American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, February 08, 2003
Bill Moyers Exposes Secret Draft Bill to Extend The Patriot Act

NEW: Many are experiencing difficulty accessing the DSEA document at the Center for Public Integrity due to high traffic volume. We have made a mirror available here, with a HTML version.
Friday, NOW with Bill Moyers provided details of a Justice Department draft of a bill designed to extend the powers of the Patriot Act. The draft bill was provided exclusively to NOW by the Center for Public Integrity, which obtained it from a confidential government source. The document, entitled the PDF Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, outlines significant broadening of law enforcement powers, including domestic intelligence gathering, surveillance, and law enforcement prerogatives, while decreasing public access to information and judicial review authority.

Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution assessed the document for NOW with Bill Moyers and the Center for Public Integrity. "I think this is a quite radical proposal. It authorizes secret arrests. It would give the Attorney General essentially unchecked authority to deport anyone who he thought was a danger to our economic interests. It would strip citizenship from people for lawful political associations," he told NOW's Roberta Baskin. " has not been put on the table so there can be a discussion about it."

NOW interviewed executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, Charles Lewis, in New York on Thursday. When asked to gauge the significance of the document Lewis responded: "It just deepens and broadens, further extends the first Patriot Act," he says. "And it's arguably...a more thorough rendering of all the things law enforcement and intelligence agencies would like to have in a perfect world. I think it's a very tough document when it comes to secrecy and surveillance." | Via
Ann Arbor Peace Rally Feb 8 2003 Video

A quick video of today's Ann Arbor Peace Parade in Quick-Time format. About 2.8 MB so it may take a little while to download. be patient.
How many people? It was a great turnout! 18F and single-digit windchill, passionate, dedicated people. How many thousand? You decide.
If you need quick-time you can download it here:

OK, so we're on orange alert.

Commercial vehicles entering from Mexico will also be inspected more thoroughly, with many screened by X-ray, said U.S. Customs spokesman Vince Bond. "It may be drugs. It may be avocados. It may be Cuban cigars. It may be weapons of mass destruction. We're looking for anomalies," he said.

Meanwhile, a military vessel of a hostile nation sailed up to Key West and docked.
Four Cuban coast guardsman defected Friday, docking their patrol boat at a Key West resort, walking into town and surrendering to a police officer. The men, dressed in their military uniforms, approached Officer Matt Dorgan at about 4 a.m. and told him they wanted to surrender, Key West police spokeswoman Cynthia Edwards said. One man had a Chinese handgun holstered to his side, which he allowed Dorgan to take. Officers searching their boat docked at the Hyatt Marina Resort found two loaded AK-47 machine guns along with ammunition. The boat was still flying a Cuban flag.

"Here's the key point: Why worry about something that there's no easy solution to?''

While this is on all the major newswires, it doesn't seem to be getting much coverage outside of Florida.

Friday, February 07, 2003
Creation "science" is bunk & any professor is perfectly within his rights to write or not write recommendations for students who ask him. I have declined to write letters for students about whom I had doubts. Dr. Dini has merely made his standards publicly available. It's certainly not surprising, given the degraded times in which we live, that AG John Ashcroft, whose beliefs are not far removed from those of a medieval mullah, should be investigating this perfectly ordinary bit of academic procedure. I teach a class every other year called Imagining Science & on the first day I tell the students that, while I am perfectly willing to grant a diversity of religious beliefs, for the purposes of this class we will assume that evolution by natural selection, as broadly understood by the scientific community, is true. I have not yet been presented with the practical choice Dr. Dini has responded to--I teach in a Humanities department & am not usually called upon to warrant the scientific credentials of my students. I might find it necessary, though, to mention the fact in a letter of recommendation--even for a non-scientific position--that a particular student rejects a fundamental body of scientific knowledge. Or I might give the student a choice of a letter that mentions this fact or no letter at all. In any case, I don't make hard & fast distinctions between the sciences & the arts & it seems to me that anyone who has read Darwin & considered some of the recent controversies about evolution & who then asserts that "creation science" should replace that body of knowledge is a defective intellectual. I would not recommend a defective intellectual for graduate school in Sociology, let alone medical school. A person who has accepted creationist doctrine has made a choice not to participate in the intellectual life of his or her culture. Choices entail consequences. Surely, even John Ashcroft would assent to that proposition.
Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act
The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information.

The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12 MB-PDF).The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of “the Patriot Act II” in legislative parlance. [MORE]
Bush Orders Guidelines for Cyber-Warfare
Rules for Attacking Enemy Computers Prepared as U.S. Weighs Iraq Options
President Bush has signed a secret directive ordering the government to develop, for the first time, national-level guidance for determining when and how the United States would launch cyber-attacks against enemy computer networks, according to administration officials.

Similar to strategic doctrine that has guided the use of nuclear weapons since World War II, the cyber-warfare guidance would establish the rules under which the United States would penetrate and disrupt foreign computer systems.

The United States has never conducted a large-scale, strategic cyber-attack, according to several senior officials. But the Pentagon has stepped up development of cyber-weapons, envisioning a day when electrons might substitute for bombs and allow for more rapid and less bloody attacks on enemy targets. Instead of risking planes or troops, military planners imagine soldiers at computer terminals silently invading foreign networks to shut down radars, disable electrical facilities and disrupt phone services.

Bush's action highlights the administration's keen interest in pursuing a new form of weaponry that many specialists say has great potential for altering the means of waging war, but that until now has lacked presidential rules for deciding the circumstances under which such attacks would be launched, who should authorize and conduct them and what targets would be considered legitimate. [GET SOME]
"Is the Maestro a Hack?" by the inimitable Paul Krugman: The administration has used gimmicks to postpone most of the cost of these tax cuts until after 2008 — and whaddya know, the Office of Management and Budget has suddenly stopped talking about 10-year projections and now officially looks only five years ahead. But there are long-term projections tucked away in the back of the budget; they're overoptimistic, but even so they suggest a fiscal disaster once the baby boomers start collecting benefits from Social Security and Medicare. ("We will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, other generations," declared Mr. Bush in the State of the Union. And with a straight face, too.)
Thursday, February 06, 2003
:: Web Blackout for February 15th ::
Web Blackout for February 15th [Stop War]
Here's one way to show our support for the international day of protests planned for February 15th: Blackout sites. I've prepared a page that will be shown all day on February 15th in the place of Bit And Pixels will also display the same page. Feel free to rip it.

If you feel strongly against this war, then this is another way to show the world that no, we aren't going to go on with our lives and that no, everything is not all right and that yes, there is a big problem here and we need to stop and address it.

"Your father started the job," Bush told [Ilan Ramon's children]. "And I am going to finish it." New York Post, February 6, 2003.

Aside from the question of politicizing a funeral and leveraging an astronaut's death to justify an imperial war, Bush's statement is unwise in the extreme - though far truer than intended. It's a commonplace today to speculate that a Saddam Hussein under fire would have few qualms deploying his (still alleged) weapons of mass destruction. Thus, the scenario has it, an American attack would occasion something an American attack is advertised as frustrating.

Note the congruence of the preceding with the wages paid by "the job" in 1981:

So in the long term, the Israeli attack did not delay the nuclear weapons program - it accelerated it by stimulating a sense of domestic political urgency. As a country living in an anarchic international system and facing an intense security dilemma, Iraq was compelled to expand its program and to identify Israel as a direct threat.
System Integrity Flaw Discovered At Diebold Election Systems
Yesterday, technicians and programmers for Diebold Election Systems, the company that supplied every single voting machine for the surprising 2002 results in the state of Georgia, the company that is preparing to convert the state of Maryland to its no-paper-trail computerized voting, admitted to a file-sharing system that amounts to a colossal security flaw.
More from the Reuters Foundation's excellent Alertnet: Lawyers grapple with attack on Iraq:
A further difficulty associated with self-defence concerns the availability of a right to anticipatory self-defence.

This so-called right comes in two versions. In the first, more limited and more plausible, version a state can use force to defend itself from an imminent armed attack by another entity.

In other words, there is no need for a state to wait for an attack before attacking its opponent.

The second version, now termed the Bush Doctrine, seems to envisage an expanded version of this right whereby states can use force to prevent future, possible but by no means imminent armed attacks from potential enemies.

This is the doctrine that would be used to justify a use of force by the United States against Iraq in the absence of a Security Council Resolution.

Such a doctrine would be highly controversial among international lawyers. It would also, if universally available, represent a serious threat to international order.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Mounting Israelization of American Society
Growing up in Nazareth, an Arab in a Jewish state, a secular Christian in a Muslim society, a leftist in a Baptist school, I learned firsthand how managing ideological, religious and national differences helps us evolve peacefully. Succumbing to them generates fundamentalism and antagonism. Applying brute force to overcome them as Israel, my country, has done to my people, the Palestinian Arabs — fails utterly.

In other news, Aron's Peace Weblog once again has some of the best links and commentary on the internet on this subject. It is recommended highly as it shows how an ordinary citizen and a soldier can try to come to terms with both a love of his homeland and a desire for justice, peace, and equality of all men. Aron is not only an admirable human being, but a fine writer and blogger as well.
also from the Village Voice...
on-line edition, by Alisa Solomon,
Dying for War;
and then also inspired by fellow harbinger's earlier mention
of a certain B. O'Reilly (oh, what an odious fellow he is...),
from Democratic Underground, The Un-American Factor.
Bill O'Reilly loses it
Bill O'Reilly attempted to interview the son of a 9-11 victim on Tuesday. Unfortunatly the kid has a brain and wasn't hell bent on bombing the shit out of other nations for no logical reason.
No Easy Conclusions on the Ground in Iraq
Amid this cacophony of appeals to Iraqis’ hearts—Saddam Hussein’s appeal to pride and history, America’s promise of freedom, and a general atmosphere of anger over the suffering of Palestinians, which in complex ways is also factored into the equation—ordinary Iraqis don’t seem to know what to feel about the impending war. Most say they will hide at home. Others say they will pack all their possessions into a car and make for a border.
Neal Pollack's The Maelstrom
Hilarious send-up of Powell at the U.N.
Blood, Stats, and Tears - The Village Voice

Hello kiddies. Let's get out our oil/gas powered calculators (Whoever has the biggest gas powered SU..oops, I mean calculator, wins!), and tally up these numbers:

Number of barrels of oil in Iraq's proven reserves: 112,000,000,000
Number of precision-guided missiles and bombs that the United States plans to launch per hour at Baghdad during the war's first 48 hours: 63
Percentage of Americans who believe that oil best explains why the U.S. would use military force against Iraq: 22

I randomly copied down a few of the numbers. Randomly. Honest.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link
One of the linchpins of the stated reasons for war against Iraq is rejected by a UK intelligence report.
Threatening Poetry: NPR : All Things Considered for Tuesday, February 4, 2003: The California Supreme Court has accepted a case that schools hope will help them walk the fine post-Columbine line between students' free speech rights and the need for school safety. The court is considering a case from San Jose in which a student was expelled and prosecuted for writing what authorities called "threatening poetry." NPR's Richard Gonzales reports. [audio available tomorrow]
Monday, February 03, 2003
Key to U.S. Case Denies Iraq-Al Qaeda Link
The strangest thing about the strange story of Mullah Krekar, the leader of an Islamic terrorist group operating in the wilds of northern Iraq, is the fact that he remains a free man, living in peaceful Norway.

Blix Says US Misrepresented Report
Days after delivering a broadly negative report on Iraq's cooperation with international inspectors, Hans Blix on Wednesday challenged several of the Bush administration's assertions about Iraqi cheating and the notion that time was running out for disarming Iraq through peaceful means.
Sunday, February 02, 2003
President Bu(ll)sh(it) to force Americans to work longer hours without overtime pay
The overtime changes are confined to a section of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act that defines blue-collar and white-collar workers and determines who must be paid an hourly rate of time-and-a-half for working beyond 40 hours a week. About 80 million workers now are covered by the overtime rules.

Under current regulations, employees are only exempted from the overtime rules if they meet several criteria, including salary, management and other administrative responsibilities and whether jobs require advanced "intellectual" skills and training.

Under the salary test, last updated in 1975, workers earning more than $8,060 a year are exempt from overtime if they meet the other criteria as well. The administration wants to raise this amount.

At the same time, however, the department is clarifying and simplifying job descriptions and duties tests. That could move many higher paid workers into the exempt category, though McCutchen said she could not quantify the impact.

Powell's Books

Site Meter

Creative Commons License