ianstenseng's blog

Why are so many US Attorneys being "resigned?"

Carol Lam was the first one to receive much publicity. A federal prosecutor fired for not making guns and drugs a top priority. She was also Duke Cunningham's prosecutor. No big deal, she just hadn't prosecuted many cases during her tenure. Except that Lawyers called the firing "virtually unprecedented And FBI people claimed the firing would jeopardize cases. Then there was Daniel Bogden, a federal prosecutor in Nevada was also canned for "fostering low morale". And actually it turns out that as many as many as eight federal prosecutors have been fired in the past two months.



Hmm, turns out the ability to appoint attorneys on an 'interim basis' is part of the patriot act... Cute.

Holy Crap!

US Military Papers open fire on Rummy. Tomorrow, the Army Times -- and all other Military Times papers, including Navy and Air Force Times -- will run an editorial calling for Donald Rumsfeld to tender his resignation or be fired, due to his gross incompetence in handling the Iraq quagmire.


Santa Goes to Gitmo - No More Habeas Corpus, by Ethel Steinmetz

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

“Of course you may sign the commitment papers now . . .
but I’ll bring a habeas corpus later”
(words spoken by Mr. Gaily, Santa’s faithful lawyer in Miracle on 34th Street )

SO WHAT IS a Habeas Corpus? Quite simply, it is our right (and Kris Kringles’s right) to face our accusers.

From Lectlaw.com, HABEAS CORPUS
Lat. "you have the body" Prisoners often seek release by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another's detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error. Habeas corpus petitions are usually filed by persons serving prison sentences.  read more »

Olbermann on the Clinton hitjob: A textbook definition of cowardice

Galloway gives Sky a taste of reality.

Will the Next Election be Hacked?

[O]ne muggy day in mid-August [2002], [Diebold consultant Chris] Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done. . . . It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."

- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Will the Next Election be Hacked?

Welcome back, Mr. Crow. We've saved your seat...

Some people call it a poll-tax: "The House yesterday passed legislation that would require voters to show a valid photo identification in federal elections over the overwhelming objections of Democrats who compared the bill to segregation-era measures aimed at disenfranchising Southern blacks."

George Carlin - Who really controls America...

Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Cheney Clarifies Iraq, Afghanistan on Meet the Press.

And by "clarify" I mean, lies through his fucking teeth.

For the first time in three years, Cheney appears on Meet the Press. Transcript here.

"We’ve never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11[,]" but Iraq "...was a state sponsor of terror" and "while they found no stockpiles...[the Duelfer report claimed that] Saddam did in fact have the capability and that as soon as the sanctions were ended—and they were badly eroded—he would be back in business again." "[T]his was the place where, probably, there was a greater prospect of a connection between terrorists on the one hand and a terrorist-sponsoring state and weapons of mass destruction than any place else." "...if we had to do it again, we would do exactly the same thing..."

"There are 12,000 of us ... and we are starting to die."

When Laura Bush showed up at my son's temporary school two weeks after the attacks for a photo op with these traumatized children, she told us that she couldn't make any promises to help us. "The PTA, not the school system, or god forbid federal government, installed a filtration system to protect our children. [... F]ive years later, I have been diagnosed and am being treated for lymphoma - a blood cancer caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. [...] Five years out there are 12,000 of us, maybe more - who knows? And we are starting to die."

"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror"

ABC News: Osama bin Laden offered sanctuary in Pakistan:

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."

Offer comes as truce is concluded between Pakistan and Al Queada:

The Pakistani military will no longer operate in the area where Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives are believed to be hiding, according to terms of what the Pakistan government calls a "peace deal," signed today with militant tribal groups allied to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

San Jose Mercury News reports Bush Administration approved truce, will offer millions in aid:

The Pakistani military is striking truces with Islamic separatists along the country's border with Afghanistan, freeing Pakistani militants and al-Qaida fighters to join Taliban insurgents battling U.S.-led troops and government forces in Afghanistan..... when the military failed to crush the separatists, the Bush administration agreed to support Pakistan's truce-making efforts and pledged millions of dollars in additional aid.

this is just a trick to lull Bin Laden into complacency and then we'll go in a snatch him up in the middle of the night and bring him to justice!

right? yeah, that's got to be right.

Mother Jones: Lie by Lie, an annotated flash timeline of the Iraq War

Lie by Lie. The first installment in Mother Jones' timeline of the Iraq War (Warning: big Flash file, with instructions).

"How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up?"

Seventy-one-year-old enemy combatant released.

"We couldn't figure out why he was there," Ryan said. "He could barely walk and he could barely hear."

Khan told his lawyers he believes he's around 78, but doesn't know his exact age. He is at least 71, according to military records obtained by The Associated Press.

With the latest transfers, the military now holds about 445 men on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban, including about 115 who the U.S. has determined are eligible for release or transfer.

To be eligible for release, the U.S. must conclude the detainee no longer poses a threat to the United Sates, has no further intelligence value and does not merit criminal prosecution, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a
Pentagon spokesman.

----------------ed. note:-----------------
In Hamden v Bush, the US Supreme Ct found that holding human being(s) in a facility like Guantanamo, and subjecting him to torture, denying him the basic protections afforded prisoners to war is a direct violation of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (i.e. a war crime). There are over 450 prisoners at Guantanamo, approximately 13000 in Iraq, approximately 500 in Afghanistan, and perhaps as many as 100 at the CIA "Black Sites" around the world. At least 98 detainees have died, and 34 of these are being investigated as homicides.  read more »

Harpers: American Coup D'Etat, Military thinkers discuss the unthinkable


American Coup D'Etat
Military thinkers discuss the unthinkable
Posted on Monday, June 26, 2006. Originally from Harper's Magazine, April 2006.

Eternal vigilance being the price of liberty, Americans—who spent decades war-gaming a Soviet invasion and have taken more recently to daydreaming about “ticking bomb” scenarios—should cast at least an occasional thought toward the only truly existential threat that American democracy might face today. We now live in a unipolar world, after all, in which conquest of the United States by an outside power is nearly inconceivable. Even the best-equipped terrorists, for their part, could dispatch at most a city or two; and armed revolution is a futile prospect, so fearsomely is our homeland secured by police and military forces. To subdue America entirely, the only route remaining would be to seize the machinery of state itself, to steer it toward malign ends—to carry out, that is, a coup d'état.

Given that the linchpin of any coup d'état is the participation, or at least the support, of a nation's military officers, Harper's Magazine assembled a panel of experts to discuss the state of our own military—its culture, its relationship with the wider society, and the steadfastness of its loyalty to the ideals of democracy and to the United States Constitution.

The following forum is based on a discussion that took place in January at the Ruth's Chris Steak House in Arlington, Virginia. Bill Wasik served as moderator.

ANDREW J. BACEVICH is a professor of international relations at Boston University and the author, most recently, of The New American Militarism. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1992.

BRIG. GEN. CHARLES J. DUNLAP JR. is a staff judge advocate at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. In 1992 he published an essay entitled “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.” (His views here are personal and do not reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.)

RICHARD H. KOHN is the chair of the curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and editor of the book The United States Military Under the Constitution of the United States, 1789‒1989, among others.

EDWARD N. LUTTWAK is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the author of many books, including Coup D'Etat: A Practical Handbook.

BILL WASIK is a senior editor of Harper's Magazine.  read more »

After the operation it was confirmed that the fetus had no legs and only one arm.

On This Day in 1962: An American mother-of-four is on her way home amid a storm of controversy after being given a legal abortion in Sweden.

Sherri Finkbine, a TV presenter from Phoenix in Arizona, was denied an abortion in her home-state following intense negative publicity surrounding her case.

The 30-year-old mother decided to terminate her fifth pregnancy after discovering that tranquilizers she had taken in the first few weeks of her pregnancy contained the drug Thalidomide.

Sherri Finkbine --as reported by BBC News, on this day in 1962 (video clip too)--her travails and travels, the law, publicity, and what happened afterwards.

(more here from American Prospect in 05: ...A Gallup Poll taken that year showed that the majority of Americans supported Finkbine, and her case was a turning point ...)
 read more »

Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor


SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 25 (OneWorld) - A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting "aggressive" wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferencz told OneWorld from his home in New York. He said the United Nations charter, which was written after the carnage of World War II, contains a provision that no nation can use armed force without the permission of the UN Security Council.  read more »

The Pentagon's "Second 911"

"Another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known targets"

By Michel Chossudovsky

One essential feature of  "defense" in the case of a second major attack on America, is "offense", according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff: "Homeland security is one piece of a broader strategy [which] brings the battle to the enemy."(DHS, Transcript of complete March 2005 speech of Secr. Michael Chertoff)
In the month following last year's 7/7 London bombings, Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a contingency plan "to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States". Implied in the contingency plan is the certainty that Iran would be behind a Second 9/11.

This "contingency plan" uses the pretext of a "Second 9/11", which has not yet happened, to prepare for a major military operation against Iran, while pressure was also exerted on Tehran in relation to its (non-existent) nuclear weapons program.

What is diabolical in this decision of the US Vice President is that the justification presented by Cheney to wage war on Iran rests on Iran's involvement in a hypothetical terrorist attack on America, which has not yet occurred:

The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. (Philip Giraldi, Attack on Iran: Pre-emptive Nuclear War , The American Conservative, 2 August 2005)

Are we to understand that US, British and Israeli military planners are waiting in limbo for a Second 9/11, to extend the war beyond the borders of Lebanon, to launch a military operation directed against Syria and Iran? 

Cheney's proposed "contingency plan" did not focus on preventing a Second 9/11. The Cheney plan is predicated on the presumption that Iran would be behind a Second 9/11 and that punitive bombings could immediately be activated, prior to the conduct of an investigation, much in the same way as the attacks on Afghanistan in October 2001, allegedly in retribution for the alleged support of the Taliban government to the 9/11 terrorists. It is worth noting that one does not plan a war in three weeks: the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan had been planned well in advance of 9/11. As Michael Keefer points out in an incisive review article: 

"At a deeper level, it implies that “9/11-type terrorist attacks” are recognized in Cheney’s office and the Pentagon as appropriate means of legitimizing wars of aggression against any country selected for that treatment by the regime and its corporate propaganda-amplification system....  (Keefer, February 2006 )

In a timely statement, barely a few days following the onslaught of the bombing of Lebanon, Vice President Cheney reiterated his warning:  "The enemy that struck on 9/11 is fractured and weakened, yet still lethal, still determined to hit us again" (Waterloo Courier, Iowa, 19 July 2006, italics added). 

"Justification and Opportunity to Retaliate against ...the State Sponsors [of Terrorism]"

In April 2006, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld  launched a far-reaching military plan to fight terrorism around the World, with a view to retaliating in the case of a second major terrorist attack on America. 

"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has approved the military's most ambitious plan yet to fight terrorism around the world and retaliate more rapidly and decisively in the case of another major terrorist attack on the United States, according to defense officials.

The long-awaited campaign plan for the global war on terrorism, as well as two subordinate plans also approved within the past month by Rumsfeld, are considered the Pentagon's highest priority, according to officials familiar with the three documents who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about them publicly.

Details of the plans are secret, but in general they envision a significantly expanded role for the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, the plans reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains traditionally handled by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. (Washington Post, 23 April 2006)

This plan is predicated on the possibility of a  Second 911 and the need to retaliate if and when the US is attacked: 

"A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.

This plan details "what terrorists or bad guys we would hit if the gloves came off. The gloves are not off," said one official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. (italics added, WP 23 April 2006)

The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack "which is lacking today" would usefully create both a "justification and an opportunity" to wage war on "some known targets [Iran and Syria]". 

The announcement on August 10 by the British Home Office of a foiled large scale terror attack to simultaneously blow up as many as ten airplanes, conveys the impression that it is the Western World rather than the Middle East which is under attack. 

Realities are twisted upside down. The disinformation campaign has gone into full gear. The British and US media are increasingly pointing towards  "preemptive war" as an act of "self defense" against Al Qaeda and the State sponsors of terrorism, who are allegedly preparing a Second 911. The underlying objective, through fear and intimidation, is ultimately to build public acceptance for the next stage of the Middle East "war on terrorism" which is directed against Syria and Iran. 

Wow... the man is just barely coherent at this point.

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