Friday, October 29, 2004

Shazam - it's Azzam!

Newsday has well-balanced editorial coverage of the latest bush-league attempt by the GOP to scare up some votes: it's "Azzam the American"!
A "terrorist video" features previously unknown Azzam declaring war on America with stereotypical scariness. In a tactic previously unused by terrorists, Azzam calls himself an American and denounces Bush cabinet members by name. Apparently, Azzam is trying to get those of us who are against the administration to identify with his unique method of protest.
According to Newsday:
There was no actual evidence yesterday that the late October tape was produced in Karl Rove's basement or Ed Gillespie's garage...
However the tape materialized - wink, wink - it dovetails almost perfectly with the president's fear-based campaign.
And what a piece of work this video is!
The speaker is identified as "Azzam the American," which you have to admit is an odd name to choose for someone seeking to connect with "my fellow countrymen."...
He speaks in what sounds like the villain's dialogue in a bad Schwarzenegger film.

[I saw the video and the accent is just wrong. I grew up in Dearborn and the voice sounds like someone who doesn't know any Arabs trying to sound Arabic. -ed.]

Blair 'uses intelligence as PR tool'

The former chief investigator of Britain's Intelligence and Security Committee said that "intelligence has been used as a 'PR tool' since Tony Blair came to power." During 1998's Operation Desert Fox in Iraq, "I was under pressure and my analysts were under pressure," said John Morrison. "It got to the point that individual analysts were being rung up by the press office and being asked to say 'this is great, isn't it?'" During 1999's Kosovo bombing, Morrison set up his own press office to have greater control, but "we were under constant pressure to field talking heads ... [and] to have themes for individual days." [from]

Homeland Security disavows PR document touting successes

A Bush political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection bureau drafted and distributed a public relations strategy designed to "change perception" about the nation's security by repeating the message, in the weeks leading up to the presidential election, that America is safer, according to internal government documents.
The "90-day Strategy" lays out a detailed media plan to "push information out," "maximize" the media, and "brand" the border protection agency as a model of counterterrorism operations.
"Reassure the citizens of the United States," says the strategy, which was presented five weeks ago to public affairs officials for Customs and Border Protection regional offices around the country. "Repeat the message. . . . Repeat until we are completely exhausted by it."

LSD Reports From the US Military

The Memory Hole has received three Army reports on experiments involving LSD. (The documents date from the 1960s and 1970s.) One is posted below, and the others will follow.
In our FOIA request, we also asked for several other similar reports, which are currently being reviewed for release. We'll post them as they become available. [from]

Jon Stewart on C-SPAN

Jon Stewart on the Presidential Election, the Media, and PoliticsIn New York City, NY, Host and Executive Producer of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart, talks about presidential politics and the media.

NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate

George W. Bush tried to laugh off the bulge. "I don't know what that is," he said on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, referring to the infamous protrusion beneath his jacket during the presidential debates. "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt."
Dr. Robert M. Nelson, however, was not laughing. He knew the president was not telling the truth. And Nelson is neither conspiracy theorist nor midnight blogger. He's a senior research scientist for NASA and for Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and an international authority on image analysis. Currently he's engrossed in analyzing digital photos of Saturn's moon Titan, determining its shape, whether it contains craters or canyons.

Internet Vets for Truth

"Our goal is to present you with these clips to help you make an informed choice next Tuesday." Your one-stop-shop for documentary clips related to Kerry and Bush, presented by the Internets Vets for Truth.

Online Journalists Arrested in Iran

The recent arrest of several bloggers, online journalists, and Internet technicians in Iran has raised fears that the country's old guard is determined to muzzle dissent in cyberspace.
The Internet has become a refuge for liberal journalists since the hard-line judiciary closed scores of reformist publications over the past four years. The Web log, or blog, format - a cross between a diary and public commentary - has allowed dissident writers to reach a mass audience with less of the expense and oversight of print media.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Defense Document and Flim Flam

The Air Force Research Laboratory has paid for and published a newstudy on "teleportation physics," referring to the disembodiedtransport of objects across space.
The author strives to distinguish his subject from the fictionalStar Trek "transporter" concept, and notes that "we are still veryfar away from being able to ... teleport human beings (and evensimpler biological entities such as cells, etc.) and bulkinanimate objects...."But after fifty pages of opaque physics, he concludes with anendorsement of remote viewing, psychokinesis and spoon bending bypsychic Uri Geller.
"During a talk that he gave at the U.S. Capitol building, Uri caused a spoon to curve upward with no force applied, and then thespoon continued to bend after he put it back down and continuedwith his talk," he reports."
There are numerous supporters within the U.S. militaryestablishment who comprehend the significance of remote viewingand PK [psychokinesis] phenomenon [sic], and believe that they could have strategic implications," he notes.
And he repeats a warning that "foreign adversaries could exploit micro- or macro-PK to induce U.S. military fighter pilots to losecontrol of their aircraft and crash."
Given the looming ESP gap, the author recommends that "A research program improving on and expanding, or implementing novel variations of, the Chinese and Uri Geller-type experiments should be conducted in order to generate p-Teleportation phenomenon [sic] in the lab."
The report concludes with a ten-page bibliography on teleportation physics and a distribution list that amounts to something like a "who's who" in "alternative science." See "Teleportation Physics Study" by Eric W. Davis, Air ForceResearch Lab Special Report, Edwards Air Force Base, August 2004,distribution unlimited (1.7 MB PDF file) [from Secrecy News]

For more on Uri Geller, read the terrific book Flim-Flam! by magician James Randi.

How John Kerry Exposed the Contra-Cocaine Scandal

In early 1986, the 42-year-old Massachusetts Democrat stood almost alone in the U.S. Senate demanding answers about the emerging evidence that CIA-backed Contras were filling their coffers by collaborating with drug traffickers then flooding U.S. borders with cocaine from South America.
Kerry assigned members of his personal Senate staff to pursue the allegations. He also persuaded the Republican majority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to request information from the Reagan-Bush administration about the alleged Contra drug traffickers.
In taking on the inquiry, Kerry challenged President Ronald Reagan at the height of his power, at a time he was calling the Contras the "moral equals of the Founding Fathers." Kerry's questions represented a particular embarrassment to Vice President George H.W. Bush, whose responsibilities included overseeing U.S. drug-interdiction policies.

Bush Hides Global Warming Evidence

"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now," James E. Hansen told a University of Iowa audience.
Hansen is director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and has twice briefed a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) on global warming.
Hansen said the administration wants to hear only scientific results that "fit predetermined, inflexible positions." Evidence that would raise concerns about the dangers of climate change is often dismissed as not being of sufficient interest to the public.

Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment

[A] scripture-based justification for anti-environmentalism -- when was the last time you heard a conservative politician talk about that?
Odds are it was in 1981, when President Reagan's first secretary of the interior, James Watt, told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. "God gave us these things to use. After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back," Watt said in public testimony that helped get him fired.
Today's Christian fundamentalist politicians are more politically savvy than Reagan's interior secretary was; you're unlikely to catch them overtly attributing public-policy decisions to private religious views. But their words and actions suggest that many share Watt's beliefs. Like him, many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed -- even hastened -- as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

New Human Species Discovered

Even more intriguing is the fact that Flores' inhabitants have incredibly detailed legends about the existence of little people on the island they call Ebu Gogo.
The islanders describe Ebu Gogo as being about one metre tall, hairy and prone to "murmuring" to each other in some form of language. They were also able to repeat what islanders said to them in a parrot-like fashion.

*Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected in 2000

“It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”

Bush Voted Year's Top Film Villian

Bush won the dubious accolade, announced Wednesday, for his appearance in Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."
He beat a shortlist that included the nefarious Doctor Octopus, played by Alfred Molina, in "Spider-Man 2"; "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'"s cannibalistic Leatherface; Andy Serkis' creepy Gollum from "Lord of the Rings" trilogy; and Elle Driver, the eyepatch-wearing assassin played by Daryl Hannah in "Kill Bill."
Almost 10,000 people voted in the poll, conducted by Total Film Magazine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Dada, Ephemera and Glasgow

I was wandering around the internets looking for early twentieth century ephemera and look what I found. Digital Dada Library “This page provides links to some of the major Dada-era publications in the International Dada Archive. These books, pamphlets, and periodicals are housed in the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries. …Each document has been scanned in its entirety.” EphemeraNow “is a family-friendly Web site dedicated to the commercial art of mid-century America.” The Ephemera Society “is a non-profit body concerned with the collection, preservation, study and educational uses of printed and handwritten ephemera.” and more! For those of you who have complained that this place is getting too “US politics-filter” I give you Glasgow Digital Library Collections which has all sorts of stuff including a great history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932 [from]

*Global Warming Seen as Security Threat

A growing number of analysts argue that global warming linked to greenhouse gas emissions is not just a "green issue." They argue it might eventually top terrorism on the global security agenda, provoking new conflicts and inflaming old ones.
"The biggest security problem from global warming would be forced migrations, the dislocation of people because of flooding or drought," said Steve Sawyer, climate policy adviser for environmental group Greenpeace. "Or drastic ecosystem change could change the resource base and uproot rural people. Forced migrations of people almost always cause problems."
Former Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson said earlier this year that global warming posed a greater long-term threat to humanity than terrorism because it could force hundreds of millions from their homes.

Thinking Machine 4

The artwork is an artificial intelligence program, ready to play chess with the viewer. If the viewer confronts the program, the computer's thought process is sketched on screen as it plays. A map is created from the traces of literally thousands of possible futures as the program tries to decide its best move. Those traces become a key to the invisible lines of force in the game as well as a window into the spirit of a thinking machine.
Play the game.
[this is so flippin' cool, I can hardly believ it. -- ed.]

The Road To Abu Ghraib

A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come. [from]

Amnesty International: US 'War on Terror' Mentality Leads to Torture

The United States is more concerned with getting around international laws which prohibit torture than with safeguarding human rights as it wages its "war on terror", Amnesty International said in a report.
The report, a 200-page analysis of the practices and decisions that led to torture in Iraq, and alleged abuse in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, argues that Washington's "war mentality" led it down a slippery slope toward disregard for the rule of law.
"It is tragic that in the 'war on terror', the USA has itself undermined the rule of law. Its selective disregard for the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law has contributed to torture and ill-treatment," it wrote.

*US Gave Date of War to Britain in Advance, Court Papers Reveal

Secret plans for the war in Iraq were passed to British Army chiefs by US defense planners five months before the invasion was launched, a court martial heard yesterday.
The revelation strengthened suspicions that Tony Blair gave his agreement to President George Bush to go to war while the diplomatic efforts to force Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions were continuing.

Bloggers, Watch What You Say...

At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case. However, I do now have a file with the FBI that includes my photograph, my e-mail address, and the location of my LJ. This will follow me around for the rest of my life, regardless of the fact that the Secret Service knows that I am not a threat.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

New Florida vote scandal feared

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

Here are the "caging lists" Caging-1.xls Caging.xls

Public disclosure laws imperiled in U.S., world

Much of the increasingly reactionary laws against public disclosure of documents and proceedings came after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press. In the wake of the tragedy, the government "embarked on an unprecedented path of secrecy," which caused them to "abandon the culture of openness and opt for secrecy," she said.
This, in turn, made it harder for reporters to get the information they need to inform the public about important matters. And the public, she added, "doesn't seem to care that they don't know what's going on. They just want to be safe."
Dalglish admitted there are things that should be classified. But journalists should also be able to access information that could never aid terrorists.
"Somewhere along the line, the government was able to convince the public that secrecy makes you safer," she said.

No More Check-Floating

Starting Thursday, a federal law called Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act or Check 21, will allow banks to process checks without any lag time.
Check 21 was originally proposed after Sept. 11, 2001, when physical copies of checks could not be delivered to banks because air traffic was grounded.
Similar to an airline using an e-ticket as opposed to the standard paper ticket for your receipt, your checking account will now function the same way. Instead of relying on the paper receipt of a check, a bank will now be allowed to convert the check into a digital image and process it electronically though its system.
Once the new systems are in place, checks that used to take a day or more to clear could go through in less than 24 hours. Here are the basics on Check 21 and how you can avoid getting burned by the bounce:

Hoax: The Flu Vaccine Shortage is Not Attributable to a John Edwards Lawsuit

American manufacturers did not produce flu vaccine until liability lawsuits made it impossible for them to continue doing so. Most American pharmaceutical companies got out of the flu vaccine market because a variety of factors (not related to lawsuits) make it an unattractive line of business:
Flu viruses mutate easily, so new flu vaccine formulas have to be made up every year.
Because a different flu vaccine is used each season, unsold doses cannot be saved and end up being destroyed (along with any potential profits).
The production of flu vaccine (and the requirement of meeting Food and Drug Administration standards) is a labor-intensive process. Flu vaccine is made by injecting virus into fertilized chicken eggs — each egg must be hand-inspected and hand-injected and produces only 4 or 5 doses of vaccine.
Because flu vaccine is a commodity (i.e., the same product can be made by many different companies) and much of the available supply is bought up in large orders by the government, the market price of vaccine — and the profit to be made from selling it — has been quite low. (The global market for vaccine is about $6 billion a year, while the global market for drugs is about $340 billion a year. Which of these two markets a pharmaceutical company should concentrate on is a no-brainer.)
Sometime within the next several years, the flu vaccine industry will switch to growing vaccine in cell cultures rather than eggs, a much easier and cheaper process. No new entrant to the flu vaccine market is going to spend several years and millions of dollars investing in a process that will soon become obsolete.

EFF Challenges Secret Court Order That Led to Indymedia Seizures

The motion seeks to discover which agencies and governments are responsible for the seizure in order to hold them accountable. In their motion, EFF attorneys argue that "the public and the press have a clear and compelling interest in discovering under what authority the government was able unilaterally to prevent Internet publishers from exercising their First Amendment rights." They argue further that secret court orders circumvent due process, undermine confidence in the judicial system, and deny an avenue for redress.
"When a secret order results in the unconstitutional silencing of media, the public has a right to know what happened," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF Staff Attorney. "Freedom of the press is an essential part of the First Amendment, and our government must show it had a compelling state interest to order such an extreme intrusion to the rights of the publisher and the public."
Citing a gag order, Rackspace has not revealed the contents of the seizure order, the requesting agency, or even confirmed the identity of the court that issued it. Apparently requested by an unidentified foreign government, the secret order was served to San Antonio-based Rackspace Managed Hosting, which hosts IndyMedia's servers. The seizure took offline more than 20 IMC websites and more than 10 streaming radio feeds. So far, government agencies in the US, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Departments of State and Justice, and the US Attorney's Office in San Antonio, have refused to take responsibility for the incident. Prosecutors in Switzerland and Italy have admitted pursuing investigations related to Indymedia articles but denied requesting the seizure.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Big Music vs Eliot Spitzer

In May, Spitzer ordered Universal Music Group (France), Sony-BMG Music Entertainment (Japan and Germany), the EMI Group (UK) and the Warner Music Group (USA) to return $50 million to musicians they'd had under contract.
Now payola is the issue and Spitzer is looking for contracts, billing records and other information detailing their ties to independent middlemen who pitch new songs to radio programmers, says the New York Times, going on:
"The inquiry encompasses all the major radio formats and is not aiming at any individual record promoter, these people [sources] said. Mr. Spitzer and representatives for the record companies declined to comment.

Microsoft wants your next car or SUV to run Windows.

It's no joke. The world's largest software company is revving up to position itself as the largest supplier of software to car manufacturers, with a custom version of Windows CE controlling everything from in-vehicle entertainment to satellite navigation.
"We're providing the end-to-end telematic system," says Peter Wengert, an electrical engineer who is now a marketing manager for Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit. Telematics is the auto industry's term for networked cars.
Microsoft is racing to take advantage of what appears to be an inexorable trend toward smarter cars. General Motors says software and electronics already are responsible for more than one-third of the cost of a typical automobile, and an IBM executive predicted this week that the figure will be closer to 90 percent in five years.

89-Year-Old Quaker Woman Jailed for Protesting War

Lillian Willoughby, a Deptford Quaker who will turn 90 in January, went to jail Wednesday to protest the war in Iraq.
Shortly before noon, Willoughby rose from her wheelchair, gave her husband of 64 years, George, a hug and a kiss, and disappeared into the federal detention center at Seventh and Arch streets here.
Reporting with her were five other peace activists, including a young couple from Camden, Cassie Haw, 22, and her husband, Chris, 23. All were convicted of obstructing the entrance to the federal building in Philadelphia on March 20, 2003, the day the United States invaded Iraq.

Contractors in Iraq make costs balloon

Jerry Zovko's contract with Blackwater USA looked straightforward: He would earn $600 a day guarding convoys that carried food for U.S. troops in Iraq.
But that cost -- $180,000 a year -- was just the first installment of what taxpayers were asked to pay for Zovko's work. Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C., and three other companies would add to the bill, and to their profits.
Several Blackwater contracts obtained by The News & Observer open a small window into the multibillion-dollar world of private military contractors in Iraq. The contracts show how costs can add up when the government uses private military contractors to perform tasks once handled by the Army.

War Is Heavy Metal

Artist-turned-filmmaker George Gittoes traveled to Iraq to find out what soldiers there are listening to. He discovered that much of it is music of their own – recorded in computer studios they’ve assembled in their barracks. Cath Dwyer used Gittoes’ footage to produce a radio piece for ABC Radio National in Australia, from which this piece was adapted. Technical production by Mark Don and Michelle Goldsworthy.
Hear a longer version of this piece
More about George Gittoes' film
More about George Gittoes
More about Street Stories, where the radio version of this story first appeared

60 Minutes: Re-Opening the Murder Case of Emmett Till

Till was a 14-year-old black youngster who was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. His death was a spark that ignited the civil rights movement in America. Two white men were put on trial for killing him, but in spite of strong evidence against them, an all-white jury acquitted them in about an hour. This past spring, the U.S. Justice Department opened a new investigation, based on evidence suggesting that more than a dozen people may have been involved in the murder of Till, and that at least five of them are still alive. Those five could face criminal prosecution. Correspondent Ed Bradley reports.

Triumph on Spin Alley

The best post debate coverage... ahem... for me to poop on.

WWF: Leave Some of the Dead Wood

WWF, the global environment group, says insects, plants, birds and mammals are all suffering because of an increasing tendency to remove decaying timber.
It says old and dead trees mean forests are often in much better shape and more able to resist pests and other perils.
WWF wants landowners to increase the amount of dead wood they leave in their forests to help to sustain wildlife.

*Where to Vote and What's on the Ballot in Michigan

*Resources for Voters in E-voting Hotspots

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is redistributing a press release from Verified Voting Foundation announcing the release of several key resources for voters in e-voting "hotspots."
Voters Guides include step-by-step instructions for voting on the most commonly used electronic voting machines. There are also maps detailing what voting equipment is being used at polling places nationwide.
The Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) allows voters, media, and others to keep abreast of election incidents nationwide that are being reported to the nonpartisan Election Protection network hotline at 1-866-OUR VOTE.
EFF is working with Verified Voting to lead a team of technology attorneys who will be available to respond to problems with electronic voting machines nationwide as part of the National Election Protection Coalition.

Top Civilian Contracting Official Accuses Army of Bending Rules for Halliburton

In an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, Greenhouse said that after her repeated questions about the Halliburton contracts, she was excluded from major decisions to award money and that her job status was threatened.
In response, Army officials referred her accusations to the Pentagon's investigations bureau for review and promised to protect her position in the meantime.
Greenhouse, 62, is a veteran of military procurement and serves the Corps of Engineers as the principal assistant responsible for contracting — the top civilian overseeing the agency's contracts. She also has chief responsibility for reviewing adherence to the Pentagon's elaborate rules, intended to shield awards from outside influence and to promote competition.
The contracts to Halliburton, a Houston-based conglomerate once headed by Dick Cheney before he became vice president, have stirred controversy and charges of favoritism because some contracts were granted on an emergency basis, without competitive bidding.
The company's operations in Iraq, involving work for more than $10 billion, have also been dogged by charges of overbilling and waste and have been an issue in the presidential campaign.

Maureen Dowd on "Whad'Ya Know"

RealAudio file

Errol Morris' Political Ads

Listen to Real People who voted for George Bush in 2000, but will be voting for Kerry in 2004.Why so many? Because people say some are better than others. The problem: no one agrees on which ones those are.

U.S. president pens controversial tax cut bill in low key affair

Without fanfare, U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law on Friday a nearly US$140 billion corporate tax cut bill derided by both Democratic presidential rival John Kerry and Republican Senator John McCain as a giveaway to special interests.
The new law aims to end a trade fight with the European Union by repealing U.S. export tax subsidies that violate global trade rules. But the EU has objected to some of the provisions and has yet to say whether it will remove its sanctions on US$4 billion worth of U.S. goods.
Bush signed the measure into law aboard Air Force One en route to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, forgoing a public signing ceremony that would have attracted attention to the tax cuts less than two weeks before Election Day.

Jury Backs Union Carbide in Asbestos Suit

A jury has ruled that Union Carbide Corp. was not fraudulent in how it sold asbestos for use in Kelly-Moore Paint Co.'s interior finishing products - a verdict an attorney for the paint company said probably will force it into bankruptcy in the face of tens of thousands of lawsuits.
Kelly-Moore had sued Union Carbide for $1.3 billion plus punitive damages, claiming the Dow Chemical Co. subsidiary had hidden from it the dangers of asbestos.

WTC Rescue Hero Sues Bush and Others under RICO Statute

Now, this native of Puerto Rico and remarkable American hero is taking his 9-11 activism to an even higher level. He has commenced, as Plaintiff, a federal court lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld and others alleging that they and others were complicit in the 9-11 attacks, and either planned the attacks, or had foreknowledge of the attacks and permitted them to succeed, in order to exploit a “New Pearl Harbor” to launch wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. (The phrase “New Pearl Harbor” comes from a declaration of principles by the neo-conservative “Project for the New American Century,” in which it is proposed as an event needed to steel American public opinion to support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and U.S. military domination of the Middle East.)
Attorney Berg acknowledges that Rodriguez’s action will shock and offend many Americans. But he urges critics to read the detailed complaint, posted on the internet at, before forming conclusions. “The ‘Official Story’ of what actually took place on 9-11 is a lie,” Berg flatly maintains. “We do not pretend to have put together a full and definitive account of how, and by whom, the attacks were carried out. But information reported in mainstream media, and viewed in the light of common sense and the laws of physics, demonstrate that the ‘Official Story,’ examined closely, is not credible. The ‘Official Story’ contains an alarming number of inconsistencies and implausibilities. The major media have reported many of the raw facts, but have studiously avoided analysis, because doing so would reveal that the government is lying to us. The 9-11 Commission, a suspect collection of government and intelligence insiders, restated without question or examination all essential elements of the ‘Official Story’ of the actual events of 9-11. It failed almost completely to refute, or even to mention, the great body of evidence that suggests the ‘Official Story’ cannot be true, and it failed completely to hold anyone accountable. From the foregoing facts, it ought to be obvious that a cover-up, or a “limited hang-out” admitting only bureaucratic mistakes for which no one is to be held accountable, has taken place and is continuing.”
Text of the suit.

By the Thousands, Soldiers 50 and Older are Being Deployed

Thomas is among a group of soldiers age 50 and over being called to active duty . Like many, he is a "citizen soldier," a member of the National Guard or Reserves, where soldiers serve part-time. They tend to be older than their active-duty counterparts and are increasingly being deployed overseas to augment active-duty troops.
Of the 160,000 men and women deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 4,119 are 50 or older. At a time in life when most people are looking forward to retirement or eyeing Florida real estate, these soldiers are leaving behind corporate jobs and grandkids. Some even voluntarily postpone military retirement to go to war.
"The hardest part about going," Thomas said, "is when my granddaughter asks me why I'm not going to be home for Christmas."

CIA withholds damning report that points at senior officials

It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

U.S. to Enforce Rules for Mail to Canada

Most mail to Canada must bear the complete name and address of both sender and recipient or it won't be allowed into the country, the U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday. The tighter addressing requirements are in response to increased security.
Even such sender or recipient identifications as "Grandma" or "Aunt Ruth" can result in mail being rejected, the agency said.