Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: All About: Ideas, The Facts And Sharing (Spying or Involuntary Sharing)

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Imbush Peach

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

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

All About: Ideas, The Facts And Sharing (Spying or Involuntary Sharing)

Today’s Post Is All About: Ideas, The Facts And Sharing (Spying or Involuntary Sharing)

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

And that is what today’s post is all about: ideas, the facts and sharing (special item at post end).

A new book by Howard Zinn is being released today , a new addition to his famed People's History of the United States. The new book represents a surprise breakthrough into cartoon format. It's a rollicking graphic history, illustrated by cartoonist Mike Konopacki that takes us from the Indian Wars to the Iraqi "frontier" (with some striking autobiographical asides from Zinn's own life). It's called A People's History of American Empire. It's a gem and it's being published today.

Though the news is circulating rapidly on the net the best quick links include : and, a superb web site that one ought to drop in on if one is not already a regular visitor!

An Introduction to the new book offering:

A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn

Watch "Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire," an animated video, based on Howard Zinn's new cartoon book, A People's History of American Empire, with voiceover by Viggo Mortensen, adapted from a Zinn essay posted at (To read the unabridged essay "Empire or Humanity?" go to

n Iraq, in Afghanistan, and at home, the position of the globe's "sole superpower" is visibly fraying. The country that was once proclaimed an "empire lite" has proven increasingly light-headed. The country once hailed as a power greater than that of imperial Rome or imperial Britain, a dominating force beyond anything ever seen on the planet, now can't seem to make a move in its own interest that isn't a disaster. The Iraq government's recent offensive in Basra is but the latest example with -- we can be sure -- more to come.

In the meantime, the fate of that empire, lite or otherwise, is the subject of Howard Zinn today at Tomdispatch, and of a new addition to his famed People's History of the United States. The new book represents a surprise breakthrough into cartoon format. It's a rollicking graphic history, illustrated by cartoonist Mike Konopacki, that takes us from the Indian Wars to the Iraqi "frontier" (with some striking autobiographical asides from Zinn's own life). It's called A People's History of American Empire. It's a gem and it's being published today.

In honor of publication day, Tomdispatch offers the equivalent of a little online extravaganza. Below, you can read Zinn's essay on how he first learned about the American Empire; and you can also click here for two special treats. You can view an animated video, using some of the book's art, with voiceover by none other than Viggo Mortensen. (Think of it as Lord of the Rings, Part IV: The American Mordor Chronicles.) Finally, if you look below the video on that same page, you'll see an autobiographical section of the new book, focusing on Zinn's early years. (Click on each illustration to view a single page of text.) Have fun. Tom

There was a time in my life when I aspired to a career as a cartoonist, and had that enthusiasm continued I am sure I would have ended up as a political cartoonist. I am sure you can tell that inclination has not been totally extinguished, and in fact I had tried my hand at it with a Graphics Tablet and an earlier computer, but alas the table was one of three victims in my move from Ohio to Alexandria, Virginia. It was a rather rudimentary tablet, and I am rather sure that it would not have worked with the current machine producing this post. One of these day the coin barrel to my right is going to over flow and off to Best Buy I will go for a nice new, big, powerful tablet and then God (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), help everyone out there!

But I digress; the segue is into Mike Konopacki, know as a labor cartoonist. A man of singular and unique talent/style, (that’s what cartooning is all about); a unique singular style and voice. It is also Desirable to have a fertile and creative mind coupled with keen observation skills and a well-defined philosophy/opinion. Mike’s got it all and his participation in this book ought guarantee that it is a first class offering. And now; here’s Mike….

The Nation Institute (Be sure to explore all of the internal links…please.)

Buit Just in case you don’t; one will take you here: Long Island University Announces Winners of 2007 George Polk Award , and to some very good reading and intellectual food. We need that every so often give the diet of mind mush fed us by the administration. Just a couple of examples of what you will find there in the site’s rather miniscule type font.

For their series in The Washington Post, reporters Barton D. Gellman and Jo Becker (now at The New York Times) will share the George Polk Award for Political Reporting. Their work substantiated Vice President Dick Cheney’s emergence as a singularly decisive, influential, yet behind-the-scenes force in White House policymaking. Through four meticulously sourced articles (with assistance from Post researcher Julie Tate), the team divulged Cheney.s role as the hidden architect of U.S. policies concerning torture, military tribunals and other controversial issues, including some that were later overturned as unconstitutional and/or repudiated by Congress. (I give this a 10*)

And then the Washington Post went back into the silence of hiding in the DC Shadows.

The George Polk Book Award will be presented to Jeremy Scahill, whose explosive bestseller, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, (published by Nation Books, a co-publishing venture between The Nation Institute and the Perseus Books Group), chronicled the ascent of Blackwater USA, a North Carolina-based company that has become one of the world’s premiere providers of private military services. Scahill’s work exposed killings, human rights violations and misconduct allegedly by the firm’s personnel and revealed the U.S. government’s growing reliance on this shadow army. His reporting and Congressional testimony helped propel legislation that would ban U.S. government security contracts with Blackwater and other private military companies.

I never miss an opportunity to remind everyone of this Impeachable garbage Folks! (This is a dandy that I just converted into a Widget for my Library)

Website Links found at The Nation Institute Site. Many are familiar but some real deal, not often seen are found in this list. If you don’t know one; open it…please.

And as to why I post this list at all? It just makes it handy for me to find them, examine them, use them and determine if I want to “Widget” them, or even if they posess a feed that permits widgeting.

After Downing Street
Atlantic Free Press
Black Agenda Report
Electronic Iraq
Foreign Policy in Focus
History News Network
Iraq Slogger
Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Lew Rockwell
Open Democracy
The Smirking Chimp
Talking Points Memo
War in Context
Working for Change


The American Empire Project
Barbara's Blog
Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches
Dan Froomkin's White House Watch
The Dreyfuss Report
Eric Alterman's Altercation
Gristmill Blog
The Notion at the Nation
This Modern World
A Tiny Revolution
Tony Karon's Rootless Cosmopolitan
William Arkin's Early Warning


AlArab Online
Agence France Presse
Asia Times
Foreign Press Review
The Guardian
The Independent
Middle East On-Line
LeMonde Diplomatique
Le Monde Diplomatique (English Language)
Outlook India
Watching America


American Prospect
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
LA Weekly
The London Review of Books
Mother Jones
The Nation
The New York Review of Books

Media Criticism

Editor and Publisher
Media Bloodhound
Media Matters
The News Dissector
Neiman Watchdog


Arms Trade Resource Center
Defense Tech
Jim Lobe's Interpress Archive
The National Security Archives
Natural Resources Defense Council
Noah Schachtman's Danger Room
Right Web
Secrecy News
USC Center on Public Diplomacy


Life During Wartime
Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World


Donkey Rising
ProfessorPollkatz's Pool of Polls
Program on International Policy Attitudes
Real Clear Politics

Iraq Casualty Figures Casualties Page Daily Casualty Update
Iraq Body Count
Iraq Coalition Casualties

Mainstream Media

Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Washington Post

Tom Engelhardt's articles from around the web

Why the US Military Loves Ron Paul

July 23, 2007, The Nation website

Order 17 September 24, 2007, The Nation website

We Count, They Don't October 4, 2007, The Nation website

Medal Inflation October 9, 2007, The Nation website

Tom's Review of Books

Under The Heading Of New and Growing/Sharing Ideas: Those Widgets and Web 2.0 Tools!

I have been aware, from the outset, of the development of the Web 2.0 project and have a computer genius friend who was deeply involved in the project and process. This is the individual who once told me there is no such thing as Internet Security, no matter how much you spend, no matter how many layers of protection you avail yourself of, because ultimately it all comes down to a matter of (1-s and 0-s) and anyone, like himself, who writes in binary can do anything they want to…anything…and he proved it!

Anyhow, of all places to find Web 2.0 applications employed, one would not expect to find them at an elected officials site, at least I wouldn’t at this stage of development, but surprise, surprise…drop in on Barbara Boxer at take a look around for yourself, and get used to it because these tools are on the loose now, and as I said the other day; they are going to create problems for older, slower, minimal memory machines…just a hint at what the future holds.

As for my own continued experiment, and they have just begun, click here and enter my experiments and development blog room, really a work room or “junk room” or cyber workshop. The “activist/info” widgets you will find there are simply waiting placement into the larger Widget Library Work Site.

If you are interested, curious or want to grab one of the widgets I have developed click here. To my utter amazement 1000s have already done so! Or You Can Just Go To The Library.

And, Under The Heading Of: “Facts Do Not Cease To Exist Because They Are Ignored.”

NEW YORK - The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans' Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, the ACLU said Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union based its conclusion on a review of more than 1,000 documents turned over by the Defense Department after it sued the agency last year for documents related to national security letters, or NSLs, investigative tools used to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena.

"Newly unredacted documents released today reveal that the Department of Defense is using the FBI to circumvent legal limits on its own NSL power," said the ACLU, whose lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court.

ACLU lawyer Melissa Goodman said the documents the civil rights group studied "make us incredibly concerned." She said it would be understandable if the military relied on help from the FBI on joint investigations, but not when the FBI was not involved in a probe.

The FBI referred requests for comment Tuesday to the Defense Department. A department spokesman, Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, said in an e-mail that the department had made "focused, limited and judicious" use of the letters since Congress extended the capability to investigatory entities other than the FBI in 2001.

He said the department had acted legally in using a necessary investigatory tool and noted that "unusual financial activity of people affiliated with DoD can be an indication of potential espionage or terrorist-related activity."

Ryder said the information in the ACLU claims came in part from an internal review of DoD's use of the letters.

"We have since developed training and provided it to the services for their use," he said.

He said that there was no law requiring it to track use of the letters but that the department had decided it was in its best interest to do so.

Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said the military is allowed to demand financial and credit records in certain instances but does not have the authority to get e-mail and phone records or lists of Web sites that people have visited. That is the kind of information that the FBI can get by using a national security letter, she said.

"That's why we're particularly concerned. The DoD may be accessing the kinds of records they are not allowed to get," she said.

Goodman also noted that legal limits are placed on the Defense Department "because the military doing domestic investigations tends to make us leery."

In other allegations, the ACLU said:

• The Navy's use of the letters to demand domestic records has increased significantly since the Sept. 11 attacks.

• The military wrongly claimed its use of the letters was limited to investigating only Defense Department employees.

• The Defense Department has not kept track of how many national security letters the military issues or what information it obtained through the orders.

• The military provided misleading information to Congress and silenced letter recipients from speaking out about the records requests.

Goodman said Congress should provide stricter guidelines and meaningful oversight of how the military and FBI make national security letter requests.

"Any government agency's ability to demand these kinds of personal, financial or Internet records in the United States is an intrusive surveillance power," she said.


Dear Ed,

For months now, we've been talking about the Bush Administration’s demands of immunity for phone companies guilty of illegally spying on Americans.

Now, the President is at it again. Just yesterday, the Politico newspaper reported that the administration is, "now in a position where they want to talk about a possible compromise".1 We've seen this before. Every month or so, the White House floats a new trial-balloon of a possible compromise bill which inevitably includes immunity for phone companies.

Call House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer right now and tell him to keep telecom immunity off the table.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

As the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer must stand with the true majority of Americans. Let him know any compromise that provides Bush, Cheney, and their partners at big telecom with amnesty is unacceptable.

Then, let us know how your call went:

It's hard to overstate how much is at stake in this battle. Passing retroactive immunity would put an end once and for all to lawsuits which have the potential to expose the full extent of Bush's illegal wiretapping program. This is literally one of the last avenues we have to hold the Bush administration accountable before they leave office. On this question, there can be no doubt, immunity for phone companies is the same as immunity for George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Thanks to your efforts as well as those of our allies like the ACLU, Credo Wireless, DFA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Sen. Chris Dodd, every time this issue has come for a vote - we've come away victorious.

Make the call today. Let's keep that winning streak going.


Ilya Sheyman
Online Organizer

1 politico(dot)com/news/stories/0408/9307.html

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