one nation, under
number 25      10.16.05
Pentagon: 'This is not about spying on Americans'
The Senate Intelligence Committee
has approved a proposal that would
allow Defense Department operatives
to conduct covert intelligence
activities involving US citizens on US
soil. The controversial language was
added to the Intelligence
authorization bill in September with
no public hearings or debate. Also
approved by the committee were
amendments lifting restrictions on
data-sharing  among law
enforcement and military agencies,
and exempting the Pentagon from
certain Freedom of Information Act
requirements. The proposals became
public this month when the
intelligence spending bill was filed
with the full Senate.
Pentagon spokesmen have insisted
that the measures are needed to
assist the Defense Intelligence
Agency in its terrorist tracking
operations. DIA General Counsel
George Peirce told the  
, "This is not about spying on

But critics of the legislation,both in
Congress and in the private sector,
have warned that the proposals
erode hard-won privacy guarantees
designed to prevent military
intelligence gathering in domestic
contexts. Civil libertarians charge  
that the Pentagon is essentially
seeking to reacquire powers that
were revoked by Congress after the
COINTELPRO scandals of the
1960's and 70's were made
public. During that operation,DIA
agents routinely ignored the law,
infiltrating political groups and
conducting surveillance on private
American citizens.

Similar DIA sponsored provisions
were removed from the 2005
intelligence authorization bill after
a public outcry over the possibility
of new spying on Americans.
Despite that setback, Defense
Department officials quietly
reinserted the amendment into
this year's legislation at the
eleventh hour.
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

its all
red state
US Reveals
Even the Defense Industry is Critical of This Contract
Defense industry experts and
contractors have decried the recent
Pentagon decition to grant a 27.9
million dollar contract to a company
that is currently under investigation
for defrauding the US government
and jeopardizing the security of the
Army and Air Force.

The company L-3 Communications
came under investigation in 2004
when the Department of Defense
became aware of the company
supplying inferior parts for circuit
boards in its fulfillment of a
multimillion-dollar contract for
the US Armed Services and Special
Operations Command. The circuit
boards are a component of “survival
radios” that provide search and
rescue teams with the ability to
communicate, locate and authenticate
radio transmissions of downed US Air
crews transmitting messages such as
“capture is imminent” or “injured but
can move”. The radios themselves
cost as much as $10,000.00 per unit
and are currently in use in military
operations in Iraq.

The Defense Criminal Investigative
Services has teamed with the US
Attorney to investigate L-3’s cover up
of its knowledge that the circuit
boards do not work properly.
The ongoing investigation into the
practices of L3 did not stop the
Pentagon from awarding a 27.9
million dollar cost-plus-incentive-
free contract to test Trident II
nuclear submarines for the US
and the United Kingdom. Industry
analysts characterize granting the
contract as “some kind of cruel
joke” based upon the recent
history of the company supplying
cheap and faulty parts for troop
safety equipment and covering up
its malfeasance by lying to the
Department of Defense.
The United States is facing an
international revolt against its
unilateral governance over
the Internet. A coalition of
countries including China,
Brazil, Iran and Saudi Arabia
have been seeking a new
multinational authority to
control the operations of the
root servers of the Internet,
which are currently controlled
by a private company, the
Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and
Numbers, under the auspices
of the US Department of
Commerce. The recent
decision by the European
Union to join these countries
in seeking to remove control
from the US and ICANN sets
the stage for a tense
confrontation at next month's
World Summit on the
Information Society in Tunisia.

ICANN was formed during the
Clinton administration to
establish technical guidelines
for root servers and to
maintain a secure database of
Internet addresses. The plan
was to eventually phase out
unilateral US oversight. But
the Bush administration
announced in June that it
intended to extend its control
over Internet governance
indefinitely, citing security

That announcement has led
to the current standoff within
the international community.
The decision by the EU to
break with the United States is
seen by diplomatic observers
as a sign of growing
frustration over US
intransigence on the issue.  
its all
interpreting the constitution
White House Tortures Logic in
Opposition to McCain Amendment
The Bush administration has
repeated its threat to veto the
defense spending bill because the
Senate has added an amendment
barring US forces from torturing and
abusing prisoners under their
control. Despite strong  White House
and Pentagon opposition, the Senate
voted 90-9 to approve the
amendment which prohibits "cruel,
inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment of persons under
custody or control of the United
States government." The vote was
seen as a rebuke  to the
administration for policies that have
resulted int the international scandals
at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Republican Senators John McCain, a
decorated veteran, and Lindsey
Graham, a former military judge
advocate general, sponsored the
amendment. They were joined by 44
other Republicans and 43
Democrats, as well as Independent
James Jeffords of Vermont. Nine
Republicans voted against the
provision.  Opponents claim the ban
on torture would limit the
governments ability to fight the "war
on terror."

Former Secretary of State Colin
Powell joined 28 other retired senior
military officers in supporting
McCain's initiative. A statement from
the White House said the amendment
would "restrict the president's
authority to protect Americans
effectively from terrorist attack and
bringing terrorists to justice."
spread of the red
its all
Republican Group Studies the Art
of Cutting Basic Services
crowd control
Confronted with the costs of both
of this season’s hurricanes and
the billion dollars a month
occupation of Iraq, President
Bush has steadfastly refused to
re-think the tax cuts he worked to
pass in his first term which
benefited America’s wealthy.  In
the face of historical budget
deficits exceeding $331 billion this
year, the president has asked the
republican controlled congress to
explore cutting programs and
services that many Americans rely

Answering the president’s call, an
advisory panel made up of 100
house republicans called the
Republican Study Committee
(RSC) has drafted a proposal
called “operation offset” to cut
government programs to achieve
a savings of more than $100
billion in the next year.

The republican plan proposes to
increase Medicare co-payments
for hospital visits, prescription
drugs and doctor visits by 70% for
adults and 300% for children.  
The republican plan is to
“encourage a more cost
conscious use of services” by
seniors, parents and children.

Operation offset also calls for the
complete elimination of the
corporation for Public
Broadcasting.   House republicans
have long had the CPB in its
sights, cutting funding and
complaining about public
broadcasting’s scientific and arts
programming.  The republican
plan to completely eliminate
funding for public broadcasting
would save $400 million in 2006.

The RSC has also proposed to
eliminate both the National
Endowment for the Arts and the
National Endowment for the
Humanities.  The plan states that  
“the general public benefits very
little” from the arts and
educational endeavors funded by
the NEA and NEH.  The plan calls
for the federal dollars removed
from the programs will be made
up through “private donations”.  

The RSC also proposes cuts in or
elimination of the following
programs: subsidized loans to
graduate students, grants to
states for the Safe and Drug Free
Schools program, and state and
community grants for
conservation.  The group also
plans to decrease funding for the
government’s Global Aids
Initiative and the Peace Corps.

While the RSC did not suggest
the repeal of the tax breaks the
congress passed for America’s
richest citizens, it does propose to
raise $140 million by eliminating
free parking for federal
Scalia Bars
Reporters, Scalia
Tars Reporters
its all





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Links of the Week

Mountain Top Removal photo

JMW Turner: Sun Setting over
a Lake  c. 1840; Oil on canvas,
91 x 122.5 cm; Tate Gallery,
London: courtesy web
museum, Paris

U.S. Senate Roll Call Vote:
McCain Amendment No. 1977
October 5, 2005

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Justice Antonin Scalia exercised his
freedom to ban press coverage of a
speech he gave last week in
Washington DC to the American
Council of Life Insurers.  Although
the group promoted the speech in a
press release, Scalia forbade
admittance of reporters and banned
TV cameras and tape recorders.  

Scalia has a history of censoring
media coverage of his speaking
events.  In 2004 the court apologized
to reporters who were forced by
federal marshals to erase tape
recordings of a public speech Scalia
made at the judge’s demand.  In
2003 Scalia barred TV cameras from
a speech he made about freedom of

The day following Scalia's speaking
event,the Supreme Court heard
arguments in a case about the
federal whistle blower statute.  
Attorneys defending the rights of
whistle blowers argued that the
public needs to know when
government employees report
malfeasance and wrongdoing in the
public sector.  Scalia opined that
simply because reporters want to
advise the public of such wrong
doing does not qualify the matters as
constitutionally protected speech.  
back to top of
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verbatim                                        number 5.1
"I want there to be a
robust discussion
about the best way
for the federal
government... certain extreme
circumstances... be able to rally
assets for the good of
the people."
Washington DC  09.26.05
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