Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Iraq: Indian Country. Another one.

In the same theme as the last post, we have this essay on America’s war on Iraq. I say “war on Iraq” but maybe it would be truer to say “war with Iraq.” We’ve sort of set up a puppet government that we expect to respect our invasion as if we were invited to attack and bomb the country: “Oh, please, bomb us some more!”

We’re there to civilize them, right? Civilize them with white phosphorus, depleted uranium bullets, and murderous mercenaries. What a farce! But it is in our historical genes. America conquered the native people of North America in the name of civilization, christianity, and charity; when the people resisted, America declared them to be enemies, went to war with them, and interned them into relocation centers—those places were renamed “Reservatios,” of course and told them they were free and clear to do what they wanted. Within limits. But, oh, that land might be more valuable than anyone thought, and America took a lot of it back. Most of it. It’s an ugly story.

Read this:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.


Ten Ways to Interpret the War on Terror as a Frontier Conflict

by: John Brown
The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is, like all historical events, unique. But both its supporters and opponents compare it to past U.S. military conflicts. The Bush administration and the neocons have drawn parallels between GWOT and World War II as well as GWOT and the Cold War. Joshua E. London, writing in the National Review, sees the War on Terror as a modern form of the struggle against the Barbary pirates. Vietnam and the Spanish-American War have been preferred analogies for other commentators. A Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Anne Applebaum, says that the war in Iraq might be like that in Korea, because of "the ambivalence of their conclusions." For others, the War on Terror, with its loose rhetoric, brings to mind the "war on poverty" or the "war on drugs."

I'd like to suggest another way of looking at the War on Terror: as a twenty-first century continuation of, or replication of, the American Indian wars, on a global scale. This is by no means something that has occurred to me alone, but it has received relatively little attention. Here are ten reasons why I'm making this suggestion:
1. Key supporters of the War on Terror themselves see GWOT as an Indian war. Take, for example, the right-wing intellectuals Robert Kaplan and Max Boot who, although not members of the administration, also advocate a tough military stance against terrorists. In a Wall Street Journal article, "Indian Country," Kaplan notes that "an overlooked truth about the war on terrorism" is that "the American military is back to the days of fighting the Indians." Iraq, he notes, "is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard." Kaplan has now put his thoughts into a book, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground, which President Bush read over the holidays. Kaplan points out that "'Welcome to Injun Country' was the refrain I heard from troops from Colombia to the Philippines, including Afghanistan and Iraq.... The War on Terrorism was really about taming the frontier."
As for Max Boot, he writes, "‘small wars' -- fought by a small number of professional U.S. soldiers -- are much more typical of American history than are the handful of ‘total' wars that receive most of the public attention. Between 1800 and 1934, U.S. Marines staged 180 landings abroad. And that's not even counting the Indian wars the army was fighting every year until 1890." A key GWOT battlefield, Boot suggests, is Afghanistan, noting that "[i]f the past is any indication of the future, we have a lot more savage wars ahead."
2. The essential paradigm of the War of Terror -- us (the attacked) against them (the attackers) -- was no less essential to the mindset of white settlers regarding the Indians, starting at least from the 1622 Indian massacre of 347 people at Jamestown, Virginia. With rare exceptions, newly arrived Europeans and their descendants, as well as their leaders, saw Indians as mortal enemies who started the initial fight against them, savages with whom they could not co-exist. The Declaration of Independence condemned "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." When governor of Virginia (1780), Thomas Jefferson stated:
"If we are to wage a campaign against these Indians the end proposed should be their extermination, or their removal beyond the lakes of the Illinois River. The same world would scarcely do for them and us."
President Andrew Jackson, whose "unapologetic flexing of military might" has been compared to George W. Bush's modus operandi, noted in his "Case for the Removal [of Indians] Act" (December 8, 1830):
"What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, . . . and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?"
Us vs. them is, of course, a feature of all wars, but the starkness of this dichotomy -- seen by GWOT supporters as a struggle between the civilized world and a global jihad -- is as strikingly apparent in the War on Terror as it was in the Indian Wars.
3. GWOT is based on the principle of preventive strike, meant to put off "potential, future and, therefore, speculative attacks" -- just as U.S. Army conflicts against the Indians often were. We have to get them before they get us -- such is the assumption behind both sets of wars. As Professor Jack D. Forbes wrote in a 2003 piece, "Old Indian Wars Dominate Bush Doctrines," in the Bay Mills News:
"Bush has declared that the US will attack first before an ‘enemy' has the ability to act. This could, of course, be called ‘The Pearl Harbor strategy' since that is precisely what the Japanese Empire did. But it also has precedents against First American nations. For example, William Henry Harrison, under pressure from Thomas Jefferson to get the American Nations out of the Illinois-Indiana region, marched an invading army to the vicinity of a Native village at Tippecanoe precisely when he knew that [Shawnee war chief and pan-tribal political leader] Tecumseh was on a tour of the south and west."
4. While U.S. mainstream thinking about GWOT enemies is that they are total aliens -- in religion, politics, economics, and social organization -- there are Americans who believe that individuals in these "primitive" societies can eventually become assimilated and thus be rendered harmless through training, education, or democratization. This is similar to the view among American settlers that in savage Indian tribes hostile to civilization, there were some that could be evangelized and Christianized and brought over to the morally right, Godly side. Once "Americanized," former hostile groups, with the worst among them exterminated, can no longer pose any threat and indeed can assist in the prolongation of conflicts against remaining evil-doers.
5. GWOT is fought abroad, but it's also a war at home, as the creation after 9/11 of a Department of Homeland Security illustrates. The Indian wars were domestic as well, carried out by the U.S. military to protect American settlers against hostile non-U.S. citizens living on American soil. (It was not until June 2, 1924 that Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States.) While engaged in the Indian wars, the U.S. fought on its own, without the help of foreign governments; such has essentially been the case with GWOT, despite the support of a few countries like Israel, the creation of a weak international "coalition" in Iraq, and NATO participation in Afghanistan operations.
6. America's close partner Israel, which over the years has taken over Arab-populated lands and welcomes U.S. immigrants, can be considered as a kind of surrogate United States in this struggle. Expanding into the Middle East, the Israelis could be seen as following the example of the American pioneers who didn't let Indians stand in their way as they settled, with the support of the U.S. military, an entire continent, driven by the conviction that they were supported by God, the Bible, and Western civilization. "I shall need," wrote Thomas Jefferson, "the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life." Less eloquently, Ariel Sharon put it this way: "Everything that's grabbed will be in our hands. Everything we don't grab will be in their hands."
7. As for the current states that are major battlefields of GWOT, Afghanistan and Iraq, it appears that the model for their future, far from being functional democracies, is that of Indian reservations. It is not unlikely that the fragile political structures of these states will sooner or later collapse, and the resulting tribal/ethnic entities will be controlled -- assuming the U.S. proves willing to engage in the long-term garrisoning in each area -- by American forces in fortified bases, as was the case with the Indian territories in the Far West. Areas under American control will provide U.S. occupiers with natural resources (e.g., oil), and American business -- if the security situation becomes manageable -- will doubtless be lured there in search of economic opportunities. Interestingly, the area outside of the Green Zone in Baghdad (where Americans have fortified themselves) is now referred to as the Red Zone -- terrorist-infested territory as dangerous to non-natives as the lands inhabited by the Redskins were to whites during the Indian wars.
8. The methods employed by the U.S. in GWOT and the Indian wars are similar in many respects: using superior technology to overwhelm the "primitive" enemy; adapting insurgency tactics, even the most brutal ones, used by the opposing side when necessary; and collaborating with "the enemy of my enemy" in certain situations (that is, setting one tribe against another). What are considered normal rules of war have frequently been irrelevant for Americans in both conflicts, given their certainty that their enemies are evil and uncivilized. The use of torture is also a feature of these two conflicts.
9. As GWOT increasingly appears to be, the Indian wars were a very long conflict, stretching from the seventeenth century to the end of the nineteenth -- the longest war in American history, starting even before the U.S. existed as a nation. There were numerous battles of varying intensity in this conflagration with no central point of confrontation -- as is the case with the War on Terror, despite its current emphasis on Iraq. And GWOT is a war being fought, like the Indian wars in the Far West, over large geographical areas -- as the Heritage Foundation's Ariel Cohen puts it, almost lyrically, "in the Greater Middle East, including the Mediterranean basin, through the Fertile Crescent, and into the remote valleys and gorges of the Caucasus and Pakistan, the deserts of Central Asia, the plateaus of Afghanistan."
10. Perhaps because they are drawn-out wars with many fronts and changing commanders, the goals of GWOT and the Indian Wars can be subject to many interpretations (indeed, even Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld at one point was eager to rename the War on Terror a "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism"). For many abroad, GWOT is a brutal expression of a mad, cowboy-led country's plans to take over the world and its resources. In the United States, a large number of Americans still interpret these two wars as God-favored initiatives to protect His chosen people and allow them to flourish. But just as attitudes in the U.S. toward Native Americans have changed in recent years (consider, for example, the saccharine 1990 film Dances with Wolves, which is sympathetic to an Indian tribe, in contrast to John Wayne shoot-the-Injuns movies), so suspicious views among the American public toward the still-seen-as-dangerous "them" of GWOT might evolve in a different direction. Such a change in perception, however, is unlikely to occur in the near future, especially under the current bellicose Bush regime, which manipulates voters' fear of terrorists to maintain its declining domestic support.

John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer who resigned from the State Department over the war in Iraq, compiles a near-daily "Public Diplomacy Press Review," available free upon request. The title for this paper comes from a 1692 quotation by Puritan preacher and witch-hunter Cotton Mather.
Copyright 2006 John H. Brown
Published by: Tom Dispatch

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Articles on the Progressivetrail are published, re-published, or syndicated with an express or blanket consent from the author or original publisher and are distributed without profit for the public interest.


Gaming and Sovereignty: Indian Rights

Indian gambling—er, “gaming”—is a hot topic. The conservatives don’t like it and the liberals are spinning around trying to be politically correct and seeing gambling as an addictive process at the same time.

Of course, Indians are entitled to do what they want to do, if you believe they are sovereign nations within the commonwealth. A lot of people don’t like that. They see Indian lands as having values the Indians are “wasting.” They don’t like being subject to Indian rules and regulations within the reservations. And they think the Indians should Just Get Over It And Let Bygones Be Bygones.

And, to be truthful, I think Indians deserve every dime and dollar they can get out of white America.

Native Currents
© Indian Country Today January 27, 2006. All Rights Reserved
Posted: January 27, 2006
by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today
Editors' note: We are always glad to see leaders in Indian country respond to media misinformation. The recent rash of anti-Indian opinion pieces requires the serious attention of all tribal columnists, journalists, researchers and letter-writers. The following was submitted by John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, as a response to a column by Jan Golab, ''Indian Gaming Woes,'' published in the Los Angeles Daily News.

Campaign finance system, not tribes, to blame for scandal

John McCarthy


Guest columnist

Those of us who live in the real world frequently marvel that many of your guest columnists seem to live in another galaxy. Today's column by Jan Golab [''Indian gaming woes,'' Jan. 22] is a stellar example. Golab, a former Playboy editor, has published numerous other attacks on tribes and sovereignty, which he says is ''a festering problem.'' This column, like his other work, is crammed with outright factual errors, incorrect conclusions and undisguised racial hatred. It is surprising and disappointing that the Los Angeles Daily News chose to publish it.

First, the factual errors. Golab is wrong about tribal sovereignty and [the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act]. Tribal sovereignty was not ''codified'' by [IGRA]. It was established as a fundamental principle under the U.S. Constitution, which recognizes tribes in the same way it recognizes the states. More than a century of legal precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts has confirmed that tribes are, indeed, self-governing nations within the United States. They exist in this fashion because their existence as governments pre-dates the establishment of the U.S. government itself. When tribes ceded lands to the United States, they did so in exchange for a promise that they would have the right to govern themselves in perpetuity. Even Mr. Golab presumably understands that ''in perpetuity'' means forever, not just until it becomes inconvenient for others.

Golab was also 100 percent wrong in his review of IGRA's origin and impact. The passage of IGRA in 1988 followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1987 California v. Cabazon [Band of Mission Indians] case. That decision did not give tribes the right to gamble in ''states that do not otherwise allow gambling.'' In fact, it held the opposite - that sovereign Indian tribes could conduct gaming operations on tribal lands without state interference as long as gaming was otherwise legal in the state. Many states had authorized lotteries, pari-mutuel wagering, and/or some forms of casino gambling for charity purposes. The court held that tribes could not be denied the right to gamble on tribal lands if others in the state were allowed to gamble under existing state law.

Then came IGRA. Congress was not, as Golab claims, ''eager to show 'simpatico''' (that's so Hollywood) with Indian tribes. In fact, IGRA was the result of pressure on Congress from state governors and attorneys general who, concerned about the Supreme Court decision, demanded that Congress give them some measure of control over tribal gaming activities. So Congress passed IGRA, which actually limited tribal sovereignty by requiring that tribes negotiate agreements with states in order to conduct Class III casino-style gaming. Many tribes opposed IGRA because they believed it gave states too much power over them.

Golab's fourth egregious error was in characterizing Indian gaming as ''our nation's largest special-interest group.'' Tribal contributions to congressional campaigns are small compared with those from other groups. In 2004, tribal contributions to congressional campaigns comprised one-third of one percent of the total contributions made, about $7.2 million out of a total $2.05 billion. During the same 2004 election cycle, the defense industry spent $15.6 million, the commercial banking industry $31 million, the health care industry $73.9 million, and the retirement industry $184 million. Where is the outcry about these big spenders?

Back to the factual errors. Golab declares that ''reservation shopping'' has resulted in ''many new gambling resorts'' and is ''truly scandalous.'' Again, he is wrong. For the record, only three off-reservation land-into-trust transactions have been approved since IGRA was passed in 1988. Only 15 tribes have received federal recognition since 1978, and only one of those tribes has gaming. Most of those recognition claims had been pending for years, having been initiated long before Indian gaming was a glimmer in anyone's eye. Sixteen petitions for recognition have been denied since 1978. These facts can be verified by the National Indian Gaming Association, which keeps such records.

If one examines today's headlines, it becomes clear that there is not so much ''reservation shopping'' as ''Indian shopping.'' Many of the high-profile proposals for off-reservation gaming expansion have been initiated not by tribes but by non-Indian communities, state governments or private companies that would partner with tribes to solve their own economic problems.

The ''litany of woes'' attributed to tribal gaming is stunningly off the mark, and again presented without a shred of evidence. The actual facts show that where tribal gaming operates, property values have substantially increased, business start-ups have increased, average wages have improved, the tax base has expanded, and welfare costs have dropped. Since most casino workers make substantially more than the minimum wage, they are a positive economic force in their local communities.

Especially disturbing is Golab's comment about ''flooding local schools with the children of low-income casino workers.'' The racist overtones of such a statement cannot be ignored. Does he object to the schools serving the children of other low-income workers? Or is it just that some of these children might be Indian? Since the federal government pays school districts to serve Indian children, not a nickel of their education comes out of the pocket of local taxpayers. In most cases, school districts receive more in federal Indian education aids than they actually spend on the children.

Only about six of the 224 gaming tribes in the United States dealt with [Jack] Abramoff. The tribes that hired him committed no crime, other than trusting someone who shouldn't have been trusted. No court has suggested that the tribes are in any way culpable for Abramoff's appallingly unethical conduct. By ordering Abramoff to pay restitution to his tribal clients, the courts have recognized these governments as the victims, not the villains.

Even so, because of the Abramoff scandal, Indian tribes have become the scapegoats in a cynical game of political spin. Congress did create a mess, but not by passing IGRA. It made a mess by creating a campaign finance system that promotes the kind of large-scale abuse we're seeing now. Indians didn't create the rules, they just play by them.

It isn't Indian gaming that's at fault here, nor is it individual Indian tribes. It's the failed campaign finance system. To fault Indian tribes for that failure is nothing but racist demagoguery. But that is apparently Mr. Golab's specialty. Shame on the Los Angeles Daily News for giving him a forum to air his ignorance and bigotry.

John McCarthy is executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, which represents nine of the 11 gaming tribes in Minnesota.


Demonstrators As Felons?

Even Fox News is starting to pay attention to the implications of the Bush-Cheney coup. I don’t know why that is, other than the libertarian Right is starting to squawk. And, of course, it could technically be used against, say, anti-abortion demonstrators.
But, gee, won’t those new facilities I mentioned in my last post, come in handy?

New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON — A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any "special event of national significance" away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

Sen. Arlen Specter , R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored the measure, which would extend the authority of the Secret Service to allow agents to arrest people who willingly or knowingly enter a restricted area at an event, even if the president or other official normally protected by the Secret Service isn't in attendance at the time.

The measure has civil libertarians protesting what they say is yet another power grab for the executive branch and one more loss for free speech.

"It's definitely problematic and chilling," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy at the American Civil Liberties Union , which has written letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, pointing out that the provision wasn't subject to hearings or open debate.

Some conservatives say they too are troubled by the measure.

"It concerns me greatly," said Bob Barr, former U.S. prosecutor and Republican representative from Georgia. "It clearly raises serious concerns about First Amendment rights."


Under current law, the Secret Service can arrest anyone for breaching restricted areas where the president or a protected official is or will be visiting, but the new provision would allow such arrests even after those VIPs have left the premises of any designated "special event of national significance." The provision would increase the maximum penalty for such an infraction from six months to one year in jail.

In a post-Sept. 11 world many non-political events have been designated National Special Security Events and would rise to the higher status. Examples of possible NSSEs are the Olympics or the Super Bowl. In 2004, the presidential inaugural balls and President Ronald Reagan's June funeral procession in Washington, D.C., were designated NSSEs.

According to government sources with knowledge of the legislation, Secret Service protection and law enforcement authority would extend beyond protecting a specific person, rather the event itself would become the "protectee."

Currently, non-violent demonstrators who enter restricted areas at such events previously would be arrested and charged by local law enforcement with simple trespassing, said Graves. Under the provision included in the new law, they will be charged with felonies by the Secret Service.

Last year, three ticket-holding audience members at one of the president's Social Security events in Denver, Colo., were apprehended by a man who they said identified himself as Secret Service. The three were forced away from the event because of an anti-war sticker on the driver's car.

"[The administration] has certainly demonstrated a desire to have carefully-controlled events," said Graves.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va.-based clearinghouse for domestic and international security information, said he "could certainly understand why the Secret Service would want that legal authority," given the enormous burden of making venues safe for VIPs today.

"However, I think many people have concluded that the way it is being used has nothing to do with protecting the president from Usama bin Laden and everything to do with suppressing dissent and making sure the protesters don't get on TV," Pike said.

Bush is not the first president to flex his authority in this area, said Kopel, who pointed out that beginning with Reagan, presidents have created a larger security bubble and greater distance between themselves and dissenters at public events. The 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States just intensified the situation, he said.

"I think the concerns about free speech in areas where the president is speaking long pre-date Bush. They were an issue in the Clinton administration, the first Bush administration and began as an issue during Reagan," Kopel said. "I do think the ACLU has legitimate concerns about the breadth of the new language and how it could be applied."

Graves points out that conservative "pro-life" groups will be the target of the new provisions, too, a scenario that could raise the concerns for those who are typically critical of the ACLU, which she said is necessarily concerned about other provisions in the bill that impinge on civil liberties.

House and Senate leaders, who return to Capitol Hill this week, are trying to renew the Patriot Act by Friday. Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate who filibustered a final vote in December after raising concerns about preserving civil liberties instituted a short-term extension of the previous bill, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.


Homeland Security Detention Centers

Part of a press release promoting Halliburton and it’s off-spring, KBR. I will not mention how much this is worth to our Vice-President. There are two interesting aspects:

1. This is about detaining immigrants, should, for some reason, our government decide to round up a bunch, as it did after 9/11. This way they won’t have to go through the jail system, I believe.

2. It’s always handy to have detention centers, in the event of a national security emergency—especially now that the President has decided that’s entirely within his powers. Should there be the need, any sort of security risks could be jailed. It’s part of Homeland Security and one never knows when there’ll be trouble-makers that need to be taken away. Interned.

Part of me thinks, Hmm, this might be a good time to keep my head down.

KBR Awarded US Department of Homeland Security Contingency
Support Project for Emergency Support Services
Business Wire
Friday 24 January 2006

Arlingon, Va.- KBR announced today that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component has awarded KBR an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contingency contract to support ICE facilities in the event of an emergency. KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton (NYSE:HAL).

With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five-year term, consisting of a one-year based period and four one-year options, the competitively awarded contract will be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005.

"We are especially gratified to be awarded this contract because it builds on our extremely strong track record in the arena of emergency operations support," said Bruce Stanski, executive vice president, KBR Government and Infrastructure. "We look forward to continuing the good work we have been doing to support our customer whenever and wherever we are needed."

The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities.

The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could be tasked with providing housing for ICE personnel performing law enforcement functions in support of relief efforts.

ICE is one of three agencies that make up the Border and Transportation Security (BTS) Directorate of the DHS. The mission of the BTS Directorate is to secure the nation's air, land and sea borders. ICE, the largest investigative arm of the DHS, is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation's border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.


Sunday, January 29, 2006


Thought for the day

If you're in a fist-fight, and are trying to fight by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules, but the other person is willing to use whatever means are necessary to win...you're going to lose.


Willy Horton Rides Again For the Republicans

OK, anyone out there remember Willy Horton? He’s baaack—the Republicans are up to their old tricks. Scare the people and get them to vote for the fascists. What can you say?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 12:00 AM
Legislature 2006
GOP postcards fuel a fracas

By Andrew Garber
Seattle Times Olympia bureau

OLYMPIA — House Democrats on Monday accused Republicans of dirty politics for mailing out 25,000 postcards that accuse certain lawmakers of being soft on crime and protecting violent sex offenders.

The postcards show a mug shot of a middle-age man with slicked-back hair. His eyes and his name are blacked out to shield his identity. The cards, shown in photocopies provided by Democrats, carry a bold headline that reads, "This violent predator lives in your community."

They also describe sex crimes supposedly committed by the person, then mention the name of a Democratic lawmaker and claim the legislator "refused to impose life sentences for violent sex predators."

The cards are part of a $75,000 Republican ad campaign that Democrats say is targeting lawmakers in swing districts for the November election. In addition to the cards, the campaign is using radio spots, television ads and automated phone calls.

"It's politics at its worst," fumed House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.

House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, said he had nothing to do with the ad campaign and referred questions to Kevin Carns, executive director of the Speakers Roundtable, a GOP political-action committee (PAC).

Carns said DeBolt, who has raised money for the PAC, was not involved in the ad campaign. Carns defended the advertisements, saying Democrats have used similar tactics in the past.

"I'm not going to apologize for playing tough," he said.

The attack ads are based on a vote taken the first day of the legislative session after House Republicans made a motion asking for an immediate floor debate on a newly drafted, 116-page sex-offender bill. The measure would crack down on sex offenders, including imposition of lengthy mandatory minimum sentences.

Since the session had just started, no hearing had been held on the bill and lawmakers hadn't had a chance to read it. The GOP motion was rejected on a party-line vote.

Within days, voters in six districts started getting automated phone calls attacking Democrats for not voting for the measure. Carns said there was discussion of an ad campaign even before the vote was taken, but the ads weren't created until afterward.

The mailing infuriated Democrats. "The entire postcard is a lie," Kessler said.

For example, she said, although the postcards claim the sex offender pictured lives in a particular district, the same photo appears on all the cards.

Carns said the cards aren't supposed to be taken literally. "I would have loved to put an offender from each specific district and not obscured their name. But we'd have put ourselves at liability to do so," he said.

He used one picture, with identifying information blacked out, "as a metaphor," he said.

The ad campaign is justified, Carns said, because "the House Democrats have refused to get tough on violent predators."

If they will move the Republicans' bill, HB 2476, out of committee, "the ad campaign will stop," he said.

A hearing was held on that measure and a second sex-offender bill, HB 2411, sponsored by Democrats, on Jan. 12.

Tom McBride, executive secretary of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, said his group supports the Democrats' bill and has concerns about the GOP measure.

"There's lots of stuff we support" in the Republican bill, he said, "but there's one big bone of contention."

His group is concerned about the mandatory minimum sentences called for in the legislation. Such sentences could affect the willingness of children to testify when the case deals with family members, he said. The Democrats' bill allows prosecutors and the courts more discretion, McBride said.

Rep. Al O'Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace, chairman of the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, also was troubled by the mandatory sentences.

"The vast majority of sex offenses happen within families. If you start saying family members are going to get hammered hard, you'll end up with fewer reports by family members who don't want to lose their breadwinner or don't want brother Bob to go to prison for 25 years," he said.

O'Brien said he's putting together another sex-predator bill with the help of Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican.

Andrew Garber: 360-943-9882 or agarber@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


Theft theft and more theft...

Remember back in the days of the early Indian reservations, when the Indian agents would steal everything they could? A few hundred westerns have used crooked agents and disgruntled Indians as story plots. Of course, during the Civil War there were many reports of soldiers’ boots being made of carboard and tainted food sent to the troops.

Things really haven’t changed. The current administration appears to take it’s ethical approaches from the presidency of U.S. Grant—as well as financial practices.

What amazes me is how quietly everyone takes this news. It would be nice to see America’s Versailles Palace stormed by angry citizens, wouldn’t it? No, it won’t be. People will be home watching American Idol or the latest fanciful crimes on Law and Order, or maybe just infomercials. Superbowl is coming up, too—couldn’t miss that just to throw out the most corrupt American administration ever...

The New York Times

January 25, 2006
Audit Describes Misuse of Funds in Iraq Projects

A new audit of American financial practices in Iraq has uncovered irregularities including millions of reconstruction dollars stuffed casually into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines who gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis who plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified as safe.

The audit, released yesterday by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, expands on its previous findings of fraud, incompetence and confusion as the American occupation poured money into training and rebuilding programs in 2003 and 2004. The audit uncovers problems in an area that includes half the land mass in Iraq, with new findings in the southern and central provinces of Anbar, Karbala, Najaf, Wasit, Babil, and Qadisiya. The special inspector reports to the secretary of defense and the secretary of state.

Agents from the inspector general's office found that the living and working quarters of American occupation officials were awash in shrink-wrapped stacks of $100 bills, colloquially known as bricks.

One official kept $2 million in a bathroom safe, another more than half a million dollars in an unlocked footlocker. One contractor received more than $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed. More than 2,000 contracts ranging in value from a few thousand dollars to more than half a million, some $88 million in all, were examined by agents from the inspector general's office. The report says that in some cases the agents found clear indications of potential fraud and that investigations into those cases are continuing.

Some of those cases are expected to intersect with the investigations of four Americans who have been arrested on bribery, theft, weapons and conspiracy charges for what federal prosecutors say was a scheme to steer reconstruction projects to an American contractor working out of the southern city of Hilla, which served as a kind of provincial capital for a vast swath of Iraq under the Coalition Provisional Authority.

But much of the material in the latest audit is new, and the portrait it paints of abandoned rebuilding projects, nonexistent paperwork and cash routinely taken from the main vault in Hilla without even a log to keep track of the transactions is likely to raise major new questions about how the provisional authority did its business and accounted for huge expenditures of Iraqi and American money.

"What's sad about it is that, considering the destruction in the country, with looting and so on, we needed every dollar for reconstruction," said Wayne White, a former State Department official whose responsibilities included Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and who is now at the Middle East Institute, a research organization.

Instead, Mr. White said, large amounts of that money may have been wasted or stolen, with strong indications that the chaos in Hilla might have been repeated at other provisional authority outposts.

Others had a similar reaction. "It does not surprise me at all," said a Defense Department official who worked in Hilla and other parts of the country, who spoke anonymously because he said he feared retribution from the Bush administration. He predicted that similar problems would turn up in the major southern city of Basra and elsewhere in the dangerous desert wasteland of Anbar province. "It's a disaster," the official said of problems with contracting in Anbar.

No records were kept as money came and went from the main vault at the Hilla compound, and inside it was often stashed haphazardly in a filing cabinet.

That casual arrangement led to a dispute when one official for the provisional authority, while clearing his accounts on his way out of Iraq, grabbed $100,000 from another official's stack of cash, according to the report. Whether unintentional or not, the move might never have been discovered except that the second official "had to make a disbursement that day and realized that he was short cash," the report says.

Outside the vault, money seemed to be stuffed into every nook and cranny in the compound. "One contracting officer kept approximately $2 million in cash in a safe in his office bathroom, while a paying agent kept approximately $678,000 in cash in an unlocked footlocker in his office," the report says.

The money, most from Iraqi oil proceeds and cash seized from Saddam Hussein's government, also easily found its way out of the compound and the country. In one case, an American soldier assigned as an assistant to the Iraqi Olympic boxing team was given huge amounts of cash for a trip to the Philippines, where the soldier gambled away somewhere between $20,000 and $60,000 of the money. Exactly how much has not been determined, the report says, because no one kept track of how much money he received in the first place.

In another connection to Iraq's Olympic effort, a $108,140 contract to completely refurbish the Hilla Olympic swimming pool, including the replacement of pumps and pipes, came to nothing when the contractor simply polished some of the hardware to make it appear as if new equipment had been installed. Local officials for the provisional authority signed paperwork stating that all the work had been completed properly and paid the contractor in full, the report says.

The pool never reopened, and when agents from the inspector general's office arrived to try out the equipment, "the water came out a murky brown due to the accumulated dirt and grime in the old pumps," the report says.

Sometimes the consequences of such loose controls were deadly. A contract for $662,800 in civil, electrical, and mechanical work to rehabilitate the Hilla General Hospital was paid in full by an American official in June 2004 even though the work was not finished, the report says. But instead of replacing a central elevator bank, as called for in the scope of work, the contractor tinkered with an unsuccessful rehabilitation.

The report continues, narrating the observation of the inspector general's agents who visited the hospital on Sept. 18, 2004: "The hospital administrator immediately escorted us to the site of the elevators. The administrator said that just a couple days prior to our arrival the elevator crashed and killed three people."

* Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Dubya In Blunderland

I want to thank Andy Ostroy (http://ostroyreport.blogspot.com/2005/10/list-of-bushs-lies-and-policy-failures.html) for this list of Bush blunders and lies:
Let's review Bush's impact since 2000 at home and abroad, in no particular order:

1. Lied about WMD.
2. Unilaterally invaded a sovereign nation without provocation and justification.
3. Lied during State of the Union speech re: Niger Uranium.
4. Responsible for pre-9/11 intelligence failures in White House, CIA, FBI.
5. Allowed 9-11 murderers to remain free while diverting precious military and financial resources to his vanity war in Iraq.
6. Lied about Saddam/bin Laden connection.
7. Turned Iraq into a terrorist breeding ground.
8. Lied about nation-building.
9. Opposed creation of 9-11 Commission and Homeland Security Department.
10. Disrespected and alienated the U.S. from French, German and other key allies.
11. Lied to Americans about the real cost of war.
12. Fostered an environment of torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
13. Lined Halliburton's pockets in Afghanistan and Iraq with fat no-bid contracts.
14. Under-manned and under-equipped our armed forces in Iraq, resulting in unnecessary death and injuries.
15. Ignored the nuclear build-up in both Iran and N.Korea; marginalized Kim Jong Il.
16. Shunned Kyoto Treaty.
17. Lied about effects of man-made pollutants on the environment to support corporate pals.
18. Lied about the insolvency of Social Security.
19. Gave huge cuts to the wealthiest taxpayers.
20. Lied about true cost of health care bill.
21. Lied about Free Trade stand.
22. Bitterly divided the nation along religious, party and sexual preference lines.
23. Guilty of numerous cronyism appointments (Homeland Security, Supreme Court, etc)
24. Rewarded failures of Condi Rice and other cronies with key promotions.
25. Dreadful energy policies lead to record gas and oil prices.
26. Responsible for the largest debt in U.S. history.
27. Colossal failure of preparedness, rescue and relief during Hurricane Katrina.
28. Fostered a culture of corruption among GOP and top leadership (Tom Delay, etc).
29. Allowed Donald Rumsfeld to keep job despite utter failure in Iraq.
30. Presided over the U.S.'s lowest popularity throughout the world.
31. Saw No Child Left Behind fail.
32. Lied last week about Iraqi troop strength during Saturday radio address. Directly contradicted by testimony given earlier in the week by Gen. Abizaid.

This is just a partial list, mind you. One can only imagine what our country will look like by the time he's done. Somebody please wake me up in 3 years. Andy


New Federal Police Force?

I just found this in my in-box. I’m hesitant to even look at the source. Anybody want to check this out?

It scares the be-Jesus out of me.

Pedro Romero wrote:
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 15:22:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Pedro Romero
Subject: Patriot Act authorizes new federal domestic police force
To: aztlan_freepress@yahoogroups.com

January 24, 2006
Unfathomed Dangers in PATRIOT Act Reauthorization
by Paul Craig Roberts

A provision in the "PATRIOT Act" creates a new federal
police force with the power to violate the Bill of
Rights. You might think that this cannot be true, as
you have not read about it in newspapers or heard it
discussed by talking heads on TV.

Go to House Report 109-333 USA PATRIOT Improvement and
Reauthorization Act of 2005 and check it out for
yourself. Sec. 605 reads:

"There is hereby created and established a permanent
police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret
Service Uniformed Division.'"

This new federal police force is "subject to the
supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security."

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without
warrant for any offense against the United States
committed in their presence, or for any felony
cognizable under the laws of the United States if they
have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to
be arrested has committed or is committing such

The new police are assigned a variety of
jurisdictions, including "an event designated under
section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of
national significance" (SENS).

"A special event of national significance" is neither
defined nor does it require the presence of a
"protected person" such as the president in order to
trigger it. Thus, the administration, and perhaps the
police themselves, can place the SENS designation on
any event. Once a SENS designation is placed on an
event, the new federal police are empowered to keep
out and arrest people at their discretion.

The language conveys enormous discretionary and
arbitrary powers. What is "an offense against the
United States"? What are "reasonable grounds"?

You can bet the Alito/Roberts court will rule that it
is whatever the executive branch says.

The obvious purpose of the act is to prevent
demonstrations at Bush/Cheney events. However, nothing
in the language limits the police powers from being
used only in this way. Like every law in the U.S.,
this law also will be expansively interpreted and
abused. It has dire implications for freedom of
association and First Amendment rights. We can take
for granted that the new federal police will be used
to suppress dissent and to break up opposition. The
Brownshirts are now arming themselves with a Gestapo.

Many naïve Americans will write to me to explain that
this new provision in the reauthorization of the
"PATRIOT Act" is necessary to protect the president
and other high officials from terrorists or from harm
at the hands of angry demonstrators: "No one else will
have anything to fear." Some will accuse me of being
an alarmist, and others will say that it is
unpatriotic to doubt the law's good intentions.

Americans will write such nonsense despite the fact
that the president and foreign dignitaries are already
provided superb protection by the Secret Service. The
naïve will not comprehend that the president cannot be
endangered by demonstrators at SENS at which the
president is not present. For many Americans, the
light refuses to turn on.

In Nazi Germany, did no one but Jews have anything to
fear from the Gestapo?

By Stalin's time, Lenin and Trotsky had eliminated all
members of the "oppressor class," but that did not
stop Stalin from sending millions of "enemies of the
people" to the Gulag.

It is extremely difficult to hold even local police
forces accountable. Who is going to hold accountable a
federal police protected by Homeland Security and the



Support The Troops—at Wounded Knee??

Both satire and honesty in this piece by Joel Stein. If you are against the war, and the war is being fought because those schmucks in D.C. want the oil and glory and empire and all that, and the troops are the direct agents making the war possible, hmm, no, I can't go along. I support them as far as wanting them out of there and home and whole. I don’t support their killing Iraqis anymore than I would have supported, say, the men of the 7th Cavalry riding down the Cheyenne at the Massacre of the Washita, or the U.S. troops at Wounded Knee, blasting away hundreds of women and children. No. That’s not OK behavior. That’s evil. I don’t support anyone doing evil, whether in Fallujah or My Lai, Lidice, or the Crusaders sacking Jerusalem.

I’m in debt to Joel Stein for reminding me of this.

From the Los Angeles Times
Warriors and wusses
Joel Stein

January 24, 2006

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn't going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He's going to be looking for funnel cake.

Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren't really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of "Laguna Beach."

The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.

I understand the guilt. We know we're sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.

After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they're following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff's pet name for the House of Representatives.

I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I'm tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam.

And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.

I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn't so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it's really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I'm listed in the phone book.

I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.

Seriously, the traffic is insufferable.

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times |

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Can Bush cancel elections if he thinks it's necessary?

This sounds flip—at first glance. But think about it: does the unitary executive theory as believed in by Gonzales and Alito and all the other weasels give the president the power to cancel elections without consulting others? I know they’ve talked this over, as in “how far can my power really go? Huh? Huh? C’mon, tell me!”

Does Bush believe he has the power to cancel elections?
Date: Tuesday, January 24 @ 10:15:07 EST
Topic: Commander-In-Thief

No, really.

I've seen this joked about but consider it seriously: if Bush (and his Conservative enablers) truly believe under the doctrine of the 'unitary executive' that a Commander-in-Chief in 'wartime' has the power to supercede the Constitution, does that include cancelling elections?

I'd like to see one reporter stand up at the next press conference and ask, "Mr. President, do you believe you have the power to cancel the 2008 presidential election if national security warrants it?"

I'd like to see Scotty McClellan pestered about this on a daily basis.

Bonus question: If Bush cancelled the 2008 elections (or even the 2006 elections), would any of his supporters object?

This article comes from The Smirking Chimp

The URL for this story is:


Subsidizing low-wage workers is state's job

Meanwhile, back at the Capitalist Ranch: taxpayers are used to subsidize the big box stores. Not just by giving them property tax breaks on the land, but by paying for the health care of people employed by those outfits. Here in central Oregon, new hires at Fred Meyer end up going to the free clinic until their health plan kicks in. That’s assuming they work enough hours to qualify for the health plan, right. I haven’t seen the statistics for this state, but I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut they’re similar to Washington’s about which corporations get taxpayer subsidies for their employees.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Over 3,100 Wal-Mart workers got state health aid

By Ralph Thomas
Seattle Times Olympia bureau
OLYMPIA — More than 3,100 Wal-Mart employees in Washington were benefiting from state-subsidized health coverage throughout 2004 — nearly double the total for any other company, according to two confidential state reports.

That total is much higher than previously thought. And it indicates that as many as 20 percent of Wal-Mart's employees were getting taxpayer-funded health care for themselves or their dependents.

The reports are sure to fuel the debate over a labor-backed push in the Legislature to require companies such as Wal-Mart to pay more for health care. Democrats in the House and Senate say the reports show that Wal-Mart and some other big companies are shifting millions of dollars in health-care costs to the state.

"I think taxpayers should be outraged," Rep. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, said Monday. "They are subsidizing one of the wealthiest corporations in the world."

Amy Hill, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said the company has no information that would confirm or refute the state's findings. But she said the data are more than a year old and might no longer be accurate.

"We implemented a lot of new plans last fall that we believe may appeal to people who had chosen to not take our coverage," Hill said.

Citing state and federal confidentiality rules, the state last month provided the new reports to only a handful of legislators and legislative staff members. But copies were leaked to The Seattle Times.

Medicaid is a state-federal program that provides health coverage to families on welfare and children in low-income families. The Basic Health Plan (BHP), funded entirely by the state, mostly covers low-income adults.

Both programs are aimed primarily at people in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. That would mean a family of four with an income of about $38,000 would be eligible.

The new reports lists companies that in 2004 had the most employees receiving benefits under the programs.

Wal-Mart came out on top of both lists, by wide margins.

One report shows that, throughout 2004, an average 3,180 Wal-Mart employees were receiving state-funded medical assistance, including Medicaid, for themselves or for a dependent. The other report shows that 456 Wal-Mart employees were on the state's Basic Health Plan that year. Some employees may be counted on both of the lists.

McDonald's restaurants had the second-highest total, with an average 1,824 employees receiving Medicaid benefits in 2004.

Safeway was next, with 1,539 employees on Medicaid and 173 employees on the BHP.

With about 16,000 employees each, Wal-Mart and Safeway are among the state's largest employers. McDonald's has about 12,000 employees in Washington, but they work for 45 separately owned franchises or at one of 62 outlets the corporation owns.

The companies with the highest totals of employees on Medicaid and the BHP were concentrated mostly in a few industries, including general-merchandise stores, groceries and fast-food chains. Several companies that recruit and hire out temporary workers or day laborers — such as Express Personnel Services and Labor Ready Northwest — also ranked high on both lists.

Lawmakers said one of the most startling findings in the new reports is that more than half of the Wal-Mart employees who received Medicaid benefits — nearly 1,800 — were full-time workers.

For nearly all of the other companies listed, the vast majority of employees on Medicaid were part-time workers.

"It shows Wal-Mart isn't even taking care of its full-time employees," said Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle.

But Cody and Conway said the reports shine a light on other companies as well.

"It's not just Wal-Mart," Conway said. "A lot of low-cost employers are shifting their health-care costs to the state."

Neither of the reports makes any attempt to calculate how much it cost the state to cover the employees and their families. But it's clearly in the tens of millions of dollars.

Wal-Mart defends its employee health benefits as competitive and affordable.

Hill, the Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the company recently put in place a new "value" health plan for its employees. Under that plan, employees get 100 percent coverage for their first three doctor visits each year and after that must pay a $1,000 deductible. She said the plan's employee premiums average $23 per month.

Still, Wal-Mart's latest estimates show that only about half of its employees are on one of the company health plans. And, in an internal company memo leaked last fall, Wal-Mart acknowledged that, nationwide, nearly half of its employees' children were either on Medicaid or were uninsured.

More than a dozen other states have conducted studies to identify companies with the most employees on government-subsidized health care. In nearly every case, Wal-Mart came out on top.

Democratic lawmakers in Olympia hope to pass legislation that would require companies with 5,000 or more employees to put at least 9 percent of their payroll costs toward health-care benefits. Similar legislation was approved earlier this month in Maryland.

It's all part of an effort by a coalition of labor unions and health-care groups to push for so-called Wal-Mart bills in more than 30 states.

Wal-Mart says the legislation is "purely political" and would do nothing about the soaring cost of health care.

Hill told lawmakers in Olympia last week that the company didn't know what percentage of payroll it spends on health benefits.

To help lawmakers here prepare for the debate, Gov. Christine Gregoire last year requested the two new reports even though she knew her agencies would not be allowed to release the results to the public.

Copies stamped "confidential" were sent last month to about a half-dozen legislators, several legislative staff members and the governor's health-policy adviser. To produce the reports, the state matched its Medicaid and BHP recipient lists with employee data compiled by the state Employment Security Department. But Employment Security officials say they are barred from publicly releasing any data that reveal company names. The rankings in the new reports are similar to what lawmakers saw three years ago in a report that the state now says was improperly released to the public.

But the totals in the new reports — especially for numbers of employees on Medicaid — are much higher than before. The old report, for instance, indicated only 450 Wal-Mart employees were receiving Medicaid benefits, compared to more than 3,100 now.

It's unclear why the new numbers are so much higher, but lawmakers speculated the state did a more thorough job of gathering data this time. Officials at the Employment Security Department declined to comment.

Ralph Thomas: 360-943-9882

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

Monday, January 23, 2006


Wiretapping the Democrats? Natch!

Yes, they are an asset: the Party can wiretap, essentially, whoever they want. They can wiretap and bug the Democratic candidates and, since the Party has already designated dissenters as helping the enemy, justify it. They’ve done it before and justified it, at least to their own satisfaction. They’ve done a lot more than that—remember the 60s and 70s operation known as COINTELPRO? They even set people up to be killed because they were seen as threats.

White House seen to use wiretaps as campaign asset
01/22/2006 @ 8:45 pm
Filed by RAW STORY

"With Karl Rove's speech to national Republicans on Friday -- followed by a hard-hitting campaign of speeches and events this week -- the White House has effectively declared that it views its controversial secret surveillance program not as a political liability but as a tool: a way to attack Democrats and re-establish President Bush's standing after a difficult year," the NEW YORK TIMES' Adam Nagourney declares in a news analysis slotted for Monday page ones...

The piece is set to lay out a strategy that has been employed by the Bush campaign before -- to use what some might view as a liability and turn it into a political asset. The Bush campaign did this in 2004 with the President's troubled National Guard Service, questioning Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on his own military credentials.

Nagourney writes: "Whether the White House can succeed depends very much, members of both parties say, on its success in framing the debate at a time when the country is torn between two very strong pulls: its historic aversion to governmental intrusion and its recently born fear of a terrorist attacks at home."



I was only following orders...

Well, yeah, she was only following orders. And, yeah, they were orders from way up the chain of command—probably right from the very tip-top. I believe that.

But. While it means she was damned if she did and damned if she didn’t, she did the wrong, immoral, illegal thing.

She doesn’t have such good taste in men, either, I’d say.

Former Abu Ghraib Guard Calls Top Brass Culpable for Abuse
Wife of Jailed Soldier Says Tactics Were in Place From Start
By Josh White

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 23, 2006; A03

Stepping into the Abu Ghraib prison for the first time, Megan Ambuhl was stunned. There were naked men in dusty cells, male prisoners wearing women's underwear, others hooded and shackled in contorted positions to metal railings.

An enlisted officer giving her a tour of the U.S. facility in October 2003 pointed to a group of detainees chained to a cell. He said the bars had often "been decorated like a Christmas tree," with prisoners as ornaments.

"He explained it was a military intelligence tactic," Ambuhl said in a recent interview, speaking publicly for the first time since the Abu Ghraib prison abuse was disclosed nearly two years ago. "He said it was to break the detainees that were being interrogated. It was clear it was a military intelligence facility. As I saw it, I thought that if they were doing it, it must be all right for them to be doing it."

One of the original seven military police soldiers singled out by the Pentagon for their roles in abusive techniques, Ambuhl is speaking out because she believes the truth has been obscured by high-ranking officials intent on covering up a policy of abuse. Though her defense differs little from the arguments made previously by the defendants' attorneys, Ambuhl's first-person description of the macabre world of Abu Ghraib provides a vivid perspective on how things went out of control at the prison outside of Baghdad, a place where there were few rules and little guidance. Her account also shows that some of the abusive tactics were in place when the MPs arrived at the prison.

Ambuhl has since married one of her fellow MPs -- Charles A. Graner Jr., the man the military has labeled the ringleader of the abusers -- and is on a mission to secure his release from prison.

Now out of the Army, punished with a reduction in rank and a fine for dereliction of duty but no prison time, Ambuhl says the military's top brass have dodged responsibility for what was going on at the prison by scapegoating her and other low-ranking soldiers.

By the time of her tour in 2003, Ambuhl had been in the Army reserves for about a year. She realized she was walking into something she clearly did not understand. Her unit, the 372nd Military Police Company, had been trained to do combat support jobs, not detention. She was ordered to work the night shift and said she asked few questions because she did not know what questions to ask.

Ambuhl says she and other MPs used aggressive techniques against detainees because that is what military intelligence soldiers and civilian interrogators told her to do.

She described a "roster board" that included which military intelligence "treatment" to give to certain detainees and said trainers from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, taught the MPs how to put detainees in "stress positions." She said military intelligence officials told them to keep detainees naked, embarrass them or make them exercise until they reached exhaustion.

"We were told to handcuff people in uncomfortable positions, to put people on [Meals Ready to Eat] boxes, to pour cold water on them, to make them do physical training," said Ambuhl, who worked the night shift on Tier 1B. "We did what we were told to do."

That defense has not worked well for several of the MPs charged with abuse, most notably Graner, who worked the night shift on Tier 1A, alongside Ambuhl. Graner is serving a 10-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Ambuhl married Graner last April after his conviction, sending marriage documents to him to sign in prison. The Army has prevented them from meeting or even speaking, alleging that they are co-conspirators.

Ambuhl knows that many people consider him a monster but says that is because the military has done an effective job of painting him as a ringleader and because people do not know him.

"I love being around him," said Ambuhl, 31, of Centreville, who has taken Graner's last name. Their relationship developed while the two were marooned for months at a base in Baghdad after the abuse was discovered and after Graner's relationship with Lynndie R. England, another MP serving a prison sentence for abuse, had ended. "We understand each other. I put my life in his hands day in and day out, and there isn't anyone I'd rather trust with my life, knowing everything I know."

Now back in her job as a histology lab technician, Ambuhl is determined to tell the public her version of events to free Graner. She has built a Web site, which includes documents and discussion, at http://www.supportmpscapegoats.com , where she also has a petition on Graner's behalf.

Military officials "have been trying to conceal that it was a policy that spiraled out of control," Ambuhl said, a rare moment of anger rising in her voice. "They made us out to be the cause of every ill in Iraq."

Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said there have been more than 500 investigations into allegations of detainee mistreatment and that the Army is taking each allegation seriously.

"Thus far, allegations against more than 251 military members have been addressed in courts-martial, non-judicial punishment and other adverse administrative actions," Boyce said.

It was in early October 2003 that Ambuhl's unit made its way to Abu Ghraib from an assignment in Hilla, Iraq, where it conducted neighborhood searches for insurgents in what the military calls "law-and-order missions." Ambuhl, a Humvee driver in Hilla, said she received no training in dealing with enemy prisoners of war, was never specifically instructed about the Geneva Conventions and was presented with no standard operating procedures for the prison. In the middle of a war, a world away from Northern Virginia, Ambuhl did not question her superiors.

Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II, who worked in the prison's higher security facility -- called the "hard site" -- and was also convicted of abusing prisoners, told investigators after his conviction that he, too, was shown the aggressive tactics on his first tour of the prison.

"He didn't say anything about the detainees, how to treat them, etc., but when we went in 1A, I did see detainees handcuffed to the bars and naked," according to Frederick's sworn statement. "I asked him about it and he told me MI ran the section, they didn't want the detainees talking to one another and that was their punishment."

Ambuhl's unit arrived just weeks after Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, then Guantanamo Bay's commander, made a visit to Iraq to help set up the Abu Ghraib operation. She said some of the tactics her unit employed -- such as stress positions, the use of dogs, and nudity -- came from teams Miller later sent over. Pentagon investigations have shown that such tactics were in use on high-value detainees held in Cuba almost a year earlier, but also determined that there was no policy of abuse.

Pentagon and Army officials have argued that the abuse at Abu Ghraib was isolated to a few individuals who decided to break the rules.

Ambuhl said some of the images seen in the photos depicted events that occurred every day.

"At the very least, there were a whole slew of people who knew about it," Ambuhl said. "These pictures were in no way hidden. We didn't sneak around pretending this wasn't going on."

Members of Other Government Agencies (OGA) -- a euphemism for the CIA -- were all over the hard site, keeping as many as 100 detainees there for interrogations. Once, two men with OGA had finished interrogating a detainee in a shower room and asked her to go get him.

"They said it would be funny if I burned him with my cigarette," Ambuhl said, adding that she tossed her cigarette before releasing the detainee, who was shackled to a window.

She said in hindsight she should have intervened.

"None of us were in the right frame of mind to get help for this situation," she said. "This was the norm. We didn't know any different. Maybe that's why they sent a combat support unit to do it. We wouldn't know how it was supposed to work, and we wouldn't question it.

"I wish I had done more to stop it," she said.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Sunday, January 22, 2006


What's Bush's nickname for Abramoff?

You know things are bad in Washington when both Newsweek and Time print stories regarding government misbehavior. These magazines are usually staunch backs of the official status quo: everything’s fine, a little dust-up here and there, but everything’s fine, just fine, thank you; go buy something from one of our advertisers.

But the melding of the Republican Party and the lobbying industry is so deep and tangled and unsavory, even Time has to say something. I guess that’s a good thing.

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006
When George Met Jack
White House aides deny the President knew lobbyist Abramoff, but unpublished photos shown to TIME suggest there's more to the story

As details poured out about the illegal and unseemly activities of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House officials sought to portray the scandal as a Capitol Hill affair with little relevance to them. Peppered for days with questions about Abramoff's visits to the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the now disgraced lobbyist had attended two huge holiday receptions and a few "staff-level meetings" that were not worth describing further. "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said.

The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed. While TIME's source refused to provide the pictures for publication, they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them. And that has been a fear of the Bush team's for the past several months: that a picture of the President with the admitted felon could become the iconic image of direct presidential involvement in a burgeoning corruption scandal—like the shots of President Bill Clinton at White House coffees for campaign contributors in the mid-1990s.

In one shot that TIME saw, Bush appears with Abramoff, several unidentified people and Raul Garza Sr., a Texan Abramoff represented who was then chairman of the Kickapoo Indians, which owned a casino in southern Texas. Garza, who is wearing jeans and a bolo tie in the picture, told TIME that Bush greeted him as "Jefe," or "chief" in Spanish. Another photo shows Bush shaking hands with Abramoff in front of a window and a blue drape. The shot bears Bush's signature, perhaps made by a machine. Three other photos are of Bush, Abramoff and, in each view, one of the lobbyist's sons (three of his five children are boys). A sixth picture shows several Abramoff children with Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is now pushing to tighten lobbying laws after declining to do so last year when the scandal was in its early stages.

Most of the pictures have the formal look of photos taken at presidential receptions. The images of Bush, Abramoff and one of his sons appear to be the rapid-fire shots—known in White House parlance as clicks—that the President snaps with top supporters before taking the podium at fund-raising receptions. Over five years, Bush has posed for tens of thousands of such shots—many with people he does not know. Last month 9,500 people attended holiday receptions at the White House, and most went two by two through a line for a photo with the President and the First Lady. The White House is generous about providing copies—in some cases, signed by the President—that become centerpieces for "walls of fame" throughout status-conscious Washington.

Abramoff knew the game. In a 2001 e-mail to a lawyer for tribal leader Lovelin Poncho, he crows about an upcoming meeting at the White House that he had arranged for Poncho and says it should be a priceless asset in his client's upcoming re-election campaign as chief of Louisiana's Coushatta Indians. "By all means mention (in the tribal newsletter) that the Chief is being asked to confer with the President and is coming to Washington for this purpose in May," Abramoff writes. "We'll definitely have a photo from the opportunity, which he can use." The lawyer had asked about attire, and Abramoff advises, "As to dress, probably suit and tie would work best."

The e-mail, now part of a wide-ranging federal investigation into lobbying practices and lobbyists' relationships with members of Congress, offers a window into Abramoff's willingness to trade on ties to the White House and to invoke Bush's name to impress clients who were spending tens of millions of dollars on Abramoff's advice.

Abramoff was once in better graces at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, having raised at least $100,000 for the President's re-election campaign. During 2001 and 2002, his support for Republicans and connections to the White House won him invitations to Hanukkah receptions, each attended by 400 to 500 people. McClellan has said Abramoff may have been present at "other widely attended" events. He was also admitted to the White House complex for meetings with several staff members, including one with presidential senior adviser Karl Rove, one of the most coveted invitations in Washington.

Michael Scanlon, who is Abramoff's former partner and has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a Congressman, in 2001 told the New Times of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that Abramoff had "a relationship" with the President. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one," Scanlon said. Nonsense, say others. A former White House official familiar with some Abramoff requests to the White House said Abramoff had some meetings with Administration officials in 2001 and 2002, but he was later frozen out because aides became suspicious of his funding sources and annoyed that the issues he raised did not mesh with their agenda. A top Republican official said it was clear to him that Abramoff couldn't pick up the phone and reach Bush aides because Abramoff had asked the official to serve as an intermediary.

The White House describes the number of Abramoff's meetings with staff members only as "a few," even though senior Bush aides have precise data about them. McClellan will not give details, saying he doesn't "get into discussing staff-level meetings." During a televised briefing, he added, "We're not going to engage in a fishing expedition." Pressed for particulars about Abramoff's White House contacts, McClellan said with brio, "People are insinuating things based on no evidence whatsoever." But he said he cannot "say with absolute certainty that (Abramoff) did not have any other visits" apart from those disclosed. Another White House official said, "The decision was made—don't put out any additional information." That reticence has been eagerly seized upon by some Democrats. Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada wrote to Bush last week to demand details, saying Abramoff "may have had undue and improper influence within your Administration."

Garza, the bolo-wearing former chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, has fond memories of his session with Bush, which he said was held in 2001 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House. According to e-mails in the hands of investigators, the meeting was arranged with the help of Abramoff and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. In an April 18, 2001, e-mail to Abramoff, Norquist wrote that he would be "honored" if Abramoff "could come to the White House meeting." Garza—known in his native Kickapoo language as Makateonenodua, or black buffalo—is under federal indictment for allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from his tribe. Through his spokesman, Garza said that during the session, Bush talked about policy matters and thanked those present for supporting his agenda, then took questions from the audience of about two dozen people. Garza told TIME, "We were very happy that Jack Abramoff helped us to be with the President. Bush was in a very good mood—very upbeat and positive." No evidence has emerged that the Bush Administration has done anything for the Kickapoo at Abramoff's behest.

Three attendees who spoke to TIME recall that Abramoff was present, and three of them say that's where the picture of Bush, Abramoff and the former Kickapoo chairman was taken. The White House has a different description of the event Garza attended. "The President stopped by a meeting with 21 state legislators and two tribal leaders," spokeswoman Erin Healy said. "Available records show that Mr. Abramoff was not in attendance."

—With reporting by Massimo Calabresi/ Washington

Copyright © 2006 Time Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Privacy Policy



We’ve been through this before. It’s against the statutes: that means it’s against the law. That means that the political police are prohibited from doing this. Big deal, eh?

We saw this back in the ‘70s, with the program known as COINTELPRO, a government-run program to spy on and disrupt protest groups, anti-war dissenters, and anyone else Washington didn’t like. There are still people in prison because of COINTELPRO, most notable beiing the Indian activist, Leonard Peltier; others, like Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, are still dead.

So this isn’t anything new. It’s newly disgusting, though, because it means that our government operates, when it wants to, outside the law.

The Other Big Brother
The Pentagon has its own domestic spying program. Even its leaders say the outfit may have gone too far.
By Michael Isikoff

Jan. 30, 2006 issue - The demonstration seemed harmless enough. Late on a June afternoon in 2004, a motley group of about 10 peace activists showed up outside the Houston headquarters of Halliburton, the giant military contractor once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. They were there to protest the corporation's supposed "war profiteering." The demonstrators wore papier-mache masks and handed out free peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to Halliburton employees as they left work. The idea, according to organizer Scott Parkin, was to call attention to allegations that the company was overcharging on a food contract for troops in Iraq. "It was tongue-in-street political theater," Parkin says.

But that's not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA's role is "force protection"—tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON—short for Threat and Local Observation Notice—that would collect "raw information" about "suspicious incidents." The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's "terrorism threat warning process," according to an internal Pentagon memo.

A Defense document shows that Army analysts wrote a report on the Halliburton protest and stored it in CIFA's database. It's not clear why the Pentagon considered the protest worthy of attention—although organizer Parkin had previously been arrested while demonstrating at ExxonMobil headquarters (the charges were dropped). But there are now questions about whether CIFA exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations. A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

CIFA's activities are the latest in a series of disclosures about secret government programs that spy on Americans in the name of national security. In December, the ACLU obtained documents showing the FBI had investigated several activist groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Greenpeace, supposedly in an effort to discover possible ecoterror connections. At the same time, the White House has spent weeks in damage-control mode, defending the controversial program that allowed the National Security Agency to monitor the telephone conversations of U.S. persons suspected of terror links, without obtaining warrants.

Last Thursday, Cheney called the program "vital" to the country's defense against Al Qaeda. "Either we are serious about fighting this war on terror or not," he said in a speech to the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. But as the new information about CIFA shows, the scope of the U.S. government's spying on Americans may be far more extensive than the public realizes.

It isn't clear how many groups and individuals were snagged by CIFA's dragnet. Details about the program, including its size and budget, are classified. In December, NBC News obtained a 400-page compilation of reports that detailed a portion of TALON's surveillance efforts. It showed the unit had collected information on nearly four dozen antiwar meetings or protests, including one at a Quaker meetinghouse in Lake Worth, Fla., and a Students Against War demonstration at a military recruiting fair at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A Pentagon spokesman declined to say why a private company like Halliburton would be deserving of CIFA's protection. But in the past, Defense Department officials have said that the "force protection" mission includes military contractors since soldiers and Defense employees work closely with them and therefore could be in danger.

CIFA researchers apparently cast a wide net and had a number of surveillance methods—both secretive and mundane—at their disposal. An internal CIFA PowerPoint slide presentation recently obtained by William Arkin, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who writes widely about military affairs, gives some idea how the group operated. The presentation, which Arkin provided to NEWSWEEK, shows that CIFA analysts had access to law-enforcement reports and sensitive military and U.S. intelligence documents. (The group's motto appears at the bottom of each PowerPoint slide: "Counterintelligence 'to the Edge'.") But the organization also gleaned data from "open source Internet monitoring." In other words, they surfed the Web.

That may have been how the Pentagon came to be so interested in a small gathering outside Halliburton. On June 23, 2004, a few days before the Halliburton protest, an ad for the event appeared on houston.indymedia.org, a Web site for lefty Texas activists. "Stop the war profiteers," read the posting. "Bring out the kids, relatives, Dick Cheney, and your favorite corporate pigs at the trough as we will provide food for free."

Four months later, on Oct. 25, the TALON team reported another possible threat to national security. The source: a Miami antiwar Web page. "Website advertises protest planned at local military recruitment facility," the internal report warns. The database entry refers to plans by a south Florida group called the Broward Anti-War Coalition to protest outside a strip-mall recruiting office in Lauderhill, Fla. The TALON entry lists the upcoming protest as a "credible" threat. As it turned out, the entire event consisted of 15 to 20 activists waving a giant BUSH LIED sign. No one was arrested. "It's very interesting that the U.S. military sees a domestic peace group as a threat," says Paul Lefrak, a librarian who organized the protest.

Arkin says a close reading of internal CIFA documents suggests the agency may be expanding its Internet monitoring, and wants to be as surreptitious as possible. CIFA has contracted to buy "identity masking" software that would allow the agency to create phony Web identities and let them appear to be located in foreign countries, according to a copy of the contract with Computer Sciences Corp. (The firm declined to comment.)

Pentagon officials have broadly defended CIFA as a legitimate response to the domestic terror threat. But at the same time, they acknowledge that an internal Pentagon review has found that CIFA's database contained some information that may have violated regulations. The department is not allowed to retain information about U.S. citizens for more than 90 days—unless they are "reasonably believed" to have some link to terrorism, criminal wrongdoing or foreign intelligence. There was information that was "improperly stored," says a Pentagon spokesman who was authorized to talk about the program (but not to give his name). "It was an oversight." In a memo last week, obtained by NEWSWEEK, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England ordered CIFA to purge such information from its files—and directed that all Defense Department intelligence personnel receive "refresher training" on department policies.

That's not likely to stop the questions. Last week Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee pushed for an inquiry into CIFA's activities and who it's watching. "This is a significant Pandora's box [Pentagon officials] don't want opened," says Arkin. "What we're looking at is hints of what they're doing." As far as the Pentagon is concerned, that means we've already seen too much.
© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.

© 2006 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10965509/site/newsweek/

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Is It Real? Maybe Not

A couple of related pieces here, about the purported Bin Laden tape, and about some serious doubts as to its authenticity.

Would the Bush Administration go so far as to manufacture threats to America? I think it’s pretty clear they would. And it’s entirely possible they would go even farther. The cabal in Washington means to be—and probably stay—all powerful.

We may see more of this as the elections come closer, and again in 2008 when the presidency is up for bids once again.

Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 16:55:18 -0800
From: Scott Munson
Subject: The Phony bin Laden Tape

Latest Bin Laden Tape: Another of the NeoCons' "Greatest Hits"
Experts already begin to come forward with revelations that Latest tape
just another CIA fake

Steve Watson | January 20 2006
http://infowars.com http://prisonplanet.net

Spying? Torture? Illegal airstrikes? SHUT UP and hate Bin Laden.

The NeoCon use of Osama Bin Laden as a tool of fear and control is a
tried and tested method whenever the going gets tough. It's predictable
and it's tiresome, but the masses buy it every time and that's why he
has reappeared once again.

Just as the NSA spying tidal wave gathers increasing momentum, as the
media demand more answers on rendition and torture and days after the
bizarre airstrike on innocent women and children in Pakistan, we all
magically get a timely reminder of just why the government is spying on
its own citizens and torturing and killing anyone it likes anywhere in
the world.

Just like Orwell's ubiquitous Emmanuel Goldstein, Bin Laden always
seems to pop up right on cue so we can disengage our minds from reality
and join in the two minutes hate.

We are reliably informed by the mainstream media that this is because
he is a very clever man and has an impeccable sense of timing. Yet if
this is the case, why can he not work out that EVERYTIME he has
released a video or a tape it has HELPED Bush and the NeoCon agenda

Even the BBC lays this out in the open with the headline Bin Laden
threats may boost Bush:

The commander-in-chief has been under intense pressure in recent weeks,
accused of trampling on civil liberties in pursuit of terror suspects.
His defence has been that America is a nation at war. So Bin Laden's
latest threats to launch new attacks on the US will only serve to
underline this argument.

The White House will also cite the tape when trying to convince allies
abroad that the use of tough tactics is justified - even when civilians
are killed, as in last week's air raid in Pakistan.

That just says it all really.

Bin Laden was created by US intelligence , worked with US intelligence
in the late 70s and 80s, was used as a patsy by US intelligence before
and after 911 and is now being used as a manipulative tool of fear by
the criminal elite faction currently in power in the US.

The last time Bin Laden appeared was October 2004, exactly three days
before the election.

The same headline "Boost for Bush" appeared and some, including
Walter Conkite went as far as to suggest that the whole thing was
manufactured by Karl rove in order to secure the election for Bush.

The Tehran Times suggested that Bin Laden was "dancing to Bush’s tune"
and a "premeditated plan devised by Bush administration
neoconservatives is unfolding". The report also noted that the CIA
immediately confirmed the tape to be the voice of Bin Laden, something
they had never previously done. They have also done this this time
around too.

Bin Laden personally criticized Bush's reaction on the day of 911, a
move that undoubtedly instilled a rejuvenated support for the President
amongst the American sheeple.

If Bin Laden is so clever and so calculated and determined to justify
himself to the American people, why can he not fathom that a personal
attack could only ever help Bush? I thought it was common knowledge
that you always steer clear of personal attacks in debates and

Bush immediately took a six point lead and subsequently won the

Of course, we shouldn't find it surprising that Bin Laden consistently
helps Bush, after all it was the Bush Administration that allowed all
members of the Bin Laden family to fly out of America immediately after
911 whilst all other air traffic was grounded.

It was Bush himself who signed document W199I, ordering the FBI to back
off investigating the Bin Ladens before 911.

It was George W Bush who went into business with Bin laden's brother in
the 1970s.

It is George W Bush's father who is STILL DOING business with the Bin
Ladens via the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm.

FBI Special agent Robert Wright broke down when testifying that he had
been gagged and could not reveal the true extent of what he knew about
the Bush-Bin Laden connection and 911. his lawyer stepped up and said
live on C-Span that "The Bush Family vacations with the Bin Ladens".

The ties run deep and all lead to money, huge amounts of money. This is
how the Bushes do business, this is how they have always done business,
they own the best enemies money can buy.

Previous to the 2004 election, Bin Laden surfaced on a video on the eve
of the two year anniversary of 911. Once again impeccable timing to
deliver a video, given that he was reported to be hiding in the
mountains of Pakistan.

However, the video was quickly recognized by experts as simply a
re-hash of old material cobbled together quickly and so amateurish that
it could not have fooled anyone.

Previous to the beginning of the Iraq war, Bin Laden appeared in
February 2003 on an audio tape that was touted as proof positive of Al
Qaeda links with Saddam Hussein.

In another amazing timing coincidence, the tape came barely a week
after Colin powell's attempts to link Al Qaeda and Saddam in his
botched presentation of lies and exaggerations before the UN Security

In an even more bizarre twist, just hours before the tape was found and
aired by AlJazeera, Colin Powell announced in the US Senate that a “Bin
Laden tape is coming proving Iraq’s links with Al-Qaeda.”

How does Colin Powell know what AlJazeera are going to broadcast before
they do?

The tape voiced support for Iraq, but did not prove any link between
al-Qaeda and the Iraqi leadership. It was described as dubious at best
and at worst as an outright fake.

Previous to this tape a poor quality release in November 2002, deemed
to be completely authentic by US Experts, was determined to be a total
fake by the Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial
Intelligence in Switzerland.

This time Bin Laden was said to be admitting to recent small scale
terror attacks. Yet the voice on the tape was different to around
twenty previous recordings of Bin Laden.

And of course, then there is the all time classic Bin Laden video, the
number one hit from december 2001. The one we like to call the "Fat
nosed" Bin Laden video.

This one was magically found in a house in Jalalabad after anti-Taliban
forces moved in. It featured a fat Osama laughing and joking about how
he'd carried out 9/11. The video was also mistranslated in order to
manipulate viewer opinion and featured "Bin Laden" praising two of the
hijackers, only he got their names wrong.

This Osama also uses the wrong hand to write with and wears gold rings,
a practice totally in opposition to the Muslim faith.

Despite the fact that the man in the video looks nothing like Bin
Laden, the CIA stood by the video whilst many have declared it an
outright fake.

And so we come back to this week's tape, Osama's "latest release".
Already experts are coming forward to suggest that yet again this is a
fake that has been put out at a very convenient time to divert
attention away from important events.

Professor Bruce Lawrence has described the tape as "like a voice from
the grave".

He thinks bin Laden is dead and has doubts about the tape. Lawrence
recently analyzed more than 20 complete speeches and interviews of the
al Qaida leader for his book. He says the new message is missing
several key elements.

We have previously highlighted the evidence to suggest that Bin Laden
is dead. More and more experts are now coming forward with the same
opinion. Every time a new tape is released it seems to become shorter
and more vague as if whoever is making them is running out of material
to work with .

If it is conceivable that there is one group of fundamentalist
individuals who wish to change the way we live because "they hate our
freedom", then it is equally as conceivable that there is another group
of richer, more sophisticated fundamentalists that wish to do the same
thing themselves and will use the first group as a cover for what they

They have groomed Bin Laden for their own ends and will continue to use
his image (whether he is dead or not) until they no longer have a cause
to, this is simply another example of his usefulness in the fake war on


Message: 18
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 12:09:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Al Soto
Subject: 01/20/2006 - BUSH needs Bin Laden a dialogue

Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 08:36:32 -0500
From: Woody Smith
Subject: Bush Needs Bin Laden

I am sure most of you who have been watching the news the past few
days have noticed that two items are dominating national coverage,
the kidnapping of Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll
and the release of an audio tape purported to be from Osama bin Laden.

One can predict when these types of things will occur with a very
high degree of accuracy. Whenever Bush gets in trouble over one
issue or another, whether it be domestic spying, economic downturns,
revelations of corruption, plummeting approval ratings, a Supreme
Court nominee needs a bump, or whatnot, you can rely on Osama bin
Laden or one of his chief deputies to supply some kind of strangely
garbled tape, or some attractive noncombatant to be kidnapped by
"insurgents," to jar the news cycles off whatever track it's on that
Bush finds unpleasant.

Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but when we have been led into a
disastrous war for what certainly appears to be no better reason than
to multiply oil prices and profits and to permit George W. Bush to
arrogate to himself the mantle of "war president," then one is
allowed to think paranoid thoughts, particularly when the timing of
these events, which specifically designed to engender fear and
loathing, seems so consistently convenient.

Woody Smith

bkp - Bare-Knuckles Politics, the
Freeper-Free Forum
Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and
our poor are too rich."


Professor Says Bin Laden Tape a Fake Leaked by Pakistanis
ABC News 11 | January 20 2006
U.S. Rejects Any 'Truce' With Bin Laden

Bin Laden Warns of Attacks, Offers Truce

A Duke professor says he is doubtful about Thursday's audiotape from Osama bin Laden.

Bruce Lawrence has just published Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden, a book translating bin Laden's writing. He is skeptical of Thursday's message.

It was like a voice from the grave, Lawrence said.

He thinks bin Laden is dead and has doubts about the tape. Lawrence recently analyzed more than 20 complete speeches and interviews of the al Qaida leader for his book. He says the new message is missing several key elements.

There's nothing in this from the Koran. He's, by his own standards, a faithful Muslim, Lawrence said. He quotes scripture in defense of his actions. There's no quotation from the Koran in the excerpts we got, no reference to specific events, no reference to past atrocities.

Join Prisonplanet.tv & watch all of Alex Jones' Documentaries Online Now

While the CIA confirms the voice on the tape is bin Laden's, Lawrence questions when it was recorded. He says the timing of its release could be to divert attention from last week's U.S. air strike in Pakistan. The strike targeted bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and killed four leading al Qaeda figures along with civilians.

Lawrence believes faulty Pakistani intelligence led to the strike and the civilian deaths, and the tape was leaked by Pakistani authorities to divert attention from their mistake.

It led to a failed military operation where America got blamed, but they people who are really to blame are the ones who provided the intelligence, Lawrence said. I think this is an effort to say were not going look at this terrible incident that happened.

Another element that Lawrence takes issue with in bin Laden's latest message is its length - - only 10 minutes. Previously, the shortest was 18 minutes


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