1.4.06

Senators Graham and Kyl not allowed to file their fictional amicus brief

SCOTUSblog: Senators' briefs rejected:

These two senators submitted a ridiculous amicus brief in Hamdan v Rumsfeld. Fortunately, the D.C. Circuit was onto their cheap trick and denied the amicus brief. That doesn't happen very often...

"The D.C. Circuit Court, pondering the meaning of the court-stripping law passed late last year by Congress (the Detainee Treatment Act), has refused to accept three senators' attempts to help shape the ruling. In a brief order Thursday, containing no explanation, the Circuit Court refused to allow the three key sponsors of the new law to file amici briefs in two packets of detainee cases now pending there (the lead case is Boumediene v. Bush, docket 05-5062). No one opposed the filing of those briefs. No other amicus briefs were turned aside.

The senators are Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kyl of Arizona, who filed a brief together, and Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan.

There is an ongoing debate among those three as to the import of legislative history that the three of them created for the Congressional Record, but that did not actually occur on the floor of the Senate. The controversy centers on whether the Act was meant to withdraw the courts' jurisdiction over already-pending detainee cases -- an issue also before the Supreme Court in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (05-184). But a secondary controversy has arisen over a suggestion by the two GOP senators that their 'colloquy' on the issue was a live exchange."

Neoconservative Lap-dogs, Senators Graham and Cornyn, show their collective bias and ignorance

Watergate Remembered, After a Fashion:

"Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was only 16 years old when burglars broke into Democratic headquarters at the Watergate, but yesterday he got to play Sam Ervin questioning Nixon counsel John Dean in a Senate hearing room.

"Did you ever believe there was a legal basis for the president of the United States to break into the Democratic national headquarters?" Graham demanded of Dean.

"'Nixon didn't authorize the break-in,' pointed out Dean, who had come to testify about why President Bush should be censured for his wiretapping program.

'Oh, he didn't?' Lindsey continued. 'Okay, so did you authorize it?'

'No, I did not,' Dean replied.

'Did you know about it?'

'No, I did not.'

After more ineffectual questioning, the old scofflaw taunted Graham: 'You're showing you don't know that subject very well.'

Spectators laughed, and soon the senator was sputtering mad. 'That's why you went to jail!'

As Senator Feingold pointed out, Cornyn did, a 'hit and run' on Dean. The rancid Texan then slithered back into his hole, never to return:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the closest thing the committee has to a White House proxy, had a different view. He called Dean "a convicted felon" who is trying to sell a book.

Jill Caroll now has US guns held to her head...

So, Jill Caroll has recanted her statement, and has said it was forced and she made it to save herself while being held hostage. She says in her statement that she was threatened and that she disagrees entirely with the statements in the tape.

Assuming that is true, I think her taped statement shows an insight into the reality of the occupation and rather than bowing to the neoconservative extremists and admitting, 'yes, one would have to have a gun to his or her head to say such things', it may be more important to go through her forced statement and ask if most--if not all of it--is actually a realistic representation. The question then becomes whether the American public has a gun to their heads as well, one held by the neoconservative extremists who blindly support the occupation:

Voice: What will you tell the American people?

Carroll: Well, first of all I want them to be able to understand, I want them to understand the Mujahedeen, truly. There are a lot of lies to come out of the American government, calling the Mujahedeen terrorists and other things and I think it’s important that American people hear from me the Mujahedeen are only trying to defend their country. This is only a jihad to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation so I think it’s important that people see the Mujahedeen are people that we’ve seen in our entire history resisting an occupation trying to fight a foreign force in their land, it’s their country and they have a right to fight for their own freedom so I want people to understand that it’s not people that like to kill, not people that like violence but people who love their country, people who want to see their country free from an occupation and also I want them to understand that the situation in Iraq in general, how difficult it is here, people don’t have electricity, people don’t have water, children don’t have safe streets to walk in, women and children are always in danger. People are killed left and right on the streets without any reason. People die everyday from the bombings and shootings of the army and all these things. So I think people need to understand in America how difficult life is here for the normal, average Iraqis. That everyday is a matter of survival, life and death for most Iraqis and thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of Iraqis have lost their lives here because of the occupation. I think Americans need to think about that and day to day how difficult life is here, how terrifying it is for most people to live here everyday because of the occupation.

Voice: Do you have a message for Mr. Bush?

Carroll: Yeah, he needs to stop this war. He knows this war is wrong. He knows that it was illegal from the very beginning. He knows that it was built on a mountain of lies and I think he needs to finally admit that to the American people and make the troops go home and he doesn’t care about his own people.

Cuban Families: 'Bush, extradite or try Posada Carriles'

granma.cu -:

"'While the victims of September 11 are still awaiting the capture and trial of Osama bin Laden, allegedly in hiding in a dark cave, we, the victims of the acts of terrorism of the Osama bin Laden of Latin America, Luis Posada Carriles, know very well where he is,' say the relatives in a communique on the website. 'He is detained in a center holding undocumented immigrants. We have seen with dread how the U.S. government is granting that same immigrant treatment to Posada Carriles and is protecting him, while knowing perfectly well that he is a torturer and international terrorist,' they add."

Insulating Bush | Bush's Gulf of Tonkin

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Insulating Bush (03/30/2006):

"Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews."

Feingold on the Constitutional Importance of Censure

TomPaine.com - The GOP's Stake In Checking The President:

"The Republican effort to defend the President works against the party in the long run, and it also goes against the party’s longstanding rhetoric about checking government power and strengthening individual freedoms. It’s hardly in keeping with those values to allow Americans’ communications to be monitored without a warrant, or to concentrate power in one branch of government. One of the best ways to limit government power is to ensure that each branch provides a check on the other two, but most Republicans in Congress today aren’t checking the President’s power or defending the judicial branch’s right to do so—they are giving him a blank check to ignore the rule of law.

A party that prides itself on limiting government, and supporting individual freedom and the rule of law, should think twice before it allows any President to ignore the laws that Congress passes. By supporting the President now, Republicans are making it tougher for members of their own party to challenge the power of future presidents and departing from their own values in the process. That’s a short-sighted strategy that won’t serve either party, or the nation, in the long run. What would serve the nation, and support the rule of law, is for a few courageous Republicans to follow the example set during the Watergate scandal by standing up to a President of their own party, asking tough questions, and holding the President accountable for his abuse of power."

31.3.06

Another US Torturer Hired by the Bush Administration, Another Disgusting Excuse for a human-being: "Big Steve" and Abu Ghraib

Salon.com News | "Big Steve" and Abu Ghraib

"The role of Stefanowicz and other civilian contractors accused of abuse remains one of the murkiest aspects of Abu Ghraib. Stefanowicz was first identified as a perpetrator of abuse nearly two years ago by two high-profile Army investigations, known as the Taguba and Fay reports -- but he has never been charged with a crime.

Now, more allegations about his role have emerged, including testimony from Smith's court-martial and in Army investigative materials obtained by Salon. In addition to the use of dogs to terrify prisoners, those allegations include the use of sexual humiliation and stress positions, and denying prisoners medical care. At Fort Meade, Stefanowicz was not on trial, nor was he called to the witness stand. But throughout the proceedings he was a reminder of key unanswered questions about Abu Ghraib -- including why no one beyond a small group of enlisted soldiers has been prosecuted.

Stefanowicz was a near-constant presence in the military intelligence wing of the prison, someone whom military police said they knew by his gruff manner and towering stature. Soldiers who worked there described Stefanowicz -- a former Navy reserve intelligence specialist at the Defense Intelligence Agency -- as a human giant, standing roughly 6-foot-5, well over 240 pounds, with a full beard and an intimidating manner. At least three soldiers, an officer and another civilian contractor have said that he orchestrated or engaged in abuse.

...

In addition, the contracting arrangement between CACI and the government was unorthodox. In its urgency to hire interrogators and translators during summer 2003, the Pentagon cut through the red tape of awarding a new contract by using an existing contract CACI had with the Department of the Interior -- an atypical arrangement that broke several contracting rules, according to an April 2005 Government Accountability Office report. "The process of procuring interrogation and other services for DOD broke down at numerous points," the GAO found.

Legal experts say Stefanowicz and other civilian contractors at Abu Ghraib cannot be held criminally liable under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which in 2003 held that only civilians hired through a contract directly with the Defense Department could be prosecuted for crimes overseas.

The contractors could potentially be prosecuted under civilian laws, though that would lead into complicated and largely untested legal territory. According to Scott L. Silliman, executive director of Duke University's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, one option would be to use a section of the Patriot Act, which covers crimes committed by U.S. citizens at military facilities abroad. Prosecutors could also potentially use the War Crimes Act of 1996, which makes it illegal for an American to violate the Geneva Conventions."

John W. Dean III Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping


John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping:

"John W. Dean, Richard Nixon's White House lawyer, told senators Friday that President Bush's domestic spying exceeds the wrongdoing that toppled his former boss.

Bush, Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee, should be censured and possibly impeached.

'Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented,' Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'Hopefully the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold before it.'"

Iraq War reveals the U.S. callous disregard for human life


Iraq War reveals the U.S. callous disregard for human life

"Jody Casey, who recently left the army and joined the vets, supports Iraqis’ accusations that U.S. occupation forces caused numerous civilian deaths since the invasion. The Iraqi civilian death toll was estimated at about 100,000 in September 2004 and is considerably higher today.

The 29-year-old still strongly supports the military but says that he is speaking out in the hope of correcting many of the mistakes being made. He served as a scout sniper for a year until last February, based, like Blake, in the Sunni triangle.

What upset him the most about Iraq is 'The total disregard for human life…If you start looking at them (Iraqis) as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?… You totally take the human being out of it and make them into a video game.'

“I mean, you do what you do at the time because you feel like you need to. But then to watch it get kind of covered up, shoved under a rug ... 'Oh, that did not happen'.'

'I have seen innocent people being killed. IEDs go off and [you] just zap any farmer that is close to you. You know, those people were out there trying to make a living, but on the other hand, you get hit by four or five of those IEDs and you get pretty tired of that, too.'

He says the troops who served in his area before his unit arrived advised them to keep spades on their vehicles to throw them if they kill innocent Iraqi civilians to give the appearance that the dead Iraqi was digging a hole for a roadside bomb.

Casey says he didn't participate in any such killings himself, but notes that the overall atmosphere was that 'you could basically kill whoever you wanted - it was that easy. You did not even have to get off and dig a hole or anything. All you had to do was have some kind of picture. You're driving down the road at three in the morning. There's a guy on the side of the road, you shoot him ... you throw a shovel off.'"

30.3.06

Feingold asks Dean to testify on censure

JS Online:Feingold asks Dean to testify on censure:

"Watergate figure John Dean is one of two witnesses tapped by Sen. Russ Feingold to testify at a hearing Friday on Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush.

Dean was White House counsel under President Nixon at the time of the Watergate scandal, and he testified before the Senate committee investigating the events that ultimately led to Nixon's impeachment.

Dean wrote a recent column comparing Bush's conduct to Nixon's, saying both authorized warrantless wiretapping and both broke the law.

Feingold (D-Wis.) said his other choice for a witness is constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein, who served under President Reagan and who testified at a Senate Judiciary hearing this year about the legal questions surrounding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

Fein argued that the program was illegal because it violated a 1978 law against eavesdropping on Americans without a court order."

More mentally ill soldiers heading to Iraq

More mentally ill soldiers heading to Iraq:

"“If people are suffering from mental-health problems, they should not be sent on the battlefield,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer who recently formed the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, which is expected to start work next month.

Pentagon officials claim that they don’t know the exact number of soldiers sent back to Iraq while taking mental-health medication or the number of those diagnosed with mental illness. But medical officers for the Army and Marine Corps acknowledge that medicated service members, and those suffering from combat-induced psychological problems, are returning to war.

Recent surveys, backed by the U.S. government’s own studies, show that the number could be significant. According to a 2004 army report, more than 17% of combat-seasoned infantrymen experienced major depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after one combat tour to Iraq. Less than 40% of them had sought mental-health care. A Pentagon survey released last month also found that 35% of the troops returning from Iraq had received psychological counseling during their first year home."

Fortunately for her, Jill Carroll did not go to Guantanamo...

"Never hit me. Never even threatened to hit me"

-Jill Carroll









photo: REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Carroll Says Captors Treated Her Well | Islamic Fundamentalist Kidnappers Treated Hostage Better than US Treats its Detainees

ABC News: Carroll Says Captors Treated Her Well:

"'They gave me clothing, plenty of food,' Carroll said. 'I was allowed to take showers, go to the bathroom when I wanted.'

Carroll, who was working as a freelance reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped Jan. 7, and survived several deadlines calling for her execution.

'They never hit me, never threatened to hit me,' she said."

It is Iran's "The Exalted Prophet" vs US and "Divine Strike" | Bush War IV, coming soon to a theatre near you.

Compare this story from Iran:
"Iran is to launch a massive joint naval wargame titled "The Exalted Prophet", beginning on March 31 with shooting of a Shahab II missile into the air with the message of "peace and friendship" for the regional countries, Persian Gulf, and sea of Oman littoral states."

With this one from the US:
"The United States military plans to detonate a 700 tonne explosive charge in a test called 'Divine Strike' that will send a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas, a senior defence official said.

'I don't want to sound glib here but it is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons,' said James Tegnelia, head of the Defence Threat Reduction Agency."

One Man Against the World: A Visit with the UN's Torture Cop

One Man Against the World: A Visit with the UN's Torture Cop:

Manfred Nowak, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, travels the world to expose human rights violations in so-called "rogue states." Now he is directing his attention at the United States.


Taking on Guantanamo

"But these days, the human rights expert is directing his attention at a country that is not considered a so-called rogue state, but rather presents itself as the world's bastion of democracy and human rights: the United States of America. Nowak believes the US has lost its innocence since the terror attacks of September 11. Of greatest concern to Nowak are the intensified interrogation measures employed by the superpower in its war against terror. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized 24 'resistance-breaking' interrogation tactics specifically for the scandal-ridden prison in Abu Ghraib -- forcing prisoners to remain in physically painful positions, threatening them with dogs and questioning them when they were naked. All these methods are part of the repertoire of countries classically affiliated with torture.

Nowak has harshly criticized this 'take the gloves off' policy, as it was described by former CIA anti-terrorism chief Cofer Black. 'Washington tried to set new standards,' he says. But it's a dangerous development and the UN expert fears that Washington's moves may encourage other countries to interpret the international torture ban more loosely. 'It must be possible to fight terror within the framework of international law,' he states categorically, adding that 'torture is an injustice -- in every instance.'"

Democracy: Iraq votes, Bush vetoes

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs:

"If democracy is meant to reflect the will of the people, Jaafari, for all his flaws, is a legitimate candidate to become the country's first permanent prime minister. But US President George W Bush is making it clear that his version of democracy in Iraq means having his preferred candidate at the helm.

...

What is missing from that sort of symbolism is the fact that Khalilzad is also one of the established neo-conservatives (albeit belonging to the second or even third tier) of the Bush administration. In that capacity, he has no problem defining democracy as nothing but the selection of US-preferred leaders. However, the US strategy of handpicking Iraqi and Afghan politicians (it adopted the same strategy in Afghanistan where it gave the nod to President Hamid Karzai) appears to be a measure of last resort. "

The US propaganda machine: Oh, what a lovely war

Independent Online Edition:

The Lincoln Group was tasked with presenting the US version of events in Iraq to counter adverse media coverage. Here we present examples of its work, and the reality behind its headlines.


"This is the news from Iraq according to Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration.

A week after the US Defence Secretary criticised the media for " exaggerating" reports of violence in Iraq, The Independent has obtained examples of newspaper reports the Bush administration want Iraqis to read.

"John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org, a Washington-based defence think-tank, who reviewed some of the Lincoln Group stories, said he found them unconvincing. 'Anybody who knows about propaganda knows the first rule of propaganda is that it should not look like propaganda,' he said. 'It's embarrassing enough that [the US military] got caught ... but then for their product to be so cheesy ... It's just embarrassing.'"

Iran to launch massive naval wargame

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

"Iran is to launch a massive joint naval wargame titled "The Exalted Prophet", beginning on March 31 with shooting of a Shahab II missile into the air with the message of "peace and friendship" for the regional countries, Persian Gulf, and sea of Oman littoral states.

Admiral Saffari announced the entire armed forces' of the country's full readiness to defend the territorial integrity of the motherland.

He added, 'the latest local achievements of the country in defense industries, implementation of the experiences of the country's armed forces in planning and launching massive military operations in practice, evaluation of the conduct of our commanders, and providing a real atmosphere for our mobilization forces to display their defense capabilities are among the top objectives of the maneuver.'

The four-phased naval wargame is meanwhile planned to display the Islamic system's defensive capabilities.

Iranian made drones would be flied to collect information from the virtual enemy's camp, sea-to-air missiles capable of pursuing moving objects, helicopters capable of shooting air-to-sea, and air-to-land missiles, rapid reaction boats, Iranian made intelligent mines with multi-sensors, various naval rocket mine launchers, huge Iranian made naval rockets and up-to-date telecommunication facilities would be among the sea of equipment to be facilitated during the wargame. "

Senator Schumer's Bill Would Speed Supreme Court Challenge to NSA Surveillance

Bill Would Speed Challenge to Surveillance - New York Times:

"'We have a system of checks and balances,' he said, 'and, in this case, when the stakes are so high, the Supreme Court should be the ultimate check.'

The bill would permit lawsuits by scholars, journalists and others who assert that they have refrained from calls or e-mail messages to Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries because of 'a reasonable fear' of N.S.A. eavesdropping."

29.3.06

An Analysis of the DeWine Spy Legislation

CCR

'It's breathtakingly cynical. Faced with a president who is almost certainly breaking the law, the Senate sets up a panel to watch him do it and calls that control. This new Senate plan is being presented as a way to increase the supervision of intelligence gathering while giving the spies needed flexibility. But it does no such thing.'

Imagine if the government took this approach to physical warrantless searches: A President approves of a physical break-in without seeking a warrant from a judge. When the burglars are caught, the Senate holds hearings, during which the President's henchmen claim that any further information about the break-in implicates national security, is therefore protected by privilege, and cannot be disclosed, in public session or otherwise. Then Congress responds by passing a law legalizing such break-ins, but with new committees to 'oversee' the crimes in the future.

That could never happen after Watergate, right?

Of course not. But not for the reason you think -- that Congress would never pass such a bill. Instead, the reason you may never see such a bill is that it would be redundant: if Congress believes that the Constitution allows warrantless wiretapping for national security purposes, there is no principled reason why physical searches should not be permissible as well. "

Bolivia: Washington opening another front?

Bolivia: Washington opening another front?:

"It would not appear to be heartening for the North that the first indigenous president of a country with a majority indigenous population has gained the executive seat with the support of those who wish for and need a new and distinct constitution that recognizes the rights and development needs of everyone, an improved distribution of assets, sovereignty and independence, one that will re-found the country. Neither is it satisfied with the just claim to nationalize resources that were privatized at the cost of greater poverty for those disfavored by fortune (there is already talk of taking control of the assets of 10 companies managing strategic sectors like telecommunications, oil, railroads, electricity and the national airline. Nor do they like the accompanying look by Bolivians towards their equals in Latin America, in search of relations that include solidarity - another vituperative word in Washington - as an essential component.

Thus the attacks have not been long in coming in order to add salt to the pepper that oligarchic sectors in the interior of the country are also scattering on a Revolution that they see coming."

Justices Hint That They'll Rule on Challenge Filed by Detainee | Breyer especially was not buying the Bush-line...

Justices Hint That They'll Rule on Challenge Filed by Detainee - New York Times:

"Mr. Clement's [the US Solicitor General] position was that Congress had not in fact suspended habeas corpus, but that it might constitutionally have done so given 'the exigencies of 9/11.' Addressing Justice Stevens, the solicitor general said, 'My view would be that if Congress sort of stumbles upon a suspension of the writ, that the preconditions are satisfied, that would still be constitutionally valid.'

Justice Souter interrupted. 'Isn't there a pretty good argument that suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is just about the most stupendously significant act that the Congress of the United States can take,' he asked, 'and therefore we ought to be at least a little slow to accept your argument that it can be done from pure inadvertence?'

When Mr. Clement began to answer, Justice Souter persisted: 'You are leaving us with the position of the United States that the Congress may validly suspend it inadvertently. Is that really your position?'

The solicitor general replied, 'I think at least if you're talking about the extension of the writ to enemy combatants held outside the territory of the United States —— '

'Now wait a minute!' Justice Souter interrupted, waving a finger. 'The writ is the writ. There are not two writs of habeas corpus, for some cases and for other cases. The rights that may be asserted, the rights that may be vindicated, will vary with the circumstances, but jurisdiction over habeas corpus is jurisdiction over habeas corpus.'

Justice Breyer, in his questioning of Mr. Clement, practically begged the solicitor general to endorse an alternative approach that would allow the court to avoid 'the most terribly difficult and important constitutional question of whether Congress can constitutionally deprive this court of jurisdiction in habeas corpus cases.'"

Ex-Justice Department Prosecutor Accused of Concealing Evidence in Terror Case - New York Times

Ex-Prosecutor Accused of Concealing Evidence in Terror Case - New York Times:

"A grand jury charged today that a former federal prosecutor in Detroit who led one of the Justice Department's biggest terrorism investigations concealed critical evidence in the case in an effort to bolster the government's theory that a group of local Muslim men were plotting an attack.

The prosecutor, Richard G. Convertino, and a State Department employee who served as a chief government witness were each indicted on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The grand jury charged that they had conspired to conceal evidence from the jury about photographs of an American military hospital in Jordan that was the supposed target of a terrorist plot concocted by the Detroit defendants.

...

The indictment of the former prosecutor and one of his star witnesses marked a striking turnaround in a case once hailed by President Bush and John Ashcroft, his first attorney general, as a major breakthrough against terrorism plotted on American soil.

...

Mr. Convertino, 45, who has left the Justice Department and opened his own defense practice in the Detroit area, faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted. His co-defendant, Harry R. Smith III, 49, a security officer for the State Department who assisted in the prosecution, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

The indictment returned by a grand jury in the eastern district of Michigan lays blame for the collapse of the case against the terrorism suspects at the feet of Mr. Convertino and Mr. Smith. It said the two men conspired "to present false evidence at trial and to conceal inconsistent and potentially damaging evidence from the defendants."

Draft Statement on Iran's Nuclear Program

Draft Statement on Iran's Nuclear Program:

"Following is the full text of a draft statement on Iran's nuclear program formally approved Wednesday by the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

The statement, which needed consent of all members, was read at a public meeting after Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States agreed to the compromise text after three weeks of intense negotiations."

Independent American voters: 34% and growing

Gallup: In Shift, More Americans Now Call Themselves Democrats:

"Independents now make up 34% of the population. When asked if they lean in a certain direction, their answers pushed the Democrat numbers to 49% with Republicans at 42%."

Different beat to Iran war drums

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs:

"The fact that the US has not already rushed into a war with Iran shows that the cavalier approach used in Iraq has been tempered. The Iraqi adventure has taught one cruel lesson: the US's military capabilities to create a quick victory have very little stabilizing effect in a conquered land. This reality might be serving as the most constraining factor on Bush as he contemplates Iran.

Nevertheless, one has no real idea on how serious the Bush administration really is about closing the nuclear option for Iran, and that the measured steps now being taken diplomatically might simply be a response to the headlong rush to war in Iraq, but with the same end result as the objective. "

Neoconservative cabal blocked 2003 nuclear agreement with Iran

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs:

"Lawrence Wilkerson, then chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, said the failure to adopt a formal Iran policy in 2002-03 was the result of obstruction by a 'secret cabal' of neo-conservatives in the administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

'The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran,' Wilkerson wrote in an e-mail to Inter Press Service (IPS). The Iranian negotiating offer, transmitted to the State Department in early May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, acknowledged that Iran would have to address US concerns about its nuclear program, although it made no specific concession in advance of the talks, according to Flynt Leverett, then the National Security Council's senior director for Middle East Affairs.

Iran's offer also raised the possibility of cutting off Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and converting Hezbollah into a purely socio-political organization, according to Leverett. That was an explicit response to Powell's demand in late March that Iran 'end its support for terrorism'.

In return, Leverett recalls, the Iranians wanted the US to address security questions, the lifting of economic sanctions and normalization of relations, including support for Iran's integration into the global economic order.

Leverett also recalls that the Iranian offer was drafted with the blessing of all the major political players in the Iranian regime, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Realists, led by Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, were inclined to respond positively to the Iranian offer. Nevertheless, within a few days of its receipt, the State Department had rebuked the Swiss ambassador for having passed on the offer.

Exactly how the decision was made is not known. 'As with many of these issues of national security decision-making, there are no fingerprints,' Wilkerson told IPS. 'But I would guess Dick Cheney with the blessing of George W Bush.' "

How Guantanamo brothers 'became victims of MI5 plot'

Independent Online Edition > Legal:

"Intelligence reports made by MI5 which have been submitted to the all-party group on extraordinary rendition support Mr al-Rawi's testimony and show the weakness of the case against the four men.

Part of this evidence, which was passed on to the Americans, includes allegations that Bisher al-Rawi had an interest in 'extreme sports' while Wahab was described as playing a lead role in setting up a peanut-processing factory in the Gambia. MI5 'intelligence' on the men also revealed that they carried copies of the Koran and had had an electronic device which turned out to be an ordinary battery charger."

Democratic Leadership is neither...

CNN.com - Dems offer national security platform - Mar 29, 2006:

unfortunately, it appears the democrats will position themselves as a war party in order to win in 2006.

"Indeed, the Democratic statement lacks specific details of a plan to capture bin Laden, the al Qaeda chief who has evaded U.S. forces in the more than four years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But Democrats suggest they will double the number of special forces and add more spies to increase the chances of finding al Qaeda's elusive leader.

Democrats also do not set a deadline for when all of the 132,000 American troops in Iraq should be withdrawn.

They say: 'We will ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for security and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.'

The latest in a series of party policy statements for 2006, the Democrats' national security platform comes seven months before voters decide who will control the House and Senate."

Putin says U.S. hampering Russia's WTO accession

RIA Novosti - Russia - Putin says U.S. hampering Russia's WTO accession:

"Russia's president said Wednesday the United States is deliberately slowing down Russia's accession to the world's largest trade body.

'We have received a list of questions from our American colleagues that require additional agreements that we thought had been settled long ago,' Putin told a meeting of top businessmen at the Kremlin. 'The negotiations process is being artificially set back.'"

Afghan spiritual leader urges boycott of Afghan government

::: Afghan Islamic Press :::

"Renowned Afghan spiritual leader and scholar, Sufi Jan Agha has urged uelma of Afghanistan boycott the “puppet” government of Karzai following the release of apostate Abdur Rahman.

In a press statement issued to media organizations in Peshawar he said, “The Afghan government always trampled the orders of Holy Quran to appease its Jews and Christian masters.”

Sufi Jan Agha urged ulema and Mujahideen of Afghanistan to stop their support to government that has no respect for Shariah, Quran and its own made constitution of the country.

Afghanistan has become the colony of infidelity and the government and its defense and interior departments are in the control of London, Washington and leaders of Catholics, the spiritual leader alleged."

Adem v Bush

CCR

"'This court is telling the Bush Administration to stop stonewalling justice. The Supreme Court already ruled that detainees have a right to representation, but the Bush Administration has tried to delay and block attorneys from meeting with clients. This week's ruling is another setback to the Administration's unconstitutional use of mass detainment to deny rights and shirk oversight by the other branches of American government,' said Barbara Olshansky, CCR Deputy Legal Director. Ms. Olshansky also noted that the Bush Administration has prevented CCR from meeting with about 270 of its clients at Guantanamo."

A Dangerous Deal With India

A Dangerous Deal With India:

An editorial by President Jimmy Carter:

"There is no doubt that condoning avoidance of the NPT encourages the spread of nuclear weaponry. Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and many other technologically advanced nations have chosen to abide by the NPT to gain access to foreign nuclear technology. Why should they adhere to self-restraint if India rejects the same terms? At the same time, Israel's uncontrolled and unmonitored weapons status entices neighboring leaders in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other states to seek such armaments, for status or potential use. The world has observed that among the 'axis of evil,' nonnuclear Iraq was invaded and a perhaps more threatening North Korea has not been attacked.

The global threat of proliferation is real, and the destructive capability of irresponsible nations -- and perhaps even some terrorist groups -- will be enhanced by a lack of leadership among nuclear powers that are not willing to restrain themselves or certain chosen partners. Like it or not, the United States is at the forefront in making these crucial strategic decisions. A world armed with nuclear weapons could be a terrible legacy of the wrong choices."

28.3.06

Imperial overreach is accelerating the global decline of America

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain - Imperial overreach is accelerating the global decline of America:

"The promotion of the idea of the war against terror as the central priority of US policy had little to do with the actual threat posed by al-Qaida, which was always hugely exaggerated by the Bush administration, as events over the last four and a half years have shown. Al-Qaida never posed a threat to the US except in terms of the odd terrorist outrage. Making it the central thrust of US foreign policy, in other words, had nothing to do with the al-Qaida threat and everything to do with the Bush administration seeking to mobilise US public opinion behind a neoconservative foreign policy. There followed the tenuous - in reality nonexistent - link with Saddam, which provided in large measure the justification for the invasion of Iraq, an act which now threatens to unravel the bizarre adventurism, personified by Donald Rumsfeld, which has been the hallmark of Bush foreign policy since 9/11. The latter has come unstuck in the killing fields of Iraq in the most profound way imaginable."

...

[quoting a recent speech by senator hyde]

"A few brief years ago, history was proclaimed to be at an end, our victory engraved in unyielding stone, our pre-eminence garlanded with permanence. But we must remember that Britain's majestic rule vanished in a few short years, undermined by unforeseen catastrophic events and by new threats that eventually overwhelmed the palisades of the past. The life of pre-eminence, as with all life on this planet, has a mortal end. To allow our enormous power to delude us into seeing the world as a passive thing waiting for us to recreate it in an image of our choosing will hasten the day when we have little freedom to choose anything at all."

Did Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl mislead the Supreme Court? (yes)

Invisible Men By Emily Bazelon:

"Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. In a brief they filed with the Supreme Court, they argue that Congress kicked Hamdan's current case out of court when it passed the Detainee Treatment Act last December.

The senators base their argument on the 'legislative history' of the DTA—the official statements that members of Congress make about a bill leading up to its passage, as captured in the Congressional Record. In other words, Graham and Kyl cite themselves: in particular, an 'extensive colloquy' between the two that appears in the Record on Dec. 21, 2005, the day of the DTA's passage. Justice Department lawyers for the Bush administration rely on the same colloquy as evidence that 'Congress was aware' that the DTA would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear 'pending cases, including this case' brought by the Guantanamo detainees.

The problem is that Kyl and Graham's colloquy didn't actually happen on Dec. 21. It was inserted into the Congressional Record just before the law passed, which means that the colloquy did not alert other members of Congress to the views it contains. Inserting comments into the Record is standard practice in Congress. What's utterly nonstandard is implying to the Supreme Court that testimony was live when it wasn't. The colloquy is evidence of what Kyl and Graham thought about the meaning of the DTA. But it doesn't show that any other member of Congress shared their understanding. Everything else in the record that directly addresses whether the DTA forces the Supreme Court to toss Hamdan comes from Levin or another Democrat—and explicitly states that the DTA leaves Hamdan alone."

Hamdan v Rumsfeld


The Pocket Part:

during oral argument earlier today, it appeared to me that hamdan will get a 5-3 decision in his favor. scalia and his two lap-dogs, alito and thomas, will dissent loudly. roberts sat out.

this is an excerpt written by the attorney for mr hamdan:

"Mr. Hamdan’s complaint, in essence, is that the government is relying on vague international law doctrines in those commissions, even as it refuses to afford him the rights guaranteed by the very same doctrines. Mr. Hamdan would be perfectly happy to abide solely by the domestic law of the United States, which would mean that he’d be tried either in a civilian court or a court-martial. The President, though, wants to prosecute Mr. Hamdan for an offense against “the laws of war”—a body of international law.

The full “laws of war,” which were developed in the context of wars between nation-states, have never applied to a stateless, territory-less group like al Qaeda. We have never had a military commission trial to enforce the laws of war against an individual alleged to belong to a group that was stateless and territory-less. Indeed, the one place where the laws of war do expand beyond traditional conflicts between nation-states is in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which covers all armed conflicts, even internal ones like civil wars. The Administration, though, clings to the sorry position, memorialized by John Yoo during his time at the Office of Legal Counsel: that Common Article 3 does not apply to al Qaeda. It is bad enough that this position is in complete disregard of the history of the Article and its interpretation by scholars and jurists alike. The more troubling problem is that by making that judgment, the Administration has deprived a properly constituted military commission of the one set of offenses it could lawfully try—violations of Common Article 3"

image from poceketpart.org

Scalia's Recusal Sought in Key Detainee Case

Scalia's Recusal Sought in Key Detainee Case:

"In a letter delivered to the court late yesterday, a lawyer for the retired officers cited news reports of Scalia's March 8 remarks to an audience at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland. Scalia reportedly said it was 'crazy' to suggest that combatants captured fighting the United States should receive a 'full jury trial,' and dismissed suggestions that the Geneva Conventions might apply to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Scalia's remarks "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that, even before briefing was complete, he had already made up his mind" about issues in the case, the lawyer, David H. Remes, wrote. Noting that Scalia reportedly had discussed the rights of accused terrorists in the context of his son Matthew's recent tour as an Army officer in Iraq, Remes wrote that this creates an appearance of "personal bias arising from his son's military service."

MI5 tip-off to CIA led to men's rendition

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | MI5 tip-off to CIA led to men's rendition:

"The disclosures come as a report today from the group Cage Prisoners claims evidence shows that Tony Blair, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and the leader of the house, Geoff Hoon, 'misled' the Commons 'over their knowledge and complicity in illegal acts of rendition'.

It also accuses Britain's secret services of involvement in 'interrogations of detainees where abuse and torture' were used in countries ranging from Morocco and Pakistan to Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay.

...

Britain was involved in the rendition or torture of 17 of its own citizens or residents, the report says. Mr Rawi and Mr Banna are included among Muslim men who Caged Prisoners says the Blair government subjected to a "subterranean system of kidnappings, ghosted to black sites, suffering abuse and torture".

The report says the security services passed 'misinformation' to countries which was then used to detain and torture people from the UK. It says Britain allowed CIA rendition flights to pass through its airspace, and touch down on UK soil, en route to human rights abusing countries, despite denials by the Blair government. The documents in the court case also reveal that an MI5 officer had told Mr Banna that he 'should be able to travel [to Gambia] without a problem'"

27.3.06

'no one thought it would be like this': an article from may 5, 2003...

Ominous Precedent

Iraq is also a country deeply divided along religious (Sunni versus Shi’ite Muslim) and ethnic (Arab versus Kurd) lines. Saddam’s ruthless dictatorship had to put down Kurdish and Shi’ite rebellions against the regime of his Sunni-Arab-dominated Ba’ath Party. Any post-Saddam regime we install will undoubtedly have to meet the challenges of managing these intractable religious and ethnic differences.

"While the United States has won a major military victory in Iraq, difficult tasks remain: we must bring the war to a close quickly and with little additional bloodshed, keep Iraq’s restive ethnic groups from killing each other or breaking away, establish a stable democratic regime in Baghdad, and preserve regional stability. To accomplish even a few of these tasks will be a challenge.

Large numbers of Iraqi soldiers—Republican Guard, Special Republican Guard, Fedayeen Saddam, and members of the various security services—remain at large. These Iraqis were no match for coalition forces in conventional combat in the open desert. They demonstrated, though, that by waging guerrilla warfare in the cities of Umm Qasr, Nasariyah, Najaf, Karbala, and Basra they could drag out the conflict and inflict casualties. Should large numbers continue to resist in Baghdad or other parts of the country, they could further prolong the war and raise its human toll on both sides. The coalition has won a remarkable victory, but more fighting may be ahead.

The ethnic mix in Iraq is volatile. The Kurds have long suffered under Arab oppression and are not likely to forgive and forget. They are also divided into competing factions that did not get along well before the war and are unlikely to resolve their differences any time soon. The Sunni and Shi’ite Arabs have such a long history of bitter conflict that many scores will undoubtedly be settled in the coming weeks and months. Preventing ethnic conflict and secession in post-Saddam Iraq will be difficult."

cf. today's new york times article on the blair/bush memo

quotes from a wonderful essay written at the end of 2005:

in 2005, war criminal bush said: ‘Anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. The stakes in the global War on Terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will.’

in 2005, war criminal cheney said: ‘The suggestion that’s been made by some US senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.’

days later, war criminal cheney complained that the ‘liberal’ media had distorted his remarks. As evidence, I heard him cite a headline that read: ‘Cheney says war critics “dishonest, reprehensible”.’ Then, in the same speech, I heard him say: ‘I will again say it is dishonest and reprehensible. This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety.’

Assad Cautioned US on 'Swamp' in Iraq

Bloomberg.com: Top Worldwide:

"``I told them, you will win the war, no doubt about that, the first war, the military part of it,'' Assad said in a television interview with Charlie Rose that will air late today on the Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S. ``But after you occupied Iraq, you would have chaos, resistance, you will have a swamp.''

The Syrian leader suggested that he now wants to ensure Iraq doesn't slide into a civil war between the Shiite and Sunni Muslim factions in the country. ``Any effect in our region is like a domino effect,'' Assad told Rose, according to a transcript furnished by the program. ``Especially if you have chaos. If something happens in Iraq, it's going to have side effects on Syria.''"

Iraq parties demand U.S. cede control

Top News Article | Reuters.co.uk:

looks as if the iraqi'a have run out of flowers for the americans, no?

"Iraq's ruling parties demanded U.S. forces cede control of security on Monday as the government launched an inquiry into a raid on a Shi'ite mosque that ministers said saw 'cold blooded' killings by U.S.-led troops.

As Shi'ite militiamen fulminated over Sunday's deaths of 20 or more people in Baghdad, an al Qaeda-led group said it carried out one of the bloodiest Sunni insurgent attacks in months. A suicide bomber killed 40 Iraqi army recruits in northern Iraq"

On Halliburton Concentration Camps, the Creation of a class of 11 million felon/illegal immigrants, and US Army Regulation 210-35

'connected the dots' on the radical extemists in the white house.

dot one: halliburton awarded a $385 million no-bid contract for 'detention camps' and the pretextual reason for these 'camps' is to handle the influx of immigrants and in case of a national emergency.

KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said.

dot two: radical extremists in the house of representatives pass a bill that will create 11,000,000 felons from the mexican workers in this country.

dot three: the truth is dicovered! the creation of these 'detention camps' anticipated the exremist in the house passing the bill, and that dr./sen./UMHAH bill frist will see it passed. the camps WILL NOT be used for an influx of immigrants, but, for the purposes of creating mexican concentration camps.

dot four: Army Regulation 210-35, dated january 2005, titled 'Civilian Inmate Labor Camps'.

dot five: by creating these mexican concentration work camps on US military bases, the administration can essentially back-fill the jobs left by the 'inmates' with legal immigrants that will undoubtedly fill the void left.

Colonialism continues to flourish in the Middle East

Gulfnews: Colonialism continues to flourish in the Middle East:

"The wholesale destruction of Iraqi and Palestinian society over the past decade and a half by sanctions, wars and colonial settlement could not have occurred had there been some form of international counterweight to American and Israeli power.

The second major factor which has shaped the Middle East in recent years has, of course, been the ever-closer American-Israeli alliance, to the extent that Israel and its friends in the United States have managed, to an astonishing extent, to shape American policy towards the region in an anti-Arab and anti-Islamic direction.

The United States has paid a very heavy price for this bias which has aroused the hostility of much of the Arab and Muslim world. The 9/11 attacks against New York's twin towers and the Pentagon symbols of America's financial and military power were only the most spectacular manifestations of a world-wide, if loosely-structured, resistance movement, which seems certain to strike again if the US continues on its present course, as it seems set to do."

26.3.06

Only a resistant nation can safeguard its grandeur

Fars News Agency :: Only a resistant nation can safeguard its grandeur:

"He added that the enemies have ganged up against the legitimate interests of the Iranian nation and are trying to call their ganging up as ‘global consensus’ against Iran, 'but the world people know very well that the real global consensus is against the US and its warmongering interventions, and not against the Iranian nation.'

The Leader termed resistance in the face of bullying, threats and the deceptive promises of the enemies as the source of progress, dignity and grandeur of the Iranian nation.

He noted that the Iranian nation has displayed its vigilance and resistance in the face of the enemies ever since the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979, and because of this resistance it remains dignified and proud today."

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says - New York Times:

YES!!!!

"'The public record at the time, including numerous statements by the President, makes clear that the administration was continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution into 2003,' he said. 'Saddam Hussein was given every opportunity to comply, but he chose continued defiance, even after being given one final opportunity to comply or face serious consequences. Our public and private comments are fully consistent.'

The January 2003 memo is the latest in a series of secret memos produced by top aides to Mr. Blair that summarize private discussions between the president and the prime minister. Another group of British memos, including the so-called Downing Street memo written in July 2002, showed that some senior British officials had been concerned that the United States was determined to invade Iraq, and that the 'intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy' by the Bush administration to fit its desire to go to war.

At several points during the meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, there was palpable tension over finding a legitimate legal trigger for going to war that would be acceptable to other nations, the memo said. The prime minister was quoted as saying it was essential for both countries to lobby for a second United Nations resolution against Iraq, because it would serve as "an insurance policy against the unexpected."

The memo said Mr. Blair told Mr. Bush, "If anything went wrong with the military campaign, or if Saddam increased the stakes by burning the oil wells, killing children or fomenting internal divisions within Iraq, a second resolution would give us international cover, especially with the Arabs."

Was Bush concerned...of course: about the oil wells.

Despite his optimism, Mr. Bush said he was aware that "there were uncertainties and risks," the memo says, and it goes on, "As far as destroying the oil wells were concerned, the U.S. was well equipped to repair them quickly, although this would be easier in the south of Iraq than in the north."

Secret Memo Shows Bush Was Bent on War and Concocting Lies

Secret Memo Shows Bush Was Bent on War, 'NY Times' Reveals:

YES!!!

"A confidential memo of a two-hour meeting between President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Jan. 31, 2003, makes clear that the White House was bent on attacking Iraq two months later no matter what, according to The New York Times on Monday based on its review of the document.

“The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq,” The Times relates. “Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.”

It also described the president as saying, 'The U.S. might be able to bring out a defector who could give a public presentation about Saddam's W.M.D,' referring to weapons of mass destruction. "

Top Iraq PM aide slams US Mosque Massacre

Top Iraq PM aide slams US mosque raid - Breaking News - World - Breaking News:

"A top aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari condemned a US raid on a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad which killed up to 20 people as a 'policy of aggression'.

'I demand a full investigation of this crime,' Jawad al-Maliki, a member of Sadr's Dawa party, told Shi'ite-dominated state television.

Shi'ite officials, who came to power in elections after a US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated government in 2003, rarely criticise the United States.

Maliki's remarks came a day after US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad called on the Shi'ite-dominated government to crack down on militias, saying they are killing more Iraqis than insurgents."

US Troops Massacre 20 Iraq Shi'ites in Mosque Attack

Reuters AlertNet - Amid confusion, Iraq Shi'ites accuse US troops:

"Politicians from Iraq's Shi'ite majority accused U.S. troops of massacring 20 worshippers at a Baghdad mosque on Sunday but police and residents said many died in clashes between Shi'ite militia fighters and Americans."

Batshit-crazy Extremist Scalia Ought to Recuse Himself from Gitmo Case.

Newsweek Periscope - MSNBC.com:

"The Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in a big case: whether to allow the Bush administration to try Guantanamo detainees in special military tribunals with limited rights for the accused. But Justice Antonin Scalia has already spoken his mind about some of the issues in the matter. During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiberg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was 'astounded' at the 'hypocritical' reaction in Europe to Gitmo. 'War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts,' he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. 'Give me a break.' Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: 'If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy.' Scalia was apparently referring to his son Matthew, who served with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Scalia did say, though, that he was concerned 'there may be no end to this war.'"

Yet Another Tom DeLay Aide--A Sick Religious Extremist--Bilks a Nonprofit

Former DeLay Aide Enriched By Nonprofit:

"In the late 1990s, when DeLay's influence was growing, the lawmaker depicted the USFN in a promotional letter as a nationwide, grass-roots organization. In fact, it had a tiny staff that barely registered an impact on Capitol Hill. The group appears to have served mostly as a vehicle for funneling corporate funds to DeLay's advisers and financing ads that attacked Democrats.

The group's payments to the Buckhams -- in the form of a monthly retainer as well as commissions on donations by Abramoff's clients -- overlapped briefly with Edwin Buckham's service as chief of staff to DeLay and continued during his subsequent role as DeLay's chief political adviser.

If an individual called DeLay's appointments secretary saying they wanted to talk to DeLay about overregulation, the appointment secretary would say go speak to Buckham," one former aide said. Buckham, an evangelical minister, also continued to serve as DeLay's spiritual adviser and prayed frequently with him, the former aides said.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Seyed Ali Khamenei Comments on 'Countries of Global Arrogance'

IRIB PERSIAN NEWS PAGE:

"Addressing countries of global arrogance, the Supreme Leader said: 'Countries of global arrogance should know that the Iranian nation is as hard as steel and it insists on defending hoisted flag of Islam as a historical duty which is the depth of Iranian nation in the Islamic world.'

'Women and men of this country, the young and old in this Islamic homeland, and successive generations of this great nation have been hardened by experience,' he said.

Today, one-and-a-half billion Muslims all over the world pin their hopes on Islam and Islamic Iran, he said."

Iraq FM: Some Arab governments see Iraq's (American installed) Leadership as Illegitimate

Aljazeera.Net - Iraq FM slams Arab stand:

"Iraq's Shia leaders have frequently expressed bitterness over Arab states' slowness in showing support for the country's new leadership, suggesting the Arab League - whose 22 members are majority Sunnis - is biased towards Iraq's Sunni minority, which enjoyed power during the rule of ousted leader Saddam Hussein.

But the strong criticism was striking coming from Zibari, a Kurd who as foreign minister has played the role of point man with Arab nations.

He accused some Arab governments of seeing Iraq's new leadership as illegitimate and hoping for attempts at democracy in the country to fail."

more republician corruption...what's new?

KR Washington Bureau :

"Wade and the two partners, who have been large contributors to Republican political campaigns, formed the Iranian Democratization Foundation in April 2004, according to incorporation papers filed in Washington.

The timing coincides with a push by opponents of the theocratic regime in Tehran to appropriate more money for democracy programs.

In November 2004, Congress approved spending $3 million to promote democracy in Iran. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month asked Congress for a large boost in funding, to $75 million.

Behrooz Behbudi, who helped incorporate the foundation, said in a telephone interview that Wade 'was supposed to get funds from the Congress' for the project. The two later fell out over business dealings in Iraq, Behbudi said.

Wade, who headed contractor MZM Inc., pleaded guilty last month to bribery-related charges and making illegal campaign contributions. His chief congressional patron, former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, pleaded guilty in November to taking bribes.

Wade's dealings, which include contracts MZM received from Pentagon intelligence agencies, are under investigation."