Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

ABC News: Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

“Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston,” Jones says she was told.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.

“It felt like prison,” says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming “20/20″ investigation. “I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened.”

Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

“I said, ‘Dad, I’ve been raped. I don’t know what to do. I’m in this container, and I’m not able to leave,’” she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.

“We contacted the State Department first,” Poe told ABCNews.com, “and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen” — from her American employer.

Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones’ camp, where they rescued her from the container.

Lovely. Just lovely.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Senate Bill 1959 to Criminalize Thoughts, Blogs, Books and Free Speech Across America

The end of Free Speech in America has arrived at our doorstep. It’s a new law called the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, and it is worded in a clever way that could allow the U.S. government to arrest and incarcerate any individual who speaks out against the Bush Administration, the war on Iraq, the Department of Homeland Security or any government agency (including the FDA). The law has already passed the House on a traitorous vote of 405 to 6, and it is now being considered in the Senate where a vote is imminent. All over the internet, intelligent people who care about freedom are speaking out against this extremely dangerous law: Philip Giraldi at the Huffington Post, Declan McCullagh at CNET’s News.com, Kathryn Smith at OpEdNews.com, and of course Alex Jones at PrisonPlanet.com

This bill is the beginning of the end of Free Speech in America. If it passes, all the information sources you know and trust could be shut down and their authors imprisoned. NewsTarget could be taken offline and I could be arrested as a “terrorist.” Jeff Rense at www.Rense.com could be labeled a “terrorist” and arrested. Byron Richards, Len Horowitz, Paul Craig Roberts, Greg Palast, Ron Paul and even Al Gore could all be arrested, silenced and incarcerated. This is not an exaggeration. It is a literal reading of the law, which you can check yourself here: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc110/h1955_rfs.xml

—-

This is scary stuff. Time to get in gear folks.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Local 2 Investigates Police Secrecy Behind Unmanned Aircraft Test - Local 2 Investigates News Story - KPRC Houston

Montalvo told reporters the unmanned aircraft would be used for “mobility” or traffic issues, evacuations during storms, homeland security, search and rescue, and also “tactical.” She admitted that could include covert police actions and she said she was not ruling out someday using the drones for writing traffic tickets.

A large number of the officers at the test site were assigned to the department’s ticket-writing Radar Task Force. Capt. Tom Runyan insisted they were only there to provide “site security,” even though KPRC cameras spotted those officers heavily participating in the test flight.

Houston police contacted KPRC from the test site, claiming the entire airspace was restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration. Police even threatened action from the FAA if the Local 2 helicopter remained in the area. However, KPRC reported it had already checked with the FAA on numerous occasions and found no flight restrictions around the site, a point conceded by Montalvo.

HPD leaders said they would address privacy and unlawful search questions later.

Out of control. WTF?

RTBA

Sep. 26th, 2007 01:15 pm

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.”

–Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (Federalist No. 62, 1788)

Press Congress to pass the “Read The Bills Act”

http://action.downsizedc.org/wyc.php?cid=27

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush: there will be no pullout from Iraq while I’m president | Iraq | Guardian Unlimited
President George Bush sought to buy more time for his Iraq “surge” strategy yesterday by making a risky comparison for the first time with the bloodshed and chaos that followed the US pullout from Vietnam.Making it clear he will resist congressional pressure next month for an early withdrawal, he signalled that US troops, whom he hailed as the “greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known”, will be in Iraq as long as he is president. He also said the consequences of leaving “without getting the job done would be devastating”, and “the enemy would follow us home”.

So, Pelosi, can we impeach his administration yet?

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush War Adviser Says Draft Worth a Look
WASHINGTON (AP) - Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush’s new war adviser said Friday.

“I think it makes sense to certainly consider it,” Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

“And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another,” Lute added in his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

Ohhh - this would end well. Good Grief what Tools!

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Think Progress » Rep. Bill Sali: Religious Diversity In Congress ‘Was Not Envisioned By The Founding Fathers’
Rep. Bill Sali: Religious Diversity In Congress ‘Was Not Envisioned By The Founding Fathers’

When Idaho State Rep. Bill Sali was running for Congress in 2006, Vice President Cheney visited his state and said, “Bill is ready to make a difference in Washington, and he’s going to be the kind of Congressman who will make you proud.” Now-Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID) is demonstrating his worth by criticizing the new religious diversity embodied in the 110th Congress:

We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Really? Sali may want to take a peek at Article VI of the Constitution, which notes that there is no religious test for public office:


What a dumbass.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

From Bad Astronomy…

Bad Astronomy Blog » Texas: really, really doomed
When I posted about Don McLeroy, a creationist who the Texas governor just appointed to head the State Board of Education, I knew the situation was serious. Following in the bleak tradition of this current White House of making sure you appoint the absolute worst 180-degree-wrong person for a job, McLeroy seems to be the perfect candidate: he thinks the Universe is 6000 years old, he thinks evolution is wrong, he wants to bring religion into the classroom, he honestly thinks abstinence-only sex education is a good idea. I read his website, too, where he makes all this — and much more — very clear.

On his own this guy would just make me sad. But as the head of the BoE, he is dangerous. He wants to brainwash kids. And his ideas would make someone’s from the Dark Ages appear quaint.


I’ve known Rick Perry was a douchebag for awhile…. he’s really validating my opinion with this dumbass.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping - New York Times
President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.

Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.

They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.

“This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.

Previously, the government needed search warrants approved by a special intelligence court to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, e-mail messages and other electronic communications between individuals inside the United States and people overseas, if the government conducted the surveillance inside the United States.

Today, most international telephone conversations to and from the United States are conducted over fiber-optic cables, and the most efficient way for the government to eavesdrop on them is to latch on to giant telecommunications switches located in the United States.

By changing the legal definition of what is considered “electronic surveillance,” the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants — latching on to those giant switches — as long as the target of the government’s surveillance is “reasonably believed” to be overseas.

For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the N.S.A.’s target is the person in London.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said Sunday in an interview that the new law went beyond fixing the foreign-to-foreign problem, potentially allowing the government to listen to Americans calling overseas.

But he stressed that the objective of the new law is to give the government greater flexibility in focusing on foreign suspects overseas, not to go after Americans.


Yeah - because we all know it’s all about the intent. And the intents are wholly honorable. WTF ever. More fascist power-grabbing. And Congress is going along for the ride.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Privacy: Proposed Legislation In Ohio Would Require Women To Get A Man’s Permission To Have An Abortion - Consumerist
New proposed legislation in Ohio would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion without a man’s permission, according to the Record-Courier.

Not knowing who the father of the fetus is couldn’t be used as an excuse under the new law. Women would have to provide a list of potential fathers who would then be required to submit themselves to paternity testing until a father is found. It would also make it illegal for a man who isn’t the father to provide the permission.

What about rape or incest? A woman seeking an abortion would have to provide “reasonable cause” for the doctor to believe the rape of incest occurred, which, in our estimation, would probably mean police reports and charges filed.

My head just exploded.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Quotes of the Day:

From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce . . .

Representative: In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.

Senate: A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

Subject: Why we’re confused, and what to do about it

We admit it. We’re confused. We would like to be able to tell you what is happening with the so-called FISA “modernization” bill — which may legalize government spying on innocent Americans — but we can’t. No one understands what is going on with this bill, including the members of Congress.

There are so many different versions of this bill, and amendments to it, and back-room negotiations and deals being made, that no one really knows anything about what will come to the floor. And yet, Congressional leaders want to rush to a vote before they recess.

This shouldn’t be happening, and it couldn’t happen if DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” was the law of the land.

There’s also a lot of lying going on. For instance, President Bush has claimed that the FISA law hasn’t been updated since 1978. TRUTH: The FISA law has been updated more than 50 times since 1978, including multiple times since Bush was elected.

President Bush signed these updates into law! Our elected leaders really are scoundrels.

Here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s hit them on two fronts today. First, send Congress a message telling them not to rush to a vote on FISA modernization before they leave. Stress this in your comments. NO RUSHED VOTES!

We’ve defeated this monster before by delaying a vote, and there’s a real chance we can do that again now.

You can send that message here.

Second, hit them on the “Read the Bills Act.” Send them a message about RTBA. Tell them the confused rush to a vote on FISA modernization is proof that we need DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” with its 7-day waiting period before a vote can be held on any bill.

You can send that message here.

Finally, it would be really helpful if you could make phone calls too, stressing these points. You will see the phone numbers for your elected representatives when you log-in to send your message to Congress (or when you register if you are sending a message for the first time).

Sorry for the confusion, but that’s the way these guys operate.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Think Progress » Cheney Says He Is A ‘Unique Creature,’ Refuses To Say He Is Part Of Executive Branch
MARK KNOLLER: Another issue, why did your office stop filing reports about your handling of classified material with the National Archives?

DICK CHENEY: Well, there’s an executive order that covers that was issued in 2003 that makes it clear that the vice president’s to be treated the same as the president. And neither one of them is to file those reports with the national archives.

KNOLLER: There’s no cover up?

CHENEY: Nothing to cover up.

KNOLLER: There was an aide in your office who said one of the reasons you weren’t abiding by that executive order is that you’re really not part of the executive branch. Are you part of the executive branch, sir?

CHENEY: Well, the job of Vice President is an interesting one, because you have a foot in both the executive and the legislative branch. Obviously, I have an office in the West Wing of the White House, I am an adviser to the president, I sit as a member of the National Security Council. At the same time, under the constitution, I have legislative responsibilities. I’m actually paid by the Senate, not by the executive. I sit as the President of the Senate, the presiding officer of the Senate. I cast tie breaking votes in the Senate. So the vice president is kind of a unique creature, if you will, in that you’ve got a foot in both branches.

KNOLLER: But you are principally a part of the executive branch, are you not?

CHENEY: Well, I suppose you could argue it either way. The fact is I do work in both branches. Under the Constitution, I’m assigned responsibilities in the legislative branch. Then the president obviously gives me responsibilities in the executive branch. And I perform both those functions, although I think it’d be fair to say I spent more time on executive matters than legislative matters.

KNOLLER: But two Saturdays ago, for two hours and five minutes, you were technically acting President of the United States when Mr. Bush invoked the 25th amendment. So that certainly made you a part of the executive branch.

CHENEY: Correct.

Gotta love Dick.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

N.H. Gov. signs bill that rejects federal Real ID law
July 05, 2007 (Computerworld) — New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch last week signed into law a bill that forbids New Hampshire government agencies from complying with the controversial federal national identification act, or Real ID bill.

The New Hampshire Legislature had overwhelming passed the bill this past spring and handed it off to Lynch, who signed it on June 27.

“Real ID is intended to make us all safer, which I think we can all agree is a laudable goal,” said Lynch in a statement. “However, I strongly believe Real ID’s proposed haphazard implementation and onerous provisions would have the exact opposite effect. The federal government obviously did not think this burdensome system through and that is why we in New Hampshire are right to reject it.”

Right on, New Hampshire - Now everyone else needs to do the same. Apparently Congress is incapable of doing the right thing here - the States will have to do it for them.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Challenge to Secret Wiretaps Is Dismissed - New York Times
A divided federal appeals court yesterday dismissed a case challenging the National Security Agency’s program to wiretap without warrants the international communications of some Americans, reversing a trial judge’s order that the program be shut down.
The majority in a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled on a narrow ground, saying the plaintiffs, including lawyers and journalists, could not show injury direct and concrete enough to allow them to have standing to sue.

Because it may be impossible for any plaintiff to demonstrate injury from the highly classified wiretapping program, the effect of the ruling was to insulate it from judicial scrutiny. Thus, the program’s secrecy is proving to be its best legal protection.

So this is just wonderful. The Executive Branch can now wiretap without warrants with impunity. Even when King George II is gone.
Forget the Constitution - the ruling that it was illegal was reversed on appeal because the plaintiffs can’t show harm. ???? It violates the Constitution - why should the burden of showing harm be an issue. Especially when all the evidence of harm is “secret” and can’t be used. Nice.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

FBI audit finds widespread abuse in data collection - Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An internal FBI audit has found the agency violated rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data on domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The number of violations uncovered by the audit was far greater than those previously documented in a Justice Department report in March, the Post said.

The vast majority of newly discovered violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect, the Post said.

The agents retained the information in their files, which mostly concerned suspected terrorist or espionage activities, according to the report.

The new audit covers just 10 percent of the FBI’s national security investigations since 2002, so the actual number of violations in the FBI’s domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials told the newspaper in interviews.

The Justice Department audit found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.

It sure is a good thing that they’d never abuse that power they’ve taken.

Their own audit only got 22 violations. Hahaha. Who watches the watchers?

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Follow up…

My Way News - Screaming Paris Hilton Sent Back to Jail
Paris Hilton was sent screaming and crying back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that she must serve out her sentence behind bars rather than in the comfort of her Hollywood Hills home.

“It’s not right!” shouted Hilton, who violated her probation in a reckless driving case. “Mom!” she cried out to her mother.


Indeed - it isn’t right that you were released to start with.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Handcuffed Hilton Heads Back to Court
Paris Hilton was ordered to appear in court Friday instead of calling in from home, yet another reversal in her twisted path toward serving time on a probation violation. The decision by Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer was announced by court spokesman Allan Parachini shortly before the start of a hearing that could put the 26-year-old hotel heiress behind bars again for violating probation in a reckless driving case. “Judge Sauer has instructed the Sheriff’s Department to go to Ms. Hilton’s residence, pick her up and bring her here. That is happening now,” Parachini told reporters outside the courthouse. Hilton appeared to be in handcuffs when she was placed into a black- and-white patrol car, which sped away from her home with lights flashing as news helicopters followed.

Right on. She should never have been released in the first place.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Guantanamo Bay case thrown out | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
The US military’s system of tribunals at Guantánamo Bay was thrown into chaos today after a military judge threw out all charges against a young Canadian detainee.

One senior military official said the ruling in the case of Omar Khadr could have a “huge impact” on the controversial tribunals at the US navy’s detention centre in Cuba, the Associated Press reported.

Interesting development.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Less Than 0.01% Of Homeland Security Cases Are Terrorism Related
Records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act show that only 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were terrorism related, despite the fact that the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that it is the primary focus of the DHS.

So now I need to find out who this TRAC group is that did the report.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Hotline On Call: Boehner: Immigration Bill Is “Piece Of Shit”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking to a private gathering of Republican activists last night, called the Senate’s immigration compromise bill a “piece of shit” but said that he had promised President Bush earlier in the day that he would let his teeth be a barrier to such thoughts in public.

Boehner spoke last night at a small reception for the Republican Rapid Responders on Capitol Hill.

“I promised the President today that I wouldn’t say anything bad about … this piece of shit bill,” he said, according to two attendees.


Love it.

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