interpreting the constitution
number 113    
Gonzales’ Incomplete, Misleading Testimony Might Be
previous editions archive
The high-profile confrontation
between Attorney General Alberto
Gonzales and the Senate Intelligence
Committee escalated last week after
apparently misleading statements in
Gonzales’ testimony before the panel
caused four Democratic senators to
call for the appointment of a special
prosecutor to conduct a perjury
investigation of the nation’s chief law
enforcement officer.

On Sunday the
New York Times,
citing current and former
administration officials, reported that
a dramatic 2004 dispute over Justice
Department reauthorization of a
surveillance program operated by the
National Security Agency was
focused on large-scale
electronic data mining, as opposed to
wiretapping, raising the possibility
that the Attorney General’s “narrowly
crafted answers, while legalistic, were
technically correct.”  Legal experts
quickly noted that in attempting to
assert a distinction between the
activities, Gonzales has in effect
provided the first public
acknowledgement that the NSA was
engaged in searching the massive
databases of private
telecommunications companies.

In his testimony last Thursday, the
Attorney General reiterated his
previous claim that there was "no
serious disagreement" within the
administration over the legality of
NSA domestic
surveillance operations that
proceeded without warrants from
the secret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act Court. In an
appearance before the same
panel in May, former Deputy
Attorney General James Comey
described a tense internal dispute
among senior Justice Department
officials over certain aspects of
the program in 2004 that nearly
led to mass  resignations. FBI
Director Robert Mueller’s
testimony last Friday appeared to
directly contradict Gonzales’
version of events, leading four
Democratic members of the
committee  to issue their call for a
special prosecutor.        
it's all true
interpreting the constitution

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one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

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spread of the red
Chilling Directive Forecasts Frozen Assets for
Oil Wells
Won’t End Well
President Bush recently issued an
executive order that allows the
federal government to seize the
financial assets of anyone, including
American citizens, who are deemed
to “undermine” the US military
occupation of Iraq.  The order was
established by the president without
consultation with the Congress and
put into effect, according to Bush and
to quote the order, “by the authority
vested in me as President.”

The order,
Blocking Property of
Certain Persons who Threaten
in Iraq, was enacted to allow
the US government to freeze or seize
the assets of “indigenous Iraqi
insurgent groups” according to an
explanation of the order released by
the US Treasury Department.  But
civil libertarians have expressed
concern that the executive decree’s
broad language might also allow
the order to be used to seize the
assets of any person or group who
supports ending the military
occupation of Iraq.  The American
Civil Liberties Union fears that
because “many of the executive
order’s terms are left undefined,”
Americans who provide humanitarian
assistance to Iraqis or groups that
oppose the occupation may become
targets of the US Government and
their assets confiscated.

The order states that “all property
and interests in property” of persons
who are determined by the president
to represent a threat to the US
military’s “efforts to promote
economic reconstruction and political
reform in Iraq” can be “blocked and
may not be transferred paid or
exported.”  The order gives the same
authority to the Secretary of State
and the Secretary
of Defense and allows these
officials to “redelegate any of
these functions to other officers
and agencies of the United

The order stipulates that the
property of persons may be
confiscated if they provide “funds,
goods, or services,” that are
construed to undermine the
occupation of Iraq even if the
provision of such materials or
support is done “indirectly.”

The ACLU said that the
president's executive order
“reaches far beyond criminal
activity to activity that may be
entirely innocent,” and referred to
the decree as “a strangely
undemocratic way to go about
bringing democracy to the rest of
the world.”                       
it's all true
As ocean temperatures rise, oil
derricks in Alaska have begun
to loose their footing and slip
into the ocean.  The
disappearance of sea ice
shelves and melting
permafrost have combined to
threaten oil wells according to
a study by the US Geological

Oil wells in the National
Petroleum Reserve are
threatened by coastal erosion
caused by the surf that now
pounds a shoreline that was
once protected by sea ice.  
The US Bureau of Land
Management reported that at
least 30 exploration wells in the
reserve are in imminent
danger of being swallowed up
as the coastline erodes.  BLM
scientists estimate that the
cost to plug and clean up the
threatened oil wells would be
about $20 million per well.

Authors of the US Geological
Survey study wrote that
Alaskan costal erosion has
more than doubled in certain
areas over the past 22 years.  
The deterioration of Alaska's
coastline has led to
the flooding of villages and has
also threatened abandoned
military communications
outposts that are known to be
repositories for hazardous
waste.  The study’s lead
author said that the damages
to the coast are caused by  a
documented warming trend in

In spite of the coastal erosion,
President Bush continues to
call for increased exploration
and drilling in the National
Petroleum Reserve to add to
the supply of domestically
produced oil and natural
it's all true
PR Firms Launch New, Improved Quagmire
Manpower reaching military
service age annually
top five countries
The US military has sought advice
from Madison Avenue marketers to
help the Pentagon gain the support
of Iraqi citizens and the attention of
Americans the occupation of Iraq, not
through a change in policy, but
rather by re-characterizing the
military operation to enhance the
image of US military occupiers.

The RAND Corporation was
contracted by the Pentagon to
suggest new ways to describe the
invasion and long-term occupation of
Iraq to‘re-brand’ the military mission
in hopes of gaining the support of
“Iraqi consumers.”  The 211-page
study, Enlisting Madison Avenue:
The Marketing Approach to Earning
Popular Support in Theaters of
Operation cost $400,000 to produce
and was delivered to the US Joint
Forces Command last month.
The brandings that have been
attempted by the Pentagon to
describe the occupation of Iraq that
most Americans are familiar with,
“shock and awe” and later “mission
accomplished”, are not how the
people of occupied Iraq understand
the US military action.  The study
found that the average Iraqi was
more likely to consider the phrase
“show of force” to be a more apt
description of the military mission.  
The report recommended that
occupying forces should “instill
customer satisfaction” by keeping
promises and use “social marketing”
techniques to gain the cooperation of
local populations.  The authors also
suggested that Congress consider
changing laws that prohibit the
military from using the Internet to
spread propaganda saying that the
law as currently written puts the US at
a "competitive disadvantage."     
it's all
m   2     4     6    8    10   12    14
source: CIA World
red state rebate : gross receipts
VP Energetically Protects Environment of
Vice President Cheney’s
controversial secret energy task
force held over 40 private meetings
with an array of energy industry
executives and lobbyists before
granting a single perfunctory hearing
to representatives from 13 major
environmental groups in April 2001,
according to documents recently
obtained by the
Washington Post.

The papers, leaked to the
Post by a
former White House official, contain
the names of about 300 groups and
individuals that met over a period of
five months with the staff of the task
force, which produced its energy
policy white
paper in May 2001. According to
the unnamed official, the initial
draft of the report was already
essentially complete when the
environmental advocates were
invited to appear before the task
force. The Vice President did not
attend that meeting. The energy
task force was at the center of a
legal dispute when the
Government Accountability Office
sought to review the process by
which it had arrived at its policy
recommendations. Cheney’s
office refused to provide the
information, going to court to
protect the secrecy of its
it's all true
Land of the Midnight Deals
Defense Deploys Democratic Donations
The junior senator from
Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,
recently amended her annual
financial disclosure to reflect
her purchase of a parcel of
land sold to her by a political

Murkowski bought the 1.27-
acre lot in an exclusive resort
area from long-time political
supporter and real estate
developer, Bob Penney. The
lot was purchased for
$179,000 but has an estimated
value of between $300,000
and $350,000.  Penny has a
home on an adjacent lot and
owns the lots that adjoin
Murkowski’s new property.  

Ethics watchdog groups have
criticized Murkowski for what
has been characterized as a
sweetheart deal, but
spokesperson said that the senator
has done “everything she was
required to as a US Senator.”   
Penny said he considered that he
received a fair price for the property,
adding that he has known the
Murkowski family for many years.  

Penny has also been subpoenaed to
testify in an on-going grand jury
investigation into influence peddling
by the owner of an oil services
company in Alaska that has received
millions of dollars worth of federal
contracts.  Alaska’s senior Senator
Ted Stevens has been implicated in
the scandal.   Federal investigators
recently searched Steven’s home
seeking documents connecting the
senator to the oil firm.  Stevens’ son,
the former president of the state’s
senate, has also been subject to
scrutiny by federal authorities for his
relationship with the oil
it's all true
The seven largest defense
contractors in the US made political
donations to Congressional election
campaigns totaling almost $3 million
in the first six months of 2007,
according to figures released last
week by independent blogger Steven
Trimble. The data also reveal that
nine of the top ten recipients were
Democratic legislators, reflecting a
wider trend among big money
lobbyists to shift the bulk of their
contributions to the party since it took
over both houses of Congress in
Trimble found that a majority of
members of Congress from both
parties had received donations
from at least one of the top
defense companies in the first half
of the year. The leading individual
recipient of defense industry
contributions was Rep. Silvestre
Reyes of Texas. Senator Susan
Collins of Maine was the only
Republican among the top ten
it's all true
Misconduct fines in millions of dollars since 1995 selected defense
boeing               raytheon               northrup             lockheed             
source: Project on Government






previous editions

 Links of the Week

Biodiesel Production for  
On-Farm Use: A curriculum for
agricultural producers

Iraq map: Distribution of
Ethnoreligious Groups and
Major Tribes From Iraq:
Country Profile, CIA, January

AD 1914, Man Ray, oil on
canvas Philadelphia Museum
of Art

Ornette Coleman : Times
Square Television broadcast,

contact us  
one nation, under surveillance
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Race to Profiling Begins With Tipster Immunity
White Offenders
Escape Prison
journal The Hill, a spokesman for
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
described the modified provision as
“a solid compromise that ensures
security in a manner that is mindful of
civil rights concerns.”

The effort to immunize tipsters stems
from an incident in Minneapolis last
November, previously reported by
redstateupdate, in which six Muslim
community leaders were removed
from a US Airways flight when other
passengers deemed their behavior to
be suspicious. The six imams, who
were detained briefly by police and
then released without charge,  filed a
civil rights lawsuit. Civil liberties
advocates predict that the proposed
legislation will cause an upsurge in
such incidents. An aide to Senate
Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick
Leahy (D-VT) told
The Hill, “Taking
aim at one pending case is
treacherous, since such measures
can widely undermine or even
eliminate the legal rights of ordinary
Americans in ways that aren’t always
easy to predict.”

In a related story,
ABC News
reported last week that the FBI is
building a large network of secret
informants within the US as part of a
broader effort to combat terrorism
through so-called "human
intelligence capabilities."        
it's all
House and Senate Democrats have
completed their reconciliation work
on a Homeland Security package that
adopts many of the
recommendations made by the 9/ 11
Commission in its 2004 report,
sending the bill to the President last
week.  But the legislation approved
by the Congressional conference
committee includes a contentious
provision granting immunity from
lawsuits to informants who provide
tips about suspicious activities to law
enforcement agencies. Critics say
that the broadly worded passage will
inevitably lead to an increase in
racial profiling and the harassment of
specific ethnic minorities in counter
terrorism operations.

The measure, which was introduced
by House Republicans as part of a
transportation security rider attached
to the original bill, has alarmed some
Senators, who warn against
implementing a provision that has not
received proper committee review. A
handful of Democrats successfully
pressed for changes to the original
language, which they said would
have extended legal liability
protections even to members of the
public who would knowingly make
false or malicious reports of
“suspicious activities.”   According to
Washington DC political
Racial disparities in the US prison
population continue to increase
significantly, accelerated by social
inequalities and by state and local
political policies, according to a
report released by a Washington
DC research institute. The report,  
compiled by the Sentencing
Project, found that blacks are
imprisoned at more than 5 times
the rate of whites nationally, and
that the rate of incarceration for
Hispanics is nearly double the
rate for whites. The study also
recorded large regional variations
in rates of incarceration by race,
with five states – Iowa, Vermont,
New Jersey, Connecticut, and
Wisconsin – imprisoning blacks at
more than ten times the rate of

The broad disparities identified by
the report “reflect a failure of
social and economic interventions
to address crime effectively, and
also indicate racial bias in the
justice system,” said Sentencing
Project Executive Director Marc
Mauer in a statement. He said the
results of the study show that
“policy decisions can play a key
role in determining the size and
composition of the prison
it's all true
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