BAD TIMES FOR BAMBI CONTINUE POSSIBLY INDICATING THAT WHEN YOU HAVE SERVED ONLY 2 YEARS OF YOUR 1ST EVER 6-YEAR-TERM IN THE SENATE, YOUR 1ST EVER NATIONAL OFFICE, YOU DON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
BARACK OBAMA IS ATTEMPTING TO RE-INTEREST THE PRESS IN HIS FAILED RUN FOR PRESIDENT AND HAS DECIDED THE BEST WAY TO DO THAT IS LIE AND DECLARE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY NEEDS "FIXING."
A NUMBER OF GRASSROOTS ACTIVISTS FEEL BETRAYED -- JOIN BARACK'S GAY AND LESBIAN SUPPORTERS WHO WERE THROWN UNDER A BUS EARLIER -- BY YET ANOTHER CRAVEN ATTEMPT FROM SENATOR EYE LASHES.
HAD THEY BEEN PAYING ATTENTION, THEY WOULD HAVE SEEN BAMBI PRAISING THE REAGAN ERA ATTACK ON SOCIAL SECURITY ON ABC'S THIS WEEK IN MAY.
WHO ATTACKS SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TODAY? THE D.L.C. AND BARACK OBAMA, AS GLEN FORD REVEALED, IS D.L.C.
AS IF THAT'S NOT DISGUSTING ENOUGH, BAMBI IS CHARGING PEOPLE TO MEET HIM -- CALL IT POLITICAL PROSTITUTION. EARLIER HE CHARGED $15.00 A HEAD TO THOSE HEARING HIM GIVE A SPEECH (SEE "The dregs" AND "THIS JUST IN! THINNING OF THE HERD!"), BUT THIS WEEK, HE RAISED THE RATE TO $29.00 A HEAD. MAYBE HIS PIMP THREATENED TO BEAT HIM UP? WHAT'S AMAZING IS THAT NO PROGRESSIVE VOICE WILL CALL THIS OUT. NOT LAURA FLANDERS. NOT MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD. NOT PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS. NOT JOHN NICHOLS.
MANY OF THEM WILL CALL OUT THE NEED FOR ELECTION REFORM BUT THEY AREN'T AT ALL TROUBLED THAT SOMEONE CAMPAIGNING TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- CAMPAIGNING TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- THINKS IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO MEET ONLY WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN PAY. THIS ISN'T BIG DONORS, THESE ARE THE STANDARD STOPS ON ANY CAMPAIGN TRAIL.
MAYBE IT'S TIME ROTHSCHILD, FLANDERS, NICHOLS AND WILLIAMS WOKE UP TO THE FACT THAT A SINGLE PARENT WITH CHILDREN WANTING TO BE INVOLVED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS MAY NOT HAVE $29 TO BLOW IN THAT WEEK'S BUDGET? OR MAYBE THEY CAN GRASP THAT CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE SHOULD APPEAR FREELY BEFORE THE PUBLIC?
Starting with war resisters. Steve Gardner (Kitsap Sun) writes of the just published "The Most Influential People of 2007" in Seattle Magazine. and notes "Iraq war resister U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada appears, as does Olympic Sculpture Park shepherd Chris Rogers (who the magazine selected as the 2007 Person of the Year). Early learning advocate and the state's former first ladey Mona Locke is on the list, and so is former U.S. Attorney John McKay and Google's Narayanan 'Shiva' Shivakumar." Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After months of working with the military (in good faith), Watada went public in June of 2006 after it became obvious that the military was stringing him along with false assurance. Watada (rightly) judges the Iraq War as illegal. In February of this year he was court-martialed in a kangaroo hearing presided over by Judge Toilet (aka John Head) who called a mistrial over defense objection and after the prosecution had presented their case which means double-jeopardy should prevent Watada from standing before a court-martial again. (Watada's service contract has already expired. He has been kept in the US military for months due to the issue of a potential court-martial.) US District Judge Benjamin Settle Friday is reviewing that and other issues and has extended the stay on Watada's case through November 9th.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
The National Lawyers Guild's convention begins shortly: The Military Law Task Force and the Center on Conscience & War are sponsoring a Continuing Legal Education seminar -- Representing Conscientious Objectors in Habeas Corpus Proceedings -- as part of the National Lawyers Guild National Convention in Washington, D.C. The half-day seminar will be held on Thursday, November 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the convention site, the Holiday Inn on the Hill in D.C. This is a must-attend seminar, with excelent speakers and a wealth of information. The seminar will be moderated by the Military Law Task Force's co-chair Kathleen Gilberd and scheduled speakers are NYC Bar Association's Committee on Military Affairs and Justice's Deborah Karpatkin, the Center on Conscience & War's J.E. McNeil, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee's Peter Goldberger, Louis Font who has represented Camilo Mejia, Dr. Mary Hanna and others, and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's James Feldman. The fee is $60 for attorneys; $25 for non-profit attorneys, students and legal workers; and you can also enquire about scholarships or reduced fees. The convention itself will run from October 31st through November 4th and it's full circle on the 70th anniversary of NLG since they "began in Washington, D.C." where "the founding convention took place in the District at the height of the New Deal in 1937, Activist, progressive lawyers, tired of butting heads with the reactionary white male lawyers then comprising the American Bar Association, formed the nucleus of the Guild."
On the above NLG event, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes today, "Meanwhile the National Lawyers Guild is criticizing the Bush administration for refusing to allow a prominent Cuban attorney into the country. The guild had invited Guillermo Ferriol Molina to speak at the group's 70th anniversary convention this week but he was apparently denied a visa. Molina is the Vice-President of the Labor Law Society of the Cuban bar association and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers."
How does that happen? "There's this horrible phase in a closing democracy when leaders and citizens still think it's a democracy but the people who have already started to close it are just kind of drumming their fingers waiting for everyone to realize that that's not the dance anymore," explains Naomi Wolf on the October 26th episode of The Bat Segundo Show. Her new book is The End of America: Letters of Warning to a Young Patriot where she argues that democracy needs to be reclaimed in the United States before it is lost. Covering a large historical terrain, she outlines the "echoes" present in the US today that have been signals of a shift to a closed society in our historical past. Addressing the inaction of Congress on so many topics (including impeachment and the refusal to listen to the citizens on the issue of the illegal war), Wolf declared, "Congress is like an abused woman that keeps thinking, 'Surely my boyfriend will be nice now. What do you mean you're not turning over your e-mails? We're Congress! You can't just not listen to us.' So you're right to notice the American people are getting it before Congress is. The people in power right now are no longer engaged in the democratic social contract and so it does take us recognizing that we can't heal democracy only through conventional means of democracy. So, Nancy Pelosi, is saying we're not going to impeach. Guess what? The founders didn't intend for Nancy Pelosi to decide what the people are going to do when there's this kind of criminal assault on the Constitution and checks and balances. It's up to us. And that's why we started the American Freedom Campaign which is a democracy movement which now has five million members in really, like two months, across the political spectrum and we're driving a grassroots movement to push, to confront Pelosi, and to confront the leaders in Congress and to let them know this is an emergency, it's not business as usual and they can't unilaterally take issues like that off the table. We're now, impeachment is not yet an AFC position, this is just me speaking for myself, but from the historical blue print, seeing what is now in place -- it is not safe to leave those people in power anymore and I'm saying this to Republicans and Democrats alike. It is not safe to entrust the next election with them. So I don't think we just need to move forward with impeaching, this is me speaking personally -- not for the AFC, but from the historical blueprint, we need to do it now and also we need to prosecute for treason because it's not enough to get people like this out of power you have to get them behind bars." Will impeachment be an issue for AFC? Wolf explained that since it's a grassroots movement, the goals will be determined by the members. The fifty minute broadcast touches on a large number of issues and we'll note Wolf on another topic:
Blackwater just got another billion dollar contract after massacring 17 innocent civilians in Iraq, okay? They operate fully outside the law in Iraq. Order 17, Paul Bremer, guaranteed that they were unaccountable. So it's not just the Iraqis who have to worry about Blackwater. The second step in the ten-point blue print [of moving a state from democracy to fascist, Wolf charts this in her book The End of America] is to create a paramilitary force that's not answerable to the people. This is how, in Italy, Mussolini closed democracy using the Black Shirts. And this is how, in Germany, Hitler closed democracy using Brown Shirts. Paramilitary forces excerpt pressure on civilians. So what Americans don't know is that Blackwater is already operating in the United States. Homeland Security already brought them in to patrol the streets of New Orleans after Katrina. And Jeremy Scahill reported that they were firing, our contractors, were firing on civilians. We don't know, most of us, that Blackwater's business model calls for increased deployment here in the United States in the event of say a natural catastrophe or quote 'a public emergency.' And with Defense Authorization Act 2007, it is the president, who's hand in hand with Blackwater, who now has the unilateral power to determine what is a national emergency that calls for a quote 'restoration of public order.' And I just want to tell you that the invoking of a national emergency and the call to restore public order is the is the tenth step in the blue print to close down an open society.
Staying on the topic of the mercenaries of Blackwater USA new developments can be classified under "What Condi forgot to tell Congress about Blackwater." US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice most recently offered testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last week on Thursday, October 25th. Rice declared that ("thank God so far" -- putting someone or Someone on notice?) Blackwater was needed and that she just wouldn't know how to run the department she heads without Blackwater (prior to the rise of Blackwater and other mercenaries, embassy security staff were responsible for guarding State Dept employees in foreign countries) and insisted, "But we do recognize that their must be sufficient oversight, sufficient rules and that is why I have accepted the recommendations of the panel on the private security contractors." That would have been a good time to insert an item in today's news; however, she didn't. When speaking of reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki had made a backdoor deal to grant immunity from prosecution to members of his cabinet, Rice did not want to talk about "rumor" or "unsubstantiated" claims "I'd like to state again, Mr. Chairman, because I'd rather state it in my own words than have it be stated for me. It is the policy of this administration -- and I'm quite certain that the president would feel strongly about this: That there shouldn't be corrupt officials anywhere. And that no official -- no matter how high -- should be immune from investigation, prosecution or, indeed, punishment should corruption be found." So no immunity for officials in al-Maliki's cabinet. Rice could have used that moment -- "in my own words" -- to address the issue of immunity that the State Department was granting. Because the department she heads had granted immunity. Noting that the Associated Press broke the story Monday, David Johnston (New York Times) reports today, "The State Department investigators from the agency's investigative arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants [to Blackwater] even though they did not have the authority to do so, the officials said. Prosecutors at the Justice Department, who do have such authority, had no advance knowledge of the arranement, they added. Most of the [Blackwater] guards who took part in the Sept. 16 shooting were offered what officials described as limited-use immunity, which means that they were promised they would not be prosecuted for anything they said in their interviews with the authorities as long as their statements were true."
This news came out Monday via AP. On Thursday, Rice faced the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Blackwater was a topic many touched on (Democrats and Republicans). Rice was not forthcoming. When the issue of immunity came up -- with regards to al-Maliki's cabinet -- Rice made no effort to inform Congress that the department she heads, the department which she is supposed to provide oversight to, had offered Blackwater guards involved in the incident immunity -- an immunity that her department did not have the power to offer.
CBS and AP report, "Law enforcement officials say the State Department granted them immunity from prosecution before taking their statements. They can still be prosecuted, bur fromer prosecutor David Laufman said it will be harder to make a case, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported. . . . The FBI can still interview the guards, but Laufman doubts they will cooperate." Terry Frieden (CNN) notes Senator Patrick Leahy has "accused the Bush 'amnesty administration' of letting its allies, including security contractors in Iraq, shirk responsibility for their actions" and Quotes Leahy declaring, "In this administration, accountability goes by the boards. That seems to be a central tenet in the Bush administration -- that no one from their team should be held accountable, if accountability can be avoided." Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) offers this perspective: "Under State Department contractor rules, Diplomatic Security agents are charged with investigating and reporting on all 'use of force' incidents. Although there have been previous Blackwater shootings over the past three years -- none of which resulted in prosecutions -- the Sept. 16 incident was by far the most serious." Johnston reports, "The immunity deals were an unwelcome surprise at the Justice Department, which was already grappling with the fundamental legal question of whether any prosecution could take place involving American civilians in Iraq. . . . In addition, the Justice Department reassigned the investigation from prosecutors in the criminal division who had read the statements the State Department had taken under the offer of immunity to prosecutors in the national security division who had no knowledge of the statements."
Waxman writes Rice today about the immunity:
Multiple news reports are asserting that the State Department compromised the investigation into the shootings and the potential for prosecutions of Blackwater personnel by offering immunity to the Blackwater guards. According to one report, agents of the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security promised Blackwater personnel 'immunity from prosecution' in order to elicit statements. Another report stated that the State Department offered 'limited-use immunity' without authority to do so so and without consulting with the Justice Department. According to these accounts, prosecution of Blackwater personnel has become, at minimum, "a lot more complicated and dfficult."
This rash grant of immunity was an egregious misjudgement. It raises serious questions about who conferred the immunity, who approved it at the State Department, and what their motives were. To help the Committee investigate these matters, I request that the State Department provide written responses to the following questions no later than noon on Friday, November 2, 2007:
1) What form of immunity was offered to the Blackwater personnel?
2) What limitations does this form of immunity impose upon the investigation?
3) Who authorized the offers of immunity?
4) Who was aware of the offers of immunity at or before the time that they were delivered?
5) When did you, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Griffin, Ambassador David Satterfield, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker learn of the grant of immunity?
6) What consultation, if any, was conducted with the Justice Department prior to the offers of immunity?
7) Has the State Department ever offered immunity to security contractor personnel as part of other investigations into contractor conduct? Please describe each such occasion.
I further request that knowledgeable officials appear at the previously scheduled briefing for Committee staff on November 2 to respond to questions about the State Department's written response to these questions.
Finally, I request that the State Department produce the following documents no later than Friday, November 9, 2007:
1) All communications relating to any offers of immunity to Blackwater personnel relating to the September 16, 2007, Nissor Square incident; and
2) All communications relating to any offers of immunity to Blackwater personnel or other private military contractors relating to other incidents in Iraq.
The letter is available online by [PDF format warning] clicking here.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"What Condi forgot to tell Congress about Blackwater"
"a little bit of everything"
"What Condi forgot to tell Congress about Blackwater"
"a little bit of everything"
"Little Squirt want 'to scorn' me"
"The signature wound of the illegal war"
"Isaiah, Matthew Rothschild interviews Tariq Ali"
"Ann Wright, Third"
"The signature wound of the illegal war"
"Isaiah, Matthew Rothschild interviews Tariq Ali"
"Ann Wright, Third"
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