Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: March !9, 2008 Day Of Action: Peace/Impeach!

Click for a full report.

Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March !9, 2008 Day Of Action: Peace/Impeach!

March 19, 2008 Impeach and Peace Day: Today In Alexandria/DC

*7:30am* - Opening Circle & Press Briefing at McPherson Square, 15th & K St NW

*8am* - Separate Oil from State action at the American Petroleum Institute, 13th & L St NW

8am - Blockade the IRS with War Resisters League and friends – Help expose the real cost of war by shutting down the IRS first thing in the morning and making a clear statement to stop FUNDING war! Click here for more details.
1111 Constitution Ave NW (between 10th & 12th Streets)

*9am* - Veterans March for Peace begins on the Mall at 7th St

*9:30am* - March of the Dead begins at the Women's Memorial at Arlington Cemetery: Activist Response Team (A.R.T.) and others who join us will imagine what would happen if the dead, civilian and military, return to enter Washington to seek justice for the crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan because of U.S. foreign policy. In death masks, all in black, some wearing the name of someone killed, others with statistics measuring the scale of the tragedy, we will proceed through the city in small groups riding the metro, walking the streets and haunting the periphery of the other actions. We will then converge at a given time all-together to make the long march for justice with stops at the State Department, Justice Department, and Supreme Court culminating with acts of civil resistance.

*10:15am* - Veterans ceremony with Buffy Saint-Marie in front of the American Indian Museum

*11am* - Public Gathering & Press Briefing at McPherson Square

*12 noon* - Funk the War: Student Power Dance Party Against Empire, meet at Franklin Park, 14th & K NW with Students for a Democratic Society

12:30pm - Die In at CAT, 1445 K St, with the Coalition for Justice and Accountability

*1:30pm* - Anti-Torture demonstration with World Can't Wait at Lafayette Park

*2pm* - Public Gathering & Press Briefing at McPherson Square

3pm - CODEPINK action at the NSA - 725 17th Street NW between Pennsylvania and New York

3:30 p.m. in Lafayette Square Park join Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

*5pm* - meet at the Reflecting Pool on the west side of the Capitol, march to the Democratic National Committee Headquarters - bring pots & pans, drums, noisemakers, signs, banners

Sundown in Lafayette Square Park: view the film exposing the ultimate crimes committed by this regime: The Bush Crimes Commission.

Something else that anyone anywhere can do on the 19th:

Ending the war. Rescuing our nation.

Dear Kucinich Supporter,

On this, the 5th anniversary of the war against Iraq, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the leading anti-war voice in the U.S. Congress, asks all citizens to engage in a renewed quest for peace and a national civic activism to ensure that candidates -- from the Presidential race on down -- understand that ending the war is crucial to rescuing our own nation.

Watch the video here.

Thank you,
The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

Resolution calls for U.S. not to attack Iran

5 Years Too Many - March 19 - Washington DC - Local Actions ...
By takomaparkibc
5 Years Too Many. Nearly 4000 US dead…and 30000 wounded Between 100000 and 1000000 Iraqis dead…and 4000000 displaced Almost $1000000000000 spent. 0 reasons to be there. MORE COVERAGE:. US Soldiers Bring Home Stories, ...
Takoma Park Impeach Bush & Cheney -

Judiciary Chair Pledges to Impeach Bush After Nov. 4, VA - 2 hours ago
By Josiah Ryan ( - At a gathering of liberal activists in Washington on Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was asked if he would commit to ...

Conyers: Impeach Bush on Iran Strike
Free Market News Network - Pompano Beach,FL,USA
... recent retirement of Admiral Fallon and the implications it might have for war with Iran: "If Bush Goes Into Iran, He Should Be Impeached," said Conyers.

Senate candidate calls for Bush’s arrest


February 26, 2008 3:01 PM

KENNEBUNKPORT — Calling President George Bush "the worst president in the history of the United States," Independent U.S. Senate candidate Laurie Dobson stood on the steps of Town Hall Tuesday and called upon the town to indict Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as war criminals.

Saying that both had "made killing fields of many countries," Dobson urged town leaders to issue a warrant for their arrests.


"Shall the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities, and shall it be the law of the Town of Kennebunkport that the Kennebunkport Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George W. Bush and Richard Cheney in Kennebunkport of they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably content to prosecute them."

"There is compelling, undeniable, irrefutable evidence that crimes are going on," she said.

Dobson filed a copy of her indictment with Town Manager Larry Mead and later read it aloud for gathered media members overlooking Walker’s Point, the summer home of the President’s parents. Flanked by campaign manager Bruce Marshall and human rights lawyer Harold Burbank, Dobson said she will do what she can, from appearing at meetings to gathering petitions, to see that the issue makes it on to the town warrant in June.

The central focus of Dobson’s campaign has been calling for an end to the war in Iraq and the impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. If impeachment doesn’t happen, though, she wants both to be indicted as war criminals and for "crimes against our Constitution."

As for the indictment, Dobson said she was following in the footsteps of Brattleboro, Vt., who adopted an indictment resolution in that town.

Things weren’t looking quite as simple in Kennebunkport.

"Under Maine law, towns have no power to indict," Mead said.

Further, though Dobson called upon the police to arrest both Bush and Cheney should they come to town, that doesn’t appear likely either.

"It’s my understanding that the town has no authority to make an indictment," said Deputy Police Chief Kurt Moses, "so it’s a non-issue."

Mead said he will take Dobson’s request to the Board of Selectmen on Feb. 28.

"They can decide whether they want to move forward," he said.

Selectman Kristy Bryant got an advance look at the indictment, as she happened to be stopping at Town Hall while Dobson was giving her press conference.

While Bryant said Dobson’s request would be discussed at a future meeting, she also called it, "a shameless plug for her campaign."

If the selectmen choose not to move forward with the indictment, Dobson’s next recourse would be to gather the 210 certified signatures needed to have the issue placed on the June town warrant.

At that point, Mead said, the town would need to seek legal advice.

"We would seek advice from counsel," Mead said. "We would need to know if what we were asking people to vote on was within our legal right."

For her part, Dobson urged residents of the town she calls the "home of my heart" to refuse to allow "barbaric individuals who mistreat people" to have any right to come within town lines. And while she acknowledged that hers was just a "small campaign," she said she planned to use it to follow her conscience and make a difference.

Quoting Abraham Lincoln, she said, "Let us have faith that right makes right; and in that faith let us do our duty as we understand it."

By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff Wednesday, March 19

BRATTLEBORO -- The time is now to let President George Bush and Congress know that an invasion of Iran is unacceptable and unnecessary.

That's the gist of a resolution that former Brattleboro Selectboard member Dora Bouboulis plans to present to town meeting representatives on March 22. Her resolution is based in part on a similar resolution passed by the city council of Gary, Ind., on March 6, 2007, in which the council urged the administration not to launch a preemptive attack on Iran.

"If Indiana can do this, we certainly can," she said.

"The Iraq war has already cost the lives of almost 4,000 American soldiers, the serious maiming of over 30,000 American soldiers and the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, as well as the cost of 400 billion dollars of American tax dollars," according to the proposed resolution. "Embarking on yet another military campaign against a much stronger adversary could only further exacerbate international tensions, endanger the lives and livelihoods of millions of people both here and abroad and do nothing to address the most serious problems facing the American people and humanity in general."

Brattleboro has come under fire in the past for approving a resolution urging Congress to impeach Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. This month, town voters approved, by a vote of 2,012 to 1,795, a resolution calling for the arrest of both men if they ever set foot in Brattleboro.

Prior to the impeachment and indictment resolutions, town voters approved a resolution opposing the use of Vermont's National Guard members in Iraq. The town also asked the Statehouse to investigate what effect the war was having on the local Guard, she said, which wasn't followed through by Montpelier.

The new resolution, calling on Vermont's federal Congressional delegation to "ensure no preemptive military attack, strike or invasion by the U.S. against Iran takes place," is timely, said Bouboulis.

"It certainly looks like the administration is moving toward doing something," she said. "I see the signs. I don't want it to happen."

The resolution also calls on the delegation to remind the administration a preemptive attack "has not been authorized by any law, resolution, court ruling or article of the Constitution."

In addition the delegation should insist upon a diplomatic engagement with Iran, according to the resolution.

Activists were caught off guard by the swiftness of the decision to invade Iraq, she said, leaving them no time but after the invasion to propose similar resolutions for Iraq.

"In the past, particularly with the Iraq War, people were always reacting after the fact," said Bouboulis. "This is an opportunity for us to make a statement before any action is taken by the administration in Washington."

Being able to present the resolution under other business at the meeting of town representatives Saturday is one of the many things that makes Vermont a rarity in the nation. Residents of most other states, not having similar town meetings, are unable to bring such resolutions before voters.

"Vermont is in a unique position because of our town meeting structure to actually have things debated by ordinary people rather than government experts, talk show hosts and pundits," she said. "We are in the unique position to give a voice to people who feel they are being left out, particularly by the mainstream media."

There are a lot of people around the United States who agree with the Brattleboro residents who voted for the impeachment and indictment resolutions, Bouboulis said. While she doesn't profess to speak for those people, Bouboulis feels Brattleboro's stand on the issues gives some people hope and gives others the courage to stand up and be counted.

These activities shine a light on the town, and not all of it's a good light, as attested to by the many nasty e-mail messages and phone calls the town received after the Selectboard forwarded the indictment resolution to town voters. But Bouboulis feels there's a lot of good reaction that gets shouted over by the bad.

"Most of the reaction that Brattleboro gets is good," she said. "There's obviously people out there in the right-wing media that look at these things and really try to stir the pot."

Bob Audette can be reached at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

Rep. John Conyers weighs in on Iran and FISA at the Take Back America conference in Washington DC.

John Conyers just finshed up a panel with John Cole and Christy Hardin Smith at Take Back America with words that were heartening to everyone made just a wee bit uneasy by the recent retirement of Admiral Fallon and the implications it might have for war with Iran:

"If Bush Goes Into Iran, He Should Be Impeached," said Conyers.

Conyers also said that with regard to FISA, the House was going into conference with the Senate. That the Senate wanted to give retroactive immunity to the telecoms, and that the House is saying "let a judge decide." But he also made the point that it wasn't just the Republicans who were the problem:

"There were about seventeen Democratic senators that bought into that business. We need to straighten them out," he said.

Christy also noted that if the White House said the telecoms did nothing wrong, they certainly issued some indemnification letters -- and that the legal departments at the telecoms would never have signed off without them.

So where are they?

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Judiciary Chair Pledges to Impeach Bush After Nov. 4
By Josiah Ryan Staff Writer
March 19, 2008

( - At a gathering of liberal activists in Washington on Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was asked if he would commit to holding the Bush administration accountable once a Democrat is in the White House and illegal acts have been pinned on President Bush.

"Yes, you have my word on that," Conyers replied. He then shook the questioner's hand as a sign of his commitment.

Conyers, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, told an audience at the liberal Take Back America Conference that he is wrestling with the idea of beginning impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney, but he believes that such an effort might hamper Sen. Barack Obama's chance of winning the presidency.

However, Conyers guaranteed his liberal audience that he will pursue legal action against Bush after the November elections.

"There are those who said, if you elect Democrats to Congress, we will guarantee you two things: Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y) will become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and he will raises taxes; and Conyers will become chairman of the Judiciary and he will impeach President George W. Bush," Conyers said. "You want to make them half right?"

The audience replied with thirty seconds of hearty applause. Conyers was speaking at a panel discussion entitled "The Republic Against the Rogue Presidency."

"Dear friends, this [impeachment] is a decision I am struggling with, and I want to share it here. Do I want to jeopardize the election by taking up this issue?" Conyers asked. "The problem is, this could become the issue of the 2008 election. This brilliant, talented Senator (Obama), who has more delegates and more votes than anybody else, could get derailed."

When Cybercast News Service asked Conyers to clarify the statement, he said, "I am afraid they would raise it in the campaign, and that they will use it against us, and that we would end up getting McCain. I would regret that for the rest of my life," he said. "That's the only reason. That would be my fear."

But Conyers told Cybercast News Service this does not mean the Bush administration will not be held accountable. "We can win this election and go get these guys afterwards. But we just don't want to jeopardize November 4th," he said.

Different panelists offered perspectives on why they think President Bush deserves to be brought before a court.

David Cole, a law professor at Yale University and a legal correspondent for The Nation magazine, said Bush's refusal to yield to the constitutional system of checks and balances is one of his biggest crimes.

President Bush has decided he has "unilateral, uncheckable power with respect to the enemy," Cole said. "The only checks and balances this president believes in is check and balances within the White House," he added.

Conyers has his own list of complaints against the Bush administration. "You get cocky, you get arrogant and you think you can do anything. And frequently you will try to do anything," he said.

Conyers told the crowd there is one scenario that could trigger immediate impeachment proceedings against the president: "If Bush goes into Iran he should be impeached," Conyers said, noting that "many members of Congress" have signed their names to a letter warning Bush not to invade Iran.

The fifth annual Take Back America Conference includes forums that allow liberals to discuss important issues, including how to recover from the "ashes of this conservative era," as the Web site put it.

Conyers is one of the Bush administration's chief antagonists in Congress, opposing the president on almost every issue, including the Iraq war, health care, terrorist surveillance, and other issues.

Just last week, his Judiciary Committee took the rare step of filing a civil lawsuit against former White House aides Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers for failing to obey a committee subpoena. Conyers wants to force the two to testify about the firings of nine federal prosecutors in 2006.

The House cited Bolten and Miers for contempt of Congress last month.

See Earlier Stories:
Bush Impeachment A Rallying Cry for Anti-War Movement (19 Mar. 2007)

POLITICS-US: Why Did the U.S. Invade Iraq?
Analysis by Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Mar 18 (IPS) - So why, exactly, did the U.S. invade Iraq five years ago this week?

The official reasons -- the threat posed to the U.S. and its allies by Saddam Hussein's alleged programmes of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the possibility that he would pass along those arms to al Qaeda -- have long since been discarded by the overwhelming weight of the evidence, or, more precisely, the lack of evidence that such a threat ever existed.

Liberating Iraq from the tyranny of Hussein's particularly unforgiving and bloodthirsty version of Ba'athism and thus setting an irresistible precedent that would spread throughout the Arab world -- a theme pushed by the administration of President George W. Bush mostly after the invasion, as it became clear that the officials reasons could not be justified -- appears to have been the guiding obsession of really only one member of the Bush team, and not a particularly influential one at that: Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Then there's the theory that Bush -- whose enigmatic psychology, particularly his relationship to his father, has already provided grist for several book-publishing mills -- wanted to show up his dad for failing to take Baghdad in 1991. Or he sought to "finish the job" that his dad had begun in 1991; and/or avenge his dad for Hussein's alleged (but highly questionable) assassination attempt against Bush I in Kuwait after the war.

Because Bush was the ultimate "Decider", as he himself has put it, and because no one who ever served at top levels in the administration has ever been able to say precisely when (let alone why) the decision was made to invade Iraq, this explanation cannot be entirely dismissed as an answer.

Then there is the question of oil. Was the administration acting on behalf of an oil industry desperate to get its hands on Mesopotamian oil that had long been denied it as a result of U.N. and unilateral sanctions prohibiting business between U.S. companies and Hussein?

Given both Bush's and Vice President Dick Cheney's long-standing ties to the industry and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's assertion in his recent memoir that "The Iraq war is largely about oil," this theory has definite appeal -- particularly to those on the left who made "No Blood for Oil" a favourite mantra at anti-war protests in the run-up to the invasion, just as they did -- with much greater plausibility -- before the 1991 Gulf War.

The problem, however, is that there is little or no evidence that Big Oil, an extremely cautious beast in the global corporate menagerie, favoured a war, particularly one carried out in a way (unilaterally) that risked destabilising the world's most oil-rich region, especially Saudi Arabia and the emirates.

On the contrary, the Rice University Institute that bears the name of former Secretary of State James Baker -- a man who has both represented and embodied Big Oil throughout his long legal career -- publicly warned early on that if Bush absolutely, positively had to invade Iraq for whatever reason, he should not even consider it unless two conditions were met: 1) that the action was authorised by the U.N. Security Council; and 2) that nothing whatever be done after the invasion to suggest that the motivation had to do with the acquisition by U.S. oil companies of Iraq's oil resources.

That is not to say that oil was irrelevant to the administration's calculations, but perhaps in a different sense than that meant by the "No Blood for Oil" slogan. After all, oil is an absolutely indispensable requirement for running modern economies and militaries. And the invasion was a forceful -- indeed, a shock- and awe-some -- demonstration to the rest of the world, especially potential strategic rivals like China, Russia, or even the European Union, of Washington's ability to quickly and effectively conquer and control an oil-rich nation in the heart of the energy-rich Middle East/Gulf region any time it wishes, perhaps persuading those lesser powers that challenging the U.S. could well prove counter-productive to long-term interests, if not their supply of energy in the short term.

Indeed, a demonstration of such power could well be the fastest way to formalise a new international order based on the overwhelming military power of the United States, unequalled at least since the Roman Empire. It would be a "unipolar world" of the kind envisaged by the 1992 draft Defence Planning Guidance (DPG) commissioned by then-Pentagon chief Dick Cheney, overseen by Wolfowitz and Cheney's future chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, and contributed to by future ambassador to "liberated" Afghanistan and Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad and Bush's deputy national security adviser, J.D. Crouch.

It was that same vision that formed the inspiration for the 27 charter signatories -- a coalition of aggressive nationalists, neo-conservatives, and Christian Right leaders that included Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Khalilzad, and several other future senior Bush administration national-security officials -- of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. It was the same project that began calling for "regime change" in Iraq in 1998 and that, nine days after the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon, publicly warned that any "war on terror" that excluded Hussein's elimination would necessarily be incomplete.

In retrospect, it seems clear that Iraq had long been seen by this group, which became empowered first by Bush's election and then super-charged by 9/11, as the first, easiest and most available step toward achieving a "Pax Americana" that would not only establish the U.S. once and for all as the dominant power in the region, but whose geo-strategic implications for aspiring "peer competitors" would be global in scope.

For the neo-conservative and the Christian Right members of this group, who were its most eager and ubiquitous war boosters, Israel would also be a major beneficiary of an invasion.

According to a 1996 paper drafted by prominent hard-line neo-conservatives -- including some, like Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, who would later serve in senior posts in Cheney's office and the Pentagon in the run-up to the invasion -- ousting Hussein and installing a pro-Western leader was the key to destabilising Israel's Arab enemies and/or bending them to its will. This would permit the Jewish state not only to escape the Oslo peace process, but also to secure as much of the occupied Palestinian (and Syrian) territories as it wished.

Indeed, getting rid of Hussein and occupying Iraq would not only tighten Israel's hold on Arab territories, in this view; it could also threaten the survival of the Arab and Islamic worlds' most formidable weapon against Israel -- OPEC -- by flooding the world market with Iraqi oil and forcing the commodity's price down to historic lows.

That's how it looked five years ago anyway.

Jim Lobe's blog on U.S. foreign policy, and particularly the neo-conservative influence in the Bush administration, can be read at . (END/2008)

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Bush Earned Impeachment 5 Years Ago Today - Redwood City,CA,USA
In a memo sent to Congress five years ago today, Bush decreed that he was attacking Iraq “to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and ...
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Pelosi challenger promises Bush impeachment
"It is outrageous and unacceptable that any member of Congress, let alone our majority speaker, should unilaterally declare that impeachment is 'off the table,' and so defy the Constitution herself," Golub said in a flier circulated to ... - A Directory... -

Anniversary of Lies Leading to the Iraq War
By Michael Leon(Michael Leon)
Simply stated, Bush, Cheney, Rice and the whole sorry bunch of them are liars who set off a catastrophe that Iraqi and American families will be paying for the rest of their lives. In January the Center for Public Integrity released The ...
Michael Leon: MAL Contends . . . -

Report of Indictments of Pres. Bush and VP Cheney
MWC News - Vancouver,Canada
If Fitzgerald's grand jury has indicted Bush and Cheney, or does so in the near future, and causes the resignation or impeachment of the President and Vice .

Betty Hall & “Nothing but the Truth” at NH State House
By (Craig S. Barnes)
HR 24 was introduced by NH State Representative Betty Hall (D) and it calls for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Our listeners may recall that we had spoken with Betty 0n January 22, 2008. ...
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87-year-old firebrand resolved to oust Bush
Concord Monitor - Concord,NH,USA
In a resolution urging Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney - which is scheduled for a House vote ...

Since 2005 he has argued that US interests would be best served by an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, calling the Iraq war the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy. He has also been critical of the NSA’s ... - Breaking News Headlines -

Impeach Bush/Cheney ‘08
By seth
NoosRewm -

By Kathlyn Stone
Military Veterans To Deliver Citizen Arrest Warrants For Bush And Cheney
The warrants are "for multiple violations of the Constitution and international war crimes," according to a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, a national organization

By William Cormier
Time Magazine States That Americans Don't Care About Losing Our Civil Rights
Time Magazine wrote an article stating that Americans don't seem to care about the erosion of our civil rights. The article is absurd on its face, and the only purpose I can surmise for an article that is absolutely false is that they want those who read it to believe that the majority of America doesn't care - so why should they? Can anyone spell Propaganda?

Aftershocks of a Collapse, With a Bank at the Epicenter

The shouts, hoarse and high-pitched, rang out in the cavernous boardroom late Sunday at Bear Stearns’s headquarters on Madison Avenue. Alan D. Schwartz, the chief executive of Bear Stearns, was briefing top executives on the deal he had just struck under duress with JPMorgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: their stock in Bear was now worth $2 a share.

Just like that, some people’s stakes of $100 million or more in Bear were ravaged, and senior executives like Thomas A. Marano, the head of mortgages, and Bruce Lisman, a co-head of equities, were furious. Entering the weekend, Bear executives felt confident that the firm could be sold for several billion dollars, if not more.

But $236 million — how could Bear have sold for such a price? Why didn’t the firm seek financial help earlier, they and others asked, as they grilled Mr. Schwartz and his chief financial officer, Samuel L. Molinaro Jr., according to people who were briefed on the meeting.

For these men, and many others like them who have spent most of their professional lives at Bear, the sudden collapse was unfathomable.

More so than other firms on Wall Street, Bear had encouraged its employees, from secretaries to top executives, to be long-term holders in the company’s stock, and the employees own over 30 percent of the company.

For James E. Cayne, the firm’s chairman and former chief executive, holding on to his Bear stock was a point of pride, and he rarely, if ever, sold. A billionaire just over a year ago when Bear’s stock soared past $160, his 5.8 million shares are now worth about $28 million at Monday’s closing price of $4.81.

Mr. Schwartz has 1.02 million shares, according to Bloomberg News.

Across the firm, executives and employees declined to speak publicly, a reflection of the fluid events as well as a reluctance to anger their prospective bosses from JPMorgan who were already on the premises Monday, appraising their new investment.

But privately they expressed raw dismay, their voices heavy with sadness and shock.

“My life has been flushed down the drain,” said one person. There was talk Monday that with their life savings nearly depleted, some executives had moved quickly, putting their weekend homes on the market.

In an effort to soothe jangled nerves, the firm sent an e-mail message to employees Monday assuring them that Bear was still in business and that they would get their salaries — cold comfort to bankers who receive upward of 90 percent of their compensation in a year-end bonus.

Bear also told employees that grief counselors were standing by.

“The stability of your world is shattered,” said Ari Kiev, a psychiatrist who counsels financial executives. “You are angry at the firm for failing you. But it’s more than money. It’s the shame and embarrassment. Now the question is, can you pay for the house and do you give up the second car?”

To be sure, there have been some Bear stock sales. Mr. Cayne’s predecessor, Alan Greenberg, has sold over $50 million worth of shares since early 2007, and Jeffrey Mayer, a top fixed income executive, sold $9 million in stock last December for $89 a share. Mr. Schwartz sold $6 million at the same time.

But for the most part, Bear executives were not big stock sellers, and their shrunken net worth has spread a viral resentment throughout the firm as employees of all ranks contemplate their reduced circumstances and search for scapegoats.

In the hallways at Bear, there were many to blame: James Dimon, chief executive at JPMorgan, whose stock rose 10 percent as the market cheered him for getting such a bargain; the Federal Reserve of New York for pushing hard for a deal; Warren J. Spector, the former co-president who was responsible for the two hedge funds that collapsed last summer; and finally Mr. Cayne and Mr. Schwartz, for not having brought additional capital into the firm last year.

Mr. Cayne and Mr. Schwartz declined to comment.

People who have spoken to Mr. Cayne say he is stunned by the abrupt demise of the firm, where he has worked since the late 1960s. Now chairman, he was not an active participant in the negotiations over the weekend but he did come into the office, cigar in mouth as always.

As for Mr. Schwartz, he has told people at Bear that the offer for $2 a share was the best available deal that he could make that would please all the firm’s constituencies.

Bear executives were not the only big losers. Joseph Lewis, the Bahamas-based financier, invested $1 billion at prices above $100 last year, and top institutional investors like Morgan Stanley, Legg Mason and Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss, a value investor in Dallas, have been recent buyers of the stock.

In an interview on CNBC on Monday, Mr. Lewis termed the offer “derisory,” and indicated that he would not vote for it. It is by no means clear that a majority of Bear executives will support the deal, which raises some question as to whether the transaction will be approved by shareholders when it comes to a vote in the coming months or perhaps be modified in the meantime.

“Basically we’re all wondering first, if we’ll keep our jobs, second, if we’ll get severance if we don’t,” said an investment banker on a cigarette break outside Bear’s headquarters, declining to give his name. “And then we’re hoping that Lehman won’t go under because then there will be way too many bankers looking for jobs.”

IN OUR VIEW: Let Senate vote on shield law

Asingle U.S. senator, Jon Kyl of Arizona, is blocking a bill aimed at protecting your right to know. We urge Senate leaders to step in and move the measure forward.

S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act, would establish a federal "shield law" to protect journalists who must rely on confidential sources to reveal information of public importance. Many whistle-blowers are unlikely to alert the public if their names will be published. A source may, for example, risk retaliation from an employer.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the shield bill 15-4 in October. In the same month, a similar bill passed the full House 398-21, with all three of Utah's congressmen voting for it. Since then, however, the bill has languished in the Senate because of an arcane rule that allows any senator, for any reason, to place a "hold" on any bill. That's what Kyl is doing.

Kyl, a Republican, has long opposed the shield bill on the grounds that it would hamper investigation of leaks that endanger national security. He is mistaken; this bill safeguards security. By clarifying federal law, it will make it easier for authorities to go after genuine matters of national concern rather than engage in political witch hunts. If a confidential source can know something, then it is knowable to investigators as well.

Instead of going after leakers to punish them, government should focus on the problems the leakers reveal. The voters should never be kept in the dark.

Efforts by courts to force journalists to reveal confidential sources have already had a chilling effect on the public's right to know by discouraging whistle-blowers and intimidating reporters with jail time.

But if a court can order a journalist to reveal a confidential source's identity -- even when nobody disputes the truth of what the source has said -- the press will soon be viewed as a direct pipeline to the authorities, and people will cease to come forward with important information.

The cry of national security is a red herring that is put forward by those who prefer that government operate in the shadows.

The news media, for obvious reasons, do not wish to be seen as agents of the government. We may be imperfect, but we're the only bulwark you've got against secret government misbehavior. A free press, flawed though it may be, is the sole entity that can give you the tools you need to ensure that America remains a government by the people.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have shield laws or equivalent regulations to protect journalists from government interference or from fishing expeditions by private attorneys in civil cases. Utah's Supreme Court recently adopted a strong rule protecting journalists and their sources. But there is still no federal shield law.

News gathering is a right under the First Amendment, but the Supreme Court has yet to agree on precisely what that means or to what extent it should be protected. Some federal judges have recognized that journalists' sources and notes need to be shielded. Other federal courts have not recognized this.

The gap was highlighted in a recent case. In a lawsuit, lawyers are trying to force former USA Today reporter Toni Locy to reveal confidential sources. A federal judge has levied potential fines, beginning at $500 a day and quickly rising to $5,000 a day, against her. And he has prohibited anyone else, such as her former employer, from paying the fines on her behalf. An appeals court has issued a stay on the penalty while she appeals, but obviously if the fines are levied, she will be forced into bankruptcy.

That kind of a hammer should not be available to intimidate journalists. The bill under consideration in the Senate provides a balanced standard for protecting the information-gathering process -- which the public needs -- while allowing exceptions in certain cases for law enforcement and national security concerns.

Sen. Kyl should withdraw his objections, which have been addressed in the bill. He has been urged to do so by colleagues, who have now turned to Senate leadership to break the logjam.

Powerful members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including its chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, have written Majority Leader Harry Reid and asked him to bring the bill to the Senate floor for debate and a vote. Whether they can overcome a foolish tradition that allows one senator to interfere with the entire body remains to be seen.

The House's overwhelming approval of a similar bill gives backers of a shield law some optimism about how S. 2035 would fare.

Right now there are people who have important information that would benefit the public. They need to know that federal law will offer them a reasonable amount of protection if they bring those facts to journalists -- and to the public.

Kate Hammer contributed reporting

Is Nancy Pelosi a Closet Obama Supporter?
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Blue Dog Coalition: Pelosi’s Poodles

On Terrorist Surveillance, the Demise of the ‘Moderate Democrat’

Joel Himelfarb

If there’s an overriding political message to be learned from Friday’s big win for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the ACLU over President Bush on terrorist surveillance, it’s the reality that the Blue Dog Coalition of relatively moderate Democrats can’t be counted on when it comes to vital national security issues. The House voted 213-197 in favor of legislation pushed by Pelosi, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the rest of the liberal House Democratic leadership to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the primary U.S. law governing the electronic monitoring of foreign terrorist communications.

Then Pelosi sent the House on a two-week vacation. It was the third time in six and half weeks that she sent lawmakers home after having carried water for the trial lawyers and Left-wing bloggers on FISA. The legislation approved on Friday with the shameful support of the Blue Dogs, fails to include an essential provision asked for by the president and National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell (an intelligence professional who served as head of the National Security Agency for four years during Bill Clinton’s presidency): retroactive liability protection for American telecommunications companies who responded to government requests for help in monitoring Jihadist communications in the wake of the September 11th attacks which killed almost 3,000 Americans. The NSA and other government agencies, who were understandably worried that more attacks on the United States would come in the weeks after September 11th, approached the companies for help, assuring them that the requested surveillance was lawful and necessary to prevent a possible second wave of attacks.

They had good reason to be worried. At a hearing last March at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who helped organize September 11th attacks, detailed a series of follow-up attacks he helped planned, among them a plot to use shoe bombs to blow up American planes, and another for more attacks on U.S. skyscrapers: the Sears Tower in Chicago; the Empire State Building in New York; the Plaza Bank building in Seattle and the Library Tower in Los Angeles. Mohammed also said that he sought to bomb suspension bridges in New York and to attack the New York Stock Exchange and other financial targets after September 11th. The telecommunications companies cooperated with the government’s efforts to prevent such attacks from occurring, and thankfully the American homeland has not been hit in the past six and a half years.

These firms deserve our appreciation for behaving responsibly and patriotically. Instead, they have been hit with 40 lawsuits from the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for violating “privacy rights.” For months, the Bush Administration and McConnell in particular have made the commonsense argument that allowing these lawsuits to go forward would discourage American firms from cooperating with future federal requests to monitor terrorist communications. Last month, the Senate agreed, voting 68-29 in favor of legislation which included such protections, with 19 Democrats – including liberals like Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland – voting with the majority. Shortly before that, 21 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, led by Rep. Mike Ross, Arkansas Democrat, signed a letter to Pelosi urging passage of the bipartisan Senate bill.

Pelosi understood that she and the ACLU would lose if she let the Senate measure come up for a vote in the House. So she continued her “run out the clock” strategy, which she began last year to derail any possibility that the current Congress would have time to consider fixing FISA to ensure that U.S. intelligence agencies could monitor foreign terrorist communications without obtaining judicial approval. Pelosi understands that if she can stall until January, she may get a Democrat in the White House who would do the ACLU’s bidding. So, in January, with authorization for FISA about to expire, Pelosi took House Democrats on a two-day retreat at a Virginia resort. After the Senate passed its bipartisan bill last month, Pelosi responded by sending the House on vacation without considering the Senate legislation.

After the House left town, Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat and a Pelosi loyalist, indicated that the Democratic leadership might be looking for a way to give up on the issue of retroactive immunity. In a February 29th interview with CNN, Reyes stated that House and Senate negotiators were “very close” to working out some kind of compromise, adding that he had an “open mind” on the issue. But the reaction from Left-wing blogs like the Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo was hostile verging on apoplectic. And the trial lawyers who stood to profit from lawsuits against the telecommunications firms (and who include some major financial contributors to the Democrat Party) were decidedly unhappy.

Reyes essentially went underground after his CNN interview, resurfacing last week with Conyers to unveil the FISA scheme that passed the House last Friday. This legislation ensures that the lawsuits go forward and that every corporate CEO who considers cooperating with future terrorist surveillance efforts will be challenged by his own firm’s lawyers, who will credibly be able to argue that the firm will be putting itself in financial jeopardy. The proposal contains a fig leaf for “moderate” Blue Dog Democrats – the companies would have to appear before some bipartisan congressional commission with subpoena power to argue that they shouldn’t be sued. A massive political disinformation spin campaign is underway in hundreds of congressional districts across the country in an effort to convince people that the Pelosi bill is a workable compromise. It is not. The House bill leaves the issue of immunity to the federal courts – guaranteeing that it becomes the subject of protracted litigation that could go on for years.

It’s an outrage – and it would not have been possible without the collaboration of the Blue Dogs, who gave Pelosi and the leadership their margin of victory. Just six members of the Blue Dogs – Reps. Dan Boren (Oklahoma); Christopher Carney (Pensylvania); Jim Cooper (Tennessee); Tim Holden (Pennsylvania); Nick Lampson (Texas); and Heath Shuler (North Carolina) joined House Republicans in voting against the Democratic leadership’s FISA bill.

Following is the dishonor (HONOR) roll-- the names of the Blue Dog Coalition Democrats who voted on Friday to deny immunity to telecommunications companies: Reps. Michael Arcuri (New York); Joe Baca (California); John Barrow (Georgia); Melissa Bean (Illinois); Marion Berry (Arkansas); Sanford Bishop (Georgia); Leonard Boswell (Iowa); Allen Boyd (Florida); Dennis Cardoza (California); Ben Chandler (Kentucky); Jim Costa (California); Joe Donnelly (Indiana); Brad Ellsworth (Indiana); Gabrielle Giffords (Arizona); Kirsten Gillibrand (New York); Bart Gordon (Tennessee); Jane Harman (California); Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota); Baron Hill (Indiana); Steve Israel (New York); Tim Mahoney (Florida); Jim Marshall (Georgia); Jim Matheson (Utah); Mike McIntyre (North Carolina);Charlie Melancon (Louisiana); Mike Michaud (Maine); Dennis Moore (Kansas); Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania); Collin Peterson (Minnesota); Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota); Mike Ross (Arkansas); John Salazar (Colorado); Loretta Sanchez (Calfornia); Adam Schiff (California); David Scott (Georgia); Zack Space (Ohio); John Tanner (Tennessee); Gene Taylor (Mississippi); Mike Thompson (California); and Charlie Wilson (Ohio).

Joel Himelfarb is an editorial writer for The Washington Times. The views expressed here are his own. (Most Opinions at this Right Wing Rag Are Just That…opinions not news!)

POLITICS-US: Reforms Failed to Curb FBI Spying
By William Fisher

NEW YORK, Mar 18 (IPS) - One of the nation's most respected counterterrorism experts is predicting that Congress will take action to rein in the "unchecked power" of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on U.S. citizens without court approval -- and then forbid them from publicly protesting the violation of their civil liberties.

He is Mike German, a 16-year FBI veteran who resigned as a special agent in 2004 to make Congress and the public aware of the continuing deficiencies in FBI counterterrorism operations after the implementation of the 9/11 Commission's reforms.

German told IPS that following passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001, FBI operations have been conducted "with unchecked power, hampered by mismanagement in its counter-terrorism unit, and facilitated by lack of Congressional oversight." The FBI, he added, "is obtaining personal and business records they're not entitled to".

He also called attention to so-called "third party error". This occurs when the government targets a particular telephone number or email address, and then not only continues to tap all who call into that target, but the calls and emails sent to and from the addresses of these "secondary targets", and calls to and from these secondary targets, creating groups of tertiary targets.

He also told IPS that there is little evidence that the FBI is systematically purging its databases of telephone or email records unlawfully or inadvertently obtained during these electronic surveillance operations.

German's charges come on the heels of a report last month by the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG), which concluded that the FBI was continuing to issue so-called National Security Letters (NSLs) unlawfully.

The IG's report suspended judgment on the effectiveness of reforms put in place by the FBI following a 2006 IG report that found widespread abuses in the agency's use of NSLs. But others are less charitable.

Michael Ratner, president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, a civil liberties advocacy group, told IPS, "DOJ's reforms have clearly not fixed the problem; despite these fixes, the misuse of NSLs continues. It is far past the time when Congress ought to mandate judicial approval of such a significant invasion of privacy. Without such approval any claimed reforms have little meaning."

NSLs are a form of administrative subpoena used by the FBI and reportedly by other U.S. government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defence and the Department of Homeland Security. They are letters issued to a particular entity or organisation compelling them to turn over various records and data pertaining to individuals. They require no probable cause or judicial oversight. They also contain a gag order that bars the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued. The USA Patriot Act, passed in 2001, greatly expanded the use of NSLs, allowing their use in scrutiny of U.S. residents, visitors, or U.S. citizens who are not suspects in any criminal investigation. The Patriot Act reauthorisation statutes passed by Congress in early 2006 added specific penalties for non-compliance or disclosure. In his most recent report, the IG, Glenn A. Fine, reported that the FBI twice ignored the constitutional objections of the special court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to obtain private records for national security probes.

The IG's latest review follows a report last March that concluded that the FBI had misused its powers between 2003 and 2006 to obtain business records with private data. He said it filed improper requests for records and collected e-mail data without proper authorisation. Fine's 2007 report found 48 violations of law or rules in the bureau's use of national security letters from 2003 to 2005.

Fine's 2007 report concluded that the FBI sought to cover its acquisition of phone records on thousands of U.S. citizens from 2003 to 2005 by issuing 11 improper, retroactive "blanket" administrative subpoenas in 2006 to three phone companies that are under contract to the FBI.

While acknowledging that the FBI took significant steps to correct the problems after his report last year, the IG added that implementation of the steps was not yet complete, so "it is too early to determine whether these measures will eliminate fully the problems."

The IG's 2008 report came as Congress continued to debate legislation governing federal powers to conduct electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism targets. A principal bone of contention in that debate is whether telecommunications companies -- whose technology and customer records are key to the government's ability to obtain and track phone calls and email traffic to and from specific numbers -- should receive "retroactive immunity" from prosecution for assisting the government during a time when the Bush administration had no Congressionally-mandated authority to do so.

The administration contends the telecommunications companies were simply doing their "patriotic duty" to help their government following the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001. Critics of that position say the government's action was unlawful because it circumvented the 1978 FISA law, and claim the warrantless wiretaps began long before 9/11.

The House of Representatives last week passed legislation denying retroactive immunity, while the Senate continues to debate two bills, one granting such immunity, the other denying it. President George W. Bush has said he would veto any legislation that failed to grant immunity.

The IG's most recent report noted two occasions in which he FISA court rejected FBI requests to obtain records. The court was concerned that doing so could interfere with rights protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech, religion and association and the right to petition the government.

But following the FISA court's rejections, the FBI used separate authority to get the information without the court's approval, relying on NSLs, even though that authority also had First Amendment guidelines.

The NSL issue has drawn attention both from Congress and from the civil liberties community.

Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the IG's report "outlines more abuses and what appears to be the improper use of National Security Letters for years in a systemic failure throughout the FBI ...Legislative action may be necessary to correct these abuses."

Legislation to correct the abuse of the National Security Letter authorities has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, and in the Senate by Sen. Russ Feingold, Democrat from Wisconsin.

And the Centre for Constitutional Rights' Ratner told IPS, "We have never believed that National Security Letters should be issued without court approval and find it unacceptable that those targeted by such letters are muzzled. The poisonous fruit of the current practice is what could have been expected: FBI agents and other secret police running around without any suspicion of criminal activity grabbing not only the records of so-called targets but of all persons who have had any communications with the 'targets'."


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