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AGHAST .
Sep 30th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

AGHAST. That’s my reac­tion to this post by Glenn Reynolds:

THE REAL WILSON SCANDAL: For­get Valerie Plame, the big scan­dal is why any­one in the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion would ever have tasked a guy with Wilson’s views with an impor­tant mis­sion.

Regard­less of the rest of the sto­ry, heads should roll for that.I’m not even going to address what Wilson’s views might be. That isn’t the point, and it’s com­plete­ly irrel­e­vant to my con­cern here. “For­get Valerie Plame”? Even leav­ing room… [The Light of Rea­son]

Reynolds doesn’t care about felony that’s been comit­ted, or the lives that have been endan­gered, but instead he com­plains that Wil­son shouldn’t have been sent to Nige­ria because he wasn’t a Cru­sad­er (and there­for might be inclined to make an hon­est report). I’m con­stant­ly amazed at how anti-American the Cru­saders are–that kind of “yes men only” think­ing is more typ­i­cal of dic­ta­tor­ships such as Sad­dam Hussein’s Iraq.

From a mailing list I subscribe to: Rational WMD analysis The glaring absence of unconventional Iraqi arms should not blind us to the fact that even if Saddam Hussein had amassed chemical, biological, and — yes — even nuclear weapons,
Sep 29th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

From a mail­ing list I sub­scribe to:

bq. Ratio­nal WMD analy­sis

The glar­ing absence of uncon­ven­tion­al Iraqi arms should not blind us to the fact that even if Sad­dam Hus­sein had amassed chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, and — yes — even nuclear weapons, he would not have posed a threat to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. As offen­sive tools, those weapons would have been use­less.

How could that be? Sim­ply put, with the Unit­ed States armed with the most sophis­ti­cat­ed weapons imag­in­able — includ­ing nuclear bombs — it is unthink­able that the for­mer Iraqi pres­i­dent would have embarked on the sui­ci­dal mis­sion of attack­ing [our] nation.

From recent his­to­ry (Libya, Iran) he already knew that to spon­sor even a con­ven­tion­al ter­ror­ist attack on Amer­i­cans would bring dead­ly retal­i­a­tion.

It should be kept in mind that until recent­ly chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal weapons have not been regard­ed as weapons of mass destruc­tion (WMDs). This is a cat­e­go­ry delib­er­ate­ly broad­ened for rhetor­i­cal pur­pos­es — to spook the Amer­i­can peo­ple into sup­port­ing an offen­sive war against a gov­ern­ment that did not attack them or, indeed, even show signs of want­i­ng to.

The pow­er to define is the pow­er to con­trol. Some of the most lethal weapons on earth are held by the U.S. gov­ern­ment but are not clas­si­fied as weapons of mass destruc­tion. Yet if even one vial of old anthrax is found buried deep in the ground in Iraq, it will be pro­claimed as proof that Hus­sein had an arse­nal capa­ble of killing mul­ti­tudes. This would be pro­pa­gan­da, not ratio­nal analy­sis.

– Shel­don Rich­man, Future of Free­dom Foun­da­tion, 2003

& Moaners, Military Division ."> Pissers & Moaners, Military Division .
Sep 28th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Pis­sers & Moan­ers, Mil­i­tary Divi­sion. The Straight White Guy has an excel­lent post on peo­ple who join the var­i­ous Armed Forces Reserves, and then dis­cov­er (to their hor­ror) that this com­mit­ment requires them to per­form actu­al mil­i­tary duty(!):bq. Reservists are need­ed… we NEED men and women here to help us deploy quick­ly… but some of peo­ple who join the reserve…
[Kim du Toit]

One of the more vicious Cru­saders demon­strates just how much he sup­ports our troops.

CIA seeks probe of White House .
Sep 28th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

CIA seeks probe of White House. The CIA has asked the Jus­tice Depart­ment to inves­ti­gate alle­ga­tions that the White House broke fed­er­al laws by reveal­ing the iden­ti­ty of one of its under­cov­er employ­ees in retal­i­a­tion against the woman’s hus­band, a for­mer ambas­sador who pub­licly crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Bush’s since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade ura­ni­um from Africa, NBC News has learned. (link)

So it final­ly hits the main­stream media. Of course, the lefty blo­gos­phere has been fol­low­ing this sto­ry for a cou­ple months, espe­cial­ly Mark Kleiman. See also this Wash­ing­ton Post sto­ry. [Al-Muhajabah’s Islam­ic Blogs]

Arthur Sil­ber has been writ­ing about this for a while. Here’s his lat­est.

Kucinich and the Politics of Nonviolence .
Sep 27th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Kucinich and the Pol­i­tics of Non­vi­o­lence. In Thurs­day night’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates’ debate (yes, I watched it — masochism, I guess), Rep. Den­nis Kucinich sud­den­ly declared him­self a lib­er­tar­i­an.

No, he didn’t use the L-word. But he announced his plan, should he be elect­ed, to cre­ate a “Depart­ment of Peace” to bring about a “trans­for­ma­tion of our soci­ety” by “mak­ing non-violence an orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple.”

[…]

Since nobody with Kucinich’s rev­er­ence for non­vi­o­lence could pos­si­bly want to increase “vio­lent action or the threat of such action,” he plain­ly couldn’t seri­ous­ly be call­ing for his projects to be gov­ern­men­tal­ly enforced. He must instead be try­ing to per­suade peo­ple to imple­ment these pro­grams vol­un­tar­i­ly. [LewRockwell.com]

A tongue-in-cheek look at the philo­soph­i­cal impli­ca­tions of Den­nis Kucinich’s claimed inter­est in non-violence.

Bringing Democracy to the World .
Sep 27th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Bring­ing Democ­ra­cy to the World. From this week’s Onion: U.S. Invades Non-Oil-Rich Nation To Dis­pel Crit­i­cism LUXEMBOURG VILLE, LUXEMBOURG–In an effort to qui­et crit­i­cism of U.S. mil­i­tary pol­i­cy, 50,000 U.S. troops invad­ed and sound­ly defeat­ed the non-oil-rich Grand Duchy of Lux­em­bourg Mon­day. “Once again, the… [LewRockwell.com Blog]

* NRA Pitch Angers 2 L.A.
Sep 26th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

* NRA Pitch Angers 2 L.A. Offi­cials. When it comes to gun poli­cies, the city of Los Ange­les and the Nation­al Rifle Assn. could hard­ly be far­ther apart. Los Ange­les passed one of the nation’s first assault weapons bans and has pushed oth­er mea­sures oppos­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of firearms, while the NRA tire­less­ly defends the right to bear arms.

So two City Coun­cil mem­bers were out­raged to learn that Los Ange­les police offi­cers are receiv­ing solic­i­ta­tions to join the NRA when they buy Glock pis­tols at the city Police Academy’s gun shop. The mem­ber­ship pitch is sealed inside the pack­ag­ing with the gun’s war­ran­ty and safe­ty infor­ma­tion. [FirearmNews.com]

The City Coun­cil cer­tain­ly is deter­mined to make sure that LA police offi­cers know what polit­i­cal beliefs are con­sid­ered accept­able.

Did you know that it’s against US law to conspire to deprive anyone of their rights? If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in th
Sep 26th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Did you know that it’s against US law to con­spire to deprive any­one of their rights?

bq. If two or more per­sons con­spire to injure, oppress, threat­en, or intim­i­date any per­son in any State, Ter­ri­to­ry, Com­mon­wealth, Pos­ses­sion, or Dis­trict in the free exer­cise or enjoy­ment of any right or priv­i­lege secured to him by the Con­sti­tu­tion or laws of the Unit­ed States, or because of his hav­ing so exer­cised the same; or

If two or more per­sons go in dis­guise on the high­way, or on the premis­es of anoth­er, with intent to pre­vent or hin­der his free exer­cise or enjoy­ment of any right or priv­i­lege so secured -

They shall be fined under this title or impris­oned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts com­mit­ted in vio­la­tion of this sec­tion or if such acts include kid­nap­ping or an attempt to kid­nap, aggra­vat­ed sex­u­al abuse or an attempt to com­mit aggra­vat­ed sex­u­al abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or impris­oned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sen­tenced to death

Title 18, Part I, Chap­ter 13, Sec­tion 241 US Code

Need­less to say this law is nev­er enforced. How­ev­er, look around at the gov­ern­ment employ­ees you come in con­tact with or read about. How many of them should be in prison?

In par­tic­u­lar, con­sid­er the pri­vate secu­ri­ty guards, FAA bureau­crats, and mem­bers of Con­gress respon­si­ble for depriv­ing the peo­ple on the 911 flights of their right to bear arms. Because death result­ed from their vio­la­tion of this sec­tion, every sin­gle one of them may be sen­tenced to death–and I would add that because of the huge num­ber of deaths caused by their actions, every sin­gle one of them should be put to death.

Amina Lawal’s victory .
Sep 26th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

Amina Lawal's victory. Al-hamdulillah, an Islamic appeals court in Nigeria has overturned the conviction of Amina Lawal:

Reading the hour-long ruling in the local Hausa language, Judge Ibrahim Mai-Unguwa argued that only one judge was present during Lawal's initial conviction in March 2002, instead of the three required under local Islamic law.

He noted that under some interpretations of Shariah, babies can remain in gestation in a mother's womb for over five years, opening the possibility that her ex-husband -- whom she divorced two years before giving birth -- could have fathered the child.

Mai-Unguwa also said the policeman who first arrested Lawal in 2002 should have been flogged because he did so in violation of Islamic law, which requires four witnesses to the crime. Lawal was not "caught in the act," Mai-Unguwa said.

Ibrahim, the defense lawyer, welcomed the decision.

"It's a victory for law. It's a victory for justice, and it's a victory for what we stand for -- dignity and fundamental human rights," she said, smiling broadly.

Lead prosecutor Nurulhuda Mohammad Darma said he was "satisfied" with the ruling. The state has 30 days to appeal, but Darma said that was unlikely.

As I explained when I first posted on this issue last December, the conviction of Lawal was a travesty perpetrated by people who are either ignorant of Islamic jurisprudence or uninterested in applying it properly. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

There's considerable irony in this poor woman being spared from a barbaric punishment for a non-existent crime in part because of a ludicrous defense that nobody could possibly take seriously.

I very much doubt the policeman will receive any punishment, flogging or otherwise. They never do.

civil liberties heroes of the day: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul .
Sep 24th, 2003 by Ken Hagler

civil liberties heroes of the day: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.

September 24, 2003

House lawmakers seek to curtail anti-terrorism law

By Drew Clark, National Journal's Technology Daily

Several high-profile surveillance provisions in the anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act would be modified under a bill that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Texas Republican Ron Paul pledged to introduce on Wednesday.

The bill would limit the Justice Department's power to use "sneak and peek" search warrants that let police delay their notification of suspects about the warrants. Justice's power to obtain business and library records under a foreign intelligence law also would be curtailed.

Those two powers have emerged as among the most controversial elements of the statute that Congress passed in October 2001. The House already has barred Justice from using its funds to implement "sneak and peak" searches, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued to halt the use of the business-records section of the law.

The bill also would limit the government's current ability to indefinitely detain non-citizens and curtail other policies of the Bush administration. Those include the ability for the FBI to monitor attorney-client conversations, enter houses of worship without cause and withhold information that otherwise must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Kucinich promoted his bill at a press conference with the ACLU.

"We now know that the PATRIOT Act and other measures went too far, too fast," said Gregory Nojeim, chief legislative counsel of the ACLU's Washington office. "Members from both sides of the aisle are calling for corrections to be made, and this bill stays true to Benjamin Franklin's call for a balance between security and liberty."

The new bill comes amid greater focus on the PATRIOT Act's surveillance provisions, including a high-profile speaking tour by Attorney General John Ashcroft. On Sept. 10, President Bush asked Congress to extend surveillance authority further.

In an attempt to counter fears that law enforcement officials excessively peruse business and library records, Ashcroft said he has declassified the fact that provisions in one section of the act have never been used.

"We have not been able to counter the troubling amount of public distortion and misinformation in connection with Section 215," Ashcroft said in a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller. "Consequently, I have determined that it is in the public interest and the best interest of law enforcement to declassify this information."

Privacy advocates said Ashcroft and other Justice officials are largely to blame for any misinformation because they have withheld data and failed to engage in public debate.

"It's still not clear that we have the full picture," Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said in an analysis of the section. "It seems very strange that [Justice] has never once used Section 215 to compel disclosure of travel records or car-rentals records or records of the purchase of bomb-making material or anything else."

Dempsey also picked apart an Ashcroft statement that the section applies only to foreigners, requires judicial approval and must be relevant to existing counter-terrorism investigations. All three statements are untrue, he said.

I salute the progressive Kucinich and the libertarian Paul, true patriots working together to restore the values that America stands for. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

You know the Feds are pushing their luck when diametrically opposed politicans try to reign them in. This reminds me of the letter sent to Ashcroft in early 2001 objecting to the "drug war," which was signed by both the ACLU (an unofficial branch of the Democratic Party) and the NRA (an unofficial branch of the Republican Party).

Unfortunately, I don't think it will do any good. Politicians and civil rights groups are important, but when it comes to using and maintaining government power, the only people who matter are the bureaucrats--and they're answerable to no one. The "Patriot" Act increased the power of the Feds, and they will keep that power. Even if the act were repealed, they will go right on exercising that power.

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