Thursday, May 26, 2005
"Meanwhile, Back in Iraq: BigOkie Edition"
Meanwhile, Back in Iraq: BigOkie EditionMany of you who know me and read my posts know that my son, a Marine in the First Battalion, Fifth Regiment, is in Iraq for the third time since this little party began.
We got "the call" today.
It's a Marine sargeant. He tells us how our son has been wounded yet again--a part of Operation New Market. He says a roadside bomb exploded near the Humvee in which he is the gunner. He took shrapnel in his hands, arms, and face. He was "medi-vac-ed" out. He was "treated". He isn't "critical". He was sent back to his unit. Again.
My wife is a basket case. I cannot fucking stand it anymore.
These goddamned bastards are killing and maiming an entire generation of Americans and several generations of Iraqis. And they fill our airways with talk of valuing life and of "human dignity". Save the embryos, but fuck your children.
I just poured my fifth bourbon in an effort to quit feeling this pain and anxiety. The only thing I truly regret is that Dear Leader will never have to experience the fear and anxiety of having his children fight in an unjust war for the benefit of corporate whores. No, that is for the "little people".
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Finally, some truth from GW Bush
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." — Bush in Greece, New York, yesterdayCrooks and Liars provides audio here.
Are we trying to start a holy war?
N.C. church stands by sign saying Quran "should be flushed"
From the United States Marine Corp
Haditha Dam, Al Anbar, Iraq - The 'New Testament' a tank with 4th Tank Co., 1st Tank battalion attached to 3/25 prepares to lead the way during a recent mission.
Photo by: Cpl. Ken Melton
Monday, May 23, 2005
GW Bush take lessons from Orwell
Q: And if I may ask you, Mr. President, as you know, the casualties of Iraq is again high today -- 50 more people dying. Do you think that insurgence is getting harder now to defeat militarily?Does this mean I should hope the insurgents start winning, so they stop fighting?
BUSH: No, I don't think so. I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight...
Also, from the same question:
Q: Just to follow up on the treatment of the prisoners. Mr. President, you know, anti-American feeling is running high in the Muslim world. We've seen it in Afghanistan after the alleged disintegration of the Koran in Guantanamo....
KARZAI: Those demonstrations were, in reality, not related to the Newsweek story. They were more against the elections in Afghanistan; they were more against the progress in Afghanistan; they were more against the strategic partnership with the United States. We know who did it. We know the guys. We know the people behind those demonstrations.
Are US personal setting up Iraqi car bombers?
This points to the real problem caused by events at Abu Ghaib Prison, Iraqi and Bagram Air Base and Gitmo, etc. in Afghanistan. Since there hasn't been, nor should we expect, a full inquiry into the obvious maltreatments, all rumours of improper conduct by US personal can easily be believed, both here and abroad. It is not just the act that must be morally evaluated, but also the impressions they create. No act is done in isolation; its meaning is always contextual.
Translated and reprinted at the Centre for Research on Globalisation, "Combat terrorism" by causing it:
A warning to car drivers (in Arabic)
by Imad Khadduri
May 11, 2005
“A few days ago, an American manned check point confiscated the driver license of a driver and told him to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation and in order to retrieve his license. The next day, the driver did visit the camp and he was allowed in the camp with his car. He was admitted to a room for an interrogation that lasted half an hour. At the end of the session, the American interrogator told him: ‘OK, there is nothing against you, but you do know that Iraq is now sovereign and is in charge of its own affairs. Hence, we have forwarded your papers and license to al-Kadhimia police station for processing. Therefore, go there with this clearance to reclaim your license. At the police station, ask for Lt. Hussain Mohammed who is waiting for you now. Go there now quickly, before he leaves his shift work”.
The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors.
The only feasible explanation for this incidence is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated “hideous attack by foreign elements”.
The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq. A car was confiscated along with the driver’s license. He did follow up on the matter and finally reclaimed his car but was told to go to a police station to reclaim his license. Fortunately for him, the car broke down on the way to the police station. The inspecting car mechanic discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives."
Original Arabic: http://www.albasrah.net/maqalat_mukhtara/arabic/0505/moradi2_110505.htm
Friday, May 20, 2005
Who is the Majority, who is the Minority?
|is 55 Senators|
|is 45 Senators|
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
British MP lays down the law for US Senate
"The Scotsman launched into his opening statement with relish."
From the London Times Online, Galloway v the US Senate: transcript of statement:
George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, delivered this statement to US Senators today who have accused him of corruption
"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.
"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.
"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction.
"I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda.
"I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001.
"I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
"You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
BBC video of the hearing (47min, Real, Galloway starts at 6:15); Audio excerpt at Crooks and Liars; BBC follow-up story: Explosive showdown in Senate
"Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice," the MP declared.
The whole room scanned [committee chairman Norm] Coleman's face for a reaction. The senator shifted in his seat - nervously it seemed.
It was the first time a British politician had been interrogated as a hostile witness at the US Senate - but Mr Galloway cast himself not as the accused, but the accuser.
On stage at the heart of American power, he attacked the US-led war on Iraq and accused Washington of installing a "puppet" regime there.
Before Pentagon blamed Newsweek, it didn't
Sat May 14, 2005 - Amid the violence, military commanders in Afghanistan and the region were carefully tending their relationships in the area, Pentagon officials said.
But they suggested that the violent protests were less a spontaneous upheaval over the allegations than a calculated campaign by an organized opposition.
"The nature of where these things occurred, how quickly they occurred, the nature of individuals who were involved in it, suggest that they may be organized events that are using this alleged allegation as a pretext for activity that was already planned," said the Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita.
Now, cut forward two days, quoting from the WashPost, Newsweek says Koran desecration report is wrong
Mon 16, 2005 - Newsweek reported that Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita reacted angrily when the magazine asked about the source's continued assertion that he had read about the Koran incident in an investigative report. "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?" DiRita told Newsweek.
If I recall, Rove et. al. had a name for this sort of consistancy...
Gen Myers: Riots not connected to Newsweek
Created:12 May 2005 Updated: 13 May 2005
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else.
Once again, SusanHu has posted a great diary
Monday, May 16, 2005
Newsweek tries doing some reporting and gets beat up
or, around these parts, we kill the messanger
From May 9, 2005 PERISCOPE column of Newsweek, Gitmo: SouthCom Showdown:
Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash. An Army spokesman confirms that 10 Gitmo interrogators have already been disciplined for mistreating prisoners.To which, Larry DiRita of the Pentagon told CNN:
[he] blamed Newsweek's report for the unrest in Muslim countries.Newsweek explains itself in How a Fire Broke Out:
"People are dying. They are burning American flags. Our forces are in danger."
[V]eteran investigative reporter Michael Isikoff...knew that military investigators at Southern Command (which runs the Guantánamo prison) were looking into the allegations. So he called a longtime reliable source, a senior U.S. government official who was knowledgeable about the matter. The source told Isikoff that the report would include new details that were not in the FBI e-mails, including mention of flushing the Qur'an down a toilet. NEWSWEEK National Security Correspondent John Barry, realizing the sensitivity of the story, provided a draft of the NEWSWEEK PERISCOPE item to a senior Defense official, asking, "Is this accurate or not?" The official challenged one aspect of the story: the suggestion that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, sent to Gitmo by the Pentagon in 2001 to oversee prisoner interrogation, might be held accountable for the abuses. Not true, said the official (the PERISCOPE draft was corrected to reflect that). But he was silent about the rest of the item. The official had not meant to mislead, but lacked detailed knowledge of the SouthCom report.
...Told of what the NEWSWEEK source said, DiRita exploded, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"
From today's NYTimes, Newsweek Apologizes for Report of Koran Insult:
Let me get this straight: Current administration has a record of torturing and abusing detainees. But after investigating itself, the military finds no wrongdoing on this charge. And to boot, it finds Newweek is to blame for the violence. And will produce a report to that effect.
The magazine said that because of reports of other abuses of prisoners by guards at Guantánamo, the possibility that a Koran was flushed down the toilet did not seem that far-fetched. But it said that to Muslims, such an act was especially inflammatory.
By the end of the week, the military had completed its internal inquiry and was convinced that the allegation as reported by Newsweek never happened and that the article had played a significant role in inciting the violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Di Rita said. He informed Newsweek that its report was wrong.
Could it possiblity be that the Muslim world has seen, time after time, fellow Muslims abused and tortured, this admin investigate and never any high level culpability is found. Maybe, just maybe, the Mulsim world is just pissed off and if not this alledged abuse, the next one will lead to more riots.
We will need more than the willingness of Newsweek to be spineless to save us next time a major report of abuse against Islam surfaces. And it will surface. And whose to say Newsweek's mea culpa will be enough today to calm their passions.
If Newsweek's article was the only discussion of such abuse, Mr DiRita might have a point with his indignation. Let's review previous mentions of this sort of discecration Qur'an at Gitmo...
On March 26, 2003, The Washington Post reported:
The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts...
while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them.
On Jan. 20, 2005, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported:
Some detainees complained of religious humiliation, saying guards had defaced their copies of the Koran and, in one case, had thrown it in a toilet, said Kristine Huskey, who interviewed clients late last month.
On May 2, 2005, BBCNews reported:
Badar Zaman Badar, [who] was also at Camp X-Ray... said a number of Arab prisoners had still not spoken to their investigators after three years to protest at the desecration of the Koran by guards.
See RawStory for more like this: Newsweek report on Quran confirmed by earlier accounts:
See also corrente: Flushing Newsweek:
Inspiration for this entry comes from susanhbu's diary at Booman Tribune.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Do you believe President Bush is doing The Lord's Work?
Join the millions of Americans who believe that President Bush’s faith-
based administration presents the best hope for America’s future.
Army Recruiters Threatening Arrest and Murder
Sgt. Thomas Kelt left this message on that young man's cell phone:Listen to voicemail here.
"Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. You fail to appear and we'll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back."
Also from KHOU News, Former Army recruit says his life was threatened:
Will Ammons, 20, signed up for delayed entry at the Lake Jackson Army recruiting station last year.
"He told me I pretty much had two options," Ammons said. "I'd go before a judge and get a sentence of 15 years but he had the option to double it. It was either that or they were going to put me in front of seven other people with rifles and shoot me."
Army regulations say even those who sign up for delayed entry can change their minds.
And to round things out, this from CBS News, Army Recruiters Play Hard Ball
In Colorado, 19-year-old Michael Flaherty's recruiter gave him a laxative to lose weight to pass a physical. "They even told me not to tell my parents about it," Flaherty said. A form certified Flaherty physically fit -- complete with scores. "I never completed any of those tests and my recruiter faked the documents," he said.
From fake diploma's from phony schools, detox kits to beat drug tests, Denver's CBS station KCNC uncovered a number of recruiter fraud cases.
Bolton likes group sex
Corroborated allegations that Mr. Bolton’s first wife, Christina Bolton, was forced to engage in group sex have not been refuted by the State Department despite inquires posed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt concerning the allegations. Mr. Flynt has obtained information from numerous sources that Mr. Bolton participated in paid visits to Plato’s Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Sept 11: an elaborate web of delusions and hearsay
It's hardly surprising that the events of Sept 11 2001 have spawned their fair share of these ludicrous fairy tales. And as always, there is sadly a small but gullible percentage of the population eager to lap up these tall tales, regardless of facts or rational analysis.
One of the wilder stories circulating about Sept 11, and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst conspiracy buffs is that it was carried out by 19 fanatical Arab hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden, with no apparent motivation other than that they "hate our freedoms."
These crackpots even contend that the extremist Bush regime was caught unawares by the attacks, had no hand in organizing them, and actually would have stopped them if it had been able.
Einstein: Optical Delusion of Consciousness
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
Thursday, May 05, 2005
President Bush’s Approval Ratings
Pentagon leaking Intel to Israel
Franklin, an analyst on the Iranian desk in the Pentagon, turned himself in to the FBI yesterday morning and was placed under arrest.
"There is probable cause to believe that Lawrence Anthony Franklin knowingly and unlawfully disclosed classified information relating to the national security defense, that is, with reason to believe that it could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation," said Special FBI Agent Catherine Hanna.
See also Pentagon Analyst Charged With Disclosing Military Secrets
From The Gorilla in the Room:
The charges made public today are just the tip of the iceberg.
A much larger issue relates to Iran, since it's already come out that Franklin also gave senior AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman a draft presidential decision directive which would have (if approved) made regime change rather than negotiation official U.S. policy toward Iran.
The reason Franklin (and possibly whoever at a higher level sent him,) wanted AIPAC to know about the draft directive was to coordinate pressure on Congress and the Bush Administration to back military strikes on Iran, a major policy goal of the Israeli government.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
The secret Downing Street memo
::nobreak::SECRET AND STRICTLY PERSONAL - UK EYES ONLY
From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02
cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell
IRAQ: PRIME MINISTER'S MEETING, 23 JULY
Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.
This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.
John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.
C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August.
The two broad US options were:
(a) Generated Start. A slow build-up of 250,000 US troops, a short (72 hour) air campaign, then a move up to Baghdad from the south. Lead time of 90 days (30 days preparation plus 60 daysdeployment to Kuwait).
(b) Running Start. Use forces already in theatre (3 x 6,000), continuous air campaign, initiated by an Iraqi casus belli. Total lead time of 60 days with the air campaign beginning even earlier. A hazardous option.
The US saw the UK (and Kuwait) as essential, with basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus critical for either option. Turkey and other Gulf states were also important, but less vital. The three main options for UK involvement were:
(i) Basing in Diego Garcia and Cyprus, plus three SF squadrons.
(ii) As above, with maritime and air assets in addition.
(iii) As above, plus a land contribution of up to 40,000, perhaps with a discrete role in Northern Iraq entering from Turkey, tying down two Iraqi divisions.
The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.
The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.
The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change.
The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors. Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD. There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran. If the political context were right, people would support regime change. The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.
On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the US battleplan was workable. The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.
For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.
The Foreign Secretary thought the US would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy. On this, US and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be US/UK differences. Despite US resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.
John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.
The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route. It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.
(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action. But we needed a fuller picture of US planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the US military that we were considering a range of options.
(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.
(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.
(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam.
He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.
(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.
(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.
(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)
(Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide)
Bin Laden's head on ice
Gary Schroen was the head of the CIA team sent a team to Afghanistan days after 9/11. He recalled his orders from the CIA's counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black:
"Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice." As for other al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, Mr Black reportedly said: "I want their heads up on pikes."Said Mr. Schroen of these orders, in an interview with NPR,
Contacted by the radio network, Mr Black would not confirm that these were his exact words but he did not dispute Mr Schroen's account.
"Sir, those are the clearest orders I have ever received.
"I can certainly make pikes out in the field but I don't know what I'll do about dry ice to bring the head back - but we'll manage something."
Of the mission itself:
Mr Schroen was given a double brief, it reported: to liaise with anti-Taleban warlords on the ground as preparation for the overthrow of the regime, and to then assassinate Bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda figures.
The agency allowed Mr Schroen to pick his own six-man team and, exactly one week after 9/11, they were on a plane flying to the region, equipped with laptops, hand-held radios, instant coffee and $3m in $100 bills.
I guess people at the CIA at the time were pissed. But heads on pikes? Reminds me of the Crusader's actions after the 1099 fall of Jerusalem. Not one of the western civilization's best moments.
Even Stormtroopers gotta pee
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Truth in Broadcasting Act
The Lautenberg-Kerry Truth in Broadcasting Act would follow the legal ruling of the GAO and establish permanent federal law that prepackaged news stories by the government must disclose the government's role with a disclaimer. The disclaimer would run continuously throughout the "news story." Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens has committed to holding a hearing and a markup on the bill in early May.
From the GAO
While agencies generally have the right to disseminate information about their policies and activities, agencies may not use appropriated funds to produce or distribute prepackaged news stories intended to be viewed by television audiences that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials. It is not enough that the contents of an agency's communication may be unobjectionable. Neither is it enough for an agency to identify itself to the broadcasting organization as the source of the prepackaged news story.
Thanks to MH in PA for the diary.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Criticize the Prez, get a visit from the Secret Service
Renee Jensen of Elkins, West Virginia, likes to express herself.
She has put up as many as a dozen signs in her yard over the past year, protesting the war in Iraq, Bush and Cheney, and the crackdown on civil liberties.
Some of her signs have said:
- "Mr. Bush, You're Fired."
- "Mr. Ashcroft, We Prefer Our America Remain the Home of the Free and the Brave."
- "Mr. Cheney, What You Sow You Shall Reap. Those Who Destroy the Earth Will Be Destroyed."
- "Mr. Rumsfeld, Human Beings Are Not Just Collateral Damages, but People with Hopes, Dreams, Relationships, and Lives to Live."
- "O, Evil Doers, Bush and Cheney Are Destroying America. I Cry Liberty and Stand for Our Constitution."
- "Love One Another: War Is Dead Wrong."
The mayor of Elkins, Judy Guye, tried to use a city ordinance to make Jensen take her signs down. [T]he mayor, "a Republican, had a pro-Bush sign in her own front yard." Guye backed off.
In the fall, the Secret Service gave her a call.
"They said someone called them and said I had signs up in my yard that were threatening the President. I said I did have some signs in my yard, but I wasn't threatening the President. The worst I've ever said was that he's an Evildoer."
Then on January 11, Renee Jensen had some unexpected visitors.
"[T]here was a knock on my door, there was a West Virginia State Trooper and a Secret Service agent. Apparently someone had made a statement that I'd been canvassing door to door and had said I wanted to cut President Bush's head off," she says. "I told Agent Lanham that I was running for city council, but I hadn't started my door-to-door campaign yet and I never had said anything like that."
Agent Lanham "asked me several times to sign a form about releasing my medical records, and I refused. I had to sign a statement that I never threatened the President's life."
Evolution on trial in Kansas
The Kansas Board of Education has scheduled six days of courtroom-style hearings to begin on Thursday in the capitol Topeka. More than two dozen witnesses will give testimony and be subject to cross-examination, with the majority expected to argue against teaching evolution.
"I feel like I'm in a time warp here," said Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray who has agreed to defend evolution as valid science. "To debate evolution is similar to debating whether the Earth is round. It is an absurd proposition."
School board member Sue Gamble, who describes herself as a moderate, said "I think it is a desire by a minority... to establish a theocracy, both within Kansas and growing to a national level."