9/11 Panel Study Finds That CIA Withheld Tapes By Mark Mazzetti

Dandelion Salad

By Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times
December 22, 2007

WASHINGTON — A review of classified documents by former members of the Sept. 11 commission shows that the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda, and were told by a top C.I.A. official that the agency had “produced or made available for review” everything that had been requested.
The review was conducted earlier this month after the disclosure that in November 2005, the C.I.A. destroyed videotapes documenting the interrogations of two Qaeda operatives.

A seven-page memorandum prepared by Philip D. Zelikow, the panel’s former executive director, concluded that “further investigation is needed” to determine whether the C.I.A.’s withholding of the tapes from the commission violated federal law.

In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission’s inquiry.

continued…

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Cindy Sheehan Calls on Reyes to Subpoena Pelosi for Role in CIA Torture Tape Destruction

Constitutional scholar: ‘At least six identifiable crimes’ possible in CIA tape affair by David Edwards & Jason Rhyne (link)

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The Shock Doctrine in Action in New Orleans by Naomi Klein

Dandelion Salad

by Naomi Klein
Commondreams.org
Huffington Post
December 21, 2007

Readers of The Shock Doctrine know that one of the most shameless examples of disaster capitalism has been the attempt to exploit the disastrous flooding of New Orleans to close down that city’s public housing projects, some of the only affordable units in the city. Most of the buildings sustained minimal flood damage, but they happen to occupy valuable land that make for perfect condo developments and hotels.

The final showdown over New Orleans public housing is playing out in dramatic fashion right now. The conflict is a classic example of the “triple shock” formula at the core of the doctrine.

  • First came the shock of the original disaster: the flood and the traumatic evacuation.
  • Next came the “economic shock therapy”: using the window of opportunity opened up by the first shock to push through a rapid-fire attack on the city’s public services and spaces, most notably it’s homes, schools and hospitals.
  • Now we see that as residents of New Orleans try to resist these attacks, they are being met with a third shock: the shock of the police baton and the Taser gun, used on the bodies of protesters outside New Orleans City Hall yesterday.

Democracy Now! has been covering this fight all week, with amazing reports from filmmakers Jacquie Soohen and Rick Rowley (Rick was arrested in the crackdown). Watch residents react to the bulldozing of their homes here.

And footage from yesterday’s police crackdown and Tasering of protestors inside and outside city hall here.

That last segment contains a terrific interview with Kali Akuno, executive director of the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund. Akuno puts the demolitions in the big picture, telling Amy Goodman:

This is just one particular piece of this whole program. Public hospitals are also being shut down and set to be demolished and destroyed in New Orleans. And they’ve systematically dismantled the public education system and beginning demolition on many of the schools in New Orleans–that’s on the agenda right now–and trying to totally turn that system over to a charter and a voucher system, to privatize and just really go forward with a major experiment, which was initially laid out by the Heritage Foundation and other neoconservative think tanks shortly after the storm. So this is just really the fulfillment of this program.

Akuno is referring to the Heritage Foundation’s infamous post-Katrina meeting with the Republican Study Group in which participants laid out their plans to turn New Orleans into a Petri dish for every policy they can’t ram through without a disaster. Read the minutes on my website.

For more context, here are couple of related excerpts from The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism:

The news racing around the shelter [in Baton Rouge] that day was that Richard Baker, a prominent Republican Congressman from this city, had told a group of lobbyists, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” Joseph Canizaro, one of New Orleans’ wealthiest developers, had just expressed a similar sentiment: “I think we have a clean sheet to start again. And with that clean sheet we have some very big opportunities.” All that week the Louisiana State Legislature in Baton Rouge had been crawling with corporate lobbyists helping to lock in those big opportunities: lower taxes, fewer regulations, cheaper workers and a “smaller, safer city”–which in practice meant plans to level the public housing projects and replace them with condos. Hearing all the talk of “fresh starts” and “clean sheets,” you could almost forget the toxic stew of rubble, chemical outflows and human remains just a few miles down the highway.

Over at the shelter, Jamar Perry, a young resident of New Orleans, could think of nothing else. “I really don’t see it as cleaning up the city. What I see is that a lot of people got killed uptown. People who shouldn’t have died.” He was speaking quietly, but an older man in line in front of us in the food line overheard and whipped around. “What is wrong with these people in Baton Rouge? This isn’t an opportunity. It’s a goddamned tragedy. Are they blind?”

A mother with two kids chimed in. “No, they’re not blind, they’re evil. They see just fine.”

At first I thought the Green Zone phenomenon was unique to the war in Iraq. Now, after years spent in other disaster zones, I realize that the Green Zone emerges everywhere that the disaster capitalism complex descends, with the same stark partitions between the included and the excluded, the protected and the damned.

It happened in New Orleans. After the flood, an already divided city turned into a battleground between gated green zones and raging red zones–the result not of water damage but of the “free-market solutions” embraced by the president. The Bush administration refused to allow emergency funds to pay public sector salaries, and the City of New Orleans, which lost its tax base, had to fire three thousand workers in the months after Katrina. Among them were sixteen of the city’s planning staff–with shades of “de Baathification,” laid off at the precise moment when New Orleans was in desperate need of planners. Instead, millions of public dollars went to outside consultants, many of whom were powerful real estate developers. And of course thousands of teachers were also fired, paving the way for the conversion of dozens of public schools into charter schools, just as Friedman had called for.

Almost two years after the storm, Charity Hospital was still closed. The court system was barely functioning, and the privatized electricity company, Entergy, had failed to get the whole city back online. After threatening to raise rates dramatically, the company managed to extract a controversial $200 million bailout from the federal government. The public transit system was gutted and lost almost half its workers. The vast majority of publicly owned housing projects stood boarded up and empty, with five thousand units slotted for demolition by the federal housing authority. Much as the tourism lobby in Asia had longed to be rid of the beachfront fishing villages, New Orleans’ powerful tourism lobby had been eyeing the housing projects, several of them on prime land close to the French Quarter, the city’s tourism magnet.

Endesha Juakali helped set up a protest camp outside one of the boarded-up projects, St. Bernard Public Housing, explaining that “they’ve had an agenda for St. Bernard a long time, but as long as people lived here, they couldn’t do it. So they used the disaster as a way of cleansing the neighbourhood when the neighbourhood is weakest. … This is a great location for bigger houses and condos. The only problem is you got all these poor black people sitting on it!”

Amid the schools, the homes, the hospitals, the transit system and the lack of clean water in many parts of town, New Orleans’ public sphere was not being rebuilt, it was being erased, with the storm used as the excuse. At an earlier stage of capitalist “creative destruction,” large swaths of the United States lost their manufacturing bases and degenerated into rust belts of shuttered factories and neglected neighbourhoods. Post-Katrina New Orleans may be providing the first Western-world image of a new kind of wasted urban landscape: the mould belt, destroyed by the deadly combination of weathered public infrastructure and extreme weather.

Since the publication of The Shock Doctrine, my research team has been putting dozens of original source documents online for readers to explore subjects in greater depth. The resource page on New Orleans has some real gems.

Naomi Klein is the author of many books, including her most recent, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which will be published in September.Visit Naomi’s website at www.naomiklein.org, or to learn more about her new book, visit www.shockdoctrine.com.

© 2007 Huffington Post

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

New Orleans City Hall Protest – Dec 20, 2007 (videos)

Police Use Stun Guns on Citizens Opposed to Demolition of Houses in New Orleans By Cain Burdeau

Interview with Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine (video)

Naomi Klein “The Shock Doctrine” & “No Logo” interview (must-see video)

Chavez offers ‘oil for food’

Dandelion Salad

Al Jazeera English
Dec. 21, 2007

Venezuela’s president has offered Caribbean and Central American nations the option to pay for oil supplies with local products, such as bananas and sugar.

Speaking in Cuba at a meeting of Petrocaribe, his regional energy alliance, on Friday, Hugo Chavez also lambasted the US and other rich nations for squandering world resources.

“We have begun to create a new geopolitics of oil that is not at the service of the interests of imperialism and big capitalists,” Chavez said in his speech.

He dismissed Americans and “Yankees” and pledged Venezuela’s oil and gas would “always be at the service” of its “brother nations”.

continued…

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Latin America breaks free of the US By Janette Habel

If You Vote For Hillary… by Josh Sidman

Josh

by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Josh’s Blog Post

Dec. 22, 2007

…you will be hammering the last nail in the coffin of American respectability.

…you will be passing up your last opportunity to make a wholesale repudiation of the disastrous war in Iraq.

… you will be supporting the notion that the “ends justify the means”, no matter how horrible the means.

… you will be confirming your complicity in the senseless deaths of thousands of American service members and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

The 2008 election should be about one thing and one thing only. The fact that we have in the past 7 years become a murderous and criminal member of the world community means that we must put every other issue on the back-burner and correct our horrible mistakes.

Hillary Clinton made a self-serving political calculation in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq that she was not willing to take the risk of standing up to the Bush Administration’s fraudulent push for war. In fact, not only did she not resist, she pushed her way to the front of the bandwagon and became one of its most vocal supporters.

If we now make her our President, we will be saying once and for all that we are OK with what has been done in our names in Iraq. We will be saying that, although everyone realizes that the war was a mistake based on lies, we are willing to turn a blind eye to our mistakes and “move on”. Well, the families of the dead are surely not so willing to move on, and if you cast your vote for Hillary, you disrespect the lives that have been lost. A vote for Hillary is a vote to confirm that the USA is nothing but a Machiavellian, power-driven monster that is willing to spill innocent blood in the name of money and power.

If you are willing to make such a choice, God help you…

The End Of Israel? By Hannah Mermelstein

Dandelion Salad

By Hannah Mermelstein
ICH
12/22/07 “Electronic Intifada

I am feeling optimistic about Palestine.

I know it sounds crazy. How can I use “optimistic” and “Palestine” in the same sentence when conditions on the ground only seem to get worse? Israeli settlements continue to expand on a daily basis, the checkpoints and segregated road system are becoming more and more institutionalized, more than 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli jails, Gaza is under heavy attack and the borders are entirely controlled by Israel, preventing people from getting their most basic human needs met.

We can never forget these things and the daily suffering of the people, and yet I dare to say that I am optimistic. Why? Ehud Olmert. Let me clarify. Better yet, let’s let him clarify:

“The day will come when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights. As soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”

That’s right, the Prime Minister of Israel is currently trying to negotiate a “two-state solution” specifically because he realizes that if he doesn’t, Palestinians might begin to demand, en masse, equal rights to Israelis. Furthermore, he worries, the world might begin to see Israel as an apartheid state. In actuality, most of the world already sees Israel this way, but Olmert is worried that even Israel’s most ardent supporters will begin to catch up with the rest of the world.

“The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us,” he told Haaretz, “because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”

Perhaps Olmert is giving American Jews too much credit here, but he does expose a basic contradiction in the minds of most American people, Jewish and not: most of us — at least in theory — support equal rights for all residents of a country. Most of us do not support rights given on the basis of ethnicity and religion, especially when the ethnicity/religion being prioritized is one that excludes the vast majority of the country’s indigenous population. We cannot, of course, forget the history of ethnic cleansing of indigenous people on the American continent. But we must not use the existence of past atrocities to justify present ones.

I am optimistic not because I think the process of ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Israel/Palestine is going to end tomorrow, but because I can feel the ideology behind these policies beginning to collapse. For years the true meaning of political Zionism has been as ignored as its effects on Palestinian daily life. And suddenly it is beginning to break open. Olmert’s comments last week are reminiscent of those of early Zionist leaders who talked openly of transfer and ethnic cleansing in order to create an artificial Jewish majority in historic Palestine.

We must expel the Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force to guarantee our own right to settle in those places — then we have force at our disposal. – David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s “founding father” and first prime minister, 1937

So this idea of a “two-state solution” a la Olmert — which I would argue provides neither a “state” nor a “solution” for the Palestinian people — is the new transfer. It is no longer popular in the world to openly discuss expulsion (though there are political parties in Israel that advocate this), but Olmert hopes that by creating a Palestinian “state” on a tiny portion of historic Palestine, he can accomplish the same goal: maintaining an ethno-religious state exclusively for the Jewish people in most of historic Palestine. His plan, as all other plans Israeli leaders have tried to “negotiate,” ignores the basic rights of the two-thirds of the Palestinian population who are refugees. They, like all other refugees in the world, have the internationally recognized right to return to their lands and receive compensation for loss and damages. This should not be up for negotiation.

So why am I optimistic? Why do I think Olmert will fail, if not in the short term, at least in the long term? There are many signs.

The first and most important is that Palestinian people are holding on. Sometimes by a thread, but holding on nonetheless. Despite the hope of many in Israel, Palestinians will not disappear. They engage in daily acts of nonviolent resistance, from demonstrations against the wall and land confiscation, to simply remaining in their homes against all odds. Young people are joining organizations designed to preserve their culture and identity. Older Palestinians have said to me, “We lived through the Ottoman Empire, we lived through the British Mandate, we lived through Jordanian rule, and we will live through Israeli occupation.” This too shall pass.

In Israel, it seems that within the traditional “Zionist left,” Jewish Israelis are beginning to have open conversations about the exclusivity of Zionism as a political ideology, and are questioning it more and more.

In the US, I have been traveling around speaking to groups about Palestine, and they get it. Even those whose prior information has come only from US mainstream media, when they hear what is actually happening, they get it. When we explain the difference between being Jewish (a religion or ethnicity), Israeli (a citizenship), and Zionist (an ideology), people understand.

“Does Israel have a right to exist?” people ask. What does that mean? Do countries really have rights, or do people have rights? The Jewish people have a right to exist, the Israeli people have a right to exist, but what does “Israel” mean? Israel defines itself as the state of the Jewish people. It is not a state of its citizens. It is a state of many people who are not its citizens, like myself, and is not the state of many people who are its citizens, like the 20 percent of its population that is Palestinian. So if we ask a Palestinian person, “Do you recognize the right for there to be a country on your historic homeland that explicitly excludes you?” what kind of response should we expect?

So when Olmert warns that we will “face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights” and that “the state of Israel [will be] finished,” I get a little flutter of excitement. I think of the 171 Palestinian organizations who have called on the international community to begin campaigns of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until Israel complies with international law. This is already a South African-style struggle, and we outside of Palestine need to do our part. Especially those of us who live in the US, the country that gives Israel more than $10 million every single day, must take responsibility for the atrocities committed in our name and with our money.

Ultimately, this is our role as Americans. It is to begin campaigns in our churches, synagogues, mosques, universities, cities, unions, etc. It is not to broker false negotiations between occupier and occupied, and it is not to muse over solutions the way I have above. But one can dream. And as a Jewish-American, I know that while it might be scary to some, while it will require a lot of imagination, the end of Israel as a Jewish state could mean the beginning of democracy, human rights, and some semblance of justice in a land that has almost forgotten what that means.

Hannah Mermelstein is co-founder and co-director of Birthright Unplugged, which takes mostly Jewish North American people into the West Bank to meet with Palestinian people and to equip them to return to their own communities and work for justice; and takes Palestinian children from refugee camps to Jerusalem, the sea, and the villages their grandparents fled in 1948, and supports them to document their experiences and create photography exhibits to share with their communities and with the world. Anna Baltzer helped contribute to this article.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

American Jews on War and Peace: What Do the Polls Tell Us and Not Tell Us? By James Petras

New poll reveals how unrepresentative neocon Jewish groups are by Glenn Greenwald

Crimes against Humanity in Gaza: Israeli Policies at Erez Crossing by Physicians for Human Rights

Latin America breaks free of the US By Janette Habel

Dandelion Salad

By Janette Habel
ICH
12/21/07 “Le Monde diplomatique

The US has lost ground in Latin America over the past decade, since the project to develop the Free Trade Area of the Americas flopped and since leftwing governments took power and used it with imagination and vigour. The US continues to try to block such emancipation by promoting more free trade agreements, and increasing military cooperation in the name of the war on terrorism and narcotics and the defence of market democracy.

Latin America is a lost continent according to the editor of Foreign Policy, Moises Naim. The president of the Inter-American Dialogue organisation, Peter Hakim, voiced the same concern when he asked: “Is Washington losing Latin America?” (1). Over the past decade the United States has suffered many setbacks in this part of the world. Voters, rejecting neo-liberal policies, have elected radical or moderate leftwing coalitions, claiming degrees of independence. In April 2002 the attempt to overthrow Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez failed. In 2005 the native movement brought Evo Morales to power in Bolivia despite US State Department efforts. Though it exerted pressure, the US was unable to prevent Daniel Ortega from being elected in Nicaragua or Rafael Correa in Ecuador (2).

But despite growing hostility, most of the free market groundwork is still in place. The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), launched by President Bill Clinton at the Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994 to open up a huge market from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, failed to materialise. But US firms nevertheless invested $353bn in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005, with their subsidiaries employing 1.6 million people. In 2006 US exports to the region increased by 12.7% and imports by 10.5%, according to the US commerce secretary, Carlos Gutierrez.

Though the FTAA failed, progress was made through bilateral and multilateral agreements, particularly free trade accords (FTA). The US market is a powerful asset when bargaining: “Our country must find the strength it lacks on account of its size through its relations with all the countries in the world, and particularly the United States,” said the economy minister of Uruguay, which is tempted by an FTA with the US. One consequence would be a conflict with Mercosur, the South American common market, which would please the US. Latin America’s elites may see themselves as representing the centre left but they soon yield to neo-liberal pressures.

The political content of the FTAs has gradually increased. A further step towards integrating the whole continent was taken in Waco, Texas, on 23 March 2005. The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is a trilateral effort by the US, Canada and Mexico. “What is new about this agreement,” said legal expert Guy Mazet, “is that it adds the notion of security to the rationale of economic and trade processes, while institutionalising the power of business and the private sector to influence public policy” (3). The legal basis for an agreement negotiated without consulting national parliaments is open to question. “The private sector is using an international agreement to exert greater influence over national policy,” Mazet added.

continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Just a Theory: Ron Paul Doesn’t “Accept” Evolution By Manila Ryce (video) (updated)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
The Largest Minority
Published Saturday, December 22nd, 2007, 8:28 am

Since Brownback and Tancredo are out of the race, I guess Paul decided to keep Huckabee company amongst the presidential candidates who think the Flintstones was a documentary. Denying scientific evidence is an awfully peculiar thing for a doctor to do, but then again, Ron Paul is a paradox. He voted for the border fence with Mexico, yet claims to be a libertarian. He voted against the resolution to impeach Cheney, yet claims to be a strict constitutionalist. He’s against the occupation of Iraq, yet claims to be from Texas. Understanding Paul is like trying to nail Jello to a tree, and yet that doesn’t seem to matter to the majority of his supporters who still don’t have a full picture of their savior.

Despite eyebrow-raising revelations that continue to surface, such as about Paul not believing in the separation between church and state or the donations he accepts from white supremacist groups, nothing is stronger than the love a Paul fanboy has for his golden idol. Ask a left-leaning Paul supporter why they don’t just support a better candidate like Dennis Kucinich and they’ll put forth the anti-democratic group-think argument of electability having precedence over platform. Irony anyone? Why not just support Hillary and get it over with?

Ron Paul: I don’t believe in evolution

dailybackground

December 21, 2007

It’s actually pretty shocking that Paul would use the “evolution is just a theory” argument to justify his nonacceptance of it. In science, a Theory is not merely an opinion, but a well-supported and testable explanation of how nature works. Doctor Paul must surely know the error in putting something like the geological theory of plate tectonics and my cousin’s theory that Alf is really an alien and not a muppet on equal footing. Paul has shown how extremely misinformed he is on matters of science with his solution to environmental degradation already. Perhaps we should exercise a bit of intelligent design ourselves by electing a president with at least an elementary school understanding of what constitutes scientific evidence this time around, and not someone who thinks “both sides” are equally credible.

***

Updated: 12.26.07

Transcript:

Audience member: “I saw you in one of the earlier debates, all of the candidates were asked if they believe the theory of evolution to be true and they had a show of hands, but I didn’t see which way you voted, and I was wondering if you believe it to be true, and should it be taught in our schools.”

Paul: “First, I thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter. And I, um, I think it’s a theory, theory of evolution, and I don’t accept it, you know, as a theory…. I just don’t think we’re at a point where anybody has absolute proof, on either side.”

h/t: Hugo Chavez

***

Ron Paul uses essentially the same kind of reasoning as Creationists regarding evolution vs creationism.

With the theory of evolution it’s like any other theory in science: it is a “theory” exactly -because- it is supported by evidence and because there is no evidence to the contrary. “Proof” is a mathematical concept that has very little to do with theories.

Nor is any scientific theory “fact”. With scientific theories it is verifiable observations (aka “facts”) that matter.

Creationism aka Intelligent Design on the other hand is not even a theory; it is at nothing but an idea.

This and everything else you need to know about this ‘controversy’ – among which is the fact that Creationism and Intelligent Design are in fact one and the same – is in this PBS/NOVA docu about the trial of “Kitzmiller v. Dover” in Dover, Pennsylvania:

Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/

Video link

“In 2004, the Dover, Pennsylvania school board established a policy that science teachers would have to read a statement to biology students suggesting that there is an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution called intelligent design. Intelligent design, or ID, claims that certain features of life are too complex to have evolved naturally, and therefore must have been designed by an intelligent agent. The Dover high school science teachers refused to comply with the policy, refused to read the statement. And parents opposed to the school board’s actions filed a lawsuit in federal court.

The trial that followed was fascinating. It was like a primer, like a biology textbook. Some of the nation’s best biologists testified. When I began delving into the case, it was clear that both the trial and the issue were perfect subjects for NOVA.”

h/t: Hugo Chavez

see

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

Blackwater in Baghdad: “It was a horror movie” by Jennifer Daskal

Dandelion Salad

by Jennifer Daskal
Global Research, December 22, 2007
Salon.com

New testimony from witnesses and victims provides the most in-depth, harrowing account to date of the U.S. security firm’s deadly rampage in Iraq.

Dec. 14, 2007 | For Khalaf, a 38-year-old Iraqi, Sept. 16 started like many other sunny summer workdays. He donned his police uniform — a white shirt, navy trousers and hat — and headed to Baghdad’s busy Nissour Square. By 7 a.m. he was out in the street, directing the flow of traffic coming from the multi-laned Yarmouk access road into the square. When he spotted four large all-terrain vehicles with guns mounted on top, he did what he always did. He stopped traffic and cleared the area for what he knew, from the tell-tale sign of the two accompanying helicopters, to be a security firm’s convoy.

At first, this seemed completely normal for the totally abnormal world of Baghdad in September 2007. “Convoys are common,” explained Khalaf. But this convoy made an unexpected U-turn, drove the wrong way around the one-way square, stopped in the middle of it and started shooting. Fifteen minutes later, 17 Iraqi civilians were dead, dozens more wounded, and a white sedan that had been engulfed in flames contained two bodies charred beyond recognition.

“It was a horror movie,” said Khalaf, describing the aftermath of the now notorious Blackwater shootings.

I interviewed Khalaf on Nov. 30, in a small conference room inside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey. In one of the most in-depth collection of testimonials to date regarding Blackwater, Khalaf was among five witnesses and victims flown from Baghdad to meet with Susan Burke, William O’Neil and their team of lawyers and investigators. The team is suing Blackwater on behalf of the victims of the Sept. 16 shooting.

That lethal incident was a watershed moment that brought intense scrutiny to the problems caused by private contractors, which have effectively operated with impunity as they’ve brought violence and widespread ill will to U.S. operations in Iraq.

With experience learned from a similar lawsuit filed two years ago against U.S. contractors implicated in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Burke O’Neil is perhaps the only law firm in the nation that could so quickly gather eyewitness and victim accounts, make the right legal arguments and begin the process of holding Blackwater to account.

Sadly, this lawsuit may be the only way that the victims and their families receive remotely adequate compensation for their losses.

Khalaf recounted the events of that day to a hushed room of lawyers with laptops. He watched, he said, as the Blackwater convoy made the U-turn toward the street where he stood directing traffic. As the convoy stopped, Khalaf watched as a large man with a mustache standing atop the third car fired several shots in the air. Khalaf turned back toward the Yarmouk road to see what might have spurred the shooting and heard a woman yell, “My son! My son!” He ran three cars back to a white sedan to find a woman holding a young man slumped over and covered with blood.

The man was Ahmed, a 20-year-old medical student at the top of his class, and the woman his mother, Mohasin, a successful dermatologist and mother of three.

“I tried to help the young man, but his mother was holding him so tight,” said Khalaf. “I raised my left arm high in the air to try to signal to the convoy to stop the shooting,” he said, thinking that it would respond to such a gesture by a police officer. He described how he crouched by the car, his right arm reaching inside, his head out and left arm up in the air, signaling to the convoy, his gun secure in its holster. Then the mother was shot dead before his eyes.

The shooting then turned heavier, Khalaf said, his eyes red-brimmed and serious. He hid behind the police traffic booth, but shots came directly at him, hitting the adjacent traffic light and booth’s door, and he fled back across Yarmouk road to safety behind a hill. Along with a few hundred others, he stayed there as the chaos unfolded, watching as the helicopters circling above the street started shooting at those below.

Fifteen minutes later, the four-car convoy continued around the square and drove away. Amid the wreckage, colorful clouds billowed into the air from the convoy’s parting gift — multicolored smoke bombs.

In remarks prepared for delivery before a congressional hearing in October, Blackwater chairman Erik Prince claimed company guards “returned fire at threatening targets,” including “men with AK-47s firing on the convoy” and “approaching vehicles that appeared to be suicide car bombers.” Prince’s prepared testimony also asserted that one of the vehicles had been disabled by the “enemy fire” and had to be towed. And he contended that the helicopters never fired on those below. (These remarks were never actually delivered; the Department of Justice launched an investigation the day before the hearing and asked the committee not to discuss the details of the Sept. 16 incident. Prince’s remarks were subsequently reported in the Washington Post.)

But the accounts of Khalaf and others contradict each of Prince’s assertions. Khalaf, who was there before the shooting began, said he never saw anyone fire on or approach the convoy. He watched as all four cars drove away as the 15-minute shooting spree ended, and huddled in fear as the helicopters began firing. He thought the helicopters would start spraying those who were hiding behind the hill for safety from the street-level threat.

Khalaf’s observations are backed up by official accounts, including leaked FBI findings, which concluded that at least 14 of the 17 shooting deaths were unjustified, and statements by military officials disputing Blackwater’s claim that its guards had been fired upon or under any sort of attack. The Iraq government’s own investigation found no evidence that the guards had been provoked or attacked, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki‘s spokesperson called the shootings “deliberate murder.”

The scene as the Blackwater convoy exited the square was also described to the group of lawyers by Hooby, a 32-year-old bank employee who was there on lunch break, returning from a failed attempt to buy a gift for a friend’s newborn. (An unrelated bombing in a nearby market cut the shopping trip short.) Stuck in heavy traffic on the opposite side of the square from Yarmouk road, he heard the shooting start. When he got out of his car to find out what was happening, he saw the convoy and the white car burning, and started yelling at the other cars to turn around. Two helicopters circled overhead, each with a man strapped in and a machine gun sticking out.

In a panic, Hooby turned his car around and was leaving the area when the convoy approached from behind, throwing water bottles at the roof of his car. “All of a sudden, I felt pain in my right arm and left leg, opened the car door, and rolled out,” said Hooby. The car rolled forward a short way, hit a wall and stopped, said Hooby. “I thought I was dying.”

He spent the next three days in the hospital and underwent major surgery on his right arm, which was fractured by a bullet. He spent the next two months at home, recuperating. The large metal rod implanted by the surgeon to help his broken bone heal properly is expected to be removed at the end of December.

Like Khalaf, Hooby said he never saw anyone on his side of the square make even a threatening gesture toward the Blackwater convoy.

Now, left to deal with the aftermath are 16 grieving families, and those, like Hooby, still trying to recover from their wounds.

Haythem, the composed, articulate and powerfully calm father and husband of Ahmed and Mohasin, who died in the white car, expected them to pick him up at the health center where he worked that afternoon. He waited and waited, and eventually went home without them. “I tried to be patient,” he said. “I kept calling, but thought there must be some sort of cellphone interruption.”

Finally, around 5 p.m., he phoned his brother who worked at the hospital closest to Nissour Square. His brother went to the emergency room, then to the morgue. He learned that all of the bodies there were identified — except for two that were completely burned with body parts missing. His brother then headed to the square, where he called Haythem to tell him he had found a charred white car with a license plate number written in the sand. The numerals and letters matched the family’s plate.

Haythem identified his son from what was left of his shoes. His forehead and brains were missing and his skin completely burned. He identified his wife of 20 years by a dental bridge.

With tears in his eyes, Haythem described his beloved wife and son. “If you perceive marriage as half of your life, Mohasin was my best half,” he said. “We were always together. I don’t know how to manage my life or care for my other two children without her.”

Ahmed “was my first baby boy,” he said. “Everyone loved him.”

The State Department contacted Haythem and asked how much he wanted for compensation. “I said their lives are priceless,” said Haythem. But the State Department representative kept insisting on a number. Haythem eventually told him that “if he could give me my loved ones, I would gladly give him $200 million.”

None of the Iraqis we interviewed last month could describe their losses without breaking down in tears.

Assadi, 31, a stoic, unsmiling man, became the head of the family after his older brother Usama was killed in the shootings. His tough façade cracked as he described the moment he learned about the shootings. His brother left behind a wife and four children. Assadi is now the sole breadwinner for the entire family.

He documented what was left of his brother’s car. The line of bullet holes in one side door is overshadowed by the two soccer-ball-size holes in the roof and driver’s side door.

Another young man, 27-year-old Abu Hassam, suddenly became the head of his family just a week earlier, when on Sept. 9 his older brother was shot in front of the family’s carpet shop — in an incident also attributed to Blackwater. His brother’s wife had delivered their first child, a daughter, just 20 days earlier. At least four other Iraqis have been reported killed in that incident on Sept. 9.

These are not isolated events. In October, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released its analysis of Blackwater’s own internal reporting since 2005, which found 195 shooting incidents in the last two years, including 160 in which Blackwater employees fired the first shot. And Blackwater is not the only problem. An estimated 20,000 to 35,000 private security contractors operate in Iraq, without adequate oversight, without adequate training and without adequate legal sanctions to hold abusers accountable.

The Burke O’Neil lawsuit may be the only way that victims receive compensation for their loss. The State Department has offered family members $10,000 for those killed in the Sept. 16 shootings — an amount most consider insultingly low and have refused. In less high-profile cases involving U.S. contractors, no one has offered anything.

Some of the Iraqis told me that they don’t even care about the money. They just want to see those responsible punished. But the Iraqis’ hands are tied. An order issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority in its departing days and still in force gives foreign private contractors immunity under Iraqi law.

U.S. prosecutors are now reportedly trying to build a case against those involved in the Sept. 16 shootings. If successful, it will be the first time the U.S. government has held private security contractors criminally liable for abusive behavior directed at Iraqis. In other cases, investigations don’t even get off the ground, because of lack of political will, limits in the extraterritorial reach of U.S. criminal laws, and the absence of investigative units on the ground. Even in this case, the FBI did not visit the crime scene for more than two weeks after the incident, during which time State Department investigators interviewing Blackwater employees offered them limited immunity, complicating the prosecution.

Legislation now working its way through Congress would resolve some of the gaps in the law, and hold all U.S. private security contractors subject to criminal sanctions for felonies committed abroad. But such legislation is only as good as the oversight and enforcement that accompany it. A few token prosecutions of a handful of Blackwater employees will not be enough. There needs to be a wholesale reform of the way security contractors and those that oversee their work do business.

At stake is the future of other innocent lives, as well as America’s reputation throughout the Middle East and across the world.

One of the men I met in Istanbul wrote me after I returned home. “Conduct our deepest love to all the Americans who support and work hard to stop killing of innocent people all over the world,” he said. “Please, we want to live in peace, surrounded by friends not killers.”

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© Copyright Jennifer Daskal, Salon.com, 2007
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Funding Democracy Or War? By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Dandelion Salad

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
12/22/07 “ICH

The ‘Iran Democracy Fund’ was recently awarded $60 million. There seems to be neither rhyme nor reason to this re-appropriation, especially since more than two dozen Iranian American and human rights groups appealed to Congress to eliminate the program given that the program had backfired, undermining democracy efforts in Iran and leading to wider repression of activists. It therefore begs the question why the United States would deliberately waste tax payers’ money while causing hardship on aspiring democrats in Iran?

Perhaps the answer lies in the lead up to the Iraq invasion. Continue reading

FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics By Ellen Nakashima

Dandelion Salad

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer

12/22/07 “Washington Post

$1 Billion Project to Include Images of Irises and Faces

CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion effort to build the world’s largest computer database of peoples’ physical characteristics, a project that would give the government unprecedented abilities to identify individuals in the United States and abroad.

Digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns are already flowing into FBI systems in a climate-controlled, secure basement here. Next month, the FBI intends to award a 10-year contract that would significantly expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives. And in the coming years, law enforcement authorities around the world will be able to rely on iris patterns, face-shape data, scars and perhaps even the unique ways people walk and talk, to solve crimes and identify criminals and terrorists. The FBI will also retain, upon request by employers, the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks so the employers can be notified if employees have brushes with the law.

“Bigger. Faster. Better. That’s the bottom line,” said Thomas E. Bush III, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which operates the database from its headquarters in the Appalachian foothills.

The increasing use of biometrics for identification is raising questions about the ability of Americans to avoid unwanted scrutiny. It is drawing criticism from those who worry that people’s bodies will become de facto national identification cards. Critics say that such government initiatives should not proceed without proof that the technology really can pick a criminal out of a crowd.

The use of biometric data is increasing throughout the government. For the past two years, the Defense Department has been storing in a database images of fingerprints, irises and faces of more than 1.5 million Iraqi and Afghan detainees, Iraqi citizens and foreigners who need access to U.S. military bases. The Pentagon also collects DNA samples from some Iraqi detainees, which are stored separately.

The Department of Homeland Security has been using iris scans at some airports to verify the identity of travelers who have passed background checks and who want to move through lines quickly. The department is also looking to apply iris- and face-recognition techniques to other programs. The DHS already has a database of millions of sets of fingerprints, which includes records collected from U.S. and foreign travelers stopped at borders for criminal violations, from U.S. citizens adopting children overseas, and from visa applicants abroad. There could be multiple records of one person’s prints.

“It’s going to be an essential component of tracking,” said Barry Steinhardt, director of the Technology and Liberty Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s enabling the Always On Surveillance Society.”

If successful, the system planned by the FBI, called Next Generation Identification, will collect a wide variety of biometric information in one place for identification and forensic purposes.

In an underground facility the size of two football fields, a request reaches an FBI server every second from somewhere in the United States or Canada, comparing a set of digital fingerprints against the FBI’s database of 55 million sets of electronic fingerprints. A possible match is made — or ruled out–as many as 100,000 times a day.

Soon, the server at CJIS headquarters will also compare palm prints and, eventually, iris images and face-shape data such as the shape of an earlobe. If all goes as planned, a police officer making a traffic stop or a border agent at an airport could run a 10-fingerprint check on a suspect and within seconds know if the person is on a database of the most wanted criminals and terrorists. An analyst could take palm prints lifted from a crime scene and run them against the expanded database. Intelligence agents could exchange biometric information worldwide.

More than 55 percent of the search requests now are made for background checks on civilians in sensitive positions in the federal government, and jobs that involve children and the elderly, Bush said. Currently those prints are destroyed or returned when the checks are completed. But the FBI is planning a “rap-back” service, under which employers could ask the FBI to keep employees’ fingerprints in the database, subject to state privacy laws, so that if that employees are ever arrested or charged with a crime, the employers would be notified.

Advocates say bringing together information from a wide variety of sources and making it available to multiple agencies increases the chances to catch criminals. The Pentagon has already matched several Iraqi suspects against the FBI’s criminal fingerprint database. The FBI intends to make both criminal and civilian data available to authorized users, officials said. There are 900,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers who can query the fingerprint database today, they said.

The FBI’s biometric database, which includes criminal history records, communicates with the Terrorist Screening Center’s database of suspects and the National Crime Information Center database, which is the FBI’s master criminal database of felons, fugitives and terrorism suspects.

The FBI is building its system according to standards shared by Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

At the West Virginia University Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), 45 minutes north of the FBI’s biometric facility in Clarksburg, researchers are working on capturing images of people’s irises at distances of up to 15 feet, and of faces from as far away as 200 yards. Soon, those researchers will do biometric research for the FBI.

Covert iris- and face-image capture is several years away, but it is of great interest to government agencies.

Think of a Navy ship approaching a foreign vessel, said Bojan Cukic, CITeR’s co-director. “It would help to know before you go on board whether the people on that ship that you can image from a distance, whether they are foreign warfighters, and run them against a database of known or suspected terrorists,” he said.

Skeptics say that such projects are proceeding before there is evidence that they reliably match suspects against a huge database.

In the world’s first large-scale, scientific study on how well face recognition works in a crowd, the German government this year found that the technology, while promising, was not yet effective enough to allow its use by police. The study was conducted from October 2006 through January at a train station in Mainz, Germany, which draws 23,000 passengers daily. The study found that the technology was able to match travelers’ faces against a database of volunteers more than 60 percent of the time during the day, when the lighting was best. But the rate fell to 10 to 20 percent at night.

To achieve those rates, the German police agency said it would tolerate a false positive rate of 0.1 percent, or the erroneous identification of 23 people a day. In real life, those 23 people would be subjected to further screening measures, the report said.

Accuracy improves as techniques are combined, said Kimberly Del Greco, the FBI’s biometric services section chief. The Next Generation database is intended to “fuse” fingerprint, face, iris and palm matching capabilities by 2013, she said.

To safeguard privacy, audit trails are kept on everyone who has access to a record in the fingerprint database, Del Greco said. People may request copies of their records, and the FBI audits all agencies that have access to the database every three years, she said.

“We have very stringent laws that control who can go in there and to secure the data,” Bush said.

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the ability to share data across systems is problematic. “You’re giving the federal government access to an extraordinary amount of information linked to biometric identifiers that is becoming increasingly inaccurate,” he said.

In 2004, the Electronic Privacy Information Center objected to the FBI’s exemption of the National Crime Information Center database from the Privacy Act requirement that records be accurate. The group noted that the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2001 found that information in the system was “not fully reliable” and that files “may be incomplete or inaccurate.” FBI officials justified that exemption by claiming that in law enforcement data collection, “it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely and complete.”

Privacy advocates worry about the ability of people to correct false information. “Unlike say, a credit card number, biometric data is forever,” said Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley technology forecaster. He said he feared that the FBI, whose computer technology record has been marred by expensive failures, could not guarantee the data’s security. “If someone steals and spoofs your iris image, you can’t just get a new eyeball,” Saffo said.

In the future, said CITeR director Lawrence A. Hornak, devices will be able to “recognize us and adapt to us.”

“The long-term goal,” Hornak said, is “ubiquitous use” of biometrics. A traveler may walk down an airport corridor and allow his face and iris images to be captured without ever stepping up to a kiosk and looking into a camera, he said.

“That’s the key,” he said. “You’ve chosen it. You have chosen to say, ‘Yeah, I want this place to recognize me.’ ”

Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.

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Being part of the solution: GOOD Congresspeople need support by Kathryn Smith

Dandelion Salad

by Kathryn Smith
http://www.opednews.com
December 22, 2007 at 09:12:06

Please send Kucinich a card of support.

There is a noticeable gap in postings here the last few days. That is, concerns for Dennis Kucinich after the death of his brother. I will be honest in saying that I find the gap disturbing. It seems pretty heartless to me.

Kucinich must need our support in order to carry on during a time like this. I can’t imagine how difficult (to say the least) it must be to carry on with a Congress as obstructionist as this current one is. Couple that with the death of his brother, the media black-out and the result is devastation. Kucinich surely needs to hear from the public, especially right now.

While we sit and complain bitterly about our Congress, the moves toward fascism, and all the things of which the people on this website are so aware—-and I truly appreciate everyone here for it—-I would like to suggest that in order to practice the solution to our problems, it would be very important to offer encouragement to the few good Congresspeople we have.

Dennis Kucinich is one of those men. Now don’t chime in: Anyone who says “Kucinich will not win” is being fed that phrase because someone higher up doesn’t WANT him to win. They are scared of him. He is ethical, has backbone such as we all have been begging for in public office, is smarter than heck and really good. Here a bit of background:

Even the cautiously image-conscious ACLU posted to its website that during the time Bush bullied Congress into voting for the unconstitutional Patriot Act, anthrax was circulating around Congress at that very moment. Just weeks after the attacks of 9-11, a frightened Congress was confronted by Bush with a bill more than 320 pages thick (I’ve googled the bill and taken a look myself), which he gave them only two days to study. (The second time around, he gave them two hours). He told them, according to the ACLU, that if they did not pass the Patriot Act blind, he would publicly characterize them as “Soft on terror”.

continued…

h/t: Nadia_

Condolences may be sent to: condolences@kucinich.us

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Perry J. Kucinich, beloved brother 12/11/56 – 12/19/07

Kucinich Wins Help for Vets

Kucinich: Give me the vote, I’ll give you back your country! (video)

Kucinich Adjusts Campaign to Comply With Matching Funds Regulations

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

Former CIA analyst says evidence abounds for impeachment

It’s time to impeach our VP and Pres: http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com

Dandelion Salad

After Downing Street
Dec. 21, 2007
Foster’s Daily Democrat

PORTSMOUTH — The evidence for impeachment of the president and vice president is overwhelming, former CIA analyst and daily presidential briefer Ray McGovern told a room full of people at the Portsmouth Public Library Monday night.McGovern, who provided daily briefings for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as well as other high ranking officials during his 27 year CIA career, said he has witnessed a “prostitution of his profession” as the Bush administration lied to the American people about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

“Don’t let anyone tell you the President was deceived by false intelligence … they knew,” McGovern said.

For the next 40 minutes, he relayed a series of events leading up to 9/11 which illustrate the President’s desire to go to war with Iraq well before 9-11, that reliable CIA evidence showed that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and was presented to the administration and the “facts were fixed” in order to legitimize the invasion.

“The estimate which said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was prepared to the terms of reference laid down by Dick Cheney in a speech on Aug. 26, 2002. It was the worst estimate of intelligence and came to the wrong conclusions, but it was designed to do that,” McGovern said.

McGovern has been an outspoken commentator on intelligence-related issues since the late 1990s and since 2002 has been publicly critical of Bush’s use of government intelligence in the lead-up to the war.

The recent report detailing Iran’s stopping its nuclear weapons program four years ago, is an example of how the administration knows it can no longer hide such “incontrovertible evidence” from the American people in the fallout from the misinformation they received on the Iraq War, McGovern said. He added that he had almost given up on believing their were people still working at the top with a conscious and enough people at the top willing to let analysts do their job and accept independent analysis.

In late 2005, Congress requested an estimate on Iranian nuclear capabilities. “My former colleagues got really good, incontrovertible evidence that the program, such as it was, has been ordered stopped since 2003. The evidence was such that not even Dick Cheney could deny it. That’s why the report was not produced until three weeks ago,” McGovern said, adding that the Bush administration has been putting “spin” on their rhetoric ever since.

McGovern also addressed the reasoning he believes is behind the threat of war with Iran. He said he believes Israel thinks they have a pledge from the White House to deal with Iran before Bush leaves office and relayed the story of the U.S.S. Liberty, which was attacked by the Israelis in 1967 and covered up by the United States. Thirty-four U.S soldiers were killed and about 170 were seriously injured.

“It seems to me, that on June, 8, 1967, Israel realized it could literally get away with murder,” McGovern said.

McGovern said he also believes Congress will be of little help. Recently House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted to learning about torture and illegal eavesdropping in briefings, but said it was her understanding when briefed, that she will not share the information with anyone else, including other members of the House Intelligence Committee.

McGovern called Pelosi out on violating her oath to uphold the Constitution “against enemies, foreign or domestic” by allowing acts in violation of the Constitution to continue by not saying “diddly.”

He added that although an impeachment bill currently in Congress is gaining more support, Democrats are shying away because of the influence of lobbies and political analysts telling them to “wait it out” until the election.

Charges in the impeachment bill sponsored by Dennis Kucinich, are very detailed and “as good as any,” McGovern said, and referenced the illegal eavesdropping of American citizens. He added that the President has “admitted” to this “demonstrably impeachable offense.”

“The argument for impeachment is overwhelming,” Randy Kezar of Kingston said after the event. “Impeachment is constitutionally required.”

McGovern’s visit was co-sponsored by NH Codepink, Seacoast Peace Response, NH Peace Action, NH American Friends Service Committee, Seacoast 9-11 Questions Group, NH Veterans for Peace and Witness for Peace-N.E.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Kucinich Adjusts Campaign to Comply With Matching Funds Regulations

Dandelion Salad

Press Release
Earth Times
Fri, 21 Dec 2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Because of the extreme front-loaded nature of the 2008 Presidential primaries, as well as the complicated public financing laws and regulations, the campaign of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has notified the Federal Elections Commission that Kucinich will not be actively campaigning in Florida or Louisiana.

“This was a very difficult decision,” the campaign said in a statement, “because we have strong grassroots organizations and significant support in both of those states. We simply don’t have the tens of millions of dollars that some of the other campaigns do, and we cannot afford to campaign everywhere at the same time. The primary focus right now is New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary where our support is significant and growing. And, we are moving ahead with additional plans leading up to ‘Super Tuesday’ on February 5.”

Similarly, Kucinich, who has been purposefully excluded from two Presidential debates and a number of Democratic Party events in Iowa, will not return there before the January 3rd caucuses. This unfair treatment began with a debate sponsored by AARP, an opponent of the single-payer, not-for-profit health plan that Kucinich proposes. Most recently, he was excluded from a nationally broadcast debate there, while, inexplicably, non-candidate Alan Keyes was included in the Republican debate.

The campaign also noted that Congressman Kucinich, unlike his counterparts in the Senate who are campaigning for the Democratic nomination, spends his weekdays in Washington when the House is in session, leaving only weekends available for campaigning. Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd all missed this week’s vote on an additional $70 billion war-funding measure because they were in either Iowa or New Hampshire campaigning.

Kucinich is a long-time supporter of public financing, but federal statutes and regulations regarding matching funds actually discourage grassroots campaigns from competing effectively against larger campaigns that derive all of their funds from private sources. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have opted out of the public financing system, which means they can spend unlimited amounts without having to meet the criteria and adhere to the regulations imposed on other campaigns.

According to official reports filed with the FEC, about 88% of the money raised by the Kucinich campaign this year is eligible for matching funds because the contributions came from everyday citizens in amounts of $250 or less. It is the highest percentage of grassroots contributions of any campaign. “This campaign is financed by average Americans, not Wall Street investment bankers, off-shore hedge funds, arms manufacturers, insurance and pharmaceutical interests, or oil and gas executives,” the campaign said in its statement. “These are people of modest means who see public financing as a way to eliminate corporate control of campaigns and of government, and we intend to do everything possible to continue carrying that message throughout the campaign. That is the Congressman’s pledge, and it means deploying our resources efficiently and effectively.”

Website: Dennis 4 President
Kucinich for President 2008

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Dennis Kucinich: Election Reform + Public Funding of Elections + Corporate Personhood + Open Honest Govt (video)

Noam Chomsky: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (1989; videos)

Dandelion Salad

pdxjustice Media Production
56 min 7 sec – Mar 15, 1989
www.pdxjustice.org

“Voices From the Archives” lecture by Noam Chomsky, March 15, 1989: “The United States, Israel and the Palestinians” – Part 1 – Recorded … all » at the Wisconsin Union Theater on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wisconsin.

Continue reading