nights just before it I'd spend the first day recovering. This was the carrot on the stick?

No matter how I was scheduled it never exceeded 84 hours in a two-week period yet I received no overtime pay unless I worked more than the 84.

Some deal for the company. Not a great life for parents with small children who require adult supervision. It also leaves little time for a family life when you are home and forget about scheduling appointments when you only know a couple of weeks in advance what days you'll be working.

It was one of the reasons I left the nursing profession. You'd be surprised how many employers try to capitalise on the selfless natures of the men and women who enter the nursing profession.

The last several years I've worked a 12 hr. swing shift. This means my schedule constantly revolves from day to night.

In reality I work 60 hours one week and 24 the next though thanks to the billing calendar it's regarded as 36/48.

If you could see the actual schedule this involves very short turn-arounds when you go from nights to days, so while it might sound as if I have a lot of days off, in reality they can be very short ones. My company allows us 8 hours of overtime pay every two-week period which considering the attitudes of many companies is very generous.

What needs to be understood is that 8 hours of overtime isn't a gift my company is giving me. They still come out ahead in the long run for a number of reasons. In fact even if this law goes through I don't think my company will sign-on to it. But I'm very lucky in that respect.

Other companies like ones I worked for as a nurse would swoop on something like this. They don't care. If they lose American nurses due to it they'll recruit foreign professionals like my state is doing now in India.

Don't allow the Bush administration's war on workers to continue. If you don't start fighting back now, you'll become powerless to fight back when something comes around that matters to you.

Overtime is not only just compensation for the sacrifices and allowances one must make in their personal life to accomodate working the longer hours, it's one of the most effective tools workers have to stem the greed and manipulation of employers.
Report al-Qaeda No. 2, And bin Laden Son In Custody In Iran

You might think FOX News [origin of the linked article] is slow on the draw since Iran freely admitted some time ago it's holding al-Qaeda operatives.

But if you read this post over at Body and Soul you might come to a different conclusion.

They have a history of retreading old information. Could it be to provide that 'slant' they're so fond of hawking?

I think it's 'fair' to say this is yet another example of propaganda in one of its sloppiest forms.
Bush Wants Regime-Change In 3 African Nations

Eleven days before an African tour, Bush addressed the war-ravaged states of Liberia and Congo and warned democracy was under assault in Zimbabwe, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Bush stopped short of demanding the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Yet just three days ago;

US offers payment for overthrow of Mugabe

The United States has offered Zimbabwe "generous assistance" in exchange for its ruling ZANU-PF party ousting President Robert Mugabe and agreeing to hold free elections.

The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said "Robert Mugabe and his cohorts may cry 'blackmail"', but they should be ignored. The starving, oppressed Zimbabwean people could not wait much longer for their "rescue".

If the United States is truly concerned about the starving people of Zimbabwe why does the Bush administration insist upon sending GM crops?

I understand the economic motive but not the hypocrisy.

Nationwide Protests To Greet Bush In Africa
Company fined $6,000 for answering customer's question "Is any of this stuff made in Israel?"

A Missouri company has been fined $6,000 for answering a customer's question and not reporting to the federal government that the question was asked. The question that's punished by law is: Are any of these products made in Israel, or made of Israeli materials?

The Kansas City Star reports:

Jeanne d'Arc at Body and Soul has an illuminating post about the Congo.

Go read.

I've also learned from Jeanne that Dennis Kucinich now has a blog. It's been added to my links.

Disappointing to read that Jeanne is leaning towards Dean though she hasn't decided yet.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Perfect Timing!

Bush wants to give Musharraf $4.5 billion and voile! Pakistan arrests an al-Qaeda operative who just happens to have a tape of OSB warning of attacks on the United States.

Scared? Shame on you.

Al-Qaida suspect arrested with video

Pakistani authorities arrested a suspected al-Qaida operative and seized a video cassette purportedly of Osama bin Laden warning of attacks against U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia, intelligence officials said Friday.

Tired of Telemarketers?

Federal officials said consumers are now able to place their home and mobile telephone numbers on a free, national "do not call list" of households that do not want to receive telephone sales calls, by logging on to ( or calling 1-888-382-1222.

end of excerpt

If you'd like to know why I think telephone companies escaped this restriction read this article.
When I posted about this 'find' the other day I thought the Bushies were really pushing it. I even wondered if finally the stupidest sheeple would get off their duffs and say 'enough is enough'.

But nah. The Bushies must thank de loid every second of the day for the sheer ignorance and willingness to submit of their followers. I can't think of any nation on earth that possesses subjects as dense as these.

Others gauge Iraqi scientist's ordeal

Two months after he first asked for help in coming forward, the materials Obeidi buried 12 years ago are in the hands of U.S. officials and he is in Kuwait with his family. But his future remains unclear.

Reward money promised to Iraqis with details about illicit weapons programs hasn't been granted and his asylum request remains uncertain.

U.S. authorities said the information he provided wasn't the long-sought "smoking gun" they sought. But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said it buttressed the administration's claim that Saddam had concealed weapons of mass destruction.

Yeah right, Ari.

Why was this scientist treated so shabbily? Didn't they think he'd risk going public on his own?

In my opinion they didn't think the evidence was worth giving this guy anything in exchange for it but decided it was good enough to quiet the appetites of Americans hungry for news of WMD.

Poor slob. He turns to CNN to protect his life and winds up in CIA custody.
Does Bush Believe God Talks To Him?

Linked from

Abbas said that at Aqaba, Bush promised to speak with Sharon about the siege on Arafat. He said nobody can speak to or pressure Sharon except the Americans.

According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."
If the news of Oregon's success hasn't sent Ashcroft into cardiac arrest this certainly should.

Vive le Canada!

Canada plans injection site for addicts

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canada will open North America's first legal safe-injection site for drug addicts later this year, a decision that drew swift criticism from White House drug czar John Walters.
Justice, Israeli style.

Don't let this be the end of it. Write your members of congress. Write George. Ask the almighty why he protects the rights of Iranian dissidents to protest but not American citizens.

Rachel Corrie deserves much more than this.

Israelis exonerated in activist's death

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military prosecutor has exonerated Israeli soldiers in the death of an American peace activist, who was crushed to death by an army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, the army said Thursday.

French to get harsher cigarette warnings

Larger labels with the simple message: "SMOKING KILLS."

Ha ha. Have you ever smoked a French cigarette? I've only tried one brand. Gauloises. For some reason the United States has forbidden access to their site.

I entered the site as a Greek and to my surprise it doesn't appear Gauloises come in non-filtered form these days, the brand I smoked.

Found an interesting titbit trying to find out if they're still sold at all;

"Queen Margrethe of Denmark smokes a strong weed - stronger than the guidelines of the European Union allow. Since yesterday, her favourite cigarettes, Karelia non-filters, are therefore no longer on sale in Denmark, as reported on Danish Television. The nicotine and tar values exceed the limits fixed by the EU. Karelia cigarettes, which are produced in Greece, were imported into Denmark for the royal smoker Margrethe above all", Berliner Morgenpost (Germany), May 16, '02

This must be the reason?


Tar/ nicotine/ filters According to European Union (EU) legislation, from 1993 cigarettes have to contain less than 15 mg of tar, and will have to contain less than 12 mg of tar from 1998.
Wolfowitz To Choose Tribunal Commission

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday delegated to his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, the final word on which terrorism suspects are to be tried by a military tribunal.

Wolfowitz also was given the authority to decide who will serve on the tribunals, which the Pentagon calls commissions.
Justice American Style--A Continuing Series

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia and the United States signed a bilateral accord Friday preventing the others' citizens from being extradited to the International Criminal Court.

No wonder the United States enthusiastically supported a U.N.-backed tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide, an effort criticised by political and human rights activists.

The detractors fear that putting Cambodian judges in the majority of the court would corrupt the process.
The Israeli response to a concession is what it always is. Raid houses or assassinate someone in hope of stirring the violence.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli soldiers hunting a top Hamas bombmaker raided two homes Friday, killing three gunmen and a bystander in a firefight. The Hamas response was muted, suggesting that a deal between armed groups on suspending attacks against Israelis might not unravel because of the raid.

Muted? This should guarantee something big from the Israelis.

Update: Islamic militants in Gaza accept truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Islamic militants have accepted a proposal to halt attacks on Israelis for three months, a senior militia official said Friday, providing the first confirmation from the militants that agreement has been reached.

Fireworks display to the United States will of course condone.
Japan wants to press on with an international nuclear power project in North Korea.

The U.S. is against it.

Marwan Barghouti is being credited for securing a truce among Palestinian militants. According to the agreement that has yet to be announced, there would be no attacks on Israelis for three months.

Who is Barghouti? If you ask the Israelis he's a terrorist who deserves imprisonment.

As leader of the Fatah Party's Tanzim militia, Barghouti, 42, has become a symbol -- and coordinating force -- of the Palestinian intifada against Israel, which has claimed the lives of at least 469 Israeli soldiers and civilians since it began in September 2000.

The Palestinians consider him a political prisoner who should be freed.

“I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating only what every other oppressed person has advocated -- the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else.”
Read the complete Article.

Securing this deal if in fact it's occurred would be a coup. And it would lend weight to Barghouti's call to hold new elections as he considers Arafat's leadership a failure.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Iraqi scientist 'unearths' N parts

They're over twelve years old.

He kept them buried in his garden.
Rep. Issa was charged in San Jose auto theft

One of the things I fear in life is being so brainwashed I can't recognise garbage like Issa for what it is.

Sheeple know thy name. Baaaaa.
Tearing apart terrorists' web could take years: Bush

Bush says al-Qaeda's leadership has been dismantled but it could "take a day or it could take a month; it could take years" to "finish the job of crushing militant networks".

Dismiss the ignorance of such a statement as typical of Bush's inability to grasp even minimally the gravitas of matters on which he speaks. Consider how ludicrous it is he would say this in the presence of Musharraf.

Did I mention Bush proposed giving Musharraf $4.5 billion in aid...the man who aided North Korea's nuclear proliferation that is allegedly such a problem?

If like me you're thinking things couldn't be more unbelievable read this.

Veteran neo-con advisor moves on Iran
Europe faces pressure to toe US line on Hamas

Continuing to suggest there's something resembling an honest effort to find a peaceful solution to this madness is so offensive.

A workmate tells me he thinks we should 'colonise' Iraq. I asked him why he was under the impression we haven't.

He just smiled the way someone does when they've just peeped at a dirty picture.

I resent the ones who, like my workmate, feel they have an inherent right to take what they want from this world no matter the cost.

And I'm losing patience with people who claim not to know why they hate us.

Pick-up a history book that wasn't written for adolescents in the meat grinder laughingly referred to as the public education system.
Welfare and Social Security for Iraqis!

Welfare for 400,000 Iraqi troops while disabled veterans in this country have their funding cut by the Republicans in the House..

We all know how long that welfare is bound to last..

Now Bremer is saying oil funds may be put into a 'trust fund' like Social Security?

Man are they gonna get screwed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Blogger Issues

I have a new 'editor' today that apparently has bugs in it.

The 'goldenrod' colored text in the previous post is meant to be italicised.

And white.

Update: I deleted the HTML tags. My own words in that post are now 'bold' and the rest are excerpts from the linked articles.

This must be one of the longest 'retoolings' in history.
US 'admits' it is facing political sabotage in Iraq

"Whether or not it is connected to the power outage today, I don't know. But it is a broader issue that we're contending with," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Coalition efforts to get the country back up and running after the crippling effect of 13 years of international sanctions and an intense bombing campaign, have been hit by suspected sabotage blasts on three fuel pipelines in the last two weeks.

Although the US authorities have yet to account for the explosions - one of which on the main oil export pipeline from Kirkuk in the north to Turkey has delayed oil flows - Iraqi officials have said they were deliberate attacks.

"Remnants of the former regime want to send a message that things are bad and they are seeking to sabotage the progress we are making," the official said.

Sounds pretty good, right?

But according to Iraqis interviewed for this article something important is missing from that analysis.

They argue it is heavy-handed American raids, along with the failure to restore basic services, that are fuelling the violence and insecurity, not Saddam loyalists.

“The Americans are just using the Baath as an excuse to stay in the country... They don’t want an Iraqi government. So they just talk about the Baath,” said Ali Jassem, a Shiite Iraqi who lives in a slum and is unemployed. “We will rise up and fight the Americans. We have just moved from one dictatorship to another.”

Rumsfeld in that Pentagon briefing refused to commit to a date the United States would return Iraq to its people. But it was apparent by his look of disbelief anyone would ask such a silly question, his smirk, and his hand gestures when saying it will happen 'ultimately' that it's years down the road.
Rummy Plays The Clinton Card

I caught the last twenty minutes of a Pentagon press briefing today on C-Span 2.

Not a habit for me. It's frustrating to view 'distinguished' members of the press allowing good questions to go unanswered and going limp as packaged answers go unchallenged.

Rummy was his usual arrogant self and Richard Myers a willing leaning post. He propped-up every non-statement made by his boss with an expanded version of same.

And I can sympathise with the press to a point. Men like Rumsfeld and Myers are so good at what they do and one reporter can't monopolise the forum.

But there's no excuse for intentionally misleading statements to drift out over the airwaves as if fact even if it means you won't get called on at the next conference.

Today Rummy reinforced the obvious that the Bush administration has agreed they should invoke Clinton's bombing of Iraq whenever questioned about missing WMD. Bush has been doing it in his fundraising speeches. Rummy took it for a longer spin.

It's stomach wrenching enough being expected to calmly abide rabid detractors of Clinton's bombing campaign now using the action as a flame extinguisher.

But when the press allows someone of Rummy's influence to sloppily 'revise' the story behind intelligence that led to Clinton's and allegedly Bush's decision to attack Iraq even when it's been soundly discredited is grossly negligent.

Am I to believe that someone as intelligent as Donald Rumsfeld comes to a press conference but can't 'specifically recall' the details of a story he's obviously rehearsed? Am I to forget that for months now the 'rest of the story' has been available to anyone who doesn't have their head inextricably [apparently] buried?

He went on that how after '9 months of inspecting' within a '10, or 20, or 30 percent error-frame', after which the inspectors were ready to declare Iraq compliant, their minds were 'changed' by the 'evidence' of a defector.

He must be talking about Kamel. Clinton used him as well.

But we now know that 'intelligence' also included this statement;

"All weapons-- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed."

Is it too much to expect the press to remind these people of this fact?

Friday, June 20, 2003

Netanyahu says Iraq-Israel oil line not pipe-dream

Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects an oil pipeline from Iraq to Israel to be reopened in the near future after being closed when Israel became a state in 1948.

"It won't be long when you will see Iraqi oil flowing to Haifa," the port city in Northern Israel, Netanyahu told a group of British investors,
declining to give a timetable.

"It is just a matter of time until the pipleline is reconstituted and Iraqi oil will flow to the Mediterranean."

Netanyahu is very talkative this week.

Netanyahu: Blair agrees a cease-fire is not sufficient

Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday that Britain sees eye-to-eye with Israel on the cease-fire with Palestinian organizations.

"Blair agreed that a hudna (temporary cease-fire) was not acceptable as sufficient for advancing the peace process with the Palestinians. He expects Abu Mazen to fight the terror organizations firmly and ruthlessly," Netanyahu said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also attended the meeting. Straw told Netanyahu he had asked German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to help persuade the European Union to include Hamas' political wing on the list of terrorist organizations, Netanyahu said. France had objected to doing this.

They are dealing with people fighting for survival. People who when confronted with the occupation of their land resort to vandalism, violence.

Threats such as this one. Aren't they?

"This is our land, our home," he said. "Tomorrow we will be here again on this hill or on other hills."

But we won't hear Blair or Powell ever label the outpost settlers as terrorists or 'enemies of the peace'.

Sara Roy has a well-informed opinion why labeling Hamas terrorists won't end the violence.
Japan Says No Proof of N.Korea Nuclear Warheads

Japan's government said on Friday it had no firm evidence to confirm a newspaper report that North Korea has several nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan.

Quoting unspecified Japanese and U.S. sources, Friday's Sankei Shimbun newspaper said Washington had informed Tokyo in about March that North Korea possessed several small warheads that could be carried by such missiles.

Each warhead weighed about 1,650 to 2,200 pounds, it said.

"We don't have firm evidence and I believe that the United States probably does not either," top government spokesman Yasuo Fukuda told reporters. "Considering from various angles, we can't assert clearly (that North Korea has such warheads)."
Santorum Has Pennsylvania's "Mainstream Republicans' Seeing Red

The GOP group is upset that Santorum is backing 'moderate' Sen. Arlen Specter in his re-election bid and not the conservative candidate Rep. Pat Toomey.

They're calling Santorum a 'sellout' and warn he will 'lose more than he gains' by endorsing Specter. Their feelings are hurt that he would turn his back on them after they went to the mat for him regarding his anti-gay remarks.

What a stretch. It's not as if Santorum was in danger of losing their support when he made those offensive statements. The only time you lose that is when you disagree with them. Did their support help him through the crisis? I don't think so. It didn't change anyone's perception of the GOP as an anti-gay rights party and as far as the WH goes, they don't seek counsel when making decisions about who to cut loose.
DeLay put on Texas 'worst lawmakers list'

Under the heading "Pest," DeLay is criticized for pushing the Texas Legislature to take up a congressional redistricting bill late in the 140 day, biennial session. The bill prompted state Democratic representatives to head to Ardmore, Okla. for nearly a week and an ensuing manhunt that involved a federal anti-terrorism agency.

"He's a member of the House of Representatives, all right, but it's the one in Congress, not the one on Congress Avenue," Texas Monthly wrote. The Texas Capitol is on Congress Avenue in Austin.

DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella declined comment Thursday.

I'd say it's a bad news day for DeLay but does he ever have a good one?

Utility got resort stay after donation

A utility embroiled in a campaign fund-raising controversy made a $25,000 donation to an organization affiliated with Rep. Tom DeLay just before attending a two-day get-together at a Virginia resort with the House GOP leader.

Described by a DeLay spokesman as "a golf fund-raising event," several executives from Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy went to the 15,000-acre Homestead resort in early June 2002 for what participants said was an energy issues round-table.

Westar made the donation to the DeLay-affiliated political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, the month before the company's executives joined DeLay and representatives from a small number of other corporations at the posh mountain resort in southwestern Virginia. Internal Revenue Service records show the Westar donation was $25,000.
Galloway papers deemed forgeries

An extensive Monitor investigation has subsequently determined that the six papers detailed in the April 25 piece are, in fact, almost certainly forgeries.

The Arabic text of the papers is inconsistent with known examples of Baghdad bureaucratic writing, and is replete with problematic language, says a leading US-based expert on Iraqi government documents. Signature lines and other format elements differ from genuine procedure.

The two "oldest" documents - dated 1992 and 1993 - were actually written within the past few months, according to a chemical analysis of their ink. The newest document - dated 2003 - appears to have been written at approximately the same time.

"At the time we published these documents, we felt they were newsworthy and appeared credible, although we did explicitly state in our article that we could not guarantee their authenticity," says Monitor editor Paul Van Slambrouck. "It is important to set the record straight: We are convinced the documents are bogus. We apologize to Mr. Galloway and to our readers."

Thursday, June 19, 2003


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Help us reach the goal. Join the Blues Foundation today.
Orrin Hatch: Software Pirate?

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed.

But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes.

The senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions, a software company based in the United Kingdom. The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website.

"It's an unlicensed copy," said Andy Woolley, who runs Milonic. "It's very unfortunate for him because of those comments he made."


The apparent violation was discovered by Laurence Simon, an unemployed system administrator from Houston, who was poking around Hatch's site after becoming outraged by his comments.

Milonic's Woolley said the senator's unlicensed use of his software was just "the tip of the iceberg." He said he knows of at least two other senators using unlicensed copies of his software, and many big companies.
Senate panel votes to change FCC decision

The Senate Commerce Committee voted Thursday to overturn parts of a Federal Communications Commission decision freeing media companies from decades-old ownership limits and allowing them to buy more outlets and merge in new ways.

The proposal, which faces an uncertain future in the full Senate and a tough road in the House, would roll back changes that allowed individual companies to own television stations reaching nearly half the nation's viewers and combinations of newspapers and broadcast stations in the same city.
Exporting A Legacy Of Hate?

From my e-mail;

Dear Friends,

Two African Americans are currently serving with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. Below are two of their recent reflections.


Rev. Sandra Olewine
United Methodist Liaison - Jerusalem

By Chris Brown

I've had some funny cards and letters sent to me over the years. Some I keep and some I throw away. But the one that has been written for me recently...Well, it's unique and I don't think I'll be throwing it away anytime soon.

One of the rooms in the men's apartment looks out over a street that is used by settlers only. I decided to clean it because it was getting a bit messy. While I washed down the window ledge I happened to look out the window and saw some graffiti on a green steel door. I just glanced at it because I assumed that it would be in Hebrew. But on closer inspection I noticed it was in English and what I saw brought it all home to me: WHITE POWER KILL NIGGERS.

Well here it goes, I thought. Now they've decided to make it personal. My very own greeting card, compliments of the settlers. I asked other team members if they had noticed the sign before, maybe I had missed it. Maybe it was here long before I arrived. No one remembered seeing it before. Of course I could write it off as a reference to settler hatred toward Palestinians. But I've seen the venom reserved for Palestinians, usually the word "Sand" is thrown in for added emphasis. There wasn't anything of that sort here. No, this was just for me.

How thoughtful of them.

As CPTers, settlers call us Nazis all the time. It's really nothing new. I always laugh when they call me that. It's so foreign to me. But not the message I saw on the green steel doors. That message is one I've dealt with all my life and its one I'll deal with till the day I die.

I wish I could toss out this card. It would be nice to walk over to those green doors and paint right over that note. But I know, as I've always known, that it's going to take a lot more than paint to make those feelings go away.

Reflection: It's No Fun Being Black in Hebron

by Paul D. Pierce

Christian Peacemaker Team- Hebron

14 June 2003

Today, I learned what it's like to be Black in Hebron. Not that I didn't know what it's like to be Black before, but this was a new experience. Having been born Black in the USA, I am painfully aware of the racism, stereotypes and brutality that, we, African-Americans face everyday. But experiencing it in Hebron is a whole other story!

It all started this morning when three of us from the Christian Peacemaker Teams headed for Jerusalem to attend church on Sunday. We have to start out on Saturday, because there is curfew on all of Hebron, and nobody is permitted to be out on the streets. Shops are closed. Schools are shut. Whole families are forced to stay indoors. You can't even get to the hospital if you're sick!

So, Kathy Kamphoefner, Chris Brown, and I walked to where we thought we might be able to find a taxi to take us to the outskirts of town, so we could transfer to other taxis that could travel By-pass Road 60 to Jerusalem. We have to take at least two taxis because Palestinian taxis, with green license plates, can't travel the Israeli-only by-pass road to Jerusalem. We have to find a taxi with (Israeli) yellow plates that are allowed by the military to go to the holy city of Jerusalem.

We found a local taxi and told him where we needed to go, and he started off. Our driver was informed that the army was up ahead so we took another route. We saw an Israeli army jeep going down the road ahead of us, and we switched streets. After we had switched routes for the third time, we headed down the new road only to see an army jeep on the street perpendicular to ours. Our driver sped up and passed two other cars to avoid the army jeep, but as the siren wailed behind us, we looked up to see another jeep blocking the intersection ahead. We came to a halt.

Soldiers with M-16's ran toward our taxi, while another half-dozen behind us jumped out of the jeep and encircled us. They began yelling at us in Hebrew and English, and one told us to get out of the car." One soldier yanked the back door of the taxi open and roughly tried to pull me out of the car, thinking I was Palestinian. When they realized I wasn't, four or five of his colleagues surrounded the Palestinian taxi driver and began berating him for driving his taxi, and demanded that the driver accompany them.

"What do you think you're doing?" I hollered. The soldier let me go, obviously perplexed that I was speaking to him in English rather than Arabic.

"Do you speak English?" he yelled. "Where are you from?"

"English, yes, and I'm from America," I stated.

"Let me see your passport," he demanded. Chris and I handed him our passports, as we exited the vehicle, and he walked off. The other soldier, holding his gun on us, shouted,

"You can't be out, Curfew is on."

"We're going to Jerusalem," Kathy said. She stayed in the car and dialed the team on her phone, so they would know the soldiers had stopped us.

"You can't be out! Curfew is on," he yelled. "Go home," said the soldier. "Get out of the car, and go home," he demanded.

"We can't walk that far," I said. "It's many miles."

"It's too far to walk," Kathy said. "We have to take the taxi."

The soldiers were talking in Hebrew and told us they were planning to take the taxi and the driver away with them. Kathy was not asked for her passport. Chris and I decided to get back in the car, to protect the taxi driver and his car from being taken away to an unknown fate. The soldier looked at our passports and threw them on the hood of the car.

"Thanks for being so polite," said Chris.

"Go home," the officer said.

The taxi driver turned the car around, and we headed back the way we came. He asked us where we wanted to go. We said wherever was best for him, but he insisted on taking us home and tried to refuse payment for his effort.

Obviously, we were not going to Jerusalem today. We conveyed our thanks to the driver, and when Kathy translated that Chris and I thought the experience was like being black Americans, mistreated by police in the USA. He laughed and said, "Welcome to Hebron."

We would have fared much worse if Kathy had not been white, and Chris and I had actually been Palestinian. We, along with the driver, would have gotten the usual beating, harassment and arrest that Palestinians experience every day in their encounters with the Israeli military. We were fortunate that they didn't shoot first, and find out who we were afterward. In short, we were very lucky.

I've talked to many Palestinians, seen them mistreated on the streets, and read hundreds of accounts of beatings, torture and killings by the Israeli military. Now, I've experienced their "hands on" attention for myself. It was an eye opening experience for me. Now I've had a taste of what Palestinians in the Occupied Territories deal with everyday. Just a taste-a small taste. But it's enough. Being Black in America is bad enough. Being Palestinian in the West Back is even worse.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's peacemaking work, please visit our website. Photos of our projects may be viewed here. Login as:
IDF assasinations could be considered war crimes

The assassinations carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in the territories could be considered war crimes, according to the chairman of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Prof. Antonio Cassese.

Cassese's opinion will be submitted today to the High Court of Justice as part of a hearing for a petition filed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and the Palestinian Al-Qanon human rights organization.

The petition, filed a year-and-a-half ago, was drafted by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sefarad.

High Court President Justice Aharon Barak and Justices Theodor Or and Eliahu Mazza have already rejected an argument presented by the state, which tried to convince the court that the assassination issue is not adjudicative.

In the next hearing to be held in three weeks, the court will consider the petitioners' request to issue a temporary injunction that would bar any assassinations (or targeted pinpoint preemption, as Israeli authorities call them) until the petition is decided.

According to the petition, from the start of the intifada in October 2000 until April 2003, the IDF has killed more than 230 Palestinians, including 80 children, women and other innocent bystanders, in this manner.
CIA Won't Take A Fall

Lots of commentary on why the CIA can't be blamed for Bush's use of faulty intelligence in his SOTU. William Rivers Pitt is correct and so is everyone else constructing these timelines as it pertains to this specific incidence.

What's missing in these analyses is George Tenet's defense of this same CIA intelligence that continues to this day.

Rank and file dissent and Tenet are two different animals and Tenet is the head cheese, isn't he. The buck stops there. I'm not so sure he wouldn't be willing to take a fall for the big guy and probably a reason he's coming out in defense of the intelligence. So to say the CIA shouldn't 'take a fall' in a general sense isn't entirely accurate. When it comes to Tenet he should go down.

Follow the money!
Kerry Says Bush Misled America

Ouch. Call Kerry what you will I don't consider him a man who would make such statements without being able to support them.

Bush should be worried. If he isn't, then the rest of us should be worried about that.

"He misled every one of us," Senator John Kerry said, claiming this was one reason he was running for the presidency.

"I will not let him off the hook throughout this campaign with respect to America's credibility and credibility to me because if he lied he lied to me personally," Mr Kerry said, speaking in new Hampshire.
Iranian group protest with fire

At least 5 protestors set themselves on fire and officials of the group have stated their members will continue to do so.

This is the same outfit that although is listed as a terrorist organisation here in the United States was initially allowed to keep and bear arms in post-attack Iraq. Since then it's been reported they've been disarmed. According to this article they are allowed to operate on US soil. Interesting.

What may prove at least if not more interesting;

The police initially said they had seized $1.3 million in $100 bills, but reported Wednesday they had found several suitcases containing $6 million to $8 million in $100 bills. They also seized about 200 satellite dishes and about 100 computers in the raid of 13 sites.


As part of the crackdown, France also announced Wednesday that the police have set up a special unit to research the source of the money that was discovered during the police raid of one of the group's offices in Auvers-sur-Oise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Iran's 'future president' arrested in Paris

I saw a report about this on Newsworld International last evening. What this article doesn't mention is the 1.something million in US currency seized during the raid.

It also doesn't mention an Iranian man setting himself on fire in protest of this crackdown.

Update: Here's a link to a current article that includes information about the protestor and the money.

Straw warns against interference in Iran

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, today gave Washington's hawks notice that Britain would not back interference in Iran, but also urged the Iranian government to let weapons inspectors investigate suspicions that it is developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the government's approach to Iran was different from the US administration in that "it is one of constructive and conditional engagement with the government of Iran".

Rumsfeld Adviser Urges Support for Iran Protests

An influential adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged support on Monday for pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran and said a new regime in Tehran might be less likely to develop nuclear weapons. Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and an architect of the U.S.-led campaign to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said the best way to deal with the Iranian nuclear program would be to "liberate the Iranian people."

"There may be change in Iran because the regime in Iran is miserably unpopular," Perle said at the German Council on Foreign Relations.

"Young Iranians will find better uses for their limited resources than building nuclear power in a country so rich in oil. We can already see signs that Iranians... would like to see regime change. They should be encouraged."

And one would think that in a country so dependent upon oil money should be spent on alternative/renewable energies, not nuclear plants. You know, like the ones Dick and George use in their homes.

A group of senators, both Republicans and Democrats, tried to strip a broad energy bill of a provision that would give loan guarantees for construction of six next-generation nuclear power reactors. Their amendment was rejected narrowly 50-48.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., the architect of the package of subsidies for the nuclear industry, said their approval will determine whether nuclear power remains a vital part of the nation's energy picture. Nuclear reactors currently provide 20 percent of the country's electricity.

"The time has come to quit playing around with energy and say wherever we can we are going to produce more energy" and that includes nuclear, argued Domenici. He maintains that nuclear power long has been neglected and that that has been "a giant mistake."

Opponents questioned why nuclear power should be singled out for such a largess, which they said could cost taxpayers $14 billion to $16 billion should the future power reactors fail and be abandoned.

It's "not a question about whether someone is pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., one of the provision's sharpest critics, but whether "to put at risk the taxpayers of this country" if the reactor projects flop.

In the most aggressive attempt to spur nuclear power development in decades, the legislation would have the government underwrite with loan guarantees construction of six next-generation power reactors.

Taxpayers wouldn't pay a dime if the plants should succeed but would be liable for billions of dollars should they fail.
Short: "I was briefed on Blair's secret war pact"

Senior figures in the intelligence community and across Whitehall briefed the former international development secretary Clare Short that Tony Blair had made a secret agreement last summer with George Bush to invade Iraq in February or March, she claimed yesterday.

In damning evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, Ms Short refused to identify the three figures, but she cited their authority for making her claim that Mr Blair had actively deceived the cabinet and the country in persuading them of the need to go to war.
Follow the Money

So the CIA will now lead the search for WMD in Iraq. Not surprising.

When I watched George deliver this line last night on television;

He drew applause when he declared that "Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003".

I shook my head and laughed. It's always been a mystery to me how rabid conservatives reconciled themselves with their pages of 'wag the dog' accusations against Clinton in that '98 campaign and George's continuation of the policy. Both men even relied upon the same bogus information yet when George used it suddenly it became fact.

That Bush is now including this reference to Clinton's campaign in his own rhetoric tells me just how desperate his administration is to quell this 'revisionist' investigation.

Sad. Truly sad the hypocrisy that runs rampant these days.

I'm sure apologies to Clinton are in the mail, eh? They certainly aren't in the press. For the record I believe Bill 'wagged the dog'.

But back to the CIA. I will always remember the look on Robert Mueller's face when Bush made these comments during his January 2003 SOTU...he was absolutely fuming;

Since September the 11th, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have worked more closely than ever to track and disrupt the terrorists. The FBI is improving its ability to analyze intelligence, and is transforming itself to meet new threats.

Tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location.

Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect our citizens.

One agency accountable to no one with Tenet in charge.

Mueller was likely also upset that Bush touted the FBI's improved abilities to analyze intelligence considering their new computer program was plagued by delays and cost overruns.

CIA deliberately misled UN arms inspectors, says senator

The row over Iraq's missing weapons intensified in Washington yesterday as a leading Senate Democrat accused the CIA of deliberately misleading United Nations inspectors to help clear the decks for an invasion of Iraq.

The charge by Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, comes as Congress gears up for its own hearings into whether the Bush administration misinterpreted or manipulated pre-war intelligence on the scale of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

So what's my point?

For some time it's seemed to me that the Bush administration has worked in concert with key operatives in his Daddy's CIA to the exclusion of the FBI. They've done so not to 'secure the peace' but to build a case for forging ahead with the goals outlined in PNAC.

What I'm wondering now is if the CIA can stand up to microscopic scrutiny when and if it comes. For instance in this WP article Rand Beers not only resigned as a WH anti-terror adviser because of dodgy practices he witnessed but went to work for John Kerry. There have been grumblings within the rank and file of the CIA since the WH started its campaign against Iraq.

As well the British government does not seem to be as corrupt as its U.S. ally and not constrained by inside deals and oaths of loyalty to the point of submission so even if our own joke of a Congress fails to investigate this properly the blowback from any investigation the Brits do may be inescapable.

Finally the reason for the title of this post. The following is something sent out in e-mail form to subscribers of Steven Aftergood's updates. He maintains the Project On Government Secrecy located on the Federation of American Scientists website. I'm going to post it in full because it is an old mailing and I'm not sure how to find it as is on the site itself. I'm not going to italicise it to make for easier reading so know that everything beyond this point was written by Mr. Aftergood.


On the eve of war March 19, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet paused to sign a 28 page statement opposing declassification of the Fiscal Year 2002 intelligence budget total.

"I have determined ... that the FY 2002 intelligence community aggregate budget figure must be withheld because its disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security and would tend to reveal intelligence sources and methods," DCI Tenet concluded.

The Tenet declaration was filed in D.C. District Court on April 4 as part of a government motion to dismiss a Federation of American Scientists lawsuit to compel release of the 2002 budget figure. The government motion and the Tenet declaration may be found here.

Ordinarily, this would be the end of the matter, since Freedom of Information Act case law in the D.C. District generally dictates that courts defer to agency heads such as the Director of Central Intelligence in disputes over national security information. There is, however, an exception to this rule for "contrary record evidence" or "evidence of agency bad faith."

In this case, there is evidence that DCI Tenet has grossly misrepresented the significance of the aggregate budget total. Briefly put, the aggregate figure is an artificial construct that has no intelligence significance or sensitivity whatsoever. It is a composite of several distinct budget categories (i.e., NFIP, JMIP and TIARA) that are independently generated, authorized and appropriated. As a result, its disclosure could have no adverse consequences on national security or intelligence sources and methods, as the declassification of the 1997 and 1998 budget totals demonstrated in practice.

Evidence to rebut the DCI's declaration will be presented in a reply to the government motion that is due on May 5.


The Bush Administration is audaciously pushing budget secrecy into new precincts of the congressional appropriations process where it had previously been unheard of.

"In what members said was an unprecedented move, Bush asked for the $2.5 billion [postwar Iraq] reconstruction fund to be appropriated to the White House itself," the Washington Post reported.

"A memo prepared by senior GOP staff for the House Appropriations Committee noted that the arrangement would erect a 'wall of executive privilege [that] would deny Congress and the Committee access to the management of the Fund. Decision-makers determining the allocation . . . could not be called as witnesses before hearings, and most fiscal data would be beyond the Committee's reach'."

See "U.S. Plan For Iraq's Future Is Challenged: Pentagon Control, Secrecy Questioned," by Karen DeYoung and Dan Morgan, Washington Post, April 6.

Meanwhile, routine budget justification documents are being inexplicably withheld from congressional appropriators, provoking anger even among Republican lawmakers who are sympathetic to the Administration.

Last week, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) abruptly adjourned a hearing of a House Appropriations Subcommittee because the requisite documents had not been delivered, Jim McGee reported in CQ Homeland Security, published by Congressional Quarterly, on April 4.

"The unusual display of resentment by Rogers, a respected Republican loyalist who takes pride in his congenial but businesslike review of agency budgets, brought to the surface weeks of tension on Capitol Hill over the legislative tactics of the Bush Administration," Mr. McGee wrote.

"We need those [budget] justifications to perform our Constitutional duty," said Rep. Rogers before terminating the hearing.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Howard Refuses To Answer Whether He Misled Australian Public

Asked about the apparent discrepancies in the rhetoric before the war and what has been discovered since, Mr Howard revealed analysis from the Office of National Assessments (ONA).

"United States and United Kingdom intelligence agencies have concluded that at least one of the three vehicle trailers found in Iraq is a mobile biological weapons production facility," he said.

The vehicles - first mentioned by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in his February address to the United Nations - were identified by the CIA in late May as proof of Iraq's weapons capability.

But that CIA report focused on two trailers, and has since been questioned in reports in the US and Britain, with suggestions the trailers were used to inflate artillery balloons with hydrogen and may have been sold to Iraq by Britain in the 1980s.

Officials close to the Prime Minister said the third vehicle identified by Mr Howard was a "small, light truck" that was used for "servicing and supporting the trailers".

"Once there were two [vehicles], and now there are three," said Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd. "We are now told the original two have nothing to do with biological weapons but a third one may."

Mr Howard refused to answer when asked whether he had been misleading the public, when he said Iraq was seeking uranium from the African country of Niger. The report he was relying on was discovered to be a crude forgery, something intelligence agencies knew months before the war started.

The uncharacteristic intelligence revelations from Mr Howard came as the secretary of a parliamentary intelligence committee said there were "holes" in the oversight of Australia's spy agencies.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Happy Father's Day

Mikey 'fatboy' Delgado on children and the lessons we can learn from their innocence. Links are still bloggered and though all of the posts there are worth a read this particular one is under June 14th.
6 in 10 Americans Say WMD Are Important

Does this make sense?

According to a new CBS News Poll, six in 10 Americans say it is important for the United States to find the illegal weapons. Two-thirds of those polled said they think the administration exaggerated the weapons threat. That sentiment appeared not to have harmed Bush politically, with his job approval still at 66 percent.

The poll of 841 adults was taken Thursday and Friday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

I watched Gore Vidal on Book TV yesterday and he happened to make a comment on the phrasing of these poll questions and how easy it is to manipulate phrasing to get the answers you seek. We know this sure, but how in the same poll can people say they have a problem with the missing WMD but their opinion of George hasn't changed?

Apparently it's more difficult to rig a question on missing WMD or the public [finally] isn't falling for it.

I can't say I'm shocked when Senators, et. al. come out as being indifferent to whether or not there are WMD. What can you expect from a body of people who willingly relinquished their powers to declare war and granted that authority to a man with the moral compass of an insider trader?

Jerry Bowles over at Best of the Blogs has some questions for John McCain that deserve to be answered.

And Cursor links to this report from Iraq Body Count and this article in the Guardian explaining why the number of civilians killed in Iraq may have been 10,000.

Nothing to be indifferent about, is it.

Iraqi mobile labs nothing to do with germ warfare, report finds

An official British investigation into two trailers found in northern Iraq has concluded they are not mobile germ warfare labs, as was claimed by Tony Blair and President George Bush, but were for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, as the Iraqis have continued to insist.

The conclusion by biological weapons experts working for the British Government is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, who has claimed that the discovery of the labs proved that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction and justified the case for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

Instead, a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq, told The Observer last week: 'They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were - facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.'

Australian Official To Tip Bucket On WMD Intelligence

Andrew Wilkie, formerly with the Office of National Assessments (ONA), will use his appearance this week to tip a bucket on the Government's use of the now-suspect intelligence to justify Australia's role in the war.

Mr Wilkie said he would expose the Government's "exaggeration" of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and "concoction" of links between Saddam Hussein and terrorists.

"Australia went to war with the US and UK, without international endorsement, on the basis of what our Prime Minister described as a massive weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq," he told the Sydney Morning Herald before leaving for London yesterday.

"That claim was obviously false. There is no doubt that Iraq did have weapons at one time and something will eventually be found and dressed up as justification, but it won't be anything of the magnitude we were led to believe existed."
Iraqi Shepherd Sues Rumsfeld, Franks

An Iraqi shepherd is seeking 200 million dollars in damages from the US military for the deaths of 17 members of his family as well as 200 sheep in a missile strike, in the first such suit filed through the courts of the US-led occupation administration.

The first hearing will take place on July 20 at the tribunal of Ramadi, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Baghdad.

"The trial will be Iraq's first against US troops because we believe they used excessive force against the Iraqi people who cooperated with the United States to topple Saddam Hussein's regime," Abud Sarhan's lawyer told AFP.
More on Assasinations

Happy Father's Day from Meria Heller

On this Fathers Day, may I wish all of you out there a Happy Father's Day. My own father left this planet a dozen years ago, but lives within me constantly. He always said "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". I like to believe that in many ways I am walking his words and making him proud.

Today I read the news and see the murders we' ve committed in Iraq. I see Georgie playing golf, falling off vehicles, and having a happy (albeit spastic) weekend with his father. Well, if the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, they certainly prove it. From Gulf War 1 to Gulf War Lost; lies; secrets; coverups; what a sour apple tree it is. Further up the tree are the nazi-supporting Bushe's. Who planted that tree? Lucifer?

George Washington supposedly said he couldn't tell a lie, and it was he who cut down the cherry tree. We need Americans of all political parties to realize the tree sitting over Washington isn't one of the beautiful cherry blossoms lining the Potomac, but a bad apple tree that must be cut down before it pollutes all the others.

Make no mistake about it, this tree is the tree of good and evil in the garden, and it has shown no signs of bending towards the good for decades.

Today many fathers are NOT having good fathers day. Many fathers are falsely imprisoned; many fathers are working their two or three jobs to support their family (or "put food on their family" as georgie would say); Many fathers are watching their children stay sick or die without health insurance; and fathers the world over are either dead, dying, or watching their families die from the severe oppressive foreign policy of our Country.

Are these thoughts in the mind of the elitist out golfing, fishing or falling off vehicles this fathers day? Do the fathers or children who are strapping bombs on themselves out of desperation touch the hearts of the "sour apple tree family"? Barbara Bush said her mind was too "beautiful" to be concerned.......

Say a prayer for all the fathers, mothers and children of the world today. May the "tree of life" or the "tree of knowledge" come to life for all living things and uproot the "sour apple" trees of political regimes worldover who have forgotten what life is to be. A beautiful gift to share love, nurture and enjoy our planet and each other.

Much love,

Meria's first volume in a series of books "The Awakening of An American, How My Country Broke My Heart" is available here , here, or by e-mailing Meria directly.

I transcribed a few of the radio programs for the book and they are terrific. These interesting interviews provide one-of-a-kind historical references to events surrounding the 2000 election coup and are a great resource for unanswered questions surrounding the 9/11 tragedy among other topics.

Besides it should contain an acknowledgement to me so you should go right now and order one!
Pressure Builds for Bush to Declare Strategy on Iran

According to the American Enterprise Institute's Michael Ledeen the Bush administration has been dragging feet for two years finalising its Iran 'strategy'.

Ledeen has founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, which is looking for ways to foment a democratic revolution to sweep away the mullahs who came to power in 1979.

And on a day that Bush praises the demonstrators in Iran Lugar had this to say;

"Well, a regime change that comes through the democratic processes of Iran, through the students and the young people taking charge -- now, how all that comes about, I don't know," Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

"But I think it has to be an Iranian process, which we can assist," the Indiana Republican added.

Lugar said the Bush administration's policy on Iran had not yet been fully formulated, but he expected the U.S. Congress to support Iran's pro-democracy forces financially.

Iran is not amused;

"This is the beginning of people expressing themselves toward a free Iran which I think is positive," President Bush said during a weekend break at Kennebunkport on the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Iran's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of "flagrant interference in Iran's internal affairs" and said U.S. officials were overstating the significance of the events.

"The Americans ignore the presence of millions of people to welcome the supreme leader and president, but they call the protests of a few individuals the voice of the people," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement.

Ironic, isn't it? Rubber bullets and tear gas for U.S. protestors, cards and flowers for the Iranians.

An article offering an opinion why these demonstrations alone will not accomplish the change to a secular society.
Code Pink Action Alerts

1. Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Or were they just weapons of mass deception. Do what you can to keep these questions in the public debate. Be visible with them in your vigils, contact Congress to investigate, stay informed and keep those in your life informed.

We have images from the vigil, who to contact in Congress, talking points and other information to support your efforts. Click here to move into action and check out Don Hazen's 12-Step Program.

2. Summer Actions

Los Angeles and San Francisco have a visit from 'W' on June 27th. New York is planning a vigil at Indian Point to expose the real safety needs of Americans. There is more you can do to stop the FCC giveaway. Our next trip to Iraq starts in 10 days and we plan to take a delegation to Palestine and Israel in August and September. Action Camps are being planned in the East and West.

More information on all of these on our Action Page, click here to join us. Stay Informed and Involved!!!

3. CODEPINK needs YOU!!!

The work never stops, we know that the change we want takes patience, diligence and imagination. CODEPINK has addressed issues in a multitude of creative, original and sometimes startling ways (shockingly pink), always bringing into play the sensibilities of respect, compassion and interconnectedness. We won't let up, but we need your help. We will continue our weekly actions, be very active in giving Bush his 'pink slip' in '04, and while in Iraq we plan to open a Peace House. We have much more planned for the fall.

Join us with your time and energy, join our delegations and our actions, send a donation, or use the store to stay in the 'pink' and support the work. Thank you for nurturing and joining the power of pink for peace and justice.
S.E. Asia's 'mini-Al Qaeda' nests in Thailand

Until recently Thailand has denied that Al Qaeda or the closely- affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are active inside the country. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra dismissed reports late last year that JI leaders held meetings in Thailand as "fabrications" invented by "crazy people."

But now his country is moving against a hitherto little-known cell in its southernmost provinces, home of a tiny Muslim minority. This week the government foiled attacks on five embassies in Bangkok and two Thai beach resorts, arresting three Thais and one Singaporean.

Thai arrested for illegal possession of nuclear material

Undercover Thai police, tipped off by U.S. investigators, on Friday arrested a man Friday trying to sell them radioactive material that could be used to make so-called "dirty bombs."

Police did not say if the man was suspected of having terrorist connections, and U.S. officials said the material was not destined for weapons against Americans, as originally suspected.

Al-Qa'ida links to Japan

A HIGH-RANKING member of the al-Qa'ida terrorist network operated for up to a year in Japan before the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001, and examined potential Japanese targets, new investigations by US and Japanese security agencies have revealed.

Security authorities believe the senior al-Qa'ida operative was closely involved in planning the September 11 strikes that hit New York and Washington, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported yesterday.

The operative was in Japan to raise funds and develop al-Qa'ida's support base and also visited a number of Japanese public facilities, the investigators said.

This suggested the group might have been targeting Japan for a possible terrorist strike, they said.

This is the first time any direct link has been made between al-Qa'ida operations and Japan.
Israel enjoys 'bipartisan' support

34 Democrats support extrajudicial killings carried out by Israel and admonished Bush for his earlier criticism of them. Seems more like political grandstanding. Who ever thought this 'road map' would be pursued vigorously let alone fairly by the WH? And on cue the WH has come out in support of Israel's 'targeting of terrorists'. As well Bush has dismissed Kofi Annan's call for Middle East peacekeepers.

Nancy Pelosi is one of them, not surprisingly. As I've noted before her concern for the human rights of people stops short when it comes to the Palestinians. If she hasn't yet she should resign from the Progressive Caucus along with the other pro-Israeli hawks in it. Considering her support of this resolution expressing;

"unequivocal support and appreciation of the Nation to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism."

and now this championing of Israel's pre-emptive strikes added to her condemnations of China's human rights issues, leads me to believe Ms. Pelosi is much closer in ideology to her neoconservative colleagues than those who support a progressive platform. Although she's now calling for open WMD intelligence hearings, only recently she voiced 'agnostic' feelings towards the importance of their discovery in Iraq.

Recent developments on the Republican side include statements by Richard Lugar calling for U.S. intervention in the putting-down of Hamas. On the subject of unilateral action he had this to say in his FOX interview;

Whether to insert forces into the volatile situation is being considered, including "whether they are to be all by themselves" or in conjunction with a United Nations or NATO force, he said.

"That is always a possibility but having said that, I would just say this is down the trail. We have to be very, very careful about the use of American forces," he said.

"But clearly, if force is required ultimately to root out terrorism, it is possible there would be American participation."

Instead of advocating the reordering of the Middle East perhaps these legislators should be asking the Bush administration why, if their 'war on terror' has been so successful to date, they are negotiating with the Taliban to secure law and order in Afghanistan.

Update: Bush Says World Must 'Deal Harshly' with Hamas

Update#2: Paris to ask EU for Mideast force

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is to put forward the idea at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

It follows a suggestion by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week during an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

It's not a police state?

Josh Marshall on Homeland Security and how much they knew when they tracked the Killer D's.

Schwarzenegger can't recall Gray Davis' name and he's asking the good people of California to help him.

Taegan Goddard has an update.

How does she stand him?

He pledged to stay married to Shriver in sickness and in health, Schwarzenegger said, adding, "And being a Democrat is a sickness."
FDA Advisors Back Growth Hormone

The panel met Nicole Costa who at age 6 was started on a 7-year daily hormone injection therapy. Doctors predicted she would be a short person and because at age 17 she is 5'2" they consider her story a success.

Again. How do they know she wouldn't have reached this height naturally?

Certainly children can be cruel. But they can be that way if you're too tall, too fat, too smart, too quiet, too skinny, too dumb. The list is as endless as there are children. Possibly compromising the good health of a child for the sake of alleviating a temporary social discomfort isn't good enough reason for me.

Would it make for a more convenient life in the physical sense...reaching appliances, getting on a bus, etc. Should we reach for a world where we are made to fit some standard utility?

This new application bothers me as well about Eli Lilly's bid;

The advisers agonized over the decision, warning that dramatic growth like Nicole's is rare — most children will undergo lots of expense and trouble in hopes of growing roughly 2 inches taller.

"I'm worried about the medicalization of shortness," said women's health specialist Nancy Worcester of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the panel's consumer representative.

"We are talking about treating otherwise perfectly normal kids who are short for five to 10 years," with little information about long-term side effects, complained panelist Dr. Deborah Grady of the University of California, San Francisco.

Growth hormone has been used for 16 years to treat children who are extremely short because their bodies don't naturally produce the substance, and to treat a handful of other growth-stunting diseases. Some 200,000 children worldwide have taken it.

It sounds as if there's a rush to push this through. Why is there 'little information' about long-term side effects and these advisors are giving their nod of approval? That Eli Lilly is behind it makes it all the more suspicious.
Boot Bush!

You know you want to. And it takes money. Why donate to the DNC? Kos can explain it much better than I can and by all means donate there since he's made the best pitch. But if you're feeling generous feel free to give here as well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


Congressman Dennis Kucinich, leader of Congressional opposition to the Iraq war, took to the House floor today to continue pressing for the truth about the Administration's drive to war:

"The credibility gap is growing. First the Administration said the US had to sweep aside the UN inspections and the UN Security Council because Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that were an imminent threat. Now, Paul Wolfowitz says: 'The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.'

"Now their story is changing: Iraq had a weapons 'program,' they say. No longer weapons of mass destruction, but a program. If this Administration can fabricate reasons for war after the fact, where will America be headed for war next?

"Congress must demand accountability for the wanton exercise of war power, for the loss of life, the destruction of property, the waste of tax dollars and the damage to America's reputation. Thirty-three members of the House have now signed the Resolution of Inquiry to demand the White House tell the truth."

Kucinich's Resolution of Inquiry, demanding the Administration turn over intelligence to back its pre-war claims about Iraq, was introduced Thursday and has growing support. It is a privileged resolution and must be voted on in Committee within 14 legislative days of being introduced.

Having led Congressional opposition to the Iraq war and Bush foreign policy since last summer, Dennis Kucinich is now campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination on a platform of peace, justice, equal rights and sustainability.

For a quick view of his platform:

For a fuller look at the Kucinich campaign:

To donate to the campaign to amplify Kucinich's message:

Please forward this message to others.
Tom DeLay the Elocutionist

House Republican leaders unhappy with the Senate's endorsement of a bigger child tax credit for low-income families now find themselves under White House pressure to pass the bill quickly.

"Ain't going to happen," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said Tuesday.

DeLay said the House will not pass the Senate's bill. Instead, it will use the child tax credit as a bargaining chip to encourage the Senate to pass bigger tax cuts favored in the House. "What we are interested in is real solid tax relief for those who are paying taxes," he said.

MaxSpeak has some thoughts on the hostage crisis here and here.
Co. seeks to use growth hormones in kids

A drug company sought government permission Tuesday for a controversial practice: injecting growth hormone into very short but otherwise healthy children, in hopes of increasing their adult height by roughly 2 inches.

It's a highly charged issue: Is it appropriate to give years of drug injections to children not diagnosed with an actual height-harming disease? Or would it open the floodgates to normal kids just yearning for an extra few inches?

Growth hormone is not to augment growth of normal-height children, but would be restricted to the abnormally short, Eli Lilly & Co. stressed to a panel of government advisers convened to debate the issue. Lilly's cutoff would be boys predicted to be shorter than 5-feet, 3-inches as adults and girls shorter than 4-feet-11.

Apparently Eli Lilly isn't concerned about advocating a completely unnecessary and potentially harmful therapy for otherwise healthy children even though the thimerosal issue is still an open wound for so many.

Since when can it be 'predicted' how short someone will be with such accuracy?
Huge Rise in Swollen Prostates

Mikey 'fatboy' Delgado has a report on this alarming trend. Don't miss it. Links are bloggered, it's the June 9th entry.
Long Live the King?

Shouting "Long live the king," about 1,500 Iraqi tribal sheiks and monarchists welcomed Sharif Ali bin Hussein, a cousin of Iraq's last king who returned here Tuesday after spending 45 years in exile.

The London investment banker, who left Iraq in 1958 — the year he was born — flew in by chartered jet and then drove to his family mausoleum that still cradles the remains of two of Iraq's previous kings, Faisal I and Ghazi.

The Smithsonian Magazine published an article in its May issue by former New York Times foreign correspondent Jonathan Kandell. It's called Iraq's Unruly Century and the pdf file can be found by following that link.

To begin it reads like a blueprint for the American occupation. Does this strike a chord of familiarity?

"Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies but as liberators," proclaimed Gen. Stanley Maude, commander of the British forces, as his troops marched into Baghdad in 1917.

37 years of monarchy followed that pronouncement, a time riddled with Iraqi resentment towards their occupiers, a bitter anger that accomplished something the British failed to achieve, a unifying of the Sunnis, Shiites and rival sheikdoms. The Kurds even joined in rebellion. Will it be a lesson for Iraq's new occupiers, do they think the same lies now ring truer delivered by Americans, or do they simply not care the facade is obvious, after all, what can any of these Iraqis do about it?

There are other similarities that smack of tweaked reenactment. Not only is oil and its distribution the primary concern of the liberators but the control of it in the form of a League of Nations 'mandate' for Britain and the UN 'resolution' for the U.S., or in other words, occupiers granted permission by a global governing body despite the mockery it makes of either country's reason for invading in the first place.

Arnold Wilson reminds me of Rumsfeld, forcing a military solution upon the situation with great disdain for any diplomatic intervention, but especially when I read that Wilson looked upon his detractors as "ungrateful politicians". I wonder if Rummy thinks his application of Wilson's formula for success will have a different outcome? And again does he base this on the absence of an Iraqi defense and if so certainly he knew this going in rendering the reasons for attack nothing short of a deliberate lie.

Gertrude Bell's expressions of approval for Iraqi self-rule but unwillingness to support the notion that a free people should choose their own leader and her favoring of Faisal as king reminds me of countless apologists who are okay with the pre-emptive strike so long as we install someone friendly to the U.S. in its aftermath. This insistence that a liberator remains so when they go on to install the new government against the will of the people is ridiculous. At least these 'liberators' should drop the pretense. Bell was livid when met with what she called the 'double-dealing' of Faisal during negotiations of the 1924 Anglo-Iraq treaty because her hand-picked king criticised it publically while agreeing to it privately. How else would the king of a free people present a treaty to his subjects that allowed this;

...provide for the maintenance of British military bases, give British officials a veto over legislation and perpetuate British influence over financial and international matters for 20 years.

But here's a quote of hers that brings Wolfowitz and the neoconservatives to mind;

During afternoon teas at the palace, she reeled out her vision of a progressive Iraq that could become a beacon for the Middle East. "When we have made Mesopotamia a model state, there is not an Arab of Syria and Palestine who wouldn’t want to be part of it," she told the king, adding that she hoped to see Faisal "ruling from the Persian frontier to the Mediterranean."

The character the Bush administration should be taking a page from and undoubtedly the most intelligent of the lot is Freya Stark. I can imagine her laughing at the detractor who viewed her staying in prostitutes' quarters as "lowering the prestige of British womanhood." It's no wonder her presence in the British Embassy during the coup d'etat of 1941 saved the occupants from a far worse fate. She didn't go to Baghdad to displace its people or force them to live a different way. She arrived with an appreciation differences in culture can offer, an eagerness to assimilate that knowledge, and in my opinion an indisputable conviction, that "the most interesting things in the world were likely to happen in the neighborhood of oil."

Unfortunately I believe that's the extent her influence has on the current 'liberators'. What a shame.

The article is interesting but I think falls down in its analysis once Hussein enters the picture. Hopefully one day The Smithsonian will reveal 'the rest of the story'.