Friday, December 09, 2005

Chavez, activists arrested and "War Got Your Tongue"

Good evening. Friday. The weekend. Hope everyone's going to have some fun and get some rest. Let's get started with Democracy Now!

Chavez Allies Claim CIA Plot to Assassinate Him
In Venezuela, allies of President Hugo Chavez are pressing with allegations the CIA has drafted plans to kill him. Nicolas Maduro, president of the country's National Assembly, said he planned to file charges with the attorney general over "a plot orchestrated by the CIA against the Venezuelan democracy". At a news conference, pro-Chavez leaders played taped conversations in which current and former army officers reportedly discuss assassinating Chavez and other top government officials. Opposition leaders and a CIA official denied the charges. In a vote boycotted by the opposition last weekend, pro-Chavez legislators were overwhelmingly elected to fill a majority of seats in the National Assembly.

After we helped the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez, nothing would surprise me. We, our government, hates Hugo Chavez. That's why when you heard Slimey Simon Rosenberg say we need to deal with Hugo Chavez, you should go, "Wait a second! Simon Rosenberg is not about democracy." I supported Howard Dean for DNC chair and it was things like that, things Slimey Simon said that made me know he was the wrong person for the job. I don't get what business we have trying to interfere in Venequela's politics. If they tried to interfere in our elections, we'd hear people in Congress screaming bloody murder.

Six Environmental Activists Arrested in Pacific Northwest
Federal agents have conducted a series of coordinated raids in New York, Virginia, Arizona and Oregon and arrested six environmental activists in connection to a string of arsons in the Pacific Northwest. Daniel McGowan of New York and Stanislas Meyerhoff of Virginia were arrested for allegedly setting fires in 2001 at a lumber company and an experimental tree farm in Oregon. Although no one was injured in the blazes, they both face up to life in prison. McGowan is a prominent New York activist who also went by the pen name of Jamie Moran. He was a member of the RNCNotWelcome collective and an advocate for imprisoned environmental activist Jeffrey Leurs. He has denied any role in the incidents. The four others arrested face between 20 and 25 years in prison. Chelsea Gerlach of Portland, Oregon, was accused of destroying an Oregon power transmission tower in 1999. Kevin Tubbs of Oregon and Bill Rodgers of Prescott Arizona were accused of arson at the Animal and Plant and Health Inspection facility in Olympia, Washington. And Sarah Harvey of Flagstaff Arizona was accused of a 1998 arson at U.S. Forest Industries in Medford, Oregon. Earlier this year a top FBI official called groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front the nation's top domestic terrorism threat. The FBI however has been accused of overzealously prosecuting alleged members of the movement. Last month the FBI agreed to pay an environmental activist named Josh Cannole $100,000 for mistakenly jailing him as a suspect in a string of arsons and vandalism at SUV dealerships in California.

I saw this on TV, this story, and I thought what? It wasn't covered the way Democracy Now! covered it. The way it was covered was "The guilty have been captured!" That must have been the mainstream theme of the day because C.I. saw a similar thing in the New York Times this morning.

If you want a simple "report" that tells you what the government says, you rely on that mainstream media. If you want more than that, you go to independent media and, hopefully, you go to Democracy Now!

Be sure to read Rebecca's post from yesterday.

That will set you up for special programming. Last night, we all posted at The Third Estate Sunday Review with "special programming." There was a problem that you probably all know about and we wanted a united front responding. That meant Elaine was really wiped out because she'd been doing therapy all day and, due to it being Thursday, still had the night group she does. But Elaine was there and accounted for. Here's one of the two pieces we did and I'll note the other one later this weekend.

"Editorial: War Got Your Tongue?"
Let's give it up to the bloggers and the op-ed columnists with bravery because they've weighed in the war. The war that hits the third year mark in March.

You do know there's a war going on, right?

We kind of feel like we have to ask that question because most people don't appear to. Again, give it up for the bloggers and the op-ed columnists. Give it up for progressive media.

"'Why Are You Here' and 'What's Changed'" we asked at the D.C. protests in September. Here's how one person responded:

74) Ivan, 62, Michigan: I think today is great and am thrilled with the turnout. I protested against the war on Vietnam and there it took us years to get the momentum going. What I worry about is where are the people? I don't mean the protesters, I'm really encouraged with the cross-section today. But, okay, you've got Cindy Sheehan. Great spokesperson. Ralph Nader's here and maybe he can make up for the recent past or maybe not, but he's here. The actress from Tootsie and Cape Fear, right Jessica Lange. She's here and I didn't remember her name but she really did give a great speech. I'm glad those people are here. But we need more.
And in my day, the people had others. Yes, we had Jane Fonda, Fred Gardner, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden and others front and center. But you also had people backing it up. Like Bob Dylan. I think he went to one protest with Joan Baez for civil rights. But his songs backed up what his actions didn't. Or you turned on Dick Cavett or David Frost and there was an author or singer or someone and they weren't at the protests but they'd put it on the line and they'd say, like John Phillips [Mamas and the Papas] that the war was wrong. I caught Jane Fonda on David Letterman, when her book came out. And he asked her about the war and she said she was against it and the audience just went crazy with applause and cheers. But are there younger people doing that? Is it just people my age? Maybe there are and I just don't know them. But part of the reason the movement finally did end the war is that our cultural heroes were willing to speak out. You hear a lot of that sneering "You're a celebrity, shut up" talk and that's really fearing the power if they do speak out. With Vietnam, and this isn't a full list, just names that come to mind, you had Joan Baez and Jane Fonda front and center, but you also had Phil Ochs, you had the whole Mamas & the Papas, you had John Lennon, Mia Farrow, Tim Hardin, Laura Nyro, Peter Fonda, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Janis [Joplin], the Rolling Stones, Grace Slick and the [Jefferson] Airplane, this whole list of people. And you had people my age and younger and we weren't that different from kids today, we thought about what was in front of us. So when you have these people that you watch or listen to talking about it, it put it front and center. There were a lot of priests and a lot of Quakers and a lot of really solid activists who worked and gave their time to ending the war. But what kept it on the front page was a) real reporting with real photos and b) the fact that you couldn't escape it. You turned on the TV to escape but there was some entertainer talking about it. It was front and center. Now maybe there are people doing that today. I don't watch much TV now. Maybe if I turned on Letterman every night, I'd see some young people coming on to talk about a movie or TV show and I'd hear them speak out against the war. But I really don't get the sense that's happening.The right spent a lifetime demonizing Jane Fonda. There's a reason for that. They want to make sure no one else is tempted to use their power. They're scared of what would happen if entertainers really started throwing their weight around and making the people buying tickets or records think about this war.

Hard to believe it to look around today, but that did happen. C.I. had lunch today with a friend who's trying desperately to work the war into a show he writes for. During the conversation a number of issues were raised about what's being ignored by the mainstream press. C.I. shared the converstation with Jess who said, "I had that same conversation!" C.I. came up with the title of this editorial. Jess tossed in something else. By then it was going to have to be a Third Estate Sunday Review piece because we all wanted to weigh in.

All we are saying is JUST TAKE A STAND

On this anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon, we're surprised by how few seem to act as if a war's going on. Ripped from the headlines our asses. Hiding from the headlines. And it goes on everywhere.

Maybe pop culture doesn't allow you to comment on Harold Pinter's speech? Maybe a playwright is too "culture" and not enough pop? Maybe it's just not really handing out awards if no one asks, "Who are you wearing?"

All we are saying is just take a stand.

If you're presenting as being on the left, why are you so silent on a war that's waged for almost three years? War got your tongue?

Hey, if you're for the war, come out and say it. You can find readers who'll support you. But quit hiding behind "I'm left" if you can't comment on the war.

You're not looking "moderate." You're looking ignorant. And when people read you years from now and see that you had nothing to say about a war that waged and waged, they're going to wonder about that.

We should wonder about it right now.

Bloggers, op-ed writers, Laura Flanders, Amy Goodman, The Progressive, The Nation, go down the list. They're the people who have kept the conversation alive, who have forced it to the front. They did that without you. They're still doing it without you even though polling consistently demonstrates a trend of the people turning against the war.

You waiting for it to hit 99% before you feel "safe" about weighing in?

Naomi Klein rightly argued about the need to bring Iraq to the NYC during the Republican convention in 2004. We echo that only we say it's time to bring it to the people. That means no jerking off over Jessica and Nick or whatever "hot" topic. If you're not weighing in on a war, what are you but a couch potato?

Are you in a coma? Do you not see what's going on?

We ask that question because Bright Eyes gets slammed online by a left site. "When a President Talks To God" is "trite, crudely so, and certainly unenlightening"? Harold Bloom, when did you come online? Or is it the Professor from Gilligan's Island? (We felt the Bloom ref might be lost on the "wit" who penned the critique.)

Maybe you missed the performance of that song? Maybe you weren't at any of the sites on the left that talked of this or listening to The Majority Report whan Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder played the clip? We're sure reading The New Rag takes up a lot of your time.

But is that your statement? Your full statement on the war?

Gee, thanks for weighing in. Maybe you're one of the sites or magazines that can also say you reviewed Jarhead?

We're so lucky to have you.

All we are saying is just take a stand.

Clooney and Damon have a new movie, you could blather on about that and claim you've addressed the war three times!

We're not sure what you're so scared of. Or why, having been silent, you think anyone cares what you think about the voices calling for an end to the occupation?

Are you Shelly Hack in Annie Hall?

"I'm bascially very shallow and have no ideas or thoughts of my own."

Is that it?

How's that working out for you?

As you muddle down the middle of the road, how's that working out for you?

All we are saying is just take a stand.

Or maybe you're a certain "lefty" radio personality who thinks it's "cute" to make fun of Pacifica Radio. You think it's "funny" to knock community radio that represents the people. We think it's "funny" that you defended your friend who wrote that article, you know the one, on Ann Coulter. We think it's funny that you excused him and let him off the hook, but never explained why or told listeners that he was your friend. We think that's almost as funny as the writer, an uncloseted gay man except in that article, acting like Ann Coulter got him all hot and bothered.

We're not hearing your brave voice. Last time we listened you were still pushing Colin Powell's (false) Pottery Barn analogy. Color us underwhelmed.

When you've done anything on the level of Margret Prescod, Deepa Fernandez, Jeremy Scahill, Juan Gonzalez, Andrea Lewis, Dennis Bernstein, Larry Bensky or anyone else at Pacifica then we'll take your little jabs a little more seriously. For now, deflate your ego, your nowhere near Amy Goodman's level.

All we are saying is just take a stand.

Or maybe you're the rag that helped lead us into war. Atrios puzzled this week over why one of the rag's writers attacked bloggers and defended The New York Times? We didn't puzzle. We know he writes for the paper's book review. We know he covers his own ass. When it takes years and years to turn out your simplistic book about how the world is just like soccer, you need those paychecks from The New York Times.

And if you had any self-respect, you wouldn't be working for The New Rag in the first place. Remember Stephanie's hilarious commercials on Air America? Having learned of the "joke" about Arundhati Roy, we've stopped laughing as we realize that while that attack occurred, Stephanie was schilling for the magazine, claiming it was left.

The New Rag didn't have Judy Miller -- it didn't need her to cheer on this war or every other one. Whether cheering on the contras or spinning false WMD claims, in times of strife, The New Rag will always lead the charge for war.

Remember when The New Rag pushed the racist Bell Curve? Or how about when it was home to such leading "lefties" as Fred Barnes and Andrew Sullivan?

All we are saying is just take a stand.

The New Rag took one. Now it tries to act like it didn't but people are wise to reality and that's why it's circulation is in the toilet. Of all the things that float in a toilet, we think The New Rag may be the most vile. It certainly gives off the worst odor. Can you smell it? It's the scent of death.

That's what war cheerleaders smell like. If and when Judith Miller puts out her signature fragance, I, Judith!, we'll all know the smell. In the meantime, take a sniff of The New Rag the way you would a perfume strip in Vanity Fair.

The New Rag pretends it's of the left when promoting itself -- but it's not. Maybe the fact that it's doing so poorly is why others can't declare that they're for the war?

We don't know. We just know that a lot of people who should have an opinion on the war and should express it don't seem to be able to.

Forget TV news for a moment, the war's hidden by more than TV news.

Seems like a lot of people are getting splinters up their hineys from sitting on that fence.
All we are saying is just take a stand.

Got an opinion on that war? Sitting on the fence waiting to see which way the wind's blowing? (No, that wasn't a Dylan ref.) It's blowing right past you.

Are you someone who rags on Pacifica, or think it's cute to make "jokes" about Arundhati Roy, or maybe you're too busy defending your friend who's penning mash notes to Ann Coulter, or maybe you just can't say anything? Maybe they forgot to program you before you showed up because you'd have to be a robot to have no opinion on the war, right?

Or maybe you're just so busy doing the Joe Lieberman that you've failed to note it's not, in fact, the new dance craze. As you lean over backwards to attempt to kiss ass, people are pointing at you. They're not saying, "What's that wild dance?" They're saying, "How pathetic."

And it is pathetic. It's pathetic that a slam on Bright Eyes will apparently have to pass for your war commentary. Or that Pacifica Radio, which gives voice to people who call in as well as guests like Naomi Klein and Norman Solomon and the Center for Constitutional Rights, is someone you think you're better then as you do your little skit, your little funny, and you summarize what was in the headlines yesterday or the day before or maybe several days before in that "moderate" voice you're so fond of using.

We must have missed you standing next to Amy Goodman and Alan Nairn in East Timor, huh? Because surely when you can knock Pacifica, you've done a butt load of things to be proud of. Not just for yourself of course, but for the whole world. Face it, you're a giver!

All we are saying is just take a stand

If Time had any guts (don't make us laugh), Cindy Sheehan would be their person of the year. The fact that she probably won't be, it has a lot to do with you. You who claim the left but can't be bothered by the war. Because surely what the world needs now is . . . distraction.

Mass distraction.

Danny Schechter,, and BuzzFlash are calling for the "Tell The Truth About The War" Campaign. We agree. But we also feel that sites and magazines wanting to get cred for being left and "left" need to start speaking out as well. It's not just the network news that fails us, it's the people who stay silent for whatever reason.

How is it that, after all this time, you still can't find your opinion? Reach around with both hands, maybe you'll fumble into it.

Again, Naomi Klein asked that we bring Iraq to NYC, meaning that we make it an issue that can't be ignored by demanding it be addressed. (Not, as a simp feared, that there be massive riots -- she wiped the floor with simpy -- the key was to bring up her age, he's very sensitive about his own.) But it is ignored as puff pieces and inane criticism is churned out.

Hey, we can talk about Nick & Jessica too. In fact, Ava & C.I. reviewed their special. Of course, Ava and C.I. got the point across early on that war has a cost -- even if Nick and Jessica couldn't grasp it. You can note the real world if you're reviewing something. You can note what's actually going on. It might require actual thought, as opposed to thumbing through your thesaurus, but it can be done.

All we are saying is just take a stand.

What purpose do you think you're serving? We're reminded of a classic film, of one scene in particular:

"I don't think that that's our function, Sally, I think that we're more a base gossip sheet. You know, fun and games for the fellas?"

"I-I just, I want to say that I'm really shocked, I'm just shocked that you'd rather write about a goddamn baseball homerun then what's going on in this hospital. I mean you wouldn't feel that way if they were your husbands."

Since for some of our brave "left" it was "fashionable" to trash Jane Fonda this summer, we might need to point out that the above is from Coming Home. Oh, but wait, she's spoken out against this war. Bright Eyes, he spoke out as well. Maybe you think trashing them qualifies for your war stance?

We think you need to figure out where you stand on the war. Choose a side already. Unless you are just a gossip sheet as well.

Kat's words can be distorted in any manner someone chooses. It doesn't change reality. It doesn't change the fact that anyone who reads her writing knows she's firmly against the war.So before a writer gets outraged that Kat disagrees with him, apparently after he took time off from scolding Kayne West over points of order, maybe that time would be better spent forming an opinion and actually expressing it. Not on the tired topic of Bob Dylan. No one needed, at this late date, your "moderate" view of Bob Dylan.

What a safe little post that was. On the one hand, on the other. He's wrong but I think Bob's great because . . .

Did you smell a Pulitzer? Or maybe a Webbie? We certainly had to hold our noses reading it.
It's not good enough. The war is about to enter year three. If you're for it, say you for it. If you're against it, say you're against it. Not some mealy mouth "on the one hand but on the other" statement. People are dying and if you can't find a voice you're not helping anyone. The fact that you're writing about "soft subjects" isn't an excuse. Kat can and has weighed in on the war in her CD reviews. Ava and C.I. have taken on Colin Powell and his "blot." This Sunday they highlighted a key line of narration, one that goes to where we are today, in their review of Everybody Hates Chris.

A war's gone of over two years, at what point do you find your voice? Knocking Pacifica or Bright Eyes, or Jane Fonda or Kat, may make you feel you look reasonable. You don't. You look indecisive.

Maybe you're afraid someone will distort your words? Kat's words got distorted, she lived.

All we are saying is just take a stand.

To paraphrase a line Michelle Pfeiffer delivers in The Russia House, "I hope you're not being frivilous with me. I only have time in my life now for the truth."

As of right now, we're looking at 22 American troop fatalites in Iraq. Who knows how many Iraqis have died this month -- Bully Boy don't do body counts. We need the truth and we're not getting it from slams at Bright Eyes or attacks on Arundhati Roy. You know what's "unenlightening"? Your boring us with your useless blathering shout outs to The New Rag. Your inability to speak to the realities we're living through right now. Your blind eye to torture.That's "unenlightening." And before you use a word that conjures up the enlightenment, you might want to ask yourself what you've weighed in with that spoke to that period because a historical look at Bob Dylan is neither "hot" nor needed when done so poorly. In fact, we'd suggest that you listen to the song Dylan wrote with Sam Shepard and pay close attention when the line about "original thought" comes up because we think you'll be able to relate.

Until then, keep cheering on whatever adult plays a teenager in a push up bra with a flat affect that you feel passes for deadpan. It's post-post-modern! Or maybe more can be wrung out of a Republican's fantasy of women where they're all dithering airheads, just play-things with nothing to do but be helpless or backbite or fight over a man. They're their own play-things so maybe you think that makes the difference? We didn't buy it when Madonna claimed she was showing power because she chained herself.
Maybe the big topic in your home honestly is arguing over what entertainment programs you will watch on TV because you just feel that there are a wealth of choices airing. If so, that's rather sad if you're no longer 14.

You take a stand or you accept that you're frivilous. In which case, stop trashing the people who do have the guts to take a stand against this war.

We support the Tell the Truth movement. We just think it needs to be expanded to include people who seem left but can't find the time to write a thing about the war.

All we are saying is just take a stand

Need a topic? Norman Solomon has rightly pointed out that the air war is getting no mainstream media coverage. Instead of slamming someone who had the guts to speak out or tossing out shout outs to The New Rag, how about writing about that? Too hard? How about writing about Laura Flanders or Amy Goomdan or any of the people who are making a difference. It may not be as fun for you as drooling over a young hottie or play to the beltway but it might get the word out on something that truly matters. And guess what? There are many more names. We're sure you can find at least one that you don't feel the need to trash.

[This editorial was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Wally of The Daily Jot.]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Government has no case, Lieberman pisses on fellow Democrats and the government attacks a university's right to free speech

Good evening, let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Government Fails to Convict Palestinian Professor on Terror Charges
In a case observers are calling a major blow the Bush administration, a prominent Palestinian-American professor has been acquitted of several terrorism charges. Sami Al-Arian was accused of helping finance and direct the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian was found not guilty on eight charges. Jurors deadlocked on nine others, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. Three other co-defendants were also cleared of most of the charges against them. We’ll have more on the Al-Arian case in a few minutes.

So what does this say about the government's cases? This was one of the big ones. This was one that John Ashcroft (J-Ass) saw as a sure thing. And the administration loses in court.

Does it make you wonder about some of the "convictions" they've had? Does it make you scared to know that a jury could look at the "evidence" the government presented and find the man innocenct? It should cause that demonstrates how flimsy the government's case was. That could be you or me, any of us. Having our lives trashed for three years.

How do you come back from that? How do you go about getting back your life?

The full weight of the government came down on him and then when it was put up or shut up time, the government can't make it to the goal line because they had no case. We should all be very bothered by what was done to Sami Al-Arian.

Democrats Split Over Iraq War
In this country, the war in Iraq is threatening to open up a serious divide within the Democratic Party. On Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a San Antonio radio station: "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." Dean’s remarks came after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week endorsed Congressman John Murtha’s call for withdraw US troops from Iraq within six months. Several Democrats rebuked Dean on Tuesday. Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman said: "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander in chief for three more years. We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."

Why is Joe Lieberman still in the party?

No one wants him. If he wasn't labeled a Democrat, you'd never know he was by listening to him. He's always tackling the "big" issues like video games. Joe Lieberman, there to stamp out your freedoms.

I'm glad Nancy Pelosi finally spoke up and glad about Howard Dean too. Hope that means Fighting Howard's back. But all Joe Lieberman has to do is open his big yap and all that Pelosi, Dean and Murtha accomplished is set back. Someone needs to tell him to get with the party or get out. He's always undercutting his own party.

I was griping about Lieberman on the phone to C.I. and C.I. told me to check out Bill Sher's thing on him. This is from "The Sunday Talkshow Breakdown:"

Sen. Joe Lieberman is a foreign policy neocon.
He is the
only Dem Senator who is explicitly for permanent bases in Iraq.
He is one of the few Dems who
did not vote for the Dem amendment which said troops should not stay in Iraq indefinitely.
And most recently, the
Republican National Committee touted Lieberman’s recent pro-war op-ed and Bush approvingly quoted him in last week’s speech.
The guy is simply on the other team when it comes to Iraq (at minimum.)

That's just a section of it. So now let me do one more thing from Democracy Now!

Case Challenges Recruiting Access for Military on Campus
And the Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that challenges military recruiting on campus. A coalition of over 160 law schools is contesting the 1996 Solomon Amendment, which allows the government to deny financial support to any university that does not give military recruiters the same access to students it gives to other employers. The law schools are arguing they should only have to grant the military equal access when the military allows equal access to openly-gay recruits. The Supreme Court is widely expected to rule in favor of the Solomon amendment. Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to defend it during the proceedings, saying: "It says that if you want our money, you have to let our recruiters on campus."

C.I. wrote about this case at length today and I agree with everything C.I. said. C.I. writes:

Last night, I was hoping someone else in the community would have grabbed the topic because the whole thing is something I'd prefer to avoid.

I read that and had to call C.I. because I felt bad. Recruiters is the topic I try to cover. I should have covered this yesterday when I provided a link to a story on it. C.I. said it wasn't aimed at me and wasn't griping at anyone, just that C.I. didn't want to write about it.

That's because of, read the entry, it brings up more than just recruiting. It brings up the nonsense of the Bully Boy win and all the psuedo reason the press gave for his win early on. All that crap about "values voters" is still with us. Even though we've long since found out that those "values" for the right wing didn't sway a lot of voters.

So I'm sorry that I didn't write about it last night. I agree with C.I. that it's not a free speech issue for the government. The government's trying to force themselves off on the university so it does go to whether or the university is free to make their own decisions.

It's one more battle in the right-wing's war on acadmia.

Now be sure to check out Elaine's site Like Maria Said Paz for her take on the first two things from Democracy Now! and more. And check out Kat's "White mobs do love their Bobby Dylan" and Rebecca's "peanuts & the press" because they're hilarious.

Remember my motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pacifica has special coverage broadcasting right now

Kicking off with Ruth:

Pacifica Radio Archives All-Day Fundraising Special
18-hour natl. simulcast of programming from Pacifica's 50-plus-year history. Focuses: civil rights movement, live music, and the 1970 live reading on WBAI of Tolstoy's War and Peace. On December 6 the entire Pacifica network will pre-empt its regular schedule for an 18-hour simulcast of programming drawn from Pacifica's 50-plus-year history. This will be a fundraiser for the Pacifica Radio Archives that preserves the network's audio treasures. This year we're focusing on three major subject areas: the civil rights movement recordings, live music, and the 1970 live reading on WBAI of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

That's going on right now so make a point to listen. Right now.

Good evening. Let's note Democracy Now! and remember to check Elaine's site for her commentary:

Rice Denies U.S. Engages In Torture
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice denied Monday that the U.S. is engaging in torture and defended how the Bush administration's waging of the so-called war on terror. Rice's comments came ahead of a trip to Europe where she is expected to be questioned about the existence of secret CIA prisons and about the CIA's practice of kidnapping wanted individuals overseas. Rice did not deny the U.S. has secretly picked up detainees overseas and flying them to other countries but she denied this is being done "for the purpose of being tortured." "The United States does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances. Moreover, in accordance with the policy of this administration, the United States has respected and will continue to respect the sovereignty of other countries," Rice said. "The U.S. does not transport and has not transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of being tortured. The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured."

Condi denies? Condi lies.

I really don't know what to say about the thing above cause C.I. said it all this morning in
"NYT: 'U.S. Interrogations Are Saving European Lives, Rice Says' (Joel Brinkley)." Read that, C.I. said it all.

I can't believe anyone can take Condi Rice seriously. How many lies are they willing to swallow?

Iraqi VP Al-Yawer Criticizes State of Iraqi Security Forces
The bombings come just a day after Iraq's Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer publicly disputed comments made last week by President Bush about the improved state of the Iraqi security forces. Al-Yawer said the training of Iraqi security forces has suffered a big "setback" in recent months because the army and other forces have been increasingly used to settle personal and political scores. In addition al-Yawer warned that armed Shiite militias in the south might be trying to incite a civil war in Iraq.

It just gets worse and worse. March 2006 will be three years. That's not that far away. Three years of an illegal invasion/occupation and that's what the result is: planned chaos. Well at least Bully Boy is "resolute."

He'll keep troops over there regardless of how many people die. It didn't bother him to lie us into war so what does?

Nothing. It's time to bring the troops home, past time. In fact it reminds me of an editorial I helped with, The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Time to Head On Home:"

Are we starting to get the picture yet? The public is. They want the troops home. Polls show that. It's just the media and our leaders that are too timid to address it. "Stay the course!" they chant. This "cakewalk" has now lasted over two years. Donald Rumsfeld says twelve is a possiblity. "Cakewalk?"
How do you define "success" in Iraq? That's difficult since the reasons for the invasion/occupation constantly shift. But it's not been a cakewalk, this war of choice. And we haven't made the world safer for anyone. Iraq's not safer. We're not safer. The London bombings prove the fly paper theory was crap.
Now we're supposed to let the ones who brought us this war go back to the drawing board to . . . think up new excuses? They had no planning other than (as Naomi Klein pointed out in "Baghdad Year Zero") to have a tag sale on the Iraqi assets. Even the Operation Happy Talkers seem to have a case of cat got their tongues. (Sadly, we're sure this is a momentary condition.)
If sane people can agree that the illegal occupation is a disaster for everyone involved (outside of those profitting from the war), how much are we willing to give to "stay the course?" We want the body counts to double? When do we reach the point that we say enough?We steer to you to "Should This Marriage Be Saved?" and ask at what point do we take a realistic look at what's going on?Pig-headed is not a virtue. It's not sane. It's not logical. And it's only going to get more people killed.
The Bully Boy has sullied this nation's name. He's trashed treaties and conventions. He's had a five-year frat party at our expense. At some point, we need to roll up our sleeves and do some cleaning. And that means tossing in the garbage the notion that after two years of the "cake walk" this is anything like what was sold to us."Stay the course?" We say "head on home." Head on home to what America is supposed to stand for. On what America is supposed to represent. This invasion/occupation isn't what America's supposed to be about. So let's all grow up, sober up and realize that the Bully Boy's taken us on a two-year bender. Comes a time when you gotta head home. It's past time for that.
Iraq had no WMD. It was not a threat to us ("mushroom cloud," Condi?). Someone lied us into war. They took us off course. It's time to get back to what America's all about and it's time to realize that drunk slurring his words and telling us he knows another bar that's still open isn't anyone we want to get a car in with. We're ready to head on home and return to the lives we should be leading. Lives that don't involve wars built on lies. Lives that don't involve trying to impose a system on a people who didn't ask for us to be there. Lives that don't involve falling for the latest Operation Happy Talk. Lives that are reality-based. Bar's closing, let's all head on home. At least the ones who still have that option, the ones who didn't give their lives to a war of choice, one that should have been avoided.
[Note: Since these editorials tend to get reposted elsewhere, we'll note this was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review crew of Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava as well as by C.I. of The Common Ills, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner, Mike of Mikey Likes It! and Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man.]

I always love working on the editions but that editorial is one that my friends were all "Way to go, dude!" We wrote that on July 10th. I'm still proud of it to be honest. I think we really hit it out of the park with that editorial.

Now let's do Edmund's e-mail. Edmund's not his real name and his live-in girlfriend isn't really named Britney. Edmund's a 21 year old college student (everything's true but the names) and he's been living with Britney for almost a year now. Sunday night he was finishing up a research paper that he was way behind on cause he was sick with the flu for most of the week before. So he's done finally and it's now Monday, two in the morning. His first class is at seven in the morning. It's a half hour trip to campus. All he's eaten all day was a bag of Gardettos and a Payday. He says he asks himself if he's going to eat or go to sleep? He decides he's too tired to eat.

So he gets pulls off his sweats and hops in bed and Britney rolls next to him. And she's awake and she's wanting to have sex. They kiss and grope a bit but he's wiped out. He just wants to go to sleep. He's hard and Britney knows it and he explains he's just tired so they go to sleep.

But he's worried that he's "old" now because he just passed up sex for the 1st time in his life. For sleep.

I don't know that he's old. I think it's getting over the flu, getting the paper done and being real tired all working together. And it's not like he's not able to get it up which would be a different story.

I wrote him back last night and told him to chill. But he's convinced he's got some gray hair now and feels like next time he'll want to go to sleep and not be able to even get a bone. I think he's making too much of it. What do you think?

Let's go out with Gina Holland's "Justices Hear Military Recruiting Case:"

The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to uphold a law that says colleges cannot turn away military recruiters in protest of the Pentagon's policy on gays if the universities also want to receive federal money.
New Chief Justice John Roberts said schools unhappy with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have a simple solution: turn down federal cash.
And Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring, said colleges can post disclaimers on campus noting their objections to military policy.
Law school campuses have become the latest battleground over the policy allowing gay men and women to serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation to themselves.
Solicitor General Paul Clement said that when the government picks up the tab for things like research and education grants, the military also is entitled to demand "a fair shot" in terms of equal access for its recruiters to a university's "best and brightest."
Clement said the military is receiving nothing more than any other donor would expect.
A few justices, including David Souter, worried that the free speech rights of law schools could be hindered by Congress' action of tying funding to military recruiters' access.
"The law schools are taking a position on First Amendment grounds, and that position is in interference with military recruiting, no question about it," Souter said.

Check for more information.

Remember my motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Not much, blogger's acting up

Good evening. Maybe you can read this, maybe you can't. I got home and tried to read The Common Ills and couldn't. Then I tried the other sites in the community, same thing. Then I tried Delilah Boyd's site and then Atrios and I can't get anything on Blogspot to display.

So maybe you can't read this tonight?

I got ahold of Elaine and she's got the same problem. So I called C.I. who wasn't near a computer but said if that's the case the backup site will be used for The Common Ills tonight and also said I could post there.

If it's the same way tomorrow, I may do that.

But tonight I'll try to post here.

Let's move on to Democracy Now!

U.S. Acknowledges Admits It Paid Iraqi Press to Run Propaganda
The U.S. military acknowledged on Friday for the first time that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq. The admission came after a series of news reports indicated the U.S. paid a private company called the Lincolon Group to plant stories in the Iraqi press and to pay off sympathetic Iraqi journalists. The Knight Ridder news agency reported U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders. In addition the news agency reported that on at least one occasion, psychological warfare specialists took a group of international journalists on a tour of Iraq's border with Syria.

Bully Boy needs his props. He can't get them legitmately so he has to make them up. Take a gander at his props! becomes propaganda. He's just a wanna be rapper. Bully Boy in da house!
Drop it like it's hot! Raise the roof!

Can you see Bully Boy as a rapper? Nope and most people can't see what he's done to Iraq as "democracy."

So he needs lie. And lie some more. Then act shocked that this happened. Are we supposed to believe he missed the briefing on this because he was napping?

There's a great editorial that we did at The Third Estate Sunday Review and I was planning to link to it but I can't because the site, like all the others, won't display.

I'll link to it tomorrow.

My sister just came in to say that using mozilla she was able to pull up The Common Ills and only that. But C.I. posted two entries on the New York Times today, reposted Ruth and posted the Democracy Now! post which is the one I missed that I was hoping to read as soon as I got here. Only the first entry shows. And if she tries to use the links on the site to pull up anyone else she can't.

This is one of those times when Blogger really sucks.

Tens of Thousands in 30 Cities Protest Global Warming
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in 30 cities across the globe to call on world governments to do more to halt global warming. The largest protests took place in Montreal which is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference -- the largest international conference ever on global warming. In London environmentalists held banners declaring President Bush to be wanted "for crimes against the planet." In Washington, drivers of hybrid cars circled the White House. And in New Orleans, residents held a "Save New Orleans, Stop Global Warming" party in the French Quarter. On Saturday environmental groups presented a petition signed by 600,000 Americans urging President Bush to do more to stop global warming. The Bush administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gases. The United States emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases even though it has just five percent of the world's population.

It's kind of hard to believe when I hear my folks talk, though I know they're telling the truth, that long before I was ever born people were working at improving the environment. John Kerry was part of the first Earth Day.

Maybe Bully Boy thinks we can all move to Mars? Maybe that's why he wants those manned missions to Mars?

Way I see it, we only got one earth and we've trashed it up pretty bad. Nina thinks it's going to get a lot worse, weather wise, before it gets better and thinks we may not live to see a balance restored to the earth. That depresses the hell out of me.

I had an e-mail that I wanted to go into but I'll write the guy back tonight and post his question tomorrow.

I'll go ahead and note Maya Schenwar's "Counter-Recruitment Day Sweeps U.S. Colleges:"

According to a recent CAN report, recruiters often lead students to believe that joining the military will enable them to pay for a college education. Yet only 15 percent of soldiers complete a college degree, and less than 10 percent use Army funds to do so. In terms of job training-another promise the military makes to new recruits-an American Friends Service Committee report notes that veterans earn 11 to 19 percent less than non-veterans with similar backgrounds.
"It's very sad to realize that young people graduate from colleges loaded up with loans to repay and that one of the only means to get assistance with education is to enlist in the military," Kelly said. "How much wiser it would be if U.S. wealth and productivity could be directed toward assisting young people, with no requirement to join the military; to learn languages, learn skills desperately needed in third world countries, and learn the basics of community development."
Counter-recruitment, then, is not simply about getting recruiters out of the schools: it's about presenting young people with alternatives to enlisting. Many of the Counter-Recruitment Day actions will involve direct protests staged at recruiting stations, in which protestors will distribute information to potential recruits. The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, an endorser of the Dec. 6 protests and a key player in the counter-recruitment movement, councils prospective recruits in the dangers of military involvement, non-military ways to finance college and alternative service learning opportunities.
In the past couple of months, the counter-recruitment movement has seen a string of successes. Sixty percent of voters in San Francisco approved a proposition last month to kick recruiters off campuses and fund non-military scholarships. The first national student-organized anti-recruitment day, Not Your Soldier Day of Action, rocked 40 campuses on November 17. As the verdict on FAIR v. Rumsfeld draws closer, activists are crossing their fingers for another victory, hoping that if given the chance, schools will say no to recruiters on campus.
"The majority is with us in opposing the war and military recruitment," Wrigley-Field said. "It's time to get that majority organized to get recruiters out of our schools."
To find out about National Counter-Recruitment Day events near you, see

Elaine says she'll post later if Blogger's behaving. So you can check, if you can ever see this entry, Like Maria Said Paz.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Democracy Now review in Spanish and English

Almost midnight. Sunday's the start of the week officially but most of my buds and me consider Monday the start because it was always back to school on Monday. Sunday's like still part of the weekend to me.

It was a busy week last week. I tried to get some of my Christmas shopping done but I still got stuff to do. And I may be late posting one night this week because I really need to get to one store in particular. Can't say what I'm trying to get because it's for my youngest sister who says she never reads this but anytime I mention her here, she somehow "knows."

I've got a lot of brothers and sisters so what we do is all go in together for the gifts for our folks and since my kid sister's still in high school we get her a gift gfit. But for the rest of us, we get something like a bag of M&Ms if that's your favorite candy or something like that.

I'm the second to the youngest and until I started college I always got a gift gift from my brothers and sisters. I feel bad about that because we're such a big family that for my oldest brother and sister (that brother is the oldest in the family and that sister is the second oldest of us kids), they were probably freaking out every Christmas trying to buy for all of us.

I actually liked last Christmas best gift wise. Instead of gifts gifts, I got all my favorite candies and I just sat in front of the tube watching sports and chowing down for days. :D

But another week has passed. Hope you checked out The Third Estate Sunday Review. And if you missed some of the big stories last week, we've got Maria's rundown of the headlines from Democracy Now! in Spanish and then in English. So check your knowledge and figure out what you caught and what you remembered.

"Ex primer ministro iraquí: La tortura es igual de mala ahora que bajo el régimen de Hussein"

Maria: Hola. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Ex primer ministro iraquí: La tortura es igual de mala ahora que bajo el régimen de Hussein
El ex primer ministro de Irak, Iyad Allawi, afirma que las violaciones a los derechos humanos que ocurren hoy en Irak son igual de malas que las que ocurrían bajo el régimen de Saddam Hussein. En una entrevista con el periódico "Observer" de Londres, Allawai dijo: "Nos enteramos sobre la policía secreta, sobre búnkers secretos donde se interroga a las personas. Muchos iraquíes son torturados o asesinados durante los interrogatorios".

Rumsfeld y Pace discrepan acerca de la respuesta que debe dar Estados Unidos ante abusos cometidos por fuerzas iraquíes
En el Pentágono, el Secretario de Defensa, Donald Rumsfeld, se vio envuelto en un intercambio inusual con el presidente de la Junta de los Jefes de Personal, General Peter Pace, en una conferencia de prensa el martes. Cuando se le preguntó al General Pace si los soldados estadounidenses tenían la responsabilidad de evitar violaciones a los derechos humanos por parte de las fuerzas iraquíes, él contesto: "Es totalmente la responsabilidad de todos los integrantes del servicio estadounidense, si presencian algún trato inhumano, intervenir para detenerlo". Mientras Pace respondía, Rumsfeld lo interrumpió y dijo: "Pero no creo que quiera decir que tienen la obligación de detenerlo ellos mismos; deben informarlo". Pero el General Pace replicó: "Si están presentes cuando el trato inhumano se lleva a cabo, tienen la obligación de intentar detenerlo".

Estados Unidos paga a medios iraquíes para publicar informes que ellos mismos escriben
El "Los Ángeles Times" informa que las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses están pagando secretamente a los periódicos iraquíes para que publiquen artículos escritos por estadounidenses y que son favorables a la presencia de Estados Unidos en Irak. El "Times" informa que los artículos escritos en el marco de "operaciones de información" de las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses son traducidos al árabe y luego publicados en los periódicos iraquíes con la ayuda de la firma Lincoln Group, contratista de defensa de Washington. Los artículos son presentados ante la población iraquí como informes sin prejuicios, escritos por periodistas independientes. El contrato de Lincoln Group es de más de 100 millones de dólares por más cinco años. Un alto funcionario del Pentágono dijo: "Aquí estamos, tratando de crear los principios de democracia en Irak. Cada discurso que damos en ese país es sobre democracia. Y al hacerlo, estamos violando todos los principios básicos de la democracia".

Comité del Senado mantendrá sesión a puertas cerradas sobre propaganda militar en periódicos
Mientras tanto, funcionarios de alto rango del Pentágono comparecerán hoy a una sesión a puertas cerradas del Comité de los Servicios Armados del Senado, para responder a informes de que Estados Unidos paga a periódicos iraquíes por publicar propaganda militar. Altos funcionarios del Pentágono dicen que aún no han recibido una explicación. Luego de que se conoció la historia esta semana, el General George Casey argumentó que el programa no debía ser discutido públicamente porque era reservado. Cuando se le preguntó sobre el asunto al portavoz militar General Rick Lynch, el jueves, defendió el programa sin confirmar sus detalles. El General Lynch dijo: "Nosotros no mentimos. No necesitamos mentir. Damos poder a nuestros comandantes operativos para que informen al público iraquí, pero todo lo que hacemos está basado en hechos, no en ficción".El portavoz del Departamento de Estado, Sean McCormack, dijo a reporteros: "El Departamento de Estado trabaja con periodistas en Irak para ayudarlos a desarrollar las capacidades que todos ustedes tienen en lo que refiere a la ética y prácticas periodísticas... Este es un país (Irak) donde los medios de comunicación libres no existieron por décadas, por lo tanto, están aprendiendo. Consideramos que es importante asistirlos en eso".

Pelosi: Los demócratas apoyan a Murtha
También el miércoles, la líder de la minoría demócrata, Nancy Pelosi, se convirtió en la primer líder del Congreso en apoyar la postura del congresista Murtha. Pelosi y otros demócratas de alto rango inicialmente habían tomado distancia de Murtha. Pero Pelosi dijo al Washington Post: "Claramente, la mayoría de los representantes (demócratas) apoyan a Murtha” en su pedido de retirar a los soldados estadounidenses de Irak".

Informe: Más de 300 vuelos de la CIA a aeropuertos europeos
En un nuevo episodio del creciente revuelo por las presuntas prisiones secretas de la CIA en Europa, el diario "Guardian" de Londres dice que obtuvo registros de vuelos que indican que más de 300 vuelos de la CIA aterrizaron en aeropuertos europeos. El "Washington Post" recientemente informó que la CIA opera prisiones secretas en Estados ex socialistas de Europa del Este. A pedido del Pentágono, el Post no dio a conocer el nombre de los países. La revelación provocó que el Comisario de Justicia de la Unión Europea amenazara con sancionar a cualquier Estado miembro que haya albergado una prisión secreta. Según el Guardian, los aviones de la CIA visitaron tanto Alemania como Gran Bretala más de 80 veces. El miércoles, el Departamento de Estado anunció que respondería a la brevedad al pedido europeo de una explicación acerca de las supuestas prisiones.

Las Naciones de la Unión Europea podrían perder el derecho al voto por albergar prisiones secretas de la CIA
La Comisión Europea advirtió a todos los países miembros de la Unión Europea que se les podría suspender su derecho a votar en los organismos de ese bloque si se descubre que han mantenido prisiones secretas de la CIA. Franco Frattini, Comisario de Justicia de la Unión Europea, dijo: "La protección de los derechos básicos y la libertad esta muy arraigado en nuestra cultura, es el fundamento de la Carta Europea de Derechos Básicos". Y agregó: "Por eso continuaremos buscando un balance entre incrementar la seguridad y confirmar la protección y promoción de nuestras libertades". El "Washington Post" informó recientemente que la CIA ha manejado dos prisiones secretas en países de Europa del Este que tuvieron regímenes comunistas. A pedido del Pentágono, el Post no publicó los nombres de los países, pero Human Rights Watch los identificó como Polonia y Rumania.

Candidato a la Corte Suprema Alito argumentó contra derechos de inmigrantes
Documentos del Departamento de Justicia dados a conocer recientemente indican que Samuel Alito, candidato a ocupar un cargo en la Corte Suprema, argumentó en la década del 80 que los inmigrantes que entraran ilegalmente a Estados Unidos y los extranjeros que no vivieran en sus países no tenían los mismos derechos constitucionales que los estadounidenses. Alito hizo estas afirmaciones cuando era asistente del Fiscal General durante el gobierno de Reagan. El analista constitucional conservador Bruce Fein dijo: "Parece estar diciendo que los funcionarios estadounidenses no tienen ninguna restricción sobre el trato a los extranjeros no residentes o ilegales. ¿Se les puede disparar? ¿Pueden ser torturados?"Martín Redish, un profesor de legislación constitucional en la Northwestern University Law School, dijo al "Washington Post" que la postura de Alito podría ser utilizada para justificar la actual política gubernamental en cuyo marco la CIA realiza interrogatorios en prisiones secretas en el extranjero. El "New York Times" informa que estos documentos también indican que Alito apoyó activamente los esfuerzos del gobierno para aumentar los poderes de las fuerzas de seguridad y limitar las restricciones a la acción de los fiscales.

Chávez acusa a Bush de apoyar el boicot de la oposición
En Venezuela, el Presidente Hugo Chávez acusó al gobierno de Bush de respaldar un boicot de la oposición a las elecciones legislativas de este fin de semana en dicho país.Los grupos de la oposición anunciaron que boicotearán la votación, porque alegan que el Consejo Electoral no aseguró que la votación sea secreta. En las pasadas semanas, los analistas predijeron una victoria arrolladora de los seguidores de Chávez. El "Financial Times" indica que el boicot es inusual, ya que el Consejo Electoral del país no utilizará las controvertidas máquinas de votación de las que la oposición se ha quejado.

Corte Suprema rechaza apelación de Sibel Edmonds
La Corte Suprema rechazó una apelación de la ex informante del FBI Sibel Edmonds, que ha intentado demandar al FBI y al Departamento de Justicia por su despido. Edmonds sostiene que fue despedida luego de hablar acerca de posibles fallas de seguridad, mala conducta y trabajo de traducción incompetente en la agencia. Un Juez de Distrito de Estados Unidos desestimó el caso en primera instancia, luego de que el entonces Fiscal General John Ashcroft invocara el "privilegio de secretos de Estado", rara vez utilizado. Ashcroft había advertido que la revelación de más información acerca de las tareas de Edmonds y de otros traductores podía provocar "un grave daño a los intereses de la seguridad nacional de Estados Unidos". Edmonds fue noticia por primera vez cuando sostuvo que el FBI tenía información antes del 11 de septiembre acerca de que se planificaba un ataque con aviones.

Al Jazeera exige respuestas del gobierno de Bush
El director general de la cadena televisiva árabe Al-Jazeera exigió que Washington responda a los informes que dicen que el Presidente Bush quería bombardear las oficinas de la cadena en Doha. La semana pasada, el periódico "Daily Mirror" citó un memorando británico secreto que revelaba que Bush le comunicó a Tony Blair el año pasado su deseo de bombardear la sede del canal. El gobierno de Bush dijo que el informe de "Daily Mirror" era "ridículo". Funcionarios de Al Jazeera ponen en duda ahora si Estados Unidos atacó intencionalmente la cadena cuando bombardeó sus oficinas en Afganistán en 2001 y en Bagdad en abril de 2003. El ataque en Irak mató a Tariq Ayub, corresponsal de Al Jazeera. La viuda de Ayub, Dina, dijo que considera la posibilidad de demandar al gobierno estadounidense por la muerte de su marido. Dina dijo: "Estados Unidos siempre afirmó que fue un accidente. Pero creo que las nuevas revelaciones prueban que esa afirmación era falsa o al menos no era digna de confianza." Mientras tanto, en Gran Bretaña continúa vigente la prohibición para todos los medios de comunicación de revelar los contenidos del memorando secreto. Pero un miembro del Parlamento, Boris Johnson, prometió publicar el memorando y arriesgarse a ir preso si alguien le entrega ese documento.

Informe: El Pentágono expande capacidad de espiar en Estados Unidos
El "Washington Post" informa que el Pentágono expandió su capacidad de espiar a los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos. Según el Post, el gobierno de Bush está considerando permitirle a una agencia poco conocida del Pentágono, llamada Campo de Actividad Contra la Inteligencia, investigar ciertos crímenes a nivel local. El Pentágono también presiona en Capitol Hill por una norma que exima a las actividades de inteligencia de la Ley de Privacidad, y que permitiría al FBI y a otros organismos compartir información sobre los ciudadanos estadounidenses con el Pentágono, la CIA y otras agencias de inteligencia. Kate Martín, del Centro de Estudios de Seguridad Nacional, dijo que esa legislación eliminaría una de las pocas protecciones de la privacidad existentes, contra la creación de expedientes secretos de ciudadanos estadounidenses por parte de las agencias de inteligencia del gobierno". El Senador demócrata Ron Wyden de Oregon dijo: "Estamos habilitando a los militares a espiar a estadounidenses que cumplen con la ley en Estados Unidos. Esto es un gran salto sin siquiera una audiencia (del Congreso)".

Maria: In English, here are twelve headlines fom Democracy Now! Remember that the headlines are provided daily in English and Spanish and please pass on to your friends. Peace.

Ex-Iraqi PM: Torture As Bad Now As Under Hussein
Iraq's former prime minister Iyad Allawi is claming that the human rights abuses occurring today in Iraq are as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein. In an interview with the Observer newspaper of London Allawai said "We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated. A lot of Iraqis are being tortured or killed in the course of interrogations."

Rumsfeld, Pace Differ on US Response to Iraqi Abuse
At the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld engaged in an unusual exchange with Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Peter Pace at a press conference Tuesday. Asked whether US troops are responsible for preventing human rights abuses by Iraqi forces, General Pace answered: "It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it." As Pace elaborated, Rumsfeld interrupted him, saying: "But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it." But General Pace replied: "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it", he said.

US Paying Iraqi Media to Publish US-Authored Reports
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the US military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish American-written articles favorable to the U.S. presence in Iraq. The Times reports articles written by U.S. military "information operations" are translated into Arabic and then placed in Iraqi newspapers with the help of Washington-based defense contractor the Lincoln Group. The articles are presented to an Iraqi audience as unbiased news accounts written by independent journalists. The Lincoln Group’s contract is worth up to $100 million dollars over five years. A senior Pentagon official commented : "Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we're breaking all the first principles of democracy when we're doing it."

Senate Committee to Hold Session on Newspaper Propaganda
Meanwhile, top Pentagon officials will appear before a closed-door session of the Senate Armed Services Committee today to answer reports the US is paying Iraqi newspapers to publish military propaganda. Senior Pentagon officials say they have yet to receive an explanation. After the story broke earlier this week, General George Casey argued the program should not be publicly discussed because it was classified. Asked about the issue Thursday, military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch appeared to defend the program without confirming its specifics. Major General Lynch said: "We don't lie. We don't need to lie. We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public, but everything we do is based on fact, not based on fiction." State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters: "The State Department is working with journalists in Iraq to help them develop the skills that you all have in terms of reporting and journalistic ethics and practices… This is a country where free media didn't exist for decades, so they are learning. We think it's important to assist them in that."

Pelosi Backs Murtha Call for Withdrawal
Calls for a troop withdrawal have been bolstered by the stance taken by hawkish Democratic Congressman John Murtha. On Wednesday, Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi became the first congressional leader to endorse Congressman Murtha's position. Pelosi and other top Democrats had initially distanced themselves from Murtha's call to end the deployment in Iraq to and maintain rapid reaction force in the region. But Pelosi told the Washington Post: "clearly a majority of the [Democratic] caucus supports Mr. Murtha" in his call to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Report: Over 300 CIA Flights at European Airports
In a new development in the growing uproar over alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe, the Guardian of London says it has obtained flight logs showing more than 300 CIA flights have landed at European airports. The Washington Post recently reported the CIA has been operating secret prisons in former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. At the request of the Pentagon, the Post did not name the countries. The disclosure prompted the European Union Justice Commissioner to threaten sanctions against any member state found to have hosted a secret CIA prison. According to the Guardian, CIA planes visited both Germany and Britain over 80 times. On Wednesday, the State Department announced it will respond shortly to European requests for an explanation on the alleged prisons.

EU Nations Could Lose Voting Rights For Housing Secret CIA Prisons
The European Commission has warned all member states of the European Union that they could have their voting rights suspended if they are found to have operated secret CIA prisons. "The protection of basic rights and liberty is deeply rooted in our culture, is the basis of the European charter for fundamental rights," said Franco Frattini, European Union Justice Commissioner. "That's why we will continue following a balanced approach between increasing security and confirming protection and promotion of our liberties" The Washington Post recently reported the CIA has been operating two secret prisons in former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. At the request of the Pentagon, the "Post" did not name the countries but Human Rights Watch has idenitified them as Poland and Romania.

Supreme Court Nominee Alito Argued Against Immigrant Rights
Newly released Justice Department documents show that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito argued in the 1980s that immigrants who enter the United States illegally and foreigners living outside their countries are not entitled to the constitutional rights afforded to Americans. Alito made the argument at a time when he was deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration. Conservative constitutional analyst Bruce Fein said QUOTE "He seems to be saying that there is no constitutional constraints placed on U.S. officials in their treatment of nonresident aliens or illegal aliens. Could you shoot them? Could you torture them?" Martin Redish, a constitutional law professor at Northwestern University Law School, told the Washington Post that Alito's view could be used to justify the current administration policy under which the CIA conducts interrogations in secret prisons overseas. The New York Times reports the newly released documents also show Alito played an active role in advancing the administration's efforts to expand law enforcement powers and limit restrictions on prosecutors.

Chavez Accuses Bush of Backing Opposition Boycott
In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has accused the Bush administration of backing an opposition boycott of this weekend’s legislative elections in the country. Chavez said: "I denounce him before the world from here, from the Miraflores palace. The one responsible for this new conspiracy is the head of the empire: Mr. Danger. To give him his proper name, the president of the United States of America, Mr. George W. Bush. That's the new head of this conspiracy." Opposition groups have announced a boycott of the vote, alleging that the electoral council has not ensured voter secrecy. In recent weeks, analysts had been predicting a sweeping victory for Chavez supporters. The Financial Times notes the boycott is unusual since the country’s electoral council has withdrawn the use of controversial voting machines the opposition complained about.

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Sibel Edmonds
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds who has been trying to sue the FBI and Justice Department over her dismissal. Edmonds says she was fired after speaking out about possible security breaches, misconduct and incompetent translation work. A U.S. District Judge originally dismissed the case after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the rarely used "state secrets privilege." Ashcroft had warned that further disclosure of the duties of Edmonds and other translators could cause QUOTE "serious damage to the national security interests of the United States." Edmonds first made headlines when she claimed the FBI had information that an attack using airplanes was being planned before Sept. 11.

Al Jazeera Demands Answers from Bush Administration
The director-general of the Arabic tv network Al-Jazeera has demanded Washington respond to reports that President Bush wanted to bomb the network's headquarters in Doha. Last week the Daily Mirror cited a secret British memo revealing that Bush told Tony Blair last year of his desire to bomb the news outlet. The Bush administration has described the Daily Mirror's report as "outlandish." Officials at Al Jazeera are now questioning whether the U.S. might have been targeting the network when it bombed its bureaus in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Baghdad in April 2003. The attack in Iraq killed Al Jazeera's correspondent Tariq Ayub. Ayub's widow, Dina, said she is now considering suing the U.S. government for her husband's death. She said "America always claimed it was an accident. But I believe the new revelations prove that claim was false or at least not trustworthy." Meanwhile in Britain a ban remains in place on all media outlets from disclosing the contents of the secret memo. But a member of parliament - Boris Johnson - has vowed to publish the memo and risk jail time if anyone leaks him the document.

Report: Pentagon Expands Ability to Spy At Home
The Washington Post is reporting the Pentagon has expanded its ability to spy on citizens within the United States. According to the Post, the Bush administration is considering allowing a little known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity to investigate certain crimes domestically . The Pentagon is also pushing legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exemption to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies. Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, said such an exemption would remove one of the few existing privacy protections against the creation of secret dossiers on Americans by government intelligence agencies." Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said "We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a [congressional] hearing."

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