interpreting the constitution
number 106    
Vice President's Vaunted Vindictiveness, Venality
previous editions archive
Vice President Cheney personally
intervened to block the promotion of
senior Justice Department lawyer
Patrick Philbin in 2005, apparently in
retaliation for Philbin’s involvement in
an internal administration dispute
over the legality of a then-secret
domestic surveillance program
operated by the National Security
Agency. Philbin participated in a
review that raised questions about
the NSA wiretapping program,
eventually leading top departmental
officials to refuse to reauthorize the
program in March 2004. He was
among eight senior Justice
Department officials who threatened
to resign over the issue in the
ensuing confrontation with the White
House. The details were disclosed
last week in former deputy attorney
general James B. Comey’s written
answers to questions from the
Senate Judiciary Committee.

When Philbin was later considered
for appointment as US Principal
Deputy Solicitor General, the Office
of the Vice President moved to thwart
the promotion. According to Comey’s
written testimony, “I understood that
someone at the White House
communicated to Attorney General
Gonzales that the vice president
would oppose the appointment if the
attorney general pursued the matter.
The attorney general chose not to
pursue it.”  Both Comey and Philbin
later resigned from the Justice
Department. A spokesperson for
Cheney said the vice president
does not comment on personnel

Comey's account confirms that
the NSA program operated
without legal authorization for a
period of "several weeks" in 2004,
before it was revised according to
DoJ recommendations. In a
statement, Judiciary Committee
member Sen. Charles Schumer
(D-NY) said, "The vice president’s
fingerprints are all over the effort
to strong-arm Justice on the NSA
program, and the obvious next
question is, exactly what role did
the president play?”               
all true
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

fun d' mental
spread of the red
Phantom Penal Colony Completes Metamorphosis of Amerika
Bush Appointee
Prescribes Bigotry
A consortium of human rights groups
has reported that the United States is
currently holding 39 people in secret
detention in black-site prisons
around the globe and demanded that
the Bush administration reveal the
existence of additional unknown
prisoners being held by the US.

The report, which is the most
comprehensive accounting of the
detainees secretly held by the US
and its client states released to date,
said that the US is not only holding
what it has referred to as terror
suspects, but also the wives and in
some cases the children of suspects
who were as young as seven at the
time of their imprisonment.  The
groups compiled the list of ghost
detainees from documents in the
public domain and interviews with
government officials and detainees
who were held by
the US but are now free.  The rights
groups said in the report that many
of the ghost detainees have been
held for three years or more.  

The identities of some of the ghost
detainees noted in the report were
gleaned by detainees who are now
free including Marwan Jabour, a
Palestinian who was held in secret
detention by the CIA for two years.  
Jabour identified some of the missing
detainees from photographs of
people believed to have been
kidnapped by the US.  Jabour also
reported seeing the names of
missing people scratched in the walls
of cells that he was held in.

A spokesperson for the groups said
that the US practice of kidnapping
people and holding them in secret
detention was unfortunately
reminiscent of the political
“disappearances” carried out by
dictators from Latin America
during the 1980s.  “Enforced
disappearances are illegal,
regardless of who carries them
out,” said Meg Satterthwaite, a
representative of the Center for
Human Rights and Global Justice
at New York University.  Of special
concern to the human rights
groups that released the study is
their fear that countries known to
practice torture against their
prisoners are holding some of the

A spokesperson for the CIA
stressed that all kidnappings
performed by the US are done in
“strict accord with American law,”
and that US “counter terror
initiatives-which are subject to
careful review and oversight-
have been very effective in
disrupting plots.”                          
it's all true
Late last month, President
Bush nominated a candidate to
become the Surgeon General
of the US who is known for his
stridently anti-homosexual bias
and helped found a Christian
church in Kentucky that claims
to “cure” homosexuality using
a pseudo-scientific procedure
called reparative therapy that
combines counseling and
study of the Bible.

Dr. James W. Holsinger was
nominated to become the
leading medical officer in the
US, a position that is
traditionally used by the
president to communicate
federal medical policy to
Americans.  Critics of Bush’s
nomination worry that
Holsinger’s religious views
about sexuality will be reflected
in the policies he endorses as
US Surgeon General.

Holsinger is the president of
the United Methodist Judicial
Council, the group within the
Methodist Church that
establishes official church
doctrine and policy.  As a
member of that body, last year
Holsinger voted to support a
pastor who refused to accept
an openly gay man from
becoming a member of his
congregation.   In 2004,
Holsinger voted to ban a
lesbian associate pastor from
the church.

Holsinger wrote a treatise for
the Methodist Church
asserting that there is an
“absolute consensus in the
scientific community” that
homosexuality is unnatural and
no more than a  "sexual life-
style” choice,  adding
ominously that if the
“complementarity of the sexes
is breached, injuries and
diseases may occur.”    
it's all
crowd control
Traffic Report Reveals Racial Ratio
Total US Army recruits
per 10,000 population
An analysis performed by the Justice
Department reveals that, although
whites, blacks and Hispanics are
stopped for traffic violations at the
same rate, blacks and Hispanics are
significantly more likely to have their
vehicles searched and be arrested
than whites.

The study that was made public by
the Bureau of Justice statistics
reported that approximately 8 to 9
percent of all drivers are stopped by
traffic police, regardless of a driver’s
race.  Blacks and Hispanics,
however, were far more likely have
the traffic stop result in either a
search or an arrest.  The study found
that 9.5 percent of blacks and 8.8
percent of Hispanics that are stopped
by police are searched while just 3.6
percent of whites stopped by police
are searched.  The study also found
that 4.5 percent of blacks who are
stopped for a
traffic violation are arrested and 3.1
percent of Hispanics who are
stopped are arrested but only 2.1
percent of whites are arrested
following from a traffic stop.

The Justice Department reported that
police made 17.8 million traffic stops
in 2005, accounting for approximately
40 percent of all interaction between
US citizens and the police.

The Justice Department’s study also
found that police were far more likely
to use force or threaten the use of
force when interacting with blacks
and Latinos.  While force was used
by police in 1.6 percent of all traffic
stops, blacks were four times more
likely and Hispanics over two times
more likely than whites to be subject
to actual force or threats of
it's all true
0            2            4            6
source: National Priorities Project






previous editions

   Links of the Week

CRS Report : Science,
Engineering, and Mathematics
Education : Status and Issues

Reclaiming Public Water :
Achievements, Struggles and
Visions from Around the World,
Transnational Institute

Simultaneous Windows (2nd
Motif, 1st Part), 1912- Robert
Delaunay, Guggenheim

The Nightwatchman

contact us  
Coverage Places Plot in Hysterical Perspective
Hours Excessive,
Results Unimpressive
When law enforcement officials in
New York announced their disruption
of a terrorist plot to sabotage jet fuel
pipelines at JFK airport, as well as
the arrest of the alleged ringleaders,
media outlets across the country
were quick to report that
investigators had averted a major
catastrophe. At a news conference,
authorities claimed that the planned
attack would have caused large-
scale damage to the airport and the
surrounding neighborhood, inevitably
resulting in significant casualties. But
over the past week doubts have
arisen as to the seriousness of the
plot, as details emerge about the
suspects in custody and their
relationship with a police informant
who helped officials construct their
case. At the same time, a number of
logistics and explosives experts have
publicly questioned the credibility of
the threat, calling the alleged
conspirators’ plan “technologically

US Attorney Roslyn R. Mauskopf of
Brooklyn told reporters, “Had the plot
been carried out, it could have
resulted in unfathomable damage,
deaths, and destruction.”  But the
aspiring terrorists, allegedly led by
63-year-old Russell De Freitas, had
no financial resources to implement
the plan and no access to, or
expertise with, explosive devices. De
Freitas is alleged to have conceived
scheme to sabotage the JFK fuel
facilities a decade ago when he
worked at the airport handling cargo,
but made no attempt to act on it until
approached by a government
informant, wearing a wire, who
offered to assist in the attack.

The informant gave the destitute
plotters money and provided video
equipment to conduct
reconnaissance; he even drove the
conspirators to and from the airport
because none of them had a car.  
The informant, referred to in court
papers as “the source,” is a
convicted drug dealer whose
sentence “is pending as part of his
cooperation agreement with the

The technical feasibility of the plot
has been called into question by
specialists in jet fuel storage and
delivery systems, as well as security
professionals familiar with
international airports, particularly
JFK. Causing a massive explosion in
the fuel tanks or pipelines is virtually
impossible, according to experts,
because the stored fuel lacks a
sufficient quantity of oxygen. Slow-
burning fires, which could be easily
isolated and controlled, would be the
likely result of such an attack.
Security consultants said  they
doubted the plotters could have
obtained the necessary access to
airport fuel facilities.                      
all true
More than 22 percent of the
global workforce is working
excessively long hours, according
to the results of a study by the
International Labour Organisation,
an agency of the United Nations.
The study found that over 600
million workers averaged more
than 48 hours a week in the 50
nations surveyed.

Peru, with 50.9 percent of its
workforce logging excessive
hours, topped the list, followed by
South Korea (49.5), Thailand
(46.7), and Pakistan (44.4).
Among developed nations, Britain
had the most overworked
populace, with 25.7 percent
averaging more than 48 hours.
The UK was followed by Israel
(25.5), Australia (20.4),
Switzerland (19.2), and the US

The standard of a maximum
48-hour workweek was first
established by  ILO member
states almost a century ago. The
authors of the study point out that
excessive working hours typically
result in increased health
problems among workers, a
greater incidence of workplace
accidents, and generally lower
levels of industrial
it's all true
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verbatim                          number 20.6
"Information is
…you know, nightly
news is one way, of
course, but it's also
moving through the
...and through the
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