Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top CIA lawyers to face legal complaints over roles in interrogation program

A grassroots coalition will file complaints today with the Washington, D.C. bar against two Central Intelligence Agency lawyers for their involvement in authorizing the use of controversial interrogation techniques against detainees in US custody.

Velvet Revolution, a coalition of over 150 grassroots groups, will register complaints against CIA lawyers Jonathan M. Fredman and John A. Rizzo. Fredmen, who is currently counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, served as the Associate General counsel for the CIA from 2001-2004. Rizzo is the current Acting General Counsel for the CIA but is retiring this month. His nomination to become full General Counsel has been held up for years over his alleged role in enabling the CIA’s controversial interrogation program.

DC lawyer and activist Kevin Zeese, along with a former Reagan administration Associate Attorney General Bruce Fein, held a press conference this morning at the National Press Club in which they discussed the complaints they will be filing later today.

The complaints to be filed against Fredmen and Rizzo describe the role both men played in authorizing the CIA to use techniques generally considered torture against detainees in US custody, captured during the Bush administration.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano, in a statement to RAW STORY Monday, said, “We’ll give this the attention it deserves.”

A call placed to the Director of National Intelligence’s office was not immediately returned.

Detainee Crucified

Among the more startling revelations during the press conference today was an article describing how a detainee in Iraq had been “essentially crucified” during CIA interrogation.

According to a June 22 article in The New Yorker magazine, cited during the press conference today, an Iraqi prisoner in US custody was crucified – dying from asphyxiation while hanging from his arms during a CIA interrogation.

“An Iraqi prisoner named Manadel al-Jamadi died on November 4, 2003, while being interrogated by the C.I.A. at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad,” the New Yorker’s Jane Meyer wrote. “A forensic examiner found that he had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs. Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.”

No charges have been sought against the interrogators from the CIA who participated in the death of al-Jamadi or CIA officers involved in other cases.

Zeese, the Velvet Revolution, the Bill of Rights Committee, Fein, and others also called on the dismissal of both Fredman and Rizzo from the Obama administration during the press conference today.

Rizzo is already on his way out. But the man nominated by President Obama, former Justice Department lawyer Stephen W. Preston, was loath to criticize his predecessor or the CIA’s activities during his May confirmation hearing.

Questioned whether he felt waterboarding constituted torture, Preston answered, “I have not reached that conclusion.”

Zeese said the “rule of law” must be applied in the case of the two men who led the CIA’s legal efforts.

“We call for dismissal of two torture architects still working in the Obama administration,” said Zeese. “The United States must face the reality of the extent of the torture program under the Bush-Cheney administration. War crimes were committed. The toxic poison of torture will not be removed from the body politic unless the rule of law is applied.”

Rizzo Complaint

John A. Rizzo has been a CIA lawyer for roughly 30 years. The Los Angeles Times has called him the “most influential career lawyer in CIA history, having risen to the top of the agency’s legal ranks while leaving his mark on classified programs from proxy wars in Central America to Predator strikes in Pakistan.”

Rizzo is currently the Acting General Counsel for the CIA and was Deputy General Counsel for the CIA prior to his current role. The complaint, which will be filed with the DC bar today, cites Rizzo’s authority as legal counsel in authorizing torture techniques.

“Specifically,” it reads, “Mr. Rizzo ignored over two centuries of historical and legal precedents, fell short of the bar of the ‘good faith’ imperative, and advanced suspect legal constructs and prescriptions for detainee interrogation well outside of legal norms, thereby providing the false cover of claimed legality for those who then engaged in acts and policies that, in fact, violated the following laws, both in letter and spirit:

1. The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), Articles 1, 2, 3 and 16 (ratified in October 1994), implemented by Sections 2340-2340A of title 18 of the United States Code.

2. The Geneva Conventions, Article 3, (ratified in August 1955)

3. The Eighth Amendment against “cruel and unusual punishment”

4. The “Separation of Powers” constructs and imperatives of the U.S. Constitution

5. The United States Criminal Code, Title 18, Prohibitions Against Torture (18 USC 2340A) and War Crimes (18 USC 2441)

The complaint against Rizzo further cites examples in which Rizzo allegedly participated in meetings authorizing torture or authored approval of certain techniques.

“On September 25, the most high-level senior Bush administration lawyers met at the Guantanamo Bay facility and included legal counsel from the President’s office (Alberto Gonzales), the Vice-President’s office (David Addington), the Department of Defense (Michael J. Haynes II), and the Department of Justice (Alice Fisher),” it reads. “With Mr. Rizzo representing the CIA which was overseeing the program, this group was there to observe and “green light” a brutal interrogation program, one that had begun months before with Zubadayah but was continued in a carefully prescribed program (minus waterboarding) with detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

The full complaint can be read here.

Fredman Complaint

Fredman, meanwhile, was senior counsel within the Counterterrorism Center at the CIA during the Bush administration. According to the complaint, “Fredman approved a policy of torture and oversaw the details of its carefully prescribed application of violence, intimidation and humiliation intended to ‘enhance’ interrogations and aggressively coerce detainees at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Abu Ghraib (Iraq), Bagram AFB (Afghanistan), and ‘extraordinary rendition’ or ‘black’ sites in Thailand, Diego Garcia, Poland, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere.”

The complaint against Fredman also cites alleged involvement in authoring legal opinions and participating in meetings where these techniques were decided on.

“According to the first of two May 10, 2005 “Bradbury memos” addressed from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) of the Department of Justice to Mr. Rizzo at the CIA, the so-called “enhanced techniques” included dietary manipulation, forced nudity, stress positions, abdominal slaps and waterboarding,” the complaint says. “The second May 10th memo addressed the use of combinations of these techniques. Together with the August 2002 memo authored by John Yoo and Jay Bybee, these memos set forth both the claim of legality and detailed guidelines for a brutal and abusive program of detainee treatment. This legal analysis, approved and advanced within the CIA by Mr. Rizzo and Mr. Fredman at CTC, gave the formal ‘in-writing’ green light to a program that led to documented abuses and scores of deaths within the detainee/interrogation system.”

The full Fredman complaint is available here.

Velvet Revolution and other groups filed similar complaints against Bush administration lawyers on May 18 with the state bars of DC, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania.

Source: RINF News


30 June 2009



Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian homes in Assira Qabalia village, south of Nablus city, and set fire to their crops on Monday night, local sources reported.

They said that dozens of settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement, established on lands of the village along with other nearby villages, threw firebombs and stones at the houses under the protection of Israeli occupation forces who fired bullets and gas canisters to disperse the citizens who tried to repel the settlers' attack.

A number of citizens were treated for suffocation and injuries from flying glass, the sources said.

They said that the settlers started fires in the village's barley and wheat fields and the IOF soldiers blocked firefighters from reaching the cultivated lands to put off the fire.

In the Gaza Strip, the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, on Monday evening confronted an IOF unit that tried to infiltrate into Zaitun suburb east of Gaza city.

The armed wing said in a communiqué that the Qassam fighters fired two mortar shells at the invading soldiers.


Jewish armed settlers destroy Palestinian workshop, burn crop


Jewish armed settlers from the Halmish settlement established on lands of a Palestinian village west of Ramallah city on Wednesday set Palestinian crops on fire.

Villagers said that the fire destroyed 120 olive trees planted in 15 dunums.

Meanwhile, other settlers from the Yitzhar settlement on Wednesday attacked for the third time a construction workshop south of Nablus.

They added that the settlers destroyed water wells, wood and other construction material in the workshop.

Source: Snippits and Snappits

Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.

Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people. Henry Clay said this in a Speech at Ashland, Kentucky in March of 1829. Henry Clay was the Speaker of the House of Representatives during 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825.

You as members of Congress should be aware of this as it is quoted on Page 2 of the House Ethics Manual, but that would have assumed that you have read the manual. If most of you are not reading the legislation you are voting on it is probably a good bet that you have not read your own ethics manual. Looking at how you conduct yourselves as a whole it is clear that most of the members of the House of Representatives use the Ethics Manual as a paper weight!

Another interesting section of the Ethics Manual (still only on page 2) states the following: “That ―public office is a public trust has long been a guiding principle of government.(emphasis added) 2 To uphold this trust, Congress has bound itself to abide by certain standards of conduct, expressed in the Code of Official Conduct (House Rule 23)3 and the Code of Ethics for Government Service.4 These codes provide that Members, officers, and employees are to conduct themselves in a manner that will reflect creditably on the House, work earnestly and thoughtfully for their salary, and that they may not seek to profit by virtue of their public office, allow themselves to be improperly influenced, or discriminate unfairly by the dispensing of special favors.(emphasis added)”

2 Code of Ethics for Government Service 10, H. Con. Res. 175, 72 Stat., pt. 2, B12 (adopted July 11, 1958) (contained in the appendices to this Manual). This creed, the motto of the Grover Cleveland administration, has been voiced by such notables as Edmund Burke (Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)), Charles Sumner (speech, U.S. Senate (May 31, 1872)), as well as Henry Clay (see note 1, supra). 3 House rules are formally referenced by Roman numerals. For ease of reading, this manual uses the more familiar Arabic numerals throughout. All citations are to the House rules for the 110th Congress, unless specifically stated otherwise. 4 See note 2, supra.

If only our elected members of the House of Representatives had read just Page 2 of the Ethics Manual, maybe they would have thought twice about the Stimulus Bill and the Cap and Trade Bill they voted on without reading it. I spent part of my weekend reviewing the Ethics Manual, The House Member’s Handbook, and the House Rules and to my shock I found absolutely nothing in any of the House Rules that specifically states that members must read legislation before voting on it!

Then I started to think about this, commonsense dictates that if you are a trustee for the public and you are voting on legislation you have fiduciary duty to the people to read this legislation.

The definition of fiduciary duty: “is is a legal relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary. In a fiduciary relation one person justifiably reposes confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter. In such a relation good conscience requires one to act at all times for the sole benefit and interests of another, with loyalty to those interests. A fiduciary is expected to be extremely loyal to the person to whom he owes the duty (the “principal”): he must not put his personal interests before the duty, and must not profit from his position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents.” (Definition compliments of Wikipedia)

Ok, so what Congress has a Fiduciary Duty to the people of the United States? By not reading legislation and voting it into law, I argue that they have breached their Fiduciary Duty to the people and we the people have legal recourse against them.

Taking this a step further, if members of Congress have voted on bills that have caused themselves, their family or friends to profit, this also would be a breach of Fiduciary Duty to the extent that the House Ethics Rules have been violated and the public good was not served. I would love to see Representative Murtha explain the legislation that has benefited his nephew’s company! But I digress!

What can we the people do with these blatant breaches of Fiduciary Duty? SUE THEM! That’s right, why don’t we sue every member of congress who voted for the Stimulus Bill and Cap and Trade Bill for Breach of Fiduciary Duty. God knows they do not hold themselves accountable for any of their actions. I find it amazing that Congress is allowed to police itself, does anyone else see a problem this? It is up to us to hold them accountable!

Alternatively, why not sue for an injunction against the continued enactment of these bills as they would potentially be unconstitutional by the very failures of those members of Congress who voted for them without reading them and fulfilling their Constitutional duty and fiduciary duty to the American people!


What we need is to determine if any state laws govern the conduct of each elected official, including those caring and competent members of the House of Representatives and use these laws to remove these lazy S.O. B.’s from office and get people in office who are more interested in the country than they are in their own personal gain.

For the record it is not just the Democrat members who have acted in their own personal interests above those of the country, there are Republican members as well who are just as guilty. I don’t know how far back we could or should go with these Breaches of Fiduciary Duty on the part of members of Congress, but if this theory can be used to clean up Washington once and for all we should go for it!

There has to be some group or organization that access to constitutional lawyers that can take on this cause! This could very well be our only way to stop the insanity in Washington D.C.!

- The Congressional Heckler - Reminding the members of Congress that they do some real stupid stuff on a daily basis!

Source: Chuck Fongress

Favoring gun rights isn't subversion

by Daniel White

Last night on the NRA News program "Cam & Company," we were talking about the tactic of the anti-gun crowd to apply negative labels to gun owners. They're losing the fight in the legislature and in the courts, and public opinion has turned against them as well. The only trick these ponies have left is to try to change that public sentiment with insults, stereotypes, and lies.

So now, in addition to saying guns are bad, they say gun owners are bad people; paranoid, redneck, cowboy wanna-be... those are all terms that have been used regularly in recent years. They are now being supplemented with stronger terms, like terrorist and subversive.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and they are losing the battle of public opinion so badly that they need to conjure up images of terrorism and imply that gun owners are amassing to overthrow the government to counteract the truth the general public is waking up to, that gun owners are really no different than they are.

They can't fight the idea without undermining the reputation and character of the people on the other side of the issue. Take, for instance, a recent second amendment rally held in the form of a picnic.

Michigan Open Carry Inc., a group that promotes the open carry of firearms, held a cookout in Sunset Park off the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay, that was attended by over 50 people. In attendance was Skip Coryell of the Second Amendment March. The Michigan Messenger, which claims to be "a center for independent media" wrote an article about the picnic full of negative undertone.

It didn't take long for them to point out that there were "signs of tension" present, as if these lawful gun owners might suddenly go on a shooting spree. They attribute the recent spike in sales of guns and ammunition not as a precaution against confiscation by rational people, but as being driven by "anger and fear by white conservatives." They ended the article with quotes from local anti gun resident Leo Gabier and his belief that “these people are hateful and they want to divide the county.”

The truth is far more mundane. The vast majority of gun owners simply want to live their lives in peace. Don't pass useless gun bans, enact strict ownership controls, levy heavy taxes on guns & ammunition, and don't try to rob, murder, or otherwise physically attack them and you'll never even know who most gun owners are.

Contrary to the mad ravings of the anti gun media, nearly all gun owners are peaceful, hard working people who love their country and have great respect for the law. It always amazes me that the same people the anti-gunners accuse of being lawless malcontents just looking for an excuse to storm City Hall spend hours a day discussing the details of gun laws on the Ohioans For Concealed Carry forums to be sure they don't commit the smallest infraction. Lawful gun owners are not the problem.

If the Michigan Messenger didn't like the Sunset Park picnic then they really will not like the OFCC Party in the Park being held in less than two weeks. Instead of 50 people, this one will have well over one hundred and almost all of them will be armed or be gun owners. I guarantee, though, that contrary to the dire warnings of the anti-gun crowd, on Saturday, July 11, Liberty Park will be the safest park in Ohio.

That's why these anti-gun extremists continue to lose over and over in the battle over gun rights. They make their predictions of blood running in the streets, yet it never happens. They say crime will increase if more law abiding citizens carry guns as part of their daily lives, yet it doesn't happen. They try to label gun owners are terrorists and subversives, yet they go about their lives in a safe, well-protected, and law abiding manner. The public notices, and the lies are losing their power.

Source: The Examiner

The Fading American Dream: The Constitution Circumvented: Obama's treasonous move to empower the Fed

The Fading American Dream: The Constitution Circumvented: Obama's treasonous move to empower the Fed

Obama's treasonous move to empower the Fed


In the most treasonous move made yet, Obama has told We the People that he absolutely does not care what we want. We have been screaming about the criminal activity of the Fed, our Audit the Fed bill passed the House, major political commentators, like Judge Napolitano, have been sounding the alarm about the Fed committing crimes and operating in secrecy with our money and our economy (http://democracygone.blogspot.com/2009/06/chair-of-federal-reserve-and-several.html). IN THE MIDST OF THIS STORM OF THE PEOPLE'S VOICE BEING CLEARLY HEARD TO SCRUTINIZE THE FED, OBAMA HAS MOVED TO PUT THE FED IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF EVERY ASPECT OF OUR LIVES, AND TO MAKE THEM THE MOST UNTOUCHABLE, UNREGULATED ENTITY IN THE WORLD!


This is the absolute worst set of attacks ever seen on the Constitution of the United States. If we couple this with the treasonous actions such as the climate fraud bill--opposed by 37,000 scientists nationwide--set to tax us to death for every move we make and our money payed out to international entities; the inter-american treaty gun ban; the H.R. 2159 gun ban; the secret "terrorist" lists; the DHS and DoD philosophy that Constitutional Americans are terrorists; the Clean Water Act that will federalize all water property in the country--above ground, under ground, and even non-navigable waters (rain puddles?); WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?




Source: The Fading American Dream

This is NOT about REPUBLICANS This is NOT about DEMOCRATS This IS about AMERICANS

"When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then, indeed, their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the State, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution."
--Thomas Jefferson

Politicians in Washington are making careers in politics. Once elected, they run as Incumbents that get reelected to Congress over and over again. Many have been in Congress for over 40 years and some over 50 years!!

Only 12% of the Senate and 25% of the House have less than 10 years in politics.
That means that unless WE do something to change things, these people will be in office for decades to come.

If not me...who? If not now...when?

We must end the cycle.

Join us to get rid of the Incumbents by a:


We have become a Nation run by elite career politicians that make laws and decisions based on what is best for them, their parties and their special interest groups, NOT for what is best for the country and their constituents.

Americans have tried to voice our displeasure by calling, writing and emailing our representatives. However, our calls go to voicemail, our letters go unanswered and our emails get an automated response.

The reason is that the politicians know we have jobs, families and lives and if they just wait us out, we will get frustrated and give up. They realize that once they get into office, they are there for as long as they want, since the reelection rate for incumbents is over 80% (See "Congress" page on this site).
Many of these incumbents have never had a real job and don't have a clue as to what it's like to struggle to pay your bills from month to month.

The 2008 election was less about Republican vs. Democrat or Conservative vs. Liberal, it was about a nation that is fed up and just wanted something different. People from both parties jumped onto the "Change" bandwagon making history with record voter turn out. Even with that, 46% of the people eligible to vote, did not vote.

If you talk to the people that voted for President Obama, you will find that a majority of them voted for him not because he was a better qualified candidate, an African American or because they wanted a liberal democrat in the White House, they voted for him because of what he said he represented, Change.
Change from business as usual politics in Washington. He was an outsider that was going to shake up DC.

The Democrats are claiming victory over the Republicans, but did they win or did the Republicans lose? It is hard to tell when there are only two parties in our political system. The Democrats and Republicans are so busy fighting against each other for power that they forgot long ago why they are there and who they are representing. There are no winners or losers in politics, because it is the same people every year just in different roles. The real losers are the Americans.

Regardless of your views on our new President, what he ultimately highlights is that Americans are fed up with the current system and are desperate for change in ANY form. The Tea Party coalition was a great way to vent frustration, but it did not fix anything. We propose to fix the problem by capitalizing on the "Change" momentum generated by the election of President Obama and further riding the wave of the frustrated populace represented by the Tea Party movement.

We propose we clean house in Washington DC. How, you may ask? By using the most powerful weapon democracy gives us - the vote. Starting in 2010 let's VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENTS!

In a single election and doing nothing more than our civic duty, we can change Washington forever. Let us make the vote mean something again. Let us use its power to take our country back.

Let us stand up as a nation and let the Silent Majority be heard loud and clear. "We're mad as hell and we aren't going to take this anymore!"

Source: Vote Of No Confidence.Org

Writ large: Another moral panic, another rushed bill

When the government knows it has to address a national concern, but doesn't know quite how, a bright spark in cabinet – perhaps the PM himself – pipes up: "I've got an idea. Let's pass a law." Then the Minister for Something Must Be Done chips in: "Why don't we rush it through parliament? That way, no one will have time to reflect on it." Thus was born last week's parliamentary standards bill, the government's reaction to the expenses and allowances scandals.

It is a very depressing bill. What it prohibits should not have needed to be spelled out in writing. It should be second nature in the moral make-up of everyone who chooses to enter politics.

Hastily drawn, ill-thought out legislation created in panic rarely works. Look at anti-terrorism laws, or at the Pavlovian reaction every time there was a mild alleged failure in the criminal justice system. Too often the absurdity, injustice or failure of such legislation becomes evident too late, when it becomes clear that it is causing havoc within the existing system, too Byzantine to operate (like some sentencing laws, which several judges have told me are either incomprehensible or unworkable) or just plain embarrassing. Remember the fuss about making the "glorification" of terrorism a crime? The only person to be convicted of it urged attacks on four accountants' institutes, which he blamed for his failure to pass accountancy exams 10 years before.

The new bill would create a new offence of, in effect, fiddling expenses. The government knows that the conduct defined as criminal can easily be dealt with under existing laws – the Fraud Act 2006 or "false accounting" under the Theft Act 1968. But it looks good to pretend that some new initiative is taking place. The bill sets up an over-elaborate machinery to regulate and investigate MPs. A new body would be set up (always a mistake to do this in a hurry), the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

The biggest blow to the government's rush tactics came from an unexpected source: Malcolm Jack, clerk of the House of Commons – Mr Big of parliamentary procedures – who pointed out that the bill would severely diminish parliamentary privilege, a cherished part of the historic bill of rights of 1689, which says "that the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of parliament."

In other words, MPs can say what they like in parliament without the risk of being sued (for instance for libel) or otherwise questioned by some authority or in court. But the new bill would specifically allow evidence of proceedings in parliament to be admissible in prosecutions of MPs. This, says Jack, would have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech of MPs and of witnesses before committees. I doubt the government considered this.

It's not too late. Slow down. Think again about the many aspects of the flawed bill. Better a workable act of parliament in a few months than a rubbish one in a few weeks.

Source: The Guardian

Britain's fear of protest

The mob has always been the bogeyman of British leaders – an attitude that persists towards today's peaceful protesters

In our national mythology, John Bull liked to protest. He did it well and with inventive good humour, standing up to the powers that be when they trod on his toes. In truth it has always been exceptionally hard to protest in Britain. In recent months much of the country has been shocked at the response of the police to protests. It's not British, some people say. Others see it as evidence of a looming police state. Most clearly it shows that people in power share a barely articulated belief that civil society is so vulnerable that a puff of breath will send it crashing to the ground.

In this respect our current leaders are in step with history. The mob has always been the bogeyman of leaders in this country. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 haunted the medieval and early modern official mindset, as a horrific example of what happened if you did not act fast to stamp out the first spark of violence. Memories of the civil wars traumatised generations. The watchword of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was "passive resistance" – a weedy hope that bad men would go away if you wished for it hard enough. Certainly, the peaceful nature of the revolution appeared to show that liberty in Britain came from polite discussions. Above all, the lesson learnt was that once the people had a taste of power they would become rabid.

It might sound like a paradox but the fear of protest was closely bound up with the defence of liberty. Liberty in Britain has been most closely associated with privacy and private property. "Your home is your castle" has been the uninspiring slogan of freedom in this country. What could jeopardise this more than the property-less mob? Britain achieved many important liberties early in its history. Politicians and public opinion was very proud of this fact in the 18th and 19th centuries. The happy state of affairs, this organic evolution, could only be disturbed by popular protest. It would destroy all those subtle balances which had developed through the course of history. In the 1930s the lord chief justice could say that "English law does not recognise any special right of public meeting for political or other purposes".

Protest gets written out of the history of the development of civil liberties in this country. Taking the long view of history shows, indeed, that few liberties came from revolution or direct action. Yet that is to misread history. I argued in my previous post that the struggle for liberty is more like a guerrilla campaign than all-out war, the victories of which are obscure and often incomplete. Never is this so clear than when we consider protest. Many of the victories of the 18th and 19th centuries were only achieved because behind a John Wilkes, a William Hone or a Henry Hunt stood a crowd. When the state gradually backed down from restrictive measures and began to reform itself it was partly because the threat of violence stalked in the background. Yet protestors have always been seen as being part of the losing side of history. Wat Tyler, the Levellers, the Chartists, those who clashed with the police on Bloody Sunday in 1887 and many others had a profound impact on our politics without, as it were, winning a match.

So easily are these struggles written out of our history that protest has been seen as un-British, not the done thing. Today the same assumption that freedom and order are intimately connected reigns at the centre of power, even if it is articulated in a different way. It is the assumption that all the great causes of history have been sorted out or will shortly be sorted out by a beneficent government. Why rock the boat? And the presumption in favour of private property has been replaced with a presumption in favour of the peaceable – or quiescent. Antisocial behaviour has become one of the great crimes of the age, and what is more antisocial than blocking a street, picketing a shop, temporarily closing a power station or embarrassing the government by shouting at a visiting world leader? What is more harmful to the supposedly fragile fabric of society than words or actions which may offend? Passivity is, in this view, a civic virtue: a good citizen is someone who keeps the economy chugging along by visiting the mall. What could be less offensive than that?

This is to invent new ways to achieve the same ends. Indeed, protest can sometimes damage democracy. But it is also clear that protest has been crucial to the development of liberty and democracy. Today's unpopular cause is tomorrow's political orthodoxy. Protest is often people's first and most profound involvement with politics.

Protest has rarely had a good press in Britain and I am pessimistic that things will ever change. We live at a time when restrictions on protests in Parliament Square are supported on the grounds of health and safety and because it makes the tourist experience more sanitary. Which is to say, of course, that health'n'safety and the tourist industry trump politics: mind how you go! It has made Westminster an intimating place for anyone who has an opinion. It is little wonder that disengagement with politics is endemic. The government and the police have a daunting arsenal of laws and equipment. It is out of proportion to the threat of disorder and it is fatal to politics.

This is the case in all ages. Our statute book and common law bristle with restrictive laws and always have done. In the volatile 1930s the state was adept at shutting down any manifestation of dissent, from Communist AGMs to humble soapbox orators. Often it just dusted down long-forgotten acts of parliament. A meeting could be broken up by a police constable if he apprehended that a breach of the peace was likely, if it impeded other citizens or if a policeman considered that a person of "reasonable firmness and courage" might be alarmed (to name but three instances). Thus the meek campaigner against unemployment was lumped together with the BUF thug. The fact that the neglected statute book needed to be brought down from the shelf suggests, for the optimistic at least, that willing amnesia on the part of officialdom can allow liberty to thrive. Rare, however, is the government which possesses these liberal instincts or is scared into inaction. Taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut is an ingrained habit for those in power in this country; perhaps it goes back to 1381.

When John Wilkes was on trial the judge tried to silence his rowdy supporters. "This is not the clamour of the rabble, my lord," Wilkes replied, "but the voice of liberty, which must be heard." Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the two, and it has been a repeated failure of British politicians to make the effort. By taking a tough line every time something looks like getting out of hand, the state intimidates the voice of liberty as much as it prevents anarchy.

Source The Guardian

Booze bans – the new frontier of joyless regulation

Give local authorities a power and they abuse it. We have seen it with RIPA terror laws and the creation of largely useless CCTV systems: now the right to drink in public is being systematically attacked across the country by local authorities using powers to stop people having a good time in a park or a picnic with their friends.

The Manifesto Club last week produced a report which showed that 712 local authorities have introduced drink free zones, enabling police officers and the ridiculous community support officers – when are these people going to be made to find proper jobs? – to confiscate alcohol on the mere suspicion that someone is going to break the law. The Manifesto Club, which is by the way becoming one of the significant voices of reason and liberty in Britain, estimates that 20,000 bottles or cans will be confiscated in July and August this year. Brighton has enforced bans on people carrying unopened bottles of wine and beer which they plan to drink at home, Lambeth Council plans to make the entire borough the subject of a designated public place order(DPPO), while Camden has a borough wide ban except for Regents Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath. "These zones cover large areas of cities and town centres, beaches and parks and they are increasing at a rate of around 100 per year," says the report. "It is not illegal to drink in a DPPO, but it is a criminal offence to continue drinking after a police officer has asked you to stop."

These powers, brought in by yet another poorly-drafted piece of Labour legislation, the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, are being used by councils to prevent the very people they serve from enjoying themselves. It has been acknowledged by the Home Office, never the first to leap to the defence of liberty, that they are being abused. Last year they issued a guidance, which stressed DPPOs should only be used to tackle problem areas.

The advice states, "These powers are not intended to disrupt peaceful activities, for example families having a picnic in a park or on the beach with a glass of wine. Our advice is that it is not appropriate to challenge an individual consuming alcohol where that individual is not causing a problem. Bodies responsible for introducing and enforcing DPPOs must keep in mind section 13 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which makes it clear that this power is to be used explicitly for addressing nuisance or annoyance associated with the consumption of alcohol in a public place."

The Manifesto Club has collected experiences from across the country which shows that section 13 is being ignored. This is from Daniel Stamp in Colchester, "I had just received my A-Level results along with several of my friends, and we wanted to spend the rest of our day enjoying some cold beer in Colchester's Castle Park. A park-keeper employed by the local council intervened, and poured our drinks away. He apparently has the power to confiscate drink from anyone found consuming alcohol in the park grounds."

Brighton, which employs 45 community support officers who are making 25 confiscations a week is among the worst offenders and clearly does not care about its tourist trade. Nancy Lloyd from Brighton said, "We were sitting on the beach – we were going to go out later. The police said, 'You shouldn't be drinking here' and made us pour it away. From what they said, I thought it was banned to drink in public."

Another resident recounts, "A group of us were hanging out in a pedestrianised street in Brighton celebrating a birthday with a few drinks.

"The community police officers came round, and emptied everyone's drinks into the drains. None of us were causing a disturbance or hassling anyone – indeed there were a couple of excellent buskers on the street and a few people dancing Latin-style."

Public drinking can be nuisance but on the vast majority of occasions it is simply a matter of people exercising their lawful right to drink what is lawfully theirs, and councils have no business depriving people of that right. The confiscation of alcohol is theft and this programme of joyless illegality needs to be stopped in its tracks. In the meantime, all those who have an eye for liberty and want to drink responsibly in public should avoid Brighton, a wonderful town which just needs to push its petty–minded officials into the drink.

Source: The Guardian

Criminal Rothchilds

Source: You Tube

Emperor Obama preparing give the US president the power to arrest without charge, and imprison indefinitely without trial...

The Obama administration is drafting an executive order that would give the US president the power to arrest without charge, and imprison indefinitely without trial, foreign nationals it accuses of being terrorists, according to several senior government officials who spoke with the Washington Post and a reporter for non-profit news source ProPublica on condition of anonymity.

The order, should it be released, would likely reuse arguments made by the previous administration of George W. Bush that the laws of war allow the executive branch to disregard the established judicial system and domestic laws and rights, such as those guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Behind Obama’s turn toward indefinite detention is the quandary he faces over the prison camp at the US military naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Shortly after entering office in late January, Obama issued an executive order—to great media fanfare—calling for the closure of the Guantánamo prison by January 2010. But the debate that has ensued in Washington, while nominally focused on what to do with the remaining Guantánamo inmates, has developed into a discussion of the broader anti-democratic methods of the “war on terror.”

The Obama administration hopes an executive order will resolve the legal fate of the 229 remaining Guantánamo prisoners—as well as future prisoners in the “war on terror”—by allowing the president to incarcerate them indefinitely, likely at military installations in the US.

The establishment of a Guantánamo-style system of indefinite detention without trial, on US soil, run by the military, has the most far-reaching implications for democratic rights in the US. It would also mark an end-run around Congress, which the administration had previously hoped could craft legislation to establish new extra-judicial forms of trial and incarceration—potentially including a special “national security court.”

As the Post puts it, resorting to an executive order would be taken as a signal that Obama “is willing to forsake the legislative branch of government, as his predecessor often did,” a strategy that sometimes failed when courts ruled Bush administration measures “lacked congressional approval and tried to exclude judicial oversight.”

According to the Post, the administration believes that Congress will be unable to develop satisfactory legislation, and that the proposal for a national security court would open up rifts within the Democratic congressional caucus. One official told the Post that the administration fears that Congress will assert too much control over any new legal system by subjecting the president’s ability to move detainees to legislative review. Nonetheless, negotiations between administration lawyers and top Congressional leaders are ongoing.

Obama’s efforts to reduce the census at the Guantánamo prison have been blocked at every turn. There remain, officially, 229 prisoners at Guantánamo—only 13 fewer than when Obama took office. Of the 13, 11 have been transferred to other countries, one has been taken to New York City to face trial (Ahmed Ghailani), and one has committed suicide. (Over the years at least five Guantánamo prisoners have killed themselves—the actual number is likely higher—and hundreds more have attempted to do so.)

The Obama administration has concluded that trials in the US court system can be used for only a handful of the prisoners. This is because, in the first place, the great majority of the Guantánamo inmates are innocent of any relationship to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Second, what “evidence” there exists against them has been extracted through torture, or dubious forms of hearsay evidence gathered by secret agents or foreign spies who cannot appear in court. Third, civilian trials could bring into public focus and place before judicial scrutiny the criminal methods Washington has used in the war on terror—including torture and kidnapping—and perhaps place in legal jeopardy CIA agents and former Bush administration officials.

The only name so far broached for a possible civilian trial is Khaled Sheik Mohammed, who is accused of being an organizer of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The administration claims that, among Guantánamo detainees, three other inmates are also linked to the attacks. This is in itself a damning admission. Of the hundreds of inmates who have been held at Guantánamo, many of them tortured, only four are alleged to have any connection to the act of terrorism that has, for eight years, been the catch-all justification for the “war on terror,” and indeed for the Guantánamo prison camp itself.

Military tribunals are apparently an increasingly unattractive alternative to the Obama administration as well. On May 15, Obama announced his intention to restart military commission trials for some Guantánamo inmates that would allow the use of hearsay evidence against the accused, and which would make only cosmetic alterations to the tribunal system used under the Bush administration. Yet out of the nearly 800 inmates who have been held at Guantánamo since 2001, only two have so far been convicted by military tribunals—Australian David Hicks and Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur. Hicks’ conviction resulted from a plea deal and he was soon released to Australia. Hamdan—a hand-picked test case of the tribunal system—was given a light sentence by a vetted military jury, in what was widely considered a major rebuke to the Bush administration.

A third option—releasing a small number of clearly innocent Guantánamo prisoners into the US—has been all but scrapped. Obama and leading Democrats have determined this is politically unviable, after Republicans raised a hysterical campaign over the supposed dangers of bringing “hardened terrorists” to the US.

Finally, Obama’s persistent appeals to foreign governments have, with few exceptions, been rejected. Foreign capitals argue that if the prisoners are too dangerous for release in the US, they will face political backlash for accepting them.

Thus through a process of elimination, the Obama administration now seems inclined toward the most reactionary solution—the establishment of indefinite detention without charge or trial within US borders. Administration officials say that about half of the current Guantánamo inmates “cannot be prosecuted either in federal court or military commissions,” according to the Post. “In many cases, the evidence against them is classified, has been provided by foreign intelligence services, or has been tainted by the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques.”

The Post offers as an example Walid bin Attash, who is accused of participating in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. The evidence against Attash reportedly cannot stand scrutiny before either a domestic court or military tribunal. Crucial evidence in the government’s case against him was extracted through the torture of another prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and two other supposed witnesses cannot appear in court.

On June 22 US federal judge Richard Leon issued an emphatic ruling against the Obama administration in the case of Abdul Rahim al Janko, who has been held at Guantánamo for seven and a half years, highlighting the legal difficulties it faces in prosecuting “terror suspects” in civilian courts. Leon ordered the immediate release of al Janko, now 31, a Syrian national of Kurdish background. Leon ruled that the Obama administration had not proven, even on a lenient “preponderance of the evidence” basis, that al Janko could be lawfully held any longer. While the Obama Justice Department dropped the Bush administration’s use of the term “enemy combatant,” it offered the court the same argument—that the president can indefinitely hold terror suspects through the Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed three days after the September 11 attacks. In his ruling, Leon noted that whether or not the Obama administration cares to use the term “enemy combatant,” in practice its policy is the same.

Tragically, al Janko had been imprisoned and tortured for two years by the Taliban, who accused him of being a US spy, before the US seized him and subjected him to a much longer duration of imprisonment and torture—accusing him of being an Al-Qaeda terrorist.

The Post article is itself part of an attempt by the administration to gauge political support in Congress and the military-intelligence apparatus for such an executive order. “One administration official suggested the White House was already trying to build support for an executive order,” the article notes. This is keeping with the modus operandi of the Obama administration. Prior to making several policy moves over the past few months related to Guantánamo, top “anonymous” officials “familiar with the matter” have planted stories either in the Post or the New York Times in an attempt to prepare a Congressional consensus.

Obama’s victory in last year’s election, it must be recalled, was owing in large measure to a shift behind his candidacy among powerful elements in the military and foreign policy elite who felt that the Bush administration’s handling of “the war on terror” had damaged the international standing of US imperialism. At the same time, Obama won millions of votes of those disgusted with the police-state policies of the Bush administration.

Now, only five months into his administration, Obama has cast aside all of his promises to curb the new anti-democratic powers of the state. Obama has promised there will be no investigation, let alone prosecution, of Bush administration officials or CIA agents who ordered or carried out torture, and has moved to block from public view further evidence of prisoner abuse. Invoking the “state secrets” doctrine, the Obama administration has maneuvered to shut down civil court cases of those who were abducted and tortured in the war on terror. And the National Security Agency, it has been revealed, continues to monitor the e-mail communications of millions of US citizens, even as the Obama administration moves to establish a military “Cyber Command” that would have new authority over the nation’s computer networks.

Obama’s increasingly open embrace of all the anti-democratic methods of the Bush administration—with even superficial differences vanishing—demonstrates the impossibility of defending democratic rights through one or another capitalist politician or party. The criminal methods of the “war on terror” arise not from the mistaken policies of individual politicians. Rather they arise inexorably from the deeper criminal act of launching wars of aggression, which in turn arises from the US political elite’s drive to offset the decline of US capitalism by seizing critical natural resources and strategic advantage over its main imperialist rivals in Europe and Asia.

Source: RINF News

King County deputy who beat girl could face federal charges

By Carlos Miller
A King County Sheriff’s deputy who viciously beat a teenage girl in a holding cell may wind up facing federal charges for the incident that was caught on video.

And that could result in a longer prison term for Paul Schene, who attacked the 15-year-old girl after she flipped her sneaker at him.

Schene said the sneaker caused him “injury and pain” - which is why he pounced on her and kicked her and punched her and dragged her down by the hair before planting his knee on her back and punching her a couple more times.

The girl was charged with third-degree assault, which is a Class C felony in Washington, punishable by up to five years in prison.

After the video emerged, Schene was charged with fourth-degree assault, which is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Apparently, the gross discordance wasn’t lost on the U.S. Justice Department, which rejected a plea deal conjured by prosecutors that would have allowed Schene to serve between six to nine months in jail if he resigned from the sheriff’s office.

If the Justice Department decides to indict Schene, he could serve up to three-and-a-half years in prison, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

His trial is set for September 9. He remains on paid administrative leave.

Schene has been involved in two-officer involved shootings during his eight-year career, including shooting a mentally ill man 11 times in the back during a 2006 traffic stop.

Shortly after the shooting, he was stopped for driving under the influence after mixing alcohol with prescription medicine. He received a deferred sentence and was placed on probation.

As Injustice Everywhere (formerly Injustice in Seattle) could tell us, justice in King County is far from just. And the fact that it needs the feds to step in to ensure that justice gets served should be a complete embarrassment to them.

Of the more than 100 comments in the Seattle P.I. article, the following came from somebody who claims to be former King County deputy Joseph Pellegrini.

As a former deputy (and whistle blower) with the King County Sheriff’s Office, I would just like to clarify the difference between “excessive force” (the use of more force than necessary to effect a lawful action) and “unnecessary force” (the use of force when no force is necessary or lawful)… and from what I saw on the video footage, the deputy in question clearly used unnecessary force… Even if the deputy in question legitimately felt he needed to control or restrain the young girl after she had flipped her shoe(s) at him, all the deputy had to do was simply close the door to the holding cell… She was already in custody! There was absolutely no reasonable excuse for the deputy to use any force whatsoever… So, PLEASE, tell me why this “deputy” is still being paid on administrative leave and has not terminated already? Again, way to go, King County Sheriff’s Office! What a disgrace.

Pellegrini was fired from the King County Sheriff’s Office for complaining about fellow deputies who were instructing rookies to profile people based on race and income. In a 2005 Seattle P.I. article, he stated the following:

“They seem to protect their own at any cost. That’s the cost of someone’s career like mine,” said Pellegrini, 37. “They have these renegade deputies running around in the field. It’s a can of worms and they don’t want to open it up. They don’t want to clean house, or they aren’t able to clean house.”

That can of worms looks like its beginning to spill over.

Source: Photography Is Not A Crime

Sotomayor's Decision Is Overturned: Justices Rule for White Firemen In Bias Lawsuit

The Supreme Court yesterday restricted how far employers may go in considering race in hiring and promotion decisions, a ruling that puts workplaces across the nation on notice that efforts to combat potential discrimination against one group can amount to actual discrimination against another.

The court ruled for white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., who said city officials violated their rights when it threw out the results of a promotions test on which few minorities scored well. The case drew outsize attention because President Obama's nominee for the high court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, had been part of a unanimous panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit that endorsed a lower-court ruling upholding New Haven's decision.

The case was a victory for conservative groups and the firefighters, who said the city's resolution had amounted to denying promotions based on skin color. The court's conservatives prevailed in a decision that said employers needed a "strong basis in evidence" that a test is deficient before discarding the results, rather than just "raw racial statistics" that may indicate a subtle discrimination.

"No individual should face workplace discrimination based on race," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the five-member majority.

Civil rights groups said the decision would create a hurdle for employers, especially in the public sector, seeking to diversify their workforces without violating the law.

The case has been used by Sotomayor critics as evidence that she allowed her personal preferences to influence her rulings, while her supporters said the decision was a straightforward application of court precedents.

In the end, neither side conceded any ground over what yesterday's ruling indicated about Sotomayor's fitness for the high court.

Her supporters noted the closeness of the vote and pointed to the opinion's wording that yesterday's decision "clarifies" how the courts and employers should interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That indicates Sotomayor and the other judges on the appellate panel were simply following precedent in the 2008 decision, her backers said. "She doesn't legislate from the bench," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Those who oppose Sotomayor contrasted the court's 89 pages of opinions, concurrences and dissents with the 134-word summary judgment from Sotomayor and the other judges on the panel. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the Supreme Court's decision a "victory for evenhanded application of the law" and said that "all nine justices were critical of the trial court opinion that Judge Sotomayor endorsed," an assertion the White House rejected.

Although both sides searched for references that might be used for and against Sotomayor, the ruling was more revealing for what it said about a court still closely divided about government policies involving race and diversity.

The decision tried to find the spot between what can be seen as competing provisions of Title VII -- which says that individuals may not be treated differently because of their race, religion or sex, but also that seemingly neutral testing requirements can be discriminatory if they have a disparate impact on members of one group.

New Haven officials said they found themselves in a difficult position when the test results showed that no African Americans and only two Hispanics would have been eligible for promotion to the ranks of lieutenant and captain. City officials said they feared a lawsuit.

Kennedy said that was not a good enough reason to dismiss the test results. "Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," he wrote.

Kennedy said that New Haven's test -- 60 percent of the firefighters' scores were based on a written test and 40 percent on interviews -- properly evaluated what candidates would need to know to perform their jobs, and that it was equally applied to candidates of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

"The process was open and fair," he said. "The problem, of course, is that after the tests were completed, the raw racial results became the predominant rationale for the city's refusal to certify the results."

Kennedy wrote for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reading her dissent from the bench for emphasis, said the firefighters who brought the suit "understandably attract the court's empathy." But she said the majority decision undermines Title VII.

"Congress and, until the decision just announced, this court regarded Title VII's dual prescriptions on intentional discrimination and disparate impact as complementary," Ginsburg said. "Standing on equal footing, both provisions aim to end workplace discrimination and promote genuinely equal opportunity."

Both sides delved deep into the record of New Haven's decision and found contradictory lessons. Ginsburg said the city's decision must be seen in context: "Firefighting is a profession in which the legacy of racial discrimination casts an especially long shadow," she said.

Writing for liberals John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer and, on his last day on the bench, retiring Justice David H. Souter, Ginsburg said New Haven had "ample cause to believe its selection process was flawed and not justified by business necessity."

But Alito, in a concurring opinion with the majority, said the city's decision was driven more by racial politics than any legitimate concerns about the test. He said the plaintiffs do not demand "sympathy" but "evenhanded enforcement of the law -- of Title VII's prohibition against discrimination based on race."

Yesterday's opinion does not forbid employers from factoring in disparate impact or considering race in the makeup of their workforces, and it avoided questions about whether parts of the Civil Rights Act violate constitutional protections of equal protection.

But Scalia wrote: "The war between disparate impact and equal protection will be waged sooner or later, and it behooves us to begin thinking about how -- and on what terms -- to make peace between them."

The case is Ricci v. DeStefano.

Source: The Washington Post

Obama EPA blocks its own report questioning climate change...

Republicans are raising questions about why the EPA apparently dismissed an analyst's report questioning the science behind global warming.

A top Republican senator has ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming.

The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming. Carlin's report argued that the information the EPA was using was out of date, and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

"He came out with the truth. They don't want the truth at the EPA," Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla, a global warming skeptic, told FOX News, saying he's ordered an investigation. "We're going to expose it."

The controversy comes after the House of Representatives passed a landmark bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, one that Inhofe said will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate despite President Obama's energy adviser voicing confidence in the measure.

According to internal e-mails that have been made public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Carlin's boss told him in March that his material would not be incorporated into a broader EPA finding and ordered Carlin to stop working on the climate change issue. The draft EPA finding released in April lists six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that the EPA says threaten public health and welfare.

An EPA official told FOXNews.com on Monday that Carlin, who is an economist -- not a scientist -- included "no original research" in his report. The official said that Carlin "has not been muzzled in the agency at all," but stressed that his report was entirely "unsolicited."

"It was something that he did on his own," the official said. "Though he was not qualified, his manager indulged him and allowed him on agency time to draft up ... a set of comments."

Despite the EPA official's remarks, Carlin told FOXNews.com on Monday that his boss, National Center for Environmental Economics Director Al McGartland, appeared to be pressured into reassigning him.

Carlin said he doesn't know whether the White House intervened to suppress his report but claimed it's clear "they would not be happy about it if they knew about it," and that McGartland seemed to be feeling pressure from somewhere up the chain of command.

Carlin said McGartland told him he had to pull him off the climate change issue.

"It was reassigning you or losing my job, and I didn't want to lose my job," Carlin said, paraphrasing what he claimed were McGartland's comments to him. "My inference (was) that he was receiving some sort of higher-level pressure."

Carlin said he personally does not think there is a need to regulate carbon dioxide, since "global temperatures are going down." He said his report expressed a "good bit of doubt" on the connection between the two.

Specifically, the report noted that global temperatures were on a downward trend over the past 11 years, that scientists do not necessarily believe that storms will become more frequent or more intense due to global warming, and that the theory that temperatures will cause Greenland ice to rapidly melt has been "greatly diminished."

Carlin, in a March 16 e-mail, argued that his comments are "valid, significant" and would be critical to the EPA finding.

McGartland, though, wrote back the next day saying he had decided not to forward his comments.

"The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision," he wrote, according to the e-mails released by CEI. "I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office."

He later wrote an e-mail urging Carlin to "move on to other issues and subjects."

"I don't want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change. No papers, no research, etc., at least until we see what EPA is going to do with climate," McGartland wrote.

The EPA said in a written statement that Carlin's opinions were in fact considered, and that he was not even part of the working group dealing with climate change in the first place.

"Claims that this individual's opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false. This administration and this EPA administrator are fully committed to openness, transparency and science-based decision making," the statement said. "The individual in question is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue. Nevertheless the document he submitted was reviewed by his peers and agency scientists, and information from that report was submitted by his manager to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding. In fact, some ideas from that document are included and addressed in the endangerment finding."

The e-mail exchanges and suggestions of political interference sparked a backlash from Republicans in Congress.

Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also wrote a letter last week to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the agency to reopen its comment period on the finding. The EPA has since denied the request.

Citing the internal e-mails, the Republican congressmen wrote that the EPA was exhibiting an "agency culture set in a predetermined course."

"It documents at least one instance in which the public was denied access to significant scientific literature and raises substantial questions about what additional evidence may have been suppressed," they wrote.

In a written statement, Issa said the administration is "actively seeking to withhold new data in order to justify a political conclusion."

"I'm sure it was very inconvenient for the EPA to consider a study that contradicted the findings it wanted to reach," Sensenbrenner said in a statement, adding that the "repression" of Carlin's report casts doubt on the entire finding.

Carlin said he's concerned that he's seeing "science being decided at the presidential level."

"Now Mr. Obama is in effect directly or indirectly saying that CO2 causes global temperatures to rise and that we have to do something about it. ... That's normally a scientific judgment and he's in effect judging what the science says," he said. "We need to look at it harder."

The controversy is similar to one under the Bush administration -- only the administration was taking the opposite stance. In that case, scientist James Hansen claimed the administration was trying to keep him from speaking out and calling for reductions in greenhouse gases.

Source: Fox Online

Waking up

By Pablo Ouziel

We wake up in the morning to hear and watch the newest tragedy that has swept the attention of the world’s media.

One morning it is the tragic crash of an airplane, the next some contested elections that turn violent as people rebel. Soon, the media lens is directed to the death of a star, but after a few days, the media bites ease and as a few specialized commentators continue discussing previous events, cameras and microphones have gone somewhere else. Amidst this media frenzy, the future of the world is being orchestrated as attentive spectators watch in silence and (sometimes) disbelief.

Serious events and acts are taking place everyday which merit serious social debate, yet because of the fact that our societies are deeply fragmented, broken and clashing with each other, we are unable to grant ourselves the necessary pause, required for conciliation and unity. Because of this, we are easy to control as a mass of isolated individuals, which is held together by norms and regulations, bureaucracies, military, and police, and concepts such as the nation-state, the church and the corporation. If we stay in this model of society, I fear we will live in perpetual war until we destroy ourselves by not paying attention to the fact that something is drastically wrong.

We are living in societies plagued with corruption at all levels, we are constantly expanding our militarized societies surveilled by police forces and colonizing armies, which are rapidly eroding our freedoms. In the meantime, the resources of the world are generating massive amounts of wealth for a small minority, as our natural heritage is being rapidly dilapidated. In exchange, the majority of the global population receives what we have come to identify as ‘security,’ when in effect, it could be clearly labelled as racketeering. As a collective, the mass of the population gets terrorized and soon succumbs to authoritarian rule.

In the Western world -- the bastion of democracy -- we console ourselves with the thought that we are free, we refer to ourselves as members of the free world and compare our free societies with tyrannies that govern in other parts of the planet. This we justify by the fact that our elected officials have reached the podium through an electoral system of some kind, thus, in effect, being representatives of our interests as citizens. It can be argued that this is a fair assumption, as long as we conduct our field research in a laboratory, but if we engage with members of the numerous sub-communities, which exist within the boundaries of delineated nation-states, we quickly realize that there is tremendous discontent and frustration brewing amongst the population. At the same time, there exists in our societies a sense of impotence and fear that if the boat is rocked, things will get worse.

As the world globalizes on different planes -- intellectually, spiritually, socially, politically, economically and militarily, to name a few -- we are faced with the realization of the global consequences of our actions, or our inactions. At this point, all we can do is practice the great and often forgotten virtues of just analysis, honest critique and self-amelioration, hoping to contribute something of value to the global village. Without these virtues, we fall into the trap of blaming others for our barbarous crimes.

When starving kids in poorer nations are dying and have no access to food or water, we blame the country’s tribal lords and corrupt politicians, we forget to mention the exploitation and extortion carried out by our corporations with the aid of our governments and laws.

When we go to war, we blame tyrannical leaders for forcing us to attack them -- we unload bombs on civilian populations in the name of preemptive strikes and the defence of freedom. We forget to question whether we have become monsters and have lost all sense of reason.

When our free-market banking system collapses and our politicians tell us that institutions are too-big-to-fail and must be bailed out by the taxpayers, we are quick to accept their jittery explanations and swiftly approve their actions. We forget to wonder whether we are being conned.

Finally, when a surveillance society rises from within our democratic communities and our freedoms are radically eroded, engrossed in our own delusion of freedom, we forget to evaluate whether we are still living in democratic states, or have transcended into something different.

It is this lack of questioning which has paralyzed us as a collective-mass, and keeps us extracted from the true decision making process -- the one that defines our present global reality and is shaping the future we will leave for others to inherit.

Although I believe professor Chomsky is right in advocating that “prediction in human affairs is a very uncertain enterprise,” I think it is safe to predict, that tomorrow we will wake up in the morning and the media will be playing out the show of the day, perhaps it will report on North Korean bombs, street fights in Iran, the failing state of California, the Madoff financial scandal, or the bombings in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, amidst millions of other news stories, which will navigate through our systems of communication mobilizing us in one direction or another.

It is also safe to predict, that unless there is a drastic change in the will and choice of the majority, at most tomorrow, we can expect isolated demonstrations making isolated requests: stop the war in Gaza, fight for gay rights, defend freedom of speech in Iran, or save the polar bear.

We are still far from defending a globally united cause for environmental sustainability and continuity, equality, freedom and justice for all, a fair system of distribution, and an end to oppression and war. If we can one day unite under that banner, all together at the same time, prolonging our request, popular uprisings in Iran, in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan will inspire us all and we will unite under the same cause. If this happens, together we will break our chains from the elite that govern us, and bridge the abyss, which has separated us from each other.

A brilliant man I know once told me, that despite what we are told, human beings are not too different from each other. I believe he is right, but we must wake up in order to understand this.

Source: Online Journal

Frederick Douglass on Cheap Labor

Below is an article by Frederick Douglass from the August 17, 1871 issue of his newspaper, "The New National Era." America had its cheap labor lobby back in 1871, and it has one today in the form of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ImmigrationWorks, and Bill Gates himself testifying before Congress for more H-1B visas. Frederick Douglass attacked the cheap-labor lobby's "fair-seeming phrases" immediately in the first sentence. We all know that today's cheap labor lobby has similar "fair-seeming phrases" that I will not repeat here since they are all over the mainstream media. The issues that deeply concerned Frederick Douglass in 1871 are very relevant today.

Note 1: In 1996, the Center for Immigration Studies published an excellent historical review of the thoughts of African-Americans on immigration. Click here to view it.

Cheap Labor
by Frederick Douglass

How vast and bottomless is the abyss of meanness, cruelty, and crime sometimes concealed under fair-seeming phrases. Take the one we have made the caption of this article as an illustration. Ostensibly the demand for cheap labor is made in the interest of improvement and general civilization. It tells of increased wealth and of marvellous transformations of the old and the worthless into the new and valuable. It speaks of increased travelling facilities and larger commercial relations; of long lines of railway graded, and meandering canals constructed; of splendid cities built, and flourishing towns multiplied; of rich mines developed, and useful metals made abundant; of capacious ships on every sea abroad, and of amply cultivated fields at home; in a word, it speaks of national prosperity, greatness, and happiness. Alas! however, this is but the outside of the cup and the platter--the beautiful marble without, with its dead men's bones within.

Cheap Labor, is a phrase that has no cheering music for the masses. Those who demand it, and seek to acquire it, have but little sympathy with common humanity. It is the cry of the few against the many. When we inquire who are the men that are continually vociferating for cheap labor, we find not the poor, the simple, and the lowly; not the class who dig and toil for their daily bread; not the landless, feeble, and defenseless portion of society, but the rich and powerful, the crafty and scheming, those who live by the sweat of other men's faces, and who have no intention of cheapening labor by adding themselves to the laboring forces of society. It is the deceitful cry of the fortunate against the unfortunate, of the idle against the industrious, of the taper-fingered dandy against the hard-handed working man. Labor is a noble word, and expresses a noble idea. Cheap labor, too, seems harmless enough, sounds well to hear, and looks well upon paper.

But what does it mean? Who does it bless or benefit? The answer is already more than indicated. A moment's thought will show that cheap labor in the mouths of those who seek it, means not cheap labor, but the opposite. It means not cheap labor, but dear labor. Not abundant labor, but scarce labor; not more work, but more workmen. It means that condition of things in which the laborers shall be so largely in excess of the work needed to be done, that the capitalist shall be able to command all the laborers he wants, at prices only enough to keep the laborer above the point of starvation. It means ease and luxury to the rich, wretchedness and misery to the poor.

The former slave owners of the South want cheap labor; they want it from Germany and from Ireland; they want it from China and Japan; they want it from anywhere in the world, but from Africa. They want to be independent of their former slaves, and bring their noses to the grindstone. They are not alone in this want, nor is their want a new one. The African slave trade with all its train of horrors, was instituted and carried on to supply the opulent landholding inhabitants of this country with cheap labor; and the same lust for gain, the same love of ease, and loathing of labor, which originated that infernal traffic, discloses itself in the modern cry for cheap labor and the fair-seeming schemes for supplying the demand. So rapidly does one evil succeed another, and so closely does the succeeding evil resemble the one destroyed, that only a very comprehensive view can afford a basis of faith in the possibility of reform, and a recognition of the fact of human progress.

In our paper last week we took occasion to say a word of the ``Coolie Trade'' now prosecuted in the interest of cheap labor, and as kindred in character and results to the African slave trade of other days. Our reading on the subject since that writing, shows the points of resemblance between the two schemes to be more striking than they at that time appeared, and the coolie trade but little behind its predecessor in every species of baseness and cruelty.

It is now three centuries since the first recognition of the slave trade by our authority in England. It was during the reign of the great Queen Elizabeth, in 1562, and it is remarkable that the great princess, while sustaining the scheme in furtherance of cheap labor, professed great abhorrence of bringing away the Africans without their ``consent.'' According to her the Negroes came (to use a soft phrase of the American Colonization Society) to be colonized with ``their own consent.'' The same scrupulous regard for the rights of volition appears in the contracts and schemes by which Coolies are transported from India, China, and other parts of the globe. What all these pretensions were worth in regard to the African slave-trader, the history of that traffic as told by Thomas Clarkson and by a thousand witnesses, has abundantly shown.

The trade of the slave-trader across the sea was a track of blood. Her wake drew into it a procession of hungry sharks to feast upon human flesh, diseased, dead, and dying. The slaves were literally stowed between decks, without regard to health, comfort, or decency. The great thought of captains, owners, consignees, and others, was to make the most money they could in the shortest possible time. Human nature is the same now as then. The Coolie Trade is giving us examples of this unchanged character. The rights of a Coolie in California, in Peru, in Jamaica, in Trinidad, and on board the vessels bearing them to these countries, are scarcely more guarded than were those of the Negro slaves brought to our shores a century ago. The sufferings of these people while in transit are almost as heart-rending as any that attended the African slave trade. For the manner of procuring Coolies, for the inhumanity to which they are subjected, and of all that appertains to one feature of this new effort to supply certain parts of the world with cheap labor, we cannot do better than to refer our readers to the quiet and evidently truthful statement in another column of one of the Coolies rescued from the ship Dolores Ugarte, on board which ship six hundred Coolies perished by fire, deserted and left to their fate by captain and crew.

Source: Numbers USA