An excellent article considering the "if you have have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to be afraid of" arguments for domestic spying.
You are guilty, and NO, you may not see the evidence or read the reason why you were found guilty...
March 11, 2006
Judge Issues Secret Ruling in Case of 2 at Mosque
A federal judge issued a highly unusual classified ruling yesterday, denying a motion for dismissal of a case against two leaders of an Albany mosque who are accused of laundering money in a federal terrorism sting operation.
Because the ruling was classified, the defense lawyers were barred from reading why the judge decided that way.
The defense lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying that they believed the government's evidence came from wiretaps obtained without a warrant by the National Security Agency.
The two mosque leaders, Yassin M. Aref, 35, and Mohammed M.Hossain, 50, were charged in August 2004 with conspiring with a government informant to take part in what they believed was a plot to import a shoulder-fired missile and assassinate a Pakistani diplomat.
The classified order by Judge Thomas J. McAvoy of United States District Court for the Northern District of New York came only a few hours after the government filed its own classified documents to the judge. Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed on Jan. 20 by Mr.Aref's lawyer, Terence L. Kindlon.
The prosecutors asked the judge to review their papers in his chambers without making them public or showing them to the defense. At mid afternoon the judge issued a document announcing that he had entered the classified order denying Mr. Kindlon's request.
It is common in federal court for judges to place documents and legal discussions under seal, meaning that the judge and the lawyers can be informed of the proceedings, but the public cannot. In this case, Judge McAvoy's order is classified, a higher degree of secrecy.As of late yesterday, Mr. Kindlon, even though he has a federal security clearance to represent Mr. Aref in the trial, had not been able to see the substance of the ruling.
"Frankly, I'm taken aback," Mr. Kindlon said. The ruling "holds out no promise of anything" for him to see the decision, he said.
Christopher Dunn, a lawyer for the New York Civil Liberties Union,which has asked to participate in the case, said such decisions appeared to be rare. Mr. Dunn said his group had no record of a classified decision in a case that it had handled.
In his motion, Mr. Kindlon cited an article in The New York Times on Jan. 17 that reported that "different officials agree" that the security agency's program had "played a role" in the arrest of Mr. Arefand Mr. Hossain. Mr. Hossain's lawyer, Kevin A. Luibrand, joined the request to dismiss the case.
Mr. Kindlon asked that all evidence in the case stemming from N.S.A. wiretaps be given to the defense. He argued that the program was unconstitutional and so the evidence should be suppressed.
"The government engaged in illegal electronic surveillance of thousands of U.S. persons, including Yassin Aref, then instigated asting operation to attempt to entrap Mr. Aref into supporting a nonexistent terrorist plot, then dared to claim that the illegal N.S.A.operation was justified because it was the only way to catch Mr. Aref,"Mr. Kindlon wrote in his brief.
Whether or not the program is constitutional is a matter of intense political and legal debate that has not been resolved by the courts.Since the government classified its motions, there is no way at this point to know what argument persuaded Judge McAvoy.
The arrest of Mr. Aref, an Islamic scholar who is the imam of Masjid As-Salaam in Albany, and Mr. Hossain on Aug. 5, 2004, came after a yearlong sting operation in which the informant posed as a terrorist.They are accused of agreeing to launder $50,000 in payments for a Chinese missile that he showed them.
At first, prosecutors said that both men had ties to a terrorist group known as Ansar-al-Islam. The government soon dropped those claims after it turned out they were based on a bad translation of a piece of evidence by the Defense Department. Mr. Aref was free on bail for 13months, but he was sent to prison to await trial after the government brought new charges. Mr. Hossain remains free on bail.
Mr. Kindlon said Judge McAvoy's action convinced him that there was N.S.A. wiretap evidence in the case. "If they were not involved, the government would have told me, 'You're delusional,' " he said.
Feb. 7th, 2006 @ 11:23 pm
Sorry if this has been posted before, I am curious to know what you all think, 88 mins long but very much worth the time.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5137581991288263801&q=loose+change
If you want it, then let me know. Otherwise, it will be deleted.
The Republicans have finally figured out what real conservatives have been saying all along. Now they realize the price they will pay for it.
growing number of Republican leaders, party strategists and political
professional now privately tell President George W. Bush that his
presidency "is effectively over" unless he fires embattled White House
advisor Karl Rove, apologizes to the American people for misleading the
country into war and revamps his administration from top to bottom.
"The only show of unity we have now in the Republican Party is the
belief that the President has failed the party, the American people and
the presidency," says a longtime, and angry, GOP strategist.
With the public face of support for Bush eroding daily from even
diehard Republicans, the President faces mounting anger from within his
party over the path that may well lead to loss of control of Congress
in the 2006 midterm elections and the White House in 2008.
"This presidency is in trouble," says a senior White House aide.
"Even worse, I don't know if there is a way out of the trouble."
Congressional leaders journeyed to the White House before Bush left
on his South American tour this week to tell the President that his
legislative agenda on the Hill is dead, his latest Supreme Court
nominee faces a tough confirmation fight in the Senate and he is facing
open revolt within party ranks.
"The Speaker is having an increasingly difficult time holding his
troops in line," says a source within the office of House Speaker
Dennis J. Hastert. "Anger at the President grows exponentially with
each passing day."
At a recent White House strategy session, internal party pollsters
told the President that his approval rating with Americans continues to
slide and may be irreversible, citing his failed Iraq war, the failed
Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers and his failure to deal
decisively on a number of fronts, including Hurricane Katrina, the
economy and the Valerie Plame scandal.
In meetings, leaders and strategists have suggested a number of
things that Bush must do to try and save his presidency and GOP
prospects in upcoming elections, including:
- Apologize to the American people, Congress and our allies for misleading them on the reasons for invading Iraq;
- Revamp the White House staff from top to bottom;
- Fire Rove.
"We keep coming back to Rove," says a GOP pollster. "He has escaped
indictment, so far, but the feeling within the party is that another
shoe is ready to drop and the longer he waits to jettison Rove the
greater the damage. As long as Karl Rove remains at the President's
side, the Bush presidency is effectively over and he is just riding out
the days until the nation elects a Democrat to replace him. Even with
Rove gone the damage may be irreparable."
Bush, however, has dug his heels in on Rove. When a GOP strategist
suggested last weekend that the President fire Rove, Bush exploded.
"You go to hell," he screamed at the strategist. "You can leave and
you can take the rest of these lily-livered motherfuckers with you!"
The President then stormed out of the room and refused to meet further
with any other party leaders or strategists.
Bush's escalating temper tantrums and his intransigence on political
issues increase Republican worries about the long term effects on both
his presidency and the party's prospects in upcoming elections.
"Right now, George W. Bush is the Republican Party's chieforiginial link
liability," says a GOP strategist who has advised Presidential
campaigns for 30 years. "The entire political future of the party and
perhaps the nation now rests on the shoulders of a President that no
one - Democrat or Republican - believes in or trusts."
|» Looking for some good help.|
I really want to ramp this community up, especially in light of the fact that conservatives are starting to see that Bush is not quite the leader they had hoped for. If there is anyone out there willing to lend a hand, drop me a line. In the meantime, I have some serious hard ball questions for any Republican that isn't hiding under the coffee table.|
Questions for Republicans:
1. Why, when officials in New Orleans were confiscating guns from everyone, even if legally owned did:
a. The NRA initially support the move, then make an about face days after the fact?
b. The Republican controlled White House, Senate, and House of Representatives sit there and say nothing?
2. Does any Republican honestly believe that Meirs is really going to be another Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia or do you feel another David Souter waiting in the wings?
3. Conservative ideology dictates war as a means of defending our national sovereignty and the sovereignty of our allies. War is to be fought between governments and damage to those countries is to be minimized to military targets as practical. The war is to be concluded as quickly as possible and the country is to be rebuilt. Conservatives abandoned this doctrine in Korea and Vietnam to engage in warfare to minimize the spread of an ideology. I ask Republicans how Iraq and Afghanistan is different?
4. If Republicans are so committed to The War on Drugs (yeah, remember that one?) why is Afghanistan, which we occupy, still producing roughly 80% of the worlds Opium. This is directly turned into heroin which makes it straight to our streets. Does anyone see a disconnect here?
5. Why, more than 4 years after 9 -11, are our borders still wide open and hemorrhaging illegal immigrants into this country?
6. If our military is to be used to free countries oppressed by dictators do we not have plans to bring about massive change in Africa? Might it be because they have no oil for us to exploit or do you really believe that we invaded Iraq to free them?
7. Why, if the Iraqi people wanted to be free so bad, did they not rise up and overthrow the regime? This has been the status quo in the middle east for 2000+ years.
8. Why were British troops in Basra dressed up as insurgents, driving a car full of explosives, shooting at and killing Iraqi police officers, arrested, and then subsequently broken out of jail by the British military using helicopters and tanks? If you have not heard of this, why not?
9. Why was FEMA blocking aid and supplies from reaching local authorities in New Orleans after Katrina? Why were they killing communications utilized by local authorities in New Orleans? Why did some small towns in Louisiana and Mississippi post Sheriff's at the towns borders to prevent FEMA from entering? If you have not heard of this, why not?
10. Is anyone paying attention to the hearings on the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame?
11. Why, I repeat, WHY in the world would Bush want to VETO a military spending bill that has a rider PROHIBITING us from using TORTURE on combatants? It was passed 90 - 9 in the Senate. Why does our president, who claims to be a Christian, want to keep the right to torture people? Can any Republican tell me why a policy of torture is anything but helpful to our men and women in uniform let alone the security of our nation?
12. Name a constitutional right the Bush has not attempted to find congressional powers to negate during his tenure?
I am not a liberal. I am a conservative. From where I stand Bush is a liberal. Why do you still follow him? I know many of you out there will be tempted to answer these questions, but I really want to hear these answered by a card carrying Republican. I am calling you out.
|» A question for Republicans...|
Will any Republican please explain to me why you are sitting by and letting the citizens of New Orleans have their fire arms taken away, even legally owned firearms from decent citizens? Secondly, why in the world do you think this can't happen in your town? Third, where is the NRA during all of this? Fourth, exactly what is the difference between New Orleans and Baghdad today?|
Any answers welcome, anonymous posting enabled, ip logging off.
|» Republicans, Democrats, and Media: Please pay attention.|
The following is an excerpt from a New York times article titled "As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis"|
For all the enormity of the destruction and the lingering uncertainty about how many years it will take to "rebuild the great city of New Orleans," as Mr. Bush said in his remarks on Saturday, some Republicans suggested that the impact could prove fleeting in this age of fast-moving events, and that Mr. Bush's visit to the region on Friday had helped some in addressing concerns about his response.
"Next Tuesday the Roberts hearings start, and that's going to occupy a significant part of the daily coverage," said Richard N. Bond, a former Republican chairman, referring to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge John G. Roberts Jr."
I believe at this point, no one in the world, be they Republican, Democrat, Independent, or from a foreign country puts the disastrous relief efforts to date anywhere but square at the feet of Bush. While New Orleans has finally been evacuated, the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama are in desperate need of assistance. The slow response by the Federal government will be counted in thousands of human lives when this is all said and done, not in billions of dollars as you read in the paper.
George Bush has been slow to respond to this disaster and now he and his cabinet are in full damage control mode. They are seeking to minimize the political losses in Washington and nothing less, but what I want to focus on is the above quoted portion of an article.
The Bush administration is banking on the fact that we will all be typical Americans. This may be a hard pill for some of you to swallow, but it is the truth. They expect us to get burnt out on the media coverage and that the media itself will move to another story to distract us, the masses and then this firestorm will pass.
You see, it is not the American people that are important to this administration. This should be glaringly obvious by now. I have heard some make it out to be a racial issue, it is not. It is a human issue. Humans versus dollars. In this administration, humans are second to dollars. In the first days of hurricane Katrina's aftermath, Bush was doing fund raisers, garnering support for the war in Iraq, and then most ridiculously, telling us that we need to stay the course in Iraq to keep the oil there safe from terrorists.
It was not until this last statement exploded like Hiroshima in his face that the administration set about to do something about the seething masses and this silly Katrina thing.
My question is this: Will we (and by we I mean Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) simply get distracted by other news stories and simply chalk up Katrina as being a $100 billion natural disaster or will we hold Bush and his administration responsible for the thousands of lives that have perished through their lack of direction and leadership in a time of national crisis? These days mark the testing of our nation as a people; are we up to the challenge? Bush and his administration have been tested, and their mettle has been found lacking. It is my fear that as a nation, we will be found similarly lacking as well. Please, prove me wrong.
|» (No Subject)|
I have an interesting suggestion on how to get the troop’s home- they could inform their commanders that they are homosexual. I think admitting to something you are not is a better alternative than working in a suicide bomber Disneyland, especially when our solders ended up there due to “false information”. I work with a (ex-bush supporting) mother whose son was over there (until I made this suggestion) and I thought to myself…why don’t people try this? They could come back in droves.|