16
Dez
2005

Schäuble will auch Informationen nutzen, die durch Folter erpresst worden sind

//www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,390709,00.html

Innenminister Wolfgang Schäuble will "gefährliche Personen" vor Gericht stellen und im Anti-Terror-Kampf auch Informationen nutzen, die durch Folter erpresst worden sind. Nur selber foltern sollten deutsche Sicherheitsbehörden auf keinen Fall.

Damit schließt sich der deutsche Innenminister an die amerikanische Praxis an: man foltert nicht selbst, sondern lässt dies andere tun; gern aber nutzt man die Ergebnisse der unter Folter erpressten Geständnisse und Informationen. Damit wird nun letztlich auch Deutschland zum verdeckten Auftraggeber der von der US-Regierung entwickelten Folterlogistik, die mit geheimen Gefängnissen in entfernten Ländern, in denen das Verbot der Folter nicht gilt, die Menschenrechte missachten.

Die Erfahrung zeigte, dass keine der in dieser Weise involvierten Regierungen und Regierungsagenturen ihre Informationen in diesem Geschäft bereitwillig offen legen. Nach der aktuellen Erfahrung mit dem Skandal der Aufdeckung dieser von der CIA betriebenen Geheimgefängnisse wird zukünftig davon auszugehen sein, dass die Informationen über sie zukünftig so sorgfältig gehütet werden bzw. Presse und Medien unter solchen Druck und Kontrolle genommen werden, die sich nicht mehr allzu sehr unterscheidet von den Verhältnissen in den Zeiten der KZ oder in anderen totalitären Regimen, in denen politische Gefangene über Jahrzehnte hinweg in ihren Kerkern verrotten oder völlig "verschwinden", wie dies langjährige Praxis in vielen von den USA gestützten Diktaturen in Lateinamerika der Fall war.

So wurden etwa in Kolumbien, das sich milliardenschwerer Militärhilfe aus den USA und aus der EU erfreut, von Seiten der Todesschwadronen / der "AUC" nicht nur Gewerkschafter und Umweltschützer sondern auch MenschenrechtsaktivistInnen zu legitimen Zielen erklärt und eine Reihe von ihnen bereits erschossen, gefoltert oder verstümmelt. Die Hand über diese Todesschwadronen hält einer der wenigen verbliebenen Freunde der USA in Lateinamerika: Kolumbiens Präsident Uribe selbst, der auch in der EU als willkommener diplomatischer Partner gilt - schließlich verfügt Kolumbien über nennenswerte und attraktive Ressourcen, wie Erdöl und andere Bodenschätze. Der Präsident selbst kümmerte sich darum, dass die Zusammenarbeit der kolumbianischen Armee mit den Todesschwadronen wie geschmiert läuft und dass den Mitgliedern dieser mörderischen Banden kein Haar gekrümmt wird, etwa durch Belästigung in Form eines Strafverfahrens.

In vielen anderen autoritären und diktatorischen Ländern gibt es nach wie vor die freundlich helfende Hand der USA, die mit ihrer Folterlogistik den Gefängnissen dieser Länder ihre Klienten zuliefert - im Austausch gegen die wertvolle Zusammenarbeit der Geheimdienste bei der Unterdrückung der Opposition. In dieser Form ist das der Fall unter anderem in Ägypten, in Jordanien, in Pakistan, in Marokko und anderen Ländern, die als Beispiele dafür herhalten müssen, dass arabische Länder demokratieresistent seien. Auch Saddam Hussein hatte einstmals diese Unterstützung genossen, als er den blutigen Krieg gegen den Iran führte und Kurden vergaste: weder das eine noch das andere veranlassten die USA damals, ihm diese Unterstützung zu entziehen.

Nun also reiht sich auch Schäuble als deutscher Innenminister wieder ein in den Konsens der Folter und der Unterdrückung, in dem - mit gewissen Vorbehalten: man foltert, wie erwähnt, nicht selbst, sondern lässt foltern - alles erlaubt ist, wenn es nur der Staatssicherheit dient. Menschenrechte erfüllen ihren Zweck dann, wenn es darum geht, einen neuen Krieg zu rechtfertigen - weil die zu eliminierende Staatsführung diese nicht beachtet.


G.Wendebourg / metainfo hamburg

Link zum Beitrag / Hintergrundinfo oder Pressehinweis:
//www.hh-online.com?lid=23204 und
//links.net-hh.de?lid=23204

Infopool / metainfo hamburg www.hh-online.com

GM Contamination Accelerating: No Co-Existence Possible

//www.i-sis.org.uk/GMCANCEP.php

U.S. PROPOSES DOUSING WILDERNESS AREAS WITH HERBICIDES

ALERT

From: Organic Consumers Association
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:21 AM
Subject: This Week's Biggest Environment, Health, and Consumer News Tidbits (Organic Bytes #72)

Click Here to Sign Petition
(your info will not be shared - privacy policy)
//www.organicconsumers.org/blm.htm
Note: Public comment period ends Jan.9, 2006

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed to apply massive amounts of herbicides to public lands in 17 Western states.

The BLM claims these pesticides need to be applied to forests, rangelands and aquatic areas in order to reduce the risk of fire and slow the spread of invasive weeds. Under the proposal 932,000 acres would undergo chemical application in 17 western states, including National Monuments and National Conservation areas.

An integral part of this proposal involves aerial spraying of toxic herbicides, which increases negative impacts on non-targeted vegetation, wildlife, and people, including recreationists, tourists, and native peoples (herbicide application areas include Alaska, where native fishing and plant gathering is widespread).

The pesticides that would be used include persistent and mobile chemicals, including known developmental and reproductive toxins.

The overall pestcides include 4 new chemicals and 14 other pesticides, including 2,4-D, bromacil, chlorsulfuron, diquat, diuron, fluridone, hexazinone, teburthiruon, triclopyr, and picloram. The proposal would also allow the use of "new chemicals that may be developed in the future."

Fortunately, the proposal also includes an analysis of possible outcomes of using nonchemical means of managing these areas and offers an option (Option C) wherein traditional methods of vegetation management are used on public lands, not the use widespread application of toxic chemicals.

Take action now and submit your public comment in support of Option C of the Bureau of Land Management Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Note: Public comment period ends Jan.9, 2006

SIGN PETITION TO BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
//www.organicconsumers.org/blm.htm


Informant: Friends

Warming Globally, Acting Locally

by Scott Paul and Samuel Stein,
TomPaine.com

The Bush administration's intransigence on climate change has inspired a mutiny of mayors.

//www.tompaine.com/articles/20051216/warming_globally_acting_locally.php

In The Kingdom Of The Half-Blind

by Bill Moyers, TomPaine.com

The Bush administration's hostility toward freedom of information dates back to the days when Rumsfeld and Cheney worked for Gerald Ford.

//www.tompaine.com/articles/20051216/in_the_kingdom_of_the_halfblind.php

Abhörskandal: Bush ließ US-Bürger durch NSA belauschen

//www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,390843,00.html

Abhörskandal in den USA: Wenige Monate nach den Attentaten vom 11. September hat Präsident Bush den Auslandsgeheimdienst NSA autorisiert, innerhalb der USA Telefonate ohne richterliche Anordnung abzuhören.


G.Wendebourg / metainfo hamburg

Link zum Beitrag / Hintergrundinfo oder Pressehinweis:
//www.hh-online.com?lid=23208 und
//links.net-hh.de?lid=23208

Infopool / metainfo hamburg www.hh-online.com

Senate fails to reauthorize Patriot Act

//www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/16/senate.patriot.ap/index.html


Informant: mr_tjsmith

From ufpj-news

Die Durchlöcherung des Folterverbots durch die US-Regierung

//service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,390860,00.html

(New York Times) Auch die Initiative des amerikanischen Kongresses zum Verbot der Folter wurde bei ihrer Verabschiedung umgehend wieder durch die Bush-Regierung durchlöchert. Justizminister Gonzales erklärte, dass es allein Sache der Regierung sei, zu definieren, was Folter ist.

Gonzales, der bereits früher ein Gutachten verfasste, das den Begriff der Folter relativierte, dass ggf. erst Verletzungen mit tödlichen Folgen dazu zu rechnen seien, erklärte gegenüber CNN, dass nur schwere physische oder psychische Gewaltanwendungen als Folter zu gelten hätten. Zur Frage, ob die Wasserfolter, bei der Opfer damit bedroht werden, ertränkt zu werden, dazu zähle, äußerte er sich nicht.

Dem neuen Gesetz wurde ein zehnseitiges Geheimpapier angehängt, auf dem erlaubte und unerlaubte Methoden der Misshandlung beschrieben werden. Auch CIA-Chef Goss erklärte, von seiten der CIA würde nicht gefoltert. Die erlaubten Spezial-Methoden, mit denen Geständnisse herbeigeführt werden, wollte er jedoch nicht beschreiben.


G.Wendebourg / metainfo hamburg

Link zum Beitrag / Hintergrundinfo oder Pressehinweis:
//www.hh-online.com?lid=23210 und
//links.net-hh.de?lid=23210

Infopool / metainfo hamburg www.hh-online.com

US-Konzern beansprucht laut Greenpeace Patent auf ganze Schweinerassen

Genpatente: US-Konzern beansprucht laut Greenpeace Patent auf ganze Schweinerassen (16.12.05)

Greenpeace warnt heute in München vor der Patentierung von Schweinen. Der amerikanische Agrar-Konzern Monsanto hat bei der Weltpatentbehörde in Genf verschiedene Patentanträge angemeldet, in denen ganze Schweinerassen als Erfindung beansprucht werden. Das Europäische Patentamt (EPA) muss die Patentanträge nun prüfen und über eine Erteilung der Patente in Europa entscheiden. Mit einem Korb voll Ferkel forderten Greenpeace und die Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall die Mitarbeiter des EPA heute auf, die Patentanträge abzulehnen. Die Ferkel gehören zur traditionellen Rasse der Schwäbisch-Hällischen Landschweine, die ebenfalls von dem Patent betroffen wären.

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet:
//www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht.php?Nr=12529

Bundestag trotzt Bundesverfassungsgericht: Zollkriminalamt darf weiterhin Telefone überwachen

16.12.05

Die bis Ende 2005 befristeten Regelungen zur "präventiven Telekommunikations- und Postüberwachung für den Außenwirtschaftsbereich" durch das Zollkriminalamt werden um anderthalb Jahre verlängert. Einen entsprechenden Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung verabschiedete der Bundestag am Donnerstag mit den Stimmen der Koalitionsfraktionen von Union und SPD. Bis Mitte 2007 soll das so genannte Zollfahndungsdienstgesetz dann um Bestimmungen zum Schutz des "Kernbereichs der privaten Lebensgestaltung" ergänzt werden. Das Bundesverfassungsgericht hatte im Juli gefordert, für Telefonüberwachungen gesetzliche Regelungen zum Schutz dieses Kernbereichs der Privatsphäre festzuschreiben.

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet:
//www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht.php?Nr=12539

Deutsche Bundesregierung will laut Amnesty "Foltergeständnisse" nutzen

Menschenrechtsstandards: Deutsche Bundesregierung will laut Amnesty "Foltergeständnisse" nutzen (16.12.05)

Bundesinnenminister Wolfgang Schäuble rechtfertigte in der "Stuttgarter Zeitung" Verhöre von Gefangenen, bei denen Folterungen nicht ausgeschlossen werden können. "Wenn wir sagen würden, Informationen, bei denen wir nicht sicher sein können, dass sie unter vollkommen rechtsstaatlichen Bedingungen zu erlangen waren, nutzen wir unter keinen Umständen - das wäre völlig unverantwortlich", sagte Schäuble. "Wir müssen solche Informationen nutzen." Für die Menschenrechtsorganisation Amnesty international bedeutet das, dass die deutsche Bundesregierung auch Aussagen, die vielleicht unter Folter zustande gekommen sind, verwendet wolle. Schäuble versuche damit auch die Vernehmungen des Deutsch-Syrers Zammar durch deutsche Beamte in einem syrischen Foltergefängnis zu rechtfertigen. Nach Auffassung der Organisation relativiert die Bundesregierung damit ihr Bekenntnis zur Wahrung der Menschenrechte.

Die ganze Nachricht im Internet:
//www.ngo-online.de/ganze_nachricht.php?Nr=12528

Brüssel: Mekka der Lobbyisten

Erstmals Preis für die schlimmste EU-Lobbyorganisation vergeben.
//www.telepolis.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21577/1.html

US-Regierung akzeptiert Folterverbot

Nachdem der Kongress mit großer Mehrheit das Folterverbot gebilligt haben, droht man im Weißen Haus nicht mehr mit einem Veto und scheint sich dem Unvermeidlichen zu fügen; allerdings könnte das Folterverbot nicht viel wert sein, wenn das "Graham Amendment" angenommen wird.

//www.telepolis.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21589/1.html

Für Innenminister Schäuble ist gegen Verschleppung und Folter nicht unbedingt etwas einzuwenden, wenn es der Sicherheit dient

Alles in Ordnung?

Für Innenminister Schäuble ist gegen Verschleppung und Folter nicht unbedingt etwas einzuwenden, wenn es der Sicherheit dient, Joschka Fischer und die Grünen ziehen vor, sich bedeckt zu halten.

//www.telepolis.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21590/1.html

Legalisierung von Guantanamo

Möglicherweise wird das gestern vom Weißen Haus akzeptierte Folterverbot durch einen anderen Gesetzesvorschlag, der schon vom Senat gebilligt wurde, wieder aus den Angeln gehoben; es soll den Umgang mit "feindlichen Kämpfern" legalisieren.

//www.telepolis.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21592/1.html

Ausgewählte Wählerschaft

Ein US-amerikanisches Politikinstitut kritisiert den Ablauf der irakischen Parlamentswahl.

//www.telepolis.de/tp/r4/artikel/21/21594/1.html

Senate Blocks Extension of Patriot Act

The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders. In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605Y.shtml

Republican Party Official Convicted on Phone-Jamming in New Hampshire

A former top Republican Party official was convicted on telephone harassment charges Thursday for his part in a plot to jam the Democrats' phones on Election Day 2002.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605O.shtml

Former Abramoff Partner Pleads Guilty, Increases Threat to DeLay

Adam Kidan, former business partner of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal fraud and conspiracy charges. Kidan's plea will require that he cooperate and possibly testify in the case against Abramoff in order to get a reduced prison sentence.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605N.shtml

Iraq's Tipping Point

Robert Dreyfus writes that although we will not know the Iraqi government’s final tally for a few weeks, that won’t stop President Bush from declaring the elections a victory for democracy. Yet such a statement does democracy a major disservice, for democracy is much more than an election. Democracy can only be the outgrowth of an earnest national consensus — a consensus that Bush, for some unknown reason, has done everything possible to avoid building.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605M.shtml

Anti-US Sentiment Is Motivator for Many Iraqis

While the Sunni outpouring was viewed as a long hoped-for victory for the Bush administration, an overwhelming number of Sunnis made clear that they were drawn to the polls by their dislike of the US occupation and Iraq's US-supported, Shiite-led transitional government.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605L.shtml

Congress Doesn't See Same Intelligence as President

President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader range of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan, congressional research agency said in a report Thursday, raising questions about recent assertions by the president.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605J.shtml

Rove's Moment of Truth?

Joe Conason asks: Should Fitzgerald accept the Rove version and forgo indictment? There are reasons to think he won't, aside from the fact that he has activated a new grand jury, to which he has reportedly been presenting both old and new evidence. To believe Rove means to ignore certain glaring facts.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121605I.shtml

Our torture problem

CounterPunch
by Vijay Prashad

12/15/05

Bayan Jabr, a senior official of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, followed Bush in the defense of his ministry (and his Wolf Brigade militia). The Iraqi state, he said, does not torture. The logic is impeccable. 'Democracy,' as a concept, is antithetical to torture. If anything that resembles torture exists in a democracy, then it cannot be torture. It must be something else, such as the work of one or two 'bad apples.' Tyrannical regimes torture as part of their inner logic, whereas torture can only occur within a democratic system by deranged individual action. It is perhaps this amnesia sanctioned by our belief in the power of democracy that makes us forget 'incidents' like the US complicity at Con Son Island in Vietnam, and in the 'dirty wars' of Central America in the 1980s...

//www.counterpunch.org/prashad12152005.html


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

They're tracking you

News 8 Reviews
by Devanie Angel

12/15/05

It looks fairly innocuous, a metal-and-plastic square with wires coiled up like an angular snail, a lot like the anti-theft tag you'd find if you pried apart a book you'd just bought at a chain store. But it's a Radio Frequency Identification tag, RFID for short, and each one has a tiny antenna that can broadcast information about the product, or person, to which it is attached. To the industry that makes and markets RFID, it's simply the next logical step from bar codes: providing a cheap, easy way to keep products on the shelves, consumers happy and companies making money. But to many privacy-rights advocates, RFID tags could be the forerunner to nightmare scenarios in which RFID technology is the Trojan horse that brings Big Brother into your home, snooping through your medicine cabinets, fridge and underwear drawer to find out what you do, buy and believe, and, ultimately, what you are...

//www.newsreview.com/issues/sacto/2005-12-15/cover.asp


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Let freedom ring

National Review
by US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)

12/15/05

[W]ith 14 percent of the world's population online, the Internet has become a powerful weapon for democracy, one that helps create that most dangerous and subversive of all threats to totalitarian regimes -- a well-informed citizenry. Censoring the Internet, compromising its technical underpinnings, submitting it to bureaucratic control, or subjecting its administration to brutal dictatorships would mean turning our backs on one of today's greatest instruments of freedom. The success of our policies in support of freedom and democracy requires new initiatives to combat totalitarian and authoritarian controls on news and information online. We must guard against the jamming and jailing of Internet users, and we must be watchful of the power plays of supranational organizations such as the United Nations...

//www.nationalreview.com/voices/roslehtinen200512150829.asp


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Blood and betrayal

Salon
by Gary Kamiya

12/16/05

In the face of America's righteous rage, [Robert] Fisk was one of the few commentators who dared to posit that America's policies had something to do with the attacks. And he did so with with brutal honesty. 'There will be those swift to condemn any suggestion that we should look for real historical reasons for an act of violence on this world-war scale,' Fisk wrote -- and he didn't know the half of it. He was immediately savaged. Critics called him an appeaser, a traitor, an American-hater, an ally of Saddam. ... Right-wing bloggers have spent so much time attacking Fisk that they actually named a verb after him: to 'fisk' something is to tear it apart... [subscription or ad view required]

//www.salon.com/books/review/2005/12/16/fisk


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

From Bob Woodward to Judith Miller

Reason
by Matt Welch

A controversial reporter for one of the nation's leading newspapers stumbles onto what at first looks like a routine Washington story but eventually, after two years of mounting federal inquiry, becomes a wide-reaching scandal that rocks the very foundations of the White House, kneecapping the second presidential term of a big-government Republican hell-bent on expanding executive power. The reporter at the center of it all -- captivated by power, obsessed with high-level access, addicted to anonymous sources -- acts as a pawn in an intragovernmental turf war, becoming in the process a lightning rod for critics of journalistic comportment. I'm talking about New York Times scribe Judith Miller, of course. But the description also applies to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward, the most revered reporter of journalism's most self-adoring generation... (for publication 01/06)

//www.reason.com/0601/co.mw.from.shtml


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Dear President Bush: about that "goddamned piece of paper"

What Really Happened
by staff

12/15/05

But to get to the point, the Constitution is not the parchment itself, but the ideas written upon it; ideas which form the foundations of our nation, ideas which would carry equal weight if written on stone, glass, metal, or even paper. These ideas are the soul of the nation. ... The Constitution isn't just a piece of paper or parchment. It's a contract; the original contract with America. It's the contract you yourself swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend against all enemies both foreign and domestic. ... Go over to Arlington National Cemetery. It's not that far from where you live. Look at those tombstones. By your statement, you have written across and every one the words, 'Died for a goddamned piece of paper'...

//www.whatreallyhappened.com/pieceofpaper.php


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

New tests fuel doubts about vote

Miami Herald

12/15/05

A top election official and computer experts say computer hackers could easily change election results, after they found numerous flaws with a state-approved voting-machine in Tallahassee.A political operative with hacking skills could alter the results of any election on Diebold-made voting machines -- and possibly other new voting systems in Florida -- according to the state capital's election supervisor, who said Diebold software has failed repeated tests. Ion Sancho, Leon County's election chief, said tests by two computer experts, completed this week, showed that an insider could surreptitiously change vote results and the number of ballots cast on Diebold's optical-scan machines. After receiving county commission approval Tuesday, Sancho scrapped Diebold's system for one made by Elections Systems and Software, the same provider used by Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The difference between the systems: Sancho's machines use a fill-in-the-blank paper ballot that allows for after-the-fact manual recounts, while Broward and Miami-Dade use ATM-like touchscreens that leave no paper trail...

//www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/13410061.htm


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Terrorism watch list

WHO TV

12/15/05

The Patriot Act has come under harsh criticism from people who believe it gives the government too much power to invade peoples right to privacy. Here in Iowa, members of an anti-war group believe their actions are under surveillance regardless of the Patriot Act. This week, NBC News uncovered a Pentagon database that shows the U.S. government is collecting information on American peace activists and monitoring their protests against the war. On that list, singled out as a credible threat, is an incident where an Iowa man was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing at an Air Force base in Omaha and sentenced to 90 days in a federal prison. 'The other inmates couldn't believe I was in for a federal misdemeanor, that I'd actually been sentenced to time for a misdemeanor, that is normally like a traffic ticket.' Elton Davis says he was at Offutt Air Force base protesting nuclear weapons on August 9th of last year. He wanted to present the base commander with a peace necklace, but was met by Air Force security before reaching the front gate. He admits to trespassing and spent three months in prison...

//www.whotv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4247304&nav=2HAB


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

DoD calls peace groups "threats"

Sun-Sentinel

12/15/05

South Florida's anti-war activists are few in number. Many are retirees, veterans or students. They carry puppets, wave placards or hand out pamphlets to potential military recruits. But these activities have been labeled a 'threat' by the Defense Department. Local peace-mongers, like many around the country, have come under surveillance by the Pentagon. 'I'm disabled, I'm 59 and if I'm a credible threat to the government of the United States, then either the government is terribly paranoid or terribly weak,' said Rich Hersh of Boca Raton, whose group, the Truth Project, has come under federal scrutiny. The military's domestic surveillance was disclosed this week in a report on NBC Nightly News, which obtained a 400-page Department of Defense document outlining the surveillance of peace groups...

//tinyurl.com/a2jht


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Feingold filibuster may save America from Patriot Act

MSNBC

12/15/05

In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold. He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed...

//msnbc.msn.com/id/10485860/


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Bush surrenders on McCain torture ban

Indianapolis Star

12/15/05

President Bush embraced Sen. John McCain's proposal to ban cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism suspects on Thursday, reversing months of opposition that included White House veto threats. Bowing to pressure from the Republican-run Congress and abroad, the White House signed off on the proposal after a fight that pitted the president against members of his own party and threatened to further tarnish a U.S. image already soiled by the abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison...

//tinyurl.com/9xkpn


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Bush "backed spying on Americans"

BBC News [UK]

12/16/05

President Bush allowed security agents to eavesdrop on people inside the US without search warrants after 9/11, the New York Times has reported. Under a 2002 presidential order, the National Security Agency has been monitoring international communications of hundreds in the US, the paper says. Before, the NSA had typically limited US surveillance to foreign embassies. Officials cited by the paper said the Bush administration saw the scheme as necessary to disclose terror threats. But some NSA officials familiar with the operation have questioned whether the surveillance of calls and e-mails has crossed constitutional limits on legal searches, according to the Times...

//news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4534488.stm


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts

Published on Friday, December 16, 2005 by the New York Times

by James Risen and Eric Lichtblau

WASHINGTON - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

//www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1216-01.htm


Informant: John Calvert

051216 - R - Mobilfunk - Newsletter

//www.omega-news.info/051216_r_mobilfunk_newsletter.rtf

051215 - R - Mobilfunk - Newsletter

//www.omega-news.info/051215_r_mobilfunk_newsletter.rtf

051214 - R - Mobilfunk - Newsletter

//www.omega-news.info/051214_r_mobilfunk_newsletter.rtf

051213 - R - Mobilfunk - Newsletter

//www.omega-news.info/051213_r_mobilfunk_newsletter.rtf

Update from the Field 12/15/05

Buffalo Field Campaign Update from the Field December 15, 2005

* TODAY IS NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY! Please Call Gov. Schweitzer, 406-444-3111

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View Exclusive Bison Hunt Video Footage:
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

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Make a Secure Online Donation to BFC:
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/pcshop2/bazaar.html

------------------------------

Support BFC by offering or purchasing auction items:
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/bisonmerchandise/bisonauction.html

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New to the Issue? Check here for background:
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/issueinbrief.html

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In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Today Is National Call-in Day!
* Comments Needed on Bison Quarantine Plan
* Last Words

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* Update from the Field

Often times we here at the BFC tend to focus on the harder side of life. It is news and unfortunately for all of us involved a fact of daily life. But today I want to tell a different kind of story, one that we don't normally get to tell.

On any given day a group of volunteers will get up, get dressed, eat and head out to stand with our brothers in spirit the buffalo. Some of these days are as hard as any care to remember but then there are the days when we receive a special treasure that reminds us all why we are here. I personally have been lucky enough to see the sun rise over the Rockies, exploding into a kaleidoscope of pink, orange and purple. I have also witnessed herds of elk roaming across the fields, counted not in single number, but instead by tens and even hundreds. I have even seen days when eagles both bald and golden fill the skies with their graceful dance. Above this all, is in a word, the majestic buffalo and among the buffalo there is one that, in my mind, rose above the rest.

We first saw him nearly two weeks ago standing near a hill of golden grass and crisp white show. He stood strong and bold, fully encompassing the spirit of the buffalo but with wisdom normally reserved for elders. When he looked to me, I could see his age. His head hung low, and his horns were warn down to the bone. This by no means meant that he had given up on life, for he was a healthy as a bull half his age.

Grandfather, as some of us began to call him, had the ability to look right through you with no more than a glance. But this was not his way. When Grandfather would look at you it was not to look through you but instead to say, "Come, sit close to me so I may tell you a story of my life and of the Buffalo." He did not use words but instead used subtle movements, feelings, and his spirit to speak. For four days he stayed and told his story. After the fourth day he returned to safety.

Now if I have done my job right you too will be able to close your eyes and see the Grandfather Buffalo. See him as a young calf running and playing in the fields. Later as a strong powerful bull leading his heard from year to year. Then finally as an elder sharing his wisdom to all who will take the time to watch and listen. Let him tell you his story and when he does, keep it golden and pure.

After we win this fight, and we will win, It is my dream to walk into a meadow of gentle green and gold on a warm spring day to lay back and listen to the story of the Buffalo once more. It is then that I know they will tell us all of their story again, though this time they will be not just safe but as always Wild and Free.

To all my relatives, Kim

P.S. For more information about what happened in the field this week, check out our press release:

//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/media/press0506/pressreleases0506/121205.html

------------------------------

* Today is National Call-in Day!

December 15th marks the dark anniversary of the shameful assassination of the great leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota people, Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull). It also marks one month into Montana's "hunt" of the country's last wild buffalo.

Please join us today in a nation-wide call-in day to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer letting him know that Montana's bison hunt is wrong and should be canceled immediately. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Animal Welfare Institute, and others will be helping in this effort. With everyone's participation this will be a powerful action and we'll make Gov. Schweitzer's phone ring off the hook! Please urge your friends, family and co-workers to participate.

Also today, from 2:00-3:00 pm, BFC will be in Helena, Montana, with other bison advocates including the HSUS and the Horse Butte Neighbors of Buffalo, holding a press conference inside the state's capitol building. We will offer common-sense solutions, show video footage from the field, and deliver to Governor Schweitzer the thousands of post cards that supporters like you have signed, urging Montana to protect and respect the last wild buffalo.

* * CALL GOVERNOR SCHWEITZER TODAY! 406-444-3111

THANK YOU for taking action to help the last wild buffalo! Find our more about why BFC opposes this canned hunt at

//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/bisonhuntingbill.html

Special thanks to the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute, Colin and D.J. for your help and inspiration!!

------------------------------

Comments Needed on Bison Quarantine Plan

The plan to quarantine wild Yellowstone buffalo has once again resurfaced in the form of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Phases II and III of the experimental protocol. Public comments are being accepted through January 13, 2005.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) agency, in a joint project with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), are seeking to extend the currently approved and initiated quarantine project for several more years, including the addition of the breeding and calving phases of the plan. The stated goal of the proposal is to determine if it is possible to get "certified disease free buffalo" from the Yellowstone herd for relocation to other areas outside the Park. If successful, the agencies intend to modify the existing Interagency Bison Management Plan to allow full scale capture and quarantine operations as a method of population control.

This EA seeks approval for the construction of a second quarantine facility near Gardiner, Montana and modification of the existing facility for use during the calving phase of the experiment. As with the previous environmental documents on quarantine, the agencies are claiming that the original Interagency Plan covers all of the analysis relating to the concept of quarantine for Yellowstone buffalo and the impacts on the buffalo themselves. This leaves only the details of the sites selected and the impacts of having quarantine facilities on those sites as issues for review. Therefore, the government encourages your comments on the proposal to focus only on two issues: the inadequacy of the facilities selected in the proposal and an indignant reproach of the agencies decision to limit the scope of analysis to the specifics of the sites. (But if you have thoughts about the government capturing wild baby buffalo, stealing them from their mothers, locking them in fenced-in areas, feeding them hay and tagging them like livestock, experimenting on them, and perhaps slaughtering them when all the scientific "fun" is over, you should share those thoughts.)

As to the first issue, FWP and APHIS have selected the Slip and Slide Ranch as their preferred alternative for Phase II. They intend to lease 60 acres on the ranch to house 50 two and three year old buffalo in two groups within 30 acre pastures. 25 young buffalo on 30 acres for at least one year. This amount of space is far too small for growing young buffalo. When quarantine was initially proposed several years ago, the agencies claimed that they would have 400-600 acres available for the buffalo in Phase II. Now, in an effort to avoid the complaints from the hunting and outfitting communities over the use of elk winter range for the facility, the agencies have sacrificed the well being of the buffalo once again and want to consign them to a mere 30 acres, just over one acre per buffalo. Cattle would not even be raised in such confines.

As for the broader issue of quarantine in general, it is still entirely appropriate to express disgust with the agencies for even proposing such an inhumane and domesticating procedure for the last and only genetically pure, free roaming wild buffalo in the United States. The captured buffalo that survive the quarantine experiment will have been captive for at least 4 years before release. They will have been handled frequently by humans and accustomed to eating feed and hay. These will by no means be wild buffalo any longer.

Additionally, the experiment will encourage large-scale capture operations to get the required number of buffalo calves. Based on the figures from last year, it is estimated that nearly 2,600 wild buffalo would need to be captured and tested for the agencies to get 200 non-brucellosis exposed buffalo calves, 100 in each year. If the agencies release the other negative testing buffalo, then only half or 1,300 buffalo would be killed during the two-year period. If, however, the agencies kill all of the captured buffalo because the current population exceeds the target of 3,000 buffalo as prescribed by the Interagency Plan, then we are looking at a two-year buffalo slaughter of epic proportions.

Public comment for the quarantine proposal will be accepted until January 13, 2006. As is typical with these agencies, they have released a plan during a time when eliciting comments from concerned citizens is difficult at best. It is possible, however, to get a 30 day extension to the comment period if there is significant demand. Additional BFC analysis will be added in the coming weeks.

TAKE ACTION! Please send your original comments including a request for an extension to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, C/o Bison Quarantine, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or via email to BisonQuarantineEA@mt.gov, or faxed to:406-444-4952. For Montana residents, there will be a public meeting in Bozeman at FWP Headquarters (1400 S. 19th Ave.) from 6 - 9 PM on Monday December 19, 2005. For more information contact bfc-advocate@wildrockies.org.

------------------------------

* Last Words

"Every time a buffalo is killed here, that brings back sharp pains of what happened in the late 1800s to our people. And, I descend from the people that were killed at Wounded Knee, and my family still feels that pain, that we were killed for no reason. And that's the same thing when a buffalo is killed here. My family feels that that mentality is still alive and well in America today"

- James Garrett, Cheyenne River Lakota

------------------------------

Media & Outreach Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957 West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-0070
bfc-media@wildrockies.org
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org

BFC is the only group working in the field every day to defend the last wild herd of buffalo in America.

STOP THE HUNT! Call Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer: Phone #: 406-444-3111

Speak Out! Contact politicians and involved agencies today!
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/politicians.html

Write a Letter to the Editor of key newspapers!
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/actnow/lte.html

Help the buffalo by recycling your used cell phones & printer cartridges! It's free and easy.
//www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/support/recycleprint.html

Patriot Filibuster, Challenges to CIA Kidnappings

//tinyurl.com/7osoq

The Reauthorization of the Patriot Act

As Congress considers making parts of the USA Patriot Act permanent, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee hails the passage of the 400th resolution upholding its residents' essential liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121505E.shtml

EU Disquiet over 'Renditions' Grows

The German government warned Washington on Wednesday to heed European concerns over allegations of CIA prisons and extra-judicial abductions, or "renditions," on the continent.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121505B.shtml

Privatize Me, Corporatize Me, Blackwaterize Me

The Social Darwinists sitting atop the food chain in the wealthiest, most powerful nation in humanity’s history now have access to their own paramilitary force. They can unleash their private army on the "unfittest" when the need arises, whether it be within America's borders or otherwise.

//www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11312.htm

Pentagon Caught Spying on U.S. Anti-War and Anti-Nuclear Activists

The Pentagon's domestic intelligence gathering has been done through a secretive program called TALON which allows military bases and other defense installations to file reports of suspicious activity into a consolidated database.

//www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/15/155219


From Information Clearing House

Witness Against Torture

After five days of walking and three days of fasting, group heads home.

//www.witnesstorture.org/taxonomy_menu/2


From Information Clearing House

Bush says Iran a 'real threat'

//tinyurl.com/d7ggp


From Information Clearing House

The International Peace Conference

Report From The International Peace Conference:

This excellent panel featured talks by Rose Gentle (Military Families Against the War), Ann Lawrence (Military Families Against the War), John Miller (Military Families Against the War), Ben Griffin (Military Families Against the War), Kelly Dougherty (Iraq Veterans Against the War), Chis Nineham (Stop the War Coalition), Medea Benjamin (Code Pink), Peter Brierley (Military Families Against the War), Judy Cuniglio (Dallas, Texas), Reg Keys (Military Families Against the War), Cindy Sheehan (Gold Star Families for Peace).

//www.traprockpeace.org/stw_mil_fam_10dec05/



The peace conference was convened by the Stop the War Coalition (UK):

Well over 1000 people packed packed into the Royal Horticultural Society Hall, London on Saturday for the peace conference. More were in an overflow hall and still more were turned away in the days before the conference began.

//www.stopthewar.co.uk/


From Information Clearing House

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

'Millions of people are turning away from the traditional sources of news and information and to the World Wide Web, convinced that mainstream journalism is the voice of rampant power.'

//tinyurl.com/88ca7


From Information Clearing House

Imagining Survival

We Americans read in the Administration's "pet media" what the military allows to filter thru the Pentagon's sieve of deceptions, half-truths and lies and we feel well informed. But we aren't well informed - we aren't even informed.

//www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11313.htm

U.S. Senate wants secret prison details

The new Senate measure, part of a bill authorizing intelligence spending, is separate from an amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that is still being debated as part of a military spending bill.

//tinyurl.com/akqyk


From Information Clearing House

War Costs Poised To Reach $500B

The administration long has contended that it can't put a price tag on future costs because of the unpredictable nature of war. Critics, mostly Democrats, have accused Bush of delaying his war spending requests for as long as possible to keep budget deficit projections looking smaller.

//cbs5.com/topstories/topstories_story_347213415.html


From Information Clearing House

Murtha Demands Debate on Iraq

I am asking you to join me in demanding a real discussion of the war in Iraq from the U.S. House of Representatives.

//villagevoice.com/news/0551,news,71092,2.html


From Information Clearing House

Bush's assertion that 30,000 Iraqi "citizens" had died was wrong

I wrote two days ago that George Bush's assertion that 30,000 Iraqi "citizens" had died was wrong, not just because it didn't give credence to the controversial Lancet study which estimated (more than a year ago) 100,000 dead.

//tinyurl.com/855wr


From Information Clearing House

Bush defends Iraq invasion, preemptive war doctrine

"In an age of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long," he said in a speech aimed at shoring up flagging US support for the conflict.

//news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20051214/wl_mideast_afp/iraqvoteusbush


From Information Clearing House

Kidnap and Torture American Style

Video Documentary - Channel 4 - UK

Kidnap and Torture American Style follows the stories of terror suspects. Some of them are British residents, who have been snatched from streets and airports throughout the world before being flown to the Middle-East and Africa. In countries such as Syria and Egypt, they undergo agonising ordeals before being incarcerated, without ever facing an open trial.

Watch it here: Real Video
//www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11314.htm

30,000 Iraqis More or Less

"The long run in this war is going to require a change of governments in parts of the world."

By Lucinda Marshall

George's face was eerily matter-of-fact as he said it. "30,000 Iraqis more or less" have been killed so far in the 'War on Terror'. No remorse or sadness, he seemed wholly unaffected in any way by the enormity of such a loss of life, let alone that he might bear some responsibility for it happening.

//www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11311.htm

People, not state, protect forests

Sanitsuda Ekachai

Can people co-exist with forests? This nagging question will come to the fore once again if the controversial community forest bill makes it to Parliament for a final vote. This is a case of asking the wrong question. If we really want to protect the remaining forests that have survived a series of state plundering, a different question must be asked:

Can our forests survive state mismanagement and exploitation if we don't allow people's participation and public monitoring?

For that is the heart of the original version of the people's draft bill. No matter what the opponents say, their arguments boil down to their belief that the villagers - particularly the hill peoples - are forest destroyers. And that the forests will remain in good hands under state control.

Sadly, this myth also runs deep among the city middle-class who have been brainwashed by mainstream education and mass media to blame deforestation on the hill peoples and poor forest settlers.

But who really are the bad guys?

Within only 40 years, Thailand's forests which once covered half of the country have dwindled to just about 20%. This should be no big surprise.

Although commercial logging was banned in 1989, illegal logging supported by men in uniform continued unabated. Meanwhile, the policy of successive governments to expand cash crops for export has caused massive land-clearing and deforestation. The same can be said with the military's counter-insurgency policy to destroy guerrillas' strongholds by building roads and human settlements in forests. More forests also fell prey to big dams, commercial tree farms and encroachment by big-time land speculators.

To cover up their failure, the forest authorities increased the figures of forest cover by speeding up the number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries while barring human activities there.

The fact is, all forests have long been inhabited, both by the indigenous forest dwellers and by the more recent settlers who first came with state endorsement. But the 1962 National Park Law has since then turned more than one million poor families into criminals and subjected them to the misery of eviction.

Meanwhile, the forest authorities continue to turn a blind eye to illegal logging and forest encroachment by influential people while renting out good forests for peanuts to commercial tree farm investors.

Exactly 25 years ago, Ban Huay Kaew in Chiang Mai became the first village to fight for community rights to protect their forests from investors' encroachment. It quickly grew into a nationwide movement demanding state recognition and support for local communities' participation in forest conservation and rights to sustainable use. The demand for community rights to co-manage their natural resources is endorsed in the 1997 charter as a constitutional right. Hence the people's community forest draft bill.

But the Thaksin government wants to retain the power to evict forest dwellers at will. A new phrase was added into the people's original version to give the authorities sole power to demarcate special forest zones where villagers must be evicted.

Note, however, that the Thaksin government has plans to build more dams in forests as well as open up national parks -- more to the tourism industry and to lift the tourism ban in wildlife sanctuaries. Plans also are afoot to build roads in Thung Yai, a World Heritage site. Strong resistance to these plans comes mainly from community forest groups. It is understandable why the authorities want them out.

Last month, Somyong Oongaew of Petchabun's Nam Nao community forest was the latest in a long list of forest fighters gunned down because they stood in the way of those with money and power.

As long as we make the poor the scapegoats of deforestation, the local communities' struggle to protect their forest homes will remain an uphill battle. Many more forest fighters like Somyong are also likely to lose their lives - thanks to our wrong question, which leads us to the wrong answer.

//www.bangkokpost.com/News/15Dec2005_news20.php

Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor, Bangkok Post.
email: sanitsudae@bangkokpost.co.th


From ECOTERRA Intl.

Stop throwing the Constitution in my face

//www.dissidentvoice.org/Dec05/Leupp1214.htm

EU: Data Retention - nationaler Schwachfug brummt

q/depesche 2005-12-16T01:39:57

Irland prüft gerade, einen Prozess vor dem EUGh gegen die Entscheidung des Parlaments anzustrengen. Grund: Verletzung des Gemeinschaftsrechts. Hintergrund: Irland will vier Jahre Speicherpflicht. Die Vertreter der neuen polnischen Regierung wiederum zeigten sich sehr unzufrieden, weil die angstrebten 15 Jahre doch nicht ganz kompatibel mit 24 Monaten Höchstgrenze sind.

In Großbritannien wiederum können jetzt Gesetze durchs Parlament gebracht werden, die vorher nicht durchgegangen sind. Und in AT-Land verlangt die Frau Innenminister von der Frau Justizminister ein Jahr lang Speicherpflicht.

Was die Verleihung des Defensor Liberatis an das EU-Parlament angeht, gab es allerhand Post an die quintessenz. Es wird diskutiert, eine Antwort wird es geben. Die Communities auf dieser Liste wissen ohnehin von selbst, was von Parteien zu halten ist, die im Zweifel die Bürgerrechte gegen was Anderes vertraden.

Ansonsten verweisen wir auf die quintessenzielle Aussendung von Mac Gyver, welcher nichts hinzuzufügen ist.

AT: Vorratsdatengrippe und Vogelspeicherung
//www.quintessenz.org/cgi-bin/index?id=000100003438

Trading in Poison

As you read this, trade ministers from around the world are attending the sixth ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in Hong Kong to push forward with their free trade agenda. Not far from where the ministers are meeting, the real face of free trade reveals its ugly side.

//www.truthout.org/issues_05/121505EB.shtml

New Tests Fuel Doubts about Voting Machines

After finding numerous flaws with a state-approved voting machine in Tallahassee, a top election official and a number computer experts determined that hackers could easily change election results.

//www.truthout.org/docs_2005/121505S.shtml

Rachel's News #833

//www.omega-news.info/rachels_news_833.htm

The real Christmas scandal

From: "Sojourners" SojoMail 12.15.05[Excerpt]

The real Christmas scandal

by Jim Wallis There is a Christmas scandal this year, but it's not the controversy at shopping malls and retail stores about whether their displays say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." The real Christmas scandal is the budget proposed by the House of Representatives that cuts food stamps, health care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families - while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing the deficit for all of our grandchildren.

That was the message we brought to the steps of the House office buildings yesterday. The day was cold but the message was clear, as hundreds of religious leaders and faith-based organizers who daily serve the poor joined for what became a revival and prayer meeting in the United States capital.

This was the culmination of a yearlong effort by people of faith to teach our nation's political leaders that "a budget is a moral document." I was proud to be one of the 115 pastors and leaders out of that group who were arrested for kneeling in prayer. In the final stages of the budget process this week, after praying and making our best arguments from afar, we decided to take our prayers and presence to the steps of the Cannon House Office Building.

After some powerful preaching on the steps and a press conference that was more like a revival, we continued our praying and singing in front of the entrance, symbolizing the denial of access to Congress for low-income people. "Come walk with us!" we said as we invited members of Congress into our neighborhoods to meet the people who will be most impacted by their votes on a budget that virtually assaults low-income families. We sounded like a choir (and a good one at that) as we sang Christmas carols while being arrested, handcuffed, put into buses, and taken to a large holding cell roughly a mile away.

We all noted how full of faith the day was for those involved. Many of those who took part in the prayerful and nonviolent civil disobedience were from groups such as the Christian Community Development Association, whose member organizations around the country live and work alongside poor people every day. Their founder, John Perkins - who at 75 was one of the oldest people arrested - inspired us all as he has for 40 years of faithful ministry among the poor.

The text we kept repeating at the Capitol Christmas vigil was from the book of Luke - the best words ever about the true meaning of the coming of the Christ child. Mary, the mother of Jesus, herself a poor woman from an oppressed race and an occupied country, prophesied in her powerful prayer of thanksgiving - the Magnificat - about the Messiah whom she carried in her womb.

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty."

Though today on Capitol Hill Mary would be accused of class warfare for uttering such words, they still bear the true meaning of Christmas. And the budget and tax cuts being proposed by House leaders directly reverse the priorities of Mary. For instead of filling the hungry with good things and sending the rich away empty, this budget would fill the rich with good things and send the hungry away empty!

So yesterday, on the House office steps, we tried to put Christ back into Christmas. Thursday morning, The Chicago Tribune led with the headline "Christmas Scandal Outcry!" and the story of the faith-inspired action in Washington was in dozens of newspapers around the country.

Yesterday the faith community across the country stood up and spoke up. Our vigil in Washington was followed by more than 70 vigils in more than 30 states. We prayed for a change of heart in our Washington leaders, we prayed for the poor families we serve, and we prayed that those elected to represent us act to protect the common good in ways consistent with the Christmas message of hope.

The bipartisan Senate budget bill, in contrast, protects low-income families, and yesterday senators passed resolutions vowing not to cut food stamps and Medicaid in the final budget negotiations with the House. They should be thanked and urged to stand firm.

So I have already received my Christmas present this year - the chance to participate in a faithful and powerful witness to the real meaning of the child who is born again to us this season. See the pictures and podcast of the event, and read the testimonies of others - and you will also receive the gift. Merry Christmas.


Informant: Martin Greenhut

WTO and Wal-Mart

//www.commondreams.org/news2005/1215-03.htm

Bush and Rove: Collaborators in the Theater of the Moral Lie

//www.commondreams.org/views05/1215-28.htm

No Elections Will be Credible While Occupation Continues

//www.commondreams.org/views05/1215-26.htm

It's Dirty Tricks All Over Again

//www.commondreams.org/views05/1215-31.htm

In the Kingdom of the Half-Blind

//www.commondreams.org/views05/1215-35.htm

Pentagon Admits Keeping Database on US Civilians Deemed Suspicious

//www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1215-11.htm

Plight of the World's Invisible Children

//www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1215-07.htm

DID AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT REALLY UTTER THESE WORDS?

//www.newswithviews.com/Devvy/kidd146.htm

GOP Terrorizing Constitution

//www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin272.htm

Government always finds a way to make things worse

//www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/m.lora7.html

On the encouragement of prison rape

//www.lewrockwell.com/chernikov/chernikov14.html

Terrorism Risk Insurance: on another warfare state scam

//lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs40.html

Murdering the Bill of Rights

//lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory101.html

The Federal Assault on Our Freedoms

How Congress Has Assaulted Our Freedoms in the Patriot Act
//www.lewrockwell.com/orig6/napolitano2.html

Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say

December 15, 2005

By JAMES RISEN and ERIC LICHTBLAU

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 ­- Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e- mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

"This is really a sea change," said a former senior official who specializes in national security law. "It's almost a mainstay of this country that the N.S.A. only does foreign searches."

Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation's legality and oversight.

According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency's new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said.

The Bush administration views the operation as necessary so that the agency can move quickly to monitor communications that may disclose threats to this country, the officials said. Defenders of the program say it has been a critical tool in helping disrupt terrorist plots and prevent attacks inside the United States.

Administration officials are confident that existing safeguards are sufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, the officials say. In some cases, they said, the Justice Department eventually seeks warrants if it wants to expand the eavesdropping to include communications confined within the United States. The officials said the administration had briefed Congressional leaders about the program and notified the judge in charge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret Washington court that deals with national security issues.

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it said the N.S.A. eavesdropped without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time. The list changes as some names are added and others dropped, so the number monitored in this country may have reached into the thousands over the past three years, several officials said. Overseas, about 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time, according to those officials.

Several officials said the eavesdropping program had helped uncover a plot by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker and naturalized citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting Al Qaeda by planning to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches. What appeared to be another Qaeda plot, involving fertilizer bomb attacks on British pubs and train stations, was exposed last year in part through the program, the officials said. But they said most people targeted for N.S.A. monitoring have never been charged with a crime, including an Iranian-American doctor in the South who came under suspicion because of what one official described as dubious ties to Osama bin Laden.

Dealing With a New Threat

The eavesdropping program grew out of concerns after the Sept. 11 attacks that the nation's intelligence agencies were not poised to deal effectively with the new threat of Al Qaeda and that they were handcuffed by legal and bureaucratic restrictions better suited to peacetime than war, according to officials. In response, President Bush significantly eased limits on American intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the military.

But some of the administration's antiterrorism initiatives have provoked an outcry from members of Congress, watchdog groups, immigrants and others who argue that the measures erode protections for civil liberties and intrude on Americans' privacy. Opponents have challenged provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the focus of contentious debate on Capitol Hill this week, that expand domestic surveillance by giving the Federal Bureau of Investigation more power to collect information like library lending lists or Internet use. Military and F.B.I. officials have drawn criticism for monitoring what were largely peaceful antiwar protests. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security were forced to retreat on plans to use public and private databases to hunt for possible terrorists. And last year, the Supreme Court rejected the administration's claim that those labeled "enemy combatants" were not entitled to judicial review of their open-ended detention.

Mr. Bush's executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States ­ including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners ­ is based on classified legal opinions that assert that the president has broad powers to order such searches, derived in part from the September 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, according to the officials familiar with the N.S.A. operation.

The National Security Agency, which is based at Fort Meade, Md., is the nation's largest and most secretive intelligence agency, so intent on remaining out of public view that it has long been nicknamed "No Such Agency.'' It breaks codes and maintains listening posts around the world to eavesdrop on foreign governments, diplomats and trade negotiators as well as drug lords and terrorists. But the agency ordinarily operates under tight restrictions on any spying on Americans, even if they are overseas, or disseminating information about them.

What the agency calls a "special collection program" began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it looked for new tools to attack terrorism. The program accelerated in early 2002 after the Central Intelligence Agency started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. The C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, the officials said.

In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the Qaeda figures, the N.S.A. began monitoring others linked to them, creating an expanding chain. While most of the numbers and addresses were overseas, hundreds were in the United States, the officials said.

Under the agency's longstanding rules, the N.S.A. can target for interception phone calls or e-mail messages on foreign soil, even if the recipients of those communications are in the United States. Usually, though, the government can only target phones and e-mail messages in this country by first obtaining a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which holds its closed sessions at the Justice Department.

Traditionally, the F.B.I., not the N.S.A., seeks such warrants and conducts most domestic eavesdropping. Until the new program began, the N.S.A. typically limited its domestic surveillance to foreign embassies and missions in Washington, New York and other cities, and obtained court orders to do so.

Since 2002, the agency has been conducting some warrantless eavesdropping on people in the United States who are linked, even if indirectly, to suspected terrorists through the chain of phone numbers and e-mail addresses, according to several officials who know of the operation. Under the special program, the agency monitors their international communications, the officials said. The agency, for example, can target phone calls from someone in New York to someone in Afghanistan.

Warrants are still required for eavesdropping on entirely domestic-to- domestic communications, those officials say, meaning that calls from that New Yorker to someone in California could not be monitored without first going to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court.

A White House Briefing

After the special program started, Congressional leaders from both political parties were brought to Vice President Dick Cheney's office in the White House. The leaders, who included the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House intelligence committees, learned of the N.S.A. operation from Mr. Cheney, Gen. Michael V. Hayden of the Air Force, who was then the agency's director and is now the principal deputy director of national intelligence, and George J. Tenet, then the director of the C.I.A., officials said.

It is not clear how much the members of Congress were told about the presidential order and the eavesdropping program. Some of them declined to comment about the matter, while others did not return phone calls.

Later briefings were held for members of Congress as they assumed leadership roles on the intelligence committees, officials familiar with the program said. After a 2003 briefing, Senator Rockefeller, the West Virginia Democrat who became vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that year, wrote a letter to Mr. Cheney expressing concerns about the program, officials knowledgeable about the letter said. It could not be determined if he received a reply. Mr. Rockefeller declined to comment. Aside from the Congressional leaders, only a small group of people, including several cabinet members and officials at the N.S.A., the C.I.A. and the Justice Department, know of the program.

Some officials familiar with it say they consider warrantless eavesdropping inside the United States to be unlawful and possibly unconstitutional, amounting to an improper search. One government official involved in the operation said he privately complained to a Congressional official about his doubts about the legality of the program. But nothing came of his inquiry. "People just looked the other way because they didn't want to know what was going on," he said.

A senior government official recalled that he was taken aback when he first learned of the operation. "My first reaction was, `We're doing what?' " he said. While he said he eventually felt that adequate safeguards were put in place, he added that questions about the program's legitimacy were understandable.

Some of those who object to the operation argue that is unnecessary. By getting warrants through the foreign intelligence court, the N.S.A. and F.B.I. could eavesdrop on people inside the United States who might be tied to terrorist groups without skirting longstanding rules, they say.

The standard of proof required to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is generally considered lower than that required for a criminal warrant ­ intelligence officials only have to show probable cause that someone may be "an agent of a foreign power," which includes international terrorist groups ­ and the secret court has turned down only a small number of requests over the years. In 2004, according to the Justice Department, 1,754 warrants were approved. And the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can grant emergency approval for wiretaps within hours, officials say.

Administration officials counter that they sometimes need to move more urgently, the officials said. Those involved in the program also said that the N.S.A.'s eavesdroppers might need to start monitoring large batches of numbers all at once, and that it would be impractical to seek permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court first, according to the officials.

Culture of Caution and Rules

The N.S.A. domestic spying operation has stirred such controversy among some national security officials in part because of the agency's cautious culture and longstanding rules.

Widespread abuses ­ including eavesdropping on Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists ­ by American intelligence agencies became public in the 1970's and led to passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which imposed strict limits on intelligence gathering on American soil. Among other things, the law required search warrants, approved by the secret F.I.S.A. court, for wiretaps in national security cases. The agency, deeply scarred by the scandals, adopted additional rules that all but ended domestic spying on its part.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, though, the United States intelligence community was criticized for being too risk-averse. The National Security Agency was even cited by the independent 9/11 Commission for adhering to self-imposed rules that were stricter than those set by federal law.

Several senior government officials say that when the special operation first began, there were few controls on it and little formal oversight outside the N.S.A. The agency can choose its eavesdropping targets and does not have to seek approval from Justice Department or other Bush administration officials. Some agency officials wanted nothing to do with the program, apparently fearful of participating in an illegal operation, a former senior Bush administration official said. Before the 2004 election, the official said, some N.S.A. personnel worried that the program might come under scrutiny by Congressional or criminal investigators if Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, was elected president.

In mid-2004, concerns about the program expressed by national security officials, government lawyers and a judge prompted the Bush administration to suspend elements of the program and revamp it.

For the first time, the Justice Department audited the N.S.A. program, several officials said. And to provide more guidance, the Justice Department and the agency expanded and refined a checklist to follow in deciding whether probable cause existed to start monitoring someone's communications, several officials said.

A complaint from Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the federal judge who oversees the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, helped spur the suspension, officials said. The judge questioned whether information obtained under the N.S.A. program was being improperly used as the basis for F.I.S.A. wiretap warrant requests from the Justice Department, according to senior government officials. While not knowing all the details of the exchange, several government lawyers said there appeared to be concerns that the Justice Department, by trying to shield the existence of the N.S.A. program, was in danger of misleading the court about the origins of the information cited to justify the warrants.

One official familiar with the episode said the judge insisted to Justice Department lawyers at one point that any material gathered under the special N.S.A. program not be used in seeking wiretap warrants from her court. Judge Kollar-Kotelly did not return calls for comment.

A related issue arose in a case in which the F.B.I. was monitoring the communications of a terrorist suspect under a F.I.S.A.-approved warrant, even though the National Security Agency was already conducting warrantless eavesdropping. According to officials, F.B.I. surveillance of Mr. Faris, the Brooklyn Bridge plotter, was dropped for a short time because of technical problems. At the time, senior Justice Department officials worried what would happen if the N.S.A. picked up information that needed to be presented in court. The government would then either have to disclose the N.S.A. program or mislead a criminal court about how it had gotten the information.

The Civil Liberties Question

Several national security officials say the powers granted the N.S.A. by President Bush go far beyond the expanded counterterrorism powers granted by Congress under the USA Patriot Act, which is up for renewal. The House on Wednesday approved a plan to reauthorize crucial parts of the law. But final passage has been delayed under the threat of a Senate filibuster because of concerns from both parties over possible intrusions on Americans' civil liberties and privacy.

Under the act, law enforcement and intelligence officials are still required to seek a F.I.S.A. warrant every time they want to eavesdrop within the United States. A recent agreement reached by Republican leaders and the Bush administration would modify the standard for F.B.I. wiretap warrants, requiring, for instance, a description of a specific target. Critics say the bar would remain too low to prevent abuses.

Bush administration officials argue that the civil liberties concerns are unfounded, and they say pointedly that the Patriot Act has not freed the N.S.A. to target Americans. "Nothing could be further from the truth," wrote John Yoo, a former official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, and his co-author in a Wall Street Journal opinion article in December 2003. Mr. Yoo worked on a classified legal opinion on the N.S.A.'s domestic eavesdropping program.

At an April hearing on the Patriot Act renewal, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, asked Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I., "Can the National Security Agency, the great electronic snooper, spy on the American people?"

"Generally," Mr. Mueller said, "I would say generally, they are not allowed to spy or to gather information on American citizens." President Bush did not ask Congress to include provisions for the N.S.A. domestic surveillance program as part of the Patriot Act and has not sought any other laws to authorize the operation. Bush administration lawyers argued that such new laws were unnecessary, because they believed that the Congressional resolution on the campaign against terrorism provided ample authorization, officials said.

Seeking Congressional approval was also viewed as politically risky because the proposal would be certain to face intense opposition on civil liberties grounds. The administration also feared that by publicly disclosing the existence of the operation, its usefulness in tracking terrorists would end, officials said.

The legal opinions that support the N.S.A. operation remain classified, but they appear to have followed private discussions among senior administration lawyers and other officials about the need to pursue aggressive strategies that once may have been seen as crossing a legal line, according to senior officials who participated in the discussions.

For example, just days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, Mr. Yoo, the Justice Department lawyer, wrote an internal memorandum that argued that the government might use "electronic surveillance techniques and equipment that are more powerful and sophisticated than those available to law enforcement agencies in order to intercept telephonic communications and observe the movement of persons but without obtaining warrants for such uses."

Mr. Yoo noted that while such actions could raise constitutional issues, in the face of devastating terrorist attacks "the government may be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties."

The next year, Justice Department lawyers disclosed their thinking on the issue of warrantless wiretaps in national security cases in a little-noticed brief in an unrelated court case. In that 2002 brief, the government said that "the Constitution vests in the President inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance
(electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority."

Administration officials were also encouraged by a November 2002 appeals court decision in an unrelated matter. The decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which sided with the administration in dismantling a bureaucratic "wall" limiting cooperation between prosecutors and intelligence officers, noted "the president's inherent constitutional authority to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance."

But the same court suggested that national security interests should not be grounds "to jettison the Fourth Amendment requirements" protecting the rights of Americans against undue searches. The dividing line, the court acknowledged, "is a very difficult one to administer."


Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE | 212-868-5545


Informant: mr_tjsmith

From ufpj-news

SUPPORT FOR REMOVING BUSH IS HIGHER THAN FOR CLINTON

REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE

by David Swanson

David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan in London.

Steve Cobble and I participated in an historic international peace conference in London on December 10 and in various related events the same week. We met with several Members of Parliament and will be working to facilitate teamwork and future events with them and members of the US Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The conference, hosted by the Stop the War Coalition, was a great success. About 1,500 people packed into a large hall, including delegates from all around the UK, and from Iraq, the US, Iran, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Canada, Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain and many other European countries.

The conference passed a statement calling for an international weekend of action on March 18/19, 2006, to mark the third anniversary of the war.

The week of events included a reception with the Mayor of London, who is strongly opposed to the war and willing to say so in no uncertain terms. See report and photos:

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5482

For one whole day, Cindy Sheehan and Andrew Burgin (the organizer of the conference) and I went to Scotland and met with Members of Parliament and with anti-war activists. This was quite an encouraging series of meetings. I spoke with Alex Salmond, a Member of Parliament working hard for the impeachment of Prime Minister Tony Blair. See report and photos:

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5489

I spoke on a panel titled "Bringing Bush and Blair to Account." I discussed the work of the After Downing Street Coalition, the ways in which activists in the US and Britain have been able to work together to drive stories into the media, and the ways in which we can work together to impeach Blair and President George Bush. See my speech:

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5520

On Sunday, the day following the conference, Steve took part in a strategy meeting at the Stop the War Coalition offices, while I joined Cindy Sheehan and many others in paying a visit to Blair's residence at 10 Downing Street. See report and photos:

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5535

In the course of this trip, we made many connections, helping to build solidarity in an international movement. Our task now is to make March 18, 2006, bigger and even more successful than was February 15, 2003.

Click for the full report and photos:
//www.pdamerica.org/articles/events/london-peace-conf.php


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AFTERDOWNINGSTREET POLL: SUPPORT FOR REMOVING BUSH IS HIGHER THAN FOR CLINTON

Thanks to the generosity of AfterDowningStreet members, we hired Rasmussen Reports to ask Americans for the first time whether George Bush and Dick Cheney should be REMOVED from office.

In 1998, before House Republicans began impeachment proceedings for President Clinton, only 26% of Americans supported his removal.

Our new poll shows significantly more Americans believe Bush (32%) and Cheney (35%) should be removed, even before the House gets still-secret evidence that Bush Lied.

Should President Bush be impeached and removed from office?
Yes 32% No 56% Not Sure 12%

Should Vice President Cheney be impeached and removed from office?
Yes 35% No 53% Not Sure 12%

Moreover, Rasmussen's results significantly understate support for their removal, because the Rasmussen poll is always 5-10% "friendlier" to Bush than all other polls. Here is our complete analysis:

//www.impeachpac.org/?q=node/76

This is the third poll funded by AfterDowningStreet members, and the fourth on impeachment since June. But NO mainstream media polls dare ask about impeachment, because they fear Karl Rove's wrath. We need your help to keep up the pressure on the other polls:

//democrats.com/bush-impeachment-polls

Also, few progressive blogs have reported on these astonishing polls. Please urge your favorite bloggers to discuss the polls YOU paid for.

_________

BONIFAZ BLOG CALL AUDIO

On Tuesday night Joe Trippi hosted a blog call with John Bonifaz, 2006 candidate for Secretary of State of Massachusetts. Those that made the call know that it was a great discussion about voting rights and election reform. You can listen to the audio of the call here:

//www.joetrippi.com/files/bonifaz-blog-call-12-13-05.mp3

Feel free to download, share, and host the file on your site. For more information on John Bonifaz, visit his website - //www.JohnBonifaz.com
_________

THREE DOZEN JANUARY 7th "End the War" EVENTS ALREADY PLANNED

Sign up for one in your area, or help plan one!
//www.afterdowningstreet.org/event

After Downing Street and Democrats.com are joining with Backbone Campaign, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy Cell Project, Cities for Peace, MilitaryFreeZone.Org, Operation Ceasefire, United for Peace and Justice, U.S. Tour of Duty, Hip Hop Caucus, Democracy Rising, World Can't Wait, Gold Star Families for Peace, PeaceMajority Report, Global Exchange, Bring Them Home Campaign, UP (United Progressives) for Democracy, 20 20 Vision, Impeach Bush Coalition, and Peace Action in asking you to help organize public meetings or smaller gatherings on Saturday, January 7, on the topic of ending the war.

The war is costing us dearly in lives, in security, and in resources. We need this national day to make our demand heard and bring the war to an end. (Events can also be held on days other than the 7th, to fit the schedules of those involved.)

Because the holidays are coming, the time to organize these events is now. Here's how:

STEP 1: Identify an individual or organization or coalition to take the lead in organizing an event.

STEP 2: Post the event so that people can sign up for it and other organizers can contact you and work together. Whoever posts the event will have control of and be able to communicate with the list of people who sign up to attend it. It is also possible to post an event without many details and fill them in later.

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/event

STEP 3: See the resources posted on that website, which include tips on contacting your Congress Member. Invite him or her to host the event or to be your guest at an event you host, whichever they and you prefer. You can also hold an event without a Congress Member, such as a panel, a discussion circle, or a house party, and it's easy to do so with the resources provided here:

//www.afterdowningstreet.org/event


FORWARD THIS INFORMATION

People power triumphs over mast plan for Kenilworth

Residents are celebrating a unanimous decision by councillors to reject an application to erect a 15m phone mast in Kenilworth.

Members of Warwick District Council planning committee threw out the application by communications giant Vodafone to build a mast in Scott Road following a huge protest.

There was a demonstration last month by residents who sent a 292-signature petition to the committee. A further 136 letters of objection were received including one from the chair of governors and the headteacher of Clinton School and Kenilworth MP Jeremy Wright.

Following a recommendation by the council's head of planning to approve the application, residents took their fight to the planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

As the mast is only 15m high, it does not need full planning permission, just approval. Under government guidelines, authorities are not obliged to take health concerns into consideration as long as emissions from proposed masts meet international guidelines.

But residents enjoyed strong support with district councillors Ann Blacklock and Jose Compton and town mayor Coun Norman Vincett objecting to the mast.

Councillors called into question Warwick District Council's blanket refusal to have mobile phone masts on its own property. Coun Compton thought that Castle Farm Leisure Centre should at least be considered as a possible site

She said she understood guidance in reports about planning guides on masts but added: "However, this does not take away the anxiety for the people in the area who view this with alarm"

Coun Vincett said there were concerns about the health effects and said the town was "sprouting these telecommunication masts like mushrooms."

His main concern was the position in the cemetery.

He said: "Its presence would be noted by those visiting the last resting place of their loved ones. Let us show some respect and dignity."

Planning committee member Bill Evans said after being on the site visit he was concerned about how close the mast would be to people's homes.

Coun Jane Knight added: "We would not want this in our back garden, so why should we do it to them?"

They refused to give it approval to a round of applause from the packed public gallery.

Campaigner Joe Rukin, of Beauchamp Road, said: "It was clearly the weight of response from people in the area that swayed it and we all deserve a big pat on the back. I thank everyone who heeded our call.

"It shows that, despite having a massive corporation as our adversary, people power can win the day. But we cannot be complacent because I am sure Vodafone will appeal."

16 December 2005

//www.kenilworthtoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=698&ArticleID=1288167

Mobile phone mast is felled

Dec 16, 2005

An 80ft phone mast has been chopped down by "professional" saboteurs in the middle of the night, causing damage running into thousands.

Specialist cutting equipment was used to topple the mast - as high as three double-decker buses - which narrowly missed a road as it collapsed.

Phone giant Orange, which was planning to use the mast near Sedgley, said it was lucky no one was injured as the metal structure crashed down.

It was the second attack on the former NTL mast, now owned by Arqiva. An arson attack caused £150,000 damage in 2003.

Residents in Gospel End, on the Dudley-Staffordshire border, had battled to stop the mast going up in 2001 without success.

Orange had been planning to use it but as it had been out of action since the arson attack its demolition will not affect phone users.

Arqiva's Bruce Randle was in no doubt that the mast had been brought down deliberately. Mr Randle said it would not have taken people who knew what they were doing long to fell the mast.

He said:"It has been chopped down basically, someone has cut the four corners and felled it.

"I think it has been done very deliberately and very professionally by someone who knew what they were doing.

"They must have had the right tools and must have known where to cut - you cannot bring down one of these things with a hacksaw.

"Fortunately no-one was hurt and no services have been affected."

Orange spokeswoman Sue Hammett said the company had been aiming to get the network live before the latest incident.

She added:"We do understand that people may have concerns about mobile phone masts and the perception of risk to health.

"However we wish to reiterate that any concerns should be directed via the appropriate channels and not through direct action."

Ward councillor Michael Evans said feelings were still running high in the area after a proposal to extend the mast by 3ft was pushed through this year despite further objections from residents.

Police in South Staffordshire are investigating.

Anyone with any information is urged to call 08453 302010.

//www.expressandstar.com/articles/news/es/article_84450.php

Time To Stop the WHO Charade

//archives.openflows.org/electronetwork-l/msg00912.html

Open letter to the WHO
//omega.twoday.net/stories/841288/

WHO: a lot of people report symptoms of electromagnetic radiation sickness //omega.twoday.net/stories/958459/

WHO writes off electrosmog victims
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1142664/

WHO and Electric Utilities: A Partnership on EMFs
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1176061/

The cozy relationship between the WHO and the electric utility industry //omega.twoday.net/stories/1023935/

The WHO EMF Charade Continues - Time To Stop the WHO Charade
//omega.twoday.net/stories/819270/

Time To Stop the WHO Charade
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1283940/

WHO will not accept smokers to work, will cell phones users be next?
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1229599/

A Danger from within the house: Radiation was found in the Israeli Prime Minister Office //omega.twoday.net/stories/1178309/

Testimony of Michael Repacholi
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1031477/

Repacholi and industry money
//www.omega-news.info/repacholi_and_industry_money.htm

Petition to remove Dr. Mike Repacholi
//omega.twoday.net/stories/877606/

Dr Mike Repacholi: Industry consultant and ex leader for WHO???
//omega.twoday.net/stories/3381391/

Das zwielichtige Spiel des Dr. Michael Repacholi
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1257501/

Bestechungsvorwurf gegen Repacholi
//omega.twoday.net/stories/1257776/


//omega.twoday.net/search?q=Repacholi
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