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Showing posts from July 6, 2008

Forget Retroactive Immunity, FISA Bill is also about Prospective Immunity

By Matt Rothschild of The Progressive. Full text of the bill here.Leave it to George Bush to point out a little-noticed aspect of the FISA bill that he likes, but you should hate.In his chortle over the Democratic cave-in on FISA, Bush said, “It will ensure that those companies whose assistance is necessary to protect the country will, themselves, be protected from lawsuits for past—or future—cooperation with the government.”The news lies between those dashes.Opponents of the FISA bill, from the ACLU to Russ Feingold, have been focusing on retroactive immunity for AT&T and Verizon and the other telecom companies.But what may be even more alarming is the prospective immunity that telecom companies and Internet service providers and others are guaranteed by this bill.Here are some of the relevant passages:“The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may direct, in writing, an electronic communication service provider to a) “immediately provide the Government with …


This is what you call a backhanded compliment: clearly, MediaLens is having an effect.

On June 28 and July 3, Media Lens received repeated threats of both legal and police action from Alastair Brett, legal manager of News International’s Times Newspapers.

Noam Chomsky described the threat, pithily, as “pretty sick.” (Email, June 28, 2008) David Miller, professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde and founder member of Spinwatch (, commented:
“The response from the Times is an absolutely outrageous attempt to bully and censor you. It is not - unfortunately - surprising though, as the Murdoch empire is determined to attempt to snuff out those voices which try to bear witness to the truths of our age. Those that unmask naked power will be targeted by the Murdoch empire and its hench people. Maddox is the latest in a long line and is evidently a well networked member of the political elite - being a governor of the shadowy Ditchley Foundation. It is simply laugha…

The Real Operation to "Rescue" Ingrid Betancourt and US Mercenaries

I know it ruins the movie, but apparently, not all was as staged. Btw, did you know Uribe is trying to change the Colombian constitution so he can run for a third term? Gee, I don't see pronouncements of "dictatorship" resounding from the rafters in the US, as opposed to reactions to Chávez.

In order to understand the "rescue operation" of Ingrid Betancourt and the Northrop Grumman Corporation mercenaries who were released with her, it is necessary to piece together articles published in the media, filter the content and out of this is formed a true understanding of the facts of what happened here.
On June 3rd, Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba revealed that she possessed information that the government of Colombia was negotiating a deal with FARC to trade money for the release of Betancourt and the mercenaries. The official policy of the United States is that they don't "negotiate with terrorists," even as many leaders of Latin American countries ac…

National War Powers Commission (Baker-Christopher) Report

Um, the Congress has the unambiguous power to declare war. Full stop. It gave this power up after 1941. The 1973 rule didn't go nearly far enough in reining in the bipartisan imperial project. That's the main problem. The solution is not to assume that the President controls war power. He doesn't. He's commander in chief once a war starts. That's it. Defense of the country from attack or imminent (i.e., really imminent, not propaganda-based) attack is not at issue. Go and defend and send a message to Congress to declare war. Non-state actors? Not a fatal problem. Any and all parsing should start from the obvious and utterly crystal clear delegation of war-making powers to the Congress. Read the debates, the Federalist. Clear as day.

Update:Here's another take on the War Powers Act, from the Constitution Project.

Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity To Phone Companies

My suggestions:
Give as much money as you can to the ACLU who will challenge this in court.Check your senators' and rep's vote; if for this Nazi bill, tell 'em that under no circumstances will you vote for him or her ever again.Don't vote for McCain or Obama. McCain supported the bill but didn't vote for it (too busy campaigning); Obama supported it and voted for it. Two scumbags.More info here:

Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter', Robert Parry, 6/30/08

Key quote:
As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs.To understand this extraordinary development, historians might want to look back at the 1980s and examine the Iran-Contra scandal’s “lost chapter,” a narrative describing how Ronald Reagan’s administration brought CIA tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world.Interview on Anti-War Radio:

One journalist's story: from triumph to torture, John Pilger

In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger describes presenting a top journalism award to a young Palestinian, Mohammed Omer, and how, on his return home to Gaza, he was seized by the Israelis, who demanded the prize money and tortured him.

Two weeks ago, I presented a young Palestinian, Mohammed Omer, with the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. Awarded in memory of the great American war correspondent, the prize goes to journalists who expose establishment propaganda, or “official drivel”, as Martha called it. Mohammed shares the prize of £5,000 with the fine war reporter Dahr Jamail. At 24, Mohammed is the youngest ever winner. His citation reads: “Every day, he reports from a war zone, where he is also a prisoner. His homeland, Gaza, is surrounded, starved, attacked, forgotten. He is a profoundly humane witness to one of the great injustices of our time. He is the voice of the voiceless.” The eldest of eight children, Mohammed has seen most of his siblings killed or wounded…