3/17/08 Tibet Supporters Beg Bush Help for Peace and Cultural Respect Midpoint in Iraq? U.S. Military Police Tell New

Breaking news:
PROTEST today's decision by the Georgia Supreme Court to let the death sentence stand in the racist frame-up of Troy Anthony Davis which paves the way for the state of Georgia to execute another innocent man. Troy Davis was convicted of the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail in 1991. No murder weapon was found and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime. Since his conviction, seven out of nine original witnesses have either recanted or changed their testimony.

Demand the Board of Pardons and Paroles [BPP] commute this unjust death sentence:

"...Because of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, the blatant racism and bias in the U.S. Court System, I remain on death row in spite of a compelling case of my innocence. Finally I have a private law firm trying to help save my life in the court system, but it is like no one wants to admit the system made another grave mistake. Am I to be made an example of to save face? Does anyone care about my family who has been victimized by this death sentence for over 16 years? Does anyone care that my family has the fate of knowing the time and manner by which I may be killed by the state of Georgia?"

Where is the Justice for me?
By Troy A. Davis

Join with these supporters and thousands more:

Harry Belafonte's Letter to the BPP
A letter from Martina June 25, 2007
Amnesty International Support for Troy
NCADP Support for Troy
Sr. Helen Prejean's Letter to the Georgia BPP
Mike Farrell's Letter of Support
Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Letter to the BPP
Congress Woman Shelia Jackson Lee's Letter to the BPP
Bishop Kevin Boland's Letter to the BPP
Bishop Wilton Gregory's Letter to the BPP
US Senator Carol Moseley-Braun's Letter to the Governor and BPP
AI Secretary General's Letter to the BPP
Murder Victims Families --MVFR Letter to BPP
Sam D. Millsap, Jr's Letter to BPP
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Letter to BPP
Rev. Joanne Coyle Dauphin's Letter to BPP
Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Letter to BPP
John Lewis, Member of Congress Letter to BPP
NBLSA Letter to BPP
Nicole Borvo Cohen-Seat French Senator Letter to BPP
Henry Johnson Jr. Member of Congress Letter to BPP
Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. Letter to BPP
Pope Benedict's Letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue
Indigo Girls Letter to BPP
Howard University Student Body Letter to BPP
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Resolution in Support of Troy Davis

For further info or to learn how you can help please contact: Phone 404 876-5661 Extension 12
Law students and Law schools get involved: www.savetroydavis.net
See Full Report Where is the Justice for Me www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/AMR5102307.pdf




"China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and they are an economic powerhouse. There are only a couple of ways we can exert pressure," said T. Kumar, Asia advocacy director for Amnesty International USA. "The person who can make a difference at this moment is President Bush. Kumar noted that, as of Sunday, the White House had issued statements but the U.S. president had not spoken publicly about the bloodshed in Tibet. He said Washington should "take the lead" and call for an outside fact-finding mission to Tibet to assess the problem... doing nothing now could impose a high cost on Tibetans or others later...."If the Chinese feel comfortable using this brutal force only five months before the Olympics, you can imagine how its going to happen later," he said.

This whole thing makes no sense until you put it in its actual geostrategic context - for this please see the 3/1/8 issue of the digest:
"Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival" doctrine. Why and how China is in U.S. crosshairs is the focus of this issue:

u.s. response to protests against U.S. imperialist interests and its forces
Riots follow Kosovo court raid
Hundreds of Serbs in north Kosovo clashed with UN police and NATO troops, who stormed a courthouse which had been held by protesters.

China Defends Response in Tibet
By David Lague
China raised the death toll from the violent anti-Chinese protests in Tibet last week to 16 on Monday, but said security forces had avoided using lethal force, countering Tibetan exile groups that said at least 80 had been killed.... There has been no independent corroboration of either the Chinese or Tibetan exiles’ version of the casualties and damage from the protests in Tibet....
The senior Chinese political leader in Tibet, Qiangba Puncog, said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday that security forces had used only water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters in Lhasa... the state news media reported that 10 people had been killed when Tibetans went on a rampage and attacked ethnic Chinese and destroyed their shops and property.... He said 13 of those killed in the protests were “innocent civilians” attacked by a mob....Mr. Puncog, an ethnic Tibetan, said supporters of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had organized the unrest in an effort to generate publicity during the Olympics...“This was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique, and it was created under the collusion of Tibet independence separatist forces both inside and outside of China,” he said, according to the news agency. “Those activities were aimed at splitting the country, were aimed at undermining ethnic community and undermining social harmony and stability in Tibet.”... The government condemned attacks on its embassies abroad in the wake of its response to the protests, calling them a serious threat to safety, Reuters reported Monday. “We strongly condemn the violent action of Tibet independence activists,” ....

Tibetan protests escalate into violence
U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia (emphasis added) quoted other witnesses as saying that two bodies were seen on the ground in the shopping district in the old city. The Tibet government called the riot an act of sabotage that was "organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique,"...
The unrest came as Tibet, long China's poorest province, has wracked up stunning growth, in part fueled by hefty investment and subsidies from Beijing meant to alleviate resentment among Tibetans... China, which has invested billions of dollars in Olympics preparations, has staked its national prestige on the games. Five months before the games begin, it had expected to bask in international praise. Instead, the protests are attracting the kind of international attention China doesn't want.... The White House urged China to "respect Tibetan culture," while the U.S. ambassador to China urged senior Chinese officials to use restraint in dealing with the protesters, according to State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack....

Monk Protests in Tibet Draw Chinese Security
Jim Yardley, NYT
...Robert Barnett, a Tibet specialist at Columbia University who has communicated with Tibetan exiles said ... the small group of Sera monks arrested Monday must have anticipated a confrontation. Their photographs have already been forwarded to Tibetan exiles in India and posted on the Internet by groups that support independence for Tibet.... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/world/asia/14china.html?th&emc=th

Chinese Police Clash With Tibet Protester
By Jim Yardley
BEIJING — Violence erupted Friday morning in a busy market area of the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say angry Tibetan crowds burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.Tibetans throwing stones at army vehicles as a car burns on a street in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, after violent protests broke out on Friday....The chaotic scene was the latest, and most violent, confrontation in a series of protests that began on Monday and now represent a major challenge to the ruling Communist Party as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in August....

The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, and his supporters around the world have embraced the protesters in Lhasa, and thousands of Buddhists in neighboring India and Nepal took to the streets Friday in sympathy... The United States Embassy in Beijing warned American citizens on Friday not to travel to Lhasa. The embassy said it had “received firsthand reports from American citizens in the city who report gunfire and other indications of violence.”... Radio Free Asia, a nonprofit news agency financed by the United States government, quoted Tibetan witnesses who described Chinese police firing into crowds of protesters and killing at least two people in the city’s ancient Barkhor area. Other accounts from Tibetans suggested that police had also attacked Buddhist monks. But a Chinese resident, reached by telephone, said stories were spreading among Chinese residents that soldiers had been injured and had not been allowed to fight back against Tibetans throwing rocks. Another Chinese man living near the Barkhor area said family members told him that two soldiers died and that Tibetans were beating Chinese residents with iron rods... a Chinese travel agent in Lhasa, reached by telephone, said Tibetans had instigated the violence and set fire to an empty tour bus parked outside the Ramoche Temple. Another Chinese resident described 50 or 60 young Tibetans burning stores owned by Chinese merchants as well as two fire trucks and two police cars.“I saw someone who was dead and covered in a sheet,” the Chinese resident said in a telephone interview. “The Tromsikhang market was destroyed, except for the shops owned by Tibetans. I heard a soldier shouting, ‘Please go home and stop fighting!’ ”...

The situation in Lhasa represents a complicated predicament for the Communist Party, which is now holding its annual meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Party leaders are already grappling with growing criticism of China’s domestic rights record and its ties to Sudan, which the United States has accused of waging a genocidal campaign in its Darfur region....

Dalai Lama condemns Chinese 'terror' in Tibet
Tibet protests spread to other provinces as Dalai Lama warns of "cultural genocide"
Protests against Chinese rule of Tibet were reported in neighboring Sichuan and Qinghai provinces and also in western Gansu province. All are home to sizable Tibetan populations. The demonstrations come after protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa escalated into violence Friday, with Buddhist monks and others torching police cars and shops...
China's communist government is hoping Beijing's hosting of the Aug. 8-24 Olympics will boost its popularity at home as well as its image abroad. But the event has already attracted international scrutiny of China's human-rights record and its pollution problems.
International criticism of the crackdown in Tibet so far has been mild, with no threats of an Olympic boycott or other sanctions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today called on China "to exercise restraint in dealing with the protests." Rice said she was "concerned by reports of a sharply increased police and military presence in and around Lhasa." Her statement urged China to release those jailed for protesting.

China: Darfur-Olympic link 'unfair'
Critics have capitalised on the media attention on China as it gears up to host the Olympics [AFP]
The Chinese government has condemned efforts to link the Beijing Olympics with the violence in Darfur as "irresponsible and unfair".
The statement, issued by the Chinese embassy in Washington, came as Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief, joined calls for China to do more to put pressure on Sudan.It also came as US film-maker Steven Spielberg severed his links with the Games over China's ties to Sudan's government, accused of mass killings in its Darfur region.
"As the Darfur issue is not an internal affair of China, nor was it caused by China, to link the two together is utterly unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair," said the statement published in China' Global Times ..."Western exploitation of the Olympics to pressure China immediately provoked much disgust among ordinary Chinese people," the paper said. "The vast majority of Chinese people have expressed bafflement and outrage at the Western pressure. In their view, it's absolutely absurd to place the Darfur issue, so many thousands of miles away, on the head of China."
The Chinese embassy in Washington called on "relevant parties" to recognise the "positive role played by China on the Darfur issue" and not politicise the Olympics.

Tens of thousands of World Against War Protesters across the world condemn 5 year Iraq war Sunday March 16
demanding the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. may be just at midpoint in Iraq
16.html Most likely, the war will go on for years, many commanders and military analysts said. It's possible to consider this just the midpoint. The U.S. combat role in Iraq could have another half-decade ahead, or maybe more, depending on theresilience of the insurgency and the U.S. political will to maintain the fight... the war's length also hinges on world sentiment. The U.N. Security Council mandate for the U.S.-led force in Iraq is set to expire at the end of the year, which could increase international pressure for withdrawal.But more than anything else, it depends on whether Americans are willing.... AP, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/iraq/2004285470_iraq5halfway

Suicide Blast in Iraq Eclipses Cheney’s Visit
BAGHDAD — A female suicide bomber penetrated one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq Monday evening and killed at least 42 people...
Mr. Cheney said “there has been dramatic improvement in the security situation.”There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Nor was it clear [SIC] whether the attack was meant to upstage visits to Iraq by Mr. Cheney and by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, who, like Mr. Cheney, is a strong proponent of keeping large numbers of troops in the country... two American soldiers were killed just after noon on Monday when a large roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/world/middleeast/18iraq.html?hp

By Sherwood Ross
Muslim prisoners held in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison were submerged in water-filled garbage cans with ice or put naked under cold showers in near-freezing rooms until they went into shock, Sgt. Javal Davis, who served with the 372nd Military Police Company there, has told a national magazine.
Davis, from the Roselle, N.J., area, said while stationed at the prison he also saw an incinerator with “bones in it” that he believed to be a crematorium and said some prisoners were starved prior to their interrogation.
Another soldier that had been stationed at Abu Ghraib, M.P. Sabrina Harman---who gained dubious fame for making a thumbs-up sign posing over the body of a prisoner she believed tortured to death---said the U.S. had imprisoned “women and children” on Tier 1B, including one child was as young as ten. “Like a number of the other kids and of the women there, he was being held as a pawn in the military’s effort to capture or break his father,” write co-authors Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris in the March 24th issue of The New Yorker magazine, which describes Abu Ghraib in a 14-page article titled “Exposure.” They assert “the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was de facto United States policy.

34% of military women harassed
One-third of women in the military said they were sexually harassed [INCLUDES RAPE] according to the latest Pentagon survey on the issue.

Ex-Fort Lewis chief predicts tough spring for U.S. troops in Iraq
Mosul has once again emerged as a violent center of insurgent activities, a key U.S. commander said... The experience in Mosul offers a cautionary note as the U.S. military nears the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war amid a drawdown of American troops... He predicted some tough spring fighting for U.S. troops as they continue their push against insurgents.

Speaking to reporters as he arrived for a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, al-Shahristani said the Oil Ministry was still working on the compensation details with the Development Fund of Iraq, which is controlled by the United States and the United Nations.

from "Official Level Only" documents: US Army Lessons Learned - battle of Mosul Iraq 2004 & battle of Samarra Iraq 2004
The Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF), previously, retained approval authority for PSYOP products. This process unnecessarily delayed the responsiveness and timeliness of products and prevented regional focus and legitimacy. With approval authority at the task force level products could be produced locally and shipped to the subordinate battalions within a week to two weeks. PSYOP was centralized at the brigade level, while Civil Affairs (CA) was decentralized and pushed down to the battalion level. The brigade ensured that CA process was equitable across the brigade battle space. CA projects however, did not appear to be used effectively as tools to leverage the information operations (IO) objectives and utilized an approval process not linked with the formal targeting process. Non-lethal effects were integrated into cordon and search operations. Specifically, tactical commanders found it very useful for loud speaker teams to accompany the inter cordon as a method for informing the local population of what was going on and how to comply. Once the operation was completed the media was alerted and moved to the location to provide coverage of the event. Soldiers also used combat camera to document damages occurring during the raid to provide a method for reimbursement, if no detentions were made. The documentation and media access were executed as defensive counter-propaganda operations.

CA [Civlian Affairs] conducted individual engagements focused on rebuilding or developing the local civil infrastructure. This was achieved through the completion of civil projects based on community needs and requests (paid by Commander's Emergency Response Program [CERP] funds). The projects were prioritized according to resources to impact assessment. Projects could use an incentive (quid pro quo) for information against local noncompliant forces. PSYOP facilitated communication with the populace using a variety of media from loudspeaker teams to leaflets and handbills to radio/TV broadcasts. PSYOP teams conducted area and civilian attitude assessments to aid in the targeting process for lethal/non-lethal effects. In Samarra, PSYOP broadcasted safety and non-interference messages via loudspeaker teams. Tactical PSYOP teams (TPT) accompanied patrols and operated during raids to ensure compliance by the locals and specifically the occupants of raided houses. TPT conducted limited rapid area assessments to facilitate combat operations by characterizing popular attitudes. The psychological operation unit planner was located at the CMOC in downtown Samarra, collocated with the special forces team to assist in needs and targeting.

Media Support to the Fight (ART 7.10.2 Facilitate Media Operations)
Observation: No issues, with embedded media, were identified.
Discussion: The brigade did not specify any major issues with embedded media but did emphasize the importance of developing a good media plan as detailed by the following actual event. An embedded media representative was staying with elements of the brigade and had been granted access to an event where school supplies were to be handed out to needy students. The unit took the reporter to a school which they had recently built. When they arrived they were surprised to find that no children were present and that an Iraqi family was homesteading in the building. The Iraqi police were unwilling to remove the family and no school supplies to be issued. Fortunately the reporter elected not to cover the event, which could have made us look bad, since we didn'tt know what was going on with the school after we funded its construction. The Iraqi police were unwilling or unable to support us and the supplies that we purchased were never distributed to the children. The reporter understood what had happened and had other good coverage to use and rather than airing any of this event.
Insights/Lessons Learned:
* Make sure you have a good media plan for embedded media so they can cover the types of articles they are interested in and have appropriate access to Soldier and events.
* It is wise to have a plan in advance and events for the media to choose from. Assisting the media in getting the type of coverage they want will ultimately enhance the opportunity for more favorable coverage.

inadvertent truth
"The agency has run its terrorist detention and interrogation programme in accord with US law."
CIA spokesman George Little to BBC

C.I.A. Secretly Held Qaeda Suspect
WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency secretly detained a suspected member of Al Qaeda for at least six months beginning last summer as part of a program in which C.I.A. officers have been authorized by President Bush to use harsh interrogation techniques, American officials said Friday.The suspect, Muhammad Rahim, is the first Qaeda prisoner in nearly a year who intelligence officials have acknowledged has been in C.I.A. detention. ...
Friday, a lawyer representing Majid Khan, who had spent more than three years in the C.I.A.’s secret prisons, briefed Senate Intelligence Committee staff members on her client’s description of his treatment there as torture. The lawyer, Gitanjali Gutierrez of the Center for Constitutional Rights, is the first lawyer to speak to Congress after meeting with a prisoner who was in the C.I.A. program.The 90-minute meeting was closed, and Ms. Gutierrez said that she could not reveal what Mr. Khan had said about his treatment because the government declared prisoners’ statements to be classified...
Mr. Bush has defended the use of the secret prisons as a vital tool in American counterterrorism efforts, and last July he signed an executive order that formally reiterated the C.I.A.’s authority to use interrogation techniques more coercive than those permitted by the Pentagon...

not for much longer...
We Own The World
By Noam Chomsky
..."Withdraw all foreign forces and withdraw all foreign arms." That official was Condoleeza Rice and she was not referring to U.S. forces, she was referring to Iranian forces and Iranian arms. And that makes sense, too, on the assumption that we own the world because, since we own the world U.S. forces cannot be foreign forces anywhere.... What about the possible next war, Iran? There have been very credible threats by the U.S. and Israel -- essentially a U.S. client -- to attack Iran. There happens to be something called the UN Charter which says that -- in Article 2 -- the threat or use of force in international affairs is a crime. "Threat or use of force.... our threats and use of force are not foreign, they're indigenous because we own the world. Therefore, it's fine. So there are threats to bomb Iran -- maybe we will and maybe we won't. That is the debate that goes on. Is it legitimate if we decide to do it? People might argue it's a mistake. But does anyone say it would be illegitimate? For example, the Democrats in Congress refuse to put in an amendment that would require the Executive to inform Congress if it intends to bomb Iran -- to consult, inform. Even that was not accepted.... little discussion here of the illegitimacy of doing it, again on the assumption that anything we do is legitimate, it just might cost too much....
Germany sold advanced submarines to Israel, which were equipped to carry missiles with nuclear weapons. Why does Israel need submarines with nuclear armed missiles? Well, there is only one imaginable reason and everyone in Germany with a brain must have understood that -- certainly their military system does -- it's a first-strike weapon against Iran. Israel can use German subs to illustrate to Iranians that if they respond to an Israeli attack they will be vaporized...

You can forget about history, it does not matter, it's kind of "old fashioned," boring stuff we don't need to know about. But most countries pay attention to history. So, for example, for the United States there is no discussion of the history of U.S./Iranian relations. Well, for the U.S. there is only one event in Iranian history -- in 1979 Iranians overthrew the tyrant that the U.S. was backing and took some hostages for over a year. That happened and they had to be punished for that.

But for Iranians their history is that for over 50 years, literally without a break, the U.S. has been torturing Iranians. In 1953 the U.S. overthrew the parliamentary government and installed a brutal tyrant, the Shah, and kept supporting him while he compiled one of the worst human rights records in the world -- torture, assassination, anything you like. In fact, President Carter, when he visited Iran in December 1978, praised the Shah because of the love shown to him by his people, and so on and so forth, which probably accelerated the overthrow. Of course, Iranians have this odd way of remembering what happened to them and who was behind it. When the Shah was overthrown, the Carter administration immediately tried to instigate a military coup by sending arms to Iran through Israel to try to support military force to overthrow the government. We immediately turned to supporting Iraq, that is Saddam Hussein, and his invasion of Iran. Saddam was executed for crimes he committed in 1982, by his standards not very serious crimes -- complicity in killing 150 people. Well, there was something missing in that account -- 1982 is a very important year in U.S./Iraqi relations. That is the year in which Ronald Reagan removed Iraq from the list of states supporting terrorism so that the U.S. could start supplying Iraq with weapons for its invasion of Iran, including the means to develop weapons of mass destruction, chemical and nuclear weapons. That is 1982. A year later Donald Rumsfeld was sent to firm up the deal. Well, Iranians may very well remember that this led to a war in which hundreds of thousands of them were slaughtered with U.S. aid going to Iraq. They may well remember that the year after the war was over, in 1989, the U.S. government invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to come to the United States for advanced training in developing nuclear weapons.

The fundamental premises of Western imperialism are extremely deep. The West owns the world and now the U.S. runs the West, so, of course, they go along. The fact that they are providing a first-strike weapon for attacking Iran probably, I'm guessing now, raised no comment because why should it? ... Since the U.S. owns the world what could be wrong with having a first-strike weapon against Iran. So the conclusion is not mentioned. It is not necessary. It follows from the fact that we own the world. ...

One of the other big issues on the front pages now is Chinese "aggressiveness."... About a year ago there was a new rash of articles and headlines on the front page about the "Chinese military build-up." The Pentagon claimed that China had increased its offensive military capacity -- with 400 missiles, which could be nuclear armed. Then we had a debate about whether that proves China is trying to conquer the world or the numbers are wrong, or something.... a little footnote. How many offensive nuclear armed missiles does the United States have? Well, it turns out to be 10,000. China may now have maybe 400, if you believe the hawks. That proves that they are trying to conquer the world.... if you read the international press closely, the reason China is building up its military capacity is not only because of U.S. aggressiveness all over the place, but the fact that the United States has improved its targeting capacities so it can now destroy missile sites in a much more sophisticated fashion wherever they are, even if they are mobile. So who is trying to conquer the world? Well, obviously the Chinese because since we own it, they are trying to conquer it. ... http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19540.htm

Cheney en route to Mideast for 9-day visit with regional leaders :
Cheney will tell allies that the United States remains concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions and would like to see its growing regional influence contained..."I expect in all of these countries that the challenge we face from Iran will be a very high topic of conversation," the U.S. administration official said.
The message for Turkey, which has been fighting Kurdish rebels known as the PKK in northern Iraq, will be that the United States agrees "the PKK is a terrorist organization that needs to be defeated," and will continue to support Turkey in addressing the problem, the official said.

Top Brass Deplore Fallon's Refusal to "protect soldiers fro external threats"
"The fact is [Central Command] had the external responsibility to protect our troops in Iraq from the outside and under Fallon they failed to do it," said retired Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, a military analyst. "We have done nothing to protect our soldiers from external threats in Iraq."
"We have kids — soldiers — getting killed because Iran, Syria and other foreign fighters are coming across the border into Iraq, and yet Fallon was unwilling to do anything to hold [those nations] accountable."

Israel makes another bid for F-22 jets:
In the face of Iran's race to obtain nuclear weapons, defense officials who will visit the US next week plan to ask the Pentagon to reconsider its decision not to sell Israel the F-22 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, The Jerusalem Post has learned. http://tinyurl.com/2hq3cj

FBI Found to Misuse Security Letters
By Dan Eggen
A Justice Department report concluded the FBI had abused its intelligence-gathering privileges by issuing inadequately documented "national security letters" in terrorism or counterintelligence investigations from 2003 to 2006, after which changes were put in place that the report called sound but the abuses persisted in 2006... 60 percent of the nearly 50,000 security letters issued that year by the FBI targeted Americans.... national security letters are approved only by FBI officials and are not subject to judicial approval; they routinely demand personal data while barring the recipient from disclosing that the information was requested or supplied... the FBI issued almost 200,000 national security letters from 2003 through 2006 used in a third of all FBI national security and computer probes during that time....FBI agents made ..."troubling" use of the letters to obtain vast quantities of telephone numbers or other records with a single request.... improper requests, collected more data than they were allowed to, did not have proper authorization to proceed with the case...." About a quarter of the reported incidents were because of mistakes made by telephone or Internet providers"...

“America will be a stronger place for it.”
GWB, post - Hurricane Katrina speech

ICF International in charge of Katrina aid getting richer: victims still await rebuilding checks
March 13, 2008 8:21
NEW ORLEANS -- Two and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of homeowners are still waiting for their government rebuilding checks, and many complain that they can't even get their calls returned.... "I'm flabbergasted that this company... could mess up so consistently and for so long," said Bill Yurt, 57, who has been living in a FEMA trailer for 2 1/2 years. Yurt said ICF hasn't sent an appraiser to determine the grant amount that will resurrect his gutted house in Gentilly. And his calls to an ICF caseworker have gone unreturned for a month.
But the company that holds the $ 750 million contract for the homeowner recovery program, called Road Home to distribute the aid is doing quite well for itself. ICF International of Fairfax, Va., has posted strong profits, gone public, landed additional multimillion-dollar government contracts, and, it was learned this week, secured a potentially big raise recently from the state of Louisiana.... Road Home was created in June 2006 as a state-run, federally funded plan to compensate homeowners for the breach of New Orleans' government-run levees. Homeowners can apply for grants to repair their homes, or obtain buyouts if they don't want to fix things up. Yet, 56,000 applicants -- nearly 40 percent of the qualified total -- had yet to receive a cent as of last month. Plagued by cost overruns and delays, Road Home is expected to cost the taxpayers $10 billion in federal money...
ICF now stands accused of inflating its closing figures by deliberately using red tape, confusion and delays to get applicants to settle for low grant amounts. "They have been pressured into signing closing documents," said Melanie Ehrlich, the co-chairwoman of CHAT, who has documented nearly 1,000 such disputes.

“You’ve helped make our country really in many ways the economic envy of the world”
GWB, 3/14/8, to Economic Club of New York.

extreme concentration and control of u.s. capital by ever fewer finance capitalists and the state as crisis deepens
Banks face "new world order," consolidation
Financial firms face a "new world order" after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve's first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.

Wall Street fears for next Great Depression:
Wall Street is bracing itself for another week of roller-coaster trading after more than $300bn (£150bn) was wiped off the US equity markets on Friday following the emergency funding package put together by the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase to rescue Bear Stearns.

President Acknowledges Strains on the Economy
President Bush on Friday acknowledged the economy has slipped into trouble, but inveighed against government bailouts

Behind Bear Stearns Rescue Plan, a Wall St. Domino Theory
The Federal Reserve's unusual decision to assist a major investment bank underscores a concern that one failure could spread across the financial system. Wall Street firms like Bear Stearns conduct business with many individuals, corporations, financial companies, pension funds and hedge funds. They also do billions of dollars of business with each other every day, borrowing and lending securities at a dizzying pace and fueling the wheels of capitalism. The sudden collapse of a major player could not only shake client confidence in the entire system...

Land of the free is world's top jailer
By Jerry Mazza
The land of the free says “Go to Jail” to more than one in every 100 adult Americans, actually 99.1. What's scarier is that one out of every 34 of the 230 million adult Americans are under the correctional system's “guidance,” in jail or out on probation. This makes the US el numero uno jailer in the world, ahead of China, Russia [that u.s. bashes for lack of democratic civil rights, etc. etc.]

increasing concentration of finance capital for a 'new world order' ...maybe not the one they had in mind
Financial firms face a "new world order" after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve's first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080317/bs_nm/usa_financials_creditsights_dc http://tinyurl.com/39wdj3

Wall Street fears for next Great Depression
By Margareta Pagano, Business Editor

JPMorgan to Buy Ailing Bear Stearns at 93% Discount
... The deal, done at the behest of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, punctuates the stunning downfall of one of Wall Street’s biggest and most storied firms. Bear Stearns weathered the vagaries of the markets for 85 years, surviving the Depression and a dozen recessions only to meet its end in the rapidly unfolding credit crisis now.... At $2 a share The companies said that the Federal Reserve would provide special financing in connection with the transaction and that the Fed had agreed to fund up to $30 billion of Bear Stearns’s “less-liquid assets.”... For JPMorgan, one of the few major banks to emerge relatively unscathed from the subprime mortgage crisis, the deal provides a major entry to prime brokerage, which provides financing to hedge funds, a source of enormous growth over the past decade, but a slowing business amid the market’s turndown. Bear Stearns would also give JPMorgan a much bigger presence in the mortgage securities business, which the bank executives say they are committed in spite of them recent market downturn. http://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na

A confidential memo obtained by Wikileaks shows that not only has the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission created an insider trading
loophole big enough to drive a truck through, but that Wall Street is taking full advantage of it, establishing 'how-to' programs and even client service divisions to help well-heeled clients circumvent insider trading regulations.
See confidential JP Morgan Private Bank insider trading how-to: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/JP_Morgan_Private_Bank_insider_trading_how-to

Wikileaks calls for a global boycott of Enom and Demand Media
INTERNET FREEDOM website Wikileaks has called for a global boycott of domain registrar Enom, its parent company Demand Media, and their owners, executives and all affiliates, interests, holdings, successors and assigns.
What triggered Wikileaks ire was that, during its recent legal dustup with Swiss bank Julius Baer, Enom unlawfully locked and seized the Wikileaks.info domain, a Wikileaks.org mirroring website. Furthermore, Enom was also identified in a March 4 New York Times article as having shut down a Spanish travel company for selling flights to Cuba, which is fully legal in Spain.
Because Enom's behaviour was "egregrious and without apology" in both cases, Wikileaks decided to investigate the company. Wikileaks stated that it found that:
"The WIKILEAKS.INFO seizure was not an isolated incident. eNom, Inc. supported by Domain Media, Inc. has engaged in systematic Internet domain censorship and other unethical practices. The censorship is frequently unlawfully and without warning or apology. It is also a flagrant violation of eNom's contract with the international domain name regulatory body ICANN."

Enom is the second largest domain registrar with 8.6 million Internet domains

In addition, Wikileaks found ICANN meeting minutes in which Enom admitted that it doesn't make even minimal efforts to protect its customers' privacy:"When complaints are received, we have a very low threshold for turning over the underlying information of the party. Basically anybody mentioning the word copyright or trademark or bought or anything can be sent the underlying contact information.. [they] receive it in response to their initial e-mail."
Wikileaks uncovered a previously secretive proposal by Enom to make all of its Internet domain holders' confidential information easily available to government agents and others. Enom's scheme was to encrypt all of its domain registrants' private information in bulk into "Secure Blobs for Law Enforcement" and attach those to public "whois" records. All of that information would then be automatically available to anyone having a master decryption key...
Wikileaks also dug up some interesting information about the principals of Enom and Demand Media.
Demand Media Chairman and CEO Richard Rosenblatt is characterised by Wikileaks as "...a dot com locust, known for selling out MySpace and boasting of having made 1.3 billion dollars out of the internet, including by 'sniping' domains and ransoming them for profit when people forget to pay the bills...."
Founder of Enom and Chief Strategy Officer of Demand Media Paul Stahura is identified by Wikileaks as the author of the Big Brother's helper -- for a price -- "Secure Blobs for Law Enforcement" proposal.