Saturday, April 21, 2007

We Are Gonna Fry!

Climate Change: Why We Can't Wait
By James Hansen, The NationPosted on April 21, 2007, Printed on April 21, 2007

This is an adaptation of a talk delivered February 26 at the National Press Club. Comments relating to policy are Dr. Hansen's personal opinion and do not represent a NASA position.
There's a huge gap between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known about global warming by those who need to know: the public and policy-makers. We've had, in the past thirty years, one degree Fahrenheit of global warming.
But there's another one degree Fahrenheit in the pipeline due to gases that are already in the atmosphere. And there's another one degree Fahrenheit in the pipeline because of the energy infrastructure now in place -- for example, power plants and vehicles that we're not going to take off the road even if we decide that we're going to address this problem.

The Energy Department says that we're going to continue to put more and more CO2 in the atmosphere each year -- not just additional CO2 but more than we put in the year before.
If we do follow that path, even for another ten years, it guarantees that we will have dramatic climate changes that produce what I would call a different planet -- one without sea ice in the Arctic; with worldwide, repeated coastal tragedies associated with storms and a continuously rising sea level; and with regional disruptions due to freshwater shortages and shifting climatic zones.

I've arrived at five recommendations for what should be done to address the problem. If Congress were to follow these recommendations, we could solve the problem. Interestingly, this is not a gloom-and-doom story. In fact, the things we need to do have many other benefits in terms of our economy, our national security, our energy independence and preserving the environment -- preserving creation.

First, there should be a moratorium on building any more coal-fired power plants until we have the technology to capture and sequester the CO2. That technology is probably five or ten years away. It will become clear over the next ten years that coal-fired power plants that do not capture and sequester CO2 are going to have to be bulldozed. That's the only way we can keep CO2 from getting well into the dangerous level, because our consumption of oil and gas alone will take us close to the dangerous level. And oil and gas are such convenient fuels (and located in countries where we can't tell people not to mine them) that they surely will be used. So why build old-technology power plants if you're not going to be able to operate them over their lifetime, which is fifty or seventy-five years? It doesn't make sense. Besides, there's so much potential in efficiency, we don't need new power plants if we take advantage of that.

Second, and this is the hard recommendation that no politician seems willing to stand up and say is necessary: The only way we are going to prevent having an amount of CO2 that is far beyond the dangerous level is by putting a price on emissions. In order to avoid economic problems, it had better be a gradually rising price so that the consumer has the option to seek energy sources that reduce his requirement for how much fuel he needs. And that means we should be investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at the same time. The result would be high-tech, high-paid jobs. And it would be very good for our energy independence, our national security and our balance of payments.

But a price on carbon emissions is not enough, which brings us to the third recommendation: We need energy-efficiency standards. That's been proven time and again. The biggest use of energy is in buildings, and the engineers and architects have said that they can readily reduce the energy requirement of new buildings by 50 percent.

That goal has been endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors, but you can't do it on a city-by-city basis. You need national standards. The same goes for vehicle efficiency. We haven't had an improvement in vehicle efficiency in twenty-five or thirty years. And our national government is standing in court alongside the automobile manufacturers resisting what the National

Research Council has said is readily achievable -- a 30 percent improvement in vehicle efficiency, which California and other states want to adopt.

The fourth recommendation -- and this is probably the easiest one -- involves the question of ice-sheet stability. The old assumption that it takes thousands or tens of thousands of years for ice sheets to change is clearly wrong. The concern is that it's a very nonlinear process that could accelerate. The west Antarctic ice sheet in particular is very vulnerable. If it collapses, that could yield a sea-level rise of sixteen to nineteen feet, possibly on a time scale as short as a century or two.

The information on ice-sheet stability is so recent that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report does not adequately address it. The IPCC process is necessarily long and drawn out. But this problem with the stability of ice sheets is so critical that it really should be looked at by a panel of our best scientists.

Congress should ask the National Academy of Sciences to do a study on this and report its conclusions in very plain language. The National Academy of Sciences was established by Abraham Lincoln for just this sort of purpose, and there's no reason we shouldn't use it that way.

The final recommendation concerns how we have gotten into this situation in which there is a gap between what the relevant scientific community understands and what the public and policy-makers know. A fundamental premise of democracy is that the public is informed and that they're honestly informed.

There are at least two major ways in which this is not happening. One of them is that the public affairs offices of the science agencies are staffed at the headquarters level by political appointees. While the public affairs workers at the centers are professionals who feel that their job is to translate the science into words the public can understand, unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case for the political appointees at the highest levels.

Another matter is Congressional testimony. I don't think the Framers of the Constitution expected that when a government employee -- a technical government employee -- reports to Congress, his testimony would have to be approved and edited by the White House first. But that is the way it works now. And frankly, I'm afraid it works that way whether it's a Democratic administration or a Republican one.

These problems are worse now than I've seen in my thirty years in government. But they're not new. I don't know anything in our Constitution that says that the executive branch should filter scientific information going to Congressional committees. Reform of communication practices is needed if our government is to function the way our Founders intended it to work.

The global warming problem has brought into focus an overall problem: the pervasive influence of special interests on the functioning of our government and on communications with the public. It seems to me that it will be difficult to solve the global warming problem until we have effective campaign finance reform, so that special interests no longer have such a big influence on policy-makers.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute.

All rights reserved.View this story online at:

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

All of Us Are Vulnerable!

"My Name Used to Be #200343"
By David Phinney, IPS NewsPosted on April 7, 2007,
Printed on April 21, 2007

A year ago, Donald Vance learned what its like to be falsely accused by the U.S. military of aiding terrorists. He was held without charge for more than three months in a high-security prison in Iraq, and interrogated daily after sleepless nights without legal counsel or even a phone call to his family.

On Wednesday, the former private security contractor was honored for his ordeal in Washington and for speaking out against the incident. At a luncheon at the National Press Club, Vance received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, an award named in memory of Army helicopter gunner Ron Ridenhour who struggled to bring the horrific mass murders at My Lai to the attention of Congress and the Pentagon during the Vietnam War.

Vance was joined by former president Jimmy Carter, who won a lifetime achievement award, and journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post who was recognised for his recent book, "Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone".

As hundreds at the luncheon finished their lobster salad, Vance, a two-time George W. Bush voter and Navy veteran, recounted the events of his imprisonment and the grief of his fiancé and family. They did not know if he was alive or dead, he said. They were already making inquiries to the U.S. State Department on how to ship his body home.

He then drew a wider circle around his ordeal to include the countless others who have been held falsely without charge and denied normal legal constitutional protections under law. "My name used to be 200343," Vance said recalling his prisoner ID. "If they can do this to a former Navy man and an American, what is happening to people in facilities all over the world run by the American government?"

Vance's nightmare began last year on Apr. 15 when he and co-worker Nathan Ertel barricaded themselves in a Baghdad office after their employer, an Iraqi private security firm, took away their ID tags. They feared for their lives because they suspected the company was involved in selling unauthorised guns on the black market and other nefarious activity. A U.S. military squad freed them from the red zone in Baghdad after a friend at the U.S. embassy advised him to call for help.

Once they reached the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, government officials took them inside the embassy, listened to their individual accounts and then sent them to a trailer outside for sleep. Two or three hours later, before the crack of dawn, U.S. military personnel woke them. This time, however, Vance and Ertel, Shield Security's contract manager, were under arrest. Soldiers bound their wrists with zip ties and covered their eyes with goggles blacked out with duct tape.

The two were then escorted to a humvee and driven first to possibly Camp Prosperity and then to Camp Cropper, a high-security prison near the Baghdad airport where Saddam Hussein was once kept. Vance says he was denied the usual body armour and helmet while traveling through the perilous Baghdad streets outside the safety of the Green Zone or a U.S. military installation.

It was not the way the tall 29-year-old with an easy charm and keen mind had expected to be treated. Vance claims that during the months leading up to his arrest, he worked as an unpaid informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sometimes twice a day, he would share information with an agent in Chicago about the Iraqi-owned Shield Group Security, whose principals and managers appeared to be involved in weapons deals and violence against Iraqi civilians. One company employee regularly bartered alcohol with U.S. military personnel in exchange for ammunition they delivered, Vance said.

"He called it the bullets for beer programme," Vance claimed while relating the incident during an interview this week at a cigar bar just walking distance from the White House.
But his interrogators at Camp Cropper weren't impressed. Instead, his jailers insisted that Vance and Ertel had been detained and imprisoned because the two worked for Shield Group Security where large caches of weapons have been found -- weapons that may have been intended for possible distribution to insurgents and terrorist groups, Vance said.

In a lawsuit now pending against former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and "other unidentified agents," Vance and Ertel accuse their U.S. government captors of subjecting them to psychological torture day and night. Lights were kept on in their cell around the clock. They endured solitary confinement. They had only thin plastic mattresses on concrete for sleeping. Meals were of powdered milk and bread or rice and chicken, but interrupted by selective deprivation of food and water. Ceaseless heavy metal and country music screamed in their ears for hours on end, their legal complaint alleges.

They lived through "conditions of confinement and interrogation tantamount to torture", says the lawsuit filed in northern Illinois U.S. District Court. "Their interrogators utilised the types of physically and mentally coercive tactics that are supposedly reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants."

Rumsfeld is singled out as the key defendant because he played a critical role in establishing a policy of "unlawful detention and torment" that Vance, Ertel and countless others in the "war on terror" have endured, the lawsuit asserts, noting that the former defence secretary and other high-level military commanders acting at his direction developed and authorised a policy that allows government officials unilateral discretion to designate possible enemies of the United States.

Because the incident and allegations are now in litigation, the Pentagon has no comment, spokesman Army Lieut. Col. Mark Ballesteros said. He referred all inquires to the U.S. Justice Department, which also had no comment for similar reasons.

But darker allegations are included in the complaint over false imprisonment. Because he worked with the FBI, Vance contends, U.S. government officials in Iraq decided to retaliate against him and Ertel. He believes these officials conspired to jail the two not because they worked for a security company suspected of selling weapons to insurgents, but because they were sharing information with law enforcement agents outside the control of U.S. officials in Baghdad.

"In other words," claims the lawsuit, "United States officials in Iraq were concerned and wanted to find out about what intelligence agents in the United States knew about their territory and their operations. The unconstitutional policies that Rumsfeld and other unidentified agents had implemented for 'enemies' provided ample cover to detain plaintiffs and interrogate them toward that end."

It may take some time to sort out the allegations as the legal process grinds forward, but, in the meantime, Vance is raising new questions about his detention. He still wonders why his jailers didn't just call the FBI and have him cleared. They had access to his computer and cell phone to determine if his claims were true.

"When I told them to do that, they just got angry and told me to stop answering questions I wasn't being asked," Vance said. "I think they were butting heads with the State Department. I just snitched on the wrong people. I took the bull by the horns and got the horn."

And why weren't managers with the Shield Group held and interrogated?

Interrogators were certainly interested in these other individuals, according to the lawsuit.

They wanted to know about the company's structure, its political contacts, and its owners -- most of whom are related to a long-established Iraqi family who fled Iraq during the years the country was ruled by Saddam Hussein, Vance said.

More startling even now is that the company has reformed. At the time they left, Shield Security held U.S.-funded contracts with the Iraqi government, Iraqi companies, NGOs and U.S. contractors. As far as Vance knows, the company still does -- but under a different name: National Shield Security.

"I built their web site," he said. "And they are still being awarded millions of dollars in contracts."

David Phinney is a journalist and broadcaster based in Washington, DC, whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and on ABC and PBS. He can be contacted at:

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.View this story online at:

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.


Prominent Voices for Impeachment to Go to Capitol

On Thursday, April 19, at 11:15 a.m., a group of prominent Americans will gather at the U.S. Capitol to speak in support of beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Among them will be mayors, including Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City and John Shields of Nyack, NY; city council members, including Dave Meserve of Arcata, CA; former government officials, including Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon Papers; David MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, a career diplomat who quit in protest the day the war began; and legal experts, including Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Also participating will be authors, journalists, poets, and playwrights, including Chris Hedges, Eve Ensler, Justin Frank, Mark Kurlansky, John Nichols, Barbara Jentzsch, Ann Marie Macari, and Ariel Dorfman; actors, producers, and photographers, including Eunice Wong, Kathy Chalfant, Malachy McCourt, Frances Fisher, Henry Chalfant, and Patricia Foulkrod, and leading anti-war voices, including Andy Shallal, Cindy Sheehan, Tina Richards, Medea Benjamin, Bob Fertik, David Swanson, Debra Sweet, Kevin Zeese, and Tim Carpenter.

More names will be announced in further advisories, and the list will include some surprises.

WHAT: Coalition statement in support of impeachment

WHEN: 11:15 a.m. ET, Thursday, April 19, 2007

WHERE: Capitol Hill – Details to be announced soon – Check for updates at

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Why Do We Not Understand The Muslim Faith?

The only child of Muhammed, who survived him, was a woman.

No one ever considered her, now did they?

Neither did the Christians or the Jews give leadership to women.

Maybe that is the problem!

Published on Saturday, March 24, 2007 by

Calling Out Idiot America

by Scott Ritter

The ongoing hand-wringing in Congress by the newly empowered Democrats over what to do about the war in Iraq speaks volumes about the level of concern (or lack thereof) these “representatives of the people” have toward the men and women who honor us all by serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. The inability to reach consensus concerning the level of funding required or how to exercise effective oversight of the war, both constitutionally mandated responsibilities, is more a reflection of congressional cowardice and impotence than a byproduct of any heartfelt introspection over troop welfare and national security.

The issues that prompt the congressional collective to behave in such an egregious manner have more to do with a reflexive tendency to avoid any controversy that might disrupt the status quo ante regarding representative-constituent relations (i.e., re-election) than with any intellectual debate about doing the right thing. This sickening trend is bipartisan in nature, but of particular shame to the Democrats, who obtained their majority from an electorate that expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of the war in Iraq through their votes, demanding that something be done.

Sadly, Congress’ smoke-and-mirrors approach to the Iraq war creates the impression of much activity while generating no result. Even more sadly, the majority of Americans are falling for the act, either by continuing their past trend of political disengagement or by thinking that the gesticulation and pontification taking place in Washington, D.C., actually translate into useful work. The fact is, most Americans are ill-placed intellectually, either through genuine ignorance, a lack of curiosity or a combination of both, to judge for themselves the efficacy of congressional behavior when it comes to Iraq. Congress claims to be searching for a solution to Iraq, and many Americans simply accept that this is this case.

The fact is one cannot begin to search for a solution to a problem that has yet to be accurately defined. We speak of “surges,” “stability” and “funding” as if these terms come close to addressing the real problems faced in Iraq. There is widespread recognition among members of Congress and the American people that there is civil unrest in Iraq today, with Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence tearing that country apart, but the depth of analysis rarely goes beyond that obvious statement of fact. Americans might be able to nod their heads knowingly if one utters the words Sunni, Shiite and Kurd, but very few could take the conversation much further down the path of genuine comprehension regarding the interrelationships among these three groups. And yet we, the people, are expected to be able to hold to account those whom we elected to represent us in higher office, those making the decisions regarding the war in Iraq. How can the ignorant accomplish this task? And ignorance is not something uniquely attached to the American public. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the newly appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, infamously failed a pop quiz in which journalist Jeff Stein asked him to differentiate between Sunni and Shiite. Reyes has become the poster boy for congressional stupidity, but in truth he is not alone. Very few of his colleagues could pass the test, truth be told.

The task of holding Congress to account is a daunting one, and can be accomplished only if the citizenry that forms the respective constituencies of our ignorant congressional representatives are themselves able to operate at an intellectual capacity above that of those they are holding to account. So rather than issue “pop quizzes” to our elected representatives, I’ve designed one for us, the people. If the reader can fully answer the question raised, then he or she qualifies as one capable of pointing an accusatory finger at Congress as its members dither over what to do in Iraq. If the reader fails the quiz, then there should be an honest appraisal of the reality that we are in way over our heads regarding this war, and that it is irresponsible for anyone to make sweeping judgments about the ramifications of policy courses of action yet to be agreed upon.

Claiming to be able to divine a solution to a problem improperly defined is not only ignorant but dangerously delusional.

So here is the quiz: Explain the relationship between the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Baghdad as they impact the coexistence of Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni populations.

Most respondents who have a basic understanding of Iraq will answer that Karbala is a city of significance to Iraq’s Shiite population. Baghdad is Iraq’s capital, with a mixed Sunni and Shiite population. If that is your answer, you fail.

Karbala is a holy city for the Shiites. Its status as such is based on the fact that Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad and son of Ali, the fourth caliph, was killed outside Karbala in a battle between Hussein’s followers and forces loyal to Yazid, son of Muawiyah, the fifth caliph. The two sides were fighting over the line of succession when it came to leading the Muslim faithful after the death of Muhammad in the year 632. Abu Bakr, a close colleague of Muhammad but not a member of Muhammad’s biological family, was elected as the first caliph after the prophet’s death, an act that many Muslims believed broke faith with a necessity for the successor of Muhammad to be from his family. Abu Bakr’s death brought about a quick succession of caliphs, all of whom met untimely deaths and none of whom were from the family line of Muhammad.

When Ali was elected as the fourth caliph, many Muslims believed that for the first time since the death of Muhammad the caliphate had been restored to one properly authorized in the eyes of God to lead the Muslim faith. In fact, upon Ali’s accession as caliph, one of his first acts was to seek to restore the Muslim faith to its puritanical origins, which Ali believed had been departed from by the merchant families closely allied with the third caliph, Othman. Ali’s efforts were bitterly resisted by merchant families in Damascus, which refused to recognize Ali as the caliph.

The head of the Damascus rebels, Muawiyah, fought a bitter conflict with Ali, which weakened the caliphate and paved the way for Ali’s assassination.

Upon Ali’s death, the caliphate was transferred to his elder son, Hassan, but when this succession was challenged by Muawiyah, Hassan relented, transferring the caliphate to Muawiyah with the caveat that once Muawiyah died, the caliphate would be returned to the lineage of the prophet Muhammad. When Muawiyah died, the caliphate passed to his son, Yazid.

This succession was challenged by Hussein, Hassan’s brother and Ali’s younger son, who believed that the succession, as dictated by Hassan when he abdicated, should have gone to someone within the direct line of the prophet Muhammad, namely Hussein. Yazid’s treacherous attack on Hussein and his followers, occurring as it did during prayer time, set the stage for the split in the Muslim faith between the Shiat Ali (Shia, or followers of Ali) and the Ahl-i Sunnah (Sunni, or the people who follow in the custom of the prophet Muhammad). Both Shiite and Sunni view one another as deviants from the pure form of Islam as taught by Muhammad, and as such functioning as apostates deserving death.

If you answered the quiz on Karbala in the above fashion, you would still be wrong. The split between Sunni and Shiite goes beyond simple hatred for one another. Not only did the religion split, but so too did the methodology of governance as well as the interrelationship between religion and politics.

There was a final chance at achieving unity within the Muslim world. In the year 750, at the battle of Zab in Egypt, nearly the entire aristocracy formed from the lineage of Muawiyah was annihilated when the Damascus-based caliphate clashed with predominantly Shiite rebels. Jaffar, a Shiite spiritual leader and the great-grandson of Hussein, was supposed to be elevated to the caliphate, thereby uniting the Muslim world, but was instead murdered by Al-Mansur, who established the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad. This final treachery created a permanent split between the Shiites and those who became known as Sunnis.

The Shiite faithful embraced rule by imams, infallible leaders who provide guidance over spiritual and political affairs. According to the majority of Shiites, there are 12 imams, originating with Ali. The 12th imam, also named Muhammad, is believed by many Shiites to be the Mahdi, or savior, who went into hiding at God’s command and will return at the end of days to bring salvation to the faithful. With the passing of the 12th imam, matters of spiritual and political concerns were dealt with by religious scholars, or the ulema. These scholars are products of religious academies, known as “hawza.” In Iraq, the city of Najaf is home to the most important hawza, the Hawza Ilmiya. Each hawza produces religious scholars, or “marjas,” who interpret religion and provide guidance over social matters to those who rally around their particular teachings.

The Najaf Hawza currently has four marjas, or grand ayatollahs, each of whom reigns supreme when it comes to matters of religion or state. The faithful look to their hawza for guidance in all they do, and the sermons given by the various marjas take on a significance little understood by those who aren’t born and bred into that society. To speak of creating a unified Iraqi state without factoring in the reality of the hawza and its competing marjas is tantamount to claiming one will seek to fly without factoring in the realities of lift and gravity.

So if you answered the question concerning the city of Karbala with anything remotely resembling an insight into not only the schism that exists between the Sunni and the Shiite but also how the development of the practice of the Shiite faith has led to an absolute insinuation of religious dogma into every aspect of social and political life in a manner that operates independently of any so-called central state authority, you would get a passing grade, enabling you to move on to the next city covered by the pop quiz: Baghdad.

It is not only the Shiites who are bound by religious ties seemingly indecipherable to the West. From the chaos that was created with the Islamic schism came a very fluid situation in the development of Sunni Islamic dogma, with the Sunnis embracing a notion of consensus among the historical Muslim community, a line of thinking that led to the creation of four so-called legal schools of Islamic thought (the Maliki, the Hannafi, the Hanbali and the Shafi’i). These schools produced Islamic scholars who in turn competed for a constituency of followers. While in theory Sunni scholars preached adherence to the customs of the prophet Muhammad, in practice the Sunni schools became intertwined in the affairs of state and business. This deviation from the pure practice of faith led to the growth of “mystic societies” known as Sufism. Sufi brotherhoods sprang up throughout the Muslim world, each preaching its own mystical path toward achieving personal growth through the teachings of the prophet Muhammad.

The Abbasid caliphate, which oversaw this period of religious “softening,” in which the pure practice of Islam gave way to a more secular tolerance of the baser concerns of man, was centered in Baghdad. It was the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 1258 that signaled not only the end of the Abbasid caliph’s rule but the certification in the eyes of some Sunni faithful that Abbasid’s ruin was brought about by the lack of pure faith in Islam by those professing to be Muslim. One of the basic tenants of the Sunni faith was the notion of community consensus, or “taqlid.” Taqlid was actively practiced by three of the four “legal” schools of Sunni thought. The sole exception was the school of the Hanbali, which followed a stricter interpretation of the faith. A Hanbali religious jurist, Ibn Taymiya, rose to prominence in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion. He held not only that the Mongols were an enemy of Islam but that the Shiite Islamic state that emerged in Persia after the Mongol conquest was likewise anathema.
More important, Ibn Taymiya broke ranks with the rest of the Sunni community, especially those who practiced Sufism, declaring all to be an affront to God. Ibn Taymiya rejected the notion of community consensus represented in the taqlid and instead professed that a true Muslim state could exist only where the political leader governed as a partner with the religious leader, and was subordinated to the religious through strict adherence to the “sharia,” or religious law. The Muslim jurists, or “ulema,” held total sway over society, to the extent that even matters pertaining to war were reserved for the religious leader, or imam, who was the only person authorized to declare a jihad.

During the Abbysid caliph, the term jihad had taken on the connotation of inner struggle. This interpretation gained wide acceptance with the spread of the Sufi brotherhoods, which were all about inner discovery. Ibn Taymiya rejected this notion of jihad, instead proclaiming that true jihad involved a relentless struggle against the enemies of Islam. For a while his teachings were popular, especially when they were being used to encourage the forces of Sunni Islam confronting the infidel Mongol invaders. However, his strict interpretation of Hanbali tenets were rejected even by other Hanbali religious scholars, and Ibn Taymiya himself was branded a heretic.

The teachings of Ibn Taymiya continued to be taught in certain Hanbali circles, including those operating in the holy city of Medina. It was here, in the 18th century, that a Arab Bedouin from the Nejd desert, in what is today Saudi Arabia, named Muhammed al-Wahhab emerged to create a movement that not only embraced the teachings of Ibn Taymiya but took them even further, preaching a virulent form of Islam that claimed to seek to bring the faithful back to the religion as practiced by the prophet Muhammad himself. Wahhab’s movement, known as the Call to Unity, reflected his strict interpretation of Islam as set forth in his book Kitab al-Tawhid, or the Book of Unity.

At first Wahhab was rejected by the Sunni scholars, and he was hounded and finally forced to take refuge in the tiny village of Dariya. There Wahhab befriended the local governor, Muhammed Ibn Saud, initiating what was to become a partnership in which the Saud family took on the role of emir, or political leader, while Wahhab became imam, or religious leader. The team of Bedouin warrior and Islamic fanatic soon led to what would become known as the Wahhabi conquest, bringing much of what is now present-day Saudi Arabia under their strict religious rule. In 1802 a Wahhabi army attacked Karbala and sacked the sacred Shiite shrine to Hussein. In 1803 the Wahhabis sacked Mecca, laying waste to the most holy sites in the Islamic world, including the Great Mosque. In 1804 the Wahhabis captured Medina, looted the tomb of the prophet Muhammad and shut off the hajj, or pilgrimage, to all non-Wahhabis. The rise of the Wahhabi empire was seen as a threat to all Islam, and soon a massive counterattack was mounted by the caliphate in Egypt. By 1818 the Wahhabis had been destroyed in battle, and everyone professing Wahhabism was treated as an apostate and butchered. The head of the Saud tribe was captured and beheaded, along with many of his fellow tribesmen.

Deep in the Arab deserts, a small number of Saudi tribesmen, strict adherents to Wahhabism, survived the Egyptian onslaught and began the struggle to regain their lost power. By 1924 the Wahhabis once again controlled Mecca and Medina, and by 1932 a new nation, Saudi Arabia, emerged from the Arabian deserts, governed by the house of Saud and with religious affairs totally in the hands of the Wahhabis.

To the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia there were two great sources of religious heretics: the Shiites, who ruled in Iran and represented a majority population in several Arab nations, including Iraq, and worse still, the Sunni Arabs, who rejected the true path as represented by the teachings of Wahhab. The puritanical form of Islam pushed by the Wahhabis was difficult to export, however, until the oil crisis of 1973, after which the Saudi government was able to fund the printing of Wahhabi literature and training of Wahhabi missionaries. In Iraq, there was some attraction to the puritanical teachings of Wahhabism among the Bedouin of the western deserts. However, with the rise to power of Saddam Hussein, Wahhabism and those who proselytized in its name were treated as enemies of the state. Wahhabism was still practiced in the shadows of Sunni mosques throughout Iraq, but anyone caught doing so was immediately arrested and put to death.

Wahhabi concerns over the weakening of the Muslim world by those who practiced anything other than pure Islam were certified in the minds of the faithful when, in April 2003, American soldiers captured Baghdad in what many Wahhabis viewed as a repeat of the sack of the city at the hands of the Mongols in 1258. Adding insult to injury, the role of Iraq’s Shiites in aiding and abetting the American conquest was seen as proof positive that the only salvation for the faithful could come at the hands of a pure form of the Islamic faith, that of Wahhabism. As the American liberation dragged on into the American occupation, and the level of violence between the Shiites and Sunnis grew, the call of jihad as promulgated by the Wahhabis gained increasing credence among the tribes of western Iraq.

The longer the Americans remain in Iraq, the more violence the Americans bring down on Iraq, and the more the Americans are seen as facilitating the persecution of the Sunnis by the Shiites, the more legitimate the call of the Wahhabi fanatics become. While American strategists may speak of the rise of al-Qaida in Iraq, this is misrecognition of what is really happening. Rather than foreigners arriving and spreading Wahhabism in Iraq, the virulent sect of Islamic fundamentalism is spreading on its own volition, assisted by the incompetence and brutality of an American occupation completely ignorant of the reality of the land and people it occupies.

This is the true significance of Baghdad, and any answer not reflecting this will be graded as failing.

A pop quiz, consisting of one question in two parts. Most readers might complain that it is not realistic to expect mainstream America to possess the knowledge necessary to achieve the level of comprehension required to pass this quiz. I agree. However, since the mission of the United States in Iraq has shifted from disarming Saddam to installing democracy to creating stability, I think it only fair that the American people be asked about those elements that are most relevant to the issue, namely the Shiite and Sunni faithful and how they interact with one another.

It is sadly misguided to believe that surging an additional 20,000 U.S. troops into Baghdad and western Iraq will even come close to redressing the issues raised in this article. And if you concur that the reality of Iraq is far too complicated to be understood by the average American, yet alone cured by the dispatch of additional troops, then we have a collective responsibility to ask what the hell we are doing in that country to begin with. If this doesn’t represent a clarion call for bringing our men and women home, nothing does.

Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of numerous books, including “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005) and “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2006)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Our Fellow Earthlings Do Not Want Us To Be Global COPs

Well, trust us when we say, we don't want to be; at least a large majority of us don't care for being COPs of any kind.

Actually, Bush and Cheney don't care about the law either. They do, however care about resources and money. But you already knew that, eh?

Why would someone who cared about international law have best friends like that savage in Uzbekistan, who boils his political opponents in oil.?

Why would Bush want to be best buddies with the House of Saud?

Why would enforcers of the law try to overthrow duly elected officials of other countries?

If Bush wants to overthrow tyrants, let him not make friends with some and overthrow others. As a matter of fact, let him begin by resigning!

No, No...the Bushites don't care about being cops, just about forcing us to be an empire.

I can speak for our blog:

We do not want to be an empire. We want to be genuinely helpful to all people in all nations, if we can and if we are asked, but we do not want to be an empire. Being an empire is not helpful to anyone, especially people, who are burdened with a conscious soul, in the belly of the beast.

It is a hell of a different kind than those in Iraq are enduring, but it is a hell, nevertheless.

It is a hell that involves heartbreaking, soul devastating, psychological shame and disgust.

Let it be known that vast numbers of Americans are suffering; grief, loss, heartbreak, shame, disgust with our own government and many of our own countrymen/women, frustration and psycho-emotional turmoil.

Let it also be known that we will not give up nor surrender to the criminals and idiots who have taken our country, and possibly the world, close to the abyss.

Just ask the Brits, the Germans, the French......... about the horrors of being an empire.

Published on Thursday, April 19, 2007 by Inter Press Service

World Opposed to U.S. as Global Cop
by Eli Clifton

WASHINGTON - The world public rejects the U.S. role as a world leader, but still wants the United States to do its share in multilateral efforts and does not support a U.S. withdrawal from international affairs, says a poll released Wednesday.The survey respondents see the United States as an unreliable “world policeman”, but views are split on whether the superpower should reduce its overseas military bases.

The people of the United States generally agreed with the rest of the world that their country should not remain the world’s pre-eminent leader or global cop, and prefer that it play a more cooperative role in multilateral efforts to address world problems.

The poll, the fourth in a series released by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and since the latter half of 2006, was conducted in China, India, United States, Indonesia, Russia, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea, Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel, Armenia and the Palestinian territories.

The three previous reports covered attitudes toward humanitarian military intervention, labour and environmental standards in international trade, and global warming. Those surveys found that the international public generally favoured more multilateral efforts to curb genocides and more far-reaching measures to protect labour rights and combat climate change than their governments have supported to date.

Steven Kull, editor of, notes that this report confirms other polls which have shown that world opinion of the United States is bad and getting worse, however this survey more closely examines the way the world public would want to see Washington playing a positive role in the international community.

Although all 15 of the countries polled rejected the idea that, “the U.S. should continue to be the pre-eminent world leader in solving international problems,” only Argentina and the Palestinian territories say it “should withdraw from most efforts to solve international problems.”

The respondents tend to agree that the US should do “its share in efforts to solve international problems together with other countries” in: South Korea (79 percent), United States (75 percent), France (75 percent), China (68 percent), Israel (62 percent), Peru (61 percent), Mexico (59 percent), Armenia (58 percent), Philippines (55 percent), Ukraine (52 percent), Thailand (47 percent), India (42 percent) and Russia (42 percent).

In a majority of countries — 13 out of 15 — publics believe Washington is “playing the role of world policeman more than it should,” including France (89 percent), Australia (80 percent), China (77 percent), Russia (76 percent), Peru (76 percent), Palestinian territories (74 percent) and South Korea (73 percent).

Seventy-six percent of those polled in the United States also agree that their country plays too big a role as a global cop, but 57 percent of Filipinos disagreed with the statement, and Israelis were evenly split on the issue.

Majorities think that the United States cannot be trusted to “act responsibly in the world” in: Argentina (84 percent), Peru (80 percent), Russia (73 percent), France (72 percent) and Indonesia (64 percent). But majorities or large percentages in the Philippines (85 percent), Israel (81 percent), Poland (51 percent), and Ukraine (49 percent) say the superpower can be at least “somewhat” trusted to act responsibly.

Although most of the countries involved in the poll had majorities who believe the U.S. was too involved in policing issues of international concern, there were mixed views about whether it should reduce its military presence around the world. Only five out of 12 publics favoured decreasing the number of overseas U.S. military bases: Argentina (75 percent), Palestinian territories (70 percent), France (69 percent), China (63 percent) and Ukraine (62 percent).
Majorities in the Philippines (78 percent), United States (68 percent), Israel (59 percent) and Poland (54 percent) favour maintaining or increasing the current levels of U.S. military bases. Armenia and Thailand lean in favour of maintaining current levels or reducing base locations, while India was divided. No country favoured increases.

The survey clearly shows that the perception of the U.S. role in the world is negative and getting worse, but some publics did have significant numbers who felt relations between their country and the United States are getting better.

Most of the respondents in India (58 percent) and China (53 percent) felt relations were improving, while pluralities agree in Australia (50 percent), Armenia (48 percent), Indonesia (46 percent), and Thailand (37 percent). Majorities or pluralities in Poland (60 percent), South Korea (56 percent), Israel (52 percent), Ukraine (52 percent) and Russia (45 percent) say relations with the U.S. are about the same.

No countries had majorities or pluralities who say relations with the United States are getting worse.

Copyright © 2007 IPS-Inter Press Service.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

The Tragedy Predators of The Media: Milk It For All It's Worth

April 20, 2007 at 07:00:11


by Linda Milazzo Page 1 of 2 page(s)

Time now for a commercial sponsored by American Media Whores:

"Terrorists... Mass murderers... Tired of feeling isolated? Sick of being unknown? Not wanting to commit that massacre for fear no one will know? Well your dreams of martyrdom have finally been answered. COMMIT YOUR CRIME IN AMERICA, where American Media Whores promise you'll NEVER be forgotten. They'll broadcast your every move. For weeks. Months. Even years. Your universal martyrdom will exceed your wildest dreams!"

No joke...

Virginia Tech University. Bluffton University. Duke University. Rutgers University. Columbine High. Visual suffering and televised tears. Sensational. Salacious. Dramatic. Delights for pernicious predators like self-serving media whores.

American media are parasites. Tragedy and mayhem are their hosts. They prey on sorrow, incite fear, and ignite rage. They even start wars. They anoint 'the evil', and savage 'the good.'

They swift-boat honor and uplift lies. They make idols of murderers and glorify their crimes. They cater to sorrow-seekers and thrill-mongers. They encourage voyeurs. They create addicts who worship the offender and worship the offense.

Media sequester what they choose and feature what they want. They magnify what should be ignored and ignore what should be known. Truth is inconsequential.
Ratings are what rule.

And ratings set the rules:

Create "breaking news." Avoid the unappealing, like war, the poor, and the unattractive. Focus on wealth, beautiful women and handsome men. Stories of adorable Anglo children are sure to sell. Rehearse phrases like "tragedy of unimaginable proportions," "overwhelming pain and suffering" and "sadly no one survived." Pay little mind to the "good stuff."

American media suck blood from stone. And life from death. They are our principal source of deception. They gave us George W. Bush and "shock and awe." As Danny Schechter would say, they are "weapons of mass deception," They are not Democracy's protectors. They are corporate America's spawn.

Look at the bulk of MSNBC's lineup. Hours and hours of "Lock Up:" life behind prisons' walls. That's prisons with an "s." A nation-wide tour of America's penitentiaries. The deconstruction of incarceration as a recognizable way of life. The legitimization of the prison industrial complex.
Then more hours devoted to deviant crimes and exploring the minds of criminals. MSNBC isn't a news stop. It's a crime stop.

On April 15th, one day BEFORE the mayhem at Virginia Tech, I wrote an article titled "Conflated Tragedies: Bluffton U., Duke U. and Iraq,Too,"


which considered the massive media coverage of University tragedies over the minimal coverage of our military at war. It recalled the Bluffton University bus crash that filled America's airwaves for many a night. And the three Duke LaCrosse players who spent a full year in the media light.

Now the media barrage centers on the campus of Virginia Tech. Thirty-three dead. We "know" the victims. And the perpetrator. We recall their faces, their names, and their lives. They suffered horrific unnecessary deaths, played out again and again on TV. The media milking the mayhem for all that it's worth and setting the bait for more.

Virginia Tech, now four days post-massacre, remains inundated by press. Satellites are everywhere. Victims and their families are paraded before cameras. Sympathetic characters exploited for profit. A gruesome teleplay with all the elements of high drama:
An idyllic community shattered by violence. Thirty-three young people horribly slain. Lives ended and shattered forever.

And the villain. OH, THE VILLAIN!
1 2

Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Her writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and domestic and international journals. She's a member of CodePink Women For Peace and Progressive Democrats of America. Over the past three decades Linda has divided her time between the entertainment industry, community projects and education. A political and social activist since the Vietnam War, Linda attributes her revitalized-fully-engaged-intense-head-on-non-stop-political activism to the UNFORTUNATE EXISTENCE OF GEORGE W. BUSH and her disgust with greed-ridden American imperialism, environmental atrocities, egregious war, nuclear proliferation, lying leaders, and global tyranny.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

What Caused the Cheney Meltdown?

We have believed for years that the blast at the Wilsons was not just at Joe. Valerie was a far bigger threat to Cheney and his lies than Joe ever could have been.

Editor’s Note: An intriguing back story to the "Plame-gate" controversy was the animosity between Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA analysts who felt pressured to distort intelligence in support of the Iraq invasion. In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern examines whether this mutual contempt might help explain the intensity of Cheney's reaction to Joseph Wilson's criticism:

Testimony at the Libby trial showed a Vice President obsessed with retaliating against former ambassador Joseph Wilson for writing, in the New York Times op-ed section on July 6, 2003, that intelligence had been "twisted" to justify attacking Iraq. How to explain why the normally stoic, phlegmatic Cheney went off the deep end?

Vice President Dick Cheney can be forgiven for feeling provoked. The Times, having been led by Cheney and others down a garden path littered with weapons of mass destruction that were not really there, did some retaliation of its own with the snide title it gave Wilson's op-ed: "What I Did Not Find in Africa."

Adding insult to injury, Wilson chose to tell Washington Post reporters, also on July 6, in language that rarely escapes an ambassador's lips, the bogus report regarding Iraq obtaining uranium from Niger "begs the question regarding what else they are lying about."

That threw down the gauntlet, and Cheney had to worry that others who knew about the lies might feel it safe to go to the press and spill the beans. Retaliation had to be swift and as unambiguous as possible.

Having successfully browbeat then-CIA director George Tenet and other malleable managers of intelligence into doing his bidding, Cheney immediately tried to get the CIA to support the cockamamie story about Iraq getting uranium from Niger.

He was no doubt surprised to be stiff-armed by Tenet, who had been warning senior officials about that bogus report for almost ten months. On July 7, 2003, the administration publicly conceded that the Iraq-Niger fable should not have been included in the State of the Union address.

On July 8, Cheney mounted his counteroffensive. Libby was sent to Bush administration darling Judith Miller of the New York Times to prove Wilson's charges wrong: the White House did not "twist" intelligence; the CIA made us do it.

To prove that, Libby was given permission to release a passage buried on page 24 of the 90-page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Oct. 1, 2002, claiming that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium ore and yellowcake.... A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of 'pure uranium' (probably yellowcake) to Iraq."

Cheney intended this revelation to hoist Tenet on his own petard. Under great pressure from Cheney, Tenet and his timorous team had acquiesced in allowing the Iraq-Niger fable into the NIE Tenet signed on Oct. 1. It had already become the centerpiece of the administration's cynical but successful effort to get Congressional approval, culminating in the Oct. 10/11 vote for war.

In the midst of all this, Tenet was successful in getting the Iraq-Niger story out of President George W. Bush's key speech on Iraq on Oct. 7, 2002. Yes, you read that right. Tenet signed the NIE on Oct. 1, and a few days later successfully insisted that this dubious intelligence be taken out of the president's speech on Oct. 7.

This piece of "intelligence" smelled so bad that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, who threw everything but the kitchen sink into his (in)famous UN speech of Feb. 5, 2003, deemed it below his very low threshold. A month later, the International Atomic Energy Agency director, Mohamed ElBaradei, told the UN Security Council that the documents upon which the story was based were "obvious" fakes-forgeries.

Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, rebuffed an urgent appeal from ranking member Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, to have the FBI investigate the forgery. Cheney told him not to, and so Roberts said that would be "inappropriate."
Which raises the question, whom are they trying to protect? I don't think either Dick or Lynne Cheney has a cottage industry of forgery preparation, but they are in close touch with those who do. I continue to believe Cheney and Libby were the intellectual authors of that incredibly clumsy operation.

There was plenty else to enrage Dick Cheney. It is a safe bet that he went bananas when he learned that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA officer - and working on the issue of highest priority, how to prevent countries like Iraq and Iran from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
Cheney smelled a rat. It was easy to jump to the conclusion that Valerie Plame and her knowledgeable colleagues would have seen right through the Iraq-Niger report. The embassy in Niger had poured cold water on it, and four-star Marine General Carlton Fulford, who visited Niger and spoke with Niger's president and foreign minister on Feb. 24, 2002, came to the same conclusion.

So here was Plame, and by extension her CIA colleagues, preparing to administer the coup de grace. The CIA would send a person with deep substantive expertise on the subject and also very good contacts in Niger (from previous service in Niger and other African countries, not to mention Baghdad).

Already, there was no love lost between Cheney and the CIA. And vice versa, Cheney having destroyed the agency's reputation for objective analysis by insisting on the creation of a fraudulent NIE to get Congress to approve an unnecessary war.

The CIA could not very well say, well, Cheney made us do it. Cheney, on the other hand, was free to say, well, the CIA misled us badly - and did say that.

Cheney would have seen the daggers out for him, with the Plame/Wilson team commissioned to administer the coup de grace. For who was in better position to know how spurious the Iraq-Niger report was than the woman professional leading the clandestine effort to collect intelligence on precisely that subject?

The agency, Cheney must have thought, was out to knock down his favorite report, the premium "evidence" that Iraq was "reconstituting" its nuclear weapons program, for what it was - a fraud.

Worst of Times

Wilson's op-ed of July 6 could not have come at a worse time for the White House. Barely four months into invasion of Iraq, the "justifications" had already evaporated.

CIA analysts were still insisting, correctly, that there were no meaningful ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, despite Tenet's acquiescence to Powell's request that Tenet sit behind him on camera as Powell wove his web of half- and un-truths at the UN.

(Watching Tenet sit impassively as Powell spoke of a "sinister nexus" between al-Qaeda and Iraq was a tremendous blow to the morale of the courageous analysts who had resisted that particular recipe for cooking intelligence. As for their colleagues working on WMD, most of them had long since been pressured to cave in to Cheney's pressure during the dozen visits he made to CIA headquarters and were not as incensed.)

No trace had been found of weapons of mass destruction. In some quarters (even in the corporate press) the casus belli had morphed into a casus bellylaughi. Reports in Fox News that Saddam had somehow transported his WMD to Syria undetected (or maybe buried them in the desert) elicited widespread ridicule.

Constant reminders of how difficult it is to find something in such a large country as Iraq - "the size of California" - were wearing thin. The attempt to associate uranium enrichment with the (in)famous aluminum tubes had, well, gone down the tubes.

And the "mobile biological weapons laboratories," initially applauded by the President himself as proof the administration had found the WMD, turned out to be balloon-making machines for artillery practice, as the Iraqis had said. It was getting very embarrassing.

So this new challenge from Joe Wilson and his obnoxiously expert wife made for a very bad hair day. Cheney readily saw it as payback by honest CIA professionals for all the crass arm-twisting they had experienced at the hands of Cheney and kemosabe Libby. It is not hard to put oneself in Cheney's frame of mind as he witnessed the gathering storm.

Worst of all, the Iraq-Niger caper was particularly damaging, since it was tied directly to the office of the Vice President. There was that unanswered question regarding who commissioned the forgery in the first place. And not even Judy Miller could help this time, since most thinking folks knew her to be a shill for the Bush administration.

And yet this insubordination, this deliberate sabotage, had to be answered. Something had to be done, and quickly, so that others privy to sensitive information about the litany of lies leading up to the war would not think they could follow Wilson's example and go to the press.

It is hard to believe that the best thing Cheney could come up with was to out Wilson's wife. It is not even clear that this is what he had in mind.

It may have been no more than a decision to name her, irrespective of her cover status, in order to suggest that she had been responsible for sending her husband to Niger on an all expenses-paid "boondoggle!" - that somehow nepotism was involved - as if that would somehow impeach Wilson's negative findings regarding the Iraq-Niger fable.

Cheney clearly felt that something had to be done - anything. It seems a mark of desperation that this is the best they could come up with. They may have concluded that launching a hardknuckle campaign against Wilson might at least deter others from becoming patriotic truth tellers of the kind Joseph Wilson has modeled so well.

Initially, this tactic succeeded. More recently a cottage industry of patriotic truth tellers has taken shape, and (surprise, surprise!) even some among the mainstream media have given them ink and air time.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His e-mail is (This article originally appeared at

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

What is it with D.C. and Memory Problems?

Is there something in the water supply?

Alzhiemer's seems to be rife in the Republican Party ever since Reagan!
Is it contagious?

People with memories this bad should be forced to resign for health reasons, if nothing else.

Gonzales Can't Recall Meetings That Led to Attorney Firings

By Jason Leopold t r u t h o u t Report

Thursday 19 April 2007

Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified Thursday before a Senate committee that he could not recall the details of any of the meetings he participated in over the course of two years, in which he and his staff discussed a plan to fire eight US attorneys.

"I have searched my memory," Gonzales said, in response to a question by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) about one meeting Gonzales attended in November 2006 when he discussed the firings. "I have no recollection of the meeting.... I don't remember the contents of this meeting."

Gonzales was visibly defensive as a frustrated group of bipartisan senators pounded the attorney general with some tough questions about his role in firings. Throughout the daylong hearing, Gonzales testified more than 70 times that he could not recall any part of the conversations or details of the backdoor meetings he had with White House officials or members of his staff surrounding the questionable dismissals of the US attorneys. He added that he could not recall whether he had certain conversations over the telephone or in person.

Immediately following Gonzales's testimony, Sen. Chuck Schumer D-New York) said that if Gonzales wanted to restore integrity and credibility to the Department of Justice, he would "look into his heart, he would march over to Pennsylvania Avenue and submit his resignation."

The hearing began Thursday morning with an impassioned opening statement by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, who said the Department of Justice has been "experiencing a crisis of leadership perhaps unrivaled during its 137-year history.

"There is the growing scandal swirling around the dismissal and replacement of several prosecutors, and persistent efforts to undermine and marginalize career lawyers in the Civil Rights Division and elsewhere in the department," Leahy said. "Since Attorney General Gonzales last appeared before this committee on January 18, we have heard sworn testimony from the former US attorneys forced from office and from his former chief of staff. Their testimony sharply contradicts the accounts of the plan to replace US attorneys that the attorney general provided to this committee under oath in January and to the American people during his March 13 press conference."

In his opening statement, Gonzales said he has "nothing to hide," but senators from both parties said Gonzales's failure to provide answers to their questions about why the attorneys were fired and how the plan to oust them was conceived left them with no choice but to conclude Gonzales was being less than truthful in his testimony, and to demand that he immediately resign.

Gonzales said he did not see how his resignation would solve the matter. He said he stood behind the decision to fire the attorneys because some of them were not tough on voter fraud or immigration issues and other performance-related issues. However, Justice Department documents released over the past few months show that the US attorneys in question had impeccable evaluations from their superiors. Still, if he had to do it over, Gonzales said, he would fire the attorneys again.

"At the end of the day, I know I did not do anything improper," Gonzales said.

But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) told Gonzales he believed that the attorney general and Justice Department staffers had fabricated a story about the US attorneys' job performance in order to justify the purge.

Graham added that it was clear to him that some of the [US attorneys] had personality problems with people in the White House, and there was no truth, in his opinion, that the attorneys had performed poorly.

Thursday's testimony was seen as crucial in order for Gonzales to keep his job. Immediately after the committee adjourned, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President Bush still "has full confidence" in Gonzales's ability to perform his job as attorney general.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), however, said Gonzales "made the case that he shouldn't stay."

"He took 20 steps back," Schumer told reporters at the conclusion of Gonzales's testimony.

"Republicans agree. He was dodging and weaving. Today's hearing set the White House cause back. It's hard to believe after today's performance the White House would want him to stay on."

Schumer said Gonzales's testimony did not answer lingering questions about why the US attorneys were fired, how they came to be included on a list prior to their dismissal last year, and what role White House political adviser Karl Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers played in the ordeal. The White House, citing executive privilege, has refused to allow Rove and Miers to testify under oath and with a public record of their testimony.

"I think it's really important to hear from Rove and Miers," Schumer said. "I think what happened today strengthens the case for Rove and Miers to come forward with transcripts.

Schumer said that, despite the fact that the committee could not get answers to their questions from Gonzales, they will continue to pursue the case.

"One thing I can assure you of is this is not over," Schumer said. "Far from it. There [are] so many loose ends in terms of their privilege argument. The claims of privilege almost never work. If you look at the times [the issue of executive privilege] has gone to court, it is usually resolved in months, not years," meaning the senator will pursue the issue, even if the committee fails to come to an agreement with the White House on Rove's and Miers's testimony and it ends up in court.

Jason Leopold is a former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire. He has written over 2,000 stories on the California energy crisis and received the Dow Jones Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his coverage on the issue as well as a Project Censored award in 2004. Leopold also reported extensively on Enron's downfall and was the first journalist to land an interview with former Enron president Jeffrey Skilling following Enron's bankruptcy filing in December 2001. Leopold has appeared on CNBC and National Public Radio as an expert on energy policy and has also been the keynote speaker at more than two dozen energy industry conferences around the country.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

The Danger Posed By The Christianists Continues

The Christian Reconstructionist Movement, Dominionists, etc, are a far greater danger to this country than most people realize, and we all underestimate them at our own peril.

I grew up around people who share the bizarre belief systems of the aforementioned people.

They will not hesitate to attempt to deceive their enemies (anyone who is not one of them), fear-monger, manipulate our political system, project onto others every one of their own character defects onto others and persecute those others,

Their goal is to codify their own twisted interpretation of the Bible (mostly the Old Testament), as they do not seem to know the first thing about the authentic message of Yeshua ben Yosef of Nazareth, whom they claim to follow, which can be found in the New Testament, almost exclusively in the Parables, and in some books which were not included in the Christian Canon for the simple reason, had they been included, the Churches would be irrelevent; all of them.

Their belief system itself will not allow them to ever give up on their goals because they believe they are doing what they are doing for God.

Goodling took the 5th for God.

She should also be dis-barred for God and for the good of this nation.

For God's Sake
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Friday 13 April 2007

In 1981, Gary North, a leader of the Christian Reconstructionist movement - the openly theocratic wing of the Christian right - suggested that the movement could achieve power by stealth. "Christians must begin to organize politically within the present party structure," he wrote, "and they must begin to infiltrate the existing institutional order."

Today, Regent University, founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson to provide "Christian leadership to change the world," boasts that it has 150 graduates working in the Bush administration.

Unfortunately for the image of the school, where Mr. Robertson is chancellor and president, the most famous of those graduates is Monica Goodling, a product of the university's law school. She's the former top aide to Alberto Gonzales who appears central to the scandal of the fired U.S. attorneys and has declared that she will take the Fifth rather than testify to Congress on the matter.

The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists.

But this conspiracy is no theory. The official platform of the Texas Republican Party pledges to "dispel the myth of the separation of church and state." And the Texas Republicans now running the country are doing their best to fulfill that pledge.

Kay Cole James, who had extensive connections to the religious right and was the dean of Regent's government school, was the federal government's chief personnel officer from 2001 to 2005. (Curious fact: she then took a job with Mitchell Wade, the businessman who bribed Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham.) And it's clear that unqualified people were hired throughout the administration because of their religious connections.

For example, The Boston Globe reports on one Regent law school graduate who was interviewed by the Justice Department's civil rights division. Asked what Supreme Court decision of the past 20 years he most disagreed with, he named the decision to strike down a Texas anti-sodomy law. When he was hired, it was his only job offer.

Or consider George Deutsch, the presidential appointee at NASA who told a Web site designer to add the word "theory" after every mention of the Big Bang, to leave open the possibility of "intelligent design by a creator." He turned out not to have, as he claimed, a degree from Texas A&M.

One measure of just how many Bushies were appointed to promote a religious agenda is how often a Christian right connection surfaces when we learn about a Bush administration scandal.

There's Ms. Goodling, of course. But did you know that Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota - three of whose deputies recently stepped down, reportedly in protest over her management style - is, according to a local news report, in the habit of quoting Bible verses in the office?

Or there's the case of Claude Allen, the presidential aide and former deputy secretary of health and human services, who stepped down after being investigated for petty theft. Most press reports, though they mentioned Mr. Allen's faith, failed to convey the fact that he built his career as a man of the hard-line Christian right.

And there's another thing most reporting fails to convey: the sheer extremism of these people.

You see, Regent isn't a religious university the way Loyola or Yeshiva are religious universities. It's run by someone whose first reaction to 9/11 was to brand it God's punishment for America's sins.

Two days after the terrorist attacks, Mr. Robertson held a conversation with Jerry Falwell on Mr. Robertson's TV show "The 700 Club." Mr. Falwell laid blame for the attack at the feet of "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians," not to mention the A.C.L.U. and People for the American Way. "Well, I totally concur," said Mr. Robertson.

The Bush administration's implosion clearly represents a setback for the Christian right's strategy of infiltration. But it would be wildly premature to declare the danger over. This is a movement that has shown great resilience over the years. It will surely find new champions.

Next week Rudy Giuliani will be speaking at Regent's Executive Leadership Series.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

McCain Meltdown Continues... and Speeds Up

Will someone please get this man some serious help!

Arizonans, please think about re-calling him for his own sake and ours!

McCain in crosshairs over Iran song
By Klaus Marre
April 20, 2007

A liberal group will begin airing campaign ads in early-primary states featuring a comment that presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made earlier this week, when he joked about bombing Iran.

While campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday, McCain responded to a question about Iran by re-dubbing the Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann” into “Bomb Iran.” plans a $100,000 ad buy in early Republican primary states.

“At a tense moment, when cooler heads in his own party and many retired military leaders are calling on the President to negotiate with Iran, Senator McCain’s outburst isn’t merely inappropriate, it’s dangerous,” said Political Action Executive Director Eli Pariser in a statement. “This isn’t ‘straight talk,’ it isn’t leadership, it’s just more out-of-control bravado.”

McCain’s campaign shot back, pointing to the group’s political direction and citing past examples of “MoveOn’s record of liberal extremism.”

“It comes as no surprise that America’s most liberal interest group would attack John McCain’s belief that we cannot allow Iran to destroy Israel,” stated campaign spokesman Matt David. “After all, posted ads comparing President Bush to Hitler during the last presidential election.”

But was not the only group taking issue with McCain’s comment.
The National Iranian American Council strongly criticized the senator’s remarks.

“To joke about such a matter at a time when war in the Middle East has done so much to weaken America is beyond comprehension,” said the group’s president, Trita Parsi. She added: “It would be better if Senator McCain sought to find solutions to this challenge facing America rather than treating it as a joke.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Only Bush Can Save His Pal, Gonzo

But Does Gonzo Know Too Much To Be Fired?

He's known Junior for a very long time and has probably participated in many cover-ups for the family Bush.

Maybe he will settle for a Medal of freedom. and take the hit for Junior and Rover.These guys are like the Mob.

We can't help but wonder how willing they will be to take the fall when prison terms are involved?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several administration officials and the House Republican Conference chairman said Friday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should step down, following the harsh response to his Senate testimony on last year's firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Gonzales for hours Thursday about the dismissals.

The attorney general has been roundly criticized for his handling of the shakeup and for the shifting explanations Justice Department officials have given for the changes. (Watch how pressure on Gonzales to resign is growing )

Gonzales said more than 60 times that he "couldn't recall" certain incidents. His former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, used that explanation 122 times during his testimony weeks ago.
Detractors say the Justice Department has not been straightforward about the reasons the attorneys were dismissed. The controversy has led to allegations of political interference with pending investigations.

"He did not distinguish himself in the hearing," said Rep. Adam Putnam, House GOP conference chairman. "There remains a cloud over the department."

"I think that they would be well-served by fresh leadership," said Putnam, who is often a spokesman for House Republicans. He said no one was doing "high fives" after the testimony.
During the hearings Thursday, while Democratic senators criticized Gonzales' leadership, some of the sharpest criticism came from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including one who called for his resignation.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, said Gonzales should resign. (Coburn? Damn, Alberto is toast1)

"The communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent -- it's generous to say that there were misstatements; it's a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered," Coburn said, adding, "I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation." (Watch Coburn tell Gonzales he must "suffer the consequences" )

On Friday, another Republican, Sen Jeff Sessions of Alabama, told CNN that Gonzales should consider leaving office. (Whoa! Sessions too? Now, this really is bad.)

"I think the attorney general ought to take the weekend and think about this and ask himself whether he can effectively reconstitute the attorney general's office," Sessions said, "and I'll be thinking about the same thing.

"If he feels like he cannot, then it would be best for the president and the country to resign."

Justice official: Gonzales 'feeling good'

According to a senior Justice Department official, Gonzales spoke to some senators Friday. The official would only say they included Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, "and others" and was not sure whether he spoke to any Democrats. "The conversations went well," the official said but provided no details.

The official also said, "Attorney General Gonzales is in good spirits. He's optimistic, feeling good."

(Lil Alberto seems delusional, unless he knows something the rest of us don't.)

"He is eager to get on with the other important work of the department," the official added.
The attorney general plans to participate in private and public events in the coming week in Washington.

After Gonzales' testimony Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Gonzales has the full backing of the president:

"President Bush was pleased with the attorney general's testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the senators' questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses," Perino said.

(We all know Junior is delusional!)

White House insiders: Gonzales hurt himself

But White House insiders told CNN after the testimony that Gonzales hurt himself during his testimony.

The sources, involved in administration discussions about Gonzales, said two senior level White House aides who heard the testimony described Gonzales as "going down in flames," "not doing himself any favors," and "predictable."

"Everyone's putting their best public face on," one source said, "but everyone is discouraged. Everyone is disappointed." (Watch a recap of the testy hearing )

And the administration officials who talked to CNN on Friday agreed that Gonzales' statements did little to help him regain credibility on Capitol Hill and, in fact, may have lost him the few supporters he had left.

One official, who works closely with Gonzales, described him as "out of touch" with the political pulse in Washington. The official said the attorney general is still optimistic that he can remedy the situation.

The White House sources acknowledge that no one knows what the president will do. No one is looking for a replacement yet, sources said, and the White House is waiting to see how this plays out with the public and members of Congress over the next couple of days.

Another White House insider said it's up to the president to save him. (Strategy Session: Should Gonzales go? )

"He and Al have to work this out ..." he said. "There is no indication that Gonzales thinks he needs to leave."

Former solicitor general mentioned as possible replacement

Several other officials said Republicans have begun discussing a possible replacement.

One name that consistently comes up is Ted Olson, former solicitor general. Olson is seen as having the experience, reputation and credibility needed to steer the department for the next year and a half, through the end of Bush's term.

(Anyone suprised by this? Olsen. That was predictable. Google and a few D.C. insiders are our friends.)

However, officials note that Bush has been a longtime defender of Gonzales, whom he hired as his general counsel in 1994 when he was elected Texas governor.

He may not be willing to give in to congressional demands to remove him, unless he becomes convinced that keeping Gonzales will hinder his agenda, they said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, indicated to CNN that he is ambivalent about the possibility that Gonzales might leave.

"If Al Gonzales were to quit tomorrow, it wouldn't end it. It would just, I think, add fuel to the fire, especially with Democrats controlling the Senate," he said.

"We'd have a confirmation hearing with the new attorney general, with a year and half left to serve in President Bush's second term in office. I think it would be more chaotic than it would if he were to stay and try to do the best job he can under very difficult circumstances."

CNN's Terry Frieden, Kelli Arena, Dana Bash, Ted Barrett, Kevin Bohn and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Bush is Dangerous

"Bush is very dangerous, because he's an unguided missile, he's a rocket with no ability to be educated. You can't change what he wants to do. He can't deviate from his policy, and that's frightening when somebody has as much power as he does, and is as much a radical as he is, and is as committed to democracy -- whatever that means -- as he is in the Mideast. I really do believe that's what drives him. That doesn't mean he's not interested in oil. But I really think he thinks democracy is the answer." -- Seymour Hersh, when asked if Bush is worse than Nixon, Link

(We agree that Junior is dangerous in the extreme, but we don't think that Bush has so much as a clue what Democracy is. Besides, it isn't Democracy he is interested in so much as free markets for his pals and contributors to the Rethug Party and capitalism on steroids.)

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers

War Crminals Must Pay

Read and endorse the Nuremberg Declaration calling for the United States to accede to the International Criminal Court and bring U.S. war criminals to justice.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.