The White Flag


America is Truly the Land of Milk and Honey
January 30, 2011, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

United States

Closing Guantanamo remains on the agenda.
Read More

“ ‘We are absolutely committed to closing Guantanamo. It’s turned out to be a little more challenging than we had hoped when we set that goal,’ Clinton said during a press conference with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez.”

Sometimes I consider the size of our military and think, it should be bigger! I feel security is just around the corner, that is, the spending of billions of dollars on drones, guns, and soldiers.
Read More

“The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.”

“The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?”

“The intelligence community is so vast that more people have ‘top secret’ clearance than live in Washington, D.C.”

“Let me be clear: I’m a believer in a robust military, which is essential for backing up diplomacy. But the implication is that we need a balanced tool chest of diplomatic and military tools alike. Instead, we have a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy. The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous.”

“It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: ‘Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.’ ”

“American troops in Afghanistan are among the strongest advocates of investing more in schools there because they see firsthand that education fights extremism far more effectively than bombs. And here’s the trade-off: For the cost of one American soldier in Afghanistan for one year, you could build about 20 schools.”

The men working for the CIA are great guys, I would show you, but they smashed the video tape of us all hanging out together having a good time, so, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Read More

“The focus of the hearing before Judge Alvin Hellerstein of Federal District Court was not torture itself but the Central Intelligence Agency’s deliberate destruction in 2005 of dozens of videotapes made three years earlier showing the brutal interrogation of high-level terrorism suspects, including the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding. At the time, the agency had been ordered by Judge Hellerstein to preserve the tapes.”

“Their destruction was seen as so egregious that the Bush administration felt compelled to order a special investigation when it was disclosed.”

“In November, the special prosecutor handling that investigation, John Durham, decided against bringing criminal charges against any C.I.A. official. No details of his decision were provided, leaving it unclear why those involved were not charged with any crime.”

“The C.I.A.’s decision to destroy the tapes — rather than submit them to the judge for a decision on whether to order their public release — was a serious affront to the court and the rule of law.”

As all intelligent people know, the Patriot Act is as it says, a home brewed cup of freedom. And I, like most republicans, know that people who are for “judicial oversight” are really freedom haters, who love to see bad guys come out on top.
Read More

“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced the bipartisan 2011 USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act, which would continue to allow roving wiretaps of suspects who change computers or phone numbers to avoid monitoring; tracking of ‘lone wolves’ — people of interest with no known links to terrorist groups; and retrieval of records and other tangible evidence from organizations with a court order. The proposal, which would expire in December 2013, also demands greater judicial supervision.”

“Leahy’s changes aimed at heightening oversight include language requiring the government to list the facts and circumstances that justify obtaining a court order to retrieve records. Current law states the records are presumed relevant, so long as they are associated with a foreign power, the activities of a suspected agent of a foreign power, or an individual in contact with such an agent.”

“In addition, the Senate proposal raises the standard for gaining permission to conduct wiretaps. Existing law mandates that the government certify the information sought is foreign intelligence data or relevant to a terrorist investigation. The new measure would demand the government provide facts that substantiate the belief that the information gleaned will likely be relevant.”

Civil Liberties

Peace activists pose eminent threat to society’s tranquility!
Read More

“A former Joint Base Lewis-Mc-Chord employee who spied on war protests in Olympia helped compile detailed information on protesters, including their names, photos, addresses and, in some cases, Social Security numbers, according to 133 pages of law enforcement records released by the City of Tacoma.”

“The use of undercover surveillance of people that are engaged in First Amendment activities ‘is only lawful when there is a criminal nexus or criminal predicate,’ Smith said. ‘That surveillance must cease when it is indicated that there is no such thing,’ Smith added.”

“Reached by telephone Monday afternoon, former councilman Johnson said he was disturbed to learn that his name and photo were included in the dossier of antiwar activists maintained by the South Sound Regional Intelligence Group, ‘but it’s not surprising. The militarization of domestic law enforcement is one of the more disturbing trends in recent years. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not.’ ”

Altruism; one quality America will always be known for, so long as they keep saying it enough.
Read More

“But it turns out he’s one tough hombre. Manning, according to his attorney, to a friend who has been allowed to visit him, and to activists who have been demonstrating outside Quantico for his release from this private hell, has been subjected to sleep deprivation, has been barred from exercising in the slightest, and recently was improperly placed by the Quantico base commander on suicide watch–meaning his clothing was removed, and also his reading glasses–as punishment for “disobeying” orders of the guards.”

“The aim of all this abuse, which is now being investigated by a UN human rights investigator, has been blatantly to crush his spirit, in hopes of getting him to agree to implicate Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks organization, in inducing him to leak the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, and the visual tapes, of Iraq and Afghan war reports, helicopter murder, and US State Department cables, all of which have been undermining the US war effort and the US diplomatic agenda.”

“[…]holding [Manning] in solitary confinement in a Marine brig, subjecting him to conditions that the world and international and US law recognize as torture, denying him the right to a speedy trial or court-martial on a charge of allegedly leaking secret documents–all in the attempt to wring a false confession out of him–is exactly what was done for years in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.”

Apparently our military leaders were inspired by the gusto of suicide bombers ready to die for what they believe in, for, now we too are attempting to turn our soldiers in extremist automatons, but for Jesus. It is going to be hard for many Christians to see what all the fuss is about, but I ask for everyone just to considered how they would feel if this were Islam they were cramming down our soldiers throats, one is no more right than the other, they are both unprovable and it is not right to take away some one’s freedom to choose in either case.
Read More

“This should come as no surprise, as Mr. Weinstein has a great deal to say on a topic that affects us all, and threatens the constitutional fabric of the nation: a frontal assault by elements within the active military on the separation of church and state, and a crusade by those elements to transform the Armed Services into a fundamentalist Christian entity.”

“Weinstein and his wife both hold licenses to carry concealed weapons, and have every reason to believe they may someday need them. The windows of their home have been shot out, dead animals have been left on their steps, and – certainly worst of all – the lives of their children have been threatened. One such threat came in the guise of a promise that Weinstein would be murdered, and his children would be bathed in his blood before they themselves were murdered.”

“Self-proclaimed ‘Christians.’ Fundamentalist evangelical frauds who cloak themselves in the words of Jesus and the uniform of the American military while lashing out violently against anyone who does not toe the line of their “true faith.” The hypocrisy of their activities is beyond appalling, and flies in the face of the Scripture they pervert with every breath they take.”

“And make no mistake: this movement to turn the Armed Forces into a bastion of hard-core fundamentalist Christianity is as dangerous as any threat posed to the country by any outside force or enemy. There is a word for a military force whose core principles are centered around the absolute requirement to adhere to a strict fundamentalist religious view. Taliban.”

Jesse Ventura plans to sue the TSA for infringing on his rights.
Read More

“Former Governor Jesse Ventura has taken steps to sue the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security, naming their chiefs John Pistole and ‘Big Sis’ Janet Napolitano in a lawsuit that will take on invasive airport pat-downs [READ LAWSUIT].”

“[Alex] Jones recalls Ventura’s outrage at the TSA’s harassing old people in wheelchairs with the invasive new pat-down procedures. The former governor himself is routinely sent to secondary screening due to a hip replacement in 2008, and Jones witnessed him undergo repeated humiliating searches during pat-downs at the hands of TSA. Worse, at airports across the country, even those presenting medical cards describing special needs or equipment from a doctor are routinely ignored as TSA agents demand that medical patients remove urostomy bags, prosthetic breasts or that TSA be allowed to grope a pacemaker patients’ breasts.”

“Ventura filed his lawsuit Monday, January 24, 2011 in Minnesota and news reports have named David Olsen as his lawyer. The former governor has indicated that his suit will include violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 4th Amendment, arguing that he and others with disabilities have been discriminated against and unduly singled out by TSA despite presenting no threat and warranting no reason for lawful search.”

We will only be free once everyone’s life is an open book, stored away in a computer, that is, until they later show up on the radar for suspicious activities, like taking photographs.
Read More

“ ‘Data retention is fundamental to the department’s work in investigating and prosecuting almost every type of crime,’ Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general for the criminal division, will say, according to his written testimony. ‘The problem of investigations being stymied by a lack of data retention is growing worse.’ ”

“That aligns the Justice Department with data retention’s more aggressive supporters among House Republicans and places it at odds with privacy advocates, civil libertarians, and the Internet industry. Those groups have questioned the privacy, liability, cost, and scope, including whether businesses such as coffee shops would be required to identify and monitor whoever uses their wireless connections.”

“Or it could be more intrusive, sweeping in online service providers, and involve keeping track of e-mail and instant-messaging correspondence and what Web pages users visit. Some Democratic politicians have previously called for data retention laws to extend to domain name registries and Web hosting companies and even social-networking sites. An FBI attorney said last year that the bureau supports storing Internet users’ ‘origin and destination information,’ meaning logs of which Web sites are visited.”

Americans have nothing to fear allowing government agencies unfettered access to our personal information because all government personnel are immaculate humans beings, and will never dishonor the responsibilities they are given.
Read More

“And despite the bureau’s very strict screening procedure for all prospective employees, the FBI confirms that about 325 to 350 employees a year receive some kind of discipline, ranging from a reprimand to suspension.”

“About 30 employees each year are fired.”

“– An employee had ‘a sexual relationship with a source’ over seven months. The punishment was a 40-day suspension.”

“– The supervisor who viewed ‘pornographic movies in the office while sexually satisfying himself’ during work hours received a 35-day suspension.”

“– The employee in a ‘leadership position’ who misused a ‘government database to conduct name checks on two friends who were foreign nationals employed as exotic dancers’ and ‘brought the two friends into FBI space after-hours without proper authorization’ received a 23-day suspension. The same employee had been previously suspended for misusing a government database.”

“– An employee who was drunk ‘exploited his FBI employment at a strip club,’ falsely claiming he was ‘conducting an official investigation.’ His punishment was a 30-day suspension.

“– And an employee conducted ‘unauthorized searches on FBI databases’ for ‘information on public celebrities the employee thought were ‘hot’ received a 30-day suspension.”

Progress

Petition: Stop the campaign to end insured abortions.
Take Action!

Interview with the president, answering questions from internet users like you.
Watch Now



Land of the Free and Indefinitely Detained
January 23, 2011, 5:37 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

Americans are inconsistent in what they believe; we help the people of Iraq and Haiti because of a humanitarian necessity, yet, when it comes to issues like genocide in Sudan, or homelessness/poverty here in the States we look the other way. We also turn our heads at the atrocities our own people are committing; the reckless behavior of Blackwater, the use of torture, and rendition of prisoners to countries that torture, mounting civilian casualties in the war on terror, indefinite detention and much more. The previous is not a list associated with the light of the world, a role America once had.

What does, ‘proud to be an American’ mean, if it does not mean to be honored to come from a nation that the rest of the world looks to for guidance? This nation is not losing its role because of decisions the people of America have made, but Americans are not innocent either, for it was their duty to stand in the way of their government’s destructive behavior, as it still is. This nation has lost its title and symbolic meaning due to the choices elected and non-elected officials have made.

To be proud of something, there must be something to be proud of. And, a country that loves freedom cannot be proud of a country that takes part in tyrannic acts. Americans that love freedom must be dissatisfied with their America. Dissatisfied citizens of a democracy have a duty to change the nation they live in. I refuse to idly watch the nation I love, and live in deteriorate into a place I fear, and find reprehensible.

Lovers of freedom, oppose tyranny.

-The White Flag

United States

Nine years to be proud of being an American.
Read More

“Mr. Obama says he is still committed to closing the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, which remains — in his words — a marquee recruitment tool for terrorists.”

“Such sentiment is a far cry from 2008 when advocates were heartened by high-profile support from both sides of the aisle as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Mr. Bush himself joined Mr. Obama in calls to close the prison.”

“Most recently, in one of its last acts before Republicans took control of the House, the Democrat-led Congress in December approved a defense authorization bill barring the use of Pentagon dollars for transferring detainees to the United States.”

“Earlier this month, Mr. Obama said he had no choice but to sign the authorization bill, which approved billions for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he issued a highly critical signing statement that decried the Guantanamo provisions as a ‘dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority’ and also vowing to push for a repeal of the restrictions, which expire in September.”

Everyone knows that big business and pollution are like spaghetti and meat balls, so who are American citizens to think their health and environment are more important than profits? These New Mexicans are infringing all over business’s right to do whatever they please. This is America and the first line of our Constitution reads, “Big business comes first.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is how the Constitution starts.
Read More

“The problem is, New Mexico’s newly elected conservative governor, Republican Susana Martinez – who has financial ties to oil and gas producers and individuals – has attempted to subvert her own state constitution in order to stop this plan to begin reducing her state’s carbon emissions.”

“Oil and gas producers and individuals in the industry contributed at least $220,000 to Martinez, according to an analysis of her fundraising report by The Associated Press. Devon Energy, an Oklahoma City-based company, gave her $50,000. Myco Industries, an Artesia oil company, contributed $30,000, while Yates Petroleum of Artesia gave $15,000.”

“Governor Martinez has nominated avid climate change denier Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt to head New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. While the rest of the world is progressing ahead with carbon-curbing emissions and the EU is aiming for 20 percent cuts by 2020, Nanasi said, ‘The Martinez administration has its head in the sand, pretending there isn’t a problem.’ “

Don’t be a dummy, know your rights just in case you’re ever wrongly stopped by the police, despite what you may think, that does happen. (VIDEO)
Read More

The House votes to repeal Health Care legislation.
Read More

“House Republicans passed a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a vote of 245-189, mainly along party lines — only three Democrats joined with the Republicans. The vote prompted sharp reactions from all sides of Minnesota politics: Rep. Michele Bachmann called for the repeal of President Obama, while Rep. Keith Ellison said that Republicans voted dump 32 millions Americans’ health coverage.”

“ ‘Repealing the Affordable Care Act will eliminate consumer protections, put insurance companies between you and your doctors, raise taxes on small businesses, and explode the deficit,’ said Walz. ‘It will be bad for our economy and jobs in places like southern Minnesota that have a robust health care industry.’ ”

“He offered a story of constituents who have already been helped by the new law. ‘[J]ust a few weeks ago, I received a letter from a dad in southern Minnesota named Paul. Paul’s son Joe is 21 years old, works part time and has Type II diabetes,’ Walz wrote. ‘Joe couldn’t get the insurance he needed to pay for the expensive equipment and treatment he needs. But because of the new law we passed, Joe was able to get back on his parent’s insurance and his new insurance card came a couple of weeks ago in the mail.’”

Need to find out what is going in the world? Don’t bother watching your mainstream media.
Read More

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

“Some of the most undercovered stories of 2010 were actions taken by ordinary people standing up for a more just and equitable society. People are taking to the streets on a regular basis across the country, but unlike the corporate-sponsored Tea Party — whose spokespeople can’t answer basic questions about the deficit they claim to be so worried about — those who believe in health care, affordable housing, economic justice, education, a living wage, and a better life for all rarely, if ever, get the attention they deserve. Instead, the media, even the alternative media, spent the better part of last year obsessing over the Tea Party and manufactured personalities like Sarah Palin, while ignoring people like 85-year-old Julia Botello.”

“Last month, Botello was among 22 people arrested for blocking the doors of a Chase Bank branch in downtown Los Angeles. Over 200 people, many of them homeowners facing foreclosure and eviction, took part in the action organized by Home Defenders League and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.”

“– On December 9, thousands of inmates in Georgia state prisons began a six-day strike to call attention to their treatment and to demand basic human rights: a living wage for work, educational opportunities, decent living conditions and health care, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment. It was largest prison strike in U.S. history, but the New York Times was one of the few mainstream outlets to cover it.”

“– On December 11, a few local media outlets in Waterville, Maine reported on an action organized by the Maine Fair Trade Campaign to call attention to President Obama’s decision to bring the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to Congress for a vote. The group, which opposes NAFTA and CAFTA, rang a bell 31 times in honor of the more than 31,000 Maine-based jobs that have been outsourced since 2000. ‘People all over the state have suffered because of this,’ said campaign board member Sarah Bigney in an interview with The Morning Sentinel. ‘We know what the impact of NAFTA has been. We must say no to this madness. We know it will continue to worsen the job crisis.’ According to the Economic Policy Institute, the deal will increase the deficit with Korea by $16.7 billion, and cost 159,000 U.S. jobs within the first seven years after it takes effect.”

“– On December 15, workers, union activists, and community supporters took part in more than 40 actions at Rite Aid stores in 11 states to raise awareness about low wages and health insurance cost increases. In These Times, one of the only outlets to report on the National Day of Action, ran a piece by AFL-CIO campaign coordinator Rand Wilson. He writes that the actions were ‘sparked by a rash of poor decisions by Rite Aid officials across the country.’ ”

“– On December 16, 131 veterans and their supporters were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence during a snowstorm to demand an end to the ongoing occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Veterans for Peace, it was the largest veteran-led demonstration in recent years, but just like Winter Soldier, the action was completely ignored by the corporate media. Dave Lindorff reports that it was blacked out of the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.”

“– On December 20, six people were arrested for trespassing after they locked arms and climbed the steps to the Bank of America entrance in Clayton, St. Louis. According to organizers, some 80 people gathered in front of the bank to raise awareness about a pending foreclosure facing Mary and Mike Boehm. Mary Boehm says after her husband lost his job in 2009, she applied for the mortgage modification program designed to keep people in their homes. On November 8, 2009, Bank of America told her she qualified, but she needed to turn in additional paperwork in order to be officially approved. Even though the Boehms never missed a payment, they received a notice in November 2010 saying they were in default. The foreclosure proceedings began on December 26. The action was organized by the grassroots group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment.”

State-secrets privilege, one tool all law abiding democracies should grant their presidents, with no oversight, or else how is the president going to hide his secret activities?
Read More

“The US Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up a case examining whether the government properly invoked the state-secrets privilege to dismiss a civil lawsuit in a multibillion dollar defense contract dispute.”

“The dispute dates to 1991 when the US Navy terminated a defense contract to develop a carrier-based stealth jet fighter. The Navy claimed the contractors were behind schedule and had thus defaulted.”

“Fighting back, the contractors argued that the government itself had caused the contract delays in part by failing to share highly-classified stealth technology.”

“Both the Bush and Obama administrations have invoked the privilege to dismiss litigation that the government claimed would threaten national security. In one case the US government was accused of kidnapping and torturing terror suspects; another involved charges of unlawful electronic surveillance of individuals inside the US.”

Would torture and indefinite detention be policies you would support if it was you, or one of your family members being tortured and detained?
Read More

“In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s failed attempt to convert the world to Communism, the United States found a new global threat against which to focus its efforts. In our war against the tactic of terrorism, we use color charts to represent threat levels, duct tape and plastic to ward off danger, and colorful scenarios derived from enhanced interrogation to justify draconian action.”

“All this ultimately leads to ‘indefinite detention,’ the notion that the same people who brought you such reliable information in the past should now be trusted to determine certain individuals must be presumed guilty and confined for the rest of their lives without trial. It is, in no uncertain terms, a complete deprivation of liberty without due process–and a complete departure from essential, time-tested American values. Nonetheless, ‘indefinite detention’ gathers widespread support through the fear-driven notions of protecting ‘national security’ and fighting the ‘war on terror.’ ”

“But make no mistake. If government is permitted to disregard the rule of law in the name of ‘national security,’ such unbridled action is unlikely to be applied only against foreign nationals. As a result, if only to protect our own freedom, every American citizen must demand that, before condemning any human being to confinement for life, a government must prove some actual criminal offense, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a fair, open, and transparent court proceeding, at a minimum.”

Civil Liberties

Everyone is equal, men just have more opportunities than women, and that is not really a debate about equality, but for some reason all these feminists keep saying it is.
Read More

“The United States currently restricts women from direct combat roles in infantry positions or in the Special Forces. A 1994 Department of Defense directive banned women from units that primarily engage in direct combat. “

Republican Bobby Schilling says being locked in a cell the rest of your life for a crime you did not commit really is not that bad if your captors treat you nicely. I thought I was concerned about humanity by wanting to close Guantanamo, however, if we really cared about these guys we would allow them to stay at the free ideal get away so long as they live.
Read More

“The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Buck McKeon has vowed to keep the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay open after paying a visit to the camp on the leased Caribbean estate.”

“Meanwhile, Republican Bobby Schilling of Illinois opined that Guantanamo was ‘nothing compared to what it tends to get painted here,’ adding that the indefinitely-held detainees ‘are being treated pretty darned well.’”

“McKeon and others succeeded during the lame-duck congressional session last month in adding a provision to the defense authorization bill that would ban the transfer of detainees from the prison in Cuba to the United States.”

“European Union members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have protested the legal status and physical condition of the detainees at Guantanamo.”

I do not need some judge to tell me the people at Gitmo are not dangerous! I need another judge to tell me the opposite; besides, my President, George W. Bush, already told me every prisoner there is the worst of the worst.
Read More

“The judge added: ‘While it is tempting to be swayed by the fact that [Adahi] readily acknowledged having met [Osama] Bin Laden on two occasions and admitted that perhaps his relatives were bodyguards and enthusiastic followers of Bin Laden, such evidence – sensational and compelling as it may appear – does not constitute actual, reliable evidence that would justify the Government’s detention of this man.’ ”

War

Iranians plan to acquire a new energy source, a nuclear bomb.
Read More

“Aftenposten said that according to the cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, more than 350 Iranian companies and organizations were involved in the pursuit of nuclear and missile technology between 2006 and 2010.”

“It cited sources as saying Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons before its already crippled economy succumbs to the sanctions. “A race exists between the bomb and financial collapse,’ the daily cited a cable quoting a French nuclear expert.”

This is a short video by FRONTLINE, which is the predecessor to a video they will release come Fall, and the surveillance-state America has been slowly transforming into since 9/11.
Click for Video

Obama’s newest strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan is to increase ground troops while simultaneously Funding the Pakistani Military, which also supports the Afghan Taliban.
Read More

“Secret diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration increased the United States’ military presence in Afghanistan despite warnings that the surge could make 2010 the most difficult and bloody since the 2001 invasion.”

“As Eikenberry predicted, 2010 was the deadliest and most expensive year of the Afghanistan war, with at least 711 coalition casualties and $171 billion spent, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

“In his recent trip to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Vice President Joseph Biden said the US does not intend to ‘govern or nation build’ and reiterated the 2014 deadline for the Afghan government to lead and secure its own country, but he also made it clear the US would be available for more hand-holding.”

” ’The United States, if the Afghan people want it, are prepared, and we are not leaving in 2014 … we are not leaving, if you don’t want us to leave,’ Biden said.”

“The Obama administration’s decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2010 was successful in weakening the Taliban’s influence in parts of the Afghanistan, but the surge also pushed more enemy fighters to tribal areas across Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, forcing the US to continue spending billions of dollars on improving its shaky relations with Pakistan’s unstable government.”

“The US has already given billions to Pakistan, and last week Biden touted a US commitment to provide $7.5 million in military and civilian aid over the next five years. The US is expected to give the country at least $3 billion in 2011.”

“In December 2009, Karzai told US diplomats that he was skeptical of Pakistan and expected the Taliban to retreat to the tribal borderlands of Pakistan to ’lay low until 2011,’ a prediction that would prove to be accurate. Eikenberry said the US shared the concern that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban could join forces, and a top Afghan general reported that he had received ‘contrary reports’ that the Pakistani Army was helping the Afghan Taliban retreat and hide in Pakistani cities.”

“The 92,000 classified US military documents from Afghanistan released by WikiLeaks in mid 2010 revealed that US and Afghan officials long suspected that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence spy agency was secretly aiding the Taliban even as the US continued to give billions of dollars to Pakistan.”

“The Obama administration has attempted to change this sentiment and win Pakistani loyalty with billions of dollars in aid, and now Pakistan can expect at least $7.5 billion more despite a clear warning from US diplomats made in 2009:
Money alone will not/not solve the problem of al-Qaeda or the Taliban operating in Pakistan … Afghan instability by definition leads the Pakistani establishment to increase support for the Taliban and thereby, unintentionally, create space for al-Qaeda. No amount of money will sever that link.”

Progress

Protesters against Guantanamo.
Read More

“While the nation plays politics with Guantánamo, men ‘cleared for release’ by the U.S. government or who have won their habeas cases remain in detention. ‘This is unacceptable,’ says Jerica Arents, a Chicago resident and one of over 100 people taking part in an 11-day fast against torture. ‘The Justice Department has a direct hand in this horror. It has appealed successful habeas cases and failed to develop a mechanism by which such rulings secure freedom for innocent men.’ ”

Many of the people held at Guantanamo are not guilty of committing any crimes, yet, it is likely they will spend a large portion of their lives imprisoned. They have as little hope as the rest of us do for their freedom, and it is Americans who are responsible for their imprisonment, and only Americans are able to release them. This article is about the men at Guantanamo, and offers a link that will show you how to write the prisoners a letter to give them support and show that there are Americans who are concerned with their safety and liberation.
Read More

Are you not quite sure why your governor and representative keeps voting to place those high voltage power lines by your public school? Mark Udall has an idea:
Read More

“He next talked at depth about transparency so any donation was up on the web within 24 hours. So we would know who was pouring money into what. I asked if that included 3rd parties and he said yes 3rd party groups too. He also said ads funded by corporations should require the CEO at the end of the ad to say they approved the message (I love this idea!).”



Pleas of the Scared and Doubtful
January 16, 2011, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

It is only normal for a person who has done nothing wrong to suspect that they are safe from government surveillance, and if the government was reading their emails, or tracking their car with a GPS device, then there still would not be anything to worry about because they have done nothing wrong. However, this is clearly a misconception, as the story of Gulet Mohamed and many other tales of innocent people being swallowed up by the police state for ‘suspicious activity’ are revealed. Moreover, the peace activists who were not involved in anything illegal, who had their homes raided by the FBI, and were never charged with any crime, shows that beyond the fallacy of law abiding citizens being safe from persecution, the targets of the surveillance program suggests a more diabolical plot at hand, silencing the opposition.

The level of intrusion to our privacy that which the Patriot Act permits is unconstitutional, thus, it is un-American, and no more should need to be said. As an American citizen I want to be able to trust my government with anything, they are supposed to be the guardian of my liberty, as well as, my life. Because the government is our keeper it is natural to believe the government will only implement its power in lawful ways, yet, a need for trust is not a valid reason for relinquishing freedom. The government will work for the people of America, that is, only when Americans are prepared to take responsibility for what they know is right. If the government is left to decide what is right and good for our country, then we the people are not determining what is the proper path for America to follow. And, in that case it is not the people who dictate what happens in America, but it is the people with power and money who dictate American policy.
-The White Flag

United States

Obama has always supported extending the Patriot Act; even if that is true, that is not a good thing when the people who voted for him thought he would end abusive use of executive powers, and hold civil liberties as his prima facie.
Read More

“[…] a 2008 Justice Department report confirmed that the FBI regularly abused their ability to obtain personal records of Americans without a warrant.”

“ ‘In the absence of a major scandal, though, it’s hard to see why we should expect the incentives facing legislators to be vastly different a year from now,’ he added. ‘I’d love to be proven wrong, but I suspect this is how reining in the growth of the surveillance state becomes an item perpetually on next year’s agenda.’ ”

“As senator, Obama promised to support reforming the Patriot Act, but voted in favor of extending it in 2005 and 2008. Similarly, he signed last year’s extension into law with little fanfare. FBI and Department of Justice officials had consistently argued that restricting their blanket authority to conduct warrantless searches would harm national security.”

“Candidate Obama said in 2007 that if he were elected president there would be ‘no more National Security Letters [NSL’s] to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime’ because ‘that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.’ ”

“Most recently, Obama’s Department of Justice sent a secret court order to micro-blogging site Twitter, seeking information on all 635,561 users who followed secrets outlet WikiLeaks.”

Manning must pay for his use of ethics and respect for American law!
Read More

“In Iraq, Manning was ordered ‘to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.’ Manning questioned the orders he was being given to help round up Iraqis and brought his concerns to the chain of command. He pointed to a specific instance where 15 detainees were arrested and tortured for printing ‘anti-Iraqi literature’ he found that the paper in question was merely a scholarly critique of corruption in the government asking ‘Where did the money go?” He brought this to his commander, who told him to ‘shut up’ and keep working to find more detainees. Manning realized he ‘was actively involved in something that I was completely against…’ ”

“He wrestled with the question of what to do. According to the unverified chat logs with Lamo Manning told Lamo that he hoped the publication of the documents and videos would spur ‘worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.’ He went on to say, ‘I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.’ The command structure would not listen, so Manning went beyond them to the people who are supposed to control the military in our democratic republic. He wanted Americans to know the truth.”

Another important issue that many of us may not be smart enough to understand the premise of; removing ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil liberties’ from the title of the ‘constitution subcommittee.’
Read More

“Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) blasted Republicans for planning to change the name of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to the ‘Constitution Subcommittee.’ ”

” ‘Once again, the new Republican majority has shown that it isn’t quite as committed to the Constitution as its recent lofty rhetoric would indicate,’ Rep. Nadler […]”

” ‘Republicans have made a great deal of noise in recent days about standing up for the Constitution,’ Rep. Nadler continued. ‘But, in less than 48 hours, they have already revealed their true intentions. In addition to reading selectively from the Constitution on the House floor in a much-exalted ceremony on Thursday, Republicans also blatantly violated the Constitution by allowing two of their Members to vote without having been sworn-in, and introduced unconstitutional legislation aimed at bypassing the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause.’ “

Lockheed Martin, the weapons manufacturer, may be involved in more than just destruction. They have amassed an enormous number of government contracts, many of which are concerned with collecting data, and that data is then filed into our permanent life records.
Read More

“[Lockheed Martin] received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history.”

“Lockheed Martin is in charge of the FBI’s Integrated Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), a database of 55 million sets of fingerprints. The company also produces biometric identification devices that will know who you are by scanning your iris, recognizing your face, or coming up with novel ways of collecting your fingerprints or DNA. As the company likes to say, it’s in the business of making everyone’s lives (and so personal data) an ‘open book,’ which is, of course, of great benefit to us all.”

“In the meantime, since at least 2004, Lockheed Martin has been involved in the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), which collected personal data on American citizens for storage in a database known as ‘Threat and Local Observation Notice’ (and far more dramatically by the acronym TALON). […] Among the ‘threatening’ citizens actually tracked by CIFA were members of antiwar groups. As part of its role in CIFA, Lockheed Martin was not only monitoring intelligence, but also ‘estimating future threats.’ (Not exactly inconvenient for a giant weapons outfit that might see antiwar activism as a threat!)”

“Even listing the government and quasi-governmental agencies the company has contracts with is a daunting task, but here’s just a partial run-down: the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, the Census Bureau, the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense (including the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency), the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Technology Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the General Services Administration, the Geological Survey, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of State, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Transportation, the Transportation Security Agency, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

The oil an Corexit within sea food is safe for consumption, so says the governor of Mississippi.
Read More

“Mississippi Gov. Hailey Barbour has claimed that Mississippi coastal waters are clear, the beaches clean and that the seafood caught in the Gulf is safe to eat.”

“Yet, soil samples taken along the beach at Long Beach, Mississippi, on October 21, 2010, confirmed the presence of crude oil. One sand sample, from location 3012.45N, 8930.41W, contained 9.35 parts per million (ppm) of Oil Range Organic Petroleum Hydrocarbons (ORO), confirming the presence of crude oil. This sample also contained ethanol, which is a chemical in BP’s dispersants.”

“Another sand sample taken from the same area contained 160 ppm ORO.”

“Samples with no oil or chemicals should test at 0 ppm.”

” ‘The wetlands and ecosystem soil/sediment from Atchafalaya Bay eastward to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line contained 6 to 89 individual Alkylated Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Oil Range Organic Petroleum Hydrocarbons (ORO) up to 11,600 mg/kg [ppm] (1.16%) which corresponded to the fingerprint of the BP Louisiana Sweet Crude.’ ”

“State health departments in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama had issued swimming advisories while BP’s well continued to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico last summer. Since then, however, all three states have declared their beaches, waters and seafood safe from oil disaster related toxins.”

“Florida never issued any advisories, despite many residents reporting illnesses they attribute to the oil disaster.”

What good is security without freedom? Likewise, what good is a promise if it is not kept?
Read More

“Having famously promised Guantánamo’s closure by January 2010, not only has Obama’s administration broken this promise, it has now apparently reconciled itself to the dismal prospect of the camp remaining open for years to come — as signalled by the president’s signing into law — albeit reluctantly — of the National Defense Authorization Act at the weekend. There is now a block on moving prisoners to US soil, either for trial or what the president calls ‘rehousing’). Regrettably, the main route toward justice in the form of internationally-recognized trials has been barred.”

“Presently 173 so-called ‘enemy combatants’ still languish at Guantánamo Bay, pending trial or release (of a total of 775 people brought to the camp since its inception). Both former detainees and Red Cross inspectors have spoken of the harrowing use of torture at that facility, including sleep deprivation, truth drugs and beatings. Amnesty International has called the conditions at Guantánamo ‘a human rights scandal.”‘

War

After the shooting in Arizona, I think it is time to implement rocket propelling drones here in the U.S.A., a few civilian casualties never hurt anyone, right? Or at least, that is why we are using them in Pakistan, no?
Read More

“According to the Long War Journal, the number of U.S. attacks in Pakistan, using unmanned Predator drones, has gone from five in 2007 to 117 in 2010.”

“The U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan produce many casualties, but none of those killed are citizens of our country. The pilots operating the remote-controlled drones used to launch missile attacks in Pakistan usually sit behind computer screens far from the battlefield.”

“President Obama’s startling expansion of this drone assassination campaign has gone by largely unnoticed. Missile attacks from drones often target a single person for assassination, but end up killing dozens. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in Pakistan by drones since 2006, yet Congress has held only one public hearing on these weapons. Instead, Congress inserts even more money than the President requests for them into the Pentagon’s budget–and there’s even a special caucus to promote the drones.”

“There’s a bumper sticker that sums up this problem. It reads: ‘We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them.’ Congress, and the nation as a whole, need to decide if our goal is simply to kill more people or to make this country safer. If our goal is the latter, then assassinations by drones or any other means doesn’t belong in our policy tool kit.”

The World

Connection between Swedish prosecutor and the CIA in the Julian Assange case.
Read More

“[…] are Swedish authorities proceeding normally, as they claim, in launching a global Interpol manhunt to capture Assange to question him about precisely how and why he engaged in sex-without-a-condom last summer with two women who invited him separately to stay with them in their beds while he was on a speaking tour?”

Civil Liberties

The President and his team of lawyers who set up the legal frame work for torture, cannot be held accountable, the soldiers and CIA member that committed, or took part in torture are not going to be prosecuted, and now Donald Rumsfeld cannot be held accountable for torture by the military, even though he was the Secretary of Defense. The only people left to blame for the torture is the prisoners themselves. I’ll bet they wanted to be tortured.
Read More

“In courtroom arguments, two of the three judges were skeptical that Rumsfeld and three U.S. military officials could face damage claims for exercising command responsibility over subordinates accused of torturing prisoners.”

“A lower court judge held that Rumsfeld cannot be held personally responsible for actions taken in connection with his government job.”

Often it seems like there is so much excess tax revenue in America we can fund any asinine project we want, such as an Anti-American program to spy on political activists.
Read More

“Anit-war activists who organized demonstrations in connection with the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. are claiming that their group was infiltrated for years by an FBI-directed undercover law enforcement officer who took part in meetings, gave public speeches with the group and even traveled to Israel with fellow activists who wanted to visit with Palestinians.”

Torture continues; a 19 year old American citizens claims he was beaten in Kuwait after being picked up because his name appeared on a no fly list. At some point not committing crimes meant a person did not have to fear the government spying or imprisoning them, that no longer appears to be true.
Read More

“It turns out that the Somali-American 19-year-old, Gulet Mohamed, yesterday was aggressively interrogated by FBI agents at the Kuwaiti prison, according to Mazzetti. The interrogation became so hostile, Mazzetti reports, that Kuwaiti officials felt compelled to intervene to stop the interrogation.”

Obama has been called a Nazi, but the Bush Administration actually committed crimes which have not been committed since the Nazis.
Read More

“Here, our previous president is enjoying terrific sales for a memoir where he boasts about having authorized waterboarding. The current administration’s commitment to ‘moving past’ the illegalities incurred on its predecessor’s watch is so hardcore that the Department of Justice decided late last year against prosecuting anyone from the CIA for destroying ninety-two videotapes that showed the torture of prisoners detained as suspected terrorists. Which leaves Attorney General Eric Holder more time to subpoena Twitter records and figure out how to criminalize Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for promoting government transparency.”

“National Security Letters” are the front runners protecting our constitution and fellow citizens from abuse, that is if you believe your privacy is public enemy number one.
Read More

“For the Twitter request, the government obtained a secret subpoena from a federal court. Twitter challenged the secrecy, not the subpoena itself, and won the right to inform the people whose records the government was seeking. WikiLeaks says it suspects that other large sites like Google and Facebook have received similar requests and simply went along with the government.”

“The government says more than 50,000 of these requests, known as national security letters, are sent each year, but they come with gag orders that prevent those contacted from revealing what the agency has been seeking or even the existence of the gag orders. “

“Mr. Merrill challenged the constitutionality of the letter he received in 2004, saying the request raised ‘red flags’ of being politically motivated. As a result of his suit and two later ones, the law governing the letters has been overturned and then revised by Congress.”

“In 2007, the F.B.I.’s inspector general found that the agency had abused its own guidelines by including too many peripheral people in its searches. The letters now receive the ‘individualized scrutiny’ of the agents who are filing them, Ms. Caponi said.”

Progress

Petition: Tell the FCC to protect Net Neutrality!

Petition: Close Guantanamo.

If you ever feel the urge to contact you’re Representative about anything:
Go to Govtrack.us

This website will help you find out who represents you in your state and congressional district and help you get in contact with your Representative, such as links to most if not all Representatives websites.



There is no such thing as a free lunch
January 9, 2011, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Old Articles

There is no such thing as a free lunch. We want health insurance; we want consumer protection; we want wages to live without debit; and we want someone to assure our security of all this for us, while we have no responsibility. Our public schools are not going to employ better teachers, have larger class rooms, and be able to afford the proper materials to teach students adequately if people are not prepared to object to the contrary. It only requires one person to read what is happening, and tell their Representatives where they stand.

The bottom line is we can watch our nation become a poster child of torture and indefinite detention–qualities usually attributed to despotism–because of our apathetic nature and our need for simplicity and expediency; or we can take the slightly more taxing route of speaking out.

The government will continue to pursue its own volition so long as the people are subordinate to its rule. America will not fix itself, and will not change through a small group of people who care without the help of every other dissatisfied American. Groups like the BORDC are working everyday with the goal of improving the rule of law in the United States, however, even more powerful forces, with the drive to earn an extra dollar as their primary fuel, are out their paying people to work harder.

American want to believe that their fellow citizens would only do that which will be in everybody’s interest, yet Goldman Sachs’ CEO is not being paid by the American people, he is being paid by Goldman Sachs. A company’s prima facie is to make profits, even if that means using questionable packaging materials, or investment practices. Our Representatives are employed at our will, and are paid by us–the American people. If Americans want to be safe, and have access to the highest quality of life, then it is their duty to seek it, and it is what we employ government officials for.

If you seek a better life, or a better future, then be the first to work for it.
-The White Flag

United States

A good solider is like a good person: Christian.
Read More

“An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers. They say it unconstitutionally requires enlistees to believe in God or a ‘higher power’ in order to be deemed ‘spiritually fit’ to serve in the Army.”

“But for the thousands of ‘Foxhole Atheists’ like 27-year-old Sgt. Justin Griffith, the spiritual component of the test contains questions written predominantly for soldiers who believe in God or another deity, meaning nonbelievers are guaranteed to score poorly and will be forced to participate in exercises that use religious imagery to “train” soldiers up to a satisfactory level of spirituality.”

” ’It measures a person’s core values and beliefs concerning their meaning and purpose in life,’ she said. ‘It’s not religious, although a person’s religion can still affect those things. Spiritual training is entirely optional, unlike the other domains. Every time you say the S-P-I-R word you’re going to get sued. So that part is not mandatory. The assessment is mandatory though and junior soldiers will be required to take exercises to strengthen their other four domains.’ ”

” ’It measures a person’s core values and beliefs concerning their meaning and purpose in life,’ she said. ‘It’s not religious, although a person’s religion can still affect those things. Spiritual training is entirely optional, unlike the other domains. Every time you say the S-P-I-R word you’re going to get sued. So that part is not mandatory. The assessment is mandatory though and junior soldiers will be required to take exercises to strengthen their other four domains.’ “

Another politician another lie to keep track of:
Read More

“Moreover, in 2006, an analysis of the Pentagon’s own allegations against 517 prisoners (compiled after 200 men and boys had already been released), and conducted by researchers at the Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, found that 86% were captured by the Northern Alliance or Pakistani forces, 55% were not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the US or its allies, and only 8% were alleged to have had any kind of affiliation with al-Qaida.”

Presidential signing statements are always done with veracity.
Read More

“Before he acts, the administration is discussing whether to issue a signing statement that would allow him to ignore the restrictions.”

“President Obama could issue a signing statement that minimally declares his objections to the law as an intrusion on his executive power to prosecute terrorism suspects. It would not be unreasonable for President Obama to voice those objections.”

“However, as some of his predecessors have done, President Obama could go further in stating his intention to disregard the restrictions as improper limits on his power as commander in chief.”

War, the economy, and education will have to take a seat because Republican house majority is concerned about real issues that Americans deal with on a daily basis; repealing the health care bill.
Read More

“Rather than replacing Obama’s health care legislation, the Republicans’ bill tasks four committees with crafting a replacement health care bill. The repeal bill requires the replacement legislation to include certain provisions, including lowering insurance premiums, ensuring that people with preexisting conditions receive access to affordable coverage, eliminating wasteful spending and fostering economic growth. The provisions would also prohibit taxpayer coverage of abortions and provide ‘conscience protections’ for doctors.”

Nobody is above the law…except for those who are.
Read More

“Over five years ago, Pakistani businessman Masood Janjua and his friend, Faisal Faraz, headed on an out-of-town trip from Rawalpindi, never to be heard from again. Though no charges were filed against them, and police and government officials said nothing on their whereabouts, others released from government detention centers reported seeing them in captivity.”

“In a report to Congress in November, the U.S. State Department urged Pakistan to address claims that thousands of people, including civilians, separatist guerrillas and Taliban insurgents, are among those held without charges, tortured or killed. A cable, obtained through WikiLeaks and written by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in 2007, said, ‘ ‘Disappeared’ Pakistanis – innocent and guilty alike – have fallen into a legal black hole.’ But the Amnesty International chapter in Ames, which has taken up the Janjuas’ cause, suggests the men are being detained at the behest of the CIA in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“After the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States pressured Pakistan to crack down on extremists linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida. But human rights groups allege security forces used that as an excuse to go after political enemies, including separatists from the province of Baluchistan, at odds with the government.”

Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the START treaty lowering both country’s nuclear arsenal to 1,550. They also hope to pass another treaty lowering the nuclear arms even further to 1,000. This is after he decided he wanted to spend $185 billion improving the way nukes would be launched at other countries.
Read More

“Perhaps the most promising area for disarmament progress doesn’t involve treaty negotiations or ratification, but simply blocking nuclear ‘modernization.’ After all, Senator Kyl and most Republicans didn’t accept the “bribe” offered them, but continued to oppose the New START treaty. Why, then, should the Obama administration follow through on providing $185 billion for refurbishing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, especially when such a program so clearly flies in the face of his pledge to work for a nuclear weapons-free world?”

“Even if the administration sticks to its ‘modernization’ line, however, there is no reason for other forces, inside and outside Congress, to do so. Over the coming years, in the midst of a huge debate on budgetary priorities, there will be a fierce battle over scarce government resources. Are angry seniors (concerned about cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare), parents, students, and teachers (concerned about cutbacks in education), the hungry, homeless, and unemployed (concerned about the collapse of the social safety net), and other groups (facing serious attacks on their living standards) going to welcome spending $185 billion for new nuclear weapons facilities? Certainly groups with domestic spending priorities, plus peace and disarmament groups, are going to press congress to move the money from funding wars and weapons to meeting social needs. Perhaps they will succeed.”

If data stored on a cell phone was private then the founding fathers would have said so in the constitution!
Read More

“[…]according to the California Supreme Court, police don’t need a warrant to start digging through your phone’s contents.”

“In its review of the case, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment didn’t apply to the text messages on Diaz’s cell phone at the time of arrest. The court cited a number of previous cases wherein defendants were arrested with all manner of incriminating objects—heroin tablets hidden in a cigarette case, paint chips hidden in clothing, marijuana in the trunk of a car—which did not require a warrant to obtain. The court said that the phone was ‘immediately associated’ with Diaz’s person, and therefore the warrantless search was valid. ”

“In 2010, however, the US Supreme Court said that government employers have the right to read transcripts of employees’ e-mails, IMs, texts, and other communications, and that the Fourth Amendment wouldn’t protect them from a government search.”

“Gershowtiz suggested a number of possibilities for how courts could distinguish between an appropriate cell phone search and an inappropriate one, but no such rules exist yet.”

The World

Israel has determined the best way to make peace with the Palestinians is to block off trade to the area and keep their people on the verge of economic collapse, sounds bad but the Israelis say it beats the Hell out of a concentration camp.(They didn’t really say that)
Read More

“ ‘As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,’ one of the cables read.”

“Israel wanted the coastal territory’s economy ‘functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis’, according to the Nov. 3, 2008 cable.”

“Palestinians say impoverished Gaza remains effectively a ‘prison’ sealed off by Israel, and have called for an opening to allow normal trade and other links with the world.“

War

More troops in Afghanistan.
Read More

“The United States plans to send more than 1,000 Marines to Afghanistan soon, a U.S. military official told CNN on Thursday.”

Our allies continue to assist our enemies.
Read More

“Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, the raw material harvested from poppies to make heroin, as well as alkaloids like codeine and morphine. According to two cables released this month by WikiLeaks, Afghanistan’s supply of opium exceeds the world’s demand for heroin, with its unsold stock currently totaling 12,400 tons. Taliban-linked drug cartels emerging along the southern border of the country, where 99 percent of production takes place, influence the majority of poppy cultivation by coercing farmers into growing the crops for a strong and well-supplied insurgency.”

“Further complicating the drug trade in Afghanistan are the actions of the country’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, according to Afghan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak. Wardak told Afghanistan Ambassador Karl Eikenberry during a December 2009 briefing that the Pakistani army was helping the Afghan Taliban find sanctuary in areas ‘deeper into Pakistan.’ “

Civil Liberties

Spain may be beginning to pursue a law suit against American lawyers, like John Yoo, who built the frame work for the Bush torture program.
Read More

“Chief Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza reassures the US that while ‘in all likelihood he would have no option but to open a case,’ he does not ‘envision indictments or arrest warrants in the near future’, and will ‘argue against the case being assigned to Garzon’ (a notoriously tough judge, who has since been removed from the case).”

If you were waiting for the government to target its own citizens with no concern for human rights, it seems that day has come.
Read More

“The teenager, Gulet Mohamed, a Somali-American who turned 19 during his captivity, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday from a Kuwaiti detention cell that he was beaten with sticks, forced to stand for hours, threatened with electric shocks and warned that his mother would be imprisoned if he did not give truthful answers about his travels in Yemen and Somalia in 2009.”

“He said that after being taken into custody, he had been visited once by an American Embassy official in Kuwait, and that F.B.I. agents visited a week later to tell him that he could not return to the United States until he gave truthful answers about his travels.”

Protests break out in Pakistan denouncing the actions of the U.S.
Read More

“A UK lawyer claimed earlier in 2007 that Musharraf had allowed a large number of his compatriots to be held at the Guantanamo prison.”

” ’Musharraf sold innocent people of his country as prisoners to the US Guantanamo Bay detention center in exchange for millions of dollars,’ British lawyer Zachary Katznelson said.”

“The protesters also called for an immediate end to the ongoing non-UN-sanctioned drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, asking the Islamabad government to quit its alliance with the US in the so-called war on terror. “

The long, but hopefully not forgotten, War on Terror:
Read More

“In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that non-American Guantanamo detainees have the constitutional right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging the validity of their detention before federal courts. Of 57 applications, the government has been found to lack sufficient evidence to detain in 38 cases. Intense public scrutiny of Guantanamo has led to increased use of the detention centre at Bagramair base in Afghanistan, which is holding around 645 detainees. The Obama administration has successfully blocked these individuals from filing habeas corpus petitions by arguing that the prison is in a conflict zone. However,many detainees were captured elsewhere and transferred to that theatre of war. This seriously undermines the express commitment to ‘no law-free zones.”

“Around 35 Guantanamo detainees are being prosecuted but at least 50 are considered beyond due process owing to an inability to use evidence obtained through torture and a fear of compromising intelligence sources. Further, despite Obama’s campaign pledge to reject the Military Commissions Act, his administration has continued to try some non-US detainees before discredited special military commissions lacking full criminal trial safeguards.”

“As Obama recognised in a presidential memorandum, ‘[a] democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency.’ The early release of four infamous Bush-era memos documenting the authorisation of torture suggested commitment to this promise. However, the administration has since shrouded itself in secrecy. There has been no attempt to investigate or prosecute those who authorised torture, only those CIA interrogators alleged to have exceeded authority even under the Bush memos. Not wanting to appear soft on counter-terrorism, Obama has declared a need to ‘look forward, not back’. This approach conflicts with the very notion of accountability and contrasts with the planned UK public inquiry into high-level complicity.”

Progress

More anti-American policies still to come in regard to Guantanamo Bay.
Read More

“[P]arts of the Constitution are excluded from military commissions. In any case, Gibbs continued, ‘Some, regrettably, will have to be indefinitely detained.’ If for life, then very regrettably.”

“Dafna Linzer on ProPublica cited the planned periodic reviews but added the crucial point that establishing ’indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy makes clear that the White House alone [emphasis added] will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge of trial.’”

“If the precedent for this Obama executive order is set in law, it could be extended – especially after a series here of terrorist attacks like the unsuccessful Times Square bombing – to those American citizens suspected of ‘material support’ to terrorists. Obama already has one American citizen, jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki, on a targeted killing list in Yemen.”

Petition: Say ‘No’ to indefinite detention
The United States constitution covers every single human being on this planet that comes into contact with the U.S. Government, allowing the foundation for indefinite detention without trail for foreigners is also the foundation to detain Americans in the same fashion. Protect the freedom we hold so dear in America by telling officials that you believe in rule of law.
Take Action!

Two week protest planned in front of the White House in an effort to close Guantanamo Bay.
Read More

“[O]ne group of participants will demand a meeting with DoJ officials, while others will engage in non-violent civil disobedience. By blocking the lawsuits of former detainees, appealing the decisions of federal judges ordering the release of prisoners, and refusing to prosecute Bush administration officials for torture, the Justice Department has failed to fulfill President Obama’s promise of accountability and respect for the rule of law.”

“Bagram and other detention centers remain beyond the reach of the law. This violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as international law. When our government’s policies violate the law and our nation’s ideals, it’s up to the people to challenge the government directly.”
-Bob Cooke

Doctors have started a petition to show support from the medical community for the recently enacted health care legislation, which has been targeted by Republicans for repeal. The government channeled the medical expanses from many government programs, funded by tax dollars, to private health insurance companies to save money; repealing this legislation will take health care away from many people, including thousands of children, and add to our already mounting deficit.
Read More

“A doctor from Seattle, WA writes that ‘Health reform has already improved access to basic care services for many of my patients and their young adult family members. Instead of huge ED [emergency department] bills for minor injuries, they are cared for in our clinic for pennies on the dollar compared to having not access and paying emergency room costs.’ ”

“Cost is one area that the GOP hasn’t addressed in their proposed repeal. Since they haven’t come up with a replacement, that also means they haven’t taken into account the $124 billion that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would cut from the federal deficit.”

If you ever feel the urge to contact you’re Representative about anything:
Go To
+ Show/hide more information.

This website will help you find out who represents you in your state and congressional district and help you get in contact with your Representative, such as links to most if not all Representatives websites:



A New Year and New Beginnings
January 2, 2011, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

As the new year rolls in many people tend to set goals for themselves, dedicated to becoming a better person. These “resolutions” are usually about weight, and horrid habits that we ourselves cannot stand that we do. Are these really the things that make a better person? Instead of doing what people believe makes a better person, I asked myself what makes a better person. To the White Flag a better person is a more knowledgeable and socially responsible person.

When a person knows more they are usually more adept at knowing what is best. Without knowledge people would still live in caves, and we would not have opportunities to the easy lives most of us lead. So knowledge does more than improve an individuals life, it improves the human race as a whole.

Also, with knowledge a person is likely to know what their responsibilities are. As I learn about something as seemingly innocuous as the world’s fresh water supply I learn that the actions I take today really will have an effect on tomorrow. Or consider that a company you spend your money at spends their money lobbying against cleaning up and protecting the environment–our environment. In that scenario we are essentially paying to pollute the places we and our children live. People need the knowledge to take responsibility in their lives.

Start this year off by being a better person in the simplest of ways; learning about everything you possibly can to later use that information to take responsibility for the world in which you live.
-The White Flag

United States

Officials in Texas believe the EPA is just blowing smoke over the limitations on pollution, and are working hard to block federal legislation.
Read More

“Texas on Thursday filed a fresh motion in federal appeals court to block the Obama Administration’s attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the state, one day after another federal court rejected the state’s petitions.”

“[Another] petition argues that EPA’s creation of the new rules is an ‘improper overreach’ that violates the federal Clean Air Act, which it said ’declares pollution prevention to be ‘the primary responsibility of States and local governments,’ and not the federal government.”

“Since then the agency has moved forward with developing rules under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions blamed for climate change. Beginning January 2, EPA will require large emitters such as power plants, refineries and cement makers to obtain permits for polluting greenhouse gases.”

The (not) closing of Guantanamo.
Read More

“At one point, there were 774 ‘worst of the worst’ being held in the compound in Cuba, but right now, there are just 174 detainees left – over the years, the rest have been released. Many had been imprisoned (and some tortured) by mistake.”

“In fact, a significant number of the detainees at Guantanamo were turned over to American officials by Pakistani and Afghan bounty hunters who swept up the innocent along with the guilty. Even then, the prisoners might have been sorted out if the U.S. government had been required to follow the Constitution and present actual evidence of wrongdoing.”

“Guantanamo is staying open indefinitely since Congress has set new and stricter limits on what the government can do to remove the prisoners.”

“The provision bans using government money to transfer any prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States, even to put them on trial. It also blocks an Obama administration proposal to acquire a high-security prison in Illinois in which it planned to hold several dozen detainees.”

Arizona continues to be a shinning example of how discrimination dies hard. A new law that became effective January 1st is banning ethnic studies, which the state’s new Attorney General believes ‘divides’ students instead of ‘uniting’ students. You might also be surprised to learn he’s never taken one of these ethnic classes that divide students, nor has he sat in on one.
Read More

“The law bans classes that promote the overthrow of the United States government and resentment toward a race or class of people. Also outlawed are courses designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group and those that advocate ethnic solidarity rather than treat students as individuals.”

“In Arizona, critics claim that the law – along with the partially suspended immigration law – threatens to make the state a ‘new South’ of discrimination against minorities. Meanwhile, educators in states such as California worry that the law could become a model for other states to follow.”

“Professor Rodriguez says it’s not the first time such programs have been singled out, but now ‘it’s being acted upon.’ He views the state’s ethnic studies and immigration laws as attacks on all Hispanics and as reasons why some people might refer to Arizona as ‘the new south.’ ”

The World

Is the rising price of commodities a sign of the dwindling supply?
Read More

“So what are the implications of the recent rise in commodity prices? It is, as I said, a sign that we’re living in a finite world, one in which resource constraints are becoming increasingly binding. This won’t bring an end to economic growth, let alone a descent into Mad Max-style collapse. It will require that we gradually change the way we live, adapting our economy and our lifestyles to the reality of more expensive resources.”

Civil Liberties

Recently religious conservatives in Iraq have been acquiring many of the public offices in the nation, and diminishing the country’s role as a leader in the Middle East for women’s rights.
Read More

“The tension between the two sides bubbled over last month in Kadhmiyah, a section of northern Baghdad, where local Islamist leaders erected a provocative display outside a major Shiite shrine. It shows four mannequins wearing the hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering for women, while behind four mannequins with uncovered heads are laced with burns, shackled in chains and have red strands lapping at their feet to simulate a fiery afterlife.”

House Judiciary Chairman thinks evidence gained from torture is as viable as any other evidence.
Read More

“[Lamar Smith Said:] ‘Well, as you say, they tried a terrorist in New York City. That was supposed to be their best case, they had their best witnesses. That was the one that they were going to use as an example and say you know, here, yes we can conduct a trial of a terrorist in the United States. And even if they get some rights as citizens, we’re still going to be able to find them guilty on all counts. Well as you know, this individual was found guilty on one count of, I think, 254. And even though he was found guilty of building the explosives, he wasn’t found guilty of killing, I think, 254 innocent people who were killed, among them several dozen Americans. So in that situation, it clearly did not work as the administration had planned, and it kind of blew up in their face, and the judge didn’t allow some of the evidence and some of the testimony that would have been allowed if this individual had been tried at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, the so-called Gitmo.’ ”

Pakistan, one of America’s main allies in the War on Terror, is curbing the civil liberties of its enemies.
Read More

War on Terror detainees were given excessive medication used to fight malaria, which none of the detainees were tested for.
Read More

“Medical staff at Guantánamo assumed, however, that all detainees were at risk of malaria; they also claimed that 40 per cent of the Afghan population was infected, when the World Health Organisation’s figure for 2002 was 13 per cent.”

“They did not even test the detainees for malaria in advance, and administered doses of 1250 mg, which were five times the normal prophylactic dose.”

Progress

Activists gathered in support of Bradley Manning.
Read More

“The protesters encouraged members of the military at the base near Marysville to support Manning ‘for revealing the truth to the world community about the failed war of terror,’ said Toby Blome of CodePINK in a news release.”

“Manning is being held in solitary confinement at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia on charges that could lead to a 52-year prison sentence.”

With a new year comes new opportunities; effective this year are new restrictions on how health insurance companies can use profits, to ensure customers get good quality health care.
Read More

“The rule requires that insurers spend at least 80 percent of this money on the customers themselves. The companies must either spend this money to pay insurance claims or use it for activities that improve customers’ health.”

“For policies that are sold to large groups instead of small companies and individuals, the number is even higher: 85 percent. The remaining 15 or 20 percent of the money can be used for a company’s salaries, marketing and overhead – or kept as profit.”

“This provision will give Medicare recipients stuck in the doughnut hole a 50 percent discount on the price of brand-name prescription drugs. Health-care activists are worried, however, that drugmakers will jack up their prices. In that case, customers would receive 50 percent off that higher number – which might not be much less than what they were paying before.”

“Nearly all Medicare beneficiaries will be able to receive for free all “preventive services” screenings given an A or B rating by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. That could include mammograms, colorectal cancer screening, bone mass measurement and nutritional counseling. Medicare will also provide one free ‘wellness visit’ per year for patients who want a checkup.”

“This new agency is aimed at slowing down the rapid rise of health-care costs. It is supposed to foster innovation in both caring for patients and processing their payments and claims.”