Satyavira's blog

Report : Bush Admin Violated Hatch Act

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House Office of Political Affairs during the George W. Bush administration violated the law by giving political briefings to political employees, concludes a government report issued Monday.

The report says the electoral success of the Republican Party and possible strategies for achieving it often were on the agenda at some of 75 political briefings at 20 federal agencies from 2001 to 2007.
The Office of Special Counsel concluded that such briefings should take place away from the federal workplace during nonbusiness hours and that attendance should be completely optional.
Those who gave the briefings said they were intended to boost morale among political appointees and provide an overview of the "political landscape."

However, witness testimony, e-mail messages and PowerPoint slides used at some of the briefings indicate that the meetings were more overtly political.

"Because most of the briefings took place during normal business hours and in government buildings, many of the briefings implicated the Hatch Act's prohibition against engaging in political activity while on duty or in a federal workplace," the report found.

Israel Flotilla Raid Was Legal, Turkel Commission Report States

via Huffington Post

JERUSALEM — An Israeli inquiry commission defended the actions of the country's troops during last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound protest flotilla sailing from Turkey, finding in a report released Sunday that Israel had not violated international law.

While offering some criticism of the way the takeover was planned, the commission's conclusions exonerated the government, the military and individual soldiers of wrongdoing. The findings were unlikely to put to rest the international controversy over Israel's actions, which badly damaged its relations with Turkey and led to the formation of a U.N. investigation.

Israeli naval commandos killed nine activists aboard the Turkish protest ship Mavi Marmara on May 31 after passengers resisted the takeover of the vessel in international waters. The condemnation that followed the bloodshed forced Israel to ease the blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Take Action :STOP.THINK.CONNECT : Submission Deadline Feb 14th 2011

God bless the censors for pitching this ridiculously co-optable meme.

This is an easy way to Challenge Power With Truth, using their own tools and words against them.

From the official website
“Stop. Think. Connect.” is a simple, actionable message for online safety, and it applies to everyone. A coalition of government, industry and nonprofit organizations chose “Stop. Think. Connect.” as the first unified message for online safety after extensive research – a yearlong endeavor that included focus groups, opinion polling, and government-industry collaboration.

Challenge Deadline

The Challenge kicks off on Monday, November 8, 2010, at 12:01 p. m. ET and ends on Monday, February 14, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

The Department is looking for public service announcements that are directed towards any of the following audiences:
Teenagers (13-17)
Young Adults (18-24)
Parents of Teenagers
Older Americans
How to Enter

Upload the Video to the DHS Channel on YouTube at in response to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt’s video. NOTE: This is the only way we will accept submissions.

Judge Limits Cantor’s ‘Lost Profits’ Claims From 9/11

Wall Street Journal
January 19, 2011

NEW YORK—Cantor Fitzgerald can’t pursue damages for “lost profits” against American Airlines and its parent, AMR Corp., arising from the deaths of employees in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, a federal judge ruled.
The financial-services company, which lost 658 employees in the attacks, sued American alleging negligence for failing to prevent terrorists from seizing control of American Airlines Flight 11. American contends the Cantor Fitzgerald request for damages is excessive.
“No one can deny the emotional and financial hurt suffered by Cantor Fitzgerald and the families of its officers and employees,” said U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan in an opinion Wednesday. “But as a matter of law, Cantor Fitzgerald’s claim for damages, however theorized, may not include claims for lost profits resulting from the deaths of, and injuries to, its officers and employees on September 11.”

Donald Rumsfeld Torture Lawsuit Fizzles, Again

via Dan Froomkin @ Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- An American Civil Liberties Union lawyer trying to revive a torture lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and three high-ranking Army officers made no headway in a hearing Thursday before a three-member panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The biggest obstacle facing the ACLU: The full circuit court previously ruled in a similar case that Rumsfeld and others are immune from such suits because they were acting in their capacity as government officials.

Cecillia Wang, an attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, gamely argued that while the court was precluded by that precedent from actually finding in favor of her plaintiffs, it should still rule on the issue of whether their rights were violated.

Unlike an earlier case which involved non-citizens tortured at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this case, Ali v. Rumsfeld, was filed on behalf of nine Iraqi and Afghan men subjected to torture and abuse under Rumsfeld's command in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Donald Rumsfeld Returns

Diane Sawyer will talk to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in his first television interview since 2006 next month. The conversation is slated to begin airing on ABC's "World News" on February 7, with segments also appearing on "Nightline" and "Good Morning America."

The interview will coincide with the release of Rumsfeld's memoir, "Known and Unknown". ABC News reports:

In an ABC News exclusive, Diane Sawyer talks to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in his first television interview since leaving public service in November 2006.
Donald Rumsfeld has been a pivotal figure in recent American history. As Secretary of Defense on 9/11, Rumsfeld played a critical role in the war on terror, including the combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Psychological Implications of 9/11 by Laurie Manwell pt 1 of 6

Peace Through Truth - 9/11 & State Crimes Against Democracy
presented by the 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington

Saturday, September 4, 2010. 7PM at Buskirk Chumley Theater.

9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill: Deal Reached In Sen

9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill: Deal Reached In Senate

WASHINGTON -- After a filibuster and threats of obstruction by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday that they had reached a deal with Republican senators on a bill that would provide health care for first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Gillibrand and Schumer, the bill's chief sponsors, lobbied hard for the legislation to be introduced again in the lame-duck session, when they could still ensure House support. But on Tuesday, they hit a snag when Coburn vowed to block the bill, saying he wanted it to be funded through spending cuts.

Coburn also claimed the bill had been fast-tracked and skipped committee. But in fact the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing on the bill in June -- Coburn, a committee member, missed it.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also said he would oppose the bill so the Senate could hold hearings on it in the future.

Sen. Tom Coburn to Block Zadroga Bill

via Huffington Post :

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) plans to block legislation that would provide additional aid to cover the health care costs of 9/11 first responders, one of the senator's aides told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday morning.

Senate Republicans have opposed the measure, also called the Zadroga bill, first over concerns that it would take precedence over a plan to extend the Bush tax cuts -- a deal that has since been reached -- and now due to issues with the cost-control measures and $7.4 billion cost of the legislation. That money would go toward covering the medical bills of 9/11 emergency workers who have suffered from health complications following the inhalation of toxic chemicals at Ground Zero.

Lieberman on WTC 7 "I have no evidence that this really occurred."

Senator Joe Lieberman, during his campaign for John McCain, on World Trade Center building 7...

"I have no evidence that this really occurred."

Nigerian Govt charges Cheney over Halliburton scam

Nigeria's Guardian

"The on-going trial of Halliburton officials and their counterparts in Nigeria who allegedly conspired in the $180 million bribe for contract scandal may have reached feverish heights.
Reason: The Federal Government has preferred charges against former Vice President of the United States (U.S.), Mr. Dick Cheney, over his alleged complicity in the scandal.
Government has also resolved to charge Siemens and AGIP to court for their recalcitrance in spite of their alleged complicity in the scandal.
An impeccable government source told The Guardian that upon the resolution by government’s lawyers and the Attorney General of Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) that Cheney could not be absolved of complicity in the bribery scandal since he was at that time of the bribery in 2006 the Chairman of Halliburton.
The country’s Chief Law Officer yesterday directed the lawyers to amend the charge sheets in the on-going trial of Nigerian and Halliburton officials to accommodate the charge of criminal conspiracy against him (Cheney)".

Also at Huff Po

Business Week

Strategies for Resisting Information: Motivated reasoning

I've recently come across Professor Steven Hoffmans, “There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification.”

It fills in alot when trying to understand how others are unable to take in the debunked myths of the official story. It also is an invaluable intel framework on how to use this obstacle as an opportunity for mainstream disclosure.

Geraldo Follow Up On "Freedom Watch"

Here's a follow up with Judge Napolitano cajoling Geraldo to say...pretty much what he said a week ago.

See for yourself

Barack Obama: The Oligarchs' President

Charles Ferguson’s new film, "Inside Job," a documentary about the financial crisis, is now in theaters nationwide. Ferguson holds a B.A. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley, a Ph.D. In political science from MIT, and is the author of four books on various policy issues. "Inside Job" is his second film; his first, "No End in Sight," analyzed the occupation of Iraq and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008.

"When I first decided to make a documentary about the financial crisis, in late 2008, my biggest question was how to handle Barack Obama. Alas, the answer rapidly became all too clear, as my film "Inside Job" shows in painful detail.

When Barack Obama was elected, he had an unprecedented opportunity to shape American history by bringing the country's new financial oligarchy under control. Elected on a platform of change and renewal by a nation in crisis and with strong majorities in both houses of Congress, his election celebrated throughout the world, Obama could have done great things. Instead, he gave us more of the same. America will be paying for his decision for a very long time".