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Archive for June 7th, 2007

Right Wing Warbloggers…

by- Suzie-Q @ 6:33 PM MST

A glimpse at how right wing warbloggers spend their days…

Thanks to Carl (hat tip to MissC)

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Countdown To War On Iran

by- Suzie-Q @ 4:45 PM MST
US Foments Unrest and Spurns Overtures

Silently, stealthily, unseen by cameras, the war on Iran has already begun. Many sources confirm that the United States, bent on destabilising the Islamic Republic, has increased its aid to armed movements among the Azeri, Baluchi, Arab and Kurdish ethnic minorities that make up about 40% of the Iranian population. ABC News reported in April that the US had secretly assisted the Baluchi group Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), responsible for a recent attack in which some 20 members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed. According to an American Foundation report (1), US commandos have operated inside Iran since 2004.

President George Bush categorised Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, as the “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address in January 2002. Then in June 2003 he said the US and its allies should make it clear that they “would not tolerate” the construction of a nuclear weapon in Iran.

It is worth recalling the context in which these statements were made. President Mohammed Khatami had repeatedly called for “dialogue among civilisations”. Tehran had actively supported the US in Afghanistan, providing many contacts that Washington had used to facilitate the overthrow of the Taliban regime. At a meeting in Geneva on 2 May 2003 between Javad Zaraf, the Iranian ambassador, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan, the Tehran government submitted a proposal to the White House for general negotiations on weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and security, and economic cooperation (2). The Islamic Republic said it was ready to support the Arab peace initiative tabled at the Beirut summit in 2002 and help to transform the Lebanese Hizbullah into a political party. Tehran signed the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty on 18 December 2003, which considerably strengthens the supervisory powers of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but which only a few countries have ratified.

The US administration swept all these overtures aside since its only objective is to overthrow the mullahs. To create the conditions for military intervention, it constantly brandishes “the nuclear threat”. Year after year US administrations have produced alarmist reports, always proved wrong. In January 1995 the director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency said Iran could have the bomb by 2003, while the US defence secretary, William Perry, predicted it would have the bomb by 2000. These forecasts were repeated by Israel’s Shimon Peres a year later. Yet last month, despite Iran’s progress in uranium enrichment, the IAEA considered that it would be four to six years before Tehran had the capability to produce the bomb.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 1:28 PM MST

This week, two military judges dismissed charges against a Canadian and a Yemeni detained at Guantanamo Bay, ruling that their war-crimes trials cannot move forward, throwing the entire military commissions process and those being held under it into question.

At issue in these cases is not simply whether Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan are “lawful” or “unlawful” enemy combatants as the judges have determined. Rather, what is at stake is whether America stands for what is right or what is wrong – whether we stand for justice that secures America or vengeance that weakens us. What is at stake is the rule of law, America’s moral authority and their vital connection to America’s security.

Indeed, one of the saddest days in my 26-year career in the Senate occurred last fall when the Congress passed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), allowing evidence obtained through torture to be admitted into evidence, denying individuals the right to counsel, the right to invoke the Geneva Conventions. Indeed, with passage of the MCA, Congress removed the single most important and effective safeguard of liberty man has known:

The right of habeas corpus, permitting prisoners to be brought before court to determine whether their detainment is lawful.

In removing habeas corpus protections, the MCA affirmed vengeance as a tool in fighting terrorism – discarding sixty years of precedent and respect for the rule of law.

My father served as Executive Trial Counsel under Chief Prosecutor and Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals, which set a high standard for moral authority and rule of law in the 20th Century. Trials were far from the obvious choice following World War Two and the extermination of 10 million people – and vengeance was an understandable reaction.

Churchill wanted to promptly shoot the Nazi leaders. Stalin wanted show trials – and then to shoot them. And many legal scholars argued there was no court or precedent under which to try them.

The parallels with the situation we find ourselves in today are chilling – today we see an Administration that too often uses the law and its advocates not to uphold justice but to undermine it, enlisting attorneys to weaken laws and agencies that protect citizens here at home and our men and women in uniform abroad.

Let there be no doubt that Mr. Khadr, Mr. Hamdan and their fellow detainees are accused of serious crimes – crimes they might well be guilty of.

Yet once again, we should reject the certainty of execution and incarceration for uncertainty of the rule of law and justice.

Why? Because America has always stood for something more and our ability to lead reflected it. Based on our moral leadership, we were able to forge alliances and respect around the world, that in turn helped to secure the nation.

Indeed, the subjugation of habeas and the use of torture make us weaker as a nation, not stronger.

America can lead again, but we must restore our moral authority. That is why I introduced the Restoring the Constitution Act (RCA). By insisting that suspected terrorists will be treated consistent with norms of our national law and the Geneva Conventions, to which we remain a signatory, we can protect our national security while upholding the international credibility so critical to securing America.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 12:18 PM MST


Prince Bandar bin Sultan

LONDON — A Saudi prince received millions of dollars for his own use as part of Britain’s largest arms deal, the British Broadcasting Corp. says. In upcoming report from its Panorama program, the BBC says that the payments went to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who negotiated the $80-billion (U.S.) Al-Yamamah arms deal to sell 100 warplanes in 1985.

BAE Systems, the prime contractor, has denied that it ever violated British law in relation to the contract. Prince Bandar refused to comment, the BBC said in a statement Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken responsibility for calling off an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into allegations that BAE Systems ran a $120-million “slush fund” offering sweeteners to Saudi officials in return for contracts as part of the Al-Yamamah deal.

Speaking at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Mr. Blair refused to comment on the allegations raised in the BBC report but repeated his long-standing defence of his government’s actions.

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Prince Bandar’s Aspen compound on market for $135 million

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Afternoon Jukebox… Obsession

by- Suzie-Q @ 12:04 PM MST


Animotion – Obsession  

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Jon Stewart: ‘This Is Just Too Easy’

by- Suzie-Q @ 11:44 AM MST

When Jon Stewart opened Tuesday’s Daily Show by announcing that “Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby … is going to the hoosegow,” cheers broke out.

“Libby received his sentence in spite of character reference letters from names like John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Henry Kissinger,” said Stewart, “or, as they’re known, Those Four Assholes. John, Paul, Don, and Henry. Like a boy band but without the credibility.”

Stewart then turned to the indictment of Rep. Willian Jefferson (D-LA), saying, “On the downside, Jefferson faces 235 years in prison. On the upside, now we know what it takes for the federal government to pay some attention to a black man from New Orleans.”

Stewart also mentioned Fox News’ presentation of the Jefferson story accompanied by footage of “House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, who is, and this is fascinating, a completely different person.”

Finally, Stewart ran clips of prominent conservatives bashing the Bush administration’s immigration proposals and Bush criticizing them in return for “empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our fellow citizens.”

“This is too easy,” grinned Stewart, before playing a collage of statements from Bush and other administration figures trying to frighten their fellow citizens.

Watch the video

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by- Suzie-Q @ 8:26 AM MST

Nancy Pelosi called the Jefferson indictment an unacceptable abuse of power. It is, and though he’s one of the more blatant House offenders, he’s hardly the only offender.

The question was never whether Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson would be indicted but when. Now that the inevitable has happened and the scandal tainted Congressman has been hit with a 16-count bribery indictment that could land him in jail for decades where does that leave the promise House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi made last year to “drain the swamp.” By that she meant that she and House Democrats would cleanse the House of the rampant corruption, cronyism and favoritism that have come to be its trademark.

Jefferson, of course, was the lightening rod for Pelosi’s political grandstanding on ethics reform. But he was a soft mark. There was the mountain of federal documents, an incriminating videotape, plea bargains by aides and a business associate, an FBI raid on his office, a prior ethics complaint against him by a congressional watchdog group, and his sordid history of deal making. The luckless Jefferson also fell victim to bad political timing. With the November 2006 mid term elections then only a few months away, Democrats badly need a hot button issue to tap public fury at a Wild West, deal-making Congress where anything and everybody is for sale.

The legal and political tumble of one politically brittle Congressman, though, hardly signals the dawning of a new day for ethics reform. In the months since Pelosi swore to clean the swamp the only tangible reform she can point to is a tougher restriction on gift giving. But the big-ticket reforms such as the creation of an independent panel to investigate ethics violations has withered on the vine. The House has had ample chance to cleanse its stable before Pelosi dumped Jefferson from the House Ways and Means Committee last year. And even more chance to nail down the reforms during the months that Jefferson twisted and squirmed in the wind waiting for the legal hammer to fall.

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