State Department Granted Immunity to Blackwater Guards After Shootings

From Think Progress:

This is absolutely stunning:

Following the deadly September shootout in Baghdad involving Blackwater USA, the Bush administration rushed to the security firm’s defense and even awarded the firm a new $92 million contract.Today, the AP provides further evidence of the administration’s efforts to shield the firm, reporting that the State Department “promised” legal immunity to Blackwater guards after the shooting incident:

The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians. […]

Earlier this month, the FBI took over the case after DoJ prosecutors realized they “could not bring charges against Blackwater guards based on their statements to the Diplomatic Security investigators”:

Officials said the Blackwater bodyguards spoke only after receiving so-called “Garrity” protections, requiring that their statements only be used internally – and not for criminal prosecutions.

While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress last week she “regrets” the lack of oversight of Blackwater, she neglected to mention that she granted the Blackwater guards prosecutorial immunity after the shootings.

I’m at a loss for words.

Kucinich: Impeachment!

Dennis Kucinich will be bringing forward Resolution 333 under a ‘privilege’ motion on the floor of the House of Representatives in the next couple of weeks. This resolution is calling for the impeachment of Dick Cheney. In this video, he explains that once he rises and invokes ‘privilege’ of the House in consideration of the bill, he said that someone will rise and move to ‘table’ the bill. That means if it is tabled, the bill is effectively killed. He is encouraging people to call or write their Representatives and tell them to vote AGAINST a motion to table. That would means they would then move on to debate the resolution and take a vote.

The resolution charges that Vice President Cheney:

  1. has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, as well as
  2. fabricating a threat about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, in order to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq in a manner damaging to U.S. national security interests; and
  3. in violation of his constitutional oath and duty, has openly threatened aggression against Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and has done so with the proven U.S. capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining U.S. national security.

This seems like the ONLY opportunity to impeach Dick Cheney. Please contact your Congress members.

Money can’t buy me love..

CAN someone win who isn’t even running?

Democracy for America is running a poll. Al Gore is winning (26.58%) with Dennis Kucinich coming in second (24.17%).. Hillary is #6 (4.44%). These numbers seem a whole lot more realistic and closer to what I hear people saying when I talk to them. I wonder what the actual numbers would be, if you could physically ask all 3oo+million Americans across this country what they really think and want, in comparison to what the media wants to shove down our throats..

I have read that people in various states are putting Al Gore on their states ballots themselves, in hopes that he will still decide to run. He hasn’t paid a single cent for advertising. He hasn’t attended a single fundraiser, or participated in a single debate. Is it really possible that someone not even running could win the Democratic nomination? The White House? Has that ever happened in our history?

For all the $90 million dollars that Hillary has raised in this campaign, seeing these numbers and where she ranks down this list can’t feel too reassuring.. I guess money isn’t everything.

Principal, integrity, and genuine conviction stands for something. Its not something you can invent or buy. You are who you have been all along. People want someone who has proved themselves, someone who is the real deal, someone with experience and strength of character. Gore has proved himself. People in this country may try and elect him whether he is running or not.

As weird as things are these days, nothing would surprise me any more.

HT: Brent Budowsky

While the US fires translators, Europeans engage terrorism

The US and the military have famously canned Arabic translators because of their personal lives, but others take their jobs more seriously.

Sacha van Loo, 36, is not your typical cop. He wields a white cane instead of a gun. And from the purr of an engine on a wiretap, he can discern whether a suspect is driving a Peugeot, a Honda or a Mercedes.

… When police eavesdrop on a suspected terrorist making a phone call, van Loo can listen to the tones dialed and immediately identify the number. By hearing the sound of a voice echoing off of a wall, he can deduce whether a suspect is speaking from an airport lounge or a crowded restaurant. After the Belgian police recently spent hours struggling to identify a drug smuggler on a faint wiretap recording, they concluded he was Moroccan. Van Loo, who has a “library of accents in his head,” listened and deduced he was Albanian, a fact confirmed after his arrest.

Other than a really dopey tv show a couple of years ago, the notion of a blind detective would be laughable in most US police stations and undoubtedly also at the federal level.

Read more.

100 Top living geniuses..

via: The Telegraph

A list of the top 100 living geniuses was compiled by Synectics:

Creators Synectics, a global consultants firm, chose their geniuses by awarding scores out of 10 to each entrant against a number of factors: paradigm shifting; popular acclaim; intellectual power; achievement and cultural importance. The firm emailed 4,000 Britons this summer and asked them to nominate up to 10 living people who they considered geniuses.

They received back 1,100 nominations for individuals in all walks of life, more than 60 per cent of whom were either American or English. Only 60 per cent were still alive.

The panel was then charged with ranking the list in order of genius and to present a resulting shortlist of 100, who were then scored against the five factors.

Here is the list of 100. Interesting to note that George Soros was #3, Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) was ranked #4, and Nelson Mandela came in at #5. The list had scientists, mathmaticians, and scholars, etc.., but also on the list were a number of musicians, writers, actors, and poets. Dolly Parton made the list at #94, but nowhere did I find the names of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.. Hmmmm….. The only politician on the list, it seems, was Henry Kissinger coming in at #49. Even more surprising is that at #43 we find the name of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden has the 43rd place on the list of living geniuses, yet the man who’s #43 in the list of presidents of the USA doesn’t even make the list.. Is there a hidden message there anywhere? Mere coincidence..?

I didn’t find Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly’s names on the list either. I was under the impression they were smarter than everyone else.. I guess they are the only ones who think so.

Scrambled Eggy

Again, not much time today, so I’ll just throw a few things out there.

  • Barack Obama just keeps digging himself in deeper. Guess he doesn’t really need the support of the LGBT community. Atrios, Stoller, and Digby join in the criticism.
  • Little Green Footballs is now a liberal blog!!! “They are basically a puppet of the multiculturalists and believe that Islam is not the enemy of Western civilization and Christendom.”
  • Matthew Yglesias: “Conservatism = Torture.”
  • Via Denver’s Channel 7 News: “Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said Monday he will not seek re-election to his Colorado seat in the House in 2008.”
  • Studs Terkel on wiretapping.
  • Via McClatchy: “Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial, ubiquitous Iraqi politician and one-time Bush administration favorite, has re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq.”
  • John Avarosis: “[W]hat a strange other-wordly precedent requiring this thing – what do they call it? – a “warrant,” yes, that’s it, a war-rant in order for the government to search an American citizen. I mean, how daft can the Congress be, trying to codify some crazy idea that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
  • From The Onion, news that the Surge is working!

~ Egreggious 

Remember Sibel Edmonds?

According to BradBlog, Sibel Edmonds, an FBI translator between December 2001 and March 2002, who was fired after reporting corruption, incompetence, and illegal (and treasonous) activities within the FBI and Departments of State and Defense, (who then became a whistle-blower and one of the most ‘gagged’ persons in US history), is now ready to talk.

“Here’s my promise to the American Public: If anyone of the major networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX — promise to air the entire segment, without editing, I promise to tell them everything that I know,” about everything mentioned above, she told us.

“I can tell the American public exactly what it is, and what it is that they are covering up,” she continued. “I’m not compromising ongoing investigations,” Edmonds explained, because “they’ve all been shut down since.”

Continue reading

Fearing Fear Itself

by Paul Krugman
via: The New York Times

In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns.

Continue reading… 

He calls the term “Islamofascism”, which is so widely thrown around and repeated these days, what it is – ludicrous.
Paul Krugman is an op-ed writer for The New York Times, and the newly released  book  “The Conscience of a Liberal“. I am going to go hear him speak this weekend in Portland.

Good Morning from Europe – Monday, DST is finally over Edition

(San Benedetto del Tronto, Art on the Seaside)

Good Morning Everybody! Daylight Saving Time has finally seen it’s last day for the year for us and all, who are sleep deprived since it started, are rejoicing the fact.

Iraq: Yesterday the military was celebrating the successes in Iraq’s Anbar province and today, sadly, the news is back to gruesome. Ten Iraqi sheiks have been abducted, coming from a meeting with the government to discuss actions to pacify Diyala province. A suicide bombing in Baquba, Diyala province cost the lives of at least 24 police recruits. In Kirkuk and Baghdad car bombs exploded yesterday and cost six and two lives respectively. Meanwhile, the US army has handed over Karbala to the Iraqis

Some more trouble is at hand in the north of Iraq. The Kurds have categorically told Turkey, that they would not suffer an intrusion into their territory. Military action would be taken. This is not deterring Turkey from planning a crackdown on the PKK on Iraqi soil.

Meanwhile the UK has an illustrious guest. King Abdullah is on a state visit to Great Britain. While some point out the many shortcomings of the Saudi regime, the King himself started his visit by criticizing his hosts for failing to act on 7/7 intelligence. Unlike the UK, the US are in fact tackling terrorism thoroughly, indeed.

The Iran sanctions, mentioned in this blog yesterday, are not likely to have an effect, says the Washington Post. Meanwhile, an attack on the country will be more and more likely.

For Sale: Whenever we see pictures of babies and small children in refugee camps in Darfur our hearts go out for them. International aid workers are doing their best to help under dire circumstances. There are exceptions to the rule, however, and this is simply outrageous.

And finally: A First Lady turned President – fast forward that to 2008, November 4th.

A good start into to the week to everybody and take care!

“Embrace the ex-gay” concert series

Via CNN:

Rev. Donnie McClurkin, who headlined the final installment of the Obama campaign’s “Embrace the Change” Gospel concert series, did not comment on the controversy until the just before the concert’s finish, when he told the crowd of about 2,500 African-Americans: “I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble.”

“They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot,” McClurkin said. “We don’t believe in discrimination. We don’t believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the whole premise of God. That’s the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God.”

McClurkin has said that homosexuality is a choice and that he overcame homosexual desires through prayer, comments that drew fire from gay and lesbian activists and caught the Obama campaign, which has been using faith to reach out to African-American voters, off guard.

“Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay, when I have been touched by the same feelings,” McClurkin went on. “When I have suffered with the same feelings. Don’t call me a homophobe, when I love everybody … Don’t tell me that I stand up and I say vile words against the gay community because I don’t. I don’t speak against the homosexual. I tell you that God delivered me from homosexuality.”

Meanwhile, Obama staff were inside and outside the building, working the crowd and trying to register new voters.

A September poll conducted by Winthrop University and ETV showed that 74 percent of South Carolina African-Americans believe homosexuality is “unacceptable.”

“When I have suffered with the same feelings,” McClurkin says. Suffered? Get a grip, buddy. If you suffered, you weren’t doing it right.

~ Egreggious