one nation, under surveillance
number 41     
Government Spying Reveals Americans Have Little Useful
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The Bush administration’s
controversial domestic surveillance
program has generated very few
viable leads, despite the fact that
intelligence officers have accessed
the private conversations and e-mails
of thousands of American citizens
each year since 2002. According to
an investigation by the
, fewer than 10 US citizens a
year are considered serious enough
suspects to require further
surveillance under the program,
which is administered by the National
Security Agency.

It is unclear how many Americans are
subject to NSA wiretapping but the
Post, citing “current and former
government officials,” estimated that
the number may be as high as 5000
each year. Bush administration
officials refuse to divulge the figures,
but have insisted that the spying is
necessary to prevent terrorism. Vice
President Cheney has said that the
warrantless wiretapping “has saved
thousands of lives.” It is anticipated
that the administration will seek a
blanket exemption from the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act for its
warrantless eavesdropping activities.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez
recently testified before the Senate
Judiciary Committee in defense of the
NSA spying. Committee Chairman
Arlen Specter (R., PA) has expressed
some doubts as to the legality  of the
program. Gonzalez sought to
reassure Senators, saying, "We
use FISA where we can, and we
always consider all our legal

In an apparent break with the
administration, Senate Intelligence
Committee Chairman Pat Roberts
(R., KS) said last week that NSA
wiretapping should be subject to
the special FISA court. But aides
swiftly clarified his position, saying
that the Senate will consult with
the White House on amending
FISA rules. Later, the Intelligence
Committee announced that it had
declined to investigate the
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interpreting the constitution

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Bush Finds
Funding for
Innocent Captives in Prison the World Wants
This past week, as the UN urged
that   the US terrorist detention
center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba be
closed down, reports have again
arisen that many of the detainees in
the center have been wrongly
imprisoned for several years, in some
cases, with the full knowledge of the
Department of Defense.

Reports have surfaced in multiple
media outlets, including ABC News
and the National Journal, that many
of the detainees at Camp X-ray in
Guantanamo, Cuba are actually
innocent victims of a scheme
concocted by Afghani warlords to be
awarded ‘bounty’ money given by the
American military in its zeal to find
‘evil-doers’ after the US invaded

ABC News recently reported on the
plight of 5 captives held at
Guantanamo for more than four
years who have been assessed by a
federal judge and the Pentagon itself
as innocent of any crime. In 2005,
federal district Judge James
Robertson wrote of one of the
detainees who appeared before
him in a habeas corpus petition
that “indefinite imprisonment at
Guantanamo Bay is unlawful”.

The National Journal reported last
week that the “largest single
group” of detainees held at the
prison are not battle field
combatants but simply individuals
caught up in a sweep of Pakistan
and Afghanistan performed by the
US Military. The sweep was
preceded by helicopter leafleting
of the areas promoting that
villagers would receive $1000 for
every “Arab” they turned over to
the US forces. This led to a
situation where small time crooks,
local farmers and despotic
warlords turned in enemies,
neighbors and other innocents
over to American soldiers. The
magazine concluded that a “high
percentage, perhaps the majority”
of the detainees at Camp X-ray
are innocent of any crime against
the US.
Last week, the United Nations
charged that the US has engaged in
the maltreatment and torture of
prisoners at the infamous detention
facility and called for the detention
center to be closed immediately. The
report was based upon extensive
allegations of abuse by former
detainees and the fact that none of
the detainees have been accorded
even the most rudimentary due
process rights granted by
international compacts that have the
force of law in the United States. The
detainees at Guantanamo have been
held for years without being officially
charged with a crime and having
never been afforded the right to
representation by an attorney.
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A study released by the
non-partisan Government
Accounting Office has
revealed that the Bush
administration has spent in
excess of $1.6 billion on media
contracts, public relations and
advertising in the past 18

The total includes funding 343
media relations contracts in
seven federal agencies
including the Defense
Department and the
Department of Homeland
Security. The report reflected
a 128 percent increase in
public relations spending
between 2000 and 2004. The
GAO report was the first of its
kind assessing the cost of
government sponsored media
messages and public relations

The study found that $1.4
billion of the total went to
advertising agencies.  
Although money was spent for
purposes such as military
recruiting , some of the
$1.4 billion was spent on what
government inspectors have  
assessed to be "covert

As previously reported in, media
outlets were given government
prepared 'news' segments
without being advised that the
information was created by
government agencies in
support of  policy agendas.

In one case, commentator
Armstrong Williams made TV
appearances and wrote
editorials in support of the
'Head Start' program while
being paid $250,000 by the
Department of
it's all true
US trade in passenger
automobiles by selected
in  millions of dollars -year 2004
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fun d'
Air Force Changes Policy, in Jesus'
The Air Force has revised its rules
regarding Christian proselytizing at
its schools and bases allowing
chaplains and officers to pray "in
Jesus' name" at public ceremonies
and during instruction.

The Air Force had come under fire in
2005 because evangelical teachers,
commanders, chaplains and cadets
were alleged to pressure
non-Christian cadets to convert to
Christianity as an adjunct to their
military training.  A Jewish cadet
charging that the Air Force illegally
imposes Christianity on its students.  

After the lawsuit was filed, the
Colorado based fundamentalist
organization 'Focus on the Family'
joined with other evangelical groups
to mount a
campaign to strong-arm politicians
and the Department of Defense to
relax the Air Force's rules allowing
Christian proselytizing.

The coalition was pushing for
President Bush to issue an
executive order proclaiming that
military chaplains can "pray in
Jesus' name".

While the new rules do  not make
this specific guarantee, they do
soften the Air Force's previous
policy by dropping a requirement
for chaplains to respect other's
personal beliefs and allowing
superior officers to promote their
religious beliefs among the cadets
and airmen under their
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source: US Bureau of the






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Links of the Week

Fairness and Accuracy in
Reporting Media Advisory :
"Terror Plot" Reporting Lacks

Herman Melville web page by
Professor Andreas Tueber of
Brandeis University

Ornette Coleman web page at

NASA Aurora Gallery : gallery
of Aurora Borealis photographs

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Report Warns of
Long, Hard
Federal Handouts Allow Oil Companies
to     Explore Uncharted Territory of
An air strike against Iranian
nuclear research facilities by
United States or Israeli forces
would immediately result in
thousands of military and civilian
deaths, and eventually lead to a
major war in the region, according
to a report released by a British
think tank. Within weeks of such
an attack a dangerously unstable
situation would develop
throughout the Middle East,
leading to a “protracted military
confrontation” among several

The report,
Iran: Consequences
of a War
, published last week by
the Oxford Research Group, was
written by Professor Paul Rogers
of Bradford University. It
concludes that an attack on Iran
“would set in motion a complex,
long-lasting confrontation” that
might involve Israel, Lebanon,
Iraq, and some Persian Gulf
states. Professor Rogers writes
that any attack would have a
unifying effect on the Iranian
people, and would further
entrench animosity against the US
in the Muslim world generally. The
report also warns of radioactive
fallout from an attack on  the
nuclear reactor at Bushehr.          
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The US government will waive
royalties on approximately $65 billion
worth of oil and gas to be pumped
from federal territories over the next
five years. The royalty relief will be
worth an estimated $7 to $10 billion
to the world’s largest oil companies
at a time when high oil prices are
producing record profits for the
industry. The four major oil
producers-Shell, BP, Chevron, and
Exxon-Mobil- posted combined profits
of over $23 billion for the last quarter
of 2005.

In a related story, Kerr-McGee
Exploration and Development
recently initiated a lawsuit against the
US Department of the Interior in
which it seeks to avoid royalties on
most of its Gulf of Mexico production.
If the company is successful in what
is widely seen as a test case,
analysts say that some 80 percent of
all oil and gas from federal waters in
the Gulf would not be subject to

Government projections put the lost
royalty revenue at about $35 billion
aver the next five years.
Royalty relief is an incentive offered
by the federal government to
encourage oil exploration in US
territories. The current legislation
governing relief was adopted in 1996
when oil was trading at an average of
$38 per barrel. Now, with prices
nearing $70 per barrel, even some
Republican lawmakers are asking if
such incentives are appropriate.
House Resources Chairman Richard
W. Pombo (R., CA) said, “I don’t
think there is a single member of
Congress who thinks you should get
royalty relief at $70 a barrel.”

Oil industry executives claim that the
high costs of deep water drilling may
be offset by royalty relief, and that
such incentives have led to
increased domestic oil production in
recent years.

During the 2000 presidential election
campaign, George W. Bush said that
continuing the incentives was
unnecessary, calling them “a huge
tax break” for major producers and
refiners. But the administration
supported new royalty relief
programs in its Energy Act of
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back to top of
"A lot of good folks at the
federal level and the
state level and the local
level are doing
everything we can to
disrupt and deny, to run
down every hint, every
verbatim                                                                                         8.2
...any time we've got any kind of
inkling that somebody is thinking
about doing something to an
American and something to our
homeland, you've just got to know
we're moving on it, to protect
the...Constitution, and at the same
time, we're protecting