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WASHINGTON (AP) — The government owns hundreds of underground fuel tanks — many designed for emergencies back in the Cold War — that need to be inspected for leaks of hazardous substances that could be making local water undrinkable.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has known since at least the 1990s that tanks under its supervision around the country could be leaking fuel into soil and groundwater, according to Associated Press interviews and research.
Three major US naval strike forces due this week in Persian Gulf
DEBKAfile Special Report | August 12, 2008
DEBKAfile’s military sources note that the arrival of the three new American flotillas will raise to five the number of US strike forces in Middle East waters – an unprecedented build-up since the crisis erupted over Iran’s nuclear program.
This vast naval and air strength consists of more than 40 carriers, warships and submarines, some of the last nuclear-armed, opposite the Islamic Republic, a concentration last seen just before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Our military sources postulate five objects of this show of American muscle:
Be A Citizen Journalist
Featured Participatory Project: Probing the Pentagon Pundit Documents
Source: SourceWatch, August 12, 2008
Remember the New York Times expose on the Pentagon's use of retired military officers who frequently appear as "military analysts" on television and radio news shows? The program was launched in 2002 to help sell the Iraq war, but soon expanded to other controversial issues. Most of the 8,000 pages of internal Pentagon documents used to document the illegal propaganda program haven't been analyzed or reported on. But now, thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy, those documents are now text searchable! Help us dig out the gems in the emails between Pentagon PR staffers, talking points and briefing transcripts. How did the Pentagon use the program to spin Guantanamo Bay or military operations in Afghanistan? Are John McCain or John Murtha mentioned in the Pentagon documents? What about Fox News or PBS? CMD has converted the Pentagon documents so that you can search them by keyword, and posted them on our SourceWatch site. Have a look -- some ideas to help you get started are here -- and post what you find on relevant SourceWatch articles. If this is your first time editing on SourceWatch, you can register here, and learn more about adding information to the site here, here and here. Have fun and thanks for your help!
by Jessica Wanke | NPR.org | July 31, 2008
In the coming months, the State Department will put out a call to American engineers, city planners and judges in the hopes that patriotism will compel them to leave their comfortable lives in the United States for far-flung locales and potentially dangerous work — saving states the U.S.
Protestors Dog Pelosi on Her LA Book Tour at American Jewish University
Inside report from Marcy Winograd:
Pelosi thanked her host, American Jewish University, proclaimed her support for Israel as a Jewish state, and then talked about the importance of women owning their power – this from the woman who upon assuming her role as Speaker of the House declared impeachment off the table, thus immediately surrendering her power to hold the Bush administration accountable for war crimes.
Mid-way through Pelosi's somewhat surreal Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters book chat in Los Angeles -- Peter Thottam, founder of the LA Impeachment Center -- couldn't take the small-talk and platitudes anymore.
By Jason Leopold and Alan Breslauer | The Public Record
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's appearance Monday at a West Los Angeles college to discuss her recently published book was marred by dozens of protestors and several angry outbursts by audience members who demanded Pelosi immediately authorize a House committee to hold impeachment hearings against President George W. Bush.
The Speaker made it clear she would not support any effort to hold impeachment hearings against President Bush saying that the president "will be gone in a hundred days."
Chip's Note: Be sure to watch the commercial at the end - twice I got John McCain.
Most corporations, including the vast majority of foreign companies doing business in the United States, pay no income taxes, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.
During the eight-year period covered by the report, 72 percent of foreign-owned corporations went at least one year without owing taxes, and the same was true for 55 percent of domestic corporations.
Small companies were much more likely to pay no taxes than larger companies. Still, more than 3,500 large domestic corporations - with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts - did not pay taxes in 2005.
Attorney General Mukasey Refuses Justice Dept Prosecution: "Not Every Wrong, Or Even Every Violation Of The Law, Is A Crime"
Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice hiring scandal
By MARK SHERMAN | Yahoo!News
Former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday.
Mukasey used his sharpest words yet to criticize the senior leaders who took part in or failed to stop illegal hiring practices during the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.
But, he told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws."
Targeting Immigrants - The Largest Ever US ICE Raid
by Stephen Lendman
"...When the executive branch forces the hand of the judiciary, the result is abuse of power and arbitrariness, unworthy of a democracy founded upon the constitutional principle of checks and balances."
The 2002 Homeland Security Act established its largest investigative and enforcement arm in 2003: the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) created "as a law enforcement agency for the post-9/11 era, to integrate enforcement authorities against criminal and terrorist activities, including the fights against human trafficking and smuggling, violent transnational gangs and sexual predators on children" - "criminal" and "terrorist" threats to the nation.
Muslims are its principal targets. So are Latino immigrants, forced to seek work here because of NAFTA's devastating effect on their lives and well-being. Turning logic, fairness and justice on its head in the current climate of fear, ICE calls them (and Muslims) "people....support(ing) terrorism and other criminal activities....against the United States" - 276,912 so-called "illegal aliens" removed from the country in FY2007 to justify its burgeoning budget to "keep America safe."
Use of Iraq Contractors Costs Billions, Report Says
By JAMES RISEN | NYTimes.com
The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush administration’s unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday.
The report, by the Congressional Budget Office, according to people with knowledge of its contents, will say that one out of every five dollars spent on the war in Iraq has gone to contractors for the United States military and other government agencies, in a war zone where employees of private contractors now outnumber American troops.
Blackwater Worldwide, the contractor whose provision of private security in Iraq has been under scrutiny, and its affiliated companies may have improperly obtained more than $100 million in contracts meant for small businesses, according to federal auditors.
A report by the Small Business Administration's inspector general, issued in July, found that Blackwater and its affiliates, including Presidential Airways, won 39 contracts in the fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007 despite indications that the companies employed more than the number specified by the U.S. government. In some cases, the report said, the companies also had higher revenues than allowed for a small business.
The RoveCyberGate Campaign: Stunning Revelations About Election Fraud & How You Can Help Preserve the Integrity of Your Ballot
The RoveCyberGate Campaign
Brought to you by VelvetRevolution.us in cooperation with AfterDowningStreet.org
We are working with Ohio election attorneys, Cliff Arnebeck, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Eckert to find out the truth about recent information indicating that Karl Rove architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers. Rove’s Cyber Guru, Michael Connell, has worked for the Bush family for over 20 years and helped Bush Sr., Jeb and Bush Jr. “win” their elections using his computer skills. Whistleblowers, including a Republican cyber security expert, say that several of these and other national elections have been rigged through various invisible and illegal means, including vote tabulation manipulation, improper partisan use of the Justice Department to target Democrats and uncooperative US Attorneys, and the laundering of hundreds of millions of corporate dollars funneled into fake advocacy groups directed against Democrat candidates running for public office. Ex-Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has stated publicly that Rove was the person who directed Siegelman’s rigged election and criminal prosecution. GOP cyber sleuth Stephen Spoonamore has stated publicly that the leadership of the GOP has been "lying and stealing elections" and doing so through computers. Watch the stunning and revealing video here (play time 30 mins - and worth every minute!).
According to the attorneys, Rove’s goal with this strategy is to establish a unitary Executive Branch with a supportive judiciary, a weak legislature and a fearful press.
Corporate sponsors of this strategy, such as tobacco, energy, telecom, and pharmaceutical companies are rewarded with hands off government: deregulated oversight, stringent limits on class-action damages, the stacking of high courts with pro-business/anti-consumer Justices etc.
Everything to Lose: Who's in Charge in the Middle East?
By Susan Morrison – August 11, 2008
There is one belligerent nation in the Middle East. Exactly one.
Stretching from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan there is only one nation in
which nearly a century has dared infringe upon a neighbor, save for
colonial powers. Israel. I make exception here for Hafez al-Assad and
Anwar Sedot's ill-fated gamble to regain lost territory from Israel in
1973. It was a good gamble, a two-pronged assault which may have
regained lost territory, the Golan Heights for Syria and the Sinai
Peninsula, in whole, for Egypt. But it was the master of statescraft,
Henry Kissinger, and Sedot's betrayal of Assad which cut those desires
short. Egypt maintained a portion of the Sinai, but Syria and Lebanon
suffered many losses and came up short. Israel has repeatedly attacked
Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria in its fanatical quest
By Dave Lindorff
We Americans got a graphic illustration of the demise of any independent American corporate news media these past few days as the coverage on TV and in print was saturated with reports about John Edwards’ infidelity and, equally important, Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
It’s touching how American neoconservatives who have no regard for international law when they want to invade some troublesome country have developed a sudden reverence for national sovereignty.
Apparently, context is everything. So, the United States attacking Grenada or Nicaragua or Panama or Iraq or Serbia is justified even if the reasons sometimes don’t hold water or don’t hold up before the United Nations, The Hague or other institutions of international law.
However, when Russia attacks Georgia in a border dispute over Georgia’s determination to throttle secession movements in two semi-autonomous regions, everyone must agree that Georgia’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and Russia must be condemned.
A 7/31/08 report by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) shows even the most token coverage of the impeachment hearings as receiving no respect: “CNN's Election Center program devoted a July 25 report to mocking a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee investigating White House abuses of power. ‘Believe it or not, there was a congressional hearing today about impeaching the president,’ scoffed host Campbell Brown, who added: ‘It was all stagecraft, though.’ Brown went on to introduce the report by CNN correspondent Erica Hill by saying, ‘Tell us about this piece of Kabuki theater, Erica.’’ According to FAIR Brown is married to Dan Senor; a former deputy. press secretary for Bush.
Preamble, from Tom:
"If the global war on terror has produced one undeniable conclusion," writes Andrew Bacevich in a striking new post from Tomdispatch, "it is this: Estimates of U.S. military capabilities have turned out to be wildly overstated. The Bush administration's misplaced confidence in the efficacy of American arms represents a strategic misjudgment that has cost the country dearly. Even in an age of stealth, precision weapons, and instant communications, armed force is not a panacea. Even in a supposedly unipolar era, American military power turns out to be quite limited."
House Republicans are incensed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refuses to cave to their political grandstanding and call Congress back into session. The GOP has promised to continue pushing for oil drilling until the Democratic convention in late August.
There’s no question that the conservative rhetoric surrounding their political stunt has been hyperbolic. Earlier this week, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) called it the “2008 version of the Boston Tea Party.” Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) called it “America’s greatest hour.” But House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today went a step further, ratcheting up violent rhetoric to rail against Pelosi. The Crypt reports:
Responding to questions over whether Pelosi could call a special session - which Democrats insist won’t happen - and vote on other issues that Republicans may not want to face, such as an expansion of childrens’ health insurance programs, which President Bush and GOP congressional leaders have opposed.
“She’s gonna bring us back and not deal with it? The American people are gonna hang her,” Boehner said. When pressed further, Boehner said it would “be fine, as long as we get a vote on our bill.”
Dead civilians in South Ossetia. But you will not hear much about it on CNN or Faux News. Because they are too busy reporting ad nauseam about the extramarital shenanigans of CFR darling John Edwards.
In order to find out what’s really going on in Georgia, you have to read the international press on the internet. Bush, McCain, and Obama may cast blame on Russia, but reading the international press you get a different perspective.
Russia accuses U.S. of orchestrating conflict
“Russian officials believe that it was the USA that orchestrated the current conflict. The chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security, Vladimir Vasilyev, believes that the current conflict is South Ossetia is very reminiscent to the wars in Iraq and Kosovo,” reports Pravda, the Russian newspaper.
Recall the CIA admitting it “helped to train the Kosovo Liberation Army before Nato’s bombing of Yugoslavia,” according to The Sunday Times. The KLA is a perfect outfit for the CIA. “Known for its extensive links to Albanian and European crime syndicates, the KLA was supported from the outset in the mid-1990s by the CIA and Germany’s intelligence agency, the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND). In the course of the 1999 war, the KLA was supported directly by NATO,” writes Michel Chossudovsky. “The KLA had extensive links to Al Qaeda, which was also involved in military training. Mujahideen mercenaries from a number of countries integrated the ranks of the KLA, which was involved in terrorist activities as well as political assassinations.” Of course, “links to Al Qaeda” translate into links to the CIA.
The 2001 anthrax attacks led to a huge, expensive clean-up effort and sparked a brand new industry called "biodefense." NPR's David Kestenbaum and Andrea Seabrook talk about how monitoring, vaccination, and other costly biosecurity programs have borne limited results.
The Air National Guardsmen who operate Predator drones over Iraq
via remote control, launching deadly missile attacks from the safety
of Southern California 7,000 miles away, are suffering some of the
same psychological stresses as their comrades on the battlefield.
Working in air-conditioned trailers, Predator pilots observe the field
of battle through a bank of video screens and kill enemy fighters with
a few computer keystrokes. Then, after their shifts are over, they get
to drive home and sleep in their own beds.
But that whiplash transition is taking a toll on some of them
mentally, and so is the way the unmanned aircraft's cameras enable
Pentagon To Test Unclassified Alternative to Talon
David Morgan | Yahoo!News
The Pentagon, which closed its Talon intelligence database nearly a year ago amid concerns about domestic spying, will soon begin testing an unclassified alternative for tracking possible threats to U.S. military bases, officials said on Tuesday.
The system, an FBI-operated program called eGuardian, would for the first time sever the Defense Department's collection of data on suspicious activity from U.S. intelligence operations by placing the information in an unclassified database for law enforcement agencies, officials said.
Pentagon officials hope an unclassified system run by the FBI would help insulate the job of gathering information about potential threats from public concerns about domestic espionage that surrounded Talon for years.
Here goes an activist judge again, encroaching on President Bush’s ability to do his job.
Oh, wait. U.S. District Judge John Bates, who on Thursday rightly slapped down yet another administration attempt to stretch presidential prerogative beyond the law, is a Bush appointee.
Bates said that former White House counsel Harriet Miers could not claim executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena.
Bates also ruled that current Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten should provide a more detailed description of documents he’s withholding as privileged, though the judge didn’t order the material turned over.
The Anthrax Attacks and the Assault on Civil Liberties
By Paul Craig Roberts | OpEdNews.com
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists” in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
(Caution: Irony alert.)
Okay, I know it's a surprising conclusion, but hear me out.
As far back as April of 2001, the man some call "The Architect" wrote in a memo to Paul Wolfowitz that the anthrax vaccine was "a political problem for us." That's right. Rove was worried about the very same thing Bruce Ivins was allegedly worried about: the anthrax vaccine.
Countdown to Crawford: Impeach Bush Crowd Dogs Pelosi's Book Tour
Johanna Neuman | LATimes
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who last year became the first woman in U.S. history to be elected speaker, is on a book tour.
"Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters," charts her journey from stay-at-home mom to politician and urges young women to reach their potential.
But in pushing the book, Pelosi is likely to run into a gauntlet of outraged voters who want to know why she will not allow impeachment proceedings against President Bush.
Photojournalist Disembedded After Posting Graphic Images
Listen now [16 min 46 sec]
"What I saw was abhorently [sic] graphic," Miller writes, "yet far too important for the world to ignore."
The military argues that publishing images of dead American servicemen is an insult to their memories and insensitive to their families. Officials also warn it could create security problems.
White House Signals Desire to Negotiate on Subpoenas
By Keith Perine | CQ.com
The White House signaled Friday that it is willing to negotiate an end to a dispute over congressional subpoenas for current and former officials even as the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to settle the matter.
“The fact that the executive has noticed an appeal in this matter does not signify that we think further litigation is the exclusive path forward,” White House counsel Fred F. Fielding wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
Fielding offered to open staff discussions next week, and Conyers accepted.