Saturday, May 28, 2011


Egypt Reopens its Border with Palestinian Gaza Strip, After 4 Years of Israeli-Led Siege Sunday 29 May, 2011

Gaza gets gateway to the world

Egypt lifts four-year blockade on Rafah post bringing relief to 1.5m Palestinians

By Nasser Al-Najjar, Correspondent Published: 00:00 May 29, 2011

My Father was a Freedom Fighter

internet cache posted on venue of March meetings in Britain.

'My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story' is published by Pluto Press.

By Stephen Lendman

Ramzy Baroud is a veteran Palestinian-American journalist and former Al-Jazeera producer. He also taught Mass Communication at Australia's Curtin University of Technology, is a frequent speaker, a regular media guest, and is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle, a leading resource for information on Israel/Palestine and much more.

He's also written numerous articles, commentaries, short stories, and authored several books, including "The Second Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle," and his latest and topic of this introductory review, "My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story."

Baroud knows his subject well, having been born and raised in a Gaza refugee camp where he saw Israeli soldiers regularly oppress, harass, humiliate, and attack young Palestinians like himself in an attempt to crush their spirit and break their will to resist, to no avail no matter how hard they tried.

What follows is a snapshot of Baroud's forthcoming book titled, "My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story." As distinguished Palestinian author, historian, activist and founder and president of the London-based Palestine Land Society, Salman Abu Sitta, explained in the forward:

Ramzy is Mohammed Baroud's son, a heroic "freedom fighter, (and himself) a gifted writer (who) eloquently unearthed the recent history of Beit Daras" village, chronicled his family's struggle in exile, and recounted their determination to survive and endure under siege and assaults that continue to this day.

Many books covered the early years, but most were in Arabic. Baroud's is one of the few in English "about the life, depopulation and (literal) struggle for survival of the people of a Palestinian village in southern Palestine." In spanning over seven decades of history and survivor recollections, "it stands out as an unblemished depiction of their plight" as only those who experienced it can describe.

As a freedom fighter's son, Baroud's book is proof of a people's persistence to survive, endure, and ultimately prevail in their historic quest for liberation, because of heroic men like father and son Baroud who'll accept no less. Nor should anyone wanting everyone to be free, especially the long-suffering Palestinians and oppressed peoples everywhere.

Born in Beit Daras, Mohammed Baroud's beloved village was conquered, leveled, and erased, except from the memory he took to his grave. One of seven children, he was born during the 1938 turmoil that erupted a decade later in merciless war that destroyed Beit Daras, 530 other villages, 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem, and slaughtered or displaced about 800,000 Palestinians with tactics reminiscent of Nazi WW II ruthlessness.

Mohammed and his family survived, were exiled to the Gaza Nuseirat refugee camp, dreamed always of going home, as a young man joined the Palestinian unit of the Egyptian army, later fought heroically for the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) in the Six Day War, was wounded, and was horrified that historic Palestine was gone, its people captives on their own land, forced to endure Israeli occupation viciousness, that, for Gazans, is in the world's largest open-air prison.

Throughout his life, he endured decades of struggle, conflict, violence, occupation, oppression, what Edward Said called "a slow death," shattered hopes, and the incalculable horror of it all. It took its toll. Yet he raised six children, used his resources to educate them, believed occupation and poverty killed his young son Anwar, and then his wife Zarefah at age 42.

In his early 50s, he grew frail, needed two canes to walk, was weakened by various ailments by the late 1980s, and became increasingly disillusioned and impoverished.

Ill, in pain, and incapacitated, he was dying. The end came on March 18, 2008. Thousands turned out for his funeral, oppressed people like himself who shared his vision, struggles, and plight. "The resilient (freedom) fighter had finished the battle for a well-deserved moment of peace" while those left behind continue his courageous struggle, his son Ramzy one of them through his heroic work the way many others are equally committed and will be until Palestine is again free.

The book is available at and also through the publisher, Pluto Press.

- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago. Contact him at:

Find newest news on the (Permanent) re-opening of the Rafah Border today here and original posting of the above review as well as many links on Palestine Chronicle here

Also find a most touching article written by Ramzy Baroud just before the re-opening today of the Rafah Border on my other blogsite oneheartforpeace 28 May 2011

Palestine Chronicles

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On this date 26 May 1945

Here is "Report From San Francisco - Part 5" as broadcast on May 26, 1945. As found

This day in 1945 the San Francisco Peace conference was getting underway, laying the groundwork for what would become the United Nations Charter. With war still going on in the Pacific, delegates from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America met to establish a means of working together as a Post-War world was coming into view.

But even then, even as the war was continuing, suspicions were raised over the future relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Was all this euphoria going to last? Some didn't think so. And even Assistant Secretary of State Archibald MacLeish made mention of it in this broadcast, part of a radio series devoted to the San Francisco Conference and our Foreign Policy.

Archibald MacLeish (Asst. Sec. of State): “Political events in Europe are regarded in some quarters not only as denying the promise of San Francisco but as qualifying the hope that the continuing collaboration between the great powers, upon which San Francisco is based, can continue. Certain commentators have even spoken openly of an inevitable conflict of interest between the Russians and ourselves, and have debated the question whether Russia, our present ally in this war, is our enemy or our friend. A curious debate, one would think, with our soldiers living side by side in conquered Germany and our common dead but freshly buried.”

Interesting when you consider the Cold War became a reality not that long after these suspicions were cast. Interesting too, when you consider many members of the State Department at the time, including Alger Hiss, were hounded out of the State Department and labeled Communist operatives, triggering the Witch Hunts and Red Scare that permeated our National psyche for the better part of four decades.

But it all started out so optimistically.

United Nations Photo 1945

To Add your opposition to Obama and all the designs toward ongoing war - GO here

Today's US Vote in the House to a large degree in favor of war $ is delineated further with voting recorded here and some helpful nuanced commentary (as usual) from FireDogLake here

See David Swanson's War is a Crime blog for ways to oppose these trends and stay updated.

Day of Grieving over Lost Chance at Peace!

Detainee Amendments Sent midday Thursday May 26 2011

Find items related directly to detainees below: Note Amendment #43 passed evidently.

The War Vote May 26, 2011 here

Also related to Renditons/detainees see how complicit the US/Obama still is with Shannon Airport - see esp. May 23, 24, 25th here

You can find documents on some of the rendition flights which have come through Shannon Airport and find most credible witnesses to these travesties by going to and look for articles about and by Edward Horgan articles: here and also here See the ShannonWatch reference material page here - esp. the "Killing machines as usual refuelling at Shannon" article on - Indymedia Ireland - Jan 10, 2011 by Edward Horgan - ===============
Some key amendments affecting detainees & results in the House (as I understand these)

Amendment 42 by Adam Smith, which allows detainee transfers to the US for prosecution, makes the restrictions on transfers to foreign countries less stringent, and strikes the ban on DOD spending on domestic facilities to imprison Guantanamo detainees (such as Thomson). Failed

Amendment 43 by Vern Buchanan (R-FL), which would prohibit the prosecution in federal criminal courts of all terrorism suspects who are not US citizens. Passed

Amendment 50 by Amash, Lee, Conyers, Jones (NC), Nadler, Paul to strike section 1034, the worldwide war authority provision. Failed

What a sad, sad day we have come to see. Yet there is more need than ever for our increasingly unified efforts - nationally and globally - among all citizens of the Human Family for peace with and thru justice, truth, beauty and various forms of actual compassion....

Today's US Vote in the House to a large degree in favor of war $ is delineated further with voting recorded here and some helpful nuanced commentary (as usual) from FireDogLake here

See David Swanson's War is a Crime blog for ways to oppose these trends and stay updated.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NOW, can my son come home? father of John Walker Lindh asks

Frank Lindh is shown speaking to law students in front of a projected image of his son, John Walker Lindh, at the University of San Francisco, 02/06/11. (photo: Jeff Chiu/AP)

Bin Laden's Gone. Can My Son Come Home? By Frank R. Lindh, The New York Times

25 May 11

On the evening of May 1, we learned that Osama bin Laden had been killed. The following dawn, I left my house in the Bay Area to catch a bus to Oakland International Airport. I flew to Indianapolis for a scheduled visit with my son, John Walker Lindh, at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

I love my son. I enjoy our periodic visits and our weekly telephone calls, but this visit felt different. "If Bin Laden is dead," I kept thinking, "why can't John come home?"

A convert to Islam, John was found, unarmed and wounded, in a warlord's fortress in northern Afghanistan in December 2001. He was subjected to physical and psychological abuse - a precursor to the mistreatment of many prisoners, in both Afghanistan and Iraq, by the American military during the George W. Bush era. Marines took a photograph of John, blindfolded, bound and naked. It was published and broadcast worldwide.

READ rest at here

Interesting Comments on Reader-Supported News:

+1 # davidhp 2011-05-25 09:06
Comparing the Taliban to the American's who fought the fascists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War is a stretching too far. The Taliban has far more in common with the Spanish Fascist than those who fought them.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+9 # Carole McArthur M.D. 2011-05-25 09:10
Yes, I agree. How could any 21 yr old realize the implications of what he was doing anyway? Why would anyone in the middle of Afghanistan understand that anything they did had US lawa appleid. I was in Afghanistan when I was about 20 and certainly would not have recognized this.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+2 # Carole McArthur M.D. 2011-05-25 09:11
I agree. He was a youth when this occurred and could not ahve recognized the legal implciations of what he was doing. We should free him.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+4 # June Cunniff 2011-05-25 09:51
The male brain does not mature until 25 (the female at 18) so why should this young man be punished for pursuing his spiritual quest which is the highest of callings. He should be sent home to his parents.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+6 # granny 2011-05-25 09:51
And then there's Bradley Manning, also imprisoned and tortured for doing what he thought was right. Our President, duly elected, should recognize that these young men are every bit as deserving of support as are the several "reformed" athletes he has chosen to hold up as some kinds of role models.
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

+5 # Dave W. 2011-05-25 10:10

Mr.Lindh,Your son was indeed a "scapegoat." The Bush Administration NEVER intended to capture or kill Bin Laden.His was the "requisite" face of terror needed to perpetuate our military involvement in the Middle East.This was about oil and
geo-political hegemony as laid out in Project for a New American Century with a number of Bush Adm.officials as signatories.

Your son was used as a "visible" face back here at home not only in a covert war against the Islamic faith but a "warning" to others that becoming an "other",meaning anything less than unwavering support for our imperialism in the Middle East,might come with a heavy price.The "real" terrorists are those who got us into these wars of empire under "false" pretenses and those who refuse to get us out.Your son got mixed up with the wrong people at the wrong time.He's paid his "debt" to society whilst the "true" criminals write books of faux courage and give inane speeches about sacrifice.

I truly don't believe your son will be released until,and if,President Obama is re-elected.Releasing him now would not be "politically expedient." And that is truly an injustice in a country where injustice is becoming more commonplace everyday.Ten years is indeed long enough for a twenty year old young man's momentary lapse in judgment.My best wishes to you and particularly your son. May our "collective" sanity come to his rescue.

Obama Opposed to Being Given Total War Power or GO here

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Preemptive Prosecution (Key Speakers)

Here is an example of a recent set of speakers on this issue which you may want to engage for your area? This group spoke very recently in Virginia. Some of the same spoke recently in Atlanta:

Could Preemptive Prosecution Strip You Off Your Rights?
The panel presentation will focus on how the ‘War on Terror’ climate has affected civil liberties, the American Muslim community and the broader social justice movement. Representatives from the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), Friends of Human Rights (FHR), and Families United for Justice in America (FUJA) will be having a panel presentation to discuss their political, social and legal campaigns around these issues. Included in the panel are lawyers, professors, peace activists and family members of incarcerated prisoners in the post-9/11era.

Speakers Include:
Steve Downs, Esq, Attorney and co-founder of Project SALAM, Albany, NY
Mel Underbakke, Educator & co-founder of Friends of Human Rights, Tampa, FL
Tom Burke, Columbia Solidarity Activist, Michigan
Laila Yaghi, Palestinian American mother and member of FUJA, Raleigh, NC
Sponsored by: Students For Social and Economic Justice-MSU, Peace and Justice Studies Program-MSU, Islamic Center of Greater Lansing, Families United For Justice In America (FUJA)

Biography of Speakers:
Steve Downs, esq,
Steve Downs is an attorney by profession. He served in the Peace Corps in India for 4 years. For over a quarter century he investigated corrupt judges as the Chief attorney in Albany for the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct between 1975 and 2003. He is a co-founder of Project Salam and has written extensively on the case of Yasin Aref and Muhammad Husain in Albany, NY. Steve serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms.

Dr. Mel Underbakke
Dr. Mel Underbakke is an educator and researcher, formerly at the University of South Florida. She is also a founding member of Friends of Human Rights, which began shortly after the arrest of Dr. Sami Al-Arian in 2003. Since that time she has focused on calling attention to the current wave of pre-emptive prosecutions and the dangers of the PATRIOT Act. She has toured the country educating the public about the erosion of civil liberties since 9/11, screening the documentary USA vs Al-Arian more than 60 times on campuses, churches, mosques and community centers. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, and as the Interim Director of the Education and Outreach Committee.

Laila Yaghi
Laila Yaghi was born in Montana to an American mother and a Palestinian father. She grew up in Amman-Jordan and returned to the US when she was 18. She has a bachelor's degree in Business from Campbell University. She has two sons, Khaled 27, and Ziyad who is 23. Laila is a member of Families United For Justice in America (FUJA), a new organization in the development that tries to help and give voice to families whose members are unjustly incarcerated in preemptive prosecution under the War on Terror. Her son Ziyad is currently awaiting trial in Raleigh, NC.

Tom Burke
Tom Burke is a labor union and Colombia solidarity activist. Tom traveled to Colombia in December 2003, hosted by the Oil Worker’s Union (USO) at a time when pro-government death squads were murdering three Colombian trade unionists every week. Along with other members of the Colombia Action Network, Tom helped launch the successful Boycott Coke. Tom is the spokesperson for the National Committee To Free Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian revolutionary held political prisoner in solitary confinement by the U.S. government. The FBI served Tom and his wife with subpoenas to appear in front of a Grand Jury on October 19th. He is choosing to not participate in a process where the U.S. attorney has handpicked the 23 jurors, there is no judge, he is not allowed to have a lawyer, and the proceedings are conducted in secrecy away from the public and the press.

See post below for more information and a petition/letter to sign to Obama/Holder

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Petition to Obama and Holder for Wrongfully Prosecuted (in the "war on terror")


SEVENTH LETTER/PETITION to President Barak Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder

From Project Salam dot org and the concerned

TO SIGN the following petition, GO online or CLICK here

And/OR Sign and Collect Other Signatures, then Mail by Postal Service TO
Project Chair - Stephen Downs, 26 Dinmore Road, Selkirk NY. 12158; (518) 767-0102;

READ the following thorough petition to review the basics and see the grave error of US law as practiced today toward random collection & imprisonment of imagined "terrorists":

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W
Washington, D.C. 20500

Attorney General Eric Holder
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-4371
Dear President Obama and Attorney General Holder:

This is the seventh in a series of letters to you urging that you restore the rule of law in America and release innocent people, mostly Muslims, who were illegally targeted and convicted following 9/11. In our first letter to you on February 16, 2009, we requested a review of all the cases in which defendants were convicted under a program referred to by the government as “preemptive prosecution”––that is, prosecuting people before they commit a crime based on suspicions that they might commit a crime in the future. In our second letter to you on April 4, 2009, we asked for a review of certain specific cases of preemptive prosecution that we believe resulted in unjust convictions or detentions. In our third letter on May 21, 2009, we requested that the Justice Department cease various practices that were illegal and that often resulted in unjust convictions and incarcerations, such as the use of agents provocateur, secret detention of suspects, solitary confinement, special Muslim prisons, and the invocation of the State Secrets Doctrine to block consideration of illegal wiretapping and extraordinary rendition. In our fourth letter on July 8, 2009, we requested exoneration of innocent Muslims illegally entrapped by the use of agents provocateur. In our fifth letter on November 16, 2009, we requested exoneration for innocent Muslims engaged in charitable work whose assets were seized without due process and whose laudable activities were unjustly criminalized. In our sixth letter of March 8, 2010, we requested reform of the Material Support of Terrorism statutes, which criminalize innocent behavior and fail to give notice as to what activities might be illegal.

To date, we have received no meaningful response from you to any of the issues that we have raised. Moreover, the illegal practices that we objected to have continued. In this seventh letter, we want to examine why this is––that is to say, why have the Obama Administration and the Office of the Attorney General of the United States continued to act with the same illegal conduct that started under the Bush Administration?

One theory points to an incompetent, corrupted, and complicit Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) within the Justice Department. The U.S. government, and especially the Department of Justice, cannot act in violation of the very laws it is supposed to enforce. The OPR acts within the Justice Department as a watchdog agency to ensure that lawyers working there act at all times within the law and the ethical guidelines of their profession, which require that they do justice rather than merely obtain convictions by any means possible. Thus Justice Department lawyers should not tolerate illegal wiretapping by the government, or permit agents provocateur to entrap innocent citizens, or shut down charities without due process of law, or fail to turn over to the defense exculpatory information, or permit other abuses of the law that they know will result in injustice or deny defendants a fair trial. Any Justice Department lawyer who permits such abuses should be disciplined by the OPR.

If the OPR fails to perform its watchdog function, then it is a signal to Justice Department lawyers that they can violate their professional responsibilities without fear of sanctions. For example, in U.S. v. Theodore F. Stevens, Alaska’s Senator Ted Stevens was prosecuted for and convicted of bribery. During the case, an FBI agent filed a complaint that the prosecution lawyers had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, and the prosecution team voluntarily reported themselves to the OPR. The OPR repeatedly told the trial judge that it would conduct an investigation of the allegations and that the trial judge did not have to inquire further. After the conviction, a new team of Justice Department lawyers was appointed, and reported that the original prosecution team had indeed suppressed numerous memos exculpatory to the defense that were central to the issues of the case. As a result, the Justice Department on its own motion moved to dismiss the charges, and the trial judge, Hon. Emmet Sullivan, on April 7, 2009 granted the motion and referred the conduct of the six original members of the prosecution trial team to a special prosecutor.

At the dismissal hearing six months after the matter was first reported to the Justice Department’s OPR, Judge Sullivan stated that he had never received any reply or comment from the OPR about its investigation. He described this as “shocking.” The implication was that the lack of ethics in the Justice Department went well beyond the original Stevens trial team, and included essentially a cover-up in the OPR; the original trial team apparently had reported themselves to the OPR so that the office’s “investigation” would foreclose other investigations, and the prosecutor’s misconduct could be covered up. Why has the OPR never issued a report on the serious misconduct in the Stevens case?

As yet another example, under the Bush Administration three Justice Department lawyers, John Yoo, Steven Bradbury, and Jay Bybee, prepared unprofessional memoranda authorizing torture, and based on these memoranda a whole procedure of institutionalized torture was undertaken by the United States government in clear violation of American law and treaty obligations. The memoranda were so wrong and unprofessional that they were withdrawn in 2004 by the Office of Legal Counsel.

As soon as the secrecy that shrouded the memos was withdrawn, complaints were filed with the OPR against their authors. A report by the OPR was promised at the beginning of 2009, and it was believed that the OPR had found serious misconduct by the three lawyers. Then the release of the report was repeatedly delayed until February 2010, when Newsweek reported that the OPR had cleared the three lawyers of any misconduct, finding only “poor judgment.” In short, the OPR has apparently reverted to its traditional role of covering up misconduct. (See “A Slap on the Wrist” by Isikoff and Klaidman, Newsweek, February 8, 2010, p. 10).

The whitewash by the OPR completely misses the point. The problem was not poor legal judgment by lawyers trying to determine what the law required. The law clearly held that torture was illegal, and the Bush Administration wanted to find a lawyer who would write a memo saying torture was legal. That is why the administration classified the memos as soon as they were written. The classification was not intended to prevent torture information from falling into the hands of our alleged enemies––the prisoners knew that they were being tortured. It was to prevent the memos from being examined by the legal community because the administration knew that the memos were frauds and would never stand up to legal scrutiny.

The effect of the OPR report will be devastating if it finds no misconduct. In the future, whenever a president or senior government official wants to do something that is clearly illegal, he or she will only have to find a subordinate lawyer in the Department of Justice (who can be fired if he or she does not comply) to write a memorandum declaring legal what was previously illegal. Justice Department lawyers will no longer have to be faithful to the law, but only to the wishes of the politicians who appointed them.

Illegal conduct by the Department of Justice, and the failure of the OPR to act as a watchdog, is certainly nothing new. In 1998, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a lengthy exposé of the extent to which the Department of Justice engaged in illegal conduct and the failure of the OPR to provide any oversight (“Win at All Costs: Out of Control” by Bill Moushey). The article states:

A two-year investigation by the Post-Gazette found that powerful new federal laws, designed to snare terrorists, drug smugglers and pornographers are being aimed at business owners, engineers and petty criminals. Whether suspects are guilty has come to matter less than making sure they are indicted, or convicted, or, more likely, coerced into pleading guilty. Promises of lenient sentences and huge government checks encourage criminals to lie on the witness stand. Prosecutors routinely withhold evidence that might help prove a defendant innocent…Those who practice this misconduct are almost never penalized or disciplined. “It’s a result-oriented process today, fairness be damned,” said Robert Merkle, whom President Ronald Reagan appointed U.S. Attorney… (November 22, 1998)

By failing to discipline lawyers in the Department of Justice who engage in misconduct, the OPR sends the signal that it will tolerate and even cover up misconduct when it occurs. This is especially true today of prosecutions against Muslims. Illegal wiretapping, use of agents provocateur, entrapment, preemptive prosecution, failure to turn over exculpatory information, and even outright frame-ups are apparently tolerated by the OPR if they involve Muslims. Prosecutors understand that the OPR will not discipline such misconduct and act accordingly.

There are almost weekly reminders of the extent to which the Justice Department has become corrupted, failed to follow the law, and is engaged in covering up its own criminal conduct and that of others.

On November 5, 2009, it was reported that twenty-two CIA agents were convicted in absentia in Italy for kidnapping an Italian citizen in Italy and illegally rendering him to Egypt, where he was tortured. It was widely reported that the CIA agents will never be sentenced for their crimes because they live in America, and that the Justice Department will not prosecute them or turn them over to the Italians, notwithstanding that their crimes––kidnapping and extraordinary rendition––are crimes under American laws, and were done by U.S. government agents. (See “Criminal Convictions of 22 CIA Agents in Italy” by Glenn Greenwald, Salon, November 5, 2009; “Italy Got It Right: CIA Renditions Are Wrong,” Los Angeles Times editorial, November 6, 2009).

On December 5, 2009, it was reported that a federal judge dismissed fraud charges against two business executives in U.S. v. Henry Samueli and U.S. v. William J. Ruehle because of prosecutorial misconduct in tampering with critical defense witnesses and attempting to intimidate the witnesses into not testifying for the defense. (See “Charges Dismissed Against 2 Broadcom Executives,” New York Times, December 5, 2009).

On January 3, 2010, it was reported that a federal judge dismissed criminal charges against four Blackwater contractors who had murdered civilians in Iraq, on the grounds that the government’s case had been based almost entirely on statements of the defendants for which the defendants had been given immunity from prosecution. Because the prosecution’s case so obviously conflicted with the immunity granted to the defendant’s statements, it was widely assumed that the government deliberately presented a legally deficient case in order to have the charges dismissed for political reasons. (See “Another DOJ Blow––Charges Dismissed Against Blackwater Employees” by Amir Efrati, Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2010).

On January 16, 2010, it was reported that 22 million e-mails that the Bush Administration claimed did not exist had just been found, although conditions attached to their “discovery” required them to be archived for years before anyone could examine them to determine if they indicated crimes had been committed. (See “22 Million Bush-Era E-mails Found” by Steven Dubord, New American). How strange that the clandestine services are able to monitor the e-mails of well over 22 million Americans daily, and yet were unable for years to find 22 million e-mails missing from the White House, some of which had been subpoenaed in connection with a criminal probe. How even stranger that the Justice Department would agree to let the e-mails be archived for years before they would be available for criminal investigations.

On January, 18, 2010, it was reported that the Justice Department deliberately covered up the murder of three prisoners at Guantanamo. Officially, the three inmates at Guantanamo all committed suicide on the same night in 2006 by hanging themselves in their cells, in open view but supposedly unnoticed, while bound hand and foot. Later a guard made a statement indicating that the three detainees were suffocated to death under torture. The Department of Justice conspired to cover up the murders by conducting an “investigation” of the guard’s statement and the numerous inconsistencies and impossibilities in the official version of the incident, and then taking no further action. (See “The Guantanamo Suicides: A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle” by Scott Horton, Harper’s).

On January 21, 2010, it was reported that the FBI, an agency of the Justice Department, routinely broke wiretapping laws by manufacturing fake emergencies in order to bypass the need to obtain warrants. (See “FBI, Telecom Teamed To Break Wiretap Laws” by Ryan Single, Wired; “Report Confirms FBI Misused Authority To Obtain Phone Records” by Kurt Opsahl, Electronic Frontier Foundation).

On January 27, 2010, it was reported that torture continues under the Obama Administration, relatively unchanged since the Bush Administration except that certain techniques like waterboarding have been forbidden. Perhaps this is why the Department of Justice changed the recommendation of the OPR as to finding misconduct for the three lawyers responsible for authorizing torture in the first place. (See “Torture Never Stopped Under Obama” by Shamus Cooke, Global Research).

On January 30, 2010, it was reported that an autopsy of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Detroit showed that in October 2009, during an FBI sting, the imam was lured into an FBI-run warehouse, where he was shot twenty-one times by FBI agents who then handcuffed him as he bled to death. Various civil rights organizations and Rep. John Conyers have called on the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting and also the use of FBI agents provocateur in mosques. (See “Autopsy in Imam Shooting To Be Released Monday,” Detroit News, January 29, 2010; “Conyers: Review FBI Case on Imam,” Detroit Free Press, January 14, 2010).

This is an extraordinary number of stories in a short period of time questioning the competence and integrity of the Department of Justice on extremely important issues of fundamental rights. The response of the Department of Justice has been largely silence and avoidance. When justice is made subservient to political consideration and 9/11 hysteria, we cease to be a nation of laws and become a tyranny. Is the Justice Department refusing to enforce the law impartially because of political pressure, incompetence, and a failed Office of Professional Responsibility––or is there another, more sinister explanation?

Total Information Awareness (TIA)

In 2003, a proposal was brought before Congress to fund a data mining project called TIA (Total Information Awareness) that would prepare a vast data bank of information on essentially every citizen in the country and much of the world, and then mine it for patterns of possible criminal activity. Congress voted not to fund such a program, which would clearly violate the Constitution and Bill of Rights. However, much of this database is readily available, and mining is easily done by clandestine agencies with secret budgets, such as the CIA. In 2005, a coalition of civil rights groups, including the ACLU and 185 co-sponsoring groups (The International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance/ICAMS), issued a report entitled The Emergence of a Global Infrastructure for Mass Registration and Surveillance (, suggesting that, in fact, this is just what has been done.

The ICAMS report noted that travel information (passports, flight arrangements, visa, entry permits, etc.) and financial transfer information (banks, credit cards) is increasingly available in electronic databases worldwide. E-mail and phone conversations can be secretly monitored and the data saved and analyzed. Corporations keep databases of information. Together, all this information forms a vast database ready for mining. The U.S. government already has mining programs, such as Carnivore, that can sift through the data to find possible patterns of criminal activity. Governments inevitably will try to use this information to predict criminal activity before it occurs and thus “preempt” crimes by bringing “preemptive prosecutions,” often at the expense of the individual’s civil rights. The report states:

A major paradigm shift is occurring. Governments are no longer focused on law enforcement and intelligence-gathering about specific risks. They have embarked on a much more ambitious and dangerous enterprise: the elimination of risk. In a “risk assessment” system, many of the ordinary legal protections that are fundamental to democratic societies––due process, the presumption of innocence, rights against unreasonable search and seizure and the interception of personal communications, and rights against arbitrary detention and punishment––go out the window. For the risk screeners, guilt or innocence is beside the point. What matters is the avoidance of risk from the point of view of the state, separating the risky from the safe on the basis of the best information available from all sources. (p. 2)

The report describes the signposts along the way to a “mass surveillance” society of the kind described in George Orwell’s 1984, and states in part:

The ninth signpost is what is happening to democratic societies––in terms of the erosion of democratic processes, centuries-old protections in criminal law, freedom of speech and association, and the rule of law itself as governments pursue the agenda for global mass registration and surveillance.

The tenth signpost, and perhaps the most ominous of all, is the collective loss of moral compass societies are exhibiting as they begin to accept inhumane and extraordinary practices of social control. Countries that hold themselves out as defenders of human rights are engaging directly in extra-legal rendition, torture and extra-judicial killing––as well as contracting out these services to brutal regimes, which are being rewarded for their contributions. (p. 4)

The report notes that using computer programs to search for patterns of criminal activity is highly inaccurate, both because the programs are inadequate to the task and because much of the information collected is inaccurate or even malicious. (How, for example, does a computer program evaluate whether one subject is “associated” with another, or whether a source of information has lied?) Since the data is “secret” and “classified,” there is no way for the defendant to review the material and correct the mistakes. Neither computer programs nor governments can accurately predict future criminal activity, and any justice system that tries to do so will inevitably end up convicting substantial numbers of innocent people. Yet this appears to be what the U.S. government is presently attempting to do, especially with the Muslim community.

Is this why you have ignored our earlier letters and continued practices that violate the law and the Bill of Rights? In a period of a paradigm shift, when traditional law enforcement seems old-fashioned and “risk assessment” seems to be the way to prevent future crime, do you view the Bill of Rights as a “quaint” document that is out of date and irrelevant? When the American government regularly compiles detailed files on the travel, finances, and intimate writings of all its citizens and much of the world, of what relevance is the prohibition against “unreasonable search and seizure” contained in the Fourth Amendment? When the American government routinely mines this database for patterns of potential criminal conduct with which to preemptively prosecute people before they commit a crime, of what relevance is the requirement of “probable cause” contained in the Fourth Amendment? When the American government closes down charities based on “secret evidence” contained in the database, and will not disclose the secret evidence to justify its actions, of what relevance is the “due process” clause of the Fifth Amendment? When the American government designates someone for “preemptive prosecution” based on the person’s predicted potential to commit crimes in the future, rather than on crimes actually committed, of what relevance is the requirement of an “impartial trial” guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment? The trial is only pretextual anyway; the real crime is to be listed as “suspicious” or “dangerous” by a computer program.

When the Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights, they knew exactly what they were doing. They had just passed through a revolution in which the British had labeled them as the eighteenth-century equivalent of terrorists. They wanted to make sure that nobody would be investigated, tried, and convicted by the immense power of the state unless there were substantial guarantees that all people would be treated equally and fairly, given due process, investigated only after probable cause, and kept secure in their personal property and writings. These concerns are not quaint or old-fashioned. They are as relevant today to the present war on Terror as they were to the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. Indeed, the Bill of Rights was intended to apply in times of war as well as peace––the Constitution permits the writ of habeas corpus to be suspended during times of war, but there is no such limitation on the Bill of Rights.

In the end, it is simply easier to follow the law than to disregard it. It is easier to enforce the law equally than to throw away the moral compass and enforce only what the politicians and expediency demand. As president and attorney general, you have taken oaths to uphold the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights. We urge you to follow the law and give justice to the innocent Muslims who have been unfairly entrapped by a system of “risk assessment” rather than by their personal guilt.


TO SIGN this Letter/Petition to two of the major persons responsible for these breaches in law, GO online here

AND?OR: TO Sign and Collect Other Signatures, you may print out petition and the following, then Mail by Postal Service HERE:

Stephen Downs, 26 Dinmore Road, Selkirk NY. 12158; (518) 767-0102;


(No other contact info required - yet specify if you'd like more info, what sort, and how we might send this to you? Your first name or nickname with address, email or phone is A-OK - IF there are requests for more info, plz be sure to include a notification with the contact info needed before mailing to Stephen Downs at Project Salam.)

SIGN/DATE for Group Submission by Postal Mail:











SEND Collected Signatures to:
Stephen Downs, 26 Dinmore Road, Selkirk NY. 12158; (518) 767-0102;

Monday, May 16, 2011

UPDATED ACTIONS against Profiling & US Police State in US & Abroad; Oppose the PROTECT-IP Act & Related

ACTIONS & UPDATES added for Wednesday, May 28, 2011

THIS WEEK: Call, email, get out the word, SHOW UP to help end Racial and Religious injustice and "Crusades" Against folk we've demonized at home and abroad before they've even received fair arrest, trial, prosecution, humane treatment while incarcerated. There is once again the old FBI and police treatment against Blacks and peace groups - with Muslims and Hispanics being added at an increasing rate. This trend is including draconion anti-immigration rulings in at least four states to date and more likely to be added soon. Those arrested under these new rulings could be teachers, good neighbors and doctors of those who are not for many necessary reasons (no job, no car, illness, fear, need for more time, family crises, etc.) are unable to complete documentation - which have increased tremendously in costs and complications.

Plz TAKE ACTION NOW – let your legislators know that you do not approve of these sneaky tactics such as those applied to appealing the NC Racial Justice Act (with parallels re. issues, tactics, populations targetted elsewhere to watch out for in each state.)

IF possible, come see for yourself. We expect Senate Bill 9 to be discussed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee B next Wednesday, June 1 at 10 am in room 421 of the Legislative Office Building and encourage you to attend. Please contact Amanda Lattanzio at or FAX/call 919.933.7567 with any questions.

Be aware of this crucial piece of legislation which has been solid now since 2009 in NC (we thought) yet NOW faces death - While directly affecting and addressing the NC Death Penalty - the ramifications go beyond death penalty to arrests and intimidation based on racial profiling with parallels and trends already affecting in areas religious profiling - particularly of Muslims.: GO here

May 27, 2011 ACTION UPDATE from People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (NC) What Are They Smoking? Last week, NC House leaders twisted the rules to help ensure an end to the NC Racial Justice Act.

Get this, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake) rewrote a senate bill into one calling for repeal of the RJA. Senate Bill 9 was originally entitled "Make Synthetic Cannabinoids Illegal" and passed the Senate in that form. The bill was then gutted and replaced with language similar to House Bill 615, calling to repeal the RJA. If the bill passes the House in this form, then the Senate will not be able to change it.

TAKE ACTION NOW – let your legislators know that you do not approve of these sneaky tactics and do not want the Racial Justice Act to be repealed. Come see for yourself. We expect Senate Bill 9 to be discussed by the House Judiciary Subcommittee B next Wednesday, June 1 at 10 am in room 421 of the Legislative Office Building and encourage you to attend. Please contact Amanda Lattanzio at or 919.933.7567 with any questions.

People of Faith Against the Death Penalty
110 W. Main St., Suite 2-G, Carrboro NC 27510
(919) 933-7567

Here's one place to go to let your NC legislators know your concerns UNTIL we post an updated list - this one will need to be adapted for the new proposed APPEAL and possibly for some of these legislators. I suggest letting the staffers know you represent __ people in your family and call beyond your usual district since this affects our entire state: or CLICK here

Perhaps calling from out of state may also be of use like we often do when there is a person about to be executed. The execution of the NC Racial Justice Act RJA is not that different and the loss could well affect the loss of many in and out of NC as trends tend to spread.

BE sure to read: "So this is what a police state looks like?" originally posted May 21, 2011 and reposted by Common Dreams with lots of comments on May 28, 2011


Plz double-check before wasting time on the following with spot check on a site or two. These may or may not be current IN PART:

Cut/paste/edit and get out to your contacts the following link/info:

Helpful commentary (the US - ACLU is highlighted as the FIRST to be aware of the layered and worrisome issues.)

Whether too late or not, Obama may pay attention if we contact WH to let him know we like the way he's thinking on this one? And let's remember his words and HOLD him to this. AND, foolproof by calling legislators and getting out the word in whatever way works best for us on several levels (Connie)

For signs Obama may be talking from both sides of his mouth, see the UPDATE on Monday's post for and related see earlier post or simply go to for May 25th

SEE David Swanson's post today:

Obama Opposed to Being Given Total War Power Wed, 2011-05-25 04:21 — davidswanson
Peace and WarThe White House has put out a statement expressing its disapproval of various bits of H.R.1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Here's the most interesting, if not the most adamant, objection:

"Detainee Matters: The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards. At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion."

And here's Section 1034:

"Congress affirms that--
(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
(2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);
(3) the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who--
(A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
(B) have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and
(4) the President's authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities."

This is language that would allow presidents to make war almost anytime anywhere. Obama's disapproval raises some interesting questions:

Will the Democratic leadership whip hard against this language, and against the bill if it is left in? Has Obama told them to?

Will Obama veto the bill if it is passed including this biggest ever unconstitutional reshaping of government powers, a move he "strongly objects" to?

If he doesn't veto it, will he signing statement it away? And if he does that, what will be the legal status of a piece of legislation that unconstitutionally gives congressional powers to the executive, a piece of unconstitutional legislation that has been unconstitutionally erased by a signing statement?

Will Libya and dozens of other current military operations be legal because signing statements are unconstitutional or illegal because Section 1034 is unconstitutional?

Does it matter, since the wars roll along regardless and impeachment is reserved for sex?

And, last but not least, if a member of the White House Press Corpse ever asks about this during a press conference, what size cell will that lucky person be locked up in?
Posted by Connie L. Nash at 9:02 AM 3 comments:
Connie L. Nash said...
Also see the excelling on commentary, insight and proactive alerts on Administration Threatens Veto of Defense Bill Over Redefinition of AUMF

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Connie L. Nash said...
Plz watch the US military and WH from many different angles because they don't all fit together at all nor do the statements from the very same leader (in this case the US Prez who has set a new pact for cooperation with Shannon Airport and Irish leaders.)


To see the folk we should be listening to who know plenty about the use of Shannon Airport for US Military Use and Renditions:


This one posted May 16, 2011 PLZ update any actions you follow in the Internet Blacklist Bill - these below may or may not be current and needed?

Shhh... We're not allowed to talk about it. The new Internet Blacklist Bill shows so little regard for free speech and Internet freedom that it would actually ban people from having serious conversations about the new Internet Blacklist Bill.

It would block "information location tools" from pointing to sites suspected of piracy. So that means that we couldn't send you an email just like this one with links to the websites that were being prosecuted.

Will you click here to urge Congress to oppose the ridiculous, obscene, draconian, PROTECT-IP Act?

It's not an exaggeration for CNET's headline to shout, "Senate bill amounts to death penalty for websites." They say the draft bill "would certainly sweep in Google, Yahoo, and search engines, and may also cover many other Web sites."

Please help us fight this legislation, which is far worse than the first Internet Blacklist Bill...

Thanks for standing with us,

-- The Demand Progress team

P.S. The new bill is a "death penalty for websites" and it's moving fast. Will you forward this email to your friends or share the petition with them using these links?

Here's the link to cut and paste


Click here

Possibly Helpful?

/ ResultsSurveillance Key Controversies Larry Abramson, Maria Godoy, NPR. FBI, Defense in talks about controversial surveillance technology - Shane Harris, ...

They have no vacancies at the moment...yet who knows later? Be aware of the danger of being a journalist these days and perhaps keep this on file for the right place and time?

A Morality or Shakespeare Play: US Today - Cornel West's Anger at Obama

AP (more info on photo end of post)

Strange how a lot of killing and inhumanity person to person and nation to nation begin as pure deception followed by more and more cover-ups...

Perhaps this kind of post is rather negative and so I've kept as a draft for a long, long time...yet finally I am succombing - I hope not to the worst in me yet to the part in me which does not want to be deceived nor want my children and my nation deceived by those who talk a strong talk sometimes yet either don't deliver or who don't allow us to know who they really are and claim to do in their positions.

I found this image which is credited below along with the following article from Truth Dig on May 16th. Although not exactly in keeping with "nomorecrusades" themes, perhaps this is an appropriate spot given the way our current presidency and policies are so in keeping with the current neo-con designs to control more and more of the world's resources.

Ironically, for Cornel West to hold so many pre-election campaign parties for Obama and now feel angry at the betrayal on many levels, West may be thinking to himself: "no more crusades" for such a man as this?

We held merely one outdoor "cookout" in our county on behalf of Obama for president & I feel betrayed all the time or at least very,very sad indeed. The options don't look cheery either.

The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic - TRUTH DIG dot com

By Chris Hedges

The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.

Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.

No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

“When you look at a society you look at it through the lens of the least of these, the weak and the vulnerable; you are committed to loving them first, not exclusively, but first, and therefore giving them priority,” says West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University. “And even at this moment, when the empire is in deep decline, the culture is in deep decay, the political system is broken, where nearly everyone is up for sale, you say all I have is the subversive memory of those who came before, personal integrity, trying to live a decent life, and a willingness to live and die for the love of folk who are catching hell. This means civil disobedience, going to jail, supporting progressive forums of social unrest if they in fact awaken the conscience, whatever conscience is left, of the nation. And that’s where I find myself now.

“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there.

“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade. I was under the impression that he might bring in the voices of brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman. I figured, OK, given the structure of constraints of the capitalist democratic procedure that’s probably the best he could do. But at least he would have some voices concerned about working people, dealing with issues of jobs and downsizing and banks, some semblance of democratic accountability for Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who are just running amuck. I was completely wrong.”

West says the betrayal occurred on two levels.

“There is the personal level,” he says. “I used to call my dear brother [Obama] every two weeks. I said a prayer on the phone for him, especially before a debate. And I never got a call back. And when I ran into him in the state Capitol in South Carolina when I was down there campaigning for him he was very kind. The first thing he told me was, ‘Brother West, I feel so bad. I haven’t called you back. You been calling me so much. You been giving me so much love, so much support and what have you.’ And I said, ‘I know you’re busy.’ But then a month and half later I would run into other people on the campaign and he’s calling them all the time. I said, wow, this is kind of strange. He doesn’t have time, even two seconds, to say thank you or I’m glad you’re pulling for me and praying for me, but he’s calling these other people. I said, this is very interesting. And then as it turns out with the inauguration I couldn’t get a ticket with my mother and my brother. I said this is very strange. We drive into the hotel and the guy who picks up my bags from the hotel has a ticket to the inauguration. My mom says, ‘That’s something that this dear brother can get a ticket and you can’t get one, honey, all the work you did for him from Iowa.’ Beginning in Iowa to Ohio. We had to watch the thing in the hotel.

“What it said to me on a personal level,” he goes on, “was that brother Barack Obama had no sense of gratitude, no sense of loyalty, no sense of even courtesy, [no] sense of decency, just to say thank you. Is this the kind of manipulative, Machiavellian orientation we ought to get used to? That was on a personal level.”

But there was also the betrayal on the political and ideological level.

“It became very clear to me as the announcements were being made,” he says, “that this was going to be a newcomer, in many ways like Bill Clinton, who wanted to reassure the Establishment by bringing in persons they felt comfortable with and that we were really going to get someone who was using intermittent progressive populist language in order to justify a centrist, neoliberalist policy that we see in the opportunism of Bill Clinton. It was very much going to be a kind of black face of the DLC [Democratic Leadership Council].”

Obama and West’s last personal contact took place a year ago at a gathering of the Urban League when, he says, Obama “cussed me out.” Obama, after his address, which promoted his administration’s championing of charter schools, approached West, who was seated in the front row.

“He makes a bee line to me right after the talk, in front of everybody,” West says. “He just lets me have it. He says, ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, saying I’m not a progressive. Is that the best you can do? Who do you think you are?’ I smiled. I shook his hand. And a sister hollered in the back, ‘You can’t talk to professor West. That’s Dr. Cornel West. Who do you think you are?’ You can go to jail talking to the president like that. You got to watch yourself. I wanted to slap him on the side of his head.

“It was so disrespectful,” he went on, “that’s what I didn’t like. I’d already been called, along with all [other] leftists, a “F’ing retard” by Rahm Emanuel because we had critiques of the president.”

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, has, West said, phoned him to complain about his critiques of Obama. Jarrett was especially perturbed, West says, when he said in an interview last year that he saw a lot of Malcolm X and Ella Baker in Michelle Obama. Jarrett told him his comments were not complimentary to the first lady.

“I said in the world that I live in, in that which authorizes my reality, Ella Baker is a towering figure,” he says, munching Fritos and sipping apple juice at his desk. “If I say there is a lot of Ella Baker in Michelle Obama, that’s a compliment. She can take it any way she wants. I can tell her I’m sorry it offended you, but I’m going to speak the truth. She is a Harvard Law graduate, a Princeton graduate, and she deals with child obesity and military families. Why doesn’t she visit a prison? Why not spend some time in the hood? That is where she is, but she can’t do it.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.

“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” he says. “He’s got two homes. He has got his family and whatever challenges go on there, and this other home. Larry Summers blows his mind because he’s so smart. He’s got Establishment connections. He’s embracing me. It is this smartness, this truncated brilliance, that titillates and stimulates brother Barack and makes him feel at home. That is very sad for me.

“This was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment,” West laments. “We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful. It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone.

“Can you imagine if Barack Obama had taken office and deliberately educated and taught the American people about the nature of the financial catastrophe and what greed was really taking place?” West asks. “If he had told us what kind of mechanisms of accountability needed to be in place, if he had focused on homeowners rather than investment banks for bailouts and engaged in massive job creation he could have nipped in the bud the right-wing populism of the tea party folk. The tea party folk are right when they say the government is corrupt. It is corrupt. Big business and banks have taken over government and corrupted it in deep ways.

“We have got to attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful,” he says. “It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream. In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire. I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties.

“Our last hope is to generate a democratic awakening among our fellow citizens. This means raising our voices, very loud and strong, bearing witness, individually and collectively. Tavis [Smiley] and I have talked about ways of civil disobedience, beginning with ways for both of us to get arrested, to galvanize attention to the plight of those in prisons, in the hoods, in poor white communities. We must never give up. We must never allow hope to be eliminated or suffocated.”

** Photo above by AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais - President Obama shakes hands with Princeton University professor Cornel West after speaking at the National Urban League’s 100th Anniversary Convention in Washington in July 2010.

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion. Editor, Robert Scheer. Publisher, Zuade Kaufman. Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Torture Debate - USA (The New Yorker/Reader Supported News

No Torture - No Exceptions Reader Supported News (An historical piece on Abe Lincoln's War Presidency Stand on Torture - and the Comments are as often quite interesting in agreement and not with added food for thought.)

GO here


From May 5, 2011

Pragmatic Torture
Posted by David K. Shipler
Advocates of torture who enjoy tormenting the rest of us with the hypothetical ticking-bomb scenario might be tested with the counter-hypothetical proposed by Michael Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard. In his 2009 book, “Justice,” Sandel writes,

Suppose the only way to induce the terrorist suspect to talk is to torture his young daughter (who has no knowledge of her father’s nefarious activities). Would it be morally permissible to do so?

It would be interesting to hear the answer from those who are hauling the country back into the repugnant debate over whether torture “works.” Because such utilitarianism is the only aspect of torture that they are willing to consider, the discussion—such as it is—has turned on what slender strands of evidence about Osama bin Laden’s courier were produced by “enhanced interrogation.”

This may never be known definitively without the declassification of documents, sworn testimony by participants, and an investigation by something equivalent to the committee Senator Frank Church of Idaho chaired in 1975 and 1976. The Church Committee compiled a thorough record of illegal domestic spying and dirty tricks against anti-war and civil-rights activists, among others, leading to the passage of an array of privacy laws, most of which were weakened, twenty-five years later, by the Patriot Act. (I’ve written a book about the give-and-take over safety and liberty, “The Rights of the People.”) But neither Congress nor President Obama is inclined to impanel such a commission. Instead, since bin Laden’s death, Americans have been left to listen as Dick Cheney and others have tried to rub the tarnish of torture off their own reputations. Cheney suggested that “it wouldn’t be surprising if in fact that program produced results that
ultimately contributed to the success of this venture.” Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said flatly that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had dislodged information on the courier.

That this appears to be a caricature of the truth is beside the point. It is a renewed attempt to revive the Bush Administration’s reign of pragmatism over morality. The two need to be separated, as ends and means are divided in assessing personal behavior.

First, the pragmatic argument is far from settled—it’s not clear that torture works. Professional interrogators came forward under Bush to denounce torture as unproductive, even self-defeating, for it can induce phony confessions and misleading statements, sending investigators or counterterrorist teams on fruitless diversions. We have seen this in the criminal-justice system, where the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against coercive interrogation, if observed, helps guard against erroneous prosecutions. False confessions figured in about twenty per cent of the two hundred sixty-six convictions that have been reversed based on DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project’s count. And that’s just in the cases where DNA evidence is available—a small minority.

Second, morality ought to be a comfortable pedestal for torture opponents. But there is something coarse and brutish about the public forum in America these days that undermines the moral footing and pulls those objecting to the abuse of prisoners down to low arguments about whether it works. They can hold their own in that fight, because there is a convenient alternative to torture: humane treatment. “One has to ‘go to school’ on each captive,” Colonel Stuart Herrington, a retired army intelligence officer who advised teams at Guantánamo, wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at the height of the debate, in 2007. He and his teams “collected mountains of excellent, verified information” in Vietnam, Panama, and the first Gulf War, he said, by learning the prisoner’s beliefs and fears, his hatreds and his loyalties, his family details and his “core vulnerability.”

But what if torture were the only way? Then the moral question would have to be engaged—and in a healthier debate. It would have to be about the terror suspect’s little daughter.

It would also be about us. Vladimir Bukovsky, the human-rights campaigner and veteran of Soviet prisons and psychiatric hospitals, warned Americans in 2005 about Russian torturers who descended into alcohol, drugs, criminal violence, or domestic abuse. He wrote in the Washington Post: “How can you force your officers and your young people in the C.I.A. to commit acts that will scar them forever? For scarred they will be, take my word for it.”

The notion that the United States can be hermetically sealed from its abuse of prisoners abroad is fanciful, as illustrated by investigations into torture committed by Chicago police from the early nineteen-seventies into the nineties. One method, hooking wires from a hand-cranked generator to various parts of suspects’ bodies, was nicknamed the “Vietnam special” or the “Vietnamese treatment.” In Vietnam, where an Army field phone had been used on prisoners, it had been called the “Bell Telephone hour.” The Chicago unit’s commander, Jon Burge, had served in Vietnam in a military-police company. He was convicted last year of perjury in connection with the torture in Chicago. We can only hope that the interrogators who have tortured terrorist suspects since 9/11 do not, or have not, become police officers.

Read David Remnick, Steve Coll, Lawrence Wright, Jon Lee Anderson, Dexter Filkins, Hendrik Hertzberg, George Packer, and more of our coverage of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Targeted Assassination of Osama Bin Laden

by Marjorie Cohn

Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 by

When he announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a Navy Seal team in Pakistan, President Barack Obama said, “Justice has been done.” Mr. Obama misused the word, "justice" when he made that statement. He should have said, "Retaliation has been accomplished." A former professor of constitutional law should know the difference between those two concepts. The word "justice" implies an act of applying or upholding the law.

Targeted assassinations violate well-established principles of international law. Also called political assassinations, they are extrajudicial executions. These are unlawful and deliberate killings carried out by order of, or with the acquiescence of, a government, outside any judicial framework.

Extrajudicial executions are unlawful, even in armed conflict. In a 1998 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions noted that “extrajudicial executions can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war.” The U.N. General Assembly and Human Rights Commission, as well as Amnesty International, have all condemned extrajudicial executions.

In spite of its illegality, the Obama administration frequently uses targeted assassinations to accomplish its goals. Five days after executing Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama tried to bring “justice” to U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who has not been charged with any crime in the United States. The unmanned drone attack in Yemen missed al-Awlaki and killed two people “believed to be al Qaeda militants,” according to a CBS/AP bulletin.

Two days before the Yemen attack, U.S. drones killed 15 people in Pakistan and wounded four. Since the March 17 drone attack that killed 44 people, also in Pakistan, there have been four drone strikes. In 2010, American drones carried out 111 strikes. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that 957 civilians were killed in 2010.

The United States disavowed the use of extrajudicial killings under President Gerald Ford. After the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disclosed in 1975 that the CIA had been involved in several murders or attempted murders of foreign leaders, President Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations. Every succeeding president until George W. Bush renewed that order. However, the Clinton administration targeted Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, but narrowly missed him.

In July 2001, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel denounced Israel’s policy of targeted killings, or “preemptive operations.” He said “the United States government is very clearly on the record as against targeted assassinations. They are extrajudicial killings, and we do not support that.”

Yet after September 11, 2001, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer invited the killing of Saddam Hussein: “The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less” than the cost of war. Shortly thereafter, Bush issued a secret directive, which authorized the CIA to target suspected terrorists for assassination when it would be impractical to capture them and when large-scale civilian casualties could be avoided.

In November 2002, Bush reportedly authorized the CIA to assassinate a suspected Al Qaeda leader in Yemen. He and five traveling companions were killed in the hit, which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz described as a “very successful tactical operation.”

After the Holocaust, Winston Churchill wanted to execute the Nazi leaders without trials. But the U.S. government opposed the extrajudicial executions of Nazi officials who had committed genocide against millions of people. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, who served as chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, told President Harry Truman: “We could execute or otherwise punish [the Nazi leaders] without a hearing. But undiscriminating executions or punishments without definite findings of guilt, fairly arrived at, would … not set easily on the American conscience or be remembered by children with pride.”

Osama bin Laden and the “suspected militants” targeted in drone attacks should have been arrested and tried in U.S. courts or an international tribunal. Obama cannot serve as judge, jury and executioner. These assassinations are not only illegal; they create a dangerous precedent, which could be used to justify the targeted killings of U.S. leaders.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy secretary general for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd). Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, is now available. Her articles are archived at

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We MUST end Torture and hold accountable those who Do

By the way, like the near 600 comments on wired about Ashcroft as new Ethics Chief for Blackwater/Xe, Glen Greenwald has an Op Ed on The Illogic of the Torture Debate and also has a rousing 600 + letters to the editor:
GO here and GO here

Updated Friday, May 6 - New Item - on John Ashcroft/Xe-Blackwater GO here

According to this site (new to me) "More than merely a cliché, John Ashcroft really is holier than thou. His grandfather and father were both evangelical preachers, and Rev Ashcroft's" Find more little known facts here

Here's another timeline (qualified as I am not familiar with this site) going way back to setting up of the Patriot Act with this shocking kind of leadership:

GO here October 12, 2001: Ashcroft Urges Agencies to Deny FOIA RequestsAttorney General Ashcroft encourages federal agencies to deny requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In a memo to all government departments and agencies, he states, “When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions.” This is a dramatic shift from the Clinton Administration, which instructed federal officials to grant all information requests unless there was “foreseeable harm” in doing so. [Washington Post, 12/2/2002] The New York Times notes that while the new policy was announced after 9/11, “it had been planned well before the attacks.” [New York Times, 1/3/2003]

ACTIONS Suggested here

See more on Ashcroft's history at

John Ashcroft Time-Line on Abdullah al-Kidd & Related

SEE item as of May 5, 2011 here

Andy Worthington Osoma Bin Laden's Death and the Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Gitmo here

Find plenty of related day-by-day items at the excellent for current items: Reader-supported News here

Be sure to take a scroll, at least, at the shocking background of Ashcroft just below and the questioning of presidential sanity in doing nothing to block the RE-hiring of the outlaw Blackwater/Xe company...


Here's another on same case - with more reasons as to why it's counter-productive to torture here

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blackwater's New Ethics or Old Nightmares ? Chief John Ashcroft

AP/Cliff Owen

Why, even for national and international security reasons ALONE, Ashcroft's background should exempt him from any role at all. What could be more of a red-flag branding hinting at a "Christian-Islam crusade" for the US so-called "war on terror"? Who but the extra-legal contractor Blackwater folk (including outlaw and shameful US representative, Raymond Davis, Xe )and other offshoots in Pakistan and around the world - LIBYA under auspices of CIA? What sort of dynamics could do greater damage to US reputation abroad and up the ante of more revenge attacks? So why NOW for Ashcroft to bring the spotlight on himself and at the same time on this shameful company?

Before I post the most current items which bring the spotlight once again on our USA's celebrated "Christian Crusader", the following mention of earlier notations concerning Ashcroft's history may be useful. See these carefully referenced items:

Findlaw's Legal Commentary, April 30, 2003. FindLaw's Writ - Cassel: A Recent Judicial Reprimand of Attorney ... Apr 30, 2003 ... A Recent Judicial Reprimand of Attorney General Ashcroft Exposes a Pattern of Gag Order and Ethics Violations By His Office. By ELAINE CASSEL ... John Walker Lindh and Lynne Stewart cases are part of the same pattern. GO here

In "The United States and Torture", 2011, New York University Press (the definitive and highly-acclaimed book edited by Marjorie Cohn, Law School Professor and longtime National Lawyer's Guild lawyer) Cohn's introduction 'An American Policy of Torture' includes Ashcroft's apparent leniency with detained US Citizen John Walker Lindh as setting the stage for the rest of the book and the story of US complicity with torture:

"...Ashcroft permitted (Lindh) to plead guilty to lesser offenses that garnared him 20 years. The condition: that Lindh declare he suffered "no deliberate mistreatment" while in custody. The cover-up was under way."

On page 14 of Cohn's same intro find: "On February 7, 2002, Bush signed a memo erroneously stating that the Geneval Conventions, which require humane treatment, did not apply to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But the Supreme Court made clear that Geneva protects all prisoners. Bush admitted that he approved of high-level meetings of the Principals Committee in which harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, were authorized by Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, JOHN ASHCROFT, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, and George Tenet."

In this same book edited by Cohn, Professor Alfred W. McCoy, one of the most highly respected experts on torture says, "...up the chain of command, Condoleezza Rice, then National Security Adviser, later recalled that, after the 'CIA sought policy approval from the National Security Counsel (NSC) to begin an inerrogation program for high-level al-Qaida terrorists,' she 'convened a series of meetings of NSC princiipals in 2002 and 2003.' After watching CIA operatives mime 'certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques,' this group - including Vice President Cheney, ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN ASHCROFT...(etc.) repeatedly authorized extreme psychological techniques stiffened by hitting, walling, and waterboarding." (Add here that Jordan J. Paust GO here see under Background Law Jordan J. Praust's piece which includes '...US Use of Drones in Pakistan' ) in Cohn's book, adds to the Ashcroft et al committee: other torture methods such as "inducment of hypothermia" and "use of dogs to crate intense fear", various forms of sexual and self-dignity types of humiliations and the "cold cell". Paust says, with respect to the ...contributions of this above mentioned team, including John Yoo, that President George W. Bush was quoted as stating,'Yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

'During one of these meetings, Ashcroft asked aloud: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly." Yet according to CIA records, Ashcroft approved "expanded use" of enhanced techniques at meetings in July and September 2003, even when 'informed that the waterboard had been used 119 times on an individual'. Even after the broadcast of the Abu Ghraib photos, these principals still met to consider the continued use of CIA torture techniques." (end overall 2 paragraph quote by McCoy with short internal quotes in first paragraph from Rice)

In the following note, I raise further questions which we need to ask of Ashcroft for the sake of the legacy and "state of security or insecurity" we are leaving to our children all:

NOTE: "Ethics Chief? Ashcroft? What a joke! ...Some of the opinion items just coming out may be a bit tongue-in-cheek - if not asking whether we are living in a "real world" or something surreal beyond our worst nightmares - for which only sardonic humor will sometimes offer a bit of mitigating balm..

For doubters, beyond the Professor McCoy quotes above which clearly shows that Ashcroft was/is no dunce nor can be excused as naive - yet for the sake of us all worldwide - the new "ethics" chief of Blackwater is in dire need of constant "motives" surveillance himself in order to expose to younger generations just the sort of ambitions and cover-up needs out of which he may be operating...

On this post, and in an easy library search, there's plenty of factual/actual corroborated information -- going back to before the declaration of Cheney's foreshadowing that the US would be often working "from the dark side" to show Ashcroft's true colors...

Blackwater’s New Ethics Chief: John Ashcroft
By Spencer Ackerman May 4, 2011
"Wired" and elsewhere

The consortium in charge of restructuring the world’s most infamous private-security firm just added a new chief in charge of keeping the company on the straight and narrow. Yes, John Ashcroft, the former U.S. attorney general, is now an “independent director” of Xe Services, formerly known as Blackwater.

Ashcroft will head Xe’s new “subcommittee on governance,” its backers announced early Wednesday in a statement. The subcommittee is designed to “maximize governance, compliance and accountability” and “promote the highest degrees of ethics and professionalism within the private-security industry.”

In other words, no more shooting civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, no more signing for weapons its guards aren’t authorized to carry in war zones, no more impersonations of cartoon characters to acquire said weaponry, and no more ‘roids and coke on the job.

Ashcroft’s arrival at Xe is yet another clear signal it’s not giving up the quest for lucrative government security contracts now that it’s no longer owned by founder Erik Prince, even as it emphasizes the side of its business that trains law enforcement officers. In September, it won part of a $10 billion State Department contract to protect diplomats, starting with the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

Ashcroft, a U.S. senator before becoming attorney general in the Bush administration, is a very known quantity to the federal officials that Xe will pitch. Even if he’s not lobbying for Blackwater, Ashcroft’s addition on the board is meant to inspire confidence in government officials of its newfound rectitude.

To some, Ashcroft will be forever known as the face of Bush-era counterterrorism: the official who vigorously defended the Patriot Act’s sweeping surveillance powers; told civil libertarians that their dissents “only aid terrorists,” and covered up the Spirit of Justice’s boob. At the same time, when Ashcroft was critically ill in 2005, he resisted a White House mission to his hospital bed entreating him to reauthorize warrantless surveillance in defiance of the acting attorney general.

“This is a company with a strong history of service to its country, and a reputation of best-in-class offerings to its public and private customers,” Ashcroft said in a statement. “I look forward to helping USTC enhance its governance and oversight capabilities as the company moves forward,” referring to U.S. Training Center, another of Blackwater’s many names. Like scores of other senior security officials, Ashcroft has spent his post-government career running a Washington consulting firm.

Xe is still sorting out its leadership and searching for a permanent CEO. For now, the investor team that bought the company in December assembled and empowered a board of directors to run the shop along with the existing management. That board includes former National Security Agency director Bobby Ray Inman. Its chairman is Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs.

Ashcroft and his new subcommittee will report to the board. “With the formation of this subcommittee, and with Ashcroft as its chair,” the firm says in the statement, “USTC aims to set the bar for industry standards against which all other companies will be measured.”

At find links to:

Despite Denials, Blackwater Still Working for U.S.
Getcher Special Edition Blackwater Shotguns!
Exclusive: Blackwater Wins Piece of $10 Billion Mercenary Deal

Spencer Ackerman is Danger Room's senior reporter, based out of Washington, D.C., covering weapons of doom and the strategies they're used to implement. Follow @attackerman and @dangerroom on Twitter.

For Ackerman's posting on GO here

See also yesterday's posting:
John Ashcroft takes image-rehab job with Blackwater
By Alex Pareene here

Former Attorney General John Aschcroft, one of the worst jokes of George W. Bush's first term, has a new job! (Not that you needed to worry about him starving on the street: He's been running a very lucrative lobbying firm since he left the Justice Department.) He is now the head of the newly created ethics committee for... Blackwater, the "private security firm" (mercenary army) that is best known for accepting billions of dollars in government money while murdering civilians, smuggling and stealing arms, and generally allowing their private army of reckless, drunken violence-junkies to operate wholly without oversight or consequences.

Because the name "Blackwater" has such a bad reputation, due to all the killing, they've embarked upon a series of cosmetic reforms: Changing their name to "Xe," bidding for contracts under the names of their dozens of fictitious front companies, and now starting up this ethics committee.

And nothing says credibility like bringing on the attorney general whose work establishing a permanent state of domestic emergency necessitated the massive "homeland security" industry that went on to make him a very wealthy man.

The hiring of Ashcroft -- a puritanical straight-and-narrow type -- is obviously meant to signal to government agencies that Blackwater has totally changed since founder and real piece of work Erik Prince departed the company to concentrate on pretending he's been persecuted for anything besides his impossibly irresponsible management. If they promise no more cocaine and porn, oh State Department, would you consider maybe giving them a couple more billion dollars?

For other notable milestones go to Wikileaks and Source Watch:

John David Ashcroft served as U.S. Attorney General from 2001 to 2004, and following that took a teaching position at Pat Robertson's Regent University as Distinguished Professor of Law and Government and formed a lobbying firm called the Ashcroft Group. He graduated from Yale in 1963 and received his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1967, and is considered to be a neo-conservative, a devout Christian, and a grittily determined singer, even at staff meetings.

...In the 2000 election year, Ashcroft was defeated in his run for re-election to the U.S. Senate by Democrat Mel Carnahan, who remained on the Missouri ballot after he died in a plane crash. Less than three months later, Ashcroft won confirmation as President Bush's Attorney General by a 58-42 margin, the narrowest in recent times. Ashcroft announced his resignation as U.S. Attorney General on November 9, 2004. His handwritten letter was dated November 2nd, citing gratitude, success, and a belief in fresh leadership to take his place.

Ashcroft...was criticized by civil rights groups for opposing the nomination of a black Missouri Supreme Court justice to the federal bench. "He also has come under fire for comments he made to the Southern Partisan, a magazine defending the historical reputation of the Civil War-era Confederacy," CNN noted.

People for the American Way unsuccessfully campaigned against Ashcroft's nomination and released reports compiling his public statements on key issue...

Corruption in U.S. Government (words to remind Ashcroft he once made?)
Ashcroft has made bold public statements against corruption by public officials. In particular he highlighted the need for law enforcment and the Department Of Justice to keep their "own houses clean". Ashcroft believed that the majority of corruption in government is unreported, undetected, and escapes investigation and prosecution: "We know that we can only detect, investigate and prosecute a small percentage of those officials who are corrupt." (Why aren't you one of those few officials yesterday, Mr. Ashcroft?)

Compassionate conservative?

Associated Press religion writer Richard N. Ostling, wrote, in his February 10, 2001, article "Like Bush, Ashcroft wanted to give religious groups a bigger role in federal welfare reform. The obvious problem was how to maintain separation of church and state under the U.S. Constitution..."On the White House office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, Ostling wrote: "Creation of the office is in concert with Bush's pledge to spend $8 billion in expanding 'charitable choice', in which churches and religious groups receiving federal funding to provide social services MAY NOW PROSELYTIZE'

Further references include:

"Profile: John Ashcroft," Right Web Profile (Somerville, NM: International Relations Center, December 21, 2007).
People for the American Way, "The Right-Wing Affiliations of Bush Administration Officials."
We're Not Destroying Rights, We're Protecting, Parade Magazine, May 19, 2002.

Elisabeth Bumiller and Eric Lichtblau, Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures, New York Times, October 2, 2003: "Deep political ties between top White House aides and Attorney General John Ashcroft have put him into a delicate position as the Justice Department begins a full investigation into whether administration officials illegally disclosed the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer." Names of inquiry figures associated with Ashcroft are: Karl Rove and Jack Oliver.

Prosecutor in terror case controversy sues Ashcroft, USA Today, February 17, 2004: "A federal prosecutor in a major terrorism case in Detroit has taken the rare step of suing Attorney General John Ashcroft, alleging the Justice Department interfered with the case, compromised a confidential informant and exaggerated results in the war on terrorism. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino of Detroit accused the Justice Department of "gross mismanagement" of the war on terrorism in a whistleblower lawsuit filed late Friday in federal court in Washington. ... Justice officials said Tuesday they had not seen the suit and had no comment."
Bruce S. Ticker, "'The untouchables: Scalia and Ashcroft'," Smirking Chimp, April 27, 2004.

Through 2009 and related SOURCEWATCH here

Do keep in mind as I mentioned that, more than most stories for May 2011, early items on Ashcroft might be even more important than the ones just now surfacing (we have a general epidemic of Amnesisa which includes burned-out progressives and civil rights folk.)

One more earlier story:
Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill: the Ashcroft-Rove Connection Oct 2, 2003 "Does a Felon Rove the White House?"
GO here

Happy Hunting...only WE, the people, will decide whether or not Ashcroft's emerging profile is another nail on the coffin of our American reputation or whether we have a chance for ACTUAL CHANGE...

Additional NOTE: There are some shocking folk emerging from our recent hellish Bush era past - seeking and taking the helm again. What's going on? Plz forgive rather long posts from time to time here on this site - No More Crusades. For self and other researchers I want to note some documentation as new stories come up. I aim to be less complicated and to include more inspirational posts on my other site One Heart For Peace here