Judge says MSNBC must include Kucinich + OK’d for debate, appeal planned + video + DK Excluded (updated)

Updated below.

Dandelion Salad

by Andrew Malcolm
LATimesblog
Jan. 14, 2008

A judge in Nevada has just ordered MSNBC to include Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Tuesday’s Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas or he will cancel the forum.Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson vowed to issue an injunction halting the nationally televised debate if MSNBC failed to comply. Kucinich had filed a lawsuit seeking to be included just this morning.

The judge ruled it was a matter of fairness and Nevada voters would benefit from hearing from more than just Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Kucinich had been invited to participate in the 6 p.m. Pacific debate Tuesday, but that invitation was rescinded last week following the results of the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses that showed Kucinich trailing badly.

Kucinich received the news in an Associated Press story handed to him during a telephone interview with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business channel. Kucinich read the news item out loud: “It says ‘A Nevada judge said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in Tuesday’s candidates’ debate in Nevada’. Holy smokes! I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada.”So set up a fourth podium.

***

Kucinich sues NBC over Nevada debate

by Andrew Malcolm
LATimesblog
Jan. 14, 2008

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has just sued NBC-TV in Las Vegas over his exclusion from the MSNBC debate among top Demcoratic candidates in Nevada tomorrow.According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Kucinich filed his lawsuit moments ago seeking a temporary restraining order allowing him to participate in the nationally-televised debate among Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. A copy of the lawsuit is available here.

As reported here over the weekend, Kucinich was originally informed that he was invited. But that invitation was later rescinded, prompting an outraged press release about giant corporate powers controlling voters’ access to all candidates.

Kucinich’s lawsuit claims, “Kucinich is a credible and serious candidate in Nevada, where he is actively and vigorously campaigning and has statewide headquarters in Las Vegas.” The suit could threaten tomorrow evening’s debate.

It comes just days before the hotly-contested Nevada caucuses that has drawn all the Democratic candidates, seeking votes and endorsements. A District Court hearing was scheduled for this afternoon.

Kucinich’s exclusion from Tuesday’s debate is the latest of several. The perennial president candidate from Cleveland was also barred from participating in the ABC-TV-Facebook debate in New Hampshire and the Des Moines Register debate in Iowa.

Also Fox News excluded Republican Rep. Ron Paul from its GOP debate just before last week’s New Hampshire primary, even though it did include Rudy Giuliani, whom Paul had beaten in Iowa, and Fred Thompson, who wasn’t campaigning in New Hampshire and was trailing Paul in polls there. Paul was also in Nevada today campaigning.

***

Updated: Jan 14, 2008 8:55 PM

Kucinich OK’d for debate, appeal planned

yahoo news
3 minutes ago

LAS VEGAS – NBC News said Monday it will appeal a judge’s ruling rather than include Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich in a candidates’ debate in Nevada.

“We disagree with the judge’s decision and are filing an appeal,” said a statement provided by Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, sponsor of Tuesday night’s debate. Gaines said the parent network would seek an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Hours earlier, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled that Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, must be allowed to participate. If he is excluded, Thompson said he would issue an injunction to stop the televised debate.

Kucinich’s lawyer had argued that MSNBC at first invited him to participate, then last week reversed course and told him he could not.

A lawyer for the network said MSNBC decided to go with the top three candidates after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.

Thompson called it a matter of fairness and said Nevada voters will benefit by hearing from more than just top contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

The cable network and the Democratic Party have promoted the debate as a chance for the candidates to be questioned about issues from Nevada’s minority communities. Tim Russert and Brian Williams are the scheduled moderators.

Kucinich learned of the judge’s decision when he was handed a note during an interview with Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto.

“Holy smokes! I just found out. I have to get off the phone now. I have to make plans to go to Nevada,” Kucinich said.

h/t: Gary

***

Note: I’ve had trouble viewing this video but it has not been removed. Why it doesn’t work, I have no idea. Try clicking “refresh” to see if that helps. ~ Lo

Updated: Jan. 15, 2008 12:43 AM CT

Judge Rules Dennis Kucinich must be in Las Vegas Debate

vidwatch654

A Las Vegas judge has ruled that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in the Tuesday night presidential debate in Las Vegas.

Kucinich filed a lawsuit against NBC. He said he was initially invited to be in the nationally televised debate but the offer was later rescinded. Base on the earlier invitation, Judge Charles Thompson ruled in Kucinich’s favor saying if he isn’t included, he will issue an injunction stopping the debate.

The judge met with lawyers from both sides Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. and indicated that he would sign a formal order at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The attorneys for NBC claim the state court has no jurisdiction in this matter, and they have decided to appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as well as John Edwards are the only three candidates invited to the debate.

***

Updated: Jan. 15, 2008 1:47 PM CT

NBC appeals Kucinich ruling

By Brian Eckhouse · January 15, 2008 · 10:59 AM
Las Vegas Sun

NBC this morning appealed a District Court judge¹s decision Monday to force the network to include presidential long-shot Dennis Kucinich in tonight’s Democratic debate.

The network appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, which presumably will decide the matter before the 6 p.m. Debate.

“When parties seek emergency relief, it is not uncommon for this court to rule within hours,” said Brandee Mooneyhan, an assistant court clerk.

continued…

***

Updated: Jan. 15, 2008 2:47 PM CT

Appeal filed in Kucinich debate lawsuit

Nevada Supreme Court Gets Appeal in Kucinich Debate Dispute

Ken Ritter
Raw Story
AP News

Jan 15, 2008 15:02 EST

The Nevada Supreme Court was considering an appeal Tuesday from NBC Universal Inc. to overturn a judge’s decision that Dennis Kucinich must be included in a debate of the Democratic presidential candidates on MSNBC.

The network argued that a Clark County District Court judge lacked jurisdiction to order the cable TV news network to include the Ohio congressman or pull the plug on broadcasting the debate Tuesday night with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

“Mr. Kucinich’s claim … undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment,” Las Vegas lawyer Donald Campbell said in a filing submitted to Nevada’s high court, which hears all state appeals.

The state Supreme Court made no immediate ruling, and no hearing was immediately scheduled, a court clerk said.

Meanwhile, Kucinich hailed the lower court judge’s order before boarding a flight from Cleveland to Nevada to await the results of the legal showdown.

“I can just say, ‘Thank God’ for that judge, and hopefully his ruling will be sustained,” the Ohio congressman told reporters.

Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for MSNBC, said the cable network also was awaiting a decision from the court. He declined further comment.

continued…

***

Updated: Jan. 15, 2008 8:43 PM CT

Nevada Supreme Court says MSNBC can bar Kucinich from candidate debate

By Ken Ritter
Associated Press
January 15, 2008

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.

see

The Kucinich court decision and “judicial activism”

Boycott the MSNBC Democratic Debate On Tuesday + Protesting exclusion (videos)

Judge True Patriot

NBC BATTLES TO KEEP KUCINICH OUT OF THE DEBATE

Compassion and Fight: The Personality of Dennis Kucinich By Joel Wendland

Kucinich falls behind in ‘corrupt system’ by Zaid Jilani

Wed. Jan 16, 2008, National Call-In Day for Impeachment (action alert)

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Is Michael Bloomberg pondering White House bid? (video)

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

With no clear favorite emerging from either party it appears New York City’s billionaire mayor may be ready to throw his hat into the ring.
Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly said he is not running. But his aides have been conducting extensive research in what looks to be a plan to campaign as an independent.
From New York, Kristen Saloomey has more.

Added: January 14, 2008

Ron Paul answers journalists’ questions (video)

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Talk radio hosts interview Paul on “Radio Row” in Manchester, NH

Sunday January 13th, 2008
Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Lake Jackson, Texas, and a physician specializing in obstetrics/gynecology. Currently a US congressman, Paul has represented Texas districts from 1976 to 1977, 1979 to 1985 and 1997 to the present.

Added: January 14, 2008

see

Ron Paul @ Fox Debate 1-10-08 (videos) (updated)

Paul-Ron

The End of the Road for George W. Bush By Chris Hedges

Dandelion Salad

By Chris Hedges
Truthdig
Jan. 14, 2008

The Gilbert and Sullivan charade of statesmanship played out by George W. Bush and his enabler, Condoleezza Rice, as they wander the Middle East is a fitting end to seven years of misrule. Despots stripped of power are transformed from monsters into buffoons. And this is the metamorphosis that is eating away at the Bush presidency.

Bush stood in Jerusalem, uncomfortable and palpably bored. He mouthed platitudes about a peace settlement that mocked the humanitarian crisis he aided and abetted in Gaza, the rapacious land grab by Israel in the West Bank and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The diminished George Bush, increasingly irrelevant at home and abroad, is fading into insignificance. A year from now one half expects to see him stand up at the next president’s inauguration and screech “I’m melting! I’m melting!” as he sinks into a puddle of slime. He will return, I expect, to his ranch, where he will be able to spend the rest of his life doing the only task for which he has shown any aptitude-cutting down brush with a chain saw.

He may yet rise again to torment us with an attack on Iran, condemning more innocents to slaughter. He and his cigar-smoking soul mate Ehud Olmert would like to go out with one more flash of mayhem and violence. But even this will not ultimately save him. Bush will soon be reduced to the cipher he once was, left to spend the rest of his life trying to salvage a legacy of shame and deceit. In a just world he would be put on trial, if not by the International Criminal Court of Justice then by the U.S. Congress. He would be forced to face up to his lies and wars of aggression. But the moral rot that infects the nation has seeped into the bowels of the legislative as well as the executive branch.

[…]

via Truthdig

see

Al Jazeera: Bush: Confront Iran (videos)

Bush’s Voodoo Stimulus Package: $250 “freebie” for every taxpayer By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
14/01/08 “ICH

In the next couple of weeks, George Bush will prove that the last 30 years of supply side, free market economics was nothing more than a overripe pile of horse manure. In fact, right now, the B-52s are being loaded with pallets-full of freshly-minted hundred dollar bills which will be air-dropped “from sea to shining sea” as soon as King George gives the nod.

Think I’m crazy?

The Bush “Stimulus Package” is the biggest and most obscene hyper-inflationary swindle ever perpetrated on the American people. It’s a $100 billion, taxpayer-funded, bailout that is being slapped together at breakneck-speed to forestall a collapse in consumer spending, an exodus of foreign capital, and a painful slide into recession. And, guess what? Both political parties are on board. It is an act of utter desperation designed to address the catastrophe that was created by the Federal Reserve; the housing meltdown. Greenspan’s subprime boondoggle is now in full-crisis mode and threatening to deliver a knockout punch to the global economy. That’s why the the lights are blinking red at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And, that’s why the whole 435 member army of lacquer-haired political jacklegs who run the Congress are racing around in circles trying to find solutions.

They ought to forget about it; go home to their friends and families, stockpile canned food and ammunition, and prepare for the Force 5 fiscal hurricane that’s looming just off-shore.

The emergency bailout scheme is spearheaded by Goldman Sach’s former head-honcho, Hank Paulson. Paulson warns that the economy is slumping “rather materially” and needs massive jolt of capital to keep from sinking altogether.

“We are looking at things that could be done quickly,” Paulson opined. “Time is of the essence.”

Paulson sounds more and more like a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He’s like the deck-hand on the Lusitania who just felt the great ship shudder from the two torpedoes amidships, but continues swabbing away while the ship pitches lazily starboard.

SUMMER’S SNAKE-OIL

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has recommended a “timely, targeted and temporary” tax rebate “of $250 per tax-filer, and $500 per couple for families with taxable income of less than $100,000.” (WSJ) Some variation of Summer’s plan will undoubtedly be implemented in the near future. The “invisible hand” of the market—which Bush praises ad nauseum—will be used to steer the Fed’s helicopters as they scatter the nation’s wealth like confetti “across the fruited plains”. This multi-billion dollar cash giveaway should put to rest, once and for all, the silly notion that Voodoo economics is anything more than a charlatan’s parlor-trick. Supply side theory is a chimera which leads inevitably to disaster. Its only proponents are right-wing bunko artists and think tank crazies who have invoked the doctrine at every opportunity and put the economy in the doldrums.

At present, the financial system is so clogged with subprime gunk and other mortgage-backed garbage, the banks can’t even provide loans to applicants with good credit. The gears have simply frozen in place. That’s why the Fed and the Dept of the Treasury cooked up this wacky scheme to hand-out tens of billions of dollars via tax rebates to low and middle income families. It’s the only way they can revive the maxed-out US consumer long enough to get him spending again. The Washington brainiacs who conjured up this latest quick-fix don’t see that it will only buy us a few more months of fake prosperity while pushing us further into debt. If Paulson gets his way, the IRS will start cutting checks in a matter of weeks, which will get the cash registers at TJ Max and Target ringing shortly thereafter.

Does anyone in Washington ever worry about the mess that we’re leaving for our kids or do they figure that the Chinese will pay for that, too? The National Debt is already $9 trillion, and yet, the politicians are just dying to write another $100,000 billion check on an overdrawn account. It’s madness.

There’s an old adage that goes like this: “When it seems like things can’t go on forever; they usually don’t.” We’re busted. Its time to stop playing Empire and start mopping up the red ink.

THE SHINING CITY ON A HILL MIGHT BE A POORHOUSE

30 years of Reaganism has destroyed the country. It’s eviscerated our industrial base, broken the social contract, crushed our unions, savaged our schools and infrastructure, and shifted the nation’s wealth from the middle class to the upper 5%. Now that same multi-headed Hydra is devouring itself. Wages have stagnated, the dollar is nosediving, the banking system is paralyzed, and subprime poison is surging through the global system shuddering banks and businesses around the world. Bush’s anemic stimulus package doesn’t do anything to reverse this trend. It’s like injecting a dying man with a massive dose of meth-amphetamine. It’ll only rouse him long enough to know that he is slipping the mortal-coil. What good does that do?

Of course, some people will argue that the $250 government checks are a welcome respite and a verification of “compassionate conservatism”. But how does that square with our 7-year experience of GW Bush?

Is this the same “compassionate” Bush who deliberately withheld food, water and medical supplies from Katrina’s disaster victims while they huddled in the stinking, feces-infested Superdome or clung to the roofs of their homes while rescue boats were turned away by FEMA goons?

Yes, it is.

The government largess is not an expression of magnanimity, but despair. The checks are a last-ditch effort to rev-up the moribund economy and see if the ship o’ state can be put aright. There’s nothing generous about it. Besides, Bush and colleagues are ideologically opposed to giving working people a break; only, this time, they have no choice. The real estate market is crashing, the stock market is headed into ICU, and the country’s financial giants are stretched out on a marble slab waiting for the cathedral music to begin. Bush knows he has to act fast or suffer the consequences. That’s why he’s abandoned his alleged commitment to “free market fundamentalism” and ordered the Fed to put the printing presses on Full Throttle. To hell with principle; it’s crunch-time!

What Bush is planning is the moral equivalent of exhuming Milton Friedman from his moldy sepulcher and pounding a wooden stake through his heart. But, then again, honor never mattered much to this crowd. Its all about power and greed.

HOLD HANDS AND JUMP

Albert Einstein summed it all up succinctly 60 years ago in an article titled “Why Socialism?”:

“Nowhere have we really overcome …. “the predatory phase” of human development….The economic anarchy of capitalist society….is the real source of the evil.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, (creating) an oligarchy with enormous power (that) cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society….The the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development.”

We’ve done a pretty poor job of reigning in our predators. In fact, the only satisfaction we may derive from the impending disaster is knowing that we’ll all be linked together, hand in hand, as the economy rumbles off the cliff.

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.

Wed. Jan 16, 2008, National Call-In Day for Impeachment (action alert)

Dandelion Salad

After Downing Street
Jan. 13, 2008

Congressman Robert Wexler is organizing his colleagues to ask House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to begin Cheney impeachment hearings. Wexler is asking his fellow Judiciary Committee Members to co-sign a letter to Conyers. We support Wexler in this, and we are also asking congress members not on the committee to send their own letters to Conyers. Please Email your Congress Member here: http://www.democrats.com/peoplesemailnetwork/125

Then please call the Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. They can tell you who your Congress Member is if you don’t know, and they can connect you to their office. Ask your representative to urge Chairman Conyers to begin impeachment hearings against Dick Cheney. This is especially important if your representative is a member of the Judiciary Committee. Once you’ve sent your Email and made your phone call, please urge everyone you know to do the same. If you have further time to help advance impeachment, please call and Email the media.

54% of Americans want Cheney impeached, as do 64% of Vermonters.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the first member of Congress to lead the way in April 2007. H. Res. 333, Articles of Impeachment Against Dick Cheney (reintroduced on Nov. 6, 2007, as H Res 799), is sponsored by the following Members of Congress: Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Albert Wynn, William Lacy Clay, Dennis Kucinich, Yvette Clarke, Jim McDermott, Jim Moran, Bob Filner, Sam Farr, Robert Brady, Tammy Baldwin, Donald Payne, Steve Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Ed Towns, Diane Watson, Danny Davis, Raul Grijalva, Gwen Moore. Please thank them and encourage them to whip their colleagues.

Robert Wexler, Tammy Baldwin, and Luis Gutierrez are urging the initiation of hearings and are joined in this by Anthony Weiner. Mike Michaud has written to Chairman Conyers calling for Cheney impeachment hearings. Tim Mahoney is open to the idea of impeachment hearings.

What are the charges against Vice President Cheney? Here they are.

What can you do?

1. Email Congress, send a letter, send a postcard, lobby in person, honk to impeach, sit in.

2. Sign Congressman Wexler’s petition. And spread the word with this flyer.

3. Help lobby members of the House Judiciary Committee and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Contact contributors to House Judiciary Committee members.

4. Contact the media.

5. Contact the pollsters.

______________

Grassroots Impeachment Activists Are Making a Difference

* John Nirenberg, a retired college professor, has completed a 40-day march from Boston to Washington D.C., where he will ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment hearings. He’s garnered a great deal of media attention along the way and has planned a press conference for noon on January 16th on the Cannon House Office Building Terrace. Watch the end of the march: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30080

* Citizens with “Impeach” on their shirts ordered not to view the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30068

* Lois Capp’s constituents baked her an impeachment pie: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30079

* New Hampshire Democratic Party event explodes when Kucinich says the word “Impeach” – http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30065

* Big name impeachment debate shakes up North Carolina: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30058

* Veterans for Peace bring impeachment to Rep. Pete Visclosky’s (D-IN) Town Hall Meetings: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/30051

* Yet another ACLU chapter backs impeachment: http://afterdowningstreet.org/aclu

* Cindy Sheehan to deliver huge stack of pro-impeachment letters to Speaker Nancy Pelosi: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/29986

* Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s constituents repeatedly protest in his office and go to jail asking for impeachment hearings: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/29969 and http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/29809

* First newspaper editorializes for Cheney impeachment: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/29955

* Viggo Mortensen, John Kaminski, Dennis Kucinich, John Nichols, and David Swanson speak at New Hampshire forum for impeachment. Video: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/29968

* The Washington and New Hampshire state legislatures are taking up impeachment resolutions this month. The first hearing in Olympia is scheduled for January 17th. Here are details on Washington and New Hampshire, plus the list of resolutions already passed around the country:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/wa and http://afterdowningstreet.org/nh and http://impeachpac.org/resolutions-list

* Maine impeachment activism leads conservative Democratic congress member Mike Michaud to ask Conyers to begin Cheney impeachment hearings: http://afterdowningstreet.org/me

______________

Boycott General Electric

General Electric corporate family member NBC has rewritten its criteria for including candidates in debates specifically to exclude a real peace candidate, Dennis Kucinich. GE is a major weapons manufacturer.

Less than 44 hours after NBC sent a congratulatory note and an invitation to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in the Jan. 15 Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network notified the campaign that it was changing it announced criteria, rescinding its invitation, and excluding Kucinich from the debate.

Contact your congress member and your local media.

Tell GE you will boycott its products and why.

______________

Start Planning for March 2008

Start planning your local and national actions to demand peace and impeachment in March 2008 here:

http://resistinmarch.org

h/t: Lorie

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

Corporate Media Controlling the Vote (video; action alert)

Is Chris Matthews A Hypocrite? Will NBC Let Kucinich Debate? (video)

Boycott Disney & GE: Mickey Mouse Politics by Manila Ryce (vid)

Kucinich Packs Detroit University (video; impeachment)

Cafferty File: Time to IMPEACH Bush & Cheney (video)

Dennis Kucinich: A Renewed America & Impeachment + Kucinich energizes 3,000 Democrats in NH (videos)

Dennis Kucinich’s Greatest Hits (video)

Kucinich-Dennis

Impeach

US drafting plan to allow government access to any email or Web search

Dandelion Salad

RAW STORY
Monday January 14, 2008

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park,” according to an interview published in the New Yorker‘s print edition today.

Debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “will be a walk in the park compared to this,” McConnell said. “this is going to be a goat rope on the Hill. My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens.”

The article, which profiles the 65-year-old former admiral appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2007 to oversee all of America’s intelligence agencies, was not published on the New Yorker‘s Web site. (It can be read here in pdf).

McConnell is developing a Cyber-Security Policy, still in the draft stage, which will closely police Internet activity.

“Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the autority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search,” author Lawrence Wright pens.

“Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said,” Wright adds. “Giorgio warned me, ‘We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'”

A zero-sum game is one in which gains by one side come at the expense of the other. In other words — McConnell’s aide believes greater security can only come at privacy’s expense.

McConnell has been an advocate for computer-network defense, which has previously not been the province of any intelligence agency.

According to a 2007 conversation in the Oval Office, McConnell told President Bush, “If the 9/11 perpetrators had focused on a single US bank through cyber-attack and it had been successful, it would have an order of magnitude greater impact on the US economy.”

Bush turned to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, asking him if it was true; Paulson said that it was. Bush then asked to McConnell to come up with a network security strategy.

“One proposal of McConnell’s Cyber-Security Policy, which is still in the draft stage, is to reduce the access points between government computers and the Internet from two thousand to fifty,” Wright notes. “He claimed that cyber-theft account for as much as a hundred billion dollars in annual losses to the American economy. ‘The real problem is the perpetrator who doesn’t care about stealing—he just wants to destroy.'”

The infrastructure to tap into Americans’ email and web search history may already be in place.

In November, a former technician at AT&T alleged that the telecom forwarded virtually all of its Internet traffic into a “secret room” to facilitate government spying.

Whistleblower Mark Klein said that a copy of all Internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company’s San Francisco office — to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access — via a cable splitting device.

“My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room,” Klein. said “And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those Internet cables into the secret room — and we’re talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the Internet.”

“As a technician, I had the engineering wiring documents, which told me how the splitter was wired to the secret room,” Klein continued. “And so I know that whatever went across those cables was copied and the entire data stream was copied.”

According to Klein, that information included Internet activity about Americans.

“We’re talking about domestic traffic as well as international traffic,” Klein said. Previous Bush administration claims that only international communications were being intercepted aren’t accurate, he added.

“I know the physical equipment, and I know that statement is not true,” he added. “It involves millions of communications, a lot of it domestic communications that they’re copying wholesale.”

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.

Gravel: Bomb the Guantanamo Bay & Abu Ghraib Prisons (videos)

uterfan

3 main Issues Mike Gravel talks about in this video:
– ending sanctions
– exposing the government lies and spies
– bombing the torture prisons

Please visit and support Mike Gravel!
http://www.gravel2008.us
http://www.youtube.com/gravel2008

PLEASE visit this site & VOTE!
http://www.nationalinitiative.us

Add Mike Gravel to your Myspace friends!
http://www.myspace.com/mikegravelforp…

Mike Gravel’s book, “Citizen Power”, READ THIS ASAP!!!
http://www.citizen-power.us

January 13, 2008

see

Primary Considerations 2008 with Noam Chomsky (video)

Chomsky Applauds Mike Gravel (video)

Gravel-Mike

Primary Considerations 2008 with Noam Chomsky (video)

Dandelion Salad

Sorry, the video has been removed.

DrKenHildebrandt

Professor Noam Chomsky, the world’s most quoted living author, answers Dr. Ken Hildebrandt’s question on January 08, 2008, concerning the media’s censorship of former US Senator Mike Gravel (who bravely released The Pentagon Papers in the early 1970’s helping to bring an end to wars that had senselessly taken the lives of millions of Southeast Asians and over 58,000 Americans), as well as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, all of whom were eliminated from one or more Presidential debates. A statement Professor Chomsky wrote to Dr. Hildebrandt on behalf of Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel on January 05, 2008, is also presented, together giving the viewer plenty to think about in lieu of voting in the media’s favor in the upcoming Presidential primaries as per usual, in spite of what’s happened already in both Iowa and New Hampshire. If enough individuals take the time to inform others regarding these basic truths and ask them to likewise do the same, then perhaps the media will not win yet another major US election, to the profound detriment of most Americans as well as millions of people worldwide.

Added: January 13, 2008

see

Chomsky Applauds Mike Gravel (video)

Corporate Media Controlling the Vote (video; action alert)

Gravel-Mike

Chomsky-Noam

Corporate Media Controlling the Vote (vid; action alert) (updated)

Updated: Jan 14, 2008 9:07 PM CT

Added the transcript for this excellent video. ~ Lo

Dandelion Salad

Jamethiel1

MSNBC has chosen to keep Dennis Kucinich out of the January 15th debate after originally inviting him to participate. Join me in demanding that the corporate-owned media give Americans a real choice and let all candidates be heard.

Call & e-mail NBC and the Democratic National Committee ASAP!

PHONE NBC & the DNC- LET DENNIS DEBATE
– 50 thousand phone calls and 100 thousand emails in 3 days!

PHONE NBC- 212 664 4444
phone often.
email them @ letters@msnbc.com
SUBJECT LINE: LET DENNIS DEBATE

PHONE the DNC: 202 863 8000

email them through their website
http://www.democrats.org

January 14, 2008

Transcript:

Jamethiel1

As an American citizen, and thereby a stakeholder in the publicly owned airwaves, I demand that MSNBC allow Dennis Kucinich to participate in the January 15th debate.

MSNBC has no right to decide for the American people who the next President will be. By keeping Kucinich out of the debate, MSNBC is telling Americans that he is not viable. That is not true. It is up to Americans to decide who the President will be when they go to the ballot box. The decision by MSNBC to exclude Kucinich is an insult to Americans and a blow to democracy.

Kucinich is the only candidate who voted consistently against the war and against funding the war–the only one who offers a not-for-profit healthcare system and wants to get the U.S. out of NAFTA and the WTO. The American people deserve to hear these viewpoints on the issues. It is our duty and responsibility as citizens to choose the next President from among all the candidates. MSNBC has no right to arbitrarily narrow the field. Kucinich’s campaign is partially funded by taxpayer money through FEC matching funds. He is an official, viable candidate and I demand that MSNBC let him debate.

If Kucinich is kept out of the debate, MSNBC will have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the rights of American citizens and an anti-democratic influence over the electoral process.

This isn’t really about Kucinich–or Gravel or Paul or Hunter or any one candidate that has been excluded from the debates. It’s about corporate media controlling who the next President will be. If this doesn’t alarm you–if you’re not disturbed by the reality that corporate executives are stealing democracy from your hands–then perhaps they’ve already won.

I, for one, have not given up yet. I’m calling MSNBC and the DNC and demanding that Kucinich be allowed to participate. I still have to believe that we can make the United States a country to be proud of again. Let’s begin by reaffirming what it means to be a democracy. Let’s dispel the myth that to become President you have to sell out to corporate interests.

Come on, MSNBC and Howard Dean–let’s give Americans a real choice. Let them hear ALL the candidates.

see

Judge says MSNBC must include Kucinich by Andrew Malcolm + Kucinich OK’d for debate, appeal planned

Boycott Disney & GE: Mickey Mouse Politics by Manila Ryce (vid)

Is Chris Matthews A Hypocrite? Will NBC Let Kucinich Debate? (video)

NBC un-plugs Kucinich from Presidential debate + Phone NBC & the DNC Now (vid) (updated)

Dennis 4 President

Kucinich-Dennis

Using Benazir Bhutto for Imperial Gain by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, January 14, 2008

Benazir Bhutto led the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as “chairperson for life” until her death. She was the privileged daughter of former Pakistan President and Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1979 at the likely behest of Washington and replaced by military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. He later outlived his usefulness and died in a “mysterious” plane crash. The CIA may have arranged the crash that allowed Bhutto to become Prime Minister in 1988.

She sought the post to avenge her father’s death and twice held it as the first ever woman PM of an Islamic state – first from 1988 – 1990, then again from 1993 – 1996. In the end, she was too clever by half and it cost her. She lost out thinking she’d cut a binding deal with the Bush administration to return her to power a third time as Pervez Musharraf’s number two and fig leaf democratic face in the scheduled January 8 elections, now postponed. On November 6, she may have been right when she returned from self-imposed exile. Like now, the country was in turmoil, and Washington arranged a power-sharing deal (so it seemed) to restore stability in the wake of this series of events:

— Musharraf suspended Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in March, falsely accused him of “misconduct and misuse of authority,” and used that excuse to remove a key official likely to block his plan for another five year term as President while illegally remaining chief of army staff (COAS) where the real power lies.

— The response was outrage from opposition parties, lawyers organizations and human rights groups. They called the action unconstitutional and publicly rallied against it.

— On October 6, Musharraf held a bogus election like all others in a country where democracy is a joke. It was stage-managed by the military, clearly unconstitutional, and Musharraf won all but five parliamentary votes and swept the Provincial Assembly balloting.

— Afterwards, Pakistan’s Supreme Court said no winner could be declared until it ruled if Musharraf could run for office in his joint COAS capacity. Constitutionally, he can’t, protests erupted, the country has been in turmoil since, and Musharraf lost all credibility;

— That was Bhutto’s chance to return, again serve in the post she twice before held, and she thought her Washington allies arranged it. Maybe yes or maybe not. It didn’t matter that she was being used – to be a democratic face and fig leaf adjunct to Musharraf’s dictatorship, but whatever was then clearly changed by December 27 without Bhutto’s knowledge. Now she’s gone, and Musharraf nominally transferred his army chief post to close ally General Ashfaq Kayani last November. He also lifted a six week long state of emergency in mid-December ahead of the scheduled January 8 elections, now postponed after Bhutto’s assassination until February 18 as of this writing.

Today, she’s bigger in death than life, spoken of reverentially as a populist, and her 19 year old son, Bilawal (in school at Oxford), now heads the PPP as its figurehead leader and third generation family dynasty standard-bearer with his father, Asif Zardari, co-party chairman and de facto chief. More on him below.

Who Was Benazir Bhutto and Why Is She Important

Who was this woman, why the worldwide attention, and why another article with so many written and more likely coming? Bhutto was an aristocrat, privileged in every respect, and raised in opulence as the Harvard and Oxford-educated daughter of a wealthy landowning father who founded Pakistan’s main opposition party (Pakistan Peoples Party – PPP) that Bhutto headed after his death.

While in office, she was no democrat in a military-run nation since its artificial creation in 1947. Elections, when held, are rigged, and the army runs things for Washington as a vassal state in a nation called a military with a country, not a country with a military. Its Army strength is 550,000, its Air Force and Navy 70,000, and 510,000 reservists back them with plenty of US-supplied weapons for the “Global War on Terrorism.”

Today, FBI agents freely roam the streets, the Pentagon operates out of Pakistan military bases, and it has de facto control of its air space as part of the Bush administration’s permanent state of war “that will not end in our lifetime.” Pakistan is a client state, but what choice does it have. Post-9/11, Deputy Secretary of State Armitage warned Musharraf to comply or be declared a hostile power and “bombed back to the stone age.” He got the message and a multi-billion dollar reward as well.

Bhutto knows the game, too, and the New York Times explained that she “always understood Washington more than Washington understood her” in a feature December 30 article called “How Bhutto Won Washington.” Her relationship began in the spring of 1984 on her first “important trip” to the Capitol. At the time, she tried to persuade the Reagan administration it would be better served with her in power, but to do it she had to overcome her father’s anti-western reputation. With considerable help she succeeded by assuring congressional members she was on board and supported Washington’s proxy war on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Faults aside, she had her attributes, and The Times called her “completely charming,” very beautiful, and a woman “who could flatter the senators,” understand their concerns, and better serve US interests than the man who hanged her father, General Zia-ul-Haq. At the same time, she began working with the Democratic National Committee’s Executive Director, Mark Siegel, who later lobbied for her government when she was Prime Minister. Early on, he walked her through the halls of Congress, helped her develop relationships, and made her understand that to get along she had to go along.

She caught on fast, and it made her Prime Minister in December, 1988 after she ran for the post, won a plurality but not a majority, and got Reagan administration officials to arrange with Pakistan’s acting President to have her form a government. According to a Washington insider, it was the “direct result of her networking, of her being able to persuade the Washington establishment, the foreign policy community, the press, the think tanks, that she was a democrat,” a moderate, and that she backed the US Afghanistan agenda against the Soviets. Public rhetoric aside, she was on board ever since, but she paid with her life by not understanding how Washington operates: like other rogue states – using leaders and aspiring ones, then discarding them.

In the end, it didn’t matter that she twice survived dismissal from office on corruption charges or that she managed to co-exist with her country’s military and intelligence service (ISI) that deeply mistrusted her. Until her luck ran out, she maintained ties to Washington and key members of the press. She politicked well and “understood the nature of political life, which is to stay in touch with (key) people whether you’re in or out of office” and let them know you back them.

Like others of her stature, she also relied on a PR firm to arrange meetings with the powerful and had plenty of resources to do it. She “kept up her networking,” but she paid with her life. She tried to convince Washington that Musharraf’s “war on terrorism” failed, she could do it better as a loyal ally, and she would eliminate extremist elements (meaning the Taliban and Al-Queda) by a determined effort to maintain pressure.

It sounded good but was risky and dangerous. Pakistan’s army opposes it, especially in the ranks; a stepped-up effort assures a huge public outcry; disrupting the Taliban benefits India; and trying and failing might embolden their forces as the US occupation learned in Afghanistan. In the end, Washington and Pakistan’s ISI may have concluded Bhutto was more a liability than an asset and had to go. Things came to a head on December 27, she’s now a martyr, and larger than life dead than alive.

It wasn’t that way as Prime Minister, however, when her tenure was marked by nepotism, opportunism, scheming, corruption, poor governance and selling out to the West. Her early popularity faded, especially when word got out about her businessman husband’s dealings. Asif Zardari was known as “Mr. Ten Percent” (by some as “Mr. Thirty Percent”) because he demanded a cut from deals as the Prime Minister’s spouse and in some cases wanted more.

He was also reportedly into drugs trafficking and was investigated for it. With his wife in power, he amassed billions including what he stole in public funds that was even excessive by Pakistan standards and enough to get the country’s President to sack Bhutto after 20 months in office. Whether personally culpable or not didn’t matter. As Prime Minister, she made her husband a cabinet minister, gave him free rein to dispense favors in return for kick-backs, had to know about them, there was no evidence she objected, and she enjoyed the riches in office and thereafter.

In spite of it, Bhutto got a second chance. She returned as Prime Minister in 1993 for another three years, but was again dispatched on even greater corruption and incompetence charges than in her first term – this time by President Farooq Leghari, a member of the PPP and someone she thought was an ally. He certainly had cause as the amount stolen earlier was prologue for the fortune she and her husband (as Minister of Investment) amassed in her second term.

It was enough to get Transparency International, an independent watchdog group, to name Pakistan the second most corrupt country in the world in 1996 (Bhutto’s last year in office). It also got her convicted in Switzerland of money laundering and bribe-taking and made her a fugitive with charges pending in Spain, Britain and her native Pakistan. That was until Musharaff signed a US-brokered “reconciliation ordinance,” absolved her of all outstanding offenses, and allowed her to run for Prime Minister a third time as part of a power-sharing deal with her as number two.

Bhutto’s earlier tenure had another notable feature as well. It was when Pakistan’s military and ISI established the Taliban with covert CIA help. The link still exists, and at a September, 2006 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, General James Jones, former NATO Supreme Commander (who oversaw US-NATO Afghanistan operations), testified that it was “generally accepted” that Taliban leaders operated out Quetta, Pakistan, the capital of Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran.

Musharraf and other Pakistani officials deny it, but there’s no hiding the facts or that nothing of consequence happens in Pakistan without Washington’s knowledge and/or consent. It’s also no secret that Pakistan’s ISI is a CIA branch, and their regional activities are closely linked. Bhutto was on board, but what choice did she have.

All along, she was a daughter of privilege, acted like one, and enjoyed the good life the way billions allow. Today, the major media lionize her, but omit her dark side: as Prime Minister, she lusted for power, was arrogant and contemptuous, ignored the poor and Pakistani women, allowed outrageous laws to be enforced, gave the Army free reign including over nuclear weapons, and considered Pakistan her personal fiefdom. Her home was a $50 million mansion on 110 acres, and she ruled like a feudal overlord. The family still owns a 350 acre UK estate complete with helipad and polo pony stables, a mansion in Dubai, two Texas properties, six in Florida, more homes in France and large bank accounts strategically stashed around the world, including in the US and France.

From the time of her father’s death to her own, Bhutto had close ties to Washington, the CIA, Pakistan’s military, its ISI, as well as to the Taliban (established in her second term), “militant Islam” and Big Oil interests. She was a servant of power and pocketed billions for her efforts. In the end, she lost out and paid with her life on December 27.

Who Killed Bhutto and Why

Bhutto’s now dead, shot in the back of the head by one or more assassins at close range, plus the effects of a suicide bombing that killed two dozen or more and wounded many others tightly packed around her. It happened in Rawalpindi, “no ordinary city” as Michel Chossudovsky explains. It’s the home of Pakistan’s military, its CIA-linked ISI, and is the country’s de facto seat of power. Chossudovsky adds: “Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country’s elite forces.”

Rawalpindi and the country’s capital, Islamabad, are sister cities, nine miles apart. They swarm with intelligence operatives including from CIA, and Chussodovsky stresses that Bhutto’s assassination “was (no) haphazard event.” Blaming Al-Queda misses the point, but that’s how these schemes work. They’re also clearer when convincing video is broadcast as UK’s Channel 4 did on December 30. It debunked the official story and exposed Musharraf as a liar – that Bhutto died from a fractured skull “when she was thrown by the force of the (explosion’s) shock wave (and) one of the levers of (her car’s) sunroof hit her.”

The video contradicts this. It shows a clean-shaven man in sunglasses watching close by with a concealed gun and the suspected suicide bomber behind him dressed in white. The gunman then approaches Bhutto’s car and at point blank range fires three shots. Immediately after, the suicide bomber detonates his device, killing and wounding dozens nearby.

The question then is – not who killed her, but who ordered her killed and who profits from it? Musharraf quickly named the usual suspect – Al-Queda but ignored what William Engdahl observed in his January 4 Global Research article called “Bhutto’s Assassination: Who Gains?” He notes how well protected political leaders are so it’s no simple task killing them. “It requires agencies of professional intelligence training to insure the job is done” right, and no one can reveal who ordered it or the motive.

Engdahl also states that naming Al-Queda serves Musharraf and Washington. It increases public fear, revs up the “war on terror,” and provides justification for it to continue. It also reinforces the Al-Queda myth as well as “enemy number one” bin Laden, and ignores the evidence that the CIA created both in the 1980s for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It’s just as silent on the possibility bin Laden is dead, killed (as Bhutto told David Frost last fall) by Omar Sheikh whom the London Sunday Times called “no ordinary terrorist but a man who has connections that reach high into Pakistan’s military and intelligence elite and into the innermost circles” of bin Laden and Al-Queda.

If true, a dead bin Laden disrupts Washington’s national security doctrine that needs enemies to scare the public, eliminates “enemy number one” as the main one, and exposes strategically released bin Laden tapes as made-in-Washington frauds. Today, we’re told that bin Laden-led Islamic terrorists endanger the West, but at the same time we use them for imperial gain as we did against the Soviets, in the Balkans and now do in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. If Al-Queda operatives killed Bhutto, it means Pakistan’s ISI and CIA were involved, and what’s more likely than that. Forget a lone gunman theory, a lose cannon terrorist or a sole anti-Bhutto assassin. Consider “Cui bono,” examine the evidence, and it points to Washington and Islamabad.

Today in Pakistan, intrigue abounds, and the country is destabilized as Michel Chossudovsky observes in his December 30 Global Research article called “The Destabilization of Pakistan.” Assassinating Bhutto contributes to it, and Chossudovsky sees a US-sponsored “regime change” ahead. Musharraf is so weak and discredited “continuity under military rule is no long the main thrust of US foreign policy.” Musharraf’s regime “cannot prevail,” and Washington’s scheme is “to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.”

From it, a new political leadership will emerge that will be “compliant,” have “no commitment to (Pakistan’s) national interest,” and will be subservient to “US imperial interests, while concurrently….weakening….the central government (and fracturing) Pakistan’s fragile federal structure.”

It makes perfect sense as part of Washington’s broader Middle East-Central Asia agenda. Pakistan is a key frontline state, a “geopolitical hub,” with a central role to play in the “Global War on Terrorism.” It includes “balkanizing” the country Yugoslavia-style the way it’s planned for Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran – a simple divide and conquer strategy. Chossudovsky adds: “Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence (that worked up to now) has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.” The scheme is to foment “social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup” of the country.

It’s a common US strategy with covert intelligence support, and consider The New York Times article on January 6 called “US Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan” to exploit Bhutto’s death. It states that senior national security advisers (including Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen) may “expand the authority of the CIA and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan” against Al-Queda and the Taliban to counteract their efforts and “destabilize the Pakistani government.”

The article states that Musharraf and the military are on board, gives the usual boiler plate reasons, but omits what’s really at stake even as it admits Musharraf is unpopular and a US intervention could “prompt a powerful popular backlash against” both countries.

Chussodovsky fills in the blanks and explains that US strategy aims to trigger “ethnic and religious strife,” abet and finance “secessionist movements while also weakening” Musharraf’s government. “The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State….redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan” and replace Musharraf in the process. He’s unpopular, damaged goods and has to go.

Bhutto was an unwitting part of the scheme but not the way she planned. She thought Washington needed here, and she was right – not as Prime Minister but as a martyr to destabilize the country and break it up if the plan works. It may as internal secessionist elements are strong, especially in energy rich (mostly gas) Balochistan province, and “indications” are they’re supported by “Britain and the US.” The idea is a “Greater Balochistan” by integrating Baloch areas with those in Iran and southern Afghanistan.

Chossudovsky explains that it was not “accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council-CIA report predicted a ‘Yugoslav-like fate’ for Pakistan” through internally and externally manufactured “economic mismanagment.” Remember also that the country split before in 1971 when East Pakistan became Bangladesh following months of civil war and against India that took a million or more lives. Pakistanis may face that prospect again as US plans unfold.

Future Outlook Remains Uncertain

Big questions remain, and key ones are will breakup plans work, who’ll emerge with enough popular support to lead it, and will the public go along. They’ve got no incentive to do it once anger over Bhutto’s death subsides, and recent polling data show overwhelming public opposition to US or other foreign intervention that’s very much part of the scheme. In the end, their views don’t count, and it may happen anyway through political intrigue and Washington-led brute force.

Reports prior to Bhutto’s assassination point that way. They suggest US Special and other forces already operate in Pakistan, and head of US Special Operations Command, Admiral Eric Olson, arranged with Musharraf and Pakistan’s military last summer and fall to substantially increase their numbers early this year. Involved as well is what The New York Times reported in November that the “US Hopes to Use Pakistani Tribes Against Al Queda” in the country’s “frontier areas.”

The scheme is similar to the effort in Iraq’s al-Anbar province with bribes and weapons to seal a deal apparently now finalized. US Central Command Commander Admiral William Fallon alluded to it in a recent Voice of America interview by saying we’re ready to provide “training, assistance and mentoring based on our experience with insurgencies,” but he left out the bribing part that’s part of these deals.

Where this will lead is speculation, but consider a feature Wall Street Journal January 8 article. It’s headlined “Bhutto Killing Roils Province, Spurring Calls to Quit Pakistan” and calls Bhutto’s native Sindh province (second largest of Pakistan’s four provinces) the “Latest Fault Line In a Fractured Country; Like Occupied Territory.”

Mourners filed past Bhutto’s grave chanting “We don’t want Pakistan,” and in the wake of her death “Sindh has been swept by nationalist rage.” Many in the province are “calling for outright independence,” and support for separation has grown among rank and file PPP members. There’s even talk of an “armed insurgency” as anger is directed against neighboring Punjab, the largest province, and home of the military, ISI and government.

The Journal quotes Qadir Magsi, head of the nationalist Sindh Taraqi Passand movement saying….”Bhutto was the last hope (for unity). Now this Pakistan must be broken up.” The article continues saying what’s happening in Sindh is already in play in the Northwest Frontier province where central government authority withered in recent years. In addition, Pakistan’s Army has been embroiled in Baluchistan’s insurgency for the past few years adding to overall instability. The theme of the Journal article is that calls for unity are falling on deaf ears, and one PPP veteran sums it up: “What we need is separation.”

That suits Bush administration officials fine, they’re likely stoking it, and one thing is clear. US forces are in the region to stay, and Washington under any administration (Democrat or Republican) intends to dominate this vital part of the world with its vast energy reserves. The strategy appears similar to the divide and conquer one in Yugoslavia. There it worked, but the Middle East and Central Asia aren’t so simple. Stay tuned as events will likely accelerate, the media will highlight them, and it looks like stepped up conflict (and its fallout) is part of the plan.

Stephen Lendman is Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7791

see

Compassion and Fight: The Personality of Dennis Kucinich By Joel Wendland

Dandelion Salad

By Joel Wendland
PoliticalAffairs.net
1-13-08

Detroit, Mich. – Dennis Kucinich can’t get a fair shake, say his supporters. The media ignore him and the Democratic Party is unhappy with his insurgent candidacy. Corporate media are more interested in the personalities and maneuvers of the front-running candidates, turning minor incidents into big stories.

Just this past week NBC announced that despite meeting their earlier criteria for participation in the next presidential debate – finishing fourth in national polling – Kucinich will be excluded from Tuesday night’s forum.

This inexplicable decision has his supporters in an uproar and sending thousands of e-mails to the media giant.

In a campaign stop in Michigan last Friday, the Cleveland-area representative seemed undaunted, however. Before an enthusiastic crowd of activist supporters, Kucinich showed a side to his personality and candidacy rarely portrayed in the media.

Humor, compassion, and a deep sense of morality were on display. In his opening, along with his standard themes of universal health care, ending corporate control of US political and social life, ending free trade policies, a green revolution, and the like, Kucinich called for reclaiming “a deep sense of the basic principles that we feel as a nation – fairness, compassion, courage, and brotherhood and sisterhood.”

continued…

h/t: Dennis 4 President

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

Kucinich falls behind in ‘corrupt system’ by Zaid Jilani

Boycott Disney & GE: Mickey Mouse Politics by Manila Ryce (vid)

Is Chris Matthews A Hypocrite? Will NBC Let Kucinich Debate? (video)

Democrat base gives Kucinich third major win in nationwide poll + The Nation Poll

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Kucinich-Dennis

Dennis 4 President

Kucinich falls behind in ‘corrupt system’ by Zaid Jilani

Dandelion Salad

by Zaid Jilani
Redandblack.com
1/14/08

When the time came for the Nation magazine, the country’s top liberal rag, to give a presidential endorsement, they responded decisively: “In his stands on the issues, Dennis Kucinich comes closest to embodying the ideals of this magazine. A vote for him would be a principled one.”

That’s unsurprising. Kucinich is the only one running who, not only voted against the war, but voted against funding it 100 percent of the time. He has a 100 percent pro-labor, pro-gay rights, pro-environment, pro-fair trade voting record.

No candidate wins more blind-polls based on positions; no other candidate is proposing creating a European-style single-payer universal health care system – which 65 percent of Americans want.

Some people wonder why Kucinich chooses to run in such a corrupt system. When I met him, I finally understood. In his mind, he’s still just Dennis from west Cleveland, working three jobs to pull his family out of poverty.

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.

see

Is Chris Matthews A Hypocrite? Will NBC Let Kucinich Debate? (video)

Democrat base gives Kucinich third major win in nationwide poll + The Nation Poll

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Kucinich-Dennis

Australian Labor government threatens to censor Internet By Richard Phillips

Dandelion Salad

By Richard Phillips
World Socialist Web Site
14 January 2008

Under the guise of “protecting children” from pornography and X-rated violence, the Australian Labor government has announced that it will attempt to censor local internet access. Labor’s plans, which were mooted by Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy on December 31, constitute a direct attack on freedom of expression.

While the government has not yet provided exact details, Conroy told the media that it would censor online child pornography and other “inappropriate material” by compelling local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block websites listed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The blacklist would be updated by the government regulatory body in consultation with the Australian Federal Police, and international agencies such as Interpol and the FBI.

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the Internet is like going down the Chinese road,” Conroy told the media.

“If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree,” he insisted, implying that anyone opposing these measures was aiding child pornographers.

When Labor’s Internet censorship policies were announced just prior to the recent federal election some commentators suggested that the filtering system might not be compulsory—i.e., that individual users would have to notify their provider if they wanted to have their content blocked.

Conroy made clear on December 31, however, that this would not be the case and that the system would be mandatory. Those who don’t want their content filtered will have to inform their provider. This means that people choosing to “opt out” will be noted, and could face ongoing government scrutiny of their Internet use.

Notwithstanding Conroy’s denial that the government was “going down the China road”, Labor’s proposals are strikingly similar to those used in that country, as well as in Iran, Singapore, North Korea and Burma, which prevent open access to the Internet.

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.

Prisoners ‘to be chipped like dogs’ by Brian Brady

Dandelion Salad

by Brian Brady
Whitehall Editor
The Independent
13 January 2008

Hi-tech ‘satellite’ tagging planned in order to create more space in jails

Civil rights groups and probation officers furious at ‘degrading’ scheme

Ministers are planning to implant “machine-readable” microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails.

Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals.But, instead of being contained in bracelets worn around the ankle, the tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of offenders in the community, to help enforce home curfews. The radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, as long as two grains of rice, are able to carry scanable personal information about individuals, including their identities, address and offending record.

The tags, labelled “spychips” by privacy campaigners, are already used around the world to keep track of dogs, cats, cattle and airport luggage, but there is no record of the technology being used to monitor offenders in the community. The chips are also being considered as a method of helping to keep order within prisons.

A senior Ministry of Justice official last night confirmed that the department hoped to go even further, by extending the geographical range of the internal chips through a link-up with satellite-tracking similar to the system used to trace stolen vehicles. “All the options are on the table, and this is one we would like to pursue,” the source added.

The move is in line with a proposal from Ken Jones, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), that electronic chips should be surgically implanted into convicted paedophiles and sex offenders in order to track them more easily. Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is seen as the favoured method of monitoring such offenders to prevent them going near “forbidden” zones such as primary schools.

“We have wanted to take advantage of this technology for several years, because it seems a sensible solution to the problems we are facing in this area,” a senior minister said last night. “We have looked at it and gone back to it and worried about the practicalities and the ethics, but when you look at the challenges facing the criminal justice system, it’s time has come.”

The Government has been forced to review sentencing policy amid serious overcrowding in the nation’s jails, after the prison population soared from 60,000 in 1997 to 80,000 today. The crisis meant the number of prisoners held in police cells rose 13-fold last year, with police stations housing offenders more than 60,000 times in 2007, up from 4,617 the previous year. The UK has the highest prison population per capita in western Europe, and the Government is planning for an extra 20,000 places at a cost of £3.8bn – including three gigantic new “superjails” – in the next six years.

More than 17,000 individuals, including criminals and suspects released on bail, are subject to electronic monitoring at any one time, under curfews requiring them to stay at home up to 12 hours a day. But official figures reveal that almost 2,000 offenders a year escape monitoring by tampering with ankle tags or tearing them off. Curfew breaches rose from 11,435 in 2005 to 43,843 in 2006 – up 283 per cent. The monitoring system, which relies on mobile-phone technology, can fail if the network crashes.

A multimillion-pound pilot of satellite monitoring of offenders was shelved last year after a report revealed many criminals simply ditched the ankle tag and separate portable tracking unit issued to them. The “prison without bars” project also failed to track offenders when they were in the shadow of tall buildings.

The Independent on Sunday has now established that ministers have been assessing the merits of cutting-edge technology that would make it virtually impossible for individuals to remove their electronic tags.

The tags, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle, consist of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, a copper antenna and a “capacitor” that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader.

But details of the dramatic option for tightening controls over Britain’s criminals provoked an angry response from probation officers and civil-rights groups. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “If the Home Office doesn’t understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don’t need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass.

“Degrading offenders in this way will do nothing for their rehabilitation and nothing for our safety, as some will inevitably find a way round this new technology.”

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said the proposal would not make his members’ lives easier and would degrade their clients. He added: “I have heard about this suggestion, but we feel the system works well enough as it is. Knowing where offenders like paedophiles are does not mean you know what they are doing.

“This is the sort of daft idea that comes up from the department every now and then, but tagging people in the same way we tag our pets cannot be the way ahead. Treating people like pieces of meat does not seem to represent an improvement in the system to me.”

The US market leader VeriChip Corp, whose parent company has been selling radio tags for animals for more than a decade, has sold 7,000 RFID microchips worldwide, of which about 2,000 have been implanted in humans. The company claims its VeriChips are used in more than 5,000 installations, crossing healthcare, security, government and industrial markets, but they have also been used to verify VIP membership in nightclubs, automatically gaining the carrier entry – and deducting the price of their drinks from a pre-paid account.

The possible value of the technology to the UK’s justice system was first highlighted 18 months ago, when Acpo’s Mr Jones suggested the chips could be implanted into sex offenders. The implants would be tracked by satellite, enabling authorities to set up “zones”, including schools, playgrounds and former victims’ homes, from which individuals would be barred.

“If we are prepared to track cars, why don’t we track people?” Mr Jones said. “You could put surgical chips into those of the most dangerous sex offenders who are willing to be controlled.”

The case for: ‘We track cars, so why not people?’

The Government is struggling to keep track of thousands of offenders in the community and is troubled by an overcrowded prison system close to bursting. Internal tagging offers a solution that could impose curfews more effectively than at present, and extend the system by keeping sex offenders out of “forbidden areas”. “If we are prepared to track cars, why don’t we track people?” said Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).

Officials argue that the internal tags enable the authorities to enforce thousands of court orders by ensuring offenders remain within their own walls during curfew hours – and allow the immediate verification of ID details when challenged.

The internal tags also have a use in maintaining order within prisons. In the United States, they are used to track the movement of gang members within jails.

Offenders themselves would prefer a tag they can forget about, instead of the bulky kit carried around on the ankle.

The case against: ‘The rest of us could be next’

Professionals in the criminal justice system maintain that the present system is 95 per cent effective. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is unproven. The technology is actually more invasive, and carries more information about the host. The devices have been dubbed “spychips” by critics who warn that they would transmit data about the movements of other people without their knowledge.

Consumer privacy expert Liz McIntyre said a colleague had already proved he could “clone” a chip. “He can bump into a chipped person and siphon the chip’s unique signal in a matter of seconds,” she said.

One company plans deeper implants that could vibrate, electroshock the implantee, broadcast a message, or serve as a microphone to transmit conversations. “Some folks might foolishly discount all of these downsides and futuristic nightmares since the tagging is proposed for criminals like rapists and murderers,” Ms McIntyre said. “The rest of us could be next.”

h/t: Mariné

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