Tuesday, February 27
If America Were Still a Democracy....
On Monday (February 26), ABC News polling director Gary Langer discussed results of an ABC News/
Washington Post survey on the Iraq War:
.... Bush is paying the continued price of an unpopular war. Sixty-four percent now say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, up six points from last month to a new numerical high. (It was 63 percent in October.) A majority hasn't said the war was worth fighting since April 2004, and it's been even longer since a majority has approved of how Bush is handling it. Sixty-seven percent now disapprove; 55 percent disapprove strongly.
In a fundamental change, 56 percent now say U.S. forces should be withdrawn at some point even if civil order has not been restored in Iraq. That represents a continued, gradual departure from the "you break it, you've bought it" sentiment that until now has mitigated in favor of continued U.S. involvement until some stability is attained.
Another part of this change has been a shift in views on setting a withdrawal date. Given pro and con positions (avoiding casualties vs. encouraging insurgents), support for a deadline has risen from 39 percent in late 2005 to 47 percent last summer and 53 percent now. That's a majority, but not a large one; 46 percent still oppose a deadline, underscoring the difficulty of finding consensus on how to get out of Iraq. Read more
Related: "A new Gallup poll finds that six out of ten Americans oppose Bush's escalation plan. Almost two-thirds of those polled want to withdraw U.S. troops by the end of next year. The majority opposes cutting off funds for forces bound for Iraq, but supports passage of a disapproval resolution; 57 percent of Americans want Congress to cap the number of troops serving in Iraq. A new Pew Research Center poll found that 53 percent of Americans want to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. Traitors! Appeasers! Cowards! Defeatists! Ingrates!" --Dough Bandow, "The War Lobby Abandons the Troops," Antiwar.com, 23 February 2007, http://www.antiwar.com/bandow/?articleid=10565
Note: BBC graphics above current to 13 February 2007
Friday, February 23
M.D. Diagnosed Bush with Presenile Dementia in 2004
Thursday, February 22
More Congressional Hypocrisy Abets White House's Iraq War Fraud
The Democrats heading the 110th Congress gained control last year through campaign promises to bring US troops home from the White House's failed mission in Iraq.
Hey, forget about it....America's electorate has been betrayed, a point Milkhouse Mouse noted last month (see 17, 16 and 8 January entries).
But the evidence just accumulates. The piece on congressional hypocrisy below appeared today (22 February) in the Center for American Progress's daily "Progress Report" in the "Under the Radar" section:
....CONGRESS - 25 LAWMAKERS WHO CRITICIZED ESCALATION, VOTED FOR IT ANYWAY: Last week, Iraq war veteran and VoteVets founder Jon Soltz appealed for members of Congress to "put country above party" and vote against escalation in Iraq. Prior to the vote, representatives in Congress from both parties publicly criticized the Bush administration's plan. Representative of such criticisms were Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) saying he had "little confidence that a surge in troop levels will change the situation in Iraq" and Rep. Virginia Brown-Wait's (R-FL) declaration that she got "a feeling our country was being used." Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) said, "I'm absolutely against the surge." Despite such clear public objections to the President's plan, these and at least 21 more members of Congress caved to partisan pressure and voted in support of escalation. Contradictions were certainly not limited to the House: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), despite repeatedly voicing his support for escalation, skipped the Senate vote to attend an "'old fashioned' ice cream and hotdog social" in Iowa. The negative effects of Bush's escalation are already being felt by the U.S. military, which is struggling to meet the demands placed on it by the Bush administration. Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that the National Guard would send 14,000 troops back to Iraq next year. A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the Guard is facing severe equipment shortages that have been exacerbated by the war in Iraq.
These two items also appeared today under the "Think Fast" segment:
....Spurred by online activists, five state legislatures moved last week to oppose Bush's Iraq war strategy. The Vermont legislature, California Senate, Iowa Senate, legislators in Maine, and the Boston City Council have all taken action to express their opposition to escalation in Iraq. The moves "illustrate the war's unpopularity among elected officials at all levels."
14,000 National Guard troops will return to Iraq next year, "shortening their time between deployments to meet the demands of President Bush's buildup." "The accelerated timetable illustrates the cascading effect" Bush's escalation plan is putting on the entire armed forces.
Postscript: One savvy computer graphics professional caught the White House doctoring Bush's 1 May 2003 "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Verify for yourself this guy is speaking the truth; click here for the WhiteHouse.gov May 2003 web page and scroll to be very bottom and click on the "video" icon link.
Wednesday, February 21
"Bring the Soldiers Home Now"
Listen to "The Loading Zone," a song courtesy of a 51-year-old Florida Republican. See his website "Why Billy Why."
When it comes to the war in Iraq, 8-mile rapper Jerry Mathers of Detroit sings it clear and true.
After lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Boy George tells the insurgents to "Bring'em on."
Before Senator Carl Levin of Michigan became a Democrat committee chair with subpoena power in the 110th Congress and developed amnesia, he unequivocally knew the White House had "lied" American into an illegal war in Iraq.
Vietnam vet Marine Tom Chelston sings a tribute to his Iraq War brother soldiers who have been "Bushwhaced" in that "bullshit" White House war.
Tom Chelston sings another one for "Veterans for Peace." Bring the troops home--now.
Seether sings "All is Not Okay," for the troops in Iraq, dedicating the song to Douglas Barber who, unable to received help from the Veterans Administrations, committed suicide before he could be helped.
Big Brother Tracking Company
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV ?
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?
I'm counting on you, Lord, please don't let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town ?
.... --Janis Joplin, "Mercedes Benz," 1969-70
Corporatism and law enforcement go hand-in-glove in post-9/11 America.
If you haven't heard yet--and apparently terminally busy Americans haven't--the items law enforcement agencies aren't tagging with rice-kernel sized wireless tracking devices--or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)--are those that Corporate America plans to do so in its global plan to tag every item you buy.
It is a global tracking frenzy, ladies and gentlemen.
Though the second link has expired, consider this Slashdot post ("RFID Tags in Law Enforcement")--from August 2005:
RFID tags seem to be the flavor of the month for law enforcement officials in the tracking of individuals both foreign and domestic. pin_gween writes
"In an effort to speed up entry to the US, The Dept. of Homeland Security has begun a trial using RFID tags in certain visitors' papers. The tag is embedded in paperwork and "chip readers note the entry or exit of visitors who pass by and transmit that information to a government-maintained database."
In addition, Saeed al-Sahaf writes
"Security officials gathered Monday at a Canadian border crossing to mark the first test of this radio RFID system"
Relatedly LexNaturalis writes
"Wired News has an article about England testing RFID chips in license plates that can transmit VINs and other data to appropriate receivers. According to the article, the United States will be 'closely watching the British trial as they contemplate initiating their own tests of the plates, which incorporate radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags to make vehicles electronically trackable.' Naturally privacy advocates are decrying the move by stating that unlike electronic toll passes, these new plates will not be anonymous."
We mentioned the concept of tracking visitors via RFID in July.
Here's a news item lifted from the British Columbia-based Canadian Action Party's website that suggests the FBI is trying to play catch up with their Canadian counterparts:
Your car tires have RFID's chips in them ALREADY!!! Its a US federal sponsored initiative to track vehicles near certain highways feeding certain urban areas. Basically the FBI enters a RFID number into the database and then history of travel for the car pops up. The feds can also pre-enter rfids they want to watch after getting a reading off your parked car or from the Canadian-US customs border (where they already actively log the car RFIDs in the tires and associate them with plates) Your tires have a passive coil with 64 to 128 bit serial number emitter in them!
The CAP webpage also offers news on the success of the US and European medical police and Mexico's Top Cop to RFID "chip" and track humans:
Regarding plans to microchip newborns, Dr. Kilde said the U.S. has been moving in this direction "in secrecy."
She added that in Sweden, Prime Minister Olof Palme gave permission in 1973 to implant prisoners, and Data Inspection's ex-Director General Jan Freese revealed that nursing-home patients were implanted in the mid-1980s. The technology is revealed in the 1972:47 Swedish state report, Statens Officiella Utradninger.
"Implanted human beings can be followed anywhere. Their brain functions can be remotely monitored by supercomputers and even altered through the changing of frequencies," wrote Dr. Kilde. "Guinea pigs in secret experiments have included prisoners, soldiers, mental patients,handicapped children, deaf and blind people, homosexuals, single women, the elderly, school children, and any group of people considered "marginal" by the elite experimenters. The published experiences of prisoners in Utah State Prison, for example, are shocking to the conscience....
"Today's microchips operate by means of low-frequency radio waves that target them. With the help of satellites, the implanted person can be tracked anywhere on the globe. Such a technique was among a number tested in the Iraq war, according to Dr. Carl Sanders, who invented the intelligence- manned interface (IMI) biotic, which is injected into people. (Earlier during the Vietnam War, soldiers were injected with the Rambo chip, designed to increase adrenaline flow into the bloodstream.) The 20-billion-bit/second supercomputers at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) could now "see and hear" what soldiers experience in the battlefield with a remote monitoring system (RMS).
Mexico's Top Cop also is requiring his office to join in the RFID chipping party:
Mexico's top federal prosecutors and investigators began receiving chip implants in their arms in November in order to get access to restricted areas inside the attorney general's headquarters, said Antonio Aceves, general director of Solusat, the company that distributes the microchips in Mexico.
Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and 160 of his employees were implanted at a cost to taxpayers of $150 for each rice grain-sized chip. More are scheduled to get "tagged" in coming months, and key members of the Mexican military, the police and the office of President Vicente Fox might follow suit, Aceves said. Fox's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Aceves said his company eventually hopes to provide Mexican officials with implantable devices that can track their physical location at any given time, but that technology is still under development.
The chips that have been implanted are manufactured by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. (ADSX) of Palm Beach, Fla. They lie dormant under the skin until read by an electromagnetic scanner, which uses a technology known as radio frequency identification, or RFID, that's now getting hot in the inventory and supply chain businesses. Erik Michielsen, director of RFID analysis at ABI Research Inc., said that in theory the chips could be as secure as existing RFID-based access control systems such as the contactless employee badges widely used in corporate and government facilities.
The United Nations has even more ambitious plans for VeriChips that are certain to push Allied Digital Solutions' stock prices through the RFID-chipped roof:
U.N. meeting hears proposal for global human database, ID numbers, to register everyone.
Every person in the world would be fingerprinted and registered under a universal identification scheme to fight illegal immigration and people smuggling outlined at a United Nations meeting today. The plan was put forward by Pascal Smet, the head of Belgium's independent asylum review board, at a roundtable meeting with ministers including Australian Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock this afternoon. But he said the plan could be extended worldwide.
Oh, my. And there's myriad more 1984 Orwellian-esque accounts out there where those came from. What must those among with high allergies and low thresholds to fascism do?
Hope and help are on the way. According to RFID Journal ("The World's RFID Authority") an intrepid duo of German cyberhackers (who would only identify themselves as "MiniMe" and "Mahajivana") apparently have developed an "RFID Zapper" to disable those pesky tracking chips.
Sold in "some drugstores" as of January 2006, the device is a modified disposable camera (right) rigged to pass a electrical current through the RFID and "killing" it.
As RFIDs proliferate in our products and lives, you can count on more zappers introduced on the market to cut back on the snooping capabilities of Big Brother on steroids.
Monday, February 19
BBC's Palast Reveals Wealthy Bush Supporters' "Vulture Funds" Swooping Up Cancelled Third World Debt
Days after the polls closed 7 November on the 2000 election, American Greg Palast couldn't interest CBS News or the New York Times in how Florida Governor Jeb Bush illegally scrubbed over 58,000 Black voters (93% of whom in Florida voted for Al Gore) from the state's voter registry.
Even two weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court* on 19 December halted Florida's hand recount-- mandated by state law in elections decided by 1% or less of the vote--with Jeb's brother ahead by 537 votes and gave George the White House, Palast reported the fraud in the London Guardian (and here) and for the BBC in February 2001.
The U.S. press and TV iced Palast's scoop by staying riveted on its nonstory about hanging "chads" in some paper ballots. And as the circus clowns say "The rest is history." Palast remained in London, regularly scooping America's even more tepid crop of post-9/11 journalists on stories about a White House that operated by its own dubious legal code.
Then in September 2002, U.S. press and TV also "overlooked" Miami's U.S. District Court's remarkable judgment on a class-action suit filed on behalf of Florida's black disenfranchised voters; the state of Florida and the infamous ChoicePoint data company, which admitted knowingly providing state officials its registry scrub list, agreed to settle with the plaintiffs' attorneys before Judge Alan S. Gold returned a decision. Palast provided the court with analysis of that list.
Last week, Palast again scooped the U.S. press corps. For the BBC, he reported from Washington and New York on how George Bush cynically allows campaign contributors to inflate and collect discharged Third World debt that they seize in court through a legal loophole--which Palast claims Bush could abolish "tomorrow with a stroke of the pen."
According to the 18 February issue of the LA Times (free registration required), 18,500 Third World children die daily from hunger. That dramatic figure translates to 6.6 million a year. Genocide by any other name....
Here's Democracy Now!'s 15 February (Thursday) headline for Palast's 12-minute report shown before his short on-air interview with Amy Goodman:
“Vulture Fund” Company Seeks $40 Million Payment from Zambia on $4 Million Debt"
If you listen closely enough, you hear Palast suggest White House officials may have misappropriated $1 billion in donations from Americans to write off Third World debt.
The segment is must-see TV (Real Player, 128k stream or 256k stream). Other watching, listening and reading options are here.
Postscript: Palast's Democracy Now! interview may have hit a congressional nerve the day it was broadcast. On Friday (16 February), Palast posted this excerpt from Amy Goodman's interview that morning with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about how your meeting went with the President yesterday?
REP. JOHN CONYERS: Well, we talked essentially about Iraq, Katrina and the domestic breakdown that’s going on right now. But it was my job, I felt, to raise the whole question of this bond speculation that goes on at the expense of poor debtor countries, in which their debt is bought up and then they’re sued for the full amount. It’s bought up at pennies on the dollar, and then they’re sued. And I wanted to thank you [BBC Newsnight] for revealing this to us, because it allowed me to ask President Bush two questions: one, about Paul Singer and Michael Sheehan; and two, whether he would be willing to stop this incredible misuse of our government’s charity toward funding aid to our poorer nations. Continue reading ‘Citing BBC Newsnight Investigation
Congressman Conyers Confronts Bush, Demands Probe of Vulture Funds‘
*Besides a legal assessment of the High Court's controversial 5-4 decision in Bush v. Gore, Palast's confrontation of a Florida election official about the voter scrub list was featured in the excerpt below from Unprecedented: The 2000 Election, a documentary by Richard Ray Perez and Joan Selker.
Sunday, February 18
Wake Up Call: Italian Judge Indicts CIA for Rendition, Torture
A judge in Italy has redefined the term "justice" for the Bush White House.
It's overdue. How refreshing to learn some judicial sanity remains in the alleged "war on terrorism." How refreshing to learn that sanity even is willing to stand up to post-9/11 USA extra-legal thuggery, i.e., fascist "snatch and grab" of citizens.
Below is the first paragraphs from the London Times report.
"An Italian judge has ordered 26 Americans and five Italians to stand trial for the kidnapping of a terror suspect in Milan in 2003, in what will be the first criminal court case over the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.
The decision, which indicts a number of senior intelligence officials from the US and Italy, concerns the abduction of a radical imam known as Abu Omar, who was flown to Egypt where he claims he was tortured under questioning on February 17 2003. Prosecutors say that five Italian intelligence officials worked with the CIA to abduct the Egyptian cleric.
All but one of the American suspects have been identified as CIA agents. Among them are said to be the former heads of the CIA in Rome and Milan - Jeff Castelli and Robert Lady – as well as the former Italian chief of military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari. The other US citizen is an air force officer stationed at the time at Aviano, where Abu Omar was taken after being seized.
Mr Pollari, the only defendant who appeared during the preliminary hearing, has insisted that Italian intelligence played no role in the alleged abduction, and told the judge he was unable to defend himself properly because documents clarifying his position were not permitted in the proceedings because they contain state secrets. The CIA has refused to comment on the case."
Read the whole story here.
Last September, Trevor Paglen and A.C. Thompson, two U.S. journalists who in Torture Taxi:On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights are the first to chronicle the CIA's $30-billion global "special rendition" program, told Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! just how extensive this program is.
According to Paglen and Thompson, a rural airfield in Smithfield, North Carolina, owned by CIA-front Aero Contractors, is the center of the CIA's rendition program.
Postscript: On 25 September 2006, Paglen interviewed with Alex Jones and the rendition program. He told Jones, among other corporate-owned jets, the CIA occasionally contracts the Boston Red Sox baseball team president’s own jet to ferry “terrorists” in and out of the country. (Translation: “Wealthy corporate leaders support torture”-- as if that’s any news to their employees.)
Saturday, February 17
Kangaroo Justice for Rio Grande Border Patrol Agents
Words can't do justice to injustice on the US-Mexican border. But how about this: Lou Dobbs excoriates the White House for craven arrogance and indifference over the erroneous imprisonment of two Border Patrol Agents for doing their job, i.e., interdicting drug shipments from Mexico. Convicted, they must report to their respective federal prisons on 17 January 2007.
CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight updates the border agents' case on 28 December 2006.
After the 110th Congress convened days later, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General told Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) he will have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get his report about charges and subsequent incarceration of Border Patrol Agents Compean and Ramos.
On 10 February 2007, Rep. Tom Tancerdo (R-CO) announces Agent Ramos' beating by four illegal Mexican aliens incarcerated with him at the federal facility in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
CNN's Lou Dobbs and CNBC Discuss North American Union and Its Currency
Most Americans have heard nothing of the impending European-styled North American Union. Many of those who have don't believe it or think its another "conspiracy theory."
Lou Dobbs and a CNBC investment counselor beg to differ.
This Lou Dobbs clip was posted last month at YouTube.com.
On 27 November, Vice President Steve Previs of Jefferies International tells CNBC investment-minded viewers that the proposed North American Union Amero is a done deal--and good investment.
This Lou Dobbs report on the North American Union was posted to YouTube.com last October.
Wednesday, February 14
Mother Further Trucking for Halliburton in Iraq
The attack on Halliburton subsidiary KBR's truck convoy last September shouldn't have happened. But it's too common a problem among contract drivers who find themselves on dangerous Iraqi roads: the maps Halliburton officials and the military give drivers are frequently "incorrect."
But the Bush administration and Halliburton already had demonstrated the personal safety of troops (and civilian contract workers) was secondary to securing Iraqi oil fields.
In Iraq for Sale, Robert Greenwald's new film, a widow of one of the dead drivers in another convoy massacre in 2004 complained that KBR drivers are not given road maps. Another widow said, "These men went to do the right thing [and] they were totally taken advantage of ... [Halliburton] knew, they knew, that there was more than a good chance that they would be killed." And one of the drivers who survived said, "It's about contracts ... fulfilling the contract and replacing us if we died." (See Postscript.)
Three drivers died in the ensuring massacre: "Keven Dagit, 42 (in truck 3), of Jefferson, Iowa; Christopher Lem, 40, (in truck 1) of Lyndon Station, Wisconsin; and Sascha Grenner-Case (in truck 4) of Sierra Vista, Arizona." Three drivers, including Terry Steward (in truck 2) of Idaho and Preston Wheeler of Arkansas (Truck 5), were wounded.
Halliburton policy prohibits drivers from carrying weapons in their trucks.
Before he was wounded, Wheeler recorded this riveting 15-minute video (RealPlayer, free download here) of their route through most of the ambush. Throughout the clip, you hear drivers radioing each other but mostly begging their military escorts for help; the military became conspicuously absent when bullets began to fly.
In Wheeler you hear a very frightened man who at the end reports Grenner-Case, the driver of the truck in front of his disabled vehicle, had been shot.
You have to believe that after Wheeler recovered from his wounds, he kept his word me makes in his tape that he was getting the f**k out of Iraq.
Postscript: Watch this 5-minute clip of soundless footage made of the convoy by a military Predator drone after the ambush. Halliburton Watch scooped this story last September.
*Update: My apologies to ABC News; the network did televise the convoy attack, which occurred in 2005. Wheeler tells Brian Ross he waited a year before speaking about the incident, adding more damning details not evident in his raw footage, to include accusations the convoy's military escort left him and his fellow drivers for dead.
As ABC News reveals, Wheeler did leave Iraq; Halliburton fired him and sent back to Arkansas for "getting injured on the job."
Monday, February 12
Decider-in-Chief Decided to Sacrifice Libby*?
As reported by the Associated Press:
"What didn't he touch? It's almost like there was almost nothing too trivial for the vice president to handle," said New York University professor Paul Light, an expert in the bureaucracy of the executive branch.
"The details suggest Cheney was almost a deputy president with a shadow operation. He had his own source of advice. He had his own source of access. He was making his own decisions," Light said.But last week* Libby's defense implicated George Bush in the cover-up through a note Cheney wrote to an aide.
Truthdig.com published Wednesday (7 February) a startling piece of commentary by New York Observer staff writer Joe Conason on the startling revelation. Below is the money quote from "Role of the Big Guys Is Becoming Clear in Plame Case":
.... Where does that leave the president and the vice president? Over the past several days, the outlines of Cheney’s role in the nasty attack on the Wilsons and the subsequent cover-up have become increasingly plain. He not only oversaw the activities of Libby, his chief of staff, but went so far as to order McClellan to “clear” Libby in a press briefing.
That incident came up during the testimony of David Addington, who now holds Libby’s old job as vice presidential chief of staff and was formerly counsel to the vice president. The defense brought into evidence a note written by Cheney himself explaining why he insisted that the White House press staff defend Libby just as vigorously as Rove.
The angry note said, “Not going to protect one staffer [plus] sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.” Although Cheney had crossed out the words “this Pres.” and replaced them with the phrase “that was,” the reference to Bush remains perfectly legible—and deeply incriminating.But from the loud silence in the mainstream media, you couldn't know the Decider-in-Chief had been so completely implicated in the cover-up.
What will Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald do with that piece of information? Will the White House's prosecution-proof armor hold out one more time for this band of criminals?
Inquiring minds are waiting to know.
Postscript: The day after Conason's Truthdig.com piece appeared, NPR's Diane Rehm interviewed three reporters from Newsweek, Slate and the National Review about revelations emerging from the Libby trail. Ignoring the note produced by Libby's defense, the three instead launched into a protracted "he said but then he said, then he said again" exchange. After one commericial break, Rehm offhandedly noted to her listeners that the threads of the case presented by her guests were "very complex." Great understatement, Diane.
*14 February Update: Writing for Truthout.org, Jason Leopold and Marc Ash scooped Conason a week earlier on Cheney's note implicating Bush: "Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair," 31 January 2007:
"But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday [30 January] during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against
Oddly, Leopold and Ash reveal it was the prosecution--not Libby's defense--that introduced this startling evidence. What's going on here? Why hasn't Fitzgerald subpoenaed Bush?
The authors provide copies of Cheney's notes they claim implicate Bush.
Sunday, February 11
John Conner: Power to the 9/11 Resistance
John Conner now lives in Southern California and very much wants you to know the latest attack on democracy was launched with the 9/11 attacks on America, which he is convinced as "an inside job." You will enjoy his video and audio collection at The Resistance Manifesto named after his book. For example, in his "John Conner Visits Hollywood" clip, our hero defiles Schwarzeneger's Hollywood star on Hollywood and Vine; Schwarzeneger, after all, has rejoined the alien attackers.
John is nothing if not zestfully persistent in confronting those who be believes are covering up the truth about 9/11; most of the time, they are the guys on Fox News Network. In the clip below, Conner reveals how to get through Fox's automated answering system to leave messages to hosts on show ideas, as he does with Col. Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame. Apparently, Conner has worn down the resolves of Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes and Bill O'Reilly.
Not long after UCLA campus security officers tazed a 23-year-old American student of Iranian descent for not showing his ID, Conner took his 9/11 resistance to that campus, evoking only a few uncomfortable moments and a passing reference to the incident when campus security officers asked him for identification.
Saturday, February 10
Radio Interviewer Guides NBC's Tim Russert into Disturing 9/11 Questions
After some initial flattery and questions about Russert's book he was pedaling, Blood adroitly leads Russert on a slow ride into increasingly disturbing questions on the White House's complicity in contriving the Iraq War and 9/11, questions making Russert uncomfortable--until he feigns phone trouble and hangs up.
Friday, February 9
Camp Delta Detainee Tells Americans Sordid Truth of Guantanamo Torture
Released in 2005 as a result of British diplomatic pressure, Begg co-authored Enemy Combatant, My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar*, published June 2006 in the UK. (The book pictured is the US edition, released by New Press on 11 September 2006.) Begg also became executive director of CagePrisoners.com, an organization that closely tracks and advocates the release of those still incarcerated at Camp Delta.
Last November, Begg discussed his book and imprisonment with students and guests at Massachusetts' Mount Holyoke College via a special teleconference hookup from the UK.
Below is the third of five YouTube clips of his presentation and question-and-answer session with audience members; the 18-minute segment picks up when an ACLU lawyer asks Begg about differences he noted among the Pakistani, British and American officers during his incarceration. His answer with surprise you.
You can watch the four other Mount Holyoke's segments with Begg here. That American media have not given his story the coverage it warrants makes reporters and editors accomplices to the torture the U.S. government inflicted on him.
Apparently, UK civil rights groups opposed to U.S. torture actually believed Bush when he mentioned closing down Guantanamo Bay. But that was before the Pentagon built a $30 million state-of-the-art maximum security prison there last fall. According to Amnesty International's UK campaigns director Tim Hancock, the new prison "appears to make a mockery of President Bush's statements about the need to close down Guantanamo Bay." We Americans understand perfectly the variety of mockery you speak of, Mr. Hancock.
*From a Publishers Weekly "Starred Review" at Amazon.com:
"In a fast-paced, harrowing narrative that's likely to become a flash point for the right and the left, Begg tells of his secret abduction by U.S. forces in Pakistan, his detainment at American air bases for more than a year and at Guantánamo for two more years as an enemy combatant. A British Muslim of Pakistani descent, Begg grew up in Birmingham and excelled at school before becoming involved with Islamic political causes and later moving to Afghanistan to become a teacher. After fighting broke out in Kabul, he and his wife and children moved to Islamabad in 2001, where U.S. operatives seized him. In March 2004, Begg was released from Guantánamo under pressure from the British government, but over the objections of the Pentagon, which still considers him a potential terrorist. Despite considerable media speculation over what Begg may have left out of this memoir, it's a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story. Whether Begg is describing his Muslim and Asian friends fighting white supremacist skinhead street gangs in Birmingham, or telling how he shared poetry with a U.S. guard at Guantánamo, his tone is assured. His work will be necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
... serious indictment of the USA for eroding ... rule of law by disregarding habeas corpus, as did ... apartheid regime in South Africa."
Saturday, February 3
Maine Legislature Refuses Passage of REAL ID ACT
The REAL ID ACT--a bill requiring that states verify drivers licenses applicants are who they say they are and then submit that data to a national database--is scheduled to become the law of the land 11 May 2008, three years after it passed the U.S. House hidden as a "rider" in the folds of a voluminous piece of military legsilation.
But Maine says it won't be playing along with the fascist subterfuge. Last week (Thursday, 25 January), the Maine legislature passed a resolution--the House voted in favor 137-4 with the Senate unanimous, 34-0--refusing to comply with the REAL ID ACT of 2005, yet another unfunded federal mandate foisted on the states.
According to the editorial collective at Wikipedia, the REAL ID ACT not only was sneaked through the House but its sponsors weren't that impressed with the legislation, either.
The Real ID act started off as H.R. 418, which passed the House (261-161-11) and went stagnant. It was then attached as a rider on a military spending bill (H.R. 1268) by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R) of Wisconsin (the author) and was voted upon (100-0) . It was signed into public law (109-13) on May 11, 2005.
The Thomas bill summaries for both H.R. 418 and H.R. 1268 show voting records and show who are supporters and proponents of this act and why they do or do not support it. It should be noted that cosponsors of the original legislation to which REAL ID was attached do not necessarily support this bill."It's a national ID card on steroids," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Technology and Liberty Project. "This will indeed be a real nightmare."
Below is the text of the Maine legislature's Resolution. Will Democrats now in charge of Congress honor the request and begin scaling back American post-9/11 fascism? Inquiring minds want to know.
WE, your Memorialists, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-Third Legislature of the State of Maine now assembled, most respectfully present and petition the President of the United States and the United States Congress, as follows:
WHEREAS, the federal REAL ID Act of 2005 mandates an unfunded national driver's license on the people of Maine, and;
WHEREAS, implementation of REAL ID would cost Maine taxpayers approximately $185 million, and;
WHEREAS, the REAL ID national database will invite theft of identity and invasion of privacy, and;
WHEREAS, REAL ID will impose inconveniences and higher taxes on Mainers with no attendant benefit such as protections from terrorism; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED: that Maine State Legislature refuses to implement the REAL ID Act and thereby protest the treatment by Congress and the President of the states as agents of the federal government; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the Maine State Legislature implores the United States Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005; and be it further
RESOLVED: That official copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to the Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States; the Honorable Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff; the Honorable John E. Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine; Richard Cheney, President of the United States Senate; Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; and each member of the Maine Congressional Delegation.
Postscript: According to this 25 January 2007 report, 28 states are considering legislation requiring their state government "to refuse compliance with the federal Real ID Act" on the grounds it violates a key statue of the U.S. Constitution's 10th Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."The National Conference of State Legislatures provides around-the-nation regular updates on the Real ID ACT here.
Friday, February 2
UCLA Students "Taser-Welcomed" to Post-9/11 American Police State
American dissidence is invigorated when relatively privileged students at a premier university are brutally confronted with fascist police tactics. Historically, that type of American experience is reserved only for racial/ethnic and low-income groups.
But last November, police erred when they dished out such tactics higher up the American class ladder in Los Angeles, among those better educated and well-connected.
Several UCLA students were shaken and angered after watching--and hearing--a 23-year-old Iranian-American fellow student tazed by campus security officers after a late-night ID check at a campus computer lab; the victimized student didn't produce his ID in the manner requested, so campus cops ("thuggish gestapo" is more apropos) handcuffed and tazered him.
A student present during the incident used a cellphone to capture this six-minute video.
The episode rocked the UCLA campus, as suggested by the letter below from a UCLA law student (Class of '07; the letter is archived at the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth here.)
Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues,
I am forwarding you this video and story because I feel it's important.
An Iranian-American student at UCLA was recently tasered at the library when he did not respond "appropriately" to the on-campus police officers when asked for proper school identification. The student was handcuffed as he was being tasered and screamed repeatedly that he said he would leave the library. The story is below, so I will not repeat it -- but I will only say that we as a society have an obligation to stand up when something feels wrong. We allow instances of injustice to occur every time we remain silent. It saddens and enrages me that screening procedures appear to allow officers this amount of discretion when asking a student for their ID.
I invite you to watch this video and arrive at your own conclusions. Additionally, I encourage writing to the Provost condemning the amount of force used on this student and to also reevaluate "screening" procedures for the library. UC Alums, law students and Professors are especially encouraged.
The Acting Chancellor is Norman Abrams (an emeritus professor in the UCLA School of Law)
Address (Campus Mail):
Murphy Hall 2147
University of California Hastings College of the Law
JD Candidate, 2007
On 16 November, the UCLA student news paper reported the incident, excerpted below in its entirety.
Community responds to Taser use in Powell
Sarah Taylor DAILY BRUIN SENIOR STAFF
An incident late Tuesday night in which a UCLA student was stunned at least four times with a Taser has left the UCLA community questioning whether the university police officers' use of force was an appropriate response to the situation.
Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student [left], was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young said the checks are a standard procedure in the library after 11 p.m.
"Because of the safety of the students we limit the use after 11 to just students, staff and faculty," Young said.
Young said the CSOs on duty in the library at the time went to get UCPD officers when Tabatabainejad did not immediately leave, and UCPD officers resorted to use of the Taser when Tabatabainejad did not do as he was told.
A six-minute video showed Tabatabainejad audibly screaming in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds. He was told repeatedly to stand up and stop fighting, and was told that if he did not do so he would "get Tased again."
Tabatabainejad was also stunned with the Taser when he was already handcuffed, said Carlos Zaragoza, a third-year English and history student who witnessed the incident.
"(He was) no possible danger to any of the police,"
But Young said at the time the police likely had no way of knowing whether the individual was armed or that he was a student.
As Tabatabainejad was being dragged through the room by two officers, he repeated in a strained scream, "I'm not fighting you" and "I said I would leave."
The officers used the "drive stun" setting in the Taser, which delivers a shock to a specific part of the body with the front of the Taser, Young said.
A Taser delivers volts of low-amperage energy to the body, causing a disruption of the body's electrical energy pulses and locking the muscles, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"It's an electrical shock. ... It causes pain," Young said, adding that the drive stun would not likely demobilize a person or cause residual pain after the shock was administered. Young also said a Taser is less forceful than a baton, for example.
But others warned against underestimating the effects of a Taser.
"It is a real mistake to treat a Taser as some benign thing that painlessly brings people under control," said Peter Eliasberg, managing attorney at the ACLU of Southern California.
"The Taser can be incredibly violent and result in death," Eliasberg said.
According to an ACLU report, 148 people in the
During the altercation between Tabatabainejad and the officers, bystanders can be heard in the video repeatedly asking the officers to stop and requesting their names and identification numbers. The video showed one officer responding to a student by threatening that the student would "get Tased too." At this point, the officer was still holding a Taser.
Such a threat of the use of force by a law enforcement officer in response to a request for a badge number is an "illegal assault," Eliasberg said.
"It is absolutely illegal to threaten anyone who asks for a badge â€" that's assault," he said.
Tabatabainejad was released from custody after being given a citation for obstruction/delay of a peace officer in the performance of duty.
Neither Tabatabainejad nor his family were giving interviews Wednesday.
Police officers said they determined the use of Tasers was necessary when Tabatabainejad did not do as they asked.
According to a UCPD press release, Tabatabainejad went limp and refused to exit as the officers attempted to escort him out. The release also stated Tabatabainejad "encouraged library patrons to join his resistance." At this point, the officers "deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a "drive stun' capacity."
"He wasn't cooperative; he wouldn't identify himself. He resisted the officers," Young said.
Neither the video footage nor eyewitness accounts of the events confirmed that Tabatabainejad encouraged resistance, and he repeatedly told the officers he was not fighting and would leave.
Tabatabainejad was walking with his backpack toward the door when he was approached by two UCPD officers, one of whom grabbed the student's arm. In response, Tabatabainejad yelled at the officers to "get off me." Following this demand, Tabatabainejad was stunned with a Taser.
UCPD and the UCLA administration would not comment on the specifics of the incident as it is still under investigation.
In a statement released Wednesday, Interim Chancellor Norman Abrams said investigators were reviewing the situation and the officers' actions.
"I can assure you that these reviews will be thorough, vigorous and fair," Abrams said.
The incident, which
"I realize when looking at these kind of arrest tapes that they don't always show the full picture. ... But that six minutes that we can watch just seems like it's a ridiculous amount of force for someone being escorted because they forgot their BruinCard," said Ali Ghandour, a fourth-year anthropology student.
"It certainly makes you wonder. If something as small as forgetting your BruinCard can eventually lead to getting Tased several times in front of the library, then maybe we should all be a bit more worried about getting Tased," he added when asked if the incident made him more concerned about his personal safety.
Edouard Tchertchian, a third-year mathematics student, said he was concerned that the student was not offered any other means of showing that he was a UCLA student.
Wikipedia also supplies the following helpful piece of information on tasing policy at the University of California-Los Angeles, suggesting the actions of the officers made the university vulnerable to legal retaliation.
...UCPD policy on Tasering
The UCPD's policy on Tasering calls Tasers a "less lethal device," and says that "although not absolutely prohibited, officers should give additional consideration to the unique circumstances involved prior to applying the Taser to...Individuals who are handcuffed or otherwise restrained." According to the policy, the "Drive Stun" capacity is appropriate "to eliminate physical resistance from an arrestee in accomplishing an arrest or physical search" (6A) as well as "pain compliance against passive resistors" (6B).
In comparison with other law enforcement agencies in the same locality, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department permit officers to use Tasers only if a suspect poses a physical threat or is acting combatively, the latter expressly forbidding the use of Tasers simply to move someone.
Of the ten UC campus police departments, six have equipped officers with Tasers, but only UCLA has a policy explicitly authorizing Tasers to be used as a pain-compliance tool against suspects who are passively resisting.
Update: On 17 January 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported "UCLA student sues over tasering."
....In a 16-page lawsuit, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, sued the university, campus police and a half-dozen officers for unspecified monetary damages, claiming they used excessive force and violated the Americans With Disabilities Act in the Nov. 14, 2006 incident.
Part of the confrontation was captured on video by a student using a cellphone and broadcast around the world, sparking widespread debate and protest.
Tabatabainejad was repeatedly stunned with a Taser after he refused to show his student ID card to a security guard. Authorities said the student wouldn't leave Powell Library, went limp and asked others to join his resistance.
....The suit noted that Tabatabainejad suffered from bipolar disorder but the officers' lack of training meant they treated him with "brutality instead of sensitivity," [Tabatabainejad's attorney Paul] Hoffman said.