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Evidence against terrorism suspect barred at Guantanamo trial
By Carol J. Williams | Los Angeles Times
A military judge says some statements by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, were made in 'highly coercive' settings. It could set a standard for other cases.
WASHINGTON -- The military judge overseeing the first war crimes trial against a terrorism suspect at Guantanamo Bay agreed Monday to bar some evidence against Osama bin Laden's former driver because it was obtained in "highly coercive environments and conditions."
By Dave Lindorff
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has caught some flak for proposing, in an address to the American Enterprise Institute, that Congress should declare war on Al Qaeda.
Instead, he should be applauded for his brilliant idea.
First of all, Mukasey is admitting, whether he wants to admit it or not, that the Bush/Cheney program of capturing alleged terrorists and holding them for years as enemy combatants without charge in detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and various undisclosed locations around the globe, and of torturing many of them, are illegal actions that violate US law and International Law. So let’s give him credit for that.
On May 6th the American Strategy Program hosted an event with Philippe Sands, Professor of International Law at University College London and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colon Powell. Mr. Sands was in DC to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about the findings in his new book, Torture Team, which examines the legal implications of the Bush administration's policy of torture. Col. Wilkerson was on hand for commentary on the subject. The event was moderated by Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the American Strategy program.
New airport security devices "see" through clothing
By Jon Hilkevitch | Chicago Tribune
Potentially embarrassing "graphic" full-body scans to begin in the fall at O'Hare
Air travelers in Chicago will soon be literally exposed to a revealing full-body scan before boarding planes.
The new procedure, which is sure to make some passengers blush and others burn in anger over what critics call a virtual reality strip-search, is part of a "security evolution" at airport passenger checkpoints around the country.
It comes amid continuing concerns that Al Qaeda-trained suicide bombers are potentially only one plane ticket away from a U.S. attack, according to the nation's top transportation security official.
A US soldier wound up on the "Do Not Fly" list and the TSA refused to call the Army to clear him. Instead, his mom got him cleared for future flights. Video link doesn't seem to work.
A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.
The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.
Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.
Local Republicans say the plan stinks and they will oppose it.
The United States and Iraq have agreed to seek "a general time horizon" for deeper reductions in American combat troops in Iraq despite President George W. Bush's once-inflexible opposition to talking about deadlines and timetables.
Iraqi officials, in a sign of growing confidence as violence decreases, have been pressuring the United States to agree to a specific timeline to withdraw U.S. forces. The White House said Friday that the timeframe being discussed would not be "an arbitrary date for withdrawal."
Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki talked about the timing issue as part of discussions over a broader security agreement to keep American troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31.
Katherine Tiedemann is a Program Associate with the New America Foundation's Nuclear Strategy & Nonproliferation Initiative.
By Dave Lindorff
I was injured thanks to the government’s ridiculous airport security program last week on a US Air flight from Chicago to Philadelphia. I also saw how pointless the whole thing is, if the supposed goal is really to prevent airline hijackings.
First, my injury. Because of a silly fear that I might blow up a plane with explosives tucked into my running shoes, I, along with everyone else in the security checkpoint line at O’Hare, including two-month-old babies wearing little booties, had to doff my footwear. Clad in just socks, I tried to maneuver my way around a metal counter that held those plastic trays carrying my laptop, my shoes, my belt and change and keys, and my carry-on bag, and in the process my unprotected big toe hit a sharp piece of metal protruding from the table.
by Linda Milazzo
Today on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, responded to a viewer who asked why she took the impeachment of George W. Bush off the table. Pelosi's response (below in video and text), is categoric proof of her incompetence, dereliction of duty, disdain for the Constitution and disregard for the people of this nation. It underscores why she should NOT continue as Speaker of the House and why she should NOT be reelected in November.
By not going forward with her Constitutionally mandated requirement to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their high crimes and misdemeanors, Mrs. Pelosi has cemented her legacy and secured her "BUT" forever. Let me be clear - I don't mean the double "TT" derriere kind of "BUTT." I mean the single "T" conjunction kind of "BUT." The proviso. The disclaimer. The tiny word that will ever be the prefix to her legacy. The "BUT" her grandchildren will hear from those who know history and politics - and who care about humanity - when they mention that Pelosi is their grandmother. The "BUT" like:
"BUT" wasn't your grandmother the one who wouldn't impeach George W. Bush?
"BUT" wasn't your grandmother the one who let Bush get away with murder?
"BUT" why did your grandmother do that?"
Note: Wolf Blitzer's complete, exclusive interview with Speaker Pelosi will air this Sunday evening; check your local listings for time and channel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Bush "a total failure" on Thursday, among the California Democrat's harshest assessments to date of the president.
"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.
Contaminated US Site Faces 'Catastrophic' Nuclear Leak
ONE of "the most contaminated places on Earth" will only get dirtier if the US government doesn't get its act together - clean-up plans are already 19 years behind schedule and not due for completion until 2050.
More than 210 million litres of radioactive and chemical waste are stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford in Washington State. Most are over 50 years old. Already 67 of the tanks have failed, leaking almost 4 million litres of waste into the ground.
In a supplement to his responses to the House Judiciary Committee, Patrick Fitzgerald confirms what we've always suspected: Karl Rove was trying to have Patrick Fitzgerald fired while Fitzgerald was still investigating Rove for his role in leaking Valerie Wilson's identity--and the timing lines up perfectly with the Administration's efforts to fire a bunch of US Attorneys.
Remember back in June, when Fitzgerald publicly suggested he had more details to share with Congress about Rove's efforts to get him fired?
"If I owe a response [about the putsch to remove him from his job], I owe it to Congress, first," Fitzgerald said when asked about all this after the verdict.
Well, it turns out Fitzgerald did share those details with Congress. And those details make it clear that Fitzgerald learned Rove was trying to fire him while Fitzgerald was still actively investigating Rove's role in the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity.
The controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding has served a "valuable" purpose and does not constitute torture, former Attorney General John Ashcroft told a House committee Thursday.
Testifying on the Bush administration's interrogation rules before the House Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft defended the technique while answering a question from Rep. Howard Coble, R-North Carolina.
"Waterboarding, as we all know, is a controversial issue. Do you think it served a beneficial purpose?" the congressman asked.
The United States should be making all of its electricity with renewable and carbon-free energy in 10 years, former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday.
"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Gore said.
In a speech at Washington's Constitution Hall, Gore touched on an array of the nation's current woes, saying the economic, environmental and national security crises are all related.
"I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously," Gore said.
To begin to fix all the problems, Gore said, "the answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels."
By Dave Lindorff
The sorry performance of the US corporate media, which blacked out stories questioning the official line on the so-called “Iraq Threat” until the nation was deeply mired in to pointless, bloody war in that country, and which has almost completely ignored a three-year, nation-wide movement calling for the impeachment of the president and vice president, has continued.
Late Monday night, the City of Bellingham became the first city in Washington to take an official stance against US military intervention in Iran. The council’s unanimous 7-0 vote received a standing ovation from a crowd of supporters.
Bellingham is now the thirteenth city in the nation to have approved a resolution regarding opposition to war with Iran.
“We are thrilled tonight,” stated Marie Marchand, executive director of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. “It is not often that my elected officials represent my viewpoint, especially given the abdication of power on the part of our national leaders. However, it’s different at the local level. The Bellingham City Council has, once again, stepped up to do their job and represent the people.”
By Dave Lindorff
There are two ways to view the news that the House Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on impeachable crimes by President George W. Bush.
One view would be that this is all a charade and that after all, it will not be a real impeachment hearing, but rather, simply a hearing into the impeachable crimes of the Bush administration. As committee Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) put it, “We’re not doing impeachment, but he [Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who introduced 36 articles of impeachment] can talk about it.” Viewed that way, this is not such a big deal. Rep. Kucinich gets to make his case that the president is committing high crimes and misdemeanors and abuses of power and war crimes, but then Congressional Democrats will continue to ignore all the crimes as it has done since taking control of Congress in November 2006.
By Dave Lindorff
I don’t believe in torture, but right now, I’d like to see a few people subjected to some of the torture techniques that they approved for use against US captives in the so-called War on Terror.
I’d be satisfied if they just stuck to the ones used against 15-year-old Omar Khadr—techniques that a US federal judge established constituted torture under the Geneva Conventions.
I have a 15-year old son, so I’m particularly aware of what an atrocity it has been the way the US has treated Khadr, and some 2500 other young boys and teenagers that it admits to having captured and labeled as “enemy combatants” in its so-called “war on terror.”
GM Tanks and Americans Struggle with Rising Energy Costs; the Question Remains: "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
This is a full length documentary playing around 90 minutes.
The green zone of Baghdad, a highly fortified slice of American suburbia on the banks of the Tigris river, may soon be handed over to Iraqi control if the increasingly assertive government of Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, gets its way.
A senior Iraqi government official said this weekend the enclave should revert to Iraqi control by the end of the year. “We think that by the end of 2008 all the zones in Baghdad should be integrated into the city,” said Ali Dabbagh, the government’s spokesman.
“The American soldiers should be based in agreed camps outside the cities and population areas.
U.S., Iraq Scale Down Negotiations Over ForcesLong-Term Agreement Will Fall to Next PresidentBy Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, July 13, 2008; A01U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have abandoned efforts to conclude a comprehensive agreement governing the long-term status of U.S troops in Iraq before the end of the Bush presidency, according to senior U.S. officials, effectively leaving talks over an extended U.S. military presence there to the next administration.
Florida Progressive Radio Presents The Mark Weaver Show Featuring Carah Ong, Iran Policy Analyst, This Week
Blog Talk Radio Presents
Florida Progressive Radio: The Mark Weaver Show
Probably the most important show Mark Weaver has done since going on the air September 15th, 2007.
Special guest will be Carah Ong, Iran policy analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Proliferation in Washington, D.C., discussing the imminent passage of neocon House Con. Resolution 362.
Also, Stanford Professor Martin Carnoy on the best performing education system in Latin America -- Cuba's.
Tune in weekly; download the podcasts! Programs are archived for your listening convenience!
John McCain is having a townhall-by-telephone for Virginians tonight at 7:00 pm ET. Anyone with a Virginia area code—and maybe people with unidentified area codes—should be able to call in and possibly ask him a question. As far as I know questions aren't screened, and everyone has an equal chance of being called on.
Here's how it works:
These are a few questions I'd try to ask if I were from Virginia:
1. Iraqi leaders are now saying they want a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops. If you become president, and the elected Iraqi government has decided it wants all US troops to leave by a certain date, will you commit here and now to following their wishes?
WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan commission Tuesday called for a new law to require the next president to ask Congress for formal approval of any decision to go to war and force the White House to consult Congress once a war is underway.
The panel, led by former secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, determined that the 1973 War Powers Act had failed and should be replaced. It was passed during the Vietnam War to limit the president's power to launch hostilities, but presidents of both parties have argued it is unconstitutional.
"The fundamental purpose of our statute is to ensure that the president consults with Congress before taking the nation to war," Christopher said at a news conference with Baker and other panel members.
The proposed law would require the president to notify Congress of any plans for combat lasting, or expected to last, longer than one week and require Congress to vote on a resolution of approval within 30 days of being notified. Military actions shorter than one week and covert operations would be exempt. (Covert operations are reviewed by Congress in secret, under a different law.)
A California group submitted a proposal Monday to rename a sewage treatment plant after President Bush, calling the initiative a fitting tribute to the outgoing chief executive and the "mess" he'll leave behind.
The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco wants to switch the name of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.
Supporters hoping to put the issue on the November ballot turned in more than 10,000 signatures to San Francisco election officials, organizer Brian McConnell said. The measure needs just over 7,000 valid names to qualify and McConnell expects to find out later this month whether they made it.
By Dave Lindorff
In a New York Times column on Monday (“Behind the Bush Bust”), economics columnist Paul Krugman mused on whether President George Bush could be blamed for the nation’s economic crisis. His conclusion was that, yes, to some extent the crisis was Bush’s fault, but he largely lets the current administration off the hook, instead blaming Republican policies dating back 10-15 years.
Oddly, Krugman does say that a key cause of economic problems has been rising energy prices, but he then attributes these to “growing demand from China and other emerging economies,” and suggests that prices might have been at least a bit lower had the US, after 9/11, adopted “higher gas taxes and fuel efficiency standards,” a failing he attributes to Bush.
What would you do with $3 Trillion Dollars? Spend, spend, spend! Can YOU spend it better?
By Dave Lindorff
Celeste Zappala, the Gold Star mother of an early casualty in America's invasion of Iraq who lost her son when he was doing guard duty during a fraudulent "search" for alleged WMDs in Iraq, was speaking from the heart when she told a group of antiwar demonstrators at Philadelphia's Independence Mall Saturday that she was grateful no American troops had been killed during the past week in Iraq.
Her concern for the troops' well-being is understandable.
But left unsaid is that the lower US casualty figures in Iraq are coming at the expense of much higher civilian casualties. This is even more true in Afghanistan, where the war is heating up.