Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rummy Charged In France. (From The Ironicle Files)

The French Police Should have arrested him the minute he stepped of the plane.

Rummy is so damned arrogant, he knows they will do nothing. Who dares mess with Bushland?

Rumsfeld hit with torture lawsuit while visiting Paris

10/26/2007 @ 11:58 am

Filed by Jason Rhyne

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's jaunt to France was interrupted today by an unscheduled itinerary item -- he was slapped with a criminal complaint charging him with torture.

Rumsfeld, in Paris for a discussion sponsored by the magazine Foreign Policy, was tracked down by representatives of a coalition of international human rights groups, who informed the architect of the US invasion of Iraq that they had submitted a torture suit against him in French court.

The filed documents allege that during his tenure, the former defense secretary "ordered and authorized" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The head of one of the groups responsible for bringing the charges, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, told RAW STORY today by phone that the suit was a long time coming.

"We've been working on cornering Rumsfeld and getting him indicted somewhere going on three years now," said the Center's president, Michael Ratner. "Four days ago, we got confidential information he was going to be in France."

Joined by activists, attorneys for the human rights groups caught up with Rumsfeld on his way to a breakfast meeting. "He was walking down the street with just one person," said Ratner.

"Around 20 campaigners gave Rumsfeld a rowdy welcome...yelling 'murderer,' waving a banner and trying to push into the building," reports AFP.

Ratner, who wasn't personally at the scene, says his sources told him that the former defense secretary made some pre-scheduled remarks at the meeting before ducking through a door leading to the US Embassy.

According to Ratner, France has a legal responsibility under international law to prosecute Rumsfeld for torture abuses.

"If a torturer comes into your territory," he said, "there's an obligation to either prosecute the person or return him to a place where he will be prosecuted."

The rights groups notably cite three memorandums signed by the defense secretary between October 2002 and April 2003 "legimitizing the use of torture" including the "hooding" of detainees, sleep deprivation and the use of dogs.

Although his group has been a part of previous attempts to bring charges against Rumsfeld, including two former tries in Germany, Ratner believes French court has the highest chance of success.

"There are Guantananamo detainees who were tortured that are living in France," he said. "It gives French courts another reason to prosecute."

Ratner says Europe is "getting very hot for Rumsfeld," and suggests a French court could at least issue its version of a subpoena.

"We hope that this case will move forward," he said, "especially as the US says it can continue to torture people."

Other groups involved in the complaint include the International Federation of Human Rights, the French League for Human Rights and Germany's European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

More details about the lawsuit are available at the website of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

(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.

Hillary's High Negatives and High Poll Numbers, Nationally

Adds up to something no one really wants to admit? Maybe. As the primaries unfold, we will have to face it, if it's true

Zogby’s recent poll asking “Whom would you NEVER vote for president?” was kind of mischievous, wasn’t it? But if I were a member of the Democratic National Committee, not to mention a congressional Democrat, I’d be sweating bullets over it.

A neat 50% claim they would never, even under pain of waterboarding (kidding), cast their presidential vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Never say never,” Howard Dean or the Democratic Leadership Council’s Harold Ford might say. That may have been right seven months ago when 46, not 50%, claimed they would never vote for Hillary. But now, at a time, when other polls show her pulling ahead of Senator Obama in the Democratic race, it’s looking more like “Always say never.”

Worse, her campaign is beginning to emit the stench of Bob Dole’s 1996 Republican presidential run. You know — hand her the nomination because it’s owed her. In his case, likely payback for key votes he swung the way of congressional colleagues. In hers, out of appreciation to the Clintons for their magic touch raking in money.

Dole never had a chance because of poor funding, his caustic personality and, of course, because he was running against a popular president, Hillary’s husband. Meanwhile, she’s been polling well against leading Republican candidate Giuliani. But, as one commentator explained, it just may be because voters are becoming resigned to her.

The cynicism of such a strategy notwithstanding, Democratic leadership forgets there’s little margin of error because of the likelihood that Republicans will engineer widespread voter fraud again.

Can anyone BE so stupid? That would make the Clintonites and/or the Democratic leadership dumber than a box of Bushites.

I can't figure this one out either.

Chairmen of a number of House and Senate committees have made it very hard for the most IQ challenged among us aware that the Republicans know, deep in their rotten little souls that they cannot win with smart or even acceptable policy; foreign or domestic, especially if they tell the truth about it. They know that in order to ever obtain one party rule in America, after the hellish years of Junior and Dick, they have to steal election and election.

If nothing else, the Dems have made it crystal clear that the GOP is being watched by huge bevies of hawks (not war hawks), both in and out of government and to that I can testify.. Their world is going to fall on them in 2008. If they try to steal one more election, the whole damn galaxy will squash them like the despicable cockroaches that they are. There can be nothing more despicable that election theft in a Democracy, with the obvious exception of assassination.

Why is it that we hear so little about election theft in the MSM, including the press. There has been a bit of a fire storm about the attempt by the GOP to change the way California counts its electoral votes, no longer giving all to the winner, obviously splitting up the vote, giving the GOP a very good chance of winning that heavily populated state. California is not as tru-blue as some commentators would have us believe. Southern California is heavily Republican, though far more moderate that those who are representing them in Washington now, with the exception of the immigration and border security issues; more fear/hate issues, the GOP can always count on those two lovely character traits, it seems.

So why are the Democrats committing suicide, dragging our nation right along with them, if that is, indeed, what they are doing? Is it possible that the Clintons own the touch-tones this time. There are quite a few GOP movers and shakers who seem to have suddenly developed the wildest crushes on Hillary. Bill has spent more than the required amount of time with America's Number One Crime Family. WTF is going on with that any how?

I would be willing to bet that if Hillary wins, even by a landslide, not likely in today's politics, all investigations of the Bush administration will go away, just as Iran/Contra did, even when the investigators knew that Poppy was the one who was really responsible for most of that horrible skulduggery. Bush I was also the first president to pardon members of his predecessor, Reagan's, and his own administrations that could put the finger on him and everyone knew it.

With the exception of Brad Blog, there just isn't much coverage between elections, even in the blogosphere, though there has been more since 2005 when it became clear to most of us who were following ElectionTheft 2004 that Kerry had been had, along with John Edwards and every American who voted for Kerry or against Bush.

It's hard to figure out what Democrats are thinking these days. Maybe they are hoping that the GOP will self-destruct. That is a very dangerous strategy...putting politics and party above country and constitution, because if it becomes evident that that is what they are doing, the Donkey will implode as well. Even worse, if it becomes obvious that there is collusion between the Bushites, NeoCons and the Clintonite/DLCers, they will all be lucky to get out of the country.

Hillary’s campaign seems to have developed a mind of its own. Is there any way to stop it before it leads the Democratic party over a cliff only to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below?

Sadly, I doubt it.

For more like this:

(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.

Outrageous Smear Politics

People who play this kind of smear politics should pay a big price, exacted by an electorate who should be sick and tired of it by now.

The New Right-Wing Smear Machine


[from the November 12, 2007 issue]

On February 27, 2001, two members of the American Gold Star Mothers, an organization of women who've lost sons or daughters in combat, dropped by the temporary basement offices of the new junior senator from New York, Hillary Clinton. They didn't have an appointment, and the office, which had been up and running for barely a month, was a bit discombobulated. The two women wanted to talk to the senator about a bill pending in the Senate that would provide annuities for the parents of those killed, but they were told that Clinton wasn't in the office and that the relevant staff members were otherwise engaged. The organization later submitted a formal request in writing for a meeting, which Clinton granted, meeting and posing for pictures with four members of the group.

But the story doesn't end there. In May of that year, the right-wing website NewsMax, a clearinghouse for innuendo and rumor, ran a short item with the headline "Hillary Snubs Gold Star Mothers." Reporting via hearsay--a comment relayed to someone who then recounted it to the column's author--the article claimed that Clinton and her staff "simply refused" to meet with the Gold Star Mothers, making hers the "only office" in the Senate that snubbed the group.

At first the item didn't attract much attention, but it quickly morphed into an e-mail that started ricocheting across the Internet. "Bet this never hits the TV news!" began one version. "According to there was only one politician in DC who refused to meet with these ladies. Can you guess which politician that might be?... None other than the Queen herself--the Hildebeast, Hillary Clinton."

Before long, the Gold Star Mothers and the Clinton office found themselves inundated by inquiries about the "snub," prompting the Gold Star Mothers to post a small item debunking the claim on their website. When that didn't stem the tide, they posted a lengthier notice. "These allegations were not initiated by the Gold Star Mothers.... This is a fabricated report picked up by an individual using the Gold Star Mothers as an instrument to discredit Senator Clinton.... We do not need mischeivous gossip and unfounded lies to promote our organization. Please help stop it now."

That plea notwithstanding, the e-mail continues to circulate to this day. Anyone who's been following politics for the past fifteen years won't be surprised to find Hillary Clinton the subject of a false and damning right-wing smear. We've all become familiar with the ways the Republican noise machine transmits lurid bits of misinformation and tendentious attacks from the conservative fringe into the heart of American political discourse, the process by which a slightly mis-delivered joke by John Kerry attracts the ire of Rush Limbaugh and ends up on the front page of the New York Times.

But in some senses, the kind of under-the-radar attack embodied in the Gold Star e-mail--which never made the jump to Fox or Drudge--is even harder to deal with. "It's a Pandora's box," says Jim Kennedy, who served as Clinton's communications director during her first Senate term. "Once [the charges] are out in the ether, they are very hard to combat. It's very unlike a traditional media, newspaper or TV show, or even a blog, which at least has a fixed point of reference. You know they're traveling far and wide, but there's no way to rebut them with all the people that have seen them."

Such is the power of the right-wing smear forward, a vehicle for the dissemination of character assassination that has escaped the scrutiny directed at the Limbaughs and Coulters and O'Reillys but one that is as potent as it is invisible. In 2004 putative firsthand accounts of Kerry's performance in Vietnam traveled through e-mail in right-wing circles, presaging the Swift Boat attacks. Last winter a forward began circulating accusing Barack Obama of being a secret Muslim schooled in a radical madrassa (about which more later). While the story was later fed through familiar right-wing megaphones, even making it onto Fox, it has continued to circulate via e-mail long after being definitively debunked by CNN. In other words, the few weeks the smear spent in the glare of the mainstream media was just a tiny portion of a long life cycle, most of which has been spent darting from inbox to inbox.

In that respect, the e-mail forward doesn't fit into our existing model of the right-wing noise machine's structure (hierarchical) or its approach (broadcast). It is, instead, organic and peer-to-peer. If the manufactured outrage over Kerry's botched joke about George Bush's study habits was the equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster, the Gold Star Mother smear was like one of those goofy viral videos of a dog on a skateboard on YouTube. Of course, some of those videos end up with 25 million page views. And now that large media companies understand their potential, they've begun trying to create their own. Which prompts the obvious question: if a handful of millionaires and disgruntled Swift Boat Veterans were able to sabotage Kerry's campaign in 2004, what kind of havoc could be wreaked in 2008 by a few political operatives armed with little more than Outlook and a talent for gossip?

The smear forward has its roots in two distinct forms of Internet-age communication. First, there's the electronically disseminated urban legend ("Help find this missing child!"; "Bill Gates is going to pay people for every e-mail they send!"), which has been a staple of the Internet since the mid- '90s. Then there's the surreal genre of right-wing e-mail forwards. These range from creepy rage-filled quasi-fascist invocations ("The next time you see an adult talking...during the playing of the National Anthem--kick their ass") to treacly aphorisms of patriotic/religious uplift ("remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ...and the American Soldier").

For a certain kind of conservative, these e-mails, along with talk-radio, are an informational staple, a means of getting the real stories that the mainstream media ignore. "I get a million of them!" says Gerald DeSimone, a 74-year-old veteran from Ridgewood, New Jersey, who describes his politics as "to the right of Attila the Hun." "If I forwarded every one on, everyone would hate me.... I'm trying to cut back. I try to send no more than two or three a day. I must get thirty or forty a day."

Mike D'Asto, a 29-year-old assistant cameraman living in New York, received so many forwards from his conservative father he started a blog called, where he shares them with other unwitting recipients. "I suddenly have connected to all these people who receive these right-wing forwards from their brothers-in-law," D'Asto told me. "Surprisingly, a very large number of people receive these."

And that, of course, is the problem.

Rumormongering and whisper campaigns are as old as politics itself (throughout Thomas Jefferson's presidency opposition newspapers and pamphlets spread the word of his affair with Sally Hemings), but never has there been a medium as perfectly suited to the widespread anonymous diffusion of misinformation as e-mail. David Mikkelson, who, along with his wife, Barbara, founded and runs the website, knows this better than anyone. Devoted exclusively to debunking (and occasionally confirming) urban legends and e-mail-circulated apocrypha, Snopes attracts 4-5 million unique visitors a month, making it one of the Internet's most popular sites. In the early days, Mikkelson says, there were hardly any political urban legends, but that changed in 2000. "A lot of the things that were circulating in the world at large, things like ridiculing Al Gore for supposedly inventing the Internet," started to be passed along via e-mail, as well as "a photograph of Gore holding a gun intended to mock him for not holding it safely."

From the beginning, the vast majority of these Internet-disseminated rumors have come from the right. (Snopes lists about fifty e-mails about George W. Bush, split evenly between adulatory accounts of him saluting wounded soldiers or witnessing to a wayward teenager, and accounts of real and invented malapropisms. In contrast, every single one of the twenty-two e-mails about John Kerry is negative.) For conservatives, these e-mails neatly reinforce preconceptions, bending the facts of the world in line with their ideological framework: liberals, immigrants, hippies and celebrities are always the enemy; soldiers and conservatives, the besieged heroes. The stories of the former's perfidy and the latter's heroism are, of course, never told by the liberal media. So it's left to the conservative underground to get the truth out. And since the general story and the roles stay the same, often the actual characters are interchangeable.

"A lot of the chain letters that were accusing Al Gore of things in 2000 were recycled in 2004 and changed to Kerry," says John Ratliff, who runs a site called, which, like Snopes, devotes itself to debunking chain e-mails. One e-mail falsely described a Senate committee hearing in the 1980s where Oliver North offered an impassioned Cassandra-like warning about the threat of Osama bin Laden, only to be dismissed by a condescending Democratic senator. Originally it was Al Gore who played the role of the senator, but by 2004 it had changed to John Kerry. "You just plug in your political front-runner du jour," Ratliff says.

Even if many of the tropes were consistent, the tenor of the e-mails grew more aggressive between 2000 and 2004. "It got really nasty," says Ratliff. "You started seeing things reported as real news that, if you looked into it, you realized was opinion or supposition or someone trying to discredit another candidate through character assassination. You saw a lot of chain letters that purported to be from members of the Swift Boat group or firsthand accounts of people who supposedly had experience with Kerry in Vietnam. A lot of them didn't check out."

Aside from specious allegations about his military service, many of the e-mails attacking Kerry either emphasized his wealth (photos of each of his five residences) or relayed putative firsthand accounts of the senator acting like an imperious prick. Hal Cranmer, a former Air Force pilot, wrote a widely circulated account of his experience flying Kerry around Vietnam and Cambodia in 1991 in which Kerry scarfs pizza meant for the crew, forces the pilots to sit for an hour in an un-air-conditioned plane and boasts that he "never sail[s] on anything less than 135 feet." (Since it's a matter of historical record that Kerry has sailed boats smaller than 135 feet, this quote seems highly dubious.)

When I tracked down Cranmer during his lunch break at the aerospace manufacturing firm he works for in Minnesota, I was surprised to hear him ruefully recall his brush with Internet fame. "It gave me a real lesson. My wife says one of the reasons she married me is that I don't talk badly about people," he said with a laugh. "I really didn't mean to do that here."

In spring 2004, as John Kerry began to emerge as the probable nominee, Cranmer e-mailed his account to the libertarian website, where readers were sharing their personal experiences about meeting Kerry. "I said, OK, I'll put in my two cents.... I thought maybe I'd get one or two e-mails about it and it would just disappear." That was not to be. "All of a sudden I was getting fifty e-mails a day. I had an annual meeting with the Air Force pilots, and a friend said, 'Tell your story about John Kerry,' and everyone in the room was going, 'I got that e-mail! That was you?' I had neighbors walking in and saying, 'Hey, I got an e-mail about you.' I was trying to keep this low-key, not try to ruin an election here. I was just relating an experience that happened to me. People drew all kinds of crazy conclusions from it other than I had a bad experience with him." Added Cranmer, "Maybe he's the nicest guy in the world, and he was in a bad mood going into Vietnam.... I really didn't mean this to be as huge as it was."

Cranmer told me he was a libertarian and a big fan of Ron Paul. "I voted for Bush in 2000 and have regretted it ever since. I didn't even vote in 2004." He now wishes he'd kept his impressions to himself. Some anecdote of casual thoughtlessness "shouldn't be what defines the presidency."

But of course, that's exactly the kind of thing that did define the last presidential election. Cranmer's e-mail, and those of a similar ilk, were perfectly in line with the broader narrative of the Bush campaign, in which the major knock on Kerry was that he was an elitist, disingenuous jerk--a "bad man," in Lynne Cheney's phrasing. Like the other popular e-mails that circulated in 2004, Cranmer's includes not a single substantive criticism of Kerry's platform or policy preferences, but the unflattering picture it offers has an effect that's immediate and visceral. It lingers in the back of one's head.

It was similar gossip that helped spell doom for John McCain during the South Carolina primary in 2000, when a whisper campaign spread rumors that he had a black daughter out of wedlock. "John McCain was done in by leaflets put on cars in church parking lots," says Democratic campaign consultant Chris Lehane. Forwarded e-mails, he says, "are the digital version of this and potentially more pernicious and far-reaching because of the obvious efficiencies of the online world. I would fully expect to see it manifesting in the GOP primary." Sure enough, a few weeks after I spoke to Lehane, Mike Huckabee's Iowa state campaign chair, Bob Vander Plaats, issued a statement denying that he'd written an e-mail that voters had received bearing his name. In that hoax e-mail, someone impersonating Vander Plaats announced that he was dropping Huckabee because of low fundraising numbers and backing Mitt Romney instead and urging others to do the same.

Faced with dubious attacks, circulating below the radar, campaigns find themselves in a familiar bind, one that handcuffed Kerry in 2004 when the Swift Boat charges first cropped up in ads, talk-radio and e-mail. If you respond, you run the risk of bringing the original false accusation to a wider audience. This is particularly true when the e-mails don't even have a putative author attached. "For lots of these e-mails, there's never any definable source," says Mikkelson. "They just seem to come out of nowhere."

That leads to the $64,000 question: are these anonymous attacks organic emanations of the diffuse political consciousness, or are they deliberately seeded by professional political operators? Mikkelson is skeptical that anyone could intentionally write the kind of e-mail that would take off virally. "Even people who are steeped in it, it's very, very difficult to start something deliberately that will catch on." Still, there's some evidence it's been done. Snopes determined that a gushing pro-Bush e-mail from 2004 about watching the President worship in the pews of St. John's Church in Washington was actually written by the press spokeswoman for Republican Senator Lamar Alexander. Her name is Laura Lefler, and she now works for Senator Bob Corker. I tried to contact Lefler to get a sense of what inspired her to write the e-mail and how, exactly, she disseminated it, but she wouldn't return my calls or e-mails.

The most notorious smear forward of this cycle is the Obama/madrassa canard, which represents the cutting edge of electronic rumor. At least two weeks before the Obama/madrassa smear appeared in the online magazine Insight, on January 17, it had been circulating widely in an e-mail forward that laid out the basics of Obama's bio in a flat, reportorial tone before concluding thus:

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.... Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother...introduced his stepson to Islam. Osama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
 Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.

Did you catch that typo in the crucial sentence? And the strategic deployment of Obama's middle name? It's a coldly effective bit of slander: a single damning lie (the school Obama attended was a run-of-the mill public elementary school) snuggled tightly within a litany of mundane facts, followed by dark insinuation.

Who wrote it? The unsatisfying answer is, we'll probably never know. "The thing to keep in mind about e-mail is that there is absolutely zero built-in security or data integrity," my friend Paul Smith, a software developer with, explained to me when I asked him if there was any way I could trace the Obama e-mail to its original author. "That's why there is spam. I could construct an e-mail from scratch and deliver it and have it seem like it was coming from Steve Jobs, and for all intents and purposes the receiver would have no way of knowing it wasn't from Cupertino."

But even if the identity of the e-mail's author was unrecoverable, it was still possible to trace back the roots of its content. The origin proved even more bizarre than I could have guessed.

On August 10, 2004, just two weeks after Obama had given his much-heralded keynote speech at the DNC in Boston, a perennial Republican Senate candidate and self-described "independent contrarian columnist" named Andy Martin issued a press release. In it, he announced a press conference in which he would expose Obama for having "lied to the American people" and "misrepresent[ed] his own heritage."

Martin raised all kinds of strange allegations about Obama but focused on him attempting to hide his Muslim past. "It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel," read Martin's statement. "His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support."

A quick word about Andy Martin. During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." Martin, who in the past was known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, is one of the most notorious litigants in the history of the United States. He's filed hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits, often directed at judges who have ruled against him, or media outlets that cover him unfavorably. A 1993 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, described these lawsuits as "a cruel and effective weapon against his enemies," and called Martin a "notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system." He once even attempted to intervene in the divorce proceedings of a judge who'd ruled against him, petitioning the state court to be appointed as the guardian of the judge's children.

When I asked Martin for the source of his allegations about Obama's past, he told me they came from "people in London, among other places." Why London, I asked? "I started talking to them about Kenyan law. Every little morsel led me a little farther along."

Within a few days of Martin's press conference, the conservative site Free Republic had picked it up, attracting a long comment thread, but after that small blip the specious "questions" about Obama's background disappeared. Then, in the fall of 2006, as word got out that Obama was considering a presidential run, murmurs on the Internet resumed. In October a conservative blog called Infidel Bloggers Alliance reposted the Andy Martin press release under the title "Is Barack Obama Lying About His Life Story?" A few days later the online RumorMillNews also reposted the Andy Martin press release in response to a reader's inquiry about whether Obama was a Muslim. Then in December fringe right-wing activist Ted Sampley posted a column on the web raising the possibility that Obama was a secret Muslim. Sampley, who co-founded Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry and once accused John McCain of having been a KGB asset, quoted heavily from Martin's original press release. "When Obama was six," Sampley wrote, "his mother, an atheist, married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian Muslim, and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia.... Soetoro enrolled his stepson in one of Jakarta's Muslim Wahabbi schools. Wahabbism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad on the rest of the world."

On December 29, 2006, the very same day that Sampley posted his column, Snopes received its first copy of the e-mail forward, which contains an identical charge in strikingly similar language. Given the timing, it seems likely that it was a distillation of Sampley's work.

Despite the fact that CNN and others have thoroughly debunked the smear, the original false accusation has clearly sunk into people's consciousness. One Obama organizer told me recently that every day, while calling prospective voters, he gets at least one or two people who tell him they won't be voting for Obama because he's a Muslim. According to Google, "Barack Obama Muslim" is the third most-searched term for the Illinois senator. And an August CBS poll found that when voters were asked to give Obama's religion, as many said Muslim as correctly answered Protestant.

Oh yeah. And the e-mail continues to circulate.

"Everybody started calling me" when the e-mail first made the rounds, Andy Martin told me. "They said, 'Hey, did you write this?' My answer was 'they are all my children.' "

(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.

Rice Testifies; L.A. Times Belies Her Testiminy

Officials balked on '05 Blackwater inquiry

State Department e-mails obtained by ABC News discuss how to deflect a Times reporter's questions about a civilian shooting death.
By T. Christian Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 26, 2007
Even as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended her department's oversight of private security contractors, new evidence surfaced Thursday that the U.S. sought to conceal details of Blackwater shootings of Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.

In one instance, internal e-mails show that State Department officials tried to deflect a 2005 Los Angeles Times inquiry into an alleged killing of an Iraqi civilian by Blackwater guards.

"Give [the Los Angeles Times] what we can and then dump the rest on Blackwater," one State Department official wrote to another in the e-mails, which were obtained by ABC News. "We can't win this one."

One department official taking part in a chain of e-mails noted that the "findings of the investigation are to remain off-limits to the reporter." Another recommended that there be no mention of the existence of a criminal investigation since such a reference would "raise questions and issues."

In the May 2005 incident, a Blackwater convoy was transporting a senior U.S. diplomat down a Baghdad thoroughfare when guards opened fire on an approaching taxi.

The taxi driver, Mohammed Nouri Hattab, told The Times that he was slowing to a stop when a burst of machine-gun fire cut into his taxi, wounding him and killing a passenger, 19-year-old newlywed Yas Ali Mohammed Yassiri.

The Times began making inquiries after receiving a tip in August 2005.

Peter Mitchell, then a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, told superiors that he planned to tell a reporter that the State Department had "thoroughly investigated" the incident and that "no criminal act occurred."

The e-mails indicate, however, that the only investigation done was "administrative." Two Blackwater employees were fired and sent back to the U.S. after they were found to have violated operating procedures. Blackwater has declined to comment on the incident.

"As for the legal jurisdiction under which a [private security contractor] operates, this is where things get hazy," Mitchell wrote to superiors. "If the [private security company] is found negligent, the only recourse is dismissal. In cases where there was clear criminal intent, a criminal case could hypothetically be pursued in U.S. federal court, but this has yet to happen out here."

Mitchell could not be reached for comment Thursday. His proposed response sparked a furious debate within the department.

It eventually reached David Satterfield, now Rice's senior advisor on Iraq. Satterfield, according to the e-mail chain, recommended that any response to the reporter be approved by Washington.

"This is a sensitive story that deals with sensitive contract issues," one official wrote.

In his e-mail to the Times reporter, Mitchell said that State officials were continuing to investigate the incident. In the end, the State Department declined to provide comment.

"I've been assured that the issue continues to be staffed back in Washington," Mitchell said.

In another e-mail obtained by the news channel, a regional State Department official complained of several incidents in which Blackwater guards had allegedly fired at innocent civilians.

The official complained that Iraqis had been frustrated in seeking justice for alleged wrongdoing by Blackwater.

"If we are unable or unwilling to address this issue, sooner or later those requesting compensation for their losses will lose patience with us and seek recourse through other means," the officer wrote. "In the worst-case scenario, some might seek revenge."

(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.

BushCo Continues Push To WWIII

Deja Vu All Over Again.

Bush sanctions on Iranian military force, banks, and companies doomed to failure. Russia and China are pushing back on unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Turkey masses troops in Iraqi border. Bush Iraqi folly stands to unravel in wider regional conflict.

(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.

New Signs Of Progress On Long Time Gooper Goal:

Wrecking the U.S. Government, a cherished goal the NeoCons in particular, share with Osama bin Laden.

Are the American people anywhere near ready to take on their enemies yet?

Dollar dives to record low against Euro

Fri Oct 26, 9:45 AM ET

The dollar slumped to a record low against the euro on Friday after weak US economic data heightened expectations of a fresh cut to US interest rates next week, dealers said.

Historically high oil prices, which could play a part in slowing the US economy, also kept the dollar under pressure, they added.

In mid-afternoon European trade, the euro struck 1.4388 dollars -- the highest level since the single currency's creation in 1999. It later stood at 1.4384 dollars.

Elsewhere, gold prices rocketed to 778.99 dollars per ounce -- last seen in January 1980.

"Most of the data that has come through this week from the US has been disappointing and has pushed the Fed funds futures market into fully discounting a 25 basis point rate cut from the Fed next week," said Steve Barrow, currency strategist at Bear Stearns.

Government data published Thursday showed the US housing market stuck in the mire, with sales of new homes down 23 percent from a year earlier.

On Wednesday, separate data revealed a sharper-than-expected drop in US sales of existing homes.

The figures have added to the near-universal view that the Federal Reserve will next week cut US interest rates from the current level of 4.75 percent in an effort to bolster the economy.

The Fed last month slashed rates by a hefty half-point to try to shield the world's largest economy from housing and credit market woes.

"With rising commodity prices and weak US indicators, the US economy's slowdown could prompt the beginning of a slowdown in the global economy next year," added Saburo Matsumoto, chief foreign exchange strategist at Sumitomo Trust Bank.

"With the market anticipating that the Fed could cut rates once more by the end of the year, possibly in December, this means that the dollar will be pressured and remain on a falling trend," he added.

Elsewhere, the dollar was also under further pressure from record-breaking oil prices.

Crude futures on Friday surged past 92 dollars for the first time on rising tensions in the oil-rich Middle East following Turkey's military threat against Kurdish rebels in Iraq and new US sanctions on Iran, dealers said.

In European trade on Friday, the euro changed hands at 1.4384 dollars, against 1.4320 dollars late Thursday, at 164.52 yen (163.47), 0.7007 pounds (0.6980) and 1.6726 Swiss francs (1.6696).

The dollar stood at 114.39 yen (114.14) and 1.1632 Swiss francs (1.1656).

The pound was at 2.0532 dollars (2.0511).

In London, the price of gold jumped to 775.60 dollars per ounce at the morning fixing from 767.50 dollars late on Thursday.

(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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What A Hoot ! Ecuador Wants Military Base in Miami

Seems fair to us.

Ecuador wants military base in Miami

Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:38pm BST

By Phil Stewart

NAPLES (Reuters) - Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast.

Correa has refused to renew Washington's lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009. U.S. officials say it is vital for counter-narcotics surveillance operations on Pacific drug-running routes.

"We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base," Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy.

"If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States."

The U.S. embassy to Ecuador says on its Web site that anti-narcotics flights from Manta gathered information behind more than 60 percent of illegal drug seizures on the high seas of the Eastern Pacific last year.

It offers a fact-sheet on the base at:

Correa, a popular leftist economist, had promised to cut off his arm before extending the lease that ends in 2009 and has called U.S. President George W. Bush a "dimwit".

But Correa, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, told Reuters he believed relations with the United States were "excellent" despite the base closing.

He rejected the idea that the episode reflected on U.S. ties at all.

"This is the only North American military base in South America," he said.

"So, then the other South American countries don't have good relations with the United States because they don't have military bases? That doesn't make any sense."

(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.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gonzo May Be Prosecuted....

Can Rover and Junior be far behind?

Gonzales could be prosecuted, McKay says

The U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month, the fired former U.S. attorney for Western Washington told a Spokane audience Friday.

His refusal to open a federal criminal investigation into voter fraud allegations in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s razor-thin victory over Republican challenger Dino Rossi in 2004 may be the reason he was fired, John McKay told the Federal Bar Association.

Appointed by President Bush in October 2001 to the top law enforcement job in western Washington, McKay said he believes he and seven other U.S. attorneys were fired last December by Gonzales for political reasons, perhaps with former White House chief of staff Karl Rove pulling strings.

Career prosecutors in his office and FBI agents agreed there was no reason to go forward with a federal investigation of the Gregoire-Rossi election, and issues associated with it were more properly addressed by state officials, McKay said.

Some also have suggested his dismissal may have been tied to his relentless push to solve the 2001 murder of Tom Wales, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle. “I consider that a disgusting (explanation),’’ McKay said, explaining he didn’t need to justify aggressively pursuing the investigation of a prosecutor “killed in the line of duty.”

McKay said he was summoned to Washington, D.C., in June and questioned for eight hours about possible reasons for his firing by investigators with the Office of Inspector General, who will forward their final report to Congress.

“My best guess is it will be released sometime next month,’’ and likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others, McKay said.

Gonzales “lied about” reasons for the firings when questioned under oath in July by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now has hired a lawyer and is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, McKay said.

The White House said McKay was fired for poor performance ratings of his office, but the ex-U.S. attorney said he and his office got exemplary reviews just three months before he was fired.

“The chief law enforcement officer for the United States should not lie under oath,’’ McKay told the bar association.

It was reported last week that Gonzales has now retained a high-profile defense lawyer, and apparently is refusing to answer questions from the Inspector General, which could signify the investigation is nearly complete, McKay said.

“When it lands … it is going to be an extremely negative report on President Bush’s Justice Department,’’ McKay told the packed conference room, which included federal prosecutors and judges.

“There was a conspiracy to politicize the Justice Department,’’ the former U.S. attorney said, “and they did not get away with it.”

Under increasing pressure, Gonzales resigned Aug. 27.

Now a law professor at Seattle University, McKay said he thinks his counterparts, David Iglesias, fired as U.S. attorney for New Mexico, and Carol Lam, forced out as U.S. attorney in San Diego, also were targeted for political reasons.

Iglesias has said he was pressured to bring an indictment against a popular Democratic official before last November’s mid-term election. Iglesias has filed a Hatch Act complaint, alleging Rove and other White House officials may have violated that federal law in his firing.

Lam has said she believes her firing was tied her office’s aggressive investigation of Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a Republican congressman who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion. It spawned a wider investigation into congressional corruption, and Cunningham is now serving an 8-year prison term.

Immediately after his firing, McKay said he thought about “going quietly,’’ but then he began comparing notes with the seven other U.S. attorneys dumped at the same time in a historically unprecedented move by the White House.

“They led each one of us to believe we were the only one told to resign,’’ he said. “None of us particularly sought the spotlight.’’

McKay said he is now speaking out, giving his “unvarnished thoughts,’’ because he believes the 90 U.S. attorneys – who serve at the pleasure of the president – still should remain independent in choosing criminal cases, while exercising fairness and compassion.

His counterpart, Jim McDevitt, the U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington, was in Washington, D.C., for Justice Department meetings Friday and wasn’t in the large crowd of attorneys and federal judges who heard McKay speak to the Federal Bar Association at the Davenport Hotel.

McKay spoke fondly of his friendship with McDevitt and said the two would have coffee early today at the downtown hotel.

Bill Morlin can be reached at (509) 459-5444 or e-mail:

(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.

Kiwiland Faces Terrorism? Maybe

US President George W. Bush was among the possible targets in threats recorded by New Zealand police who have arrested 17 people in an anti-terrorist sweep, a report said Sunday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and opposition leader John Key were also discussed as potential targets, the Sunday Star-Times said quoting intelligence sources.

Washington is said to have agreed to let New Zealand police handle the investigation, the report said.

Clark and Key have both confirmed they were briefed by police ahead of last week's police raids but would not comment on whether they were possible targets.

Earlier this year Bush and wife Laura were tipped to make a brief visit to New Zealand at the conclusion of a summit of Asia-Pacific nations in Sydney in September.

US Embassy spokeswoman Janine Burns declined to comment on whether any threat to Bush was a factor in his decision not to go to New Zealand.

The police operation, following a 22-month investigation into alleged terrorist training camps, had been treated with widespread scepticism in New Zealand.

However, Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the public should withhold judgment until the full facts of the case emerge.

He said the operation had been "triggered by credible intelligence of a serious threat to New Zealand's safety and security" and was a reality check for people who considered homegrown terrorism to be laughable.

But the Herald on Sunday newspaper said that activist Jamie Lockett, one of the 17 people arrested, claimed incriminating text and phone messages had been deliberately sent to wind up police who had been bugging his phone.

During a bail hearing for Lockett last week, prosecutors said he had sent a series of text messages saying he intended to launch a war.

The messages, intercepted by police, were said to include "White men are going to die in this country" and "I'm declaring war on this country very soon."

During the raids, police seized several weapons, including AK-47s, and other military equipment.

Most of those arrested face firearms charges with police considering whether further charges will be laid under anti-terrorism laws.

(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.

Who Would You Never Vote For? Hill Leads The Pack

The Dem Elite, president pickers are gonna blow this freakin' election yet.

Bad news for New York's junior senator.

While Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has won broad support in national tracking polls in her quest for the presidency, the former first lady is steeped in negative attitudes, according to a Zogby International poll released Sunday.

Half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, in a poll Zogby conducted Oct. 11-15, 2007, with a margin of error of +/– 1.0 percentage point.

"This is up from 46% who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March," the poll asserts. "Older voters are most resistant to Clinton – 59% of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42% of those age 18–29 said they would never vote for Clinton for President."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Sen. Mike Gravel rank second and third on the "who I'd never vote" for list, respectively.

Democratic New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Republican Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee fared best, suggesting they could do better in national polls as voters get to know them better.

"Richardson was forever objectionable as President to 34%, while 35% said they could never vote for Huckabee and 37% said they would never cast a presidential ballot for Obama," the survey showed.

No word on Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, who entered the race last week.

Whom would you NEVER vote for for President of the U.S.?


Clinton (D)


Kucinich (D)


Gravel (D)


Paul (R)


Brownback (R)


Tancredo (R)


McCain (R)


Hunter (R)


Giuliani (R)


Romney (R)


Edwards (D)


Thompson (R)


Dodd (D)


Biden (D)


Obama (D)


Huckabee (R)


Richardson (D)


Not sure


(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.

Is There Really Any Difference Between The Government And Big Business?

In a word, NO.

It's not just the data being given to the government by the corporations but the information being given by government to corporations, about American citizens, that is way beyond disturbing.

It is Terrifying. It's fascism. It's our worst nightmare.

The American people must, must do whatever it takes to stop it and it can stopped without violence.

Think about it.

The truth about telecom amnesty

Today I interviewed Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the lead counsel in the pending litigation against AT&T, alleging that AT&T violated multiple federal laws by providing (without warrants) unfettered access for the Bush administration to all telephone and Internet data concerning its customers. The Bush administration intervened in that lawsuit to argue that the "state secrets" doctrine compelled dismissal of the lawsuit, but the presiding judge, Bush 41-appointee Vaughn Walker, last year rejected that argument and ordered the case to proceed (Oral Argument on the administration's appeal of that ruling was heard by the 9th Circuit earlier this year).

The EFF/AT&T lawsuit -- based in part on the testimony and documentation of Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee -- will entail an investigation into the extent to which AT&T and other telecoms enabled the Bush administration to spy illegally on their customers. As of now, these telecom lawsuits are the best (arguably, the only real) hope for obtaining a judicial ruling as to whether these surveillance programs were illegal. Precisely for these reasons, the Bush administration is demanding "telecom amnesty" -- to bring a halt to EFF's lawsuit and thus ensure that no investigation of its spying activities on Americans ever occurs, and that no ruling is ever obtained as to whether it broke the law.

I found this interview extremely illuminating, and it reveals just how much misinformation is being disseminated by amnesty advocates. I will post the entire podcast and transcript when it is available, but wanted to post some key excerpts now:

* * * * *

GG: The lawsuit you originally brought was against only AT&T and not against the Bush administration or any government officials. Is that correct?

CC: Yes. We brought the case only against AT&T because AT&T has an independent duty to you, its customers, to protect your privacy. This is a very old duty, and if you know the history of the FISA law, you'll know that it was adopted as a result of some very deep work done by the Church Committee in Congress, that revealed that Western Union and the telegraph companies were making a copy of all telegraphs going into and outside the U.S. and delivering them to the Government.

So this was one of the big outrages uncovered by the Church Committee -- in addition to the rampant surveillance of people like Martin Luther King.

As a result of this, Congress very wisely decided that it wasn't sufficient to simply prevent the Government from listening in on your calls - they had to create an independent duty for the telecom carries not to participate in illegal surveillance.

So they are strictly forbidden from handing over your communications and communications records to the Government without proper legal process.

* * * * * *

Regarding the 9th Circuit appeal and what is at stake in these cases:

GG: If you were a Bush administration lawyer coming out of that Oral Argument, you would be far from confident that the 9th Circuit is going to dismiss the case?

CC: I think that's a fair characterization.

GG: And so, as we sit here now, with the Bush administration demanding amnesty for telecoms -- including AT&T and the other telecom defendants in these various lawsuits - there is a very real prospect, as of this moment, that the case you brought against these telecoms will go forward, and will entail an investigation into what these telecoms have been doing vis-a-vis surveillance of Americans -- is that true?

CC: I think that's true. . . . The courts will be able to look pretty deeply into what the phone companies have been doing. It may not be the case that the rest of us will know all of it. But what we will know at the end -- and what I think is critically important -- is whether it was legal or not.

GG: There will be a judicial ruling, assuming your case goes forward, as to whether or not the activities the telecoms engaged in, in concert with the Bush administration, actually broke the law?

CC: Yes - and that I think is tremendously important even if we don't end up knowing every nook and cranny of what the Government has been doing.

The FISA law really makes it illegal for the phone companies to give this information to the Government, and what the Government does with it afterwards isn't really relevant to our claim.

We have evidence of an NSA-controlled room in the Folsom Street AT&T facilities in San Francisco. We have evidence that AT&T diverted copies of everyone's Internet traffic into that room. And we know that there's very sophisticated equipment in that room that is capable of doing real-time analysis of the Internet traffic that is getting routed into there.

For most of our legal claims, that's enough to win, and we're done.

GG: Let's talk about those allegations. Your lawsuit, if it proceeded, would necesarily require an investigaiton into those allegations -- namely, into whether there was a secret room built, whether AT&T was providing unfettered access to the NSA, whether they were turning over this data. You would have to prove those allegations in order to prevail, right?

CC: Yes. . . . in that regard we already have AT&T internal documents that lay out the schematics of how this is happening and AT&T has authenticated these documents. They filed a motion with Judge Walker saying that those documents are their trade secrets and to say that, they had to say they were true. . . . The evidence we already presented and the fact that AT&T authenticated them takes us, if not all the way there, pretty darn close.

* * * * *

The impact of amnesty on these investigations:

GG: So, if Congress were to enact a law providing amnesty to telecoms -- something like the Bush administration is demanding, whereby the telecoms would receive retroactive amnesty -- that would essentially put a halt to your lawsuit?

CC: We would certainly argue that it didn't, but it's fair to say that it would put a pretty large hurdle in front of us for going forward. . . .

GG: But you would expect AT&T's lawyers and the telecom industry to argue that the amnesty they got from Congress does in fact bar those claims as well?

CC: Yes. Their goal is plainly to get rid of these litigations full stop. They don't want the courts to ever rule on whether this is legal or not. That's their goal. . . .

It's certainly the goal of the administration and the phone companies to ensure that there's never a decision about what's been going on is legal or not. The telecom cases are the last, best hope.

GG: In all of these cases that might result in an adjudication as to whether the surveillance programs were illegal, the Bush administration has been actively invovled in trying to block these cases from proceeding at all?

CC: That's right - they made the same "states secrets" argument as they made in our case in all these other cases as well.

GG: And having lost the "state secrets" argument in your case, and also in the ACLU case originally, they're now attempting to put a stop to these cases through the amnesty law that they're seeking?

CC: I think that's right. They're afraid. I think it's fair to say that they're worried they're not going to win with the rules of the game as they were set up at the time they started spying on everyone. They're running to Congress to try to change the rules of the game going forward, and trying to cover up what's happened in the past. And the question is - - is Congress going to go for this?

* * * * *

The passivity of Congress

GG: The claims by Mark Klein about what AT&T was doing - do you know, has he ever testified before any Congressional hearings or spoken with any Congressional Committee as part of any investigations that they've done into these claims?

CC: I know he hasn't ever been asked to testify in front of Congress. I know he would be willing to testify, I know he'd be very eager to tell his story to Congress.

GG: Well that's why I'm asking. These are pretty extraordinary claims that he's making, and yet -- not only during the time that the Republicans were in control of the Congress, but even for the 9 months that Democrats were in control -- there have been no formal Congressional hearings, Committee investigations, in which they asked him to come and testify about what he knows. Is that right?

CC: I think that's right. And I think that as we've been talking to members of Congress about the immunity provision, as the amnesty provision has been moving to Congress, it's shocking to me that they don't know what Mr. Klein has told a federal judge.

It's been on Frontline, and it was on a whole bunch of things -- you've been talking about it -- but there's a sense that members of Congress don't understand the kind of wholesale dragnet surveillance that Mr. Klein's evidence demonstrates . . . It's undisputed, this evidence. They have never said that Mr. Klein is lying or that the documents are phony.

To the contrary, AT&T itself said they were all true and were trying to argue that they were their trade secrets and we should have to give them all back. It's undisputed evidence and it is surprising that Congressional members still don't know about it and haven't asked Mr. Klein to come tell them himself.

* * * * * * *

Claims of telecoms' "good faith":

GG: One of the arguments that the telecom industry is making, and that advocates of telecom immunity or amnesty are making, is that these telecoms acted in good faith when they did what they did, and so it's unfair to punish these companies -- even if they technically broke the law -- because they were acting in good faith, acting as what the Washington Post Editorial Page described as good "patriotic corporate citizens" trying to protect the country. I have two questions about that:

(1) is it true that under the law, if they can prove they acted in good faith, then at least for the statutory claims, there won't be any liability?; and,

(2) aren't those claims, those arguments, that they're making now [about their supposed "good faith"] ones that they made before Judge Walker, that he rejected, when he refused to dismiss the case against them?

CC: Yes and yes. To answer your first question: the FISA law already has very broad immunities for the telecoms, and if it was the case that they were acting in good faith with an honest belief that what they were being asked to do was legal, then they would already have immunity, and they don't need an additional immunity from Congress for that.

And it's also the case that they made all these arguments to Judge Walker and Judge Walker's decision on this addresses those arguments very directly -- he said no reasonable phone company in the position of AT&T could have thought that what they were being asked to do was legal. It is not the case that this phone company could have believed that the wholesale surveillance of millions of its customers for five years, six years and counting, could be legal under the law.

Remember, these phone companies are very sophisticated about these FISA laws and the other laws that explain how and when they can cooperate with law enforcement. These aren't some rouges. This isn't Joe's Phone Company. They are very sophisticated and know the law better than almost everyone.

But even if they didn't, I don't think it takes a lot of thought to wonder: "huh, the FISA law says that the exclusive means by which the Government can get information is either by a warrant or a short-term certification from the Attorney General in an emergency situation. Huh - do either of these two things justify ongoing wholesale surveillance of all of our customers for five years and counting?"

The answer to that has to be "no." I don't think you even need a law degree to figure that one out.

* * * * * * *

The motives for the telecom lawsuits:

GG: John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, was on Fox News on Sunday arguing for telecom immunity, and this is one of the things he said in explaining why he believed in amnesty: "I believe that they deserve immunity from lawsuits out there from typical trial lawyers trying to find a way to get into the pockets of the American companies."

Is that an accurate description of your lawsuit and your organization?

CC: No, we are not plaintiff's attorneys. . . . He's welcome to come and visit our offices and if he still thinks that we're rich plaintiffs' attorneys after he's visited our little tiny Mission Street offices, then I have a bridge to sell him. We're a small, struggling non-profit with a very tiny budget - and we're doing this because we're committed to protecting people's privacy in the digital age.

GG: I don't know the salaries of EFF lawyers and I'm not asking that, but I assume it's true that there are all kinds of private sector opportunities and large corporate law firms in San Francisco where lawyers working in those places are making a lot more money, and if EFF lawyers were motivated by the desire for profit -- as Mr. Bohener dishonestly suggested -- there are a lot of other jobs that you could get that would pay a lot more money.

CC: Oh yeah, absolutely. And in fact, our lawyers are just the opposite. Most of the EFF lawyers worked in those big fancy firms for big fancy salaries, and took big paycuts to join us, because they wanted to do personally fulfilling work and feel like they were making the world a better place.

What I tell young lawyers who come to me and say: "I really want to work for EFF - you have such great lawyers," I say: "take your current paycheck, rip it in three pieces, take any third, and that's about what you'll get working for EFF." The lawyers who work for EFF are making some of the biggest contributions to this organization, because they are making far less than they could on the open market in exchange for being able to work on things they believe in every day.

-- Glenn Greenwald

(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.