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July 22nd, 2009
Those crazy “Birthers” are getting an awful lot of ink and air time lately, offering good comedy fodder for late night television while occasionally making regular people turn away in revulsion. Like the “Teabaggers” weren’t hilarious enough to use the name of a sexual weirdness as their moniker, or to publicize their racist rants and ridiculous charges against the President, after being the very same wackos who accused those who questioned any illegal act of the last administration by calling them traitors.
CNN commentator Roland S. Martin has a piece up today (July 22) entitled, Obama birth issue is nutty that proceeds to make good fun of the wingnuts. But since one of George W. Bush’s first serious actions as President after 9-11 was to arrange the biggest government overhaul since the New Deal – by inventing the so-called “Department of Homeland Security” – there are Americans out in the hinterland who are suddenly quite confused about their legal status. I’m one of them, and so is recent Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Who, like me, actually wasn’t born in the United States of America.
McCain, like me, was a Navy brat. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, I was born in the Philippines. There used to be a clear law on the books that held the children of American citizens born in a foreign country are indeed ‘natural born’ American citizens, even if they automatically get dual citizenship for the country in which they were born. I had that until I was 18, though after that I would have had to formalize, and I was never very fond of Ferdinand and Imelda “Shoe-Lady” Marcos. So I let it slide. Still, if nobody questioned McCain’s citizenship qualification for POTUS, the fervor with which wingnuttia rants about Obama seems even crazier. I mean, even if Hawaii hadn’t been a state when he was born, did not all Hawaiians receive automatic citizenship when it WAS made a state? It was a territory, after all. Like Puerto Rico. Which apparently some wingnuts in Congress think is a foreign country too, thus Judge Sonia Sotomayor couldn’t be a citizen. Weird.9-11, Barack Obama, COM, History, Humor, Intelligence, John McCain, Media, Military, Outrage, Racism, Slime Machine | Comment (0)
May 5th, 2009
…will it prevent a public accounting?
While both houses of the U.S. Congress are busily debating whether or not possible investigations of the Bush administration’s policies on the torture of prisoners and detainees in its wars on terror, Iraq and Afghanistan should be held at all, and if held whether or not they should be public, California Senator Diane Feinstein has managed to forestall the public possibility for a year. Democrat Feinstein and Republican Kit Bond of Missouri as chair and co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee announced on March 5 a Committee review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.
The probe is designed to discover new information about the origins of the programs as well as to scrutinize their operations. The five specified areas of investigation include:
• The creation, operation and maintenance of the CIA interrogation program.
• How detainees were assessed as to who possessed information valuable enough to require “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
• Whether the Intelligence Committee, Office of Legal Counsel and other responsible offices of government received accurate information from the CIA about its detention and interrogation programs.
• Whether the programs were implemented in compliance with guidance issued by the pertinent government offices.
• Whether information gained through the programs was valuable enough to justify the programs themselves.Bush, Immunity, Intelligence, Torture, War Crimes | Comment (0)
July 31st, 2008
…this one is ominous!
Yahoo News reported: White House unveils intelligence powers overhaul.
“Unveils?” Is this some sort of proposal? Nope. It’s a done deal, no oversight or even prior notice required…
The action by Bush provoked bipartisan anger among House of Representatives lawmakers who said they were not properly consulted or briefed on the planned changes.
“We were only shown the document after it was complete and on its way to the president for his signature,” said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee.
“Given the impact that this order will have on America’s intelligence community, and this committee’s responsibility to oversee intelligence activities, this cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt to undercut congressional oversight,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the panel.
So. What exactly does this done deal include? Over at AFP the story is entitled: Bush orders overhaul of US intelligence. But don’t bother, it’s mostly a pro-fluff piece. Better is the offering by Raw Story: Watchdog: Bush turning intelligence agencies on Americans…
“This kind of concentrated power, exercised in secret, is a lit fuse with our Constitution likely in danger of being burned,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
Another interesting analysis appears in cskendrick’s DKos diary, Who Needs Congress? Bush Reorgs Intel Services by Decree. The logical next question for any citizen concerned about civil liberties, the US Constitution, and things like the orderly transfer of power to the next duly elected President is,
Are they doing this for Barack Obama’s benefit?
P.S. Check out Pulitzer winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s report in the New Yorker (analyzed at Think Progress) about how VP Dick Cheney proposed a “false flag” operation to provoke war with Iran To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them. Is it likely these guys are tired of All The Power In The World yet?Filed under Appointees, Bush, Intelligence, Outrage, War | Comment (0)
July 3rd, 2008
An Independence Day Comment
As an early Edwards supporter strong on health care, I considered the erstwhile “frontrunner” [Hillary Clinton] to be well to the right-center of me. As Obama’s star rose, I investigated and found him well to the right-center of me too. I was going for the populist, not The Machine or The Inspiration. Because after all the harm the Bushies have done over nearly eight years, Democrats have proven themselves cowards over and over and over again. Even after 2006. We needed, thought I, someone who understands reality in America, not just for the top 2%.
Sometimes I think we need a third party, to represent those of us who self-identify as ‘progressive’. But I’ve seen too many split-party tactics in my time, and I’m not sure at all that the US can handle more than two parties sans a representative form of parliamentary government. We’re just not equipped for it. Yet the Constitution is the only thing still standing between me and Big Brother. I’m not willing to give up on it now.
Which brings me around to the current presumptive front-runner, Barack Obama. And his odd vote on the FISA bill, complete with expansion of powers and retroactive immunity for breaking the law for the telecoms who were blackmailed into cooperating with illegal wiretaps.
The country’s just not in THAT much danger. I’m not plotting terrorist attacks when I talk to my relatives or friends on the phone. But I damn sure don’t want the NSA listening to everything I say! Or logging all my text messages. Or reading all my emails. I believe it’s a complete waste of resources electronic and human. I am not a threat. The time, money, energy and storage space they waste on me talking to my 85-year old Mother-in-Law or giving hubby a grocery list on his way home from work is wasted EVERYTHING.Analysis, Barack Obama, FISA, Immunity, Intelligence | Comments (6)
April 4th, 2008
Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee has forwarded a formal request for answers from Attorney General Michael Mukasey about his assertion in a speech last week in San Francisco that a phone call from an Al Queda safe house in Afghanistan to someone in the U.S. was not monitored prior to 9-11.
The full text of the letter is below the fold:9-11, al Quaeda, Balance of Power, Bush, Intelligence, Policy | Comment (0)
April 3rd, 2008
Our ever-vigilant U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey committed a major faux-pas last week when trying to work up some crocodile tears during a speech touting “necessary” domestic spying in San Francisco. Attempting to blame a lack of power-to-spy for the 3,000 American fatalities on September 11, 2001, Mukasey revealed…
Officials “shouldn’t need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that’s the call that we really want to know about. And before 9-11, that’s the call we didn’t know about. We knew that there was a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went.”
Holy Moley, Batman!!! Did the AG just tell us something nobody in the BushCo administration bothered to tell the 9-11 Commission during its investigation? That US officials KNEW of a call from an Al Queda “safe house” in Afghanistan to someone in the United States, but didn’t listen in because they were scared of breaking the law?
Is Mukasey trying to tell us that US intelligence agencies – including NSA who monitors virtually ALL telecommunications, and the CIA who knows where Al Queda’s “safe houses” are – have no understanding of the FISA law that has been on the books since 1978? What in the world DO they teach these spooks at training camp?9-11, al Quaeda, Appointees, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, Propaganda | Comment (1)
January 28th, 2008
Senator Chris Dodd made a statement on the Senate floor on Friday, January 25th during the cloture debate on Bush’s FISA bill – the one granting retroactive immunity to America’s telecom giants for aiding and abetting Bushco’s rampant lawbreaking. The statement well explains what’s wrong with the entire situation in which we find ourselves after 7 long years of the decidedly un-American “Unitary Executive” – a.k.a. “The Deciderer.”
Dodd had threatened to filibuster the bill last month, so Harry Reid was forced to withdraw it from debate until last Friday, when Dodd again threatened filibuster. Reid then put off the cloture vote until today, January 28th. Senators Clinton and Obama, who were out of town campaigning in South Carolina on Friday, are scheduled to be present for this afternoon’s cloture vote (and filibuster, should that ensue).
Dodd noted that it wasn’t his colleagues in Congress – either house – who convinced him of the unacceptability of telecom immunity, it was the many citizens he met in his recently aborted campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination…Analysis, Bush, Corruption, History, Intelligence, Torture, Treason | Comments (2)
January 23rd, 2008
On January 10 I wrote about British press coverage of former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ shocking revelations of high-level nuclear spying. Nearly 2 weeks later Edmonds’ charges have still not seen the light of day in the Corporate Owned Media [COM] in this country. Even after the Sunday Times scooped them all again on January 20.
On Monday (Jan. 21) Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame wrote about the lack of US coverage in an op-ed at Brad Blog and hosted at Huffington Post on Tuesday. Another strong diary at Daily Kos appeared Tuesday, UK media slams US media on Sibel Edmonds case.
[Ellsberg] For the second time in two weeks, the entire US press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch’s London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt US officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the US Congress and the courts.
Ellsberg notes that some American journalists have reportedly received calls from “intelligence sources” hinting that what Edmonds happened upon is not a ‘real’ spy ring, but a very sensitive covert operation with highest authorization. Yet if her allegations are true, we have this insane operation to thank for the Pakistani bomb and A.Q. Khan selling nuclear technology to places like Syria, Libya, Iran and North Korea!
[Ellsberg] …if there is any truth to that, we clearly have another prize candidate …in the category of “worst covert operation in US history,” rivaling such contenders as the Bay of Pigs, Iran-Contra, and the secret CIA torture camps abroad.
Knowledge of the charges, the backup, the evidence and the players is widespread in D.C. on both sides of the aisle. Complicity in the cover-up is just as widespread and includes the US mainstream media. But the cat’s out of the bag now – the whole world knows about it, except Americans who get their news from newspapers and television. There’s no good reason why the American people should be the last to know about the traitorous deeds of their government.
Links:Balance of Power, COM, Corruption, Intelligence, Media, Nuclear Weapons, Treason | Comment (0)
January 10th, 2008
The Insane World of Nuclear Spies and Counter-Spies
FBI translator Sibel Edmonds
Britain’s Sunday Times published an article on January 6 entitled For Sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets, detailing the extraordinary claims of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds about how corrupt US government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to ‘steal’ nuclear weapons secrets. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a real “bombshell” that ties together many years’ worth of nefarious dealings in the Middle East by officials charged specifically with the task of protecting those nuclear weapons secrets from theft by the very people who were allowed to ‘steal’ them!
Edmonds, a Turkish language translator before turning whistleblower, listened to hundreds of sensitive communications intercepted by the FBI while she was stationed at the FBI’s D.C. field office, described to the Sunday Times how foreign intelligence agents enlisted the support of US officials to establish a network of ‘moles’ inside sensitive US military and nuclear installations. The officials involved included one well-known senior official in the US State Department, whom Edmonds says was being paid by Turkish agents in D.C. Those Turks then sold the information to black market buyers, including Pakistan.al Quaeda, Corruption, Counterproliferation, History, Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, Treason, War | Comments (2)
December 15th, 2007
Torture as U.S. Policy and Practice
The recent hoopla about videotapes of the torture of ‘War on Terror’ prisoners Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by CIA interrogators has drawn some odd denials from people who ought to know better by now. White House press spokesbot Dana Perino kept insisting to all questions that the US does not torture. Period, end of discussion.
What American with an IQ of over 75 believes this garbage, or the George W. Bush “doesn’t remember” knowing about those torture tapes – or ordering their destruction? Anyone who doubts US involvement in torture (and, too often, murder) should read Jennifer Hardbury’s Interview with Buzzflash for realistic background on this issue.Analysis, Books, Bush, Intelligence, Media, Torture, War | Comments (2)