Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The News Is Getting Uglier By The Hour!

The News Is Getting Uglier By The Hour!

Libya: Rebel Forces Hold Huge Armory, Ready For March On Tripoli

Weapons accumulated since the 80s are crammed into 12 hangars now under control of anti-Gaddafi forces.   n a sand-blown horizon, to the left of what makes for a rebel frontline, stand 12 large and dilapidated hangars that will likely prove pivotal to where Libya's revolution goes from here.

Inside each of them is an enormous array of weaponry, stacked from floor to ceiling, which the haggard band of rebels gathering nearby say they will soon take on the long march to the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Just under two weeks ago, this giant arsenal on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, 100 miles south of Benghazi, was one of the Libyan army's biggest weapons dumps in the east of the country, a collection of arms so vast it was considered crucial to the country's eastern defenses.
The dusty wooden boxes, containing rockets, mortars, artillery shells and howitzers, had clearly been assembled over a long period. Some seemed to date back to the late 80s – a time when Colonel Gaddafi last had Europe and the US threatening military measures against his regime. Now they could be used against him – something he is trying hard to prevent.
On Monday, two jets that had flown from the west aimed bombs towards the area, as skittish revolutionaries watched from the nearby highway. Curiously, the bombs missed the base completely – not an easy thing to do.
The rebels believe the pilots had deliberately aimed their bombs short. "Yes, it's true that they didn't want to damage these weapons," said a young private who showed us through the base. He was less certain about an attack a day earlier, which had left a large crater near one of the hangars. "We're not sure what caused this," he said. "Maybe it was a rocket."
With the rush of euphoria from Gaddafi's defeat in the east now subsiding, the rebels are facing a series of difficult choices. "We are still hoping that Tripoli falls by itself," said Captain Faris Zwei at a smaller base further north towards Ajdabiya. "But if it doesn't we will go there."
For now, Zwei and the haggard band of men he commands are preparing for a shorter journey, a 120-mile push south then west towards the oil town of Ras Lanuf, where Gaddafi loyalists roam. This appears to be the main frontline, a drab town on the coastal road that was in rebel hands until Sunday.
"We will move there within two days if we have to," said Zwei. "Gaddafi's forces are there but they are mainly restricted to their bases. There are pockets of resistance from Ras Lanuf onwards."
Gaddafi's rearguard action now appears to be under way. It is not proceeding with the same dramatic speed that his forces took when they retreated on 20 February. Instead, the air force and ground troops appear to be testing boundaries and the resolve of the rebels, many of whom expected the west of the country to capitulate as quickly as the east.
In Ajdabiya, rebel leaders claim to have 10,000 men they can call on. Farther along the highway in Benghazi, there are tens of thousands more. Most are former members of the regular army, who now find themselves at the vanguard of expectations. Yet more are bands of eager youths and tribal figures with limited military training at best.
The rebel military leadership in Benghazi knows that disciplining such a disparate group will be essential in any assault. And so too will be keeping Gaddafi's jets out of the sky.
Discussion about a possible Nato-led move to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya was eagerly monitored on Tuesday all over the east of the country. "The pilots won't bomb us anyway," said Zwei, hopefully. However, the spectre of jet bombers still looms large.
Benghazi locals have taken to choosing the nationality of an intervention force that many here increasingly view as necessary. "There is a lot of talk about the Turks," said one local. "They would be acceptable to all of us. Turkey is a Muslim country and they have good relations with us. But if the Americans came, the people would fight them in the streets, just like Iraq."
There were no jets flying over eastern skies on Tuesday and no clashes in any of the region's contested areas. But rebel leaders continue to insist that the Sabha air base in southern Libya is being used to mass a mercenary army that Gaddafi could use in a full-blown assault on Benghazi.
"He is playing a game of attrition with everybody," said Colonel Hamid Belkhair. "He is waiting till everybody turns away and then he will strike. In the meantime he is trying to build his forces' confidence. This is becoming a battle of wills."

US Warships Enter Egypt's Suez Canal 02 Mar 2011 The USS Kearsarge and the Ponce, two US amphibious assault ships, have entered the Suez Canal on their way to Libya, a canal official says. The two US warships with hundreds of Marines on board headed towards Libya on Tuesday and entered Egypt's Suez Canal on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The ships were at the southern mouth of the canal, the official said, adding that they were expected to pass through by 3:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. local time.

2 US ships move closer to Libya, enter Suez Canal 02 Mar 2011 Egyptian officials say two U.S. warships have entered the Suez Canal on their way to the Mediterranean, moving closer to the Libyan coast after orders from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The officials say amphibious assault ships USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce, entered the canal on Wednesday morning from the Red Sea. They say USS Kearsarge is carrying some 42 helicopters on board.

US UK, French forces land in Libya 01 Mar 2011 The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred "defence advisors" to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where "rebels armed groups" have apparently taken over. According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region “the three Western states have landed their "special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres" to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas. A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk.

US Senate calls for no-fly zone on Libya 02 Mar 2011 The US Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Libya as Washington is preparing the ground for military intervention in the oil-rich country. The symbolic resolution, passed on Tuesday, “urges the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.” The US Senate Armed Services Committee has announced that all options, including the military option, should be on the table.

Gadhafi forces seize back rebel-held eastern town --Rebels report that there was an aerial bombardment of Brega by Gadhafi's forces, who managed to take back the city after losing it in violent clashes with the rebels. 02 Mar 2011 Forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi have recaptured a town in Libya's mostly rebel-held east, rebel military officers said on Wednesday, in an attempt to break the momentum of a popular rebellion against his 41-year-old rule. Forces sent by the Libyan leader had seized back Marsa El Brega after violent clashes with rebels who had controlled the town 800 km east of the capital Tripoli, the rebel officers told Reuters.

Gaddafi loyalists advance to east 02 Mar 2011 Forces loyal to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are moving into rebel territory in the east, capturing an oil installation in the town of Brega. The BBC's John Simpson in the nearby city of Ajdabiya says the 100-vehicle convoy is expected to head towards it, and an arms dump there has been bombed. The city's defenders are in a high state of excitement and expecting an attack, our correspondent says.

UK, Germany fly secret missions into Libya --Secret military missions signal readiness of Western nations to disregard Libya's territorial integrity 28 Feb 2011 British and German military planes swooped into Libya's desert, rescuing hundreds of oil workers and civilians stranded at remote sites, as thousands of other foreigners are still stuck in Tripoli by bad weather and red tape. Three British Royal Air Force planes plucked 150 stranded civilians from multiple locations in the eastern Libyan desert before flying them to Malta on Sunday, the British Defence Ministry said in a statement.

USS Enterprise on its way to Libya as America and Britain ramp up threats to enforce no-fly zone --David Cameron vows military action if killings continue --Pentagon says ships preparing for no-fly zone or humanitarian aid oil-seizing missions 01 Mar 2011 The U.S. Navy was repositioning its heavy-hitting warships around North Africa tonight as America and Britain dramatically increased pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which had been had been on pirate-hunting duty [?] off the coast of Somalia, has now steamed to the mouth of the Suez Canal in the Red Sea.

U.S. Readies Military Options on Libya 01 Mar 2011 The United States began moving warships toward Libya and froze $30 billion in the country’s assets on Monday as the administration declared all options on the table in its diplomatic, economic and military campaign to drive Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the administration was conferring with allies about imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Such a move would likely be carried out only under a mandate from the United Nations or NATO. "No option is off the table," Mrs. Clinton told reporters after a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, adding "that of course includes a no-fly zone."

Libya's opposition resumes oil exports 28 Feb 2011 Libya's opposition says that it has resumes oil exports suspended by the revolution in the country, noting that a tanker has been loaded with one million barrels of crude for China. It will be the first cargo of crude to sail from Libya since February 19, after security forces begun a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Rebels in the east of Libya now say they control most of the oil facilities in the world's 12th largest oil exporter. [What excuse will US corpora-terrorists and their GOP-pwned trolls supply NOW for skyrocketing oil prices?]

'540 students abducted in Libya' 02 Mar 2011 Forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have reportedly abducted 540 university students along with a number of other Libyan citizens. The university students were kidnapped from their dormitories in the faculty of aerospace in Misrata, while a number of other Libyan citizens were kidnapped from the city of al-Zawiya, “informed sources” told Iran's Arabic-language news channel Al-Alam.

African commission asked to take case challenging CIA rendition program 28 Feb 2011 A case filed before an African judicial body could open a new front in efforts by human rights groups to hold the CIA and its partners accountable for what they allege was the torture of innocent victims in secret "black site" prisons around the world. The case involves Mohammed al-Asad, who said he was arrested in late 2003 at his home in Tanzania, blindfolded and flown to a secret prison in Djibouti. He said he was subjected to two weeks of torture and inhuman treatment in a clandestine CIA rendition and detentions program designed to nab suspected terrorists.

Pakistan arrests US security contractor, Aaron Dehaven, as rift with CIA deepens --ISI tells American agency to unmask all its covert operatives after arrest of Aaron DeHaven in Peshawar, over visa expiry 25 Feb 2011 Islamabad authorities have arrested a US government security contractor amid a worsening spy agency row between the countries, with Pakistani intelligence calling on the Americans to "come clean" about its network of covert operatives in the country. The arrest came at the start of the murder trial of another American held in Pakistan, the CIA agent Raymond Davis.

Israeli drone buzzes over S Lebanon 02 Mar 2011 An Israeli drone has penetrated Lebanese airspace and flown over the southern part of Lebanon in flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution. The Israeli aircraft crossed into Lebanese airspace over the village of al-Naqoura, located 91 kilometers (57 miles) south of the capital Beirut, at 6:05 a.m. local time (0305 GMT) on Tuesday and conducted several unwarranted flights, a statement released by the Lebanese military said.

UN delegates 'walked out' during Clinton speech 02 Mar 2011  Palestine's delegation to the UN human rights council walked out Monday in protest of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech in which she criticized the council for bias against Israel. The Palestinian representative in Geneva on Tuesday confirmed reports in the Arabic media that delegates stormed out of Clinton's speech, which was heavy on criticism of Israel's neighbors and the UN body.

Israel: Pressure must be mounted on Iran 01 Mar 2011 Gov't sources say new IAEA report on Iran's nuke program shows necessity of convincing Tehran that the West is willing to use military force. A new IAEA report that Iran may be seeking to develop a nuclear-armed missile only underscores the importance of upgrading pressure on Iran and convincing Tehran that a military option is a real possibility if it doesn’t stop pursuing nuclear arms, Israeli government sources said on Monday.

No bail for Mass. suspect held in plot to kill US pols 01 Mar 2011 A man accused in a terror plot to shoot shoppers at U.S. malls, assassinate two politicians and kill American troops in Iraq was denied bail Tuesday by a federal judge. U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole Jr. ruled against granting bail for Tarek Mehanna, who was seeking release to better consult with his lawyers and because his lawyers said the case against him was "paper thin." Mehanna has been held without bail since October 2009 on charges including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, al-Qaida [al-CIAduh].

Former Reagan Official: 'If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange' 28 Feb 2011 Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for President Reagan and co-founder of the famed Reaganomics, Paul Craig Roberts talks with RT America about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. "If this [legal remedy] fails, he’ll simply be assassinated by a CIA assassinate team," says Roberts. He said, "[Assange] is very much a threat. Not just to the American government but the British government and any number of governments. And so, there is a concerted effort to nail him, to shut him up. In my opinion, if the legal attempt, which I’m sure the United States government is behind, if this fails, he’ll simply be assassinated by a CIA assassination team. It’s common practice for the CIA to do that. It’s nothing unusual about it."

"If Law Fails, CIA Will Assassinate Assange"

US awards $215 million pacts for flu vaccines made with insect cells, e.coli 28 Feb 2011 Drug makers Novavax Inc. and VaxInnate Inc. have won contracts worth a combined $215 million to develop flu vaccines for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the wake of the[ir] swine flu pandemic, the World Health Organization has said health authorities need to ramp up the speed and volume of production during the[ir] next global outbreak... Rockville, Md.-based Novavax Inc. won a contract worth $97 million over three years, with an option to extend the contract for two years for a total value of $179.1 million. Novavax will develop new technology to make vaccines using insect cells.

[We can't get the public option, or pay firemen and teachers -- but there's $215 million to pay pharma-terrorists to make vaccines with insect cells and e.coli, to 'battle' the outbreaks and pandemics that they themselves create? There's *trillions* available for endless Wall Street welfare/tax breaks, perpetual wars for oil and water, and for mercury-laden, insect-filled vaccines, but *nothing* for the victims of the sociopaths running this show. It's time - *long past time* - for American Revolution #2. --Lori Price]

Scientists mix H1N1, H9N2 to create hybrid viruses packed with 'greater killing power' --'The possibility of novel pandemic strains being generated from reassortment between avian H9N2 and H1N1/2009 influenza viruses exists.'28 Feb 2011 The H1N1 swine flu virus is compatible with a bird flu virus that is endemic in poultry in Asia and they can produce hybrid viruses packed with greater killing power, Chinese researchers warned on Monday. The scientists made 127 hybrid viruses by mixing genes of the H1N1 and the avian H9N2 virus in a laboratory, and eight of the hybrids turned out to be more virulent than either parents when tested in mice.

U.S. govt doctors sprayed pandemic flu virus in the noses of Maryland prisoners --Pictures that show how U.S. experimented on its own disabled citizens and prison inmates 28 Feb 2011 Pictures have emerged providing the shocking proof that U.S. government doctors once experimented on disabled American citizens and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital... For a study in 1957, when the Asian flu pandemic was spreading, federal researchers sprayed the virus in the noses of 23 inmates at Patuxent prison in Jessup, Md., to compare their reactions to those of 32 virus-exposed inmates who had been given a new vaccine.

Supreme Court Says AT&T Not Exempt From FOIA 28 Feb 2011 Corporations don’t reap the same privacy protections as do people, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday. The court, with Justice Elena Kagan recused, said AT&T did not enjoy the "personal privacy" provision of the Freedom of Information Act as the telecom had claimed. The act exempts the government from publicly disclosing law enforcement records if they "constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."

TSA employee charged with helping drug dealers at airport 01 Mar 2011 A federal Homeland Security employee who assisted in screening passengers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was arrested today on charges that she provided help to drug dealers at the airport. Minnetta Walker was arrested this morning by agents from the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Police said she is alleged to have assisted "known drug traffickers" with information and with getting through airport security checkpoint. [I guess groping fourteen-year-olds wasn't as lucrative as they would have liked.]

Koch group Americans for Prosperity campaigning in Wisconsin 28 Feb 2011 Americans for Prosperity, a political action group financed by the billionaire Koch brothers, has been active in supporting Gov. Scott Walker and his budget-repair bill. AFP director Tim Phillips said Monday that his group already had spent $400,000 on TV and radio ads in the state in support of the governor. The Koch brothers also have donated to Walker's gubernatorial campaign and the Republican Governors Association, among others.

Advocacy groups decry proposed Medicaid changes --Walker wants to limit oversight from Legislature 01 Mar 2011 Advocacy groups ranging from Disability Rights Wisconsin to Mental Health America of Wisconsin to AARP Wisconsin are opposing Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to give his administration the freedom to revamp BadgerCare Plus and other Medicaid programs with minimal oversight from the Legislature. The provision in Walker's budget-repair bill would allow the secretary of the Department of Health Services to make sweeping changes in the program with approval from just the Joint Finance Committee instead of the full Legislature.

Unions polling well, Scott Walker polling poorly 01 Mar 2011 According to a new NYT/CBS poll, a third of Americans view them favorably, a quarter of Americans view them unfavorably, and the rest are undecided. The same poll showed Americans opposed weakening the bargaining rights of union members by an almost two-to-one margin. Nor does the public like the idea of cutting the pay or benefits of union employees to balance budgets: 56 percent opposed that strategy, while 37 percent supported it... A Pew poll released yesterday found the unions winning over the public in Wisconsin -- they led Walker by 11 points.

Wisconsin's Walker Seeks Almost 22,000 Job Cuts in Budget 01 Mar 2011 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed cutting almost 22,000 state jobs over two years and requiring workers to contribute more to their health and retirement plans to close a [GOP-created] $3.6 billion budget deficit [due to tax cuts for the wealthy and Walker the Whackjob's corporate overlords].The first-term Republican, whose plan to curb collective bargaining for public workers spurred protests across the U.S., would cut money for most state departments by 10 percent and lower public-education funds by more than $700 million..

GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says 28 Feb 2011 A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday. The report, by Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh ammunition to Democrats seeking block the Republican plan, which would terminate dozens of programs and slash federal appropriations by $61 billion over the next seven months.

Government overlap costs taxpayers billions, GAO reports 02 Mar 2011 With Congress and the White House set to debate the merits of massive spending cuts, federal auditors have identified hundreds of overlapping government offices and programs that if merged or eliminated could save taxpayers billions of dollars. The U.S. government has, for example, more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, 82 that monitor teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 56 for "financial literacy," 20 offices or programs devoted to homelessness and 17 grant programs for disaster preparedness, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday. [How about the overlap in paying terrorist groups (Blackwater unsubs and DynCorp, etc.) to wreak havoc all over the globe? Apparently, the federal auditors 'forgot' to look at that one.]

 It's time America joined the ICC process
Daily Nation
Meanwhile, war criminals or those, as in Kenya, who have been charged with committing crimes against humanity, do not go into retirement in a welcoming country. They are indicted and if captured and tried, are incarcerated and most of the world feels ...See all stories on this topic »

An important legal milestone has been crossed, almost as difficult as crossing the Rubicon.
Last Saturday in the UN Security Council, the United States voted in favour of a French and British resolution to forward an indictment of Muammar Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court.
This was the first time the US had done this. However, during the tenure of President George W. Bush, it did abstain on the vote to do the same with Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.
Early in his tenure, Bush had bitterly opposed US membership of the War Crimes Court, withdrawing America’s signature from the treaty founding the Court and conducting a savage arm-twisting with many signed-up members.
Later it saw the value of the Court and quietly helped push for indictments. Under the presidency of Barack Obama, the US has come out of the closet.
It must be only a matter of time before it signs up again and fights to get membership ratified in the Senate. Now is the time to strike with American public opinion.
In both votes against Gaddafi, Russia and China also voted for indictments even though they too have refused to sign up. If the US goes ahead with ratification, there is a good chance they will follow suit.
Despite criticism of the Court, its progress is gathering apace, following the success of the Yugoslav, Rwandan and Sierra Leone trials.
Many African nations, conscious that all of the first round of indictments have been in Africa, have argued for a suspension of its indictment of al-Bashir on the grounds that the referendum giving the South independence has been respected.
Meanwhile, war criminals or those, as in Kenya, who have been charged with committing crimes against humanity, do not go into retirement in a welcoming country.
They are indicted and if captured and tried, are incarcerated and most of the world feels that some sort of punishment has been fairly dealt out.
Before the war in Yugoslavia, no one talked much about the creation of a War Crimes Court. But the no-holds barred viciousness of the war turned opinion round and only a year later, the Yugoslavia court was quickly established.
The ICC was created during one hot summer in Rome in 1993. Every nation was represented, including the US which proposed a good many of its statutes.
Legal experts have been puzzled by the strength of US opposition during the Bush administration, as the treaty gives countries whose citizens are charged with crimes the right to try them in their own courts, as the US has done frequently in the past when US soldiers were involved in criminal activities overseas.
The Court, in fact, can only prosecute when governments are acting to shield individuals from their national courts.
The Western allies – have a lot to learn. The pursuit of Osama bin Laden would have been better carried out by an indictment of the Court.
Special detectives, and even special forces, should have concentrated on finding out where he is lurking and snatched him.
The bombing of a whole country when only a few dozen people were involved in harboring him has been totally counterproductive.
America is learning that lesson the painful way. The sooner the US signs up for membership for the Court the better off the world will be.

Perhaps You're Familiar With Clarence Thomas, the Long-Dong-Silver-loving US Supreme Court Justice. With a new term recently beginning on the Court, he passed the five-year mark for not only saying nothing of value while hearing cases, but nothing at all.
Yes, you read that correctly -- while no US Supreme Court Justice in over two centuries has gone even a single term without speaking from the bench during arguments, Thomas has managed to do it for five in a row.

To quote Stephen Colbert, "the man is a rock... in that he could be replaced by a rock and I'm not sure anyone would notice."
Sadly, it shouldn't really come as much of a surprise that if someone were going to set this record, it would be Justice Thomas. He certainly never even approached being "the most qualified" person in the land to sit on the Supreme Court, as President George H.W. Bush, who nominated him to the High Court, said after offering his name.
I'm quite sure that Bush didn't even believe that himself, unless he was limiting the field of competition to Thomas, then-vice president Dan Quayle, and his namesake offspring. But if he was clearly unworthy then -- and he was -- he is now about as appropriate a judge as Newt Gingrich is a marriage counselor.
While he doesn't seem to even want to participate in his day job, Thomas certainly does engage in the kind of partisan politicking that is not only unseemly, but sets a terrible precedent in a democracy. And at least in theory, the judiciary is supposed to be impartial, and therefore above politics.
Yet, in only the past few weeks, a number of embarrassing episodes have not only turned this legal tracheotomy into a punch line for late night comics, but have quite honestly raised questions about whether any fully-functioning democracy would allow him to continue rendering judgments so important in deciding not only the law, but values of our society.
First, there was the fact that Thomas, whose wife has earned almost $700,000 for -- as far as I can tell -- being his wife, finds government disclosure forms too difficult to fill out that he accidentally put $0 where $700,000 was supposed to be under "spousal income."

That's right, for a guy who is supposed to decide how to interpret our Constitution, apparently reporting the bounty his wife pulled in through the right-wing welfare system of think tank stipends and Tea Party activism is somewhat more difficult than making jokes about body hair and coca cola to co-workers of a female persuasion. As this is a family news outlet, you're just going to have to go look up the rest yourself.
But wait, there's more! As reported over the past week, the good-government group Common Cause has caught ole Clarence in what those in the legal profession might call a "lie."

Thomas attended a meeting of wealthy corporate barons on the West Coast, not long before joining his fellow deluded, activist conservative judges in overturning roughly 100 years of settled law to claim that corporations should be able to buy and sell democracy on the free market, like equities or an Emmy.
And as such, these corporate "people" can spend pretty much whatever they want on electioneering, a wonderful little valentine to a republic that is supposed to be defined by "one person, one vote".
The problem, of course, is those wealthy conservatives with whom Thomas ate pigs-in-a-blanket and likely fantasized about replacing the social safety net with breakaway glass stood to directly benefit from these changes to our law, contained in the infamous Citizens United case.
So Thomas went ahead and lied about how much time he spent at that retreat held by the infamous Koch Brothers, the sugar daddies of the supposedly power-to-the-people Tea Party movement. While according to the The New York Times, "a court spokeswoman said Justice Thomas had made a 'brief drop-by' at the event in Palm Springs, California, in January 2008 and had given a talk," in that darn financial disclosure report that keeps getting him in trouble, Thomas reported that he was reimbursed by the right-wing Federalist Society for having spent "four days" at this very same event.

Four days, or a few hours? You say tomato. I say tomahto.
This is all on top of all the reasons he never should have made it to the Supreme Court in the first place, such as sexually harassing Anita Hill and apparently other young women who've come forward in the years since.

Then Senate Judiciary Chairman and current Vice President Joe Biden, as well as other Democrats who allowed this man to become a member of the Supreme Court should be supremely embarrassed to this day (as should every Republican, but I won't hold my breath on that).

Yet, how about addressing this mistake. Thomas has shown no moral compass, judicial ethics, intellectual rigor or understanding of his duties. For these reasons, Clarence Thomas should be impeached.

This was first published as a weekly column at Al Jazeera English

Who needs a bunch of JOBS when we can have orthodox conservative ideology and corporate tax cuts?

Wikileaks: Bradley Manning Faces 22 New Charges, Possible Death Penalty

'Aiding the enemy' is most serious of new counts filed against private in WikiLeaks case

by Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube

WASHINGTON — Following an intensive seven-month investigation, the Army on Wednesday filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks, military officials tell NBC News.
The most serious of the new charges is "aiding the enemy," a capital offense which carries a potential death sentence.
Pentagon and military officials say some of the classified information released by WikiLeaks contained the names of informants and others who had cooperated with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, endangering their lives.
According to the officials, the U.S. military rounded up many of those named and brought them into their bases for protection. But, according to one military official, "We didn't get them all." Military officials tell NBC News a small number of them still have not been found.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, did not immediately return a call from for comment.
But Coombs wrote on his blog Wednesday that it was uncertain whether any additional charges filed against his client would stick.
"The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning's commander," he wrote. "The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate's office, of the possible offenses in this case. Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.”
Manning, 23, was first charged on July 6, 2010, with illegally downloading and transferring defense information to an "unauthorized source," when he worked as a military intelligence analyst in Baghdad. He was also charged on accusations that he obtained 150,000 classified State Department cables, many of which were also eventually released by WikiLeaks.
The charges filed Wednesday include 16 specifications of wrongfully obtaining classified material for the purpose of posting it on the Internet, knowing that the information would be accessed by the enemy. Other charges include the illegal transmission of defense information and fraud.
While conviction on the charge of "aiding the enemy" could result in the death penalty, military prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on that charge alone. But the presiding military judge would have the authority to dismiss the prosecution's recommendation and impose the death penalty.
Like the earlier charges, the charges made no specific mention of WikiLeaks.
Pentagon and military officials also report that investigators have made no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Manning remains in custody at the U.S. Marine Brig at Quantico south of Washington, D.C., awaiting court martial proceedings.
Coombs, Manning's lawyer, has complained that his confinement conditions — in maximum custody under a “prevention of injury” watch — are unduly harsh and undermine his right to a fair trial. Manning has been confined in a 6-by-12-foot cell with a bed, a drinking fountain and a toilet for about 23 hours a day, Coombs has said.
Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have called for Bradley to be released from detention. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have condemned the Obama administration's imprisonment conditions.

Dreamworks Lines Up Wikileaks Film Based On Guardian Book

DreamWorks studio – founded by Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen – has bought the rights to WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy

Leigh and Harding’s book charts Julian Assange’s life and times, from his itinerant childhood through to the creation of the WikiLeaks website in 2006. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

Steven Spielberg looks set to oversee WikiLeaks: the Movie after securing the screen rights to WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy, the book by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

Reportedly conceived as an investigative thriller in the mould of All the President's Men, the film will be backed by DreamWorks – the studio founded in 1994 by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
Leigh and Harding's book charts Julian Assange's life and times, from his itinerant childhood through to the creation of the WikiLeaks website in 2006. It also provides the inside story of Assange's explosive partnership with the Guardian and the release, last December, of more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.
Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, said: "The Guardian's unique collaboration with WikiLeaks led to what some have described as one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years."
Discussing the proposed film, he added: "It's Woodward and Bernstein meets Stieg Larsson meets Jason Bourne. Plus the odd moment of sheer farce and, in Julian Assange, a compelling character who goes beyond what any Hollywood scriptwriter would dare to invent."
One joke circulating on the internet was that Leigh, Guardian investigations editor, could be played by No Country for Old Men star and supposed lookalike Javier Bardem. In addition to snapping up the Leigh/Harding bestseller, DreamWorks has secured rights to Inside WikiLeaks, by Assange's former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. This has led insiders to speculate that DreamWorks executives are planning a heavily fictionalized thriller.

"A good template for what they are thinking is The Social Network, where Aaron Sorkin not only used the Ben Mezrich book The Accidental Billionaires as a resource, but gathered actual testimony from the lawsuits filed against Mark Zuckerberg that detailed the formation of Facebook and provided high drama," said Mike Fleming of the industry website Deadline Hollywood.

The picture is the most prominent of a number of WikiLeaks movies at various stages of development. These include a documentary by award-winning film-maker Alex Gibney, director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and a mooted biopic based on a New Yorker article by Raffi Khatchadourian, co-produced by HBO and the BBC.

The embryonic DreamWorks version still requires a scriptwriter, a director and a cast. It may also need an ending. Reviled by his foes as a "high-tech terrorist", Assange is currently fighting an extradition order to Sweden to face sexual abuse accusations.
This week he reportedly lashed out at his former collaborators at the Guardian, who, according to Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, he accused of being part of a "Jewish conspiracy" against him. Assange has denied this allegation. There seems little doubt that Assange's life story provides enough red meat for dramatists. But the final act has surely yet to be written.

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