By Tom Burghardt
June 16, 2008
from Antifascist Calling, Reprinted at Global Research
Proving the old axiom that Congress "is the best that money can buy,"
congressional Democrats are preparing to gut the Constitution by granting giant
telecom companies retroactive immunity and liability protection on warrantless
wiretapping by the Bush regime.
According to Congressional Quarterly, "Congressional leaders
and the Bush administration have reached an agreement in principle on an overhaul
of surveillance rules."
Tim Starks reports,
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the compromise would
be very similar to the last proposal by Sen. Christopher S. Bond , R-Mo.,
to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
Sources said the major change is that a federal district court, not the
secret FISA court itself, would make an assessment about whether to provide
retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for
their alleged role in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.
("Agreement Could Pave Way for Surveillance Overhaul," Congressional
Quarterly, June 13, 2008)
In other words, the telecommunication corporations and their "customers,"
the NSA, FBI and other members of the "intelligence community" will
get everything they want–retroactive immunity and billions of dollars in continued
taxpayer subsidies for intelligence "outsourcing."
Under rules being considered by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-MO),
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
and Bush administration officials, the deal would allow the federal district
court "to look at… Continue reading
Center for Constitutional Research
June 12, 2008
Today is a historic victory for the rule of law. We won! For the third time,
the Supreme Court has upheld the fundamental rights of Guantánamo detainees.
In its historic decision in CCR’s case, Boumediene v. Bush, the Court affirmed
detainees’ right to habeas corpus. One of the oldest and most basic legal protections,
habeas corpus affords the incarcerated the right to challenge the legality of
their detention before a judge and keeps the king and president from arbitrarily
locking people up and throwing away the key.
We’re asking you to take action in two important ways: please make a contribution
to CCR today so we can continue this important work, and please write to the
presidential candidates to demand that they uphold the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Administration has delayed, ignored and sought to evade two prior Supreme
Court decisions, Rasul v. Bush in 2004 and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in 2006, both
of which upheld the rights of Guantánamo detainees.
This decision was, in many ways, made possible by the support of so many –
the over 500 volunteer habeas counsel who have committed themselves to defending
the rights of Guantánamo’s detainees, the thousands upon thousands who have
acted to demand that the Constitution be upheld, and all of our supporters,
who have made this work possible. Today, your support is urgently needed, now
more than ever, to ensure that the Supreme Court’s decision is implemented and
the Constitution restored.
CCR was… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton
Posted at Lewrockwell.com
June 7, 2008
The George W. Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attack on the World
Trade Center and Pentagon with an assault on U.S. civil liberty that Bush justified
in the name of the “war on terror.” The government assured us that
the draconian measures apply only to “terrorists.” The word terrorist,
however, was not defined. The government claimed the discretionary power to
decide who is a terrorist without having to present evidence or charges in a
court of law.
Frankly, the Bush administration’s policy evades any notion of procedural
due process of law. Administration assurances that harsh treatment is reserved
only for terrorists is meaningless when the threshold process for determining
who is and who is not a terrorist depends on executive discretion that is not
subject to review. Substantive rights are useless without the procedural rights
to enforce them.
Terrorist legislation and executive assertions created a basis upon which federal
authorities claimed they were free to suspend suspects’ civil liberties
in order to defend Americans from terrorism. Only after civil liberties groups
and federal courts challenged some of the unconstitutional laws and procedures
did realization spread that the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill
of Rights is a greater threat to Americans than are terrorists.
The alacrity with which Congress accepted the initial assault from the administration
is frightening. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act passed by a vote of 98 to 1 in
the… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666; email@example.com
NEW YORK — Family members of 9/11 victims have sent a letter today to
Susan Crawford, Convening Authority of the Guantánamo military commissions,
sharply criticizing the politicization of the system. According to news reports,
a Pentagon representative secretly invited an outspoken supporter of the military
commissions to Guantánamo Bay for Thursday’s arraignment of Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees on terrorism-related charges, but did
not make this option available to family members who have expressed criticism
of the commissions. This type of politicization is symptomatic of the unconstitutional
and biased tribunal system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The letter echoes the widespread call for a system to try the Guantánamo
detainees that adheres to the Constitution, stating, “As people who lost
loved ones in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we want nothing more than to see
that justice is served in the prosecution of suspects. However, we know that
no justice will come out of a system that has been compromised by politics and
stripped of the rule of law.”
The military commission proceedings have been subject to unlawful political
influence since they started. After holding detainees for over six years, the
government is now rushing through these cases, giving the defense just three
months to prepare for a trial timed to begin only weeks before the November
“The American public has every right to expect that prosecutions of 9/11
suspects will be conducted in a fair, open and honest manner that is not compromised
by crass political considerations.…
On Tuesday, June 3, join the Center for Constitutional Rights for an exciting
live webcast of the event "True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation
of Iraq." The event, which will take place at New York City’s Town Hall,
features bestselling author JEREMY SCAHILL, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer CHRIS
HEDGES, journalist LAILA AL-ARIAN, and The New Yorker’s SEYMOUR HERSH, as they
go behind the headlines to tell the untold story of the occupation of Iraq, the
daily plight of Iraqi civilians, and the ongoing role of private mercenaries in
America’s so-called "war on terror."
The webcast will stream live on CCR’s website on Tuesday, June 3, 7 p.m. EST.
Go here for more details.
This event also marks the book launches of Collateral Damage: America’s
War Against Iraqi Civilians by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian and the
updated paperback edition of Blackwater: Rise of the World’s Most Powerful
Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.
CCR has worked with all of these authors in our pursuit of justice for the
victims of the war and occupation of Iraq. Recently, we filed new cases against
Blackwater for its killing of Iraqi civilians as well as a new case against
CACI and Titan, military contractors in Iraq who were responsible for interrogation
and translation at Abu Ghraib.
The event is co-sponsored by CCR, The Nation, Public Concern Foundation,
Democracy Now!, The Indypendent, CERSC, Democrats. com, Veterans for
Common Sense, Peace Action New York, Alternet and Tricycle.…
Scholar Urges Candidates Debate Role of President’s Usurpation of Power
By Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 22, 2008
President Bush’s usurpation of power since 9/11 was termed “rapacious,” “predatory,” and “extra-Constitutional,” by presidential scholar Michael Genovese, director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Genovese said the “Unitary Theory” of the executive espoused by the Bush White House “is a very strange and ahistorical notion that says, ‘In a crisis all power gravitates to the president. No one, not the courts, not the Congress can interfere with the president and in effect, the president is the state.”
“That ahistorical view runs contrary to everything that we find in the Framers,” Genovese said. “For the president to say that he has all the authority he needs to do all he had to do without Congress, without the courts, is simply dead wrong. He may be the decider but he’s not the only decider.”
Genovese urged the candidates for the White House discuss their views on the nature of the presidency.
He said the Framers’ intention “was to get away from the rule of one man that they just fought a revolution to overthrow, and so the Framers invented a rule of law system, under a separation of powers, with checks and balances, under a constitution, and they invented an office, the president, who was to preside, not to govern, but to preside.”
The system they created was primarily concerned “about protecting freedom… Continue reading
Iceland tops list of peaceful nations, U.S. 97th
Tue May 20, 2008 5:08pm EDT
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation while the United States is ranked among the bottom third, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The “Global Peace Index,” compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked the United States 97th out of 140 countries according to how peaceful they were domestically and how they interacted with the outside world.
The United States slipped from 96th last year, but was still ahead of foe Iran which ranked 105th. It, however, lagged Belarus, Cuba, South Korea, Chile, Libya and others which were listed as more peaceful.
Iraq, which the United States invaded in 2003, leading to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, ranked lowest on the index. Afghanistan, another country invaded by the United States this decade, was also in the bottom five, along with Sudan, Somalia and Israel.
Commenting on the U.S. ranking, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said to realize a more peaceful and prosperous world, “Often times, you have to do difficult things and a lot of times, people don’t agree with them. They don’t like them.”
“A lot of times you fall down in these lists but at the end of the day it is in defense of democracy and the way of life we have enjoyed over the past several decades,” he added.
The United States has come under strong international criticism for the invasion of Iraq and… Continue reading
Under a new plan, the government could take your DNA and keep it on file permanently
if you are arrested at a demonstration on federal property. Take action today
to stop the government from giving itself sweeping new powers to create DNA databases.
Please read this alert for background on the plan and immediately go here and
click on the yellow "Add Comments" balloon to file public comments
with the government to oppose the plan. The government is only accepting comments
until this Monday, May 19, so take action today!
At the end of 2005, a little-noticed provision was slipped into the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill that provided the federal government
with the power to collect and permanently keep DNA samples from anyone arrested
for any crime whether or not they are convicted, any non-U.S. citizen merely
detained by federal authorities for any reason, and everyone in federal prison.
Now the government is trying to put the DNA Fingerprint Act into practice.
Federal agencies would be required to take DNA samples from:
* Individuals arrested for the most minor of crimes, such as peaceful protestors
who are demonstrating on federal property.
* Countless numbers of visitors from other countries who are pulled aside in
airports by the Transportation Security Administration.
* Lawful immigrants seeking admission to this country, whether at the land border
or in passport control at the airport.
Go here for more information on the law.
This is a dangerous invasion of privacy. Our DNA is not a fingerprint – it
contains vast amounts of sensitive medical information about us.…
By Jordan Lite
Daily News Staff Writer
Thursday, May 8th 2008
More than 360 workers who dealt with the aftermath of the World Trade Center
disaster have died, state health officials said Wednesday.
Officials have determined the cause of death of 154 of the responders and volunteers
who toiled at Ground Zero, the blocks nearby and at the Fresh Kills landfill,
where debris from the site was taken.
Of those, 80 died of cancer.
"It’s the tip of the iceberg," said David Worby, who is representing
10,000 workers – 600 with cancer – who say they got sick after working on rescue
and recovery efforts.
"These statistics bear out how toxic that site was," Worby said.
Most of the deadly tumors were in the lungs and digestive system, according
to the tally from the state’s World Trade Center Responder Fatality Investigation
Other deaths were traced to blood cancers and heart and circulatory diseases.
Five ex-workers committed suicide, said Kitty Gelberg, who is tracking the deaths
for the program.
Gelberg said she had not yet determined whether the number of cancer deaths
was more or less than those typically occurring in men in their 20s to 50s who
work as cops, firefighters or laborers – the majority of 9/11 workers.
"We are not saying all of these deaths are World Trade Center-related,"
Gelberg said. "Without the statistics, we are not making judgment."
She added that relatives of people who died of cancer may be likely to link
their loved one’s… Continue reading
April 30, 2008
A variety of current and former high-level officials have recently warned that the Bush administration is attempting to instill a dictatorship in America, and will itself carry out a fake terrorist attack in order to obtain one.
FBI agents, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and The Washington Post and Rolling Stone have all stated that the administration has issued terror alerts based on scant intelligence in order to rally people around the flag when the administration was suffering in the polls. This implies — as an initial matter only — that the administration will play fast and loose with the facts in order to instill fear for political purposes
More to the point, a former prominent republican congressman stated that the U.S. is close to becoming a totalitarian society and that the Bush administration is using fear to try to ensure that this happens.
Current U.S. Congressman Ron Paul stated, the government “is determined to have martial law”, and that the government is hoping to get the people “fearful enough that they will accept the man on the white horse”
And Daniel Ellsberg, the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower, said “if there is another terror attack, “I believe the president will get what he wants”, which will include a dictatorship.
Terror on U.S. Citizens by American… Continue reading
Thursday, May 1, 2008
“It’s Not About Revenge, This Is About Justice” Lorie van Auken, one of the September 11 Advocates, speaks in this video about why it’s important that true justice is served to the detainees at Guantánamo. Watch the video here: ACLU Blog.
Van Auken is supporting the ACLU’s John Adams Project, the ACLU’s effort to assist in the legal representation of Guantánamo detainees. You can learn more about the project, and read the September 11 Advocates’ statement in support of it, at www.aclu.org/johnadams.
For decades the federal government has been developing a highly classified plan that would override the Constitution in the event of a terrorist attack. Is it also compiling a secret enemies list of citizens who could face detention under martial law?
By Christopher Ketcham
In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.
The bureaucrat was James Comey, John Ashcroft’s second-in-command at the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term. Comey had been a loyal political foot soldier of the Republican Party for many years. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration’s various… Continue reading
25 Apr 2008
Edited by Carly Zander
HACKENSACK, N.J., April 25 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Over 2,000 motorcycles
are expected to roll past New York’s “Ground Zero” on Saturday, May
10, as they participate in the “Freedom Run” motorcycle rally and
festival. Riding side-by-side, the motorcycles are anticipated to stretch for
five miles and will pay tribute to the 9/11 first responders of the FealGood
Foundation who are now gravely ill as a result of their service at the site
of the World Trade Center collapse.
Caption: FealGood Foundation”I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love
from the motorcycle community. We are grateful for the support of Bergen Harley-Davidson,
and pledge that every dollar raised will help give dignity to a 9/11 responder
who has been forgotten by their government,” says John Feal, president
and founder of the FealGood Foundation. The nonprofit organization advocates
and raises money for the 40,000 who came from all over America and the world
to do search, recovery and clean up at Ground Zero, 70 percent of whom are now
sick or have died.
Leading the motorcycles will be NYFD Engine #343, named in honor of the 343
NYC firefighters who perished in the attacks, which will be ridden my numerous
rescue workers and first responders. The run will depart from the Hackensack
Court House, 10 Main Street, at 11:00 a.m., and travel across the George Washington
Bridge before passing the Ground Zero.
At the site, motorcyclists will pay homage to a police and fire department… Continue reading
Post-9/11 Memo Indicates View Around Constitution
Thursday, April 3, 2008
For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush administration
argued that the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures on U.S. soil did not apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism.
That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated Oct.
23, 2001. The administration stressed yesterday that it now disavows that view.
The October 2001 memo was written at the White House’s request by John Yoo,
then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto R. Gonzales,
then the White House counsel. The37-page memo has not been released.
Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret Justice
Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, that discussed the legality of various
interrogation techniques. It was released by the Pentagon in response to an
ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application
to domestic military operations,” the footnote in that memo states, referring
to a document titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist
Activities Within the United States.”
Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear.
Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040300067.html
2003 Justice Department memo justifies torture, presidential dictatorship
By Joe Kay
4 April 2008
On Tuesday, the Defense Department released a 2003 memo asserting the right
of the US president to order the military to torture prisoners.
The memo is signed by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and is
dated March 14, 2003, one week before the launch of the Iraq war.…
April 1, 2008
By William J. Broad
Watch the Slideshow here.
Skulls. Black cats. A naked woman riding a killer whale. Grim reapers. Snakes. Swords. Occult symbols. A wizard with a staff that shoots lightning bolts. Moons. Stars. A dragon holding the Earth in its claws.
No, this is not the fantasy world of a 12-year-old boy.
It is, according to a new book, part of the hidden reality behind the Pentagon’s classified, or “black,” budget that delivers billions of dollars to stealthy armies of high-tech warriors. The book offers a glimpse of this dark world through a revealing lens — patches — the kind worn on military uniforms.
“It’s a fresh approach to secret government,” Steven Aftergood, a security expert at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said in an interview. “It shows that these secret programs have their own culture, vocabulary and even sense of humor.”
One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. “To Serve Man” reads the text above, a reference to a classic “Twilight Zone” episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. “Gustatus Similis Pullus” reads the caption below, dog Latin for “Tastes Like Chicken.”
Military officials and experts said the patches are real if often unofficial efforts at building team spirit.
The classified budget of the Defense Department, concealed from the public in all but outline, has nearly doubled in the Bush years, to $32 billion. That is more than the… Continue reading
By Robert O’Harrow Jr.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.
Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. They are expected to play important roles in national information-sharing networks that link local, state and federal authorities and enable them to automatically sift their storehouses of records for patterns and clues.
Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.
Those details have come to light at a time of debate about domestic intelligence efforts, including eavesdropping and data-aggregation programs at the National Security Agency, and whether the government has enough protections in… Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
In August 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the House that he and the rest of his Committee had been barred from reviewing parts of National Security Presidential Directive 51, the White House supersecret plans to implement so-called “Continuity of Government” in the event of a mass terror attack or natural disaster. ( 1 )
Norm Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, commented, “I cannot think of one good reason” for denial. Ornstein added, “I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House.” ( 2 )
The story, ignored by the mainstream press, involved more than the usual tussle between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government. What was at stake was a contest between Congress’s constitutional powers of oversight, and a set of policy plans that could be used to suspend or modify the constitution.
There is nothing wrong with disaster planning per se. Like all governments, the U.S. government must develop plans for the worst contingencies. But Congress has a right to be concerned about Continuity of Government (COG) plans refined by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld over the past quarter century, which journalists have described as involving suspension of the constitution. ( 3 )
In the 1980s, a secret group of planners inside and outside the government were assigned, by an Executive Order, to develop a response to a nuclear… Continue reading