Saturday, December 31, 2005
By JPOST.COM STAFF
The United States government reportedly began coordinating with NATO its plans for a possible military attack against Iran.
The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel collected various reports from the German media indicating that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are examining the prospects of such a strike.
According to the report, CIA chief Porter Gus, in his last visit to Turkey on December 12, requested Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide military bases to the United States in 2006 from where they would be able to launch an assault.
The German news agency DDP also noted that countries neighboring Iran, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, and Pakistan were also updated regarding to supposed plan. American sources sent to those countries apparently mentioned an aerial attack as a possibility, but did not provide a time frame for the operation.
Although Der Spiegel could not say that these plans were concrete, they did note that according to a January 2005 New Yorker report American forces had entered Iran in 2005 in order to mark possible targets for an aerial assault.
Another Great Find by Ms. Malkin
By Michelle Malkin · December 31, 2005 09:53 AM
In October, Atlanta Journal Constitution's left-wing cartoonist Mike Luckovich used the names of the fallen in Iraq to create this anti-war image touted by moonbats:
James Lileks, among many others, wrote a fabulous rejoinder to Luckovich. But Georgia teenager Danielle Ansley has topped it. Her cartoon response to Luckovich appears in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Danielle also wrote a letter to the editor that accompanies the cartoon:
The first time I saw Mike Luckovich’s drawing of the word “WHY?”, made up of the names of 2,000 troops killed in Iraq, was when my mother was putting it up on our refrigerator. It bothered me that no one did a response showing how others feel. On Nov. 8, I got an updated list of the names of the war dead and started writing them, spelling out “FREEDOM.” Six days later, it was done. I only worked on it in my free time at school. It took me about 12 hours to get it done, so needless to say I devoted many of my classes to this, and stayed late after school to work on it. I didn’t take it home and show it to my mother until I had prints made. She and I have different views of things. She said that, as a mother, she didn’t like it that so many people have been killed. She was not happy when I placed my work next to Luckovich’s “WHY?” on the fridge, but it hasn't been taken down. I may seem as if I am too young to have an opinion on matters like these. I am not saying that my opinion is right, for an opinion is just that — someone’s views on something. But, like a child’s voice, an opinion is often not heard.
Check out the ongoing discussion at Luckovich's blog. Bravo to Danielle (and the AJC) for making her voice heard.
Hat tip: Readers Stu and Bill
Update: Just a personal note I would use the names to spell out SECURITY ...freedom may have been the side benifit but we are there for OUR security, and Col. Scot Rudder who led the attack on Baghdad Airport said his word would be DUTY...because those brave soldiers were doing their duty
Friday, December 30, 2005
There are several ways that you can look at the year that just passed. We could list all the bad things that happened. The thousands that were murdered in the streets of our cities.
The blame game politics over the unnecessary deaths of 500 people in New Orleans as the local politicians shoved their heads up their collective asses and proved that the only thing they were proficient at was pointing their fingers at everyone else.
The ransacking of homeland security money in NJ to be used as political payoff money.
The ignoring of the threat and problem of our southern border.
The exposure of a once great News organizations who in the last year motivated by just pure political hate has jeopardized the lives of every American by no longer reporting news but by playing politics and revealing intelligence operations that in their exposure aided the enemy, making it harder for us to catch them before they try and kill us.
The betrayal of our troops in the field as our own politicians compared them to Nazis and keepers of Russian style gulags.
The number reached 2500 brave Heroes that gave their lives fighting for what they believed in, even while elements of our government launched campaign after campaign against them inciting the radicals that worship their socialistic faery tale of the world they wish to live in to spit on them, and belittle their sacrifice.
Their self sacrifice was and is the greatest that anyone can give, and members of our own government and our campus communist elite would rather give their support for Palestinian terror groups than to these brave men and women.
All in all I would say that a lot of our people showed their true souls this past year and it ain't pretty.
Good things happened also. Not just here but in Iraq as well. All though you would never know it by reading the MSM.
The Economy is Booming.
Unemployment has stayed lower than it ever has for the longest it ever has.
We have suffered no Terror attacks.
The house even managed to pass a bill erecting a 750 mile long double fence on the Southern Border. (I'm sure it won't survive the Senate)
We had 3 count them 3 elections in Iraq all parties are participating in forming THEIR country, in a way that will work for THEM not us.
The best thing to happen for me besides the love of my wife and kids is my Blog and the world of the Blogosphere.
The Rebirth of individual freespeech has been one of the greatest boons in the last 10 or more years. The people are being heard and a lot of people aren't very happy about it. LOL
Ahh but what about the Year to come???????? I wish to all my family, friends, and blogging compatriots a good year ahead.
If we are lucky the left will continue with their insanity, providing us the joy of laughter and additional seats in the House and Senate.
Dec 30, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. --
The White House Social Office needs to note right now, before anybody has a chance to forget, that it really must send flowers, chocolates and wall-sized Christmas cards (um, holiday cards) next year to James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times. The intrepid duo saved the Bush presidency recently by breaking news that the National Security Agency has been conducting surveillance of al-Qaida operatives abroad and their minions in the United States.
The reporters noted that the agency monitored phone calls, e-mails and other electronic communications by means of sophisticated eavesdropping devices and even more sophisticated computers that can pick out known terrorists' vocal patterns while monitoring words and phrases that may refer to terrorist acts and targets.
This is hardly new. "Signals intelligence" has been the rage among intelligence communities for some time. CBS reported in 2000 on the Echelon program, a joint effort involving the United States and its four chief English-speaking allies to monitor every electronic communication on Earth. Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush 43 each authorized the use of such surveillance (without bench warrants) in cases involving national security.
The Times pushed the story furiously, and its editorial page inveighed gravely against the president. A handful of Democrats cited the reportage in demanding the president's ouster, while purveyors of Beltway Conventional Wisdom declared "impeachment" the word of 2006.
Yet as opponents grimaced and gathered, curious and unexpected things happened. The president's poll ratings rose, as did public support for the supposedly controversial operation.
This confluence of events works not only to the president's advantage, it fits his political style. When pushed, George W. Bush doesn't like to play smash-mouth. He prefers the poker stratagem of calling people's bluffs.
He did it in proposing his tax cuts. He did it in seeking authorization for the war. And now, he can perform his biggest bluff-call yet.
To understand why, consider a few observations:
-- A president ought to do whatever is necessary and proper to defend American citizens from terrorists.
-- A president has constitutional authority to approve warrantless searches of known and credible terror suspects, especially when he puts in place procedures that allow all three branches of government to oversee the operation.
-- Intelligence failures permitted al-Qaida to pull off not only the Sept. 11 attacks, but also a series of assaults before and after, including the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; the attack on the USS Cole; the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia; slaughters in the Madrid and London subways; and hotel massacres in Jordan and Bali.
-- Signals intelligence and data mining have almost unparalleled potential for exposing terror networks and complicating the work of would-be mass murderers.
Given these statements of the obvious, the president ought to open his State of the Union Address by asking Congress to give him official authority to approve warrantless searches of known and identified terrorists, or of people in regular contact with those terrorists whom authorities reasonably suspect of plotting to commit acts of murder, terror or sabotage. These activities ought to be subject to monthly review by the attorney general. The administration also ought to be required each month to brief the top four congressional leaders, both intelligence committees and the head of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The proposal would codify the status quo -- but shorten the reporting periods to 30 days from 45 -- and place the impeachment crowd in a sticky situation. The public would support both proposals overwhelmingly, leaving the president's most hysterical critics isolated utterly.
Note who has not spoken against the NSA program since the Times story broke. The list includes Harry Reid and Dick Durbin in the Senate; Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in the House; and members of both intelligence committees. In other words, Democrats in the know either have supported the surveillance program or just kept their mouths shut.
A straightforward vote would shut up the rest, highlighting vividly the gulf that separates a president responsible for national security from critics responsible to nobody. Civil libertarians are right to fret about abuses of government power, which is why successive administrations have brought Congress, the courts and the Justice Department into the review process. But the Great Bluff-Caller is right about an even more fundamental point: If we try to fight the war on terror with eyes shut and ears packed with wax, innocent people will die.
National Security Agency
December 28, 2005--
Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.
Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not sure.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans believe the NSA should be allowed to listen in on conversations between terror suspects and people living in the United States. That view is shared by 51% of Democrats and 57% of those not affiliated with either major political party.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
I just had to post this story. I loved it, this kid has Brass Balls and a spirit that just makes you smile. I guess not all students are accepting their school inflicted brainwashing. Hopefully someone like the Weekly Standard or Fox News will hire this Kid before he's corrupted by the MSM.
By JASON STRAZIUSO
Associated Press Writer
Dec 29 6:29 PM US/Eastern
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare. But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation.
And he didn't even tell his parents.
Hassan's dangerous adventure winds down with the 101st Airborne delivering the Fort Lauderdale teen to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which had been on the lookout for him and promises to see him back to the United States this weekend.
It begins with a high school class on "immersion journalism" and one overly eager _ or naively idealistic _ student who's lucky to be alive after going way beyond what any teacher would ask.
As a junior this year at a Pine Crest School, a prep academy of about 700 students in Fort Lauderdale, Hassan studied writers like John McPhee in the book "The New Journalism," an introduction to immersion journalism _ a writer who lives the life of his subject in order to better understand it.
Diving headfirst into an assignment, Hassan, whose parents were born in Iraq but have lived in the United States for about 35 years, hung out at a local mosque. The teen, who says he has no religious affiliation, added that he even spent an entire night until 6 a.m. talking politics with a group of Muslim men, a level of "immersion" his teacher characterized as dangerous and irresponsible.
The next trimester his class was assigned to choose an international topic and write editorials about it, Hassan said. He chose the Iraq war and decided to practice immersion journalism there, too, though he knows his school in no way endorses his travels.
"I thought I'd go the extra mile for that, or rather, a few thousand miles," he told The Associated Press.
Using money his parents had given him at one point, he bought a $900 plane ticket and took off from school a week before Christmas vacation started, skipping classes and leaving the country on Dec. 11.
His goal: Baghdad. Those privy to his plans: two high school buddies.
Given his heritage, Hassan could almost pass as Iraqi. His father's background helped him secure an entry visa, and native Arabs would see in his face Iraqi features and a familiar skin tone. His wispy beard was meant to help him blend in.
But underneath that Mideast veneer was full-blooded American teen, a born-and-bred Floridian sporting white Nike tennis shoes and trendy jeans. And as soon as the lanky, 6-foot teenager opened his mouth _ he speaks no Arabic _ his true nationality would have betrayed him.
Traveling on his own in a land where insurgents and jihadists have kidnapped more than 400 foreigners, killing at least 39 of them, Hassan walked straight into a death zone. On Monday, his first full day in Iraq, six vehicle bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing five people and wounding more than 40.
The State Department strongly advises U.S. citizens against traveling to Iraq, saying it "remains very dangerous." Forty American citizens have been kidnapped since the war started in March 2003, of which 10 have been killed, a U.S. official said. About 15 remain missing.
"Travel warnings are issued for countries that are considered especially dangerous for Americans, and one of the strongest warnings covers travel to Iraq," said Elizabeth Colton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Colton said the embassy's consular section can provide only limited help to Americans in Iraq, though once officials learn of a potentially dangerous situation every effort is made to assist.
Inside the safety of Baghdad's Green Zone, an Embassy official from the Hostage Working Group talked to Hassan about how risky travel is in Iraq.
"This place is incredibly dangerous to individual private American citizens, especially minors, and all of us, especially the military, went to extraordinary lengths to ensure this youth's safety, even if he doesn't acknowledge it or even understand it," a U.S. official who wasn't authorized to speak to the media said on condition of anonymity.
Hassan's extra-mile attitude took him east through eight time zones, from Fort Lauderdale to Kuwait City. His plan was to take a taxi across the border and ultimately to Baghdad _ an unconventional, expensive and utterly dangerous route.
It was in Kuwait City that he first called his parents to tell them of his plans _ and that he was now in the Middle East.
His mother, Shatha Atiya, a psychologist, said she was "shocked and terrified." She had told him she would take him to Iraq, but only after the country stabilizes.
"He thinks he can be an ambassador for democracy around the world. It's admirable but also agony for a parent," Atiya said.
Attempting to get into Iraq, Hassan took a taxi from Kuwait City to the border 55 miles away. He spoke English at the border and was soon surrounded by about 15 men, a scene he wanted no part of. On the drive back to Kuwait City, a taxi driver almost punched him when he balked at the fee.
"In one day I probably spent like $250 on taxis," he said. "And they're so evil too, because they ripped me off, and when I wouldn't pay the ripped-off price they started threatening me. It was bad."
It could have been worse _ the border could have been open.
As luck would have it, the teenager found himself at the Iraq-Kuwait line sometime on Dec. 13, and the border security was extra tight because of Iraq's Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The timing saved him from a dangerous trip.
"If they'd let me in from Kuwait, I probably would have died," he acknowledged. "That would have been a bad idea."
He again called his father, who told him to come home. But the teen insisted on going to Baghdad. His father advised him to stay with family friends in Beirut, Lebanon, so he flew there, spending 10 days before flying to Baghdad on Christmas.
His ride at Baghdad International Airport, arranged by the family friends in Lebanon, dropped him off at an international hotel where Americans were staying.
He says he only strayed far from that hotel once, in search of food. He walked into a nearby shop and asked for a menu. When no menu appeared, he pulled out his Arabic phrase book, and after fumbling around found the word "menu." The stand didn't have one. Then a worker tried to read some of the English phrases.
"And I'm like, 'Well, I should probably be going.' It was not a safe place. The way they were looking at me kind of freaked me out," he said.
It was mid-afternoon Tuesday, after his second night in Baghdad, that he sought out editors at The Associated Press and announced he was in Iraq to do research and humanitarian work. AP staffers had never seen an unaccompanied teenage American walk into their war zone office. ("I would have been less surprised if little green men had walked in," said editor Patrick Quinn.)
Wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt in addition to his jeans and sneakers, Hassan appeared eager and outgoing but slightly sheepish about his situation.
The AP quickly called the U.S. embassy.
Embassy officials had been on the lookout for Hassan, at the request of his parents, who still weren't sure exactly where he was. One U.S. military officer said he was shocked the teen was still alive. The 101st Airborne lieutenant who picked him up from the hotel said it was the wildest story he'd ever heard.
Hassan accepted being turned over to authorities as the safest thing to do, but seemed to accept the idea more readily over time.
Most of Hassan's wild tale could not be corroborated, but his larger story arc was in line with details provided by friends and family members back home.
Dangerous and dramatic, Hassan's trip has also been educational. He had tea with Kuwaitis under a tent in the middle of a desert. He says he interviewed Christians in south Lebanon. And he said he spoke with U.S. soldiers guarding his Baghdad hotel who told him they are treated better by Sunni Arabs _ the minority population that enjoyed a high standing under Saddam Hussein and are now thought to fuel the insurgency _ than by the majority Shiites.
His father, Redha Hassan, a doctor, said his son is an idealist, principled and moral. Aside from the research he wanted to accomplish, he also wrote in an essay saying he wanted to volunteer in Iraq.
He said he wrote half the essay while in the United States, half in Kuwait, and e-mailed it to his teachers Dec. 15 while in the Kuwait City airport.
"There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction," he wrote.
"Those terrorists are not human but pure evil. For their goals to be thwarted, decent individuals must answer justice's call for help. Unfortunately altruism is always in short supply. Not enough are willing to set aside the material ambitions of this transient world, put morality first, and risk their lives for the cause of humanity. So I will."
"I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress," he wrote.
Farris Hassan says he thinks a trip to the Middle East is a healthy vacation compared with a trip to Colorado for holiday skiing.
"You go to, like, the worst place in the world and things are terrible," he said. "When you go back home you have such a new appreciation for all the blessing you have there, and I'm just going to be, like, ecstatic for life."
His mother, however, sees things differently.
"I don't think I will ever leave him in the house alone again," she said. "He showed a lack of judgment."
Hassan may not mind, at least for a while. He now understands how dangerous his trip was, that he was only a whisker away from death.
His plans on his return to Florida: "Kiss the ground and hug everyone."
Thursday, December 29, 2005
By Lee Kaplan
December 29, 2005
Never let it be said that the American college educational system ever missed an opportunity to promote the aims of terrorists and their allies when it came to money. Stop the ISM has received notification that the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), the name the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) uses for its member groups in the United States, is going to have its fifth annual conference at a major American university-this time Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
The following announcement was put out to ISM activists in the United States:
Palestine Solidarity MovementAnnouncement
Fifth Annual Divestment Conference("Fifth Annual National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement")
February 17 - 19, 2006
More information to come.
A quick call to President George DeGioia of Georgetown University netted no response or comment from his office or staff about the event. Another call placed to the campus office of communications to verify the event was actually scheduled was also met with no response. According to Fabiola Joubert in the campus Office of Communications, she could not confirm or deny the event and said she had no idea where to find a schedule of campus events for the Washington campus. She referred this reporter to Eric Smulson, campus press officer, who was "in meetings" and "unavailable."
The Palestine Solidarity Movement has held national conferences on major university campuses four out of the last five years, first at UC Berkeley, then U Michigan, Ohio State and Duke University. At the last conference held at Duke University in 2004, Huwaida Arraf, one of the PSM's main organizers, admitted that the Palestine Solidarity Movement works with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all illegal terrorist groups per the US state department. That particular event was also found to be an anti-Semitic hate fest which also produced articles in the campus newspaper later attacking Jews in America as a "privileged class." At the earlier event at U Michigan, chants of "Kill the Jews" were heard among the attendees. Divestment from Israel is a major theme, an attempt to hurt the Israeli population and force it to capitulate to PLO demands; in other words, an extension of the Arab boycott against Jews in the Middle East for having their own country. Public reaction to the 2004 Duke event no doubt made finding a venue for another conference difficult which might explain why there was no such conference held at a major university in 2005.
The organizers at the Duke conference had planned to stage their 2005 event at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where the PSM's head organizer, Fayyad Sbaihat, is based along with other key organizers, Mohammed Abed and Nasser Abufarha of the Alternative Palestinian Agenda(APA). Sbaihat would appear to be a professional student since he has been a senior majoring in chemical engineering at U Wisconsin for more than three years. U Wisconsin may have decided to pass after word leaked out and due to the bad press the Duke University event generated.
In addition, information has come to light since the Conference held at Ohio State that Fayyad Sbaihat's brothers are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). APA’s platform follows the platform of the PFLP, that all of Israel must become Palestine ruled under a Socialist Arab Muslim majority. The PFLP was founded by the Christian communist wing of the PLO.
For one thing, the area is headquarters for many of the PSM's big players and activists like Fadi Kiblawi, a PSM leader and activist, who once wrote an article about his desire to be a suicide bomber and who is now a law student at George Washington University. Fatima Ayub, another major PSM organizer, is based nearby at Johns Hopkins University as a student at the School of Advanced International Studies. At an earlier PSM Conference at Ohio State, she tried to prevent this member of the press from attending and praised the "freedom fighters" fighting US soldiers in Afghanistan. Adam Shapiro, an apostate Jew and one of the originators of the International Solidarity Movement with the cooperation of Yasser Arafat in December, 2000, is a graduate of Georgetown and a doctoral student at nearby American University.
Georgetown's Arab studies department has always had an anti-Israel slant due to wealthy Saudi and Palestinian Arab donors. Middle East Studies professor John Esposito, who frequently speaks as an apologist for militant Islamic groups, is based at Georgetown. He heads Georgetown’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. That fits nicely with the new theme of the PSM: instead of just falsely accusing Israel of being an apartheid state as in the past to urge divestment, PSM activists are now trying to deconstruct Christian support for a Jewish homeland.
Muslim persecution that exists in the Middle East against Christians is to be twisted at Gerogetown to portray Arab Muslims as friends of Christians, and the Jews of Israel as their persecutors. The goal is to dupe American audiences that the PLO is holding this event at a predominantly Christian private college in order to work with anti-Israel Christian groups around the country that have joined in on urging divestment from Israel. The simple fact is that Christian Arabs are persecuted by the Muslim majority in the Middle East and the conference will serve as a propaganda tool to negate the truth. This complete reversal of facts, sanctioned and promoted at Georgetown, a college founded by Jesuits, is a disgrace.
One of those Saudi donors to Georgetown is the omnipresent Prince Alaweed Bin Talal. Bin Talal was the Saudi sheik who accused Israel of "slaughtering the Palestinians" as he offered a ten million dollar check to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuiliani at Ground Zero of the World Trade Center disaster. Giuliani refused to accept the check. Bin Talal is one of the major financiers of Hamas, having contributed over 400 million dollars to date to the terrorist organization.
That Georgetown would look the other way comes as no surprise. One of Bin Talal's "gifts" to Georgetown University was the second largest one in the University's history-20 million dollars. No doubt after Duke, the PSM had trouble finding an American university willing to host such a venue again, but money talks and Georgetown listens.
Organizers at these conferences try to pass themselves off as being intellectuals who are trying to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli conflict with the Arabs. But at each conference, attendees are advised they must agree unconditionally to the "right of return," a euphemism for overwhelming Israel's Jewish population with five million additional Arabs to ultimately dismantle the Jewish state. "Strategy sessions" include lectures on how to infiltrate and defraud Jewish organizations in America to pay for ISM activists' trips to the West Bank and Gaza to interfere as human shields against the anti-terrorist operations of the Israeli army, hardly an academic enterprise. To that end, the press is always prevented from attending and reporting what really goes on.
And what goes on is intellectually sanctioned support for terrorism. The PSM/ISM couches this by stating as a policy of the conference that as a solidarity movement it is not their place to criticize the tactics (that is, suicide bombings and terrorism) of the Palestinian Arabs. And lying and deception are still in full force as part of their credo, "By any means necessary." A follow-up announcement by PSM spokesman Nadeem Muadi stated, "Bringing the annual conference to our nation's capitol is a natural step for our movement, and one that expresses the fact that divestment from Israel has become an issue of national prominence. Because Palestinians, like all people, are an equal component of international civil society, they deserve to live free of subjugation to a state sanctioned and institutionalized system of apartheid. Our aim is to realize this goal by calling attention to both Israel's discriminate policies and the non-violent channels through which they may be overcome."
The last PSM conference erupted into cheers when a resolution to condemn suicide bombings was defeated. This PSM conference will try to deceive the American public, while terrorist group attendees lobby and strategize for Hamas, PFLP, and Iraqi groups killing US soldiers.
Given that Israel is the only democratic state in the region that does not practice apartheid, as the Palestinian Authority does against non-Muslims, holding such a conference on a university campus in America uses the American college system not as a learning environment, but as a sounding board for totalitarian regimes in the Middle East. Shame on Georgetown.
As mentioned, the University would neither confirm nor deny the event for February. But then again, Duke University also followed this pattern. And you can bet with so much of Bin Talal's money flowing around on campus, the administration will probably look the other way no matter what goes on. Nevertheless, write to Georgetown President DeGioia's office and ask him why Georgetown is hosting an organization that admits it works with terrorist groups: email@example.com.
If you would like to volunteer to help Stop the ISM, please email us: stoptheISM@att.net
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
This is supposed to be the paper of record in the US, I ask why? For years now it has been nothing but an opinion rag. There is nothing wrong with it being that, except that it portrays itself as somthing it is not a "news paper".
What it is engaged in now though needs to be looked at in a serious light. This paper and it's staff are giving aid and comfort to the ENEMY purely out of it's hate for an Administration that it disapproves of. They have put their hate above the safety of the American public. To them in the so called "press" we are just the unwashed, uneducated masses. If some of us have to die to prove that they are right and GW is EVIL then oh well.
December 28, 2005
Defense Lawyers in Terror Cases Plan Challenges Over Spy Efforts
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN
WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 - Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to Al Qaeda.
Yes given the LEAKED CLASSIFIED INFORMATION by the NY Times. Terrorist's lawyers think they might be able to get their clients off. I guess so they can continue to try and kill us. Notice that the only people that the Times Crusade is helping are the people trying to kill you and me.
The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were singled out.
Sounds like a headline right out of the Terrorist Times, oh I'm sorry did I mean the NY Times? I mean that is the only purpose of this rag anymore is to aid terror in the hope that if enough Americans die we might come to our senses and elect Democrats.
The expected legal challenges, in cases from Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia, add another dimension to the growing controversy over the agency's domestic surveillance program and could jeopardize some of the Bush administration's most important courtroom victories in terror cases, legal analysts say.
Take notice once again who these stories have aided. Terrorists in 4 states that may or may not have been captured due to this practice. Notice the lack of ordinary Americans that this has had no effect on?
One must ask the NY Times how aiding people who want to kill Americans whether those Americans are Democrat or Republican helps the NY Times.
The question of whether the N.S.A. program was used in criminal prosecutions and whether it improperly influenced them raises "fascinating and difficult questions," said Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who has studied terrorism prosecutions.
"It seems to me that it would be relevant to a person's case," Professor Tobias said. "I would expect the government to say that it is highly sensitive material, but we have legal mechanisms to balance the national security needs with the rights of defendants. I think judges are very conscientious about trying to sort out these issues and balance civil liberties and national security."
Once again they pull out some wacko Professor to spout an opinion that bolsters the terrorists case. Never mind all the articles and all the case law that states the President has the right to gather intelligence on enemy combatents whether they are legal combatants or terrorists. The whole point of the NY (terrorist) Times is their outrage that our government has had the nerve to listen in on conversation of people that are trying to kill us. Well exxxcccuuuuuse me. That's the government's job assholes.
While some civil rights advocates, legal experts and members of Congress have said President Bush did not have authority to order eavesdropping by the security agency without warrants, the White House and the Justice Department continued on Tuesday to defend the legality and propriety of the program.
Which has been used by every administration since FDR.
Trent Duffy, a spokesman for the White House, declined to comment in Crawford, Tex., when asked about a report in The New York Times that the security agency had tapped into some of the country's main telephone arteries to conduct broader data-mining operations in the search for terrorists.
More of the Terrorist Times trying to scare people that big brother wants to know whether or not you or I are going to pick up the kiddies.
But Mr. Duffy said: "This is a limited program. This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings and churches."
He added: "The president believes that he has the authority - and he does - under the Constitution to do this limited program. The Congress has been briefed. It is fully in line with the Constitution and also protecting American civil liberties."
Disclosure of the N.S.A. program has already caused ripples in the legal system, with a judge resigning in protest from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last week. The surveillance court, established by Congress in 1978 to grant warrants in terrorism and espionage cases, wants a briefing from the Bush administration on why it bypassed the court and ordered eavesdropping without warrants.
The Judge was a Political Hack that only stepped down from the FISA court not his Federal Bench. The so called non partial FISA court has up till the last year never changed or modified requests for wiretaps in 20 years, suddenly though in the last 2 years it has changed 179 requests for tapping terrorists. Maybe with this hack off the court the politics over trying to protect us might actually go away.
At the same time, defense lawyers in terrorism cases around the country say they are preparing letters and legal briefs to challenge the N.S.A. program on behalf of their clients, many of them American citizens, and to find out more about how it might have been used. They acknowledge legal hurdles, including the fact that many defendants waived some rights to appeal as part of their plea deals.
Yeah you mean in other words Terrorists who were caught red handed trying to kill us that have pled guilty, will now be using information LEAKED by the NY (Terrorist) Times get set free so they can continue with their plans to try and kill us.
Government officials, in defending the value of the security agency's surveillance program, have said in interviews that it played a critical part in at least two cases that led to the convictions of Qaeda associates, Iyman Faris of Ohio, who admitted taking part in a failed plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge, and Mohammed Junaid Babar of Queens, who was implicated in a failed plot to bomb British targets.
David B. Smith, a lawyer for Mr. Faris, said he planned to file a motion in part to determine whether information about the surveillance program should have been turned over. Lawyers said they were also considering a civil case against the president, saying that Mr. Faris was the target of an illegal wiretap ordered by Mr. Bush. A lawyer for Mr. Babar declined to comment.
Government officials with knowledge of the program have not ruled out the possibility that it was used in other criminal cases, and a number of defense lawyers said in interviews that circumstantial evidence had led them to question whether the security agency identified their clients through wiretaps.
There you go the first of the NY (Terrorist) Times, constituents trying to cash in on the benifits of the gifts to killers donated by the Times.
The first challenge is likely to come in Florida, where lawyers for two men charged with Jose Padilla, who is jailed as an enemy combatant, plan to file a motion as early as next week to determine if the N.S.A. program was used to gain incriminating information on their clients and their suspected ties to Al Qaeda. Kenneth Swartz, one of the lawyers in the case, said, "I think they absolutely have an obligation to tell us" whether the agency was wiretapping the defendants. In a Virginia case, Edward B. MacMahon Jr., a lawyer for Ali al-Timimi, a Muslim scholar in Alexandria who is serving a life sentence for inciting his young followers to wage war against the United States overseas, said the government's explanation of how it came to suspect Mr. Timimi of terrorism ties never added up in his view.
F.B.I. agents were at Mr. Timimi's door days after the Sept. 11 attacks to question him about possible links to terrorism, Mr. MacMahon said, yet the government did not obtain a warrant through the foreign intelligence court to eavesdrop on his conversations until many months later.
Mr. MacMahon said he was so skeptical about the timing of the investigation that he questioned the Justice Department about whether some sort of unknown wiretap operation had been conducted on the scholar or his young followers, who were tied to what prosecutors described as a "Virginia jihad" cell.
"They told me there was no other surveillance," Mr. MacMahon said. "But the fact is that the case against a lot of these guys just came out of nowhere because they were really nobodies, and it makes you wonder whether they were being tapped."
Another Terrorist found guilty and sentenced to LIFE, that wants to go free, but he only wants to incite others to kill us not himself. Thats not what he got LIFE for.
John Zwerling, a lawyer for one of Mr. Timimi's followers, Seifullah Chapman, who is serving a 65-year sentence in federal prison in the case, said he and lawyers for two of the other defendants in the case planned to send a letter to the Justice Department to find out if N.S.A. wiretaps were used against their clients. If the Justice Department declines to give an answer, Mr. Zwerling said, they plan to file a motion in court demanding access to the information.
"We want to know, Did this N.S.A. program make its way into our case, and how was it used?" Mr. Zwerling said. "It may be a difficult trail for us in court, but we're going to go down it as far as we can."
Defense lawyers in several other high-profile terrorism prosecutions, including the so-called Portland Seven and Lackawanna Six cases, said they were also planning to file legal challenges or were reviewing their options.
"Given what information has come out, with the president admitting that they had avoided the courts, then the question becomes, do you try to learn whether something like that happened in this case?" said Patrick Brown, a Buffalo lawyer in the Lackawanna case. "I would have to talk to my client about whether that's a road we want to go down."
All the rats are looking for a hole to crawl out of.
Gerry Spence, who is the lead counsel representing Brandon Mayfield, a Portland lawyer who was arrested in error last year in connection with the Madrid bombings and is now suing the government, said of the security agency program: "We are going to look into that. The calmest word I can use to describe how I feel about this is that I am aghast."
The Mayfield case has absolutly nothing to do with this story, the only reason the reporter mentions it is because it is the ONLY case of wrongfull "ARREST" in the whole war on Terror. Notice also that the man was ARRESTED NOT PROSECUTED, Asshole reporter.
Because the program was so highly classified, government officials say, prosecutors who handled terrorism cases apparently did not know of the program's existence. Any information they received, the officials say, was probably carefully shielded to protect the true source.
But defense lawyers say they are eager to find out whether prosecutors - intentionally or not - misled the courts about the origins of their investigations and whether the government may have held on to N.S.A. wiretaps that could point to their clients' innocence.
Stanley Cohen, a New York lawyer who represented Patrice Lumumba Ford in the Portland Seven case, said many defendants would face significant obstacles in mounting legal challenges to force the government to reveal whether material obtained through the security agency's program was used in their cases.
"You really could have standing problems" for many of the defendants, Mr. Cohen said.
But some Justice Department prosecutors, speaking on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified, said they were concerned that the agency's wiretaps without warrants could create problems for the department in terrorism prosecutions both past and future.
"If I'm a defense attorney," one prosecutor said, "the first thing I'm going to say in court is, 'This was an illegal wiretap.' "
This whole Crusade of the NY Terrorist Times is a national disgrace. I have no problem if a Paper wants to spend the last 5 and the next 3 years trying to destroy the President. That is their choice. They must believe that their continuing decline in readership has nothing to do with the stories that they publish. Its all talk radio and the blogospheres fault....LOL
What we should all have a problem with is the Papers continuing leaking of classified information that is directly affecting the safety and security of the average American. A special prosecutor should be appointed to pursue and convict the Reporters and the Government employees that are leaking this information. Where is all the outrage that the Times and others had when a non leak outed Plame which was a) proven not to be a crime and b) no ones life was put in danger.
Yet this ILLEGAL leaking of information and the Times ongoing crusade to aid Terrorists in this country is putting our lives in danger. So much for the paper of record.
Neighborhood WatchYes, Iran is meddling in Iraqi affairs, but maybe the influence works both ways.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2005, at 11:13 AM ET
I happened to be in Iran just after the first Iraqi elections of 2005, which took place at the end of January. One learns quite swiftly in Iran that it can be a mistake to ask people's opinion about developments next door, since Iranians are acutely sensitive to the Western misconception that they are Arabs, let alone Iraqis. To most of them, Iraq is not even a proper state, let alone a real country or nation. The very idea that they might see it as a model for any sort of emulation is absurd, if not faintly indecent.
However, most Iranians were delighted and relieved to see the end of Saddam Hussein, just as they were to see the overthrow of their old Taliban enemies in neighboring Afghanistan, and the fact that both events also now mean American troops on their borders is, in Iranian "street" terms, one of those half-full/half-empty propositions. Moreover, Iran last January was preparing for its own "elections," so the idea of any political process in an adjacent territory had its interest and even its allure.
Even though numerous American media outlets have fallen into the lazy trap of saying that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was overwhelmingly "elected" as president of Iran last June, the plain fact remains that his last-minute emergence was a manipulated fraud, concocted behind the scenes after the original list of candidates had been screened and purged, and was an even grosser fraud on the day itself, with no attempt made to hide the ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging. Whereas, with the exception of some bans on individual Baathists, rather than on Baathism itself, the successive votes in Iraq have been a more and more accurate reflection of actual political differences as well as of ethnic and confessional ones.
Nonetheless, everything I can glean from friends and contacts in Iraq makes it ever-clearer that the Iranian state and its clerical proxies made a huge intervention in the Iraqi voting earlier this month, most especially in the southern provinces and in the capital city of Baghdad. It was probable that the Shiite parties would have won anyway, but they made assurance doubly sure by extensive fraud and by using both militias and uniformed policemen to exclude, coerce, or intimidate voters. So, the regional dilemma is now as follows: Will the Iraqi model be one day followed in Iran, or will Iran succeed in imposing its own "model" on Iraq?
A good deal hangs on this question. Grand Ayatollah Sistani, for example (who is himself an Iranian by birth), is an opponent of the ideology of Ayatollah Khomeini, who first promulgated his authoritarian concept of the veleyat-i-faqih, or "guardianship of the cleric," while in enforced exile in Iraq. There are important Shiite scholars on opposite sides of the argument, in both nations, about whether the mullahs should seek to wield political power in the here and now. It seems a safe bet, on every measurement of opinion that we have, that a huge proportion of the Iranian population is fed up with the misery and backwardness and corruption—to say nothing of the international isolation—that has attended three decades of clerical rule. And there are certainly a vast number of Iraqis who do not intend to exchange one form of absolutism for another.
Americans have the right to be concerned about this, both morally and politically. After many years of being on the wrong side in both Iran and Iraq, the United States has finally managed to get itself into a position where it can decently speak of favoring constitutional democracy in both countries. Having also shed much blood and spent a fortune, as with the comparable effort in Afghanistan, it is entitled to a hearing from those who live in countries that have been run into the ground. The age of "internal affairs" is over: When nations misruled by religious dictatorship fail and become stagnant, they do not seek the blame for their failure in themselves. Instead, they project the anguish outward and begin yelling about Jewish and crusader conspiracies. This can, to put it mildly, lead to the export of violence.
Elements of Iran's senior leadership are wanted on serious charges in many countries, from Germany to Argentina, for their complicity in death-squad activity. They are also known to be the patrons of Bashar Assad's moribund Baathism in Syria (yet another case, by the way, when Baathist "secularism" seems happy to collaborate with Islamic extremism) and are partners in his attempt to intimidate the Lebanese. And, whatever may be said this time about intelligence-gathering on WMD, it would be a very rash person who did not believe that Iran has been flagrantly cheating on all its obligations to be truthful to the International Atomic Energy Authority. Repeated impunity on this, combined with an inflated oil price, appears to have given President Ahmadinejad the idea that he and his turbaned patrons are invulnerable—hence the recent railing and baiting resort to anti-Jewish demagoguery. And now they want to help wreck what has been gained in Iraq.
If you want to know what the Bush administration policy is toward Iran, you will have to keep asking (and if you manage to find anything out, please let me know). After almost five years in office, there is no "go-to" person or department, no strategy in common with allies or with the United Nations, no agreed-upon approach of any kind. One gathers that military options have been excluded, for either regime-change or disarmament, but then one could probably have "gathered" that for oneself. This appears to leave only two options: either a Nixon/China-style initiative that would try for state-level rapprochement and simultaneous economic and cultural openings, or an aggressive policy of helping internal opposition to the regime. The two might not be mutually exclusive. Millions of Iranians have satellite dishes and relatives in the West; there is a large and restive Kurdish minority that has been much encouraged by developments in Iraq; feminist and other dissident movements are extensive. It is sometimes argued that such groups do not want to be seen or painted as agents of the U.S. government. Very well, then, here is a great project for American human-rights and pro-disarmament and "civil society" groups to undertake. Whatever the case, it cannot be that such a despotic and arrogant regime feels that it can meddle everywhere without any cost to itself.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Communism is not a threat to the world nowadays, which cannot be said about Islamism or fascism
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided to choose a very special way to celebrate the coming Christmas holidays. PACE's last meeting in 2005 ended with a suggestion to denounce communism during the next session in January 2006. The draft resolution on the matter virtually equates communism with Nazism. The idea of the draft resolution sprang from Swedish lawmaker Goran Lindblad.
The very idea to condemn communism is not new. The PACE has repeatedly tried to approve such a resolution: the latest attempt took place in September of the current year. Eastern Germany and several other countries of the former socialist block continue to conduct legal proceedings against their erstwhile communist leaders. At the same time, the governments of Eastern European countries continue to expose more secret documents, which prove, as they believe, that the communist ideology can be equated with Nazi regime.
Pravda.Ru asked State Duma deputies Viktor Alksnis and Aleksei Ostrovskoy, as well as scientist of politics Sergei Markov to comment PACE's draft resolution on communism.
"Another attempt of the PACE to pass the communism-condemning resolution seemed quite disturbing to me," Viktor Alksnis said. "Condemning communism is almost the same as denouncing Islam or Christianity. Communism is a whole outlook. This decision shows that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe wish to strike 40 years out of their history. As for Western Europe, such a resolution seems to be a part of the whole strategy to oust Russia from Europe. As soon as they condemn communism, the countries of the Baltic region, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will set their financial claims against Russia. The draft resolution covers global geopolitical goals to weaken Russia's influence," the deputy said.
Aleksei Ostrovsky, a member of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs, a PACE deputy, supports the resolution. "This is one of the few occurrences, when I support the PACE resolution. Communism is an extremely harmful ideology. This is a dream that cannot be fulfilled. Tens of millions of people died because of this dream. This ideology corrupts the society. That is why I do not see any anti-Russian agenda in the resolution. I think that Russian PACE members must vote for it. First and foremost, the resolution is meant for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Former communists came to power in almost all countries of the "new Europe" in the 1990s. Western politicians did not want the past to repeat again. It is highly important for Europe to unite now and alienate itself from rightist and leftist political wings," the deputy said.
Sergei Markov, the Director of the Political Research Center, believes that the PACE resolution has nothing to do with communism. "Communism is not a threat to the world nowadays. This cannot be said about Islamism or fascism, though. This is an explicit demonstration of anti-Russian sentiments. It is an absolutely Russophobic document. Western and Eastern Europe have common goals in their pressure on Russia. They want to make Russia pay compensations and become the source of cheap energy resources. In addition, they want to preserve anti-Russian regimes outside Russia, along its borders.
A spokesperson for the Polish embassy in Moscow said that PACE's draft resolution on communism means that communism brought too much trouble to the world. "Communists destroyed millions of people in many countries. It would therefore be correct to compare them with Nazis. There is no anti-Russian hidden motive at this point: Russia suffered from the communist regime itself. Russia is a European country. It is much closer to Poland and France than to any Muslim country, India or China. Being a European country, it needs to follow Europe's example and recognize communism a criminal ideology," an official said. Vadim Trukhachev
"Digging the ground and mining natural resources is not enough. One has to develop the field innovatively," Putin said
President Vladimir Putin is certain that Russian should become the leading country in the field of global energy. "I am certain that our country, its fuel and energy complex and science are ready to take up such a challenge. Moreover, such a large goal will give a serious impetus to the entire national economy," Putin stated Thursday at the session of the Russian Federation Security Council.
The Russian government takes certain measures to lessen the dependence of the national economy on the oil export. The fuel and energy complex of Russia is the obvious advantage, which the country needs to use properly. "Russia must become the initiator and the trendsetter of energy innovations and new technologies," the president said. "Digging the ground and mining natural resources is not enough. One has to develop the field innovatively," the president said.
Analysts forecast a considerable increase of the energy consumption in the world during the forthcoming 15 years. The global demand on oil may increase by 35 million barrels a day by 2025 (+42 percent); the natural gas consumption is to grow by 1.7 trillion cubic meters a year (+60 percent).
Unfortunately, new technologies do not let Russian oil and gas companies take leading positions in the world. Leading Western countries do not have considerable reserves of energy on their territories. Energy enjoys global demand, that is why the transnational giant companies have become the tools of US-run foreign policies. Russian companies use Western technologies and equipment in their every-day activities. It obviously means that Russian oil and gas corporations cannot achieve the desired amount of global economic influence under such conditions.
USSR's specialists built quite a number of electric power plants and power-generating units in many foreign countries. Those countries ask Russia's help now, when it is time to modernize the equipment. President Putin is certain Russia should not lose its positions on other countries' energy markets. "In addition to export, it is important to promote our high-tech services for construction and modernization of energy objects," the head of state said. "We must not lose the stations that were built abroad with the participation of the USSR and Russia," Putin said.
For the time being, Russian energy technologies have been going out of date lately. Russian companies have lost several important tenders in China, India and Southeast Asia. When Germany-based giant Siemens intended to buy the Russian concern Power Machines, it was not interested in outdated Russian production technologies. The German company was intended to pay not for the equipment, but for the ability to access the markets, where the Russian energy equipment operates.
President Putin set a goal for the government to raise the investment attraction of the Russian fuel and energy complex.
Russian officials are going to discuss the question of global energy supplies and security during the coming G8 sessions. However, Russia needs to solve many internal problems to influence the level of world prices, transportation routes and become a full-fledged member on the global energy market.
December 26, 2005
The New York Times' Christmas Gift
By Michael Barone
The New York Times' Christmas gift -- sorry, holiday gift -- to the nation's political dialogue was its Dec. 16 story reporting that the National Security Agency has been intercepting telephone conversations between terrorism suspects abroad and U.S. citizens or legal residents in the United States.
What the Times didn't bother telling its readers is that this practice is far from new and is entirely legal. Instead, the unspoken subtext of the story was that this was likely an illegal and certainly a very scary invasion of Americans' rights.
Let's put the issue very simply. The president has the power as commander in chief under the Constitution to intercept and monitor the communications of America's enemies. Indeed, it would be a very weird interpretation of the Constitution to say that the commander in chief could order U.S. forces to kill America's enemies but not to wiretap -- or, more likely these days, electronically intercept -- their communications. Presidents have asserted and exercised this power repeatedly and consistently over the last quarter-century.
To be sure, federal courts have ruled that the Fourth Amendment's bar of "unreasonable" searches and seizures limits the president's power to intercept communications without obtaining a warrant. But that doesn't apply to foreign intercepts, as the Supreme Court made clear in a 1972 case, writing, "The instant case requires no judgment on the scope of the president's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country." The federal courts of appeals for the 5th, 3rd, 9th and 4th Circuits, in cases decided in 1970, 1974, 1977 and 1980, took the same view. In 2002, the special federal court superintending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act wrote, "The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. ... We take for granted that the president does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the president's constitutional power."
Warrantless intercepts of the communications of foreign powers were undertaken as long ago as 1979, by the Carter administration. In 1994, Bill Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, testified to Congress, "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes."
In the Dec. 15 Chicago Tribune, John Schmidt, associate attorney general in the Clinton administration, laid it out cold: "President Bush's post-Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents."
"News stories" in the Times and other newspapers and many national newscasts have largely ignored this legal record. Instead, they are tinged with a note of hysteria and the suggestion that fundamental freedoms have been violated by the NSA intercepts.
Earlier this month, a Newsweek cover story depicted George W. Bush as living inside a bubble, isolated from knowledge of the real world. Many of the news stories about the NSA intercepts show that it is mainstream media that are living inside a bubble, carefully insulating themselves and their readers and viewers from knowledge of applicable law and recent historical precedent, determined to pursue an agenda of undermining the Bush administration regardless of any damage to national security.
And damage there almost certainly would be were the program to be ended, as many Democrats and many in the mainstream media would like. Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of NSA and now deputy national intelligence director, has come forward to say, "This program has been successful in detecting and preventing attacks inside the United States."
The Constitution, Justice Robert Jackson famously wrote, should not be interpreted in a way that makes it "a suicide pact." The notion that terrorists' privacy must be respected when they place a cell-phone call to someone in the United States is in the nature of a suicide pact. The Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures in the United States should not be stretched into a ban on interceptions of communications from America's enemies abroad.
The mainstream media, inside their left-wing bubble, evidently thinks that there is not much in the way of danger. They should take a trip to Ground Zero, to the Sept. 11 memorial at the Pentagon, to Shanksville, Pa., where the heroes of United flight 93 prevented the terrorists from hitting their target in Washington.
NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Up to about a third of the $590 million U.N. fund spent for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief may have gone to pay for overhead.
The Financial Times says its two-month investigation showed the money appears to have been spent on administration, staff and related costs. The $590 million was part of the United Nation's $1.1 billion disaster flash appeal.
The newspaper also found several U.N. agencies continue to refuse to disclose details of their relief expenditure in spite of earlier pledges of transparency by senior officials.
The flash appeal covered the money donated by governments to the world body in the first weeks after the disaster to fund the early aid work, the Times reported.
The newspaper said details of that appeal it obtained from U.N. agencies such as the World Health Organization and the World Food Program showed 18 percent to 32 percent of the expenditure related to staff, administration and other costs.
Some agencies say non-profit aid organizations should claim no more than 10 percent of project funds for administration costs, the report said.
Another simple hard hitting post from Ms. Malkin
By Michelle Malkin · December 26, 2005 11:16 AM
So, President Bush is now begging newspaper editors to stop publishing classified information obtained via illegal leaks. Howard Kurtz reports:
President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security.
The efforts have failed, but the rare White House sessions with the executive editors of The Washington Post and New York Times are an indication of how seriously the president takes the recent reporting that has raised questions about the administration's anti-terror tactics.
Here's an idea. Instead of going hat in hand to the liberal media elite to prevent these security-compromising disclosures, the White House should try this:
1. Strengthen collective spine.2. Subpoena reporters.3. Find the leakers.4. Prosecute the lawbreakers.
Six days ago, the President said he had not ordered an investigation into the leak, but that, "There's a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks. I presume that process is moving forward."
Well, is it?
Jack Kelly, who blogs at Irish Pennants, writes in his latest Toledo Blade column:
It is despicable, but not illegal, for the news media to publish vital national secrets leaked to them. But the leakers have committed a felony.
Those who have demanded severe punishment for whoever it was who told reporters that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA have been remarkably forgiving about who leaked the existence of the NSA intercept program, which - like the earlier leak of secret CIA prisons for al-Qaeda bigwigs and unlike the Plame kerfuffle - has done serious harm to our national security.
But fortunately, by clapping New York Times reporter Judith Miller in irons until she talked, overzealous special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has set a valuable precedent.
Attorney General Gonzales should subpoena Mr. Risen and Mr. Lichtblau, and have them cited for contempt of court if they do not disclose their source or sources. Maybe they could share Judy Miller's old cell.
***AJ Strata is keeping an eye on recently resigned FISA Judge James Robertson.
Fausta at The Bad Hair Blog is fed up.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
By David E. Kaplan
In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.
My God their looking for Nuclear weapons and material in areas with people known to be hostile to us. I guess we should look where there is a large Swedish population. Besides gee now do you think if they were smuggling this material into our cities with this information that we can scan for it, do ya think they might shield it better or now move it into that Swedish area or your neighborhood? I also have another question who are your sources that have KNOWLEDGE of the program? Anonymous huh.
Federal officials familiar with the program maintain that warrants are unneeded for the kind of radiation sampling the operation entails, but some legal scholars disagree. News of the program comes in the wake of revelations last week that, after 9/11, the Bush White House approved electronic surveillance of U.S. targets by the National Security Agency without court orders. These and other developments suggest that the federal government's domestic spying programs since 9/11 have been far broader than previously thought.
Geeze I hope so, Aren't they supposed to be looking for the BAD GUYs so they don't kill us?
The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of energies Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program.
Either these two individuals don't exist or they have broken the law by releasing classified information to the press endangering human life, instead of going to complain about any misgivings they have through the proper channels.
At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat.
Sounds like they're doing their job. The do this same thing in times square on New Years Eve. Where does this reporter want them to scan? He obviously has a problem that they are checking people that the F.B.I. suspect. Once again maybe we should look in a Swedish neighborhood. I mean they are the ones trying to kill us right?
The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.
They should be checking Philly also. We need all the help we can get. This City has the worst government and p[olice force in the country.
FBI officials expressed concern that discussion of the program would expose sensitive methods used in counterterrorism. Although NEST staffers have demonstrated their techniques on national television as recently as October, U.S. News has omitted details of how the monitoring is conducted.
Gee how responsible of US News, why don't they describe the van and give us the license plate #. After all thats all thats missing.
Officials from four different agencies declined to respond on the record about the classified program: the FBI, Energy Department, Justice Department, and National Security Council. "We don't ever comment on deployments," said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages NEST.
Which is because this stuff is supposed to be SECRET.
In Washington, the sites monitored have included prominent mosques and office buildings in suburban Maryland and Virginia. One source close to the program said that participants "were tasked on a daily and nightly basis," and that FBI and Energy Department officials held regular meetings to update the monitoring list. "The targets were almost all U.S. citizens," says the source. "A lot of us thought it was questionable, but people who complained nearly lost their jobs. We were told it was perfectly legal."
It is legal, who cares if they are American Citizens, it was British Citizens who blew up their Subway System. The reporter even states that the targets are regularaly reviewed. Who does this ass think they are monitoring The Staff of The NY Times?
The question of search warrants is controversial, however. To ensure accurate readings, in up to 15 percent of the cases the monitoring needed to take place on private property, sources say, such as on mosque parking lots and private driveways. Government officials familiar with the program insist it is legal; warrants are unneeded for monitoring from public property, they say, as well as from publicly accessible driveways and parking lots. "If a delivery man can access it, so can we," says one.
It is LEGAL you Schmuck...How much do you want to bet that if a NUKE because thats what were talking about here, were to go off. If this asshole reporter happened to not be in the area and lived, he would be one of the first people writing a story on how the Bush administration didn't do it's job to protect us.
Georgetown University Professor David Cole, a constitutional law expert, disagrees. Surveillance of public spaces such as mosques or public businesses might well be allowable without a court order, he argues, but not private offices or homes: "They don't need a warrant to drive onto the property -- the issue isn't where they are, but whether they're using a tactic to intrude on privacy. It seems to me that they are, and that they would need a warrant or probable cause."
So he finds a leftist Professor a professor mind you not a judge or someone actually practicing this law to say it's not legal... I am sure in todays environment of understanding that no one at NEST bothered to get legal opinions from at least a dozen lawyers.
Cole points to a 2001 Supreme Court decision, U.S. vs. Kyllo, which looked at police use -- without a search warrant -- of thermal imaging technology to search for marijuana-growing lamps in a home. The court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that authorities did in fact need a warrant -- that the heat sensors violated the Fourth Amendment's clause against unreasonable search and seizure. But officials familiar with the FBI/NEST program say the radiation sensors are different and are only sampling the surrounding air. "This kind of program only detects particles in the air, it's non directional," says one knowledgeable official. "It's not a whole lot different from smelling marijuana."
Yes it is Marijuana is not a weapon, and the drug laws are not the same as those used during a war.
Officials also reject any notion that the program specifically has targeted Muslims. "We categorically do not target places of worship or entities solely based on ethnicity or religious affiliation," says one. "Our investigations are intelligence driven and based on a criminal predicate."
In other words if the people who are trying to kill us are Muslim, acording to this rocket scientest Don't you dare target them, we should go look where say Christians hang out anywhere except where Muslims are.
Among those said to be briefed on the monitoring program were Vice President Richard Cheney; Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration; and Richard Clarke, then a top counterterrorism official at the National Security Council.
Yeah nobody else just those three. I especialy like the last one.
After 9/11, top officials grew increasingly concerned over the prospect of nuclear terrorism. Just weeks after the World Trade Center attacks, a dubious informant named Dragonfire warned that al Qaeda had smuggled a nuclear device into New York City; NEST teams swept the city and found nothing. But as evidence seized from Afghan camps confirmed al Qaeda's interest in nuclear technology, radiation detectors were temporarily installed along Washington, D.C., highways and the Muslim monitoring program began.
Why is the informant called Dubious? If anything is Dubious it is this story.
Most staff for the monitoring came from NEST, which draws from nearly 1,000 nuclear scientists and technicians based largely at the country's national laboratories. For 30 years, NEST undercover teams have combed suspected sites looking for radioactive material, using high-tech detection gear fitted onto various aircraft, vehicles, and even backpacks and attachÃƒÃÂ© cases.
These devices were designed by the greatist minds in the world who make up a military group called AFTAC, be gratefull we have them. Both the People and the devices.
No dirty bombs or nuclear devices have ever been found - and that includes the post-9/11 program. "There were a lot of false positives, and one or two were alarming," says one source. "But in the end we found nothing."
Doesn't he sound disapointed. So especially now I mean since the war is over, there are no more terrorists, we no longer need the Patriot Act or to keep on the alert for the enemy within lets just elect democrats, sing kuumbiah, and most of all impeach Bush.
December 23, 2005
By Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON -- 2005 was already the year of the demagogue, having been dominated for months by the endlessly echoed falsehood that the president ``lied us into war.'' But the year ends with yet another round of demagoguery.
Administration critics, political and media, charge that by ordering surveillance on communications of suspected al Qaeda agents in the United States, the president had clearly violated the law. Some even suggest that Bush has thereby so trampled the Constitution that impeachment should now be considered. (Barbara Boxer, Jonathan Alter, John Dean and various luminaries of the left have already begun floating the idea.) The braying herds have already concluded, Tenet-like, that the president's actions were slam-dunk illegal. It takes a superior mix of partisanship, animus and ignorance to say that.
Does the president have the constitutional authority to conduct warrantless searches against suspected foreign agents in the United States? George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr (one critic calls him the man who ``literally wrote the book on government seizure of electronic evidence'') finds ``pretty decent arguments'' on both sides but his own conclusion is that Bush's actions were ``probably constitutional.''
In 1972, the Supreme Court required the president to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on domestic groups, but specifically declined to apply this requirement to snooping on foreign agents. Four appeals courts have since upheld presidential authority for such warrantless searches. Not surprisingly, the executive branch has agreed.
True, Congress tried to restrict this presidential authority with the so-called FISA law of 1978. It requires that warrants for wiretapping of enemy agents in the U.S. be obtained from a secret court. But as John Schmidt, associate attorney general in the Clinton administration, writes: ``Every president since FISA's passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act's terms.'' Indeed, Clinton's own deputy attorney general testified to Congress that ``the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes,'' then noted a few minutes later that ``courts have made no distinction between electronic surveillances and physical searches.''
Presidents always jealously guard executive authority. And Congress always wants to challenge the scope of that authority. This tug-of-war is a bipartisan and constant feature of the American system of separation of powers. President Bush's circumvention of the FISA law is a classic separation-of-powers dispute in the area in which these powers are most in dispute -- war powers.
Consider the War Powers Resolution passed over Nixon's veto in 1973. It restricts, with very specific timetables, the president's authority to use force. Every president since Nixon, Democrat and Republican, has regarded himself not bound by this law, declaring it an unconstitutional invasion of his authority as commander in chief.
Nor will it do to argue that the Clinton administration ultimately accepted the strictures of FISA law after a revision was passed. So what? For the last three decades, presidents have adhered to the War Powers Resolution for reasons of prudence, to avoid a constitutional fight with Congress. But they all maintained the inherent illegitimacy of the law and the right to ignore it. Similarly, Clinton's acquiescence to FISA in no way binds future executives to renounce Clinton's own claim of ``inherent authority'' to conduct warrantless searches for purposes of foreign intelligence.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales chose a different justification for these wiretaps: They were covered by the congressional resolution shortly after 9/11 authorizing the use of ``all necessary and appropriate force'' against al Qaeda. Gonzales' interpretation is based on a plurality Supreme Court opinion written by Sandra Day O'Connor that deemed legal the ``executive detention'' of U.S. citizen and enemy combatant Yaser Hamdi. ``Detention'' is an obvious element of any authorization to use force. Gonzales argues that so is gathering intelligence about the enemy's plans by intercepting his communications.
I am skeptical of Gonzales' argument -- it implies an almost limitless expansion of the idea of ``use of force'' -- while the distinguished liberal law professor, Cass Sunstein, finds it ``entirely plausible'' (so long as the wiretapping is limited to those reasonably believed to be associated with al Qaeda). Sunstein maintains that ``surveillance, including wiretapping, is reasonably believed to be an incident of the use of force'' that ``standardly occurs during war.''
Contrary to the administration, I also believe that as a matter of political prudence and comity with Congress, Bush should have tried to get the law changed rather than circumvent it. This was an error of political judgment. But that does not make it a crime. And only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it is anything approaching a high crime and misdemeanor.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The original Bloviating Blow Hard Himself Teddy (hiccup) Kennedy - have another drink Ted and take a girl for a long ride off a short pier.
EDWARD M. KENNEDY
On wiretapping, Bush isn't listening to the Constitution
By Edward M. Kennedy December 22, 2005
THE PRESIDENT is not above the law; he is not King George. Yet, with sorrow, we are now learning that in this great land we have an administration that has refused to follow well-crafted, longstanding procedures that require the president to get a court order before spying on people within the United States.
What about Clinton searching and bugging Aldrich Ames? No warrants were ever issued there, Senator
With outrage, we learn that this administration believes that it does not have to follow the law of the land.
Not just above the law, this administration seems to be saying that it IS the law. It contends that it can decide on its own what the law is, how to interpret it, and whether or not it has to follow it. I believe that such an arrogant and expansive view of executive power would have sent chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers -- as it does for every American hearing these startling revelations today.
They designed it to work that way Senator. When National Security is involved, they don't have to rely on a group of over 400 with alcoholic lunatics in positions of power like yourself
The president, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the attorney general tell us that the president can order domestic spying inside this country -- without judicial oversight -- under his power as commander in chief. Really? Where do they find that in the Constitution? Time and time again, this president has used his express, but limited, constitutional power to command the military to justify controversial activities -- after the fact.
Sounds like the same thing your brother Bobby was doing. Oh except Bobby only used his illegal wiretaps to blackmail people like Martin Luther King.
The president is the commander in chief of the military. That doesn't give him the power to spy on civilians at home without any judicial oversight whatsoever, without ever revealing those activities to even well-established courts that review these matters in secrecy.
There is oversight you drunken blowhard. Key members of the Senate and the FISA court were notified. Have another drink Ted it helps you think.
Otherwise, every phone and computer in America should now come with a warning label: Warning: the privacy of your communications can no longer be guaranteed, by order of President Bush.
No, that took place in the 90s under Clinton with echelon and carnivore Senator. Funny - didn't hear a peep out of you then did we?
The president has the constitutional obligation to protect and defend the American people. That is obvious -- but he also took an oath of office, to ''preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." With his arrogant usurpation of power and refusal to follow well-established wiretapping laws, I believe that this president is not living up to that oath.
You wouldn't know the constitution Senator unless it was given to you in glass with two olives.
By shunning the oversight of the courts and ignoring the express language of the laws passed by Congress, this president is, in my judgment, defiantly and stubbornly ignoring the Constitution and laws passed by Congress.
Senator you have NO JUDGEMENT and that is plain to see for the entire country every time you open your mouth. Read those laws once in awhile Senator that is if you can focus, and you will see that the tactics that your party has been using for the last couple of years to usurp the power of the majority with unconstitutional filibusters are the ones that are in violation
Our founders did not fight a Revolutionary War to give such expanded, unchecked powers to the executive. Quite the contrary. Their concern was precisely the abuse of executive power.
No - their Concern was the abuse of power of all three of the branches of Government. In writing this article you are trying to leverage the abuse of power of the legislative branch, and all your unconstitutional filibusters of judges is to keep your judges that abuse the power of the courts by creating law from the bench.
The president has admitted, without any remorse, that he has repeatedly authorized his own advisers at the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on individuals inside the United States, without the prior court approval required under well-established laws.
You sir have yet to admit with or without remorse why you left that poor girl to die in your car at the bottom of that stream....The President is following the law unlike you who ran and hid until it was too late.
This president is focused on scapegoating The New York Times for breaking the story that brought this questionable spying program into the light of day. Once again, he's telling us -- ''trust us, we are doing whatever we can to protect you." Well, that's just not enough. We want real answers about this program.
No you bloviating pompous ass unlike your cries of leaking about a glorified CIA analyst, that by the way was proven not to be a crime. These leaks have put American citizens in danger for their lives. Almost as much danger as when you're behind the wheel of a car. Where are your cries now for a special prosecutor to investigate real leaks. Nowhere - because all you are is a drunken hack Senator.
Why were the courts cut out of the process, when judicial oversight is required by law?
They weren't Senator
Yesterday the vice president cut short his trip to the Middle East to break the tie in a vote on an irresponsible budget proposal that will hurt America's families, yet he couldn't find the time to level with the American people and tell them exactly where the president has the authority to spy on them.
Speaking of votes that hurt american families Senator, how do you justify re-erecting the Gorelick wall by voting against the Patriot Act? You don't think it's important to catch Terrorists Senator?
This is not a new debate. Years ago, with bipartisan support, I spearheaded the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which specifically requires the attorney general to obtain prior authorization from a judge, in a secret expedited proceeding, before engaging in domestic spying or wiretapping.
Well if you were Sober enough then to read your own bill you would have realized it specificly states that it does NOT prevent the President from using his authority to do just that.
Now, the president says that that law is ''insufficient" and ''outdated" to meet the current threats in the war on terror because it was passed nearly 30 years ago. The Constitution took effect in 1789 -- and it is still good law today.
The President never said that Teddy. And every time you filibuster a Judge you ignore the constitution.
I hope the president doesn't continue to hide behind such transparent and irrelevant justifications. Congress has amended the 1978 FISA law over time, most recently with the passage of the PATRIOT Act
Which you just voted against, are you suffering from wet-brain that badly Senator?
-- and there is no reason to think we wouldn't do so again -- if we knew what the administration is doing. If the president needs more powers to lawfully protect the American people from terrorism, then he should come to Congress to seek modification of current laws.
The President has the power. The Congress does NOT have the power to usurp him.
The president has failed to provide a sufficient legal basis for his actions; instead he and his Cabinet spent the week refusing to negotiate with Congress and opposing bipartisan efforts to extend the PATRIOT Act for three more months.
Just sheer bullshit the man wouldn't know the truth any better than the constitution.
Just this past week there were public reports that a college student in Massachusetts had two government agents show up at his house because he had gone to the library and asked for the official Chinese version of Mao Tse-tung's Communist Manifesto.
Thats another out and out lie, not since its inception has their been one complaint of anyones library records being viewed. If you're going to try and scare people Senator run for President.
Following his professor's instructions to use original source material, this young man discovered that he, too, was on the government's watch list.
Think of the chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom when a government agent shows up at your home -- after you request a book from the library.
Name the case and the student Senator, you can't because its an alcohol induced illusion.
Incredibly, we are now in an era where reading a controversial book may be evidence of a link to terrorists.
Something is amiss here. Something doesn't make sense. We need a thorough and independent investigation of these activities.
The Congress and the American people deserve answers now.
Yes they do Senator they need to know how a drunken murderer keeps getting re-elected and is never held accountable for his words or actions
Edward M. Kennedy is the senior US senator from Massachusetts.