Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Democracy Now: Robert Parry, Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, Gilbert Achcar, Scott Armstrong; David Lindorff, Eleanor Smeal, Green Party on Rosa Parks ...

Report: CIA Conducting Interrogations in Soviet-Era Prison
The Washington Post is reporting the CIA has been hiding and interrogating important al Qaeda detainees at a Soviet-era secret prison in Eastern Europe. The prison is part of a small global network of secret CIA and military compounds used in the so-called war on terror, including the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. At the request of U.S. officials, the Post did not publish the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the secret program. Intelligence officials and legal experts told the Post the prisons "would be considered illegal under the laws of several host countries, where detainees have rights to have a lawyer or to mount a defense against allegations of wrongdoing."

Historian: NSA Falsified Gulf of Tonkin Evidence
The New York Times is reporting new evidence has emerged about the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 that precipitated the escalation of the Vietnam War. A National Security Agency historian has determined officers at the agency knowingly falsified intelligence in order to make it look as if North Vietnam had attacked U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf. Following the alleged attack, Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes on North Vietnamese targets and used the event to persuade Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which led to the escalation of the war. The NSA’s historian determined the intelligence may have been falsified not for political reasons but to cover up earlier mistakes made by intelligence officers. However, the Times reports there has also been a cover up of the historian’s account, which was first published in a classified in-house journal of the National Security Agency in 2001. The historian’s article remains classified. According to the Times, policymakers at the NSA feared the release of the historical study might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq.

Rumsfeld Stands To Profit From Flu Vaccine Sales
Meanwhile Fortune magazine is reporting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stands to reap a financial windfall from the sale of flu vaccines. Rumsfeld is an investor in Gilead Sciences, a California company that owns the patent to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy currently the most-sought after drug in the world. Rumsfeld was Gilead's chair from 1997 until joining the Bush administration in 2001. His stake in the company is valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

World Can't Wait Protests Set for Today
Over 200 protests and rallies are scheduled today across the country as part of a national day of action organized by the group The World Can't Wait, Drive Out the Bush Regime. In New York the protests began Tuesday after one of the city’s leading hip-hop stations, Hot 97, rejected a paid ad promoting the protests. Organizers with World Can’t Wait are urging students across the country to walk out of classes in support of the protest. In Seattle, the Post-Intelligencer reports student walk-outs are scheduled in over two dozen schools.

The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and they were selected by Tamika, Bernardo, Miguel and Rachel. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for November 2, 2005
- Senate Democrats Force Closed Session on Pre-War Intelligence
- Report: CIA Conducting Interrogations in Soviet-Era Prison
- Addington Attacked Aide Who Cited Geneva Conventions
- NAACP Concerned Over Alito Nomination
- Bush Announces $7.1 Billion Flu Plan
- World Can't Wait Protests Set for Today
- Rosa Parks To Be Laid to Rest in Detroit

Los Titulares de Hoy: Democracy Now!'s daily news summary translated into Spanish

Attorney Tells Why Guantanamo Detainee Attempted Suicide in Front of Him
More than twenty detainees in the Guantanamo Bay prison have attempted suicide and UN investigators continue to press for visits at the prison camp despite refusals from the Bush administration. We speak with lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, who recently witnessed a client’s suicide attempt during a visit, about the ongoing desperation of prisoners and the military’s reporting of the events. [includes rush transcript]

Almost 1,000 Days After U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Democratic Senators Call in Secret Session for Investigation of Pre-War Intelligence
Democrats forced the Republican-controlled Senate into an unusual closed session Tuesday to question intelligence used by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq invasion. We speak with investigative journalist Robert Parry and Scott Armstrong of the Information Trust about how the CIA leak case indictment has highlighted questions about pre-war intelligence. [includes rush transcript]

Gilbert Achcar: "The Very Presence of U.S. Troops Fuels the Insurgency"
We are joined in our New York studio by University of Paris professor, author and analyst, Gilbert Achcar, who has been engaged in a public online debate with University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole about whether the U.S. should immediately withdraw from Iraq. [includes rush transcript]

Zach e-mails to note that Robert Parry, a guest on today's Democracy Now!, has an article entitled "Is Impeachment the Answer?" (Consortium News):

Washington pundits are showering George W. Bush with advice on how to "restart" his presidency, but many Americans seem more interested in whether it's possible to "terminate" his presidency, removing him and other top officials from office. It is a question asked of us often.
The conventional wisdom -- virtually across Washington's political spectrum –--is that the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is unthinkable, and without doubt, it would be extremely difficult to engineer.
But a better answer to Americans interested in holding Bush and Cheney accountable is that impeachment is possible -- if enough voters want it to happen.
Say, for instance, 75 percent of voters favored impeachment and considered it a decisive issue in how they will cast their ballots. Would politicians facing such a popular groundswell risk their own jobs to save Bush and Cheney?
Or, put differently, what would happen if voters -- beginning with state and local elections on Nov. 8 -- rejected every Republican on the ballot? Would the public hunger for accountability begin to sink in then?
Crazy? Well, there are signs that even in Red States, Bush is becoming a drag on Republicans.
In Virginia, for instance, a Washington Post poll discovered that only 26 percent of voters said they were more likely to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore because Bush endorsed him, while 47 percent said Bush's endorsement was a negative, with the rest either saying it made no difference or they had no opinion. [Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2005]
So, in a state that favored Bush in 2000 and 2004, barely one in four voters see Bush’s endorsement as a plus and nearly one in two voters see it as a minus.
And what if Bush went from being a drag hindering Republican candidates to being an anchor pulling them under? What effect would that have in the congressional elections of 2006? Might the Democrats achieve more than incremental gains?
Media Needed
Yet, while a political tidal wave starting in 2005 and gaining force in 2006 would have the potential of making accountability a reality, the tougher challenge of impeaching Bush and Cheney comes from the lack of an adequate infrastructure that can make the case consistently with the American people.

(FYI, Zach e-mailed to note that a day or two back. Due to being out of town last weekend and sick, I'm behind in the e-mails to the private account -- and barely reading the ones to the public account. Members do take priority and Jess, Ava and I have been focusing on the private account. There are over 3,000 unread e-mails in the public account so if you're a member using the public account -- -- instead of the private account, please be patient for a bit longer.)

On a similar topic, Mia e-mails to note David Lindorff's "Thinking About Impeachment" (CounterPunch):

There is little doubt that the even if the Bush administration doesn't go down in flames, it will go down in history as one of, if not the most incompetent, corrupt and dangerous presidencies in the history of the republic.
The question is, with crimes so colossal, why isn't there a public demand for his impeachment?
In fact, there is a powerful and growing popular sentiment for impeachment--we just don't hear about it. The Zogby organization, the only polling outfit to have posed the question to date, found last June that 42 percent of Americans felt Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war (a much larger percentage believe he lied). That, of course, was before the mainstream media began finally reporting, as a result of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of Plamegate, on the disinformation campaign for war against Iraq directed by Vice President Dick Cheney and the White House Iraq Group. It was also before Bush himself was found to have been in on the cover-up of the outing of Valerie Plame by Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and presidential advisor Karl Rove. It was also before the US death toll in Iraq topped 2000.
Significantly, it was also before Bush's callous and inept performance following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, which has driven his approval rating down to the size of his hard-core conservative base.
It's a safe bet that the percentage in favor of impeachment of this liar and joke of a president today would be a lot higher than Zogby found it to be in June--a figure, incidentally, which is higher than it ever was during the entire impeachment saga of President Bill Clinton in 1998/9, when the issue was, not an illegal war but an adulterous blow job.

Billie e-mails to note BuzzFlash's Wing of Justice winner for the week, Patrick Fitzgerald:

In a White House that fabricated a WMD threat and released classified information as political payback, Fitzgerald is that rarest of Bush appointees -- Someone who sees the "rule of law" as a sacred trust rather than a partisan punchline.
Even though Fitzgerald was nominated by a Republican Senator and appointed by the White House, a few minutes after the announcement of an indictment, the right wing message point meat grinder began claiming Fitzgerald was partisan. While truth and the rule of law are non-partisan, they are perennial obstacles to the Bush machine's obfuscation and betrayal of our nation, which is why the radical right fights them at every turn.

Third Party e-mails to note "Greens Pay Tribute to Rosa Parks:"

Green Party leaders mourned the passing of Rosa Parks, and encouraged Americans to recognize that the struggle for human rights and freedoms -- of which Ms. Parks remains a towering symbol -- is far from over.
"The best way to remember Rosa Parks' courage in 1955 is to rededicate ourselves to civil rights in 2005," said Rick Tingling-Clemmons, Black Caucus delegate to the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States. "Ms. Parks' act of civil disobedience on a bus led to passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which enforced the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. The obstruction and manipulation of votes in the 2000 and 2004 elections -- especially African American votes -- demonstrate that the civil rights movement isn't over, that we're still fighting for the right to vote for all Americans."
Greens have called for congressional legislation, a new Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing and enforcing a national right to vote. The U.S. Supreme Court gutted the principle of 'one person, one vote' in its 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, in disregard of the 14th Amendment's voting rights provisions (Section 2).
The experiences of the 2000 and 2004 national elections, including evidence uncovered in the Ohio and New Mexico recount campaigns in 2004 initiated by Green presidential candidate David Cobb, have proven an ongoing and concerted effort to prevent people from voting and to prevent votes from being counted. African American, young, and low income voters were especially targeted. A state 'Voter ID Law' passed earlier this year makes voting more difficult for citizens in Georgia, an effect of which will be the disenfranchisement of thousands of African American and other voters <>.
"There are many civil rights struggles still being fought: for the right to vote; for the rights of poor and African American Katrina survivors who have faced official indifference and mass removal; for social safety net guarantees of health care and housing; for basic freedoms in the era of the USA Patriot Act; for reparations for the descendents of slaves; for repeal of draconian drug laws sending thousands of young people to prison; for women's equality and the right to make our own health care and reproductive decisions -- the list goes on and on. We in the Green Party are fighting these battles, and we're doing so in the spirit of heroes like Rosa Parks," said Morgen D'Arc, co-founder and co-chair of the Green Party National Women's Caucus.
"The greatest tribute we can pay to Rosa Parks, who moved the conscience of America, is to recognize that the struggle for equal rights and human dignity continues around the world. Here in America we still suffer from racism, segregation, and poverty that are often hidden from sight, which makes its impact even more devastating for so many," said Dr. Alice Green, Green Party candidate for mayor of Albany, New York and founding director of the Center for Law and Justice.
Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
Green Party Black Caucus
Green Party National Women's Caucus

Nolanda e-mails to note Eleanor Smeal's "Alito's Mother Says the Obvious -- But There's More" (The Smeal Report, Ms.):

The media is pushing a story right now that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's record on abortion is "mixed," even tilted in favor of abortion rights. Why are women's rights and reproductive rights groups convinced that Alito would be the fifth vote against abortion on the Supreme Court? And why are anti-abortion extremists singing his praises?
First of all, Alito's mother told the Associated Press that "of course" her son is "against abortion." But you don't need to get this from his mom. Reading between the lines, Alito has done the most he could do to restrict abortion rights as an appellate judge who had to follow Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade.
As a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1991 arguing that it is constitutional to force women to notify their husbands before obtaining an abortion. In a so-called partial-birth abortion ban case in New Jersey, he did not join the majority opinion overturning the law; rather, he wrote a concurring opinion simply stating that as an appellate judge, he had to follow Supreme Court precedent. But if confirmed to the Supreme Court, he would not have that constraint.

Sorry for the delay on this. World Can't Wait is my excuse. There's no excuse for Van Nuys surrounding a high school with police but considering that their cultural accomplishment in the eighties largely amounted to nothing more than fan clubs for daytime celebs, it's not all that surprising. (That's a slap at those in charge in Van Nuys, not at the people who live there.)

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