Impeach Bush--Index 72

Criminals are immune from prosecution only because the Democrats failed to impeach the biggest criminal this country has ever seen.

An Impeachable Offense
October 29, 2007

Immunity deal hampers Blackwater inquiry

WASHINGTON - The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned.

As a result, it will likely be months before the United States can — if ever — bring criminal charges in the case that has infuriated the Iraqi government.

"Once you give immunity, you can't take it away," said a senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

Bush is/was able to violate the Geneva Conventions, the War Crimes Act and the rules of war because Democrats are too cowardly to do anything about it.

An Impeachable Offense
October 26, 2007

Judgment Day for the CIA?

The de jure trial has now been postponed until next week. It may be postponed again, or it might never happen, but for 25 alleged CIA officers and paramilitaries charged in an Italian court with kidnapping an imam from a Milan street in 2003, the de facto trial is pretty much over. Their identities have been exposed in hundreds of pages of warrants and indictments and then picked up by the Italian press and various bloggers worldwide. A couple of them have even made it into Wikipedia. Not only has the court revealed sacrosanct "sources and methods," it offers full names, passport details, home addresses, credit card numbers—even the frequent flier numbers they are said to have used while they traveled on missions to abduct suspected terrorists and deliver them in secret to interrogation centers beyond the reach of the U.S. Constitution or, for that matter, common humanity.

In the past the American Congress, American prosecutors and an aggressive American press carried out these kinds of investigations. Now it seems we're so intimidated by the words "national security" that we have to count on foreign cops and courts to tell us when our own spies run amok.

FEMA thinks it can get away with a fake news conference because it knows the Democrats won't do anything about it.

An Impeachable Offense
October 26, 2007

FEMA's fake 'news conference'

On Tuesday, FEMA held what was called a "news briefing" on the California fires, but the questions asked did not come from reporters. They were asked instead by FEMA staffers.

"It is not a practice that we would employ here at the White House or that we -- we certainly don't condone it," Press Secretary Dana Perino said. "We didn't know about it beforehand. FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California. It's not something I would have condoned. And they, I'm sure, will not do it again."

Democrats didn't bring down the liars and hypocrites in the Evangelical movement. The centrists and conservatives in their party wanted to "get along" with the people who bashed them.

On the flip side Evangelicals were used by the GOP to promote hate and intolerance (in the name of Jesus Christ). They are all damned. After Bush took us to war using fabricated intelligence, they didn't condemn him but instead used their new found power to go after gays and kill gay marriage. Instead of doing what Christ taught, they became anti Christs (like many mainline Churches in the US - including the Catholic Church).

Evangelicals are a political party, not a religious organization. They collapsed along with the GOP, the neocons and conservatives.

It must be noted that Roe became the law of the land in 1973 and Republican presidents and congress' did nothing to undo the law - even when their party controlled the entire government. Any Supreme Court ruling can be undone by Congress but Dobson and his right wing fascist don't care about abortion, or any other issues. They care about power. If they cared about abortion they wouldn't have supported the GOP since 1973 - a party that talked the talk but never walked the walk on a subject they've been whining about so long. What is amazing is how fast they fell in line and demanded gay marriage be ended (even though no one is harmed by gay marriage). They were willing to harm gays because they could and because of this they have become the evil class.

October 28, 2007

The Evangelical Crackup

The hundred-foot white cross atop the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtown Wichita, Kan., casts a shadow over a neighborhood of payday lenders, pawnbrokers and pornographic video stores. To its parishioners, this has long been the front line of the culture war. Immanuel has stood for Southern Baptist traditionalism for more than half a century. Until recently, its pastor, Terry Fox, was the Jerry Falwell of the Sunflower State — the public face of the conservative Christian political movement in a place where that made him a very big deal.

With flushed red cheeks and a pudgy, dimpled chin, Fox roared down from Immanuel's pulpit about the wickedness of abortion, evolution and homosexuality. He mobilized hundreds of Kansas pastors to push through a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, helping to unseat a handful of legislators in the process. His Sunday-morning services reached tens of thousands of listeners on regional cable television, and on Sunday nights he was a host of a talk-radio program, "Answering the Call." Major national conservative Christian groups like Focus on the Family lauded his work, and the Southern Baptist Convention named him chairman of its North American Mission Board.

So when Fox announced to his flock one Sunday in August last year that it was his final appearance in the pulpit, the news startled evangelical activists from Atlanta to Grand Rapids. Fox told the congregation that he was quitting so he could work full time on "cultural issues." Within days, The Wichita Eagle reported that Fox left under pressure. The board of deacons had told him that his activism was getting in the way of the Gospel. "It just wasn't pertinent," Associate Pastor Gayle Tenbrook later told me.

This is what happens when the entire US government become corrupt. Neither the courts nor the Congress force the White House to abide by the Geneva Conventions. While previously it was clear that "conservatism" was the problem, that assessment must now change. The entire government is corrupt.

October 27, 2007

From CIA Jails, Inmates Fade Into Obscurity

Since 2004, for example, the CIA has handed five Libyan fighters to authorities in Tripoli. Two had been covertly nabbed by the CIA in China and Thailand, while the others were caught in Pakistan and held in CIA prisons in Afghanistan, Eastern Europe and other locations, according to Libyan sources.

The Libyan government has kept silent about the cases. But Libyan political exiles said the men are kept in isolation with no prospect of an open trial.

Other ghost prisoners are believed to remain in U.S. custody after passing into and out of the CIA's hands, according to human rights groups.

At least one former CIA prisoner has been quietly freed. Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi intelligence agent captured after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, was detained at a secret location until he was released last year.

Ani gained notoriety before the Iraq war when Bush administration officials said he had met in Prague with Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker Mohamed Atta. Some officials, including Vice President Cheney, cited the rendezvous as evidence of an alliance between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The theory was later debunked by U.S. intelligence agencies and the Sept. 11 commission, which revealed in 2004 that Ani was in U.S. custody.

The Iraqi spy resurfaced two months ago when Czech officials revealed that he had filed a multimillion-dollar compensation claim. His complaint: that unfounded Czech intelligence reports had prompted his imprisonment by the CIA.

The CIA has resumed its detention program. Since March, five new terrorism suspects have been transferred to Guantanamo. Although the Pentagon has not disclosed details about how or precisely when they were captured, officials have said one of the prisoners, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, had spent months in CIA custody overseas.

October 24, 2007

29% Conviction Rate in Terrorism Prosecutions

There was a time when federal prosecutors would consistently win terrorism prosecutions.

From 1993 to 2001, prosecutors in Manhattan convicted some three dozen terrorists through guilty pleas and in six major trials.

Juries convicted 9 defendants, 30 defendants pleaded guilty, and 11 pleaded guilty to other charges. There were eight acquittals and four dismissals.

The government has a 29 percent conviction rate in terrorism prosecutions overall, compared with 92 percent for felonies generally.

An Impeachable Offense
October 23, 2007

Reports Assail State Department on Iraq Security

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — A pair of new reports have delivered scorching judgments about the State Department's performance in overseeing work done by the private companies that the government relies on increasingly in Iraq and Afghanistan to carry out delicate security work and other missions.

A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA, according to people who have been briefed on the report. In addition to Blackwater, the State Department's two other security contractors in Iraq are DynCorp International and Triple Canopy.

October 14, 2007

Bush Asks Congress for $46 billion

President Bush challenged Congress to another clash over the direction of the Iraq war yesterday as he asked lawmakers for $46 billion more to pay for overseas military operations and insisted that they approve it by the end of the year.

The president's war funding plan revived the political struggle over Iraq that has grown somewhat dormant in Washington over the past month. Democrats vowed not to rubber-stamp the request and indicated that they will disregard Bush's holiday deadline, holding off any action until next year as they debate a new strategy to counter his leadership on the war.

October 19, 2007

Government money short to help poor pay heating bills

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 30 million low-income American households who will need help paying heating bills this winter from a U.S. government program will be left in the cold because of a lack of funding for the program.

The poor, already digging deep to pay for expensive gasoline, also will face much higher heating fuel costs, especially if oil prices stay near record levels.

Consumer groups and state energy officials have sounded the alarm, saying a federal program to help poor families pay heating bills will have nowhere near the money needed to cover those expected to seek assistance.

The government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, only has enough funding to cover 16 percent of the 38 million poor households eligible for the program.

October 44, 2007

ECFR/Gallup Global Poll: the world is increasingly hostile to military power

In the run-up to the Iraq war, Mary Robinson called global public opinion the "second superpower". She may have been exaggerating its impact on the Gulf, but she was right to point to the legitimacy of power as an increasingly important factor in world politics.

Even in the many places where citizens cannot vote in free and fair elections, governments are constantly "polling' the public to understand their aspirations and pre-empt them. Who will gain and who will lose from the emergence of a global public opinion? Which of the current great powers will succeed in capturing publics' imagination?

An Impeachable Offense
October 14, 2007

OMB Edits CDC Testimony

WASHINGTON - The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Atlanta-based CDC, the government's premier disease monitoring agency, told a Senate hearing that climate change "is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans."

October 24, 2007

Trillion-dollar war: Afghanistan and Iraq set to cost more than Vietnam and Korea combined

President George Bush will have spent more than $1 trillion on military adventures by the time he leaves office at the end of next year, more than the entire amount spent on the Korean and Vietnam wars combined.

There are also disturbing signs that Mr Bush is preparing an attack on Iran during his remaining months in office. He has demanded $46bn (£22.5bn) emergency funds from Congress by Christmas and included with it a single sentence requesting money to upgrade the B-2 "stealth" bomber.

October 23, 2007

New Joint Chiefs chairman gets blunt questions from Army captains about strain of Iraq service

FORT SILL, Okla. (AP) Army captains who represent the military's future pelted the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with blunt questions Tuesday about the strain of long war deployments.

At times technical and other times very personal, the officers reflected the worries of a military struggling to fight two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without exhausting troops, alienating their families or driving soldiers away.

October 24, 2007

Iraqi refugees turn to prostitution

Ayman al-Halaqi, a club manager here, said Iraqi dancers are cheaper to hire than Syrians. Back home, even dancing in a skimpy costume would be considered shameful. Iraqi women who go beyond that can earn 10 times more from a single encounter with a client than by working a full day as a housemaid.

At the al-Rawabi club, the usual customers are mostly Iraqi or Syrian men, but summer brought the annual flood of visitors from Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia.

An Impeachable Offense
October 24, 2007

House Judiciary Committee told Justice Department targeted Democrats

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — Richard L. Thornburgh, attorney general in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, charged Tuesday that political reasons motivated the Justice Department to open corruption investigations against Democrats in Mr. Thornburgh's home state, Pennsylvania.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Thornburgh became the first former Republican attorney general to join with Democratic lawmakers to suggest that the Justice Department under Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales had singled out Democratic politicians for prosecution.

October 22, 2007

Beck: "[A] handful of people who hate America ... are losing their homes in a forest fire today"

On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today." Beck continued: "There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that." Beck's comment came as forest fires ravaged parts of Southern California, leaving one person dead, four firefighters wounded, and forcing about 1,500 people from their homes, according to The New York Times.

October 24, 2007

State Department pays private contractors $4 billion a year

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, administration officials said Tuesday, but they said that the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts.

It was the first time that the administration had outlined the ballooning scope of the contracts, and it provided a new indication of how the State Department's efforts to monitor private companies had not kept pace. Auditors and outside exerts say the results have been vast cost overruns, poor contract performance and, in some cases, violence that has so far gone unpunished.

October 14, 2007

Conservative and Liberal Groups Ask Candidates to Denounce Expanded Presidential Powers

Both the liberal American Freedom Campaign and the conservative American Freedom Agenda have adopted platforms complaining of administration muscle-flexing on issues ranging from the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Justice Department's threats to prosecute reporters for espionage.

The liberal group also has asked all presidential candidates to sign a pledge of limited executive authority, reading, "We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal remedy, we do not tap people's phones and e-mails without court order, and above all we do not give any president unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from attack by any president."

None of the nine Republican candidates has responded. The pledge has been signed by five Democratic hopefuls: Sens. Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. Mike Gravel.

The other three Democratic candidates, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Biden and former Sen. John Edwards, have not signed, but issued promises covering roughly the same ground. Letters from all three included renunciations of torture, wiretapping of U.S. citizens without court approval and imprisonment without judicial review.

The conservative campaign has asked candidates of both parties to endorse its detailed 10-point platform. Only one, Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican with libertarian leanings, has signed it, although Edwards has posted the document on one of his campaign Web sites.

While others are busy finding excuses for why they helped Bush lie us into war, this webstite and many others documented the lies of Curveball. Where was the free press? It was in bed with the Bush White House. Back in the real world German intelligence told the CIA that Curveball could not be trusted. Yet, his words ended up in the State of the Union.

At a minimum, the CIA should have tried to verify his story and Bush should have asked for verification. But, after the UN inspectors told us Curveball and the CIA got it all wrong, the Bush White House still took us to war.

Judith Miller still doesn't understand the depth of depravity in this White House. In September of 2002, Tenet told Bush there were no WMD in Iraq. Bush refused to hear any of it so Tenet decided not to bring up the subject again. Bush only wanted information that supported his excuse for war. Miller still can't accept this basic unequivocal fact.

October 13, 2007

Throwing a Curve on Iraq

The defector knew impressive details about the trailers and Iraq's biological weapons programs. His claims were at the heart of the pivotal National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, the intelligence community's "gold standard" report. It concluded with "high confidence" that Iraq had chemical and biological arms. Curveball's information also found its way into Mr. Bush's State of the Union address in January 2003, which prepared the country for war, and into Secretary of State Colin Powell's February presentation to the U.N., which persuaded many skeptics of Iraq's danger and duplicity.

None of it was true. As Mr. Drogin and his colleague Greg Miller first disclosed in the Los Angeles Times in early 2004, Curveball was a fabricator whom the Germans were eager to keep to themselves, providing other countries only with transcripts of their interrogations. The Germans were worried, they said, about protecting their source and thus did not allow the CIA to interview Curveball until a year after the invasion. The "paper thin" sources who supposedly corroborated Curveball's claims, Mr. Drogin concludes, eventually proved to be worthless.

An Impeachable Offense
October 13, 2007

Former Qwest CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm

Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.

In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest's refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.

An Impeachable Offense
October 14, 2007

The 'Good Germans' Among Us

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: "This government does not torture people." Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of "torture" is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America's "enhanced interrogation" techniques have a grotesque provenance: "Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the 'third degree.' It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation."

The WSJ article is riddled with spelling errors but it's still readable. The German government knew Curveball couldn't be trusted and it told the US government his story was a farce, but it fit into the perceived notions of what this White House wanted - war.

Using the Custom Google Search Engine on this site you can find more about Curveball here or go here.

October 13, 2007

'Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused a War'

Thanks to misinformation in the refugee rumor mill, Ahmed feared that the Germans might deport him back to Iraq. Even if he didn't get thrown out, he knew he might wait years for asylum, especially after a Zirndorf official told him "the end of the line is over there" behind all the other friendless refugees clogging the system. Most important, Ahmed had learned that he could shorten the wait if he gave the Germans the information they sought.

The room was small and stuffy when Ahmed finally sat across a table from the BND team at the federal questioning center. But he motioned them closer to take them into his confidence. He wanted to share a secret. He would enlighten them about his vital job back in Baghdad, he said. He was ready to trade his valuable information for his fantastic asylum package. He was all set for his muni?cent stipend, fancy manor house, and silver Mercedes. He would happily assist his new German friends, he vowed.

He began to tell them of Saddam's secret program to churn out what BND reports later memorably would describe as Biowaffen.

In English, it meant germ weapons.

October 13, 2007

U.S. maternal death rate higher than Europe's

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has a sharply higher rate of women dying during or just after pregnancy than European countries, even some relatively poor countries such as Macedonia and Bosnia, according to the first estimates in five years on maternal deaths worldwide.

The United States has a far higher death rate than the European average, the report shows, with one in 4,800 U.S. women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth, the same as Belarus and just slightly better than Serbia's rate of one in 4,500.

Just one out of 47,600 women in Ireland die during or just after childbirth, the report found. Bosnia had the second-lowest rate, with 1 in 29,000 women dying during pregnancy and childbirth.

October 12, 2007

Richest 1% take home 21.2 percent of all U.S. income

According to recent data from the Internal Revenue Service, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 21.2 percent of all U.S. income earned in 2005. That is a significant increase from 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of the nation's income.

In 2005, the top 50 percent of American earners brought in 87.17 percent of the nation's income, also an all-time high for the data available.

October 13, 2007

Leading Shiite politician calls for total US withdrawal from Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A key Shiite member of Iraq's ruling coalition called Saturday for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from his country and rejected the possibility of permanent bases.

Ammar Hakim, a leading figure of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), told a gathering celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr: "We will work not to have fixed bases for foreign troops on Iraqi lands."

October 13, 2007

US soldiers: Blackwater attacked fleeing Iraqi civilian

The Washington Post says that according to their report, the US soldiers – after investigations at the square and interviews with witnesses and Iraqi police – found no evidence that any Iraqis had fired weapons and concluded that there was "no enemy activity involved." They did find evidence, however, that indicated Blackwater contractors fired on civilian vehicles fleeing the square.

"It appeared to me they were fleeing the scene when they were engaged. It had every indication of an excessive shooting," said Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa, whose soldiers reached Nisoor Square 20 to 25 minutes after the gunfire subsided.

October 13, 2007

Al Gore: the anti-Bush

When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, conservatives reacted with apoplexy. Talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, conservative bloggers and other Republican faithful denounced the prize as a fraud.

You might wonder why they care so much -- Gore, after all, is obviously not going to run for president, and even some conservatives now concede that global warming is real. The answer is that Gore's triumph is a measure of George W. Bush's disrepute.

October 13, 2007

Sanchez, former U.S. commander in Iraq, calls war 'a nightmare with no end in sight'

ARLINGTON, Va. – The former top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq slammed the handling of the war and gave a bleak assessment of the current situation in Iraq.

"There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight," retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told a convention of military journalists on Friday.

October 12, 2007

Blackwater Withdraws from "The International Peace Operations Association"

WASHINGTON (AP) — Blackwater USA has ended an inquiry into the private security contractor's performance by withdrawing from an industry group that initiated the review after the company's guards were accused of killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad last month.

The International Peace Operations Association said in a statement Friday that Blackwater withdrew its membership two days after the group decided to examine whether the contractor's "processes and procedures" complied with the group's code of conduct.

September 20, 2007

Is torture ever justified?

The answer in international law is categorical: no. As laid down in treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ban on torture or any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is absolute, even in times of war. Along with genocide, torture is the only crime that every state must punish, no matter who commits it or where. Defenders of this blanket prohibition offer arguments that range from the moral (torture degrades and corrupts the society that allows it) to the practical (people will say anything under torture so the information they provide is unreliable anyway).

October 5, 2007

British guards 'assault and racially abuse' deportees

Hundreds of failed asylum-seekers deported from the United Kingdom have been beaten and racially abused by British escort teams who are paid to take them back to their home countries,

The scale of the alleged abuse has been uncovered in a joint investigation by The Independent and a group co-ordinating the representation and medical care of failed asylum-seekers.

A dossier of 200 cases, collated by doctors, lawyers, immigration centre visitors and campaign groups over the past two years, has unearthed shocking claims of physical and mental mistreatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our asylum system.

October 11, 2007

Blackwater Sued in US Courts

WASHINGTON - Families of Iraqis who died in a shooting involving Blackwater USA contractors in Baghdad sued the company Thursday, saying the firm violated U.S. law and fostered a culture of lawlessness among its employees.

The suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., says the contractor has been paid more than $1 billion by the U.S. government since 2001 and that the company violated the federal laws in the Sept. 16 killings.

October 12, 2007

Sliming Graeme Frost

The attack on Graeme's family was also quickly picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who is so important a player in the right-wing universe that he has had multiple exclusive interviews with Vice President Dick Cheney.

And the attempt to spin the media worked, to some extent: despite reporting that has thoroughly debunked the smears, a CNN report yesterday suggested that the Democrats had made "a tactical error in holding up Graeme as their poster child," and closely echoed the language of the e-mail from Mr. McConnell's office.

October 12, 2007

50 percent of Americans earn only 12.8% of all income

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The richest one percent of Americans earned a postwar record of 21.2 percent of all income in 2005, up from 19 percent a year earlier, reflecting a widening income disparity among different classes in the nation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing new Internal Revenue Service data.

The data showed that the fortunes of the bottom 50 percent of Americans are worsening, with that group earning 12.8 percent of all income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent the year before, the paper said.

October 12, 2007

CIA inspector general under investigation

WASHINGTON - The work of the CIA's in-house investigator who found fault with the agency's handling of the Sept. 11 attacks is being subjected to an internal review, published reports say.

The move, which is highly unusual, has raised concerns that CIA Director Michael Hayden is trying to squelch the investigations of Inspector General John Helgerson, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times reported Friday, citing anonymous officials.

Helgerson has been aggressive in his investigations of the CIA, criticizing senior figures including former Director George Tenet and officers involved in the agency's detention of terrorist suspects.

October 10, 2007

Democrats Pass Bipartisan Bill To Stop War Profiteering

By a vote of 375-3, the House has passed the War Profiteering Prevention Act, H.R. 400. The bill makes war profiteering a felony. If this legislation becomes law, anyone found guilty of profiting excessively from military action or reconstruction may be subject to 20 years in prison and fines up to $1 million or as much as twice the illegal profits of their crime.

Last week, the Democratic Congress also passed legislation that would bring all United States government contractors in the Iraq war zone under the jurisdiction of American criminal law. The measure would require the F.B.I. to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing.

October 11, 2007

Marines Want Out Of Iraq

(CBS/AP) The Marine Corps is pushing to redeploy its forces from Iraq to Afghanistan to take the lead in combat operations there and essentially leave Iraq to the Army, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, raised the issue with Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week, the Times reported. Senior military and Pentagon officials said supporters of the proposal, including some in the Army, believe that such a realignment could allow both services to operate more efficiently in the face of strains on the separate forces.

An Impeachable Offense
October 11, 2007

UN: Prosecute Iraq's 'rogue' security guards

BAGHDAD (AFP) — The UN called Thursday for rogue security guards in Iraq to be prosecuted for possible war crimes as Blackwater was handed a lawsuit in the US on behalf of victims of a deadly Baghdad shootout.

The legal position of private contractors, especially protective security details often used by foreign diplomats, is a hot-button issue in Iraq after two high-profile shooting incidents in the capital within a month.

Our religious communities remain silent, our media remains almost silent and the US Congress dares not do anything to admit they've known about these gross violations of law for years and have done nothing about it. If the people could impeach the Congress and the Courts I'd support both.

October 13, 2007

UN Accuses US Contractors of War Crimes

BAGHDAD (AP) — U.N. officials in Iraq stepped up pressure on the United States on Thursday to prosecute any unjustified killings of Iraqi civilians by private security contractors, saying such killings could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity if "done in cold blood."

While Americans are unlikely to face such charges, the words served as a harsh rebuke as outrage spreads over what many Iraqis perceive as overly aggressive behavior of the heavily armed foreigners protecting U.S. government-funded work.

Is there no crime this White House commits that stills outrage and mass calls for impeachment? It took the media months to admit there were no WMD and years to admit there was a civil war in Iraq. Will it take decades for them to acknowledge the US is committing war crimes in Iraq?

An Impeachable Offense
October 11, 2007

US detains 860 children in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) — The US military is holding nearly 25,000 people in its prisons in Iraq, 860 of whom are under the age of 16, the general in charge of their detention said on Wednesday.

Eighty-three percent of inmates are Sunnis and 16 percent are Shiite, General Douglas Stone told a press conference in Baghdad.

Egyptians, Iranians, Saudis and Syrians number among 280 foreign nationals imprisoned by the US military in Iraq, he said.

The same media that helped Bush lie us into a war can't say he should be impeached. Why is that?

October 8, 2007

Tortured logic, tortured result

Critics cheered when the Bush administration did an about-face and disavowed torture as a government-sanctioned policy. In 2004, the Justice Department repudiated the infamous torture memos written after 9/11, and the president earnestly declared: "The United States does not torture." Mr. Bush even signed a bill whose authors believed would outlaw torture. It turns out, however, that there was nothing to cheer about.

Clever semantics

Reports now indicate that while the administration was paying lip service to the idea of abiding by anti-torture statutes, it was doing something else behind the scenes. First, it jettisoned officials in the Department of Justice who didn't agree with it. Then the administration welcomed a new lawyer to head the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven G. Bradbury, who was happy to comply with the wishes of his superiors. Under the tenure of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Mr. Bradbury wrote two new secret memos that gave superiors what they wanted -- a way around the law.

Now we better understand why impeachment is "off the table." The Democrats think power is something they've been given to abuse...just like Republicans. I won't be voting for any Democrat Congressmen or Senators for a very long time.

October 8, 2007

Democratic Concessions Are Expected on Wiretapping

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Two months after vowing to roll back broad new wiretapping powers won by the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats appear ready to make concessions that could extend some of the key powers granted to the National Security Agency.

Bush administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened wiretapping authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess, and some Democratic officials admit that they may not come up with the votes to rein in the administration.

Republicans keep telling us government doesn't work. After they're elected they prove it by being incompetent.

October 9, 2007

US Embassy opening in Baghdad delayed indefinitely

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack rejected claims of inadequate oversight and said there was no indication how long it would be before the new embassy opened.

"I can't tell you when the embassy is going to open," said McCormack. "We don't have an answer."

Congress originally allocated nearly $600 million to build the biggest U.S. Embassy in the world but Waxman said the project was now $144 million over that budget.

In addition, he said new documents showed hundreds of violations of fire codes and other regulations and electrical problems throughout the complex.

October 6, 2007

Saudi Gitmo detainees get gift

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The Saudi Arabian government will temporarily release 55 prisoners recently transferred from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and will give each of them about $2,600 to celebrate the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz granted the temporary releases from detention centers in Saudi Arabia so the prisoners could spend time with their families during the holiday in mid-October, the Okaz newspaper reported.

October 9, 2007

"U.S. Protections and Investigations" Under Investigation

The officials tell the Blotter on that the investigation involves allegations of fraudulent overbilling against U.S. Protections and Investigations (USPI) of Houston, Texas.

The company has a multi-million-dollar contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide security for U.S.-funded road building projects in Afghanistan.

The company has also received millions of dollars to train Iraqi SWAT teams and parliamentary security in Baghdad, according to government contracting data.

October 10, 2007

"Unity Resources Group" Kills Two Iraqi Women

(CBS/AP) Security firm Unity Resources Group confirmed Wednesday that its guards were involved in shootings that left two Iraqi women dead, saying they feared a suicide attack when they opened fire on the car at an intersection in central Baghdad.

Weeping mourners, meanwhile, demanded justice at a funeral for Marou Awanis and Geneva Jalal, the two Armenian Christian women who died Tuesday in the second shooting of civilians involving a security firm linked to U.S. government-financed work in Iraq in less than a month.

Unity provides armed guards and security training throughout Iraq. Its heavily armed teams are Special Forces veterans from Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Britain - as well as former law enforcement officers from those countries.

October 9, 2007

Global greenhouse gas emissions already beyond 'worst-case' scenario

SYDNEY, Australia: Strong worldwide economic growth has accelerated the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to a dangerous threshold scientists had not expected for another decade, according to a leading Australian climate change expert.

Scientist Tim Flannery said a report by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due to be released in November will contain new data showing that the level of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere has already reached critical levels.

Now we learn a little more about why US and Iraqi deaths are down. The US military stopped trying to fix the problem in Southern Iraq. Maybe they should stop fixing the problem in the rest of Iraq too.

October 7, 2007

Has the US Ceded Southern Iraq?

Small contingents of U.S. soldiers enter Karbala and Najaf only for brief visits with local officials these days, and much of the rest of southern Iraq has no American troops at all. Focused on saving Baghdad, U.S. forces keep up a regular presence with patrols and combat outposts chiefly around the southern reaches of the capital. Meanwhile, the drawdown of British forces in Basra — where the troops have relocated to the local airport outside the city — leaves yet another southern city, with a population of roughly 2 million, unattended by the U.S.-led coalition. That means virtually all of the vast, populous and oil-rich territory stretching from Karbala to Basra is up for grabs.

October 11, 2007

Foreclosure Filings Nearly Double

Foreclosure filings across the U.S. nearly doubled last month compared with September 2006, as financially strapped homeowners already behind on mortgage payments defaulted on their loans or came closer to losing their homes to foreclosure, a real estate information company said Thursday.

A total of 223,538 foreclosure filings were reported in September, up from 112,210 in the same month a year ago, according to Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc.

October 9, 2007

Iraq Coalition by the numbers

A look at troop numbers in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq:

ALBANIA: 120 non-combat soldiers, mainly patrolling airport in Mosul; no plans to withdraw.

ARMENIA: 46, serving as medics, engineers and transport drivers under Polish command; mission extended to end of 2007.

AUSTRALIA: 550, training security forces in two southern provinces; no plans to withdraw.

AZERBAIJAN: 150, mostly guarding dam near Hadid; no plans to withdraw.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: 36, including three teams of 10 officers and command team of six.

BRITAIN: 5,000, based in southern Iraq; Prime Minister Gordon Brown says 2,500 to go home by spring.

BULGARIA: 155, guarding refugee camp north of Baghdad.

CZECH REPUBLIC: 100; government working on plan for gradual withdrawal but no timetable.

EL SALVADOR: 300, doing peacekeeping and humanitarian work in southern city of Kut; cuts expected as situation improves.

ESTONIA: 35, serving under U.S. command in Baghdad area.

GEORGIA: about 2,000, based in Kut; to be cut to around 300 by next summer.

KAZAKHSTAN: 27 military engineers; no plans to withdraw.

MACEDONIA: 40, based in Taji, north of Baghdad.

MOLDOVA: 11 bomb-defusing experts.

MONGOLIA: 160; no plans to withdraw.

NETHERLANDS: 15, part of NATO mission training police, army officers; no plans to withdraw.

POLAND: 900 non-combat soldiers, providing command for multinational force south of Baghdad; decision on withdrawal will wait until after 2008 U.S. election.

ROMANIA: About 600, most in south under British command, few dozen military intelligence officers serving north of Baghdad; no plans for withdrawal.

SLOVENIA: Four instructors training Iraqi security forces.

SOUTH KOREA: 1,200, based in northern city of Irbil; government assessing whether to extend mission.

UNITED STATES: Approximately 168,000; President Bush's plans to reduce that to at least 130,000 by next summer.

It's safe to say the Justice Department is invetigating the criminal acts of the former Attorney General. Combined with the massive debt and the endless war, what do these events say about Bush and conservatives (and others who voted for war, tax cuts and Gonzales?).

October 11, 2007

Alberto Gonzales hires defense attorney

WASHINGTON - Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has hired a high-powered Washington lawyer to represent him in investigations of mismanagement of the Justice Department. George Terwilliger, a white-collar crime defense attorney and the second-ranking Justice official in the early 1990s, was on the White House's short list last month to replace Gonzales.

Investigators are look into allegations that Gonzales lied to lawmakers and illegally allowed politics to influence hiring and firing at the department.

The US government hired a bunch of criminals who murdered innocent civilians and it's now "thinking" about phasing out these criminals? Where is the moral outrage?

The US military is now receiving more money than any time in our history and it still depends on paid mercenaries to do its job. If that's not pathetic, nothing is.

October 11, 2007

State Dept. may phase out Blackwater

WASHINGTON - The State Department may phase out or limit the use of private security guards in Iraq, which could mean canceling Blackwater USA's contract or awarding it to another company in line with an Iraqi government demand, The Associated Press has learned.

Such steps would be difficult given U.S. reliance on Blackwater and other contractors, but they are among options being studied during a comprehensive review of security in Iraq, two senior officials said.

The review was ordered after a Sept. 16 incident in which Blackwater guards protecting a U.S. Embassy convoy in Baghdad are accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians.

We know the US government is torturing POWs and we know the US Supreme Court knows about it, and we know they're letting the government get away with breaking our laws. Finally, we know the US Congress and the media are fully aware that the Bush White House in engaged in a criminal enterprise. The problem is, no one cares.

We also know a lot more about what conservatives believe. They clearly think the government has supremy over individual rights and the "rule of law." Otherwise they'd have taken the case, found the Bush White House guilty of war crimes and impeachement would have soon followed. But the job of this court is to protect the criminals in the White House, not the constitution.

An Impeachable Offense
October 9, 2007

Supreme Court refuses torture case

WASHINGTON - A German man who says he was abducted and tortured by the CIA as part of the anti-terrorism rendition program lost his final chance Tuesday to persuade U.S. courts to hear his claims.

The Supreme Court rejected without comment an appeal from Khaled el-Masri, effectively endorsing Bush administration arguments that state secrets would be revealed if courts allowed the case to proceed.

El-Masri, 44, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says he was mistakenly identified as an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers and was detained while attempting to enter Macedonia on New Year's Eve 2003.

Americans have come to detest the Democrat controlled Congress (their approval rating seldom goes above 24% and Democrat voter disapproval rate of a congress run by their party is only 80%), but what's the alternative?

Clearly the GOP can't govern and the centrists working with conservatives in the Democratic Party have all but crippled the party. The only faction that still knows how to govern are the liberals.

In the primary process, all conservative and centrist (read: cowards) Democrats have to be defeated (if not during this election cycle, then during the next).

Also, the election of 2010 will also be very good for Democrats (assuming they grow some balls) and if they don't get 60 votes in the Senate in 2008, it'll only take two more years and they've have a filibuster-proof senate. The question for liberals is, do we want to support a party of cowards?

Finally, since the GOP is rapidly becoming irrelevant, is it time to form an alternative party?

October 7, 2007

Democrats positioned to widen majority in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats are positioned to bolster their Senate majority in next year's elections, which would give them more clout regardless who succeeds President George W. Bush in the White House.

With Republicans dogged by retirements, scandals and the Iraq war, there's an outside chance Democrats will gain as many as nine seats in the 100-member Senate in the November 2008 elections, which would give them a pivotal 60.

The US could have had sat down with all parties (very early on) and discussed dividing Iraq if they so wished. The US could then have helped them do it, creating buffer zones etc. But, now it's too late. The hate between the various fractions will continue until there is a winner and that means no matter what we do there will be wide-spread slaughter - kinda of like we've been seeing for the past four years.

October 11, 2007

Analyst Warns Against Partitioning Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — Limiting the power of Iraq's central government and giving more control to ethnically divided regions might lead to large-scale violence and intervention by neighboring countries, an analyst says.

Such programs sometimes are federalism or "soft partition." Their adoption could mean widespread bloodletting and "local atrocities seem all too likely," according to Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Political instability could ensue and Iraq's economic development could be crippled, said Cordesman, a former director of intelligence assessment at the Pentagon.

At a minimum this White House can't be trusted on issues of national security. Worse case scenario? They use this war on terror as a PR tool against the American people, the media and the Congress.

An Impeachable Offense
October 9, 2007

Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda's Secrets

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

October 5, 2007

Judge Radhi Testifies about Iraqi Corruption; GOPers Attack

But Radhi in his testimony reiterated what he said in an interview with me several weeks ago: corruption is "rampant" within Iraq (perverting virtually every ministry and costing tens of billions of dollars); it's undermining the entire government and has "stopped the process of reconstruction"; Maliki has consistently blocked corruption investigations (especially probes involving his associates and family); in some instances corruption is "financing terrorism" by funding sectarian militias; and the situation is getting worse. Radhi noted that of the 3000 corruption cases his commission investigated and forwarded to Iraqi courts for prosecution, only 241 have been adjudicated. Also appearing as a witness at the hearing, Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, echoed Radhi, testifying that corruption within the Iraqi government is the "second insurgency." Bowen reported that corruption is on the rise in Iraq--partly due to Maliki's protection of crooked officials. He quoted one Iraqi official who said that "corruption is threatening the state."