Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Pivotal Ohio vote in 2004: Who did the counting?

by Josh Mitteldorf
OpEdNews
April 29, 2007 at 12:49:44

Ohio 2004 represented, in many ways, a worst case in scenarios ripe for election theft:

A highly partisan Secretary of State within the context of a generally corrupt State government.

A pivotal state that could swing the Electoral College in a hotly-contested Presidential election.

A state electorate that was ‘within striking distance’ for vote theft. Pre-election and election-day polls indicated a 4% margin in Kerry’s favor

The efforts by Secretary of State J Kenneth Blackwell to suppress registration and selectively disenfranchise Democrats have become well known. But exit polls indicate that on Election Night he still had a problem: Kerry’s actual margin may have been several hundred thousand votes.

Somehow, that gap was closed, and Bush came out on top in the official count. Until now, there were strong reasons to believe the vote count had been corrupted, but no direct evidence as to how a swing of this magnitude could have been engineered.

This week, in a series of articles by Bob Firakis, Steven Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman, a fact has come to light that suggests the answer: On the night of 2-3 November, 2004, the computer designated to count Ohio votes was cut out of the loop. Its web address was diverted to a private company in Chattanooga, TN, named SMARTech.

It’s easy to ‘impersonate’ someone else’s website. This is a common ruse used in conjunction with emails that ‘phish’ for your financial information. But such scams can be detected by inspecting the address bar at the top of most browsers. For example, the screen may look just like Washington Mutual’s login for bank customers, but the address is not http://WaMu.com, but instead points to a site (in India!) labeled only as http://202.71.146.148/.s/.wamusk/index.php.

The web redirection on Election Night of 2004 went a step beyond this: Not only did the official website of the Ohio Department of State look just right, but it had the right address: http://election.sos.state.oh.us. Any citizen or press service looking for real time election results from the state of Ohio would have been directed here. In every sense, this SMARTech site became the official vote tabulation for the state of Ohio.

If the name SMARTech sounds vaguely familiar, it is because the same web server, run by the same company, was in the news last month. It is the site that handled the email accounts for White House aides who did not want their communications to be subject to Congressional scrutiny. When Congress set out to subpoena the emails of Karl Rove, they had disappeared, along with 6 million other email messages. The entire staff had been communicating secretly, illegally, subverting the system that had been set up by Congress in the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

SMARTech leases computer servers to the Republican National Committee, and the 12-digit ISP address to which the Ohio Department of State was diverted for the 2004 vote count falls between two ranges known to be leased to the RNC. This raises the suspicion that it was an RNC computer, impersonating the state of Ohio computer, that performed the official vote tabulation in 2004. This diversion is so unusual (and brazen!) a ruse, that it is inconceivable that it happened without Blackwell’s explicit consent.

The Ohio web site was showing Kerry ahead before midnight. Then the server went down for 90 minutes, and when it came back up, Bush had a commanding lead.

Perhaps there is a Congressional committee that be would be interested to go back and check their arithmetic. For many of the disputed counties, paper ballots have been preserved, and can be recounted. In addition, there are over 100,000 ballots that were never counted the first time, and remain uncounted to this day. (Blackwell sought to have these ballots destroyed at the earliest legal opportunity, but a successful lawsuit prompted a court to intervene.)

The above story derives from two articles by Steven Rosenfeld, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, which were published this week on the web site of the Columbus Free Press.

Larry Johnson "Slam-Dunks" George Tenet

The following was sent to George Tenet today in care of his publisher. The letter, written by a group of former intelligence officers, reflects disgust with George Tenet's effort to burnish his image with his new "tell" all book.

28 April 2007
Mr. George Tenet
c/o Harper Collins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
8th Floor
New York City, New York 10022
ATTN: Ms. Tina Andredis

Dear Mr. Tenet:

We write to you on the occasion of the release of your book, At the Center of the Storm. You are on the record complaining about the “damage to your reputation”. In our view the damage to your reputation is inconsequential compared to the harm your actions have caused for the U.S. soldiers engaged in combat in Iraq and the national security of the United States. We believe you have a moral obligation to return the Medal of Freedom you received from President George Bush. We also call for you to dedicate a significant percentage of the royalties from your book to the U.S. soldiers and their families who have been killed and wounded in Iraq.

We agree with you that Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials took the United States to war for flimsy reasons. We agree that the war of choice in Iraq was ill-advised and wrong headed. But your lament that you are a victim in a process you helped direct is self-serving, misleading and, as head of the intelligence community, an admission of failed leadership. You were not a victim. You were a willing participant in a poorly considered policy to start an unnecessary war and you share culpability with Dick Cheney and George Bush for the debacle in Iraq.

You are not alone in failing to speak up and protest the twisting and shading of intelligence. Those who remained silent when they could have made a difference also share the blame for not protesting the abuse and misuse of intelligence that occurred under your watch. But ultimately you were in charge and you signed off on the CIA products and you briefed the President.

This is not a case of Monday morning quarterbacking. You helped send very mixed signals to the American people and their legislators in the fall of 2002. CIA field operatives produced solid intelligence in September 2002 that stated clearly there was no stockpile of any kind of WMD in Iraq. This intelligence was ignored and later misused. On October 1 you signed and gave to President Bush and senior policy makers a fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)—which dovetailed with unsupported threats presented by Vice President Dick Cheney in an alarmist speech on August 26, 2002.

You were well aware that the White House tried to present as fact intelligence you knew was unreliable. And yet you tried to have it both ways. On October 7, just hours before the president gave a major speech in Cincinnati, you were successful in preventing him from using the fable about Iraq purchasing uranium in Africa, although that same claim appeared in the NIE you signed only six days before.

Although CIA officers learned in late September 2002 from a high-level member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle that Iraq had no past or present contact with Osama bin Laden and that the Iraqi leader considered bin Laden an enemy of the Baghdad regime, you still went before Congress in February 2003 and testified that Iraq did indeed have links to Al Qaeda.

You showed a lack of leadership and courage in January of 2003 as the Bush Administration pushed and cajoled analysts and managers to let them make the bogus claim that Iraq was on the verge of getting its hands on uranium. You signed off on Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations. And, at his insistence, you sat behind him and visibly squandered CIA's most precious asset—credibility."

You may now feel you were bullied and victimized but you were also one of the bullies. In the end you allowed suspect sources, like Curveball, to be used based on very limited reporting and evidence. Yet you were informed in no uncertain terms that Curveball was not reliable. You broke with CIA standard practice and insisted on voluminous evidence to refute this reporting rather than treat the information as suspect. You helped set the bar very low for reporting that supported favored White House positions, while raising the bar astronomically high when it came to raw intelligence that did not support the case for war being hawked by the president and vice president.

It now turns out that you were the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community--a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sycophancy shielded by a genial personality. Decisions were made, you were in charge, but you have no idea how decisions were made even though you were in charge. Curiously, you focus your anger on the likes of Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice, but you decline to criticize the President.

Mr. Tenet, as head of the intelligence community, you failed to use your position of power and influence to protect the intelligence process and, more importantly, the country. What should you have done? What could you have done?

For starters, during the critical summer and fall of 2002, you could have gone to key Republicans and Democrats in the Congress and warned them of the pressure. But you remained silent. Your candor during your one-on-one with Sir Richard Dearlove, then-head of British Intelligence, of July 20, 2002" provides documentary evidence that you knew exactly what you were doing; namely, "fixing" the intelligence to the policy.

By your silence you helped build the case for war. You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Most importantly and tragically, you failed to meet your obligations to the people of the United States. Instead of resigning in protest, when it could have made a difference in the public debate, you remained silent and allowed the Bush Administration to cite your participation in these deliberations to justify their decision to go to war. Your silence contributed to the willingness of the public to support the disastrous war in Iraq, which has killed more than 3300 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

If you are committed to correcting the record about your past failings then you should start by returning the Medal of Freedom you willingly received from President Bush in December 2004. You claim it was given only because of the war on terror, but you were standing next to General Tommy Franks and L. Paul Bremer, who also contributed to the disaster in Iraq. President Bush said that you:

played pivotal roles in great events, and efforts have made our
country more secure and advanced the cause of human liberty.

The reality of Iraq, however, has not made our nation more secure nor has the cause of human liberty been advanced. In fact, your tenure as head of the CIA has helped create a world that is more dangerous. The damage to the credibility of the CIA is serious but can eventually be repaired. Many of the U.S. soldiers maimed in the streets of Fallujah and Baghdad cannot be fixed. Many will live the rest of their lives missing limbs, blinded, mentally disabled, or physically disfigured. And the dead have passed into history.

Mr. Tenet, you cannot undo what has been done. It is doubly sad that you seem still to lack an adequate appreciation of the enormous amount of death and carnage you have facilitated. If reflection on these matters serves to prick your conscience we encourage you to donate at least half of the royalties from your book sales to the veterans and their families, who have paid and are paying the price for your failure to speak up when you could have made a difference. That would be the decent and honorable thing to do.

Sincerely yours,

Phil Giraldi

Ray McGovern

Larry Johnson

Jim Marcinkowski

Vince Cannistraro

David MacMichael

CIA boss warned Bush on UK intelligence

By Philip Sherwell in New York, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:15am BST 29/04/2007

America's former spy chief has revealed how he warned the White House that Britain had "exaggerated" reports that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium ore in Niger - claims that President George W Bush later made central to his case for war.

George Tenet, who quit as CIA director in 2004, details in a new book how White House hawks were determined to use British intelligence that the Iraqi regime had sought "yellowcake" for a suspected atomic bomb programme.

The President's reliance on the allegation, which he cited in his key State of the Union speech in January 2003, emerged last week as the focus of newly launched investigations by the Democrat-controlled Congress into the pre-war use of intelligence.

Mr Tenet's long-awaited book, the first tell-all account from the President's inner circle in the tumultuous years of the September 11 attacks and the Iraq invasion, is being read avidly by Democrats keen to pursue the Bush administration's handling of those events.

The ex-CIA chief, who has been invited to testify before Congress this week, is scathing about the roles of Vice-President Dick Cheney and the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice (now Secretary of State), before the invasion.

In another damning claim, he says he and a senior CIA colleague told Miss Rice in summer 2001 that a significant terrorist strike on the US was in the works, but that their warnings went unheeded until the September 11 attacks.

JUSTICE THROUGH MUSIC AND OP-CRITICAL RELEASE HAPPY SPRINGTIME, BUSH IS OVER

Thirty some years ago, John Lennon released Happy Xmas, War Is Over as a prelude to the end of the Vietnam War. Now JTM and Op-Critical have released a remake of the song with new lyrics, called Happy Springtime, Bush Is Over. In the original, the Harlem Children’s Choir sang the hook, and in our new version, the Harmonic Angels do a terrific job on the chorus and the hook. Here is the video of the band and the choir, complete with footage of Yoko Ono’s giant Imagine Peace billboard and her Peace Prayer Trees that she put in Washington in early April.



Enjoy, spread the message, spread the links and imagine peace.



anthony says: Awesome, simply awesome! John Lennon would have just loved this use of his single.



For some reason, the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington DC came to mind while posting this video. I don’t know why. Is it because cherry trees in blossom is such a powerful symbol of Spring? Is it because the United States was once at war with Japan and is now at peace? Is it because the trees were a gift of Japan to the United States? Is it because Yoko Ono is Japanese?

“Springtime for Hitler and Germany” is the title of a song in that somewhat inappropriate film, The Producers. Let us all hope that it is now springtime for lovers of peace, truth and justice everywhere.

Student protesters upset Attorney General's Harvard reunion


RAW STORY
Published: Saturday April 28, 2007

Student protesters wearing hoods and Guantanamo Bay garb found their way into the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' 25th Harvard Law School reunion Saturday.

A release sent by the group to RAW STORY claims Gonzales was "forced to leave through a back door."

Gonzales apparently arrived unnannounced. Students met him and his fellow classmates outside the law library where the class of 1982 had posed for a photo.

As the photographer said cheese, the group said students yelled that "torture," "resign" or "I don't recall" might be more appropriate.

The Justice Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

"When I heard he was on campus, I was stuffing envelopes with letters to Congress in an office two floors above," said Deborah Popowski, a second-year law student, according to the release. "I dropped everything. Gonzales needs to know that after approving poorly-reasoned memos that distort the rule of law and justify torture, he is simply not welcome here."

According the the group, Popowski slipped though the law library's front doors and approached Gonzales from behind as the Attorney General's security detail kept protesters at bay.

"On behalf of many other Harvard Law students," she said, "I'd like to tell you that we are ashamed to have you as an alumnus of this school. And we're glad you're here to be able to tell you that."

Gonzales allegedly thanked the student and offered to shake her hand, but was refused.

Following the photo, Gonzales was said to have entered the library, traveled to the reading room, then ducked out through a basement emergency exit and into a waiting SUV.



Protesters demand impeachment as President Bush speaks at Miami-Dade College

Larisa Alexandrovna
Raw Story
Published: Saturday April 28, 2007

Miami - Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Kendell Miami-Dade College campus where President George W. Bush spoke on Saturday afternoon. Roughly 200 protesters were clustered near temporary fences and an estimated 600 altogether spent the better part of the afternoon marching and holding signs alongside a main road near the college campus.



The protesters were commemorating "National Impeachment Day" with a peaceful march while Miami police looked on. The president was escorted in and out of the campus through an entrance on the far side of the campus, where he could not see the protests. Two pro-Bush supporters rode their bicycles in front of the protesters screaming "Commies," but by and large, the rally drew few administration supporters.

National Impeachment Day was organized by a large coalition of center and left of center groups, including A28, Democrats.com, and Progressive Democrats for America. The protesters, however, did not focus only on the topic of impeachment, but also on reasons for impeachment, carrying signs such as "Out of Iraq" and "No blood for oil."



Among the protesters were Miami-Dade students and some faculty. The protest in Miami was but one of many across the nation, with protesters gathering in nearly every state, as well as Puerto Rico.



Saturday, April 28, 2007

Viguerie urges Gonzales impeachment

Press TV
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 04:05:38

Conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie called vehemently on Capitol Hill to impeach Alberto Gonzales if he doesn't resign himself.

"If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales continues to refuse to resign, it's time for Congress to impeach him -- and Republicans must take the lead," says conservative activist Richard A. Viguerie.

As the man who pioneered political direct mail, Viguerie has been called "the Funding Father" of the conservative movement.

He is the author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006).

"No other choice is available," says Viguerie. "Gonzales has refused to resign so far, despite demands from Republican Senators and Representatives that he do so."

"And President Bush has erected a wall around the White House, shutting out reality, giving his long-time political crony unconditional support. If his boss won't fire him, and Gonzales refuses to leave voluntarily, he must be made to leave involuntarily."

"President Bush is already a lame duck with the lowest public support since Richard Nixon, so in a sense he has nothing more to lose. What should scare Republicans, however, is that once again Bush seems willing to bring the entire Republican Party to destruction with him. The Republicans have already lost the House and the Senate. If they want to have any chance of retaining the White House or making gains in Congress in 2008, they must break decisively with this politically suicidal president," he added.

Impeachment of a Cabinet member is authorized by the Constitution. Charges of impeachment must be passed in the House, and then the official is tried by the Senate.

A president cannot grant a reprieve or pardon for impeachment. If impeached, the official is removed from office and is disqualified to hold and enjoy any other federal office.

Grounds for impeachment, under Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution, are "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." ("Misdemeanors" is a constitutional term that does not have the current meaning of an offense less serious than a felony, according to the American Bar Association.)

In a final note, Viguerie added:

"In his testimony before the Senate last week, he said he 'could not remember' deeds or actions more than 70 times, including many recent events. This strains everyone's credulity except the president's."

"If nothing else, he should be removed from office for Memory Deficit Disorder. You cannot run a Justice Department with well over 100,000 employees when your mind supposedly is that blank."

Wolfowitz panel finds Ethics Breach

Press TV
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 12:24:58

It has emerged that the World Bank Committee has nearly completed a report stating that Paul Wolfowitz breached its banking ethics.

Three senior bank officials said the committee are still debating on whether to explicitly recommend that Mr. Wolfowitz resign.

Wolfowitz is scheduled to appear before the committee with his attorney on Monday morning and mount his defense against demands that he should resign over engineering a pay rise for his girlfriend.

The bank's 24-member board of directors will convene that afternoon to discuss the report and sources suggest that they could announce their vote the same day, The Washington Post reported.

Wolfowitz's attorney said he has vowed to continue the fight to keep his job. "He will not resign under this cloud," he said.

The committee is composed of members of the bank's governing board. Bank officials say the timing of the report and its conclusions have come at a time when they can have maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to get Wolfowitz to go.

The White House remains supportive of Wolfowitz, even though Bush's staff has staged an open revolt aimed at persuading him to leave. European officials have repeatedly lobbied for his resignation.

Already unpopular because of his direct role as architect of the Iraq war, his management style had antagonized bank staff and European financial contributors long before the ethics scandal.

A draft of the report reviewed by the committee late Friday declared Wolfowitz had violated World Bank regulations in three areas, breach of contract, breach of ethics rules and undermining the reputation of the bank.

While this report deals only with the way he handled Ms Riza's pay rise, the committee is prepared to investigate a range of other alleged breaches of ethics and internal governance rules.

A bank board is already investigating his hiring of former White House aides, also on generous pay deals, to work in his close circle of advisors after he took over the World Bank in June 2005.

Musharraf warns US on attacking Iran

Press TV
Fri, 27 Apr 2007 15:18:54

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said a possible US attack on Iran would be a "terrible mistake" and incur dire consequences.

"It will be a terrible mistake if President George Bush orders an attack against Iran," Musharraf told Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz ahead of his visit to Bosnia.

"I'm concerned about the possibility that a US attack on Iran (would cause) turbulence in the region," he said, warning it would spark "radicalism."

The United States wants Iran to suspend a uranium enrichment program over fears the material could be used for nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists it is only interested in producing energy.

Washington also accuses Iran of aggravating violence in neighboring Iraq.

Missile raid would hit Iran nuclear plans: Olmert

Sat Apr 28, 2007 6:12AM EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iran's disputed nuclear programme could be severely hit by firing 1,000 cruise missiles in a 10-day attack, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Asked in an interview with Germany's Focus magazine whether military action would be an option if Iran continued to defy the United Nations, Olmert said: "Nobody is ruling it out."

"It is impossible perhaps to destroy the entire nuclear programme but it would be possible to damage it in such a way that it would be set back years," Olmert said.

EU's Solana urges U.S. to talk to Iran

By Paul Taylor
Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:46PM EDT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged the United States on Friday to speak directly to Iran over its disputed nuclear program, saying he was sure Tehran was ready for such talks.

"We have to see how far the U.S. is willing to engage. I think at this point in time, to have also the U.S. opening a channel of communication with Iran will be worth thinking about," he said in a public discussion at a Brussels Forum on trans-Atlantic relations.

Iran says it is developing nuclear technology for power generation, but the West fears it is trying to build a bomb and U.N. sanctions have already been imposed on Tehran.

"It is very difficult to continue in a situation where Iran is considered a country with whom you cannot organize some sort of dialogue. I think that would be good. I am going to be talking to Washington in the next few days about that."

He was speaking after two days of talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, who he said was close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Asked if he believed Khamenei was ready to allow talks with the United States, Solana answered, "I say without any hesitation, yes."

Solana said he would discuss the matter with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, who was in the audience, said Solana and Rice had already had a long conversation on the matter Thursday so "they are in very close touch about this." Continued...

GRAVEL REFUSES TO GROVEL / WINS FIRST DEBATE


by Allen L Roland
OpEdNews
April 27, 2007 at 20:16:37

"The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.": Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918- ) Russian writer, Soviet dissident, Nobel Prize for Literature 1970 / imprisoned for 8 years for criticizing Stalin in a personal letter .


Just as I was beginning to nod off during the first Democratic debate ~ lulled to sleep by careful, posturing, groveling candidates beholden to AIPAC and the Military/Industrial complex ~ Mike Gravel woke me up with his wit, authenticity and seeming ability to sense what Americans really wanted to hear ~ the truth and righteous anger over a badly managed war, occupation and economy.

While all the other candidates were being careful ~ Gravel was being real and, in the process he won the audience and the debate ( if that's what you want to call it )

I especially enjoyed his answer when asked about the three most important enemies of the United States ~

GRAVEL: " We have no important enemies. What we need to do is to begin to deal with the rest of the world as equals, and we don't do that. We spend more as a nation on defense than all the rest of the world put together.

Who are we afraid of? Who are you afraid of, Brian? I'm not.

And Iraq has never been a threat to us. We invaded them. I mean, it is unbelievable. The military-industrial complex not only controls our government lock, stock and barrel but they control our culture. "

Wow !! That's when I really woke up ~ My God, someone is finally telling the truth and its a Presidential candidate on National Television ~ Am I dreaming ? I pinched myself twice and, sure enough, I was awake and witnessing something quite special in this age of soundbites and disingenuous political sloganing ~ a politician telling the truth !

Even the New York Times caught the Gravel moment and called him,The Long Shot who made short shrift of his Rivals .

Read and enjoy ~

Friday, April 27, 2007

Islam in Western mirror


Dr Nasir Khan

Present-day images of Muslims and Islam in Western media vary considerably. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union the general drift of Western concerns has been to portray Islam as the main enemy of the West and the Muslim world as a hotbed of terrorism that threatens Western civilisation and its democratic values. Thus in the present-day hegemonic world order -- under which all norms of civilised behaviour in the conduct of foreign policy have been discarded by the Bush Administration and its allies in London and Tel Aviv -- Muslims are associated with terrorism. We have seen over the last few years the expansion of President Bush’s destructive war, the inhuman treatment of captive population of Iraq and Afghanistan, rampant abuse of prisoners from Muslim countries by American and British forces, total indifference towards the human rights of prisoners of war or of those suspected of resisting or opposing the American occupation of their countries and false propaganda to cover up the real objectives and crimes against humanity of the neocon rulers in Washington and London.

Needless to say, the so-called ‘Islamic challenge’ is based on assumptions that have no basis in reality. They misrepresent, distort and mislead rather than enlighten and inform. Over the last fifteen years a number of publications have appeared that have borne sensational titles like ‘Sword of Islam’, ‘The Islamic Threat’, ‘The Roots of Muslim Rage’, ‘Islam’s New Battle Cry’ and ‘What went wrong with Islam?’. They reveal the sort of preconceived image of Islam their writers had intended to convey to their readers. According to such projections, Islam is a challenge to Western values as well as to West’s economic and political interests. But in view of the real power wielded by the West in general and America in particular throughout the Middle East and beyond, the so-called ‘threat of Islam’ is quite groundless.

But right-wing political manipulators and Christian fundamentalists can very easily provoke major crises between the Muslim world and the West; we have only to recall the case of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The real aim of some Danish and Norwegian right-wing newspapers to publish these cartoons was to provoke hostile reactions from Muslims and thus cause more bitterness and resentment between Muslims and Christians. They tried to cover up their anti-Islamic campaign behind the smokescreen of the argument that publishing the cartoons was a demonstration of the West’s freedom of expression. They were xenophobic, racist and disrespectful of immigrant cultures in Europe and the Islamic culture in particular. How could hurting the feelings of over one billion Muslims was to serve the interests of free Press, freedom of expression or civil liberties? An anti-Islam fundamentalist Christian by the name of Mr Selbekk, the Norwegian editor of Magazinet reprinted the cartoons which were first published in Denmark. He was asked if he would also publish any cartoons that insulted Jesus, said: No. Thus this gentleman’s vaunted ideal of ‘freedom of expression’ was limited to insulting the Prophet Muhammad and obviously did not extend to insulting the gods, prophets and spiritual avatars of any other major religion.

However, it is important to look at the strategic goals of such editors and publishers. They did succeed in their objective, which was to cause maximum provocation to Muslims worldwide and to create an atmosphere of contempt and hatred towards them among the followers of other religions. Muslims were predictably and understandably offended and their reactions led to some horrible incidents in various parts of the globe. What those who reacted violently did not realise was that they had fallen in the trap of anti-Muslim mischief-mongers, who, through provocation had achieved their goal. Now the stage was set to repeat the old charge: Muslims were fanatics, volatile and irrational — they were ‘terrorists’! The divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’ as cultural opposites was reinforced and widened.

The anti-Muslim media keep on churning out the common stereotypes that portray Muslims, compared to Westerners, as more prone to conflict and violence. These media publish accounts of conflicts in the Muslim countries as self-evident truths to reinforce the image. There is a general tendency to oversimplify or ignore altogether diverse trends and complex socio-economic factors that lead to instability and conflicts in various Muslim countries. The explanations offered and conclusions drawn sometimes are based on implicit, but more often, explicit assumptions about the superiority of Western, ‘Judaeo-Christian’ culture, while the Islamic world is thought to be an epicentre of brutality and disharmony.

A very common stereotype in the Western media is that Islamic countries are inherently prone to violence, fanaticism, medieval ideas and prejudices. This means that Islam, both as a religion and as a cultural influence, is to bear the responsibility for all such regional ills. The West is the harbinger of sweetness and light (but occasionally also darkness and misery), peace and civility (but occasionally predatory wars and barbarism), rationality and open-mindedness (but occasionally irrationality, racism and prejudice, and always is focused on its own interests). All those who have taken the trouble to look at the last few centuries’ history of Western colonialism, extending from the time of the so-called ‘discoveries’ of America by Columbus in 1492 and of India by Vasco de Gama in 1498 by sea routes, the ‘discovery’ of Africa by the European for slave trade show the ‘noble’ hands of Western nations that were extended to the people of Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia have left their marks on every continent. We cannot go into historical details here. But the global expansion of Western colonialism is the story of plunder and destruction across continents. No doubt, the seeds of Western civilisation were sown in this way. Within Western societies, the internal conflicts, violence and wars present us with a gory history. This superior culture when seen in the limited sphere of geopolitics and international relations in the last one hundred years only leaves a legacy of two World Wars, more wars (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq), invasions and coups (Guatemala, Grenada, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Congo, southern Africa), concentration camps, racist massacres undertaken on a large scale by the flag-bearers of Western civilisation.

It is obvious that cultural differences between nations and peoples of the world are a fact of history. And in this context generalising about cultural differences is unavoidable. But in no way can such differences be equated with mutual exclusiveness or inevitable hostility between different cultures. Where the initial instinct is not to enter into an anthropological or historical study of comparative cultures, but rather to foment strife and hatred between nations and religions for ulterior motives the consequences can be disastrous. Let us take the events in the aftermath of the bombing of Oklahoma City in the United States on 19 April 1995. The media rushed to spread rumours that a ‘Middle Eastern man’ [i.e. a Muslim Arab] was responsible for the carnage. As a result Muslims throughout the United States were targeted for physical abuse, rough treatment and social ostracism. Their mosques were desecrated, Muslim women ere harassed and cars belonging to ‘Middle Easterns’ damaged. A British newspaper Today published on its front page a frightening picture of a fireman carrying the burnt remains of a dead child under the headline ‘In the name of Islam’. Identifying the perpetrator of such a reprehensible act alone would not be sufficient; Islam also had to be brought in to ignite the communal passions of people against members of another faith. However, it soon became evident that the bomber was a fair-haired American soldier, a decorated Gulf War (1991) veteran. The religion of this right-wing terrorist was not Islam but Christianity. But no one in either American or British media labelled him a ‘Christian terrorist’ or apologised to Muslims for the wrongs done to them. Once again the freedom to tell the truth and report events fairly had taken a back seat.

The second instance is the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon by a few persons, most of whom came from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a close ally of America. They saw the policies pursued by the US in the Middle East and its support for the anachronistic rule by the House of Saud as the stumbling block towards a fair social order in their country as well as the rest of the Middle East. No matter what the nature of their grievances, I regard this attack terribly wrong. It provided ammunition to the neocons and right-wing fanatics in Washington to unleash the reign of terror, war, death and destruction in the Middle East and the petroleum regions in the general vicinity. At the same time, we ask a simple question: What had these bombings to do with millions of ordinary Muslim citizens of Europe and America? The answer is: nothing whatsoever. We witnessed that they were victimised everywhere by many white Westerners in the most grotesque and despicable ways.

During my stay in Europe for more than four decades, I have become acutely aware that the negative images of Islam and Islamic civilisation need a serious historical analysis for general readers as well as academic scholars that enables us to rise above oft-repeated and worn-out clichés of media and partisan scholarship and thus show the facts of the problematic relations between the two world religions and their civilisations. My book Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms (2006) deals these themes and issues. It is clear that both Islam and the West suffer from the perceptual problems of adversary relationship going far back in history. Their mutual perceptions have been distorted by religious dogmas, political developments and traditional prejudices. If we take a look at the history of European colonial expansion in Americas, Australia and in the East (China, India, the Middle East and North Africa, etc.) the old balance of power between the East and the West had changed. The colonial power over other nations also strengthened the collective consciousness of the industrial West, or its assumption that it was more powerful and therefore superior to the rest of the world. The colonised and subjugated people also started to perceive the West as materially, culturally, and morally superior. It is true the West was superior in producing machines, modern weaponry and efficient armies to invade and subjugate other countries of the world. This made Western nations more powerful, but that did not mean they were morally or intellectually superior. But the subjugated races were not in a position to advance such challenging views. In such uneven power relations under colonialism no genuine communication was possible. The same is true of the current neo-colonial war in Iraq by the Bush Administration to achieve full control over the oil resources and assert political hegemony over the entire Middle East.

The Western ways to see Islam as a monolithic religious and political force is against all historical facts and contemporary political realities. Islam is not a monolithic force; the diversity within the Islamic world is wider than most Westerners think. Within three decades after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim community split into Sunni and Shia factions following a civil war. This division proved to be permanent, and further divisions within the two main branches have characterised Islamic faith and polity for fourteen centuries. The spread of Islam followed different paths in different countries and regions of the world. At present over one billion people of all races, languages, nationalities and cultures are Muslims. Their socio-cultural conditions as well as their doctrinal affiliations show much diversity and complexity. What this means is that Islam as a universal religion, like Christianity, is not a monolithic entity; this is despite the fact that Muslims share some fundamental beliefs in One God and His revelations through the prophets.

However, historical and religious traditions and myths have a life of their own. Once they have become part of a culture they continue to shape and restructure the collective consciousness of vast populations. The anti-Islamic tradition in the Christendoms has a long historical pedigree and it continues to be a dynamic factor affecting and determining international relations. The study of history helps us to see facts in their historical evolutionary process and thus lighten the cultural baggage that has often poisoned relationships between the two religious communities. An honest and balanced study of the past and the present-day geopolitical realities of the global hegemonic world order means that we no longer have to passively accept distorted legacies and close our eyes to what is happening in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and also in Pakistan at the hands of the United States, its allies and the marionette Muslim ruling cliques.

The question of ‘Islamic terrorism’, the denial of women’s rights under Islam and the alleged irreconcilability of Islamic and Western values appear all the time in the Western media. But such accusations reveal a deep-rooted ignorance and confusion. They have no relationship to reality. We should bear in mind that a follower of a religion is not necessarily a true representative or spokesperson of that religion. Neither can the individual acts of terrorism, state-terrorism or superpower-terrorism be imputed to religion whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Hinduism. If an individual or group from a Muslim community resorts to extremism in political or religious spheres for whatever reason or commits a crime, the general tendency is to hold the whole Islamic tradition responsible. What happens if someone from Western culture or a Christian right-wing extremist resorts to violence or commits a crime? He is held responsible as an individual and no one blames the Western culture or Christianity for his actions. Do we not have some powerful leaders in the West who are Christian right-wingers and are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslim men, women and children? Does anyone blame Christianity for that? We ask these questions and expect our readers to ask these questions and then try to find some answers.

With regard to women, the Qur’an gave them legal rights of inheritance and divorce in the seventh-century, which Western women would not receive until the 19th or 20th century. There is nothing in Islam about obligatory veiling of women or their seclusion, either. In fact, such practices came into Islam about three generations after the death of the Prophet Muhammad under the influence of the Greek Christians of Byzantium. In fact there has been a high degree of cultural interaction between Christians and Muslims from the beginning of Islamic history.

The fundamental values of fraternity, respect, justice and peace are common in all the major civilisations and the five major religions. To call democracy ‘a Western value’ is simply bizarre; the monarchical system prevailed in Europe where the kings held absolute powers under the divine right to rule. The evolution of democratic and constitutional form of government took shape much later. Contrary to what the media and populist politicians assert, there is nothing in Islam that goes against democracy and democratic values.

Nasir Khan, Dr Philos, is a historian and a peace activist. He is the author of Development of the Concept and Theory of Alienation in Marx's Writings and Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms: A Historical Survey. He has written numerous articles on international affairs and human rights.

He has his own blog at http://nasir-khan.blogspot.com through which he can be contacted.

Cheney demonstrators, pro and con, flock to traditionally quiet, conservative BYU

The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Launched: 04/26/2007 01:50:52 PM MDT

PROVO -- Several hours before Dick Cheney even arrived on campus, about 300 demonstrators were warming up the rhetoric at a place long considered a haven for conservatism: LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University.

Whether protesting the Iraq War and Vice President Cheney's choice as BYU commencement speaker, or countering with messages in support of President Bush's No. 2, about 200 protesters has taken up posts on three streets corners surrounding the campus entrance by 2 p.m. They endured a steady stream of drive-by disparagements.

Though nationally controversial, the vice president -- to speak at BYU's commencement at 4 p.m. -- maintains Brigham Young University students protest Thursday in advance of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to give the school's commencement address (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)plenty of support in this heavily Republican community.

But the protesters - a mix of students, faculty, veterans and community members - appeared unaffected by calls from passers-by of "Cheney for president," and "Go Bush!"

Dan Kennelly, a Korean War veteran from Sandy, acknowledged that he and other protesters were outnumbered in Utah County.

"But we're going to try," he said. "If someone doesn't want to listen, that's fine, but we'll try."

BYU student and war dissenter Diana Smith said she's used to being a minority voice at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints school, "but while many may disagree, it is usually respectful," she said.

Former CIA Director Blasts Bush Administration


NY Times | SCOTT SHANE, MARK MAZZETTI | April 27, 2007 at 09:19 AM

George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in a new book, saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a "serious debate" about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States.

The 549-page book, "At the Center of the Storm," is to be published by HarperCollins on Monday. By turns accusatory, defensive, and modestly self-critical, it is the first detailed account by a member of the president's inner circle of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the decision to invade Iraq and the failure to find the unconventional weapons that were a major justification for the war.

READ WHOLE STORY

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By Paul Kiel
TPMmuckraker
April 25, 2007, 1:11 PM

Today, Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA) wrote to Alberto Gonzales asking him to "promptly supplement your testimony of April 19 with answers to those questions for which you responded that you could not recall or did not know." You can read the full letter here.

By the senators' "conservative" count, Gonzales failed to provide answers "well over 60 times." I'm not sure how many questions Gonzales was asked, but it can't be much more than that.

Noting that despite weeks of preparation, Gonzales did not appear ready to answer a number of key questions at the hearing, the senators wrote:

"We believe the Committee and our investigation would benefit from you searching and refreshing your recollection and your supplementing your testimony by next Friday to provide the answers to the questions you could not recall last Thursday."

It's not often that I'm embarrassed for a figure in this administration, but this is one of those times.

House Panel Votes To Issue Rice Subpoena

LAURIE KELLMAN
AP

April 25, 2007 at 12:24 PM

WASHINGTON — In rapid succession, congressional committees Wednesday ramped up their investigations of the Bush administration by approving a subpoena for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and granting immunity to a key aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

By 21-10, the House oversight committee voted to issue a subpoena to Rice to compel her story on the Bush administration's claim, now discredited, that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.

Moments earlier in the committee chamber next door, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, Gonzales' White House liaison, for her testimony on why the administration fired eight federal prosecutors. The panel also unanimously approved _ but did not issue _ a subpoena to compel her to appear.

Simultaneously across Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved _ but did not issue _ a subpoena on the prosecutors' matter to Sara Taylor, deputy to presidential adviser Karl Rove.

And in case Gonzales thought the worst had passed with his punishing testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the chairman and top Republican issued a new demand: Refresh the memory that Gonzales claimed had failed him 71 times during the seven-hour session.

"Provide the answers to the questions you could not recall last Thursday," Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, wrote to Gonzales on Wednesday.

Read Whole Story

Dropping the First Shoe

by Dave Lindorff
OpEdNews
April 25, 2007 at 07:31:34

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has dropped the first impeachment shoe, filing a bill calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Kucinich, defying the leadership of the Democratic Party, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who have been struggling mightily to prevent impeachment from occurring during the waning years of the Bush presidency, on Tuesday filed three articles of impeachment, claiming that Cheney violated his oath of office and the Constitution, for deceiving Congress and the American people about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about alleged but nonexistent links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, and finally for making threats to invade Iran.

The bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and the rest of the committee's members will have to decide whether go hold formal hearings on the charges.
The move by Kucinich comes as impeachment is gaining ground among the broader public. Today, the Vermont House of Representatives will hold a floor debate and vote on a resolution calling for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against both President Bush and Cheney. That measure would be a companion to a similar resolution passed last week by Vermont's state Senate. If the state's lower house passes its version, Vermont will be the first state in history to pass a bi-cameral resolution on impeachment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Congress Holds Tillman-Lynch Hearing


C-SPAN | Posted April 24, 2007 11:02 AM

Pat Tillman's brother accused the military Tuesday of "intentional falsehoods" and "deliberate and careful misrepresentations" in portraying the football star's death in Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

"We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public," Kevin Tillman told a hearing of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. "Pat's death was clearly the result of fratricide," he said.

Read more on the hearing here.

George McGovern: Cheney is wrong about me, wrong about war


The 1972 presidential nominee strikes back at the vice president for comparing today's Democrats to the McGovern platform.

By George S. McGovern, GEORGE S. MCGOVERN, a former U.S. senator from South Dakota, was the Democratic nominee for president in 1972.
LA Times
April 24, 2007

It is my firm belief that the Cheney-Bush team has committed offenses that are worse than those that drove Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and Atty. Gen. John Mitchell from office after 1972. Indeed, as their repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law, come under increased consideration, I expect to see Cheney and Bush forced to resign their offices before 2008 is over.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Perino: At Least He Didn't Make It Up

By Paul Kiel - April 23, 2007, 3:32 PM
TPMmuckraker

During the White House press briefing today, Dana Perino mounted the latest rousing defense of the attorney general.

When asked how the president could have increased confidence in Gonzales after he'd pled a faulty memory some 64 times during the hearing, Perino replied that "many of those questions were repeated over and over.... [he] was asked multiple questions in various different ways on the same topics." So in other words, Gonzales only had to say "I don't remember" so often because the senators asked so very many questions. Shame on them.

And Perino also added some much needed perspective. While Gonzales may have made some people unhappy with all that memory failure, "what would have been dishonorable is if [he] had made it up." Touché.



While we're at it, here's my choice for Gonzales' most risible failure of memory.

"Our Generation's Vietnam"

by mcjoan
Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 12:29:04 PM PDT

Staff Sgt. Matt St. Pierre, who's been in Iraq for two of the last three years, agrees with Harry Reid. From Greg Sargent:

We've talked at length, my soldiers and myself, and a term that comes up often is, 'this is our generation's Vietnam.' I don't think this can be won. We're caught in the middle of a civil war.... The people that were against us, and they're the majority, they're gonna I believe ultimately win. And that's unfortunate.

St. Pierre recognizes that U.S. forces are the "buffer" in this civil war, and that a withdrawal of American troops will lead that majority who is against us to win. But, as Sargent points out, St. Pierre is echoing what Harry Reid said in recent weeks:

(1) The U.S. can't win the war;
(2) He and his soldier agree after talking "at length" that this is their Vietnam;
(3) The "majority" in Iraq is "against us" right now.

So, Mitch McConnell, still trying to "imagine how our troops in the field, who are risking their lives every day, are going to react when they get back to base and hear that the Democrat leader of the United States Senate has declared the war is lost," I think you have your answer.

Here's St. Pierre on CNN.

The Greatest Casualty of "The War on Terror"; Our Constitutional Rights

by Timothy V. Gatto
OpEdNews
April 23, 2007 at 05:35:22

"We might be Progressives, Liberals, Conservative, Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Socialists, Communists, but one thing we all have in common is that we are Americans and our American way of life is being destroyed from without and within by the regime that has gained power though fraudulent means. It is no longer an issue that the this war was wrong and that we are fighting in a civil war for oil. We know what the score is. This “War on Terror” has become a war on the way we operate politically in this country and this regime is desperately trying to usurp this nations freedoms to institute a dictatorship of the neo-conservative right. Call it what you will, but our nation is in serious trouble."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Has Al Gore's CO2 Theory Fizzled Out? (part two)

A Crimes of the State Investigation
John Doraemi

In part one I explored some of the countervailing evidence which casts doubt on the current carbon dioxide hysteria. For instance, the CO2 level changes lag behind the temperature changes in the historical ice-core record, sometimes by 800 years.

Recently, the global temperature fell from the 1940s through 1976, even though the CO2 levels (and other "greenhouse gases") were increasing during that same time period. This is an indication that CO2 is not driving the temperature changes (as is commonly believed). If it has any impact at all, it certainly cannot be considered the main driving force.



Changes in the sun's output seem to correlate to the data better. This news has not been met well by some readers.

I also have a correction to the first article. The last paragraph should have read: "Professor Ball states that CO2 is only 0.54 percent of the atmosphere..." These articles are sourced to the British TV documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle (Google Video). I do not endorse the politics and opinions expressed in this show, especially at the end. It is, however, a source for numerous dissenting voices on this topic.



My character has already been attacked on a "progressive" website for posting this information. I have been accused of having an "agenda" and that I "hate Al Gore", and therefore I was just looking for some way to discredit him (as if I have nothing better to do).

Questions remain however, some of the most pivotal questions of our time concerning man's impact on weather:

Does a rise in carbon dioxide cause a rise in the temperature?

OR, does a rise in the temperature cause a rise in carbon dioxide?

If Al Gore had taken a few minutes to prove his case in An Inconvenient Truth we wouldn't be having this discussion. But Al Gore did not. His data does not show which parameter is influencing which and why. The science is not presented conclusively (or honestly), and therefore Al Gore is to blame by leaving this issue unresolved.

He has posited a theory. It is our right and duty to examine that theory and to scrutinize its flaws.

Earth's Oceans and CO2

It probably would have been easier for readers to comprehend my part one of this series if I had included the role of the oceans in the CO2 equation.



The oceans are described as being reservoirs of CO2 gas, and their role depends upon the water's temperature. In hot waters CO2 is emitted (raising CO2 levels in the atmosphere), and in cold waters CO2 is absorbed (lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere).

"If you heat the surface of the ocean it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly if you cool the ocean surface the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide." --Carl Wunsch, Professor of Oceanography, MIT

This process can take centuries and even millenia to occur. The oceans respond very slowly to changes in atmospheric temperature.

"People say, 'Oh I see the ocean doing this last year, that means that something changed in the atmosphere last year.' And this is not necessarily true at all. In fact it's actually quite unlikely because it can take hundreds to thousands of years for the deep ocean to respond to forces and changes that are taking place at the surface." --Carl Wunsch, Professor of Oceanography, MIT

The oceans then provide the mechanism for the theory that rising temperatures cause a rise in carbon dioxide levels (not vice-versa).

These amounts of naturally ocurring carbon dioxide dwarf the amount of CO2 currently produced by humans.

"Humans produce a small fraction, in the single digits percentage wise, of the CO2 that is produced in the atmosphere."--Professor John Christy, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Alabama

So, forgive me for remaining skeptical that the alleged impending global meltdown is all the fault of a gas I happen to breathe out.

Methane, from cows, coincidentally is 20 times more heat-trapping than CO2. Since I don't contribute to the cow problem, because I don't eat them, I should get some kind of Goreian carbon/methane money credit, no?

Prove Your Case, Mr. Gore

The challenge is clear. In science you prove what you say, and your peers review your conclusions.

Professor Frederick Seitz, the former head of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, complained that the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had altered its report by deleting dissenting views, and it released a version that was not approved by the scientists listed on the report.

"None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases. (...) No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [manmade] causes." --Professor Frederick Seitz, Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996

Al Gore must know this. Must have seen the dissenting views, must have seen the 800 year lag in the CO2 relative to temperature data. Where is his response to this mountain of conflicting evidence?

More Politics

The nuclear meltdown is "on the table." Pelosi, H. Clinton, Obama and McCain have all come out for new nuclear power plants and taxpayer subsidies to build them. This follows Al Gore's performance several weeks back where Gore also approved of nuclear power as a response to the alleged greenhouse gas emissions problem.

Nuclear is not even the biggest nor most dangerous response to this problem which has yet to be proved.

In "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor", Professors C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer of the University of Minnesota study the massive changes going on today in the ethanol industry. Corn and sugar have long been subsidized by the federal government, leading to problems like overproduction and finding ever more ways to put corn oil and sugar into our diets.

Capitalizing on the existing taxpayer subsidy model, agribusiness is set to expand into an agri/energy sector. This will use up valuable and finite farmland/topsoil to be burned in automobiles, instead of eaten by humans.

These policies are already raising the prices of grains worldwide. The potential for starvation in poor populations is real and now more precarious.

More to come...

Has Al Gore's CO2 Theory Fizzled Out? (part one)

A Crimes of the State Investigation

by John Doraemi
Crimes of the State

If you track the popular Internet videos, you may have come across a British TV production called The Great Global Warming Swindle (Google Video). I do not wish to defend the propaganda, the personalities, or the several straw man arguments that appear in this lengthy program.

All I want to focus on is the science.

This is a study of some global warming dissenters in the climate field.



Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is also explored, in particular Gore's central claim, the theory of manmade global warming as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:

"The relationship is very complicated, but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: when there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer." --Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

This quote is presented in The Great Global Warming Swindle at around 20 minutes in, and then it is mercilessly shredded by the climate scientists.

According to Al Gore's theory, increased levels of carbon dioxide CAUSE an increase in global temperature. But, interestingly enough, Al Gore does not prove this in his film. Far from it. The very real possibility that increases in temperature cause an increase in carbon dioxide levels (and not vice-versa) is never addressed. Al Gore has short-changed humanity in this most glaring omission: establishing causation.
So, which is it?

Does a rise in carbon dioxide cause a rise in the temperature?

OR, does a rise in the temperature cause a rise in carbon dioxide?

This is no small question. The entire global economy is being reengineered on the assumption that the first scenario is true. But is it really?

What About 800 Years of Lag?



The big counter-argument to Gore is made by Professor Ian Clark, Dept. of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Clark says that the ice core record shows that changes in atomospheric carbon levels come after the temperature has already changed, in one example by as much as 800 years.

"CO2 clearly cannot be causing temperature changes. It's a product of temperature. It's following temperature changes." --Professor Ian Clark

This is highly significant, if true, as it completely disproves Al Gore's theory of manmade global warming. This view is seconded by Professor Tim Ball, a Climatologist at the University of Winnipeg:
"But the ice core record shows exactly the opposite. So the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change -- due to humans -- is shown to be wrong." --(emphasis in original) Professor Tim Ball, Dept. of Climatology, University of Winnipeg

Is There a Better Alternative Theory?



The film presents an alternate theory that better matches the data: Changes in sun activity cause changes in global temperature.

Other scientists who study sunspots, which are actually gigantic storms and indicate more solar activity, present their case.

The data record of changes in solar activity can be corroborated by multiple data sources. The conclusion of the film is that this record proves that sun activity correlates to global temperature far better than CO2 levels do.



This is a simplified, scaled-down summary of the claims made by the two camps.Further investigation will be needed.

Enter The Politics

If the CO2 theory is completely wrong, and the effects of human CO2 emissions are negligible, and therefore do not affect temperature in any measurable way, then the political side of this argument must be examined in detail.

The global economy includes numerous energy sectors (oil, coal, nuclear, ethanol, as well as clean alternatives), farm and agriculture (biofuels), international trade and agreements, and even proposed new industries that allow "trading" of newly defined "caps on emissions," a fictional concept somehow given monetary value.

This means that big players have a stake in the outcome, as does every man, woman and child on planet earth.

Unsurprisingly, Al Gore has an investment, possibly a conflict of interest in the "carbon trading" game. Gore is a co-founder of Generation Investment Management LLP, and we learn that:

"As an Associate member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Generation [Gore's firm] has made a legally binding commitment to purchase Carbon Financial Instruments (CFIs) sufficient to 100% offset the greenhouse gas emissions caused annually by our firm's electricity use and business travel for the period 2005-2010." --Generation Investment Management LLP website

Albert Gore has a responsibility to answer these charges, and to prove the former scenario, if he is going to go to congress and give his seal of approval to building new nuclear power plants as a response to this purported carbon dioxide "pollution" problem.

As long as carbon dioxide can be called a "pollutant," you and your family are by definition -- as biological organisms -- "polluters." I really don't like the road this line of reasoning points down. It has the quasi-religious flavor of "Original Sin." Leveraging guilt into political and economic activity is a very old game indeed.

Professor Ball states that CO2 is only 0.54* percent of the atmosphere. All human contributions of CO2 combined remain a small fraction of that amount. It's time we got to the actual truth, no matter to whom it is "inconvenient."

Gore campaign team assembles in secret

By Tim Shipman in Washington, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:59pm BST 21/04/2007

Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.

Al Gore is third favourite for the Democratic nomination

Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.

Mr Gore, President Bill Clinton's deputy, has said he wants to concentrate on publicising the need to combat climate change, a case made in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, which won him an Oscar this year.

But, aware that he may step into the wide open race for the White House, former strategists are sounding out a shadow team that could run his campaign at short notice. In approaching former campaign staff, including political strategists and communications officials, they are making clear they are not acting on formal instructions from Mr Gore, 59, but have not been asked to stop.

His denials of interest in the presidency have been couched in terms of "no plans" or "no intention" - politically ambiguous language that does not rule out a run.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gonzales v. Gonzales


Editorial
New York Times
Published: April 20, 2007

But if we believe the testimony that neither he nor any other senior Justice Department official was calling the shots on the purge, then the public needs to know who was. That is why the Judiciary Committee must stick to its insistence that Mr. Rove, Ms. Miers and other White House officials testify in public and under oath and that all documents be turned over to Congress, including e-mail messages by Mr. Rove that the Republican Party has yet to produce.

If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.

Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch.

He had no trouble remembering complaints from his bosses and Republican lawmakers about federal prosecutors who were not playing ball with the Republican Party’s efforts to drum up election fraud charges against Democratic politicians and Democratic voters. But he had no idea whether any of the 93 United States attorneys working for him — let alone the ones he fired — were doing a good job prosecuting real crimes.

He delegated responsibility for purging their ranks to an inexperienced and incompetent assistant who, if that’s possible, was even more of a plodding apparatchik. Mr. Gonzales failed to create the most rudimentary standards for judging the prosecutors’ work, except for political fealty. And when it came time to explain his inept decision making to the public, he gave a false account that was instantly and repeatedly contradicted by sworn testimony.

Even the most loyal Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee found it impossible to throw Mr. Gonzales a lifeline. The best Orrin Hatch of Utah could do was to mutter that “I think that you’ll agree that this was poorly handled” and to suggest that Mr. Gonzales should just be forgiven. Senator Sam Brownback led Mr. Gonzales through the names of the fired attorneys, evidently hoping he would offer cogent reasons for their dismissal.

Congress Discusses KBR Abuse Charges


By DONNA BORAK AP Business Writer
The Associated Press
April 19, 2007, 3:44PM

WASHINGTON — U.S. lawmakers on Thursday railed against senior Army officials and defense contractor KBR Inc. over persistent allegations of fraud and contract abuse on a multibillion-dollar deal to provide food and shelter to U.S. troops in Iraq.

"Profiteering during wartime is inexcusable," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., testifying at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "This is the most significant waste, fraud and abuse we have ever seen in this country."


Lawmakers and the U.S. inspector general have accused KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton Co., which was once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, of abusing federal rules in record-keeping on the current contract. Nearly $2 billion in overpricing on the contract has been identified by Pentagon auditors and government investigators, lawmakers said.

Virginia Tech pays respects to victims and gunman

1:08pm EDT

BLACKSBURG, Virginia (Reuters) - Students at Virginia Tech university prepared for funerals on Saturday for nearly a dozen shooting victims and extended a note of forgiveness to the gunman who killed 32 people on campus.

A small tribute to Seung-Hui Cho, who shot his victims then himself on Monday, has been added to a growing memorial of stones in the center of the sprawling university in southwest Virginia.

"I just wanted you to know that I am not mad at you. I don't hate you," read a note among flowers at a stone marker labeled for Cho. "I am so sorry that you could find no help or comfort."


Full Article

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kucinich to launch Cheney impeachment push on April 25

Michael Roston
The Raw Story
Thursday April 19, 2007

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the former mayor of Cleveland who is seeking the 2008 Democratic nomination for president for the second time, has selected a date to introduce articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.

A source who asked to remain anonymous told RAW STORY that the articles of impeachment would be introduced next week.

"The Congressman plans to introduce the articles on Wednesday, April 25th," the source told RAW STORY.

The Congressman's office responded in an e-mail Thursday afternoon to RAW STORY by saying "No comment" when asked if the report was true.

Mary Ann Akers reported at her blog, The Sleuth, on Monday that the Congressman had sent a "dear colleague" letter to fellow Members of Congress informing them of his plan to introduce the articles of impeachment against the Vice President. However, he had postponed the plan in the wake of the killing of 32 students, faculty, and staff at Virginia Tech on Monday.

Multiple congressional offices confirmed to RAW STORY that they had received the letter, but none had been apprised of the impeachable offenses with which the Ohio Democrat would charge the Vice President.

Additionally, a spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee, which would receive and consider Kucinich's charges against the Vice President once they are filed, was not yet aware of them.

Vice President Cheney's office would not comment to the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the reports about the charges because they had not yet seen the articles.

Unimpeachable - A Bush Tribute

GOP Gonzales Resignation Roll Call

By Will Thomas - April 20, 2007, 12:19 PM
TPM


It's time for an update.

Since our last rundown of Republicans who want Gonzales gone, a number of others have made outright calls for his resignation. Still more have stopped just short, though they've made it clear that they hope Gonzales will do everyone a favor and resign.

Gonzales' sole enthusiastic supporters, by our count, are Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and the White House.

The list:

The Senate

Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)- "The president should fire the attorney general and replace him as soon as possible with someone who can provide strong, aggressive leadership."

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)- "For the Justice Department to be effective before the U.S. Senate, it would be helpful."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): "I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered. I believe the best way for us to put this behind us is your resignation."

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)- "There are some problems that he just hasn't handled well, and it might just be best if he came to a conclusion that the department is better served if he's not there.'"

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)- "Sometimes, it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time. If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?"

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)- "For you to have said this was an ‘overblown personnel matter,’ I think that can't be erased. And the clouds over a lot of the professionals can't be erased and the worry by those who haven’t been subjected to those clouds can't be erased. Now, I’m not going call for you resignation; I'm not going to make a recommendation on that. I think there are two people that have to decide that question. You have to decide it in the first instance. If you decide to stay on, it’s up to the President to decide."

The House

Rep. Vern Elhers (R-MI)- "Since he's such a close, personal friend, he's hurt the President by what he's doing, he should have the politeness to offer his resignation."

Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-OH)- 'Given the totality of the circumstances, I think it would be better for the President and the Department if the Attorney General were to step down."

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA)- "Even for Republicans this is a warning sign … saying there needs to be a change."

Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)- "Frankly, until these statements came out that contradicted his first statement, I was backing him, saying that he shouldn't resign. Now I think that he should."

Prominent Conservatives

The National Review Editorial Board- "Alberto Gonzales should resign. The Justice Department needs a fresh start."

Mark Corallo, Justice Department spokesman (2002-2005)- "Alberto Gonzales' loyalty to George Bush has got to trump George Bush's loyalty to Alberto Gonzales."

Additionally, prior to Gonzales’ testimony, a group of conservatives with ties to the White House wrote President Bush to express their displeasure with the Attorney General. They finished the letter saying:

"Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country... The President should accept the resignation."

Included as signatories were: Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Reagan Justice Department, David Keene, Chariman of the American Conservative Union, John Whitehead, head of the Rutherford Institute, Bob Barr, former Georgia Congressman, and Richard Viguerie, a well-known GOP fundraiser.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Doolittle Resigns Appropriations Panel Seat

By Paul Kiel
TPM
April 19, 2007, 2:25 PM

Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., has decided to temporarily give up his seat on the House Appropriations Committee after FBI agents searched his house as part of a congressional influence-peddling investigation.

Doolittle's decision, to be announced Thursday, was confirmed by a Republican congressional staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity because the news was not yet public.

That would be the same appropriations seat which he used to help steer $37 million to Brent Wilkes (who's accused of bribing Duke Cunningham), and another $400,000 to Jack Abramoff's client, the government of the Marianas Islands.

Update: More from Roll Call:

While Doolittle is expected to voluntarily take himself off the panel while the investigation continues, knowledgeable House sources said that Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and members of the Republican Steering Committee -- which determines committee assignments -- were prepared to remove him from his post if he would not do so himself.