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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"Conspiracy Theories: JFK, 9/11 and Wellstone"

"Conspiracy Theories:
JFK, 9/11 and Wellstone"
a presentation by
Dr. James H. Fetzer, Ph. D.
given at the
University of Minnesota-Duluth
November 16, 2006

I have found two recordings which I believe comprise the entire presentation. The first one is dedicated primarily to the 9/11 and JFK, whereas the second one covers the death of Senator Paul Wellstone.

YouTube link I

YouTube link II

Puddles Of Steel 6 Weeks After WTC Demolition

YouTube link

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Classified intelligence bills often are unread

Nearly all members of the House of Representatives opted out of a chance to read this year's classified intelligence bill, and then voted on secret provisions they knew almost nothing about.

The bill, which passed by 327 to 96 in April, authorized the Bush administration's plans for fighting the war on terrorism. Many members say they faced an untenable choice: Either consent to a review process so secretive that they could never mention anything about it in House debates, under the threat of prosecution, or vote on classified provisions they knew nothing about.

Most chose to know nothing.

Only about a dozen House members scheduled time this year to read the classified sections of the intelligence bill, according to a House Intelligence Committee spokesman. The estimate dovetailed with a Globe survey sent to all members of the House, in which the vast majority of the respondents -- including eight out of 10 in the Massachusetts delegation -- said they typically don't read the classified parts of intelligence bills.

``It's a trap," said Representative Russ Carnahan, Democrat of Missouri, referring to the rule that members must refrain from discussing items in the bill. ``Either way, you're flying blind."

The failure to read the bill, however, calls into question the vows of many House members to provide greater oversight of intelligence in the wake of pre-9/11 failures, mistakes about Iraq's weapons capability, and revelations about spying on Americans.

Classified intelligence bills often are unread
Susan Milligan, The Boston Globe, August 6, 2006

Kudos to Susan Milligan for a great report. And there is a lot more at stake here than some House members' vows. What is at stake is the democratic process itself. How can this be called representative democracy when our democratically elected (well, at least we hope so, Diebold equipment notwithstanding) Representatives fail to even read what they vote on?

As I have said earlier the classification system currently in place is deeply flawed. I don't think there ought to be any classification restrictions imposed on the members of Congress. Obviously some matters ought to be only discussed behind the closed doors but nothing that the Representatives vote on should be secret to them.

And by voting on bills whose content they do not know the Representatives have effectively abbrogated their responsibilities. And at this point we need to either disband the Congress and stop wasting taxpayer dollars on paying those who deliberately sabotage their work - or we need to see a Congress that absolutely demands that its authority be respected.

"Three Days In Israel"

YouTube link

This short film by Dori Kario of shows three different terror attacks in Israel over a period of just a few days. I must warn you that some of the images are very graphic and, as the author narrates, it is not a horror movie, rather a depiction of the "horror reality" - a description which is unfortunately all too accurate.

James Meigs on Bill O'Reilly's FOX News show, August 7, 2006

Popular Mechanics Editor-in-Chief Jim Meigs interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor.

Google Video link

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The New Gonzales Standard for Torture

Ten years ago, Representative Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced The War Crimes Act of 1996. This statute was one of many in the mid-1990s devoted to the principle of extraterritoriality: the extension of U.S. laws to other countries. When applied, such laws subject foreign nationals to prosecution if they treat a U.S. citizen or U.S. property in a way that violates U.S. laws.

Behind the spate of extraterritorial laws was congressional frustration that the "world's only remaining superpower" could not extend its writ around the globe. Mayhem ranging from genocides and acts of terror to massacres and sheer brutality against prisoners and non-combatants regularly occurred in the era's many civil wars-with the perpetrators often escaping accountability for their actions.

Back in 1996, few anticipated that The War Crimes Act, which entered law as 18 USC Sec. 2441, would have the potential to boomerang and hit the United States itself.


The law itself, one page long, seems quite definitive. The first paragraph lists potential punishments, which include the death penalty if the victim dies. The second describes the "circumstances" of the offense: the perpetrator or victim must be a U.S. national.


Then White House Counsel and now Attorney General of the United States Alberto Gonzales was one who recognized the potential for prosecution under 18 USC Sec. 2441-a view he expressed in a January 25, 2002 memo to President Bush, one of many on this subject that went between the White House, the Justice Department, the CIA, and the civilian leadership of the Pentagon. These memos attempted to establish a rationale permitting abusive and degrading treatment, including torture, by creating "exempt" categories for detainees and "exempt" areas in which prisons could be built and unregulated interrogations conducted.

By affirming in its June 30, 2006 decision (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld) that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applied to detainees in the "war on terror" and the jurisdiction of the federal courts to hear cases involving detainee rights, the Supreme Court invalidated most of the administration's "no-standards" interrogation policy. But rather than bring policy-and practice-into line with the international conventions that the United States had observed up to September 11, 2001, the administration is now trying to absolve itself ex post facto. It is pressuring Congress to pass legislation that retroactively shields from possible prosecution anyone who authorized or encouraged the use of coercion during interrogations.

The New Gonzales Standard for Torture
Col. Dan Smith, CounterPunch, August 4, 2006

All other issues aside, it is interesting to note how similar the ways and means of the government and corporate lawyers are. Both are not that much concerned that the law is followed; both mostly see their mission as that of finding ways for their bosses to break the law and get away with it.

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