>by bigcitygal March 1, 2008
Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones, by Carole Boyce Davies (Duke University Press, 2008; $22.95)
Claudia Jones is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about African-American feminist theorists and activists. Hopefully, this memoir of her life and achievements will change that.
Jones was a communist, Marxist-Leninist to be precise, a union activist, a feminist and an anti-racist activist. She integrated the ideas of those theories into activism and practice, in the United States for the majority of her life and in London, England.
At the beginning of Left of Karl Marx, Davies provides the reader with an abbreviated chronology of Jones' life, then divides the book into chapters focusing on different aspects of Jones' life: her radical writing as a journalist, her activism within the Communist Party USA, her prison writings, mostly in the form of letters and poems that she wrote, her arrests and her imprisonments in the United States, her deportation to London, England, and how she continued her work there until she died.
Jones died in London at the age of 49 of heart failure. Poor health had plagued her throughout her life, and imprisonment, it could be argued, accelerated her death. Her ashes are buried literally to the left of Karl Marx's tombstone in Highgate Cemetery, London.
Jones was born in Trinidad in 1915 and emigrated to the United States in 1924. She had tuberculosis as a young woman, and suffered from inadequate medical attention throughout most of her life. She worked manual labour positions such as laundry and factory work, and became involved in working class politics.
Jones first joined the Communist Party in 1936 at the age of 21 and was active in the Youth Movement. She was an avid writer and journalist and wrote for many newspapers throughout her life, many of them focusing on issues related to black Americans, working class life, and the role of women in the Communist party.
In the introduction, Davies talks about how Jones' life and work were very much ahead of her time, and relevant to the politics of anti-oppression, and linked oppressions that modern feminist and left movements struggle with to this day. Davies describes the black subject, such as Claudia Jones, as a body that can challenge the status quo from several subject locations:
The Communist Party was illegal in the United States during the time of Jones' activism. In 1942, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began a file on her, obtained by Davies under the Freedom of Information Act. Despite harassment and threats, Jones continued her writing and activism, rising to the level of Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Review, the Communist Party newspaper in 1943, Editor of the Negro Affairs section of the Daily Worker in 1946, and was elected a full member of the National Committee of Communist Party USA in 1946 as well.
In January 1948, Jones was arrested for the first time, and was threatened with deportation to Trinidad. While out on bail she spoke at May Day rallies across the country, and worked on issues relating to the working class, peace, equality and black women. She recruited for the Party, even as the FBI continued to gather evidence to be used for her deportation hearing.
In 1953, Jones was convicted for one year and a day, a shorter sentence than two other women arrested with her, due to her health issues. She was released after serving nine months, and her deportation order came shortly afterwards. In London she was affiliated with the Communist Party of Great Britain and continued with the work she loved, including, in 1958, founding the newspaper West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News.
Davies makes a number of references to the parallels of Jones' treatment in the United Stated during the era, the McCarthy Era, and the recent restrictions on civil liberties within the United States since September 11, 2001. Parallels include imprisonment and deportation based on nothing more than affiliations with certain groups considered to be (current) enemies of the United States, the enacting of the USA-Patriot Act in 2001 whose full name is "Uniting and Strengthening American by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."
The criminalization of communism took place under very similar circumstances, in which the Internal Security Act (1950), also known as the McCarran Act, shares similar clauses to parts of the Patriot Act, specifically that all communists register with immigration authorities and local police.
This is a dense, academic, and thorough book about the life of a Black feminist theorist that more people should know about. It is my hope that this is the start of a revival of Jones' life and work. This is a must read for any women's studies class, as well as American history, politics and other disciplines. Highly recommended.—bigcitygal
bigcitygal is a Toronto-based anti-racist/anti-oppression educator and consultant. She is a frequent contributor to rabble.ca's discussion board: babble, and is the volunteer moderator of the anti-racism forum.
Otis Cox used to talk skyjackers off airplanes and break up gambling rings in the crime-ridden hotspots of Gary, Ind., and Jacksonville, Fla.
Cox, 66, was recently named director of the West Virginia Division of Personnel.
But it's not a job the retired FBI agent will be taking lightly.
"This job will require some of the same techniques," said Cox, who was appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin to the position earlier this month. "You need to be open-minded, have your eyes wide open and be quick to respond."
Cox, who more closely resembles a man 20 years his junior, attributes his longevity in public service to two things: "I drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of ice cream," he jokes.
Before accepting his new position, Cox worked two jobs. He served as a contractor for the FBI conducting background investigations for national security positions in the FBI, Department of Justice and the federal court system. He also reconstructed automobile accidents as a private investigator for the state.
"I call them crashes," he quipped.
Cox had spent 26 years in the FBI prior to working as a contractor. He also served as public safety secretary under Govs. Cecil Underwood and Bob Wise, and was a criminal justice instructor at West Virginia University and Fairmont State.
Born in Pilot Mountain, N.C., Cox grew up in Baltimore before moving to West Virginia in 1991. He was instrumental in bringing the FBI to Clarksburg, the site of the agency's Criminal Justice Information Services Division since 1995.
"I volunteered to move to West Virginia," Cox said. "They thought I was the least likely to go because there's not too many black people in West Virginia. They said, 'Otis, are you sure you know where you're going?' "
But Cox and his family have called the Mountain State home ever since.
"I was elated from the first moment," he said. "The people were incredible. I hadn't been treated so well in my life, other than by my grandmothers. They're the only ones who thought I was special."
Cox is somewhat of a jokester, and a self-proclaimed extrovert. He's a people person, which is fitting for his new role. During an interview, he said, "Don't let me ramble on and on." He admits he might clam up if he's surrounded by other live wires.
"If I'm in a room with extreme extroverts, I'm very quiet," he said.
Cox believes he has the social tools to help boost the image of the state and the Division of Personnel, which had been without a director since Aug. 3 when Billie Jo Streyle-Anderson resigned to return to private law practice.
"The image is that of a typical bureaucratic organization," he said bluntly about the division. "We move slowly and we don't handle things that should be handled. We're in compliance, but we're a little too slow."
The division has to fill vacancies more quickly, Cox said.
"If this person leaves tomorrow, we should have someone ready to put in that position," he said. "I don't see us there yet."
He also noted that the state's job classification system may be a bit confusing and outdated.
Most of all, Cox plans to do what he does best - talk to people and feel them out on how they take their job.
Two easy reads about the Pathologist who said the President kennedy Warren Commission Autopsy reports were phony.1st read
2nd readDay 22: Bob Mayo Blogs The Cyril Wecht Trial In Pittsburgh
POSTED: 10:18 am EDT March 10, 2008UPDATED: 10:36 am EDT March 10, 2008
Channel 4 Action News reporter Bob Mayo is covering the trial of Dr. Cyril Wecht at the federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh. He will be posting blogs as often as possible from court. These are the raw notes that were sent on his mobile device.
Wecht Day 22 - March 10, 2008 - 8:30 a.m. update
Sister Grace Ann Geibel is back on the witness stand, being cross-examined by Wecht defense attorney Jerry McDevitt. He's reviewing with her various correspondence with Dr. Wecht and others concerning the establishment of the forensic science / autopsy technician training academic program.
---Now on the screen, a January 18, 2005 letter from Wecht to Sister Geibel. It notes that during a luncheon with Carlow faculty, the subject came up of establishing some kind of contractual agreement between Carlow and Wecht. Geibel says at that at the time of this letter, she was preparing for her retirement and the transition to a successor for her.
McDevitt: eventually a document was drafted....? Geibel: "That's right".
Defense document now on the screen, dated March 23, 2005. It's a cover letter for a draft of the agreement. It says it's Carlow's desire to "have you forever associated with our autopsy program and to have access to an (until your hundredth year) access to our science facilities".
Next document: letter dated Mary 20, 2005. It's the cover letter for the memorandum of understanding. The agreement itself is co-signed by Geibel and Wecht. McDevitt notes that it's nearly two years after the initial discussion, and that it was drafted by Carlow's legal counsel.
The agreement says: "Carlow desires...to permit Wecht to continue to use Carlow's Gross Anatomy Laboratory"... "for the purpose of private autopsies."
McDevitt notes that there's no mention of any condition based on the use of cadavers from the coroner's office. Geibel: "no, there is not."
The agreement does not provide for any pay to Wecht for participating in the Carlow educational program. Geibel: "he never asked for any."
McDevitt: Prior to these charges you were not interviewed by any representative of the FBI? no I was not. ..by any member of the prosecution team? "No I was not." No attempt by them...to interview...? Geibel: "No there was not." McDevitt says how she found out about the charges? "I came to know about it by seeing it on television. I believe it was on CNN. I was in Florida at the time." She says it seemed like it was on throughout the day. It was given widespread publicity? A: "Absolutely. It was on all day", and it was referencing Carlow College.What was your reaction when you heard it? "I was just shocked. I thought 'what could this mean?' I began to question whether I could have lived that life back there." "What basis could there be for such an allegation. This was absolutely false, for one reason." "There was an invitation and securing of the lab for Dr. Wecht from the outset." "That was my reaction, it was shock, then I settled down and said I have to think about this." McDevitt: Do you recall the first representative of the government who attempted to speak to you about this? Objection.Did you have the opportunity to speak with the U.S. attorney herself about these charges? Objection. Did you tell the U.S. Attorney that these charges were false? Geibel says "Yes, I did", as the government objects. Move to strike. Granted.
Her testimony establishes that months later there was a meeting with government: Mr. Stallings, Mr. Brad Orsini from the FBI.
Defense attorney McDevitt: did you observe anyone from the government making notes of your conversation. I did not.
McDevitt asks if she was ever shown any FBI 302 forms -- those are FBI records of the content of interviews conducted by agents.Did you answer every question they asked that day. I think so.Did you tell them you never made an agreement with Dr. Wecht that he would have lab space for free cadavers. I'm quite sure that I did.Did you tell them this was an academic program that was a fulfillment of your dream. She says she did. McDevitt: before this trial began, you told Mr. Stallings and FBI agent Orsini there was no deal as discussed in this case? Yes, I did.
9:04 AM Cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Stallings.
You testified that it was "reprehensible" that you did not get the opportunity to go through these documents? Yes.This morning you asked "what would be the basis" for bringing these charges.Stallings brings up document: minutes from June 20, 2003 Carlow board meeting.Next Stalling shows copy of her remarks at the announcement of the program from September 5, 2003. Asks if she was aware of the government subpoenaing documents from Carlow from April of 2005? She says she recalls her secretary telling her that kind of activity was under way.Stalling shows her government exhibit 2002, page one. It's a letter from her legal counsel to Stallings, cc:ed to her. It's a response to the subpoena.Stallings asks if Geibel's handwritten notes in preparing for her announcement of the program were produced to the government. They were not. He also asks about other materials presented as defense exhibits during cross-examination. They apparently were not. Document introduced by Stallings speaks of the use of bodies of "indigent". It also says students will meet an adequate amount of time built into the course to perform an autopsy".There's also a reference of cost of transportation.Stallings questions whether these documents were produced in response to the initial subpoena. Apparently they were not.
Now shows her a 9-15-2004 Carlow purchase order. It refers to removal of autopsy cases from the Allegheny County coroner's office to Carlow -- 10 to 12 cases. $75 a unit to $900.
Now Stallings goes back to an earlier government exhibit, which refers to budgetary considerations for transportation of $75 each. She acknowledges they would be apparently be bodies.
Stallings: these documents all refer to the transportation of bodies from the coroner's office to Carlow, would you agree? Yes.He also notes they were apparently not provided to the government in response to its initial subpoena.
Next document: notes "Things to be done" from 2004. It listed "contract with Carlow & Wecht regarding bodies and facilities". She acknowledges it was not provided in response to the subpoena in April of 2005.
Stallings shows her government exhibit 20002, page two. It asks for "All records relating to Cyril H. Wecht, including without limitation contracts, formation documents, by laws, financial statements..,.bills, invoices... from January 1, 1997 to April 2005."
Left Carlow in June 2005. Asks if she's familiar with government efforts to get additional documents and what Carlow did produce in 2006. She is not aware.
Stallings now shows a "Draft #1" of the contract between Carlow and Wecht, which has handwritten notations on it. Section 3, Contributions, says Carlow agrees to contribute one autopsy lab. There are question marks and blank spaces, indicating it was a draft. Item B lists Supplies: "Chemicals, bodies". Stallings establishes this was not provided to the government in response to the earlier subpoena.
A draft from 3/17/05 initially notes Wecht serves as coroner. Stallings notes a later version refers to him in his private capacity.
Stallings: you made clear this morning you never discussed an exchange of bodies for cadavers? She says that's correct.
Stallings shows an addendum to the agreement from September 27, 2005, after she left Carlow.
This version - section 4, Contributions. Carlow agrees to contribute the premises and use of the lab."The primary instruction mode will be autopsies provided by Wecht Pathology"... "augmented by additional cadavers procured by Wecht Pathology".You are aware that cadavers were coming to Carlow even as you were president? She answers she wasn't aware of the details. She says she invited Wecht to bring his private practice, and she had then and still has now "every confidence" that he would have followed appropriate procedures.Stallings: and you would have relied on Dr. Wecht? Geibel: that's correct.
9:40 AM Testimony is continuing.
Wecht Day 22 - March 10, 2008 - 9:40 a.m. update
Stallings shows checks and invoices for transportation of bodies. He asks if they were included in response to the initial subpoena. They were not.
Stallings notes that it appears Carlow was paying for transportation of bodies from at least the fall of 2004.
Stallings asks what she did to make your her response to the subpoena was complete. She says she relied on her staff and legal counsel Charles Gibbons to determine the material that was most appropriate.
You are clear that you never had a discussion with the defendant about exchanging bodies for lab space. Would you agree to me that bodies were being sent from the coroner's office to Carlow and back again on a frequent basis? Yes.That Dr. Wecht was the one responsible for obtaining those cadavers? Yes.
---Stallings asks if the documents showing the transportation don't pre-date the subpoena of April 2005? Yes.That the defendant was allowed to use the lab as early as 2003 and he didn't pay for the lab space? Yes. Did he tell you that prior to that he was paying PIMS for lab space? She wasn't aware.That he would have to pay PIMS $60,000 a year to continue to use PIMS? No. Did she believe that the autopsies did for outlying counties were a public service? She indicates that it seems reasonable to assume that might be the case.Did he tell you that he earned at least a thousand dollars for each of those autopsies he performed for the surrounding counties? She believes she knew that.Did he tell his business earned as much as $400,000 a year from autopsies alone.. tell you how valuable it would be for him to have use of Carlow's space? She doesn't recall that. Can you tell us what records, if any, Carlow kept that Lillian Takacs had consented to having her body used for educational purposes? No.That Takacs family consented...? No, but says she's confident any appropriate measures would have been taken.Stallings now lists others whose bodies were autopsied and asks about consent in those cases. She says the same answer would apply.
Stallings: assume for me that a woman named Charlotte Keegel wrote down in a letter what she wanted to happen with her body in the case of her death. Over defense objections, Stallings reads the letter, which says "please definitely do not make me a donor of any of my organs." Stallings: "Would you agree that sending the body for autopsy of this body would not show respect for the dead?" Defense objects, questions whether there will be any evidence offered that Wecht or anyone involved knew of the letter. Judge allows the question. Geibel: I do not know how to respond to that. I don't know the nature of the transaction, if this information was known. If it was known and deliberately contradicted, I would assume that it would not show respect. But there are so many unknowns floating in the air here, and so many hypotheticals, it's really untenable.
Now Stallings asks about another individual ... similar objections are overruled by judge.
Stallings asks again if Carlow relied on the defendant to make sure all obligations were met. Geibel: yes.
10:03 Re-cross questioning by McDevitt.
Did you rely on your lawyer to respond to the subpoena? Yes.Would you agree that you supplied about a half-inch of documents in response to the subpoena? Yes.So whatever documents were given to the document, they've had since April, 2005? That's correct.So Carlow responded to the government with these documents within 12 days? Yes.There's nothing requesting any thing about livery (body transportation) records, is there? Geibel: No, there isn't.
McDevitt shows through his questioning that various documents she provided in April 2005 do mention private autopsies. He's apparently attempting to show Carlow and Geibel were not trying to hide these reference. He also uses her to show that information about the formation of the program, including news articles were provided. McDevitt asks her if it wasn't enough for them to be able to ask her about the allegation later brought in the indictment, which she says they did not do. She agrees.
10:21 AM Judge says they're breaking until 10:40 AM
March 15, 2008
The darkness is infinite As I leave the curtain's edge It is filled with watchers Silent judges --Rachel Corrie, about 11 years old
The darkness is infinite As I leave the curtain's edge It is filled with watchers Silent judges
--Rachel Corrie, about 11 years old
As their plane touches down in Tel Aviv this week, Cindy and Craig Corrie will mark five years since their daughter's death. On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death beneath an armored Israeli bulldozer. The Corries are a short distance from Gaza, where Rachel was killed, and where in the past few weeks, an Israeli military incursion killed over 100 Palestinians, including many women and children.
This week, the Corries come to Israel to attend the first Arabic-language performance of the acclaimed one-woman play, My Name is Rachel Corrie.
Compelling though her story was -- an American peace activist killed trying to block the demolition of her Palestinian host family's home, killed by the military of her own government's major regional ally -- Rachel's story might well have faded quickly, subsumed in the weekly news cycle just three days before the "Shock and Awe" of the attack on Iraq. But her family's instinct, even in the first hours of grief and bewilderment, felt imperative: "We must get her words out." Rachel's emails home during her month in the Gazan border town of Rafah, volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement, had stirred and shaken her family and friends. Having traveled from her comfortable life in her hometown of Olympia, Washington, she had sat smoking late into the night, passionately reporting the other-worldly scenes of violence and destruction from the military occupation around her.
From Rachel's habit since childhood of journal-keeping and poetry-writing, her parents knew her to be a writing talent of great originality and promise, and they sensed that her dispatches from Gaza could have a broader reach. Editors at the Guardian in London felt similarly, and told the Corries that Rachel's words "connected readers to the occupation more than anything they had read in a long while." The Corries granted the London newspaper permission to publish the e-mails nearly in total, yet to their knowledge, no U.S newspaper picked them up. [The first way many met Rachel was through CounterPunch which published many of her dispatches, before and after her death. AC / JSC ] From there, Rachel's writing came to the attention of the British actor Alan Rickman (best known here as "Snape" of the Harry Potter films), whose collaboration with Katherine Viner of the Guardian would lead to the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie, produced by the Royal Court Theatre in London. That project, which germinated and was nurtured in London, would later reach audiences in the United States and around the world.
In the days following Rachel's death, the Corries' whole world was upended. With little connection to Mideast issues, they found themselves "catapulted into the midst of an international conflict and controversy." They moved back to Olympia, Washington, and immersed themselves in work, from local grassroots campaigns to national and international work on behalf of peace between Israel and Palestine. It was the beginning of an education.
The Search for Accountability
The family wanted the help of their own government in the painful task of securing the return of Rachel's body, as well as in determining responsibility and seeking redress. According to the U.S. Dept. of State, on the day after Rachel's death, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promised President Bush a "thorough, credible, and transparent" investigation. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher assured: "When we have the death of an American citizen, we want to see it fully investigated. That is one of our key responsibilities overseasto find out what happened in situations like these." U.S. Representative Brian Baird, whose district includes Rachel's native Olympia, introduced House Concurrent Resolution 111 calling on the U.S. government to conduct a full investigation of her death.
When Israeli officials said that an autopsy had to be performed before Rachel's body could be returned, the Corrie family insisted that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present. They also requested that it not be performed by anyone associated with the Israeli military, since after all, these were the people who killed her. Even an Israeli court ordered that a U.S. official be a witness, and with this understanding the Corries acquiesced. Not until 2007 would the family learn that their requests, and the court order, weren't honored. Although the State Dept. knew for four years that no American had been attendant, the Corries discovered this only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Furthermore, the autopsy had been performed by someone the IDF used regularly.
The results of Israel's investigation were announced in May of 2003. Eyewitnesses had reported that Rachel was clearly visible, at eye level, to the two drivers of the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, surely plausible given her Day-Glo flak jacket, and the highly charged context of the skirmishes with the ISM activists throughout the day. (One soldier entered into the log that day, referring to the International activists: "Those foreigners should be handled and their entrance into the Gaza Strip forbidden. Additionallythe firing orders must state (illegible) that every adult person should be shot to kill"). But the military report simply found that they did not see her.
The case was closed and no charges were brought. The report would not even be released to the U.S. government, whose billions in annual largesse ranked Israel as by far the largest recipient of American aid. Pressed by the Corries, Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson acknowledged that regarding the Israeli Defense Forces report, "Your ultimate question, however, is a valid one, i.e., whether or not we view that report to have reflected an investigation that was 'thorough, credible, and transparent.' I can answer your question without equivocation. No, we do not consider it so." But the U.S. government declined to conduct its own investigation, and claimed it could not force a "thorough, credible and transparent" inquiry from the Israelis. Congressman Baird's resolution calling for an investigation had gathered 77 cosponsors, yet died in committee that year without a hearing.
The Corries persisted. It took nearly two years before they had a contact in the Justice Department, and were able to meet with the U.S. Attorney in Seattle, John McKay. He explained that one of the elements to enable a prosecution was a certification by the U.S. Attorney General that the killing was intended "to coerce, intimidate or retaliate against a civilian population or government." This anti-terrorism statute was used against Indonesia, when the FBI went to investigate the killing of an American, Rick Spier. Cindy explained how McKay told them, "'I'll give you as much time as you need, but I'm here to tell you that no Attorney General-past, present or future-will ever certify against Israel.' Maybe that's what shocked me the most," she said. "I couldn't believe that Mr. McKay was being so forthright. I was dumbfounded."
On March 17, 2005, the family met with Barry Sabin, head of the Counterterrorism Section of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department. Sabin told them that the applicable criminal statutes could be applied to the military of a foreign country and that Rachel's killing could meet the criteria of "trying to coerce, intimidate, or retaliate," if there was proper evidence for it.
The Corries said that such evidence was abundant, citing the killing of Rachel and two other international human rights observers within a seven week period by the IDF in Rafah, all of whom were documenting civilian home demolitions on the border between Gaza and Egypt. They pointed to the intimidation of internationals and Palestinian municipal water workers trying to repair water wells destroyed by the IDF in Rafah; finally, the mass demolition of civilian homes in Rafah was itself evidence of precisely such intimidation and coercion.
But, echoing U.S. Attorney McKay, Sabin told them there would be no investigation without the ability to prosecute, which would required certification by the U.S. Attorney General.
The family would meet once more with Justice Dept. officials Sabin and Michael Mullaney, more than a year later, when they were duly informed that the only applicable statute was Title 18, 2332, which required that Rachel's killing come under the rubric of a "serious, violent attack on a U.S. citizen or U.S. interests." But Justice wasn't going to pursue an investigation under Title 18, because, as Mullaney explained, they had to go back to the original intent of Congress in that statute, which meant it only to apply to "terrorist" attacks on Americans.
Cindy says, " I really asked the question twice: 'Are you saying that no matter what amount of evidence we bring to you there will never be a U.S. investigation into Rachel's killing?' And Barry Sabin said, 'I never say never, but no.' And our daughter Sarah said, 'Even if we could show intent?' And he nodded."
Sabin counseled that the criminal justice system was not the means to solve all problems. He suggested to the family that perhaps the play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, was the best way to address the issue.
Caterpillar-the Question of Liability
Weighing more than 60 tons with its armored plating, the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer that killed Rachel Corrie is built to destroy a reinforced concrete house in a matter of minutes. More than 70,000 Palestinians have seen their homes destroyed by the IDF since the occupation began, and some 1,600 of these homes were demolished in Rafah alone, between 2000 and 2004. The wholesale destruction of neighborhoods on pretexts that were at best flimsy has long attracted the condemnation of the major human rights organizations, and executives at the Caterpillar Corporation can hardly claim innocence of the controversy. Rights groups have spent the last twenty years filling Caterpillar's In-box with appeals about grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to no effect.
In April 2002, the home of Mahmoud Omar Al Sho'bi was bulldozed to rubble in the middle of the night, without warning, in the West Bank town of Nablus. Perishing inside were his father Umar, his sisters Fatima and Abir, his brother Samir and pregnant sister-in-law Nabila, and their three children, Anas, Azzam and Abdallah, ages 4, 7, and 9.
In 2005, the Corries joined Mahmoud and four other Palestinian familes as plaintiffs in a major lawsuit against Caterpillar.
The suit charged not only wrongful death, public nuisance and negligence, but that Caterpillar violated international and federal law by selling the bulldozers to the IDF despite its knowledge of their intended, unlawful use. In doing so, claimed the lawsuit, Caterpillar aided and abetted war crimes such as collective punishment and destruction of civilian property.
Judge Franklin D. Burgess in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissed the case without permitting discovery or hearing oral argument. His reasoning included the disturbing interpretation that a company cannot be held liable for selling its products-merely knowing they will assist war crimes-- unless it actually intended that the war crimes be committed. It is hard to imagine the corporate tort case that could surmount this kind of impediment.
Corrie et.al. v. Caterpillar then proceeded to the appellate level, before the Ninth Circuit. Just before the Court was set to issue its ruling, the Government weighed in on the matter with a late amicus brief -- standing with Caterpillar, and against the Corrie plantiffs. In the brief, the U.S. first stooped to argue that there should be no liability for aiding and abetting human rights violations under the statutes germane to this suit, namely the Alien Torts Statute of 1789, and the Torture Victims Protection Act of 1992. (These Acts are part of the foundation of individuals' access to U.S. courts in cases of human rights violations.)
Then, in the same brief, the government declared (without submitting evidence) that it had reimbursed Israel for the cost of the bulldozers. Therefore, went its argument, to hold the company liable would be to implicate U.S. foreign policy itself in criminal violations. Foreign policy being the prerogative largely of the Executive branch, the Court lacked jurisdiction. To hear the case would be a breach of the separation of powers.
Incredibly, the Ninth Circuit embraced this "foreign policy" argument, and in September, 2007 affirmed the dismissal of the suit.
"Foreign policy" challenges of this kind, based on the so-called "political question" doctrine, do come before the courts, but are usually rejected, explains Maria LaHood, Senior Attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, and who led the legal team. It's just not the kind of dispute that has been found to involve a genuine "separation of powers" conflict, she argues. "Here we have private partiessuing Caterpillar for war crimes and other violations, and way off to the side we have the possibility that the U.S. is paying for the bulldozers. It's so far attenuated that it is a stretch to call this a political question. We allege violations of international law. That's what the court's role is-to adjudicate. Take this to its logical extension: you sue corporations, foreign officials, foreign governments, and anytime it may be a party that receives aid from the US government, it somehow interferes with U.S. foreign policy? That just can't be."
The plaintiffs are now awaiting a reply on their petition for a re-hearing of the appeal.
The Reach of Rachel's story
In Rachel's case, all three branches of the US government have now taken a stand -- against her, and in favor of Israeli and corporate impunity. The Corries aren't deterred. "The kind of impotence in government around this whole issue, after five years with Rachel's case," says Cindy, "points to the need for people at the grassroots level to find other channels, other ways of keeping the communications open, of building those relationships that ultimately are going to lead to some change in the world."
Rachel's parents, along with many community activists, have established the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice (rachelcorriefoundation.org) and the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project (orscp.org), local initiatives fostering exchanges and projects with Palestinians. With Gaza under siege, and Hamas declared a "terrorist organization", ORSCP faces financial obstacles, and delegates from both the US and Rafah face difficulties getting in and out of Gaza. Cindy states that the extreme difficulties "make it all the more important to keep trying to do the work. It's because it's that bad that it's so crucial for us to not just back away and say it's too hard."
Yet even on the local level, the government is a hurdle to be overcome. The Olympia City Council rejected official sister-city status in April 2007 after a concerted campaign by local activists. Despite broad community support, as well as the backing of Sister Cities International, the City Council thwarted the initiative, deferring to some in the community who viewed the Palestinians as "terrorists" and the project as "divisive." As one organizer wrote from Portland, "If Rachel Corrie's city cannot gain official recognition, then who can?" Still, the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project, initiated by Rachel, won't go away. In the past month, two local delegates got in to Rafah to witness conditions under siege and the temporary breeching of the border wall, and to offer some slight economic relief through fair trade exchange of Palestinian embroidery, even as people imprisoned in Rafah are running out of basic supplies, such as thread, baby formula and medicines, not to mention food, water, and electricity.
If all official avenues have been closed to Rachel's case and vision of justice, the power of her words has proven indomitable despite efforts to silence them. And if, as Justice Dept. official Barry Sabin claimed, the stage play was indeed the best means of addressing Rachel's killing, then the play indicts the Israeli military in the deliberate killing of Rachel, as well as in the systematic onslaught on the Palestinians' ability to survive. My Name is Rachel Corrie, which opens this week in Haifa, in Arabic, is reaching audiences worldwide. From the cities of Lima, Montreal, Athens, New York, Des Moines, Seattle, and scores more, and with showings performed or scheduled throughout Europe, and in South Africa, Australia, even Iceland, Rachel's story continues to have what Cindy describes as an "unexpected impact." In several US cities, theaters have backed out due to political pressure. "If people aren't familiar with the political landscape," states Craig, "they can be blindsided and easily scared by the pressure." Yet artists and activists offended by the censorship and silencing, usually find creative ways to stage the play, bringing even more attention to Rachel's story.
Moreover, this month has seen the release of Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie, a major publication by Norton. Here, as in the play, Rachel becomes more than a political symbol. As Cindy explains, "Sometimes she is demonized; sometimes she is lionized, but it makes it more possible for her to have more impact if people see her as human." The sustained beauty of Rachel's writings and sketches, and her incisive observations into personal and global relationships, from 10 years old into young adulthood, expose a young woman who is deeply caring, creative, quirky, wise beyond her years, anything but naïve.
"People accuse Rachel of being naïve, which of course she wasn't," says Craig. "Though she may have been naïve about US pressure on Israel." Up to the day of her death, Rachel worked tirelessly, building relationships with Palestinians and Israeli activists, engaging in direct action, and strategizing on the grassroots level to stop the "massive destruction of civilian homes" in Rafah. In a press release from March 2003, she writes, "We can only imagine what it is like for Palestinians living here, most of them already once-or-twice refugees, for whom this is not a nightmare, but a continuous reality from which international privilege cannot protect them, and from which they have no economic means to escape."
Today, the Corries share Rachel's sense of urgency, even as they point to the hypocrisy of the US government, the world's superpower, claiming impotence and abdicating responsibility in Rachel's case, and in the case for Palestinian justice. As Craig says, "We have the luxury to sit around and discuss all of this, yet we feel the growing impatience. We want to drive home Rachel's message that we have a responsibility to act."
Tom Wright directed the documentary, Checkpoint: The Palestinians After Oslo, and was a founding member of the Olympia-Rafah Sister City Project.
At least four FBI agents were wounded -- none critically -- in a bomb attack on a popular Italian restuarant in Islamabad this weekend.
The attacker tossed a small bomb or hand grenade directly into the restuarant courtyard, which is known for serving alcohol to Westerners.
Multiple sources said that the attack was under investigation to see whether it was based on the terrorists having learned in advance of the agents' presence.
In Washington, meanwhile, officials downplayed the possibility that the attack specifically targeted the agents based on advance intelligence.
They cited the relatively small size of the attack -- one in which injuries to the agent's were relatively minor -- as part of their rationale. Also the explosive does not appear to have been tossed directly at the agents' table.
The top agent in the country, U.S. Embassy FBI attache Ray Biteski, suffered serious ear damage, an assistant attache reportedly suffered a concussion and two agents are reported as suffering minor injuries.
The two who suffered minor injuries were treated and released. Biteski and a second agent were med-evaced to Europe.
This was the first bomb attack on U.S. citizens or government personnel in Pakistan since a church bombing in 2002.
ABC's Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.
Police advisory board member loses post
SPOKANE -- A woman who served as the liaison between the Spokane police and the local Hispanic community has left her post because of her association with a man arrested for attempting to extort an immigrant family.
Carmella LeBlance, a member of the Spokane Police Department's advisory committee, was supposed to be a liaison between the community and the force. However in a criminal complaint filed by U.S. Attorneys last week, she was named in the complaint for assisting Marwan Nasser in a scheme aimed at extorting a family from Mexico out of thousands of dollars.
Nasser was arrested and is being held on a $750,000 bond on charges that he posed as an FBI agent and threatened to extort members of the Zuniga family of Spokane Valley. The Zunigas run a popular Spokane Valley restaurant say they paid Nasser thousands of dollars to allow them to stay in the United States.
Reportedly LeBlance had assisted Nasser in his scheme to extort money from the Zuniga family and in light of these allegations LeBlanc was asked to step down from her post last Friday.
"When we learned of the association that she my have with this person who was arrested, being investigated by the federal government that raised serious concerns for us," Spokane Assistant Police Chief Jim Nicks said.
LeBlanc has not been charged with committing a crime but cannot rejoin the advisory committee without Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick's approval.
OSWALD and the FBI
Harold Feldman The Nation, 27 January 1964, pages 86–89
Harold Feldman is a translator and journalist, living in Philadelphia. As a translator, he has worked extensively for the Social Security Administration. Mr. Feldman is also a frequent contributor to psychoanalytic journals, one of his papers having been “The Hero As Assassin.”
Harold Feldman is a translator and journalist, living in Philadelphia. As a translator, he has worked extensively for the Social Security Administration. Mr. Feldman is also a frequent contributor to psychoanalytic journals, one of his papers having been “The Hero As Assassin.”
The Warren Commission should, if possible, tell us how President Kennedy was killed, who killed him, and why. But beyond that, it must tell us if the FBI or any other government intelligence agency was in any way connected with the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. At this moment, the possibility of such associations in the young man’s life is intolerably a subject for speculation. On the day after the assassination, the Dallas Chief of Police complained on television that the FBI had interviewed Oswald about a week earlier and had failed to inform the Dallas authorities of this fact—something the bureau would normally do after making contact with a suspicious Red. Drew Pearson also reported this but added, “In Washington, the FBI denied that they had interrogated Oswald recently.” However, Michael Paine, who with his wife helped take care of Mrs. Oswald and the two children, “claimed that FBI agents had visited Oswald more than one time after he returned to Dallas from a trip to Mexico City.” Oswald returned to Dallas from Mexico City on October 3, 1963. This report is also contradicted by another:
The FBI picked up the trail again in Dallas after Oswald’s return there on Oct. 3. He was not interviewed, but agents checked twice with Mrs. Ruth Paine, who told them that Oswald had gone to work on Oct. 16 in the Texas State School Book Depository. (The New York Times, 12/10/63.)
The FBI picked up the trail again in Dallas after Oswald’s return there on Oct. 3. He was not interviewed, but agents checked twice with Mrs. Ruth Paine, who told them that Oswald had gone to work on Oct. 16 in the Texas State School Book Depository. (The New York Times, 12/10/63.)
The Minority of One (January, 1964) tells us:
William M. Kline, Chief of the U.S. Customs Bureau investigative services in Laredo, Texas, stated on November 25 that Oswald’s movements were watched at the request of “a federal agency in Washington.” (New York Post, November 25.) Eugene Pugh, U.S. agent in charge of the Customs office on the American side of the bridge at Laredo, Texas, said that Oswald had been checked by American immigration officials on entering and leaving Mexico. Mr. Pugh admitted to the New York Herald Tribune that this was “not the usual” procedure. He said Americans were not required to check in with Immigration when crossing the border, “but U.S. immigration has a folder on Oswald’s trip.”
William M. Kline, Chief of the U.S. Customs Bureau investigative services in Laredo, Texas, stated on November 25 that Oswald’s movements were watched at the request of “a federal agency in Washington.” (New York Post, November 25.) Eugene Pugh, U.S. agent in charge of the Customs office on the American side of the bridge at Laredo, Texas, said that Oswald had been checked by American immigration officials on entering and leaving Mexico. Mr. Pugh admitted to the New York Herald Tribune that this was “not the usual” procedure. He said Americans were not required to check in with Immigration when crossing the border, “but U.S. immigration has a folder on Oswald’s trip.”
One thing is clear: the FBI was in fairly constant touch with Oswald’s activities. How far these contacts went is indicted in “the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to recruit Oswald as an undercover informant in Castro groups two months before Mr. Kennedy’s death.” This report, which appeared in a Philadelphia Inquirer dispatch from Dallas December 8, went on:
The FBI attempt to recruit Oswald as an informant, an informed law enforcement source said, was made in September, just after he had moved to Dallas from New Orleans. Oswald’s mother said an “agent named Hosty” came to the Irving house and talked to the young man at length in his car. An FBI agent named Joseph Hosty handles investigations of subversives for the Dallas field office. The source said he did not know if the FBI succeeded in hiring Oswald; and the federal agency would not discuss the matter.
On January 1, Lonnies Hudkins of the Houston Post, published a story under the headline: “Oswald Rumored as Informant for U.S.” Hudkins found that Oswald did know agent Hosty. He had Hosty’s home phone, office phone and car license number—this on the authority of William Alexander, assistant to Henry Wade, Dallas District Attorney. Alexander had attended the grilling of Oswald on November 22 and 23. Hudkins notes that if the FBI had Oswald under surveillance, the watch could not have been too close or they would have known about the rifle and other matters; but, as a sheriff deputy put it, “you just wouldn’t think to check out one of your own stoolies.” Hudkins quotes Wade, himself a former FBI agent, as saying” “It may be true, but I don’t think it will ever be made public if it is.” What the public hears of the FBI’s part in the Oswald case is usually a report that such and such a witness or authority has been asked, or ordered, to keep his mouth shut. Thus, Dr. J. J. Humes of the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the man who conducted the autopsy on the President, seemed to be the best authority on the exact angle of entry of the murder bullets, but “Dr. Humes said he had been forbidden to talk.” A thirty-four-year-old machinist named Malcolm Howard Price said he had looked through the telescopic sight of Oswald’s rifle on a rifle range in suburban Dallas—but “Mr. Price declined to answer further questions because, he said, the FBI had asked him not to talk. The FBI here [Dallas] denied this.” (The New York Times, December 10.) On December 6, the Times had observed:
Most private citizens who had cooperated with newsmen reporting the crime have refused to give further help after being interviewed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Dallas city and county police withdrew their help the same way. One high officer said he wished he could answer questions “because it would save us a lot of work.”
The Western Union office in Dallas handled frequent messages for Lee Oswald, but inquiries there brought the reply that “any details or comment would have to come from Washington headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It is in the light of this official coyness that we must consider the possible connection of Oswald with the attempted shooting of General Walker. Oswald’s widow is said to have declared that he boasted of shooting at that doughty warrior. In view of her prolonged seclusion from the public, and even from relatives, under government supervision, we must infer that any statement alleged to be hers at this time is a deliberate “leak.” It is interesting that a similar “leak” at the beginning of the case—that a rifle which Mrs. Oswald knew her husband had kept in a garage was missing on the morning of the assassination—proved to be false. The FBI is also reported to have found a document in Oswald’s handwriting that mentions his attack on Walker, but once again the document has not been produced for examination or reproduced in the press. Incidentally, if “the loner” did try to shoot General Walker, we would be again confronted with questions like those raised about the killing of the President. “At the time of the Walker shooting,” we read in the Philadelphia Inquirer of December 7, “Dallas police reported that the bullet was from a .30-06 caliber rifle. The weapon used to kill Mr. Kennedy was a 6.5 millimeter weapon, equivalent to about .270 caliber.” Moreover, an eyewitness in the walker affair informed police that he saw at least two men enter the getaway car after the shooting. (Oswald never learned to drive a car.) Was the alleged assassin of President Kennedy employed by the FBI? We have seen a news report that the agency tried to recruit him and that it has refused to say whether he accepted the offer. At present, all we know is that his history, as we have been able to piece it together, is not inconsistent with such employment. Indeed, his financial record seems entirely inexplainable unless we make some such hypothesis.
If there is anything constant in Oswald’s life, it is his need of money. After three years on a marine private’s pay, he goes to Russia. There he works in a factory for the pittance of 80 rubles a month. He returns to America with a wife and child in mid-1962 and thenceforward works at a series of jobs paying the legal minimum wage or less—when he is not unemployed. For months his only acknowledged source of income is the Texas unemployment compensation of $33 a week. His job at the School Book Depository, from whose warehouse he is supposed to have shot the President and Governor Connally, paid him $1.25 an hour. Surely he was a pauper, a fellow whose monetary resources could only keep him swinging between want and destitution. But if there is another thing about Lee Oswald as certain as his indigence, it is that he was often capable of expenditures that would have cramped the purse of a suburban status seeker. After years of subsisting on a marine’s pay, from which he occasionally sent money to his mother, he undertakes a trip to Russia with a capital of $1,600. How could he have put aside this nest egg? After years of low factory remuneration in the Soviet, he wants to return to the United States and, in a letter to his mother, estimates the cost at $800. He borrows $435.71 from the United States Embassy in Moscow but, mirabile dictu, he repays the loan between October, 1962, and January, 1962, during which time he was unemployed for several weeks and worked for a time as an unskilled developer of photostatic prints. A Miss Pauline Bates, public stenographer, whom Oswald paid for typing his notes for a book about Russia three days after his return, has said that “he hinted he had gone to the Soviet as a U.S. secret agent.” He allegedly told her then that “when the State Department granted my visa, they stipulated they could not stand behind me in any way,” an admonition suggestive of instruction, to an undercover man. Back in America, as impecunious as ever, he finds the money to rent an office for $30 a month, where he sets up in business as the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He buys a rubber stamp, he prints 2,000 leaflets, he pays a $10 court fine, he buys a rifle and telescopic sight by mail, gets them assembled and bore-sighted—and in his room after his arrest the police find $150. This young man, untalented, it appears, for anything but finding odd windfalls of money, goes to Mexico City for a week to get visas for a trip to Cuba and Russia that would have cost at least $1,000. (The Cuban and Russian consulates did not issue the visas.) After the murder of the President, the police find in his room, in addition to the wad of money, “several expensive cameras and rolls of film.” Where did the money come from? The FBI and the Dallas police fail to supply information on the subject. For the Russian period, we have the unsupported assertion of Pravda that Oswald was an American spy who made numerous contacts with the American Embassy. This might indicate a CIA affiliation. He wrote his mother that, on his return, he would spend a day or so in New York and Washington for “sightseeing.” After that, all is dark except for one hint. An Associated Press dispatch of November 30 from Dallas says in part:
“Someone telegraphed small amounts of money to Lee Harvey Oswald for several months before the assassination of President Kennedy, it was reported today,” the Dallas Times Herald said. The unidentified sender telegraphed Oswald $10 to $20 at a time.
Here apparently are some of the Western Union items about which the FBI has been so secretive—but why this secrecy? If the money came from the Communist Party, it is hard to understand why the FBI should cooperate in a Bolshevik plot. If it came from a right-wing or Fascist source, the FBI could not lose much by revealing it. But if the money came from a government source, then the agency’s reticence is understandable. Shortly before the assassination, Oswald seemed to be expecting better times:
Mrs. Ruth Paine, the woman with whom Marina was staying, said: “He seemed in exceptionally high spirits.” [When he visited his wife the weekend prior to President Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas.] Oswald told his wife “things are looking up” and that soon they would have enough to look for an apartment, buy furniture. (Sunday Bulletin, Philadelphia, 12/15/63.)
If the FBI did not employ Oswald or work with him, they who wrote the letters he addressed to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New York? Oswald alone certainly didn’t. Whoever wrote the letters to New York was coherent, commanded a good vocabulary, rarely misspelled a word, and punctuated decently. Oswald himself wrote English that a sixth-grader would blush to acknowledge. Here is a letter he wrote to his mother from Russia on June 28, 1963. I preserve the original spelling and punctuation:
Dear Mother. Recived your letter today in which you say you wish to pay me back the money you used last year, that, of course, is not nessicary however you can send me somethings from there every now and than. If you decide to send a package please send the following: One can Rise shaving cream (one razor (Gillet) Pocket novels westerns and scienace fiction—Time or Newsweek magazine Chewing Gum and chocolate bars. That’s about all. Ha-ha I very much miss sometime to read you should try and get me the pocket novel “1984” by Wells. I am working at the local Radio plant as a mettal worker. We live only five minutes from there so it is very conveinant. Well thats about all for now. I repeat you do not have to send me checks or money! Love XX
P.S. Marina sends a big Hello to you also
Now compare this semi-literate effusion with the following addressed to the Fair Play for Cuba Committee about two years later. (A New York Times report on the letters to FPCC indicates that they were handwritten, so presumably no public stenographer improved their style.)
Dear Mr. Lee: I was glad to receive your advice concerning my try at starting a New Orleans F.P.C.C. chapter. I hope you won’t be too disapproving at my innovations but I do think they are necessary for this area. As per your advice I have taken a P.O. Box (N.O. 30061). Against your advice I have decided to take an office from the very beginning. I u c [apparently meaning, as you see] from the circular I had jumped the gun on the charter business but I don’t think it’s too important. You may think the circular is too provocative, but I want it to attract attention even if it’s the attention of the lunatic fringe. I had 2,000 of them run off. The major change in tactics you can see from the small membership blanks, in that I will charge $1 a month dues for the new Orleans chapter only and I intend to issue N.O. F.P.C.C. membership cards also. This is without recourse to the $5 annual F.P.C.C. membership fee. However, you will lose nothing in the long run because I will forward $5 to the national F.P.C.C. for every New Orleans chapter member who remains a dues paying member for 5 months in any year.…
And so on for several more well-integrated paragraphs. He now spells “receive” and “necessary” correctly. He has mastered the apostrophe. His ideas cohere. He tackles words like “innovations,” “provocative,” “recourse,” “disapproving,” “approaching,” and “application” with success, something that would have been clearly beyond the powers of the voluntary exile in Minsk. Until the authorship of the letters to FPCC is settled, I think it reasonable to suppose that Oswald did not compose them, at least not without help. Who, and where, is the invisible scribe? No associate of his New Orleans period has been found, or even hinted at. If Oswald was employed by the FBI to operate in “Castro groups,” as the news report suggests, it is also reasonable to suppose that in the letters to FPCC his pen was guided by the FBI.
It is no simple matter any longer for a radical American to get a passport from his government. If he is a known Communist or subversive, it is almost impossible. Let a man be known as a do-gooder, bleeding heart or a nonconforming screwball, and his application for travel will be greeted with jaundiced eye and dragging feet. But Lee Oswald got one readily as late as June, 1963.
One day last June, he applied for a passport and—despite his record—got it in a single day. He called himself a “photographer”; he said he planned to take a long trip abroad—perhaps including Russia—late this year. (Newsweek, 12/9/63.)
By that date, Oswald was known as a Soviet defector, had praised Castro on a radio program, and on November 2, 1959, had written an affidavit saying, “I affirm that my allegiance is to the Soviet Socialist Republic.” But his passport application was granted—and posthaste. “It still isn’t clear how it was processed so rapidly,” commented the New York Herald Tribune. Oswald’s apartment, too, was filled with fascinating things. Besides the batches of leaflets with the legend “Hands Off Cuba!” and bearing the unauthorized imprint of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, police found several metal file boxes filled with names of Castro sympathizers. How did he manage, in so short a time, to compile so extensive a list? The FBI appears once more in Oswald’s news life during the last two days before he was killed. One report details two telephone calls made by FBI agents to the Dallas Police on November 24, warning them of threats against Oswald’s life. The threats materialized later the same day under circumstances which raised a forest of questions throughout the world. Equally puzzling, his mother, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, has insisted that an agent of the FBI showed her a photograph of Jack Ruby about seventeen hours before Ruby shot her son.
It was understood, however, that Federal agencies had acknowledged that she had been shown a photograph that night for identification, but spokesmen would not disclose whether it was that of Ruby. (The New York Times, 12/2/63.)
The next day the FBI denied that the photograph was that of Jack Ruby, but they would not comment further. Mrs. Oswald repeated her statement and has demanded that the pictures be produced again. The following item completes, for the moment, this side of the weird Dallas story.
Washington, Dec. 9—The Federal Bureau of Investigation gave the Secret Service a “risk” list of Dallas individuals in advance of President Kennedy’s fatal trip, but the list did not include the name of Lee H. Oswald. An official source explained today that Oswald’s name, like many others in the Dallas file, had been omitted because the F.B.I. found nothing in Oswald’s background to mark him as a potential assassin.… Oswald was not under surveillance by the F.B.I. at the time of President Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, the F.B.I. noted. Months of checking by the F.B.I. had indicated that Oswald was neither a spy nor a saboteur. That, it was said, covered the statutory area of F.B.I. responsibility. (The New York Times, 12/10/63.)
Lee Oswald, the twice-court-martialed marine who defected to Russia and renounced his American citizenship, the pro-Cuba activist who had been arrested a few months earlier while distributing leaflets, the erratic “Marxist” who was employed on the route of the President’s motorcade—Lee Oswald did not qualify for the FBI’s exclusive “risk” list. And why? Because the FBI’s “statutory responsibility” was limited to suspected spies and saboteurs! This sudden legalistic attachment to its self-interpreted “statutory” obligations must cause very wan smiles indeed among the many individuals and organizations (including the NAACP and the Unitarian Church in Texas) which have come under the beady-eyed surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Justice Gustin L. Reichbach in his courtroom on Thursday, when he dismissed the charges.
On Thursday morning, Roy Lindley DeVecchio, a retired F.B.I. agent who faced the astounding charges that he helped a mob informant kill four people, walked out of court after the prosecutors suddenly dropped the case. It turned out that their star witness had told an entirely different story a decade ago, to two of the city’s premier investigative reporters. After hearing her testify against Mr. DeVecchio, they dug out a tape of that old interview.
The latest news and reader discussions from around the five boroughs and the region.
The case died instantly of natural causes: doubt.
At that moment, one option for the judge presiding at the trial was to say, “Mr. DeVecchio, you are now free to go,” and to leave it at that.
Instead, the judge, Gustin L. Reichbach of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, sent Mr. DeVecchio — and the prosecutors — packing with a four-page legal roundhouse that invoked Nietzsche, dwelt on the unholy dilemmas of using informants, and found, in the alliance between criminals and government, an analogy to the advocacy of torture.
For bonus points, he threw in a few words of such rare usage that they would be stumpers on the SAT.
So this is a legal opinion worth a few lines of context. Mr. DeVecchio spent 14 of his 30 years in the F.B.I. handling a high-level mob informant named Gregory Scarpa; over the years, others in law enforcement publicly said that Mr. DeVecchio had an overly familiar relationship with Mr. Scarpa and had given him sensitive information.
The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, went much further: He charged that Mr. DeVecchio had fed tips to Mr. Scarpa about four other people who were snitching on him or his family. All four were killed. Thus, the district attorney said, Mr. DeVecchio’s hands were bloody. The case was built on the word of Mr. Scarpa’s mistress, Linda Schiro. (Mr. Scarpa himself died in prison in 1994.)
Mr. DeVecchio waived his right to a jury trial and said his guilt or innocence could be left up to Justice Reichbach, who disclosed that he had been under F.B.I. surveillance as a student at Columbia University during the 1960s.
Mr. DeVecchio and his lawyers said they were not worried that Justice Reichbach would be unfair; ultimately, the judge did not have to give a verdict because of the midtrial revelations that brought the case to an end.
The Village Voice published an article this week by Tom Robbins that reported that he and another investigative reporter, Jerry Capeci, had interviewed Ms. Schiro in 1997 about the same events, and that she had cleared Mr. DeVecchio of involvement in three of the four killings.
With her credibility shot, the judge’s opinion centered on the revelations about the relationship between informants and the F.B.I. For a while, he noted, rival mobsters considered the possibility that Mr. Scarpa was an informant. Impossible, they decided.
Their reasoning, the judge wrote, was that “it would be antinomic for the F.B.I., charged with fighting crime, to employ as an informer a murderer as vicious and prolific as Greg Scarpa. Apparently, and sadly, organized crime attributed to the F.B.I. a greater sense of probity than the F.B.I. in fact possessed.”
With an informant of such high rank as Mr. Scarpa, the judge said, government agents are forced into a delicate balancing act. “It is the inescapable aporia of law enforcement that they must sometimes turn a blind eye to criminality in order to prevent or combat greater criminality,” he said (“aporia” being a term derived from the Greek for a perplexing philosophical problem). The F.B.I. had “failed miserably” in finding a balance with Mr. Scarpa, he wrote.
In an interview yesterday, the judge made the matter more concrete.
“Did the information Scarpa gave save more lives than he took?” he asked. “I am confident the answer is no. We’re talking about 20 or 30 murders. Did he save 20 or 30 lives? No.”
The failure was Mr. DeVecchio’s, the judge concluded, but also his supervisors’: “Any sentient being reading Scarpa’s informant file could divine that Scarpa was involved in illegal and violent acts.”
He noted that Mr. Scarpa had once been sent by the F.B.I. in an effort to use thug tactics to get information on the killers of civil rights workers. That reminded the judge of the belief held by some in government that torture against terrorists is O.K. — “that it is permissible to make men scream in the name of national security,” he wrote.
Justice Reichbach also quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation that “he who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
The major intelligence agencies in the U.S. have turned to Google to help them better share and process information they have on security threats.
The National Security Agency has purchased servers on which Google provides search technology used to process information compiled by networks of intelligent agents around the globe.
Google is also offering search features for a site similar to Wikipedia, called Intellipedia, were agents can share and post information on a secure online forum. Intellipedia is accessible only to the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and a number of other intelligence agencies.
"Each analyst, for lack of a better term, has a shoe box with their knowledge," Sean Dennehy, chief of Intellipedia development for the CIA, told the San Francisco Chronicle "They maintained it in a shared drive or a Word document, but we're encouraging them to move those platforms so that everyone can benefit."
Depending on their level of clearance agents can log on to Intellipedia and access three levels of information, top secret, secret, and sensitive but unclassified. Currently the site has 37,000 accounts with 35,000 articles making up 200,000 pages, according to Dennehy.
Google's other government customers include the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Alabama and Washington, D.C.
Mike Bradshaw, who heads Google's federal government sales team, says the company sells nearly identical products to corporate clients as it does to government agencies."There were some wild accusations," Bradshaw said. "But everything we do with the government is the same as what we do with our corporate customers."
The affidavit of Babak Pasdar, a recognized national computer security expert, raises basic questions that Congress must answer before deciding on telecom immunity, such as "Immunity for what?" It raises fundamental questions about whether the reality of privacy still exists, let alone the right. In the fall of 2003, Pasdar was hired by a major telecommunications carrier to overhaul its security. He discovered a mysterious "Quantico Circuit" with access to the entire mobile network that didn't have any security controls. Nor did it have any usage logs making a record of what information flowed through the system. The security breach was unheard of, abandoning basic industry norms practiced in the rest of the telecom's lines. Quantico, Va., is the company town for massive military and FBI operations. Whoever was on the other end had access to everything in Americans' digital lives -- all calls, e-mails, text messages, Internet use, videos, billing, location -- with no record of what was taken. When Pasdar insisted on basic controls, the corporate security director drove out to sternly inform him that he had never seen the Quantico Circuit. That nothing would change. That if he did not forget about it, someone else would be brought in who could. Pasdar backed off but was haunted by the implications. In 2006 and 2007, he anonymously briefed congressional committees, whose follow-up queries were stonewalled. In late February, he decided to go public, horrified by imminent House approval for Senate-passed retroactive telecom immunity in legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He acted in a March 4 affidavit to Congress. On March 6, key members urged all 435 representatives not to "vote in the dark" for immunity until Pasdar's and related allegations were investigated. On March 14, the House voted 214-195 to deny immunity. Blue Dog conservative Democrats backed their leadership, which rejected administration threats that legal accountability for telecoms would aid and abet terrorism.
Labeled by some as "egregious" and "insensitive," the Arizona 9/11 Memorial, an endeavor of ASU researchers, is the subject of a recently passed House bill calling for its alteration. The memorial near the Arizona Capitol is comprised of a circular steel structure with inscribed quotes that, when hit by sunlight, are reflected onto the pavement below. Since its 2006 construction, quotes such as "06 03 02 Congress questions why CIA & FBI didn't prevent attacks" and " 'You don't win battles of terrorism with more battles,' " have led to heated partisan debate. House Bill 2700, which passed the House Wednesday and is now en route to the Senate, calls for the elimination of 12 quotes, which would be replaced by a timeline of the day's events on 9/11. All of the memorial's 54 quotes came from research compiled by ASU history academic associate Nancy Dallett, history graduate student Patricia Roeser and history department chairman Noel Stowe. The team gathered news clippings and conducted interviews with Valley residents, then filled three large binders with the excerpts from their research, said Matt Salenger, a designer from coLAB + Jones Studio Inc., which created the memorial. The Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission, the group in charge of planning the memorial, then approved which quotes would be included in the memorial. Len Munsil, a 2006 gubernatorial candidate and early critic of the quotes, said he is not directly involved in any campaigns to change the memorial, but supports the bill. "I opposed the memorial because the presence of anti-American, anti-military and anti-Israel rhetoric is not only offensive but inappropriate," said Munsil in an e-mail. "The memorial should unite Americans." Salenger said the memorial was never meant to be offensive, but was instead intended to be a balanced, diverse representation of Arizona's reactions to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. "It's a matter of just being inclusive to all the views and voices people had in Arizona following the attacks of 9/11," he said. "We wanted to capture the different ways that people reacted to the events." Rather than remove 12 quotes, the Arizona 9/11 Memorial Commission has proposed striking only two quotes while adding six nonoffensive others, plus an introductory panel describing the intent of the memorial, Salenger said. Salenger said the quotes the commission recommends changing were about erroneous air strikes in Afghanistan and a terrorist leader addressing the American people — quotes not among the 12 that the House has approved removing. An e-mail sent to the commission was not replied to by deadline. He said all parties are acting too hurriedly and added that he does not think a change is necessary. "These decisions to make these changes are overreacting," he said. Inserting only an introductory panel would prepare visitors for the experience of the memorial, he added, without altering its original intended purpose. "If [critics of the memorial] wouldn't be acting so quickly, they would realize that, really, the whole things should remain," he said. Commission members and ASU researchers involved in the project were not available for comment. Roeser, the graduate student, declined to comment, and Dallett and Stowe did not respond to requests for comment. Reach the reporter at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A dangerous movement has been growing among conservative writers to vindicate the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and his campaign to expose Soviet spies in the U.S. government. The FBI agents who were actually chasing those spies have told me that McCarthy hurt their efforts because he trumped up charges, unfairly besmirched honorable Americans, and gave hunting spies a bad name.
To be sure, intercepts of secret Soviet communications that were part of the VENONA program eventually revealed that Soviet espionage operatives in the government numbered in the hundreds—far more than was thought in the 1950s. In that sense, McCarthy was right, but so were dozens of other anti-Communists of the time like FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The problem was that the people McCarthy tarnished as Communists or Communist sympathizers were not the real spies. Often, the information McCarthy used came from FBI files, which were full of rumor and third-hand accounts.
Several months before he died, I interviewed Robert J. Lamphere Jr., who participated in all the FBI's major spy cases during the McCarthy period. Beginning in 1948, Lamphere also was the FBI liaison to the U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service's VENONA program and used leads from the intercepts to work cases involving Klaus Fuchs, Harry Gold, David Greenglass, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, and Kim Philby. For my book "The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI," Lamphere told me that agents who worked counterintelligence were aghast that Hoover initially supported McCarthy.
"McCarthyism did all kinds of harm because he was pushing something that wasn't so," Lamphere told me. The VENONA intercepts showed that over several decades, "There were a lot of spies in the government, but not all in the State Department," Lamphere said. However, "The problem was that McCarthy lied about his information and figures. He made charges against people that weren't true. McCarthyism harmed the counterintelligence effort against the Soviet threat because of the revulsion it caused. All along, Hoover was helping him."
The McCarthy era began on February 9, 1950 when the obscure Republican senator from Wisconsin gave a speech to 275 members of the local Republican women's club at the McClure Hotel in Wheeling, West Virginia.
"While I cannot take the time to name all the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were known to the secretary of State and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy of the State Department," McCarthy said, holding up a scrap of paper.
By the time McCarthy got to Salt Lake City, another stop on his speech itinerary, McCarthy—an alcoholic—could not remember the number he had cited. He told his audience there that the number of Communists was 57. The conservative Chicago Tribune had been running a series on the Communist threat. The day after McCarthy's speech in West Virginia, Willard Edwards, the author of the articles, urgently asked Walter Trohan, the paper's Washington bureau chief, to come speak with him in Edward's office at the Albee Building at 15th and G Streets NW in Washington. Trohan related to me that Edwards then confided to him that just before McCarthy delivered his speech, he asked Edwards about the number of Communists in the State Department. Edwards said he gave McCarthy the figure of 205. Now he realized his mistake.
"Edwards said it was more or less a rumor. It was just a piece of gossip," Trohan said. "Edwards was afraid that McCarthy was going to blame him for it." As for McCarthy, besides being an alcoholic, the senator was "crazy about girls about eighteen," Trohan said. "I always thought if the Commies wanted to get him, all they had to do was supply him with a girl."
"Joe McCarthy was into the booze," Roy L. Elson, the administrative assistant to the powerful Senator Carl T. Hayden, told me. "He was a sad case." Bogus figures or not, McCarthy soon became a national figure. Returning from his tour, McCarthy called his friend Hoover and told him his speech was getting a lot of attention, according to a memo Hoover wrote after the call. There was only one problem: McCarthy said he had "made up the numbers as he talked."
In the future, Hoover advised him, he should not give specific numbers. McCarthy asked if the FBI would give him information to back up his charges. "Review the files and get anything you can for him" was Hoover's order. "We didn't have enough evidence to show there was a single Communist in the State Department, let alone 57 cases," said William Sullivan, who became the number three man in the bureau. Nevertheless, FBI agents spent hundreds of hours reading files and making abstracts for McCarthy.
Lou Nichols, who headed FBI public relations, cautioned McCarthy not to use the phrase "card-carrying Communists" because that could not be proven. Instead, he should refer to "Communist sympathizers" or "loyalty risks." The phrases were as fuzzy as Hoover's files. While Hoover built a great organization, he confused political beliefs that were critical of the government with violations of criminal law. Using material from the FBI, McCarthy instilled fear in anyone who might have looked at a Communist.
It's true that McCarthy's witch-hunts have been confused with those of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Because of pressure from HUAC investigations, Hollywood studios blacklisted playwright Lillian Hellman because her lover, mystery-writer Dashiell Hammett, was one. John Melby, a State Department officer with impeccable anti-Communist credentials, was fired for having had an affair with her. But as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, McCarthy's approach was similar. Having studied the transcripts of McCarthy's hearings, Donald A. Ritchie, associate historian of the Senate, has pinpointed his tactics. Typically, McCarthy held hearings in executive session first.
"The executive sessions were like a dress rehearsal," Ritchie tells me. "For the most part, he didn't really have hard evidence against the people that he was interrogating, so he was hoping just to get them to contradict themselves or to take the Fifth Amendment, or to confess. And he would badger them in these closed sessions and winnow out the ones he wanted to testify in public. He interviewed about 500 people in closed session; he called about 300 people to public session." In the meantime, "After they'd testified in closed session, he'd go out in the hall, and he'd tell the waiting press what had just happened," Ritchie says. "We looked at both the New York Times' and the Chicago Tribune's accounts and then we compared that to what actually went on inside the hearings. What he told the press grossly exaggerated what took place when compared to the transcripts."
While McCarthy said he would protect the names of witnesses, their names were leaked to the press, Ritchie says. Only half a dozen of the witnesses turned up in the VENONA intercepts, all minor figures in McCarthy's investigations, he notes. In the end, says Ritchie, "Not one of the 500 witnesses went to jail for perjury or contempt of Congress, whereas a lot of people who testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Senate Internal Security subcommittee were investigated, prosecuted and convicted, and served jail time. Yet McCarthy was constantly accusing people of having committed perjury and urging the Justice Department to prosecute them."
McCarthy eventually made the mistake of turning his sights on President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A former Army general who had led allied forces to victory during World War II, Eisenhower was as American as apple pie.As McCarthy began accusing Eisenhower of being soft on Communists, Hoover realized he would have to distance himself from the senator. Just before what became known as the Army-McCarthy hearings started on April 22, 1954, Hoover ordered the bureau to cease helping him. That would contribute to the senator's downfall.
During the hearings, McCarthy failed to substantiate his claims that the Communists had penetrated the Army, which had hired a shrewd Boston lawyer, Joseph Welch, to represent it. McCarthy noted that Fred Fischer, a young lawyer in Welch's firm, had been a member while at Harvard Law School of the National Lawyers Guild, described by the attorney general as the "legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party." Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg had also been a member of the group. Upon hearing this accusation, Welch responded, "Until this moment, senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness." When McCarthy continued to hound Fischer, Welch said, "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
After two months, the hearings were over, and so was McCarthy's career. Watching the hearings on television, millions of Americans had seen how he bullied witnesses and what an unsavory character he was. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower pushed fellow Republicans to censure McCarthy. In August 1954, a Senate committee was formed to investigate the senator. On September 27, the committee issued a unanimous report calling McCarthy's behavior as a committee chairman "inexcusable," "reprehensible," and "vulgar and insulting." On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted 67 to 22 to censure him. After that, when he rose to speak, senators left the Senate chamber. Reporters no longer attended his press conferences. On May 2, 1957, McCarthy died at the age of forty-eight of acute hepatitis, widely believed to be a result of his alcoholism, a point generally overlooked by the revisionists.
As chief of Justice Department spy prosecutions for nearly 25 years, John L. Martin prosecuted 76 spies, including CIA officers Aldrich Ames and Harold J. Nicholson, Navy warrant officer John A. Walker Jr., and Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard. With his unlimited clearances, Martin read many of the FBI's most secret raw files on historic espionage cases, including the files on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Judith Coplon, Alger Hiss, and Rudolph Abel. No one knows as much about catching spies and the legal ramifications that go with it than Martin.
"While VENONA later confirmed and expanded upon what the FBI knew about Soviet operations in the U.S., McCarthy was acting on suspicions and myths rather than adequate investigations," Martin tells me. McCarthy used "the umbrella of national security to justify his outrageous practice of besmirching reputations of loyal Americans," Martin adds.
Efforts to vindicate McCarthy by people who have never caught a spy ignore the fact that rather than helping the cause of dealing with the spy threat, he harmed it.
New York Times bestselling author Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of http://www.Newsmax.com , from which this story was adapted.
The Associated Press
PATERSON, N.J. - Jurors at the trial of the man accused of the cold-blooded slayings of four patrons at an illegal gambling club in Paterson are hearing from an FBI informant.
Lorenzo Gonzalez operated the club so the FBI could monitor gang activity.
Gonzalez identified David Baylor as the gunman who killed four patrons during a robbery in 2005.
Under cross-examination, Baylor's lawyer tried to show that Gonzalez is no stranger to crime.
He told the defense attorney that the FBI had promised to pay him $9,000 a month after the shootings, but never did. However, he testified that agents hurried him off to Florida and Mexico.
Gonzalez now lives in Mexico and runs his own business there.
Have you been injured in an accident?
For personal injury lawyers in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices Rosemarie Arnold in Fort Lee. Our practice encompasses all areas of personal injury law.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
By DOUGLASS CROUSE STAFF WRITER
Relatives of three of the four people gunned down in a Paterson after-hours club sued the federal government Monday, claiming the deaths resulted from a bungled FBI sting operation.
Three men and a woman were massacred inside the illegal gambling club during an early-morning robbery Dec. 14, 2005.
"The FBI violated their own policies on undercover cases: to make sure that the safety of unrelated civilians is not in jeopardy," said the families' attorney, Rosemarie Arnold. "You have a virtual casino operating in a known dangerous neighborhood without any security. That to me is an invitation to robbery."
Four co-defendants are now behind bars, with the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office preparing a death penalty case against the alleged gunman.
FBI officials have declined comment and did not return a call Monday.
Based on police files, the lawsuit says the FBI set up the sting four months before the shootings to investigate drugs and arms trafficking by the Latin Kings gang. It claims the agency paid a former convict $3,500 a month to run the business -- known as Kings Court -- atop a warehouse on Railroad Avenue, but failed to properly train or supervise him.
The nine-count complaint filed in federal court in Newark names as defendants the U.S. government, three FBI agents and the four criminal defendants.
The victims' relatives say they hunger for accountability.
"I'm left wondering: Does the FBI realize what actions they set in motion when they opened this place?" said the sister of victim Tara Woods of West Paterson. "Somebody messed up and they have to be held accountable."
She asked that her name not be published for safety concerns.
Law enforcement sources say the club manager was a federal informant, and he had opened the club on the night of the shootings without notifying the FBI.
But the sister of Woods, a 29-year-old mother of two, isn't satisfied by that account.
"We want to know exactly what happened and why," she said. "This has devastated us. And that's one family. Multiply that effect by four."
Carmen Suarez of Paterson, who lived for 20 years with victim Ralph Hernandez, 53, said, "I want the people responsible for his death to pay."
Relatives of Jesus Antonio Gonzales, 31, also of Paterson, also are plaintiffs but could not be reached. The fourth victim was Johnny Melendez, 39, of Newark.
Investigators say the conspirators had envisioned an in-and-out robbery that would never get reported to police. Instead, they say, gunman David Baylor of Passaic snapped and shot the cowering victims point-blank.
"However solidified the [robbery] plan had been, at that point it went out the window," said John Latoracca, chief assistant prosecutor for Passaic County. "Baylor had effectively elevated the stakes a thousand times."
After the shootings, rumors spread quickly about FBI involvement in the illegal club.
Latoracca confirmed the club was the "subject of an undercover operation by the FBI." He was not aware of any armed guards, but said patrons were "wanded."
Baylor's death-penalty trial is tentatively set for September.
Baylor's attorney, Harley Breite, has attacked some of the state's witnesses as "people with lengthy criminal records."
"Is that the type of credible testimony we can rely upon to send somebody to death?" he said.
Baylor's co-defendants are Reginald "Khaddafi" Barris of Clifton; Beatriz Hernandez, 24, address unavailable, and Hamid Shabazz, 30, of Passaic.
All four have been indicted on felony murder, robbery and weapons charges.
Baylor, 27, and Barris, 25, are in the county jail in lieu of $5 million bail each. Shabazz is in prison for an unrelated robbery, and Hernandez is in undisclosed custody.
* * * What happened
Authorities give this account of the Dec. 14, 2005, shootings in Paterson:
All four defendants arrive in the club some time after 2 a.m.
David Baylor and Hamid Shabazz leave shortly after 4 a.m., then walk back in through a rear door that Beatriz Hernandez has opened for them.
Moments later, Baylor shoots the four victims as Reginald Barris punches and knocks the manager to the floor.
The intruders race to grab what they can -- a few thousand dollars. In their haste, they leave $1,000 in one victim's pocket.
The manager escapes and phones Paterson police, telling them he works for the FBI.
Source: New Jersey.com
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» Yale: Student's work 'creative fiction'
» Americans can find terrorism in their own backyards
These students say they are tired of being referred to as the bad students of Dubuque.
"Central (Alternative High School) opens doors instead of shutting them," said student Ronnie Sanders.
Sanders, along with his classmates at Central, will open the doors to the world of global terrorism when they welcome three guest speakers to Dubuque for a seminar.
The students' project will culminate in the seminar that will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at the Best Western Midway Hotel in Dubuque.
Randall Laughead, an FBI intelligence analyst; Werner Hellmer, an attorney; and Todd Sharkey, a recruiter for the 133rd Iowa Army National Guard, will discuss global terrorism during the seminar.
The students in teacher John Adelmann's history class have worked together and researched specific issues on the sometimes-controversial topic of global terrorism.
"In a sense, they become experts in the area," Adelmann said. "This has almost become part of who they are."
The students have spent countless hours of research and have conducted numerous
"They're using their text, and we're writing them," said student Jacob Ginter about the difference between other history classes and Central's class.
Throughout the process, Adelmann has teamed up with teacher Tim Ebeling and paraprofessional Carol Cross.
"I waited my whole life for a school like Central," said student Tonya Davis-Goesse. "The staff here at Central think the way they wish they could be."
Davis-Goesse partnered with Sanders to give presentations about their global terrorism topic at local clubs and organizations. The speeches helped Davis-Goesse prepare for Wednesday night, when she will be the master of ceremonies.
The process of researching, interviewing, drafting and compiling a book about global terrorism for one of their classes has instilled a sense of pride in these students.
"It proves that Central is not a school for bad students," said student Shanethra Stephenson. "It gives students a chance."
Our Portland film this month is 9/11: Press For Truth.
In this documentary, six members of the Family Steering Committee tell the powerful story of how they took on the greatest powers in Washington, compelling lawmakers to launch an investigation that ultimately failed to answer most of their questions. The documentary is based in part on the Complete 9/11 Timeline that was compiled by citizen investigator Paul Thompson.
The film is considered to be a good introduction to 9/11 skepticism.
Date, time and place:
Friday, April 25th, 7:00 pm Meg Perry Center 644 Congress St., Portland
Hope you can make it!
Stephen Shaw for Maine 9/11 Truth
60 years of enormous military spending is taking a dramatic toll on the rest of the economy.
The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the "smartest guys in the room" -- the title of Alex Gibney's prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.
As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.
There are three broad aspects to the U.S. debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relation to the national security of the U.S. We are also keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segment of the population at strikingly low levels.
Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- "military Keynesianism" (which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic). By that, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.
Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of the U.S. These are what economists call opportunity costs, things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs, an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing.
It is virtually impossible to overstate the profligacy of what our government spends on the military. The Department of Defense's planned expenditures for the fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations' military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China. Defense-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. The U.S. has become the largest single seller of arms and munitions to other nations on Earth. Leaving out President Bush's two on-going wars, defense spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. The defense budget for fiscal 2008 is the largest since the second world war.
Before we try to break down and analyze this gargantuan sum, there is one important caveat. Figures on defense spending are notoriously unreliable. The numbers released by the Congressional Reference Service and the Congressional Budget Office do not agree with each other. Robert Higgs, senior fellow for political economy at the Independent Institute, says: "A well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon's (always well publicized) basic budget total and double it." Even a cursory reading of newspaper articles about the Department of Defense will turn up major differences in statistics about its expenses. Some 30-40% of the defense budget is 'black,'" meaning that these sections contain hidden expenditures for classified projects. There is no possible way to know what they include or whether their total amounts are accurate.
There are many reasons for this budgetary sleight-of-hand -- including a desire for secrecy on the part of the president, the secretary of defense, and the military-industrial complex -- but the chief one is that members of Congress, who profit enormously from defense jobs and pork-barrel projects in their districts, have a political interest in supporting the Department of Defense. In 1996, in an attempt to bring accounting standards within the executive branch closer to those of the civilian economy, Congress passed the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. It required all federal agencies to hire outside auditors to review their books and release the results to the public. Neither the Department of Defense, nor the Department of Homeland Security, has ever complied. Congress has complained, but not penalized either department for ignoring the law. All numbers released by the Pentagon should be regarded as suspect.
In discussing the fiscal 2008 defense budget, as released on 7 February 2007, I have been guided by two experienced and reliable analysts: William D Hartung of the New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative and Fred Kaplan, defense correspondent for Slate.org. They agree that the Department of Defense requested $481.4bn for salaries, operations (except in Iraq and Afghanistan), and equipment. They also agree on a figure of $141.7bn for the "supplemental" budget to fight the global war on terrorism -- that is, the two on-going wars that the general public may think are actually covered by the basic Pentagon budget. The Department of Defense also asked for an extra $93.4bn to pay for hitherto unmentioned war costs in the remainder of 2007 and, most creatively, an additional "allowance" (a new term in defense budget documents) of $50bn to be charged to fiscal year 2009. This makes a total spending request by the Department of Defense of $766.5bn.
But there is much more. In an attempt to disguise the true size of the U.S. military empire, the government has long hidden major military-related expenditures in departments other than Defense. For example, $23.4bn for the Department of Energy goes towards developing and maintaining nuclear warheads; and $25.3bn in the Department of State budget is spent on foreign military assistance (primarily for Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Republic, Egypt and Pakistan). Another $1.03bn outside the official Department of Defense budget is now needed for recruitment and re-enlistment incentives for the overstretched U.S. military, up from a mere $174m in 2003, when the war in Iraq began. The Department of Veterans Affairs currently gets at least $75.7bn, 50% of it for the long-term care of the most seriously injured among the 28,870 soldiers so far wounded in Iraq and 1,708 in Afghanistan. The amount is universally derided as inadequate. Another $46.4bn goes to the Department of Homeland Security.
Missing from this compilation is $1.9bn to the Department of Justice for the paramilitary activities of the FBI; $38.5bn to the Department of the Treasury for the Military Retirement Fund; $7.6bn for the military-related activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and well over $200bn in interest for past debt-financed defense outlays. This brings U.S. spending for its military establishment during the current fiscal year, conservatively calculated, to at least $1.1 trillion.
Such expenditures are not only morally obscene, they are fiscally unsustainable. Many neo-conservatives and poorly informed patriotic Americans believe that, even though our defense budget is huge, we can afford it because we are the richest country on Earth. That statement is no longer true. The world's richest political entity, according to the CIA's World Factbook, is the European Union. The E.U.'s 2006 GDP was estimated to be slightly larger than that of the U.S. Moreover, China's 2006 GDP was only slightly smaller than that of the U.S., and Japan was the world's fourth richest nation.
A more telling comparison that reveals just how much worse we're doing can be found among the current accounts of various nations. The current account measures the net trade surplus or deficit of a country plus cross-border payments of interest, royalties, dividends, capital gains, foreign aid, and other income. In order for Japan to manufacture anything, it must import all required raw materials. Even after this incredible expense is met, it still has an $88bn per year trade surplus with the U.S. and enjoys the world's second highest current account balance (China is number one). The U.S. is number 163 -- last on the list, worse than countries such as Australia and the U.K. that also have large trade deficits. Its 2006 current account deficit was $811.5bn; second worst was Spain at $106.4bn. This is unsustainable.
It's not just that our tastes for foreign goods, including imported oil, vastly exceed our ability to pay for them. We are financing them through massive borrowing. On 7 November 2007, the U.S. Treasury announced that the national debt had breached $9 trillion for the first time. This was just five weeks after Congress raised the "debt ceiling" to $9.815 trillion. If you begin in 1789, at the moment the constitution became the supreme law of the land, the debt accumulated by the federal government did not top $1 trillion until 1981. When George Bush became president in January 2001, it stood at approximately $5.7 trillion. Since then, it has increased by 45%. This huge debt can be largely explained by our defense expenditures.
The top spenders
The world's top 10 military spenders and the approximate amounts each currently budgets for its military establishment are:
Our excessive military expenditures did not occur over just a few short years or simply because of the Bush administration's policies. They have been going on for a very long time in accordance with a superficially plausible ideology, and have now become so entrenched in our democratic political system that they are starting to wreak havoc. This is military Keynesianism -- the determination to maintain a permanent war economy and to treat military output as an ordinary economic product, even though it makes no contribution to either production or consumption.
This ideology goes back to the first years of the cold war. During the late 1940s, the U.S. was haunted by economic anxieties. The great depression of the 1930s had been overcome only by the war production boom of the second world war. With peace and demobilization, there was a pervasive fear that the depression would return. During 1949, alarmed by the Soviet Union's detonation of an atomic bomb, the looming Communist victory in the Chinese civil war, a domestic recession, and the lowering of the Iron Curtain around the USSR's European satellites, the U.S. sought to draft basic strategy for the emerging cold war. The result was the militaristic National Security Council Report 68 (NSC-68) drafted under the supervision of Paul Nitze, then head of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department. Dated 14 April 1950 and signed by President Harry S. Truman on 30 September 1950, it laid out the basic public economic policies that the U.S. pursues to the present day.
In its conclusions, NSC-68 asserted: "One of the most significant lessons of our World War II experience was that the American economy, when it operates at a level approaching full efficiency, can provide enormous resources for purposes other than civilian consumption while simultaneously providing a high standard of living."
With this understanding, U.S. strategists began to build up a massive munitions industry, both to counter the military might of the Soviet Union (which they consistently overstated) and also to maintain full employment, as well as ward off a possible return of the depression. The result was that, under Pentagon leadership, entire new industries were created to manufacture large aircraft, nuclear-powered submarines, nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and surveillance and communications satellites. This led to what President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address of 6 February 1961: "The conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience" -- the military-industrial complex.
By 1990 the value of the weapons, equipment and factories devoted to the Department of Defense was 83% of the value of all plants and equipment in U.S. manufacturing. From 1947 to 1990, the combined U.S. military budgets amounted to $8.7 trillion. Even though the Soviet Union no longer exists, U.S. reliance on military Keynesianism has, if anything, ratcheted up, thanks to the massive vested interests that have become entrenched around the military establishment. Over time, a commitment to both guns and butter has proven an unstable configuration. Military industries crowd out the civilian economy and lead to severe economic weaknesses. Devotion to military Keynesianism is a form of slow economic suicide.
Higher spending, fewer jobs
On 1 May 2007, the Center for Economic and Policy Research of Washington, DC, released a study prepared by the economic and political forecasting company Global Insight on the long-term economic impact of increased military spending. Guided by economist Dean Baker, this research showed that, after an initial demand stimulus, by about the sixth year the effect of increased military spending turns negative. The U.S. economy has had to cope with growing defense spending for more than 60 years. Baker found that, after 10 years of higher defense spending, there would be 464,000 fewer jobs than in a scenario that involved lower defense spending.
Baker concluded: "It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment."
These are only some of the many deleterious effects of military Keynesianism.
It was believed that the U.S. could afford both a massive military establishment and a high standard of living, and that it needed both to maintain full employment. But it did not work out that way. By the 1960s it was becoming apparent that turning over the nation's largest manufacturing enterprises to the Department of Defense and producing goods without any investment or consumption value was starting to crowd out civilian economic activities. The historian Thomas E Woods Jr. observes that, during the 1950s and 1960s, between one-third and two-thirds of all U.S. research talent was siphoned off into the military sector. It is, of course, impossible to know what innovations never appeared as a result of this diversion of resources and brainpower into the service of the military, but it was during the 1960s that we first began to notice Japan was outpacing us in the design and quality of a range of consumer goods, including household electronics and automobiles.
Can we reverse the trend?
Nuclear weapons furnish a striking illustration of these anomalies. Between the 1940s and 1996, the U.S. spent at least $5.8 trillion on the development, testing and construction of nuclear bombs. By 1967, the peak year of its nuclear stockpile, the U.S. possessed some 32,500 deliverable atomic and hydrogen bombs, none of which, thankfully, was ever used. They perfectly illustrate the Keynesian principle that the government can provide make-work jobs to keep people employed. Nuclear weapons were not just America's secret weapon, but also its secret economic weapon. As of 2006, we still had 9,960 of them. There is today no sane use for them, while the trillions spent on them could have been used to solve the problems of social security and health care, quality education and access to higher education for all, not to speak of the retention of highly-skilled jobs within the economy.
The pioneer in analyzing what has been lost as a result of military Keynesianism was the late Seymour Melman (1917-2004), a professor of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University. His 1970 book, Pentagon Capitalism: The Political Economy of War, was a prescient analysis of the unintended consequences of the U.S. preoccupation with its armed forces and their weaponry since the onset of the cold war. Melman wrote: "From 1946 to 1969, the United States government spent over $1,000bn on the military, more than half of this under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations -- the period during which the [Pentagon-dominated] state management was established as a formal institution. This sum of staggering size (try to visualize a billion of something) does not express the cost of the military establishment to the nation as a whole. The true cost is measured by what has been foregone, by the accumulated deterioration in many facets of life, by the inability to alleviate human wretchedness of long duration."
In an important exegesis on Melman's relevance to the current American economic situation, Thomas Woods writes: "According to the U.S. Department of Defense, during the four decades from 1947 through 1987 it used (in 1982 dollars) $7.62 trillion in capital resources. In 1985, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of the nation's plant and equipment, and infrastructure, at just over $7.29 trillion ... The amount spent over that period could have doubled the American capital stock or modernized and replaced its existing stock."
The fact that we did not modernize or replace our capital assets is one of the main reasons why, by the turn of the 21st century, our manufacturing base had all but evaporated. Machine tools, an industry on which Melman was an authority, are a particularly important symptom. In November 1968, a five-year inventory disclosed "that 64% of the metalworking machine tools used in U.S. industry were 10 years old or older. The age of this industrial equipment (drills, lathes, etc.) marks the United States' machine tool stock as the oldest among all major industrial nations, and it marks the continuation of a deterioration process that began with the end of the second world war. This deterioration at the base of the industrial system certifies to the continuous debilitating and depleting effect that the military use of capital and research and development talent has had on American industry."
Nothing has been done since 1968 to reverse these trends and it shows today in our massive imports of equipment -- from medical machines like proton accelerators for radiological therapy (made primarily in Belgium, Germany, and Japan) to cars and trucks.
Our short tenure as the world's lone superpower has come to an end. As Harvard economics professor Benjamin Friedman has written: "Again and again it has always been the world's leading lending country that has been the premier country in terms of political influence, diplomatic influence and cultural influence. It's no accident that we took over the role from the British at the same time that we took over the job of being the world's leading lending country. Today we are no longer the world's leading lending country. In fact we are now the world's biggest debtor country, and we are continuing to wield influence on the basis of military prowess alone."
Some of the damage can never be rectified. There are, however, some steps that the U.S. urgently needs to take. These include reversing Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthy, beginning to liquidate our global empire of over 800 military bases, cutting from the defense budget all projects that bear no relationship to national security and ceasing to use the defense budget as a Keynesian jobs program.
If we do these things we have a chance of squeaking by. If we don't, we face probable national insolvency and a long depression.
Other Devvy Articles:
Vote Fraud: What They Aren't Telling You
Forced Mental Health Screening for Your Children
More Devvy Articles:
By: Devvy April 28, 2008
On April 24, 2008, The Arizona-Republic, published a hit piece on Sen. Karen Johnson, who currently serves in the Arizona State Legislature. This piece of drivel is titled, 'Drinking the 9/11 Kool-Aid.' As you can see by reading it, the author believes that no elected official should question any aspect of the Bush Administration's fairy tale of the events of September 11, 2001. This has been the prevailing attitude of the so-called mainstream media, including cable "news" networks since that day. Anyone questioning the hoax perpetrated on the American people is a Kool-Aid drinker or worse.
I've written many columns on OKC, WACO, TWA Flight 800 and 9/11, so I'm not going to rehash them here. I am proud to call Sen. Karen Johnson my friend. She is an extraordinary woman who has consistently and steadfastly stood up for the U.S. Constitution and we the people. Unlike these news editors all across this country, Sen. Johnson is not afraid to look at facts, evidence and use common sense when looking at an event such as 9/11 and concluding there are legitimate questions that need answers.
However, according to smarmy sycophants like Bill O'Reilly, Dan Abrams, Shallow Sean Hannity and hundreds of newspaper editors around this country, there is no way rogue elements within the Bush Administration would ever allow 3,000 Americans to be slaughtered. Why, it's simply preposterous! End of story. Shut up and go shopping. That might have worked for past events, but millions of Americans, with good reason, do not trust this government and do not believe their bald faced lies about 911.
As for prior knowledge, there is no question the FBI, under the Clinton Administration, knew and did NOT stop the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. The FBI was running the operation and allowed it to happen. There can be NO misunderstanding on that one:
"The New York Times later reports on Emad Salem, an undercover agent who will be the key government witness in the trial against Yousef. Salem testifies that the FBI knew about the attack beforehand and told him they would thwart it by substituting a harmless powder for the explosives. However, an FBI supervisor called off this plan, and the bombing was not stopped. [New York Times, 10/28/1993]
"Other suspects were ineptly investigated before the bombing as early as 1990. Several of the bombers were trained by the CIA to fight in the Afghan war, and the CIA later concludes, in internal documents, that it was “partly culpable” for this bombing (see January 24, 1994). [Independent, 11/1/1998] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is an uncle of Yousef and also has a role in the WTC bombing (see March 20, 1993). [Independent, 6/6/2002; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/2002] One of the attackers even leaves a message which will later be found by investigators, stating, “Next time, it will be very precise.” [Associated Press, 9/30/2001]"
This factual accounting of Salem and the sting operation came out during trial and cannot be disputed. What shocked me is that for once, the truth actually appeared in the NY Times, which, unfortunately, has become nothing more than a propaganda rag over the years. At the time, millions of Americans should have demanded not only criminal indictments against the FBI personnel involved, but the removal of the Director of the FBI and the Attorney General for allowing this act of terrorism to happen. It didn't happen, either because Americans didn't know or didn't care.
I have covered every major tragedy in this country since Ruby Ridge, where a man and his family were terrorized by "our government." A son killed from being shot in the back, a mother shot through the head by a very large caliber bullet while holding her eight-month old baby - over a wrong court date. All accomplished under one of the most evil females walking this earth, Janet Reno. This incompetent lesbian also ran the murder of almost 100 Americans at WACO; 17 children were gassed and burned to death while America watched. The Ron Brown murder, TWA Flight 800, WACO and 911, you name it, I've watched them and the cover ups unfold in living color on the boob tube because I work at home.
Don't tell me the feds didn't know the Murrah Building was a target and when it was going to happen. This is an official FBI teletype; Patrick Briley exposed it in a recent column. Note the important words: "RE OKLAHOMA CITY TELETYPE TO DIRECTOR AND ALL FIELD OFFICES DATED APRIL 11, 1995." The process is underway to get the April 11, 1995, document. The feds knew. They knew this was a terrorist operation and have protected the guilty for 13 long years. Many of the players in Ruby Ridge, WACO and OKC were given promotions or went on to bigger and better jobs outside the FBI or ATF. They are accessories to murder and they draw pensions from the sweat of your labor. It is no different with 911 and only continued, massive pressure by we the people is going to force a real investigation and grand jury indictments.
Patrick Briley and other courageous journalists have been unraveling the pieces and there is NO doubt the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the OKC bombing and 911 are connected. The players are the same. The terrorists organizations are the same and other than the Internet, every major newspaper in this country - despite being given the hard facts, times, dates and places, continue to remain silent while known terrorists are operating in this country, protected by the Bush Administration.
Patrick has spent the last 13 years of his life on this and was finally able to secure a meeting with California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher scheduled about a month ago. Patrick lined up four of the top experts on the OKC bombing, one of them my dear friend, Brigadier General Ben Partin, U.S.A.F. (Ret.). (See videos 4 & 5 in the links section.) The meeting was canceled because Rohrabacher had more important things to do. BULL. I know the circumstances of this meeting, how it was canceled and the refusal by Rohrabacher to reschedule is because he is engaged in a cover up as well as others:
"An analysis of conduct by some of Oklahoma's US Senators, Congressmen and a former governor from OK, reveal that these men too were and continue to be accessories after the fact to the murder of the 169 people killed in the OKC bombing. They include Senator James Inhofe, Senator Tom Coburn, former Senator Don Nickles, Congressman Ernest Istook and former governor Frank Keating. They are accessories to murder “after the fact” because they learned about the criminality of the FBI and DOJ officials and their operation in the OKC bombing soon afterwards (before in the case of Istook and Keating) and intentionally have protected FBI and DOJ officials they knew were accessories to murder in OKC."
Since 911, every major newspaper in this country has poo-poo'd any questioning of the events of 911 and the attack on Sen. Johnson is just another example of so-called journalists and reporters who have been shaming their profession for years by not investigating the legitimate questions raised about 911. Instead, like lackeys who kiss the boot straps of their masters, they, as well as every single cable anchor on CNN. FAUX (FOX) and MSNBC, have ridiculed and mocked even the families of 911 who have legitimate questions.
Every major newspaper in this country, including cable networks have done nothing to substantiate any of the Bush Administration's claims about 911. They have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. They lie without hesitation or shame; the courts have said it's perfectly okay for the media to lie to you.:
"On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast." (Full story in link at bottom.)"
Americans in huge numbers have been pounding on the media ("mainstream") and cable networks for years to ask the legitimate questions about TWA, OKC, WACO and 911. Impeccable researchers like Patrick Briley have brought forth 100% verifiable FACTS about the known terrorists operating in this country and the refusal by members of Congress to demand the FBI round these killers up before they execute another attack on unsuspecting Americans. People say where is the media? They are sitting on their backsides playing political games and partying with those they're supposed to be watching, while a clear threat to this country grows unchecked. Rags like the Arizona-Republic would rather attack a great American like Sen. Johnson than endanger their paychecks by actually looking into the facts about 911. Gutless cowards whose paychecks are earned by lies, deception and omission.
These newspapers and news networks are complicit in covering up the truth about these horrific events and they do NOT deserve your financial support. If you keep funding the enemy, they will continue lying and obfuscating the truth until more Americans die. I wouldn't vote for Dana Rohrabacher, Sen. Inhofe or Sen. Coburn for all the tea in China because I know that they KNOW the truth about OKC and have covered it up because they are cowards. They have lost their man hood because they treasure the power of their office over the truth and saving American lives. If this sounds harsh, walk in my shoes for the past 18 years of research and investigating. I don't spend my time fishing on the weekends, although I love fishing and used to go 40-50 times a year; it is now seven years since I used my fishing gear. I don't spend my time at the mall, ball games or in front of the stupid tube getting my head filled with trash. I read, I investigate, I do radio and all of this takes time. A lot of time. Investigative journalists do all this research, not just for people to read, but to act on to hold elected public servants accountable and to stop the complete annihilation of this country.
It's about time the American people started taking the issue of known terrorists in this country being protected by the Bush Administration very seriously. This is no game, no hyperbole and no conspiracy theory. NWVs, at great expense, has made printer friendly available for their columnists. Print out some of Patrick's columns and send them to your member of Congress and tell him/her that you WILL make these cover ups a major issue anywhere they speak between now and November. Congress as a body has passed major pieces of legislation since 911 gutting the Bill of Rights, nullifying posse comitatus and habeas corpus while allowing KNOWN terrorists to run free in this country and murder Americans. Get out there to these town hall meetings and political events and let your fellow Americans know the truth.
Get copies of some of some of Patrick's detailed columns to your sheriff with a polite note that you want to know why the feds are covering up the facts about known terrorist cells in this country? If they get enough of them, something will start asking questions. Will you or your loved one be the next victim of a terrorist attack? Think it can't happen in your city or town? The Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations have allowed our borders to remain open, providing an easy entry for terrorists to enter this country and they aim to kill us.
Cancel your subscription to major newspapers in this country and state newspapers like the Daily Oklahoman and the Arizona-Republic and tell them why you will no longer give them your money. They are deliberately withholding the truth from the American people and attack anyone, including elected public officials like former State Rep. Charles Key [R-OK] and Sen. Karen Johnson [R-AZ], who have the duty and obligation to investigate murders in their state or actions by the federal government. These big city newspapers have the power to expose the lies and warn the American people, yet they remain silent. Why continue to reward them?
A handful of conglomerates now own all the media in America, electronic and print. The so-called "investigative" journalism coming out of these publications and "news" networks are politically driven, not truth driven. They are censoring the truth. I realize small town newspapers don't have the resources to hire investigative journalists, but they can pick up columns from the Internet which contain factual, credible research. Why don't they? I attribute it to laziness or if they're owned by one of the big conglomerates, they don't dare. Fine. They don't get my money and they shouldn't get yours. Is the sports page that important?
If the "right to know" media who crow so much about the First Amendment refuse to tell the American people the truth and report the HARD facts presented by researchers like Patrick Briley, they will be complicit in the next terrorist attacks. I monitor FAUX (FOX), CNN and MSNBC, but I do not purchase any products from their advertisers except the ASPCA; I'm an angel. Flesh peddler and porn channel king, Rupert Murdoch, is an enemy of this country. A globalist who cares nothing for our sovereign republic and look at how much control of information his conglomerate has; see here. Murdoch supported Bush's unconstitutional, illegal invasion of Iraq and had this to say: "Said Murdoch of the war, "The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country" (Guardian, February 11, 2003)." Now he has thrown his support to the most accomplished liar running for president, Marxist Hillary Clinton.
Let me repeat myself: If you keep funding your enemy, you continue to give them the power to destroy you. I'm sorry about my fellow Americans who work for propaganda rags like the Denver Post, the Sacramento Bee, the NY Times, etc., but we cannot falter or waver in our quest for the truth because lives of Americans depend on forcing these mass mediums to either tell the truth or close their doors. It's as simple as that. If you cut your enemy slack, they will kill you.
1 - Patrick Briley's Archives 2 - My 911 Archives 3 - OKC/TWA/WACO Archives 4 - Gen. Partin video: OKC 5 - Cover Up in OKC - video 6 - The lying conglomerate U.S. Media - short video
• In one month in 2000, a regional drug task force arrested more than two dozen black people in the small Central Texas town of Hearne based on the word of a confidential informant. Charges against many of them were dropped after it was revealed that the informant had taken some of the drugs and money.
• More than two dozen people, mostly Hispanic immigrants, were falsely arrested when paid Dallas police informants planted what turned out to be fake drugs on them. The 2001 scandal forced the city to pay millions of dollars in settlements, generated enormous bad publicity and factored into the firing of Police Chief Terrell Bolton. Two former narcotics detectives have been convicted on charges arising from the fake-drug scandal. Two others have been indicted and are awaiting trials.
• Boston's FBI office was deeply embarrassed by a scandal that exposed the long-term, too-cozy relationships between its agents and mob informants. In 2002, one former agent was convicted of tipping off two mobster informants about criminal investigations and warning them about an impending indictment in the mid-'90s. The agent's former supervisor, who had received immunity, testified that he had pocketed $7,000 in bribes from the informants. Earlier this year, a federal judge found the government was liable because the now-convicted FBI agent had given a tip to one of the gangster informants that led to the killing of two men. The scandal prompted the Justice Department to issue new guidelines on the handling of informants.
• In 2006, a 92-year-old Atlanta woman was fatally shot during a botched drug raid. According to the news accounts, narcotics officers obtained a "no knock warrant" to raid the home by claiming that a confidential informant had bought drugs there, which was not true. Police busted through the burglar bars of the woman's front door, prompting the terrified woman to fire an old revolver at them. The officers fired dozens of rounds, killing her. Afterward, they realized their mistake, planted marijuana in the basement and tried to persuade another informant to say he told them they would find cocaine in the home. Two former officers have since pleaded guilty to a state charge of voluntary manslaughter and a federal charge of violating the dead woman's constitutional rights. A third officer is on trial for offenses related to the incident.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Office of Special Counsel last year shut down a previously undisclosed investigation into the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, according to an internal memo made public Wednesday.
The investigation was being conducted by a task force formed at the independent agency a year ago to pursue high-profile political investigations in Washington, most notably whether the White House played politics in firing U.S. attorneys. It began gathering information on the Siegelman case in September and was planning to request documents from the Justice Department in October before Special Counsel Scott Bloch ordered the case closed, according to the Jan. 18 draft memo, made public by the Project on Government Oversight.
The investigation was one of many that the task force had taken up, and the memo shows that Bloch frequently differed with investigators about which cases to pursue.
The Siegelman case was not the only one he sought to close, but Siegelman said Wednesday the memo suggests further political interference in his case.
"The question is who told them to shut it down," Siegelman said Wednesday when told of the memo. "Why would you start an investigation and let it proceed and then shut it down? The logical conclusion is that somebody intervened and told them to shut down the investigation ... we need to get to the bottom of this."
Siegelman, a Democrat, has long claimed that Republicans engineered his prosecution on bribery and other corruption charges to kill his chances for re-election, a claim repeatedly denied by federal prosecutors. His attorneys requested earlier this year that the Justice Department appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether White House appointees in Washington, including former Bush adviser Karl Rove, influenced the case.
The Special Counsel's office is an independent agency charged with investigating political activity by government employees and ensuring that government whistle-blowers are not subjected to reprisals.
FBI agents raided the office and Bloch's home this week in an investigation into whether he destroyed evidence potentially showing he retaliated against staffers who opposed his policies.
About 20 people crossed the yellow crime-scene tape to survey the scene.
Welcome to "CSI: Atlantic City," as the Police Department has resurrected its Citizens Academy to teach residents how law enforcement works so that they can help officers, firefighters and other emergency personnel do their jobs better.
Tuesday night's topic was forensics.
The show "CSI is not completely fictional," forensics Officer Doug Brown told the class. "It is what happens. It's just not the job of six people" like you see on television.
In real life, his unit dusts for fingerprints, collects DNA samples and photographs the crime scene, Brown said. He touched a compact disc, dusted it for his fingerprint and passed it around the class to show just how clear it was.
The actual analysis is done by other agencies, Brown said. The state and the FBI keep databases of fingerprints and DNA, and other labs process the DNA evidence and weapon information.
The role of the public at a crime scene is crucial, as residents often witness an event and scope out the area before police arrive, Brown said. Residents should be aware not to disturb anything in the area.
Outside at the made-up crime scene, class co-coordinator Officer Robert Berg pointed out the shell casings, weapons and the "body," and warned the group that they don't want to pick up the gun or casings or move a person who is already dead. It may look disrespectful to leave a body lying on the ground for a long time, but that is necessary for police to investigate how the person died.
Forensics officers examine the position of the body, the location of any weapons and shell casings and look for trails of blood to see if the victim was attacked at a different location, Brown said. In the case of a homicide, local officers have to wait for a team from the Prosecutor's Office to conduct the investigation.
Brown showed the class the forensics van, which he called "my lab on wheels." The van is equipped with material to pick up footprints and DNA, metal detectors to find shell casings and a refrigerator to keep samples cool. It is brought to scenes of serious crimes, he said.
The class had plenty of questions, including: How long blood and DNA samples can be held to solve cold cases? (Years, even decades); are the fingerprint and DNA matches instant like you see on television crime shows? (No, though a fingerprint match can usually be obtained within an hour); and why didn't the police dust for prints when my car was burglarized? (Too hard to snag the thief, as a lot of people touch the outside of cars).
Class co-coordinator Officer David Hadley said the department ran seven or eight sessions of the Citizens Academy in the past, but the last one was held several years ago. When Chief John Mooney, a former instructor, took over the department, he wanted to revive it because it is a good tool to promote community and public safety.
The idea is to have civilians be "our eyes and ears out there" and to tell their family and friends what they learned, Berg said. That way, residents can help the police solve crimes.
Residents who signed up said they were impressed with what they are learning so far.
Thelma Witherspoon works for the Police Department on the administrative side, and said friends and relatives ask her for advice because they think she can help. She said she signed up for the class so she can give out the right information.
"This gives me a broader perspective on what the Police Department actually does," Witherspoon said.
Farrar Blakeney said she enrolled after she went to exercise at the Police Athletic League and saw the signup sheets.
"I'm just learning so much about everything that goes on. It gives me a better understanding of what the police go through on a daily basis," Blakeney said. "I'll look at a police stop much differently now" and be more aware of things happening in the community.
Herman Zatt and Russelle Patterson of the Chelsea Neighborhood Association said they were in the pilot program about a dozen years ago. They started a Neighborhood Watch program as a result, and it is still active.
"We learned everything the officers do and why," Patterson said. "We hope it changes perceptions" in the community.
To e-mail Elaine Rose at The Press:
Several local police officers received some much deserved recognition at the Annual Mahoning Valley Chiefs of Police Association luncheon and awards ceremony.
Austintown Township Officer Joseph Wojciak received the award of valor for his bravery under fire after pursuing a suspect on foot even after being shot in the chest.
Other officers from departments including Warren Police Dept., BCI, Canfield, the State Patrol, Springfield Township, Howland and Youngstown were honored for their investigative excellence and their service.
Receiving special recognition was the Senior Agent in Charge of the Youngstown FBI. John Kane is retiring after 22-years of service. Supervisory Agent Kane also worked in Cleveland as part of the Organized Crime division.
Media shock on Hill's assassination talkPosted: May 29, 2008
"We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," Hillary Clinton told the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader last week in explaining her reason for staying in the presidential race.
This comment evoked predictable outrage from the Obama-happy media. "The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton," wailed MSNBC's Keith Olbermann in higher dudgeon than usual. "You cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!"
Unfortunately for an earlier black rival of the Clintons with presidential aspirations of his own, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, the then Clinton-happy media refused to even inquire into his suspicious death.
Indeed, to protect Bill and Hillary from themselves for the troubled eight years of the Clinton presidency, the Keith Olbermann crowd attacked those who did inquire. This I know as well as almost anyone.
In the spring of 2001, I produced with James Sanders a documentary on the downing of TWA Flight 800 called "Silenced." Sanders had done the hard-core reporting on the case soon after it happened in July 1996.
(Column continues below)
Had Sanders done comparable reporting during the Bush years, the media would have hailed him as a whistleblower. But the media either ignored him or actually applauded when the FBI arrested Sanders and his wife, Elizabeth, a TWA trainer, on trumped-up conspiracy charges.
"The FBI handcuffed Liz with her hands behind her back and dragged her through throngs of reporters," says Sanders ruefully. "Never once did any reporter think of writing a story in defense of a wife of a journalist."
"That was a low moment," Sanders adds. "We had no support from major media. We were not going to get our story out."
It was in meeting the sweet and blameless Elizabeth that I got interested in the TWA Flight 800 story. Until that moment, I had been the opposite of a conspiracy theorist if there is such a thing.
My insistence that Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK – and I have not changed on this – led one serious researcher to volunteer to fly me to Dallas to prove me wrong.
In April 1996, I was hosting a talk-radio show in Kansas City when Ron Brown's Air Force plane crashed in Croatia. I dismissed out of hand all of the ample talk that the Clintons had the plane shot down. "Even they would not do such a thing," I insisted.
The video "Silenced" led to a book on TWA 800, "First Strike," which I co-authored with Sanders. No matter how tight our facts were, I quickly discovered what Sanders already knew: To investigate the Clintons seriously is to render yourself a pariah, even among the more "respectable" conservative media.
I do not exaggerate. The editors of The Weekly Standard, for which I had been writing occasionally and successfully, not only stopped running my articles, they stopped returning my e-mails. I had transformed myself from Jack Cashill, Ph.D. to Jack Cashill, conspiracy theorist.
In 2003, with one plane crash under my belt, I received a commission to do a book on Ron Brown, the aptly named "Ron Brown's Body." Before accepting, I asked the publishers if they would accept the possibility that the plane crash was just an accident. They would, and so I proceeded.
My unstated goal was to write an anti-conspiracy book and in the process, so I reasoned, regain my humble reputation. As the son of a cop, however, I was determined to follow the facts where they led.
The facts led to two truth tellers, Brown confidante Nolanda Butler Hill and Kathleen Janoski, the forensic photographer who discovered an apparent bullet hole in Brown's head.
As I learned anew from these exceptional women, Democrats both, the media did not want to hear the truth during the Clinton years. Janoski and three of her physician colleagues sacrificed their military careers to tell it.
When Janoski and her colleagues went public in December 1997 with their concerns, the major media used their resources to undermine those concerns, or at least try to.
Hill sacrificed her freedom, spending three years in hiding and six months in custody in a Texas halfway house. With only a few exceptions, no one wanted to hear from her either.
"It's time to knock this stuff off," snapped Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry to one reporter who dared to venture a question about Brown's death. "I'm not going to talk about this further or take any further questions on the subject."
So incurious were the media that none among them even bothered to request the Air Force's 22-volume report on the Brown plane crash, not even the New York Times, which lost a reporter in the crash.
In reading the report, I first learned that Brown had flown to Croatia to broker a sweetheart deal between the neo-fascists who ran that country and a certain American corporation then much in the news, "Enron" by name.
In having a pair of TWA captains analyze the report's flight data did I finally accept the conclusion that the military pathologists had long ago pointed to: The crash was not an accident.
I did not hog this information. As with TWA Flight 800, I tried to share it with the major media, the same people who are professing shock at Hillary's assassination talk. At the time, they did not even want to know about any of it, not even the Enron connection.
The left, however, is now beginning to see what the right has long known. When cornered, as they were in the 1996 campaign, the Clintons can be a wee bit less than scrupulous.
If the media choose to probe beneath the talk, they might begin by asking why Hillary flew into Tuzla in Bosnia nine days before Brown left Tuzla on his fatal flight.
I hope they do. I know a few people who would like their reputations back.
The Democratic Primaries 2008:
“As long as I am counting the Votes, what are you going to do about it?” Boss Tweed (by Thomas Nast)
When the 700,000 plus absentee count was announced when in-person voting began, Obama had “436,034 to 303,276 for Clinton, or 59% to 41%, an 18% margin. But by the time the counting was done the next morning, Clinton had a 51% to 48% victory.”
Jonathan Simon and Bruce O’DellElection Defense Alliance
We present evidence supporting the hypothesis that systematic attempts are being made to manipulate the results of the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination contest, through overt means such as crossover voting by non-Democrats, and through covert means targeted at the electronic vote tabulation process itself. The net effect has been to prolong the nomination battle and sharpen its negativity, thereby boosting the prospects of the Republican nominee and making more plausible his “victory” in November-either by an honest count or through continued exploitation of the proven security vulnerabilities in American voting systems.
Perhaps John McCain is, as Humphrey Bogart says of the young Bulgarian who wins the money for his family’s exit visa at the roulette table in Casablanca, “just a lucky guy.” Lucky that the Democrats find themselves locked into a protracted primary season inexorable in its dynamics and increasingly destructive in its impact. Lucky that Hillary Clinton has been magically revived each time she has found herself on electoral life support, to assume a position just far enough behind Barack Obama to be induced to resort to desperate measures and increasingly-negative ads, yet not so far behind as to be forced to bow out. Lucky that dynamics ostensibly out of McCain’s control have combined to give him such material assistance.
Perhaps. But there is compelling evidence that something other than luck is at work. With 82% of Americans polled convinced the nation is on the wrong track, self-destruction by the Democratic Party is the only remaining credible means by which, come 2008, the GOP could sustain the perpetual rule envisioned by Karl Rove. (Rove, of course, has hardly retired and is now working from home, beyond the reach of the mandatory email backup system installed at the White House just before he left to “spend time with his family.”) The goal of Democratic Party self-destruction in 2008 could most reliably be brought to pass by one progression of events, one choreography: if a candidate, Hilary Clinton, known for her sense of entitlement, lifelong ambition, tenacity-and willingness to go negative-could be placed and kept in a desperate but not quite hopeless position; the result would follow, quite predictably.
What the mainstream media have now set up and trumpeted as an epic “blood feud” in the Democratic Party, whether or not it actually undermines the party’s prospects in November, will certainly pre-establish a plausible “explanation” for the defeat of whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be. The same is true for US Senate and House races, where Democrats are heavily favored to expand their majorities, given the large number of open seats this November that were formerly held by Republican incumbents and a string of recent special election victories. But Democratic congressional candidates in both houses are arguably now facing the prospect of negative coattails. By setting the stage for post-election “spin” for the Presidential and congressional races in November, any outcome-determinative electoral manipulations would become much less “shocking”, and that much less likely to trigger investigation and ultimate detection.
This jaundiced overview of the Democratic primary season is unfortunately supported by a body of evidence that goes well beyond the odd anomaly or two. When we examine-as the media has steadfastly refused to do-the numbers and disparities discovered in a parade of key states that determined the path the Democratic contest has taken to date, we find a telling pattern. This pattern is consistent with a tactical manipulation of the primary election vote counts in the service of the strategic choreography alluded to above: keeping Clinton in the race and desperate.
There are sound reasons why the Clinton campaign itself is not among the suspects: if Clinton’s campaign or supporters had the capacity and the will to alter election outcomes, it is reasonable to conclude that she would have won, or at least be ahead in, the race; and the ownership and operation of electronic voting equipment remains almost exclusively in the secretive hands of vendors (Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Hart, and Sequoia) with avowedly right-wing Republican political sympathies.
Our examination includes the Democratic primaries in the following key states: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, each of which had surprising and unexpected results. In each of these critical elections there was a significant pro-Clinton disparity when comparing pre-election surveys and Election Day exit polls against the official vote counts.
1/8/08: New Hampshire
This was the first of the “must-wins” for Clinton. She went into New Hampshire on the heels of an embarrassing third-place finish in Iowa and a 20%+ defeat in Wyoming, had lost momentum, and was trailing by substantial margins in every pre-election poll in the Granite state (the range was from 5% to 13%, with Obama’s and Clinton’s internal polling both also showing a double-digit Obama margin). Observers consistently reported Obama rallies that were far larger and more enthusiastic. There was no sign of a Clinton groundswell. Yet on Election Night the voters apparently changed their minds, and gave her a 3% victory.
The media pundits scratched their collective heads and scrambled to explain this stunning reversal, which would have been remarkable enough if it had been a double-digit shift from a single reputable tracking poll, but was truly staggering when viewed against the backdrop of the entire phalanx of tracking polls. There was palpable grasping at straws-but never even a hint that perhaps the polls had it right and something was wrong with the vote counts.
Nor was there a mention that the first posted National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll had Obama ahead 39.4% to 38.1%, while earlier unposted NEP exit polls put Obama further ahead. The first posted exit poll was already weighted to a carefully calibrated demographic profile of the electorate, and therefore as reliable an indicator of voter intent as is available. Indeed, that first-posted exit poll may already have been partially adjusted toward conformity with the incoming vote counts, thereby understating the apparent exit poll-vote count disparity. That exit poll was largely spot-on for the other candidates; only Clinton and Obama’s exit poll numbers shifted significantly as votes were tabulated.
The mainstream media also did not mention the extraordinary disparity between votes that were counted by hand (Obama + 6.5% head-to-head with Clinton) and those tabulated by computerized optical scan devices (Clinton + 5.5% head-to-head with Obama). Although the counting method (machine vs. hand) was not strictly homogeneously distributed throughout the state, neither was it clustered in such a way that would readily explain the huge statistical disparity in results.
When considering benign reasons for such surprising and unexpected outcomes, conventional explanations all begin and end with the unquestioned belief that the computerized vote counts are valid. Quite an assumption in light of the parade of anomalies, disparities, and machine failures witnessed nationwide since the advent and proliferation of computerized vote counting. Official election results are assumed valid, even though the votes are tabulated by secret software concealed on memory cards immune to inspection and under the strict proprietary control of an outsourced corporate vendor; in New Hampshire, the vendor is LHS, about which unanswered questions abound.
In an on-going epilogue, the New Hampshire primary remains under scrutiny. Investigators are amassing detailed evidence of pervasive mistabulation, focused in certain counties. On the Democratic side, there were an alarming number of polling sites reporting more votes than voters. Recounting was rendered effectively useless by a nonexistent chain of custody, which permitted more than ample opportunity for ballot substitution and revision. Memory cards were reported as having been erased and were never made available to investigators. Even something as basic as a reconciliation of the number of ballots delivered to number of ballots voted, spoiled, and uncast was lacking. Nor was there reconciliation of number of voters checked in at the polls to number of ballots cast.
At this first critical turning point in the Democratic contest an Obama victory would have, in the view of most analysts, effectively ended Clinton’s campaign. That victory-augured in pre-election polling, exit polls, and hand-counted ballots-vanished into the black box scanners provided by Diebold and programmed by LHS. Instead, Clinton was credited with a stunning comeback, given new life, and the nomination battle continued.
2/5/2008: Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday was essentially a standoff, each candidate doing what was necessary to remain viable. There were, however, several exit poll-vote count disparities far beyond the expected margin of error, each involving a shift toward Clinton.
In Massachusetts, another LHS state like New Hampshire, the shift was a whopping 15.5%, turning a projected narrow Obama victory into a 15% Clinton rout. In Arizona, site of some of the most dubious counting antics over the past several election cycles, the pro-Clinton shift was 11%, again reversing the outcome. And in New Jersey, where machines are currently under high scrutiny supported by a court order, the shift was 8.6%. Each of these shifts was well beyond the margin of error of the respective polls. Each resulted in shifts in delegate count to Obama’s detriment, as well as the loss of two victories that would have put a very different complexion on the outcome of Super Tuesday as a whole. The overall effect was, again, to maintain Clinton’s viability.
3/4/2008: Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas
In the weeks following Super Tuesday, Obama racked up a succession of impressive wins-including every caucus state, where vote counting is often face-to-face, and subject to greater scrutiny. As a result he pulled well ahead in the delegate count, and began to take on the mantle of inevitability.
Once more, pundits were calling the race all but over, and Texas and Ohio were often described as Clinton’s last stand. She needed wins in both states, it was flatly stated, to continue in the race. Even Clinton’s own campaign conceded as much. In the weeks before the election, Obama had closed an initial gap in both states and was running even or ahead in pre-election polling.
In Ohio once again we are confronted with a discrepancy between exit polls and official tallies. The initial published exit poll, posted shortly after poll closing, showed a 3% Clinton margin (51.1% to 47.9%), while the final official vote count showed a 10% Clinton margin (54.3% to 44.0%). This disparity was well outside the exit poll’s margin of error. The official vote count was also a significant departure from a compendium of pre-election polls, which showed Obama gaining ground and approaching equality. Viewed in isolation, Ohio could be explained as a “late Clinton surge” that caught the pre-election pollsters by surprise. Primaries are indeed fluid and volatile, as elections go, and there were reports of organized attempts to encourage Republican crossover voting for Clinton, though the Republican crossover vote may have been less robust than initially reported. It can also plausibly be viewed as another in a succession of “cover stories” (for example, the massive but phantom after-dinner Evangelical turnout offered up by Rove as a factor in reversing the outcome in 2004) that could well provide a relatively benign explanation for more nefarious operations. But instead there was a parade of contests in important states in the 2008 nomination battle in which a substantial exit poll-vote count disparity worked in Clinton’s favor-including New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, Arizona, California, and now Ohio and, as we will see, Texas and Rhode Island.
In contrast, we have observed to date no battleground state primary with a significant exit poll-vote count disparity in Obama’s favor. Some have invoked the so-called “Bradley effect” to account for this string of disparities. According to this theory, some white voters who would not vote for a black candidate in the privacy of the voting booth are “shamed” into indicating to pollsters (i.e., in public) that they chose that candidate. But research into the Bradley effect has established that it is, at best, an inconsistent and relatively rare phenomenon, very unlikely to account for such a pervasive pattern as identified above. It is only if one is unwilling to consider any possibility of computerized vote mistabulation that such superficially plausible theories as the Bradley effect take their place in the front of the line of explanations.
The exit poll-vote count disparity in Rhode Island was 14.1%; the exit poll posted after poll closing had Clinton up 4.1% (51.6% to 47.5%) over Obama, yet the official vote count had Clinton up 18.2% (58.8% to 40.6%). This is far outside the exit poll’s margin of error, and on a par with the similarly perplexing and bizarre 15.5% disparity favoring Clinton in Massachusetts on Super Tuesday. It is reasonable to ask, if exit polls are this far off, why bother exit polling? (Or perhaps just as reasonable to ask, if vote counts are this far off, why bother voting?)
In Texas there was a relatively modest 4% discrepancy between the first posted exit polls and official tallies-in the usual direction and larger than the margin of error, and also in this case, withheld from the public until more than an hour after poll closing. While most primary exit polls are posted a few minutes after the polls close, an hour’s delay enables ample opportunity for adjustment of exit polls toward conformity with the incoming vote count, and so the posted exit polls may understate the magnitude of the discrepancy. But the disparity in Texas between early voting results vs. Election Day in-precinct voting was of staggering proportions that seemed to defy explanation. The earliest returns posted on network websites showed a total of approximately 740,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary with 0% of precincts reporting. This was the early/absentee vote tally, which in some states is tabulated and available for release immediately upon poll closing. Obama’s vote at that point was 436,034 to 303,276 for Clinton, or 59% to 41%, an 18% margin. But by the time the counting was done the next morning, Clinton had a 51% to 48% victory . . . a whopping 21% margin reversal.
What was even more stunning, however, was that Clinton had caught up to Obama before even a quarter of the election day vote had been tallied: with 23% of election day precincts reporting and almost exactly as many at-precinct votes as early votes counted, the overall count stood at Obama 711,759, Clinton 711,183 (49%-49%), a dead heat. To catch up so quickly and produce those numbers, Clinton had to win the at-precinct vote in that quarter of Texas precincts by 59% to 41%... an exact reversal of the early voting Obama landslide.
What we saw in Texas were essentially equal and opposite landslides, as if we were observing two not only separate but radically divergent electorates, one that chose to vote early and one that chose to go to the polls. The early voting period in Texas extends from 17 days to four days prior to the election. Ordinarily explanations for a divergence of such magnitude, particularly in intra-party contests, would be due to time-critical phenomena such as late-breaking gaffes, scandals, debate blowouts and the like. But there was no such occurrence. During the early voting period the average of 13 pre-election polls showed Clinton 45.6%, Obama 46.7%. In the three days before the election, after the early voting period had ended, the average of eight polls was Clinton 46.8%, Obama 46.1%, a very modest change and certainly not the 21% mega-reversal displayed by the early voting and at-precinct vote counts.
While there is no obvious explanation for the pattern observed, one hypothesis worthy of investigation is that one set of counting equipment (either early-voting or at-precinct voting) was accessed by malicious insiders and manipulated. If the pattern of pro-Clinton shifts were to hold, the place to investigate first would of course be the at-precinct voting equipment and county central tabulators.
Having won Ohio and Texas, Clinton remained viable but still in dire straits, leading directly to the most polarizing and divisive phase of the nomination battle.
In the ‘quiet’ interval during the six weeks prior to the Pennsylvania primary, the effects of Clinton’s revived (but precarious) position had ample opportunity to play out. The Clinton campaign went on the offensive, with the type of personal, negative attacks that both campaigns had previously eschewed. Obama was relentlessly portrayed as elitist and out-of-touch by the Clinton campaign (and by Clinton herself), a depiction the mainstream media began to echo almost as relentlessly. And, sure enough, incidents emerged that played into this depiction-most notably Reverend Wright’s sermons and Obama’s own quote that seemed to both pigeonhole and patronize the working-class voters of Pennsylvania. These were replayed by the mainstream media in an endless barrage of coverage, all keyed to the theme that Obama might be too out-of-touch, and too close to the radical black fringe, to be president.
Obama appeared to successfully counter that round of negative attacks, and it appeared to have little or no impact in his polling support nationwide – nor, indeed, in Pennsylvania. Obama went into the April 23 primary trailing Clinton by 5% or less in pre-election polls, with no late movement to Clinton detected. It was viewed as essential by mainstream media pundits that Clinton win “by double digits” to maintain her viability and pick up the momentum required to win decisive super delegate support.
First-posted exit polls for Pennsylvania reflected pre-election expectations, with Clinton leading 51.6% to 47.8%, a 3.8% margin. By late in the evening, however, with the count mostly in, it was Clinton by 9.4%--close enough for the morning papers, networks, and websites to lead with Clinton’s “double-digit” win.
As with New Hampshire, Ohio, and Texas, there was a wide range of irregularities, glitches, and vote suppression incidents reported. Again, an exit poll disparity beyond the margin of error. Again, a departure, in the familiar direction, from the range of pre-election polling. And once again the final result was that Clinton received just enough to sustain her campaign, her “double-digit” victory, courtesy of a generous round-off.
Just as with a spaceship’s carefully-calibrated mid-course corrections that make an ultimate difference of millions of miles, it does not take much to radically change the course of a multi-election political contest. A few quick bursts from the retrorockets at the right moment(s) will do the trick.
Of course the dynamics of a campaign can change legitimately, as a result of the thrust and parry process, exposure of weaknesses, refutation of apparent inevitability, etc. But the shift in dynamics of the 2008 Democratic nomination contest strongly correlated with a string of election results that raised serious red flags independent of their impact on the race. Glaring discrepancies far beyond the margin of error of exit polls and pre-election polls, and the confounding of the expected electoral dynamics, produced results that had the precise impact of prolonging and intensifying the nomination battle. Had the primary election results jibed with those independent measures and expectations, it would long since have been wrapped up.
Anyone actually in a position to take advantage of the vast array of security vulnerabilities in the computers that run our elections would have an obvious interest in remaining undetected. The safest path would be to take only what you need to achieve your bottom-line goal, and not one vote more. Anything beyond adds risk without reward. Thus, in keeping with our hypothesis that the fundamental goal of primary contest electoral manipulation was to create “plausible defeatability” for the Democratic ticket in November, we would expect little additional manipulation in the last stages of the Democratic contest. It is apparent that an Obama defeat in November (and more extensive Democratic losses in down-ballot races) can be spun as a plausible consequence of the intra-party strife that has already been depicted as weakening the party and its nominee, and of apparent Obama weaknesses exposed in the course of the grueling nomination battle. With such a cover story safely in place, even an against-the-odds Republican “victory” in November could be successfully spun and sold to the candidates, their parties, the media, and the voters.
The “mystery adjustment” factor in polling
One final observation concerning the pre-election polling that sets expectations for candidates, the mainstream media, and the voters themselves. We are deeply concerned that these polls too paint a false backdrop against which the signs of computerized electoral manipulation by insiders will appear diminished in magnitude over time, or even disappear. The reason for this concern is obviously not that the fraternity of pollsters is knowingly acting to support or conceal systematic computerized electoral manipulation, but rather that pollsters simply cannot expect to stay in business if they consistently fail to predict the “actual” electoral results. The worst problem for a pollster is to be consistently “off” in the same direction. Put another way, pollsters are not paid for achieving some abstract statistical purity but rather for accurate predictions-however achieved.
If one places oneself in the position of a pollster who, time and again, is faced with results that are, say 6 – 8% more Republican than their predictions, or shifted in the direction the right wing would desire, it becomes clear that one would begin making a “mystery adjustment” to whatever data emerges from a clean survey methodology. Such an adjustment can be easily generated by changes in demographic weighting that can at least in part be justified by reliance on data emerging from previous elections, themselves manipulated. Call it a fudge factor if you will, but it keeps the pollster in business while failing to make such a correction would be professional suicide.
By way of corroboration of this phenomenon, in public dialogue with a major-party polling consultant the following shocking admission was made: if the Democratic candidate is not leading by 10% going into the election in their internal polling, they expect the race to be a toss-up. This internal candidate polling is-unlike polls published for public consumption-intended to paint a ruthlessly accurate picture of contest dynamics to help the party prioritize expensive get-out-the-vote drives and last-minute media blitzes. The fact that even major-party pollsters must adjust their own results to account for the “mystery swing” to the right is a strong indication that much the same distorting protocol is already being employed in public pre-election polling.
When manipulated elections serve as the calibration tool for pre-election polling, we lose yet another independent check mechanism on the official computerized vote tabulation process. This only deepens the crisis.
Election theft is certainly hard to prove, with virtually all hard evidence withheld as proprietary; and even well-supported allegations by credible journalists, computer scientists, security professionals and election integrity activists are given a wide berth by both the mainstream media and the established political powers of both major parties.
Yet, even with the limited tools at our disposal, we keep discovering evidence-in pre-election polls, exit polls, and published election results –that is consistent with a pattern of widespread covert manipulation of vote counts.
We will continue to investigate and report these anomalies until a thorough and unblinking investigation of suspicious results is undertaken by those in position to collect the additional evidence needed to establish incontrovertible proof. But since many of those in the best position to investigate election anomalies are themselves elected officials, our best hope may be to follow the recent example of Ireland and the Netherlands-dispense with voting computers, and simply count our own paper ballots by hand.
 There were significant oddities on the Republican side as well, beyond the scope of our analysis here. Remarkably enough, we know with certainty that the precise model of optical scan voting equipment in use in NH, Diebold Accuvote OS Model 1.94W, is vulnerable to outcome-altering manipulation by insiders. A live demonstration on that very Diebold model was captured in the HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy”.  See  In this case significant means “larger than the exit poll margin of error”. Weighted, 1421 respondents, approximate margin of error 3%
Originally Published at Election Defense Alliance OpEdNews.Compdf - Managing Electoral Dynamics Via Covert Vote-Count Manipulation
Information on Jonathan Simon and Bruce O’Dell
John McCain has long been a major player in a radical militaristic group driven by an ideology of global expansionism and dominance attained through perpetual, pre-emptive, unilateral, multiple wars. The credo of this group is “the end justifies the means,” and the end of establishing the United States as the world’s sole superpower justifies, in its estimation, anything from military control over the information on the Internet to the use of genocidal biological weapons. Over its two terms, the George W. Bush administration has planted the seeds for this geopolitical master plan, and now appears to be counting on the McCain administration, if one comes to power, to nurture it.
The Road Map to War
The blueprint for this “new order” was drafted in February 1992, at the end of the George H.W. Bush administration when Defense Department staffers Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad, acting under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, drafted the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG). This document, also known as the “Wolfowitz Doctrine,” was an unofficial, internal document that advocated massive increases in defense spending for purposes of strategic proliferation and buildup of the military in order to establish the pre-eminence of the United States as the world’s sole superpower. Advocating pre-emptive attacks with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, it proclaimed that “the U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.” The document was also quite clear about what should be the United States’ main objective in the Middle East, especially with regard to Iraq and Iran, which was to “remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil.” The Wolfowitz Doctrine was leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, which published excerpts from it. Amid a public outcry, President George H.W. Bush retracted the document, and it was substantially revised.
The original mission of the Wolfowitz Doctrine was not lost, however. In 1997, William Kristol and Robert Kagan founded The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a nongovernment political action organization that sought to develop and advocate for the militant, geopolitical tenets contained in the Wolfowitz Doctrine. PNAC’s original members included Wolfowitz, Cheney, Khalilzad, Libby, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Bennett, and other soon-to-be high officers in the Bush administration.
McCain’s Ties to PNAC
John McCain’s connection to PNAC can be traced back to before its formation in 1997. In fact, he was president of the New Citizenship Project, founded by Kristol in 1994. This organization was parent to PNAC, and served as its chief fundraising organ.
McCain also worked cooperatively with PNAC and Wolfowitz in attempting to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. In 1998, he co-sponsored the Iraq Liberation Act—drafted by PNAC—which decreed “regime change” in Iraq to be U.S. policy, and which appropriated $97 million in U.S. military aid to the Iraqi National Congress (INC). The INC was a group of anti-Hussein Iraqi militants whose purpose was to instigate a national uprising against Hussein. It was led by Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi informant whose subsequent faulty intelligence—claims that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaida—was used to sell the Iraq war to the American public. In 2004, in response to accusations that he deliberately misled U.S. intelligence agencies, Chalabi glibly stated, “We are heroes in error.”
McCain also was co-chair (with Sen. Joseph Lieberman) of The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI). Established by PNAC in late 2002, this committee continued to finance Chalabi’s INC with millions of taxpayer dollars, until shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when it was discontinued. In 2004, McCain became a signatory of PNAC, ironically signing on to a PNAC letter condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy for its return to the “rhetoric of militarism and empire.”
McCain has accordingly been a foot soldier for PNAC from its inception, and, although this organization is no longer in existence, its ideology and its signatories (many of whom now serve as advisers to the McCain presidential campaign) are still very much active.
The Master Plan
In September 2000, prior to the presidential election that year, PNAC carefully formulated its chief tenets in a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses (RAD). This document, which was intended to guide the incoming administration, had a substantial influence on the policies set by the Bush administration and is likely to do the same for a McCain administration if McCain becomes president. Here are some of the recommendations of the RAD report:
Fighting and winning multiple, simultaneous major wars
Among its core missions was the rebuilding of America’s defenses sufficient to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.” And it explicitly advocated sending troops into Iraq regardless of whether Saddam Hussein was in power. According to RAD, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
The RAD report also admonished, “Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region.” Therefore, it had both Iraq and Iran in its sight as zones of multiple, simultaneous major wars for purposes of advancing “longstanding American interests in the region”—in particular, its oil.
McCain’s recent chanting of “bomb, bomb, bomb; bomb, bomb Iran” to the beat of an old Beach Boys tune, his suggestion that the war with Iraq might last 100 years and his recent statement that the war in Afghanistan might also last 100 years—all of these pronouncements are clearly in concert with the PNAC mission to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars.”
RAD also stressed the need to have additional forces equipped to handle ongoing “constabulary” duties such as enforcement of no-fly zones and other operations that fell short of full theater wars. It claimed that unless the military was so equipped, its ability to fight and win multiple, simultaneous wars would be impaired. Along these same lines, McCain has recently stated, ‘’It’s time to end the disingenuous practice of stating that we have a two-war strategy when we are paying for only a one-war military. Either we must change our strategy—and accept the risks—or we must properly fund and structure our military.’’
Designing and deploying global missile defense systems
RAD also emphasized, as an additional core value, the need to “transform U.S. forces to exploit the ‘revolution in military affairs.’ ” This included the design and deployment of a global ballistic missile defense system consisting of land-, sea-, air- and space-based components said to be capable of shielding the U.S. and its allies from “limited strikes” in the future by “rogue” nations such as Iraq, North Korea and Iran.
Along these lines, McCain has maintained that a ballistic missile defense system was “indispensable”—even if this meant reneging on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 at the expense of angering the Russians. Unfortunately, while RAD acknowledged the “limited” efficacy of such a weapons system (presumably because it cannot realistically provide a bulletproof shield, especially against large-scale missile attacks), neither it nor McCain addressed the problem that deployment of such a system could be destabilizing: It could encourage escalation, instead of de-escalation, of ballistic missile arsenals by nations that fear becoming sitting ducks, and might even provoke a pre-emptive strike. Further, there is still the question of whether the creation of such costly, national defense shields is even technologically feasible.
The use of genocidal biological warfare for political expediency
Not only did RAD advocate the design and deployment of defensive weaponry, it also stressed the updating of conventional offensive weapons including cruise missiles along with stealthy strike aircraft and longer-range Air Force strike aircraft. But it went further in its offensive posture by envisioning and supporting the use of genotype-specific biological warfare. According to RAD, “… advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” In this chilling statement, a double standard is evident. In the hands of al-Qaida, such genocidal weapons would belong to “the realm of terror,” but in those of the U.S., they would be “politically useful tools.”
Rejection of the United Nations
PNAC’s double standard is also inherent in its rejection of the idea of a cooperative, neutral effort among the nations of the world to address world problems, including the problem of Iraq. “Nor can the United States assume a UN-like stance of neutrality,” states the RAD report. “The preponderance of American power is so great and its global interests so wide that it cannot pretend to be indifferent to the political outcome in the Balkans, the Persian Gulf or even when it deploys forces in Africa. Finally, these missions demand forces basically configured for combat.” Accordingly, a McCain administration founded on a PNAC platform of self-interested exercise of force would oppose giving the United Nations any central role in setting and implementing foreign affairs policy.
Control of space and cyberspace
PNAC’s quest for global domination transcends any literal meaning of the geopolitical, and extends also to the control, rather than the sharing, of outer space. It also has serious implications for cyber freedom. Thus the RAD report states, “Much as control of the high seas—and the protection of international commerce—defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new ‘international commons’ be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the ‘infosphere’ will find it difficult to exert global political leadership. ... Access to and use of cyberspace and the Internet are emerging elements in global commerce, politics and power. Any nation wishing to assert itself globally must take account of this other new ‘global commons.’ ”
There is a difference between protecting the Internet from a cyber attack and controlling it. The former is defensive while the latter is offensive. But RAD also advocated going on the offensive. It stated that “an offensive capability could offer America’s military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner.”
However, state control of cyberspace for political purposes can have serious implications for the Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The Bush administration has already engaged in mass illegal spying on the phone and e-mail messages of millions of Americans through its National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program. As a result of copying these messages and depositing them into an NSA computer database, it began to assemble a massive “Total Information Awareness” computer network. The FBI has also begun to develop and integrate such personal data with a biometric database that includes digital iris prints and facial images. Combine this with other computerized databases including credit card information, banking records and health files, and the result is an incredible ability to exercise power and control over anyone deemed by a political leader to be an “adversary”—including journalists, political opponents and others who might not see eye to eye with the administration.
In concert with the PNAC mission of control over cyberspace, McCain has supported making warrantless spying on American citizens legal. When asked if he believed that Bush’s warrantless surveillance program was legal, McCain responded, “You know, I don’t think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this out. ... I think they will get that authority, whatever is reasonable and needed, and increased abilities to monitor communications are clearly in order.”
Consistent with his conviction that such extended powers should be granted to the president, McCain has also recently voted for Senate Bill S.2248, which vacates substantial civil liberties protections included in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In contrast to the 1978 FISA, S.2248 would allow the president, acting through the attorney general, to spy on the phone and e-mail communications of Americans without individual court warrants or the need to judicially show probable cause.
Despite the fact that McCain has said that Bush’s NSA spying program was not legal, he has also supported granting retroactive legal immunity to the telecommunication companies (such as AT&T and Verizon) that helped Bush illegally spy on millions of Americans. This means that he has openly admitted that the Bush administration acted unlawfully in eavesdropping on Americans’ phone and e-mail messages, while at the same time opted for taking away their legal right to redress this violation. And this unequivocally means that McCain is prepared to allow executive authority to trump the rule of law.
Meet the McCain Team
Given John McCain’s firm allegiance to the core missions of PNAC, it should come as no surprise that many of the old PNAC guard have shown up as foreign policy advisers in McCain’s current presidential campaign, and are likely re-emerge as high officials in his administration if he becomes president. Here are snapshots of some of these potential members of a McCain Cabinet, giving their PNAC profiles, their advisory capacities in the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and their politics.
William KristolEditor and founder of Washington-based political magazine, Weekly Standard.PNAC co-founder.Foreign policy adviser.Has consistently been wrong in his foreign policy analyses regarding Iraq. For example, on March 5, 2003, he stated, “I think we’ll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.”
Robert KaganServed in State Department in Reagan administration on Policy Planning Staff.PNAC co-founder.Foreign policy adviser.Has defended global expansionism by claiming it is an American tradition: “Americans’ belief in the possibility of global transformation—the ‘messianic’ impulse—is and always has been the more dominant strain in the nation’s character.”
Randy ScheunemannFormer adviser to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.Co-director and executive director of Committee for Liberation of Iraq.Defense and foreign policy coordinator.With regard to recent National Intelligence Estimate finding that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003, stated “a careful reading of the NIE indicates that it is misleading.” And he claimed that the NIE harmed our efforts to achieve a “greater diplomatic consensus” to crack down on Iran.
James WoolseyDirector of CIA, Clinton administration, 1993-1995. (Reported to have met only twice with Clinton during time as CIA chief.)PNAC signatory.Energy and national security adviser.Speaking to a group of college students in 2003 about Iraq, he stated that “… the United States is engaged in World War IV.” Described the Cold War as the third world war. Then said, “This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War.”
John R. BoltonFormer U.S. ambassador to U.N. (Nomination to U.N. rejected by Senate, but George W. Bush put him in place on a recess appointment. Name floated for possible secretary of state for McCain.PNAC director.Ardent supporter of McCain for president in 2009.Publicly derided the United Nations: In 1994, he stated “there is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that’s the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along.” Advocates attacking Iran.
Robert B. ZollickPresident, World Bank.PNAC signatory.Announced in 2006 he would be joining McCain presidential campaign for domestic and foreign policy but instead replaced Wolfowitz as president of World Bank in 2007.Has touted virtues of corporate globalization under the rubric of “comprehensive free trade.” But as Kevin Watkins, head researcher for Oxfan, stated, he pays no heed to the effects of the “blind pursuit of US economic and corporate special interests” on the world’s poor.
Gary SchmittAmerican Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (home to other PNAC members including Wolfowitz and Pearle.)PNAC director.Foreign policy adviser.Defended warrantless eavesdropping on Americans by claiming that Constitution “created a unitary chief executive. That chief executive could, in times of war or emergency, act with the decisiveness, dispatch and, yes, secrecy, needed to protect the country and its citizens.”
Richard L. ArmitageFormer deputy secretary of state in George W. Bush administration.PNAC signatory.Foreign policy adviser.By his own admission, was responsible for leaking CIA agent Valerie Plame’s CIA identity to the press. Allegedly involved in Iran-Contra affair during Reagan administration.
Max BootCouncil on Foreign Relations.PNAC signatory.Foreign policy adviser.Stating that U.S. should “unambiguously ... embrace its imperial role,” has advocated attacking other Middle East countries in addition to Iraq and Iran, including Syria. Said McCain’s “bellicose aura” could “scare the snot out of our enemies,” who “would be more afraid to mess with him” than with other then-potential presidential candidates.
Henry A. KissingerPresident Nixon’s secretary of state.Embraces expansionist power politics.Consultant.Played major role in secret bombings of Cambodia during Nixon administration as well as having had alleged involvement in covert assassination plots and human rights violations in Latin America.
What’s in Store for Us if McCain Becomes President
That McCain has surrounded himself with such like-minded advisers who support the narrow PNAC agenda speaks to his unwillingness to hear and consider alternative perspectives. In fact, six out of 10 civilian foreign advisers to McCain are PNAC veterans. Even the newly appointed deputy communications director of the McCain campaign, Michael Goldfard, has been a research associate for PNAC. A die-hard adherent of the “unitary authority” of the chief executive, he recently stated that the framers of the United States Constitution advocated an “executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war.”
Add to this list other major PNAC figures such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearle, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Dick Cheney who would probably play a significant role in a McCain administration and it is clear in what direction this nation would be moving.
A McCain administration would be likely to:
· Invest incredible amounts of money in sustaining multiple, simultaneous wars overseas at the expense of neglecting pressing concerns at home, including the economy, health care, the environment and education.
· Stockpile nuclear weapons, while seeking to prohibit its adversaries from having them.
· Attempt to shield the U.S. with a multilayered missile defense system based on land, at sea, in the air and in space, while demanding that nations that are not its allies become sitting ducks.
· Strive to develop more potent chemical and biological weapons—not to mention the genotype-specific variety, while at the same time claiming to be fighting a “war on terror.”
· Legalize “Total Information Awareness”—going through all Americans’ phone calls, e-mail messages and other personal records without needing probable cause.
· Take control of the Internet, globally using it as an offensive political weapon—while claiming to be spreading democracy throughout the world.
· Dispense with checks and balances in favor of the “unitary executive authority” of the president.
· Alienate nations that refuse to join our war coalitions.
· Deny that there is (or can be) a United Nations.
A McCain administration would rule by fear, perceive right in terms of military might and subscribe to the idea of “do as I say and not as I do.” As a consequence, instead of rebuilding the image of America as a model of justice and civility, it would further sully respect for this nation throughout the world.
Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., is a political analyst and media critic. His most recent book is “The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-Hungry Government Are Turning America Into a Dictatorship.” He was first-prize winner of the 2007 Project Censored Award.