Monday, March 30, 2009

Each Day's Revelations Are Making Republicans Uncomfortable With The Idea That Bush Administration Prosecutions Are Just Down The Road.

Each Day's Revelations Are Making Republicans Uncomfortable With The Idea That Bush Administration Prosecutions Are Just Down The Road.



The Woman Who Could Nail Bush: Are the Worst of the Torture Memos Still to Come?

By Scott HortonThe Daily Beast. Posted March 30, 2009.


The GOP is threatening an ugly fight over an Obama Justice Department appointee who wants to disclose more Bush-era torture memos.


Until recently, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, often considered the “brains” of the department, has been known mostly to legal experts. But for the past eight years, it was the epicenter of allegations of political manipulation and, worse, the source of infamous memoranda on torture. In tapping Eric Holder as attorney general, President Obama has promised to restore standards of professionalism to the department. For Republicans, this is tantamount to a declaration of partisan war.

On March 19, the nomination of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to head the OLC was endorsed by the Judiciary Committee with every Republican voting against her and Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) abstaining. The nomination was to have been brought to the Senate floor for a vote on Monday and then again on Wednesday, but it has been held back. Republican leaders, it appears, are playing with the notion of making Johnsen the target of their first filibuster.

The highly credentialed Johnsen is an improbable target, and OLC was long viewed as an obscure post. But Johnsen served as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Abortion & Reproductive Rights Action League. Antiabortion groups have targeted Johnsen over the last three weeks with a massive telephone, email, and letter-writing campaign, demanding that senators oppose her nomination. Johnsen is labeled a “radical, pro-abortion activist,” although her views on the abortion issue line up very closely with the mainstream. While the noise surrounding the Johnsen nomination appears on the surface to be about the abortion issue—over which her position at OLC would have very little influence—discussions with Republican stalwarts reveal that their main concerns lie elsewhere.

The real reason for their vehement opposition is that Johnsen is committed to overturning the Bush administration’s policies on torture and warrantless surveillance, which would clip the wings of the imperial presidency. Even more menacingly (from their perspective), she is committed to shining a light on some of the darkest skeletons of the Bush years. Already, publication of OLC memoranda authorizing torture, approving warrantless surveillance, and pronouncing the First and Fourth Amendments a dead letter in connection with domestic military operations has rocked the public. More memos, potentially even more disturbing, I have learned, are about to be made public soon. Yet these are difficult issues on which to attack Johnsen, other than through vague suggestions that she is “weak on national security.” Hence the steady stream of accusations linked to her largely irrelevant views about abortion rights.

Will the Republicans attempt to filibuster the Johnsen nomination? The threat is sufficiently serious to have provoked the editors of the New York Times to editorialize in support of Johnsen on Thursday. Calling the operation of OLC in the Bush era “lawless,” the editors wrote, “Ms. Johnsen is superbly qualified and has fought for just the sort of change the office needs.”

The controversy surrounding Johnsen provides a flashpoint for President Obama’s nominees for administration legal posts. Unsurprisingly, they look an awful lot like Barack Obama—strong legal credentials, an academic bent, and liberal attitudes balanced by a strong commitment to political pragmatism.

Obama’s top picks start with a couple of well-known Washington names. Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, was a career Justice Department attorney who spent his formative years as a prosecutor in the department’s Public Integrity Section (much-criticized for abuse under Bush). He spent time as a U.S. attorney, a judge, and ran the Justice Department for a while as deputy attorney general in the Clinton years. Obama’s White House counsel, Greg Craig, is a Washington fixture at the powerhouse Williams & Connolly law firm. The former foreign-policy aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy and State Department official has handled high-profile cases from Clinton’s impeachment defense to representing the father of Elian Gonzales. In the way of Washington, he is also has ties to powerful Republicans, including Karl Rove and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, whom he successfully represented in a sensitive FBI investigation into the leaking of classified data.

But delving deeper into the list, the names are less known for pragmatic politics and inside-the-Beltway experience than for pure intellectual firepower. Nearly a quarter of all Obama nominees have a Harvard degree. No fewer than 11 Harvard Law School faculty members drew appointments in the Obama team, including the dean, Elena Kagan, who was also deputy domestic-policy adviser to President Clinton. He also tapped Yale’s law-school dean, Harold Koh, widely thought to be a possible Supreme Court appointment, to serve as the principal lawyer at the State Department. Obama has mined the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and Georgetown. All these schools are being forced to scramble as professors announce the cancellation of classes and prepare to depart for Washington.

A scan of the names involved makes clear that Obama is not looking for any particular ideological line—the candidates tapped range from centrist conservatives to traditional liberals. But he clearly is seeking individuals highly regarded by their peers who are on top of the issues for which they will have responsibility.

The trio of appointments Obama announced for the OLC underscores this point. In addition to Johnsen, Obama chose Harvard law professor David Barron and Georgetown law professor Marty Lederman as her two deputies. The three nominees have similar histories. Each served in the OLC in prior administrations before departing for academia. And over the last eight years, each spent a good deal of time and energy studying and criticizing the conduct of the OLC in the Bush years. Barron and Lederman co-authored a highly regarded two-part historical study of presidential powers, which demolished the underpinnings of the most significant OLC memoranda authored by John Yoo, including the famous torture memorandum. The three may well have been the Bush OLC’s most vocal critics, highlighting its departure from traditions and practices of earlier administrations. All three were also sharply critical of the Bush team’s devotion to secrecy in the formation of legal policy. It is therefore unsurprising that the Obama team has moved very quickly to publish the previously secret opinions that their Bush predecessors issued and to overturn those decisions. It would be hard to identify three lawyers more knowledgeable about the subject than Johnsen, Barron, and Lederman.

In the coming two weeks, their push for transparency will result in the publication of more Bush-era OLC memos, including the specific approvals granted for waterboarding, extended isolation, and other torture techniques—memos that the Bush administration has sought to keep secret. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden and Obama adviser John Brennan are said to have “gone to the mat” to keep the opinions secret, but Obama sided with his designated OLC team and upheld the decision to declassify and publish them.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars and Supreme Court advocates, and Obama’s former teacher, is often mentioned as an adviser in the background, a gray eminence, counseling Obama on appointments and policy choices. He is widely believed to covet an appointment to the Supreme Court, though, at 67 years old, he might be passed over for a younger person. While Tribe is a regular target of the right and closely connected to an array of liberal causes, those familiar with his role in the recent appointments process say that he has steadily advised Obama to avoid ideological confrontations and stressed pragmatism as an important quality for appointees.

Another legal academic said to figure in Obama’s inner circle is Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, who until recently was a colleague of Obama’s at the University of Chicago Law School. Sunstein has been appointed to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, while his wife Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, serves as chief on the National Security Council as head of international organizations. Sunstein is associated with the notion of judicial minimalism, arguing that decisions should be taken on the narrowest possible case-specific grounds so as to preserve a broader range of options in future cases. The executive orders that Obama issued in his first two days in office were widely seen as following Sunstein’s minimalist approach in confronting a range of national-security issues on which Obama has pledged changes.

Unlike Obama, a professor of law, George W. Bush was noted for a sharp disdain for lawyers. He liked to make disparaging jokes about attorneys in pinstripes and tasseled loafers. “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass,” he barked as the war on terror got under way, according to former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. Through the Bush administration, appointment to high-level legal positions was usually a reward for faithful service—as personified by Alberto Gonzales, who as counsel to the president and attorney general arguably held the two most powerful legal posts. Gonzales’ entire career, as a partner at the prestigious Houston firm of Vinson & Elkins, in Texas state government, and finally in Washington, was marked by service to a single client: George W. Bush.

The Bush administration’s overriding concern was for political loyalty. It demanded individuals who would unquestioningly implement the White House’s directives. The notion of independent professional judgment was derided as counterproductive at best and a cloak for liberal activism at worst. To that end, selecting the best and the brightest was not advisable. Where prior administrations looked for the top graduates from the nation’s elite law schools, the Bush team scoured schools not found in a list of the top-100 law schools (and sometimes not even ABA-accredited), but with strong ties to the religious right and the Republican Party. Justice Department officials openly asked job candidates whether they had worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign and contributed money and quickly rejected those whose offense was support for John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries. Membership in the movement's conservative legal organization, the Federalist Society, was also a plus if not essential—in recently disclosed emails, former Bush-era U.S. attorney and Civil Rights Division Director Bradley Schlozman (whose case is now under review for the possible filing of criminal charges) called them “ideological comrades.” The result was a Justice Department filled with political hacks in appointed positions and a historically unprecedented level of politicization in its decision-making process.

The Obama nominees, presenting the sharpest possible contrast, have drawn sputtering fire from Republicans in Congress and have come under broad attack from religious-right leaders who previously had strong influence in Justice Department picks. Dawn Johnsen is an interesting test case. If the Republicans opt for a filibuster or move to line up a unanimous GOP vote in opposition, it will be a shot across the bow of the Obama Justice Department.

Also in Rights and Liberties


Christian Fundamentalist Group Preaches Patriarchy and Women's Fertility as Weapon s for Spiritual Warfare
Mark Karlin

Hey Mr. Cheney, What About Those 'Executive Assassination Squads'?
John Nichols


Do the Secret Bush Memos Amount to Treason? Top Constitutional Scholar Says Yes
Naomi Wolf

How the U.S. Tried to Bribe a Gitmo Prisoner into Silence
Willam Fisher

Israel Promises Internal Probe After Soldiers Describe Civilian Killings in Gaza
Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez

Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots


But Abu Zubaida had strained and limited relations with bin Laden and only vague knowledge before the Sept. 11 attacks that something was brewing, the officials said.

His account was echoed in another U.S. interrogation going on at the same time, one never previously described publicly.

Noor al-Deen, a Syrian, was a teenager when he was captured along with Abu Zubaida at a Pakistani safe house. Perhaps because of his youth and agitated state, he readily answered U.S. questions, officials said, and the questioning went on for months, first in Pakistan and later in a detention facility in Morocco. His description of Abu Zubaida was consistent: The older man was a well-known functionary with links to al-Qaeda, but he knew little detailed information about the group's operations.

The counterterrorism official rejected that characterization, saying, "Based on what he shared during his interrogations, he was certainly aware of many of al-Qaeda's activities and operatives."

One connection Abu Zubaida had with al-Qaeda was a long relationship with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said. Mohammed had approached Abu Zubaida in the 1990s about finding financiers to support a suicide mission, involving a small plane, targeting the World Trade Center. Abu Zubaida declined but told him to try bin Laden, according to a law enforcement source.

Abu Zubaida quickly told U.S. interrogators of Mohammed and of others he knew to be in al-Qaeda, and he revealed the plans of the low-level operatives who fled Afghanistan with him. Some were intent on returning to target American forces with bombs; others wanted to strike on American soil again, according to military documents and law enforcement sources.

Such intelligence was significant but not blockbuster material. Frustrated, the Bush administration ratcheted up the pressure -- for the first time approving the use of increasingly harsh interrogations, including waterboarding.

Such treatment at the hands of the CIA has raised questions among human rights groups about whether Abu Zubaida is capable of standing trial and how the taint of torture would affect any prosecution.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a confidential report that the treatment of Abu Zubaida and other, subsequent high-value detainees while in CIA custody constituted torture. And Abu Zubaida refused to cooperate with FBI "clean teams" who attempted to re-interview high-value detainees to build cases uncontaminated by allegations of torture, according to military sources.

"The government doesn't retreat from who KSM is, and neither does KSM," said Joseph Margulies, a professor of law at Northwestern University and one of Abu Zubaida's attorneys, using an abbreviation for Mohammed. "With Zubaida, it's different. The government seems finally to understand he is not at all the person they thought he was. But he was tortured. And that's just a profoundly embarrassing position for the government to be in."

His lawyers want the U.S. government to arrange for Abu Zubaida's transfer to a country besides Jordan -- possibly Saudi Arabia, where he has relatives.

The Justice Department declined repeated requests for comment.

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Demand Accountability for Torture and Abuse Now! Congressional In-District Lobby Weeks, April 6-17

JOIN A DELEGATION – Search for and team up with a delegation already planned in your area.


Spanish Judge Considers Trying U.S. Officials Over Guantanamo,0,4373765.story


A complaint has been filed against former Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales and other Bush administration figures, citing harsh interrogation tactics at the prison.

By Sebastian Rotella 
March 29, 2009

Reporting from Madrid -- A high-profile Spanish judge has initiated a possible investigation of alleged torture and war crimes by half a dozen U.S. officials who created the legal framework for interrogations at Guantanamo, a senior Spanish official said Saturday.

Judge Baltasar Garzon of Spain's highest court has requested that a prosecutor examine a complaint against the Bush administration officials filed last year by inmates rights advocates, said the senior official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. 

The prosecutor must issue a recommendation on the merits of opening a case and on whether the high court has jurisdiction, the official said. The prosecutor probably will respond next month to Garzon's move, which was reported Saturday by Spanish news media. 




A Spanish court "has agreed to consider against six former Bush administration officials" who "participated actively and decisively in the creation, approval and execution of a judicial framework" for torture at Guantanamo Bay. The former Bush officials named in the case are Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, John Yoo, and Jay Bybee, who are accused of "allow[ing] for the deprivation of fundamental rights of a large number of prisoners" and "the protection of the people who participated in illegal tortures." The 98-page complaint was brought to Judge Baltasar Garzon, a "crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet" in 1998. Garzon has "referred the case to the chief prosecutor before deciding whether to proceed," but officials called it "highly probable" that the case would go forward.  According to the New York Times, "Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five citizens or residents of Spain who were prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have said they were tortured there." Feith, the former undersecretary of defense, is the only one of the accused to comment on the case, saying that the charges "make no sense." But Gonzalo Boye, one of the four lawyers who wrote the lawsuit, "predicted that Garzon would issue subpoenas in the next two weeks."

"If I were them, I would search for a good lawyer," he said.


Tracking torture | We need a presidential commission

President Barack Obama must, for the sake of the country and its standing in the world, appoint an independent commission to fully investigate the Bush administration's secret use of torture and other breaches of the laws and principles embodied in America's founding documents.

It is not enough, as the new president has done, to condemn and to renounce policies that compromised the United States' long commitment to basic human rights, and to international standards of humane treatment of prisoners of war.

We need a bipartisan commission to determine precisely how and why this happened, and to identify all the people responsible for it. But the commission should not be charged with undertaking a criminal investigation. That is the responsibility of the Justice Department and, ultimately, the courts.

President Obama's inaugural pledge to govern in a spirit of bipartisanship can have no bearing on his duty to the country in this matter. Government-sanctioned torture is not a partisan political issue. It defines who we are as a country.

Like it or not, the places and terms that the word invokes -- Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Guantanamo, CIA black sites, extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, sensory deprivation, stress positions, torture memos, all of it -- are now part of our story. So, too, will be what we, and the president, do to address the issue head-on, once and for all.

Much information about U.S. treatment of hundreds of suspected terrorists since 9/11 emerged before President Bush left office. More has come to light since, from congressional hearings and other sources, prompting the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary committees to urge the president to appoint what would amount to a truth commission.

The latest spur to action is a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that meticulously details the brutal treatment of 14 high-value detainees interrogated at CIA black sites.

The document, based on interviews with each of the 14, reveals a consistent pattern of abuse that meshes with what already has been reported. The Red Cross found that "in many cases, the ill treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the mistreatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

It is time for us, Mr. President, to learn and to deal with the truth -- all of it. Nothing less will do.


On CNN’s State of the Union program, Centcom Commander Gen. David Petraeus disagreed with former vice president Dick Cheney’s statement that President Obama’s national security policy has made the US safe and more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Petraeus also came out against the Bush torture policy.


Host John King asked Petraeus if he agreed with Cheney’s view of Obama’s national security policy. Petraeus said, “Well, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, John. I think that, in fact, there is a good debate going on about the importance of values in all that we do. I think that, if one violates the values that we hold so dear, that we jeopardize -- well, in fact, I put out a memorandum to the soldiers in the Multinational Force-Iraq, when I was the commander, because of concern that we may not be taking some of these seriously enough. As you know, the field manual came out, from the Army, that is used by all of the different services that completely, clearly outlaws torture. So we think for the military, in particular, that can't -- that's a line that can't be crossed.”

Cheney has defended the torture policy as essential, but Petraeus disagrees. This is the same Dick Cheney that praised Gen. Petraeus as a man of candor and integrity after ran the infamous General Betray us ad. In September 2007 Cheney said of Petraeus while speaking in Kansas City that he admired the, "integrity and candor that Gen. Petraeus showed in his hearings before Congress," and he added that "the attacks on him by in ad space provided at subsidized rates in the New York Times last week were an outrage."

The Bush administration used Petraeus to buy time and political cover for their Iraq policy, but Petraeus’s own methodology is much closer to the Obama policy that it is to Bush/Cheney. It does seem as if Cheney has become the deposed ruler grumbling in exile across the Potomac River. Petraeus is correct to disagree with Cheney’s statements. When Petraeus talks about perceptions, and reinforcing American values, this is something Bush and Cheney never cared for. They thought that military might was all that matter, and this view had disastrous results for the country.


What Do You Think; Is This Moron Positioning Himself For A 2012 Run?  You Know The Guy That Dumped His 1st Wife While She Was Fighting Cancer.

Heading Toward a Dictatorship? The lack of honesty in Geithner ...
But for some reason, I find it hard to believe that the former -- or not the former, the current Speaker of the House,
 Nancy Pelosi, is going to cede any sort of authority to the president, to let him do sort of a power grab, ... -

"In May 1999,eight months after Marianne was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Gingrich [55] called his Marianne [48] at her mother's home. After wishing Marianne's mother happy birthday, he told Marianne that he wanted a divorce."



Open Left:: Harry Reid's House of Senate Horrors
By Paul Rosenberg 
is telling and other liberal groups to relax and stop pressuring conservative Democrats leery about President Obama's budget plan.... "These groups should leave them alone. It's not helpful to me, it's not helpful to the ...
Open Left - Front Page -


Why No One Believes What Democrats Say

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 06:00

Quite a few bloggers, myself included, have piled on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for siding with Evan Bayh's "moderate working group" at the expense of the progressive wing of the party. However, he actually made a far more damaging statement about Democrats in general last Friday. It is a perfect example of why the Democratic Party is often perceived as a bunch of valueless, finger in the wind, pushovers (emphasis mine):

Reid has no qualms about the group, and said that "any public statements" Senate moderates have made have been helpful as the chamber takes up a budget next week that would cost more than $3 trillion. And he added: "Some people of course go to those meetings so they can issue a press release back home that'll make them appear more moderate."

This is just about the worst thing a Democrat can say. Hell, it is one of the worst things a politician can say. Here is a different way of phrasing that sentence: of course I don't actually believe in the values of this group to which I belong-I just joined the group to trick the rubes back home into thinking that I believe in those values.

It is absolutely, utterly soulless and elitist. It is, also, the fundamental problem with DLC, moderate Democrat speak. Instead of actually just taking a stand for center and center-right beliefs, moderate Democrats are constantly couching their policy positions in terms of electability. It is the fundamental reason whyy so many people don't think Democrats believe what they say. Democrats keep saying, in public, that the only reason they support certain positions is to trick people into thinking that they are moderate. It is just bizarre, and it happens all the time.

The regularity of statements like these from Democrats as prominent as Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer and many, many others make it virtually impossible to tell if the behavior of the Democratic leadership is determined by beliefs or by a desire to get elected. Seriously--when the Democratic Senate leader says something like this, is it even still possible to make that distinction?


A J'accuse for MoveOn's Afghanistan Silence
The Nation. - New York,NY,USA
So where is the blast condemning the ramping up of an undeclared war and the president's refusal to rule out an even more dramatic expansion of ...
See all stories on this topic


President Obama went on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday to make the case for his great big war in Afghanistan.

The good news is that Obama says, "What I will not do is to simply assume that more troops always results in an improved situation."

The bad news is that Obama is dispatching more troops to a country that has never taken well to occupation.

So where is the blast condemning the ramping up of an undeclared war and the president's refusal to rule out an even more dramatic expansion of that war to Pakistan? Where is the memo from the Center for American Progress outlining the case against giving the president "a blank check for endless war"?

Don't hold your breath, says John Stauber, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and the co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq and The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies and the Mess in Iraq, two of the most scathing books on the Bush-Cheney administration and its war in Iraq.

In a no-holds-barred critique of groups that earned their reputations as critics of the rush to invade and occupy Iraq, Stauber argues that the Obama administration has effectively co-opted some of the nation's most high-profile anti-war groups.

Here's what Stauber writes in a piece titled: "How Obama Took Over the Peace Movement," which appears on the CMD website:

John Podesta's liberal think tank the Center for American Progress strongly supports Barack Obama's escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is best evidenced by Sustainable Security in Afghanistan, a CAP report by Lawrence J. Korb. Podesta served as the head of Obama's transition team, and CAP's support for Obama's wars is the latest step in a successful co-option of the US peace movement by Obama's political aids and the Democratic Party.

CAP and the five million member liberal lobby group MoveOn were behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to actually cut off funding for the war. AAEI was operated by two of Barack Obama's top political aids, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, and by Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change and USAction.

Today Woodhouse is Obama's Director of Communications and Research for the Democratic National Committee. He controls the massive email list called Obama for America composed of the many millions of people who gave money and love to the Democratic peace candidate and might be wondering what the heck he is up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan. MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama's policy agenda. Some of us saw this unfolding years ago. Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a war and sounding so much like the previous administration in his rationale for doing so.


Stauber's piece has circulated widely in recent days, stirring the same sort of dialogue that his previous criticisms of MoveOn inspired.

The truth is that important players in the anti-war movement are speaking out against Obama's Afghanistan buildup.

Peace Action is petitioning Congress to oppose Obama's Afghanistan plan. Peace Action executive director Kevin Martin has compared the president's moves with those of John Kennedy in Vietnam. "It's a shame President Obama believes he can pursue the same militaristic strategy as his predecessors and produce a different result, While President Obama has made some good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the emphasis is clearly on military operations. John F. Kennedy was in a comparable situation when he was elected. He chose to escalate then as well, and the consequences of his decision left our country mired in an unwinnable war."

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, which maintains the largest peace lobby in Washington, says: "More troops won't bring more peace in Afghanistan. Instead, the U.S. should invest in long-term diplomacy and development assistance."

United for Peace and Justice, of which both Peace Action and FCNL are member groups, is organizing coordinated local actions on April 6-9 to pressure Congress to oppose the Afghanistan escalation.

But Stauber's broad point is an important one.

There is significant discomfort with the expansion of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, and opposition has been expressed by political leaders abroad and at home (including Democrats andRepublicans in Congress). This is a time when genuine anti-war groups could be expected to harness that discomfort and build a stronger movement to shift U.S. policy.

As such, it is a time of testing for organizations that came to prominence opposing not just George Bush and Dick Cheney but the wrongheaded war-making of the White House -- no matter which party happened to occupy the Oval Office. And that makes Stauber's J'accuse a particularly stinging one.


FTN: Obama: No Ground Troops Needed In Pakistan

Arguing that the U.S. had lost its focus in combating the rise in militants in South Asia over the past several years, President Obama said that the U.S. must “refocus attention on al Qaeda” in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. More...

Video: Ending America's Wars


Story: Transcript: Obama On "Face The Nation"



The Great Afghan Bailout
It's Time to Change Names, Switch Analogies
By Tom Engelhardt 

Let's start by stopping. 

It's time, as a start, to stop calling our expanding war in Central and South Asia "the Afghan War" or "the Afghanistan War." If Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke doesn't want to, why should we? Recently, in a BBC interview, he insisted that "the 'number one problem' in stabilizing Afghanistan was Taliban sanctuaries in western Pakistan, including tribal areas along the Afghan border and cities like Quetta" in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. 

And isn't he right? After all, the U.S. seems to be in the process of trading in a limited war in a mountainous, poverty-stricken country of 27 million people for one in an advanced nation of 167 million, with a crumbling economy, rising extremism, advancing corruption, and a large military armed with nuclear weapons. Worse yet, the war in Pakistan seems to be expanding inexorably (and in tandem with American war planning) from the tribal borderlands ever closer to the heart of the country. 

These days, Washington has even come up with a neologism for the change: "Af-Pak," as in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of operations. So, in the name of realism and accuracy, shouldn't we retire "the Afghan War" and begin talking about the far more disturbing "Af-Pak War"? 

And while we're at it, maybe we should retire the word "surge" as well. Right now, as the Obama plan for that Af-Pak War is being "rolled out," newspaper headlines have been surging when it comes to accepting the surge paradigm. Long before the administration's "strategic review" of the war had even been completed, President Obama was reportedly persuadedby former Iraq surge commander, now CentCom commander, General David Petraeus to "surge" another 17,000 troops into Afghanistan, starting this May. 

For the last two weeks, news has been filtering out of Washington of an accompanying civilian "surge" into Afghanistan ("Obama's Afghanistan 'surge': diplomats, civilian specialists"). Oh, and then there's to be that opium-eradication surge and a range of other so-called surges. As the headlines have had it: "1,400 Isle Marines to join Afghanistan surge," "U.S. troop surge to aid Afghan police trainers," "Seabees buildto house surge," "Afghan Plan Detailed As Iraq Surge 'Lite,'" and so on.Click here to read more of this dispatch.


Found In Washington DC’s Right Wing Rag

BREITBART: Online activists on the right, unite!


Rules for conservative radicals

A digital war has broken out, and the conservative movement is losing. Read the comment sections of right-leaning blogs, news sites and social forums, and the evidence is there in ugly abundance. Internet hooligans are spewing their talking points to thwart the dissent of the newly-out-of-power.

We must not let that go unanswered.

Uninvited Democratic activists are on a mission to demoralize the enemy - us. They want to ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency - and the humanity - of George W. Bush.

Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way - all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its "idealism" in a most cynical fashion.

The ends justify the means for them - now more than ever.

Much of Mr. Obama's vaunted online strategy involved utilizing "Internet trolls" to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that's called "vandalism." But in a political movement that embraces "graffiti" as avant-garde art , that's business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people's property in pursuit of electoral victory.

Hugh Hewitt's popular site shut off its comments section because of the success of these obnoxious polices nonpartisan newswire stories for such obviously coordinated attacks. Other right-leaning sites such as Instapundit and National Review Online refuse to allow comments, knowing better than to flirt with the online activist left.

During the Clinton impeachment scandal, a new group out of California called employed a plan to get its members to dial into right-leaning talk radio shows with scripted talking points falsely claiming that they were Republicans. They said they would never vote for the GOP again if the case against Bill Clinton was pursued.

Rush Limbaugh was the first to isolate these "seminar callers," whose mission during the Lewinsky mess was to fool the listening audience into believing they were outraged conservatives willing to cut their ties to the Republican Party if the GOP-led Congress continued down the impeachment path.

Eleven years later, "seminar callers" abound and call screeners are trained in the art of weeding them out. But the filtering does not always work.

"This is nothing more than the Internet version of Soviet disinformation," Human Events editor Jed Babbin told me. " and the little boys from 'Lord of the Flies' who run Media Matterswant to make it appear that there's huge dissension within conservative ranks on issues on which we're most united."

The left also uses disinformation to inundate the advertisers of conservative-leaning talk shows to intimidate them from financially supporting popular mainstream shows.

Media Matters even offered its services to an autism support group in its attempt to bring down talk-show host Michael Savage. It had nothing to do with Mr. Savage's underlying offense. Would Media Matters go after Keith Olbermann if he made a tirade against the afflicted? David Brock and company certainly didn't raise a peep when President Obama made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics.

So now that the right is vanquished and thoroughly out of power, why doesn't it learn from its conquerors and employ similar tactics?

The answer is obvious. The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez's Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy's America.

The Huffington Post, Daily Kos and other left-leaning sites benefit from the right's belief that there are rules and decorum in political debate and civic engagement. Of course, every now and then, a curious right-winger will go in and engage in discussion at a left-wing site, but rarely under purely disingenuous and mass coordinated means.

David Brock, John Podesta, am I missing something?

As a prolific consumer of online content, I value nothing more than the sincere expression of opinion that differs from mine. Sometimes I am even moved or swayed from my dogma. But that was not the type of communication that got Mr. Obama elected.

The American right is in a heap of trouble in a media age that doesn't shun the goons and liars that have poisoned the political process and won the American presidency by breaking the rules of fair play. It is time to fight back, but it won't be easy. The enemy is willing to do and say anything in order to win.

• Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site and is co-author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity."


Web 2.0 and the New Conservative Revolution
GOPUSA - Pearland,TX,USA
Frustrated by the Left`s success at mobilizing activists through and other left-leaning internet savvy organizations, the Right is aggressively ...


Congresswoman Bachmann Urges Armed Uprising

Posted on March 29th, 2009

by psburton in Op-ed


Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann ® Minnesota became the first prominent Neocon to openly call for the violent overthrow of the Obama administration. During an impassioned interview with fellow Neocon and FOX host Sean Hannity Representative Bachmann abandoned rhetoric and urged armed insurrection. Bachmann seems expressive of a growing sentiment amongst neocons, that the only hope to save America as they see it, may lie with supporters taking to the streets.

What is beyond speculation is the fact since the election of America’s first African American President, thousands of white supremacist, Neo Nazi’s and separatist’s, who ordinarily do not play well together, have begun to forge alliances of common purpose. It is unknown at present if representative Bachmann is directly evolved with any tactical planning such groups may be engaged in, beyond the show of moral support and financial contributions individual members offer in the form of contributions to her campaign. Mr. Hannity on whose show representative Bachmann made the public call to arms, was the first prominent member of the conservative media to actually provide a direct link to websites that polled folks of a like mind on what type of revolution might be effective.

What is also public record is FOX network media Baron Rupert Murdoch’srelationship with extremist conservative groups and individuals at home and abroad who have called for Obama’s ouster by any means possible. Published reports suggest Internet chatter amongst white separatist groups hint of hope that should a couple thousand armed “patriots” as they call themselves create enough chaos in major urban areas, it might inspire the hundreds of mid-level managers and career appointees left over from the Bush era at the pentagon and homeland security, to stage a civil coup for the sake of National security and unity.

Having suffered massive losses in the last two elections, Neoconservative’s are beginning to suggest perhaps the only way to save democracy is to temporarily suspend it, during the election season, the GOP argued organizations like acorn have so corrupted the electrical process it was tantamount to stealing the election from what their polls claimed was a clear conservative majority of the electorate. Prominent conservatives also claim based on evidence they view as credible, Barack Obama is not even legally eligible to serve as president, because he took office before questions concerning his status as a natural born citizen were fully litigated in the courts as required by the constitution.

While most American’s are content to settle differences over politics at the ballot box, Folks like Michelle Bachmann and Sean Hannity apparently feel otherwise, and if they continue to incite listeners toward violence I speculate sooner than later, they will get what they wish for.

That’s my view, yours may be different


U.S. Perpetuates Mass Killings In Iraq

U.S. Perpetuates Mass Killings In Iraq. by Prof. Peter Phillips. Global Research, July 22, 2008


Atlantic Free Press - Groningen,Netherlands
However I noted that in your editorial, you focussed on Mr. GW Bush and other ... That was also the focus of the courageous Congressman Dennis Kucinich. ...


Policy Analysis: Frank calls Scalia a "homophobe" - USA
Mainstream conservatives consistently condemn gay marriage rights as well as the right to practice polygamy with the primary justification for each being ...


Very Interesting!

Thomas F. Finnell
Community Division Organizer-Brattleboro, VT 

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Hey ! O'Reilly!



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