"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House Judiciary Recommends Contempt Vote Of The Full House.

The vote doesn’t literally cite Rove for contempt, but rather, recommends that the full House hold Rove in contempt through a floor vote.

Please the Letter To Barack Obama from The Nation at the end of this post.I encourage you to support and sign the letter.

Democracy is Coming to the USA | Leonard Cohen's Love Letter to America(a hope, a dream , a fantasy an impossibility)

The campaign to Send Karl Rove to Jail just took a huge step forward today as the House Judiciary Committee voted 20-14 to hold Rove in contempt.

Just 12 days ago, we were pointing out Rove's arrogance and blatant disregard for the law when we launched our video and petition drive. But in the last week-and-a-half, you raised over 127,000 signatures, 40,000 of which came within the first 24 hours.

This fervor attracted other progressive groups to our cause, including CREDO Mobile, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, The Nation, Campaign for America's Future, Progress Now, and People for the American Way. And each organization helped gather more signatures for our list—CREDO Mobile and PFAW added tens of thousands of names alone.

The petition drive culminated yesterday, when I headed down to DC in the blistering heat to hand-deliver three boxes worth of signatures to Capitol Hill. Together with Drew Courtney of PFAW and Isaiah Poole of CAF, we took our message to HJC member Linda Sanchez (D-CA), crowding into Sanchez's Longworth House office surrounded by press and congressional staffers.

Sanchez, who has been a true leader in the fight to hold Rove in contempt, was visibly impressed by the sheer number of signatures. "I think it's ridiculous that Karl Rove thinks that he doesn't have to follow the law," Sanchez told me. "And nobody in this country should be above the law." Judging from today's HJC ruling, Sanchez was as good as her word.

Just think of what today's decision today will mean. Until now, Rove's been lying and avoiding questions about his involvement in leaking Valerie Plame's identity, the politicization of the Justice Department, and the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Just look at his written denials to ranking HJC member Lamar Smith (R-TX), when he refrained from denying that he spoke to longtime confidant Bill Canary, who links Rove to the Siegelman prosecution. Rove has also claimed immunity and touted executive privilege, which doesn't apply in this case.

Now that the decision to hold Rove in contempt will move from the HJC to the full House, however, Rove could be forced to testify under oath or face jail time. That's where you come in. Keep pressuring your elected officials to hold lawbreakers like Rove accountable. Keep contributing to Brave New Films so we can remain ever vigilant in this battle. And keep signing and passing along those petitions, because they obviously can make an impact.

But, now what? The answer is once again Speaker Nancy Pelosi and forcing her to bring it to the floor for a vote of the full House? She has no desire to do so! The pressure point now becomes the full membership of the House. We have to persuade enough members to force, demand that the issue be put to a full House vote. Then, and only then, can the personal freedom of Karl Rove to roam about fund raising for Republican candidate be placed in jeopardy and Mr. Rove for the first time can be held accountable by the rules and laws he believes can never be made applicable to him…arrogant bastard that he is!

Three weeks ago, Karl Rove blew off a congressional subpoena and refused to testify on the scandal surrounding the politicization of the Justice Department. Today, the House Judiciary Committee recommended contempt charges against Rove for his defiance.

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines, 20 to 14, to cite Mr. Rove for defying its subpoena to testify in an inquiry into improper political meddling in the department.

“Mr. Rove has left us no option,” said Representative John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the committee. Mr. Conyers expressed regret that the committee had been forced to use its subpoena power.

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) noted in a memo, “Mr. Rove has refused even to appear before the Committee and assert whatever privileges that he believes may apply to his testimony, relying on excessively broad and legally insufficient claims of ‘absolute immunity’ — never recognized by any court — in declining to appear.”

The vote doesn’t literally cite Rove for contempt, but rather, recommends that the full House hold Rove in contempt through a floor vote.

So, what happens next?

Alex Koppelman did a nice job summarizing:

The next step usually would be a vote by the full House of Representatives, but the House is scheduled to adjourn for its August recess this week, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not confirmed that she will bring up the citation for a vote. Even if she did, and even if the full House voted to hold Rove in contempt, the next step would not be clear either. Once the full House approves a citation, the U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., is supposed to bring it to a grand jury, but President Bush has already directed the U.S. attorney not to do so in a case in which executive privilege has been invoked.

The House is currently pursuing a civil suit that asks a federal judge to compel former White House counsel Harriet Miers to testify and to compel White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten to turn over certain documents. Both Miers and Bolten have already been cited for contempt by the full House.

I’m not especially optimistic about follow-through and accountability here, though I suspect Conyers isn’t going to let Rove slide. In mid-May, Conyers casually told some associates, when he thought no one else was listening, “We’re closing in on Rove. Someone’s got to kick his ass.”

U.S. House Panel Votes to Hold Karl Rove in Contempt (Update3)

By James Rowley and Robert Schmidt

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- A House panel voted to hold former White House political director Karl Rove in contempt for defying a subpoena to testify about whether politics motivated the prosecution of the former governor of Alabama.

The House Judiciary Committee's 20-14 vote along party lines escalated the dispute between the Bush administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress over lawmakers' demands for testimony by presidential aides.

``Mr. Rove refuses to testify, based on legally invalid claims of immunity and privilege,'' Michigan Democrat John Conyers, the panel's chairman, said in a statement.

President George W. Bush has invoked executive privilege to bar his aides from testifying under oath in Congress about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. The president also barred Rove's testimony on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

The panel has asked a federal judge to order Bush's chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, to turn over documents about the firings and to direct former White House counsel Harriet Miers to testify about them.

A contempt citation against Rove would require approval by the full House. Rove failed to appear at a July 10 hearing.

Rove has denied influencing the decision to prosecute Siegelman. He offered to answer the committee's questions in writing or to testify in private without a transcript. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told the committee in a July 9 letter that Bush had directed his client not to testify.

`Any Forum'

Conyers said Rove ``seems willing to speak about these subjects in almost any forum other than answering questions before members of this committee, and that is simply unacceptable.''

Texas Representative Lamar Smith, the panel's top Republican, said in prepared remarks that a contempt citation was the committee's ``version of a Salem witch trial of Karl Rove.'' Smith said there is no basis to question Rove because ``there is no evidence'' that Siegelman's prosecution was driven by political considerations.

The Justice Department's internal ethics watchdog unit is investigating whether Siegelman was the victim of selective prosecution.

Siegelman is appealing his political corruption conviction and seven-year prison term for accepting a bribe from HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy. A federal appeals court in March ordered Siegelman's release from prison on bail.

Political Considerations

Also today, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said former Justice Department officials should be punished for breaking the law by using political considerations in hiring career lawyers. The agency's inspector general, Glenn Fine, told the panel there wasn't a sufficient basis to prosecute them.

A report Fine issued two days ago said senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed misconduct and violated civil hiring laws. Fine singled out Gonzales's chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, and Monica Goodling, the department's liaison with the White House. Both have left the agency.

Fine's report prompted calls by some lawmakers for a review of whether Goodling and Sampson committed perjury in congressional testimony.

Fine said they could be sanctioned by bar associations but that his staff had determined there wasn't evidence to justify charging them with lying to congressional committees or investigators.

`Been Exposed'

``They have been exposed,'' Fine said, adding that he thought Goodling and Sampson were unlikely to ever work again in the federal government.

``We do not believe that the conduct that we found in our report constituted a criminal violation,'' Fine told the panel. ``It was a violation of civil law and department policy.''

The conclusion didn't sit well with committee Democrats who said Fine's investigation showed that ideological decision-making has pervaded the agency during the Bush administration.

``Such blatant politicization'' without any criminal penalty ``sticks in many people's craws,'' said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who has led the committee's investigation into the agency's firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.

Schumer suggested federal law should be changed so repeated violations of civil service hiring rules can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

To contact the reporters on this story: James Rowley in Washington at jarowley@bloomberg.net; Robert Schmidt in Washington at rschmidt5@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: July 30, 2008 15:39 EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart explored punishment for alleged Bush administration misdeeds.

Voting 20-14 along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broken the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

The committee decision is only a recommendation, and a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she would not decide until September whether to bring it to a final vote.

With little more than three months before Election Day, it wasn't clear whether majority Democrats could take any substantial action in a political environment in which time for the current Congress is running short and lawmakers face a host of daunting legislative problems and a cluttered calendar.

The House committee vote occurred as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee delved into allegations of wrongdoing ranging from discriminating against liberals at Justice to ignoring subpoenas and lying to Congress.

For his part, Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions, and the White House has said Congress has no authority to compel testimony from current and former advisers. His attorney, Robert Luskin, had urged the panel in letter not to vote for a citation, calling it a "gratuitously punitive" action that would serve no purpose because the question of executive privilege is already pending in two other cases in federal court.

Republicans who unanimously opposed the measure accused Democrats of staging political theater.

"Instead of conducting witch hunts, we should consider bipartisan legislation to reduce the price of gas, reduce crime and secure the borders," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top panel Republican.

But Democrats cited recent internal audits finding that politics heavily shaped Justice Department hiring, and they said that Rove had left them with no choice but to support a contempt citation.

"His name has come up repeatedly in the hearings on this subject," said Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Michigan. "Yet he refuses to testify based on legally invalid claims of immunity privilege."

The Senate proceedings were the latest congressional review of the White House, a constitutionally mandated power that majority Democrats are eager to use. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, who reported this week that former department officials broke the law by letting administration politics dictate the hiring of prosecutors, immigration judges and career government lawyers, Fine said his office and Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating.

He said specifically that they're trying to determine whether Bradley Schlozman, former head of the department's Civil Rights Division, used political or ideological criteria to make hiring decisions.

Under questioning by Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the panel's senior Republican, Fine said he uncovered no evidence that any Justice officials involved made false statements to Congress or violated criminal law. Politicization of the hiring process for career positions is a violation of civil law and department policy, he said.

The Senate probe sprang from Justice's firings of nine federal prosecutors that sparked congressional investigations last year and led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

House and Senate Democrats said the findings of Justice's IG's office affirmed their contention that career employees there were hired and fired based on whether they were deemed sufficiently conservative, a violation of law. Conyers said earlier that he was considering bringing criminal charges against some of the former officials named in Fine's report who may have lied to his committee. Lying to Congress is a crime, but there's little agreement among Democrats on whether a perjury referral against some of the officials is warranted.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who led the investigation into the prosecutor firings, is pressing Fine to say whether making such a disregard of civil service rules a crime would deter the kind of conduct his investigation uncovered.

Similar legislation will be considered in the House.

"I will be asking Chairman Conyers to consider legislation to ensure that the politicization of hiring of career employees at the Justice Department never happens again," Pelosi said in a statement.

Comprehensive Link…


New Details Emerge in Missing White House Emails Case

The Bush administration may have already hired an outside contractor to search individual computers for tens of thousands of missing e-mails that disappeared between 2003 and 2005.

But information technology experts conducting the search apparently have been told not to try and locate hundreds of thousands of missing e-mails from March 2003 to September 2003, a crucial timeframe that encompasses the start of the Iraq war, and the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

The government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of two organizations that sued the White House last year in hopes of forcing the administration to preserve its e-mails and recover e-mails lost between 2003 and 2005, disclosed the new details in a court filing last week.

Anne Weismann, chief counsel of CREW, said in an interview Tuesday that she learned through her own sources that the White House completed the second phase of a restoration project to recover lost e-mails.

“CREW has learned that the White House has now completed its analysis of the missing email problem and confirmed that email is missing for as many as 225 days,” says a statement posted on CREW’s website Weismann confirmed. “In addition, the White House is about to begin selecting, or has already selected, a contractor to restore the missing email, although it is CREW's understanding that the White House does not intend to use backup tapes predating October 2003.

“It has already been established that e-mails for the Office of the Vice President are missing for a critical week in September 2003, when the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson's convert CIA identity. Despite the obvious relevance of these new facts to the lawsuit, the White House has refused CREW's request that is advise the Court of these events and bring transparency to the process.”

Senior administration officials disclosed Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity to several journalists in early summer 2003, leading to its publication in a July 14, 2003, article by right-wing columnist Robert Novak.

However, it was not until September 2003 that a CIA complaint to the Justice Department sparked a criminal investigation into the identity of the leakers.

The email controversy first surfaced in January 2006 when Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the leak Plame Wilson leak, said in a court filing following the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Scooter Libby that he "learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."

In October of 2005, the Office of Administration discovered that White House e-mails had not been archived in accordance with the Presidential Records Act. The Office of Administration had briefed former White House Counsel Harriet Miers about the lost e-mails. It’s documents and email correspondence related to these behind-the-scenes discussions that CREW was hoping to obtain with a FOIA request.

Miers is said to have immediately informed Fitzgerald about the issue. Fitzgerald had been investigating White House officials’ role in the Plame leak and subpoenaed White House e-mails sent in 2003. Fitzgerald stated in a 2006 court filing that some e-mails in the Office of the President and Vice President had not been turned over to federal investigators working on the leak probe.

An internal investigation by officials in the Office of Administration concluded that e-mails from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney between Sept. 30, 2003, and Oct. 6, 2003 were lost and unrecoverable.

That was the week when the Justice Department launched an investigation into the Plame leak and set a deadline for Bush administration officials to turn over documents and e-mails containing any reference to Plame Wilson or her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Additionally, Office of Administration staffers said there were at least 400 other days between March 2003 and October 2005 when e-mails could not be located in either Cheney’s office or the Executive Office of the President.

Weisman said Tuesday that CREW is seeking a status conference to “address the new facts of the case.”

Theresa Payton, the Office of Administration’s chief information officer, would not return calls for comment.

“Frankly, I think it’s pretty clear that the White House doesn’t want to acknowledge that, yes, ‘we have missing email,’” Weismann said.

Earlier this year, Payton filed an affidavit with U.S. Magistrate John Facciaola stating that every three years the White House destroyed its hard drives “in order to run updated software, reduce ongoing maintenance, and enhance security assurance.”

“When workstations are at the end of their lifecycle and retired… under the refresh program, the hard drives are generally sent offsite to another government entity for physical destruction in accordance with Department of Defense guidelines,” states Payton’s sworn affidavit.

At the time, Facciola, who has been hearing arguments in the case, had ordered the Bush administration to show cause why the Executive Office of the President should not be compelled to immediately undertake a process to locate missing e-mails.

Payton responded that doing so would not only be daunting and expensive, but ordering the White House to search hard drives was beyond the court’s authority.

On Tuesday, Facciola issued a motion rejecting that argument and affirmed his earlier decision that called upon the Executive Office of the President to search individual workstations used between March 2003 and October 2005 and preserve any e-mails located on those workstations or on portable media used by EOP employees.

It is unclear how Tuesday’s order by Facciola fits into new allegations made by CREW that the White House would not attempt to recover e-mails that went missing prior to October 2003. Without indicating that he was aware of the new allegations by CREW, Facciola said he would advise Judge Henry H. Kennedy, who referred the case to the magistrate in March for a recommendation, to order the White House to recover the lost e-mails.

“We are pleased that despite the White House's plea for reconsideration, the Magistrate Judge stood his ground and recommended that the White House be ordered to locate and preserve e-mails that may be missing from backup tapes but were saved on individual workstations and portable media devices,” said Sheila Shadmand, an attorney with the National Security Archive. “Each of the Judge's recent rulings in our favor has brought us one step closer to ensuring that the documentary history of this Administration is not forever lost.”

Facciola denied a request by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, a co-plaintiff with CREW in the case, to grant a motion seeking an “emergency court-supervised” deposition of Payton who CREW and the National Security Archive allege has made false statements about the extent of the missing e-mails during testimony before Congress and in documents filed with the court.

In the affidavit she filed with Facciola in January, Payton said she was unaware if e-mails from the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President had been properly archived.

But documents obtained in February by Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, showed that officials in Payton’s office advised her that there were more than 400 days between March 2003 and October 2005 where e-mails could not be located in either the Office of the Vice President or the Executive Office of the President or on backup tapes.

Payton then admitted in March that the White House “recycled” its computer back-up tapes until October 2003, which makes it much more difficult to retrieve e-mails.

CREW filed a federal court motion that month asking that Payton be held in civil contempt for knowingly submitting false, misleading and incomplete testimony in an affidavit filed with a federal court on Jan. 15

CREW said Payton’s responses in her affidavit are “false and appear designed to mislead the court into believing that both discovery and any additional interim relief are unnecessary.”

In his order Tuesday, Facciola said he “cannot recommend the taking of depositions sought” and said the “central focus” should be recovering the missing e-mails.

“The allegedly misleading and false statements were made in response to the Court’s attempt to determine “whether the missing e-mails are contained on the back-ups preserved pursuant to Judge [Henry] Kennedy’s order,” Facciola said. “As discussed above in greater detail, the Court has now determined that not all e-mails sent or received during the relevant time period are contained on the back-up tapes. Compelling the deposition of Ms. Payton would therefore provide no remedial benefit and is thus unavailable here as a sanction.”


Blackwater May Have Broken Federal Laws to Obtain Lucrative Contracts

Blackwater misrepresented the size of its firm so it could receive more than $100 million in small business contracts from the federal government, according to a report released Monday.

The Inspector General of the Small Business Administration (SBA) said the mercenary outfit obtained a total of 39 contracts intended for small businesses with annual revenues of $6.5 million between 2005 and 2007. But the report said Blackwater’s revenue surpassed $200 million for those years.

Blackwater “obtained a total of 33 contracts during Fiscal Years 2005 through 2007, totaling $2,188,620, which may have involved misrepresentations to obtain the contract.”

The report also found that “it is possible that misrepresentations took place" on the remaining six contracts, totaling $107,311,356.”

Of the 39 contracts reviewed, 38 were awarded by the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded one. The Inspector General’s report says the small business contracts "could have involved potential misrepresentations by Blackwater.

The Inspector General referred the matter to investigators at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Moreover, the Department of Defense wrongfully awarded Blackwater aviation contracts worth $107 million. That contract was earmarked for companies with annual revenues of less than $25 million or less than 1,500 employees, the report said.

The Small Business Administration was singled out and criticized for not thoroughly investigating Blackwater’s finances prior to awarding contracts to the company.

The report was prepared at the request of Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who sent a letter in March to Steven Preseton, the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

“As part of the Oversight Committee's investigation into the business practices of Blackwater Worldwide, the Committee has obtained evidence indicating that Blackwater may have applied for and received federal contracts by improperly claiming that it was eligible for small business preferences,” Waxman’s March 10 letter said. “It appears Blackwater sought these small business contracts by improperly designating its security guards as "independent contractors" rather than "employees."

A Blackwater spokeswoman said the company has not reviewed the report and declined to comment. Federal investigators are still probing a shooting last September in Iraq involving Blackwater guards that claimed the lives of 17 Iraqi civilians.

The Inspector General’s 27-page report released Monday said Blackwater appeared to have improperly classified its guards stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan as independent contracts as opposed to full-fledged employees in order to obtain government contracts.

According to a memo issued by Waxman to Oversight Committee members Monday, “The key issue... was whether personnel hired by Blackwater to provide security services for the Department of State (DOS) and other agencies were Blackwater employees . . . or independent contractors."

“In claiming it was a small business, Blackwater argued that 1,000 security personnel it provided under the State Department’s $1.2 billion Worldwide Personal Protective Service (WPPS) contract were independent contractors,” Waxman’s memo says. “The [Small Business Administration Inspector General] reports that Blackwater claimed that it "had little or no knowledge of the activities of the security personnel performing the contract and exercised little or no supervision over these personnel once they were deployed.”

The report “concludes that these assertions were incorrect,” Waxman’s memo says.

The Inspector General’s report says “Our review of the WPPS Statement of Work indicates that it contained a number of provisions that appeared to be inconsistent with SBA's conclusion that Blackwater did not have knowledge about the actions of the personnel once they were deployed.”

The alleged misrepresentations by Blackwater may constitute a crime if the statements about the size and scope of its business were made in order to win federal contracts.

“The Small Business Act states that misrepresenting a business as a "small business concern" in order to win a federal contract is a criminal offense punishable by a $500, 000 fine and up to ten years in prison,” Waxman said in his letter to committee members. “The Act also states that a company found to have made false statements is "subject to suspension and debarment . . . on the basis that such misrepresentation indicates a lack of business integrity that seriously and directly affects the present responsibility to perform any contract awarded by the Federal Government or a subcontract under such a contract.”

Holding executive branch accountable

July 30, 2008

AFTER SPENDING a C-Span afternoon watching the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on executive power and its constitutional limitations, I was dismayed by the superficial Associated Press article "Bush critics in House weigh in, but skirt impeachment issue" (Page A7, July 26). I searched the report for any substance and found instead a brief and cynical description of the procedure, never departing from the accepted mainstream media script: noisy anti-Bush demonstrators, a few speeches and meaningless exchanges, no actual content of interest. Globe readers wouldn't know that there were hours of powerful testimony, thoughtful questioning of witnesses, and serious statements from some members of Congress.

Subjects covered in the hearing, all of which the reporter neglected to mention, included the Bush administration's lying to Congress and the American people in order to involve the country in a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and cost untold billions, the torture of prisoners in violation of international law and stated US policy and values, and spying on Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

No, it wasn't an impeachment hearing, but it was a congressional inquiry into accusations that the executive branch has abused its powers with grave consequences. Why should Globe readers have to go to other sources to get a straightforward account of the proceedings?



Dear ACLU Supporter,

A few days ago, we alerted you to Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s demand that Congress issue a new declaration of war. This would make the entire globe -- including the United States itself -- a “battlefield” where the president gets to decide who is an “enemy combatant” and lock that person up forever.

The Bush/Mukasey plan also includes a congressionally-approved subversion of the Constitution and a cover-up of the Bush administration’s systemic torture and abuse of detainees.

At the same time, an ACLU lawsuit has uncovered new evidence that the torture and abuse Mukasey wants Congress to cover up was authorized by -- you guessed it -- the Justice Department. One of the documents obtained by the ACLU is a redacted version of a previously undisclosed 2002 Justice Department opinion that authorizes the CIA to use specific interrogation methods, including waterboarding.

Now, Mukasey -- as head of the Justice Department -- wants Congress to cover up torture committed under the watch of his predecessor, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It’s outrageous!

Don’t let it happen. Read the alert I’ve attached below and take action now at: http://action.aclu.org/coverup

Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

Tell Congress to reject the Bush/Mukasey plan to subvert the Constitution.

Not only has Bush’s Attorney General called on Congress to issue a new declaration of war, but he is also asking Congress to:

1. Gut habeas corpus -- the freedom that protects people from being thrown in prison illegally -- with no help, no end in sight and no due process.

2. Cover up the Bush administration’s systemic torture and abuse of detainees. Judges would not be allowed to see evidence of torture and abuse and would instead simply have to trust that a president is holding the right people as ”enemy combatants.”

With only five weeks left in the congressional schedule and only six months left in the Bush presidency, Mukasey’s power grab should be laughed out of town. But, given this Congress’ track record, the Mukasey proposal is no laughing matter.

Tell Congress to reject the Bush/Mukasey plan to subvert the Constitution.

Too many times, we’ve seen Congress cave in to the most outrageous Bush demands for out-of-control powers: The Patriot Act. National Security Letters. The Military Commissions Act. The Protect America Act. And, most recently, the congressional sell-out on FISA.

Four times the Supreme Court has rejected the Bush administration’s efforts to design a war on terror system of injustice that defies the Constitution and mocks the rule of law. In the past, the administration has responded, not by respecting the Constitution, but by counting on Congress to legitimize its indefensible conduct.

There is no way we can let that happen this time. Even as the House Judiciary Committee investigates whether high-level Bush White House officials may have committed crimes of torture and abuse, the Bush administration has the arrogance to ask Congress to give it the power to detain people without trial and hide torture and abuse from the courts.

Tell Congress to reject the Bush/Mukasey plan to subvert the Constitution.

We can’t take for granted that Congress will reject the Bush/Mukasey plan. We have to meet this outrageous proposal with an immediate wall of protest that says to Congress: “Don’t you dare.”

I urge you to join defenders of freedom all across the country in raising your voice against Attorney General Mukasey’s dangerous proposal.

Thanks for speaking out,

Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Bush Regime Censoring Images of Dead American Soldiers
By gordon coombes(gordon coombes)
"If you impeach president and vice president, Nancy Pelosi is going to become president; that is not going happen," Gravel added. Gravel is an outspoken advocate of impeaching Bush and Cheney over the disinformation campaign they have ...
Gord's Poetry Factory - http://gordspoetryfactory.blogspot.com/

Pelosi Tells The Nation Magazine Why She Won't Impeach

Woman in the House

A Conversation with Nancy Pelosi

By Katrina vanden Heuvel

July 29, 2008

On protests against her

There's been a die-in on Sunday off and on for the past five months, six months by now. Mostly, they've been there every day, but now it comes and goes. But they had about fifty people at the die-in. And what happens is they put it on the Internet, "come to Nancy Pelosi's house she's having tea for us"...and they get all kinds of people that they can't even answer for. It's not a safe thing. But anyway, I'm from the grassroots, I'm an activist myself so I respect that. But the impeachment...what are the facts, what is the reality and what can we pass, remembering that Democrats voted for that? What is the opportunity we have to get the information? What is the point if we're not going to win--in terms of instead saying, I am keeping my eye on the ball so that we win! Now it's not about politics, it's about policy. It's not just about winning. It's about winning for the purpose of setting this country right...this is like a hundred years ago...the Gilded Age and everything that went with that in terms of unfairness to working families. I think there is that much at risk.

Nancy Pelosi has danced an obscene dance around the issue of impeaching George Bush. One place she says it is off the table, in another she asks for evidence. This poor woman is supposed to be a congressional leader and has resources none of us have. She has easy access to perhaps a dozen lists of actual crimes that don't include misleading White House window peekers about sexual dalliances. Below are some links. One promises a $1000 to anybody asking Pelosi some tough questions and provides links to several documents which I will also include here.

First, the $1000 offer:

Democratic Underground on Pelosi, Impeachment Articles, etc.

Next, from links at above site, a congressional minority report with a summary on terror and torture relating to Bush adminstration deception:

Minority Report Summary on "Downing Street" deceptioon

And third, the Articles of Impeachment introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich:

Articles of Impeachment for President Bush

There is enough information in those three links that they should catch the attention of our current and past South Dakota delegations even if they are intellectually and ideologically blind as deaf bats. Let them know. Save the PDF files for your own reference. Check PBS for the Bill Moyers transcripts of "Runup to the War".

Acts of War

By Scott Ritter

29/07/08 "
TruthDig" -- - -The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities which result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions which took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the U.S. government to justify the ongoing global war on terror. Iran, we are told, is not just a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, but is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world today.

Much of the information behind this is being promulgated by Israel, which has a vested interest in seeing Iran neutralized as a potential threat. But Israel is joined by another source, even more puzzling in terms of its broad-based acceptance in the world of American journalism: the Mujahadeen-e Khalk, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group sworn to overthrow the theocracy in Tehran. The CIA today provides material support to the actions of the MEK inside Iran. The recent spate of explosions in Iran, including a particularly devastating “accident” involving a military convoy transporting ammunition in downtown Tehran, appears to be linked to an MEK operation; its agents working inside munitions manufacturing plants deliberately are committing acts of sabotage which lead to such explosions. If CIA money and planning support are behind these actions, the agency’s backing constitutes nothing less than an act of war on the part of the United States against Iran.

The MEK traces its roots back to the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeg. Formed among students and intellectuals, the MEK emerged in the 1960s as a serious threat to the reign of Reza Shah Pahlevi. Facing brutal repression from the Shah’s secret police, the SAVAK, the MEK became expert at blending into Iranian society, forming a cellular organizational structure which made it virtually impossible to eradicate. The MEK membership also became adept at gaining access to positions of sensitivity and authority. When the Shah was overthrown in 1978, the MEK played a major role and for a while worked hand in glove with the Islamic Revolution in crafting a post-Shah Iran. In 1979 the MEK had a central role in orchestrating the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and holding 55 Americans hostage for 444 days.

McCain Live Or As Close As He Gets To Being On The Planet

He says the damnedest things: "I respect Speaker Pelosi. I think she's one of the great American success stories," McCain said during an interview with The Chronicle prior to a fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

"We talk about (New York Sen.) Hillary Clinton and her inspiration to millions of Americans. Speaker Pelosi has been an inspiration as well" in a role that is "in many ways ... more powerful than the president."

In an Open Letter posted today at TheNation.com and running in the next issue of the magazine, progressive supporters of Barack Obama urge him to stand firm on the principles he so compellingly articulated in his successful primary fight.

The letter praises the dramatic grassroots movement that has built up around Obama's candidacy, but expressed concern that he may be "moving away from the core commitments shared by many who have supported his campaign" and which are critical to maintaining that movement's energy and passion.

The Open Letter appears as the lead editorial in The Nation this week. It will be posted on a range of blogs and websites with an open call for more signatures. People are invited to sign on at TheNation.com/obamaopenletter.

The letter lists ten positions of crucial importance to Obama's progressive base, including withdrawal from Iraq, a response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between rich and poor, universal health care, an ambitious climate change agenda, restoration of civil liberties, and commitments to abortion rights, racial equality and political reform.

Please join Phil Donahue, Barbara Ehrenreich, Studs Terkel, Walter Mosley, Gore Vidal, Bill McKibben, Jane Hamsher, Tom Hayden, Zephyr Teachout, Juan Cole, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Matt Stoller, Robert Greenwald, Howard Zinn and many others in signing this open letter which will be delivered to the Obama campaign before the Democratic National Convention begins on August 25.

Read the full letter and add your name today.

Finally, please visit The Nation online to read new Nation blogs, to view newsfeed links updated each day, to see when Nation writers are appearing on TV and radio, to get info on nationwide activist campaigns, and to read exclusive online reports and special weekly selections from The Nation magazine!

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