American Samizdat Guernica
Friday, August 15, 2003
Libertythink has obtained from Washington contacts a draft copy of the "Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003," also known by the Orwellian sobriquet "VICTORY Act."

Attorney General John Ashcroft is currently putting on a little road show to garner support for the bill, as well as for the USA PATRIOT Act, which had two of its more Draconian provisions targeted for defunding by the House of Representatives in late July.

(Though it does contain similar provisions, the VICTORY Act is not the same bill as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, popularly known as PATRIOT II, which was leaked in January.)

The draft obtained by Libertythink is dated June 27, and word in the Beltway is that the VICTORY Act is still being retooled over the August recess before it is introduced in the Senate. Although this may not be the final form of the act, Libertythink encourages its readers to study the bill and hit Ashcroft with hard questions when and if he comes to your town.

Measures in the 89-page draft include:
  • Creation of a new category of crime called "Narco-terrorism."
  • Radical expansion of asset forfeiture powers for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
  • Expansion of the definition of money-laundering to several kinds of transactions, including offshore banking as a means of tax evasion.
  • Creation of a ludicrous new "crime" of "reverse money-laundering."
  • Longer jail terms for a number of nonviolent drug and nondrug offenses.
  • Expanded opportunities for judge-shopping in wiretap cases.
  • Expansion of nonjudicial "administrative subpoenas" for "terrorism" investigations as broadly defined in the USA PATRIOT Act.

. . . and that's just a partial listing.

(Originally posted by Total Information, 08/14/03, 1:43 PM, Server time)
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Joe Conason's Journal. The GOP strategists behind the California recall include some fairly unsavory characters. No doubt they'll be eager to help Arnold "clean house" if he winsSalon.com | Joe Conason's Journal
AS THE DEADLINE looms this month for what will likely be thousands of copyright lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against individual computer users, anxious file swappers are turning to this and other new services in hopes of avoiding legal consequences. In EarthStation 5’s case, it is returning industry legal threats with bravado.

“We’re in Palestine, in a refugee camp,” said Ras Kabir [ed. translation: Big Head], the service’s co-founder. “There aren’t too many process servers that are going to be coming into the Jenin refugee camp. We’ll welcome them if they do.”

...For now, Kabir and his brother are worrying just as much about maintaining a functioning technology operation in an area where suicide bombings and military reprisals are still a way of life. The company has talked to militant Palestinians as well as Israelis and has gotten the go-ahead to operate without being drawn into the ongoing conflict as much as possible, he says.

“We have met with the organizations on our side, met with the leadership, and we said we just want to support ourselves and support Palestinians,” Kabir said. “Everyone thought we were nuts. But we all came to agreement. We’re entitled to eat, too.”
Because 2.3 million Americans — conservative and liberal — decried the FCC's lifting of media ownership caps, Congress will soon vote on a rollback of the new rules. Big media lobbyists are fighting back.

Another massive wave of public pressure is essential to move Congress to act. This petition will be delivered to Congress shortly before the crucial vote in September.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
We still don't know what happened in the 9/11 attacks thanks to Bush stone-walling, do they have something to hide? [either utter incomptency and flawed polices or complicity]
Salon.com | The big wedding
Engineering experts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for the two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say.
That's people from Rummy's own sphere of control now backpedalling. So far, this doesn't seem to have caused the row that the supposed Niger plutonium deal did. But this from the first paragraph of Calling Out Colin : What Powell got wrong in his U.N. briefing on Iraq at Slate--
In the middle of a fascinating article in Monday's Los Angeles Times, which quotes several former Iraqi officers on why they lost the war so badly, the following passage leaps out: "Commanders interviewed for this article said they were issued no orders regarding chemical or biological weapons. And they denied that Iraq ever possessed such weapons."
would be hard to criticize now that these Commanders have nothing to fear in retribution from Saddam Hussein.
Juan Cole, a history professor at University of Michigan, runs a must-read weblog for those interested in the Middle East, the 'war on terror', Islam, South Asia, and numerous other topics.


Has there ever been such a massive attempt in modern history to completely imprison a civilian population?

Click here for maps and details from Israeli group Btselem.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Quick and dirty candidate information
Election time is upon us, so I thought I'd share a couple resources for quick information on candidates. Of course, it's no substitute for independent research, but who has time for that these days? =)
  • On the Issues "Every candidate on every issue." Not quite, but close.
  • Skeletons in the Closet "Dirt" on many candidates. Check out the entry on Kucinich
  • Over objections from some Muslim American groups, President Bush plans to sidestep Congress and appoint a Middle East scholar who has been derided by critics as anti-Muslim to a federally funded think tank, congressional sources said on Tuesday.

    Bush's expected recess appointment of Daniel Pipes could spark a backlash from some Muslim Americans and Democrats in Congress, who oppose his nomination to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, which was created by Congress to promote peaceful solutions to world conflicts.
    Coady stressed that the name "security fence" hardly does justice to the barrier the Israelis are erecting. "This so-called 'security fence' is a football field wide, and on the two extreme edges are large rolls of concertina wire," he recounted. It is also protected by a deep V-shaped trench, he said. "If you went down (in it), you couldn't get back up," he said.

    According to information from the Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network, the wall is being built from the northwest to the southwest of the West Bank. Even without possible expansions, it is expected to be at least 220 miles long when completed. It will average 25 feet high, with armed concrete towers, and a buffer zone of about 100 to 300 feet, for trenches, electric fences, cameras, sensors and security patrols. If completed with no expansions, it is expected to isolate 95,000 Palestinians, or around 4.5 percent of the West Bank population, as well as cutting off 200,000 people in East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank.

    "They are essentially building giant prisons for the Palestinians," Coady said. "They really don't want to look at these Palestinians... You should see it. It's unbelievable."
    A friend of mine coined the term "Brainwashington" after watching the media-coverage in the wake of the 9-11 terror attacks on New York and Washington. A joke at first, but now, nearly 2 years after these attacks, and after investigating and writing on this case since Sep 12th - I have to admit: it's quite serious. I think we all have become witnesses and victims of the biggest brainwashing operation in history. (via)
    Monday, August 11, 2003
    Oh, this is great. I can't wait to see this play out in court, especially with the previous court case from Florida where Fox argued that they didn't have to tell the truth in their news.
    Franken's "intent is clear - to exploit Fox News' trademark, confuse the public as to the origins of the book and, accordingly, boost sales of the book," the suit said.

    No, man, Franken's intent is to expose you for the lying liars you are--that's in the title, too, right above the 'fair and balanced' part. But this will be great publicity for the book; any satirist knows this.

    "Your Honor, is Fox news being 'Fair and Balanced' when during the election fiasco of 2000 one of their reporters said: 'Is this a case where knowing the facts actually would be worse than not knowing? I mean, should we burn those ballots, preserve them in amber, or shred them?'"

    "Or, your Honor, what about the court case where:
    Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

    " . . . would you call that 'Fair and Balanced'?"

    So according to their previous arguments they will also argue that if they have the right to lie and distort the news, then they can also call this whatever they want including "Fair and Balanced" and someone who calls them on this whilst repeating this phrase sarcastically is using Fox's market cache to sell their own stuff? Let's all thank Fox for shooting Al's book to the top of the charts!


    If you're not familiar with Little Green Footballs, I suggest that you follow this link to a little movie which gives special thanks to the "great" Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs at the end. This can give you some idea about the kind of thinking that Charles helps and inspires. Or you can check out LGF's comment sections to hear his followers routinely refer to the Palestinians as "Paleos" (dehumanizing an entire race is definitely a sign of pro-ethnic-cleansing philosophy at work, or just watch the movie to see the ethnic-cleansing viewpoint openly espoused), and gleefully expounding upon their fervent desire to piss upon Rachel Corrie's grave whenever her name is brought up.

    Frankly, it's a whole lotta racist, fundamentalist bullshit to me, and I'm more than a little surprised that Boing Boing has taken it up. Hopefully it's some kind of naive mistake, otherwise I think they oughta revise their slogan to Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things Which May Or May Not Include Links to Fundamentalist Pro-Ethnic-Cleansers.
    Go away. And if you don't go away you might want to upgrade your server--your site takes for-freaking-ever to load. Really, Joe, I'm a lifelong Democrat & if by some chance you should win the nomination of my party, I will go to the poll to vote on other candidates, but leave the presidential line blank. That is, I think you're worse than Bush--you take his policy positions but mask them in a sanctimonious syrup of rhetoric; at the same time, you attack members of your own party who hold the current president to account. Just to pose a single question, what exactly are those "failed Democratic policies of the past" that "we" must "reject"? A living wage? Free speech? Civil rights? An economy run for the many not the few? International cooperation? Support for the UN? Concern for those who suffer both within & outside our borders? Well, you see where I'm coming from. I've supported these policies since I could first vote more than thirty years ago & now, apparently, you want me to reject them in favor of some weird DLC dream of political expediency? No thanks.

    Really, Senator, it is difficult for me to refrain from using obscenity. You are a disgrace; you make me sick. And, by the way, your performance during the 2000 coup only aided the Republican take-over of my government. Please, you're not going to win a single primary, but your attacks on the other candidates harm the party: if you are still a Democrat, get out of the race now. Save face. Senators have a nice life. Please, take your moralistic ego-trip & go away. [See also this version of the campaign. It's much better than the official "Joe" site. And I speak as someone named Joe, so I know the sociology of Joe v. Joseph.]
    The Premature War
    "The United States military, the Central Intelligence Agency and Iraqi exiles began a broad covert effort inside Iraq at least three months before the war to forge alliances with Iraqi military leaders and persuade commanders not to fight," reported Sunday's NY Times.

    This news does not come as a surprise, especially since revelations about the premature bombings to "soften up" Iraqi defenses came to light, but it nonetheless blows another hole in the repeated claim by the Bush administration in the months preceding the assault that they were doing their best to avoid war. "No decision yet" is what Wolfie, Ari, Colin, Dick, and, yes, even George kept telling the press in mid to late 2002. They were, obviously, lying.

    In reality, the decision was immediately made to use 9/11 to justify a war in Iraq. After the Afghan bloodletting, the plan was set into motion and the appeal to the UN in Fall 2002 was used to garner as much support as possible, since the administration had to give the military a few months for a troop buildup anyway.

    All of the hemming and hawing over WMD capabilities is and was just a clever front to obscure these points.
    Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, both of whom spent the better part of the past decade advocating the use of military force against Iraq, put the issue to rest once and for all.

    Judging by recent interviews Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz gave to a handful of media outlets during the past week, the short answer is yes, the public was misled into believing Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States. Both admit that the war with Iraq was planned two days after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
    Sunday, August 10, 2003
    In her brief to the court, Weber argued that DRE machines, which record and tabulate votes electronically using a touchscreen "ballot," have no hardcopy mechanism to verify the accuracy of votes.

    "Voters could never know for sure that their vote had been recorded as they intended, or that their votes, once recorded, would not be manipulated, either fraudulently or by a glitch," she said.

    "In the event of a contested election, the absence of an independently auditable 'paper trail' [would] render a meaningful recount impossible."

    The lawsuit argues that touchscreen voting systems are illegal under California law and violate the Fourteenth Amendment's "equal protection" clause. According to California Elections Code §19205, all voting machines must be "safe from fraud or manipulation."

    However, Weber lost the first round when Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled against her on September 3, 2002.

    In his decision, Wilson said "the state's interest in easy, attractive voting machines which might increase voter turnout outweighed the voters' interest in verifiable results," said Weber.

    For more information on Weber's lawsuit, visit: www.electionguardians.org.
    This should be done in every city across the country, and one of the nice things about the otherwise California gubernatorial debacle is that it can force the issue of the potentially riggable electronic voting machines on us a year before the '04 vote and maybe give us enough impetus and time to fix the problem before the Get Out Bush Vote in '04. I really feel that next year in many ways is [the possibility for] Democracy's Last Stand here in America. Which side of the bars are you on?
    "If too many people arrive this evening, we'll have to start turning them away,'' Christine Tellen, one of the organizers said on Canal Satellite's all-news channel. "There'll be signs put up explaining that the site is full.''

    The site is running out of water and space for parking. The event has attracted more than 100,000 people, she said. Attendance is estimated at half that by local officials.

    But isn't that always the case? Must be one of the oldest tricks in the book: "Uh, attendance at the anti-Bush rally reached a high of oh maybe twenty today . . . 20 dirty hippies . . . " when several city blocks are jammed full of people carrying signs and not gonna take it any more . . .
    French farming militant Jose Bove, freed from jail last Saturday, called on the government to initiate a national debate on the Cancun round of World Trade Organization negotiations that take place next month. Larzac, an annual gathering that lasts all weekend and uses the slogan "The World Is Not For Sale,'' was the site of Bove's first protest 30 years ago. [more]
    I remember Bove standing on a stopped bus at an intersection here in Seattle back on November 29th, 1999, the day before the big protest. He was an instant folk hero from the get-go, and I still think his efforts are laudable, to say the least--his and Naomi Klein's and Kevin Danaher's and Medea Benjamin's and on and on . . . but I also know that George Soros is right when he says that "The fate of the world depends on the United States, and President Bush is leading us in the wrong direction," . . . therefore the number one aim of all human-rights, progressive and environmental activists the world over is to do what they can--whatever they can, to not get George Bush elected (not "Re-elected" ya filthy WaPo and others).

    In America you can help by assuring a free and fair election and making sure that those electronic voting machines are not tampered with and at least are necessitated to leave a paper trail . . . you can spread the word about who actually owns the corporate media and what that does to the messages they spread, and promote healthy information-alternatives . . . and you can know Rove propaganda when you see it--Don't attack Bush, my ass!--How many times have you heard the sentiment that Democrats need to get a spine? How many times?! This country is craving for someone to fight back against that stupid greedy sonofabitch administration and not the aforementioned filthy WaPo nor early Dem nominee sore loser Lieberman and his DLC are gonna sell a rotten bill of goods to the people of this country that Bush doesn't deserve to be stood up against and uncovered for what he is: a lying, manipulative (and manipulated) fraud who would sooner loot the US Treasury, kill thousands, eliminate all social services in America and irrevocably destroy our land, air and water in order to make a buck in the name of his simpleton fundamentalist God than do one single thing that's good for all Americans--the poor and underprivileged included.

    By helping to unseat Bush you are saving the world, the most important step at a time.
    He's a Vietnam War hero from a proud lineage of warriors who served the United States, so he never expected to be called a traitor.

    After 39 years in the Marines, including commands in Somalia and Iraq, Gen. Anthony Zinni never imagined he would be tagged "turncoat."

    The epithets are not from the uniforms but the suits — "senior officers at the Pentagon," the now-retired general says from his home in Williamsburg, Va.

    "They want to question my patriotism?" he demands testily.

    To question the Iraq war in the U.S. — and individuals from Main St. merchants to Hollywood stars do — is to be branded un-American.

    Dissent, once an ideal cherished in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, now invites media attacks, hate Web sites, threats and job loss.

    After Zinni challenged the administration's rationale for the Iraq war last fall, he lost his job as President George W. Bush's Middle East peace envoy after 18 months. [more]

    War hero? Don't matter to AWOL, as Skippy calls him . . . ya either do what the People for a New American Century say or you're against us . . .

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