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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.
by Linda Milazzo
After weeks of collecting signatures from constituents in San Francisco's 8th Congressional District, Independent candidate Cindy Sheehan has made it onto the November ballot to oppose Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for Pelosi's heretofore secure Congressional seat. As Sheehan told me exclusively this afternoon:
"I think this is the happiest that I have been since before Casey was killed (except when my grandson was born). Getting on the ballot as an independent in California is so difficult, but with the help of many of our friends who are committed to peace, accountability, economic equality and environmental sustainability, we have done it! The voice of the people will be on the ballot in San Francisco in November."
(The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (H.R. 3835), which addresses most of the issues outlined below, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul on October 15, 2007. Click here to read the text of the bill.)
At critical moments in our history, Americans have been called upon to protect our Constitutional guarantees of liberty and justice. We face such a moment today. The American Freedom Campaign is a non-partisan citizens' alliance formed to reverse the abuse of executive power and restore our system of checks and balances with these ten goals:
Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.
Russia dispatched an armored column into the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a surprise offensive to crush separatists. Witnesses said hundreds of civilians were killed.
The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated a cease-fire.
Dean Baker: is there anything he doesn't know?
Here's email Baker sent out on August 10, 2006, talking about the UK Airline Bomber Plot:
So, do you think the British airplane plot is the response to Lieberman's defeat? It certainly is conveniently timed, and we know that we are dealing with people who would have no qualms whatsoever about pulling a stunt like this. Having it down in Britain also is helpful to bush, since it removes his crew from the direct line of fire, while still providing the same benefits in terms of hyping terrorist paranoia. Needless to say, lapdog Tony would gladly do as told, if the orders were given.
I was skeptical of this perspective at the time. Yet it was almost exactly correct. Here's Ron Suskind yesterday on Fresh Air describing what happened:
NEW YORK The Reuters Foundation, in collaboration with the Stanley Foundation, is accepting applications from U.S. journalists to participate in an all-expenses-paid journalism training course in Beijing, China, Nov. 10-14.
Six American journalists will be paired with six Chinese journalists in a program designed to help reporters develop international news writing skills for U.S. and Chinese audiences. Guest speakers, reporting field trips, and classroom training will be part of the course.
Geothermal Energy Tapped to Power Oregon Institute of Technology
by Matthew McDermott | TreeHugger.com
Here’s a “world’s first” that’s worth mentioning: the Oregon Institute of Technology will be the world’s first university to be entirely powered from geothermal energy. The Klamath Falls school announced this week that it will be constructing a $7.6 million dollar geothermal power plant on campus which will not only provide energy to the school, but will also allow students to study and research geothermal energy technologies.
ICE Chief Calls for Congress to Discipline Lawmaker for ‘Gestapo’ Remark
By John Bicknell | CQ.com
The head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ask Congress to consider taking disciplinary action against one of its members for a statement he made equating ICE agents with the Gestapo, a senior agency official said Wednesday.
Luis V. Gutierrez, vice chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that handles immigration, has called for a moratorium on ICE enforcement actions until Congress passes a comprehensive overhaul, something it has failed to do in each of the past two years.
In a column written for Politico, Gutierrez, D-Ill., commenting on recent ICE arrests of illegal immigrants in Iowa, said: “You know who is in charge now? The Gestapo agents at Homeland Security. They are in charge.”
Last month 25-year-old U.S. Army PFC Robin Long became the first war resister since the Vietnam War to be forcefully deported from Canadian soil and handed over to military authorities. Robin is currently being held in the El Paso County Jail, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, awaiting a military court martial for resisting the unjust and illegal war against and occupation of Iraq. Robin will be court martialed for desertion “with intent to remain away permanently”—Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice—in early September. The maximum allowable penalty for a guilty verdict on this charge is three years confinement, forfeiture of pay, and a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
If Ron Suskind's sensational charge that the White House and CIA colluded in forging evidence to justify the Iraq invasion isn't proved conclusively in his new book, "The Way of the World," then the sorry record of the Bush administration offers no basis to dismiss his allegation. Setting aside the relative credibility of the author and the government, the relevant question is whether the available facts demand a full investigation by a congressional committee, with testimony under oath.
When we look back at the events surrounding the emergence of the faked letter that is at the center of this controversy, a strong circumstantial case certainly can be made in support of Suskind's story.
CNN Airs Suskind’s CIA Forgery Allegations, Impeachment Call
By Matthew Balan | NewsBusters.com
Wolf Blitzer, CNN Host & Ron Suskind, author | NewsBusters.orgWednesday’s The Situation Room aired an interview of author Ron Suskind, who alleges in his new book that the Bush administration engaged in a "disinformation campaign" by forging documents in the lead-up to the Iraq war. This came a day after host Wolf Blitzer made the allegations in the book lead items on the program.
The CodePink Affinity Group "Impeachment Theater" is looking for actors, costumers, prop managers, etc. to help produce a couple of impeachment street theater plays at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
We have a very short one by David Swanson starring Pelosi, a possible impeachment hearing, and maybe even a murder trial. We need your help!
Susan Harman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-482-2856
Sacramento CA Holds 22nd Annual Peace Event Commemorating Hiroshima & Nagasaki This Saturday Featuring Mary Youngblood
Annual August Peace Event Will Feature Bill Durston, Mary Youngblood!
Bill Durston, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, will be one of the featured speakers at the 22nd annual August Peace Event, held this year at the Sacramento State Alumni Center (near the Student Center) on Saturday, August 9, 2008 from 4:30-6:30 PM.
The event commemorates the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Bill will be speaking from about 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. about the ongoing risk of nuclear weapons and the need for worldwide nuclear disarmament. The program will also feature music by the Grammy Award winning Native American artist, Mary Youngblood, and a Taiko drum performance.
Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Come by early to talk with Bill and enjoy refreshments before the program begins at 4:30 p.m. The late Joan B. Lee will also be honored at this event.
Saudi Arabia is to build five modern prisons in the kingdom to replace US Guantanamo detention facility, a new report has revealed.
Jordanian daily quoted unnamed sources as saying that US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi officials are cooperating to construct the prisons which are to replace Guantanamo and US secret prisons in Europe.
Riyadh is to spent about two billion Saudi Rials for the project which can accommodate up to 18000 inmates, they added.
Bin laden firm and with the help of German engineers will build the prisons in the Saudi cities of Mecca, Haer, Demmam, and Qasim.
SEIU Campaign Aims at Sovereign Wealth Funds, Private Equity Firms; Secrecy Jeopardizes National Security
AMERICA FOR SALE?
Foreign Governments’ Links to Secretive Buyout Firms Raise Potential National Security Concerns, Says New Public Awareness Campaign
Ads calling for increased federal oversight to run in six states
WASHINGTON, DC – Potential national security concerns are being raised over the growing links between foreign governments and secretive private equity buyout firms in a major new public awareness campaign being launched today. The campaign, sponsored by one of the nation’s largest unions, SEIU (Service Employees International Union), calls for stronger federal oversight of arrangements where foreign government-controlled investment funds, known as “sovereign wealth funds (SWFs),” buy into private firms that own or invest in American companies responsible for defense, energy, and homeland security.
Reasonable people can disagree about which of George W. Bush's disastrous decisions will prove to have damaged the American people most.
The lineup for the GOP Convention isn’t set, but Dick Cheney’s role seems set. He’s going to be absent. Evidently the current Vice President is so toxic in his disapprovals that few Americans, even Republicans, want to be seen with him. Everyone who is surprised, raise your hands.
Protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver can be restricted to fenced-in areas, federal judge ruled on Wednesday, saying that security needs outweighed curbs on their rights.
A dozen groups who intend to protest at the August convention sued the U.S. Secret Service and the city of Denver over plans to confine their activities to a parade route and fenced-in zone, saying that their Constitutional rights to free speech were being violated.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee and others argued that the rules would keep them too far away from delegates to get their message across during the convention, which is scheduled for Aug 25-28 at the city's downtown Pepsi Center.
U.S. Attorney Scandal Probe Enters White House Circle; Special Prosecutor Called "Nightmare Scenario"
The Justice Department investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys has been extended to encompass allegations that senior White House officials played a role in providing false and misleading information to Congress, according to numerous sources involved in the inquiry.
The widened scope raises the possibility that investigators will pursue criminal charges against some administration officials, and recommend appointment of a special prosecutor if there is evidence of criminal misconduct.
Jack Nounnan sends this news:
We've made the Eureka Ballot! Last night the Eureka City Council voted unanimously to put "The Initiative To Prohibit The Military Recruiting Of Any Persons Under the Age Of Eighteen" in the November elections. We spent four months of concentrated petitioning of people in door-to-door canvassing across the city and in front of markets and public places obtaining almost 2400 signatures.
Anti-War Website Operator Threatened By Armed Thugs
Paul Joseph Watson | Prison Planet
The operator of a leading alternative news and strongly anti-war website has become the target of nefarious thugs apparently in the employ of the U.S. government who have continually harassed him and ordered him to shut down his website.
Tom Feeley, owner and editor of InformationClearingHouse.info, has endured public harassment, home invasions, death threats and threats to his family simply for running a website.
War with Iran - On, Off or Undecided?
by Stephen Lendman
There's good news and bad, mostly the latter but don't
discount the good. On May 22, (non-binding) HR 362 was
introduced in the House - with charges and proposals
so outlandish that if passed and implemented will be a
blockade and act of war. It accused Iran of: