Segment 6 of 8:
Stephen Spoonamore on electronic voting machines
The complete interview is posted at http://rovecybergate.com
1 hour, 36 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf resigned on Monday, bringing down the curtain on a turbulent nine years in power to avoid the first impeachment in the nuclear-armed nation's history.
The key US ally, who seized power in a 1999 coup, announced the move in a lengthy televised address, rejecting the charges against him but saying he wanted to spare Pakistan a damaging battle with the ruling coalition.
The departure of the former general set off wild celebrations at home, yet it was far from certain what would come next for a nation whose role in the "war on terror" has been increasingly questioned by Washington.
2 hours, 39 minutes ago
PATNA, India (Reuters) - A state government in eastern Indian is encouraging people to eat rats in an effort to battle soaring food prices and save grain stocks.
Authorities in Bihar, one of India's poorest states, are asking rich and poor alike to switch to eating rats in a bid to reduce the dependence on rice. They even plan to offer rats on restaurant menus.
"Eating of rats will serve twin purposes -- it will save grains from being eaten away by rats and will simultaneously increase our grain stock," Vijay Prakash, an official from the state's welfare department, told Reuters.Officials say almost 50 percent of India.
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is directly responsible for supreme war crimes of aggressive war and genocide within a larger campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Russians and ethnic Ossetes of South Ossetia — a secessionist region of Georgia that has declared its independence, once by war and more recently by landslide referendum.
Emboldened by U.S. and Israeli support, the Caucasian champion of freedom and democracy isn't bothered by liberty-based phenomena like republican self-government, secession, and the like. In fact, according to his masters in the United States, Israel, NATO, the U.N., and the E.U., South Ossetia is Saakashvili's own private Palestine.
As sadistic and over-simplified as that sounds, upon review of the recent Georgian-U.S.-Israeli aggression it is arguably true. (Of course, in terms of illegality and duration, there is no contemporary comparison to the oppression endured by the Palestinians; but the conflict in the Caucasus — and the Georgian aggression that sparked it — do reveal many parallels and downplayed connections to Israeli aggression against the peoples it attempts to own.)
August 18, 2008, 1:05 PM (GMT+02:00)
USS Ronald Reagan
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that the Iranian satellite carrier space launch Sunday, Aug. 17, was prompted by a joint caution to Tehran from Saudi King Abdullah and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
After their meeting Saturday, the spokesman of the presidential palace in Cairo, Suleiman Awwad, said: Iran should not present on a silver platter the “justifications and pretexts for those [US and Israel] who want to drag the region down a dangerous slope.”
This warning was interpreted by the London Arabic daily Al Quds as a warning to Tehran that an attack is impending by the US, some European nations and Israel.
With the full effect of the USA Patriot Act (USAPA) on civil liberties in the United States still unknown, and without a shred of evidence that USAPA was required to help fight terrorism, the Bush Administration has been preparing a second piece of legislation. Tentatively titled the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," it was instantly dubbed Patriot II or Son of Patriot. For purposes of this report, it's called USAPA II. Recently Attorney General Ashcroft denied that a bill was in the works, although he admitted that the leaked document is "what we've been thinking."2
Whether or not USAPA II is introduced, it's clear that the Patriot Act is casting a long shadow in Washington, D.C. For instance, Attorney General John Ashcroft recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had authorized more than 170 "emergency" FISA searches since 9/11. In the previous 20 years, attorneys general had only authorized a total of 47 emergency FISA searches.
The first Patriot Act assumes that lack of information caused by laws that restricted government information-gathering was a major reason for the September 11 terrorist attacks. But nothing could be further from the truth. The most objective analysis -- that of the congressional joint inquiry committee focused on the government's failure to "connect the dots."3 It noted poor coordination between the many government agencies responsible for intelligence and counter-intelligence and poor sorting of the information it did have.
By R.D. Bradshaw
In March 2008, gold hit a high of around $1030 per ounce. By mid-August, it had collapsed to $772. Similar falls happened to most of the commodities and foreign currencies. Wheat went from a high of $13-15 to $7-8 per bushel; Silver, soybeans and corn all crashed as well. Even the EURO currency went from almost $1.60 to $1.46 and oil fell from $149 to $111.
Here, the question must be asked--how is it possible that these prices can collapse in just a matter of days? For the answer, one must address the subject of the historic goldsmiths and how they are still around today and still making money--like never before. This article and two succeeding ones will broach this theme.
As a backdrop on this topic, here are a couple of quotes. Per Thomas Jefferson, in 1800, “Everything predicted by the enemies of banks...is now coming to pass. We are to be ruined by a deluge of bank paper” (Dec 2002, “Radio Liberty,” p. 1). In 1850, Thomas Webster added: “Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effective than that which deludes them with paper money” (ibid, p. 1).
The facts are that Senator McCain was in a motorcade led by the United States Secret Service and held in a green room with no broadcast feed.(Edit: Note that it is totally irrelevant that McCain was with the Secret Service. They go with him wherever he goes. Goldfarb is just mentioning to make it seem like there was a good reason for McCain to break his pledge.)
By Peter Finn, Washington Post | August 18, 2008
TSKHINVALI, Georgia - The windows were blown out of the old synagogue here, and the wooden bimah splintered and partly collapsed. Shattered glass covered the floor, and parts of the ornately painted walls were torn off.
But the old building held, and it protected 40 people who took shelter in its spacious basement as the neighborhood above them was reduced to rubble.
Here in Tskhinvali, residents have no doubt that Georgia started the war with Russia and there is much bitterness about the rain of artillery and rockets that the government of President Mikhail Saakashvili used in its efforts to capture the city.
August 17, 2008
Categories: John McCain
A reader points out that John McCain's example of pure evil yesterday rests on a story asserted by Iraqi officials, but since cast into doubt.
"Not long ago in Baghdad, Al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a marketplace, and by remote control, detonated those suicide vests," McCain told Rick Warren. "If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is."
Psychiatric case files of two female suicide bombers who killed nearly 100 people in Baghdad this month show that they suffered from depression and schizophrenia but do not contain information indicating they had Down Syndrome, American officials said Wednesday.
Oh, the spectacle of it all -- and don't think I'm referring to those opening ceremonies in Beijing, where North Korean-style synchronization seemed to fuse with smiley-faced Walt Disney, or Michael Phelp's thrilling hunt for eight gold medals and Speedo's one million dollar "bonus," a modernized tribute to the ancient Greek tradition of amateurism in action. No, I'm thinking of the blitz of media coverage after Dr. Bruce Ivins, who worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, committed suicide by Tylenol on July 29th and the FBI promptly accused him of the anthrax attacks of September and October 2001.
You remember them: the powder that, innocuously enough, arrived by envelope -- giving going postal a new meaning -- accompanied by hair-raising letters ominously dated "09-11-01" that said, "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great." Five Americans would die from anthrax inhalation and 17 would be injured. The Hart Senate Office Building, along with various postal facilities, would be shut down for months of clean-up, while media companies that received the envelopes were thrown into chaos.
For a nation already terrified by the attacks of September 11, 2001, the thought that a brutal dictator with weapons of mass destruction (who might even have turned the anthrax over to the terrorists) was ready to do us greater harm undoubtedly helped pave the way for an invasion of Iraq. The President would even claim that Saddam Hussein had the ability to send unmanned aerial vehicles to spray biological or chemical weapons over the east coast of the United States (drones that, like Saddam's nuclear program, would turn out not to exist).
Five years ago, Albert Gonzalez allegedly used an unsecured radio link to tap into the computers of a BJ's Wholesale Club store in Miami and access customer credit-card numbers.
It was a simple trick, but it was only the beginning.
The FBI claims to have caught the killer. But so much evidence has been neglected or mishandled that many experts still have doubts.
Seven years after the anthrax attacks shut down Congress, sowed panic nationwide, killed five, sickened 17, and allowed neocon propagandists to variously blame al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the FBI claims to have gotten its man. But the official story doesn’t fully accord with the facts. Any reasonable assessment of the evidence suggests that the same powerful interests that might have been served by prolonging the investigation would have had a stake in finally bringing it to a tidy conclusion. That doesn’t mean that the killer was caught.
The acknowledged certainty is that the anthrax letters weren’t the work of Islamists or Iraqis. The attacks were perpetrated by someone with high-level access to U.S. government supplies of the deadly bacteria. Ground zero of the investigation has long been the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. But the lab had dropped from the headlines until recently, much as the FBI had seemingly allowed its investigation to languish.
The first week of August, the popular press got back in the game, reporting the apparent suicide of USAMRIID scientist Bruce E. Ivins, alleged to be the sole operator behind the anthrax letters. The Associated Press reported that Ivins, who is said to have killed himself on July 29 with an overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, was “one of the government’s leading scientists researching vaccines and cures for anthrax exposure.” According to the AP, he was “brilliant but troubled.” His lawyer, Paul Kemp, says that Ivins passed a pair of polygraph tests and that the grand jury investigating the case was weeks from returning an indictment. Yet within days of his death, the bureau announced that it was beginning the shutdown of its “Amerithrax” investigation. “Anthrax Case a Wrap,” blared the Daily News on Aug. 4.
All Things Considered, August 17, 2008 · A group of people claiming to be the heirs of the legendary Knights Templar are suing Pope Benedict XVI, seeking more than $150 billion for assets seized by the Catholic Church seven centuries ago.
They also want to restore the order's good name. Founded in 1119, the Knights Templar was a secretive order of Christian warriors who protected pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem during the Crusades. They fell out of favor years later, and members were accused of denying Christ, worshipping the devil and practicing sodomy. Many Templars were tortured and burned at the stake.
In 1307, Pope Clement V accused the order of heresy and officially dissolved it.
No peace can I find.
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind.
It’s not like I really wanted to spend the weekend thinking about last week’s small war between Russia and the Caucasian republic of Georgia – not when I could have been watching women’s beach volleyball at the Olympics instead.
But ever since the obscure dispute over the breakaway province of South Ossetia suddenly flared into a good old fashioned Cold War crisis (putting the US – or at least John McCain – toe-to-toe with the Russkies) I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how America found itself obligated to defend the security and territorial integrity of a place name most Americans probably associate with peach trees and Scarlett O’Hara.
I’m no foreign policy maven, but I’m also not completely oblivious to what our government has been up to in the Caucasus (unlike, say, about 99.99% of the rest of the American population). I knew the Cheney Administration had taken a shine to Michael Saakashvili, the purportedly democratic, allegedly peaceloving president of Georgia, and I knew the Cheneyites were also big supporters of his demands for a Russian withdrawal from those bits of territory that rejected Georgian authority when the old USSR broke up in 1991. I also knew the administration has been trying, both overtly and covertly, to break the Russian stranglehold on the export of oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea basin (democratic freedom and access to petrocarbons being fairly synonymous terms in the American diplomatic dictionary).
Conyers conducting examination into intelligence fixing and forgery
As part of a major examination into the evidence that the Bush administration forged intelligence documents to justify the invasion of Iraq, the House Judiciary Committee will also look into various considerations, plots and attempts to provoke war, including the idea of goading Saddam Hussein to shoot down a mock UN plane.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has announced that he and his staff will investigate the evidence most recently collated and presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind in his book The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism.
According to a press release earlier this week, Conyers' office will examine:
It’s obvious that the McCain campaign and the RNC have decided to go after Barack Obama as a flip-flopper. What’s equally obvious, though, that Republicans couldn’t have chosen a worse narrative.
McCain & Co. seemed to stumble on this line of attack almost by accident. They’d experimented with a variety of memes in recent months, none of which had any real salience. The right settled on “flip-flopper,” in large part because it’s the closest available, already-written Republican narrative, and in part because McCain staffers haven’t been able to think of anything else.
The irony, of course, is that the McCain campaign couldn’t have picked a more hypocritical line of attack. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of reversals from the Republican nominee, numbered and organized by category for easier reference.
History proves that there is always advance warning when governments enter the final stages of transitioning from freedom to tyranny. The three most obvious warnings are sounded when government begins openly spying on people, publicly punishing opinions and raising up standing armies. The U.S. government and its state, county, municipal and corporate minions have legalized unwarranted surveillance, searches and seizures; those who speak and write in opposition to government policies are subject to punishments ranging from character assassination and harassment to prison sentences and sudden, suspicious deaths and; police at all levels are being militarized in dress, weaponry, demeanor and tactics. What Thomas Jefferson pointed out as historical fact over 200 years ago is supported in contemporary experience as described by Ron Paul. The truth is plain to see: The U.S. government has become obsessed with surveillance and the enforcement of its increasingly unpopular policies with militarized police authority.
Read full story
When the State Department scrambled to put together Condoleezza Rice's trip last Wednesday to Georgia's capital of Tbilisi, officials quickly realized they had a problem -- and his name was Vice President Cheney.
That same day, Cheney was flying on Air Force Two on a fundraising trip to Colorado and California. The plane is one of three C-32s -- a military version of the Boeing 757-200 -- shared by the vice president and the secretary of state, officials said.
But one of the remaining jets was in for maintenance, and the last is always kept as an emergency backup for Air Force One, officials said. That meant Rice had to settle for a smaller Air Force C-40, with limits on staff, security and media. That did not go over well with reporters, who wanted to accompany Rice and questioned why she was not afforded a bigger plane for such an important journey.
Lea Anne McBride, a Cheney spokeswoman, said the vice president's office has no role in assigning the use of airplanes.
As was previously stated, there is a very good possibility that the World War III option is an attempt to control the Internet by eliminating Net Neutrality and online free speech. It appears that the boundaries set between countries through treaties are vanishing due to the exponential dissemination of information through the Net. This is in conflict with the wishes of the oligarchy who are willing to do anything to maintain control.
With the advent of the Internet we have seen unfiltered information travel at light-speed across the globe. This global community, functioning as the only true free society, is reshaping our world. Where this interaction and connectivity will lead us is yet to be determined however the changes are and continue to be unprecedented.
The information contained and conveyed through this medium is what will shape our future, hence once the wrap-up of politics and economics is completed, a major portion of the energy that was spent writing directly about our political and economic metamorphosis will now be spent on numerous other topics, one of which will be about the power of the Internet and how it may bring about positive changes to our world if we are able to keep the oligarchy at bay.
By FOREIGN POLICY and the Center for American Progress | August 18, 2008
Complete survey results (pdf)
Signs of progress in Iraq have left America’s top foreign-policy experts experiencing a rare sensation: optimism. For the first time, the national security establishment appears more positive about the war in Iraq, U.S. efforts in fighting global terrorist networks, and the security of the United States and its people. But these experts are increasingly critical of the U.S. government's approach to the world—from Iran and Pakistan to U.S. energy policy and addressing failed states.
For the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, issues of national security no longer dominate political discourse. Rising energy costs, the subprime mortgage implosion, and other domestic imperatives now monopolize the national conversation. In a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Americans ranked terrorism as the country’s 10th-most important priority—behind healthcare, education, and the federal budget deficit. But even as attentions shift, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become the longest U.S. military engagements in a century, with the exception of Vietnam. Around the world, terrorists have continued to strike with deadly effect—from Athens and Paris to Beirut and Baghdad. The upcoming presidential election presents the United States with a choice about how it will seek to combat this threat, even as, somewhere, terrorists might be plotting their next attack. Wherever the war on terror may exist in the public’s consciousness, there is no doubt that it rages on.
But is it making the United States safer? To find out, each year Foreign Policy and the Center for American Progress survey the very people who have run America’s national security apparatus during the past half century. Surveying more than 100 top U.S. foreign-policy experts—Republicans and Democrats alike—the Foreign Policy / Center for American Progress Terrorism Index is the only comprehensive, nonpartisan effort to poll the highest echelons of the country’s national security establishment for its assessment of how the United States is fighting the war on terror. First released in July 2006, then again in February and September 2007, the index attempts to draw definitive conclusions about the war's priorities, policies, and progress. Its participants include people who have served as national security advisor, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, senior White House aides, top Pentagon commanders, seasoned intelligence professionals, and distinguished academics.
Although most of these experts still see a world with considerable dangers, this year’s index revealed a new trend: signs of progress. For the first time since the index was launched in 2006, the experts have become more optimistic. A year ago, 91 percent of the experts said they believed the world was growing more dangerous for Americans and the United States. This year that figure fell to 70 percent, a 21-point drop in 12 months. Similarly, when asked in 2007 if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “The United States is winning the war on terror,” just 6 percent of the experts agreed. Today, 21 percent of the experts say the United States is making headway in fighting terrorism. Overall, the percentage of experts who see the threat of global terrorist networks as increasing dropped from 83 percent last year to 55 percent today. Such assessments, broadly speaking, represent the most positive scores in the two-year history of the index.
Speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) once again tried to steal credit for the 21st Century G.I. Bill, which McCain had vigorously opposed, even submitting his own proposal to undermine the chances of success for the main bill. Today, McCain told the audience of veterans that he “sought a better bill” and declared the final passage of the GI bill “the result” of his efforts:
As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I’m proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country.
It is audacious for McCain to go before the VFW and claim credit for a bill he nearly destroyed, considering the VFW was one of the bill’s strongest backers. It first endorsed the proposal in June 2007, and continued to press for the bill this year, rejecting McCain’s supposed concerns about military retention and stridently criticizing his alternative proposal:
August 16, 2008
Grossly overweight children may be taken from their families and put into care if Britain’s obesity epidemic continues to escalate, council chiefs said yesterday.
The Local Government Association argued that parents who allowed their children to eat too much could be as guilty of neglect as those who did not feed their children at all.
The association said that until now there had been only a few cases when social services had intervened in obesity cases. But it gave warning that local councils may have to take action much more often and, if necessary, put obese children on “at risk” registers or take them into care. It called for new guidelines to be drawn up to help authorities deal with the issue.
There have been some reported cases where children under 10 have weighed up to 14st (89kg) and a three-year-old has weighed 10st – putting them at a high risk of diabetes and heart disease. Only last week a 15-year-old girl in Wales was told by doctors that she could “drop dead at any moment” after tipping the scales at 33st.
At least $1.2 billion went towards new voting machines between 2003 and 2007, McClatchy reports. But many states (Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Tennessee and New Mexico) that bought touch-screen machines have decided to replace them due to concerns about their reliability. In a number of places, that process won't be completed until long after the 2008 election.
Ohio's secretary of state recently sued to recover the $83 million in state funds spent on touch-screen machines, yet the machines will nevertheless be used in November. The machines will still be widely used in dozens of other states, but the trend, McClatchy reports, is apparent:
The UN's committee on human rights has just published a report criticising Britain's anti-terror laws and the resulting curbs on civil liberties. For many commentators the issues raised are mostly a matter of academic abstractions and speculative meanderings. For me, it is anything but. These laws have destroyed my life.
On May 14 I was arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act - on suspicion of the "instigation, preparation and commission of acts of terrorism": an absurdly nebulous formulation that told me nothing about the sin I had apparently committed. Once in custody, almost 48 hours passed before it was confirmed that the entire operation (involving dozens of officers, police cars, vans, and scientific support agents) was triggered by the presence on my University of Nottingham office computer of an equally absurd document called the "al-Qaida Training Manual", a declassified open-source document that I had never read and had completely forgotten about since it had been sent to me months before.Rizwaan Sabir, a politics student friend of mine (who was also arrested), had downloaded the file from the US justice department website while conducting research on terrorism for his upcoming PhD. An extended version of the same document (which figures on the politics department's official reading list) was also available on Amazon. I edit a political magazine; Rizwaan regularly sent me copies of research materials he was using, and this document was one.
Merrill Lynch, Wachovia and other financial companies are at risk of failure as the cost of raising capital soars at a time when the banks need to pay settlements over auction rate securities, David Kotok, chairman & chief investment officer from Cumberland Advisors, told CNBC Monday.
"I think the financial problem is half way through the cycle … there's another shoe to drop ahead of us and it could be more severe," Kotok told "Worldwide Exchange." (Watch the video at the left to hear Kotok's views on where oil and the dollar are heading.)
The cash companies need to shore up bad investments, "is up to about $50 billion and will probably top $100 billion before it's over," he added.
"Those firms -- Merrill,
[MER 24.74 -1.55 (-5.9%) ] Wachovia
[WB 14.96 -0.61 (-3.92%) ] and others -- are going to have to raise that cash," he said. "They are either going to have to get it from the Federal Reserve, through some direct or indirect means, which means more leverage, more Fed balance sheet, more regularly oversight or they're going to have to get it in the capital markets."
BRUSSELS: The U.S. administration is trying to stick the label of "bad guy" on Russia for exceeding the peacekeeping mandate and using "disproportionate force" in the peace-enforcement operation in Georgia.
Maybe our American friends have gone blind and deaf at the same time. Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, is known as a tough nationalist who didn't hide his intentions of forcing Ossetians and Abkhazians to live in his country.
We were hoping that the U.S. administration, which had displayed so much kindness and touching care for the Georgian leader, would be able to save him from the maniacal desire to deal with the small and disobedient peoples of the Caucasus.
August 18th, 2008 - 11:02am ET
On "Meet the Bloggers" Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said that there is a "collapse" of the middle class and that nothing short of a revolution will be needed to reverse it.
"What we really need is a political revolution in this country," Sanders said, beginning with countering the corporate media spin on what is happening in the economy.
Sanders, in the Meet the Bloggers interview, cited these statistics as evidence of what he's calling the middle-class collapse since President Bush has taken office:
Both parties and presidential candidates are oblivious to the changing landscape of America that extends beyond the physical to cultural, social and political landscapes. Homeowners associations are protected, encouraged and supported by the state legislatures who are active participants in establishing the New America of privatized local governments.
“Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” — Dec. of Independence.
The only defense offered by the special interest promoters and legislators has been one specious argument based on “a consent to be governed” based on an unsigned contract, and by ascribing de jure government attributes to the HOA. Attempts at reform legislation are met with the outcry of “contract interference”. More specifically, on Art 1, Sec 10, of the Constitution, the disjointed clause 1, which states: “No state shall . . . pass any . . . law impairing the obligations of contracts.” Now there are certain implicit assumptions underlying this restriction to make this provision a fair and just restriction. The equivalent statement in the Northwest Treaty Ordinance of 1787, adopted just months before the creation of the Constitution, makes an explicit statement of these fair and just understandings,
Ever wonder which ISPs and portals are collecting and storing your surfing data? Thanks to a Congressional committee, you can find out.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent 34 letters to ISPs and portals last month to find out if any were tracking the Web activity of users, and if they had disclosed to users they were being watched.
As of Thursday, they'd received 33 responses. They've found that seven ISPs have quietly started testing a service from ad-targeting firm NebuAd, which tracks surfers' Web use, with little or no notice to subscribers. The only company that hasn't yet responded to Congress is Microsoft (MSFT), but a source close to the committee said Redmond will be filing its letter in the next few days.
How do ISPs and portals measure up? Check the list below and click on the link to read their response to Congress.
Quietly used NebuAd to track Web surfing: