Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ANSWER Fined $7000 For March 21st Anti-War Posters. (Plus: The Military Was Running An "Executive Assassination Ring")

ANSWER Fined $7000 For March 21st Anti-War Posters.   (Plus: The Military Was Running An "Executive Assassination Ring")



“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude
than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask
not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed
you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget
that ye were our countrymen!”

-Sam Adams-


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Join the Call For A Special Prosecutor To  Bring Former High American Officials  To Justice For Acts  Of Torture, Constitutional Violations And War Crimes.


Full Impeach, Indict, And Prosecute Posting:


ANSWER Fined $7000 for March 21st Anti-War Posters 
Take Action to Stop These Repressive Fines!

Dear Ed., 

Free Speech rights in Washington D.C. are under attack and we need you to take action.


The outcome of this struggle will have an impact on all progressive groups.

In the last weeks, the ANSWER Coalition has been hit with nearly $7,000 in fines for posters announcing the March 21 National March on the Pentagon that have been put up in Washington D.C. Just today, we received another $1,850 in fines for 12 posters.


The government is trying to effectively eliminate ANSWER’s and any group’s ability to engage in postering for Free Speech protected activities or dissemination of posters and flyers. The message is this: If you are an anti-war group or a progressive grassroots organization and you hand out or put up a poster, as you may have always done in the past, you can now expect heavy fines and long court battles that are designed to divert money and resources -- or shut you down completely.


The posters for which we were fined are lawfully posted. The District is also issuing fines against ANSWER regardless of who put up the poster -- they are just sanctioning us for being organizers and supporters of the political anti-war demonstration being publicized. Unlike many of the politicians, concert promoters and other corporate entities that put up posters in DC, the ANSWER Coalition even sends out teams of volunteers to remove posters following the conclusion of a demonstration or event.


Many individuals come in and take posters and leaflets from the office or download them from the website. As we have done for the past eight years we provide copies of the DC regulations to people that indicate how to poster in conformity with lawful regulations.


A big shift happened prior to the September 15, 2007 Bring the Troops Home Now mass demonstration that was led by veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. We were targeted in an unprecedented campaign and hit with $55,000 in fines. 

When we held a press conference in Lafayette Park to protest the postering fines, the news conference was attacked by the police on horseback. Three people were falsely arrested and the media was scattered by the police. Nearly 100,000 people watched the attack on YouTube and support for the demonstration grew rather than diminished. That was an important lesson about how we can resist and win.


We announced then that we would file a lawsuit to defend our constitutional rights. That lawsuit was brought on behalf of ANSWER and the Muslim American Society Freedom (MASF) by attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice is continuing and is now before the federal D.C. Circuit court.


We also stated that under no circumstances would we pay these illegal fines.


Tens of thousands of people sent letters to the DC government supporting our Free Speech rights and condemning the obvious targeting of the anti-war movement. Today, those massive fines and the new and ever mounting fines are being held over our head and really over everyone who is engaged in traditional grassroots organizing.


Our leaflets and posters are our voice. Neither ANSWER nor any other grassroots movement has corporate backing and financing that would allow for mass media advertising. We have to firmly defend our rights in the face of an attack that comes from the DC government but not from it alone. In DC and elsewhere during the Bush-years, national and local law enforcement agencies fine-tuned the coordination of their efforts to suppress Free Speech and harass activists.


We are urging that you send a send a letter today to Washington DC Mayor (Adrian M. Fenty) and to the Director of DC Department of Public Works (William O. Howland, Jr.) demanding an end to the fines, harassment and repression of the anti-war movement. We have a right to publicize the March 21st March on the Pentagon. Fining the anti-war movement tens of thousands of dollars for putting up Free Speech-protected literature makes a mockery out of the First Amendment.


This Free Speech fight comes at the very moment that we are in the final stages of preparing for the demonstration and carrying out the many logistical and mobilizational tasks and obligations. We are organizing on many fronts simultaneously and we also need to raise tens of thousands of dollars in the final week.


Please make an urgently needed tax-deductible donation to help us pay the huge costs associated for a National March by clicking here.




Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition National Coordinator



One Step Forward, Two Steps Toward Monarchy


Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the military was running an "executive assassination ring" throughout the Bush years which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The remark came out seemingly inadvertently when Hersh was asked by the moderator of a public discussion of "America's Constitutional Crisis" whether abuses of executive power, like those which occurred under Richard Nixon, continue to this day.

Hersh replied, "After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet."

Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. "It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," he explained. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. ... Congress has no oversight of it."

"It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh stated. "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."

Hersh told blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was "not something I wanted to dwell about in public." He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence "for even the most skeptical."

Stories have been coming out about covert Pentagon assassination squads for the last several years. In 2003, Hersh himself reported on Task Force 121, which operated chiefly out of the Joint Special Operations Command. Others stories spoke of a proposed Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group.

As Hersh noted in Minnesota, the New York Times on Monday described the Joint Special Operations Command as overseeing the secret commando units in Afghanistan whose missions were temporarily ordered halted last month because of growing concerns over excessive civilian deaths.

However, it appears that Hersh is now on the trail of some fresh revelation about these squads and their connection to Vice-President Cheney that goes well beyond anything that has previously been reported.

Eric Black's blog posting, which includes an hour-long audio recording of the full University of Minnesota colloquy, is available here


GOP Civil War: Limbaugh Lashes Out at Gingrich
By Faiz Shakir, Think Progress
Limbaugh claims that Gingrich is simply jealous of his influence. Read more »

GOP Rep: “Our Goal Is To Bring Down Approval Numbers” For Dems


GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a key player in helping craft the Republican message, has offered an unusually blunt description of the Republican strategy right now.


McHenry’s description is buried in this new article from National Journal (sub. only):


“We will lose on legislation. But we will win the message war every day, and every week, until November 2010,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., an outspoken conservative who has participated on the GOP message teams. “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats. That will take repetition. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”


McHenry’s spokesperson, Brock McCleary, tells me his boss is standing by the quote.


McHenry’s description of his party’s goal — to “bring down approval numbers” for Pelosi and House Dems — is being much talked about today among Congressional Dems. It’s likely that Dems will grab on to the quote today to bolster their charge that Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in playing a constructive role in governing and see their hope for political revival in the eventual failure of the Democratic majority’s policies.


Update: Keith Olbermann and other liberal commentators tee off on McHenry.


Update II: Looks like John Boehner largely agrees with McHenry.


John Boehner's Office: It's True, We Really Want to Hurt Dems
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John Boehner's office backs up Patrick McHenry's claim that the GOP's economic plan is to drag down Dems' approval ratings. Read more »


A March 11 New York Times article reported that President Obama faces a "threat from Senate Republicans, who earlier this month threatened, though in vague terms, to block his judicial nominees by filibuster if they were not consulted on vacancies from their home states." But the Times failed to point out that several of the same Senate Republicans who signed onto the letter "threaten[ing] ... to block [Obama's] judicial nominees by filibuster" have previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.


The letter to Obama, sent by all 41 Senate Republicans, stated: "Regretfully, if we are not consulted on, and approve of, a nominee from our states, the Republican Conference will be unable to support moving forward on that nominee." But as Media Matters for Americadocumented, among the signatories were several senators, including Sens. Sam Brownback (KS), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Cornyn (TX), and James Inhofe (OK), who had previously said or suggested that filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional.


As Media Matters notedPolitico and Roll Call both reported on the GOP senators' letter to Obama without noting that several of the signatories previously challenged the constitutionality of filibustering judicial nominees.


Sir! No Sir! Exposing and Debunking Military Lies from Vietnam to ...
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Slain American Nazi Millionaire Had Dirty Bomb Ingredients, Was 'Very Upset' About Obama
By Staff, AlterNet
Agency says radioactive materials recovered in home of man allegedly slain by his wife. Read more »


Vox populi: If they can put Martha Stewart in jail, why can't they put all these CEOs in JAIL?



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