JUNE 20-1, 02 Archives

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A Small Cartel of Conservative Lawyers Rewrites the American Rule June 20, 2002 by James Ridgeway Behind the Bush Administration's attack on civil rights in the name of war lurks the network of attorneys crafting laws for a new America. Their hodgepodge of rules and statutes either now or soon will remake the nation, providing local police with sweeping federal authority, pushing the military and CIA directly into everyday domestic politics, and sanctioning indefinite detention without a charge or even a court hearing. Immigration policy already has disintegrated into the random search and arrest of anyone with dark skin. College students are to be singled out on the basis of ethnic background and required to carry special identity papers. In the rather near future, all citizens will be registered in a national database that includes criminal records, welfare payments, delinquent loans, credit card debt, and so on. Committees of local vigilantes are on the way to being sanctioned as legitimate militias assigned to root out terrorists, just as the Ku Klux Klan was after the Civil War. These are not distant ideas out of George Orwell, but real laws and practices about to be put in place. villagevoice.com

A chilling case of political censorship - Anti-Bush protesters ejected from Ohio State commencement 19 June 2002 By Kate Randall Graduates at the June 14 commencement ceremony held by Ohio State University (OSU) were threatened with arrest if they made any protest against the keynote speaker, George W. Bush. In opening remarks at the university’s football stadium in Columbus, Ohio, OSU Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Richard Hollingsworth warned, “Disruption, including obstructing the view or hearing of others, will not be tolerated.” The graduates and their guests, numbering about 60,000, were informed that anyone protesting or heckling the speakers could be subject to arrest and expulsion from the stadium. They were told that staff members, police and Secret Service officers would be watching the stands for any signs of protest. As Bush walked to the podium, about 10 people, including four graduates, stood up and turned their backs to the president. An undetermined number of them were escorted out of the stadium by police officers. “Before he [Bush] even got to the stage, we did our about-face. I looked over my shoulder to see how many graduates were doing the same. However, everybody was standing at that point, and in pure black robes, it was impossible to see who was facing what direction. Furthermore, over that same shoulder, I saw one of Columbus’ Finest heading our way. We never got to see how many students participated. We were being led out of Ohio Stadium. When we reached the exit, I asked the SS [Secret Service] man why we had been ejected, and he told me we were being charged with disturbing the peace. “On this day, June 14, 2002, I came to the realization that we no longer live in a free society. This is rapidly heading the same way Nazi Germany headed. Questioning our leaders is no longer the most outrageous crime you can be charged with. Not paying attention to them is.” wsws.org

Republican State Representative Charged With Indecently Exposing Himself to Children June 18, 2002 by Dorinda Carter A Tennessee lawmaker has been arrested for indecent exposure. Investigators say the state representative exposed himself several times to a group of kids outside a hotel swimming pool. Channel 4 News in Nashville Tennessee, received a copy of an arrest report from the Walton County Sheriff's Department in Florida. It describes charges against a man named Barry Keith Westmoreland. The arrest report lists his occupation as a Tennessee State Representative. Rep. Keith Westmoreland is a Republican from Kingsport. He serves on the house judiciary committee helping to make laws in Tennessee. Now, he's accused of breaking the law in Florida. According to Sheriff Ralph Johnson, Representative Westmoreland is accused of exposing himself on four different occasions to several kids under the age of 16. The sheriff says Westmoreland allegedly did this last week at a hotel swimming pool and in a hot tub in San Destin, Florida. At Legislative Plaza Monday, Westmoreland's fellow lawmakers were stunned by the allegations. Rep. Gary Odom, (D) Nashville , said, (I find it hard to believe he has a degree in law enforce ment services and worked in law enforce ment for many years." Channel 4 News talked on the phone with Rep. Westmoreland's wife. She said on the advice of his attorney, he cannot comment on these charges. Mrs. Westmoreland said her husband would like to, but has been told not to talk about it. wsmv.com

Bush's Police State Kicks Into Gear 6/18/2002 By Ted  Rall The jackbooted thugs can arrest you without bothering to accuse you of a crime. They can deprive you of the right to make a phone call, to receive a visit from your family, or even to see a lawyer. It doesn't matter if you're innocent or not; our state-sanctioned terrorists can keep you locked up in prison for the rest of your life without ever granting you your day in court. But you're an American citizen, you protest. It makes no difference whatsoever -- you have no rights. athena.tbwt.com

Afghan war documentary charges US with mass killings of POWs
17 June 2002, Showings in Europe spark demands for war crimes probe - By Stefan Steinberg A documentary film, Massacre in Mazar, by Irish director Jamie Doran, was shown to selected audiences in Europe last week, provoking demands for an international inquiry into US war crimes in Afghanistan. The film alleges that American troops collaborated in the torture of POWs and the killing of thousands of captured Taliban soldiers near the town of Mazar-i-Sharif. It documents events following the November 21, 2001 fall of Konduz, the Taliban’s last stronghold in northern Afghanistan. After seeing the film, French Euro MP Francis Wurtz, a member of the United Left fraction that organised the showing, said he would call for an urgent debate on the issues raised in the film at the next session of the European parliament in July. A number of other deputies in the European parliament called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to carry out an independent investigation into the allegations raised in the film. wsws.org

Mr Bush's Titanic War on Terror Will Eventually Sink Beneath the Waves
June 16, 2002 by Robert Fisk Meantime, all the men who claim to be fighting terror are using this lunatic "war" simply for their own purposes. First it was to be a crusade. Then it became the "War for Civilization". Then the "War without End". Then the "War against Terror". And now – believe it or not – President Bush is promising us a "Titanic War on Terror". This gets weirder and weirder. What can come next? Given the latest Bush projections last week – "we know that thousands of trained killers are plotting to attack us" – he must surely have an even more gargantuan cliché up his sleeve.Well, he must have known about the would-be Chicago "dirty" bomber – another little secret he didn't tell the American people about for a month. Until, of course, it served a purpose. We shall hear more about this strange episode – and I'll hazard a guess the story will change in the next few days and weeks. But what could be more titanic than the new and ominously named "Department for Homeland Security", with its 170,000 future employees and its $37.5bn (£26.6bn) budget? It will not, mark you, incorporate the rival CIA and FBI – already at each other's throats over the failure to prevent the crimes against humanity of 11 September – and will thus ensure that the intelligence battle will be triangular: between the CIA, the FBI and the boys from "Homeland Security". This, I suspect, will be the real titanic war. commondreams.org

Bush is Losing Credibility Fast
JUNE 15, 2002 Commentary, by John Aravosis - I've been a big defender of the war on terror, but the Bush Administration of late is starting to worry me.  There's a sense that their footing isn't that sure anymore, and the war on terror is starting to feel more like a crapshoot on terror. Case in point, the handling of the arrest of Jose Padilla, the American from Chicago who may or may not have been planning to detonate a "dirty bomb" in Washington, DC.  Our first word from the attorney general was that Mr. Padilla was practically ready to nuke Washington at any second. Then, a day later, the Administration back steps and says that Padilla seemed to have met with Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, but that any attempt to use a dirty bomb was only in the initial theoretical stages.  So much for scaring the shit out of us prematurely. usnewspapers.about.com

Global Warming: Bush Fiddles While New York Burns JUNE 15, 2002 by Kelly Cogswell. Quibble long enough over plans to rebuild the World Trade Center area, and they will become a moot point, if you believe the report sent Friday to the United Nations by Bush's own Environmental Protection Agency. The report, besides acknowledging the role of human activities in global warming, suggests that in a couple of generations rising sea levels will put Manhattan underwater up to Wall Street. So unless you wanted to put a superduper marina where the towers stood, fuhgedaboudit. thegully.com

US artists damn 'war without limit'
June 14, 2002 Duncan Campbell - The Guardian Duncan Campbell - The Guardian A group of leading American writers, actors and academics have signed a statement strongly criticising their government's policies since September 11. It is an indication of a growing feeling that the administration is promoting its own agenda on the back of the attacks. In a statement called Not In Our Name, the signatories say the government has "declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression". They also criticise the media for failing to challenge the direction the government has taken. Jeremy Pikser, one of the organisers of the statement, said yesterday that he had been concerned that the rest of the world was under the impression that there was no dissent in the US to the bombing of Afghanistan and the plans for a war against Iraq. guardian.co

Another step towards presidential dictatorship: 13 June 2002 Bush orders US citizen held indefinitely by military By Patrick Martin A New York-born man of Puerto Rican descent has been jailed indefinitely by the Bush administration in a military brig in South Carolina, in an unprecedented assertion of executive power. The case of Jose Padilla—or as he now calls himself, Abdullah al Muhajir—has the most ominous implications for democratic rights in the United States. The federal government has seized a US citizen and locked him up for an unlimited period of time on the say-so of the president, without the sanction of any court and in defiance of such elementary legal principles as the presumption of innocence and the right of habeas corpus. wsws.org

Bush 'bomber' disarray Bush 'bomber' disarray 13 June 2002 Tim Cornwell and Jason BeattieTHE White House has slapped down the US justice chief in a gathering row over the suspect in the "dirty bomb" case. Two days after the sensational exposure of a plot to unleash a radiation bomb on a US city, questions about the case threatened a backlash against Washington's "war on terror." White House officials have objected bitterly to ominous warnings from John Ashcroft, the attorney general, that suspect Jose Padilla was poised to inflict "mass death and injury", it was reported yesterday. The row came as President George Bush launched a push for his new multi-billion Department of Homeland Security - and against renewed warnings of al-Qaeda-inspired terror from Germany to Gibraltar. thescotsman.co

Highly Recommended Reading!Bernard Weiner: ''Shallow Throat' reveals Bush & Co.'s weak spots" June 12, Topic: Commander-In-Thief By Bernard Weiner With all the complicated scandals and maneuverings in the White House, it was time to seek out "Shallow Throat" again. The disenchanted Republican mole, located high in the Bush Administration, previously had supplied us with the transcript of an inner-Cabinet meeting, which revealed how Bush&Co. had decided in the Summer of 2001 to take advantage of the terrorist attacks they knew were coming, and which did arrive on 9/11. (See "The 'Shallow Throat' Documents: A Pre-9/11 Scenario," published here in February.) thepeoplesvoice.org

House Democrats sue President Bush over Withdrawal from A-B-M treaty June 12 Capitol Hill-AP -- House Democrats are taking President Bush to court -- over his decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The 31 House members have filed suit in federal court in Washington D-C. They claim the president doesn't have the authority to unilaterally withdraw from the landmark treaty with Moscow. The suit says Bush needs to first seek the consent of Congress. Also named in the lawsuit -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell. home.abc28.com

Senate Republicans deal setback to hate crimes bill 6/12/02 By JESSE J. HOLLAND By JESSE J. HOLLAND The Associated Press WASHINGTON. (AP) -- Senate Republicans blocked action on a hate crimes measure Tuesday, refusing to cut off debate on a bill that would make a federal crime of violent attacks prompted by victims' sexual orientation or disabilities. Democrats, pushing the measure in an election year, said they would try again. "Senate Republicans made clear that they will not take action to fight terrorism at home," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a longtime champion of the bill. "Today's vote is a clear sign of the lack of commitment by Senate Republicans on this basic civil rights issue." The bill would add crimes motivated by sex, sexual orientation and disability to the list of offenses already covered under a 1968 hate-crimes law that prohibits attacks based on race, religion or national origin. It would allow federal prosecutors to pursue a hate-crime case if local authorities refuse to press charges. The 54-43 vote derailed efforts to win a speedy vote on the legislation and send it to the House, which has rejected it twice in recent years. While it takes only a simple majority to pass a bill, a motion to end debate to allow consideration of the bill itself requires 60 votes. Backers of the bill fell six votes short. The Senate has 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent, Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont. Four GOP senators voted to stop debate. nj.com

Reid Urges Bush to Condemn GOP Monitoring of Lobbyists June 11, 2002 By Jim VandeHei Washington Post Staff Writer Senate Majority Whip Harry M. Reid called on President Bush yesterday to condemn Republicans close to the White House who are tracking the political activities of Democratic lobbyists in order to deny them lobbying jobs and access to key government officials. Bush "wanted to change the tone in Washington, but today we learn he's working in tandem with those keeping secret lists of people's personal activity," Reid (D-Nev.) said in a speech on the Senate floor. "For what? Intimidation, professional retaliation, or maybe even character assassination. I don't think it's criminal, but I think it's on the verge of being criminal." washingtonpost.com

Sex Scandal Threatens House Leader in Virginia June 11, RICHMOND, Va., By FRANCIS X. CLINES — Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr. was under severe pressure from fellow Republicans today to resign his leadership post after the publication of accusations that he had sexually harassed two women and paid one of them $100,000 for her silence. Mr. Wilkins has denied harassing women but has not publicly discussed the payment, prompting an increasing number of Republicans in the House of Delegates to criticize him openly and estimate that his days as leader are numbered. "I deny the allegations categorically," Mr. Wilkins said tonight after a three-hour meeting that anxious Republicans pronounced unsatisfactory and unlikely to turn the tide running against him. "He's going to have to come clean," said Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr., the senior House Republican. "He just can't say, `I didn't do it' after paying $100,000 in hush money." nytimes.com

Job 4:8 As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.

Bush plan supports 'hit first' defense strategy June 10, 2002 Threats could spur preemptive strikes The Bush administration is developing a new strategic doctrine that moves away from the Cold War pillars of containment and deterrence toward support for preemptive attacks against terrorists or hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The new doctrine will be laid out by President Bush's National Security Council in the administration's first ''National Security Strategy'' being drafted for release by early this fall, senior officials said. miami.com

June 10 If you remember anything about early American history you will know that the American people fought bitterly to remove the Torie traitors from our country during the revolutionary war. Though most Tories were born in America they practiced an extreme right wing loyalty to the king of England and sought only to destroy our young country.
Tories to follow Bush's way
June 10, 2002 By Toby Harnden in Washington By Toby Harnden in Washington By Toby Harnden in Washington Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader, will declare today that President Bush has led a global revival of the centre-Right that could sweep the Tories to power at the next election. "We owe a huge debt to President Bush for showing us the way politically," he says. telegraph.co.uk

No Justice in Florida June 9, 2002 The Nation Minority voters who had never committed crimes complained of having their names removed from voting rolls in a purge of "ex-felons," and of harassment by poll workers and law-enforcement officials. A US Commission on Civil Rights review condemned Florida's Governor, Jeb Bush, and its Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, for running an election marked by "injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency," another year passed before Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May that the civil rights division was preparing to act. "Act" is a generous characterization. Eleven thousand election-related complaints have been whittled down to five potential lawsuits--targeting three Florida counties, along with St. Louis and Nashville. Boyd told the Judiciary Committee that his department would examine the purging of eligible voters from election rolls in a process overseen by Harris's office. But don't expect to see Harris--now a Congressional candidate--in court anytime soon. Boyd wants to settle his suits before they are filed, through negotiations with local officials. That will bring limited reform to three of Florida's sixty-seven counties. Justice Department attorneys continue to limit the scope of an investigation that should be examining the collapse of voting rights protections in all Florida counties, including Gadsden in the west--where as many as one in eight ballots cast by minority voters was discarded. Jeb Bush and the Florida legislature continue to reject needed reforms and to stall the allocation of sufficient funds to bring voting machinery in predominantly minority precincts up to par with equipment in predominantly white precincts. And the Republicans in the US House and Senate continue to exert gridlock over legislation that would promote and fund reforms in other states--like Illinois, which had a higher rate of ballot spoilage than Florida. Until the Justice Department and state and federal legislators get serious about making real reforms, the 2002 and 2004 elections won't be any more fair or functional than the flawed election of 2000. thenation.com

Bush’s new Department of Homeland Defense: the scaffolding of a police state 8 June 2002 By the Editorial Board  The sudden announcement by President George W. Bush that he will seek the creation of a huge new federal Department of Homeland Defense, to control most federal domestic policing and security programs, must be understood on two levels. In its timing, it is a transparent attempt to distract public attention from the revelations of advance warnings to the government about the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. In its substance, the proposal represents an acceleration of the moves towards presidential dictatorship that have characterized every step taken by the Bush administration since September 11. The consolidation of agencies such as the Coast Guard, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Transportation Security Agency and others—22 in all, from five separate government departments—represents an unprecedented concentration of police powers at the federal level. The Bush administration presented the plan as a measure to protect the American people. But it would be more correct to say that the new department will concentrate the police forces of the government for the purpose of surveillance and repression against the American people. wsws.org

Bush administration cites September 11 "failures" to attack democratic rights
FBI gets blank check for domestic spying - 7 June 2002 By Jerry Isaacs Last week Attorney General John Ashcroft granted sweeping powers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on political organizations, religious groups and private citizens in the US. When he announced the measures, Ashcroft declared that previous restrictions on domestic spying had contributed to the FBI’s failure, despite warnings from agents in the field, to prevent the September 11 terror attacks. What has emerged since September 11 is a large body of evidence that the FBI had intelligence—ample intelligence—that a plot was under way to carry out a major terrorist attack in the US, that it involved Islamic fundamentalists associated with Al Qaeda, and that the modus operandi would involve the hijacking of US commercial aircraft. Minneapolis FBI agents reported the detention of Zaccarias Moussaoui—who one agent described as "someone who might fly a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center"—and urgently requested authorization to search his personal computer; the US government received advance warning from Egypt and other governments about an impending attack. And yet, for still unexplained reasons, the FBI, the CIA and the White House ignored these and other warnings. What Ashcroft is obliged to explain to the American people—which he refuses to do—is why the FBI and his own office ignored the clear implications of the intelligence information they had gathered. wsws.org

Is George W. Bush trying to become another Hitler?
June 6, 2002 contributed by: K&J Levens Hitler and Bush in the same sentence? Is it possible? Many people didn’t take Hitler or Bush seriously at the start. They have both been described as having a charismatic personality. Hitler and Bush were both poor students. Both men thought they were doing the Lord’s work and promised to get rid of their country’s "enemies." Hitler and Bush made use of people’s fears and insecurities. Both men used "them/us" thinking in their speeches. Both show that style mattered more than substance. Flags, banners, zealous patriotism, heart-warming speeches were used by both men, along with the chanting of simple slogans. Both men have secret government policies and a military agenda. Both men support Big Business. (War is only good for corporations and for increasing the budget of the Defense Department.) Both men came to power in a controversial manner: Hitler with the Reichstag fire, Bu$h with the Florida vote controversy. Both men demanded blind loyalty and obedience. They both declared war on one country after another. Bu$h, on June 1st, at West Point, announced that the U.S. will strike first at our enemies (which now numbers sixty, or a third of the world.) thepeoplesvoice.org

Air Force Officer Suspended After Criticizing Bush
June 6, By REUTERS MONTEREY, Calif. - A U.S. Air Force officer has been suspended from duty after he wrote a letter to a California newspaper accusing President Bush of allowing the Sept. 11 attacks to happen ``because he needed this war on terrorism,'' a military official said on Tuesday. Lt. Colonel Steve Butler was relieved of his duties as vice chancellor for student affairs at the Defense Language Institute pending an investigation into his letter, which was published in the Monterey County Herald on May 26, a military spokesman said. Butler's letter accused Bush -- the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces -- of allowing the Sept. 11 attacks to occur for his own political ends. ``Of course Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism. His daddy had Saddam and he needed Osama,'' Butler's letter said. ``His presidency was going nowhere. He wasn't elected by the American people, but placed into the Oval Office by the conservative Supreme Court...the economy was sliding into the usual Republican pits and he needed something to hang his presidency on.'' nytimes.com

September 11 hearings begin: Bush, Congress seek whitewash of government role
5 June 2002 The Editorial board A joint session of the House and Senate Intelligence committees began taking testimony behind closed doors June 4 on the performance of US intelligence agencies in the period leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These hearings are a travesty of democracy: they are being held largely behind closed doors, with the evidence, testimony and even the findings to be kept secret. Republicans, have long opposed any serious investigation into the unanswered questions about September 11 that continue to pile up. Instead, they hope to use the hearings to rubber-stamp measures that will greatly expand the police and spying powers of the FBI and CIA. wsws.org

Bush Blocks Bid to Save Millions of Lives June 4, 2002 by Geoffrey Lean by Geoffrey Lean European governments have long suspected it. Environmentalists have long proclaimed it. But now there is clear evidence that President George Bush's environmental policy is indeed a load of crap. For the United States is blocking an international plan to halve the number of people, two-fifths of the population of the planet, who have no sanitation. Some 2.4 billion people lack even a bucket for their wastes, and this is one of the main causes of world disease. European and developing nations, meeting in Bali, Indonesia, want the world's leaders to agree to meet this target by 2015. They are proposing that the plan be put in front of the leaders when they meet for a new "Earth Summit" in Johannesburg in August. The summit – officially called the World Summit for Sustainable Development – is to concentrate on the environmental problems faced by the world's poorest people. The Bali meeting, which is the final preparatory conference for the summit, is running into trouble, with the Bush administration, in the words of one top Whitehall source, being "very, very negative". commondreams.org

June 3 For those at the bottom, the consequence of the new conservatism that dominates the US is to make life increasingly desperate - and with progressively less opportunity. Eligibility for income support and public assistance is being steadily withdrawn; cumulatively, it has halved from the levels of 20 years ago. Poorly educated and with negligible access to training programmes, the poor are locked into their status. The great achievements of conservatism - can only have one result. America is developing an aristocracy of the rich and serfdom of the poor and, in so doing, threatening its own economic vitality.

Death on the tracks
3 June 2002 By Jeremy Johnson A young New Jersey couple’s tragic double suicide on May 13 has provided another glimpse into the desperation facing millions of people in the United States today. Caught in a web of drug abuse, recently evicted from their apartment, and wanted by the police for passing stolen checks, Theresa LaMarca, 22, and Damien Conners, 26, calmly walked together onto the railroad tracks at their neighborhood North Elizabeth station and sat down in front of an Amtrak express train coming through at 55 miles per hour. They were killed instantly. While the tabloid press in nearby New York City played up the incident with front-page headlines about “doomed lovers” and a “real-life Romeo and Juliet,” even a cursory examination of the circumstances reveals there was nothing romantic about the decision of these two young people to end their lives so abruptly. Rather, it speaks volumes about the dead-end lives facing so many young people. wsws.org

Bush: U.S. Will Strike First at Enemies New Threats Require Preemption, He Says June 2, 2002 By Mike Allen and Karen DeYoung By Mike Allen and Karen DeYoung Washington Post Staff Writers -- WEST POINT, N.Y., June 1 -- President Bush told future Army officers today that the United States can no longer deter attacks from other nations by threatening massive retaliation, but instead must strike looming enemies first. Bush's new description of his foreign policy, sketched during the graduation address he gave at the United States Military Academy, sharply revised the positions he took as a candidate, when he emphasized the need to limit U.S. intervention to regions with immediate bearing on the nation's strategic interests. Today, Bush said the nation "must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries," or roughly one-third of the world. He renewed his months-old promise to "confront regimes that sponsor terror," even though he has found few American allies to endorse his desire to unseat Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the Pentagon has told him that the military could be stretched too thin. washingtonpost.com



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